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LOVE

LOVE

love

Question:  “What is the difference between duty love (“filioorphileo”) and disinterested or divine love (“agapee”)? I am somewhat perplexed regarding this difference, and would thank you for a little more light on the subject.

Answer: Three different words in our Greek New Testament are translated love. The principal word, which well corresponds to our word “love” in English, is “agape”, this word is used whenever the highest type of love is described; hence we have designated it *disinterested or divine love, as representing the highest type of love when used respecting the Lord and his people.  Nevertheless, just like our English word love, agapee is also used in an inferior sense, as for instance when describing love for the world in the text,

If any man loves [agapee] the world, the love [agapee] of the Father is not in him.”(1 John 2:15)

The Greek word “Philadelphia” signifies brotherly love, and of course is always used in a good sense, because the brethren of the Lord are all “holy brethren.” We are exhorted to develop this love for the brethren (Philadelphia), and it is given as a mark or indication that we are New Creatures in Christ. Nevertheless the Apostle exhorts that we go on beyond this degree of love (Philadelphia) and attain to the broader or divine love, the disinterested love (agapee).

Note an instance of this: “Add to your faith patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness [Philadelphia], and to brotherly kindness, charity–Love [“agapee“].” (2 Pet 1:7) The Apostle thus uses the word agapee to indicate the broader and more comprehensive love as the highest attainment of Christian character. Similarly, when describing the greatest thing in the world, in (1 Cor 13:2, 3, 4, 8, 13), the Apostle uses the Greek word agapee, love–in our common version mistranslated charity.

The culmination of his argument is, “Now abideth faith, hope, charity [love–agapee], and the greatest of these is charity [love –agapee].” Agapee is also used in (1 John 3:1), where the Apostle says, “Behold what manner of love [agapee]“; and “He that dwells in love [agapee] dwells in God.” In the next verse also we read, “Herein is our love [agapee] made perfect.” Again we find agape used by the Apostle in the statement, “God commendeth his love [agapee] toward us“; and again, “Love [agapee] works no ill to his neighbor; therefore love [agapee] is the fulfilling of the law.”(Rom 5:8, 13)

The Greek word “filioorphileo”, rendered love, we have designated “duty love,” but we fear that this does not give a sufficiently clear understanding of its meaning. The noun which is the basis for the verb is frequently translated “kiss” in the New Testament, and by implication the “kiss” belongs to the family and implies a love that is more or less respect or we might say exclusive or selfish–not general–not for everybody. It represents more of an individual or family love, and is used either in a good or an evil sense, as, for instance, we read, “The Father loves the Son” (John 5:20); and again, “The world will love its own.”–John 15:19. (R3949)

“A forgiving spirit is a part of the spirit of love, a part of God’s spirit, the Holy Spirit or disposition–the spirit of the truth—inculcated in God’s Word. It is thus the opposite or contrary of the spirit of malice, which is a part of the evil spirit or disposition common among men in their fallen condition, the spirit or disposition of the world.

A forgiving spirit is kindred to the spirit of love, joy, peace, meekness, patience, brotherly-kindness, godliness. A malicious spirit is related to anger, backbiting, slander, wrath, jealousy, hatred and all the works of the (fallen) flesh and the devil.” (R1693)

“Our spirit or disposition to forgive anyone should be of the heart prompted by the spirit of love and brotherly kindness. It should not be a forgiveness forced out of us by importunity, nor by the appeals of many, nor by pity for the wrong doers’ sufferings or sorrow. It should be there pent up in our hearts, ready to pour forth upon the offender as soon as he repents and gives reasonable evidence of his sincerity. God waits to be gracious desires to pardon sinners (Ezek. 38:11); and such must be our attitude toward those who trespass against us. But God always waits for repentance, and never grants his pardon to those who are unrepentant, nor receives them into fellowship as friends. (Psa 50:16-22)

True, he loved us while we were yet sinners (John 3:16; Rom 5:8), and he does good even to the unthankful, giving sunshine and rain and food to all; but that is a pitying love, not a fellowship love, not a communing love: it is the sympathetic love of a benefactor. And we are to have this pity-love also, even to our enemies.

We are to love our enemies, and do good to them that persecute us; but with us, as with God, this can be no more than pity-love: it cannot be fellowship-love, “for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?” Nevertheless, while we can have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but must rather reprove them (Eph 5:11), we can still have that benevolence of heart, which would not permit even an enemy to perish with hunger. “Therefore, if thy enemy hunger, feed him,” etc. In so doing we are but imitating our Heavenly Father who is merciful even to the unthankful and despiteful.” (R4560)

“Love, properly differs, both in kind and in degree, according to the worthiness of the object upon which it centers. There is a LOVE OF ADMIRATION (reverence), a LOVE OF SYMPATHY and a LOVE OF PITY. The former is the highest type of love, and is properly bestowed only upon that which is truly lovely and worthy of admiration.

On this line our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus claim our supreme and most ardent affection; and all the good and noble and true of our fellow men, in proportion as they approximate the glorious likeness of God, may also share this love of admiration. Of this same kind is the love of childish innocence; and of this same kind should be the love of conjugal felicity. The chosen life partner should be one beloved in this highest sense; and parental and filial affection should also be established on the same basis, and then the dearest earthly relationship would be akin to the heavenly.

The love of sympathy we can extend to the weakest one that is painfully toiling up the hill of difficulty toward a better life; and affectionately we may reach the sympathizing, helpful hand to such. If we are a step or two in advance of some such on the way, and if we realize a little less difficulty in making the ascent, let us thank God and use our superior vantage ground for the assistance of the weaker ones.

Then there is the love of pity for those so steeped in ignorance and sin as to be unable even to raise their eyes heavenward to catch the first inspiration toward a better life. Would we indeed scorn the degraded, or add another pang to those already so bruised by the fall?

Ah, no: love pities the vilest, sympathizes with the weakest and glories in the truest and purest and loveliest of earth and of heaven. Thus our blessed Lord loved supremely our all-glorious Heavenly Father; thus he loved with tenderest sympathy his devoted disciples; and thus he loved with wondrous pity all the fallen sons and daughters of Adam’s race, even to the extent of giving his life to redeem them. Let us emulate his example and walk in his footsteps.” (R1331)


*Disinterested: This word can be a bit confusing. Typically when one thinks of the word disinterested they imagine it to mean the opposite of interested, you are either interested in something or uninterested, having or showing no feeling of interest; indifferent.

However the word disinterested likewise carries another meaning altogether different viz. disinterested: unbiased by personal interest or advantage; not influenced by selfish motives.

Thus the word disinterested fitly portrays Divine Love, that which is unbiased, impartial, and dispassionate toward all.

 

 

 

Prelude to the Dark Night

Prelude to the Dark Night

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The Great Time of Trouble

Considering the fact that we now live in a time in which not only do “strange children” (Hosea 5:7) i.e. the tares outnumber the wheat, the true children of God, but likewise the great company outnumbers the “little flock” it is not hard to see why there are so many brethren who have returned to slumbering once again (Matt 25:5), content with the knowledge of the Lord’s Parousia. Such have put far from their minds any study and preparation for the events soon to come as they imagine them still far off, imagining we suspect that the harvest will cease prior to the beginning of these events and that should it come in their life time they will receive some kind of a warning from the Lord so that they can then prepare. The truth is there will be a warning but only perceivable to those who are fully awake and watching for it. Imagining that the harvest must completely end prior to the beginning of these final events is a fallacy which many have fallen prey, the Scriptures seem to indicate otherwise, viz.

Behold the days are coming says the LORD, when the plowman shall overtake (follow close after) the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed” (Amos 9:13)

The work of “reaping” the Gospel harvest progresses, but even now the plowman (the great time of trouble, which began in 1914) is beginning to overtaking the reapers, and the trader of grapes (the various sides being mustered for this final conflict) and, those who are sowing seed for the next age, shortly this will bring about the closing of the reaping work, for “the night comes when no man can work” (John 9:4).

“The closing in on this night will evidently put a stop to any further labor to disseminate the truth, which, misunderstood by the public generally, will probably be accused of being the cause of much of the anarchy and confusion then prevailing. Nor should we expect that the coming of night and the closing of the door will be sudden, but rather that it will be a gradual obstructing and closing down of the Harvest work.

“Observe that, when this night comes, when the reapers must cease their labors, it will prove (i.e. serve as a warning) that this final work of the Gospel Age is accomplished; that the elect number of the Bride of Christ have all been ‘sealed‘ and ‘gathered‘ into a condition of separateness from the worldly-into the barn condition (Matt 13:30); for God will not permit anything to put an end to his work until it is finished. Then, all the true and faithful servants of God will have been sealed in their foreheads; and, the work of the Gospel Age being finished, no more can enter into that work or reap its rich reward, foretold as the reward of the faithful who enter while the ‘door‘ is open.” —2 Pet 1:4 (Volume III, Pages 210, 211, 212)

God’s time table is not altered nor changed! “[The vision] speaks of the end, and it will not deceive: though it [seem to] tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not be delayed.” (Hab 2:3)

Of special note in Habakkuk’s prophecy is the reference to an apparent time delay with respect to the fulfillment of the vision: “Though it tarries, wait for it.” Hence, there seemed to be an advance indication that the full establishment of the Kingdom as well as of events immediately preceding it, viz. the end of the harvest, the destruction of Babylon, the completion of the Church and etc., would not be as smooth and as rapid as had been originally thought and that there would be the appearance of a delay in its implementation. As such, the prophecy offered a message of assurance and a gentle word of advice: The vision is certain, it will yet be fulfilled in due time; therefore, wait (watch) for it patiently.”

“Whatever the character of the watching, and whatever the thing to be looked for, there can be no question that the exhortation to watch for an event whose precise time is not stated implies that the watching ones will know when the event does take place. Watch, because ye know not, in order that at the proper time ye may know, is the thought; and the intimation clearly is, that those who do not watch will not know: that is the events which are to be known in due time to the Watchers will be recognized by them, and not recognized by others, at the time of accomplishment.” (R2359)

If one takes the time to examine the facts for themselves it’s easy to see how quickly things could likely play out, the fact is the events on our list (See “A Great Storm Approaches”, Part 6) could all transpire within a very short period of time say within about two to three years possibly less, likewise they could begin tomorrow or perhaps even today.

“Remember the Lord has told us that He will “make a short work of it.” Just how short the work will be would be conjectural. Every one may have his own opinion. At one time the Lord speaks of it as being “in one hour;” another time, as “in one day;” and the Apostle speaks of it as coming like travail upon a woman with child–suddenly.” (R5567)

One day you went to work concerned about your job, your employer was cutting your hours and you were wondering how you were going to pay your bills and provide for your family, or perhaps you were planning to take that long awaited vacation or possibly planning to buy a new car, may perhaps you were about to get married, and the next day you woke to find that it had begun, the world as you once knew it was changed forever, nothing that you had thought about previously meant anything to you anymore, the end of the present order was now upon us.

Lately I have come to see more and more signs that point to the fact that the end is near, even at the doorsteps, that it merely awaits the right spark (the first event) or catalyst to set it off, in fact the world seems to be in anticipation of this, however ignorantly.

“Watching carefully respecting our whereabouts, hopeful and solicitous respecting the gracious things which God has promised, none of the Watchers are indifferent to these fulfillment’s of prophecy, which are to be seen on every hand to-day. All men discern these things, but not all alike: the faithful, the Watchers, discern them not only as facts, but also as fulfillment’s of prophecy; as proofs that we are already in the period termed “the end of the age.”

“The Watchers look not merely at the outward signs, as seen in the world. They scrutinize carefully and repeatedly their “chart,” the Bible’s prophetic outline of the world’s history, furnished by the King himself. It is because they see the time of trouble outlined in the prophetic chart that they know that it is sure to come, and are able in advance of others to “discern the signs of the times,” and not to be in darkness respecting “things to comeas do the majority of the nominal church who slumber. It was in respect to this that the Lord promised the watchers that the holy spirit should guide them into all truth, as each feature (or event) becomes due, and would show them things to come–future things–in advance of the world’s knowledge, and in advance of the facts (the outward evidences) themselves.” (John 16:13) R2359

Have you taken noticed that there are more and more commercials, shows and documentaries of late on preparation and readiness for some type of perceived future catastrophe? There is this push to place ones assets into more stable commodities such as gold and silver as the speculation is that paper currency will soon be worthless as the debt crisis continues to loom; there is a push toward more home gardening and self-sufficiency, the acquisition of sufficient stores in order for an emergency, possibly a pandemic or some other such catastrophe. I saw a commercial on TV the other day where some company was selling pre-packaged stores for long term emergencies; this was something which previously was generally confined to extremist and to survivalist magazines, no longer now it’s becoming an acceptable necessity. They suggest a minimum six months to one year store obviously they anticipate some type of long term event which would necessitate such a store.

There was even a show on this very same thought the other day on the History Channel I believe it had something to do with the aftermath of Armageddon and how to survive I think. It was rather interesting barring the typical dramatics of a Hollywood production; I think possibly that this was what made it even more compelling. However we ourselves know full well that immediately following the Great Storm, i.e. Armageddon the Lord’s kingdom will be established in all the earth, the struggle for survival which they imagine will not come after Armageddon, but rather during Armageddon.

Another issue which was not addressed in the documentary was that they were simply imagining a scenario involving man-made catastrophes possibly some type of nuclear fall-out, a pandemic, disease, pestilence, famine, anarchy, but in truth these will not be the only dangers to be faced at this time not only will there be man-made catastrophes to be faced, but likewise natural disasters (enormous earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, storms and etc., as the planet (both the surface and the atmosphere) readies itself for the incoming kingdom, a kingdom paradise, a kingdom in which we are assured that nothing shall hurt (cause injury) or harm to any man whilst he is traversing the highway that leads to holiness, for the former things (pain, suffering, sorrows and death as well as natural disasters, calamities and etc.) will have passed away. The scriptures speak of a “Greatearthquake yet to come (Rev 16:18; Ezek 38:19, 20), and although this is SYMBOLIC of the “great time of trouble” soon approaching, with its eruption (earthquake) of revolution and turmoil leading to anarchy, wherein every man’s hand shall be turned against his neighbor (Zech 14:13) it may well also have a LITERAL application. The earth’s mantle has yet to have ceased its movements, and come to a complete (calm) settlement, even now one layer of the earth’s crust (tectonic plate) rides upon another, just like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle, which although it’s just about in its proper place, has not yet to be firmly pressed down flat into its place (because of underlying pressures). Even the groaning creation itself still waits for the word of the Lord, “Peace, be still” (Psa 46:10; Mark 4:39).

And yet there is still another difficulty here too which they have overlooked and that is that they are only thinking in two dimensions when in fact they better be prepared to think in three dimension, or should we say “outside the box” of human mindedness, because there is yet another element here which is going to come into play during this crisis, and that is Satan and the demonic host, the fallen spirits free from their chains. All of these elements working together are what will comprise the “four windsof destruction.

Nevertheless it is important to remember that God is at the helm, and that all things are working according to the counsel of his will, that is to say that every prophetic utterance spoken by Himself and his prophets is assured of fulfillment and nothing, no power in heaven or earth, could possibly alter his purposes. In the end he will cause the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder of man’s wrath (which would not praise him) he will restrain.

“Then I looked, and behold a white cloud, and on the cloud sat one like the Son of Man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.” (Rev 14:14)

In the scriptures “clouds” especially dark clouds, storm clouds typically represent “trouble, but this cloud is white, righteous trouble. It is righteous because it is the Lord’s wrath undoing the unrighteousness of the age. Jesus has returned; and as is the tendency of Revelation, he is not called Jesus, but rather the Son of Man. It is interesting to note that he sits on the cloud. To “sit” upon something is to be in a position of control over what is sat upon. Thus this impending trouble is not random trouble; this is controlled trouble. No matter how severe the time of trouble may become, we may rest assured by this verse that it never will be let out of control. On his head is a golden crown, divine authority. In his hand a sharp sickle, the device for harvesting. This verse shows so clearly that when the king returns it is not for the peaceful kingdom immediately; it is to control the trouble which will destroy Babylon, and to harvest the wheat.” (N.A.N.O.R. Page 179)

In conclusion let us note the admonishment of the Pastor:

“Dear brethren, in these coming days of trouble, which may be very near, the opportunity may come to you and to me to be either strife-breeders or peace-makers. Let us see the will of the Lord in this matter, that we are called to peace, and that the declaration of the Master is, ‘Blessed are the peace makers, for they shall be called the children of God.’

“Let us seek rather to subdue and calm the passions of men in the coming strife, and to do nothing to augment them or to kindle the fires of passion which we know are about to consume the present social fabric. Let us point out to those with whom we have any influence that the worst form of government in the whole world is better than no government—better than anarchy, a thousand times. Let us remind them of the fact that in God’s providence we have the best of all earthly governments.

“Let us remind them, too, that the Lord has told us to wait for Him and not to take matters into our own hands (something which many in the professing Church have disregarded). His words are, ‘Wait ye upon Me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them Mine indignation, even all My fierce anger; for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language (message), that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve Him with one consent.’—Zeph 3:8, 9.”

Strange Children

Strange Children

 

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For they have begotten strange children” —Hosea 5:7

For they are not all Israelites that are of Israel” —Rom 9:6

The true church, the “church of the first born whose names are written in heaven,” are all of the consecrated class, begotten by the word of truth, sons of God possessing the “mind of Christ,” whereas in contrast the “tares” which for the most part comprise the greater part of the church nominal are begotten not of the truth, but of error, the scriptures referring to such as “strange children,” partakers not of the spirit or mind of Christ our head, but of the spirit or disposition of the world.

These, God does not acknowledge as his sons no matter what their professions may be or what church or sect they profess to be associated with. Many of them are well meaning, i.e. honest and kindhearted, lovers of peace much more than they are lovers of the truth with the tribulations, and persecutions, and self-denials, which faithfulness to the truth always brings, things which every son of God begotten of the spirit of the truth appreciates as the foretold witnesses of the spirit to their faithfulness. (2 Tim 3:12) These are as really the “children of this world” as were the popular religionists of the nominal typical church, Israel after the flesh. In the next age such may become children of Christ by faith, and obedience to his just requirements, but they do not become “Sons of God” now, because of one of two reasons: either because, being blinded by the delusions of the god of this world they cannot discern even fundamental truths, (the “milk of the word”, the first principles of the doctrines of Christ) or else because though seeing the fundamentals they do not appreciate the privilege or liberty afforded them of becoming sons, (receiving the grace of God in vain, 2 Cor 6:1) preferring rather lives of ease to lives of self-sacrifice with Christ, preferring the pleasures and ambitions of the present world (age) to what they can see of the honor and glory promised to those who shall become sons.

As the true sons, begotten of the truth, are the “wheat” described in our Lord’s parable, so those nominal children of God, “strange children,” developed by fear and error and by false ideas and theories, are the “tares,” and the “field is the world” which makes no profession of Christ, containing elements which in the next age under the rule of the great Master and King will be accepted and used of him, but which at present un-tilled brings forth noxious weeds.

In the time of separation (the “harvest”) the wheat and tares so long permitted to grow together are to be separated. The “tares,” which constitute the majority in the nominal church or (professed) kingdom, will be separated from the true sons of God, the consecrated, who as joint-heirs with their Lord of the kingdom, will be established, “set up” in power and great glory. The “tares” on the contrary will be consumed as “tares” (as imitations of the true) and will be resolved into the elements of the field again. “He that hath an ear to hear let him hear!” The gathering together of the elect to receive the kingdom is in progress–they are being gathered, not into a place, but into a condition of heart and mind. Those who love the friendship and companionship and communion of the worldly minded, tares, (who refuse to heed the Lord’s admonishment to come out from among them, Rev 18:4) shall suffer loss, and have their portion with them, partaking of their “plagues” in the trouble already beginning. Think not that the “harvest” time is a time of peace and quiet. Nay! the Jewish harvest proves to the contrary that it is a time of commotion and unsettling, a time for breaking up of old associations, for bundling tighter the bundles of the tare classes, and for the gathering of the true wheat into the barn. All this is a part of the test put upon the true wheat, to prove the “overcomers.”

For the joy and refreshment of such, let us suggest here a Bible reading, pointing out our high calling now, our acceptance in the Beloved, our final exaltation and joint-heirship with him, and our glorious work of blessing the world in the coming age.

These promises are indeed a great power of God unto salvation to all them that believe and obey them. Take your Bibles and read– Col. 1:9 to 28; next read 1 Pet. 1:2 to 23; next Eph. 1:3 to 14 and finally, Acts 20:32. (R1009)

“As previously stated not all of the “tare” class are necessarily bad people, in fact many found in all denominations are possessed of very good and noble characters, moral and with religious inclinations. Some are “Good Samaritans,” found helping the sick and indigent, performing many wonderful works. Worldly wisdom admonishes that these (though not consecrated, not actual “wheat”) should nevertheless be recognized as “Israelites indeed.” Many are inclined to upbraid us for refusing the fellowship and cooperation of these. We should appreciate and encourage whatever is good in these, but as oil and water will not mix so likewise there can be no real union between the consecrated and unconsecrated. The spiritually begotten ones would thereby injure themselves by compromising their Covenant with the Lord, and it would deceive the Worldly Church Class into thinking they could be joint-heirs with Christ without having first entered into covenant arrangement with the Father through a full consecration; thus be injurious to both classes. (Z.’05-345; R.3664)

“The Reformers made this mistake and accepted the service of the worldly and to their cost, for it soon filled the church with “strangers.” The tendency in every case is to bring in an unsanctified influence and to do great injury to the true Israelites. Nominal Zion is full of “strange children” and their voice and influence predominates in the business affairs of the Churches and in their doctrines (this because of two reasons, 1) as stated the tares far outnumber the wheat, and 2) because the majority of the mature wheat has heeded to the Lord’s word to “come out of her my people”, come out of Babylon).

The Christian in the world is like a ship in the ocean; the ship is safe as long as the ocean is not in the ship.” One of the great difficulties with Christianity today is that it has admitted the “strangers,” “the people of the land,” and recognized them as Christians. It does injury not only to Christians by lowering their standards (for the average will be considered the standard), but it also injures the “strangers,” by causing many of them to think themselves Christians, thoroughly safe and needing no conversions because they are outwardly respectable and frequent attendants at public worship. It lowers the standard of doctrine also, for the minister who realizes that three-fourths of his congregation (not spirit begotten, and therefore incapable of receiving the deep things of the Word of God) were he to attempt to preach such, withholds it and permits those who need the strong meat and who could appreciate and use it to advantage, to grow weak and starve.

Many of these strangers have been attracted to the ministry itself and  not actually knowing the Lord nor His Word, (the Truth) are thus thoroughly unprepared to feed the sheep, the Lord’s little ones even were they so well disposed. The lesson for us is that worldly people, worldly aid and wisdom are not productive to the Lord’s true followers and as such should be rejected. (Z.’99-204; R.2512) Hosea 8:8-10