ANSWERI think the ram slain in Isaac's stead typified Isaacin his stead, his representative, and in that sense, of course, it typified Christ. If Isaac typifies Christ, then the ram typifies Christ.
Q557:2 QUESTION (1908)2What is the distinction between the ransom and the sin offering of the Atonement Day? ANSWERWe might answer that by saying, What is the distinction between the parable of the ten virgins and the parable of the wheat and the tares? There is a great deal of distinction. They are viewed entirely from different standpoints, and each parable must be viewed from its own standpoint. And so with the various statements respecting our Lord and the work that he did. Some of them view Him from the one standpoint and some from the other. From the standpoint of the ransom, our Lord is viewed as being the one who corresponded to Father Adam. As by one man's disobedience, sin entered the world, even so by the righteousness of one, free grace has come. In other words, what Adam brought upon our race of sin, degradation, and death penalty, our Lord Jesus has set aside by reason of having paid the penalty on our behalf. This is the concrete view of the subject, you might say a condensed view of it.
Now, the sin offering of the day of Atonement is a different view altogethernot contradictory but thoroughly in harmony, but a different view nevertheless. It pictures how our Lord accepts the atonement of Christ on our behalf. Now the fact that Christ meets the whole penalty is one thing, you see, and the fact that God accepted it in certain ways is another thing. The sin offering shows us how God appropriates this sacrifice of Christ. First of all, the sacrifice [Page Q558] Christ is appropriated on behalf of the household of faith including the members of the body of Christ. That is shown in the type; the first sin offering of the Day of Atonement, the bullock, representing our Lord Jesus, was appropriated to the household of faith and the members of His body, and was not appropriated to anything else. And this was done before any other work was done, and this in the type is shown as a separate and distinct sacrifice and a separate and distinct application of the sacrifice. Then came in the second sin offering of the Day of Atonement, namely, the Lord's goat, the Lord's goat representing, we understand, the Church, His Bodythe members of His Body. It shows a separate and distinct work done by the Churchnot by the Church as individuals, but by the Church as members of His Body, no value attaching to the individual, for the individual by that time is lost sight of. It is the member of Christ's Body that is sacrificed.
You see the difference, dear friends. You and I present our bodies living sacrifices. That is as far as we can go. That sacrifice we present to the Lord is presented at the beginning of our consecration, and when he accepts it, our part is done. Now, when he accepted of our sacrifice, he counted us thenceforth as new creatures, and as members of the Body of Christ, and it is as members of the High Priest's Body that we have been putting to death the old nature ever since. So you see the difference between our standing in the matter as individuals and our standing as members of the Body of Christ. Our standing as individuals ceases entirely when we have presented our bodies; we are reckoned dead and, therefore, we who are dead are not suffering anything. It is the new creature that is doing the offering, and the new creature is a member of the Body of Christ, and therefore, it is the Great Priest whose members we are that is offering this secondary sin offering, represented in the type by the goat. And this offering of the sin offering, of the goat, continues throughout a period of time, and at its completion the work effected by it is shown to be that a propitiation is made for the sin of all the people. Now, all the people, you see, in the type, meant all the other tribes outside of the tribe of Levi, and all the other people in the world outside of the Levites. The believers represented by the tribe of Levi, and the priests of that tribe, represent the Royal Priesthood. All the other people are represented in the other eleven tribesall the other people who will ever come into harmony with God, either in this age or in the next age. They are all represented by this other type, and atonement is made for them all with a view to bringing them all back into relationship with God. So that work will be finished by the end of the Gospel Age, and you and I as members of the Body of Christ are participating; He is putting us to death; He is putting our flesh to death; He it is who is offering the sacrifice; He does the whole thing, and all the merit is in Him, and none of the merit is in you and I.
So, then, you see that this type is in perfect accord with the doctrine of the ransom, because all of the merit you have in your sacrifice and that I have in my sacrifice, came to us through Christ and through our relationship to Him. Therefore it is the Christ that is doing the whole work, though [Page Q559]he does it in this piece-meal manner. We might just as well say that Jesus could not be the Redeemer and ransomer of Adam, unless He would die in an instant, unless He had given His life at the very moment, because, you remember, He consecrated His life to death at Jordan, when He offered Himself, as the Apostle tells us. That is where He gave up His life, that is where He surrendered His life; but now it took three and a half years before that life was fully given up. That is to say, the three and a half years from His baptism at Jordan until the time on the cross He said, "It is finished." Now likewise, we can just as well see a still larger fulfillment, for while it began at His baptism, and while one feature was completed at His cross, in another sense He has not yet completed it, because He is still offering, the Great High Priest is still carrying out this great work of sin atonement, and during all of this age He is working in you and me, and in all who are accepted as members of the body, that He may present us ultimately as members of His glorious bride.
ANSWERThe Ransom, or corresponding price which our Lord Jesus gave, consisted in his being the Perfect Man with all the rights of Adam and in these being surrendered or given up to death regardless of whether his death would be an easy or a painful one. The Scriptures say that "it pleased the Father to bruise him," not indicating by this, however, that our Heavenly Father took pleasure in the sufferings of his Son, but that this was his pleasure so far as his Plan of Salvation, etc., was concerned. He put severe tests upon this One who would be the Redeemer of mankind, not only to develop him as the beginning of a new creation (Heb. 2:10) and to prove his character, but also to manifest to us and to angels and to all creatures the wonderful obedience of the Lord Jesus and his worthiness of the high exaltation to the divine nature and all the glorious offices to be accorded him. Hence the Father provided that he must be "led as a lamb to the slaughter," and he also provided, in the Jewish Law, that the extreme curse of that Law should be a death penalty on the tree. "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."
These provisions, we understand, were not of Divine necessity, but of Divine wisdom and expediency. It was necessary that Christ should suffer that he might enter into his glorybefore he could be the qualified High Priest, and ultimately accomplish the work of Mediator between God and the world of mankind; hence his sufferings were permitted for the testing, the proving of himself. And so with the sufferings that come to the Body of Christ, the Church. They are for our own development. The Father deals with us as with sons. He lovingly chastises and corrects us that he may thereby fit and prepare us and demonstrate our worthiness of the glorious reward which he has arranged for us with our Lord, and under him.
We get the right view of the entire matter, we believe, when we see that the death of Jesus was not the ransom; that it did not accomplish the ransom-work, but simply furnished the ransom-price; and that the ransoming with that[Page Q560] price is a matter that is done in the "Most Holy"in heaven. To explain: He ascended up on high, having to his credit the price or value sufficient to ransom the whole world, but none of it yet applied for any one. He has appropriated the merit of that ransom-price to the Church, imputing this merit to them during this Gospel Age, to cover their Adamic sins and to make good, to compensate for, the imperfection of their mortal bodies, thus enabling them to present sacrifices which God can and will accept through the merit of their Advocate.
But that ransom-price, so far as the world is concerned, is still in reservation and will be given on behalf of them, as represented by the "sprinkling of the blood" at the end of the Day of Atonement, shortly now, in the beginning of the Millennial Age, to seal the New Covenant and to put into operation all the glorious provisions which God has made for the world.
We believe it to be a very important matter to keep distinctly separate the work which Jesus did and the value of that in God's sight as an asset, something to his credit on the heavenly account and something which he now applies to us, and by and by will give in perpetuity to mankind as their ransom-price.
ANSWEROur Lord gave himself a corresponding price for alla ransom. The application of this price will be made in due time. It has been, at the present time, appropriated to the Church, imputatively, on account of their turning from sin and walking in the footsteps of Jesus. The next step in its application will be, not the imputation, but the actual giving of this to the world, bringing them up out of their imperfection, during the thousand years of the Mediatorial reign; bringing them back into that condition in which they shall be in harmony with God, even as Adam was in harmony with him before the fall.
Regarding the expression, "The Man Christ Jesus," we would say that the Man who gave himself seems to be the particular point. That Man who gave himself, the anointed Jesus, who finished the giving of himself at Calvary, is the "Mediator between God and men," between God and the world of mankind. In harmony with the Divine Plan, during this Age, before his work of uplifting mankind is due to begin, he is doing another work that the Father has ordained; namely, the selection of brethren over whom he is placed as the "Captain of their salvation." These are counted in as members of the Body of the Messiah, he being Head over them"the Church which is his Body."
So, then, the Man Christ Jesus is the Redeemer of the world. But in the interimas noted abovebefore the application of his merit shall be made for the world, the testimony is given to a fewas many as have ears to hear and are joint-sacrificers with him. These will be associated with him as Prophet, Priest, Mediator, King and Judge between God and men during the Millennial Kingdom.
ANSWERThe word Ransom would more properly be rendered Ransom-Price, corresponding price. On the Day of Atonement no type of the ransom-price is given us, but rather a type of the Sin-Offering, showing particularly how that ransom-price will be made applicable. If we scrutinize this Atonement Day type, however, we shall find that which points to the Ransom, in the killing of the bullock; for the whole matter depended upon the killing of the bullock. The goat could not be killed first. The bullock must first be killed and the blood applied in the Most Holy before anything could be done with the goat. Hence, all that was done, not only with the Lord's goat, but also with the scapegoat, was based on the death of the bullock. So if we look for anything that might correspond to the ransom-price in the Day of Atonement sacrifices, we shall see that the death of the goat was not necessary, but all depended on the bullock.
ANSWERWe understand, dear friends, that the Ransom is the very center, we might say the hub, of the Divine Plan; that everything in God's Plan circles around the Ransom. Every feature of His Plan is vitally connected with it. Just as every spoke of a wheel is connected with the hub, so all the various features of Divine Truth radiate from this doctrine. For this reason we make it very prominent.
We believe that every one out of harmony with the Ransom is out of harmony with the Plan of God, and that any one truly in accord with the Ransom is necessarily in harmony with the whole Plan of God. The Bible gives this doctrine great prominence. The Bible declares that "by one man's disobedience sin entered into the world," and that by the obedience of another man, Jesus Christ, the ransoming of the race is achieved (Rom. 5:12-21). The satisfaction of Divine Justice is thus affected. Hence God can be just and yet be the Justifier of all who believe in Jesus (Rom. 3:26). This is our reason for placing such emphasis on the Ransom, for making it so prominentbecause the Bible makes it prominent. Every doctrine must be in accord with the Bible or be wrong. If you square your views with the Bible, you can readily see that many doctrines accepted by people generally are entirely erroneous.
ANSWERThe thought here seems to bewhen it was finishedthe ransom work finishedthe corresponding price paid. We cannot help what we thought was wrong. We thought once that a great many things were not correct. We are finding out more clearly day by day what the Bible does teach. What difference whether we saw God's plan was finished 1,000 years ago, or 1,000 years future? It is going to be finished and His plan is all working out for good. If the ransom price had been paid then from that moment Jesus would have had charge of the whole world of mankind, but [Page Q562] he did not take charge; he has not yet taken charge, and God's time for him to take charge has not yet come. Jesus came before the time to take charge of the world, in order that the church might come in, and the great work of blessing the world itself will not begin till the church is completed. Now it is merely a difference in the form of expression. So far as the sacrifice of Jesus is concerned, the ransom price was laid down at Calvary, or more particularly, laid down at Jordan when Jesus gave himself to the Father. That is the particular time which corresponds to the killing of the bullockthe bullock representing the flesh of Jesus. The moment it was killed, that moment the High Priest began as the New Creaturewent into the Holy; so Jesus, when be offered himself up at Jordan, immediately, as the antitypical High Priest, enters the Holy, burns incense at the golden altar and later enters beyond the second veil, appearing there for us. After that we were privileged to come in, but so far as the laying down of the price was concerned, it was laid down, put in the bands of the Father when Jesus consecrated himself to do the Father's will, put his life in the Father's hands. All his destiny was in the Father's hands, and this destiny as the Father marked out for him, was completed at Calvary. The work the Father gave him to do, he did. One work, the work of sacrificing, and another, making application of the sacrifice, first for the Church, when he ascended up on high. It had not yet been applied to the Church; they had not received the holy Spirit, not until Jesus appeared in the presence of God for us and made imputation in a special way. Not till then did the Church get any benefit. At the appropriate time the world will get its benefit.
ANSWERI do not think of any types or shadows representing the ransom, and for the very reason I do not think it would be shown. A bullock would not be found to represent the ransom price and there was no perfect man. The only illustration which we have is this one which God has given usJesus the ransomer of father Adam.
ANSWERWe have already done this. The work of Jesus was the giving of himself, the corresponding price on behalf of Adam, and as all the race was included in Adam so all the race of Adam was included in the ransoming work; so we read "As by one man came death, by one man also comes the resurrection of the dead, for as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive, every man in his own order."
ANSWERI do not think we could have a better illustration than the Bible gives. The perfect man Adam is the one who sinned and was sentenced to death and in order to be his redeemer it was necessary that one should be like him, a perfect man, and thus that he became mannot a [Page Q563] sinful man like the race, but holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners as Adam was at the time that he sinned. This is the best illustration of the ransom that I know of; the Bible's own illustration. Something we do not carry out in our affairs of lifeit was under the law; an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. If some one knocked out two teeth, you had a right to knock out two teeth for him. That was Justice. No merit in it.
ANSWERThe word ransom signifies a price that corresponds. The literal meaning of the word as you find given in Young's Concordance, "A price corresponding." Thus we see there was no price corresponding to Adam; there was no perfect man that could give himself as ransom. No angel could be a corresponding price. No perfect man anywhere in the Universe of God. A spirit being could not be a ransom for they were on a higher plane than Adam. Not a creature in all the universe of God could be a ransom for Adam. Therefore God arranged that the Logos might become the suitable one to be the ransom price for Adam and thus he became the ransom.
ANSWERWe are not supposed to answer a question like that. The answer we have is "The Lord will judge His people" and it is not for you or me to decide whether that one will be of the little flock or the great company or second death class. We are not here to judge one another. If you see any one going blind, give them the eye salve. Do not tell them where you think they are going to be. We had better not tell what we do not know.
ANSWERThere are a great many scriptures that might be seen to clearly teach the doctrine of the ransom. "The man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time." That is a very distinct statement. Another would be "As by a man came death by a man also comes the resurrection of the dead." "As all in Adam die even so all in Christ shall be made alive." Many of these texts show the correspondency. So we read "Even the precious blood of Christ." "The precious blood of Christ" would mean all that the word "ransom" means, and the word blood, giving of life in exchange for life and the only one person who had life in the full sense was father Adam, and the next person to have full life on the human plane was Jesus. He has a transferred life.
ANSWERThe Scriptures tell that Jesus came to taste death for every man, not for devils at all. Not a word. Besides we have no record that the devils were ever [Page Q564] sentenced to death, and how could they be ransomed from death. They were separated, alienated from God and confined for a time in Tartarus in our earth's atmosphere. If this is their condition, I think they had a pretty bad timea very severe punishment. Some one has told about infidels. He represented his thoughts by saying he had a dream. I suppose a waking dream. There he saw a town called Infidel and only infidels entered there and they locked it up so no one could get out. He walked past there a year later and heard the wails. "Let us outlet us out, we can't stand it here any longer." I was not sure he had the right thought about the infidels, but I thought the word picture represented the condition of the fallen angels pretty well. I think they would like to get away from each othernot very good company. From what we have illustrated in the Bible, they have a great deal of wickedness and if they have wickedness toward humanity, they may have evil tendencies toward each other and I think they have been having a terrible time for 4,000 years. The Bible does state that there will be something for those angels without telling distinctly what it will be. The Apostle says, "know ye not we shall judge angels?" Not the holy angels. It would only be those fallen angels. We may not see clearly enough to say how we could judge the angels, but that there is to be some kind of a judgment of angels is plainly stated by the Apostle. They are confined in chains of darkness until the judgment day, inferring there will be a judgment or trial come to them. Testified to by three Apostles. What would that mean? That there would be some opportunity for them to clear themselves. Whoever is put on trial, means they are going to have a trial, an opportunity, and the world's judgment day means the world will have an opportunity, and our opportunity comes through the merit of Christ's sacrifice releasing us from the sentence upon us as sinners, but the judgment and trial of angels could not come from that, for they were not sentenced to death but to this earth's atmosphere, this confinement, shutting them up as the apostle puts it, setting them aside from communication with the Lord. Angels shut up for a long time would see no hope whatever. They have insulted the Almighty. They were inexcusable knowing they were doing wrong, and they fell under the Divine hand. The mercy of God was not manifested to anybody. The Holy Angels will not need mercyno one was needing mercy. They never had an illustration of God's mercy, but they had of God's justice, in their case of condemning in darkness. The first illustration they got was the same that came to mankindwhat the Bible tells about Jesus "Herein was manifest (give the full weight to that word manifest) the love of God in that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life." Do you suppose they were wondering what next He would do? I think they looked on in astonishment when they saw Jesus consecrating his life; his temptation in the wilderness; loyalty to the Father and full devotion in every way, noting the three and one-half years in ministry in which he was faithfully walking the narrow way, saw him crucified; then thought they had finally done him up and that would be the end of the matter? They thought he had come to an end. They had never known any one to be resurrected from the dead. [Page Q565] But when on the third day Jesus rose from the dead, a spirit being of the highest order, of the Divine nature, don't you think those fallen angels were looking then? I think so. God said He highly exalted him, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow. Don't you think those angels saw how glorious he was and how grand his nature? Then those angels faithful to him learned a great lesson there. How do you know? Peter says so. In his resurrection Jesus preached to the spirits in prisonthe imprisoned evil spiritsthe fallen angels. How do you know? Because Peter went on to say, those evil spirits which were disobedient in the days of Noah, while the Ark was preparinghe limited the matter, points out just which he meant. They were the very ones. Did he go off alive and speak to them? No, he was dead. He died on Calvary. By this whole procedure, his death and resurrection, he preached the greatest sermon those fallen angels ever heard. Obedience on the part of the Savior and pleasing in the sight of the Father, and the great blessing coming on every one who would be faithful to him and loyal to God. I am going to speak and give my guess so you will not make any mistake and think I am inspired. I guess from that time some of those fallen angels had a new thought on the subject and said, now we see more than ever before how greatly we sinned and how wrong was our course and one after another said, I am determined to take a right stand hereafter, but I could not even give guess whether it would be many or a few that would take that stand, that henceforth they would be loyal to God and wait and hope God would give them some blessing. I am going to suppose that some did that, and what do you think would be the consequence? I think they have had a terrible timea devilish time. I think the fallen angels that did not turn to God would give them plenty of persecution as they would try to be loyal to God and His principles of righteousness and they would have to suffer for righteousness sake. They perhaps have had to suffer a good deal in all this time if they took a proper stand. My thought is we are coming down to the close of the age, and that these that manifest their repentance toward God, and have taken their stand on the side of God, of righteousness and truth, and in opposition to the fallen ones and the wrong coursemy thought is they are about to be vindicated and get a blessing and a release from their difficulties and they will be more or less under judgment by the experience of the Church during this Gospel Age, and in God's due time they are to have a release from the fallen ones, and the fallen ones eventually will be destroyed in second death with Satan. He has not repented. He is still the same adversaryHe is our great adversary. "Your adversary the devil." No mistake about it, and if he has not had trial enough for 6,000 years to demonstrate what his real character is, I wonder how long it would take to find out? I wonder if God would want to test any one more than 6,000 years?
ANSWERLegal Tender is that currency or money which the law authorizes a debtor to offer in payment of a debt and requires a creditor to receive. In other words, that which the government or law approves as a medium of exchange.
ANSWERTo Pay means to discharge a debt, to give an equivalent for, to fulfil. The word Paid would signify that such a debt had been discharged; was fulfilled; that the proper equivalent had been turned over.
ANSWERThere is quite a difference in the meaning of these words. When the word paid is used, it signifies that the thing applied to an obligation is sufficient; when the word applied is used, it signifies that a financial obligation has been met, directly or indirectly; when the word Deposit is used, it signifies that something has been left in the care of another which has not yet been appropriated, or applied.
ANSWERWe might speak of the Merit of Christ Jesus from various viewpoints; as, for instance, the merit of His having become the Man Jesus, in the sense of its indicating His loyalty to God and His obedience to the Divine Program; or we might speak of His merit as a manthat He made a meritorious delivery of that which He had, of that which was right, just and [Page Q567]lawful. But when we speak of the Merit of Christ Jesus with respect to His making atonement for the sin of the world, we have in view another matter entirely; namely, that a contract existed between the Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, by which the Lord was to become a human being and then to give up His human nature, permitting His life to be taken from Him as a man, thus signifying His loyalty and obedience to the Father's will, complete obedience unto death even the death of the cross.
When we speak of the Merit of Jesus Christ, we understand that, on account of that Merit which He had, and which the Father recognized when He raised the Son from the dead, our Lord was rewarded, not merely by being taken back to the spirit plane, but by being "highly exalted" to the Divine nature. This Merit of Jesus, then, which God rewarded, left Him a certain amount of substance or blessing which He might bestow upon others; namely, His right to human life, which He has not forfeited by sin, nor by any other procedure. This right to human life, which we speak of as a merit to the credit of Jesus, the Bible informs us is ultimately to be appropriated by the Lord Jesus Christ, in full harmony with the Father's Plan, for the cancellation of the "sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2)the sin of Adam and all of his race, who died in him. That Merit is already our Lord's, and is subject to His disposal at the proper time, set by the Father.
ANSWERThe word Atonement signifies the making at one, the bringing back into harmony persons or things not in full accord. As applied to the human family, it would signify that, Adam and his race having been disobedient to the Divine arrangement, and having come under Divine displeasure and condemnation, this condemnation, by Divine arrangement is to be done away with, and mankind are to be brought back into harmony with Godto be at-one with Him againas many of them as are willing and will accept the Divine terms. The arrangements by which this is to be accomplished is what we term the work of the Atonement; and this work of Atonement was the work begun by our Lord Jesus Christ at His First Advent, continued since, and to be completed at and during His Second Advent. In a word, then, the Atonement in the fullest sense of the word begins with the Church and will not be completed until its provision shall have been extended to all the members of the human family, bringing all the willing and obedient back into full harmony with Jehovah.
ANSWERNo! A perfect man could not pay the Ransom-price, unless by some Divine arrangement, contract, agreement. If, for instance, there had been a perfect human being in the world, he could not have become the Redeemer of Father Adam, except as a privilege by Divine arrangement. It would be for the Divine Court to determine whether or not one could be accepted for another. In the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, by Divine arrangement He became suitable to be the Ransom-pricea perfect manand then, in fulfilment of the Divine Program, He gave Himself; and because of this arrangement He was acceptable.
ANSWERIn the Divine Purpose, the Ransom-price was provided from the foundation of the world; for the Scriptures assure us that our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Divine Purpose, was the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:8.) In a secondary sense, the Ransom-price was provided when the contract was made between Jehovah God and His honored Logos. In another sense of the word, the Ransom-price was not provided until the Logos had been made flesh and had reached full human perfection at 30 years of age.
It was then possible for our Lord to serve, in harmony with God's arrangement, as a Ransom-price, and to give Himself a Ransom-price. But He did not give Himself to be this Ransom-price until He entered into the Covenant with God, symbolizing by baptism the full consecration of His life even unto death. Yet it was not a completed thing then, for there were conditions associated with it. While His will was there given up, and was so recognized by the Father, nevertheless it remained for Him, day by day and hour by hour, to show His full surrender. His sacrifice was completed when He died on Calvary, crying, "It is finished!" He had finished the laying down of the Ransom-price; that is to say, He had fully provided the Ransom-price. We are to recognize a difference, however, between providing the Ransom-price, and giving, or appropriating, or delivering it. It was merely provided at the time when Jesus died; it was not yet given, in the sense of being applied for man's delivery from death.
ANSWERJehovah God, primarily, in that He was the One who made the arrangement; without His arrangement the Ransom would not have been possible. In a secondary sense, Jesus Himself provided it, in that He gave Himself; He had full control of His own course at the time He made His consecration. His will was not coerced.
ANSWERWe have already covered this point, showing that the Ransom was laid down at Calvary, and later placed in the hands of Justice, but not paid over in the sense of completing the contractthat being reserved for a future time. The Ransom was laid down at the cross, when Jesus cried, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit"My life! Thus Jesus, so to speak, made a deposit of the Ransom-price without definitely applying it.
ANSWERNo! For reasons already given; and we will say additionally, that the Ransom-price is not to be fully paid until after the Church has been entirely glorified and with Her Lord. Then it will be paid on behalf of the whole world,
ANSWERHe had already placed it in the hands of Justice as a deposit. The human life-right, the price, still was at His command. His next step was to embargo, or mortgage it, by imputing a share of it to His Churchyet undeveloped.
ANSWERThe term "sin-offering" specifically refers to the fact that the thing, or life (or lives) is presented to God as an offering, and on account of sin. A sin-offering implies a ransom, but not specifically, not positively. It is an offering for sin, but might not necessary mean a full, satisfactory offering; and yet the fact that a sin-offering is acceptable to God would imply that such offering was a full, complete offset, or satisfaction. The word Ransom as used in the New Testament, has in it not only the thought of an offering on account of something that was wrong, but additionally it specifies that the offering corresponds fully and exactly, for the meaning of the word Ransom as applied to Jesus, is a corresponding price.
ANSWERIn considering this question we must view the Church from two sides. If we think of the Church in connection with the presentation of their bodies living sacrifices to God, we would say that they are not participators in the Ransom, for they have nothing that they could give as a share in the Ransomthey are imperfect. If we view the question from the other standpointthat the Church are spirit beings and as spirit beings are members of the Body of Christ, one with Him who is their Headthey would as members of The Christ share with Him in everything He does, just as the hand shares the head; for the human body is the figure that the Bible gives us, in speaking of The Christ. The merit by which the Ransom-price is effective with God was in Jesus alone. It was that merit which we did not possess when we presented ourselves to God in consecration. But when we were accepted by Jesus as disciples, He imputed His own merit to us, and made us part of His own sacrifice. He was at the same time making us part of that which He is to give to God for the sins of the [Page Q570] whole world, at the close of this Age when the Church, His Body, is complete and glorified together with Him.
We are to remember, however, that none of the human remains; for at the time we were made members of the Body of Christ we had become dead as human beings, by the surrender of our wills. Because we are New Creatures, old things have passed away and all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17.) We are to remember, also, that it is not the spiritual body of Christ that is sacrificed, even as it was not the spiritual Head that was sacrificed. The Sin-offering was the flesh. And it was Jesus' flesh that constituted the Ransomnot our flesh. But now that this Ransom-price has been placed in the hands of Justice as a deposit, whose title is possessed by Jesus, we are joint-sharers with Him in this possession by reason of our relationship to Him and our interest in everything that He possesses. Thus the Church becomes a sharer in this Ransom-price, because as His bride we are His joint-heirs; and we are to be associated with Him in giving to the world the benefits of that Ransom-price.
We do not make the Sin-offering any more than we do the ransoming. We are merely accepted by the High Priest. This acceptance is shown in His sacrificing of us as human beings after He has imputed to us His merit. And in this presentation at the end we shall share as New Creatures. It is not the offering of anything the New Creature has in itself; but the New Creature having participated with Jesus in the crucifying of the flesh, each of these will be associated with Him also when the merit is presented to the Father.
ANSWERIf Jesus had paid over and fully disposed of the Ransom-price when He ascended up on High, it would immediately, if accepted, have taken effect for Adam and his race; and such of the race as were living at that time or have lived since, would have been on trial again, individually, and would have been liable to death because of their imperfection, not being able to cope with the situation unless Jesus had established His Millennial Kingdom and had immediately begun to provide all the necessary assistance through the New Covenant arrangement. But as for the Church, there would have been no provision for the Church, and no opportunity for giving the Church anything special, since those who are of the Church were members of the human family. The Ransom having been paid over, this would have settled all the obligations against mankind, and would have left no room for the Church class to be dealt with in any different manner from the rest of the world. They would not have had any need of an Advocate, and, of course, would not have had one.
ANSWERThe Ransom-price will be fully paid and fully disposed of after the Church shall have passed beyond the vail, and when the great High Priest, Head and Body (the [Page Q571] Church then being the glorified Body of the great High Priest), shall seal the New Covenant and put it into effective operation on behalf of Adam and all his race. The Ransoming will then be finished. The Atonement work will not be finished at that time, however; it will include the work of the Millennial Age, in bringing mankind (all who will) up out of sin and degradation into full at-one-ment and harmony with God. But the ransom-price must be fully paid over to Jehovah and accepted by Him before this New Covenant can go into effect, and before human Restitution can properly begin. Man's recovery from death is a part of the Ransom work.Hosea 13:14.
ANSWERThe laying down of life on the part of our Lord did not ransom the race, as we have shown, but it furnished the ransom-price which is to effect the release of humanity, in God's due time and order; He gave Himself an antilutron (a corresponding price) "1 Tim. 2:5,6.
ANSWERThere will be no imputation of Christ's merit during the Millennial reign. Not a bit. Because there will not be anything to impute. Why not? Became it will all have been given at the beginning. When a thing is given up you can't do any more with it. Suppose you had a million dollars with which you intended to found or operate a great work and you made ready everything in time, and that million dollars was in the bank and all ready to apply for that purpose. And suppose then you delivered it over to the committee that had to do with this great enterprise. Now the moment you turned it over to the committee you have nothing more to do with it, have you? And so Jesus with the inauguration of the Millennium will turn over the full merit of His sacrifice. It will all be given over to Justice. Justice will have turned over mankind to Jesus. Jesus will have no more merit in the hands of Justice after that to apply to anybody, impute or give to anybody. It will all be given. It must be given at the very beginning of the Millennial Age.
ANSWEROur Lord deposited the merit of His sacrifice in the Father's hands on the cross when He said, "Into Thy hands I commit my spirit." And it all wasthe spirit of lifeHe gave it all into the Father's hands. He committed it to Him. He didn't say He applied it for sins at all. He didn't say He applied it to the Church. But "into Thy hands I commit." He left it in God's hands in the same sense you did that million dollars I mentioned for the founding of a great work. You place the money in the bank and take out a bank book in which you get credit. It is still yours subject to your check. It would not belong to the bank at all. [Page Q572] It is merely committed to the bank to take over. So Jesus committed all at His dying moment.
ANSWERI do not know fully what the questioner means. But, of course, this deposit was made once for all. That is, when you put the million dollars in the bank, it was put there once for all, because you didn't intend to check it out until you checked it out for the right thing. So our Lord Jesus made deposit in the Father's hands with the intention that at the end of this age He would make an application of that merit on behalf of the sins of the whole world.
ANSWERThe imputation was made once for all when Jesus ascended up on high and appeared in the presence of God for us. He doesn't need to appear each day for us, my dear brethren, and He doesn't need to appear for you and then appear for me and then somebody else, because the Father treats the whole church as one, and it was all foreknown of God and was all transferred to Jesus at the one time. The Father gave Him the church, and so He imputed His merit on behalf of this church, all the members of this Church, all who come under the conditions of the call of this Church. It makes the door open for everybody to come in under these conditions until the full number is complete. The imputation, you see, attaches as much to us today as it could attach to them at that time when Jesus appeared. And the Holy Spirit given then was not a Holy Spirit given to us individually, but it was the Holy Spirit of God given to the whole Church. That had already been given to Jesus as the Head of the Body, but now He was authorized to communicate that spirit to the Church which is His Body. And so that came when He ascended up on high. And you remember Jesus said to them, "Unless I go to the Father the Holy Spirit will not come." Now, He already had received the Holy Spirit, but unless He ascended to the Father and appeared for us the Holy Spirit would not come. "The Holy Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified." But when He ascended in the Father's presence He there made an imputation of that merit. "Into Thy hands I commit my spirit." It was in the Father's hands as a deposit. "Now, Father, you have in your hands sufficient for the sins of the whole world. Now, I would impute, I would use the value of this in respect to this Church. Not that they will get any of it. They will not get any of it. This is to go to the world, but I wish to impute this to cover their blemishes, because otherwise they would have to be of the world and share in that. Now, I merely impute to them of this in your hands, and intended eventually for the world." So the imputation was all to come then and there for all of the Church.
ANSWERThe application of the ransom price is never to be made to the world. The world has nothing to do with [Page Q573] it. It is the Father that condemned. It was the Father's law against man, condemning man to death, that needed to be satisfied, and that will be done with the Father. Mankind will have nothing to do with the ransom price. It is between Jesus and the Father. And at the end of this age when the Church shall have been dealt with and glorified, the imputation at an end, and all that full amount of Christ's merit will be available for the world, then it will all be presented to God to Justice, not to man at all. The privileges of the ransom will immediately come to man, for the ransom is given to God as the offset to man, that man may be set free, that the sentence of death against the race may be set aside, and for all that thousand years there will be no sentence of death against man. It will all be wiped out. Christ will have wiped it out by the application of His merit. They will all be dealt with by the Great Mediator as they will be at that time, and they will all throughout the whole Millennial Age be getting the benefits of the ransom, but the ransom price won't be given to mankind at all, however.
ANSWERThe Church has no part in the ransom sacrifice, because the ransom-sacrifice was the man Christ Jesus who gave himself as ransom for all. He didn't need any more. But the Church will have to do with it in the sense that before Jesus applies this for the world this Church will be gathered out of the world and be the members of His body, and when He appears at the end of this age to make application of that merit, we will be in Him and sharers with Him; therefore we will have to do with it in an indirect way.
ANSWERIt was not necessary for Jesus to die on the cross to meet the demands of the law of God against Father Adam. Adam was not sentenced to die on the cross. And therefore the redemption of Adam would not involve that at all. But when God gathered the Jewish people apart from the world and made a special covenant with them, He made a provision that the criminals of that people might be crucified, cursed with a special cursing. The extreme curse of the law was, "Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree." That will be the extreme curse. And so the Jews were not to do anything more. But the law specified that as an extreme curse so far as the Jewish nation was concerned. They needed something more than the rest of mankind, and for them it was necessary that Jesus should keep the whole law, because He was born under the law for that very purpose. So the Jews were under the law. Not only under the original law in which Father Adam was involved in the sentence of death, but in addition they were under the Mosaic arrangement or covenant. Now then, they will have to have a redemption that takes in the violation of the Mosaic law, and the law prescribed that the worst felons [Page Q574] should be hanged on a tree. Therefore, Jesus in order to meet the law's extreme limits must die on a tree.
ANSWERGod's law is not merely acting along arbitrary lines. God's condition always has been that a perfect man who could and would keep God's law might have everlasting life. That has always been a condition of God's law. And the reason Adam was condemned to death was that Adam failed to keep God's law. And his race in him, sharing in his imperfection, being born in sin, inheriting these weaknesses, were unable to keep God's law. And now then, when God made the arrangement with the nation of Israel He was only making an arrangement such as we would understand He would make with any creature. Any creature who would keep God's law might have everlasting life. And so He told the Jewsand He knew at the same time they could not keep the law and how He would make provision for them, but at the same time there is a principle right at the bottom, that anyone who would do these things could live by them. God was not going to condemn them because they were Adam's children, but because they were sinners. As the Apostle says, "By one man sin entered into the world, and death" by or as a result of what? Not death as a result of being children of one man. No. Death as a result of being sinners. And we are sinners because we are children of one man. But if any of Adam's children could be born without sin and be without sin then they might have life under the law.
ANSWERDifferent minds might attach different value to these words "life rights." We will suggest a meaning, namely, Adam had life rights when he was obedient to God, because God had ordained if he were perfect and maintained his harmony with Him he might have everlasting life. Therefore he had a right to life under God's arrangement and promise. And Jesus had Adam's life rights because He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners and knew no sin. Therefore He had the same life rights Father Adam had. And when Jesus voluntarily consecrated His earthly life rights to do the Father's will at any cost even unto death, he was voluntarily, so to speak, not giving up, or giving over, but merely allowing His life rights to be trespassed upon. It was not necessary for Him to have those life rights trespassed upon. He says He could ask of the Father and have legions of angels to defend Him. But He didn't wish to do that. But He knew God's will indicated by the prophecies and types of the Old Testament, and delighted to do the will of God, and that included the voluntary giving up and permitting men to take His life. They could not take his life rights, and although they put Him to death in the flesh, the Father raised Him up to the spirit plane and He had life rights on that plane, and He still has the life rights of the flesh. How? Because He did not give them up. He had [Page Q575] merely permitted men unlawfully to take them from Him. He did not give them over to make an application of them for Adam and his race. They were merely His life rights still, and when He died He said, "I commit into Thy hands my spirit," my life rights. Those were the earthly life rights He was giving over, and those are in the hands of the Father yet, and they are to be the life rights to come eventually to Father Adam and all the race of Adam during the thousand years.
ANSWERAt the end of the thousand years the world of mankind according to the Bible will be brought to a test. During the thousand years they will be living under favorable and marvelous conditions, and at the end of the thousand years the whole world will be turned over to the Father by the Great King, by the Great Mediator. What will that mean? Why, the Father stands for justice, and the same rigid laws that applied in Adam's case and the same laws of God that applied to the angels, not too severe, not unjust laws, just laws, reasonable requirementsand the whole world will come under those conditions immediately as soon as the thousand years of Christ's reign shall have ended and He shall have delivered the kingdom over to God, even the Father. And the Bible tells us what will happen then. Justice will take charge of the world and all will be put under a special trial by Justice. And no mercy then. Why not? Because all will be perfect men. The imperfect, fallen men, fallen through weaknesses of Father Adam, will all under the mediatorial reign of Christ have been brought up to perfection. Then they ought to be able with all the experience behind them, they ought to be able to maintain it. Because God would not ask any unreasonable or unjust requirement of any creature. And so at the end of the thousand years they will be tested, and it is pictured, you remember, in the Book of Revelation, that the old Adversary, Satan, should be loosed at the end of the thousand years, and there perform some kind of temptation for mankind. Mankind will then be like Adam. When he was perfect God permitted him to be tested. And so the world of mankind will be permitted to be tempted by Satan. Now, if they are not able to stand the test after all the experiences of the fall and redemption and restitution processes, and with all that knowledge of God and the principles of justice and good and evil, if not fully established in character, then they are not fit for eternal life, and God's arrangement is that if in that testing time they shall take their stand for evil, they shall be considered as followers of Satan, and if in that time they take their stand for righteousness, they shall be considered children of God, and if children of God they will have everlasting life, life rights, and if they take their stand with Satan they will be destroyed from among the people, and have no life rights.
ANSWERBecause God saw wise to give it to him. I do not think anybody knows any more than that about it. [Page Q576]
ANSWERI do not know what the questioner means about "our present imputed condition." We have no imputed condition at all. Ours is a real condition. We are really sons of God or not. This matter of imputation, my dear friends, does not extend to everything. The imputation is done between the Father and the Son. You and I have nothing to do with the imputation at all, and we are not imputed anything. It is because that imputation was made on our behalf that we are no longer treated as sinners, but treated as though we were perfect, and permitted to sacrifice our earthly life and become new creatures in Christ. There is nothing imputed to the new creature at all. The new creature is a new creature. The imputation was to the old creature to cover its imperfections, and before God could accept us, all that imputation was done, and between the Father and the Son.
Q576:2 QUESTION (1916)2Tabernacle Shadows, Page 67, Par. 2, 1st sentence: "When presented it (the Lord's goat) will be accepted 'for the people' as that of our glorious Leader was accepted for himself (his body) and his house (the household of faith)." Please explain.
ANSWERThe picture as given in the 16th chapter of Leviticus shows us two different sacrifices here, and both of them treated as sin-offerings. The first sacrifice, the bullock, represented clearly enough and distinctly enough the sacrifice of Jesus, holy, harmless, undefiled. And the application that was made of that sacrifice, according to this picture given us, was to cover the sins of the Church, all those who desire to come now into harmony with God. They are all covered with the merit of this sacrifice of Christ. And then the goat represents the Church, all the class that are to be the Church, and is a secondary offering by the Priest. It is not our sacrifice. You do not sacrifice yourself. I do not sacrifice myself. When the Apostle says, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice," he is not meaning we should sacrifice, because only the High Priest had the authority to sacrifice, you see, on this day of atonement, and you are not a High Priest and I am not a High Priest. What did the Apostle mean by saying present your bodies a living sacrifice? Why, this thought: that we should deliver up ourselves to the Lord, just as that goat was tied to the door of the Tabernacle, and thus presented to be sacrificed. And when the High Priest came out and found that goat there tied up and offered for sacrifice, then he accepted it as a part of his own sacrifice and he killed the goat. But the point to be remembered, dear friends, is that it is not your sacrifice of yourself or my sacrifice of myself, but you offer yourself to the Lord for sacrifice and I offer myself for sacrifice, and so with the offering of all God's people. We present our bodies to Him, and when the full numbers are received He accepts them as represented in the Lord's goat. It is not therefore the Church's sacrifice, but the Lord's sacrifice. We are accepted as His members and [Page Q577] He accepts us as a part of His own sacrifice. And the picture shows that the merit that came following His sacrifice was the door for you and me to come in. And the secondary offering will be followed by the Priest coming out and blessing all the world of mankind.
Q577:1 QUESTION (1916)1Would it seem unreasonable to look upon the correspondency of the waiting time before the spirit was poured out, a period of ten days after the ransom price was presented, with the present waiting time for the manifestation of the sons of God, the ten days representing ten years after the close of Gentile times? * * *
ANSWER(Interpreting Chairman who read question.) Cut this out. When anybody makes a question involving the writing of a book, please do not receive it. In the first place, it would not be ten days after the offering of the ransom, because the offering or presenting or application of the ransom is yet to come. It was merely put into the hands of Justice when the Lord was upon the cross, and His imputation of the merit of it was what occurred on the fiftieth day afterward. But the question is too long, you see, and if I try to answer this, we would get different things mixed up in different people's minds. Better have the questions simple and clear cut and then we will not have to undo what otherwise had been done.
ANSWERNot at all. Because the merit could not be increased. It is sufficient now. It was one man that sinned, and it was one man that died. It doesn't need to be increased, could not be increased. It was a corresponding price, a man's life for a man's life. And the imputation of it to us in the meantime does not impoverish it at all or increase it at all. He merely gives us a credit, a standing. He imputes it to us to enable us to perform our part.
ANSWERThe only sins that Christ atones for are the sins that come to us by heredity as the result of Father Adam's disobedience. All those weaknesses that come through him and his fallen condition, those Jesus died for. Any sins or trespasses that you and I might commit of our own wilfulness after we become new creatures in Christ are not any part of Adam's sin and he was not responsible for them, and Christ did not die for those sins. But in the meantime the Bible does intimate that you and I as new creatures did not love sin, and in all probability if we entered into sin at all it would be at least partially if not entirely the result of these inherited weakness existing in the flesh. Therefore very few sins are to be considered as in any way separate or distinct from the Adamic sin. But to whatever extent we as new creatures might consent to sin, there would be in a measure a responsibility, and such a trespass as new creatures would be forgivable to such an extent that it would be [Page Q578] the result of Adamic weaknesses or from the temptation coming from others under this Adamic sin, and anything more than that would be punishable with stripes individually. And so the Lord's people sometimes have to be dealt with along this line. One might have to have a certain amount of chastisement which would be for their good and correction in righteousness.
ANSWERWell, the thought might vary. I would understand that we start at the point of consecration. Our consecration point where we make our start in the matter is where we first give our hearts to the Lord. There we are reckoned as perfect in Christ, and that is the beginning of our race; though there is perhaps a step that might be recognized as a little further in advance of that, when, after having given ourselves to the Lord, we are quickened, or made active, and begin to run, begin to exercise ourselves. The picture is drawn, you see, from the natural birth. In the natural birth there is the period of begetting in which there is apparently no motion, no activity; then comes the period of activity and development. And so with the Christian. When first we receive the Truth and make our consecration, it takes the Truth a little while to soak in, as it were, and for us to really get our bearings and get our information before we could properly begin to be active and serve the Truth and make any progress in teaching or helping others. Then comes the time when we are said to be quickened, made active, made alive, and make progress. From that time on the progress would be a growing onegrowing in grace, knowledge and love.
Q578:2 QUESTION (1909)2Have appreciated very much the discourses of this Convention in which the speakers have shown the impropriety of looking for spiritual food from any other source except that which the Lord has been using during this harvest period, to set before us the meat in due season, but do not see just where to draw the line. Would it be wrong to read Convention Reports, and reports of discourses by Pilgrims and Elders? How would we treat those who hand us tracts misrepresenting the truth? Should we tear up the tracts in front of them, or should we accept them with thanks and destroy them privately?
Q578:3 QUESTION (1911)3"Now, then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you, in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." To what class does the apostle refer, urging reconciliation to God?
ANSWERThe difficulty in this question is found in the fact that translators have supplied certain words which they should not have supplied. The text would read, without the words that are in italics, thus: "Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech by us; we pray in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." We urge this [Page Q579] upon all who have an ear to hear. We do not urge it upon each other, because each one who has come into Christ has already been reconciled to God through the death of His Son, and is a joint-heir with us, and a fellow-servant with us in this grace of God which we minister. All the church of Christ are God's ambassadors, and Christ's representatives in saying to all of those who have the hearing ear, "Be ye reconciled to God." And so, the Lord again says, "He that hath an ear to hear, let him bear."
ANSWERApparently, the Adversary is trying to run things in his own direction, but the light itself which we are enjoying today is the promised light of Divine Providence. We read that "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased," and that "there shall be a time of trouble such as never was..."Dan. 12:1,4.
But God has supervised the matter of inventions, such as the printing press, the power of steam, and the effects and influences of these in the world. It seems, too, that the movements in the way of better government, etc., are influences based upon the general enlightenment and the efforts of mankind to do as well as they can by each otherespecially in ways that selfishness does not hinder. But selfishness has, no doubt much to do with all manner of reform.
In speaking of the present time, our Lord said that the secrets should be proclaimed on the housetops. Today we see that many real exhibitions of vice, immorality and wrong-doing are brought to lightproclaimed from the housetops. While we do not say that the Adversary brings these things to light, yet we can see how the Adversary may have had to do with the movement toward communism that once had sway, as well as the movement toward socialism and toward anarchism. These are the things which will tend to bring on the time of trouble. So the wrath of man is made to turn to the praise of God. He is able to make the wrath of man praise Him. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain."Psa. 76:10.
ANSWERWhen we think of any matters like this, we properly look back to the case of our Lord. We see that during three and a half years of His ministry He did indeed delight to do the Father's will, and yet we find that in the very close of His earthly career He had the dark Gethsemane hour. And if the Master might have such a dark hour of sorrow and uncertainty for a moment until He had some assurance from the Father, so you and I might surely have. Therefore it would not be safe to say our rejoicing in the Lord could be such a rejoicing as would never know a tear, or sigh, or sorrow, or a fear. But we are to rejoice more and more as we experience the evidences that God is for [Page Q580] us and all things are working for our good. "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice." If you have some hour of sorrow come in, and then have the victory over it, rejoice again.
Q580:1 QUESTION (1911)1Isa. 65:17. "For behold I create a new heaven and new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered nor come into mind." Please give the meaning of this verse, especially the last part.
ANSWERThe Scriptures frequently use such expressions as this. The Lord uses the words heavens and earth in a symbolical manner, as we have pointed out in the Scripture Studies; we have the symbolic heavens representing the ecclesiastical powers, and we have the symbolic earth representing earthly society, organization; we have the symbolical mountains representing kingdoms; we have the symbolical rivers representing the streams of truth; we have the symbolical seas, representing the restless masses of mankind and the Lord declares this present order of things is not in harmony with the divine law, that it is now under disorder through sin and disobedience. Another Scripture says that the whole course of nature is wrong at the present time everything is disorder under the prince of this age, this dispensation. The Lord Jesus is to be the new prince, the new king, the new one to take charge or rule over mankind, and he declares, "Behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth." This is in harmony exactly with the statement here of Isaiah. So we read in Revelation, He that sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new"a complete change from all this disorder, and sin, and present arrangementa new order of things entirely. The symbolism will be carried out, and the heavens of the new order of things will not be the earthly nominal church systems of the present time, but the church of glory will be the new heavensChrist and the church with him on the spirit plane, invisible to men, will be the new heavens, the new ruling power, and the new earth will be with righteousness controlling, the prince of this world will be cast out, and the Prince of Life, the Lord of Glory, will be the king over all the earth, and instead of the darkness will be light and blessing.
But the brother's question especially relates to the meaning of this last part, that the former should not come into mind nor be remembered. Does this signify that we are to forget all of these things? No, the thought would be that whatever we might have thought worthy of recording, and worthy of remembering, wishing to treasure up as things that were worthy of note, we will not think of them as worthy of mention at all. We will try to forget all of those things of death and imperfection; they will be so overwhelmed by the new order of things in the new dispensation that they will not be worthy of being mentioned, or being especially recorded. We will still be able to remember them, in fact we may say that we will even remember the imperfections of this present time. Some of us will sometimes say, thinking of something unpleasant in the past, "I will try to forget that." A sister remarked to me the other day, when some question came up, "Oh, that is among the things I am trying to forget." Not that she did really forget them, but she was putting them away, they were not worthy to be [Page Q581] remembered in comparison with the better things. So all the most precious and grand things of earthly arrangements todayfor instance we speak of the coronation of King George of Great Britain, or the inauguration of a president, and that we had been there on such an occasion, and remembered the honor of sitting on the platform with the President at the time, or something like that, or you were a member of congress or somethingthese things would seem so trivial and unworthy you would want to forget all about them, the things we will have in the future, being so far superior to these.
Q581:1 QUESTION (1906)1I understand the Scriptures to teach that those who fall into the grave in unbelief, under condemnation, come forth from the tomb without any change of condition, to be lifted up during the Millennial Age? Have I the correct view?
ANSWERWe answer practically yes. All who go into the tomb in a state of death because of Adam's condemnation, without having had their trial in the present time, without having come to a knowledge of the truth to that degree which made them responsible for life or death eternally, go into the tomb as the great prison house, and there is no change while in the prison; no alteration takes place there. There is no wisdom, knowledge or device in sheol, hades, in the tomb, in the grave, whither the whole world of mankind goes. Consequently when they are awakened and brought forth from the tomb by the power of the great Redeemer in due time, it will be coming forth in practically the same condition they went into itpractically I saybecause we have to consider there are certain limitations. It would be reasonable to suppose for instance, that Lazarus died of some kind of disease which meant a wasting of his organs. Suppose he died of consumption, and that both lungs were gone at the time he died: Of course he could not breathe again without lungs. In bringing him forth you can see that Lazarus might come forth in the same condition mentally and morally, and practically the same condition physically, but with the addition necessary that he would have lungs enough to breathe. And so if a man were blown up in an explosion, we would have to suppose he would be put together again. That is to say, he would come forth not in pieces but a whole man, though not necessarily a perfect man. I am merely offering these suggestions in a general way. The thought would be that God is dealing with us as moral creatures, but if you have a bad natural disposition it shows in your face, and those who are well versed in phrenology could tell it by the shape of your head and facial expression, or others might be able to tell a good deal about the natural disposition by looking at the palm of the hand and reading it there. God seems to have so built our system that mental and moral degradation makes its mark upon the face, upon the head, and upon the whole system, especially as it comes down from generation to generation. As the sins of the past come down they have made their marks more or less, and those not of our own doing we need not be especially ashamed of, as we are not to blame.[Page Q582] The Lord is not blaming us for them especially. If we were all perfect we would all be good-looking.
Q582:1 QUESTION (1907)1Isaiah 26:19: "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs and the earth shall cast out the dead." Does this imply that someone will be raised when the Lord's body was raised, or does it refer to the Lord at all?
ANSWERI understand it refers to the Lord, and the translation is nearly right, but there is just a little bit of difference, as you will notice in the Common Version, some of the words are supplied in italics. When it is properly translated, it would read: "Thy dead men shall live, my dead body shall come forth." We are the Lord's body, and as His body, we shall come forth; "The dead men shall live, my body shall come forth from the dead as the Body of Christ," as He did.
ANSWERWe answer that it was necessary for the Apostles and Stephen to fall asleep. It was necessary for them and all others to wait until the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom. So Paul says we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye in the resurrection.
ANSWERI heard one man say that if all the people of the world were brought back they would stand eight deep all over the face of the earth. If that wise man will take his pencil he will find that there is room enough for them all in the State of Texas and not stand them on end either. These wild statements are made because they do not think. I am not blaming the person who asked this question, for he evidently received the suggestion from some able man. Because some wise man says such wild things it is not necessary to believe it. You can tell by figuring it out yourself.
Some people, when thinking of the Second Coming of Christ, put it a great way off, and mention as proof, the coal fields, and think they will last fifty thousand years. On the contrary, the people dealing in coal state that there is not enough coal to last one hundred and fifty years. In fifty thousand years you could not stand the people up on this earth.
ANSWERThere is a natural and a spiritual body; the world will be raised on the natural plane, as human beings in fleshly bodies. They will awakened in that condition. But the Church, begotten of the Holy Spirit, will be born of the Spirit in the resurrection and be spirit beings. It is sown[Page Q583] a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body; it is a different resurrection than that which comes to the world.
Q583:1 QUESTION (1909)1To which plane was Jesus resurrected, spirit or divine, as illustrated on the Chart of the Ages? Please explain the statement in Vol. 1, page 231, (A231) that He was resurrected to the spirit plane "L," and after forty days He ascended to the Majesty on High, to the plane of divine glory.
ANSWERIt is difficult to fully explain such spiritual truths on any kind of a map or chart, and in my opinion, dear friends, the Chart of the Ages which appears in the First Vol. of Dawn, must have had the Lord's supervision in some respects, or else it could not have represented so clearly and fully as it does the various steps of justification, sanctification, etc., as it does, and yet it would seem to be next to impossible to do any more than was represented on that Chart. I would not know how to make a better one today to represent the thoughts.
Since there is a Great Company to be raised to the spirit plane, and since it will not reach the plane of glory in the kingdom, therefore we represented on the Chart the spirit plane to be one thing and the glory plane to be another thing. And they are different, for the Great Company will reach the plane of spirit beings as well as the Little Flock, but the Little Flock will reach the plane of glory, and power, and dominion which the Great Company will not have, therefore the distinction between plane "L" and "K" on the Chart. We did not attempt to show on the Chart that Christ and the Little Flock will reach a different plane from that of the Great Company, but we left that to be stated in words elsewhere. The Great Company will reach the plane of the angels, so far as we know, while the Little Flock will reach the divine plane as spirit beings, but of a higher degree.
ANSWERThat is the passage which speaks about the earth casting forth her dead. This Scripture, as I understand it, should read: "Thy dead men shall live, my dead body they shall arise." Leaving out the words in italics, and the word "together" which are not in the original. He is speaking of the Church of Christ, in the first resurrection, the specially dead.
ANSWERAccording to law, the word "infant" means a person until he has come to age. In answer to this question, I would say that a child who had not come to years could not be a Saint; the Saints are all overcomers. All others will have the resurrection by judgment. God will take care of the children, and if you are on the spiritual plane, you will yourself be far better able to care for them. We are dealing with one who is full of love and has all power to deal with every phase of the question.
Q584:1 QUESTION (l909)1(2 Cor. 15:51,52), "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." Some think this includes the world.
ANSWERIt does not; it has nothing to do with the world at all. It is merely speaking about the resurrection of the Church. In the 22nd verse the Apostle speaks of all having lost life through Adam and getting it back through Christ, and then he proceeds to discuss the resurrection of the Church, and this is the part specially interesting to us. The world are to be dealt with in due time.
ANSWERWe answer that, to our understanding, this vision of dry bones does not refer to the resurrection of the dead in the ordinary sense of the word, but that it does refer to the resurrection of the dead Jewish nation, who say, mark you, "Our hopes are dried." Their hopes are all dead, and this awakening, this coming together of bone to bone, represents the gradual way in which the Jewish hopes will come together and gradually reanimate them as a people.
ANSWERWell, what would be considered proof would depend upon the mind. Now my thought is this: that the Great Company is identified with the Church in the work of this present Gospel Age, and is pictured in so many ways as associated with the Churchas, for instance, the priests connected with the Levites in the work of this Atonement Day and the sacrificing, etc. Then, secondly, as pictured by the Bride, representing the Little Flock, and the others her companions, which follow her and seem to be included with the Church. Then I remind you again of the picture of Rebekah. I was noticing the other day that when Abraham sent to call Rebekah to be the bride of Isaac, he did not call for any bridesmaids to come along, but some did come along with her. That would represent, you see, the Great Company class who come along and are the servants of the Bride class. Now it would seem to me proper to consider that when Isaac received the bride he also received the bridesmaids; that they went in with the bride, accompanying her, and associated with her. And so, with Christ and the Little Flock and the Great CompanyI would understand that they would probably all go in together. Besides, remember there is a certain portion of the merit of Christ that is imputed to each one who offers himself as a sacrifice. We saw that last night, you remember, in considering the matter of baptism; that when you present your offering, our Lord Jesus, as our Advocate, our High Priest, appears and accepts the offering as his own, and imputes to the offering some of his own merit to make it sufficient for divine acceptance, and then counts it all. So then the Great Company class, you see, make their consecration, and receive [Page Q585] this imputation of Christ's merit, just the same as the Little flockall of them receive this before they are begotten of the holy Spirit. Now my thought is, that all of this will be finished in the fullest sense of the word,all of this imputation of the merit of Christ's sacrifice to all of the household of faith during this Gospel Age will be at an end, and all the merit of Christ will be back again in the full sense of the word in the hands of justice, before any one of the world will receive any of the blessings of the New Covenant arrangement, and that the Ancient Worthies will belong to the earthly class that get these restitution blessings, but they will not get their share of the restitution blessings until both the Little Flock and the Great Company are entirely through with the imputation of Jesus's merit for their covering. You see the one who stands as an advocate for every member of the Little Flock, stands as advocate also for every member of the Great Company. He undertook to be the guarantor for every one of us when we came to the Father. He made our sacrifices acceptable, every one, and every one needs him as our advocate down to the very close. As the Apostle says, "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father." So the Great Company class will need to have an interest in Jesus as their advocate down to the time when they shall have passed beyond the vail. To my understanding, he will have to cease to be the Advocate of the Church entirely before he becomes the Mediator between God and the world.
ANSWERThat is too much for me. I do not see anything in a natural birth that is at all pictorial of the change of the Church. The only picture in connection with the matter I think of is this: That in the case of a natural birth, there is first a begetting, then a development and finally a birth of a new creature; and so with a spiritual: First, a begetting, then a development and quickening, and finally the birth of the New Creature. I do not see anything respecting the method by which a child is born to in any sense give any suggestion as to the change of the saints. The Scriptures give none that I know of. I see no parallelism at all. Our change will be in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, and that is not according to any natural birth I have any knowledge of.
ANSWERIf we consider this question as relating especially to our Lord we see a number of types that very forcefully illustrate his resurrection. The one our Lord mentioned should be classed as amongst the most important, for two reasons: First, because he mentioned it and thus gave it prominence, and second, because it and it alone of all the [Page Q586] types gives the exact length of time of his entombment. Our Lord's words were, "As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, so shall the Son of man be three days and nights in the heart of the earth," thus indicating that his resurrection would be on the third day and that he would be brought forth from the grave as Jonah was brought forth from the belly of the fish, which he styled "the belly of hell," the grave, sheol, the hades condition.
It would appear, too from the Apostle's words, that we should give prominence to the picture of our Lord's resurrection as shown by Abraham's receiving Isaac as from the dead, when he had already consecrated him to death and was about to slay him, the Lord staying his hand and giving him instead another sacrifice.
We are justified also in supposing that the "wavesheaf" offering was a very prominent illustration or type of the resurrection of our Lord, particularly because it occurred just at the time which marked the day of his resurrection, the morrow after the Sabbath, the fiftieth day before Pentecost. This was apparently given to illustrate the raising up of our Lord Jesus as "the first-fruits unto God," "the first-fruits of them that slept," "the first that should rise from the dead." It, therefore, is a very beautiful picture. See Lev. 23:10,11,15,16.
If we think of the types of the world's resurrection we see a variety. As has been suggested, the crossing of Jordan might be considered a type of the passing out of death condition into Canaan beyond. The Jubilee, the restoration of every man to his former estate, is certainly a wonderful picture of the "times of restitution of all things," of the lifting of humanity up out of sin, degradation and death, out of their lost condition, and bringing them back to the former estate, full perfection of the human nature.
We would be fully justified, we think, in considering as types the miracles of our Lord in awakening some of the sleepersLazarus, Jairus' daughter and the son of the widow of Nain. These were given to us as foreshadowing, and therefore in a sense as typifying or illustrating the resurrection.
Another picture of the resurrection, not only the awakening, but also the raising up of mankind, is shown in the end of the Day of Atonement. When Moses had received the blessing for the people as a result of the second sprinkling of the blood, he came forth, and, lifting up his hands, blessed the people. The people were waiting in dust and sackcloth and sorrow because of sin, and now the blessing of Moses and Aaron, the Lord's blessing through them, signified the removal of that curse and the uplifting of the peopletheir raising up from sorrow to rejoicing in the Lord.
ANSWERSeemingly the addition of a few words by the translators has caused difficulty in connection with this text. They inserted the words to make the passage clear, as they thought, but instead they obscured it, through failure to [Page Q587] see that God's dead men are those who are members of the
Omitting the words together with and "men," the passage reads properly enough. "Thy dead shall live; my dead Body, they shall arise," thus referring, we believe, to the resurrection of the Church, the Body of Christ, the Lord's peculiar people. And this is a general signal, as it were, for the blessing of all mankind. In due time all the dead shall be awakened. Moreover, they awaken not to suffering and to torment, but to sing. They shall come forth to learn of the goodness of God, his merciful provisions, and shall avail themselves of these provisions, in the "Times of Restitution of all things." "Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust" of the earth.
ANSWERIn the light of what we have been discussing of late in the Watch Tower, it is evident that the merit of Christ is imputed, on behalf of the Church during this Gospel Ageon behalf of all who essay to be of the Church; it is used to impute to those who desire to become sacrificers and who consecrate themselves to God that they may present an acceptable sacrifice and thus become members of the spiritual class and joint-heirs with Christ. This applies to the "great company" as well as to the "little flock." It applies to all who are begotten of the holy Spirit because they could not be begotten of the Spirit except by the imputation of Christ's merit to their earthly sacrifice.
It follows, then, as a matter of necessity that before the merit of Christ's death could be applied on behalf of the Ancient Worthies or Israel, under the New Covenant arrangement for Israel and the world, it must be released as respects all those to whom it is now imputed for the purpose of giving them the opportunity of attaining the spiritual station. This would prove conclusively, we think, that the "great company" class will be resurrected before the Ancient Worthies will be brought forth.
ANSWERThe Apostle's argument (1 Cor. 15) respecting the resurrection is that God will give to every seed its own kind of body. "There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body." Mankind in general, therefore, in the resurrection, will come forth with natural bodies"that which is born of the flesh is flesh" and that which is born of the flesh dies or "sleeps" for a time, and will be awakened "flesh." That which is born of the flesh and subsequently begotten of the holy Spirit is reckoned as a New Creature, and when the New Creature falls asleep it is asleep as a spirit beingis asleep waiting for the resurrection change. In this case the resurrection change is thus expressed by the Apostle: "Sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown an animal body, raised a spirit body"; but anyone not begotten of the holy Spirit will, of course, not [Page Q588] change his nature in the grave. There is no change in the grave either for good or evil. "As the tree falleth so shall it lie"; the awakening will be according to the character of the individual. If he has become a New Creature in Christ he will be raised or perfected as a New Creature, in the resurrection. If he is a good natural man he will be awakened a good natural man; if he is a bad natural man he will be awakened a bad natural man; if he is one of the Ancient Worthies, we understand he will be awakened a perfect man.
ANSWERThe Sadducees, the agnostics, tried to entrap the Great Teacher by asking one of their stock questions. Seven different brothers in turn married the same woman and all died before she did. To which of them will she be wife in the resurrection? They did not ask, To which will she be wife in heaven or purgatory or eternal torture, for neither Jesus nor the Jews held any such teaching. The Pharisees and Jesus taught the resurrection of the dead, and it was against this teaching that the Sadducees aimed their sarcastic question.
Note the majesty of the Master's answer: "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, neither the power of God!" You do not understand the Scripture teaching respecting such questions, and you are ignoring in your question the great Divine power which, at that resurrection time, will be exercised and will straighten out all the difficulties of the situation. Then the Great Teacher proceeded to inform them that such as would (gradually) attain to the resurrection, such as would get a complete raising up out of sin and death conditions, would "neither marry nor be given in marriage," but would be sexless, as are the angels. Thus the supposed great and unanswerable question of the Sadducees fell flat and their ignorance was exposed.
ANSWERIt is both. The apostle says, "Ye are risen with him," "If then ye be risen with him," etc. We are counted as new creatures the moment of our consecration and the new creature arises from the old dead creature, so that the resurrection or raising up of that new creature begins; and it progresses in proportion as the new creature grows. There are different figures used. One would be a gradual raising upan attainment of the statureand the other would be represented by the begetting of the spirit, the embryonic condition, getting ready for the birth. These are figures of speech, and we must try and not confuse the different figures, but get the benefit of each one. So we are risen with him. That is instantaneous. The new creature began the moment of your consecration and begetting of the Holy Spirit. There it began to rise out of the old nature and it will continue as you get more and more victory over the old nature; the old nature is dying, and the new nature is being renewed, revived, strengthened, or upbuilt, whatever word you useit is rising up more and more, obtaining more and more character-likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus you are risen with him, and risen in him, and rising as a member of his body. And if you reach a sufficient [Page Q589] development in this resurrection process, you will be one of the little flock.
ANSWERThere is nothing in the Scriptures to indicate on this particular point, but we think it reasonable to suppose that those who come forth from the tomb during the reign of Messiah would not come forth maimed in any particular sense; as, for instance, lacking an eye, or lacking a hand; but they would come forth with their hands, though their hands might not be in the same condition they were originally; as, for instance, when our Lord healed the man who had the withered hand. If there was a wart on that hand before it was withered, it might be there afterwards; it was merely recovered to its normal condition. So, I understand it is not the teaching of the Scriptures that man will come forth in the resurrection perfect, because then all traces of their imperfection would be gone; none would be able to recognize them either by their faces or by their minds. Every trace, and every line upon your face, and upon my face, and upon your hands and upon my hands, indicate certain qualities of mind, and if you make all of these qualities of hand and face perfect, you would of necessity also be making the mind perfect, and by the time you did that no man would know himself, because all are imperfect now, and we know ourselves and each other by our imperfections. My thought, then, would be that when the world is awakened, they will come forth with practically perfect bodies but not actually perfect bodieswith bodies such, for instance, as yours and mine would be in their normal condition, in average health and under average conditions; not in the condition they would be if they had met with an accident and lost their limbs, and then come back without those limbs, but rather that they would come back with a reasonable degree of human perfection. But this also is conjectured, because the Scriptures do not enter into the matter and give us the particulars.
ANSWERThey do teach that some Jews will come forth first. Those Jews will be Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the prophets. We do not understand that any other Jews would have any preference or precedence, but that the whole work of resurrection would probably be a gradual one, beginning with the last even to the first; but here again it is largely a matter of conjecture. Where the Scriptures do not clearly state the matter, we do well to hold it very tentatively.
ANSWERI don't know. I might do a little guessing. Guessing would not be very satisfactory, but our guess would be that after the times of the Gentiles come to a conclusion there will be a great time of trouble as the Scriptures [Page Q590] clearly point outtrouble as never was since there was a nation. Then, following that trouble would come the reign of righteousness, blessings, increase of knowledge, God's favor among men, and the living nations would all be more or less brought to a knowledge of the Lord. How long that would require I do not know. I should think that taking in all of the hundreds of millions of the heathen, there would be a good deal of work to do for fifty or a hundred years, at least. As soon as the living nations are all brought to a degree of development and uplifting, I would expect then to come a time when the earth would yield her increase, would be able to sustain the larger population, and that awakening of every man in his own order would proceed until all mankind would be recovered from the tomb.
ANSWERAs we showed last evening, the whole race got one chance in Adam, and when Adam sinned he was condemned, and all the race, who were in his loins, shared his condemnation and death. And God provides through Jesus one redemption for allfor Adam and his children. To what end? That they may all have a second chance; every one of them. They had one chance in Adam and lost it through Adam's disobedience, and God provides another chance for every man to obtain eternal life through his Son Jesus. Some of us are having our chance now. To those who have received the message of God, those who have heard the voice, Jesus says, "Blessed are your ears for they hear, blessed are your eyes for they see." The intimation is that many of those that surrounded him did not have a hearing ear, and did not have the seeing eye, but those who did see and those who did hear were blessed. God has promised that you and I have an opportunity now, because we hear, and if we respond we are on trial, and the word trial has the thought in it of judgment; you are on judgment, or on trial, the two words having the same thought.
There will be a decision rendered at the end of this age. Some of those who have the pounds and the talents Jesus describes, saying that at his second coming he will reckon with his own servantsnot with the world, but with his own servants to whom be gave the pounds and talents, and he will inquire of them how they used the pounds and the talents, and the one who will come forward and say that he had a pound or a talent and had not used it but had buried it in the earthin business or in some other waywill be counted an unfaithful servant, and will not get the blessings that will come at that time, and the other servants, whoever they may be, who have received the pounds and talents of opportunity and privileges in connection with the high calling of this age, if they have used these faithfully will be granted a blessing as the Lord there represents. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. All the church are to be rulers over the world of mankind. When? When mankind will be on trial, when mankind's judgment day will have come. Has the world a different judgment day from the church? Oh, yes, entirely different. This is now the judgment day of the church; it has lasted ever since the day of Pentecost, and will end when [Page Q591] the last member of the church, the elect shall be completed. Then the world's judgment day will begin and the world's judgment day is to last for a thousand years. All through the thousand years of Messiah's reign the world will be on trial, judgment, to see whether or not they shall be worthy of everlasting life as human beings, or whether they shall not be worthy. This judgment day of the world is spoken of you remember by the apostle. He says, "God hath appointed a day (future) in the which he will (future) judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained. Who is that man? The same great man he also speaks ofthe Messiah, Jesus the head and the church his body.
Q591:1 QUESTION (1911)1Is not the first resurrection spiritual? Gal. 3:1, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above." Eph. 2:8, "And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." Eph. 5:4, "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light." Rom. 6:4, "But like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, we also should walk in newness of life."
ANSWERWe described last night how the world of mankind would have a resurrection by judgment, and that the resurrection for the world would be a gradual one all through the thousand yearsnot merely the moment in which they are awakened and come from the tombthat would only be the start. They will come forth unto a resurrection, in order that they may have a resurrection, is the thought. Now, as the world will be rising gradually out of sin and death conditions for a thousand years, and gradually attain to full human perfection, and attain that in the end as a result, so to some extent God gives the same picture in respect to the church. That is to say, from the time of your full consecration to the Lord, from the time of your begetting of the Holy Spirit, you are represented as a new creature, as rising from the old dead nature, as becoming alive unto God as a new creature, and the new creature is said to grow, first a babe, afterwards a young man, and then a fully developed man. And this thought of character development is otherwise represented as part of our resurrection"Ye are risen with Christ, walk in him." And so these various texts quoted all apply to this part of the resurrection which we are now to experience in the present life. And let me suggest that unless a man has this part of the resurrection, in the sense of rising up out of his weaknesses, and attaining more and more to a character development, he will not be fit for the glorious instantaneous resurrection, which God has for the church at the end of this age at the second coming of our Lord.
Q591:2 QUESTION (1911)2Please explain John 11:25, "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life. He that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."
ANSWERAll mankind, through Jesus, will be made alive. No one will come up to full perfection of life without faith and obedience. But this provision has been made broad enough in our heavenly Father's plan that every member of Adam's race may return to everlasting life by faith and [Page Q592] obedience. Now then, when they have once come back to perfection of life, if they continue to be obedient they will never die. For instance, the world all through the thousand years will, by belief and obedience, be returning to full perfection, full harmony with the Lord, and if by the end of the thousand years they are in full obedience in heart and mind there is no reason why they should ever die. God wills that all the obedient have life eternal through Christ.
ANSWERThe apostle, speaking of the church, said, "Now we know in part, then we shall know as we are known." He was speaking of the church only, which will be perfected on the spiritual plane, and of course all spirit beings will see each other. We do not see the Lord now, and we do not see the angels now, because we are on the human plane, and they are on the spirit plane; but the apostle says that all of those who will constitute the church will experience a change in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at or during the last trumpetsymbolic trumpet. When that change shall come, we shall be like him. Our Lord is a spirit being; he is not a man. Those who think of Jesus as being a man in heaven, entirely out of harmony with all the surroundings of heaven, have a very wrong conception of the matter. Jesus was quickened in the spirit, says the apostle, "Now the Lord is that spirit." "Him hath God highly exalted, far above angels, principalities, and powers, and every name that is named." As a man he was not higher than the angels, but a little lower, because man is a being on a lower plane than an angel; at his resurrection he was raised to a higher plane. So we, in the resurrection, shall see him as he is, and know as we are knownthoroughly. As for the world, they will know each other because they will come back practically in the condition in which they will go down. Let me ask, "How would anyone know another when they come back?" We answer, that to our understanding the Bible teaches the resurrection will take place in the reverse order to that in which men died. That is to say, the first to be awakened from the tomb will not be Adam and his children, but those who have died most recently, so that the resurrection work will proceed backward, and possibly Adam, and those of his day, will be the very last to be awakened; and each generation, as it will be awakened, will be acquainted with all the others all the way back, and the identity will be fully established when they get back to Adam. Seth will know Adam; Adam will know Seth.
ANSWERBoth. The blessing is for those redeemed. How many did Jesus redeem? "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man." It does not leave out any, not one. "As by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead." "As all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive." But, "Every man his own order." This blessing is to come through Messiah. [Page Q593] Now take another Scripture which differentiates, and shows the church separate from the world. We read of Christ that he is the propitiationthat is, satisfactionfor our sinsfor the church's sinsand not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. He is the Redeemer of both the church and the world. God grants one blessing to those who now have the hearing ear and respond to this high invitation, and who walk in the narrow way, but to the world of mankind who will be brought to know then, he has another blessing, if they have good and honest hearts and make use of the opportunity.
Q593:1 QUESTION (1911)1If the resurrection is to be universal, what do the Scriptures mean when they say, "He that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead?"
ANSWERI would understand it means that those who wandered out of the way of understanding had the understanding first. How could he wander out of the way of understanding if he had been a heathen man? Can you tell me how a heathen can wander out of the way of understanding? The one that can wander out of understanding is the one that has been in the way of understanding, and they are comparatively few. Only the church at the present time has the right understanding. This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God. That is the real understanding. How few people there are today who know the living and true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent! There are very few in Winnipeg, and very few in my own city of Brooklyn, and in London, and the heathen have no knowledge of him at all. The only ones who have any understanding are those like you and myself, who have made a consecration to the Lord, and whose eyes of understanding have been opened, and who have started to walk in the narrow way, to walk in his footsteps. Now, God says, "If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." What will happen to him? The second death. That is exactly what is meant here. He that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead. His will be the second death from which there will be no recovery of any kind. God does not want people that wilfully reject him; he does not want them to have any everlasting life on any plane, either spiritual or human.
ANSWERThe resurrection power is now working in the lives of the saints. In Rom. 8:11 the Apostle says, "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit indwelling." This does not refer to future resurrections. It refers to the energizing of your mortal body. The Apostle argues that we were alive unto sin once, but that when we made our full surrender to the Lord we became dead to sin that when we were begotten of the Holy Spirit we became New Creatures, in this earthen vessel; and that the body is reckoned dead to sin and the New Creature alive to God. Now, the Apostle says, the Spirit of God is able to so quicken [Page Q594] our mortal body that instead of being a servant of sin as, it once was, it will be a servant of righteousness. There is a great difference between the immortal body which we shall have by and by, and the quickening of the mortal body. The new body will not be a flesh body at all. "It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spirit body." (1 Cor. 15:42-44.) This animal body is to be quickened by the Spirit of God that dwells in us; and by degrees this resurrection process in which the New Creature is engaged becomes stronger and stronger. If this continues, our resurrection progresses; and the time will come, at the end of our course, when the Lord will count us worthy of the glorious change, to be like Him and share His glory on the high, spirit plane.
ANSWERThe Sadducees, the agnostics who did not believe in the resurrection, tried to entrap the great Teacher by asking one of their stock questions. Seven different brothers in turn married the same woman and all died before she did. "To which of them shall she be wife in the resurrection?" They did not ask, "To which of these will she be wife in heaven or purgatory or eternal torture?" for neither Jesus nor the Jews held any such teachings. The Pharisees and Jesus taught the resurrection of the dead; and it was against this teaching that the Sadducees aimed their sarcastic question.
Note the majesty of the Master's answer: "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, neither the power of God!" (Matt. 22:23-33.) You do not understand the Scripture teaching respecting such suggestions, and you ignore in your question the great Divine power which, at the resurrection time, will be exercised to straighten out all the difficulties of the situation. Then the great Teacher proceeds to inform them that such as would (gradually) attain to the resurrectionsuch as would get a complete raising up out of sin and death, would "neither marry nor be given in marriage," but would be sexless, as are the angels. Thus the supposedly unanswerable question of the Sadducees fell flat, and their ignorance was exposed.
ANSWERScholars are agreed that this text is an interpolation. We must remember, however, that it is one thing to be legally, or officially dead, and another thing to be actually dead. But as Jesus said to some, He recognized as alive only those who accepted Him. Those who had not the Son had not life in any sense or degree; those who have the Son, have the beginning of life reckoned to them. The world, however, during the thousand years will have the opportunity, not only of being awakened, but of having fulness of life. If, therefore, after they are awakened, they will go on and render obedience to the laws of the Kingdom, they will [Page Q595] be lifted up, up, up out of death to perfection and life.
ANSWERWe would make a distinction, first of all, between being resurrected and being awakened. To be awakened is one thing, and to be resurrected is quite another. Mankind in general will be awakened in order to have a resurrection, but the raising up, or resurrecting, will be after the awakening. They will not be raised up while asleep in death, but after the awakening.
In answer to the question, then I would say, yes. Those who are awakened will have the same qualities of mind as in their former life. They will remember their experiences in the former body because their brains will have the same convolutions and impressions which they had in it. The same thoughts will be produced, as is illustrated by a talking machine record. You have the record and can make duplicates, and when you put them on the machine they produce the same sounds as the original record. The new body will have the same thoughts as the former body had, and in that sense their identity will be preserved. I suppose the physical form will be preserved, that people may know themselves by personal blemishes and peculiarities. I think they may get rid of their imperfections. The time for getting rid of these is the whole thousand years of Christ's reign. During that thousand years they will be raised up out of their imperfections, and not until the close will they be wholly free.
In the case of the church it is different. Their trial takes place at the present time, and these trials are for the purpose of testing the saints of God to find out whether they are loyal to the core. To such as are proven loyal will be granted the glorious change in the first resurrection. They will be given spirit bodies; a perfect organism with the spiritual mind which they now have, and that will be their resurrection. Theirs will be different from the world's resurrection, and they will know each other, not by knowing the spirit bodies, because these bodies will be entirely new. I cannot tell how they will know each other, for as the Lord says, now we know in part, but then we shall see face to face.
ANSWERHe meant that a spirit being did not have flesh and bone. The disciples were frightened. They had certain indefinite ideas respecting spirit as people have today. I do not know to what extent the spirits of that time might make certain commotion, as they do today, but the disciples did not know whether the object before them had tangible flesh and bone like their own. You know the doors were closed and they could not believe one could come in and have a flesh and bone body. They thought they saw a phantom, and Jesus, to inspire their confidence, said, "Do not be afraid. A spirit hath not flesh and bone as ye see Me have. Come and handle Me. I will eat some fish." He said to Thomas on another occasion, "Thrust your hand in My side; put your[Page Q596] finger in the print of the nails. It is not spirit you are seeing." He had materialized. He was made alive as a spirit being. He had the power of a spirit being, to materialize and dematerialize. He did not have these powers when a man, during the 33 years of His earthly life. It was after His change, and becoming a spirit being again, that He had the same power as other spirit beings.
ANSWERWe do not surely know, but we are inclined to think they will not. We think that the Great Company class will pass beyond the veil before the Ancient Worthies will receive their awakening. The matter could be reasoned one way or another; but the way we are most inclined to reason on it now is thisto say that the Great Company comes in as a secondary part of the Church, a part of the general class represented in the Church of the First-born. You remember that this was shown in the type; for all the Levitesnot merely the priestsbelonged to the class who were accepted by the Lord in exchange for the first-born of Israel.
So we understand in a general way the Great Company belong to the same class as the Church the Body of Christ. They are the ones for whom there has been a special application of the merit of Christ during this Gospel Age, made at the beginning; and Christ's merit, thus obligated, might be said not to be fully released until all these shall have been completely dealt with. This would imply, we understand, that the merit of Jesus could not be applicable to any outside, not even the Ancient Worthies, until after all the Church class have died and the merit is thus set free. We think, therefore, that the Ancient Worthies will not be resurrected until the Great Company shall have passed within the veil.
Q596:2 QUESTION (l9l6)2Since the Jews believed in a resurrection of the dead, why did they embalm the bodies of their dead, as in the case of Joseph? Did they believe they would come forth in the same bodies?
ANSWERWe may not say what they believed. But when today we embalm our dead it does not signify that we believe they will come forth in those bodies. They did not know the simple way of embalming that we practice today. They were expressing some faith in respect to the dead, but not necessarily a Jewish hope; for the Egyptians, not the Jews, practiced embalming. The Bible gives us to understand that Joseph requested to be embalmed as an expression of his faith in God's promise to Abraham that Palestine would be given to the Israelites. He wished to be buried with his people, just as we today ship a corpse a long distance at times that it may be buried in the family burying place.
ANSWERNo child is a soul previous to birth. The Scriptures speak of "Every soul of man in whom is the breath of life," and it is all these souls of Adam that are redeemed [Page Q597] by the soul of Jesus, and therefore these are the only souls to be brought forth from the tomb. Whoever has not been born has not been redeemed. If not born, then not redeemed; and if not redeemed, then not raised. Such children as those referred to in the question have not been born, have not been redeemed, and will therefore have no part in the resurrection.
ANSWERWe prefer, dear friends, not to answer questions on Revelation yet, because it is a book of symbols so interwoven one with the other that we would have to here begin and prove what was the "beast" and what was its "image," and what was the "mark," etc., and it would really take us all evening to give a full explanation of that verse. So our thought is until in the Lord's providence the book of Revelation shall be treated as a whole, and connectedly, it will serve your interests and the Lord's interests best for me not to answer questions on it.
ANSWERFirst of all we must prove that it is a parable, because so many dear friends believe that it is not a parable, but the statement of a literal occurrence. They say, "It reads that there was a certain rich man, and it does not say, 'this is a parable.' " We agree to all of that; we must therefore prove it is a parable. And in order to prove it is a parable, it is necessary to show that if interpreted as a literal statement, it would be an absurdity and anything that would be an absurdity to interpret literally, we would be bound to look upon as a parable and seek to find some parabolical interpretation. That this would be an absurdity if taken literally, note this. It is not said that the rich man was a bad man; it is not said that the poor man was a good man; there was a certain rich man. To be rich is not necessarily an evil. There have been good rich men. Abraham was very rich. Our heavenly Father is very rich. It is not poverty, merely that makes goodness, is it? And our Lord is rich and for our sakes became poor. So we are not to think that riches merely, mean wickedness. We do not read that this rich man was a bad man, or profane, or anything of the kind, but merely he was rich and fared sumptuously every dayate three or four good square meals each day, and wore purple and fine linen; that was his crime; whatever it was, it was connected with that matter somehow. Now to say that any man would have to be roasted to all eternity because he wore purple or because he wore fine linen, and had plenty to eat, and because he was very rich, would not be rational.
Then take the poor man. There is nothing said about his being a particularly good poor man, nor that he prayed a great dealnot a suggestion about his ever praying; he was simply a poor man and he lay at the rich man's gate, and he was full of sores, and the dogs came along and licked his sores, and he ate of the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table, and he was carried by the messengers to Abraham's bosom. Now to take that literally would be also absurd. It would mean, in the first place, that the only persons that would go to Abraham's bosom would be some who had laid [Page Q598] at some rich man's gate. That would not take you and me inat least would not take me in, for I never had any dogs lick my sores, and I never ate crumbs, etc. So you see it would be an absurdity. Besides, if Abraham's bosom only had two or three lusty looking Lazaruses, he would have his arms out like that, trying to get them into his bosom. If it is literal at all, the whole thing is literal, and if it is symbolic at all, the whole thing is symbolic. Therefore we say without any question, this is a parable, because to take it literally would be to involve ourselves in statements of absurdity.
That rich man who fared sumptuously was the Jewish nation; he fared sumptuously upon the gracious promises of God's Word. All of those precious promises of God's Word, for the time being, belonged to the Jewsnot one of them extended beyond his boundary to the Gentiles, except all the families of the earth were to be blessed through the Jews. All the precious promises belonged to Israel. Then he had a purple robe. Purple has always been a symbol of royalty. In what way did they have royalty? Why they had the divine kingdom or Theocracy established in their nation, and although the crown had been taken off in Zedekiah's day, God had promised that he would give it in due time to him whose right it is, and that Messiah should be of the stock of David. So they still had the purple. They still claimed to be God's kingdom. And they had fine linen. What does fine linen symbolize? It symbolizes righteousness, purity. Fine linen in the Scriptures represents righteousness. Where did they get righteousness? Where did they get more righteousness than the Gentiles had? We answer that in God's covenant with them, the covenant of the law, he made a special arrangement by which upon the offering of certain sacrifices year by year, each year, the nation was clothed with righteousness for a year. At the end of the year they had a new Atonement day, and made fresh sacrifices for sin, and then their righteousness was renewed for another year, in this national manner. So that this rich man, this Jewish nation, at the time our Lord uttered these words, had all of these conditions fulfilled. He had more than he could appropriate of God's promises in the Scripture, and all the holy prophets and the types and shadows of the lawall of those things. A change camehe died; he died to all those blessings. Did he? Does everybody agree to that? Yes. Do the Jews also agree? They do. They know they are not enjoying the blessings they formerly had. They know that since the year 70 when their nation perished they have not been in the condition of divine favor in which they were previously. Where are they now? As a nation they are still dead. As a nation they are still in hadesoblivion. You cannot find any Jewish nation, in the proper sense of that term. The Jewish nation, or government, has gone to hades, to the tomb. Will it be resurrected? Oh, yes, the Jewish nation will be resurrected, as we tried to show last night. Zionism is the forerunner of the resurrection of this Jewish nation. Whatever goes into hades must come out. That is the very thought of hades. It means a temporary stopping place from which the person or thing will come out. So when the Jewish nation is said to have gone to hades, it[Page Q599] implies that that nation will have a resurrection, or come out as a nation from that hades, or hadean condition. But while the nation is unconscious, the people of that nation have been very much alive all of these hundreds of years. They are very much alive people today. There is no more alive people in the whole world than the Jews are, and they have some of that very suffering that is pictured there in that parable at the hands of the Christiansor those said to be Christians. Those who were deluded into thinking they were Christians have persecuted the Jews, and they have had the tribulation that is there symbolically pictured. And they have desired that the Gentiles might cool their tongues. Was that fulfilled? Yes. When and how? Many times. I will give you one illustration in your day and mine. Not long ago when President Roosevelt was in office, the Jews of the United States got up a monster petition asking President Roosevelt, after he had had some good interchange with the Russian nation, if he would not use the kind offices of the United States and his own personal influence with the government of Russia to bring about some cessation of the severe persecutions against the Jews in Russia"Do something to cool our parched tongues" is the very thought. "Give us at least a drop of cold water." President Roosevelt could not do it. Just so in the parable. We read that the drop of water was denied. President Roosevelt said that he would like very much to do something in response to this invitation. He was in individual sympathy with the Jewish race, but he said it would be out of the way entirely for the United States government to attempt to criticise a foreign nation with which we are at peace, and to dictate to them any policy they must pursue in their own government. So the poor Jew could not even get that little bit of help. That is exactly true of the parable. The parable does not go on to show that the time will come when the Jews will come out of that time of trouble. It merely leaves it there in the trouble.
The parable speaks about five brethren. Who would they be? We answer that while all twelve of the tribes were represented in Palestine at that time, yet the major portion belonged to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. These two mainly constituted the rich man. The other tribes were mainly scattered around in Greece, Rome, Asia Minor, etc., and the question here is raised to show that God's dealing with the Jews that were scattered abroad amongst the Gentiles would be exactly the same as his dealing with the people in Palestine. For the answer is, "They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them. If they do not hear them, then they must take the consequences." Who have Moses and the prophets? The heathen? No, the heathen never had Moses and the prophets. Whoever did have Moses and the prophets that they could hear them? Only this Jewish nation, only this rich man and, his brethrentwo tribes, and the other ten tribes. Two tribes represented in the one rich man and the other ten tribes represented in the five brethren. You see two make the one, so the ten would make the five proportionately.
We have seen the rich man, now how about Lazarus? Let us see where he comes in. Lazarus was that poor man in the parable who lay at the rich man's gate, desiring to be fed with some of the crumbs that fell from the rich man's [Page Q600] table. What class was that? That was some outsiders? Yes. Who were they? They were some godly Gentiles. I remind you of some of them in the Scriptures. You remember in the New Testament there is mentioned a centurion, and they besought Jesus that he would heal the centurion's servant; they said, "He is a godly man, and he has built us a synagogue and has done much good to our people;" and so Jesus healed the servant. He desired to have some of God's favors. Yet he knew they belonged to the Jewish nation, they were not his; he was an outsider. I remind you of Cornelius, of whom we read that he served God daily, prayed always, gave much alms to the people, and reverenced God. A pretty good man, wasn't he? Yes. Yet none of his praying and none of his alms-giving came up to God. God did not accept any of that. It is, so to speak, like the incense that rose so high and could not go any higher. Why not? Because he was a Gentile. What difference did that make? Because all of God's blessings belonged to the one nation of Israel. When God said, "Ye only have I known (recognized) of all the families of the earth," he was speaking there of Israel and the special privileges and blessings belonging to Israel, but just as soon as the middle wall of partition, or separation, between the Jew and the Gentile was blotted out, just three and one-half years after the cross, just as soon as that particular period of special favor to the Jew was over, the Gentile came in to have just the same favor as the Jewsno more, no less. And at that time God blessed Cornelius, and he sent a messenger to Cornelius and said, "Now Cornelius, your prayers and your alms are come up before me." Why not before? They could not raise any higher, but now the special favor for Israel having passed, your alms and your prayers are come up before me as a memorial. Send now therefore to Joppa to one called Peter and when he comes he will tell you words which shall be to the saving of thyself and thy house; and you will come into fellowship with me then; when Peter came he preached Christ to Cornelius. And Cornelius received the message and was blessed with the Holy Spirit and had all the privileges and favors thenceforth that any of the Jews who had heard and had accepted the Gospel receivedthe Pentecostal blessings came on him also.
Now go back to the poor man lying at the rich man's gate. This is, before the change; this is before the house of Israel was left desolate, before the Gentiles were blessed. The Gentiles were in that poor condition represented by that poor individual, with the sores on his body, representing sin and sickness. I presume, as Bible students, all here grasp the thought that sores would represent sin, and the dogs licking the sores would represent the Gentiles, because this was a prominent expression among the Jews, that all others than Jews were mere Gentile dogs. They did not count them on a parity with the Jews at all. But he desired to be fed with the crumbs falling from the rich man's table. That is to say, I would like to have some of the blessings God gave. You remember the Syro-Phoenician woman of whom we read that she came to Jesus saying, Lord, my daughter is sick of a fever; I entreat you to heal her. Jesus for the time paid no attention, and she entreated and entreated; [Page Q601] finally Jesus said to her, "Never mind, go away; it is not proper to take the children's bread and give it to the dogs." Don't you know you are a Gentile dog? Have you not had that idea right along? She answered, "Yea, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from the children's table." She was willing to confess herself one of the Gentile dogs, she was willing to confess she had no right to claim any of those blessings of healing for her daughter, because she was not of the Jewish nationbut Lord, do not the dogs get a crumb occasionally from the table? "Let me have this crumb, heal my daughter." Jesus admired her faith, and said, "Go thy way, your daughter is healed." So she went her way. The daughter was healed. She was a type of this Lazarus, you see, getting a crumb from the rich man's table.
Now then, Lazarus died, that is to say, this Lazarus class died to their unfavorable conditions, and the angels carried them to Abraham's bosom. What does that mean? They were not buried. When the Gentiles died to their unfavorable condition, the angels that carried them to Abraham's bosom were the Apostles. See how Saint Peter carried Cornelius right off to Abraham's bosom. Why, he explained to him he should be one of the children of Abraham, didn't he? And that is what is meant by the figure of getting into Abraham's bosom. If you are a father and have any love for your family, and have some children come to you, you take them into your bosom; they are your children; you are their father. And that is the picture. That is the whole thingAbraham and his children. Now the Jews were the natural children of Abraham, but they failed to get into Abraham's bosom, and the Gentiles who were outcasts, who in their humble condition were more ready to receive God's grace inthe way God was pleased to give it, became children of Abraham through faith. And that is exactly what the Apostle says, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, Abraham's children." You are in Abraham's bosom now. I am glad to be in Abraham's bosom, glad to have some blessings there also. I am glad that God's favor to natural Israel is soon to come. They will all be coming into Abraham's bosom, not on the spiritual plane, but the natural seed will be coming back into the obedience and faith of Abraham, and I rejoice in that glorious prospect.
Q601:1 QUESTION (1916)1What did Paul mean when he said, "Concerning the righteousness of the law, I am blameless?" Had he not had part in Israel's national sin of crucifying the Lord would it have been necessary for him to have been immersed for the remission of sins? Were there any of the Jews who were so in harmony with their covenant that they needed no immersion?
ANSWERI think that the Apostle meant, personally he was blameless. As a member of the nation he was not blameless because the whole nation was involved in the sin their leaders had committed. The nation was responsible for the blood of Jesus, but the Apostle as a Jew had not been living as a sinner. He had been trying to keep the law, and in that sense was not a sinner. He would not therefore need to be baptized. This baptism was not common with the Jew. What John the Baptist did was something new to them. They were all baptized in the Red Sea and in the cloud when [Page Q602] God brought them out of the land of Egypt. In leading them out of that land into the land of Canaan He brought them through this baptism of waterwater on either side of them and the cloud above them. They were baptized unto Moses and were all represented in Moses as the mediator of the law covenant. Whoever was faithful to that covenant was doing all that he could do. Anyone so doing was not willingly doing wrong. Some of them were indeed publicans and sinners, were not leading righteous lives, and some were exacting taxes from their brethren in serving the Gentiles. Some were sinners in that they lived in open sin. Any one of these sinners who would come to make a reformation of his life, turn over a new leaf, get into harmony with God, could symbolize the washing away of his sins by water baptism. That would mean that they had come back into harmony with Moses and the law-covenant, and would to the best of their ability keep the law. So John, when he saw Jesus coming- -John knew that Jesus was not a sinner and therefore did not need to be baptized by him, but rather that he needed to be baptized by Jesus. Jesus was living in harmony with Moses' law, John was trying to live in harmony with it, and Paul reckoned himself in with this class. He would not need to be baptized because baptism was the needful thing for an outward sinner who wanted to come back into harmony with God. John said, Messiah is about ready to set up the Kingdom, and if you do not get right you will not be transferred from Moses to Christ and become members of the new nation.
ANSWERThe righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us as New Creatures. It is not fulfilled in our flesh because in our flesh dwelleth no perfection. You cannot bring perfection out of an imperfect body. The New Creature desires to do perfectly. We desire that every act and thought might be pleasing and acceptable to God, but we cannot do all that we would. We can do a great deal towards it and we can gain many victories along this line, and although we may continue to make progress in this direction, yet we cannot hope to reach the point where we shall be able to do perfectly. We can only do with the imperfect body which we have. We cannot do with the body which we have not yet got. We can only use the old body with the new mind. It is the New Creature in whom the righteousness of the law will be fulfilled. First of all, God counted our flesh as dead before He received us. It would not be the flesh, therefore, that would keep God's law. It is the New Creature in us, the new creature in which the righteousness of the law is fulfilled, and if we are doing this to the extent of our ability the spirit of the law is fulfilled in us as new creaturesin our hearts, our minds, our intentions, our endeavorsand that is what God is judging who knows us not after the flesh, but after the spirit- -according to this spirit He judges us. In the mind we keep this law, loving God with all our minds and strength, and our neighbors as ourselves. But more than this, we seek to follow in the foot-steps of Jesus and to lay down our earthly privileges as He did in order that we might exercise the spirit that was in Him in the service [Page Q603] of the Father and become more and more like Him, and ultimately share His glory.
Q603:1 QUESTION (1911)l"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God, for he hath clothed me with garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with raiment and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." Is there any essential difference between the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness?
ANSWER.I think it would be quite reasonable to suppose here that these two expressions were used interchangeably. Our robe of Christ's righteousness granted to us when we become his betrothed, our wedding garment, is a covering of our blemishes. Therefore, it is a robe of righteousness, a robe of imputation, under which we are counted to be right with God. And we properly enough speak of ourselves as in the same condition. As the apostle again says, "Ye are saved by hope." Our salvation is not complete, of course, but our salvation is begun in the sense that we are already counted as on the Lord's side, and we are already assured that if we maintain this standing, if we keep our garments unspotted from the world, we shall be of that same class whose salvation may be accomplished fully at the second coming of our Lord.
ANSWERThe New Creature's proper body is the Spirit body of the First Resurrection. But before getting it he is placed on probation and given his old human body to practice with. The New Creature cannot make the old body obey him perfectly. But he can develop strength in his endeavors to bring words, actions and thoughts into perfect accord with the perfect Law of GodLove.
The imperfections of the flesh to which the new mind does not consent are all of heredityall from Adamic weaknessall, therefore, forgivable by the Redeemer who merely needs to be appealed to as the great Advocate. But every transgression of the flesh is charged to the New Creature, who owns the flesh and is using it. This obligates repentance, prayer, etc., and means the greater blessing to the New Creature. To whatever extent the New Creature gives consent or sympathy to the sin of his flesh he is worthy of "stripes," which correctively will assist in his character development. "What son is he whom his Father chasteneth not?"
The New Creature only is given the wedding robe, the robe of Christ's righteousness, as a covering for his imperfect flesh. It represents his justification as a New Creature. It shows him as in Divine sight, holy, harmless, undefiled, through the merit of Jesus his Advocate and Redeemer.
ANSWERWe understand that all who make the [Page Q604] consecration do so and are accepted, in one hope of their calling, and that that one hope is the hope of being a member of the Bride class and joint-heir with Christ. The fact that there will be a "great company" is a special favor ordained of the Lord in the interest of those who do not prove sufficiently zealous to be counted in with Jesus as "more than conquerors."
The "great company" of Rev. 7:9 is composed of such as fail to come up to the highest standard of sacrifice required of the Lord, but who, nevertheless, will prove not unfaithful in their final test. These are said to have not kept their garments unspotted from the world; hence the requirement that they shall wash them in the blood of the Lambprove their loyalty under discipline and stress, having failed to prove it by voluntary obedience unto sacrifice. Thus both the Bride and her virgins who follow her all wear the Bridegroom's robe (justification) in the present life. And all in the future life will attain perfection on their own account.
This imputed robe will not be needed by the "great company" after they shall have experienced their "change" to the spirit condition: for they, too, will be changed, in a moment and thereafter possess an individual perfection of their own.
ANSWERThis Robe of Christ's Righteousness does not appertain to us at all until we become New Creatures. It was not intended to cover the flesh of those who have not become consecrated people of God. The world are not identified in the sense of being New Creatures with old bodies; they are all old creatures, both mind and body. It is only the Church who have had a change and whose minds or hearts God accepts as being in relationship to Him in Christ and whose bodies are imperfect, and, therefore, need a covering, that the Lord regards in this figure of speech, "Robe," and shows how He provides the covering of Christ to cover our mortal bodies. It is His Robe and not ours, and it is a very precious use of His Robe. We need His Robe, His Righteousness, to cover our blemishes. Our own righteousness, as the Apostle expresses it, would be only filthy rags, and so it is a beautiful picture of how God uses His righteousness for us, the wedding garment of all His people, and we are to continue to wear it without spot or wrinkle, and if any comes on it we have to get it off again, and thus keep ourselves in the love of God and in readiness for the marriage supper when we are beyond the vail. We are to be made perfect in our resurrection. We will not then need the imputed Robe to give us access to the wedding. By the time the wedding will be over we will have that robe of our own through the merit of Christ.
ANSWERThe old man we are to put off. Put off, therefore, the old man with his works, the Apostle says. The [Page Q605] old man was the old will, and he is not to be covered at all; he is to be dead; do not even need to bury him, let him go. And the new man does not need any covering, for the new man is perfect, the new creature never had any sin, has no sympathy with sin. What is it, then, that needs covering with the robe of Christ's righteousness? It is the flesh that once belonged to the old man, the old will, this flesh that has now been turned over as the body or flesh of the new creature and that the new creature must act through. This flesh is imperfect and needs the covering of Christ's imputed righteousness to keep all the blemishes out of sight, so they will not appear to the brethren any more than necessary, and will not appear to the Father any more than necessary.
ANSWERThe thought in the questioner's mind, I presume, is drawn from the type of the High Priest. You will remember that the High Priest when he made atonement on the Day of Atonement had on white linen garments, and in those white linen garments he did the sacrificing and the offering of the blood, and then having offered the blood and having made atonement for sin, he came and washed his flesh and put on his glorious garmentsgarments of glory and beauty. In other words, all through the year the High Priest wore his garments of glory and beauty, but on the Day of Atonement he took off these and wore the plain linen garments. Our answer to the question, then, is, that the High Priest has not yet put on the garments of glory and beauty. Of course it is all a figure of speech, but the thought is, these garments of beauty represent our Lord's manifestationsthe High Priest manifested as the one who is qualified and authorized of God to bless the people. This has not yet taken place. Why not? Because the antitypical Day of Atonement is not yet finished. How do we know it is not finished? Because some of the church, the body of Christ, are still to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. And this filling up of the afflictions of Christ is still going on. Some of the work of the High Priest, therefore, as sacrificer is still in progress, and he does not put on the glory and beauty of his high office until he shall have fully finished the sacrificing work; and until the last member of the body of Christ has suffered with him, the sacrificing will not be at an end. Just as soon as the sacrificing is finished, the glory will begin; as the Scriptures say, "If we suffer with him, we shall reign with him." And then, you remember, we read also that the prophets of old and the angels desired to look into these things and to know respecting the times and the seasons, respecting the sufferings of Messiah and the glory that would follow. While the suffering of this Messiah class is not yet at an end, the offering of the Day of Atonement is not yet finished, therefore the High Priest has not put on his garments of glory and beauty, representing the dignity of his office when he shall rule and bless and begin the Messianic reign.
Q605:2 QUESTION (1908)2While speaking with a brother, the thought was expressed that the House of Servants will be the earthly rulers in the next age, and they number a hundred [Page Q606] and forty-four thousand, the same number as the Church, the heavenly rulers, but being a new thought to me, and not wishing to accept same without more light on it, I ask, Is it correct? Are the ones to be made princes in all the earth to number one hundred and forty-four thousand? Or, is it only the Church, "Israelites indeed," number thus? I think the chapter used is Rev. 7:4-8, which I have always thought referred to Spiritual Israel.
ANSWERI do not know anything about that. I have never seen any Scripture to that effect, but if anybody knows of such I will be very glad to hear it. I do not know any Scripture which says that the Ancient Worthies will number one hundred and forty-four thousand. We are not competent to judge, but if the Apostle's statement in the book of Hebrews be a correct one, I have serious doubt if we could find anything like one hundred and forty-four thousand such in all the history of Israel, so far as the Scriptures inform us. You know the Apostle only gives us a dozen or so by name, and says that time would fail us to mention the number of others. He certainly would not think of mentioning one hundred and forty-four thousand. It would have taken a great deal of time to mention all of their names. I doubt if there were that many Israelites of this high order. Amongst those he names it takes in Rahab, and Samson also. I am not inclined to think that there would be that many, but if anybody finds any Scripture which says there are one hundred and forty-four thousand I would like to have it.
A Brother.I have heard this same thing talked about. Some take the seventh chapter of Revelation because it states there will be one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, twelve thousand out of each tribe.
ANSWERI understand that chapter refers to Spiritual Israel and not Natural Israel. It speaks of those being twelve tribes in this way just as, for instance, we would speak of the soldiers in the Philippine Islands and say, There was the Ninth Tennessee Regiment, and there was the Eleventh Ohio Regiment, and the Fourteenth Pennsylvania, etc. We could speak of those different regiments from the different states as being in the Philippine Islands doing duty there; and suppose now something occurred which decimated their ranks by reason of death, or whatever might be the thing which would sever their relationship to the regiment, and that would leave a vacancy. Now, suppose the vacancy in the Ohio Regiment was 400, a deficiency in the Tennessee Regiment of 600, and a deficiency in the Pennsylvania Regiment of 200. Now suppose there were men being enlisted by the Government for the places that would be assigned to fill up these regiments; whether they came from New York, New Jersey, Michigan or where, they would fill up the Eleventh Ohio, or the Fourteenth Pennsylvania, and they would come in under that head. So God arranged different tribes of Israel, and in His arrangement be determined upon one hundred and forty-four thousand, which would be as if were twelve thousand from each tribe. Now when he came to Israel to select there were not enough, and they were mostly out of one tribe. They nearly all came out of Judah. Our Lord sprang from Judah, and most of the others also, so far as we know. Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin, and we do not know what the others were of; there were a certain number there received, [Page Q607] but not enough to fill up the one hundred and forty-four thousand. We might suppose there were not more than ten or twelve thousand of those Israelites who ever became members of the Body of Christ. Would the Lord break up that arrangement? No; the Lord says, These are the spiritual Israelites I had in mind; these natural tribes were merely the outward shell, as it were, and the real kernel of the matter from my standpoint was spiritual Israel. I will still preserve this method of speaking of them as the twelve tribes. Now we have some from each of these tribes, and I will fill them up from all nations, kindreds, and peoples, and tongues; and it has taken all of this Gospel Age to do this. I do not know to which tribe I am assigned, and I do not care; it is merely an outward figure, and what difference does it make? It is all one company. The same thought is also called to our attention in Romans 11 where the Apostle speaks of the covenant made with Abraham, and how many branches were broken off because of unbelief, and then he says we were grafted in and took the places of those branches. Those branches represented the one hundred and forty-four thousand, but they were broken off and their places made vacant, and you and I were grafted in. In this sense you and I belong to the original olive tree, and those that were natural branches are not in it at all. The only way they can come in is by being grafted in again.
ANSWERI never belonged to any church except the Lord's and the Congregationalists. I was a Congregationalist, and in my endeavor to be faithful I was trying to convert an infidel, and I did not convert him, but while trying to do so, I got enough new thoughts into my head to give me a lot of trouble; and finally, I became an infidel, and was about a year in that condition. I still worshiped God, but not recognizing the Bible, and not knowing if Christ were my redeemer. I still, nevertheless, continually went to God in prayer and asked for guidance and finally, in God's providence I came to see clearer light on the divine Word. I never was an Adventistexcepting that I believe in the advent of our Lordvery glad to believe our Lord is to come again to receive the church to himself. But I never believed that about the world being burned up, nor any other things of that kind that constitute special features of the Adventist belief.
ANSWERAdam, as the federal head of his family, was its representative in Eden. This is demonstrated by the fact that all of his posterity are involved in everything affecting him. Thus the sentence of death which directly passed upon Adam affected and impaired every one of his offspring. Jesus was not a representative in this sense; He was made a man, a "little lower than the angels, that He might, by the grace of God, taste death for every man." (Heb. 2:9) He becomes Adam's substitute, his Redeemer. He pays for Adam the penalty demanded by divine Justice. He gave His life "a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Tim. 2:6) Since Adam was the representative of the whole human family, therefore, all of the human race must share with him in the benefits to accrue through the redemption provided by Jesus, his substitute. Thus the death of Jesus is made efficacious to all who will accept the benefit thereof, by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, as we read: "As in Adam all die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive." (1 Cor. 15:22)
ANSWERWe believe that it is indicative of much that is important to the welfare of the entire race of mankind. Not that we anticipate that it will result in converting the race to Christianity, or "save the world for Jesus," but that it indicates that mankind in general is longing after the higher and holier things. All honor to the noble men and women who are striving to better human conditions, and who are sacrificing much in their efforts! However, the Lord in His Word, the Bible, has pointed out a more excellent way than all of the religious and reformation movements combined. In the first place, the Scriptures foretell that the world will never be converted to Christianity until after the Lord Jesus' second coming. (See the following Scriptures and note carefully as they relate to the "last days," or "the time of the end." Mat. 24:37-39; 2 Tim. 3:1-5,13; Jam. 5:1-5) From these statements of the Sacred Writers, we see that the world will be far from being converted to Christ at His coming and will have very little regard for the teachings of the Master. Are not the facts in harmony with the Scripture prophecies? In spite of all the missionary efforts put forth, there are more than double the number of heathen in the world today than there were a century ago, according to the latest compiled missionary statistics! What are the conditions in Christendom so-called? There are far more bloodshed, wars, crimes, greed and graft than in all the heathen lands combined! Christians may well pray, "Thy Kingdom come," for that is the only hope for the world.
ANSWERThe theory of reincarnation is nowhere taught in the Scriptures. Our Lord Jesus and the Apostles never, in all their teachings, said a word about reincarnation. As to the meaning of the Savior's words referred to in the question, we recognize that He was calling to mind the prophecy of Mal. 4:5,6. John the Baptist was one of the greatest of the Prophets, and it was his mission to prepare the way of the Messiah, the Christ, by performing a reformation work in preaching repentance and baptism for the remission of sins and declaring the Kingdom of Heaven at hand. This message was to the Jews and to them only as they had been the Lord's chosen people for many centuries. But now a new dispensation was about to be ushered in. The Kingdom of Heaven was at hand! And it was John's mission to prepare the people for the new order of things. This he did in the power and spirit of Elijah. (Luke 1:16,17) We know positively that John was not Elijah for we have his own testimony on the subject: "And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elijah? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that Prophet? And he answered, No." (John 1:21)
Q817:2 QUESTIONSince the Apostle clearly explains in 1 Cor. 15:35-38, that the body will not be resurrected, what does he mean when he says: "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption," etc. (1 Cor. 15:42-44) What is meant by the expression, "it"? What is resurrected?
ANSWERWe answer that "it" is the soul that is restored or resuscitated. What was it that died? The Scripture reply is: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." The living, intelligent, sentient being is to be raised up by Divine power in the time of resurrection"when all who are in their graves shall come forth." A phonograph with recording cylinder, furnishes an excellent illustration of the resurrection. The cylinder placed in the machine will have impressions formed upon it by sounds produced by the voice or by some other means. After the cylinder has received its full impression, it is laid away and preserved for some years while the phonograph is destroyed. By and by the cylinder is taken from its place and put into a new phonograph where the original sounds are reproduced. Thus it is with the individual. His character is formed by the impressions received in the daily experiences of life. His body corresponds to the machine. In course of time he dies. The body is destroyed and the character or identity is preserved by the Lordwe know not how nor where. In the resurrection the character (wax cylinder) will be placed in a new body (machine) and the original thoughts, memory, etc., will be reproduced. A fine "record" will be placed in a high-class machine. A poor record (if not destroyed because of worthlessness) will be placed in a lower grade instrument.
ANSWERThe matter of exterminating dogs and cats is being agitated in some of the large cities as it is claimed that these animals transmit disease germs and more or less endanger the lives of the people in various other ways. Mr. A's dog may be highly thought of in the family circle and yet be a nuisance to Mr. B. And Mr. B's cat may be inclined to make night hideous for Mr. A. We cannot imagine a bull pup or a rat terrier trotting up and down the golden streets of the New Jerusalem; or some antiquated tom cat crawling around the glittering spires of the Holy City. Indeed, the Bibleafter describing the City and mentioning those who will be privileged to enter itsays that "without are dogs." (Rev. 22:15) And St Peter tells of "the natural brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed." (2 Peter 2:12) There is nothing in the Bible indicating the resurrection of animals.
ANSWERThe Bible is the only book in all the earth that does teach a general resurrection of the dead. In the first place, it sets forth that the dead are dead and not alive; and that because they are dead a resurrection is necessary to make them alive. If alive already, there could be no resurrection. The Scriptures teach that the entire race was condemned to death because of Adam's transgression. (1 Cor. 15:21,22; Rom. 5:12,18,19) In the following Scriptures it is declared in unmistakable terms that Jesus Christ, as the Savior of the world, died for "all," every man." (1 Tim. 2:5,6; Heb. 2:2,9; 1 John 2:2) This last citation shows, beyond all controversy, that Christ is the "propitiation"satisfactionnot only for "our sins," the Church's sins, but also for the sins of the whole world. Because of the "ransom for all," the hour is coming in the which all who are in their graves shall come forth at the voice of the Son of man (John 5:28,29), the righteous to an immediate raising up to life, and the evil to a gradual raising up (resurrection) by judgment. The Apostle elsewhere affirms a general resurrection. (See Acts 24:15)
ANSWERThere are two resurrections mentioned in the Scriptures: the resurrection of the just and the unjust. (John 5:28,29; Acts 24:15.) The just or righteousthe Church of Christ gathered out from among the nations during this Christian Eraare to experience a special resurrection. This is referred to in the Scriptures as the "first" or chief resurrection: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection . . . these shall be kings and [Page Q819] priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years." (Rev. 20:6.) These are to reign on the earth (Rev. 5:10) over the world of mankind, who will have been awakened from the tomb by the Lord at His second coming. The object of this reign is to resurrect, or raise up the fallen race of humanity by judgments to a condition of righteousness, perfection and life. When all the willing and obedient have attained to perfect life at the conclusion of the thousand years, they will continue to inhabit the earth throughout eternity, for the earth will have been restored to the Edenic conditions that prevailed when Adam was placed in the Garden. The earth will abide forever, as God formed it to be inhabited, and He assures us that the place of His feet shall be made glorious. The Church will experience a resurrection to spiritual, heavenly conditions; the world, aside from the Church, is to be resurrected to human perfection and life.
Q819:1 QUESTIONSince the Bible teaches a general awakening of all who have died and since in all probability the majority of the race of mankind will be saved and inasmuch as they are to live upon the earthhow will it be possible to provide the necessities of life, food, etc., for the billions of humanity that will be on the earth when all are resurrectedparticularly in view of the fact that with the present population of the earth1,600,000,000millions are on the verge of want and starvation? (Anxious)
ANSWERA careful and liberal estimate of the number of all the people who have lived upon the earth from the time of the creation of the first man down to the present would be about 20,000,000,000. If three-fourths of these should attain eternal life (doubtless a liberal estimate), it would signify that 15,000,000,000 would have to be provided for. The area of the earth's surface included within the temperate zone is over 102,000,000 square miles. This would afford each individual more than four and one-half acres of surface in which to rove about. When it is reflected that the "desert is to bloom and blossom as the rose" and the "earth is to yield her increase," producing spontaneously the fruits and flowers instead of the thorns, briars and weeds and that in all probability the seas and oceans will be greatly diminished, thus increasing the land area, it can be readily seen that it would be a simple matter for the Creator to arrange for the bountiful provision of the necessities of life for all mankind. A great deal of the want and deprivation experienced by the race now is caused by selfishness as there is sufficient produced to supply the needs of all. In that time, selfishness will be eradicated from the human heart.
ANSWERThe 15th Chapter of 1 Corinthians (1 Cor. 15) is an inspired treatise on the topic of the resurrection. In it the Apostle sets forth practically every phase and point relating [Page Q820] to this momentous subject. He begins by giving a synopsis of the Gospel in a few brief words: "How that Christ died for our sins . . . and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day." He then names the witnesses to attest the fact of Christ's resurrection. In the 11-17 verses, he affirms and emphasizes the fact of Christ's resurrection. The 18th verse contains a statement that nearly all Christian people have overlooked or misunderstood. If Christ was not put to death and resurrected, "Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished!" "Perished" means destroyed or annihilated. Let no one advance the absurd idea that the Apostle was referring to the bodies of those who had "fallen asleep," for the bodies of all perish and disintegrate into dust. But he had reference to the individual, the being, the soul. "The soul that sinneth it shall die." (Eze. 18:4) Because Christ died for all, all are coming forth from the tomb. What comes forththe body? Let the Apostle answer: "O senseless man! that which thou sowest is not made alive except it die; and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body which shall be . . . so also is the resurrection . . . it is sown a natural body, it (the soul) is raised a spiritual body (or being). Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (therefore) we shall be changed . . . at the last trump... the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed." (1 Cor. 15:35-53)
ANSWERThere is not a single word in this much discussed parable about the Rich Man being a wicked man or the Poor Man being a good man. Therefore, in answer to the question, it could be positively stated that there is nothing said about the wicked going to eternal torment at death. To interpret the story literally just as it reads, as so many are prone to do who believe in the theory of eternal torment for nearly every one but themselves, involves one in a number of absurdities. It would signify that all who are clad in purple and fine linen and who fare sumptuously every day, are at death to be placed in a furnace of fire and tormented. It would also mean that unless we were poverty stricken beggars, the companion of dogs, full of sores, and fed on crumbs at some rich man's back gate, we would never be able to wing our flight to Abraham's bosom when we departed this life. Poor Abraham would experience considerable difficulty in clasping all of the poor to his expansive bosom! The parable, rightly understood, does not in the remotest degree teach the monstrous doctrine of eternal torment.
Q820:2 QUESTIONConceding that "Dives and Lazarus" is a parable, representing the Jews' and the Gentiles' positions of favor and disfavor during this Christian Age, the question [Page Q821] arises concerning the figure itself: (a) Is it not a well- known fact that or Lord used everyday occurrences and things to make up the various figures and "dark sayings" (sheep, goats, seed, sower, harvest, reaper, stewards, etc.)? (b) Then why did Lazarus die to be carried to Abraham's bosom? Why must the "Rich Man" be alive in torment when he is DEAD? If "hell" is a place of "forgetfulness," why did the "Rich Man" remember his "five brothers?" Lastly, if the Lord knew of such a place, why did He picture Dives in the hell of Dante's Infernoeven for the sake of a figure? (T.E.)
ANSWERThe Scriptures were written and arranged in such a way by the Lord, through the inspired writers that they could not be understood excepting by those who would come into harmony with Him by faith and obedience. The Lord is pleased to enlighten His children by the operation of the holy spirit through His Divine purposes. It is related of our Lord Jesus, that in all of His teachings He addressed the multitudes in parables and dark sayings and then afterwards explained them to His disciples. (Mark 4:11,33,34) The parable of "The Rich Man and the Poor Man" is a remarkable prophecy of conditions relating to the Jews and the Gentiles and, we believe, could have been stated in no other way without disclosing the realities which was evidently intended by the Lord should remain disguised or concealed from the world in general and whose real significance would be known only by His devoted followers. The entire book of Revelation is composed of prophecies thus concealed in signs, symbols and figures.
ANSWERYes, the Bible does give the reason. On the principle that a skiff rowed against the stream is twice as likely to be bumped into by logs and debris as if it were floating down stream, even so, the man who strives against selfishness and sin has a harder fight. The natural tendency of the world is downward. The Christian finds as the Redeemer said, that "Strait (difficult) is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth to life, and few there be that find it." (Mat. 7:14.) The Lord permits the Christian to have adverse experiences that his character may be developed. Willingness to brave opposition indicates a character pleasing to the Lord. Weak Christians become discouraged with these experiences, but strong Christians grow stronger in the Lord and develop strong characters. It is to the faithful Christian that God has given the promise of joint-heirship with Jesus in His Kingdom. To such He says, "We might through much tribulation enter the Kingdom of God." (Acts. 14:22)
ANSWERIn the prophetic language of the Scriptures, the condition of the race of mankind throughout its entire history in sin and ignorance, suffering and death, is likened to a dark night time. "Darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people" is the Prophet's declaration. Truly it has been a fearful time of darkness in which mankind has been groping for the better things which instinctively all realize do not exist at this time but must come somehow, somewhere. And in this dreadful night time how many have dreamed fearful dreams, having the awful nightmare of eternal torment before their minds! But, thank God, the Scriptures represent that a day is approaching, "The Day of the Lord," in the dawning of which all the shadows of ignorance and prejudice shall roll away. The Psalmist, in poetic expressions, portrays the transition from the darkness of the night to the glorious radiance of the day. "Weeping may endure for a night; but joy cometh in the morning." Yes, it is to be a joyous time for the world when all shall be enlightened concerning the goodness of the Creator and when sorrow and sighing; suffering and death shall be no more. The "Sun of Righteousness" will be formed of the members of the Church of Christ, as the Lord Jesus declared, "The righteous shall shine as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father." (Mat. 13:43) It shall arise with "healing in its beams" in the sense that the Church together with her Lord will be manifested in power and great glory to all the world and will illuminate the whole earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Father which will result in the healing and blessing of all the families, kindred, and nations of the earth. It is no wonder that the "whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the Sons of God"this glorious Sun of Righteousness. (Rom. 8:22,19)
ANSWERThe term "regenerated" is equivalent to the expression of "being born again." There are but two places in the Scriptures where the expression "regeneration" occurs. In Titus 3:5, it is used to represent the reforming and justifying influences of faith in the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ; and again in Matthew 19:28, where it is used to represent that glorious moral, social, political, religious, and physical change which will be introduced by the Messiah who says, "Behold, I make all things new." (Rev. 21:5) The process of regeneration is now going on in the experiences of the members of the Church of Christthe Christians. These have been begotten of the Spirit and must grow and develop as "new creatures," and will be born of the Spirit in the resurrection when as glorious spirit beings they will be invisible and powerful and can then go and come as the wind. (John 3:8) In the regeneration of the world, after the Church has experienced the new birth, the race will be restored to its primitive conditions of perfection and life as represented in Adam in the Garden of Eden"The Times of Restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy Prophets." (Acts 3:19-21)
ANSWERIf we were disposed to accept this as a literal statement, we might well do as the old Spanish explorer, Ponce De Leon, didsearch for the Fountain of Perpetual Youth! And we might have the consoling thought that surely there would be enough water in this river of the water of life to put out all the fires of the "lake of fire and brimstone" mentioned in the eighth verse of the preceding chapter! Dispensing with absurdities, we recognize that a wonderful symbolical picture is here presented to our mental gazea gloriously beautiful city of vast proportions and all of gold and precious stones, reflecting the radiance of the marvelous light that glows within and which emanates from that great Being who is the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, the Almighty God! And forth from the street of gold, there flows this lovely river whose waters are as clear as crystal and whose banks are adorned with trees "whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations!" The city is "the Bride, the Lamb's Wife," the Church of Christ glorified. The river is the stream of truth and not the muddy waters of the traditions of men that shall flow from the Church when it is complete and highly exalted. The Lord had promised that whoever would drink of the water (the truth) that He should give, it would make of him "a well of water springing up into eternal life." (John 4:14) These wells or springs of water have been in course of development throughout this Christian Era and when they are all brought togetherthe 144,000 mentioned in the 7th and 14th chapters there will be formed a mighty flow of truth, of which all the nations will be invited to partake. The Spirit and the Bride will then say, Come, and whosoever is athirst may come and partake of the Waters of Life freely. (Rev. 22:17)