Papal—Religious Questions Raised At The Democratic Convention.
Question (1924)—What is the significance of the raising of the religious question at the Democratic Convention at New York?
Answer.—It seems to be a papal move first to gain absolute control of the Democratic party, and then through it of the nation. Hitherto the hierarchy hypocritically has claimed that it keeps out of politics; but of late its real designs have come to the light in ways that are undeniably revelatory as having a political capacity. England’s foremost lay Catholic, Belloc, has publicly proclaimed and published in this country the incompatibility of Rome’s Cannon law and civil government independent of Rome. And the effort to hand over the Democratic party to Rome at the Democratic Convention was so patent that both Romanists and anti-Romanists acknowledge it. Rome desires a political party that shall be her representative, her hand, mouth and eye, in the political domain here, just as she has such parties in Europe, e.g., the Centrist party in Germany, the Popular party in Italy, etc. This wish she sought to realize at New York. With her usual hypocrisy she assumed the pose of the defender of religious liberty from alleged violations by the Klan, etc. This was a gross misrepresentation of the facts; for the anti-hierarchial movement in America does not seek, nor has it sought to take away religious liberty, i.e., freedom of religious discussion, assembly, propaganda, worship and belief from Roman Catholics or anybody else; but recognizing Rome’s conspiracy—largely realized—to dominate our government, national, state and municipal, which domination it recognizes as a violation of the constitutional prohibition of whatever smacks of a union of Church and State, the anti-hierarchical movement has set itself to oppose every means that the hierarchy is using to secure political Romanism’s domination in the United States. Hence it opposes the election of Catholics because of the hierarchy’s purpose through them politically to “get America.” Actually the hierarchy is seeking to suppress and in part is succeeding in suppressing freedom of anti-Roman speech, press, assembly, etc. Both Papal history and Papal doctrine prove that if Rome had the power she would destroy everywhere all non-Roman religious liberty, i.e., all non-Roman freedom of religious discussion, assembly, propaganda, worship and belief, and therein would use every method of persecution that she would dare employ to accomplish this end. Her semper idem—always the same—doctrine and practice prove this of her. Instructed from Scripture, history and Rome’s doctrines and practices the anti-hierarchal movement as real Americanism is opposing Rome’s designs on America as utterly un-American. To hide her real purpose Rome has with characteristic Jesuitry thrown out as a smoke screen over her designs, the religious liberty question, hoping thereby through flattery and deception to entice true guileless Americans into becoming a catspaw to pull her chestnuts out of the fire. In this course it reminds us of the anaconda, the greatest of serpents, which licks its intended victim all over, and, finishing the operation, swallows it. Americans, beware of the Roman Hierarchy as the image and special representative among men of “Satan, that old serpent.” It is licking you all over with intent to swallow you. Let Americans never forget Lafayette’s earnest warning: If the liberties of the American people ever fall, it will be at the hands of the Roman Hierarchy. ’24-39
Paul Apostle—Ananias And Saul.
Question (1975)—How do you harmonize Acts 9:17, 18, which tells of Ananias, who was not an Apostle, putting his hands on Saul (Paul), etc. with the teaching that only the Apostles had the power to bestow the “gifts” of the Spirit by the laying on of their hands on others, as was set forth in the April issue of The Bible Standard, pages 26, 28?
Answer.—That only the twelve Apostles had as a special prerogative of their office the power to bestow the “gifts” of the Spirit upon others by the laying on of hands is evident from Acts 8:5-24; 19:1-6.
How then are we to understand Acts 9:17, 18? It reads: “And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightiest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”
Certainly Paul could not and did not receive his appointment as an Apostle by virtue of any power of Ananias or any other man, for God reserved to Himself alone through Jesus the prerogative of choosing and appointing all of His Apostles (Acts 20:24; 1 Cor. 12:18, 29; Gal. 1:1, 16; Rev. 21:14; see Bible Standard No. 325). It was not even in the power of any Apostle or Apostles to elect or appoint another Apostle. The selection of Matthias as a supposed successor of Judas as an Apostle, by the Apostles (Acts 1:15-26), who had been instructed to wait, was never authorized or recognized by God. We hear nothing further about Matthias in the Bible. It manifestly was Paul, appointed by God Himself through Jesus, who was to take Judas’ forfeited bishoprick--office or charge—as an Apostle (v. 20), and who so ably filled that office, as the Scriptures show.
The Scriptures show also that before Ananias visited him, Paul had already been specially chosen by God and appointed to be His vessel for carrying the Gospel message, not only to Jews, but also—and especially—to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15; 22:14; 26:16-18: compare Gal. 1:15). This is shown by all three accounts of Paul’s conversion (two in his direct speech):
(a) In Acts 9:15, God told Ananias that Paul “is [i.e., already] a chosen vessel unto me.” (b) Acts 22:14 records Ananias telling him that “the God of our fathers hath chosen thee.” (c) In Acts 26:9-20, Paul relates that the glorified Jesus spoke with him, and he indicates that by God’s authority our Lord appointed him as an Apostle at least three days prior to Ananias’ visit; for we read that the Lord told him “I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister” (v. 16). He then commissioned Paul to go to the Gentiles, adding “unto whom now [i.e., from then on] I send thee” (v. 17).
One requirement for being an Apostle was that one must have personally witnessed Jesus after His resurrection (Acts 1:2, 3, 22; 2:32; 22:14, 15; 26:16; Rom. 15:15-20; 1 Cor. 15:7, 8; Gal. 1:1, 16). This was accomplished by our Lord’s appearing to Paul on the Damascus road. As a consequence Paul was then commissioned by Divine authority as an Apostle to be a special “witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee” (Acts 26:16). This was all done several days before Ananias visited him.
Apparently God’s use of Ananias, was recorded in Acts 9, was additionally in part to confirm Paul in the Apostolic office already given to him, and to pronounce the Divine blessing upon his ministry. Ananias also instructed him as to baptism (v. 18; 22:16).
Although Paul had the “gifts” of the Spirit from shortly after his appointment as an Apostle, on the Damascus road (Acts 14:3, 8-10; 15:12; 16:16-18; 19:1-6, 11, 12; 20:7-10; 28:8, 9; Rom. 15:19; 1 Cor. 14:18; 2 Cor. 12:12; Gal. 3:5), and also had the power to confer the “gifts,” in common with the other Apostles (Matt. 18:18), it is not stated in the Scriptures that Paul received these “gifts” or the power to confer them, at the hands of Ananias or any of the Apostles. Note also the following considerations:
(1) From Acts 9:10-16 it is evident that the special reason for Ananias’ “putting his hands” on Saul was “that he might receive his sight” (v. 12; 22:13). It evidently was a common practice for those with the “gift” of healing (1 Cor. 12:9, 28, 29)—both Apostles and non-Apostles—to lay their hands on the sick in order to heal them (Mark 16:17, 18; Acts 28:8, etc.).
Certainly there was a thriving Christian community at Damascus, else Saul would have specially besought the high priest at Jerusalem for “letters” to the Damascus synagogues, with the express purpose of apprehending Christians there (Acts 9:1, 2; 22:5; 26:10-12).
Most likely the brethren at Damascus—including Ananias, a faithful disciple of Christ, who was of good report and probably prominent there (Acts 9:10; 22:12, 13)—were in frequent contract with the church at Jerusalem, for Saul’s persecuting activities were well known to Ananias (9:13, 14; compare 8:3, 4; Gal. 1:3). Therefore Ananias probably had received from one of the Apostles his “gift” of healing, for, as we have seen, it was usual for the “gifts” to be bestowed on consecrated Christian believers by the Apostles.
Why did not God send an Apostle to heal Paul’s eyes? It evidently was God’s design that Paul have no personal contact with any of the other Apostle for some time (three years, in fact—Gal. 1:16-18) after his conversion, probably so that it might be specially demonstrated (a) that Paul was in no way subordinate to the other Apostles (2 Cor. 11:5; 12:11; Gal. 1:12, 16 [“flesh and blood”]) and (b) that his appointment and mission was a most unique one. (Compare Num. 11:16, 17, 24-26, where Eldad and Medad, two of the elders of Israel, were anointed with God’s Spirit while yet in the camp, and not at the tabernacle of the congregation where other elders had assembled.)
Paul’s being dealt with in this special manner no doubt served to highlight his office and ministry from the very outset.
(2) Although the expressions “putting his hands on him” “laying on of hands,” “laid their hands on them,” etc., in the Scriptures sometimes signified the conferring of a “gift” of the Spirit, they often did not--compare (1) above. Rather, these expressions have at least five distinct meanings in the Bible:
(a) Representation. When Aaron and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bullock in the priestly consecration service (Lev. 8:14), the act symbolized that the bullock stood for, represented, them. Again, when Aaron laid his hands on the head of the scapegoat (Lev. 16:21), he thereby symbolized how the goat represented him from a certain standpoint (see Tabernacle Shadows for details).
(b) Sanction, or endorsement. Acts 13:3 shows this clearly; the Antioch Church is set forth as sanctioning, or endorsing, Paul and Barnabas in going on a missionary journey on their behalf. Deut. 34:9 shows that Joshua, because he was properly qualified and filled with God’s Spirit of wisdom, had been endorsed by Moses to be his successor. Moses laying his hands on Joshua and Joshua’s being “full of the spirit of wisdom” cannot mean that he had received any “gift” of the Spirit, for the “gifts” were not given before Pentecost (Mark 16:17, 18; Heb. 2:3, 4). Other examples of laying on of hands with this meaning are found in Gen. 48:13-18; 1 Tim. 5:22, etc.
(c) Blessing others. Matt. 19:13, 15 and Mark 10:16 show this. Obviously Jesus’ laying His hands on little children was not to bestow the “gifts,” nor to heal them of sickness, but to bless them.
(d) Performing healings. This has already been discussed sufficiently under point (1).
(e) Bestowing powers or “gifts.” This is apparent from Scriptures already examined. See also 2 Tim. 1:6. In the early Church the “laying on of hands” was evidently a fundamental doctrine in itself; an understanding of it and the related obtaining and use of the “gifts” then available to the brethren was then considered necessary (Heb. 6:2).
(3) Although the expression “filled with the Holy Spirit” and similar expressions sometimes signified the receiving of the “gifts” (Acts 2:4; 10:44-48; 19:6, etc.), they often did not.
For example, Acts 6:3-6 shows that the deacons Stephen and Philip (later called the Evangelist—Acts 21:8) were already “full of the Holy Spirit” (vs. 3, 5) before the Apostles laid their hands on them, after which they each possessed a “gift” (v. 8; Acts 8:5-13), though obviously they were unable to confer “gifts” on others (Acts 8:14-19; see Bible Standard No. 469, p. 28).
Also in Acts 4:31 it is said that those who were already believers and associated with the Apostles (v. 23) “were all filled with the Holy Spirit”—but evidently not in the sense of receiving the “gifts.”
It has always been of prime importance—both in the days when the “gifts were operative and since—that Christian believers be consecrated, that is, fully dedicated to the doing of God’s will in all respects (Matt. 16:24; Rom. 12:1), and also that they be well filled with God’s holy Spirit—His disposition of wisdom, power, justice love, joy, peace, etc. (2 Tim. 1:7; Gal. 5:22; 1 John 2:5; 3:24)—before they could be counted as of the Lord’s true followers—even apart from any “gift” (Luke 14:25-33; Acts 8:19-23; compare v. 13). And after the “gifts’ ceased from the early Church, it was (and still is) requisite and imperative for one to be “filled with the Holy Spirit”—with God’s disposition and holy power—even without possessing the “gifts.”
It was in this sense that Paul was especially “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 9:17; 13:9, etc. For no doubt the words of comfort and reassurance spoken to him by Ananias quickened his understanding and appreciation of his ministry for the Lord and His people; and this quickened appreciation no doubt deepened his spirituality. God’s disposition permeated his whole being through and through, making him more powerful in service for the Lord and more fully aware of his sonship with God (Psa. 119:50; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:18).
In Rom. 8:14 we read: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” By the Spirit of God here the disposition of God in His consecrated children is meant. His disposition blends in perfect harmony, His attributes of wisdom, justice, power and love. Those whose motives, thoughts, words and acts are actuated and sustained by this disposition, are sealed by God as His own. Therein all of such have the strongest possible witness of their sonship with God. If this were not the most important aspect of being “filled with the Holy Spirit,” then we would have to conclude that no one could be a true Christian without the “gifts”—a conclusion contrary to the Scriptures (Rom. 8:1, 5, 6, 9, 10; 1 Cor. 3:16; Gal. 5:22; 1 Thes. 5:19; Eph. 5:18, etc.).
(4) In each of the Scriptural accounts of the conferring of the “gifts” (notably the “gift “ of tongues) upon believers, and where the expression (or its equivalent) “filled with the Holy Spirit” occurs, it is also clearly stated that there was also some early consequent manifestation of the “gifts” having been received (Acts 2:4; 8:17, 18; 10:45, 46; 19:6).
However, in the account form Acts 9:17, 18, al-though it is recorded that Paul “received sight forthwith” (v. 18), after Ananias had “put” his hands on him, nowhere does the record show that there was any manifestation of a “gift” or “gifts”—not even the “gift” of tongues, and we know from 1 Cor. 14:18 that Paul did in fact possess the “gift” of tongues-speaking. This fact argues against the thought that Ananias conferred any “gifts” of the Spirit upon Paul.
(5) the Apostles at Pentecost did not receive their “gifts” or the power to bestow these “gifts” upon others through the “laying on of hands,” their appointment as Apostles being made by God through our Lord Jesus Christ, even as He had promised (Luke 24:49; John 14:26; Acts 1:4, 5, 8); and the Apostle Paul was at least the equal (2 Cor. 11:5; 12; 11), if not the greatest (2 Cor. 12:7) of the Apostles; therefore it is obvious that he could not receive the Apostolic office (including the “gifts” and the prerogative of bestowing these “gifts” on others) at the hands of another.
Thus it is evident that Acts 9:17, 18 is not at all out of harmony with, but agrees fully with, the teaching that only the Apostles had the power to bestow the “gifts” of the Spirit on others by the laying on their hands. ’75-54
Paul Apostle—What Was His “Thorn In The Flesh.”
Question (1959)—In your “Faith Healing” booklet (p. 4) you show that the “gifts” of God’s Holy Spirit or power, given to the early Church to aid in its establishment, were “for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not” (1 Cor. 14:22); that “those who possessed the gift of physical healing did not pray in connection with its use, but instead commanded the healing (see e.g., Acts 3:11),” and that “they did not exercise this gift for the benefit of self-healing, nor for other members of the Church, but only for outsiders, as a witness.” The Scriptures you use seem to prove your statements; but did not the Apostle Paul himself (2 Cor. 12:7, 8) pray for, instead of command, the removal of his “thorn in the flesh,” his “infirmity of the flesh”? and was he not thus seeking to use his “gift” of healing for himself, a believer?
Answer.—It is true that the Apostle Paul had his “thorn in the flesh,” which appears to have been weak eyesight resulting from his experience with the great light on the way to Damascus (Acts 9:3-9), for which he besought the Lord three times to have it removed; and he wrote also of his “infirmity of the flesh” (2 Cor. 11:30; 12:5; Gal. 4:13, 14). But note carefully: he did not exercise his miraculous “gift” of healing to heal himself. This “gift” was never used by the believers upon themselves. When the Apostle used his “gift” of healing, he commanded the healing (Acts 14:8-10)—he did not pray for it. But it was quite different in his own case: he did not command any healing for himself, as when he exercised his “gift,” but instead prayed three times (subject to the Lord’s will of course) that his “thorn in the flesh” might be removed—that he might be healed, that thus he would be a better servant of the Lord. But on learning that it was the Lord’s will that he should continue the Gospel ministry in his physical infirmity and that the Lord’s strength would be sufficient for him, he learned to rejoice in the Lord’s strength, rather than in his own--lest he should be exalted above measure (2 Cor. 12:7-10). ’59-22; *’77-5; ’81-46
Question (1974)—Does not the Apostle’s language in Phil. 1:23, “Having a desire to depart, and be with Christ,” prove that the dead are still conscious after death?
Answer.—A close analysis of his language both preceding and following this verse, and of parallel passages, does not favor such a thought. In these verses (Phil. 1:20-25) the Apostle tells us that he does not know whether to prefer life with its sufferings and its blessings of service for the brethren or death with its release from labor and sufferings. He confesses himself as hard pressed as to which he should choose of these two things, life or death (vs. 22, 23). As between these two things, therefore, it was a matter of indifference to him which he should choose, since both had such accompaniments that he could not decide which of the two would be the more desirable. But in v. 23 he mentions two other things that are far better than life or death; therefore these two things must be a third and a fourth thing. These third and fourth things are stated in the King James Version as departing and being with Christ.
The Greek word analusai is in this verse translated “to depart”; but in the only other passage of the New Testament in which it occurs it is rendered “return.” “Be ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord when he will return from the wedding” (Luke 12:36). The word analusai means both to depart and to return in classical Greek.
Which of these renderings fits in Phil. 1:23? It will be noticed that in the Luke passage the word is used in a parable illustrative of our Lord’s Second Advent. Our Lord taught us that our reward would be given us at His return from Heaven, and not before (Matt. 16:27; Rev. 11:18), in the resurrection, and not before (Luke 14:14); that the spirit is to be saved in the Day of the Lord, and not before (1 Cor. 5:5), and that it would be only after His return and His elect would see and be with Him (1 John 3:2; John 14:2, 3; 1 Thes. 4:16, 17). Hence St. Paul believed that he would for the first time see and be with the Lord Jesus after the Lord’s Second Advent. These considerations prove that the word analusai should in Phil. 1:23 be translated, not depart, but return.
Hence the translation should read, “Having a desire for the returning of, and the being with Christ.” These, of course, are the things that are by far better than the other two things—life or death; and we immediately recognize them to be things different from life and death. This is that blessed hope that God has given us to cherish (Phil. 3:20; 1 Thes. 1:10; Titus 2:13; Rev. 22:20). And this was the hope that he Apostle expressed in Phil. 1:23, which is to be realized at Christ’s return, through the resurrection.
These considerations prove that the clause, “having a desire,” etc., should be enclosed within a parenthesis. They also prove that the passage does not treat of the consciousness of the dead, and therefore should not be quoted to prove that doctrine. ’74-31; *’76-62; *’84-15
Peace—How To Find It And Gain Knowledge.
Question (1969)—I have joined a church; I pay my dues, take part in various church activities and am a member in good standing; but I do not feel peace in my heart and I cannot get satisfactory answers to many of my questions from the pastor or any of the elders or teachers in the church I attend. What should I do?
Answer.—Why not go to the Bible, the Word of God, to get real peace and clear and logical answers to your questions? Many people seem to think that joining a church is the important things and that salvation depends on it. It is generally broadcast on the radio and in the public press, to Jew, Catholic and Protestant alike, to “attend the church of your choice.” Thus people are directed to sectarian systems, organizations and social clubs (which most sectarian “churches” really are), instead of the pure Truth of the Word of God. If virtue lies in joining and attending a church, then why not join and attend a dozen of them? And if true doctrine makes little or no difference, then why not join all kinds—Jewish, Catholic, Unitarian, Trinitarian, Christian Scientist, Mormon, and what have you—and attend each in turn?
The spirit of ecumenism and the suppression of public discussions of the Bible or of religious differences for fear that someone might be offended, are largely responsible for the indifference as to what the Bible really teaches as the Truth on various subjects. God says: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”; “therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge” (Hosea 4:6; Isa. 5:13). Indeed, the days have come when there is “a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11).
In coming to God to be joined to Him, instead of merely to some sectarian church, we must first recognize our undone sinful condition and our need of a Savior. After we then repent for sin, God points us to Christ (John 6:44). Just as “repentance toward God” is the first step, so “faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” is the second step (Acts 20:21). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved”—from Adamic condemnation; for “there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Acts 16:31; Rom. 8:1). Jesus’ blood was shed as our ransom-price, shed “for the remission of sins” (1 Tim. 2:6; Matt. 26:28; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14). “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).
And if we would have “the peace of God” rule in our hearts (Col. 3:15), we must take the next step, namely, consecration, and be faithful in it. We must dedicate ourselves fully to God laying down self-will and accepting His will in all things (Matt. 16:24; Rom. 12:1). We then rest fully in Him; “for we which have believed do enter into rest” (Heb. 4:3); “and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7).
Jesus in the name of the father gives this special heritage to His faithful followers: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). This peace is not obtainable by joining some man-made church system, nor a dozen of them, but only in the way marked out for us in the Scriptures, as mentioned above. And the Scriptures, the Word of God, will give us satisfactory answers to all our questions, whether various preachers are able to answer them from the Word of God or not. Humble minded preachers—and we thank God that there are some—will earnestly endeavor to learn the Truth of God’s Word and preach it rather than the sectarian, creedal errors of the Dark Ages. May God bless these preachers! ’69-15
Pershing—The Meaning Of.
Question (1977)—Does the word perishing as used in the Bible, mean to continue to live in any sense, such as eternal existence in torment?
Answer.—No! The Bible very clearly shows that to perish is to cease to live. If Christ had not died as “a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:6) and had not risen from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3), and had not thus provided for a resurrection awakening for mankind, there would not have been any future life for any of them. If there were no resurrection, even the Church, the Body members of Christ, would have perished eternally at death. “Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished” (1 Cor. 15:18).
Job 4:9 shows that to perish is to be consumed: “By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed”; and 6:15, 18 equates going to nothing with perishing: “My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the steam of brooks they pass away . . . The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish.”
Psa. 37:20 states: “But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.” Psa. 73:27: “For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.”
If, as many creedal theologians teach, perishing means to continue alive in eternal torment, the Bible surely would not speak of perishing as possible for the Prophets and Jesus’ Apostles (Matt. 8:25; Mark 4:38; Luke 11:50, 51; 13:33). Also, the swine would not have perished in any such sense (Matt. 8:32).
In John 3:15 and 16 (which already has been treated in an article in this issue), Jesus properly and clearly makes the contrast between perishing, ceasing to live, and its opposite, having everlasting life through faith in Him as Savior. The Greek word apollumi, translated perish in v. 16, means “to destroy fully” (Strong) “to destroy, i.e., to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to, ruin”(Thayer).
The Bible plainly declares also that life and death are opposites, each the antithesis of the other. Note how clearly the following passages show this: “I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil” (Deut. 30:15, 19). “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23; 5:21). “If ye live after the flesh ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13; Gal. 6:8). “These shall go away into everlasting punishment [Greek, kolasin, cutting off; not punishing]: but the righteous into life eternal” (Matt. 25:46). For details see our Nov. issue, No. 500—a copy free on request. ’77-94
Pharaoh—God’s Raising Him Up.
Question (1962)—How can we harmonize God’s character with His raising up Pharaoh to make known His power and glory, as taught in Rom. 9:17?
Answer.—We are not to understand this language to mean that God coerced Pharaoh’s will made his heart wicked. Rather, we are to understand that the time having come for Him to deliver His oppressed people from their oppressors, and for His Justice to mete out condign punishment to the Egyptians for their wickedness toward Israel, God by death removed other prospective heirs to the Egyptian throne, so that the particular Pharaoh of our question would be on the throne of Egypt at the time of Israel’s deliverance and of Egypt’s punishment. His obstinate character could be depended upon, without external coercion, to resist the purpose of God to deliver Israel. Thus God raised him up in the sense of paving the way to his successorship to the Egyptian throne, without in any way forcing him later to do things contrary to his will. In doing this God followed a principle frequently exemplified by Him.
When, for example, God desired to work out gracious features of His plan, like committing the Covenant to Abraham, the saving of a part of the antediluvians to Noah, the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and their leading through the wilderness to Moses, the deliverance of the Jews from Haman to Mordecai and Esther, He chose such agents whose holy characters, freely of themselves, without any external coercion, naturally disposed them to do just what God desired to have carried out. Likewise in carrying out certain wrath features of His plan, He chose such wicked persons, like Balaam, Korah, Jezebel, etc., whose evil characters freely of themselves, without any external compulsion, naturally inclined them to do the wrongs that would further the carrying out of the wrath features of His plan. God does not coerce, but allows men to have freedom of choice. “The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men”; and, in order to accomplish His purposes, He “giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men”; “he removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Dan. 4:17; 2:21).
Thus God, by manipulating the affairs of Egypt in such ways as to advance the particular Pharaoh of Rom. 9:17 to the throne for the time of Israel’s deliverance, raised him up and kept him on Egypt’s throne amid such circumstances as made a great manifestation of His power and glory in the earth. Thus God made the wrath and opposition of Pharaoh to inure to God’s glory without in any way coercing Pharaoh’s will or making him wicked (Psa. 76:10; Rom. 9:21-24). ’62-87
Pharaoh—God’s Hardening His Heart.
Question (1962)—How may we harmonize God’s holy character with the Scriptures (Ex. 7:3; Rom. 9:18; etc.) that teach that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart?
Answer—We believe that God’s hardening Pharaoh’s heart was in perfect harmony with His holy character. This will become apparent in part when we remember that not only God, but the Egyptian magicians and Pharaoh himself also hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 7:3, 22; 8:32); and partly when we consider how his heart was hardened. The magicians hardened his heart by their sorceries (Ex. 7:22), by which they convinced Pharaoh that their gods were as powerful as Jehovah. This made him believe that his gods would assist him against Jehovah, whom he, therefore, did not need to fear and obey. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by His kindness, whereby at each of Pharaoh’s requests He removed each pertinent plague.
This leniency on Jehovah’s part occasioned Pharaoh to presume upon the good-heartedness of God as withholding the latter from extreme measures against the former. Thus God’s very goodness to Pharaoh occasioned the latter to reason in his heart that Jehovah was so good-natured that His wishes could be successfully denied without any serious consequences resulting therefrom. Had Pharaoh had a good heart, God’s kindness would have elicited all the more readily a favorable response from him; but as Pharaoh’s heart was selfish, mean, grasping and most obstinately wilful, it prompted him to presume upon God’s goodness as eventually permitting Pharaoh “to have his own sweet will.”
Thus God’s goodness occasioned not caused, Pharaoh’s heart to be hardened; while Pharaoh in the wickedness of his own wilful heart, presuming on this goodness, made him harden his own heart. We have often seen some people melted into obedience to the Lord by their belief in God’s goodness to them, which proves that they had good hearts. We have also seen other people, like Pharaoh, hardened into disobedience to God by their belief in God’s longsuffering and kindness to them emboldening them to presume upon His goodness as continuing toward them despite their disregarding His will, which proves that they had wicked hearts.
Thus God by one and the same thing—His good-ness—affects good hearts to repentance and loyalty and willfully wicked hearts to hardness and disobedience, even as the sun by the same heat melts wax and hardens clay. So viewed, God’s hardening Pharaoh’s heart is in perfect harmony with God’s holy character, and is at the same time thoroughly revelatory of Pharaoh’s wicked character. ’62-87
Question (1960)—Since in Eph. 2:7 (A.R.V.) the Apostle Paul tell us that in the “ages to come” God will show “the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus,” would we not be warranted in thinking that there may be many Ages of probation beyond the Millennial Age?
Answer.—It is true that the Apostle mentions” ages” in the plural, but neither he nor any other Scripture writer speaks of probation in any of the Ages beyond the Millennial Age. St. Paul in Eph. 2:7 speaks of what God will do “in the ages to come” for the “us” class—those who are “in [Greek, en] Christ Jesus.” God loves all, and will show His love for all, but the Christ, the Anointed (the word Christ means Anoint-ed), consisting of Jesus, the Head, and “the church, which is his body” (Eph. 1:22, 23), is especially beloved, and in, on and to these God will manifest the exceeding riches of His favor and lovingkindness, in glorifying and honoring them. This glory and honor sets in during the Millennial Age, and when it and its work are finished, then, says the Apostle, there is yet more glory and honor to be revealed upon and through this glorious Christ—God’s Anointed. Each further step in God’s plan (which will, we believe, include the creation and perfecting of additional orders of beings, on other planets) and each one of the “ages to come,” will open up further developments of God’s unending program and furnish fresh opportunities for the display of more and more of the exceeding riches of Jehovah’s grace and lovingkindness toward those in Christ Jesus, as members of His Body. In a subordinate way God will manifest the exceeding riches of His grace upon and through the rest of the elect also.
There is no hint in Eph. 2:7, nor elsewhere in the Scriptures, that there will be a future probation or time of judgment for any of Adam’s race beyond the day He has appointed for the judgment of the world—the non-elect (Acts 17:31). As is shown in the book, The Millennium, pages 179-200, this judgment includes instruction, testing, chastisement for correction and finally sentencing, and the Day of Judgment is the Millennial Age (2 Pet. 3:7, 8). The opportunity for the non-elect to gain the earthly salvation will be during the appointed “times of restitution” (Acts 3:19-21). By the end of the Thousand-year Reign of Christ on earth (Rev. 5:9, 10; 20:2-7) all mankind will have had their opportunity for the restitution salvation. Man and his earth home will then be perfect, and Christ will then deliver up the kingdom to the Father (1 Cor. 15:24-28).
Satan, who will have been bound during the thousand years, will then be loosed for “a little season,” and will be permitted by God to bring the final testing upon mankind, to determine which are loyal at heart to the principles of truth and righteousness (Rev. 20:2. 3, 7, 8) and which have been obeying only outwardly. Then those proven worthy in that “little season” testing—the “sheep” class, the blessed of the Father—will be given the earthly dominion, “the kingdom prepared” for mankind “from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34; Psa. 37:9, 11, 22, 29; Matt. 5:5), and “all the wicked,” including Satan, will be “destroyed’ in the Second Death (Rev. 20:9, 10, 14, 15; Psa. 145:20; Isa. 1:28; Acts 3:23; Heb. 2:14). There will be no further probation, nor need for probation, for any of Adam’s race after the time. It is then that evil will become eternally inactive. “The righteous shall see it, and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.” Praise God for this! (for more details on Rev. 20, including the disputed clause of v. 5, please see Bible Standard No. 229—a copy free on request.) ’60-15
Question (1969)—In Mark 9:29 Jesus told His disciples, after their failure to cast out a vicious demon, “this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” I am told that the words “and fasting” have been added to the original text and are not genuine. Are we to consider these words as genuine or spurious?
Answer,—the words “and fasting” are omitted in the two oldest MSS., and accordingly in some translations, but are retained in all other MSS. and by the ancient Versions. As in the case of the last twelve verses of Mark 16 (see The New Creation, p. 637, footnote; The Bible, p. 631), which likewise are omitted in our two oldest MSS. (the Vatican No. 1209 and the Sinaitic MS.), so in the case of Mark 9:29, Biblical Numerics comes to our assistance and prove this entire verse, including the words “and fasting,” to be genuine.
A brief explanation of Biblical Numerics will be helpful here. In the Hebrew and Greek languages, as in the Latin language, instead of figures the letters of the alphabet are used for numbers. Thus the first letter of their alphabets stands for 1, the second for 2, and the third for 3, etc. Accordingly, every Hebrew and Greek word stands not only for an idea, but also for a number, which is the sum of the numeric values or its component letters. God, knowing this, inspired the writers of the Bible, though unwittingly on their part, to so construct their sentences that the sum of the numeric values of the words in each sentence, paragraph, division and book of the Bible would be a multiple of the number 7. (For a further explanation of the wonders of Biblical Numerics, see our books The Bible, pp. 603-634, and The Millennium, pp. 419, 420.)
Mark 9:29 is a complete sentence and therefore the sum of the numeric values of all its words as originally written should be evenly divisible by 7. If we end the sentence with the Greek word for “prayer,” the numeric values of all its Greek words would total 6,115, which is not evenly divisible by 7. But if we add the numeric value of the two Greek words for “and fasting,” which is 605, we have a total of 6720, which is evenly divisible by 7. Thus Biblical Numerics proves that the Greek words for “and fasting” were a part of the original text and were initially omitted by copyists either before or at the time of the transcribing of the Vatican and Sinaitic MSS. Since other MSS. retain these two words, they were probably copied from other old MSS., no longer extant. Origen, Chrysostom, and other primitive Church Fathers, acknowledge the words “and fasting” as a part of the text. ’69-87; ’8986
Predestination—Is It For Individuals Or Classes.
Question (1928)—What is meant by the statement that God predestinated, not individuals, but classes?
Answer.—God did not predetermine any individual to sin or to do right, to be saved or to be lost; for the reason that God’s character, in harmony with which are all His acts, would be violated by such a procedure. For God to predestinate an individual to sin would make Him the cause of sin—a sinner, which He is not. For Him to predestinate one to be lost would also make Him act against His justice and love, which would make Him a sinner. For Him to predestinate any individual to be saved or lost would make Him destroy the free will of such a person, if the latter were a perfect being or destroy the vestiges of such a free will, if the involved person were a fallen being. This, again, is contrary to God’s character and also to His purpose in bringing angels and men into existence, viz., to use them to illustrate the reign of moral law, which presupposes the possession of freedom of will of the vestiges of such freedom. Nowhere does the Bible teach that God predestinates any individual. His predestination is that of classes. We might illustrate such a predestination by a predestination that lawmakers exercise, e.g., lawmakers predestinate that there will be a national army when they pass a law authorizing its creation. In connection with such a predestination they foreordain the size of the army, the number of its corps, divisions, regiments, battalions, companies, soldiers and officers, the qualifications of the soldiers and officers and the various ranks of the officers. In predetermining these things our lawmakers do not predetermine one individual for this army. After the foregoing predestination of the army has been made, training schools are established to prepare students to become officers, the students being selected for certain fit qualities and tested before they are made officers. Also recruiting stations are established and officers are placed there to assist in selecting the soldiers according to the predetermined qualifications. Thus the army, as to its officers and men individually, is selected long after its predestination through passing the authorization act.
This illustrates God’s predestination of a class, of their number, of their qualification, of their organization, of the number and rank of its leaders, of the number of its non-leaders, etc. All the more does this illustration fit, because the Divinely predestinated class is in the Bible set forth as an army—the Lord’s Army. Thus before the world was made. God predestinated all of these things with reference to His Army, but did not then select one officer or soldier of this Army. He waited until the time came to form the army from individuals—some, from those willing to enlist, as soldiers, and others, from those given the opportunity to become fitted by special training, as officers, which they can become only at the invitation of God and by qualifying for their several places. With respects to Jesus and the Church, their selection began at Jordan and Pentecost and has been continuing throughout the Gospel Age. Thus there has been, before the world was, a predestination of a class, which, in its individuals, has been undergoing selection—election—since the beginning of the Gospel Age. Doubtless God’s foresight acted, at least with reference to some of these, e.g., He foresaw that He would invite His firstborn Son to qualify to become the chief of this group, but did not predestinate Him to be such, but required that He prove Himself by most crucial tests to be fit for that position. (Heb. 2:10, 17, 18; 5:7, 8.) St. Paul was also one of those foreknown as being offered an opportunity to qualify for an Apostle in this company (Gal. 1:15), but was not predestinated thereto. Foreknowledge is quite a different thing from predestination, e.g., God foreknew that sin would come into being; but He did not predestinate it; for if He had. He would be a sinner, and His predestinating it would have been the first sin. Thus we see that predestination concerns classes and various features of these classes, but not their individuals, who are selected while alive, according to responsiveness to the terms of the Gospel. ’28-14
Predestination—Harmonize It With John 6:64 and Gal. 1:15.
Question (1928)—How can you harmonize your view with John 6:64 and Gal. 1:15?
Answer.—As to John 6:64 we would say: The difficulty raised is entirely due to an unhappy translation in the Authorized Version. The following rendering takes all the difficulties our of the passage: “But there are some of you who believe not, for Jesus knew from the beginning [of His ministry] that there were some that believed not and that there was someone that would betray Him.” One may ask, Why change the words who to some and to someone in this translation? Our answer is that the Greek word tis (singular), and tines (plural), is both the interrogative pronoun who and the indefinite pronoun someone. The connection will in every case have to show whether the interrogative or the indefinite pronoun is meant. The Authorized Version properly translates the first occurrence of the plural form tines by the indefinite pronoun some in the first clause of John 6:64; and since the rest of the verse gives the reason for and the explanation of the first clause, its plural, tines, should be translated some and its singular, tis, should be translated someone. Thus, according to the proper translation, Jesus foreknew, but did not predestinate, that someone would betray Him. The passage does not teach that He foreknew the identity of the betrayer as the A.V. suggests. Apparently it was toward the end of His ministry that He first was able to know just who the betraying individual would be. While God did not predestinate Judas to betray our Lord, He foreknew it and foretold it.
As to Gal. 1:15: It does not refer to predestination, which was performed before the foundation of the world. This verse goes no further back than the time of St. Paul’s prenatal experiences. It suggests that the Lord, in the use of His foreknowledge that in due time St. Paul would become one of the twelve Apostles, gave his parents such experiences and probably such gifts of head and heart as disposed him by heredity to have the natural characteristics that he would need for the fulfilment of his apostolic duties and privileges. Our Heavenly Father, by making the Word become flesh, gave our Lord such prenatal experiences as gave Him the perfect human nature that fitted Him to become a perfect sacrifice, as Adam’s corresponding price. But in neither our Lord’s case nor in St. Paul’s case did such prenatal experiences imply their predestination by God; it only implied God’s foreknowledge of them exercising itself in giving them the human qualifications necessary to function in the offices that He foreknew that He would invite them to exercise. But, without any force, He left it entirely to their free wills as to whether they would accept and exercise the functions of their respective offices. In Jer. 1:4, 5 we have a similar case and there it is clearly stated that God foreknew Jeremiah as a prospective prophet and gave him the necessary prenatal experiences that fitted his heart and mind for the prophet office; but there is not one word in the passage teaching his foreordination either from before the foundation of the world or later unto eternal life. In this passage the word ordained means, not foreordained or predestinated, but disposed, fitted in disposition, qualified for the office at hand. ’28-15
Psalms 23—Is Divinely Inspired.
Question (1966)—Is Psalm 23 Divinely inspired, or are we to consider it merely a beautiful, poetical writing of David, similar to what any other talented person might write?
Answer.—Psa. 23, like all the other Psalms, and in fact like all the other parts of the 66 books of the Bible, is Divinely inspired, with verbal inspiration. “The prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 1 Pet. 1:11, 12). What David wrote in Psa. 23 applied to himself personally, but it had also a deeper meaning and a far more extended application to God’s consecrated people of the Gospel Age. Many have mistakenly applied this psalm to themselves who have not accepted God as their Shepherd—who have not dedicated their lives to Him, do not follow His leadings and do not feed in His pastures. “My sheep hear my voice . . . they follow me” (John 10:27).
That Psa. 23 is Divinely inspired is attested not only by internal evidence, the nature of its message, the depth of its meaning antitypically, its harmony with all other Scriptures bearing on the same subject, the truthfulness of its statements as experienced by God’s consecrated people of the Gospel Age, etc.; but also Biblical Numerics proves it to be Divinely inspired.
In our last issue, in the article “Christian Vacationing,” we noted that God has two books of revelation: Creation or nature, and the Bible. We find that He as the Author of both has interwoven the number 7 in both of these books. And it is to be expected from the same Author that He use a key number as a sign of His authorship. The number 7 stands for God and for things Divine—Divine authorship, Divine nature, Divine completion, etc. That creation, or nature, and the Bible are both of Divine origin is manifested by the thoroughness and the intricacy with which the number 7 pervades them. For an extensive listing and description of these occurrences, we refer our readers to our book entitled The Bible, pages 603-630 (price, only $2.30 postpaid).
As to Psa. 23, the numerics respecting its vocabularies, forms and words, and their alphabetical distributions in the varied details in which these occur and in the various subdivisions of the psalm, all prove its inspiration. We will not give the details here, but will merely give some generalities on its heptads. In the Hebrew text of Psa. 23 there are 56 (8x7) compound words and 84 (12x7) simple words, each prefix and suffix being counted a distinct word, and 210 (30x7) letters. It contains just 14 (2x7) verbs, 28 (4x7) common nouns and 28 (4x7) prefixes and suffixes. Of the letters (using the English equivalents), v occurs 7 (1x7) times as a consonant, and 7 (1x7) times as vowel; d and ch each occur 7 (1x7) times; the two weak gutturals, a and ai, occur 21 (3x7) times and the strong ones, d and ch, with r, often classed with gutturals, 28 (4x7) times, the gutturals thus totaling 49 (7x7); the three vowel letters, a, y and v, occur 63 (9x7) times.
Accordingly, Biblical Numerics and its system of heptads also prove that Psa. 23 is Divinely inspired. ’66-71
Psalms 44:22—“Killed All The Day Long.”
Question (1962)—What is referred to in Psa. 44:22: “For thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter”?
Answer.—Surely we would not consider this text as applying to a 12-hour or a 24-hour day. The Apostle Paul shows that this statement is a prophecy applicable to the entire membership of the Body of Christ, of which our Lord Jesus is the Head (Rom. 8:36). Therefore, the “day” is obviously the Gospel Age, the sacrificing part of the antitypical Day of Atonement, in which the humanity of the Church is sacrificed. As on the typical atonement day the typical sacrifices were offered, so all down through the Gospel Age under the High Calling, the Heavenly Calling (Phil. 3:14; Heb. 3:1), the antitypical “better sacrifices [note the plural]” have been made (Heb. 9:23; 8:3; 13:11-13).
These “better sacrifices” (pictured in Lev. 16 by the bullock and the Lord’s goat) began with the offering of Jesus’ perfect humanity (with its right to human life and its conjoined life-rights) at Jordan and continued with the presentation of His Body members in their justified humanity at Pentecost, at which time they also were begotten of the Spirit and became New Creatures (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15), Underpriests in the Royal Priesthood (1 Pet. 2:9) and members in the Body of the great World’s High Priest (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 1:22, 23; 5:30). The New Creature in each case, as a priest, co-operated with Jesus and under His Headship in the sacrificing of his own humanity (1 Pet. 2:5), in harmony with the covenant, which requires sacrifice (Psa. 50:5).
St. Paul, in speaking of his own case, said that he was dying daily (1 Cor. 15:31). This statement applied to all of the Body members of the “holy priesthood” as they laid down their lives in God’s service. Their attitude of full consecration to do the Father’s will and their loyalty to His person, character, Word and cause was not appreciated by the world—to them it seemed foolish, and hence they persecuted the Lord’s footstep followers. “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light”; and “it is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub [Satan], how much more shall they call them of his household” (John 3:20; Matt. 10:25). This persecution has been “all the day long”—throughout the Gospel-Age day of the Little Flock’s earthly sojourn. Their persecutors consider their lives as being of as little value as the lives of sheep, and they have been as unfeelingly slaughtered. However, as Jehovah had pleasure in the sacrificial death of Him who was slain as the Lamb of God, so He has had pleasure in the sacrificial death of the Little Flock; for “precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints” (Psa. 116:15). ’62-62
Psalms 82:6, 7—Does This Refer To The Judgment Of Christendom At His Parousia.
Question (1956)—What is meant by Psa. 82:6, 7: “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the Most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes”?
Answer.—To understand this Scripture, it is necessary first to understand the context and also our Lord’s application of it. Psalm 82 apparently refers to our Lord Jesus as the Divinely appointed Deliverer and Judge of Christendom at the time of His Parousia, His presence, in the closing of the Gospel Age. The Hebrew word translated “God” and “gods” in v. 1 and “gods” in v. 6 is elohim, which word is applicable not only to Jehovah, but also to others: it is used (1) of judges and rulers (Ex. 21:6; 22:8, 9, 28; 1 Sam. 2:25); (2) of mighty men who were not judges or rulers (Gen. 23:6; Ex. 7:1); (3) of good and bad angels (Psa. 8:5, comp. Heb. 2:7; Psa. 97:7, comp. Heb. 1:6) and (4) of Jesus (Psa. 45:6, comp. v. 7, where Jehovah is mentioned). Likewise, we see that in Psa. 82:1 our Lord Jesus is set forth as the god, the mighty one, who “standeth in the congregation [assembly] of the mighty [among the political, financial, ecclesiastical, industrial, social and labor potentates]; he judgeth among the gods [elohim—earth’s mighty ones].” He rebukes these earthly princes for judging unjustly and exercising favoritism toward the wicked; and He exhorts them to defend the poor and fatherless and to see that justice is given to the afflicted and the needy, to deliver them out of the hand of their abusers.
But according to v. 5, earth’s mighty ones (earth’s elohim) “know [heed] not [the Lord’s call for equity—the sounding of the antitypical Jubilee Trumpet, ‘the last trump’ the seventh trumpet, ‘the trump of God’ (Zech. 9:14; 1 Cor. 15:52; Rev. 11:15; 1 Thes. 4:16)—for explanation of the trump of God, see The Time is at Hand, pp. 147-149], neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness [respecting the outcome of their policy, until, as a consequence]: all the foundations [the established principles of law and order] of the earth [human society] are out of course [unbalanced, in confusion, distorted, out of proper relationship to one another, hence must be removed, ‘dissolved, to make way for the new heaven and earth—the new social order (2 Pet. 3:10-13)].”
Then, in vs. 6, 7, Jesus addresses His saints, His “little flock” (Like 12:32), as mighty ones: “I have said, Ye [‘He called them gods unto whom (or for whom) the word of God came’—John 10:35] are gods [elohim—mighty ones—because they received the Word of God and the Spirit of that Word, as Jesus imparted it to them]; and all of you are children of the Most High [‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God’—1 John 3:2; 2 Pet. 1:4]. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes [not like the world in general, which dies like Prince Adam, as his children, sharers of his sentence, but sacrificially, with and like Prince Jesus—Isa. 9:6; Acts 3:15; 5:31; as already seen, v. 7 proves that all the members of Christ’s Body would die physically].” This having been completed, Christ is called upon (v. 8): “Arise, O God [elohim—Mighty One], judge the earth [complete the overthrow of Satan’s empire and the ushering in of the ‘times of restitution’ long promised by all the holy prophets—Acts 3:19-23; Psa. 96; 98]: for thou shalt inherit all nations [Psa. 2:7-12].” Then “all the heart shall be filled with the glory of the Lord” (Num. 14:21); and “all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord’s and he is the governor among the nations” (Psa. 22:27, 28). ’56-71; ’66-92
Psychic Phenomena—Regarding The Study Of.
Question (1962)—Recently I saw a book on psychic phenomena, entitled ___________. Do you not think it would be well to obtain these books in quantity so that you can supply them to your readers at discount prices, as you do with other books?
Answer.—We do not think so. We desire to hold only and strictly to the Bible Standard and to place before our readers only “clean provender.” We can recommend to them only such things as we find to be along the lines advised in God’s Word—the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report (reputable)—we are to think on these things and to stir up one another’s minds with these (Phil. 4:8; 2 Pet. 3:1).
We have every confidence that Satan and his evil angels have plenty of power to produce any variety of psychic phenomena, if the Lord will permit them to do so; and we have the Scriptural assurance that He is permitting them to exercise these powers in a special manner at the present time, to deceive, if it were possible, God’s true, enlightened people, and to bring strong delusions upon many, that they should believe a lie, because they do not believe in the Truth (2 Thes 2:9-12). This accounts for many of the so-called “faith healing,” hypnotic, “age regression beyond birth,” “tongues,” “Voodoo,” “Spiritistic” and other psychic phenomena of our day (see our “Faith Healing” booklet—a copy free on request).
We do not think that “the children of light” (Eph. 5:8; 1 Thes. 5:5), who are careful students of God’s Word, especially those who study with the aid of the Studies in the Scriptures and the Bible Standard magazine, need special instruction along the lines of psychic phenomena, and the teachings set forth in thousands of other published and yet-to-be-published books of a confusing nature and containing serious error. The strongest protection God’s people can have is that which He has provided for them—the armor of His Spirit and His Word, His Divine Plan of the Ages, (Eph. 6:13-17); “according to a plan of the Ages, which he formed for the Anointed Jesus our Lord”—Eph. 3:11, Diaglott). Whoever sees and understands clearly and distinctly the “Plan of the Ages” as laid down from the Scriptures in our publications, and accepts the Truth into a good and honest heart, will be safeguarded, not only against one, but also against all the devices of the great Adversary (and his cohorts) in this evil day (2 Cor. 2:11); however, it will require that they give careful attention and offer prayer, in order that the study may be satisfactory in its results—in order that it may bring conviction in their hearts, and establish them so strongly in confidence in the Bible and its inspired statements that all contradictory theories and so-called scientific proofs to the contrary will be unable to move them (Psa. 16:8). True science and God’s Word agree with each other in their testimonies; but the “oppositions of science falsely so called” are to be avoided, “which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (1 Tim. 6:20, 21). ’62-14; ’89-71
Pyramid—In Egypt’s Midst, Yet At Border.
Question (1977)—How can the Great Pyramid be said to be “an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt,” and also “a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD” (Isa. 19:19)?
Answer.—The reference here is not to a literal altar, but to a symbolic altar; hence only symbolic sacrifices, not literal sacrifices, belong to it. The Christ is the literal altar of God, typed by the tabernacle’s altars and symbolized by the Pyramid.
The Pyramid is on an elevated rocky plain, overlooking the Nile River, not far from Cairo, Egypt. A remarkable thing in connection with its situation is that the Nile delta forms a seacoast, which in shape is a true quarter-circle, with the Pyramid marking the inner angle.
This relationship of the Pyramid to the coast was discovered by Mr. Henry Mitchell, Chief Hydrographer of the U. S. Coast Survey, who visited Egypt in 1868 to report the progress of the Suez Canal. His observation of the regularity of the curvature along the whole of Egypt’s northern coast led him to conclude that some central point of physical origination was indicated. On searching for this grand center, he found it market by the Great Pyramid, which led him to exclaim: “That monument stands in a more important physical situation than any other building erected by man.”
A line drawn from the entrance passage due north would pass through the northernmost point of Egypt’s coast; and lines drawn in continuation of the northeast and northwest diagonals of the structure would enclose the delta’s either side, so embracing the fan-shaped country of Lower Egypt (see illustration). Built upon the northernmost edge of the Gizeh cliff, and looking out over this sector, or open-fan-shaped land of Lower Egypt, it may be truly said to be at the very border and in its nominal center, as described in Isa. 19:19.
We should keep in mind that two Egypts are mentioned in the Bible—Lower and Upper Egypt. When only one is meant, the Hebrew word Mazor is used (Isa. 19:6; 37:25; 2 Kings 19:24; Mic. 7:12; see Gesenius); but when both are meant, as in Isa. 19:19, the Hebrew word Mizraim, two Egypts, is used (Gen. 50:11, etc.). The Great Pyramid is on the boundary between these two Egypts and thus is on the border of these two Egypts and is also “in their midst,” i.e., between them. The Hebrew word betoch is frequently in the Bible translated by the words between, in and within. Thus it is in, within, both of these Egypts and on the border, which separates them. ’77-47
Pyramid—Date Of Building.
Question (1977)—When was the Great Pyramid built?
Answer.—Prof. C. Piazzi Smyth originally concluded that the Pyramid was built in 2170 B.C. He based his conclusion primarily on astronomical calculations. By computing the position of the stars in relation to the Pyramid, he calculated that in 2170 B.C., Alpha Draconis, the chief star of the Dragon constellation, a symbol of sin and Satan, shone down the central axis of the Descending Passage at midnight of the autumnal equinox. He calculated that at preciously this same instant Alcyone, a notable star of the Pleiades group, a symbol of God and the center of the universe, stood exactly on the meridian of the Pyramid, at that point in the heavens, which is at right angles to the downward inclination of the Descending Passage.
Prof. Smyth claimed that if 2170 B.C. was not absolutely correct, then the correct date would be “at least closer thereto than the beginning or end of the duration of the Pyramid’s building can be to its middle date.” The relative positions of Alpha Draconis and Alcyone with reference to the Pyramid’s meridian and Descending Passage were very carefully recalculated by the eminent astronomer, Richard A. Proctor, and 2140 B.C. was pronounced by him as more likely to be correct. To this Prof. Smyth agreed, saying in later editions of Our Inheritance on the Great Pyramid that 2140 B. C. might be considered as fairly well established.
Thus the autumn of 2140 B.C., probably saw the completion of the building operations on the Pyramid, whereas 2170 B. C., 30 years earlier, probably saw the commencement of these operations; for Herodotus informs us that the Pyramid took 30 Years to complete.
This date, 2140, B.C., is also marked internally in the Pyramid by means of a time measurement in Pyramid inches. On each sidewall of the Descending Passage there is a perfectly straight, deeply scored line, evidently drawn with a metal tool by the ancient workmen. These scored lines, opposite each other, are exactly at right angles to the incline of the passage. Measuring down the First Ascending Passage from the north wall of the Grand Gallery to the point of intersection with the Descending Passage yields 1543.5 Pyramid inches. Measuring up the Descending Passage from this point of intersection to the scored lines is 628 Pyramid inches. This total distance is 2171.5 Pyramid inches. Recognizing that the north end of the Grand Gallery represents our Lord’s death in the spring of 33 A.D., then 217 1/2 years prior to this takes us to the autumn of 2140 B.C. Thus the Pyramid itself, by means of these scored lines, indicates the date of its own completion! ’77-54
Pyramid—Scientific Features Of.
Question (1977)—What are some of the scientific features of the Great Pyramid?
Answer.—The first work of importance on the subject, proving the Great Pyramid has scientific features, was in 1859 by John Taylor of England. Since then the attention of many able men, including Prof. C. Piazzi Smyth, Robert Menzies, Col. Howard Vyse, Sir Flinders Petrie, Dr. Joseph A. Seiss, Dr. John A. and Morton Edgar, etc., has been given to the further study of the testimony of this wonderful structure and witness. Many such features have been discovered; a few of the simpler ones are presented here.
Pyramid measurements are based on the Hebrew cubit, which is 25,027 British inches in length. One Pyramid cubit equals is 25 Pyramid inches. Modern calculations have shown that the Pyramid inch is the 1/2 billionth part of the earth’s poplar diameter.
The length of each side of the base of the Pyramid is 365.2422 cubits. Our astronomical or tropical year has a mean length of 365.2422454 mean solar days. Also the perimeter of the base of the Pyramid is 36524.22 Pyramid inches, the length of 100 years expressed in days. Determinations of such accuracy were not possible to man before the 20th century.
The angle of slope of the sides of the Pyramid is such that they meet at an apex with a height of 232.52 cubits. The perimeter of the base divided by twice this height produces 3.14159+ or pi, i.e., the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. This relationship was supposedly first discovered by the Greeks, 2500 years after the Pyramid was built.
The mean distance from the earth to the sun is variously estimated as between 91 and 93 million miles.
The vertical distance between the Pyramid’s apex and the socket base level is 5813.0101 Pyramid inches. This distance converted to British miles is .091837578 miles. The Pyramid’s height is the one-billionth part of the distance to the sun.
The precession of the equinoxes is caused by the gyration of the earth’s axis—the slow, orderly, progressive change in the position of its axis of rotation. Due to the tilting of this axis the sun appears to cross the earth’s equator twice during the earth’s revolution around the sun. These two times are called the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, i.e., equal periods of day and night. Since the earth’s gyration is opposite to the earth’s revolution around the sun, the equinoxes occur every year a little before each complete revolution is made and are therefore said to precede themselves. The period of years in which the complete cycle is accomplished is called the ”precessional cycle of the equinoxes.”
The length of the precessional cycle is variously given because the rate of precession is not constant. In popular reference works a period of 25,800 years is given, which approximates its length based on the current rate. However, the figure for the average length of a complete precessional cycle is a mean between its greatest and least possible lengths. These figures are based on computations covering 2,000,000 years, which show the limits of the fluctuation in the precessional rate.
John N. Stockwell, M.A., in his Memoir of the Secular Variations, published in Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge, Vol. 18, states: “the mean value of the precession . . . in a Julian year, is equal to 50” .438239; whence it follows, that the equinoxes perform a complete revolution in the heavens in the average interval of 25,694,8 years.” This figure stated in Julian years of 365.25 days, is equal to 25,695.3 of the true tropical years.
Sir Robert Stawell Ball, in his Elements of Astronomy, p. 365, shows that the duration of the precessional cycle is 25,694 to 25,695 years.
The Great Pyramid of Gizeh in a number of ways records this cycle as being between 25,694 and 25, 695 years. For example, Dr. John and Morton Edgar, well-known pyramidologists, after their many visits to and accurate measurements of the Great Pyramid, pointed out that the sum of the lengths of the two diagonals of the Pyramid’s base at the platform level (each being 12,847.1764 Pyramid inches) is 25,694.3528 Pyramid inches, thus indicating that many years; also the same number of inches is found again as the perimeter of the Pyramid at the level of the floor terminal of the Grand Gallery.
The position of the Pyramid marks the center of the land surface of the whole earth. There is more land surface in both its meridian (31st degree) and its latitude (30th degree) than in any other meridian or latitude of the globe. Its orientation to true astronomical north deviates only 5 minutes of arc to the west. Such positioning many thousands of years ago required a knowledge of the entire world that could not be humanly ascertainable at that time.
Some of the earth-commensurable proportions of the Pyramid which have been worked out include the spheroidal shape of the earth, the proportion of the land and ocean surface of the earth, the average density and cubical bulk of the earth, the obliquity of the ecliptic, the length of the synodic month, etc. Indeed, such knowledge evidenced at such an early age confirms the Divine authorship of the Great Pyramid (Job 38:4-7).
Aside from these various earth-commensurable proportions, the Pyramid also demonstrates various mathematical proportions. The Pythagorean theorem is demonstrated in the King’s chamber. Named after Pythagoras, the Greek mathematician who supposedly discovered it, the theorem states that the some of the squares of the two legs of a right-angled triangle equal the square of its hypotenuse. “Pythagorean numbers” are so related, for example 32 + 42 = 52.
In the King’s Chamber, the dimension of the end wall diagonal, the length of the chamber and the cubic diagonal are in the exact relationship of 3, 4 and 5. Also, when half the King’s Chamber width (103.0329 + Pyramid inches, denoted by 1/2W below) is taken as a unit of measurement, then the other dimensions of the chamber are proportionately related through the multiplication of square roots, as follows:
1/2W x square root of 4 equals width
1/2W x square root of 5 equals height
1/2W x square root of 9 equals the end diagonal
1/2W x square root of 16 equals the length
1/2W x square root of 20 equals the floor diagonal
1/2W x square root of 21 equals the side diagonal
1/2W x square root of 25 equals the cubic diagonal
Totaling 100 ’77-54
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