My dear Brethren: Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
Comes again the Memorial of Him who perished on the cross, the correct hour this year being after 6 p.m. March 20, the time being determined as follows: The Vernal Equinox arrives at the 30th Meridian (the one nearest Jerusalem) at 3 a.m., March 21; and the moon coming new nearest that date does so at 8 p.m. March 7, thus starting Nisan 1 at 6 p.m. March 7, Bible reckoning. Counting fourteen days from that, Nisan 14 begins at 6 p.m. March 20; and any time after that hour that evening would be appropriate for the service. We shall hold it at --------, Mount Dora, Florida, at 7:30 p.m.; and all who wish to join with us then “in sincerity and in truth” will have cordial welcome and fellowship.
EAT THE FLESH – DRINK THE BLOOD
“Indeed, I assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.... My flesh is the true food, and my blood is the true drink.... This is that bread which has descended from Heaven.... He who eats this bread shall live to the Age.” (John 6:53-58, Dia.) These words are among the most commonly used throughout Christendom, particularly at the Lord’s Supper; and they are certainly intimately familiar to all our readers. Yet that very familiarity often causes us to overlook some of the vital details so necessary to a comprehensive understanding.
Jesus had said to the Jews, “Your fathers ate the Manna in the desert, and died. This is that bread descending from Heaven, so that any one may eat of it, and not die... The Jews therefore were contending with each other, saying, How can He give us His flesh to eat?” (vs. 49-52) “These things He said, teaching in a synagogue, in Capernaum. Many, therefore, of His disciples, hearing, said, Hard is this saying; who can hear it?” (vs. 59, 60) The full impact of this recitation can be fully realized only as we keep in mind that the diet of the religious Jew at that time was much more rigid than it is today; they then adhered scrupulously to the ritual given them through Moses. This is forcefully revealed in Acts 10:9-16, wherein Peter was in a trance, saw the great sheet lowered to the earth from Heaven, wherein were all manner of beasts, and he was commanded to rise, kill and eat. His answer was quick and positive: “I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And this same statement was true of the majority of Jesus’ listeners that day. Thus, their sensibilities were shockingly mutilated when “this man” said they must eat him if they would gain life. The very thought of it would nauseate and repel them. Little wonder that they complained, This is a hard saying!
Knowing as we do that Jesus would clarify this matter on the night in which He was betrayed by offering the loaf and the cup as representing His flesh and His blood, His comment offers no problem to us. But we suggest here that this particular portion of Scripture offers the strongest refutation against infant baptism. What salvation can possibly come from that ‘sacrament’ when the infant does not partake of the bread and the wine – nor does he do so representatively by those who present him for the ceremony. If there can be no life without those two things, then what saving feature could be conveyed in the sprinkling of the water on the infant?
“From this time many of His disciples withdrew, and walked no longer with Him.” (v. 66) Yet Jesus, “knowing that His disciples were murmuring,” made no effort to explain – made no effort at all to soothe their abhorrence at His suggested cannibalism. But this also is explained, “Jesus knew from the beginning who those were that did not believe”; they were probably some of those who would believe only if one of the prophets should return from the dead. They were not of the leadable and teachable that Jesus was then seeking to be “heirs of the Kingdom,” so it was just as well that they should not clutter up His audience further by their presence. And as these walked away, Jesus said to those remaining, “Will ye also go away?” To which Peter was quick to respond, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Peter was undoubtedly puzzled by what Jesus had told them, because he had been thoroughly schooled in the Law, and knew that blood was a forbidden thing: “Whatsoever man there be of the House of Israel.... that eateth any manner of blood, I will set My face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the life of the flesh is in the blood.... Whatsoever man hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten, he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For it is the life of all flesh.... whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.” (Lev. 17:10-14) Actuated by this prohibition, we find the Jews to this day most meticulous to drain all the blood possible from the animals they kill for food.
All of our readers are intimately familiar with the fact that the “life is in the blood” – in the blood of Him who gave Himself for us. Our faith in the atoning features of that blood is the foundation for life now and in the life to come – as it will also be for all the human family. And this is emphasized by the pointed statement in Ex. 12:13: “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” This is further corroborated in John 19: 34: “One of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.” Therefore, the same Apostle was prompted to elaborate: “This is He Who came by water and blood – Jesus the Anointed One; not by the water only, but by the water and by the blood..... There are three which testify – the Spirit, and the water, and the blood; and the three are one.... This is the testimony that God has given to us aionian life, and this life is in His Son (in his blood).” (I John 5:6-11, Dia.)
“LOOKING UNTO JESUS”
Having this strong assurance, it is only logical and proper that we should “look unto Jesus” – “looking away to the leader and Perfecter of the faith, Jesus, Who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, disregarding the shame.... Consider Him attentively Who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you may not be wearied, being discouraged in your souls. You did not yet resist to blood (as He did), contending against sin.” (Heb. 12:2-4, Dia.) Not only have those in “Present Truth” imbibed intimate knowledge of these facts, but we find many throughout Christendom who have been aroused to finer and better things, and to sublime expressions concerning them. We offer here a few lines from one poet:
I wonder what He charged for chairs at Nazareth!
And did men try to beat Him down,
Then boast about it round the town –
I bought it cheap for half a crown
From that mad Carpenter?
And, did they promise and not pay,
Put it off another day?
Oh, did they break His heart that way,
My Lord, the Carpenter?
I wonder, did He have bad debts,
And did He know my fears and frets?
The Gospel writer here forgets
To tell about the Carpenter.
Ah, Christian Glory! Here below
Man cheat and lie to each other so –
It’s hard to be a Carpenter.
“WITHOUT THE CAMP”
Says St. Paul in Heb. 13:10-13, Dia.: “We have an altar from which those who serve in the tabernacle (the Jewish priesthood) have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals.... are burned outside the camp. Therefore, Jesus, also that He might sanctify the people through His own blood (the life is in the blood), suffered outside of the gate (the gate of Jerusalem, having been crucified on Golgotha Hill outside the City proper). Let us, then, now go forth to Him outside the Camp (St. Paul uses interchangeably the City and the Camp, the City having embraced the Temple – just as the Camp had embraced the Tabernacle in its midst), bearing reproach for Him.”
Let us note that the City (Jerusalem) here stands for the nominal people of God; and for Jesus to suffer at Jerusalem just without its gates represents the fact that He was cast off as a blasphemer and a rebel (“He stirreth up the people”), excommunicated and outlawed from among the nominal people of God, and thus died as an outcast from the nation. And all during this Gospel Age God’s faithful people have been “beheaded for the Witness, and for the Word of God” – with the nominal people of God being the instigators of their death. “He (the Papal “horn”) shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High.” (Dan. 7:25) “They will expel you from the synagogues (from their assemblies); but an hour is coming, when every one who kills you will think to offer service to God.” (John 16:2, Dia.) And by enduring such afflictions, we also suffer “outside the gate” – go “forth to Him without the Camp, bearing His reproach” – the shame and disgrace that was heaped upon Him.
And as such, St. Paul declares we have here “no continuing City” (no religious Government) – “your brethren that hated you, and that cast you out”—Isa. 66:5. The main feature of our doing good, and in offering sacrifice that is well pleasing to the Lord, is our faithful witness to the Truth. “For this I have been born; and for this I have come into the world, that I may testify to the Truth.” (John 18:37, Dia.) And note here the Berean Comment: “It was this good confession before Pontius Pilate (His witness to the Truth) that cost our Lord His life.” He was indeed “without the gate” – beyond the pale of His Jewish brethren – “He was numbered with the transgressors.”
“AS HE WAS”
“We know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has imparted to us of His spirit.... As He is we also are in this world.” (I John 4:13, 17) Having “His spirit,” we must self-evidently have agape love – disinterested good will toward all men, but especially toward the Household of Faith. “He went about doing good”; and those with “His spirit” during this Age have also gone about doing good as they had opportunity. This in turn has brought upon them the opposition of the organized religion of their time. The Papacy, with its tremendous power through the Roman Government, and with its tenacious determination to annihilate the ‘heretics,’ produced the most heinous crimes against God’s faithful people. And those very sects thus persecuted – once they were well established, and their original good leadership had passed on – joined in to persecute the new reformers, those who were treading the same path that their own leaders had trodden. All of which left a sorry tale – no tribute to Christianity. The Presbyterians persecuted the Baptist and Servetian reforming brethren. The Episcopalians and Presbyterians persecuted the Congregational and Quaker reforming brethren. The Episcopalians moderately persecuted the Methodists. All of these in milder form persecuted the Christians and Adventists. And “in the time of Harvest” the hated ‘Russellites’ were persecuted by Catholics and Protestants of all sects. They were indeed the ‘spotted birds’ during the Parousia period.
And these persecutions were fanned to white heat after the outbreak of World War 1, as is so graphically typed by the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace. Then indeed did they “heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.” (Dan. 3:19) The memory of this is still vivid with some of our readers, as some of the brethren were badly manhandled – some even unto death; but with others experiencing almost miraculous delivery – “the fire had no power, nor was an hair of the head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.” (Dan. 3:27) And in that experience there had appeared a fourth one with them, whose “form is like the Son of God.” “In all their afflictions He was afflicted, and the angel of His presence saved them.” Jesus Himself had much the same experience on various occasions, as His enemies tried to lay hold on Him, but could not – because “His time was not yet come.”
The above details are presented as a special ‘Memorial’ lesson – lest we also fall in the same manner of unchristian performance. Almost always during this Age the minority has been right, and the majority wrong. Truth people know of their own knowledge how true this was during the Parousia part of the Harvest; and, when one is fully convinced he is right, it is all the more difficult to exercise proper Christian restraint. There is a special lesson, given right at the Memorial season, of the two thieves on Calvary with Jesus. (Luke 23:39-43) The one of them, in his agony of the cross, “railed on Him, saying, IF thou be Christ, save thyself and us.” But the other one, in the same predicament, took a most commendable attitude, “rebuked him, saying, Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds (what we are getting here we have coming to us): but this man hath done nothing amiss.” It has often occurred to us that this one thief must have heard and been close to Jesus many times before he was crucified with Him. As Jesus fed the multitudes, and received gratuities from some of his wealthy admirers, it would be only logical that the flotsam and jetsam of the human race would be drawn to him as a magnet attracts other metals. If they would become hungry, this Man would produce something; it is well to be around Him, even if we don’t go along with His teachings. Thus, this thief could know that Jesus had violated no human or Divine laws, which he himself had done. But in all this dialogue between the two Jesus did not join, did not take the occasion to assert how right was the one thief that He was innocent. Here we have an example of perfection of fortitude – of resigning to a most cruel situation, having already said, “Thy will, not mine, be done.”
Jesus was disposed to be winsome. ‘‘All bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth.” He wanted the good opinion of others, so that on one occasion He asked the disciples, “Who do men say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some, John the Immerser; some Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Said Jesus to them, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:13-15) He was intent upon knowing what impression He was making upon His listeners. Nor is He to be criticized for that. We often hear people say, I don’t care what others think about me. This is indeed a very shallow and unsound summation. If All men looked upon us in disagreeable manner, we would soon be forced outside the limits of human society to the life of a hermit. And, as such, our opportunities for useful service to the Lord, the Truth and the Brethren would be ended. Of course, Jesus studiously avoided such a situation. He calmed, pacified, conciliated and delighted wherever and whenever He could do so without compromise. Even in the discussion between the thieves He did not attempt at all to answer the one who “railed on Him,” because He realized that nothing would be gained by it. The lesson for the occasion was better taught by allowing the friendly thief to answer. Here He left us an example of perfection – probably beyond the reach of any fallen man under the same circumstances.
And in all of this His faithfulness is predominately apparent – perfect loyalty to truth and righteousness, to the persons and things to which He had pledged Himself. “I delight to do thy will, 0 my God, Thy law is written in My heart.” Just the very opposite is apparent on every hand today. Officials in high position are influenced by the “beggarly elements” to compromise their views, their conduct, even often their honesty – all of which has contributed overly much to the turmoil we see on every hand. This is what we should expect, of course, as we come nearer to the complete “time of the end.” But in it all we have again the example of Jesus for our guidance: “Jesus held His peace.” (Matt. 26:63) Apparently He was the most calm of all present on that turbulent night, knowing their intent, and what they would actually do in the morning; yet He kept His poise in perfect manner – so much so that He could turn and look at Peter after the cock crew. (Luke 22:61) It is little wonder that Peter never forgot that look!
It should be emphasized that there was but one Passover. But, “Ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons forever.” (Ex. 12:24) Each subsequent observation over the centuries has been but a “Memorial” of that all-important one that awesome night in Egypt. And there is also but one antitype: “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” To this day all orthodox Jews are most meticulous in their observation of the remembrance, although it varies considerably from the original Passover itself. Wine plays an important part in the observance; whereas, there was none with the original. And this apparently was considered proper, because Jesus Himself seemingly followed the custom of the time to use four different cups of wine on the night in which He was betrayed. Note Luke 22:17: “He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves.... I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God shall come.” Then, further, in Luke 22:20: “Likewise also the cup after supper.” It was with this cup – “after supper” – that He instituted our Memorial: “This do in remembrance of Me.”
“And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place.” (Ex. 13:3) The Jews were also commanded that when they would come into goodly Canaan land they should not forget that they were once “in bondage,” and not attempt to inflict such hardship upon their fellows. Canaan for Gospel-Age purposes types the sphere of the Truth and its spirit. And applying this antitypically, we, too, should “remember this day” – when we came from the “house of bondage” (when we were rescued from antitypical Egypt, the world in sin), and brought into goodly Canaan land, into the Truth and the spirit of the Truth. But there are the many who are still in antitypical Egypt, and toward such St. Paul offers the proper course for all of us: “In meekness correcting the opposers; perhaps God may give them a change of mind (even as He did with us) in order to a knowledge of the Truth.” (2 Tim. 2:25, Dia.)
With these comments comes the prayer that each reader may come to a clearer understanding of this service “in remembrance of Me,” that it will enable each one to “gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the Grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Pet. 1:13) And, “Be not anxious, then, about the morrow; for the morrow will claim anxiety for itself. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.” (Matt. 6:34) And complement to this we would add a line by a radio commentator: There are two days in the week we should not worry about yesterday, and tomorrow!
The Jews were ordered to take up the lamb on Nisan 10, which gave them five days in which to contemplate the solemnity of the occasion, and the enormity of God’s power (“Is there anything too hard for the Lord?”). Antitypical of this the antitypical Lamb of God (Christ our Passover) rode into Jerusalem five days before He was offered up, at which time the people shouted, “Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (John 12:13) And it would seem proper for us also to anticipate our Memorial at least five days before its arrival by reading the chapter on the Passover in Parousia Volume 6, with some of the Scriptures pertinent thereto. And to this end we wish all Israel everywhere the Lord’s rich blessing in their preparation for and participation in this year’s Memorial on the evening of March 20.
“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that Great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight,, through Jesus Christ; to Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (Heb. 13:20,21)
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION: – You say the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t mention That Servant’s Studies in the Scriptures, or recommend them any more. I am a subscriber to the Watch Tower, and I notice they mention them many times, as they publish statements from those who have come into the organization by reading Volume I (The Divine Plan of the Ages). Wouldn’t that be a recommendation of all the Studies? If so, are you being just in your criticisms?
ANSWER: – So far as we know, none of the Witnesses testify to joining with them recently by reading the Studies in the Scriptures. All who have written of their experiences in which they first read The Divine Plan of the Ages, are those who came into the organization many years ago. Furthermore, if our questioner knows of a meeting anywhere that the Witnesses are studying any of the Studies in the Scriptures in their regular meeting, we would appreciate knowing about it.
Our own experience with the Witnesses dates back to 1917, at which time they produced Volume 7, with the claim at that time that it was the posthumous writing of Bro. Russell. It was titled The Finished Mystery as Volume 7 of Studies in the Scriptures. Its acceptance at that time was made a test of fellowship, and caused widespread divisions among them – many of the most faithful and capable of Brother Russell’s supporters leaving them then because of that. Eventually, they completely reversed themselves, and that particular item of the Studies was placed upon the Index Librorum Prohibitorum.
It should be observed that many people throughout Christendom lay claim to becoming Christians through reading the Bible, yet many of them ignore completely – in many instances completely disregard – large sections of the Bible. The same may be said of those who endorse the Studies; e.g., Volume 1, Chapter IX – Ransom & Restitution – does not fit at all with what the Witnesses teach now. And the same may be said for other chapters of that book; and the same for Volumes 2, 3 and 6.
It seems to be common vagary among the confused human race to follow such practice as instance, the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement, who now make loud claim to acceptance of the teachings contained in their Studies in the Scriptures, all the while they also reject large parts of some of them, and distort other parts. Just as the Witnesses, if they retained the teachings of Vol. 3 – Elijah and Elisha – they could not harmonize it with their present teachings. The same with parts of Vol. 4 – The Epiphany Elect – and Vol. 15, and others. As Jesus Himself said, “Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) And v. 49 has application to all such cases: “He that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear Brother Hoefle:
Recently in connection with some work that I have been doing, a brother in Kentucky gave me a number of back issues of your monthly letters. I am engaged in a project of compiling a bibliography of all of the writings of the various Bible students and Bible Student Associations who trace their lineage to Pastor Russell..... I would like to receive the following missing issues of your paper:.......
I realize that many of these are probably out of print, but would like to obtain any that are available. Also I would like some information as to when you began separate publication, and why –i. e., what led you to break with Bro. Jolly?......
Sincerely, ------- (ILLINOIS)
Dear Brother ------- : Grace and peace through our Beloved Lord!
In accordance with your request of January 19, I am sending you the various papers you request. You say you are not expressing any preference of treatment of the various groups, which is all right with me – although it would still be all right if you disagreed openly with any of my views. I consider that your Christian privilege, so long as you do so in a Christian fashion.
If you read through these papers carefully, you will come to a very clear understanding of my differences with R. G. J., as I do not attempt any evasion in any of them. However, to save you some time, I would tell you that I adhere very scrupulously to the doctrinal teachings presented by Brother Russell and Brother Johnson, as Brother Johnson himself retained and defended with vigorous candor the doctrinal teachings he had received from the Lord through Brother Russell. At the time of Bro. Johnson’s death in 1950 I had no personal differences of any kind with RGJ; and our severance came, in 1955 only because of his sins of teaching and practice – as he did violence to a number of the sound tenets Scripturally presented by both of these beloved brethren. I now enumerate some of them:
1 – He now teaches there are no more saints left on earth. I disagree with this as did also Brothers Russell and Johnson, who taught some of them would remain on earth until the beginning of Anarchy, based on Psalms 46 and other Scriptures.
2 – Both Brothers Russell and Johnson taught that the Epiphany, as a period of time here in the end of the Age, and the Time of Trouble are identical – that when the one ends, the other will also end. RGJ is now teaching that the Epiphany in his ‘restricted’ sense ended in 1954 – although he has produced no Scripture, no type, or any signs of the times to prove his contention.
3 – RGJ says no more Youthful Worthies can be won since 1954, although both Brothers Russell and Johnson taught that some of them would be won especially after Armageddon, and even up to the time when Restitution begins.
4 – RGJ now teaches justification in the Tabernacle Camp, although Brothers Russell and Johnson were emphatic that it could exist only in the Tabernacle Court in this faith Age.
5 – RGJ is contending that his period from 1954 and up to the present is a parallel of the 1914-1916 situation. He has become so blinded that he no longer realizes that parallels – to be real true parallels – must be identical in point of time. Therefore, his position is self-evident nonsense.
6 – He contends that the “end” of 1 Cor. 15:24 is the beginning of the Little Season, whereas Brother Johnson taught it was the end of the Little Season. His confusion here is also apparent, when we consider that the “last Enemy to be destroyed” cannot possibly be the Adamic death state; it must be the Adamic death process. The Adamic death state will have passed forever out of existence when the last member of the race is delivered from the tomb; and that must be at least 100 years before the Little Season even begins.
There are many other less important features, but I think this will give you a good idea of our differences – which are not mere splitting of hairs, but are points too important to be glossed over as non-essential.
Not too long after Brother Russell’s death J. F. Rutherford began just the same kind of vitiations of Harvest Truth, and was eventually forced to reject Tabernacle Shadows entirely, as he also did with the Pyramid, and all the Six Volumes of Studies in the Scriptures. RGJ has not openly gone to any such extremes as yet, although he has done so in practice – in a limited way – with large parts of Parousia and Epiphany Studies in the Scriptures, and with many articles in the Watch Tower and the Present Truth. While RGJ still recommends study of Tabernacle Shadows, such an attitude can be only a sham, because his present ideas no longer coincide with much of that book. And it is for these reasons – and only for these reasons – that I must openly expose him if I would be “faithful to the Lord, the Truth and the Brethren.” He cannot now use Epiphany Volume 3 – (Elijah & Elisha) at all; and he must avoid large parts of Epiphany Volumes 4, 10 and 15, these latter being entitled respectively The Epiphany Elect, The Epiphany Messenger, and Christ-Spirit-Covenants.
If I can be of further service to you in your present effort, be sure it will be my pleasure. My Christian love and cordial good wishes for your physical and spiritual health.
Sincerely your brother, JJH
My dear Sir, John J. Hoefle:
What a blessing to receive your latest letter dealing with Retrospect and Prospect. It is a pearl of great calibre. Please, if possible, forward me two extra issues for some friends of mine.
Thank you ever so much. Sincerely yours, Col. ------- (CALIFORNIA)
Dear Brother Hoefle: Greetings in our Redeemer’s name! We received the books safely and gave Sister ------- to send to you....
We trust you and Sister Hoefle are in good health. We join in sending warm Christian love to you, Sister Hoefle and the friends there. By His Grace ------- (TRINIDAD)
Dear Brothers: Please forward me six of Special Edition No. 9 – The Day of Judgment for distribution to my relatives and friends.
Sincerely & with appreciation, ------- (CALIFORNIA)
Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace to you, dear Bother!
Your No. 171 is very much to the point, especially when you speak about 1954 you are on the right point. When we read Generalities of the Great Company in Epiphany Volume 4, etc., etc. See Daily Manna for Sept. 9. May God bless you and all at Bible House with 275 Hymn.
Your brother by His Grace ------- (TRINIDAD)