THE GOOD TIDINGS ABROAD
FROM BERLIN we journeyed northward to Copenhagen. Brother Luttichau and a deputation of Bible Students met us at the station. Soon we were in the Society's Danish headquarters, and in a little while were addressing an assembly of earnest people of God, whose beaming faces indicated that they understood and appreciated our message. Our morning address was to the interested. Amongst other things we endeavored to make clear the subject of the Covenants. The Abrahamic Covenant is the comprehensive one, which guaranteed a seed through Isaac and Rebecca, and that a blessing would come as a result to all mankind--and also an antitypical Seed which would have the first place in the blessing of the world, the two Seeds being referred to in the promise, "Thy Seed shall be as the stars of heaven, and as the sand of the seashore." This Covenant guarantees the blessing of the world, and it guarantees that that blessing shall come through the natural seed of Abraham. At the same time it guarantees the spiritual Seed--The Christ (Messiah), Head and Body, fully qualified and empowered to give the needed blessing through the earthly seed.
We pointed out that Christ and the Church constitute the spiritual Seed--"If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's Seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29.) We pointed out that this spiritual Seed is not developed under the Law Covenant, because it was not made with us, but with the natural seed--with Israel, Moses being its mediator. We pointed out that the New Covenant is not the one under which we are developed, because it also is to be made with natural Israel, and is to be merely an enlargement of the Mosaic Law Covenant. We cited in proof of this that the New Covenant is to be made with Israel as per the Divine promise. (Jer. 31:31.) We pointed out that that New Covenant will bring blessings of Restitution to Israel (and to all mankind through Israel), taking away the stony heart of selfishness and sin and restoring a heart of flesh, of tenderness, sympathy, righteousness and Divine likeness, as was Adam's when he was created in the image and likeness of God.
We exhorted the dear friends to faithfulness to their covenant of sacrifice. We pointed out the privilege of service now granted to the Church, and urged the laying aside of every earthly weight and hindrance and pressing toward the Mark for the Prize of our High, Heavenly Calling.
The afternoon service was for the public; the topic was "The Judgment of the Great White Throne." We were surprised at so large an audience for an afternoon service on a week day. Approximately eight hundred crowded the hall, some of them standing during the entire service--over two hours. Here Brother Luttichau served us as interpreter, as Brother Koetitz had done in Germany. We had most excellent attention. It was a pleasure to watch the earnest countenances and to note how the Truth seemed to be absorbed with eagerness. Our Copenhagen visit was certainly much enjoyed. Some of the friends accompanied us to the station as we proceeded to Stockholm. The Danish friends more than ever impressed us with their warmth of heart and loving devotion to the Truth.
ONE DAY AT STOCKHOLM
Our night journey brought us in the morning to Stockholm. Brother Lundborg, the Society's representative in Sweden, boarded the train before we reached Stockholm. As we passed through the station we were greeted most cordially by about a hundred of the dear Swedish friends, with whom we shook hands. Unable to speak their language, or they to speak ours, except through the interpreter, we nevertheless exchanged very cordial greetings, and the expression of the eye told us, as truly as could the mouth, that the "fellowship of kindred minds, is like to that above."
Here our address to the friends was along the same lines as at Copenhagen. We emphasized the fact that the Church (The Christ) comes into relationship with God's Plan, not under the Law Covenant of Moses, which still continues with the Jewish people, nor under Israel's New Law Covenant, which has not yet supplanted the Old Law Covenant, and whose Mediator will be the greater Prophet, Priest and King, the spiritual Messiah, Head and Body. We pointed out that this Gospel Age is for the special purpose of developing the great Mediator--the great Messiah through whom the New Covenant of Restitution will be inaugurated with fleshly Israel for the blessing of all the families of the earth. We emphasized the fact that all those who suffer with Christ are to reign with him, and only those who now become dead with him to earthly hopes and interests will live with him as members of the Bride on the spirit plane of glory. We exhorted the dear friends [R4806 : page 132] to an earnest appreciation of this wonderful privilege, this special salvation granted to the Church in advance of the earthly salvation which God has promised to the world during the "Times of Restitution of all things, spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began."--Acts 3:19-23.
At the evening service the hall was jammed; about a thousand were present, and probably as many more were unable to gain admittance. We greatly regretted that a sufficiently large hall or auditorium could not be obtained on a week night except for a larger sum than the friends and the Society felt justified in spending. About a hundred stood in the aisles for two hours while an overflow meeting was held in another hall in the same building. To these we sent the promise that we would address them a few words later. Fulfilling our agreement, we addressed the second audience of about three hundred for over half an hour, after 10 p.m. Surely such deep interest and close attention indicates that earnest Christians amongst the Swedes are awakening to the fact that they have enjoyed only a part of the "good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people."
ONE DAY AT OREBRO
We took an early morning train for Orebro and arrived in the Society's Swedish headquarters at about 11 o'clock. The afternoon meeting was held in a little hall generally used by the friends on Sundays. This time it was taxed to its capacity, many standing during the service or exchanging seats with each other. Here we addressed the friends along the same lines, believing that a clear understanding of the Covenants signifies a clear understanding of the Divine Plan, and the very best preparation for a life of consecration in harmony with that Plan.
We emphasized the fact that The Christ is the Vine-- that Jesus is the Root, and his faithful members branches in him. We reminded the friends that at the present time our membership in the Vine is tentative; that only those who bring forth the fruitage of the Vine will be allowed to remain in it. We quoted the Master's words, Every branch in me that beareth not fruit, my Father, the Husbandman, taketh away, and every branch which beareth fruit, he pruneth, that it may bring forth more fruit. Thus the trials and difficulties of the narrow way of self-sacrifice are seen to be the methods by which the Heavenly Father fits and prepares his holy ones, his consecrated Church, for the completion of the divine nature in the First Resurrection. Thus he fits and prepares them as members of the great Prophet, Priest, King, Mediator for the glorious work to which he has called them in the Anointed One. From this standpoint alone can the trials and difficulties and sacrifices and the drinking of the Lord's cup of suffering be appreciated. As he was, so are we in this world.
Here, as at other places, our discourse to the interested was followed by a question meeting. The questions indicated a very intelligent grasp of the Divine Plan and the interested faces showed that even the deepest features of consecration were appreciated, and that nearly all of those present were fully submitted to the Lord and anxious to know and to do his will--even unto death.
The public meeting was held in a large hall, which was crowded to the very limit. Notwithstanding the fact that a minister of the city had made an attack upon us through the public press, slandering us, and saying various evil things against us falsely, because of our faithfulness to the cause of Christ, and probably because of envy, hundreds of people were unable to gain admittance, and many in attendance stood for the entire two hours, and more, of our discourse. We have the satisfaction of believing that many of those who were present understood and appreciated our message respecting the Two Salvations, one for the Church, on the heavenly plane, and another yet to come for the world, on the earthly plane, by a Judgment and Restitution.
We pointed out the judgment or trial of the Church and the things necessary for her testing and proving as to her worthiness of the divine nature in association with her Redeemer. We also pointed out the very different judgment of the world under the Messianic Kingdom, when all mankind will be separated as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats, as described in Matthew 25:32. We pointed out that the sheep at the end of the Millennial Age will get the earthly Kingdom, Paradise restored, and that the goats will go into destruction [R4807 : page 132] in the Second Death, symbolized by fire, and that this will be everlasting punishment, from which they will not be recovered by any redemption or resurrection. We feel sure that a good impression was left at Orebro, and that some will make still further investigations. In all cases these meetings are to be followed by other meetings, in which other features of Present Truth will be set before those who have an ear to hear and an appetite for spiritual things.
ONE DAY AT CHRISTIANIA
Another night's ride brought us to Christiania, the capital of Norway, where the Society is represented by Brother Lindkvist. This dear Brother, who served as our interpreter in Norwegian, came to Stockholm to meet us, as did also two brethren from Finland, who accompanied us. Their activities in the service of the Truth were mentioned in THE WATCH TOWER not long since. The Christiania class of Bible Students, although small, seems very earnest. With them were representatives from various parts of Norway, some having come as many as six hundred miles.
Our meeting with the interested ones was a privilege and a pleasure. With them also we discussed God's Covenants. We laid special emphasis upon the fact that God's call is not to the different churches of Christendom, but to the one Church of Christ. We quoted the text, "Gather my saints together unto me [saith the Lord]; those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." We called special attention to the fact that the covenant of Christ is a covenant of sacrifice. We saw that Jesus, the great Captain and Forerunner of our salvation, entered into such a covenant with the Father--that he sacrificed his earthly life, all earthly hopes and interests, that he might become the great Prophet, Priest, King, Mediator, between God and man, and that as a reward he was highly exalted to the divine nature, necessary for him before he could accomplish the great work of blessing the world, as the spiritual Seed of Abraham.
We called special attention also to the fact that the Church's covenant, like that of her Lord, is a covenant of sacrifice. We are to walk in the Redeemer's footsteps. We are to take up the cross and follow him. We are to suffer with him if we would reign with him. We are to join with him in his covenant of sacrifice. This is the Apostle's exhortation, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable unto God and your reasonable service."--Rom. 12:1.
We pointed out that thus Isaac died "in a figure"; we read the Apostle's words, "Ye, brethren, as Isaac was, [R4807 : page 133] are the children of promise," "heirs of the promise"-- "in thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." We sought to specially impress the great truth that only those who thus suffer with Christ, sacrificing earthly interests, will gain the great prize of the high calling. The dear friends gave closest attention, our little meeting room being crowded to the doors and beyond, with the aisles full and some sitting upon the platform at our feet. We were assured of the earnest desire of many to gain the great spiritual prize--obtainable through the First Resurrection--to be kings and priests unto God and unto Christ and reign with him a thousand years.--Rev. 20:4.
The leading Christiania newspaper, on the afternoon of our coming, contained a vile attack, surely instigated by the Adversary, but coming, alas! from the pen of one whom, we understand, had made profession of being a minister of Christ. Slander and false words have been the weapons of the enemies of the Truth from the beginning, and the Master has warned us that such experiences were his and must be ours if faithful. We remember, alas, that the Master and the Apostles were persecuted by the professed ministers of God--so were all the reformers. And do we not read, Whosoever will live godly in this present time shall suffer persecution, and again, "So persecuted they the prophets (teachers) which were before you." We were not, therefore, surprised, nor did we feel angry. Rather we felt sorry for those so captivated by error and used by the Adversary.
But if Satan's motive was to hinder the people from coming to hear the Good Tidings he again failed. The house was crowded, about a thousand being present, about two hundred of them standing while hundreds were turned away. Our topic was, "The sinner a hundred years old, cut off, and yet but a child." We pointed out the difference between the salvation of the Church and that of the world. We read what the Scriptures say respecting Messiah's glorious Kingdom and the blessed opportunities it will afford to all mankind, to be lifted from sin and death conditions and be brought to a knowledge of the Truth and to a full, fair opportunity for deciding either for righteousness and eternal life, its reward, or for unrighteousness and eternal death, its punishment, and that this blessed opportunity of rescue from the death penalty, the result of Adam's sin, has been secured for every member of Adam's race through our Redeemer's merit, through him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.
The next morning we bade farewell to the friends of Christiania and vicinity as they sang to us on the station platform--"God be with you till we meet again." This was indeed a feature in connection with many of the partings.
Our London appointment for Sunday, April 2d, required that we make the closest possible connections on the return journey. We traveled via the West Shore Line from Christiania to Copenhagen. The friends en route had been notified in advance of the train we took and the places it would make stops, so they were on the lookout for us. At one station a party of nine met us and journeyed with us for about an hour. We had pleasure in breaking to them the bread of life, and in reading their joy of heart in their shining faces.
Brother Lundborg accompanied us and served as interpreter. He advised that they had not much of this world's goods, else they would have attended one of the conventions which we addressed, and which continued after our departure. We had a happy time together in considering the gracious things of our Heavenly Father's Plan. At the next station we were met by still others who had come a distance. One of the dear friends, through the interpreter, said, "I wonder if I will ever have another day as happy as this." Truly there is a power of the Gospel of the Love of God that is unknown to those who are exercised solely by the fear of eternal torment. With the true Gospel comes the peace of God which passeth all understanding, the joy of the Lord, which the world can neither give nor take away.
"BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH AND I WILL GIVE
THEE A CROWN OF LIFE"
At Halmstad we found about twenty of the friends waiting for us on the platform. Our stay was short, but in those five minutes we congratulated the dear friends upon the blessing of the Truth which had reached their ears and hearts, and extended assurances of our Christian love for them and for all the dear household of faith. We gave to these, as to others, our parting message, the Master's words, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." From these dear friends also we received the assurance of their joy in the Lord and their appreciation of the Truth, of their desire to be amongst the overcomers who will inherit the Kingdom, according to the Master's promises.
Helsingborg was reached about 9 p.m. Shifting of the cars there permitted an exchange of Christian greetings, and a little address of about fifteen minutes, in which we endeavored to impress some of the prominent features of the Divine Plan, and especially the privilege of the Church in connection with the covenant of sacrifice made by our Head, thus opening the way, upon the same terms of sacrifice, for his faithful followers.
About 10:30 we reached Copenhagen, where about twenty of the class met and greeted us at the station and accompanied us to the south-bound station. As we had already addressed these dear friends in connection with the Copenhagen meeting we entered into no doctrinal particulars. We exchanged with them Christian love and good wishes for the remainder of the journey of life and for a share in the Kingdom.
The night ride of 11 hours brought us to Hamburg, Germany. Here about twenty-five met us in the station with heartiest greetings. They had provided a dinner in honor of our coming. We partook of it with great pleasure, fellowshiping with the entire company through Brother Koetitz as interpreter, and also through others who spoke English. After dinner we repaired to the usual meeting room of the class, where we received a more formal expression of welcome, following with an address of about an hour, which specially referred to the Covenants. We tried to make as clear as possible the distinction between the Old Law Covenant, established by Moses, the Mediator, by means of the sacrifice of bulls and goats, and its antitype, the New Law Covenant, to be established upon better sacrifices and by the [R4808 : page 133] better Mediator, the antitypical Moses--Christ and the Church, his Body.--Heb. 9:23.
We were pleased that the train connections gave us in all nearly three hours of fellowship with the friends at Hamburg. They gave evidence of earnestness, zeal, and informed us that their numbers had doubled within the past year. We specially rejoiced that their love and zeal had also kept pace.
We are writing this on the train speeding toward London, which, God willing, we will reach tomorrow morning, April 2d, in season for meeting with the London friends, and for the public service at Albert Hall at night.