3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
The peace and safety cry
It is a cry in the providence of God, which is a great "sign of the times;" [Matt. 16:3] announcing that
"the Lord standeth at the door and knocks" (Rev. 3:20),
and is about quickly and unexpectedly to appear (Rev. 16; 22:7, 20).
It is the world's cry, as the cry of a woman in travail, which has been extorted by sudden and tormenting pains. It blows a trumpet in the wise and understanding ear, sounding the approach of
"the day of the Lord as a thief in the night;" [1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10]
"so it cometh; and when they shall say, PEACE and SAFETY; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape" (1 Thess.5:1-3).
We must constantly remind ourselves to be neutral: to keep in harmony with the Divine view of things. It is the potsherds striving with the potsherds of the earth: ALL fleshly and evil.
We have natural sympathy with the downtrodden and the oppressed. On the other hand, we have natural, selfish sympathy with the status quo and the preservation of the inequities which favour our own safety and well-being, as the historic dominance and privileges of the White race, which seized as much of the world's good lands as it could-especially the British-confining the other races to overcrowded conditions in less favourable areas.
Canada has 6 people per square mile; India has 490. Australia has 5 people per square mile; Japan, which covets Australia, has 790, and her land is very barren generally.
We have many natural, fleshly sympathies and prejudices which we must examine, try to be aware of, and guard against. Our interests and sympathies in watching the Signs must be on the basis of the will and purpose of God, and not our own national, racial or personal feelings.
Bro Growcott - The Household of Faith in the Latter Days
11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
... the doctrine and hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Herodian-Sadducees is compared to leaven, in relation to the doctrine and purity taught by Jesus. His was the fine flour; theirs an ingredient which, if blended with it, would so change its nature as to make it unfit for use; "for they made of none effect the Word of God by their traditions."
The Pharisees were very "pious" people, both in tone, in phraseology, in the making of long and many prayers, in going to church, in dress, in building monuments to the prophets, in saying many true things about them and the law; all this they did and, like their sectarian antitypes of our day, passed current among the people for great saints, and the very elect of God.
But they believed not the preaching of Jesus, and obeyed not the commandments of the Lord. Their piety and doctrine were therefore styled leaven, because being spurious and hypocritical, it would so change the character of the One Faith and Hope as to make them ineffectual to the justification of the believer.
Therefore, as the Lord Jesus said to his contemporaries, so we say to ours, "Beware of the leaven of 'those' who cant piously, but do not the truth, but their own gospel, nullifying traditions."
Sin, in whatever way it manifests itself, is the leaven of human nature. Hence Paul styles crime festering in the body, "the old leaven;" and reproves the Corinthian association for glorying while this is the case. So long as the incestuous person was recognized as in good standing with them, they were regarded as in a leavened condition, upon the principle of the law, that
"a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
He therefore exhorts them to "purge out the old leaven;" or, as he explains it in a subsequent verse,
"Put away from among yourselves that wicked person"-
"that ye may be a new lump when ye are unleavened."
He then continues,
"For the Anointed also, our paschal lamb, is slain for us,"
no leaven being found with him; "therefore let us celebrate the festival, not with old leaven"-the fruit of the flesh evinced through tolerated evil doers-
"the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened things of purity and truth."
From the evidence, then, before us in these columns, I conclude that leaven is nowhere used in Scripture to represent good doctrine, but rather the contrary.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1855
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
It had been revealed to Peter that Jesus was the Messiah, and this revelation was the act of the Father, and not the information derived from flesh and blood in any form: but how was the revelation made?
Not subjectively; that is, the Holy Spirit did not personally illuminate Peter as it did after the ascension of Jesus; for it is expressly testified that
"the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."-(John 7:39.)
The Spirit was yet a matter of promise.-(Acts. 1:8; Luke 24:49.) How then had the revelation been made? By the witness which the Father gave to Christ. Of this witness, Jesus says;
"I have greater witness than that of John: the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me, and the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me."-(John 5:36, 37.)
Did there not come from the excellent glory, a voice:
"This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased,"
on the occasion both of the baptism and transfiguration of Christ? In all these ways, the Father revealed the truth to Peter.
The Christadelphian, April 1870
His response to Peter's declaration is full of significance. He did not thank Peter, as a human pretender might have done. He congratulated Peter on the attainment of so important an enlightenment...
If "flesh and blood" had revealed the matter to Peter, the revelation would have been of very doubtful value; for flesh and blood, of its own congenital resources, is darkness and not light. Flesh and blood left to itself always goes wrong. But flesh and blood had nothing to do with revealing the Messiahship of Jesus.
The Messiahship of Jesus is a divine contrivance wholly, for divine ends: and it is a maxim of the Spirit-illuminated Paul, that "the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." Only God could reveal it. Flesh and blood in the finest state would never tell a man that Jesus of Nazareth, born of Mary in the hill country of Jude, over 1800 years ago, was the Son of God, and his Anointed, or Christ. But Peter had attained to this conviction, and the blessedness of it, according to Christ, lay in the fact that the Father himself had revealed it, and therefore it was true, and might be relied upon and built on utterly.
How the Father had revealed it to Peter, the life of Christ shows. He had proclaimed it in Peter's hearing on the banks of the Jordan when Christ was baptised of John; and he had testified it by the many works which he had enabled Jesus to perform, "which," said Jesus, "bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me." Peter's faith, therefore, stood upon a rock -- not on hearsay -- not on feeling -- not on flesh and blood; but on the undeniable testimony of the living God himself. A man in such a position is surely "blessed" -- happy. Christ uttered no platitude in saying this.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 37
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my ecclesia; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
To help in the development, and give scope for the exercise of this faithfulness, obedient believers were required to form themselves into communities, which, in Greek, were called ECCLESIAS. There is no exact equivalent in English for this term Ecclesia. It means an assembly of the called. "Church" (by which it is translated), has not this meaning, and has become objectionable through association with un-apostolic ideas and institutions. Consequently, the original term has to be employed.
The Ecclesial Guide
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
The angels come when God sends them. He sends them when His work requires their presence. Of this, He alone can be judge; but we may see of our own sense that some times require them, and some times require them not. The foundation of things in the beginning certainly required their participation: for how could God have been revealed and the promises made and Israel delivered from Egypt and the law given, without them?
But there were long intervals, when their visits were not needed, such as, most of the time during which Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob sojourned in faith as strangers in the land of promise; the time during which Israel multiplied in Egypt from 70 persons to 600,000; most of the time during which Israel occupied the land in disobedience under the judges and kings, &c., &c. During these times, they did not come, except at very rare intervals, as circumstances required.
When the time for Christ's appearance in the flesh arrived, they were more frequently in attendance, as the occasion called for. When he had gone away, and his faithful apostles had all fallen asleep and their work had fallen into corruption in the hands of mere egotists, the times of darkness, characteristic of the times of the Gentiles, set in, and it has not seemed fitting that the angels should be visitors during such a time.
Not only is there no divine centre of operation in the chaos that now reigns upon the earth, but the work already done and put on credible record is sufficient for the purpose in view-that is, the creation, by rational faith, of a people for Christ's use and glory in the day of his kingdom.
The times of the Gentiles are ending, and presently we shall be favoured, like the shepherds on the plains of Bethlehem by night, with "a multitude of the heavenly host," as befitting the age of Christ's presence on the earth again "in power and great glory."
The Christadelphian, July 1898
28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Coming in his Kingdom
We do not say, that the kingdom of God has not yet been established.
We say that it existed from the giving of the Mosaic law to the destruction of Jerusalem; but that the throne of the kingdom in the family of David has had no existence since six hundred years before the birth of Jesus; nor will it have any until he come in power and great glory to re-establish it and the kingdom.
Jesus was in this kingdom of God when he resided in Palestine. But it was then rented out to certain husbandmen who were to give a stipulated proportion of the fruits to its proprietor. Jesus, the proprietor's Son, demanded the rent of the kingdom; but they refused to pay it, and said among themselves,
"This is the heir; come let us kill him and let us seize on his inheritance."
By the tenant-husbandmen he meant, "the Chief Priests and Elders of the people," to whom he said,
"The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation yielding the fruits thereof."
Now, if the Chief Priests and Elders had not then possession of the kingdom of God, it could not have been taken from them. But they continued to possess it until the destruction of Jerusalem; the other "nation" there referred to did not receive it before that overthrow; nor at, or since, that catastrophy has it been possessed; for it was then destroyed and has not been again restored.
There is then but one conclusion, and that is, first, that its restoration is yet future; secondly, that when restored it will exist in Palestine; and thirdly being there it will be possessed by the nation which will yield the fruits to the Heir, and not seek to kill him.
The nation which is to possess the reestablished kingdom is composed of the saints; to whom the apostle Peter in writing to some of them says, "Ye are a holy nation;" and concerning this nation, Daniel writes,
"The Little Horn made war upon the Saints, and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of Days 'came, and judgment was given to the Saints of the Most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom."
From this it is evident, that the nation yielding the fruits does not possess the kingdom till the king comes, and judgment is given to them for the destruction of the Fourth Beast. No one will pretend that they have effected this. It is certain therefore that the kingdom is not existing but yet to come.
What then is the meaning of the text of Matthew? The original has a various reading in this place. In some manuscripts it is δογη, doxe, glory or majesty, instead of Βασιλεια, basileia, kingdom; and which among other meanings, signifies also, the honour of a king.
The reader can take which he please; for both are sustained by the testimony of Peter, who says,
"We have not followed cunningly devised fables when we make known unto you the power and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty; for he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we (Peter, James, and John) were with him on the holy mount."
This testimony of Peter makes the meaning of the text perfectly obvious. Peter, James, and John, were the same who stood there that did not taste of death until they saw Jesus make his appearance in honour and glory, the constituents of majesty, επχομενοϚ, erchomenos, rendered "coming" in the text, also signifies "making one's appearance."
When Jesus was transfigured, he made his appearance in his majesty, which is the proper rendering of the words επχομενοϚ εν τη Βασιλεια αυτου, in Mat. 16.28. In the twenty-seventh verse, he declared that he would make his appearance in his Father's glory with his angels; and in the twenty-eighth, he added that some then living should see the appearance he would make: and in the next chapter, that appearance is described.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, May 1855.