Mammon—The Significance Of.
Question (1975)—Jesus said, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13). What did He mean by mammon?
Answer.—Mammon was the name of an ancient Syrian god—the god of riches, of cupidity, the impersonation of worldliness. Today mammon means the spirit of the world, selfishness, with its avarice and love of wealth. Satan is the promoter of this spirit, this materialistic disposition.
The Apostle Paul tells us how we may know which master ye are serving he says, “His servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness” (Rom. 6:16).
If we are giving time and thought to gasping after riches and worldly honors, if our influence is for warring and strife, for selfishness in any form, if our sympathy and affections are tending to attach to the things of this present evil world rather than the things of God’s Kingdom, then we are serving Satan, whether we realize it or not.
Close and careful scrutiny of his thoughts, motives, words and deeds, in the light of God’s Word, will soon show any Christian whether he is rendering service to his rightful Master or to the Adversary. Whoever is serving the devil is his servant, is in his army (compare John 8:44). If we are serving the cause of the Truth and of righteousness, and that cause only, we are on the Lord’s side. ’75-71
Man—Did It Grieve God That He Created Man Gen. 6:6.
Question (1924)—If God foreknows all things, and never changes His mind, why does Gen. 6:6 say, “It repented the Lord that He made man in the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart?”
Answer.—The casual reader usually understands this passage to mean that God was sorry for having created man, yea, that He was even heartbroken over it. However such, it appears to us, misunderstand the verse. To bring its thought clearly before our minds several things in it must be explained. The first of these is the word “it” in the expressions, “it repented” and “it grieved.” To what does this “it” refer? Certainly not to God’s creating man, both whose sins and what He would do about them He foreknew (Acts 15:18); for had God repented of man’s creation, He would have destroyed him, and thus the human family would now be non-existent. Nor does the passage say that God repented having created man. It says it repented the Lord that He had made man in the earth. What repented the Lord? i.e., What was the it of this verse? We reply, man’s wickedness, even as the preceding verse says, “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually, and it [the wickedness just described] repented the Lord . . . and it grieved Him at the heart.” Having thus seen that the word “it” used twice in verse 6 refers both times to man’s wickedness described in verse 5, we are ready to explain the next thing that, to the casual reader, is obscure in this verse—the expression “in the earth,” which occurs both in verse 6 and in verse 5. As we have repeatedly in these columns shown, the word earth in the Bible does not only mean the literal earth—the planet on which we live—but also the symbolic earth—society. (Matt. 5:13; Is. 60:2; Gen. 4:14; 6:11-13; 9:11; 11:1; see H. E. ’23, 48, pars. 3-5.) The form of society that prevailed before the flood was somewhat communistic, like that which prevailed among the North American Indians. Such a form of society through man’s increasing selfishness became increasingly evil, until the conditions described in Gen. 6:1-5 developed. The words, “in the earth,” therefore, in verses 5 and 6 mean in the communistic form of society prevailing before the flood. The word “repented” as used in this verse also causes some difficulty. We generally use the word to mean to sorrow, to grieve over some matter. But Biblically the word here translated “repented” means to change either one’s mind or one’s procedure. (Jer. 4:28; 1 Sam. 15:29; Ps. 90:13; 110:4; Num. 23:19.) Knowing the end from the beginning, God never needs to change, nor does He ever change His mind (Jas. 1:17), but He frequently changes His procedure, i.e., He follows all His purposes unto a completion, then takes up other purposes, thus changing His procedure, but not His mind, which all along had planned the change of procedure, e.g., when He finished His Patriarchal Age purposes, He changed His procedure, taking up the Jewish Age purposes, which in turn being completed, He changed His procedure, taking up the Gospel Age purposes, and these being nearly completed, He shortly will change His procedure, taking up His Millennial Age purposes. If the word “repented” is understood in Gen. 6:6; to mean, not a change of mind, but of procedure, the last difficulty in the verse vanishes. Accordingly, the verse would mean that man’s wickedness in a communistic form of society occasioned God to change His procedure entered into when making man, He placed him in a communistic form of society; and man’s wickedness therein pained God deeply. The following verses and chapters describe the means by which the Lord changed His procedure, i.e., the flood and the organization of society on the bases of private ownership of property, competition in business and government in national and international relations. And we find that the communistic form of society was so changed; and thus God changed His procedure, but not His mind, which had all along been made up to make the change of procedure when it would be due. ’24-47
Man—Life Principle At Death.
Question (1976)—What becomes of the life principle of a human being when he dies?
Answer.—In Gen. 2:7 we read that “God formed man [his body] of the dust of the ground, and breathed [Heb., blew] into his nostrils the breath of life [Heb. plural, lives, i.e., such as was common to all living animals]: and man became a living soul [an animated, sentient being].”
Thus man as a living soul (Heb., nephesh, a sentient being) consists of a material body plus the breath, the spirit, the power of life, or the life principle (Heb., ruach). And when he, the sentient being, the human soul, dies (Psa. 22:29; 78:50; Ezek. 18:4, 20), i.e., when he ceases to live, his body returns to the dust from which it was formed (Gen. 3:19) and his spirit (Heb., ruach—his breath, animation, power of life, or life principle) “returns unto God who gave it” (Eccles 12:7)—his life principle and his privilege of living again are solely in God’s hand, and only God’s power can restore life to the soul who dies.
Death does not separate the soul from the body (as the Platonic theory, held by many Christians, teachers); rather when the soul (the person) dies the life in the sense of the privilege of living, the power of life, the animation, leaves the body and reverts into God’s hand, just as after a candle flame has been extinguished, the privilege or power of relighting it returns to the human hand.
Without the life principle and a body, the soul, the person, remains dead, “asleep” (1 Cor. 15:6, 18; 1 Thes. 4:13-15; 2 Pet. 3:4), until the awakening of the dead, as Psa. 146:4 explains: “His breath [ruach] goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (For further information on this subject, see the books The At-one-ment between God and Man, Life-Death-Hereafter and our free tract, What is the Soul?) ’76-7
Man—“Thou Turnest Man To Destruction; And Sayest, Return, Ye Children Of Men” Psa. 90:3.
Question (1962)—What is the meaning of Psa. 90:3: “Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men”?
Answer.—It means that God through Jesus will bring back mankind from the grave. When Adam sinned and brought God’s curse upon himself and his race, then still in his loins, it was the curse, not of life in torment, but of death—the loss of the life that God had given him. “The wages of sin is [not eternal torture, but] death; but the gift of God is eternal life [man does not have life inherently—if he is to have it, he must get it as God’s gift] through Jesus Christ our Lord”; “The soul that sinneth, it shall die”; God had told Adam plainly, “In the day that thou eatest thereof dying thou shalt die” (Rom. 6:23; Ezek. 18:4, 20; Gen. 2:17, margin). Thus “by one man sin entered into the world, and death [not eternal life in torment] by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned [in Adam]” (Rom. 5:12). Adam started all mankind on the broad way “that leadeth to destruction” (Matt. 7:14).
Under the curse God has for over 6,000 years been turning man to destruction (not eternal preservation in fire); and this would have ended everything for man-kind—they would have been eternally dead, like the brute beasts that have died—had not “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish [become eternally extinct), but [on the contrary] have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Accordingly, Jesus “was made flesh,” “a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death . . . that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (John 1:14; Heb. 2:9; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15). As payment for the debt, the wages of sin, Jesus did not go into eternal torment, but “poured out his soul unto death”; He “died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (Isa. 53:10, 12; 1 Cor. 15:3).
Since God “will have all men saved [from the Adamic curse—1 Tim. 4:10], and to come unto the knowledge of the truth,” since Jesus “gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” and is to enlighten all (1 Tim. 2:4, 6; John 1:9), an awakening from the sleep of death is assured—death (the dying process) and hell (the condition of the grave—oblivion) will deliver up the dead which are in them (Rev. 20:13). God will say to mankind, whom because of disobedience He has turned to destruction in death, “Return, ye children of men.” By awakening all the dead, and bringing them up 0ut of the Adamic condemnation and its effects, God will destroy death and hell; (Hosea 13:14; Rev. 20:14).
The Hebrew word sheol, and the corresponding Greek words hades, translated “grave” and “hell” in these two verses, are translated grave 32 times, hell 41 times and pit three times, in the King James Version Bible. They do not refer to a place of eternal torture, as taught in the creeds of the Dark Ages, but rather to the condition of unconsciousness, oblivion, destruction (for further details, please see our booklet, The Hell of the Bible, advertised on p. 32). If it were a place of torture, Job certainly would not have prayed to go and be hidden there (Job 14:13).
Job shows that hiding in the grave (sheol) means destruction, and that the coming forth is a regeneration, when he says, “Now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be” (Job 7:21). Here, as elsewhere in the Scriptures, death is referred to as sleep. In the Millennial morning, when “the day of the Lord’s vengeance,” the Time of Trouble, will have passed, then the Lord will seek Job; and through he shall not be, though Adamic death has worked its destruction upon him, he will not be beyond the reach of Divine resurrection power. “All that are in the graves [including Job] shall hear his [Jesus’] voice, and shall come forth”(John 5:28, 29).
What tidings of great joy for all people are these (Luke 2:10)! But only those who have implicit faith in the promises of God can now rejoice in the glorious prospect. The hope of the world is in the resurrection, yet even many Christians now have little or no faith in it. They regard death, not as destruction, as this text declares, but as the gateway to heaven or to eternal torment, and so they see little or no place or necessity for a resurrection; hence to them the resurrection doctrine has lost its power.
But the Apostle Paul emphasized the absolute necessity of a resurrection from the sleep of death, if we are to have any future life. He showed that, “if the dead rise not . . . then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (1 Cor. 15:22-23). And while thus defining death to be destruction, he asks, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead”? (Acts 26:8). If God has power to create and to destroy, has He not power to re-create or restore that which He destroyed? Surely this is not beyond the scope of Divine power. Soon God’s wrath against the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Rom. 1:18) will be past and all mankind will be blessed by Abraham’s Seed (Gal. 3:8, 16, 29). As we read God’s Word and recognize the foretold signs, such as the great increase of travel and knowledge, the great Time of Trouble upon the world, the regathering of Fleshly Israel to their homeland, etc. (Dan. 12:1, 4; Amos 9:14, 15), which show that these things must shortly come to pass, we hail with joy every indication. Truly we have cause to rejoice always, and in everything give thanks! ’62-31; ’85-31
Mankind—Will They Awaken With Perfect Bodies.
Question (1921)—Will mankind when awakened from the tomb, be given perfect bodies?
Answer.—The Ancient and Youthful Worthies, who have stood their trial of faith and obedience in this life, will receive perfect human bodies at the time of their awakening (Heb. 11:35); but those who come forth for the resurrection [restanding to perfection] that will be wrought through a judgment process (John 5:29, Rev. Ver.) will not be awakened with perfect bodies. Their being brought forth from the tomb is for the purpose of giving them an opportunity to walk up the Highway of Holiness to perfection, physical, mental, moral and religious. (Is. 35:8-10.) To give them perfect bodies at once would interfere with their reformation, since it would withdraw a strong incentive for reformation: the hope of physical healing for well-doing. Moreover, they would not recognize themselves in perfect bodies, and they would have to be put on trial for life without mercy for weaknesses; there would be no need for a sympathetic Priesthood to minister to them, nor of a thousand years for their trial, nor would infants—fully one-half of the race died in infancy—get any advantage from the experience with evil as a deterrent from wrong-doing, if these people should be made perfect in their bodies as soon as they were awakened. Hence we look for them to return with imperfect bodies, which, as they gradually reform, will together with their minds and heart, be gradually perfected. ’21-51; ’74-94
Mankind—Future “Day Of Visitation.”
Question (1983)—In 1 Pet. 2:12 the Apostle exhorts the Church, “Having your conversation [behavior, ASV] honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” To what time does this “day of visitation” refer?
Answer.—God “visits” people at various times and for various purposes, such as giving them inspection, special favors or punishment (Gen. 50:24; Ex. 13:9; Isa. 10:3; Jer. 46:21; Luke 1:68; 19:44). Jesus said in Luke 19:44 regarding Fleshly Israel as represented in Jerusalem, “They shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of the visitation,”
God in Jesus’ day on earth visited Fleshly Israel with His greatest and richest favor ever offered to mankind, “the high calling” (Phil. 3:14), the invitation to become of the “royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9), the Kings and Priests unto our God (Ex. 19:5, 6; Rev. 5:9, 10; 20:4, 6), those who in the resurrection are made partakers of “glory and honour and immortality,” “the divine nature” (Rom. 2:7; 2 Pet. 1:4). But though God through Messiah Jesus visited fleshly Israel with this great honor and “came unto his own, his own received him not” (John 1:11). Only a few, “Israelites indeed,” received Him (v. 12) and the marvelous High Calling invitation; the rest, the bulk of the nation, rejected Him and the invitation (Rom. 11:7). Therefore Jesus said of the Jewish nation, “Thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.” They missed the most marvelous opportunity ever offered!
Accordingly beginning with Cornelius (Acts 10), “God at the first did visit the Gentiles [another visitation!] to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15:14). And so Gentiles as well as Jews were given the invitation to the High calling in the Gospel, or Church Age, to become Kings and Priests and reign with Christ (Rom. 11; Gal. 3:27, 28; Eph. 2:11-15).
The Gospel, or Church Age until in the time of its end is God’s “day of visitation” with His marvelous elective favors to all “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” who would respond (Rev. 5:9; Gal. 3:28). It is God’s special “accepted time,” His “day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2), the Day of Judgment for the elect (1 Pet. 4:17).
Some think of the Gospel, or Church Age as the only day of visitation, or salvation, but the Scriptures show that while this Age is the special day of salvation, it is not the only one. Among other evidences, Isa. 49:8 shows this, stating, “In an acceptable time have I heard thee: and in a day of salvation have I helped thee.” The Apostle Paul quotes this in 2 Cor. 6:2, as follows, “I have heard thee in a [note that this is correctly stated] time accepted, and in the [note this is incorrectly stated—it should be a as in Isa. 49:8] day of salvation have I succored thee: behold, now is the [it should be an] accepted time; behold, now is the [it should be a] day of salvation.” Other good translations, such as Young’s and the Berkeley Version, correctly use a instead of the in 2 Cor. 6:2, as Isa. 49:8 shows it should be.
The Apostle Peter in 1 Pet. 2:12 make a marked contrast between the Gospel-Age time, the Gospel-Age day of visitation or salvation, in which he exhorts the Jewish Christian brethren (1 Pet. 1:1, 2; compare Matt. 5:16) to have their conduct honest among Gentiles, non-Jews, even such as spoke against them as evildoers, so that such Gentiles would by the brethren’s good works which they would now—in this life—behold, glorify God at a future time he called “the day of visitation.”
It is evident therefore from Peter’s expression that “the day of visitation” of 1 Pet. 2:12 is the time following the Gospel or Church Age day of visitation, or salvation, namely, the Millennium, the 1,000-year Reign of Christ, when mankind in general, “the residue [remainder] of men” (Acts 15:17)—those left after the Elect have been taken “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Rev. 5:9)—“will seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles.” This Millennial “day of visitation” in the same blessed time referred to in many other Scriptures, for example, Isa. 60:1-5, which shows that the non-elect Gentiles in general will in the Millennium come to the light of the Elect Church and be converted to Christ.
That Millennial Mediatorial Reign will be “the day of visitation” for the non-elect dead as well as the non-elect living ones. The non-elect dead, including those who spoke evil against the brethren in Peter’s day on earth, will then be raised in “the resurrection of the unjust,” “the resurrection of judgment” (Acts 24:15; John 5:29, ASV) and those who in this life have not had their one full opportunity for salvation will be given (1 Tim. 2:4).
This resurrection judgment will not be merely the passing of a sentence, but will first include instruction, then testing according to the instruction given, and correction of wrong conduct (see our “Judgment Day” tract—a copy free on request). God “hath appointed a day [‘one day is with the Lord as a thousand years’—2 Pet. 3:8] in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained” (Acts 17:31), namely, the Risen Jesus.
Those who spoke evil against, vilified and otherwise persecuted the Elect class in this life will then remember with appreciation the good works of the Elect; they will then call to mind the patient endurance, faithfulness and uniform kindness of the ones they in this life despised, hated and ridiculed. This will cause persecuting spirit to turn to mourning and repentance, and their hatred to love and admiration; and the Elect will have the opportunity and will deal very graciously with them.
As mankind accept Christ as Savior and Lord and go up the Highway of Holiness to human perfection and life forever on earth (Isa. 35:8)—which Highway will then be opened up—they will indeed remember the example of the Elect and “glorify God in the day of visitation” for them, even as Gospel-Age believers have glorified God in their day of visitation (Isa. 49:8; 2 Cor. 6:2)—in this Age—Luke 7:16; 13:13; 17:15; Acts 11:18; 21:20.
Then, in the Mediatorial Reign, “all nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.” “Who shall not fear [reverence] thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments [righteous acts, ASV] are made manifest.” They will say (as we all should now): “Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth; unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore” (Psa. 86:9-12; Isa. 25:9; 60:21; Rev. 15:4).
(Thus 1 Pet. 2:12 is another Bible passage that can be added to the many given in our “Hope for the Unsaved Dead” booklet showing that the Scriptures indeed hold out hope for the unsaved dead who have not had their one full opportunity for salvation in this life through faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord.) Let all realize that God is still visiting mankind with marvelous special Kingdom favors and selecting out those who because of accepting Christ as Savior and Lord in justification and consecration will become Abraham’s pre-Millennial seed or children, who will be used in helping to bless and convert mankind in general in the Millennial Mediatorial Reign. Let all of such seed of Abraham be faithful in this end-time Gospel-Age calling, in studying God’s Word (2 Tim. 2:15), in practicing its teachings and in letting “their light so shine before men, that they may see our good works and glorify our Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:15, 16).
Let all such continually keep in mind Isa. 61:1-3: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach the good tidings to the meek . . . to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives . . . to comfort all that mourn . . . that they might be called the trees of righteousness [Psa. 1:3], the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” ’83-94; ’97-30
Marital—Duties And Obligations.
Question (1980)—What are the duties in common and the sole obligations of Christian husbands and wives to each other, according to the Bible?
Answer.—The Scriptures and the “spirit of a sound mind”—Divine wisdom, which comes “from above” (2 Tim. 1:7; James 3:17)—show husbands and wives that they have certain duties in common:
(1) They are to love each other, not merely with sex love, but with the genuine good will that they owe each other (we usually call it duty love) and with the unselfish, disinterested good will in its appreciation, heart’s oneness, sympathy and sacrifice (1 Cor. 13; Eph. 5:25, 28; Col. 3:14, 19; Titus 2:4).
In this love are (2) to trust, (3) respect, (4) please (Rom. 15:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:32-34) and (5) serve each other (Gal. 5:13).
The husband’s sole obligations are (1) to cherish, (2) support (Eph. 5:29; 1 Tim. 5:8) and (3) be the head of his wife, even as Christ is the Head of the Church (1 Cor. 11:3-9; Eph. 5:23, 25; 1 Pet. 3:7). This does not mean that the wife may not assist in the supporting, Nor does this mean that in some unusual cases, e.g., incapability of the husband to secure employment or to work, she may not be the sole support of the family. The husband’s headship is not to be a tyranny (The New Creation, pp. 491-494). He is to be very considerate of his wife’s viewpoints and opinions on various matters, though the responsibility of making final decisions rests with him.
The wife’s sole obligations are to (1) respect (Eph. 5:33), (2) be submissive (Eph. 5:22, 24; Col. 3:18; 1 Pet. 3:4-6) and (3) be the helpmate of her husband (Gen. 2:18; Titus 2:5). Of course, the wife is not to be submissive to her husband if he asks her to do anything unjust or contrary to God’s instructions.
These general duties and obligations of husbands and wives are good guidelines for regulation and making decisions on many details pertaining to the married relationship. On account of the Adamic fall and the resultant imperfections in all men and women, husbands and wives should be lenient, longsuffering, forbearing and forgiving to each other and should exercise much sympathy and tact in dealing with each other.
These duties and obligations apply not only to consecrated (dedicated) Christians but also to the unconsecrated justified and even unjustified. However, consecrated married couples have many special pertinent privileges and blessings that other couples do not have; and because of their self-denying and world-denying lives and continual growth in and practice of Christlikeness, they are in a much better position to faithfully carry out their martial duties and obligations.
Such special privileges and blessings of consecrated Christian husbands and wives are, e.g., joining together in prayer, study and spread of the Truth, with the conjoined joy of mutual fellowship. The husband and wife who pray and converse together on the things of the Lord encourage, assist and strengthen each other in the consecrated walk, and help to deepen each other’s appreciation of God, Christ and the Truth. Thus they cement the double bond of Christian love and marital love, a blessing that only truly consecrated husbands and wives can fully appreciate. For further advice regarding the duties and obligations of consecrated husbands and wives, see The New Creation, chap.12. ’80-6
Marital—Separation Between Husband And Wife.
Question (1980)—According to the Scriptures, under what circumstances would a separation between a consecrated Christian and his or her marriage partner (spouse) be proper?
Answer.—In The New Creation, pp. 499-507 this matter is treated in considerable detail, covering cases in which (a) both husband and wife are consecrated Christians and in which (b) a consecrated Christian is married to an unconsecrated spouse. As shown there, the consecrated Christians should seek diligently in every proper way to stay together with their spouses in marriage relationship, which is often very difficult and trialsome when a consecrated Christian is married to an unconsecrated spouse, especially to one who is an unbeliever and hostile to the Truth.
In The New Creation, p. 506, we read “The believer is to seek and to attain the grace of the spirit of love that will enable the endurance of practically ‘all things,’ and to be profited thereby—to grow in grace under such conditions, by cultivating the Spirit of the Lord and its various graces. But there is a limit to all things, and beyond that limit it would not be proper to go. Beyond that limit the influence upon the unjust companion would be injurious instead of helpful.
“Each must decide for himself what is the proper limitation of submission in such matters. His own conscious must decide, after that conscious has been educated by both the letter and the spirit of the Divine Word. As growth in grace is attained the trials may become more severe; but there should be a larger capacity for endurance with meekness, and a larger amount of ‘the spirit of a sound mind’ with which to determine when the point of unendurable severity and injury is reached. Grace from on high is needed, is promised, and should be earnestly sought under such conditions.—Isa. 1:5.”
“The women which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife” (1 Cor. 7:13-16.)
A consecrated Christian who is married to an unbeliever should not separate from or divorce (“put away” v. 12) the spouse on account of the unbelief. Rather, they both should seek to live together as happily and as peaceably as possible. It might transpire—and has often occurred—that the believing spouse will win the unbeliever for the Lord.
“If there be real cause for separation, the believer must see to it that the cause is not in him. The Spirit of Christ in him is to make him more gentle, more humble, more peaceable, more prudent, more wise, more longsuffering, more patient, more loving and more kind day by day” (p. 504, par. 2).
In some cases the unbelieving one will depart, or the consecrated one may find conditions truly unbearable and take up a separate home. But this is not to be understood to signify that simple desertion by a mate would grant liberty to a consecrated one to get a divorce and to marry another. “Nothing in this advice should be understood to cultivate impatience or a readiness to take offense and feel injured. Love demands that all bearable treatment shall be borne” (pp. 505, 506, top).
If the unbelieving spouse insists on a divorce, the believing partner in many cases may think best to acquiesce if a suitable, equitable property settlement can be arranged; but if thus divorced the consecrated Christian would not be free to remarry except on the conditions given below. ’80-6
Marital—When A Consecrated Christian May Seek Divorce And Remarriage.
Question (1980)—According to the Scriptures, under what circumstances would divorce from one’s spouse be a consecrated Christian and remarriage be proper?
Answer.—Rom. 7:1-3 teaches that under ideal circumstances the marriage contract is dissolved only by the death of either spouse, as mutually promised in the customary marriage vows—“until death do us part.”
“The marriage relation, both in its duration and in its character, was designed to be a type of the lasting, faithful and blessed union of Christ and the Church. He will never leave her nor forsake her; and she will never withdraw her allegiance and faithfulness to Him” (Z Reprints 1554, col. 2, par. 4).
The married couple are in the “one flesh” relationship—and no one is to separate them (Gen. 2:23, 24; 1 Cor. 6:16; 7:39; Eph. 5:31). From this standpoint if either spouse, while the other lives, cohabits with another, either in or without marriage, that one is guilty of adultery—of breaking his or her marriage vow and the “one flesh” relationship.
Jesus taught in harmony with the above in Matt. 19:3-6 (comp. Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18), though He stated at the same time that God had under the Mosaic Law permitted divorce in special cases for reasons other than adultery (Deut. 24:1-4; Ezra 10:1-17) because of the Jews’ “hardness of heart”—their stubborn dispositions. Thereby Jesus implied that many of them were unable properly to obey God’s initial pertinent instruction (Gen. 2:23, 24) and that God, though not well-pleased with their course, had allowed it (as He did similarly when against His warnings given through Samuel, He acceded to the Jews’ request for a king to be set over them—1 Sam. 8:4-22).
However, God through Jesus in Matt. 5:31, 32, 19:9; Luke 16:18 (comp. Jer. 3:8) gave clear instructions, in this case for consecrated Christians, namely, that the only reason recognized by God for which a consecrated Christian may seek a divorce is adulterous unfaithfulness of his or her spouse.
The Greek word porneia, translated “fornication” in Matt. 5:32; 19:9 (also in Acts 15:20, 29 and many other N.T. passages) evidently does not mean only sexual intercourse between unmarried persons, but often means adultery also. Thayer’s Greek lexicon says it is used “of illicit sexual intercourse in general.” God considers adultery a breaking of the marriage contract, a splitting of the “one flesh” marriage relationship by joining sexually with someone other than one’s spouse. And He therefore through Jesus pronounced it as a legitimate reason for divorce.
But while adultery is the only reason recognized by God for which a consecrated Christian may seek for a divorce, Jesus did not state that adulterous unfaithfulness of the spouse must if necessity cause the wronged one to separate from the offender and/or seek for a divorce, though he or she may do so. The wronged spouse should carefully consider refraining from separating and seeking a divorce, especially when the offender manifests repentance and a firm assurance that he or she will sin no more in this way (John 8:11; 1 Cor. 5:1-5, comp. 2 Cor. 2:6-8). Husbands and wives should have and manifest a forgiving attitude toward each other (Col. 3:13), and each should make an earnest effort to reconcile differences and to continue together in the marriage relationship.
If a consecrated Christian’s spouse, whether unconsecrated or consecrated, secures a divorce for reasons other than adultery, this does not give the consecrated Christian freedom to marry again. The innocent consecrated partner is free to remarry only if the spouse has broken his or her marriage vow, the “one flesh” relationship, by cohabiting with another, either without marriage or in another marriage and if a divorce court decree has been obtained.
We realize that in many places divorces are easily obtainable for reasons other than adultery on the part of the spouse, but this does not give consecrated Christians the right to sue for divorce if there is no evidence of adultery by the spouse. Consecrated Christians are to follow Jesus’ instructions.
In some cases where adultery by the spouse has taken place and the consecrated partner knows of it, a legal divorce may nevertheless—for the sake of discretion—be obtained by either the innocent or the offending partner without specifying adultery in the legal record as the ground for the divorce. In such as outcome the consecrated one would still be free—according to the Scriptures—to remarry, not withstanding the wording in the legal record. ’80-7
Mary—The Mother Of Jesus, Did She Have Other Children.
Question (1963)—Did Mary have children besides Jesus?
Answer.—Yes; for Matt. 13:55, 56 and Mark 6:3 prove it, showing that after Jesus’ birth she had four other sons and at least two daughters. Roman Catholics answer that these were cousins of Jesus, and claim to prove it by the fact that two of the four brothers, called James and Judas, were the Apostle James and Jude who wrote the Epistles of James and Jude, whom other Scriptures—set forth in the answer to the previous question—prove to be Jesus’ first cousins. As mentioned there, we admit that cousins are called brethren in Oriental countries; and we agree that these Apostles James and Jude were cousins of Jesus. But the Roman Catholic answer does not fit here, because John 7:3-8, which also refers to Mary’s other sons, Jesus’ brethren mentioned in Matt. 13:55, 56 and Mark 6:3, shows that they were not Jesus’ disciples (v. 3), and that they did not believe in Him (v. 5). This description could not possibly fit these Apostles James and Jude. Hence they are obviously not referred to in any of these three passages.
Moreover, if only the two alleged non-Apostolic male cousins, of the four alleged male cousins of Jesus, were meant by “His brethren” in John 7:3, the expression would have been two of His brethren, or some of His brethren. The expression would not have included all of them, as John 7:3-8 does; for, as said above, what this passage mentions about these brethren of Jesus cannot fit the Apostle James the Less and Jude. So the natural use of language in John 7:3-8 is also against the Roman Catholic view and favors the view that Mary had other children besides Jesus.
The Roman Catholic view, i.e., the perpetual virginity of Mary, is born of the heathen idea that motherhood is more or less unclean, while the Jews consider motherhood in high honor; also, one of the most dreaded things for a Jewish maiden was to remain unmarried, and for a Jewish wife was to remain childless, especially sonless. The Jewish idea was evidently in harmony with what the Apostle Paul says in Heb. 13:4. The Roman Catholic claim is put forth at the insistence of their doctrine that Mary was always a virgin; but Matt. 1:25 naturally implies that she did not remain a virgin after Jesus’ birth. ’63-31
Question (1978)—How are we to understand Matt. 10:28?
Answer.—Man can destroy the body, but cannot destroy the entity, the individual, the character, the person himself; for at death he falls asleep, waiting for the resurrection awakening (Dan. 12:2; Psa. 30:5; John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15; 2 Tim. 4:8; Rev. 20:12). Only God can destroy our right to live again, which is guaranteed by Christ’s death. The revived souls will include new bodies (1 Cor. 15:35-40). ’78-7
Matt. 21:33-43—The Wicked Husbandmen Parable.
Question (1979)—What is the meaning of Jesus’ parable of the wicked husbandmen (Matt. 21:33-43?
Answer.—Briefly, the householder is God, the vineyard the Jewish nation (comp. Isa. 5:1-7) and the husbandmen its religious leaders. In due time God looked for proper fruitage but they maltreated His Jewish-Age emissaries, and in its Harvest determined to and slew His Son, the Messiah Jesus (through the Romans—Acts 2:23; 3:13-17). Consequently, God decreed destruction upon the nation, which came in the trouble upon them in A.D. 70-73 (comp. Matt. 3:12; 21:6, 7; 1 Thes. 2:16). The taking from them of the Kingdom and giving it to a fruit-bearing nation shows that the privilege of becoming the chief elect class was taken from them and given to Spiritual Israel (Rom. 11; Rev. 7:1-8). ’79-71
Matt. 22:11-13—The King Inspecting The Guests.
Question (1979)—What is meant by the king coming in to see the guests and finding one without a wedding garment (Matt. 22:11-13)?
Answer.—The custom of the Jews, arranged by Divine providence doubtless, was that at wedding feasts each guest was provided with a white wedding garment, to cover his own garments. Thus all at the wedding were on an equal footing as respects dignity, because they were the guests of the host. So all who have come to God’s great Feast provided through Christ must have done so, not through any worthiness of their own in the flesh, but through acknowledging that they have an insufficiency of merit to be acceptable to God, and must accept the merit of Christ’s Ransom-sacrifice as making them worthy of the honor they aspired to in responding to this invitation.
Each guest entering the house was supplied with a robe, and was expected to put it on immediately. For any guest to appear without that wedding garment would be a mark of disrespect to the host who had provided it. Indeed, for any guest to be at the wedding without a robe would imply that he had taken it off; for no one was admitted without a robe. This is the picture given us in the parable. A guest was found there who had not on a wedding garment—one, therefore, who in disregard of his host had removed his wedding garment, the wearing of which was the condition of his admission.
The words, “when the king came in to see the guests,” signify an inspection just prior to the wedding feast. Since the King of the parable is Jehovah Himself, this would seem to mean that God takes note, through the exhibition of Divine justice in some manner, of anyone professing loyalty as a Christian, yet disregarding the merit of Christ’s death as covering his sins.
Or, Christ might properly be understood to be referred to as the King in this instance; for at His Second Advent He is invested with Kingly authority and power by the Heavenly Father, as our Lord Himself indicates in the parables of the pounds and of the talents. At the beginning of His Second Advent, therefore, He tells us He will Himself inspect all those who profess to be His faithful servants—all those who have accepted the invitation to the Wedding Festival.
The man found without a wedding garment in the presence of the king we understand to represent a class, and not merely one individual. So we find such a class now professing to be Christ’s true followers, professing to be waiting for the marriage of the Lamb, professing to hope to enter into the joys of their Lord, yet telling us that they no longer trust in the merit of Christ’s sacrifice for their standing with the Father. These have rejected Jesus as their Savior, their Redeemer, the Atoner for their sins. They merely retain Him as their Teacher and then, apparently, accept only a part of His teachings. Many adhere to and teach various theories of self-atonement.
These are manifestly unfit for the Kingdom. Only the loyal, only the faithful, are acceptable. The parable shows that all those who reject the merit of Christ’s Ransom-sacrifice will be rejected from the Kingdom. They are unable to say how they came in without a “wedding garment”; for they did not come in without it. No one was ever admitted into the fellowship of the Spirit in the Church of Christ without first having on the wedding garment of Christ’s merit, covering his imperfection. Those manifested as having taken off the wedding garment are cast out summarily. The king said to the servants, “Bind him hand and foot . . . and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” ’79-71
Matt. 22:14—The Outer Darkness.
Question (1979)—Does casting the one without a wedding garment into outer darkness mean that such individuals are to be tortured eternally?
Answer.—With minds filled with hallucinations of the Dark Ages, many read into this and into other Scriptures what they do not contain, assuming that the class represented by the man without the wedding garment will be cast into fiery torment, and suffer eternally.
But now, examining the Scriptures more carefully, we have perceived that as all of these guests at the wedding came into the light of the wedding chamber from the darkness of the outside world, so the casting of one of them out of the light into the outer darkness would mean merely the taking from the knowledge and the joys represented by the wedding-chamber light and thus leaving them greatly chagrined.
As for the outside world, we know that the Apostle John declares that the whole world lies in darkness, “in the Wicked One” (1 John 5:19; comp. Isa. 60:1, 2). We know also that the present great Time of Trouble will prepare the world for the blessings of Messiah’s soon-coming Kingdom. During this trouble all those who are in the darkness will have weeping and gnashing of teeth—discontent, anguish, disappointment, chagrin, etc., connected with the overthrow of many of their wrongly based human hopes and expectations.
If, as some believe and teach, the one without the wedding garment is cast into a hell of fiery torment, it would not be a place of darkness, but one lighted with fire and hideous with the curses of its occupants suffering mental or physical torture. Other Scriptures agree that hell (sheol) is a place or state of silence, darkness, forgetfulness and absolute unconsciousness (Job 10:21, 22; Psa. 6:5; 88:3-12, 18; 146:4; Eccles. 9:5, 10; Isa. 38:18, 19; for an examination of every Bible verse in which the word hell is found, including those it is claimed teach eternal torment, please see our booklet The Hell of the Bible). ’79-71
Matt. 22:14—“Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen.”
Question (1979)—What is meant by Jesus’ statement, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14)?
Answer.—This does not mean, as some suppose, that only an elect few will get any favor from God in the future, and that all the remainder of humankind will be eternally tortured. We must read in harmony with the context.
The Jewish nation was first called, or invited, to the Wedding and the Wedding Feast, and they failed to come, except for a few “Israelites indeed.” For about 1900 years the Gospel message has gone out into “the highways,” to one Gentile nation after another, until many more or less heard the Gospel-Age call. Yet only a few comparatively have heeded the call and have come into the elect condition.
And of those called and chosen, not all are faithful. The Bride, or Body, of Christ are the fully faithful—“they that are with him [Jesus our Lord] are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Rev. 17:14). The “great multitude,” of whom we treated in our June issue, is faithful, but not fully so. And there is a class that backslides to the extent of never being recovered, who are cast away, or rejected entirely, and go into the Second Death—eternal annihilation—symbolized by the lake of fire (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:26-31, 39; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; 1 John 5:16; Jude 4-19; Rev. 20:15; 21:8). ’79-71
Matt. 24:6—“When Is The End.”
Question (1990)—I read in Matt. 24:6 of the “end”. “When is this “end”? Also, this chapter in vs. 6, 21, 29 mentions being “troubled,” and in “tribulation.” Do these refer to the same period?
Answer.—When referring to a period, the word “end,” (telos in Greek) means one or the other of three Harvest periods. So when Jesus says i, v. 6, “the end is not yet.” He refers to the Harvest of the Gospel Age (which began in 1874); again, in v. 14 when He mentions the “end,” He refers also to the Harvest of the Gospel Age. Thus He meant that the Harvest time would not come until the Gospel would be preached in all the world for a witness to all the nations. This witness was completed in 1861 when the Bible was translated into the last language (though not last dialect) on earth and circulated in the nation, which used that language. This is according to reports that year by the Bible societies, which had begun in 1804 largely by way of William Cary (after hearing of the long trek by young Welsh maiden Mary Jones, in the intense desire for a Bible.)
A very clear case of the word telos, “end,” as meaning the Harvest (that is, the Harvest of the Jewish Age and the Harvest of the Gospel Age) as in 1 Cor. 10:11 (the ends of the ages; Diaglott, NASB, etc.); in this connection Paul speaks of the five siftings (vs. 6-10) that marked the Harvest of the Jewish Age and the Harvest of the Gospel Age.
So also in 1 Cor. 15:24 the “end” is the “Little Season,” which will be the Harvest of the Millennial Age. Accordingly, whenever the word telos, “end,” is used for a time-period, it refers to one or the other of the three Harvests (for the Harvest is the end of the Age, as Jesus tells us).
Matt. 24:4-14 is a brief history of the whole Gospel Age, especially in its relation to Israel and the Church. Jesus used similar language in the parallel account in Luke 21:5-24 (where He describes the trouble at the end of the Jewish Age). There also Jesus tells of nations arising against one another and of “wars and rumors of wars”; and yet the connection shows that He is referring to the Jewish Harvest—culminating in the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple and the scattering of Israel.
Another matter that we think should be kept in mind: Jesus in Matt. 24:8 calls the troubles in vs. 6, 7 the “beginning of sorrows”; and so vs. 6, 7 evidently do not mean troubles coming at the end of this Age. This will, we trust, show that we are correct in interpreting Matt. 24:4-14 as giving a brief summary of history throughout the Gospel Age until its Harvest in 1874.
TWO SPECIAL TRIBULATIONS OF MATT. 24
As to the second point of the question, we would understand it as follows. There are two special tribulations referred to in Matt. 24:
(1) Those coming upon Israel, the Church and the world before the end began in 1874, and
(2) Those coming from 1914 onward.
As Jesus teaches in Matt. 24:8, 9, the former were to set in as the “beginning of sorrows.” It is to this set of tribulations that we understand v. 29 to mean. We do not understand v. 29 to refer to the tribulation of vs. 21, 22. The latter refer to the great tribulation of the Time of Trouble (which began Autumn 1914 with World War phase I), whereas the great tribulation of vs. 8, 12, 29 come prior to the end (Harvest) of the Gospel Age (v. 14).
We will give two reasons for our position stated above:
(1) The Parallel account in Luke 21:24-26 supports it. This is not so clearly seen in the accounts by Matthew and Mark as when we compare Luke’s record — which seems briefly to sum up the events of the Gospel Age, and (using other language than “tribulation of those days”) refers in vs. 25, 26 only to the tribulation with which the age will be closed. He says:
“And they [Jews] shall fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all the nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the Times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. And there shall be signs in the sun and in the moon and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear and looking after those things which are coming on the earth” (Luke 21:24-26).
The fact is that all this Age has been a period of tribulation referred to in Matt. 24:9-12, and now in v. 29, the early Church was persecuted by civil Rome; while later, after Papal Rome got control, all who refused to approve her abominations were persecuted by her (Jezebel) directly, or else indirectly by the civil power to which she was wedded (Ahab). They were given into her power, and she wore out the saints of the Most High (Rev. 13:7) for 1260 years until 1799 A.D. (“a time, times and half a time,” Rev. 12:14). This long persecution, in which “many were purified and made white and tried,” and in which the Mother of Harlots was “drunk with the blood of the saints and the martyrs of Jesus” (Rev. 17:6) ended as we have already shown, practically in 1776 and actually in 1799 when the Pope and his authority were humbled before the world by Napoleon.
(2) Another reason for understanding that there are at least two different tribulations in Matthew 24 is the following. As in English, the Greek language has two demonstrative pronouns: houtos (“this”) and ekeinos (“that”); plural forms are toutoi (“these”) and ekeinoi (“those”), respectively. When either of two antecedents could be referred to by a pronoun, the nearer of the two is indicated by use of the Greek demonstrative pronoun houtos (“this”) the antecedent further away is indicated by use of the demonstrative pronoun ekeinos (“that”) in v. 29; the word “days” does not have the demonstrative pronoun toutoi (these, plural form) connected with it, but ekeinoi (those, plural form). Therefore this proves that the days referred to are not the nearest set of days of vs. 21, 22, but the further set of days, those of vs. 6-12; and therefore v. 29 does not refer to the tribulation mentioned in vs. 21, 22, but the tribulation (prior to 1874) mentioned in the first part of the chapter (vs. 6-12).
And when we look at the facts of the case we see that this is true. The first tribulation among God’s people came to an end when Papacy was overthrown in 1799; and right after that time (according to v. 29) began the darkening of the symbolic sun and moon, for infidelism set in early in the nineteenth century in the form of “higher criticism” on both the Old and New Testaments. Since v. 29 refers to the tribulation that would end in 1799 and to Higher Criticism and the subsequent falling-away in the darkening of the Old and New Testaments, and since v. 30 refers to our Lord’s Parousia, then of course that Parousia is rightly placed as coming after the tribulation of v. 29 (which ended in 1799), and during the great falling away incidental to Higher Criticism on the Old and New Testaments, which caused the great pulpit “stars,” etc., to fall.” This darkening began with the publishing in 1835 of three of the most influential of all early Higher Critical books: (1) Vatki’s Old Testament Theology; (2) Bauer’s Pastoral Epistles; and (3) Strauss’ Life of Christ.
Chap. XII of Studies, Vol. 4, “The Battle of Armageddon” gives further information on Matthew chapter 24. ’90-83
Meats—Commanding To Abstain From Meats.
Question (1960)—In the Nov. Bible Standard, near the end of the article on “Daniel’s Example and the Diet Question,” it is stated that “the Apostles ate flesh and did not forbid its use (1 Tim. 4:3, 4).” Is flesh the kind of food referred to by the word “meats” in this text?
Answer.—In 1 Tim. 4:1-5 the Apostle stated that “in the latter times [particularly in the times in which we are now living—the last days, in which perilous times have come—2 Tim. 3:1] some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”
The Greek word bromata, translated “meats” in v. 3, means foods in a general sense, whether of plant or animal origin, and is translated “foods” in this instance in a number of translations such as the Diaglott, Rotherham’s, etc., Bromata in Matt. 14:15 is translated “victuals” in the King James Version and “food” in the A.R.V. Bromata is the plural form; broma is the singular, and it also has the meaning of food in general as can be seen, e.g., from John 4:34 (comp. vs. 32, 33). That flesh is included is shown by its use in Rom. 14:15, 20 (comp. vs. 2, 21) and 1 Cor. 8:8 (comp. v. 13). The word flesh in Rom. 14:21 and 1 Cor. 8:13 is the translation of kreas, a different Greek word.
Thus it is evident that while flesh is often included in the meaning of bromata and broma, it is not necessarily included in all cases, because these Greek words have the wider meaning of foods in general. Also, the word meat in the English of the time the King James Version was prepared had the wider meaning of solid food in general, and not merely flesh of animals, as it is more commonly used today. However, we still sometimes use it in the wider sense, e.g., as in speaking of a nut meat, i.e., the edible part of a nut, or in speaking of a meat grinder, which is used to mince both flesh and vegetables, or in the saying, “One man’s meat [meaning food] is another man’s poison.”
St. Paul’s prophecy in 1 Tim. 4:1-5 therefore indicates that in the latter times some who would depart from the faith, the doctrines of God’s Word, would seek to bind upon Christians, as religious obligations (1) abstinence from marriage (celibacy—as is done, e.g., in the case of the Roman Catholic priesthood) and (2) abstinence from foods (bromata). He does not here distinguish between flesh food and other food, but refers to foods in general. Thus the commanded abstinence from “meats” (bromata) could refer to abstinence, e.g., from all solid foods, or from flesh feeds or from certain other solid foods, either at certain meal times, or on certain days, or during certain seasons, as binding religious obligations.
Fasting is shown by the Scriptures to be beneficial spiritually, especially at certain times and seasons, if it is done in the proper attitude and way (Matt. 6:16-18; 17:21; Acts 14:23; 1 Cor. 7:5; 2 Cor. 11:27). It is known to be beneficial physically as well as spiritually, if not taken to an extreme, but if used in harmony with the spirit of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7). It has been known in some cases to aid greatly in improving and restoring physical health. But it is a mistake to seek to bind fasting, abstinence from flesh food, etc., upon Christians as a religious obligation. Many have done this in our day, in fulfilment of the Apostle’s prophecy. Let us be on our guard along this line, and not become entangled in a yoke of bondage!
The Apostle goes on to state that God created suitable foods for mankind, which are “to be received with thanksgiving [which many neglect to render] of them which believe and know the truth.” In v. 4 the Greek words pan ktisma, translated “every creature” in the King James Version, would be better rendered “everything created” (see Diaglott). Everything originally created for man for food consisted of “every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat [food]” (Gen. 1:29). Later God gave man permission to eat the flesh of animals, but He made a clear-cut distinction between the clean and the unclean (Gen. 7:2; 9:3; Lev. 11).
Chemical analysis shows that the animals that chew the cud and part the hoof have the same chemical elements as has the human body, which reason God declared them “clean,” hygienic (healthful) for human consumption; while those animals that do not chew the cud and part the hoof, or do only one of these two things, are declared “unclean,” unhygienic (unhealthful) for human consumption, containing as they do chemical elements foreign to the human body, which elements act as a poison when eaten by humans. One could hardly, therefore, expect the flesh of forbidden animals to be (1 Tim. 4:5) “sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” ’60-31
Memorial—Who May Partake Of The Lord’s Supper.
Question (1961)—Who may partake of the Lord’s Supper?
Answer.—First and foremost, the Little Flock, the members of Christ’s Body (1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 4:4), were given the privilege of partaking, and that in the fullest sense. By their participation therein they symbolized three things: (1) the death of our Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 11:26); (2) their faith, appropriating justification, obtaining the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of righteousness, through His broken body and shed blood, His death (Matt. 26:26-28); and (3) their sharing with Him in the privilege of the sacrificial death for the world (1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 15:29; Phil. 3:10). But the Great Company and the non-Spirit-begotten consecrated servants of God may also partake in the first two senses just mentioned. They are not privileged in the Lord’s Supper to symbolize death with Christ, for they are not members of His Body, partners in His Sin-offering, His sacrificial cup; but they may partake of the Lord’s Supper to symbolize (1) His death as the Lamb of God, and (2) their faith, appropriating justification through His sacrificial death—His body broken for them and His blood shed for them for the forgiveness of their sins.
We have especially two reasons for believing that it is appropriate for the non-Spirit-begotten consecrated servants of God to partake of the Lord’s Supper for the two purposes set forth above as (1) and (2). First, not only the firstborns, but all Israelites by Divine command and approval (Ex. 12:25-27, 47; Num. 9:2-5, 13; Josh. 5:10; 2 Chron. 35:1-19) partook of the annual Passover, the type of the Lord’s Supper. The Israelites as a nation were consecrated to God and were in covenant relationship with Him from the day when He took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt (Ex. 12:40, 41; Heb. 8:9); and they were “baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Cor. 10:1, 2). Hence all consecrated believers, non-Spirit-begotten as well as New Creatures, i.e., the “church of the firstborn” (Heb. 12:23), may partake of the Lord’s Supper, the Memorial of the antitypical Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7, 8).
Second, the Apostles partook of the first Lord’s Supper while consecrated but in a tentatively justified condition; they were not yet begotten of the Holy Spirit, and could not be until the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Before Pentecost their condition was very much the same as that of the non-Spirit-begotten consecrated servants of God of today, though they had a prospect of Spirit-begettal and membership in the Body of Christ, which here in the end of the Gospel Age, in the great Time of Trouble, is no longer available (Rev. 7:1-3; Isa. 66:7; Amos 9:13).
The Lord’s Supper is not for the world, nor merely nominal or unconsecrated believers. That only consecrated, dedicated, believers should partake of the Lord’s Supper, is shown in the type by God’s specification regarding the annual Passover that “no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof” (Ex. 12:48). The circumcision of the heart of the Jews, which was their real circumcision (Rom. 2:28, 29), types consecration (Phil. 3:3; Col. 2:11-13), the real baptism (water baptism—immersion—is merely its outward symbol).
Each one should “examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup” (1 Cor. 11:28). Each believer in Jesus as His Savior should consider whether or not he has given up his own will and accepted God’s will as his own, as Jesus did (Heb. 10:7-9); and, if he has not done so, he should consider doing so; after consecrating, such should then partake. As in the type all leaven was to be put away (Ex. 12:8, 15, 18-20; 13:3, 6, 7), so we should seek to put away all leaven—including the leaven of false doctrine, hypocrisy, malice, etc. (Matt. 16:6-12; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1; 2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Titus 3:3)—and let us “keep the feast . . . with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Cor. 5:6-8). ’61-23
Memorial Supper—How Often Observed.
Question (1974)—In 1 Cor. 11:26 we read, “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.” How often should we do this?
Answer.—Some mistakenly claim that these words mean that we should partake of the Lord’s Supper very often—every month, or every week, or even every day if possible. But the words “as often as” do not enjoin us to partake of the Lord’s Supper often; they simply mean whenever. The Apostle Paul was here making no enjoiner at all, but merely setting forth a fact, i.e., that whenever God’s people celebrate the Memorial—and, of course, a memorial is properly celebrated on the anniversary of the death of the one for whom the memorial is kept—they show, announce, declare Jesus’ death.
How do they do this? It will be noticed that the accounts of the institution of the Lord’s Supper tell us that after Jesus blessed the bread He broke it (Matt. 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:23, 24). Therefore the breaking of the bread, coming after the blessing of the bread, is an essential part of the service; and it shows, symbolizes, testifies, the breaking of our Lord’s humanity unto death. Our Lord while mentioning the things symbolized said that His blood was shed for the forgiveness of man’s sins (Matt. 26:28). Our eating of the unleavened bread, which symbolizes His body broken for us, and our drinking of the cup, which symbolizes His blood shed for us—in other words, our appropriating to ourselves that which symbolizes His human righteousness with its accompanying right to life and life-rights—represents our faith appropriating justification through the merit of His vicarious sacrifice. Thus in several ways we show, reveal, make known, and declare, our Lord’s death when we keep His Memorial.
As to how often we are to do this: Jesus was crucified and died on the fourteenth of the Jewish month, Nisan, or Abib, the very same 24-hour day that the typical Passover lamb was slain, in fulfilment of that part of the type--the death of the lamb—and how fitting it is that all Christians should commemorate on the night of the same 24-hour day on which our Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7, 8) was slain, and thus memorialize our Lord’s death on its anniversary! It was our Lord’s instruction that this day be observed annually in remembrance of Him. “When he had supped” (1 Cor. 11:25; i.e., “after supper”—ASV), thus finishing the final observance of the typical Passover for Himself and His disciples, He instituted the new, the Lord’s Supper remembrances—the bread and the fruit of the vine—to take the place of the old, the typical annual lamb. He gave them to His disciples, saying: “This do in remembrance of me [keep no longer the typical Passover supper each year, but instead use these new emblems each year in the antitypical supper—the Memorial—to commemorate Me and My sacrifice as the antitypical Passover Lamb of God]” (Luke 22:19).
The death of Christ, as the antitype of the Passover lamb slain in Egypt, can be commemorated at no time so appropriately as on the regular anniversary, the evening of the fourteenth day of Nisan, or Abib, the first month, lunar time (Ex. 12:2-8; Lev. 23:5; Num. 9:1-3; 28:16), regardless of which day of the week it may come. According to God’s reckoning (Gen. 1:5, 8, etc.). the “evening,” the night period of a 24-hour day, beginning at 6 p.m., precedes its “morning,” or day period, which begins at 6 a.m. This year the fourteenth of Nisan begins at 6 p.m., April 5.
Some sincere Christians, though celebrating their birthdays, wedding days, etc., annually on their anniversaries, no matter what the day of the week, mistakenly celebrate the Memorial of our Lord’s death at fixed weekly times—usually on a Sunday, the first day of the week—the day of His resurrection! Our Lord instituted the Memorial of His death in the “night” and it was called a “supper” (1 Cor. 11:20, 23); but with many it is observed really as a breakfast, held in the forenoon! Let us endeavor to observe it as instituted by Jesus, at the proper time, in place of the annual Jewish Passover supper, and in remembrance of His death. ’74-23
Men—”Not Able To Kill The Soul.”
Question (1971)—How are we to understand Jesus’ words: “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28; compare Luke 12:4, 5)?
Answer.—The Greek word translated “hell” here is not hades, the unconscious condition of the Adamic death state, but gehenna, the condition of utter, complete and eternal annihilation, “the second death.” (For details, see our booklet The Hell of the Bible, listed on p, 16) Here Jesus positively declares that the power of God can destroy—annihilate—the soul in the Second Death. Thus here, as elsewhere in the Scriptures, it is shown that the human soul is not inherently immortal (deathproof) but mortal—it can die. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4, 20; Job 36:14, margin; Psa. 33:19; 56:13; 78:50; 116:8; James 5:20). The expression “immortal soul” cannot be found in the Bible. “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life,” and it cannot be had except “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23; Acts 4:12; 16:31).
Because Jesus “tasted for every man,” gave “his [human] soul an offering for sin,” “poured out his soul unto death,” “gave himself [his soul] a ransom for all” (Heb. 2:9; Isa. 53:10, 12; 1 Tim. 2:6), mankind in Adamic death is spoken of as being merely asleep—in view of the coming resurrection awakening (Dan. 12:2; John 11:11-14; Acts 7:60; 13:36; 1 Cor. 15:6, 13-18, 20, 51; 1 Thes 4:13-15; 2 Pet. 3:4). In proving that there will be a resurrection of the dead, Jesus showed that from God’s standpoint Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are not extinct. He stated that even after they had fallen asleep in the unconscious sleep of death, the Father still called Himself their God; “for he is not a God of the dead [those forever blotted out of the book of life], but of the living: for all live unto him [He considers them as not really dead, but only asleep and still alive, because of the coming resurrection awakening]” (Luke 20:37, 38; Matt. 22:31, 32; Mark 12:26, 27; Ex. 3:6, 16; Acts 7:32; Heb. 11:16).
Surely then we need not fear those who are able to kill the body, for that is all they can do. They cannot destroy the soul, the entity, the individual character or the person himself; for at death he passes into temporary sleep, waiting for the glorious awakening in the resurrection morning (Dan. 12:2; Psa. 30:5; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:12). No human being, no one except God, can destroy our right to live again, our future being, and our soul; for our privilege of a resurrection is guaranteed to us by Christ’s death on our behalf (Acts 24:15; 26:8; 1 Cor. 15:3). Our revived souls (the same persons, entities) will have new bodies (either spiritual or earthly—“to every ‘seed’ his own [kind of] body”—1 Cor. 15:35-40), and these none will have liberty to kill. God alone has power to destroy utterly—soul and body. We should therefore properly fear (reverence) Him, loving to do His will and fearing to displease Him. God utterly destroys (annihilates) the wicked; but He preserves those who love Him (Psa. 145:20); He causes all things to work together for their good (Rom. 8:28). He is our Helper and has promised never to leave or to forsake us (Heb. 13:5, 6). We may therefore confidently say, with the Apostle Paul, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he [Jesus as God’s mighty Agent] is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that [resurrection] day” (2 Tim. 1:12). ’71-15
Merciful—to Obtain Mercy (Matt. 5:7).
Question (1965)—In Matt. 5:7 Jesus said: “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” Why must we show mercy in order to obtain mercy?
Answer.—Our Lord was speaking here, not to people of the world, but to His disciples (vs. 1, 2); and in this same sermon, the sermon on the mount, He said (6:14, 15): “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” He also told His disciples (Mark 11:25, 26): “When ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
However, while we are always to be in a forgiving attitude, we may not express forgiveness to the offender until forgiveness is asked (Luke 17:3, 4); for to express forgiveness to the unrepentant sinner would tend to do him more harm than good. But like the father of the prodigal (Luke 15:20—the father represents God), when we see the repentant one coming in an attitude of humility, we should go out part way to meet him; “for he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy” (James 2:13).
The world during Christ’s soon-coming reign of righteousness will receive instruction and discipline, which will be administered with mercy, and an assurance to the willing and obedient of perfection as human beings by the end of restitution. But the Gospel-Age elect classes as individuals, have no such long period for their character development. They do not attain that kind of perfection here in the present life. Because of the inherent imperfections of their fallen flesh they need God’s mercy, through the imputation of Christ’s ransom merit, to cover their blemishes. Therefore God has arranged that these may expect mercy only in proportion as they show mercy to others.
In other words, all the followers of Jesus have many imperfections to be covered, as sins of weakness and ignorance, by His merit in Divine mercy, or else, as sins of wilfulness, to be atoned for by stripes, punishments, before they die. The very essence of Christian principle is love, compassion and the forgiveness of the faults of others. The forgiving attitude must be cultivated and cheerfully expressed on every suitable occasion, if we would have God’s mercy cheerfully extended to us.
Our Heavenly Father, who has given us everything that we have, even life itself, and has made such merciful provisions for us, even at the great sacrifice of His only begotten Son to die for us (John 3:16), surely has every right to require that we learn to love and show mercy to others (Micah 6:8). And in order to develop His consecrated children in generosity, forgiveness and mercy, He has agreed that He will be merciful to us in proportion as we will be merciful to others. What a wondrous reward, and what a wondrous incentive!
Thus our Lord taught us to pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt. 6:12—A.R.V.; R.S.V.; Rotherham, etc.). This does not refer to our share in original sin and condemnation in Adam, for this was canceled for us through the merit of Christ when we were first justified by faith, before we were accepted as Jesus’ disciples and became followers in His steps as sons of God; rather it refers to our daily shortcomings. What an incentive this is to us as God’s people to be gracious, forgiving, large-hearted, merciful, thus cultivating the Heavenly Father’s spirit and character, and to be in that condition of heart where we can receive richly of His mercy and bounty! And how careful we should be to cheerfully forgive others, if we would have God cheerfully forgive us our shortcomings! ’65-86
Mercy—”Mercy Rejoiceth Against Judgment” (James 2:13).
Question (1965)—What is meant in James 2:13 by the statement, “Mercy rejoiceth against judgment”?
Answer.—The word “judgment” here stands for sentence—the sentence of sin, i.e., death. It therefore represents justice, because in man’s trial it was Divine justice, which decreed the sentence of death. Mercy is compassion relieving the weak and unfortunate. It is the fruit or result of love, and therefore represents love. Accordingly, the case of mercy against judgment is equivalent to love against justice. The thought is that Divine love has secured a triumph over Divine justice.
But how could God’s love triumph over His justice, seeing that justice is the very foundation of all Divine government? The Bible assures us that God in His love never works out of harmony with His justice (1 John 4:16; Psa. 89:14). St. Paul shows us how God’s love and mercy rejoice over His justice and the sentence of death, without in any way violating His justice. He assures us that our justification from the sentence is by Divine grace. “through the redemption [deliverance] that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [satisfaction of Justice—1 John 2:2] through faith in his blood . . . that he might be just, and [yet be] the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:24-26).
Here, then, is the triumph of God’s love and mercy, not through a failure of His justice, not through conquering it, but through a satisfaction of His justice, its appeasement by the payment of a ransom-price, a corresponding price (1 Tim. 2:6)—a man’s life for a man’s life: the man Christ Jesus for the man Adam and all his posterity (all of whom were involved in his disobedience and its sentence or curse), resulting in deliverance from the curse for the Church and the world (Rom. 8:19-23; Rev. 22:3). From this standpoint alone is it possible for Divine love and mercy to triumph over Divine justice and its sentence—a triumph in which the justice of God can equally rejoice. “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15)! ’65-86
Messiah—What Is His Kingdom And Its Work.
Question (1957)—Will you please describe briefly Messiah’s Kingdom and its work?
Answer.—Messiah’s Kingdom will be a spiritual kingdom, invisible to the physical eyes of mortals, yet all-powerful, for the accomplishment of the great things promised in the Law and in the Prophets. The empire, which He will establish, invisible to men’s physical sight, will take the place of the empire of Satan, which is likewise invisible. The King of light and glory will supplant the prince of darkness. When the Pharisees demanded of Jesus when the Kingdom of God would come, He told them that the Kingdom (in the sense of the Kingdom class) would be invisible when they would come to reign over the earth (Rev. 5:9, 10), for He said that the Kingdom would come “not with observation”—outward show, visibly as the margin puts it. Nor would anyone be able to point out these rulers to the sight of others, saying, “Lo, here!” or, “Lo, there!” the reason being that they would be invisible, “within you” (literally, in your midst; Luke 17:20, 21). Thus no human being will ever be able to see the Kingdom class, who, glorified as spirit beings, of the Divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), are thoroughly invisible to men’s natural eyes, just as God, Jesus (John 1:18; 1 Tim. 6:16) and the angels of God are invisible to men’s natural eyes.
While the Kingdom class proper, Jesus and the Church, with the Great Company as their assistants, will during their Thousand-year Reign be invisible to men’s natural eyes, they will be visibly represented throughout the earth by certain perfect human beings—the Ancient and Youthful Worthies—even as Satan and his angels have during their reign been visibly represented by certain imperfect human beings, such as oppressive rulers, false religious teachers and predatory aristocrats, who through Satanic deception have more or less claimed to exercise authority by Divine Right. Principal among Messiah’s earthly agents and representatives will be Abraham, Isaac and all the prophets (Luke 13:28), resurrected in full human perfection (Heb. 11:39, 40) in all their faculties. Instead of their being as heretofore, the fathers, they will be the children of Messiah, whom He will make princes in all the earth (Psa. 45:16). With this Kingdom the nation of Israel (now being regathered and permanently established in their promised everlasting possession—Gen. 17:8; 48:4; Amos 9:14, 15) will speedily unite, and eventually every nation will come into harmony with Messiah (Isa. 2:2-4); all people will be privileged to come in under Israel’s New Covenant, then established by Him, the great “Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in” (Jer. 31:31-34; Mal. 3:1-3).
The glorious Messiah, whom the Jews identify with “Michael, the great Prince, which standeth for the children of thy people” (Dan. 12:1), the Mohammedans also expect and identify with Mahomet of the past. The Free Masons also expect the same glorious personage and, in their traditions, identify him with Hiram Abiff, the great Master-Mason. The same great Messiah, Michael, the Archangel, the antitypical Melchisedec, Priest as well as King (Heb. 7:1-7), we identify as “the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Tim. 2:5, 6). But when the great King shall appear in His power and great glory (Matt. 24:30) and establish His Kingdom with Israel, He will be, as promised by the Prophets, “the desire of all nations” (Hag. 2:7).
Then all the blinded eyes will be opened and all the deaf ears will be unstopped (Isa. 35:5). Then who He is and how He should be identified with Abraham’s seed and David’s line will be clearly known to all, in heaven and in earth. Not now, but when the King shall reign in righteousness and princes shall rule in judgment (Isa. 32:1), all shall fully understand the significance of Zechariah’s prophecy (12:7-10) and Psa. 22:16. Content that Messiah shall show the Truth in His day of revealment, we are glad to point Jews, Mohammedans, Christians and all other to the glorious Messiah and the great work of blessing for all the nations which He will accomplish through the seed of Abraham (Gen. 12:3; 22:16-18; Gal. 3:8, 16, 29), according to God’s covenant and His oath. For details on the Kingdom, its work, etc. Please see The Millennium book, chapter V. ’57-23; ’65-61
Ministers—Christian And Celibacy.
Question (1980) Must Christian ministers remain unmarried?
Answer.—Thee is nothing in the Scriptures to support the teaching that Christian ministers must remain unmarried. The Bible does speak approvingly of those who serve the Lord and can live chastely without marriage. Jesus said (Matt. 19:12): “There be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.” The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 7:32, 33: “He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.” In v. 38 he says, “He that giveth her in marriage doeth well, but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better.”
But none has the right to forbid others to marry. The Apostle writes (1 Tim. 4:1-3) of some who “shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils,” as “forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats.” The Bible says also, “Marriage is honourable in all, and the [marriage] bed undefiled” (Heb. 13:4).
We know that the Apostle Peter, who Roman Catholics claim was the first pope, was a married man, because the Scriptures speak of his wife’s mother (Matt. 8:14, 15).
The Apostle Paul did not consider it would have been wrong for him to marry. He said (1 Cor. 9:5), “Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas [Peter]?” And when he wrote about the qualifications of elders, or bishops, he specified they could be “husbands of one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6).
It is evident that the teaching that Christian ministers must remain unmarried, celibate, is not in harmony with the Scriptures. The Roman Catholic Church has not only strongly and steadfastly refused to accept any married men as priests in her churches but also has prohibited any priests who marry to continue as priests.
Recently, however, the Vatican has announced provisions whereby some dissident married priests of the Episcopal Church may be ordained as Roman Catholic priests. But future candidates for the priesthood and current Catholic priests will still be forbidden to marry. It appears that matters of policy, such as the dwindling number of R.C. priests, have influenced the Vatican’s decision, whereas it should be decided only on the basis of the Scriptures mentioned above, which show plainly that all Christian bishops (elders) and ministers are free to marry if they believe they should do so. ’80-95
Ministry—Of Sickness And Sorrow.
Question (1962)—Are sickness, pain and sorrow blessings from the Lord?
Answer.—Surely sickness, pain, sorrow and dying are not in themselves blessings! On the contrary, all of these are parts of the “curse” of death pronounced upon Father Adam for his sin of disobedience (Gen. 3:17-19) and inherited by his children (Rom. 5:12, 18; 1 Cor. 15:22). However, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
The Lord frequently gives His consecrated people special blessings in connection with various evils that they suffer as a result of the curse upon Adam’s race. He uses these evils for the blessing of His disciples, those who trust in Him, as agencies by which to develop in them various fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23), such as meekness, humility, faith, hope, love, gentleness, joy, courage, peace, patience, etc. God wants His children “to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you” (James 4:8).
The saints of every age have learned the blessing of affliction and sorrow (see e.g., 2 Cor. 12:9, 10). The Psalmist David testified, “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word”; and again, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes” (Psa. 119:67, 71). Sorrow and grief may, and perhaps often will, come in like a flood, but our Lord will be our stay and strength in every experience that He permits. The soul that has never known the discipline of sorrow and trouble has never yet learned very fully the joy and preciousness of our Lord’s love and helpfulness.
It is in seasons of overwhelming sorrow and grief, when we draw near to our Lord, that He draws especially near to us. “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities” (Heb. 4:15). And if we are rightly exercised under our trialsome experiences and are properly sympathetic toward others and touched with pity for the poor groaning creation as we see them in sorrow, pain and disappointment, we are better enabled to lay hold of our Lord’s promise to His own: “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4). ’62-6
Moon—Will Man Ever Visit The Moon.
Question (1958)—Does the Bible give any indication as to whether or not humans will be able to visit the moon?
Answer.—Since Sputniks No. 1 (184 lbs.) and No. 2 (about 1/2 ton) were hurled 560 and 1,056 miles above the earth respectively, and more especially since the “Explorer” satellite (30.8 lbs.) was shot 1,700 miles above the earth, there has been much speculation regarding space travel; some even claim that rocket landings on the moon will be made within two years.
Only the Church, “chosen out of the world” (John 15:19), goes to heaven (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:47-50; 2 Cor. 5:1-4; Heb. 10:34; 1 Pet. 1:3, 4). “The heavens are the Lord’s; but the earth hath he given to the children of men” (Psa. 115:16). “The earth abideth for ever”; God “created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited” (Eccl. 1:4; Isa. 45:18). “Man is of the earth, earthy,” made “to dwell on all the face of the earth” (1 Cor. 15:47; Acts 17:26)—he is not adapted to live on the moon, or on the other planets, under very different conditions.
Man was never given dominion over other planets—it was only “over all the earth” (Gen 1:26-28; Psa. 8:4-8; comp. Creation, pp. 484, 485). Hence despite the wild speculations to the contrary, we do not believe that humans will ever become footloose among the planets. However, the moon belongs to earth—it is not a planet, but is earth’s satellite—and there seems to be nothing in the Bible to show that humans may not eventually be allowed to visit it, though they would experience much difficulty there, especially for extended periods, for it is devoid of air, water and vegetation, and at times the temperature drops to about 200 degrees below zero. Additionally, it is 239,000 miles from the earth, whereas so far man-made satellites have reached into space less than 2,000 miles. ’58-22
Moses—And The Law Covenant.
Question (1975)—Was Moses out from under Adamic condemnation?
Answer.—As a member of the Jewish nation he was in special Law Covenant relationship with God. Adam, when he sinned, lost his implied covenant standing with God and was sentenced to death. God made a new arrangement with the natural seed of Abraham, that He would enter into a covenant with them as though they were perfect; and to this end Moses became their mediator. We have every reason to believe that Moses was also a participator in the arrangement as well as being the mediator of it, that he was under the Law the same as were all the others of Israel.
This covenant, by its arrangement year by year continually, not only put them, at the first, in this condition of typical justification or covenant relationship with God, but it gave them a whole year of that favorable condition; and only at the end of the year, when the period for which the typical atonement sacrifices (Lev. 16:6, 9, 15; Heb. 13:11) had been offered had lapsed, were they no longer in covenant relationship with God. Then they put on sackcloth and ashes and “afflicted their souls” (Lev. 16:29-31; 23:27-32). Like the remainder of the world, they were sinners, under condemnation, but under more condemnation than the rest of the world because they had the additional condemnation of the Law.
We understand, then, that if Moses could have kept the Law under that covenant, God would have been bound to give him eternal life according to the prom-ise—“He that doeth these things shall live by them” (Lev. 18:5; Luke 10:28; Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:12). God did not say anything about Christ or believing in Christ or anything of that kind, but merely, he that doeth these things shall have eternal life by doing them. And so we think that this promise applied to Moses and all the Israelites under the Law, and still applies to the Jews.
We believe God would give eternal life to anyone who could do those things perfectly, but this offer was made only to the Jews. They were out from Adamic condemnation in the typical sense; not that they had escaped, for since they still bore unchanged the same imperfections as the remainder of the children of Adam, they could not do what they wished to do; as the Apostle says, “Ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal. 5:17). So they had a condemnation as a people, which other nations did not have. Adam, individually, had been sentenced to death. His children did not have, individually, that condemnation. They were born in “prison”—in this death condition. But in the case of the Jews, God treated them as though they had been separated from the remainder of the world.
It was as if they had said, “We did not do anything wrong, Lord; why do you not give us a chance?”
“I will give you a chance; I will give you my Law to keep.”
“What will you give us if we keep your Law perfectly?” “I will give you eternal life.”
“We will keep it. We agree to keep your Law, and you agree to give us life.” So, then, these children of Adam, the Jews, who, like the rest of the world, were not on individual trial previously, and had not, therefore, been sentenced as individuals, but were merely sharing the effect of Adam’s condemnation—all these Jews were then put on trial, and when they failed it meant additional condemnation upon them, because they had undergone this individual trial and failed.
Therefore, we see that it was necessary that the Jews, under this second condemnation, or this individual trial and individual condemnation, should all be under Moses as the mediator, so that Christ could take the place of this mediator and effect something for that nation. Moses was merely typical of the better Mediator. Therefore, since they were in that mediator, who was only a type of Christ, God was merely showing to them in a typical way what He will do for them by and by, when Christ will be Mediator of their New (Law) Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; 32:40-44; Heb. 8:6-13). ’75-62
Movements—Reform And Denominations.
Question (1983)—How are we as God’s people to view the various great Reform movements of the Gospel (Church) Age and the denominations that have developed from them?
Answer.—The various Reformers and their Reform movements were evidently used of God to gradually bring His Truth-hungry people (John 8:31, 32, 36) out of more and more of the papal errors of the Dark Ages, to cleanse them as His sanctuary. From the foregoing article we see how mightily God used Martin Luther to bring forth from the Scriptures, especially the justification by faith Truth teaching as against the papal error of justification by works. His movement through his and other leaders’ efforts became the Lutheran denomination.
Zwingli was used of God to bring forth the Truth teaching that the bread and the wine in the Lord’s Supper represent Jesus’ body and blood, as against the papal error of the real presence of Jesus’ body and blood in the Lord’s Supper. Through the efforts of Calvin and others his movement became the Presbyterian denomination.
Thomas Crammer was used of God to bring forth the Truth teaching that the Church in the flesh is subject to the civil powers (Rom. 13:1-7, etc.) as against the papal error that the civil power is subject to the Church. Through the efforts of others his movement became the Episcopal Church.
Other Reformers such as Wesley, Campbell and Miller brought forth other Truth teachings. Their movements became respectively the Methodist, Christian (Disciple) and Adventist Churches. Still other Reformers brought forth other Truth teachings and movements, which movements became other denominations.
What happened in each case was that as the denomination developed, supporters and successors of the Reformer built a fence around the Truth brought forth by and the movement begun by the Reformer. The followers were willing to accept as much Truth as the pertinent Reformer taught, but little or no more.
The advancing Truth, which is “as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Prov. 4:18; Psa. 119:105), has continued to progress, and those who halted around their favorite
Reformers and were not willing to follow the advancing Truth were soon left in more or less of darkness, as further Bible teachings unfolded and were clarified by our Lord to His people as He continued to open for their understanding additional truths from the sealed book—the Bible (Rev. 5).
Another bad and hindersome development came--sectarianism. Some began to say “I am of Luther”—Lutheran; others, “I am of Wesley”—Methodist, etc. (Some have gone and go so far as to think and even claim that all who are true Christians are in their group!) The Scriptures show that sectarianism is carnal--of the flesh rather than of the Spirit.
God through the Apostle Paul condemns sectarianism. He says, “Every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas [Peter]; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” “For while one saith I am of Paul, and another of Apollos; are ye not carnal” (1 Cor. 1:12, 13; 3:3-7; 4:21-23).
So let us shun sectarianism! We should consider as Christian brothers and sisters all who claim to have repented for sin and to have accepted Jesus as Savior (Acts 4:12; 16:31; 20:21) and whose course of conduct is consistent with the Bible’s teachings; and we should consider those who have accepted Jesus also as Lord and Master—who have dedicated or consecrated themselves to God—and whose lives are consistent with the Bible’s teachings, as being true fellow disciples of Christ (John 8:31, 32, 36).
Let us be careful not to build a fence around a favorite Reformer and think no further truths from the Scriptures have become due since his day. Let us not blind ourselves, but be open to the many items of advancing Truth from the Scriptures as due as they have been set forth for us by our Lord Jesus in our day (Rev. 3:20), in this end-time of this Gospel or Church Age. Let us continue to search the Scriptures (John 5:39; 2 Tim. 2:15) and accept only those teachings, which are in harmony with them (Isa. 8:20; Acts 17:11; 1 Thes. 5:21). ’83-78
Muslims—Black And Their Beliefs.
Question (1966)—Who are the ”Black Muslims” and what are some of their beliefs?
Answer.—The Black Muslims are a radical element among Negroes. The movement is led by Elijah Muhammad, and has its headquarters in Chicago. Its most famous member is Muhammad Ali, better known as Cassius Clay.
It has been aptly said that the Bible is like an old fiddle on which any tune can be played. And the Black Muslims, like many others try to play their own tune on it, no matter how discordant their jazzy composition may be. Their official weekly newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, for Nov. 12, 1965, sets forth “What the Muslims Want,” and What the Muslims Believe.” In the latter section are the following two articles, which show the Black Muslims’ disharmony with Bible teachings:
“5. We believe in the resurrection of the dead—not in physical resurrection—but in mental resurrection. We believe that the so-called Negroes are most in need of mental resurrection: therefore, they will be resurrected first. Furthermore, we believe we are the people of God’s choice, as it has been written, that God would choose the rejected and the despised. We can find no other persons fitting this description in these last days more than the so-called Negroes in America. We believe in the resurrection of the righteous.
“12. We believe that Allah [God] appeared in the Person of Master W. Fard Muhammad, July, 1930; the long-waited ‘Messiah’ of the Christians and the ’Mahdi’ of the Muslims. We believe further and lastly that Allah is God and besides HIM there is no God and He will bring about a universal government of peace.”
So we have another “God” since the cult leader who called himself “Father Divine” died and thus proved, so far as he is concerned that “God is dead.” What next? !!! Jesus prophesied and warned us against just such deceivers that would arise in these last days, saying: “False Christs [Messiahs] and false prophets shall arise, and shall show signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. But takes ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things” (Mark 13:22, 23). ’66-86
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