5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.

Hardness of heart

The only efficacious remedy for the mental infirmities in this evil state is the cultivation of the knowledge of God as revealed in the Scriptures. This will slowly cauterize the self-love that is at the bottom of most of the mischief, and will open the mind to sentiments of adoration and benevolence, that will mollify the harshness of the natural man.

The Christadelphian, July 1898

13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.

14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.


-a willingness and ability to learn, a desire for knowledge, a free unashamed recognition of ignorance, a frank and open honesty of mind. There is a sad line of demarcation between childhood and maturity, when the fund of knowledge becomes regarded as sufficient, and all inlets are closed.

At this point, progress and growth stop. Opinions harden. The faculty of fresh, unbiased reasoning withers like an unused limb. Desire to learn ceases. There is no longer any sensation of incompleteness of knowledge. The possibility of error becomes unthinkable. Childhood is over. Maturity has been reached.

Bro Growcott - As little children

There is reason to be glad at the record of this incident. It helps to check the tendency to sternness which some aspects of the truth by themselves would generate. It helps to preserve the spirit of loving sympathy which is at the root of the gospel. It makes a place for the young and the helpless in the hearts of all who take after Christ. But, like everything else, it can be misinterpreted to the destruction of other parts of divine truth.

Such a misinterpretation is that which, in almost all systems of theology, deduces from it the idea that children are saved because they are children, in defiance of the truth most plainly enunciated in all the Scriptures, that salvation is by faith and obedience alone. When Christ said, "Of such is the kingdom of God," he immediately explained the sense in which he uttered the words. He added:

 "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein."

 It was evident that it was mental attitude in relation to the kingdom that he had in view when he said, "Of such is the kingdom." This is in harmony with all he taught either by his own mouth or through the apostles.

The popular view is in contradiction to all he taught; for it would make children heirs of the kingdom irrespective of "receiving" it, and it would make the kingdom of God an institution in which there would be no place for grown men and women. It is the child-like disposition that Jesus sought to enforce. He enforced it still more plainly on other occasions: "Except a man humble himself as a little child, he shall in no case enter the Kingdom of God."

There was need for the enforcement of this. It is a feature that distinguishes divine principles in their application from human. In human life it is the proud and the unbelieving and the self-assertive that carry influence and obtain position and find favour. The ascendency of this type of character spreads blight in the world. It propagates itself in all classes, interferes with the development of innocence and kindness in those who would be disposed in those directions.

... We have all perceived the beautiful faith and honest simplicity of childhood checked and perverted by contact with the ugly ways of grown life. In this, we get a momentary glimpse of the type of character that Christ would generate in men. He would not have them abdicate their reason: on the contrary, he would have them "wise as serpents;" he would not have them ignorant of truth and fact: on the contrary, he would have them "filled with all wisdom, able also to admonish one another."

At the same time, with their knowledge, he would have love to dwell: with their discernment and skill, he would have the simplicity and faith that can trust implicitly where the eye perceives; and with the firmness and boldness of confident knowledge, he would have them combine that humility of self estimate which is according to self-powerlessness; that reverence for greatness and worth which is the noblest attitude of a created being; and that docility of faith and obedience which is the highest result of enlightened reason.

There is no type of manhood so beautiful as that in which these qualities combine. A child-like strong man is the beau ideal of humanity. Christ himself was the highest example of this, and he seeks to generate his own image in all who believe in him. It was fitting, therefore, that he should seize the incident of children being brought for blessing, to rebuke the harshness of the disciples, and to exhibit the children as the type of the men and women who will at last find acceptance with him.

Nazareth Revisited Ch 44

15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.

The scriptures to be understood must be studied after the same manner and spirit as a sincere and earnest inquirer after knowledge would study the principles of human science. Such an one would begin with the humble conviction that he knew nothing-with the simplicity and teachableness of a little child.

He would allow the books he used to define their own terms; nor would he coin interpretations after his own suppositions, and call it "spiritualizing," and then seek to make his books speak in the language of his vain hypotheses.

Such is the practice of theologians by which they make the scriptures unintelligible to the people, and lead themselves into the most incongruous and contradictory conceits.-

Their transmutation of the word should not, however, be styled "spiritualizing." It is anything but converting letter into spirit. It is the very opposite. It is transmuting letter and spirit into flesh, and should therefore be termed carnalizing.

To spiritualize the scriptures is properly to interpret them by the principle and doctrine of the spirit they exhibit, while to carnalize them is to study Romish or Protestant theologies, which are the mere devices of the carnal mind, and to interpret the divine oracles by the rules they approve.

In this way the scriptures are made to testify to anything the theological alchemist may invent; and thus it has passed into a proverb, that "anything may be proved by scripture," which is a libel upon the wisdom and veracity of God.

The carnal mind is "the thinking of the flesh," or brain, unenlightened by the word, and perverted by tradition.

It conceives that such and such things ought to be; and it assumes that whatever doctrine is contrary to its assumptions, cannot be true. When, therefore, it reads the Bible, and encounters declarations which, if taken in their grammatical and contextual signification, teach contrary to its prejudices, it rejects the teaching; and by changing the meaning of the words to suit its conceits, it tortures the Bible into its own conclusions.

In this way it is carnalized by Gentiles and Jews, who, so long as they construe it by the jargon of their schools, will be

"ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the Bible."

The Bible, ... must not be carnalized if we would "be taught of God." Carnalizing the scriptures can spiritualize no one. It may mystify, but it cannot spiritualize. If we would be spiritualized, we must

"believe what the spirit saith to the congregations."

The must not pervert what he says; but receive his teachings as we find it grammatically and contextually exhibited in the word. When a man thinks, believes, hopes and acts, in harmony with this, he is spiritualized, converted, or

"taught of God"-Jon. 6:44 45;

and then, but not till then, in preparation for the kingdom of God, whose inheritors are to possess the nations, and Italy among the rest, with all the glory and honor which to them belong.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Aug 1856.

17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

...a young man of some sincerity and earnestness of character. * 

The Law and its Weakness

Paul says, Romans 7:10, that "the law (or commandment) was ordained to life." That this means eternal life is proved by an incident several times recorded, (Matt. 19:16; Mark 10:17; Luke 18:18, ) namely, that a certain young man came to Jesus and said

"good master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? Jesus answered, If thou wilt enter into life keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder," &c.

Here we have the declaration of Jesus that the keeping of the law would have led to life eternal. How are we to reconcile this with the fact that the supposed keeper of the commandments was Adamically condemned? The answer is that such a person would have been in the position of Jesus himself; death would have purified him from the Adamic condemnation, and righteousness would have admitted of his resurrection.

How comes it then that eternal life could not come by the law (as Paul plainly says in Galatians 3:21)? Paul answers this question, by saying that the law could not do it

"in that it was weak through the flesh"—

that is the flesh in Adam's descendants was incapable of perfect obedience. If it kept some, it broke other requirements. Its righteousness was altogether as filthy rags.—(Isaiah 64:6.) When Paul spoke of being blameless, "touching the righteousness which is of the law," he did not contradict what he said in Romans 7. "that sin, by the law, slew him." He merely intimated that so far as his general course in the law, as a Jew was concerned, his fellow-countrymen could impute no blame to him.

Now, a single offence against the law, was equivalent in its results to a breach of the whole, for the law enacted

"cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Gal. 3:10, ) and again, "he that offendeth in one point is guilty of all."—(James 2:10.)

Now, because there never lived a man who kept the law spotless (the flesh being unequal to the task), the law was weak through the flesh. It could do nothing in opening the way to life, because human nature was too weak to keep it. This was of design. Paul expressly tells us that

"the law entered that the offence might abound."—(Romans 5:20.)

The situation was divinely contrived that God's magnanimity might come into play for our salvation and His own glory. Paul's words are

"The law entered that the offence might abound, but where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that as sin hath reigned unto death even so might grace (or favour) reign unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."

And again,

"What things soever the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped and all the world become guilty before God."—(Romans 3:19.) "What therefore the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh"

God himself has done, not by setting aside the law of Moses, nor by setting aside the law of Eden, but by raising for himself a holy one under both, who in dying could bear the curse of both, because his perfect obedience admitted of the Father's raising him from the dead.

The Father's honour thus vindicated and the Father's mercy thus brought forward, the Father invites to forgiveness and salvation all who recognise their position, and accept the Lord Jesus,

"who of God is (thus) made unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, that according as it is written let him that glorieth glory in the Lord."—(1 Cor. 1:30.)

The Christadelphian, Sept 1873

18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.

Was not Jesus good then? Yes, but not in the sense intended by the young man. The young man evidently regarded Jesus as a teacher in the sense in which the Rabbis were regarded as teachers, and in which the poets and philosophers of Greece were regarded as teachers, and the "great and good men" so-called of our own day -- men popularly supposed to have light and good in them as an inherent attribute. Jesus disowned the application in this sense.

He maintained that in the sense intended by the populace, no one was good but God. With him only is goodness an essential, an inherent attribute. Any good that man has, comes from without, as a matter of communication from God directly, as in the case of Adam's inspiration, or indirectly, as in the case of the modifying influence exerted by the Bible.

Man left to his unaided resources develops no goodness, as in the case of a human being brought up in solitude, or a nation having no contact with the civilisation that has resulted from divine interposition in the earth's affairs. He is naturally destitute of knowledge, and his instinctive impulses, in the absence of knowledge, turn to evil. Thus the statement of Paul is experimentally and scientifically true, that "in the flesh dwelleth no good thing."

The young man, in calling Jesus "good master," was giving expression to the common fallacy that goodness is a thing innate with man. Therefore Jesus refused the apparent compliment, and put the stern fact in the foreground that "there is none good but one, that is God." In this Jesus differed from all human teachers, past or present. In this the Bible differs from all books.

Human teachers and human books all deify human nature as a good thing. Universal experience proves that goodness is only a potentiality with man depending upon outside supply for development. Universal experience, therefore, proves Christ and the Bible true on the very point where they are supposed by modern ideas to be behind. *

19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.

20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

If this was a true testimony, then the young man, according to Christ's answer, was an heir of life eternal, upon which there would seem to arise a conflict between the teaching of Christ and the statement of Paul: that the law of Moses could not give life (Rom. vii. 10; Gal. iii. 21). The apparent conflict vanishes when we realise that other teaching of Paul (Rom. viii. 3); that the inefficiency of the law in this respect was due to the inability of human nature to render to it the perfect obedience required.

It was "weak through the flesh." It was truly "ordained to life," as Paul says and as Jesus recognised; but all Israel found it, like Paul, "to be unto death," because it pronounced a curse upon every one continuing not in all things written therein. Its blessing was upon perfect obedience, and none were able to render this in the sense of embracing all particulars. Christ only exhibited this ability; and "by one man's obedience" many are made righteous, in being forgiven and received for his sake. He is "the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth" (Rom. x. 4.

Jesus did not enter into these explanations with the young man. They would have been futile of any effect upon his unripe understanding. He adopted a course that convicted the young man of fatal shortcoming upon his own principles. No doubt he might have taken the ground that the young man had often failed in his obedience of the commandments, which in the main he had tried to keep "from his youth up," for the testimony of the scriptures is true, that "there liveth not a man upon the earth that sinneth not."

But he might not so easily have brought this home to the young man's conviction; so he tried him on the spot, by using the authority the Father had given him, to deliver to him a commandment for his special obedience...*

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.

He desired to be in the right and to inherit eternal life; but he could not possibly part with his possessions, though directly commanded. Thus he was shown to be incapable of the perfect obedience which he boasted, and went away condemned on his own grounds.

Christ has not required believers in general to part with their possessions. He required it of this young man because the case called for it, and because with Christ personally on the earth to be followed as a head and Master, it was reasonable. It is inapplicable to our time, though the Roman Catholic church, among its many enormities, has not scrupled to make use of this to fleece its wealthy votaries of their substance for the benefit of lazy and sensuous priests.

What Christ requires of believers in general in his absence is to be "good stewards of the manifold grace of God" (1 Pet. iv. 10), and the rich among them particularly are enjoined "to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come" (1 Tim. vi. 17).

In most cases, this is as hard a test as the command to sell all was to the young man. The rich, as a rule, have gluey fingers. Jesus remarked as the young man retired, "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God. A rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven." *

23 And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

The disciples were astonished at these expressions. They seemed to think they shut off all hope for anyone that had anything. *

24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!

25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

In Oriental cities, there are in the large gates small and very low apertures, called metaphorically "needles' eyes," just as we talk of windows on ship board as "bulls' eyes." These entrances are too narrow for a camel to pass through them in the ordinary manner, even if unloaded. When a loaded camel has to pass through one of the entrances, it kneels down, its load is removed, and then it shuffles through on its knees.

"Yesterday," writes Lady Duff Gordon, from Cairo, "I saw a camel go through the eye of a needle—that is, the low-arched door of an enclosure. He must kneel and bow his head, to creep through; and thus the rich man must humble himself."

The Christadelphian, Jan 1874

This seemed an extreme saying which, however, experience has shown to be true. As a general rule, rich people are so satisfied with themselves, and so full of their own schemes, as to be incapable of complying with the requirements of the gospel. Their minds are so pre-occupied with human things that the way is barred against the entrance of those that are divine.

But there are exceptions. There were exceptions in the clays of Jesus. Some of the most useful disciples were rich, to wit: Zaccheus, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Chuza, wife of Herod's steward, and other examples.

Jesus intimated that there would be a multitude of exceptions by the power of God *

27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

That is, in ordinary circumstances, riches form an inconquerable impediment to salvation; but God would show them the destruction of that impediment in the submission of hundreds of rich men to the self-sacrificing claims of the service of Christ. And he did. When his power was shown in the effusion of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, and in the miraculous manifestations that followed, we read that as a result, "as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold and laid them down at the apostles' feet" (Acts iv. 34, 35). *

28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.

Then Peter, with his usual impulsive readiness, sought to draw a personal application to themselves from the things Jesus had been saying.

29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,

30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the <coming aion aonian> life.

Jesus added something to the kingdom-promise. The question put by Peter related to what the twelve had done, who had "left all." The question was "What shall we have?" Jesus answered the question in its ultimate sense first, and then makes an addition of a proximate bearing, something about "now in this time;" ...

Those who witnessed what came after the day of Pentecost saw the fulfilment of this. Houses and lands by the score were placed at the disposal of the apostles. Even "a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith" (Acts vi. 7). Multitudes of fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, &c., were "added to the Lord" (Acts v. 14); and bestowing their property on them, clustered round the apostles with an ardour of affection rarely exhibited among men (Acts iv. 32-35).

But this tide of favour was "with persecutions." The authorities interposed and tried to stamp out the newborn faith. The effort was vain: "When they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they they might punish them because of the people, for all men glorified God for that which was done" (Acts iv. 21). Though futile, the persecutions continued without intermission. With the advance of time there came a great change, but still in the first instance, Christ's words were fulfilled to the very letter. *

The Christadelphian, Aug 1872

The apostles forsook all, but obtained a hundred-fold more than they abandoned; and will, hereafter, realise the life which is peculiar to the aion to be established by Messiah when he appears.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, speaking prophetically, refers to the future aion in these words, saying,

"He hath holpen his servant Israel in remembrance of his mercy (as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed) for the aion.-Luke 1:55.

"The sons of the aion (the Mosaic) marry, and are given in marriage; but they who shall be accounted worthy of that aion, and of the resurrection from among the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more: for they are equal to angels; and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection."-(Luke 20:34.)

This reveals to us certain things pertaining to the Messianic aion. It shows that the life peculiar to it is endless; for they who are accounted worthy of the aion, die no more. Aionian life is not necessarily eternal; because an aion, as we have seen, is not in eternity.

Israel will enjoy aionian life in the Abrahamo-Messianic-Aion, but it will not be to them individually "eternal."

"As the days of a tree shall be the days of my people, and they shall long enjoy the works of their hands."-(Isaiah 65:22.)

This is antediluvian existence, for their lives before the flood, were as the days of a tree, but not endless. Messianic-Aionian life will be long for flesh and blood; but not endless:

"for the child shall die an hundred years old."

Those, however, who attain a place in the Aion by resurrection and transformation, "die no more," and are "equal to angels."

The Christadelphian, Aug 1872

33 Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles:

Son of Man

From this death there is no release through the first Adam; for death has passed upon all in him, and no release can be wrought by ourselves, because we, like him, are transgressors. Well may we, each of us, exclaim with the apostle,

"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?"

Only those who are in the last Adam can truthfully repeat his answer to this question: "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord."—(Rom. 7:24, 25.) The explanation as to how this way of deliverance has been opened involves an exposition of the second part of the subject.

The last Adam came into the world under circumstances entirely different from those of the first Adam. It was no part of his lot to be placed in a garden in the maturity of his powers, to enjoy a state of things into which sin bad never entered. His life commenced some 4,000 years after that of him who "brought death into the world and all our woes."

The circumstances which preceded, surrounded and accompanied it, could not have exhibited a greater contrast. He was naturally influenced, to a certain extent, by those circumstances, just as the first Adam was influenced by those which surrounded him. In fact, the last Adam owed his existence to the circumstances resulting from the first Adam's conduct.

Every human being, since the introduction of sin into the world, has had to pass through the first stage of infantile life. Accordingly, the last Adam commenced life as a "babe" (Luke 2:12); he was at an early age called "the child Jesus," (Luke 2:43). These facts indicate a beginning different from that of the first man; like Adam, he had God for his Father, but unlike Adam, he had a mother. He was, therefore, appropriately called the Seed of the Woman, a name which could not possibly be applied to the father of our race.

Adam was created direct from the ground, but Jesus was "made of a woman."—(Gal. 4:4.) This entitled him to be called "the Son of Man" (Mark 10:33, ) or, "the Son of David."—(Matt. 1:1.) His sonship was two-fold—human and divine, whereas, Adam's was the latter only.

He, therefore, inherited things which formed no part of the first man's lot at creation. Thus, during his private life, he had to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow, in the capacity of a "carpenter" (Mark 6:33), that being the trade of his reputed father, Joseph.—(Matt 13:55.)

He had a knowledge of good and evil from his early years; it was an innate characteristic of the nature derived from his mother; it did not come to him through any conduct of his own. He was a

"man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" (Isa. 53:3), and was made "perfect through sufferings" (Heb. 2:10);

a kind of human experience of which Adam and Eve had no idea before their trial. Clothing was as necessary to him as to any other of the human race, not merely as a protection against the weather, or as an accommodation to the customs of society, but to hide that innate feeling of shame which has pertained to man ever since he fell from his high estate.

But though this sense of shame existed within him, yet at the end of his career, he had to undergo a judicial exposure which deprived him of the protection afforded by clothing. This occurred at his crucifixion, a mode of punishment which it was customary to inflict naked, as the following testimony will show:—

"Arrived at the spot, the delinquent was supplied with an intoxicating drink, made of myrrh and other bitter herbs, and having been stript of his clothing, was raised and affixed to the cross."—(Kitto's Cyclopædia.)

"Arrived at the place of execution, the sufferer was stripped naked, the dress being the perquisite of the soldiers; possibly, not even a cloth round the loins was allowed him; at least among the Jews the rule was, 'that a man should be stoned naked,' where what follows shows that 'naked' must not be taken in its restricted sense"—(Smith's Bible Dictionary.)

That Jesus was no exception to this rule, is evident from the testimony that while he was on the cross, his raiment was divided among the Roman soldiers (Matt. 27:35; Jno. 19:23, 24), and it is confirmed by the statement that during the crucifixion, the women stood "afar off."—(Matt. 27:55; Mark 15:40.) This is, doubtless, what the apostle referred to when he said that Jesus "endured the cross, despising the shame."—(Heb. 12:2.)

If Adam could have been placed in a similar position before his fall, he would have had no shame to despise, for he would have felt none. And if Jesus Christ had been in the same condition as Adam when first created, this ignominious position would have produced no "shame" to be "despised."

The Christadelphian, Mar 1874

35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.

[Matthew 20: 20-21 records...

Then came to him the mother of Zebedees children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.

And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom].

36 And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?

37 They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.

What Jesus had said about the apostles sharing the kingdom with him at his coming, naturally impressed their minds. James and John, set on by an ambitious mother, appear to have been more exercised than the others, and exercised in a wrong way. Along with her, they privately applied to Christ in their own special interest. The mother, "worshipping him," "desired a certain thing of him." The obsequious, anxious, ambitious woman, waiting Christs invitation: "What wilt thou?" ventured on a large request: "Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand and the other on the left, in thy kingdom."

The sons themselves joined in the proposal.

It is beside the mark to condemn the request as a carnal misconception of the nature of the kingdom of Christ. Christ did not so treat it. It was a carnal request growing out of his own promise. It was wrong to desire preeminence; it was not wrong to desire to reign with him in his kingdom. *

41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.

42 But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.

43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your


While condemning the spirit of the request, he did not condemn the idea of the kingdom on which the request was based. On the contrary, he sanctioned the idea in saying: "To sit on my right hand and my left is not mine to give, but to them for whom it is prepared." He indicated the principle upon which this highest of all positions would be allotted in the very first words with which he received the request:

"Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of; and be baptised with the baptism that I am baptised with?" As much as to say, "The place next me in glory can only be earned by filling the place next me in suffering." As Paul says, "Every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour" (1 Cor. iii. 8); and Jesus himself: "I will give to everyone of you according as your work shall be" (Rev. xxii. 12).

However much men may scoff at the idea, it is the simple truth, and the central promise of the Gospel that "if we suffer him we shall reign with him: if we deny him, he will deny us" (2 Tim. ii. 12). James and John at this time were young untutored men, not yet in that subjection to the mind of the Spirit which brings self abasement, and that exaltation of God and our neighbour as the ruling mental habit. Their request was the carnal mis-appreciation of a divine promise and naturally excited the indignation of their fellow-apostles. But that misconception in no way interferes with the promise itself, which, like the mercy of God out of which it springs, "endureth for ever." *

* Nazareth Revisited Ch 43

43 But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:

"Great men‭" ‬are only fictions of the public imagination. All men are small, weak, shortsighted, impulsive, and erring; only some are more so than others.

‭TC July 1894. p262

45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

A sinner, firmly convinced of the covenanted promises, and by these a partaker of a divine disposition, is prepared by "the power of God" for an introduction into that state which is styled, "the righteousness of God." In

"looking narrowly into the perfect law of liberty,"

he will have come to see, that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the Messiah predicted, and the Christ come.

Understanding what God had covenanted to Abraham and David: and that Jesus was God, by his spirit manifested through sinful flesh, as Paul teaches; he will have learned that Jesus was the Mediatorial Testator of the Abrahamic and Davidian covenants, testaments, or wills; and that, therefore, he must needs have suffered death to bring them into force, ere the believers of the things covenanted, or promised, could be in any way benefited by them; and this, too, on the well-established principle of law,

"that a will or testament is of no force while the testator liveth."

But, he will also have learned, that the righteous only are to inherit the promises; and that men being hereditary, constitutional, and practical sinners, they can only become righteous by being constituted such upon divine principles. He will understand, that to be constituted righteous is to be pardoned for all his past sins, by which he will have no more conscience of sins; so that his conscience being perfected, the pardoning act by which it is perfected, will give him "the answer of a good conscience," and it will have become

"the spirit of a justified man made perfect."

But in the affair of pardoning sin, he will have learned, that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission, and that the blood of quadrupeds cannot expiate human transgression. This would necessitate the condemnation of sin in the offending nature; but then, as

"No man can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him, that he should still live for ever, and not see corruption;"

it became necessary that God should find a ransom, who should be exempt from the disqualification common to all mankind.

A man born of the will of the flesh could not be Testator to the Wills, by which through their blood-dedication, their heirs were to be sanctified and cleansed. A mortal testator, and yet the God of Abraham and David, was the desideratum, which the wisdom of God provided in Jesus.

Being "flesh of sin," but without transgression, he was unlike all other men; and being God in Spirit-manifestation, before Abraham, was he.

If Jesus had died a natural death, like other testators of wills, would not that have brought the covenants into force? No; because

"it was necessary that the heavenly things should be purified with sacrifice,"

or blood. God's covenants are made sanctifying to believers of their promises by being dedicated, or purified by blood. It was so with the Mosaic, and afterwards with the Abrahamic; for

"through the Second Will, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once:" and "by one offering, he hath perfected for a continuance them that are sanctified"

by the will. The blood of Jesus is the blood of the Abrahamic covenant, styled the New Covenant, or testament, and also the Second Will; because, though made and typically confirmed 430 years before the Mosaic, it did not come into force, or had no cleansing and sanctifying power, till the Mosaic

"had waxed old and was ready to vanish away."

About forty years before it did vanish, Jesus took the cup of the paschal feast, and said,

"This is my blood, the (blood) of the New Covenant, the (blood) being poured out for remission of sins for the sake of many;"

therefore saith the Spirit by Zechariah to him,

"By the blood of thy covenant I send forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water;"

that is, by virtue of thy blood, with which thy covenant with Abraham has been made sanctifying and cleansing, I send forth them, who, believing in its promises, have been purified by it, and become thine from the grave, by a resurrection unto eternal life.

By the blood of Jesus being the blood of the Abrahamic Covenant, Jesus becomes a covenant, and

"the Ark of the Covenant" in symbolic style; as it is written, "I will give thee for a covenant of the people:" and what for? "To establish the land, to cause to possess the desolate estates."

Hence, the covenant not only has to do with purifying from sin, and resurrection of the purified, but to a recovery of the Holy Land from desolation: for to "establish the land," is to restore the Twelve Tribes of Israel to their possessions, and to give them their kingdom again.

The blood of Jesus being the blood of the covenant, Jesus is the "surety of the covenant;" and therefore stands for the covenant itself, or is inseparable from it. Hence, he may well be styled a covenant. Being perfectly indoctrinated, then, in what was written of him in Moses and the Prophets, he said to his disciples on the night of his betrayal,

"I am covenanted for you, as my Father hath covenanted for me a kingdom: that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit upon thrones ruling the Twelve Tribes of Israel."

This saying accords exactly with Isaiah's about establishing the land. When this is effected the tribes will be there, the kingdom will be restored to them; Jesus will occupy its throne as the throne of his glory; the apostles will be the twelve enthroned princes of his realm; and all others sanctified by the covenant will share in their kingdom and glory.

Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Mar 1857

Life as a Ransom

Jesus says he came "to give his life a ransom for many." This is one of those figures of speech with which the Lord's discourse on earth abounded. It is based upon the custom of demanding a price for the release of captives. To construe the words on the basis of this literal fact, is to destroy the doctrine of which it is a figurative expression.

There is no literal tyrant anywhere holding the human race in bondage, who will be satisfied with the payment of any ransom to let them go. Literally, it is God who holds man in death because of disobedience. He himself proposed their release, and Jesus is the illustration of the way of His wisdom in the matter.

He sent him forth in the nature of the condemned, that sin might be condemned in him. Hence he was "made sin, " (2 Cor. 5:21, ) and when he died, "he died unto sin, " (Romans 6:10, ) and when he comes again, he comes without sin.—(Heb. 9:28.)

Regarding sin in a figure, as the captor of the human race, the death of Christ is in the same figure, a ransom; but it is a ransom in harmony with the revealed principle of action in the case, viz. the death of a sinless wearer of the condemned nature; and not a ransom in the ordinary literal sense; for this ransom was only made effective for the deliverance of the captives by that resurrection to life again which his sinlessness allowed.

Every element of truth can be packed in the same box. In a wrong treatment of any truth, all the parts won't pack: of which we have illustration in many orthodox cases; and now, in the new interpretation of the Son of Man giving his life a ransom for many.

The Christadelphian, Sept 1873

46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.


The light penetrates the eye through the optic lens; the pupil regulating the amount of light, and the lens, adjusting for distance; focusing the light on the back of the eye or retina, a light sensitive lining, full of speciaIised cells called rods and cones.

These are miraculous in design and function, and enable us to perceive colour as well as light and dark shades, black and white so that the external world is photographed onto our minds through the optic nerve, and internalized and interpreted as rational form and beauty, all to Scale. Marvellous!

The image is inverted onto the retina, but rectified by the visual cortex, again miraculous design!

When Christ gave sight to the blind, such as blind Bartimaeus, and gave him sight this was all put in order by the phenomenal Spirit power God had given the Lord, although he had not studied, nor did he need to, optical engineering and optics or the structure of the eye and its defects.

As Isaac Newton said, God must have been a wonderful optician to design the eye, with its advanced technology, so easily taken for granted, except when things go wrong and we lose our eye, or vision becomes blurred (Gen. 27:1).

The Pharisees said to Christ Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them: If ye were blind, ye should have no sin, but now ye say , We see: therefore your sin remaineth." Jhn.9.39-41).

The Apocalyptic Messenger, Sept 2018