My dear Brethren:
Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!
In Psa. 107:17 it is written of the Jews, “Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.” During their time of national favor – when “You only have I known of all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2) – this same Scripture just quoted also says, “Therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities.” The “iniquities” for which they were punished refer to their sins against the Law of Moses; and for these they were repeatedly punished, finally having their national polity completely removed in the fall of 607 B.C., when they not only lost power to govern themselves, but also were scourged with 70 years under the oppressive yoke of the Assyrians “that the land might enjoy her sabbaths.” But “their transgression” – their great transgression –occurred when they “crucified the Lord of Glory,” for which they lost all national favor in 33 A.D., and all individual favor 3½ years later. And as “fools” they have been afflicted for this great transgression and for their iniquities during the years that have followed.
And their determination and ability through all these harrowing years to maintain their Jewish identity and to avoid assimilation by the peoples with whom they have mingled are mute testimony to their “stubborn and stiffnecked” character. Fools indeed they have been, yet with a certain pathetic commendation due them for their determination to maintain even a token performance of the Mosaic rituals, which they are unable now to observe in a manner acceptably to God because they no longer have a High Priest after the order of Aaron. Such a High Priest they cannot have because he must come from the Tribe of Levi; and the dispersion in 70‑73 so completely separated and dispersed them that they are not now certain which of their Rabbis are of the Tribe of Levi. They think those with the names of Cohen, Levine, Levinson, etc., are the descendants of Levi; but they are not at all certain of this. Therefore, they can only sit in “sackcloth and ashes” during their Atonement‑Day services in their synagogues – and attempt a token ritual in their Passover feast – with the essence and vitals of these ceremonies no longer present because their High Priest is absent.
Comes now the question – Was John's Baptism inseparably linked with their national and individual favor? It seems to us that it certainly was, that the end of the 70th week left them nothing except the general advantage that the “oracles of God” had bestowed upon them. If this were not true, then any Jew not conscious of sin against the law could come into Christ without any water baptism of any kind just as some did during the “70th week.” If we do not accept this premise, then we should be able to find some Scripture to show when it did end – or we must admit that John's Baptism would be efficacious for them even to this day. We should keep clearly in mind that John's Baptism did not immerse them into Christ; it merely prepared them to come into Christ.
It will be noted from the Diaglott reading of Acts 8:16 and Acts 19:5 that these people were “Immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus” – that is, into the heart and mind (the disposition) of the Lord Jesus, and not “in the name.” John's Baptism could never at any time immerse them “into the name (heart and mind) of the Lord Jesus”; it could only prepare them to receive this blessing. But, prior to the end of that 70th week, “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Rom. 10:4); they could come “into the name of the Lord Jesus” without further ado if they were not conscious of sins against the Law of Moses. Up to that time, if they did not need John's Baptism, they did not need any water Immersion of any kind – although it certainly would have been no transgression had they voluntarily chosen to follow the example given by Jesus at Jordan. However, this exclusive and special favor to them ceased to exist in every detail at the end of the 70th week – at which time they were in the same category as the Gentiles.
Here it is in order to emphasize that Brother Russell and Brother Johnson both repeatedly accentuated the fact that all national favor was withdrawn from the Jews in the exact middle of the “70th week” of Dan. 9:25‑27 (“Your house is left unto you desolate” – Matt. 23:38), and that 3½ years later all individual favor was withdrawn from them. We now ask, What was the greatest favor – nationally and individually – that had ever been bestowed upon them by God? Was it not their special privilege of coming into Christ? And, if John's Baptism would enable any of them to receive this their greatest of favors, would not John's Baptism have been an integral part of that favor – so inseparably linked with it that it would be impossible to have one without the other? But, if all favor was withdrawn from them, even as individuals, at the end of the “70th week,” how could John's Baptism have continued with them as the special favor that it most certainly was? If that baptism continued to enable them to come into Christ after the 70th week, just what was the favor that was withdrawn from them at that time? Certainly, the knowledge they had received at the feet of their parents and leaders would continue with them until death unless they themselves wilfully desecrated it. Therefore, this advantage could not have been included in the withdrawal of all national and individual favor at the end of the 70th week. We have stressed this point in previous writings, and we now do so again. Let the Jolly‑Krewson twosome present their explanation of it – if they have one! They should be able to do this from the Scriptures if they know whereof they speak.
It must be remembered that the Jews “all were Immersed into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (I Cor. 10:2 – Dia.), which immersion placed them anticipatorily in the antitypical Tabernacle Court. However, when they lost all individual favor at the end of the 70th week (as Brother Russell and Brother Johnson both clearly affirm), they were then forced out of the antitypical Court, and then had no more standing of favor than did the Gentile world, so far as coming into the Body of Christ. St. Paul directly teaches that justification by faith is the “grace of God,” which some receive in vain; but the Jews as individuals all had this until the end of the 70th week – just as the children of the Christ have all had it during this Gospel Age. If they lost all favor then, self‑evidently they lost that “grace.” Therefore, the only way they could regain that grace (favor) would be for them to be “immersed into the name of the Lord Jesus,” just as was true of the Gentiles. Therefore, as we have said previously, we do not know whether those twelve men of Acts 19:1‑6 were Jews or Gentiles. But St. Paul's conclusion would have been exactly the same regardless of what they were, as John's Baptism could avail absolutely nothing at that time. If this were not true, we repeat – It would have the two leading Apostles of the Jewish Harvest contradicting each other on the subject of Baptism, as our analysis of 1 Pet. 3:21 in our December 1959 issue and other papers clearly proves. The incident of Acts 19 and the writing of St. Peter's first epistle were only a few years apart.
At this point it is certainly in order to analyze R. G. Jolly's position on this discussion of Acts 19:1‑6: With parrot‑like repetition, he shouts what Brother Russell and Brother Johnson SAID about these men being Gentiles – nor have we ever disputed they SAID it; but we repeat here once more that what they SAID is not essential to anything we do or believe concerning baptism as we practice it today. However, Brother Johnson said something else – based upon his mature meditation and with sound Scripture to prove it – Namely, “It will not be manifest who will be the Little Flock members until all the Truth Levites have been manifested, have cleansed themselves, have recognized themselves as Levites, have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14), have been set apart for the true Levitical service, and are set before the Priests is their servants." Certainly, none of this, so vital to present‑day events, has yet taken place; yet R. G. Jolly is unalterably insistent that there are no more Priests yet remaining for the flfillment of this picture. Nor should we forget that all this sound and sober teaching of the Epiphany Messenger R. G. Jolly tossed out of the window in toto in ONE DAY – on October 27, 1950; apparently, he immediately forgot all the detailed Scriptural analysis that Brother Johnson had given us – he could remember only one thing, that Brother Johnson had SAID he thought he would be the last Priest. Yet, here is some sound doctrine that is vitally essential to the peace and prosperity of Zion at this very time; whereas, the exact date at which John's Baptism was no longer effective concerns us so very little just now. Consistency, thou art a Jewel! “Inconsistency,” thy name Is Jolly!
May goodness and mercy continue with all those who faithfully continue in His Word and Spirit. “Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.” (Psa. 106:3)
Sincerely your brother,
John J. Hoefle Pilgrim
QUESTIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION: – In refuting the Jehovah's Witnesses' gross error that ARMAGEDDON will rid the earth of the Devil's invisible rule and of the imperfect Gentile Governments of selfish politicians, you say only the religious systems – BABYLON will perish in Armageddon. Do you mean there will be no religious groups to arise in the interim of Armageddon and Anarchy? And do you mean that the present governments and social order will not be destroyed?
ANSWER: – When we said “only the false religious systems – BABYLON – would perish in Armageddon” we had special reference to Rev. 18:21 (see Berean Comments). BABYLON will go down in Armageddon, never to arise anymore, is what we believe and teach; and we are in harmony with both Star Members as to Armageddon and Anarchy. Certainly, In Armageddon (Revolution) the present order will be overthrown, and the present governments will also go down. But there will be no more BABYLON after Armageddon, although there will be other Gentile governments (a continuation of the Gentile governments). However, if we use the word Babylon to mean “confusion” instead of the BABYLONISH SYSTEMS, self‑evidently there will be confusion so long as Satan is here. All Satanic influence will not be destroyed until sometime after Jacob's Trouble. Brother Johnson tells us in E:4‑31:
“By the earthquake destroying the nominal Church, the clergy, and all their hearty supporters (2 Kings 9:30‑37; 10:18‑28; Isa. 65:11,12; Jer. 25:34‑38), the people will have a hearing ear for the Great Company's message, who by their ministry will convert not only Israel (Cant. 5:8‑6:1), but millions of Gentiles (Rev. 19:6).”
The fires of Armageddon should cleanse the Great Company in character – even though they will still have many errors of teaching they have imbibed during their uncleansed condition, of which they will then rid themselves in varying degrees, depending upon their past and present providential circumstances.
As to religious systems after Armageddon, Brother Johnson tells us in E:16‑143‑144: “Worse famines and pestilences than those that accompanied the World War will come during Revolution. Its destructiveness of human life, property, comfort and health will be even greater than that of the World War (Jer.25:29‑33). And its end will witness the overthrow of every governmental, religious and aristocratic system on earth. (A 'babe in the truth’ – especially Epiphany Truth – would know that we specifically stated that ‘another group’ of unscrupulous politicians would succeed the present governments, but this will be only a continuation of the Gentile rule; their lease has expired, but they will continue to rule until completely evicted in Anarchy – JJH) ...
“Again Satan will attempt to gain control and will erect an order of affairs (but will not include another BABYLON, which will fall in Armageddon never to rise anymore – JJH) in which his present forms of government, religion and aristocracy will be absent. Instead, a socialistic form of government (supplanting and succeeding the previous government – JJH) will prevail, and a perverted form of religious Truth and work (which has never been the ruling power during Babylon's heydey – JJH) which the Lord has been giving since 1874 through a certain so‑called channel between God and man be made the popular religion after the Revolution. This form of government is symbolized by the ten horns of the beast (Rev. 17:11); and this form of religion is typed by Dinah, Jacob's daughter, while his 12 sons type the 12 sectarian denominations of Christendom (the present religious city – government – that will go down in Armageddon never again to rear its head, so the Scriptures distinctly tell us, with which all able Bible Students will concur – JJH), which will go down in Revolution. Such a socialistic form of government will preclude the existence of an aristocracy as such (we noted this in our Three Babylons tract – the destruction of aristocracy – JJH), though doubtless the heroes of socialism will in effect be much like an aristocracy at that time. But that form of society will be short lived.”
Surely, all Epiphany‑enlightened brethren realize that Babylon (the “sectarian denominations of Christendom“ – Big Babylon, as well as the present sects of Little Babylon, as such, will be utterly destroyed in Armageddon (will perish) – never to arise anymore! But the Christ cannot take full control and establish the Kingdom Rule until the Gentile Governments have been fully and finally evicted, which will not occur until Anarchy. The only present form of Satan's invisible rule to be completely annihilated will be the false religious systems – BABYLON. His invisible rule will continue in civil governments, though of a different order. The Jehu dynasties will in all probability rule with “a rod of iron” – just as we see Russia at present; but they will be governments of “The Gentiles,” (the Gentiles will not have been evicted), regardless of what name they may assume.
Here's what Brother Johnson says in E:5‑427 (top): “The end of Babylon's destruction would be by the coming symbolic earthquake.” (that is, ARMAGEDDON – JJH)
We quote also from Nov. 15, 1913 Watch Tower, Reprints 5348, col. 2, bottom: “St. Peter describes the great day of wrath, intimating that It will begin with the nominal church class – the heavens, 'The day of the Lord will come as a thief In the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up.’ (2 Peter 3:10) – Understanding the earth here to represent the present social order, and the heavens to represent the ecclesiastical order of affairs, we find that the ecclesiastical heavens are to pass away with a great noise, a great commotion, a great confusion, and their elements or component parts will be melted in the fervency of the heat and strife of that time; and that then the earth, or social order, will follow It in the combustion or consumption of the day – destroying the present social fabric – overthrowing all law and order in anarchy.”
Further from Reprints 5864 (top): “The ecclesiastical systems will, we believe, go into destruction first, according to the Bible. The fire will next affect the social and industrial organization.”
We know that the present social order, and present governments, will be overthrown (destroyed In their present forms) and replaced by other governments; but BABYLON will be destroyed in ARMAGEDDON – will perish, never again to lift its head. Gentile Governments have been overthrown all during the Gentile Times, but they have been replaced by other Gentile Governments – as witness the upheavals in Germany and Russia during “this generation,” the violent French revolution in 1789, and the various changes in the Roman Empire over the centuries. Babylon, too, has changed her methods, and conduct, from time to time, but has never perished from the earth since her instigation. But when Babylon is overthrown in ARMAGEDDON she will perish forever from the earth never to arise anymore. The Gentile Governments will once more arise between Armageddon and Anarchy – not in their present form, of course, but “variegated in each country by the background of their respective Inhabitants... new groups of unscrupulous politicians.” This quotation from our Three Babylons tract we believe to be a correct appraisal of the conditions that will prevail then.
We are in harmony with both Star Members when we say only the false religious systems – that compose present‑day Big Babylon – will perish (be forever destroyed), never to appear anymore. Certainly, our readers are well aware of our conviction that the Capitalistic System as presently constituted will pass away forever in Armageddon, along with the various forms of governments now linked with that system – that antitypical Jehu will arise as the result of, and be the direct cause of, ARMAGEDDON – and that he will be the direct cause of antitypical Jezebel's destruction. As we all know, Jezebel has had her “face lifted” in various ways at various times, but she is still here. However, once Jehu has done his work, she shall “be found no more at all,” although Jehu will go right on reigning for some years after Jezebel is destroyed forever; thus, he may be viewed as a continuation of the Gentile Governments – changed only in form – as he replaces the present governments for the period between Armageddon and Anarchy. He will still be a Gentile Government after he destroys Babylon forever – although a new BABYLON in any form will not arise again after Armageddon. As Brothers Russell and Johnson both taught, the “heavens” – (eccleslastical control) will go down FIRST (i. e., in ARMAGEDDON), while the “earth” (political and social elements) of whatever form it may assume, will not be utterly wiped out until Anarchy.
Just what form the Jehu government will assume in America is not now too clear; but the “heavens” (present “false religious systems” – Big Babylon) will pass away immediately after he gains sufficient control, as is revealed in Rev. 18:9‑11: “The kings of the earth who have... lived deliciously with her (Babylon as presently constituted) ... and the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her.” The “Times of the Gentiles” ended in 1914, but the Gentile Governments have continued in a usurpatory manner in spite of the many changes in a number of them since that time, aggressively resisting their eviction, which will not be completed until Anarchy; and we believe they will continue to do this even more strenuously after Armageddon under the Jehu dynasties. When Jehu passes away In Anarchy, the next stable Government to arise will be the Mediatorial Reign of The Christ, after the end of “Jacob's Trouble.”
J. F. Rutherford gave this gross error to the Jehovah's Witnesses, at which time Brother Johnson refuted his claim that Satan's invisible kingdom would go down forever in Armageddon. Only one important part of Satan's invisible kingdom will be destroyed forever in Armageddon, and that is the false religious systems – BABYLON. We well realize that all present forms of governments and society in Christendom will be overthrown, but whatever form they may assume after Armageddon, they will continue to be part of Satan's invisible kingdom (governments and social order). Not so with the “heavens”; Satan will have lost control in that respect: Babylon will go down never to rise anymore.
Errorists are quick to seize upon technicalities when their gross doctrinal errors are attacked. We especially directed a Scripture, interpreted by the last Star Member, clearly refuting the Jolly‑Krewson false doctrine of Epiphany Campers Consecrated (or quasi‑elect consecrated). Will they attempt to set aside this faithful teaching of the Epiphany Messenger?
QUESTION: – Do you object to the use of the word “Jehovah”?
ANSWER: – No, we do not. Brother Russell and Brother Johnson both used it, as we ourselves also do, although they, too, realized it is a coined word; but they continued its use because of long‑established custom – just as Brother Johnson continued to refer to the “Old and New Testaments,” although he realized these words also have no sound foundation; but long usage has entrenched them so deeply into the Christian conscience that he considered it more expedient to continue their use than to attempt to replace them. (See E‑12‑10) That is also our position with respect to the use of Jehovah; but we definitely are opposed to the use of the word as a sectarian name, as the Jehovah's Witnesses have perverted it. “Ye are my witnesses, declareth Yaveh” (YHWH‑‑Isa. 43:10) is a pronouncedly different declaration than “Jehovah's Witnesses,” when used to designate a sect. This we believe to be in harmony with Brother Johnson's analysis of the situation, too. (See June 1932 Present Truth, pp. 70‑77) ...
LETTERS OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear Brother Hoefle: – Grace and Peace!
Since reading your article on “Moses – Ithamar – Joshua” I have meditated much upon the very revealing truths you bring to our attention. And the first nine verses of Joshua seem to my mind very significant indeed; and seeing that Brother Johnson has pointed out to us that antitypical Joshua would be an individual chosen by the Lord to accomplish a very Important work, which was evidently to begin soon after The Epiphany Messenger's demise. Undoubtedly the Lord will in His due time reveal to us much more upon these matters, thus manifesting Persons, Principles and things, in a way that will be really astounding as a necessary help to our dear brethren... of the L.H.M.M. in particular and later to the brethren of other Levite groups.
In looking up In The Present Truth for March 1, 1948 I took special note of Brother Johnson's words to us all. (See top of page 42) – “God shows how in the time of trouble in the Measurably Unfaithful the graces of faith, hope, courage, perseverance, etc., will break down – Every spirit shall faint (Ezek. 21:7). The Lord stirred up the graces of courage zeal, piety, loyalty and obedience in Zerubbabel, Joshua, and all the rest of the people to start rebuilding the temple..... The Lord stirred up the spirit of Joshua ... and the spirit ... of the people .... work in the house of the Lord. Hag. 1:15.” Truly the zeal of the Lord will accomplish this to His glory. Soon now I believe the antitypical “spoilers” of the Lord's work, so far as the leaders are concerned, will be fully manifested, and eventually each persistent and wilful leader will go to his place – Acts 1:25. The Lord suddenly cutting them off from doing further harm to His teachings and arrangements.....
May the dear Lord continue to bless and enrich you dally in all the spiritual truths for the guidance, comfort and encouragement of the Lord's dear people. This No. 48 article, as well as the two following (No. 48A for May and No. 49 for June) could not have been written by you or anyone else without divine guidance.
May the dear Lord prosper your work to His glory is my fervent prayer. I am your brother “In His keeping” ‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑ England
Dear Brother Hoefle: –
There are no words to adequately express the gratitude that is in my heart to you and to the Lord for the help you have been to me and to all of those who are truly seeking the Truth.
I pray dally that the Lord will continue to bless you and keep you. I have no doubt you will be faithful and that the Lord will continue to use you to give us meat in due season. I thank Him daily and I thank you.
Wishing you a blessed Christmas, I am Your sister through His Kind Favor –