Comes again the Memorial of our Lord’s Gethsemane and crucifixion, the time this year being after six p. m. March 23. This year 1967 the moon nearest the Vernal Equinox comes new at 6:30 a.m. March 11 at Jerusalem, which makes Nisan 1 begin at six p.m. March 10, according to Bible reckoning; and 14 days later brings us to the proper time for doing “this in remembrance of Me.” The general understanding of this Sacrament has been so ably treated in Volume 6 by Brother Russell (the reading of which we again recommend as preparatory for “keeping the feast”) that it leaves little to be said by those of us who remain unto this day – only incidental details being perhaps about all we can accomplish by this writing. However, it is of special interest to note that the Memorial in 1967 comes on Thursday evening – exactly as did the evening on which our Lord ate the paschal lamb for the last time, and ordered its “remembrance.” This properly determines “Good Friday” as March 24, on which date Christendom in the main will observe it this year. Therefore, so far as the date itself is concerned, the majority who profess Christ as Lord will be in agreement with each other – a rather uncommon occurrence.
SUNDRY DETAILED OBSERVATIONS
It will be recalled that the original Passover that night in Egypt was being eaten by the Israelites during the very time that the Angel of Death was visiting destruction upon the firstborn of Egypt – deliverance for God’s people – destruction for their enemies. Thus, St. Paul was prompted to write: “We are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life.” (2 Cor. 2:15,16) While this text has a primary application to the Christ Company, it applies in secondary manner to all who “keep the feast in sincerity and in truth.”
To all such “the Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.” This may be accepted by the faithful faith Class during this Age without reservation – a feature which the type brings forcefully to our attention. As the Jews were eating their lamb that awesome night “with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff In your hand” – eating it with bitter herbs – “not a dog did move his tongue against any of the Children of Israel... that ye may know that the Lord hath put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” For Gospel-Age purposes – especially here in the Epiphany night – those Egyptian dogs type rabid sectarians (Phil. 3:2 “beware of dogs” – “quarrelsome partisans” – See Berean Comment). Dogs are known to lose their savagery, and to mourn deeply over the death of their masters; and this will yet prove pointedly true during this Epiphany night of the symbolic dogs – rabid sectarians – when they eventually learn that their leaders have grossly mis-led them, that many of them have “gone to their own place,” as did Judas. (Acts 1:25) As Brother Johnson has pointed out, New creatures that die impenitent, go into the Second Death – and this will be brought home in forceful fashion when the fires of Armageddon have done their work.
It is common knowledge that the Jews have two years – a secular and a religious year, although there is only one New Year recorded in the Bible – the first of Nisan. Previous to the institution of the Passover it seems the Jews began their year in the Fall – with the first day of the month Tishri –
and, when the detailed religious ordinances were given to Moses in the Mount, Tishri was designated to be the seventh month, on the tenth day of which the Atonement must be kept. To this day, however, the Jews celebrate their New Year on the first day of the month Tishri, which is approximately our October 1. The distinct cleavage, however, put into operation at Sinai was to differentiate between the secular, or earthly, character of the dispensation prior to this Age – when God dealt with His chosen people according to the Law of Moses – and this spiritual, or Grace, dispensation in which we have been since Jordan, and especially so since “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us,” since which time “according to thy Faith so be it unto thee.”
“TILL HE COME”
The Jews were commanded to keep the Passover each year on the 14th Day of Nisan as “a memorial throughout your generations” (Ex. 12:14); and Christians have also been commanded to “do this in remembrance” of Christ our Passover each year “till He come.” (1 Cor. 11:26) From this statement by St. Paul some have raised the question: Should we continue to keep the Memorial if our Lord has returned? However, when we consider that both the Little Flock and the Great Company are a part of the Church of the Firstborn – and that partaking of the bread and the wine symbolizes their participation in the merit of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world – then it should require no argument about them continuing to “show forth the Lord’s death till He come” – for them – until the last one has come to journey’s end. But we believe the command would apply also to those faithful ones here in the end of the Age who are not a part of the spirit-begotten Church of the Firstborn, because the merit of our lamb has been tentatively imputed to all such – to the extent that the New Covenant cannot begin to operate toward the world until that embargo against Christ’s merit has been removed.
And, as we partake of our Lamb “in newness of life,” so we also partake of His sufferings – each according to the Class in which he finds himself. If we are rightly exercised by such experiences, we then receive “the garments of the Egyptians” (their good character qualities) – which they in turn lose by reason of their unjust acts against God’s faithful people. “We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22) The word ‘tribulation’ is derived from the Latin “tribulum,’ the threshing instrument by means of which the Roman husbandman separated the corn from the husks. Says one commentator: “Though tribulation may crush and bruise us, it separates our chaff from the wheat, so that we are prepared for the granary of Heaven. Sorrow is hard to bear, and doubt is slow to clear, but the New Testament is the most joyful book in the world because its writers have been delivered from the doubt that paralyzes the soul, and they live in the sunshine of the love of Christ. They know their affliction (tribulation) is working out for them the glory that is to be.” And Brother Johnson’s comments are doubly appropriate at this point:
“Dear Brethren, if we will consider our trialsome experiences with Satan’s deluded servants as opportunities of obtaining Divine Truth and the graces from them, we will be helped ardently to desire such acquirements from such experiences and will be helped to receive them in the Lord’s spirit and thus will receive the symbolic articles of gold and silver and garments. Let us view these experiences from this standpoint and act accordingly amid them; and we will emerge from them greatly enriched spiritually. This consideration will keep us from murmuring and complaining amid such experiences and will enable us to take them joyfully. (I Pet. 4:12-14)”
As the Israelites fled from the Egyptians – after being told to be gone the morning after the tenth plague, the morning after the Passover had been eaten the cloudy fiery pillar set a barrier between them and the pursuing Egyptians, casting a light ahead of it to lighten the path of Israel, but working a thick darkness to the Egyptians. And so during this Harvest period, and especially so during this Epiphany night, the Truth (the fiery pillar) has been the means of separating the faithful from the measurably faithful, and from the unfaithful. That which effects deliverance for the faithful – keeping them standing and “growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Beloved Lord Jesus” – is the very thing that entraps the unfaithful and brings them to a fall. This is much the same picture as given in Ex. 4:9, where Moses was told to “take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.” The refreshing Harvest Truth would appear to be bloody repulsive error to those for whom it was not intended. “The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit.... for they are foolishness unto him.”
“Consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself.” All during the Age the “brethren” of the Fully Faithful have been among their chief persecutors – as example, John Calvin burning Miletus Servetus at the stake in most gruesome manner (illustrative of the Measurably Faithful, the Great Company, in some of their members, particularly their leaders) – “your brethren that hated you, and that cast you out for my name’s sake.” But those who have “endured hardness as good soldiers” during this Harvest period have become more and more proficient against all forms of sin, error, selfishness and worldliness, until goodly Canaan land (the sphere of Present Truth and the Spirit of the Truth) has become their laurel of victory, their unbreakable and unchangeable possession. Surely, those of us who have attained this pinnacle know of a certainty that we have attained that victory that overcometh the world.
‘‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” Many of the dear brethren have become old in this “good fight.” We know intimately of quite a few who are now over ninety years of age, who have borne the burden and heat of the day; yet they still “rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of their salvation.” This is fittingly typed by the ‘heave-offering’ of Ex. 25:1-9 – “of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my heave-offering.” This offering was repeatedly lifted upward toward God by the offerer, the same representing the thing sacrificed to God, and the elevation to higher and higher uses of the things offered unto God’s greater honor and glory not handling the word of God deceitfully, but “partakers of solid food... for those possessing faculties habitually exercised for the discrimination both of good and evil.” (Heb. 5:13,14, Dia.) And to such the words of the Apostle Paul fittingly apply: “He who sows bountifully will reap also bountifully; even as each one purposes in his heart, not from grief, or from necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:6-7, Dia.) One translation has it, “God loves a man that is glad to give.” And, as we do “this in remembrance of Him,” it is a most propitious time to consider how freely He gave of Himself – “endured the cross, despising the shame,” and has now received “the crown of life” – immortality, the highest form (crown) of life.
“Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:8) From this it is apparent that our Lord was subject to the same emotions as are we; and He was fully apprised of the impending events of the day ahead. Yet, on that last night, when He instituted the Memorial of His approaching death, He spent some very considerable time instructing, admonishing and encouraging the eleven Apostles who were to be representatives plenipotentiary of the Gospel-Age Household of Faith. And during this same night He offered up one of His most appealing prayers – as recorded in the 17th chapter of John – a prayer chiefly for the help and encouragement of those present, following which they sang the Hallel before leaving for Gethsemane. Hallel is the Hebrew word for praise, and it is the root of our English Hallelujah, meaning “praise to God.” The Hallel is those Psalms 113 through 118, the first two of which are styled the Small Hallel, and the remaining four the Great Hallel.
As our lord was praying in the upper room that last night He was able to declare truthfully: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4) – although the completion of that work had drained His physical resources to the breaking point. Much the same was true of Brother Russell at his death. In the Spring of 1916 he had said, “Brother Johnson, I’m tired – my very bones are tired”; yet of him it was prophetically written, “I have done as thou hast commanded me.” (Eze. 9:11) And Brother Johnson himself had become so weary from physical exhaustion that he would no longer receive any questions on Bible texts. Yet, our lord was “found in fashion as a man” – even as all of us; and the agony on the cross distorted His facial features as the same experience would do to us. Therefore, the prophet foretold of Him: “As many were astonished at thee: (amazed that He would submit to such abuse if He were the Son of God) His vision was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men” (physical exhaustion and the torture of the cross took their toll more than would be true of us, because of His sensitive physical perfection – a harrowing sight indeed to all with a normal degree of sympathy and mercy in their hearts and minds).
As we partake of the bread and the wine, our considering of Him should motivate us all to strong resolve to “follow in His steps” – that we may eventually hear that “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And it is our hope for one and all who keep the feast this year that victory to the full may eventually be theirs, and that it may be said of all:
O! at close of our day may each of us say
“I have fought my way through;
I have finished the work thou didst give me to do!
O! that each from his Lord may receive the glad word,
Well and faithfully done!
Enter into my joy, and sit down on my throne.”
Some comments by Brother Johnson apply so well here:
“As belonging to the firstfruits class (and secondarily to others of the Household of Faith), let them use their consecrated all for God in sacrifice to prosper for the Lord, which will result in their abounding in the deeper and surface things of the Truth and its spirit. Especially should they not think of God’s discipline as a trivial thing; nor should they tire of God’s corrections; because these are experiences that God gives to all those whom He loves, even as a father treats the child in whom he is pleased. He is favored indeed who gains the Truth and comprehends it; for as symbolic trading goods it is more valuable than the trading goods of silver; and its profits than that of the finest gold.... Hence the Epiphany Messenger exhorts his symbolic children to gain the Truth and the comprehension of it, by no means to forget it, nor to turn away from his teachings, nor to give it up for any reason, and it will keep them – to give it their best good will, and It will guard them.”
As we ponder over our present understanding of the bread and the wine, we may delight in the words of the Psalmist (119:100): “I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.” The word translated ‘ancients’ in this text is the Hebrew zaqen; and it is the same word to be found in Joel 2:28, where it is translated ‘old men,’ where the Ancient Worthies are given their Kingdom standing and blessing from God. And surely, those of us who do “keep thy precepts” can say of a surety, “I understand more than the ancients” (Ancient Worthies); and we may rejoice in the knowledge that maketh wise unto salvations.
To all our readers do we extend cordial good wishes and the Lord’s rich blessing in their preparation for, and participation in this coming Memorial, which we shall hold this year at 1507 N. Donnelly, Mount Dora, Florida at 7:30 p.m. March 23. Our warm welcome is extended to any who may wish to Join with us in this service. As always, we suggest refreshment of the various features of the service by a reading of the chapter in Parousia Volume 6, perhaps also by a pertinent article by Brother Johnson, as we quote Titus 2:7-9: “In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine showing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.”
Sincerely your brother
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
My dear Brother Hoefle: Loving greetings in His Name!
We both thank you for your greetings – and we pray that you will be faithful. Your services are much appreciated. Brother has been ill... but he is much improved... Brother ------- was still able to have the Manna, Comments and Scriptures and some reading of the Volumes, and the monthly paper from you – though one or two days his voice was weak and I took over. Brother ------- has had two attacks, which sound like slight strokes. He, too, is improving, but must be kept quiet. The Christadelphians call to see them, but they are both firm for the Truth. I am sending you the following names.....
Our continued love to you and Sister Hoefle and those with you, in which Brother joins.
Your sister by His Grace ------- (ENGLAND)
Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace be multiplied!
We received your card for which we thank you. We know you are mindful of us, therefore we are pleased to say that we are endeavoring to be steadfast, striving to grow in Grace and in the Knowledge of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We look forward to receiving your papers, which are so helpful to us to refute the errors of today. ........ Please remember us in your prayers, as we also remember you in ours. All Join in sending warm Christian love to you, dear Sister Hoefle and the friends there.
Sincerely your brethren, TRINIDAD ECCLESIA
Gentlemen: Thank you for the year’s resume which you sent us, and we enjoyed reading it. Attached is a check in the amount of $— to use as you see fit to continue your work. Trust you and your family will have a Happy Holiday.
Very truly yours ------- (NEW JERSEY)
Dear Brother Hoefle:
Greetings from our home circle! I am enjoying the Gospel message which I receive from you – and I am satisfied with what has been said unto me. I am thankful to you and all who are connected with you in circularizing these papers. I wish each and every one spiritual blessings and May God add His Wisdom, Strength and Courage toward the administration of your work. Your work is well established in many a soul! I am joyful over the way you explain the message, and I am happy to say that I am one of them through this Gospel message. May God bless you and the whole staff for the year that is to come.
I am your brother ------- (TRINIDAD)
Our dear Brother Hoefle: Fond Christian love with every good wish for the Season, and God’s Goodness and Mercy abiding with you to the full every day of the New Year! Thank you so much for your loving message...
We wish to thank you for the monthly articles that we have received regularly during the year – and now at its close we thank the dear Lord for enabling us to continue to enjoy the Truths they contain – and from them, even as we have already known, increasing light.
We thank the Lord for His Mercies – that we were not caught up in the snares of the Adversary, the confusion and bewilderment of some of the dear ones. We surely pity those that have been led out of the way and are now blinded – and we fear for the dangerous position of the leaders that have so intoxicated some of the dear ones with the wine and spirit of Babylon. We thank the Lord for you, dear Brother, and wish to give you the assurance of our warm Christian love and continued prayers for God’s abundant love and guidance and blessings. Fear not, beloved, the Truth will prevail. So be courageous and strong in the Lord and He will be with the good.
Sincerely by His Grace, Your Brethren
THE CROFTS HILL ECCLESIA (JAMAICA)
My dear Brother Hoefle: Greetings In our dear Redeemer’s Name!
It has been a very long time since I have been promising to write and have not done so. But I could not send a card without saying a word. As the year draws to a close I cannot but give thanks to the Almighty for His wondrous love to me. I am still trying to press on to the goal, I must indeed state how very helpful your papers are. The March Issue on the Passover was especially useful to me. I am very grateful for the books. I have been paying Brother ------- for them.
Please remember me in your prayers. With warm Christian love
Your sister ------- (TRINIDAD)
Dear Bible Friends:
I don’t know anything about you. I do not know who you are. I do know you are 100% right on the “Punishment of the Wicked” and this is very refreshing. But I am afraid that you view the “Millennium” as do the Jehovah’s Witnesses (of course, we have told the Brother that we do not ‘view’ the Millennium as do the Jehovah’s Witnesses – JJH)....... I sincerely thank you for the two pieces of literature..... May God bless you and please let me know who you are.
Sincerely your friend and brother In Christ ------- (FLORIDA)
Dear Brother Hoefle:
I was over to ------- for a lovely “Truth” talk with Brother and Sister ------- I have been going there quite often on Sunday afternoons of late. I have tape recorders and I make entire programs of our discussions – approximately three-hour durations. Brother ------- handed me one of your papers for me to take home to read. I find this very interesting. I notice you follow our Pastor Russell’s thoughts in your writings. I was brought up in the Truth from a boy. Pastor Russell stopped at our home, too, as it was a stopping place for the Pilgrims, colporteurs, etc., from the Bible House – or Bethel, as known in those days....... Perhaps you will remember Brother ------- I would like for you to send me your literature as you send to Brother and Sister .......... If there is any cost to this, kindly advise me. I cannot agree with the Dawn. .....Your Scripture verse in Isa. 28:20 fits them to a “T.” ... May God Bless your every effort. Prov. 3:5,9
I am In His Name, Brother ------- (LOUISIANA)
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION: – On page 9 of this January-February Present Truth Brother Jolly states that you make a false statement about the number of Present Truth subscribers from 1950 to 1966. I’m very much interested In having your answer to his very serious accusation.
ANSWER: – If our readers will refer to page 1, last paragraph of our November paper No. 137, they will note we gave the date 1954 – NOT 1950 – and we said “from then to now” (from 1954 to 1966). In 1954 the number of Present Truth subscribers was 1,422, and in 1966 they totaled 934, which is a decrease of 34% – in those twelve years. Therefore, it should be clear to all that it is NOT WE, but R. G. Jolly himself, who is offering the “false” statement here.
In this connection, it should be of interest to note that in 1949 – the last year for which Brother Johnson reported – the Annual Report gave 1,899 Present Truth subscribers, and that for 1950 R. G. Jolly reported 842 – a drop of 1,057 subscribers for that year (or 56%) – the first year R. G. Jolly submitted a report on the number of Present Truth subscribers. Then, for 1951 R. G. Jolly reported 910 Present Truth subscribers – an increase of 66. And let us bear In mind that in 1951 a very large number of tried and true brethren forsook him over the “last saint” controversy something they certainly didn’t do in 1950 during the last year of Brother Johnson’s life!
Isn’t It strange – so very strange – that such lopsided figures should appear in R. G. Jolly’s first two Annual Reports? Indeed, it is a sage axiom that “Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure”; and that our Lord referred to Satan (Azazel) as “the father of lies”? (John 8:44, Dia.: “When any one speaks a falsehood, he speaks from his own, because his father (the Devil) also is a liar.”) It is truly a sad observation – tragically sad – that many claim to be “in the Truth,” but – the Truth is not in them! From the true figures we present herein, it should be clear enough to all that R. G. Jolly’s 1954 “Attestatorial Service” emphatically “attests” to just what it is – an abject failure, a work of Azazel, a work which forces him to “pervert” the real truth on what has actually occurred. Azazel means Perverter!
As Brother Russell has so aptly said, “Errors of doctrine lie at the very foundation of all these errors of conduct,” and – conversely speaking – this Epiphany has manifested that the “errors of conduct” in all Levite leaders have been at the foundation of much of their errors of doctrine. Most particularly can we note this in R. G. Jolly when we view his conduct under Brother Johnson. And R. G. Jolly’s twist of our statement from 1954 back to 1950 simply tells us once more that Brother Johnson was informing us correctly when he said R. G. Jolly has a “bad conscience” and guilty of many “misrepresentations.” His perversion of our statement in the present instance is truly a fraudulent “misrepresentation” – (See E-10:585); and offers indisputable proof that he is yet to this day a “false-accusing Epiphany crown-loser.” (E-10:591, par. 1)
It is little wonder R. G. Jolly constantly warns his sectarian supporters not to read our papers. Even the dullest among them would be able to discern his perfidy in this present instance; but his course is in exact duplicate to what Epiphany crownlosers did to Brother Johnson, concerning which we offer Brother Johnson’s record of one such instance early in the Epiphany:
“R. H. Barber, one of the Tower editors, at the Rochester Convention told the audience that we and our consecrated supporters were Second Deathers, and as such should not be given the least hearing” (E-5:285).
R. G. Jolly Also has repeatedly warned his followers not to give JJH the least hearing by no means should they read our papers!