1 TIMOTHY 2
1 I exhort therefore, that, FIRST OF ALL, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for ALL MEN;
Is that our attitude toward the world? -- true concern for them, and CONSTANT prayer? There is a danger that we tend to be too self-centered and narrow in our interests and affections, ignorant of, and ignoring, other people's needs and sorrows, wrapped up in our "specially-chosen" selves and writing off the world as hopeless.
"God will have all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the Truth."
This must be OUR concern, too, if we are His true children, and not hypocrites. It is so easy to self-righteously attend our own comfortable little meetings, and then spend the rest of our time on our own selfish, temporal interests and welfare.
We must get out of ourselves and keep before our minds the broad world picture: God is concerned with the world, and is working with the world.
The true children of God have no time for any personal non-essentials. Their hearts and minds and lives are FILLED with serving God and helping their fellowmen.
Paul does not just say "prayers" for all men, and pass on, but he stops to emphasize and elaborate --
"Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks."
There is no sharp distinction of meaning between the first three, but clearly Paul is strongly stressing the range, and depth, and importance of the command. It is not just a cursory and passing mention in our own otherwise self-centered prayers as a select little group.
Our prayers for all men must be real, and earnest, and sustained, and run the whole range of "supplication" and "intercession" and "giving of thanks."
And why "giving of thanks" for all men? What does that mean? What is there to be thankful about in relation to "all men?"
It means we must, like the prophets of old, and above all, like Jesus himself, identify ourselves with the sorrows and burdens and problems of mankind, praying for them and thanking God on their behalf for the unappreciated blessings He pours on all alike, in the hope that for our sakes mercy and blessing may be extended more widely.
This matter of prayer is something very real and very important. Prayer is perhaps the strongest and most marvelous of all God's provisions. It is a way whereby a man can extend his influence for good far beyond his natural powers -- without limit -- into eternal things.
We are constantly told in the Scriptures of the power and importance of prayer.
God has given us a tremendous instrument for good -- for the good of man. Are we using it to the fullest -- or are we too wrapped up in our own selfish unimportances?
Truly there is much to be learned from the Scripture, if we are to be accepted of God.
Of course, our primary and overwhelming concern for mankind is their eternal salvation; but present, temporal help and good is still an important aspect of the work of the Truth.
And prayer. Always prayer. The heart-felt, heart-rent supplication for the pitiful, purposeless miseries of God-ignorant mankind, vainly seeking a self-made peace and a non-existent, impossible happiness, tragically destroying themselves with their own blind "wisdom." *
If an alien desires to entreat Deity, the right course would be to do so through one whom God will hear. This is indicated in the instance of Abimelech, who was divinely instructed to ask Abraham to pray for him (Gen. 20:7-17). God has declared that He will hear the saints, but He has not said that He will hear those who are yet in their sins. Even the saints, God will not always directly hear. Job's friends are a case in point.
The patriarch was commanded to pray for them (chap. 42:7-10). If the Deity esteemed the well-meaning comforters of Job, whose offence was committed in ignorance, as unfit to approach heaven directly, how can the spiritually-naked alien expect that without a mediator, God will hear? That the saints may assume the position of mediators, for the alien is in harmony with Paul's admonition
Bro AT Jannaway - TC 06/1886
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
it is not only our duty to pray for the country of our sojourn to this end, but for the happiness of all nations; that the time may soon come when all the tribes of the earth shall remember, and turn unto the Lord; when, actuated and united by kindliness and charity, they shall embrace each other as brethren, and we shall no more hear of natural enemies; of religious wars, nor of any other; but 'judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and nothing but righteousness in the fruitful field.
And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever.'
To many, such a state of felicity in this world, may appear only to be the reverie of a heated fancy; but, I would ask, why should it be thought so very chimerical as some suppose?
It only needs that the great mass of mankind should be enlightened by the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, and their minds be possessed of its divine influence; that all government should be formed on the broad principles of divine justice and benevolence, and not as is now the case, on blind selfishness, and the criminal policy of statesmen and priests, who have created for themselves an interest distinct from that of the majority of mankind.
Were men thus enlightened, and governments thus constituted, universal peace and happiness would follow of course.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, May 1855
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Jesus as a Man
The second count charges me with regarding Jesus as a man. To this I plead "guilty." But in pleading thus I do not affirm that he is "a mere man." I reject the idea of his being the son of Joseph in any other sense than by adoption.
He was Son of God by creation as was Adam the First; and therefore he is styled Adam the Second. Luke styles Adam "Son of God," and as to the origin of the "prepared body," it was Son of God in the same sense. Jesus was also Son of God in a sense in which Adam was not; and that is by resurrection from the dead, as it is written,
"Thou art my Son: to-day have I begotten thee."
I believe with Paul in the manhood of Jesus; for that apostle styles him "the man Christ Jesus;" and he styled himself the Son of Man, being "made of a woman, under the law," and therefore of necessity a man.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June 1854
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
A ransom (The price paid - for our redemption)
...he reserved their full explanation till afterwards.
The 'all' being those who put on his name through belief and baptism. Other translations have been heavily influenced by orthodoxy (substitution).
Diaglott supports KJV "he having given himself a ransom in behalf of all; the testimony for seasons own"
This due time arrived when the apostles were sent forth by the Spirit to proclaim that
"Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. xv. 3),
"through this man was preached the forgiveness of sins,
and by him all that believed were justified" (Acts xiii. 38).
But though the full explanation was reserved for the Apostles, we have seen that Jesus repeatedly referred, in the course of his public teaching, to the place which his death had in the scheme of God's love for the salvation of the world. His death was the germinal casting out of the old: his resurrection, the bringing in of the new.
The full result will not be manifest till the work accomplished in himself will be extended and established in a race of sinless immortals, before whom the present population will have disappeared in relentless extermination. But it was begun within a few days of the utterance of the words...
"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
John says, "This, he said. signifying what death he should die." The people seemed to understand that his words meant this: for they answered him,
"We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever! and how sayest thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?"
The time was not suitable for a lengthened rejoinder. Their mood was unbelieving:
"Though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him."
What could be done with men who were proof against such evidence? Jesus therefore briefly replied,
"Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you."
A few more days and the light ceased, and the nation stumbled on for 30 years or more in the darkness of Rabbinical tradition till, in the words of the prophet,
"Hell opened her mouth, and their glory and honour and pomp descended into it." (Isa 5: 14)
The Roman perdition swept the land, and nigh consumed the obstinate nation off the face of the earth.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 51
7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
Orthodox people are asleep, and our business is to wake them up. To fulfil our mission we must disturb them-make a noise-a great noise, if necessary, not minding their waking moments of resentment and grumble. Our times are parallel with those of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, in which there is much religion, but little truth and godliness.
Our duty is to lift our voices in warning-to testify to the fact that the religious world is at enmity with God, and that saving truth is not to be found in the churches and chapels which crowd our land. This proclamation will shock many people, and be regarded, at first, as presumption, but what of that?
Some of us are far too fearful of offending, and, at times, of offending not people to whom we preach the truth, but people to whom we do not preach it. It would tend more to the prosperity of the truth if we studied God's wishes more, and our own feelings less. Let us not expect to bring men and women, who are immersed in pulpit theology, to a knowledge of the truth without causing them unpleasant shocks. To try to do so is to spend time unprofitably.
Brother Roberts argued that shocking people (in the sense of setting before them the exact and whole truth, clearly, and irrespective of their feelings) was not only right but beneficial. It produced a conviction deep and strong. "My own experience," wrote our brother, not long before his death, "is that wheedling never leads to any results of a spiritual value.
Any good that has been done in our generation has been done by what - calls the system of 'shocking' people." Brethren who demur to outspoken utterances, such as "Christendom astray," "Popular theology opposed to Bible teaching," "The clergy wrong," "Heaven-going at death a fable," "Natural immortality a pagan dream," etc., would do well to weigh the words of our faithful brother of over forty years experience.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Nov 1905
8 I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
SO with the incense, which is "the prayer of saints" (Revelation 5:8; 8:4). It is a daily obligation: a daily benefit -- a pleasure of God and an advantage to His people.
I have known men argue against its necessity. They say, "God knows, without being told". This is true, but is not a good reason for the neglect of prayer, in view of the great help it is to us in gendering the habit of expansion of mind towards God, in view of the pleasure it affords to God, and in view of its inculcation by this Mosaic lesson. "The Lord taketh not pleasure in fools". "He taketh pleasure in the righteous". "The prayer of the righteous is his delight".
All these things are testified; and it was shown in unmistakable parable when the high priest every morning put sweet-smelling incense in his censer on the fire taken from the altar, and waved his censer before the Lord in the holy place.
The Law of Moses, Ch 20.
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
She will appreciate a due attention to health and cleanliness in their attire, but she will teach them, as she has come to be instructed herself, that the vanities and follies attendant upon gay dressing are forms of the evil which everywhere prevails; and that though beautiful and attractive to the youthful eye, they are to be eschewed as something calculated to engender forgetfulness of God and the coming of Christ for which we are all preparing.
- Sis Jane Roberts - The Virtuous woman 'the dressing of children'
10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
The law, which forms a part of the foundation of the world, says to the woman, "He shall reign over thee." The nature of this subjection is well exhibited in the Mosaic law Num 30:3-15. A daughter being yet in her youth in her father's house, could only make a vow subject to his will. If he held his peace, and said nothing for or against, she was bound by her word; but if when he heard it, he disallowed it, she was not bound to perform, and the Lord forgave the failure of the vow.
The same law applied to a wife. A widow, or divorced woman, were both bound to fulfil, unless their husbands had made them void before separation. If not, being subject to God, they had no release. This throws light upon the apostle's instructions concerning women. "They are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law." And "Iet the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence."
The reason he gives for imposing silence and subjection is remarkable. He adduces the priority of Adam's formation, and the unhappy consequences of Eve's talkativeness and leadership in transgression; as it is written, "Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression first" 1 Tim 2:11-14. And then, as to their public ministrations, he says,
"Let women keep silence in the congregations; for it is not permitted unto them to speak, but to be under obedience, as saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the congregation" 1 Cor 14:34-35.
- ELPIS ISRAEL 1.4.
The woman being deceived was in the transgression.
The tree, she knew, was "good for food," it was also "pleasant to the eyes." Here were two classes of human lusts coworking in favour of the serpent's conclusion. There remained only one class more to be gained and his triumph would be complete. She was ambitious. She knew the Elohim, how wise and exalted they were, and how superior to Adam and herself.
She wanted to be like them, and the serpent had assured her that she had the power of this desirable self-exaltation in her own hands. But then, might she not lose all by the operation
of the death-penalty? True; but the serpent had assured her that Elohim did not intend to carry it into effect; and besides, was there not that other tree - the tree of lives - as accessible as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? could she not also eat of that, and be immortal as the Elohim?
Surely, this was a well-combined scheme of the serpent's by which they might easily and speedily attain to wisdom and immortality upon their own terms! With the earth in their possession, what independent, glorious, and powerful ones they would be when like the Elohim!
The thought was charming; it was quite fascinating to contemplate! What more could "the pride of life" desire? They would live on the earth forever; and all the world that might inhabit it would be subject to them and to the principles of the serpent, by which they would have attained their high Elohistic estate!
Thus was the mother of all living "drawn away of her own lusts, and enticed." She was attracted by
"the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life."
These instincts of the flesh predisposed her to believe the serpent and to follow his suggestion, regardless of the divine law. Lust conceived within her. The doctrine of the serpent sown in her heart inflamed her desires, and stirred them up into rebellious exercise.
Faith in the word was obliterated; her mind was darkened by false teaching; she was beguiled and corrupted from the simplicity of the truth; her thinking was serpentized, and she "brought forth sin," or the transgression of the law; and when the sin was perfected, contrary to the serpent's theory and her own expectation,
"it brought forth death" (James 1:14,15).
15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
9-15 concerns the position of sisters. Two points are strongly emphasized. First, modesty and reserve in dress and deportment, with inner rather than surface ornamentation. Secondly, silence in the ecclesia.
Men and women are very different in many ways. The modern world, in its godless stupidity, ignores this divinely attested fact. Each sex has its own special weakness and its own strengths. Each has its own special place and function in the Body of Christ.
To the extent a sister overstepped either of these divine instructions, to that extent she cheapens herself and lessens her true spiritual usefulness in the Body.
It is always wisdom to make sure we are well over on the safe side of any command -- to try to realize and conform to its spiritual purpose and value.
These are not merely arbitrary and restrictive commands. Rather they are to make sisters more fitted and more suited to the fulfillment of their own very real and very necessary part in the welfare and activity of the Body.
Sisters are freed from many things that burden brethren, that they may be better suited to accomplish other things as important, or more important, in God's sight. *
* Bro Growcott. Grace, Mercy and Peace