DANIEL – Daniel is recognized as one of the major prophets, although his book contains only twelve short chapters ‑ a small fraction of the other three: Isaiah with 66 chapters; Jeremiah with 52 chapters; Ezekiel with 48 chapters. However, the force and knowledge of Daniel’s twelve chapters probably surpass any twelve chapters that we may find in any of the other three.
One writer states this of him: “The celebrated Jewish prophet at the Babylonian court. He sprang from the princely family of the tribe of Judah. When a youth, he was carried off with the other captives by Nebuchadnezzar. At Babylon the boy was selected with other young captives of good birth and parts to be trained for the state service. He and three companions obtained leave from the master of the eunuchs; under whose charge they were, to substitute simple food for the viands assigned them by the king which were likely to be contrary to the Mosaic Law and defiled by heathen rites (Dan. 1:8). The four young exiles all became proficient in Babylonian learning, while the grace of God enabled them to manifest uncompromising principle, even when it brought them face to face with death.
“About that time Ezekiel cited Daniel as a notable example of righteousness and wisdom (Ezek. 14:14)... On the fall of the Neo‑Babylonian Empire, Darius the Mede appointed 120 satraps over the new kingdom, with three presidents over them, Daniel being one of the three. Jealousy of Daniel on account of his ability and eminence led to a plot against him, and he was cast into the den of lions... He was officially a statesman, and his life was passed in the business of the state. He does not use the common prophetic declaration, “Thus saith the Lord,” and he does not exhort his contemporaries, as it was the function of the prophets to do.
“The prophecy of Daniel is quoted by Christ as genuine and certain of fulfillment. Josephus, who speaks of Daniel as a great prophet, believed that the prophecies of Daniel were in existence before the time of Alexander the Great; in fact, before the days of Artaxerses.”
It is probably no improper statement to say that the book of Daniel stands in a class by itself in Biblical writings. All that is known about the prophet himself is contained substantially in his own book, which consists essentially of two parts ‑ a series of narratives (chap. 1‑6) describing his experiences and those of his companions in the three reigns of Nebuchadnezzar (chap. 1‑4; Belshazzar (chap. 5); and Darius the Mede (chap. 6).
The latter half of the book (ch. 7‑12) is a series of visions – with introductions describing the circumstances attending them, purporting to have been seen by Daniel during the reigns of Belshazzar (ch. 7 & 8), Darius the Mede (ch. 9), and Cyrus (ch. 10 to 12). The principal link connecting the two parts of the book is afforded by chaps. 2 and 7 ‑ the four empires symbolized By the image in Nebuchadnazzar’s dream in chapter 2 being the same as the four empires symbolized by the four beasts seen by Daniel in his vision described in Chapter 7. However, there is a decided difference in the understanding of these two visions, In the great “metal‑man” picture of Chapter 2 the four universal empires are set forth as viewed by man in his present fallen condition ‑ the latter, the magnetism of rulership in this “present evil world”; with Chapter 7 portraying those same empires as viewed by God, dominated chiefly by “the basest of the kingdoms” (Ezek. 29:15; Dan. 4:17: “The most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”
In the entire book there is very little, if any, of the acerbic criticism that the other three of the major prophets leveled at the human race, especially so against the “rebellious house of Israel,” with his superior mentality and dominant position with the Government, he was the target of envious men; but the Governments generally held him in high esteem ‑ as we shall see later in this article; There is no record that the common people persecuted him for any criticism of them.
The second Chapter of Daniel relates the engrossing “Metal‑man” image of King Nebuchadnazzar; and we now offer some detail upon it because it had great influence upon Daniel’s life!
The King had had a dream which disturbed him greatly; but, when he awoke, he could not recall what it was; so he summoned to be brought before him “the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, to tell him about it.” But when the sleight‑of‑hand performers asked to hear what the dream was, the King became very angry, told them that if they are as good as they claim to be, they should be able to tell him what the dream was. “And the Chaldeans said, there is not a man upon the earth that can show the king’s matter” – no king, lord, nor ruler that had ever asked such an impossible thing. The king then became “very furious,” and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.” “And they sought Daniel and his followers to be slain.” (2:13)
The four Hebrew youths quickly realized their precarious position, and immediately betook themselves to prayer. There was really no reason at all for the king to include the four youths in his verdict because none of them had ever given any intimation of adhering to the tactics of the “smart boys.” But with God on their side, they were sure to win – which they did. “The secret was revealed unto Daniel in a night vision.” (2:19) And he showed real diplomacy in declaring it to the king: “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory... Thou art this head of gold.” (2:37,38) Then he proceeded to describe three other empires which would follow Babylon: chest and arms of silver – Medo‑Persia; belly of brass – Greece, under Alexander the Great; and finally Rome – the two legs of iron representing the two divisions of the Roman Empire, dominated by the “iron rule of Rome” in the two iron legs of the King’s dream.
“Then king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshiped Daniel... made him a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon... and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel ‘SAT IN THE GATE OF THE KING”’ – the place of chief prominence! Later we shall discuss how those same men, whose lives Daniel had saved, conspired to destroy him; but admitted that the only accusation they could bring against him was his religion.
But there is more to be said about the book in general, especially in its apocalyptic, and some of the more characteristic doctrines that find expression in it. Some of the symbolism and the veiled predictions that form such conspicuous features of the Book had already been employed by other prophets. For instance, Ezekiel uses the allegories of the vine‑tree (Chapter 15); the abandoned infant (Chapter 16); the two eagles and the vine (Chapter 17); the lion’s whelps (Chapter 19) the two harlots (Chapter 23); the flourishing tree (Chapter 31); the shepherds and their flock (Chapter 34). There are striking instances in the writings of other prophets; but, applied to Daniel, the symbolism and the yelled predictions are characteristic of a species of literature which was then beginning to spring up ‑ known commonly by‑modern writers as Apocalyptic Literature.
The word “apocalypse” means disclosure, revelation; and the ordinary prophecy contains disclosures, whether respecting the will of God in general, or respecting the future, the term is applied in particular to writings in which the disclosure, or revelation, is of a specially marked and distinctive character. The beginnings of this type of writing are to be found in those post‑exilic prophecies of the Old Testament relating to the future, which are less closely attached to the existing order of things as is usually the case, and which, though they cannot be said actually to describe it, may nevertheless be regarded as prophetic anticipations of the final judgment, and consummation of all things. But in due course apocalyptic prophecy assumed a special form, and became the expression of particular feelings and ideas.
Apocalyptic prophecy arose in an age in which there were no longer any prophets of the older type, addressing themselves directly to the needs of the times, and speaking in person to the people in the name of God. It consists essentially of a development and adaptation of the ideas and promises expressed by the older prophets, designed especially with the object of affording encouragement and consolation of faithful Israelites in a period of national distress. The call to repentance, and rebuke for sin, which formed the primary and central element in the teaching of the older prophets, assumed in the age of Daniel a secondary place. Israel was subject to the heathen and the crying question was: When would its long and humiliating servitude be at an end? When would the older prophecies of future glory and triumph over the heathen be fulfilled? The expectation of these promises in the immediate future has badly misled the Jews throughout the Jewish and Gospel Ages – although they are now beginning to be realized, especially since 1948 – when their national recognition was established. However, it must be that the full realization of those promises is still some years in the future, during which years they are yet to have further harassment at the hands of their heathen neighbors.
The Book of Enoch (not a Biblical writing) is nearest in date to the book of Daniel. In Gen. 5:24 it is stated that “he walked with God”; and the conclusion was reached that he not only led a godly life, but that God bestowed supernatural favors upon him. This is only tradition, of course. But the New Testament Book of Jude does tell us that “The Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints to execute judgment upon all” (vs. 14, 15): to punish the fallen angels and wicked men, and to reward the righteous with peace. This statement, of course, is not tradition; it is the inspired Word of God!
Jude also speaks of the “common salvation” (v. 3) – which will be an everlasting untroubled life on earth. “God planted a garden (a paradise) eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” (Gen. 2:8) Great confusion has arisen about the actual meaning of these words; but we accept them as literal, and that they foretell a future bliss for the restored human race – not only for the Jews, but for all men – “Tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people.”
Then the story goes on that God Himself will appear to judge the world; Israel’s oppressors will be destroyed, and the Messianic kingdom will be established, In seeing all this, Daniel says, “I stood trembling... but he was told, Tear not, Daniel,... Thy words were heard from the first day thou didst set thy heart to understand… I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days”– that is, in the distant future. (Dan. 10:11‑14)
In due time – the distant future – the Kingdom will be established in the land of Israel; then spread over all the earth, after which the fallen angels will receive their judgment – after which there will be no end of goodness and righteousness, sin will no more be mentioned. Messiah will then be predominant and highly exalted, surrounded by myriads of angels ever praying before Him while sitting on the throne of His glory. Then the Books will be opened, having a record of all the sins committed by men, as well as the good deeds of the righteous. It is presumed that the Apostle John gained much material from Daniel for his Revelation, or Apocalypse, We mention here especially Daniel 12:7: “For a time, times, and a half,” A “Time” is a Jewish lunar year of 360 days; thus, 3 1/2 times would be 42 months, or 1260 days. Note now Rev. 13:5: “There was given unto him (the beast) to continue forty and two months.”
SOME OUTSTANDING TEACHINGS OF DANIEL
The Kingdom of God is one of the most fundamental ideas in the Book, and is a triumph of the Kingdom of God over the kingdoms of this world. This is greatly emphasized in his second chapter, on which we offered some comment in the earlier pages of this article; but we now quote from 2:44 regarding the performance of the “stone cut out without hands” smiting the metal‑man image on the feet: “In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” That will be the fifth universal empire; and, when people sometimes ask our politics, we answer them: We are a fifth‑monarchy man. That usually invites an explanation, which we are happy to present.
The breaking up of the toes of the image – afterwards the willing of the whole earth – represents the triumph of the Kingdom of God over the evil powers of this world. It is the same ultimate triumph of the Kingdom of God – with increasing distinctness of detail, and with more special reference to the climax of heathen hostility to the truth, that is detailed in Chapters 7 to 12, with the Divinely appointed Kingdom of God succeeding these evil governments in a universal and eternal government of the holy people of God – a kingdom which contrasts with all previous kingdoms – as man contrasts with the beasts of prey. Thus the prophet emphasizes not only an unshaken confidence in the ultimate triumph of truth, but also by an over‑mastering sense of a universal Divine purpose which overrules all the vissitudes of human history, the rise and fall of dynasties, the conflicts of nations, and the calamities that overtake God’s faithful people.
As declared by Daniel, when the need of God’s people is the greatest, the Almighty will interpose: His throne of judgment will be set up, and the powers hostile to Israel will be overthrown; everlasting dominion will be given to the people of God (“they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” – Rev. 20:4). All men will then serve them, sin will be abolished and forgiven, and everlasting righteousness will be established. The dead of Israel will then be resurrected to life everlasting. The inauguration of the kingdom of God will follow immediately after the complete annihilation of the nations as represented in the ten toes of the metal‑man image.
The earlier prophets make mention of the coming Kingdom of God, but they lack some of the fine details given by Daniel. The earlier prophets, such as Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, all foretold of an age when the trials and disappointments of the present would be no more, when Israel, freed from heathen oppressors, would realize its ideal character, and live an ideal life of righteousness and peace upon its own soil Canaan, where they now are – at which time the willing nations will be incorporated into the Kingdom of God.
In Chapter 12 there is very positive stress given to the resurrection – not only of the nation, but of the individuals: “Many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” And Daniel then raises the question: “When shall these things be?” And the answer came to him: “When he (the Papacy – from 539 to 1799 AD) shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” Daniel treats of the general resurrection more distinctly and definitely than do any of the other Old Testament writers. But, as Daniel himself declared, “I looked, but I understood not”; so it was with all the Old Testament writers. It remained for Jesus and the Apostles to make very clear that “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15)
In the Old Testament the belief was general that the nation of Israel would return from the tomb and enjoy an earthly inheritance. At that time they failed to see the spiritual resurrection that the saints of the Gospel Age would inherit. This is one of the main reasons why Daniel “understood not.” It is probably true that Dan. 12:2 declares the resurrection more clearly than any of the other Old Testament writers; and the Jewish mind was very hazy on this doctrine at the time of Jesus’ arrival.
To the Jews it was an ennobling ideal, which the Pharisees cherished, but which the Sadducees rejected completely: “The Sadducees say there is no resurrection.” (Acts 23:8) The failure of the Pharisees to recognize a spiritual resurrection, as well as a resurrection here on earth, was one great cause for their failure to understand some of the sayings of Jesus. In Dan. 7:9‑14 Daniel gives a very vivid portrayal of the earthly Kingdom; it is magnificently described from the human and earthly standpoint. This is pretty much just the reverse of the present Christian view: Most of them today see only the spiritual resurrection, and ignore completely the earthly stage.
None of the Old Testament prophets – with the possible exception of Daniel ‑ even remotely dreamed that the future restoration and glory of Israel would be so far distant in the future. In fact, even the Apostles did not realize this either. During Jesus’ presence with them they were much imbued with the fact that He would restore the glory that was Solomon’s; and, even after His crucifixion and resurrection, they still held the opinion of a speedy restoration of Israel. “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) Had they then known it would be more than nineteen hundred years before that would be done, no doubt many of them would have given up and quit. From Isa. 11:1‑10 they were firmly convinced that the restoration of the kingdom would be in the immediate future ‑ after the return from Babylon which Jeremiah had told them would be after seventy years in Babylon. (2 Chron. 36:21) And when “the root out of Jesse” (Jesus) arrived, it seemed to them a certainty that the time had finally come.
The ordinary belief of the ancient Hebrews on the subject of a future life was that the spirit after death passed into the underworld – Sheol, the grave, or the death state where it entered upon a shadowy, half conscious, joyless existence, not worthy of the name of “life” (a close cousin to the Roman purgatory) – where communion with God was at an end, and where God’s mercies could be neither apprehended nor acknowledged. The prophets did offer some beams of light – which was more fully revealed and explained by the New Testament writings, which, however, most Jews have refused to accept. And the Jews seized upon some of the Old Testament utterances that were prophetic of Jesus, and applied them to themselves: “Thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell (Sheol); thou wilt not suffer thy godly one to see corruption.” (Psa. 16:9,10) But such promises the Jews applied exclusively to themselves; the Gentile “dogs” would end up with the beastly dogs ‑ probably in Gehenna. The prophet Ezekiel had told them, “These bones are the whole house of Israel.” (Ezek. 37:11) This was a prophecy of the resurrection of the nation.
The Angels – Angels are quite often mentioned in the Old Testament, but it remained for Daniel to mention specifically two of them by name. Jesus had told the apostles: “In my Father’s house are many mansions” – different planes of being. (John 14:2) in Dan. 8:16 and 9:21 Gabriel is mentioned by name for the first time; and in Dan. 10:13, 10:21 and 12:1 Michael is given for the first time: “Michael... the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people.” All believers of any sort are familiar with evil spirits, Satan being chief among them in the Christian thinking. His original name is given in Isa. 14:12: “How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning.” Clearly enough, before his fall, Satan was one of the superior spirit beings. In the Greek and Roman mythology – with their many gods – they have one outstanding evil one – their Satan or what not.
Antiochus Epiphanes (215‑164 BC) is presumed by some to be the prototype of St. Paul’s Antichrist; but their mistake here lies in their idea that Antichrist refers to an individual, instead of a far‑reaching and long‑enduring system of evil. While the Jews had suffered much at the hands of heathen rulers, Antiochus was the first foreign king who persecuted them expressly on account of their religion. He not only forbade them, under pain of death, to practice any of its observances, but, when they resisted him, he avowed openly his determination to extirpate their nation. Thus all loyal Jews detested him much more than any of their previous oppressors. He not only openly glorified the heathen Hellenic deities, but bestowed divine honors upon himself. As an individual, he was indeed an excellent forerunner of the New Testament Antichrist.
It is presumed by some that Daniel was giving a prophetic history of Antiochus and his evil deeds against the Jews; but this is a subject open to argument. We simply mention it here because he did have a direct influence upon the Jews in this time.
Antiochus did indeed fit well the description given by St. Paul in 2 Thes. 2:4: “Who opposeth and exalted himself above all that is called God; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” The antichrist that St. Paul refers to is a system, and a future thing. (1 John 2:18) He also describes this same antichrist as That Wicked One, The Man of Sin, The Mystery of Iniquity, and The Son of Perdition; and Daniel calls it The Abomination that maketh desolate (Dan. 11:31; 12:11). Our Lord refers to the same character as The Abomination of Desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Matt. 24:15; and again in Rev. 13:1‑8 as a Beast). All these appellations fit Papacy in their recognition and power of 1260 years, from 539 until 1799, when its power suffered much defeat by Napoleon.
IN THE LION’S DEN
In his sixth chapter we have the account of Daniel being cast into the lion’s den. This is very well explained by the two Messengers, but we now try to offer some more details about the event. The record begins, “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; and over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first; that the princes might give accounts unto them. Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.” (vs. 1‑3) Daniel was undoubtedly one of the best – if not the best at that time among the Jews. It was he who had won great favor with Nebuchadnezzar by handling the dream recorded in the second chapter; but, being an “outlander,” it was water of gall to the Chaldean bigwigs.
When Cyrus took Babylon at night – while Belshazzar was eating and drinking himself drunken in the banquet hall – he placed Darius over the Babylonia province; and he was probably well acquainted with Daniel. His handling of the dream would certainly cause active comment among all the people of Babylon; and the “mark of Cain” (envy) quickly asserted itself. They must get rid of Daniel; “but they could find none occasion nor fault, forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.” So they resorted to an underhanded ruse; they tricked Darius into signing a “decree” that none should worship gods other than those of the state religion. Then they persuaded the king to establish the decree, and sign the writing, which could then not be changed, because the decree of the Medes and Persians changes not.
Of course they soon found Daniel praying – which he did three times a day – and immediately reported it to Darius. “Then the king was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him... but they cast him into the den of lions. But the king said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting... and his sleep went from him... He arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions... He spake to Daniel, O Daniel, is thy God able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel... My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me... innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad for him... And he commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and break all their bones in pieces before they came at the bottom of the den.”
“Then king Darius wrote... I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom man tremble and fear before the God of Daniel... He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”
There is one outstanding distinction in this narration about Daniel: The Jews did not persecute him, as they had done with most of the prophets. They probably held him in high esteem and honored him, because of his eminent position with the government in Babylon, which brought to them favors they would not otherwise have had. Also, a glowing compliment is recorded of Daniel in Ezek. 14:14: “The word of the Lord came to me, saying... These three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness.” Daniel received just the reverse treatment they gave to most of the prophets before him. In the time of Moses they persecuted and harassed him – so much so that on one occasion he was so vexed that he smote the rock twice, which offense caused him to see goodly Canaan land, but he never set foot on it. In later years the Jews treated other prophets shamefully, while they were praising Moses as a great leader and a favorite with God. Then the Jews who were praising Abraham, Moses and all the prophets who followed them, “crucified the Lord of Glory.” (1 Cor. 2:8)
This pattern has been pretty much the same in the Gentile world. Today most Americans are high in praise of Abraham Lincoln; in fact, more has been written about him than any other human being, except Jesus and Shakespeare. Lincoln stands third in this select group; but, when he was alive, the cartoons of ridicule and verbal abuse that were hurled at him were of a most vicious kind. Here we might offer a fine compliment to those Jews back there: While they “killed the prophets, and stoned those that were sent unto them,” they never, so far as we know, persecuted any of the heathen for their religious beliefs, even though they held them in contempt.
It is our fond hope that the story about Daniel and the other three major prophets may prove a source of strength to all our readers; and that all will take “them for an example of suffering affliction. and of Patience.” (Jas. 5:10)
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION; – Will you please explain the meaning of the different characters in the parable of the Sowers – in Matt. 13:24‑30?
ANSWER: – There are seven characters or groups of characters in this parable; but we would first of all stress that in a parable the thing said is never the thing meant. In this parable there are seven distinct performers: (1) The Sower; (2) the men that slept; (:3 the enemy; (4) the tares; (5) the wheat; (6) the servants; (7) the reapers.
The Sower is Jesus Himself, who sowed the wheat that began the work of the Gospel. Age. The men that slept are the Apostles. So long as the twelve were on earth they maintained the early Church in its pristine purity; and it was not until they were gone that the Enemy (the Devil) made an appreciable progress with his system of error which eventually developed the great apostate church. The Wheat are the true believers; while the tares are the imitation believers. The tares bear a striking resemblance to the wheat, and we understand that this pernicious weed is quite plentiful in Palestine. The Servants are the true followers that came after the Apostles slept; then the Reapers in the “time of Harvest.” In the emphatic Diaglott it stresses the men that slept, indicating they were a special group, which indeed the Apostles were.
While the wheat was to be gathered into the barn “in the time of harvest,” the instruction is explicit that first the tares were to be gathered “into bundles for the burning.” Do we have any evidence that this was done? Indeed, we do! The “bundles” would indicate that certain groups are meant. The largest groups here in the end of the Age are the nations, and these were indeed gathered into bundles very early in the Harvest. In 1879 Germany and Austria‑Hungary banded together as a defense against other European nations. They were joined in 1882 by Italy in a secret pact, known as the Triple Alliance. When other nations realized what had happened – England, France and Russia formed another great “bundle” – the Triple Entente in 1907; and it was these two groups that really started the “burning” when they went to war in 1914; and it is now‑clearly evident that the burning has been going on ever since that date, and will continue to a completion when they will be fully consumed – in this “Time of Trouble.”
Next we have the lesser bundles – the various church sects – the Federation of Churches of Christ here in America, the Church of England and Ireland, and the various Catholic sects all over the world ‑ but particularly in Europe. Then we consider the outstanding individuals, Reformers, Philanthropists, etc., who have acted independently in the various countries; then the lesser individuals in‑the various systems who have been strongly sectarian in their individual groups. All of these different sets of tares are now being bound firmly together, but we may yet see a still stronger binding as the approaching holocaust threatens their annihilation. This parable of Jesus could not be clearly understood until “the time of Harvest,” but it is certainly very clear now; and all who now have their eyes of understanding opened are represented in the book of Revelation as “a sea of glass” ‑ “I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire” (the destructive Time of Trouble – Rev. 15:2) As we are able to see clearly through glass, so those with the spirit of understanding now see this whole situation as though they were looking through a window pane.
Wheat & Chaff – Wheat & Tares – John the Baptist said of Jesus: “He will gather the wheat into his garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matt. 3:12) That was for the Jewish Harvest; and Jesus Himself said of the Christian Harvest: “Gather first the tares into bundles for the burning; and gather the wheat into my barn.” On the surface these two statements seem much the same; but there is a decided difference when we examine them closely. The wheat and the chaff grow on the same stalk; and this was definitely true of the Jewish wheat and chaff, as there was only one stalk in that nation: The Jewish priesthood with its system of error. And that system produced both wheat and chaff.
However, the wheat and tares grow on different stalks; and here in the end of the Age there was certainly more than one stalk; in fact, there are hundreds of them with probably all of them producing some wheat, and all of them producing an abundance of tares. And all of them will experience the destructive “fire” of this Time of Trouble. Therefore, it would be quite wrong to speak of the Wheat and the Tares in the Jewish Harvest – just as it would be wrong now to speak of the Wheat and the Chaff in the Gospel Age Harvest. There is now no chaff growing on the same stalks as the wheat.
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
This letter is to ask you about your group. If possible, tell us the history or background of your ecclesia, when it was formed and its developments.
Also, about your present relationship with the Dawn, the LHMM, the WTS, and with other Bible Students groups.
What do you believe? Is the High Calling still open? Is Christ present now? Had the Thousand‑Year period started chronologically with 1874, etc.
Are there any publications that deal with the Truth groups since the death of Bro. Russell in 1916? Send also samples of any publications you produce (except for the Studies). Sincerely in Christ, ------- (ARGENTINA)
Please send me some Bible information and some of your publications. I will sincerely study all material sent.
Thank you! ------- (RHODE ISLAND)