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Month: September 2016

Eternal Torment? Part 1

Eternal Torment? Part 1

eternal-torment-2

The following scriptures are (in part) those which are generally relied upon by some who believe in the doctrine of Hell as a place of fire and eternal torment. Let us examine such to see if this be true.

We begin with Matt 3:11, 12

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire: whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

In order to properly understand this statement by the prophet John the Baptist it is necessary first to have a broader view of the picture, and of who or what specifically the Prophet meant by the “wheat” and the “chaff”.

We find the answer we seek in our Lord’s explanation of the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, here the Lord explains,

“The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.”

“The Jewish age ended with a “harvest,” our Lord and the apostles doing the work of reaping fruit, the seed of which had been sown by Moses and the prophets. “Lift up your eyes (said Jesus), and look on the fields, for they are white already to harvest.” “I send you forth to reap that whereon ye have bestowed no labor: other men labored (Moses and the prophets), and ye are entered into their labors.” (John 4:35-38) The end of the Gospel age is also called a harvest–“The harvest is the end of the world” (age). “In the time of harvest, I will say to the reapers, Gather first the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matt. 13:39, 30

“John foretold the work and effect of the Jewish harvest, saying (Matt. 3:12), “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat [Israelites indeed] into the garner [the Christian Church]; but he will burn up the chaff [the refuse of the nation] with unquenchable fire“–(a trouble which consumed them nationally). Here was the baptism of the Holy Spirit and of fire— the Holy Spirit coming upon the “Israelites indeed” at Pentecost, and the fire of trouble upon all others, during the thirty-seven years following their rejection. (Matt. 3:11) In that trouble Israel as a nation was destroyed, but not as individuals. The Revelator likewise tells of the harvesting of this age with the sharp sickle of truth, because the time to reap is come, and shows a double work, part of which relates to the vine of the earth (Rev 14:18), as distinguished from the true vine of the Father’s planting, Christ Jesus and his members or branches. (Rev 14:15; John 15:1-6).

The harvest of this age is said to be of “wheat and tares” (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-39): that of the Jewish age was called one of “wheat and chaff”. And as the chaff predominated largely there, the analogy and parallelism so marked in every other feature implies that the tares will be much more abundant than the wheat here in this harvest.

The Jewish harvest was in all a period of forty years, beginning with our Lord’s ministry and ending with nominal Israel’s rejection and overthrow, and the destruction of their city, accomplished by the Romans, A.D. 70.” (B234)

Thus understood we see that the first scriptures cited (Matt 3:11,12) is in reference to the separation work accomplished by our Lord, at his first advent, of the Jewish people, the true Israelites indeed (wheat) being separated from the balance of that nation, the refuse or (chaff). The wheat class, the faithful were “gathered into the garner” i.e. The Christian Church by the begetting of the Holy Spirit from Pentecost onward. Whereas the unfaithful the remainder of that nation (chaff) were baptized with “UNQUENCHABLE FIRE” not literal, but symbolic fire, the great fire (trouble) of religious and political contention which destroyed the Jewish nation. It was stated as “UNQUENCHABLE FIRE” in the sense that it was the divine intention that the nation should be consumed, and it was not in the power of the ablest of the statesmen and rulers to prevent this. The Jews were powerless to avert the catastrophe. “Wrath is come upon this people to the uttermost.” (1 Thess. 2:16)

As it was in the “harvest” of the “Jewish age” so shall it be in the “harvest” of the “Gospel age” only on a larger scale. The sequence of events however shall be similar (Matt 13:30), first comes the separation work, this accomplished by the reapers (His servants, begotten of his spirit, just as it was at the end of the Jewish age, John 4:35-38), and this is accomplished through the use of the sharp sickle of truth, the two edged sword, the Word of God. It is the truth that is now determining whether or not one is a “true” follower of the Lord (wheat) or whether they are of the (tares). Those who are rightly exercised are being separated from those who are merely professing Christians (nominal) “having a form of godliness but denying its power…” 2 Tim 3:5, having “a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge (truth).” Rom 10:2.

Another text supposedly to teach the doctrine of Hell as a place of fire and eternal torment is,

Matt 13: 41, 42  “The Son of man shall send forth his angels (Servants or messengers, begotten of his spirit), and they shall gather out of his kingdom ALL THINGS (errors, falsehoods, deceptions) THAT OFFEND, and THEM (that cause others to stumble, including many teachers and ministers) WHICH DO INIQUITY (teach false doctrines); And shall cast them into A FURNACE OF FIRE (the “Great time of Trouble”, this fire is as much a symbol as are the tares, the wheat and the garner, do not forget that this is a “parable”): there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

The expression “weeping and gnashing of teeth” occurs altogether seven times in the New Testament. It is used as a metaphor describing trouble, distress, perplexity and persecution. The “wailing” or commotion is a result of the separation work even now taking place between the wheat and the tares, as the true class (wheat) is drawn to the truth, and thereby established in truth, the false class (tares) continue to clutch onto the “doctrines of men” esteeming errors as truth, thereby the commotion or “wailing”.

The “gnashing of teeth” represents great disappointment, sorrow, pain, trouble and anguish throughout Christendom “Men’s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” (Luke 21:26)

This “gnashing of teeth” signifies the chagrin, (disappointment) and savage animosity brought about by “brother turning against brother” (Matt 10:21) as those professed Christians (tares) turn and rend their brethren, the true followers of the Lord. As it was in the case of Stephen, “They gnashed on him with their teethActs 7:54. With a wicked condition of heart; the words of Stephen were to them stings, rebukes, arousing their hatred to a pitch of frenzy.

Part of this work of separating is also in the “binding” of the tares, As the Jews failed to recognize the binding and blinding influences which came upon them, so nominal Christians today fail to see the features of the “harvest” work now in progress. They are bound by human traditions and by a worldly spirit, bound tightly by their own prejudices, and their own preconceived ideas as to what is truth. They are also bound by the impression that it is essential to their salvation to be joined to some one of the various churches of Christendom–it matters little to which one–thus combining the idea of individual responsibility with sectarian bondage.

As it was with regards to the faithful of the Jewish age so it is with the faithful of the Gospel age they are being “gathered into the garner (or barn)”, the True Church, The Church of Christ, their names being written in heaven, not upon any earthly roll call, “Gather my saints together unto me…” (Psa. 50:5) Not into another denomination or sect, but gathered to Christ, into oneness with him, in fellowship of spirit through the knowledge of his Word.

Continued with next post.

The True Baptism, Part 1

The True Baptism, Part 1

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WE remind you from our previous post entitled, “John’s Baptism” that the baptism of John was not the baptism that is enjoined upon us– baptism into Christ. I remind you that our Lord’s baptism could not have been the baptism unto repentance, which our “Disciple” friends claim; it could not have been the baptism for the remission of sins. That was John’s baptism, as is most unequivocally stated in the Scriptures. Of our Lord it is said, in Him was not sin; “He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners.” When He came to John the latter at first refused upon this score, our Lord however replied nevertheless, “Suffer it to be so now.”

Why was John reluctant to baptize our Lord? Because his was a baptism for the remission of sins, and he knew well right that our Lord was without sin, that it was he who should have been baptized by our Lord not the reverse.

Our Lord however was indicating that what He was about to do was something distinctly new, but it was not appropriate at that time to explain it to John. He did not dispute John’s argument, but nevertheless insisted on being baptized anyway.

Incidentally we remark, for the benefit of our Baptist friends, that He was not baptized into the Church of Christ, either, for there was no Church of Christ as yet. The Church of Christ, “which is His body,” was not established until Pentecost. Besides this, it was eminently proper that the head should precede the body, and that they, the members, should be gathered to Him, the head.

Our Lord’s baptism, therefore, should be considered the beginning of a new institution in every sense of the word. It represented in symbol the consecration He made at that time, as He began His three and a half years of ministry. He consecrated His life — even unto death — even the death of the cross, and His baptism into water, His burial, there symbolized this laying down, immersion, burial of “the Man Christ Jesus, a ransom for all.” His raising up from the water symbolized His resurrection from death on the third day after Calvary. In the dying He represented the sacrificed bullock of the Jewish Atonement Day. In the rising from the water He represented the anti-typical High Priest, who thenceforth went into the holiest, there to appear in the presence of God for us. Heb 9:24. Hence, Paul refers to this transaction and quoted as applicable to Jesus the words of the prophet: “Lo, I come; in the volume of the Book it is written of me to do Thy will, O my God.” Psa 11:7-8. There, said the Apostle, “He takes away the first that He might establish the second.” That is to say, at the time of His baptism, at the beginning of His ministry, began the setting aside ofthe first” — the typical atonement sacrifices, and the establishment (or fulfilment) of “the second,” the antitypical (or real sacrifice for sin). He himself being represented by the bullock of the atonement day sacrifices mentioned in Lev 16.

So, then, our Lord’s baptism in water was not His real baptism, but merely a symbol or picture of it. His real baptism was into death and His real raising up was His resurrection. He was “put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit.” 1 Pet 3:18. Keep this thought in mind while we examine what the Scriptures say respecting the church’s baptism.

I call your attention to a passage of Scripture quoted by my opponent — the passage of all passages in the Bible relied upon by Baptists and Disciples as most distinctly setting forth the importance of water immersion (Rom 6:3-5). I will quote it: “Know you not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore, we are buried with Him by baptism into His death; that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For, if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.”

From this passage my opponent, Disciples and Baptists in general gather the thought that water immersion is all-important, really necessary, to relationship with Christ.

I wish to call your attention, dear friends, to the fact that nothing in this Scripture passage says one word about water baptism. I will proceed to show you that this text, generally supposed by our friends to refer to water baptism, has no reference to it at all, but refers instead to the same kind of a baptism that our Lord had — a baptism into death. You will understand that we are not combating water baptism, for we believe that it is enjoined in the Scriptures, as we have already stated, but we recognize it as merely a symbol — a picture of the real baptism — just as our Lord’s baptism in the waters of Jordan was not His actual death and resurrection, but a symbol of His death and resurrection. That which He symbolized in water He had already done in His heart, as the prophet declares: “Lo, I come, in the volume it is written, to do Thy will, O my God.” His full surrender had already taken place, and during the three and a half years of His earthly ministry He was laying down His life in His preaching, in His journeying and in His healing of the sick, when “virtue” or life went out from Him to heal others. And His laying down of His life He completed at Calvary; it was then that His baptism was finished. Note that this is our Lord’s own explanation of the matter. Just before His crucifixion He said “My soul is exceeding sorrowful — even unto death. I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straightened until it be accomplished.” It was accomplished the very next day, when, on the cross, our Master cried: “it is finished.” (John 19:30.) What was finished? His sacrifice was finished. His baptism into death was finished.

Now, my dear friends and brethren, you have before your minds what constituted the baptism of Christ, and see how the water symbol represented it, and I ask you to notice that this is exactly what the apostle says respecting the baptism of the Church of Christ, “which is His body,” “members in particular.” The apostle urges that you and I, and all who would be members of the body of Christ in glory, all who would share with Him in His resurrection must share with Him in His deathmust be baptized into His Death. Now let me read this passage of Scripture with comments: “Know you not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ was baptized into His death?” What is it to be baptized into Jesus Christ? Our Disciple friends and our Baptist friends view this as being a water baptism, but, my dear friends, one is baptized in the water every time he takes a bath, and many are baptized into water who are not baptized into Christ, and the text says nothing about water anyway. Surely everyone can see that it is one thing to be baptized into water, and another matter entirely to be “baptized into Jesus Christ.” The expression into Jesus Christ” signifies “membership in the body of Christ,” which is the church.

Keep before your minds the thought that our Lord Jesus is to be the appointed King of the world, who will shortly take His great power and reign, but meantime, according to the divine plan, a bride-class is to be selected for Him from among those that have been redeemed by His precious blood. This same class is elsewhere spoken of as under-priests, brethren and again as members in particular of the body of Christ. Using the figure of “members,” the apostle says, the hand can-not say to the foot, I have no need of thee.

When the whole membership of this body of Christ shall have been gathered out of the world and glorified in the first resurrection, it will never be added to; therefore no further chance of gaining membership in it will be offered. Hence the apostle says: “Now is the acceptable time(2 Cor 6:2).

Now is the time when God is willing to accept some into membership into this body of Christ and the terms or conditions upon which He will accept them is that, they shall walk in His footsteps, be baptized with His baptism into death. Those who will do so will be accepted as the very elect. Those who fear to do so will fail to be of the very elect, fail to make their calling and election sure. (2 Pet 1:10). What we have just stated is what the Apostle mentions in the very next sentence, namely: that baptism into Jesus Christ, into membership in the anointed body is baptism into His death. All such make a consecration unto death, after the same manner that our Lord consecrated His life at the beginning of His ministry. This is urged by the apostle in so many words in this same epistle, Rom 12:1 — “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God and your reasonable service.”

There Are Two Priesthoods

In a word, there are two priesthoods — the one a sacrificing priesthood, the other a glorious priesthood. Aaron and his sons, during the Jewish dispensation, typified the sacrificing priesthood, as did Christ in the flesh and all the under priesthood, the body of Christ in the flesh, and, as the apostle says, all such priests were ordained to offer sacrifices, and whoever fails to offer sacrifices is not fulfilling this function of this priestly office. By nature we have nothing to present, being sinners, but our Lord’s death being imputed to us, we are counted as justified by faith, and as such we have something to offer in sacrifice, namely, our justified selves. Therefore, says the apostle, I beseech you, brethren; present your bodies, holy and acceptable which is your reasonable service.

The priesthood of glory is not to be the Aaronic priesthood of sacrificing priests, but the Melchizedek priesthood, Melchizedek typifying the glorified priest, head and body, “a priest upon his throne.” So the Scriptures tell us that our calling as the church, the body of Christ, is to membership in the royal priesthood, and our Lord assures us those who are faithful in the priesthood of the present time (the antitypical Aaronic priesthood), that is in their work of sacrifice as members of His body, will be accorded a place in the Melchizedek priesthood of glory, the privilege of sitting with Him in His throne, they shall reign with Him a thousand years (Rev 20:6).

Note the next verse Rom 6:4 — “Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death.” What does the “therefore” refer to? Answer? To the statement of the preceding verse, that we would want to be immersed into Jesus Christ, into membership in the body of the anointed, not merely the body of humiliation (the sacrificing body), but specially the body of glory. This is our reason for desiring to be united to Christ by baptism into His death. And all such as will share with Him by and by will give evidence in the present life of this great change by the sacrifices of the justified earthly nature in the interest of membership in the spiritual body of Christ. As the apostle proceeds to say: “Like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” And this newness of life, if persisted in, will ultimately mean to us the resurrection change and its perfection of life, its crown of life, which the apostle said shall be granted at our Lord’s second coming, not only to Him, but to all who are in this proper attitude, those who love His appearing.”

Continued with next post.

The True Baptism, Part 2

The True Baptism, Part 2

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The Stronghold or Gibraltar of the Baptist and Disciple’s

“Concerning the next verse (Rom 6:5), which has seemed to so many to strongly emphasize their position respecting the matter of water baptism: “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.” How many “Baptists” and “Disciples” have considered this verse a very Gibraltar for their faith! They state that their baptism into water was their “planting” in the likeness of Christ’s death, and then reason from this that surely they shall also be in His likeness in the resurrection. But, dear friends, that interpretation is all wrong. That verse has no reference whatever to water baptism, and any who have been deceiving themselves along that line should take it kindly that they be awakened from such delusive hopes.

Think for a moment what it would mean if we applied it to water baptism. It would imply that any one buried into water in the (symbolic) likeness of Christ’s death would surely be likewise in His resurrection. That would be a very cheap guarantee to a place in the kingdom and joint heirship with our Lord — simply water baptism. Surely, dear friends, you know very many who perform the symbol, the water picture of Christ’s death, who have never shown any particularly saintly qualities nor manifested as much of the development of the fruits and graces of the spirit, nor that the love of God was shed abroad in their hearts, nor that they were in any sense of the word of the elect, who are declared to be, in heart at least, “copies of God’s dear Son” (Rom 8:29.)

Alas, my dear friends, those who hope to get a place in the kingdom, to sit with the Lord in His throne, merely through an immersion in water; who believe that baptism is the door into the church, which is the body of Christ, and the guarantee of a part with Him in His millennial reign, will be sadly mistaken. We wish to assist in awakening all the wise virgins from the lethargy which misunderstandings of God’s Word have induced. As the apostle says: “It is high time to awaken out of sleep, for now is our salvation, nearer than when we first believed.” It is getting nearer every day; whether, as claimed by Brother White, there is a thousand years’ millennium in between us and that glorious event, or whether, as we believe and teach, our Lord’s manifestation in glory is nigh, even at the door.

Permit me to show you that this verse is in full harmony with the preceding verses, and does not in the remotest degree refer to water immersion, but does in its every particular refer to immersion into Christ’s death — to our fellowship with Christ in His sufferings of this present time, to the extent that we may also be glorified with Him.

A Mischievous Mistranslation

This expression, “planted together,” is a mistranslation which has caused a considerable amount of the prevalent confusion. It should read thus: “For if we have been united with Him in the likeness of His death we shall be also (united with Him) in his resurrection.” Nor is this my own unsupported translation. You will find it thus rendered in the Revised Version, the translators of which held nothing in common with our interpretation of the passage.

This increased force, or meaning, in respect to the thought of baptism, may be startling to some, and I trust that it will be sufficiently startling to lead you to a fresh examination of the whole subject, and to make sure that you have the right baptism which the Lord will be pleased to reward with a share in His kingdom and glory and in the likeness of His son.

I remind you that our Lord with His own lips gave this interpretation to baptism. Two of His most zealous disciples, James and John, were brought by their mother to Jesus, with the request, “Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand and the other on Thy left, in Thy kingdom. And Jesus answered and said, ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able (willing) to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Matt 20:20-22.) Let us note particularly that our Lord could not have referred here to water baptism, for these two disciples had been with John before our Lord’s ministry began, and, again, as Jesus’s representatives, they baptized multitudes (John 4:1-2). Oh, no, dear friends; unquestionably the word referred to their share in the baptism of death, just as we have already shown you He spoke of His own baptism into death as being not yet accomplished.

The symbol (water baptism) was in the past; the actuality (his true baptism) was nearly ended, but was not to be finished until Calvary, So too with regards to your baptism and mine into Christ’s death, by which we became identified with Him and counted as members of His body. It began at the time you made a full consecration of your life with no reservation. It will continue day by day (a “living sacrifice”), for, as the apostle says, we are to “die daily” (1 Cor 15:31.) It will finish when you have made a completion of your course with joy and the sacrifices wholly consumed upon the Lord’s altar. In a word, the road to heavenly royalty is through faithfulness to the Lord, to the truth; to the brethren, to the degree of one’s suffering and death.

If we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him; if we be dead with Him we shall also live with Him.” Let us not forget the conditions. It is because the Lord is seeking this little elect company, as the bride of Christ and joint heir of His son, that He has invited us, and the necessities of the case make the way a narrow one — so narrow that those who love the world, or father or mother or houses or lands or wife or children more than they love the Lord, will not be counted worthy of Him, and those who are ashamed of Him and His word of such would He be ashamed.

Hence, as our Lord’s faithfulness was tested by His being misunderstood, misrepresented, so it will be with His disciples, for the disciple is not above His Lord. And, again, as the apostle declares, “The world knows us not (understands us not, appreciates us not), even as it knew Him not”.

I remind you again, however, dear friends that both by our Lord’s example and the teachings of the apostles, it is both our privilege and duty to symbolize our consecration to death by a water baptism, in which the administrator represents the Lord. As the candidate gives himself into the hands of the administrator to be buried, and then to be raised, so in our consecration we realize our own insufficiency to either sacrifice our-selves or to bury ourselves in any sense of the word, and we give ourselves and our cause into the hands of our Redeemer, who promises us that He will see to our having the experiences necessary, so long as our hearts are in full consecration to Him, and if we are thus faithful unto death He will raise us up at the last day, the millennial day. (John 6:40)

It was thus with the two disciples to whom the Lord spoke. He said: “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” Evidently meaning: “Are you willing to take of the cup and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They said: “Yea, Lord, we are willing.” And Jesus said: “Ye shall in-deed drink of my cup, and be baptized with my baptism, but whether you shall sit on the right hand and left hand is not for me to give. That shall be given to the one who is faithful, by my Father.” But let us see the point the Lord was guaranteeing: He promised these disciples their seat in the Kingdom if they should prove faithful. They wanted to be near their Lord in the Kingdom. He told them the conditions on which they could be in the Kingdom. They could only be in the Kingdom by being baptized with His baptism — the baptism He was baptized with. Not a baptism for a remission of sins (water baptism as practiced by John), for, as we have already seen, Jesus had no sins to wash away. No one, I think, would claim that He had sins to wash away. Therefore we know he was not referring to water baptism.

I think it will give encouragement, dear friends, too, when we feel the great importance of this matter; when we see that the Lord says that anyone who will be His disciple must be prepared to take up His cross and follow Him, or he cannot be His disciple.

This would be impossible were it not that the Lord hells as His grace is sufficient for us. He tells us when we present ourselves for baptism we are thus putting ourselves in His hands. We are laying the matter in His hands. He undertakes to do for us as represented by the administrator in the symbolical water baptism; being buried with Him. He will raise us up by His power in the resurrection. What a glorious thing that we can indeed put our little all into the hands of glorious Master and realize it is sufficient where we are insufficient. But He requires that we shall have the right spirit in the matter; that we shall be full of desire to be baptized in His death, and that those who will not so desire cannot have a share with Him in His kingdom.

With this view of the Scriptural teaching on the subject of baptism, that membership in the body of Christ is gained through a full consecration unto death, you will perceive, dear friends, that there have been, and may be now, many Christian people in or out of the various denominations who have had this, the real baptism into Christ’s death, and, therefore, been acceptable to Him as members of the church in glory — the Melchizedek priesthood.

There might be many Methodists or Lutherans who had never been immersed in water because of ignorance, through some misunderstanding, perhaps, as we have heard this evening enough to turn people away from the Bible altogether and all thought of God and all thought of immersion. That is the difficulty with our friends, the Presbyterians and the Methodist de-nomination. They cannot stand preaching of this kind — that if they are not immersed in water they cannot get a place in the resurrection. We can see how they may have the real baptism of consecration. Such we advise that their ignorance of the symbol has not worked a vitiation of their true baptism, but that so soon as their eyes open to see the proper symbol of death which the Lord has appointed in an immersion in water, the duty and responsibility of obedience will be upon them; and thereafter they shall not expect to make further progress in growth, in grace and knowledge and character-likeness of the Lord, or preparation for the Kingdom, except as they shall yield obedience also to the outward form of water baptism. For, if their consecration unto death be genuine, nothing stands in the way of performing the symbol of this after they have realized the symbol to be the will of the Lord and the teaching of His word.

On the other hand, I suggest to all who find them-selves deficient in the fruits of the spirit of love, joy, peace, Christ-likeness of character, that they make diligent inquiry within as to whether there is a possibility that theirs was merely the baptism of John and not the baptism into Christ’s death. And if they shall so find, my advice would be that they lose no time, but present their bodies living sacrifices to God, holy and acceptable through Christ, and their reasonable service; and that subsequently they symbolize this great transaction and consider that any baptism previously was merely a misunderstood form, of no value whatever.”

(Extracts taken from Pastor Russell’s remarks concerning Baptism during the Russell / White debate as found in the 1908 Cincinnati Ohio Bible Students Convention Report)

 

 

 

The Permission of Evil

The Permission of Evil

The Permission of Evil

“And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task (the present experience under the dominion of sin, the permission of evil), God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised (that is through experience they might learn the bitter consequences of sin).” Eccl 1:13

The following subject is one which has left many of the Lord’s children both troubled and perplexed, often times leaving them at a total loss for words when questioned by the sincere skeptic or non-believer, and even more so by the poor bereaved soul who has just lost a loved one.

“Why if God is Love, why does he not do something about the evil in this world, why does he continue to allow all the suffering and pain in this world? If it is true that justice is the foundation of his throne, then one would think that a just and loving God would be compelled by justice if not love alone to act, to put an end to the reign of evil infesting this world, evil which befalls both the good and bad alike?

Why does he allow evil in the first place?

Without knowing the true reasons behind God’s purpose, many of his children in reply vainly attempt to justify his actions (or inaction’s) only to add to the general skepticism and discredit of the Holy Scriptures.

Therefore let us seek, that we may known, knock that it might be opened unto us.

On our blog under “Pages” you will find amongst other valuable subjects a very through and positive answer to this question, one which we believe will thoroughly satisfied those who’s hearts are perplexed over this question and who’s desire it is to know the truth.

John’s Baptism

John’s Baptism

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Many Christians while seeking to hold fast to the Scripture and to be guided by their expression have unconsciously fallen into serious error through not discerning the dispensational changes that came about when the favor to the Jewish nation ended at the death of Christ, and when a new dispensation, a new age under new conditions, was then ushered in.

The baptism of John, the baptism to which our dear friends so frequently refer, was never meant for the Christian age. John, as our Lord declares, was the last of the prophets, and was sent to the Jewish people and preached to them alone, and his message would not have been appropriate to any others.

Let us review the situation. The Jews did not practice baptism. The whole nation was recognized as baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud. John’s mission in the end of their age was to prepare for Messiah, to arouse the people to thought on the subject, to lead them to a renouncement of their sins against the law, and to a reformation of life. He did not go to sinners, in the ordinary sense of that term, those outside the pale of divine influence, but he appealed to the sinner class, the renegade class, of the Jews, “publicans and sinners,” who, although baptized unto Moses in the sea and in the cloud, and children of the promises, and related to God through that law covenant, had been living carelessly.

John’s announcement was, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand; believe the good news and repent,” and get ready for it, for if you do not get ready you can have no share as a member of that kingdom for which our whole nation has been waiting for centuries. Those of you who acknowledge that you have been living in neglect of the Law of Moses should now repent of the same and come back into harmony with that law, and should show your repentance and reformation by a washing away of your sins — a cleansing of yourselves.

Numbers of the Jews were influenced by John’s preaching, and were baptized — not the “Israelites in-deed,” but those who conceded that they had been living in open sin. Thus we have no record that John himself was ever baptized, nor that his disciples were baptized. When Jesus went to him for baptism John at first declined, declaring that he had no sins and that if either of the two needed to confess sin and to profess a washing away of sin it would be John himself rather than the Master. It was only after Jesus had assured him that His baptism meant something different and that he could not at the time explain the difference that John performed the service for Him.

The baptism of John was not appropriate to any but Jews. Gentiles could not repent or come back again into harmony with Moses’s law, because Gentiles were never under the law of Moses, but were counted as aliens, strangers and foreigners, without hope and without God in the world, (Eph 2:12.) We remember that the first Gentile convert was Cornelius, and that his baptism was three years after our Lord’s death, and his baptism was not John’s baptism, but of a different kind, as we shall show presently.

As illustrating what I have just said, namely, that the baptism practiced by the Christian denomination is John’s baptism and not Christ’s baptism, and that there is quite a distinction between the two, which our dear friends have not recognized, I call your attention to the record of Acts 19:1-7 where we are informed that a certain Jew, named Apollos, had made converts amongst the Ephesians, 12 in number, and that when St. Paul was passing through Ephesus he became acquainted with these, but noted that they were deficient as respects the evidences of their discipleship. The evidence of discipleship at that time consisted in miraculous “gifts” of the spirit, as, later and since, the evidence of discipleship has been the possession and manifestation of the “fruits of the spirit” — love, joy, peace, etc.

The Apostle inquired respecting their deficiency and said, “Into what, then, were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then said Paul, “John verily baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe upon Him which should come after him; that is, Christ Jesus. When they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” I quote this as evidencing the fact that there is a decided difference between John’s baptism of repentance and Christ’s baptism.

The various Scriptures which my opponent has quoted as proving the necessity for repentance and, washing away of sins, etc., we agree with fully, but we call to his attention the fact that all these persons who thus “washed away their sins” and practiced baptism for the “remission of sins” were Jews who were already baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud,” who were already children of God and heirs of the covenants and promises, and their washing away of their sins means their coming near again to God and into closer touch with all the promises and the blessings thereof.

The Abrahamic Olive Tree

Never is it said of any Gentile that he was baptized unto repentance and remission of sins that he got back into Moses and in accord with the law. On the contrary, the Apostle shows that we, and all spiritual Israelites coming from among the Gentiles, come into Christ in a different way from that in which the Jews became related to him. I call your attention to the Apostle’s argument in Rom 11:17-24 where he uses an olive tree as a symbol or picture. He tells us that that olive tree was primarily the Jewish nation; that its root was the Abrahamic promise; its branches were the individual Jews. It was to those branches that John preached the baptism of repentance. Many of them were deified, living in sin, and he urged them to repent and be washed, cleansed; that otherwise they would be broken off. And so it was when Messiah was manifest, the prepared ones, Israelites indeed, in who was no guile, were ready for Him, received Him, and He received them and they continued to be branches of that olive tree.

But the great mass of the branches, as the Apostle goes on to explain, were broken off because they did not receive our Lord, because they were not in the right condition of heart, not “Israelites indeed, without guile.”

In the harvest time of the Jewish age that tree, that nation, was transferred from Moses to Christ, and those branches which were permitted to remain were thenceforth branches or members of Christ, and did not need to be baptized into Christ. Or, according to the figure, they did not need to be en-grafted into the tree, for they were in it already, and merely the new name came to them, the name of Christ as instead of Moses — Christ the antitypical Moses. And the other branches were all broken off from relationship with this antitypical Moses, Christ, whom the tree now represented.

It is into that tree that you and I and all Christians of this Gospel age are invited to be baptized, or, in this figure, en-grafted. The Apostle explains this, and says that by nature we were wild olives, and had no part or lot in this tree, but that God in great mercy has permitted us to be en-grafted, to be united to our Lord, and with him, and with those faithful Israelites of the Jewish nation, we are permitted now to have the blessing that comes from the root of this tree, the Abrahamic promise, In other words, we are the children of Abraham, or, as in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, we belong to the Lazarus class, the little flock, who have come to be inheritors of the blessing of God provided through Him as the father of the faithful.

I trust, dear friends that this, the Apostle’s illustration, helps us to grasp the fact that a great change of dispensation occurred at the time of our Lord’s first advent. But all of the Jews were not broken off at once, and hence, wherever the apostles went preaching the Gospel throughout Galatia, etc., they went to the Jews first, saying: “That it was necessary that the Gospel should be first preached to you, but seeing ye cast it from you, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”

(Extracts taken from the Pastor Russell’s remarks concerning Baptism during the Russell / White debate as found in the 1908 Cincinnati Ohio Bible Students Convention Report)

TWO BAPTISMS

TWO BAPTISMS

two-baptisms

Despite what is commonly believed and taught by orthodoxy, immersion or baptism (Greek–dipping) in water, as practiced by John the Baptist and afterward by our Lord and his disciples, had a different significance at first among the disciples from what it came to have after the Spirit dispensation was fully opened and its teachings received.

John came and his disciples, preaching repentance of sins, and used immersion as a token or sign of the putting away of sin by the repentant one. Not that the immersion put away the filth of the flesh–sin—but that it illustrated it. Jesus’ disciples did a similar work among the people (John 4:2). And after Pentecost, even, the Apostles, for a time at least, used the emblem in this same way. For instance, Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12, 13, 38. In each of these instances open sinners were to exemplify the putting away of their sins, and this, indeed, is the usual significance of the ordinance among Christians today.

But baptism came to have a new and very different significance to the Apostles, under the guidance of the Spirit, as they came to discern its deeper meaning as illustrated both by the words and act of Jesus. In Jesus’ case, surely, it did not typify a putting away of the filth of sin, for the question he put, but which his opponents never answered, was, “Which of you convicts me of sin?” and the record is that “in him was no sin.”

Jesus’ baptism or immersion into water typically expressed his death, into which he voluntarily went for our sins. It represented the full consecration of his will to the Father’s purposes and plans for our redemption. It was when “Jesus began to be about thirty years of age”–manhood according to the law –and therefore, the proper time for him to sacrifice his fully developed manhood, that he typified this surrendering or consecration by water immersion. The act of baptism represented in the one act of going down into the water and rising from it, his going down into death, and his trust in the Father’s promise that he should not be left in death, but should have a resurrection. (Psa 16:10; Acts 2:31)

When Jesus presented himself to John–regarding it, and properly, as the symbol of repentance and reformation –John was surprised and said, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” He recognized Jesus’ sinlessness and knew that he needed no repentance. Jesus answered, “Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becomes us (the church of which he was the head) to fulfill all righteousness.” And his death, which his immersion symbolized, was indeed the fulfillment of all the righteous demands of justice against the condemned race of Adam.

That which was expressed in that brief, symbolic act, was fully carried out in the three-and-a-half years of his ministry—for during that time he died daily, or was continually giving his life strength–sacrificing himself–for the sake of the Lord’s truth, the Lord’s children, and humanity in general. The act of immersion meant in symbol all that sacrifice which, commencing at Jordan, was completed at Calvary, and also his triumph as a new creature in the resurrection. Baptism into death meant sacrifice and suffering unto the end, both to Jesus and his followers—all who would share the present sufferings and the final glory.

To all who would share the heavenly glory, the question comes as it did to James and John, “Are ye able to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Matt 20:22). And if we have indicated our willingness, we have the promise that the ability shall be supplied; for our leader is our surety. And again, Jesus says: “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straightened until it be accomplished” (Matt 20:22; Luke 12:50). All must see that not the watery-symbolic death, but the reality, is here referred to.

After Pentecost, under the leading of the Spirit, the Apostles came gradually to apprehend this deeper and more forcible significance of baptism when applied to Christians–to those who sought to follow the Master’s footsteps of self-denial and crucifixion of the flesh to heavenly glory–the first resurrection. If by any means they might know him and the power of his resurrection (to spiritual conditions) and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death (Phil 3:10). They came to see that to be baptized with his baptism meant much more than John’s, much more than putting away the filth of sin; that it now meant consecration–to sacrifice–of that which already was justified in God’s sight. Hence it is that we find Paul so ably teaching and exhorting believers, who were already justified from sin by faith in the Redeemer, to put on Christ by baptism; to become members of the “little flock”–” members of his body”– by being immersed into Christ. We quote his words:

“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized (immersed) into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life”–walk as those having heavenly, not earthly, hopes and aims.

How different is this meaning to the saints from that conveyed by John’s baptism? So different, indeed, that the Apostles soon came to see that John’s baptism, though the same in outward form, did not at all represent a baptism into Christ, and some who had been once baptized with the idea of putting away sin-filthiness were commanded to be baptized again, and thus express the new and deeper meaning to baptism (Acts 19:1-5 and 10:48).

From these few brief testimonies we hope that all will be able to recognize the two baptisms (two in import; one in outward form). And let all clearly distinguish between the heart-work which is the real, and the watery-type, which is the shadow. All should see, too, that the outward form has even greater weight and is the more proper to be observed by those who see the reality. We must not only believe with the heart, but also confess with the mouth—an outward demonstration of our faith, thus the proper necessity of water immersion, the symbolic act.

Water immersion, which typifies the death of the human nature, we regard as being the proper course, for those only who in heart, have made a full consecration or surrendering of themselves to the Lord–presenting themselves living sacrifices, in accordance with the Apostles injunction in Rom 12:1

 “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service”

 The Apostle here was not addressing non-believers, this was not a call to sinners to repentance, nor was he addressing his fellow countrymen, Jews in particular, but rather the “brethren” for whom he was addressing were fellow believers in Jesus Christ as their Savior, brethren of the “Household of Faith”, those already reckoned restored or justified through their faith, but of whom had yet to had offered themselves in sacrifice to God. These he admonished to enter into covenant relationship with God, a “covenant of sacrificePsa 50:5, that they might progress from justification by faith unto full consecration and sanctification, that they might be joined to the body of Christ, “The Church of the First Born”.

Does Paul dissent from this statement concerning two baptisms when he says, we have “one baptism?” No, he addressed the Church, those following in Jesus’ footsteps, being baptized, not unto John’s baptism, but into Christ– into the anointed company of which the anointed Jesus is the head.

It is proper that each one should decide for himself positively, whether or not he has ever accepted the divine invitation as expressed here by the Apostle, for “now (during this Gospel Age, and only during this age) is the acceptable time” (2 Cor 6:2) for the acceptance of these sacrifices. Until this step of full consecration has taken place, one has yet to have been begotten of the Lord’s spirit, begotten to a new nature and joined to the body of Christ. Despite what orthodoxy teaches, although it is true that all professing Christians are considered members of the household of faith, only those fully consecrated, compose the body of Christ, “members in particular” (1 Cor 12:27). R444

 

 

A Ransom for All

A Ransom for All

One Ransom for All

“It was necessary [in accordance with God’s will] that man [should] learn obedience—not only to obey, but the importance of obedience. Man must obey not just because he is told to, but also because he wants to. This makes him free—the desire to comply rather than the constraints to comply. God as Creator knew that the available means of learning were instruction, observation, and experience. Man could not learn first by observation, because there was no disobedience to observe. God would have preferred if man could have learned without experience, although he knew that the tendency of a free mind would lead it toward experimentation. So God first taught man by instruction.

God warned man that disobedience would result in death. He wanted to impress upon man that disobedience, because it would result in chaos, was so serious that God’s Justice felt compelled to demand death (extinction) for it. God’s instruction did not satisfy man. Man disobeyed. He was condemned to death, and he continues to die.”

“God, however, was wise and economical in allowing one act to be the catalyst for teaching us all. Because of this love of God could provide a JUST remedy. God wants man to live; that is why He created man in the first place. So God has arranged a way to remove the sentence of death from Adam (and from us all who came from Adam). God sent His son, Jesus—not a son of Adam, but yet a man—a perfect man as was Adam—no more, no less. This man, Jesus, had a right to life because he was always perfectly obedient. But he voluntarily gave up his human life rights as an exchange or “ransom” for the life rights of Adam. (1 Tim 2:5, 6; 1 Cor 15:22) Justice is satisfied by this ransom exchange (“a life for a life“—Deut 19:21) A human life is still claimed as the price for disobedience, but Adam is now legally free to live again—and so are all of us! (“If there is a God, Why?” Pages 3 and 4)

Consider the logic of God’s Plan to save all men from evil and death: Father Adam, perfect, sinned. The penalty of death passed upon him and the prospective human race yet in his loins. Deliverance from death required the payment of a corresponding price, the death of a perfect man. No member of the sinful (imperfect) human race could pay this price. (Psa 49:7) Only Jesus, who was “holy, harmless, separate from sinners” could. (Heb 7:26) The perfect man Jesus died for Adam’s sin, taking his place in death, thereby redeeming Adam and all his offspring-the human race-from death. “For Christ also has once suffered for sins; the just (Jesus) for the unjust (Adam), that he might bring us to God.” 1 Pet 3:18

The sin of the world is the sin of Adam, for “in him all have sinned.” Rom. 5:12

“By one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death (the wages of sin) passed upon all men. Therefore, as by the offense of one (Adam) judgment (the sentence) came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (man, The Man Christ Jesus) the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” Rom 5:12, 18 (“A Ransom for All”, Page 2)

Now someone might ask, on what grounds to you ascertain that Adam was a perfect man?

“The very brief scrap of history furnished us in Genesis, together with the fact that the flood completely obliterated all evidence of the genius and handiwork of the father of our race, and his earliest progeny, give us no basis of calculations respecting his mental and physical abilities. For information we are thrown upon the fact that all God’s work is “perfect,” his own declaration (Deut 32:4); and his further declaration that man “sought out many inventions,” and defiled himself (Eccl 7:29); and the fact that even under the curse, and under the unfavorable conditions in which man lived after being thrust out of the Garden of Eden–despite all these unfavorable conditions, so grandly perfect was this human organism that the father of humanity was sustained for the long period of nine hundred and thirty years.” Gen 5:5 (E 406)

We must picture in our minds the first perfect man, with all his powers of mind and body a moral and intellectual image of the Great Spirit, fashioned appropriately to his earthly conditions and nature, pronounced “very good”; by the very highest authority on the subject. Gen 1:31

Mental and physical perfection, under the conditions presented in the divine account of the creation, clearly and positively imply moral perfection; for we are to remember that, according to the Scriptures, moral obliquity and consequent degradation had not set in. Nor is it supposable that man, without moral elements to his mental development, would be described in the Scriptures as a “very good” man, or as an image of his Creator. To have created Adam perfect physically and perfect mentally, except in moral qualities, would have been to make him a very bad man, on the principle that the greater the abilities the greater the villain, unless the abilities be under moral control.” (E 407)

“The Apostle points out that father Adam, when tried at the bar of God, was a willful transgressor, and not a deceived one. (1 Tim 2:14) He thus shows us that in moral quality he was capable of obedience to the divine requirements, for it would have been unjust on God’s part to have tried and to have condemned for failure a being that, through defective creation, was incapable of standing the trial successfully, rendering obedience to his commands. The fact that Adam had a trial in which the issues were life and death everlasting, and the fact that his failure under that trial was willful, and justly drew upon him the sentence of the great Judge to the full penalty of the law, must prove to every unbiased, logical mind that Adam was in every sense of the word perfect, and properly susceptible of trial.

And the fact that God, even after the ransom price has been paid, refuses to try mankind again before the same supreme and unimpeachable Court, and declares the reason to be that in a fallen condition we are incapable of a trial at his bar of absolute justice, and that by our best deeds none could be justified before him–all this proves conclusively, not only that the race has grievously fallen, but also proves that God would not have tried Adam at all had he not been much better than we are, and thoroughly fit for trial–a perfect man.” (E 408)

Since the first man, Adam, was a perfect human being, it follows that Jesus, as a corresponding price, must also be a perfect human being and that the resultant life must be perfect human life. The whole race was in and sprang from Adam their father, by mother Eve but not from her. And thus it is written “all in ADAM die,” but not all in Eve. Because the race came of Adam, it was tried in his trial, condemned in his failure and included under his sentence.

Now we see that our Lord Jesus left the Heavenly glory that He might accomplish a ransoming work for Adam and his race. We see that his change of nature from a spirit to a human being was with a view to enabling him to be the Ransom-price—a perfect man for a perfect man— Anti-lutrona corresponding price for the first perfect man whose fall involved all our race, and whose redemption also involves all the race.

This concept of the corresponding price is a fixed law of God’s universe! It is expressed in Israel’s Law Covenant: “You shall give LIFE for LIFE, eye for eye, tooth for toothExod 21:23-24

Our Lord in giving his life as a Ransom for Father Adam was in truth giving His life as the Ransom price for the sins of the whole world. Inasmuch as all men died in Adam, the sacrifice of the one perfect man, Christ Jesus, was sufficient to accomplish the redemption of the whole human race, which was in Adam’s loins when he sinned.

“Now the free gift (justification to life, eternal life) is not like the offense. For if through the offense of one (man, Adam) many be dead (under condemnation to death), much more the grace of God (the gracious plan of salvation), and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” (Rom 5:15) Paul here begins to zero in on his main subject, a contrast between original sin and the act, which brings redemption. Although the ransom is a corresponding price, a perfect life for a perfect life, Paul is emphasizing the differences between the redemption and the sin for which it atones. The original sin was of one man; the atoning act covered the sins of many. The original sentence was for one act of disobedience; the atonement covers a multitude of transgressions, i.e. the sins of the world.

The fact is that Jesus’ death was the equivalent or corresponding price for Adam’s sin and penalty, and quite sufficient to legally effect the release of every member of the race.

The economical feature of the Divine Plan is a most wonderful thought. By one man’s disobedience God permitted the results of that transgression to affect all of Adam’s children. All mankind were involved under the original sin, of the one man.

“Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men.” (Rom 5:12)

Then in due time God so arranged that the sin of the one man, Adam, would be met by the Man Christ Jesus; that thus Adam would in due time be freed from the death penalty; and that all his children, who inherited death as well as weakness and imperfection through him, would also be amenable to this one redemption–that the one Ransom-price was sufficient for Adam and all his posterity.

“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment (i.e. the sentence or curse) came to all men (extensively) resulting in condemnation… (All fall short of the glory of God, there is none righteous, no not one) even so through one man’s righteous act (the Man Christ Jesus who gave his life a ransom for all) the free gift (redemption from the Adamic curse) came to all men (co-extensively) resulting in (the sentence of) justification of life.” (Rom 5:18)

God’s justice which is very precise and exacting cannot be changed nor altered, thus what he declares to be, shall be. “My counsel (my purpose or will) shall standIsa 46:10; 55:11

God has declared that the “wages of sin is death” (Rom 6:23), therefore in no way can he free the sinner from this sentence, the penalty must be fully met and that in accordance with the law which he himself has laid down as he expressed to Israel, “Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exod 21:23-24). It was a perfect man who had sinned therefore in order to meet the claims of justice it must be a perfect man who must pay the penalty, nothing short of this would do. And so Christ taking the form of a bond-servant (Phil 2:7) became flesh NOT simply part flesh, for example 50% flesh and 50% spirit, nor 100% human and 100% spirit as our Trinitarian friends might suggest, No! This would not do he must of needs in order to fulfill divine justice become an actual 100% human being, howbeit a perfect human being, for as you recall it was a perfect human being who had sinned. God’s justice being very exact, very precise therefore can accept nothing less than the exact requirements of the law, an exact corresponding price, something of equal value nothing more, nothing less; to be otherwise would be un-just.

The Scriptures are quite clear on this matter Adam was created a fleshly being, flesh and blood; there is absolutely no mention anywhere in the Scriptures that he was anything more than this. He was not possessed of a dual nature, part spirit and part human, but was completely flesh, besides God’s own law as expressed in the Genesis account forbids the combination of two natures, besides being evil like their parents why do you imagine the LORD destroyed the offspring (the Nephilim) of the fallen angels, it was because God had not authorized such a race of beings a mixture of both angelic and human natures, spirit and flesh.

What we are trying to say here is that our Lord in order to become mans ransom or anti-lutron a corresponding price must under the terms of divine justice in order to fulfill the law become an actual man, be made flesh as fleshly and as human as Adam was. And thus it was that he was “made (brought forth) a little lower than angels for the suffering of death (this lower nature the perfect human nature is but one step below that of the perfect spirit nature, this nature he took in order that he might become the ransom a corresponding price, a perfect man for a perfect man) …that he by the grace of God, might taste death (the penalty, the wages of sin) for everyone.” (Heb 2:9)

So then shall we understand that the resurrection of the dead is optional or compulsory upon Justice?

Christ having “tasted death for every man,” it is certainly compulsory on Justice to release the prisoners held for sin. Christ’s sacrifice having been accepted as “the propitiation (settlement) of our sins, and not of ours (believers) only, but also for the sins of the WHOLE WORLD,” all must go free because God is Just.

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have (unconditionally) ALL MEN to be saved (from the original Adamic curse), and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom FOR ALL, to be testified in due time.” (1 Tim 2:3-6)

Understand that we are not Universalist, God having saved (redeemed) all men from the original curse which was upon Adam and his race does not guarantee everlasting life to any, he merely releases us from the original sentence, brought upon us by Adam’s sin. Eternal salvation will be determined upon the conclusion of the trial (a new trial) of each individual, the Church presently during this the Gospel Age as each prospective member of the body passes beyond the Vail of death, and the remainder of the world by the end of the Mediatorial reign at the end of the millennial age.”

 

 

 

The Parable of the Talents

The Parable of the Talents

 (Matt. 25:14-30)

talents

HOW SHALL WE PAY OUR VOWS?

This is an important question with all the truly consecrated, and one surely of paramount importance. Let us consider, then, that when we consecrated ourselves fully to the Lord, we thereby signified that we would hold nothing back for self. That consecration included all our possessions, our time, our physical energies and our mental attainments. And it implied the sacrifice of all our former earthly ambitions hopes and aims, so that we should no longer pursue them to any extent. This, and nothing less, is what our vow of full consecration signifies.

But it signifies, further, that these possessions or personal qualifications, which the Lord terms talents, are not only to be released from the service of the worldly ambitions, etc., but that they are to be so released, not for aimless inactivity, but for the purpose of being utilized in an opposite direction–in the service of God, of his plan and of his children.

In the parable of the talents the Lord illustrated very clearly how we are expected to pay our vows of consecration to the Most High. He says: “It is like a man who, intending to travel called his own servants and delivered unto them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to each according to his respective capacity; and straightway took his journey.”

TO EACH ACCORDING TO ABILITY

This master had important and valuable interests to leave in charge of his servants; and as these servants had all engaged to serve him, he had a right to expect of them a sincere and faithful interest in the work. Yet he did not expect more of them than they were severally able to accomplish. He rightly expected larger returns from the one who had five talents than from those who had one or two talents. And in the reckoning, it will be observed that the servant who had doubled his two talents was just as highly commended as the one who had doubled his five. The reply to each was the same–“Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” And had the servant with the one talent been similarly faithful he would have received the very same commendation. Notice also that the parable does not represent the obligations of the world of mankind in the use of their talents, but merely of “his own servants“– the consecrated believers only.

And notice also that no servant was left without some talent of usefulness and responsibility. Each servant had at least one talent; and for the right use of that one talent he was just as accountable to his master as were those who had more.

But the professed servant with the one talent was unfaithful to his master, and yet he evidently wanted to be considered a servant still, and probably thought he was worthy of commendation and reward for not perverting his Lord’s money to other uses. He had taken good care of the talent; he had not turned it in opposition to the Lord, but he had simply buried it–failed to use it. At the reckoning time, he who had received the one talent said, “Lord, I knew thee, that thou art an exacting man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not scattered. And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth; lo, there thou hast thy own.”

“His Lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knew that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not scattered; thou ought therefore to have put my money to *the exchangers; and then at my coming I should have received mine own with interest.” It will be observed that this servant was not what men would generally call wicked. He was simply an idler, willing, if he could, to draw a servant’s approval and compensation, but lacking any real, active interest in his master’s business. He had no ill will toward his master; he was probably very glad that the other servants kept the business from going to wreck and ruin; he did nothing to hinder them from using their talents, but he did not feel the responsibility he had assumed in becoming a “servant,” nor take a proper interest in his master’s affairs. Yet, as a faithless, slothful servant, he was really a covenant-breaker, and therefore “wicked” and certainly unfit to be trusted with still greater responsibilities on the master’s return.

But let us remember that this was not a real case: it was simply a parable used to illustrate real cases. And if the illustration fits your individual case, let it not lose its effect upon you. The very object of the parable is to arouse such to a sense of their short-comings, and to recover them from the lethargy into which they have relaxed, by reminding them of their responsibilities. Activity in the Lord’s service to the full extent of our ability or talents is what the Lord has a right to expect of all who profess to be his servants; and it is what he does expect. Therefore, if you have but one talent, do not bury it, but cultivate and use it; do what you can, and all you can, in the great work to which we have already consecrated our lives.

Do not fear my friends if after putting forth your best efforts in the Lord’s service you see no immediate results, remember the Lord does not require the assistance of any of us to accomplish his purposes he is simply allowing us the honor of working in his vineyard in order to gauge the sincerity of our love, for him, the brethren and for the truth. Whether or not you or I personally accomplish anything at all is not the point, he is not judging you according to what you are able to accomplish he judging the intentions of your heart.

*The “exchangers” are the Lord’s people. Truth is exchanged from one brother to another and so on and so forth. You should make use of the knowledge which the Lord has given you to the best of your ability, in fact this is the Church’s most important work; the edifying of one another, that we might build one another up in our most holy faith, truth is to be shared not buried.

MUCH GIVEN, MUCH REQUIRED

Those who have several talents let them see to it that they too are faithful to the extent of their abilities, not being content to do merely what the one-talented man can do or ought to do. Such a one would not be a good and faithful servant, and could not expect the Master’s approving “Well done!” His approval will be given to those only who are faithful to the full extent of their opportunity.

Those who find the truth and make the consecration before they are encumbered with the cares of this life, who have no families dependent upon them and who have a reasonable degree of health, have at least two talents–time and health–which can and ought to be utilized in the service to the best possible advantage. Then there are those who have a money talent, or a business talent, and such should consider how these are being used. Are they largely swallowed up in luxuries, or a superabundance of the good things of this life, for either self or family? Or are they being laid up as treasures upon earth–in banks, store-houses and investment securities, to enrich and to cultivate the spirit of pride in friends or children, and for them to quarrel over after you are dead?

Our talents for use in the Lord’s service consist of all those things and opportunities which are over and above what we need for the necessary and reasonable maintenance of ourselves or our families, if we have families, and the reasonable provision against distress in case of a sudden calamity or approaching old age, etc. Aside from these, all we have should be in active service, be they many talents or few. If we have five talents and are using only one or two, how can we expect the Master’s “Well done, good and faithful servant”? Did we not covenant to give and to use all for him?—all our money, all our time, all our influence, all our mental activity, all our physical ability? After providing things decent and honest for ourselves and those dependent upon us, let us judiciously appropriate our talents to what we profess to consider the chief business of life. Here are the testing points of true loyalty and devotion. Let us ponder them well and not lightly set them aside.

FORMER OPPORTUNITIES LOST

But observe further what the Lord has to say about this “wicked and slothful servant.” He says: “Take the talent from him and give it unto him which hath ten talents; for unto every one that hath [made use of his talents] shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not [made use of his talent] shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The outer darkness here referred to is in contrast with the inner light of the holy place of favor and communion and instruction from God, symbolized in the Tabernacle. The testing comes on the return of the Master. Then the faithful servants shall enter into fuller joys and privileges and blessings, while the unfaithful will go into the outer darkness of error and ignorance concerning God’s plans and ways, which envelops the world in general, and their neglected opportunities for more abundant service will go as a reward to those who are already earnest and active, and whose earnest and faithful labors will in due time be abundantly rewarded.

As we thus view our Lord’s teaching, we see that our only security as sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ is in activity in the service of the truth. Well, says one, I see very few doing that. Very true: only a few will do it. But that precious few are the Lord’s jewels. Are you one of them? Ah, that is the point to be considered. No matter how few they are, or whether you ever saw or knew of any such, that does not alter the conditions of our calling. “This is the way: walk ye in it.” One, at least, has trodden it before. Look for his foot-prints and follow him, and “He will give strength unto his people,” even though they walk alone, as he did, without the cheering companionship of fellow-travelers.

“LO, I AM WITH YOU”

But think not that you are traveling alone in this narrow way. The Lord has now a consecrated people, a faithful band of servants who, with every talent consecrated, are steadily pursuing their course in the narrow way. (Onward Christian Solider) We know some of them by name and by character and by their steady and progressive activity in the blessed work. Not many of them have five talents, but a good many have two or three, and some only one. Quietly and unobtrusively (not conspicuous or attracting any undue attention to themselves) they go about from day to day preaching the wonderful words of life, and God is with them and is leading them on. Their hearts are full of joy and hope and they are kept securely amidst all the perils of this evil day. None are as clear in their apprehension and appreciation of truth as those who are fully enlisted in its service (This is a fact which anyone who is actively engaged in the Master’s service knows to be true).

Let all who would run the race successfully look well to their zeal and activity in the Lord’s work. If we bury our one or our many talents under a weight of worldly cares and encumbrances which might be avoided or set aside; if we bury them under worldly ambitions for either self or family– whether this be by wasting consecrated time upon science (for example the endless debate over evolutionary theories), philosophy, music or art; or upon business, politics or pleasures; or in pampering pride and appetite –then as unfaithful servants we will sooner or later go into outer darkness, by being caught up in some one of the many snares of this “evil day,” and will be led further and further into error and away from truth (one of the Adversaries best methods).

Mark well that it is not a case of such unfaithful servants being liable to get into outer darkness, into error: it is a case of must. The Master’s orders are peremptory and decisive: “Cast the unprofitable servant into outer darkness.” The light now shining is not for the unfaithful, but for the faithful servants; and no matter how clearly the unfaithful may have seen and understood the deep things of God, and no matter how he may have enjoyed them, if he has not loved them so as to serve them and to sacrifice his conveniences for them, he is unworthy of them and must go out into the outer darkness of the world in general. With these as with the world the disappointment of theories and plans in the great time of trouble will ere long bring the weeping and gnashing of teeth foretold. (R3695-3697)

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

wheat-and-tares

The following extracts with regards to Matt 13:24-30; 36-43 were taken from various Bible Student materials

VERSE 24

“Another parable put Him forth unto them (This parable stands related to the one before, “The Parable of the Sower” The first prepares the way for the other. The first deals with the individual; the second with the church collectively.) Saying, The kingdom of heaven (Practically every parable which our Lord uttered was given to teach something respecting the character of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of Heaven [the spiritual phase] here spoken of is the embryo Kingdom, which is the kingdom as it is during the entire Gospel age) is likened unto (The Lord here was using a metaphor) a man (the Lord Jesus Himself) which sowed good seed (The Gospel of the Kingdom, “Which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord” (Heb 2:3)  “Bringing life and immortality to light through the Gospel” (2 Tim 1:10), in his field (the entire world).”

VERSE 25

“But while men slept (After the apostles fell asleep, that is, after they had died and had left the scene. In the night, of the dark ages, a general spirit of slumber regarding the truth prevailed among the Lord’s people.  Even till now the same thing is true. “Therefore, let us not sleep as do others.” (1 Thess 5:6) The Church was kept free from tares before the apostles fell asleep by God arranging that truth be put forth for acceptance or rejection by the Jews in its most unfavorable light, so that only Israelites indeed would be inclined to become followers of Jesus. During the Apostles’ days such special gifts as “discernment of spirits” enabled them to prevent tares from getting in among the wheat, hypocrites from getting into the Church. Paul warned the Church of what would take place after he died “After my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” (Acts 20:29, 30) his enemy came (The great adversary, Satan, using human instrumentalities) and sowed tares (Sham wheat, imitation wheat, professors who draw nigh with their lips while their hearts are far from the Lord. Hypocrites, Nominal Christians (i.e. in name only), resembling or counterfeiting the true, Deceived individuals, misnaming themselves Christians, because mis-taught by churchianity. These have since run the church organizations, and the Lord has permitted it to be so and is allowing the truly consecrated ones to be developed under these different conditions. The tares are begotten of error–false doctrine, nevertheless there are however many fine, noble people among them who have neither part nor lot with the wheat because they are not of the same nature, not begotten of the truth among the wheat and went his way (Among the true saints, the children of the Kingdom, for the very purpose of choking it, “We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with wicked spirits in high positions.” (Eph 6:12).”

VERSE 26

“But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also (Nominal Christians, much more numerous than the wheat, the children of the devil, imitation Christians, some of them very respectable, moral, and actually very good people, however not begotten of the Spirit or of the truth, most begotten by excitement, of fear of hell, or of hopes of worldly advantage, of pride, or of social and financial ambition).”

VERSE 27-29

“So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, an enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, nay (We cannot follow the usual custom in this case, because of the greatly excessive proportion of tares) lest while ye gather up the tares ye root up also the wheat with them (The true and false are too intimately associated, their roots intertwining in society, home, etc. So closely intertwined are the roots of the two classes that to disturb such close relationship in life would cause great commotion. “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will manifest the counsels of the hearts.” (1 Cor 4:5) So intimately are the true and false associated, that only the Lord, who could read the hearts, could distinguish between them with unerring precision).”

VERSE 30

“Let both grow (Christ did not seek to prevent or hinder tare development, but allowed both to grow together. The [the tares, being in the majority] set up false, unscriptural standards and doctrines, which have aided in the development of more tares and at the same time choking and separating the true wheat) together (That is throughout the age. Christians and imitation Christians have lived side by side in the same city, house, and family, and in the general nominal church system, elsewhere called Babylon or confusion, because of its mixture of truth and error, wheat and tares. Only the expert [our Lord] can discern the wheat from the tares while growing) until (The command “Come out of her” was given, this was given after the announcement that “Babylon is fallen.” Rev 18:4, 2) the harvest (The end or close, of the Gospel age) and in the time (The close of the summer time of favor, signifying that it will not be instantaneous, but require time) of harvest (In which we are now living. It has three elements: separation, gathering and burning. The harvest is not a time for peace; but, on the contrary, it will surely produce separation and alienation between true wheat and all else. The time of executing the command, “Gather my saints together unto me, those who have made a covenant with me by [self-] sacrifice.” (Psa 50:5) This is the time when the truth makes manifest the true character of Babylon, the great false system, calling itself the Lord’s church) I will say (It is not we, but Christ, who calls his people out of Babylon. We merely call their attention to his words and show that they are reasonable. “He that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth and the earth was reaped.” (Rev 14:16) to the reapers (Angels, messengers, [i.e. men, the vessels of the Lord] such as he has used in plowing, sowing and watering throughout the age; those begotten of his holy spirit), Gather ye together first the tares (Which largely predominate, as did the chaff in the harvest of the Jewish age. Who vainly imagine themselves to be the true Church), and bind them (Restrain all individual thought and study on religious subjects; they are bound by human traditions and by a worldly spirit, bound tightly by their own prejudices. Pride will hold them together; none will wish to appear disloyal or cowardly. Societies act en masse. They seek to bind all by the impression that it is essential to salvation to be joined to some one of their various sects–it matters little to which one–thus combining the idea of individual responsibility with sectarian bondage) in bundles (Necessary, because of their great preponderance. Into great denominational bundles, labeled with various sectarian names. The spirit of the tares is toward sectarian greatness and show, rather than toward individual obedience and allegiance to God. Each denomination retaining its own bondage or organization, and becoming more firmly bound by being wedged in with others. Ready for the burning, destruction) to burn them (To destroy them, not as individuals, but as tares, imitation wheat, in the great time of trouble [Not with literal fire, we cannot burn symbolic tares in literal fire]. The Christian’s duty is to lift up the standard and get the true wheat out of all the tare-bundles into liberty, in union with Christ, the only Head.  All professed Christians will be shown in their true light. The true and false will be completely manifested.): but (without binding it into bundles) gather the wheat (with the sickle of truth, present truth. “They shall gather together his elect.” (Matt 24:31) “Come out of her, my people” (Rev 18:4) Separated from the tares–in spirit, but not necessarily in person) into my barn (The barn condition of security, separateness from the worldly. Not back into another denomination, but gathered to Christ, into oneness with him, in fellowship of spirit through the knowledge of his Word, “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” Matt 24:28).”

VERSE 36

“Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us (A special request for interpretation) the parable (In every parable explained by our Lord, the thing said is never the thing meant.) of the tares of the field.”

 VERSE 37

“He answered and said unto them, He that soweth (Jesus and the Apostles, and all his true followers) the good seed (The Gospel of the Kingdom) is the Son of man (His disciples and followers having assisted under his direction).”

 VERSE 38

“The field is the world (The world of mankind; and the seed is sown in their hearts.); the good seed are the children of the kingdom (The spiritual children); but the tares (The imitation wheat, posing as Christians, the result of false doctrines, false teachings, and therefore not begotten of the Holy Spirit) are the children of the wicked one (The whole world of mankind, excepting the true Christians, born in sin and shapen in iniquity, aliens and strangers from God, may be spoken of as “children of the wicked one).”

 VERSE 39

“The enemy that sowed them (with seeds of false doctrines, error, deceptions, using human lips and pens in Satan’s service through pride and ambition. Thus bringing the worldly masses into the church) is the devil; the harvest (There is a large crop of tares and the time of trouble coming upon the church should be recognized as the harvest, the threshing time, the time for separating the real grain, the true Christians from the chaff and tares the false Christians) is the end (Is that which constitutes the end. The Greek word “suntelia”, translated “end,” does not mean a “point,” but a “period of time.” The harvest of this age and the end of the evil world or dispensation terminate together. Just before the inauguration of the new age of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom. The regathering of Israel is a sign of the end of this age, and therefore a sign that we are living in the harvest time) of the world (Of the age: Greek aion, The Gospel age); and the reapers (Those who have learned that it is harvest time and that their work is in the gathering of the wheat.) are the angels. (The messengers, begotten of his spirit, the saints of God, His servants. Every faithful disciple who now follows in the Master’s footsteps has the privilege now of being a co-worker with him in reaping this harvest).”

VERSE 40

“As therefore the tares are gathered (into bundles, sects, denominations and etc.) and burned in the fire (Destroyed as tares in a time of trouble; not however literally burned as some imagine, their delusions [faith in their organizations, churches] will be dissolved, thus signifying the destruction of the false pretensions of this class, in the sense that none of them thereafter will claim to be what they are not, none of them will claim to be Christians anymore. And thus they shall be returned to the ground, the world, from whence they came. That the entire field might be cleansed and made ready for a new sowing of the pure seed of truth); so shall it be in the end of this world (age).”

VERSE 41

“The Son of man (A title of high honor, a reminder of his obedience, even to the death of the cross, by which he secured the title to the honor, dignity and power of the divine nature) shall send (Christ is superintending the harvest; he sends forth the reapers) forth his angels (Servants or messengers, begotten of his spirit.), and they shall gather out of (or from, in one sense, the wheat is gathered out from among the tares, because of the greater abundance of the tares; in another sense, the tares are gathered from the wheat. The wheat has the place by right; it is a wheat field, not a tare field. The Lord has chosen to make this separation publicly known, in order to demonstrate his own justice in the matter) his kingdom (The true Church, in the sense that the Church at the present time is God’s Kingdom in embryo state. It is one thing to gather his people out of Babylon, and quite another to gather the offenders out of his Kingdom. Really the “tares” leave the “wheat” by utterly abandoning the faith once delivered to the saints, something taking place even now) all things that offend (Those that cause others to stumble, including many teachers and preachers, and many doers of wonderful works. They are blameworthy; because they are in the nominal church and posing as Christians. And not only “those that do iniquity,” the “tares,” but also “those that offend,” those who fail to come up to the requirements of their covenant in fullness of consecration. There is a particular separation or sifting taking place even now which goes beyond the separation merely of the wheat and the tares, this separation work consist of separating the ripe wheat from the un-ripe, the Wise Virgins from the Foolish, the Little Flock from the Great Company), and them which do iniquity (Which practice sin, or which are not fully in sympathy with the principles of righteousness. The only things that shall remain are the things that cannot be shaken, the true and faithful).”

 VERSE 42

“And shall cast them into a furnace of fire (A time of trouble destructive to the nominal systems and false professions; occasioned in great measure by the growth of infidelity and Spiritism of various kinds. It would be thoroughly illogical to burn symbolic tares in a literal furnace with literal fire. The fire is as much a symbol as are the tares, the wheat and the garner. So-called Christendom will be the great furnace.): there shall be wailing (There is such a commotion in connection with the separation of the wheat and the tares because Christendom as a whole, though nominally a wheat field, is practically a tare field) and gnashing of teeth. (Great disappointment, sorrow, pain, trouble and anguish throughout Christendom, “Men’s hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” (Luke 21:26) The great time of trouble will make general havoc of present arrangements–social, financial, political, ecclesiastical.)

VERSE 43

“Then (After this age and after its harvest, after “the wheat” of this age is gathered into the garner by the power of the first resurrection) shall the righteous (The Church, as a whole, in glory. When the division is accomplished, the wheat alone will represent the Kingdom of the Church of Christ, while the church nominal will fall and be broken) shine forth (To abolish darkness, to heal earth’s sorrows and scatter earth’s night. To bless, restore, purify and disinfect from sin and error the whole world of mankind, to bring order out of present confusion, to scatter present darkness, ignorance and superstition, to cause the knowledge of the glory of the Lord to fill the whole earth. “The earnest expectation of the creation waits for the manifestation of the Sons of God.” (Rom 8:19) God gives light that it may shine that others may see and be blessed. To shine can mean no less than to give light. And if the Church gives, the nations receive and “walk in the light of it.” (Rev 21:24) as the sun (“The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings” (Mal 4:2) Whom shall scatter the darkness of earth, binding the prince of darkness, Satan, and freeing mankind from the bonds of ignorance, superstition and credulity. The great Sun of Righteousness, the great Messiah, the great Prophet, Priest, King and Mediator between God and man) in the kingdom of their Father (Primarily, the Kingdom is God’s but he has voluntarily, for a thousand years, placed it under charge of a viceroy, the Christ, the Lord and his Church which is his body). Who hath ears to hear (The attitude of heart to appreciate it, the ability to understand spiritual things, not everyone at present has this hearing ear), let him hear. (We should not despise those who cannot hear, but rather sympathize with them and be thankful for the hearing ear, which permits us to appreciate the various features of God’s plan. None can give eye to see nor ear to hear save the Lord alone).”

 

 

Whom will he teach knowledge?

Whom will he teach knowledge?

teaching

“The system of belief, Our Most Holy Faith, which we call “The Truth,” is made up of little things, of small fragments of information scattered throughout the Bible. The wonderful Divine Plan of the Ages is not found in the Bible as a consecutively connected narrative. If it were, it would be understood by everyone instead of being a profound mystery to all but the church.”

This fact is well described in Isaiah: “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”–Isaiah 28:10

Now in the study of the Word of God, specifically in regards to the overall Divine Plan itself, the Lord has determined that it is not prudent to teach every particular lesson at the same time, all at once (for instance a study of the ransom, this particular study should be one of the very first studies undertaken by the student of the Lord’s Word as every other doctrine studied stands or falls in conjunction with its harmonizing with this the very center and foundation principle of all true Christian doctrine, the “binding cord of truth”). Now the Lord’s method of teaching is not the same as we might imagine or typically follow, but even so it is written,

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. ” Isa 55:8

No, the Lord has his own way, he chooses rather to build ones faith up gradually, doctrine upon doctrine (that is one subject upon another), with a kind of repetition, which helps the student better to see how each doctrine (or subject) completely harmonizes with next, leaving no doubt as to its truthfulness. In essence, “Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, there a little.” (Isa 28:10)

“Knowledge is the accumulation of facts and understanding comes from the connecting of these facts one with the other. This process begins in earliest childhood, when one is “weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breast.”

The very method employed by the Lord is the same, which educators today generally agree upon. First, inform the student of a number of proven facts (“precepts“) and then teach them the logical process of connecting these facts (“line [of reasoning] upon line [of reasoning]“). Likewise in order to properly hold the pupil’s attention, a good teacher frequently changes the subject material, returning time and time again to each theme.”

For example we may at one moment be studying the ransom and then at another the restitution or possibly the resurrection or etc., however as we study and return over and over again to a previous theme we begin to see the connection between the various subjects and if we have gleamed a proper understanding how they harmonize with one another.

“Because God deals with us as a wise parent with his children, knowing that we need our food little by little, and the lighter diet before the strong meat, therefore his truth is so arranged as to meet our necessities: a little of the truth upon one subject is placed here and a little more there; and as we take these little bits and put them together we gain strength and are able to appreciate the whole of it. As we deal with children, so God deals with us, giving us line upon line, and precept upon precept—the same truths repeated over and over from different standpoints, thus enforcing his teachings” (R563).

This method was employed with the release of the volumes (The “Studies in the Scriptures” series), which were purposely written and released at a specific time and in a specific order, over several years, so that each lesson could be fully absorbed by the student of the Word, before the next step was taken, step by step, the same method that will be used in the education of mankind in the next age.

Each volume was given as a stepping-stone in knowledge, one following another, “line upon line, and precept upon precept”. Beginning with the first volume we were presented with an overview of the Divine Plan of the Ages, which in every way exemplified the divine character this in order to establish a foundation upon which to build upon, and likewise to establish ones trust and faith that this was indeed the Lord’s plan and not the clever designs of a man.

With a correct study of the volumes one will quickly note how the Pastor follows the divine method linking one doctrine to another showing that God’s plan is indeed one harmonious whole, without contradictions.

However if one chooses not to follow the volumes in their correct order but rather to skip randomly through the various volumes, chapters and etc., then it is most likely that they will miss the binding cord of truth, which links each precept and each line one to another, and thus they will be unable to grasps the true plan of God.

What say the scriptures in regards to this? Note the following as taken from Isaiah Chapter 28 beginning at Verse 9

VERSE 9

Whom will he teach knowledge, whom will he make to understand the message (as presented in the plan [or chart] of the ages, Hab 2: 2, 3)? Those just weaned from milk, those just drawn from the breast?

Those who will be ready for the message must first be weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts. So long as the Lord’s people are babes to the extent that is here indicated, they will be dependent upon the systems and sects and false doctrines with which the Adversary has so much to do in developing. Those who are the Lord’s true people in these various sects must get strong enough to be weaned from them before they can be in the proper attitude of mind to receive the Lord’s instructions from another quarter (the true channel). To all who are thus weaned from Churchianity the Lord will very graciously grant precept upon precept, line upon line, here a little, and there a little, that they may grow thereby, that they may become strong in the Lord and able to partake eventually of the strong meat which he so abundantly supplies to those of His table–His Word. R3456

VERSE 10

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little there a little.”

VERSE 11

For with stammering lips (those whom the Lord chooses to speak his truths are chiefly the common people, in the eyes of the world not qualified to speak (not being ordained by orthodoxy), not many are gifted with the ability of a speaker or orator, but nevertheless with stammering lips the message is being told, little by little, line upon line) and [with] another tongue (that is the message of truth is given in a foreign language [a spiritual language], instead of plain statements in our native [or natural] tongue, 1 Cor 2:13) [thus] he will speak to this people.”

VERSE 12

To whom he said, This is the rest (the Harvest Message, the Divine Plan of the Ages) with which you may cause the weary to rest, this is the refreshing, (It is indeed to those who can receive it a message of rest and refreshment), yet they would not hear (that is the world and the mere professing Christian, the nominal Christian, they are too caught up in their own plans to have time to listen to God’s).”

VERSE 13

And so the word of the Lord was to them, ‘Precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little there a little (Entrapped by error they are unwilling to consider the plan of the ages as it has been presented by God through his faithful servant, and thus any efforts on the part of the Lord’s true people to point them to the plan as contained in the Volumes is met with resistance, to them when the volumes are mentioned it is nothing more than nagging upon nagging, prating upon prating,’) [but even so it should be] that they might go and fall backward, and be broken and snared and caught (not possessing sufficient faith in the Divine Plan as presented by the Lord’s faithful, they studied merely mechanically, accumulating the precepts but not noting their true purpose, thus the same teachings which could have produced rest unto their souls became a trap unto them).”