We again approach the Memorial of our Lord’s death, and with it the realization of the truly sanctified faith-justified that its observance under existing conditions draws nearer and nearer to a finality. This realization should ever determine us to continue in the course we have embraced and to reside in that isolated and privileged place provided for us as we
“GO TO HIM WITHOUT THE CAMP.”
In Exodus 33:7 we read, “And Moses proceeded to take a tent and pitch it by itself outside the camp afar off from the camp, and he called it the Tent of Meeting, and so it came to pass that whosoever was seeking Yahweh went out unto the tent of meeting, which was on the outside of the camp.” (Rotherham) Moses in this instance types our Lord as He arranged to remove the Star Members and His fully faithful people from the midst of the measurably faithful and the tare class, beginning in the Pergamos epoch of the Gospel-Age Church and continuing until 1799. We quote parts of Brother Johnson’s comments on this from E-11, p. 430 (70):
“God had our Lord do another thing indicative of His displeasure with His nominal people, i.e., remove the faithful servants of the Truth and its Spirit from places of prominence and influence in the nominal church - caused the symbolic woman, the Covenant promises and the servants who apply them to the brethren into the wilderness condition (Rev. 12:6) - to the Tent of Meeting, not the Tabernacle, but Moses official residence - and that not but slightly away from the erroneous doctrines, practices, organization and disciplines of the nominal church, but very far from these, and made the Truth and the servants who applied it to the brethren, as well as these last, the place where God resided, met with His people and blessed them. Henceforth every one who in heart’s loyalty sought fellowship with the Lord in spirit, truth, righteousness and holiness went forth from the nominal church to such Truth, its applying servants and the others of His real people, apart from the nominal church (without the camp)… When our Lord busied Himself with Truth matters, its applying servants, etc., the Truth and its Spirit as due became manifest (the cloudy pillar descended), and remained at the entrance, consecration, where God revealed truths to Jesus in the star-members.”
The foregoing dovetails so very beautifully with St. Paul’s admonition in Heb. 13:13, Dia., “Let us, then, now go forth to Him outside of the camp, bearing reproach for Him.” And it is such a very clear-cut and definite course of procedure for all who elect to “follow in His steps.” Such indeed is one very appropriate Thought for the Memorial. In principle, this arrangement is as true today as it ever was, of which we shall offer some elaboration further on.
“WHAT MEAN YE BY THIS SERVICE?”
All the details of the original Passover in Egypt were pre-arranged with meticulous care and exaction, even to its future remembrance “throughout your generation,” and the instruction of the Jewish children during future observances. It was properly anticipated that inquiring and curious children would ask, “What mean ye by this service?” (Ex. 12:26), thus providing the opportunity to instruct them in the niceties and the solemn responsibility of every Jew participating in it. And this exaction so thoroughly gripped the Jewish conscience and imagination that the Passover observance today is almost identical to what it was in the day of Christ, excepting only the temple sacrifices which are no longer performed. However they yet make very elaborate preparations for the festival.
The original ordinance had commanded that “ye shall put away leaven out of you houses” (Ex. 12:15); and this injunction had taken a vise-like hold on the Jewish conscience. On Nisan 13 the head of each house placed a chunk of leavened bread on a window sill, or other prominent place, and proceeded thence with a pan, a lighted candle and fine brush to gather even fine dust from every corner of the house until the circuit was completed back to the piece designedly placed. Thus, they would be sure of removing any particles of leaven that mice or other animals may have scattered about. Here is another instance of their “straining at gnats,” after which they proceeded to “crucify the Lord of Glory” - although it must be noted that those who did this from “an honest and good heart” eventually did recognize the Messiah and came into the Christ Company.
But not only was the tangible and visible leaven removed, every taint of leaven was also eliminated by having all the culinary and other vessels to be used during the festival cleaned and legally purified from all contact with leaven or leavened bread. They were then said to be “kosher.” As we ponder this minute examination of each house, we are then more acutely impressed with St. Paul’s admonition, “Let a man examine himself… therefore let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven of malice and wickedness, but with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” As leaven was a type of sin, so each participant of our great Memorial of “Christ our Passover who is sacrificed for us” should just as scrupulously as did the Jewish fathers eliminate sin and the “lusts that war in our members” as we come to the antitypical observance. We realize, of course, that it was physically impossible for the Jewish fathers to recover all the leaven from every rat-hole and other inaccessible places; nor was it the Divine purpose to impose an impossible burden upon them. Just so, it is not now God’s edict that we do the impossible and eliminate the sin “which has passed upon all men” through the transgressions of our forbears that reach back to Father Adam. Therefore, we can only attempt to emulate the typical Jewish householders and free ourselves of such as we can control from a “pure heart.”
In all the minute Jewish preparation, the oldest son of each family, if he were thirteen years of age or older, was required to fast on the day leading up to the Passover table. The table also was scrupulously set, the special foods provided, and cups or glasses set for wine for each one present - and one extra cup “for Elias.” Had not the last lines of inspired Jewish Scripture warned them, “I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord”? (Malachi 4:5,6) And not realizing that this was one of those “dark sayings,” every serious-minded Jew was alerted to the possibility of Elijah’s visitation “in an hour when ye think not” - possibly into his own house. Thus, he would not be overtaken unawares.
But this meticulous arrangement was yet further augmented by the decree that at least four vials of wine were to enter into the feast. If any Jews were too poor to bear such expense, the wine was supplied for them out of public funds. Thus, every house would have measurably identical ritual with every other house; each would rest in the assurance that his brethren throughout Jewry were in physical and heart accord with him that momentous night. Nor was this arrangement without purpose. One cup was drained at the very beginning, at which the Small Hallel was recited, or sung. Then followed the feast with diverse and profuse ceremony - all ending with the fourth cup and recitation of the Great Hallel. On that awesome and fateful night in Egypt the Jews were to eat the Passover “with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste” (Ex. 12:11) - probably standing up, as an indication that they were still in bondage, not yet free from the yoke of Egypt. But in Jesus’ day they observed the ritual reclining on couches, or the like, about the table - as becometh free men. It will be noted in Luke 22:17 that Jesus “took the cup, and gave thanks”; but this could not have been the Memorial Cup, the latter being described in verse 20 as “the cup after supper” - after “he took bread, and gave thanks.” The cup mentioned in verse 17 was probably the third of the four cups, the Memorial Cup being the fourth one of the feast.
AND THEY SANG THE HALLEL
Above we spoke of the Small Hallel and the Great Hallel. The Hallel in its entirety is the 113th through 118th Psalms, No. 113 and 114 being the Small Hallel; and the remaining four the Great Hallel. In Matthew 26:30 (see Margin) it is related “they had sung a hymn, went out into the Mount of Olives.” What they sang was the Great Hallel. “Hallel” means “praise” - and being the root of our English word “hallelujah,” which means “praise to God” - praise by bondsmen now made free, formerly blind but now able to see. It is little wonder that those today who are inclined to give voice and outward emphasis to their religion should so easily shout, “Hallelujah!”
In medieval times King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table often set forth in quest of the Holy Grail, the same being that mythical golden cup which Jesus supposedly used as He said to the Disciples, “This cup is the new testament in my blood.” That Holy Grail was never found, of course, undoubtedly through God’s overruling providence. That Cup today would be the most priceless treasure on earth - an idol of Christendom. But God did provide that we should be heir to the exact words of Jesus, when we are informed “they sang the Hallel”; and for this heritage we may now offer our own Hallel - our “praise to God” for the words in Psalms 113 through 118; and we do well to include some parts of that Scripture in our Memorial observance.
The eldest son of each family, if he were thirteen years or older, was required to fast on the day leading up to the service. Then on the evening of the 14th all the male members of the house betook themselves to the synagogue, attired in their best apparel. On their return they would find the house lit up, and the “Seder” or paschal table prepared. The head of the family took his place at the head of the table, after which all the family, including the servants, were seated around the table, to partake of the Seder, or Haggadah, as some Jews designate it. To be certain the question would properly arise, the oldest son was previously coached to ask, when they came to the table, why on this night above all other nights do they eat bitter herbs, unleavened bread, etc., at which the head of the house would relate the story of the original Passover and deliverance of the Jewish firstborn on that fateful night in Egypt. Then proceeded the feast, which had been elaborately and meticulously prepared - the bitter herbs such as parsley and horseradish, and a kind of sop with charoseth consisting of various fruits compounded into a sort of mucilage and mixed with vinegar and salt water - each arranged in its own vessel. At the outset the master took some of the bitter herbs, dipped them into the charoseth and gave to each one present to be eaten along with the first cup of wine. Thus the feast continued throughout the evening until the fourth cup and the recitation of the Great Hallel, after which, in the case of Jesus and the Disciples, “They went out into the Mount of Olives.” (Matt. 26:30)
“When the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51) The determination of Jesus as expressed in this text offers an example in perfection of the grace of patience in its true biblical meaning - cheerful continuance in well doing amid contrary circumstances. His course herein was against all human concept as viewed by the natural man; hence, Peter said to Him, “Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee.” And Jesus gave him appropriate correction: “Get thee behind me, Adversary; thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matt. 16:22,23) Jesus knew full well that the “fullness of time” had come - that it was not the time to wait for His enemies to come to Him (which had he done, would have displayed only the passive grace of longsuffering) - that the active aggressive grace of patience should now be perfectly revealed in and by Him. And “hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)
Be it noted that those who condemned Jesus to the cross were not the “beggarly elements” of that time, not the irreligious; it was the “good” people who were guilty of that - those who would not cross the Gentile door “lest they should be defiled for the feast.” And, “As he was, so are we in this world.” The Heathen Pilate strove to avoid the tragic miscarriage of justice; and it was the High Priest of Israel who “had the greater sin” in the matter. It was those people schooled in the Law, who “sat down and watched him there” - watched the tragedy of the cross as the idly curious might watch a street-corner side show - watched the final hours of agony of “the Lord of Glory” with a calloused indifference that would be unbelievable were it not written in the sacred record.
And Jesus, knowing in the final hours of that awful night, that He had “finished the work God gave him to do,” resigned Himself to what was to be. The time for controversy had passed - “now is your hour, and the power of darkness”; so He “held his peace.” “No man taketh my life from me; I lay it down of myself.” There is in this a lesson for us, too: The day previous and the day following our observance of the Memorial should be a time of calm meditation insofar as lieth in us. If any wish to be contentious at that time, let them go their way for the time being; there will come more suitable occasions to answer such.
Nor should we allow the “maddening maze of things, as tossed by storm and flood” to make us bitter or morose or hateful. It is a time at which we should lift our minds to the highest spiritual levels possible - to repose in the sublime reflections of the past, to “consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself.” “To be spiritually minded is life and peace.” And again, “The kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink, but righteousness and joy and peace in the holy spirit.” Nor should we allow those of contrary disposition to deter us in these resolves. As it was in Jesus’ day, so it has been all through the Age: “Thou has them there that say they are Jews, but are not; but are of the synagogue of Satan.” As we have now come into the “evil day” when “the end of all things is at hand,” let us embrace with full determination the Apostle’s words: “Above all things, have fervent love among yourselves.” Jesus stated of this time in which we live: “Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will wax cold; but “he that endureth unto the end, the same shall be saved.” Those words are a warning to all; and blessed are they who give ear to them. “The leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” abounds in all quarters; but God’s faithful people will accept and do - particularly at this season - what St. Paul admonishes: “Purge out the old leaven.”
In the type the lamb was taken up five days before it was killed; and that was typical of Jesus, the Greater Lamb, presenting himself to the Jews five days before He was “lifted up.” But there was another compelling reason for the five-day interval: That most memorable of nights, when the Angel of Death would “pass over” the Jewish first-born, was not to be approached flippantly or carelessly. As each family took up its own lamb, and removed all leaven from the home, the course of these five days would put them into a proper mental attitude and contrition of heart for that awesome night. And this is well in keeping with St. Paul’s words to all who commemorate the antitype: “Let a man examine himself” not five minutes before the service, perhaps in public confessional; not just and hour before the service; but let each do so in “sincerity and in truth” during the days preceding it. As most of us know, Brother Johnson always counseled all to read Brother Russell’s treatise on the Passover in Volume 6; and we now counsel the same. It is also very helpful to read Exodus 12 five days before the Memorial, with the Berean Comments; then the same with the pertinent writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - one each day with the Berean Comments. This should prove most refreshing and helpful for a man “to examine himself”; and we venture the opinion that any who follow this, or a similar course, will most likely “eat and drink worthily” in full discernment of the Lord’s body and blood.
We here at Mount Dora, Florida will observe this Memorial at 2501 Morningside Drive at 7:30 P.M. on April 2, 2004, and all who are like-minded are welcome to meet with us.
With this writing comes the Christian love to all God’s people wherever they may assemble. We especially offer a prayer for the Lord’s nearness and rich blessing in the preparation for, and participation in this coming service. “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.”
(Excerpts from several of Brother John J. Hoefle’s writings.)
THE WORK OF THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM
“The creature [creation, Diaglott] itself shall be delivered from bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:21)
Death, not eternal torment, was the penalty which God placed upon Father Adam when he disobeyed (Gen. 2:17; 3:17-19). Over four thousand years after the fall of man, our Lord Jesus came into the world to lay down His life to be a payment of that penalty; and thereby with His own life he made arrangements for the ultimate purchase of all mankind. He has laid down the price, and eventually will take over the purchase. He has not yet completed His work. Thus far He has merely used the merit of His sacrificial death to make and imputation on behalf of the Church class. As soon as the Church shall have been completed, they will be glorified as the Body of Christ, His associates in the Heavenly nature, glory, honor and immortality. Then will come the time for Christ - Jesus the Head and the Church His Body - to inaugurate the great Messianic Kingdom, which God has long promised, and for which we pray “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, as it is done in Heaven.
Attentively considering the transaction by which Jehovah is to turn over the world to become responsible to His Son Jesus Christ, we perceive that it is pictured in the Jewish Day of Atonement. When the high priest had completed his work of making satisfaction for the sins of the Israelites, he forthwith had the Divine authority to begin to bless the people (Lev. 9:22-24). So when Christ, the great antitypical High Priest, shall have finished the work of offering the “better sacrifices,” and when the last member of the Body of Christ shall have been glorified, then the merit of those “better sacrifices” will be made applicable to the whole world (Heb. 9:23). As in the one man Adam all mankind were constituted sinners, so in the one man Christ both Adam and all of his children will be justified from the original condemnation, that which came upon the human race because of Adam’s disobedience (Rom. 5:12-19).
The squaring off of accounts will be accomplished by the transfer of Adam’s account to the account of Christ. The death of Christ will be found to be the full equivalent for the sin of the whole world; and as far as the Divine judgment is upon the world, mankind will be set free. They will be freed from the sentence which came upon Father Adam in Eden. Forthwith Christ will take possession of the whole world. His Millennial Kingdom is for the very purpose of lifting the Adamic race out of sin, degradation and death, and restoring them to human perfection. But He does not purpose, nor is it in the Father’s Plan, that anyone be forced to receive the Divine Blessing. “Whosoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely.” (Rev. 22:17)
Under the beneficent rule of the Messianic Kingdom the light of the glory of the goodness of God will be manifest to all mankind. They will be made to know that restitution to all that was lost in Eden is God’s provision for the world. When they shall have come to the knowledge of the Divine goodness, it will be their part to conform their lives to purity and righteousness. They will retain their own individual will, however, and if anyone should will to do otherwise than what is right, he will have the opportunity to do so. But he will not be permitted to do that which is injurious to others; for the power of Messiah will be exercised at such a time, and will not permit anyone to work injury. Under the full light and opportunity of that blessed time, a sinner who makes no progress toward perfection will be cut off from life at the end of a hundred years of trial. Having had every possible incentive to do right under that glorious Messianic Reign, he will have no excuse for wrongdoing. If he does not yield to the regulations of that righteous Rule, he will thereby demonstrate that he loves iniquity (Isa. 11:9; 65:20).
God purposes to give life everlasting only to those who manifest a disposition to become loyal and obedient to Him, and who by patient perseverance will develop a character worthy of being raised up to perfection of life. Those who manifest the right disposition will be lifted up out of their fallen condition to the full standard of human perfection as it was originally in Father Adam. This work of human uplift will be the work of Christ and the Church through the various agencies of that time. The world will then be free from the condemnation which came upon Adam because of his disobedience in Eden. God is willing to give them everlasting life upon condition of obedience to His righteous Law. But they will be expected to cooperate in this matter; and in their endeavor to rise out of sin and degradation they will have His assistance, through Christ. Ultimately the willing and obedient will have everlasting life; but the unwilling and disobedient will be cut off from life - in the Second Death.
Manifestly, then, there will be an interim between the time when mankind is legally forgiven and the time when they will either reach perfection or die the Second Death. During this interim they will still be of the Adamic race. So when the hosts of sleeping dead are awakened, they will not come forth from the tomb as children of Christ, but as children of Adam. Under the arrangements of the Messianic Kingdom they will be given the opportunity of renouncing their relationship to Adam and accepting the Life everlasting that Christ will give to those who demonstrate their loyalty to God and to the principles of righteousness. So far as the world is concerned, this work of the Christ will continue until the end of the thousand years of the Messianic Reign. Then mankind will be perfect, ready to be turned over to the Father, as the Apostle Paul points out (1 Cor. 15:21-28). During those thousand years the Father will ignore humanity altogether. He will have turned the whole Adamic race over to the Christ, who will have full charge of mankind. While the Messianic Kingdom is in power, neither the Father Himself nor anyone else except the Christ will have anything to do with humanity. At the end of the Millennium, Christ will present the perfected race to the Father.
Speaking of the human family, the Apostle Paul says, “The creation was made subject to vanity [frailty], not willingly.” (Rom. 8:20) That is to say, the Adamic race did not become imperfect through any will of their own. Father Adam got out of touch with his Creator. Sin invaded his domain and he was led astray. Condemnation to death came upon him; and because of being in his loins, through the law of heredity; all of his posterity were involved in his condemnation. But “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
Our Lord Jesus is ready to redeem those who have come unwillingly into sin, if they will accept His terms and conditions. The first-fruits of His work form the Church of the Gospel Age (James 1:18). The expression first-fruits suggests after fruits. In other words, members of the Church are not the only ones who are to be saved, but are a first gathering only. It is theirs to share with their Lord in His Kingdom glory, honor and immortality. Then all mankind will have their opportunity - the creation itself which was made subject to frailty, and which is to be delivered from the bondage of corruption (Rom. 8:19-22; 1 John 2:2). Eventually the whole world will have the opportunity of getting out from the bondage of death. First there is the legal phase of the condemnation upon earth. This legal condemnation will be set aside at the beginning of the Millennium. Then there is the actual condemnation - death and all its concomitants. Mankind has become so infected with the virus of death that their minds and bodies have both become diseased. “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Everybody is wrong, imperfect, out of the way, religiously, mentally, morally and physically; and the race will still be in this condition of imperfection after the legal phase of the condemnation is set aside.
When at the beginning of the Millennium Christ presents the merit of His sacrificial death on behalf of the world, forthwith the race will be turned over to Him. But, on being raised from the dead, the world would soon come into condemnation again, were it not in the hands of the “Mediator between God and men.” (1 Tim. 2:4-6) If anyone had his sins forgiven and then stood forth in his own strength before God, for even one day, by nightfall he would again be under condemnation, unless he could live sinless for that one day. Because of their inability to stand before God, He will pass the world over to the ministry of Messiah, and will ignore mankind altogether until the end of the Millennium. The work of Christ will be to effect the deliverance of humanity from the bondage of corruption, from which they are unable to deliver themselves. Christ will set the groaning creation free from the power of Sin and Death, and will bring the willing and obedient back into full liberty of sons of God. Whoever will may then become a son of God, on the human plane, perfect as Adam was before he fell from Divine favor.
When Adam was a son of God, he was not “sold under sin”; but on the contrary, he was perfect, the image and likeness of His Creator - “very good.” And so it is with the holy angels. They are the sons of God on the spirit plane. Thus does God design that it shall be with His human sons. They shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the full liberty of the sons of God (Rom 8:19-21). Father Adam was originally called a son of God (Luke 3:38). So when humanity shall have been restored to perfection, the Son will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father, when He shall have put down all insubordination (1 Cor. 15:24-28). Then all those whom God will receive, will be perfect, in the image and likeness of their Heavenly Father, as was Adam.
(Brother Johnson, The Herald of The Epiphany, January 15, 1921)
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear Sister Emily: Christian greetings through our Beloved Savior.
Hoping that this finds you in good health. Another year has slipped away and I praise our heavenly Father for the comfort we have in His blessed word of Truth, giving hope and strength in these troubled times.
On September 14th part of our small Ecclesia traveled to Yosemite Lakes Community Church to hear a discourse by Clarence Wagner from Bridges for Peace. What a joy it was to hear Clarence deliver an eloquent talk to a nominal Christian Church, on the rich scriptural promises given to the Nation of Israel. The congregation seemed to embrace this message and be willing to support Israel with prayer and monies, as their obligation as Christians to help in restoring that Nation.
We had a short visit with Clarence after the meeting and assured him of our prayers and support also.
It seems that many denominations are dropping the replacement theory and recognizing Israel’s return and rebirth as prophecy being fulfilled.
In November Lev and Hava Bausch visited our Ecclesia. I know you have corresponded with them, and are aware that they have lived in Israel for thirty years.
Both Lev and Hava told us many stories of current conditions in Israel. The most exciting news for me was the number of Messianic Jews in Israel, and their number is growing daily. These Jews do not claim to be affiliated with any nominal church system because of their witnessing or Missionary efforts. My understanding is that these are mainly orthodox Jews that have read the New Testament and have decided their Messiah has come, and they believe much as we do. We continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
Our small Ecclesia continues in Bible Study, and I am still conducting the second hour of study on Sundays. As you know there has been disagreement on some basic doctrinal points that Brother Russell made so clear to us. The second hour of study gives me an opportunity to plant seed refuting those errors. There has been some progress in this regard, and I suppose that is what keeps me going. My prayers are with these brethren, and I will go on planting seed, relying on the Lord for growth and fruitage.
Your articles are a blessing to me and are used many times to assist in study planning. I ask for your prayers on my behalf as I continue to pray for you and your work in the Lord. May the Lord bless and keep you. Your Brother in His Name, … (CALIFORNIA)
Dear Emily, Marjorie and all there,
May you see God’s hand in all around in the coming year. It is indeed a time to keep our eyes on the Lord and trust that He has all in His plans and purposes day by day.
Again Israel has had the eyes of her watchmen on the situation here as over 18 suicide bombers have been discovered in the last two weeks. What a big loss of life those bombers could have taken if they were successful. Of course Israelis have rejoiced over the capture of Saddam, and are adding up their own claim for all the damage he did with his missiles here in the Gulf War!
Now we are celebrating the Festival of Lights or Channukah, and that is a nice time of year to remember God’s miracles for His people Israel. Again God is blessing the Land with good rains in the last weeks.
Hope this finds you well there, Emily, and all the others as well. Lev has been battling a foot infection for the last month right on the bottom of his foot. This is always extra dangerous when one has diabetes as Lev does. We appreciate your prayers!
The economic situation has not gotten better in Israel in the last months, and we have had a lot of strikes, especially of various government offices causing many hardships for people. It is certainly a time of growing stress for the people here. May God be their help and show His mercy on His people.
Well, as we again start a New Year may you have the daily strength and health you need to carry on and may God bless your work for 2004. In His love, Lev and Hava Bausch (ISRAEL)