2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
"And the wall of the New Jerusalem had twelve foundations, and on them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And the twelfth foundation was an amethyst.-(Rev. 21:14, 19, 20.)
An amethyst is a gem of deep purple colour, and so called by the Greeks from its supposed efficacy in keeping off drunkenness.
It was one of the precious stones in Aaron's breastplate, and had engraved upon it the name of one of the tribes of the Hebrew nation, generally considered to be that of Benjamin.
The twelfth tribe of the apocalyptic Israel is Benjamin.-(Rev. 8:8.) Hence, the amethyst being the twelfth stone, and Benjamin the twelfth tribe, it is also the Apocalyptic gem of the Benjamin of the New Jerusalem; and if the apostles are to be taken apocalyptically in the order of their enumeration in Matt. 10:2-4, then the name of Matthias, who was substituted for Judas Iscariot, the twelfth in the list, will be the name engraved apocalyptically upon the amethyst; and the throne of the house of David, upon which he will sit in the regeneration
'when the Son of Man shall sit upon the throne of his glory' (Matt. 19:28),
will be that having jurisdiction over Benjamin restored.
A Bible Dictionary - Bro. Thomas
4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Judas outwardly conformed to the precepts of the Master during the three years and a half that he sustained the part of "one of the twelve."
Otherwise his place among the preachers of repentance would have been forfeited. If Judas had manifested himself, or rather had been manifested by circumstances, before the terrible disclosure of his avarice in the betrayal of the Lord, we cannot conceive of the continuance of a fellowship which had its basis in righteousness.
Jesus knew him, but did not act on knowledge which could not have been appreciated by either Judas or the other disciples. He waited till Judas should reveal himself, which is the divine procedure with us all.
Though a thief he perpetrated his embezzlements under pious pretences; "Ought not this ointment to have been sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor?" So that his fellow disciples took him for an exemplary companion.
The parallel in our day is that when a man's known actions are in harmony with the word, we may not discard him from our fellowship, however dubious we may feel about his character.
When a man manifests himself, the case is different. If a man professing godliness become "known as a dishonest man," we are bound, as we value our own standing in the sight of God, to stand aloof from him. Any other course would implicate us in his unrighteousness.
"He that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."
If this is true in a case of perverse doctrine, it is tenfold more so in a case of unrighteous action. A community permitting in their midst the unchallenged presence and fellowship of a proved worker of iniquity, is stamped with the infamy they tolerate, and isolated from all lovers of holiness. God will not smile while there is such an Achan in the camp.
But, of course, we must be careful in the application of the principle. There are many disputes in which charges of dishonesty are mere matters of construction, requiring careful investigation before a just result could be arrived at. Anger on both sides helps a mutually false colouring. This requires skilful handling.
It no doubt frequently happens in the present state of affairs, that there are none in a company of believers capable of conducting such an investigation with the judicial calmness and discernment requisite to arrive at a just judgment. This is one of the sore evils of the present time.
What can be done in such a case but for the aggrieved to hold their wrongs in abeyance till the Lord comes, who will make manifest the hidden things of dishonesty?
It would be a pity in such a case-(unrighteousness in the abstract being repudiated; and fellowshipped, if the case be such, by a mistake of judgment only)-to resort to the unavailing remedy of separation. It would be better rather to suffer wrong and be under a cloud, than to consume our privacy in bootless sorrow, and be found isolated from the institutions of the Lord.
The Christadelphian, Nov 1872
Matthias replaced Judas Iscariot - Acts 1: 26
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
Hitherto, Jesus had been the only preacher -- attended and assisted, it is true, by the disciples, but not helped by separate and independent operations on their part. He and they were but a single harvesting agency, the whole burden of which fell on him. The work was now to be subdivided and extended through all the land.
The twelve (and afterwards seventy) were to be sent forth, two and two, in all directions enforcing and illustrating the Word which Jesus had come to preach. Before despatching them, Jesus addressed to them a few words of direction.
...His first instruction had reference to the limits of their work. They were not to go anywhere and everywhere...Confine your work to Israel. What is the meaning of this?
...Men are not immortal beings in any sense, but perishing forms of life under a specific and hereditary sentence of death from which man can only be delivered in God's way (Gen. iii. 19; Rom. v. 12-21; 2 Tim. 1:1-10). The bulk of mankind are no more to God than the grass that springs on a thousand hill sides (Psa. xxxix. 4, 5; ciii. 15, 16; cxliv. 3, 4; Isa. xl. 6-8, 17; Dan. iv. 35; James iv. 14; 1 Pet. 1, 24, 25).
...The human race are but the raw material with which God is working out His own purpose with the earth,
"after the counsel of His own will."
This purpose is formed in wisdom, and involves a time to work and a time to refrain from working: human material to be used and human material not to be used: which explains to us every arbitrary limitation in the working out of the plan. The men that come not within the plan pass away like the beasts that perish...
Nazareth Revisited Ch 22
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Sharp men are jewels when their sharpness is of the order prescribed by Christ-
There is sharpness enough in the world, but unmixed with the dove element, it turns to diabolism, to man's distress.
Bro Roberts - Second Voyage to Australia
Sheep-men yearn to bestow a blessing
It is still the case that the disciples of Christ areas sheep in the midst of wolves: sheep in their harmlessness, sheep in their defencelessness: sheep in their running from aggression instead of fighting it. But they are not sheep in witlessness. Jesus said,
"Be ye therefore wise as serpents, harmless as doves."
Though kind and unresentful, they were not to be simpletons, but quick-witted and fertile in their expedients for avoiding evil. While they were not to fight the wolves, they were not to offer themselves to them, but to evade them by their adroitness.
"When they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another."
They were not to court persecution, like the crowds, who, under the unwholesome influence of Ignatius in the second century, rushed to the stake. There were to "beware of men," because men were dangerous.
"They will deliver you up to the councils; they will scourge you in their synagogues."
The men who would do this were Jews, who have in all ages shown an almost insane antipathy to those sent from God to them to bring them to the right ways of God. But the Gentiles also would be like them in their opposition.
"Ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake."
This was not a pleasant prospect for dove-like and illiterate men. It was indeed a part which they could not have sustained by their own resources. They would have been overawed and silenced by the majesty and power of authority. But they were not to be left to their own resources. Jesus gave them a good reason for dismissing all dismay on the subject:
"When they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you." "I will give. You a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist."
But why did not Jesus, in his great power, prevent all collision between them and the authorities? Such a question has been asked. It is answered by the explanation that they would be brought before kings and governors,
"for a testimony against them and the Gentiles"
a testimony against these authorities -- Jew and Gentile.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 23
Subtle as serpents
...if we affirm, that he obtained his knowledge by observation -- by the use of his eyes and ears upon things transpiring around him -- then we confirm the words of Moses, that he was the shrewdest of the creatures the Lord God had made.
"Hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree?"
This question shows that he was aware of some exceptions. He had heard of the Tree of Knowledge and of the Tree of Lives, which were both in the midst of the garden. He had heard the Lord Elohim, and the other Elohim, conversing on their own experience of good and evil; and, of the enlightenment of the man and woman in the same qualities through the eating of the Tree of Knowledge; and of their living for ever, if obedient, by eating of the Tree of Life.
In reasoning upon these things, he concluded that, if they did eat of the forbidden fruit, they would not surely die; for they would have nothing more to do than to go and eat of the Tree of Life, and it would prevent all fatal consequences.
Therefore he said, "Ye shall not surely die." The Lord God, it is evident, was apprehensive of the effect of this reasoning upon the mind of Adam and his wife; for He forthwith expelled them from the garden, to prevent all possibility of access to the tree, lest they should eat, and put on immortality in sin.
The reasoning of the serpent operated upon the woman by exciting the lust of her flesh, the lust of her eyes, and the pride of life. This appears from the testimony. An appetite, or longing for it, that she might eat it, was created within her. The fruit also was very beautiful. It hung upon the tree in a very attractive and inviting manner.
"She saw that it was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes."
But, there was a greater inducement still than even this. The flesh and the eyes would soon be satisfied. Her pride of life had been aroused by the suggestion, that by eating it their eyes would be opened; and that she would be "made wise" as the glorious Elohim, she had so often seen in the garden.
To become "as the gods;" to know good and evil as they knew it -- was a consideration too cogent to be resisted. She not only saw that it was good for food, and pleasant to the eyes, but that it was "a tree to be desired as making one wise" as the gods; therefore "she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat." Thus, as far as she was concerned, the transgression was complete.
Elpis Israel 1.3.
Harmless as doves
The two-edged sword of the spirit is the only offensive weapon they are allowed to wield in combat with the Beast. The impulses of the flesh would lead them to crush the tyrants who have drenched the earth with their blood, and to bruise their heads like serpents; but the Captain has said,
"vengeance is Mine," "I will repay."
It is the impulse of the flesh, hostile to the truth of God, which urges the Beast to war against those who adhere to that truth. The people of the holies are forbidden to act under such an impulse; but to imitate Jesus, who resisted not, but committed his cause to God.
Unresisting suffering is the law of their spiritual warfare. If perscuted they must fly; if smitten, they must not smite again; if reviled, they must bless; but withal "fight the good fight of faith" with the word of God, without favour, affection, or compromise, with anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.
Elpis Israel 3.1.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
Why should such a class excite enmity in others? It seems as if such an antagonism should be morally impossible, for the friends of Christ are the inoffensive and excellent of the earth.
Many things that seem unlikely do happen nevertheless, and this is one of them. Who would have imagined beforehand that Jesus, the sinless man, who went about doing good, would excite hatred so intense as to bring about his destruction? The explanation in his case is the explanation in the case of all his brethren. He demurred to the ways and principles and sentiments of the wealthy religious, who were on good terms with themselves and in high estimation with all the people.
The wounds that he inflicted on pious self-love, by his contentions for righteousness, created for him among his own people implacable foes more cruel than the heathen. They could not forgive his reproofs. Had they loved the praise of God more than the praise of men, it would have been otherwise: they would have rejoiced in Christ's zeal for God, and would have been ready to believe it possible that his condemnations of their class were just.
But on the contrary, they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. Consequently, his words and attitude hurt their self-love incurably, and goaded them to compass his destruction under the respectable plea that he was a promoter of disorder and a mover of sedition. But God overruled their malice to the accomplishment of His own purpose.
The Christadelphian, July 1886
The very word brings with it the idea of bearing what is disagreeable. No one would speak of "enduring" what was pleasant. Hence, Christ intimates that the position to which he was calling men was not a position of satisfaction, nor a position in which there would be much to gratify, -- on the contrary, much to mortify; much that would involve the infliction of pain -- so far as the human bearings of the position were concerned.
Experience shows the truth of his words. This is why so many fall away, and have done since the very day the apostles themselves were in the field of labour. Jesus foretold that in the generation immediately succeeding his departure,
"the love of many should wax cold,"
because of the disagreeables. A man can only endure these disagreeables steadfastly who retains confidence in the main facts; and he can only retain this confidence by keeping their evidence before his mind in the persevering perusal of the Scriptures; and he will only maintain this perseverance by the adoption of a wise plan of reading which he incorporates in the programme of his daily life.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 23
23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.
THE LORD AND KING WOULD "SEND HIS ARMIES"
In the sense, then, of being near the scene of action, Jesus taught his apostles to expect him before they would have finished the work he gave them to do. This work was to preach the gospel of the kingdom as
"his witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the land"-Acts 1:8:
...he plainly taught that he would come in the lifetime of the apostles, of some or all of them. Not of all; for he plainly told Peter that he should die by crucifixion before that coming. Upon hearing this, Peter inquired how it would be with John? To which Jesus replied, that John should remain till He came.
Some of the brethren understood by this, that John should not die; but John himself corrects this notion by telling his readers, that in so speaking, Jesus did not say that he should not die. The only interpretation therefore, that can be given is that John should not die before the Lord of the vineyard should come with his Roman army to take the Kingdom of God from the Chief Priests, Scribes, and chief of the people, who put him and his servants to death; and that that would be before the survivors of the Twelve should have preached in all the cities of Israel.
In coming thus, the Son of Man came to his kingdom. He invaded it with the host given to the Little Horn: and when the apostles who remained saw Jerusalem encompassed thereby, they saw the coming of the Lord to wrest the kingdom from his enemies-John 21:22; Matt. 16:28.
But they did not see his coming to give that kingdom to other husbandmen. The time has not even yet come for that.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, July 1859
The probable explanation may be found in the tense of the verb which Jesus actually employed. He did not use the language of absolute futurity as in the common translation. He spoke subjunctively -- in the potential -- the possible -- elqh -- may come; as if he had said
"Ye may not have finished your work till the Son of Man come."
Did he not know exactly then? He expressly said he did not know.
'Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels that are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mark xiii. 32).
He said the Father had reserved the knowledge of the times and seasons (Acts i. 7). This knowledge was afterwards revealed to Him and communicated by Him to His servants (Rev. i. 1). But at the time of the discourse he did not possess that fulness of knowledge which would have enabled him to speak with certainty on questions of "when,".
What he probably meant to convey was, that the disciples were not to be checked by persecution, but were to persevere in the face of it, fleeing from one city to another as it arose, with this pleasant reflection in view, that the Son of Man might himself arrive on the scene before their labours were completed.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 24
24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.
If Christ, the perfect servant of God, was misconceived -- hated -- killed, it is easier for the erring servants to endure a similar experience. Suffering in good company is always felt to be easier suffering than suffering by ourselves. This is the help Christ gave to the apostles:
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you."
it is a real help. It strengthens the mind to that performance which Paul describes as "enduring hardness." It fortifies us for the bitter experience of being regarded and hated as evil doers for a course of life that is in reality dictated by the highest considerations of righteousness, truth, and benevolence. The experience is inevitable, and therefore the strength to endure is a necessity.
"All that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (2 Tim. iii 12).
Nazareth Revisited Ch 23
25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?
A zealous holiness is godly holiness
Good works consist of doing that which is good according to God's rule. Man is no judge here.
Some works are good by divine rule which are bad by the human rule. Preaching the "narrow" way, "contending earnestly for the faith," is bad according to modern man, but good according to the commandments of God. Things are good according to man, which are bad according to God-sparing Agag, to wit, by Saul; holding your tongue about religion in our day, according to etiquette. There are many other examples. We must have God's rule for the estimate of good works, of which we are to be zealous.
When people are zealous, their hands don't hang lazily and helplessly down. They are prompt and active and earnest. And as it is an earnestness about which the natural mind has no affinity for, they are considered mad by merely natural men of every kind and variety. Well, this is not nice, especially as there is such a thing as religious madness. Are we going to be scared out of zeal for good works, because there is such a thing as religious madness? No.
There is such a thing as that which is holy, and just, and good and true, and the truly sane and enlightened mind will hold on to this with all the heart and mind, and soul and strength-whatever odium it may bring. Remember what Christ says:
"What have they said about me? He hath a demon, and is mad, why hear ye him? What have they called me? Beelezub. If they so speak of me, what are you to expect?"
If we are going to be called mad because we strive after holiness, let us count it an honour
26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
The appearance of things for the time being was all against the apostles. Their enemies, the priests and rulers, were not only in great reputation with the people, but were apparently the righteous of the earth, and were officially the chosen and divinely-appointed leaders in spiritual things.
On the other side, Jesus was but a carpenter, without any origin or status such as could weigh with a people so beholden to caste, and accustomed to Mosaic sanctities. And his apostles were engaged in a work that was in apparent rebellion against the divine authority established in the nation.
The whole situation was "covered" and "hid" as in a fog or under a veil, in which the true relations of things could not be discerned, and appeared the reverse of what they were. Jesus tells the disciples that this would be altered; that nothing was hid but what would be revealed; the true wickedness of their apparently righteous adversaries would be made manifest: the true worth and godliness of the work of Christ which was evil spoken of would be triumphantly revealed in the upshot of things.
Therefore, they were to fear not their adversaries, but to go forward, and proclaim on the housetops, in the teeth of all opposition, the things whispered to them by him in secrecy.
The worst their adversaries could do was to kill them, and this was not to be feared at the hands of those who could only break up the present mortality, and could not touch the issues of life (translated "soul").
Those issues were in God's hands, who purposed the bestowal of life eternal at an appointed time, as he said
"This is the Father's will that of all that He hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day" (Jno. vi. 39).
They were therefore to fear Him who could and would in certain cases destroy both body and life at that time -- causing some who had saved their lives to lose them, and some who had lost their lives to find them.
To Him faithful lives were precious; and His power was equal to their preservation against that day. All things even now were embraced in that power. Even a sparrow, hunted, caught, and sold for less than a penny, could not fall without the Father's permission. If He chose to interfere, He could prevent it. His all-prevalent, subtle discernment extended to the number of the very hairs on the head.
How much, then, might those who to Him were "of more value than many sparrows." go forth in the strength of His declared will, and boldly front any antagonism in the obedience of His commandments. They could never be out of His reach: never away from his presence: never out of touch with that permission without which they could not be prevailed against.
Nazareth Revisited 23
28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Much stress has been laid upon this passage by the eternal tormentists, but the fact is it gives no countenance whatever to their theory. Christ here counsels his apostles not to fear them who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather to fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell, (gehenna.) The parallel passage in Luke xii. 4, 5, reads thus:
"And I say unto you, my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear Him who, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell (gehenna) yea, I say unto you, fear Him."
Now what is it to kill the body, but to deprive it of present life; having destroyed that, there remains nothing more that man can do: his power does not extend beyond the life that now is. But it is far otherwise with God. He has power finally to destroy by casting into hell (gehenna) where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. He has power not only over the life that now is, but also over that which is to come, and He has decreed that the wicked shall not see life (everlasting), but that His wrath shall abide on him (John iii. 36), and that he shall utterly perish in his own corruption.-(2 Peter, ii. 12.)
The wicked dead who are resurrected at the period of the judgment will come forth to condemnation: they will be the subjects of a second death, from which there is no redemption.-(Rev. ii. 11; xx. 14; xx. 1.) Thus will they be visited and destroyed, and the memory of them be forgotten.
Will those who uphold the theory of "eternal torment" contend that after a man has twice died, he is still alive, and in conscious torment?
He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."-(Mat. x. 39.) In this passage, the word translated life is precisely the same as that rendered soul in verse 28, and there is no good reason why the Greek word psuche should not have been rendered life throughout. Loss of life or destruction of being is the teaching of this and other similar passages. "The Lord preserveth all them that love Him, but all the wicked will he destroy."-(Psalm cxlv. 20.) Here is preservation contrasted with destruction.
Those that love God are to be preserved, whereas the wicked, on the contrary, are not. As it is written in Phil. iii. 9, their end is destruction. According to the theory of the eternal tormentists, the wicked who do not love God are also to be preserved; their end, according to such, is not destruction; they are, in short, according to this theory, indestructible, and, like the righteous, destined to be preserved for ever, in spite of their being enveloped in unquenchable fire!
"If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die" are the words of the apostle Paul.-(Rom. viii. 13.) Surely it is a strange perversion of language to make this signify ye shall live for ever in torments! Is it not in effect saying, as the serpent said to Eve, ye shall not surely die?-(Gen. iii. 4.) Life and death are not convertible terms, but terms of opposition and of contrast. To live is to be-to have existence; and to die is to cease to be or to cease to have existence. The Hebrew word rendered death signifies to fail, to faint; death, consequently, must be a failure or cessation of life.
The death threatened to Adam for his disobedience is defined in Gen iii. 19 to mean a return to the dust of the ground. Adam would thus, so to speak, revert to his original nothingness. He would become the subject of death unending, and, unless God raised him from this death-state, he must remain mere dust for ever. This view of the matter is fully justified by what Paul says in 1 Cor. xv. 17, 18. His teaching there is that without resurrection the dead saints are perished: that is to say, are dead and gone to dust, and never destined to come to life again-become, in short, as though they had not been.
In speaking of them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul states (2 Thess. i. 9) "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power". This passage, even if it stood alone, would be fatal to the theory upheld by the eternal tormentists. If their view be correct, the punishment there threatened can never have its fulfilment; because, to be the subject of everlasting destruction and banishment from the presence of the Lord necessitates being put out of existence; otherwise the victim of eternal torment would literally live and move in God's presence.
To be alive, or in conscious existence, and at the same time to be out of the presence of God, is an absolute impossibility; for He is everywhere present by His Spirit. Thus David writes, Psalm cxxxix 7, 10: "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there-if I make my bed in hell, behold Thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me."
Jersey, March 16, 1868.
S. G. H.
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, May 1868
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
...if all men speak well of us, -- if we are on cozy terms with the world right and left, it is a proof either that we are not godly, or that the godly savour of our life is not manifest. Our light is hidden in some way. Men do not know that we belong to Christ -- exclusively animated by the principles incarnate in him. If they did, their feelings would not be those of friendship. This ignorance on their part could only come of our not confessing Christ before men.
...It is evidently a thing of fervour amounting to devotedness, and of courage amounting to heroism, of conviction amounting to an all-suffusing faith inspired by knowledge amounting to illumination. Only such a pronounced and consecrated type of discipleship could be worthy of what he promises:
"I will confess him before my Father who is in heaven."
With what pleasure or propriety could Christ acknowledge in the Father's presence men who are disciples only in name, whose faith is ready to die, and whose hearts are in the present evil world, which is God's enemy?
He has told us how he feels towards these lukewarm, self-satisfactionists:
"Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth" (Rev. iii. 16).
Nazareth Revisited Ch 23
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
"whosoever shall confess in me before men, in HIM will I also confess before my Father who is in heaven;" and "whosoever shall confess in me before men, the Son of Man also will confess in him before the angels of the Deity."
When those who have sown to the Spirit appear at the judgment seat of Christ, they will be able to show in the account rendered, that the righteousness of the Mosaic law was fulfilled in them by their walk after " the Spirit, which is the truth," through which they mortified the deeds of the body, and crucified it with its affections and lusts (Rom. viii. 4, 13 ; Gal. v. 24).
This was sowing to the Spirit. And who that has been engaged in this work of faith and labour of love would dread to make his appearance before the judgment-seat of Christ ?
They are gathered there as hopeful expectants of a verdict justifying them before angels and the Father who is in heaven (Matt. x. 32 ; Luke xii. 8-9); for the angels will be present at this assize, and will be attentive observers, approving the just and despising with ignominy those who loved the world and the things pertaining to it, more than
" the truth as it is in Jesus."
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
...the truth comes in and makes breaches where none would be. This is in accordance with what Christ said would be the operation of his word-a sword and a fire, causing separations.
The truth accepted makes fast friends, other conditions being equal; but the truth professed and betrayed, isolates from the betrayers all its true friends, whatever excellence of personal quality may exist.
The Christadelphian, Sept 1871
Defending The faith
Now, by what means shall a community, based on the truth, preserve the truth in purity in its midst? Obviously by the means indicated by Paul and John, that is, by exacting of all who are in it an implicit adherence to the things, facts, principles, points, tenets, or whatever else they may be called, which go to make up the truth in its entirety, and by refusing to associate with those who oppose or refuse to endorse any of those elements. Some recommend, in opposition to this, the employment or argument with those who may be in error.
As a preliminary process, common wisdom and humanity would dictate this course; but if an ecclesia is to go no further than argument, how could its existence continue? An effort would, doubtless, be put forth to reclaim those who are in error; but, where those efforts fail, dissociation by withdrawal is natural and inevitable.
The ecclesia is not a place for argument; it is for fellowship in agreement. When a man requires to be argued with, his natural place is outside, and if he will not go outside, separation must be enforced by withdrawal on the part of the rest. The adoption of this policy may be oftentimes hurtful to amicable feeling, but this must not deter from faithfulness; Christ distinctly foretold that the result of his operations in the world would be to sow division, causing father to separate from son, mother from daughter, and the closest of friends to divide.
Therefore, the occurrence of painful violations of friendship need not surprise, or cause uneasiness to, devout minds, as if something were happening contrary to the mind of Christ. Division is the inevitable concomitant of an uncompromising adherence to the truth. Peace purchased at the cost of compromise is doubly dangerous. The truth is the standard, and must alone be allowed to rule. All doubts ought to be solved in its favour. This is the principle of action to which study will ultimately lead. The act of separation is not an act of judgment against those from whom we may separate. It is an act of self-vindication; an act by which we discharge a duty and wash our hands of evil.
The truth has gradually emerged from the fables in which for centuries it had been lost: and only an inexorable policy on the part of those receiving it will preserve it from a recurrence of the disaster which drove it from among men shortly after the days of the apostles.
The dissent of the Dowieite professors of the truth from this policy, and their fellowship with and belief of some of the fables of the apostacy, is the cause of the division that now exists. This division must be a cause of deep sorrow on the part of those who love the truth, but the attitude of the individuals in question leaves no alternative to those who desire to be faithful:
with the Dowieites rests all the responsibility.
Regret at the breach of unity must never overbear the determination to maintain the truth. Should they see their way to the reception of the whole truth, and the repudiation of all the fables with which they parley, and the adoption of a faithful attitude, the present state of Dowieism would come to an end, and the cause of truth and brotherly love would receive a mighty acceleration, which would fill the hearts of the brotherhood with joy. The question of brotherly love must be left alone till then, except among those who band themselves on the side of the truth.
The truth first; brotherly love afterwards. "Pleas for unity" are out of place while the truth is being trifled with; they are dangerous; they are treacherous, however well meant. They will not be listened to by those who are set for the defence of the gospel.
"But," said the Aberdeen brethren, "how do we know that the Dowieites, as you term them, trifle with the truth? We have only your word for it?" A question like this provokes an exclamation of surprise. If men cannot see the false position of the Dowieites after all the evidence that has been brought forth from their own lips and the mouths of others, there must be in the men great dullness of spiritual apprehension, or some sympathy with the position taken by the Dowieites.
It cannot be ignorance of what the Dowieites are, unless they have stopped their eyes and ears for a long time. A further evidence of their state will be found in the following correspondence which has lately taken place between the ecclesia in Edinburgh, and a brother who left the fellowship of the brethren through Dowieite sympathy:—
Edinburgh, June 2, 1867.
The public meeting of the brethren had been made inconvenient by the intrusion of the military.
The troubles of the state had stopped the public works, by which several of them lived; and as their principles could not allow them to turn soldiers, they scattered westward to seek a livelihood in other channels. Some still remained, and of these, some were seeking to leave the district; while others were in full work, fabricating shot, shell, canister and grape, for the restoration of the Union!
Paul and his companions made tents; but they did not marshal the pagans, or consort with them in battle, who tabernacled in them. Our brethren in Richmond and Washington fabricate munitions for the hostile factions; they live by the evil which Yahweh creates (Isai. 45:7), but they do not sin in resisting the injurious.
The use of the deadly missiles they leave to the potsherds for the destruction to which they are appointed. We visited these brethren in their workshops at the Navy Yard, where men are employed night and day in providing for the demands of war.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Nov 1861
36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
This is the way the Prince of Peace spoke when on earth. The doctrine He taught is distasteful to the natural mind, and, by the purity of its principles, and astonishing nature of its promises, excites the enmity and incredulity of the flesh. Loving sin and hating righteousness, the carnal mind becomes the enemy and persecutor of those who advocate it. The enmity on the part of the faithless is inveterate; and where they have the power, they stir up war even at the domestic hearth.
If the believer will agree to be silent, or to renounce his faith, there will then be "peace and love" [Jude 2; cf 2 Cor. 13:11] such as the world, that "loves its own," [see John 15:19] is able to afford. But the true believers are not permitted to make any compromise of the kind. They are commanded to
"contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3);
and so long as they do this, they may lay their account with tribulation of various kinds.
39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.
In this day of seeing through a glass darkly, we can never fully comprehend the depths of these Divine teachings that reverse all human standards, but we can and must, by the heav-enly light of the Word, gradually approach closer to a comprehension of their marvellous and unearthly wisdom and beauty.
Bro Growcott - What shall we have therefore?
40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
What deeper source of confidence and boldness could men have in the execution of any enterprise than the certainty that they represented Christ, who represented God, and that God and Christ would reckon all that was done to them as done to themselves?
This certainty the apostles possessed without presumption, because derived from Christ's express assurance; and it would be a constant comfort to them in all their tribulations.
...Their qualification was intransmissible. They were to speak as witnesses of what they had seen and heard, which nobody could do for them, except at second-hand, and this anyone could do without involving "successorship."
In the exercise of this function of witness-ship, they were to be used and guided by the Holy Spirit, which would even dictate their speeches to them when arraigned before the authorities. In this inspired presentation of truth, no one could succeed them who was not inspired: and none of the clergy, Catholic or Protestant, are inspired.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 23
41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.
...all who would receive and help the apostles in their character as Christ's servants, and the doers of Christ's work, would share in the reward to be bestowed on that work in the day of recompense.
To receive a righteous man in the name of a righteous man is to receive him because he is what he is. To receive him for some other reason would not be receiving him in the name of a righteous man.
To be kind to him because he is a native of the same country, or a scion of the same family stock, or an inhabitant of the same town, would not be shewing kindness to him in the name of a righteous man, but in the name of a townsman or in the name of a kinsman, or in the name of a fellow countryman.
It is evident that Jesus means no mere philanthropy, but kindness arising from a full perception and hearty endorsement of the principles and aims identified with the apostolic work.
None but those who believed in Christ would be likely to show this kindness to the apostles as such, and give the typical cup of cold water to the least of Christ's disciples.
The importance of the discernment lies here: some have concluded from the words of Christ that salvation will be ensured by mere acts of kindness, irrespective of that reception and conformity to the faith of Christ which the apostles preached as essential.
This would be to put Christ in contradiction with himself, for he clearly taught what his apostles afterwards more abundantly made manifest, that none could be saved but those who believed in him and obeyed his commandments. His words assume the reception of the faith of Christ on the part of those receiving and helping the apostles or their work.
Their special value lies in the intimation they give us that men may. share in the apostolic blessedness to come who have no opportunity of taking the direct and public part of the apostles themselves, if they so approve and appreciate their work as to help it, according to opportunity, by all the facilities in their power, even if amounting to nothing larger than the cup of cold water.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 23