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2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also
...referring to his departure from the earth, he said to his apostles and disciples, "I go to prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again". Some seventy years after this declaration, the ETERNAL FATHER, who had bestowed upon him universal power, revealed to him the scheme of its progressive development whereby the "place" promised should be "prepared". This scheme is THE APOCALYPSE (ch. 1:1), the developments of which, till the Holy of Holies comes again, are all manifestations of Divine power through "the Powers that be".
The supervisor, director and developer of this power is the Lord Jesus Christ, "he that liveth and was dead, and is living for the Aions of the Aions" - and is therefore now "the Lord the Spirit". He stirred up Alaric, Attila, Genseric, and Odoacer; and girded them for their mission against the earth, the sea, the rivers, and fountains of waters, and the sun, moon, and stars, of the western Roman Catholic world. He caused the Byzantine, or Eastern Roman dominion, to pass from the degenerate Greeks to the more vigorous, and less superstitious and blasphemous, Ottomans.
He raised his witnesses from political death, and placed them in the heaven, where they demolished the Bourbon kingdom; and, as the earnest of what is coming upon a grander scale, abolished the superstition and dominion of the Papacy in France. Having punished the royal family, nobility, priests and people of France by the Terrorists, for putting his witnesses to death, he commenced the outpouring of the Seven Golden Vials of Divine wrath. He girded the French with power to give the worshippers of the beast "blood to drink," to "scorch them with fire", and to fill the Papal Kingdom with darkness; and so manifest was this, that the first Napoleon could say, "the hand of God leads my armies".
None could successfully withstand them till their mission was accomplished. While they were in full career upon the Continent of Europe, he made the British power invincible upon the sea; so that "it became as the blood of a corpse". All these things did the Lord Jesus Christ by his subordinate powers; so that, upon the principle that what one doth by his agents he doth by himself, he being the Most Holy or Nave, the Seven Angels or Spirits went forth from him "to pour out the vials of the wrath of Deity upon the earth". This they continue to do through "the powers that be," until the time arrives for him to reap in person; and to visit all the powers with a retribution that shall abolish them from the earth.
His personal executive intervention changes the situation. The powers that be, instead of being executors of wrath upon one another in their wars, are all equally exposed to judgment by a new and Divine power marvellously set up in their midst. The Nave will then have been transferred from the heavens in which it has long been concealed from human ken, to Mount Zion, where it appears as the "Perfect Man," having attained to "the measure of the Angel" (ch. 21:17; Eph. 4:13).
Henceforth, the Seven Spirits go forth with this Man who has been clothed and girded goldenly by them. His voice is then as the sound of many waters, his eyes as a flame of fire, and his feet like brass glowing in a furnace. Such is the almighty power that Smokes with indignation unappeasable, to the end of the "thousand six hundred furlongs;" which marks the end of the Seven-Vial period and of the "great and marvellous sign in the heaven".
When the indignation ceases in the annihilation of the temporal and spiritual "powers that be," and in the submission of the peoples and languages, and nations to Christ and his Brethren, the Seven Angels will have accomplished their mission; and the smoke from the glory and power of the Deity will cease to ascend. The tormenting exercise of power by the Holy Angels and the Lamb will no longer maintain the combustion of the fiery lake; and the tumult of the world will subside into the undisturbed tranquillity of the Aions of the Aions-the Day of Christ, in which the place prepared will be inherited by the "blessed".
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
"THE WAY OF THE TREE OF LIFE."
"Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it."
Religion is not coeval with the formation of man, neither had it any existence during his novitiate. Though it was instituted in the paradise, it was not for his observance there; for while he continued the sinless tenant of the garden, he stood in no need of the healing consolations it affords. Until he ate of the forbidden fruit, there was no breach of friendship, no misunderstanding, no alienation, between him and the Lord God; there needed not, therefore, any means, or system of means, for the reconciliation, of estranged parties.
But, as soon as the good understanding was interrupted by disobedience to the Eden law, sentence of condemnation to the dust was pronounced upon the offenders, and means were instituted to put them at one again with the Lord, that He might bring them back from the ground, no longer naked and ashamed of their condition, but clothed with glory and
honour, incorruptibility and life, as a crown of righteousness that should never fade away.
These instituted means made up the way of life, which Moses terms "God's way." (Gen. 6:12). David styles it "the path of Iife" (Psalm 16:11), which the apostle in quoting renders "the ways of life" (Acts 2:28), that is, the way leading to life in which a man must walk now, and the way into the kingdom from the house of death.
In the beginning God's way was styled "the way of the tree of life," which, in the passage where it occurs, must be taken literally, and then allegorically. In its literal sense, it was the path leading to the Tree in the midst of the garden; but allegorically, it signified the things to be believed and practised by those who desired to live for ever. To believe and do, is to walk in "the way which leadeth unto life," because immortality will be a part of the recompense of reward for so doing.
Until the crucifixion, the way was marked out, first, by the patriarchal arrangement of things, and secondly, by the Mosaic law, all of which pointed to the Shiloh. But, when Jesus appeared, He announced, saying, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no man cometh to the Father, but by me" .
He became the Way, by His sacrificial death and resurrection.
Whosoever would attain to life must believe the truth concerning Jesus, and the kingdom, which is the most holy place. Hence, it is written, "we have boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a New and Living Way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the Veil, that is to say, His flesh" (Heb. 10:19-20).
Elpis Israel 1.5.
8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
This indwelling oneness, revealed in the New Testament Scriptures, is part of that "mystery" contained in the Name of the Old. The Spirit of Yahweh, through the prophet Isaiah, tells of it, in a certain formula of the Memorial.
"Thus saith Yahweh, king of Israel, and his redeemer, He who will be of hosts, I, the first One, and I, the last One; and without me no Elohim" (Isa. 44:6). (Eureka),
The testimony of the apostle Paul is in perfect harmony with that of the Lord Jesus, teaching the same doctrine of unity and oneness. He saith: "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself" (2 Cor. 5:19). "He who was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Tim. 3:16).
This manifestation and oneness, the Scriptures teach, came by means of the Holy Spirit. "This is the word of Yahweh unto Zerubbabel, saying: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts" (Zech. 4:6).
Yahweh Elohim Ch 4 by Sis Lasius
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
... if they were to be his witnesses in the sense of declaring what they had been personally cognisant of, why was it necessary that they should "wait" a certain time before beginning their work?...
The object of their testimony was to create conviction with reference to the things testified. Now, had they presented this testimony in the form of their own personal knowledge merely, it is certain that their labour would have been unsuccessful. The things they had to testify were so extraordinary that the people could not have believed from them on the mere assertions of any number of witnesses. The apostles were to be qualified to give an effective testimony by the witness that God should give to their witness, in the "miracles, wonders and signs," which they should be enabled to work. This is what Jesus had said:
"When the comforter is come whom I will send unto you from the Father, he shall testify of me, and ye also shall bear witness Because ye have been with me from the beginning" (John 15:26).
Bro Roberts - God also bearing them witness
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
The disciples were promised the holy spirit - an advocate to help them preach the true gospel in all its elements
Now, mark this-Jesus, nor any other Scripture authority, ever promised the Holy Spirit, or its powers, to any persons who did not believe on him in believing the gospel of the Kingdom he preached. Hence, whatever spirit it may be that spiritists rejoice in, it is not the Holy Spirit of God; but some other, it may be of Beelzebub, or some other representative of evil; but beyond all doubt or question, it is not of God. He gives not his Holy Spirit to the unholy, faithless, and disobedient, to play tricks with in moving tables, &c.; or to confirm the theological fooleries... or to endorse the scholastic divinities in the miraculous soul-dealings which preöccupy the minds of professors to the exclusion of the word.
I have no controversy with Spiritists about their "facts;" what I reject in toto is their explanation of them. I have done several wonderful things myself, and seen more remarkable ones performed by others. As far as my experiments have gone, the phenomena have all resulted from the energy of my own will operating on the brains and nervous systems acted upon. Without speaking or looking at the man, I have compelled actions that he could not successfully resist; and which appeared wonderful to all who beheld them.
Now, had I been a religious knave, I might have played off Simon Magus before the company, giving out that I was "the great power of God," having a prophet-mission to the world! I might have declared that these wonders were proofs of my divine character, and have set up for as great an ambassador of Heaven as any of the clergy, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Pope himself! Had I concealed from the subject my operation on his system, and had he been fanatically inclined, he might have attributed the influence he felt to the Spirit of God dealing with his soul; especially if I had willed religious impressions upon his sensorium instead of the secular commonplaces I did.
This explains to my mind the origin of "religious experiences;" such, all such, I mean, as do not result from searching the Scriptures for the truth. People in families and societies mesmerize one another unconsciously. Their brains and nervous systems are acted upon by the ideas willed, evolving and expressed, among them. The preaching, praying, talking, and silent wishings of some concerning others, create a halo of influences, which invests the community in its family and associational relations, like a fog.
Individuals are pervaded by it as by the atmosphere-an atmosphere of spirituality, as it were. If the preaching, and so forth, be the vain imaginations of brain sinflesh, as it is with so few exceptions that we may say it is universally, the spiritual atmosphere is infectious, and generative of fanatical experiences, wildfire excitements, "awakenings," "miraculous dealings of God with souls," witchcraftry, ecstasies, dreams, prophesyings, visions, "spirits," and a thousand other things detailed in the annals of fanatical religionism.
And it may be noted, that where the Scriptures are least accurately understood, these nervous-system manifestations most prevail. No man who is not enlightened in the gospel of the Kingdom is safe from the influence of this sectarian mesmerism. All who are seized with it, not being able to account for it upon any principles known to them, call it miraculous, or the operation of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing, however, miraculous in it, or holy.
It is the natural result of the operation of the flesh-spirit of the community upon it own members. It begins in the flesh and ends in the flesh, and always leaves its victims in disobedience, (for joining a church is not obeying the gospel,) and as ignorant of the Bible, and vastly more self-conceited, than when it originally demonized them.
"Speaking with tongues" is no proof of the existence of "the spirits," nor is the faculty necessarily a fulfilment of the promise of Jesus. I have heard an illiterate girl sing French and Italian songs who five seconds before and the instant after the singing knew not a word in either tongue. It was done by first mesmerizing her, and then placing her en rapport with an educated lady who could perform. By this process the nervosity of the two became as one-as it were, mesmeric Siamese twins. Their two brains were a closed circle, the lady who played the guitar and sang being the positive brain-pole from which the will-influence passed to the negative brain-pole of the girl, causing her unconsciously to sing with tongues.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, April 1854
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
a. Forbids all manner of oaths (Matt. v, 34; James v, 12).
b. Prohibits the taking of the sword (Matt. xxvi, 52; Rev. xiii, 10).
c. Condemns retaliation and rough speech, and all evil speaking (Matt. v, 44; 1 Pet. iii, 9; Rom. xii, 14).
d. Insists on peace-making and personal private communication with the offended with this view (Matt. v, 24: xviii, 15; Col. iii, 13)
e. Commands kindness to even the undeserving and the evil (Matt. v, 44; Luke vi, 35).
f. Allows marriage with believers only (1 Cor. vii, 39).
g. Enjoins modesty of dress and deportment even to shamefacedness and sobriety (1 Tim. ii, 9; 1 Pet. iii, 34).
It is notorious that Christendom habitually violates all these commandments, without the violation of them being supposed to unchristianise the violators in the least degree, although Christ has plainly declared that it is vain for men to call him Lord who do not obey his commandments.
Oaths are regularly administered in public courts (not to speak of the profanities of private intercourse).
The military profession is cultivated as a fitting sphere for the Christian sons of Christian men. The countenance of the "church "is extended to the army in the appointment of chaplains, involving this fearful anomaly that when two so-called Christian nations go to war, Christians on one side cut the throats of Christians on the other side, as a perfectly legitimate business, and Christian "chaplains"on one side pray to the God of all Christians so considered, to prosper the deadly measures of one set of Christians against the prayer of Christian chaplains and the deadly efforts of another set of Christians, that the latter set may strew the field of strife with their corpses while the others march victoriously over their dead bodies, singing Te Deums to God for enabling them to butcher their Christian brethren!
Retaliation is both preached and practised among the masses of Christendom as the right and the noble and manly thing to do; and arrogant and resentful speech is excused on the score of necessity, while speaking evil and gloating on the frailties of your neighbours, is the daintiest luxury of common life.
Peace-loving and peace-making are looked upon as signs of effeminacy, and the man who should advocate and practice the duty of seeking a private interview with an enemy, with a view to reconciliation, would be regarded as a demented nuisance.
Kindness to the evil is almost unheard of. Ingratitude and unworthiness are invariably seized on as a reason for not helping anyone in distress. It is the rule to consider yourself justified in withholding help in such a case. It is only excellence (and that too, carried to the heroic point) that propitiates the grace of Christendom in favour of private distress.
The idea of restricting matrimony to discipleship is scouted as the prejudice of fanaticism.
And as for dress, so far is Christendom astray from the apostolic standard that the mass of so-called Christian women (especially in the upper walks of society), consider it an honourable thing to enter into mutual rivalry in the style and magnificence of their attire. "Fashion" is a goddess whose sway is undisputed. No one owns to be a worshipper, but everyone acts the part of one. Ambition, the love of display, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, are not acknowledged as the ruling motives, though there is scarcely another at work. All is justified on the score of "taste."
This state of things is grievous to every mind in sympathy with divine aims in human life, as revealed in the Scriptures. There is no alternative but to fight the prevailing corruption. It is for earnest men, in private practice and in public inculcation, so far as there may be opportunity, to uphold the ideal exhibited in the apostolic writings. By no other course can we save ourselves from a generation which is as "untoward" as the one that listened to a similar exhortation from Peter. The fight may be hard, but the objects are supreme.
Christendom Astray L18
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
In the face of these sayings of Jesus, what is the love of "professors" for God and his Son worth? It is like their faith, of no account whatever. God asks men for their hearts, but they give Him only their lips. They profess to love Him, but give their affections to the world.
From the ecclesiastical throne, or pulpit, to the humblest "layman," can they give a Scriptural demonstration of obedience to the faith? They offer verbal sacrifices without end; at least they do who are compensated for their words; the "laity" are possessed of a legion of dumb spirits, and sit only as the listless hearers of the "eloquence" presented according to their taste--but where is obedience to the gospel of the kingdom in the name of Jesus?
Who ever thinks of obeying this? And yet He comes to take vengeance on all who obey it not (2 Thess. 1:8).
I cannot too earnestly commend the words of Samuel to the attention of the reader in this place. "Hath the Lord," saith he, "as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry" (1 Sam. 15:22, 23). A great principle is set forth in these words. It is that which can alone place men in harmony with the religion of God. Without it a man may in deed know the truth, but he must believe and do if he would inherit the kingdom which has been preparing from the foundation of the world.
Religion is of two kinds; that, namely, which is invented by the thinking of sinful flesh, and that which is revealed of God. The former is superstition, and leads men to do a vast deal more than God requires of them, or less than he has appointed. In what is called "Christendom" most improperly (for instead of being Christ's dominion as the word implies, it is the arena of His sufferings in the persons of His disciples, and in the suppression of His truth) these extremes of superstition in its plus and minus exhibitions, are illustrated in all their diversity from popery, which is superstition in excess, down to quakerism, which is superstition in its homeopathic proportion.
The religion of God, on the contrary, is the juste milieu, occupying a commanding and dignified position between the two extremes. It does not require men to abase themselves in the dust, and to afflict their bodies for their sins, nor to plant themselves as so many statues of clay, with downcast or upturned visages, in the silence of the sepulchre, under pretence of waiting for him to move them to preach or pray.
There is no fanaticism nor pietism in His religion. When in the exercise of it men are moved to action, they are acted upon by an intelligent and earnest conviction of the truth. This is the instrumentality by which He rouses men to religious exercise--by the spirit, which is the truth (1 John 5:6). When, therefore, they are really "moved by the spirit" they are moved by the truth, and do not talk nonsense. They speak according to "the law and the testimony," and thus evince to all who understand the Scriptures, that they have "light within."
Everything spoken not according to the word is nonsense; and the spirit never moves men to speak nonsense: nor doth the light of truth within ever teach men to undervalue the institutions of religion, or to live in neglect of them, under pretence of a refined spirituality, or superior sanctity.
"By their fruits ye may know them." This is an excellent rule by which to discern the spirits. Men pray for the Holy Spirit, profess to preach under its guidance, and often, in a very bad spirit, protest that they received it when converted. But the spirit dwells only with those who understand, believe and obey the gospel of the kingdom, and who walk according to its precepts. No man, be he preacher or "layman," has the spirit, or anything else to do with it than as resisting it, who does not preach and believe the gospel Paul preached.
...All the Most High requires of men is just to believe what He has done, what He teaches, and what He promises; to obey the law of faith; to take care of the poor of His flock; and to keep themselves unspotted from the world. This is pure and undefiled religion (James 1:27). But, alas! where is it to be found?
Elpis Israel 1.5.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
A man cannot keep the words of another if he be ignorant of those words, neither can he believe them : hence, no one scripturally loves Jesus who is ignorant or faithless of his teaching.
A man ignorant of the truth taught by Jesus, though ever so sincere in his belief of error, is in his sins, and under sentence of death; for it is only that truth believed and obeyed that frees from sin and its consequences.
"Sanctify them through thy truth, O Father; thy word is truth" (John 17:17).
This is the sanctifying element of Christianity: and that truth is the word of the kingdom hearkened to and understood by the honest and the good of heart (Matt. 12:19, 23; Luke 8:15).