Enter subtitle here
A prince [Nasi] among them;
David will be in the Kingdom when Christ reigns. Will he not "reign with Christ" as all the other saints will? This is so unquestionable that we will not stay to prove it. ...
Well, in what position is David likely to reign with Christ? The twelve apostles are to be heads over the tribes (Matt. xix. 27; Luke xxii. 29): approved brethren of the Gentiles are to have "power over the nations" among whom they have been developed (Rev. ii. 26). Christ is to be "King over all the earth," with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets under him.
What portion more appropriate for David than to be "a prince among them?" By the covenant God made with him his kingdom is to be established "before (or in the presence of) him."
Though Christ, the son of David, is the head, David himself is there, in some ruling capacity - perhaps "king's friend," like Hushai, the Archite, in the typical arrangement of things under David's mortal kingdom-in whatever capacity it will be as "a prince among them," necessarily as conspicuous as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, seeing the covenant of the kingdom was made with him.
The headship of Jesus, his son, will not interfere with this conspicuousness of David in the day of glory, when "on the throne of David and his Kingdom," Jesus shall reign in Mount Zion "before his ancients gloriously," who will reign with him.
That David should mean the Beloved is a beautiful secondary sense, enabling us to realise David in the son as well as the father.
The Christadelphian, Jan 1898
3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin.
His human flesh was unclean flesh, "Sin's flesh," "filthy garments." This was the tremendous burden he carried, the tremendous battle he fought every moment of his life. Let us not be squeamishly afraid to give the name SIN to the very root of sin: the Diabolos itself. The Scriptures do. Brethren Thomas and Roberts do.
If we do not see this, we miss the whole point of Christ's sacrifice. We can juggle words like "metonymy" all we wish. They do not obliterate the facts: they are just a way of attempting to define them. This is not Andrewism: this is TRUTH.
We are told by some that we must not link transgressions and sin-in-the-flesh in the same "category," as two "aspects" of the same basic sin constitution. That is, we must not link "the Devil" (Diabolos) "and his works."
But the Scriptures do. The Devil is inseparable from his works, and the works from the Devil. This is the whole constitution of sin that Christ came to destroy: root (diabolos) and branch (transgressions). To artificially separate these parts of what is one whole in God's sight is to artificially (and fatally) separate Christ from his brethren, and his salvation from theirs, and leave them salvationless. Brother Thomas is very clear on this:
"The word 'sin' is used in two principal acceptations in the Scripture. It signifies, in the first place, the transgression of the law; and in the next, it represents that physical principle of the animal nature which is the cause of all its diseases, death, and resolution into dust...
"Inasmuch as this evil principle pervades every part of the flesh, the animal nature is styled 'sinful flesh,' that is, flesh full of sin." -Elpis Israel, page 126
"SIN could not have been condemned in the body of Jesus if it had not existed there ... the purpose of God was to condemn sin in the flesh, a thing that could not have been accomplished if there were no sin there."-Elpis Israel, p. 127
"Children are born sinners or unclean, because they are born of sinful flesh ... This is a misfortune, not a crime." - Elpis Israel, page 129
"Men are sinners in a two-fold sense: first, by natural birth; and next, by transgression. In the former sense it is manifest they could not help themselves." -Elpis Israel, page 130
"Sin had to be condemned IN the nature that had transgressed ... He took part of the same, that through death he might destroy the Diabolos, or elements of corruption in our nature inciting it to transgression, and therefore called 'Sin working death in us."' -Eureka I, page 106
"Sin is a word in Paul's argument which stands for human nature." -Eureka I, page 247
"This perishing body is 'sin'. Sin, in its application to the body, stands for all its constituents and laws ... the law of its nature is styled the 'law of Sin and Death'." - Eureka I, p. 248
"What is that which hath the power of death? It is the 'exceedingly great sinner SIN' in the sense of the 'Law of Sin and Death' within ALL the posterity of Adam, without exception. This is Paul's Diabolos. -Eureka I page 249
"He (Jesus) was Sin's Flesh crucified, slain, and buried: in which by the slaying, Sin had been condemned; and by the burial, put out of sight." -Eureka II, page 124
All these statements are meaningless, if we must carefully isolate transgression from Sin-in-the-flesh. And if Sin-in-the-flesh (the Diabolos) was the aspect of sin upon which the condemnation of Sin specifically fell (in the crucifixion), then clearly it is no minor or inconsequential aspect. Further, even more importantly, if we separate it from actual transgression, then actual transgression did not get condemned at all for there was no actual transgression in Christ to be condemned.
When God condemned Sin by condemning the Diabolos in the sinless Christ, He inseparably linked all aspects of sin together - or active sin was not condemned.
Bro Growcott - Purifying of the heavenly Ch 1
The Law and the Prophets
MEN speak of the Scriptures as Jewish writings, and such they are, but they have a higher and more significant title given to them by Paul. The apostle styles them "the oracles of God" (Rom. iii. 2). If Paul had simply called them "Oracles," their reliability and truth would have been a very safe deduction, but "Oracles of God" is a significantly descriptive statement, which places their character far beyond deduction.
Truly there are a few apparent difficulties in the Scriptures, but shall we, because of these, pronounce the Oracles of God to be wholly or partly untrue? Common sense cries "No!" Let us rather heed Paul's warning to rightly divide the word of truth.
The Scriptures being the Oracles of God, it is appropriate to speak of them, as Paul did (but not otherwise), as the Word of God (Acts xx. 32; 2 Cor. iv. 2). That the Bible was regarded by Paul as divine is further made certain by his method of action in believing
"all things which are written in the law, and in the prophets" (Acts xxiv. 14);
and in his affirming that
"whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning" (Rom. xv. 4).
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, July 1898.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS
The marriage of cousins is only objectionable on the score of probable effects on offspring; and these effects are likely to be escaped when the cousins are of different temperaments. There is nothing in the law of Moses against it. Besides, we are not under the law but under grace. In your country, there is nothing in human law against it. Therefore you have only to consider the physiological bearings of matters.
The Christadelphian, Jan 1898
Dealing with Offenders
No man should be condemned without the fullest opportunity of answer, whatever his crime may be. If on a proper hearing, he is found guilty, the apostolic rule requires that he should be "rebuked before all that others also may fear" (1 Tim. v. 20).
If he defends his sin, or is without token of repentance, the same rule requires that he should be repudiated in all spiritual and social relations (Matt. xviii. 17; 2 Cor. ii. 7). But it does not require this line of action if there is manifest repentance. If he confesses and forsakes his sin, he is to have mercy (Prov. xxviii. 13) for
"all manner of sin shall be forgiven unto men but the sin against the Holy Spirit" (Matt. xii. 31).
If duly sensible of his offence, he is to be forgiven and comforted,
"lest such an one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow" (2 Cor ii.7).
This is according to the character of God revealed so abundantly, leading Him to say in Ezekiel, that
"he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked but rather that he should turn and live"
(Ezek. xviii. 23).
The Christadelphian, Jan 1898
Flesh of itself Incompetent to Think aright on things Divine
When "the flesh," having read very little... and therefore unenlightened on the ideas and purposes of God, undertakes to speculate upon His character, attributes, and plans, it is sure to think contrary to Scripture and to the truth.
If, of itself, the flesh could think aright on divine things, Revelation would have been unnecessary, and the Bible a work of supererogation. But as "to err is" essentially "human," a revelation from God was indispensable, if it were deemed desirable for man to know the origin, reason, and ultimate, of his surroundings; as well as God, the beginning and end of all things.
The "thinking of the Flesh" and the "thinking of the Spirit," are thinkings as diametrically opposite as light and darkness, truth and error. The thinking of the flesh is illustrated by the dogmas of Confucius, Zoroaster, Plato, the Jewish Rabbis, Mohammed, and the founders and clergies of the Catholic and Protestant sects of Christendom; while to these has ever been opposed the thinking of the Spirit, whose mind hath been by himself made known through the instruction and testimony of the Scriptures.
The flesh loves its own thoughts, as most people love their own bantlings; therefore it is, that disciples in the School of the Flesh (styled by its patrons, curiously enough, "the School of Christ") are zealous for those who teach them. Referring to certain Doctors of Divinity in the School of the Flesh the apostle saith,
"They went out from us, but they were not of us; they are of the World: therefore they speak from the world; and the world heareth them:"
in other words, the world, constituted of flesh, without understanding of the Scriptures, is error incarnate; doctors or teachers of divinity, who are of that world, speak under the inspiration of error; and, as "the world loves its own," therefore it hears them; and has consequently, no ears to hear what the Spirit saith to the Ecclesias."
"The voice of the people is the voice of God;" and "what everybody says is true, must be true," are the world's maxims; but as false as the world itself. Try the times of Noah, Abraham, Moses, the Prophets, Jesus and of the Apostles, by these rules, and their falseness is strikingly apparent; for those witnesses, of "whom the world was not worthy," all testify that its "everybody" is corrupt, lying, apostate, and the enemy of God.
The World! What is the value of the world's opinions on divine things? Literally nothing; yea, worse than nothing-they are positively pestilential; and sedulously to be avoided by all who would attain to the knowledge of the truth.
What can a man know of mathematics or chemistry who has not studied the principles of those sciences? Should such a person by any possibility be found in the seat of Euclid, Newton, Davy, Dalton, or Faraday, would he not be the scorn and derision of all intelligent and skilful mathematicians and chemists?
Such is the world for wisdom in the things of God, in the estimation of "scribes instructed for the kingdom of the heavens." Mankind are condemned to dig for knowledge as for hid treasure if they would acquire it. This is a law to which there are only rare exceptions, as it may please God.
Even his own prophets had to dig in the fields of one another for treasure not specially, or personally, revealed by the Spirit. Witness the case of Daniel's study of Jeremiah, Dan. ix:2.
The world's history shows this to be a law in all departments of its literature, science, and philosophy. All its "great lights" have been "hard students." None of them have become such by the wishing-process. A man's wishing that he were wise, though an admission that he is a fool, and therefore a first step to wisdom, never made a wise man yet. Ex nihilo nihil fit.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, June 1857
No form nor comeliness
A few finishing words concluded the testimony which Jesus had for three years and a half been engaged in delivering. In these farewell words, he accommodated himself for a moment to their point of view. He realised that they stumbled at his personal appearance, as Isaiah had foretold (chap. liii. 2); their conceptions of Messianic grandeur and power made them stagger at the unpretentious personality of a lowly carpenter of Nazareth.
"cried and said (as if earnestly protesting the truth to them for the last time), he that believeth on me believeth not on me, but on Him that sent me. And he that seeth me seeth Him that sent me."
As much as to say, "I am nothing in myself. Do not be repelled because you see no beauty to desire in me. It is the God of your fathers, who begat me and dwells in me, that presents Himself to you for your good. It is Him you see in seeing me. It is on Him you believe when you believe on me."
Understood in this way, he pressed himself earnestly upon their attention.
"I am come a light into the world that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."
At the same time he wished them to understand it was no part of his mission at that time to employ coercion.
"If any man hear my words and believe not, I judge him not, for I came not to judge the world (not at that time) but to save the world,"
that is, to open the way of salvation and point it out to them, and earnestly plead with them to walk in it. If they refused submission, the loss would be all their own. At the same time, there would be judgment in due course:
"He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my word hath one that judgeth him. The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."
Why his words would be the rule of judgment he makes plain to the meanest capacity.
"For I have not spoken of myself (that is, of my own impulse or authority); but the Father who sent me, He gave me a commandment what I should say and what I should speak: and I know that His commandment is life everlasting."
Nazareth Revisited Ch 51
The Last Trump
I will proceed now to the consideration of the text which is generally thought to inculcate the opposite view of the character of the resurrection which I have endeavoured to support from Paul's comparison. In the 51st verse, the apostle says,
"Behold I show you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
Now, in considering this passage, I do not think sufficient attention is given to the statement that it is at the sounding of the last trump that the dead (and the living also) are to be instantaneously changed. I think this is the key to the meaning of the whole verse. The mention of the trumpet is evidently an allusion to, or a figure drawn from, the custom of the Jews to sound the trumpet on certain important occasions.
The form of the Jewish trumpet, says Josephus, was invented by Moses, and in length the instrument was a little less than a cubit. Two of them were employed. When the first sounded, the heads of the tribes were to assemble for consultation, but when they both sounded, it was a call to the multitude to come together.
The children of Israel whilst journeying in the wilderness also moved their tabernacle and their tents at the sound of the trumpet, all the people being in motion at the end of the fourth blast.
In the book of Revelations, certain important epochs are represented as being marked by the sounding of this instrument; and, taking all these facts together, we must conclude that the mention of the last trump by Paul indicates the close of a series of events, each symbollically marked, as in Revelations, by the trumpet's blast.
What the details of such events so marked are, Paul has not told us, but from the analysis I have made of Paul's comparison, and from the words of Jesus himself in Matt. xxiv. 30, 31, where he says that the Son of Man shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other-from these we gather that the blasts referred to must embrace the whole period from the rising of the dead from the ground to the conclusion of the judgment.
The dead rise from the ground, the dead and the living are then summoned before the judgment-seat of Christ; judgment is pronounced; the words
"Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,"
are uttered; then the last trump resounds, and "instantaneously, in the twinkling of an eye, " the accepted are "raised" to the perfect state of spiritual life to which the good seed gradually leads. Then, to use the simile of the wheat once more, the divine germ has produced the results it was intended to accomplish-the fruit is ripe and pure, and it is placed in the storehouse of the Son of God.
This exposition of the passage, you will see, is quite in harmony with Paul's analogy and indeed with all the other statements that we find in scripture respecting this great and awful event; and in conclusion, in view of the glorious prospect opening out before the finally-accepted believer, I need only urge upon each and all of us, in the words of Paul, to be
"steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as we know that our labour is not in vain in the Lord."
The Christadelphian, Dec 1868
The Apocalyptic Urim and Thummim
The apocalyptic 144,000, 144 furlongs, and 144 cubits, are the Breastplate of Judgment; that is, the thing signified in that splendid decoration worn on the breast of Aaron in the holy place, is fulfilled in those who are the units of the Holy Square.
To understand this, the reader must first comprehend the Aaronic symbol itself. The first place mention is made of it is in Exod. xxviii. 15. It was not a plate of metal, but a texture wrought of gold, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen. It was foursquare and of equal sides. It was filled in with settings of precious stones; four rows of them, and three in a row, and each stone set in gold.
Upon these twelve stones were engraved, as upon a seal, the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, thereby showing that these tribes were represented by them; so that symbolically speaking, the whole nation of Israel was contained in the square ornament, and borne upon the breast or heart of the High Priest in the holy place.
This ornament, styled khoshen mishpat, and in our version, "the breastplate of judgment," was attached to the aiphod, a robe called ephod, or the overall, because it was put on over all other vestments.
Having prepared the foursquare texture, Moses was commanded to put into it the Urim and the Thummim; that is, the twelve precious stones: not that the stones abstractly were the Urim and the Thummim, but were indispensable to its manifestation.
The Urim were the glistering of the stones -- the lights refracted and reflected from their cut and polished surfaces, and developing lights of divers colors. These were styled, urim, lights; and the twelve stones themselves, thummim, fulnesses, that is, of number and measure -- fulness of number, and fulness of measure; or 144,000 and 144 cubits and furlongs; because these are the perfections, or square of 12.
... it is written,
"Sow beside all waters,"
"Do good to all men as ye have opportunity."
Many a seed falls on the wayside, and comes to nothing:
but we must scatter the handfuls none the less.
Expedition to Australia and New Zealand
Another gentleman - a New Zealand sheep farmer on a large scale - said it did not appear to him that there was much reality of Christian truth anywhere. He did not find that people acted on what they professed.
I said that no doubt was true, but it did not disprove the truth of Christ. Christ was rejected when he was present: no wonder that few should receive his teaching now that he was absent. When he came the second time, he would enforce his law.
The gentleman (a Dutchman) said he felt very great doubt on the whole subject. He thought the only thing for a man to do was to do his best, and trust for the future.
I answered that to do our best was doubtless all we could do, but there might be a difference of opinion as to what doing our best was.
Well, says the Dutchman, "acting according to the light we have."
Yes, but if Christ had been preached as the light of the world, could it be said that we were acting according to our light if we left him out of account? .
The Dutchman was not sure about Christ. Why not, said I, if he rose from the dead?
Ah, that was the point he could not see. It was a matter of evidence, said I: the evidence was irresistible when fully looked at.
He did not think it was any use his looking at the evidence: it seemed to him that nature was one vast system of growth and decay, that we were a part of it, and could not help ourselves. Granted that we could not alter nature, but surely he would not deny that the power out of which nature had sprung could alter nature.
He knew nothing about that: he went by what he saw, and according to what he saw, there was no altering of nature.
But what he saw was not all that was to be seen surely: it was only part of the case. There were many things that we had not seen that were true.
If a man's knowledge were bounded by what he could see with his own eyes, his knowledge would be very limited indeed.
How did he know that he had any ancestors? It was a matter of testimony. Personally, he knew nothing about it, and yet he had no doubt about it.
If he would look into the case of Christ, he would find that there was similar ground for belief.
He did not think he should look into the case any more. He imagined if there was a good state to come, he would have his share ifhe acted on the best principles he knew.
I pointed out there was no room for imagination in the case, if Christ was what he claimed to be and proved himself to be; for he declared himself the way to the Father and to Life Eternal, and that any man refusing belief in him would find himself in darkness and hopelessness.
The case was too important for a wise man to leave unsettled.
The Dutchman, with a nod, said, "another time:" but it never came.Bro Roberts
Visit To Virginia
Campbellism is in a dying state, and from present appearances there, not likely to hold out till the Lord come. The fashionable prosperity of the Baptists seems to overshadow it; and as there is so little theological and practical difference between them, and the crowd and fashion are with the populars, "reformers" find themselves more comfortable with them, and so one after another fall into the ranks of those they used contemptuously to style "Old Baptists."
The believers of the gospel of the kingdom, however, are firm and bold for the truth amid the general corruption. They study the word and seem to delight in it. They are therefore the salt of the county and not to be moved from their stedfastness in Christ by the foolishness and folly on every side. Yet they are regarded as heretics. They are the most intelligent people in the Scriptures there; yet they are considered as altogether out of the way.
Thus ignorance sits in judgment upon knowledge, and condemns it upon the old principle of hating the light, because its deeds, which are evil, and only evil, and that continually, are reproved thereby. The consequence is that it is but comparatively few of the King Williamers that will come to hear Moses and the prophets expounded and harmonized with the doctrine of Jesus and his apostles.
The Campbellites, whose motto used to be, "prove all things and hold fast that which is good," are of all sectarians the most unwilling to hear. They will crowd to a political gathering and to popular religion-gettings, and be quite at home; but for the testimony of God in demonstration of the gospel of the kingdom they have no ear! The result is that leanness has consumed their souls, and reduced them to walking spectres among the people. "This Reformation" has become a proverb; and, on account of its high pretentions as compared with its existing Ichabod condition, an affair of no repute in popular esteem.
Herald of the kingdom and age to come, Jan 1855
My Days and My Ways
When I had completed the perusal of Elpis Israel, my mind was made up. The concurrent reading of the Bible with it, had enabled me to arrive at the conclusion (never since disturbed) that popular theology was a hideous caricature of divine truth, and that the system of things contended for by Dr. Thomas was according to a full and correct understanding of the whole Scriptures of Moses, the prophets and the apostles.
In this conviction, I resolved to have nothing more to do with church or chapel; but how to give effect to my resolution was a matter of difficulty. I was only twelve, and in the habit of going regularly to chapel with my mother and brothers, from whose authority and example it seemed no more possible to liberate myself, than for a soldier to absent himself from drill without the permission of his commanding officer. As time went on my determination grew, and I resolved to act at all hazards.
I had meanwhile discovered through the same old lady that got me Elpis Israel, that there was a small meeting of believers in the things taught by Dr. Thomas. I got her to take me to their place one Sunday afternoon. It was in a curious corner, and in a curious building. I forget the name of the street. It was a narrow back street, with a steep descent at the lower end, which passed by a bridge or tunnel under St. Nicholas Street or Union Street, near their junction.
At this point there was an old castle, that at one time would stand by itself, but was now built in among the houses, forming the north side of Union Street. The meeting place was an upper room in this castle, up a spiral staircase, entered by a door not far from the dark deserted end of the road. It was a room about 10 or 12 feet square, and about the same height. There was a table in the centre, and benches round the sides. About twenty people were assembled - all plain, unpretending people of the working class.
My satisfaction in attending was out of all proportion to the nature and surrounding of the assembly. It was not in reality due to them. It was derived from the great and glorious things I had learned from Dr. Thomas's writings with which this insignificant assembly was associated in my mind. I supposed every one composing it would be aglow with the love I felt for these things, and therefore felt purely glad - as I did not often feel afterwards.
I attended this afternoon meeting regularly for a time. A meeting was held in the forenoon, but this I could not attend on account of having to go to chapel under the iron law in force at home. From this I finally determined to break away, as already indicated. Accordingly, one Sunday morning, I left the house an hour before the usual time, and made a long detour outside the town, avoiding on my return the road where I would be likely to meet my mother and brothers going to chapel, and coming in by a road that led me to the neighbourhood of the brethren's meeting place.
Attendance at chapel had become a pain to me, and therefore it was with an unspeakable sense of relief that I found myself in the small room among the brethren, instead of among the pews in a large congregation. I do not remember what passed at the meeting. I know I enjoyed it.
It was the going home that was the anxiety.
Bro Robert's autobiography
THE TRUTH'S PURPOSE: CHARACTER, NOT CONTENTION
Let us not devote all our time to mere intellectual exertion.
Having attained the Truth, let us realize in the formation of the character that Christ will approve.
One often sees lamentable cases in which interest in the Truth is kept up so long as the excitement of argument is maintained, but disappears when that calm region is reached in which the Truth has to work out the fruits of righteousness and true holiness.
Argument and contention for the Faith are not worth the trouble if they end in the mere establishment of a theory. The object of all work in the Truth is to develope real, loving, warm-hearted, intelligent, and consecrated disciples of Christ.
reprinted in the Berean Christadelphian, Jan 2012
A FREE GOSPEL.-
The Louisville Examiner tells a story of a church member who had always been more remarkable for opening his mouth to say amen than opening his purse. He had, on one occasion, taken his usual place near the preacher's stand, and was making his response with great admiration.
After a burst of burning eloquence from the preacher he clasped his hands and cried out in a kind of ecstacy: "Yes thank God! I have been a Methodist for twenty-five years and it hasn't cost me twenty-five cents!"
"Bless your stingy soul!" was the preacher's emphatic reply.
Herald of the kingdom and age to come, Dec 1854
"Oh, that men would praise Yahweh for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men" (Ps. 107:8).