"Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and many righteous persons have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them." — Matt. 13:16, 17.
Let us as Consecrated Children of the Heavenly Father be grateful for the joy that came to us in the morning of our consecrated walk. Those who have part in the One True Church are expected to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7), to listen to the voice of God’s Word behind them, saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isa. 30:21), rather than to expect miracles or dreams or visions to indicate the proper path to be taken. This path is shown to the Consecrated Child of God by their having the Holy Spirit of understanding regarding the sacred Scriptures and by God’s Spirit and providences. Also, we are to cultivate the ears of faith that we may readily respond to them (Matt. 13:16; Rom. 10:17; Gal. 3:2; compare BS 1963 p. 74).
Oh how blessed is the Word of God; NO other book treats the matter of human woe and sorrow in the wise, tender, sympathetic, helpful manner of the Bible. It assures us that however cold, heartless and disappointing may be the world, our friends, relatives or others from whom we may have expected better things, we have, nevertheless, a God of sympathy—a God of love, “the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation” (2 Cor. 1:3, 4).
As consecrated ones, we can see and hear and rejoice in God’s word of instruction, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” The gods of the world are to be placated (soothed by concession) and worshiped from fear of what they otherwise would do to their subjects. Jehovah, the God of the Bible, on the contrary, assures us that “The LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear” (Isa. 14:3). He assures us of His love, His sympathy, in all of our distresses—His interest in our affairs, as His people—and also of His provision for the ultimate highest welfare of all who through Christ will come into and remain in the attitude of loving righteousness and hating iniquity—the only proper attitude of heart, the only attitude which He can approve and bless with everlasting life.
“Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” Yes, to the consecrated believer, the Scriptures point out what we recognize to be the Truth—that the world has been under a cloud, a blight and curse of death, for over 6000 years. Appropriately, our text describes this period as a dark time of hard, blighting experiences, a night of weeping, of sorrow. In harmony with this figure, we read in Isa. 60:2 that “darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people.” This condition affects not only those who are in alienation from God through ignorance, superstition and the power of sin, but also those who have turned their backs upon sin, who have accepted the grace of God and are seeking to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Well does St. Paul say, “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption [deliverance] of our Body”—the Body of which Jesus is the Head, or High Priest, and His Little Flock are the symbolic members, or under-priests (Rom. 8:22, 23).
There is a difference, however, between the Church’s and the world’s groaning, as suggested by the Apostle’s words. The world groans aloud without alleviation, and even its waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God is a waiting in ignorance; for, being out of touch with Jehovah, they know not of His gracious purposes and arrangements—for these are kept secret from all except His sanctified ones. “The secret of the LORD is with them that fear [reverence] him; and he will show them his covenant” (Psa. 25:14). These, who possess the secret of the LORD “sorrow not, as others who have no hope” (1 Thes. 4:13). They “groan inwardly” and wait for the culmination of their hopes. These hopes must be realized first, before the blessing can come to the “groaning creation” in general. The latter are waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, viz., the Church in glory, in their reign with Christ as Kings and Priests over the earth, with all mankind as their subjects (Rev. 5:9, 10; 20:4, 6).
The Bible represents itself as being the candle of the LORD, the lamp of Divine Truth and enlightenment. But it tells us that its light is not for the world at the present time. “Blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.” Oh, these who by faith and obedience unto consecration, or dedication, to God seek to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. They need the light. God provides it for them (Prov. 4:18). These are represented by the Prophet as saying to the LORD, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105). This light evidently does not shine far into the future, but enough for each onward step as it becomes due and is revealed to us.
St. Peter amplifies the same thought. He tells us of the assurance which he himself and his associates had upon the Mount of Transfiguration, when they beheld “the vision” (Matt. 17:1-9) of the Lord miraculously transformed and the appearance of Moses and Elijah with Him and heard the voice from heaven; it was very forceful to their minds as teaching the coming of our Lord in glory, in due time.
But while our Lord was rejected both as Lamb and as King by the Jewish nation, there were individual exceptions. All the “Israelites indeed” (John 1:47), in whom was no guile, were granted special enlightenment of the eyes of their understanding. These recognized Jesus as the Lamb of God, their Redeemer. And not only so, but they recognized Him also as the great King, the King of Glory, the Messiah. As indicating the blindness of the nation and the spiritual sight of the small remnant who received Him, our Lord said, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” (Matt. 13:16). Those who now recognize their Redeemer, and voluntarily become obedient to Him by a full consecration of their hearts, are a very exceptional class, as well as a very small class. His cause has really been unpopular from the first, and only such as are willing to endure hardness as good soldiers have the courage to volunteer to be soldiers of the Cross.
There is an outward religion today that is popular, just as there was an outward religion in our Lord’s Day that was popular. But to be true disciples, followers of Jesus, to walk in His footsteps, to forsake the world and follow Him, means to all His disciples since, what it meant to His disciples at the First Advent, i.e., alienation and separation.
“WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM”
The Divine Plan is purposely arranged so that none can obtain everlasting life except through a personal relationship to Christ, the Redeemer, and the exercise of faith in the merit of His redeeming blood and obedience to His counsels, including full consecration to God. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Ignorance cannot save anyone. This being true, none of the heathen are saved yet. None of those who lived before Jesus came into the world are saved. And the great mass of our friends and neighbors, yes, even of our own families, are still unsaved, because they have not come into vital relationship with God through the Savior. “He that hath the Son hath life”; “he that believeth not the Son shall not see life” (1 John 5:12; John 3:36).
The Apostle Paul, commenting on the fact that Jesus died for all—“a ransom [or corresponding price] for all”—declares that this is to be testified in due time (1 Tim. 2:4-6). God’s due time for the testimony to reach the world evidently has not yet come, but it has come for the Church. The testimony began when Jesus “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10)—“so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” (Heb. 2:3). Since then, a few here and there have had the hearing ear, have heard of the grace of God and have seen something of His loving providences. Jesus congratulated this class, saying, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear” (Matt. 13:16). The great mass of mankind see not and hear not, because “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,” that he might hinder them from seeing the true light of the grace of God as it shines in the face of our Lord Jesus (2 Cor. 4:4-6).
GOD AND JESUS INVISIBLE TO PHYSICAL EYES
But no one can see God with physical eyes. Moses was told by Him, “Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” He was given a vision, or representation, of God, but did not actually see Him (Ex. 33:20-23). We read, “No man hath seen God at any time.” “Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape” (John 1:18; 5:37; 1 John 4:12). He is “the King eternal, immortal, invisible” (1 Tim. 1:17).
We read in Heb. 1:3 that Jesus since His resurrection is “the brightness of his [God’s] glory, and the express image of his person.” Accordingly, Jesus in His glorious resurrection spirit body is, like the Father, invisible to mankind’s physical eyes. We read in 1 Tim. 6:14-16 of Jesus in His resurrection as immortal, as “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see.” Under Jehovah He is “the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (compare Rev. 17:14; 19:16).
But what about other Scriptures that say Jesus will be seen in His Second Advent, for example, Rev. 1:7, “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him” and Zech. 12:10, “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced.” We must remember that the Bible frequently refers to mental sight, to seeing with the eyes of understanding. For example, Jesus said to His disciples in Matt. 13:16: “Blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.” He was not referring to physical but mental sight. Heb. 2:9 says, “we see Jesus” but obviously it is by mental, not physical sight.
JESUS’ MIRACLE PARABOLIC
The Lord’s method of giving sight to the blind man, we may reasonably suppose, was parabolic—that is to say, it contains a lesson under a figure. Since our Lord did not explain the significance of His action in making a clay ointment out of the dust with His spittle, and anointing the man’s eyes with this, and sending him to wash them and to receive sight at the Pool of Siloam, we may exercise our mental powers in thinking of what these different things would signify. Nevertheless, we are limited in our reasoning. We must not run wild, but must restrain ourselves within the limits of plain statements of the Word of God respecting His plan of salvation. One very helpful scripture and comments to verify this thought is found in 1 Cor. 9:24 “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” The Christian life is compared to a race. To win the race, careful preparation, great exertion, undiminished perseverance, undeviating endeavor, and the closest possible adherence to regulations are required. He who neglects these will fail to win, while he who persists in these to the end will surely win. Our endeavor should be so to run as to win. As saints of Jehovah, love rules in our heart, love for the Lord, for the Truth and for righteousness—must inspire us, or we shall never be victors. Where fervent love rules the heart, it implies that the heart is fully submitted to the Lord; as the Apostle says (Jude 21), we must keep ourselves in the love of God, in watchfulness and prayer and zeal; and grace will abound where love abounds.
In harmony with these plain statements we may interpret our Lord’s symbolical act this way: The blind man would fitly represent the world of mankind in general, who during the present life are mentally blind—who cannot now see the goodness, mercy and love of God as these may be recognized by others who are now able to see them. His being born blind would harmonize with this thought, for the blindness that is upon the world is to a large extent at least a matter of heredity. His blindness does not represent a blindness on the part of those who have once seen God’s grace, represented in His Word and Plan, and who have then become blind thereto, and who would represent the class mentioned by the Apostle as having once been enlightened, and who subsequently lose that enlightenment (Heb. 6:4-6).
If then the blind man represents the blind world (who do not see, in the sense that the One True Church sees, of whom the Lord said, “Blessed are your eyes, for they see”—Matt. 13:16), the time of the healing of such blindness is in the Millennial Age, as Scripturally pointed out, when all the blind eyes shall be opened, and the deaf ears unstopped (Isa. 35:5). And this agrees with the conditions of our Lord’s miracle, because we are informed that this miracle took place on the Sabbath or seventh day, which corresponds to and typifies the Millennial Day, the seventh thousand-year period.
As we, Consecrated Epiphany Camper hopefuls, work out our salvation as pre-millennial seed of Abraham, our Lord gives us a suggestion in Matthew 6:22, 23 respecting the condition of heart and what it has to do with our ability to see or not to see Divine Truths. He says, “If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness.” Then he adds, “If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Evidently our Lord is using the natural eye and the natural body as an illustration to draw our attention to the higher eyes of intellectual perception and reverence and their power to bless and to guide and to control the interests of the body.
A single eye would seem to signify singleness of purpose, or of heart intention toward God, because in the succeeding verse our Lord calls attention to the fact that there are but the two masters—good and evil, righteousness and sin, God and Satan. Those who are under the power of Satan are completely blinded; “The god of this world has blinded the minds of all those who believe not, lest the glorious light of Divine goodness should shine into their hearts” (2 Cor. 4:4). The only ones who are not blinded are those who are the servants of God, and the degree of their clearness of vision depends upon the singleness of their eye, their singleness of heart, their singleness of purpose, their loyalty to the one Master, to the principles of His government.
All who have seen the light of “present Truth” have reason to be specially congratulated on having passed from darkness to light, on having been delivered from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God’s dear Son, from the dominion of Satan as his servants to be Disciples of Christ and servants of God. St. Peter speaks of our translation out of darkness into His marvelous light. St. Paul says, “We are not of the night, nor of the darkness.” St. John says, “In Him is no darkness at all. Again, darkness is past, and the true light now shines, but he that hates his brother is in darkness.”
THE WORLD’S STANDARD VS. NO STANDARD
The natural man guides his conduct, words and thoughts considerably by the conduct and words of his fellow-men. The strongest appeal to the natural man is, what would their social group think of such words, or such conduct? This measuring of themselves with others of the same character and standing, and the gauging of conduct by that of others whom they respect, seem to be the only standard by which the world walks. It sees not clearly the principles of righteousness, justice, truth and love. But when true conversion to the Lord takes place, when the eyes of understanding become opened, new standards appear before the opened eyes of understanding. The Master’s word is heard, saying, “Be you like unto your Father which is in heaven,” and “Be you followers of me,” and “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me.” Some see cross-eyed, endeavoring to serve two masters, and to walk according to two standards, one to be pleasing to the Lord, and also to walk according to the earthly standards as formerly. But this is found to be a very unsatisfactory course; it has neither Divine approval nor the approval of worldly friends. Those of single eye, of single purpose, say within themselves to the contrary.
These soon learn that the world is in darkness, and that to walk with the world according to worldly standards, would mean to fail to progress from grace to grace, from knowledge to knowledge, and from glory to glory, under the leadings of the Master, who instructed us to walk in His steps. These of the single eye are cut loose entirely from the worldly standards which formerly were their guides, and they look to the Lord, and so looking, have the very best of guidance, the very highest standard imaginable. Looking to Him, copying Jesus, they come more and more to appreciate the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of Divine love and justice, and seek more and more to be transformed in all their words and thoughts and doings in harmony with the glorious pattern which their single eye entitles and enables them to clearly see. How blessed is their condition! Instructed by the example of the Lord and by His word of grace and Truth, they are rising daily to newness of life in the character-likeness of their Redeemer, and becoming fit for the Kingdom and for their awakening in the Kingdom. Yes, all of resurrected mankind will learn that God’s standard is the only standard.
THE TIME OF OUR LORD’S RETURN
As to the time of our Lord’s Return, or Presence (Greek, parousia), there is much Scriptural evidence that it will occur at first in secret, during a time of social turmoil (1 Thes. 5:1-4). Generally speaking, the Bible teaches that God’s Kingdom, of which Christ is its chief representative, is to be established in the seventh 1,000-year day after Adam’s fall into sin.
Isa. 2:2 says, “It shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.” In the Hebrew, the expression in the last days can also mean in the last one of the days. The last one of God’s days, each of which would be a period of a thousand of our years, would be the seventh day or the seventh thousand-year period (2 Pet. 3:8). God’s numerical system often features the number seven. The expression “the last one of the days” means the seventh day, the last day of the week. A week of God’s days is equal to 7,000 years of our time. Isa. 2:2 therefore suggests that the Kingdom of God is to be established over all the earth during the seventh thousand-year day. Though the earth itself may be thousands of millions of years old, we believe Bible chronology demonstrates that man’s history is only a little over 6,000 years from the creation of Adam. That this seventh thousand-year day is the seventh from Adam’s fall into sin and the original death sentence, God has pictured by the Sabbath-day arrangement for Israel. Following their six days of labor, they were to keep holy the seventh day by resting from their work.
Mankind in sin and under the curse has been laboring and heavy laden during the antitypical six days (Matt. 11:28; Rom. 8:20-22). This is symbolized by the six days of labor, each day typing a period of a thousand years. But a rest day from the curse, the great antitypical Sabbath, the Millennium, follows the figurative days of toil and hardship. During it, mankind will rest from sin, error, and death, with their entailment of woes. This is the last one of the days, the seventh thousand-year day, the antitypical Sabbath, of which Isa. 2:2-4 speaks. This scripture, teaching that the Kingdom is to be established in the seventh thousand-year day from the fall of Adam, implies that Christ’s return is to be in this period; for He returns to establish the Kingdom and to offer restitution to all mankind, both dead and living (Acts 3:19-21; 15:14-17; Dan. 7:13, 14; Isa. 35:1-10).
As the Lord of the Sabbath, and the Giver of Rest (Luke 6:5; Matt. 11:28), Jesus must return at the onset of the great antitypical Sabbath to establish His Lordship over the earth and set in motion the greatest peace process the world has ever known. Following 6,000 years of enmity between God and man, and between man and man—a weary and rest-less experience—peace cannot come without even further upheaval and strife, as the forces of evil are challenged and overthrown. The achieving of perfect peace will indeed be a process, and will take the entire 1,000 years of Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom to complete.
That great conflict occurring at the time of the Second Advent is a well-established Biblical concept. This is implicitly stated in Dan. 12:1, with its figurative reference to Jesus as Michael, the great prince of the people. And Jesus Himself spoke of it, describing the turmoil as unprecedented and ferocious in its finality (Matt. 24:21).
The forces of evil are led by the great Adversary, Satan, who will struggle to hold on to his influence and do all in his power to resist the incoming Kingdom. The overthrow of this usurper, therefore, must be a primary objective of the rightful Heir to the Kingship of earth, our Lord Jesus, addressed prophetically in Psa. 2:8 (ASV): “Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Speaking symbolically of the eviction of Satan, the unlawful incumbent at present ruling the nations, Jesus referred to him as the “strong man” who must be bound before his goods and house can be taken (Mark 3:27). Their leader captive, the consequent power struggles among the servants of Satan—the “kingdom divided against itself”—will precipitate the downfall of his vast and malicious organization.
THE KINGDOM DRAWS NEARER
Another feature marking the time of our Lord’s return is the explosion of knowledge in every branch of science and technology, with a phenomenal increase in travel and in speed of travel—many running to and fro as prophesied (Dan. 12:4). The transport revolution of our day gives credibility to the concept of the “global village” where in process of time “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).
In large part due to this increasing mobility and ease of communication, society at large is in a restless condition, and we see the preparatory stages of the overthrow of the kingdoms of this world. In these times of almost unlimited communication from one end of the earth to the other, we are bombarded with daily exposures of evil deeds, political intrigues, social injustice, financial deceptions, and religious hypocrisies. Foretelling such conditions at this time—distress of nations, men’s hearts failing them for fear of those things coming upon the earth, our Lord in prospect spoke to us, who are living through these experiences: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:25-28).
We do not know the date of the establishment of this kingdom to come, but judging by the events of the day God’s plan is right on schedule. Significant among the signs of the times is the return of the Jewish people to Palestine and the creation of the independent state of Israel in 1948. Another historic and bold move happened on May 14, 2018, when President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and opened the US embassy there.
Under the guidance of Pastors Russell, Johnson and Jolly, with their special helpers, we have the proper teachings on Biblical history and time periods; so we can recognize that the Ancient Worthy, Little Flock, Great Company and Youthful Worthy classes have their full number completed. Through Constructive Advancing Truth Bro. Jolly spoke about the future of this movement by making this statement: “God, after the end of the Great Company’s earthly sojourn will not desert His people by leaving them without a leader, to wander in measurable darkness, without further unfoldings of present Truth pertinent to their needs; He will not leave them unprotected and at the mercy of sifters; nor will He allow our work to be revolutionized.”
We know that the Consecrated Epiphany Camper class is not a Spirit-begotten class, but a Spirit-enlightened Basileia pre-restitution consecrated class (PT ‘70, pp. 59, 60). They are treated as “children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26), and are tentatively reckoned as having “passed from death to life” (John 5:24). They are included in the pre-Millennial seed of Abraham as the highest class among the Quasi-elect. The Consecrated Epiphany Campers, represented by the hill Ophel, are clearly distinguished as a higher class than the rest of the Quasi-elect and the Non-elect, who are represented by the valley sections of Jerusalem. Bro. Johnson shows this, e.g., in E 16, p. 283 (comp. E 4, p. 321), where we read: “The valleys of the city represent the subjects of the Kingdom—the restitution class.”
We thank God for this additional item of advancing Truth on the Consecrated Epiphany Campers, given to His people in due time for the strengthening of their faith as to His provision for this class, the fifth class of His consecrated people. We know that it, like all other parts of the advancing Truth, will come under special attack by the Adversary. Satan has always opposed the “meat in due season,” given by our Lord to supply the needs of His people.