My dear Brethren: Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
Once more we observe the memory of Him who perished on the cross; and, while it is good and proper that we “consider Him” at all times, it is especially appropriate that ‘‘we stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance” at this Passover season, lest any should “eat and drink unworthily” of the bread and the cup. And, in doing this, it is not our thought to replace the Passover chapter in Volume 6, or some appropriate thoughts by Brother Johnson. When the typical lamb was gathered in on Nisan 10 and held by the Jews in close proximity until Nisan 14, it would certainly have the effect of arousing in them a “good conscience,” as they painstakingly put away all leaven from their domiciles. And so it should be with us.
“Let a man examine himself.” And let this be done without “outward show” if the full blessing is to be had. It has been aptly stated, “The most difficult thing: To know thyself; the easiest thing: To advise another.” The reason so much advice is worth nothing is because it comes for nothing, although experience gained from a good and honest heart over the years of the Christian walk should qualify us to “strengthen the weak hands, to uphold him that is falling, to strengthen the feeble knees.” (job 4:3,4) Thus, we make attempt again this year to offer some appropriate comment to the benefit of all our readers – the “hoary heads” long in the way, or to those newly come with us.
Being far from the perfection that was originally in Eden, it is probably a correct observation that all of us are inclined to be creatures of extremes, especially so, at the beginning of our induction into the Household of Faith. Therefore, it should occasion no surprise to find some among us much too lax in their appraisal of themselves, just as there will probably be some who are much too severe in their judgment of themselves. Of course, the very purpose of the good Word of God is to remove such extremes, and to equip us with “the spirit of a sound mind.” This latter has a twofold meaning: The honest imbibing of the Truth should produce in all a sounder mind than they had before they were thus blessed. “Thy words are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” (Prov. 4:22) But the Truth in a secondary sense conveys to all honest recipients the spirit – the disposition – of Him whose mind is perfection, perfection in Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power, and all in perfection of balance with every other quality. And this “spirit of a sound mind” should become more apparent in each of us as we continue to “consider Him” – “the leader and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, disregarding the shame.” (Heb. 12:2-4, Dia.) Thus are we strengthened against weariness of heart and mind. And those who thus diligently add to their “talents” (See Matt. 25:14-30) are primarily and exclusively those who ‘‘partake of their Master’s joy” – the joy of the First Resurrection that is the reward of “the good and faithful servants” – those who become partner with Him in “the joy that was set before Him” as they also faithfully “endure the cross, despising the shame.” Secondarily, the expression would apply in limited measure – in principle only – to the good and faithful Youthful Worthy servants, as they also improve their talents to the glory of God, making them also “good and profitable servants” for the work that is theirs to do.
EXAMINATION TO REMOVE ANTITYPICAL LEAVEN
Leaven being a type of sin, St. Paul exhorts that we keep the feast “not with the old leaven, nor with leaven of vice and wickedness, but with the unleavened principles of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor. 5:8, Dia.) And St. Paul further expands on this in 2 Cor. 7:1, Dia.: ‘‘Having, therefore, these promises, Beloved, let us purify ourselves from all pollution of flesh and spirit, perfecting Holiness in the fear of God.” These exhortations are addressed by the Apostle to the “Dearly Beloved,” indicating that such were already members of the Household of Faith – those who have “peace with God” and also have “the peace of God which passeth understanding.” All such, of course, “love righteousness, and hate iniquity” (Psa. 45:7), have been anointed with the “oil of gladness,” although in lesser degree than was “our Passover.” However, as our Lord was “anointed with the oil of gladness above His fellows” to the extent that He was the one “altogether lovely,” the “Bright and Morning Star,” with a stature which none of his fallen followers have been able to attain, yet among our brethren, our fellow-servants, there have been the outstanding few who have been “anointed with the oil of gladness” above their fellows – “some Apostles, some Prophets,” etc. (Eph. 4:11) for the work of the ministry, for the perfecting of the Saints.... that we be henceforth no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.”
All such, of course, cannot be in harmony with the evils and the servants of evil with whom they brush elbows every day – even though they be acutely aware of their own shortcomings, and have a dislike for such in themselves even more than they do in others. These indeed will make honest and sincere endeavor to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and mind – to perfect themselves in every good word and work, realizing as they do that the ideal can never be attained in this life, yet they steadfastly continue to “set the Lord God always before them.” And it is for these that the Memorial is specifically prescribed – and for none others. Even new creatures, while they are abandoned to Azazel, should refrain from partaking, as they are not then following the rules set out for them.
For the world in general – the world in sin, in antitypical Egypt – it would be useless even to invite them to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and mind – just as it would have been folly in the extreme for the Jews in typical Egypt to invite the Egyptians about them to join with them in slaying and eating their Passover lamb, with bitter herbs, with their shoes on their feet, with their staffs in their hand, prepared for the journey to goodly Canaan land. The Egyptians would have laughed them to scorn – just as the antitypical Egyptians today would likewise laugh, since they are all more or less in sympathy with the very filthiness which surrounds them, having no wish whatever to be rid of it, having no intimation of how it appears in God’s sight, and having no desire to “perfect themselves in that holiness without which no man shall see God.”
It needs no argument that some men are better born than others. One satirist has put it this way: Some men are born with brains, some with beef, and some with neither. Such worldly thinkers declare that God has created man in His image, and man has returned the compliment. The savages who carve out awesome horribleappearing totem poles, or other demoniacal figures thereby express their opinion of what they believe God is like. But those who “keep the feast in sincerity and in truth” have set before their minds an ideal of perfection in thought, word and deed. it is well stated that there are three standards of value in the earth today, the lowest of which is things, material objects. By this standard many wealthy personages receive much bowing and homage from their underlings. As one diplomat expressed it, All my life I have made a success by bowing to the right people. The second higher standard of value is persons. Many admire Samson as the greatest of all people who ever lived. Was he indeed not the strongest? Yet he died reveling in the destruction of his enemies. Others have the ambition to be a great general, a great ball player, a great prize fighter, etc.; but the prophet Jeremiah states very clearly what should be the ideal of those who “draw nigh to God with a true heart, in full assurance of faith”: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdome, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” (Jer. 9:23,24) Clearly enough, by this measure then the third and highest standard of values is ideals; and blessed is he whose God is the Lord. Therefore, “Sanctify the Lord of hosts Himself; and let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.” (Isa. 8:13) Thus doing, we shall indeed “keep the feast in sincerity and in truth.”
Let us keep in mind, however, that such attainment is not the result of a day, a week, a year; it results from the determined striving of many years, some gaining more, some less, depending upon their inheritance and providential circumstances after birth. “Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body has thou prepared me.... Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, 0 God” (Heb. 10:5-7), is the clear declaration concerning Christ our Passover. Such a perfect body was not the inheritance of any of His “brethren,” those throughout the Age who have kept the feast in sincerity and in truth; in fact, of all of them it is written, some more, some less, that from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores.” (Isa. 1:6) Yet the same prophet in vs. 16-19 gives adequate encouragement to such: “Put away the evils of your doings before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well.... though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” Therefore, it is not the degree of holiness that determines the right of each one at the feast; rather, it is the heart’s intention of each one; and with this standard let each “examine himself,” then “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16) And, “if ye do these things, ye shall never fall, for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Pet. 1:10,11)
But, of such as do not “these things” we are warranted in drawing certain conclusions. “By their fruits you will discover them” (Matt. 7:20¾Dia.) is the standard given us for discerning between the false and the true, between the hypocrites and the pure in heart. A good tree yields good fruit; a bad tree yields bad fruit, But in this we are to be ever mindful that proper pruning and diligent cultivation will improve the fruit of any tree, and repentance and reformation are sometimes long in coming. Nevertheless, we believe it is a safe conclusion that new creatures that die impenitent go into the second death; and, had the one recorded in 1 Cor. 5:1-5 continued in his “filthiness of the flesh” until the day of his death, those Corinthian brethren would have been fully warranted in concluding such an one as receiving “the blackness of darkness forever.” Charity would no longer apply in such a case. And similar ones here in the end of this Age, who become grossly immoral or gross doctrinal inebriates, especially so of the leaders, are justly classified as an inseparable part of antitypical Jambres; and from such we should turn away.
It has always been the Truth that has separated the faithful from the unfaithful; and Truth as due represents the Divine presence with God’s people. The Truth then is the measuring rod by which we discover the fruits of each one; but even in this we are not warranted in conducting an Inquisition, to pry into the inner reaches of others’ hearts to determine if they have properly removed the leaven from their domicile. Let each one “examine himself”; and it is far better that we err on the generous side than that we should “offend one of these little ones.” (Matt. 18:6)
Thus we conclude our thoughts for this Memorial, praying the Divine blessing upon one and all in the preparation for and participation in this year’s “remembrance of Me.” The moon nearest the Vernal Equinox comes new this year at Jerusalem at 2.21 a.m. April 2, thus starting Nisan 1 at 6 p.m. April 1, Biblical reckoning. This brings Nisan 14 to 6 p.m. April 14; and any hour that evening after six p.m. will be appropriate for keeping “this remembrance.” We shall observe the occasion this year at 1507 N. Donnelly in Mount Dora at 7:30 p.m. April 14; and a cordial invitation is extended to any and all of like mind to join with us who may be in this vicinity. And may the God of all Grace, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen and settle you.
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
PROPER RECKONING FOR THE MEMORIAL DATE
Most of our readers will recall that in 1962 (Supplement to No. 80) we revised our date for the Memorial from March 18 to April 17, our reason therefor being that the March date would bring Nisan 14 before the Vernal Equinox. This evoked considerable criticism from R. G. Jolly and “cousin” Krewson, the both of them accusing us of procedure contrary to Brother Russell and Brother Johnson.
Now it is brought to our notice that Brother Russell made a correction in 1913 absolutely identical to our own correction in 1962. In the February 1, 1913 Watch Tower he announced the Memorial date as March 20 after 6 p.m. He based this upon the moon coming new at Jerusalem 2.44 a.m. March 8, thus commencing Nisan 1 at 6 p.m. March 7 Jewish reckoning. The Vernal Equinox in 1913 arrived 7.21 a.m. March 21, or exactly 13 days, 4 hrs. and 37 mins. (absolute time) after the March moon came new.
Then, in the March 1, 1913 Tower Brother Russell corrected the date to 6 p.m. April 20, basing his change on the April moon coming new April 8, which would begin Nisan 1 at 6 p.m. April 7 – at least 15 days, 16 hrs. and 39 mins. after the Vernal Equinox date of March 21. Thus, assuming that moon came new at midnight April 7 (the very earliest it could possibly occur), he used the new moon that was at least 2 days, 18 hrs. and 2 mins. farther from the Equinox than was the one that came new March 8. Therefore, we have here one indisputable instance where Brother Russell did NOT use the moon nearest the Vernal Equinox.
Then there is the time when he gave the Memorial date after 6 p.m. April 22, 1910, thus having Nisan 1 begin at 6 p.m. April 9. We do not have all the details for that year; but, assuming the Vernal Equinox occurred at the very late date of March 23, it would then put Nisan 1 seventeen days from that event – certainly a longer time from the Equinox than the March new moon of that year. On both those occasions Brother Johnson was very closely associated with Brother Russell, and a very careful reader of the Watch Tower. Therefore, he knew the details connected with them in a manner which we do not have; and it was probably that knowledge which prompted him to write in the February 1933 Present Truth that the Memorial should never be observed before the Vernal Equinox.
R. G. Jolly would know about the 1910 and the 1913 incidents, too, because he was there just as was Brother Johnson; and it just may be that is the reason he has remained silent after our refutation of his contentions in 1962. We invite him now to make clear and full declaration on this.
As for J. W. Krewson, he keeps repeating, repeating, repeating we are in error – without offering any proof for his charge. We now also invite him to reconcile his own position with Brother Russell’s clear contradictions of him in 1910 and 1913.
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
To The Bible Students:
I received the lesson and I really enjoyed it. Thanks very much. I would like to have the following: Where Are The Dead, What Is The Soul? The Resurrection of the Dead, Two Distinct Salvations and The Three Babylons.
Truly yours ------- (MASSACHUSETTS)
My dear Brother Hoefle:
Greetings in our Blessed Redeemer’s name from Sister ------- and myself. All here are in fair health at present. It has been a long time since I wrote you, and I must thank you for the January paper, Among other things I notice you state that all of the sects in Little Babylon violate God’s commands. Yes, and the L.H.M.M. is no exception.
The friends are in good spirit.... Some time this year we intend to have an immersion service, D.v. There might be three. We are in anticipation of the tracts.
Our Christian love to all the dear ones with you, as we continue to pray for you, that the God of all Grace will continue to bless your efforts in contending for the faith once delivered to the Saints.
Your brother by His Grace ------- (TRINIDAD)
My dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and peace through our Saviour!
I am happy to tell you that I am in receipt of the encouraging letter to Sister ------- and me jointly. We thank you for sparing the time, as we are aware of how hard pressed with the work that you are. I read your letter to the Class and they want to thank you for the encouraging and exhorting words of comfort – and to assure you of their remembrance and prayers.
We got the January paper and enjoyed the message. We know the signs of the time are plain. We are not yet in the climax of the “time of trouble,” yet it is like a woman in travail. These upheavals continually are not the ushering in of God’s Kingdom of peace: We can see only a Kingdom of Darkness, and not a wink of light so far as the world is concerned. No peace within nor without.....
We know how sick at heart you are when not able to awaken your brethren to the fact they have failed in discerning the signs of the time, and because of that going before the Lord’s time – ahead of the Lord.
Sister ........ joins in sending love to you both, and to Sister Dunnagan and Sister Wells – and ask that you remember us at the throne of Grace.
Yours through Grace ------- (JAMAICA)
Dear Brother Hoefle: Grace and Peace in Jesus’ dear Name!
Thank you for your good letter. Enclosed is $ --- for the Lord’s work. Please send me some tracts – same kind I have been getting – when convenient. Thank you!
I am thinking I probably owe my subscription. I don’t know that I have ever asked how much it is. I hope you are both well and the others there near you.
With Christian love and good wishes to all from your sister by faith, ------- (CALIF.)
Dear Brother Hoefle: May our Lord’s rich blessings be your everlasting portion!
I do appreciate so much your sending me the 1950 Dec. PT. I have no recollection of having seen it before, though I must have it stored away some place. I remember well what a shock it was when a sister in ------- Class called me and asked if I was going to his funeral....... You may have been there that evening when Brother Johnson got up from a sick bed and came to correct some error he feared would pass. It seems it was to impress us that Brother Jolly was bustness manager, and NOT Pastor and Teacher..... I believe this meeting was held in the Tabernacle which had just been bought.
A friend who knows of my interest in religion has just sent me a roll of papers put out by Billy Graham and his supporters. I never dreamed that he could still be teaching the old nominal church theories! This will open the way for me to put out another “Two Distinct Salvations.” May our Lord bless it, her and YOU!
Your sister in That Blessed Hope ------- (MARYLAND)
My dear Brother Hoefle:
We thank you for the card we received.... I fell the second time and broke my hip, and was in the hospital five weeks – and I am just getting around on my two feet with a walker. And I am thankful! We, my daughter and I, receive your good paper and we thank you.
Enclosed is $ ---. May it bring with it God’s blessing and His peace!
Lovingly, ------- (CONNECTICUT)
My dear Brother Hoefle: Loving greetings!
Thank you for the December paper. We note that R. G. Jolly attempts to refute your July article (we do not take Present Truth paper now). His attitude toward you is deplorable and shows a “bad conscience.” Your July article should have been helpful for cleansing purposes. If he had been a “cleansed Levite,” as he claims, then he would not resort to calling you a “Shyster lawyer,” a “sifter,” etc.
Continue, dear Brother, in your able defense in refuting wrong doctrine – and whatever errors that temporarily the Lord amy allow you to make, when clearly made known to you, in the acknowledgment, like Brothers Russell and Johnson, cleanses and blesses you and those to whom you minister. Your reference to Reprint 4920 also Manna Nov. 24 is excellent. In the same connection Reprint 2735..... are all wholesome food for Bible Students. Even the questions, and how appropriate, for Nov. 24!
We send you Poem 178 as quoted in Nov. 24 Manna. Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the Saints! The Lord’s spirit, Word and Providence will support you. Brother ......... joins us in sending you hearty Season’s greetings and a happy New Year in the Service of the Lord. Also for Sister Hoefle, Sisters Wells and Dunnagan.
Your brethren by His Grace, ------- (ENGLAND)
Dear Brother Hoefle:
Greetings to you in our Saviour’s Name! It has been quite a long time since I have written you, but owing to circumstances could not be done. I have received your letter and assure you it was appreciated. Thank our great God for all His loving kindness and tender mercies toward us the children of men!....
I have not received any of the papers for this year, but hope you have not forgotten me, and that I will receive them in the near future. I am now studying Epiphany Vol.12 – “The Attributes of Jehovah .....
The Class is growing very strong in the Lord.. Sister ------- and the other friends send their sincerest love to you and Sister Hoefle. My love to all.
I remain yours in the Master’s Service, Brother ------- (TRINIDAD)
During my most recent bereavement, I was loaned a copy of The Herald “The Resurrection Of The Dead.” I became most interested, and I must return this. I would more than appreciate you sending me one each of What Is The Soul? Where Are The Dead and The Three Babylons – and copies of other articles that may be available at this time.
Most sincerely ------- (MICHIGAN)