Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
OUR LORD'S PAROUSIA AND EPIPHANY MISSIONS.
JESUS' SECOND ADVENT SEVENFOLD MISSION TO HIS OWN. IN ONE HOUR. SOME THOUGHTS ON REVELATION 17. THE HOUR OF REV. 17:12. GOD'S POST-APOSTOLIC MOUTHPIECES WHILE FALLIBLE ALWAYS GIVE THE TRUTH AS DUE. BEREAN QUESTIONS.
IN MAL. 3: 1-3 we have a passage that undoubtedly applies to our Lord's Second Advent, though in some of its particulars it has a secondary application, i.e., to the First Advent. With the former thought before us we will examine this passage, particularly vs. 2 and 3. The messenger (v. 1) that goes before the Lord, preparing His way, is antitypical Elijah (Mal. 4: 5, 6), who by the Holy Spirit, in rebuking the world for sin, righteousness and the judgment to come (John 16: 8-11), sought to prepare the world for our Lord's Second Advent. The Lord who comes to His temple is Jesus Christ in His Second Advent, while the temple itself is the true Church (1 Cor. 3: 16, 17; 2 Cor. 6: 16; Eph 2: 19-21). His coming to His temple occurred in 1874, as the first clause of v. 2 ("the day of His coming") and the signs of the times prove. The Lord is described as the one whom true Christians ("ye") seek and I delight in; for they earnestly longed, waited for and searched for His coming, because He was the delight of their hearts. Long did He seem to them to tarry; and to them His coming was sudden, because they were beforehand unaware of its manner and did not know of it, until about a year after He had come. But all along they had assurance as to the certainty of His coming—"Behold, He cometh" (v. 1; Rev. 22: 20). His coming, among other things, was as the Angel of the Covenant, the Administrator or Mediator of the New Covenant. Thus v. 1 gives us a brief
prophetic summary of the Gospel-Age mission of the Church and her ardent love for the Lord and her longing for His Second Advent. As such it is introductory to vs. 2 and 3. For this reason we have briefly commented on it as an introductory thought for more or less details to be brought out in this chapter on vs. 2 and 3, which prophetically describe our Lord's Second Advent mission to His own. Our study of these verses will show that His Second Advent mission toward them is sevenfold.
(2) In the two questions of v. 2 the first and second missions of His Second Advent are set forth: "But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth [literally, maketh manifest]?" Most Bible readers peruse it carelessly and superficially. To such these two questions mean the same thing; but a careful heed given to the exact wording of the questions soon reveals the fact that in each of them a different period and activity of our Lord's Second Advent is brought to our attention. These two periods are noted respectively by the expressions, "the day of His coming" and "when He maketh manifest." What is "the day of His coming"? We answer, the Parousia day; for that is the time, at its beginning, when His Second Advent set in. What is the period "when He maketh manifest" especially? We reply, the Epiphany day; for that is the special time when, by the bright shining of the Truth, He makes persons, principles and things manifest. Thus the terms of these two questions prove that different periods of time are respectively implied by them. This and additional matters are brought to our attention by the words abide and stand occurring in these questions. What is the force of the word translated abide in the first question? It means to sustain in the sense of enduring "hardships amid which one perseveres in his course. Thus when we say that an army sustained an attack, we not only mean that it resisted that attack, but
resisted it and drove back the attackers, i.e., not only endured it, but beat it off in the defeat of the attackers. This is the force of the word translated abide in this text. This, question, therefore, asks who will persevere as new creatures in the word and work of the Lord amid the difficult trials, attacks of the devil, the world and the flesh, during the Parousia. This question implies several things: (1) that to exercise such perseverance as new creatures would be very difficult indeed; (2) that some, not being careful to resist and fight, would fail to persevere as new creatures therein; and (3) that the others only by dint of hard endeavor would succeed to persevere as new creatures therein. In ultimate analysis this implies that some would cease to exist as new creatures and that others would continue so to exist, or, in other words, some would lose, and others would retain the Holy Spirit.
(3) This the text shows will characterize "the day of His coming," i.e., the Parousia day. Looking back now at the Parousia period, we recognize, from a contemplation of its five gatherings and siftings (Matt. 20: 1-16; 1 Cor. 10: 1- 14), that it was a period devoted to gathering the new creatures into the Parousia Truth and to testing them crucially, to the end that those who retained the Holy Spirit might continue to enjoy the Lord's favor and be manifest as such, and that those who failed to retain the Holy Spirit might be cut off entirely from the Lord's favor and be manifested as such, these activities effecting the separation of the Second Deathers from those retaining the Holy Spirit. Such trials and manifestations were generally, though not exclusively, enacted in and by the five harvest siftings—the No-Ransomism sifting beginning in 1878, the Infidelism sifting beginning in 1881, the Combinationism sifting beginning in 1891, the Reformism sifting beginning in 1901, and the Contradictionism sifting beginning in 1908. That
these siftings were calculated to manifest the Second Deathers as such is evident, when we consider, especially the first, in which the ransom was denied, the second, in which the Plan and Word of God, including the ransom, were denied, and the fifth, in which the hidden mystery and the Church's share in the sin-offering were denied (Heb. 10: 26-29). Thus, then, the Lord's Parousia activities, from the standpoint of the first question of our text, was to separate the Holy Spirit retainers from the Holy Spirit losers, the persevering new creatures from the Second Deathers. Hence we infer that one of our Lord's Second Advent missions was to separate the Second Deathers from among His real people; and this He actually did, and that almost entirely by the five harvest siftings.
(4) Another one of our Lord's Second Advent missions is the separation of the Great Company from the Little Flock. This will, by a careful examination of the second question, be seen to be true. We have above called attention to the proper translation of the second question: "Who shall stand when He maketh manifest?" and to this proper translation as implying the special Epiphany period to be meant by the expression, "when He maketh manifest." Thus the question covers the main Epiphany purpose in contrast with the main Parousia purpose covered by the first question. That the second question implies the separation of the Great Company from the Little Flock to be an Epiphany activity, is indicated by the meaning of its word stand, in contrast with the meaning of the word translated abide in the first question. What does this word stand, as used in verse, imply? Rom. 5: 2 gives us help to answer this question. Having in v. 1 spoken of our faith justification as the first stage of the Gospel-Age salvation, St. Paul in v. 2 speaks of the high calling as its second salvation stage in these words: "By whom
[Christ] also we have access by faith into this [high calling] grace wherein we stand." Here St. Paul shows us that the Faithful have their standing before God in the high calling. Accordingly, those who retain the high calling stand, while those who lose the high calling no longer stand in, but fall from it. Therefore, according to the second question of v. 2, the special thing determined during the Epiphany is whether those who had sustained the day of Christ's coming, the Parousia, will stand in, or fall from the high calling during the Epiphany. This implies that the Epiphany is the period for the separation of the Great Company from the Little Flock. Hence we infer that our text sets forth as the second of our Lord's Second Advent missions, the separation of the Great Company from the Flock.
(5) Other Scriptures, also, show this thought. In view of the fact that the Time of Trouble and the Epiphany are identical (see Vol. IV, Chapter I), and in view of the fact that the Great Company as a class, as distinct from individual crown-losers living throughout the Age (1 Cor. 5: 5; 1 Tim. 1: 19, 20), first comes into existence and is developed in the Time of Trouble (Rev. 7: 14), we infer that the Epiphany is the period in which the Great Company is dealt with, and that as one of the first steps in such dealing, its separation from the Little Flock must be enacted. Thus Rev. 7: 14, like our text, proves that the Epiphany is the time for the separation of the Great Company from the Little Flock. This thought is also given in 2 Tim. 4: 1: "Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead during His Epiphany and Kingdom." By the dead of this verse Adam's condemned race is meant. These will get their judgment, separation into sheep and goats (Matt. 25: 31-47), during the Kingdom, or Millennium. Consequently, the living of this text must get their judgment during the Epiphany. Who are the living? Those not under the
Adamic death sentence, e.g., New Creatures are among the living (John 5: 24; 1 John 3: 14; 5: 11-13). These consist of crown-retainers (Little Flock) and crown-losers (Great Company). The text says that they get their judgment, separation from one another (for that is what their judgment implies, Matt. 25: 32) during the Epiphany. As during the Parousia time, looking about us at the siftings, we saw the Second Deathers being separated from those who retained New Creatureship; so now in the Epiphany, looking about us, we see the crown-losers (Great Company) being separated from the crown-retainers (Little Flock) by the Epiphany siftings. On all sides, by their revolutionism against the Lord's teachings and arrangements, the fall of the crown-losers can be seen; for they, antitypical Benjamin (son of the right hand), are the 10,000 who fall at the Church's right hand (Ps. 91: 7). Now applies the second question of our text, "Who shall stand [retain his standing in the high calling] when He maketh manifest?" This question also implies three things: (1) that the Lord's people in the Epiphany will be sorely tried; (2) that some with difficulty will retain their standing in the high calling; and (3) that some by the difficulty will fall from the high calling as Great Company members.
(6) These two questions imply two negative things: (1) that it was not God's purpose to separate the Great Company from the Little Flock during the Parousia; and (2) that it is not God's purpose to keep united the Little Flock and the Great Company during the Epiphany. From these things several conclusions should be drawn. The first is the propriety of our Pastor's warning during the Parousia against the brethren pointing out this or that one as being of the Great Company. The propriety of that warning lay in the fact that at that time there was no Great Company as yet, the Great Company being an Epiphany development,
though there were then individual unmanifested crown- losers. It was, therefore, then wrong to "judge" this or that one as being of the Great Company, and that for two reasons: (1) none of us being able to read and test the heart, and the same act being committed by two might have led in one case to the forfeiture of one's crown and not of the other's, because of different spiritual abilities, etc., or to both losing it, or neither losing it, manifestly we could not then know what act would cause a person to lose his crown and thus could not know who lost it; and (2) God at that time not having manifested to us what the thing is that revealed Great Companyship, we did not know by what means one could decide as to who had forfeited his crown. Accordingly, we were not then equipped to know who among New Creatures was and who was not a crown-loser. Hence the impropriety of our then pointing out any New Creature as a crown-forfeiter and also the propriety of our Pastor's then warning against attempting so to do.
(7) Another conclusion to be drawn is this: that now it is proper to point out manifested crown-losers as such, since now is the time for the separation of the crown-losers and the crown-retainers, even as our Pastor told us that after antitypical Elisha would be manifested, separate and distinct from, antitypical Elijah, it would be proper to point out such manifested individuals of antitypical Elisha as members of the Great Company (Convention Report, 1916, 198, Question 10; Z '16, 264, 1). There must, therefore, now be some mark whereby we may recognize them, not known to us as such during the Parousia. This mark is not a matter of character; for we are as little able now as we were in the Parousia to decide this on the basis of character. The mark that God has given us as revelatory of Great Companyship is not character but revolutionism (Ps. 107: 10, 11) against the teaching and arrangement, of the Lord, i.e., setting
aside the Lord's teachings and arrangements and putting others in their place. A third conclusion is that those who take over the Parousia rule, not to point out individuals as Great Company members, and make it applicable now, are violating the Lord's instruction on rightly dividing the Word of Truth; for they are applying to Epiphany conditions a rule that applies exclusively to pre-Epiphany times, and that contradicts Epiphany priestly duties of dealing with manifested crown-losers as Great Company members. Certainly, if the Church is now dealing with Azazel's Goat, they would have to know who are of it in order to deal consciously and wisely with them, and so as not to treat as such those who are not of it. It is as wrong not to judge after the time, as it was to judge before the time (1 Cor. 4: 5). A fourth conclusion is that priests not only are not to endeavor to keep united with manifested Levites, but to force the separation of such Levites from the priests, and oppose all efforts for their reunion in priestly fellowship as being opposed to God's Epiphany purposes for these two classes of His people.
(8) In v. 2 there are two other parts of our Lord's Second Advent mission toward His own given: "For He shall be (1) like a refiner's fire and (2) like fullers' soap." The surface reader and student of the Word fails to see that two distinct things are set forth in the words just quoted; but when the two distinct things herein set forth are recognized, the third and fourth Second Advent missions of our Lord to His own are seen. We will study each in turn. To understand the expression, "for He shall be like a refiner's fire; and He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver," the figure implied in this language and the Biblical symbols connected with that figure must be understood. The figure is that of an ancient silversmith refining silver. He took the silver ore, which consisted of silver and dross, and putting it into a
crucible, lit and kept burning under it an ardent fire. Under the influence of the heat the ore began to disintegrate. Like figurative sweat the dross began to ooze out of the ore's pores. As a considerable quantity of this dross accumulated, the refiner scooped it out with a large spoon. Finally, the heat of the fire burned all the dross away from the silver; and when the dross was all scooped out, the pure silver was left in the crucible—the refining fire had completely refined the silver. What does this represent? We answer: In the symbols of the Bible silver is generally used to represent Truth (Prov. 10: 20; 25: 11; Cant. 3: 10; Is. 1: 22; 60: 9; Joel 3: 5; Luke 15: 8; 1 Cor. 3: 12). Silver ore, as a mixture of silver and dross, would fittingly represent a mixture of Truth and error. Accordingly, our Lord's being presented in the above words as a refiner's fire during the Parousia and Epiphany suggests the thought that He by figurative heat burns away the dross of error from the silver ore of Truth out of the minds of God's people. This He did in the Parousia and is now doing in the Epiphany.
(9) But, one may inquire, why, has such an activity been necessary? A certain woman's work has made it necessary. Of course, we do not mean a literal, but a symbolic woman. That woman is referred to in Matt. 13: 33 as the one who took leaven and hid it in three measures of meal, resulting in the whole lump becoming leavened. We understand this woman to be the nominal church, especially the Catholic Church, who mixed the leaven of error in the true faith, the true hope and the true love (the three measures of meal) given by Jesus and the Apostles, until these were permeated with error. When our Lord returned in the Parousia, in harmony with His question, "When the Son of Man cometh again, will He find the faith in the earth," He did not find it in the minds of His own, but found there a mixture of Truth and error, symbolic silver ore. And to purge the dross of
error out of our minds He had to put us into the crucible of various situations, wherein He lit an ardent fire under us, gave us many sore trials, severing from our Truth the intermixed error. The shocks that we got from our creeds, from our denominational ties and friends, from Truth defenders and opposers, from the process of our being undeceived, from the blasting of our pet theories, from the humbling of our opinion as to our past attainments—in error, not in Truth as we had supposed—from the difficulty of seeing some truths, especially truths due in siftings, and from the opposition of errorists, are some of the heat of the burning coals that made the crucible hot and burned out of our minds the dross of error. These were surely Parousia experiences.
(10) In the Epiphany there are three miniature Gospel Ages, one of them lasting as many days as there were years in the Gospel Age. This one we may call the small miniature Gospel Age, and the second the larger miniature Gospel Age; the latter beginning in 1918 has till about 1938 to run, and the third, the largest miniature gospel Age, which is from 1914 to 1954. The first was devoted to the manifestation under bad Levite leadership of the three major Levite divisions, in eight subdivisions. It began in 1915 and ended in 1920. In this one, the smaller miniature Gospel-Age nominal church mixed certain true teachings and right arrangements with certain errors and wrong arrangements, and thus in Levite circles there prevailed more or less symbolic ore in priestly minds. At our Lord's small miniature Gospel-Age Second Advent, which occurred in the early summer of 1920, a small miniature symbolic lump of leaven was found and trialsome conditions, similar to those mentioned above in connection with the Parousia, were applied by Him to burn out of those coming into the Epiphany Truth certain errors of doctrine and arrangement that they had imbibed
in the Levite movements. So, too, corresponding to trialsome Gospel-Age experiences between the Harvests, from the standpoint of the larger miniature Gospel Age, since 1918, have brethren coming into the Epiphany Truth had to undergo the symbolic silver-ore refining process under trials similar to those mentioned above, whereby the dross of error has been burned away from the silver of Truth in their minds, this mixture having been produced by the larger miniature Gospel-Age nominal church. This refining process will continue throughout the rest of this larger miniature Gospel Age, coming to a head in its Harvest period, when our Lord will do to Truth people in the Levite groups on a small scale what He did on a large scale from 1874 to 1914 as the refiner's fire. The largest miniature Gospel Age is to do the same refining work in the minds of the Levites who remain in Babylon until she is destroyed. But the purpose of these refiner's-fire experiences is to purge away the dross of error from the silver of Truth in the minds of God's Epiphany priests and Levites. And thus to refine them is the third part of the Lord's Second Advent mission to His own. And this has certainly gone on among God's people ever since 1874.
(11) The fourth part of our Lord's Second Advent mission is set forth in the following words: "and like fullers' soap," "lye," according to the E.&A.R.V. The average Bible reader sees no difference between the meaning of this expression and the preceding one, but the Scriptural symbols plainly indicate a difference, Whereas the preceding expression refers to the Lord's activity in severing errors from the truths in our minds; this expression refers to His ridding us of our faults and weaknesses. This will appear from a consideration of the symbols underlying these words. In Israel fullers did three things with the soiled and spotted clothes given them for
their attention: (1) they washed, (2) shrank and (3) bleached them. In this text reference is made to only the first of these three parts of a fuller's work. In washing the soiled garments he used soap or lye to cut the grease. Some of the grease spots yielded readily to his rubbing and others did not. Of the latter some were cleansed without any injury to the garment; others were by it worn rather thin where the spots were; and still other spots could not be removed without rubbing holes in the garment. The following explanation of the involved symbols will make this part of our text clear. In the symbols of the Bible water is used to picture God's Word, especially in its nourishing, thirst- quenching and cleansing effects (Deut. 32: 2; Ezek. 36: 25; John 4: 10-14; 15: 3); garments are used to represent our characteristics and characters (Col. 3: 10-12; 1 Pet. 5: 5; Rev. 16: 15); clean white garments represent good characteristics and characters (Rev. 19: 8; 3: 4, 5); defiled and spotted garments represent characteristics and characters soiled by faults and sins (2 Cor. 7: 1; Jude 23; Jas. 1: 27; Eph. 5: 27). The blood of Jesus washes us clean from the condemnation of these sins and faults (1 John 1: 7; Rev. 1: 5); and the Word of God washes us clean from their power (Eph. 5: 26; Heb. 10: 22; Num. 8: 7). The fuller washing the soiled garments in water and cleansing them from their grease and filth spots represents the Lord in the Word washing and cleansing our characteristics and characters from sins and faults. The soap and lye that the fuller used would respectively represent the mild and sore providences that the Lord combines with His Word to rid our garments of their filth and spots. Some of our grease and filth spots do not yield to the water of Truth alone. Therefore, sometimes mild, sometimes severe afflicting providences are added. These rid the faithful, whether readily or hardly, from their spots. With the measurably unfaithful considerable attenuating
of character and characteristics sets in before the spots are removed and with the entirely unfaithful their symbolic spots are not washed away, but the ruin of their symbolic garments is wrought by the rubbing process, so inseparable from their characters have these spots become therein.
(12) Looking back over the entire Parousia and over the 16 [now 24] years of the Epiphany now past, we see that our Lord has been as the fullers' soap and lye. For all the Truth people in both periods has He applied the cleansing Word, backed by more or less hard providential experiences, to cleanse their spotted and filthy garments. All the Truth that they have needed to recognize this uncleanness and these spots He has given them. All of the power that they have needed to energize them against such filthiness and spots He has put into the Word pertinent to the cleansing of these from their garments; and when these did not suffice, He put them into exacting situations and severe experiences calculated "to cut" the "grease" in this filthiness and in these spots. These experiences have come to us mainly in connection with the siftings amid which we have been, in our contact with the weaknesses of our brethren and of ourselves, in our relations with our families, neighbors, business associates and the nominal church; and we have felt the pinching and the restraints and other hardships of these situations and experiences. These have served to reinforce our knowledge of this filth and of these spots, as well as to arouse us to submit better to our Lord's cleansing work on us; for it has been He who has in all these things been working upon us to cleanse us. In so doing He fulfilled the prophecy of our text which tells us that in the Parousia and Epiphany periods of His Second Advent He would be like the fullers' lye or soap. All of us can testify to such experiences at His hands. We experienced them in the Parousia and
we are now experiencing them in the Epiphany. And blessed are we, if we have been like the garments that yielded up their filth and grease spots at the washing of the earthly fuller.
(13) It will be noticed that the refining and cleansing works are set forth as the reason for the great difficulty of sustaining the day of His coming and of standing when He maketh manifest. This is shown by the word "for" in the clause, "For He shall be like a refiner's fire and like fullers' lye." This clause, therefore, gives the reason why in the Parousia it would be so hard to retain the Holy Spirit, and in the Epiphany to stand in the high calling. Accordingly, in both periods the Lord's burning error out of the minds and cleansing faults from the hearts of His own have been the reason why it was so hard to abide as a New Creature in the Parousia and is now in the Epiphany so hard to stand in the high calling as a New Creature. These two works of our Lord have been so rigorous as to test to the utmost the Lord's people as to continuing or ceasing as New Creatures and as to standing in, or falling from the high calling. By no means are these two processes of our Lord in their Epiphany aspects finished. As they worked throughout the Parousia to a completion, so will they also do in the Epiphany. And they will do this so thoroughly as to manifest the fall of every crown-loser from the high calling, but will not avail to bring a single faithful one to a fall from the high calling. On the contrary, this will result in their refining from the dross of error and their cleansing from all filthiness of flesh and spirit without damage to their symbolic silver and garments, a thing that will not be true at all of the Second Deathers, and will be only measurably true of the Great Company class.
(14) Let us notice briefly how sharply and clearly the first four parts of Christ's Second Advent mission are set forth in our text as separate and distinct from
one another. As above remarked, superficial students fail to see the difference between the two questions of v. 2, taking them to mean the same thing; nor do they see the difference between the work represented by the refiner's fire and the fullers' soap or lye. But, as described above, we see four separate and distinct works set forth: (1) the Parousia separation of those who lost from those who retained the Holy Spirit; (2) the Epiphany separation of the Great Company from the Little Flock; (3) the Lord's purging of error from the Truth out of the minds of His own; and (4) His cleansing their heart characteristics from faults and sins. Certainly these distinctions are sharp and clear-cut and they make these four parts of our Lord's Second Advent mission to His own stand out with clarity as separate from one another.
(15) The fifth work of our Lord toward His own in His Second Advent is expressed in the first sentence of v. 3: "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." Or course, literal silver is not meant in this sentence; for surely none of our Lord's Second Advent ministries has to do with His smelting and polishing literal silver. Here evidently the word silver is used in its ordinary symbolical sense of Truth. Nor are we to understand the word translated refiner to mean the same as the word translated purifier. Ordinarily our English words refine and purify as applied to a silversmith's work with silver ore are synonymous. But the connection of thought here in view of our Lord's Second Advent work toward the Truth, forbids such a thought in this instance. Undoubtedly the word translated refiner here is well rendered; but not so for the connection the word translated purifier. The word metaher, here translated purifier, which is one of its senses, has also another meaning, brightener, or polisher; and this second meaning, doubtless, is the one that should be here used; for our Lord does both of these things with the Truth, the second of
which would not be maintained here, if this sense is not given to the pertinent word. This being so, the sentence gives us the thought that the fifth work of our Lord's Second Advent is not only to purge the dross of error from the silver ore of Truth but also to brighten or polish it, i.e., unfold and bring out the beauties of the Truth. This implies the clear and full development of the secular and religious truths due during the Parousia and the Epiphany. But, one might ask, would this work not be the same as the third work of our Lord's Second Advent, as presented above? We answer, there are important differences: (1) The third work described above is limited to the Lord's ridding the minds of His own during the Parousia from the errors gotten in great Babylon and during the Epiphany from the errors gotten in little Babylon; while, so far as working against error is concerned, by His fifth work, not simply such error, but secular and other religious errors are likewise meant; (2) our Lord's third Second Advent work has been limited to errors in the minds of His own, whereas His fifth Second Advent work is for others as well; and (3) the third mission does not include the clear and full development of secular and religious Truth for Parousia and Epiphany purposes, whereas the fifth does. Thus, while in a certain limited respect they cover some common ground, in most respects they do not, and therefore may properly be viewed as separate parts of His Second Advent mission.
(16) Accordingly, in this work our Lord, set forth by the words "shall sit," i.e., officially administer, e.g., as a king sits on his throne, a judge sits on the bench, etc., is the official opponent of error and developer of Truth. Not only has Satan corrupted the religious Truth that Christ and the Apostles gave the early Church; but he has also corrupted secular Truth—political, sociological, economic, historical, scientific,
philosophical and moral Truth. In every domain of religious and secular Truth he has wrought this corruption. This he has done because Truth frees (John 8: 32-36), while error enslaves (Eph. 4. 18; 2 Cor. 4: 4); and therefore the former is inimical and the latter conducive to his enslaving mankind to himself. But Jesus returned to free both the Church and the world from Satan's influence. Therefore He finds it necessary to undermine the secular and religious errors that give Satan such influence and to develop secular Truth as the meat in due season variously ministered by Him to the Church and the world. During the Parousia the Lord attacked the errors then prevailing in the religious world mainly, but not exclusively, through the writings of that Servant, whose refutational religious thoughts, of course, were taken up and spread by others. If we look at the Studies, the booklets, the Towers, the sermons, the tracts, etc., we find that they contain very much of refutational matter. It is for this reason that the volumes are symbolized by the vials, literally bowls, of Rev. 15 and 16. When the Tower, as now edited, claims that it does not engage in controversy (it does write against our Pastor's views, but "prudently" avoids controversy with our replies to such attacks, its editors having from a number of experiences learned their inability to meet our refutations of such attacks), it unwittingly proclaims to the Church and the world that the Lord does not now use it anymore as one of His refining agencies, implied in His third and fifth Second Advent works. The same remark applies to the P.B.I. Herald, which has a similar policy.
(17) So, too, our Lord attacked the secular errors that Satan spread, not only before, but also during our Lord's Parousia. Against his political, sociological, economic, historical, scientific, philosophical and moral errors, the Lord not only used religious truths, again especially through that Servant's writings, but
412 He also raised up mainly a horde of secular writers, lecturers and others in the political, sociological, economic, historical, scientific, philosophical and moral domains, who during the Parousia greatly undermined such errors. Thus the rotten foundation and superstructure of Satan's empire were pitilessly exposed as such during the Parousia, with the result that as men became more and more enlightened on these subjects, the harder it became for Satan to keep them in subjection to his will. Thus by books, booklets, tracts, magazine and newspaper articles and by lectures, debates, conversational discussion and other agitations, the errors of Satan, both in the religious and secular domains, were during the Parousia mightily attacked and overthrown, to the increased liberation of mankind from Satan's power, e.g., on the Divine right of rulers, clergy, aristocrats, consciousness of the dead, eternal torment, etc., etc. It was these exposures that bound Satan to the degree that he was forced to resort to the World War, despite his knowing that it would weaken his empire, as a means of preventing a revolution which he feared would utterly overthrow it, choosing, as he thought, the lesser of the two evils. But the Lord "catcheth the wise in their own craftiness"; for the war, which Satan thought would prevent the ruin of his empire, has paved the way all the quicker and fuller for its certain ruin.
(18) During the Epiphany the Lord is likewise overthrowing secular and religious errors, either brought over from the pastor freshly invented. In the refutation of the religious errors of the Epiphany time the Lord mainly, but not exclusively, uses the writings of that Servant and of the Epiphany messenger (Deut. 32: 30, 31; compare with Ps. 91: 7). This is why also The Present Truth and The Herald Of The Epiphany contain so much of refutational matter. These uses that the Lord has been making of such controversial writings should make us beware of being deceived by
such pledges as those of the Society and the P.B.I. editors, not to engage in controversy, as though it were an, evil to be shunned, and into a dislike of such controversial efforts; for such pledges and effects are an effort at deception, and this effort at deception is evidently from Satan in the interests of his aims, and is evidently against God's design to overthrow through "the controversy of Zion" the religious errors that have been deceiving and enslaving mankind, bewildering some priests and blinding the Great Company and many Youthful Worthies. The attack on Satan's secular errors has in the Epiphany been by our Lord subordinately made by the two sets of writings just referred to, but mainly by more or less secular experts in the pertinent subjects, using the same means of expression employed during the Parousia. And under these attacks and exposures Satan's religious and secular errors are being undermined more and more. Our Lord, being the one who is managing this entire attack, both in its religious and secular respects, regardless of who the instruments are that He therein uses, is thereby fulfilling His office work as He who sits as a refiner of silver.
(19) But He also sits, functions officially, as the polisher, i.e., developer, of symbolic silver, Truth, as this fifth point also shows. This means that He functions as the one who during the Parousia and the Epiphany has been bringing advancing secular and religious Truth to the attention of His own and of others, that He has been constantly elaborating and increasing the contents of its various subjects, that He is ever clarifying, explaining and proving its new points as they become due to be understood and used. This results in the constant increase of the body of Truth made known and in the ever clearer unfolding of its various parts and details. In the religious domain we can see Him having done these things during the Parousia, as we read our Pastor's writings, which
constantly revealed new vistas of Truth, and constantly made them shine with greater brightness. In the Epiphany we can see Him doing the same thing through The Present Truth and The Herald Of The Epiphany. Doubtless He has done this through these writings, though in a considerably less degree through the writings and discourses of others also. While to some degree He has shed some light on secular Truth through these writings, especially through Vol. 4 and The Herald Of The Epiphany, He has unfolded secular truths during the Parousia and the Epiphany mainly through the lectures and writings of experts in the secular departments of learning indicated above. And for the spread of such Truth He has used instrumentalities similar to those noted above as used in overthrowing secular error.
(20) Let us, dear brethren, honor our Lord, and not the agents that He uses, as the One who sits—functions officially—as the Refiner and Polisher, Developer, of the silver of Truth. While we are to hold His pertinent agents as such in esteem, we are always to remember that they are not the source either of the secular or religious Truth to the Church and the World. The ultimate source of it is God and the proximate source of it is Christ. The highest honor that others can rightly have in this connection is that of being privileged religious or secular servants of God and Christ. Such an attitude will keep them humble and restrain others from the extremes of (1) worshiping messengers, as is done, e.g., by the Channelites, and (2) of despising dignities, as is done, e.g., by those who reject all human teachers (Col. 2: 18; 2 Pet. 2: 10); while it will enable us highly to love, honor and adore God and Christ as such sources of the Truth, and to esteem their agents no more than as their agents. Let us, therefore, ever remember that it is our Lord who sits as the Refiner and Polisher of