The above is the title of a book “Compiled by Professor Raymond G. Jolly” some years ago; and the opening statement is, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortingly to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her appointed time (margin) is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. (Isa. 40:1,2)” This is the same text used by J. F. Rutherford in 1925 in his book “Comfort For The Jews,” although he uses it to close his book; whereas, RGJ uses it to begin his book. We find no fault with the use of this Scripture, or the use made of it by either of them; but the text now assumes new importance because the both of them have repudiated their interpretation of it – JFR has fully repudiated it, with RGJ making only partial reversal of himself.
In order that our readers may have a clear concept of our analysis, we now offer a very brief summary of “Jewish Hopes and Prospects” – just as we did of “Comfort For The Jews” in our paper No. 205:
“The long-promised time of Israel’s exaltation as the channel of Messianic blessing to mankind is near (p. 4). First in order of the Kingdom work is the binding of Satan – the work of a heavenly, and not of an earthly kind.. the Son in His glorious majesty.... being entrusted with the pouring out of the Divine blessing upon Israel, and through Israel, extending that blessing to every nation.(p.5)
“Eventually all mankind, blessed under the Messianic reign, will become Israelites – of the seed of Abraham in the widest sense—Gal. 3:7 (p. 8). At that time the blessing that has been taken from Israel for many centuries will return to them. (p. 9) We see that the Great Messiah of Glory, Jesus, in His Second Advent as King of kings and Lord of lords, fills absolutely every demand of Jewish expectation and of prophetic outline. Some can see, but others cannot as yet, that He who was pierced (Psa. 22:16; Zech. 12:10) is the same One who, as the Son of God, in great glory is shortly to bless Israel – and the Gentiles through them. (p. 16) Then the blessing of Israel as Abraham’s seed, and of all nations through Israel, will take place... All the families of the earth will be privileged to become ‘Israelites indeed’ through faithfulness to the great Mediator of Israel and of all earth’s families. (p. 20) Messiah’s reign will not only bless and uplift Israel, but through Israel the blessing will extend to every nation... in full accord with the Divine promise and oath made to Abraham many centuries ago (Gen. 12:3; 22:18). (p. 23) Through Abraham’s seed all nations shall be blessed. (p. 30)
“Thus as a nation in their homeland, they will be the nucleus of the world of mankind, fitted for, and waiting to receive the earthly phase of the Millennial kingdom which is to be set up first in their midst. (p. 48) Abraham’s seed is to bless all the families of the earth.” (p. 49)
The foregoing offers a terse representation of RGJ’s views – and we are in full accord with them, because he is indeed telling the Jews the truth! But from the Convention platform and in his Present Truth he is repudiating much of the truth he is presenting to the Jews. He is telling his, Consecrated Epiphany Campers that they will have the Kingdom preeminence – not only over the Jews but above all other quasi-elect. So here we have a vivid example of “a double minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (Jas. 1:8) The Witnesses say their Great Multitude is to have preeminence, as they survive Armageddon, then go on living forever. The LHMM offer this probable “comfort” to their Campers Consecrated, that they may survive Armageddon (no positive promise, of course). However, if they do not survive, RGJ correctly teaches they will have no part in the “better resurrection” – the “resurrection of the just.” The conclusion logically follows, then, that the Jews living in Palestine will be the first and chief ones to receive the Kingdom blessing, with none of the deceased Campers Consecrated yet awakened. Just how Campers Consecrated will have the chief honor and preeminence transferred to them from the Jews in Palestine, is something that should be explained by RGJ if he has an explanation. So far as we know, he has offered not the slightest hint to the Jews – either publicly or privately – that the Scriptures which formerly the two Messengers taught applied to fleshly Israel now apply to his Campers Consecrated. JFR was much bolder in his displacement of the Jews in Kingdom standing: he gave it to the Jews boldly and publicly, leaving no doubt in the minds of his followers, or in the minds of the Jews, that he had set aside That Servant’s teaching on the Jewish Hopes and Prospects.
SOME PAROUSIA AND EPIPHANY COMMENTS
In the 1909 Convention Report, p. 14, col. 1, we find this statement by Brother Russell: “We are glad the time is coming when God’s favor will return to the Jews, when He will bless all the world through the Jews, and you and I are glad that now, during this Gospel Age, God is taking us out of the world as representatives of that stone kingdom. (Luke 12:32).... And these 2520 years of the times of the Gentiles we believe will expire with October, 1914; at that time we believe the Gentile lease of power will expire and that the God of Heaven will set up His kingdom in Israel.”
And on the same page there is this further comment: ‘We do not expect universal peace to ensue immediately, because Christ is styled the Prince of Peace. On the contrary, to our understanding, the collapse of the nations will be through fierce strife, ‘a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation,’ because God will set every man’s hand against his neighbor (during this Epiphany – the ‘time of trouble’—JJH). Our belief is that the warfare between capital and labor, emperors and peoples, will be short, sharp, decisive, and bring untold calamity upon all concerned. If people could only discern it, they would avoid it, but their eyes are holden; they see not, neither do they understand.”
It will be noted from the foregoing that Brother Russell expected the great Time of Trouble would be of short duration. Had any one suggested to him in 1909 that things would be as they are now in 1972, he would probably have offered sharp rebuke to such persons. Commenting on Ex. 19:21-23, regarding the forbidden “gazing,” there is this on p. 342 of E-11: “These two (the Parousia and Epiphany Messengers) have done such study without its being speculation.... If, however, they should attempt to open an undue Scripture, they, too, would make mistakes therein and produce error, as both of them in minor details have done.” It seems to us that some of their mistakes along this line are of major proportions, because of the severe trial of faith the Lord’s people have undergone when their expectations and predictions failed to mature. Brother Russell lived to correct some of his miscalculations for 1914 – some before and some afterward. And, had Brother Johnson lived two years beyond 1954, we may be sure he would have corrected some of his calculations. If Brother Russell and Brother Johnson were right in stating that the Epiphany and the Great Tribulation are identical (and we believe they were), then it would be proper to use the terms interchangeably. Therefore, if the Epiphany ended in a ‘restricted sense’ in 1954, we could with equal propriety say the Great Tribulation ended in 1954 in a ‘restricted sense.’ And any one attempting such ridiculous talk would right soon be accused of talking nonsense.
In the Souvenir Report, p. 232, col. 2, some one asked Brother Russell how long the time of trouble would last; and this is what he said: My dear friends, it will last with some people a good while. The time of trouble lasts according to the degree of the disposition of God in the heart of man. The Scriptures speak of the fire of that day, which shall burn up the wicked and leave them neither root nor branch. What does it mean? I presume that the fire of God’s indignation will burn against unrighteousness during the day of Christ until every root and branch of sin is thoroughly consumed. If any one holds on, he himself will be destroyed in the second death. But, as to the time of national trouble, such as has not been before, no one knows how long it will last. I may guess, and you may also. You may take in more things than I. My thought would be that the severest period could not last more than a year. How suddenly it may come upon the world, or how gradually it may pass away, I do not know, and I think no one can.”
It will be noted that Brother Russell thought “the severest period” of the trouble could not last more than a year. Inasmuch as that has not yet occurred, it would hardly seem prudent that we should approve or dispute it – although it would seem at this time that it will be more than a year. However, this situation does affect Jewish Hopes and Prospects, inasmuch as we expect it will be toward the end of that severest period that the Jews will recognize their Messiah – Him whom they pierced, and shall mourn because of it. And those of them that survive that ordeal will be the first to receive Restitution blessings. This situation has been stressed by both Messengers; yet now comes a Levite to tell us this is all wrong. Well, we shall continue with some of their statements, then allow our readers to make up their own minds which instruction they wish to accept. Here is a paragraph from Reprints 5101, col. 2:
“Nevertheless the Scriptures most clearly declare that the natural seed of Abraham (the faithful Jews holding to the promises of God – the quasi-elect into which the Gentile quasi-elect will merge—JJH), the Jews, are still heirs of certain promises of God, which in due time will come to them. To their nation will come the great privilege of being the foremost nation among men during Messiah’s glorious reign... Natural Israel will receive blessings from spiritual Israel. ‘They shall obtain mercy through your mercy.’—Rom. 11:25-34”
Follows now something from E-1:302, par. 1: “Having seen so many features of God’s plan successfully carried out by God’s zeal, he has the full assurance of faith that the unfulfilled parts as due will be zealously carried out by God. The prophetic Word assures him that the zeal of the Lord will shortly overthrow Satan’s Empire, in its governments, religions, aristocracies and bourgeoisies, in the time of wrath, which had its start in the World War (the ‘time of wrath’ – the Epiphany period—JJH). He confidently looks for the zeal of God to establish God’s Kingdom at the hands of His Elect under Christ, on the ruins of Satan’s Empire, to offer the Kingdom blessings, first to the living Jews, then to the living Gentiles, then to the non-elect dead from our times even to Adam’s time, by canceling the death sentence.”
Complementing the foregoing, we quote from E-15:733: “Soon after the awakening of their faithful prophets of old, and the faithful Youthful Worthies, the Jews then living, who still retain their faith in the New Covenant promises made to them (Jer. 31: 31-34; Heb. 8:7-12), and who have waited for their Messiah, will begin to see clearly, and will join themselves to these Worthies. Then the world will gradually come to see, and will also come under the terms of Israel’s New Law Covenant by becoming a part of Israel, a part of Abraham’s earthly seed (Rom. 4:17,18; Isa. 49:6-12).”
In harmony with the above is the following from Reprints 5721, July 1, 1915: “The orthodox Jews, those who still hold to the teachings of the law and the Prophets, and have faith in God, will be the first to receive the blessings of the new Age... So, then, this condition of affliction in which the Jews have been throughout the Gospel Age, in addition to the overthrow of their nation in the year 70 AD., has really been a favor from God. All the tabulation through which this people have passed during the entire ‘seven times’ of chastisement, will be finally found to have been to their advantage, preparing them for the blessings of Messiah’s Kingdom. The Elect Church will be the first in the Kingdom, natural Israel with the Ancient Worthies at their head will be the second. Subsequently all nations will came into Divine favor and blessing, becoming members of Israel.”
This subject is treated in considerable detail in Parousia Vol. 3, pp. 243-300; and our readers would do well to read it all. We offer here just one small paragraph: “As concerning the Gospel (the ‘good news’ of the High Calling), they are enemies (cast off temporarily until the ‘fullness of the Gentiles be come in’), they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.’ God has promised to Abraham ‘the land for an everlasting possession, to thee, and to thy seed after thee’; and we may be sure this promise will be fulfilled in minute detail.”
On P. 249 of this same volume, there is this: “In most other respects the Mosaic requirements are yet observed among the Orthodox Jews. Their worship consists in the reading of Scripture, prayer and praise... Then they blow the trumpet and pray that God would bring them to Jerusalem... That class, no doubt, will be re-gathered and blessed when Messiah comes a second time... The time is fast approaching when God will speak peace to Israel.... No special favor (emphasis by That Servant) will come to the infidel Jews at the time of returning favor... The Jews recognized by God as children of Abraham are those who hold to Abraham’s faith.”
And from p. 256 is the following: “We see, then, that God’s prediction, that Israel (except the faithful few) would be blinded by their Law (Rom. 11:9), was fulfilled in a natural way and to result from reasonable causes. So the Millennial favors will be to the Jew first, even as by reason of the covenants, etc., the Gospel favors were offered to them first... Their gathering again and their re-establishment in the land of promise mark another step in the great Divine Plan: They declare that the restitution of all things, ‘to the Jew first;’ but ultimately to ‘all the families of the earth,’ is about to begin.... of which fleshly Israel is the first fruit.”
Just a little more from pp. 292,293: “What we do claim is that the Great Teacher was right when He declared that ‘Salvation is of the Jew,’ and that the Great Apostle was right when he stated that God’s order is, ‘Glory, honor and peace to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile’... The restitution work of the future, fleshly Israel, recovered from blindness, shall be used as a medium through whom streams of salvation, issuing from glorified, spiritual Israel, shall flow to all the families of the earth; as it is written, ‘Out of Zion (the Gospel Church, spiritual Israel glorified) shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (the re-established fleshly Israel – Isa. 2:3).”
THE THREE GREAT COVENANTS - GRACE - LAW - WORKS
On pp. 4318-22 of the Jan. 15, 1909 Reprints is an article captioned as above, which is quite pertinent to our subject; so we shall use large parts of it, with some of our own comments interspersed:
St. Paul pointed out to us most distinctly that the original covenant made with an oath to Abraham was in every way the superior one and that it, being a one-sided covenant, an unconditional promise, has no mediator. The Apostle tells us further that the Law Covenant was “added” to the Abrahamic Covenant in God’s dealing with the nation of Israel. It is called a Law Covenant because the benefits of that Covenant were offered only to those who would keep the Law in all its requirements – inviolate. He calls it the Hagar Covenant, because it was a bondage and because its offspring, the Jewish nation, could not inherit the promised blessings and privileges. He tells us that it made nothing perfect, brought nothing to perfection. Although faith had a place and the grace of God had some manifestation towards Israel; yet neither faith nor grace affected their covenant, which was hard and fast and demanded obedience to the works of the Law – “He that doeth these things shall live by them.” Since none could do perfectly, that Covenant of Works brought only condemnation of their imperfect works. It had a mediator, Moses, but he was unable to accomplish anything for the people, because of their imperfection through heredity. We properly call this the Law Covenant.
The Apostle states that as Hagar’s child was born before Isaac, who represented the Christ, head and body, the “new Creation,” so the nation of Israel, Moses and all the people baptized into him in the sea and in the cloud, “The house of servants,” would be developed before spiritual Israel, the new nation – Christ and all the members of the house of sons of spirit-begetting. As the Covenant of Grace (Sarah) existed before the Law Covenant was added to it, so it continued to exist after the Law Covenant was set aside as a Covenant, its prize of life eternal having been won by “the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all.” So, then, the Covenant of Grace (Sarah), which preceded the Law Covenant (Hagar) 430 years, continued alive during the whole period of the Law Covenant, but without children, and then brought forth the Head of the Seed, Jesus. The Law Covenant was then cast aside – “Cast out the bond-woman and her son; for the son of the bond-woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman” – The Christ, the heir of the original promise, now being developed. “Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.” (Gen. 25:10)
“If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed.” This is the mystery – the selection of the Church during this Gospel Age to be sharers with the Redeemer in the sufferings of this present time, and also in the glory that shall follow. Not until that First Resurrection is finished will the Seed of the Sarah Covenant be fully born. So surely as Jesus, the Head of the Body, was brought forth in the resurrection, born from the dead, so surely will all the members of the Body share with Him His glorious change from mortality to immortality.
What about the Jews under the Law (Hagar) Covenant? Were they on that account cut off from the very privileges and blessings which they so desired – of being Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise? We answer, Yes. The Apostle shows that the children of the bond-woman could not be heirs with the children of the free woman. How, then, did the Apostles and others, who were of Israel according to the flesh, come into relationship with Christ and the Sarah Covenant (of grace)? The Apostle tells us that as a human marriage is dissolved by the death of one of the parties, so those of the Jews who could recognize by faith that Christ’s death had fulfilled the terms of the Law Covenant could realize that Covenant was dead, and hence, that they were freed from it and could become married to another – united to Christ. On the contrary, any Jew who does not recognize that Christ, by His death, has ‘bade an end of the Law, nailing it to His cross;” and who still continues to believe in that Covenant, is as firmly bound thereby as though the Covenant were still alive; just as a woman whose husband was really dead, but she thought him alive, could not conscientiously marry another.
Are not the Lord’s ways just and equal? Yes, we answer, and the full scope of the Divine purpose when seen is glorious in its harmony. The difficulty in the past is that we have seen as through an obscured glass, and not face to face. Now we perceive that God intends to recognize two seeds of Abraham, the one heavenly, like unto the stars of heaven; the other earthly like unto the sands of the seashore. The attempt of the Law Covenant to bring forth the natural seed first was abortive – a failure. First must come the spiritual Christ, Head and Body, partaker of the Divine nature, heir of all things. Then God’s favor will return to natural Israel. But since the Law Covenant completed its purpose and was demonstrated to be unavailable for them, because of the weaknesses of the flesh, God purposes to make with that nation, and with that nation alone (no mention whatever here of Consecrated Campers or the Great Multitude being the recipients), a New Covenant. Not a single statement of Scripture identifies the New Covenant with the Gentiles – and, so far as we know, not one Consecrated Camper or one Great Multitude is a Jew! It will be Israel’s New Covenant given to displace the Old, or Law Covenant. Let us note well that the great mass of the early Church were Hebrews and that the Apostle’s references to the New Covenant are almost exclusively in his epistle to the Hebrews. One exception is in Rom. 11:27, where the Apostle, although addressing Christians of Gentile birth, tells them that natural Israel was cast off for their sakes, but is still beloved for the fathers’ sake, and is again to have Divine favor, under a special covenant. The other (2 Cor. 3:6) refers to the royal priesthood as able (qualified) servants of the New Covenant – dying with Christ for its sealing.—Mal. 3:1
The more closely we investigate the New Covenant, the more we must be convinced of this fact – that it belongs to Israel alone, including the two nations into which they divided at the death of Solomon – Israel and Judah. Note the statement of the Prophet, “Behold the days will come, saith the lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant (the Law Covenant) which I made with them when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt.” The Apostle, endeavoring to prove to the Jews that they could gain nothing under the Law Covenant, points out this prophecy, and tells them that the fact that God speaks of this as a New Covenant implies that a preceding (Law) Covenant had become old, valueless, and was preparing to pass away – “In that He saith, a New Covenant, he hath made the first old; now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Heb. 8:13)
THE OATH-BOUND COVENANT SURE—HEB. 6:17-20
The New Covenant is to take the place of the old and unsatisfactory one. There were two old covenants, the Grace, or Sarah Covenant, and the Law, or Hagar Covenant. Which did the Apostle mean had grown old, valueless, and would pass away and give place to the New Covenant? Surely there can be no doubt for misunderstanding on this point. He meant the Law Covenant, for he says so. He did not mean the original Grace or Sarah Covenant, for he points out that our claim to relationship to God is under that original covenant, as members of the body of Christ. Our Lord Jesus, by His obedience, became heir of all, heir of the original covenant and heir also of the Law Covenant.
We come now to the other part of the question: What provision has God made for those Jews who bound themselves under the Law Covenant, from Moses’ day down to the First Advent; and for those who since then have not discerned the death of the Law Covenant and who will not be made aware of it until after the spiritual seed shall have been completed and glorified? If they have not lost all share and privileges in connection with God’s special mercies, where do they come in? We answer that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and others before the Law Covenant were not bound by it, yet were not in the fullest sense justified to life until the Abrahamic Covenant had been established at Calvary. Their faith, then, entitled them to a share ‘in the merits of that sacrifice. Likewise, throughout the period of the Law Covenant, before it was annulled at the cross, there were Ancient Worthies who lived above the masses of their time, and who, although bound by the Law, had above it a living faith in the original Oath-Bound (Sarah) Covenant of Grace. These in the Divine records were entitled to their share of that grace, as soon as the merit of Calvary’s sacrifice had been presented on behalf of believers. Although they lived while the Law Covenant was alive, they foresaw its death and trusted not in it, but in the superior Covenant of Grace. Hence, these in due time will come forth to a life resurrection – a “better resurrection.” (Heb. 11:35)
Thus the Scriptures account for the faithful ones of the past under the Covenant of Grace. But what now shall we say respecting those earthly Israelites, who lived not on that higher plane of faith, but of whom the Apostle says, “Our twelve tribes instantly serving God day and night hope to come” into this promise. (Acts 26:7) Were they deceived? Will they get those special blessings? Of a surety, they will receive them, because the gifts and calling of God are not to be repented of. (Rom. 11:29-32) He who knew the end from the beginning knew-exactly what Israel would be and do, and was not disappointed, and all of the plans and promises to that nation were made from the standpoint of this pre-knowledge.... Although the chief feature of the Sarah Covenant was secured by our Lord Jesus as a trophy of His victory over sin and death, nevertheless, the Divine arrangement is such that the blood of Christ must accrue to the benefit of the natural seed of Abraham, because it all goes to seal the New Covenant - which belongs exclusively to fleshly Israel. The opportunity granted to both Jews and Gentiles to become joint-heirs with the Redeemer was based upon their offering themselves to Him in sacrifice, and His acceptance of their offerings as His own – and God’s acceptance of them; and His death (including ours) seals the New Covenant in His blood.
Thus, while natural Israel had been counted enemies for our sakes, for the Gospel’s sake, our only opportunity for gaining the great prize is in connection with the sealing of a New Covenant between God and Israel. Their loss was our gain, and our gain through sacrifice becomes their gain. However, the New Covenant will not be sealed, ratified, until the sacrifices of the Christ shall have been finished. And the finishing of these sacrifices closes the work of this great Day of Sacrifice and Atonement. With the second presentation of the blood of Atonement in the Most Holy – at the end of this Age the New Covenant with Israel will be sealed, and the blessing of the Lord will begin to Israel. “For this is My covenant with them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Rom. 11:27)
Since God’s favors are thus marked out for the heavenly and the earthly Seeds of Abraham – the earthly through the heavenly – it follows that the blessing of the other nations will come about through their affiliation with these. The Divine Government established in Israel in the hands of the Ancient Worthies will be the center of Divine favor, and the people of other nationalities must come to this center for their supplies of truth and grace. Thus the Prophet represents the matter, saying, “Many shall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain (kingdom) of the lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in his paths; for the Law shall go forth from Mount Zion (the spiritual kingdom) and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (the center of the earthly kingdom).” (Isa. 2:3)
There are a number of texts in the New Testament that mention the New Covenant, and we present a few of them. “For this cause He is made mediator of a better covenant (not better than the Grace or Sarah Covenant, but better than the Law Covenant), which was established upon better promises.” (Heb. 8:6) The contrast is between the Law Covenant and its mediator Moses, and the New Covenant, superior because of its better mediator, the Messiah. “In that he saith, A New Covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” (Heb. 8:13) Here the Apostle is not saying one word about the New Covenant being for the Church of Christ. His readers understood full well that they had came in under the Sarah Covenant. But certain Judaizing teachers insisted that they must be under the Hagar Covenant, as well as under the Sarah Covenant. And this he is disputing. He is declaring God would make a New Covenant with Israel to take the place of the Law Covenant.
In this same Hebrew Epistle St. Paul contrasts the continual sacrifices of the Law Covenant with the eternal once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus and the Church. And he declares that once an acceptable sacrifice has been offered to God for sin, the transaction is a closed one, the sacrifice needs no repetition. Thus, the sacrifices of the New Covenant are the “better sacrifices,” since they need no repetition; they provide the cancellation of all condemnation. “For this is My covenant with them when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the Gospel they are enemies for your sakes; but as touching the elect they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.” (Rom. 11:27,28) There is no room to doubt that the Apostle here is referring to Israel’s covenant, the New Covenant, which God will make with them after this Gospel Day. He says the covenant will be made when, or at the time that the Lord will “take away their sins.” That time has not yet come.
Not one of these references to the New Covenant makes the slightest suggestion that it is applicable to the Church. A reference to the original prophecy which the Apostle quotes shows that it could not apply to the Church, for we there read that the Lord “will take away their stony hearts, and give them an heart of flesh.” This is exactly the restitution work which will begin with Israel and extend to all the families of the earth by the inauguration of the New Covenant, sealed, made operative by the merit of the blood of Christ.
We would refer our readers to the references we have given in this treatise on the Jews to verify what That Servant and the Epiphany Messenger taught. There is no reason for any of the Lord’s people to set aside these Truths, as they become clearer and brighter as we go further into the Epiphany. The only reason for any one to deviate from such truths is because of the fact that they cannot harmonize them with the “new light” (?) they have manufactured.
SUMMARY – At one time the leaders of Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement fully accepted the teachings set forth herein; but now the leaders of both movements are grossly and persistently revolutionizing against these truths. However, we would make it clear that we are not carrying on a personal vendetta against the members of either of these organizations when we offer such resistance to their errors. We are well acquainted with many brethren in both groups; and we would be much happier if they were not now revolutionizing against those truths they once accepted and taught; but we are mindful of the words of the Apostle James to “turn such back from their path of error” (Jas. 5:20, Dia.). And we are motivated also by Eze. 33:8: “When I say unto the wicked, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way (of error), that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”
Thus, we reassert Parousia and Epiphany teachings on Jewish Hopes and Prospects not to be contentious, but for the benefit of all who have no wish to become involved in “the path of error” that is so rampant on all sides. While we are strongly moved to be peaceable, yet we are not primarily so. We are primarily pure: “The wisdom from above is indeed first pure, then peaceable.” (Jas. 3:17) “Contending for the faith once delivered to the saints” is not only a duty but a great privilege – if it be done sincerely and charitably; but, sad to note, many who once accepted that position with zeal and determination, now seem to follow rather those recorded in John 12: 42,43: “Among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him... for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”
It is well established in the records that error is progressive – just as truth is progressive. This is acutely noticeable now that we are in “the evil day.” Of the beautiful system of Truth produced by That Servant almost every important feature of it has been perverted by one group or another, that once wholeheartedly accepted his teachings. And to defend a newly acquired error always requires the denial of formerly accepted truths. Thus the error pyramids like a snowball rolling downhill, and enmeshes all who “admitted not the love of the Truth. And on this account God will send to them an energy of delusion... in order that all those may be judged who believed not the Truth, but approved the iniquity.” (2 Thes. 2:10-12, Dia.)
It is definitely not in our province, nor is it our desire, to judge the hearts of God’s people; but once the Lord has made manifest His judgment by permitting some one to lose the truth that he once received and believed, then, as Brother Russell has so often stressed, we know there is something wrong with the heart – otherwise the Lord would not have permitted them to grossly and persistently revolutionize against the Truth and its Arrangements. So when we see some losing the Truth which once made them clean (“Now are ye clean through the word which I have spoken unto you”—John 15:3) we may know of a certainty that there is something wrong with the heart. “For the word of God is living, and energetic, and more cutting than any two-edged Sword, cutting through even to a Separation of Life and Breath, and of Joints and Marrow, and able to judge the Thoughts and Intentions of the Heart.” (Heb. 4:12, Dia.) The heart first becomes sullied, which then produces a deterioration of the head. Thus, let us “be infants no longer, tossed and whirled about with every wind of that teaching which is in the trickery of men, by cunning craftiness in systematic deception.” (Eph. 4:14, Dia.)
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.” (Prov. 4:23,26,27)
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim