My dear Brethren: Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
On pages 42-45 of the June 1967 Bible Standard the Editor offers a discussion of the above Scripture, the same being a take-off of what Brother Russell wrote, much of it being word for word from his articles (pp. 2715 and 5436 of the Reprints). We have no criticism whatever to offer on Brother Russell’s interpretation, because it was PRESENT TRUTH for the Parousia period; and he was quite in order to conclude that the antitypical Scribes and Pharisees, who figuratively ‘sat in Moses’ seat,’ were to be found in the leaders of various sections of Christendom – a position they openly claimed in word and deed.
But to take that interpretation for Parousia purposes, and apply it for Epiphany purposes, is just one more of the Editor’s Parousia-Truth perversions (Azazel means Perverter). When the Scripture states that the Scribes and Pharisees ‘sat in Moses’ seat,’ it is well to keep in mind the meaning of the word ‘sat.’ In those days the speaker at a service sat down, while the audience stood – just the reverse of what it is today. Thus, it is stated in Matt. 5:1, “When He was set, His disciples came unto Him.” They immediately knew that His sitting down was an indication that He was ready to teach them something. This conclusion is so strong that one Bible footnote says, “In the Talmud ‘to sit’ is nearly synonymous with ‘to teach.’” Therefore, when Jesus said, “The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat” (Matt. 23:2), we are to understand this to mean “succeed Moses as teachers.”
The foregoing should be kept emphatically in mind if we are “rightly to divide the Word of Truth” – and not pervert it, as has now been done in the Bible Standard. As most of our readers know, Moses in his march from Egypt to Canaan types those Christian leaders during this Gospel Age who have led .spiritual Israel from Egypt (type of the world in sin) to the Heavenly Canaan. We refer to such men as the Apostles, Arius, John Waldo, John Wessel, John Wesley, Martin Luther, William Miller, Brother Russell, et al. Surely, it does not require a great stretch of the imagination to conclude that such men did in reality lead the spiritual Israel of this Age in their march toward goodly Canaan land. Consequently, when we had came into the Parousia period, with no outstanding man of previous time still remaining, it was a very logical conclusion to determine that the various prominent ones then attempting to teach Christendom were claiming to “sit in the chair of Moses” (Diaglott) just as we now often say that such and such a man occupies “the chair” of Harvard, of Yale, etc. meaning that that man is now President of that institution, or is perhaps the outstanding teacher of some particular science or professions.
Thus, when Brother Russell offered his interpretation of Luke 16:1-13, there was abundant logic to justify his conclusions. But, when he died, the mantle (mouthpieceship to Christendom) then dropped from antitypical Elijah to antitypical Elisha – the crown-losers in the Society (and subsequently to those in other Truth groups) assumed the teaching role toward Christendom. And now that the Epiphany Messenger has been gone since 1950, the only people at all who could logically be ascribed as “sitting in the chair of Moses” as teachers – would be the various crown-lost leaders of the many Truth groups – of which RGJ is self-admittedly one of them. This will not be difficult to understand if we keep in mind that Moses in some instances typed the Gospel-Age Star Members, of whom Brother Russell and Brother Johnson were parts. Thus those now attempting to “sit in Moses’ seat” would be those Truth-group leaders who claim for themselves a similar position as teachers in the Church – especially so since 1950. RGJ in particular makes such claim for himself – at the same time admitting that he is a levite, and not a Priest. The inconsistency of his claim is thus pointedly apparent to all not blinded by his flummery. And be it noted that he is the only one of the Truth-group leaders who claims adherence to both Parousia and Epiphany Truth. Of the leaders in Big Babylon – whom RGJ would now place “in Moses’ seat” not a one of them makes any claim to acceptance even of Parousia Truth, to say nothing of Epiphany Truth. But, just as the High Priest of Israel grossly perverted much of the inspired writings of Moses, so RGJ now also grossly perverts much of the Scriptural teachings of the last two Star Members. This analogy should not be difficult to understand.
Therefore, the interpretation now – to be PRESENT TRUTH – must assuredly point out those leaders as the successors to the ones Brother Russell catalogued in the Parousia. And, to apply his interpretation for the Parousia now in this Epiphany period would be just as wrong as it would be to continue the Parousia call, “Come out of her, My people” when the Saints were there, and the High Calling was open. A little retrospection will make this vividly clear: The typical Scribes and Pharisees were found among the very group of people from whom Jesus and the Apostles reaped the Elect – those who wholeheartedly accepted Christianity from among the Jews. And during the Parousia the antitypical Scribes and Pharisees were found among the very groups from whom the Harvest workers reaped the very Elect – those who responded to the call, “Come out of her, My people.” And once the Parousia ended another call went forth to the very Elect among the various Truth groups – altho, as the Epiphany Messenger himself stated, he did not have a charge over those people (as did Brother Russell during the Parousia), he did have a ministry toward them, which some of them accepted, although the majority did not. But of those who did not, we ourselves have heard quite a few of them voice strong disapproval of much that goes on there – just as quite a few also voice strong disapproval of RGJ’s present methods, although they do not openly and actively resist him – not yet anyway. But they “sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” (Eze. 9:4)
And, as the Epiphany Messenger said, he believed there were more of the very Elect in the Society than there were with him – with some of them also in other Truth groups. Thus, it would be a very ready conclusion to recognize that the antitypical Scribes and Pharisees would now be seen in those various groups that contain the very Elect – just as was true at the First Advent – and the same also true during the Parousia. Thus, it should be readily clear that what was logically enough PRESENT TRUTH in the Parousia could not possibly be Present Truth now in the Epiphany. That is why the Present Truth prior to 1950 concerned itself so much more with the sins of teaching and practice in Little Babylon – a procedure which has been conspicuously absent from the Present Truth since 1950. Nor should the reason for that be at all difficult to find. All of which forces us to the conclusion that the Editor of the Bible Standard is being pushed further and further into the “outer darkness” of Matt. 25:30 – which is the punishment meted out to the “unprofitable servant” – the Great Company here in the end of the Age (See Berean Comment). This situation would be most analogous to the Scribes and Pharisees in the Jewish Harvest becoming more and more blinded and solidified in their developed errors until their complete elimination at the dispersion in A. D. 70 – the same being exactly what will occur here in the end of the Age when Armageddon arrives.
All during the Parousia the antitypical Scribes and Pharisees demonstrated the same clericalism as did those typical ones against Jesus. During the Parousia they were busy making public burnings of the Truth literature, reviling and slandering That Servant, and forbidding their devotional slaves to converse or even give common courtesy to the colporteurs and others when they would approach them at home or on the street. And now during this Epiphany period those Antitypical Scribes and Pharisees in Little Babylon are doing exactly the same things. The Jehovah’s Witnesses warn their deluded ‘dedicated’ devotees to mark well the homes of those who have Present Truth, and to “avoid them” – don’t accept any literature from them – don’t even engage in conversation. And in identical fashion RGJ also advises his sectarian supporters: “You wouldn’t shake hands with the Devil, would you?” he rants from the platform; or you wouldn’t stop to talk with the Devil if you met him on the street. Of course, such conduct is a direct revolutionism of both Parousia and Epiphany Truth, because Brother Russell clearly teaches in Volume Six that disfellowshiped brethren should still receive common courtesy, a gracious greeting concerning their present spiritual state. Before RGJ had gone so far into “outer darkness,” he related on several occasions how Brother Johnson shook hands with Ed Williams: “For old time’s sake, Ed,” he had said to him. It is well to note here that in most cases in our encounters with the members of Big Babylon, they are very courteous and accept our literature with thanks. Some of them have reported that they have used our tract – Where Are the Dead – in their Sunday School Class; others have reported they found The Great Reformer most helpful in their Sunday Schools. Nor do we mean to indicate that many of them are ready for Present Truth – but at least their attitude toward it has changed considerably from what it was during the Parousia.
All of the foregoing brings us to the conclusion that the same kind of people show the same character traits. “By their fruits (their character qualities) you will discover them!” (Matt. 7:16, Dia.) Therefore, when we see the Witness leaders, RGJ and others following the exact footsteps, manifesting the same “fruits” as did the antitypical Scribes and Pharisees during the Parousia, this one thing in itself should convince all of their real heart condition, and what manner of persons they really are. Thus, we offer a very fitting summation to this subject from Epiphany Volume 8, p. 349 (46):
“Among many Truth people clericalism (Baal worship – the “drunkards of Ephraim!—JJH) is one of the burning questions! It is almost everywhere rampant.... Trampled under the feet of these clericalists the democracy that in Brother Russell’s day exercised the autonomy and independence of the ecclesias.... is being destroyed. Some of the brethren have been aroused to appropriate action in this matter; some are very timidly resisting, and some have learned to wear slavest chains, ground down, oppressed, spoiled of their rights and liberties, and enslaved under a priestcraft more subtle, yet no less real, than that which flourishes in the papal, episcopal and presbyterian sects of Christendom. How long will those who enjoyed the liberty of Christ in our Pastor’s days tolerate this? Yet a few years and it will and forever; for the Epiphany movement in part (as it was conducted before October 1950—JJH) is a protest against clericalism (which protest we ourselves continue to proclaim in harmony with the teaching in Epiphany Volume Five, pp. 233-235—JJH) in the form of revolutionism, and it will prevail to the utter overthrow of such clericalism in due time.”
A WORD FROM THAT SERVANT
Close companion to the foregoing is Brother Russell’s answer to the Question: How should we greet those who have left the class and call us worse than Babylon? Shall we give them a hearty greeting when they come to our meetings?
Brother Russell’s answer: “I think not. Why should you? I am going to be specially hearty to those who are specially like my dear Redeemer, marked with the character likeness of my Redeemer. I would not be so hearty with those who have left the class, just to let them see there is a difference. Otherwise, they might think they were better than those in the class; because they had become obstreperous in some way. They should be greeted according to the Apostle’s words, ‘Mark those who cause divisions and offenses.’ Mark those who are tending toward division, and don’t make them your bosom companions; don’t elect them as elders, etc., for that is just the wrong thing. Don’t encourage anybody who has a strifeful condition. Lay him on the shelf and let him have strife to himself. let us be careful that we do not cultivate anything in our own hearts, of their spirit. Let us be gentle. but firm. If any such should approach me, I would shake hands with him (just as Brother Johnson did with Ed Williams—JJH). I would not say, No, I will not shake hands with you. But I would not make any of them my bosom companions. We want to remember what they said of the Apostles in the early Church, ‘They took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.’ We want to make our bosom companion our Lord Jesus. We want to be with Jesus; and those who have most of His character likeness will be most like Him. They are all those who have the spirit of Christ. He spent more of His time and chose those who should be near Him from among those who had most of His spirit – Peter, James and John. These three were with him in the Mount of Transfiguration, and they were nearest to Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. ‘Counsel with those who have the spirit of the Lord,”
What a wide difference between That Servant and the Editor of the Bible Standard! But then we should remember that Brother Russell had the TRUTH, and the spirit of the Truth – he was not a crown-loser – all of which does indeed make the wide difference.
“The eyes of the lord preserve knowledge, and He overthroweth the words of the transgressor. He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.” (Prov. 22:12; 17:27)
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
Question: – Would you advise that we return religious literature we don’t care to read, and don’t agree with, marked, “Refused”?
Answer: – No, we do not advocate such a method. Some of these people send their writings because they believe they are doing us a favor. Our advice is to write them and request they remove the name from their mailing list, as you don’t agree with them, and you do not care to read what they send you. This would save them time and expense, and would be a proper Christian gesture. If they continue to send you literature after that, then just dispose of it along with other undesirable advertising material – if you don’t care to read their views. In none of this should we indulge in vituperations, or railing, if we are to keep the Truth and its Spirit.
We occasionally receive envelopes with insulting notations written across them. The LHMM brethren are the most rabid sectarians of all the Truth groups – that is, toward us. We rarely receive such insults from other groups – not even from the Jehovah’s Witnesses to whom we send our papers – which is to their credit. We have a large mailing list of extra names from the various groups, to whom we send special papers, as the Epiphany Messenger also did. Just recently, however, we received a card from one of RGJ’s sectarian devotees, addressed to “Sifter.” This is not surprising, as RGJ has set the example in his railings from the Convention platforms and through his writings and advice. So the brother no doubt believed he was offering us ‘Christian’ courtesy. Ledlings rarely rise above their leaders.
A railing letter was sent to one of our group recently regarding two papers (our Nos. 147 and 148) he had received, in which he said:
“I have found Mr. Hoefle’s writings highly deceptive, false arrogant and in many instances mawkish.”
He is one of RGJ’s representatives and sectarian ledlings. Our Nos. 147 and 148 doubtless discomfited him, even as they did RGJ. JWK gives the same instruction to his ledlings – both “cousins” following in the footsteps of JFR (instead of the footsteps of That Servant and the Epiphany Messenger) who gave the Epiphany Messenger and his papers much the same treatment. We can only conclude that the “cousins” are receiving their instructions from the same source as did JFR - AZAZEL! All three have done this because they could not meet the Truth presented against their errors. We have yet to meet one such person so lacking in common courtesy who has a good clear knowledge of Parousia Truth, to say nothing of Epiphany Truth. Once brethren become “established in the Present Truth” they also acquire enough of ordinary civility to restrain them from using the papal ways of the Adversary. “For the love of Christ constraineth us.” (2 Cor. 5:14)
When RGJ and his ledlings were under the benign influence and leadership of Brother Johnson they didn’t have to stoop to such tactics – and so far as we know they didn’t resort to such cowardly methods. In fact, RGJ received some of the same treatment from JFR and the Society then that he is giving us now,” He didn’t fear the errorists then – nor did he fear for the Epiphany-enlightened brethren to read their literature and their errors. He was on the side of Truth in those days – at least outwardly – and “Blessed were his untoward experiences” then!
To those of us who receive such treatment because of our faithfulness to the Lord, the Truth and the Brethren – blessed are we! “It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?” (Matt. 10:25) “Persecution has taken the forms of reviling, slandering, hatred, despite, boycotting... excommunication,” etc. (See Epiphany Volume Eight, p. 641)
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear Brother Hoefle:
Your paper No. 148 is certainly a MASTERPIECE! Thank you very much! During the past years I will admit I did not like the way you handled RGJ. With continued reading, etc., I then knew he had it coming to him. Then I read how he castigated you. So I wrote him, explaining it was not the Christian thing to do – that I felt I knew John Hoefle, and I believed you were sincere, and had the FAITH ONCE DELIVERED UNTO THE SAINTS. I concluded my subscription to his paper – and that was that!
Yesterday I phoned a friend (whose eyes are open), and she tells me the Watch Tower claims the Ten Commandments of God are a thing of the past – done with forever. Her husband is still a servant of one of the units (and stubborn as a mule). This morning I looked up in my huge Concordance for the word ‘forever.’ Could not find it... Seems to me I read God’s Commandments are to stand forever. Yes, I know about the New Commandment Jesus gave His followers.
Please comment on this....
One evening a nurse from across the street told me she had a Jehovah’s Witness call on her just any old time of the day for a study – when not expected. Says her husband drinks Saturday evenings, but he is good to her. The JW told her when he died (a drunkard) he would never receive a resurrection. I asked her if she would take the words of Jesus, which I quoted her: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice. And shall come forth,” etc. I explained word for word what it meant – that God would give them a body as it pleased Him....
Now I am tired. Keep up the good work and give us more papers like #148. Excuse mistakes. I am just an Old Lady who keeps on studying and writing letters. Christian love to you and Sister Hoefle.
Sincerely, Sister ------- (MICHIGAN)
Dear Brother....... Greetings! Some misguided person sent my name and address to Mr. Hoefle. He has sent to me at my address two of his papers, which I instantly committed to the flames. I want it to be known that I have found Mr. Hoefle’s writings highly deceptive, false, arrogant and in many instances mawkish. Men and Brethren, be it known unto you, I will have nothing to do with Mr. Hoefle’s vomit. He and his kind cannot deceive me. As his representative, will you please, dear Brother, write and let him know that I don’t want his papers now, or hereafter.
I remain .------- (TRINIDAD)
NOTE: The leaders in Azazel’s clutches attract kindred spirits to themselves.
Indeed, “By their fruits you will discover them.” (Matt. 7:16, Dia.)
Dear Brother Hoefle: Christian greetings!
Was glad to get your letter... Should have answered sooner. We like all your papers very much. I have mailed two to Brother ------- The Bible Students have a Convention every year... We usually go to their Conventions.
Would like to have three more of your TWO DISTINCT SALVATIONS and the same of No. 140.
Sincerely your brother In Christ ------- (ARKANSAS)
Epiphany Bible Students Ass’n
Mount Dora, Florida - 32757
Dear Sirs: Please send us the following literature:
No. 1 - Where Are the Dead?
No. 2 - What Is the Soul?
No. 3 - The Resurrection of the Dead.
Pastor ------- Baptist Church (NORTH CAROLINA)
Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace!
I received the advance copy of October paper in answer to RGJ’s article in the JuIy-August Present Truth – which was very good! I see you are on your toes and always able to defend the Truth. R. G. Jolly’s folly is becoming more and more manifest as time goes on.
Was very sorry to hear of the death of your brother-in-law – and I wish to give you our heartfelt sympathy in your sorrow. It sure is hard to lay our loved ones to rest – but our hope is that it will not be long until we meet them again.
Wishing you all the Lord’s greatest blessings – and with
Much Christian love, Your Brother... (MICHIGAN)
Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace be multiplied!
Yours of the 7th came to hand quite safe – with the October paper, for which I am most thankful. As to my health, thanks to our dear Heavenly Father for His mercies, I am much Improved.....
I noted in the Nov-Dec. PT where RGJ accuses you of being persistently in opposition to various teachings of the Scriptures as presented by Pastor Russell and Pastor Johnson – a thing that he himself frequently does – and, as a matter of fact, the 1 Cor. 15:24 is a case to the point. He opposes the teachings of the Scriptures – and in this case he surely can’t be mistaken, but a direct opposition to the teachings of the Scriptures...
I want to send the names and addresses of a few of the leaders in ------- so that you can send them literature direct.
Sister joins me in sending Christian love to you and Sister Hoefle and the dear sisters with you. The Lord make His face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee.
Yours in the One Hope, Brother ------- (TRINIDAD)
Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace!
Thank you very much for your letter of August 10. I do believe now that I can give a very definite reason for my belief on 1 Cor. 15:24 without saying “because Brother Hoefle says so.” The October paper does make it very clear – and I do appreciate your sending it to me early.
We are studying Tabernacle Shadows in class, and it has not been long since we studied the pages to which you refer. Therefore, I am familiar with them.
I suppose you are thinking about the Labor Day Convention, and I will certainly be thinking about the both of you.
Love from all of us, ------- (NORTH CAROLINA)
Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
In answer to your letters...... and we do thank you! Your letters are so encouraging and helpful along our Christian way. We suppose you will be getting ready to leave for the Convention. We shall, dear Brother, await your report. Be assured we will be with you in spirit, and pray the Lord’s richest blessing be your portion as you minister to the dear brethren, and seek to guide them in the way of Truth and Righteousness. Sister and I thank our dear Heavenly Father daily for His blessings temporal, spiritual and for His Providential overruling from day to day. We really feel His deep interest in us. Praise His Holy Name! We are so thankful that the time is growing short, and soon all shall see and know – understand God’s great Plan of the Ages..... As you, dear Brother, have said previously, We all need the Kingdom!
Sister and I want to again say how much we enjoy receiving and reading – and studying – your monthly papers. Be assured that Sister and I ask God to bless you and keep you both in His loving care.
By His Grace, Brother & Sister ------- (NEW JERSEY)
Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace!
You will be happy to hear that we have served several Protestant churches with the No. 7 – The Great Reformer – and it was well received. The Sunday the Jehovah’s Witnesses were in..... we served a Baptist Church and then on to the JW Convention to serve them. Since the town had out the ‘red’ carpet for the JW’s (as they bring in a lot of money where their Conventions are held), it was an easy task to give out the tracts. It seems the church people were determined to be nice to the JW’s. The people at the church thought we were JW’s – and one man came out and said, “let me see that JW – I want to give them something.” He gave me a pamphlet from their church, and I gave him the No. 7 (which will prove quite a revelation to him when he reads it and discovers that we are very much NOT JW’s), with the understanding he would read mine if I would read his.
But it was quite different at the JW Convention! We were on the sidewalk handing out the papers. The ‘watchdogs’ saw us and were very nasty to us seized some of the tracts we had given the people, and in one instance stomped it on the street. But we got out quite a few anyway before the rain started.
The Lord bless you as you seek to serve Him and His Truth!
By His Grace -------