“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”—Eph. 6:10
What a clear and strong counsel the Apostle Paul is giving to the one true church during a time of testing. He admonishes the fully consecrated, sanctified student of God’s word to grow in knowledge, faith, and character development, trusting in God and not relying on ourselves. This exhortation is applicable to the consecrated children of God at all times and under all conditions. Our Christian Warfare is against the trials and battles of the world, flesh, and Adversary. After reasonable instruction in the ways of righteousness, the Lord has every right to expect that we have formed a strong character so we can stand in this evil day now upon us. The developed Christian by setting the word of God above all other messages can buy the Truth at any cost and sell it not for any price.
In our battle of Christian Warfare, we must consider that the lawmakers and executives are all imperfect, biased, selfish, realizing that we are properly amazed at the amount of justice we do find in parts of the world, where men are free and the amount of liberty they have. The vast majority of the world’s population live in varying degrees of tyranny and poverty. If all the lawmakers were saints, fully in harmony with the Divine arrangements and merely limited by the imperfection of their mortal bodies, we could expect better laws than we find in the world today. We praise God to know the Scriptures clearly show us that the Church, as Kings and Priests in the future Mediatorial Reign, will be absolutely perfect in every respect and backed by Divine wisdom and power.
As we compare the various degrees of civilization throughout the world, and note that the wisest and best laws and the wisest and best execution of them and the greatest true liberty of the people within reasonable bounds are found in those nations which have most reverenced the Divine message, the Bible, it is a strong argument that the Word of God has not only influenced the elect, who take it most seriously, and lay aside every weight and hindrance and worldly ambition to run with patience in the footsteps of Jesus, but it has influenced the minds of many who have never taken this step of full consecration. In a word, the liberty wherewith Christ makes free is not the liberty of license but the liberty of reason, of justice, and of love; and in proportion as anyone has received the spirit of the Divine teaching, in that same proportion he is free.
We thank God, therefore, for the measure of national liberty which prevails in democracies around the world, even while we see clearly from the prophecies of the Scriptures, as well as written on the pages of the daily press, that a great misinterpretation of liberty is rapidly spreading throughout the world, which will eventually wreck the present civilization in anarchy.
The country [USA] set aside by Jehovah for the Truth message to go forth from will lose its favor the same as other nations: “I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee” (Jer. 30:11). In non-Christian countries Selfishness controls in every granting of liberty, while Christian countries the purpose of liberty has been to serve and to do good to all men along the lines, not of selfishness, but of love for all. This Christian ideal is to the world in general foolishness. All the liberty there is in the world today has been paid for: none of it has been attained without those who sacrifice to obtain it. Why? Because selfishness is so entrenched in the race that those who possess power, authority, privilege, opportunity, would hold these for themselves, to the disadvantage of others, to the enslavement of others, were not the rights and liberties that have been fought for.
Looking back over the history of nations, without approving of wars, every reasoning mind can see, nevertheless, that only through wars have many liberties come to the race. The mistake that is being made by many today is the supposition that humanity would ever be able to attain the condition of absolute equality and unselfishness through laws or wars or any other means within the power of Adam’s race.
The Scriptures point out to us that there is a limit beyond which we must not expect selfish humanity to make progress—that any progress beyond that limit must come from on high, through the establishment of the Kingdom of God’s dear Son; that while wealth, influence and talents will yield to the pressure of the masses for their own protection and aggrandizement, they will not yield everything, but would permit the entire social structure to dissolve rather than to submit to a general equalization, as is the aim of socialism. Hence socialism, while not intending anarchy, will produce anarchy; while striving for greater liberty and universality of blessings of earth it will effect a wreck of all these. Thanks be to God that His program is that on this wreck of present institutions He will establish the true reign of liberty on the plane of love, under the guidance of the Master and His joint heirs!
COURAGE IN THIS TIME OF TEMPTATION
As Consecrated Children of God we have noted the courage of our Lord Jesus Himself, with a whole nation against Him! The true people of God throughout the Gospel Age have been a humble class, yet they have been very strong and courageous. The people in the days of the Apostles “took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” and had learned of Him (Acts 4:13). Those disciples of Jesus had seen His readiness to lay down His life in the Father’s service. They had seen His courage when He was facing death of the most cruel kind, and so we who have followed the Master since then have taken note of the spirit which our dear Lord manifested at all times, under the most trying and crucial experiences; and it has proven to be a wonderful inspiration to us.
The Consecrated, Sanctified, Faithful ones have as a rule been little known in the world, nor have they usually been of the great, the learned or the rich. Throughout history to this day there have been many true saints who have lived quiet, uneventful lives, yet who have seemed to live up to all the light they possessed and to walk with God until they fell asleep in death. The world has generally ignored these saints of God, even when they were not actively persecuted. We cannot surely know who are entirely loyal and sincere at heart; but we may be sure that “the Lord knoweth them that are his” (2 Tim. 2:19).
Coming down to our own day, there never was a time when more strength of character and more courage were needed than now. The iniquities of the whole world, and especially of so-called Christendom, have now nearly reached their end; and all present governments are about to be swept away, to make room for the glorious coming Kingdom of God under the whole heavens (Dan. 7:27)—the glorious Reign of the King of kings. All the ecclesiastical systems of today, calling themselves the Church of Christ, are arrayed on the side of error, and are battling against the Truth and its advocates. So, we need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Whoever starts out to battle in his own strength against this stronghold of error will be sure to be defeated. But if he goes in the strength of the Lord of Hosts and has Divine direction as to what he shall do or say, he may well be of good courage. Many earnest hearts are now asking for the Bread of Life; they are captives in Babylon or are famishing out in the “field,” the world. These need our assistance. “But the HELPER, the HOLY SPIRIT, which the FATHER will send in my NAME; shall teach You all things, and remind you of all things which I said to you” (John 14:26 Diaglott). The holy Spirit in this verse shows us things to come and explains to us things that are past!
Let us be assured that our strength will be tried to its limit; our hold upon God’s Truth and our courage in defending the Truth will surely be put to the test. God will not have any in the Kingdom who have not faithfully taken up their cross to follow their master; yes, endured hardships! Let us look for the hungry and thirsty ones God has chosen and give them to eat and drink of the pure waters of life. If someone is drowning in the restless sea of trouble it is our duty to get wet.
Jehovah, our Heavenly Father does not identify just what our trials and tribulations will be but, living in the end times of this evil day we recognize our need for instruction and fortifying such as Jehovah gave Joshua. As He admonished Joshua in Josh. 1:7, 8, so He admonishes us—not only to be strong in Him and the power of His might (Eph. 6:10) and very courageous, but also not to turn aside from the Truth, not to let it depart out of our mouths, but to keep on speaking it forth and pondering on it day and night, that we may carefully and faithfully follow His instructions, that our way as His true people may be spiritually prosperous and successful in the new year and eternally.
THE CHRISTIAN’S FIGHT
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). If the world’s liberty has required fighting for, much more may we expect to battle for those who take the still higher ground of the Bible, and who strive for the “liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free” (Gal. 5:1). For although this very Scripture declares that Christ gives this freedom, the Word shows us that He gives it only to those who desire it and who will fight for it. This begs the question: Against what do they battle? We answer that their chief fight is against the fallen tendencies of their own beings. They find that, through the long centuries under the fall, sin has become inbred and entrenched in their flesh to such a degree that it necessitates a warfare in the new mind. They get the new mind or disposition through hearkening to the Word of the Lord, which, while speaking peace and forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ, invites to a newness of life with Christ through a full consecration to the service of righteousness and Truth. The making of the consecration on the part of the believer was his entering upon the career of a good soldier of the Lord Jesus. It was his engagement to battle against sin and selfishness everywhere, according to the rules laid down by the Chief Captain.
To the surprise of every soldier, he finds that some of his greatest battles are within. True, he finds the world an opponent to his full devotion of time and talent and influence for the service of the Truth. The world is not prepared for such an extreme, which more or less reproves it of sin and selfishness; the world, therefore, sneers and cries “hypocrite,” “saint,” etc., and seeks to turn aside the consecrated. To be a good soldier one must be prepared for this and have on the sandals of preparation afforded by the Gospel, else the difficulties strewn in his path by worldly opposition would soon make him so footsore that he would be disposed to turn back notwithstanding the term of his enlistment— “even unto death.”
Especially at the start of a New Year a Consecrated Child of God works to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. However, there is a tendency at times to fight each other rather than to fight the devil and the spirit of the world and the weaknesses within. Gal. 5:15 indicates this. The organs of combativeness and destructiveness, which serve a Christian soldier in good stead if directed against his own weaknesses and blemishes, are sadly out of place when, ignoring his own weaknesses, he merely becomes contentious with the brethren—often over nothing, or over questions whose importance he exaggerates, because of his contentious spirit. Such should remember the Scriptural statement that greater is he that ruleth his own spirit than he that takes a city (Prov. 16:32).
The Apostle refers to that misdirection of Christian energy which bites and devours one another and tends to the destruction of all that is spiritual among the Lord’s people. Not that the Apostle favored slackness as respects the important principles of the Divine Revelation, for he himself urged that we contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). But this earnest contending is not to be done in a biting and devouring manner—it is to be with patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love.
The consecrated people who wish to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might have enlisted to walk (to live) not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, and must continually recognize this fact, and keep watch that they are walking in line with the spirit of Truth. The Apostle states this as a positive rule, without exceptions, that the flesh, the natural inclinations, tendencies, lusts, desires, are contrary to the Spirit, and likewise the Spirit desires are contrary to the flesh. These two desires being opposed one to the other, we cannot gratify both, and whichever is gratified, it will be so at the expense of the other (Gal. 5:16, 17).
If we ever want to attain to the true liberty wherewith Christ makes free, we should know that it can only be by a persistent warfare of the new mind against every sinful tendency and inclination of the old nature. It is not the new will warring against the old, for the old will, we have reckoned dead. It is the new will warring against the flesh, which the old will formerly controlled, and which flesh still has its evil tendencies. The new will, therefore, needs all the sustaining strength and assistance which it can secure. Many of these are provided for it as food, nourishment, strength, through the Word of God, whose exceeding great and precious promises are given in order that the new will may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might through faith and conquer in all of its battles with the flesh.”
The Apostle’s declaration in Gal. 5:17: “Ye cannot do the things that ye would,” is in full accord with all our experiences. We can sometimes do as we would in some things, we can gain the victory over the flesh; but there are certain weaknesses, failings, blemishes, in our flesh which are so powerful that the new mind never gets as complete a mastery over them as it desires. Nevertheless, in all the battles being waged the new mind grows stronger and stronger while the flesh grows weaker and weaker.
The minor Prophet Micah in 6:8 asks a poignant question of the Consecrated Child of God “What doeth the LORD require of thee?” The way this text is worded indicates that it does not treat of unselfish, disinterested, sacrificial love as distinct from duty love, or justice, is evident from the fact that it asks a question as to Jehovah’s requirements; for God does not require or demand sacrifice, which implies giving up one’s rights. It is true that God invites sacrifice, though never demanding it. This is evident from the facts that having given the justified the reckoned right to life with its life-rights, God does not make it a duty to sacrifice these rights; hence He does not demand, though He invites sacrifice. Therefore, consecration now is a matter of free will and privilege, not of duty as in the past.
In the next Age consecration will not be unto the sacrifice of one’s rights, i.e., unto death; but it will be unto righteousness in order to attain perfect human life. Hence, then it will be a matter of justice, i.e., duty love resulting in life on a paradisaic earth, as the sphere of life and rule, and human perfection. Micah 6:8 teaches us that demands, commands, are three-fold so far as duty love or justice is concerned: (1) to do justly, (2) to love mercy, and (3) to walk humbly with God. Justice is what God’s law requires, demands; and it therefore demands duty love, which is what justice is; for it is what by right we owe. Some think justice is merely right or duty; but this is too narrow a view; for that would exclude love from it. They, accordingly, make it a cold, lifeless thing, which, if embraced, gives one a chill; while true justice is a warm, living thing, which, if embraced, gives one the warmth of life.
VALUE OF GOOD THOUGHTS
In proportion as we by faith grasp the promises, and in proportion as we daily strive to live so as to maintain our relationship with the Father and the Son and with their gracious promises, in that same proportion our faces will show all these—joy, peace, patience, love. These will gradually become more and more written in our features, visible to all. It is proper in this connection to remember the instruction of the Apostle, that we should not think about the evil and undesirable things, but think about the pure, good, noble things.
Undoubtedly a poisonous effect upon the system is engendered by thinking about sinful or injurious things of any kind. Undoubtedly also the body and mind are both strengthened by thinking about things noble, good, and pure. The Apostle’s words are, “Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil. 4:8; John 13:34, 35; Rom. 13:8-10).
As daily and hourly we seek to cultivate this spirit of love, and to allow it to dominate in our words and deeds, in the same proportion will be the measure of our blessing, because in this we shall be “doers of the Word and not hearers only.” We are not, however, to place too high an estimate upon the present life, and health and earthly blessings and joys. Rather we are to be content with such things as we have, and to realize the Divine supervision of our affairs. We should also allow all of life’s experiences to bring us more and more of the peace of God which surpasses all understanding and which should continually rule in our hearts. But while not seeking to save the present life but rejoicing in the privilege of laying it down prudently in the Lord’s service as opportunity offers, we shall, nevertheless, find that the rest and peace of mind which comes through believing and through following the Lord will be a favorable influence as respects our physical health, peace, joy, blessing. We who believe enter into rest now, and yet, as the Apostle declared, “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God” (Heb. 4:9).
Pro. 23:7 brings this thought to our attention: “For as he [a man] thinketh in his heart, so is he.” This is not to be understood as meaning that whatever a man thinks is true. The correct thought is that what a man may seem to be outwardly is not necessarily a correct view of his real character: his heart, his will, his intention—the real man as God sees him. If, therefore, our hearts condemn us not, we have peace with God; but if our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts and knoweth all things. Then we should not have peace but should repent of the wrongdoing and come again into harmony with God, where we may enjoy true peace. The Apostle illustrated this, saying, ‘If any man seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, that man’s religion is vain” (Jas. 1:26). Outwardly he might have seeming piety, might be a church attender, etc., but so surely as his heart is changed, so surely as he is renewed by the holy Spirit, so surely as the spirit of love dwelleth in his heart and more and more abounds richly, it will affect not only his actions but also his looks and his words. He will seek to bridle his tongue, to bridle all of his passions, to be emptied of his former ambitions and desires, and to be filled with the noblest, purest, and best which comes to us only from the foundation of grace and truth in God’s Word.
The majority of mankind, fearful and discouraged, fail to make the best possible use of their talents and opportunities. The Scriptures instruct those who have entered the School of Christ that the will is the first matter to be settled—that a doubleminded man who has not a settled purpose in his life, is unstable in all his ways. They urge positiveness—a full consecration of heart, mind, body, talents, everything, to the Lord. To those who take this position of a full consecration, the Scriptures give valuable assurances which should strengthen every fiber of the human soul.
As the Apostles Peter expresses it, “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13). Oh, what marvelous power has come to weak and fainting hearts through the fixing of the will—the conversion of the will to do and to be in harmony with the Lord at any cost—and the appropriating then of these promises, exceeding great and precious, which belong to God’s Children. How many have found that the Lord’s strength was made perfect in their weakness after they had taken the proper step of consecration—after they had exercised the faith which He called for, and which is necessary for our development! No wonder these can rejoice in the Lord—no wonder the Apostle says that they rejoice in tribulation (Rom. 5:1-5)!
Our Motto Text for 2022 is especially profitable; yes, a grand opportunity for new consecrators that opened in Oct. 1954 and is to be open for a limited number of years yet [in the time before “restitution sets in”] is to become in the soon-coming Kingdom of God on earth antitypical Nethinim, the assistants to the antitypical Levities—“the Nethinim [Consecrated Epiphany Campers] whom David and the princes appointed for the service of the Levities” (Ezra 8:20; Neh. 3:26; 11:3).
These post-1954 pre-restitution consecrators, who we designate also as Consecrated Epiphany Campers because their standing before God is pictured in the Epiphany Camp as distinct from in the Epiphany Court, are the highest class among the quasi-elect, the “fifth order of the [pre-restitution] seed of Abraham” (E-12, p. 185), who will be “the special assistants of the Ancient and Youthful Worthies” and who will “be specially used above the rest of the restitution class to bless the families, nations and kindreds of the earth according to the Covenant” (E-11, p. 293). These present-day consecrators have (if faithful) the marvelous enlightenment (including an understanding of “deep things” of God’s Word), the heart-warming and the energizing of the holy Spirit, even as the Ancient Worthies did.
When we speak of the deep things of God, knowledge is to be highly esteemed among God’s people, and to be regarded as evidence of progress, of growth; for none can grow “strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might” (Eph. 6:10)—in grace—unless he grows also in knowledge. We properly esteem most highly those whose love for God and His Truth is evidenced by their being guided more and more into the deep things of God. Yes, the people of the LORD have both His Message in the inspired, written Word and the operation of the holy Spirit, as God’s powerful influence for good, in their heart and mind. The mysteries of God are now opened up to His faithful children, the watchers; and we are granted a clear understanding of “the deep things of God,” some features of which were never revealed until the Harvest time through the ministry of the last two-star members—the Laodicean Angel (Rev 3:14). We are also told by the Apostle Paul that the things which were written by the servants of the LORD in past dispensations were written for our admonition and instruction and comfort, “upon whom the ends of the world are come” (1 Cor. 10:11).
When we start the New Year and sin is still in the ascendancy, and Satan is operating as the god of this world, as Consecrated Children of God our privilege will be to be loyal to the LORD, to sacrifice one’s rights unto death in his opposition to sin and in his service of righteousness. The evil conditions that must be opposed in such a course wear out and take away life. To be faithful in consecration now requires the presentation of one’s all to God in service amid conditions that lead to the death of him who presents his all. Not only do the conditions of the present deal out death to the faithful, but each of them is invited to make a covenant of service; deadness to self and the world and aliveness to God. There is not the slightest intimation in the Scriptures that those who consecrate too late to have a crown assigned to them, but before the highway of holiness is opened, make a different kind of a consecration from those whose consecration was accepted by the begettal of the Spirit.
This is the last class to go forward in consecration under the elective features of salvation. These arrangements are provided by Jehovah through the Parousia Truth (foundational) given through Bro. Russell (the Parousia Messenger) and the Epiphany Truth (the superstructure) given by Bro. Johnson (the Epiphany Messenger).
What does it mean to come into the Epiphany Truth? The accepting of the Epiphany Truth and Bro. Johnson as the LORD’S agent! As often stated, individuals vary in their knowledge and understanding of the Epiphany Truth. The Consecrated (heart condition) Epiphany (Time period) Camper (place of residence) Class comprises those Christians, in or out of the Epiphany Truth movement, who consecrate during the time of the Epiphany Camp picture, that is, between 1954 and the setting up of the Mediatorial Kingdom. Their relationship to the Parousia or Epiphany Truth has no bearing on the matter; the Epiphany in the designation refers to time, not to the doctrinal affiliation; in other words, it is consecration made during the Epiphany, therefore the title Consecrated Epiphany Campers.
Those that have been developed in the Epiphany Truth are antitypical Queen of Sheba hopefuls, and have greater privileges, therefore much greater responsibility! Much the same as the Queen of Sheba heard of Solomon, we [CECs] heard of the Epiphany writings of antitypical Solomon [Bro. Johnson] and came to him with our hard questions and were satisfied with the wonderful answers to our hard questions. Like the Queen, we have sat at the table of Truth to feast until we understood even the deep things of God, advancing Truth in due season!
We do recognize that there are differences in the uses and requirements that God makes of those who consecrate, who give their own selves to Him (2 Cor. 8:5). However, these differing uses and requirements, which are due, e.g., to dispensational changes in God’s plan, are for God, not the consecrator, to determine and should not make any difference in the kind of consecration that is made.
Finally, my brethren [those who seek, love, and do the will of the Father, in preference to their own], be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might! The brethren who have answered our LORD’S call to special favor have recognized not only righteousness, justice, but have recognized, also, the promised reward of righteousness through Christ, which He has promised to them that love Him—namely, eternal life.
Nowhere else is there such a promise; from no other quarter comes such a hope; in no other service; therefore, how could we think of engaging in any other service, with the hope of obtaining eternal life. So it is that we rejoice even in laying down our human life in consecration to our great and eternal God. With such hopes before us, clearly understood, and with the way to everlasting life distinctly marked out, who could think for a moment of turning aside, or even listening, to the voices calling to wealth, honor, fame, pleasures of this life, etc., seeing that even hearkening to them would interrupt our progress in the way to the Kingdom, and frustrate our hopes and make the wonderful promises of none effect to us.
As the faithful disciples realized a meaning in the Master’s teachings at the first harvest, which the majority could not understand, so now at the time of Jesus’ Second Advent, His Words have a value and a force to those who are in heart-harmony with Him, which they do not have to others; now, as at the First Advent, some are stumbling and falling in the Christian racecourse, and others are being drawn to the LORD more closely than ever by the Truth as due, which He is supplying as “meat in due season.” As we progress in the way, toward the close of this expanded harvest, we shall not be surprised if the way should grow still more restricted, more difficult, and if the tendencies to “stumble” should become more frequent. Let us each, therefore, more and more be on our guard against the wiles of the Adversary. Let the perfect love of God rule in our hearts, driving out self-love and world-love, and their pride and ambition and folly. Let this devotion to God bring into our hearts the promised fullness of joy and rest and peace. Let us abide in Him, and be fruitful branches, responding to all the pruning of the great husbandman with more abundant fruitage; and if beguilements come to us, let us view the matter as did the apostles, and say, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
The dawn of another new year is properly a time for solemn reflection, both as to the past and as to the future. As to the past, how abundant is the cause for thanksgiving! “Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered” (Psa. 40:5).
As to the future may the blessings you give and receive be many and blest of the great Jehovah. Please be assured of our continued prayers for the brethren and we ask for your prayers for the Bible House staff.