My dear Brethren: – Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
Comes once more the observance of our Lord's death – the complete pouring out of His Soul on the cross; thus, we attempt once again to “stir up your pure Minds by way of remembrance,” emphasizing as we do so the counsel that our own writings in this instance are in nowise intended to replace That Servant's all-inclusive analysis on the Passover in Volume Six. The Jews were commanded to take to each family their Passover lamb on Nisan 10 – four days before the event actually arrived. While this was typical of our Lord's entry into Jerusalem four days before His death, we believe it also had the effect upon the Jews in Egypt of focusing their reverent attention and concentration upon that great event which was to free them from bondage. And so may we also be motivated by reading the Passover chapter in Volume 6 in the days before we “do this in remembrance of Him.”
THE CORRECT DATE
All during the Age it has been controversy without end over the correct date to keep the Memorial of “Christ our Passover, who is sacrificed for us.” In Exodus 12 we are told in very plain and understandable words that the type itself occurred on Nisan 14; and we know the antitype – “Christ our Passover” – was also offered up on Nisan 14; but there is nothing at all in the Scriptures to tell us how we must arrive at Nisan 1. Therefore, we must rely upon the secular records to direct us in this calculation, although the Christian world in general is influenced almost not at all by the Nisan dates – which causes many of the sects in Christendom to set their own dates for observing “Communion” – some every day, as in the case of the Roman Church, some every week, some every month or on special days, and some three or four times each year – just as they also have accepted the very arbitrary day of December 25 to celebrate our Lord's birthday.
Howbeit, there is not the slightest hint in the Scriptures that we should observe Jesus' birthday, so December 25 may be acceptable to all – much the same as Queen Victoria's birthday is remembered on a certain Monday of each year in England, although that is not the exact date of her birth. However, our Lord's statement specifically ordered us to keep His deathday – “This do in Remembrance of me”; and, while we would not have violent quarrel with any who determine to keep this “remembrance” oftener than once a year, the impropriety of multiple “remembrance” of His death-day each year is just as apparent as would be our observance of His birthday more than once a year. In fact, up in Pennsylvania there is a certain religious group who do observe our Lord's birthday twice each year – once in midsummer and once at December 25 – believing, as they do, that such a momentous event should receive attention more than just once each year. With such we have no particular quarrel, although we believe it is more in keeping with our Lord's words, and with the ceremony instituted in the type in Egypt, that His deathday, be observed once each year – and that as nearly as we may determine exactly on Nisan 14.
For centuries now the date for Easter and Good Friday have been arbitrarily determined by Christendom as the first Friday after the first full moon after the Vernal Equinox. Through a most striking and rare coincidence that method this year brings Good Friday on exactly the right date, according to Scriptural reckoning. The moon this year that determines Nisan 1 becomes new at Jerusalem at 4 a.m. March 14, which, according to Jewish reckoning, starts Nisan 1 at 6 p.m. March 13. This then brings Nisan 14 at 6 p.m. Thursday March 26. Thus, this year, when we “do this in remembrance,” we shall do so on Thursday night in exact conformity with the day our Lord instituted this Sacrament. And the entire Christian world will also have the Scripturally correct date for the crucifixion as they observe Good Friday on March 27, and Easter March 29. We do not recall a similar occurrence in our generation – nor do we know if it has ever before occurred in the entire Age since the correct method of calculation was abandoned by the Apostates after the Apostles passed away – although we are not positive on this, not having proper records available. But all of us may certainly find cause for thanks that this most unusual coincidence is our happy portion in this year 1964.
Thus, the time, place and ministry of the service devolves upon the elders in every Ecclesia, as explained by Brother Russell on p. 475, par. 1, Vol. 6 – and they may do this without previous consultation with the Class. The obligation by Jesus “This do in remembrance of Me” – makes it mandatory upon the Elders, even though the large majority of the Class might feel otherwise.
MY BODY - MY BLOOD
While the plain statement of the Bible concerning the date has led to much controversy, the simple and direct words of our Lord have been even moreso. His words “This is my body; this is my blood” – have been interpreted from one extreme to the other, with the Roman Church contending they change the bread and the wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus. Inasmuch as Jesus was not yet dead when He spoke these words, it should not require great intellect to determine that He must have meant other than the interpretation given them by the Roman Church. The Harvest Truth, as given through That Servant, stated the question in its real and significant simplicity: This represents my body; this represents my blood. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to imbibe the Truth on the subject from the Passover chapter in Volume 6 have been much impressed that this was some new and startling analysis; but it seems that Star Member Zwingli had an equally clear understanding, which led to a sharp controversy between him and Martin Luther – and an even more acerb and vicious battle between Zwingli and the Papacy.
While Zwingli is not widely and minutely discussed today, it seems he was a man of clear and brilliant intellect, who came to his death at the early age of 47 years. Had he lived to the normal threescore years and ten, it is probable he would have made a much deeper niche in the theological thinking of the Christian era. Even so, his skill in the Classics led his friends to hail him as “the undoubted Cicero of our Age.” In 1525 he published his “Commentary on the True and False Religion,” in which he declared Luther “was in a fog” – which indeed he was insofar as the Truth on the Lord's Supper was concerned. Zwingli stated that Christ's simple statement merely “proclaimed that by faith alone could His presence be received in a feast which He designed to be commemorative and symbolic.” Certainly no clearer explanation than this was ever given during the Harvest time. So piercing was the brilliant presentation by Zwingli that in October 1529 it broke the whole Protestant movement into two camps, and actually led to civil war in Switzerland.
In this civil war the “Man of Sin” followed the Age-old technique of murder when intellect failed them. They sent against the Zwingli contingent an army twice its size, and much more skillfully officered; thus, his followers were defeated, and he himself murdered in cold blood. His corpse was then quartered by the public hangman, and burned on a heap of dung by unfeeling soldiers. When Pope Paul raises the insolent query now Have they done harm to their Protestant brethren? – here is just one instance alone that offers more than enough answer. “In her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints.” (Rev. 18:24) But the “Beast” seeks its usual justification behind the subterfuge His murder was justified because of the “bad spirit” that he showed. Yes, “They have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink” (Rev. 16:6) On the grave of this brilliant Star Member and “good soldier” is the marker, “They may kill the body, but not the soul: So spoke on this spot Ulrich Zwingli, who for Truth and the freedom of the Christian Church died a hero's death October 11, 1531.”
We relate the fate of Zwingli in this “remembrance of Him” because the death of each was so strikingly companion, and aids in arousing our hearts and minds as we “Consider Him.” It is well that we keep them much in mind at this season of the year, and to consider that the attacks of Truth against error always bring out the real character of both sides; and this is just as true today as it was then. The slander heaped upon Brother Russell was the direct result of the Truth he taught – Truth that his errorist opponents could not meet with Scripture. The same was true of Brother Johnson; and we ourselves may expect the same treatment from similar people today. Therefore, “Think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you.” (1 Pet. 4:12) We may expect the same misrepresentation and falsehood from those in disagreement with us as was meted out to our “betters” of the past; and by such falsehood our revilers also reveal their true characters – and we “suffer it to be so.”
For many years – and especially so during the last ten years – we have been much impressed each Memorial by the Berean Comment of Brother Russell on Matt. 27:21, Mark 15:11, Luke 23:13 and John 18:40: “Religious fanaticism is the deepest, wickedest and most conscienceless of hatreds.” Coupled with this, we ponder also the Berean Comment on John 18:28: “How much of meanness and murder can be covered with a garment of light!” While Brother Russell did not experience actual physical assassination, as did Zwingli, he did indeed suffer a kindred character assassination (murder – see Berean Comment for 1 John 3:15) – as many of us also have. Therefore, let us “think it not strange” if “your brethren hate you, and cast you out for my name's sake.” (Isa. 66:5, also Berean Comment)
THE PLACE TO MEMORIALIZE
The tendency of this our day is for larger and more costly edifices in which to observe this “remembrance of Me.” But in many of these “the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee” (Rev. 18:22); therefore, may the fact impress us that it is the occupants who sanctify the building; the building does not sanctify the occupants. Thus, St. Paul addresses one of his most human and endearing letters “unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow-laborer ... and to the church in thy house.” Therefore, may each participant in this year's “remembrance of Me” rest in the strong assurance that “ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you” (1 Cor. 3:16), regardless of the edifice we may occupy. In fact, the institution of this “remembrance” by Jesus Himself was in an “upper room” of a private residence.
TEMPTED IN ALL POINTS
St. Paul tells us in Heb. 4:15 (Dia.) that Jesus was tried “in all respects like ourselves, apart from sin”; also, that He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26) To many, these statements are an enigma. How can any one be tempted, except to sin, they ask. And, if Jesus was not tempted to sin, how could He possibly be tempted “as we are” – we who are prone to sin, “none righteous, no not one”? This becomes clear when it is understood that there are four classes of temptation that beset God's people: Sin, Error, Selfishness and Worldliness. Thus, if Jesus was tempted in all points except Sin, it means He was tempted to Error, Selfishness and Worldliness. Before we analyze these in our Lord's experiences, let us first of all make clear that He was never tempted to the sins that beset the fallen human race - murder, thievery, immorality, falsehood - on every occasion He always said and did exactly the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, always “apart from sin”; whereas, all of the Lord's followers - some more, some less have had such temptations to sin. St. Paul makes this clear in 1 Cor, 6:9-11 (Dia.): “Be not deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminates, nor Sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous persons, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God, AND SUCH CHARACTERS WERE SOME OF YOU.” Yet in all these things Jesus was “apart from sin” – they bothered Him not in the least. His human body was ever the noble and altruistic servant of His new creature. Let us look then at those features wherein He was tempted, the same being related in Matthew 4, “Then Jesus was conducted by the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the enemy,” the first of which was:
SELFISHNESS: – “After fasting forty days and forty nights He was hungry. Then the Tempter approaching Him, said, If thou be a son of God, command that these stones become loaves.” Here we have temptation in the form of Selfishness in the very strongest degree. Self-preservation is the first law of nature, the desire for food and drink being the prime factors therein. Thus, a good and honorable man, faint with hunger, might put forth his hand to purloin food belonging to another, even though he had fasted but two or three days, instead of forty days, as was true of Jesus. But in this temptation Jesus was more than conqueror, as He answered, “Man shall not live by bread only, but by every word proceeding from the mouth of God.” Thus, he who later turned water into excellent wine, could just as easily have used His power to provide food for Himself, but He victoriously resisted the temptation to sate His selfish propensities to satisfy His bodily needs.
And this continued to be His course throughout His earthly ministry. Not once do we read that He derived personal material gain from the great power that was His. Some of the miracles He performed in healing wealthy people – such as raising the daughter of Jairus from the dead (Luke 8:41-56) – could certainly have brought Him substantial “fees”; but in this one instance we here mention He not only sought no pecuniary reward, but even avoided popular applause. “He charged them that they should tell no man what was done.” And in this He surely gave us sound cause to “do this – with the bread and the cup – in remembrance” of Him. “Buy the Truth, and sell it not.” And, following His 'example' in resisting temptation towards selfishness, we may also have His same blessed experience: “Then the enemy leaves Him; and behold! Angels came and ministered to him.” (v. 11)
ERROR – “Then the Enemy conducts Him into the Holy City, and places Him on the battlement of the temple, and says to Him, If thou be a son of God, cast thyself down; for it is written, He will give His angels charge of thee; they shall uphold thee on their hands, lest thou strike thy foot against a stone.” God's people should never court or encourage sensationalism, or even ribald flippancy, or “sleight-of-hand,” if they would be true and fully useful “able ministers of the New Testament.” (2 Cor. 3: 6) Such a 'stunt' would certainly have brought Jesus wide acclaim – would have attracted to Him the attention of the people in pronounced manner. Here was a most subtle ruse to stumble our Lord. Be it remembered that temptation is an appealing suggestion. Without appeal, there can be no temptation. Thus, we cannot tempt a fellow man with a cigar if he detests tobacco; whereas, it might be a very strong appeal to another who had been an habitual smoker and had with great difficulty forsaken the vice. And by the same token, at least some of God's people have had the urge to 'show off' with the power of the Truth that has come to them – to use it for personal prestige, and perhaps even more, when “the praise of men” might be involved. But to the erroneous twist by Satan our Lord gave the perfect answer, “Again it is written, Thou shalt not try the Lord thy God.” Here again He “left us an example'' that we indulge not in outward show as we “do this in remembrance.”
WORLDLINESS – “Again the Enemy takes Him to a very high mountain, and shows Him all the Kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; and says to Him, All these will I give thee, if prostrating thou wilt worship me.” Some may argue that these were not Satan's to give; but we are told he is “the God of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4), and there is little doubt but that he could have kept his promise to that extent. (Here also is indisputable proof that Satan was about this earth when our Lord was here – in contrast to the mistaken belief held by some that he was in Heaven until 1914, or 1918, at which date, they say, he was first cast out.) With the perfect mind and vigorous body that were His, our Lord would have had little difficulty – especially, if He experienced no opposition from Satan – in securing quick domination of the financial and political elements in a world where all about Him were in every respect His inferiors. Here also, He “was tempted like as we are”; and once more we have His perfect answer, “Get thee behind me, Adversary; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.” And at this time we are well advised to keep His answer well in mind, as we “do this in remembrance.” And let us consider that in all His temptations our Lord was more than conqueror; His human body was always the noble servant, in full subjection to His new creature.
At this Satan left Jesus, and we hear no more about His temptations. While we have classified them as selfishness, error and worldliness, they may also be defined under the headings of faith, obedience and loyalty, respectively. We could also describe them as Capitalistic Power (prompted by selfishness to use His power for personal gain), Religious Power (temptation to gain a following – to “do great works, win great numbers, gain great favor” – E-15:525 – as many have done who have built upon “Christ as Sand”), and Governmental Power (using superior intellect to dominate weaker men). Many would do well to “examine themselves” from these standpoints as we “do this in remembrance.”
OUR PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
(June 1, 1915 Watch Tower – Reprint 5698)
“The Apostle's argument is that we should hold fast the faith which began our Christian life and which is also to be the finisher of our Christian life. The Lord is able to carry us through and He will do it, if we do our part. But the terms on which the Lord has received us are that we purpose to abide faithful. Hence everything depends on our holding fast to the faith which we have professed, without wavering, without harboring any doubts and fears; and the basis of our faith in our ultimate triumph is the assurance that 'He is faithful that promised.' We know that in the Bible there are 'exceeding great and precious promises' for us. While the Lord tells us that there is nothing in ourselves that we can depend on, He assures us that His Grace is sufficient, that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. We have only to lay hold upon it. If therefore we hold fast to our faith, we may obtain all that God has promised us. He will be faithful; He will not disregard His promises; He will do all that He has said.
“If we hesitate and waver we are either losing our faith or losing the spirit of obedience and love. If, therefore, we realize that either of these conditions exists, we should go at once to the Word of God and to prayer, that our faith, love and zeal may be renewed. We should scrutinize our hearts day by day to make sure that we are still loyal to the Lord, to see whether we are seeking to lay down our lives according to our covenant, to see whether we are developing the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit. Thus we shall fulfill our vows, and there shall be 'an abundant entrance' administered unto us into the 'everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.'“
This year we shall observe the Memorial at 7:30 p.m., March 26 at 1507 N. Donnelly, Mount Dora, as in other years; and with this comes the prayer that all our readers receive the Lord's blessing in their preparation for, and participation in “this remembrance.” “Let us keep the festival, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of vice and wickedness, but with the unleavened principles of sincerity and truth.”
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION: – What studies would you suggest for classes where there are new ones as well as some who are well versed in Parousia and Epiphany Truth?
ANSWER: – The Divine Plan of the Ages is always good for only new ones in the Truth; however, if the class is having studies with some other Parousia Volume, such as the 5th Volume or Tabernacle Shadows, we believe that the new ones could progress with the aid of the others – especially with the encouragement that the new ones should start reading approximately ten pages of the First Volume of Parousia Studies each day and continue thus until they have read all six volumes.
We suggest that such Classes have two studies a week – one in Parousia Volumes and one in Epiphany Studies. For a Class with newcomers, the Epiphany study in Volume 4 on Youthful Worthies would be most timely. A second suggestion is Azazel Goat Class and Great Company, also in Epiphany Volume 4. These two elect classes are not treated very much, if at all, in any of the Little Babylon groups today except LHMM, and this group has grossly revolutionized against the teachings of the Star Members on both classes – and is now teaching no more opening for Youthful Worthies, although both Star Members taught there would be such an opening “until restitution begins.” So it is important we “continue in what we have learned and been assured of” on both of these elect classes here in the Epiphany when they are most prominently manifested as such – Youthful Worthies or Great Company.
With That Servant, we also recommend a regular Wednesday Testimony meeting, with the previous Thursday Manna text as a basis for the testimony. We believe this is one of the most important meetings, because it allows each one an opportunity for individual expression, and is therefore character-building, if the brethren are properly exercised thereby. We can study and learn a great deal of the doctrines privately, but the fellowship received through these testimonies, sharing in the experiences of one another over the past week, increases our zeal for the Truth and love for the brethren – and in that way we grow in knowledge and in the spirit of the Truth. It was That Servant's suggestion that if only one meeting could be had in a week, it should be a testimony meeting. (See Reprints 4010, col. 2, top and 5122, col. 2, top) If we have no burning zeal to study, practice and spread the Truth, then whatever knowledge we have is of very little value to us; in fact, if such zeal-less attitude becomes a persistent malady in any of us, we doubt very much that we can keep the knowledge of the Truth.
Of course, we believe the No. 1 item for all is to begin each day by reading the Manna and Comments, with such reflection thereon during the day as occasion may allow. Any who neglect the Manna are certain to suffer a corresponding leanness of spirituality; and this would be especially true of isolated brethren who do not have the privilege of regular assemblage with others of ‘like precious faith.' The Manna comments by both Messengers are superb for their energizing spiritual influence and uplift. During our stay in Brother Johnson's home in 1947 there was never a breakfast in which the day's Manna did not command first consideration; and this is also our own procedure each day.
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear Brother Hoefle: – Greetings in the Master's Name!
We are enjoying your papers Nos. 101 and 102. I am looking to see what the reaction will be. I am sure Brother Jolly would not relish that November paper, nor the December paper. I think you have driven the last nail in his coffin in that Miriam leprous picture.
You ask about Brother ------- He seems to be one of those who would have more respect for the creature than the Creator (Deut. 1:17; James 2:9), as can be seen from his opinions .... Although he does not agree with the “strange fire” of Epiphany Campers Consecrated, yet he would not leave the LHMM – for if he should do that, What would the friends think of him! Such worship the creature more than the Creator, and that is a sure sign that they do not accept the Truth for the love and spirit of it; otherwise they would not be content to remain and countenance such errors.
My dear brother, may the Lord continue to give Grace, health and strength to you so as to continue in pointing us to the writings of the Star Members. The brethren are in good spirit. With loving Christian greetings to you and to the dear Sisters Dunnagan and Wells.
Yours by His Grace, Brother -------
Dear Brother Hoefle: – Grace and Peace!
Your February paper No. 104 was received today, and I note you are reminding us of the Special Effort in Gideon's Second Battle. I ask you to send some tracts so I can have part in this Effort. The things you write on Keturah's six sons are well written and in harmony with Brother Johnson's writings.
I have looked up the references you give, and also the references RGJ gives in his Nov-Dcc. PT – all of which prove your point! It leaves no place for Campers Consecrated. He refers to you as “sifter, chronic faultfinder, customary duplicity and method of deception.” In the last paragraph on p. 88 he says, “All sifters resort to deceptions, lies and misrepresentations, even as their father the devil did and still does (John 5:44)”; then he quotes Gen. 49:5,6 – Scriptures that no crown-loser can apply to themselves (Certainly no crown-loser is addressed here – although they are described in v. 5 –”Instruments of cruelty are in their habitations”—JJH). Please see Epiphany Vol. 10, p. 660, bottom. He has in the past used Luke 21:15 and Isa. 54:17 which in part describes unclean Great Company members stealing spiritual prerogatives – kleptomania in spiritual respects (see Ep. Vol. 5, p. 322, bottom).
Brother Johnson applied Matt. 24:48-51 to JFR, and he fits the description; but I believe Luke 12:45-46 fits RGJ. Manservants of v. 45 1 think refers to the Little Flock, and the maidens the Youthful Worthies.....I believe Col. 2:18-19 exhorts the Little Flock not to give up their hope – and the one asking them to do so would be intruding into things which he hath not seen – proven. And the word 'intruding' indicates to me that he had no business discussing the subject. 'Vainly puffed up' indicates pride and vanity. By his fleshly mind, and not 'holding the head,' indicates his Great Companyship. That fits RGJ.
I know from the few times it has been my privilege to fellowship with you personally, that you have the “spirit of the Truth”; and from your writings I know that the Lord has given you the knowledge and ability to defend the Truth “we have learned and been assured of.” And He is also bringing out some gems of Truth based upon and elaborated out of said Truth. So you do not need me to defend you against RGJ. His use of Isa. 54:17 and Gen. 49:5-6 is so glaring I feel that I must register my protest.
I pray the Lord to grant you prosperity in knowledge, grace and service – and I wish the same for all in your Class, and all in harmony with you.
By the Lord's favor I am, Your brother, ----------
Dear Brother Hoefle: – Grace and peace in Jesus' Name!
I am writing to say thank you for all your labour in instructions, corrections and rebukes your articles have furnished me during the year that is now dying. I think all the faithful will say as I do, I am glad when I knew of Brother Hoefle, for you are a help to the faithful, even though you become a stumbling block to the unfaithful. The Lord's promises are sure, you will be given your needs to do another year if you faithfully toil on. Your reward is at no distance.
I close with best wishes, Yours through His Grace -------
Sirs: – May I have a copy of each of the following: The Resurrection of the Dead, What Is the Soul, Where are the Dead and The Three Babylons.
Thank you! Yours --------