Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  Titus 2:13

< Previous : Next >

 

 

CHAPTER IV.

 

THE LOWER PRIMARY GRACES OF

GOD'S CHARACTER.

 

THE NATURE OF THE PRIMARY GRACES. GOD'S AND MAN'S LOWER AFFECTION-ORGANS—SELFISH AND SOCIAL. GOD'S SELF-ESTEEM. APPROBATIVENESS. RESTFULNESS. VITATIVENESS. SELFDEFENSIVENESS. AGGRESSIVENESS. CAREFULNESS. SECRETIVENESS. PROVIDENCE. INTELLIGENCE. AGREEABLENESS. CONJUGALITY. FATHERLINESS. KINGLINESS.

 

IN THE preceding chapter we finished our study of God's higher primary attributes of character—wisdom, justice, love and power. The expression, higher primary attributes, implies lower primary attributes of character. Perhaps a brief review of our definition of primary attributes of character will at this stage of our study prove helpful: Primary attributes of character are such as are produced by the direct action of the various affection-organs, e.g., the direct action of the affection-organ, spirituality, produces faith, a higher primary grace, one of the ingredients of wisdom; the direct working of the affection-organ, firmness, develops self-control, a higher primary grace, one of the ingredients of power; the direct operation of the affection-organ, continuity, cultivates patience, the other ingredient of power. Thus in all cases the direct result of the operation of any affection-organ is the pertinent primary grace. The direct operation of the higher affection-organs produces the higher primary attributes; and the direct working of the lower affection-organs cultivates the lower primary qualities, graces or attributes. Our speaking of such qualities being developed must, of course, be understood as applying to God's creatures who are free moral agents—angels and men. It would not be true to say that God has developed such qualities by the use

 

142

of His affection-organs; for He has always had and will always have them in infinite perfection, and therefore has always used and will always use them in infinite perfection. Thus they have not been developed in Him.

 

From the fact that man originally was, and new creatures now are, images of God, from the fact that fallen man has all man's original affection-organs, though in a corrupt condition, and from the fact that man has lower affection-organs, we conclude that God has them also. But this thought is not only an inference, but is also proven by direct Scriptures that ascribe such affection-organs to God. Some of these Scriptures, as they apply to His lower affection-organs, we will cite when we come to a consideration of His individual affection-organs of the lower order, as we have already cited some that apply to His higher affection-organs. God, having the same general affection-organs as man originally had, as new creatures now have and as fallen man now has, though these are more or less corrupt in the latter, we can recognize what God's are by a consideration of what man's are. Man has especially two classes of lower affection-organs in connection with which lower primary graces act: (1) selfish and (2) social. Hence God has these two classes of lower affection-organs. Man's selfish affections, each the sentiment of a distinct organ, are (1) love for a proper self-estimate, (2) love for others' good opinion, (3) love for ease, (4) love for life, (5) love for defending self, (6) love for attacking the injurious, (7) love for safety, (8) love for concealment, (9) love for possessions, (10) love for food, (11) love for knowledge and (12) love for making oneself agreeable to others. God has all of these selfish affections with pertinent organs, except love for food, which God as a Divine and immortal Spirit does not need, though His love for the Truth and its spirit is in Him the thing that corresponds with our love for

 

143

natural food. We speak of these affections as selfish, not in the sense of their being sinful, but in the sense of their being concerned with oneself. There is a righteousness selfishness, and it is approved as such in the statements, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" and "All things whatsoever ye would [desire] that men do unto you, do ye even so unto them." In fallen man his selfish affections, alas, have become more or less sinful; but this is not the case with God's selfish affections, nor with those of Adam and Eve before their fall, nor with those of Jesus.

 

The second set of man's lower primary affections is the social, each of whose affections has its own organ for activity. These affections are: (1) love for the opposite sex, (2) love for the members of one's family, including husband, wife, parents, children, and brethren, (3) love for relatives, (4) love for pets, (5) love for home, (6) love for native land and (7) love for friends. Some of these in the forms just mentioned God has, but others He does not have. There is no sex love in God, for there is no sex in spirit beings. Indeed, before Millennial perfection is reached, sex and sex love will cease in the human family, its purpose of replenishing the earth with a sufficiently large number of human beings having by then been accomplished. Gradually, in the Millennium, will the brain organ through which amativeness works dry up, and will finally cease to be a part of the brain, and by that process sex love will cease to be an affection of the human heart. Therefore God has placed the organ of sex love at the base of the brain, so that its drying up will not affect the rest of the brain disadvantageously. Without the pertinent human brain organs drying up there will be changes in the activities of other affections, e.g., love for spouse, parents and children in the perfected race, but it is unnecessary here for us to go further into these matters. God, of course, has no father, mother, brothers, or sisters. Hence we infer

 

144

that He does not have pertinent organ departments for the operation of these affections. Nor has He a spouse in our understanding of the word. We will reserve details on this for later discussion.

 

We will now briefly discuss Jehovah's selfish lower primary graces. The first of these is His self-esteem, which is the quality active in His exercising a proper valuation of Himself. That the Scriptures teach that God has the! quality of self-esteem is evident from those passages in which He describes His person, His attributes of being and of character, His word and His works. In the chapters on His attributes of being and character we quoted numerous passages which prove that God sees His being and character as we have described them; and thus He exercises self-esteem. The things that He says of His word or plan and His works proves the same thing. Ps. 119 contains numerous passages that describe in language of praise God's word. Ps. 103; Rev. 15: 3, 4, and numerous other Scriptures praise God's works. These prove that He exercises self-esteem as to His word or plan and His works. His self-esteem consists of three qualities—self-confidence, self-satisfaction and self-respect. By His self-confidence He feels that He is sufficient for anything in harmony with His being, character, plan and works. He never for a moment, or in any circumstance, feels distrust of Himself, well knowing that He is equal to any occasion, circumstance, demand or task. By His self-satisfaction He feels that He is "perfect and entire, wanting nothing." He never upbraids Himself. He never finds fault with Himself. He never finds any flaw with anything He is, plans or does; for He knows that He is in no way defective, but in every respect absolutely and unchangeably perfect. By His self-respect He sees Himself worthy of His own appreciation. He sees His every quality to be estimable, His every thought to be worthy, His every word to be appreciable and His

 

145

every act to be properly highly regarded by Himself, as He regards every evil thing as unworthy of Himself. Never does He disrespect Himself; never does He feel Himself in any sense unworthy and never does He feel shame at any of His thoughts, words or acts; for they are perfect.

 

Some might, in view of God's self-esteem, say that He is proud and conceited. It is true that if any creature would have this supreme self-esteem, we would be warranted in speaking of him as proud and conceited. Especially if that creature were imperfect, would it be conceited and proud for him to be self-satisfied. But if one's qualities, attainments, works and words were perfect, even if he were a creature, he would not be proud and conceited to think of himself as perfect and to be self-satisfied, self-confident and self-respectful in harmony with his creaturely position, so long as he gives God the glory for his being, attainments, thoughts, words and works; for this is exactly the measure of self-esteem that all perfected creatures are by God designed to have. Hence we can see that there is no conceit in God when He thinks of Himself and of His word and works in the highest terms of appreciation, since that is the exact truth of the situation. For Him to think otherwise of Himself would be wrong—a thing of which He would not be guilty. It is, therefore, not pride and conceit to think of oneself exactly as he is. On the contrary, this is just what the Scriptures say one should do (Rom. 12: 3). Well, then, one may ask, how can we fulfill the Scriptural injunction to be humble? We answer, A proper self-estimate is just what humility is. But to this we imagine one objecting, "I thought that humility is a lowly self-estimate." We answer, yes, with us; for with our many faults, lacks and weaknesses we do not amount to much; and a proper self-estimate is therefore a lowly self-estimate, as long as we are imperfect; but if one were perfect,

 

146

it would be in harmony with humility to think of himself as perfect. The above considerations prove that God is not proud and conceited in His esteeming Himself as supremely and incomparably perfect, and therefore worthy of His own self-confidence, self-satisfaction and self-respect.

 

The second selfish lower primary grace in God's character is His appreciativeness of others' approval. Because all others are His creatures God desires that they approve of Him in His person, attributes, word and works. He desires them to think highly of Him in these respects. Yea, He desires that they think of Him in these respects as incomparably superior to, and supreme above all others. So important does He regard this requirement that He made this the first of the ten commandments—" Thou shalt have no other gods before Me," i.e., esteem Me supreme above all others, put Me first, and that above all others. Nor does He lightly regard the refusal to heed this commandment. There can be no proper creaturely relation to the Creator without such an estimate of God by others; for God made all things for His pleasure and His glory—His pleasure being to bless others and His glory being to make others like Him in character, word and works. We are not to think of this quality in God as a low one. It is partly because of the incomparable superiority of God in person, attributes, thoughts, words and works that He desires His creatures to esteem Him as such; for such He is; and they owe it to Him and to the facts of the case so to think of Him. Again, it is partly because so to think of and feel toward God is for the best interests of the person involved and all others, that God desires that His creatures think of Him so highly. It is also partly because of the principles underlying the relations of the creature to his Creator that God desires that He be supremely appreciated by His creatures. Certainly, in proportion as any of His creatures comes short of

 

147

such an appreciation of God is he injured and does injure others. God thus desires to shine before all as He is in deed and in truth—the supremely excellent One, nor is such a desire on God's part an imperfection; because His perfections deserve it; His creatures owe it to Him; good principles require it; and everybody concerned is thereby properly placed, ennobled and blessed, and God fittingly recognized.

 

Restfulness, which operates through God's affection-organ of love for ease, is the third selfish lower primary grace in God to be considered. Not that we are to think of God as ever becoming weary in His body; for that would be an imperfection in Him; nor is rest of body a grace. A grace is an excellence of character. By God's restfulness we mean the calmness and serenity of His Spirit. God is never fretted. He is never worried. He is never thrown off His equanimity. Nothing ever excites Him. No situation disturbs His calmness. No opposition sets aside His serenity. No untoward event ruffles His Spirit. He knows the end from the beginning; He has provided the ways, means and agents of His arrangements from of old; He knows what and how to do in every situation; He has the power to execute His purposes; He knows that all things are working together to further His plans and purposes; and therefore with utmost serenity He pursues the even tenor of His ways. Why should He not, in view of these things, be restful in heart and mind? And surely as we realize ourselves one with Him in spirit, plan and work, we, too, like Him become restful, serenity and calmness pervading our hearts and minds.

 

Love of life is God's fourth selfish lower primary grace. God has life, yea, He has the highest form of life—life in Himself, immortality, a death-proof condition (John 5: 26). Not only has God this highest form of life, but He is also the ultimate source of life to all that live. And God loves His life. While He

 

148

does not have to use ways and means to preserve it, to shield it from destruction, or to increase it as against loss, as we do, yet He loves it. It is a fault to desire not to live; therefore to suicide, or to neglect the preservation of health and life, or to contribute to its diminution and its loss, is faultful; for existence is conditioned on having life; and to pass out of existence is one of the greatest of evils. God loves to live, because to live is intrinsically valuable and because to live gives Him the opportunity to plan and do in the interests of truth, righteousness and His creatures; for He purposes to make truth and righteousness supreme and to illustrate their rule in perfected creatures. And it is because His living is an antecedent condition for the attainment of such ends that God loves to live— vitativeness, love for life, is one of His selfish lower primary attributes of character.

 

Self-defensiveness, which operates through the affection-organ of combativeness, is God's fifth selfish lower primary grace. God cannot be attacked in His person by physical act, but He certainly is attacked in His person, character, word and works by wrong theories and practices. Satan—adversary—is the chief attacker of God in these ways. Then He has succeeded in enlisting fallen angels and fallen men to join him in his attacks on God's person, character, word and works. Especially have God's character and person been attacked through the doctrines that God has equals, that God originated sin, that God absolutely predestinated and reprobated individuals, that man is conscious in death and that the bulk of mankind are to suffer eternal torment. His Word has been attacked through the misinterpretation of its doctrine by some of His friends; its inspiration and veracity have been attacked by higher criticism; its salient features have been attacked by evolution and other non-ransom theories; its precepts have been attacked by the wickedness of men and its plan has been attacked by various self-atonement

 

149

theories. His works toward both of His Israels have been attacked by subtle temptations and fierce persecutions. But Jehovah has ably defended Himself. Atheistic, agnostic, materialistic, pantheistic, deistic, rationalistic, and superstitious attacks on His being He has met and overthrown by the secular and religious truths that He has put into the hands of His servants. By numerous Scriptural truths He has utterly refuted the attacks on His character coming from those who have taught that He predestinated sin and beings to be sinful, that He predestinated a few to eternal bliss and the rest to eternal torment, that He made man so that he actually does not die and that He tortures eternally the bulk of the race. By scientific, archeological, historical, religious and numerical (Biblical numerics) truths He has successfully defended the inspiration and truthfulness of the Scriptures against the attacks of higher criticism. By the manifestation of the Divine Plan in its doctrines, precepts, promises, exhortations, prophecies, histories and types, He has defended His Word as Truth against all attacks. And by shielding and developing His faithful Israels amid their temptations, oppressions and persecutions, He has defended His work against attacks from fallen angels and men. No attack finds Him defenseless. Every one is in due time met and crushed; and He remains victorious in every defensive conflict that He enters. He quails not; He retreats not; He gives no ground; He loses no advantage under attack. Undismayed, unswerved, unafraid, He, as a veritable "man-of-war," rejoices to parry off every blow and loves to defend Himself against every onset. His meeting attacks on His plan, people and works, both in Bible times (e.g., from Pharaoh and the Egyptians, the Ammonites, the Moabites, etc., heathen religions, Jewish apostates, persecuting Jews and Gentiles, etc.) and since Bible times (from pagan and papal Roman persecutions, Catholic and Protestant sectarianism and

 

150

false teachings, evolution, higher criticism, other forms of misbeliefs and unbeliefs, etc.) prove that Jehovah exercises the selfish lower primary grace of self-defensiveness. Thus self-defensiveness is one of His lower selfish primary graces.

 

The sixth selfish lower primary grace in Jehovah is aggressiveness, which works through His affection-organ of love for attacking. The preceding grace shows Him as active in self-defense, in shielding Himself, His people, plan and works from attacks. This quality shows Him as active in attacking obstacles, whether these be wicked persons, principles, acts, conditions or organizations, etc. This feature of His character especially displays itself in connection with His carrying out His plan. Whatever of evil persons (wicked angels and wicked men), evil principles, organizations, acts and conditions prevail in the universe is due to rebellion against God's sovereignty. This rebellion was originated by Satan and has spread among some of the angels and the whole human family. It is characterized by evil principles, organizations, conditions and acts. This entire complex may be called Satan's empire, an empire that has been holding its sway by initial and continued usurpation against God's authority. The Lord's plan has a variety of purposes, two of which are, the overthrow of Satan's empire and the restoration of the human family to Jehovah's rulership. To accomplish these two results the Lord, as features of His plan, has been selecting agents whom He will use for this work. For the overthrow of Satan's empire, He has been selecting as His agents, Jesus and His faithful followers; and for the restoration of the race to His dominion, He has especially selected these and added to them as assistants the Ancient Worthies, the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies. In the selection of each of these four classes God has had to act aggressively; for apart from Jesus all of these, before their selection began,

 

151

have been more or less under the power and influence of Satan's empire (Col. 1: 12, 13). To deliver these from the power of darkness has meant somewhat of an attack on Satan's empire. This is manifest in the call of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and Babylon and the call of the Gospel Church from Judaism, heathenism and Babylonish sectarianism. These subsidiary attacks on Satan's empire were accompanied with all the aggressiveness on Jehovah's part necessary to accomplish His pertinent purpose. And in due time He will fill up the members yet lacking in any of these classes, using all the needed aggressiveness thereto. This aggressiveness has consisted in His arousing servants of His under Christ to minister this selective work, His providentially paving the way for their work and His overthrowing or neutralizing all obstacles to this work from wicked angels and men. God's opposing, restraining and weakening of the papacy from 1295 onward is an example of God's aggressiveness in this particular.

 

Jehovah's aggressiveness in His attacks on Satan's empire since 1874 has taken on a decidedly more intensified form; for from that time onward He not only continued aggressively in restraining and weakening it to the extent needed for His completing His elective work; but He has advanced to a concerted attack upon it, which in not many more years will result in its eternal annihilation. The attack began by the Lord using suitable agencies in giving world-wide secular truths in ever-increasing measure, especially along scientific, historical, sociological, political and financial lines, and religious truths, especially along elective and free grace lines, in opposition to the secular and religious errors and wrongs fundamental to Satan's empire. By these attacks God has mightily shaken its political, aristocratic, ecclesiastical and social foundations. He has accomplished something more by it the dividing of the subjects of Satan's empire

 

152

into two hostile camps—the conservatives, consisting of the political, aristocratic and ecclesiastical rulers and their supporters, and the radicals, consisting of the trade-unionist, socialistic, communistic and anarchistic leaders and their supporters. Aroused by the secular truths that exposed the errors and wrongs of Satan's empire, the radical group has become so menacing to the conservative group that Satan trembled for the existence of his empire. To prevent a revolution on the part of the radicals, which he feared would overthrow his present order of affairs, he plotted the formation of two rival European alliances and stirred them up against one another, deceiving the nations of each alliance into believing that the others sought their national destruction and plunging them into the World War, with the aim of uniting in each nation the conservatives and radicals about the fictitious issue of warring in defense of their national existence; but by this stroke he made a dismal failure; for shortly the peoples, through certain exposures God made through the consecrated, learned that the issue was a false one, and as a result the division of the conservatives and radicals became worse than before the war. And the war accomplished one thing very undesirable to Satan: it greatly weakened his empire, as the first stage of its overthrow, and has helped to prepare it for the next great stage of its breaking-up—the World Revolution—the great revolution of prophecy, which will destroy the present form of Satan's empire. Since shortly after the war started, God has been giving many secular and religious truths on the causes of the war and the evils of the present world conditions. These truths have been arousing the radicals, through a selfish use they are making of them, more and more against the conservatives; and before many years will have passed these truths will stir up the radicals to the World Revolution, with the forementioned results. After the revolution Satan will seek to build up another

 

153

form of government, which will very shortly afterward perish in anarchy. The truths that the Lord will give after the revolution, selfishly used by the anarchists, will produce such unparalleled worldwide anarchy as will destroy every vestige of Satan's empire. God's part in all of these matters since 1874 has been an aggressive setting forth of truths exposing the corruption in theory and practice of Satan's empire, well knowing that these truths would be selfishly used by both conservatives and radicals, and in such selfish uses ultimately produce effect —war, revolution and anarchy—that would break up forever that wicked kingdom. Therefore He has been aggressively giving them.

 

God's aggressiveness has shown itself in others of His works, e.g., in creation, providence, redemption, instruction, justification, sanctification and deliverance now for the Church and in part later for the world, though in different forms from those used toward the Church. God's aggressiveness is due partly to His love for righteousness and partly to His hatred of wickedness. It acts constructively for righteousness and destructively toward wickedness and toward the incorrigibly wicked. His wrath—punishment, not rage—is an expression of His aggressiveness. The cases that we have mentioned, from both Biblical history and prophecy, are sufficient to prove that aggressiveness is one of God's selfish lower primary graces.

 

The wrath of God shall never strike in vain,

Nor cease to strike till sin shall be no more;

Till God His gracious purpose shall attain!

And earth to righteousness and peace restore.

 

The seventh lower primary grace in God that we will briefly study is carefulness, watchfulness, working through the affection-organ, love for safety. The quality of carefulness or watchfulness implies danger which one senses and against which he shields himself. In Himself, i.e., in His person or character, God is

 

154

in no danger; for none can harm Him in His person or character. But with the enemies that He has, His plan, people and works could be harmed, if He did not exercise carefulness or watchfulness with respect to them. Therefore God's love for safety is not directed against dangers to Himself personally, but to dangers to His interests as they center in His plan, people and works. His carefulness for the safety of His people is compared to that of a shepherd for his flock (Ps. 23; 78: 52; 80: 1). Beautifully is He described in this carefulness or watchfulness on behalf of His people in passages like the following: "He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep." "Arising early and sending them"—the prophets to warn His people against danger. Satan has concocted many a plan to frustrate God's plan. The religions that he taught the ancient nations—the Egyptians, Babylonians, Indians, Greeks, etc.—were counterfeits of God's plan as it was epitomized in Gen. 3: 15; 12: 3; 22: 16-18. At every stage of the operation of that plan Satan sought to thwart it. This can be seen in his dealings toward Joseph, Moses, the judges, the kings and prophets of Israel and his continued attempts to mislead the people. To thwart Satan in these things required watchfulness on God's part to guard His plan and its agents. Satan sought to defeat God's plan in its chief agent, Jesus; and God's carefulness thwarted him and turned his machinations into the furtherance of that plan, as can be seen in Satan's purposes in the temptations of Jesus, in the opposition of the religious leaders to Jesus and in His death and the outcome of these.

 

Then Satan in the Jewish Harvest sought by five siftings to corrupt the Apostolic Church and failed, because the Father's carefulness averted the effects that the adversary sought through those siftings. In the following period of the Church Satan made his masterpiece in counterfeit work— the development of

 

155

the papacy, whereby he made a detailed counterfeit of the True Christ—Jesus, the Head, and the Church, His body— in His teachings, practices and organization, while by that counterfeit he sought to destroy the real people of God. Against these dangers and amid them, with great carefulness God watched over the interests of His plan, His people and His works, so that these untoward experiences were manipulated by Him to their advancement. Thus again God's carefulness thwarted Satan's effort to destroy "the Seed." From the time of the Reformation onward until 1874 Satan introduced additional and increased sectarianism among God's people to injure them in His Truth and works, in ways that the papacy could not affect them; but God was always on His guard to shield them, with the result that Satan failed to overthrow them by the dangers of additional and increased sectarianism and of clericalism.

 

Since 1874 Satan has been endangering God's people, plan and works by such a multiplicity of false teachings and wrong practices as never was before manifested. Note some of the worst of these errors: various no-ransom theories, denial of the vicarious death of Christ, the Church's sharing in Christ's sufferings and glory, evolution, self-atonement, Eddyism, New Thought, Spiritism, occultism; various infidel theories—atheism, agnosticism, materialism, pantheism, deism, rationalism, higher criticism, modernism, etc. Note some of the worst of these wrong practices: combinationism, reformism by legal enactment and enforcement as against moral suasion, federationism, papalism, international league-ism, revolutionism, communism, socialism, anarchism, syndicalism, etc. Through these errors and wrong practices Satan again sought to destroy God's faithful people, thwart His plan, and overthrow His work. God's carefulness, watching the adversary's works and purposes, set into operation powerful truths, refutative of these errors,

 

156

and good principles, destructive of the evil principles underlying these wrong practices, and thus shielded His faithful from "the arrow that flieth by day" and from "the pestilence that walketh in darkness." His carefulness guarded well each feature of His unfolding plan and brought each feature to a completion as it was due. When the adversary came in like a flood to devastate God's people, plan and works, our guarding God by His acts put limits to Satan's efforts, thus realizing the words, "so far and no farther." In the night of trouble now on the world His watchfulness will care for His plan, that all untoward things may work together for good to them that love God, and that out of this night His plan and works will emerge more nearly completed than before.

 

His carefulness will see to it that in the Millennium every condition not conducive to mankind's restitution to the original perfection will be removed, including Satan and his fellow fallen angels, and that every condition conducive to that end will be introduced and maintained. His carefulness will see to it that the weakest and most depraved will get every help needed for his uplift. His carefulness will guard against every external attempt to violate the kingdom arrangements and to wrong or to overreach one's neighbor. When the obedient of the race have by the Millennial operation been restored to perfection, God's carefulness will be exercised toward the preservation of the faithful amid the final trial which must demonstrate the fitness or unfitness, of each one so perfected, for eternal life. Nor will His carefulness permit Satan to bring too sudden and strong temptations upon the people. His carefulness will watch the course of the temptation to bring it within certain metes and bounds, within certain restraints as to progress in severity, and thus will He carefully guard the faithful and sever them thoroughly from the unfaithful. His carefulness will guard those worthy of everlasting life from eternal

 

157

association with the unfaithful and from future Satanic temptations, by annihilating eternally all the unfaithful, with Satan and his fallen angels. And throughout all the Ages to come, the same carefulness of Jehovah will surround those worthy of eternal life, whether in the new heavens or in the new earth, with every condition guarding them from evil, and surrounding them with good. Surely the considerations above given prove and illustrate God's carefulness and watchfulness over His people, plan and works, and thus show that carefulness is one of Jehovah's selfish lower primary graces.Somewhat related to watchfulness or carefulness is the eighth lower primary grace in God's character— secretiveness. It is the quality that God exercises in manifesting His love for concealment. Carefulness is exercised in the presence of danger, while secretiveness is exercised to obtain advantages that its use will gain and to prevent disadvantages which would come, if the matter at hand were known. No personal disadvantages could come to God considered in Himself alone, i.e., as to His person and character; but disadvantages could come to His plans and their agents, and certain advantages would be lost to Him, if His enemies understood these. Hence He uses His secretiveness to ward off disadvantages from His people and His works or plans, and to secure to them certain desirable advantages. God's secretiveness therefore is the quality whereby He uses His love for concealing to secure advantages and to ward off disadvantages. He always uses His secretiveness in harmony with sincerity and honesty. The abuse of secretiveness makes people untruthful, deceitful and hypocritical. Of course God's holy character makes Him proof against such abuse; but His secretiveness makes Him tactful and resourceful against the machinations of evil ones. Thus time and again "He taketh the [supposedly]

 

158

wise in their own craftiness," as He exercises this quality.

 

God has had to use this quality for various reasons. In testing the devotion of the various classes connected with His plan He conceals many details as to the meaning and nature of their experiences under test, because of His purpose in that test—to demonstrate whether they will be loyal to Him on the basis of devotion to His principles, regardless of the personal disadvantages that such devotion might bring them. This is manifest in the trial of the good angels, of Adam and Eve, of the Ancient Worthies, the Little Flock, the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies. It will also be manifest in the trial of the fallen angels and the restitution class during the Millennium, as it has been manifest during the trial that the fallen angels have been having during the Gospel Age as to fitness for having the opportunity of standing the Millennial trial for life. If God had revealed or would reveal the exact reasons for each feature of the tests of the above—mentioned classes, He would have defeated His purpose in giving the test. Therefore He practices secretiveness with respect to these trialsome details. Again, if the Lord would reveal clearly His various purposes, Satan and wicked men would make use of such knowledge to thwart the plan, and such a course would necessitate an alteration of God's methods used in carrying out His plan. In ultimate analysis no one can thwart the Almighty; but their thwarting efforts would require changes in effecting the plan not so advantageous as those the Lord uses compatibly with His purpose; for in the execution of His plan He has put Himself into harmony with the principle always to respect the creatures' uncoerced use of their wills. To act in harmony with this principle God must use secretiveness.

 

The Bible is replete with evidence of God's using secretiveness. He did not let Lucifer understand the

 

159

details of his test when he was given the work of being the covering—protecting—cherub in Eden (Ezek. 28: 14, 16). Nor did Adam and Eve understand the details of their trial. When God in sentencing Satan pronounced the woe of enmity and conflict between him and the woman's seed, foretelling his persecuting and wearing out of the seed (" bruise his heel" ) and the seed's destroying him (" bruise thy head" ), He left in that dark saying many things unexplained. Indeed various features of His plan are called mysteries—secrets unknowable apart from special enlightenment from God. Thus, that the promised Deliverer would be a class, not an individual, that this class would have two advents—the first to suffer for sin and the second to reign unto its extirpation—were secrets that God hid from the ages and generations before the Gospel Age, during which He even conceals it from all but the elect classes (Col. 1: 26, 27). That Israel was to be in blindness until the full company of the Gentile elect would be won was kept a secret until St. Paul's time (Rom. 11: 25-33). That God used the Israelites as types to shadow forth Gospel-Age and Millennial-Age features of His plan He concealed from Israel and all others, and even now He makes these things known only to His saints (1 Cor. 10: 6, 11; Col. 2: 16, 17). God wove time features into His plan, but put them there in such a hidden manner that the general readers of the Bible have been and are completely oblivious to the times and seasons of God's eternal counsel (1 Pet. 1: 10-12).

 

God put all the secrets of His plan into the Bible; but knowing that it would come into the hands of wicked angels and men, as well as into the hands of His faithful people, and that the former would fearfully misuse the Scriptures, He put the secrets there in so hidden a manner that none could understand them except by a special act of God's enlightening

 

160

grace, which He has withheld from all except from those to whom He wished to reveal Himself—the faith class. It is for this reason that the Bible in large part is simply unintelligible to any but the consecrated, and that as due. This St. Paul makes very clear in 1 Cor. 2: 7-14. Truly he could say, "We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery"—in a secret way. Take, for example, the Book of Revelation, which professedly is a great mystery. How very ambiguous this book is! Does one wonder why it is that there are so many sects that teach mutually contradictory doctrines and yet profess to base them all on the Bible? E.g., over 450 different interpretations have been given to the words of Gal. 3: 20: "A mediator is not of one; but God is one." We will now explain this strange fact so patent to all observing persons in Christendom: To the natural man God purposely mixed up the teachings of the Bible more inextricably than a thousand Chinese puzzles made into one could be mixed up. Why? Because during the time for the development of the elective features of His plan, God desired these features hidden from fallen angels and non-elect men, who would only misuse their understanding to the thwarting of that plan, if they understood it. While the Word is a light in a dark place (2 Pet. 1: 19) to the faithful, it is also a trap and a snare to the wicked, who in their pride and naughtiness are repeatedly caught by its teachings to their confusion (Is. 28: 13). It was designedly so made for the ultimate benefit of everybody concerned. This secretiveness of God in His revelation is also designed to test especially the humility, honesty, meekness, obedience, faith, loyalty, and patience of His people. He makes each new advance in its knowledge a reward for loyalty in the pertinent test, as He repeatedly withholds the advancing light from them until they have successfully stood the Divinely required test to the heavenly Father's pleasement.

 

 

< Previous : Next >

 

 

Page#