2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
Christ is the King's son; who is the bride? This also we know, by abundant instruction in the apostolic letters. It is not a single lovely woman, but an innumerable company of people selected from all lands and all ages, on the principle of that which is esteemed excellent in God's eyes, that is, faith towards Himself, and submission to His requirements. These, generated and developed in circumstances of evil, are to be gathered together at a fixed time, and to be presented to and united with Christ, who comes for the purpose of the marriage.
There is an element in the marriage not present in the ordinary institution except by a legal shadow. When a man takes to himself a woman in marriage, she is legally considered to be merged in him; she takes his name, and she assumes all his relations to circumstances, property, surroundings, etc.; but there is nothing in the case that answers to what takes place in the union of Christ with his multitudinous bride: he changes their nature from the weak, earthly, corruptible thing it now is, into the nature which he now possesses, which is incorruptible, glorious, and immortal.
This change, in fact, must be considered the act of marriage, after which there is fulness of joy and inheritance for ever. As husband and wife they enter upon possession of the whole earth; with the specially interesting work in hand of enlightening its populations, and governing them in peace and righteousness, and bringing them into reconciliation with God and love with one another, and finally, as a race, into eternal life itself. This is a very glorious work lying before the newly-married pair; the immortal population developed at the end of the thousand years as the result of their labours may be considered as the family they beget in their joyous intercourse.
Bro Roberts - Invited to the Son's Marriage
8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
What is the lesson of Christ's impressive parable? It teaches, first, that a certain preparation, a becoming state of readiness, is needed on our part in order to obtain Christ's favour in the day of account. Secondly, that that day will reveal sad disappointment in the case of some who will only be brought to their senses by a little talk from Christ upon truths once known but carelessly or foolishly ignored or forgotten.
Now is the time to think upon these things. God's kind offer of salvation is coupled with conditions which He will not break. Let us beware of trifling with God. This applies to all whose eyes have been opened to the truth, whether baptised or not.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, March 1900
11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
The wedding garment consists of Jesus Christ our righteousness kept clean and white; and if we have been walking after the flesh, we defile that garment, and, in doing so, we are regarded as being invested with that which is not the wedding garment. The wedding garment is what we put on at baptism. But that which is not the wedding garment is what we put on at baptism, and do not keep clean.
Bro Thomas, 1869 - Reproduced from notes TC 01/1888
...our mere acceptance of the Gospel will not suffice to save us. It shows us that there must be a clothing of the inner man with all those principles, precepts and affections which the Spirit has so abundantly stored for us in the word, and which we must procure from thence by diligent daily reading.
These constitute the wedding garment ...
"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear" (Rev. 3:18)
Seasons 1: 35.
14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
"A great multitude which no man could number"
Their number so great as to exceed the calculating powers of man.-Not so.
Rev 7: 9 declares simply that no man knew the number; and not that the number was great beyond the power of human calculation.
The number will be relatively small, though absolutely great-small compared with all Adam's posterity; great if no more than a million; for a million is a number absolutely great.
"Many are called, but there are few chosen;"
yet that few will be adequate to all the demands of the kingdom and empire of the Age to Come.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Aug 1856.
Man has departed from the right path, and has become hardened in ways as hurtful to himself as they are abhorrent to God. A halt and a right-about-face are imperatively needed. The gospel contains the call in this direction-the command to "repent" as a preliminary to acceptance and salvation.
Man hates this reasonable condition-the insistence on the part of God that He shall be heard, believed, and obeyed. This human weakness accounts for the sad and true words of the Lord Jesus.
How wonderfully, and in what manifold ways, has God inculcated in the Bible the essentiality of obedience. It is this feature that makes the book a neglected one. People who have no relish for submission will not endure the chafing and pricking which a proper reading of the scriptures inevitably entails, and hence relegate them sooner or later to an unreachable shelf.
That men should do this, or when compelled to face these scriptures, should resort to abuse and perversion, are items which should not distress us, but should increase our belief in the divine origin of the Bible. Christ's testimony concerning himself is equally applicable to the Bible,-
"The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil."
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, March 1900
28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
Friends in the Resurrection
Shall we be able to recognise our friends in the resurrection?
Answer.—Yes, if they are there; for Jesus says that
"Ye shall see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God."
If Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are to be known, so will everybody else. This is a matter of necessity. If it were not so, it would be no salvation of the persons that existed before.
The kingdom might have been set up on the day of creation, if it is not to be composed of persons who will remember the probation they have come through in their several evil days, and therefore the friends they knew and have heard of.—(The other question next time).
The Christadelphian, April 1873
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
What an astonishing evolution of living substantial intelligences out of a few invisible elemental principles of nature ! It cannot be said that they are created out of nothing, any more than such a creation could be affirmed of the dew. The crude materials abound in sheol, where they would continue eternally in a formless condition, irrespective of their natural affinities. These would never evolve them into previously existing men and women ; still
less would their elemental affinities, however strong, reproduce beings of remote antiquity, with their consciousness of self in as lively exercise as though they had only had a wink of sleep !
Nothing but the wisdom and power of Omnipotence definitively applied, can accomplish so extraordinary a result. The Sadducees utterly denied that such a thing was either probable or possible ; but, as Jesus said, " they erred, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of the Deity." If they had understood Moses and the Prophets, and had had any appreciation of the power by which all things had been created, and were sustained, they would have been preserved from the fatal error of denying a resurrection.
It is this ignorance of the Scriptures in their signification, that is the source of all the errors so variously and widely prevalent respecting resurrection. Few have any rational conception of the process by which living, previously-existing, self-conscious, intelligent forms, are evolved from a few gaseous and earthly particles; and almost as few understand the nature of the forms, or living images, produced ; and the doctrinal principles upon which, when reproduced, they attain to their full and final development.
Without an awakening and coming forth from the dust of sheol, there are neither life, blessedness, nor punishment, for those who are sleeping and dwelling there. Resurrection of body is indispensable to either reward or punishment, for without resurrection, the metaphorical sleepers and dwellers in the dust are nonentities, being without bodies or parts-mere historical characters, whose " remains" are simple elementary gases and particles of earth.
-Brother Moyer writes, March 13th, as follows:
"I have been away from home all winter, and enjoyed the privilege of addressing the public in localities where the truth had never been heard; also in some places where the truth had been partially presented and believed.
I sometimes think that if a man only gets hold of one or two items of the truth, he is more likely than otherwise to turn out an enemy to the truth as a whole. The truth as a whole is a preventive to crotchets and foolish notions in general. But the truth only partially understood, awakens the mind, and creates an investigatory disposition, which is, sometimes, turned to bad account.
The Christadelphian, May 1872
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
The first and great commandment
... it may be said, "How can I know and love a Being I have never seen and can never see, and of whom I can form no conception?" The answer is: by making His acquaintance in the ways that are accessible, availing yourself of which will end in imparting to you the palpable and satisfactory conception which you may desire.
There are two methods of acquaintance which require to be conjoined to give a satisfactory result. They may briefly be defined as His works and His word - His works in creation, His Word in revelation.
The former we can see - in small measure, it is true, but still in measure, we see one another, we see the earth and its varied products: we see heaven over our heads and its awe-inspiring grandeur of magnitude and order and glory. All these things pondered in their detail will lead us by intellectual induction to Him.
They are reducible to invisible energy; once they were not; they have come out of invisible power and wisdom. They could never have come without the initiative and impress of supreme intelligence. Whatever name men may choose to describe this efficient force, they are face to face with God, as Paul declares in Romans 1:
"The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and godhead, so that they are without excuse."
Men have only to use their reasoning faculties upon what they see to know that God exists. The eternal cause must be greater than the things produced. The intelligence out of which man's wonderful intelligence springs must be greater than man's intelligence. It is only the fool that says in his heart there is no God. A man of real brains could not be guilty of such intellectual folly.