IT seems strange how long it requires for an idea to really work itself into some of our minds. A brother of apparently discerning mind has recently published a little pamphlet in which he sets forth that Brother Russell evidently believes and teaches that The Christ is composed of many membersJesus the Head and the various overcomers, members of his Body; and that through this great Christ God proposes to seal the New Covenant and through it to bring blessings to Israel and to all the families of the earth. The brother states this as something new and wonderful which he has just discovered, although he has been a reader of our publications for ten years. We are glad that finally the thought has broken into his mind. Our belief is, however, that he got this thought long ago from our writings, and was in full sympathy therewith until his heart got soured. Then spiritual indigestion set in, and finally blindness of "the eyes of his understanding" has resulted, so that the things which he once saw as reasonable and beautiful are no longer so to him. In other words, after having come into the light of Present Truth, he apparently has gone out of it into the "outer darkness," in which he previously was, and in which mankind in general still are. Why did the Lord expel him? We cannot surely know. We can and do note the fact. And our Lord's words indicate what is the probable difficulty. Our Lord assures us that "If any man will do his (the Father's) will, he shall know of the doctrine." (John 7:17.) The intimation is that wrong-heartedness is intimately associated with wrong-headedness, as respects doctrine.
But we cannot judge each other's hearts. We are incapable; and, besides, are forbidden. In any event we should prefer to think well, rather than ill, of each other's sentiments and motives. Our only judgment must be as respects outward conductwhether the thorny disposition or the wolfish spirit; or whether, on the other hand, the fruits and graces of the true grape Vine are in evidence. Again, ability to see, to discern spiritual things, is another evidence the Lord has given of those who are in proper relationship to himself. If obedience to the Lord and to the Truth brought us into the light, disobedience or loss of the Spirit of the Lord undoubtedly will lead out of the light into the darkness prevalent all about usnot necessarily on every subject, for amongst those outside the light of Present Truth, truth and error prevail in a mixed and confusing manner. Only to the consecrated is it given to "know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God." To all outsiders these things are more or less parabolic and dark sayings.
For forty years we have been endeavoring to show to those who have the spiritual eyes and the ears of understanding that the "hidden mystery" is "Christ in you, the hope of glory."Col. 1:27.
The Spirit of Christ in you leads now to self-sacrifice, self-denial, cross-bearing, etc."filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." This is a mystery to the Jews, Gentiles and nominal Christians who understand not why we should be called to fellowship in Christ's sufferings and who make light of our rejoicing that soon we shall be made sharers of Christ's glory in the First Resurrection. This mystery, hidden from past ages and dispensations, is now made known to the saints and none others; and if the saintliness be lost, the understanding of the mystery undoubtedly goes with it.
The Apostle explains that the mystery class (Jesus the Head, and the Church his Body) are the antitypical Isaac, the heirs of the Abrahamic Covenantthe offspring of the Sarah Covenant. (Gal. 3:16-29.) The Jews know this not, but are still trusting to their Law Covenant, made at Sinai. The majority of Christians know not of it, but still think of themselves as having once been under the Law Covenant as Jews, until, as they think, at our Lord's first advent, he sealed the New Covenant with Spiritual Israel. How often we sang, "Free from the Law, oh happy condition," and "Cursed by the Law and bruised by the fall, Christ hath redeemed us, once for all."
There is an admixture of both truth and error in these statements, and we were unable to differentiate until the "mystery" began to dissolve. The Truth on the subject is a "mystery" to the nominal Christian, even though it be plainly stated in the inspired Word, namely, that natural Israel and their Covenant have been cast off from Divine favor; that Christ Jesus won the prize of the Law Covenant and is the Head of the Church, The Christ, the Isaac Seed of the Abrahamic Covenant. The members of Christ's "Body" are being called and chosen and found faithful during this Gospel Age and will be complete with its termination. The sacrifice of this antitypical Isaac (Head and Body) yields the blood of the New Covenant, which will shortly seal or ratify it and make it operative to Israel as a New (Law) Covenant, as instead of their Old Law Covenant. It will have an antitypical Mediator, instead of Moses, and everlasting blessings, instead of temporal ones, and living works of faith and obedience as instead of dead ones. We are glad to have assistance [R4334 : page 55] from any quarter in setting these things before the "household of faith."
A few points, however, the brother, doubtless unintentionally, misrepresents. Our writings clipped from here and there, may be made to appear contradictory, just as contradictions of the Scriptures are claimed and pointed out by those who do not understand them, and are in opposition to them. If our presentations be read in their proper connections, they will be found to be harmoniously progressive, as the Scriptures intimate should be expected, saying, "The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."Prov. 4:18.
The Reformation movement was in the right directioneach successive reform attempting to get nearer to the true light. The close of the 2300 days of sanctuary cleansing (Vol. III., Chap. X) found us free from traditions of Babylon and reestablished upon the testimony of Jesus, the apostles and the prophets, and following on to know the Lord. But freedom from falsities did not mean that all the precious things of Divine Truth were properly located and fixed in our understandings. Thus, for instance, the New Covenant, its sealing and its work are precious facts, not at all erroneous; but we had misplaced these facts, following the traditions of Babylon. We still have the New Covenant and still appreciate its every feature just the same, but perceive that it was misplaced; that it is the New (Law) Covenant which will be sealed or made effective with the blood of Christ, by the merit of Christ's death, at the close of this Gospel Age, instead of at its beginning. We now see clearly that the Scriptures everywhere teach that the New Covenant is to be made "with the House of Israel and the House of Judah," and not with Spiritual Israel. We now see that we are under the Faith or Grace Covenant, the original or Abrahamic Covenant, and not at all under a Covenant of Law and Works, such as the Old Law Covenant was, and such as the New (Law) Covenant will be. We now see the full force of the Apostle's statement, "Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise"the children of the Abrahamic Covenant.Gal. 4:28.
Jesus was the Head of that Isaac, and the Church the members of the Isaac Body. The entire antitypical Isaac, "the Seed of Abraham," was represented by the typical Isaac and in his sacrifice. It is the blood (sacrificedeath) of the entire antitypical Isaac which will seal the New Covenant [R4335 : page 55] with Israel, "After those days." (Jer. 31:31.) The fact that the antitypical Isaac was to be not only Jesus, but also the Church, is the Mystery which the Jews could not comprehend, and which Babylon cannot comprehend, and which only "The wise shall understand."Dan. 12:10.
Our critic is in error in supposing that we claim that the Church is any part of the "Passover" sacrifice. We hold, on the contrary, that the Passover Lamb found its antitype in our Lord alone. This is in harmony with the words, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the feast." (1 Cor. 5:7,8.) The passover Lamb was prepared whole, not a bone being broken. It thus represented our Lord alone, and not his "members," the Church. On the contrary, in one of the atonement day sacrifices, the ram of the burnt-offering was cut into pieces, and the parts washed, and then laid with the head on the altar, thus representing Christ and his members separately, yet unitedly, offered up to Godthe members under the merit of the Head.
The passover was not for all the people, but only for the first-born. This symbolized, therefore, the work of Christ for the Church of this Gospel Age, which is elsewhere designated the "Church of the First-Born." Evidently the Church has no share in her own deliverance, which is entirely a work of grace and love Divine. As the passing over of the first-born of Israel led to the making of the Law Covenant with Israel at Mt. Sinai, so the passing over of the Church of the First-Born during this Gospel Age leads to the inauguration of the New Covenant for the blessing of natural Israel and the world, Moses, representing The Christ, Head and Body (which God is selecting from amongst mankind during this Gospel Age) became the Mediator of the Law Covenant. And he took the blood of a bullock and a goat and sprinkled the book of the Law, representing God or Divine Justice, and subsequently sprinkled the people, thus binding God and the people by that Covenant. The blood of the antitypical bullock (Jesus) and of the antitypical goat, the Church, will both together seal the New (Law) Covenant. The antitype will soon be here. The raising up of the antitypical Moses, the antitypical Mediator, will soon be accomplished.
As Moses ascended Mt. Sinai and received the Law and brought it down to Israel and sealed the Covenant thereupon, so the antitypical Moses ere long will have gone into the Mount of God, the Kingdom, and soon thereafter will appear but under a vail, invisible to mankind, to seal the New Covenant, and to put all of its beneficent mercies into operation.