The Lord through the Prophet Jeremiah sends a message of consolation for the heart of every bereaved parent trusting in Him. We read: “A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children because they were not. Thus saith the Lord: Refrain thy voice from weeping and thine eyes from tears, for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.” (Jer. 31:15-17)
Five items in our text fasten our attention:
First: Sorrow for the dead, which is universal; as the Apostle declares, “The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together.” (Rom. 8:22)
Second: The nature of the comfort described - the hope of a resurrection, the hope of the recovery of the dead - “They shall come again,” they shall be restored to life.
Third: That in death our dear ones are in “the land of the enemy”; in harmony with the Apostle’s declaration, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1 Cor. 15:26)
Fourth: That the labors of the parent in endeavoring properly to rear their children are not lost, “Thy work shall be rewarded.”
Fifth: Last but not least in importance in this text is the declaration that this is the Word of the Lord, which cannot be broken - the Word, which is sure of fulfillment, however different it may be from the word of man on this subject.
TEARS NOT WEAKNESS - “JESUS WEPT.”
Sorrow for the dead is not a sign of weakness, but rather the reverse - a sign of love and sympathy, of something more than selfishness. If any demonstration of this thought were necessary it is furnished us in the statement of the shortest verse in the Bible - “Jesus wept.” Our Lord’s tears were shed on a funeral occasion, too; Lazarus, His friend, the brother of Martha and Mary, was dead. Our Lord entered fully into the spirit of the occasion, with a deeper appreciation of the awful meaning of the word death than could possibly be entertained by those about Him. He appreciated more than any of the fallen, dying race the great blessing and privilege of living, and what a terrible affliction was death - destruction, annihilation.
On the other hand, however, He understood more clearly than any of His hearers the gracious plan of God for the rescue of the race from annihilation. He realized that for this purpose He had come into the world, that He might give His life as the ransom price for Father Adam, and thus incidentally for every member of the Adamic race involved in death through the first transgression in Eden. The Master realized from the standpoint of faith in the Father’s plan, and His confident intention to carry out His own part in that plan and to lay down His life as our redemption price, that thus resurrection blessings would come to every member of the race.
“NOT DEAD, BUT SLEEPING”
Let us note carefully the nature of the consolation which our Lord tendered to the sorrowing ones about Him on this occasion. Let us be assured that “He who spake as never man spake” gave the soundest and best comfort. The consolation which He gave was that “Lazarus is not dead, but sleepeth.” He neither spake of him nor thought of him as being dead in the sense of annihilation, because He had full confidence in the Divine Plan of Redemption and in the resurrection blessings resulting. Hence the interim of death He spoke of as sleep - quiet, restful, waiting sleep.
What a wonderful figure is this, so frequently used throughout the Scriptures by all those who trusted in the Divine Plan of a resurrection morning. In the Old Testament Scriptures we read frequently of sleep. Abraham slept with his fathers, so did Isaac, so did Jacob, so did all the Prophets, so did all Israel.
In the New Testament it is the same. Not only did our Lord speak of Lazarus sleeping, but the Apostles frequently used this same figure of sleep to represent their hope in a resurrection - that the dear ones who went down into death were not annihilated, but, as our text declares, “Will come again from the land of the enemy” - will awaken in the resurrection morning.
Thus, too, of Stephen, the first Christian martyr, it is written that though stoned to death, he “fell asleep,” sweetly, restfully, trusting in Jesus and the great power which He ultimately would exercise to call forth from the power of death all redeemed by the precious blood. This, too, we remember, was the comfort the Apostle set before the early Church, saying, “Comfort one another with these words” - “They that sleep in Jesus shall God bring from the dead by him.” (1 Thes. 4:14-18) Referring to the matter on one occasion, the Apostle remarked, “We shall not all sleep, but we must all be changed.” He referred to those who would be living at the second coming of Christ, whose resurrection “change” will not be preceded by a period of unconsciousness in death.
Let us go back to Jesus and the sorrowing sisters at Bethany, and hearken to the words of comfort extended to the bereaved on that occasion. We cannot improve upon the great Teacher and the lessons which He presented. Let us hearken to His conversation with Martha. He says: “Thy brother shall live again.” He does not say thy brother is living now. He did not say, as some erroneously teach today, thy brother is more alive in death than he was before he died. No! No! The Lord would not thus mock the common sense and reason of His hearers, nor could He thus violate the truth and declare the dead not dead.
Hearken! The Lord admits that a calamity has befallen the household. He says not a word about His friend Lazarus having gone to Heaven - not an intimation of the sort. On the contrary, he has tears of sympathy, and holds out as the strongest and only truthful solution of the sorrow, the hope of a resurrection - “Thy brother shall live again!” The hope of all the dead centers in Me. My death will effect the cancellation of the original Adamic condemnation, and I shall have the right then in harmony with the Father’s plan to call forth all the dead from the great prison-house of death, from the tomb. “Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming in which all who are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and shall come forth.” (John 5:23)
THE RESURRECTION MORNING
At the close of His conversation with Martha, explaining that her hope must center in a resurrection of the dead and that He was the center of that resurrection hope, our Lord asked for the tomb, intent upon giving an illustration of the power which by and by in the resurrection morning will be exercised toward the whole world of mankind. Standing at the door of the tomb, our Lord cried in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” and the dead came forth - he had been dead, he was quickened by our Lord’s power and authority.
This, like our miracles performed by our dear Redeemer at His First Advent, we are particularly told, was a fore-manifestation of His coming glory and power, an advance exhibit of what He will do at His Second Advent, only that the work at the Second Advent will be universal, higher, deeper, broader every way, “All the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped”; all that are in their graves shall come forth, not merely to relapse again into blindness and death, but a permanent recovery - not only recovery from the loss of natural sight and hearing, but the eyes and ears of their understanding will be opened also; not merely aroused from a sleep of death to a few years more under present conditions, but aroused to the intent that by obedience of the Divine arrangement of the Millennial Age all the awakened ones may attain to all the glorious perfections, mental, moral and physical, lost by Adam’s disobedience.
“TIMES OF REFRESHING SHALL COME”
Glorious hope of a glorious time. What wonder that the Apostle speaks of it as “times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord when He shall send Jesus Christ.” What wonder that he speaks of those years of the Millennial Age as “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)
Lazarus died again, Jairus’ daughter died again, the son of the widow of Nain died again. Their awakening from the tomb was merely a temporary matter, merely an illustration of the Lord’s power; as it is written, “These things did Jesus and manifested forth his glory.” These were merely fore-gleams of the coming power and glory and blessed work of the gracious Prophet, Priest and King whom God had appointed not only to redeem the world, but in due time to grant to all the opportunities secured by that redemption sacrifice.
DEATH, “THE LAND OF THE ENEMY”
We cannot here go into details, but we doubt not that a majority of you have our full thought on this subject as presented in the “Studies in the Scriptures,” in which we endeavor to show amongst other things that the great blessing which will ultimately be for the world of mankind, as well as for the Church, centers in the coming of our Lord and Master, our Redeemer and King, and that the great blessings centering in Him are not merely temporary, but designed of God to be everlasting and eternal to those who accept Divine favors in the right spirit, reverently, thankfully, obediently.
Why should death be called “The land of the enemy?” Why should it be written, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death?” All because, disguise the facts as we may, death is an enemy. The suggestion that it is a friend comes not from the Word of God, but from heathen philosophies. The suggestion that it is unreal comes not from the Scriptures, but from heathen-dom. The suggestion that the dead are more alive than they were before they died is totally out of harmony with the Scriptural declaration, “The dead know not anything; their sons come to honor and they know it not, and to dishonor and they perceive it not of them,” because “there is neither wisdom nor knowledge nor device in the grave whither thou goest.” (Job 14:21; Eccl. 9:10) The suggestion that we deceive ourselves and imagine without reason that the moment of death is the moment of greater life, is of the Adversary, who contradicted the Lord’s statement in Eden to our first parents, and when the Lord had declared, “Ye shall surely die” for your sin, declared in contradiction, “Ye shall not surely die.” (Gen. 3:2-4)
The Adversary has kept up this false teaching for 6,000 years, and at last not only heathendom is deceived by his misrepresentation of facts, but very, very many of Christendom likewise trust to the word of Satan, “Ye shall not surely die,” and believe that the dead are not dead, and reject the testimony of God’s Word that “the wages of sin is death,” that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die,” that “death has passed upon all men because all are sinners,” and that the hope of the Church as well as the hope for the world lies in the fact that Christ died for our sins and redeemed us from the death sentence, and in the Father’s due time is to effect a resurrection of the dead.
THE KEY OF DEATH’S PRISON
Let us comfort our hearts with the true comfort, the substantial comfort of the Word of God - there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust. All that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and shall come forth. The thousands of millions who have gone down into the great prison-house of death shall be released, because the Great Redeemer has the key, the power, the authority, to bid the prisoners to come forth, even as the Scriptures declare.
What a glorious resurrection morning that will be! What a glorious reunion! We understand the Scriptural teaching to be that the awakening processes will continue throughout a considerable portion of the Millennial Age, the thousand-year day of resurrection and restitution. First will come the resurrection of the Church, the “Bride,” the “Lamb’s Wife,” the “Body of Christ.” These, as the Scriptures declare, will constitute the First Resurrection - not only first in order of time, but first in the sense of chief. In that company will be none except the saints; as it is written, “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First Resurrection; on such the Second Death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:6) Nevertheless, that will be but a little flock, as the Scriptures declare, including “not many wise, not many great, not many learned, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, heirs of the Kingdom.” (1 Cor. 1:26,27; James 2:5)
Not long after the First Resurrection (the glorification of the Church), will come the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies - the overcomers of olden times prior to the Gospel Age. The assurance is that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the holy prophets - yes, all who were approved to God by their faith and their efforts to obedience - will come forth from the tomb to human conditions, glorious, grand, earthly illustrations of the heavenly Creator, to constitute the earthly representatives of the Kingdom, the instructors of mankind.
The instruction of the world will forthwith proceed. We are assured that “the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep” - to such an extent that “They shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying Know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord.” We cannot stop to describe that glorious time and the grand opportunities it will give to every creature to know the Lord, to obey Him, to attain to resurrection in its full significance - a raising up to mental, moral and physical perfection.
After the Kingdom of God shall have been fully established in the earth, and Satan shall have been bound, after the darkness shall have rolled away and the true light shall have lightened every creature, the time will come for the awakening of all the families of the earth - not all at once, but gradually, “they shall come again from the land of the enemy.” The Scriptures do not go into details on this subject, they leave much to faith: but give us a firm foundation for that faith, nevertheless, in the positive promise of the Lord’s Word.
THE LAST FIRST, THE FIRST LAST
To our understanding those who have fallen asleep last, will be among the first to be called back from the land of the enemy, to be awakened, and thus the work of awakening the sleeping ones will progress backward, as we might express it; the living ones will prepare for their brothers and sisters and parents, and they in turn for their brothers and sisters and parents, and so on all the way back, until finally Father Adam and Mother Eve shall come forth to see the world filled with their progeny, in accord with the Lord’s original commission that they multiply and fill the earth.
They will behold with astonishment the showers of blessing that have come upon the race from the Heavenly Father and through the Heavenly Savior; they will see what havoc was wrought by their disobedience, but that God in His wisdom and power was both able and willing to overrule the matter and to bring order out of confusion and resurrection out of death. They and all will realize something of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the Love of God. The grand plan of salvation shall loom up before them; they will see how Abel, their son, who suffered for righteousness, was a type and picture of the great Son of God who suffered for righteousness and for our deliverance, and they will see how his blood shed, speaks forgiveness and renewed harmony with God.
THE TRAGEDY OF SIN AND DEATH
They will learn, too, of the terrible degradation which came upon their race subsequently to their death; they will read with appalled hearts and bated breath of the terrible famines and pestilences which came upon the race as a part of the original sentence or death curse; they will learn about the mental aberrations which afflicted the world, so that men thought they were doing God service in persecuting one another because of religious differences of opinion, and how others, more or less consumed with selfishness, land hunger, etc, warred and fought and devised engines of destruction against each other, and killed one another by the thousands in battle. They will wonder at the patience of God in so long permitting the evil.
“THY WORK SHALL BE REWARDED”
Then truly they will see what God has wrought: First, His Justice, which provided the great redemption price and would not otherwise clear the guilty. Second, His Love, manifested in the same connection in the giving of His Son. Third, they will come to understand how that during this Gospel Age God has been selecting His Church to be the Bride of Christ and joint-heir with Him in the Kingdom. Fourth, they will perceive that when this election was complete and the members of the glorified company had all been tried and polished and tested and glorified, then the blessing of the world through the glorified Christ, Head and Body, came upon all mankind in the restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:20).
Finally, consider the Lord’s Word to us all as a race, and particularly His word to parents, “Thy work shall be rewarded.” What a blessing and comfort! What a consolation and encouragement are in these words to those parents who, seeking to train up their children in the way they should go, are sadly wounded and discouraged when the arrow of death smites down the dear ones they had so loved and cherished. They are disposed at first to say, Ah, my love, my counsel, my motherly care, my fatherly provision, were wasted. But not so, saith the Lord; thy works shall be rewarded.
You shall see the fruit of your labor in the future; we shall know as we are known by and by. Our dear ones will be with us, and to whatever extent time and effort will have been expended upon them to mold and fashion them along the lines of righteousness and truth, uprightness and godliness, these surely have not been spent in vain. The child shall come forth that much more advanced in its mental and moral development; to that much more easy attainment of the grand heights which the Lord will then open up before it.
On the other hand, the parent who has been careless of his children, neglectful of his privileges and obligations as a parent, will undoubtedly have his negligence rewarded in the future as he shall see what he might have done for his children but did not.
And more than this. By a Divine law of reaction, every parent who is faithful in the discharge of his parental duties shall have his work rewarded in himself, and likewise every parent neglectful of his duties shall have his work rewarded in himself. For who does not realize that there is no greater privilege or opportunity for self-development than comes to the parent in his endeavor to train up his children in the way they should go, in the reverence and admonition of the Lord.
CHARACTER BUILDING IS INCLUDED
Undoubtedly it is true, too, that every effort to do good unto others, especially to your own children, has its compensating blessings upon your own hearts. May this blessing deepen as the years go by.
In conclusion, I say to you, not only for today, but for the future days, “Comfort one another with these words” of our Lord to the effect that your little ones shall come again from “the land of the enemy,” and that their return shall be even much more blessed, under much more favorable conditions than at present. Then, the great King reigning, all evil will be in subjection, all evildoers will be under restraint, all the influences of righteousness will be let loose, and the whole earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the great deep. Blessed prospects are those before us, and to Him who loved us and bought us, and to the Heavenly Father, who designed the great plan, we give everlasting thanks and praises, and show this by our daily lives!
(What Pastor Russell Wrote for the Overland Monthly, Pages 212-217)
“BLESSED ARE THE MEEK”
“The meek will he guide in judgment; and the meek will he teach his way.” (Psalm 25:9)
Even a perfect man would need divine guidance in respect to his judgment of matters, in respect to his decisions, in respect to his course, in respect to his ways. And if a perfect man would need Divine guidance and oversight, in order to make no mistake from his limited degree of knowledge, because of not knowing fully the Father’s will respecting him, much more would an imperfect man need this! The good and the bad, the wise and the foolish - all classes of mankind - need such instruction. But there is only one class now in the proper attitude of mind to receive it, and that class is Scripturally called the meek.
We cannot say that the meek are those who feel themselves inferior and that there are superiors to be looked up to, necessarily. Adam in that event could not have been meek; Jesus could not have been meek; the heavenly Father could not be meek. While it is not Scripturally stated that the heavenly Father is meek, yet Jesus was meek, and He was the express image of the Father’s person in the flesh. Hence we would assume that the heavenly Father possesses meekness, in distinction from haughtiness.
GOD RESISTS THE PROUD
Our Lord said, “I am meek and lowly of heart.” Our Lord was meek in that He was teachable. He realized that even in His perfection there were things to be learned; and He learned obedience through the things which He suffered. It was because He had this quality of meekness or teachableness that the offer was made to Him to be our Savior. Without this He never would have been our Redeemer, we may assume. Without this quality He would have been self-assertive and proud, not ready to do the Father’s will. And as with the Master, so with the Church.
Even small talents that are rightly directed are more valuable than larger talents that are misdirected. The pathway of life shows much large talent misdirected for lack of proper knowledge and guidance. And this lack of guidance, we may assume, has resulted from the lack of the spirit of teachableness - the lack of desire to know the best way, the Father’s way. We can see that even a heathen man, if he were meek, would have much more opportunity to learn about the Lord’s will than would one who thinks that he is above instruction. Whoever knows it all to begin with, is not apt to be in a condition to receive any instruction.
The Lord declares that He resists the proud. Even if they become His children they would be kept at a distance. If the proud were permitted to come nearer to the Lord, it would make them more proud; whereas, if they are kept at a distance, they may become meek and teachable and humble. We see then that all need instruction. But the only ones who are in a position to receive it are those who recognize their need and who are in the attitude to avail themselves of the Lord’s offer of guidance of their judgment, of their way, of their course in life. Such as avail themselves of the privilege get a proper estimate of everything - of the things of the life present, and also of the things of the life to come.
These are the ones whom the Lord is pleased to instruct and guide in the knowledge of His Son, and into all His blessings. If they continue to be meek, He is able to make of them heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord. We read in the Scriptures that the meek shall inherit the earth. They will inherit it under the terms of the primary and original covenant. These will be the seed of Abraham. From these the blessing will go to all mankind who will be obedient during the Millennial reign. After the final test at the end of the Millennial Age, the whole world will be teachable. They will have learned the great lesson that God is the Fountain of all Wisdom; and they will have profited by this instruction.
(Reprint 5370, December 15, 1913)
QUESTIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION: Will the heathen and others be saved by their ignorance?
ANSWER: We believe not; for there is no power or anything else good in ignorance to save anyone. Instead of ignorance being Scripturally a ground for salvation it is Scripturally set forth as a reason for alienation from God. (Eph. 4:18; Hosea 4:6; Rom. 2:12) Furthermore, the Scriptures show that knowledge is essential to faith and salvation. (Rom. 10:14-17; Acts 4:12) This is likewise implied in the fact that obtaining salvation presupposes personal acts by the intellect, sensibilities and will, i.e., a matter pertaining to the domain of character, requiring, as it does, on our part the steps of repentance, faith and consecration. It is for this reason that the Church was commanded to teach, i.e., make others know, that those taught might by their knowledge gain salvation. (Matt. 28:18-20 - also see 2 Peter 1:2,3; 2:2-21)
Indeed the theory that the heathen and others are saved by their ignorance is a patent absurdity - although some good people want to believe they will be thus saved - believing as they do that they will have no opportunity of salvation otherwise. But, why send missionaries to teach them salvation, if they are saved by ignorance? According to this theory to teach them would cause most of them - those who will not believe - to be lost who otherwise would have been saved by their ignorance. So all through the generations of the Gospel Age to preach to them would have been the cause of perdition to almost all who heard the message. Are we to believe that God who desires that the people may gain life (Ezek. 18:32) is so lacking in common sense and practicability as to institute the office of teaching the Word of God as the means of saving people - when only a comparatively few are saved by that method - when leaving them in ignorance would have resulted in the salvation of all of them. Manifestly the thought that the heathen are saved by ignorance is unbiblical, unreasonable and unfactual.
Actually the purpose of the Gospel Age is to take out a people for His name. (See Acts 15:14) There are comparatively few who become “footstep followers of Jesus,” - as He has said: “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 7:14) The only “way” open for salvation in this Age is a “narrow way” - becoming footstep followers of Jesus, and bearing “witness to the Truth” as did Jesus. (See John 18:37) Our Lord said, “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Matt. 5:11) Not many are able to “drink of His cup”: they don’t have sufficient faith; “For all men have not faith.” (2 Thes. 3:2)
After He has selected a people for His Name, He will return, “and will build again the tabernacle of David… That the residue of men might seek after the Lord.” (Acts 15:14-17) This “people” will bless the residue of mankind, which includes the heathen: “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” (Gal. 3:8) And the seed is expressly mentioned in Gal. 3:29: “And if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29) Instead of a “narrow way” unto life as it is in this Age, there will be a Highway of Holiness. (Isa. 35:8) “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped.” (Isa. 35:5) It will be the reverse of what it is today when “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” (2 Cor. 4:4) “Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness [error] the people.” (Isa. 60:2)
In the Kingdom there will be no error there: “For when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” His way of saving the residue of mankind in the Millennial Age will be by the power of teaching - and by such teaching enabling them to use for their uplift the restitution processes (Acts 3:21) whereby all may be saved - but only the willing and obedient - and not others - will be saved. There will be no “night” (error) there. (Rev. 22:5) (Brother John J. Hoefle, Reprint No. 387, April 1988)
QUESTION: Someone has said that St.Peter must have a higher position than the Lord Jesus because St. Peter has the keys to heaven, whereas the Lord Jesus has the keys to hell. Where do we find this in the Bible and please explain?
ANSWER: A “key,” in the symbolism of the Scriptures, is representative of the opening power vested in the one who has been duly authorized to act, just as its sometimes expressed in the vernacular - “He holds the key to the situation.” St. Peter was given two “keys” (Matt. 16:19), one of which he used on the day of Pentecost when he opened the way for the Jews to enter into the Kingdom by preaching the Gospel of Christ and the Kingdom (Acts 2:22-36). Three thousand Jews entered in through this opened door (verse 41) on that very day. The second “key” was used three and one-half years later, when St. Peter opened up the way for the Gentiles to enter into the Kingdom by preaching the Gospel to Cornelius, who, accepting the message, and believing, became the first Gentile convert to Christianity (Acts 10:44,45). In Revelation 1:18 the glorified Savior is represented as speaking, saying “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death.” The Lord Jesus, by virtue of His death and resurrection, accomplished the redemption of the race of mankind from death and hell - hades, the grave. Because He thus bought the race, He has the “keys,” the opening power, to release all mankind from the great prison house of death and the tomb, as we read concerning the Lord Jesus - “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me… to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” (Isaiah 61:1) (Question Book, page 783, last question)
QUESTION: How and to what extent were the Apostles inspired?
ANSWER: There are some at the present day who believe that modern authors, teachers and poets are as fully inspired as were the Apostles. Even some clergymen apparently have the thought that they themselves are as authentic and reliable authorities, and should be regarded as such. If this view is the right one, then inspiration is a cheap article, and wholly unreliable when we reflect upon the many conflicting theories and doctrines that have been promulgated by modern theological authorities. The Apostle Peter, in referring to the inspiration of the Sacred Writers, declares that “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21) That is to say, God’s holy power or influence operating upon the minds of the Prophets caused them to speak and to write of future things in relationship to the Divine purposes, which even they themselves did not understand (Dan. 12:8,9). The Apostles likewise were caused to write of matters that would be necessary to the spiritual interests and welfare of the Lord’s people in after times (2 Tim. 3:16,17). Plenary inspiration has not existed since the days of our Lord and the Apostles, and is not needed, as the Scriptures are complete and sufficient of themselves. (Question Book, page 787, last question)