NO. 229: THE GREAT COMMISSION

by Epiphany Bible Students


No. 229

My dear Brethren: Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!

After His resurrection Jesus had gone into Galilee to meet the Disciples, as He had promised them He would do (Matt. 26:32); and there He spoke to them what is commonly declared to be “The Great Commission” (Matt. 28:19,20): “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Motivated by this order, many Christians have zealously proceeded to the re­mote parts of the earth, declaring the name of Jesus to savage hordes, even as others of their fellows engaged in great drives to raise millions of dollars to finance those who would “save” the poor heathen. Up to now, at least, it must be admitted that their efforts have been far from successful. Even in those countries claiming to be Chris­tian the practice of The Golden Rule is much conspicuous by the failure of the large majority to make even a token attempt to observe it. After more than nineteen hundred years of this effort, this dismal failure does indeed call for some reflection.

First of all, let us consider a critical translation of Jesus' words: “Go, dis­ciple all the nations, immersing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things which I have enjoined upon you; and, behold, I am with you all the days, till the consummation of the Age.” Clearly enough, from this more exact translation, The Great Commission was not an or­der to convert the whole world – it was merely intended to win disciples from the var­ious nations. And to what purpose? Our text says, “Immersing them into the name” ­that is, into the heart and mind, the disposition of the Father and of the Son.

This conclusion is clearly corroborated by Acts 19:1-7, where the twelve men there assembled had told the Apostle Paul that their baptism had brought them substantially nothing. They had been given the baptism of John – and, self–evidently, had not been instructed regarding the real baptism, which the immersion in water symbolized. Whereupon, “having heard this, they were immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus.” Their previous immersion had failed to “disciple” them; it was only after they had been immersed “into” the name (disposition) of the Lord Jesus, as symbolized by the water im­mersion, that Paul laid his hands upon them, and the gifts of the spirit came to them. All during the Age there has been much immersing done, and is still being done, without bringing the recipients “into” the name – into the disposition of the Lord Jesus. Un­less the real baptism is understood and undergone by the participants, the ritual is merely an exercise in futility – an immersion of water and words only, with the parti­cipants in no better condition than they were before the ceremony.

“THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM”

It is frequently stated that “Jesus went about... preaching the gospel (the good news, glad tidings) of the Kingdom.” (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; Mark 1:14, etc.) This King­dom was an important feature of His ministry, so much so that the Disciples themselves were much imbued with the thought. Even after His resurrection He spoke to them “of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3,4), which prompted the question from them: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel?” This they did before the Holy Spirit had been given them; and Jesus' answer is companion to The Great Commission in Matthew: “Ye shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)

During the evening of the last Supper, Jesus had told them, “I go to prepare a place for you... I will come again, and receive you unto Myself.” (Jn. 14:2,3) Not yet having received the Holy Spirit, the Apostles received these statements much as natural men, considering them from material standpoints.    And they were much per­suaded that His “coming again” would be in a very short time, this opinion aided in large measure by the experience at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-23). In the course of that conversation Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him – probably a discreet prodding for the three times that Peter had denied Him the night of the betrayal. Then Jesus informed him that his death would be a violent one, imposed upon him by other hands, at which Peter pointed to “that disciple whom Jesus loved” (the Apostle John) with the query, “And what shall this man do?” (v. 21) This would be better translated, “Lord, and what of this man?” In other words, if Peter was to die in gruesome fashion, what about this particular favorite of Yours – How will he die? “Jesus says to him, If I wish him to abide till I come, what is that to thee?” (v. 23) “The report, therefore, went out among the brethren, that that Disciple would not die,” although Jesus said no such thing. However, the tale persisted, so much so that certain ones in Corinth thought the Kingdom had already been established, and that they were then reigning.(l Cor. 4:8)

It seems reasonably certain that the Apostle John lived to the age of about one hundred years.   Thus, he was one of the last – if not the very last – to see Jesus while He was on earth. The Roman army under Titus captured Jerusalem in the year 70 AD; and few, if any, of the Jews who were in the city at that time escaped execution. The Apostle John lived for thirty years, more or less, after that event. Just where he was at that particular time we do not know, but we can be certain he was not in Jerusa­lem then. However, until the day he died, there could be some surface substance to the tale that he would survive until the Saviour came the second time, as He had prom­ised He would. But the death of the Apostle did definitely eliminate any further cre­dence in the story, which, as John himself stated in the last verses of his Gospel writing, had no real substance to it in what Jesus had said to Peter.

But of those who had reposed strong belief in the legend, we can well appreciate the disappointment that must have been theirs when the last glimmering hope was fully subdued in the death of John. And as those remaining ones expired – with still no evi­dence of a second coming – we can readily understand how a situation arose that was identical with the one confronting the Jews when Moses remained so long in Mount Sinai: “When Moses delayed to come down out of the mount (as Jesus was seemingly also doing after His ascension to the Heavenly Mount), the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is be­come of him... and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” (Ex. 32:1-6) This situation with Israel saw an exact reproduction in the Gospel Age after Jesus had been away from this earth for several hundred years, and still no evi­dence of His return. He had promised the Kingdom upon His return, and it became very easy for those disappointed Christians to talk themselves into believing that perhaps He had meant that they should take on this task themselves, since there was just noth­ing to indicate that the Lord would be doing it Himself.

The Kingdom reign was to be a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-4); and the members of the Christian Church gradually determined that they should engage upon the thousand­-year task of making earth ready as a proper preparation for His return. This had its first potential impetus when Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nice in 325 AD mainly to determine whether the Trinity should be determined as the accepted faith of the general church. Arius was the champion of the truth against this error; and his­tory says of him that he was a man of clear intellect. Yet only two of that vast assembly of church prelates agreed with him. The vast majority – about 250 – decided otherwise, and the Emperor agreed with them; and from that conclave emerged what is now commonly known as “The Apostles' Creed.” Arius was banished from the Roman Em­pire, and forced to take refuge in northern Africa, where he died eleven years later ­not, however, without leaving his “footprints on the sands of time,” for he left behind him a flourishing colony of Christians zealously contending that there is but “one God” (Eph. 4:6) And what name did they attach to themselves? Why, Arians, of course!

THE COUNTERFEIT REIGN

In due time came the Pope of Rome, claiming for himself universal sovereignty over “the Church which is His Body.” By 799 this had made such an imprint upon people and rulers alike that Charlemagne of France virtually ceded his authority unto the Pope; and thus began “the Holy Roman Empire”—the beginning of that thousand–year reign which would cause “every knee to bow, and every tongue to confess that Christ is Lord.” (Phil. 2:9–11) During the next thousand years the determination that the Church should convert and rule the world was supported by the armies of the various countries, and by all the ingenious tortures that the human intellect could devise. It was indeed a full coun­terfeit of that glorious reign which the Lord Himself had promised would “wipe away all tears from their eyes... no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither any more pain.” (Rev. 21:1-4) instead of “wiping away all tears,” that regime multiplied the tears, the sorrow, the death, so that it is now known as “The Dark Ages,” with much of its history so garbled that it is totally unreliable. The Church today would much rather not be re­minded of the facts of that time.

The colossal fraud of the whole arrangement was finally toppled by Napoleon in 1799 (just a full thousand years after Charlemagne, also of France, had set it up), when he took the Pope captive to Paris, where he eventually died. Thus was furnished to the whole world clear evidence that the papal claim of supremacy in church and civil court was nothing more than a vicious myth. In all of this the Lord was saying in ef­fect once more: “I have seen this people...let Me alone... that I may consume them.” (Ex. 32:9,10) It is little wonder that so many “protesters” arose with Martin Luther and other noble reformers over the past five hundred years, although great effort is be­ing made today to forget the past crimes, and let us all join in a grand brotherhood of man, with the Fatherhood of God. But, as one wit has expressed it: There are too few brothers, and too many hoods. The real reign of Christ is self–evidently an occurrence yet future.

THE CHURCH'S REAL MISSION

Based upon a misunderstanding of The Great Commission, a misunderstanding based somewhat upon the poor and inaccurate translation found in the King James version of the Bible, The Church has vigorously engaged upon an attempted conversion of the world when our Lord delayed His return. But it should by now be apparent to the ordinary believer that it has not been God's purpose to have it so; otherwise, He would have accomplished it. Either that, or we are forced to the miserable admission that He has been too weak to do it. This latter is certainly contradicted by the record of Gen. 1:3,14,16: “God said, Let there be light: and there was light... lights in the fir­mament of the Heaven to divide the day from the night... and it was so... God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: He made the stars also.” Here is a clear record of power unlimited – a power so awesome that man would be forced to bow the knee before it whenever the command goes forth. It is clear that God has not been “trying” to do something for the past nine­teen hundred years that was a little too much for Him! It should also be equally clear that man has been trying to do something that is much beyond his capacity. “Without Me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

During “this present evil world” (Gal. 1:4) there have been three dispensations, or Ages – The Patriarchal, the Jewish and the Gospel Ages; all of them “faith” Ages, with the Gospel Age being by far the most important. At the very outset of this Age Jesus “abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light (made it clear for the first time) through the gospel (the 'good news' of the Kingdom)”—2 Tim. 1:10. And for the promulgation of this 'good news' St. Paul says of himself, “whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” And in sym­pathy with this St. James says, “How God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name” (a privilege first offered to the Jews, which, when rejected by them, brought forth the expression from Paul: 'Lo, we turn to the Gentiles'—­Acts 13:46). “After this (when the fullness of the Gentiles be come in) I will return and build again the Tabernacle of David... that the residue of men might seek after the Lord (when His Kingdom is finally established in power and great glory, forcing every knee to bow).” (See Acts 15:14–18; Phil. 2:9–11)

During these three Ages certain called-out ones have preached righteousness, which has restrained somewhat the tendency toward depravity so prevalent all about us. This has been more apparent in the Gospel Age, as Jesus said it would be. “The Holy Spirit will convict the world concerning sin (will point out the evils of this present dispen­sation through those who have the Holy Spirit), and concerning righteousness (will teach the world the correct conduct as against the evils now prevalent), and concerning judg­ment (will explain the judgment as it will truly be when the Kingdom is established).” (John 16:8) But up to now all of this has simply been a “witness” of things to come ­a mere token of the glorious actuality.

THE JUDGMENT DAY

In Acts 17:31 St. Paul declares, “God hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained.” It is clear that that “day” was in the future when Paul said what he did; and St. Peter states that “the heavens (the present ecclesiastical systems) and the earth (the present social order), which are now... are reserved unto the day of judgment.” (2 Pet. 3:7) But the Apostle Peter then clarifies his statement with these words: “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years,” which is further confirmed in Psa. 90:4: “A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past.” St. Paul further states in 1 Cor. 6:2: “Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world?”

The Scriptures thus draw a sharp line of demarcation between the “saints” and the “world” – or between the elect and the non–elect. This is further emphasized in Rev. 20:4: “I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God (the saints, as described in Rev. 6:9)... and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” And Rev. 5:10 tells us where this reign shall be: “Thou has made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”

A SECOND COUNTERFEIT REIGN

As stated aforegoing, the Roman Church seized upon such texts to establish them­selves as earth's rulers for a thousand years – from 799 to 1799; but of the true reign it is written, “There will be no night (error) there.” (Rev. 21:25) Just the re­verse of that was true, however, under the terrible papal reign. That reign is now re­corded in history as The Dark Ages, because the “night” of sin and death and error was so intense that not even a good clear record of it is to be found in the history books.

It is a sound observation that history often repeats itself; and this is often true in religious history, just as it is true in secular records. Comes now here in the end of the Age the Jehovah's Witnesses, attempting on a smaller, but hardly less sanguine scale, to establish themselves as the rulers for a thousand years. They would now have us believe the Kingdom has been established under them; and, while they do not themselves perpetrate the same violence in the same manner as did the Roman Church, nev­ertheless, they are telling us that their select group will take gleeful note of the blood bath that they now predict for the Armageddon that lies just ahead. Their predic­tion is that their faithful “dedicated” devotees are to survive that carnage, and on into the Kingdom of peace that will follow – never any more to experience death. Let us note, however, that this prediction has been broadcast for quite a few years now; and time itself is shaking the confidence of many of them, as they note the death of many of the faithful – touching them in like manner as it does the world in general. Up to now, at least, the Angel of death has shown very little respect of persons, as the processions to the cemetery proceed much the same as in times past. It should be noted, too, that since 1914 (the Witnesses' date for commencement of their kingdom) evils of all sorts have been greatly on the increase – a far cry indeed from that true kingdom “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Pet. 3:13)

Thus, here again, time itself has forced them to “reform” somewhat from there one-­time positive promises. Just recently we discussed this point with one of their “dedi­cated” adherents – a lady well along in years. Forced to admit the truth of our conten­tions, she also admitted she “may not” live through Armageddon – or even until then. Here again the Witnesses show their kinship to the Roman system, which has ever been ready to change any of their teachings where 'policy' seemed expedient. However, “the leop­ard can't change his spots.”

Above we quoted St. Paul's statement that “the saints shall judge the world”; and our Lord had said of these saints, “Fear not, Little Flock, it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom” – the reign over the earth. At present the Witnes­ses have much over a million of their “dedicated” partisans – hardly a “little flock” by any standard. Nor do we see any abatement of the evils of this world; in fact, they are very much on the increase since they began their “reign” – which is hardly the de­scription given us in the Bible when our Lord's Kingdom is established for the purpose of blessing “all the families of the earth.” And note the close similarity of the old Roman claim to the Witnesses' present one: No salvation outside of our organization; but damnation (annihilation in Armageddon) to all who refuse us. Just a slight varia­tion to the old Roman claim of eternal torment for all the heretics, even as they sold salvation in the form of indulgences to any and all who had the price and would bow the knee to them. Certainly, we have no wish to be facetious in the comparison we now of­fer; it is public property to all who would recognize it. The Roman Church gave the edict – Heaven for the faithful; Hell for the heretics. The Witnesses now give the edict – The Kingdom for the faithful; eternal annihilation in Armageddon for the her­etics. Clearly enough, a second counterfeit reign! Also, the old Roman shibboleth was, “Reading is doubt; doubt is heresy; and heresy is Hell.” And those now rigidly imbued with the Witnesses, kingdom doctrine want no part of any literature that might enlighten them. If reports that come to us are true, they are forbidden to ask any oppositional questions in their study meetings of the Watch Tower.

GOD'S WORD EXPOSES COUNTERFEITS

Before the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 by the Roman Army it is clearly apparent that many Christians were so imbued with the thought of an imminent return of the Lord that it was necessary for the Apostle Paul and others to protest vigorously their false expectations. One such expression is found in 2 Thes. 2:1-10, parts of which we quote from the Diaglott translation: “We entreat you, Brethren, concerning the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (to establish the Kingdom for which He had taught them to pray), and our assembling to Him (in power and great glory), that you be not quickly agitated in mind, nor alarmed, neither by a spirit, nor by a discourse, nor by a letter as from us, as though the day of the Lord was present. Let no one delude you by any means, because the apostasy must come first, and there must be revealed that Man of Sin, that son of destruction, the opponent who lifts himself above everything called Divinity or Majesty; so as to seat himself in the temple of God.” St. Paul had writ­ten to the Corinthians, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God.” (1 Cor. 3:16) Thus, “seating himself in the temple of God” is simply another way of saying that the apostates would be so much in the majority that they would submerge the true Chris­tians; and, until they had seen that accomplished, they could be sure the Lord had not returned, or the Kingdom set up.

Then, to emphasize, the Apostle continues, “Do you not remember that while I was with you, I said these things to you?... Then will be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus will annihilate by the appearing (bright shining) of His presence.” While it may he contended that that annihilation is now in process, as “knowledge shall be in creased” in the time of the end (Dan. 12:4), it is certainly not yet an accomplished fact. Therefore, there definitely cannot be any visible Kingdom yet, because the Apostle is emphatic that the “annihilation” of the apostasy must be accomplished before the King­dom's inauguration.

Another point may be considered here: The Bible clearly teaches, and our own per­sonal experience confirms that truth, that all men do not have the quality of faith (2 Thes. 3:2). Therefore, they cannot display or put to use something they do not have. This leads to the fact that men are presently divided into a faith class and a non-faith, or unbelief class. And, of the non–faith class, as well as of the faith class, there are many variations. The Apostles, who were born with faith in their very blood stream, “said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.” (Luke 17:5 And it is also written, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6) Yet, the Roman Church for hundreds of years, and the Witnesses now in our day, would tell us there is no Kingdom hope for this unbelief class – i.e., for those now living. Nor even yet for the faith class that cannot agree with and become “dedicated” to their interpretation of the Scripture.

Another striking similarity between the Roman Church and the Witnesses is this: The Roman Church stoutly claims to adhere to the teachings of the first “pope,” Saint Peter; the Witnesses make the same claim respecting their founder, That Servant. With­out detailing all the vagaries and contradictions to both of these positions, we confine ourselves to this item of a faith class in this present Age, and now quote from the first “pope”: “The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that per­isheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (at His second Advent to establish His Kingdom)..... receiving the end (the purpose) of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” (1 Pet. 1:7–9)

And the Witnesses in like manner declare their adherence to the teachings of That Servant, who was very emphatic in his belief that the non-faith class could not possibly receive a fair trial now because of their inherent limitation, coupled with the failure of many of the heathen even to hear that Name – and there “is no salvation in any other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) For “God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” (See Rom. 11:31–32) Also, Jesus Himself said, “When the Son of Man cometh (at His second Advent), shall He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8) The clear inference is that true faith would be a very scarce article when our Lord returns, which is a direct refutation of the large memberships to be found in the Roman Church and with the Witnesses. But they both boast of their numbers as their strength, even though we know from Scriptural authority, therein lies their weakness.

It requires little argument that love of life is the strongest desire in most of us. Thus we can find little fault with the Jews at Sinai, when Moses gave them the Law and the promise along with it that “the man that doeth these things shall live in them” – at which “all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said will we do.” (Ex. 24:3) And the magicians, the astrologers, the sor­cerers were crafty enough to tell King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon many centuries later what he wanted to hear: “O king, live forever.” (Dan. 2:4; 3:9)

Therefore, when the Roman Church promised immortality (immunity against death) to their faithful adherents, they were telling them something they wanted to hear, which made it easy to believe. And when the Witnesses now tell their “dedicated” devotees they will live right on through Armageddon, and never die, they are telling them something they want to hear – which makes it easy for them to believe, and understandable that their numbers are increasing rapidly, even as they boast. The founder of their Movement, That Servant, never advocated such a teaching – nor did he boast of his numbers. The nearest support he ever gave to it was to quote Zech. 2:3, “Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger.” That this is merely a hope for those who do that, and not a definite assurance and promise to all the meek, is better revealed in Rotherham's translation of the text: “Seek Yahweh, all ye lowly of the land, who have wrought what He appointed, Seek righteousness, seek hu­mility, Peradventure ye shall be concealed in the day of the anger of Yahweh.” There is nothing at all in this surmise to justify the express promise of survival now made by the Witnesses to lure proselytes to their banner. Certainly, it is to the advantage of all worldlings to “seek meekness,” because it will be only the meek who will inherit the earth. (Matt. 5:5)

OTHER RELATED ERRORS

St. Paul clearly taught that the World's judgment was future (Acts 17:31); St. Peter clearly taught that it was future (2 Pet. 3:7,8), and that it would continue for a thousand years – not just for a few years here in the end of the Age, as the Witnes­ses now proclaim for those now living. And in this they are joined – in less positive manner – by some of our very prominent evangelists: Make your decision for Christ now, even if you don't clearly understand what you are doing; you don't have to understand the Bible (the good Word of God) to know God. But the Prophet tells us in direct and simple speech just the reverse of all this: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord (the great judgment day of which Peter and Paul wrote)... that I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts... and they shall no more teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother (as the Witnesses and others are now fever­ishly attempting), saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity (their violations of the Law of Moses), and I will remember their sin (for crucifying the Lord of Glory) no more.” (Jer. 31:31-34)

In a lesser sense, the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement also now offers a lim­ited perversion of the foregoing. They tell their proselytes that salvation for the elect is no longer available to them (although they admit we are still in the Age of faith, which is only for the elect), but they may consecrate themselves now as a future refuge when the Kingdom is eventually established – although their founder, Pastor Johnson, never taught any such thing; in fact, he directly disputed it. But this doesn't bother them either – any more than the gross perversions of the teachings of their founder disturb the Witnesses.

And in all of this, our Lord Himself offers direct contradiction to the efforts of all such teachings in John 17:6–9: “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world... I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast giv­en Me.” Yet, the record is clear also that God does love the world: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16,17) Here is given us an irrefutable dis­tinction between the faith class (those who have responded to the call of salvation in this Age) and the non–faith class (all others not included in the elective salvation) who will receive their salvation under easier conditions, when their thousand–year judg­ment day is fully established. This is further confirmed by St. Paul in Gal. 3:8, “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the Gospel (the good news of the Kingdom) unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” And in Gal. 4:28, the Apostle clarifies this further: “We, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise” (the elect of God who will eventually bless all the families of the earth – all the non–elect in the great Judgment Day).

All of which finds substance in the words of Jesus: “If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31,32)

Sincerely your brother,

John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim

(Reprint of No. 168 June 1968)

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LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST

Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace!

Some of the enclosed names you may already have, as the names sound familiar. Thanks for sending me the March and April papers. I surely enjoyed them! We espec­ially enjoyed the Memorial article, which was very informative and uplifting – one of the best I have read. We have not as yet received the regular mailing.

Hope all there are well and will have a wonderful Memorial Season. With much Christian love to you and all, I remain, Your brother in Him ------- (MICHIGAN)

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Dear Brother Hoefle: Loving greetings!

Wishing to have at least a small part in the Lord's work which you are doing, we are enclosing a check from the class here for that purpose.

We received your letter and appreciate your prayers and thoughts for us as we come to the Memorial again. We also wish that it could be possible for us to be to­gether on that occasion. But since it isn't possible, be assured that you will be in our thoughts also, and we pray the Lord's rich blessings upon all there.

With much Christian love ------- (NORTH CAROLINA)

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Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace be multiplied!

Your good letter received, and as always very glad to hear from you. Truly, the thoughts expressed in your letter are true! How blessed we are – blessed in that we have the truth and can celebrate and keep the feast with the unleavened bread of sincerity and Truth, to realize that our dear Heavenly Father has revealed His secrets to us – the great Plan of the Ages. And, as you say, dear Brother Hoefle, for which we daily give thanks. Believe me, I am amazed at times when I think of the Truth as we understand it – and stand all amazed in wonder, which reminds me of that beautiful hymn. Be assured, my dear brethren, I shall be with you in spirit on April 5 from 7:30 p.m. on, as we all join together in this great Memorial service....

I will repeat myself, your letters to me and your articles are such a great help to me; they strengthen my faith and stimulate me to holiness. I trust these few lines find you reasonably well, and I know you are rejoicing in the Truth. God bless you both! I am constantly reminded and mindful of your love and deep concern on my behalf, and I wish to be remembered to all the dear friends at the Bible House. I pray that God's blessings will enrich you and keep you steadfast, immovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord. I am glad to say that I am getting stronger in fighting my condition, which has seemingly taken hold of me since my dear wife passed away. I realize I have to do better, and I am trying very hard....

I shall close and say, Good Night and God bless you all, my dears, at Mount Dora.

Your brother in Christ by His grace ------- (NEW JERSEY)

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Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace!

Many thanks for your good letter and your good wishes on our behalf, in par­ticular concerning our Memorial celebration, which we shall, D.v., be observing an April 5 with Brother and Sister -------   We do echo your sentiments re “keeping the feast” together, but it is not to be – however we do indeed have the blessing of the Truth which does bind our hearts together in Christian love.

Thank you, too, for your efforts in producing your regular circulars which are very much appreciated, and keep us in touch with the developments going on in Truth circles. How sad to see so many of our brethren these days floundering and not show­ing that true spirit of the Truth. However, we look forward to the complete binding of Satan and the release of all under his spell...

May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you and your co–laborers.

With much Christian love ------- (ENGLAND)