My dear Brethren: - Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
As the passion of our Beloved Lord comes once more acutely to our attention because of “the Cross,” it is well that we meditate again upon St. Paul's words in Hebrews 12:1-3 (Dia.): “Consider Him attentively who has endured such opposition from sinners, so that you may not be wearied, being discouraged in your souls.” The specific primary grace accentuated by this text is our Lord's perfection in Patience – His cheerful continuance in well doing amid excruciating trials – His “narrow way” finished in His death at Calvary.
In these first three verses of Hebrews 12 St. Paul is offering in summation his discussion in Hebrews 11 of the faith of many of the Ancient Worthies – “For by this (faith) the ancients were attested.” (Heb. 11:2,Dia.) By this Faith Abel ''was attested to be righteous” (v. 4); Enoch ''had been attested to have been well-pleasing to God”; Noah's “Pious fear” was attested (v. 7); Abraham's “obedience” was attested (v. 8); Moses' sense of values was attested (vs. 23-29), as he “appointed the Passover” (the type of “Christ our Passover,” whose memory we once more cherish and revere), departed from Egypt (type of the world in sin), “passed through the Red Sea as though a dry place”; Rahab was attested “having received the spies in peace” (v. 31); others were attested by “a trial of mockings and scourges, and also of bonds and imprisonment, were stoned, sawn asunder, tempted, died by slaughter of the sword, went about in sheepskins and in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated.... all “attested by means of faith” (vs. 36-39).
Clearly enough, by means of just one of the virtues or graces many of the Ancients ''were attested”; and in none of them could it be said that they reflected in perfection those sterling qualities St. Paul attributes to them. But, as we “consider Him,” we are reminded that not just one, but all, of the virtues and graces combined perfectly in Him–nothing lacking, whether we “consider” one or all of the “beauties of holiness” as our Lord reflected them in perfection of character.
Thus “considered,” we are most forcefully impressed as to why the record tells us He was the one “altogether lovely” – lovely in perfection of “faith, fortitude, self-control, patience, piety brotherly-kindness, love” (2 Pet. 1:5-7, Dia.); and why He was “anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows” – “made a little lower than the angels” (Heb. 2:9). Hence, we need not ''consider Him” only viewed “on the cross”; let us also “consider Him” in His “glory and virtue” that we may “know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.... thus minded.... our conversation in Heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ .... fashioned like unto His glorious body.... to subdue all things unto Himself.” (Phil. 3:10-21)
SOME THOUGHTS FOR THE MEMORIAL
Let us ponder now the Memorial of His death, a service commonly described throughout Christendom as the Lord's Supper–this and Baptism being regarded as the two Sacraments of the Christian religion. Over the years it has been one of the most controversial of subjects; and it is said there are now in existence about two hundred different variations in time of keeping, manner of keeping, and significance of keeping. This, as with so many other essential Christian doctrines, has been debated by able scholars and intellects–so severe at times as to cause them to overlook completely that this teaching above all others should designate the Prince of Peace and bring God's people to peace with each other. In fact, in 1 Cor. 10:16 St. Paul states that the participation in the bread and wine of this service is a “common union”; and this intimate relationship becomes accentuated when we consider that the individual grapes which produce the cup, and the individual grains of wheat which produce the bread, lose completely their divers identities and are fully fused or merged into one common whole.
As stated, the time for keeping this service is violently in dispute. The Roman Catholic Church attempts observance of it every day in early morning Mass; and the service is often repeated that same day at weddings and other special occasions. They also pronouncedly stress it at the deathbed, requiring a priest to perform it except in very extreme instances. others among the Protestant sects keep the service once a week; others once a month; others three or four times a year. But it remained as a feature of Harvest Truth to eliminate all of the confusion in the emblem significance, and largely so as respects the time of observance. When Jesus said, “This is my body; this is my blood,” it should be elemental that those items could not possibly have been His actual body and blood, because he was still alive with His Disciples, ministering to them, and teaching them. Therefore, He could have meant none other than that the bread and the wine represented His flesh and blood. The Harvest Truth also clearly proved the service To be an annual one–just as is true of Christmas, or a birthday, or a wedding remembrance, or a death day. Therefore, to celebrate one's birthday as whim or occasion arose would be just as proper–or improper–as remembering the day of our Lord's death; the Scriptures clearly state that, ''As oft as ye do this, ye do show forth the Lord's death till He come.” (1 Cor. 11:26)
But even among those who thought they had imbibed clear understanding of time and significance from That Servant there arose extended controversy about the time element after his death; and it remained for the Epiphany Messenger to clarify still further the calendar accounting. And even with those who had sat at his feet for many years the time feature again came into dispute last year – a regrettable incident, because it seems all Truth people clearly perceive the significance of the service, and it would be to the blessing of all if the exact time of service might also be established We are clearly told in Exodus 12 that the observance of the typical Passover must be on Nisan 14; and it is clearly established also that “Christ our Passover” was offered up as the antitypical Lamb of God on Nisan 14. Thus, “He taketh away the first, that He may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Heb. 10:9,10)
If, then, there be no dispute on the day of the month, the same being the 14th of Nisan, there leaves but one other consideration – How do we determine when Nisan begins? Unfortunately, the Bible is silent on this matter, from which we may conclude it is not vital to our present spiritual state or our eternal salvation. Therefore, we can but do the best we can with what we have outside the Bible; and from Josephus and other Jewish records it would seem reasonably certain that the original Passover in Egypt was kept after the sun had crossed the Equator on its way north, thus definitely establishing the Passover as a Spring festival. And so the Jews have maintained it over the centuries – even as Brother Johnson has also stressed it in E-7:366, and as elaborated in our paper No. 85.
It should be clearly understood that when Brother Johnson made the positive statement in his 1933 Present Truth that we should “never observe the Memorial before the Vernal Equinox,” he was not there quoting from Josephus, or from any one else; it was not even a paraphrase from Josephus or any other writer; it was his own firm conviction, with full support for his belief in the statement by Brother Russell to the same effect in the 1907 Watch Tower. We ourselves are in full harmony with what they determined; and we believe all of us should be firm in contending for what the Star Members gave us, because there is nothing anywhere to dispute their position. once this became clear to us a year ago, we node haste to correct what we would now consider a grievous mistake.
WHO MAY PARTAKE
This question also has been subject to much heated contention throughout the Gospel Age. In the Roman Church only members in good standing may do so; and even those may not do so unless they first make confession before their priest the day before, and neither eat nor drink the next morning before the actual service. The Roman Church has used this as a cruel weapon of punishment over the years, as they “ex”-communicated various and sundry dissenters, with the dissenters often right, and the Church body wrong. This extreme of severity in the Roman Church is offset on the other hand by an extreme of laxity in some Protestant Churches, some allowing the man on the street to walk in and partake, without even asking what his professions may be.
Among Truth people we attempt to arrive at a healthy medium between these two extremes, although both Star Members in our time stressed that the service is only for those who have covenanted to “follow in His steps.” of course, even this has been set aside by the Jehovah's Witnesses, as they have also perverted so many other clear Harvest Truths. While there is a certain rigidity in our own exactions for the service, there is also a healthy liberality, leaving it in large measure to the individual conscience. Therefore, St. Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 11:28, “Let a man examine himself”–nothing hinted here about a priest or any other person examining us – ”he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself.” From this it is clear enough that the righteousness of some will not avail for the evils of others; nor will the evils of others contaminate the righteous. Brother Russell and Brother Johnson both accepted that premise, while making straight paths for their own feet–even as we also should do. Thus, Brother Johnson at no time sought out the companionship of those whom he knew to be uncleansed Levites; on the other hand, when such came into his service, he did not command them to leave. His attitude was in true keeping with that of our Lord, “Behold my servant, whom I have chosen, my Beloved ... A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench.” (Matt. 12:18-20) Thus did both Messengers of our time minister to the weak and fallen, as well as to the strong and upright, lest the weak “should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.” (2 Cor. 2:7)
However, we make definite note of Brother Johnson's teaching that it is far better to observe the Memorial alone than it would be for us to congregate with those who have appointed a “leprous” Levite leader to conduct the service. And, if we clearly recognized the condition of such a leader, yet sat at his feet to “show forth the Lord's death,” it would be repellant to all good principle. “Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith (possessing the 'peace of God which passeth understanding'), than an house full of sacrifices with strife.” (Prov. 17:1) At the Memorial season the Adversary is usually most active to discourage, belittle, betray, abuse and falsely accuse the fully faithful; and his best tools for such occasion are almost always 'leprous' Levites leaders; but the advice of St. Paul is most appropriate at such time–”from such turn away!”
And, while extending leniency to those who must have leniency, each one should strive for himself to consider St. Paul's words in 1 Cor. 11:31, “If we judge our! selves, we should not be judged”–let each use that rigidity of self-estimation which is in keeping with “the spirit of a sound mind.” Along this line Brother Russell has offered excellent counsel:
“To be of this class requires fulness of consecration; and these are and will be the overcomers, who shall be deemed worthy of joint heirship with Christ Jesus their Lord in His kingdom. To this class, obedient and watchful, the Lord says, 'I will guide thee with mine eye'– 'Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel and afterward receive me to Glory,” Those who can be guided only by continual scourging are not of the overcoming class, and will not be accounted worthy to be of Jesus' Bride, and have such a witness from the Lord through the Spirit of the Truth – contrast Ps. 32:8, 73:24 with Rev. 7:9,14.” Therefore, let us keep the feast in simplicity of deportment, with sincerity of purpose, with malice toward none but with charity toward all.
With this comes the writer's prayer for the Lord's rich blessing to all our readers in their preparation for, and observance of this year's Memorial. we ourselves shall participate at 1507 N. Donnelly, Mount Dora, Florida, at 7:30 p.m., April 6; and cordial invitation is extended to any and all in this vicinity then who are of 'like mind' to join with us. “Sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” (Isa. 8:13)
Sincerely your brother,
John J, Hoefle, Pilgrim
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear Brother Hoefle: – Greetings in our Master's Name!
A week ago I received the Nov-Dec. 1962 P.T. In that paper Bro. Jolly is still trying to justify himself in the eyes of his readers, and so adding falsehood to falsehood, he refers to me as a new disciple of “this sifter.” In my letter I was pointing out the charge Bro. jolly layed against Brother Roach as “highly clericalistic”–but which fits him (Bro. jolly) – when he said Brother Roach acted contrary to Church rule. He is quite right in saying every local Church is mistress of her own affairs; but there's no truth when he said that this Church did appoint a Chairman for the Memorial service for 1962 (see P.T. July-Aug. p. 60, top of col. 2, and other places, too).
The brother in question only got to know that he was to be Chairman of that meeting the same-evening when he arrived for the service (that is what the Brother Told me sometime later); then it was Bro. Jolly said to the Brother, “I understand you are the Chairman,” and asked him if he had any special preparation. He then handed him a program – and it was the only one of its kind that evening!
He said I accuse the Chairman of clericalism in the exercise of his proper chairmanship. He said some latitude must be given the Chairman – which is quite true; but I say no latitude was given to him when he had to go according to the dictates of the program given to him by Bro, Jolly at the beginning of the meeting. I happened to see the program as the service was in progress, as I did not even know what passage of the Bible to read when I was called upon to read the lesson for the service. Then for the first time I saw against my name what I was to read. Where, then, is the latitude given to the Chairman, as Bro. jolly claims in the Nov.-Dec. P.T., P. 90, par. 2?
Sometime in 1959 the funds of our local Class were very low, due to sending one of our local elders to St. Vincent, and by Bro. Jolly sending other representatives of the West Indies to use. He had then intended to send a pilgrim to us the next year, but the friends then requested Brother Roach to notify Brother Jolly that we could not entertain a pilgrim the next year because of lack of funds – that if one must be sent, his stay with us must be only four or five days. Now, without Bro. Jolly giving any reason at all, he sent a pilgrim the next year for ten days! That does not look like a Church is mistress of her own affairs at all. I say it is Clericalism! (And we agreeJJH)
Also, he said J, like “this sifter”, used the same designation of Epiphany Campers Consecrated. Well, to put it the other way – Epiphany Consecrated Campers – would not extinguish his “strange fire. The only way to extinguish his “strange fire” is to teach according to the Star Member's presentation on the subject. Brother Johnson in E. Vol. 10, p. 209, states that in the finished picture the Camp “is the condition of truly repentent and believing, but NOT consecrated Jews and Gentiles,” Bro. Jolly, who is not a Star Member, teaches just the contrary. In the same book, p. 672, Brother Johnson also offers a contradiction to Campers Consecrated. As for me, I prefer to accept the Star Member's teachings on the subject – and not that of a Levite.
Yours by His Grace, Brother George Martin (dated Jan. 28, 1963 – TRINIDAD)
P.S. Please. send us some more tracts.
Dearly beloved Brother Hoefle: – Grace and peace through our Lord!
I received your letters; also the stickers and all the tracts in good shape. Thank you. I could not put them out as yet.... We've had a hard winter, and I have been sick...... Thanks for letting me know about the lawsuit, for I do not get the P.T., but your writings prove that they both are wrong* It does not matter whether I read their errors. Anyway, they are just words, words, words. Praise the Lord for His Truth. I look forward to the articles, and just sit down and read them as soon as they come. The Lord surely spreads a table without 'vomit' – and how we praise Him and thank Him! Now wouldn't that be something if the Lord had 'vomit' on His table the same as the Levite groups! Where would we go?
The answer to your question re the crown-losers in the Epiphany Movement being a part of Little Babylon is in Epiphany Vol. 10, p. 588, twelve lines down. I believe the Youthful Worthies are part of Little Babylon, too (those who stay with them).
Love to you all and all with you ------- (Pennsylvania)
Epiphany Bible Students Ass'n
Mount Dora, Florida – Gentlemen: Please send me the following literature which you offer in your booklet ''The Resurrection of the Dead”: – What is the Soul; Where are the Dead; The Three Babylons. Thank you!
Yours very truly ------- (NEW JERSEY)
Dear Brother Hoefle: – Grace and peace!
I have received your letters, as well as the literature you have sent, and have thoroughly enjoyed all. To say it was enlightening would be putting it very mildly. This literature has cleared up many points troubling my mind concerning the Epiphany Truth. I realize now that instead of doubting Brother Johnson, as the Epiphany Messenger, with his many types and antitypes, and his mistaken expectations in connection with 1954-56, I should have paid more attention to the way Bro. Jolly tried to force their fulfillments. How clear now when one sticks to Brother Johnson's expositions of the Epiphany Truth. In short, most all my confusion lay in trying to harmonize Brother Johnson with Bro. Jolly–when I should have done the opposite.
Thanks to you I now feel I can go back to the Epiphany volumes with renewed vigor and interest, as if reading them for the first time. There are several short questions I'd like to ask you: (1) Is the Epiphany Bible Students Ass'n considered to be the Priestly organization? (2) Wherein lies the goal of the E.B.S.A.? And do you plan any large witness work to either group? (3) In the Appendix of Studies Vol* Three (pp. 382-386) are ten Scriptural reasons pointing to 1954 as a prophetic date. Now I realize quite well what did not take place at this time (or in 1956). Could you tell me what did take place during the period of 1954-56? (4) I noticed in one of the letters you sent in the “Interested Letters” section someone asked you about the use of the name “Jehovah.” I would appreciate your comments on this. (5) Brother Johnson stated several times in his writings that all the Bible would be interpreted before his death. This, we know, failed to materialize. Do you think it will be before the EPiphany is over–and/or the Kingdom is established? (6) In a couple of your letters you mentioned a $5 Correspondence Course put out at one time by Bro. Jolly, but later dropped. What were the details on that? Also, his “entertaining” methods at several of the Conventions.....
As you probably noticed in the latest Bible Standard ------- visited B'ham last week........ I did not push any particular point, but after the meeting was over I did mention to the group that I had been corresponding with you. you could actually see Bro. and Sr.------- eyebrows raise. They didn't speak unkindly of you, tho. The only thing he committed himself upon was that he “believed” that originally some personal conflict was behind yours and Bro. Jolly's “estrangement.” I tried to press that a little further, but he dropped it and would not renew.........
If You and Sister Hoefle are ever in our vicinity, I would consider it an honor and pleasure if you would stay with us ....
Hoping this finds you and Sr. Hoefle in the very best of health, and with the assurance of our love and prayers as you pursue your ministry, I am Your Bro ------- BIRMINGHAM