Part 1 out of 7
Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Keren Vergon, Anne Folland and PG
The Harp of God
_Proof Conclusive that_
Millions now Living will never Die
A text-book for Bible study specially
adapted for use of beginners; with numerous
questions and Scripture citations
By J.F. Rutherford, Author of
"_Can the Living Talk with the Dead_?"
"_Millions now Living will never Die!_"
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and
International Bible Students Association
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
_Also_: London, Toronto, Melbourne, Cape Town, Orebro, Barmen,
To the invisible King of Glory now present
in the interests of
the generation now on earth who
will become his loyal subjects
this book is dedicated
_"This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled_."
There is need of a textbook for beginners in Bible study. This book is
intended to meet that long-felt want. The subject matter is arranged
progressively and orderly. A list of questions follows each point
discussed, thus enabling the teacher to direct the mind of the student
to the subject under consideration. The numeral following each question
refers to the paragraph of the text where the answer may be found, each
paragraph being numbered to correspond.
Jehovah had a great plan before the foundation of the world; but no one
knew about it. During the first four thousand years of man's history
God's plan was kept a secret. He began to reveal it to man nearly
nineteen hundred years ago, and then only to those who are consecrated
to do his will. Promise was made that greater light should come at the
end of the age, and this promise has been kept. We are at that time, as
is clearly proven by the contents herein. This book points out the
salient features of the divine plan, which plan is both orderly and
People generally have not been thoroughly instructed in the Bible. Even
those who have attended the Sunday schools have merely learned the text
and not the meaning of the text. Like the prophets of old, they have
heard but understood not. The real reason for these conditions is that
God's plan could not be understood until his due time to reveal it. His
due time is here.
Because of the dispensational change taking place at this time, Bible
study was never so important as now. If important to educate the rising
generation in the things taught in our common schools, with stronger
reasoning is it important to educate them concerning that which is now
being revealed of the divine program for the uplifting and blessing of
There is no disposition, desire, nor attempt to induce any one reading
this book to become a member of any organization, sect, or denomination.
The sole purpose of the book is to aid honest seekers for truth in
their endeavors to understand the Bible, to learn the meaning of the
present-day events, and to prepare some at least to receive the
blessings that are soon due to mankind.
If you knew that there was to be a radical change in the government for
the better, and that your children might have a part in the affairs of
the new government, you would be anxious for them to acquire all the
knowledge possible concerning the new order of things. The greatest
changes of the ages are now taking place. It is conceded by everybody
that these changes began with the World War and that they continue. But
what do they mean? The real answer is that the old world, or social and
political order, has ended and is passing away, and that a new and
better order is due and will shortly be established. Every parent owes
it to his child to instruct him insofar as possible concerning the
incoming new order or government. The contents of this book will start
you in the right way.
The subject matter herein treated is not discussed at great length. The
interested reader is referred to the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and
kindred publications of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, wherein
these matters are treated in greater detail. The King James Version of
the Bible is used in the quotations, except as otherwise indicated. The
reader should consider each point herein made with his Bible before him,
proving each proposition, that he may be thoroughly convinced in his own
The harp is an instrument which, when used by a skilled performer,
brings happiness and cheer to those who listen. The harp of God, when
understood and skillfully used, brings peace of mind and gladness of
heart. The title of this book suggests the thought of good cheer and
happiness. The message herein contained, taken from the Word of God, is
sent forth with the prayer that it may be a blessing to many, that it
may cheer some who are sad, bind up some broken hearts, comfort some
that mourn, and give all who earnestly read a deeper appreciation of
Jehovah and the Savior of mankind.
Brooklyn, N.Y., October 1, 1921.
The Harp of God
The Abrahamic Promise
The Birth of Jesus
Our Lord's Return
Glorification of the Church
The Harp of God
"_I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark sayings upon
the harp."--Psalm 49:4._
The harp is a musical instrument invented many centuries ago. When
properly strung and played upon it yields sweet music, making glad the
heart. The first mention of the harp made in the Bible is in Genesis
4:21, and the inventor's name was Jubal. He was therefore called "the
father of all such as handle the harp and organ".
It was 1812 years before the coming of Jesus in the flesh that God
organized the twelve tribes of Israel, the descendants of Jacob, into a
nation, which nation thereafter was known as the nation of Israel. It
was the only nation with which God made a covenant, and he did not
recognize any other nation in the same way. (Amos 3:2) The nation of
Israel was used to make living pictures or types, foreshadowing better
things to come; and those who study the Scriptural account of Israel's
experiences are able to approximate closely future events which will be
good for mankind.--1 Corinthians 10:1-13; Hebrews 10:1.
With the nation of Israel the harp was an instrument consecrated to
joy and exaltation. David, who for forty years was king of Israel, was
an expert player on the harp, and it will be noted that in the Psalms
often the harp is used to symbolize or teach some great truth. The Jews
used this instrument on occasions of joy, such as jubilees and
Josephus, a writer of Jewish history, is authority for the statement
that the harp usually had ten strings, but that at times it was smaller
and had only eight strings. The number _ten_ is used in the Scriptures
to symbolize that which is complete or perfect as pertaining to man. We
would understand, then, that the harp with ten strings pictures the great
fundamental truths concerning the divine plan. When two of these strings
were absent, there being only eight, the indication is apparently given
that there would be a time when two important features of the divine plan
would not be seen by men. God promised that greater light should come
upon his Word at the end of the age, or end of the world, which means the
social order of things. Since we have reached that time, we confidently
look for more light and thus we find it.
The Book of Revelation is written largely in symbols. In Revelation
14:2,3 and 15:2,3 we find a brief description of a class of glorious
beings who are playing upon their harps, and these are described as the
'harps of God'. The harp here is used as a sign or symbol of some great
truth, or feature of the divine program; in fact, a great deal of the
Bible is written in symbolic phrase. The Lord uses objects which we know
to illustrate great unseen things which we do not know; and the harp is
WHO IS GOD?
Before we can know God and understand his great plan it is first
necessary for us to believe that he exists and that he rewards all who
diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) But how can we believe? We must
first have some knowledge. But how can we know that there is a great
God? Let us look at some of the simpler things about us and reason upon
Look at the flowers in your garden. Out from the same soil grow the
many varieties of different hues and colors. Likewise from the same soil
spring the divers kinds of trees, bringing forth different fruits at
different seasons of the year. Some wisdom superior to man's must have
arranged these things. Observe the broad fields, the lofty mountains,
the mighty rivers, and then behold the ocean, exhibiting unlimited
power, upon the waves of which majestically ride the great ships. Are we
not compelled to conclude that there was a wise One, who created these
things, greater than anything we see?
Now gaze into the silent heavens above you, and there number, if you
can, the stars and planets which are noiselessly moving through space.
Many of these are far greater than the earth, and yet each one hangs in
its place and moves noiselessly about in its orbit. Surely they could
not have come there by chance, but the reasonable mind must say that a
Creator greater than the planets put them there. When King David looked
at these wonders of creation he was so impressed with the greatness of
their Creator that he wrote: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and
the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and
night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language,
where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the
earth, and their words to the end of the world."--Psalm 19:1-4.
Consider man. What a wonderful piece of mechanism is his body! The
framework is there; the muscles that hold each part in place; the
nerves, like a great electrical system by which messages are conveyed
from the brain to all parts of the body. He has power to reason and to
plan and carry out these plans. Truly no machine can be compared to man
for intricacy of construction and harmony of action. Who, then, is the
Creator of this wonderful thing? We must conclude that there was a
great First Cause who made and put into action all things visible in the
universe, as well as things to us invisible. And who is he? Jehovah is
his name; the great God of the universe.--Psalm 83:18; Genesis 17:1;
Exodus 6:3; 20:2-5.
The name Jehovah means self-existing one. He was without beginning
and without end, and of him Moses wrote: "From everlasting to
everlasting thou art God". (Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 26:4) He is the great
Almighty Jehovah God and there is none other besides him, and his honor
and dignity none other possesses. (Isaiah 42:8) He is the great all-wise
Creator of all things that are made. (Isaiah 40:28; Genesis 1:1) The
four great and eternal attributes of Jehovah are justice, power, love,
and wisdom. (Ezekiel 1:5,6) These attributes work together in exact
harmony at all times; and in various times and ways he makes manifest
these attributes. At certain times he has specially manifested such
His justice was made manifest by inflicting punishment for the
violation of his law. Power was particularly manifested in the great
flood that destroyed all things on the earth. His love was especially
exhibited in the sacrifice of the dearest treasure of his heart, his
beloved Son, that mankind might have an opportunity for life. His wisdom
is particularly manifested in his great plan, which he gradually unfolds
and permits man to see. His attributes have no limitations. He is so
wise that he knew the end from the beginning and outlined all of his
great plan to the very minutest detail.--Acts 15:18.
It is conceded by all that man is the very highest type of all
living creatures on the earth. His intelligence is far superior to that
of any other earthly being. Truly man is fearfully and wonderfully made.
Is it not reasonable for him to expect that the Almighty God would
reveal to man something of the divine greatness and plans and purposes?
Yes, and such revelation is found in that wonderful book, the holy
Who wrote the Bible? What is known as the Old Testament was written
by holy men of old who were moved upon by the invisible power of Jehovah
to write it. (2 Peter 1:21; 2 Samuel 23:2; Luke 1:70) The New Testament
consists of the spoken words of Jesus, the Son of God, who spake as
never man spake, and whose words were recorded by those who heard him
and witnessed his acts; and in addition thereto, the written testimony
of his disciples, who wrote under inspiration from God.
The holy spirit means the invisible power or influence of Jehovah--
holy because he is holy. This power of Jehovah operated upon the minds
of honest men who loved and who were devoted to righteousness, directing
them in the writing of the Bible. The spirit of God, i.e., his invisible
power and influence, moved upon the waters and thereby he created.
(Genesis 1:2) In like manner his invisible power and influence operated
upon the minds of men and directed them what to write. Thus did Moses
write the first five books of the Bible. The invisible power or influence
of God, which is the holy spirit, operating upon Moses' mind enabled him
to make a record of the chief events that had occurred and to write the
law of God, as given to his people through Moses. In no other way could
the true history of creation have been written. These facts and truths
were, therefore, written by inspiration of God. (2 Timothy 3:16; Job
32:8) There are twenty-four prophetic writers of the Old Testament, who
foretold the great events that were to transpire in the earth. Their
accounts were written at different times and under widely different
conditions, yet their testimonies agree. Their testimony foreshadowed
History, when written, is a recorded statement of facts and events,
arranged in a chronological order.
Prophecy, which is true, is a statement of facts and events foretold
to take place at some future time. Otherwise stated, prophecy is history
written before it transpires.
No human mind could actually foretell facts or events to happen in
the future. Only the divine mind could do that. If, then, we find that
the Bible foretold certain facts and events to happen and the record of
the same was made centuries before these facts and events did happen,
and these events and facts are now definitely established as having
taken place, such would be the strongest proof that the persons
recording such facts and events were directed in so doing by the divine
mind; hence that such writing was under divine inspiration.
As an illustration of this point: Wireless telegraphy and airships
are modern discoveries; yet since they have been discovered we find that
God, through his holy prophets, foretold centuries ago the use of such
inventions. (Job 38:35; Isaiah 60:8) The railway train has been in use
less than a hundred years; and yet the prophet of God many centuries ago
gave a clear and particular description of the railway train and the
manner of its operation, and prophesied that the same would be in vogue
at the time of the end, at the time the Lord is making preparation for
the establishment of his kingdom. (Nahum 2:3-6) And he also foretold
that at that time there would be a great running to and fro by other
means of transportation, such as automobiles, electric cars, etc.
(Daniel 12:4) There is no one living in modern times who is wiser than
Solomon; yet during the past 125 years there has been a great
development in invention and a marvelous increase of knowledge; because
it is due time, and because the prophets of God centuries ago foretold
that such would come to pass.
Through his holy prophets God foretold that at a time future there
would come into the world a mighty man; that he would be born a Jew
(Deuteronomy 18:15), specifying the place where he would be born (Micah
5:2); that he would come to his own people and they would not receive
him; that he would be despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and
acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:1-3); that he would ride into Jerusalem
upon an ass, the foal of a like animal, and offer himself as king to the
Jews (Zechariah 9:9); that he would be rejected by the Jews (Isaiah
53:3); that he would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah
11:12); that he would die, but not for himself (Daniel 9:26); that there
would be no just cause for his death (Isaiah 53:8,9,11); that
nevertheless he would be numbered among the transgressors (Isaiah
53:12); that he would die a violent death, yet not a bone of his body
should be broken (Psalm 34:20); that his flesh would not corrupt, and
that he would arise from the dead (Psalm 16:10)--all of which and many
more similar prophecies were completely fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth,
the great Teacher who lived about and died at Jerusalem. Later we will
examine the Scriptures proving a further fulfillment of all these
All of the foregoing facts show that the Bible was written, as it is
claimed, by holy men of old, who were directed in writing it by the
power of Jehovah, and that it is a record which God caused to be kept
and has given to man for his guidance in righteousness, and which
foretells the course and final destiny of man.
The prophets who made record of the divine arrangement did not
understand what they wrote. They knew they were writing something that
would take place in the future, but just how and when they did not know.
They inquired and searched diligently all sources of information open to
them as to what these prophecies meant and when they would be fulfilled
and in what manner of time. Particularly with reference to the coming of
Jesus, his suffering, death and resurrection they prophesied and did not
understand, although they attempted to understand. (1 Peter 1:10,12)
Even the angels of heaven knew that the prophets were thus writing, but
they did not understand, although they desired to look into these
things. God revealed his great plan only in his own due time, and until
that time he kept it all to himself.
The divine plan means the arrangement made by Jehovah for the
creation of everything that has been created and for carrying out his
purposes with reference to his creatures. The first one to understand
the divine plan was Jesus, who prior to coming to earth was known as the
Logos, which means one who speaks and acts for Jehovah. In Revelation,
chapter 5, a wonderful picture is given in symbolic language. Jehovah is
pictured as seated upon his throne, holding in his right hand a record
or scroll of his great plan. The hand is a symbol of power and holding
it in his hand foreshadowed the fact that Jehovah held it exclusively in
his own power and keeping. The picture then shows a strong angel or
messenger speaking with a loud voice and asking the question: "Who is
worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof?" In heaven there
was a host of holy beings or angels. No one of them was able to open
the book or scroll, neither to look on it. No one in earth was able to
look upon it nor to open it.
One of the titles given to Jesus is "Lion of the tribe of Judah".
This great and mighty One, the beloved Son of God, afterward designated
Jesus, was granted the privilege of opening the book and of loosing the
seals that kept it secret, thus picturing how Jehovah made known his
plan to his beloved Son. The picture describes him thus: "And I beheld,
and, lo, in the midst of the throne ... stood a Lamb as it had been
slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, ... and he came and took the
book out of the right hand of him [Jehovah] that sat upon the throne".
_Seven_ is a symbol of perfection; horn a symbol of power; and eyes
a symbol of wisdom. Therefore this One is pictured as having perfect
power and perfect wisdom to perform this wonderful privilege and duty.
This is the first time that the great mystery of Jehovah, his great plan
or program, was made known to any one; and since then, from time to
time, he has been pleased to reveal portions of his plan to men who have
honestly and faithfully sought to understand it. He has promised to
reward those that diligently seek him and who seek a knowledge of him.
Therefore we can come to the study of his plan, confidently expecting
that he will grant us from time to time such a vision and understanding
of it as pleases him and as would be for our good and happiness.
The harp is used to symbolize the grandeur and beauty, the exquisite
harmony and majestic sweetness of the divine arrangement or plan. The
record of this great program or plan is found in the Old and the New
Testaments. This record reveals the purpose of God concerning man, gives
a record of his fall, a prophetic vision of his redemption and
deliverance, and ultimately the blessing of all obedient ones of mankind
with life everlasting. The great fundamental doctrines or truths stated
in the Bible and which constitute the fundamentals of his plan
concerning man would, therefore, constitute the strings upon the harp of
God. These fundamental truths were spoken by Jehovah through the
prophets, through Jesus, and through his disciples. God's law is his
expressed will. Law means a rule of action, directing that which is
right and prohibiting that which is wrong. The Bible contains the law of
Jehovah for the governing of mankind.
The name David means beloved one. The beloved One of Jehovah is his
Son, Jesus, the Christ. David was therefore used by Jehovah to picture
or to make a type of Christ, including Jesus and his faithful followers.
David used the harp of ten strings and was an expert performer upon it.
This would seem to picture how that the antitype of David, Jesus and the
members of his body, his faithful followers, would have an understanding
of this harp of God and that God would use them to make it plain to
others who would want to understand it. The ten strings of the harp,
therefore, very fitly represent the ten great fundamental truths or
doctrines of the divine plan. These ten fundamental doctrines appear in
the order named, as follows:
(2) JUSTICE MANIFESTED
(3) ABRAHAMIC PROMISE
(4) BIRTH OF JESUS
(7) MYSTERY REVEALED
(8) THE LORD'S PRESENCE
When one understands these ten fundamental truths and can
appreciate the beauty and harmony by them expressed, he is thereby
enabled to use the harp of God, and the use of it brings joy to his
heart and fills his soul with sweet music. Without doubt the great plan
of God pictured by the harp was all made and arranged at one time, but
we will here consider each one of these fundamental truths, represented
by a string, separately and in the order above named.
What is the harp? and when was it invented? ¶ 1.
Who invented the harp? and where is mention made of it in the Bible?
When did God organize the twelve tribes of Israel into a nation? ¶ 2.
What arrangement did God make with the nation of Israel? ¶ 2.
For what purpose was that nation used by Jehovah? ¶ 2.
To what did the nation of Israel consecrate the harp? ¶ 3.
What king of Israel was skilled in the use of the harp? ¶ 3.
Where in the Scriptures is the harp used symbolically? ¶ 3.
On what occasions did the Jews use the harp? ¶ 3.
How many strings were there on Israel's harp? and what did these
symbolize? ¶ 4.
Did the harp at any time have a less number of strings? and if so, what
did that picture? ¶ 4.
In what phrase or language is the book of Revelation written? ¶ 5.
Where in the book of Revelation is the harp mentioned? and what kind of
beings are pictured as using it? ¶ 5.
What is the first essential to an understanding of God's plan? ¶ 6.
Name some visible proof of the existence of a Supreme Being or Creator.
How was David impressed with what he observed of creation? ¶ 8.
How does man's organism prove the existence of a Supreme Being? ¶ 9.
Who is the Supreme Being or Creator? and what does his name signify?
Give some Scriptural proof of the existence of Jehovah. ¶ 10.
Name the four primary divine attributes. ¶ 10.
How was divine justice manifested? ¶ 11.
How was divine power manifested? ¶ 11.
How was divine love manifested? ¶ 11.
How was divine wisdom manifested? ¶ 11.
Is there proof that God foreknew the end from the beginning? ¶ 11.
Why should man expect some revelation of the divine plan? ¶ 12.
Has man found a revelation of God's plan? and if so, where? ¶ 12.
By whom was the Bible written? and what are the two general divisions of
it? ¶ 13.
What is meant by the holy spirit? ¶ 14.
What relationship does the holy spirit bear to the Bible and its
preparation? ¶ 14.
Who wrote the first five books of the Bible? and under what influence?
Was the Bible written under inspiration? ¶ 14.
How many prophetic writers contributed to the Old Testament? and does
their testimony agree? ¶ 14.
Define history. ¶ 15.
Define prophecy. ¶ 16.
Can a human mind accurately foretell future events? ¶ 17.
What is one of the strongest proofs that the Bible was written under
inspiration? ¶ 17.
What relationship do wireless telegraphy and airships bear to fulfilled
prophecy? ¶ 18.
Were railway trains foretold by the prophets? and if so, where? ¶ 18.
What other means of rapid transit did the prophets foretell? ¶ 18.
Why did not Solomon give the world great inventions such as we now have?
Did the prophets point to the coming of any special one to earth? ¶ 19.
What prophecy, if any, did the coming of Jesus of Nazareth tend to
fulfill? ¶ 19.
How did the coming of Jesus tend to confirm the authenticity of the
Scriptures? ¶ 20.
Did the prophets understand the meaning of what they wrote concerning
the happening of future events? ¶ 21.
What effort did they make to understand? ¶ 21.
Did the angels in heaven understand what the prophets were writing?
What is meant by the term "the divine plan"? ¶ 22.
Who was the first one to understand the divine plan? ¶ 22.
What was the name of Jesus before he became a man? and what is the
significance of his prehuman title? ¶ 22.
What is pictured by the fifth chapter of Revelation? Give the details of
the picture. ¶ 22.
Who is the "Lion of the tribe of Judah"? ¶ 23.
What is the symbolic meaning of the words "seven", "horns," and "eyes"?
and what do these words signify as used in Revelation 5? ¶ 24.
Is there reason to expect that God would grant certain ones from time to
time an increased understanding of his plan? and if so, why? ¶ 24.
What does the harp symbolize? ¶ 25.
Where is the record of the divine plan found? ¶ 25.
What does this record reveal concerning man? ¶ 25.
By whom has God spoken his fundamental truths? ¶ 25.
What is the law of God? ¶ 25.
Define law. ¶ 25.
Where is the law of God found? ¶ 25.
What is the meaning of the word David? ¶ 26.
Whom did David picture or typify? ¶ 26.
What did David's use of the harp typify or picture? ¶ 26.
What is pictured or symbolized by the ten strings of David's harp? ¶ 26.
Name the ten fundamental truths represented by the strings on the harp.
How can one learn to use the harp of God? ¶ 27.
What effect is produced upon one who skillfully uses the harp? ¶ 27.
Harps of eternity! begin the song,
Redeemed, and angel harps! begin to God,
Begin the anthem ever sweet and new,
While I extol Him holy, just, and good.
Life, beauty, light, intelligence, and love!
Eternal, uncreated, infinite!
Unsearchable Jehovah! God of truth!
Maker, upholder, governor of all:
Thyself unmade, ungoverned, unupheld.
Omnipotent, unchangeable, Great God!
Exhaustless fullness! giving unimpaired!
Bounding immensity, unspread, unbound!
Highest and best! beginning, middle, end.
All-seeing Eye! all-seeing, and unseen!
Hearing, unheard! all knowing, and unknown!
Above all praise! above all height of thought!
Proprietor of immortality!
Glory ineffable! Bliss underived!
Of old Thou build'st Thy throne on righteousness,
Before the morning Stars their song began,
Or silence heard the voice of praise. Thou laid'st
Eternity's foundation stone, and saw'st
Life and existence out of Thee begin.
String 1: _Creation_
The subject of creation here treated relates particularly to the earth
and the creatures of the earth, the chief one of which is man. We will
not attempt to discuss at length the creation of other planets, nor of
the other creatures. Attention is merely called to the Scriptural
statement that the beginning of God's creation was the Logos, which term
is translated in our Bibles "the Word". The record reads: "In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with [the] God and the Word was
[a] god". (John 1:1) God is a name applied to Jehovah, the Almighty One.
It is sometimes applied to other mighty ones also; whereas the name
Jehovah applies exclusively to the great eternal God. The Logos, the
Word, was a god, a mighty one. "The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that
was made." He was Jehovah's great active agent in the creation of all
Since the Bible was written for _man's_ benefit, the Genesis account
of creation has to do with man and his place of habitation. There we
read: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". He
created the sun, for light by day; and the moon, for light by night,
upon the earth. God then created the birds and fowls that fly through
the air, and the fish of the sea. He created the cattle and the creeping
things, and all the beasts of the earth. All this was before the
creation of man. He had formed the earth many centuries before man's
creation, and he created it that man might have a place to live. He
caused his prophet to write: "I have made the earth and created man upon
it. For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that
formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not
in vain, he formed it to be inhabited."--Isaiah 45:12,18.
God created the first man and woman out of the elements and gave
them power to produce and bring forth children, and all the human race
sprang from the first pair. God was the Father and the earth the mother
of Adam. The first man was named Adam; the first woman, Eve. "God
created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male
and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto
them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and
have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air,
and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."--Genesis 1:
We are all interested in knowing how Jehovah created the first man,
Adam. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and
breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living
soul." (Genesis 2:7) God did not give man a soul separate and distinct
from the man. The word soul means being; living, breathing creature.
Every man _is_ a soul. No man _has_ a soul. Every living creature is a
soul. God called all moving creatures that have life souls. (See Genesis
1:20, _margin_) He designates various animals as souls.--Numbers 31:28.
Jehovah then made a beautiful home for man, which is designated in
the Bible as Eden--a garden, a beautiful park. Everything in Eden was
perfect, because all the works of Jehovah are perfect. (Deuteronomy
32:4) "And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he
put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God
to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the
tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge
of good and evil. And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the
garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."--Genesis 2: 8,9,15.
God next gave to man a law to govern him. He told him what he might
do and what he might not do; and informed him that a violation of this
law would bring death upon him. "And the Lord God commanded the man,
saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in
the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."--Genesis 2:16,
God then created Eve to be a helpmate or companion to Adam. (Genesis
2:21-25) If Adam and Eve had been obedient to Jehovah at all times,
there would have been no sickness, sorrow, nor death amongst the human
In the Scriptures Jesus, the Logos, is designated as "the bright and
morning star". (Revelation 22:16) He at all times was and is the joy and
delight of the heavenly Father, Jehovah. A star is used to symbolize a
heavenly creature. The morning star is the most honored one in all the
divine realm, Jehovah alone excepted. Other heavenly creatures are
designated as stars.
Many times you have heard the question asked, Who made the devil,
Satan, the evil one? The correct answer is, He was not always the devil
or Satan. He was created a perfect and beautiful creature. He was also
designated a star of heaven. His original name was Lucifer. The prophet
Ezekiel says of him that he was "the anointed cherub that covereth",
which seems to indicate that he had authority over some others.
Continuing, the prophet records: "Thou wast upon the holy mountain of
God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till
iniquity was found in thee." (Ezekiel 28:14,15) He is described as a
beautiful creature. Thus the Prophet speaks of him: "Thou hast been in
Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the
sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper,
the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship
of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that
thou wast created".--Ezekiel 28:13.
Other angelic hosts in heaven are designated the sons of God. When
God created the earth, laying its foundations as a habitation for man,
when he created these beautiful earthly creatures upon the earth, these
two great stars of heaven sang together a song of gladness, and the
angelic sons of God shouted for joy. (Job 38: 4-7) It appears that at
that time all the creatures of Jehovah were in harmony with him and
obedient to him, and of course they would watch the creation develop;
and when the highest earthly creatures were made, perfect man and
perfect woman, endowed with the attributes of wisdom, justice, love, and
power, made in the image and likeness of Jehovah, there was great joy in
heaven. Hence the occasion for the song and shouting by the heavenly
In the unfolding of the divine plan, therefore, we see that creation
is the first part and is properly designated as the first string upon the
harp of God. "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (1 John
1:5) All the works of Jehovah are perfect. (Deuteronomy 32:4) Hence we
must conclude that all the creatures of Jehovah were in the light, were
creatures of light, all happy, all joyful. And when the perfect man and
perfect woman were placed in the beautiful garden of Eden, everything
there was joyful.
To what does the subject of creation herein briefly treated relate?
Who is designated in the Bible as the beginning of God's creation? ¶ 28.
To what does the Genesis account of creation relate? ¶ 29.
What earthly creatures did God create before making man? ¶ 29.
For what purpose did God create the earth? ¶ 29.
What human beings did God create? ¶ 30.
Who was the father and who the mother of the human race? ¶ 30.
Who was the father and who the mother of Adam? ¶ 30.
What power and authority did God give to man at his creation? ¶ 30.
How did God create man? ¶ 31.
Define the soul. ¶ 31.
Does the word soul apply to any creatures except man? Give Scriptural
proof. ¶ 31.
Describe the original man's first home. ¶ 32.
What is the meaning of the word Eden? ¶ 32.
What law did God give to man by which he was to be governed while in
Eden? ¶ 33.
Describe the creation of Eve. ¶ 34.
By obeying God's law, how long could Adam and Eve have lived in Eden?
A star is used in the Scriptures to symbolize what? ¶ 35.
What is the meaning of the Scriptural term "bright and morning star"?
Who is the most highly honored one in the divine realm? ¶ 35.
Who is the devil or Satan? and who made him? ¶ 36.
What was his original name? ¶ 36.
How does the prophet Ezekiel describe Lucifer? ¶ 36.
What other beings in heaven are called sons of God? ¶ 37.
When God created man, what was the effect upon the host of heaven who
observed the creation? ¶ 37.
What is the first string upon the divine harp? ¶ 38.
Does the revelation of this string cause rejoicing? and if so, by whom?
Who is light and without darkness? ¶ 38.
Has God ever created an imperfect creature? ¶ 38.
What is the disposition of God's creatures while in harmony with him?
What was the condition in Eden when man was created? ¶ 38.
String 2: _Justice Manifested_
One of the divine attributes is justice. "Justice and judgment are the
habitation of thy throne." (Psalm 89:14) Divine wisdom devised the great
divine program or plan. Divine justice must perform its part in harmony
with the other divine attributes. God's law must be unchangeable. Being
unchangeable, his creatures can have absolute confidence and faith in
him, that he always does exactly as he says. A violation of Jehovah's
law must be followed by punishment in the exercise of justice. The
prerogative of justice is to see that the law is enforced. The
manifestation of justice magnifies the name and the dignity of Jehovah.
Without the manifestation of justice it would have been impossible for
Jehovah so fully to manifest his love toward man in providing for his
redemption and subsequent blessing. When one understands the office of
justice and why it was manifested, he rejoices. A failure to understand
and appreciate the divine attributes makes it impossible for one
properly to appreciate Jehovah's goodness and loving kindness to
mankind. Jehovah is too good to be unjust. He is too wise to make a
mistake; he is too loving to be unkind; and his power is always
exercised in such a way that ultimate good may result.
The manifestation of justice is one of the strings upon the harp of
God; but we must see and appreciate it in order to understand the beauty
and harmony it brings when used in connection with the other springs.
Good and evil are antagonistic principles or rules of action. Good
is the law or rule of action by which God is always governed. Evil
becomes active only when some creature of Jehovah violates his law. God
made man a free moral agent. He did not compel him to do or not to do
certain things. He told man that if he did certain things he would be
blessed; and that if he did other things contrary to divine law he would
suffer punishment; and the punishment prescribed was death. Mother Eve
was deceived by Satan, the devil, and thereby induced to violate the law
of God. Father Adam, seeing that his companion and helpmate had violated
the law and judging that she must die, preferred to join her in the
transgression and die with her. (1 Timothy 2:14) It will be of interest
here to examine the circumstances leading up to the violation of the law
of God and to see why his justice toward man was manifested in
sentencing him to death.
All dominion rightly belongs to Jehovah. He had given man dominion
over the things of earth. Lucifer observed Adam and Eve, the perfect
ones, in Eden; and knowing that they were endowed with authority from
Jehovah to multiply and fill the earth, he conceived the thought in his
own heart or mind that he should have a dominion of his own, and that he
could have this by separating man from God and by inducing him to come
under his (Satan's) dominion. The prophet Isaiah gives us some light
upon this subject when he says: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O
Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which
didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will
ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I
will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the
north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like
the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of
the pit"--Isaiah 14:12-15.
Thus we see that Satan had an ambitious desire to be like the Most
High. God manifested his justice toward Lucifer by expelling him from
his presence and has decreed that he shall be ultimately destroyed.
(Ezekiel 28:14-18; Hebrews 2:14) When Lucifer was expelled from the
presence of Jehovah because of his wickedness, he thereafter was and is
known by the names of dragon, that old serpent, the devil, and Satan.
(Revelation 12:9) In Genesis 3 he is spoken of as the serpent. The name
dragon means devourer; Satan means adversary; devil means slanderer;
while serpent means deceiver; and all these names indicate the
characteristics of Satan, the evil one.
According to the Genesis account, the old serpent, the devil,
deceived Eve in this manner: As we have heretofore observed, Jehovah had
told Adam and Eve that they must not eat of a certain tree in Eden,
known as the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Appearing to mother Eve
in the capacity of a serpent, a deceiver, the devil said to her in
effect: 'Hath God said that ye shall not eat of every tree in Eden?' To
this question Eve responded: "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of
the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the
garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch
it, lest ye die". The old serpent, the devil, replied: "Ye shall not
surely die; for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your
eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil".
In other words, he told Eve that Jehovah was trying to keep her and her
husband in ignorance and thus take advantage of them. Doubtless the
devil himself ate of the fruit in the presence of Eve and then
deliberately lied to her by saying: "Ye shall not surely die"--God
knows that you will not die. And by this means he induced mother Eve to
eat of the fruit--which was a violation of God's law. We know that Satan
is a liar, because Jesus said of him: "He was a murderer from the
beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.
When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and
the father of it."--John 8:44.
The fact that Eve was deceived and thereby induced to violate the
law of God in no wise changed the law or affected its enforcement. Adam
deliberately ate of the fruit and he was also in the transgression.
--1 Timothy 2:14.
After they had violated Jehovah's law, Adam and Eve hid amongst the
trees in Eden. Jehovah spoke to Adam and asked: "Hast thou eaten of the
tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?" Adam
responded that Eve had given him the fruit to eat; and Eve said that the
serpent had deceived her. They both stood before Jehovah and confessed
their guilt. The majesty of the law of Jehovah must be upheld. His law
being unchangeable (Hebrews 6:18), there remained nothing to do but to
enforce that law. Then Jehovah pronounced his judgment against them, the
record of which reads: "Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply
thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth
children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over
thee. And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice
of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee,
saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in
sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and
thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of
the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou
return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou
art, and unto dust shalt thou return,"--Genesis 3:16-19.
Thus the perfect man forfeited his life. He had been endowed with
perfection of home, liberty, peace, happiness, and life everlasting on
earth. Now he must die and return to the dust from whence he was taken.
God did not put him to death immediately, but permitted him to have 930
years of experience that he might learn the baneful effects of sin. Eden
contained perfect food that would have sustained the perfect man and he
would not have died had he remained in Eden, unless Jehovah had put him
to death in some direct manner. But God drove him out of Eden, took him
away from the perfect food, caused him to gather his food from among the
thorns and thistles and from other imperfect elements of the earth that
were found outside of Eden; and in this condition he continued to sicken
and to die until at the end of the period of 930 years he was dead.
A kind and loving parent sometimes inflicts punishment upon a child
because the child has violated a rule. The parent punishes the child not
because he loves to see the child suffer, but for the good of the child,
in order that it might be disciplined and might learn the proper
lessons. If the child always did good and never did evil it would not
merit nor receive any punishment from a loving parent. One of the chief
purposes of Jehovah in dealing with mankind in the manner he does deal
with them is that humankind might be disciplined and learn the lessons
of good and the effect of doing wrong, and thus learn to appreciate the
love of the heavenly Father.
When God sentenced our first parents to death and drove them out of
Eden, he had in mind and had already planned for their future blessing,
as we will see upon a further examination of his plan. Hence it was love
that prompted his action in sentencing Adam to die. Every act of Jehovah
is prompted by love; for God is love. He always acts that good may
result. The manifestation of his strict justice was essential that the
dignity and greatness of Jehovah might be maintained. At the same time,
in so doing, love was the motive that prompted his action. It must have
brought sorrow to the heart of Jehovah to be compelled thus to punish
his creatures, because God takes no pleasure in evil things; yet having
in mind the ultimate blessing and restoration of them, there would be
pleasure in thus manifesting justice that ultimate good might result.
We therefore might with propriety speak of the manifestation of
justice as the minor chord in the music of the harp of God. The minor
chord seems necessary in music to produce exact harmony.
Job in his suffering seems to picture the world of mankind under
condemnation; and when suffering he said: "My harp also is turned to
mourning". (Job 30: 31) The perfect man and his helpmate, deprived now
of their perfect home, toiling as they sought to gather their food from
the unfinished earth, suffering in body and in mind because of their
separation from God, truly would have said, and doubtless did say: 'Our
harp is turned into mourning'. Since that time the whole world has been
in a state of mourning; and mankind still suffers and groans in pain.
The world of mankind in general has not appreciated the manifestation of
the justice of Jehovah. The Christian, however, who has come to a
knowledge of Jehovah's plan, and sees and appreciates his purposes for
the blessing of mankind, can rejoice and does rejoice at the
manifestation of divine justice.
During the gospel age God has been developing a church, the members
of which are designated as the body of Christ. (Philippians 1:29;
Colossians 1:18) These are also designated members of the royal
priesthood. (1 Peter 2:9,10) During their earthly career they are
counted as members of the sacrificing priesthood, of which Aaron was a
type. Aaron and his sons were required to serve before the Lord in the
ceremonies in connection with the tabernacle in the wilderness. Two of
Aaron's sons were stricken dead because they offered strange fire before
the Lord. Aaron and his two remaining sons were forbidden by the Lord to
mourn the death of their kinsmen. Evidently this is a picture which
shows that those who have come to a knowledge of the divine plan do not
mourn because God sentenced our first parents to death, but rather that
they will rejoice at this manifestation of justice when they understand
that it was necessary in order that the great plan of redemption should
be carried out as outlined by Jehovah from the beginning. And when we
see and appreciate this divine plan we can truly exclaim: "Great and
marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways,
thou King of saints".--Revelation 15:3.
Against what did God manifest his justice? Did he sentence the body
or the soul of man to death? Is it true that the soul of man is
immortal; and if so, how could God put it to death?
It is profitable to define terms before attempting to discuss them.
The definition given should be supported by proof from the Bible. This
we will attempt to do before answering the question here asked.
Immortal means that which cannot die; something that cannot be
destroyed in death. Soul means a moving, breathing, sentient creature,
or being; a creature or being that possesses faculties and uses them. To
understand whether or not a soul is immortal it is first essential that
we determine from the Bible what constitutes a soul. "The Lord God
formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the
breath of lives; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7) The word
soul is synonymous with the words being, creature, and man. The dust out
of which Jehovah formed the body was not conscious. It had no life in
it. After God had used these elements to form the man, he breathed into
his nostrils the breath of lives, which animated the body, caused the
lungs to begin to work, sent the blood tingling through the arteries and
returning through the veins; therefore there resulted a moving,
breathing, sentient being, a man, which is a soul. The body aside from
the breath does not constitute the soul; but it requires the uniting of
the breath with the body to constitute the soul. And when we separate
the breath from the body the soul no longer exists. The Scriptures do
not say that God breathed into this body immortality, but merely that
the soul resulted by animating the body after it had been created; and
this resulted from the breath which he breathed into the nostrils.
A locomotive may be used as an illustration. It stands upon the
track with no fire in the box, no water in the boiler, hence no steam.
We speak of it as a dead engine. Then the steam is produced by heating
the water; it is forced into the cylinders, the throttle being open and
the machine moves. Withdraw the steam and it stops.
Just so with man. When the body is formed it would be inanimate and
inactive without breath. When the breath of life is breathed into the
nostrils and his organs begin to functionate, it is said that man then
is a breathing creature; hence a soul. When he ceases to breathe he is
Man is a soul. He does not possess a soul. Every creature that
breathes is a soul. God applied the words living soul to the lower order
of animals long before man's creation. (Genesis 1:20, _margin_) That
all breathing creatures are designated as souls by Jehovah is proven by
these words: "Levy a tribute unto the Lord of the men of war which went
out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the
beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep". (Numbers 31:28) All souls
die alike. "For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts;
even one thing befalleth them: as one dieth, so dieth the other; yea,
they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a
beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust,
and all turn to dust again,"--Ecclesiastes 3:19,20.
In the manifestation of divine justice God said to Adam: "Of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat; ... for in
the day that thou eatest thereof, dying thou shalt die". (Genesis 2:17,
_margin_) This sentence was pronounced against man, the being, the soul.
If there could be any doubt about this, it is definitely settled by
another statement in the Bible which reads: "The soul that sinneth it
shall die". (Ezekiel 18:4) "What man is he that liveth, and shall not
see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?"--Psalm
The thought of immortal souls originated with Satan the devil. He
approached mother Eve and said: 'If you eat of this tree, you shall not
surely die'. Jesus denounced this statement as the first lie ever told,
and Satan as the father of lies. (John 8:44) Satan has been trying to
blind the people to the truth concerning God's great plan in order to
keep them away from God and from the blessings they would receive by
obeying him. The Apostle says of him that he is "the god [mighty one] of
this world", meaning the present evil social order; and that he has
blinded the minds of men to the truth, lest the glorious gospel of the
Lord Jesus Christ should shine into their hearts. (2 Corinthians 4:4)
From the day of Eden until now Satan has been blinding the minds of men
to the truth by getting into their minds a false conception of Jehovah's
arrangement; and the basis for this blindness is chiefly the lie first
told: "Ye shall not surely die". All false doctrines are based upon this
If man possessed an immortal soul it could not be put to death.
Hence we see that God would be unable to enforce his judgment against a
sinner, and justice would fail. The Scriptures, however, plainly tell us
that the quality of immortality belongs originally only to Jehovah, "who
only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach
unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see". (1 Timothy 6:16) Immortality
will be given as a great reward to faithful Christians and to none other
of the human race. Such Christians who live and continue faithful until
death are promised the divine nature, immortality, the crown of life.
(2 Peter 1:4; 1 Peter 1:3,4; Romans 2:7; Revelation 2:10) We may be sure
that a man does not seek that which he already possesses; and the apostle
Paul plainly says: "Seek for ... immortality". And again he says to those
who will be faithful Christians: "This mortal must put on immortality".
(1 Corinthians 15:53) If a soul, a man, were already immortal, he could
not subsequently _put on_ immortality. No one of the human race will
ever be made immortal except the faithful Christians. God has a different
reward for others who are obedient to him.
Another of Satan's deceptions by which he has blinded the people is
the teaching that the dead are still conscious after death. This is not
supported by the Bible, however. Those who die are never again conscious
unless they are resurrected by the Lord. The resurrection of the dead we
will discuss later on. If the soul were immortal it would be conscious
somewhere. Let us observe the Scriptures which show that the dead are
"In death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall
give thee thanks?" (Psalm 6:5) Thus is shown that they have no memory
while dead. "The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into
silence." (Psalm 115:17) Hence they could not speak while dead.
The dead cannot breathe, think, or feel. "Thou takest away their
breath, they die, and return to their dust." (Psalm 104:29) "His breath
goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts
perish." (Psalm 146:4) A person when unconscious does not feel. This is
illustrated by the fact that when a person is taken to a hospital for an
operation the surgeon puts the patient under an anesthetic, puts him to
sleep so that he cannot feel during the operation.
Again the Scriptures read: "The living know that they shall die, but
the dead know not anything. Also their love, and their hatred, and their
envy, is now perished." (Ecclesiastes 9:5,6) Being unconscious, they
know not anything when dead. "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it
with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor
wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."--Ecclesiastes 9:10.
Again speaking of man, God says of him: "Nevertheless man being in
honor abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish". (Psalm 49:12)
Anything that perishes cannot be conscious, cannot be in existence and
of course cannot be immortal.
It was Jesus who said: "God so loved the world, that he gave his
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life". (John 3:16) Here the proof is conclusive
that death means the perishing of all unless redemption is received
through Jesus Christ. This would absolutely disprove consciousness of
the dead and would disprove also the immortality of the soul.
Death is spoken of in the Bible as a sleep, for the reason that God
intends in his due time to awaken all of the dead and give them an
opportunity of life. The Bible abounds in the expressions referring to
the dead as asleep. A few of these expressions are: "David slept with
his fathers, and was buried in the city of David". (1 Kings 2:10) "The
fathers fell asleep." (2 Peter 3:4) '"The greater part remain until this
day, but some are fallen asleep." (1 Corinthians 15:6) "I would not have
you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep; ... them
also which sleep will God bring [forth] by Jesus [in the resurrection]."
--1 Thessalonians 4:13,14.
We must conclude from these Scriptures that the dead are wholly
unconscious from the moment of death until such future time as the Lord
may be pleased to awaken them out of death and give them an opportunity
of life, which he purposes to do, as set forth in his great plan. (John
5:28,29) Man was made of the dust. He was sentenced to return to the
dust; that is, the condition of the dead. And the Lord said: 'They that
sleep in the dust of the earth shall arise'.--Daniel 12:2.
DOES GOD TORMENT ANY ONE?
For a long time men have been taught that the punishment for the
wicked, those who disobey God, is everlasting torment or torture in a
hell burning with unquenchable fire and brimstone. Many have been
frightened away from studying the Bible because of this terrible
doctrine. Many have refused to believe in God and the Lord Jesus because
of it. It is another doctrine of Satan, used to blind the people. The
doctrine of eternal torment cannot be true for at least four separate
and distinct reasons: (1) because it is unreasonable; (2) because it is
repugnant to justice; (3) because it is contrary to the principle of
love; and (4) because it is entirely unscriptural.
It seems strange that men with reasoning faculties should ever reach
the conclusion that the all-wise Creator would eternally torment any of
his creatures. What could be the purpose of such torment? Could it
accomplish any good? Would it result to the glory of God?
There could be no eternal torment of any of God's creatures except
by God's will. A reasonable, loving God could not torment any of his
creatures. A Creator that would put in operation a system of endless
torment would be a fiend and not a reasonable God. Man is not perfect,
yet he has some love. God is perfect. He is love. A man or a child would
not torture his horse, his dog, or his cat.
Suppose we have a dog that becomes mad and tries to bite every one
in the neighborhood. He must be killed; but we would not torment the
poor brute by putting it into a slow fire. We would kill it in the
easiest way, so that it would not suffer much pain. Why would a person
do this? Because his sense of justice and love would deter him from
doing anything else. Man has not as much love as God. Every thing that
God does for man he does for man's good.
The doctrine is unreasonable because no one could be eternally
tormented unless that one were eternally conscious; and the Scriptures
above cited show that the dead are not conscious. Furthermore, there
could be no eternal torment of the soul unless that soul were immortal,
indestructible; and the Scriptures above cited and all other Scriptures
bearing upon the subject show that man is not immortal, that none are
granted immortality except those who receive it as a reward for
right-doing and who are made joint-heirs with Christ Jesus in his
glorious kingdom. Then it is easy to be seen that this is a doctrine of
Satan; and the two doctrines or teachings of inherent immortality and
eternal torture must stand or fall together. And since they are both
false, they must both fall.
The doctrine of eternal torture is _un_just, because God is _just_.
Justice is the foundation of his throne. God plainly told man that if he
sinned he would die. If thereafter he put him into eternal torment, then
he increased the penalty after man had violated the law, and this is
contrary to every principle of justice. All of Adam's children were born
imperfect. "There is none that doeth good, no, not one," (Psalm 14:3)
Every child is born imperfect. It would be very unjust for Jehovah to
permit such a one to be born under conditions over which he had no
control and then, because he could not obey perfectly, to put him into
eternal torture. Man's sense of justice is shocked at the thought of
torture of any creature. The justice that man possesses is a God-given
quality. The more Godlike a man is the more just he is. We must know,
then, that God deals justly with all of his creatures.
The doctrine of eternal torment is devoid of the attribute of love.
Every good father loves his children and children love their father. The
mother loves the children and the children love the mother. When the
children are disobedient, it becomes necessary for the father or the
mother to discipline them; and sometimes by using the rod. But no loving
parent would for a moment think of torturing his or her child. Just
punishment is always for the purpose of doing ultimate good, and where
the parents are compelled to punish or discipline their children they do
it because they love them. The apostle Paul, discussing the discipline
by earthly parents and by God said: "We have had fathers of our flesh
which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather
be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily
for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our
profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness."--Hebrews 12:9,10.
Only a wicked fiend would want to torment anybody, such a one as
loves dark and wicked things.
Our great God is love. (1 John 4:16) "God is light and in him is no
darkness at all," (1 John 1:5) Everything that Jehovah does is good. God
created the first man Adam and gave him the power to transmit life to
his offspring. All the human race are the children of Adam. Only by
God's permission could these children have come into existence. Adam was
God's son and all the human race descend from Adam; and thus they bear
relationship to Jehovah.
None of Adam's children were born perfect. Some were born under
very depraved conditions. God's love, then, for the human race is so
great that he made provision for the redemption and ultimate blessing
of all, and it would be wholly inconsistent with his attribute of love
to arrange to torture any of them at any time. The doctrine of eternal
torment is a libel upon the great and loving name of God, and Satan is
responsible for it. But in God's due time he will make it clear to all
that he is love; and that all of his dealings with the human race are
for their good.
The eternal torment teaching is not supported by any Scripture text
in the Bible. There are some texts that are written in symbolic phrase,
parables and dark sayings, which were written to illustrate another
great truth, but with no reference to the eternal punishment of the
human race. These Scriptures must be considered elsewhere. Our space
does not permit us to consider them here. What we will examine are the
direct Scriptural statements.
All the Scriptures show that the wicked will be punished, but
punishment does not mean torment. There is a wide distinction between
everlasting punishment and everlasting torment. Everlasting punishment
is a punishment that lasts. Everlasting torment would be a torment that
never ends, but one would be consciously suffering all the time. The
laws of the land punish the wicked who violate the law, and the duration
of punishment is short or long in proportion to the enormity of the
crime committed. One who steals a loaf of bread violates the law and he
may be punished by confinement for a day or a month in prison. One who
destroys his neighbor's house by fire is punished, and his punishment
may be a number of years in prison. Another takes the life of his
neighbor, and his punishment is death. No law of any nation on earth
permits the violator of the law to be tormented. The stealer of bread is
punished for a short period; the one who destroys the home is punished
for a longer period; and the one who takes his neighbor's life
deliberately is punished by the full penalty of the law, and his
punishment is lasting. Death is the highest penalty inflicted by the
law. It is also the greatest punishment inflicted by Jehovah. Life is
the dearest thing to any creature, and to be deprived of life would be
the greatest punishment that could be inflicted. Therefore eternal or
everlasting death, with no hope of a resurrection, would be an
everlasting punishment. But it would not be an everlasting conscious
torture. God plainly declared: "The wages of sin is death" (Romans
6:23), and not eternal torture.
Having fixed this penalty, God could not change it afterward,
because God could not be inconsistent; he cannot deny himself.
(2 Timothy 2:13) It was by the disobedience of one man that sin came
into the world and death as the result of sin; so death has been the
penalty upon all mankind. (Romans 5:12) And this will continue until
God's due time to awaken them out of death and give all an opportunity
for life; and this we will discuss later. "The Lord preserveth them
that love him, but all the wicked will he destroy." (Psalm 145:20) The
Apostle plainly says that all the wicked shall be punished with an
everlasting destruction.--2 Thessalonians 1:9.
But do not the wicked go to hell?
It is true that all who have died from Adam until now have gone to
hell. But hell does not mean a place of conscious torture. Wherever the
word hell occurs in the Bible it means the condition of death. Hell is
not a place, but a condition. Those who go into the grave are not
conscious there; but they have gone into the death condition. Their
bodies decay and return to the dust. The word hell is translated from
the Hebrew word _sheol_, as used in the Old Testament. This same word
is a number of times translated grave and sometimes pit. In the New
Testament the same word hell is translated from the Greek word _hades_
and likewise means grave, the condition of death, the tomb.
Some Scriptural illustrations of this prove that hell means a
condition of death. Job was a good and godly man, who tried to obey
Jehovah. He had suffered the loss of all his earthly possessions and
then his neighbors taunted him because of his suffering; and while he
was thus suffering, he prayed that God would permit him to go to hell,
saying: "O that thou wouldest hide me in hell [_sheol_, the grave] until
thy wrath be past". (Job 14:13) He desired to be hid in the grave until
the time of the resurrection, hoping in God's promise that some day the
dead would come again. Then Job says: "If I wait the grave is mine
house: I have made my bed in the darkness". "Our rest together is in the
dust." (Job 17:13,16) Thus he pictures the grave as a condition of
darkness, where there is no knowledge, no wisdom or device. Again he
said: "A man's sons come to honor, and he knoweth it not; and they are
brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them". (Job 14:21) Why? Because
those who are in hell, in the tomb, in the grave, in the condition of
death, have no knowledge of anything. They are out of existence, waiting
for the resurrection.
Jacob's beloved son Joseph was sold into Egypt by his brethren.
Joseph's coat was dipped in the blood of an animal and brought to Jacob,
and it was told Jacob the father that his son Joseph was dead. In his
grief he exclaimed: "I will go down into hell [_sheol_, the grave] unto
my son mourning". (Genesis 37:35) Jacob was a good man and approved of
the Lord; for the Apostle says he was. (Hebrews 11:9,39) Jacob meant
that he was going to the grave, to the death condition, mourning for
his beloved son.
Benjamin was Jacob's youngest son. After he lost Joseph his
affections were centered upon Benjamin. His elder sons came to him and
requested that their younger brother be permitted to go down with them
to Egypt. Their father Jacob objected to their taking him, saying, "My
son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left
alone: if mischief befall him by the way in which ye go, then shall ye
bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to hell [_sheol_, the grave]".
(Genesis 42:38) We know, then, that the hell here described could not be
a place of fire and brimstone, for the gray hairs of Jacob would not
last long in the fire. What he really meant was that as an old,
gray-headed man he would go down to the grave in sorrow if anything
befell his beloved son.
Jesus came to earth and lived and died and was buried; and it was
written of him that he went to hell. "Thou wilt not leave my soul in
hell." (Psalm 16:10) If hell is a place of endless torment and Jesus
went there he could not have been released. The fact that he did not
remain in hell is proof conclusive that hell is not a place of eternal
Jehovah established the true religion in the earth, which was and is
to worship him and glorify his name. Satan established a false religion
in his attempt to be like the Most High. God established his covenant
with the nation of Israel and commanded that they should keep themselves
separate and distinct from the heathen nations round about. Satan
established a false religion amongst the heathen nations and caused them
to worship images and other things aside from Jehovah. These heathen
idolaters built an altar in the valley of Hinnom for the purpose of
offering sacrifices to their gods. The Jews forsook their covenant with
Jehovah and became worshipers of Baal, one of Satan's deified ones. In
practising Baal worship they offered their children as sacrifices, and
upon this has been based the doctrine of torture by fire, concerning
which Jehovah says: "They have built also the high places of Baal, to
burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I
commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind". (Jeremiah
19:5) Again said the Lord: "They built the high places of Baal, which
are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their
daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech, which I commanded them
not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination,
to cause Judah to sin". (Jeremiah 32:35) The things which the heathen
sacrificed they sacrificed to devils and not to God. (1 Corinthians
10:20) This false or devil religion established amongst the deluded
people of the world was another means employed by Satan to blind the
minds of men to the true teachings of the divine plan.
In exercising divine justice, Jehovah at no time employs torture;
but he denounces such doctrine as an abomination in his sight. Divine
justice exercised destroys the evil doers; therefore that which is
destroyed eternally is everlastingly punished. Some Scriptures proving
this are: "Evil doers shall be cut off; but those that wait upon the
Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the
wicked shall not be; yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and
it shall not be.... But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the
Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall
they consume away.... For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the
earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.... For the Lord
loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved
forever; but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.... Wait on the
Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land:
when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.... The transgressors
shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut
The doctrine of eternal torment is a defamation of Jehovah's
character. It is a foul stain upon his lovable name. The chief purpose
of man is to glorify God. It is therefore his privilege and duty to
remove from the minds of others this misconception of Jehovah and enable
others to understand that God is indeed love. An understanding of his
plan shows that everything he does is prompted by love. No sooner had he
sentenced man to death than he began to reveal his plan for his
redemption and ultimate deliverance. The more clearly we see and
understand these great truths, the more do we rejoice in the divine
attribute of justice and the divine arrangement in making it manifest.
What divine attribute is mentioned as the habitation of God's throne?
What divine attribute devised the plan of God? ¶ 39.
Is it necessary for the divine attributes to operate harmoniously? ¶ 39.
Is God's law unchangeable? ¶ 39.
What mental effect is produced upon God's creatures by the
unchangeableness of his law? ¶ 39.
What must follow violation of the divine law? ¶ 39.
What is the prerogative of divine Justice? ¶ 39.
How does the manifestation of divine justice affect the name and dignity
of Jehovah? ¶ 39.
Was it necessary for divine justice to be manifested in order for
divine love to be fully exercised? and if so, why? ¶ 39.
What is essential to a proper appreciation of divine loving kindness?
Why is Jehovah never unjust nor unkind? ¶ 39.
Does Jehovah make mistakes? ¶ 39.
To what end does he use his power? ¶ 39.
What is symbolized by the second string upon the harp of God? ¶ 40.
Define good and evil. ¶ 41.
When did evil become active? ¶ 41.
Did God compel Adam to do or not to do certain things? ¶ 41.
What punishment did God prescribe for a violation of his law? ¶ 41.
Why and by whom was Eve induced to violate the law? ¶ 41.
Why did Adam violate the law of God? ¶ 41.
To whom does all dominion rightfully belong? ¶ 42.
What dominion did God give to man? ¶ 42.
Why did Lucifer induce Eve to sin? ¶ 42.
What did Lucifer meditate in his heart? ¶ 42.
What was the cause of Lucifer's fall? ¶ 43.
How was divine justice manifested against Lucifer? ¶ 43.
By what names is Lucifer known since his fall? Give the meaning of each
of the names. ¶ 43.
Describe how the devil induced Eve to violate God's law. ¶ 44.
What reply did Eve make to the devil's suggestion that she violate God's
law? ¶ 44.
Who told the truth, God or Satan, relative to the result of Eve's act?
The fact that Eve was deceived by Satan, could that in any wise change
the penalty of the law? ¶ 45.
What did Adam and Eve do after they had violated the divine law? ¶ 46.
What action did Jehovah take toward them, and why? ¶ 46.
Give the details of the judgment or sentence pronounced by Jehovah
against Adam and Eve. ¶ 46.
What was the result of the judgment pronounced against man? ¶ 47.
How long did Adam live after he was sentenced to die? ¶ 47.
How did God enforce the sentence against man? ¶ 47.
Would Adam have died if he had remained in Eden? ¶ 47.
Why does a parent punish his child? ¶ 48.
If the child always obeyed, would punishment he necessary? ¶ 48.
What is one of the chief reasons for God permitting man to suffer the
effects of wrongdoing? ¶ 48.
Why did God enforce his judgment against man? What was his purpose?
What motive prompts all the acts of Jehovah? ¶ 49.
The manifestation of divine justice may be likened to what chord in
music? and why? ¶ 50.
What did the suffering of Job picture relative to the harp? ¶ 51.
How could Adam and Eve apply the sayings of Job to themselves? ¶ 51.
Has the world of mankind ever appreciated the manifestation of divine
justice? and why not? ¶ 51.
Why can a Christian appreciate the manifestation of divine justice as
one of the strings of God's harp? ¶ 51.
As a sacrificing priest, what did Aaron typify? ¶ 52.
How did the experiences of Aaron and his sons teach Christians not to
mourn because of the exercise of divine justice? ¶ 52.
When a Christian appreciates the divine plan, what does he say? ¶ 52.
What did God sentence to death, the soul or the body? ¶ 53.
If the soul of man were immortal, how could it be put to death? ¶ 53.
Is it important for us to define terms before freely using them in the
study of the Bible? ¶ 54.
Define immortality. ¶ 55.
Define the soul. ¶ 55.
State fully the Scriptural account of how the soul was created. ¶ 55.
Give some illustration of the soul. ¶ 56.
Does man possess a soul? ¶ 58.
What creatures beside man are souls? ¶ 58.
Is there a difference in the manner of the death of souls? ¶ 58.
Give some Scriptures to show that the soul is not immortal. ¶ 59.
With whom did the term "immortal soul" originate? ¶ 60.
When and by whom was the first lie told? ¶ 60.
How has Satan blinded the people? and what has been his purpose in so
doing? ¶ 60.
What is the basis for all false doctrines? ¶ 60.
If all souls were immortal, could God destroy a willful sinner? ¶ 61.
Who possesses the quality of immortality? ¶ 61.
To whom has immortality been promised as a reward? ¶ 61.
Give some Scriptural reason why men are not inherently immortal. ¶ 61.
What other false doctrine has Satan employed in deceiving mankind? ¶ 62.
Are the dead conscious at any time after death? ¶ 62.
Do the dead remember anything? Do they praise the Lord? ¶ 63.
Can the dead breathe, think, or feel? ¶ 64.
Give an illustration showing that the dead do not feel. ¶ 64.
Do the dead have knowledge or wisdom? Can they love or hate? ¶ 65.
Give some Scriptural proof that death means to perish, and define
perish. ¶¶ 66, 67.
Why is death sometimes spoken of as sleep? Give Scriptural proof.
¶¶ 68, 69.
How has the doctrine of eternal torment affected many? ¶ 70.
Who is responsible for the doctrine of eternal torment? ¶ 70.
Give four reasons why eternal torment cannot be true. ¶ 70.
Would eternal torment accomplish any good? Would it result to the glory
of God? ¶ 71.
Could any creature be eternally tormented contrary to the will of God?
Could a reasonable God torture any creature? ¶ 72.
Why would not a sane person torture his child or his dog? ¶ 73.
Since the Scriptures declare that God is love, could he torment a
creature? ¶ 73.
Why is the doctrine of eternal torture unreasonable? ¶ 74.
Why is the doctrine of eternal torture unjust? ¶ 75.
Why is the doctrine of eternal torment devoid of love? ¶¶ 76-79.
What is the difference between everlasting torment and everlasting
punishment? ¶ 81.
What is the severest punishment inflicted for the violation of human
laws? ¶ 81.
What is the severest punishment God inflicts for the violation of his
laws? ¶ 81.
Could God change the penalty for the violation of his law after the
penalty has been once fixed and the law violated? and if not, why not?
Do not the wicked go to hell? ¶ 84.
What is the meaning of the English word hell? and from what words has it
been translated? ¶ 84.
What did Job say about going to hell? ¶ 85.
Is anyone conscious while in hell? ¶ 85.
What did Jacob say about going to hell? and whom did he expect to meet
there? ¶ 86.
If hell means a place of fiery torment, how could Jacob preserve his
gray hairs there? ¶ 87.
Jesus went to hell, as the Scriptures declare. If hell is a place of
eternal torment, how could Jesus get out? ¶ 88.
What religion did God establish on earth? ¶ 89.
What religion did Satan establish on earth? ¶ 89.
What does Jehovah's Word say about burning children in fires as
offerings to Baal? ¶ 89.
To whom did the heathen sacrifice their children? ¶ 89.
What has been Satan's purpose in teaching the false religion? ¶ 89.
What punishment has God fixed for the willfully wicked? Give Scriptural
proof. ¶ 90.
What is man's duty toward God and toward his fellow men in regard to
teaching the doctrine of eternal torment? ¶ 91.
How are we affected by a proper understanding of the manifestation of
divine justice? ¶ 91.
WITHOUT THE GATES
Alas! how changed from bowers of Paradise
That desolate region, overgrown with thorn
And thistle rank--a trackless waste forlorn,
Unblessed by God, o'erarched by sullen skies,
There stand that guilty pair, now sadly wise,
Their hearts with grief, their feet with briers torn,
Vainly their faded innocence they mourn,
And toward the gates of Eden turn their eyes.
No more to see the beauty and the bloom
Of that blest garden was to sinners given;
To weep and labor wearily their doom,
Out of God's holy, blissful presence driven,
Till through life's sorrows, and death's dust and gloom,
By woman's promised seed they're blest of heaven.
String 3: _The Abrahamic Promise_
Some time after Adam and Eve were driven from Eden children were born to
them, who grew to the estate of manhood and womanhood and they in turn
had children. Cain obtained his wife by marrying his sister. Thus the
peoples of earth gradually increased. They all wandered about in the
earth, earning their bread in the sweat of their face. Some of these
children were bad and some were good. God showed his favor to the good,
as he always favors those who are good. Satan exercised his wicked
influence amongst the people and most of them turned to evil.
Noah was a good man and he and the members of his family served the
Lord Jehovah. Sixteen hundred years and more passed from the time of the
judgment in Eden (during which time the people became very wicked) and
there was great violence in the earth. God purposed to destroy all the
wicked of earth; so he directed Noah to build an ark and to take into
the ark the members of his family; and this done, a great flood of
waters came upon the earth and all living creatures were destroyed
except those in the ark. There were only eight persons left on the earth
after the flood. (Genesis 7:21-23; 1 Peter 3:20) Noah and his sons begat
children and the peoples of earth again increased. Amongst them were
some good and some bad. Amongst those who tried to do the will of God
was a man named Abram, which name was later changed to Abraham. He is
spoken of in the Scriptures as the friend of God. Abraham's wife was
When Abraham was 75 years of age, Jehovah said to him: "Get thee out
of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto
a land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation,
and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a
blessing; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed".
(Genesis 12:1-3) Abraham with his wife and others left Haran for the
land of Canaan. When they had reached a point in that land known as
Sichem, the Lord appeared unto him and said: "Unto thy seed will I give
this land". Abraham builded an altar there, and the place has since been
known as Bethel, which means the house of God. Afterward Abraham dwelt
in the plains of Mamre, which is just above the present site of Hebron
in the southern part of Palestine. While there, God made a covenant with
him, saying: "Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of
Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates".--Genesis 15:18.
Thereafter, when Abraham was 99 years old, the Lord appeared unto
him and said: "I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will
multiply thee exceedingly, ... and thou shalt be a father of many
nations. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land
wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting
possession; and I will be their God." (Genesis 17:2,4,8) Some time
later, when Abraham was sitting at the door of his tent, which was
pitched in the plains of Mamre, there stood before him three men,
messengers from Jehovah. In the plains of Mamre, a short distance above
the town of Hebron, still stands a very ancient oak tree. It is about
thirty feet in circumference. It is claimed that this is Abraham's oak,
where he pitched his tent at the time these holy messengers appeared to
him. Of course we cannot believe this is true, because an oak would not
live that length of time. It is interesting, however, to note this
ancient tree standing approximately at the point where Abraham is
supposed to have resided in his tent. Here it was that Abraham prepared
refreshments for his distinguished visitors; and "he stood by them under
the tree, and they did eat". Here it was that the messenger of Jehovah
told Abraham that he and his wife Sarah would be given a son.--Genesis
In due time a son was born unto Abraham and Sarah and his name was
called Isaac. (Genesis 21:1-3) Afterward, when the son Isaac had grown
up, Jehovah put Abraham to a great test, and in doing so he made a
picture which foreshadowed the redemption of the human race. This record
appears in the twenty-second chapter of Genesis. God said unto Abraham:
"Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee
into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt-offering upon
one of the mountains which I will tell thee of". (Genesis 22:2) It is
interesting here to note that Mount Moriah is inside of the walls of the
present city of Jerusalem. It was the site of the temple of Solomon, and
supposed to be the very spot where Abraham was met by Melchizedek. It is
the place where Abraham was directed to offer and did offer up his son
Providing himself with wood to be used for the fire, Abraham and his
son and servants journeyed for three days from the plains of Mamre to
Moriah; and arriving there, he at once prepared for the burnt-offering.
Isaac was not aware of the purpose of his father to offer him; so he
said to his father: "Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the
lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide
himself a lamb for a burnt-offering." Abraham then informed his son that
he was to be the offering. Then he bound Isaac and laid him upon the
altar and stretched forth his hand and took the knife with which to slay
his son. This was a great test to Abraham's faith. Isaac was his only
son and he loved him dearly; but Jehovah had commanded him to offer him
up as a sacrifice, and because of his love for Jehovah he proceeded to
obey God's command. As he raised his hand to strike dead his only
beloved son, "the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and
said, Abraham, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any
thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast
not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me". When Abraham looked he
saw a ram caught in a thicket nearby and he took the ram and offered it
for a burnt-offering.
Then "the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham the second time, and
said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done
this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in
blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed
as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore;
and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed
shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed
my voice."--Genesis 22:15-18.
In this wonderful picture Abraham was a type of Jehovah, while Isaac
was a type of Jesus, the beloved Son of Jehovah. Abraham's offering his
beloved son on the altar, pictured how God in due time would offer his
only beloved Son as a great sacrifice that mankind might be redeemed
from death and have an opportunity to live. Abraham did not, as indeed
he could not, understand God's purposes, for the reason that Jehovah did
not reveal them to him; but he knew that God had here made a covenant
with him and bound it with his oath; and that by these two certain and
unchangeable things, his word and his oath, God would carry out his
covenant in due time, and that covenant would result in the blessing of
all the families and nations of earth.
The word covenant means contract; and it is the solemn form for
expressing a compact, agreement, or contract between parties, or
particularly on the part of one whereby he promises to do a certain
thing. With Jehovah a covenant or a contract is sacred and inviolate,
because Jehovah changes not. (Malachi 3:6) Having promised it, he will
fulfill it. (Hebrews 6:18) It is always necessary that there be two
parties to a contract. There may be more. Where one party only is bound
to do a certain thing that contract is called unilateral, or one-sided;
and where both parties are bound to perform certain things, the contract
is called bilateral, or two-sided.
It will be observed that this oathbound covenant that Jehovah made
with Abraham contained no conditions or limitations, but was merely a
promise of Jehovah bound by his oath, and is therefore properly called a
unilateral or one-sided covenant; for the reason that God's purpose was
and is to carry out his plan to bless the human race, regardless of what
any one may or may not do. There was no need for him to make any
conditions to the covenant. He merely announced his benevolent purpose
toward mankind. The covenant does not even say that the blessing of the
people will follow upon the condition that Abraham should do a certain
thing, or that the people should seek him. The covenant does not say
that every person will be blessed with life everlasting; but it does
say that all the families of the earth shall be blessed, which means
that every one must in God's due time have a full, fair opportunity for
life everlasting. It means, furthermore, that in God's due time
knowledge will be brought to all in order that every one may avail
himself of the opportunity thus provided for life. It means,
furthermore, that assistance will be given to every one, that he may
profit by this blessed opportunity; and all who prove their loyalty
under the test that will come by reason of the opportunity will be
granted life everlasting.
How was the earth originally peopled? ¶ 92.
Where did Cain get his wife? ¶ 92.
To whom does Jehovah show his favor? ¶ 92.
What effect does Satan's influence have on the people? ¶ 92.
What kind of man was Noah? and whom did he serve? ¶ 93.
Why did Jehovah direct Noah to build the ark? ¶ 93.
How many persons escaped destruction at the time of the flood? and who
were they? ¶ 93.
How was the earth peopled after the flood? ¶ 93.
What man is mentioned in the Scriptures as the friend of God? and what
was the name of his wife? ¶ 94.
What was the age of Abraham when God spoke to him? and what did Jehovah
say? ¶ 94.
What was Abraham's native land? and to what land did he go in obedience
to God's command? ¶ 94.
At what places did Abraham stop in Canaan that are specially mentioned
in the Bible? ¶ 94.
What promise did God make to Abraham at Bethel? and what promise did he
make while Abraham dwelt in the plains of Mamre? ¶ 94.
Describe the place of Abraham's residence at the time Jehovah promised
him a son. Quote the Scriptural account. ¶ 95.
How many sons did Abraham have by his wife Sarah? Give Scriptural proof.
To what special test did God put Abraham with reference to his son
Isaac? ¶ 96.
Describe in detail the offering of Isaac. ¶ 97.
Repeat God's promise to Abraham at the time of his offering of Isaac.
Whom did Abraham typify in this offering? and of whom was Isaac a type?
What did the offering of Isaac picture? ¶ 99.
Did Abraham understand the full meaning of God's promise? ¶ 99.
What is the meaning of the word "covenant"? ¶ 100.
How does God regard his covenants? Give Scriptural proof. ¶ 100.
How many parties are required to make a covenant? ¶ 100.
Where only one party is bound, what kind of covenant is it? ¶ 100.