by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 179

To this you were called; because even Christ suffered on your behalf, leav­ing you a copy, so that you may follow in His footsteps; Who committed no sin; neither was deceit found in His mouth” —l Pet. 2:21 (Dia.).

Here is a concise sum­mation of the Christian’s duty and privilege; he has set before him a “copy” which he is to emulate to the best of his ability – although it is fully conceded that none of the fallen race can, or will, imitate in fullness that great “copy” which has been left for us. The Apostle Peter is telling us that our Lord left us a perfect example in Word and Deed – He committed no sin, did nothing wrong; and He spoke always the truth – no deceit found in His mouth. Those who clearly grasp the im­port of our great “copy” will have no part in “whispering campaigns” or political wire-pulling in the election of officers in the Church; theirs will be a character which is actuated in all ways by the principles of righteousness – not according to what some people may think of us, but according to the standard of righteousness found in the Scriptures. Therefore, in order to develop that character which is pleasing to God, we should in every detail of life consider carefully what is right and what is wrong, according to that standard. This course is Scripturally termed meditating in God’s law. When we reach that development of character in which thought, word and deed are measured by the principles of righteousness, we shall have attained godlikeness. (Psa. 119:97)

What the Lord desires to see in His people is not merely an outward manifesta­tion of devotion to Him and to His brethren, but a development of love in our hearts and our dispositions. God reads our hearts and judges us accordingly. If we profess to love one another and yet pursue a course of self-seeking, wherein do we manifest love? So St. John admonishes to love not in word only, but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)

Primarily, the godly are those who are in Christ Jesus, members of His mystical body, having presented their human bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God through the merit of the great Advocate. (Rom. 12:1) Secondly, the term godly in­cludes those who live righteously, in sympathy with Christ Jesus, even though they may not live up to the full standard which the Lord has set (in the narrow way), be­cause they shrink from the suffering that results from godly living – that results from “bearing witness to the truth.” Thirdly, the term godly includes some in the remote past, who, believing in the promise of the Lord that the “Seed” shall some day come, separated themselves from the rest of the world and, having obtained new aims, new ideas, were out of touch with the remainder of the race because of having a different standard. (Heb. 11:13-16)

The Ancient Worthies composed this third class, who had a share in the suffer­ing of the godly and a participation also in the blessing. Moses, for example, pre­ferred to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to participate in the honors of the Egyptian Government. Although adopted into the family of Pharaoh he had respect to the promise that the Messiah would come. Hence he suffered on account of his faith in the promise. So all the patriarchs desired to be in harmony with God, in accordance with His promise made to Abraham, and because of belief in that promise they suffered more or less persecution. (Heb. 11:24-26, 36-38) And these godly ones of the Old Testament record find their counterpart today in the fully faithful Youthful Worthies, who now have the opportunity, because of increased know­ledge combined with the experiences of the past, to develop even better characters than many of their forerunners. Those noble characters of ancient times did not comprehend the scope of agape love, that disinterested good will toward all men which adorned the Saints of this Gospel Age; and their counterparts of today have had the personal friendship, the noble example, and uplifting instruction of the last two “principal men” as living examples of agape love in operation.

Once more we direct attention to E-4:319 (5), where Brother Johnson correctly identifies the “godly” of all Ages – namely, the Little Flock and Great Company, and the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, as the four “elect” saved classes of Joel 2:28,29. And Joel 2:28, 29 also enumerates all six saved classes from among mankind. These four classes, with the “sons” (the quasi-elect) and the “daughters” (converted Gen­tiles of the Millennial Age) comprise all the saved classes from among mankind, with the repentant Angels comprising the SEVEN SAVED CLASSES retrieved from the reign of evil. The “sons” in this text are the believing, but UNconsecrated, Jews and Gentiles from the Law Covenant to the full end of this Gospel Age, the same including the Epi­phany Campers UNconsecrated in the “finished picture” – with no reference or place for Campers Consecrated. There is nothing here or anywhere else in the Scriptures to substantiate a class of Epiphany Campers consecrated. As Brother Johnson says (E-4: 319, bottom): “All classes from among mankind savingly associated with the Plan of God are thus treated of in Joel 2:28,29. These and the repentant fallen angels will constitute the seven (perfect number) classes of those whom Christ delivers from sin and condemnation unto perfection and everlasting life in His work as Savior.”

Some may ask, “Why should the godly suffer?” The Bible answers that sin has brought the world into opposition with God. Whoever, then, would have all men speak in commendation of him would not be in harmony with the Divine Arrangement, for the masses of the world are pursuing a course that the Lord does not approve. “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Matt. 5:11) We are not saying that everything which the world does is sinful, but that the standards of God are so high that because of their fallen condition the masses of the world are not subject to the law of God ­neither, indeed, can they be, for they are carnal, sold under sin. (Rom. 8:7; 7:14,15) Those who wish to have influence with the world must cater to popular prejudices. On the contrary, those who would be God’s people must be loyal to the principles of right­eousness, and consequently must go in opposite direction to the general course of this world. Hence they are opposed by the world. Even many of the good people of this world who are working for social reform, etc., oppose the Lord’s real people who are seeking to “bear witness to the Truth.” The tendency today is to forget the Truth (the faith once delivered unto the saints), forget your differences in doctrine – let’s get together and do “good works,” by uplifting the morally degraded, etc.

A striking illustration of this condition is to be found in the person of a man swimming upstream at a time when the River Jordan (a type of the curse) was flood-swollen and rushing rapidly to its entrance into the Dead Sea. From the standpoint of God the course of the world is sinful. There is a tendency in our flesh to go with the world – with those who are laboring under false views of various kinds – because that course is in sympathy with the desires of our own fallen flesh. Hence to live godly is to live in opposition to the course of the world and of our own flesh. This would include not only living uprightly and avoiding sin, etc., but also the making of sacrifices as well, where principles are not involved. We are to beware, however, lest we be deceived along this line. Not only are we contending with the world, but we are wrestling with wicked spirits in high positions. (Eph. 6:12) Sometimes Satan’s arts seem to be employed to get those who are trying to live godly into contention with one another – into faultfinding instead of seeking to cover the faults and human frailties with the mantle of charity. “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matt. 7:3) One of his devices is to make unimportant things seem important, and in this way to make people think that they are contending for righteous­ness, and that the sufferings that they bring on themselves in this manner are for righteous­ness’ sake. Another device is to deceive people into “busybodying in other men’s matters.” (1 Pet. 4:15)

Our influence upon each other should be uplifting; we should not cause others to grieve, except where suffering is absolutely necessary. Hence the Lord’s people should cultivate the fruits of the Spirit increasingly – meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly kindness, love. The cultivation of these fruits of the Spirit is a law in respect to the Lord’s peoples. All who would live godly in Christ Jesus are to see to it that they are not the cause of suffering to others where principles are not involved – especially to those of the Household of Faith.

While it is true that all who will live godly in this world will suffer to the extent to which they are out of harmony with the present evil conditions, yet the promised blessings of the Scriptures are to those who live godly in Jesus Christ those who are Christians. Of these St. Peter says, “If any man suffer as a Chris­tian, let him not be ashamed.”(l Pet. 4:16) A Christian is a follower of Christ, one who has cast in his lot to suffer with Christ (or for Christ), that he may be also glorified with the Lord (or be included in the ‘better’ resurrection, as the case may be)—2 Tim. 2:12. From the Apostle’s standpoint, therefore, no one could suffer “as a Christian” unless he had become a Christian.

Every painful experience which our Lord had was suffered for righteousness’ sake not only the great sufferings, not only the great fight against sin, but also all the little unpleasant experiences common to the world. Being “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26), there was no reason why He should suffer. We do not understand that the Heavenly Father has provided sufferings, trials and difficul­ties for the angels who are in harmony with Him. Nor do we think that Jesus, being a Son in full accord with the Father, would have suffered were it not for His coven­ant of self-sacrifice. All of His sufferings were because He had come into the world to be man’s Redeemer, to make “His soul an offering for sin.” (Isa. 53:10) They were all parts of His necessary experience.

The sufferings which our Lord endured were the result of His activity in the service of the Father; and none of His faithful followers should expect to escape similar sufferings under similar circumstances, if they would be faithful. These were His weariness, His weakness after giving out His vitality to heal others – His bloody sweat, His ignominious buffetings, and all the reproaches, the sneers and the bitter words incurred on account of His faithfulness, to all of which He meekly and quietly submitted until His suffering on Calvary terminated His human existence when He had fully “poured out His soul unto death.” (Isa. 53:12)

There is no question that suffering in general is not suffering with Christ but with Adam – as a result of Adam’s transgression. Our physical infirmities which are of heredity, are not sufferings of Christ. Rather we should speak of the suffer­ings of Christ as being voluntary and not involuntary. When the Apostle says that if we suffer with the Lord we shall also reign with him (2 Tim. 2:12), he means the suf­fering which we bring upon ourselves through faithfulness to our covenant. St. Paul speaks of “filling up that which is left behind of the afflictions of Christ (as part of the sin-offering) for His Body’s sake, which is the Church.” (Col. 1:24) These exper­iences are not for Adam’s sake (not on account of Adam’s disobedience, but because of their covenant of sacrifice).

In St. Paul’s own case he had, we believe, weak eyes as a result of his wrong course in persecuting the Church; and that wrong course was, no doubt, largely the result of heredity. When the Apostle speaks of the sufferings he endured on account of his eyes, he does not speak of them as the sufferings of Christ, but he says that his affliction was “a messenger of Satan” to buffet him. (2 Cor. 12:7) We might then say that all physical sufferings resulting from heredity are ministers of Satan oppos­ing us, causing us much difficulty. However, we believe that the Lord is pleased with us if we resist these ministers of Satan.

If we should think of all our physical pains and aches as sufferings for Christ, then we should be obliged to think of our mental defects also as sufferings for Christ.. For instance, a man who had a disabled hand might have a comparatively even temper; another might have a perverse temper, leading him into trouble – into busy­bodying into other men’s affairs, etc. Thus his disposition causes him to suffer as a busybody, and not for Christ. Paul tells us that our defects in character are works of the fallen flesh. (Gal. 5:19-21) If the sufferings that come to us because of imperfect mental conditions are sufferings of heredity, the physical sufferings which result from imperfect physical conditions, cannot be counted as sufferings for Christ.

In the case of a Christian, inherited weaknesses and those brought upon himself by the violation of the laws of God previous to his entrance into the family of God as a son, while not sufferings with Christ, will be made advantageous to him. These weaknesses our Father sees fit to leave with us, but assures us that His Grace will be sufficient for us. (2 Cor. 12:9) While the realization of such care for our interests is humiliating in that it forces convictions of our weakness, yet it is refreshing and inspiring in that it proves our Father’s love for us. “The Father Himself loves you.” (John 16:27)

But when one has undertaken to follow in the footsteps of Christ, whatever affliction that person undergoes because of following the Lord, is suffering as a Christian; and whatever our experiences in suffering may be, these are not neces­sarily the portion of the sons of God, for the angels do not suffer; but He permits the Church to have them in order to develop and crystallize character. If we rejoice that we are found worthy to share in the sufferings of the present time, every trial will be turned to advantage as a part of our Christian experience. “They are not of the world.” (John 17:16) Therefore all of our experiences must be regarded as Chris­tian, for correction in righteousness and for educational purposes.

But this is taking a broader, deeper view than ordinary. Certainly a Christian is not ashamed of what he may suffer because of his loyalty to the Lord, to the Truth and to the Brethren. In these sufferings he is to glorify God and to be thankful for them. He is to be glad for the opportunity of enduring something, to show not only to the Lord, but himself also that he has endured something for Christ’s sake. Every sacrifice that we make is for the purpose of suffering as a Christian, and we are not ashamed so to suffer. (i Pet. 4:16)

There are others who suffer more or less as Christians suffer, but they are suffer­ing from a worldly standpoint. People sometimes say, “This worldly man has his trials and sufferings, and shows such patience, such resignation, that surely he is suffering as a Christian.” But we do not understand that any one can suffer as a Christian un­less he takes the steps necessary to make him a Christian. We are to view matters from God’s standpoint. Doubtless many have suffered as Christians who were not Chris­tians, from a human viewpoint – but not from God’s viewpoint. In the Dark Ages many were put to death for the sake of principle. In our own day there are people who give no evidence of being Christians, but who would rather die than have the Bible taken out of public schools. Although they do not understand the Bible, yet if these were times of persecutions such as were in the Dark Ages, many would die at the stake in order to keep the Bible in the public school.

A point may properly be made here that there is a wide gulf between our con­sciences and our civil or legal rights. Our Lord instructed His people (Matt. 5:39, 40): “Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.... if he take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.” Certainly, if an adversary should smite us unjustly on the cheek, that would be a trying violation of our legal rights, but it would be no violation of our conscience to permit him to do so, or to turn the other cheek to him. Or, if he unjustly prevails in the courts to seize our coat, that would be a moral violation of our legal rights; but it would be no viola­tion of our conscience to accept the verdict graciously and nobly. Or, if some claim­ing even to be brethren should slander us, this, too, would be a violation of our legal rights; but it may sometimes be better for the general cause that we “suffer it to be so.” Many of us are familiar with Brother Russell’s suit against the Brooklyn Eagle for the contemptible and slanderous statements made about him in that publication – a case in which he was most unjustly defeated. He was certainly justified in the action he took; but he accepted the unjust verdict as “suffering as a Christian,” and let the matter rest there.

It is all too easy to allow resentment to overwhelm us when we are defeated in a cause where we are so preeminently right; and the beloved Parousia Messenger there showed his strength and nobility of character when he accepted the result as “of the Lord.” “This is thankworthy if a man, for conscience toward God, endure grief, suf­fering wrongfully.” We cannot always tell whether suffering is for Christ’s sake. But where people have suffered for conscience’ sake, they have thus cultivated charac­ters, and will get a blessing in the next Age for that suffering. Suffering with Christ, as we have seen, is not the ordinary suffering common to all in the fallen state, but only such experiences as are the result, more directly, of following Christ’s example in advocating unpopular truths and in exposing popular errors – to “bear witness to the (Bible) truth.” Such were the causes of the sufferings of Christ; and such will be the causes of suffering, persecution and loss, to all who follow in His footsteps. Such will have fellowship in His sufferings now, and in the end will be accounted worthy to share in the reward given for faithfulness to principle.

Throughout the Gospel Age this course has meant self-sacrificing labor and endurance of reproach in the sowing and watering of Christ’s doctrines. Now, in the end of the Age, it means a similar fidelity and endurance in the separating work and the gather­ing of the “Israelites indeed” (the elect). The Epiphany will make manifest the ‘coun­sels of hearts.’

Our Lord forewarns us that in the end of the Gospel Age, many who have a love for Christ will allow their love to grow cold because of the iniquity and sin in the world. (Matt. 24:12) It will be a test for such to decide whether they will partake of the worldly spirit. We see this test in operation now. A great many people who name the name of Christ, who really love the Lord, who appreciate much of His character, who would like to see the right prosper, nevertheless have no thought of making a spectacle of themselves before men. They would like to do right, to walk honorably, and to have the favor of men as good citizens. But as to being warm and faithful followers of the Lord – through “evil report and good report” (2 Cor. 6:8), their faith and zeal are not sufficient to endure the test. Many today who once were very zealous in preaching “Present Truth” now seem to believe that it is wrong to “earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints.” And “love for the brethren” may seem easy and pleasant enough when they love us; but it is often a sore trial of character to continue to love them when they become “our enemies because we tell them the truth.” (Gal. 4:16)

The Lord Jesus has very clearly informed us that to follow in His steps will mean trials and difficulties in the flesh. He says, “in the world ye shall have tribula­tion.” (John 16:33) St. Paul repeats the sentiment saying, “We must through much tribu­lation enter into the kingdom of God”; and he emphasizes the thought, saying, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12) There is no other way to enter the kingdom than by self-sacrifice, deadening of the flesh, mortifying it. In proportion as the new man grows, the old man perishes, until the sacrifice shall have been completed in death.

The Lord’s people should thoroughly understand the terms and conditions upon which they have been called. They should therefore “think it not strange” when trials come upon them, no matter how fiery, no matter how severe. The Apostle Peter lovingly coun­sels the Church: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that when His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part He is glorified.” ( 1 Pet. 4:12-14) The Lord is to be not only the Instruc­tor, but also the Refiner to purge out the dross, that we may be made ready to share with Christ in the Kingdom.

The Scriptures plainly teach that special trials may be expected in the Church, amongst the brethren. And we find it to be true that our severest trials came not from without, but, as the Apostle in substance says, “From among yourselves shall arise false brethren,” to injure the flock in general through personal ambition. (Acts 20:30) This becomes a test not only to the church, but to all those who are in contact with us, for if one member suffer, all the members suffer with it. (1 Cor. 12:26)

We are not, therefore, to think it strange if there are trials and difficulties, and if more or less dispute arise in the church. We are to cultivate gentleness, meek­ness, patience, loving-kindness toward all. Nevertheless, if a dispute arise amongst the Lord’s people, we are to recognize that such things are unavoidable amongst those who have the truth. Our heads are imperfect, and consequently it requires time to come into line with the teachings of the Lord’s word. Even disputation makes life an activ­ity, and is better than a dead condition – not to care what is spoken or not spoken. Nevertheless, those who have zeal should be careful that they manifest the Spirit of the Lord, as above indicated – gentleness, patience, meekness, brotherly kindness, love, humility.

“Think it not strange that there are fiery trials amongst yourselves, arising from one cause or another, that will make it particularly severe for you. Those amongst whom you are thrown in contact will cause you suffering, because of your zeal and their misunderstanding, their imperfection, etc. All of these fiery trials will work out good for you. It is far better to be amongst those who are fervent in spirit than to take place amongst those who are lukewarm and thus lose the privilege of being one of those who are footstep followers of Christ. Perhaps those who are lukewarm will, in the time of trouble, learn a lesson. But the faithful are to learn their lesson in the present time – allowing the experiences of life to work out for them a far more exceed­ing eternal weight of glory. (2 Cor. 4:17)”

The above quotation embraces That Wise and Faithful Servant’s exact words on the matter. Some of our readers may recall that at a Philadelphia Convention some years ago it was stressed from the platform that there is full harmony and tranquility at the Philadelphia headquarters; and similar comment has come to us from others. Very strange, is it not, that uncleansed Levites are so quickly able to “improve” upon the experiences of their betters – our Lord, the Apostles and the Star Members? Note the words of the Apostle Peter: “Be not surprised at the fire among you, occurring to you for a trial, as though some strange thing was befalling you.” (I Pet. 4:12, Dia.) We all know the fiery trials that befell our Lord from those in His own group and physi­cally near Him; the same with the Apostles, as testified by Paul and Peter – the same at Bethel under That Servant – and the same with the Epiphany Messenger in Philadelphia.

But now, behold! uncleansed Levites are not having the “fire among them”! It will be noted that the Parousia Messenger emphasizes that it is “zeal for the Truth” by the Faithful that enkindles the “fire among you.” Many in the Truth groups – much like the majority in Big Babylon, prefer peace: Their motto – Do not contend about what you be­lieve, just do all the good you can – be pleasant and amiable; be sure to “keep the peace” whether you “keep the faith” or not. If you “keep the faith” keep it to your­self, rather than cause friction among the brethren. It is self-evident that the true “zeal for the Truth” has departed from many.

Our knowledge of God is limited; yet it is only what we should expect of the Heavenly Father, that any whom He accepts as His children will have Divine love and care in the supervision of their affairs, which will make all things work “for good” to them. The tendency toward lukewarmness is becoming more and more pronounced as the Age draws to a close, and the Adversary is resorting particularly to the Slaughter-­Weapon Man of Combinationism to bring this about. It’s not important what we believe anymore, according to the great mass of church-goers, and also with many claiming to be in “Present Truth” – so long as you are “headed in the right direction.” And ac­cepting this premise, it matters not what sect we may dwell in, in Big or Little Baby­lon, with Mohammed or Confucius, so long as our desire is an abode in Heaven when we die.

This was decidedly NOT the attitude of the last two Star Members, who “contended for the faith once delivered unto the Saints” to the pouring out of their souls unto death. Unswervingly and continually did they hold before them that Great “Copy” in their defense of the Truth in a determined effort to “follow in His footsteps.” And they did this in strict harmony with the Bible teachings on the manner in which we must follow “in His steps.” Brother Russell summed it up pretty well when he stated:

“Many (religious leaders) abandon spiritual themes wholly, and descend to the plane of the natural man, to moral and political reform questions (as we see empha­sized on every hand today—JJH). They can go ‘slumming’ and preach the anti-slum gospel (as does the book “In His Steps” displayed for sale some time back on the Con­vention table of the LHMM alongside the Studies in the Scriptures, which teach the very opposite of this book—JJH). They can join in Christian-citizenship crusades.”

We know of some former Truth students who care not how many conflicting opinions may be held on the same subject; in fact, we have met individuals who hold two or more different opinions on the same subject, with none of those opinions being right. Yet these people abide in smug complacency, which will apparently only be changed by the “Great Tribulation” just ahead. All of us know the Epiphany Messenger’s pro­nounced aversion for Combinationism (a worse evil than sectarianism, because it lulls into complete sleep those who once had “a zeal, but not according to knowledge” – they now have no zeal); and those who yet hold him in that respect, love and devotion which is his due, as a faithful teacher in God’s House, will give full heed to his teachings on this matter.

Since the Lord is our Shepherd, no one is able to pluck us out of His hands. (Jn. 10:27-29) We are as dear to Him as the apple of His eye. He that began a good work in us is able to complete it in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6) So the more faith we have the more we appreciate the text, “We know that all things work to­gether for good to them that love God (supremely), to them that are the called accord­ing to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28) This includes even the things that seem to be very contrary, very evil, very disadvantageous.

Our Lord said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent.” (John 17:3) To know the Father means to be in fellowship with Him, to have an intimate acquaintance with Him. Experience cor­roborates this fact. The more obedient we are as children of God, the more intimate is our acquaintance with Him. And if we are unfaithful, even for a little space, we shall fail to make development along spiritual lines. But in proportion as we are seeking to walk in His ways, we become intimate with Him in the particular sense in which a child knows his father. This knowledge gives us the trust that He cares for us as His children, and makes all things work “for good” to us. (Ram. 8:28; 1 Jn. 1:6,7)

Ours is a covenant of sacrifice. There are certain laws and principles which are not to be broken. Along these lines the Lord Jesus tells us that the Father will appoint those next to the Lord who have demonstrated most of the Spirit of the Re­deemer. He will not put any one in such a position or into the Kingdom arbitrarily. His character, His Words stand pledged that He will make the best of us that He is able to do, while at the same time recognizing our wills as paramount in making the best of us.

Jehovah does not seek those as His children who need to be forced. Our Lord said that “the Father seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23) We are to work to the best of our ability. But with all of our stumb­ling the Lord stands pledged that He will not leave us if we are faithful, and that He will make even our stumbling work out for good to us, provided we do not “stumble” in the pitfall of the sixth Slaughter-Weapon Man of Revolutionism (forsaking the Pa­rousia or Epiphany Truth, or the Arrangements), because such persistent “stumbling” would manifest such as having lost their Class standing.

But those New Creatures who must be forced to a compliance with the rules who, as the horse or ass, “must be guided with bit and bridle” (Psa. 32:9; Prov. 26:3) will eventually be among those who bewail that “the summer is past, the harvest is ended, and we are not saved” – a bewailing that is yet future. We emphasize once more that there has never been a “call” to the Great Company Class, because God would never issue a “call” to any one to fail; they are the failures for whom God has graciously provided a serving place “before the Throne,” who “through fear of (sacrificial) death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:15—See Berean Comment) These are the ones temporarily abandoned to Azazel by our Father, much the same as an earthly father disinherits a wayward son pending his reformation; they are “such as sit in darkness (error), and the shadow of death, bound in affliction and iron; because they rebelled (revolutionized) against the words of God, and contemned (revolutionized against the Arrangements) the counsel of the Most High.” (Psa. 107:10, 11) In the Great Tribulation He shall “bring down their heart with labor.... brake their bands in sunder.... and save them out of their distresses.” And companion with these will be the measurably faithful Youthful Worthies who have aided and abetted them in their wayward course.

We well realize that our pointed criticisms of the Executive Trustee of the LHMM and his partisan supporters are distasteful to many. This we regret, of course, just as we also regret even more the necessity for such exposures. But this should also offer convincing proof that our course is not prompted by a desire to “draw away dis­ciples” unto ourselves, or to pamper pride or pelf; otherwise, we would be using “words smoother than butter, words softer than oil” (Psa. 55:21), as did That Evil Servant and others of like character – such as the Papal ‘diplomats,’ etc., did.

“Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” (2 Thes. 2:15-17)

Sincerely your brother,

John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim

(Reprint of No. 72, May 1, 1961)