My dear Brethren: – Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
The last two Star Members were profuse in their writings of the two designated classes in our caption, the Epiphany Messenger moreso perhaps on the Measurably Faithful, prompted undoubtedly by his own intimate and very disagreeable experience with these “brethren that cast him out.” (Isa. 66:5) What we shall say herein is either directly quoted from him and Brother Russell, or based upon what they have written. “Love is not easily provoked,” says St. Paul in 1 Cor. 13:5, but the translation is misleading. It would be better stated, “Love (agape) is not easily enraged, or infuriated,” because he specifically counsels in Heb. 10:24 that we should “consider one another to provoke unto love and good works: not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.” Thus, our purpose herein is to provoke to “love and good works,” for which “the assembling of yourselves together” is essential – the moreso since we “are in the evil day.”
During this Gospel Age the Truth has risen and been trampled under foot in each successive epoch of the Church. In the Jewish Harvest there was a specially bright shining, as “the light of life” brought “life and immortality to light through the Gospel,” which bright shining was continued by the inspired Apostles, although “the mystery of iniquity” was already manifesting itself in their day – much the same situation as was manifest during the life of the Parousia Messenger and the powergraspers associated with him. Once the restraining hand was gone, then a bedlam of turmoil and error arose in both instances, so that some features of the Truth were completely obliterated after the Apostles fell asleep, one instance being the doctrine of Restitution. Much the same has occurred since Brother Russell's death with respect to the High Calling, so that the organization he left behind is in utter confusion on this doctrine and teachings related to it. Even the doctrine of Restitution has been perverted out of all semblance to the way That Servant taught it!
As many of us know, That Evil Servant flitted from one change to another under the deft defense of the Truth by the Epiphany Messenger – a defense which forced J. F. Rutherford to abandon one truth after another to support each new error he promulgated; so that the Jehovah's Witnesses are now so far from the sound and sober teachings of That Servant that he would be unable to recognize them were he to return now (except, i.e., of course, as he has observed their course from beyond the veil). But, having once determined that the High Calling is closed (even though they do not have the right date for it), they are forced to provide a place for their new converts. And where are they putting them? Why, in the “great crowd” of Rev. 19:1,6. As all Epiphany Truth people know, both Messengers correctly taught there is but “one calling” (Eph. 4:4), the same being the “high calling,” that the “great crowd” are the aftermath of that calling, those who failed to make the grade, lost their standing, but were graciously given a secondary position in the great Plan of Salvation.
Nowhere do the Scriptures designate a “call” to membership in the “great crowd.” Insofar as the High Calling is concerned, they are failures; and God never calls any one to be a failure. Brother Johnson designated these people as The Measurably Faithful, because it was lack of faithfulness that caused them to lose their position among the Fully Faithful – these are they who have allowed their robes to become “spotted,” some more, some less. In some the spots are so vague as to be almost invisible (they lost the High Calling “by the skin of their teeth”); in others the spots are so numerous and black that the white is almost obliterated. Such miss the second death by “the skin of their teeth.” But to the entire “large crowd” do the words of St. Paul apply, “If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” (Heb. 10:38)
Once any one falls from the High Calling, no amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth will then avail to gain reinstatement therein. Once it is lost, the High Calling never opens a second time to such Measurably Faithful people. Like Esau, they find “no place for repentance,” (so far as the High Calling is concerned), though they may “seek it carefully with tears”; they have forever parted with title to their “birthright,” as did Esau – even though he secured for it only a mess of pottage. It should be remembered that in those days of Isaac it was required of the eldest son that he fast on the birthday of a respected and prominent ancestor, while the youngest feasted on that same day. Thus Esau, with a sharp appetite prodding him, offered to trade (barter) places with Jacob – that he might feast while Jacob fasted in his place. His profligacy was considered an act of sacrilege in those days, and would arouse the contempt of all well‑disciplined and honorable men. This explains why “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (loved less). Such flagrant disregard for their covenant of sacrifice has ever drawn the sharp criticism, disapproval, and chastening rod of Jehovah against those thus guilty (although He does not “hate” them – they are those “saved with fear,” making a difference) – and this observation will eventually be found to be as true concerning the measurably faithful Youthful Worthies as it has been true concerning the Great Company; the extreme end of this Age will make this acutely manifest.
It is truly a part of God's purpose to let some fall in this evil day – just as He also enables others to stand. He therefore permits the “strong delusion” to take possession of all who have pleasure in unrighteousness, and who therefore do not believe the Truth. Such are unworthy of the Truth, and sooner or later fall from it and lose more or less of it. Such not only lose some Truth, but also accept some error, failing also to see the advancing Truth. But we emphasize that it is impossible to find membership in the “large crowd” without first having had membership among the Very Elect in the High Calling, from which, having fallen, their next opportunity for life is presented them through membership in the “large crowd,” with the opportunity gone forever of returning to the Elect Christ Company.
It is very pertinent to consider here that the present “large crowd” that the Jehovah's Witnesses are fostering is to be of the earth, earthy – a class without hope of a spiritual reward. It is the first time in history that such a class as this has ever been presented. However, That Servant correctly taught that the “large crowd” is a New Creation, a part of the “church of the firstborn” (Heb. 12:23), whose ultimate standing will be as spirit beings “before the throne” (Not “in the throne” where the Elect Bride will be).
Further, in Vol. 6, p. 93, par. 1, he says this: “Neither is there a second call during this Gospel Age, though there is a second class of saved ones selected during this Age – the Great Company (Rev. 7:9‑14)” – the same as the “large crowd” of Rev. 19:1,6.
In furtherance of this position is the footnote on p. 707 of Vol. 6: “The great company although they cannot be counted in as participants of the First Resurrection, and sharers of its glory, honor and immortality, nor counted in with the ancient worthies, must, nevertheless, be counted as overcomers even though the overcoming be through great tribulation. And as overcomers, they must be esteemed to pass from death unto life, and, therefore, to be subjects of an instantaneous resurrection, and not a gradual one, as in the case of the world, whose trial is future.”
The Jehovah's Witnesses accepted fully the above teachings for a number of years after Brother Russell's death, claiming that many who left them after 1916 were the Great Company – a class fallen from the Truth, a class fallen from the High Calling (the “one calling” of the Gospel Age), who “went out from us because they were not all of us.” (1 Jno. 2:19)
Is it not very strange that so little is said about the Great Company in the various sects of Little Babylon, when we recall that Brother Russell had given such extensive elucidation about that Class? Even the organization he left at his death is talking about an entirely different Class, when they offer a “call” to their “large crowd”; but they are completely silent on the real “large crowd” which Brother Russell expounded so clearly from the Scriptures. The real “large crowd” are to be scourged by Armageddon for their cleansing; whereas, the “large crowd” of the Jehovah's Witnesses is to receive a shadowing protection during that time. There is not a single text to support their claim, of course.
While the Laymen's Home Missionary Movement takes some cognizance of the Great Company, this is due in part, at least, to the fact that their leader is the only leader of the sects in Little Babylon who self‑admittedly is one of the Great Company Class. But, even with him, he has perverted much of the Truth on this Class as presented by the Star Members. Some of his public oral teachings concerning their humanity is sadly ridiculous. Also, he claims that he himself was cleansed without being abandoned to Azazel, which is a direct contradiction to the teaching to be found in E:15‑525: “As in none of the Great Company do these two forms of the rod prove sufficient fully to free their Holy Spirit from bondage .... their delivery to Satan (Azazel) implies that they come into such a condition as the priests disfellowship them, and thus withdraw all brotherly help and favor from them.” R. G. Jolly has publicly admitted that “brotherly help and favor” was never withdrawn from him at any time – which is correct. This admission,however, by R. G. Jolly puts a direct denial to the Truth on the subject, as just quoted from Brother Johnson. There is further and more elaborate comment on this subject in E:4‑209,210.
Throughout the Age The Fully Faithful have gladly been “beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God” (Rev. 20:4), have “chosen rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt” (Heb. 11:25,26); whereas, the Measurably Faithful have chosen rather the green plains of Sodom, “Well watered everywhere, as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.” (Gen. 13:10). Many of them have labored under the “strong delusion” that they could be the “rich man” in this world and “Lazarus” in the next world in the parable our Lord spoke. (See Luke 16:19‑31)
A paragraph is probably in order here also with respect to the Fully Faithful and Measurably Faithful among the Youthful Worthies. To us, it would seem folly in the extreme not to entertain such a concept with respect to this Class, as they are much the same people as those who embraced the High Calling during its term, and some of them are actually the children of such people – some of those parents probably having “finished their course with Joy” among the Elect, with others being found among the Measurably Faithful. Therefore, it is hardly a stretch of the imagination to assume that at least some of the children would be like their progenitors; it would seem a reasonable certainty to find fully faithful and measurably faithful ones among the Youthful Worthies. As all Epiphany Truth people know, the Epiphany is a special time for “making manifest the counsels of hearts”; and it would be folly extreme to believe this will not also occur with those in the L.H.M.M. at Brother Johnson's death. During his lifetime his restraining hand withheld many from a contrary course, just as was true with Brother Russell, and just as occurred when the restraint of the Apostles was removed from the early Church. Therefore, it is a reasonable conclusion that many of the measurably faithful among them will be found among the quasi‑elect in later calculations, while those who become badly reprobate will receive nothing more than the “resurrection to shame and age‑lasting contempt.” (Dan. 12:2) “If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Just as the Measurably Faithful lost completely their standing in the Elect Class, so also can we expect the Measurably Faithful among the Youthful Worthies to lose fully their standing in their Class.
It is well that we keep always in mind the events of 1914. The date was right, but the previous expectations were very much wrong as respects the disposition of God's people. Although Brother Russell himself was telling the Household two years before that they had been expecting much too much for 1914, many of them stopped their ears to his warnings. And, when 1914 came and their hopes were dashed, many became offended – their weaknesses became acutely apparent. “Judgment must begin at the house of God... And if the righteous (the Saints) scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly (second‑deathers) and the sinner (Great Company) appear?” (1 Pet. 4:17,18) “The Covenant by sacrifice” is unto death, and not to any special date; only the Lord Himself is to say “It is enough”; and those who serve the Lord “with all the heart, mind, soul and strength” are fully content to accept this arrangement.
And, with 1954 came a similar situation. The date was right insofar as the Great Company developing truths were concerned, but it was also very much wrong as regards other expectations – with things similar to 1914 occurring since that time. As the Measurably Faithful were given over to “strong delusions” various, sundry and accentuated after 1914, so we are now witness to the same again since 1950. Brother Johnson emphatically taught that the quasi‑elect would be the unconsecrated – that the unconsecrated would be the residents in the Epiphany Camp in the finished picture – that Tentative Justification would cease when the Gospel Age ceases. This latter Brother Russell also taught. Yet the Measurably Faithful are setting aside these clear and reasonable teachings to make way for Consecrated Epiphany Campers, or Quasi‑elect Consecrated – just as others have done with their antitypical Ammonites and Moabites, the Jonadabs, and now a “large crowd,” which is not the culls from the High Calling, but a class all their own who are to live right through Armageddon and into the Kingdom – a repetition of “Millions Now Living Will Never Die” all over again, the only difference being a new label. “What fools we mortals be!” Because the Measurably Faithful “received not the love of the Truth ... God shall send them strong delusion.” (2 Thes. 2:10,11).. And, as might be expected, they are saying almost nothing about the “great tribulation” that lies ahead for this “large crowd.” (Rev. 7:14) But we may happily and wholeheartedly join with St. Paul in vs. 13‑17 (Dia.) in his warm encouragement to the Fully Faithful, “We are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God chose you a firstfruit for salvation, in sanctification of Spirit and belief of Truth ... so then,
Brethren, stand firm, and retain the instructions you were taught (by the Star Member teachers appointed by the Lord)... and Jesus Christ Himself will establish you in every good work and word.” “Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest.” (Josh. 3:l5) Not only have gross evils and injustice accentuated the curse since 1874, but we now also witness an overflowing scourge of abortive classes the likes of which was never before seen in human history. “As it was in the days of Noah” – The whole earth was then infested with physical hybrids; now it is infested with spiritual hybrids.
Occasionally we hear some remark that they could never have made the High Calling anyway, they are not good enough. This is simply foolish talk. Just as God never calls any one to be a failure, so He also never calls any to do anything they are not physically or mentally able to do. On one occasion we were discussing with Brother Johnson the words of Jesus, Matt. 6:8, “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of”; and he told us the text carried the thought that God “sympathetically appreciates” our needs. Thus, He is able to put Himself fully and exactly in our position, and to evaluate perfectly the physical and mental capacity of any task we face. “Take my yoke upon you,” He told His Disciples. Here He was contrasting His yoke with the Law yoke under which they were laboring, and which they had found impossible to bear; they were indeed unequal yokefellows in that Law yoke. Also, the Law had forbidden them to place an ox and an ass together in the same yoke, because the dissimiliarity of those animals placed an unequal and exhausting burden upon the one of them (Deu. 22:10 – see Berean Comment). But, when Jesus supplanted the Law yoke with His yoke, He appreciated in perfection the strength of each one to bear his part of that yoke. Thus, if one could bear but ten per cent of that yoke, His Lord would bear the other ninety per cent, and so on. Therefore, He would never ask any to bear more than was his ability to do.
A word of caution would be pertinent here, too, lest hasty judgment be administered by ourselves or others with respect to the limitations of our weak and fallen human vessels. Brother Johnson has summarized this question in E:4‑132‑3 (13): “We earnestly caution against making character blemishes the ground of declaring brethren to be Levites (Great Company members, although the same truth would apply to the Youthful WorthiesJJH). It is revolutionism or its partisan support against the Truth and its arrangements, and only revolutionism or its partisan support and its arrangements, that manifests crown‑losers (or Youthful Worthies – JJH) as such. The great touchstone of manifesting Leviteship is revolutionism or its partisan support, and nothing else. The reason that misconduct cannot be the touchstone for us is that we do not know how to decide what varying degrees of misconduct in various brethren forfeit their crowns. Therefore, such judging is forbidden.” In view of this clear and correct elucidation by the Epiphany Messenger, we urge that none – New Creatures, or Youthfuls – become discouraged if overtaken in faults, even repeated faults, faults that may vex or shock others in high degree, so long as they have not persistently cast away that Truth (or its arrangements) which they have understood and which has made them “clean.” “Now are ye clean through the words (the Truth) which I have spoken unto you,” said Jesus in John 15:3, and only the casting away of that cleansing Truth can be trustworthy evidence that any have fallen from their Class. Nor should this send us to the other extreme that we need not fight all evil in ourselves to the extent of our full ability. We are never to float listlessly downstream, because those who do so must certainly lose their Class standing – although it is only the Lord who is to say when “sin is finished to bring forth death.” (James 1:15) Therefore, let us continue to “fight the good fight of faith” unto ultimate victory.
When God said unto Moses, “Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt,” (Ex.3:10) – the beloved Man of God shrank back from such a seemingly impossible task. “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh,” said he; and he protested further, “They won't believe me.” In final protest Moses said, “I am not eloquent...but I am slow of speech, and slow tongue.” But, after exhausting all protest, Moses accomplished what God had told him to do. Indeed, it is a common trait among the meek of the earth to underestimate themselves, and often to overrate their adversaries out of all proportion to their intrinsic strength. Even the impulsive Peter was taken aback when Jesus told him “by what death he should glorify God,” (John 21:19) Perhaps all this is as it should be – that the Fully Faithful should ever realize that their strength rests not in “the arm of flesh” – “not by power, nor by might, but by my spirit, saith the Lord.” And in the very realization of their limitations they “can do all things through Christ Who strengtheneth them.” And may this “strength” be ever present with all who endeavor to serve Him “in good and honest hearts.”
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
Extra copies of this article free upon request.
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION: – Will you please explain what sort of persecution lays up for us “treasures in Heaven”?
ANSWER: – St. Paul tells us, “All who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution,” and it is the persecution that comes from firmly and honestly “following in His steps” that enlarges and adds brilliance to the “star” of each of God's fully faithful people. “If ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled,” says St. Peter 3:14. The Diaglott emphasizes this text thus, “If you suffer on account of righteousness, you are blessed. And fear not with their fear, nor be alarmed.” Being blessed is much superior and much to be desired over being merely happy. We speak of happy married couples, of happy contest winners, etc., but such people may or may not be blessed of the Lord as the circumstances may be. On the other hand, many persons have suffered excruciating persecutions over the ages, yet the blessing of the Lord did not accompany them. As an example, the Jews during their 1845 years of their “double” have not endured their appalling persecutions for righteousness, but rather for their iniquities (against the Law of Moses) and their transgression (crucifying the Lord of Glory). Thus, theirs has not been a persecution to be compared with the persecution of those who have “lived Godly in Christ Jesus,” even though such folks may have been their neighbors and suffering kindred persecutions.
Nor is it the preaching of past truths that always arouse antagonism. During the Dark Ages any one who questioned the infallibility of the Pope received severe persecution; whereas, today very little is even said about it, and no one in the more enlightened countries receives persecution for offering disbelief of this falsehood. Nor is any one persecuted today for preaching that “Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father,” although the Apostles and others were hounded and abused for preaching that truth in Jewry during the first century A.D. Disputing in our time the teaching that eternal torment is the wages of sin receives only passing notice, except in extreme cases; but it aroused great opposition during the Parousia. We should continue, of course, to “contend for the faith (the truth) once delivered unto the Saints,” whenever and wherever uncleansed Levites attempt to sully it with perversion. Such defense, however, would within certain limits then be considered a part of Present Truth. Therefore, we would conclude that teaching controversial Present Truth is what always arouses persecution, for which, if we suffer for it, blessed are we.
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
My dear Brother Hoefle: – Grace and Peace!
Thanks for your writings on Some Thoughts on the Memorial; also on “John's Baptism Again.” It is very helpful and interesting indeed to those of us intent upon “proving all things and holding fast to that which is good.” These two writings are sure to be a blessing to all those who read them and who are completely devoid of the spirit of partiality, relying upon that “wisdom from above,” and guided by the Holy Spirit.
You will be interested to know that recently Sister --------- and myself made a special study of your August 1959, No. 51 article on “Bad Levites – Good Levites – Cleansed Levites,” and now what you have revealed to us in your article on “John's Baptism Again” is a further help to correctly understand matters prevailing amongst the Lord's “Truth” people – specially amongst our dear L.H.M.M. brethren who (on account of the greatly increased knowledge of Present Truth given them by the Lord through – the “Epiphany Messenger”) are placed in a much more responsible position before God (for their repudiation and perversions of His teachings and Arrangements) than any one of the other existing Levite Truth Groups, as time and events will abundantly manifest.
The Lord's Epiphany enlightened people cannot afford to ignore these vital truths re arrangements and teachings of God's Word without great loss spiritually to themselves. Of course, we realize why it is that R. G. Jolly having become more and more confused on Epiphany, as well as some Parousia teachings, is so easily liable to confuse his partisan followers so that they too trustingly, and evidently without giving proper heed to the sacred teachings of God's Word, meet with sad results to themselves. See Manna Aug. 18 – Heb. 2:1; 1 Thess. 5:21. Would it not seem that the results of giving too much heed to power‑grasping leaders and neglecting reverent, prayerful and diligent study of the Lord's teachings is graphically described by our beloved Bro. Johnson in E. Vol. 10, Foreword, Page VI? I believe, my dear Brother Hoefle, the brethren of all Truth Levite groups would do well, benefiting greatly spiritually if they would only read E. Vol. 4, page 92, to the top of page 93. May God grant them the wisdom to see the truth of these words as applying to each, whether Great Company or Youthful Worthy members, then these things acted upon faithfully, especially by Great Company brethren, who have and still are so grossly transgressing against the Lord's teachings and Arrangements, would result in a blessing to them.
Perhaps very soon now the Lord will bring all brethren so transgressing into the “Valley of Decision,” and thus help them considerably to see the necessity of cleansing themselves ... from their various defilements individually, and this in turn would quickly lead to the Class cleansings so longingly looked forward to by the Epiphany Messenger. Let us pray that such will be the case, relying upon conditions so shaping themselves to this end in the Lord's due time.
In your article on “John's Baptism Again,” you rightly draw our attention once more to R. G. Jolly's “loquacious” behaviour which is more and more manifesting his unreliability as Executive Trustee of the L.H.M.M.; also as a teacher of the Lord's people he is proving himself to be a very unprofitable servant. As you have pointed out, a loquacious person is one who is garrulous, i.e., too talkative. Such people, as you say, talk, talk, talk – and more often than not, such persons very often succeed in confusing almost everything they talk or write about. It is revealing to note what Bro. Johnson says in E. Vol. 11, p. 687, about “loquacious” brethren, which seems to have a special application to R. G. Jolly. “An errorist is loquacious; one can neither foretell what will happen during his life or after his death.” Someday we shall know who these partially cleansed Great Company Levite Chiefs and subordinate leaders are, who have unfortunately become “redefiled” and stand in great danger of second death. See. E. Vol. 4, page 297, par. 52. Also Heb. 2:1, 2, 3; which still remains as a warning to all spirit‑begotten members of consecrated believers. Having in mind Gal. 3:1, I often find myself saying – “O foolish Bible Students! who hath deluded you into disregarding vital truths of God's word?”
May the blessings of the Lord rest upon you daily!
Your brother in the Lord's service ---------, England
My dear Brother Hoefle: – Loving Greetings in Jesus' dear name!
I have been enjoying your Three Babylons tract by reading it over and over; and that beautiful poem! Doesn't it just fit in even more now than when it was written in the crisis of years ago. “Truth forever on the scaffold.” Let us be glad that this forever lasts only to the end of this age. How could he write it without knowing the truth? But he did know it in his heart and lived by it. I hope you understand what I am trying to say. I think you do. The last verse in the first column – “We see dimly in the present, what is small and what is great” reminds me of something that happened here when Sister --------- was here with me......... I often think of it.
I remember the debate you had with Rev. --------- (a Babylonian), and his quoting some of the Scriptures that proved you right and him wrong. But he didn't notice it. I am very glad for others that you also reach to bless as you do me. May you find them all is my wish for them. God bless you and yours in your work for Him.
By His grace, Sister ---------, Ohio