Why the Change in Baptismal Questions?

That baptism for those wishing to follow in the footsteps of Christ is a scriptural admonition is not debated. What is debated among various Christian denominations is who should get baptized and for what purpose. Many denominations believe in infant baptism, which we believe is unscriptural.

In any event, a long standing tradition within the Watchtower movement is to ask a few questions to those desiring to get baptized as an outward symbol of their consecration to the Lord and His will.

In the days of Pastor Russell, two simple questions were asked:
Have you repented of sin with such restitution as you are able, and are you trusting in the merit of Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins and the basis of your justification?

Have you made a full consecration of yourself with all the powers that you possess–talent, money, time, influence–all to the Lord, to be used faithfully in His service, even unto death?

The candidate was then told “On the basis of these confessions, we acknowledge you as a member of the Household of Faith, and give to you as such the right hand of fellowship, not in the name of any sect or party or creed, but in the name of the Redeemer, our glorified Lord, and His faithful followers.”

After the death of Pastor Russell and prior to the year 1985, the questions asked to baptismal candidates did not change much, although they were slightly revised. An example of the questions asked are found in the February 1st 1945 Watchtower:

Have you recognized yourself as a sinner and needing salvation from Jehovah God? and have you acknowledged that this salvation proceeds from Him and through his Ransomer Christ Jesus?

On the basis of this faith in God and in his provision for redemption, have you consecrated yourself unreservedly to do the will of God henceforth as that will is revealed to you through Christ Jesus and through God’s Word as His holy spirit makes it plain? (page 44 – Subheading “Questions”)

These same questions were asked of baptismal candidates in 1970 (See Watchtower 1970 pg. 309 par. 20.)
We believe that these questions are proper and in line with what both the prophet John the baptizer and Christ Jesus admonished their followers to do, “Repent, because the Kingdom of Heaven draws near!” – Matthew 3:2; 4:7
However, as the years have gone by and the leadership behind the Watchtower have taken unto themselves certain privileges that rightfully belong to Christ Jesus, they have made drastic changes within the organization. Abusing their authority, and having ursurped the authority of Christ. By their actions they have asserted equal status with Jehovah God Himself. Yet, these changes came subtley and unnoticed by the rank and file members of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Some may ask for an example, and to that we ask, let’s take a look at the baptismal questions and how they have drastically changed since 1985. There is no need to reproduce the original questions as they are quoted above, we do well to look at the new questions asked of baptismal candidates since 1985.

On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?

Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization? (Watchtower June 1, 1985 pg. 30 par. 3,4.)

You will notice that the original questions and there slight revisions placed emphasis on one being a sinner and in need of a redeemer, that redeemer being Christ Jesus as a means of salvation. A simple and plain stated fact. Scripturally sound.

However, the new questions, (post 1985), are drastically revised. While emphasis in recognizing ones sinfulness in need of repentance is stressed, the atoning blood of Jesus is not. Instead, the emphsis is in recognizing ones association with the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. As they are the “spirit-directed organization” mentioned.
Therefore, The candidate is NOT baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, but in the name of the Watchtower, Bible and Tract Society. As there is no emphasis in whom to confess ones sins in order to gain forgiveness, there is no emphasis on accepting Jesus as one’s personal savior, the ONLY name by which we gain salvation. Acts 4:12

While the candidate is led to believe that he is repenting of his sins and dedicating his life in the service of Jehovah, he is in fact doing the opposite, that is dedicating his life in the service of man, the Watchtower leadership. Yet the Watchtower states that “Baptism validates a solemn agreement made with God.” (Watchtower April 15, 1987, page 12)

So we ask, why the change? What prompted the Watchtower leadership to change the questions to their current status? We believe that the new questions are out of character and unscriptural to say the least. The Society states they were changed for simplification but for what purpose?

“Recently the two questions addressed to baptismal candidates were simplified so that candidates could answer with full comprehension of what is involved in coming into intimate relationship with God and his earthly organization.” (Watchtower April 15, 1987, page 12)

An “intimate relationship with God”? Where is that stated in the questions? There is nothing said of one’s intimate relationship with God. Yet, there is stated, one’s intimate relationship with the spirit-begotten organization.
We may ask then to what is baptism a dedication? Let’s look at the Watchtower to gain some insight:

“A Christian, therefore, cannot be baptized in the name of the one actually doing the immersing or in the name of any man, nor in the name of any organization, but in the name of the Father, the Son and the holy spirit. This shows, among other things, that Christianity is not a denominational affair, that sects have nothing to do with it. “Does the Christ exist divided? Paul was not impaled for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I am thankful I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name.”—1 Cor. 1:13-15, NW”. (Watchtower July 1, 1955, page 411)

One would think the leadership would reread that issue of the Watchtower or perhaps reread the July 1, 1955 issue, (pg. 411 par. 15)

“We do not dedicate ourselves to a religion, nor to a man, nor to an organization. No, we dedicate ourselves to the Supreme Sovereign of the Universe, our Creator, Jehovah God himself. This makes dedication a very personal relationship between us and Jehovah.”

Yet, the questions state the opposite, instead of a personal relationship between “us and Jehovah” it is a personal relationship between “us and the spirit-directed organization” namely, the Watchtower Society.

The Watchtower Society: The Channel of God?

make-you-free“The truth will set you free!” John 8:32

JESUS MADE a true statement in John 8:32 when he said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Jesus said those words to the Jews who believed on him, but also in the hearing of the Scribes and Pharisees who wanted to kill him. The question then arises, how were those Jews who believed on him to be made free? Free from what? As they said, they were not in bondage to anyone. But we ask, were they really free?

It seems quite clear that Jesus was referring to the traditions and teachings of the Pharisees. As he pointed out in the 23rd chapter of Matthew, though they claimed to sit in Moses’ seat, they did not follow the teachings of Moses, but bound up heavy loads on men. Claiming to sit in Moses’ seat, and that Abraham was their father, they took the position that they were the successors of Moses and Abraham by Jehovah’s arrangement. Therefore, whatever interpretation they put upon the law was to be accepted as though from God.

That position and attitude has prevailed these many years even to this day. It was shortly after the Apostles passed from the scene that the Catholic Church came into existence. They took that same position: that now they were the channel by which the great God Jehovah was dealing with his people. They claimed that Peter was the first Pope, that from that time all Popes were successors to Peter, and whatever the Catholic Church was to bind on earth was to be bound in heaven. If one were to sin against or disagree with them on spiritual matters, that one was considered sinning against God Many Protestant churches have made similar claims.

A Channel of God?

Today we have yet another organization making the same claim, i.e., that they are the channel by which Jehovah God is now dealing with his people. That channel is what this organization likes to call “the faithful and discrete slave class” who in turn use the Watchtower Bible & Tract  Society to publish what it likes to call “the truth” or “newly revealed truth from Jehovah God.”

That the Watchtower Society takes the position that it is used by Jehovah by and through this “faithful and discrete slave class” is well documented in its publications. It says this class is in fulfillment of Matt. 24:45-47, and that Jehovah God is now using them to disseminate Bible truths by and through the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society and by the use of the Watchtower magazine. (See The Watchtower, 1963, page 338, par. 17).

The Watchtower, 1958, pages 485-488, under the heading “The Watchtower Society in God’s Purpose,” endeavors to relate the “Society” with Jehovah’s channel of communication, starting with Abel down through the Apostles and then to our day culminating with the “Society.” Even stronger words are used in The Watchtower, 1952, page 79, par. 10, in which it states “… God interprets and teaches, through Christ the chief servant, who in turn uses the discrete slave as the visible channel…” meaning of course the “Society.” On that same page in par. 11, it further states “. . . The truths we publish are the ones provided through the discrete slave class or organization …”

Stronger yet, is a statement made in The Watchtower, 1965, page 351, in answer to a “Question from readers” which asks the question, “How can it be said that God’s visible organization was made strictly Theocratic in structure by 1938?…” In summary, their answer is that by 1932 The Watchtower Society began to be controlled by God or was God ruled and by 1938 was fully God ruled or fully Theocratic.

By their own claim, all scriptural explanation comes from Jehovah God and is published in The Watchtower. Now if this be true, then there will be no contradiction or changing of explanation from one Watchtower to another. Stated another way, what was published as truth since 1938 must still be truth today. (Mal. 3:6)

An Unchanging Organization?

With this thought in mind, let us go on to see if the facts support their contention. Is the Watchtower Society (Channel) indeed as unchanging as the God it claims to represent? In the book entitled “Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose,” written in dialogue fashion, on page 14, mention is made that for the first time, in 1929, the Watchtower made known to their people the true meaning of Rom. 13:1-7; namely that Paul in this scripture was not referring to the governments of this world, but was referring to Jehovah God and Christ Jesus.

And in the book “Let God Be Tine” written in 1952, published by the Watch Tower Society, we read on page 248, referring to Rom. 13:1-7: “The higher powers there mentioned are the principal ruling factors of God’s congregation, namely, the invisible governing body of God’s kingdom …”

Again, in The Watchtower, 1952, page 375, par. 6, we read: “The Superior authorities Paul is speaking of could not refer to the political powers of Caesar governments. In the scriptures at Rev. 13:2. NW, the Bible specifically states that Satan is the one who has empowered and authorized the old world Caesars. Hence the superior authorities in Rom. 13 which God commissions include only the theocratic ruling authorities and exclude Caesar’s authorities. . .”

But now note what was written in The Watchtower, 1962, page 683, par. 7, discussing this same subject. “…Paul is telling God’s holy ones how to conduct themselves among men outside ‘the Christian congregation, ‘all men’ including even an enemy who does evil to Christians, hence an individual found outside the congregation, not inside, then, right afterwards, Paul passes on to his discussion of the ‘Superior Authorities’ and thus has his sights focused on, not what is inside the congregation, but what is outside it. So the ‘Superior Authorities’ have their setting logically in the world outside the congregation … *”

 Not Founded By Pastor C. T. Russell

Note the asterisk at the end of the quote, which refers to a footnote at the bottom of the page. That footnote refers to “The Divine Plan of the Ages” a book written in 1886 by the founder of the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, Charles Taze Russell. The reference is to page 266 which gives in effect the same explanation now given by The Watchtower of 1962 on Rom. 13:1-7.

We note here, that the claim is absolutely untrue Jehovah’s Witnesses were founded by C. T. Russell. He died in 1916. Jehovah’s Witnesses, per se, were founded in 1931 by none other than J. F. Rutherford who radically changed name and doctrine beyond recognition and substituted instead his own theology. That theology has become the very basis of the Witnesses’ teaching today. A greater detail as to the many doctrinal changes will follow in our Part Two – A Refutation of Selected Doctrines of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

For decades Charles Taze Russell’s legacy has been associated with Jehovah’s Witnesses in published accounts that inaccurately list him as their founder. In 1997, Professor David S. Doran corrected the matter by writing the editor of The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia and delivering a more accurate account of Brother Charles Taze Russell’s life. Through Professor Doran’s efforts, the second edition presenting the truth was published in 1998 and reflects these changes. We quote as follows:

“Russell, Charles Taze , known as Pastor Russell (1852-1916). Religious leader, founder of what is commonly called the “Bible Student Movement,” born in Pittsburgh, PA. As a Congregationalist, he struggled with the concept of eternal torment, his subsequent studies leading him to conclude that the Biblical hell is oblivion, that the millennium began in 1874, and that a period of social and political upheaval would lead to a peaceable kingdom on earth. After his death, many followers abandoned his Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (1879), which under the leadership of Joseph Rutherford moved in other directions and ultimately — became known as Jehovah’s Witnesses (1931).” — Bible Students Newsletter, p. 7, Spring, 1999

 Watchtower Structure Changes

“A press release issued Tuesday (October 14, 2000) by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania Inc., as the Witnesses are officially called, talked about “revisions” in legal structure and said that they were dictated by the need to keep pace with growth.” “Some ‘revisions.’ The president resigned, the ruling Governing Body was stripped of its legal power, and three new corporations were set up to run the society’s U.S. operations. Milton Henschel, 80, the fifth president, stepped down after eight years, along with six other directors of the Watchtower Society. He remains a member of the Governing Body, which had run the 5.9- million member society with an absolutist hand.”

“The Governing Body was not abolished, but under the new setup, it will oversee only religious affairs, among them Bible doctrine, evangelization and pastoral care. Henschel’s successor as chief legal officer is Don Adams, 75, a longtime insider who has spent 54 years at the world headquarters in Brooklyn Heights.”

“But, even more significant than the change at the top was the corporate realignment, with three new not-for-profits formed to assume control of U.S. legal and administrative operations. One will oversee construction of houses of worship and technical assistance. Another will supervise personnel. A third will direct a wide range of congregational services. “I don’t believe Witnesses look to any one person now as their leader,” Pellechia said.”  From: News and Views | City Beat | Saturday, October 14, 2000

What would one suppose the reason for this momentous change might be? Could it be that they are being accused of having a central head and that they don’t wish to be identified in this way? After all, the accusation was made by the Society in the past that Bible Students were following after a man, Charles Taze Russell who dressed in haberdasher’s fashions and presented out-of-date teachings from the Bible, whereas they continued to progress in “New light?” They have restructured with multitudinous corporations and have continued their “Governing Body,” that makes all the rulings in matters of faith directly under Christ and by His Spirit. How Can this be? As you will see in the succeeding pages, there have been many changes backward and forward on the doctrines of the Watchtower as published in its pages.

The above changes were not subject to the vote of the congregations. They were just told that this is the way it is now going to be. There will be no central head. There will only be the governing body who will make all decisions in religious matters. The Watchtower organization rules with absolutist power – “an absolutist hand” – and this has not changed. You knew where things were coming from with one at the top; but with this change you are left in the dark as to who made the ruling or changes. This is not God’s way. His way is clearly outlined in His Word – it is the rule of the congregation – Laodicea. (Rev. 3:14-22)

The Elders, and not autocrats, are chosen by the Congregations after a democratic fashion according to their recognized Spirituality and submission to righteous requirements. (1Timothy 3:1-13) They are not “appointed in every place” except to begin the ecclesia arrangement which was new at that time and the Apostles were specially guided by the Holy Spirit. They were the ones upon whom the tongues of fire appeared. In our modern day, it becomes an excuse for the Society’s “flock” to render absolute control and obedience to an arranged program adopted by the leadership. You will not have any dissenters; for if they would dare to differ a trial would be called for, they would be disfelowshipped and would be looking in from the outside. This is very wrong and represents powerful control or domination. It is the same method as that adopted by the Roman Catholic Church.

If the “Channel” became cleansed in and after 1919, and was completely cleansed by 1938, and as stated in the Watchtower 1959, page 601, the elective Elders before that time were not mature or theocratic. Why does that channel now go back to the explanation given in 1886? What happened to that “Channel,” or its “governing body” from 1919 or 1938 to 1962? Had it or they been tuned to the wrong station?

The Jewish People are Jehovah’s Witnesses

israel_flagDo you know that…

The Jewish People are Jehovah’s Witnesses?

The name, Jehovah’s Witnesses or Witnesses of Jehovah, however else used, is a scriptural concept. But to whom did the Lord give this title? Has the Lord instructed Christians to be witnesses for Jehovah, or witnesses for Jesus? There is not a single New Testament scripture that calls Christians the witnesses of Jehovah. On the other hand, the New Testament commissions Christians to be the ‘witnesses of Jesus’ (Acts 1:8; Revelation 20:4) and the ‘ambassadors of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:20). The commission given to Christians by Jesus was that they should be his witnesses in all the world by preaching the Gospel (Matthew 24:14).

But the Jewish people witnessed for Jehovah in a different way. It was not because Israel preached God’s Word that they were called His ‘witnesses.’ Rather, it was because God revealed His glory to others by the miraculous manner in which he dealt with them.

In three instances in the Old Testament God said to Israel, ‘Ye are my witnesses.’ These three times are to be found in Isaiah 43 and 44. In these two chapters, Isaiah establishes five historic facts concerning who are the ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah.

The ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah… Were delivered from the land of Egypt (Isaiah 43:3) Offered animal sacrifices to the Lord (Isaiah 43:23) transgressed the Law Covenant (Isaiah 43:24,25) Are forgiven for the Lord’s sake (Isaiah 43:25) Are being regathered from all over the world to the Holy Land (Isaiah 43:5,6) These five stated identifications are true only of one people, the Jews! Therefore, it is clear that the Jewish people, the ‘ancient people,’ ‘my chosen’, are the real ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah (Isaiah 44:7; 43:20).

But in case anyone concludes that the Jews have long since forfeited this title, the last scriptural assertion concerning the ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah was a prophecy that is only now in the process of fulfillment. The Jewish people are being regathered from all over the world to the Land of Israel. Their regathering has been motivated not only by religious fervor, as some might have expected, but this does not matter. The Bible reveals that after the Jews are regathered in their Land, then the Lord will bring them through experiences that will gradually increase their faith and enkindle a true religious vitality that will reach their ‘inward parts’ and fit them for their special role in God’s Kingdom on earth (Isaiah 2:1- 4).

How Are the Jewish People the ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah? The Jewish people are the ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah from two standpoints. First,God has revealed His power and glory by the miraculous manner in which He has dealt with them (Isaiah 43:9- 12). God delivered them from Egypt, led them through the Red Sea, sustained them in the wilderness, led them through the River Jordan, gave them the land of Canaan, and made them a nation. During their chastening and dispersion, the phenomenal preservation of the people of Israel over the centuries as a distinct and homogeneous people among nations is itself a miracle of history. They have left blood- stained footprints of martyrdom in every nation they have trod. Neither persecution, nor famine, nor any other force was able to cause them to be assimilated. However, after 2,000 years, contrary to every pattern of history, they are re- established in their homeland, an independent nation. Surely the Lord’s power and glory has been witnessed through this people!

The second way they are the ‘Witnesses’ of Jehovah is how their history proves the validity of God’s Word- the Bible. Every detail of their history has been prophesied and fulfilled…or is in the process of fulfillment. Their original establishment as a nation, their destruction as a nation and dispersion as a people, their regathering, the circumstances of their regathering, their future role, all were prophesied in the Bible. All this detailed fulfillment is an extraordinary witness to the immutability of God’s Word. Therefore, these arethe reasons why the Lord has said of the Jewish People, ‘YE ARE MY WITNESSES, SAITH JEHOVAH.’ Promises to Christians, and to the Jewish People The ‘JWs’ today, like other replacement, theology- believing Christians, do not see any special future for the Jews.

However, ‘from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable’ (Romans 11:28,29 NAS). Since God promised that the Seed of Abraham would inherit the Land and bless all the families of the earth out of Jerusalem (Genesis 22:18,19; Jeremiah 32:41; Isaiah 2:2,3), what right have any Christians to annul this promise? These blessings were never forfeited. These promises are ‘forever’ (Amos 9:14,15). If we say God has cancelled his promises to the children of Israel, what confidence can we have in His promises to us as Christians?

“New Light” is Really a Departure into Error

lightbulbBut the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”  – Prov. 4:18

This text could hardly be referring to a steadily increasing light of truth all through the Gospel Age.

In Jesus’ day it was already shining brightly: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world, he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness.” – John 8:12

Soon after the apostles fell asleep, the truth became mixed with error in the great falling away. History shows that during the “Dark Ages” error held sway. Certainly the truth was not shining more brightly than in Jesus’ day.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” –  2 Thess. 2:3

This text refers not to a continual changing of what constitutes the truth but to an increasing appreciation of the truth in our own individual lives as we study it and live by it.

The text may also have reference to a clearer understanding of Bible prophecies as they are being fulfilled more completely before us.

Restoration of Truth.

Meat in due season was provided by means of a faithful and wise servant.

“And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season.” –  Luke 12:42

The truth was restored at the Lord’s second presence.

“Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” – Luke 12:43

Brother Charles Taze Russell was the servant, or as pictured in Revelation, the special messenger to the seventh period of the church, just as other individuals such as Luther were used in former periods of the church’s history.

 “The seven stars are the angels (Greek AGGELOS, “messengers”) of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” –

The servant received all the basic doctrines of truth from the Lord, while former messengers received only certain phases of truth. Thus he would need no successors.

“He will make him ruler over all that he hath.” – Luke 12:44

Both the faithful and wise servant and the evil servant are individuals, not organizations, since their work is in connection with fellow-servants, who also are individuals.

“If that evil servant shall say in his heart, my lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants.” –  Matt. 24:46,49

The “meat in due season” consisted of:

A restoration of the doctrines taught by Jesus and the apostles which had been contaminated as the church fell away. Jude 3 – Ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

An understanding of certain time features of God’s plan which were not to be revealed until then.

“Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end … None of he wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.”  – Dan. 12:9, 10

Doctrines are not to be continually changing.

What was truth in 1916 is still truth; or else we would have to say that the “truth movement” was an “error movement” at one time. Once doctrine has been proved by the Word of God, it is truth and is not to be cast off a few years later.

1 Thess. 5:21 – Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

Acts 2:42 – And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine.

Eph. 4:14 – That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.

Rom. 16:17 – Brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned.

Heb. 13:9 – Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.

Col. 1:21-23 – And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled … to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.

Mal. 3:6 – For I am the Lord, I change not.

So-called “new light” has not clarified the truth.

It has merely resulted in going back to the old error of restricting the love and mercy of God

Are Blood Transfusions Forbidden by God?

blood_transfusion“But flesh with the life thereof, which Is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.”—Ge 9:4

THIS and other similar texts of Scripture are being used by some In an effort to prove that donating blood to save another’s life, or receiving a transfusion of blood, Is forbidden by God and a sin So gross as to result In eternal death. Are we justified In placing such an interpretation upon the divine injunction against eating or drinking the blood of lower animals?

The science of transferring blood from one human being to another in order to save life was not known in ancient times. Obviously, then, there is no direct reference to it in the Word of God; So our conclusions as to whether or not it can properly be placed in the same category, from God’s standpoint, as the assimilation of the blood of beasts through the digestive organs must be based wholly upon the principles Involved rather than direct statements of the Bible.

What common factors are Involved in drinking the blood of lower animals and the medical science of blood transfusion? So far as we are able to see, there is only one, which is the word blood. Apart from this, the two practices have nothing whatsoever in common.

God forbade his ancient people to drink the blood of lower animals. It Is human blood that is used In the science of blood transfusion.

Drinking the blood of lower animals necessitates their death. Blood transfusions do not require the death of those who donate their blood.

The life- sustaining vitamins derived from drinking blood reach the system through the digestive organs, the remaining elements being eliminated from the body as waste; thus the blood, as such, is destroyed.

In transfusions the blood of the donor is channeled directly into the bloodstream of the patient.

Thus we see that there is no similarity at all between the ancient custom of drinking blood, which was forbidden by the Lord, and the modern science of blood transfusion. Therefore, only by being definitely misapplied can the Scriptures be construed to forbid deriving benefit from this very humane application of medical science. No one should permit such a flagrant misapplic ation of God’s commands to deter him from receiving the benefits of blood transfusion through fear of disobeying God and of being 8entenced to the “second death.”

THE BLOOD OF ATONEMENT

In Leviticus 17:10,11 we read: “And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” The expression, “any manner of blood,” cannot be construed to include human blood, for human blood was not offered on altars by Israel.

The “atonement” made by the blood of animals was of a typical nature only and pointed forward to the atonement which would be made for Adam and his race by Jesus’ blood. “Almost all things are by the Law purged by blood,” we read, “and without shedding of blood is no remission, It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”—Heb 9:22,23 The “blood of bulls and goats” did not actually take away the sins of the Israelites, but God used those sacrifices to point forward to the shedding of Jesus’ blood; So he attached a great sacredness to animal blood, and for this reason did not want the Israelites to consider It common, or as ordinary food. This viewpoint of the typical blood is used by Paul to teach a lesson. Speaking of those who, having come to a knowledge of the truth and accepted the provisions of God’s grace through Christ, and willfully turn against the Lord, the apostle said, “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing?”—Heb 10:29

Since Jehovah wants his people to consider the blood of Jesus as sacred and holy, It Is understandable why he limited the use of animal blood to picture the real blood of atonement. With the Israelites it was part of a school of experience designed to lead them to Christ. But this could not be construed in the remotest sense to be related to the modern medical science of blood transfusion.

Symbolically speaking, It is essential to “drink” the blood which was prefigured by those typical sacrifices, the blood, that Is, of Jesus. Jesus said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53) In non symbolic language this simply means that in order to have everlasting life, either by faith now, or actually In the age to come, it is essential to accept Christ and his sacrificial work on our behalf—to recognize that he died for our sins and for all mankind, including Adam. But this acceptance of Christ Is wholly unrelated to blood transfusion as now practiced In the medical world.

HEATHEN CUSTOMS BANNED

A problem was presented to Jewish Christians In the Early Church when Gentile converts began to associate with them. These Gentiles were sincere In their acceptance of Christ, but seemingly In many cases their Christian faIth was merely superimposed upon their forms of heathen worship, many of which were repugnant to Jewish believers, and some even licentious. Certain Jewish teachers in the church thought to discipline their Gentile brethren by insisting that they obey the ordinances of the Law, such as circumcision The apostles, and others more mature in the faith, met in conference at Jerusalem to decide what should be done about this problem. In view of the circumstances, they agreed on a minimum requirement of Gentile converts—they were to “abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication.” (Acts 15:29) Fornication Is unequivocally condemned In the Scriptures.

The idolatrous worship of the heathen of that day included feasting on the meats which had been offered to Idols, and fornication. Partaking of blood could easily have been associated with these revelries. The immature Gentile Christian would see no wrong in these things, but to bring them into the church would have been disastrous; So the apostles wisely insisted that they abstain from them. However, these instructions to Gentile believers in the Early Church have no bearing whatever on the present- day medical science of blood transfusion.

The Watchtower, endeavors to prove that the divine injunction against drinking blood includes human blood. They cite the case of David, who refused to drink the water secured for him by three men at the risk of their lives. David said, “My God forbid it me, that I should do this thing: shall I drink the blood of these men that have put their lives in jeopardy?

Here David is speaking symbolically. Instead of drinking the water secured at the risk of life, he poured It “out to the Lord.” As David reasoned It, the water represented the blood of his benefactors, and this, he thought, should be offered to the Lord rather than to accept the sacrifice on his own behalf. There is no relationship here whatever to God’s command not to drink the blood of lower animals, and certainly It Is wholly unrelated to blood transfusion.

If you have an opportunity to donate your blood to save the life of a relative or friend, or a brother In Christ, do not hesitate thus to serve. Or If your doctor says that blood transfusion will save your life, or the life of your Child by all means take advantage of this modern blessing.

For with the jeopardy of their lives they brought it.”—1Ch 11:17- 19

The Three Ways

3waysTHE Bible tells us of three different paths a person may take, three ways in which he may go. Each leads to a different destination.

There is a broad way leading to destruction, a narrow way leading to life, and a highway of holiness. We read of these “ways” in Matthew and Isaiah:

“Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it.”–Matthew 7:13,14

“And a highway shall be there, and a way; and it shall be called the way of holiness.”–Isaiah 35:8

Six thousand years ago in Eden, when Adam disobeyed God and was condemned to death, he started upon this downward road. After 930 years, Adam reached its end–destruction, death. All of Adam’s race were born upon this road leading to death and share in Adam’s sentence, “Thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) As years and centuries have rolled on, the downward path has become more and more smoothly worn, causing the race to speed more rapidly to destruction; daily the way becomes more glazed and slippery with sin. Not only does the way grow more slippery, but mankind daily loses the power of resistance. Today’s average length of human life is only a small fraction of Adam’s. Men reach the end of the road– destruction–much quicker than the first man.

Cannot one resist the downward, sinful tendency and, by determined effort, escape from this way leading to destruction? Some have tried.

During the past six thousand years a comparatively few have tried to change their course and retrace their steps. Though their efforts have been commendable, they have not been successful. It is like a man swimming against a current too swift for him; he is carried downstream in spite of his best efforts. Sin and death have reigned relentlessly over mankind, and driven them down this broad road to destruction.

If no one can escape this way of death by his best efforts, it would seem that the situation is hopeless; all must go to destruction. But this is not so because a new way has been opened, the “narrow way” that leads to life instead of death. This way has been open for nearly two thousand years, but comparatively few have found it. It is a very exclusive path because a person does not enter it based upon his own worthiness, but by special invitation. This is why it is described as “narrow” or limited, having a “strait” or difficult “gate” which few find and enter.

We are not to think that all except the few who walk the “narrow way” are condemned to everlasting destruction. There is another “way” called “the way of holiness.” (Isaiah 35:8)

This is the  “highway,” an easier way that all the rest of mankind will eventually take. It also leads to life and will be open to all at a time still future.

Let us consider the very special “narrow way” to which some are now invited, called “a new and living way.” (Hebrews 10:20) Although the “narrow way” and the “highway” both lead to life, the “narrow way” leads to a stupendously higher form of life than the “highway.” The invitation to walk in this way is the most wonderful gift ever offered to anyone. It is to those who are so walking, to the true Christian, that Peter refers when he says that there “are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world.” (2 Peter 1:4) Those who walk this “way” are promised the highest form of life, a spirit life, with immortal divine bodies of the same nature as their Lord. Such are described as those who “seek for glory, and honor, and immortality.” (Romans 2:7) How high an honor this is! We are told, “No man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God.” (Hebrews 5:4)

Is an invitation to walk the way leading to this great reward given only to the wisest, the most important and high-ranking people of the world? Not at all. On the contrary, the apostle Paul tells us:

 “Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world, to confound the wise.”–1 Corinthians 1:26,27

Consideration is not given to race or nationality. Those who attain the divine nature are selected “out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Revelation 5:9)

The basis of any approach to life is Jesus Christ and this applies to the “narrow way.” Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6) When Adam disobeyed God and caused the whole race to enter the broad, downward road to destruction, God did not abandon mankind. Although he permitted evil conditions to prevail for a time to teach valuable lessons, he still loved his human creation. He loved mankind so much that he provided a redeemer from death.

 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”–John 3:16

By God’s arrangement, Jesus came to earth as a man and gave his life as the ransom price for Adam and his race. This guarantees “that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15)

Those who walk the “narrow way” receive the merit of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice beforehand so they may be justified in God’s sight. They consecrate to God and become acceptable sacrifices themselves. These are said to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. As we read, “It is a faithful saying; For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him. If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.”–2 Timothy 2:11,12

The promise to these is, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10) When this special church class is complete, the merit of Jesus ransom sacrifice will be applied to all others. Then that third way, the wonderful “highway of holiness,” will be opened. (See Isaiah 35:8-10)

What will that “highway” will be like? We read that “it shall be called the way of holiness.” It is a way that leads to righteousness. It is God’s kingdom under Christ, soon to be fully established on earth, that will lead the people to righteousness and human perfection.

Then it says, “The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those.” This means that it is the purpose of God’s kingdom to cleanse the unclean, to take away their sins. When the kingdom has done its work, there will be no more sin. No person who remains unclean will pass completely through that kingdom.

Then it says, “The wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” Under Christ’s benevolent government, the way to righteousness will be made so plain and simple that even those who are foolish and inclined to stray will make no mistake. “No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon.” We read that now “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) In that kingdom this will no longer be the case. Satan will be restrained. His evil influence will not be felt on that “highway.” Neither will the “ravenous beasts” of tyranny, injustice, violence and oppression be found there. Instead there will be peace and tranquility, security and love.

 “But the redeemed shall walk there; and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion, with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads.”

The “ransomed” are those for whom Christ died, and Christ “tasted death for every man.” These are “the ransomed of the Lord” who shall return from the dead in a great resurrection. They will come to “Zion,” which means the heavenly kingdom that will then rule the world. What a time of singing and joy it will be! Families parted by death will be reunited; pain, sickness, sin and death will be no more; happiness will fill the earth. “They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away!”

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Judgment Day

watchtower-judgmentdayThe Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that only they will survive the “Battle of Armageddon”, all non-witnesses will be destroyed on site, and that the birds of heaven will be called to eat the flesh of the dead (Revelation 19:19, 20) They teach that the world will be in peace for a thousand years, at that time Satan will be allowed one last chance to deceive the people, at that time Satan and all those who side with him will be destroyed in the second death. What do the Scriptures really say about Armageddon? Below are a list of Scriptural comments examining the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses on this subject.

People who live in so-called “judgment periods” will be resurrected. All final judgment for the world is reserved for the Millennial Judgment Day.

Adam was a sinner and was justly sentenced to death. But so are all of his children.

Romans 3:10 just as it is written: “There is not a righteous [man], not even one.

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

If Adam had not sinned, no ransom would be needed. The ransom (corresponding price) consisted of the sacrifice of the perfect man Jesus to redeem the perfect man Adam who had sinned. Incidentally Adam’s offspring were condemned and incidentally they are redeemed.

1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Romans 5:18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense [judgment] came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act [the] [free] [gift] [came] to all men, resulting in justification of life.

1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

[NOTE: In all three of these verses the same Greek word PAS is used. It is also used in Matthew 24:14 “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” In these four instances the New World Translation is inconsistent, rendering it “all” in Matthew 24:14 and in 1 Corinthians 15:22, but “all kinds” in Romans 5:18 and footnote of 1 Timothy 2:6.]

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

This text cannot be understood to contradict the thought of a ransom for all, since in Romans 5:19 The same Greek word polus rendered “many” or “all” – “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”

The slaying of animal sacrifices in the Old Testament pointed forward to Christ’s scarifice to cover sins. Since it was God’s intention to redeem Adam from death, He provided him with a cost of skin.

Genesis 3:21 And Jehovah God proceeded to make long garments of skin for Adam and for his wife and to clothe them.

There are no Scriptures to show that Adam is excepted from the benefits of the ransom.

The World in Noah’s Day

The disobedient angels, who were largely responsible for the evil and corruption in Noah’s day, were not then judged. Since their judgment day is still future, it seems reasonable that the people will also be judged in the future.

Genesis 6:4-12 The Neph’i·lim proved to be in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of the [true] God continued to have relations with the daughters of men and they bore sons to them, they were the mighty ones who were of old, the men of fame. Consequently Jehovah saw that the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time. And Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth, and he felt hurt at his heart. So Jehovah said: “I am going to wipe men whom I have created off the surface of the ground, from man to domestic animal, to moving animal and to flying creature of the heavens, because I do regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah. This is the history of Noah. Noah was a righteous man. He proved himself faultless among his contemporaries. Noah walked with the [true] God. In time Noah became father to three sons, Shem, Ham and Ja’pheth. And the earth came to be ruined in the sight of the [true] God and the earth became filled with violence. So God saw the earth and, look! it was ruined, because all flesh had ruined its way on the earth. [NWT]

2 Peter 2:4 Certainly if God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned, but, by throwing them into Tar’ta·rus, delivered them to pits of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment.

Jude 6 And the angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day.

Romans 5:12-14 That is why, just as through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned-. 13 For until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not charged against anyone when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death ruled as king from Adam down to Moses, even over those who had not sinned after the likeness of the transgression by Adam, who bears a resemblance to him that was to come.

There are no Scriptures to show that the people in Noah’s day are excepted from the benefits of the ransom.

Sodom and Gomorrah

The Sodomites would have repented and not been destroyed if they had received as much light as Capernaum in Jesus’ day. Sodom’s judgment day is yet future.

Matthew 11:23-24 And you, Ca·per’na·um, will you perhaps be exalted to heaven? Down to Ha’des you will come; because if the powerful works that took place in you had taken place in Sod’om, it would have remained until this very day. Consequently I say to YOU people, It will be more endurable for the land of Sod’om on Judgment Day than for you.”

The Scriptures definitely prophesy the return of the Sodomites from Death.

Ezekiel 16:55, 61-62 And your own sisters, Sod’om and her dependent towns, will return to their former state, and Sa*mar’i*a and her dependent towns will return to their former state, and you yourself and your own dependent towns will return to YOUR former state….And you will certainly remember your ways and feel humiliated when you receive your sisters, the ones older than you as well as the ones younger than you, and I shall certainly give them to you as daughters, but not owing to your covenant.’…”‘And I, I myself, will establish my covenant with you; and you will have to know that I am Jehovah.

Jude 7 So too Sod’om and Go·mor’rah and the cities about them, after they in the same manner as the foregoing ones had committed fornication excessively and gone out after flesh for unnatural use, are placed before [us] as a [warning] example by undergoing the judicial punishment of everlasting fire.

[NOTE: If this Scripture id understood to mean Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed and are not to come forth in the resurrection, it would contradict the scriptural promises just cited. A harmonious understanding is obtained by noting that “eternal” is from the Greek AIONIOS, meaning “age lasting”. Thus the people of these cities were blotted out not for all eternity, but only until the close of the age, that is, the Gospel Age, and will come forth in the resurrection of the Millennial Judgment Day.]

Fleshly Israel in Jesus’ day

Jesus clearly said that the period of his earthly ministry was not a time of judgment.

John 12:47-48

But if anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I came, not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He that disregards me and does not receive my sayings has one to judge him. The word that I have spoken is what will judge him in the last day.

[NOTE: The last day is the time of resurrection.]

The Scribes and Pharisees must come forth from the dead in the Kingdom in order to “see” Abraham , Isaac and Jacob. They will be “thrown outside” of the position of rulership due to their unfaithfulness.

Luke 13:28 There is where [YOUR] weeping and the gnashing of [YOUR] teeth will be, when YOU see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves thrown outside.

Even those who crucified Jesus were considered as doing it in ignorance.

Acts 3:12-17 When Peter saw this, he said to the people: “Men of Israel, why are YOU wondering over this, or why are YOU gazing at us as though by personal power or godly devotion we have made him walk? The God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his Servant, Jesus, whom YOU, for YOUR part, delivered up and disowned before Pilate’s face, when he had decided to release him. Yes, YOU disowned that holy and righteous one, and YOU asked for a man, a murderer, to be freely granted to YOU, whereas YOU killed the Chief Agent of life. But God raised him up from the dead, of which fact we are witnesses. Consequently his name, by [our] faith in his name, has made this man strong whom YOU behold and know, and the faith that is through him has given the man this complete soundness in the sight of all of YOU. And now, brothers, I know that YOU acted in ignorance, just as YOUR rulers also did.

Spiritual Israel, the Church class, gains the chief favor, the heavenly reward, but natural Israel is not cast off.

Romans 11:2, 15, 25-26, 32 God did not reject his people, whom he first recognized. Why, do YOU not know what the Scripture says in connection with Eli’jah, as he pleads with God against Israel?…For if the casting of them away means reconciliation for the world, what will the receiving of them mean but life from the dead?…For I do not want YOU, brothers, to be ignorant of this sacred secret, in order for YOU not to be discreet in your own eyes: that a dulling of sensibilities has happened in part to Israel until the full number of people of the nations has come in, 26 and in this manner all Israel will be saved. Just as it is written: “The deliverer will come out of Zion and turn away ungodly practices from Jacob… For God has shut them all up together in disobedience, that he might show all of them mercy.

The New Covenant is yet to be made with natural Israel and their iniquity forgiven.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Look! There are days coming,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “and I will conclude with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah a new covenant; 32 not one like the covenant that I concluded with their forefathers in the day of my taking hold of their hand to bring them forth out of the land of Egypt, ‘which covenant of mine they themselves broke, although I myself had husbandly ownership of them,’ is the utterance of Jehovah.” 33 “For this is the covenant that I shall conclude with the house of Israel after those days,” is the utterance of Jehovah. “I will put my law within them, and in their heart I shall write it. And I will become their God, and they themselves will become my people.” 34 “And they will no more teach each one his companion and each one his brother, saying, ‘KNOW Jehovah!’ for they will all of them know me, from the least one of them even to the greatest one of them,” is the utterance of Jehovah. “For I shall forgive their error, and their sin I shall remember no more.”

Only natural Israel was scattered, not the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Thus natural Israel is unmistakably referred to in the following prophecies:

Ezekiel 11:16-20 therefore say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: “Although I have put them far away among the nations, and although I have scattered them among the lands, yet I shall become to them a sanctuary for a little while among the lands to which they have come.”‘ 17 “Therefore say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: “I will also collect YOU from the peoples and gather YOU from the lands among which YOU have been scattered, and I will give YOU the soil of Israel. 18 And they will certainly come there and remove all its disgusting things and all its detestable things out of it. 19 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I shall put inside them; and I shall certainly remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, 20 in order that they may walk in my own statutes and keep my own judicial decisions and actually carry them out; and they may really become my people and I myself may become their God.”‘

Jeremiah 32:37-41 ‘Here I am collecting them together out of all the lands to which I shall have dispersed them in my anger and in my rage and in great indignation; and I will bring them back to this place and make them dwell in security. 38 And they will certainly become my people, and I myself shall become their God. 39 And I will give them one heart and one way in order to fear me always, for good to them and to their sons after them. 40 And I will conclude with them an indefinitely lasting covenant, that I shall not turn back from behind them, for me to do them good; and the fear of me I shall put in their heart in order not to turn aside from me. 41 And I will exult over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land in trueness with all my heart and with all my soul.’”

Jeremiah 24:6-7 And I will set my eye upon them in a good way, and I shall certainly cause them to return to this land. And I will build them up, and I shall not tear down; and I will plant them, and I shall not uproot. 7 And I will give them a heart to know me, that I am Jehovah; and they must become my people, and I myself shall become their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

Amos 9:14-15 And I will gather back the captive ones of my people Israel, and they will actually build [the] desolated cities and inhabit [them], and plant vineyards and drink the wine of them, and make gardens and eat the fruit of them.’ 15 “‘And I shall certainly plant them upon their ground, and they will no more be uprooted from their ground that I have given them,’ Jehovah your God has said.” [NOTE: captivity is from the Hebrew, SHEBOOTH, meaning figuratively “a former state of prosperity.]

The Jews are to be used as a “teacher nation” in the Millennium.

Zechariah 8:13 And it must occur that just as YOU became a malediction among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I shall save YOU, and YOU must become a blessing. Do not be afraid. May YOUR hands be strong.’

Zechariah 8:22 And many peoples and mighty nations will actually come to seek Jehovah of armies in Jerusalem and to soften the face of Jehovah.’

The World from 1918 to Armageddon

Some will definitely survive Armageddon who were unrighteous and disobedient.

Zephaniah 3:8-9 “‘Therefore keep yourselves in expectation of me,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ’till the day of my rising up to [the] booty, for my judicial decision is to gather nations, for me to collect together kingdoms, in order to pour out upon them my denunciation, all my burning anger; for by the fire of my zeal all the earth will be devoured. For then I shall give to peoples the change to a pure language, in order for them all to call upon the name of Jehovah, in order to serve him shoulder to shoulder.’ [NOTE: The righteous already new the pure language.]

Psalm 46:1-10 God is for us a refuge and strength, A help that is readily to be found during distresses. That is why we shall not fear, though the earth undergo change And though the mountains totter into the heart of the vast sea; Though its waters be boisterous, foam over, Though the mountains rock at its uproar. Se’lah. There is a river the streams of which make the city of God rejoice, The holiest grand tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of [the city]; it will not be made to totter. God will help it at the appearance of morning. The nations became boisterous, the kingdoms tottered; He sounded with his voice, the earth proceeded to melt. Jehovah of armies is with us; The God of Jacob is a secure height for us. Se’lah. Come, YOU people, behold the activities of Jehovah, How he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; The wagons he burns in the fire. “Give in, YOU people, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Zechariah 14:1-3, 12-19 “Look! There is a day coming, belonging to Jehovah, and the spoil of you will certainly be apportioned out in the midst of you. And I shall certainly gather all the nations against Jerusalem for the war; and the city will actually be captured and the houses be pillaged, and the women themselves will be raped. And half of the city must go forth into the exile; but as for the remaining ones of the people, they will not be cut off from the city. “And Jehovah will certainly go forth and war against those nations as in the day of his warring, in the day of fight….”And this is what will prove to be the scourge with which Jehovah will scourge all the peoples that will actually do military service against Jerusalem: There will be a rotting away of one’s flesh, while one is standing upon one’s feet; and one’s very eyes will rot away in their sockets, and one’s very tongue will rot away in one’s mouth. “And it must occur in that day [that] confusion from Jehovah will become widespread among them; and they will actually grab hold, each one of the hand of his companion, and his hand will actually come up against the hand of his companion. And Judah itself also will be warring at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the nations round about will certainly be gathered, gold and silver and garments in excessive abundance. “And this is how the scourge of the horse, the mule, the camel, and the male ass, and every sort of domestic animal that happens to be in those camps, will prove to be, like this scourge. “And it must occur [that], as regards everyone who is left remaining out of all the nations that are coming against Jerusalem, they must also go up from year to year to bow down to the King, Jehovah of armies, and to celebrate the festival of the booths. And it must occur that, as regards anyone that does not come up out of the families of the earth to Jerusalem to bow down to the King, Jehovah of armies, even upon them no pouring rain will occur. And if the family of Egypt itself does not come up and does not actually enter, upon them also there shall be none. The scourge will occur with which Jehovah scourges the nations that do not come up to celebrate the festival of the booths. This itself will prove to be the [punishment for the] sin of Egypt and the sin of all the nations that do not come up to celebrate the festival of the booths. [NOTE: Some that are left, were aggressors (in Armageddon) and again shall be disobedient]

Isaiah 24:19-22 The land has absolutely burst apart, the land has absolutely been shaken up, the land has absolutely been sent staggering. The land absolutely moves unsteadily like a drunken man, and it has swayed to and fro like a lookout hut. And its transgression has become heavy upon it, and it must fall, so that it will not rise up again. And it must occur in that day that Jehovah will turn his attention upon the army of the height in the height, and upon the kings of the ground upon the ground. And they will certainly be gathered with a gathering as of prisoners into the pit, and be shut up in the dungeon; and after an abundance of days they will be given attention. [NOTE: This being “given attention” (or “visited” KJV) shows that the rulers, etc. who went down in death at Armageddon, will be resurrected from the dead.]

The marking and slaying of Ezekiel 9:4-6 and Revelation 7:1-3 are not literal.

Ezekiel 9:4-6 And Jehovah went on to say to him: “Pass through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and you must put a mark on the foreheads of the men that are sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done in the midst of it.” And to these [others] he said in my ears: “Pass through the city after him and strike. Let not your eye feel sorry, and do not feel any compassion. Old man, young man and virgin and little child and women YOU should kill off-to a ruination. But to any man upon whom there is the mark do not go near, and from my sanctuary YOU should start.” So they started with the old men that were before the house.

Revelation 7:1-3 After this I saw four angels standing upon the four corners of the earth, holding tight the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow upon the earth or upon the sea or upon any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the sunrising, having a seal of [the] living God; and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying: “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the slaves of our God in their foreheads.”

[NOTE: The Revelation account continues that only the 144,000 were sealed, showing the marking to be symbolic or acceptance in the heavenly bride class, and the slaying symbolic of rejection or casting off from this position, not the sealing of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the destruction of all others.

Revelation 7:4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Israel

Some Scriptures speak of mankind or certain ones not rising again. This refers to their not rising throughout the reign of sin and death, but in the Millennial Age they will come forth in the resurrection.

Job 14:10-15 But an able-bodied man dies and lies vanquished; And an earthling man expires, and where is he? Waters do disappear from a sea, And a river itself drains off and dries up. Man also has to lie down and does not get up. Until heaven is no more they will not wake up, Nor will they be aroused from their sleep. O that in She’ol you would conceal me, That you would keep me secret until your anger turns back, That you would set a time limit for me and remember me! If an able-bodied man dies can he live again? All the days of my compulsory service I shall wait, Until my relief comes. You will call, and I myself shall answer you. For the work of your hands you will have a yearning.

Isaiah 26:14-19 They are dead; they will not live. Impotent in death, they will not rise up. Therefore you have turned your attention that you might annihilate them and destroy all mention of them. You have added to the nation; O Jehovah, you have added to the nation; you have glorified yourself. You have extended afar all the borders of the land. O Jehovah, during distress they have turned their attention to you; they have poured out a whisper [of prayer] when they had your disciplining. Just as a pregnant woman draws near to giving birth, has labor pains, cries out in her birth pangs, so we have become because of you, O Jehovah. We have become pregnant, we have had labor pains; as it were, we have given birth to wind. No real salvation do we accomplish as regards the land, and no inhabitants for the productive land proceed to fall [in birth]. “Your dead ones will live. A corpse of mine-they will rise up. Awake and cry out joyfully, YOU residents in the dust! For your dew is as the dew of mallows, and the earth itself will let even those impotent in death drop [in birth].

Jeremiah 51:57 And I will make her princes and her wise ones, her governors and her deputy rulers and her mighty men drunk, and they must sleep an indefinitely lasting sleep, from which they will not wake up,” is the utterance of the King, whose name is Jehovah of armies.

Psalm 9:17 Wicked people will turn back to She’ol, Even all the nations forgetting God.

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face you will eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Psalm 90:3 You make mortal man go back to crushed matter, And you say: “GO back, YOU sons of men.”

The Judgment and separation of the sheep and goats is not taking place now.

Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of man arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. “Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, YOU who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for YOU from the founding of the world. For I became hungry and YOU gave me something to eat; I got thirsty and YOU gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and YOU received me hospitably; naked, and YOU clothed me. I fell sick and YOU looked after me. I was in prison and YOU came to me.’ Then the righteous ones will answer him with the words, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty, and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and receive you hospitably, or naked, and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to you?’ And in reply the king will say to them, ‘Truly I say to YOU, To the extent that YOU did it to one of the least of these my brothers, YOU did it to me.’ “Then he will say, in turn, to those on his left, ‘Be on YOUR way from me, YOU who have been cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I became hungry, but YOU gave me nothing to eat, and I got thirsty, but YOU gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, but YOU did not receive me hospitably; naked, but YOU did not clothe me; sick and in prison, but YOU did not look after me.’ Then they also will answer with the words, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them with the words, ‘Truly I say to YOU, To the extent that YOU did not do it to one of these least ones, YOU did not do it to me.’ And these will depart into everlasting cutting-off, but the righteous ones into everlasting life.”

First the Church class must be completed and glorified, since they are the “angels” who are with Jesus at the time. “Angels” is from the Greek word AGGELOS, meaning “messengers”, as in James 2:25 – Rahab the harlot was justified by works, when she had received the messengers.

(Revelation 3:21) To the one that conquers I will grant to sit down with me on my throne, even as I conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

(1 Corinthians 6:2) Or do YOU not know that the holy ones will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by YOU, are YOU unfit to try very trivial matters?

(Colossians 3:4) When the Christ, our life, is made manifest, then YOU also will be made manifest with him in glory.

The judgment is based on the works done: feeding the strangers, clothing the naked, visiting those in prison and the sick, etc. These are symbolic of an attitude of love and helpfulness to fellow men, assisting each other up the highway of holiness toward perfection during the Millennial Age.

Jesus’ bothers (verse 40) are those who do God’s will: “Whoever does the will of God, this one is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:34-35)

The term “brothers” need not be limited to the Church in the Gospel Age, but can also be applied to those who do God’s will in the Millennial Age. Those who would so limit it (to try to prove the setting is not future) run into the inconsistency of having the sheep class (earthly) ministering food etc., (truth) to Christ’s brothers (the Church Class) while they really believe the reverse is true – That the spirit-begotten remnant of the Church class ministers the truth to the other sheep class.

A similar acount of the judgment day is given in Revelation 20:11-15, and is definitely shown to be during the reign of Christ and the Church.

“And I saw a great white throne and the one seated on it. From before him the earth and the heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. But another scroll was opened; it is the scroll of life. And the dead were judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds. And the sea gave up those dead in it, and death and Ha’des gave up those dead in them, and they were judged individually according to their deeds. And death and Ha’des were hurled into the lake of fire. This means the second death, the lake of fire. Furthermore, whoever was not found written in the book of life was hurled into the lake of fire.”

The Millennial Age – the Judgment Day taught in the Bible.

There is a day of judgment, the Millennial Age, rather than various judgment periods.

Acts 17:31 because He has appointed a day in which He is going to judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He appointed, having given proof to all by raising Him from the dead.

2 Pet. 3:7-8 But the present heavens and the earth being kept in store by the same word, are being kept for fire until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. But, beloved, let not this one thing be hidden from you, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

That time is yet future.

Micah 4:1-4 But it shall be in the last days the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it. And many nations shall come and say, Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob. And He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for the law shall go forth out of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And He shall judge between many peoples, and will decide for strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, And they shall not still learn war. But they shall sit each one under his vine and under his fig tree; and there shall be no trembling; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken,

Psalm 96:10-13 Say among the nations, the LORD reigns; and the world shall be established; it shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples in uprightness. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness of it. Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it; then shall all the trees of the forest rejoice before the LORD; for He comes, for He comes to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth.

Isa. 26:9-10 With my soul I desired You in the night; yea, with my spirit within me I will seek You early; for when Your judgments are in the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. Let favor be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.

Psa. 72:2-8 He will judge Your people in righteousness, and Your poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills by righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people; He shall save the children of the needy, and shall crush in pieces the cruel one. They shall fear You as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth. In His days the righteous shall flourish; and abundance of peace, until the moon is not. He shall also have the rule from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.

That judgment day will be for the whole world.

John 5:28-29 Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil to the resurrection of condemnation. [judgment] [NOTE: The New World Translation is misleading in rendering the Greek word MNEMEION as “memorial tombs” since the correct definition is “monument, grave, tomb, or memorial”, which gives the thought of man’s memory of his loved ones, and does not refer to God’s memory at all. All the dead are in God’s memory and will be raised for judgment. Those who then prove unfaithful will be destroyed eternally.]

Acts 24:15 And I have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

Phil. 2:10-11 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Rom. 14:10-11 But why do you judge your brother? Or also why do you despise your brother? For all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

Second Death.

The Ransom sacrifice releases Adam and his offspring from first death (Adamic), but second death is a death from which there will never be a resurrection.

An individual must be released (reckonedly or actually) from Adamic death before it is possible to suffer second death.

Before the Gospel Age none were released from Adamic death, so none were released from Adamic death.

2 Tim. 1:10 But it is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has made death of no effect, bringing life and immortality to light through the gospel

During the Gospel Age, only those who are enlightened with the truth, justified by the blood of Christ (reckonedly released from Adamic death), and spirit begotten, and who then deny Christ and fall away from the truth go into second death. Only the prospective members of the body of Christ are now justified and on trial.

Heb. 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the world to come, and who have fallen away; it is impossible, I say, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify the Son of God afresh to themselves and put Him to an open shame.

Heb. 10:26-29 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He who despised Moses’ law died without mercy on the word of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will be thought worthy to receive punishment, the one who has trampled the Son of God, and who has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

Matt. 12:31 Therefore I say to you, All kinds of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men.

During the Millennial Age, after coming forth in the resurrection (actually released from Adamic death), those who continue to be disobedient to God will fall into second death. The whole world will then be on trial for life or death (second death).

Acts 3:23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.”

Jer. 31:29-30 In those days they shall not say any more, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the teeth of the sons are dull. But every man shall die in his iniquity. Every man who eats the sour grapes, his teeth will be dull. Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah,

Psa. 145:20 The LORD watches over all those who love Him; but all the wicked He will destroy.

Rev. 20:12-15 And I saw the dead, the small and the great, stand before God. And the books were opened, and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead in it. And death and hell delivered up the dead in them. And each one of them was judged according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. And if anyone was not found having been written in the Book of Life, he was cast into the Lake of Fire.

Conclusion

Adam and all his children are under God’s condemnation and dead in his sight, without any standing before him, until they learn of and exercise faith in the ransom. It makes no difference whether one dies at an early age by a specific act of God or later in life by so-called natural causes; both are the results of sin and divine condemnation.

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Matt. 8:22 But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead.

John 3:18 He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

1 Tim. 2:4 who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

The view that God desires to destroy all people except those of one denomination is not in harmony with God’s will. God desires to bless, not to destroy mankind.

Luke 9:53-55 And they did not receive Him, because His face was going toward Jerusalem. And seeing, His disciples James and John said, Lord, do You desire that we command fire to come down from Heaven and consume them, even as Elijah did? But He turned and rebuked them and said, You do not know of what spirit you are.

Isa. 60:2-5 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but the LORD shall rise on you, and His glory shall be seen on you. And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawning. Lift up your eyes all around, and see. All of them gather themselves; they come to you. Your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall fear and become bright, and your heart shall throb and swell for joy; because the abundance of the sea shall turn to you, the wealth of the nations will come to you.

Acts 3:25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, “And in your Seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.” [NOTE: Other texts where this promise is recorded use the word “nations”, but here the promise is made more all-inclusive with the word “kindreds”, or “families” as in the New World Translation}

John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself.

Luke 2:10 And the angel said to them, Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

Eze. 18:21-23 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins which he has committed, and keep all My statutes, and do justice and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. All his transgressions that he has done, they shall not be mentioned to him; in his righteousness that he has done he shall live. Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked? says the Lord Jehovah. Is it not that he should turn from his ways and live?

Paradise Earth, is it for Christians?

paradise-earthFor David is not ascended into the heavens.”—Acts 2:34

The Old Testament Scriptures we accept as of equal authority with the New Testament, because Jesus and the Apostles so accepted them, and indeed based all of their teachings upon them. The false impression which has gone abroad amongst Christian people, that the Old Testament Scriptures are obsolete, that their predictions have all been fulfilled, is very erroneous. This has greatly hindered Bible study, and has paved the way to grievous errors. It should be remembered that the Old Testament represents the only Divine revelation made to man during the 4158 years from the creation to the time when Jesus at His baptism was proclaimed “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”

In all the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, not a single suggestion is offered of a change of nature from human to spiritual, nor of any other heaven than that which God had originally provided for man—the Garden of Eden. The hopes inspired in Israel by the Divine promises pointed them forward to the time when God’s blessing would obliterate the curse of sin and death and uplift mankind from present degradation, back to the original perfection. The Seed of the woman, it was promised, should ultimately “crush the Serpent’s head,” destroying the evil that is in the world, and establishing a reign of righteousness instead of the reign of sin and death. Messiah, as Emmanuel, would bring these great blessings to Israel; and, through Israel, they would be spread amongst all nations by Divine power. Paradise, lost through disobedience, will be restored by Messiah.

Instead of expecting a change of nature from human to spiritual, the teachings of the Old Testament led the Israelites to expect that God would make no change from His original purpose. He made not the earth to be destroyed by fire nor to be perpetually under the cloud of sin and death (Ecc. 1:4). He formed it to be inhabited by a human race, in His own image and likeness, Adam in his original purity being a sample.

DAVID’S SOUL IN HELL

As the Old Testament tells nothing about a heavenly condition, likewise it tells nothing about a hell of fire or torment. Such devilish theories were invented by the heathen, from whom many Christians have since absorbed more or less of the false doctrines. The Law and the Prophets do refer to hell some sixty-six times, but the hell which they teach is the grave, the tomb, the state of death. From first to last all mankind, both good and bad, go to hell, sheol, the tomb. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets died without giving the slightest intimation of Purgatorial suffering for anybody, or a hell of eternal torture.

The writers of the New Testament were also Jews, and it might here be noted that nowhere did they describe the Hell and Purgatory which we Protestants and Catholics conjured up during the Dark Ages. The New Testament, written in Greek, is in full accord with the Old Testament, written in Hebrew—the sheol of the latter is the hades of the former. Unfortunately our translators have, in the English Bible, mixed things up in a terrible fashion, giving us hell and pit and grave as synonymous interpretations of sheol and hades. “Orthodoxy” made hell fiery and thus our eyes of understanding have been darkened through the machinations of our great Adversary, “the Prince of darkness.”

But all this demoniacal misrepresentation of the Divine character and Plan is soon to be scattered. The morning is at hand; the Prince of Light, the Savior, Messiah and His glorious Church, will soon shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of the Father, while Satan will be bound for that thousand years that he may deceive the people no more. “Then all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped,” and “the knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall fill the whole earth;” and “to Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, to the glory of God.”

SLEPT WITH HIS FATHERS

All through the Scriptures natural sleep is used as a figure for death, as the present time of the reign of sin is represented as a night time, and the coming reign of Messiah is prophetically described as the morning of a New Day, a New Epoch. “Weeping may endure for a night” wrote David. The night has lasted for six thousand years; the New Day is the seventh-thousand, the Sabbath of the great week. It will be the awakening time, as the six thousand years of the reign of sin and sorrow are the time in which our race has been going down into death—into the deep sleep from which none will come forth except by the call of Messiah.

The penalty of death upon our race would have blotted us out of existence like the brute beasts had not God’s mercy from the beginning made provision for a Redeemer and for His Church and Joint-heir; and for the Messianic Kingdom; and for the resurrection, the awakening of all mankind, through this Kingdom. It was in view of that hope of a resurrection of the dead that believers spoke of their deceased friends as falling asleep.

This expression is used frequently in the New Testament. St. Stephen fell asleep in death; St. Paul, having in mind the great work of Christ on behalf of the world and the eventual awakening of all, declared that believers need not sorrow as others over the death of their friends and neighbors, but might realize that all “sleep in Jesus,” and that eventually God, through Him, will bring to pass the general awakening of the dead, all of whom are yet to be brought to a knowledge of the truth.

Wel quote the Scripture, “Abraham slept with his fathers,” and declare that Abraham’s fathers were heathen. We call attention to the fact that good and bad, kings and princes and others, are, in the Scriptures, declared to have fallen asleep. So it was with David. These all slept in the Bible hell—in the tomb. They are all unconscious; as the Scriptures declare, “The dead know not anything; their sons come to honor and they know it not; they come to dishonor and they perceive it not of them”; “There is neither wisdom nor knowledge nor device in sheol (hell, the grave) whither thou goest”—whither all go (Job 14:21; Ecc. 9:10).

THOU WILT NOT LEAVE MY SOUL IN SHEOL

The Prophet David declared his faith in a resurrection of the dead when he wrote, “Thou wilt not leave My Soul in hell (sheol, the grave), nor suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psa. 16:10). St. Peter (Acts 2:25-31) calls our attention to the fact that the Prophet David did see corruption, and hence that this statement was not in regard to himself but Jesus—that the soul of Jesus was not left in sheol (Greek, hades); and, additionally, the flesh of Jesus was not allowed to corrupt.

St. Peter was pointing out the fulfillment of this prophecy of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on the third day, when he made use of our text, “David is not ascended into the heavens;… his sepulchre is with us unto this day.” St. Peter’s argument is that David was in his sepulchre and was still dead, but that his words were a prophetic reference to Jesus’ resurrection.

Many Christian people repeat every Sunday what is styled the Apostles’ Creed, which declares the crucifixion and death of Jesus and His descent into hell—into hades—and that “God raised Him from the dead on the third day.” All intelligent Christians understand that the hell to which Jesus went was not Purgatory nor a place of eternal suffering, but the grave, sheol, the tomb, the state of death. This is proved to be the Apostle’s thought by the words, “God raised Him from the dead, for it was not possible that He should be holden” of death.

DAVID WILL NOT GO TO HEAVEN

King David will not go to heaven, and he will not desire to go to heaven, for the same reason that a fish has no desire to perch upon the limb of a tree nor a bird to make its home under the water. As these animals have natures distinct and are adapted to the conditions which God has provided, so the nature of man, even when brought to human perfection, will enjoy and appreciate more the earthly blessings which God has provided for him than he would enjoy the heavenly blessings which God has provided for the Elect “little flock”—”the Church of the First-Borns” (Heb. 12:23). The reason for this is plain when we remember the Apostle’s words. He declares, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know (appreciate) them, for they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). Only those who have been begotten of the Holy Spirit are enabled to understand the deep things, the spiritual things of the Divine promise, and to rejoice therein as the Apostle explains (1 Cor. 2:9,10).

And even when thus Spirit-begotten and with their affections set on things above, the Lord’s consecrated “little flock” experience difficulty in keeping their affections of the Heavenly things and off of the earthly things, because the latter appeal to them continually through all of their earthly senses. They are therefore exhorted to “look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are unseen,” which “eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the great things which God has in reservation for those that love Him”—love Him more than they love houses or lands, parents or children, or self.

We can plainly see, then, that without this begetting of the Holy Spirit, which belongs, of course, to the servants and handmaidens of God during this Gospel Age, none are able to appreciate the things unseen. And hence the world of mankind in general, brought back to perfection—and all the way back, appreciating human perfection—will be willing not to sacrifice their earthly nature to obtain a heavenly, but will enjoy the earthly, under perfect conditions, in a Paradise restored (Isa. 35; Ezek. 37).

DAVID WAS A PROPHET

On a previous occasion we saw the teaching of the Scriptures to be that the first to be blessed by Messiah’s Kingdom will be the Ancient Worthies—Enoch, Abraham, Moses, David, and the Prophets—and that these will be made Princes in the earth. As one of these Princes, the Prophet David will have a very glorious station. His long career, his “ups and downs,” said the Pastor, show us the lights and shadows of the Prophet’s character more particularly, perhaps, than in the case of any other Bible character. And they show us a noble character, despite David’s human weaknesses and the frailties of his flesh, augmented in power by his kingly office and the misconceptions of kingly prerogatives which prevailed in his day.

The beautiful traits of the character of David on account of which he was declared to be, not a “new creature,” not a “son of God,” not an “heir of God and joint-heir with Messiah,” but “a man after God’s own heart”—these traits were his loyal obedience and his repentance of everything which in any degree was displeasing to God and interrupted the fellowship Divine.

God’s Spirit-begotten children may not, therefore, take the Prophet David or any of the Ancients as their pattern. Only Spirit-begotten ones can serve as examples to the Church. They should walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and may even take the Apostles and other faithful brethren for examples. The Apostle, however, suggests that the Church may look back with profit upon the Worthies of the past, to note their degree of faith in God and their obedience to that faith. St. Paul, however, explicitly reminds us that God has provided some better thing for us—the Church—that the Ancient Worthies, without us (members of the Messiah), cannot be made perfect (Heb. 11:38-40).

JOINT-HEIRSHIP WITH CHRIST THE BETTER THING RESERVED FOR CHRISTIANS

The “better thing” reserved “for us” who are called of Godduring this Gospel Age is the joint-heirship with Christ, Jehovah’s Only-Begotten Son and Heir of all things, the partaking with Him in all His future work for the blessing of God’s intelligent creation. Therefore it is, as the Apostle states, that the reward of the Ancient Worthies tarries until first the overcoming Gospel Church is exalted to the throne with Christ in the dawn of the New Dispensation, now so close at hand. As soon as the spiritual phase of the Kingdom is established in power the setting up of the human phase will begin. In humble recognition, therefore, of the Divine purpose and order in the superior exaltation of the Gospel Church, we repeat the Apostle’s statement that “they (those noble, loyal, righteous, faithful Ancient Worthies) without us shall not be made perfect.”

But as to whether we shall be numbered among the “us” depends upon our successful running of the race set before us. Surely, no less faithfulness and nobility of character can be expected of us than of those who ran for the earthly prize. And since all the blessings of God’s Plan—the exaltation of the Ancient Worthies, the liberation of the whole world from the bondage of sin and death and the final judgment of angels—await the manifestation of the spiritual sons of God, the Gospel Church, therefore the Apostle (chapter 12), in forceful metaphor, points us back to those Ancient worthies as a stimulus for faith and zeal, saying:—

“Therefore also we, being compassed about with so great a cloud of martyrs (Greek marturon—who so nobly witnessed for God and righteousness), let us (emulate them and) lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the (higher, heavenly) race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus, our Ransomer, is also our Forerunner and Pattern in this race. He ran successfully, and, in consequence, is even now at the right hand of the throne of God, whither we also may go to Him.

Jesus’ way to the crown was the way of the shameful cross, and He said, If any man love Me, let him take up his cross daily and follow Me; the servant is not above his Lord, etc. Persecution and shame and grief and loss are our portion in this present world, but exaltation and glory will follow in due time, if we faint not. Therefore we are urged to consider His example and teaching lest we be weary and faint in our minds under the trials of faith, patience and endurance of this “evil day.”