Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
FIRST MISCELLANY ON DRUNKEN FOLLIES
OF RIGHT-EYE DARKENING.
FURTHER RIGHT-EYE DARKENING. RIGHT-EYE DARKENING ON PHILADELPHIA AND LAODICEA. RIGHT-EYE DARKENING ON THE PYRAMID. SOME FOLLIES OF RIGHT-EYE DARKENING. SOME DRUNKEN FOLLIES OF RIGHT-EYE DARKENING.
THE Society's President continues to run true to form. He continues to set forth new errors and repudiate old truths. He will go further and further into error and lose thereby more and more influence over new creatures and faithful Youthful Worthies (Zech. 11: 15-17). There has been a veritable stampede away from him since the collapse of his prognostications for 1925. The announcement of each new error and the repudiation of each old truth on his part become occasions for more new creatures to leave him. Some of his errors are so transparently evident as such, that it requires no special ability to reason or acute knowledge of the Bible to see through them. If one tests his views with Scriptures, reason and facts, he can hear his theories figuratively rattle.
More and more is he making manifest his fundamental position, i.e., that since 1918 the Lord has entered into a new and more favoring method of dealing with his supposed Little Flock and Great Company, favoring such far above His people previously. Since Elijah was supposedly transubstantiated into Elisha, the latter has been supposedly doing greater exploits than the former ever did, and has allegedly been obtaining much more favor from the Lord than the former ever did. To give Scriptural plausibility to this view he is applying to 1918 onward many Scriptures that our Pastor rightly applied to 1874 onward. Of course such applications introduce confusion where perfect
harmony prevailed before. This wrong viewpoint as to the condition of the supposed Little Flock and Great Company is responsible for many of his errors. From the fact that his viewpoint of the dispensational dealings since 1918 requires for its plausibility so much perversion of Scripture we conclude that it is false. These remarks will give us a vantage point from which to estimate the new errors that have come out since the Feb. 1, 1926, Tower, the last one that we reviewed up to March, 1926. We will proceed to review the issues requiring attention from then onward to Aug., 1926.
In Z '26, 52, pars. 9, 10, J.F.R. teaches in an article entitled, "Obedience Leads To Life," that Satan was anointed to rule over the perfect Adam and to put him to death, if he disobeyed. This he claims is taught in Ezek. 28: 14. That passage teaches that Lucifer was the anointed [qualified] cherub that was to cover [protect] man in Eden; but it says not one word of his being made man's ruler. Lucifer was qualified by the Lord to protect man, just as the good angels have by the Lord been qualified to protect the just (Ps. 34: 7; Heb. 1: 14). But who could rightly say that these passages prove that the angels, who are commissioned to protect [cover] us are thereby authorized to rule over us? Just so little can we rightly infer from Ezek. 28: 14 that Lucifer was authorized to rule over Adam. Much less can it be rightly inferred from it or from Heb. 2: 14, which is cited to prove it, that he was by his anointing [qualification] authorized to put Adam to death, if he disobeyed. Satan has the power of death (Heb. 2: 14) in the sense that his dominion is one of death, not life—he is ruling over a dying, not a living race. He gained it as the prince of this world by usurpation since the flood, but never got it by Divine sanction or authorization, though in Eden he attempted to gain it. This claim for Lucifer is an erroneous imagination of J.F.R., without any Scriptural, reasonable or factual
evidence. The Bible proves that Satan sought to gain power over the race by his course of usurpation in endeavoring to become God's equal (Is. 14: 13, 14). In this passage the expression, "I will sit also [in addition to exalting his throne over angels] upon the mount [kingdom] of the congregation [the human family] in the sides of the north [as a spiritual ruler]," proves that Satan's attempted rulership over man was a usurped one, and as such has never been sanctioned by God. Therefore J.F.R.'s view on Satan's empire and its authority before God is totally false; and this refutes his whole position as to Satan's rights to the kingdom over man until 1914. Moreover Satan gained his rulership by becoming prince of this present evil world. Before it he had influence but not rulership over man.
In par. 16 he sets forth the thought that God had given His word that the tree of knowledge [experience] of good and evil would produce a fruit increasing the knowledge of its eaters. Here again we meet with an imagination. Where does the Bible give or imply such a thought? By eating of its fruit in disobedience man gained a terrible experience with evil; even as, if he had abstained from eating of it, he would have continued to have a blessed experience with good. The fruit of that tree could not give knowledge, as knowledge comes not through stomach nutrition, but by brain exercise. The tree was called the tree of the knowledge [experience] of good, because, if the command of Jehovah with respect to it had been obeyed, man would have been continued in his experience with good; and it was called the tree of the knowledge [experience] of evil, because, by disobeying Jehovah's injunction as to it, man became exposed to an experience with evil, even as Satan's sin and previous righteousness made him the "one of us" knowing [experiencing] good and evil (Gen. 3: 22).
In pars. 17-23 we have some more Jambresian
"folly" offered us, and that with reference to the trees of life, which the article claims were a single tree distinct from the trees "good for food," and that it was a tree of whose existence Adam was ignorant and of which he never ate, or he would have been death-proof—immortal! It is true that there are three distinct sets of trees referred to in Gen. 2: 9; but they are differently grouped from the way the article under review groups them. The Hebrew shows that they are grouped as follows: (1) every tree that is pleasant to the sight [ornamental trees, including flower trees and bushes]; (2) every tree good for food, even [the Hebrew word ve means even as well as and] the trees of lives in the midst of [within] the garden [there is no word in the Hebrew text for the word also, given in the A. V. in this clause]; and (3) the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Against J.F.R.'s opinion we assert that God did inform Adam to eat of the trees of life; for He told Adam to eat of every fruit-bearing tree in the garden, except that of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2: 16). This refutes the article's contention that Adam knew nothing of the tree[s] of life before he sinned. He claims that Gen. 3: 22, by the words "lest he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat and live forever," proves that Adam knew nothing of the existence of the tree of life. Even to an English reader such a thought is not suggested by these words. To a Hebrew scholar the original completely refutes the thought under review. In the Hebrew language the imperfect tense is used to represent incompleted, continued action. The word translated "put forth" is in the imperfect tense. Hence it implies continued action. The words for eat and life forever, while in the perfect tense, are grammatically given the force of the imperfect by the Hebrew word gam, meaning also; thus they imply continued action, a thing that the very nature of one of them implies—live forever. Hence
the verse means: lest the man continue to put forth his hand and continue to eat and continue to live forever. Therefore the tree[s] of life were not an immortality conferrer. They were a life preserver, if continually eaten of. Adam had been eating of them ever since his creation.
The following passages prove that the Hebrew word etz, tree or trees, though singular in form, is frequently plural in meaning, especially when a descriptive noun is used after it: as trees of lives (Gen. 2: 9); trees of fruit (Gen. 1: 11; Ps. 148: 9; Eccl. 2: 5); fruit trees (Ex. 10: 15; Ezek. 36: 30; Lev. 23: 40); trees of food (Deut. 20: 20; Lev. 19: 23; Ezek. 47: 12; Neh. 9: 25); olive trees (Hag. 2: 19; Neh. 8: 15; Is. 41: 19); trees of the field (Ex. 9: 25; Ezek. 15: 6; Is. 10: 19; 44: 23). Thus the Dictionary and the Grammar prove our Pastor right on the tree[s] of life, and J.F.R. wrong on this subject. Adam's being driven out of the garden and the placing of the cherubim to keep him away from the trees of life prove several things: (1) that they were not a single tree in the middle of the garden (the translation should be within, not in the midst of the garden); for if they were such a tree, the cherubim, surrounding it, could have kept him from it while he, remaining in the garden, could eat of the supposedly other fruit trees; (2) that if he had remained in the garden he would have continued to eat thereof; (3) that his being driven and kept out were necessary to prevent his eating of them; [All of these thoughts disprove the theory under review]; and (4) that the theory that his once eating of the tree[s] of life would make it impossible for even God to destroy him, i.e., make him death-proof, immortal, contradicts the Bible, which teaches that corruption—the natural body—cannot inherit incorruption (1 Cor. 15: 50). The thought implied in the last sentence of the article, that the opportunity of consecration for the Divine nature is still
open, we have abundantly refuted in the Appendix of Studies, Vol. II. The fact that the writer of the article under review taught that the door would be closed in 1918, then in 1921, and then by 1925, and now  teaches that it is still open, as he so taught after each of these dates, proves his untrustworthiness as a teacher.
In Z '26, page 72, par. 44, he tells us that joy began in heaven in 1914, after Satan's then supposed casting out of heaven. Was there no joy in heaven when our Lord ascended, and was acclaimed by the heavenly host as Victor and Lord? Was there no joy in heaven at the millions of repentant sinners during the Gospel Age (Luke 15: 7, 10)? Was there no joy in heaven when the sleeping saints were awakened in 1878? According to his teaching in this instance Jehovah Himself in heaven since man's fall, experienced no joy, until in 1914, when Satan was finally cast out, when, the article says, "Joy then began in heaven."
In Z '26, 83-88, is an article on, "Manifestation Of His Goodness." Following certain far-fetched views of higher critics, J.F.R. in pars. 6 and 21 claims that Ps. 65 was first in Hezekiah's day after Sennacherib's defeat introduced into the temple service. This is nowhere taught in the Scriptures, and the flimsy basis for its teaching is founded partly on the higher critics' denial of the Davidic authorship of Ps. 65, and partly on a most unreliable guess. They claim that the agricultural and pastoral allusions of this psalm prove that it arose in connection with the third year harvest mentioned in Is. 37: 30. This claim is a splendid illustration of the flimsiness of their guessage. There are no special shepherd allusions in Is. 37: 30, which disproves the guess, and there were hundreds of other harvests in Israel besides that of Is. 37: 30, from which the agricultural allusions could have been gathered. It is not unlike J.F.R. to reject Truth and
accept higher criticism. Our readers will recall how he said that "there are mistakes … misunderstandings or misapplications … in the Bible" (Z '20, 103, par. 3).
He further sets forth the thought that as this psalm was prepared for the temple service its understanding could come only after the Lord (supposedly first) came to His temple in 1918. Against such a view the following holds: Since Ps. 65 was understood and properly interpreted in our Pastor's day (see Berean Comments), and since J.F.R. has added nothing new to the understanding of its contents, his view of the Lord's not coming to His temple until 1918 is wrong from the standpoint of his own logic. Again, many other psalms were prepared for the temple service, yea all of them, and the vast bulk of these were understood in our Pastor's day. Therefore, from J.F.R.'s own logic it follows that the Lord came to His temple before 1918.
He sets forth a new view on Sennacherib. He is claimed to type Satan; his army, Satan's organization (par. 20); and his fall, the overthrow of Satan's empire. This, like many other of the types of the Society's president, is supposed to stress as especially important the activities of the Society since 1918, which are supposedly greater by far than those of the faithful previously. But this view contradicts the parallel dispensations, according to which the struggle between Sennacherib and Hezekiah types the struggles of the Radicals and Conservatives in the French Revolution. The true view was first brought out by Bro. John Edgar and endorsed by our Pastor (Z '05, 179). Everything in the story of Is. 36-39 harmonizes with this view, while the one under review lacks such harmony. In par. 41, in the interests of the same error, he makes another misapplication of a clearly understood type. He claims that the overthrow of Pharaoh's army (Ex. 14: 13-25) foreshadows the Time of Trouble. All of us recall that in Vol.
VI, 457-459, our Pastor shows that the destruction of Pharaoh and his host at the Red sea types the eternal destruction of Satan and his followers at the end of the Millennium, while the rescue of the Israelites represents the deliverance of the faithful restitutionists at that time. There can be no doubt that all of the facts are in harmony with our Pastor's thought. How demonstrative J.F.R.'s accumulating errors are of the proposition that an erroneous position leads to repudiations of opposing truths.
In Z '26, 99-104, is an article entitled, "Hypocrisy And The True." One would think that hypocrisy would be about the last subject that J.F.R. would select for discussion, lest people's attention might be attracted to his own colossal hypocrisy. Yet he may have taken up its discussion on the principle of "stop thief" cry, in the hope of diverting attention from his own hypocrisy to that of others. Of all the hypocrites that have ever lived he is the only one who is individually pointed out as such prophetically in the Bible (Matt. 24: 50). While classes of hypocrites have been prophetically pointed out, he is the only individual so pointed out. This leads us to believe that he is the greatest hypocrite that ever lived, Satan and the fallen angels excepted. When we remember that he is the little pope in little Babylon, who enacted day after day the hypocrisy that the popes of Great Babylon committed year after year, it is of course additionally evident that he is the greatest hypocrite that ever lived. Our own experience with, and observation of him, coupled with our knowledge of history, confirm us in the thought of his pre-eminence in hypocrisy.
He rightly points his finger to the chief domain and exemplars of hypocrisy—religion and religious leaders. Herein his personal experience has doubtless come to his enlightenment; for the chief hypocrites have doubtless been the cunning, selfish, designing, power-grasping
religious leaders, who have pulled the wool over the eyes of the people by their specious pleas of being the channels of heaven's special favors to man, e.g., the popes of Great Babylon and the pope of little Babylon. But we think he did not begin early enough with the start of hypocrisy. It began with Cain in his sacrifice as related to God and Abel's sacrifice, not in the days of Enos, the son of Seth, as he claims (Gen. 4: 26). He teaches that this verse as translated in the margin, "Then began men to call themselves by the name of the Lord," means that hypocritically men began to use religion. Aside entirely from the question as to whether this translation is correct, how can his thought be found in this translation? It is a pure importation into the translation. But the margin gives too free a rendering. It renders a passive by the reflexive voice, for which there is a form in Hebrew distinct from the passive. The literal translation (there is no word for men here in the Hebrew) is "to call by the name of the Lord was then begun," i.e., in the days of Enos the custom was formed of using the name of God, or the word for God, in the names given to people. Thus this is seen in the name Mahalaleel, Enos' grandson, who was born when Enos was 160 years old (Gen. 5: 9-13). Mahalaleel means praise of God, Mahalale meaning praise and el meaning God. Thus the name God entered first into the name of a human being in connection with the naming of Enos' grandson. The translation, "to call on the name of God [in the sense, either to pray, or to make oath] was then begun," could also be correct; but the thought of prayer thus being first begun would be incorrect, as it contradicts the fact that Cain and Abel had previously prayed, i.e., at the time of their sacrifices. Understood as teaching that in Enos' day a beginning of making oaths by God, the second translation may be the right one. The reason that we suggest both of these translations as possibly correct is
because the Hebrew word be may mean either by or on. And since both translations give good senses either may be correct, if we understand the second one to refer to taking oaths by God. But we are more inclined to the former than to the latter translation. However, no correct translation would give the idea that during Enos' day men began to use religion hypocritically; for Cain had already done this years before Seth, Enos' father, was born. J.F.R.'s course on this matter is a good example of his methods of eisegesis— introducing his own notions into the Bible in contrast with our Pastor's methods of exegesis—bringing God's thoughts out of the Bible.
In par. 17 the article under review still teaches, despite our Pastor's and our refutations, that Enoch died. In this par. it also teaches that for Enoch to see death (Heb. 11: 5) meant for him to observe someone die! Why not let the words, to see death, in connection with one's own death, mean what the Bible clearly shows them to mean (Ps. 89: 48; Luke 2: 26; John 8: 51, compare with v. 52; Luke 9: 27; Matt. 16: 28; and Heb. 2: 9)? A comparison of these passages not only shows what is meant by seeing death, but shows that for one to see death means the same as to taste death, i.e., to experience death.
In par. 44 the false prophet is set forth as Churchianity, and not as the Federation, as our Pastor taught; and its frog is represented to be hypocrisy. His remarks on big business and big politicians seem to imply that their hypocrisies are the other two frogs. All this is in repudiation of our Pastor's teaching. His speaking of the frog coming out of the mouth of the beast occasions us to remark that he, as the pope of little Babylon, is the mouth [spokesman] of the little beast, in little Babylon, and as such by his Divine-right channel claims, is speaking forth its little frog. Just like the frog, he does look solemn, wise and great, as he swells up with pride and opens wide his mouth, but all
he can do is to croak, lacking real wisdom and greatness, which is self-abasement—instead he is full of self-exaltation, power-grasping and lording it over others in his little frog pond. The pity of it is that so many of the Lord's people have been terrified by his croaking into re-echoing it; but we are glad to know that thousands upon thousands are getting deliverance from him. This accounts for his reporting about 10,000 less partaking of the Memorial in 1926 than in 1925—and this in spite of his claim that he has gained many new adherents during the past year.
In pars. 23-25, it is said that the temple is the living members of the Church, i.e., the Society from 1918 onward. The Bible differs: The temple is the Church throughout the Age, and has been represented in each generation in its living members. Against the thought that the Lord came to His temple first in 1918 to judge them by fiery trials first and the nominal church afterwards, the Scriptures and the facts are eloquent and complete. The Scriptures prove that He first came to His Church in 1874 and with them began to reap, and then started to test the Church more severely, i.e., in a general sifting, with fiery trials in 1878. During the harvest periods, the ends of the Ages, these things were done as parallel acts in point of time, 1845 years apart (1 Cor. 10: 1-14). The five harvest siftings, all complete by 1911, and hence before 1918, were very severe and fiery trials, as St. Paul assures us in 1 Cor. 10: 1-14, and they certainly most severely tested the Church. The first of these began in 1878. Here is where judgment began "with us," after the Lord's return in its larger aspect, though as Jesus in the Spring of 30 A.D. (John 2) made His first cleansing of the temple, so in the Spring of 1875 not a few who were in the 1873-1874 Advent movement began to undergo a preliminary casting out, because unable to stand the trial of an invisible return when expecting a visible one. The Lord, as proved by the parallel in 1878, began
to exercise the kingly authority with which He was invested at His return in 1874, by casting off Babylon, Nisan 10, 1878, paralleling the Lord's casting off fleshly Israel, Nisan 10, 33 A.D., not as J.F.R. claims, in 1918 and 33 A.D. as parallel dates, thus paralleling things not parallel; for the parallel affects two similar things or events 1845 years apart. Jesus' purging the Jewish temple in 33 A.D. types something in the parallel 1845 years ahead, i.e., in 1878. His coming there in 33 A.D. cannot parallel something supposed to have taken place in 1918; for these dates are more than the parallel time—1845 years—apart. In harmony with the Scriptures which put the fiery trials especially in the sifting periods, 1878-1911, though the sixth sifting beginning in 1917 has been a fiery trial, in harmony with the facts of these trials in the five siftings within those years, in harmony with the parallel dispensation dates and in harmony with prophetic chronology, we know that Christ came in 1874, did some easier testing in 1875 and began crucially, i.e., with fiery trials, to test the real Church in 1878 and shortly thereafter the nominal church, continuing this throughout the five harvest siftings. This, then, proves that Jesus began the crucial testing of the temple class in 1878—40 years before the counterfeit date. (The little Antichrist, like the great Antichrist, counterfeits every thing.) These are the Scriptural and factual evidences on the subject as we were taught them by "that Servant" and they stand, while the Jambresian folly of the Society's president in trying to parallel 33 A.D. with 1918 as the time of the beginning of the temple's testing, whereas the 1845 years lead to 1878, will soon be made known to all! Does this symbolic sorcerer think that he can with his wizard wand so enchant his readers as to make them think that 33 + 1845 = 1918? This he seeks to do when he argues that the parallel of Jesus' casting off of Israel and cleansing
the temple was in 1918! How can brethren, trained in our Pastor's strictly logical, factual and Biblical methods of reasoning, tolerate such a pervert as J.F.R. shows himself to be in this teaching? This might do to tell his recent converts for whom he found the "Six Volumes too much to wade through" and therefore gave them "a short-cut through the Truth in the form of the Harp," but how can those trained in our Pastor's teachings endure so erratic a teacher as he is proven to be by the Jambresian "folly" just exposed?
It is true that a great trial came in 1918 upon the Society, especially upon its leaders. But that trial was fit-man experience. One of the Little Flock's crucial trials began in 1917, the separation of antitypical Elijah and Elisha. But the 1918 Society experience, so far as the Society leaders and their partisan followers were concerned, was largely a punishment for their gross wickedness in connection with the separation of antitypical Elijah and Elisha in 1917. And the gross cowardliness of J.F.R., who, when in danger, and hoping for deliverance, faced about and advised the brethren to buy liberty bonds, and bought them himself, is very manifest. He became more guilty than the clergy whom he so roundly denounced for their war activities; for they were apparently patriotic in their activity, while he was, against better knowledge, grossly disloyal to God and stained his hands in war blood by supporting the war financially through buying war bonds and advising consecrated brethren to do likewise! His cowardliness and that of his associates he now claims was the fear of the Elijah class fleeing from Jezebel, a flight that occurred 100 years before! He blasphemes our Lord's coming to the temple and crucially testing His faithful, by degrading His activities therein to the activities of the fit man in punishing the Society section of Azazel's Goat! The Lord saw to it that they got fit-man experiences; but
He did it to beat them into their senses, away from their double-mindedness, and not as an experience to fit them for a supposedly greater service than the faithful Little Flock had ever had; because as members of the Great Company they are incapable of serving more effectively than the Little Flock; and the Lord loves the Little Flock so much more than He loves them that He would not give them a more honorable service than He would give and has given to His Little Flock.
Please let us keep in mind the remark made above that the theory of J.F.R. is that since 1918, when the Lord supposedly came first to His temple to purge it with crucial cleansings, He has been honoring the partisan Society adherents with privileges and blessings above all His other people from Pentecost on, and that at that time a change of dealings from Him set in toward His supposedly faithful people. To give a seemingly Scriptural setting to this error, a large number of Scriptures have been violently wrested and tortured (2 Pet. 3: 16) by J.F.R. into a totally different sense from that which they suggest and that given them by that faithful and wise Servant; and these wrested and tortured misunderstandings are by him claimed to be advancing light. There was a change in the work after the real separation of antitypical Elijah and Elisha in 1917. Then the same drunken class—antitypical Elisha, the Great Company of the Society—frenzied by the first Jambresian errors, frantically performed the second smiting of Jordan, and ever since it renewed its activities in 1919 (Rev. 19: 3), has largely been beating the air with its "Millions" propaganda for 1925—an illuminating example of what the supposedly greater than Elijah work really is! His other claimed new light is of exactly the same character and came from the same counterfeit sun—Satan—as his 1925 proposition; for be it noted that his drives from 1919 to 1925 had that error as their
keynote. Yea, verily, such is his advancing light, and such is the supposedly greater honor and work than antitypical Elijah ever had! How can false propaganda be the greatest work?
In par. 35, J.F.R. disclaims credit for originating this supposed marvelous and advancing light. He blasphemously ascribes to God the authorship of Azazel-invented theories! He is right in not ascribing the authorship of his errors of doctrine and wrongs of practice to himself; for they were made by his master, Azazel; for him does he serve, his thoughts does he spread, his wrong methods does he use, and a part of his evil organization— the little Roman Catholic Church—has he been developing among Truth people, while he has been casting aside one Divinely originated truth, practice and organizational feature after another. Therefore this supposed light that he claims will be sevenfold—perfect—by about the time his followers leave the earth, i.e., before the earthly phase of the kingdom is established, will then be recognized by all New Creatures and faithful Youthful Worthies as Egyptian darkness; for long before then will his right eye be utterly darkened (Zech. 11: 17).
In Z '26, 131-136, is published an article entitled, "Character Or Covenant—Which?" This is another article that betrays the erraticism of J.F.R. The ignorance of Greek, English and the nature of character development, the self-contradictions, the sophistries, the contrastless contrasts and the "methods of deceit" with which the article abounds, ought to convince any Truth-instructed person of the confused mind of its writer. Above all his articles that we have ever read this one proves his unfitness to teach. In pars. 5 and 6 are found some sophisms on perfection of character, which he vociferates against as though it meant sinlessness, whereas it means a disposition crystallized in Christlikeness, which is certainly a Scriptural thought (1 Pet. 5: 10; Heb. 13: 21; John 17: 23;
Jas. 1: 4; 1 John 4: 17, 18). He cries out in his drunkenness that the Greek word charakter, which occurs but once in the Bible (Heb. 1: 3), not meaning in the Bible what the English word character does; there is no such thing as character development! Fastening on one of the meanings of the word character, person, in English, and ignoring the one used in the term character development, he tells us that we do not develop characters, but that we are characters! Here is a splendid illustration of the sophist that he is: emphasizing a meaning of the word not pertinent to the subject and ignoring that one of its meanings which is pertinent to the subject, he denies the propriety of the use of the pertinent one and insists on the application of the impertinent one to the subject! His sophistry on this subject would be a good example for a text-book on logic, to illustrate the sophism of using a word having different senses in one of its senses only, as a proof that it has not another of its senses!
To clarify the subject we will make some explanations: In neither profane, nor in New Testament Greek, has the word charakter the meaning that we attach to the English word character in the expression character development. Our English word character has about twelve different meanings. See Century Dictionary. It has all of the senses of the Greek word charakter, plus some that the Greek word does not have, and that have been added to the word since it was taken into the English language. This fact shows the sophistry of the writer, who claims that since charakter in the Greek New Testament (where it occurs but once) does not mean what is meant by the English word character in the term "character development," there is no such a thing as character development taught in the Bible! Hence he hoots at developing a Christlike character, and derides the whole idea of character development in the article under review!
By the word character, as used in an ethical sense, we mean the sum total of one's inherited and cultivated qualities of heart and mind, one's inherited or developed disposition. And one who denies that in this sense of the word the Bible teaches character development is either ignorant, or blinded, or wilfully dishonest.
Let us cite some Scriptures, all of which exhort to, or treat of character development, i.e., the cultivation of Christlike qualities, whose aggregate constitutes a Christlike character: Matt. 5: 3-12; 7: 18, 19, 24, 25, 13: 23; Rom. 6: 4, 13, 19; 12: 9-21; Gal. 5: 22-24; 6: 1, 2, 6, 8; Eph. 5: 9, 10, 18-21; Col. 3: 1-17; 1 Thes. 5: 11-18; 1 Tim. 6: 11, 12; Heb. 13: 1-21; 1 Pet. 3: 3-13; 5: 5-10; 2 Pet. 1: 310; 3: 18; 1 John 4: 7-21. Remembering what the developing of a Christlike character means—the cultivation of the graces whose aggregate constituted our Lord's perfected spiritual disposition—we at once, if we have the knowledge of God's will toward us, know that we must develop a Christlike character. If we do not develop character, why does Christ describe us as bringing forth fruit (Matt. 13: 23)? If we do not develop character, why does St. Paul tell us to put on the graces of the Spirit (Col. 3: 10-12)? If we do not develop character, why does he describe the qualities that we must develop as fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5: 22-24)? If we do not develop character, why do the Lord and the Apostle describe our cultivating the graces as our work of building (Matt. 7: 24, 25; 1 Cor. 3: 12, 14)? If we do not develop character, why does the Apostle say that our spiritual senses [graces] are exercised [developed] by use unto enabling us to discern God's will (Rom. 12: 2; Heb. 5: 14)? If we do not develop character, why does the Apostle exhort us to add [cultivate beside previous developments] the graces and to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Pet. 1: 5-7, 3: 18)? Nobody but an ignorant or a deliberately dishonest
or blinded person, would deny that the Bible teaches the thought contained in the terms, "character development" and "development of a Christ-like character."
J.F.R. finds many Scriptures contrary to his "new view," and this becomes the occasion of his wresting them. He rails at the idea of character development. Rom. 8: 29 was one of the passages most frequently used by our Pastor to teach that we must cultivate a Christlike character. The connection proves that the image here referred to is not the bodily image of our Lord to be gotten in the resurrection, as claimed by J.F.R., but Christ's character image. For, as our Pastor shows in Studies, Vol. VI, 181-185, Paul logically explains in vs. 28-30, in the reverse chronological order, our development by God for the kingdom: (1) after our entrance into the high calling God works (v. 28) all our experiences and privileges, etc., for our spiritual goodcharacter development as new creatureswhich God predestinated (v. 29) must be like Christ's if we are to be of the many brethren (Rom. 8: 9, 14) of whom Christ is the firstborn; (2) to put us into the position to develop Christ's likeness, He previously favored us with the call to glory, honor and immortality (v. 30); (3) and to fit us for this call he previously justified us tentatively (v. 30); and (4) to fit us for such tentative justification He previously honored us with the gospel knowledge (v. 30), arousing us to repentance toward God and to faith in our Lord Jesus. Thus the connection proves that the expression, "conformed to the image of His Son," means to be developed like Christ in character; hence a character image is here meant and not the image of His body that we will receive in the resurrection. Let our readers watch for some further perversions from the Society's president on v. 30; for as it was interpreted by our Pastor, it teaches tentative justification as preceding the call to consecration and the high calling. While it is true that the Greek word eikon
does not necessarily mean character, but means image, it does mean a character likeness, if the connection shows such to be the kind of image that is meant; as it can also mean an intellectual or even a physical likeness. The connection must determine what kind of a likeness is intended by the word eikon. Rom. 8: 28-30 proves by its run of thought that character likeness to Christ is meant by the words, conformed unto the image of His Son.
Repeatedly the article under review says of persons that they are characters, e.g., "Jehovah is the character," "Christ is a character," "you are characters." This is true enough when the word character is used in the sense of a person. But the use the article makes of this expression to deny that God, Christ, etc., have characters, but that they are characters—persons—is a sophism worthy of an ever darkening eye. It is as stupid to claim that it is wrong to say that Jehovah, Jesus and New Creatures have characters as it would be to claim that it is wrong to say that Jehovah, Jesus and New Creatures have hearts, minds and the Holy Spirit, i.e., the holy character.
When he says that the expressions, "Jacob's character," "Esau's character," are not properly Biblical terms, saying this to bolster up his claim as against the idea of character development, he is again guilty of sophistry. The word character, not occurring in the Bible, is of course not a Scriptural term; but it is a Scriptural thought, even as the words, substitute and substitution, with reference to the ransom doctrine, are not Scriptural terms, but they certainly are Scriptural ideas. Even so character is a Scriptural idea, though not a Scriptural term. When we say, Character is what a man really is, we do not use the term character to mean a person, as the connection shows J.F.R. makes it mean; but we mean that his ethical condition is his real identity, not some external thing. In par. 24 he denies that Jesus was required to
develop character while on earth. In refutation we would say that Jesus as the prehuman Logos had a perfect spiritual character adapted to His spiritual plane of being, but not one adapted to the Divine plane of being; that as a human infant He had a perfect character in the sense of an undeveloped perfect disposition, that as He grew in knowledge and favor with God His perfect and undeveloped disposition was undergoing development and that by the time his testing under the Law was consummated He had crystallized a perfect human character. As a New Creature at Jordan His disposition as a New Creature was not yet developed. It became developed unto crystallization—perfection—gradually, as He faithfully practiced self-denial and world-denial, meditated on God's Word, spread God's Word, practiced its spiritual parts and suffered faithfully in loyalty to God's Word. Thus His New Creature was developed in character unto fitness for the Divine nature and His future office (Heb. 2: 17, 18; 5: 8, 9). To deny that He developed a Divine character from Jordan to Calvary implies that the denier does not understand the necessity of development from human dispositions to Divine dispositions to attain the Divine nature, from having human characters to gaining Divine characters—the change of character necessary for human beings to become Divine beings. J.F.R.'s contradiction of Heb. 5: 8, 9, which teaches that Jesus developed obedience under suffering conditions, and thus was made perfect in character and body, is refuted by the very wording of the text itself; for the text says that He was made perfect, not that He perfected, or "completed His covenant," as the Society's president falsely alleges, perverting the passive into the active voice and then interpolating an object to the active verb. In par. 31 he confuses the Sarah Covenant with the covenant of sacrifice, treating them as one covenant.
In discussing 2 Pet. 1: 5-10, he (pars. 32-40) contradicts