QUESTION MEETING--OAKLAND CONVENTION
(Conducted by Brother Russell)
QUESTION.--Do we, the Church, receive our full share in the anointing instantly or gradually?
Answer.--The expression, "anointing of the Spirit," is slightly different from the expression, "begetting of the Spirit." The thought connected with the word "begetting" is that of an instantaneous work, while the thought connected with "anointing" is a more gradual work. We are under the process of anointing from the time we enter the Lord's family, from the time we are recognized as members of the family of Christ, and receive a place in the glorious company of Royal Priests. We know that some fail to get their full anointing. Some of those who have been properly received, and begotten of the Holy Spirit, will fail to be fully anointed, and therefore will fail to be of the Royal Priesthood Class. They will be of the Great Company Class instead. We therefore think that the expression, "anointing of the Spirit," must include that mollifying and mellowing development which comes as we grow in grace and in knowledge, and not merely the time when we were anointed (begotten) to come into the family of God.
CHANGE OF FEET-MEMBERS ONE BY ONE
Question.--Is there any Scripture which shows that the Feet-members of Christ will all be changed at one time?
Answer.--We believe to the contrary--that instead of all the Feet-members being changed at one time, it will be a gradual work. One may be changed tonight, another tomorrow, etc.; and yet their change may be said to be all at one time in the sense that it is all in the Harvest time, all in the end of the Age. The change of some will be in the close of [R5728 : page 217] the Harvest period. As an individual matter, it will be one person after another. The Apostle says, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed"; for "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." Our change will be "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." It will not be a gradual change to the individual, but an instantaneous change. Instead of sleeping, as the saints of the past have done, when our time comes to die, ours will be an instantaneous change. The Psalmist prophetically says, "I have said, ye are gods, and all of you children of the Most High. But ye shall die like men"; and this Scripture we understand to [R5729 : page 217] refer to the dying process that comes to all of the Church, the same as to mankind in general. We are New Creatures, and hence the expression that we shall "die like men." As men die, so we will die. Men do not generally die in bunches; so we would think it strange if many of us should die at one time. The world will not discern any difference between our death and the death of other men.
SIN-OFFERING MADE BY HIGH PRIEST
Question.--For what sins do the Church suffer?
Answer.--The members of the Church suffer for any sins of the flesh they do not properly repent of and properly make amends for. The Apostle says that if we would judge ourselves, if we would punish ourselves, correct ourselves, we would not be judged of the Lord. If we would thoroughly attend to these matters ourselves, we would not need to be chastened by the Lord. When He finds it necessary to deal with us, it is that we may not be condemned with the world.
The whole world is in a condemned condition. God is choosing some who will be justified to life everlasting on the spirit plane. If we are faithful it will not be necessary for the Lord to punish us, but rather to encourage and help us. This would not mean that we shall not have trials and difficulties, but it does mean that if we chasten ourselves we shall not be punished by the Lord for our sins, for the weaknesses of our flesh which we might have avoided, and for which we are to some extent responsible.
We are not to suppose that a New Creature would sin wilfully. If he thus sinned, he would be no longer a New Creature. He would have gone back, like the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. The sins that the New Creature would suffer for would be those sins of the flesh which he might have avoided, and which he failed to correct. These sufferings would give him a sharper appreciation of his duties; they would be disciplining for his good.
But this may not be the thought of the questioner. He may mean, "What has the Church to do with the Sin-offering?" The Church has nothing to do with the Sin-offering, as a Church. It is the Lord Jesus who is the responsible One in the whole matter. In the type it was not the under priests that did the offering, but the high priest. So it was the Lord Jesus that offered up Himself. He offers us up as His members, but He does not do this contrary to our wills. We desire that He will offer us up as parts of Himself, that we may thus have a share in "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that shall follow." It is His merit alone that gives virtue to our sacrifice.
The whole responsibility, therefore, is in the hands of the great High Priest, our Lord. We share with Him in the world's Sin-offering, as His members. We participate in the sufferings which are counted as His sufferings. You and I could not atone for sins by our sufferings--either for our own sins or for those of others. That is all in the Lord's hands.
CHRISTIANS' SUFFERINGS DIVINELY SUPERVISED
Question.--Do the sufferings that we experienced before coming into Present Truth benefit us as Christians?
Answer.--I do not know what the questioner had in mind. The question seems to imply that he refers to a class already Christians. If that is his thought, and he refers to the sufferings we have as Christians before we receive the light of Present Truth, I would say, "Yes." All the sufferings of a Christian are under Divine supervision, and many of us, I believe, before coming into Present Truth, had certain experiences of trials and difficulties that worked out for us a great blessing, and prepared us to receive the Truth. I have known many who have given me their experiences along this line. They were so engrossed in business that they would not have taken the time to study the Truth.
I knew a gentleman in the grocery business, for instance. He was a Christian, and had purchased the six volumes of the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. But he could not take time to study them. He did not realize that the greatest business in the world is the Lord's business. The grocery business was his greatest business for the time being. The Lord very graciously let him break his leg. He had to remain quiet until the bones were knit. He told me afterwards that his enforced vacation was the best time in his life; for he read the six volumes. Before that he had never had time; after that he always had time.
It was the same with a certain sister. This sister said to me one day, "I wondered at one time very much why the Lord let my hands get all crippled up with rheumatism. I had always been very active up to that time, knitting or sewing or doing something else. Then my hands became all knotted up with rheumatism, as you see them. I could not sew or knit or do anything else; my hands were useless. Finally, I found that, by trying, I could manage to turn over the leaves of a book; and I began to read. After reading awhile, the thought came to me, God let your hands twist up like that so you could read."
These are some of the ways in which various ones of the Lord's people were blessed and helped to come into Present Truth. God has a way of dealing with His children. If we are His, then the next thing is to be fully submissive to His will and to be glad to follow His providences.
Question.--Is it manifesting the spirit of Babylon to have the Photo-Drama of Creation exhibited in a theater after the theater manager has just shown his regular production?
Answer.--It would not seem that way to me. If so it would be wrong to talk to a man about the Truth after he had been hearing some bad talk. This would seem like reasoning in a circle. Each one has a right, however, to use his own judgment. If any of you are in the Photo-Drama work, do not do anything to hurt your conscience. As for me, I would be glad to show the Drama to 5,000 after they had attended a regular theater, if I had the opportunity.
PROPER AND IMPROPER ADVERTISING
Question.--Is it showing the spirit of Babylon to solicit advertising contracts from merchants for space on Photo-Drama announcements?
Answer.--It would not be proper to say to a merchant, "Advertise with us and thus contribute something to a good cause." That would not do. It would be begging for the Lord's cause, a thing we are not authorized to do. But if I were a merchant and had an opportunity to put an advertisement into a Photo-Drama announcement, I would think it would be one of the best chances of advertising I ever had. I would think I was receiving a benefit. If for $1 or $2 I could have my business card circulated all over the neighborhood, I would say, "These little leaflets showing about the Drama will interest the people; and while reading the notes about the pictures, they will also read about my business." I would think I had good value for my money. If any man thought that he was not getting good value he ought not to put his advertisement in. It is a purely business transaction.
In soliciting the advertisement, one should not mention the religious feature. We do not do this at all. It is purely business, so far as the merchants are concerned; and I would let them advertise all that they choose. The fact that we do not permit advertisements in THE WATCH TOWER does not signify that to do so would be wrong. I see nothing wrong in a merchant's advertising his wares. If I were publishing a daily newspaper, I would expect to sell advertising space.
A brother who owns a newspaper consulted me a little about his advertising. He said that the merchants in his vicinity were accustomed to advertise, and that some of the best advertisers were dealers in liquor and tobacco. I told him that I would not put any liquor advertisements in. I would put in advertisements of shoes or clothing or groceries or hardware, and would solicit such advertising, if I were running a newspaper. I see nothing wrong in advertisements or in newspapers. I would see nothing wrong in putting six or eight pages of advertisements into THE WATCH TOWER, if the articles advertised were staples that every one wanted to buy. But since THE WATCH TOWER goes into the home and represents me in a special way, I like to have all the space used for religious matter--not, however, because the advertisements would be wrong.
Once we put into THE WATCH TOWER a notice about Miracle Wheat. Many of you saw it. We believe we did right in putting that notice in. We also put in a notice about some kind of beans and one about some special cotton. Some of the friends were benefited by each of these notices. We also put in a notice recently about a cure for cancer. We [R5729 : page 218] have had hundreds of letters come in from Truth friends, and hundreds from others; and a great many have reported good results. To some extent this has helped forward the Truth. People saw that we were not trying to get their money, saw that we were trying to do them good, and became interested.
Question.--Is it showing the spirit of Babylon to cooperate in methods promulgated from I.B.S.A. headquarters, Brooklyn, without closely scrutinizing those methods?
Answer.--I would think that each one would have to use his own judgment about this matter. If anybody had been very badly "stung," he should be very much on his guard. If he had not been "stung," he would properly not be so much on his guard. It is quite right to use your own judgment about the matter. So far as the headquarters at Brooklyn is concerned, and my own identification with the work there, let me say: everything is under my supervision. Nothing emanates from there contrary to my conscience. But you must use your consciences. While there are many wise and capable Brethren at the Brooklyn office, yet by present arrangement they are my assistants under my general supervision as long as I live. That was the arrangement made when I turned my property over to the Society, years ago. [R5730 : page 218] This applies also to the Society's work in foreign lands.
TRUE DEFINITION OF BABYLON
Question.--If the I.B.S.A. headquarters should promulgate methods not understood or approved by us are we to apply Rev. 18:4, "Come out of her, My people," and if so, how?
Answer.--I think if the I.B.S.A. can be shown to be a section of Babylon, we all ought to get out of it. If we all get out on the same side, where shall we be then? I think we shall be pretty close together if all get out on the same side.
The word "Babylon" signifies, "confusion," and in Revelation 18:4, it is used in reference to mixing the things of God and of men. There was a time when, throughout Europe, the kingdoms came very much under the influence of the Roman Catholic Church. To some extent those kingdoms came under the influence of Christianity--to the extent that there was Christianity in the Roman Catholic Church.
It is well to emphasize that there was a time when the Roman Catholic Church was the only Church in the world, and when people knew no better than to be in it and of it. Where would they have been, otherwise? Then there came a time when the Church officials, those who were high in the Church management, succeeded in coming into affiliation with the Roman Empire; and the Roman Church became its successor. Then the Church of Rome began to sway the nations and to tell the people of this or that principality, "Your king is not in harmony with us. You can select another one." Then there would be a revolution. The Pope and the Catholic Church were back of these changes. That is the way it began. There is where the illicit marriage of the nominal Church and the world took place.
In many European nations this has now been gradually changed. In some the Church and the state are completely separated. But this change has not been made in Austro-Hungary. The people are strictly under the control of the Roman Catholic Church. The Church has to do with everything. In Great Britain, the representatives of the Church of England sit in Parliament, as part of the Government. The Church bishops are members of the House of Lords. In Germany and Sweden, it is very much the same. Their government and God's Government are linked together in the minds of the people.
This state of things God calls Babylon--the professed Church of Christ being married to worldly governments. These have been called Christian governments by mistake. They are not Christian. Look at present conditions in Europe. The governments at war are not manifesting the Spirit of Christ. There are Christians in all these governments, but the governments themselves are not Christian. The nominal Church has been responsible for this state of things. The situation has so warped men's minds that they think their present course the right one. They think that Christ is now reigning. In their minds the reigning king and the parliament represent God on earth. The Lord would have us separate from all this.
There is another way in which the spirit of Babylon manifests itself; as, for instance, in the Protestant churches-- Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, etc. They pander to the worldly spirit. They take note of the rich, trying to work in with the rich and get the rich into positions in the Church. Thus they recognize money above spirituality. In many cases money runs the church. That is not the basis under which the true Church operates. There is a system in connection with all of them, even in the Baptist Church, the most liberal of all.
The Baptists will say, "We are in no bondage; we have no ecclesiastical control at all." They do not realize that the spirit of Babylon has gotten into the church. Suppose we have here a congregation of Baptists. As a congregation they call their own minister and attend to their own affairs. A certain minister, then, Brother A., is called to serve them. But he must be ordained as pastor of this congregation. So they send for some other Baptist ministers--say Brother B., Brother C., and Brother D. to ordain him. But Brother A. does not stand in very well with the ministers called to do the ordaining. So they say, "We will not ordain Brother A.; he is irregular." And the congregation ask, "You cannot ordain him?" Then they reply, "We have nothing at all against Brother A., but we will not ordain him." So you see the preachers have the rule, and the people do not know it.
The Baptists will tell you that the preachers have no authority at all. But the Baptists cannot do a thing without the consent of the preachers; this they do not seem to know. The preachers hold a power that God did not repose there. God never authorized any men to go and ordain another man to preach the Gospel. God does the ordaining; and it is for the Church to decide, according to its best judgment, whom the Lord ordains or calls as a pastor. All this ordination by men is Babylonish, a species of machinery to manage the people. It is all worked just like politics.
Nevertheless the Baptists are the nearest free, of all so-called "orthodox" sects. The people in the Methodist Church have almost no liberty, except the privilege of giving money. That is the principal liberty they enjoy. The bishops rule in co-operation with the presiding elders. At each annual conference the presiding elder and the bishop have it fixed what minister is to go here and what one there. The minister that does not stand by the presiding elder will go to the country place which pays only $400; while the one who does stand by him, though no more capable, will be sent to a place that pays $1,000 or more. I have had several Methodist ministers tell me this. They complain about it, but do not want to get out of a job altogether. That is not the liberty wherewith Christ makes free. I realize that this is a system. Let me show you what a system it is. The bishops control the presiding elders, and under them the presiding elders control the preachers; and so it is all the way down to the class leaders. They have their head or chief amongst them. They have a human head. The General Conference is the highest authority.
So the Presbyterian Church has a head in the way of a General Assembly which has the deciding of matters. All this is according to the course of this world. The simplicity of Christ is not generally observed, except amongst the friends of the International Bible Students Association. There it is very general, and the Word of God is observed. They learn to take notice when things are going wrong. The simplicity of the matter is evident to all.
On one occasion I was called upon by a minister of the Reformed Church. He wanted to know how I managed my church. I said to him, "Brother __________ I have no church." He said, "You know what I mean." I answered, "I want you to know what I mean too. We claim that there is only one Church. If you belong to that Church, you belong to our Church." He looked at me in surprise. Then he said, "You have an organization; how many members are there?" I replied, "I cannot tell; we do not keep any membership rolls." "You do not keep any list of the membership?" "No. We do not keep any list; their names are written in Heaven." He asked, "How do you have your election?" I said, "We announce an election; and any or all of God's people, who are consecrated and are accustomed to meet with this company, or congregation, may have the privilege of expressing their judgment of who would be the Lord's preference for elders and deacons of the congregation." "Well," he said, "that is simplicity itself." I then added, "We pay no salaries; there is nothing to make people quarrel. We never take up a collection." "How do you get the money?" he asked. I replied, "Now, Dr. __________, if I tell you what is the simplest truth you will hardly be able to believe it. When people get interested in this way, they find no basket placed under their nose. But they see there are expenses. They say to themselves, 'This hall costs something, and I see that free lunch is served between meetings, for those living at some distance. How can I get a little money into this thing, anyway?" He looked at me as if he thought, "What do you take me for --a greenhorn?" I said, "Now, Dr. __________, I am telling you the plain truth. They do ask me this very question, 'How can [R5730 : page 219] I get a little money into this cause?' When one gets a blessing and has any means, he wants to use it for the Lord. If he has no means, why should we prod him for it?"
There would be nothing to come out of, as an organization, if one is an International Bible Student. You cannot get out of anything you have not gone into. If any one can tell me how he got into Babylon by getting interested in the affairs of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY, let him show me how he will jump out, and I will jump with him.
ISRAEL'S PRIESTS DIED TYPICALLY
Question.--Please explain Hebrews 9:27: "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."
Answer.--This is explained better, perhaps, in the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES than I can take time to explain it here. It is difficult to explain a matter like this in three to five minutes, because the whole thought has gotten into people's heads upside down and back end first. They all think it refers to the time when people die. The Apostle Paul, in that statement in Hebrews, is giving a lesson on type and antitype. He is comparing the work of the Jewish priests every year with the work of Christ, and telling how these earthly priests went into the Holy, and afterwards into the Most Holy. The priest took with him the blood of a bullock, then of a goat. He went into the Holy; and, after the cloud of incense had passed through the second veil and covered the Mercy-Seat, he went into the Most Holy, representing Heaven itself.
The antitype is that our Lord Jesus offered up Himself as [R5731 : page 219] the bullock. The bullock represented Jesus as a man; the goat represented the human nature of the Church. As High Priest, Jesus slew the bullock; at baptism He offered the sacrifice of His humanity. The typical priest took His two hands full of incense and crumbled it in the fire on the incense altar--that represented the three and one-half years of our Lord's ministry. This picture of the incense falling upon the fire represented the glorious qualities of Jesus as He came in contact with the trials of life. In every case His faithfulness yielded a sweet perfume.
When Satan came to Him with temptations, His loyalty was an offering of sweet odor to God. When He had the suggestion come to Him to avoid giving what He had agreed to give, He put the temptation away and would have nothing to do with it. "The cup that My Father hath poured for Me shall I not drink it?" was ever His sentiment. The sweet incense went before Him and appeared in the presence of God before He finished His course at Calvary. His death upon the cross was the last crumb of incense falling into the fire, in the antitype. Then our High Priest went under the veil--into death. He was parts of three days under the veil, arising on the other side of the veil on the third day. This was the resurrection of Jesus. He arose on the spirit side of the veil, a spirit being. Then, forty days later, He sprinkled upon the Mercy-Seat in the Most Holy, in Heaven, the blood of Atonement on behalf of the Church.
The Apostle here is trying to get the Church to see that the Jewish high priest did something of this kind in type. The Jewish high priest went into the Most Holy of the Tabernacle, not without blood. That blood, in every case, represented the blood of the high priest--his life. Every high priest, when he passed under that veil on the Day of Atonement, was in danger of being stricken dead. If he had not done perfectly, according to the requirements of the Lord, he would have died as he attempted to pass that veil, under that curtain. And so it would have been death to Jesus if He had not done perfectly the will of the Father.
Then the Apostle declares, "It is appointed unto men [men-priests--get the thought] once to die [typically, in passing under the veil] and after that the judgment," or decision. They typified their death in the sacrifice of the bullock, and carrying its blood under the veil. If the priest had not done it perfectly, he died. The bullock represented the priest. After he had sacrificed it he passed with its blood under the second veil. "After death the judgment." There is no reference here to the death of mankind, but merely to these priests offering their sacrifice. Jesus died, passed the second veil, and was raised on the third day. After the high priest in the type had made his offering, and had passed beyond the second veil, and sprinkled the blood upon the Mercy-Seat, he came out and blessed the people.
Our Lord Jesus, the great High Priest, has not yet come out to bless the people. The antitype is a very large thing. Jesus went under the veil into the Heavenly Holy over eighteen hundred years ago. He has not yet appeared for the blessing of the world. But "To those that look for Him, He shall appear a second time, not as a Sin-Offering, but unto salvation." This is the best I can do on this question in the limited time I can give here.
Question.--Does not the attainment of the Divine nature mean attainment to the image of God in which man in the beginning was created? Does not the word nature here have the significance of disposition, character?
Answer.--It does not! Man never had the Divine nature. The Apostle Paul points out, in discussing this subject of natures, in connection with the resurrection, that there is one flesh of fish, another of beasts, another of birds, and another of men. The fish does not have the same kind of flesh the bird has. We all know the difference. The flesh of fish, and of birds, and of beasts, is all different.
Then comes man, the highest of all the earthly beings. The Apostle also calls our attention to higher forms of existence; he calls attention to another plane of life. He shows that man, the highest of the earthly creatures, is lower than the lowest of the spiritual beings. He tells us about angels, principalities, powers, and the Divine nature, the highest of all. The perfect human being is God manifest in the flesh. It is as close to the Divine nature as the flesh could come. It represents the Divine nature as nearly as is possible for a human being. The angels are also in God's image or likeness; the cherubim and seraphim as well, though on a higher scale than man. The highest of all is the Divine nature. That nature only God had originally. And that kind of spirit nature which God has He gave to Jesus at His resurrection, as a reward for His faithfulness. Jesus did not have it before He became a man; but as the Father has inherent life, i.e. life in Himself, not a life derived from food and water, "So hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself." We cannot understand that kind of life. I cannot imagine how God could give a life that has no need of anything to sustain it. You never had any experience along that line. I never had. We would have been as great as God is to fully comprehend Him.
We see the difference between apprehending and comprehending. To comprehend is to take in fully. To apprehend is to touch, or lay hold upon. You and I can apprehend, or lay hold of God, but not very clearly, because we are so little and He is so great. We cannot comprehend God. We can simply touch Him, or apprehend Him.
The Apostle dwelt upon this matter; he was apprehending, or touching God, as God had apprehended or touched him. God has laid hold of us, come in touch with us. We do not come in touch with God and say, "We will have Him for our God." He laid hold upon us and told us about His arrangement for us. We were responsive to it; we thought how wonderful that He would thus take notice of us. So we are seeking to apprehend that for which we are apprehended of God. Man was not created in God's image in the sense that he is of the Divine nature, which is far above cherubim and seraphim, while man is a little lower than even angels.
Question.--Cannot Revelation 7:9-17be applied to the saved world of mankind, rather than to a Great Company class? Is there not a very serious danger in teaching that there is to be a Great Company on the spirit plane, and that those who lack a thorough appreciation of the High Calling, and a consecration thereto, will be saved notwithstanding?
Answer.--It would be very dangerous for any person who does not see a thing to presume to teach it. The questioner evidently does not understand this subject, and that cuts the answer short. When we leave a subject as the Lord puts it, we have it right. "The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully." "We speak that we do know." This is the privilege that we intend to have until we die. Is it not?
"IT WILL SURELY COME--IT WILL NOT TARRY"
Question.--What does Habakkuk 2:3mean? "For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie. Though it tarry, wait for it; for it will surely come; it will not tarry."
Answer.--This is explained on the first page of every issue of THE WATCH TOWER. God has provided in His Word a great vision, a great revelation. It is a picture, so to speak. He has given this picture of His Plan more or less clearly through the Prophets and through the Law. The Jubilees prefigured Restitution to all the world. Other features of the Law, such as the Atonement Day sacrifices, etc., pictured other features of God's Plan. The Passover represented still other parts. These pictures were all harmonized into [R5731 : page 220] one great picture, or view--God's great Plan to bless the world. "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed," God declared to Abraham. All this went to make up the great vision, or picture, that God purposed to give His people.
In proportion as we come to have the mind of God, we can understand more and more clearly what these things mean. The most important part of the picture was that Messiah would come, and that He would set up His Kingdom. All of these promises would be parts of that great view, or vision. Its fulfilment would seem to tarry long. Does it seem as though God had forgotten that promise to Abraham? the Prophet seems to query. It has sometimes seemed as though God had forgotten it. "But," declares the Prophet, "it will surely come; it will not tarry." It does not really tarry. There might be various times when we would expect to see more than we do see. We may have expected to see more of the trouble upon the world before this. The year 1915 is now more than half gone, and I think it very doubtful whether we shall see all we had expected in this year. It looks as though we were trying to hasten the fulfilment of the vision.
But the vision is still for an appointed time; and we are not to give it up. We trust ourselves to God's arrangement. It was not the Lord's way to have everything go off in October, 1914. I do not know how much may yet happen between now and October, 1915. If I were to give a guess, I would not be able to see how our expectations could all be realized between now and October, 1915. I hope they will. I shall wait longer than October, if necessary. The vision is sure. All these blessed things are positively certain to come; it is simply a matter of His time and of our understanding of His time. When you and I have fully grasped the main feature of all this matter, we are surely close to it. It was a very close hit that this great Time of Trouble began near October, 1914; and it is going on now at high speed. None of the prayers that it may stop are being answered. If the time of the world war had been merely a guess, it would certainly have been a great hit. It would have been a [R5732 : page 220] miracle. We have come very close to it, if not exactly.
Question.--Pastor Russell says, "The children of Israel's journey through the wilderness toward the land of Canaan was typical of the Christian's journey through this world of sin toward the Heavenly Canaan." Typical Israel did all their fighting after they got into the land of Canaan. Where is the antitypical Canaan, and what are the antitypical Canaanites, and how are they fought by antitypical Israel?
Answer.--The Apostle Paul intimates that this whole matter of Israel's history was typical of the experience of Christians. (1 Corinthians 10:11, margin.) But we need to be very cautious; for in some instances we are leaning, in a certain degree, to our own judgment. But my thought would be that this traveling toward Canaan typifies the attempt to enter into a proper relationship with God. Israel did not enter into Canaan as quickly as they might have done. If they had had proper faith they might have entered in very soon. They might at once have gone from Mount Sinai into the land of Canaan, and had God's blessing with them. They did not go in because of unbelief. So any of us who wandered through a wilderness state before coming into the family of God did so, not because it was necessary, but because we did not exercise sufficient faith. We did not need to wait forty years, or any period of time, but could have come quickly; by consecration we could have entered in at once.
But the majority were delayed. Like the Jews they did not enter in quickly. Instead of promptly entering into the blessings they might have had through the exercise of more faith, many wandered around many years. Joshua there represented Jesus, in type. The sooner the Jews would recognize Joshua and his leadership, the sooner would he cross Jordan and enter the land of Canaan. So the sooner we recognized that the Law could accomplish nothing for us, the sooner we ourselves, under Joshua (Jesus) got into Canaan. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, then began the wars with the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. These represent the weaknesses of our human nature that we are to battle against and overcome, that we may take possession of the whole Land of Promise, the privileges we have as the children of God.