Recently we have been urged to offer an analysis of this parable and related subjects as given by Jesus in Matt. 25:31-46. At the outset we would stress that in a parable the thing said is never the thing meant. Probably every one would accept that statement as respects this particular parable; nobody believes that Jesus was discussing literal sheep and goats, although many take just the reverse position with His other parables and try to read them literally, thus reading themselves into a morass of confusing error.
First of all, the time and place: Most nominal Christians believe the time will be at the judgment day – a 24-hour period when the Lord and His faithful Church “will come down from Heaven with a shout, with an archangel’s voice, and with God’s trumpet.” (1 Thes. 4:16, Dia.) Of course, to fit that together with any semblance of logic they cannot do; nor can they locate the place, except to state it will be on this earth at the time it is burned up at the last day.
Our own thought, as we shall presently show, is that the parable covers the entire Kingdom reign of a thousand years, in harmony with the prayer of Jesus: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And that will be a time of purifying the sheep, and making manifest the goats – some during that thousand years, and some after it is completed – graphically stated in Ezekiel 46:23,24: “It was made with boiling places under the rows round about... These are the places of them that boil, where the ministers of the house shall boil the sacrifice of the people.” This is somewhat akin to the Roman Catholic purgatory, the fires of which supposedly burn out (“purge”) the evils of the savable.
ANALYSIS OF MATT. 25:31-46
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory (in the Kingdom), and all the holy angels (messengers – the Saints) with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” (v. 31) “And before him shall be gathered all nations (first the living who survive the “Time of Trouble,” and then those who come forth from the tombs); and he shall separate them one from another (during His Mediatorial reign – the final and complete separation being in the “Little Season”—Rev. 20:7-9), as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” (v. 32) “And he shall set the sheep (the meek, the teachable) on his right hand, but the goats on the left (opposite of favor – as subjects of condemnation).” (v. 33) “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand (those during the Mediatorial reign who will have obtained the position of favor, by harmony and obedience), Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (when Christ delivers up the dominion of earth to mankind—l Cor. 15:24 – He will do so by delivering it up to mankind, who were designed by the Father to have this honor);” (v. 34) “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: (All who are awakened in the kingdom will be without possessions of any kind);” (v. 35) “Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me (was sick – neither actually well, perfect – nor actually dead).” (v. 36) “Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?”(v. 38) “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren (Restitutionists – the least of His brethren), ye have done it unto me.” (v. 40)
“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed (condemned – unfit for eternal life) into everlasting fire (annihilation – everlasting destruction), prepared for the devil and his angels (the Devil, fallen angels and the “goats” into the Second Death from which there is no recovery – See Rev. 20:14 and Berean Comments).” (v. 41) “For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink;” (v. 42) “I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.” (v. 43) “Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?” (v. 44) “Then shall he answer them saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.” (v. 45)
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (v. 46) The goats to be cut off from life, eternally punished; just the opposite of the sheep who receive eternal life – eternally blessed, as promised the obedient in the Kingdom. The goats “shall be as though they had not been.” (Obadiah 16)
THE ADAMIC DEATH
During past centuries every member of the fallen race that has entered the tomb has gone there by experiencing the Adamic death; but all of them that return from the tomb will never again experience the Adamic death, although the dying process will be present with every one of them; and it is this that will be “boiled” out of them if they are to receive the real “resurrection from the dead” – a raising up to life again in exact duplication of what Adam had in the Garden of Eden.
Although the parable of the Sheep and Goats is exclusively applicable to the Kingdom reign, there are related expressions that may be applied to the Jewish and Gospel Ages. The goats of the Jewish Age are described as “the chaff” in contrast to the wheat; but it should be emphasized here that that “chaff” did not go into everlasting destruction, as will be true of the goats of the Mediatorial reign. However, when Jesus said, “Other sheep have I that are not of this fold” (John 10:16), He was referring exclusively to the sheep of the parable we are now discussing.
There was only two classes in the Jewish nation at the first Advent; but there are three classes here in the Gospel Age, as there will also be three classes in the Millennial Age. In 1 Pet. 4:18 there is this: “If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” The “righteous” in this text are the Lord’s true sheep; the “ungodly” are the second-deathers; and the “sinner” is the Great Company (see James 5:20 Berean Comment). In the Kingdom reign there will also be three classes: sheep, goats and princes (Psa. 45:16).
THE ADAMIC-DEATH PROCESS
The Adamic-death state and the Adamic-death process are closely related, yet there are pronounced differences in the two expressions. As every person is raised from the grave he at that instant permanently separates himself from the Adamic-death state (hades—oblivion); it no longer has any hold on him. But not so of the Adamic-death process. At the resurrection of the restitutionists most of the Adamic-death process (the evils of the “curse”) will still be noticeably present with all. Note the Berean Comment on Rev. 20:14: “Death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire – including aches, pains, mental and moral imperfections of every sort .... gradually from the beginning of the Millennial Age to its close.”
Adam had been told, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” – “Dying thou shalt die” (see margin of Gen. 2:17). It is this dying process that must be eliminated after the awakening if man is to return to perfection. This is tersely told in Psa. 103:2-4: “The Lord forgiveth all thine iniquities; healeth all thy diseases; redeemeth thy life from destruction; crowneth thee with loving kindness and tender mercies.” The first two of these promises are already arranged, and guaranteed to every one that returns from the grave in the Mediatorial Kingdom. “He is the propitiation for our (the Christ Company) sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) “Make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” (Heb. 2:17)
The second two sections of this text will require the cooperation of the people themselves if they are to be fully consummated. The sheep will give full cooperation, but the goats will not. Some of these latter will die during the Mediatorial reign (Isa. 65:20); but the large majority of them will not be destroyed until the end of the Little Season – those who outwardly conform to the benevolent requirements of the Kingdom, but who inwardly retain some of the evils of the past.
It should now be clear enough to all our readers that the dying process is not a person, but a thing – a condition – indelibly stamped into the character of the goats. And this being true, it should also require little argument that this contagion – in whatever form it may appear – could not possibly be destroyed, be put out of existence until the last goat infected with it would be destroyed. –It is indeed “the last enemy” of 1 Cor. 15:26; and “He must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet..... the last enemy death.” That this “last enemy – death” – cannot possibly mean the Adamic-death state is self-evident because that will have passed out of existence at least one hundred years before the end of the Mediatorial reign. Therefore, the Adamic-death process is the last enemy; and it will not be destroyed until the full and of the Little Season.
The question has occasionally come to us, Did Brother Russell teach the Adamic-death process in this manner; and the answer is definitely, Yes he did! In Parousia Vol. 5, page 380, par. 3, middle, there is this: “In the future no one will die for Adam’s sin: it will be out of view as a factor in the trial of the future. The only death thereafter will be the Second Death, which will affect only the sinner who commits the sin, not the parents, not the children. In that day he that dies shall die for his own sin. ‘The soul that sinneth it shall die.’ (Ezek. 18:4) Though such will have weakness of the Adamic nature (the Adamic-death process—JJH) from which they will never recover, for refusing to use the means and opportunities placed within their reach during the Millennium by the Mediator of the New Covenant, yet under that New Covenant inherited weaknesses will not be reckoned against them, being fully offset by their Redeemer’s sacrifice. Hence from and after the time when this opportunity of the Millennial Age is offered to each one, the Adamic weakness and imperfections (the Adamic-death process—JJH) will still be upon them, their death will not be counted as being a part of the Adamic death (hades—JJH), but as being part of the Second death; because their failure to make progress will be the result of their own willfulness (by keeping the Adamic-death process in their being—JJH), and not the result of Adam’s transgression, nor of their own heredity to its weaknesses.”
It has been said by RGJ that if the goats of the Little Season still had the Adamic-death process in them, they would be dying the Adamic death. Once the Kingdom is fully established, those who die will die the Second Death – even though they have the Adamic-death process in them, and willfully refuse to have it striped out; and this same condition will prevail with the goats in the Little Season. Those who die during the Mediatorial reign, because they would not even outwardly submit to the Kingdom opportunities of purging themselves of the evils within themselves, will die the Second Death; not the Adamic death. The difference between the two classes of goats is that the goats who continue into the Little Season will have been smart enough to obey outwardly, thus living throughout the Mediatorial reign and to the end of the Little Season. And at the full end of the Little Season “the last enemy” will be destroyed. Our present assurance that God’s love and justice operate in fullest harmony gives us confidence that the same principles will continue to rule the universe forever. The “wrath” – the “curse” – will be lifted from all who come into harmony with God through Jesus the Savior; but all who do not avail themselves of this saving grace will be swallowed of the Second Death – the “wrath (the Adamic-death process) of God abideth on them.” (Acts 3:23; John 3:36; Rev. 22:3—Parousia Vol. 5, p. 439, par. 2) Thus, all who will survive the Little Season must enter it with perfect characters; no more opportunity for developing character during the Little Season.
The following from p. 111 Tabernacle Shadows, par. 1, states very clearly that Brother Russell understood the Adamic-death process, and taught it just as we have given it in the earlier pages of this article: “The cleansing of defilement through contact with the dead would seem to teach that this cleansing, effected by and through the Ancient Worthies, will specially apply to the world of mankind during the Millennial Age, while they are seeking to get rid of all the defilements of Adamic death – seeking to attain human perfection (ridding themselves of all the evils that harbor the Adamic-death process—JJH). All the blemishes of the fallen condition are so much of contact with death; all constitutional weaknesses and blemishes through heredity are contacts with death; and from all of these the ashes of the Red Heifer are to be used for the cleansing of all who will become the people of God. Like the ashes of the Red Heifer, laid up in a clean place, so the results of the painful experiences of the Ancient Worthies will be a store of blessings, instruction and help, by which they, when made subordinate ‘princes’ in the Kingdom, will assist in the restitution work. Each pardoned sinner, desiring to be cleansed perfectly, must not only wash himself with water (truth), but must also have applied to him the instructions of these ‘princes’ – said instructions being typified by the sprinkled ashes of the heifer, representing the valuable lessons of faith and obedience learned through experience by this class—Ex. 12:22; Lev. 14:4,49; Psa. 51:7; Heb. 9:19.”
During this Age, whether in the Household of Faith or out of it, all are afflicted with the Adamic-dying process. Although forgiven from their sins, all the faithful followers of Jesus still possess these evils – inherited or acquired. And, though they make resolute effort to rid themselves of these imperfections, they yet retain some of them although they all make some progress toward perfection if they are to be “more than conquerors.” They also inherited the Adamic death; but they “have passed from death unto life.” (1 John 3:14) If they continue faithful, they die the sacrificial death; if they are only measurably faithful, they die the constrained death; if they become totally unfaithful, they die the second death: they no longer die the Adamic death.
The following quotation is from Parousia Vol. 5, p. 330,331: “But while, as the Adamic death has been turned, by reason of God’s plan and ransom, from being a destruction to a suspension of existence, called sleep, yet we find that the Bible very distinctly asserts that after the revival or awakening from the death-sleep, it will depend upon each individual whether he shall go on unto perfection and life, under the guidance, government and tutelage of the glorious Christ, or whether he will willfully, deliberately and stubbornly choose the way of sin. If he choose the latter, he will get the punishment designated for father Adam: death, but no longer Adamic death, the penalty of Adam’s sin: this is styled the second death. This Second Death is nowhere spoken of as a sleep, nor is there the slightest intimation anywhere that there will be any awakening from it. On the contrary, it is designated everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.’—2 Thes. 1:9.“Of this redeemed and awakened class, that shall have its trial during the Millennial Age, the Bible declares, ‘The soul that sinneth it shall die.’ (Ezek.18:20) That this verse is not generally applicable now is evident from three considerations:
(1) – It would be meaningless, at the present time, when all die – saints and sinners.
(2) – It is expressed in the form of a second sentence, and based upon the individual action, and this could not be applicable now, because now we all die because of ‘one man’s disobedience,’ and the sentence of death which came upon him and indirectly affects all his race—Rom. 5:12.
(3) – The context shows that this verse refers particularly to those who have gotten free from Adamic sin that prevails in general today. Its special applicability, therefore, must belong to the next Age, the Millennial Age. Note the connections, not forgetting that the Law Covenant of the Jewish Age was analogous to the covenant of the Millennial Age, except that the latter will have a better Mediator, able and willing to succor and to help all seeking to walk righteously, not imputing unintentional short-comings.”
And further from Parousia Vol. 5, p. 361: “‘The wicked shall be (re)turned into hell (sheol, oblivion) and all nations that forget God.’—Psa. 9:17. The Hebrew word shub in this text is properly translated ‘returned.’ This gives the thought of one recovered from sheol, oblivion, and that some thus recovered will be returned to oblivion on account of wickedness and forgetfulness of God. The deliverance of mankind in general from sheol will occur during the Millennial Age, as a result of the ransom price finished at Calvary. However, those once awakened and brought to a knowledge of the Truth, who then are willfully perverse, will be returned again to oblivion, ‘the Second Death,’ from which there is to be no ransom and no restitution. That this passage is not applicable to the masses of mankind (the heathen) who have never known God, is very evident; from its own statement it refers to those who forget God after they have been brought to a clear knowledge of Him, and to corresponding responsibility.”
It should be emphasized here that the cause for the Second Death in the next age will be the Adamic-death process that the possessors refuse to eliminate in themselves. The evils of this curse are everywhere evident now; nor will they be eliminated while their possessors are in the tomb. “In the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.” (Eccl. 11:3)
However, today the world of mankind is dying the Adamic death. God’s wrath is not only revealed against the grossest of sinners, but against all unrighteousness, even the slightest. Hence there is no escape for there is none righteous, no, not one (Ps. 49:7); and hence the infants as well as the gray-haired are subject to this ‘wrath,’ this ‘curse.’ This time of wrath that has now lasted six thousand years is to be brought to a close by the great Day of Vengeance, in which Justice prescribes that there shall be additional trouble upon mankind, because of the rejection of greater opportunities and privileges, and failure to obey the laws of righteousness, to the extent that these laws have been discerned by Christendom. Hence this Day of Vengeance and of special wrath, additional to what has prevailed previously, it is declared, will be “a Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation.” (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21)
Further from Reprints 3433, col. 1, par. 5,6: “Rev. 20:12 reads, ‘And I saw the dead, the great and the small, stand before the throne, and the books were opened; and another book of life was opened, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works.’
“This is a brief description of the work of the Millennial Age. The whole world will be on trial before the throne – the Millennial throne – the throne of Christ. Our common version says, stood before God, but this is not in agreement with the reading of the oldest manuscripts, from which we have quoted above. The world will be standing before the throne of Christ throughout the Millennial Age in the same sense that the Church has been standing on judgment during this Gospel Age. A picture of the world’s judgment is given in Matt. 25, where two classes that will be found amongst men are to be separated into sheep and goats, and the division between them is to be the work of the Millennial Age – to separate the true sheep, who will be accounted worthy of Divine favor everlastingly, from those of the goat nature, who, refusing to come into subjection to the Lord’s will, shall be estimated unworthy of any favors beyond the Millennial Age, and will be destroyed with Satan, as described in Rev. 20:9,10.”
During this Age all are afflicted with the Adamic-dying process, although the footstep followers of Jesus, faithful to the end, are not dying the Adamic Death; they die the sacrificial death, even as did Jesus. However, Jesus was perfect in His humanity, whereas none of His footstep followers are perfect – they continue to have some of the Adamic-death process inherent within them. Nevertheless, they are reckoned perfect; Christ’s merit covers their imperfections. (Rom. 4:3,5 8, 11)
In the Kingdom, even as it is now, fully willful sins will not be forgiven; in other words, those who have sufficient light and ability to obey what that knowledge requires, will not be excused without some chastisement. But it requires perfect wisdom to know when a person has such knowledge and ability, and refuses to obey. In this Age, as well as in the Kingdom, we are to wait until the Lord’s judgments are made manifest. The Lord is the heart-searcher and the manifester. (See Heb. 4:12 and Berean Comment)
GOD THE SAVIOR OF ALL MEN
1 Tim. 4:10 shows that God will save all men from the Adamic condemnation, but not eternally: “We trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men (from the Adamic death sentence – but not eternally; after this sentence is removed from each one, he is given an individual trial for life; and only those who prove worthy in their trial gain everlasting life), specially of those that believe (He is the Savior to the uttermost only of the faithful elect now and the faithful non-elect in the Kingdom).”
Titus 2:11-13 (A.R.V.): “For the grace (favor, love) of God hath appeared (in His gift of Jesus for man’s salvation, and in the Gospel message), bringing salvation to all men (this ransom grace is salutary for all men, saving all now or in the Millennium from the Adamic sentence, and also, as the bread of life – John 6:33-58 – offering eternal life to all who will partake of it on the Divinely-arranged conditions, and withholding it from all who will not), instructing us (especially God’s people), to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world; looking for the blessed hope (of seeing and being with and like our Lord) and appearing (epiphaneia, bright shining) of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.”
It is not the bright shining of a literal light that is meant here, but rather the brightness of God’s and Christ’s characters, shining resplendent in perfect wisdom justice, love and power, in connection with the entire 1000 years’ stay of our Lord in His Second Advent. This bright shining continues until the entire 1000 years’ stay of our Lord in His Second Advent. This bright shining continues until the entire earth is filled with God’s glory (Num. 14:21; Ps. 73:19; Is. 6:13). Antichrist is to be destroyed by this bright shining (epiphaneia) of our Lord’s Parousia or Second Presence (2 Thes. 2:8), which will bring more and more brightly to light the corrupt persons, principles and things of the papacy. This will result shortly in the masses arising against it and annihilating it in the revolution stage of the Great Tribulation. This Great Tribulation was begun by the World War (Phase 1) in 1914. God’s faithful people love the appearing (epiphaneia, bright shining) of our Lord (2 Tim. 4:8), for it will effect not only the overthrow of Satan’s empire in the Great Tribulation, but also will fill the earth with the glory of God during the Millennium, in the eternal overthrow of all evil persons, principles and things and the eternal triumph of all good persons, principles and things.
A NEW HEAVENS AND EARTH
Another Millennial testimony, which incidentally identifies the Judgment Day with the Millennium, is found in 2 Pet. 3:6-13: ‘‘Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished (not the literal world – the earth – nor the human family perished, but the symbolic world, the order of affairs which then existed, was destroyed by the flood): but the heavens and the earth, which are now (‘this present evil world’—Gal. 1:4, the order of affairs now existing: its heavens being its religious systems and teachers – and its earth being its organized society), by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire (a symbol of destruction—Mal. 3:2,3; 4:1,3; Matt. 3:11,12; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; Rev. 17:16; all the symbolic earth will be devoured by the fire of God’s jealousy—Zeph. 3:8) against the day of judgment and perdition (destruction) of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing (do not forget), that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (this identifies the Day of Judgment of v. 7 as a 1000-year day). The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness (God’s time seems slow to the natural man); but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord (the 1000-year Judgment Day) will come as a thief in the night (Comp. 1 Thes. 5:1-5); in the which the heavens (not the literal heavens, but Satan’s false religious systems—comp. Heb. 12:26,27) shall pass away with a great noise (uproar and confusion), and the elements shall melt with fervent heat (the various component elements of the present symbolic heavens and earth will disintegrate), the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up (Satan’s selfish, unjust and corrupt social arrangements shall be destroyed; but the literal earth is to remain, just as it remained after the flood – ‘the earth abideth for ever’ Eccl. 1:4).
“Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God (the 1000-year Judgment Day), wherein the heavens being on fire (a symbol of destruction) shall be dissolved, and the elements (the political, financial, religious, etc.) shall melt with fervent heat (of human passion and wrath). Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens (Jesus and His faithful followers, the Millennial religious ruling powers) and a new earth (human society organized on the basis of truth, righteousness and love, as against the erroneous, unjust and selfish arrangements of the ‘present evil earth’), wherein dwelleth righteousness.”
1 John 2:2 shows that Christ is the Satisfier of Divine Justice for Adamic sins, an behalf of the elect during the Gospel Age, and the non-elect during the Millennial Age: “He is the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins (the Church’s sins of Adamic source): and not for ours only (who now accept Christ as our Substitute or Redeemer), but also for the sins of the whole world (the non-elect’s sins of Adamic source, for which satisfaction is effected during the Millennium).”
THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS
Rev. 5:12,13: ‘‘Worthy is the Lamb, that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.” Christ at the time of His ascension is set forth here, as He then became the Inheritor of all things (Heb. 1:2). God is the Owner of all the universes with all they contain, which makes Him very rich – wealthy to the utmost. All of the universes, solar systems, each one carrying along as their parts many planets, belong to God. Also, all the spirit beings present and future, and all other things that now are or yet will be, belong to God. These universes in the Ages of Glory in their planets and in their suns will be perfected and their planets will be inhabited by perfect beings, which the wisdom of God will plan, and which Christ, as God’s Chief Agent, will bring into being unto perfection. God has made Christ His Heir; for the Lamb has been found worthy of inheriting all things, including these riches of God, as well as His power, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing.
By the end of the Millennium the Adamic death state (the imperfections of the humanity – the physical infirmities) will have been eliminated; and by the end of the Little Season the Adamic death process (the evil character of the goat class) will be eliminated from the earth when the last of the “goat” class is annihilated. The goats (the wicked human beings) are those who refused to have the Adamic death process plagued out of them during the Mediatorial reign. As said, the Adamic death process is the evils retained from the “curse.” These evils are all striped out from the sheep by the beginning of the Little Season – because they cooperated with the opportunities the instruction and good influences of the Kingdom. They will be able to stand the crucial test of the Little Season and gain eternal life; while the goat class will not be able to stand the tests of the Little Season, and will be annihilated – eternally cut off. The Adamic death process cannot be eliminated from the earth until the “goats” (all evil persons) are eliminated. When Satan (Ezek. 28:19; Heb. 2:14), the unrepentant fallen angels (Matt. 25:41) and the “goat” class – all the wicked (Ps. 145:20) – will be utterly, completely and eternally annihilated in the Second Death, symbolized by the lake of fire – “they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obad. 16)
Then “the righteous shall see it and rejoice; and all iniquity shall stop her mouth” (Ps. 107:42). Sin shall never rise again. God will be glorified forever and ever by perfect creatures, both in heaven and on earth. “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:13) “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) “And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.” (Rev. 22:3)
Much of the foregoing is drawn from the writings of That Servant and the Epiphany Messenger – some of which is verbatim. We are grateful for their faithful ministry, but we give praise to God, the Author of the Plan of Salvation, who has revealed His Plan in His Word: “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.” (Ps. 25:14)
“Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” (Ps. 97:11,12)
Sincerely your brother, John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
(Reprint of June, 1978, No. 276)
LETTER OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear Brethren: Shalom, Shalom! (which means abundantly overflowing blessings)
It has been a pleasure to hear of the letters and commentaries in interest of the Jewish cause that has come to your publication. This has not received much prominence in other Bible Student groups. Pastor Russell spent much time and effort in carrying out the Divine mandate to comfort His People as set forth in Isa. 40:1,2. Regardless of the criticism that has been directed his way, God will bless him for this if for no other reason. And who of us know the whole story of any of us, except each of us alone?!
A couple of years ago an orthodox Jewish couple were visiting in my home. He being something of a bibliophile, was looking over my book shelves and discovered my set of "Studies in the Scriptures." He then related how he had discovered two complete new sets of Pastor Russell's work in a trash bin out back of a book store. He retrieved them and sent them to the Hebrew University library in Jerusalem.
In 1978 we were part of a tour group organized by Casimir and Elva Lanowick. We were attending a World Peace Congress which was held at the Diplomat hotel in Jerusalem. Casimir and Elva, my son, my two oldest grandchildren, and one other couple from Grand Rapids, Michigan, were the only representatives of Bible Students among the 800 to 1000 participants. We heard a deeply moving speech by Prime Minister Begin who himself was so deeply touched that he returned to the lectern to acknowledge the love that was being tendered. I'd never experienced anything like it before. Love was palpable. It could almost be touched! Prime Minister Begin is a godly man. In grief I turned to dear Casimir and Elva: "This auditorium should have been filled with Bible Students, alone."
It has been one of the greatest sorrows of my life to note the indifference of the general populations of Bible Students to our Jewish brethren. Also, it has been one of the greatest joys of my life to be the recipient of the love and blessing of our Jewish friends. Another blessing, and a great one, is to see the love and succor that is being extended to the Jewish People by members of so many other denominational groups. First Peter 4:8 and Rev. 18:4 apply here.
The Heavenly Father has blessed my family in more ways than we can count because we bless His ancient Chosen People. Genesis 12:3; Psalms 122:6,7; Isaiah 40:1,2. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem and we strive to comfort His People. And we believe the Lord is specifically referring to His Jewish brethren in the passage in Matt. 25:31‑45.
Sincerely, with Christian love,