by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 22

My dear Brethren: Grace and peace through our Beloved Master!

We now present some comments on “A Voice Out Of The Temple.”

The caption for this treatise is taken from Rev. 16:1, the real thought of which would be better expressed by ‘‘A voice out of the Tabernacle”. To substan­tiate this conclusion it becomes necessary first of all to offer an analysis of Brother Russell’s Stewardship Doctrine, which we believe to be:

A correct understanding of the Atonement as portrayed in Leviticus 16, the central teaching of which is Restitution.

It should be noted that those Star Members who received special stewardship doc­trines received them early in their ministry; quite often those doctrines were the cause of their leaving the religious group with whom they had been associated; and it was the teaching that provided stimulus throughout their entire ministry. For in­stance, Martin Luther was motivated by Romans 5:1 to break with the Catholic Church, because this text was a direct contradiction of the Catholic belief in justification by works, as opposed to St. Paul’s clear statement that it is justification by faith that brings “peace with God.”

While the doctrine of Restitution was not directly responsible for Brother Rus­sell’s leaving his “orthodox” surroundings, it was indeed indirectly responsible for his doing so. His very vitals rebelled at the teaching of eternal torment for the un­saved world; and this revulsion in turn drove him toward the proper explanation, which he received when the Atonement-Day ritual was made clear to him in type and antitype. That the doctrine of Restitution sparked Brother Russell’s entire ministry after re­ceiving this Truth surely none will dispute. It is probable he never delivered a pub­lic discourse thereafter in which Restitution did not have a large and prominent place. And those who witnessed the Photo Drama will recall the oft-repeated expressions: “India needs Restitution; China needs Restitution”) etc., etc. We know, too, that his favorite Scripture was John 3:16, 17, the mainspring of which is also Restitution ­“For God so loved the world) that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever be­lieveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

To avoid argument, it should be here stated that Brother Russell taught all the stewardship doctrines of the past – In addition to Restitution – although he had to re­move many a rough spot from those doctrines – taints) impurities and distortions that had been attached to them by the crown–lost leaders of the past. When the Har­vest arrived, the time also arrived to restore “the faith once delivered to the Saints” (Jude 3), so that the “Harp of God” would once more be attuned to its pristine harmon­ious melody. This Brother Russell accomplished with all the skill of the master arti­san!

Without Restitution, the “Plan of the Ages” was an empty and unsatisfactory ex­pression) a fact which was recognized by many great and good man of the past. Martin Luther’s fine mind and magnanimous heart rebelled against the fate of the unsaved as it had been taught to him by the Catholic Church; but in vain did he seek the answer. He knew full well of St. Peter’s teaching in Acts 4:12, “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”; and he was ever prodded by the indisputable fact that untold millions had never heard that Name. “Somehow there must be a way after death for them to hear that name”, he said; but he had to admit he had no Scripture to substantiate him) and he could not explain how or what the proc­ess would be. John Wesley also chose to stress the love of God rather than the wrath of God; he also was too delicately formed to accept with good appetite the teaching of eternal torment – although he did admit to his belief in it.

The struggles of these good and fully faithful men to reach a satisfying answer is well set forth by the parable of the lost coin in Luke 15:8–10; and Brother Rus­sell’s peace of mind at finding the answer is well stated in the words, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I had lost.” To make this teaching clear to all, we here itemize the “ten pieces of silver” (truth), the ten strings of the Harp of God: (1) The Creation – of Adam and Eve; (2) the Condemnation –the fall into sin; (3) the Law – given to Moses at Sinai; (4) the Ransom – the anti–lutron by Jesus; (5) the Resurrection – Jesus the first–born from the dead; (6) the High Calling – “a new and living way” (Heb. 10:20; (7) Justification; (8) Sanctification; (9) Resti­tution – the sounding of the Jubilee trumpet (Lev. 25:9) See E–8, p. 659; (10) the Second Death.

But, just as preceding Star Members had their stewardship teachings perverted by the crown–lost leaders who followed them, so Azazel (the meaning of which is Perverter) immediately led the crown–lost leaders to pervert Brother Russell’s stewardship doc­trine of Restitution. This began in a mild way at first – not so much a perversion in its early features, as it was failure to ‘‘wait on the lord”. That Evil Servant and his henchmen determined to “rush” Restitution with their ‘‘Millions Now Living Will Never Die.” When time itself proved that teaching to be an abortion, they then produced a real perversion – No restitution at all for Adam, or any who refuse now to accept their teachings! Just as the “Millions” teaching came early after the Star Member was gone, and was then only a mild perversion, so we are probably now seeing a repetition an a smaller scale in the teaching of the “quasi–elect consecrated”, of which there will probably be more to say “in due time.”

Revelation 16

The foregoing elaboration is presented to prepare the explanation of why the temple in Rev. 16:1 is really the tabernacle. It is the same temple as described in Rev. 11:19: “The temple (tabernacle) of God was opened (explained) in heaven (among the brethren in the heavenly places – Phil. 3:20), and there was seen in his temple (tabernacle) the ark of his covenant” – the ark representing in its chest the Christ, head and body, and in its mercy seat and two cherubim the four attri­butes of God, this latter being the explanation given in Tabernacle Shadows. In conversation with Brother Johnson, he told this writer several times that, when he was having trouble in understanding the sin offering, but told Brother Russell he understood the volumes, Brother Russell kept repeating to him: “But those volumes came out of Tabernacle Shadows.” From this we can readily see why Tabernacle Shad­ows was basic to the understanding of Parousia Truth – just as “Elijah and Elisha” was basic to Epiphany Truth. Thus, the “voice out of the Tabernacle” was in reality the seven volumes of Scripture Studies given to the “seven angels” (God’s true Church in the Harvest time), with the instruction: “Go your ways, and pour out the vials of wrath of God upon the earth.” Therefore, we conclude Brother Russell’s inspired writings, Tabernacle Shadows is the biggest little book ever published.

And from this great little book, bearing Brother Russell’s stewardship doctrine, came the “seven vials of wrath” – better translated by the Diaglott as “seven bowls of wrath.” We say this is a better translation because it was mainly in their contro­versial features that the seven volumes “plagued” those whose errors they exposed. Brother Johnson has ably explained in E–8 that the bowls, chargers and spoons of Num­bers 7 represent refutative, correctional and ethical teachings; thus, these bowls are the same as the “refuting” of 2 Tim. 3:16. And what is it we refute? We refute error! And it is the refutation of error that always arouses the antagonism of error­ists. In these seven “bowls” there was much of corrective and ethical teachings, too; but these did not elicit the same savage reprisals as did the refutations of error.

It should be borne in mind that those mainly aroused by these refutations were the members of antitypical Saul and their ledlings; and a moderate analysis of their character will disclose why this was so – and still is so. Brother Russell says Saul ‘‘manifested considerable hypocrisy” (See Berean Comments 1 Sam. 15:13); and his antitype is also not lacking in this “dis”–grace. Nor were their prototypes lacking in it, as witness the words of Jesus, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees) which is hypocrisy.” It should be noted that all of them are atrocious liars and that an­other of the root evils of hypocrisy is an overweening approba­tiveness. Note the words of 1 Sam. 15:17: “When thou was little in thine own sight .... the Lord anointed thee king over Israel”; but, having once reached the head of the crowd, he apparently became power–drunk with his own importance, resorted to “rebellion” (Revolutionism). And with such characters, the unforgivable sin that incites their hatred (Isa. 66:5, “Your brethren that hated you.”) is to parade their errors before the gaze of the mob. Therefore, the ‘‘bowls’’ that came out of Tabernacle Shadows were indeed “the wrath of God” to them. To such, Present Truth has always been a “savor of death unto death” (2 Cor. 2:16); whereas, to the Faithful it has ever been a “savor of life un­to life”. The observation was appropriate in the Parousia concerning the members of antitypical Saul – as it is still appropriate concerning them: They know that we know that they know that they don’t know!

“And the first went, and poured out his bowl on the earth (organized Society), and there came an evil and malignant ulcer on those men having the mark of the beast, and on those worshipping his image.” Volume 1 was published in 1886, and truly it proved to be a ‘‘malignant ulcer” to antitypical Saul and his henchmen; it was a ‘hot penny’ – they could not hold it, and they were afraid to drop it. The stew­ardship doctrine of Restitution, with which Volume 1 is replete, made material for a “Plan of the ages”, the likes of which had not been known since the days of the Apostles; and it placed Restitution and eternal torment at opposite ends of the measure. It did indeed “spoil the vines” for many, a hell–fire evangelist. Also, Chapter 14 –The Kingdom of God – made a shambles of the teaching that we now have Christendom – Christ’s Kingdom; and it showed the present order to be a far, far cry from “Thy will be done on earth.” Our Lord’s Return, The Permission of Evil, The Day of Judgment, etc., etc., all combined to make this “bowl’’ a ‘‘malignant ulcer’’ – ­“a savor of death unto death” to many members of antitypical Saul.

The second “bowl”, “The Time Is At Hand”, made its appearance in 1889; and the third, “Thy Kingdom Come” in 1891 – “and they became blood.” These “bowls” defined clearly “The Man of Sin” and his counterfeit Millennium as a direct contradiction to Restitution. About this time many of the more “cultured” of antitypical Saul were describing the Jewish sacrifices as blood, blood, blood – barbaric and out of place in Christianity; but these bowls pointed to the “better sacrifices” as fundamental and inseparable to Christianity, that ‘‘without shedding of blood there is no remis­sion” of sins (Heb. 9:22), that the consummation of the better sacrifices provided the hope for Restitution, and the only hope for “Thy kingdom come”. And the time features were indeed a powerful refutation of those who were loudly proclaiming ‘‘no man knoweth the day nor the hour”; and of those who were lustily singing, “When my work on earth is ended, and time shall be no more. “The second “bowl” demonstrated the correct translation of Rev. 10:6 to be, “The time shall be no longer delayed”; that is, the “time is at hand” for God, through the Christ, to carry out His promise of Restitution – that the time had arrived for the blessing of all the families of the earth. Many of us recall the opposition that came when “The Second Coming of Christ” was preached. As instance, the tale of one brother, long in the Truth: A Pilgrim was coming to a small town in Ohio to preach on the Second Coming; and the brother was try­ing to rally his neighbors to the meeting. Said one, “You know the Bible teaches no man knoweth the day nor the hour, and I think we ought to rotten–egg the fraud out of town when he gets here.” The brother, using considerable tact, said, “Well, come on, and bring your eggs; if he’s a fraud, I’ll help throw a few at him myself.” The Pil­grim gave a very masterful presentation, at the conclusion of which the brother went to the rostrum and said to his neighbor, “Well, Joe, you’ve now heard the man; do you want to start throwing your eggs?” The man had been most impressed, and his only answer was, “I guess not.”

The fourth bowl appeared in 1897; and it certainly affirmed its title, “The Battle of Armageddon”, in that “power was Given to scorch men with fire”. It pointed out the prevalent sins among rulers, clergy, aristocracy and labor; and was a true fulfillment of Jesus’ words in John 16:8-11: “When the Holy Spirit is come, it will reprove the world of sin (the wrongs they are committing), of righteousness (point out the right way to do), and of judgment” (warn them of the coming judgment, which in this instance was in its initial phase to be the “battle of the great day of God Almighty”). But, “as it was in the days of Noah”, they neither heeded nor wanted to hear that message – ­“repented not to give God glory”.

In 1899 came the fifth “bowl” poured out upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness (great portions of the beast’s teachings were proven to be error, superstition and tradition – the “precepts of men”); and they gnawed their tongues for pain” (vs. 10). It should not cause much argument when we declare that Volume 5 was Brother Russell’s masterpiece. His analysis of the Holy Spirit, of Life Everlasting and Immortality, of the Trinity, The Soul, of Sheol–Hades–Gehenna, left his opponents “speechless”. Of a truth, “they gnawed their tongues with pain”. So clear and convincing were the presentations of the fifth “bowl” that many segments of the secular press gave it unstinted praise; although antitypical Saul and the lesser lights “repented not” (vs. 11).

Then came the sixth “bowl” early in this century, which contained much less of controversial writings than the previous five had done. In fact, Its title, “The New Creation” is well in keeping with vs. 12 – “that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared’’; its purpose was to instruct the true church (kings of the east) in every good word and work. It was the “law”, the better way, to every one who is “of the truth”. And any one who knows and faithfully abides by the teachings of Vol­ume 6 can be assured of the best of present possessions – “a good and honest heart.”

The seventh vial did not appear until 1917; and, as Brother Johnson so aptly stated, it appeared in a vile condition. It had been produced by uncleansed levites – a “rush” production, at the urging of That Evil Servant in his haste to “eat and drink with the drunken” (Levites drunken with error). However, as the seventh “bowl” (its controversial features), there was not too much fault to find with it, the reason for this being that the “bowl” portions of “The Finished Mystery” were almost completely paraphrase or exact quotation from the Star Member. It was the injection of their own ideas into what should have been a priestly production that brought those un­cleansed Levites eventually to Atlanta Federal Penitentiary. They had run ahead of the Lord to publish the seventh vial; had published it in a vile condition; and the Lord rewarded them “according to their works” – by reducing them to durance vile (prison). That Fit–Man experience had a salutary effect upon at least one of the eight who went to Atlanta: – George Fisher, who wrote the Ezekiel comments of the book (which part Brother Johnson declared to be far superior to the Revelation part by Clayton Woodworth). Brother Fisher eventually saw “the Judge” in his true colors; and he personally wrote before his death to the writer of this article: Anyone who does not see JFR as That Evil Servant is just that much out of Present Truth.

It is worthy of note that it was not the “bowl” features of Volume 7 that brought its writers into trouble; it was their own foolish – almost stupid – statements about the war then raging, and their diatribe on Patriotism, which remarks were definitely out of order at the time. Therefore, in their incarceration they did not “suffer as a Christian” (1 Pet. 4:16); rather, they paid for their own folly – although it should be noted that any persecution which came to them because of the true and opportune features of the seventh “bowl” would be counted to them for righteousness’ sake. We offer the foregoing as a help and guide to all God’s people who may be inclined to follow blindly the errors and bad judgment of uncleansed Levites; because they do so at their own peril – “God brought down their heart with labor; they fell down, and there was none to help.” (Psa. 107:12)

With this writing comes the prayer of the writer that it may prove a blessing to all – a means of growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Sincerely your brother,

John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim


Questions of General Interest

Question: At the top of page 35, col. 2 of this last Present Truth it is stated that Gentiles received the Holy Spirit before symbolic baptism, but Acts 19:5,6 says those men received the Holy Spirit after their symbolic baptism. Will you please harmonize this?

Answer: We cannot harmonize it, so we can only suggest that the Questioner ask R. G. Jolly to harmonize it in his next Present Truth. The article in question also says John’s Baptism was still effective for the Jews after Pentecost (with which we agree); and that baptism is not effective for them now (and we agree with this, too). At what date, then, did it become no longer effective? At the bottom of page 35, col. 2 it is stated “we do not understand that any Jews needed a water baptism which would symbolize immersion into Christ’s death.” Is he contend­ing that a Jew who came into the Truth in the Parousia did not need to symbolize his immersion into Christ? The article also states at the bottom of col. 1, P. 34 ­“Baptism signifies our induction into the Church of the Firstborn.” Is he contend­ing that his “quasi-elect consecrated” are a part of the Church of the Firstborn? Or doesn’t he recommend immersion for them?

It should be noted that St. Peter specifically instructed the Jews, just about the time of Acts 19 incident, that John’s Baptism was no longer effective for them; therefore, this last article by R. G. Jolly would seemingly have the two leading Apostles of the Jewish Harvest contradicting each other on the subject of baptism.

In the years 1953–55 – while he was still addressing us as “Dear Brother” ­R. G. Jolly conducted an extensive underhanded “whispering campaign” against us, to the effect we were confused on the subject of baptism. From our preceding comments herein, it should be plain enough that he himself is certainly not clear on the subject; or that he has failed miserably to make himself clear to others.

We are informed he recently stated he will henceforth ignore the “sifters”, and confine the Present Truth to “advancing Truth”. In this first expression to appear in print since he made that statement, he has made a most impressive start – ­he has indeed!

Question: – Do you agree with the presentation on Habakkuk in the May–June Present Truth?

Answer: – Generally speaking, we agree with the presentation; but we do not agree with the manner of presentation. It is very evident that the fundamental content of the article is Brother Johnson’s analysis, which R. G. Jolly is now try­ing to palm off as his own. For sometime now we have been convinced, from certain Scriptures and other things, that he would be driven to such degradation as a move of desperation; and we shall have more to say about it “in due time.” We have ac­cused R. G. Jolly all along of being unfaithful to his sacred trust in withholding Brother Johnson’s unpublished literature from the brethren; and we have been criti­cized for this – because, they say, there is no unpublished literature in the Bible House. Here is further substantiation of our charge – and we predict there will be more to come – with R. G. Jolly allowing the brethren to believe he is the “author”. Ever since he had the audacity to proclaim himself as “Pastor and Teacher” we were convinced he would stoop to this unprincipled plagiarism; and it will certainly be to his eventual shame – “their foolishness shall be very plain to all” (2 Tim. 3:9, Dia.).

His presentation of “The Subordinate Millennial Princes” on page 25, col. 1, of the March–April Present Truth is given in much the same manner as was the article on Habakkuk; however, we know he claims this as his “Advancing Truth” (?) given to him direct from the Lord in a “sudden illumination”, so he told the brethren assembled at the 1955 Philadelphia Convention. We hope, D.v., to give a complete Scriptural analysis of his new set of “Princes” in future writings.

Question: – Just why is the ‘‘wilderness” used to describe the status of both classes of New Creatures in the Gospel Age, seeing the two classes are so vastly different in some ways?

Answer: – It should be noted that in many of the Old Testament types a place is used to type a condition in the Gospel Age. This is especially true of the Tab­ernacle, where the Most Holy types the Divine spirit–born condition, the Holy the spirit–begotten condition, the Court the justified condition, the Camp the Christian world condition, and the wilderness the isolation condition. Now, both Classes are in isolation, but for decidedly different reasons. On page 70 of Tabernacle Shadows, par. 1, it is properly stated the “wilderness is the separated, or dead conditional” for the fully Faithful – thus, it represents for them complete separation from the unfaithful and unbelievers.

But the Great Company is said to be in the wilderness – the condition of sep­aration – for just the reverse reason. They are there to force them into complete isolation from the Faithful. Brother Johnson makes this clear in E–4, page 203 (65), where he says they must all experience “isolation from the Faithful.. a condition in which they are not even given brotherly fellowship.” These are “sent into the wilderness” – “forced thither by the man of opportunity”; whereas, the Faithful go there voluntarily as ‘‘more than conquerors.” Miriam, in her leprous condition, types the Great Company; “and the Lord said unto Moses...let her be shut out from the camp seven days” – in the wilderness condition of complete isolation from the typical faithful priesthood (Num. 12:14).

Question: Do you believe Brother Johnson was the last Priest?

Answer: – This question has come to us from many brethren in the United States and foreign countries; and we think it is now time to state publicly that we are now convinced he was not the last Priest. At first it seemed reasonable to con­clude that he was; but time and events have convinced us of the fallacy of that opin­ion. In due time we hope to give a detailed Scriptural exposition of the subject.


Letters of General Interest

My dear Brother & Sister Hoefle:

Grace and peace in our Beloved Master!...... I am much pleased to report that.. the March 15 has arrived safely and been read over many times to great profit. Its words of council and comfort will last for all time. You will be glad to know also that the May 1 is with us, too. Oh, how wonderful to know that the lord is true to His promise – we are not left to the will of our enemies!

It is terrible to see what R. G. Jolly is making of the Truth. He will surely reap his reward in God’s due time. Yes, dear Brother, his report on his visit to Crofts Hill looks bad. It’s plain to see that he had a great defeat – and the Lord was good to us. Fancy, He sent us a man whose very presence made the enemy to quail and was so crushed that it was impossible to give a report. Our God is worthy to be praised! We need have no fear because we are few in number. We shall conquer in the end and our God shall be glorified. Your work is progressing – ‘‘Be not discouraged!’’ Sister ........ Joins with me in sending Christian love for you, Sister Hoefle and all the dear brethren with you... God bless you as you keep fighting against error. Yours by His grace, Sister ............... Jamaica

Dear Brother Hoefle:

We were happy indeed to have your letter... and glad to know both you and Sister Hoefle are well. The extra work you have been doing in refutation service has its strain, we are sure. We want to say we have enjoyed everything you have put out... We both join in sending our warmest Christian love to you and Sister Hoefle – and trust the Lord will continue to bless your labor of love. Yours in grace, Bro.____ California

Dear Brother Hoefle:

Loving Christian Greetings! This is to notify you of our change of address. This change also applies to .......... We feel the hand of God has been overruling our coming and goings. My mother was a regular attendant at the class ... Of course, she misses the fellowship, but when we hear of the doings in the LHMM, we can only feel that once again our Heavenly Father has shielded us from harm in His ever–loving arms. We were kept from the trouble caused by Judge Rutherford years ago... God does indeed care for His little ones and we are thankful. Yours in Him, Sister ....... England