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

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“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

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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:

 

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

 IMG_7787 - with address

“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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The Origin and Meaning of Easter & Lent

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The Word Easter in the Bible

 The only place in the Bible where the word “Easter” is found is in Acts 12:4, yet it is a mistranslation of the Greek word pascha. The word pascha should properly have been translated “Passover” (Strong’s G3957, “pascha, the Passover”). It has been correctly translated Passover in most modern translations. The corresponding word in the Hebrew Old Testament is Strong’s H6453, pecach, also defined as Passover.

Acts 12:4 describes events that took place in the springtime when the Apostle Peter’s apprehension and imprisonment by King Herod coincided with the Jewish festival of Passover, after Herod had earlier arrested and killed the Apostle James, brother of the Apostle John. In respect of Jewish religious custom, Herod waited till after Passover to act on Peter’s fate, planning to kill Peter as he had James. God did not allow this, and sent an angel to free Peter. Soon after, Herod himself was struck dead of a ghastly disease (Acts 12:23).

The “four quaternions (“squads”—in the NIV) of soldiers” (Acts 12:4) refers to four groups of four soldiers each, perhaps each group of four serving in rotation through the 24 hour day, at Jerusalem. During each period four soldiers guarded one prisoner as indicated in Acts 12:6—Peter was chained to one soldier on either side, with two guarding at the doorway.

A Real Angel, A Real Deliverer

During the festive week of Passover and Unleavened Bread, God’s mighty power delivered Peter from prison and death in a miraculous manner.

“The angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me. (9) And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. (10) When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him” (Acts 12:8-10).

“It is worthy of notice that the miracles performed here were only such as were beyond Peter’s natural power. Whatever he could do he was required to do, namely, putting on of his sandals and his cloak, and following the angel. He could have been transported. His own sandals or other sandals could have been fastened to his feet. A new coat might have been provided. But the lesson is a more profitable one as it was given. Similarly in the Lord’s dealings with us today, we should remember that it is ours to do everything within our power, and the Lord’s to overrule all things for our good, and to supply our deficiencies from his abundance. Thus still he gives us day by day our daily bread, in the rain and the sunshine and the seed; but he expects us to labor for it, to plow the ground, to sow the seed, to harrow it, to thrash it, grind it and bake it.

” ‘When Peter was come to himself,’ when he realized the facts in the case, that he was free, he said, ‘Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath sent his angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod and … of the Jews.’ St. Peter’s faith was strengthened. Willing to die, he found that the Lord was willing that he should live and labor and endure, and he was equally pleased, rejoicing, we may be sure, for the privilege of further service, even though it would mean further sacrifices and sufferings for the Lord’s sake and for the sake of his people” (Charles T. Russell, R4347)

From this account in Acts chapter 12, we are assured that “the Heavenly Father himself loves us and that all the heavenly powers are pledged to those whom he has accepted in Christ Jesus, and these unitedly guarantee blessings to all those who abide in God’s love. This means to abide in faith in the Redeemer. It means to abide loyal to our consecration, to do the Father’s will to the extent of our ability. That will is declared to be, that we shall love the Lord supremely, our neighbor as ourselves, and all the members of the household of faith, as Christ loved us” (Charles T. Russell, R4347).

Why Easter Sunday?

Dear friends, have you ever wondered WHY Easter Sunday is one of the most sacred Christian holidays?

It is because Christian churches have generally adopted Easter Sunday as the resurrection day and the proper time to celebrate the raising of Jesus Christ from the grave, which occurred on the third day after Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus died on Nisan 14th  (Friday, about 3 pm, 33 AD), and was raised the following Sunday morning, Nisan 16th. This was the “third day” counting inclusively — Friday, Saturday, Sunday (Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1‑2, John 20:1, Luke 24:1,24, 1 Corinthians 15:4.)

Later on, it was determined in the Christian world to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus always on a Sunday, and remember the death of Christ by Good Friday, irrespective of whether Nisan 14th and 16th on the Jewish calendar actually falls on Friday or Sunday in a given year. Among brethren of the Bible Student fellowship, it is different. Jesus sat with his disciples for his “Last Supper” (Luke 22:20) on the evening that had just begun the calendar day Nisan 14th, and there instituted a memorial of his approaching death. We customarily observe our Memorial accordingly—on the night following Nisan 13th—that is, the night which technically begins the calendar day Nisan 14th. This year, in 2017, that means a Sunday night (April 9th) memorial of Jesus’ death, but the day of the week varies year by year.

Further in this post we shall explain Why “Good Friday” is not celebrated by the Christian world closest to the exact day of our Lord’s commemorated day of death. But in brief, here, it is because of the decision made by the Papal Anti-Christ church (lead by Constantine as we explain later) and they were not concerned about the Jewish date of Jesus’ death. Their new rule (established in 325 A.D.) fixed it relative to the equinox rather than relative to the Jewish calendar. The truth of the matter is, that it is Nisan 14th which the Bible explains is the date when the memorial of our Lord’s death is to be annually commemorated—not the nearest Sunday to this or any other date.

Pagan Influences Came in Later

Today, in our memorial supper, we recognize the influence of the Hebrew traditions by observing it according to the days of the Jewish calendar. The celebration is not of the Jewish Passover, however, but of the sacrificial death of our redeemer, Jesus, the antitypical Passover Lamb. Subsequently, however, pagan influences also blended with popular Christian observances.

(a) The name “Easter” is from Ishtar—who was the Babylonian and Assyrian goddess of love and fertility. The Phoenicians called her Astarte (a sister and consort of Baal,) a god worshipped in many parts of the eastern world. Some of the ancient Hebrews also worshipped Baal.

(b) In Europe, Eostre (with variations in spelling) became the Anglo‑Saxon goddess of spring, emphasizing fertility and the rising sun. The month of April was dedicated to her, and the Old English word for Easter was “Eastre” which refers to Eostre. The festival of Eostre was celebrated at the vernal equinox, when day and night receive an equal share of light and darkness.

(c) During the early Middle Ages, Christian missionaries seeking to convert the barbaric tribes of northern Europe realized that the time of Jesus’ death and resurrection also coincided with the Teutonic springtime celebrations. The Teutonic goddess of fertility, Ostare, derives her name from the ancient word for spring. As the days of approaching spring grew longer, celebrations coinciding with the spring equinox emphasized the end of winter and a rebirth of nature, triumphing life over death. The Christian missionaries taught that this time also pointed to the resurrection of Jesus.

Easter Eggs and Bunnies

Eggs symbolize birth, fertility, and new life in many cultures. The ancient Egyptians and Persians would hand out coloured eggs as gifts during their springtime festivals.

Europeans during the Middle Ages, collected eggs of different colours from the nests of various birds, using them as charms to avert evil and bring good fortune.

The Easter egg hunt custom was gradually phased out by the more popular egg painting custom where colourful eggs were hidden and children as well as others would search for them. Eggs were painted in bright colours to resemble the sun, the arrival of spring, and fertility, while Easter baskets, holding the collected eggs, were intended to resemble bird’s nests. Polish people today still decorate their eggs with many traditional symbols for Easter, many of them with religious representations.

Rabbits have also served as fertility symbols in some ancient cultures. Legends from ancient Egypt connected the rabbit with the moon because of their nocturnal feeding habits. This association with the moon is also thought to have originated with those who watched the cycles of the moon to determine the precise date of the approaching change of season, and the accompanying celebration. This event took place on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.

The first documented use of hares for the Easter festival was in Germany during the 1500’s. Later, edible Easter bunnies were prepared with pastry and sugar. These traditions made their way to America during the 1700’s by the Pennsylvania Dutch who had emigrated from Germany. During the years following the American Civil War, handcrafted chocolate Easter eggs and rabbits became increasingly popular.

Hot Cross Buns

Australians also celebrate Easter with hot cross buns, a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top. The first recorded use of the term “hot cross bun” was around 1733. They are traditionally eaten on “Good Friday” in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, and India. The cross on the bun represents the crucifixion of Jesus and the spices inside are meant to remind Christians “of the spices put on the body of Jesus” (See Mark 16:1, Luke 23:54‑56, Luke 24:1).

John 19:39 says that Nicodemus also brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, “about an hundred pound weight,” for the burial of Jesus. The number 100 is used for Jesus in the Tabernacle, as the square measure of the gate, door, and vail, representing that Jesus is the “way, the truth, and the life” for those who follow him (John 14:6). Also, there were 100 sockets of silver as a foundation for the Tabernacle, coming from the Ransom money of the Israelites, representing Jesus as the Ransom and foundation for God’s Plan of Atonement (Exodus 38:25-27).

Myrrh, a bitter herb, represents suffering, and aloes is used for healing. Thus these two elements represent the suffering of Jesus, from which comes the healing from sin and death from Jesus’ death. When Jesus is depicted as a king in glory, his garments smell of myrrh, and aloes”these very two fragrances (Psalm 45:8). For Christ in his resurrection glory has achieved a death of suffering that brings healing for the world.

Lent

Does the Bible teach us to celebrate or commemorate Lent?

The following is an extract from a website by the Uniting Methodist Church explaining what “Lent” is about—a practice not observed within the Bible Student Movement:

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means ‘spring.’ The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.

“Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self‑examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others.

“Sundays in Lent are not counted in the forty days because each Sunday represents a ‘mini‑Easter’ and the reverent spirit of Lent is tempered with joyful anticipation of the Resurrection.”

There is no direct reference of this practice, of Lent, in the Scriptures. However, this pleasant custom probably has benefited various ones who applied themselves to it through the centuries, if it focused their minds and hearts on proper spiritual values. However, if afterward its observers supposed they were free at other times to practice worldly principles, then they would have missed the true value. A consecrated believer should remember that their life of service here first of all involves purity of heart and mind, always (James 3:17).

The Catholic Church believes that “Lent” is a time of repentance, fasting, and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self‑examination and reflection. This may have useful benefits. However, for the true Christian, their entire consecrated life should be one of devotion. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23 ESV).

Fasting can be a good practice at any time of the year, both for our physical benefit, and for mortifying the things of the flesh, to focus on things of the Spirit. Sometimes eating less can cause the mind to sharpen. We are to be continuously humble and lowly of heart, as was Jesus (Matthew 11:29, Luke 2:37). Weaning away from earthly attractions, it can help us also to be satisfied with whatever God permits us to have in other temporal commodities also—food, housing, car, or job. God gives us what we need. If we experience some discomfort for the flesh, it can augment our hope for and appreciation of the spiritual values, and spiritual promises, that exceed anything Earth can provide.

Regarding the practice of Baptism at Lent season—perhaps this custom also had some beneficial results. However, it is not something mentioned in the New Testament, and Baptism is appropriate at any time of year, when the believer determines to proceed in full commitment to God, with a personal consecration of themselves and their life to Him. Thus it is not reserved for a particular month of the year. See the post titled: What Does It Mean To Be Baptized Into Christ? and What Does Being Consecrated To The Lord Mean?

Pastor Charles Russell’s Comments about Lent

The following is an extract from Reprint 3170.

“Our best wish for all the people of New York and of the whole world would be that all or at least some of them, may observe Lent and join in such petitions heartily: if but one in a hundred of those who will observe the Lenten season will do so, it will surely mean a great revival in their own hearts.

“To us who observe the Memorial Supper on its anniversary only, the occasion is one of the greater solemnity, and may well be approached with the greater reverence. We commend to all of ‘this way’ (Acts 9:2) that the interim between now and the Memorial (April 10th) be specially a season of prayer and fasting—drawing near to the Lord (1 Corinthians 7:5). True, the Lord’s consecrated people are continually to live as separate from sin and from the mind of the flesh as possible, and are to “pray without ceasing”; but, as the Apostle intimates, there may profitably be special seasons of this kind; and surely none more appropriate than this Memorial season. The fasting which we urge may or may not affect the food and drink, according to the judgment of each, respecting what diet will best enable him to glorify God and to keep his “body under.” We refer specially to abstention from all “fleshly lusts which war against the soul”; these appetites always under restraint with the saints, may well be specially mortified at this time.”

However as the Apostle Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 7:29‑31, our “fasting” or “mortification” should be a daily act moment by moment to those who have fully enlisted in the Priesthood of complete consecration in the “School of Christ” as far as it be reasonably possible and all depends on one’s level of maturity in Christ:

” ‘This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, (30) and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, (31) and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:29‑31).

Hebrew Customs

Concerning our opening text (Acts 12:4), let us consider the relationship between the Easter festival and the Hebrew Passover.

Passover is the oldest and most revered festival in Judaism. It is observed in the spring, in the month Nisan, the first month of the Jewish religious new year (Exodus 12:2). As Jewish months began with a new moon, the timing of Passover about halfway through the month puts it about the time of full moon. The afternoon that Jesus died was the time a full moon, and this represented that Israel’s favor was full—but because of their rejection of Christ, their favor would wane and diminish.

The Jewish Passover, under the administration of Moses, commemorated Israel’s deliverance from centuries of Egyptian bondage. The firstborn among the Israelites where passed over by the angel of death during the final plague suffered by Egypt. That tenth plague forced Pharaoh to release the Israelites from a life of compulsory servitude.

The Passover is celebrated on an annual basis in accordance with the instructions that were given by God to Moses:

“The Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season. In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it. And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.” (Numbers 9:1‑4)

Our Lord Jesus became the antitypical Passover Lamb (John 1:29) when he gave his life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world, during the time of the Jewish Passover.

Christian Traditions

Though the Easter festival became well‑established and accepted by Christians by the second century after Jesus’ death, there had been considerable debate between the Eastern and Western divisions of the Church over the exact date the event should be celebrated.

The Eastern Church preferred to not hold it as an annual Sunday event, but rather to observe it on whatever day Nisan 14 fell. These early Christians wanted to time the observance according to the timing of the Hebrew type. The Western Church, on the other hand, wanted to remember the resurrection of Jesus always on a Sunday—Easter Sunday—regardless of the day of the week indicated by the Jewish calendar (Exodus 12).

Emperor Constantine wished to resolve this issue at the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325. The question of the Easter date was one of the main issues of concern. After lengthy dispute, the council was unanimous in its decision that Easter should always fall on the Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox. After further discussion, it was decided that March 21st was to be the date for the spring equinox. This dating process has been the general guideline for most of Christendom ever since.

In Remembrance of Me

Students of the Bible stand free from many of the long‑standing traditions that have been passed down to us from the past. Their faith is based on the meaning and partaking of the symbolic emblems that represent our Lord Jesus’ sacrificial death. Jesus’ request given to his disciples that night in the upper room were, “This do in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

Every consecrated child of God joyfully accepts the privilege of partaking of the bread, representing Jesus’ flesh, and drinking of the cup, representing Jesus’ shed blood. This is the true meaning and purpose of observing this most important occasion each year on the 14th day of the first month Nisan.

Church of the Firstborn

In his letter to the Hebrew brethren, the Apostle Paul speaks of the “church of the firstborn” whose names are “written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23). Elsewhere, he explains that they are walking with our Lord in “newness of life” (Romans 6:4). They also remember his death, and solemnly renew their consecration to God annually by partaking of the meaningful symbols, bread and wine.

In keeping the type of Exodus 12, the blood of each lamb that was slain in Egypt that night was sprinkled on the doorposts and lintels of the houses of Israel.

  • Each Jewish household represents the household of faith, that is, all believers in Christ. This includes both spirit begotten and non‑spirit begotten, both fully consecrated and not yet consecrated, both the baptized into Christ and not‑yet baptized into Christ, who believe in the blood of Christ as the redemptive value that saves us from the curse of Adamic death. On that night, however, only the firstborn were under jeopardy, as only the firstborn has a spiritual life that could be lost.
  • That all believers benefit from the Passover sacrifice is reflected in the deliverance of all the Israelites through the Red Sea, subsequent to the Passover night. (1 Corinthians 15:22).

Here are some lovely words by Br. Charles Russell on the Household of Faith, from Reprint 5457. “These words “Household of Faith”—are broad enough to include not only those who are fully in the way, but also those who have made more or less of an approach unto the Lord and the Truth. The very fact that any one is drawing near to the antitypical Tabernacle is a strong reason why we should wish to encourage him to press on. He has come a part of the way, even if he has not made a consecration.

In a strict sense, the Household of Faith, of course, includes only those who are consecrated. But the words of the Apostle justify us in believing that those who are considering the matter, counting the cost, would in a broad sense be counted as of the Household of Faith. And we are to give these special assistance—all in whom we see any prospect of consecration. Our constant desire and effort should be to point men directly or indirectly to the Lord. Thus we shall be showing ‘forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.’ ”

  • Each slain lamb—represents the antitypical Lamb of God: Christ Jesus.
  • The firstborn Israelites in each familyillustrate the Christ, head and body, the “church of the firstborn.”
  • The bitter herbs that were eaten with the lamb (Exodus 12:8)—illustrate the trials and afflictions that are experienced by the Lord’s people during the present Gospel Age.
  • The unleavened bread eaten with the lamb (Exodus 12:8)—represents our wish to be purged from the leaven of sin, as we feast upon the merits of our Lord’s sacrifice for us (1 Corinthians 5:7).
  • The household joining eating the Passover lambrepresents our common participation, our sharing together, of the merits of Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16,17).

Those who are faithful to their High Calling will be privileged to share in the deliverance of the poor groaning creation during Christ’s future kingdom, as proclaimed by the Apostle Paul (Romans 8:22, 23).

Christ our Passover Lamb

The Apostle Paul directs our attention to the significance of the Passover type and our need to purge out all unrighteousness and sin (pictured by leaven). He wrote to the Corinthians brethren,

Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:7,8).

The Jewish people were to slay their Passover lambs on the 14th day of the first month (Nisan) of the Jewish New Year. This was the exact time many centuries later when our Lord Jesus, as the antitypical Passover Lamb, died for the sins of the whole world of mankind.

All who recognize Jesus as the true Passover Lamb and have accepted the merit of his shed blood on their behalf, may appropriate the merit of that blood by purifying their hearts from a consciousness of evil. Because of their faith in the blood of Jesus, they are privileged to enjoy a new relationship and standing before God.

The Lamb of God

When John saw Jesus coming toward him, he proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Later, the Apostle Peter, when comparing earthly riches with the true value of our redemption (1 Peter 1:18), speaks of the exceeding value of Jesus’ blood of sacrifice, as “The precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot (verse 19).

God’s wonderful plan of reconciliation for the sins of the whole world will become manifest to all during the Millennial Kingdom soon to be established. The meaning of “Christ our Passover” takes on a deeper significance when we look forward to the time when the entire human family will praise God for the gift of his beloved Son, the “Lamb of God,” that takes away the sins of the world.

Acknowledgment:

The Dawn Bible Students’ Magazine—for content from the article from Highlights of Dawn, April 2006. “Easter—It’s Pagan Origins and True Meaning,” used to present this post.

Charles T. Russell, The Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

Br. David Rice—for editing assistance.

The Uniting Methodist Church website—for references cited from “What Is Lent and why does it last 40 days?”

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/04/07/the-origin-and-meaning-of-easter-lent/

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A Proper Fear

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After the Jewish high priest had crumbled the sweet incense upon the fire of the golden altar, after its fragrance had penetrated beyond the second veil and had covered the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat, he then himself passed beneath the veil. Every time the high priest raised the veil thus to pass under it he probably feared; for in case he had failed in any particular to carry out his sacrificial work acceptably he would have died as he passed under the veil.

So our Lord Jesus knew that His work must be acceptable in the most absolute sense, else He would forever forfeit His existence. He would become as though He had not been; He would lose all.

There was no earthly being to give our Lord encouragement along this line.

There was no one to say, You have done everything perfectly; you could not have done better.

So the Master went alone to the Father for this assurance and for strength and courage.

LUKE 22, 42.jpg

In Luke 22:42-39 we read:

39 And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. 40 When He arrived at the place, He said to them, Pray that you may not enter into temptation. 41 And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 43 Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

The Heavenly Father heard His prayer and gave Him the needed assurance and strength.

He was heard in respect to that which He feared; and during all that night and the following day, up to the hour of His crucifixion, He was calm and courageous.

So the Lord’s people should have a proper fear.

Proper fear is good for them.

But it should not proceed to the point of hindering their efforts and dissipating their courage.

They should have the fear enjoined by St. Paul when he said, “Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of us should seem to come short of it.” (Hebrews 4:1.)

This proper fear the Master had.

He never became discouraged, never held back from the work which the Father had given Him to do.

His fear was a filial one, which engendered a watchfulness and care, a circumspection of walk and of life, that He might be wholly pleasing to the Father. This all Christians should have. We should watch lest we neglect some privilege or duty.

This proper fear will lead us to careful inspection of ourselves.

We should ask ourselves, “What do I believe? Why do I believe it? We should go over the ground again. We should again go over in our minds the proofs of the correctness of our Faith. By so doing, the Lord will strengthen us in the Faith, He will strengthen our heart.

 If any hope in themselves, and lean upon their own strength mainly, it will be to their advantage that the Lord shall allow them to come to the point of discouragement, that they may become more timid, may lose all self-assurance, may realize their utter helplessness and weakness and their need of leaning wholly upon the Lord, of looking constantly to Him for guidance and support.

As the Lord’s children thus learn to wait upon Him, to them is fulfilled the promise, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”—Isaiah 40:31.

Acknowledgment

Br. Charles T. Russell – The above post is mostly a citation from a Reprint article from “The Original Watchtowers and Herald of Christ’s Presence.” – R.5711

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/27/a-proper-fear/

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STUDY 9: The Gate. The Door. The Vail.

THE GATE. THE DOOR. THE VAIL..jpg

There were three entrances in the Tabernacle arrangement which include:-

  1. the “gate” to the “outer court.”—Exodus 27:16-19.
  2. the “door” to the “holy place.”—Exodus 26:36-37; 36:37-38.
  3. the “vail” to the “holy of holies.” (i.e. “Most Holy”)—Exodus 26:31-33.

All three entrances were made of the same material: a fine white woven linen with blue, purple and scarlet threads running through the material (Exodus 38:18).

All three entrances had the the same dimensions as regards their area, that is, they were all 100 square cubitsa number representing Christ Jesus:

  • The gate was 20 cubits long x 5 cubits high (Exodus 38:18);
  • The door and the veil were 10 x 10 cubits—SQUARE—a symbol of PERFECTION (equality on every side)!

NOTE: For the door, we do not have an explicit text for its measurements however the boards were 10 cubits high (Leviticus 26:16). As to the width, we infer from the 20 cubits of Solomon’s Temple that the Tabernacle was half the size (1 Kings 6:2)—thus, 10 cubits wide. The back of the Tabernacle was defined by 6 board of a cubit and a half, so 9 cubits interior—the two sides, if each 1/2 cubit thick, would constitute 10 cubits outside dimension of the Tabernacle. If the door was sufficient to cover this, then it was 10 cubits wide.

This teaches us that the same truth seems therefore to be embodied in each of these typical curtains. The same Jesus is portrayed in each. There could be no access to God, of any kind, whether of comparatively distant worship, or of closest intimacy, but through the one door, the Lord Jesus. “I am the door.” (John 10:7)

The value of 100 also “beautifully correlates to the “redemption price” of the “firstborns” which was five shekels at 20 gerahs per shekel: 100 gerahs (also representing Christ Jesus)! (Numbers 3:46,47; 18:15,16)” (Notes on the Tabernacle, p. 100)

Jesus is our entry into:

  • justification (the gate into the court),
  • sanctification (the door into the Holy) and
  • glorification (the vail into the Most Holy).

(1) THE GATE

the-gate-beauties-of-the-tabernacle

The gate was the only way into the court and represents our Lord Jesus who said of himself, “I am the door. Whoever enters through me, will be saved” (John 10:9, NIV).

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV)

By faith in Christ’s ransom sacrifice, represented in the Brazen altar, we enter the ‘gate’ to the ‘Court’—the vail of unbelief and sin is passed.” (Tabernacle Shadows, p.22)

The gate was wider than any of the other entrances, enabling all Israelites to enter the court. The width of the entrance shows that God makes grace available to many for “many are called but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)

In Exodus 40:33 we read, And he erected the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work.”

The root word of “gate” from Exodus 40:33 is shâʻar, shaw-ar’ and means, to split or open, reason out, estimate… and the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon writes: “to set free… to set a price” and Jesus most certainly did “set free” every human from the curse of sin.

The gate, (as also the door and the vail) was really a “hanging.” (See Exodus 27:9, 16; 26:31,32, 36).

All three entrances were suspended by way of metal (silver or gold) hooks from the pillars which supported them. (Exodus 38:19; 26:32,37) (See Study 4 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle.”) There were no curtain rods nor any other device by way of which these “hangings” could be raised up or pulled to one side.

To enter the court, and thus, in order to pass “beneath” the “hangings,” one had to lift the bottom of the curtain and stoop down and go under the curtain. This bowing to enter shows a right attitude of heart, for when we come to Christ we come humbly in need of a Saviour. The man who will not bow his knee and his heart to Christ, cannot enter in. (Psalm 99:5, Ephesians 3:14, Matthew 19:24)

We can only approach Jehovah God, by recognizing Jesus’ merit and through the eyes of a New Creation mind—the mind that was also in our Lord Jesus.

There were no cherubim interwoven into this outdoor screen surrounding the court area and the gate, unlike that of the vail. (We discuss about the cherubim a little later in this Study.)

The tribe of Judah, the kingly tribe, camped outside the Eastern Gate. The name Judah means “praise,” and Jesus was descended from this tribe (Hebrews 7:14).

The FOUR POSTS at the Gate

There were FOUR posts at the Gate (Exodus 27:16-19).

Perhaps FOUR here, could represent the four authors of the Gospels of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) who most conspicuously held up Christ’s character before the world and who are the instruments used to build our faith into Christ—by studying about Jesus and getting to know who he is and thus how to become like him, and learning about what he taught to likewise follow his teachings and spread the lessons to all who have a listening ear.

(2) THE DOOR

the-five-posts-at-the-door-of-the-tabernacle

The “door” was the one entrance into the Holy (which represents the spirit begotten condition of the “little flock” class—see Study 3 of the “Beauties of the Tabernacle” series of posts on this website).

The door of the Tabernacle is of finely twisted linen (Exodus 26:36) because Jesus has completely satisfied the justice of God.

It is white to express the purity and righteousness of Jesus’ character. Jesus was the one without sin and without stain or blemish. (1 Peter 1:19)

As was the gate and veil, this door was made of “blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer.” (Exodus 36:37)

The door would have been thick enough to block light and it was in the Holy Place where the golden lampstand was (which stood directly opposite the table on the south side) and it was to burn continuously both night and day (Exodus 27:20-21).

The Materials Used for the Fabric of the Sanctuary

Flax and goat’s hair were the materials used for the fabrics of the sanctuary. According to Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, “the flax was dyed before it was spun into thread.”

weavers.jpg

Here is an image of two Israelite women moving the “weavers beam” forward on a large vertical loom as they make fine twisted linen.

(Reference : images/LINEN1B.gif. Fine Twisted Linen.)

In Exodus 35:25 we read, “And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. 26 And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair.

In the above verse, “wise-hearted” women refers to all who had sufficient skill. Although both men and women of ancient Egypt spun thread, spinning seems to have been done primarily by the Hebrew women. It was effected in early times by means of a wheel and spindle, with or without a distaff. (Reference: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200000994).

Jesus Christ referred to spinning when he urged his disciples, not to be unduly anxious about clothing, but to trust in God to clothe them. Jesus said: “Mark well how the lilies grow; they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, Not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.” (Luke 12:27, 28; Matthew 6:28-30).

“Of fine linen”—Rather, of white. Most of the Egyptian linen is of a yellowish white, being made from flax imperfectly blanched.

Note: It is described in the English version as the linen being wrought with the needle, or embroidered; but the word rendered “needle-work” is now believed to denote a striped or checked pattern produced by the loom. Hence the curtain of the gate and door had a blue, scarlet and purple colour appear in them in stripes or checks, instead of being wrought into figures of cherubs, as on the curtain of the vail.

The Colours of the Linen Curtains

colours-of-the-tabernacle

  • White

White linen was used for garments for royalty and persons of rank and has been found in the tombs of the Pharaohs. White linen always speaks of purity and righteousness:

Revelation 15:6 – “And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands.

Revelation 3:5 “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

Revelation 19:14 “And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.”

The fine-twined, white linen speaks of righteousness and typifies Jesus, the Son of Man, spotless, pure, and sinless.

1 John 3:3-5 – “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure…and you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.”

  • Blue

The interwoven thread of blue seems to speak the fact that Jesus remained completely loyal and true to his heavenly Father; that he faithfully maintained his righteousness and purity at all costs.

Blue is the colour of the sky without clouds and so it is also known to be a symbol of what is heavenly.

Blue is also the colour of nobility. We recognize those qualities in our Lord Jesus. He came from heaven, he then returned there as a divine soul. “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you.” (1 Peter 1:20, ESV).

We read that Jesus came and being found in the appearance of a man humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-11).

  • Scarlet

Scarlet represents Christ’s blood shed for all—his sufferings and death on the cross. Our Lord’s loyalty and faithfulness were put to the severest tests, tests in which obedience to the will of God resulted in his sacrificial death on Calvary’s cross.

The Apostle Peter captures the thought here in saying “it was not with …. silver and gold you were redeemed… but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:17-23).

It is Christ’s blood which gives life and purifies.

  • Purple

Purple represents Jesus’ royalty; he was of the royal line of David, Lord of the earth, and the inheritor of all the promises of GOD.  Our Lord Jesus became King of kings and Lord of lords since Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18, NIV)

Jesus is king of a kingdom not of this world. (John 18:33-39)

Because of Christ’s faithfulness unto death, God indeed did highly exalt him to the royalty of the kingdom, as was prophesied many centuries in advance:

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12)

The FIVE POSTS at the DOOR

There were FIVE posts (pillars) that supported the first vail (the door) of the Holy (Exodus 26:37; Exodus 36:38)(the number 5 in the Bible represents the New Creature in Christ—See Study 3 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle”.)

These posts were constructed of shittim wood overlaid with gold, and they were set in sockets of copper—representing perfect (or justified) human nature, and therefore, the spirit-begotten condition of the church. How beautifully this reflects that the saints still in the flesh (in the Holy—representative of the “in part” condition (1 Corinthians 13:9) have their “treasure” of the Spirit (gold) in “earthen vessels” (copper) as we read of in 2 Corinthians 4:7 (ASV):

 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves.”

(3) THE VAIL

the-vail-of-the-tabernacle

The entrance to the Most Holy is called “the vail” (or in Hebrew, paroketh) of the Tabernacle and which the Apostle Paul in the New Testament designates “the second vail.” (Hebrew 9:3)

It was only through the vail (which represents Christ’s flesh, R.4746) that one could enter into the Most Holy—the spirit-born condition of glory, honor and immortality to which the faithful over-comers of this age became heirs. (See Study 3 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle.)

For a certain period of time the door to the High Calling of the Church stands ajar during the 6000 years of permission of evil which has been allowed since 33 AD. Jesus opened up this new way of life through the veil; that is to say, his flesh—his sacrifice.

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh.” (Hebrews 10:19, 20)

The Rending of the Vail

The rending of the Temple vail (in Jerusalem) took place at the same time as the earthquake at the moment of our Lord’s death—his crucifixion—which we read about, in Matthew 27:51 and Luke 23:45.

Interestingly, this great vail was torn, not from the bottom toward the top, as would be the expectation if it were the result of wear, but from the top to the bottom, as indicating it was a manifestation of divine power.

The rending of this curtain represents symbolically the opening of the narrow entrance way into the High Calling—an opening between heaven itself and the heavenly condition of those living in the Gospel Age (now spanning nearly 2000 years since 33 AD) by Christ through the sacrifice of his flesh.

Through that rent vail we may see into the things beyond and be ready to pass into the Most Holy. (R.4746)

Passing through this second vail into the Most Holy, involves “the death of the HUMAN body” (Tabernacle Shadows, p.22).

Both the fleshly mind and fleshly body must be left behind before we can enter into the “holiest of all.” We will then be in the spirit realm, for flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50).

True believers are represented as being associated with Jesus as priests in the Holy, (the outer apartment of the two) where they have fellowship with God through the light of the golden candlestick, through the bread of the golden table, and through the incense that we are permitted to offer on the golden altar. It is from this standpoint we can now by faith see beyond the vail—catch glimpses at least of the heavenly estate which God hath in reservation for them who love him, for the called ones according to his purpose, for the Christ, head and body. (R.3371:2)

The Cherubim

Unlike the curtain for the gate and the door, the linen curtain of the vail was embroidered with cherubim, (as were the walls of the Tabernacle proper—due to cherubim embroidered on the first of the Tabernacle’s coverings). Any cherubim in the vail would presumably have been depicted in a different way than the two golden cherubim over the ark of the covenant—these being described in Exodus 25:20:-

“And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.”

Here is one artist’s impression of what the vail pattern may have resembled:

artist's impression of vail pattern .jpgCherubim being heavenly (angelic) creatures suggests that those passing beyond this vail enter into the heavenly condition—life on the spirit plane—partakers of the Divine Nature.

The ancient Jews said this later veil of the temple was as wide as four fingers, so that no one could possibly see into the Most Holy place.–David Guzik

The vail divided the Tabernacle into two, the Holy place at the front—20 x10 cubits—and the Most Holy place that became a room 10 cubits long x 10 cubits wide x 10 cubits high.
Only the high priest was permitted to go beyond the vail. This occurred once a year, on the Day of Atonement.

When it came to moving from place to place, the vail was taken down from its hanging position and draped over the ark of the covenant (in which case, there was no “most holy” at that point, the vail defining the most holy having been taken down).

“(5) And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it: (6) And shall put thereon the covering of badgers’ skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof.” (Numbers 4:5-6)

Hence there was sufficient means by which the Levitical priests could carry out God’s requirements of not entering the most holy nor seeing the ark of the covenant exposed and thus not inflicting death on themselves or others. For whomever would touch the ark of the covenant (other than the High Priest on the Day of Atonement) would die, such as in the case of Uzzah (Exodus 25:14-15).

Is this not a wonderful reassurance that a consecrated child of God should not fear failing in their vows of consecration until death or fear second death! Why? Because the Heavenly Father provides enough immunity against the evils that surround when, one’s fear of reverence to the Father through Christ (Proverbs 1:7) helps one seek for God’s wisdom, help and comfort in every time of need and trial (Psalm 46:1). This reverential fear of doing wrong in the eyes of GOD is a blessing in disguise!—helping the consecrated Christian overcome (Romans 8:37) all the testings and temptations as did our Lord Jesus when he was on earth.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

The vail (“katapetasma”) means “to hide or conceal”, hide from view the “ark of the covenant” and the “mercy seat.”

It also acted as a barrier between God and man because while we are in the flesh, in the Holy condition as the developing embryonic New Creations in Christ, God is in the Most Holy, thus the vail separates the two of us.

The FOUR POSTS at the VAIL

4-posts-at-the-vail

The FOUR posts (Exodus 26:32; 36:36) supporting the vail into the Most Holy are set in sockets of silver.

Silver is a general symbol of Truth- the knowledge of which the justified believer holds on to the righteousness of Christ. (See Study 4  of the “Beauties of the Tabernacle” Series of posts on this website, regarding details about silver).

The posts here, represent the spirit-birth (gold) condition as an actuality (silver), where one’s treasure is obtained in the fullest sense by carrying out one’s sacrifice willingly and with great joy in the Spirit, unto death.  Thus, the posts into the Most Holy no longer had sockets of copper as in at the gate and door entrance ways and this signifies that those entering the Most Holy place (Divine Realm) are no longer in the flesh.

The vail was hung from golden hooks from off the 4 posts (not from the 50 golden clasps which joined the two parts of the linen covering, although, the vail was located approximately under these clasps.)—Refer to Study 8 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle.” It was probably a unified drapery on the backside of the posts.

As were the golden hooks and covering of the pillars of the holy and most holy—so are our hopes, aspirations, and calling—these all concern with things divine. (Exodus 26:32-37)

Four – in the Bible

The number four in the Bible refers to the concept of trial, testing, probation, judgment.

Thus here at the entrance of the most holy of the Tabernacle, the time of judgment of the church may be reflected in the four posts.

Here are some other examples of FOUR in the Bible (as explained in an article titled “Symbolic Numbers” by Br. David Rice in The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov./Dec. 2004):

  • At the second feeding of the multitudes by Jesus—representing the time of harvest and judgment closing the Gospel age, the number reported was four thousand.
  • The forty years in the wilderness (Numbers 32:13)—representing the Gospel age period of testing, trial, development.
  • The same is represented in the four hundred years of Genesis 15:13—which describes the period of the affliction of the seed of Abraham, beginning with the mocking of Isaac, at the age of five, by Ishmael—a picture of the early affliction of the Church by the Jewish authorities and ends at the Exodus—a picture of the deliverance of God’s chosen at the end of the Gospel Age.

When multiplying these 400 years by the 360 days in a prophetic year, we yield 144,000, the number of the church in Revelation—showing the fruitage to be developed during the testing period of the Gospel age.

The different orders of magnitude of the number four (i.e. 4, 40, 400 and 4,000) also expressing the symbol.

[It is interesting to also note: “Of the dated visions of Jeremiah in chapters 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 36, three are dated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and three in the fourth year of Zedekiah—all six judgments are in a year four.

When the seven times of punishment on Israel was represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the expression “seven times” appeared four times in the narrative, and four times in the warning by Moses (Daniel 4; Leviticus 26).

These judgments were fulfilled by four Gentile kingdoms dominating Israel during the 2,520 years of their national punishment.] (Symbolic Numbers The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, Nov./Dec. 2004)

The colours embroidered on the white linen of the vail are the same here as for the entrance into the Holy. The presence of these three colours on the white linen vail is echoed in Revelation:

“Be thou faithful (blue) unto death (scarlet) and I will give thee a crown (purple) of life” (Revelation 2:10).

Psalm 100:2-5 (NLT)

Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

 

References:

[R= Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence – Charles Russell]

 

Acknowledgment:

Content assisted by Br. George Tabac

 

Suggested Further Reading:

STUDY 1: An Introduction To The Tabernacle And It’s Purpose
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/02/study-1-an-introduction-to-the-tabernacle-and-its-purpose/

STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud By Day And The Pillar of Smoke By Night  URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/09/study-2-the-pillar-of-cloud-by-day-and-the-pillar-of-smoke-by-night/

STUDY 3: The Tabernacle Construction: The Holy and The Most Holy  URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/14/study-3-the-tabernacle-construction-the-holy-the-most-holy/

STUDY 4: The Court (“Holy Place”)
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/20/study-4-the-court-holy-place/

STUDY 5: The Camp. The Israelites.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/28/study-5-the-camp-the-israelites/

STUDY 6: The Levites
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/18/study-6-the-levites/

STUDY 7: The Priests. The Day of Atonement.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/10/study-7-the-priests-the-day-of-atonement/

STUDY 8: The Tabernacle Coverings
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/02/study-8-the-tabernacle-coverings/

 

This post’s URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/01/study-9-the-gate-the-door-the-vail/

 

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Pastor Charles Russell’s Last Days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DIFFICULTIES ON THE WAY

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

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

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

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

BROTHER RUSSELL’S LAST MEAL

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

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

HIS LAST PUBLIC DISCOURSE

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

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

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

EN ROUTE TO CALIFORNIA

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

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

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

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

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

DETAINED AT DEL RIO

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

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

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

TO LOS ANGELES

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

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

BROTHER RUSSELL’S LAST ADDRESS TO THE CHURCH

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

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

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

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

THE RETURN JOURNEY BEGUN

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

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

PREPARATIONS FOR DEATH

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

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

CONCERNING THE SEVENTH VOLUME

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

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

DEATH DRAWING NEAR

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

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

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

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

The Author–Brother Menta Sturgeon (1867-1935)

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

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WILLINGLY & CHEERFULLY DOING GOD’S WILL: WHY, WHEN, HOW…

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Acquiescing to GOD’s will is the only way to get true PEACE in the spiritual mind of the New Creation in CHRIST.

To acquiesce means to be at rest; to be yielding and not resisting no matter how severe the trial our Heavenly Father may permit to melt us, humble us, mould us, teach us how to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21, NIV) and sacrifice for the good of others, knowing it will lead to the greater good and which will bring glory and honour to GOD and which is centered upon RIGHTEOUSNESS – as this is THE ONLY STANDARD our Almighty Heavenly Father accepts, and it can be achieved through our intentions being reckoned as righteous thanks to Jesus Christ’s ransom sacrifice on Calvary once for all, for the sins of ALL humanity.

Our plans being frustrated is GOD’s better choice for us.

Consider the Apostle Paul…

About the “thorn in my flesh”, Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 wrote, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘MY GRACE is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Do we fully TRUST OUR HEAVENLY FATHER’s tender-hood?

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Let us consider faithful Job, (who may have lived before Abraham and probably Moses received the book of Job from times before him) :-

GOD allowed Satan to test Job’s faith …Here is an account of Job’s FIRST TEST, Job 1: 6-22 (ESV):-

 

“6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Satan Takes Job’s Property and Children

13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 and there came a messenger to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 and the Sabeans fell upon them and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 16 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 17 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “The Chaldeans formed three groups and made a raid on the camels and took them and struck down the servants with the edge of the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” 18 While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”

20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

 

FAITH can hold the hand of the Heavenly Father even when we cannot trace Him during our trials. Blessed be the name of the Lord GOD, because our Heavenly Father WILL TURN HUMAN DISAPPOINTMENT INTO HIS APPOINTMENT TO WORK out from each and every experience, an outcome that will result in the GREATER GOOD, EVEN IF IT RESULTS IN ONE’S DEATH.

If we wish to know how to DO GOD’s WILL WITH JOY then let us consider our Heavenly Father’s relationship with His Son and the World’s Redeemer, our Master and King JESUS CHRIST, who said:

 

5 “Sacrifice and offering Thou wouldest not have, but a body hast Thou prepared for Me.

In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast had no pleasure.

Then said I, ‘Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me) to do Thy will, O God.’”

Above when He said, ‘Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings, and offering for sin Thou wouldest not have, neither hadst pleasure therein’ (which are offered in accordance with the law),

then said He, ‘Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God,’ He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second.

10 By this will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Hebrews 10:5-10 (KJ21)

 

Job’s second test was that of GOD allowing the Adversary to afflict him “with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.” (Job 1:7). Even his wife told him to “curse GOD and die” (Job 2:9) from all his mental pain and fleshly agony, yet here too, we read in Job 2:10 – “In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” Despite Job wishing that GOD would allow him to die from the extent of his misery and pain (Job 6:9, Job 7:15), he still had this consolation – “my JOY in unrelenting pain – that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.”(Job 6:10). Job even became a “laughingstock” (Job 12:4) to his three friends – Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar – who came to comfort him. Despite all, Job was still able to say:

“But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10, NIV)

Though He slay me, yet will I HOPE IN HIM.” (Job 13:15, NIV)

Can we say this too when disaster, or extreme agony of the mind or flesh “hit’s home”?

YES WE CAN! Because when our aim is to only want to do what the Heavenly Father would desire through our existence, then we have LET GO to what would weigh us down and to what would draw us away from running the race set before us to endure the battle of suffering and shame, knowing that “those who suffer with Christ shall reign with him.”(2 Timothy 2:12). This battle against sin is a daily one, until death (Revelation 2:10) and the strict discipline and serious training in the principles of righteousness becomes one that helps develop the true Christian into a mature member of the Royal Priesthood, a peculiar people, whos’ aims, intentions and desires are “NONE OF SELF and ALL OF THEE, HEAVENLY FATHER”. It is the fiery trials that are counted as “pleasing incense” to our Heavenly Father when there is willingness and patient, cheerful endurance exercised.

For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have” – 2 Corinthians 8:12 (NIV).

* THE AIM OF EXISTENCE is:
TO PLEASE OUR HEAVENLY FATHER YAHWEH, OUR EL-SHADDAI,
through His Son Jesus Christ.

“But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children…” – Psalm 103:17

“The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge; But the foolish despise wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs 1:7 (ASV)

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8

During this Gospel Age (extending 6000 years for the permission of evil that is soon to end) when a Bride of 144,000 members (see Revelation 7 & 14) for Christ is being called out and tested, the consecrated unto the LORD GOD, are given the privileged opportunity in unfavourable circumstances to develop the heart character to make GOD’s will central in their lives.

Nothing can harm these, except as the Heavenly Father sees that the earthly injury or disadvantage would prove profitable to the individual new creature or the Lord’s general cause.” (R4926:6)

“Even if GOD should permit him to use his judgment in a way that afterward appeared not have been the best, nevertheless the Father may use it to bring some profitable lesson.” (R5212:6)

Our Heavenly Father wishes to give us the good things. Sometimes He sees best that we wait before getting an answer to our prayers. (R5480:4) Few lessons are harder to learn than this one—that GOD supervises the affairs of all who are truly His. (R5264:)

The consecrated shall have all needful instruction, grace, comfort, discipline, training and care; and such measure of temporal good as will be most conducive to highest spiritual and everlasting blessing. (R1396:3)

Sometimes our Heavenly Father sees best that we wait a long time before getting the answer to our petitions; at other times he may give us a speedy answer to our prayer. (R5480:4) “There shall no evil befall thee.” (Psa. 91:10)

“He who has buried his own will completely in the will of the Lord
can know no disappointment;
but in every affair of his life
he sees by faith divine appointment or supervision.” (R2412:6)

* HOW DO WE DO GOD’S WILL & WHY?

* IS DOING GOD’S WILL ENOUGH?

* DO WE DO GOD’S WILL CHEERFULLY & WITH PATIENT ENDURANCE, UNCOMPLAININGLY, JOYFULLY, NOT RELUCTANTLY, UNMURMURINGLY?

* WHO IN THE BIBLE DID GOD’S WILL?

These questions and others are discussed in the following video : “Acquiescing to GOD’s will”.

May it motivate, encourage and stimulate the New Mind in Christ in acquiescing to GOD’S will. GOD BLESS YOU.

“TRUST in the Lord with all your heart, and
do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.” 
Proverbs 3:5-6(ESV)

I Love Thy Will

I love thy will, O God!
Thy blessed, perfect will,
In which this once rebellious heart
Lies satisfied and still.

I love thy will, O God!
It is my joy, my rest;
It glorifies my common task,
It makes each trial blest.

I love thy will, O God!
The sunshine or the rain.
Some days are bright with praise, and some
Sweet with accepted pain.

I love thy will, O God!
O hear my earnest plea,
That as thy will is done in heav’n,
It may be done in me.

Hymn #114 from “Hymns of Dawn”

References:

Pastor Charles T. Russell – for quoted passages from the Reprints (R) of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

BibleTruth411 (YouTube) – Video: “Acquiescing to God’s Will” by Bro. Stephen Suraci.

Hymns of Dawn – http://www.htdbv8.com/index.html

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/23/willingly-cheerfully-doing-gods-will-why-when-how/

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