Epoch Periods In God’s Plan

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The Light In The First Day

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

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

The Sun

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

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The Length of Each Day of Creation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Third Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Dispensations in the Divine Plan

3 dispensations

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

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

Epoch 1 – The World That Was

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

Epoch 2 – The Present Evil World

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

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

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

The current epoch is divided into three “ages.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Epoch 3 – The World to Come

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We read of this in Revelation 20:2,3

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

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

Heavens and Earth – Not Literally Destroyed

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Acknowledgement:

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

Br. David Rice—for content & editing assistance.

 

Further Suggested Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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“Be Thou Faithful Unto Death”

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

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

Gertrude W. Seibert

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * *

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

 

Suggested Further Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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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,
fNo 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

 

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

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

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

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

Suggested Further Reading:

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

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

Here is an extract from Reprint 4311: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WE ARE NOT IGNORANT OF SATAN’S DEVICES

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

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

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

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

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

Some suggestions in this Reprint article are given.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By keeping very close to the Lord. 

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

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

the lord will keep you from all harm.jpg

 

Acknowledgment:

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

 

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

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GOD’S NAME – What Is The Heavenly Father’s Name That We Are To “Hallow” And Why?

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In Psalm 148:13 (KJV) the Psalmist David wrote, “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.”

But what is God’s actual name?

In this study we discuss the various names mentioned for God in the Old Testament Hebrew. Each of our Heavenly Father’s names describe different shades of His magnificent character, being, and personality, allowing us to know our Father better and learn what God wishes us to develop in our character, in order to bring joy, honor, glory, and praise to the Creator of all.

Almighty God—”El Shaddai”

The basic form for the Hebrew name of God is “El.” The word “El” means “might, strength, power.” The Schofield Reference Bible states that God (El) signifies the “Strong One.”

The word “Shaddai” is formed from the Hebrew words shadthe breast—and shadahto shed, to pour out. Thus, El Shaddai is “the God who pours out blessings, who gives them richly, abundantly, continually” (Adam Clark’s Commentary, Genesis 17:1). God is “Shaddai” because He is the nourisher, the strength‑giver, and thus the satisfier, who pours Himself into believing lives.

The primary translations of this root in the scriptures are “god” (for pagan or false gods), and “God” (for the true God of Israel). However, in Strong’s Concordance “El Shaddai” is not found under the English words “God” or “Lord,” but rather “Almighty” (Strong’s 7706). “All‑sufficient” would express the Almighty God (El Shaddai) for He not only enriches, but also makes fruitful. This is nowhere better illustrated than in the first occurrence of the name “El Shaddai” in the Bible, in Genesis 17:1.

“(1) And it came to pass that, when Abram was ninety and nine years old [being “as good as dead,” Hebrews 11:12] Yahweh appeared unto Abram, and said unto him, I, am GOD Almighty,—Walk, thou before me and become thou blameless: (2) That I may set my covenant betwixt me and thee, And may multiply thee, exceedingly. (3) And Abram fell on his face,—and God spake with him, saying: (4) As for me, lo! my covenant is with thee,—So shalt thou become—father of a multitude of nations; (5) And thy name shall no more be called Abram,—but thy name shall become Abraham, for father of a multitude of nations, have I appointed thee” (Genesis 17:1‑5, Rotherham).

All‑Powerful and All‑Sufficient

We can now best understand God’s character when combining these two named attributes of God’s being: All‑Powerful (“El“) and All‑Sufficient (“El Shaddai“).

Genesis 17:1 is a beautifully clear and direct statement from God of His unlimited, supreme, divine power and this quality of God can be best described in one word as God’s OMNIPOTENCE. Even simply because of God’s omnipotence, we should focus on being “blameless” through Christ. That is, through a firm belief (based on testing/studying the Scriptures, Romans 10:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:21), and thus from a steadfast faith (1 Corinthians 15:58, Hebrews 6:19) in Christ as a ransom for our sins (and for the whole world, 1 Corinthians 15:21), we are redeemed and reckoned as righteous children of God (Romans 8).

Our Heavenly Father is able to meet every need (Philippians 4:19) and protect us from any danger to our spiritual lives (Jude 1:24).

Our faith and trust in El Shaddai can turn any temporal difficulty into a spiritual blessing for our eternal interests (Romans 8:28). Our responsibility is to manifest complete faith and trust in God (Isaiah 40:28‑31, 41:10, Jeremiah 17:5, Exodus 15:2, 1 Chronicles 16:11, Luke 12:8‑10, John 12:37‑43, 2 Kings 5:13‑15, Genesis 15:6‑10). Then we can have perfect peace of mind in His all‑sufficient grace (Isaiah 26:3, 2 Corinthians 12:9).

“We must supply our best effort, which will always be too weak and insufficient to overcome all of our imperfections, but El Shaddai will supply whatever is needed to make up for our shortcomings. God’s name, El Shaddai, describes not only what God is, but also what He does for us. El Shaddai sustains us, nourishes us, comforts us, and provides everything we need. This should make us more grateful, more peaceful; and make us feel our complete dependence upon Him. Knowing God as El Shaddai helps us more readily to praise Jehovah, our Heavenly Father, in all the experiences of life” (Br. Allan Ross, “El Shaddai,” Beauties of the Truth, November 2014).

The Patriarchs were close to El Shaddai, our Heavenly Father. They depended on Him for everything in normal life. They were a pastoral people and depended on their crops and herds for food. If there was a drought, or a disease in their herds, they could starve. They did not have unemployment benefits or retirement plans through difficult times. They had El Shaddai and that was all they needed.

The Name “Jehovah”

Jehovahthe “Self Existing One,” “The Eternal One”—is God’s primary name. It is a translation of what is known as the Tetragrammaton. The Greek word “Tetragrammaton” means “four (tetra) letters (gramma)” because “Jehovah” comes from four Hebrew letters יהוה‎ (yod, he, waw, he)—transliterated into English as “JHWH” sometimes written as “YHWH.” Some Bible translations do render the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah, just as it occurs in the Hebrew Old Testament, such as The American Standard Version 1901 edition (in 6,823 places) and The Emphatic Diaglott (in 18 places.)

“Jehovah” is the name that God gave to himself in Exodus 3:13‑15.

“(13) Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, what is his name? What shall I say unto them? (14) And God [elohiym, Strongs 430] said unto Moses, I AM [hayah, Strongs 1961] THAT I AM [hayah]: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM [Jehovah] hath sent me unto you. (15) And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Jehovah God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”

The RVIC Bible (by Br. Jim Parkinson) has footnotes for Genesis 3:14‑15 which read:

“(14) Or, I AM BECAUSE I AM. or, I AM WHO AM. or, I WILL BE WHAT I WILL TO BE. or, I CONTINUE TO BE THE ONE CONTINUING EVERMORE. (15) Hb. Ehyeh — future tense (all three times). From the same root as Jehovah or Yahweh.”

Similarly Br. Ronald Day explains in his website study titled “The Divine Name” the following: “Yahweh [Jehovah] is the third person singular of the Hebrew verb hayah (to be or become). In Exodus 3:14 Jehovah gives Moses a different variation of his name in the first person: ‘I will be what I will be (Ehyeh’ asher’ ehyeh’).’ (Revised Standard Version – footnote) Many translations render this ‘I AM THAT I AM.’ However, according some authorities, the Hebrew word hayah, as used in this verse, means more than just to exist. It also carries with it the thought of coming into existence, or causing to exist. Thus the third person would mean: ‘He will cause to be,’ or ‘He causes to be.’

In relation to Exodus 3:14, the Catholic Encyclopedia, 1967, vol. 14, page 1065, states that in this particular verse “a merely folk etymology of the name, based on the qal form of the verb ‘to be,’ is given.” “Grammatically, because of its vocalization, yahweh can only be a … causative form of this verb, with the meaning ‘He causes to be, He brings into being.’ Probably, therefore, Yahweh is an abbreviated form of the longer, yahweh aser yihweh, ‘He brings into being whatever exists.’ The name, therefore, describes the God of Israel as the Creator of the universe.” (Ronald Day, “The Divine Name”.) That this meaning is correct can be seen by observing the indicated meaning of Jehovah in Exodus 6:2,3 – which is discussed further in this study.

Today you will not find the divine name “Jehovah” (English) (nor “Yahweh”) in the New American Standard Bible, not even in the four places that were in the original AKJV (i.e. Exodus 6:3, Psalms 83:18, Isaiah 12:2, Isaiah 26:4).

The name was removed quite simply because there was many thousands of years ago a Usurper to the throne of God, the great liar, the Adversary. His first act of rebellion was to accuse Jehovah of lying to Adam and Eve about the tree of knowledge telling Eve that if she ate of the fruit she would become like God knowing all things and that she would not die. Ever since, Satan has opposed the Most High and His Son as well as all faithful followers of God’s Word. Thus, by having the divine name removed and substituted with “Lord” it made it so much easier to introduce the false doctrine of the Trinity whereas both the Heavenly Father and His firstborn son, Jesus Christ, the Logos, are called “Lord,” and the word is interchangeable to mean that both are coeternal and equal which is not true. The Heavenly Father had no beginning and no end, while Jesus had a beginning, and was God’s firstborn son (Br. Richard Tazzyman, 2017 Discourse: “I Am”).

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, (14) in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:13‑15).

This change of removing the name “Jehovah” stems from the 1880s when the council of the church of England recommended to the British Crown that a revision of the AKJV be produced, and at the same time a group of translators from the United States of America were invited to collaborate with the translators of the RV of the AKJV Bible to produce a version of the Bible in American English. Thus, the American Standard Version of 1901 was created. Br. Richard Tazzyman comments in his discourse “I AM” about how the original committee felt towards the importance of the divine name, in the Foreword of the 1901 ASV Bible.

“The change first proposed in the Appendix, that which substitutes JEHOVAH for LORD or GOD, is one which will be unwelcome to many, because of the frequency and familiarity of the terms displaced, but the American Revisers after a careful consideration were brought to the unanimous conviction that a Jewish substitution which regarded the divine name as too sacred to be uttered, ought no longer to dominate in the English or any other version of the old Testament.”

Here are two other texts with God’s name as “Jehovah.”

“I am Jehovah; this is my name, and my glory will I not give to another” (Isaiah 42:8).

“That men may know that thou whose name alone is Jehovah, art El Elyon, the Most High over all the earth” (Psalms 83:18).

[Note: the difference between the name “Jehovah” and “Yahweh” is that “Jehovah” is the English word that represents the name of God, just as Jesus is the English word that represents the name of our Savior. When one uses a name in one language, it is often not the same pronunciation or form as the name in the original language. For example, with the name “Joshua” — as there was no “J” in English for some centuries, it is evident that this name that we all know as a familiar English language name today sounded different before, and as to its actual pronunciation in Hebrew, who would recognize it if we tried to simulate Hebrew in the English language. Jesus is surely not the sound his contemporaries used when they called his name. But it is our English name for him. In the same way, we know the name of God as Jehovah. Yahweh is a closer sound alike to the Hebrew, perhaps — at least some seem to think so — but even that presumably is different than a real Hebrew speaker of antiquity would have pronounced the name. There is no necessity to modify the word that English speakers know the name as. It is Jehovah. When we use that name, we are communicating. If we all began to use some other pronunciation, most people may get the point, but there would be some confusion. However, whether one prefers “Yahweh,” or the more familiar “Jehovah,” may the name of God be “hallowed.”]

By What Name Was God Known to the Patriarchs?

The name “Jehovah” appears in Exodus 3:15.

“And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, The Lord [Jehovah] God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me to you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.”

Only three chapters onward, we read of “El Shaddai” and “Jehovah” both being mentioned in Exodus 6:2,3.

“God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am Jehovah; And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of El Shaddai [The All Mighty, All Sufficient God], but by my name JEHOVAH [“The Self Existing, Eternal One”] was I not known to them.”

This verse could not mean that up until the time of Exodus 6 no one knew God by the name of “Jehovah.” For even Adam knew God by the name of Jehovah as confirmed in Genesis 4:25,26.

“Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah.” Adam lived 700 years after Seth begat Enos. Thus he would have been one of those that knew Jehovah by name.

In Genesis 15:2, God revealed himself to Abraham by this very name: “And he said unto him, I am JEHOVAH, that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees.”

From the very beginning the Patriarchs knew the name JEHOVAH El‑Shaddai, God All‑sufficient, since they recognized God’s continual provision made for them and the constant protection that God afforded them. However, the name “Jehovah” refers particularly to the accomplishment of promises already made; to giving them a being, and thus bringing them into existence, which could not have been done in the order of His providence sooner than until the deliverance from Egypt and the settlement in the promised land. Then the usage of “El Shaddai” became infrequent after the Law Covenant was established.

Hence in the earlier scripture mentioned — Exodus 6:2,3 — Jehovah had to be referring to the meaning of his name (as the one who causes) rather just to the word used to designate his name. In verse four Jehovah calls attention to the covenant he had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them the land of Canaan. They never saw Jehovah cause the fulfillment of that promise. It is in this respect that Jehovah says that He did not make his name known to them. However, now, Jehovah is saying that he is going to cause a fulfillment of that promise. He will bring the Israelites out of Egypt into the land that he had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 6:6-8).

Thus the name Jehovah signifies the one who accomplishes what he desires and we can fully trust that His magnificent plan for man will be completely accomplished (Isaiah 55:11, 45:21).

El-Shaddai—An All-Sufficient, Covenant-Keeping God

When the patriarchs wanted to give the strongest assurance to those that were going on a dangerous mission, they used the divine name El Shaddai.

Genesis 28:1‑4—Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan‑aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother. And El Shaddai bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.”

“As Abraham had sent Eliezer to find a covenant wife for Isaac, so Isaac sent Jacob to find a covenant wife—not from the Canaanites, but from Abraham’s extended family. The patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, were all under the Abrahamic Covenant, a Covenant of Grace. As consecrated Christians, we also are under a Grace Covenant. Like Jacob, who here typified the New Creation, we have been sent on a journey and blessed by the antitypical Isaac, our Lord Jesus. So we can repeat this blessing, transferring the thought from the type to the antitype as coming from our Lord Jesus to us: ‘May El Shaddai bless thee’ (verses 3,4).

“That helps to reinforce the thought that our Savior assures us that El Shaddai, the Almighty, All sufficient One, will be with us all the way in our dangerous journey through life. He is always near, always sufficient for any contingency. In the Promised Land, the Patriarchs had complete trust in El Shaddai. If we can completely trust Him now, then we can rest in full assurance of faith in our spiritual inheritance in the Promised Land.”

“Genesis 35:9‑12—Here God confirmed His Covenant to Jacob and changed Jacob’s name to Israel.

‘God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan‑aram, and blessed him. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. And God said unto him, I am El Shaddai: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.’

“After this confirmation, Jacob journeyed to Bethlehem. There his wife, Rachel, died giving birth to Benjamin. Then Jacob travelled to Hebron where his father, Isaac, had died. Thus this revelation to Jacob of El Shaddai as his All Mighty, All Sufficient God was a specially needed blessing. It was a reassurance to Jacob to have the covenant confirmed to him, and to know that El Shaddai would be with him throughout his walk.

“Genesis 37:35—This text speaks of the time Joseph had been sold into Egypt, and Jacob was told that Joseph was dead.

‘All his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him.’

“Though Rachel, Isaac, and Joseph—the three people that Jacob loved the most—were gone, and no one on earth could comfort him, El Shaddai comforted Jacob. There was nothing that he and El Shaddai could not handle together.

“Genesis 43:14—Later, Judah promised Jacob that he would return to Egypt as surety for Benjamin. But before sending Judah, Jacob asked the blessing of El Shaddai upon him in.

‘And El Shaddai give you mercy before the man, that he may send away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.’

“Genesis 48:3,4—Years later, when Jacob was on his death bed, Joseph brought his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to be blessed.

‘Jacob said unto Joseph, El Shaddai appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, And said unto me, Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a multitude of people; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.’

“Genesis 49:25—Jacob gave a final blessing to each of his sons just before he passed away.

‘Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by El Shaddai, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.’ ” (Br. Allan Ross, “El Shaddai”).

EL SHADDAI in the Book of Ruth

By considering the usage of El Shaddai in the Book of Ruth and the Book of Job, we understand an additional aspect of what God does for His people, that He permits short‑term pain for long‑term blessings. God’s people do not always understand His Grace when they are in the midst of a painful experience. But we must fully trust our All‑Powerful, All‑Sufficient, God. El Shaddai only allows experiences that bless us, if we take them in the right way.

In the Book of Ruth, Naomi, her husband Elimelech, and their two sons left Bethlehem‑Judah because of a famine and travelled to Moab. Within ten years of entering Moab, Naomi’s husband and two sons died. Naomi was downcast and confused. If God was All‑Mighty, All‑Sufficient, why would he allow her husband and her sons to die so quickly? To answer this, we have to look at the big picture, the long‑term view. El Shaddai takes the long view.

Should Elimelech have taken Naomi and his sons and left Bethlehem to go to Moab in the first place?

No, since El Shaddai is All‑Sufficient, He would have cared for them IN the Promised Land. If Elimelech had a stronger faith, he would have kept his family in Judah and waited for El Shaddai to bless his faithfulness.

Short‑term satisfaction
of fleshly desires
will NOT bring
long‑term happiness.

As in Naomi’s case, God may allow afflictions to come so that we will return to Him. 

God took away what was keeping Naomi from being close to Him!

If Naomi had stayed in Moab we never would have heard of Naomi or Ruth. There would not be a Book of Ruth in the Bible. It was the return to El Shaddai that allowed El Shaddai to abundantly bless both Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth (who chose to return with Naomi to the Promised Land).

One of the guiding principles of this lesson is stated in James 4:8: “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.”

Because Naomi and Ruth returned to the Promised Land, Ruth married Boaz. As King David’s great grandmother, Ruth became identified through the lineage of Mary with David’s greatest Son and Lord, our Lord Jesus.

Because Ruth drew near to God in devotion, she received eternal blessings.

EL SHADDAI in the Book of Job

The first use of the word “El Shaddai” in the Book of Job is in Job 5:17,18, where we read the words of Eliphaz to Job.

“Behold, happy is the man whom Eloah [Strongs 433, the Majestic God] correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of El Shaddai [Strongs 7706, the All Sufficient God]: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.”

The last use of “El Shaddai” in the Book of Job appears in Job 40:1,2.

“Moreover Jehovah [Strongs 3068, the Eternal One, the Existing One] answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with El Shaddai [Strongs 7706, the All‑Mighty, All‑Sufficient One] instruct him? He that reproveth El‑oah [the Majestic God], let him answer it.”

New Testament References

In the New Testament, Jesus begins to refer to God as “Our Father” when he gives us the model prayer of Matthew 6:9: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”

Jesus is the first person in Scripture to begin referring to God as my heavenly Father,” and our and your heavenly Father.” Jesus only used these terms in the presence of his disciples; they were not applied to others who were not yet prospective sons. Jesus was the first son of God, who opened up a “new and living way” gives us the opportunity to also become sons of God (John 1:141 John 3:1,2).

Revelation 15:3—refers to Jehovah as Almighty.

“They sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”

We also have scriptures that declare the almighty power of our Heavenly Father.

Psalm 77:10‑15—“I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High [El Elyon, The Supreme God]. I will remember the works of Jehovah [the Eternal One]: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm [our Lord Jesus] redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph.”

Psalms 91:1‑3—In these verses David represents our Lord Jesus addressing his Church.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High [El Elyon, The Supreme God] shall abide under the shadow of El Shaddai [the All‑Sufficient One]. I will say of Jehovah [the Self‑Existing One], He is my refuge and my fortress: my [Elohiym] Supreme God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.”

Jesus is telling his Church that we, who abide in the Secret Place of consecration in the antitypical Tabernacle, close to Jehovah, have nothing to fear despite the dangers that surround us because our God will protect us. Thus in the above passage of Scripture, four of God’s names are invoked to emphasize this—El Elyon, El Shaddai, Elohiym and Jehovah.

God Has Many Names

As the various verses shared highlight, God has used many different names to describe Himself indicating to us, that one name is not sufficient to describe the Heavenly Father. If God wanted to have only one descriptive name for Himself, He could have had the Bible written that way. But instead God has been described as “Eternal (Ezekiel 1:24)”, “Majestic,” “All‑Mighty,” and “All‑Sufficient (Ezekiel 10:4,5).”

It would be unfortunate to always read these descriptive names generically as “God” or “Lord.” So when we read Scriptures, let us consider referring to the Rotherham’s version or RVIC for a more exact translation of the original biblical manuscripts. Then there is no confusion between whether the verse refers to our Heavenly Father, or if the verse(s) refer to Jesus, Jehovah’s firstborn creation and the world’s Redeemer.

Based on the understandings shared here about the breadth of God’s being and character through an examination of the Heavenly Father’s names, we conclude with these thoughts about our God, “Whose—

  • Memory never fails,
  • Judgment is never inaccurate,
  • Plans for eternity are without any possibility of even the minutest failure,
  • Timing of His Divine plans of eternity are with unerring precision,
  • Grandest, most mighty power and skill can harness even every opposing element, animate or inanimate, making them all work together for the accomplishment of his grand designs,
  • Tireless vigilance never ceases, nor seeks relief from the pressing cares of universal dominion,
  • Eye never sleeps, whose ear is ever open, and who is ever cognizant of all the necessities, and active in all the interests, of his broad domains.”

To answer our opening question—Jehovah occupies the highest position of authority and glory in the universe. We hallow our Heavenly Father’s authority and bow in reverent and humble submission before Him in ALL His glorious attire of royal grandeur.

 

PSALM-31-23-24.jpg

 

References:

Br. Allan Ross, “El Shaddai,” Beauties of the Truth, November 2014.

Br. Charles T. Russell. “Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Br. Richard Tazzyman, 2017 Discourse: “I Am,” Australia. (Br Tazzyman’s discourse is to be given at the Bible Students Convention in England this year in July 2017.)

Br. Ronald Day. John 10:30 – The Oneness of Jesus and His God
URL: http://jesusnotyhwh.blogspot.com.au/2016/10/john10-30.html

Br. W.J. Siekman. “One Lord and His Name One,” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, May-June 1986

Vines Expository Dictionary of OT and NT Words, page 161.

Br. Jim Parkinson’s RVIC BIBLE – The Revised Version (American Edition) Improved and Corrected from manuscripts discovered and published to A.D. 1999

 

Acknowledgement

The authors of the above references for their content utilized for the above written work.

Br. David Rice, editing.

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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. Bro. 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 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, the “High 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 the world, 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” (Ephesians 2:6, NIV).

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?” (R. 2739

 

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,” 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. (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:

  • 1656 years (based on Genesis 5; 8:13; 7:6,) from Adam to the Flood

From Adam to the Flood

  • 427 years more (based on Genesis 7:6; 9:29; 21:5 and Genesis chapter 11 and 12,) to the Abrahamic Covenant and
  • 430 years more to the Exodus. (See Genesis 11-12; 21:5; 25:7; Exodus 12:40-42; 40:2, 7.)

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 synchronizes with the close of the harvest, rather than with the opening of the harvest. With this key, all is harmonious.

 

Acknowledgements

 

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/06/1-corinthians-1545-how-long-until-the-millennial-reign-of-the-last-adam/

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EXODUS 3 & 4 – Overcoming Timidity and Fear of One’s Own Inabilities

Exodus 4, 12 - www.biblestudentsdaily.com.jpg

But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’” Exodus 3:11

Are you timid and fearful in using your abilities as Moses seemed to be when the Heavenly Father sent him to speak to the Egyptians and lead his people out of captivity?

  • Fear often prevents us from getting out of our comfort zone, even for righteousness’ sake.
  • Timidity can even stop us from standing alone and DEFENDING THE TRUTH.
  • Human emotions often causes us to fear rejection by our friends. It can even paralyze us and block the voice of God as He speaks through the Bible and providence.
  • Anxiety and depression can cause us to be overly concerned about something that is not reality.

If you can identify with any of these symptoms, then read on for some good news – as this post is for you!

As an infant, Moses was placed by faithful parents where an Egyptian princess could find him, amidst the bulrushes of the Nile. Seeing the young baby, she decided to adopt him.
Safe in the midst of his enemies, he received an ample education.

“And Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and he was mighty in his words and deeds.” (Acts 7:22)

The honors of the Egyptian Court were his, but when Moses learned the truth of his origin he no longer could enjoy the benefits of his high station while his kinsmen—the Israelites—suffered under the burden of slavery.

After killing an Egyptian taskmaster for his cruelty to an Israelite slave, he was disappointed when his brethren did not appreciate his endeavors to help them, but instead, reported him to the Egyptians (Exodus 2:11-22).

He fled to Midian, and was gone forty years. Then…

GOD’s time having come,

he was sent to deliver his people—Israel; but by now he was timid and feared his inability.

By Divine command, Aaron became his mouthpiece, and the message was carried to Pharaoh that Israel must be released from bondage. This commission to Moses was given at the burning bush which was not consumed. The Lord used this miracle to impress on Moses that God was with him. It provided the courage and confidence for Moses to fulfill his mission. We read of this in Exodus chapter 3-4.

Exodus Chapter 3 (ESV)

[Note: Most commentary in green from “Expanded Biblical Comments.”]

1Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.”

the burning bush

Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

16 Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, 17 and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ 18 And they will listen to your voice, and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; and now, please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’

19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and when you go, you shall not go empty, 22 but each woman shall ask of her neighbor, and any woman who lives in her house, for silver and gold jewelry, and for clothing. You shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

Exodus Chapter 4 (ESV)

1 Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’”

The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.”

[A staff signifies divine authority. R4058:4. A special manifestation of divine power and rule. R5419:5]

3 And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.

[Became a serpent—Symbolizing that all the evil there is in the world is the result of God’s having let go of his rod of authority temporarily. R4058:4  Those things closest to us might become injurious except for God’s power to overrule. R5419:2  Antitype may be that the power of God may appear to be evil.]

4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail”—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.

[Put out your hand — Typifying God’s purpose to lay hold upon present evil conditions. R4058:4 It became a staff — Typifying the re-establishment of divine authority. R4058:4
Representing God’s power to turn evil things into good things through the operation of FAITH. R2910:4, R5419:3 From this we should realize that of ourselves we could accomplish nothing. R5419:2]

R3990: “The assurance that he would be able to give the people this demonstration [with the staff] and other demonstrations that God had sent him to them strengthened Moses’ confidence in God and made up for his lack of confidence in himself. And this should be the case with all of us; we are not to have confidence in ourselves, but if we go forth strong in the Lord and in the power of his might, confident and rejoicing because he is with us, we are not only safe as respects ourselves but in the proper condition for the Lord to more and more use us in his service—”He that humbleth himself shall be exalted; he that exalteth himself shall be abased,” is the divine method of procedure.”

6 Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow.

[He put his hand — Leprosy is a symbol of sin. Divine power was first manifested without sin or imperfection or blemish (in Jesus Christ); secondly, that the same divine power, hidden for a time, was afterward manifest in sin and imperfection (in his Body members) and thirdly, that the same divine power, hidden again for a time, will subsequently be manifest without sin (in the glorified Christ) R4059:2]

7 Then God said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 

[Restored — By and by the Church is to be received into Christ’s bosom and “changed” in the first resurrection. R4059:3
As his other flesh — Be used again of the Lord as his agent in stretching forth his rod and bringing forth the plagues, and delivering the residue of God’s people. R4059:3]

8 “If they will not believe you,” God said, “or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign.

[Voice of the first sign — Literature on the subject of “Why evil was permitted” has been circulated to the extent of millions of copies throughout the world ever since the year 1879. R4058:6
Voice of the latter sign — The sign of the leprous hand—the “Millennial Dawn” series of volumes (later called “Studies in the Scriptures”) the first of which was published in 1886. In these books the relationship between justification, sanctification and deliverance is distinctly shown. R4059:4]

If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”

[Water from the Nile — The truth, as contained in millions of pages of tracts, poured upon the symbolic earth, society, liberally on many lands and in many languages. R4059:6
Upon the dry land — Typifying society. R4059:5
Shall become blood — To society the truth seems repulsive, undesirable, bloody. They not only view the typical sacrifices as bloody but they resent the thought that the antitypical sacrifice for sins was the death (blood) of Christ. R4060:1]

10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.”

[I am not eloquent — Moses was so meek that he could not realize that with divine help he would be successful. R5262:2]

11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

*[I will be with thy mouth — So God declares to the humble ones now; that having no confidence in ourselves, we should have every confidence in God. R5262:4]*

13 But he said, “Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.

[Aaron represents the Royal Priesthood still in the flesh, still sacrificing. R4058:3]

15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. 16 He shall speak for you to the people [to true Israelites], and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.

[The understanding of God through studying Scripture and prayer and developing the fruits of the spirit allows the called ones running for the prize of High Calling during the Gospel Age to be used as the “mouthpieces” of the Heavenly Father through Christ. 
Be as God to him — Moses was to be like God unto Aaron in that he would tell Aaron what he should say and do. Q498:5 Moses, not Aaron, was the one competent for the great work because of his schooling. Aaron was his servant, or mouthpiece, speaking only as authorized by Moses in whom, because of his meekness, God was reposing the responsibility. R5262:4, R4537:1; PD32]

17 And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.” 

18 Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my brothers in Egypt to see whether they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19 And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.”

20 So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt [for the last 40 years of his life]. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand.

21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’”

24 At a lodging place on the way the Lord met him and sought to put him to death [because Moses has not circumcised their son.] 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it and said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then that she said, “A bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.

[The circumcision — Symbolizing a cutting off, a separation from the flesh, its aims, hopes and desires. R3022:3]

27 The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God [Mount Horeb, one of the peaks of Mt. Sinai. R4011:3] and kissed him.

[Does not the Lord God also tell us: to shelter ourselves from all evil by finding rest under his wings of care and Divine supervision when feasting upon the Words of Life in Scripture and when in prayer communion with the Him through Christ. Here the New Creation can “meet” with Christ and his Body members – in sweet fellowship for as we are told “where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20) and “where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather” (Luke 17:37).]

28 And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which he had sent him to speak, and all the signs that he had commanded him to do.

This reminds us of Jesus’ words in John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

29 Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the people of Israel. 30 Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people.

31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Moses’ experiences changed him for the better. How?

By God giving him the perfect experiences—which for the first 40 years of his life taught him to depend on his own strengths (i.e. he killed the Egyptian rather than depend on God to bring justice, etc); then the next 40 years of his life, Moses learned to not depend on his own strength (i.e. he worked for his Father-in-law looking after the sheep—which were not his own) and finally in the last 40 years of his life, Moses learned to put all his past experiences into practice hence why we read in Numbers 12:3 that “the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.”

Lessons from the Burning Bush 

“God usually has a symbolical meaning in every miracle, and in this one the representation is supposed to be Israel in the midst of tribulation, yet not consumed. Later on, in Reformation times, the Church of Scotland appropriated this burning bush as its emblem on its banner, because its experience had been similar in that it had passed through severe afflictions and distresses and trials, yet had not been consumed.

Is not the burning bush a good illustration of the experience of Christ and all of his members? Are they not indeed surrounded by fiery trials? And do they not emerge from these unscathed, uninjured?—on the contrary, blessed, developed, strengthened, made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light? (R.3990)

The Fear, Reverence of the Lord – 

“Well do the Scriptures declare that the fear, reverence, of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We greatly deplore the growth of irreverence in our day, and urge upon all of our readers for themselves and for their families the cultivation of this proper attitude of mind, so helpful to our preparation for the life that now is and that which is to come. Liberty and independence, while excellent qualities, are always to be valued and conserved and protected, are never to become license, never to lead in any degree to irreverence. This is the more necessary to us for two reasons: (1) Because of the growing irreverence of the world about us, born of a declining faith in God and everything supernatural; (2) because of our growing enlightenment in the Truth, by which we see that the fears of an eternity of torture were groundless, there is a danger of losing that proper reverence for God which belongs to and is an integral part of love.

“The Prophet David writes, “Keep thy foot when thou goest into the house of God”—take heed to your standing, take heed to your walk, take heed to your conduct. Whether the house of God be a great temple, as in past times, under divine direction, or whether it be the temple of God, which is the Church of Christ in the flesh, we should realize that reverence is befitting to us in connection with everything that is holy and consecrated. We should realize that whoever neglects the cultivation of reverence in respect to these matters is making his own pathway slippery and dangerous. He who reverences little and is careless is much more likely to stumble, to fall, and be utterly cast down.

If even Moses, the “meekest man in all the earth,” needed from the Lord as his first instruction a lesson of humility, shall we not suppose that such a lesson is necessary to us? Yea, verily!

Let us honor the Lord in our hearts, in our outward demeanor. Whether we bow to give thanks for our daily bread, whether we bow our knee night and morning in acknowledgment of divine care and providences, or whether we meet with those of like precious faith, let us see to it that reverence marks our conduct and our words as well as rules in our hearts. Let us, too, take off our shoes, let us lay aside the ordinary conduct of life by which we are in contact with the world, and in all our ways acknowledge him, especially when we hearken to his voice in the study of his Word as his people.” (R.3990)

Like Moses was asked by God, does not our Heavenly Father also ask us:

“What is in your hand?” 

“God can use our humblest talent to his praise. If, then, we would serve, we should look to see what we have in our hands.” (R5419:2)

How to overcome timidity and fear

Jesus gives us the ANSWER in overcoming fear of others (i.e. timidity.)

  • Timidity of people

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. (Matthew 10:28, 29)

God is mindful of every creature that lives. He even knows when a sparrow dies. So, we can be confident that He cares for us and we have nothing to fear from others. David echoed this sentiment when he said, “The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6).

  • Fear of doing wrong in the eyes of God

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:1, 2).

Christians who are committed to serving God have a special relationship with Him. Jesus, as their “Advocate” covers their sins. We can take great comfort in knowing we do not have to be perfect for God to accept us. The blood of Jesus provides our standing before God.

  • Fear of being misunderstood which can lead to being hated

 “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isaiah 41:10).

Though every Christian should be sensitive to the feelings of others we should not fear what they will think of us. Only God’s view truly matters. If we live according to His principles and serve Him the best we can, then we have nothing to worry about.

  • Fear of standing for the Truth when others will not

And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (Matthew 10:22-24).

Enduring to the end is important as we stand for truth. God sees and remembers all that we do for the cause of Truth. That’s what matters most.

Do you deal with any of these fears? 

Then please STOP right here!  

God has the plan, man has the problem, the Bible has the solution.” – Dewey Aaron.

May the words of Holy Scripture , be your comfort and your strength.

Why and how to Obey GOD

We cannot do more than to give our best to the Heavenly Father as we present our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). It sometimes involves much pain and suffering for righteousness sake. But whatever suffering we are asked to endure will be well worth it in knowing that God is pleased.

 

“As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-5)

 

As Christians, we have a guidebook, as well as a guide, to show us how to live. The more we follow the instructions left by our guide, the more we begin to understand the plans, and influence others to do the same.

 

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

 

We cannot seek God’s help if we do not believe that He will help us.

When we come to Him, we must do so with the faith that He knows all, sees all, and has power over all.

 

GOd's Power. Mt Sinai..jpg

“His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;  the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (Psalm 147:10-11)

 

The Lord is not impressed with the things that the world sees as important.

 

Our Heavenly Father cares little for our physical strength, speed, or agility.

 

What makes our Heavenly Father smile is
the strength of our love for Him.

 

“My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.” Proverbs 23:26

This is the ANSWER to overcoming ALL things through CHRIST!

 

It involves falling in love with the one who reads the heart’s deepest sorrows… deepest regrets… deepest pains… deepest secrets of our good intentions …

The Heavenly Father’s delight comes when our faith in his perfect abilities is strong.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:12-16)

 FOCUS ON YOUR SPIRITUAL LIFE. 

This does not mean shutting ourselves away from everyone. The Lord wants us to serve one another and share each other’s burdens.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.(Galatians_6:2 )

 

If physical or mental impairment prevent one from being able to meet the needs of others, this too, is something the Lord understands perfectly. He reads the heart and understands the difficulties we often face in life.

This is where PRAYERS for each other ARE WORTH MORE THAN GOLD.

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

Comfort and Reassurance

How reassuring to know that our Heavenly Father helps our weaknesses to become our strengths as we DEPEND WHOLEHEARTEDLY upon Him—that we might look to Him in every time of need and receive strength through CHRIST. He becomes our strength when we remain in Him and His Word remains in us.

Here are some Scriptures to meditate upon to gain strength from our Heavenly Father through CHRIST Jesus. These can give us great JOY. He is OUR STRENGTH as we fight the good fight of Faith to overcome sin and sorrow, focusing on the author and perfecter of our Faith, Christ Jesus.

CONFIDENCE & STRENGTH THROUGH CHRIST SCRIPTURES:-

“The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Exodus 15:2 (ESV)

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (ESV)

“He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked shall be silent in darkness. For by strength no man shall prevail.” 1 Samuel 2:9 (NKJ)

“God is my strength and power, and He makes my way perfect.” 2 Samuel 22:33 (NKJ)

“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” 1 Chronicles 16:11 (ESV)

“…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (ESV)

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. 2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3 I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”  Psalm 18:1-3 (ESV)

“The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.” Psalm 33:16 (ESV)

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1 (NKJ)

“Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24 (NKJ)

“God, hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer. I call to You from the ends of the earth when my heart is without strength. Lead me to a rock that is high above me, for You have been a refuge for me, a strong tower in the face of the enemy. I will live in Your tent forever and take refuge under the shelter of Your wings. Selah” Psalm 61:1-4 (HCSB)

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 (ESV)

5 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 6 Passing through the Valley of Weeping (Baca), they make it a place of springs; the early rain also fills [the pools] with blessings.  7They go from strength to strength [increasing in victorious power]; each of them appears before God in Zion.”  Psalm 84:5-7 (AMP)

“28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31 (ESV)

“…in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”  Isaiah 30:15 (ESV)

“…Let the weak say, ‘I am strong.’”  Joel 3:10 (ESV)

“17 Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation! 19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!” Habakkuk 3:17-19 (AMP)

“26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (ESV)

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV)

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 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 4:7-11 (ESV)

“On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses.”  2 Corinthians 12:5 (NASB)

“9 But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10 So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (HCSB)

“8 I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close.Revelation 3:8 (HCSB)

“15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”  Hebrews 4:15-16 (ESV)

“Thou Mayest Bring Forth My People”

Just as God used Moses to deliver the Israelites out of the hands of Pharaoh, so too, if  “the Lord may choose to send us on any special mission, we may be sure that he does not wish us to undertake it as our own mission, nor to claim the honor of the success attending it. He merely deigns to use us as his instrumentalities, whereas he could do the entire work much easier, we might say, without us. How wonderful it seems that God throughout all his dealings, past and present, has been willing to use his consecrated people. Telling them on the one hand that they are unworthy, he assures them on the other hand of his willingness to use their imperfections and to overrule and guide in respect to their services for him and his cause.” (R. 3990)

“The prime essentials evidently in the faithful performance of such a commission would be reverence for the Lord and humility as respects our own talents and abilities. It was so with Moses, the “meekest man in all the earth.” (R.3990)

Not stopping even to tell the Lord of his appreciation of the facts that he had been chosen for and had undertaken this great work, Moses was overwhelmed with the thought that the Lord would deign to use him as a messenger, and he promptly disclaimed any special qualifications therefor. Indeed, he evidently felt, as well as said, that there were others much more capable of the work than himself. (R.3990)

“But was it not this very appreciation of his own unworthiness that helped to make him suitable for the Lord’s business?

“And so with us: we may be sure that when we feel strong then we are weak, and when we feel weak in our own strength then we are best prepared to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might and to be used of him as his instruments.” (R.3990)

“And all the members of the body of Christ, the antitypical body of Moses, are permitted to have a share, as the Lord’s representatives, in this work of declaring the fall of Babylon, the presence of the King, and the gathering together unto him of all who have made a covenant with him by sacrifice. While feeling our unworthiness of so great an honor, and our inability as respects so great a work, let us remember that the Lord himself is with us, and that since it is HIS work it will go onward and accomplish the designs intended, and gather out eventually all who are truly the Lord’s, whether we are faithful or whether we are unfaithful.

“Let each of us then, dear readers, impress upon our hearts the essence of this lesson, that if God be with us and for us, however humble and weak of ourselves, we may be mighty through him to the pulling down of the strongholds of error and for the building up of his people in the most holy faith, and for their deliverance from the bondage of error. Let us in the name of the Lord do with our might what our hands find to do, but always with the thought that we serve the Lord. ” (R. 3991)

Let his words in Isaiah 41:10 be the strength in our every endeavor in his name and cause.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

By being faithful unto death, may we maintain the relationship to the great antitype of Moses, and ultimately be associated with him in the glories of the Kingdom, in the dispensing of the blessings and judgments of the future age.—Acts 3:23. (R.3

 EPHESIANS 6,10.jpg

References:
Br. Charles T. Russell, Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. (R)

“Expanded Biblical Comments” — http://www.htdbv8.com/ (Purchase hard copy—https://chicagobible.org/product/expanded‑biblical‑comments/)

 

Acknowledgment 
Br. Tom Ruggirello – for editing assistance.

 

Suggested Further Reading
The Burning Bush, by Br. Carl Hagensick in “The Beauties of the Truth,” Volume 11, No. 4, November 2000.

 

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PROVERBS 22:6 – Train Up A Child In The Way He Should Go

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“He that spareth his rod, hateth his son.” (Prov. 13:24) “What son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?” “If ye be without chastisement…then are ye…not sons.” Hebrews 12:7

The content for this post comes from the 6th Volume written by Pastor Charles T. Russell and the topics discussed include:

  1. Order in the Home
  2. Rewards & Punishments
  3. Parental Discipline – Helps to Develop Character
  4. The Golden Rule
  5. The Atmosphere of the Home
  6. A Home in Which the Lord’s Spirit is not Manifested
  7. When a Child Reaches Manhood or Womanhood
  8. The Proper Amount of Education
  9. Our Children in the Time of Trouble
  10. Proper Amusements

Order in the Home

Nothing is further from our intention than to urge indiscriminate and frequent use of the rod in the training of children. We have cited these scriptures, however, to show the mistaken position of those who hold that corporal chastisement by parents, even when necessary, is wrong.

The home that is ruled with the rod must of necessity be an unhappy home.

The homes of the New Creatures should be ruled by love not by the rod. The rod is to be kept merely as an occasional necessity for enforcing the rules of love; and when it is administered it is to be wielded by the hand of love and never by the hand of anger.

The New Creatures, governed by the spirit of a sound mind, learn gradually that order is one of heaven’s first laws, and hence that it should be one of the first elements and characteristics of the homes of the New Creatures.

Order, however, does not of necessity mean absolute quiet, else the wilderness and the silent cities of the dead would be the only places where order would rule.

Order may mean joy as well as peace, happiness as well as rest, liberty as well as law. Order means law—with New Creatures the Golden Rule and the Law of Love governing the head of the house and his helpmate, as well as governing the children, making of the parents ensamples to the children in all the Christian graces. Law, even the Law of Love, means rewards and punishments, and in the family the parents have the dispensing of these.

According to their realized weaknesses they, in turn, need direction from the Heavenly Father that they may glorify him not only in their own hearts and wills, but that their homes shall be earthly ensamples of the homes of the righteous, the homes of those who have the mind of Christ.

Rewards & Punishments

Their rewards for their children should be in the provision of such comforts and blessings as circumstances, under control of a recognized providence, may permit.

Their punishments may be more or less severe according to the wilfulness of the child, but never according to the standard of justice, never in the attempt to mete out to the child the full measure of what its conduct might justly demand—because we are not under justice ourselves, but under mercy, under love, and are to show mercy, not only in our dealings with others, but specially in our dealings with our own children, whose imperfections and blemishes are, doubtless, traceable in a greater or less degree to ourselves and our forebears.

Love may sometimes punish by the refusal of a kiss, as it may sometimes reward by the giving of a kiss; it may sometimes for a season banish the unruly one from the company of the obedient and from the pleasures provided for them.

The Law of Love may sometimes even exercise the rod of discipline to the extent of denying supper or of giving merely the necessities, bread and water, and withholding some of the additional comforts and luxuries; or may sometimes wield the literal rod of chastisement to enforce obedience, and thus preserve the order and blessings of the home, not only for the obedient children, but also for the chastised one, whom it hopes thus to bless and bring into full accord.

It is scarcely necessary to admonish the New Creation that they should not use angry or harsh words to their children; for such know that language of that kind is improper to any one under any circumstances. On the contrary, their “speech should be with grace,” with love, with kindness, even when reproving.

Nor is it necessary to suggest to the class we are addressing the impropriety of a hasty blow, which might do injury to the child not only physically—perhaps permanently injuring its hearing—but also wound its affections, develop in it a fear of the parent instead of love, which should be considered the only proper groundwork on which the obedience and order of the home are built.

Furthermore, the hasty blow or cutting remark would be wrong, would indicate a wrong condition of mind on the part of the parent—a condition unfavorable to a proper, just decision of the matter along the lines of the Law of Love.

The parent owes it to himself as a part of his own discipline, as well as to his child, that he shall never inflict a punishment which he has not sufficiently considered, and coolly and dispassionately found to be not more, but less, than justice might properly demand.

He owes it to himself also that the child shall fully understand the situation, the necessity for the preservation of order in the home, that the happiness of the home may continue to the blessing of all its inmates; that the child understand thoroughly also that the parent has no anger toward him, no malice, no hatred, nothing but sympathy and love and the desire to do him good.

Christian parents have—if they will use it—an immense leverage of advantage in dealing with their children. They should read to their children, from the Word, the divine sanction of parental authority—the divine requirement that a parent shall train up a child in the way he should go; and additionally he should point out the necessity for this—because we all are fallen and unable to come up to the divine standard, etc.; that all these means and corrections are necessary as helps to the counteraction of evil tendencies under which we have been born.

Parental Discipline – Helps to Develop Character

Many parents forget to look backward and to note at how early an age they themselves learned to appreciate principles of righteousness—to appreciate the parental care which neglected not to reprove, to correct, and even to chastise as seemed necessary. Let us recall, too, how keen was our sense of justice when we were children—how we mentally approved parental discipline when we understood its motive to be for the development of character, but how we resented it if we did not see a principle of justice, if we were reproved or otherwise punished for things of which we were not guilty, or if we were punished beyond a reasonable chastisement comporting with the offense.

Not only is it the best and surest way of controlling a child thus to direct its mind along the lines of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, justice and injustice, but this constitutes also a training of the child in character, when it is most susceptible to parental influence. It is character-building at a time when the conscience and judgment of the child are in their formative condition, and when it properly recognizes the parent as its sole lawgiver. If this work of character-building be ignored in infancy, the work is many times more difficult in future years, besides the disadvantages that will accrue both to parent and child and neighbors and friends in the interim.

It is all-important, then, to notice that the training of a child does not consist solely in teaching it respecting its outward deportment in politeness, cleanliness, obedience, etc., but further, and indeed chiefly, in the establishment of right principles in the heart—proper recognition there of the mind of the Lord as being the only standard of living, both for old and young.

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule, the Law of Love, of generosity, meekness, patience, gentleness, forbearance, should be inculcated as respects the child’s relationship to other members of the family, to playmates, etc.

The child that is taught to be selfish, or one whose natural selfishness is not brought kindly to his attention (though not in the presence of others) and lovingly reproved and corrected, is missing a most important lesson at the most opportune moment.

The parent who neglects such an opportunity for giving instructions and corrections of the mind and judgment, as well as of outward conduct, is not only missing the most favorable opportunity in respect to his child, but is allowing weeds to grow in the heart garden where only the graces of the spirit should grow; and is thus laying up more or less of trouble for himself in dealing with that child throughout future years.

Many of the heartaches and tears of well-intentioned parents over the waywardness, wilfulness, selfishness and “wild oats” of their children might have been spared them had they done their duty by those children in infancy. Furthermore, such parents lose a great blessing in their own experiences; for it is undoubtedly true that the parent who is properly training his child in unselfishness, love, obedience, reverence to God, helpfulness to his fellow-creatures, etc., etc., will be getting valuable experiences for himself—growing in grace, growing in knowledge and growing in love, while endeavoring to teach these principles to his child.

He will learn, too, that the child will expect to find him illustrating in his daily conduct and in his relationship to God and to the members of his family, and to his fellowmen, the principles he seeks to inculcate in others.

This will make him the more careful of his own words, his own conduct; and such carefulness, such circumspection of all the little affairs of life, public and private, will assuredly develop in such a parent more and more of the graces of the Lord’s Spirit, thus making him more and more acceptable to the Lord, and preparing and perfecting him for the Kingdom.

The Atmosphere of the Home

The atmosphere of the home, however poor, should be one of purity.

Absolute purity in thought, word and deed we know to be impossible in our present conditions, just as material purity is absolutely impossible where the air is full of soot and dust.

But every Christian home should be as nearly absolutely clean as possible—as free from the outward soil and filth as circumstances will permit, and as free from moral obliquity and defilement as the imperfect earthen vessels can be made.

Every child should be able to look back upon its home, however humble, however scantily furnished, as a clean place, a house of God, a holy place.

He should be able to look back and in memory recall the voice of prayer at the family altar, the kind words of father or mother on various occasions, and the general spirit of peace and restfulness through contentment and submission to the divine providence. He should be able to sense the sweet odor of love pervading the home and associated with every member of it, manifesting itself in meekness, gentleness, kindness, helpfulness.

A child bred to and reared in such an atmosphere of love may be expected to desire to please the Lord and to obey him from the earliest moments of his consciousness; and from the time he reaches ten to twelve years of age he should be encouraged to consider the propriety of a full consecration to the Lord—to remember that his standing before the Lord during the period of immaturity of judgment is through the parent, but that in proportion as maturity of mind is reached the Lord expects a personal consecration.

Should such a child thus trained, neglect or refuse to make consecration to the Lord, we may be sure that the home influences would still continue, although when years of maturity had been reached and no covenant with the Lord had been made, such an one may properly hesitate to approach the throne of grace—hesitate to claim of the Lord the blessing he has promised to those who are his, because he has refused to become his. Nevertheless, to such there will still cling a precious memory of the seasons of approach to the throne of grace and of divine watchcare over the home of infancy and over themselves, and there will continually be a longing for the divine protection and for the privilege of approaching the Creator with the cry, “Abba, Father,” and the realization of relationship to him.

Should such an one become a parent, he will instinctively feel a desire to train his children as he was trained, and all these influences will gradually draw more and more upon his heart, and the strong probabilities are that at least by that time he will consecrate. In any event, the influences of a godly home will have been with him, a holy protection from many of the excesses under which otherwise he might have fallen.

A Home in Which the Lord’s Spirit is not Manifested

Contrast such a home, with its sweet odor of love, kindness, patience, gentleness, with the home in which the Lord’s Spirit is not manifestedthe home in which selfishness is the law, in which the child notes the quarrels between the parents, and how each seeks his own at the expense of the other, in which the child hears little but chiding, complaining, faultfinding, angry words, harsh sounds, etc. These become contagious amongst the children, and they in turn quarrel over their little affairs, speak angrily to each other, and keep the household in perpetual turmoil. The continued practice of selfishness in the home develops this organ in the mind and in the conduct of the child.

If in an angry voice the parent calls it “a little rascal,” and the feelings of the child, at first hurt by such reflections against its character, become toughened, it gradually learns to glory in being a little rascal. When first it hears the angry and impatient mother exclaim, “I’ll thrash you within an inch of your life!” or “I’ll break your back!” no doubt there is a measure of terror conveyed by the words to the heart of the child, but it is not long in learning that these are idle threats, from which it has comparatively little to fear; and gradually as it learns that the civil laws of the land would not permit the parent to do it serious violence, the childish mind concludes that the parent had the will to do it evil, but simply lacked the liberty. From such a little mind much of the original instinct of love is driven out. It finds its parent equally untruthful in respect to promises—that the promises are frequently given without the slightest intention of their fulfilment. Thus the child is taught to lie, to threaten, to promise, to deceive others in respect to its real intentions.

Is there any wonder that such a child grows up a hard character?

The wonder, rather, is that between the bad training, the indifferent training and no training at all the civilized world is not a great deal worse than it is.

Children Born in Justification

In all these matters the New Creature has a decided advantage over all others in respect to his children. They should, to begin with, be better born, better endowed at birth. And this prenatal endowment should be fostered from the very earliest moments of infancy.

The babe of a few days is pretty sure to be nervous and irritable and distressed if the mother is so; an influence goes to the child, not only through the mother’s milk, but telepathically, electrically, from her person to the child.

What a general advantage, then, the New Creature has in the indwelling of the Spirit of the Lord, with its peace, love and joy; and how favored is the infant under such care!

Humanly speaking, how great are its possibilities as compared with the possibilities of others in respect to noble manhood and womanhood; and, speaking from the standpoint of the Lord’s Word, how great is its advantage when we remember that the children of the Lord’s consecrated people, like themselves, are under the supervision of divine providence in respect to all of their affairs; that the children of believers, too, come under the terms of the promise that “all things shall work together for good” to them!

It is not difficult to see that the children of New Creatures have a tentatively justified standing with God, in virtue of the relationship of their parents to him and to them.

As the disobedience and alienation of Adam and Eve from the heavenly Father brought alienation to all their offspring, so, too, the reconciliation of the Lord’s people, through the merits of the great atonement, not only brings them back to harmony with God, but their children as well are counted justified through their parents, and on account of their parents, up to such a time as the child shall have an intelligence and will of his own.

The question is more complex, however, when one parent is the Lord’s and the other is a stranger and alien from him; but the Apostle assures us that in such a case God counts the child as his, through whichever one of its parents is the Lord’s disciple. The influence of the believing parent, the consecrated parent, is counted as offsetting and overruling the influence of the unconsecrated parent, so far as the child is concerned. On this subject the Apostle says: “Else Were Your Children Unholy [Sinful, Condemned].”

“The unbelieving husband is sanctified by the [believing] wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the [believing] husband [in respect to the subject under consideration, viz., the offspring of their wedlock]; else were your children unholy [sinners under condemnation, unjustified, unrelated to God, aliens from his care and blessing]; but now [in view of this provision of divine grace] are they holy [that is, in a tentatively justified state with God, through which he may treat them, not as enemies].” 1 Corinthians 7:14

The question of the proper training of children may be a difficult one, but not too difficult for the Lord to manage; and, hence, the parent who has become a Christian may expect the Lord’s grace proportionately to abound in respect to his affairs, and should seek the more earnestly for the wisdom and help that come from above, that he may be rightly able to discharge his duties under the most trying circumstances. The Lord’s grace is sufficient for us in every condition.

The fact of the one being a New Creature, and the other an unbeliever, or unconsecrated, does not alter the divine arrangement in respect to the headship of the family. This still devolves upon the husband, and if a New Creature he must direct in respect to the affairs of his family as best he is able under the circumstances, and guided by the promised wisdom from on high.

If the wife be the New Creature, her soundness of mind, devotion to principles of righteousness, her gentleness, meekness, thoughtfulness, carefulness, should make her such a jewel in the family, should cause her light so to shine before her husband, that he might take pleasure in giving her practically the full control of the children, for which he would discern her to be specially adapted. Any rule or authority she should exercise, however, would be delegated by her husband, who, whether saint or sinner, is the responsible head of his family.

Likewise the husband, letting his light shine, should expect that ere long his wife, as well as his children, would discern his difference from irreligious men, his spirit of love, his gentleness and helpfulness, and spirit of a sound mind.

Nevertheless, if these results, which ought to be expected, do not come—if the greater the faithfulness the worse the treatment from the unbelieving partnereven to the extent that a separation might be necessary, let us remember that the Lord’s counsel forewarned us that such might be our experience; saying, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which shall try you”; and again, “A man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” And again, “I have not come to send peace on the earth but a sword.”

My message, although it is a message of peace and blessing in the present time, frequently results in strife, because the children of darkness hate the light, and because many of them, under the deception of the Adversary and the weaknesses of their [F534] own fallen nature, will wage a continual warfare against it.

Think it not strange, consider it a part of your trial, endure it as a part of the divine will, until the Lord shall open up a door of escape.

How to Rectify Wrong Child-raising Practices

The Lord, undoubtedly, will be pleased to find us regretful for having failed of duty in the past, and he no doubt will be pleased to have us ask his forgiveness for such shortcomings, and to have us promise greater faithfulness henceforth in seeking for and pursuing our obligations toward those dependent upon us. He would surely be pleased to have us take present experiences with unruly children with patience, with forebearance, as a part of that chastisement for sins of omission or of commission in respect to their training; and thus received, these trials may serve for our polishing and preparation for the Kingdom.

As for the duty of such a parent toward such children, it would unquestionably be to begin by teaching them the lessons they should have been taught in infancy, concerning responsibility toward the Lord, the principles of right, of justice, of love toward each other and toward all.

And this instruction should be given with great love and forebearance and patience, which would be a notable lesson to the child of the power of grace in the parent’s heart.

According to the age of the child and other related circumstances—the extent to which wrong principles had become rooted, etc.—results should be waited for with patience; and such restrictions as seemed absolutely necessary should be applied with gentleness and consideration and explanations.

Parental authority should be established kindly, not rudely.

Children who have been in the habit of ruling the household should not be expected to become good and obedient children instantaneously.

Wisdom from on high should be sought in respect to the details of the home arrangements and government, for no outsider is competent [F536] to understand thoroughly all the affairs of the family of another, nor to give specific directions respecting its proper government.

Two principles should guide:

  1. Love for the Lord and for the children—This love should be guided and directed by the Word of God;
  2. The Word of God, as the source of authority and instruction, should be continually appealed to.

Furthermore, all parents should learn to treat children with consideration. Whether they be children properly trained or otherwise, they should realize that the parent respects their consciences and their judgments, and endeavors to deal with them in harmony with these elements of character.

When a Child Reaches Manhood or Womanhood

Especially as the child reaches a condition of manhood or womanhood should his or her reason be appealed to, and in the same proportion force and corporal chastisement should be abandoned.

The principle of justice, to which we have already referred, is to be found to some extent in almost every human being, and especially if the sense of justice is found to cooperate with selfishness.

Thus, when the age of manhood or womanhood is reached the child instinctively feels that he has passed a line, and:

  • should no longer be treated as a child, but as a companion;
  • should no longer be commanded in anything, but requested;
  • should no longer be required to give a strict account in detail of all moneys earned, but should be permitted a larger discretion and personality than previously.

Wise, just, loving parents should not attempt a violation of these rights of maturity; but rather seek from that period onward to deal with the child as with a younger brother or sister—as adviser and best friend.

While, prior to maturity, the parent had full control, after maturity the child has a personality and individuality which should be recognized and appealed to. It is the duty of the child to make provision for the parent, but properly appealed to, the provision should be the more promptly and lovingly made. The obligation of the child to aged parents for their support corresponds exactly with the responsibility of the parent for the care and reasonable support of the child in infancy and immaturity.

The parent who has done justly and lovingly by his child will surely rarely be left to want while that child shall have strength to provide.

The Proper Amount of Education

We are of those who appreciate highly the value of an education; and yet we believe that great wisdom should be exercised in respect to what constitutes an education.

Education is like polish. Almost any stone may be made to look beautiful by careful polishing, but careful polishing is not alike valuable or helpful to all stones. In the case of a diamond or a ruby or other precious stone, polishing is absolutely necessary to the development of the latent qualities [F538] of the stone; without the facets, the glories and brilliancies of the stone could not be appreciated nor shed their luster.

But the same polishing bestowed upon a cobblestone from the street would be a waste of energy; worse than that, it would make the cobblestone too valuable, too nice, for use as a cobblestone. Moreover, it would be less fit for its duties as a cobblestone after being faced than if it had been let alone, or merely chipped in a general way, to make it fit its place.

And so we perceive it is in respect to education, the polishing of the mind with a “classical course” in college. Some would be benefited by such a course, while others would be injured. Who has not seen men so educated that they could not occupy the place in life for which their natural talents fitted them? They were over-educated, and, like the man in the parable, they could yet dig, and to beg they were ashamed, and for anything else unfit.

If in the Lord’s providence the parents found that they had a child of very brilliant mind, and if that providence guided their affairs so that financial and other considerations opened the way for a collegiate course to such a child, they might well consider whether or not these indications were the Lord’s direction in respect to their duty to the child, and should follow their convictions.

Nevertheless, in sending him to college at the present time they should feel a great trepidation, a great fear, lest this outward polish in the wisdom of this world should efface all the polish of faith and character and heart which they as the parents and proper instructors of the child had been bestowing upon it from infancy and before.

The Lord’s people of the New Creation should learn to appreciate the education of heart and character and faith in God as a superior education in every respect to anything that could be attained in the schools of this world—that the “wisdom from above, first pure, then peaceable, easy of entreatment, full of mercy and good works,” is more to be desired than all the wisdom of earth. They should consider well whether their child was so thoroughly rooted and [F539] grounded in character, in principle, in loyalty to the Lord and his Word, that the infidel tendencies of the schools of our day, and their rationalistic teachings called Higher Criticism, Evolution, etc., could never displace the well-grounded faith in the Lord and in his Word.

We write with full consciousness that to the worldly minded this advice is foolishness or worse.

Nevertheless, we have learned to view matters from what we believe to be the divine standpoint, and recommend that all of the Lord’s consecrated people shall endeavor in this and in all matters to seek this standpoint—the Lord’s view of this matter.

Relaxation & Recreation

Relaxation and recreation should be secured chiefly through change of occupation, rather than through idleness or useless exercise.

The little girl takes pleasure in dressing her doll and caring for it, and “playing house.” The little boy “plays shop,” and with sand, etc., as substitutes, he makes imaginary dealings in tea and coffee and sugar and potatoes; or he “plays horse,” teamster, or imagines himself a preacher or a missionary or a schoolteacher or a doctor. All such plays are in the right direction, and should be encouraged in the little ones.

As they grow older they should be drawn from these to consider it as a part of their recreation to help keep the home in order or to assist in the real store or shop with their parents or guardians or others.

If they be taught to take pleasure in usefulness, helpfulness to others, financially or otherwise; if they be taught that idleness is a sin and a shame, a discredit to any person and a waste of valuable opportunities, they will be in a proper attitude to face the duties of life with pleasure, and not to envy those who waste both time and money in looking at a ball game, or in participating in something equally foolish and profitless.

Economy of time as well as of means should be inculcated from infancy—not with a view to cultivating selfishness, but an economy in accord with the divine will that nothing be wasted.

The Master, after feeding the multitude, commanded that the fragments be gathered and not wasted, thus indicating his mind in respect to all affairs, that there be no wastefulness; that we recognize a responsibility [F541] toward him for every moment, every dollar, every day; not a responsibility which would keep us in fear, but a responsibility which delights to note the divine will, to be as fully in accord with it as possible, and which realizes that such a course is pleasing to the Lord, and, therefore, may be thoroughly enjoyed.

The Proper Exercise of the Child-Mind

As the child grows and realizes how much there is in the world to learn, he should be encouraged to read, but from the first he should be taught to discriminate wisely between the “chips” of fiction and the “apples” of knowledge.

He should be shown that every chip stored away in his mind is worse than valueless, an injury or encumbrance, besides having cost valuable time, which might have been used to advantage in storing up knowledge, shortly so necessary in the proper discharge of the duties of life. He should be encouraged to read such books as would give information, and not novels. He should know considerable respecting the history of his native land, and have a reasonable knowledge of the remainder of the world. He can secure these through histories: we do not mean merely the histories which give the order of kingdoms and battles and generals but more particularly such works as show the social, moral and intellectual development of the ages past, and of the world as it is today. In a pleasant and kindly manner the child should be shown the importance of such information as a feature of education for his future—his reason and judgment should be appealed to, and thus his will enlisted in favor of such educative reading, and in opposition to all weedy, trashy, dreamy literature, that will do him harm and leave him unprepared for the duties of life.

The Confidence of Children

If the confidence of the child in the parent have its roots in a recognition of the fact that the parent is a member of [F548] the Royal Priesthood, a child of God, and that the parent has fellowship with God through prayer and is instructed by God through his Word—ministers being merely assistants in the understanding of the Word, etc.—and if additionally, the spirit of love and its various graces of meekness and patience and kindness pervade the home and flow through its various channels, and if the parents seek and exercise the wisdom that cometh from above, pure, peaceable, merciful, the child’s confidence will naturally rest in that parent in respect to all of life’s affairs. Then the many questions naturally presenting themselves to the opening mind—religious, moral, secular, social and physical—will all be carried most naturally to such a parent.

Such questions should be expected and invited, and should be given wise and respectful answers, according to the age of the child.

Confidential questions should never be treated lightly nor confidences broken.

Many a parent forfeits the future confidence of his child by making light of its sentiments or secrets.

We do not mean that all questions should be answered in full (regardless of age); a very partial answer may be wisest sometimes, with the suggestion that a full explanation of the matter will be given later—perhaps setting a date—as for instance, “I will explain the matter to you fully when you are thirteen years of age if your mind and character then seem to be sufficiently developed to make this the proper course. You may come to me with the question then, and in the meantime should dismiss it entirely from your mind.”

To the rightly trained child this course will at once commend itself, and in any event it should understand that the parent’s word is positive, that it had not been given without mature consideration, and that once given it must stand, until some further information on the subject should alter the judgment of the parent.

A proper observance of the Lord’s words, “Let your yea by yea, and your nay, nay,” would save many parents much trouble, and greatly promote the general peace and order of the household.

From [F549] earliest infancy the child should learn obedience, and that without a repetition of the command. But this in turn implies a recognition on the part of the parent of his responsibilities, and a desire on his part to grant all the reasonable requests of his children, so far as his circumstances will permit. Love, wisdom, and justice must combine in the parent in order to make his power and authority valuable to the home and all of its members.

The Power of Suggestion in Child Training

The Bible is full of suggestion—all proper preaching is in the nature of suggestion—that selfish and sinful thoughts and acts bring divine disfavor and react to our disadvantage; but that loving thoughts, words and deeds yield blessed fruits to others as well as to ourselves for the future as well as for the present.

Mark how the Apostle, after pointing out the results of wilful sinning to be Second Death, turns and declares suggestively, and therefore helpfully to many: “But we are not of them that draw back, but of those who believe to the saving of their souls.” (Heb. 10:39)

The mother who every morning greets her child with a cheery face and voice, gives her child a happy suggestion, good for it both mentally and physically. While dressing it, her little talk about the pretty wee birdies and about the big sun looking in at the window and calling all to get up and be good and happy, and learn more lessons about God, and to be helpful to each other, are additional profitable suggestions; whereas a complaint about “another scorching day” would be a suggestion of heat, discomfort and discontent, breeding unhappiness.

If, instead of sunshine, there is rain and a gloomy outlook, it will only make matters worse to think of the day gloomily and to suggest gloomy thoughts to others. Rainy days have their blessings for us as well as for others, and our minds should be quick to note these and to pass them along by suggestion to companions.

The mother should anticipate the child’s disappointment by calling its attention to the beautiful rain which God has provided for giving the flowers and trees and grass a drink and a bath to refresh them, that they may be bright and cheerful to us and yield their increase; and provided also for the cattle and for us to drink and bathe and be clean and happy, and praise him and love him and serve him.

Another helpful suggestion can perhaps there be introduced, viz., that this will be an opportunity [F551] for wearing storm cloak and heavy boots, and how thankful we should be that we have these and a rainproof home and school.

Or the suggestion can be given that, “My little boy and girl must take good care to avoid mud and water puddles, so as always to look neat and tidy, and neither track mud into the schoolhouse nor into the home. Pigs like the mud and have little sense about anything, and therefore must be kept in a pen; but God gives us reason and power to appreciate the beautiful and the clean. Therefore to copy after pigs and lower animals in uncleanness, etc., is to dishonor ourselves and our Creator and tends to degradation. It is honorable for anyone to get dirty in some useful and necessary employment, but no one should get dirtier than necessary nor take rest or ease until he had cleaned up.”

Discontent, one of the serious evils of our day, would find little to stimulate its growth in a family in which all were intent on giving happifying suggestions to themselves and each other.

The parent who thus greets his or her little child must of course have first cultivated happy suggestions in his own heart; and this being true, it follows that such good and happifying suggestions will not be confined to the children, but will likewise flow out to the wife, husband, neighbors, employees, etc.; and even the animals will be blessed by it.

The same method should be adopted in the guidance of the child’s dietary in sickness or health. Never should the child have aches or pains suggested, for the mind will almost certainly fasten upon these and tend to aggravate any weakness or pain, nor should aches and ailments be made the topic of conversation—especially not at table, where every thought and influence should be cheerful, healthful. [F552]

The good suggestion should be given early and be oft repeated:
“Is my little boy feeling happy this morning?
Does he love papa and mamma and sister and brother and doggie? Yes, that’s right—I thought so!
Is he hungry for some nice breakfast?—some nice porridge with sugar and milk and cracker and bread and butter and jam?
Now we must remember not to eat any unripe apples; these give my little boy the stomachache. Instead we will have something else for him specially good for him.

Won’t that be nice? There will be corn on the table today, but that would not be good for my little man, and so when the dish passes he will say, ‘No, thank you!’ He wants to be well and strong as God wants him to be and as papa and mamma desire to see him. That will be a good lesson in self-denial, too, and papa and mamma will take pleasure in seeing their little boy (or girl) learning this great lesson, so necessary to true manhood and womanhood. God wants all Christians to practice self-denial in respect to sins and in respect to everything which would hinder his cause in any degree. And even worldly people all recognize that the person who is a slave to his appetites is pitiably weak and unmanly or unwomanly. Now papa and mamma will be watching to see how strong is the will power of their little boy and we feel sure he will succeed bravely.” How highly God appreciates self-control is shown by the Scripture statement, “Better is he that ruleth his own spirit [will] than he that taketh a city.” Prov. 16:32

The child-mind, taught early and persistently to admire the noble and the true, has a bulwark reared in his mind against mean and dishonorable conduct in general. If never sanctified by the Truth, if never begotten of the Spirit, he has deeply laid the character needful to noble manhood or womanhood, and if sanctified and begotten of the Spirit, he or she will have the larger opportunities for successful service, both in the present and the future life.

In the event of the child’s disobedience and hence its need for reproof or correction, it should be admonished from the standpoint of sympathy and confidence in its good intentions.

“I know that my little girl whom I love so much and endeavor continually to make happy, and to train as the Lord would approve, did not willingly disobey me. I am sure this disobedience was rather the result of following the example of others and not sufficiently exerting her will to do as mamma told her to do. I believe that this time I shall forgive you and not punish you at all, except that tonight I will give you no good night kiss—just to impress the matter upon your mind, my dear. Now you’ll try still harder next time to exercise self-control and do as I direct—won’t you, dear? I am sure you will!”

Next time take the matter still more seriously, but never question the child’s proper desires or intentions.

“I am so sorry that my little daughter failed again. I do not doubt your good intentions, dear, but I am sorry to see that you do not exercise your will power in the matter as I am sure you could do, and as I earnestly hope you will do in the future. It is necessary, my child, that I do my duty toward you and punish you, though it would be far more to my pleasure to commend you. I trust I may soon be enabled to rejoice with you in your victory over this besetment. The matter affects far more than is directly involved in the disobedience; it affects your entire future, for if you do not now learn to say ‘No’ to temptation you will fail also in the more important and weighty questions of life as they present themselves in the future. But I am confident that my love and confidence and instructions will yet bear fruit. And remember, my child, that our very defeats, as in [F554] this case of yours, may become helps to us, if we but set our wills the more firmly for the right. We learn to be specially on guard at points where we find by experience that we are weak. Let us bow before the Lord and ask his blessing, that this failure may be a profitable lesson, and ask his assistance in laying it to heart, that your conduct may be more pleasing to him when next you are assailed by temptation.

All suggestions should take into consideration the Lord—

 

“The fear [reverence] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

 

Scripture text cards in every room in the house should continually remind parents and children and visiting friends that the Lord’s will is the only standard recognized, that the Lord is cognizant of all our doings and affairs, and that God is “for us,” his newly begotten ones, and for all who are seeking righteousness in humility.

Our Children in the Time of Trouble

When the time shall come that men shall cast their gold and silver into the streets, and they shall not be able to deliver them (Ezek. 7:19; Zeph. 1:18), gold and silver, bank notes and bonds evidently will be of little value, and will fail to procure either protection or comforts or luxuries. If we look away, then, to country places, where we [F555] might suppose that food at least would be obtainable, we have the intimation of the Scriptures that the distress of those days will affect the country places as well as the cities: “There shall be no peace to him that goeth out nor to him that cometh in, for I have set every man against his neighbor.” Zech. 8:10

There is just one promise which seems to hold during that time of trouble, and it appears to be a general one, applicable to all who are meek and lovers of righteousness. This class should include all mature children of the consecrated ones, who have been rightly taught in the precepts of the Lord, rightly instructed out of his Word.

The promise reads, “Seek meekness, seek righteousness; it may be that ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” Zeph. 2:3

Christian parents sometimes feel loath to leave their dear ones, even though full of confidence that they themselves would be with the Lord immediately they should pass through the veil—that they would be changed and partake of the powers of the First Resurrection, and be with the Lord and all his holy ones and share his glory. The new mind is sometimes thus hindered, and made anxious in respect to the members of the family left behind—desirous of continuing with them for their counsel, assistance and guidance.

Such should realize that having given their all to the Lord, in accepting them the Lord accepted all of their proper interests; and that they may wisely commit to his loving care every earthly concern.

As they more and more learn of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of love divine, and how ultimately the benefits of the great redemption shall extend to every member of Adam’s race, they will gain the greater confidence and trust in the Lord in respect to their dear ones.

Additionally, such should remember that they themselves, on the other side the veil, will have still as good an opportunity of watching over the interests of their loved ones as they now have, and a much better opportunity than now to exercise a protecting care over them—a providential guidance in their affairs under [F556] divine wisdom, with which they will then concur absolutely.

What, then, is the best provision possible for the New Creation to make for their children according to the flesh? We answer that the best provision is in their proper training. This, as already shown, would include a reasonable education in the common branches, and a particular training and instruction in matters pertaining to God—in reverence for him and his Word, in faith in his promises, and in the cultivation of those characteristics pointed out in the Scriptures as the divine will, the Golden Rule.

Such children, if left without one dollar of earthly wealth, are rich; because they have in heart and in head and in molded character a kind of riches which neither moth nor rust nor anarchy nor any other thing in the world can take from them. They will be rich toward God, as the Apostle expresses it, and as again he declares, “Godliness with contentment is great gain,” great riches.

Earnestly striving by the grace of God to thus properly equip and qualify their children for every emergency—both for the life that now is and that which is to come—the New Creatures may feel comparatively free from all concern respecting temporal interests, remembering that the same Lord who has provided things needful and expedient in the past is both able and willing to continue his supervision and provision, adapted to all the circumstances and conditions of that time as well as this—for those who love and trust him.

Proper Amusements

Mirth and humor are elements of our human nature, too often educated out of all proportion to the more serious and useful qualities. Babies are spoiled by being kept in a constant excitement of amusement until their contentment is destroyed and they will cry for amusement. This thought of amusement continues during childhood, when the child should be entertaining itself investigating the affairs of life and asking explanations of its parents or of books. Desire to be amused thus cultivated, in due time craves the theater [F557] and the nonsense of the clown.

Members of the New Creation should from first to last train their offspring along opposite lines—to be actors in the great drama of life, to deprecate shams, and to seek to perform as great acts of usefulness and benevolence on the world-stage as their talents and opportunities will permit.

Reference:

Br. Charles T. Russell – Volume 6, p.525-557 ( Note: some passages were omitted from the original text referenced.)

 

https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/04/23/proverbs-226-train-up-a-child-in-the-way-he-should-go/

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The Agony In Gethsemane

Jesus in Gethsemane.jpg

As we consider the solemn scenes of this lesson, let it be with reverence and deep gratitude, remembering it was our load the Master bore, that it was the chastisement of our peace that was upon him, and that with his stripes we are healed.

 The narrative, so familiar to every Christian, is one full of precious lessons, especially to those who, by his grace, are endeavoring to follow in the Lord’s footsteps.

We observe:

(1) that when the Master realized that his hour of betrayal and fierce temptation was close at hand, having first comforted, counselled, and prayed for and with his disciples, his next strong impulse was to seek a solitary place for prayer and communion with God, that he might find grace to help in time of need.

(2) We note also his love for his disciples, and his desire for their love and sympathy in return.  “Having loved his own, he loved them to the end.”  And because he loved them, and knew that they loved him, he permitted them to accompany him to the place of prayer, that they might watch and pray with him.

Leaving all but Peter and James and John at the entrance of the garden, as a sort of outer guard against the sudden intrusion of his betrayer upon his last hour of prayer, he advanced with the three—the three in whose ardent natures he seemed to find the most active and consoling sympathy—and, with an earnest appeal to them to watch and pray, he left them and went about a stone’s throw beyond.

Three times did he rise from prayer and return to them in anguish of soul to feel the touch of human sympathy, saying, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.”  It was a sorrow, an agony, which, of itself, would have worn him out shortly—an intense mental and nervous strain which caused him to sweat great drops of blood.

 It was no sign of weakness in the Master that he thus craved human sympathy. His was no coarse, stoical nature, insensible to pain and shame and loss; nor was it a proud, self-centered nature which stood aloof from human fellowship, although those with whom he associated were so far beneath his glorious perfection.  Gracefully he condescended to men of low estate, and esteemed them brethren beloved, of whom he was not ashamed.  His was a refined nature, keenly appreciative of all that is lovely and pure and good, and correspondingly sensitive to pain from everything to the contrary of these.

Human degradation and human woe must continually have borne heavily upon him during all his earthly life. 

But in this awful hour all the griefs and burdens of the whole world were rolled upon his shoulders, and he was to suffer as though he himself were the sinner—to suffer death, extinction of being, trusting alone in the Father’s grace for a resurrection. 

Into this one hour were crowded, not only the mental realization of death and the physical agony and shame, the cruelty and torture of a horrible death, but also the sense of desolation to be experienced when even his beloved disciples, overcome by fear and dismay, should forsake him; and the sorrowful reflections upon the irretrievable loss of Judas, and upon the course of the Jewish nation—”his own” people, who despised him and were about to call down upon their own heads the vengeance of his blood, saying, “His blood be upon us and on our children.”  He foresaw the terrible calamities that in consequence must soon overwhelm them. Then the degradation of a whole guilty world, which must continue to groan and travail in pain until by his sacrifice he should gain deliverance for them from sin and death, caused him to feel the burden of responsibility to an extent which we can only approximate, but cannot fully comprehend.

And in addition to all this was his knowledge of the fact that every jot and tittle of the law with reference to the sacrifice must be perfectly fulfilled according to the pattern in the typical sacrifice of the day of atonement.

If he should fail in any part of the work, all would be lost, both for himself and for men.

And yet, though a perfect man, he realized that the flesh, however perfect, was unequal to the task.

How much depended upon our Lord’s fortitude in that awful hour, alone and defenceless in the darkness of overwhelming night, awaiting the certain arrival of his betrayer and the will of his persecutors maddened with hate and full of the energy of Satan! 

Oh, how the destinies of the world and of himself seemed to tremble in the balances!

Even the perfect human nature was not equal to such an emergency without divine aid, therefore it was that he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him who was able to save him from death, by a resurrection.

The necessary comfort was provided through the Prophet Isaiah (42:1,6), by whom Jehovah said,

“Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth: …I, the Lord, have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee [from falling or failure], and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles… He shall not fail nor be discouraged.

When the fearful ordeal in Gethsemane strained the powers of endurance almost to their utmost tension his prayer was only, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done.”  Then, though the cup might not pass from him, an angel came and ministered to him.  Just how, we know not, but probably by refreshing his mind with the precious promises and prophetic pictures of the coming glory, which none of his disciples had sufficiently comprehended to thus comfort him in this hour when the gloom of thick darkness settled down upon his soul, crowding out hope and bringing a sorrow exceeding great, “even unto death.”  Ah, it was Jehovah’s hand upholding him, blessed by his holy name! according to his promise, that he might not fail nor be discouraged.

 The result of that blessed ministry was a reinforced courage which commands the deepest admiration.  It was not a courage born of stoical indifference to pain and shame and loss, but a courage born of that faith which is anchored fast within the vail of the divine promises and power. With his eye of faith upon the glorious victory of truth and righteousness, when he should see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied—satisfied with:

  • the eternal joy and blessedness of a redeemed world,
  • with the welcome and wealth of the Father’s blessing, and
  • the love and gratitude of every loyal creature in heaven and in earth—yes, comforted and encouraged thus with a realizing sense of the rewards of faith and faithful endurance to the end, he could now calmly and even courageously, go forth to meet the foe.

Yes, this was the victory by which he overcame, even his faith, and so we also are to overcome.

 Now commenced the realization of the dreadful forebodings of Gethsemane.

Mark his calm, dignified fortitude, as he addresses Judas and the Roman soldiers, and its effect upon them.  They were so overpowered with the grandeur and nobility of this wonderful man that they could not have taken him had he not voluntarily placed himself in their hand.  Notice, too, his kind consideration for the bewildered and weary disciples, and his loving excuse for them, “The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak,” and his request to the Roman soldiers at the time of his arrest that they might be permitted to go their way (John 18:8), that so they might escape sharing in his persecutions.

So through all the trial and mocking, and finally the crucifixion, his courage and solicitude for the welfare of others never failed.

 As we thus view our Lord under a trial so crucial, and mark how the hand of Jehovah upheld him, let it strengthen the faith of all who are endeavoring to walk in his footsteps, to whom he says,

Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world: and this is the victory that overcometh, even your faith. (John 16:33; 1 John 5:4.)

Has not the Lord, Jehovah, commissioned his angels also to bear up the “feet” of the body of Christ, lest at any time they be dashed against a stone (lest some overwhelming trial should prove too much for them)? (Psalm 91:11,12.)  Yes, as surely as his hand upheld the Head, our Lord Jesus, so surely will he bear up the feet.  “Fear not, little flock: it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom,” though through much tribulation ye shall enter it. 

The angels are all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.  Though their ministry is unseen by us, it is not therefore unreal, but potent for good. Our fellow-members, too, in the body of Christ are all the Lord’s active messengers to each other, thus in turn sharing the privilege of bearing up the feet.

But to have this help in time of need we must invoke it. 

Every day and every hour is indeed a time of need;

hence our necessity of living in an atmosphere of prayer—to pray without ceasing. 

And if the Lord needed often to seek retirement from the busy scenes of his active life to be alone with God, to keep the close bond of loving sympathy established, surely we need to do so; and in so doing we shall always find grace to help in time of need.

In seasons of heavy trial the darkness may indeed so deepen upon the soul, as in our dear Lord’s case, as almost to shut out the stars of hope; yet if, like the Lord, we hold on to the omnipotent arm of Jehovah and meekly say,

“Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done,”

His grace will always be sufficient; and with the Psalmist we can say, Though my flesh and my heart fail, yet God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26); and, with the Lord, our hearts will respond—“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

Reference:

“The Agony of Gethsemane” —from Reprints (R.1801) of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

JUST AS I AM

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/04/09/the-agony-in-gethsemane/

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