JEREMIAH, member of a priestly family (Jer. 1:1) in the land of Benjamin, has his writing placed in the Bible immediately following that of Isaiah; and one of the four major prophets. One writer refers to him as "The greatest of the prophets"; but some may dispute that. However, we consider it a very fair appraisal to consider him as one of the greatest of prophets. His daughter Hammutal was the wife of King Josiah; thus he would probably have had free access to the very elite of Judah's society.
However, this proximity to Judah's uppercrust gave him ready and accurate appraisal of their vices and virtues. And in the broad sense the vices were much more reprehensible than were the virtues worthy of praise. A prophet in Judah, this placed him in the very delicate position of openly condemning the social abuses that were so glaringly apparent. And his "lamentation" of those failings earned for him the epithet of The Wailing Prophet.
Thus, it may be in order here to quote from another writer, not specifically about Jeremiah, but applying to his general situation: “It is difficult to conceive any situation more painful than that of a great man, condemned to watch the lingering agony of an exhausted country, to tend it during the alternate fits of stupefaction and raving which precede its dissolution, and to see the symptoms of vitality disappear one by one, till nothing is left but coldness, darkness, and corruption."
He predicted the downfall of the smaller kingdom of Judah, similar to the one that had befallen the larger one -Israel -133 years prior to that then slowly coming upon Judah. Concerning Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, Ezekiel had written: "Thou profane wicked prince of Israel [then called Judah], whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end. Thus saith the Lord God: Remove the diadem, and take off the crown; this shall not be the same…I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it to him." (Ezek. 21:25-27)
It is our understanding that the above prophecy applies to the time in which we have been living since 1914. It is telling us in another way what is recorded in the picture in 1 Kings 19:11,12: There the "wind," the "earthquake," and the "fire" represent three "overturnings," as stated in the above. They are the three convulsions that will remove present institutions to make way for "Him whose right it is" -the Kingdom of our Lord, which He promised in the words: “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven."
CONDITIONS PREVAILING IN THE PROPHET'S DAY
The conditions of that time are very ably stated by the historians, of which we shall quote a few: "The temple was polluted with idolatry (2 Chron. 36:14), and justice was not executed (Jer. 21:11,12). A strong party in the state, assisted by false prophets, urged the king to throw off the foreign yoke (Jer. 27: 12-22). At the beginning of Zedekiah's reign (v. I, R.V. -margin) messengers from Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon came to him in Jerusalem to plan a united revolt from the king of Babylon; but Jeremiah was Divinely instructed to condemn the purpose (vs. 2-11). Zedekiah sent an embassy to Nebuchadnezzar, probably to assure the great king of his fidelity (Jer. 29:3), and in his fourth year he himself visited Babylon (Jer. 51:59). Ultimately he was rash enough to rebel. On the 10th day of the 10th month, in the ninth year of Zedekiah's reign, the Babylonian monarch took post against Jerusalem, and began to erect forts around the city. It was too strong to be taken by assault; and the Babylonians held it in siege.
"The advance of the Egyptians compelled the Babylonians to withdraw for a time (Jer. 37:5), but they soon returned. By the ninth day of the fourth month in the 11th year of, Zedekiah's reign, the food in the be1eagured capital was exhausted. That night Zedekiah with all the men of war, secretly quitted the stronghold and, passing as noiselessly as possible between the Babylonian forts, fled in an easterly direction toward the Jordan. On learning that the king was gone, the Babylonian army pursued and overtook him in the plain of Jericho. He was brought a prisoner to Nebuchadnezzar, who had retired to Riblah, a little north of Palestine. There, after he had been tried and condemned. his sons were put to death in his presence, and his own eyes were put out; after which he was bound in fetters, carried to Babylon (2 Kings 24:17-20; 25:1-7; 2 Chron. 36:11-21: Jer.39:1-14), and put in prison till the day of his death (Jer. 52:11). Jeremiah prophesied during the whole of Zedekiah’s reign. Zedekiah was the last king of Judah; thus, we have first-hand information of what the situation was at that time."
Now, from another writer: "The corrupt religion and the moral degeneracy of the last days of the Judean kingdom are strikingly portrayed (Ezek. 8:11, 12). It appears that almost from the first Zedekiah was restive under the Babylonian yoke. Jeremiah warned him not to participate in a coalition of neighboring states against his overlord (Jer.27). Possibly it was these activities which brought him under suspicion and necessitated his visit to Babylon (Jer. 51:59). The pro-Egyptian party was in the ascendancy' at the court. Under its influence Zedekiah openly rebelled. This was not merely an act of political suicide, it was a flagrant violation of the oath of loyalty to Nebuchadnezzar which the king had sworn in the name of YAHWEH (Ezek. 17).
"The essential weakness of Zedekiah's character appears in his occasional consultations with Jeremiah during the course of the siege (Jer. 21:1-7; 38:14-28) and his treatment of the prophet (Jer. 37:17-21; 38:1-13). Granted that he was surrounded by a group of worthless advisers, Ezekiel's description of him as the deadly wounded wicked one, the prince of Israel (Ezek. 21:25. R.V.) is not over severe when we consider his perfidious conduct is remembered (Jer. 34:8-22)."
Jeremiah was called to the prophetic office by a vision. He was young at the time, and humbly felt his immaturity, inexperience and inability to speak to men. "Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me. Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee... I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense to "other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands." (Jer. 1:6, 7, 16)
The opinion is expressed that Jeremiah was probably about twenty years old when the Lord called him to the prophet ministration; and we may well imagine his trepidation at that age, knowing the wayward and domineering bent of the Jewish aristocracy at that time. Moses was eighty years old when the Lord told him to go to Egypt and deliver His people from bondage. The Lord’s instructions to Jeremiah, were to root out, overthrow and destroy with one hand, but to plant and build with the other. He was well aware of the violent opposition that would be his from princes, priests and most of the people. He began to prophesy in the 13th year of the reign of Josiah; and continued his efforts to the full end of Zedekiah at the overthrow of the Jewish polity -in all about 41 years.
Like so many of God’s messengers, false charges were hurled at him. His predictions were discouraging the Jewish soldiers and encouraging the enemy. On one occasion, when he wished to visit his hometown of Anathoth, they accused him of deserting to the Chaldeans.
SOCIAL CONDITIONS IN JUDAH AT THAT TIME
The religious reform of Hezekiah's time had been followed by a terrible reaction in the reign of Manasseh. “He built altars for all the host of Heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord” (2 Chron. 33:5), he set up an idol in the Temple itself and dedicated his sons to Moloch (typical of Satan and eternal torment) by making them pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom. His subsequent repentance, as recorded in the books of Chronicles, seems to have come too late to have much permanent effect upon the ordering of the kingdom, and no improvement was likely under such a man as his son Amon showed himself to be during his brief reign.
That was the state of affairs when Josiah came to the throne. The land was then recovering from the effects of the frequent and destructive attacks of the Assyrian monarchs, and its continued rest in the earlier years of Josiah was in itself favorable to the plans of that king for the country's moral and spiritual welfare. With good advisers in Ahikam, Hilkiah and others, and with a nation probably more than half weary of idolatry and its attendant evils -even before the alarm was sounded by the discovery of the lost Book of the Law, it was an opportunity not to be neglected for an attempt at the revival of religion such as Josiah undertook. And yet the reformation, as in the time of Hezekiah, seems not to have penetrated much below the surface. Pretty much an act of outward show! And Jeremiah was told to protest openly about the condition of the people, of the prevalence of dishonesty, of open licentiousness, of murder, adultery, false swearing, was such that there was great need for one who might convict the Jews of their sins, and arouse them to the requirements of the Divine Law.
There is no record to inform us if Jeremiah ever attended the schools of the prophets that began with Samuel and existing at Ramah, Bethel, Jericho, Gilgal, and elsewhere. Those schools corresponded in some respects to our Theological Seminaries, the chief subjects being a study of the Law, music and sacred poetry. It would seem that Jeremiah was prepared for his work by the instruction and associations he received at Anathoth and the priestly members of his own family; and was directly called by God to openly expose the disobedient Jews. When we consider all this, the man Jeremiah looms greater at every record of him. The discovery of the Book of the Law a few years after God had called him -but before he vitally entered upon his life's work -undoubtedly created quite a stir in his native town, as we know it did in Jerusalem.
Whether that Book contained all of the five books of Moses as we now have them, we cannot know, but it would have almost certainly included the graphic pictures contained in Deut. 28, which reveals the punishments that were to follow 'neglect of the Lord God and the subsequent lapse into idolatry. That book made a profound impression upon Jeremiah, and he refers and quotes copiously from those writings in his own declarations; and the solemn covenant entered into by the nation must have affected deeply his mind and heart. "The king went up into the house of the Lord... and all the people both small and great; and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant that was found in the house of the Lord. And the king stood by a pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments … and all the people stood in the covenant." (2 Kings 23:3) These solemn words and the no less significant acts that followed, contrasted as they were with the state of wickedness which existed around the prophet, wrought upon his mind that effect, which God employed as the means of calling forth his declarations of impending woe, and thus making him the typical prophet of sorrow (the "Wailing Prophet"), and a derivative from his name (jeremiad) a synonym of lamentation.
It was under such circumstances as these that the actual call occurred, and in a form evidently altogether unlooked for. It did not come to him in the shape of a vision of the Divine Majesty as to Isaiah (Isa. 6), or of the mysterious living creatures and "wheels within wheels" such as came to Ezekiel, but without startling symbol or ecstatic trance the command was received. And the youth shrank from the prospect -as well might any of us have done under similar circumstances, not from fear of the innocent blood which the Jews "shed very much," but from honest distrust of his own power (“'I am a child") to assume leadership and deal boldly and successfully with the evils of the day, of gaining a hearing and producing an impression by the power of his language joined to the solemn import of his message.
How we are reminded here of the same condition that Moses plead regarding what the Lord told him to do -go to Egypt and deliver God's people from Egyptian bondage; “I am not eloquent, but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” (Ex. 4: 10) However, the Lord reassured him, touched his mouth (“Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth… I have put my words in thy mouth.” -Jer. 1:9), and sent him forth as His prophet unto the nations. Then Jeremiah boldly addressed himself to the impurity and crime he saw around him.
He condemned the worship of Baal and Astarte, and the unholy pleasures to which that worship ministered (the "iniquity" of the Amalekites and revolting manner of the Philistines). The example of those nations round about stimulated the Jews to break through all restraint; and the sacrifice of their children to Moloch was merely the attempt of an alarmed conscience to atone for their crimes. The prophet told them that the restoration of the temple and the celebration of the Passover would avail them nothing so long as their hearts remained as foul as they were before these gestures. His "rising early and speaking" clearly exposed him to "reproach and derision daily." (Jer. 20:8) Even the men of Anathoth sought the life of this "home-town boy." and they dealt treacherously with him (12:6). "A man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth! I have neither lent on usury, nor men have lent to me on usury; yet every one of them doth curse me." (15:10)
The favor of the court was no longer on the side of the godly. Jeremiah thus extended himself to condemn the king’s own glorification and neglect of the worship of God. The prophet stressed real, and not pretended service, which exasperated the priests and false prophets by the very truth of the charges which he brought. So they condemned his "disloyalty," and demanded his death. He answered that his message was not his own, for "The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house, and against this city." (26:11, 12)
And he continued to declare the signs of the times, and to maintain opposition to those who still advocated alliance with Egypt as against Babylon, because he said the latter would certainly prevail. He said that all these lands would be given into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the “servant” of God. He demonstrated his statements by the breaking of a potter's clay vessel in the valley of Hinnom in the presence of the priests, which excited their wrath all the more against him, as they prophesied lies in the name of the Lord. This brought upon Jeremiah ignominious treatment, and some imprisonment for a time.
About that time the first and partial fulfilment of his prophecies came concerning the supremacy to be asserted by Babylon. In the fourth year of Jehoiakim's reign Nebuchadnezzar smote the army of Pharaoh-nechoh in Carchemish. He then advanced into Palestine, driving many of its inhabitants to seek refuge within the walls of Jerusalem. Among such were the Rechabites, which was the occasion of the interview that the prophet had with them, and from which he pointed a moral to his countrymen (Chapter 35). Nebuchadnezzar advanced to Jerusalem, and carried away Daniel and others, as well as vessels from the Temple, to Babylon (2 Chron. 36:6.7; Dan. 1:1) Nebuchadnezzar was then in charge of the army, and probably would have taken more positive steps against Judea had not word come to him of his father's illness, which caused him to return hastily to secure his succession to the throne.
The Jews failed to profit by the warning which God had thus given them; but Jeremiah, hidden to avoid the wrath of the king, sent his friend Baruch with a roll to be read in the Temple on a solemn feast day -in the ears of all the people. Hearing of this, the king ordered the roll to be read to him and had it burned -in spite of the protest of some of the princes. Whereupon Jeremiah had Baruch to write another roll with the words of the first, plus many more words that were added by the prophet -a rebuke to the king and further statements of God's coming vengeance.
Jeremiah and Baruch considered it unsafe to return to Jerusalem, so they hid in the hole of a rock near the river Euphrates; and the king received no more warnings. Although the Chaldeans had probably not yet returned to the siege. The Jews submitted, and paid tribute to them for three years, money which the king desired to expend upon his own luxuries and pleasures. He was attacked by a conglomerous horde of Chaldeans and others. In this the king was killed, and was given an ignominious burial. His body was cast out and exposed, dragged away, received the burial of an ass beyond the gates of Jerusalem.
Then Jehoiachin was set up by Nebuchadnezzer, reigned but three months, after which the city being beseiged, he yielded himself to Nebuchadnezzar. The king., the treasures of the Temple and the king’s house, were taken to Babylon, where Jehoiachin spent thirty-six years in prison, after which Evil-Merodach, son and successor to Nebuchadnezzar released him. Jeremiah makes but passing comment about his reign. (22:24-30)
Next came Zedekiah, who differed much from Jehoiachin. He was weak, and inclined to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, in accordance with Jeremiah's advice. But he had no real zeal for the service of God, vacillating in disposition, listening alternately to Jeremiah, then to those princes that advocated resistance to Babylon, the latter advising alliance with Egypt, or single-handed resistance. Jeremiah’s condemnation of the bad advice is shown in many places, but we shall quote just one: "Thus saith the Lord… Pharaoh’s army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt... and the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire." (Jer. 37:7.8)
All the best and worthiest part of the nation had already been carried away captive, and the prophet had told them that the “naughty figs” would shortly be consumed from off the land. Jeremiah also wrote to those Jews who had already been made captive -they should submit to their captivity, and await restoration to their land. But a false prophet (Shemaiah) sought to stir up the people of Jerusalem against Jeremiah, accusing him of being "a madman. “In the ninth year of Zedekiah the wealthiest people, who had made slaves of their brethren, consented under pressure to release them. But at the departure of the beseiging Chaldeans they reversed their decision. Zedekiah was too weak to oppose this latter course, but Jeremiah denounced it in the strongest of terms. Then the self-reliant irreligious men were much displeased with the prophet, and, upon manufactured charges, had him put into prison; but after "many days” was released by Zedekiah, who then gave him a daily supply of food (Jer. 37:21), after which he spoke of brighter days to come. But the captains did not believe him, and seized him again.
At that time each house in Jerusalem had a cistern for storing up water to be used in the dry season. Into one of these, damp and slimy as it was, they lowered the prophet, but he was eventually rescued by an Ethiopian eunuch. The prophet then held conference with the King and others, but to no avail; and in Zedekiah's eleventh year the city was sacked, the temple burned; and Zedekiah and his leaders were given horrible treatment -as explained previously.
As for Jeremiah, the captain of the guard received a special charge from Nebuchadnezzar concerning him -he had his choice of remaining under the new governor of Judea, or living under an honorable captivity at Babylon. He chose to remain in Judea; and a friendly family took him in; but the head of that house was murdered in a few months. Jeremiah emphatically warned the people not to go down to Egypt, of the misery that would befall them. However the expectation of security from war and famine prevailed, and they forced Jeremiah to accompany them; and from Tahpanhes, a town near the eastern border of Egypt, there is the last information we have of his life. He there declared that Nebuchadnezzar's throne would be set up at the entry of Pharaoh’s house (Jer. 43:9.10).
He made one last protest against the idolatry of his countrymen, and their wanton worship of the moon -"the queen of heaven" (Jer. 44:17-25) -the "woman" in the moon being regarded as the resurrected diabolical Semiramus , whom we have described in previous papers. The Bible does not give us a record of Jeremiah's death, he being described by scholars as one of the greatest -if not the greatest -of the historical and literary prophets. In misery and continual peril of death, he had witnessed the fall of the Jewish state and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, and eventually occupied the silent tomb of an alien land. Tradition has it that he was stoned to death.
The history of this great man of God would not be complete if we did not offer the opinions of some sound and reliable writers concerning him: Jeremiah is personally the most interesting to us of all the prophets because, unlike the others, he shows us the inmost recesses of his mind. The various qualities which made up the man are quickly and easily gathered from his own lips. There is hardly a clearer illustration of the Providence of God in raising up men for special sorts of work than is afforded by Jeremiah. We have just seen that those were no ordinary times in which he lived. "The snake" of idolatry had been "scorched not killed" by Hezekiah and Josiah. The spirit of disobedience and rebellion, which had been so long working in his countrymen, was now past remedy by all common means. Nothing but the nation's total overthrow, at least for a time, could effect a radical cure.
Glowing appeals, such as had been made by an Isaiah, a Hosea, a Micah in former days would now have been of no avail. Those prophets had fulfilled their task. and the Holy Spirit had employed their special gifts for the work which belonged to their age. Jeremiah’s office on the other hand was to utter and reiterate the warning, though sensible all the while that the sentence of condemnation was passed and would speedily be put into execution. It was not for him as for those who had preceded him to proclaim the certainty of God's protection, to urge resistance to the foe, to present scarce any but bright pictures of the future. Hopes like these, bestowed through Isaiah, and since been forfeited, and now hardly anything remains save to mourn the downfall of the kingdom to point again and yet again to the canker that had eaten out the vitals of the nation.
Such a task as this demanded one who, however weak in body, should be a man of rare courage, unterrified by popular clamor or princely disfavor, fixed in resolve, and thoroughly devoted to the ascertained will of God. He needed not natural gifts of oratory. His work was not to persuade, but rather to testify, to express the thoughts of the few remaining pious ones of the nation, not to gain the ear or influence the hearts of the abandoned crowd. The wearing effect of constant failure, the intense pain of seeing his nation advance step by step on the road to its overthrow, his powerlessness to avert the evils which he saw impending. the hostility and abuse which it was his daily lot to bear from those whom he sought to warn, a solitary life and prohibition of marriage (Jer.16: 2) -these" required as a counterpoise a heroic spirit that should not shrink from the encounter, as well as ceaseless devotion to Him whose commission he had borne even from the womb (Jer. 1:6).
And yet he was naturally of a shy and timid disposition, shrinking from public life, deprecating all possibility of prophesying in God's name. And after he had entered upon his work, his naturally desponding mind would suggest not only that the message he bore was a sad one, but that he had not received the proofs -the credentials which marked a true prophet -such as were granted to his predecessors. No miracle was wrought to attest his words. No prediction was fulfilled with speed, so as to indicate the solidity of his claims. On the contrary "the word of the Lord was a reproach to him, and a derision daily."
At times he seems to have well-nigh despaired not only of success but of life itself. "Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole earth... everyone of them doth curse me.” (Jer. 15: 10) Immediately afterwards he contrasts the joy in which, inspired no doubt by the promises given him, he had entered upon the prophetic office, with the disheartening reception that awaited him. “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed?" (Jer. 15: 16, 18) Such is the bitterness of his sufferings that on one occasion we find him relating his resolve to keep silence. "The word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me and a daily derision. Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name: but his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay." (Jer. 20:8, 9)
Belonging to the orders both of Priest and Prophet, and living at the very time when each had sunk to its lowest state of degradation, Jeremiah was compelled to submit to the buffeting which they each bestowed upon a man who was by his every word and deed passing sentence upon themselves. He saw them permitted to vent their rage upon his person, he saw them held in esteem by the people, their way prospering, those that dealt treacherously were happy. For the greater part of his mission he had no man likeminded with him. From the first moment of his call he was alone, amidst a hostile world. But through it all, conscientious devotion to duty maintained its place within his heart. The promise that he should be as a brazen wall made at the time of his call and renewed later never failed him. (Jer. 1: 18; 15: 20)
Jeremiah has been likened to several characters in profane history -to Cassandra, the Trojan prophetess, whose fate it was never to be believed, though prophesying nothing but the truth; to Phocion, the rival of Demosthenes in the last generation of Athenian greatness. who maintained the unpopular but sound doctrine that, if Athens were to escape worse evils, she must submit peaceably to the growing power of Macedon; to Dante, whose native state, Florence, was in relation to France and the empire as Palestine was to Egypt and Babylon, while the poet -like the prophet -could only protest without effect against the thickening ills.
His style corresponds closely with what we should expect from his character. It displays absence of ornament. This thoroughly befits his inartificial nature. He is not only preeminently the prophet of sorrow, but, as shrinking from anything like display of himself, and full of humility as of zeal for God's honor, he naturally was led to the simplest form of words to express the painful images which ever held possession of his thoughts. In him the glowing language and vivacity which characterize Isaiah's writing have no place, and while his style has a beauty of its own, it has at its best a shade of sadness, and its fervor, when it rises to such, is the fervor of expostulation or grief. He emphasizes this in Lam. 1:12:
“Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.”
The foregoing does not nearly exhaust the glowing descriptions voiced about Jeremiah, but we believe we have offered sufficient to give our readers a good eulogy of Jeremiah. And our own closer acquaintance of him magnifies our estimation of him; and affords keener understanding of St. James' statement: "Take, my brethren, the prophets for an example" (James 5:10); and St. Paul’s words: "Of whom the world was not worthy." (Heb. 11:38)
(By John J. Hoefle, No.325, July 1982)
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear Brethren: Grace and Peace!
There is much being written these days about cloning of human beings. I think this is a ridiculous idea. To my mind it is on a par with the unauthorized method of procreation used by the fallen angels in the days before the flood (Gen. 6:1-4). An illicit progeny was produced who were physical and mental giants. "men of renown.” who tyrannized the Adamic race, so God destroyed them in the flood.
Seems to me I recall that Adolph Hitler had his scientists working on this with the notion of cloning himself. What a horrible thought -many Hitlers! I cannot prove that this was so, but maybe some who are "in the know" can. But why would anyone in their right mind want to follow Hitler's lead? Isn't that what the Germans did and it got them into a lot of trouble? I hope we do not have a mad scientist on the loose.
With prayers and blessings for your work in the Lord.
Your Sister, … (NORTH CAROLINA)
Dear Sister Emily,
Thank you for your letter and address of the sister in California. I am preparing to write to her and send her some copies of Brother Poe's letters.
You asked where I met for Bible Study. As there are no brethren here, I am meeting with the Bible Students whenever I can. I pick up Sister ... and we go on to the meeting. Right now we are studying the Tabernacle Shadows on Sundays. I would like to get to more meetings, but because I am still working full time. I'm not able to do so.
I plan to attend the St. Louis Convention May 22 and 23. I received the truth while living in Janesville, Wisconsin in 1912 and consecrated and was inmersed in Beloit, Wisconsin in 1973. Brother and Sister... were the ones who brought the truth to me as I was witnessing for the Church of Christ at a booth at the Rock County Fair.
I believe that Pastor C. T. Russell was the 7th messenger to the church and the returned Lord entrusted him with the "meat in due season" to the household of faith. I continue to study the six volumes and Tabernacle Shadows as well as other writings of Pastor Russell, believing that these are the keys to the understanding of the Holy Scriptures. I fellowship as brethren those whom Pastor Russell fellowshipped (as he described in Reprint 5284, “Doctrines More or Less Important”). I do believe that the door is still open to run for the prize of the "high calling." Until the Lord closes the door I intend to so run as he gave us opportunity to do so.
Well, that is a brief description of what I believe. God bless you as you serve Him and His people. Your sister by His Grace,... (FLORIDA)
One time I read one sentence in the Bible. It was in Isaiah 49:15: "Can a wife forget her suckling so that she should not pity the son of her belly? Even these women can forget, yet I myself shall not forget you.” These are my feelings toward you, although my many engagements and the job's responsibilities preventing me to have more time to spend for my friends and other activities.
I hope you are well in health and spirit and your life to be full of joy. My life is very occupied by a lot of things I face day after day. In these last months I have made conference trips from south to north Italy speaking about the cults and about Jehovah's Witnesses. Moreover I wrote a book about Jehovah's Witnesses and the Nazi and Fascist party, that is going to be published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.
I'm continuing to direct two different offices in the two cities of Siracusa and Catania, so I am often on the road going from one to another one. And its in these moments when I drive my car that I have time to think. Many times my thoughts lead me far, and I wonder why there is so much pain and grief in the world among the human race.
I am unable to accept that to be the fruit of a deliberate design or the result of the long tolerance by God. Obviously I haven't any answer to these big problems but the important thing is that men are suffering from the night of the times and using the Apostle's words: "From the day our forefathers fell asleep in death, all things are continuing exactly as from creation's beginning.” (2 Peter 3: 4) So, as I have other times written to you, I continue to think the best way of life is to have love for each other and "All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you you also must likewise do to them." (Matt. 1:12)
I hope to be able to write you next time a bit speedier. I'm waiting your news, meanwhile receive my sincere greetings and my brotherly love.
Your friend, Sergio (ITALY)