“I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1)
Nowhere in the Scriptures are we commanded by the Lord to sacrifice our earthly rights and privileges. The Divine commands end at the line of justice. In other words, justice and righteousness are one and the same thing. Sacrifice, self–denial, taking up the cross to follow Jesus, are all propositions away beyond the Divine Law. The Law Covenant proffered a perpetuation of human life to all who would fulfill its requirements. None of the Jews, with whom the covenant was made, were able to fulfill those requirements, except the One who came from above and for whom was provided a perfect human body, which enabled Him to keep the requirements of the Law Covenant entitling Him, therefore, to everlasting earthly life.
The New Law Covenant, under the antitypical Mediator, will offer the same reward of everlasting human perfection to all who will fulfill its requirements. Its superiority over the first Law Covenant will consist in its having a better Mediator, capable of helping mankind fully out of condemnation, death and weakness and authorized so to do because of the merit of His “better sacrifices.”
But while Jesus, born under the law, was obligated to the conditions of that covenant and fulfilled them and through them had a right to everlasting earthly life, He did more. He sacrificed that earthly life – laid it down – permitted sinful men to take it from Him without resistance, although He had the power to call for legions of angels for protection. This was His sacrifice. He did not sacrifice sinful weaknesses, for He had none. He sacrificed perfect life and all His legal rights and privileges. His reward for so doing was exaltation from human nature to the Divine nature – far above that of angels, principalities and powers. (Eph. 1:21) Thus exalted, He has human rights (which He never forfeited) to give Adam and his race – their ransom–price. These He will give them in the end of this Age, applying them to the sealing of the New Law Covenant, under which Israel and all mankind may be restored to all that was lost through the first man’s disobedience. Meantime, the glorified Redeemer uses that sacrificial merit (which He intends to give eventually to the world) to cover (imputatively) the blemishes of those of the Household of Faith who may hear the Divine call (and accept the same) to follow in the footsteps of Jesus – to sacrifice and suffer with Him in the flesh, that they may be glorified and reign with Him on the spirit plane beyond the veil. [“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” (2 Tim. 2:12) – also see Col. 3:24]
SIN–OFFERING SACRIFICES ACCEPTABLE DURING THE GOSPEL AGE ONLY
Throughout this Gospel Age the Law Covenant has continued upon the Jews only, the remainder of the world being without any Covenant with God and waiting for the “Times of Restitution” under the New Law Covenant of the future. (Acts 3:19-21; Jer. 31:31-34)
It is during this time (the Gospel Age) that God draws and calls a certain loyal class and gives them an opportunity of sharing with their Redeemer in sacrificial death. The faithful will be counted His members or His bride or joint-heirs in His Kingdom of glory and honor and immortality. All men, in proportion as they know the Divine will (what is just, from the Divine standpoint), are correspondingly by duty bound to fulfill that righteous requirement or Law of God to the extent of ability. But those desirous of following in the footsteps of Jesus are shown what they can do more than justice; but they are not commanded to do more. All sacrificing is a privilege, not a duty, not a command. In harmony with this, St. Paul writes, not commandingly, but entreatingly, “I beseech you, brethren... present your bodies living sacrifices.” He did not command this. To have made it a command would at once prevent the opportunity of sacrifice. What we sacrifice is something not commanded. Whatever is commanded of God is obligation and not sacrifice.
The Ancient Worthies presented their bodies, laid down their lives, renouncing earthly rights, but they did not sacrifice [as did the Saints, filling up that which was left behind of Christ’s suffering for His Body – Col. 1:24]. Why? Because it is one thing to kill and another to have the slain creature accepted of God as a sacrifice. God did not call for human sacrifices prior to Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself. God was unwilling to accept imperfect blemished creatures at His altar. [His merit made the Gospel-Age consecrators perfect.] They might lay down their lives, but He would not count them sacrifices. Jesus was accepted as a sacrifice because He was perfect and His followers, since Pentecost, have been acceptable as sacrifices, because they are perfect made so by the Redeemer’s imputation to them of a sufficiency of His merit to compensate their blemishes.
Thus this Gospel Age is called the “acceptable day [or time] of the Lord,” because, during this Gospel Age God is willing to accept a predestined number as joint-sacrificers with Jesus. But as soon as that predestined number shall have been completed the acceptable time will immediately end. No more presentations will be accepted as sacrifices.
But suppose that some should present themselves after the close of the acceptable time; what would be their status and God’s dealing with them?
Since God is unchangeable we must assume that He would always be pleased to have His creatures devote their lives wholly and unreservedly to the doing of His will, as He was pleased with the faithfulness of the Ancient Worthies to lay down their lives before a covenant of sacrifice was in force. We may reason that as God has promised human perfection to these Ancient Worthies who laid down their lives He would be willing similarly to reward any who might follow the same course after the completion of the Church – after the ending of the acceptable time of sacrifice.
Quite likely, therefore, there will be some in the end of this Age who, although faithful unto death, will not have been begotten of the Holy Spirit and not attain the spirit plane of being in the resurrection, but will come forth members of the same class as the Ancient Worthies, who were developed before this Age began.
THE PRESENTATION OF ONESELF ALWAYS A REASONABLE SERVICE
In view of these facts our advice to all who love the Lord and who desire to be in complete fellowship with Him is the same message that has gone forth throughout this Age – “We beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your bodies living sacrifices.” We cannot now assure them that, after presenting themselves as sacrifices, God will accept them as such and grant them spirit begetting to a new nature; but we can assure them that it will be their reasonable service and that God always gives large rewards to those who manifest their faith and loyalty towards Him and His cause. We can tell them, too, that, to our understanding, the Scriptures teach that the Ancient Worthy class (of which they may be a part if they fail to be accepted to the new nature) will be highly honored of God, perfect on the human plane and made “princes in all the earth.” We can assure them that, according to our understanding, these princes will have a glorious precedence over the rest of mankind as the special representatives of the invisible Messiah class for a thousand years. We can assure them that, to our understanding, after participating in that glorious work, these princes will be uplifted at the close of the Millennium to the spirit plane of being – as part of the antitypical Levites.
Since none can know when the elect number will be fully completed, all should be alike anxious to lay down their lives in the service of God and of His truth. To say that we would refuse to serve because any uncertainty would prevail in our minds respecting the character of our reward would show our unworthiness of any favor of God, for, to be acceptable to Him, our service must not be rendered to obtain the reward, but to serve righteousness and to please God! “I delight to do thy will, 0 God’’ – everything written in the Book. Hence at Memorial season all of the consecrated should manifest their love, loyalty, obedience, faithfulness, by symbolizing the Redeemer’s death and symbolizing also their own desire to share in the sufferings of Christ as parts of the “broken loaf” and as participators in the cup of His suffering.
As to how much we should expect for our children is another matter. It is not for us to say at how early an age the children might demonstrate loyalty to God and to the truth in a manner pleasing and acceptable to God. Those who are parents should, in all reasonable ways, by example and precept, illustrate and exemplify their appreciation of the privilege of the Lord’s service – even unto death. Furthermore, their children should be instructed weekly and, if possible, daily, in respect to the different features of the truth, that they may receive as much as possible.
God knows whether a child of tender years and short mental and heart development might not present himself in an acceptable manner. Parents, therefore, should do their best by their children and leave the results with the Lord, with full satisfaction with whatever may be His wise, just and loving decision for them, either on the earthly or on the heavenly plane. We are to remember, however, that none can enter either of these planes of instantaneous perfection in the resurrection unless his trial be finished successfully in the present life and by passing into death. The remainder of mankind, however, as already shown, will then have glorious opportunities and possibilities before them. (Pastor Russell, Reprints 4835-4836, June 15, 1911)
There are three ways in which the closing of this door might be indicated: first, by a definite Bible statement of the exact date; second, by such a reversal of public sentiment with reference to the truth, that fidelity and zeal in its service would no longer meet with opposition, and when suffering with Christ for the truth’s sake (Rom. 8:17) would be no longer possible; or third, by such a condition of affairs obtaining in the world that all opportunity for such service would be effectually obstructed, thus leaving no opportunities for candidates to enter into the work and to develop and prove their love and faithfulness by their activity and endurance. (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 3, bottom of p. 207 and top of p. 208)
The persecution Brother Russell and his followers endured during his lifetime are no longer with us today. All Christendom joined together in assault against Brother Russell. He was often the subject of the clergy in their sermons. His books were burned in front of many churches.
We don’t hear of anything like that today about Bible Students. Even the Jehovah’s Witnesses are ignored. Some of them invite persecution by their attitude toward individuals in their “witness” work. But even they are treated courteously by most nominal Christians. Even if they don’t like them, they tolerate them.
DANIEL ZION, FORMER CHIEF RABBI OF BULGARIA
As far as I know, my late husband Casimir and I were the first American Bible Students privileged to visit the new State of Israel after its miraculous rebirth in 1948. We went there in 1950 and 1951 on a journalistic and filming mission.
This “pilgrimage” was fraught with miracles for us as well. Just one of these truly exciting aspects of that trip was brought about by our being invited to stay in the same complex in Jerusalem where Rabbi Daniel Zion resided, and it is the story centering on this unique man of God that I will write today.
Shortly after our arrival in Israel in 1950 we saw headlines in the newspapers there about the fact that Daniel Zion, formerly the Chief Rabbi of Bulgaria, had not only led a mass immigration of his fellow Bulgarian Jews to Israel but soon afterwards read the New Testament and openly declared that Jesus was and is truly Israel’s long-awaited Messiah!
Well, this in itself was shocking enough to the citizens of the new-born State, but the most dramatic background account makes it greatly more meaningful.
You see, as Chief Rabbi in Bulgaria during the Nazi regime, Daniel Zion boldly confronted the Bulgaria’s King, Boris III, and warned him to have nothing to do with Hitler or the wrath of God would come upon him.
Instead of appreciating their Chief Rabbi’s brave move, the Bulgarian Jewish community panicked, fearing retribution upon them, and even went to the point of deposing Daniel Zion as their Chief Rabbi.
Without going into the historical details about King Boris’ failure to heed Daniel Zion’s warning (Bulgaria’s alliance with the Nazis but conquered by the Soviets in 1944 – after King Boris’ mysterious death in 1943), the Bulgarian Jewish community was astounded to find, at the end of World War II, that “somehow” the Bulgarian Jews had been relatively spared as compared with the “Final Solution” tragically imposed upon 6,000,000 European Jews. They came to the conclusion that God must have honored Daniel Zion’s actions and promptly reinstated him as Chief Rabbi of Bulgaria.
Not long afterward the State of Israel was reborn. Faithful to his vision of God’s purpose, Chief Rabbi Daniel Zion urged the Bulgarian Jews to immigrate en masse to Israel, which most of them did, under his leadership.
You can imagine that the Bulgarian Jews were extremely reluctant to criticize their spiritual leader a second time, saying they did not “want to be burned again” by opposing him; in fact, quite a few of these Bulgarian Jews, as well as other Israelis, did look into the New Testament as a result of Daniel Zion’s stance and likewise became convinced that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed their Messiah. And even the Bulgarian Jews who did not go along with Daniel Zion’s “new faith,” continued their respect and admiration for him.
Here we were, living in the same building with this venerable Jewish rabbi! Already in his 80’s, Daniel Zion’s white-haired appearance and humble demeanor epitomized a truly reverent saint of God. How sad we were that we could not speak his language.
Casimir’s limited knowledge of Russian enabled him to communicate on a limited basis with Daniel Zion, but we were blessed to have the help of another famous Jewish believer, Abram Poljak, a name familiar to many Bible Students. (Abram Poljak’s story also deserves telling at another time. As a leading journalist who escaped the clutches of the Nazis, he fled to England where he met three other prominent German Jews – one a member of the house of Rothschild – and together they found that they had all four accepted “Yeshua HaMaschiach” – Jesus the Messiah. But this is another story.)
Suffice to say that Abram Poljak, a close friend and brother in the faith to Daniel Zion, filled us in on the particulars of Daniel Zion’s life – and also answering our questions about the many visitors whom we saw entering Daniel Zion’s premises and arguing loudly with him, while we could see Daniel Zion calmly trying to quiet them down in a dignified way.
It seems that they were local missionaries who were greatly impressed by Daniel Zion’s open avowal of his allegiance to Jesus. Some of them wanted to “claim him for their own,” additionally, especially, to convince him of the doctrine of the Trinity. Daniel Zion, steeped in Judaism and its most oft-repeated Biblical phrase, “The Lord Our God Is One,” staunchly resisted the efforts of these missionaries.
This development made it all the more frustrating for us not to be able to speak his language. To make a long story short, as soon as we returned to the States we acquired a copy of The Atonement Between God And Man, the Fifth Volume of Pastor Charles Taze Russell’s Studies in the Scriptures, translated into French, a language that Daniel Zion knew well, and mailed it to him with the highest of recommendations, as containing a most cogent Scriptural refutation of the God-dishonoring doctrine of the Trinity.
One of the most moving and gratifying moments of our entire lives came when we received the reply from this beloved servant of God. He wrote that the book we had sent him was the most important one he had ever received! To learn that we had been able to help bless such a Bible scholar of long standing touched our hearts.
Of course, we kept in touch with Daniel Zion and were able to visit him from time to time when we returned to Israel. One of the last times we saw him before he died, he told us that he was busy translating the Daily Heavenly Manna from English into Hebrew and that he was already up to the month of April in this task. (It had been our privilege to purchase and send him a typewriter with Hebrew characters.)
One of our most prized possessions has been the slide picture we took of Daniel Zion standing before the DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES CHART, on his wall, again translated into Hebrew. It was our joy to screen this picture and tell the story before many of our audiences across America and abroad. Now, in my later years, it is a precious memory that warms and gladdens my heart. (Elva Lanowick)
The following are excerpts from the letter which accompanied the above account of experiences of Elva Lanowick and her husband Casimir:
“A loving Shalom wings its way to you in His precious Name! I have not forgotten my promise to write out the account about the late Rabbi Daniel Zion... I hope it meets with your approval, and that it will be of much blessing to your readers.
“On another subject, did you ever read the book, This Is The Millennium, by Shelah Ben Hanan? It was written from a Bible Student point of view. I would like your opinion of the book.
“Finally, yesterday I learned of a truly thrilling article that appeared in the B’nai B’rith Messenger explaining in detail how the people of Israel have had supreme faith in God’s protection during these weeks when they have been subjected to missile assaults from their enemy (God’s enemy), Saddam Hussein. Will see if I can get it copied in time to enclose in this envelope.
Yours by His tender mercies, Elva
Everyone expects the Jews to be the only real Christians in this world. Actions permitted other nations are forbidden to the Jews! Other nations victorious on the battle field dictate the peace terms, but when Israel is victorious she must sue for peace. Other defeated nations survive and recover; but should the Arabs triumph, Israel would be wiped off the map and no one would lift a finger to save the Jews!
Other nations drive out thousands, even a million, and there is no refugee problem. Russia did it; Turkey drove out a million Greeks, and Algeria a million Frenchmen; Indonesia threw out heaven knows how many Chinese – and no one says a word about refugees!
But in the case of Israel, the displaced Arabs have become eternal refugees. Everyone insists that Israel must take back every single Arab. Arnold Toynbee calls the displacement of the Arabs an atrocity greater than any committed by the Nazis, yet no mention is made of the equal number of Jews who fled Arab lands.
No commitment to the Jews by any government, ours included, is worth the paper it is written on. There is a cry of outrage all over the world when people die in Vietnam or when two Negroes are executed in Rhodesia. But when Hitler slaughtered Jews no one remonstrated with him.
The Swedes, who where ready to break off diplomatic relations with America over Vietnam, did not let out a peep when Hitler slaughtered the Jews. They sent Hitler choice iron ore and ball bearings and serviced his troop trains to Norway!
The Jews are alone in the world. If Israel survives it will be solely because of Jewish efforts and Jewish resources. [Israel will survive, but not solely because of Jewish efforts and resources: It will be because God will deliver her in due time.]
Yet at this moment Israel is our only reliable and unconditional ally. We can rely more on Israel than Israel can rely on us. And one has only to imagine what would happen should the Arabs and their Russian backers win the Middle East to realize how vital the survival of Israel is to America and the West in general.
I have a premonition that will not leave me: as it goes with Israel so it will go with all of us. Should Israel perish the Holocaust will be upon us. ISRAEL MUST LIVE! (By Eric Hoffer)
Elva Lanowick, Christian-Israel Friendship League, Paradise, California, sent us the above Editorial by Eric Hoffer with the comment: “This 1975 article by the late Eric Hoffer, famous longshoreman intellectual and author (of San Francisco) seems to be worthy of reprinting at this time of another crisis foist upon Israel.”
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
Hello, my sister: Grace and peace to you in His Name!
I pray all is well with you. I thought I’d reply to your letters of May 24 and June 8... Glen Grossman is a strange fellow. He is divorced with two children... He also has about five foster kids he sponsors around the world... Glen is quite philanthropic... He is a Jew who knows nothing about Jewry... He doesn’t even know the name of Jehovah or Yahweh. It was all Greek to him. He is a fervent Zionist, but I’m not sure he knows the extent of it. I told him about Brother Russell and the Bible Student Movements and, of course, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and their deviation from Brother Russell’s teaching. He seemed impressed with Brother Russell.
I gave him the Divine Plan and the Restoration of Israel, plus other Bible Student literature on Israel and prophecy. He thanked me and said he wouldn’t mind me giving you his address... He doesn’t care too much for the Temple worship. He was turned off by all the hypocrisy and emphasis on money. His parents are very prominent in the Temple. He’s a black sheep of the family... He might be just a very nice person who will never learn the truth until the Kingdom. Jews can be very stubborn with which I think you will agree.
As to your questions, yes I do have a Diaglott. As a matter of fact, I have five or six. I keep them because I know they are in demand by Bible Students. Occasionally I send them to brethren on request. So, if you know of any, let me know. I have a Diaglott from the days of Brother Russell. I paid $100.00 for it. I’m a collector of the works of Brother Russell, having in my library original Watch Towers from 1900 and up. I also have the Millennial Dawn and various editions of the Scripture Studies, plus Hymns, Poems, Tabernacle and the Manna book. Anything I find I buy. Some are very expensive. But I don’t buy them for the dollar value but rather for the spiritual and sentimental value. I’m looking for both the Holman Linear Bible and the Bible Student Bible.
Oh, by the way, thanks for keeping me in your prayers. I believe the Lord heard you. I have found a job. I work for a Law Firm just ten minutes walk from my home. I handle all their financial business and office management. As a matter of fact, to my surprise they even handle cases concerning the Watchtower Society. Most of the cases concern building permits. JW’s buy property for a hall, and once the people find out they get all upset and protest. So they manage to get the area rezoned so that a religious organization cannot build a church on the property.
Many of the Bible Students have their own interpretation of what Brother Russell wrote and taught... I guess if nothing happens in the present time, all will know the truth later. The Lord will correct all things in due time – in His “due time “
Well, Emily, time is running out. It’s getting late, so I’ll speak to you later. Enclosed is a photo of me taken some months ago when I was in Connecticut visiting a friend.
Take good care of yourself and know that I love you and that you’re in my prayers
Yours in His Name, ------- (NEW YORK)
This letter was written several days ago but just now reached the typewriter. ... Your letter arrived a few days ago and since the overall idea of ZION is close to my heart, I put everything aside and read those papers, Zionism – Parts 1 and 2. Part One especially fascinated me. Both are magnificent documents delineating the (his) story of Zionism and the checkered history of the Jewish People, although briefly. Both are profoundly and scholarly written.
You thought I might disagree with some aspects of the writings. Who am I to disagree? – not knowing anywhere nearly as much about the subject as John Hoefle or Pastor Russell who obviously studied and researched the subject far more than this humble soul. Pastor Russell was truly a great soul to stick his neck out and invade hostile territory. He actually made that history. This takes unbounded courage, especially since whatever he did was not for material gain. That idea is an excellent measure of a man. And John Hoefle was a great soul to put all these things on paper, educationally and scholarly executed.
Speaking of false teachers, in my early experience in my search for TRUTH in the forties and fifties – as I traveled from one teacher to another, from one teaching to another – I met no less than a dozen men, most of them deeply sincere, who considered themselves the twentieth century reincarnation of the “Christ.” How many others might there be elsewhere? There is probably no time in history that was devoid of such claimants.
Concerning Jerusalem as the “Daughter of Zion,” it has been my thought that ZION is the greater, more abstract, more inclusive representation or concept of the Jews and their homeland, especially their aspirations, and is therefore the subjective reality of this great dream, while JERUSALEM as a city, is the materialistic, physical out-picturing of this dream on planet Earth, and therefore its “objective expression.” Even so, the idea of “The New Jerusalem” has often been interpreted as the abstract vision of the whole “New Age” concept of ZION through Jerusalem. My visit to Jerusalem in April of 1990 revealed that in this mountainous city there is not a straight street and not a level street. Nevertheless, there are many modern hotels, stores and shops, etc. Is not then Jerusalem the “Daughter of Zion”?
The chaos of communication in Palestine retarded progress in many ways. To solve this problem, YHVH took a bold step as usual and “raised up a champion to devote his life toward achieving a solution.” (Most people as you know are not aware of the working of cosmic law.)
In his splendid book, “The History of the Jews,” published by Knopf, 1964, the author, Abram Leon Sachar, Ph.D., Prof. at Brandeis University, on p. 409 narrates briefly the story of a young student of Hebrew named Eleizer Ben Yehuda, born in Russia in 1858, who was inspired to migrate to Israel, rather Palestine, in 1881 with his new young wife. On board ship under the stars, they resolved never to utter a word in any language other than Hebrew during their lifetime. This young man had heard about the ‘Tower of Babel’ in Palestine caused by an enormous variety of “tongues” spoken by immigrants from many different countries, and was inspired to create a Hebrew dictionary. He was sickly, afflicted with TB, but his determination kept him going. The devotion of his wife contributed enormously to his success. After 50 years of devotion and hard work, powerful opposition, criticism, lack of funds, lack of cooperation, he finally completed the monumental task of creating a Hebrew Dictionary. He was successful in getting the Hebrew language introduced in the schools, thus assuring his success. Soon the children carried the language into their homes and people began communicating in Hebrew. Today Hebrew is a well recognized language. Students from all over the world coming to Israel to study in Israeli schools and colleges must first learn the language. Notwithstanding this problem, Israel ranks first in ratio of students to total population. Is this development not the outstretched arm of YHVH directing the destiny of Israel?
The monuments to Pastor Charles Taze Russell are imaginative and appropriate, the Pyramid reminding me of my visit to the Pyramids of Egypt – another most fascinating experience. This was with a Masonic group. Other than the pyramids and the ancient symbolic Nile River, Egypt has very little to offer tourists.
Love and best wishes, ----------- (NEW YORK)
Note: Mr. ------ is a world traveler, having recently returned from a five-month tour during which he visited more than twenty of the major countries. Mr. ------ does not represent any particular organization or movement. But he presents TRUTH as a free and independent SOUL, as he sees it. He has raised his voice and spoken candidly about the aches and pains in our organized society.
Dear Mr. Horowitz:
Thank you very much for sending me a copy of your book on Charles Taze Russell and also for your kind words about my story on B’nai No’ach.
Even a cursory browse through your book told me things I didn’t know. I look forward to reading it. Thanks again.
Sincerely, -------------- (ATLANTA, GEORGIA)