QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
Ques. Bro. R. I have been reading in "Food" pp. 125 to 130, and cannot understand how a resurrected being will possess knowledge of past life, unless there be something more than body and life. I think there must be an unexplainable something which does not die--which people generally call soul.
Ans. Read it over two or three times very carefully with this thought, viz: Being, or individuality, or what some call soul, is that conscious existence which comes as a result of the union of life principle with organized matter. Let us illustrate: Suppose a steam pump; without the steam it is motionless. Turn on the steam and the motionless machine begins to perform its work--the water flows. If you shut off the steam, or break the pump, the water ceases to flow. If you repair it again and connect perfectly, water will flow again to the pump's capacity. The pump represents the human body. The steam represents life as a principle or power. And the flowing water, represents thought which is the result of the combination of life with the finest and most delicate physical organism --the brain.
The illustration would be the same applied to lower animals than man, for we may suppose various sizes and qualities and capacities of pumps.
Ques. Please explain more fully the method of counting the number of the beast and image. I could not fully comprehend this part of the January number.
Ans. We gave several of the names of the Beast and Image. Each of those names will be found to contain exactly 18 letters, or three sixes, which written numerically, form the number 666. This corresponds with the number designated (Rev. 13:18.) and proves that we have a correct application of the symbols (Beast and Image) of this chapter.
Read in the January number again, and be sure you see it clearly enough to prevent your being of those worshiping the Beast or his Image, or receiving his mark, or the number of his name. Those who are worshipers and marked thus, are not reckoned of the overcomers who shall sit with Christ in his throne. See Rev. 20:4.
Ques. (No. 1.) A recent writer says, (not a WATCH TOWER writer,) on the 9th page of a pamphlet, that the text (Eph. 1:5.) "The adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto himself," means, that during the ages to come, Christ will be the Father, and the Church the Mother of the nations, by the law of re-generation. Eph. 1:5 does not seem to teach this to my understanding. Please give me your view.
Ans. That the Christ (head and body complete) is Scripturally called the "Everlasting Father" of the human family in general, we believe, and have expressed in a previous issue, under the heading "The Everlasting Father." The same is also treated in this paper--"Children of Christ." However, we agree with your criticism of Eph. 1:5. That verse, if read in its connection, will be clearly seen to teach, that we are children of Our Father Jehovah-- through or by means of Christ Jesus. We refer you to the Diaglott rendering of this verse--see "Extract from a Letter," in another column (page 2).
Ques. (No. 2.) The same writer says, that "The Papal Church system, as a counterfeit, represents the true church. As the counterfeit existed before her complete union (marriage) with the kings of the earth, and their joint reign began; so the true church exists before her complete union (marriage) with the true king of earth and their joint reign, begins. The union in either case involves the exaltation to power, in contrast with the former subjection and suffering. Additions were made to the Papal Church after her exaltation, and during her reign. If this has been so of the counterfeit-- will it not be so of the true? There was a thousand years reign of the Papal system during which she was adding to herself, before she gave birth to her daughters in the Reformation. So there will be a thousand years reign of the true church," etc.
What I would like to ask is--How do you understand this? How far is it safe to follow a counterfeit as a guide? Is not a counterfeit to be detected by its difference or variance from the genuine? If Papacy was exactly what the true kingdom should be, who can know that it is not the genuine?
Ans. Your question is long but good. We must answer briefly.
We long since called attention to Papacy as a counterfeit, and as a harlot "mother of harlots." But when did the harlotry begin? Certainly not until united with the Roman Empire. So also, there was a time when she began to be a counterfeit, and ceased to be of the true virgin of Jesus. The counterfeit, we think, consisted not in counterfeiting suffering as this writer would teach, but in counterfeiting our coming glory and reign. Yes, Papacy assumes that since her exaltation to power, she as the Bride of Christ, is reigning over earth. It is thus she counterfeits the true reign of the true bride soon to commence.
This carrying of a type or counterfeit too far to make it prove a theory, is an error to which humanity seems very liable. Let us see how absurd it would be to follow the plan suggested by the article you quote. Suppose it for the moment:--Additions were made to the counterfeit church; therefore additions will be made to the true church when she is exalted. The members of the counterfeit church died, even the head (Popes) being displaced by death; therefore in the real kingdom the true church will be subject to death --yea, even the head of it (Jesus) also. The counterfeit abused the power she possessed; therefore the true will do so. The counterfeit finally became so corrupt that uproar and a Reformation movement, led to the establishment of reformation churches who opposed and Protested against the errors of the mother church; THEREFORE the true church will become corrupt, have the same experiences and similar daughters. At the end of her 1,000 years' reign Papacy got into terrible trouble, and lost her power and authority; THEREFORE--What? The legitimate conclusions are manifestly absurd.
We would think it a poor plan to make genuine dollars like counterfeits in every respect. It would be far better to look for the original outline which the counterfeit in some respects had copied, and from it, form our ideas.
One general mistake made in judging of the Papal church is to suppose that it is "Congregational," i.e., that the congregation is any part of the church. It is what is known as "Episcopal," i.e., there is a church hierarchy, which rules over the laiety. The Roman church represents the very extreme of Episcopacy. It recognizes three classes; first the hierarchy or church proper, which consists of Bishops, Arch bishops, Cardinals, and the Pope; secondly, the priests or brethren, who are the direct servants of the church; thirdly, the people, who are called the children of the church.
This outline of their government, resembles what we are told of the true church glorified: First will be the Hierarchy--the overcomers with Christ at their head, all reigning. (So in the Roman church, Cardinals and Bishops have the Pope at their head--yet all are in authority.) Second, the "great company" before the throne, who serve--the second company not overcomers, who come to spiritual conditions "through great tribulation." (Rev. 7:14,15.) These will be brethren. (These correspond to the priests--the brothers--servants [R356 : page 8] of the Roman church or hierarchy.) Third, the people of earth, as fast as they come into harmony with the kingdom, will, we have seen, be regarded and called the children of the church or hierarchy. (So Papacy calls its adherents the children of the church.)
Ques. Please explain David's words: "Let them go down quick into hell." (Psa. 55:15.) It seems to teach that there is at present a hell for the wicked; but David does not seem to have much love for his enemies.
Ans. The word here translated hell is sheol, and signifies the condition of death or the tomb. Both good and bad people go to sheol (tomb); Jesus went there. David says, speaking prophetically for Jesus--"Thou wilt not leave my soul (me) in hell" (the tomb) Psa. 16:10, compare with Acts 2:27, where Peter explains. The Greek word there translated "hell" is hades, and has the same meaning as sheol--the tomb. David sees the doings of the wicked, and prays that they may soon die, and thus cease to work mischief. Had David prayed that they might go to a place of torture it would indeed reveal a dreadful condition of mind, and no wonder you might feel shocked. But remember that if it would seem wicked in David, it would be ten thousand times more awful for Jehovah to provide such an endless torture as some suppose. It must be modern theology that is at fault, for Jehovah, David, and Paul seem to have the same mind on this subject. Paul said, "I would that they were even cut off which trouble you"--i.e., let them go down quick into death, and Jehovah says, "I took them away as I saw good." The key is found in the fact that the age for the world's trial is the coming one, when all shall be made to know God and his truth under favorable circumstances. See Psa. 136:1 to 26.
Ques. Dear Brother--Please explain 2 Thes. 1:9.
Ans. Verses 7 to 10should be read in connection. The last says it will be "in that day," which we understand to refer to the Millennial day--the seventh (1,000 year) day-- "the last day" of sin, in which it will be forever wiped out.
Now the saints may be troubled, and God may seem careless of their interests in allowing their enemies to prosper and oppose them. But there comes a time in which it will be different; the Lord, at his coming, will exercise his power; the saints will rest, and all ungodliness will be brought under subjection. In that day the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth, and any who then fail to know (appreciate his character) shall be wilfully culpable, and any who accept not the "glad tidings" will themselves be to blame. All such shall be "punished with everlasting DESTRUCTION." Destruction means preservation in misery just as much as death means life in misery, and no class but theologians would so twist and turn words so opposite in their significance. Thus do they wrest the Scriptures, defame their Author, torment his children, and make infidels of the world--ignorantly (?), while boasting of their scholastic learning.
Ques. DEAR BRO. R.:...I am laboring as the Lord's servant among Christians in general, making my church home specially with the Episcopal Church. Is not this right? Am I not doing as Jesus did when he went into the Jewish synagogues? If not right, why not?...
Ans. We believe that every member of the body of Christ is, like the Head, anointed to preach the glad tidings. Not all publicly, but each according to his or her ability. We are to preach Christ by every word, look, and act of life. But what are we to preach with reference to the Christ now? Is there a special message at this time? Yes, it is harvest time, and the ripe wheat of the Gospel Church is to be separated from the tares, just as the ripe wheat of the Jewish church was separated from the chaff. Those thus gathered out are to complete the body of Christ. If you want to work in harmony with the Lord's plan, and if you find a field of wheat in the English church, even though mixed with tares, boldly make use of the sickle of truth. As you enter, being filled with the Spirit, you may be received and welcomed as was Jesus before the truth began to cut. Luke 4:15. But if you are faithful in proclaiming the truth, which is sharper than any two-edged sword, it will not be long before they will do with you as they did with Jesus. Luke 4:28,29.
Thus Jesus forewarned us that we would be treated--Matt. 10:17; Mark 13:9; John 16:2; Matt. 10:24,25. He taught in various synagogues, carrying the same message, which always had the effect to draw the few and repel the many. The Jewish Church was not left desolate until five days before his crucifixion; so the Gospel church was spewed out of his mouth at the parallel point of time, 1878, since which time the call has been, "Come out of her, my people." As the disciples of Jesus met thereafter from house to house, but if bold for the truth, were no longer permitted in the Jewish synagogues, so we no longer meet with the Nominal Gospel church, which is now so overrun with tares, that the wheat cannot flourish. And wherever we find a grain of wheat still standing among the tares in the Nominal Church, we say by word and example, "Come out" where the storms of opposition, the sunshine of truth, and the showers of grace, may strengthen, develop, and ripen you.