Epoch Periods In God’s Plan

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The Light In The First Day

In Genesis 1:1‑5 (KJV) we are first introduced to the “light” of the sun.

“(1) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (2) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (3) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (4) And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (5) And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. 

The Sun

“Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3) evidently refers to the light of the sun, which was sufficient for general illumination, but not sufficient to break through the mists to become an identifiable object in the heavens, until the fourth day when it was “appointed” (as the word there can mean), together with the moon and stars (Genesis 1:16). Genesis 1:11 shows that there were already plants and trees on day three, which required sunlight to grow. The sun was in place and burning before the earth was suitable for life.

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The Length of Each Day of Creation

The days of creation recorded in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 were epoch days of creative activity, of undefined length.

The word “day” customarily describes a normal day of 24 hours, but very often has a broader usage for any defined period of whatever length. For example, Genesis 2:4 says “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” Here “day” is a period that includes all of the seven days reported earlier.

In Hebrews 3:8, Paul refers to the “provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness”—which refers to a period of years, not a single day.

When we speak of Jesus’ day, we mean a period of history long ago, not a single day.

The work involved in these “days” of creation required lengthy periods of time for the natural processes to reach maturity, or completion.

Zechariah 14:7-9 provides another example, this time from prophecy, of the greater use of the term “day.”

“(7) It shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time [at the close of the Millennial day that spans 1000 years] it shall be light. (8) And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. (9) And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”

The metaphorical use of the word “day” is usually apparent from the context.

The Third Day

In John 2:19-22 we read about Jesus being raised on the literal third day:

“(19) Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. (20) Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? (21) But he spake of the temple of his body. (22) When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.”

However, if we take the above passage to refer to the metaphorical body of Christ, that is, the body of believers in Jesus, then it is apparent that any application of the three days would be on a larger time frame. In this case the saints are raised on the third millennium from the time of Christ.

In Hosea 6:1-3 (KJV) we read about this “third day.”

“(1) Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. (2) After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. (3) Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”

In both of these cases—John chapter two and Hosea chapter six—the three days involved are evidently millennial days 4, 5, and 6 as counted from Adam. On the sixth millennium, which includes our day, Israel has been under process of restoration. Jesus’ first advent was in the fourth Millennial day, counting from Adam. Here are those “days”

(1) 3958 B.C. to 2958 B.C.
(2) 2958 B.C. to 1958 B.C.
(3) 1958 B.C. to 958 B.C.
(4) 958 B.C. to 43 A.D.
(5) 43 A.D. to 1043 A.D.
(6) 1043 A.D. to 2043 A.D.

The words of Hosea 6:2 is thus about natural Israel (not about Spiritual Israel — the Bride of Christ because in verse one, we read that God has “smitten” them. God has not smitten the Church. But he did smite Israel in the Roman wars closing the Jewish Age). They were cast off in 33 A.D., in day “four” from Adam. After the close of day four, and the close of day five, thus “after two days,” they began to restored in 1878 and forward, on day “six” from Adam.

The words of Hosea 6:1-3 refer to natural Israel, who was “smitten” following their rejection of Christ. God did smite Israel during the Roman wars that closed the Jewish Age. They were cast off in 33 A.D., in day “four” from Adam. After the close of day four, and the close of day five, thus “after two days,” they began to restored in 1878 and forward, on day “six” from Adam.

Three Dispensations in the Divine Plan

3 dispensations

There are three large periods of time in the Divine Plan. Sometimes these are termed “Dispensations,” because the administration of these three periods varied. Sometimes they are called three “worlds,” drawing from these three scriptures—

  • World that Was2 Peter 3:6—Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water [the Flood], perished.
  • Present Evil WorldGalatians 1:4“Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.”
  • World to ComeHebrews 2:5“For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.”

Epoch 1 – The World That Was

This epoch lasted from the time of Adam and Eve until the flood. In this period some of the angels were allowed to exercise influence in a way that was later restrained. It was not subdivided into ages because God’s method of dealing with men did not vary from Adam’s fall to the flood. God had given man his law, the law of conscience written into his nature. However, after he sinned God left him measurably to his own downward course, that man might learn through experience the wisdom of God in requiring obedience. The disastrous effects of sin were manifested showing that the tendency of sin is downward to greater degradation and misery, showing the necessity of Jehovah’s interposition, if the recovery of “that which was lost”—man’s first estate—would ever be accomplished.

Epoch 2 – The Present Evil World

The second great epoch (Galatians 1:4, 2 Peter 3:7) spans from the flood to the establishment of the kingdom of God. It is under the limited control of Satan, the usurper, “the prince of this world,” who has no interest in Christ’ followers except to oppose, tempt, annoy, and buffet them (John 14:30, 2 Corinthians 12:7, Malachi 3:15).

In this present evil world, or epoch, whoever will live godly shall suffer persecution, while the wicked flourish like a green bay tree (2 Timothy 3:12, Psalm 37:35).

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world,” and until the era or “world to come” does come, Christ’s kingdom will not control the earth. For this we are taught to hope and pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth.” Satan is the “ruler of the darkness of this world,” and therefore “darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people.” Satan now rules and works in the hearts of the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2, 6:12).

The current epoch is divided into three “ages.”

(a) The Patriarchal Age. God’s dealings and favors were with various patriarchs, such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. At Jacob’s death his descendants were called “the twelve tribes of Israel.” They were together recognized of God as his “peculiar people,” and through typical sacrifices they were typically “a holy nation,” separated from other nations for a particular purpose, and therefore to enjoy certain special favors.

(b) The Jewish Age (or the Law dispensation). God specially blessed the nation of Israel during this age from Jacob’s death until Christ’s death, as evidenced in the following:

  • Giving the Israelites His law,
  • Making a special covenant with them,
  • Giving them the Tabernacle, whose shekinah glory in the Most Holy represented Jehovah’s presence with them as their Leader and King,
  • Sending them prophets,
  • Sending them His Son, Jesus, who performed his miracles and taught in their midst. Jesus ministered to the Israelites, and instructed his disciples the same during the time that he was with them. “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:5,6). Jesus explained, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).

This national favor ended with their rejection and crucifixion of Jesus, as shown by Jesus’ words five days before his crucifixion, “Your house is left unto you desolate” (Matthew 23:38).

(c) The Gospel Age. From Jesus’ death, the good tidings of justification have been heralded for nearly 2000 years not only to the Jewish people, but to all nations; for Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man. During this Gospel age there is a class called to special favor, to whom special promises are made. Namely, to those who by faith accept Christ Jesus as their Redeemer and Lord and follow in his footsteps.

The aim of this age is not to convert nations, but to call out a “little flock” as Jesus foretold (Luke 12:32), to whom it is the Father’s good pleasure to give the Kingdom in an age to follow this.

Epoch 3 – The World to Come

The third epoch is to be a “world without end” (Isaiah 45:17) under divine administration, the kingdom of God. It is called “The World to Come, wherein dwelleth righteousness,” and during this period, all the families of the earth shall be blessed (Hebrews 2:5, 2 Peter 3:13, 2 Corinthians 12:2‑4, Revelation 21:1).

The thousand years of Christ’s reign is the first age in the “world to come” (Revelation 20:4). During the Millennial age, there will be a restoration of all things lost by the fall of Adam (Acts 3:19‑21). Then, all tears, sorrow, pain, and death resulting from the fall of Adam in Eden shall have been wiped away (Revelation 21:4). Following this 1000 year Millennium, there will be “a little season” of final testing time for the world of mankind (Revelation 20:3,7-10).

Revelation 11:15 says that when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, “the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord [Jehovah] and His Christ [Jesus].” Thereafter our Lord Jesus exercises his power to remove present powers, and establish his Millennial Kingdom in order to bless the world in righteousness.

There are seven trumpet periods in Revelation. The seventh of these commenced in 1874 with the return of Christ and his subsequent parousia, or presence. Acts 3:21 connects this to the beginning of the “times of restoration.” There the process of restoring Israel commenced.

At the end of the Millennium will come the close of the seventh millennial “day,” introducing day number eight. At this time there will be “a little season” for the testing of mankind. Those found unfaithful and rebellious, disobedient to God and His principles, will not continue further. Thus the world is cleansed, purged, “circumcised” as it were, on the eighth dayevidently represented by circumcision of old being on the eighth day (Genesis 17:12).

Revelation 11:18, part of the description of the seventh trumpet, refer to the raising of the sleeping saints. “The time … that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets [Jesus’ New Testament spokesmen, compare Ephesians 3:5], and to the saints [holy ones of the Gospel Age].” The Millennium will be introduced subsequent, at the close of 6000 years, which we anticipate about a generation future, with the year 2043.

When that kingdom is established, all of the Bride class will have been gathered to glory, ready to serve as priests and kings with Christ to uplift the world (Revelation 20:6). Gradually all will be raised to life again, and have an opportunity to gain life everlasting.

Revelation 11:18,19 shows that the transition period into the Kingdom involves a general time of trouble. Evidently this commenced in 1914 with World War I. Jesus said, “No man can enter into a strong man’s house and spoil [plunder] his goods, except he will first bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house” (Mark 3:22‑27). Jesus has entered the house of the strong man, Satan, and is in process of disrupting his affairs, incident to removing the influence of Satan altogether.

Satan is the “strong man” of the Present Evil World. The disruption of his “house,” and the binding of that strong usurper, is the necessary predicate for the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom. Satan will remain bound for “a thousand years,” allowing the world to grow and learn without the adversary’s deceptions.

We read of this in Revelation 20:2,3

“2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.”

The blotting out of evil will be gradual, requiring all of the first thousand years. Evil will not rule then. It will not prosper; it will no longer be the wicked that will flourish; but “the righteous shall flourish” (Psalm 72:7). Then the obedient shall eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19), and “the evil doer shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:9).

Heavens and Earth – Not Literally Destroyed

This earth is the basis of all these “worlds” and dispensations. Though ages pass and dispensations change, still the earth continues“The earth abideth forever (Ecclesiastes 1:4).

In 2 Peter 3:12, Peter refers to the dissolution of the present heavens and earth. “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” Here “the heavens” symbolize the higher or spiritual controlling powers, and “earth” (verse 10) symbolizes human government and social arrangements.

The first heavens and earth, or social arrangement, ended at the flood, “being overflowed with water” (2 Peter 3:6). “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7). The order and arrangement of things then existing ended at the flood. But the physical heavens (sky and atmosphere), and the physical earth, did not pass away.

Likewise, the present social structure, political and ecclesiastical, will pass away in deference to the Kingdom of Christ. The beginning of this work occurs in the “Day of the Lord” which “shall burn as an oven” (Malachi 4:1). But the complete integration of mankind into the new arrangement, the “new heavens” and “new earth” (2 Peter 3:13) will require time, as the work of the Kingdom proceeds.

Society will become reorganized in harmony with earth’s new Prince, Christ Jesus. Righteousness, peace, and love will rule among men when present arrangements give place to the new and better kingdom, based on justice and equity. The more we examine God’s plan of the Ages, the more we will find in it perfect harmony, beauty and order.

“Each age has its part to accomplish, necessary to the complete development of God’s plan as a whole. The plan is a progressive one, gradually unfolding from age to age, upward and onward to the grand consummation of the original design of the Divine Architect, “who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11). Not one of these great periods is an hour too long or too short for the accomplishment of its object. God is a wise economist of both time and means, though his resources are infinite; and no power, however malicious, for a moment retards or thwarts his purposes. All things, evil as well as good, under divine supervision and overruling, are working together for the accomplishment of his will” (Br. Charles T. Russell, The Divine Plan of the Ages, page 74).

 

Acknowledgement:

Br. Charles Russell—for content shared from his book titled “The Divine Plan of the Ages,” which is Volume One (of six) of “Studies in the Scriptures.” This can be read from the Harvest Truth Data Base website. Here is the direct link: http://www.htdbv8.com/indexa.html

Br. David Rice—for content & editing assistance.

 

Further Suggested Reading

“The Stream of Time” by Br. David Rice. http://2043ad.com/streamoftime.PDF

Free Booklet titled: “I Will Come Again – John 14:3”
https://chicagobible.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/I-WILL-COME-AGAIN.pdf

God’s Millennium. A Dawn Bible Students Association Publication (booklet).
http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/Gods1k.htm

“The Approaching End of The Harvest” 
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/19/the-approaching-end-of-the-harvest/

“1 CORINTHIANS 15:45 – How Long Until the Millennial Reign of the ‘Last Adam’?”
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/06/1-corinthians-1545-how-long-until-the-millennial-reign-of-the-last-adam/

“The Book of Revelation: A 2016 Perspective”
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/30/the-book-of-revelation-a-2016-perspective/

 

The URL for this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/16/epoch-periods-in-gods-plan/

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“Be Thou Faithful Unto Death”

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FAITHFUL when with tears thine eyes are dim,
Faithful when Joy’s cup o’erflows its brim;
Faithful when God seems to veil His face,
Faithful when He crowns thy work with grace.
Faithful, though thy loved ones turn aside,
Lips that praised thee once, in harshness chide;
Faithful, though success enwreathe thy brow,
Faithful, should the world before thee bow.
Faithful till hath fled life’s fleeting breath,
Eager hands lie folded still in death.

“Faithful unto death!” Lord, day by day,
Help me thus to keep the narrow way!
Strengthen me to bear the scorn and shame –
Portion of all those who take Thy name.
“Faithful unto death!” When all is done,
Cross is changed to Crown, the victory won,
Let me hear Thee say, O blessed Lord,
“Child, come enter into thy reward!
Faithful thou hast been, come share with Me
Glory, Honor, Immortality!”

Gertrude W. Seibert

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Here is an excerpt from “Harvest Gleaning II” by Br. Charles T. Russell, page 121-124—

FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH
“Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

It will not be very long, dear fellow soldiers of the cross, until the battle will be over, the victory won; for the “King’s own” are called to victory and not to defeat. Our enlistment is in accord with the great plan of the ages which our Father previously mapped out, and we know that all His purposes shall be accomplished, that His Word which went forth for the calling of this little flock to joint-heirship with Jesus in the kingdom which is promised to be established and to bless all the families of the earth —that word cannot be broken, its fulfillment is sure. Yea, its fulfillment is nigh, even at the door.

Though we are in the world, but not of the world, we, nevertheless, are more or less affected by every matter which affects our neighbors; and hence in the great battle that is now impending between truth and error, between princes and people, between money and labor, and with more or less of right and wrong on both sides of all questions, the “King’s own,” the soldiers of the cross, will have some very trying experiences. It is the present time that the apostle emphasizes as “that evil day” — the period of special trial in the end of this age, saying, “Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in that evil day, and, having done all, to stand.” Analyzing these words, we see them to signify that in the end of this age there would be special trials of severe testing; but the apostle’s language also implies that the Lord will make special provision for the protection of His faithful ones, and that this will be an armor of truth, of knowledge, of information granted to them from the great armory, His Word, the Bible. The exhortation that we should take it implies that the Lord will not force it upon any, but to those who are in the right attitude of heart the doors of the armory will be open, and the proper armor supplied in due season, and that they must demonstrate their loyalty and obedience to the Captain by seeking this armor and putting it on. Those who do not thus yield obedience to the Captain’s word will not have the protection necessary for this time, and, as intimated in the text by the apostle, they will not be able to stand in this evil day.

Soldiers of the cross in previous times had not so much of the armor supplied, neither did they need the special armor that is needed now. They did not live in “this evil day.” The head knowledge that our grandfathers had respecting the divine plan will surely prove insufficient in this day of so-called higher criticism of the scriptures, evolution theories, theosophy and Christian Science. Whoever has not the proper armor necessary for the present time will be pretty sure to fall in this evil day, this day of special trial and testing; but he who puts on the armor of God, he who possesses the fruits of the Spirit, the Apostle Paul assures us shall never fall, but so doing an entrance shall be abundantly administered unto him into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Many of the tests of this evil day are already upon us, and, as the prophets have foretold, “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand.” (Psa. 91:7) These are falling away from the faith because in many instances they were not spiritual Israelites indeed, but as the Lord declares through the prophet, “Wherefore, because this people draw nigh to me with their lips while their hearts are far from me.” The Lord wants as members of the “King’s own” those who are at heart loyal to Him, loyal to all who have His Spirit and loyal to righteousness and truth. If we are ashamed of Him, ashamed of His brethren, or ashamed of His Word, we are not of the kind that He is seeking now. Those who are to be with Him, to share His throne and glory and to join with Him in the great work of emancipating the world from the power of sin and death during the millennium, must all be loyal at heart, to the core, and the various trials and testings now permitted will demonstrate the degree of loyalty. Let us, dear brethren, be loyal; and even if the time should come when we shall be misunderstood by our neighbors and friends, the children of this world, let us put our confidence in the Lord; let us fight the good fight of faith against sin and error and selfishness within and without, and thus doing lay hold upon eternal life.

* * * *

There is never a path so hidden,
But God will show us the way,
If we seek for the Spirit’s guidance,
And patiently wait and pray.

 

Suggested Further Reading

The Letter To Smyrna by Br. David Skein. The Beauties of the Truth. February 2007. Volume 18. No. 1. http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTFEB07.PDF

A Special Calling by Br. David Rice. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July /August 2016. https://herald-magazine.com/2016/07/01/the-bride-class/

Old Testament Portrayals of the Church by Br. Homer Montague. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004. http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_2.htm

The Song of Solomon by Br. Frank Shallieu. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004. http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_3.htm

The Bride and the Bridegroom by Br. Carl Hagensick. A Verse-by-verse Study of Psalm 45. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004. http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_4.htm

New Testament Portrayals of the Church by Br. Michael Nekora. A Precious Treasure. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004. http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_5.htm

A Chaste VirginThe Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/chliv_38.htm

 

The URL for this post is: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/10/be-thou-faithful-unto-death/

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IN THE WILDERNESS

 

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BE still, and murmur not, poor heart,
When God shall lead thee to a “desert place,”
And bid thee dwell apart;
If ravens in the wilderness
Did feed the servant of the Lord, will He
For thee, His child, do less? 

Nor fear, sad heart, its loneliness, –
Hath He not said, “I never will forsake
Nor leave thee comfortless?”
Have faith, thy Master may design
To fit thee thus for Kingdom work and bliss, –
And wilt thou then repine? 

Be patient, let His will be done;
Be calm, be strong, that He may finish there
The work He hath begun.
“A little while,” He soon will come,
And say to thee, “It is enough, my child,
My faithful one, come home!”

Psalm 121
A Song of the Ascents.
(1) I raise my eyes to the mountains. From where will my help come? 
(2) My help comes from Jehovah, The Maker of heaven and earth.
(3) He will never allow your foot to slip. The One guarding you will never be drowsy. 
(4) Look! He will never be drowsy nor go to sleep,The One guarding Israel.
(5) Jehovah is guarding you. Jehovah is the shade at your right hand. 
(6) By day the sun will not strike you, Nor the moon by night.
(7) Jehovah will guard you against all harm. He will guard your life. 
(8) Jehovah will guard you in all you do From now on and forever.

Suggested Further Reading:

  • Post: In The Secret of His Presence
    URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/05/in-the-secret-of-his-presence/
  • Reprint 4311 titled “HELP FROM THE LORD.” The Reprints of the Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.

[NOTE: The Reprints can be read from the Harvest Truth Data Base website st the following link: http://www.htdbv8.com/linksA.html%5D

Here is an extract from Reprint 4311: 

The Lord’s dear people never needed help more than at the present time. The difficulty with some, however, is that they do not realize their need.

“When they are strong, then they are weak.” 

“Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” 

“Let us fear, lest a promise being left of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.”Heb. 4:1.

The text reminds us further that those who need help and who realize it should:

Look to the LORD GOD for it—
not relying upon their own strength or wisdom
nor
upon the assistance of their fellows. 

We are not to despise assistance from any quarter, but our chief reason for receiving any assistance should be our conviction that it has come from the Lord, whether through the ear or through the eye and the printed page or however.

We are to remember that we are contending against a great Adversary and wily foe, and that we are not sufficient of ourselves to conquer, but that our only HOPE is in abiding in the Lord’s love, by seeking to do those things which are pleasing to him and heeding the counsel of his Word and the leadings of his providence.

A little carelessness along these lines, and the Adversary might readily entrap us and ensnare us and then lead us captive at his will. Ah, yes! we have the assurance of the Lord that there is but one place of safety at this time—into which more and more deeply we penetrate day by day. This place of safety is under the shadow of the Almighty, which figuratively signifies very close to the Lord.

“No harm can come nigh that dwelling place,” so far as the New Creature is concerned. Trials, tribulations, slanders may be exercised against us [R4311 : page 14] according to the flesh, but these cannot harm us as New Creatures, nor even disturb our peace of soul, while we are close to the Lord.

WE ARE NOT IGNORANT OF SATAN’S DEVICES

Recently we called attention to the fact that the evil spirits, the fallen angels, are to be permitted special liberties in this “evil day”; and that we might expect from them intrusions and deceptions from materializations. But while guarding that point we omitted to note another, perhaps equally dangerous, or more so, because more subtle. This we must consider now. Undoubtedly the fallen angels have had more or less power throughout the past, not merely to obsess or physically possess those who yield their wills, but power to measurably influence the minds of those who would resist them, and always by putting darkness for light. As a notable illustration of this, remember Judas, who, after brooding over the fact that our Lord’s cause was not bringing him great honor and wealth, premeditated shaking matters up, incidentally gaining thirty pieces of silver and arousing our Lord to practically assert himself and take a stand, in harmony with his power.

It was after this brooding that he was still further offended, while he ate at the Lord’s table and said, “Is it I?” And when the Lord had intimated that it was he who would betray him, he became more determined to do so. We read, “Satan entered into him.” His does not seem to be the case of obsession, but rather of domination of the mind. Satan, who had been striving to gain control, got the mastery when Judas was angry with the Lord’s reference to him as a traitor.

Our thought is that the evil spirits have been restrained in considerable measure from intruding upon the minds of men. Otherwise the world would have become Bedlam long ago. But our thought now is that their liberties with the saints will be increased, with a view to the closing test or decision in respect to character, which is now due.

“Judgment must begin at the house of God,” but it is to extend in this hour of temptation or trial to “all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth.” That which will begin with the Church will end with the world, producing the most awful state of affairs imaginable, “A time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” (Dan. 12:1.) This power of intrusion will contain, we believe, evil suggestions, promoting slanders and back-biting and temporarily, at least, derange the judgment and lead to violences of various kinds, of which the same person, under other circumstances and conditions would not have thought. In a word, the difficulty will be a dementia of passion, strife, hatred and unreason.

We see evidences along this line at the present time and it is our duty to sound the warning for the benefit of those not already so twisted as to be unable to appreciate the situation. Such manifestations of evil spirits—malice, hatred, envy, strife, evil-speaking, back-biting, slanders, etc., circle around the VOW and those who have taken it, with violence and opposition for which we cannot otherwise account. Those under this influence seem impervious to argument, to reason, but open to every imaginable suggestion of evil. They seem to lose entirely the spirit of love, the spirit of Truth, the spirit of a sound mind… It bids us have sympathy for the deluded ones and be on guard for ourselves.

Some suggestions in this Reprint article are given.

  • Desiring God’s rule more and more in our own heart, and asking God to keep us humble and in reverential fear to His will lest we should attempt to grasp something which the Lord had not put into our hands.
  • More carefully than ever, guard every thought and word and deed to avoid every high imagination and to keep us from saying or writing unkind words.
  • Strive to daily remember the harvest laborers and to consider our privileges in the harvest work by filling our mind and hands with the work the Lord had already committed to us.
  • Be on guard against Spiritism and Occultism in every form.

Our urgency on this subject is similar to that of the Apostle, when he says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable to God, which is your reasonable [R4312 : page 14] service.” (Rom. 12:1.) And “Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way.”

After what we have witnessed of the power of evil operating in the minds of some and producing characteristics which the Apostle denominates “Works of the flesh and the devil,” we can scarcely be surprised at anything which the Adversary might accomplish along these lines. But while we fear lest we should come under any such influence ourselves, and while we watch and pray lest we enter into temptation, we should not be cast down, nor hindered in any measure or degree, in respect to the service of our King.

He[R4312 : page 15] is able and willing to keep in perfect peace those who are trusting him, those who are following his leadings and coming close to him, even “under the shadow of the Almighty.”

So then, while still expecting the attacks of the Adversary along the lines of materialization, hypnotism and occultism in general, we perceive that from inoculation of our minds with evil surmisings, saints have probably the most to dread.

How can we be on guard against this insidious snare? The reply is:

By keeping very close to the Lord. 

Apparently the least deviation from the principles of righteousness in our thoughts, the least violation of justice or love in our thoughts, would open the way for the enemy to inject poison, leaven, malice, envy, hatred and strife.

Let us remember Psalm 121 and lean on the Precious Promises striving to continually “think on things above” and rest in the shelter of the Most High.

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Acknowledgment:

Br. Allen Springer for the work of creating and sharing the Harvest Truth Data Base:
URL: http://www.htdbv8.com

 

URL of this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/11/in-the-wilderness/

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JESUS – The Name

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There are many names and titles of Jesus found in the Bible, and each of them contains a description or illustration of his life and work. Let us examine some of those names, and gain the lessons to be found in the deeper meanings in Jesus’ name.

Jesus

First, let us look at the most familiar name, Jesus. Matthew 1:18‑23 tells about the angel of the Lord appearing to Joseph in a dream explaining to him to call the boy who would be born to Mary “JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” These words directly reference the words of Isaiah 7:14.

Bible dictionaries tell us that Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua and both these names are English adaptations of these respective forms of the word just as Elisheba (the wife of Aaron, Exodus 6:23) is a Hebrew form, and Elisabeth (mother of John the Baptist, Luke 1:5) is a grecianized form, but both of these names also are English adaptations. The full form of the name Joshua has two parts—Jeho‑shua, or Jehovah‑shua, meaning Jehovah saves. Later, this name assumed the form Jeshua (sometimes pronounced Yeshua), from which came the Greek form Jesus. But the Hebrew origin of the Greek name Jesus literally means Jehovah saves, or, God saves, and that name was given to our Lord to describe the mission of his life, to save the people from their sins, as we just read in Matthew 1:21.

Why did not Joseph call Jesus’ name Immanuel, like Isaiah prophesied? Here’s where understanding the meaning of names makes everything clear.

The word El means might, strength, power. The Schofield Reference Bible states that God (El) signifies the Strong One. In the Old Testament El refers not only to God, but also to mighty men of earth. The word El was often made part of peoples’ names to include a reference to God. For example, the name Elijah, or El‑i‑Jah, begins with El and means Jehovah is God. The name Daniel, or Dan‑i‑El ends with El and means God is my judge.

Here is a list of text containing the Hebrew word El for your consideration with a link for each from the Strongs Concordance: Genesis 31:29, Deuteronomy 28:32, Psalm 36:6, Proverbs 3:27, Isaiah 45:20, Psalm 89:6, Psalm 82:1, Exodus 15:11, Psalm 29:1, Psalm 50:1.

“Notice the above texts carefully and critically and all will agree that the context in every case shows the meaning of the Hebrew word El to be powerful one. How clearly it is stated in the last three quotations that JEHOVAH is the chief “el” and ruleth over all other el—powerful ones. And it should be known to all, that JEHOVAH is the name applied to none other than the Supreme Being—our Father, and him whom Jesus called Father and God. (John 20:17.) The meaning then of the words ‘Mighty God’ in our text, is,—He shall be called the mighty powerful. And so he is, for to him the Father has given all power in earth and heaven—(Matt. 28:19, and 11:27.) ‘He is Lord of all’next to the Father for “The head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3.) They are one in mind, purpose, etc., because Jesus gave up his own will and took the Father’s (John 5:30) just as we must give up our will, mind, spirit and receive the Father’s if we would be made heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord. Does any one ask further proof of a distinction of persons? If so we request such to read Matt. 22:44—Jesus’ application to himself of Psa. 110:1, remembering that the words used by David, translated Lord [Master] are totally distinct and entirely different words, the first one being Jehovah, and the other adon. We give Young’s translation of this verse—’The affirmation of Jehovah to my Lord—sit at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.’(Reprint 296, Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence)

Immanuel

In the name Immanuel, the suffix ‑El is at the end, which tells us that the word God is part of that name. Bible dictionaries say that the first part of that name, Immanu, means with us. Thus, the entire name means God is with us. Indeed, God was with mankind in that He turned His favor toward mankind when he gave us his only begotten son to be Jesus—the savior of the world.

Since both names, Jesus and Immanuel, convey the thought of God sending his son Jesus to be the savior of the world, what is the deeper meaning of the name Jesus—which the son of man was to be named by Joseph?

It is salvation! But what does “being saved” mean?

Let us first explain what the Bible says is the punishment for sin.

Is it Hell?

No. It is simply death.

The Bible answers in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death.” God’s punishment upon Adam in the Garden of Eden extends to all of Adam’s progeny, the entire world of mankind, as explained in the following three Scriptures.

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16,17).

“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalms 51:5).

This scripture explains to us that death is unescapable. Right from birth, humans inherited the penalty God imposed upon Adam, and that is why everyone dies.

The good news of salvation is all about being saved from death.

What are we saved to, and how? The Bible answers in the following way.

“(3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (6) Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:3‑6).

“(21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22).

The word ransom means a price of release. As by one man’s (Adam’s) sin of disobedience, death came upon him and all mankind, so too, by one man, Jesus, mankind is saved from the just penalty of death. Jesus’ willing sacrifice of his life on the cross provided a ransom, a price of release for Adam and all mankind. The scales of God’s justice remain balanced, yet mankind is allowed relief from the penalty of death. They can be freed from condemnation because Jesus provided the price of release by accepting the penalty upon himself. Mankind may thus be freed from condemnation, and released from death in a resurrection.

Those who come into Christ presently are released from condemnation now. Romans 8:33,34, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Others will have their condemnation lifted during the Kingdom (Revelation 22:3).

Now the deeper meaning of the name Jesus is clear: we have the whole picture of salvation, and its two main features—the ransom and the resurrection. Jesus is the savior of the world because by his ransom sacrifice he saved mankind from death, to a resurrection to life. We also gain a correct understanding of the nature of man, specifically that he is mortal human flesh, and does not have an immortal soul. For if man had an immortal soul that could not die, then there would be no need for the resurrection of the dead, which is so clearly taught in the Bible.

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

What will this resurrection be like, and when? Let us answer that question by considering the five names of Jesus found in Isaiah 9:6,7 (a prophecy of Jesus’ birth, and a scripture we often hear read or even sung in Handel’s Messiah).

“(6) For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

(7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.”

The first few words of Verse 6 refer to Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. The rest of these two verses fast‑forward to a time yet future, as the tense changes from present tense (“unto us a child is born”) to future tense (“and the government shall be”). It is apparent that Jesus’ government, Jesus’ kingdom of peace, is not yet established with judgment and justice. When it is, all mankind will say, this is the government we have always wanted, but never had. This promised government, this kingdom, was the most frequent topic Jesus preached about, during his three and a half year ministry on earth. When Jesus taught his disciples, and us, how to pray in the model prayer, He included these words.

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

In Isaiah 11:9 we read, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”

Mountain is used as another word for kingdom or government. The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, just as the Apostle Paul wrote in that scripture we read earlier, “God wills that all men will come into a knowledge of the Truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Jesus will be mankind’s Counselor, or teacher, in that Kingdom.

When will Christ’s kingdom be established “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10)? Examining John 18:36 sheds light on the answer to this question. In the context, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate to answer the charge that claimed Jesus had committed treason against Caesar by claiming to be King of the Jews, which if true would be punishable by death, hence why Pilate put the question directly to Jesus in John 18:33. “Art thou the King of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36).

At first reading, it might be thought that Jesus is saying, I am indeed a king, but my kingdom is not of this world, this planet, this earth; my kingdom is in heaven. But that is not what Jesus is saying. A closer examination of the names of Jesus helps us gain a deeper understanding of his life and work. The word world in Jesus’ reply is kosmos in Greek and it means order. When Jesus said, my kingdom is not of this kosmos, he was as if saying, I am not establishing my kingdom now; it is not of this present order, but there is a new world order coming. And when it does, that new world order, that new social order, that new kosmos, will be my kingdom, here on earth.

In relation to the resurrection to life in God’s Kingdom on earth, some sincere Christians believe that this world will be destroyed by literal fire (based on Scriptures such as 2 Peter 3:12) and that only the true followers of Jesus who have done their best to live a righteous life will be saved from destruction by being taken up to heaven.

That is not what this means.

In fact, Ecclesiastes 1:4 says the opposite: “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.”

How do we harmonize these two seemingly contradictory scriptures?

We do so by recognizing that 2 Peter 3:12 is symbolic. Here the Greek word for elements is stoicheion, which, like that other Greek word, kosmos, means an orderly arrangement. It is describing the end of the old social order of things in this present evil world, not the end of the planet.

In Ecclesiastes 1:4, the Hebrew word for earth, means the dirt, the planet—these will never pass away.

Coming back to the names of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6,7

Jesus will be the world’s Counselor, instructor, teacher, and guide to give assistance and direction, whereby the billions of resurrected people will return to harmony with Jehovah and to the enjoyment of the blessings provided through the ransom.

His name, The Mighty God, or Mighty, Mighty One, will be recognized then, on earth, as well as in Heaven. As the Heavenly, Divine Being he became after his own resurrection, he will have all the power necessary not only to resurrect mankind, but also to bring to pass justice and righteousness for everyone.

The name, The Everlasting Father, will apply to him as the Life‑Giver of the world, during the thousand years of his reign. In all that time he will be giving “life more abundant” to mankind—everlasting life to all who will obey him—therefore his title, The Everlasting Father, or the Father who will give everlasting life to humanity, is a fitting one. All the world of mankind, resurrected on the human plane, will obtain their right to everlasting life as human beings in an earthly Paradise from their Redeemer, who will then be their King.

His name, The Prince of Peace, will not apply to Him at the beginning of His reign when He will be tearing down the old order of this Present Evil World. However, true peace will speedily be established and he shall be known as The Prince of Peace, whose reign will be undisputed and uncontested. “Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end,” there will be no rebellion, and his kingdom will not pass away.

Combining all these names and the future works they reveal to us, his name will be Wonderful—the one who will be recognized by all as the embodiment, the expression, of Divine Justice, Love, Wisdom, and Power. That will be the Kingdom on earth for which Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth.”

King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Another name or title of Jesus mentioned in 1 Timothy 6:15: “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

The meaning of this title is fairly straightforward, and this scripture also tells us what the other Scriptures have been telling us about Christ’s kingdom, namely, that it is not yet fully established, but will be, in his times, and we believe that time is soon as we will examine a little later.

Christ

A Bible dictionary gives the following definition for the name Christ:

(1) Jesus of Nazareth (Jesus Christ), regarded by Christians as fulfilling Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah,
(2) The Messiah or anointed one of God as the subject of Old Testament prophecies.

An ordinary dictionary says that Christ comes from the Latin Christus, which in turn comes from the Greek Khristos, which means anointed. Thus, the name Christ carries the thought of, anointed. We can understand that because we have a few English words derived from Christ which convey the idea of anointing. We speak of babies and even ships being christened, with some ceremonious application of a liquid in the manner of anointing.

So when we say the compound name “Jesus Christ,” we are saying, Jesus Anointed, or Jesus, the Anointed one.

What, then, is the deeper significance of this name of Jesus, Anointed, or the Anointed One?

In Old Testament times, a special anointing oil was prepared according to a formula given by God Himself in Exodus chapter 30. It was to be used only to anoint the persons who were to serve as Israel’s priests, as well as the furniture and utensils used in the sacrifices God commanded the nation of Israel to offer on various occasions. This anointing signified that the ones being anointed were authorized to serve as priests. This holy anointing oil was so restricted in its usage, that if anyone used the holy anointing oil for any other purpose, or if anyone concocted an oil like the holy anointing oil, they were to be put to death (Exodus 30:32‑33).

A different oil was also used to anoint Israel’s kings, in a type of inauguration ceremony, to signify the authority of the one being anointed to legitimately assume the office of King. The one doing the anointing was often a prophet whom the people recognized as God’s spokesperson; authorized by God to anoint a king to his office.

We can think of these words anointing, or anointed, as an Old Testament equivalent of what we commonly see today when a president, or governor, or other high official, is sworn into office by placing his hand on a Bible and taking the oath of office administered by a judge or other official.

We now see that this term, Christ, defined as anointed, has a deeper meaning of authorized by God Himself to serve in the capacity or office given to them.

Messiah

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The word “Messiah” comes from a Hebrew term meaning “to smear or anoint.” When grease or oil was applied to objects by Israelites, the commonly used term was “anoint.” However, the name “Messiah” is used in reference only to persons, rather than to “anointed” objects. As mentioned before while discussing the name Christ, persons who were anointed had been appointed and given authority for specific offices and tasks given to them. So, then, “Messiah” is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek name, “Christ.”

Since Old Testament times, Jews have been looking for the Messiah to come and fulfill all the prophecies that foretold his work of delivering Israel from their oppression as a people, and their scattering as a nation. Even today, religious and even non‑religious Jews will say something like, “When Messiah comes, Israel will prosper and the world will be a better place.” So the name Messiah has a connotation of deliverer to the Jews. This matches nicely with the equivalent name Christ, because ever since Jesus died and was resurrected, Christians have been looking forward to his return, or coming again, as mankind’s deliverer. Thus the name Messiah is associated with Jesus’ return. Jews in general do not believe that Jesus Christ is their long awaited Messiah. But when they see the establishment of his kingdom and how it meets and exceeds their grandest expectations, they will.

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The restitution, or restoration, of all things means to restore mankind, and the earth, to the perfection Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden.

The spiritual part of the restitution phase has begun since our Lord’s second presence (invisible to the world, but visible by the eyes of understanding to the spirit begotten of the Gospel Age).

The presence of Christ is referred to by the word parousia in the New Testament, in scriptures such as Matthew 24:3 (where the word “coming” is properly translated “presence”).

NOTE: See booklet titled : “I WILL COME AGAIN”

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When mankind is restored to perfection, then they will be tested individually, as Adam was.

If they are obedient they will live—if they are disobedient they will not.

In that future test, mankind will have the enormous advantage of their past experience with sin and its consequences, that will enable them to

choose life through obedience, and pass the test.

This doctrine of Restitution now gives us the third “R” in a trio of precious truths concerning salvation:

RRR.jpg      

Christ, Revisited

Let us now consider our key scripture, Colossians 1:26,27.

“(26) Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: (27) To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is, Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Remembering that the anointing represents authorization to a work or office, like the priests and the kings of Israel, this passage tells us that Jesus’ close, footstep followers, can be, like he was, anointed or authorized to join him in his kingdom work.

Is not this thought incredible!

The following Scriptures support this:

  • “If we suffer (with him), we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12).

 

  • “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Romans 2:7).

 

  • “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53).

 

  • “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).

This means that there are actually two resurrections, and therefore, two salvations (See the HOPE & RESURRECTION posts: PART A, PART B, and PART C).

There is a first resurrection, now during the Gospel Age (from Christ’s ascension until the end of the age of the High Calling, ending six millenniums of the permission of evil), to a salvation of glory, honor, and immortality in heaven (Romans 2:7). This is for the very few who share in Christ’s sufferings by living their lives as peculiar people, a Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), following in Jesus’ footsteps.

Then there will also be a general resurrection in the future, on a perfect earth, of the rest of mankind, to a salvation in God’s kingdom.

Why is it taking so long for the Kingdom Jesus taught us to pray for, to come?

Why is it taking Jesus so long to establish his kingdom and do all the things his names imply?

Here is the answer:

Before the general resurrection and earthly salvation can begin, the first resurrection to the heavenly salvation must be complete. Romans 8:19 explains:

“The earnest expectation of the creature [all mankind] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God [the completion of the Bride class].”

All this truth is embodied in the name Christ—Jesus, the anointed redeemer, and the anointed class, his footstep followers, who will reign with him as kings and priests in his kingdom.

Summary

By examining the several names and titles of Jesus and their meaning, deeper illustrations of our Savior’s teachings, life, and work can be learned.

  •  In the name Jesus we see his work of salvation, from death to life, which the doctrine of the Ransom teaches us about.

 

  • In the names Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting father, the Prince of Peace, we see when that due time when that Ransom will have its fullest effect. It will be in the coming Kingdom on earth for which Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come.” In that Kingdom the resurrection will take place. Everyone who has ever lived since Adam and Eve were created will be raised from death to life by the Everlasting father or life‑giver and taught by that Counselor in the peaceful kingdom where none will hurt anyone else.

 

  • In the name Messiah we see the return of Jesus when the spiritual phase of the restitution period begins, after which time shall commence the process of resurrecting, teaching, and guiding mankind back to the perfection enjoyed by Adam and Eve before sin entered the world. Since restitution means to restore to a previous state or condition, here mankind shall be restored to perfect bodies, perfect minds, and perfect characters. After that restitution work is complete, everyone in that kingdom will be equipped and ready to pass the test that Adam failed: obey and live, disobey and die. But this time mankind will have the enormous advantage of experience with sin and its consequences, which will enable them to choose life through obedience, and live.

 

  • In the name Christ, which means anointed and is the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament word Messiah, we see Jesus, authorized by God to be our Savior and to accomplish all things required for the salvation of mankind. More than this, the scriptures tell us that there is also an anointed class of Jesus’ true footstep followers who are also called to be assistants in Jesus’ work for mankind in the kingdom. These footstep followers will have a first resurrection in heaven, following which will come a resurrection for the remainder of mankind on earth. This is the key doctrine of the two salvations.

 

In learning about Jesus’ life and work, we have gained some key insights into commonly held misconceptions that are not supported by the scriptures. We have seen that there is no Hell of torment, and that man does not have an immortal soul.

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[NOTE: The word “many” in the above Matthew 20:28 verse reaffirms that many are involved in being freed from the sentence of death. Thus similarly, in Romans 5:19—many were constitutes sinners but really, ALL of us were (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10, 1 John 1:8).]

Hymns of Millennial Dawn No. 96

AUDIO [Hymn 96] – The Name of Jesus

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It makes the wounded spirit whole
And calms the troubled breast;
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

Dear name! the rock on which we build,
Our shield and hiding place;
Our neverfailing treasure, filled
With boundless stores of grace!

Jesus, our Shepherd, Saviour, Friend,
Our Prophet, Priest, and King,
Our hearts in gratitude ascend;
Accept the praise we bring.

We would thy boundless love proclaim
With ev’ry fleeting breath;
And sound the music of thy name
Abroad through all the earth.

References:

“In Jesus Name”—Public Lecture by Br Joe Megacz December 2016.
URL: https://chicagobible.org/public‑lecture‑in‑jesus‑name/

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Reprint 296-297 from The Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of  Christ’s Presence. The Everlasting Father.
URL: http://www.htdbv8.com/1881/r296.htm

Hymns of Millennial Dawn—URL: http://www.htdbv8.com/indexhd.html

 

Further Suggested Bible Study Material:

“The Ransom” video power point presentation discourse by Br. David Rice
URL: http://bibleresources.info/ransom‑david‑rice/

Soul and Spirit. Faithbuilders Fellowship. January 2006.
URL: http://2043ad.com/journal/2006/01_jan_06.pdf

Free Booklet titled: “I Will Come Again – John 14:3”
URL: https://chicagobible.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/I-WILL-COME-AGAIN.pdf

Immortality and the Human Soul. The Dawn Magazine. 1959
URL: http://www.dawnbible.com/1959/5904tbs1.htm

The Doctrine of Christ—Booklet.
URL: http://www.biblestudents.com/docs/DoctrineChrist.pdf

How Does “the Son of Man” Title, Speak Volumes About Jesus?
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/10/how-does-the-son-of-man-title-speak-volumes-about-jesus/

Acts 23:6—HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART A: What Is Jesus All About?
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/03/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-a-what-is-jesus-all-about/

Acts 23:6—HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART B: Will Mankind Resurrection With The Same Mind?
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/05/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-b-will-mankind-resurrect-with-the-same-mind/

Acts 23:6—HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART C: The Order Of The Resurrection Process.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/11/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-c-the-order-of-the-resurrection-process/

God’s Name—What Is The Heavenly Father’s Name That We Are To Hallow And Why?
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/27/gods-name-what-is-the-heavenly-fathers-name-that-we-are-to-hallow-and-why/

 

Acknowledgment:

  • Br Joe Megacz—content of this post.
  • Br David Rice—editing assistance.

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“Are You Able?”

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ARE ye able to walk in the narrow, strait way,
With no friend by your side, and no arm for your stay?
Can ye bravely go on through the darkening night?
Can ye patiently wait till the Lord sends the Light? 

Are ye able to crush your soul’s longing for Love,
Will ye seek for no friendship save that from above?
Can ye pass through this world, lone, unnoticed, unknown,
While your faith faintly whispers, “He knoweth His own?” 

Where the feet of the Blessed One stood, can ye stand?
Can ye follow His steps to a wilderness land?
Are ye able to cast aside pleasure and fame?
Can ye live but to glorify His precious name?

Can ye smile as His dear voice says tenderly “No,
When “the field is so white,” and your heart yearns to go?
Can ye rest then in silence, contented and still,
Till your Lord, the Chief Reaper, revealeth His will?

Are ye able to lay on the altar’s pure flame
That most treasured possession, your priceless good name?
Can ye ask of your Father a blessing for those,
Who see naught in your life but to scorn and oppose?

When the conflict twixt Error and Truth fiercer grows,
Can ye wield the strong “Sword” against unnumbered foes?
Can ye lift up the “Standard” e’en higher and higher,
While His praises ye sing in the midst of the fire?

When ye see the Lord’s cause going down to defeat,
Will your courage endure in the seven-fold heat?
Will your faith keep you steadfast, though heart and flesh fail,
As the New Creature passes beneath the last “Veil?”

Ah, if thus ye can drink of the Cup He shall pour,
And if never the Banner of Truth ye would lower,
His Beloved ye are, and His crown ye shall wear,
In His Throne ye shall sit, and His Glory shall share!  – Gertrude W. Seibert

 

Suggested Further Reading

Be Strong And of A Good Courage.  The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. Reprinted from February 1961 HERALD, article by Br. John Ensoll, England.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/chliv_17.htm

Teachableness by Br. Richard Suraci. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. May-June 2002.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2002/02mj_4.htm

The King and His Kingdom. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. Jan-Feb. 2005.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2005/05jf_2.htm

A Christian’s Privilege of Fellowship. “Fellowship with Jesus by being His yoke fellow.” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. August 1931. 
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1931_8.htm#_Toc23239886

 

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The Word “Character”

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The word “character” in Greek is exactly the same as in English. Originally it was the name given to a sculptor’s tool—the forming chisel used in the development of the Greek statuary. Gradually the word broadened in its meaning to include not only the tool used, but the tooling process, the formation or shaping of the sculptures. Gradually also it came to signify the peculiarities or characteristics of a piece of sculpture. The word today in its English usage had reached a still higher plane and associates itself with the Divine character, which is the perfect example, and with humanity as it possesses more or less of the Divine characteristics.

When St. Paul writes in Hebrews 1:3 of Christ’s being the “express image” of the Father’s person, the phrase “express image,” in the Greek is the word character.

How beautiful the thought that our Lord Jesus, through whom the Father has spoken to mankind, explaining his Justice and his Love and his provision for our reconciliation—this one was the express image, the character-likeness of the heavenly Father, full of grace and truth! Nor does it seem strange to us that the Father, in inviting a “little flock” to joint-heirship with the Redeemer in glory, honor and immortality, has decreed, foreordained, that the acceptable ones, the “elect,” must all be conformed to the likeness of his dear Son, who was the character likeness of himself.

Truly there will be a wonderful family likeness in this Divine family—the Father, the Son, and the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife!

Who is sufficient for these things?
Who is worthy of such exaltation?

Surely those who would attain it must:

lay aside every weight, every besetting sin, and
must persevere
in the great work of
mastering self and developing character

the one kind of character which God can approve and reward.

As the sculptor must first have an ideal in his mind before he can follow it and hew the image from the rough stone, so must we recognize the true ideal of life and then follow it with all our hearts, with unwavering will.

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How important, then, that we have proper ideals before our minds; that we have a purpose in life; that it be a noble purpose of high standard!

Herein is the value of the doctrines of Christ, the teachings of the Scriptures. They set before God’s people the truest and noblest ideal and thus assist the pupils in the school of Christ in attaining higher and grander results than would be otherwise possible for them.

It has been said that every man is the sculptor of his own career. To a large extent this is true, but with the Christian it is different. He gives himself to the Lord and the Lord undertakes to work in him “both to will and to do his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).

Again, as it is written, “We are his workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10).

True the Lord does not do the work in us without our co-operation; but in our case he is the Principal or Superintendent and we are the assistants co-working with God for the attainment of that which he has set before us as his ideal, his design for us.

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The glorious pictures set before us in the inspired Word—of participation in the Divine nature and sharers, joint-heirs with our Lord and Redeemer—are so transcendently bright that they overwhelm us; nor are we able to realize their details except as, more and more, we become transformed by the renewing of our MINDS,
by the Spirit of the Truth.

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Reference:

An excerpt from Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, R. 4417

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/04/29/the-word-character/

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Gethsemane

GETHSEMANE - Matthew 26, 36-39

GETHSEMANE! The Garden’s lonely shade the world’s
Redeemer sought that night. He went alone to pray
For grace and strength to drink the last drop in His Cup.
Great souls crave solitude in sorrow’s hour. Not e’en
His well-beloved three might share the sacredness
Of that deep woe, – He bade them tarry, while He went
A little farther on, and fell upon His face.

Gethsemane! A solitary place, apart,
No mortal feet may press in sympathy that dark,
Encrimsoned earth. No human hand the fevered brow
May cool, no other heart can share its agony,
No voice but God’s may break the solemn silence there, –
A place where every soul must drink alone the Cup
The Father’s hand hath poured, and given to His child.

Gethsemane! A desert place, alone, apart?
Ah, no! The anguished heart doth never cry in vain
To Him who marks the smallest sparrow when it falls,
For He shall send His Angel with the message, “Fear
Thou not, for I am with thee! I will ne’er forsake,
Nor let thee fail! My right hand shall uphold, My love,
My power shall keep thee, even to the bitter end!

Gertrude W. Seibert

Matthew 26:36-46 KJV

“36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.

38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.

40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.

43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.

44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.”

SWEET HOUR OF PRAYER

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ACTS 23:6 —HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART A: What is Jesus All About?

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What is the Good News of the Bible all about?  One 5-letter word,  JESUS!

And this is exactly what Apostle Philip explains to the Ethiopian Eunich, whom an angel of GOD sent him to, to minister unto and whom he explained the passage of Isaiah 35 to, which the Eunich had been reading, and whom he baptized while on the road that went from Jerusalem to Gaza (Acts 8:26-35).

What is Jesus all about?

Jesus is all about the “repentance and forgiveness of sin”these being the exact words of Apostle Peter “and the other Apostles” as documented by Luke in Acts 5:30-31 when they had been summed to stand before the High court officials of the Sanhedrin and were questioned by the high priest (who was Caiphas at that time—John 18:24) about why they were not obeying the strict orders given of not to “teach in this (Jesus’) name” (Acts 5:28).

Jesus is also all about the HOPE and RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.

Let’s explain this by taking a look at the Apostle Paul’s experiences and words:-

When the commander in Rome was made aware by the Apostle Paul himself that Paul was a Roman citizen, he summoned Paul to stand before the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin (comprised of Pharisees and Sadducees) to find out why Paul had been accused and flogged by the Jews the day before. Then after stating to the Sanhedrin that he had “fulfilled his duty to God in all good conscience to this day” he was hit in the mouth by those standing near him in the crowd, as ordered by Ananias, (Acts 23:1-3)who was the Father-in-law of Caiaphas (the High Priest) and had also been a high priest himself, hence still carried this title and still had his opinion count heavily amongst the Sanhedrin.

And now, perceiving that no speech of his could affect his hearers, the Apostle Paul “cried out”:

“Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” (Acts 23:6)
It was not just the Apostle Paul who taught about this glorious doctrine of hope, as we read in Acts 4:2, other Apostles such as Peter and John also “taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead”. And this “greatly disturbed” the priests, the temple guard and the Sadducees. (Acts 4:1)

Do we likewise share the good news about the resurrection to those around us?

Do we help people recognize GOD’s loving and merciful character helping destroy the false beliefs of a GOD who would eternally punish and send his creation to a place of burning hell fire to be tortured for eternity or purgatory (which is not even a word in the Bible)?

When was the last time we explained to someone:

Truths about the Ransom—the whole foundational doctrine behind the forgiveness of sin for every single human that ever lived… and about the 2 Salvations… about the soul—that it is mortalabout restitution?

Are we also, today, “prisoners in the chains of Christ”… (mentally perhaps) because of  boldly sharing what is GODly Truth because it is too glorious to keep just for oneself? (Acts 17:32)

Do not worry that you are mocked!…

This is what the sufferings of Christ are all about and those who suffer for righteousness sake, are blessed “for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.(2 Corinthains 4:17)

How gloriously logical these words are, and give sense to the questioning mind and thus provide hope and comfort that, “If there be no resurrection of the dead, then they that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” (1 Corinthians 15:13, 18)

Like the early Christians, we too, are scattered all over the world and either alone or in small groups of two or three we preach Jesus and the resurrection.

Let’s tell the world
there’s a better day coming!

When there will be no more death or dying but a resurrection from the dead that will ultimately bring mankind back from the dead!

Dear friends, Armageddon is actually a great thing, coming! It’s a sifting out cleansing process—it is how the world is to be bleached out from all unrighteousness and the JUDGEMENT OF GOD has begun with His Own house—the Church (1 Peter 4:17)—causing GODLY JUSTICE to change the heart and mind of the one called by God from one that was ignorant in much, to one that UNDERSTANDS WHAT GOD EXPECTS and strives to BE RIGHTEOUS in ALL so that one can be in HARMONY with GODLY RIGHTEOUSNESS for it is a “terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:31)

It is part of the HOPE of the Precious Promises in the Bible. It involves the resurrection of the dead in the resurrection!

This death and dying condition we all find ourselves in, is unnatural.

Have you ever come across a dying loved one who says they feel like they are 26 in a 80+ year old body? 

People are caught in this trap they can’t escape from. Yet death today is inevitable. It was purchased by Jesus’ sacrifice but death will be overcome!

The HOPE that will be accomplished is a RESURRECTION from the death.

This will ultimately bring mankind back to GOD.

The Bible so beautifully explains how GOD will unlock the prison house of the grave and release ALL mankind from the prison house of death.

The hope that will be accomplished is a resurrection from the death.

“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
(Psalm 30:5)

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/03/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-a-what-is-jesus-all-about/

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Pastor Charles Russell’s Last Days

Excerpts from the Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, pages 6001-6006, by Brother Menta Sturgeon (1867-1935):-

pastor-charles-russells-last-days-reprint-6001-6006

On Monday afternoon, October 16th, 1916 at 5 pm, Brother Russell left the Bethel home for the last time.

At the noon hour he informed the dearest family to him on earth that he expected to be absent from them for a short time, and expressed for them the hope that during his absence they might be happy and prosperous under the blessings of the Lord. He also said that he expected that he and the one accompanying him would enjoy themselves in the Lord’s service. Then, while he and the family stood at their places, he offered a solemn prayer, beginning with the words:

“O Lord, Thy promised grace impart, And fill each consecrated heart!”

Brother Russell afterwards, wrote out nine letters — giving instructions to various ones respecting their duties. At the appointed hour he went forth, never more to return, saying “goodbye” to the friends in the hall as he passed out and started for the station.

When the Lehigh Valley train pulled out of Jersey City at 6 pm, it carried away our precious Brother on his last pilgrim journey, which was to end in Heaven. Having held public meetings at Providence and Fall River the day previous, he was tired to start with, and consequently did not dictate on the train that evening, as was his custom. In fact, he retired earlier than usual, saying “Good-night” as he did so.

In the morning, in answer to the question as to how he rested, he gave his usual answer during his recent trips, “On both sides,” meaning, of course, that he changed sides frequently during the night.

He often told us of late that he scarcely slept at all, was awake every hour of the night, and thought pretty much day and night. He had the care of all the churches upon his heart, and his physical ailments would not permit much rest. He always ate sparingly, and would carefully note the effect of everything he ate or drank.

He had a beautiful way of making the one who traveled with him feel at ease, and not consider himself merely as a servant, by handing him enough money at the beginning of the journey to cover all his incidental expenses during the trip. He would then arrange that we pay each other’s expenses alternately; he paying all expenses for both one day, and his companion paying all expenses for both the next day, and so on during the entire trip.

DIFFICULTIES ON THE WAY

The wreckage of a freight train during the night had caused the delay, we were informed, and a detour of fifty miles would be necessary to enable us to reach our destination. There was no dining car on the train, and neither could we secure anything to eat on account of uncertainties. It was at this point that a box of peanut butter sandwiches, which had been given to us by a thoughtful friend in Brooklyn, came in just right…. It was at Chicago that his physical endurance was taxed to the limit. Circumstances made it necessary for us to walk several miles, until the writer was growing weary and was sure that Brother Russell must be worn out also, although no remarks of the kind passed between us. All of this occurred after a few hours’ rest during the previous night and with but little to eat.

How many times have I heard Pastor Russell ask people on the trains, in the stations, hotels, everywhere, “Are you consecrated?” He nearly always brought this in. He had many opportunities; for people recognized him everywhere and desired to speak or have a few words with him…Many a time people came to me on the train and inquired, “Is that not Pastor Russell?” and would say, “I knew him by his picture in the paper,” or “I heard him lecture at such and such a place.” Sometimes they would inquire just after he had walked through the train, “Who is that distinguished gentleman with you?” In this way we were able to send out many First Volumes and other printed matter of the Society.

At Kansas City on Thursday morning we encountered so many difficulties in purchasing tickets for the West that it became necessary that I make a trip up into the city through the rain, and with such delay that Brother Russell did here what we had never before known him to do; viz., run to catch a train. We are saying these things to show how different this trip was from anything that had ever preceded it, and how his trials increased as he proceeded on his journey.

We reached Wichita Thursday afternoon in time for an afternoon meeting; but it, with other work in Wichita, was more or less interfered with by the loss of Brother Russell’s valise.

BROTHER RUSSELL’S LAST MEAL

Traveling all night then and reaching the home of Sister Frost Tuesday morning, it was not surprising to find him in much physical pain. His labors were telling on him more than ever. His overworked body began to break at its weakest point. Cystitis was becoming acute. We secured various things for him that morning–in fact, everything he wished, and he seemed to know exactly what to get and do. He worked faithfully on his case all morning; and although we had gone to see a doctor who was somewhat interested in the Truth and who would gladly have called to see him, yet it was not his wish. He appreciated the kind offer, but indicated that he would not need a physician’s services.

Conditions were getting serious. Brother Russell signed a few letters we had written, gave us to understand that we were doing a more important work than we realized and then had us substitute for him at the 11 am meeting at the Hall. Sister Frost generously placed her car at our disposal, so that we could easily and quickly go to and fro. He went to dinner with us, talked pleasantly to everyone, and was as humorous as usual; but he ate nothing…After the meal we went upstairs together arm in arm to his room; and after talking for awhile, he asked us to take the consecration service at the Hall at 3 pm. This we did and returned immediately to his room.

HIS LAST PUBLIC DISCOURSE

The night was drawing on. I was seated on the low window sill close by his side, my hands rested upon his knee and my face was turned up toward his. Love like electricity was flowing from face to face and heart to heart. We talked in whispered tones; and he said during the quiet, lovely conversation, “Dear brother, please remain close tonight and be ready to pick up the thread of thought where I drop it.”

The evening lecture was given in the largest and best theater in San Antonio. It is indeed a beautiful structure. We have never seen a meeting more beautiful. The lecture on the subject of “The World on Fire” was begun under the most favorable conditions.

I was seated at his right, behind the screen, and could see every motion he made. All went well for about 45 minutes, when I thought I could see that he was going to leave the platform. Without any sign of suffering, with perfect self-poise, quietly did he walk off the rostrum, while I endeavored to walk on just as orderly and quietly, and, without a word of explanation, “picked up the thread where he had dropped it.” I continued for about five minutes…

EN ROUTE TO CALIFORNIA

It was just after leaving San Antonio that I had the privilege and pleasure of untying and removing his shoes for the first time. Hitherto he would not permit this, although I had several times made the offer; but now he acquiesced readily, and said, in his gracious manner, “Thank you!”

The next morning he was a sick man, although he was not ready to admit it. He kept to his bed all day Wednesday. While he lay there in his berth, I took a seat on the couch, near him. I watched every move he made, stroked his head, and thought what a stupendous amount of work that brain had done! Taking his soft, gentle right hand and letting it rest in the palm of my left hand, I gently stroked it with my right; and thinking of his lecture at San Antonio the previous night and of the many times I had seen him use that hand so graciously when exposing the errors of the creeds of men as contrasted with the Word of God, I said to him, “That is the greatest creed-smashing hand I ever saw! He replied that he did not think it would smash any more creeds.

This led me to inquire, “Who will smite the River Jordan?” To this he responded, “Someone else can do that.” “But how about the payment of the penny?” I asked. He hesitated for a moment and said, “I don’t know.” Brother Russell was evidently perplexed.

We then talked about his physical condition. What he said about his sufferings was this:

“I always thought I should have some severe sufferings before I finished my course, but thought when I had the trouble in Pittsburgh, that was it. But if the Lord wants to add this also, it is all right.”

DETAINED AT DEL RIO

We learned that a bridge ahead of us had been burned during the night and that we would likely be held up for some time….the weather was hot down there. But never one word of complaint did Brother Russell make.

The diner was three Pullmans ahead of us. Consequently we had to walk that distance for every little thing needed. After one full day’s delay we pulled out of Del Rio on Thursday morning, and were the first ones to pass over the rebuilt bridge. By that time we were over, whereupon we remarked, “Brother Russell, we have often heard you speak about the time when we shall pass over the river; and now, at last, we are over.” A sweet smile came over his face, but he said not a word. We began to think that he might pass over, but surely not very soon. It was October, and it occurred to us that as we were delayed one day before passing over the river in southern Texas, so he might tarry with us one prophetic day and pass over by October, 1917. With these thoughts running through our mind, we were doing our best to serve our dear, patient, uncomplaining, appreciative Brother Russell in every way we could.

All day Saturday, under severe pain, in great weakness, with obstructions piling up before him every moment, he struggled with business propositions like a giant. We have never seen or heard of anything to equal his heroism. Friends had disappointed him, and he wondered if the Lord were not against him in some things. His trials thickened and deepened. Not a murmur or complaint did he utter. He had promised the Lord that he would not, and he kept his promise. He was so great that I nearly always hesitated about drawing near to him.

TO LOS ANGELES

He would not yet admit that he was really sick. By 10 am we had reached the hotel, and I asked him if I could not get him something to eat. He said he was not hungry and asked me to suggest something…Upon bringing it to him, he asked if I had had my breakfast; and when I answered, no, he wanted to know why. I told him that it was because I wanted him to have his first. He said he would not eat his until I had first had my breakfast.

This was just like Brother Russell. He was always so considerate of others. Whenever he would ask me to do anything for him, he would say “Please”; and when it was done he would invariably say, “Thank you.”

BROTHER RUSSELL’S LAST ADDRESS TO THE CHURCH

He cautioned the brethren against exposing his physical condition by saying, “Don’t give me away, Brethren.”

You know that our dear Brother was so considerate of the feelings of others that he never drew much on the sympathy of the friends–so considerate was he, that but few knew that he had been a physical sufferer for thirty years.

On one occasion recently he sent word to the Bethel Family that he would not be down to breakfast; and afterwards he told me that it was on account of the family that he did not come–that they had such deep sympathy for him that he did not like to draw on their vitality. He had learned to lean on the Strong Arm alone! He did not need us particularly, but we needed him.

When he stepped to the front of the platform to begin to speak, out of consideration for the splendid audience before him he said, “I regret that I am not able to speak with force or power,” and then beckoned to the Chairman to remove the stand and bring a chair. As he sat down, he said, “Pardon me for sitting down, please.” In deep humility, in great suffering and in the most solemn manner, he spoke for about 45 minutes, and then answered questions for a short period.

THE RETURN JOURNEY BEGUN

He had me place various articles that he would need during the night in convenient places–under the covers, under his pillows, on the window-sills, so that he could reach them without disturbing me.

We were aroused from slumber by his knocking and calling us by name–it was probably a couple of hours. But we went to him quickly, did what was required, heard him say again “Thank you,” and again lay down. This time, however, we did so with the thought that we would not sleep so soundly. In another hour he knocked and called again; and we were at his side, and soon discovered that another chill was coming on. He had had his first one two nights before. We put five Pullman blankets upon him and tucked them in close on every side; but still he shook. We gave him what was required, and was glad when the rigors ceased. We remained by his side, lying down at times on the couch beside him.

PREPARATIONS FOR DEATH

… It was then that he stood again and said, “Please make me a Roman toga.” I said, “Brother Russell, I do not understand what you mean.” He said, “I will show you.” He had me take a clean sheet and turn it down twelve inches from the top; and then a second one the same. Placing his left hand on his right shoulder, he said, “Fasten them together here.” He stood erect before me for a moment without saying a word, then lay down on the couch on his back, closed his eyes, and lay there before me as in a shroud, a perfect picture of death.

The toga was worn by Roman officials and sometimes by priests, and sometimes symbolized victory and peace, and at other times that the one wearing it had fulfilled his vows. To the writer’s mind all these things are meant. He had fulfilled his vows! he had gained the victory! he was at peace! Thenceforth there was laid up for him a Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord would shortly place upon his noble brow.

CONCERNING THE SEVENTH VOLUME

…With thoughts of the end running through my mind, it was only natural for me to say to myself, Had you not better ask Brother Russell concerning some things? It was in this mood and in this connection that we inquired respecting the Seventh Volume (of “Studies In The Scriptures”), and received his answer, “Some one else can write that”…

… I was just about to sink into sleep when I thought I heard the words, “Brother Sturgeon.” As I came to him, the experiences of Samuel came into my mind. I leaned over him and said, “Brother Russell, did you call me?” He answered “Yes,” and gave me some little thing to do, after which I lay down the second time. Ere long I thought I heard my name called again. I inquired as before, bent over close to him and heard him whisper, “I am trying to find something for you to do.” From this I inferred, “Brother Russell wants me to stay awake tonight”; and it proved to be so.

DEATH DRAWING NEAR

I kept doing many little, necessary things in harmony with his words or signs until another chill (the third one) came on. I folded blanket after blanket over him, tucked them in close to him; but still he shook. I therefore lay on him and pressed my face to his until I felt the warmth returning to his body. The fact that this was the third chill in four nights deepened the impression in my mind that the end was drawing near.

About midnight a great change came over him. He no longer cared for any of his medicine, and did not even seem to thirst for water as heretofore. Some things almost ceased. His pain settled deeper in. He could no longer lie straight in bed as formerly….. When he could no longer make his wishes known by words, he would do so by signs. …I looked to the Lord, and steeled myself, saying, “I will stay with him to the finish.”

The most wonderful thing about this most wonderful man was that, during all his sufferings, trials, inconveniences and perplexities, he spoke not a word of complaint, he heaved not a sigh; he uttered not a moan; he shed not a tear. He had resolved that he would not murmur nor complain, and he kept his resolution to the end. He literally died in doing the Father’s will, and thus fulfilled his vow.

“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on” (Revelation 14:13)     

The Author–Brother Menta Sturgeon (1867-1935)

brother-menta-sturgeon-1867-1935

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/23/pastor-charles-russells-last-days/

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