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VOL. XXIX. DECEMBER 15. No. 24
A.D. 1908—A.M. 6037
Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society’s Report for 1908….371
The Watch Tower Subscription List………….372
Our Correspondence Department……………..372
Evangelizing Through Newspapers……………372
The Society’s Colportage………………….373
The Tract and Volunteer Work………………373
The Pilgrim Service………………………374
Summary of the Year’s Work………………..374
The Temple of God is Holy…………………….374
The Greater Than Solomon’s……………………379
A Review Lesson—December 27………………….381
Resolved, by God’s Assisting Grace…………….381
Fourteen Elders and Others……………………382
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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,
“BIBLE HOUSE,” 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
BRITISH BRANCH—24 EVERSHOLT ST., LONDON, N.W.
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AUSTRALASIAN BRANCH—EQUITABLE BLDG., COLLINS ST., MELBOURNE
PRICE, $1.00 (4S.) A YEAR IN ADVANCE.
MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED.
FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
TERMS TO THE LORD’S POOR AS FOLLOWS:—
All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied FREE if they send a Postal Card each MAY stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the Studies, etc.
ENTERED AS SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POST OFFICE.
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ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA
“THE WONDERFUL STORY OF GOD’S LOVE”
Just issued—a poem of 59 verses by Sister M. R. Land. It is a beautiful little booklet, appropriately illustrated, and suggested for use as a Christmas token. Price, 15c or $1.50 per dozen, postpaid.
DANO-NORWEGIAN AND SWEDISH LITERATURE
Tabernacle Shadows and Spiritism booklets in the Dano-Norwegian language, 10c each. Also excellent Norwegian Volunteer matter.
The Hell Booklets in cloth at 10c and in board covers at 15c, in Swedish; also Spiritism and Tabernacle Shadows treatises in TOWER form, in Swedish, at 5c per copy. Tabernacle Shadows in booklet form at 10c each. Plenty of good Swedish Volunteer matter.
Volume 1 in Hollandish is now in stock at 25c per copy.
MOTTOES, POSTCARDS and BOOKLETS for CHRISTMAS
We have a choice line at very low prices, as set forth in our issue of November 1st. Also “Sermonette” Postcards, 15c per dozen, postpaid.
Glacier Window Mottoes, like those exhibited at the Convention, 30c per dozen, postpaid.
OLD THEOLOGY QUARTERLY
We are about to discontinue these Tracts. Order at once all you can use, so we need not move the stock to our new quarters.
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WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY’S REPORT
—DECEMBER 1, 1907, TO DECEMBER 1, 1908—
FOR many years the work of the Society has shown phenomenal progress, our last report being the best of all—an astonishment even to the most hopeful. Of course, in the face of the financial depression, we had not the courage to hope that the present year would even nearly come up to last year’s remarkable showing. We are confident, therefore, dear brethren, that you will be overwhelmed with surprise to learn that, notwithstanding the adverse conditions to which the panic led, the present year not only shows as favorably as last year, but shows a great improvement. We may well rejoice with one another and give to our Lord all the praise. Surely without him we could do nothing, in the face of the opposition which we continually meet from the world, from the flesh, and, above all, from our great Adversary, who works in and through the blinded children of disobedience. Ah! more and more do we realize the meaning of the Apostle’s words, when he declares, “We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with wicked spirits in high positions.”—Eph. 6:12.
The contest is so unequal that if we did not have the supervision and protection of our Lord through his various agencies, we would surely be deceived and thwarted in every direction. As it is, in the light of our Lamp, the Word of God, we know what to expect; that for the harvest testing, which begins with the house of God and extends to the nominal systems and the world, there will be a relaxing of the Divine restraints upon the evil spirits, permitting their greater activity and correspondingly more and more severe tests upon all mankind. We remember our Lord’s words, to the effect that the deceptions would ultimately prove so severe that they would “deceive, if it were possible, the very elect.” It will not be possible, because for this class the Lord will provide special protection, special warnings, special assistances. We note the Apostle’s remark that if it began first with us, what will the end be upon those who obey not the Gospel? “If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”—I Pet. 4:18.
While the report shows progress in the work accomplished in extending the Truth to others, our chief cause for rejoicing lies in the fact that a deep work of grace seems to be in progress in many places; we believe very generally throughout all the Harvest work, considered as a whole. We are able to form, we think, fairly good estimates along these lines from the phraseology of the letters we receive and also from the reports made to us by the “Pilgrims.” The spirit of brotherhood, the spirit of love, seems to be on the increase, even as the reverse spirit is increasing and manifest in the world—a spirit of strife and envy, evil-speaking and hatred.
We have been pleased to note the remarkable progress made by some dear friends who have come into the light of Present Truth recently. The rapidity with which they grasp the outline of the Plan in many details, and the zeal with which they undertake to “let their light shine,” and to bring their thoughts and words and doings into line therewith, are evidences of the power of the spirit of the Truth working in them, and are gratifying indeed. But alas! a faithful “View” from the Watch Tower reminds us of the fact that the harvest time is not alone for gathering the wheat from the fields, but a time also for threshing and winnowing it, for the separation of the chaff from the wheat, that the latter may be ready for the garner. We should, perhaps, expect that the remaining years of the harvest will be conspicuously marked in this manner. While we expect a large ingathering of ripened grain, we must also expect that the flail of trial and testing will fall heavily, swiftly and repeatedly upon the wheat, that it may be thoroughly threshed, that every grain may be thoroughly separated from the hull or chaff. Results may sometimes be very disappointing as we find ourselves mistaken in our estimates; as we find some fall whom we had no doubt would stand firmly with us to the end of the journey and enter the garner of the Kingdom. However, the work is the Lord’s, and not ours. It is for us to do with our might what our hands find to do, and to leave all results in the Divine care, knowing that our Lord is too wise to err, and that his love for all of his dear people is far more intense than ours, and that nothing in their interest, for their correction in righteousness, etc., will be left undone.
It is ours, therefore, to do our part and leave the remainder with him. We cannot share the sentiments of our opponents that the Lord has allowed the harvest work to progress thirty-four years along wrong lines, and now wishes three or four self-appointed brethren to
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take direction of affairs and say what should and what should not appear in the columns of this Journal, etc. This very same thought, as some of our readers know, has twice in the past led to conspiracies on the part of misguided brethren to turn the channel of the Stream of Truth more to their pleasement. As those efforts failed, so, we believe, other efforts, of a slightly modified form, will fail. These endeavors cause us sorrow of heart indeed, but in no sense or degree shake our confidence in the Lord and his perfect mastery of the situation and the carrying out of the harvest work. Our sorrow is for the deluded brethren whom the Adversary thus sifts out. It is not for us to question the methods of Divine Wisdom, but rather to remember that “The Lord knoweth them that are his.” We may esteem brethren too highly or insufficiently, but the Lord knows the heart and makes no mistake. Then, too, each of the called ones has a will of his own. It is not our flesh that is being tested, but our wills; hence the necessity for watching our hearts and keeping very humble; otherwise pride or ambition may enter and in a few months, or even a few days, or hours or moments might work havoc to all our character development, from the Lord’s viewpoint.
Ah! how carefully we should heed the words, “Keep thy heart with all diligence (thy will, thy affections), for out of it are the issues of life”—life eternal or death eternal.—Prov. 4:23.
We have some very important and very interesting things to present to you respecting the grand outlook for the work in 1909, but that properly belongs to the “View” of our next issue, and we must not trench upon it here. Suffice to say that it contains wonderful hopes and prospects, under the Lord’s continued guidance, and your continued cooperation.
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THE WATCH TOWER SUBSCRIPTION LIST
With the New Year we expect to drop the word “Zion’s” in the title of our Journal, because many of the friends inform us that the word is objectionable, having been so much used by Mr. Dowie and his followers. They report that our Journal is frequently cast aside under the supposition that it is published under Dowie’s auspices, or in some manner affiliated with Zion City, which he founded. The new name, THE WATCH TOWER, is the one by which the Journal is usually mentioned. It appears, further, that African churches and papers use the word Zion extensively, which has led to the inquiry whether or not our Journal is published and generally read by colored people.
We consider the subscription list of our Journal the surest and safest criterion, as respects the numbers of our deeply interested ones. Our present enrolment is 25,000. This is only half the list we think we should have. It is the only discouraging feature connected with this report. It shows no increase over last year. For our encouragement, however, we must remember that during this year the Postoffice Department put into effect with all publications a rule intended to cut off the lists the names of all who do not actually subscribe and pay the money for their subscriptions, or have it paid for them by others. This meant the cutting off of large numbers of names from our list. Otherwise the list would probably show at least 5,000 stronger. As it was, our Society advanced to the TOWER account moneys representing the subscriptions of those who requested the Journal as the Lord’s poor, and also advanced arrearage for those requesting the TOWER continued to them on credit. The Society is pleased to do this, as the work is one in any event, and any surplus which might accrue from the WATCH TOWER would belong to the Society. We state these matters in explanation and wish all our dear readers to know that we are as glad to have their names on the list, if they are poor and unable to pay for themselves, as if they were rich. We are continually reminded of the Scriptural declaration that amongst the Lord’s consecrated flock there are not many rich nor great, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith.
We offer no premiums to obtain subscriptions. We rely upon your loving interest in this Journal and in the Truth it presents and in the brethren whom we believe will be blest and profited by the reading of it. On these high grounds we appeal to all the consecrated in sympathy with this Journal and its mission, to see to it that the names of all the interested promptly get on our lists, whether as paying subscribers, or on credit, or as the Lord’s poor.
What can and will you do in this direction for the coming year? Those who are on the list of the “Lord’s poor” will please remember that their requests for renewal need not be sent to us now, but next May. We thus arrange so as to save our office force, for whom the present is the very busy season.
OUR CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENT
We esteem this department very highly, because it permits us to keep closely in touch with the dear friends of the Truth, and to know of their joys and sorrows, and to give them advice along various lines of their special requests. We want you to know how much your letters are appreciated; how pleased we are to have them, and we want you to understand why only an occasional letter receives a response, and that, sometimes, a very brief one (perhaps on a postal-card). It is because we trust that you accept the DAWN-STUDIES and TOWERS and Tracts as answers. Whenever a letter contains a direct question, we endeavor to give it a direct answer, and very frequently can do this best by citing the volume and page of the DAWN or TOWER in which it is treated much more fully than a private letter would permit. We offer the suggestion that in writing to us you endeavor to keep the business part of your letter separate from the more social portion, and, if you ask questions, please make them pointed as possible. Say as much as possible in few words, and your letter will receive more, rather than less care and attention. Let us assure you that the Lord has greatly blessed many of your kind letters to our refreshment of heart, during various trying experiences, which he has wisely and lovingly permitted, and against which we do not murmur nor repine.
Your assurances of your prayers and love and progress in the Truth and its service have been specially helpful. Continue, dear friends, to remember us and all the dear colaborers in your prayers. We feel sure that this is true in the case of all those who have informed us that they have taken the Vow.
EVANGELIZING THROUGH NEWSPAPERS
The newspaper has become the great factor in the daily life of the civilized world. The Lord seemed to point us to this way also of forwarding the interests of the Truth, and opened a wide door for us in connection with the publication of the debates. We have sought wisdom and grace to use this opportunity to the Lord’s praise and to the finding of his people, and their liberation from the chains of error. The Lord has greatly blessed the effort so that at the present time the editor’s
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weekly sermons are published in eleven newspapers regularly, representing a combined circulation of 402,000. This is equivalent to a circulation of 400,000 tracts per week, or 21,000,000 per year, with the advantage that it reaches people in a manner which some prefer; for quite a good many dislike to be seen receiving or reading a tract. Surely this is an excellent field, well worthy of cultivation as one of the best means of reaching the reading public.
Brethren familiar with newspaper methods advise us that Allegheny is practically unknown, that Pittsburgh is noted more for its smoke and dirt, steel and iron, Homestead riot and millionaires, than for anything along the lines of science, literature or religion. They assure us that if the weekly sermons emanated from a more favorable quarter it would possibly result in the publication of the sermons all over the United States; that within a year there might be hundreds of papers publishing them regularly. Investigation and reflection seemed to teach that Chicago and St. Louis, although central in a large degree, have a stock-yard and big reputation, rather than a religious one; and Boston, although cultured and scientific, has a reputation for unorthodox fads along religious lines. Altogether we concluded, after seeking Divine guidance, that Brooklyn, N.Y., with a large population of the middle class, and known as “The City of Churches,” would, for these reasons, be our most suitable center for the harvest work during the few remaining years. Besides, the brethren of the office force, always zealous to use their time, energy and opportunities in holding meetings, will find in Brooklyn and surrounding cities a vast field, only partially cultivated at the present time. Within the radius of a few miles reside seven and one-half millions of civilized people of every nation—the two-hundredth part of the population of the whole earth—the one-fiftieth of civilization. There are more Jews in New York City than in all Palestine, and more Irishmen than in Dublin, the capital of Ireland. We trust that our proposed move will commend itself to all of our dear friends. In our next issue we will briefly explain to you some of the Lord’s remarkable leadings in connection with the selection of the new Bible House, which is undergoing extensive repairs to adapt it to the needs of the work.
THE SOCIETY’S COLPORTAGE
When a year ago we looked at our reports, a month after the panic began, we concluded that the Colporteur work had reached its climax, and that whatever success might attend other parts of the work, it would be impossible for the dear Colporteurs to make ends meet, in the face of a money stringency; that they would be obliged to retire, and hence that the sales would drop off greatly. Your surprise can be no greater than ours to find that, notwithstanding these various difficulties, the year 1908 stands head and shoulders above its predecessor and every other. True, the shutting down of works spoiled some of the territory entirely, but even this worked a blessing and led the Colporteurs to try the small villages and rural routes, with surprisingly good results, carrying the Truth to hungry hearts, who might otherwise not have been brought in contact with it. The total output of DAWN-STUDIES for the year shows an average of more than 2,000 volumes for each working day of the year. And the best of all—the last two months have been the best two of this, the best year.
We note a great work of grace amongst the dear Colporteurs themselves—a deepening, mellowing, enriching of the Lord’s holy Spirit of love and zeal. Not content with colporteuring merely, they seek, in harmony with our suggestions, to water the seed which seems to have fallen into good ground. By the time the Colporteur is ready to leave the city or town, he generally finds a number of interested ones ready to form a Berean Class for further study of the Word, by the aid of the Society’s “Helps,” which, we believe, the Lord has specially provided for this harvest time and this “hour of temptation.”
Let us all continue to remember these dear, loyal, faithful servants of the Truth in our petitions to the Throne of Grace. We scarcely dare hope that the year 1909 will show a further increase upon the present one in this department; for we constantly say to ourselves, “Will wonders never cease?” No such sale in subscription books was ever known. Undoubtedly the Lord is using this method, not only to reach many of his ripe and Truth-hungry saints, but also to put the Truth into the homes of others, where it will be sought and devoured, and give strength during the “time of trouble,” especially to the Great Company class.
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THE TRACT AND VOLUNTEER WORK
Tons of literature have gone forth this year. The present report does not include the German and Scandinavian Tract distribution, which will be set forth later. However, the totals in the English are astounding. When it is remembered that these Tracts are nested four in one, and separate, it gives us a total of over thirty millions. You would be much interested in the details of this distribution—to know that not only Pilgrims and Colporteurs, but also doctors, merchants, housewives, etc., carefully plan to redeem their time from secular pursuits that they may give the more time and energy to this branch of the work. God is blessing it, too. In various ways we can note that those who are “not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ,” but are zealous to serve it, are blessed of the Lord in their hearts and heads, and granted increasing privileges of service in various ways. It is certainly true that a great blessing goes out from this work to every one that participates in it, and that it would be well worth while to continue it for their sakes, if not one of these seeds of Truth fell into good and honest hearts and brought forth fruitage; but, on the contrary, the reports we receive show that gradually the Truth is making headway against opposition and finding the “Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile.”
The Postoffice Department has not yet restored to us second-class privileges in connection with the Old Theology quarterly, hence we think of discontinuing it. Order all you can use of the old stock that we need not “move” it. The present form of the Old Theology Quarterly has become widely known, and may have gained some enemies, as well as friends. Look out for the new quarterly, “PEOPLE’S PULPIT.” We propose transferring the subscriptions of the Old Theology Quarterly to “PEOPLE’S PULPIT,” confident that this change will be satisfactory to all of the subscribers. But the Postoffice Department may demand to see our authorization of such substitution. We request, therefore, that you address our Society by Postcard, saying in so many words that you will be pleased to receive “PEOPLE’S PULPIT” for the remainder of the time that Old Theology Quarterly would be coming to you on your subscription already paid.
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THE PILGRIM SERVICE
During the forepart of the year, when financial matters looked unfavorable, we made no special attempt to increase the number of the Pilgrims, but, as the year advanced, and we found that instead of the Tract Fund donations decreasing, they were increasing, we began to put on more force, and today have several new Pilgrims and some others ready to start early in the New Year. This branch of the service is greatly blessed of the Lord, especially in connection with the interested. A special effort seems to be necessary to successfully reach the public. For the new year we plan to have several Pilgrims do a special evangelistic work with the public in cities and towns where we have, and where we have not, interested readers and classes.
Our thought is to have these services in good localities and well advertised. We are selecting the brethren whose talents, we believe, will best qualify them for this department, leaving to the others the special work of more particularly ministering to the household of faith, as heretofore. We appreciate very much the helpfulness of all the dear friends along this line of service and trust and believe that the Lord has fully rewarded their self-sacrificing labors, in connection with the arranging and advertising. Only beyond the veil will we fully know what are the results. Now we see by faith, but are sure that the Lord’s Word will not return to him void, but will prosper in the thing whereunto it was sent, and that our endeavors, on behalf of others, will bring refreshment to ourselves.
In the financial department, it will be noticed that the expenses of the Pilgrims run up into larger figures than ever before. This does not signify extravagance on the part of any of the dear brethren, but is owing to the following: Many of the dear friends go to considerable expense in hiring halls and advertising the one-day conventions (and sometimes the Pilgrim visits), and these outlays in the service of the Truth we have asked them to report to us, so that this money also can appear in our reports as so much money contributed to the Society and paid out by the Society for said meetings, etc., even though our treasury never actually received the money, nor paid it out. The money was spent for the propaganda, and had it not been so spent, quite probably it would have been sent to the Tract Fund. Have this in mind, therefore, when noting the summary of cash received and cash paid out, against Pilgrim expenses.
TRACT FUND RECEIPTS
Confident that it would not be the Lord’s will that we should go in debt, we are very careful not to undertake larger contracts than we feel reasonably sure we can meet financially. But as the year passed and the funds accumulated, we concluded that the Lord had in view a widening of the Work, and was preparing us for it. It is our thought that the increase of financial power put into our hands should not lead to less economical methods, but to an enlargement of the Work. We remember the Lord’s statement, “He that is faithful in that which is least would be faithful in that which is greater.” We go to our new quarters, therefore, financially well equipped for the opening of the work on a larger scale.
Our reasons for believing that a large number of the Lord’s people are to be brought into the light of Present Truth during the year just beginning we will set forth in our January 1st “outlook.” We believe that you will all agree with us on this subject, after reading the evidences.
SUMMARY OF THE YEAR’S WORK
Letters received………………………………. 75,569
Letters sent out………………………………. 61,573
DAWN-STUDIES sent out—all volumes, all languages … 728,474
Average per working day……………………….. 2,372
TRACTS circulated free………………………. 7,686,500
TOWERS circulated free………………………… 445,000
SERMONS in newspapers, about………………… 11,500,000
Foregoing in tract pages as usually stated…… 308,000,000
Pilgrims in service……………………………….. 47
Miles traveled……………………………….. 235,750
Public meetings held……………………………. 2,527
Parlor meetings held……………………………. 6,077
Balance from 1907 report…………………….$ 9,260.42
“Good Hopes,” 1908………………………….. 93,994.26
Expended in Foreign Missions:
Great Britain…………………… $ 2,789.32
Switzerland, France and Italy…….. 232.95
Expended for Tracts, Postage, etc….. 34,468.72
Expended for Pilgrim Service, Conventions, etc…. 20,074.96
Brooklyn Realty………………….. 17,500.00
Balance for 1909………………………….. $ 8,100.34
* * *
The above account of DAWN-STUDIES put into circulation includes the foreign work; but the other items do not. The reports of foreign branches we hope to present in our next issue.
We congratulate you, dear friends, on the Lord’s blessing upon our mutual efforts. The realization of our own insufficiency for the great work which seems to be opening up before us for 1909, properly makes us feel very humble and dependent upon the great Chief Reaper. “Greater is he who is on our part, than all that be against us.” Let us look carefully for his leadings and abide in his love by keeping his commandment, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.”
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THE TEMPLE OF GOD IS HOLY
—I KINGS 8—DECEMBER 13—
Golden Text:—”I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”—Psa. 122:1
NEARLY twenty years elapsed between the incidents of our last lesson and those of the present one—the dedication of the temple of God, built by Solomon chiefly of materials accumulated by King David, his father. There were no methods of rapid construction in those days such as we have now. Solomon, with all his wisdom, had not invented steam-saws for cutting stone and wood and iron, nor steam-hoists for elevating materials into place, nor traveling cranes, nor hundreds of other useful conveniences
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which help to make our day so wonderful, in contrast with every other time. We are not for this to plume ourselves on a greater brain capacity or wisdom, but rather to accept the Scriptural interpretation that God specially lifted the curtain and disclosed to us these blessings, as part of his preparation for the Millennium, incidental also in bringing in the great time of trouble, with which the Scriptures declare this age will end. Nevertheless, Solomon’s temple was one of the grandest buildings in the world in its day, although we consider the following comment by Edersheim rather exaggerated. He says:—
“Alone and isolated in its grandeur stood the temple mount. Terrace upon terrace its courts rose till, high above the city, within the enclosures of marble cloisters, the temple itself stood out, a mass of snowy marble and of glorious glittering in the sunlight, against the half-encircling green back-ground of Olivet. … Nor has there been in ancient or modern times a sacred building equal to the temple, whether for situation or magnificence.”
THE GREAT COST OF THE TEMPLE
Estimates of the cost of the temple are made, which we consider very unlikely—estimates running up into the hundreds of millions, and even as high as thousands of millions of dollars. On this fact was based an argument that Christian people today are well justified in building grand and costly edifices for divine worship, chiefly used one day in seven. It is not for us to find fault with others of a different view who choose thus to invest their energies. It is their own concern and they are right in following the dictates of their own consciences. We remember, however, that the temple at Jerusalem was the house of prayer for all the people of that nation, numbering millions, and that it is also styled, “A house of prayer for all nations.”
We remember that at the beginning and at the middle of their year were festivals, which God’s people from all parts of the land of Israel and the whole world were expected to attend personally or by representative. Thus viewed the temple, even from the standpoint of the natural man, was a very different structure from a local church meeting-house. The Jews had meeting places styled synagogues, and they were generally quite humble and simple. Fault is sometimes found with us that we take a different course in this matter. Instead of erecting grand edifices in which to worship, we are poor and cannot attempt so to do except by solicitation of aid from the world, which is contrary to our judgment of the Lord’s will, contrary to our conscience. Instead, our benevolences go towards the propagation of the Gospel by word or printed page. We have very economical arrangements for our little assemblies and also for our Convention spiritual feasts. We, of course, consider that our view of the matter is the correct one.
IN THE DIVINE LIGHT
There might be room for dispute amongst the Lord’s people on the subject of costly church edifices, until we get to see the subject in the Divine light of God’s Word. Thereafter there should be no room for discussion. That Divine light shows us the temple at Jerusalem as more than a house of worship for its time, as a type of a greater Temple to be built by a greater than Solomon. That greater Temple, the New Testament assures us, is the Church, the Body of Christ, of which he is the Head. This is the Temple of which St. Peter declares that himself and all of the Lord’s thoroughly consecrated followers are antitypical, the living stones or members. This is the Temple of which our Lord declares, “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the Temple of my God.” This is the Temple of which our Lord again said, “Destroy this Temple and in three days I will rear it up”; he spake of the Temple of his Body, not of his own flesh, for that was but a tabernacle and was not reared up by our Lord. The Father raised him from the dead, but in a new body, a spiritual one.
Of the Temple, the Body of Christ, the Church, he declares, “I will raise him up at the last day.” The last day, the seventh day, the Great Millennium, is the third day referred to by our Lord. He was living in the fifth thousand-year day, there following the sixth, and the seventh has just begun, and with it, we believe, the raising up, the “change” to glory of the “Church, which is his Body.”
Of this Temple St. Paul writes, “The Temple of God is holy, which Temple ye are.” (I Cor. 3:17.) He here referred to the Church in its present condition, on probation, as though it were a finished Temple, because by faith may be realized the Lord’s presence and protecting care amongst these members in their temporary organization as the Church of Christ. But the same Apostle shows that this Temple is not quite complete, saying, “Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles, Jesus, Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy Temple in the Lord.” (Eph. 2:20,21.) In a word, as St. Peter suggests, the Lord’s consecrated ones, as living stones for the glorious spiritual Temple of the future beyond the veil, are now being shaped, chiseled, polished, fitted for their places.
THE ANTITYPICAL TEMPLE
That glorious Temple, The Christ, in the power of the First Resurrection will share in the glory, honor and immortality of the divine nature; and through it during the Millennium, the heavenly Father will communicate his blessings to the world of mankind for their uplifting out of sin and death. Thus, as the High Priest in his robes of glory and beauty represented The Christ, the Messiah, Jesus the Head and the Church his Body, so the temple in which he served likewise symbolizes the same Redeemer and the same Church. The one illustration discloses one relationship or communication between God and men. The other represents another feature of the same ministry of reconciliation, as it will ultimately reach the world of mankind.
From this standpoint we can readily see that God’s temple, built by Solomon, represented so glorious a class and such rich blessings of God to men that it was very appropriate that the type of these riches of grace should be costly, ornate, beautiful in the highest degree.
But now in the strict sense of the word these living stones are undergoing the process of chiseling and polishing, and the stone-yard and surroundings are not gorgeous and beautiful. Rather, as the Apostle declares, the Church in its present condition is a body of humiliation, or, as improperly translated, “Our vile body.” The Church in the present life, like her Lord, is disesteemed in the world, despised, persecuted, “counted as fools all the day long,” and “the filth and offscouring of the earth.” It is in full harmony with these actual conditions pointed out in the Scriptures and known to us by experience that we see it to be the will of God that our present religious conditions should be very humble ones, unostentatious, inexpensive, to the intent that our energies may be the more efficaciously used in the forwarding of the work at the present time, rather than in attempting to make further
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types of the “glory that is to follow” our Resurrection “change.”
This is further shown in the type. God’s association with his people now is represented in the tabernacle and its court and its tent, all of which were temporary. Thus the Apostle speaks of us who are in this tabernacle as groaning, waiting for our house from heaven, waiting for our “change” to the Temple condition through the power of the First Resurrection.
“THE GLORY OF THE LORD FILLED THE TEMPLE”
The record tells us that the stones and timbers of the temple were brought to the spot all prepared, shaped and marked for their several positions, so that the actual construction was a quiet one. We read that, “The parts came together without the sound of an hammer.” The antitype of this is that the chiseling and polishing and preparing of God’s saints in the present life and the marking of them for their several places, by which God sets the various members in the Body as it hath pleased him, will leave the work of the First Resurrection a very quiet one, so quiet that the world is not aware that it is now in progress. Thank God it is not yet finished, and there is yet hope and opportunity for some of the consecrated now living to “make our calling and election sure,” and by the final “change from glory to glory” to be placed in the great spiritual Temple, in the particular niche or position for which under Divine providence we shall have been prepared. This resurrection “change” will make us all glorious and like unto our Lord and Redeemer, who is the express image of the Father’s person.
Our Lord described the assembling of the representatives of all the tribes of Israel for the grand occasion. The festival apparently lasted more than two
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weeks, certain prominent features marking each day of the time. The priests bore the ark from Zion, the city to which it had been brought by King David, as described in a previous lesson on, “The Homing of the Ark.” Mount Zion was one division of the City of Jerusalem, while the temple was built in another division called Mount Moriah. At one time they were separated by considerable of a valley, but the topography has greatly changed in the intervening period and the bottom of the valley is filled in some places twenty feet and more. The city wall surrounded both of these mountains, or, as we would say, hills, for Jerusalem is built on a mountain.
There were great demonstrations of joy in connection with this dedication of the temple. It meant much to the holy people as they realized that the great Creator had deigned to approve the erection of a dwelling-house with them. As the ark came forward the Levites sang and chanted, probably some of David’s psalms, which apparently by inspiration were written for the occasion. (Psa. 47, 98, 99, 107, 118, 136.) The theme of the occasion seems to have been, “For his mercy endureth forever.” Ah! how that oft-repeated expression of the Psalmist will be understood, appreciated by mankind shortly. When the priests with the ark shall have entered in, and when the Levites of the future, the Ancient Worthies and others, shall chant the praises of Jehovah throughout all the earth, making known to the people “That his mercy endureth forever” and that during the Millennial Age, in and through the Anointed, The Christ, they will have the privilege of returning to God and to all that was lost, how joyful indeed will be the occasion! How world-wide the blessing! Then every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to the glory of the Father!
THE DEDICATION SERVICES DESCRIBED
Prof. W. J. Beecher, after studying the account, offers the following suggestions respecting the order of ceremonies observed. We think it not unreasonable and quote as follows:—
(1) “Then spake Solomon, the Lord said that he would dwell in thick darkness”; the declaration of I Kings 8:12,13; 2 Chron. 6:1,2.
(2) King Solomon then turned and blessed the standing congregation.—I Kings 8:1; 2 Chron. 6:3.
(3) King Solomon then delivered an address to the standing multitude.—I Kings 15:21; 2 Chron. 6:4-11.
(4) King Solomon then offered a dedicatory prayer, the multitude kneeling.—I Kings 8:23-53; 2 Chron. 6:14-40,54; 6:3.
(5) Psalm 132 was then chanted: “Arise, O God”! Then fire from the cloudy pillar descended upon the Mercy Seat, the Shekinah, and the glory of the Lord filled the house and the multitude outside prostrated themselves.—2 Chron. 6:41; 7:1-3.
(6) The Congregation then said, “For his mercy endureth forever.”—2 Chron. 7:3.
(7) King Solomon closed the ceremony with an address and benediction, the multitude standing.—I Kings 8:54-61.
“HE SHALL PRESENT YOU FAULTLESS”
As living stones of the Spiritual Temple requiring much chiseling and polishing to prepare us for places in the heavenly temple, let us appreciate these. Instead of seeking to avoid them, let us rather thankfully welcome whatever experiences of this kind the Heavenly One shall see fit to permit us to have. We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Our present disciplines are intended to develop in us the character necessary to the great service for which our Creator intends us.
The good works, the great works of God to some extent, are most abundantly manifested in this “New Creation,” the Church, and some of our good works are as colaborers with God and Christ in shaping and up-building one another in the most holy faith. The great good work of God to which he has called us is that mentioned in the oath-bound Covenant to Abraham, “In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.”—Gal. 3:29.
While we longingly look forward to our glorious station of the future, when the glory of the Lord shall fill the Temple, “When we shall know as we are known,” let us not forget that unless we are submissive to the molding and fashioning influences of the School of Christ, we shall be set aside. Our names will be blotted out of that special role and our crowns apportioned to others. It is in full view of the possibilities of so great a loss of so great a prize that the Apostle wrote, “Let us fear lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should seem to come short.”
The cultivation of pride along any line, the development of an unsanctified ambition, are amongst the greatest dangers to these living stones now in preparation. Such flaws developed would render us unfit for this special service. And if they should develop in us headiness or high-mindedness, they would probably also develop envy, malice, hatred, strife, evil-speaking, evil-surmisings, all of which are contrary to the Spirit of Christ and would soon render such “none of his.”
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YOUR “GOOD HOPES” FOR 1909
[The plan here proposed we designate “GOOD HOPES,” because nothing is actually promised—only your generous hopes expressed, based upon your future prospects as they now appear to you. The plan proved not only so beneficial to the cause of truth, but also so blessed to the hopers, for some years past, that we again commend it to all as Scriptural and good. Those who desire to make use of this plan can fill out both these memoranda. One should be kept for the refreshment of your memory; the other mail to us.]
“WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY.”
Dear Friends:—I have read with interest of the openings for the Dawn and Tract work in foreign lands and here at home. I need not tell you that I am deeply interested in the spread of the Glad Tidings of the lengths and breadths, the heights and depths of redeeming love expressed for us in God’s great Plan of the Ages.
I am anxious to use myself—every power, every talent, voice, time, money, influence, all—to give to others this knowledge, which has so greatly blessed, cheered and comforted my own heart and placed my feet firmly upon the Rock of Ages.
I have been considering carefully, and praying to be instructed, how to use my various talents more to my Redeemer’s glory and for the service of his people—those blinded by human tradition who are, nevertheless, hungering for “the good Word of God,” and those also who are naked, not having on the wedding garment of Christ’s imputed righteousness, the unjustified, who stand at best in the filthy rags of their own righteousness. I have decided that so far as my “money talent” goes, I will follow the rule so clearly laid down for us by the great Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 16:2), and will lay aside on the first day of each week, according to my thankful appreciation of the Lord’s blessings during the preceding week. Out of this fund I wish to contribute to the several parts of the Lord’s work specified on the back of this letter. Of course, I cannot in advance judge or state particularly what the Lord’s bounty may enable me to set apart weekly, and hence you will understand the sum indicated to be merely my conjecture or hope, based upon present prospects. I will endeavor to contribute more than I here specify; and should I not succeed in doing as well, the Lord will know my heart, and you, also, will know of my endeavors.
My only object in specifying in advance what I hope to be able to do in this cause is to enable those in charge of the work of publishing and circulating the Tracts, etc., to form estimates, lay plans, make contracts, etc., with some idea of what I will at least try to do in the exercise of this my highly appreciated privilege.
My present judgment is that during the coming year, by self-denial and cross-bearing, I shall be able to lay aside on the first day of each week for Home and Foreign Mission Work (to assist in circulating Scripture Studies in foreign languages, and in publishing the “Old Theology Tracts” in various languages, and in supplying these gratuitously to brethren who have the heart and opportunity to circulate them widely, and in meeting the expenses of brethren sent out as “Pilgrims” to preach the divine plan of salvation, and in general to be expended as the officers of the Society may deem best), the amount of__________per week.
To comply with United States Postal Laws, all or any portion of my donation may be applied as subscription price for Watch Tower or O.T. Tracts sent to the Lord’s poor or others, as the Society’s officers may deem advisable.
That the work be not hindered, I will endeavor to send you what I shall have laid aside for this cause at the close of each quarter. I will secure a Bank Draft, Express Order or Postal Money Order as I may find most convenient, and will address the letter to
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY,
“Bible House,” Allegheny, Pa.
or, 24 Eversholt St., London, N.W., England; or, Equitable Building, Collins St., Melbourne, Australia.
CUT HERE AND SEND OUTER-HALF TO THE SOCIETY’S ADDRESS, FILLING OUT THE BLANKS, IF YOU CHOOSE.
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WATCH TOWER SUBSCRIPTIONS
ON “GOOD HOPES” ACCOUNT
The friends who contribute to the “Good Hopes” (described on the reverse of this sheet) at times desire to send the WATCH TOWER to friends who are not yet interested enough to subscribe for themselves; or to deeply interested friends who are too poor to subscribe and backward about accepting our Lord’s Poor offer. They are invited to give us such addresses below—the expense to be deducted from their donations. Give full addresses, and write very plainly, please, mentioning the length of the subscriptions.
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Watch Tower Subscription Renewals
Most of our subscriptions end with the year, so we take this opportunity to remark that we shall be glad to hear promptly from such as desire the visits of the WATCH TOWER continued. The Lord’s Poor friends have been requested to send their applications in June. When names are dropped and afterward renewed it makes us unnecessary trouble. When desiring to know date of expiration, look on your TOWER wrapper. Date is given in lower left-hand corner.
Hymns of Dawn with Music
Our readers have for years inquired for this book. We now have it for you in handsome cloth binding and at cost price. It is the best and the cheapest hymn book in the world, at 35 cents per copy, postpaid, and contains 333 of the choicest hymns of all ages. By express, collect, 25c each, in any quantity.
Watch Tower Binders
These are substantially made of stiff cloth boards, and can hold two years’ issues of the WATCH TOWER. They prevent soiling and loss. Price, postpaid, 50c.
Christian Home Embellishments
For several years we have been supplying our readers with handsome text and motto-cards for the walls of their homes. Their influence is excellent; for they continually and cheerfully catch the eye and remind the heart of our great favors present and to come, based upon the “exceeding great and precious promises” of our Father’s Word. We commend these as helps in the “narrow way”—helps in character-building. (These we import from London subject to custom duty, hence our London office can do still better for our British friends.)
We have a very choice assortment of these this year. For your convenience and ours we put these up in packets of choice assortments, as follows: At $1.00 each, postpaid. So doing we are enabled to give you twice as many mottoes for your money as you could purchase elsewhere. Besides, we select the styles and mottoes with great care. The following packets represent our assortment. Order by number:
No. Ma—Contains only small mottoes of assorted texts and styles, 22 in number; all beautiful.
No. Mb—Contains medium and small mottoes assorted, 11; all choice.
No. Mc—Contains medium mottoes, 10; all handsome.
No. Md—Contains medium and large mottoes, 5; all elegant.
No. Me—Contains large mottoes only, 4; all desirable.
No. Ma1/2—Is a 50-cent packet of small mottoes.
Daily Heavenly Manna
Those who use this book as we recommend are surely being blessed. It should be on your breakfast table regularly. Its daily text should be read and commented on freely by all. Then the Manna comment should be read. Introduce it to your friends as a help toward godly living. See prices in our November 1st issue.
1909—Motto Card and Calendar—1909
These are elegant, 7-3/4 x 12 inches, an ornament to any parlor, a work of art. Besides a Calendar it contains “the Vow,” which can be torn out by those who do not prefer it. These, postpaid, would not be dear at 50c each, but getting them in quantities we can supply them at 15c (7d.) each postpaid.
New and Old Tracts
Tracts for distribution among friends, house to house, for enclosure in letters, and in general for use in such ways as seem judicious, are supplied free. The expense entailed by the great demand for these is borne by the Tract Fund of voluntary contributions. Write for the tracts as you feel able to use them, even if not so well able to contribute toward the expense; some who are able, and do contribute, do not have opportunities personally to use all that their contributions pay for, so that the matter is equalized and all may have a part in this service of disseminating the truth. The January issue of each year is prepared in special quantities for general use, the other issues for special uses.
Tracts in foreign languages free. Say how many you can use.
A Privilege and a Service
We are convinced that the WATCH TOWER lists do not contain the names of one-half of those deeply interested in its teachings. The total is small enough surely, and we are not content that the name of any should be missing. We believe that all such will be stimulated and encouraged on the “narrow way” by its semi-monthly appearance on their table, reminding them afresh of spiritual matters which the world, the flesh and the devil continually tend to crowd out of mind and heart.
Hitherto we have required that all desiring the WATCH TOWER on credit, or free, as “the Lord’s Poor,” should make personal application; but now we request every subscriber to inquire among those whom he knows to be interested in Present Truth, and to obtain the consent of all such to send in their subscriptions either on credit or free, as their circumstances may necessitate. Any getting it on credit may at any future time request that the debt be cancelled, and we will cheerfully comply. We desire that as nearly as possible the WATCH TOWER lists shall represent all those deeply interested in its message.
Our object is not the gain of “filthy lucre,” but “the perfecting of the saints for the work of ministry”—present and to come. (Eph. 4:12.) We offer no premiums, desiring the co-operation of such only as appreciate the privilege of being co-workers with us in this ministry. Our list is now about 25,000; but it should be at least 30,000, and we confidently expect the above program to bring it to that figure. Let as many as appreciate it as a privilege, join at once in this service.
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THE GREATER THAN SOLOMON’S
—I KINGS 11:4-13; LUKE 8:20—DECEMBER 20—
Golden Text:—”For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”—Luke 2:11
THE object of this lesson is to show the downfall of the kingdom of Solomon the wise, the rich, the great, and the necessity for the greater Kingdom than his, which divine wisdom and love have designed, and which Divine power is to inaugurate in due time. In Solomon’s experiences we have a most remarkable lesson of a most remarkable man; illustrating the tendencies of wisdom and riches to lead the imperfect children of men away from God, the Source of wisdom and riches, and away from all the highest ideals.
The accounts of Solomon’s prosperity are set forth in the books of Kings and Chronicles, and indicate that, under his wise administration, numerous public works were carried on, royal palaces built, great roads engineered, and water works and store-houses and armories constructed, etc. The nation of Israel, under Solomon’s regime reached its highest position of power and influence in the world and dominated its largest amount of territory. But as Solomon prospered, he grew less pious. He became what the world would call broader-minded. The royal families of surrounding nations were pleased to have their daughters become Solomon’s wives, and he generously accepted them from every quarter. The effect, however, was injurious to the King and to his entire people, because each of these prominent wives felt that she must represent the dignity of her own home land at the Jewish capital, and specially must represent its religious sentiment. Thus the heathen religionists all felt a great jealousy for the great temple of Jehovah and its elaborate services; and these wives, as representatives of the religions of their fathers, urged upon King Solomon, insistently, that they must have the opportunity of serving their gods, and that proper breadth of mind on his part would lead him to accede to their demands and to erect altars to their heathen divinities.
The King, rolling in wealth, yielded to these importunities of his wives and established for them and their foreign ambassadors and visitors shrines, altars, holy places, dedicated to the various false gods of surrounding nations—not that the King believed in these or worshiped them himself, but, through a mistaken view of broad-mindedness and a mistaken form of generosity to his wives and their sentiments, he violated his highest sense of responsibility to his own Lord, Jehovah. Gradually that devotion which had been his at first, and which the Lord had blessed by two special manifestations, yielded, and the King became less and less a man after God’s own heart; possessed of less and less of his father David’s loyalty of heart and zeal for the Divine will and worship.
SOLOMON’S DISLOYALTY REBUKED
Our lesson tells how the Lord rebuked Solomon for his course; doubtless through the Prophet Ahijah. (Vs. 29-37.) The Lord assured Solomon that, because of his unfaithfulness, the major part of the kingdom would be rent or torn with violence from his son and come under the rule of one of his servants—Jeroboam. This man had been a trusted officer in the raising of taxes and the levying of workmen for the King’s business. The same Prophet anointed Jeroboam, in the name of the Lord, to be king over the ten tribes; but, instead of waiting for the Lord’s time, as David had done, Jeroboam instituted a rebellion against the King, in which he was unsuccessful and obliged to flee from the King’s forces into Egypt. Afterward, in God’s due time, he became the King of the ten tribes. Incidentally we note here a lesson for all of God’s people; that we should wait upon the Lord for his times and seasons, in respect to all of life’s affairs, great and small. It is for us to be faithful and alert and on the lookout for the Lord’s providence; but not to anticipate them, not to make a
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move in advance in any event of the Lord’s own time.
“His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste;
But sweet will be the flower.”
THE ANTITYPICAL KINGDOM
It is only when we remember that the Kingdom of God under Solomon was a foreshadowing of the Kingdom of Christ that we get the proper view of the situation. It was God’s typical kingdom and Solomon sat upon its throne as God’s representative. So a greater than Solomon is eventually to sit upon the throne of earth and extend the Kingdom to the uttermost bounds and bring to the Kingdom riches, honor, wisdom and power greater than we can now properly appreciate and but feebly foreshadowed in Solomon’s experiences. Solomon’s blemishes are not to be considered as typical blemishes in the Kingdom of Christ, however. They teach another lesson, namely, that all power and wisdom in the present time are hindered by the unfavorable conditions surrounding, so that they become traps and snares, even to the wisest and best intentioned of men. Meantime the Lord’s promise through Moses and the prophets was for a greater than Solomon, and wiser than he, and richer and more powerful than Solomon; able and willing to execute the Divine will amongst men, and to bring in a Kingdom of everlasting righteousness. That Kingdom has not yet appeared amongst men, and hence we still pray, “Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.”
When we remember that this Kingdom is hinted at in our Lord’s declaration, that “The Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head,” and that it was later more particularly referred to in the promise made to Abraham, “In thee and in thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” we readily see that, from the human standpoint, this hope is long deferred. Israel hoped to constitute that Kingdom and waited for Messiah, its head and Lord, to rule their nation, to use it, his elect people, to bless all the nations of earth. But when Messiah came into the world and to his people, that consecrated nation, he found them not worthy of the Kingdom blessings; nay, not even 144,000 worthy to constitute his Church, his Bride, members of his Body class, to be joint-heirs with him in his Kingdom. This was what God had foreseen and foretold, saying, “Though Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant shall be saved.” (Rom. 9:27.) This does not signify that the mass of that nation is lost in an irretrievable sense, but rather that only the remnant was saved in harmony with their expectations, saved as respects their relationship to the Kingdom class. This worthy remnant probably constituted in all not above 20,000, who were gathered out during the period of our Lord’s ministry and the ensuing thirty-seven years of the Jewish harvest time and begetting of the holy Spirit.
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These became the nucleus of Spiritual Israel, and since then, in harmony with prophetic declaration, the Lord has been using various agencies for gathering out a similar class from all nations, peoples, kingdoms and tongues. Soon, we believe, the total number of 144,000 will have been tested, proven, and accepted beyond the veil—”changed in the twinkling of an eye,” from human conditions to heavenly conditions—to the divine nature.
The long-promised Kingdom waits for the development of this “little flock” of Kings and Priests, who shall reign with Christ in the earth, as members of the Messiah company, of which he is the Head and Lord, as well as the Redeemer. With the glorification of the last member of this elect class comes the due time for the setting up of the Kingdom of God’s dear Son in power and great glory. Then will be fulfilled the promise, “In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed,” because the elect Church is a part of the seed of Abraham; therefore the promise of which they are heirs with Christ cannot be fulfilled until their selection and glorification shall be completed. Toward that glorious consummation of human redemption all the promises and arrangements of the Divine Word and Plan are bent:
A SAVIOUR, WHICH IS CHRIST
This brings us to the second part of the appointed lesson, which stands more particularly related to the Christmas season. It matters not particularly that December 25 is not the anniversary of our Lord’s birth, according to the Scriptural account; that really he was born about September 25, nine months later. One day, as well as another, will serve us to commemorate our Saviour’s birth in the flesh, as a gift of God’s love to a condemned and dying world. Indeed, in some respects December 25, which corresponds to the date of our Lord’s annunciation or begetting by the holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, may be considered even more appropriate for celebration than the day of his death. Was it not there that the Father began the sending of his Son, began to give us the gift of the man Christ Jesus? Indeed, at his birth he was not yet the man, and he could not save us as the babe. His begetting and birth were important, but incidental to the man at thirty years offering the sacrifice and saying, “Lo, I come, as in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God.” (Heb. 10:7.) There the great Sacrifice for sin was offered to the Father and was accepted, and the acceptance was indicated by the bestowing of the holy Spirit, which begat our Lord again to a spiritual nature on the divine plane.
For the three and a half years of his ministry his sacrificed flesh, laid upon the altar, was being consumed, while the New Creature was growing, being tested and approved, and finally, in his resurrection, he was justified in spirit or perfected as a New Creature. Our Golden Text is in full accord with this. The day of our Lord’s birth the Saviour was born, the One who was to save his people, not only from their sins, but from the penalty of those sins, the death penalty—save them from the tomb. He did not really become the Saviour until he was thirty years of age. Indeed, in a larger sense of the word, he has not yet become the Saviour, the Deliverer.
What he did during his earthly ministry and sacrifice of himself was merely to lay the foundation for the world’s salvation by his own sacrifice—dying, “the Just for the unjust.” After finishing this part of his work he at Pentecost began a work of saving the “little flock,” “the elect,” those who accept his favor by faith. Yet even with these the salvation is not yet completed; as the Apostle declares, “We are saved by hope.”
By faith and by hope we may accept the Lord’s promises of a resurrection from the dead in due time. And these promises may operate in us so fully, so thoroughly, as to permit us even now to speak and think of ourselves from the Scriptural standpoint, as no longer dead with the world, but reckonedly risen with Christ, in newness of life, which brings us blessings of a spiritual kind today, but which costs us sacrifices and sufferings until death. The salvation we are looking for and which the Lord promises we shall ultimately have is, as the Apostle tells us, “At the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.”—I Tim. 6:14.
SALVATION BY HOPE AND ACTUALLY
Whoever fails to see the difference between the hope salvation of the present time and the actual salvation of the resurrection morning has not the key necessary to enter into and enjoy, in a deep sense, the Divine Word and Plan. However precious the hope of the present time, it would be of small value alone, without the reality which it foreshadows. The salvation which Christ came to bring to mankind is not merely a hope such as we may enjoy, but a bona-fide reality such as he has promised us shall be realized in his Millennial Kingdom. The whole work of the Millennial Kingdom will be a resurrection work. Not merely will all mankind come forth from the grave, as Jesus has promised (John 5:28), but they will come forth for the purpose of being resurrected out of present sin and death conditions to the glorious perfection of perfect human beings—which Adam lost by disobedience—to the image of God, plus invaluable lessons gained during the reign of sin and death.
THE EMBRYO KINGDOM OF CHRIST
Messiah’s Kingdom is to be a world empire, in which every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God; when “the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the whole earth,” and none shall need say to his neighbor, “Know thou the Lord; for they all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.” That Kingdom we still pray for and have not yet received, but the “little flock,” the “elect,” who hear the call and obey it—these are spoken of as the Lord’s Kingdom in embryo, for two reasons: (1) They voluntarily submit their hearts to him and seek to have his will done in them, in thought and word and deed, and increasingly as the days go by; and (2) because they are to be members of the royal family, which shall reign during the Millennium, under the Headship of Jesus, the great Prophet, Priest and King. These shall be his joint-heirs, whose office or service shall also combine Kingship and Priesthood.
GOD’S GIFTS NOW
Let us, then, rejoice at this joyful season of the year and have our hearts filled with appreciation of the Divine love and generosity, which gave us the great gift of Messiah, and thus indirectly a knowledge of the Kingdom yet to come and of our share in that Kingdom, which shall bless the world. As we have freely received, let us freely give, and thus copy our Lord and the heavenly Father. Some may have the opportunity of giving many gifts of many kinds. All will have the privilege of offering to their fellows, directly or indirectly, gifts of God’s love, by making known to them the riches of his grace, as presented in the “Divine Plan of the Ages.”
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The message of God’s love is the most precious thing we have ever received, and let us have this in mind when offering gifts to others that, whatever else we may or may not be able to give our dear friends and neighbors and loved ones, we may offer them this; and our manner and general deportment should show how we value it above rubies, and thus we may best commend the gift of God to others and help them to appreciate it. In such presentations kind words, kind looks, will proceed from the loving heart, which has itself been saved by the power of the Truth from the domination of the Adversary and sin and selfishness. Let us learn to scatter these gifts of grace and Truth and happifying influences to all about us, not merely once a year, but every day and every hour, and not merely upon our friends, but, God-like, upon our enemies also, for “He is kind to the unthankful, and causes his sun to shine upon the evil and upon the good.”
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A REVIEW LESSON—DECEMBER 27
Golden Text:—”Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of Life.”—Prov. 4:23
A REVIEW of the lessons of the past six months will, no doubt, prove profitable to us all. But we suggest that as we are at the closing of the year, we each individually take a review of our lives to see what the year has brought us in the way of lessons and experiences and trials and testings, and how we have received these, and to what extent we have profited by them. We should remember that through life’s trials and difficulties the Lord is teaching us lessons and showing us features of our own characters which we may improve. Without these experiences we might not know of certain defects nor appreciate the necessity for overcoming them. Therefore, to the faithful of the Lord’s people every trial and every difficulty of life is a special blessing. We are to remember the Apostle’s words, “If ye be without chastisements, ye are bastards and not sons,” for “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son,” that such may be fitted and prepared for service hereafter.
Our Golden Text furnishes us a very valuable seed-thought for the closing of the old year and the opening of the new. If we keep our hearts, our words, in the love of God; if we do this diligently, carefully, watching thereunto day by day, we shall be following the wise course. To whatever extent we have done this through the year closing, we have surely been blessed and profited. Whether we have succeeded well or poorly, whether, therefore, we can congratulate ourselves or not, the duty of the hour is to resolve that by the Lord’s grace we will follow this course diligently during the year 1909.
Many write us of the great blessing they have received from the Vow, and of the assistance it has rendered them in exercising diligence in the keeping of their hearts in the love of God, and in fellowship and communion with those who are actively engaged in the harvest work. Let us continue in those things which have blessed us in the past, and let us remember that part of the value of the Vow is in connection with its statement that its various features will be remembered daily at the Throne of Grace to the Father. Surely those who are in harmony with that Vow are seeking, if possible, more diligently than ever, to scrutinize every word and thought and deed, and to bring all of these into closest harmony with the Lord’s Word and Spirit. These cannot fail to have a blessing every day. Let us continue in love and humility and in fervency of spirit, serving the Lord with all our hearts, and keeping our hearts with all diligence, that from them shall be excluded everything that would be defiling or dishonorable or disloyal to the Lord and to his brethren.
“Out of the heart are the issues of life.” Ah, yes! This is true in two senses. The issues of life as respects the words and deeds of life are all guided and influenced by the heart. If our deeds and words would be pure and holy and helpful, they must be backed by a loyalty of heart. Again, “Out of the heart are the issues of life” in the sense that the ultimate results that we shall obtain are not according to any formula of the Vow which we make, nor of any creed to which we might assent, nor of any course of study which we might undertake; but those issues would be dependent upon and determined by the real attitude of our hearts, because all the lessons of life, if they extend only to the outward man, and not the inward springs, will never bring us to the life eternal, which the Lord has promised to those that love him with all their hearts, to those who are fully consecrated in heart to him and his service. Let us close the old year with the right sentiments and proper self-examination, and begin the New Year with the proper diligence and proper resolutions out of good and honest hearts.
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RESOLVED, BY GOD’S ASSISTING GRACE
ONE dear Brother writes that he feels fearful of the word Vow, but that he would have much pleasure in taking the Vow, if it were termed merely a Resolution. We mention this fact because there may be others similarly confused as to the meaning of the word Vow. A Vow, as defined by the dictionary and set forth by the WATCH TOWER, is merely a Solemn Resolution of the heart expressed to the Lord,—nothing more, nothing less. “Lord, I Vow,” merely signifies, “Lord, by thine assisting grace I have resolved, and do resolve, that I will do and be,” etc.
By all means let those who have any mental conscientious scruples against the little word Vow make it in the form of a Solemn Resolution, as above outlined. Encouraging reports, from every direction, are constantly coming in, many of them from classes.
We again urge the dear friends who have taken the Vow that they do not speak or think unkindly of any who have not taken it, but that they remember that “To his own Master each must stand or fall.” Let us think kindly, lovingly, of those who follow not with us in this particular. Let no unkind word or criticism be uttered. Similarly we urge those who have not taken the Vow that they will do wisely not to oppose the brethren who have taken it—not to “smite” them with their tongues or otherwise.
If this Vow is of the Lord all of his faithful ones by and by will recognize it. Let us remember that one of the chief tests of this harvest time is love for the brethren, and that another is humility. Let us each see to it that these fruits of the Spirit, love and humility, are very prominent in our own words, thoughts and acts. And let us mark those who
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cause divisions amongst you by a lack of these, by harsh and unkind words and by bombastic claims of superior wisdom, etc. “Do men gather grapes of thorn-bushes?” “By their fruits ye shall know them.”—Rom. 16:17; Phil. 3:17.
Remember the words “reasonably possible” in the Vow and give them full weight. They cover practically every exigency that could arise. If, for instance, one is in the house of another, it is not reasonably possible nor proper that he should attempt to regulate the doors, but merely have a preference, in harmony with the Vow. Even in his own house the temperature of the weather, or other considerations, might make it unreasonable or improper to have the door open. One who opposed the Vow objected that if he took it and should happen to be alone with one of the opposite sex in a railroad car, he would be obliged to get out. But this is an absurd application, contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the Vow, which makes no mention of elevators, etc.
The natural man will find the Vow very close and stringent. The New Creature will find a sufficiency of elasticity in the words “reasonably possible,” and, “As he would do in the presence of a congregation of the Lord’s people.” For instance, a physician and patient would properly prefer that necessary treatment be less public than before a congregation, yet they would prefer a third party to be present and, in any event, would desire and endeavor that the entire procedure be as modestly performed as though an entire congregation were onlookers. This is both the letter and the spirit of the Vow.
We again remind you that through love for the brethren and fear of stumbling some who take a peculiar view of this matter, we have decided not to publish the names of those who have taken the Vow, or made this Resolution. We have no desire to make it a test of fellowship; still, it is our confidence, that under the Lord’s leading, all of his consecrated people will shortly see “eye to eye” on this subject. We remark, however, that the number of those who have taken a stand in opposition to the Vow is comparatively small—about a score. But they seem to make up in bitterness of spirit
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what they lack in numbers. Let us hope and pray that the Lord will recover them from this snare, so that brotherly love and humility may again be controlling influences in their hearts, and also control their tongues and pens.
Meantime let us make sure that no roots of bitterness are planted by us who have taken the Vow. One of its special provisions is “A closer scrutiny, if possible, than ever, of our words and thoughts and deeds,” to have all in harmony with the Lord. Let us not forget that the benefits we derive from the Vow are not from the taking of it merely, but from the keeping of it, from permitting it to draw us nearer to the Lord—”Under the shadow of the Almighty.”
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FOURTEEN ELDERS AND OTHERS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
Last night being the first Sunday night in the month was our regular monthly testimony meeting in the Chicago Class. It was such a good meeting that I thought I would write to you about it.
The testimonies were all along the line of the “Vow.” The time at our disposal was too short for all to tell of the good they had received since making the Vow their own. Some of the testimonies were to the effect that now the Scriptures seemed so much clearer; others testified that now they felt so much more closely drawn to the Lord and the brethren. Others stated how the sermons at the Convention and discourses in general appealed to them so much more than in the past and that they could understand them better; that since taking the Vow a damper, so to speak, had been opened in their heads, which allowed the Truth to get in.
In this connection I might state how this meeting came to be along the line of the Vow. Some three or four weeks prior, the Chicago Elders, as a body (14 in all), took up the question of the Vow at one of our Elders’ meetings, and decided unanimously that it would be a good thing to send in our names to the TOWER office as having taken the Vow, and to invite any in the congregation that wished to send in their names with ours. Accordingly three copies of the Vow were prepared and opportunity given at the various Sunday meetings since for any who wished to sign their names to these lists along with the Elders. The list of names has been growing each week, and after sufficient time has been given, so that all may have had an opportunity to sign, our Secretary will send in the list.
When the Vow first came out many thought it was all right for others to take it and send in their names, but that it was not necessary for themselves. Noting, however, cases where much sorrow and trouble would have been prevented had the Vow been taken in times past, and noting on the other hand the good that came to those who have taken it, the Elders therefore decided that we wanted to lend our names and influence along with others in holding up this Standard to the Lord’s people.
With Christian love and greetings from all to all, I remain, yours in his service.
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:—
I presume that you long have noticed the following facts and indications, namely:
While attending Conventions during the past two years, particularly the one at Put-in-Bay, I was impressed by the great number who have been in the Truth for a comparatively short time. A large number informed me that Put-in-Bay Convention was their first. Of course in such a large number there were many whose faces were familiar by reason of meeting them at former conventions. No doubt many whom I have met at other conventions were detained at home by various causes, but still this fact was so marked that I spoke of it to others.
Does this mean that some are losing their crowns? And these later comers into the truth are received in their place? When the boats were leaving the wharfs at Put-in-Bay, on the last day of the convention, the one going to Toledo and the other to Cleveland, the great numbers of people who crowded the decks sang as the boats began to separate, inspiringly sang “God be with you till we meet again”; but my heart was sad with the thought that so many singing so joyously, would not be met again, because they would not be faithful and some one else would receive the crown now awaiting the determination of their faithfulness.
What a great blessing the “Vow” has been to me, I will not take your time to describe. I cannot see how it can be other than a blessing to each one who takes it “to the Lord.” I pray the Lord, daily, that he will continue to bless you as his wisdom sees you need, that you may continue to minister his Truth to the household as he sees they need. And that he will help us to trust more and more in his precious promises and grow in the knowledge of the Word, that we will be able to overcome in all trials and testings through which we must pass to become copies of his dear Son, our Redeemer.
Your fellow-servant in the harvest work,
C. C. SEABROOK, (M.D.),—Kan.
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We must remember that the number of interested is multiplying. This, thank God, accounts for the increased size of our conventions. It is a fact, nevertheless, that the “wheat” as gathered must be flailed, threshed, and winnowed before it is ready for the garner. We must not “think it strange,” therefore, if some whom we loved dearly and hoped great things for, should under divine inspection be found to have less of the spirit of love than we had surmised.—Psa. 91:1-9; 2 Thess. 2:11-17.—EDITOR.
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