SOME INTERESTING QUESTIONS
THE RANSOM WORK
QUESTION.--Were the physical sufferings of our Lord Jesus requisite to the ransoming of humanity?
The Ransom, or corresponding price which our Lord Jesus gave, consisted in his being the Perfect Man with all the rights of Adam and in these being surrendered or given up to death regardless of whether his death would be an easy or a painful one. The Scriptures say that "it pleased the Father to bruise him," not indicating by this, however, that our Heavenly Father took pleasure in the sufferings of his Son, but that this was his pleasure so far as his Plan of Salvation, etc., were concerned. He put severe tests upon this One who would be the Redeemer of mankind, not only to develop him as the beginning of a new creation (Heb. 2:10) and to prove his character, but also to manifest to us and to angels and to all creatures the wonderful obedience of the Lord Jesus and his worthiness of the high exaltation to the divine nature and all the glorious offices to be accorded him. Hence the Father provided that he must be "led as a lamb to the slaughter," and he also provided, in the Jewish Law, that the extreme curse of that Law should be a death penalty on the tree. "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."
These provisions, we understand, were not of Divine necessity, but of Divine wisdom and expediency. It was necessary that Christ should suffer that he might enter into his glory--before he could be the qualified High Priest, and ultimately accomplish the work of Mediator between God and the world of mankind; hence his sufferings were permitted for the testing, the proving of himself. And so with the sufferings that come to the Body of Christ, the Church. They are for our own development. The Father deals with us as with sons. He lovingly chastises and corrects us that he may thereby fit and prepare us and demonstrate our worthiness of the glorious reward which he has arranged for us with our Lord, and under him.
We get the right view of the entire matter, we believe, when we see that the death of Jesus was not the ransom; that it did not accomplish the ransom-work, but simply furnished the ransom-price; and that the ransoming with that price is a matter that is done in the "Most Holy"-- in heaven. To explain: He ascended up on high, having to his credit the price or value sufficient to ransom the whole world, but none of it yet applied for any one. He has appropriated the merit of that ransom-price to the Church, imputing this merit to them during this Gospel Age, to cover their Adamic sins and to make good, to compensate for, the imperfection of their mortal bodies, thus enabling them to present sacrifices which God can and will accept through the merit of their Advocate.
But that ransom-price, so far as the world is concerned, is still in reservation and will be given on behalf of them, as represented by the "sprinkling of the blood" at the end of the Day of Atonement, shortly now, in the beginning of the Millennial Age, to seal the New Covenant and to put into operation all the glorious provisions which God has made for the world.
We believe it to be a very important matter to keep
distinctly separate the work which Jesus did and the
value of that in God's sight as an asset, something to his
credit on the heavenly account and something which he
now applies to us, and by and by will give in perpetuity
to mankind as their ransom-price.
[R4619 : page 171]
OUTWARD POLISH VS. INWARD GRACE
Question.--What constitutes the difference between the outward polish and politeness of some natural men and that polish and politeness which properly belongs to the New Creature, developed in the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit?
Answer.--The qualities of meekness, gentleness, patience, etc., are qualities that belonged to the first man when he was created in the image and likeness of God. They are, therefore, human qualities that may be cultivated to a certain extent by any human being, and should be striven for by all. But, as a matter of fact, as a result of the fall, selfishness and general meanness have depraved the appetites and ways of all mankind to so great an extent that, as the Scriptures say, there is none righteous, perfect, no, not one; "from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot," all are imperfect. Hence no natural man would have these glorious traits of character largely and fully developed, though there certainly is a difference between the development of some and that of others.
We see, however, that aside from these natural graces, some worldly people have assumed something of the various graces of the Spirit. In their business methods they attempt to be gentle, and properly so. It is considered a part of the proper conduct of colleges, and especially ladies' seminaries, to instruct the young in politeness, in what to say and what not to say; in how to say things and how not to say things; and all of this brings an outward smoothness to these persons in their general deportment. In such cases, however, the smoothness is cultivated because of the idea that this constitutes "good breeding"; that this is what any lady or gentleman should do or say; and thus it may be a mere veneer, not really effecting the sentiments of the heart. The person may be outwardly very calm and smooth and pleasant, and yet at heart feel very sour and envious and mean.
Those who are merely outward observers might not be able to ascertain whether that man or woman were actuated by the proper spirit or not. They might not be able to know whether these changes were the "fruits of the spirit" or fruits of good education, but anyone knowing well the private life of such persons would be sure to ascertain the facts, because, as the old expression has it, "Murder will out"; and these persons, while they might preserve a smooth outward demeanor, would occasionally, in private at least, demonstrate that they were not in sympathy with the outward demeanor, but that it was merely a veneer, and to that extent hypocrisy. Perhaps a measure of hypocrisy in that sense would be advisable for some people; it might be better for them to put on a little veneer if they cannot have the genuine article; better that they should appear smooth rather than appear rough; it would at least help the world along a little for them to be as smooth as they are able in their general dealings.
The merchant who, after pulling down large stocks of goods and telling a customer that it is no trouble at all to show goods, that he is just pleased at having the opportunity to do so, and that there is no obligation whatever in the matter, and showing the very essence of politeness, but who, after the lady is gone out of the store, stamps his foot and complains, announces thus to all in his company, that his politeness is merely assumed as a necessity in the business. He does this either for his own sake, if he is the proprietor of the store, or for the sake of his situation, if he is an employee.
With the Christian these graces are developed from within. Whatever he may have been naturally, smooth or rough, the New Creature cultivates and approves these graces in the heart, and they reach from the heart all the way to the surface. It is the new mind that is regulating the New Creature, and the New Creature, instead of having smoothness merely on the outside, has it running clear through the grain from the very core.
This New Creature that is thus developing may not at all times have as smooth an outward exterior as some of the old creatures who have the veneer for the sake of money or for other reasons. They may have worse natural dispositions; they may have naturally less patience, or less sympathy, or may be moved by such honesty as would lead them to avoid saying anything different from what they would feel, anything different from what would be their sentiments; and their sentiments, not having yet reached the right point, sometimes impel them to say the wrong thing. These, of course, should learn to govern the outward man even before all their sentiments have come into fullest sympathy with the Spirit of the Lord. They should recognize the proprieties of outward conduct, and speedily get in line with these proprieties, and as rapidly as possible bring every sentiment into full accord with the Spirit of the Lord that they may become more and more kind and loving and helpful to others and thus "show forth the praises of him who has called them out of darkness into his marvelous light."
THE SAME VAIL UNTAKEN AWAY
Question.--Please explain this text: "And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished; but their minds were blinded, for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament, which vail is done away in Christ." --2 Cor. 3:13,14.
Answer.--It was the intention that the Law Covenant should not be perpetual, because of the imperfections connected therewith. It has not yet been abolished, however, in the sense of being totally set aside. It is still operating and is still a condemnation upon those who are under it. But "to those who are in Christ Jesus," there is now no further condemnation; it is abolished so far as they are concerned.
The thought, then, would be that the Apostle is here speaking of the Law Covenant being abolished in the sense that it is condemned or that its passing away is arranged for. "Christ has become the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth," not to every one who has given merely an intellectual assent, but to all who believe in the Scriptural sense--to all those who become his followers, all those who so thoroughly believe his message as to accept the wonderful provisions he has offered; for it may properly be said that no one is fully a believer who does not accept God's offer of glory, honor and immortality--a proposition so wonderful that any one whose faith truly grasps it would sacrifice every other thing imaginable that he might avail himself of its offer.
If, therefore, some obey partially, the inference is that they believe only partially; but if they believe fully, then all the arrangements are made for them whereby they may make their "calling and election sure"; hence the frequent statements that "all things" are for believers-- those who believe in the proper, full, thorough sense. So "Christ is the end of the Law" to all these, and the arrangement is that all the world shall yet have the opportunity of coming to a full knowledge and full belief, during the Millennial Age. The whole Jewish nation will be granted an opportunity of transfer from the Law [R4619 : page 172] Covenant, under Moses, to the New [Law] Covenant, under the glorified Christ, in his Mediatorial Kingdom.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE UNDER-PRIESTS.
Question.--In the appointment of the Aaronic priesthood, Aaron was the High Priest and his sons were associate priests. Is the fact that his sons were associated with him specially typical?
Answer.--Evidently the type was intended to teach that these under-priests were the members, or body, of the High Priest, because that was the form in which the matter was expressed. He was to "make atonement for himself and his house." Now, what is the thought in this word "himself"? How would we most clearly express it? What relationship except that of a wife would more nearly represent one's self? The sons of Aaron, then, would represent him in a special manner, as though they were his body. A father is represented in his son in a particular sense. The type of the High Priest in his office would thus be maintained through successive generations. The sons were not, as sons, typical, but sons were in type the best representation of the body of the priest that could be made, and hence were representative of us, who are the Body of Christ.
Question.--Are there any antitypical priests doing a priestly work at this time?
Answer.--To our understanding the picture of the "priest" is an individual picture. It is not a work which priests are in a collective sense to do, but here the one priest is to do the work. In other words, the under-priests are merely recognized as representatives of the priest, the same as we are representatives of Christ. In that sense of the word it might be said that there is only one priest, the officiating priest, the one who does the particular work; but in another sense there is an under-priesthood --in the sense that we have a separate personality, as individuals, yet acting in conjunction with our Lord as his members.
While recognizing the Scripture, "ye are a royal priesthood," let us lay stress on the Apostle's words which declare of our Lord, "if he were on earth he could not be a priest, seeing that there are priests who offer according to the Law." The Apostle then proceeds to prove that our Lord was a Priest after the order of Melchisedec, and that this Melchisedec priesthood was acknowledged of God with an oath, and that Aaron and his priesthood were never acknowledged thus. But respecting this man the Lord said, "I have sworn with an oath, thou art a Priest forever after the order of Melchisedec."
Melchisedec was, of course, only the one priest, and that one priest, therefore, represented all our Lord's members, and since the great work of the antitypical Priest is in the future, and is not the present work, we see that this is the reason why Aaron is not so particularly referred [R4620 : page 172] to in the type of the Great Priest. The Great Priest will really do his great work during the Millennial Age, and what is done in the present time is merely a preparatory work, preparing himself for work.
First, the Lord Jesus, in the three and one-half years of his ministry, proved himself worthy to be the Priest, and during the 1800 years since he is proving us worthy to be his members, and by the time he shall have completed his work of proving us all worthy, with himself, for this great and honorable position of Prophet, Priest, Mediator, King, Judge of the world, he will at the same time have to his credit certain merit which he can apply for the world and on account of which he can perform a priestly office for mankind. The priestly office, as before stated, is more that of the future than of the present. The present time is the sacrificing time, the time for making a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice.
We agree, of course, that none of us is doing the sacrificing. The high priest smote the bullock and killed it, and the high priest, likewise, smote the goat and killed it. Then came the presentation; as, for instance, when the Apostle says, "Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God," etc., he is not here saying, Perform the work of a priest upon your body, but offer yourself as a sacrifice to the Lord; he may accept you; he may sacrifice you, and he may perform a service upon you which will prepare you for a share with himself, as a member of his Body, in the glorious work of the future, in the work of blessing all the families of the earth, in the work of ushering in the Times of Restoration which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.--Acts 3:19-21.