7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.
Is it Lawful to bear Arms?
Our conviction is that Christians should leave the devil to fight his own battles; and that if he sought to compel them to serve in his ranks, they ought to refuse to do so. He may fine them or put them in prison; but in these times, and in a Protestant and "free country," will hardly venture to put them to death.
The devil cast some of the Smyrneans into prison for disobeying him, which was allowed of God that they might be tried-Rev. 2:10; and the like may be permitted again. But it is better to pay his fines, or to be imprisoned by him, than to serve him in his wars. Let the potsherds of the earth strive together, and Christians stand aloof.
Shall the devil draft me into his United States armies, and brother Lithgow into his British force, and we, brethren in Christ, meet in deadly conflict to slay one another in the devil's interest? Perish the thought! Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, Baptists, Campbellites, Papists, and such like, can slaughter one another for their country's good; but Christians? No, never!
We have no "patriotism" and are "loyal" to no Gentile government under the sun. Patriotism is love and zeal for one's native or adopted country right or wrong; and loyalty is firm and faithful adhesion to a king or sovereignty. Our love, zeal, and loyalty for the British daughter of the Italian Jezebel found expression some twenty-five years ago in a solemn renunciation of her authority; and in obeying the gospel of the kingdom in 1847, we gave in all the love, zeal, and loyalty we had at command, to Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.
As Christians, therefore, we are his slaves; for he has bought us and all we possess, with his life-blood. We have no love, zeal, and loyalty for any other country and government than his. We only temporarily sojourn under Gentile governments as necessary evils for the time being; desiring no honors, or emoluments at their disposal; willing to render to Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's; and living peaceably under his supremacy until King Yahweh Tzidkainu appears in power and great glory, when we shall heartily unite with him in grinding them to powder, and sweeping them as chaff before the tempest.
Yahweh's kings and priests ought not to be marshalled with the sinners of the world, whose "dearest interests" for the which they fight, are the things which perish. Their dearest interests may be worth their fighting for; but they are too inconsiderable for Christians to regard.
If ever there was an occasion when the patriotism and loyalty of Christians might seem to be in demand, it was when the Romans invaded Judea and besieged Jerusalem. Did Jesus in predicting this event, exhort Christianized Jews to be patriotic and loyal to the State, and defend with their lives and fortunes, on the Gentile principle dulce et decus pro patria mori? Nay. On the contrary he said, "Let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains; let him who is upon the housetop, not come down to take anything out of his house; neither let him who is in the field return to take his clothes." Thus they were exhorted to abandon all in their houses, property and kin, and flee for their own lives, which, being Christ's, were much more precious than the unbelievers they left behind.
If an enemy come against Halifax, Edinburgh, London, or New York, no doubt God will have sent him for the well-deserved punishment of the devils they contain. Shall we Christians assist said devils, al as "rowdies," "dead rabbits," "plug uglies," "owls," "hungry and trading politicians," papists, and all the adherents and supporters of all the names and denominations of Protestant blasphemy-shall we assist them with pike and gun to resist the hand of God that smites them so deservedly? Nay, verily. Let us leave them to their deserts and flee. We might lose our property, but no matter. We save our more precious lives, and are not punished with such a base and ignoble multitude.
When the King comes we will be patriotic for the land covenanted to the fathers. The Holy land is ours, and for that we shall fight; and in the conflict "tread the wicked as ashes under the soles of our feet"-Mal. 4:3. Until then, we shall give Cæsar, or the devil, his due; but not our patriotism and loyalty, which are God's, to defend his perishable goods, chattels, and effects.
But then, says one, they will call us cowards? Who? The blind subjects of Satan's kingdom? What enlightened and independent Christian would care a straw what such poor miserables say? Any dog of a Gentile, whether a street or congressional rowdy, has brutality enough to bark and bite for the gratification of his malignity; but few, very few, of mankind have the moral courage to face authority, and refuse to fight because God for a time forbids it, either for the avenging of ourselves, or the defence of property against the public enemy. There is neither glory nor profit in dying for Satan; therefore our sentence is, refuse all soldiering in the devil's ranks, and leave the consequences to God. -Editor.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, March 1860
11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Let the reader, then, be persuaded to search the Scriptures as for hid treasure. The Bereans did so, although they were instructed by an apostle himself. If, then, they received nothing without first searching the Scriptures, to see if Paul, though inspired, spoke in accordance with them; how much more necessary that, in this cloudy and dark day, the reader should prove all things by Scripture before he accept anything, from whatever source, as good.
...Go, reader, and do thou likewise!
- Col. 3:10; 1:27; Eph. 3:17; James 2:27.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, July, 1855
12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.
Because we have been enlightened by "The Truth" we have, therefore, a definite purpose in
life and a definite object in view. We strive to serve God and hope to be rewarded for our endeavours.
In our quiet moments we contemplate with delight the time when the Master shall be in the
earth, and his chosen ones will have the unspeakable pleasure of his and each others' company for ever-and "one sweet commonwealth of peace from countless hearts shall be born."
We all desire to share in this "Peace," but is not the great problem of our life the HOW?
What a great mistake to neglect the Book that tells us "How."
What a responsibility on our speaking brethren! How many realise it? There is every necessity for being given a clear lead by the brethren we appoint.
"If a man ask for bread shall he give him a stone?" How it seems, sometimes, that brethren "miss the mark" and we come away from a meeting with nothing definite to carry with us because the brother has "rambled."
No brother should exhort the "Ecclesia" unless he is prepared to clearly tell the brethren and
sisters what is expected of them. This requires adequate forethought and study and every brother aspiring to the office must be prepared to sacrifice his own comfort for the benefit of others. Brethren take to themselves "great boldness" because of the responsibility laid upon them to tell the "Ecclesia" How to encourage, to strengthen, to comfort and to warn.
"Feed the Flock."
We often speak in our lectures of the noble example of the Bereans and appeal to the stranger
to follow their example. We might with equal force turn this appeal to ourselves. Paul preached things quite contrary to their views. Did they manifest anger? Were they prejudiced?
"They searched the Scriptures daily" to see whether Paul was right. How often we are disposed "to kick" when a brother, in plainly telling us truths we must know finds a weak spot. We think he is harsh; we "search" our minds for excuses; we become prejudiced against him, all because he has told us the truth.
The truth will always find the weak spots in our armour. If we are wise we shall strengthen it.
The first step towards doing this is "to see whether the things are so" or not.
"A wise man's eyes are in his head." If we use them we shall see what "nobility" is.
The Bereans searched the Scriptures daily.
How many of us do that? Why should we? Well, why should we eat? We do not expect to live if we do not eat, and neither should we. Neither shall we "live" if we neglect our spiritual food. This is "the true bread which cometh down from heaven" of which, if a man eat, he shall live for ever. It is difficult to imagine enlightened men and women turning from this ideal food to the food the world provides for its own-novels and similar rubbish.
It is no wonder we have complaints of some being slack and weak. The cause of this is partly due to "wrong diet." Let us, as far as we can, have food which is pure and unadulterated by man and there will be more likelihood of our developing into healthy men and women in Christ Jesus.
The Berean Christadelphian, May 1923
21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
The "some new thing" speculators have a new pejorative for faithful brethren and sisters who wish to hold fast to the Saving Truth as taught by our pioneers, and preserved for one hundred years by their sound successors. It is "traditionalist Christadelphians."
Watch for it as a danger signal of instability and erraticness. It is cropping up everywhere. It castigates those who want in their simplicity to cling to "outmoded" traditions of belief, and who do not want to "seek new truths."
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
Every one having knowledge is aware that in fœtal life, the child's life is the mother's life, ministered by her blood through the umbilical cord; and that the child, so to speak, is by this connection built out of her blood. And as "the life of all flesh is in the blood," a child cannot partake of her blood, without partaking of her life. Consequently, Jesus, though developed from a divine germ, was framed out of his mother's substance, and, consequently, was both Son of man and Son of God.
The Christadelphian, Aug 1870
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
The Father-Spirit is embodied power. Paternal power implies offspring or children, children or SONS OF POWER. Son-power is also embodied power. It is power emanating from the Father, corporealized in one or a multitude, but never separated or detached from the focal centre. The Son-power is, therefore, the Father-power, multitudinously expressed, manifested through many bodies. This is illustrated in the science of arithmetic. Arithmetic is the scence of numbers. The hypostasis or basis of this science is the multitudinous expression of one, a multiplication of number one.
Let there be no numerical power called one, and there could be no five, fifty, or any other combination of one. One is the great power of the arithmetical universe; and all the other powers resulting from the multiplication of one combined, cannot exclude one therefrom, without annihilating themselves, and expunging the system.
This is true of Son-power, individually or multitudinously expressed, in relation to the One Father-power. Hence Jesus was led to remark, "The Son can do nothing of himself," and again, "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:19,30). "The flesh," said he, "profits nothing." As son of Mary, he pretended to no power, wisdom or superiority. Mary's son was "the Vail of the Covering" to be rent. The Vail in which the Father-power was veiled, the Flesh-medium of Power-manifestation.
Whither shall I go from thy spirit?
That which connects the Focal Power of the universe with the embodied sons of power, and indeed with all created things, is also "spirit" -- styled in Scripture "free spirit" (Psalm 51:12). It is free or uncombined in space, and fills immensity as the water fills the basin of the seas. The atoms of all material things are elemental condensations of free spirit, connecting the orbs of heaven and all they contain, with the Great Central Focal power of the Universe.
It is the principle of cohesion, attraction, form; penetrating and pervading everything. To this universality the Psalmist alludes, when he enquires of Yahweh, "Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? And whither from Thy face shall I flee? If I shall ascend the heavens, Thou art there: though I shall spread down in sheol (the grave) behold Thee! I will take the wings of the dawn; I will dwell in the utmost end of the sea --moreover, there Thy hand (or power) shall lead me, and Thy right hand shall take hold of me. And I said, surely darkness shall cover me; but the night was light about me. Moreover, darkness will not conceal from Thee; but the night as the day will shine; as the darkness so is the light" (139:7-12).
All this is equivalent to saying that the Father-Power is omnipresent by His Spirit. Hence, He needs not to be locomotive to see what passes in the sun, moon, earth and stars. His all-pervading spirit places Him in contemporary juxtaposition with them all; so that at one and the same instant, He knows the fall of a sparrow on earth, and any other event, small or great, on the sun. In this way it is that, as Paul told the Athenian idolators: "He is not far from every one of us" (Acts 17:27).
We are out of Him, and through Him, and in Him as physical beings. This is equally true of all flesh that breathes. Hence Moses styles the Father-Power Ail Elohai haruchoth l'kol-bashar, power, powers of the spirits, for all flesh (Num. 16:22). Here is power as the cause of life, called Ail; and powers as distributed to each living thing, and therefore styled Elohim. A dozen creatures have life. This life is Ail's spirit in them all. It is not, however, a dozen separate and independent Ailim; but one and the same Ail multiplied by twelve.
Phanerosis - One Deity in Multiplicity
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
In so becoming citizens of Israel's Commonwealth, their citizenship is recorded in the Every-Day Book of the Lamb's Life -- their names are borne on his breast, after the type of the names of the twelve tribes of Israel being borne on the breast of Aaron, when he wore the official breastplate on which they were engraved.
In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ, the High Priest after the Order of Melchizedec (Psa. cx. 4; Heb. v. 6; vi. 20: vii. 17, 21; Zech. vi. 13), though personally absent from earth, is, by the Spirit, not far from every one of us (Acts xvii. 27, 28).
He is still as observant and forecasting of the truth as he was in the days of the apostles, although, indeed, he abstains from direct miraculous interposition in its behalf. When one believes and obeys the truth, he becomes "known of God," and therefore of Christ (Gal. iv. 9); for to come in the obedience of faith to the knowledge of God in Christ-manifestation, is to be known and acknowledged of him.
Christ is in his heart by faith (Eph. iii. 17), and he is in Christ's heart, or breast, on the same principle -- Christ in the believer, the believer in Christ, and Christ in God: and therefore, the believer "in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ." This is what "the obedience of faith" accomplishes for a man in the present state.
30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
Times of ignorance
Man may corrupt the way of the Lord; but he cannot improve it, and as surely as he attempts to adapt it to circumstances, he converts it into
"the way which leadeth to destruction,"
which is both broad and easy to walk in, being in perfect harmony with the lusts and thinking of the flesh.
The things of the way of life constitute RELIGION. As a word, it is derived from the Latin religio, from religare, which signifies, to bind again: hence, religion is the act of binding again, or, that which heals a breach previously existing between two parties.
This traditional idea the Romans expressed by religio. They believed as the foundation of their mythology, that mankind and the gods were at enmity; but how it originated they had lost the knowledge of. Their impression was that they were angry, but not implacable; nevertheless, so estranged from men that there could be no direct communication with them. Mediatorial converse with the gods was an idea universally prevalent in the world.
The pagans had derived it by tradition from the family of Noah; with whom were deposited the revealed principles of the Way of God instituted in the beginning. The idea of mediate communication for the appeasement of divine wrath was incorporated in all the domestic and temple worship which constituted their religion.
They poured out abundantly the blood of victims; and, from the tradition of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac in obedience to the divine mandate, the Carthaginians, who migrated from Palestine, probably concluded that the most acceptable offering for sin was that of human life.
Be this as it may, the principle that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission", which is an axiom of God's truth, took deep root among all the descendants of the sons of Noah. Their system was a corruption of God's Way. They were without faith, and erred, not knowing "His thoughts".
Elpis Israel 1.4.
God is not a hard master, reaping where He does not sow. He "winks at" "times of ignorance." He does not hold men responsible where there is no knowledge.
The principle extends to those who are without, as well as those who are within, as Paul expressly says: "Them that are without, God judgeth" (1 Cor. v. 13.) "God shall judge the world" (Rom. iii. 6.) We have only to ask, "When will this be?" Paul's answer is: "He hath appointed a day" for the work (Acts xvii. 30), which he also refers to as "The day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Christ Jesus" (Rom. ii. 16.) "God will bring every work into judgment whether it be good or whether it be evil" (Ecc. xii. 14.)
The moral faculties, I say, are the basis of man's accountability. The mere fact, however, of their possession would not have made him responsible to the Deity. The possession of them gave the man no advantage over the serpent. The serpent was "very good," and the man was "very good;" for it is written,
"Elohim saw everything that he made, and behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:31).
As mere material creatures, then, the capacity of one of them for the reception of moral, or spiritual ideas, did not destroy the analogy, or rather the identity, of the serpent nature and the man nature.
The truth of this is apparent in mankind at this day. The Fejees, Japanese, New Hollanders, and such-like,have the same number of cerebral organs as Adam when pronounced "very Good." Among those are organs capable of high moral developments.
But, what better are they for the possession of them under existing circumstances? Manifestly none. They are as thoroughly serpent in nature as though they had but the intellectual and animal faculties of the serpent, and no more.
Morally, then, the serpent could not respond to the thoughts, principles, and the institutions of the Deity; but man could, because of his organic capacity for the reception of them. The serpent could not, and the man would not; so that in relation to the way and principles of the Deity, both man and the serpent were reprobate; and of the two the man who could but would not believe and do, was unquestionably the worse.
Man was the only creature of the Deity's "very good" animal creation, whose action was restrained by a law.
31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
"Whoremongers and adulterers" that are such in spite of knowledge will be among the number to be judged. When?-Then. He does not judge them now. On the contrary, "they are not in trouble as other men" (Psa. lxxiii. 5.) They prosper (Jer xii.1): "They that work wickedness are set up" (Malachi iii.15.) God is "angry with them every day" as testified, but the manifestation of his anger is "reserved to the appointed time," as both Job and Peter testify: "The wicked is reserved to the day of destruction: they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath" (Job xxi.30.) "The Lord knoweth how to . . . reserve the unjust to the day of judgment to be punished" (2 Pet. ii. 9. -
The Christadelphian, July 1894. p273
Question 28.-The reasons given by way of excuse for the failure of Christadelphian calculations, are trivial. One of them is not founded on fact, for "thus saith the Lord," "at the time appointed the end shall be:" can you give anything more satisfactory?
There has been no "failure;" no "excuses" have been given; the explanations of the non-occurrence of the advent in 1866 are not trivial; all of them are "founded on fact." A.D. 1866, marked a great collapse in the Papal power, and put an end to the saint-persecuting authority exercised in the previous 1260 years.
The Pope has now no such power in the kingdom of the ten-horned beast. Surely this is a great fact. Had the Pope been the European master of men's consciences in 1870, backed by the civil power, as he was in former times, there might be some reason to speak of "failure," but there he is-the mere ghost of the power that was-the mere false prophet shouting, with his myrmidons assembled around him, in spite of the portentous omens gathering about his head, "peace and safety," when "sudden destruction" is at the door.
Why didn't Christ come in 1866-8? This was answered last month. The expectation that he would come then was founded on the fact, that in that epoch expired the term of offensive power allotted to the little horn of Daniel's fourth beast.
It was assumed that the manifestation of the Ancient of Days would coincide with the termination of that period, because of the saying that
"the same horn made war with the saints and prevailed against them until the Ancient of Days came."-(Dan. 7:21.)
This assumption has proved to be "not founded in fact," and an inspection of the prophecy will shew that it was not a necessary conclusion, though a natural inference.
The power of the little horn for offensive purposes has come to an end with the termination of "time, times, and a half;" nevertheless, the saints are in the "prevailed-against" state, in so far as the dead saints are in their graves, and the living excluded from the power and prestige of the kingdoms of the world.
This prevailed-against state will last till the Ancient of Days comes: an event which we know to be near from
-(1), the nearness of the world to the close of the millenary sixth day;
(2), from our proximity to the close of the seven times of the Babylonish tree;
(3), from the termination of the 2,400 evening-morning period of Dan. 8.; (4),
from the termination of the little-horn period under consideration; and
5thly, from the intimation of Jesus in Rev. 16:15, that he comes in connection with the war-developing events of the sixth vial, which have been in full operation in Europe for the last forty years.
We are in the epoch of the advent. It is true that "at the time appointed, the end shall be," but there is such a thing as "the time of the end," and that is the time we are now living in. The end is reached in so far as the leading prophetic periods are expired, but that "end" has a margin comprising an interval described as "the time of" it. That interval is crowded with tendencies characteristic of the approaching finale.
The Harlot-Mother and her daughters are at a discount, and the world is agitated with new and independent thoughts, from the midst of which, the truth is slowly struggling into vigorous existence, and a people being prepared to welcome the Lord. This principle of epochal development, which our correspondent inadvertently declares to be unfounded in fact, has been characteristic of all past dispensational procedure, illustrated in the fact that Israel left Egypt 30 years after the time mentioned to Abraham, and left Babylon several years after the time mentioned to Jeremiah.
It may be said that the crucifixion of Jesus at the exact end of the seventy weeks is against it, but this was necessitated by the prediction that the event would transpire in the seventieth week. This left no room for epochal margin, nor did the nature of the event require it. It was a personal incident, not dependent upon widespread conditions in the world, and which could not be spread over a period of time.
The case stands differently where the period specified relates to a state of things to prevail, and not to an event to occur. The state of things must last the time specified, as with the bondage of Israel in Egypt and Babylon; but it does not follow that an instantaneous and complete change will occur at the termination of the time. All that follows is, that at the close of the time, events will take a turn leading out of the state. This was exemplified in both the cases referred to, and is now illustrated in the state of the Little horn Power.
The Christadelphian July 1870
'The problem of human management is too intricate, too subtle, too difficult, for human power. It needs God who made man to successfully manage him, and God has purposed to do it at the right and the ripe time which is now near'...
Human life is not what it ought to be, and cannot be what it ought to be, under the conditions that prevail. Who will alter those conditions? Who can give us the conditions that are needed? What are they? We need God to take the world in charge. We need the bungling incapacities of man to be put on one side, and all power and authority vested in one government of His direct appointment - a government that cannot err, and that cannot be resisted, and that cannot be removed.
Give us such a government, and you give us the sun, at whose bright presence, darkness will soon fly away. The reign of such a government will change the life of the world in a single generation.
Such a government is coming...
They were no empty words of poetical flourish that Jesus uttered when he said '1 am the light of the world'. He spoke the truth - absolute and unmixed. There is no light apart from him, in either individual or national relations. It is the individual bearing that most concerns us at present.
What is life without him? A fevered dream, a bootless activity, having promise and incentive at its beginning, but gradually settling to a doleful vacuity at its end - a paleful gloom, as with spent power, we draw near to the grave in the clear perception that, without God, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.
Introduce Christ and see how changed the scene. The love of Christ constrains; the obedience of Christ subdues and ennobles; the hope of Christ brightens, and imparts an interest to life we never knew before. We live no longer to ourselves; we yield no longer to ourselves; we surrender no longer to the gloom of a headless universe and an uncertain future. We open our hearts to God in faith and reconciliation, through Christ who died for us; we confide in his direction though unseen; we walk through the darkness in joyful trust and anticipation of the promised day when God will wipe away every tear and remove every curse.
Letting Christ dwell in our hearts by faith, our darkness is dispelled, our coldness ended, our waywardness corrected, our loves purified, our whole life cleansed and redeemed from the ultimate corruption and abortiveness of mere natural power.
Bro Roberts - Without God, All is Vanity and Vexation of Spirit