There is wisdom in the Proverb which says that dead flies cause precious ointment to stink. This is particularly true in respect to the Bible. It is a precious ointment of sweet odor, but certain “flies” have gotten into it whose corruptions have destroyed the perfume of the Divine records in the estimation of many an intelligent and growing number. Some of these “dead flies” were mistranslations; some of them misinterpretations, and some of them, including the text, were interpolations unauthorized additions to the Scriptures as originally written.
MANY USE SPURIOUS TEXTS
All of the sixteenth chapter of Mark, from the ninth verse to the end, is now well known to all scholars as an addition made to what St. Mark wrote. It has been known for years to all Bible scholars that the two oldest Greek manuscripts known to the world end the Book of Mark with the preceding verse (8). And these two oldest manuscripts belong to the Fourth Century. Evidently, therefore, this addition to the Scriptures was made about four hundred years after St. Mark’s death.
Why the ministers of Christendom fail to inform the Christian public of what they all know or should know we do not here pretend to say. Why many of them use these spurious verses as texts to sermons without explaining that they are spurious is not for us to judge. We would say, however, that some use these verses because they suit their theories as no other verses in the Bible would do.
Some zealous Christians use this text as a club upon other Christians, claiming that if they are not baptized with water they will surely be damned, millions of them even claiming that it must be by an immersion in water. And by “damned” they mean eternally, everlastingly tormented by fire-proof devils! They go further and make this spurious addition to God’s Word the basis of the theory that the Church is responsible for the Christianization of the world, and that every heathen who does not believe and who is not baptized some say, immersed will be damned to eternal torture for his unbelief and lack of baptism. Thus this spurious statement dishonors God, antagonizes all sensible minds, and makes narrower and harder those who can and do believe.
ABILITY TO DRINK POISON
Many Christian people have their faith shaken in respect to their own relationship to God because of the statements following this text to the effect that all believers whould have the power to cast out devils, to speak with new tongues, to handle serpents without injury, to drink deadly poison without injury, and to lay hands on the sick and cause recovery. Many worldly-minded people, reading these statements, declare them to be “buncombe,” or else that the Church of Christ has lost a power which it should still possess. And yet intelligent ministers quote these spurious words instead of informing the people that they are no part of God’s Message and that they are not true.
The Scriptures do teach that miracles of tongues, healings, etc., were permitted in the days of the Apostles for the purpose of establishing the infant Church. But it is true that such powers were communicated, according to the Scriptures, by the laying on of the Apostles’ hands; and hence, as soon as the Apostles were dead and those upon whom they had laid their hands, and consecutively those who had received the Apostolic blessing and gifts of the Holy Spirit were dead, all those miracles and healings naturally ceased, as St. Paul foretold. 1 Cor. 13:8
LET HIM THAT HATH AN EAR HEAR THE GOOD NEWS
While the Gospel is to be preached in every nation, it is not with a view to converting all of mankind, but, as many Scriptures show, as a witness to the world and for the selection from among the world of a “little flock” of saints- “called, chosen and faithful” to constitute Messiah’s associates in His Mediatorial Kingdom, which shortly is to bless humanity with glorious opportunities of knowledge and uplifting influences, which will restore the willing and obedient to full harmony with God, full release from sin and death, sorrow and pain, to life eternal as perfect men in a world-wide “Paradise restored.”
The object and purpose of the Gospel everywhere not to the Jew only, but to every people can be easily demonstrated to all having faith in God. To claim that God intended the Gospel to convert the world, and to know that it has not done so, is to destroy faith in God and to destroy hope in respect to any glorious outcome to the Divine Plan of Salvation; for those who claim that God intended the preaching of the Gospel to accomplish the world’s conversion must admit that it has accomplished no such purpose; and if God’s Plan has been a failure for eighteen centuries what hope could any one have that it ever would be a success?
On the contrary, however, the Scriptures declare that the purpose and object of the Gospel is to gather out an “elect” or select class from amongst humanity to test and approve this “little flock” as to their willingness to follow in the footsteps of their Redeemer, and to glorify these by the power of the “First Resurrection” in the end of this Age, when the foreordained number shall have been selected. This, the proper view of the Gospel of Christ, is fully upheld and substantiated as true by the history of eighteen centuries. Thus we are seeing fulfilled the Divine Message through the Prophet, “My Word that has gone forth out of My mouth shall not return unto Me void. It shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” It is sent to gather the elect and it will accomplish the Divine intention.
WHEN SIN AND DEATH WILL CEASE
After the Gospel Message shall have selected the saints, and after God shall have glorified them as joint-heirs with Christ in His Kingdom, a totally different salvation will begin and operate along quite different lines! No longer will matters be left to the stammering tongues and to the dull and deaf ears and blinded eyes of the understanding! No longer will sin and death reign! No longer will darkness, ignorance and superstition cover
the earth! On the contrary, then the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His beams. The whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God. The King shall reign in righteousness on the spirit plane and His Princes in all the earth.