My dear Brethren: Grace and peace thru our Beloved Master!
At this Season of the year we try to present something that will bless and encourage all who honor our Lord and Savior by celebrating His birth December 25. As said in previous papers, we cannot agree that this is the proper date for the birth of our dear Redeemer, but must insist that it was about October first. Nevertheless, since He did not intimate His desire that we should celebrate His birthday, it is quite immaterial upon what day that event, of so great importance to all, is observed. Upon this day, so generally celebrated, we may properly enough join with all those whose hearts are in the attitude of love and appreciation toward God and toward the Savior. The good tidings of great joy for all people announce blessings concerning a number of things, i.e., the forgiveness of sins, resulting in the awakening of all the dead; an accurate knowledge of the Truth; the race being placed amid conditions inconducive to sin and error, and conducive to Truth and Righteousness.
The above sentiments by That Servant have been abandoned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and by their rabid contentions about Christmas they have caused much distress in home and social life around them. Their message to all who do not join them before Armageddon is “Bad Tidings of great misery,” because they will be annihilated in that holocaust, with no chance of a resurrection according to them.
“‘His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6) We have noted the propriety of the title ‘The Mighty God,’ as applied to Jesus; and few will dispute that He is indeed the Wonderful One of all the Father’s family; none will dispute that He is a great Counselor, Teacher; or that, though His Kingdom is to be introduced by a Time of Trouble and disturbance incident to the death of present institutions, our Lord is nevertheless the Prince of Peace, who will establish a sure and lasting peace upon the only proper basis – righteousness and conformity to the Divine character and plan. Now we come to the examination of the title, ‘The Everlasting Father,’ and find it as appropriate and meaningful as the others.
“It does not, as some surmise, contradict the many Scriptures that declare Jehovah to be the Father everlasting, ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,’ as Peter puts it in 1 Peter 1:3. On the contrary the Bible clearly shows a particular sense in which this title applies to Jesus at His Second Advent – that He will be the Father of the human race regenerated during the Millennium. This title is merely the equivalent of those we have just considered, the new Lord of David and of mankind, the new Root, the Second Adam, merely signifies the Everlasting Father, the Father who gives everlasting life.
“Since Jesus purchases the world at the cost of His own life, and since it is by that purchase that He becomes its Lord, its Restorer, its Life‑giver, and since the central thought of the word father is life‑giver, Jesus could take no more appropriate name or title than ‘Everlasting Father’ to represent His relationship to the world about to be regenerated – born again from the dead by restitution processes. The world’s life will come directly from Jesus, who by Divine arrangement buys it and pays Justice the full price for it. Nevertheless, the restored world will, after the restitution process is finished, recognize Jehovah as the great original fountain of life and blessing, the author of the Great Plan of Salvation executed by Jesus, the Grand Father and Over‑Lord of all. (l Cor. 15:24‑28; 3:23; Matt. 19:28).” (Parousia Vol. 5, pp. 141, 142)
“Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14) The song which the angels sang at the birth of the Savior has been seized upon and misapplied by some who do not see the Plan of God for the Salvation of the world. Becoming discouraged by seemingly poor prospect for the world’s conversion, these have put forth a version of this passage more in harmony with their own doubts and misconceptions. To these the prayer which our Master taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven,” has lost its meaning; for they see no hope of its fulfilment except in a very limited sense. Hence they prefer to translate the latter part of the verse, “And on earth peace, among men of good will.” We think the proper rendering, our hopes for the ultimate good of all, as far as this passage is concerned, would surely suffer eclipse; for very few thus far in the history of the race have been “men of good will,” men who unselfishly endeavored to any appreciable degree to bring about the good of their fellows.
There are a few people of good will toward mankind, and who even have good will for Jehovah’s Witnesses but do not accept their errors or join them. The JWs tell us that all men must accept their errors and join them or be annihilated in Armageddon. But Luke 2:10 tells us there will be “Good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” If we accept the translation of Luke 2:14 to mean “Peace among men of good will,” it greatly minimizes the scope of this glorious song. It implies that some few men will have “good will” among themselves, but this does not include “all people.” How utterly barren of hope for men would such an expression be! How little the song of the angels would mean if this were its message.
On the contrary, this song was a prophecy of God’s purpose to bring about through the newly born Child the abrogation of the curse and the establishment of peace and sinlessness among mankind, in which God and man would become at‑one. It was an expression of God’s good will, His good purpose, to bring man back to the image and likeness of Himself, in which Adam was created. When this shall have been accomplished, then peace will dwell in all the earth; for the causes of disharmony will have been eliminated.
The world of mankind came under the curse, or sentence of death because of the sin in Eden – because our first parents disobeyed God’s righteous command. All humanity, therefore, are members of an accursed race – under penal servitude, which ends in the tomb. The race has been learning the lesson of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and its terrible effects. But God has promised to take away the curse and to bring a permanent blessing in its place. This will mean a return to His favor, to full harmony with Himself. “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)
PROGRESSION OF GOD’S GREAT PLAN
We speak of this song as a prophecy because the peace has not yet come, nor the good will, in the sense that God’s face is as yet not turned toward man. It is a declaration of what God purposes to do. He has not good will toward the present sinful, rebellious attitude of the race. He never has good will toward sin. We are not to understand that God was expressing His good will toward man when He pronounced the sentence of death upon him. God’s curse indicated His ill‑will toward man – in other words, His displeasure because of man’s sin. He allowed man to suffer ill as a just punishment for his willful disobedience. God cut him off from fellowship with Himself. He was not bound in justice to do anything more for the race. But in His infinite mercy He provided a deliverance for mankind. He foreknew man’s fall, and planned his redemption from before the foundation of the world.
Thru all the Ages since the fall of Adam God’s plan has been slowly, steadily progressing. While men have been learning in pain, tears and trouble which is the results of sin, God has been selecting His elect to bless the non-elect in the Kingdom (Acts 17:31). The first are the Ancient Worthies who will be “princes in all the earth” (Psa. 45:16). Next will be the chief of all the elect to reign as Kings and Priests of God on the highest plane of existence. The chief of the elect is His Beloved Son, the Savior of the world, whose birth the angels proclaimed to the shepherds watching in the plains of Judea (Isa. 42:1). There will be an unbegotten class won at the end of the Gospel Age as taught by That Servant in Reprint 5761 “until restitution begins.” We call this class “Youthful” Worthies, as they are to be rewarded with the “Ancient” Worthies given in Hebrews Chapter Eleven. When all the elect ones are chosen and prepared, then the blessing of the world at large will be inaugurated. “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God [the Church]. For the creature was made subject to frailty, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope; because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:19‑21)
The coming of the Son of God to earth was only preliminary to His offering of Himself as a ransom for the forfeited life of Adam, the father of the race, in whom all his posterity fell. But even when our Lord had died as man’s ransom‑price, God’s favor did not come to the world. Jesus was next raised from the dead a glorious, Divine being. Then He ascended up on high, and appeared in the presence of God for those who were to be of the spiritual elect. Thus the last became first in God’s plan. The merit of Jesus’ death was utilized first on behalf of these. It has not yet been applied for any others. The members of the Church of Christ now have this promised peace and good will. It is granted only to those who have come into vital relationship with God thru Christ – the fully consecrated ones. The Scriptures show that after these are all selected, prepared and glorified, the next step will be the application to all men of the merit which has been imputed to these elect, and thru whom it is to go to the Worthies and to the entire world of mankind. This spiritual class has been chosen to be members of the Body of Christ, joint‑associates with Him in the Messianic Kingdom. “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” (1 Cor. 6:2)
The great work of the Millennial Age will then begin. It will be a work of gradual uplift during the entire thousand years of the reign of The Christ. The dead will be gradually awakened and brought to a clear knowledge of the Truth, and of the salvation of God in Christ. All will then have the opportunity of coming into the blessed condition of peace and good will proclaimed by the angels. By degrees they will be brought, if they will, to a condition of readiness to be received by the Father, to be introduced to Him. This will be the blessed experience of all who will be obedient to the rules and requirements of the Kingdom. If they prove unwilling and disobedient, after being brought to a clear understanding, they will be “cut off” (Acts 3:23), destroyed, as not worthy of further effort on God’s part for their reclamation.
CHRIST’S DEATH A BLESSING TO ALL
God seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in Truth. (John 4:23) Our thought is that all these worlds surrounding us are designed to be homes to many intelligent beings yet to be created. We believe that it is God’s delight to give joy and blessing to many creatures, on various planes of existence. And God is making of this experience of mankind with sin a valuable lesson, a lesson that will be beneficial, not only to themselves, but to all the worlds that will ever be populated. These might be instructed and informed in advance of their developing any sinful tendencies just what the nature and tendency of sin is – what it did for the people of earth. They will be told, probably, that sin degrades mind, body and morals; and its influence is only deteriorating; that once deteriorated, one learns to prefer sin, notwithstanding all the misery and degradation it brings; and that God will never grant everlasting life to any except as they gladly cooperate to that end – that He will never influence any against their own will.
It would seem, then, that the great work accomplished at Calvary will have an influence as wide as the universe. And this thought might be applied to the first part of the song of the angels, “Glory to God in the Highest!” God will be glorified by all the angels, by every rank of spirit beings. He will be glorified by His exalted Church, then of the Divine nature; by restored humanity, by all the intelligent creatures on every plane, in every Age! Yea, more and more glorious will be His honor as the years of eternity roll on, and as other peoples of other planets are brought into being and brought to know Him and to share His wonderful bounties and blessings, and to learn the blessedness of loving and serving Him.
THE GOOD SHEPHERD – THE CHRIST
“I am the good Shepherd: the good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) The Evangelist first presented Christ to our attention as “the beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14), “made flesh” (John 1:14), that He might be the Light of the world: afterward, under His presentation, we considered Him as the Feeder of the hungry; then as the Giver of the water of life to the thirsty; next as the Healer of human woes, and the Supplier of human needs, spiritual as well as temporal; next as the Opener of the eyes of our understanding. In the lesson now before us He presents Christ’s mission from another standpoint – as the Good Shepherd.
This parable probably followed closely the closing incident of the reverend doctors of the law incensed at the man whose eyes had been opened, so that they cast him out of the synagogue, because he confessed Jesus as the channel of Divine favor. It was doubtless as a reproof to such false shepherding that our Lord spoke this parable. The very ones who should have been helping the poor scattered sheep of Israel to recognize the true Shepherd, and to come unto Him and become inheritors with them of the long‑promised Kingdom, were seeking to prevent the Lord’s sheep from recognizing the Shepherd – seeking to prevent the Lord’s sheep from entering the Kingdom which they themselves also refused to enter. (Matt. 23:13)
The illustration of the Lord as a shepherd, and His people as sheep, is common to the Scriptures, and very fitly represents their close confidential relationship, but it is a figure that is quite contrary to the spirit of the world. The “natural man” sees little in the figure to admire, and when he expresses his sentiments he would rather represent himself to others and have them regard him as a wolf, a lion, a tiger, or some other ferocious creature, which they would best not stir up, lest he devour them. We find this characteristic well borne out in the emblems of heraldry; the escutcheons of the great are emblazoned with figures representing beasts of prey, birds of prey, and nondescripts, blending various natures – but all of them ferocious, snarling, howling, screeching, or otherwise implying fierceness and intimidation of foes. But when God would represent the emblems of His royal family, His only begotten Son is called the Lamb of God, and all His people are styled His sheep – symbols of meekness, gentleness, harmlessness. “Jehovah is my shepherd” is properly represented as their sentiment. (Psa. 23)
Sheep‑raising in Palestine, and more or less throughout that vicinity, was carried on quite extensively, and yet very differently from present methods of Europe and America. The owner of the flock or his son usually did the shepherding, or sometimes an employee who was given an interest in the increase of the flock – as, for instance, Jacob, with his father‑in‑law Laban. Under the circumstances it is not surprising that the relationship between the sheep and their shepherds was very different from now – much more confidential. The shepherd was acquainted with his sheep and loved them, not merely as so much wealth and merchandise, but as friends, companions, with whom he conversed, and whose welfare he defended. Travelers tell us that the peculiarities of this parable are fully illustrated in eastern countries, even to this day; that a shepherd will know every individual sheep in his flock, and have a name for it, and that the sheep know their shepherd, and discern readily the sound of his voice, and cannot be deceived.
Some tell us how they have experimented and proved these peculiar statements of the parable; one asked the shepherd to call some particular sheep by name, to see whether or not it would come to him; the shepherd called one that was far off, and it immediately lifted its head, looked toward him, and when the call was repeated started, and wending its way in and out thru the flock, came to his feet, where he patted its head in reward for its obedience. Thinking this possibly a solitary instance, requests were made for repetitions of the test, with similar results. Another traveler imitated the shepherd’s voice, and called the sheep, but they paid no attention. Thinking that it was because he had not on the shepherd’s garments, to test the matter, he and the shepherd changed raiment, but still the sheep would not heed the voice of the stranger; but when the shepherd spoke to them, even though clothed in the garments of the stranger, they knew his voice and at once responded. Our Lord used these facts, well known to His hearers, to illustrate His relationship to the Lord’s people, as their Shepherd, the Son of the Great Shepherd; and He pointed out that all who were truly of His flock would hear His voice, would not be deceived by the Adversary, though he should disguise himself in garments of light, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. He declares, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) Those who are not following the Lord, in obedience to His voice, expressed in word and example, are not His flock; nor are they in the way marked out by the Divine goodness and mercy, to dwell in the House of the Lord forever.
Jehovah God established a typical kingdom or sheepfold, and accepted the nation of Israel as His sheep, but as a nation they were wayward sheep and knew Him not. Nevertheless, with a Law Covenant He fenced them in. They desired a king, a ruler, a caretaker, a governor, and God let them have their wish; but none of these was the true Shepherd, neither did any bring the sheep into desirable conditions. And when these were finally done away, various others presented themselves as the Messiah, falsely claiming the right to lead Israel – false Messiahs. These, as our Lord declares, were thieves and robbers, who sought the control of the sheep, not from interest in the sheep, but from selfish motives, for self‑aggrandizement and exaltation. These attempted to lead out the Lord’s people, not by the door, but by climbing up other ways: by climbing over the Law, or by digging under it, they would reach the sheep and become leaders; and altogether in various ways a large proportion of Israel has been led astray out of the fold, some to idolatry, and some simply to wander in the wilderness.
At our Lord’s First Advent this was the condition of things: God’s covenant with Israel was standing as a wall around that nation, but its door was barred by justice, as represented in the Mosaic Law – Israel’s covenant. There could be no proper ingress or egress; all were prisoners of the Law – shut up unto that hope which should afterward be revealed, namely, Christ the door or “way” of life. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Meanwhile, though the door was guarded zealously by the scribes and Pharisees, the fact was entirely neglected that thieves and robbers, Satan’s servants, were at work plundering the sheepfold. (John 10:1,2,7,9; Gal. 3:24; Zech. 9:9‑12)
Nor could our Lord Jesus rightfully open the fold and take charge of the sheep, except at the cost of His own life. This was the purpose of the Father, the Great Shepherd, and with this in view He shut up the sheep under the Law, to the intent that they would need to be redeemed by His Son (the appointed Shepherd), from under the dominion of the Law, before they could be made free with the liberty wherewith Christ makes free His people. And this was the first work that the Good Shepherd did for the sheep; the laying down of His life began at the beginning of His ministry, when He made a full consecration of Himself even unto death, and symbolized this in baptism. It was in view of this sacrifice which He had already devoted, and was even then offering, and which was finished subsequently at Calvary, that our Redeemer announced Himself as the Good Shepherd who giveth His life for the sheep.
The Apostle declares that our Lord’s death redeemed Israel from under the curse (sentence) of the Law – but it not only satisfied the Law, “the porter,” so that He opened the sheepfold, but it gave to the true Shepherd the ownership and control of the sheep, that He might lead them out to green pastures, and that they might go out and in with perfect freedom, as His sheep, following Him. Our Lord testified, however, that many true sheep had gotten out of the fold, and were lost in the wilderness of sin. His ministry was a call to these as well as to those who remained in the fold – to the publicans and sinners as well as to those who were endeavoring to live near to God.
Thus the true Shepherd showed His interest in all His true sheep, including the lame, the weak, the starved. He called sinners to repentance, and the true sheep, realizing their shortcomings under the Law, responded and came to Him as the Shepherd and Bishop of their souls. But inasmuch as many of the flock had wandered far from the position of true sheep, so that there were not enough who heard His voice, to complete the elect number of His flock, this Good Shepherd has, during this Gospel Age, lifted up His voice (speaking through the members of His Body), and has called sheep from amongst the Gentiles; and a sufficient number to complete the original predestination will respond.
The call of the present time is not a general one, but as this Scripture declares, “he calleth his own sheep by name” – it is therefore a special call. “The Lord knoweth them that are his.” (2 Tim. 2:19) They manifest relationship to Him as His flock by their obedience to His call – by following Him. The flock which is called, and which will make its calling and election sure, the Scriptures inform us will be only “a little flock,” and the fold provided for these is a special one; viz., the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)
Throughout this Gospel Age the Lord has been caring for this class; He has specially led and fed and blessed them, notwithstanding that to the appearance of others, they have passed thru severe trials, disciplines, suffering. Yea, as our Shepherd Himself declared, whosoever lives godly suffers persecution.
A part of the key to this parable, as it is also the key to many other features of the Divine plan, is found in the fact that the sheep of the “little flock,” being called and selected to joint‑heirship in the Kingdom, are to be sacrificed: as the Shepherd, the King’s Son, Himself was sacrificed as the Lamb of God, and not only opened the door to those who are shut up under the Law, but by the same sacrifice also redeemed the whole world of mankind, amongst which are the “other sheep” (John 10:16), Kingdom sheep that He is yet to seek, so the sheep of the “little flock,” now called, are all to suffer with Christ – with the Lamb of God – are all to be “living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, as their reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1) As the Apostle elsewhere declares, “Hereby we know love, because He laid down His life on our behalf: and we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren,” for the fellow‑sheep. (1 John 3:16, Dia.)
From this standpoint it will be seen that, as our Lord was the Father’s Lamb, and the sin‑offering for the world, so they who are of Jesus’ flock are to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ, in the interest of His Body, which is the Church. (Eph. 1:22) And other Scriptures show us that all of the flock thus faithful, in following the Shepherd even “unto death,” are counted as members of the Body of the Shepherd. Thus the entire Gospel Age has been the period of suffering with Christ, of dying daily, of laying down their lives for the brethren; and not until this sacrifice is complete in the close of this Age will the New Covenant be thrown open in the largest sense of the word to the world of mankind in general, and the great Shepherd be complete – Head and Body. Then the spirit and the bride will say, Come, and whosoever will may come – whereas now, “No man can come except the Father draw him,” and in all a “little flock.” However, during the Kingdom Christ will draw all men unto Him. (See John 12:31,32)
MORE ON THE KINGDOM
In this connection we may well quote John 3:16,17, which has appropriately been called the Gospel in a nut shell: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life; for God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world thru Him might be saved [from Adamic condemnation].” Here God’s love, Christ’s death and the Spirit’s work, for salvation on behalf of the world are clearly set forth; but as yet the world has not gotten the benefit of them. In John l2:32,33, Jesus’ death is set forth as the meritorious cause whereby all men will be favorably influenced toward Him by the Spirit: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This He said, signifying what death He should die”; but all have not in this life been drawn to Him. St. Paul tells us clearly in Rom. 5:18,19 that Christ died in order to deliver the race from the condemnation into which it was involved by Adam, and that this deliverance will be realized: “As by the offence of one [Adam] judgment [the sentence] came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One [Christ] the free gift shall come [the future tense in the parallel expression of the next verse shows that the italicized word came should give place to the words shall come, seeing that the italicized words here as everywhere else in the Bible are lacking in the original Greek] upon all men [the purpose of] unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners [thru heredity], so by the obedience of One shall the many be made righteous [of the Adamic sin]”; but manifestly this has not yet happened to all. Very clearly does 1 Tim. 2:4‑6 prove God’s love, Christ’s death and the Spirit’s work for all men unto salvation: “God will [literally, willeth to] have all men to be saved [not eternally, but from the Adamic sin and condemnation] and to come unto the knowledge of the Truth [this shows God’s love to all], to be testified [the Spirit’s work] in due times [the Greek word is plural, times, or seasons, referring to the Gospel Age and the Millennial Age as the periods for giving the testimony].”
THE KINGDOM’S RESULTS
Men will be mentally perfect at that time. Memories that are unfailing, perceptive powers that are all embracing, reasoning powers that are precise, logical and inerrant will be his to have and enjoy forever. However, as in the heavenly realm, “One star differeth from another in glory” (1 Cor. 15:41), it will no doubt be the same in the earthly realm. God will prepare variety in the perfection of earthly beings the same as He has provided variety in the heavenly beings. Perfection will not be dull or monotonous, as some seem to think: all God’s creation, both heavenly and earthly, will be joy evermore. Righteousness has its compensation even in this “present evil world,” even though many of the righteous today have had to suffer for righteousness’ sake. But in the Kingdom that will be changed. Only the unrighteous will have to suffer stripes for disobedience, but the righteous will be blessed and rewarded. If the stripes don’t correct the disobedient, they will be “cut off.” (Acts 3:23)
From a moral standpoint man will be perfect. There will be nothing of hatred, anger, contentiousness, malice, evil surmising, covetousness, hypocrisy, gluttony, drunkenness, unchastity, unfaithfulness, indifference, pride, cowardice, ostentatiousness, or laziness among the children of men. In their place the opposite graces will shine forth in all their beauty, loveliness and attractiveness. Every human heart will radiate peace, joy, friendliness, kindness and charity. And what a glorious world to live in will that be, in which everybody loves everybody else, in which everyone trusts, respects, and honors everyone else. Surely in these respects – in man’s relationship to his fellows – a fountain of joy and peace will ever be bubbling up with its waters of refreshment, gladdening the hearts of all beholders and participants.
This will be the condition after the benevolent influence of the Kingdom proper, its teaching, instruction, have brought all the redeemable – the sheep class (Matt. 25: 31‑46) – to perfection; and all the unredeemable – the goat class – have been destroyed at the end of the Little Season (Rev. 20:3). Then “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)
May all our readers be richly blessed in the Holiday Season while contemplating the goodness and mercy of our Great Shepherd, as well as the blessings of our Savior and Redeemer, in that He gave His life so that we may have eternal life. “The grace [favor] of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” (Rev. 22:21)
Sincerely your brother, John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
(Reprint 294, December 1979)
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
To Whom It May Concern:
I would like to thank you for providing us with information concerning your organization in the past.
Our Contemporary Religious Movements Center is frequently used as a resource by students to gain first hand knowledge of various groups. In order to insure that your group is not misrepresented it is essential for us to keep the files up to date. Any data that you can provide to help us achieve this would be much appreciated. Please inform us of the cost/fees of providing the literature/information. We are particularly interested in being placed or retained on your mailing list.
For your information Winnipeg Bible College has recently changed its name and is presently called Providence College and Seminary.
Sincerely, ….., Director (CANADA)
For the last few weeks I’ve been thinking that I should be dropping you a line, to inquire after your health and thank you again for the good newsletters. The arrival of Nos. 468 and 469 were a good reminder.
How are you doing? Last time we corresponded, you were not altogether well. I trust things are a little better.
The San Diego Bible Students are already getting ready for their annual convention in November. I’ll be there to show the computer program called “Harvest Truth Data Base.” Have you gotten a copy yet? It is available for PC-based computers, and has been a real help. They’ve just completed scanning the rest of the Towers published before Pastor Russell’s death. The remaining disks should be ready soon.
I was intrigued to read that there is a biography of Pastor Russell unknown to us. Your letter #469 made me very curious about the book. You say there is no author; is there a title or a publisher? And have you been successful in finding additional copies? God is good, and His blessings are with us. I wish you well, and look forward to further correspondence. God bless. Sincerely, ... (CALIFORNIA)
I sure do feel sorry for those people without some knowledge of the Truth in these days of the Time of Trouble. “For then shall be great tribulation, such as not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.” (Matt. 24:21-22) [This latter refers to Anarchy which is future. We have been in the beginning of the Time of Trouble since World War One in 1914.]
The Oklahoma City bombing was a tragedy, as were the gas attacks on the Tokyo subways. I feel so sorry for the young mothers and fathers that lost their little children. “But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days, for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.” (Luke 21:23 – also Matt. 24:19 and Mark 13:17)
I would guess that we have only scratched the surface when it comes to “famines, and pestilence, and earthquakes in divers places.” (Matt. 24:7) I am not certain when Jacob’s last trouble will begin, but one can see the stage being set. I remember my mother telling me that when Israel is really in trouble with the entire world against her, the Ancient Worthies will be resurrected and will be helping Israel. I don’t suppose that the time is here yet??? What are your feelings in this regard? [We believe in Jacob’s last trouble they will go to God in prayer. He will answer them and will “go forth, and fight against those nations [peoples], as when he fought in the day of battle.” (Zech. 14:3 – See vs. 1,2) Then their blind eyes will be opened. Israel will not get peace from man.]
I have been able to read a little lately and have started by reading the First Volume. I found some notes left by Grandma Gracie that referred to Volume 4, Chapter 1, pages 13-14, on what Pastor Russell said concerning the Time of Trouble. Rereading that gives me great comfort, especially when I keep in mind what is to happen after the Time of Trouble. I must close for now.
I love you. Always, ….. (VIRGINIA)