Many are surprised when first told that
Satan is not in some far-off place stoking fires and torturing humans. Some are
even more surprised to hear he is present amongst men, an invisible angel of
evil, ably supported as an Adversary of God by legions of other fallen angels
(Mark 5:9; Luke 8:30).
He is the master and Prince of Demons, because of his superiority of nature. He belongs to a higher rank or grade than the ordinary angel. It is a surprise for many to learn that Satan is far from being horrifying in appearance, but is beautiful, according to the Scriptures. He is supervising his work of deception directly and through the fallen angels, his servants, to mislead and to deceive humanity, putting light for darkness and darkness for light, error for truth, etc. Now he is operating with great desperation.
We are in the dawning of the third dispensation, “The fullness of times,” (Eph 1:10) with a harvest of the Gospel Age and moving rapidly into the Messianic Age in which Christ “will put all enemies under his feet” (Cor 5:25). Even if we never had seen the Scriptures, we would have been aware of the sudden avalanche since the 1870s of time and laborsaving devices such as the telephone with which we could talk through wires worldwide with others and recognize voices. Cellular and Satellite phones, computers now all operate through space without connecting wires and with even greater ease.
If man can accomplish these things, think what the Almighty can accomplish! Who can deny the possibility of the invisible presence of spirit beings and yet admit the existence of all these modern inventions of humanity mentioned above? We are safe, dear friends, in guiding our judgments directly by the Word of God and reasoning inside and not outside of its boundaries.
THE BIBLE IN PERFECT ACCORD
The Bible and it alone, explains certain phenomena and many of the explanations though written centuries apart are in perfect accord. For instance, in Genesis the Bible tells us respecting Satan’s deflection, and the book of Revelation, written more than three thousand years later, tells us of his being bound for a thousand years (Rev. 20:2) and of Messiah’s reign and Satan’s ultimate destruction. Isaiah and Ezekiel tell us of his being at one time in full harmony with God, and the “covering cherub” (Ezek. 28:14,16), glorious, grand, beautiful, and his name was Lucifer.
All of the heavenly hosts, angels, Cherubs and Seraphim are termed stars, bright ones; but Lucifer, being of higher order, was styled the “son of the morning” (Isa. 14:12). It was while in Divine favor, that Satan permitted the disloyal thought of how, indirectly, being of higher rank he could work wonders and do some things better than the Almighty. Satan craved the opportunity to make a demonstration of what he could do. However, the Scriptures declare that first he said this only in his heart and spoke it not. “He said in his heart, I will ascend into heaven: I will exalt my throne above the stars of God [still farther above his angelic associates]. I will be as the Most High [a ruler].” (Isa. 14:13, 14)
THE OPPORTUNE TIME CAME
There never had been sin in heaven (Spirit world). Satan was the first of all its inhabitants to cherish and to entertain a rebellious thought, and to bring it to a consummation. He held the thought in abeyance until God Himself afforded the opportunity. With full knowledge of the consequences, and with the desire that this test of the entire heavenly host, and of a human race as well, should be effected, because God seeketh not the worship of constraint, but seeketh such as “worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24), voluntarily, joyfully.
It was when Satan beheld our first parents, in the image and likeness of God, yet not spirit but flesh – earthly, that he perceived the opportunity of gaining the coveted power for an empire, separate from that of the Creator. In the first pair, the Adversary beheld a new thing, a creature of Godlike qualities and possessed of the power to propagate his own species. Satan realized that the conquest of this pair and the bringing of them into subjection to himself would signify the capture of a world full of people eventually ─ that the enslavement of the parents would signify the enslavement of the race.
SATAN’S METHODS SUCCEEDED
We cannot deny that Satan’s plans were logical and that he has carried them out with great success so that the Scriptures declare him “the Prince of this world” (John 14:30), and again, “the god of this world.” (2 Cor. 4:4) Nevertheless, his victory was not as great as he certainly expected it to be. No doubt, he thought he was capturing an immortal race. He might even have believed the falsehood he told mother Eve, when he contradicted the Word of God ─ that sin, i.e. disobedience to God in eating the forbidden fruit, would bring upon them the penalty of death, “dying thou shalt die.”
Satan charged that God had misrepresented the facts in order to hold His creatures in mental slavery and that God did not wish them to be wise; therefore, He forbade the eating of this particular kind of fruit and declared the penalty of death for the transgression of His law. “I, Satan, assure you that you need not be afraid of the fruit; I assure you that it will do you good, and that you will not surely die from the eating of it.”
Alas! Mother Eve believed the Adversary and disbelieved her God, and then enticed her husband; still thinking no doubt, that she would not die and the serpent had told her the truth and God had been the deceiver. St. Paul tells us that father Adam knew better and ate the fruit, knowing that it would cause his death, willing thus to disobey in order to maintain the fellowship of his wife, whose life he realized was already forfeited (1 Tim. 2:14).
After eviction from paradise, our first parents had to deal with the thorns and thistles of life on their own until they returned to dust. No doubt, Satan was disappointed. He would rather be the Prince of a noble, living family of angels or of a perfect human race than the Emperor of a weak and dying race. However, from that day to the present time he has been fighting along the same line; he has been contending with mankind that the Word of God is false when it declares, “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23), and that "the soul that sinneth it shall die.” (Ezek. 18:4) From that day to this, he has been using this falsehood to the injury of our race, and he surely has succeeded wonderfully.
It is freely believed today, not only in heathen lands, but also amongst the most civilized, (and many Christians consider it Scriptural to believe the nonsensical) that the dead are more alive than before death. People of good, sound reasoning on ordinary subjects seem “bewitched” by this falsehood of Satan, “ye shall not surely die.” So true is this, that it seems consistent for them to say that a man hit over the head and knocked senseless knows nothing, but a man hit over the head harder and killed, knows everything.
THE FALLEN ANGELS
It was sometime after Satan’s deception and the fall of man, that the Lord permitted a great test of the angels of heaven. Which test a host of them failed. They sinned – disobeyed God. The Scriptures have called them fallen angels, devils or more properly demons. These fallen, angels, demons, are under Satan as their great Prince and have been his active agents in deceiving humanity and opposing the Divine Plan for long centuries.
SATAN THE GREAT MURDERER
“He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth; when he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own: … for he is the father of lies.” (John 8:44) It is well that we keep this Divine testimony in our minds. It is well that we note just what the first great lie was, namely, Satan’s misrepresentation saying, “Ye shall not surely die.” (Gen. 3:4) It is important that we notice this, because so thoroughly has Satan accomplished his deceptive work that practically everybody, the heathen as well as the civilized, accept Satan’s version of the matter and discredits that of the Almighty.
Let us notice that Satan is a murderer. He murdered Adam and Eve, our first parents and his lie is still murdering our race, under the just laws of heredity. The error of believing Satan instead of God has gotten many into the confused situation of disclaiming that God proposed that man should live forever in paradise on earth. As his family increased and continued in harmony with His Creator, the boundaries of his Paradise would be enlarged. Home of a perfect humanity, in accord with God, privileged to maintain everlasting life. In addition, according to Satan’s lie we die and become more alive than ever. Some go to heaven but a greater number to some eternal, fiery hell, of which there is no real knowledge.
SATAN’S POWER INCREASING
However, in another sense Satan is prince of the air power ─ literally. When Job was given into his hand to be tried, he manifested his power of death. He caused fire to fall from heaven (probably a bolt of lightning), and destroyed several of Job’s servants and his sheep. He caused a great wind (a cyclone or tornado) to come upon Job’s house and thus killed Job’s sons and daughters.
Satan’s object evidently was to make Job suppose that God caused those calamities, and thus to cause Job to feel bitter and resentful against God, and to “curse God and die”; or to shake his faith in there being any God. Indeed, that such was Satan’s object is implied in the narrative; and Job’s friends, although God-fearing men, were deceived into this view, and tried for days to convince Job that his afflictions were the work of the Lord. However, of Job it is written, “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly [with being the author of his calamities].” (Job 1:22)
Again, notice that when our Lord and His disciples were in the little boat on the Sea of Galilee and our Lord was asleep, a storm suddenly arose, which appalled the hearts of those old and expert fishermen accustomed to the storms, until they awakened the Master, saying, Lord, save us; we perish! We cannot presume that, if the heavenly Father had willed or caused that storm, our Lord Jesus would have commanded it to subside, or that it would have obeyed Him. On the contrary, rather we may suppose that the same Satan who used his power against Job’s household sought to destroy the Lord and the infant Church. But that Satan had no power over the life of Christ, until “his hour had come,” is evident from our Lord’s words upon this occasion, “O ye of little faith, why are ye fearful?”
We would not be understood to question God’s ability to cause storms, cyclones, etc.; but from our Lord’s teachings we know that such would not be His spirit; for when the disciples were incensed against the Samaritans who did not welcome the Redeemer and asked, “Lord wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” Our Lord’s answer was, “Ye know not what spirit ye are of [your spirit is not mine, nor the Father’s]." (Luke 9:55)
We can only understand, in the light of the account in Job, remembering the deluge and the destruction of Sodom, that God may at times used storms and fires as His servants to execute His decrees against the wicked; or that Satan is ever ready as an executioner, taking pleasure in evil, to destroy life whenever permitted to do so.
In thinking of how Satan has the power of death, let us not forget that in healing the diseases of the people, at His First Advent, our Lord expressly stated that they were “afflicted of [or by] the devil.” If God had directly caused the diseases, our Redeemer in healing the sick would have been opposing the Father, and not doing His will. Since disease is death at work, devouring the sick, to have the power of disease is to have the power of death.
Satan is permitted to have such a power of disease and death because of sin and because men are under the Divine and just sentence of death, as culprits. The Scriptures represent that mankind had sold itself under sin and death, and to him that has this power, Satan.
The foregoing being true, it seems more than possible, yes, probable, that Satan’s power for evil and death finds exercise in the development of new diseases which for a time successfully baffle the skill of all except Satan’s own physicians ─ Christian Scientists, etc. Many new diseases have arisen in recent years, as well as the resurgence of some old ones thought to be eradicated. Some of these are Aids, Ecoli, Hunta virus, Encephalitis, Tuberculosis, Chicken flu and Strep A, a very virulent invasive, sometimes fatal strain of Strep.
Knowing that God is resting from His creative work, since the creation of man, we are bound to attribute these new creations to other sources. Satan is knowledgeable, and no doubt merely takes advantage of natural laws in propagation of the evils mentioned; and no doubt if mankind possessed the powers with which his Creator endowed him, when he gave him dominion over every creature, he would have equal knowledge of the laws governing the start and propagation of bacteria and virus, and could use his knowledge and powers to prevent such formations or to destroy them. However, man is fallen, and has “lost” (Luke 19:10) much that he once possessed. Satan is now his master and prince; he “now worketh in the children of disobedience”; under his misrule, “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together.” (Eph. 2:2; Rom. 8:19-23; 1 John 5:19, Dia.)
We may safely say that Satan’s object in using his “power of death” over his subjects is not merely to gratify a fiendish delight in their sufferings. Quite probably, his special object is to oppose the true light, which is now more and more breaking over the world as the Sun of Righteousness rises into place and influence. He is still striving to prevent the light of the knowledge of the goodness of God from shining into men’s hearts and chasing away the dark shadows of doubt and fear which he has deeply engraved thereon for centuries by “doctrines of devils” ─ by which he has made God to appear as mercilessly cruel, unjust and unkind, and the author of evil, calamities, diseases, plagues, storms, etc.
Satan may think that he is not restrainable, but we know that “all power in heaven and in earth” was given unto Christ, when, having finished His course, He was raised from death by the Father’s power, and highly exalted.
By the ransom which He gave, by which God’s sentence against the sinner-race was legally met and paid, once for all, our Lord became the owner of the race which had by sin sold itself to Satan and came under his control, but without any Divine sanction of the transaction. Christ, the legal purchaser now holds the destinies of all men. His purpose, as he explains it, is the very reverse of Satan’s policy. He will set them free to act for themselves, by increasing their knowledge ─ opening the sin-blinded eyes of all ─ to see the goodness and love and justice of God. Those who then choose righteousness He will bless and help and heal, restoring them to perfection lost through Adam. Those who will not hear, obey, after the knowledge of the Lord fills the whole earth, will He cut off from among the people ─ in the Second Death. Then Satan, too, who for six thousand years has had the power of death and exercised it so relentlessly, shall be destroyed (Heb. 2:14).
The permission of Satan’s policy and power as “prince of this world,” since the ransom-price was paid, and since all power over man passed legally into the hands of Christ, is not from lack of power to destroy Satan, and release his blinded slaves, nor from lack of loving sympathy and interest in them, but because God’s due time for this world (age) to end, and for the world (age) to come to begin has not arrived; and all of God’s dealings are upon lines of strictest order. God’s plan provided a work for Christ to do before the setting up of His Kingdom, and taking to Himself His great power and beginning His reign (Rev. 15:14, 17). The Gospel Age was needful for the call, selection and discipline of this class.
At the close of the Gospel Age and the introduction of the Millennial Age our Lord in wisdom has purposed a great time of trouble, which shall not only be a just recompense upon the world for sins against light and opportunity, but also a time of breaking up present imperfect institutions preparatory to the better ones of Christ’s Kingdom; and the breaking of the hard hearts of the ungodly ─ plowing and harrowing them, and getting ready many (we trust) for the good seed of righteousness, which the glorified Church will sow unsparingly during the Millennium.
As a part of that coming trouble, “such as was not since there was a nation” (Dan. 12:1), in addition to its financial, social, political and religious features, we believe that Satan’s “power of death” will be permitted to a remarkable degree ─ increasingly and along the lines already indicated ─ storms, hail, droughts, pests, germs and diseases. Building upon the false doctrines he has already inculcated, he will be zealous in the exercise of his power of death, that thus to some he may represent God as being of devilish disposition. While to others, the effect may be to destroy all faith in a Divine power. For none, except those instructed in the Scriptures respecting the cause and object of the permission of evil, calamities, etc., could suppose any reason why God should either inflict such calamities or permit them to come upon men from other causes.
In addition, Satan’s power of death makes it quite possible his relief of sickness, etc. through agencies of his choice for enforcing their false teachings. This deception will, we believe, be employed by him more and more as the Time of Trouble advances. This is another sign of Satan’s desperation, and indicates the near approach of the dissolution of his kingdom and power of death. So says our Lord in Matthew 12:25, 26.
Satan no doubt has been permitted to gain increasing knowledge since 1799 just as have men; and no doubt like them he takes the credit to himself, and supposes that he is daily growing wiser, and through his wisdom, he has greater “power of death.” Christ, the new King, according to the Scriptures, will permit Satan to use his knowledge and powers increasingly, and thus cause the wrath of Satan to praise God, and to work out features of His plan, as He so often has done with the wrath of man (Psa. 76:10).
Sickness, disease, accidents and other mysterious dispensations of Providence (so-called) are but the instruments of Satan; and the messengers ─ not of light but of darkness ─ by which he gathers in his harvest.
Can anyone look calmly at the misery of the past six thousand years and not discern who has been the ruler of this world? Surely they would exclaim with Job, “The earth is given unto the hand of the wicked one; he covereth the faces of [deceives] the judges thereof; if not where and who is he [the rightful ruler]?” Let those who have the truth stand up for the character and glory of the Father and of His Son, who is about to take up His great power and reign.
When the Time of Trouble is over we shall see a different order of things; when earth’s sons may each sit fearlessly and peacefully under his own vine and fig-tree, rejoicing in the fruit of their own planting (Micah 4:4).
Now death is everywhere. Carelessness, recklessness, covetousness, drunkenness, or devilishness may each be the instrumentality, but Satan is the director of all. Let us give the devil his due in the fullest sense and bravely stand for the honor of the Name of the Lord, praying, “THY KINGDOM COME.”
THE GIFT OF GOD IS ETERNAL LIFE
God, while permitting Satan, sin, depravity, and death to take their course, has not been idle. He still has a great plan for human salvation ─ a plan for recovering man from sin and from death and from all of his fallen conditions, a plan of restitution to human perfection, a plan by which the Seed of the woman shall yet, literally, crush the Serpent’s head (Gen. 3:15), and undo Satan’s great original misdeed ─ recover man from his murdered condition and from his fallen estate to all that he had at first plus the knowledge and experiences of the present life and plus the experience incidental to his uplift, during the reign of Messiah, for which we pray, “THY KINGDOM COME.”
The Scriptures clearly show us that all of this recovery is to be accomplished through the merit of Jesus’ sacrifice ─ the just for the unjust. That the work has not yet begun is evident. We are still living under the reign of sin and death. The Messianic Kingdom must come in power and great glory and be established, the Scriptures tell us, in a great time of trouble. Then the earth will be made to blossom as the rose, and the wilderness and the solitary places will be made glad, and all mankind will receive Divine blessing and opportunity to return to Divine favor and eternal life as human beings. Moreover, the willfully disobedient and the negligent of those opportunities will die the Second Death, from which there will be no recovery, no resurrection, and no hope.
“The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” (Rom. 16:20) The Church is the Body of Christ, Messiah. Hence, the Apostle’s words in this text apply to the Church in glory.
(Reprint of No. 508, August 1999)
WILL THE EARTH BE BURNED?
We are obliged to antagonize, not only the Second Adventist views, but the teachings of all the orthodox creeds of Christendom when we declare that according to the Bible our world is never to be burned up ─ except in a figurative, symbolic sense. The Bible teaches that at the close of this Age a great trouble will be precipitated, which will destroy, consume or figuratively burn up, present institutions ─ ecclesiastical, religious and social. The raging fire will be anarchy; and its horrible result will be, according to the Bible, the ashes of present institutions.
For six thousand years, the world has had its difficulties, individually and nationally. Christianity has influenced some, but churchianity has influenced more. The true Christianity has produced the true Saints, who have followed in the Master’s footsteps and, like Him, have been treated as the filth and off scouring of the earth ─ while they live ─ after death to be honored as saints and heroes. Churchianity has a form of godliness without its power. The form has in many respects helped along to influence and power in the world, leading often to the perpetration of horrible crimes in the name of Christ and His Church.
Now, as the Gospel Age is closing and the Messianic Age is dawning, the lifting of the curtain of the new dispensation is producing wonderful results amongst men. Darkness, ignorance, superstition, is fleeing before the light of the new day. The world is awakening because it is morning. Human thought is quickened; and the wonderful inventions of our day ─ steam power and electricity ─ are carrying the thoughts of men to each other the world over. The printing press and the mail are potent factors in the awakening. Knowledge is filling the earth, as the Lord through his prophets declared would be the case at this time (Isa.11:9; Hab. 2:14; Dan. 12:4).
However, this knowledge is coming to people who at heart are unprepared for it. The hands of the ignorant and unlearned are stretched forth to grasp the throttle of power ─ political, social, religious and financial. Wrongs are recognized; but those who seek to remedy them will only make a bad matter worse. All must yet learn that the world’s only hope is in God’s provision ─ Messiah’s Kingdom.
But before this lesson is learned, the spirit of discontent stirred up by knowledge will grasp the opportunities and ignorantly, unintentionally, will cause the great wreck of our present social, religious, political and financial institutions in “a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation” ─ “no, nor ever shall be again.” (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21).
This great cataclysm of trouble, which all intelligent people perceive with more or less distinctness, is described in the Bible under various symbolic terms. Sometimes it is described as a whirlwind; at other times the description is that of a storm; again, of a great tidal wave ─ the sea (representing the masses) will swallow up the mountains (representing the kingdoms). (Psalm 46:2, 3)
Again it is described as a fire, which will consume the whole earth (Zeph. 1:18; 3:8). Yet in each case there is connected with the symbol something to show that it is merely a symbol, and that the utter destruction of humanity is not meant. As, for instance, after describing the storm, the Lord through the Prophet declares that he will command the nations to be still and to recognize him as God, and that the result will be a great calm (Psalm 46:8-10). In the case of the fire, we read that after it has consumed the whole earth (the social fabric), then the Lord will turn to the people a pure language, a pure message that they may all call upon the name of the Lord to serve him with one consent (Zeph 3:9).
Evidently, the fire, which will consume the earth, must be a symbolic fire of trouble, consuming the symbolic earth, or social conditions, because the people still remain and are to receive the Lord’s blessing. The pure message that will then be given to the world will be in strong contrast with the confused messages of the contradictory creeds which for centuries have been given to the world, and which many of the world’s thinking minds have been unable to appreciate or receive, and which have perplexed Christian minds.
Let us, therefore, take the Word of the Lord and reject the messages of all the creeds of Christendom. Let us not for a moment think that the literal earth is to be burned up at the second coming of Jesus; but, quite to the contrary, let us believe St. Peter’s statement that at that time will begin “the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19-21) Let us remember the declaration of Scripture that “the earth abideth forever” (Eccl. 1:4); that “God himself formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited.” (Isa. 45:18)
Let us remember that the world has never yet been inhabited. Vast territories have not yet been explored by man. Let us remember that God’s promise respecting the earth is that, as heaven is his throne, so “the earth is his footstool,” and he surely will make the place of his feet glorious. (Isa. 66:1; 60:13) Messiah’s Kingdom will not only uplift humanity, but will also bring blessings of perfection to the earth. Eden eventually will be worldwide. “The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”
QUESTIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION ─ Are we to offer Youthful Worthy hopes now as an incentive to consecrate?
ANSWER: ─ We are not to urge anyone to consecrate as an incentive for reward. We should invite the Tentatively Justified ─ those in the Court condition ─ to consecrate. The same motives for consecration during the High Calling era are the same for today: the unbegotten consecrators “between the Ages” make the same consecration made by the Saints ─ the difference being in the way the Lord uses it. St. Paul had said we should do this as “your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1) We are not to bargain with the Lord by agreeing to do His will in exchange for a reward. Those who have Tentative Justification should be encouraged to consecrate because of their faith in God ─ their conviction of His trustworthiness, their appreciation of His past favors, and a delight to do His good, and acceptable, and perfect will. If such make an acceptable consecration to do God’s will, and walk faithfully in a narrow way while sin is in the ascendency, God will not be unrighteous and forget their “work and labor of love.” Their reward will be a place above the general world’s restitutionists. There are some in the world who have never become tentatively justified ─ what we might describe as “noble worldlings.” They are motivated by duty love to God and man, interested in reform movements, etc., which will prepare them to accept and receive the blessings of the New Covenant much more quickly than many of their neighbors.
The same may be said of those who have been ejected from the Court ─ those who received “the grace of God in vain.” Failure to consecrate does not imply that such are pursuing sinful practices; they simply did not proceed to the Door of the Tabernacle But the terms of the New Covenant will have speedy appeal to them, and they will readily accept the Highway of Holiness once it is explained to them.
Some people make a consecration and do not understand its meaning, or requirements. Such people just think they are consecrated. This would not imply, however, that they do not have good intentions; but it does mean they have not been properly informed, or have been unable to comprehend the situation. However, some of these people do come to an understanding of their privileges and requirements in consecration, and become fully faithful. We would consider it wrong to encourage anyone to walk a “narrow way” in the belief he or she will become superior Restitutionists ─ that is, to receive the chief favor in the Kingdom.
God did make an unconditional covenant with Israel ─ they have plenty of Scriptures upon which to rely if they are faithful covenant-keeping Jews: “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” (Rom. 11:29) Note the Berean Comments on this text: “never made a covenant which He would need or wish to break.” God has a works covenant with the Jews and a “covenant by sacrifice” with the faith class during this Gospel Age.
“This expression, New Covenant, is not used in connection with any others of mankind than the Jews, because it is not true that God will make a New Covenant with the remainder of mankind. As the Apostle suggests, the word ‘New’ here implies a previous covenant which was counted Old, and this Old Covenant was not made with other nations or peoples than the Jews, of whom God declared that He ‘took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, which my covenant they brake.’ (Jer. 31:32) Hence, we should understand that all references to the New Covenant are references to God’s arrangement with the Jewish people to supplant the old arrangement under Moses, under the conditions of which they are still condemned and bound. By this new, substitutionary covenant, God will shortly release the Jew from the condemnation of the Old Covenant.
“It will be in an incidental way that other nations will be granted the privilege of coming under the same laws and arrangements with natural Israel in the blotting out of sin and in being restored to the Divine image, and thus to full harmony and fellowship and covenant relationship with God, which relationship all may maintain, if they will, throughout eternity.” (Pastor Russell, Reprint 4659, top, col. 1 and 2)
(Brother John J. Hoefle, Reprint 237, March 1975)
QUESTION ─ Was our Lord baptized in water before he was baptized of the Holy Spirit?
ANSWER ─ The Scriptural account of our Lord’s baptism at Jordan seems to imply that God made the manifestation of the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus after his baptism in water. He was baptized into death before he went into the water, in the sense that he had given up his own will; in the sense that the apostle quotes from the Old Testament, “Lo, I come; in the volume of the Book it is written of me; I delight to do thy will, O my God.” (Psa. 40:7,8; Heb. 10:7) Our Lord came to do everything written in the Book concerning him.
Our Lord was already dead to his own will otherwise he could not have gone to John at Jordan. But God’s manifestation of his acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice of himself, apparently waited until after Jesus had performed the symbol. So we read that after he had come up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove. God gave that outward sign, not for all, but for John, who “saw and bare record,” as the Scriptures declare (John 1:32-34). (Pastor Russell, Reprint 5264, June 15, 1913)
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures”
It is with great sadness that we report the death of our faithful helper and Sister in the Truth, Delta Dunnagan Clinard. She was born November 30, 1922 and entered into the “sleep in Jesus” on July 11, 2010.
She was a devoted wife and mother, kind, considerate, and gentle yet strong and courageous, an example of the believers. Her love of the Lord directed the steps of her life, and her desire to share the wonderful promises of God with others prompted her to spend many hours in God’s service.
We here at the Bible House will miss her very much and pray God Bless her memory.