QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
WHEN PERSECUTED, FLEE.
Question.--How should we understand and apply Matt. 10:23--"When they persecute you in this city, flee ye to another; for verily I say unto you, ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of Man be come"?
Answer.--These instructions were given primarily to the twelve Apostles, and doubtless were understood by them to mean that their mission was not to stay long in a place, but that as persecution arose, and the people were unwilling to hear their message, they were to go to other cities and villages, full of the conviction that the time for their special testimony of the Kingdom at hand was limited, and that they would not more than have accomplished their proclamation in all the cities of Israel before the Son of Man would be presented as King, and the testing of the nation reach its climax. This climax was reached when, at the end of his three and a half years' ministry, our Lord rode to them on the ass, as their King, and failing to be received (in harmony with the prophecy) declared their house henceforth left desolate.--Luke 13:35.
But while this was the primary signification of the Lord's words, we believe that like most of his teachings to Israel after the flesh it had a still larger meaning than was then due to be understood--an application to the parallel closing of this Gospel age. As there was a "harvest" in the end of the Jewish age, in which natural Israel was tested, so in the end of this [R2645 : page 175] age there is a "harvest" in which spiritual Israel will be tested. And as there was a proclamation of Jesus in the flesh, as King, so there must be correspondingly a proclamation of Jesus, the new creature, as King of Glory. And as in that "harvest" some were sent forth with the harvest message, and it was to reach all the Israelites within the borders of the promised land, so now we understand that in the present harvest the message is going forth, "behold the bridegroom," and the further announcement to Zion, "Thy God reigneth." (Matt. 25:6; Isa. 52:7.) This harvest message is also to be understood as limited in time, and the bearers of it are not to dally, but to exercise diligence, realizing that the time is short, and that they shall have time and no more to go over all the cities of spiritual Israel, before the grand consummation shall be reached, and the Son of Man shall have completed the first part of his work, the collection of his saints, the "Jewels," the "Little Flock," and thus the Kingdom be set up in power.
OF WHOM AND FOR WHOM DO WE SPEAK?
Question.--When in the WATCH TOWER and DAWNS and Old Theology Tracts we read "we believe," "our views," etc., are we to understand that a Church or Society or creed so teaches? If not, how shall we understand such expressions?
Answer.--No; we speak for no party or sect or creed or confession, but merely for ourself,--the Editor. Long ago we adopted the plural pronoun in referring to our personal views as being much more modest than the frequent use of "I said," "I think," "I expect," "I believe," I find, etc. And this custom is followed in the ablest newspapers and journals of our land.
Of course, incidentally, we voice the sentiments of many of our readers when voicing our own; because they and we recognize the Bible as a divine revelation, the only standard of truth, and endeavor to keep close to its letter and spirit. But "we" will neither bind others to "our" convictions nor permit any to bind "us" to theirs. The only fixed creed we recognize is the simple and fundamental one--that God sent his Son, who died for our sins; and that through faith in this, and obedience to him, to the extent of our ability, we shall be saved. All who so confess are "Christians" and are to be treated as "brethren." They should be assisted to grow in knowledge and grace, but should be accorded fullest liberty,-- "The liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free." Neither directly nor indirectly has anyone a right to make a creed for them nor to otherwise speak for them and then imply their "disloyalty" and "heresy" if they attempt to resent misrepresentations.
WATCH TOWER readers are supposed to be, and urged to be, the Lord's freemen, and at the same time the Lord's bond-servants; and to call no man master; because one alone is their Master and Lord--Jesus. This liberty, however, does not hinder them from appreciating one another as "brethren"--
"Whose kind designs to serve and please
Through all their actions run."
Each is free to love and esteem each other for their work's sake, and to seek to note how the Master is pleased to use one and another in serving "the body of Christ." Each free one, loyal to the Lord, is pleased to recognize as special servants of "the body" those whom the Lord specially uses. Those who are not free with the liberty wherewith Christ makes free, are enslaved to decisions of men and to customs and theories, and are not at liberty to follow the leadings of divine providence and the testimonies of the divine Word.
WHEN WILL SATAN BE BOUND?
Question.--In the DAWNS you have intimated that the binding of Satan in the end of this age will be accomplished by the increase of general intelligence,-- light, etc. Is this the only sense in which you consider that he will be bound?
Answer.--By no means. The binding of Satan with the great chain, and the putting of him into the abyss mentioned in Rev. 20:1-3, is all figurative; but the figures are all meaningful. To us they signify a complete restraint of Satan and all his powers of evil. The great chain represents restraint. The word abyss, in our common version rendered "bottomless pit," represents oblivion. The seal upon it represents divine care that none shall interfere with God's arrangement, but that it shall all be carried out strictly in accordance with the divine prearrangement. Our suggestion respecting the influence of the increased light of the present time is that a preliminary restraint of evil [R2646 : page 175] results from turning on the light of present truth, which makes the evil the more manifest and the less able to deceive. But this is not all, by any means. The thought is that the great King, who is now about to take full control of the world, has full power to bind, to restrain Satan and every evil power and influence, that nothing may hurt or injure that which is good throughout the Millennial Age, as has been the case during the present age, when the Kingdom of heaven (the Church in its incipient state) suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force, misusing the members of the body of Christ, even as they misused also the Head of the body--our Lord.
Whether Satan and his associates, the fallen angels, will remain associated with this earth we do not know, but it is quite sufficient for us to have the Lord's assurance that they will no longer be prince and powers of the air, able to misrepresent and deceive mankind, as at present. Some have surmised that Satan and his angels would be deported during the Millennial period, but while there is no Scripture that we are aware of which would settle this point, our view is to the contrary of this. We believe that they will not be deported but remain, powerless to deceive. Our reason for so supposing is two-fold:
(1) This earth has been the scene of their original transgressions and subsequent misdeeds, and it would seem proper that they should witness the marvelous transformation which will ensue after the Prince of Light, the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, shall assume the reins of power, and bring blessings to all the families of the earth.
(2) The Scriptures assure us that the work of the glorified Church will not only be to give trial to or "judge the world" of mankind during the Millennial [R2646 : page 176] age, but that it will include also the judgment or trial of these fallen angels: and if both mankind and the angels are to be judged, during the same period, it would seem entirely reasonable that both should be associated with the earth and its atmosphere.--1 Cor. 6:3; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6.