Prayer of The Consecrated – Hymns of Dawn No. 16

Prayer of the Consecrated – Hymns of Dawn No. 16

Here is a recording of Hymn No. 16 from the “Hymns of Dawn” to aid God’s people in singing and making melody in their hearts unto God.

“(1) Come, let us shout joyfully to Jehovah! Let us shout in triumph to our Rock of salvation. (2) Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; Let us sing and shout in triumph to him” (Psalm 95:1,2).

“My mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:5).

Lyrics

1.
As with gladness men of old
Did the guiding star behold;
As with joy they hailed its light,
Leading onward, beaming bright;
So, most gracious Lord, may we
Evermore be led to thee.

2.
As with joyful steps they sped
Till they found his cradle bed,
There to bend the knee before
Him whom Heav’n and earth adore;
So may we, with willing feet
Ever seek the mercy seat.

3.
As they offered gifts most rare
To that precious child there;
So may we with holy joy,
Pure and free from sin’s alloy,
All our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to thee, our glorious King.

4.
Holy Saviour, ev’ry day
Keep us in the narrow way;
And, when earthly things are past,
Bring our ransomed souls at last
Where they need no star to guide,
Where no clouds thy glory hide.

The History Of This Hymn

AuthorW. Chatterton Dix (William Chatterton), 1837-1898.

ComposerAdapted from Conrad Kocher (1786-1872); arranged by William Henry Monk (1823-1889) in 1861.

Bible Scriptures Associated With This Hymn

Psalm 49:15 (KJV) — “But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me. Selah.”

Psalm 105:4 (KJV) — “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!”

Matthew 2:11 (ESV) — “And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

Hebrews 4:16 (NAS) — “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

James 4:8 — “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”

Matthew 7:13, 14 (NAS) — “(13) Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. (14) For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

*******

THE NARROW WAY TO LIFE

(The above words are based on content from Study 11, Volume 1, (p. 207-218) “Studies In the Scriptures” by Br. Charles Taze Russell)

Our Master tells us that it is because of the narrowness of this way that the many prefer to remain on the broad road to destruction (Matthew 7:14).

Before considering this way and its dangers and difficulties, let us notice the end to which it leads—life—which may be enjoyed on various planes of being, but here our Lord uses it in reference to that highest form of life, pertaining to the divine nature—immortalitythe prize for which he invited us to run.

The Divine Being, Jehovah, is the great fountain of all life, from which all these springs are supplied. All living things result from and depend on Him for life. The creature is in no sense a part or an offspring of the Creator’s essence or nature, but he is God’s handiwork infused with life.

Only in the divine nature is life independent, unlimited, exhaustless, ever continuous and neither produced nor controlled by circumstances.

Immortal signifies death-proof, consequently disease and pain-proof; it may be used as a synonym for divinity. From the divine, immortal fountain proceed all life and blessing, every good and perfect gift, as from the sun the earth receives her light and vigor.

The sun is the great fountain of light to the earth, illuminating all things, producing many varieties of color and shades of light, according to the nature of the object upon which it shines. The same sunlight shining upon a diamond, upon a brick, and upon various kinds of glass, produces strikingly different effects. The light is the same, but the objects upon which it shines differ in their capacity to receive and to transmit it.

The polished diamond is so adapted to the light that it appears as though it possessed it within itself, and were itself a miniature sun. So with man, one of the masterpieces of God’s creation, made only “a little lower than the angels.” He was so grandly formed as to be able to receive and retain life by the use of the means which God supplied, and never grow dim. Yet as the diamond can reflect no light except when shone upon by the sun, so man can possess and enjoy life only as the supply of life is continued. Man has not inherent life: he is no more a fountain of life than a diamond is a fountain of light. One of the strongest evidences that we have not an exhaustless supply of life in ourselves, or, in other words, that we are not immortal, is that since sin entered, death has passed upon all our race.

God had arranged that man in Eden should have access to life-sustaining trees, and the paradise in which he was placed was abundantly supplied with numbers of “every [kind of] tree” good for food or for adornment (Gen. 2:9,16,17). Among the trees of life good for food was one forbidden. While for a time forbidden to eat of the tree of knowledge, he was permitted to eat freely of trees which sustained life perfectly; and he was separated from them only after transgression, that thereby the death-penalty might go into effect (Gen. 3:22).

Thus the glory and beauty of humanity are seen to be dependent on the continued supply of life, just as the beauty of the diamond is dependent on the continued supply of sunlight. When sin deprived humanity of the right to life, and the supply was withheld, immediately the jewel began to lose its brilliancy and beauty, and finally it is deprived of its last vestige in the tomb. His beauty consumes away like a moth (Psa. 39:11, Job 14:10, 21). “For there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest” (Eccl. 9:10). But since a ransom has been found, since the death penalty has been provided by the Redeemer, the jewel is to have its beauty restored, and is again to reflect perfectly the Creator’s image when the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings (Mal. 4:2). It is because of the sin-offering, the sacrifice of Christ, that “All that are in their graves shall come forth.” There shall be a restitution of all things; first an opportunity or offer of restitution to all, and ultimately the attainment of human perfection by all who will obey the Redeemer.

This, however, is not the reward to which Jesus refers as the end of the narrow way. The reward promised to those who walk the narrow way is the “divine nature”—life inherent, life in that superlative degree which only the divine nature can possess—immortality.

What a hope!

Dare we aspire to such a height of glory? Surely not without positive and explicit invitation could any rightfully thus aspire.

From 1 Tim. 6:14-16 we learn that the immortal or divine nature was originally the possession of divinity only. We read: “He [Jesus] in his time [the Millennial age] will show who is the blessed and only potentate—the King of kings and Lord of lords, who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen nor can see.” All other beings, angels, men, beasts, birds, fish, etc., are but vessels holding each its measure of life, and all differing in character, capacity, and quality according to the organism which it has pleased the Creator to provide for each.

Jehovah, who alone possessed immortality originally, has highly exalted his Son, our Lord Jesus, to the same divine, immortal nature; hence he is now the express image of the Father’s person (Heb. 1:3). So we read, “As the Father hath LIFE IN HIMSELF [God’s definition of “immortality”life in himself—not drawn from other sources, nor dependent on circumstances, but independent, inherent life], so hath he given to the Son to have LIFE IN HIMSELF” (John 5:26).

Since the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, then, two beings are immortal; and, amazing grace! the same offer is made to the Bride of the Lamb, the “little flock” of overcomers, being selected during the Gospel age… who so run as to obtain the prize; who follow closely in the Master’s footsteps; who, like him, walk the narrow way of sacrifice, even unto death. These, when born from the dead in the resurrection, will have the divine nature and form.

This class is not to be raised from the tomb as human beings; for we are assured by the Apostle that, though sown in the tomb natural bodies, they will be raised spiritual bodies. These all shall be “changed,” and even as they once bore the image of the earthly, human nature, they shall bear the image of the heavenly. But “it doth not yet appear what we shall be”—what a spiritual body is; but “we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him,” and share in “the glory to be revealed” (1 John 3:2, Col. 1:27, 2 Cor. 4:17, John 17:22, 1 Pet. 5:10, 2 Thess. 2:14).

Not only is this high calling to a change of nature confined exclusively to the Gospel age, but it is the only offer of this age. All others are still on the broad road—these only have as yet escaped the condemnation that is on the world. This, the only way of life now open, because of its difficulty, finds few who care to walk in it. The masses of mankind in their weakness prefer the broad, easy way of self-gratification.

The narrow way, while it ends in life, in immortality, might be called a way of death, since its prize is gained through the sacrifice of the human nature even unto death. It is the narrow way of death to life. Being reckoned free from the Adamic guilt and the death penalty, the consecrated voluntarily surrender or sacrifice those human rights, reckoned theirs, which in due time they, with the world in general, would have actually received. As “the man Christ Jesus” laid down or sacrificed his life for the world, so these become joint-sacrificers with him. Not that his sacrifice was insufficient and that others were needed; but while his is all-sufficient, these are permitted to serve and to suffer with him in order to become his bride and joint-heir. So, then, while the world is under condemnation to death, and is dying with Adam, this “little flock,” through the process of faith reckonings and sacrifice, are said to die with Christ… in order to become partakers of the divine nature and glories with him; for we believe that if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him. If we suffer with him, we shall also be glorified together (Rom. 8:17, 2 Tim. 2:11,12).

In the beginning of the Millennial age, those who now walk the narrow way will have gained the great prize for which they ran, immortality; and being thus clothed with the divine nature and power, they will be prepared for the great work of restoring and blessing the world during that age.

With the end of the Gospel age, the narrow way to immortality will close, because the select “little flock” that it was designed to test and prove will have been completed.

Now is the accepted [Greek, dektos, acceptable or receivable] time”—the time in which sacrificers, coming in the merit of Jesus and becoming dead with him, are acceptable to God—a sacrifice of sweet odor. Death, as the Adamic penalty, will not be permitted forever; it will be abolished during the Millennial age; as a sacrifice it will be acceptable and rewarded only during the Gospel age.

It is only as “new creatures” that the saints of this age are on the way to life; and only as human beings are we consecrated to destruction, as sacrifices. If, as human creatures, we be dead with Christ, as new, spiritual beings, we shall live with him (Rom. 6:8). The mind of God in us, the transformed mind, is the germ of the new nature.

The new life would be easily choked; and Paul assures us that when begotten of the spirit through the truth, if we live after the flesh, we shall die (lose our life), but if we, through the spirit, do mortify (put to death) the deeds of the body (the disposition of the human nature), we (as new creatures) shall live; for the sons of God are those led by the spirit of God (Rom. 8:13,14).

This is a thought of utmost importance to all the consecrated; for if we have covenanted with God to sacrifice the human nature, and if that sacrifice was accepted by him, it is useless to attempt to take it back. The human is reckoned of God as dead now, and must actually die, never again to be restored. All that can be gained, then, by turning back to live after the flesh, is a little human gratification at the expense of the new spiritual nature.

There are, however, many consecrated ones desirous of the prize, and who have been begotten of the spirit, who are partially overcome by the allurements of the world, the desires of the flesh, or the arts of the devil. They partially lose sight of the prize set before us, and try to walk upon a middle road—to keep the favor of God and the favor of the world, forgetting that “the friendship of the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4), and that the instructions to those running the race for the prize are:

Love not the world, and,

seek not honor one of another,

but that honor which cometh from God only

(1 John 2:15; John 5:44).

These, who love the present world, but who have not wholly forsaken the Lord and despised their covenant, receive a scourging and purifying by the fire of affliction. As the Apostle expresses it, they are delivered over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit (the newly begotten nature) may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 5:5). And if rightly exercised by the discipline, they will finally be received into the spiritual condition. They will have everlasting, spirit life as angels have it, but will lose the prize of immortality. They will serve God in his temple, and stand before the throne, having palms in their hands (Rev. 7:9-17); but though that will be glorious, it will not be so glorious as the position of the “little flock” of overcomers, who will be kings and priests unto God, seated with Jesus in the throne as his bride and joint-heir, and with him crowned with immortality.

Ours is a rugged, steep, narrow way, and were it not that strength is furnished for each successive step of the journey, we could never reach the goal.

JOHN-16-33-.jpg

The difficulties of this way are to act as a separating principle to sanctify and refine a “peculiar people” to be “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.” In view of these things, let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, while we fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on “the crown of glory”—immortality, the divine nature (2 Tim. 4:8, 1 Peter 5:4).

The Highway of Holiness

While the special hope of the Gospel age is so surpassingly glorious, and the way to it is correspondingly difficult—narrow, hedged in by hardships and dangers at every step—so that few find it, and obtain the great prize at its end, the new order of things in the age to come is to be entirely different. As a different hope is held out, so also a different way leads to it.

The way to immortality has been a way which required the sacrifice [giving up, surrendering] of the otherwise lawful and proper hopes, ambitions and desiresthe sacrifice forever of the human nature.

But the way to human perfection, to restitution, the hope of the world, requires only the putting away of sin: not the sacrifice of human rights and privileges, but their proper enjoyment. It will lead to personal purification and restoration to the image of God as enjoyed by Adam before sin entered the world.

The way back to actual human perfection is to be made very plain and easy; so plain that none may mistake the way; so plain that “the wayfaring man, and those unacquainted therewith, shall not go astray” (Isa. 35:8—Leeser); so plain that none will need to teach his neighbor, saying, Know the Lord, for all shall know the Lord from the least unto the greatest (Jer. 31:34). Instead of being a narrow way that few can find, it is termed “a highway,” a public roadway—not a narrow, steep, rugged, difficult, hedged byway, but a way specially prepared for easy travel—specially arranged for the convenience and comfort of the travelers. Verses 8 and 9 show that it is a public road, open to all the redeemed—every man. Every man for whom Christ died, who will recognize and avail himself of the opportunities and blessings purchased by the precious blood, may go up on this Highway of Holiness to the grand goal of perfect restitution to human perfection and everlasting life.

Nor will these be reckoned justified and granted a reckoned standing of holiness and perfection in the sight of God; when started upon this highway of holiness they may go up thereon to actual perfection, as a result of endeavor and obedience, to which all things will be made favorable by their Redeemer, then reigning in power. Each individual will, according to his necessities, be aided by the wise and perfect administration of the new kingdom. This, as will occur to some, is the legitimate result of the ransom.

Since our Lord, the man Christ Jesus, gave himself a ransom for all, and desires all to come to a knowledge of the truth, and thereby to actual perfection, why does he not at once make a good and broad highway for all?

Why does he not remove the obstructions, the stumbling-stones, the pitfalls and snares?

Why not help the sinner back to full harmony with God, instead of making the way narrow, rugged, thorny, hard to find, and still harder to walk in?

A failure rightly to divide the Word of truth, and to see that the present narrow way leads to the special prize, and is for the trial and selection of a little flock of joint-heirs, the body of Christ, which, when selected and exalted with their Head, shall bless all nations, has led some to very confused ideas on the subject.

Failing to see God’s plan, many try to preach a highway of holiness, an easy way to life, in the present age, when no such way exists, and they confuse and compromise the matter to fit the facts and the Scriptures with their mistaken theories.

On the highway soon to be opened, only sinful things will be prohibited, while those who travel the narrow way [now] must [page 217]:

  1. DENY themselves;
  2. SACRIFICE many things not sinful;
  3. War continually against besetting sins.

This is a pathway of SACRIFICE, as that of the coming age is to be a highway of righteousness.

Of that highway it is significantly stated in symbolic language that “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon; it shall not be found there” (Isa. 35:9). How many frightful lions are now in the way of those who would be glad to forsake sinful ways, and to pursue righteousness! There is the lion of a degenerate public sentiment, which deters many from venturing to obey the dictates of conscience in matters of everyday life—dress, home, and business arrangements, etc. The lion of temptation to strong drink hinders thousands who would be glad to see it removed. “Nor shall any ravenous beast go up thereon.” No giant corporations, organized to advance selfish, individual interests at the expense of the general good, will be tolerated. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain” (kingdom) saith the Lord (Isa. 11:9).

Though there will be difficulties to labor against in overcoming propensities to evil, etc., yet, in comparison with the narrow way of this age, that will be an easy way. The stones (stumbling-stones) shall all be gathered out, and the standard of truth shall be lifted up for the people (Isa. 62:10). Ignorance and superstition will be things of the past, and righteousness will receive its due reward, while to evil will be meted out its just deserts (Mal. 3:15,18). By wholesome chastisements, fitting encouragements and plain instructions, as returned prodigals, mankind will be trained and disciplined up to the grand [page 218] perfection from which father Adam fell. Thus “the ransomed of the Lord shall return [from destruction, by the grand highway of holiness] with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isa. 35:10).

Hence, the present “Narrow Way,” opened up by the merit of the same precious blood, is a special way leading to a special prize, and is made specially

narrow
and
difficult

as a test and discipline

for those now being selected to be made partakers of the divine nature and joint-heirs with our Lord Jesus in the Kingdom of glory soon to be revealed for the blessing of all. Such as have this hopewho see this prize—may count all other hopes as but loss and dross in comparison (Phil. 3:8-15).

Hymn Book Purchase

The Hymns Of Dawn (hymn book) can be purchased at:

The Chicago Bible Students Online Bookstore: https://chicagobible.org/product-category/books/page/4/

The Dawn Bible Students Association: http://www.dawnbible.com/dawnpub.htm

Acknowledgment & References

  • Br. Charles Taze Russell

pastor-russell-in-his-study.jpg

Br. Charles Russell—the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” which was published in Allegheny, Pa., in 1890. This Bible Students’ devotional originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.

POEMS-AND-HYMNS-OF-MILLENNIAL-DAWN

The following prefatory to the 1905 publication of Hymns of Millennial Dawn may be of historical interest to many of our readers.

We published in 1890, with several more recent editions, a volume entitled “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” without music. The same collection of hymns with the music is now urgently needed, and therefore appears in this volume. The poems, although highly prized, are omitted for greater convenience in size. We have preserved the same alphabetical order, because so many of our readers have the older book; and where a different tune is given from that originally suggested the latter is indicated by Alt. for alternative tune, with the number where that tune can be found.

Both words and music are credited to the same class to whom the work is dedicated—to the Lord and His faithful people, “the Saints.” The authors of many of the best of them are unknown to us, and, besides, slight changes have been made in the phraseology and sentiment of quite a number, which we could not be sure their original authors would approve, and to give personal credit to less than one half would seem invidious. To all of these dear “Saints” of all ages we therefore give united and hearty thanks for the blessings which they, as the Lord’s servants and handmaidens, have bestowed upon their fellow-members of “the Church of the Firstborn, whose names are written in Heaven.” Most of them died long ago: their abundant reward will be of the Lord in the resurrection.

That the collection is thoroughly undenominational, unsectarian, will be manifest to those recognizing the fact that it includes the choicest old hymns and tunes used by all denominations.

Although we have gathered far and near and winnowed carefully we cannot hope to have gotten all the golden grains, though we do hope that no chaff can be found. The collection is for the Church, for “believers” “reconciled,” and hence contains none of the “sinners” hymns, such as “Come, ye sinners poor and needy,” because willful sinners are in no sense members of the “Body” of Christ, nor are those who have not yet accepted the Lord as their Savior.

Those who will feel the deepest interest in this collection, and whose sentiments will be most fully voiced in its verses, will undoubtedly be those in fullest degree of sympathy with the divine plan of the ages, as set forth in the several volumes of Millennial Dawn – the eyes of whose understanding have been opened to the clearer, purer light now shining from our great Redeemer’s cross, showing the fulness and the completeness of his salvation.

In fact, this volume, while not numbered as one of the volumes of the Millennial Dawn series, is designed to be a companion volume, a melodious accompaniment to the “new song,” “the song of Moses and the Lamb” (the grand harmony of the Law and the Gospel), as presented in the regular Dawn series.

Let the music of God’s good and great plan ring through your hearts and lives, dear fellow-pilgrims and fellow members of the “royal priesthood,” so that every day and every hour shall be filled with joy and praise and thankfulness! And that this little volume may assist in deepening the work of grace in your hearts is our hope and prayer.

– Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, July, 1905, Allegheny, PA, USA

——-

Later on, the hymns from this book formed a basis for the hymnal titled “Hymns of Dawn” which was published by the Dawn Bible Students Association in East Rutherford, New Jersey (USA) and the 1999 edition contains a total of 361 hymns.

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Suggested Further Reading

1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18 – Prayer – The “Oxygen” for the New Creature in Christ.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/11/04/1-thessalonians-516-18-prayer-the-oxygen-for-the-new-creature-in-christ/

ACTS 23:6 – HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART A. What Is Jesus All About?
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 Resurrect With the Same Mind?
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. https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/11/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-c-the-order-of-the-resurrection-process/

ACTS 3:19-21 – The Restitution of All Things
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/02/acts-319-21-the-restitution-of-all-things/

Epoch Periods In God’s Plan
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/16/epoch-periods-in-gods-plan/

The Resurrection of the Dead. Faithbuilders Fellowship, Nov. – Dec. 2008 (Journal Section). http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2008/06_nd_08.pdf

Life After Death. Dawn Bible Students Association.
http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/life.htm

What Does the Word “hell” really mean?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/05/18/what-does-the-word-hell-really-mean/

The Truth About Hell booklet, the Dawn Bible Association.

When A Man Dies booklet, the Dawn Bible Association.

What Everyone Should Know About Being Saved booklet, the Chicago Bible Students.

What Say the Scriptures About Hell, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine.

 

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Dead To The World – Hymns Of Dawn No. 192

Dead To The World – Hymns of Dawn No. 192

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:2-3).

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:8-11, ESV).

Lyrics

1.
Not to ourselves again,
Not to the flesh we live;
Not to the world henceforth shall we
Our strength, our being give.

2.
The time past of our lives,
Sufficeth to have wrought
The fleshly will, which only ill
Has to us ever brought.

3.
No truce with vanity,
Or this world’s idle show;
Lust of the flesh and eye, or pride
Of life, we shall not know.

4.
Dead to the world and all
Its gayety and pride
To its vain pomp and glory be
Forever crucified.

5.
When he who is our life
Appears to take the throne,
We, too, shall be revealed, and shine
In glory like his own.

6.
Shine as the sun shall we
In the bright kingdom then;
Our sky without a single cloud,
Ourselves without a stain.

7.
Like him we then shall be
Transformed and glorified;
For we shall see him as he is,
And in his light abide.

Hymn Book Purchase

The Hymns Of Dawn (hymn book) can be purchased here:
The Chicago Bible Students Online Bookstore: https://chicagobible.org/product-category/books/page/4/
The Dawn Bible Students Association: http://www.dawnbible.com/dawnpub.htm

Colossians 3  – Put On the New Self

Rotherham Translation:

(1) If, therefore, ye have been raised together with the Christ, the things on high, be seeking, where, the Christ, is—on the right hand of God, sitting; (2) The things on high, hold in esteem, not the things upon the earth: (3) For ye have died, and, your life, is hid, together with the Christ, in God,— (4) As soon as, the Christ, shall be made manifest—our life, then, ye also, together with him, shall be made manifest in glory;

(5) Make dead, therefore, your members that are on the earth—as regardeth fornication, impurity, passion, base coveting, and greed, the which, is idolatry,— (6) On account of which things cometh the anger of God,— (7) Wherein, ye also, walked, at one time, when ye were living in these things; (8) But, now, do, ye also, put them all away,—anger, wrath, baseness, defamation, shameful talk out of your mouth: (9) Be not guilty of falsehood one to another: having stript off the old man, together with his practices,

(10) And having put on the new—who is being moulded afresh unto personal knowledge, after the image of him that hath created him,— (11) Wherein there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, foreigner, Scythian, bond, free,—but, all things and in all, Christ: (12) Put on, therefore, as men chosen of God, holy and beloved, tender affections of compassion, graciousness, lowliness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, (13) Bearing one with another, and in favour forgiving one another—if any, against any, have a complaint,—according as, the Lord, in favour forgave you, so also ye; (14) And, over all these things, love, which is a uniting-bond of completeness;

(15) And let, the peace of Christ, act as umpire in your hearts, unto which ye have been called in [one] body, and be thankful: (16) Let, the word of the Christ, dwell within you richly,—in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another, with psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, with gratitude, raising song with your hearts unto God: (17) And whatsoever ye may be doing, in word, or in work, all things, [do] in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto the Divine Father through him:— (18) Ye wives! be submitting yourselves unto your husbands, as is becoming in the Lord; (19) Ye husbands! be loving your wives, and be not embittered against them;

(20) Ye children! be obedient unto your parents in all things, for, this, is, well pleasing, in the Lord; (21) Ye fathers! be not irritating your children, lest they be disheartened; (22) Ye servants! be obedient, in all things, unto them who, according to the flesh, are your masters,—not with eye-service, as man-pleasers, but with singleness of heart, revering the Lord,— (23) Whatsoever ye may be doing, from the soul, be working at it, as unto the Lord, and not unto men,- (24) Knowing that, from the Lord, ye shall duly receive the recompense of the inheritance,—unto the Lord Christ, are ye in service; (25) For, he that acteth unrighteously, shall get back what he had unrighteously done, and there is no respect of persons;

Acknowledgment & References

Br. Charles Taze Russell

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Br. Charles Russell—the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” which was published in Allegheny, Pa., in 1890. This Bible Students’ devotional originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.

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Later on, the hymns from this book formed a basis for the hymnal titled ““Hymns of Dawn” which was published by the Dawn Bible Students Association in East Rutherford, New Jersey (USA) and the 1999 edition contains a total of 361 hymns.

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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 6:1-3 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 Israel 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 be restored in 1878 and forward, on day “six” from Adam.

Hence Israel is now being restored — presently as a nation, and later, in the Kingdom, to individual life after they recognize Jesus as their Redeemer.

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 Was 2 Peter 3:6 — Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water [the Flood], perished.
  • Present Evil World Galatians 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 day — evidently 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.htdb.one

Br. David Rice — for content & editing assistance.

Further Suggested Reading

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

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

Israel in History and Prophecyhttp://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/israel_hp.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/

 

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2 TIMOTHY 3:12 – Godliness Attracts Persecution

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“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:14-17, ESV).

What is Godliness?

Here are some words of the Psalmist David in Psalm 15:1-5.

“(1) O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; (3) who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbor, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; (4) in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honors those who fear the LORD; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; (5) who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things shall never be moved.”

GODLINESS is:

  • the condition of righteousness (Matthew 5:10, 1 Timothy 6:11, Matthew 6:33, Proverbs 10:2, Proverbs 11:18, Psalm 34:15, Matthew 5:6, Psalm 34:19, Romans 1:17, 2 Corinthians 6:14, 1 Peter 2:24, 1 Peter 3:12, Romans 1:17, 5:19, 6:13);
  • an opposition to sin—as God is opposed to sin (Psalm 1:1, Psalm 37:28);
  • a condition in harmony with justice—as God is just (Micah 6:8, Romans 2:1, Isaiah 1:17, Isaiah 30:18, Psalm 33:5, Zechariah 7:9-10);
  • generosity and kindness and love—as God is generous and kind and loving (1 Thessalonians 5:15, Psalm 37:21);

There are kind, generous and noble characters in the world who are not Christians. These may have more or less of opposition from others who are evilly disposed—as darkness always opposes light; yet these noble people exercise moderation in their righteousness—they are not righteous overmuch. These fine characters might occasionally get some persecution, politically or otherwise; but even the enemies of such would have respect for them.

Living godly versus living godly in Christ Jesus

Because of their special relationship to Christ Jesus, God’s people:

  • have a special enlightenment.
  • see more clearly the principles of God’s Justice.
  • have a more exacting rule by which their lives are governed.
  • have an intelligent knowledge that they have entered into a Covenant of Sacrifice. 
  • realize that they are not to compromise their religion in any way; not to compromise with sin or with the world.
  • uphold the principles of righteousness, even to the detriment of their own earthly interests.
  • consecrate all of their time, talent, influence, money to the Lord’s service, and in relation to the use of their blessings from God, they ask themselves:

     “What is the Lord’s will, the Lord’s way?”

    How would the Heavenly Father want me to use my time, talents, influence, money etc… in His service, in the cause of Christ?

God’s people would wish to use their money for the preaching of the Gospel and the publishing of it in various ways. They would reason:  There are many opportunities for people to get education along earthly lines, and I believe the Lord would have me as His child to use His money to help people get spiritual education.

The godly who are not in Christ Jesus—those who have a measure of Godlikeness:

  • do not see these deeper things of the Divine Plan and the special arrangement God has made with the Church.
  • may indulge in a great many things that would not be wrong for the world—not sinful, not immoral, not unkind.
  • might feel perfectly free to give of their money for various causes and purposes, that would be reasonable and proper in themselves— such as attending a football match or a theatre production; spend a certain amount each season on the opera; be patrons of art and music and literature—adopting a course that will win the approval of society; or spend a thousand dollars—or ten thousand dollars—on a single painting, because he wants art to flourish. Or he might buy a fine piece of sculpture to adorn his home, but this is not the course for true Christians, who must consider the Lord’s will for them as His servants.

The Christian has limitations which the worldly do not have. 

But we are glad! 

  • Glad for all good men and good women, who can be good and noble even though not in Christ Jesus.
  • Glad to esteem them.

There are noble people in the world. There are some godly ones (to a certain degree) outside the Church, and they are likely to come to see something of the Truth, if they are really noble characters.

The godly of this world will get a blessing in the Restitution time. Every godly thing that they have done, every act of generosity, will get its reward. By cultivating their higher sentiments, they will have fewer steps to retrace.

Specially GODLY are Specially PERSECUTED

The persecutions which come to the godly in Christ Jesus are special persecutions. We are not to expect much of this from the Body of Christ. 

Persecution is not merely one act or one word—it is a succession of unkind words and acts with a view to punishing some one for adhering to an opinion or course of conduct.

Persecution comes from a certain class called by Jesus the world. But the class that Jesus called the world are those who had form of godliness, but did not have the power  thereof. The Apostle speaks of a class who would take the name of the Lord upon them and misuse that name. There are people in the world today who do not know nor want to know the difference between Truth and error—and who keep out of the way of being told. They somehow know that there would come a certain measure of condemnation to themselves if they recognized the real facts and did not act in accordance with them.

They are not all bad people by any means. There are very many good people among the tares; but there is no real wheat among the tares—no real nutriment.

These tares pose as the Church of Christ; the tare systems pose as Christianity. And from this class usually come the persecutions. They try to crowd out the wheat, or to choke it and make it unfruitful. It was so in our Lord’s day. Those to whom the Lord referred as persecutors were not the Gentile world of His day, but the worldly ones of the Jews—those who were not fully consecrated to the Lord, but who thought they were.

Nicodemus was a fine character, and Gamaliel was a fine character—and so were a great many who did not become Christ’s disciples at all but were seeking after righteousness; as, for instance, the young man who came to the Lord and asked Him, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” The Lord answered, “Thou knowest the commandments.” The young man said, “Master, all these have I observed from my youth up.” He was a noble character, and Jesus looking on him loved him, even though he was not a disciple. And Jesus said to him. “One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in Heaven; and come, take up thy cross, and follow Me.” But he went away sorrowful. He did not want to become a member in Christ Jesus.

He did not want to give everything to the Lord.

He was very rich—“had great possessions,” and he preferred to hold on to his wealth.—Mark 10:17-22.

There were others who went through many of the forms and ceremonies, and who kept the various admonitions of the Law, and its feasts and fasts; but they were not the “Israelites indeed in whom was no guile.” And later they became the persecutors of Christ and those who walk in His steps of sacrifice.

Professed Christian Persecutors

And so those who live godly in Christ Jesus have their persecutions, not so much from the worldly class as from professing Christians. There is a class in Churchianity today that has a great deal of pride and self-satisfaction.

Some say respecting those who proclaim Present Truth and who live saintly lives as followers of Jesus Christ:

If we let these people alone and let them teach these things, all that we have been upholding for centuries will crumble.

Did not Luther hand down Truth to us?

Did not Calvin give the Church Truth?

Have we not the teachings of Wesley?

No, no; we will not have these “new doctrines”!

But we see that these people are persecuting the Truth and its representatives because of misunderstanding.

We should have a great deal of sympathy and not feel specially angry with them.

This does not mean that we should be glad of persecution—no persecution “for the present seemeth joyous, but grievous.” (Hebrews 12:11.) But if we know that we are suffering for righteousness’ sake, then we know the Spirit of God rests upon us. It is those who know that they suffer for Christ’s sake, and who take it gladly because it is the will of God, that may rejoice, because the persecution is working out in them blessed effects. Let us then

“Be still beneath His tender care,
For He will make the tempest cease;
And bring from out the anguish here,
The afterward of peace.”

“The Lord Your God Doth Prove You”

WHY does God permit His people to suffer?

WHY does God not shield those who are His from suffering, just as a loving parent would shield a child?

The Scriptures reply that it is because God is working out a great Plan that will eventually bring blessings to all who will do righteously. God wishes to show the evil effects of sin and the deteriorating effects of Adamic disobedience. God’s purpose is that after the Six Days of Sin and Death are ended, in the Seventh Day there shall be a blessing for the whole groaning creation. “Jehovah God will wipe away tears from off all faces.”Isaiah 25:8.

And there is a particular reason why God should permit persecution to come upon His consecrated ones. “The Lord your God doth prove you,” test you. Why? What is He proving? 

We profess to be His loyal children. We profess to be laying down all that we have. And now “the Lord your God doth prove you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and with ALL your soul.Deuteronomy 8:213:3.

How much will you endure? 

How patiently will you endure? 

To what extent will you endure? 

Those who will endure most, and endure most patiently, will give evidence of the best character.  And those who demonstrate the best character will have the highest positions in the Kingdom. Each will get a position according to his faithfulness. But as star differeth from star in glory, so it will be in the Kingdom.

 

He who fights

the greatest fight against his own nature

and demonstrates most the love and zeal of his heart,

such is the one who will have a high place.

 

The Solitary Way

Alas! How few may know the grace it takes
To tread the solitary way. Alone!
Ah, yes, alone! No other human heart
Can understand the nameless sorrows there—
The nights in weeping spent, and yet, when dawns
The day, to greet the world with radiant smile,
And scatter sunshine while you whisper low
To your poor heart, “Canst bear a little more?”

Alone! Poor heart, and dost thou question, Why?
Dost think it strange that thou must walk this way?
Ah, no! Thou dost but follow in His steps
Who went before, and of the people there
Was none with Him! Alone? Yet not alone
Hath not thy blessed Lord and Master said,
“My presence shall go with thee”? Ah, my soul,
No longer, then a solitary way!

G. W. Seibert

Acknowledgment

Br. Charles Taze Russell. The content of this post is based on Reprint 5394-5 from the Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Br. Allen Springer—for the Harvest Truth Data Base website from which all the Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence can be accessed electronically.

 

The URL for this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/14/2-timothy-312-godliness-attracts-persecution/

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IN THE WILDERNESS

 

Psalm 121-1-3-bsd.jpg

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.

 

HELP FROM THE LORD

(Reference of words below: 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.

  • “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
  • “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
  • “Let us fear, lest a promise being left of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it” (Hebrews 4:1).

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 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.” (Daniel 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.

Summary of further points in Reprint article 4311…

  • 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 service” (Romans 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 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. 

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.

the lord will keep you from all harm.jpg

 

Acknowledgment

Br. Charles Taze Russell—Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

The Harvest Truth Data Base: http://www.htdb.one

Suggested Further Reading

Patient Endurance. Faithbuilders Fellowship” Journal, March/April 2009.http://2043ad.com/journal/2009/2009b.pdf

In The Secret of His Presence. “BIBLE Students DAILY.”
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/05/in-the-secret-of-his-presence/

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

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1 CORINTHIANS 15:45 – How Long Until the Millennial Reign of the “Last Adam”?

1 Corinthians 15-45 -3.jpg

“Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life‑giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45).

Of the two natures, human nature and spirit nature, Br. Charles T. Russell wrote in R1259:5: “As surely as there are natural, human or earthly bodies, so surely also there is such a thing as a heavenly or spirit body.”

Adam was the first human man and all the peoples of the earth are descended from Adam, no matter how different in color, stature, intelligence, etc. they may now be (R2344:6). Adam generated no children until first Eve had been taken from his side (R4556:2). The first Adam is the sample of what an earthly body will attain to in the resurrection. (R1855:2, R3564:3).

The Apostle Paul in this statement from 1 Corinthians 15:45 does not contrast Adam and Jesus, but speaks of the “first Adam” and the “last Adam.” Christ is very unlike Adam. Jesus was obedient. However, Adam and Eve in some respects foreshadowed Christ and the Church in the sense that Christ will be the Great Life‑giver, or Father of mankind, while the Church (Hebrews 12:23, 2 Timothy 2:10) will be the mother or caretaker of the regenerated hosts (R5141:5, 777:1).

Jesus as the “Last Adam”

Jesus, as a “last Adam,” presently lifts us from condemnation and restores us to the fellowship of God through redemption. The saints have been regenerated by our Lord from heaven, but rather than grow to human perfection, they sacrifice their justified bodies in the service of Christ for a higher calling, theHigh calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). These, if faithful to their calling, will become, symbolically, a spiritual “bride” for Christ (Revelation 21:2). Then Christ and the Church will together restore and uplift the world, and bring them back to perfection during the Millennium. In this way Christ will be a “second Adam” or life giver to the world, and the Church will be a second “Eve” to nurture and assist them.

Adam was made a living soul since he was given a natural body, which is earthly. The “last Adam,” or life‑giving being, is Jesus, who from his resurrection forward is a glorious spirit being of highest magnitude.

“Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3, KJV).

Eve was drawn from Adam when his side was opened up after he passed into a deep sleep. She was formed from a rib of Adam, “bone of my bones” (Genesis 2:23). Jesus also was caused to pass into a deep sleep, the sleep of death, and then his side was opened up by the spear of the soldier at the cross (John 19:34). From this came blood and water, which represents redemption and the water of the Spirit, by which the Church class is developed.

The Church class are “bone” of Jesus’ bones, in the sense that bones represent one’s hopes for the future. We share the same hopes for glory in the service of God, as our Lord Jesus had. Of Jesus it was said that “A bone of him shall not be broken” (John 19:36). That means that despite the tortuous trials and treatment suffered by Jesus, not one of his prospects for the future was in the least damaged. Those same prospects are sure for his bride also, “bone” of his bones.

The Bride of Christ shall be made Christ’s joint‑heir and help mate in the Kingdom who’s role will be to nourish and instruct all the willing and obedient back into harmony with God during the Millennial age (R4556:2, R5967).

“The plan of God proposes that the second Adam shall in relation to Adam take his place as the life‑giver to a race who shall possess the earth and enjoy it… as Father to our race does our Lord correspond to Adam—as the second Adam” (R4556:2). He is called the second Adam, in that he takes the place of the first Adam—undertakes to be the Father and life‑giver to Adam and every member of his race” (Expanded Biblical Comments). Upon condition of their obedience to him, they may then obtain everlasting life.

Our Redeemer presently enlivens us, in the respect that our old nature has been lifted from condemnation. This allows us to present ourselves in devotion and service to God, in order that we may grow a new life, a spiritual life, a heavenly life, to be secured in the first resurrection. Of that life God is Father, our “Heavenly Father.” “In accepting Christ as Redeemer, the believing one is reckoned no longer as a dying son of the dead Adam, but as a living son of the ‘last Adam,’ having a new life in Christ” (R1438:1). Our renewed standing is then laid down in sacrifice to God for the prospect of a heavenly life above. Our higher prospect is mentioned in Ephesians 2:6, NIV, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”

How Long from the Creation of Adam to the Millennial Reign of the “Last Adam”?

The period in question, judging by the Hebrew Scriptures, was on the order of 4000 years. As we are now on the order of 2000 years further, brethren of our fellowship recognize that it is now timely for the blessed Kingdom of God to become established on Earth. For there is a long standing view, held even by Jewish Sages in pre‑Christian times, that God intended a millennium of blessing for the world following six millenniums of sin and death.

The Holy Scriptures refer to a “day” with God as a thousand years:

“A thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday [one day] when it is past, or as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4).

“With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

By this measure, the six days of labor in the Jewish economy represent 6000 years of sin and death, and the sabbath of rest represents the 1000 year Millennium of restoration (Revelation 20:1‑6).

Ezekiel 46:1 (ESV) expresses this concept symbolically. “Thus says the Lord GOD: The gate of the inner court that faces east shall be shut on the six working days, but on the Sabbath day [the 7th day, which represents the Millennial Age of Revelation 20:4‑6] it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon [when a new covenant will be inaugurated with Israel] it shall be opened.”

With this hope in mind, Christians throughout history have endeavoured to estimate when the close of 6000 years may come.

 A Historical Perspective

In the days of William Miller and the early Adventist Movement, they supposed 6000 years were drawing to a close in the mid 1800s. In fact, William Miller concluded that Christ would return in 1843, assuming that 6000 years would end then. When Christ did not return as expected, some brethren gave up their faith but others simply recognized that they needed to keep looking. Br. Nelson Barbour was among those. He came to believe that Jesus would return in 1873. Therefore, he assumed that 6000 years would end about that time. He went looking, and found in EB Elliott’s work, “Horae Apocalypticae,” written in the early 1800s, a version of Bible chronology suggested there that shows how 6000 years might conclude somewhere near the year 1872.

Br. Barbour was a younger associate of Br. Miller, so he followed Br. Miller’s assumption that 6000 years would approximately mark the return of Christ. As far as we know, Br. Barbour did not consider another option—namely that 6000 years would take us to the completion of the Church, rather than simply to the return of Christ.

Br. Russell met Br. Barbour in Philadelphia in 1876, and accepted the prophetic package, as it seemed reasonable. At the time they anticipated that the Church would be complete in 1878, after that they supposed it would be in 1881, and subsequently the expectation was reset to 1914. But concerns persisted. It seemed that a seventh “day” had commenced, and yet the “thousand years” of Revelation 20:4,6, was deferred. How could this be explained?

Some of the dear brethren seem unaware of the perplexity expressed on this issue by Pastor Russell himself. However, his words are clear and to the point about the uncertainty. It thus surprises us that even some who honor and revere his service bypass the important and specific points he advised brethren of, respecting this. However, the issue did not escape the attention of brethren in Pastor Russell’s own day. Thus, near the end of the year 1900, the following specific question was submitted to Pastor Russell.

“I understand from Revelation 20:4-6 that Christ will reign one thousand years, and from verses 2 and 7 that Satan will be bound during that period. If Christ began to reign in 1878, and Satan will not be bound until 1915, the two periods do not seem to synchronize; and … both extend beyond the seventh-thousand year period which … began in the Autumn of 1872. … Can you assist me?” (R2739

Pastor Russell’s answer is very different from what some appear to suppose it should have been.

Some today appear to suppose that the right answer would have been, “The reign, the binding of Satan, and the 1000 years all began in 1874.”

But not a word of this in Pastor Russell’s actual reply.

Instead, he refers to the “obscurity” of the issue as “an open question” that, at the time, was “not now ‘meat in due season for the household of faith.’ ” However, Pastor Russell did affirm the following part of the answer.

“The Scripture declaration respecting the saints, the ‘overcomers’ is, ‘They lived and reigned a thousand years.’ The reign of the saints cannot be properly said [R2740: page 368] to begin before all the ‘jewels’ have been gathered, nor before ‘the times of the Gentiles’ end, in 1914.”

It is clear from this direct answer to the brother’s question—on an issue that was declared as of then unresolved—that the 1000 years of Revelation 20:6 would not begin until the Church was complete. It was not apparent how this synchronized with the then-current view that 6000 years had been completed.

Pastor Charles Russell continued to affirm his view that the 1000 years of Revelation 20 would not commence until the Church was completed. Nor does he express any view other than this, respecting Revelation 20 directly. In R3460 (Diagram 3), you will find a diagram showing 1000 years beginning in 1914, when he supposed the Church to be complete. He later supplemented this with the following comments in later years.

R5115“The Church shall have passed into glory … Messiah will then reign for a thousand years.”

R5604 “The great Battle of Armageddon … will precede … Messiah’s glorious rule of a thousand years … (Revelation 20:6).”

R5692“Messiah’s kingdom shall be fully inaugurated. Then these shall … reign with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:4.)

R5919The Kingdom cannot come until the Royal Family is ready to take the Throne. Jesus, indeed, has long been ready; but in harmony with the Father’s Plan He has waited and has been doing a work in the preparation of the Church, His brethren, who are to be His joint-heirs in the Kingdom—otherwise styled ‘the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife.’ (Romans 8:17; Revelation 21:9,10.) Then for a thousand years the Restitution privileges will be open to the whole world of mankind. It will no longer be necessary to preach; for all will know the Lord, from the least unto the greatest, and unto Him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. (Jeremiah 31:34; Philippians 2:9-11.)”

There is more. Sometime late in the year 1913, Br. Russell changed the chart to accord with the expression cited just above. Early on, the period from the parousia of Christ forward was labeled “Millennial Age.” But late in 1913, Pastor Russell changed the designation to the broad Messianic Age.”

Why this change?

The reason seems apparent. Strictly speaking, the 1000 years of Revelation 20:4-6 would not begin until the end of the Harvest. Thus, if one begins a period incipiently from the parousia forward, better to give it a more general designation, “Messianic Age,” to avoid the inference that the 1000 years proper, of Revelation 20:4-6, had commenced.

A perceptive awareness of these points is the foundation for a recent presentation by Br. George Tabac, “Harvest Timing Clarifications (2016),” which explains these points in remarkable detail. This presentation is specially excellent for brethren with high regard for the teaching of Pastor Russell.

What is the Answer?

What, then, is the answer to the question that has spurred so much discussion during the Harvest period? Namely—how does one reconcile the end of 6000 years early in the harvest of the Gospel Age, with the fact that the thousand years of Revelation 20:4-6 begins at the close of the harvest?

The answer is now at hand.

In the century and a half since the harvest began, and decades after Pastor Russell completed his course, the history of the Old Testament has clarified. 

Not because of the wisdom of men, but because it was God’s due time for greater clarity, to direct the Church to the approaching climax of their hopes.

The timeline from the Hebrew scriptures directly, respecting the synchronisms of the kings of Israel and Judah, shows that some of the kings of Judah (and of Israel) overlapped one another, in periods of coregencies. The testimony of these facts comes from the scriptures directly. However, the issues had not been solved while Pastor Russell lived. It was premature. “We may see some day just how [these synchronisms in the Hebrew Scriptures] can be harmonized, but at present we do not” (Question Book, page 42).

The overlapping of Judean kings, testified to in the Old Testament Scriptures, reduces the period of Kings from 513 years to 463 years. Affixing the end of this period to the firm date of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, establishes the year in which Israel’s last king, Zedekiah, lost his throne, was in 587 bc.

This means that we can now date the spring of Solomon’s fourth year to 966 bc, at which time was founded (but not yet operational) “Solomon’s Temple,” referred to in 1 Kings 6:1. From that text we can then place the Exodus at 1445 bc. (Note: 1445 bc is discussed in the following post: STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud by Day and The Pillar of Smoke by Night.)

As detailed in Volume Two of Studies in the Scriptures—“The Time is at Hand,” by Br. Charles Russell (page 43-47)—the time from Adam to the Exodus is widely agreed among brethren to be 2513 years. That is:

From Adam to the Flood

From the Covenant with Abraham to the giving of the law.jpg

If we now count from the Exodus date of 1445 bc, a period of 2513 years backward to Adam, the result is the date 3958 bc for the creation of Adam. Six thousand years forward from there will be the year 2043 ad—thus the date opening the Seventh Millennium, which apparently is the same as the 1000 year Millennium of Revelation chapter 20.

Now the answer to the conundrum that Pastor Russell said was an “open question” in his day, can be resolved—for it is timely, inasmuch as the end of the harvest approaches. The resolution is straight forward. The end of 6000 years of permission of evil synchronizes with the close of the harvest, rather than with the opening of the harvest. With this key, all is harmonious.

 

Acknowledgements

 

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Doing and Saying the Kindest Thing in the Kindest Way

1 PETER 3, 9 - DOING & SAYING THE KINDEST THING IN THE KINDEST WAY

What is the SPIRIT OF HELPFULNESS all about?

“Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification(Romans 15:2).

In Romans 15:2, the Apostle Paul is not saying, let the younger ones please their neighbour, nor does he say, let the older ones please their neighbour; but he says,

 “Let EVERY ONE of us please his neighbour.”  

All of the Lord’s people should have such an interest in one another and in the Lord’s cause, and should have so much of the spirit of the Master, that they would seek rather to sacrifice themselves than to gratify self, especially at the expense of others.

If we have the spirit of Christ, we shall find various ways in which we will sacrifice self without waiting for specific directions.

The Law of Love will incite us to act contrary to our own natural preferences, if by so doing we shall help one another in the good way.

In his letter to the Corinthian Church the apostle illustrates this principle by a practical application regarding the Greek custom of offering their meat in their temples. After having been thus offered to the idols, the meat was considered to be especially sacred. Nearly all of the meat available was offered to idols, so that whenever one wished to have meat he could find none that had not been thus offered.

Those who had come out of idolatry into Christianity, knew that the worship of idols was wrong; for they had learned that there is only the one true God.

The apostle declares that he would abstain altogether from eating meat rather than risk stumbling a brother who could not take the broader, truer view. To stumble such a one, might be to throw him out of the right way entirely.

Responsibility For Our Influence

The apostle Paul did not say that it is not right to eat meat; but rather, that he was willing to forego his rights and privileges in order to edify another.

These others of whom the apostle Paul had spoke had not come to appreciate fully the fact that meat offered to idols had not suffered any ill effect or been changed in any way from having had this done. To set meat before a piece of stone would not injure it; and so to set it before an idol would not cause it any ill effects.

But Paul so self-sacrificially, preferred to give up eating meat altogether rather than to stumble any brother or sister in Christ.

What a glorious lesson for us dear friends!

Let us ask our self the follow questions:

When necessary, do I willing deny myself some of my privileges and rights in striving to be of any assistance to my brethren in Christ and in avoiding to stumble them?

Some of the Lord’s people have very sensitive consciences, others are less sensitive.

The longer one has been in the “School of Christ” and/or the more ability one may have, the more easily should one be able to discern what would be pleasing to the Lord we would hope based on each individual’s uniquely permitted experiences, of course that only the Heavenly Father and His son Jesus perfectly understand best, as they are Divine beings.

As a Christian, one would not want to do anything to offend the Lord, even if he were to go without meat for the remainder of his life.

Another introspective question for Christ-like development may be perhaps this one:

Would I, even if it be for the remainder of this carnal life, prefer to deny myself of something (that of course would not harm the New Creation of Christ within self,) that would be for the best interests of another beloved one in Christ so as not to stumble a weaker one in faith or one who may have their conscience violated by doing so?

This involves walking and talking with the Heavenly Father moment to moment to discern God’s will—who mercifully gives wisdom and provides us with His answers to all who ask, seek, and knock to Jehovah for help (Matthew 7:7).

These may be very personal items of decision-making here under consideration, yet how reassured we are through the words of the Prophet Isaiah,

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:21).

The Heavenly Father makes clear one’s path through an exercised conscience—that is, a conscience that is disciplined and trained in seeking after that which is righteous in the eyes of the divine perfect God of the universe (Matthew 5:6).

Another introspective question for Christ-like development may be:

Would I wish to lose all my influence for the good of my fellow brother and sister in Christ?

The apostle answers this suggestion in the negative; he says, “…(12) when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. (13) Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” (1 Corinthians 8:1-13).

Let us consider some practical “life” scenarios.

Example 1: Regarding clothing…

Perhaps you attend an ecclesia where consecrated sisters in Christ wear head coverings and believe that dressing modestly means to wear skirts and dresses below the knee and which cover the shoulders and not to wear pants (considering that to be a traditional male item of clothing and relying on the words of 1 Corinthians 11:4-16 and Deuteronomy 22:5 for their convictions of belief). After examining the Scriptures on these topics one may realize that wearing a head covering and wearing a modest dress or skirt does not seem in any way to violate the laws of God, and hence will see no reason why not to do so, in order to help create peace around and least offend in any way any dear member in the ecclesia attended. Yet if this does cause contention then considering it a suffering for Christ, may each be humbled—recognizing even more, one’s own ignorance or errors of self for as the words of Philippians 2:3 teach us:

“Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.”

As the apostle Paul stated best in regards to the above issue about clothing or hair apparel:

“But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God” (1 Corinthians 11:16).

Probably the NAS Bible gives the sense better, “But if one is inclined to be contentious, we have no other practice, nor have the churches of God.”

Example 2: Our words or actions…

Perhaps at a testimony meeting in your ecclesia, one would share something that they believe would be of great edification to all, yet something in one’s conduct or words has caused offense in another—perhaps due to language or cultural barriers or perhaps a result of another mis-hearing correctly yet the results of each one’s intentions and conduct involved in such a situation shall be best understood and credited to each involved by the Heavenly Father who sees each heart and each motive. Again, we are ALL ignorant each moment of each day no matter how great or small the issue at hand—which depends on one’s closeness with the Heavenly Father—and thus, how in tune to the Father’s will each dear child of God is to be, being reassured that God through Christ, shall “reward each according to what they have done” (Romans 2:6).

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

“Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

Would one not rather suffer any unkind effects towards us from our words or actions in having done what an educated conscience before the Father believes was done seeking towards righteousness rather than suffering the outcomes of results and the self-inflicted cross of guilt for knowing we had not done how Christ Jesus our Head, would wish us to?

Example 3: Sunday observance…

Applying the above principle—our responsibility for our influence—to Sunday observance, we are not to feel a bondage under the Old Law, during the Sabbath day. However we should avoid what would be considered by others as not observing the Sabbath.

To our understanding EVERY day is a part of the great Sabbath into which we have entered—rest in Christ.

We have a greater liberty. But we are not to use this liberty to the injury of others.

Many people think that any kind of labor is a violation of the Fourth Commandment.

From our viewpoint we know that the Sabbath of the Jew was typical; and we see what the antitype is. We are enjoying the antitype of that Sabbath.

But while we might have liberty to work on Sunday, our so doing might stumble our neighbour. We would not be violating any principle in not observing Sunday; but for the sake of not stumbling our neighbour we are glad to rest from our work and to give ourselves to the study of God’s Word.

Sunday should be a day that is quiet and reverential in every way, and devoted specially to the service of God—a day in which business is restricted, and as far as possible eliminated. But for the interests of the Lord’s work to forbid refraining from the use of today’s transportation blessings such as cars or trains and trams on Sunday would not apply to today’s world as once it may have been the case. Each place… each time period… each culture… each community even… have certain ways of functioning and by best striving to not offend anyone, but with gentleness of mind and being lowly of heart as Christ was, let us strive to represent Christ as best we can now, knowing that where we fall short after doing our best, Christ’s robe of righteousness covers all the failures that surround us.

Sabbath signifies rest, as the Apostle used it (Hebrews 4:9, margin), we can see that the Church of Christ keeps the Sabbath, or rest, every day, and recognizes God’s arrangement in connection with this matter. Those who keep every seventh day as a Sabbath, but who fail to enter into and keep the rest of faith, are not keeping the true Sabbath, but keeping another, so far as the Church is concerned.

The Sabbath arrangement was for the Jews. We have the better arrangement under our Covenant.

We enter into rest, our Sabbath, EVERY day; and we are hoping that soon we will enter into the still Greater Sabbath.

In that Sabbath, the Millennium, we shall have not only rest of heart, but also perfection, no longer to be challenged by trials and difficulties of life.

During His ministry Jesus chose the Sabbath day in which to perform miracles and heal the sick, that He might show forth the kind of works which He will perform during the Great Sabbath Day, the seventh-thousand-year day—the Millennium.

Helping, Not Hindering Our Neighbours

We can apply this principle in a general way. We can apply it to our conversation with Christian people.

There is a way of taunting people on their ignorance, etc. This is not love.

LOVE does not delight to expose another’s weaknesses.

The more careful we become in our words and our actions, the more polite we shall be, the more helpful.

Politeness is :

to do and say the kindest thing in the kindest way.

One may be polite for the sake of policy or for the sake of principle.

E.g. You have a business and you are polite to your clients or else you will not have any to buy from you, and in turn, no income to live from.

Our pleasing of our neighbours should be for their edification.

We should be glad to do ALL that we can for their assistance, their edification, their uplift, their upbuilding.

If we can speak a pleasant word, a kind word, it would be for upbuilding and have in mind primarily the upbuilding of the Lord’s people in spiritual things. As the apostle Paul says, we are “to provoke one another.”

In the ISV translation Hebrews 10:24 reads:

And let us continue to consider how to MOTIVATE one another
to love and good deeds…

What the apostle had in mind here was the reverse of provoking to anger, hatred and strife.

Brother Charles Russell comments in Reprints of the Original Watchtower (R.5413):

 “Some of the dear brethren who are evidently very sincere have not caught the spirit of the Truth on this subject; and wherever they go, they are apt to stir up the evil mind of others, instead of stirring up their good mind and provoking to love and good works.”

We are to please our neighbors so far as it would be for their good, and according to right principles. But to upbuild one in injustice would not be right.

Now here are our final questions to put theory into practice:

For our Australian friends: Would we think it right to let our neighbour’s emus run all over our front driveway?

emus.jpg

For our local and international friends: Would we think it right to let our neighbour’s dogs run all over our front lawn?

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Take a moment or two to think of what you would do.

We believe here is a most lovingly wise, compassionate and merciful response to such a question … (but in regards to chickens) by Pastor Charles Russell:

“We think that he [his neighbor] would thus be more edified by our firm stand for right. But we must not tell him how to manage his chickens. We must do our best to keep his chickens off our place; but we would make a mistake if we were to go in and order our neighbor’s chickens, house and children.  To do so would be busybodying. We shall have enough to do to look after the weaknesses of our own family.”

Further Reading:

Bible verses for consideration:

Is the Sabbath Day a Saturday, Sunday, or any day of the Week?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/10/19/is-the-sabbath-day-a-saturday-sunday-or-any-day-of-the-week/

Acknowledgment & Reference:

Br Charles Russell—R.5413. Reprints of the Original Watch Tower & Herald of Christ’s Presence.

The URL of this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/18/doing-and-saying-the-kindest-thing-in-the-kindest-way/

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Jesus’ Commission: Make Disciples. Baptize. Teach.

Mat. 28, 20 -2

Let’s begin with the words of Matthew 28:19‑20 (KJV)

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

WHAT IS OUR WORK? 

We are definitely not travelling alone in this narrow way since GOD called out a faithful band of servants who, with every talent consecrated to His work, are steadily pursuing their course in the narrow way. We know some of them by name and by character and by their steady and progressive activity in the blessed work. And though not all of these have a copious amount of talents, they, nevertheless, quietly and unobtrusively go about from day to day preaching the wonderful words of life, and GOD is with them and is leading them on. Their hearts are full of joy and hope and they are kept securely amidst all the perils of this evil day. No amount of discouragement from the adversary, stops these that still remain amongst our midst, from continuing on with FULL ZEAL in the LORD’s work.

The ones who have the greatest appreciation of Truth,
are those who are FULLY enlisted in the LORD’s service.

If we bury our one or our many talents under a weight of worldly cares and encumbrances which might be avoided or set aside; if we bury them under worldly ambitions for either self or family — whether this be by wasting consecrated time upon science, philosophy, music or art; or upon business, politics or pleasures; or in pampering pride and appetite – then as unfaithful servants we will sooner or later go into outer darkness, by being caught in some of the snares of this “evil day.” and will be led farther and farther into error and away from truth. (R.1282)

In no single case have we seen one drift away from the Truth in these last years of the Gospel Age among those who were very active and FULLY enlisted in the LORD’s work, whose one aim and endeavor was to herald the truth and to bless others with it. (R.1282)

“To such the LORD says, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee’ – Ye shall never fail, for so an abundant entrance shall be ministered unto you into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ .” (R.3696).

Each royal priest is the peer of each other one in authority and dignity of priesthood; though in talents, intelligence, etc., and therefore in fitness, they are not all equals. (R.1137:4)

Some stewards do not quickly enough note talents which might be utilized in the Lord’s service. (R.1047:5)

Jesus’ words of Matthew 28:19‑20 to the apostles, apply to all fully consecrated disciples of Christ – who are authorized to preach the Gospel in any and every way, publicly or privately, by word, pen, or printed page.

THE THREE PARTS OF JESUS’ COMMISSION

PART 1 – MAKE DISCIPLES of all nations

The word “disciple” signifies pupil, in the school of Christ, in the primary department. We are to first inform those who have ears to hear that they are sinners through the fall, but that GOD has made a provision for their rescue.

“We have a commission to proclaim the Gospel according to our opportunities and abilities.”(R5588:1)

The work of the Evangelist comes first, to make disciples. So let us continue to preach as the twelve disciples preached, by the wayside” (Matthew 13:4) or wherever you find a hearing ear (Mark 4:9).

Pastor Charles Russell encourages and suggests, the following:

“If you lack talent for preparing a discourse,
READ FORCIBLY AND CLEARLY
something touching the subject
you consider most needful to your hearers.” (R. 1047:5)

“This Gospel shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.” (Matthew 24:14)

Since Christ died on Calvary as our Passover Lamb, the message of redemption has gone out to all who are willing to be disciples of Christ – no longer restricted to the Jewish people. The early disciples became witnesses to the Truth, and we should follow that example.

“Ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

PART 2 – BAPTIZE them

Immersion is the correct translation and the original method of baptism, as acknowledged by many authorities. Water immersion is the outward symbol by which believers confess their faith in Jesus as their Redeemer. When a Christian devotes his or her life to GOD, one is “immersed” into the will of GOD, and thus into the service of Christ whom GOD appointed as our Lord and Master.

In Romans 6:3-11, Apostle Paul adds another dimension to our immersion into Christ – namely, immersion INTO the sacrificial DEATH OF CHRIST:

“Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”

4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

WHO CAN PERFORM THE IMMERSION SERVICE?

“All authorized to teach are equally authorized to baptize. That includes every follower of Christ, not excluding females, only that modesty indicates that they should avoid such public services except in rare necessary cases” (R1541:4).

“All baptized would be commissioned to perform this symbol for others; and, if no consecrated could be found, an unconsecrated believer, or even a worldly person or unbeliever, might do it.” (Volume 6, “Studies in the Scriptures,” page 454).

The following words are recommended by Pastor Charles Russell for any immersion service:

“Brother … in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, by this authority, I baptize thee into Christ” (Volume 6, “Studies in the Scriptures,” page 455).

There is the thought amongst some Bible Students that the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 may have been altered during the third century to support the development of the false doctrine of the trinity. This is well explained in a study titled “In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” by Lenard Griehs (“Beauties of the Truth”, January, 1991). The evidence for this seems good.

However, if one favors the text as it appears in the common version, following are some comments that are helpful.

“Into the name of” – signifies into accord with, into fellowship with (R5587).

By the words “The Father” ‑ the meaning is that “all of Christ’s disciples are to recognize the Father’s name as standing for righteousness; and they are to become dead to every other principle than that which His name represents, and to be thoroughly immersed into that name of righteousness, justice, truth.” (R.5587 )

“These words do not imply three baptisms in one. The use of the three names is as if you were using a firm name, such as Smith, Jones and Brown; all three names would be used to show that it has the authorization of the whole firm. The Divine Three ‑ Father, Son and holy Spirit ‑ are related to our faith in the Creator, Redeemer and Regenerator; and this suggests the three steps in bringing men into the divine image.” (R.197:3)

The words “Of the Son ‑ shows that we ignore all sectarian names, Protestant or Catholic, but rather, recognize the name of Jesus, Yeshua, the Messiah, and desiring to be his members, his Bride and his Body, “the Church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23, NIV).

The term “holy Spirit refers to GOD’s spirit, influence and character in our lives. The word in the Greek is “pneuma”, which means spirit (not “ghost” as in the King James version). The use of these words in Matthew 28:19 has been understood to signify that the immersed candidate’s own spirit or will becomes dead, and GOD’s holy will and mind are to become their will and purpose.

PART 3 ‑ TEACH them

The word “teach” in verse 19, is from a Greek word “matheteuo” and signifies proselyting or making disciples of.

It is not a command to convert the world but to gather out of all nations those willing to be disciples of Christ.

In verse 20, the words “teaching them” means instructing them regarding GOD’s divine character and plan, the graces of the spirit and the rooting out of the spirit of worldliness and selfishness. Not astronomy, geology, nor any of the vain philosophies about which the world speculates, but “the things which I have commanded you.” (R5045:4, 3200:2).

In Jesus’ words “observe all that I command you” we are reminded that all men are sinners, that Christ came to give himself a ransom, that he is the only way to life, that whosoever would come must take up his cross, that all believers are one with him, that every branch in him must bear fruit or be taken away, that those who trust in him are to hope for and expect his second coming, that we have a hope to be of those of the first resurrection, and that love is the fulfilling of the Law.

Jesus reassures, encourages, and strengthens us through his words to the Apostles, “I am with you always,” and we see this by the gift from GOD of the holy Spirit of GOD to guide and lead us through the age. By this, means Jesus is present with us in spirit. As our high priest, he sees to our spiritual interests. Jesus has been with his representatives in all their labors of love and self‑denial throughout the entire age so we are NEVER alone! We have the companionship of him who promised, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

In our Lord’s words, “even unto the end of the age,” the word “end” is from the Greek word suntelia, which means the ending period of the age. Now, in the present “Harvest,” or ending period of the Gospel Age, beginning with 1874 as pointed to in Daniel 12:12, Jesus is actively engaged on behalf of his saints to complete the Church, and inaugurate a period of transition into his Millennial Kingdom.

Jesus’ work for his people includes raising his sleeping saints in the first resurrection! Once the last member of the 144,000 shall have gone through the 2nd vail into the Divine Realm, then Jesus with His Bride, the Elect, shall establish his Kingdom, bless the nation of Israel with the New Covenant, and thus bless all mankind.

We are now not only in the Harvest, the ending period of the age, but even in the closing years of the harvest period itself. We have some years to go. Some brethren point to Acts chapter 27, and Paul’s voyage to Rome, as indicating the travel of the Church through the Harvest to the Kingdom, the center of world authority.

In this case, it is feasible that the 14 days of storm which precede the “Armageddon” crash of the ship of state, could suggest 14 years of distress closing the harvest.

In this case, those who consider that the blessed Millennium might commence another 27 years hence, find a milestone along the way, by which to check their expectations.

Meanwhile, let us not neglect our opportunities
to represent the Truth to all who may have a hearing ear.

We seek the last grains of wheat for the heavenly barn – so that thereafter the blessings of life can flow to the world. Then, through the elect, raised to heavenly glory, the inhabitants of the world shall all come to a saving knowledge of Christ, and secure wonderful, everlasting, earthly blessings.

“Let us remember, too, while using all the WISDOM we can in this service, that the Lord’s object in giving us a share in his work is not so much what we can accomplish as in the blessing that the labor will bring upon us. This will be an encouraging thought to the dear ones who are engaged in the “Volunteer” work; and if they find many discouragements and but small results the reflection that the Master knoweth them that are His, and that He appreciates every sincere effort made to serve His cause and to lay down our lives on behalf of the brethren, will give courage and strength to those who otherwise might faint by the way” (R. 2811).

“Let us see to it, not only that we do with our might what our hands find to do, but also that our every sacrifice and gift to the Lord and His cause is so full of love and devotion that the Lord will surely approve it; as done from love for Him and His, and not from vainglory” (R3166).

 

Acknowledgments:

Charles T.  Russell – “R” represents the “Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.” The numbers next to the “R” represent the page numbers of the reprinted articles.

Leonard Griehs’ – for his study from “Beauties of the Truth” – as referenced in the above post.
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTJAN91.PDF

 

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/08/15/jesus-commission-make-disciples-baptize-teach/

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What Does It Mean To Be Baptized Into Christ?

matt-16-25

What types of baptism are practiced in the Churches?

There is more than one type of baptism practiced in the Christian world. There is:

  • Sprinkling or Pouring on the Head
  • Infant Baptism
  • Submersion under water.

Sprinkling or pouring water on the head

There are no Scriptures in the Bible that describe baptism as the sprinkling or pouring of water on the head.

The first instances in the Bible where individuals were baptized was accomplished by John the Baptist.

Did John the Baptist sprinkle water or submerse the person under water?

“Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized” (John 3:23, NKJ).

And He [Jesus] went away again beyond the Jordan to the place where John was baptizing at first” (John 10:40, NKJ).

If all John was doing was sprinkling water to baptize, he did not need to worry about being near the “much water” of the Jordan River. Clearly, John was doing more than just sprinkling those he baptized.

Infant Baptism

Is infant baptism scriptural?

Nowhere in the Bible do we find infant baptism mentioned. Although at times the Scriptures do mention the baptism of households, they never specifically mention children or infants.

For example, in Acts 8, Philip preached to the people of Samaria.

“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12, NKJ).

Notice, there is no mention of Philip baptizing infants in Samaria; just men and women.

In Mark 16:16, Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”

It would not be possible for a newborn infant to understand who Christ is, let alone believe in him.

Remember the question Jesus asked James and John in Mark 10:38,

Are you able to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

A newborn infant would not be capable of answering Jesus’ question, let alone responsibly making such a commitment.

Submersion (Dunking) into Water

Now we do find examples in the New Testament of adult baptism and in every case we believe the baptism was a submersion into water. For example:

“When He [John] had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him” (Matthew 3:16).

” (38) So he [Philip] commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. (39) Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the LORD caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:38-39).

The only way Jesus and the Ethiopian eunuch could have “come up” out of the water is if they have been submersed under it.

Greek Definition Of Baptism:

In support of this conclusion that baptism is submersion, let us looks at some definitions.

STRONGS: 907 baptizo (bap-tid’-zo); to immerse, submerge; to make overwhelmed (i.e. fully wet).

VINES: baptism, baptist, baptize.

A. Nouns.

1. baptisma (908), “baptism,” consisting of the processes of immersion, submersion and emergence (from bapto, “to dip”).

B. Verb.

baptizo (907), “to baptize,” primarily a frequentative form of bapto, “to dip,” was used among the Greeks to signify the dyeing of a garment, or the drawing of water by dipping a vessel into another.

So this word has the meaning of complete submersion under water. Certainly when dying, the garment must be totally submerged in the dye.

There is a variation of this word.

2. baptismos (909), as distinct from baptisma (the ordinance), is used of the “ceremonial washing of articles,” in some texts; once in a general sense.

This word is only found four times in the New Testament and refers to ceremonial washings.

John’s Baptism & Its Purpose

Let us talk about John’s (the Baptist’s) baptism. John’s work was not for the Gentiles. His work of baptism was intended to reveal Jesus to the Israelites only, but John did not baptize believers into Christ. That would come later, after Pentecost. His work was not for the Gentiles.

In John 1:29-31 we read, “(29) The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (30) This is He of whom I said, After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me. (31) I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.‘”

So John the Baptist was baptizing in order to reveal Jesus to Israel only, not yet to the Gentiles.

Bearing fruit was an evidence of those who had sincerely baptized. As John the Baptist said, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8, NKJ).

John’s baptism required a personal confession of sins. “And all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins” (Mark 1:5, NKJ).

Repentance and typical cleansing restored repentant Jews back to the condition of harmony with God as enjoyed under the Law Covenant and through the tabernacle arrangement.

“John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4, NKJ).

The Jews had not previously practiced individual baptism. The whole nation was recognized as “baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2).

In what sense were the Israelites “baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud”? 
We answer: When the Israelites passed through the Red Sea they were surrounded by water, and Paul mentions that this is a picture of them being baptized. The cloud is mentioned in Exodus 13:22, “He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” We think that that was the cloud Paul referred to as over the Israelites — so that in that sense they were surrounded from above by water as well.

The Jews were already children of God and heirs of the covenants and promises, and their washing away of their sins meant their coming near again to God, and into closer touch with all the promises and the blessings thereof (Harvest Gleanings I, 1HG255).

John the Baptist’s baptism, was “for the remission of avoidable sins, gross sins. The godly Jews were not intended, nor expected, to come to John to be baptized. He said, ‘Now come, if you want to get ready for Messiah’s kingdom, and try to keep the law the best you are able and take this water immersion, accepting this as a sign of your putting away sin and starting a new course of life.’ This is all that baptism meant to the Jews. That was not a regular institution. It was a peculiar thing that belonged just to the end of the [Jewish] age, and John tried there to especially prepare a people by this preaching of holiness and putting away of sin for the Messiah; for the testimony is that if they had believed John they would have believed Jesus. If they disbelieved John and disregarded what he said, and were not careful to come back into harmony with God, and become as holy as they were able to do, then they were not in a condition to receive the message God had to give” (What Pastor Russell Said – Question Book, Q34:3).

This typical cleansing available to the Jews is discussed in Leviticus & Hebrews.

“For on that day [of Atonement] the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the LORD” (Leviticus 16:30).

“And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins” (Hebrews 10:11).

So John baptized the Jews for repentance and remission of sins similar to the typical cleansing as was accomplished in the tabernacle by the sacrifice of bulls and goats on the Day of Atonement. Every Jew under the Law Covenant was a member of the house of Moses (Hebrews 3:5). As mentioned above, the Jews were baptized unto Moses in the sea and in the cloud (1 Corinthians 10:12). As natural branches of the olive tree the Jews did not need en-grafting into Christ (Romans 11:16-21). John could not baptize Gentiles since they could not by repentance be restored back to a position they had never occupied.

After Pentecost, John’s baptism was replaced by Christian baptism into Christ.

In the book of Acts we have an incident where some of John’s disciples, after hearing the gospel, were baptized again, this time into Christ; after which they received the holy Spirit.

Acts 19:1-6 – “(1)… Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples (2) he said to them, ‘Did you receive the holy Spirit when you believed?’ So they said to him, ‘We have not so much as heard whether there is a holy Spirit.’ (3) And he said to them, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ So they said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ (4) Then Paul said, ‘John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.’ (5) When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (6) And when Paul had laid hands on them, the holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. (7) Now the men were about twelve in all.”

These disciples were baptized twice (John’s & Christ’s). Bro. Charles T. Russell teaches, “The Apostle instructed them more fully, assuring them that John’s baptism was all right in its time and place, but that they should be baptized in the name of Jesus, baptized into Christ” (Harvest Gleanings I, HG732:6).

In Acts 2:41 three thousand people were baptized and among these, there may have also been some that had been baptized by John earlier.

‘Never is it said of any Gentile that he was baptized unto repentance and remission of sins, that he got back into Moses and in accord with the law. On the contrary, the apostle shows that we and all spiritual Israelites coming from among the Gentiles, come into Christ in a different way from that in which the Jews became related to him. I call your attention to the apostle’s argument in Rom. 11:17-24, where he uses an olive-tree as a symbol or picture. He tells us that that olive-tree was primarily the Jewish nation; that its root was the Abrahamic promise; its branches were the individual Jews. It was to those branches that John preached the baptism of repentance. Many of them were defiled, living in sin, and he urged them to repent and be washed, cleansed; that otherwise they would be broken off. And so it was when Messiah was manifest; the prepared ones, Israelites indeed, in whom was no guile, were ready for him, received him and he received them, and they continued to be branches of that olive, tree. But the great mass of the branches, as the apostle goes on to explain, were broken off because they did not receive our Lord, because they were not in the right condition of heart, not “Israelites indeed, without guile” (Harvest Gleanings I, HG).

Christian Baptism and Its Meaning

Christian baptism has many elements that are similar to John’s baptism and some elements that are different. As with the Jews baptized by John’s baptism, Christians are to confess and repent from their sins.

“And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds” (Acts 19:18).

“(46) Then he said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, (47) and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem'” (Luke 24:46-47).

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 2:38).

Br. Charles Russell teaches, “This baptism was for Jews only, who had already been baptized into Moses in the sea and the cloud. Sins thus figuratively washed away did not include original sin, but merely minor transgressions against the Mosaic law.” (Reprints of the Original Watchtower 4308:5, 6th Volume of Studies in the Scriptures p.428, Harvest Gleanings I, 600:1,2)

John the Baptist could only provide typical remission. The Christian receives a real remission of sins through actual justification by Jesus’ blood.

John’s baptism pointed the Jews to Christ, but the Christian is to actually believe in Christ and accept Him as their Savior. Let’s see how this is shown in the Scriptures.

“(36) Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’ (37) Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God’” (Acts 8:36-37).

Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized” (Acts 18:8).

So faith in Jesus Christ is a requirement for the Christian baptism.

Baptism Into Christ – Not Into An Organization

Although those baptized into John’s baptism were to bear fruit, the Christian’s death to sin, walking in newness of life and drinking of the cup is a far deeper action. Christian baptism is more than the pursuit of righteousness. It is the total death of self will and a total commitment to sacrifice ALL — one’s time, talent and possessions to the Lord, often at the cost of suffering and persecution.

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

“(3) Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (4) Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (11) Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (12) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. (13) And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Romans 6:3-13).

So we see from the 6th chapter of Romans and lowering the candidate into the water represents the death of the Old Man with his sinful ways and the raising up of the candidate shows our walk in newness of life as New Creatures in Christ Jesus. Notice how Romans 6:3 teaches that we are baptized into Christ’s death.

No scripture talks about being baptized into Jehovah’s organization. Also see how the following text show we are actually baptized into Christ.

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Galatians 3:27, NASV).

“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 2:38, NASV).

Ultimate Purpose of Baptism

What is the ultimate purpose of Christian baptism? Certainly to lay down our lives in the Lord’s service is purpose enough, but the Bible shows a purpose even beyond that.

Just as going to medical school is of no benefit to humanity unless the student becomes a practicing doctor, so it is with the Christian.

Context:

“And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed'” (Galatians 3:8, NKJ).

“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:18).

“(27) For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have PUT ON Christ… (29) And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:27,29).

Those who are baptized are Abraham’s seed through whom God’s purpose is to bless all the families of the earth. This is the ultimate purpose of baptism.

The same point is expressed in 1 Corinthians 15:29.

“Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? Why then are they baptized for the dead?”

This passage says that we are baptized for the dead,” not “into death.” The ultimate purpose of baptism is to bless all the families of the earth.

Many translations agree with this wording, “baptized for the dead.” The translators do not believe this. They would rather not translate this text. Peter puts it this way:

“receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9, NKJ).

The word “your” is in italics. The thought is that the outcome of our faith, THE ULTIMATE PURPOSE, will be the salvation of mankind.

Does water baptism cancel sins? 

The traditional view among Catholic and many Protestant denominations is that baptism is necessary for salvation, forgiveness and the cancellation of sins. Not only do they believe it necessary, but some feel it must be performed in a prescribed fashion in order to secure salvation.  Some of their supposed proof texts are:

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ ” (Acts 2:38).

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

“And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16).

“There is also an antitype which now saves us — baptism” (1 Peter 3:21).

These texts are telling us that those who are baptized will be saved and receive a remission or washing away, of sins. So are the Catholics and many Protestants correct in believing that the act of baptism is necessary for salvation?

No. Where these Christians are wrong is that it is NOT “water baptism” that saves us.  Rather, the true baptism saves us, that is, consecration and the resultant justification by Christ’s blood. Water baptism cannot save.  It is merely a symbol of the true baptism and the resultant justification that can save us.

Baptism is the outward sign of an invisible grace from our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.

“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:9, ESV). 

We are saved by Jesus’ act of justification, not by our symbolic act of water baptism.

Water Baptism Is Symbolic

Many Scriptures establish that water baptism itself is merely a symbol and that it does not have intrinsic atoning qualities.

Luke 12:50 – “But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!”

Jesus had already received water baptism by John, so in this case the word “baptism” must be symbolic of more than the literal water baptism. This is also borne out in Mark 10:38-39 (see also Matthew 20:22-23):

“(38) Jesus said to them, ‘You do not know what you ask. Can you drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ (39) They said to Him, ‘We are able.’ So Jesus said to them, ‘You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized.'” 

More evidence of the symbolic nature of water baptism is found in Colossians 2:11-12 (ESV):

“(11) In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, (12) having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Notice here that both circumcision & water baptism are symbolic of putting away sin.  Obviously “circumcision” here is not literal. The Christian is not literally required to be circumcised as were the Jews under the Law. This is the symbolic circumcision of the heart. So, just like circumcision is symbolic, likewise, water baptism here is also symbolic.

Next is another symbolic usage of baptism, although a much different one.

“(11) I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (12) His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:11-12, ESV). 

The baptism by “fire” is symbolic of the judgment and destruction upon the nation of Israel as stated in verse 12, “He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Just as the baptism by fire is symbolic, so is water baptism.

We are not saved by the symbol “water baptism,” but by the reality of it, the meaning of which we will get to shortly.

Born of Water – Spirit Begettal

Many believe John 3:5 teaches that unless you are baptized in water you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. It says, “Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'”

The word “baptism” is no where to be found in this context. “Water here is symbolic of the Word of Truth. Without the Bible we would not have the necessary knowledge to grow in Christ and enter God’s Kingdom.

Our growth in Christ through his Word (the Holy Scriptures) is illustrated by the Greek word genno, that is Strongs #1080. Vines defines it as:

BEGET, BEAR (OF BEGETTING), BORN

gennao —“to beget,” in the passive voice, “to be born,” is chiefly used of men “begetting” children; more rarely of women “begetting” children (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, 1985).

So in John 3:5 we are “begotten of water.” This means that we are spiritually begotten by Truth.

Br. Charles Russell writes “We see that symbolical water represents truth, and that our begetting of the holy Spirit is said to be also a begetting ‘through the Word of truth’” (James 1:18). (Reprints of the Original Watchtower: R.4124:6, R.3600:6, R.2422:1.)

In support of this we will quote four scriptures which relate begettal to the Word of God.

“Of his own will begat He us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures” (James 1:18, KJV).

“For though you might have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15, NKJ).

“…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of GOD which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:23).

“…that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26).

So we see that John 3:5 does not teach that unless you are baptized in water you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. It actually teaches that we are begotten as New Creatures in Christ by the Truth of God’s word. It is the guidance from God’s Word that develops the embryo New Creature in Christian growth, preparing us for our ultimate Spiritual birth, after the first resurrection.

Saved By Belief, Grace & Justification, Not Saved By Baptism

There are many more Scriptures that talk about us as being saved, but it’s not by water baptism, it is by belief in Jesus Christ and the resultant grace of God and justification to life.

“And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).

“Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

“(30) And he [the jailer] brought them [Paul & Silas] out and said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ (31) So they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household'” (Acts 16:30-31).

“…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

“Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9).

“If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).

“(1) Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, (2) by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you– unless you believed in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

“Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved.)” (Ephesians 2:5).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

The Jerusalem Counsel never addressed the issue of baptism when presenting minimum requirements expected of the Gentile brothers.

“(28) For it seemed good to the holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: (29) that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell” (Acts 15:28-29).

Where is water baptism on this list? If it were necessary for salvation, certainly the Apostles would have required it of the Gentile brethren.

“And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved'” (Acts 15:1).

Some Christians today take the same approach with baptism as these Jews took of circumcision, that it is a requirement for salvation.

Saved By Baptism?

In 1 Peter we find scriptures used by many Christians to again attempt to prove that water baptism is necessary for salvation.

“(19) by whom also He [Jesus] went and preached to the spirits in prison, (20) who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine long suffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. (21) There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:19-22).

Does this passage prove we are saved by literal water baptism? The simple answer here is that Peter is not talking about literal water baptism. In verse 21, He describes “baptism” as “a good conscience toward God.”  That word “conscience” is also used in the prior chapter.

“For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully” (1 Peter 2:19, KJV).

So the word “conscience” connected with the word “baptism” refers to suffering for righteousness sake. Hence, the word “baptism” is talking about living our consecration.  Our consecration results in justification by the ransom to life. That is what saves us.

It is interesting to note from verse 21 that we are not saved by the “removal of the filth of the flesh,” that is, we are not saved simply by John’s baptism, the repentance from sin. But we must go beyond that to consecration INTO Christ’s death and this involves cheerful in the spirit, willing patient endurance and sacrifice of self-will and self-interest.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Baptized In Who’s Name?

In whose name is the Christian baptized? Many quote the great commission of Matthew 28:19 to prove we are baptized into the Trinity, not into Jesus Christ alone.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).

If we accept the translation as is, it does not prove that we are baptized into the Trinity, but merely the desperation of those who strive in vain to find support for this false doctrine, in Scripture. This passage does not state that these three are one person, nor anything of the kind.

In conflict with this, six other Scriptures refer baptism in the name of Jesus, not baptism in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit of Matthew 28:19.

Let us look at these Scriptures that contradict Matthew 28:29. Notice that in none of these texts was anyone baptized in the name of the Father, Son and holy Spirit.

“Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 2:38).

“But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of GOD and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized” (Acts 8:12).

“For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus(Acts 8:16).

“And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days” (Acts 10:48).

“When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5).

“Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into HIS DEATH ?” (Romans 6:3).

*******

How else are we “baptized into Christ’s death?

We need to surrender our wills to God, as Jesus did. He said, “Lo I come…to do thy will, O God. I delight to do thy will, O my God; thy law is written in my heart” (Psalm 40:7, 8; Hebrews 10:7).

We dedicate or consecrate our all to follow and obey the Lord with our minds, hearts, and our whole beings. This is a total dedication of service to do God’s will. When consecrated, we walk “in newness of life,” having a new, different direction or purpose. We pattern our lives after our dear Redeemer.

A few days before his crucifixion, Jesus stated, “But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:50) This shows that in Jesus’ baptism, water was a symbol of his real baptism in death. It was about to be accomplished at Calvary. Like Christ, we who dedicate our lives to the Lord make ourselves “dead” to the world’s pursuits. Instead, we pursue heavenly things, studying the scriptures to find out what God’s will is for us. Our desire is to prove faithful unto death and be resurrected with Christ in a divine and immortal body (Philippians 3:10, 11; Romans 2:7, Revelation 2:10).

Water baptism is a witness to others of what has taken place in our hearts with the Lord and our commitment to Him, as well as symbolizing that life of baptism. The individual places himself in the arms of another, and being fully immersed in the water, is dependent on that person to help him up. He comes out of the water into “newness of life.” This is the new life to which he has committed himself until he dies. Hence, we believe water baptism is necessary, not for salvation, but for a witness of that life of commitment.

SO WHAT NOW?

Are you interested to GIVE UP your life rights on earth to inherit what eye has not seen nor ear heard … to inherit a life with Jesus and those who have now given up the pride of life and disclaim all rights to themselves, to their soul, to their body, to their time, to their health, to their reputation, to their talents or to anything that they own?

 If you confess to be the property of Jesus Christ your Redeemer, then:

  DEDICATE YOURSELF

to belong entirely to Jesus now,

to serve, love and trust him as your life and salvation until your life’s end and show this through baptism.

“Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

God is now selecting men and women of faith for special honors during the Millennium. Namely, to reign with Christ in heaven as spiritual rulers of the world, to lead the world to righteousness, godliness, and truth and raise all the dead of past Ages. Satan’s demons now lead the world into sin and ignorance. Then, Christ and his saints will lead the world into obedience and understanding (Revelation 20:1-6).

High Standards

When we understand the high honor to which the saints are called, we better appreciate the high standards that are expected of them.

(1) Godly conduct
(2) Character Development
(3) Study of the Truth
(4) Service and Sacrifice.

Consecration

We enter the race for the “prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14) by consecrating our life to GOD.

This we do in personal prayer to God, committing our life and service and interests to God hereafter.

If this step is taken, then it is proper to symbolize that decision with water baptism, as a testimony to others.

(11) The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; (12) if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:11-12, ESV).

If you have not considered the matter of consecration, take time to do so.

Read our Lord’s words about this decision, thoughtfully, in Luke 14:27‑35.
Remember the blessings promised, and the conditions for them:

“by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory, honor, and immortality” (Romans 2:7).

Remember the privilege of being with Christ, in heaven, to bless “all the families of the earth” during the Millennium. God wishes us to respond favorably. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification” (1 Thessalonians 4:3).

So dear brethren, let us pursue our consecration with determination and great zeal, so that we may please our Father and be prepared for our future mission.

Click here to watch a baptism service video

References and Acknowledgement:

Br. Peter Karavas & our brethren in Christ at http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/

Br. Charles Taze Russell: What Pastor Russell Said – Question Book, Q34:3; Harvest Gleanings I; Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, Studies in the Scriptures – Volume 6.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, 1985.

STRONG’S Concordance.

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https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/09/what-does-it-mean-to-be-baptized-into-christ/

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Who is the World’s RANSOM and Why?

1 Timothy 2, 4-6 - with C & address

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame.
And on that old cross the dearest and best,
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

It is a tragic picture to contemplate. A perfect man, so unjustly convicted, dying in the prime of life. But his greatest defeat was his greatest triumph. That was why he came. That was why he left the heavenly courts to become a man in the first place.

Note how obediently and willingly and humbly Jesus, the firstborn of all creation, the Bright Morning Star answered, when our Heavenly Father asked who should He send down to earth as the Redeemer, “Here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). This is why the Son was the Almighty Heavenly Father’s delight.

Father Adam caused the death penalty to be imposed upon the whole human family, Christ’s willing sacrifice provided the value to redeem all mankind. Only a perfect being who was separate from God could accomplish the task of removing the death penalty upon Adam and his race, thus providing a way for mankind to be redeemed from the power of the grave.

Christ’s sacrifice provided a release from the curse, first for the Church class during the Gospel Age, and later for the World during the Millennial Age.

God loves mankind deeply (John 3:16). We cannot imagine the sorrow and pain that God experienced when Adam fell. We can only get some idea of this feeling when we observe the grief of parents when their children go astray.

God not only provided a mechanism to rescue His precious creation, but authorized His son to execute God’s plan for their redemption.

“By his knowledge the righteous one, my servant, will justify the many, as he will bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11, NAS).

Not only did God provide the mechanism for mankind’s redemption, God also empowered this Righteous One, Jesus, to justify His chosen ones. “Wherefore Jesus, … that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Hebrews 13:12). Jesus was “delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). God has empowered His son to redeem us and justify us.

The death of our Savior, Jesus Christ, provided the price of our release from the curse. The scriptures speak of the life of Jesus, given for us, as a “ransom” for us. Today we think of a ransom as a price for the release of a hostage. The scriptural word “ransom” is from the Greek word “lutron,” which literally means a price of release (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).

The word “ransom” also appears in 1 Timothy 2:4–6, from the Greek word “antilutron,” which means a corresponding price of release. This refers to the fact that the value of the life of Jesus, given for us corresponds to the price required. From the use of the word “ransom” we see that:

  • God wants to save the whole human race, and
  • Jesus provided the price necessary to release us from the death penalty imposed upon Adam and his race.

The PURPOSE of the Ransom

The object of the ransom was not to afford each individual a release from the original condemnation, in order to give them an opportunity to attain everlasting life. It allows mankind an opportunity to return to harmony and communion with God.

“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes” (Hosea 13:14).

HOSEA-13-14.jpg 
RANSOM STEPS

(1) Determine the Price — The price of release (the lutron or ransom) was the value of a human life. God established that the punishment for sin was death, and this was imposed upon Adam when he sinned. Adam passed his condemned life to all of the human race. In order to release mankind from this penalty, would require an obedient man to accept that punishment upon himself, so that it could be released from Adam and all those who received Adam’s life through procreation. Thus every person who descended from Adam — all humanity — will receive a release from death.

(2) Provide the Price — Jesus, as a perfect human being not subject to death, yielded his life in order to take upon himself, the penalty due us — so that we might be released. “By man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22). Jesus’ life yielded, is the price for Adam’s life to be restored: Jesus for Adam, a perfect life for a perfect life. How beautifully they balance the scales of justice!

(3) Pay the Price — When Jesus died, he said “Father into thy hands I commend [deposit] my spirit” (Luke 23:46). The word “commend” is from the Greek word paratithemi, which means to deposit as a trust. In other words, Jesus committed to God the value of his life for later use, and all of Jesus’ interests for his future work in the Plan of God.

(4) Loosen the Captives The world has been under the penalty of death, but they will be loosed (“luo”) from this captivity in God’s due time, when Christ and his “bride” of 144,000 members rules with him to raise and bless mankind.

RELEASE FROM THE LAW

After Jesus was baptized, he meditated in the wilderness for 40 days. Part of this time he would have meditated on the Law of God, given to Israel through Moses at Mount Sinai. That law was perfect. Therefore, imperfect man could not keep it. As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:10, “The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.” For none of Adam’s imperfect race could perfectly keep the Law.

But Jesus did. By keeping a perfect law perfectly he demonstrated that he was a perfect man, and therefore that he could be a corresponding price for the only other perfect man in history, Adam. Like an index finger, the law pointed out the one person who could pay the ransom price.

Adam and Eve had no children until they left the garden of Eden. Therefore, all of their offspring inherited a condemned and imperfect life. Jesus, like Adam before he sinned, had the potential for a perfect human race in his loins. In this sense he was an appropriate value to redeem Adam and his race.

No wonder then we sing with rejoicing:

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering oer the wrecks of time.
So l’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to that old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

As 1 Timothy 2:4-6 reads, God has willed or determined (rather than “desired”) that all mankind will:

  • Be saved from Adamic death, from the destruction of the grave, to be accomplished through the GREATEST MIRACLE the world will EVER experience: THE RESURRECTION!
  • Be saved from ignorance, blindness and deafness.
  • Come under a “new covenant” established by God, during the 1000 year Messianic Kingdom.
  • Be restored to perfection and an opportunity for eternal life.
  • Come to a knowledge of God, and thus secure a relationship with God forever.

The Ransom provides a salvation from the curse of death. It will be UNCONDITIONAL. It depends alone upon the will of God, and the price of release is the value of Jesus’ life, given for us all.

This Scriptural passage, 1 Timothy 2:4-6, speaks of a universal redemption. During the Millennium the curse will be remitted. Then each individual may begin walking up the “highway of holiness” toward everlasting life. Most of mankind will accept this free gift, and progress accordingly. Only a few will use their power of choice differently, and fail to attain everlasting life at the close of the Millennium (Revelation 20:7-9).

God will provide for the enlightenment of every individual when they awaken from the dead, so that everyone will have an accurate knowledge of God, His love, and His standards. The knowledge of Jehovah shall fill the earth (Isaiah 11:9). Mankind will have learned through experience the consequences of sin. During the Millennium, they will learn through experience the blessings of righteousness. All can then choose between the law of God which leads to life, and the law of sin which leads to death. Knowledge of truth is light, and Christ is “the true light, to lighten every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9).

Jesus is an Advocate and helper presently to those who have consecrated their lives to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. They express this commitment by baptism, and rejoice in hope of resurrection glory with Christ in heaven. We suffer with Jesus in the present, by pursuing righteousness in world surrounded by sin. We will reign with Christ in glory, to assist him during the Millennium in drawing mankind back to God (Revelation 20:6).

During the Millennium, when God effects a new covenant for blessing Israel and the world (Jeremiah 31:31), Jesus will serve as Mediator, standing between God and men, in order to reconcile them by bringing mankind back to godliness. The saints who reign with Christ will be with Jesus in this mediatorial work of reclaiming mankind. Thus this work awaits the completion of the “Bride” class to be complete. Mediating for the world will then proceed. The saints will be associated with every feature of this work for the world, assisting them during the Millennium.

The word Mediator from the  Greek is mesite and means middle-man, reconciler, go-between. The Scriptures use the word respecting mediating a covenant between parties who are alienated. A mediator is one who interposes between persons who are at variance, with a view to reconciling them. Moses, as the Mediator of the Law Covenant, was a type of Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant.

At the close of the thousand years the Mediator will have completed its role. Thereafter God will stand before God, and demonstrate, during the “Little Season,” their condition of heart. Those who are obedient and godly, will receive everlasting life. Those who are disobedient and rebellious, will lose this privilege.

In 1 Timothy 2:5 we read about “The man Christ Jesus.” The Greek word for “man” is anthropos — human being. It refers to when Jesus when he was made flesh. Jesus “gave himself” as “the anointed” one (the word Christ signifies “the anointed”), who finished the giving of himself at Calvary. The name Jesus is but another form for Joshua, which signifies Deliverer. The name Christ is the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word Messiah — The Anointed.

Jesus surrendered his perfect human life, that is, all of himself, his human rights and privileges — the full equivalent of Adam’s perfect life. By his willing sacrifice for men he secured the right to purchase Adam and the entire race. He has not applied this human life to Adam and his race. It remains a deposit, for use at the appropriate time to release mankind from the curse.

Christ was both Priest and Sacrifice. As a priest, he offered his sacrifice to God. As a Sacrifice, his human life was yielded up, given, for the benefit of mankind.

THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST PRESENTLY

As mentioned earlier, the ransom Jesus gave constitutes a price of release. Those who have come into Christ in the present time, accepting the value of his sacrifice by faith in him, are granted redemption presently. That is, God counts them as uncondemned, justified, by virtue of the value of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice (Romans 5:9). We then lay down this justified life in service and sacrifice with Jesus, as long as our days remain.

We thus give up our share in the earthly blessings awaiting mankind, in order to secure the higher, heavenly blessings offered during the present time.

The resurrection of Jesus was a testimony from God that Jesus performed his sacrifice correctly, and that all the blessings God has for us now — and the world later — are sure and established (Acts 17:31).

Another evidence of God’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice was seen by sending the holy Spirit upon the saints on the day of Pentecost. There God’s anointing, the holy Spirit (symbolized in the Old Testament by the holy anointing oil), came upon the Church. It continues ever since on all the living members of the Church.

Jesus laid down his life as a sin-offering during the 3½ years, and Jesus applied the value of this for the Church class when he appeared in the presence of God for us. Jesus has not yet applied it for the whole world. That awaits the Millennium.

The ransom price that Jesus gave provides a release from condemnation, for us now, and for the world later. That was given on Calvary’s cross.

The sin offering that Jesus gave began at Jordan (when Jesus was 30 years of age), and continued through the 3½ years of Jesus’ ministry (until Jesus was 33 1/2 years old). Jesus was “made perfect,” or complete, in character, “by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8,9). Jesus was not imperfect at any time in the sense of being sinful (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 3:5, 1 Peter 2:22). He was perfect, undefiled, in His glorious condition as the Logos, before He left the glory which He had with the Father and was made flesh. When born of Mary, the assurance given us is that He was still “holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26).  His sufferings, therefore, did not make Him perfect in the sense of making Him sinless, but rather, to prove his loyalty to the Father’s will, unto death, even the death of the cross. The promise of perfection on the highest plane — the promise of the Divine nature — was Christ’s reward for fulfilling his Covenant of Sacrifice faithfully and loyally. The beginning of that new nature was granted to Jesus at the time of his baptism, when he was begotten of the holy Spirit. But the new nature begotten there needed development, or perfecting; and it was for this purpose that the trials, difficulties and buffetings were permitted to come to Him (R5472). As our High Priest in glory, Christ — our Advocate (our personal “lawyer”), works with us through our experiences, to purge from us the propensity for sin.

The Church is not a part of the ransom price. However, we do have the privilege of suffering with Christ presently, and being raised in glory to be priests for the world during the Kingdom (Revelation 20:6). From that elevated standing, we will be able to assist Jesus in purging from mankind their propensity for sin. In this way we share with Christ in being an offering for sin.

The Church is not a part of the ransom price but does share in the sin-offering through grace. These two doctrines are inseparable. We could call them the TWIN DOCTRINES as they always work together in the process of salvation.

The ransom expresses God’s justice. For it shows that a payment for sin is necessary, in order to release mankind from the curse justly imposed upon our father Adam in Eden. But as steadfast as the penalty has been — so God’s commitment to release mankind from the curse, now that a payment has been made, is equally sure.

Christ has already redeemed mankind in the sense that he has laid down the ransom price. But he has not yet rescued mankind and applied to them the value of the ransom price provided. That awaits the Millennial Kingdom. In the meantime, God is selecting from among mankind people of faith, to be developed in the pattern established by Jesus, in order to assist Jesus in the world of lifting the world from their plight during the Millennium.

Then God will apply the price of release for Israel and the world. Then a New Covenant will be established for blessing of all who come under its blessings. When the Millennial age shall have been finished its work, and all are restored to harmony with God, then our heavenly Father will be ALL in ALL (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Suggested Further Reading

The Ransom. Faithbuilders Fellowship.
http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2007/02_ma_07.pdf

MATTHEW 26:27-29 — Drinking From Christ’s One Cuphttps://biblestudentsdaily.com/2018/03/19/matthew-2627-29-drinking-from-christs-one-cup/

JESUS — The Namehttps://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

 

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