by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 400

 (Genesis 37:5‑28)

The Bible story of Joseph is one of the most interesting known to literature in any age and in any language. The portion which is here discussed might easily be termed a tragedy. It illustrates human nature good and bad, and in its various types and incidents furnishes valuable lessons, prominent among which is the oft‑repeated one referred to in James 3:16 – that envy is one of the principal roots of human depravity – selfishness – and that from this root have sprung some of the most injurious influences and experiences known to man – “every evil work.”

As we study the present article let us have this thought in mind, and apply each to himself the moral. If in our fallen condition envy can produce such terrible fruitage, how much on guard against it every true follower of the Lord should be. How each should realize that to permit the growth of even the smallest shoot of this root in his daily life might lead on to most disastrous consequences to him as a New Creature. Realizing this, each should be on guard for the extermination of this weed from the garden of his own heart. One writer has even said, “There is but one man who can believe himself free from envy, and it is he who has never examined his own heart.” Undoubtedly this evil root of selfishness is to be found in every imperfect son and daughter of Adam, whether it is flourishing under favorable conditions or dormant for lack of them, or from the overmastering power of grace. Only the heart that is aflame with love for God supreme and for his neighbor as himself is in a condition so sterile as respects envy that the latter has no opportunity for development.

With an abatement of our love for God and man comes a corresponding increase of favorable influence for the development of this root of envy and its concomitants of anger hatred, strife and every evil work – yea, murder – all of which the Apostle tells us are works of the flesh and of the devil, and hence to be shunned by all those who now and by and by would have the Master’s approval. Whatever may have been the natural tendency of our flesh, the new nature begotten of the holy Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of love, is expected by the Father to dominate and render sterile to envy all whom he recognizes as children of God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”

At the time of our study Joseph was about seventeen years old, next to the youngest of Jacob’s twelve sons, and his father’s favorite. He was the son of the gentle Rachel, the specially loved wife of Jacob. Evidently he partook in large measure of his mother’s gentleness as well as of his father’s courage and faith, as all of his subsequent history shows. His elder brothers were of coarser type, so that all the circumstances and conditions justified Jacob in having a preference for Joseph, in considering him his specially beloved son. His father procured for him what in the common version is called a coat of many colors, and in the revised version a coat of extremes. It is presumed that the extremes were not of colors but of lengths – that the coat was long and had long sleeves, thus differing from the ordinary coats of the working people and corresponding to the style worn by the aristocratic. It is suggested, however, that the coat may have been of many colors, because upon some of the ancient monuments of Egypt such long coats are pictured as having been made of material of bright colors joined together in a kind of patchwork; thus it is possible that both translation are correct.

In any case the coat was a distinct one, and, in conjunction with Jacob’s acknowledged preference for Joseph, it helped to fix the jealousy and bitterness of his brethren, who in it saw the suggestion that in their father’s opinion Joseph would eventually be a ruler amongst his brethren – his father’s successor as the chief of the household, the tribe. We need not here stop to criticize the part of the father in manifesting so pronounced a favoritism. We can, however, realize that Joseph had such peculiarities as justified favoritism and special love. In this, as well as in many other respects, the Scriptures clearly indicate that Joseph was primarily a type of Jesus. The latter was the heavenly Father’s beloved Son, and He similarly was rejected by His brethren, He similarly was sold for silver, He similarly was delivered, we are told, for envy. (Matt. 27:18; Mark 15:10) More than this, Joseph typified the entire body of Christ, especially the star‑members, every member of which is to some extent represented in his experiences – to every member of which our Lord’s words apply, “The Father Himself loveth you.” (John 16:27) This is glory beyond thought.

Certain dreams which Joseph had and which evidently were in some manner inspired by the Lord, and prophetic, tended to further embitter his brethren, serving to fertilize the root of bitterness and envy which was in their hearts. One of these dreams represented a wheat‑field in which were twelve sheaves, one of which arose and stood upright while the others fell before it, as though doing homage. Joseph without evil thought, apparently, told the dream to his brethren, and they, lacking faith in the Lord and submission to the Divine will, were angered by the very suggestion that their younger brother should ever be their superior – “And they hated him the more for his dreams and for his words.” The words referred to Joseph’s report of misconduct on the part of some of his brethren. Righteousness, justice, seems to have been an integral part of Joseph’s natural character, and his report of his brethren was not a slander but merely what he considered to be proper, that his father should know the manner in which his business was conducted. (v. 2)

Another of Joseph’s dreams enkindled the anger of his brethren, and even drew a protest from his father, as though Joseph’s ambitions were the groundwork of his dreams. Nevertheless, Jacob pondered these things in his heart, and doubtless wondered how great his favorite boy might some day be. This second dream pictured the sun, the moon and the stars bowing to one star, and was interpreted to mean that the whole family would some day acknowledge Joseph as their superior. How preposterous this must have seemed to them all, including Joseph. Poor boy! His subsequent lessons in life doubtless taught him to be more secretive, not to tell every dream and hope, not to cast his pearls to those who could not appreciate them, but who would be angered thereby. How necessary to us all is the lesson of wisdom along the lines of secretiveness. Our Lord illustrates this, saying, “I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now.” There is a time to tell and a time to refrain – we all need to watch and to pray, “Set a guard, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.” (Ps. 141:3)

With the Scriptural record of inspired dreams before us it would be folly to denounce them and to declare them unworthy of any consideration. We remember the other miraculous dreams that Joseph interpreted, also Jacob’s, Peter’s, Paul’s, etc. On the other hand we need to guard ourselves lest dreams should be given undue importance. We are to remember that there was an appropriate necessity for dreams in the olden times which does not exist at the present time; because the Gospel Church is expected to walk by faith and not by sight – is expected to listen to the voice behind them saying, “This is the way,” rather than to expect a miracle or a dream to indicate the path of righteousness. The path beyond us is shown by the Divine Word, and we are to cultivate the ears of our hearts that we may have the proper direction. In harmony with this the Scriptures say, “He that hath a dream let him tell a dream, but he that hath my Word let him speak my Word.” (Jer. 23:28) Here the Lord indicates that a dream might be told if we have nothing better to tell – nothing more direct, nothing more authoritative; but that the Lord’s Word, His revelation, His inspired testimony is to be put far above all dreams of our own and of others. If a dream, therefore, corroborates some plain statement of the Word of God it may be used and appreciated in the same sense that we use and appreciate a type – not to teach a doctrine or duty, but to illustrate and call attention to the statements [of God’s inspired Words].

Joseph’s faithfulness in reporting facts led Jacob to make him a kind of overseer, and it was probably in this capacity that he was again sent to his brethren to Shechem, a three day’s journey – to carry to them some home delicacies and to bring word again to Jacob of the general conditions prevailing, the prosperity of the flocks, condition of the pasturage, etc. Not finding his brethren at Shechem Joseph followed directions to Dothan, manifesting in the whole procedure a considerable degree of courage and self reliance, sleeping outdoors at night as was the custom of the time and braving the dangers of the way. This shows us, too, that Jacob’s love for his favorite son did not lead him to spoil him entirely, and that the boy himself was recognized as one who could be trusted in a general way to care for himself. Many parents today are less wise, and fail to cultivate courage, determination, etc., in the children they favor – sometimes shielding them from difficulties in a manner which proves ultimately very prejudicial to their interests. The brethren as shepherds were accustomed to keeping a sharp look‑out for wild beasts likely to injure the flock, and discerned their brother at a distance. Forthwith the circumstances and conditions tended to a rapid germination of their root of envy and bitterness, and in a few moments had sprouted and brought forth in their hearts the spirit of murder. Nine of the ten at once agreed to kill their brother. The only one to object, and he covertly, was Reuben, who knew too well the bitterness of his brethren to venture to oppose them, and as a counter‑suggestion he urged that they do not murder him but put him into one of the dry cisterns of those parts, intending in his heart to return subsequently and secretly deliver his brother.

In these brethren we see illustrated the heart of the natural man, which might at one moment fight for justice and shortly thereafter violate every principle of justice. Was it not these same men who now, in violation of all brotherly love, were planning their brother’s murder, who only a short time before had avenged the dishonor of their sister by slaying the population of a whole village – in what they considered a righteous indignation against sin? The transforming influence of the Holy Spirit is necessary to correct these violent extremes of the fallen flesh; hence the Scriptures tell us that those who are begotten again of the Holy Spirit alone have the “spirit of a sound mind.” (2 Tim. 1:7) Truly in the natural man pride is an important factor, and often leads to murders and lynchings, ostensibly in the defense of righteousness – really in the gratification of an element of selfishness. It was then similarly pride, one of the roots of selfishness, that led to that wholesale murdering; and it was envy, another root of selfishness, which now led them to attempt to murder their brother.

Reuben’s plea was effective. Joseph was put into a pit and the brethren sat down to eat bread, doubtless consuming some of the very delicacies that Joseph had brought to them from home, while the poor boy’s cries and entreaties and appeals rang in their ears. They were stony‑hearted, unmerciful, as well as unjust: and indeed the natural heart is usually unmerciful. Mercy is often extended through shame or fear or policy amongst worldly people, but mercy in itself is an element of love which, although it originally belonged to human nature, has very generally been lost, and is principally in evidence amongst those who have been begotten again in heart likeness to their Lord. Our text does not mention the cries and entreaties and pleadings of the imprisoned Joseph, but another Scripture does when later these same brethren were forced by the famine in Canaan to go to Egypt to buy wheat.

Their brother Joseph was governor there, and he, affecting to consider them spies, put them in jail three days. It was while they were there that their minds were more or less awakened to the wrong doings of previous years, and they said to another, “We are verily guilty concerning our brother in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.” Reuben’s reply to them was, “Spake I not unto you saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? Therefore, behold, also his blood is required.” Apparently Reuben departed from that vicinity after Joseph was imprisoned, intending to return later for his deliverance, but upon his return he found that his brethren had sold him to a company of merchantmen who had taken him as a slave into Egypt. (The Epiphany Messenger, The Present Truth, January 1, 1947, pp. 6, 7)



QUESTION: Is it important that we believe in Tentative Justification? Some Bible Students believe in Tentative Justification, and some do not.

ANSWER: We believe that Tentative Justification is very important and is a fundamental doctrine. In Rom. 12:1, the unconsecrated are called brethren: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God [having received Tentative Justification], that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, your reasonable service.” The truly “repentant and believing” receive Tentative Justification. Brother Hoefle wrote a paper on Justification which is very informative. We quote excerpts from this article as follows:


The primary power of God’s real people is THE TRUTH, and their secondary power is God’s Arrangement for the proper use of that Truth. Thus, the counsel to “give attendance to doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:13) is sound advice for every time of the Age. And we believe it is the proper observation that a clear and comprehensive understanding of the doctrine of JUSTIFICATION will enable us to “continue in the faith” – never to stray away from the general Truth structure.

There are two kinds of Justification taught in the Bible – Justification by Faith and Justification by Works. Inasmuch as our present Bible is specifically designed for those of God’s people who “live by faith,” it is only proper that Justification by Faith should receive preponderance of favor for the past, present and future – until Justification by Works gains the ascendancy during our Lord’s Mediatorial Kingdom.

Since the time that “Christ brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10), Justification by Faith has had two component divisions – a Tentative Justification, and a Vitalized Justification. And it is herein that much controversy has arisen among God’s people, some claiming there is no such thing as “Tentative Justification”; others claiming it not only operates now but will continue to operate even during the period of Justification by Works. It is our opinion that those who deny completely a Tentative Justification for this Faith Age are thus forced to abandon large sections of that Truth which made them clean. It forced JFR to discard completely Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices, so that Jehovah’s Witnesses no longer include that book in their course of study. And it is difficult to determine just what interpretation those people now give to Jesus’ words: “I say to you, Till Heaven and earth pass away, one iota or one tip of a letter shall by no means pass from the Law, till all be accomplished [fulfilled].” (Matt. 5:18, Dia.) Clearly enough, Jesus was thus telling us that the entire Law arrangement – of which the Tabernacle with its ceremonies was the central feature – was typical, and that all those types must continue until the antitypes appeared to fulfill them – fill them full to a completion.

In a flimsy attempt to justify his rejection of Tentative Justification, JFR made the false claim that Brother Russell rejected the teaching of Tentative Justification before he died; but this claim is directly disputed in the foreword of Vol. 6, Oct. 1, 1916. There Brother Russell sets forth Tentative Justification and Vitalized Justification as separate and distinct, as he also does in the 1909 Watch Tower, p. 360; the 1910 WT, pp. 12, 13, 93 and 246; the 1911, p. 394; the 1912, p. 152; the 1913, pp. 92‑94; the 1914, p. 67; the 1915, pp. 103, 104 and pp. 292, 293; the 1916, p. 281.

These citations leave no doubt about Brother Russell’s conviction about the teaching of Tentative Justification. Many others have joined JFR in the denial of Tentative Justification; and, since this teaching is a fundamental part of the Old and New Testaments, we are justified in concluding that those who once accepted it before October, 1916, but now deny it, must come under the classification of 2 Thes. 2:10, 11, Dia.: “They admitted not the love of the Truth... And on this account God will send to them an energy of delusion.” In our Lord’s announcement of the sentence upon the “unprofitable servant” (the Great Company) of Matt. 25:30, Jesus stated that he would be “cast into outer darkness” – the “darkness” meaning in this text, as it also does in 1 Thes. 5:5,6 and other Scriptures, “giving over to error.” (See especially the Berean Comment on 2 Thes. 2:11.)

Jesus had told the Disciples in John 15:3: “Now are ye clean through the words which I have spoken unto you”; and the conclusion must automatically follow that those who reject “the words” which once made them clean would then self‑evidently become unclean they become afflicted with antitypical leprosy – “he shall be defiled; he is ‘unclean”’ (Lev. 13:46). And this uncleanness will remain with that Class until the full end of the Gospel‑Age – “until the even” (Lev. 14:46). The cleansing will be accomplished with such in “the great tribulation” of Rev. 7:14, at which time they shall experience “the weeping and gnashing of teeth” of Matt. 25:30. And until this cleansing is accomplished, we may reasonably expect such unclean ones to cast out (refuse to fellowship) God’s fully faithful people who resist such rebellion (revolutionism). Let us keep in mind that it is always THE TRUTH that produces the separation between the Fully Faithful and the Measurably Faithful. Thus, the “hail” (the hard convincing Truth) sweeps away “the refuge of lies,” revealing those who have received the Truth in the love of it, and those who receive the punishment of “outer darkness” – ERROR and REVOLUTIONISM – LEPROUS UNCLEANNESS. Thus, we should “think it not strange” as we see this separating influence operate to a completion – “until the even.”


While we have great respect for the teachings of Brother Russell, yet we believe that a doctrine so weighty as Tentative versus Vitalized Justification should also be taught in the Bible, and that we should be able to produce a clear “thus saith the Lord” to substantiate our position – and not by one text only, but by at least two or three witnesses. And it is the failure to consider all that is written on various doctrines that has produced the great falling away since Apostolic times. Therefore, if we find our thoughts disputed by even a single text, we may be sure of three things: Either the text is spurious; we have a faulty translation; or we ourselves have the wrong interpretation. “It is impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18); and, since the Bible is the inspired word of God, it likewise cannot lie – cannot contradict itself.

The first “witness” we shall consider in proof is 1 Cor. 7:14, Dia.: “The unbelieving husband is sanctified in the believing wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified in the brother; otherwise, indeed your children were impure, but now they are holy.” The word “holy” in the text is from the Greek word “hagios,” which means set apart, separate, holy. It is the same word that is translated “saints” more than sixty times. Clearly enough, a newborn infant could not possibly be a saint, but they receive a reckoned saintly standing because of their saintly parentage; and, since their parents are in the antitypical Tabernacle Court, their children would self‑evidently have to be there with them until such time as those children reach an age of accountability and can determine for themselves whether or not they wish to retain their Faith Justification and continue in the saintly footsteps of their parents.

Sometime ago a booklet came into our possession, in which the writer is very positive that there can be no Tentative Justification, because, says he, justification must be an instantaneous work. This brother also claims – as did JFR – that Brother Russell changed his mind on Tentative Justification. This contention is simply a ruse in a shabby attempt to gain support for his error – an error that will be clearly exposed and refuted in full, as our further comments herein will demonstrate.

Surely no one with the faintest understanding of Faith Justification would claim that the justification of infants is vitalized! Therefore, 1 Cor. 7:14 indisputably proves a Tentative Justification; and it is well to note in final summation that we are also clearly faced with two kinds of Tentative Justification – one acquired by the intelligent desire and cooperation of the recipient, and the other by infants acquired through no will or cooperation of their own. Also, it is that justification described in Rom. 5:1,2, Dia.: “Having been justified, therefore, by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom also we have been introduced into this favor in which we stand.” This Tentative Justification – standing – is our “introduction” to God, which gives us “peace with God,” but does not give us the “peace of God” until we offer ourselves in accordance with Rom. 12:1 – to do the will of God, which, if accepted, then gives to us “the peace of God which passeth [human] understanding.” Only after that do we actually possess a “living” (zeal‑inspiring) faith.

As our second “witness” we consider Romans 4, starting with verse 3 (Dia.): “What says the Scripture? Abraham believed [had faith in] God, and it was accounted [reckoned] to him for righteousness.” Here again, it is clearly stated Abraham’s Faith Justification did not actually make him right; it merely accounted, or reckoned, him righteous. Thus, v. 7 – “Happy are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered” – no longer held against them because of their Faith Justification. Certainly no one who was ever in Present Truth would contend that Abraham and David had justification similar to the justification held by those of this Gospel‑Age who had come into the Body of Christ – vitalizedly, through a real imputation of Christ’s merit.

But note now particularly vs. 10 and 11: “How then was it accounted [to Abraham]? When he was in circumcision or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the symbol of circumcision, as a seal of the righteousness of that faith which he had while in uncircumcision; in order that he might be the father of all uncircumcised believers; that the righteousness may be accounted [reckoned] to them.”

All who were ever schooled in Present Truth are well aware that ancient circumcision was a type of the Gospel‑Age consecration, the physical circumcision typing that figurative circumcision of the heart that is made when one offers his heart and will to God in consecration. But St. Paul clearly states that Abraham’s righteousness was accounted, reckoned, to him before circumcision – that he might be the father of all who believe – all who experience a Faith Justification before they present themselves to God in consecration – before they experience the antitypical circumcision of the heart. St. Paul was truly a great logician, and his reasoning is so clear and direct in this fourth chapter, that it seems unbelievable that any who were once in Present Truth could cast it aside and then attempt to besmirch Brother Russell by saying he had also cast aside these compelling Scriptures.

Following his clear exposition of a tentative reckoning, St. Paul then proceeds to say in Rom. 5:1,2 that this Faith Justification arranges our “introduction” to God – not an intimate close family relationship, but merely an introduction, which will enable us to gain intimacy of soul with our Heavenly Father if we follow his appeal in Rom. 12:1 to “present your bodies a living sacrifice” – in consecration, which we are now in position to do as a result of our tentative, reckoned, Faith Justification – to “transform yourselves by the renovation of your mind.” (12:2, Dia.)

As our third “witness” we offer what we consider the most compelling proof for Tentative Justification, the same being the Atonement Day type of the wilderness Tabernacle as given in Lev. 16. The pattern given to Moses in the mount was emphatic that all animals used in that service must be “without blemish” (Lev. 1:3) – no visible flaws of any kind. But we now ask, did those animals have their physical perfection as a result of their presentation to Aaron in sacrifice, or were they offered up that day because they were previously found to be perfect? The answer need no elaboration: They were already “without blemish” when they were selected from among the children of Israel, and were brought into the Court, before they were tied at the door of the Tabernacle – their being tied there representing the consecration and presentation of those who were about to enter the Holy “in newness of life” through an instantaneous vitalization of that reckoned perfection which was already theirs before consecration. And it is this tentative faith justification, this reckoned perfection, that is our “introduction to God” (Rom. 5:2) – enabling us to enter into the Holy – into Divine sanctum – in vitalized justification – a condition exclusive to this Gospel Faith Age and exclusive to those only who are “begotten to newness of life” through direct imputation of the merit of Jesus.

Reverting to earlier statements in the above paragraph, we also point out that every antitype is pronouncedly greater than its type. Thus, Jesus as the antitype of the Atonement‑Day bullock was infinitely greater than was the type, requiring only the one sacrifice of Himself to cleanse from all sin forever all those who come to the Father by Him. And the members of His Body were also far greater than their Atonement‑Day type as represented in the Lord’s goat. Therefore, if those animals in the type must be “without blemish” (typically perfect) before presentation at the door of the Tabernacle, how much more must this be true of their Gospel‑Age antitypes? God cannot look upon sin with any degree of allowance, thus could never enter into a “covenant by sacrifice” with fallen beings unless the sin barrier were first removed. Therefore, it should be self evident that He must first provide a way – an “introduction” – for fallen man to come to Him; and this He has accomplished by arranging for a tentative, a reckoned perfection a Tentative Justification by Faith.


No fallen human being could arrange for this “introduction” to God by his own skill or merit; it must come through an intercessor, through one who could give him a reckoned perfection – and this He arranged through Jesus – “that He might be just, and yet be the justifier of him who believeth on Jesus.” (Rom. 3:26) And here again the Tabernacle type gives clear confirmation of this by the linen curtain which surrounded the Tabernacle structure and its surrounding plot of ground. The Divine Presence was portrayed by the Shekinah Light and shone forth from between the Cherubim in the Most Holy of the Tabernacle; and none could ever reach that presence except through Jesus – by first coming through the Gate into the Court, and inside the linen curtain, there to be reckoned perfect, righteous (“the fine Linen is the righteousness of saints”– Rev. 19:8), to provide proper “introduction” to God at the first veil, and for progress through life’s pilgrimage through the Holy to the Most Holy, where “we shall be ever with the Lord.”

Some may ask how such arrangement could be true of Abraham, who lived before the typical Tabernacle was erected at Sinai. We answer: It was reckoned to him, and to all with “the faith of Abraham” from Abel to John the Baptist. “Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56) And, while none of the Ancients ever had more than a tentative, a reckoned justification, all that they did have came to them through a reckoned standing inside that linen curtain – which gave them a righteousness they could never attain of themselves. “Mine own righteousness is as filthy rags.” (Isa. 64:6)

“The Youthful Worthies, from the standpoint of having ‘the faith of Abraham,’ (Gal. 3:7, 9) are, of course, like him, of the Household of Faith. They are, however, somewhat different from the Tentatively Justified who do not now consecrate. The latter during the Epiphany cease altogether to be in the Household of Faith, having used the Grace of God in vain [for Gospel‑Age purposes].” (E‑4‑406)

After That Servant’s death JFR denied the doctrine of Tentative Justification altogether because it stood in the way of his “new light.” The Epiphany Messenger clearly refuted his “new light,” and established the doctrine of Tentative Justification in the Scriptures so unmistakably that no Epiphany‑enlightened brethren need be deceived now. In Epiphany Volume 4, p. 342, Brother Johnson says that “those faithful consecrators from 1881 until Restitution sets in, for whom there are no crowns available, and hence no Spirit‑begetting for Gospel‑Age purposes possible, will be the Millennial Associates of the Ancient Worthies in reward and service.”

And in conclusion let us consider that advancing Truth does not set aside the Truth already established, as some deceivers seem to think; all advancing Truth must be based upon the Truth already established from the Good Word of God. (Excerpts from No. 255, September, 1976)



QUESTION: – A TV Evangelist said that he would be happy to see God when he dies and goes to heaven, although he was afraid to face God. He said, ‘It is proper for us to be afraid of God,’ and quoted Psa. 111:10: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Is it proper to be afraid of God?

ANSWER: – No, it is not proper for us to be afraid of God. We should have supreme reverence for God and be fearful of displeasing Him by intentional wrongdoing. Fear in the Bible has two meanings – one meaning reverence and one meaning fearful, being afraid. The Evangelist does not “rightly divide the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15) Had he consulted a Concordance for the meaning of ‘fear’ in the text he quoted, he could have given the correct interpretation of ‘fear.’

“God is love.” (1 John 4:8) “There is no fear [dread] in love; but perfect love casteth out fear [slavish fearfulness]; because fear has torment. He that has fear is not made perfect in love [for God].” (1 John 4:18) “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death [during this “evil world”– Gal. 1:4], I will fear no evil: For thou art with me; thy rod [corrections] and thy staff [God’s promises] they comfort me.” (Psa. 23:4) “God is a spirit; and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

“For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we Christ.” (2 Cor. 2:17) God does not frighten people into serving him as many have taught. All who love Him must have fear (filial reverence) for Him. He is a God of Love, Justice, Wisdom and Power, and plenteous in mercy. “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, long suffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.” (Psa. 86:15)



Dear Emily,

Thank you for your kind personal letter to me. I have received the material sent to me. The nearest Bible Students are in Wilmington, Delaware.

I will be happy to receive your tracts. Thank you. With my best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year in God’s service. ------- (MARYLAND)


Dear Emily Hoefle,

Thank you for your letter and for the papers and the book about “An Early American Christian Zionist.” This is very helpful. If you would send me THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES, I would appreciate it.

I was with the Witnesses for a time, but am not now. I have learned much about the past history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Many things I had not heard before, and I would like to verify the information that I am getting by the Witness, Inc. It is by an ex‑Jehovah’s Witness. Some of this information is about Charles Taze Russell, and I am interested in the Truth of these matters. I don’t want to take some one’s word without verifying it. ...

You are giving me a side of C. T. Russell that I never knew. ... Years ago the only date I ever heard of was 1914, and that was because I was getting information from Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their explanation was that 1914 was significant because they now understood it to be the time Jesus started His Kingdom rulership over the earth.

Any information you can give me will be much appreciated. Thank you. ------- (OHIO)


Dear Sirs:

I would like to request any information that you could supply me with in regard to your religious movement. I am interested in your movement and would appreciate this very much -------        (CANADA)


Dear Sirs:

I would appreciate it if you would please add me to your mailing list. A copy of one of your publications was given to me. Thank you very much.

Sincerely, ------- (COLORADO)