Part 3 out of 7
and placed against him the charge of sedition, saying, "We found this
fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar,
saying that he himself is Christ a King". (Luke 23:1,2) They knew the
Roman governor had power to put Jesus to death, and for this reason they
sought his judgment.
Pilate was not convinced of Jesus' guilt and was not willing that
he should die, but sought to release him. "Then said Pilate to the chief
priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. And they were
the more fierce, saying, _He stirreth up the people_." (Luke 23:4,5)
When Pilate sought to release him, his accusers "cried out, saying, If
thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh
himself a king speaketh against Caesar"--against the civil power, and
such is therefore guilty of sedition. (John 19:12) "And he [Pilate] said
unto them the _third time_, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no
cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go.
And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be
crucified. _And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed_.
And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required." (Luke
23:22-24) Thus the civil power yielded to the importunities of
ecclesiasticism, and Jesus was led away and crucified on Calvary's hill.
And Pilate, more righteous than the clerics, posted over his cross the
sign: "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews".
Thus died the Son of God, the great antitypical "Lamb ... which
taketh away the sin of the world". (John 1:29) In the eyes of those that
stood by he died as a sinner, crucified between two thieves, under the
charge of disloyalty to the constituted powers, yet wholly innocent,
harmless, and without sin.
Here he fulfilled that which the Prophet of God had foretold of
him long in advance, in that he "poured out his soul unto death, and he
was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the sin of many".
WHY MUST HE DIE?
But why should the great, the good, the pure, the sinless Man die
in such an ignominious manner as this? Was there no other means whereby
man could live? The Scriptures answer that there is no other way whereby
man could get life. Divine justice demanded the life of the perfect man
Adam and took that life. Divine justice could receive nothing as a
substitute for Adam except the life of a perfect human being. Adam was
put to death because he was a sinner. The one who would redeem Adam
must die _as_ a sinner, yet without sin. And all this Jesus did.
It is important here for us to see why Jesus came to earth, grew
to manhood's estate and died. The Prophet speaking the words of Jesus
beforehand said: "Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of
me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my
heart". (Psalm 40:7,8; Hebrews 10:7-10) Thus we see that he had come to
do God's will. The apostle Paul expressed the will of God concerning
mankind when he said: "God ... will have all men to be saved [from
death], and brought to an accurate knowledge of the truth". (1 Timothy
2:3,4) This is in harmony with God's promise that he would redeem
mankind from death (Hosea 13:14); and since Jesus came to carry out the
Father's will to ransom the human race, he must do this. This is the
only means whereby man could live. Therefore Jesus said: "I am come that
they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly".--John
Jesus likened his humanity to bread. He said: "I am the bread of
life.... This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may
eat thereof, and not die.... For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood
is drink indeed.... As the living Father sent me, and I live by the
Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." (John
6:48,50,55,57) By this we understand that Jesus gave up his human life
in order that the value thereof might be presented to divine justice in
heaven as the great ransom-price. To eat means to appropriate to
oneself. Then it follows that any one who accepts or appropriates to
himself the value of Jesus' sacrifice by believing on the Lord Jesus
Christ and doing the Father's will, that one will have life everlasting
through Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul makes it clear that the death of
Jesus was for the benefit of the entire human race when he says:
'Jesus, ... by the grace of God, tasted death for every man'. "There is
one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who
gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."--Hebrews 2;9;
1 Timothy 2:5,6.
"Sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4) "The wages of
sin is death." (Romans 6:23) Adam transgressed the divine law and for
this reason suffered the penalty of death, and this penalty came upon
all mankind by inheritance. Jesus the perfect man permitted his life to
be taken that it might be used for the purpose of releasing Adam and his
offspring from the great enemy death, and that they might have a full
opportunity for life. Hence his life was made an offering for sin, or a
For many centuries Jehovah foreshadowed this great event in his
plan, and this adds to the importance of it; in fact, without the
sacrifice of Jesus it would have been impossible for any of the human
race ever to live at all.
Looking back, then, at the picture that Jehovah made by the use of
the Jewish people and their ceremonies, we see that the bullock slain on
the atonement day pictured Jesus the perfect man at the age of thirty
years. The court surrounding the tabernacle was a picture of perfect
humanity. Therefore the bullock slain in the court foreshadowed or
pictured the fact that the perfect man Jesus died in that condition on
earth as a perfect man. By his death he provided the ransom-price. He
did this to carry out the Father's plan.
In the picture, the slaying of the bullock was the beginning of the
sin-offering. After the bullock was slain its blood was put into a
vessel and the high priest carried it in this vessel, ultimately
reaching the Most Holy, where it was sprinkled, as above mentioned. The
high priest in the Holy pictured Jesus during the three and one-half
years of his sacrificial ministry; and the high priest's appearance in
the Most Holy pictures Jesus the high priest, resurrected to the divine
nature, appearing in heaven itself in the presence of God, there to
present the merit of his sacrifice as the sin-offering on behalf of
The Scriptures clearly show that Jesus was the antitypical bullock
and was made an offering for sin on behalf of mankind; first on behalf
of the church, subsequently on behalf of the whole world. "Christ died
for our sins according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3); "who
gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present
evil world, according to the will of God and our Father" (Galatians
1:4); "for he hath made him to be sin [an offering for sin] for us, who
[Jesus] knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in
him".--2 Corinthians 5:21.
The law that God gave to the Israelites merely foreshadowed what
great things Jesus would do. Because of the imperfections of
mankind--Moses and others--that law could not accomplish the deliverance
of mankind from death. "For what the law could not do, in that it was
weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of
sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh."--Romans 8:3.
In the type, the slaying of the bullock and the carrying of its
blood into the Holy as a typical sin-offering foreshadowed the fact that
the redemption of man's sins could be accomplished only through the
blood of the perfect sacrifice. And for this reason says the apostle
Paul: "Without the shedding of blood is no remission. It was therefore
necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified
with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices
than these." (Hebrews 9:22,23) The patterns here referred to are the
Holy and Most Holy in the tabernacle picture, which foreshadowed or
pictured the heavenly condition; and the entrance of the high priest
into the Most Holy of the tabernacle with the blood foreshadowed Christ
Jesus entering heaven. "For Christ is not entered into the holy places
made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven
itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us."--Hebrews 9:24.
When Jesus died upon the cross of Calvary he provided the
ransom-price, because his was the death of a perfect human being,
exactly corresponding with the perfect man Adam. Adam's death, however,
was the result of a forfeited right to live. Jesus' death was a
sacrifice. Adam was a sinner and died a sinner. Jesus was perfect, holy,
and without sin; and while he died in the same manner, yet by his death
he did not forfeit the right to live as a human being. By dying he
reduced his perfect human life to an asset that might thereafter be used
to release Adam and his offspring from death.
We here give an illustration to aid in understanding this point.
For convenience we will call a man John. John is languishing in prison
because he cannot pay a fine of one hundred dollars. He has a brother
named Charles who is willing to pay the fine for his brother John, but
who has no money with which to pay. Charles is strong and vigorous, has
time to work, is willing to work, and can earn money by working; but his
strength and time and willingness will not pay the debt for John. Mr.
Smith has some work to be done and is willing to pay money to have it
done. Charles engages himself to work for Mr. Smith and earns one
hundred dollars and receives that amount of money in cash. By his labor
Charles has here reduced his time and strength and vigor to a money
value and has received that money value, which money has purchasing
power and which can be used to pay John's obligation and thus release
him from prison.
Charles then appears before the court which has entered the
judgment against his brother John, and offers to pay the one hundred
dollars which the law demands of John. The money is accepted from
Charles and John is released. By this means John is judicially relieved
from the effects of the judgment and is set free, and his brother
Charles has become his ransomer or deliverer.
In this illustration John represents Adam. Because Adam violated
God's law, Jehovah judicially determined that Adam should forfeit his
life by dying. He enforced this judgment during a period of 930 years,
during which time Adam begat all of his children. The effect of
sentencing Adam to death was to render all of his children subject to
death. Adam went into death, and since then great numbers of his
children have likewise died. We can say, then, that Adam and all those
who have died and are in their graves are in the great prison-house of
death, and that is what the Prophet of the Lord calls it.--Isaiah 42:7.
In this picture Charles represents Jesus. It was God's will that
the perfect man Jesus should redeem Adam and his offspring from the
prison-house of death. Jesus was willing to pay Adam's debt and redeem
him, but the perfect, righteous, human being Jesus could not accomplish
that purpose while living in the flesh, for the same reason that Charles
could not use his strength, time, and energy to pay the debt of his
brother John, but must first reduce those things to a purchasing value.
Jesus must reduce his perfect humanity to a purchasing value, which we
may call merit, and which merit or purchasing value would be sufficient
for the payment of Adam's debt and release Adam and his offspring from
that judgment. In order to provide this price it was necessary for Jesus
to die. In his death upon Calvary, then, he produced the price. But the
value of that price must be presented before Jehovah in heaven itself
before Jehovah could release Adam or his descendents from the effect of
death. And this, we shall see from the Scriptures, is what was done.
The inspired writer in the divine Word tells us that it was the
will of God that all men should be saved from death by the ransom-price
and then brought to an accurate knowledge of the truth, in order that
they might accept the benefits of the ransom and live. In due time the
knowledge of these great truths will be given to every one of Adam's
race. (1 Timothy 2:3-6) The ransom-price was provided at the cross. The
cross of Christ is the great pivotal truth of the divine arrangement,
from which radiate the hopes of men. When all men come to a knowledge of
this fact and all the obedient ones have profited by the value of the
ransom sacrifice, there will be great rejoicing amongst the human race.
When the grand finale is sung and all the harpers of heaven and earth
unite in beautiful harmony, blending with the voices of all creatures
perfected and happy, the great ransom-sacrifice will be recognized by
all as one of the strings of the harp of God that will yield sweet music
to every ear. Then all can truly sing;
"In the cross of Christ I glory,
Tow'ring o'er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime."
In order for the human race to receive the benefit of the
ransom-sacrifice, it was essential for Jesus to be raised from the dead.
His resurrection is therefore of vital importance, and this constitutes
another string of the harp, which we will treat separately.
Why is the ransom the most vital string upon the harp of God? ¶ 177.
What effect will its appreciation have upon the human race? ¶ 177.
What is the most precious thing possessed by any creature, and why? ¶ 178.
When can a creature properly glorify his Creator? ¶ 178.
In whose image was man created? ¶ 179.
What did God give to man at the time of his creation? ¶ 179.
What is the difference between life and the right to life? ¶ 179.
Describe the condition and environment of Adam and Eve in Eden. ¶ 179.
Were Adam and Eve informed as to what would be the result of the
violation of God's law? ¶ 179.
Was there any real wrong in eating the fruit? and if not, wherein was
the wrong done by man? ¶ 180.
What was the effect of the sentence pronounced against man? ¶ 180.
What was the effect of the execution of that sentence? ¶ 180.
In what manner was the sentence executed? ¶ 180.
When did Adam and Eve first exercise the power of producing their
offspring? ¶ 181.
Was it possible for them to have perfect children? and if not, why not?
Their children were born and lived, but did they have a right to life?
and if not, why not? ¶ 181.
What is the difference between right to life and life rights? ¶ 182.
What Scriptural proof is there that all were born imperfect? ¶ 183.
Without divine provision for the redemption of man, would the earth
become depopulated? and if so, why? ¶ 184.
Is mankind wholly dependent upon God's provision for life? ¶ 184.
If God has made full and complete provision that man shall live in
happiness, what effect should that have upon men's minds and hearts?
At the time God sentenced man to death did he foreshadow a provision for
his release? and if so, how? Give the Scriptural proof. ¶ 185.
Did he here foreshadow the ultimate fate of Satan? and if so, what is
that fate? ¶ 185.
Could the judgment Jehovah entered against Adam be annulled or set
aside? and if not, why not? ¶ 186.
If it could be changed, what effect would it have upon the faith of men?
Could God consistently provide for a substitute to meet the terms of
that judgment? ¶ 186.
Is it Jehovah's desire that men should understand the necessity and
reason for redemption? ¶ 187.
Why did God cause certain types and pictures to be made by his people?
Explain about the passover lamb slain by the Israelites on the night of
their leaving Egypt. Give the Scriptural account. ¶ 188.
What was pictured there by the firstborn? ¶ 188.
What was pictured by the lamb, and also by the blood? ¶ 188.
Who was spoken of as the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world"?
What was pictured by the deliverance of Israel from the Egyptians? ¶ 190.
What arrangement did God make with Israel at Mount Sinai? ¶ 191.
What was typified by the making of this law covenant at Mount Sinai?
Who erected the tabernacle in the wilderness? ¶ 192.
The services performed by the priest on the atonement day in connection
with the tabernacle foreshadowed what? ¶ 192.
Give a description of the construction of the tabernacle. ¶ 193.
Describe what the high priest did with the bullock on the day of
atonement. ¶ 194.
What did he do with its blood? ¶ 194.
What did these ceremonies foreshadow? ¶ 194.
How often were these services performed? ¶ 195.
Why, then, was the law covenant made? ¶ 195.
What was the purpose of having the Israelites to go through these
ceremonies once each year? ¶ 195.
What did the law demand relative to Adam? and how was justice satisfied?
The fact that Adam's children were born after he was sentenced to death,
what effect did that have upon the children? ¶ 196.
Why did God permit the sentence upon Adam to have a vital effect upon
all of Adam's children? ¶ 197.
Did Jehovah promise to ransom man? and if so, give the Scriptural proof.
Must this promise be carried out? ¶ 197.
Define ransom. ¶ 198.
Define sin-offering. ¶ 199.
Where and how was the ransom-price provided? ¶ 199.
Where was the sin-offering begun? and where is it finished? ¶ 199.
By what prophecy did God show that it was his purpose to redeem man by
his beloved Son suffering death? ¶ 201.
In what sense are Adam and his offspring held in restraint or
imprisonment? Give the Scriptural proof. ¶ 202.
What was the first qualification of the one who would provide the
ransom-price? ¶ 203.
Could divine justice accept anything more or less than the value of a
perfect human life as a ransom for Adam and his race? ¶ 204.
Was it necessary for the redeemer to be a perfect human being? and if
so, why? ¶ 204.
In what way did the law given to Israel indicate that a perfect human
life would be required as a ransom-price? ¶ 205.
Give an illustration under the law. ¶ 205.
Did the law picture what should constitute the qualification of the
redeemer? and if so, where, and what, is it? ¶ 205.
How is man's extremity and dependence upon Jehovah shown in connection
with the ransom provision? ¶ 206.
Could Adam redeem himself? or could any of Adam's children redeem him
or their brethren? Give Scriptural proof. ¶ 206.
Why was man's condition hopeless without a redeemer? ¶ 206.
The ransom-price when provided, where must it be presented? ¶ 207.
Could any human being present the value of that ransom-sacrifice in
heaven? ¶ 207.
What two potent reasons, then, are there which make it impossible for
Adam's children to redeem their brethren? ¶ 208.
Show how man's future happiness wholly depends upon the divine provision
for redemption, ¶ 209.
Does man's complete extremity enable us to appreciate more highly the
value of the ransom-sacrifice? ¶ 209.
What does this show with reference to the debt of gratitude man owes to
Jehovah? ¶ 209.
Give an illustration of man's extremity; and what would cause him to
feel grateful to his benefactor? ¶ 210.
If we find the proof to be conclusive that Jehovah has made provision
for the redemption and deliverance of all mankind, how should that
affect the mind and heart of every honest person? ¶ 210.
Whom did God send into the earth to be the redeemer or ransomer of
mankind? ¶ 211.
What did St. Paul say about this to the Galatians? Quote the Scripture.
Was it important that Jesus should be qualified to meet the requirements
of the divine law in order to ransom the race? ¶ 211.
Since ransom means _exact corresponding price_, had Jesus been an
incarnated spirit being would he have been qualified to ransom mankind?
If Jesus had been part man and part God, would he have been qualified to
meet the requirements of the divine law? ¶ 212.
What does the divine law definitely require as to the qualification of
the redeemer or ransomer? ¶ 212.
How did God send his Son? and when he came, was he a man or was he God?
Give Scriptural proof. ¶ 213.
Had any perfect man lived on the earth from Adam to Jesus? ¶ 213.
Suppose Jesus had been greater than a man when he consecrated at the
Jordan, could he have met the divine requirements and become the
redeemer of mankind? ¶ 213.
Did Jesus have power to produce a perfect race? and if so, did he in
this way correspond to the perfect Adam? ¶ 214.
State what occurred before Pilate. Paraphrase the substance of Pilate's
statement to Jesus. ¶ 214.
Under the Jewish law, what must be the age of a man in order to be
qualified as priest? ¶ 214.
What was the age of Jesus when he presented himself to John for baptism?
Why was it necessary for Jesus to wait until he was thirty years of age
to begin his ministry? ¶ 215.
What was the difference between Jesus and prominent men of the earth
with reference to receiving attention from others? ¶ 216.
Of what does true greatness consist? ¶ 216.
Why did Jesus say he came to the earth? Give Scriptural proof. ¶ 216.
How did Jesus become the servant of all? ¶ 217.
Why was it a sacrifice on the part of Jehovah to send Jesus to earth to
redeem man? ¶ 217.
What prompted God to make this sacrifice for man? ¶ 217.
Why did the Pharisees and doctors of the law misrepresent and persecute
Jesus? ¶ 218.
Why was Satan so anxious to destroy Jesus? ¶ 219.
Why did the scribes and Pharisees occupy a responsible position toward
the Jewish people? ¶ 219.
What were some of the crimes Jesus properly charged against the
Pharisees? and why did he so charge them? ¶ 219.
Did Jesus know that he was to be crucified? and how did he spend his
last night with the disciples? ¶ 220.
What were his enemies doing at the same hour? ¶ 220.
What is meant by the Sanhedrin? and who composed it? ¶ 220.
What was the duty of this high court toward the people, including Jesus?
When this court secretly met, state what was said by it concerning
Jesus. ¶ 221.
Who were the parties to the conspiracy to destroy Jesus? and whose was
the master mind directing them? ¶ 222.
How was Judas brought into the conspiracy? and under what consideration?
Who was sent out to arrest the Master? ¶ 222.
Did the court have any right to try him at night? ¶ 222.
Did it have a right to cause him to testify against himself? ¶ 223.
Was there any evidence against him? ¶ 223.
What crime did the Sanhedrin commit in getting witnesses against Jesus?
Did that court violate the Jewish law in voting for his conviction? ¶ 223.
Why did the court reconvene the morning following to ratify the
sentence? and was this proper? ¶ 223.
Why did not the Jews put Jesus to death and not take him before Pilate?
Why did Pilate wish to release Jesus? ¶ 225.
When Pilate attempted to release Jesus, what did the accusers do? ¶ 225.
Who were the responsible men that incited the mob to cry against the
Master? ¶ 225.
To what did the civil power yield in sentencing Jesus to death? ¶ 225.
Which was more reprehensible, the civil or the ecclesiastical power, in
this case? ¶ 225.
Who were put to death with Jesus? ¶ 226.
In the eyes of the world, did Jesus die as a righteous man? ¶ 226.
In the death of Jesus upon the cross, what particular prophecy was
fulfilled? ¶ 227.
Why must Jesus die? ¶ 228.
What was God's will concerning Jesus with reference to his becoming a
man and being put to death? ¶ 229.
What did Jesus mean by saying that he was the bread which came down from
heaven, and those eating that bread should live? ¶ 230.
Did Jesus die only for those who become members of some church
denomination? or for whom did he die? ¶ 230.
Define sin; and what is the penalty for sin? ¶ 231.
How was the life of Jesus made an offering for sin, or a sin-offering?
Would it have been possible for any of the human race to get life
everlasting, except for the ransom-sacrifice? ¶ 232.
Of what value are the pictures made in the Old Testament to us in
studying the New? and what did the bullock slain on the atonement day
picture relative to Jesus? ¶ 233.
What did the court surrounding the tabernacle picture or typify? ¶ 233.
What was foreshadowed by the slaying of the bullock in the court? ¶ 233.
How was the ransom-price provided? ¶ 233.
What pictured the beginning of the sin-offering? ¶ 234.
What was done with the blood of the bullock after it was slain? ¶ 234.
What was pictured by the high priest in the Holy? and what by his
entering the Most Holy? ¶ 234.
For whom did Jesus give himself as a sin-offering? ¶ 235.
What was the purpose of the giving of the law covenant? and could it
operate to deliver man from death? ¶ 236.
Was the shedding of Jesus' blood necessary for the remission of sin?
How was the entrance of Jesus into heaven foreshadowed in the tabernacle
service? Give Scriptural proof. ¶ 237.
What is the distinction between the death of Adam and the death of
Jesus? ¶ 238.
By dying as a man, what did Jesus provide for man's benefit? ¶ 238.
Give an illustration showing how Jesus' death provided the price for the
release of the human race from bondage. ¶¶ 239-241.
Could the perfect man Jesus deliver the human race from death and remain
alive as a man? ¶ 242.
What must Jesus do in order to redeem mankind? ¶ 242.
What did he produce upon Calvary? ¶ 242.
Where must the value of that ransom-price be presented? ¶ 242.
Why is it necessary for man to be brought to the knowledge of the truth
after the paying of the ransom-price? ¶ 243.
Who shall have the knowledge of this truth? Give Scriptural proof. ¶ 243.
What is the great pivotal truth of the divine plan? ¶ 243.
When the human race comes to a knowledge of the value of the
ransom-sacrifice, what effect will it have upon the ones who appreciate
it? ¶ 243.
String 6: _Resurrection_
Nisan was the beginning of months in the Jewish religious year; and the
fourteenth day of Nisan, A.D. 33, found Jesus of Nazareth dead and in
the tomb. The hopes of his followers were dashed to the ground. Looking
back to the promises made by Jehovah to faithful Abraham, his disciples
and other associates had believed Jesus to be the promised Messiah and
trusted that he would be the deliverer of Israel from Roman bondage and
would also be the instrument for the blessing, through Israel, of all the
nations of the earth. But now he who they had hoped would redeem Israel
(Luke 24:21) was dead. They were perplexed and overwhelmed. Seemingly
they did not expect him to rise again from the dead, nor did they know
at that time that Jehovah would not suffer the flesh of his Holy One to
corrupt. The conduct of the disciples at this time, as well as of those
who were in full sympathy with them, shows that they did not expect his
resurrection. The body was carefully wrapped and placed in the tomb with
myrrh, aloes, and spices, evidently to prevent decomposition. The
subsequent great sorrow of the women at the tomb and their belief that
the body of Jesus had been wrongfully removed and hid elsewhere, also
the perplexity of the disciples, all tends to show that they did not
have any hope or expectation of the resurrection of Jesus. Then we have
the positive statement: "For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he
must rise again from the dead".--John 20:9.
The disciples were Jews and it might be supposed that they were
somewhat acquainted with the Scriptures. We remember, however, that they
were not learned men; and even if they had been acquainted with the text
of the Scriptures they could not have had a very clear understanding of
them at that time; just as we now see there are many wonderful truths in
the Bible which have been there for centuries and which Christians never
understood until recently. Now as we look at the inspired Word of God we
can see some texts in the Old Testament which clearly refer to the
resurrection of Jesus, and which texts must have been familiar to many
Jews at the time Jesus was crucified. For information we note some of
these texts here.
The prophet Job pointed to the time of redemption and deliverance
when he said: "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall
stand at the latter day upon the earth". (Job 19:25) If the Redeemer was
to stand at the latter day upon the earth, then he must arise from the
dead after he had provided the redemptive price by his death; hence this
Scripture must foreshadow his resurrection. The psalmist David wrote
prophetically concerning Jesus' resurrection when he said: "For thou
wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One
to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence
is fullness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore."
(Psalm 16:10,11) We have the inspired testimony of the Apostle that the
Prophet did there refer to the resurrection of Jesus.--Acts 2:27-31;
Again the prophet David wrote concerning Jesus, the Savior of the
world: "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be
satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness". (Psalm 17:15) The awakening
clearly means the awakening out of death. Jesus was awakened out of
death in the express image of the Father. (Hebrews 1:2) Again the
Psalmist wrote: "Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity
captive: thou hast received gifts for men". (Psalm 68:18) Clearly the
apostle Paul refers to this same Scripture in Ephesians 4:8, showing
that the Psalmist referred to the resurrection of Jesus.
The prophet Isaiah wrote: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a
son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his
name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The
everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his
government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David,
and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and
with justice from henceforth for ever." (Isaiah 9:6,7) Here it is
clearly stated that the One who would hold this exalted position, the
Messiah, is to be the everlasting Father. Father means life-giver, and
it would be impossible for Jesus to be the great Life-giver to man
unless he was raised from the dead.
Again the prophet Isaiah described the sufferings of Jesus and his
death and subsequent resurrection when he wrote: "The Lord hath laid on
him the iniquity of us all.... He is brought as a lamb to the
slaughter.... He was taken from prison and from judgment: ... He was cut
off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people
was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the
rich in his death: ... when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin,
he shall see his seed.... He shall see of the travail of his soul and
shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify
many." (Isaiah 53:6-11) He could not have poured out his soul unto
death and afterward see the travail of his soul and be satisfied unless
he should be raised from the dead.
These Scriptures clearly foretell the resurrection of Jesus.
Besides this, Jesus had told his disciples while in Galilee that he
would be put to death and rise from the dead. (Luke 24:6,7) "And while
they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be
betrayed into the hands of men: and they shall kill him, and the third
day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry." (Matthew
17:22,23) But it may not be expected of them that they should understand
the meaning of these Old Testament Scriptures as referring to the
resurrection of the Lord. They were not men of great learning. They were
poor and followed humble occupations. They had doubtless not had the
advantage of a great amount of education; but a stronger reason is that
the holy spirit had not then been given and their minds had not been
illuminated, and it is not to be expected that they would understand
then the deep things of God's Word. (1 Corinthians 2:14) Nor is it at
all surprising that they had forgotten some of the sayings of Jesus
concerning his betrayal, his death and resurrection. We must remember
that they loved Jesus very devotedly; and uppermost in their minds was
the hope that he would be the deliverer of Israel. Only five days before
his death they had joined him in his triumphal entry into Jerusalem,
when the common people hailed him with gladness and joy. (Matthew
21:1-11) His death was so very sudden, so cruel, the shock so terrible,
that the minds of these faithful disciples and others who loved him
dearly were stunned. They were truly overwhelmed with sorrow and grief.
He had been rudely snatched from them; unjustly tried, brutally
condemned, and then subjected to the most ignominious death known to
man, the death of the cross.
Clearly in fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah above noted,
Jesus was put to death as an evil one, thereby making his grave with the
wicked; and he was laid in the sepulchre of a rich man of Arimathea,
named Joseph.--Matthew 27:57.
Little is said as to the doings of the disciples and their
associates immediately following the crucifixion of Jesus when he was
laid away in the tomb. The good women went and "beheld where he was
laid". No doubt little else was done. After 6 o'clock p.m. of that day
was the beginning of the sabbath day, and under the law the Jews must
rest; hence we are not to expect that they did much of anything. Nor
could it have been a day of much rest to them. It was a day of great
sorrow. They could do no work to divert their minds from the terrible
shock caused by the crucifixion of the Lord. The rest must have been one
merely of cessation from labor. Surely they had little rest of body or
peace of mind. It was a day of sorrowful waiting for them, because
tomorrow they would go to the tomb. The sabbath ended at 6 o'clock p.m.,
but the night followed, which prevented them from visiting the tomb
The morning following was the first day of the week; and early
that morning, before it became very light, Mary Magdalene and other good
women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and ministered unto him,
hastened to the Savior's tomb. When they reached there the angel of the
Lord appeared unto them, saying: "Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek
Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.
Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his
disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold he goeth before
you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. And they
departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did
run to bring his disciples word." (Matthew 28:5-8) This news to these
faithful women sounded too good to be true. They were dazed and
bewildered; yet with joy they hurried away to deliver the message to
others who loved the Lord.
Here we have the proof that the resurrection of Jesus is one of
the strings upon the harp of God, yielding great joy to those who hear
its blessed sound. The first human being who heard of the resurrection
rejoiced. How much more joy there must have been in heaven at that hour!
Angel means messenger; that is, one who is sent on a mission as
a representative or deputy, or messenger of God. These holy messengers
or angels always have access to the Father, Jehovah. (Matthew 18:10) We
should expect, of course, that these holy ones of the heavenly host would
sing praise and give utterance to joy before the Lord at every progressive
step of his plan. These angels inhabit the heavens, the high place. And so
the Psalmist writes of them: "Praise ye the Lord. Praise ye the Lord from
the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels:
praise ye him, all his hosts". (Psalm 148:1,2) The Bible abounds with
many instances wherein God has used these holy angels as messengers. He
communicated with Abraham by his angels (Genesis 22:15); also with Jacob.
(Genesis 31:11) God appeared unto Moses by his angel. (Exodus 3:2) He also
delivered a message to Elijah by his angel. (1 Kings 19:5) These holy
messengers of God guarded the interests of Jesus at all times, from the
moment he left the heavenly courts to become the man Jesus for the purpose
of redeeming the world of mankind. (Zechariah 3:1-7) The angel of the Lord
announced to Mary that she was to be the mother of the babe Jesus. (Luke
1:31) When she gave birth to this wonderful child, the angel of the Lord
brought the message to the faithful shepherds, and the great multitude of
the heavenly hosts joined together with that angel in praising, God.--Luke
We may be sure that these faithful, holy angels, as God's
instruments, were carefully watching every step of Jesus from the time
of his birth up to the moment of his resurrection. With eagerness they
would watch and wait to see if Jesus fully met all the requirements of
God's law. They evidently knew that his full compliance would meet with
the marvelous reward of a resurrection from the dead. It was one of
these faithful messengers that the Lord sent from heaven to roll back
the stone from the door of the tomb at the resurrection of the Master.
What great joy must have filled the heavenly courts now when they beheld
Jesus, by the power of God, triumphant over death and the grave!
Lucifer, who became Satan, who had once been associated with the
holy angels and who had seduced some of their fellow angels, had for
centuries opposed Jehovah and specially tried to destroy Jesus. Jesus
had been sent into the world that he might destroy the works of Satan;
and now, having been raised from the dead, he would ultimately "destroy
him that had the power of death, that is, the devil," which destruction
would guarantee the deliverance of the human race. (Hebrews 2:14) Now
Jesus had broken the bonds of death, being raised by Jehovah to power
and glory, demonstrating the fact that he was fully approved by Jehovah.
He now proved that he was worthy to be praised; and without question he
received the unlimited praise of all the heavenly host. The Revelator
says: "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about
the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten
thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a
loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and
riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor and glory, and blessing."
It was not their previous knowledge of the Scriptures and their
faith in them that Christ Jesus would arise from the dead which induced
the disciples to believe that he was risen, but it was what they
actually saw and experienced that led them to this conclusion. The
knowledge gained by experience, coupled with the knowledge of the
Scriptures subsequently acquired by them, not only established beyond a
doubt in their own minds the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, but it
emboldened them to declare the message on every opportune occasion to
others and to emphasize this great doctrine of truth in their epistles
to the church.
It will profit us here to consider the Scriptural testimony given
by the Evangelist in proof that Jesus did arise from the dead three days
after his crucifixion. There have always been some that denied the
resurrection and hence it is always well to fortify ourselves against
such denial, as well as to strengthen our own faith. It must be
remembered that the writers of these gospels were not learned men; they
were not such men as would arrange a fraudulent scheme to deceive
anybody. There would be no occasion for them to do this. The fact that
they did not expect a resurrection and gave evidence of that by their
conduct and their speech at and just after the Lord's death is strong
circumstantial evidence that their testimony subsequently given is true.
Besides this, the testimony itself bears all the earmarks of truth.
At the time Jesus died there was an earthquake. The Roman
centurion who stood by exclaimed "Truly this was the son of God!" "When
the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who
also himself was Jesus' disciple: he went to Pilate, and begged the body
of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when
Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and
laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he
rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed and
there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the
The Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the dead, basing
their conclusion upon the words of the prophets. They feared that Jesus
might arise from the dead. They knew they were guilty of having him put
to death and they hoped that would be the end of him. "Now the next day,
that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and
Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, Sir, we remember that that
deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise
again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third
day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto
the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse
than the first." (Matthew 27:62-64) When the Roman governor heard their
request he granted them a Roman guard, saying to them: "Ye have a watch:
go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the
sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch."--Matthew
The Lord Jehovah must have held these Pharisees in derision, who
presumed by having the stone sealed and a Roman guard placed at the
entrance that they could prevent his bringing Jesus out of the tomb.
God could have easily resurrected the Lord without removing the stone.
He chose, however, to do the latter. And in addition to raising up Jesus
as a divine being, he also removed the body in his own good way and to
his own good place, that it might not see corruption, even as he had
This Roman guard kept a close vigil over the tomb during Friday
night, Saturday and Saturday night; and early Sunday morning the angel
of the Lord appeared and rolled back the stone. The keepers testified
that the countenance of the angel was like lightning and his raiment as
white as snow, and these watchmen did shake because of fear.
The sabbath day now ended, the dawn of the first day of the week
being here, the faithful women were the first ones to start for the
tomb. "In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first
day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the
sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of
the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from
the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his
raiment white as snow: and for fear of him the keepers did shake, and
became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear
not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not
here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord
lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the
dead; and, behold he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see
him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre
with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. And as
they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All
hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. Then
said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go
into Galilee, and there shall they see me."--Matthew 28:1-10.
There must have been great excitement about that time among some
of the people of Jerusalem. These faithful women ran to tell the
disciples, while the Roman soldiers hurried into the city to notify
their employers of what had happened. "Now when they were going, behold,
some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests
all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the
elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,
saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we
slept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him,
and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and
this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this
The account given by St. Luke is almost identical with that given
by St. Matthew. Likewise the testimony given by St. Mark. St. John also
gives an accurate account of the resurrection of the Lord. We insert
here the testimony of each of these witnesses for the purpose of showing
that the four testified substantially to the same facts and fully
corroborated each other.
"And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the
mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might
come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the
week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they
said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of
the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled
away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw
a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment;
and they were affrighted. And he said unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye
seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not
here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his
disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall
ye see him, as he said unto you."--Mark 16:1-7.
"Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning,
they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had
prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled
away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of
the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed
thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: and as
they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said
unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is
risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men,
and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his
words, and returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto
the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and
Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which
told these things unto the apostles."--Luke 24:1-10.
"The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was
yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the
sepulchre. Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other
disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away
the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the
sepulchre. So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun
Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, and
looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh
Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the
linen clothes lie, and the napkin, that was about his head, not lying
with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then
went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and
he saw, and believed."--John 20:1-8.
Added to the testimony of these four witnesses is that of St. Paul,
who had a miraculous vision of the Lord on his way to Damascus.
Concerning the resurrection of the dead the Apostle later testified:
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how
that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he
was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the
scriptures; and that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after
that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the
greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After
that he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he
was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time."--1 Corinthians
St. John, subsequently writing concerning the Lord, emphasizes the
fact that they saw with their own eyes, saying: "That which was from the
beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which
we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and
show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was
manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard declare we unto
you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship
is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things
write we unto you, that your joy may be full."--1 John 1:1-4.
Thus we see there were more than five hundred witnesses who
testified to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. This alone should
establish the fact beyond any question of a doubt; but when we see the
reason for the Lord's resurrection, the whole matter not only becomes
clear but brings great joy to the heart of one who does see it. We must
furthermore consider that these faithful witnesses of the Lord did not
go to some isolated place to give their testimony concerning his
resurrection, but they gave it openly before the tribunals, before Jews
and heathen philosophers, courtiers, lawyers, as well as the common
people. They did not wait until years afterward to begin to give their
testimony concerning his resurrection, but did so immediately after the
great event took place. They were so bold in declaring it that had there
been a possibility of refuting their testimony we may be sure that the
Pharisees would have attempted it. They did not give this testimony for
the purpose of gaining fame, glory, or riches. But, on the contrary,
they knew that they would bring upon themselves the indignation of the
Pharisees and rulers and would expose themselves to suffering and death.
At Pentecost, only fifty days after the resurrection of the Lord,
the apostle Peter stood forth before the multitude and proclaimed to the
men of Judea and all that dwelt in Jerusalem concerning the resurrection
of the Lord. In his eloquence he exclaimed: "Therefore let all the house
of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye
have crucified, both Lord and Christ". (Acts 2:36) So persuasive and
convincing was the Apostle's argument that the Jews who had participated
in having the Lord put to death "were pricked in their heart, and said
unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall
we do?" Some of them suffered death and martyrdom because they preached
Christ and his resurrection. (Acts 7:59) The apostles and early
Christians received much persecution because they testified boldly that
Jesus was raised from the dead. They would not have done this had they
been trying to carry out some fraudulent imposition. Their motive in
preaching these doctrines was to be witnesses for the Lord concerning
the fulfillment of his great plan for the redemption and deliverance of
CHRIST THE LORD DIVINE
Jesus was put to death in the flesh and was resurrected a divine
being. (1 Peter 3:18) God had promised to grant unto him the divine
nature, giving him the power and authority to have inherent life. Only
divine beings have life within themselves and need nothing to sustain
life. Jesus said: "For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he
given to the Son to have life in himself". (John 5:26) When on earth he
was a man. When he arose from the dead he was the express image of
Jehovah God. "Who being the brightness of his [Jehovah's] glory, and the
express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his
power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right
hand of the majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels,
as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they."
(Hebrews 1:3,4) He was begotten to the divine nature at the time of his
baptism in the Jordan. He was born on the divine plane to the divine
nature at his resurrection. When he arose from the dead he was both Lord
and Christ. (Acts 2:36) Lord means one who owns; one who has power and
authority, and one whom his followers acknowledge as Master and Lord.
Christ means the anointed one; the one appointed by Jehovah to carry out
his great plan. So now being raised from the dead he is both owner of
all things and endowed with power and authority to carry out Jehovah's
plan. The name Jesus means Savior of the people. That was his earthly
name. It is more particularly associated with him as the sin-bearer, or
one who made his soul an offering for sin, who suffered for us and who
bore our sins--the one whom the Prophet describes as "the man of
When he arose from the dead Jehovah highly exalted him and gave him
a name above all other names. He was once a man of sorrows, acquainted
with grief. Now, resurrected from the dead, he is the exalted one; hence
the Apostle declares: "Being found in fashion as a man, he humbled
himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which
is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of
things in heaven, and things in earth and things under the earth and
that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory
of God the Father."--Philippians 2:8-11.
God has decreed that since the earth was the scene of Jesus'
suffering it shall be the scene of his glory, and all creatures shall
bow at the name of Jesus, and that every creature shall confess that
Jesus is Christ and is the Lord.
On the day Jesus arose from the dead and on several occasions
thereafter he appeared unto his disciples and others who specially
loved him. He did not appear to them in the same body which was
crucified; nor with the same clothing in which he was buried. The
Scriptural account is that the clothing and a napkin were folded up and
laid aside in the tomb. Had he appeared in the same body that was
crucified, those who were with him for three and a half years would have
readily recognized him. Surely Mary would have known him. He appeared to
her as a gardener on one occasion, and only when he spoke her name in
the tone so familiar to her did she recognize him. The Scriptural
account of his appearing to the disciples and other witnesses is briefly
noted as follows:
He appeared on Sunday morning, early in the day of his
resurrection, to Mary Magdalene near the sepulchre at Jerusalem.--John
On the same Sunday morning, to the women returning from the
sepulchre.--Matthew 28:9, 10.
On the same Sunday morning to Simon Peter alone near Jerusalem.
On the same day to two disciples going to Emmaus, between Jerusalem
and Emmaus.--Luke 24:13-21.
On the same Sunday evening to the apostles (except Thomas) at
Thereafter he appeared again one week later (Sunday evening) to the
apostles, Thomas this time being present, at Jerusalem.--John 20:26-29.
Some days thereafter he appeared on the shores of Galilee to seven
of his disciples who had gone back to fishing.--John 21:1-13.
A little later he appeared to the eleven disciples on a mountain
near Galilee.--Matthew 28:16-20.
A short time thereafter he again appeared to a company of more than
five hundred of his followers, gathered by appointment, in Galilee.
--1 Corinthians 15:6.
He again appeared to the apostle James only.--1 Corinthians 15:7.
Then he appeared for the last time on the side of the Mount of
Olives to his disciples at the time of his ascension.--Luke 24:50,51;
The question will arise in the minds of many, Did he appear in a
spirit body or a human body, and how did he get the body if it was not
the one in which he was crucified? We may be sure that he did not arise
from the dead with a human body, because on one of these occasions he
appeared to the disciples when they were in a room with the doors
fastened. (John 20:19-26) The only answer is that now, as a divine
being, he had the power to create a body and clothing and appear at any
time and upon any occasion that he desired. Mary supposed him to be a
gardener; two of the disciples who walked with him thought he was a
stranger in the community. Again, none of the disciples recognized him
by his body on the sea of Galilee; likewise on other occasions when he
appeared unto them. On all these occasions he was recognized by his
actions, his words, and the familiar tone of his voice. It was hard to
convince Thomas, who declared he must have some more proof; therefore
the Lord created a body having in it the marks of the nails in order
that Thomas might be convinced. And when he was convinced, Jesus said to
him: "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are
they that have not seen, and yet have believed".--John 20:27-29.
The purpose of Jesus' appearing to the disciples was that the fact
might be fully established that he was resurrected and alive. He had the
power to create a fleshly body and appear in it and dissolve it at any
time; and without doubt when he appeared to his disciples behind locked
doors he created the body immediately in their presence and dissolved
it when he disappeared. To prove to them that he was a real body of flesh
and bones he said to them: "Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not
flesh and bones, as ye see me have". (Luke 24:39) This was not a spirit
body, but a body of flesh. The body with which he ascended on high and
which he has in heaven is a glorious body which no man can look upon and
live except by the miraculous power of Jehovah. The apostle Paul states:
"Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God". (1 Corinthians
15:50,51) In addition to this, St. John says: "It doth not yet appear
what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be
like him; for we shall see him as he is".--1 John 3:2.
St. Paul was given a miraculous view of the Lord in glory. As he
was journeying to Damascus suddenly there shone about him a light from
heaven. He did not see the body of Jesus but only the light from his
glorious body. He heard a voice saying unto him: "I am Jesus". So
brilliant was this light that for three days he was blind; and the Lord
performed a miracle by removing his blindness. "And immediately there
fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight
forthwith and arose, and was baptized." (Acts 9:1-19) The apostle Paul
afterward relating this incident said: "And last of all he [Jesus] was
seen of me also, as one born out of due time". (1 Corinthians 15:8) Here
we have a little glimpse of what the glorious body of the Lord is. These
facts show that the bodies in which Jesus appeared after his resurrection
were not the body that was crucified nor his glorious spiritual body,
but bodies created expressly for the purpose of appearing unto his
disciples. Our Lord's human body, the one crucified, was removed from
the tomb by the power of God. Had it remained there it would have been
an obstacle in the way of the faith of his disciples, who were not yet
instructed in spiritual things. They were not thus instructed until the
giving of the holy spirit at Pentecost. The Scriptures do not reveal
what became of that body, except that it did not decay or corrupt. (Acts
2:27,31) We can only surmise that the Lord may have preserved it
somewhere to exhibit to the people in the Millennial age. The Scriptures
tell us that God miraculously hid the body of Moses (Deuteronomy 34:6;
Jude 9); and Jehovah could just as easily have preserved and hid away
the body of Jesus. Jesus being resurrected a divine being, the express
image of the Father, we are sure that no man could look upon him and
live. (Exodus 33:20) Christ Jesus the Lord in heaven is a glorious
being, the fairest of ten thousand, and altogether lovely, and no human
eye has ever seen him since glorified, except the vision miraculously
given to St. Paul.
The purpose of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus when understood
is further proof that he was raised divine. As we have seen, the ransom
must be provided by a perfect human being going into death. This
ransom-price, namely, the value of a perfect human life, must be
presented in heaven itself as a sin-offering on behalf of mankind.
Unless this was done, the ransom would be of no avail and there would be
no purchase of the human race from death and its results. The apostle
Paul plainly states that Christ Jesus has entered into heaven itself,
now to appear in the presence of God for us. (Hebrews 9:24) He is now a
great high priest who passed into the heavens, becoming the high priest
on behalf of those who come to God through him during the gospel age.
(Hebrews 4:14-16) On the typical atonement day, as we have seen, God
caused Israel through the priesthood to make a picture of the
sin-offering. The high priest appearing in the Most Holy and sprinkling
the blood upon the mercy seat was a type of Jesus appearing in heaven
itself, presenting the merit of his sacrifice as a great sin-offering.
This would have been impossible had not Jesus been resurrected a divine
Afterward Jesus Christ gave unto St. John a revelation by his
angel, which is recorded as the book of Revelation. In that he said: "I
am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore,
Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death". (Revelation 1:18) Hell
means the tomb, the grave, the condition of death into which the whole
human race has been going for so many centuries. Death is the great
enemy and in due time the Lord will abolish or destroy both death and
the grave, as we shall see later on.
As each person comes to a knowledge of the resurrection of Jesus
Christ and understands and appreciates the purpose, his heart is made
glad. Only those who are enlightened have yet appreciated the fact that
the resurrection of Jesus is one of the strings on God's wonderful harp.
In due time these benefits will be made known to all, and all shall
recognize this wonderful truth. After the Lord has finished the
selection of the members of his body, which is called the church
(Colossians 1:18), then his merit or ransom-sacrifice will be presented
on behalf of the world of mankind and all will reap the benefits of his
resurrection. The foregoing Scriptures conclusively establish the
resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead.
In St. Paul's day there were some who denied the resurrection, even
as it has been ever since. To meet their argument St. Paul wrote: "Now if
Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that
there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of
the dead, then is Christ not risen: and if Christ be not risen, then is
our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found
false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised
up Christ; whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For
if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not
raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which
are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have
hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen
from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since
by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as
in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in
his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's
at his coming. Then cometh the end when he shall have delivered up the
kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and
authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under
his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."--1 Corinthians
Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his
ascension on high, all men are guaranteed one full, fair opportunity to
obtain everlasting life. God has made this provision and given this
guarantee, as St. Paul states. "Because he [God] hath appointed a day,
in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom
he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that
he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17:31) We are now just coming
into that "appointed day", in which the world is beginning to know and
soon will know much more about the wonderful benefits resulting from the
resurrection of our Lord. In that great day the Lord shall reign in glory
and then will be fulfilled his words: "Marvel not at this: for the hour
is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of
life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment".
(John 5:28,29, _R.V._) Of this we shall have more to say when we
discuss the string of God's great harp, restoration.
What is the first month of the Jewish religious year? ¶ 245.
On the fourteenth day of that month, A.D. 33, where was Jesus? ¶ 245.
What had his disciples expected him to do? ¶ 245.
What was their condition of mind, and what their hopes, after his death?
What was the expectation of the disciples with reference to his
resurrection? ¶ 245.
How had the body of Jesus been prepared for burial? and what was the
purpose? ¶ 245.
Give further proof with reference to the expectation of the disciples
concerning Jesus' resurrection. ¶ 245.
Did the disciples understand the Scriptures at that time with reference
to the resurrection of Jesus Christ? ¶ 246.
Is the student now able to understand Scriptures in the Old Testament
relative to the resurrection of the Lord that have been heretofore
little understood? ¶ 246.
Give some Scriptural texts of the Old Testament bearing upon the
resurrection of the Lord Jesus. ¶ 247.
Did the Psalmist speak of Jesus going to hell? and if so, what was
meant? ¶ 247.
Give the Apostle's interpretation of this statement. ¶ 247.
What was meant by the statement of the Psalmist in Psalm 17:15? ¶ 248.
In whose likeness was Jesus awakened? Give the Scriptural proof. ¶ 248.
Did the Psalmist in Psalm 68:18 refer to Jesus' resurrection? and if so,
why? ¶ 248.
Quote the words of the prophecy of Isaiah (9:6,7) concerning Jesus. ¶ 249.
Did the Prophet here foreshadow the resurrection of Jesus Christ? ¶ 249.
How did Jehovah refer to Christ's resurrection in the words of the
prophet Isaiah (53:6-11)? ¶ 250.
Had Jesus told his disciples that he expected to arise from the dead?
and if so, where? ¶ 251.
Why were the disciples sorry, as stated in Matthew 17:22,23? ¶ 251.
Why could not the disciples of Jesus understand the prophecies
concerning his resurrection? Quote a Scripture from the New Testament in
support of this answer. ¶ 251.
What was the hope uppermost in the minds of the disciples? ¶ 251.
What had happened just five days before Jesus' death that increased such
hopes in the minds of the disciples? ¶ 251.
What would be the probable effect upon the disciples of the sudden death
of the Master? ¶ 251.
In being put to death as an evil one and buried in the sepulchre of a
rich man, what prophecy did Jesus fulfill? ¶ 252.
On what day was Jesus crucified? and what was the day following? ¶ 253.
What were Jews expected to do on that day of the sabbath? ¶ 253.
When did the sabbath day end? ¶ 253.
What was done by Mary and others on the morning of the first day of the
week after Jesus' crucifixion? ¶ 254.
Who appeared unto them at the tomb? and what did the messenger say? ¶ 254.
What effect did this message from the angel have upon these women? and
what did they do? ¶ 254.
What proof have we here that the resurrection of Jesus is one of the
strings upon the harp of God? ¶ 255.
What effect was produced upon the first human being who heard of the
resurrection of the Lord? ¶ 255.
How must this news have been received in heaven? ¶ 255.
What is the meaning of the word angel? ¶ 256.
Do these angels have access to Jehovah? Give the Scriptural proof. ¶ 256.
Is there Scriptural proof that these holy messengers sing praises in
heaven? ¶ 256.
What Scriptural proof have we that God uses angels for messengers? Give
several instances. ¶ 256.
Is there any Scriptural evidence that these holy angels guarded the
interests of Jesus while here on earth? ¶ 256.
Cite Scriptural proof as to what else the angels did with reference to
Jesus the babe. ¶ 256.
Is it reasonable to suppose that the angels watched the progressive
steps of Jesus' course from his birth to his resurrection? ¶ 257.
Might we expect them to be looking for the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Who was sent from heaven to roll back the stone from Jesus' tomb? ¶ 257.
When the triumph of Jesus over death and the grave was marked, what
effect must that have produced in heaven? ¶ 257.
Would the resurrection of Jesus demonstrate his approval by Jehovah?
Would his triumph over death and the grave be reason for his praise in
heaven? ¶ 258.
Give Scriptural proof of the praise of Jesus Christ by the heavenly
hosts after his resurrection. ¶ 258.
What was it that convinced the disciples of the resurrection of Jesus
Christ? ¶ 259.
Being convinced of his resurrection, how did that affect Jesus'
disciples in regard to proclaiming the truth? ¶ 259.
Why should we have Scriptural proof of the resurrection of Christ Jesus?
Is it reasonable to suppose that Jesus' disciples would concoct a scheme
indicating his resurrection, contrary to the facts? ¶ 260.
What convulsion of nature occurred at the time of Jesus' death? ¶ 261.
Give the Scriptural proof of the burial of Jesus' body. ¶ 261.
Why did the Pharisees believe in the resurrection of the dead? ¶ 262.
Did the Pharisees specially request of Pilate a special guard to be
placed over the tomb of Jesus? and if so, why? Give the Scriptural
proof. ¶ 262.
What did Pilate reply to them? ¶ 262.
Could God have resurrected Jesus Christ without removing the stone? ¶ 263.
How would this indicate the derision in which he held the Pharisees?
Who rolled away the stone from the tomb? ¶ 264.
What did the Roman guard testify concerning the appearance of the one
who rolled away the stone? ¶ 264.
Who first appeared at the tomb on the morning of Christ's resurrection?
Relate what took place there between Mary Magdalene and the messenger
who appeared to her; and what was the message delivered to her? ¶ 265.
What other wrongful thing did the priests do, when they heard of Jesus
Christ's resurrection? ¶ 266.
Compare the testimony given by St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, and St.
John; and state whether there is any real difference. ¶¶ 267-270.
What other Apostle's testimony is added to that of the ones just quoted?
and what did he say about the resurrection of Jesus? ¶ 271.
What further testimony did St. John subsequently give concerning Jesus
Christ's resurrection? ¶ 272.
How many witnesses testified to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus?
Where did these faithful witnesses give their testimony concerning the
resurrection of the Lord? ¶ 273.
Did they endanger themselves by giving such testimony? ¶ 273.
The fact that they gave it immediately and boldly, what weight does that
add to its truthfulness? ¶ 274.
What was their motive in testifying of the Lord's resurrection? ¶ 274.
Did anyone suffer martyrdom because of giving testimony to this effect?
Give the Scriptural proof. ¶ 274.
To what nature was Jesus Christ resurrected? ¶ 275.
What does it mean to have inherent life? ¶ 275.
What did Jesus say about the Father giving him this favor? ¶ 275.
When the Lord arose from the dead, was he made lower or higher than the
angels? ¶ 275.
When was he begotten and when born to the divine nature? ¶ 275.
What is the meaning of the terms Lord and Christ? ¶ 275.
What power and authority has the Lord possessed since his resurrection?
What is the meaning of the name Jesus? ¶ 275.
State what the Scriptures say of his exaltation at the resurrection.
Has God decreed how the creatures of earth shall ultimately honor the
Lord Jesus? ¶ 277.
When was the first time Jesus appeared to his disciples after arising
from the dead? ¶ 278.
With what body did he appear? ¶ 278.
Give the reasons why he did not appear in the body that was crucified.
How did Mary recognize him? ¶ 278.
State how many times Jesus appeared prior to his ascension on high,
giving the Scriptural proof. ¶¶ 279-289.
Did he appear in a spirit or a human body? and how did he get the body
in which he appeared? ¶ 290.
How could he appear in the room in the presence of the disciples when
the door was locked? ¶ 290.
How did the disciples recognize him at the sea of Galilee and other
places? ¶ 290.
What was Jesus' purpose in appearing to the disciples? ¶ 291.
Describe the body in which Jesus appeared behind locked doors; and what
did he say to his disciples then? ¶ 291.
Could the body in which Jesus was crucified ascend into heaven? and if
not, why not? Give Scriptural proof. ¶ 291.
Describe his appearance to Saul on the way to Damascus. ¶ 292.
Did Saul see the body of Jesus at that time? ¶ 292.
What effect did the appearance of the Lord to St. Paul have upon him?
What did St. Paul later say about Jesus appearing unto him? ¶ 292.
What does the appearance of the Lord to St. Paul prove with reference to
the bodies in which Jesus appeared shortly after his resurrection? ¶ 292.
What became of the body of the Lord that was crucified? ¶ 292.
Christ Jesus in glory possesses what kind of body? ¶ 292.
What did the resurrection of the Lord and his appearance in heaven have
to do with the ransom and sin-offering? ¶ 293.
Were his resurrection and ascension on high necessary to complete the
sin-offering? ¶ 293.
On the typical atonement day, through what ceremonies did the high
priest pass in connection with the sin-offering? ¶ 293.
What did this typify? ¶ 293.
In the Revelation of Jesus to St. John, what did he say about being the
one who was once dead? and what power does he now possess? ¶ 294.
What is meant by the terms hell and death as used in Revelation 1:18?
Up to this time who have appreciated the value of Jesus' resurrection as
a part of the divine plan? ¶ 295.
Do the Scriptures herein cited prove the resurrection of Christ Jesus?
What argument did St. Paul produce against the contention that Christ
was not raised from the dead? ¶ 296.
What does the resurrection of Jesus Christ guarantee to mankind? ¶ 297.
Give the Scriptural proof of such guarantee. ¶ 297.
Where are we now with reference to the 'day appointed', as referred to
in Acts 17:31? ¶ 297.
String 7: _Mystery Revealed_
A mystery is that which is kept a profound secret. It is something
unknown, except to certain ones, being kept carefully and continuously
concealed from all others. Jehovah being all powerful can hide or keep
secret from every creature, earthly or heavenly, any part or all of his
great plan and reveal or make it known at such time as might please him.
One feature of his great plan he did keep secret for ages and it is
still a secret to all except a few.
When Jesus was on earth he taught the people in parables or dark
sayings. His disciples came to him and asked: "Why speakest thou unto
them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given
unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it
is not given." (Matthew 13:10,11) It will be observed that he did not
say, 'You now know the mysteries of God'; but that it was given them to
know those mysteries. Not even his disciples understood him in many
things when they were with him. On the last night before his crucifixion
he was instructing them in various things that would be helpful to them
in the days to come. On that occasion he said: "When he, the spirit of
truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak
of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he
will show you things to come." (John 16:13) The spirit of truth here
mentioned is the holy spirit, the spirit of God, the invisible power
operating upon the minds of those who are in covenant relationship with
God. Jesus here used the masculine pronoun in speaking of the holy
The holy spirit was given to the disciples at Pentecost, that is to
say, fifty days after the resurrection of Jesus. "And when the day of
Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,
and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared
unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
And they were all filled with the holy spirit, and began to speak with
other tongues, as the spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4) The King
James Version of our Bibles, translates the word here holy "ghost", but
there is no warrant for such a translation. It comes from the word which
It was at Pentecost that for the first time God's great mystery
began to be understood by the disciples. The mystery of God has been a
stumbling block to both Jews and Christians so-called; but in God's due
time he will make known to all the secret of his mystery and then all
rightly exercised by this will rejoice with exceeding joy.
The mystery is _the Christ_, the great one through whom redemption,
deliverance and blessing will ultimately come to all mankind who receive
Christ and obey him. God foreshadowed his mystery for ages by the use of
various men. Yet all of that time he kept it secret.
Death has been and is the great enemy of man. Death is the very
opposite of life. The greatest desire of man is and always has been to
have life everlasting in happiness. From the time of his expulsion from
Eden man has been looking for something upon which to fasten a hope for
life and happiness. Satan was the cause of death, and when God
pronounced the sentence in Eden he said that the seed of the woman
should bruise the serpent's head. This statement was in the nature of a
promise, but it could not then be understood. Since Pentecost some have
understood the meaning of these words to be an assurance that in God's
due time the seed of promise, the seed of the woman, will destroy Satan,
who has the power of death. Nearly two thousand years rolled by after
this statement before anything further was promised.
Then unto Abraham Jehovah called and made him the promise: "In thy
seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed". This was another
reference to the mystery; but that promise was not understood in its
proper light. Abraham believed God would bless the human race, but he
did not understand just the manner in which it would be done. At the
time of this promise Abraham had no children. Several years more passed
and then Isaac, Abraham's first legitimate son, was born. Abraham
believed that his natural seed, his son, would be the ruler through whom
the blessing would come to the people; but his son Isaac was merely a
type of the mystery, God using him to foreshadow the greater one. This
promise was renewed to Isaac and to Jacob, and at the death of Jacob his
descendants, who of course were descendants of Abraham, were organized
into twelve tribes, forming the nation of Israel, and were thereafter
recognized as God's chosen nation. (Genesis 49:28; Deuteronomy 26:5)
Then it was that the faithful believed that God's promised blessings
would come through this nation, his chosen people. But in time they
became slaves to the Egyptians and their hopes were almost blasted. They
were sorely oppressed in Egypt when God sent Moses to be their
deliverer and to lead the people of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.
Moses was also a type foreshadowing the great One. (Acts 3:22) Moses
died and the promised blessing had not yet come. The prophetic statement
made by Moses that God would raise up unto Israel one like unto himself
led the prophets to understand that there would be a great one raised up
from the nation of Israel who would be the deliverer and blesser of
Joshua followed next in line after Moses. His name signifies
savior or deliverer. But he also was only a type of the great Deliverer.
Then David became the king of Israel. His name means beloved one.
The Jews had hoped that he would be the great deliverer, but in his old
age he abdicated the throne in favor of Solomon, and yet the blessing
did not come. Solomon became the most famous man in the world for riches
and wisdom, and the hopes of Israel were centered in him, only to be
disappointed. David and Solomon were also but mere types foreshadowing
the coming of the great Deliverer.
The nation of Israel degenerated and under the reign of Zedekiah,
their last king, they fell into captivity to the Babylonians and they
continued subject to other nations until they were finally driven out of
Moved by the holy spirit of God operating upon their minds, the
holy prophets testified of the coming of this great Deliverer, both of
his sufferings and of his glory that would follow; but they did not
understand. The matter was a mystery to them. (1 Peter 1:11) Even the
angels of heaven sought to look into it, but they were not permitted.
God's purpose was to keep the matter secret until his own due time to
reveal the great truth.
Then came Jesus, whose coming was announced by John the Baptist;
and he was pointed out as the one who would take away the sin of the
world. He chose his disciples and they walked with him, and he taught
them for three and a half years; yet they did not understand the great
mystery. They expected Jesus to be made an earthly king and hoped that
they might be with him in the kingdom, probably in his cabinet, because
he was asked if one might sit on his left and the other on his right
hand in the kingdom. They expected him to make Israel a great nation and
believed that through that nation other nations would be blessed. When
he was put to death they were greatly disappointed, mystified, and in
great distress. (Luke 24:21) Even after his resurrection they did not
understand his mission, and this is shown by their words to him on the
day that he ascended into heaven. "When they were therefore come
together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time
restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not
for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in
his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the holy spirit is
come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and
in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up;
and a cloud received him out of their sight."--Acts 1:6-9.
In obedience to the command of Jesus, these faithful disciples went
to Jerusalem to the place known as the upper room, and there waited. Ten
days passed and then it was that the holy spirit, the invisible power of
God, was visited upon them; and true to his promise, the disciples began
Jesus had now ascended on high and presented the merit of his
sacrifice before Jehovah and the acceptance of this was manifested by
the giving of the holy spirit to his disciples who had been his
consecrated followers for three and a half years. Doubtless the angels
of heaven now began to know something about the great mystery. What joy
must have been in heaven when Jesus Christ appeared before the Father
and presented the merit of his sacrifice and was received by Jehovah!
Surely the heavenly host must have sung his praises. They had beheld him
triumphing over death and the grave and now exalted to a position in
heaven next to the Father. It must have been a great joy to the heavenly
host, even as contemplation of it was a great joy to Jesus himself. "For
the joy that was set before him [he] endured the cross, despising the
shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews
12:2) What joy must have filled the hearts of his disciples when they
began to understand the mystery of God and to see how wonderfully he had
led them and their fathers before them, preparing them now for the
revelation of this great truth!
In due time Saul of Tarsus, who afterward was named St. Paul, was
illuminated and understood. And then he wrote: "Who now rejoice in my
sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions
of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church: whereof
I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is
given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; even the mystery which
hath been hid for ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to
his saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory
of this mystery among the gentiles; which [mystery] is Christ in you,
the hope of glory." (Colossians 1:24-27) The Apostle here emphasizes the
fact that this mystery of God is now made known only to the saints.
Saints means purified ones, which purification comes through receiving
the merit of Christ's sacrifice.
The word Christ signifies anointed. Anointing means designation to
official position in God's arrangement. The Christ is the instrument or
channel for the blessing of mankind. The Christ is composed of Jesus,
the great and mighty head, and 144,000 members. (Revelation 7:4) Christ
Jesus is the head and the church his body. We ofttimes hear the
expression, a body of men with a general at their head. Of the Christ
the Apostle says: "And he [Christ Jesus] is before all things, and by
him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who
is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he
might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should
all fullness dwell."--Colossians 1:17-19.
The apostle Paul uses a human body to illustrate the Christ, the
great mystery class; the head representing Jesus, and the other members
of the body those who are of his church. "For as the body is one, and
hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are
one body: so also is Christ.... Now ye are the body of Christ, and
members in particular."--1 Corinthians 12:12,27.
The Christ is also designated in the Scriptures as the seed of
Abraham according to the promise. "Now to Abraham and his seed were the
promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one,
And to thy seed, which is Christ." (Galatians 3:16) Addressing himself
to the church, the Christians, the followers of Jesus, the Apostle
further said: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ
Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on
Christ.... And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs
according to the promise." (Galatians 3:26,27,29) This is the seed,
then, through whom the blessings will come to all the families of the
earth. Church means a gathered out class; and so the gospel age, that is
to say, the period from Jesus' first coming until his second coming, is
employed by Jehovah for the selection of the church, the seed of
Abraham, through which blessings will come to all the remainder of
mankind in God's due time.
This same class is called the elect of God, according to his
foreknowledge.--1 Peter 1:2.
Again the Apostle likens the whole of the Christ to a living stone,
saying: "Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an
holy priesthood, to offer up sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus
Christ.... Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious:
and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore
which believe he is precious." (1 Peter 2:5-7) In earthly buildings
there is no chief cornerstone; but in this building of God there is a
chief cornerstone which is Christ Jesus. The topstone or chief
cornerstone of a pyramid is itself a perfect pyramid. The other members
of the body, then, must be built up into Christ to conform to that chief
cornerstone, which is illustrated by the Great Pyramid in Egypt.--See
Again this anointed class, Jesus the head and the church his body,
is spoken of as a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people.
This was foreshadowed by the nation of Israel, particularly by the
priesthood in connection with the house of Israel. The apostle Peter
speaking of this class says: "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal
priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth
the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his
marvellous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the
people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained
mercy."--1 Peter 2:9,10.
The members of the body of Christ, the church, are also designated
as his footstep followers; and as such they are called to suffer with
him that they might also reign with him. "For even hereunto were ye
called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that
ye should follow his footsteps." (1 Peter 2:21) These are also
designated as Christians. It does not mean that because one is a member
of some earthly organization called a church he is a Christian or a
member of the true church. The true church is the body of Christ; and
any one to be of the true church must be a follower of Christ in the
truest sense of the word. To this class are given the exceeding great
and precious promises recorded in the Bible, the promises of being
associated with Christ Jesus in his kingdom. (2 Peter 1:4) Not to the
world, but to his followers Jesus said: "Be thou faithful unto death,
and I will give thee a crown of life".--Revelation 2:10.
No one has been able to understand these things and appreciate
them except those who have given their hearts to the Lord. The apostle
Paul says: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of
God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned". (1 Corinthians 2:14). Jehovah
has so arranged that only those who have their minds illuminated by the
holy spirit, which follows their consecration, justification, and
acceptance by the Lord, can understand and appreciate the mystery of
God. These are the ones designated by the prophet Joel as the servants
and handmaidens of God; and in the gospel age God pours out his spirit
upon them; which means to give them his spirit. But in God's due time he
will pour out his spirit upon all mankind, so that all can understand
his wonderful plan.--Joel 2:28,29.
The hiding of this mystery was illustrated by Jehovah in the
construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness and its furnishings.
The inside walls of the tabernacle were covered with pure gold. Inside
the Holy were the golden candlestick, the table covered with gold for
the showbread, and the golden altar; and in the Most Holy, was the ark
of the covenant. The tabernacle inside, therefore, was beautiful, but it
was hidden from the people on the outside because it was covered with
three heavy layers of cloth and skins. The priest ministered inside the
tabernacle, and therefore was unseen by the people. As God thus hid
these things which were typical of greater things, so he has hidden the
glories and beauties of spiritual things, seen only by those who have
come into relationship with him through Christ.
The gospel age is the antitypical day of atonement. With the Jews
there was one day each year called the day of atonement. In that day the
priest alone was in the Holy and the Most Holy; and even so on the
antitypical day of atonement no one is in the Holy condition except
those who are in relationship with Christ, the great high priest. The
Lord has been pleased to permit these during the gospel age to have some
understanding of his Word, therefore receiving the sweet and refreshing
music from his harp; and the light has grown in brilliancy and the music
in harmony as the understanding has increased. To the world in general,
Christians have been despised because not understood. The Lord of glory,
when on earth, was despised because he was misunderstood. And so his
true followers seem to be a mean and despised people. The poet has truly
"Why do they, then, appear so mean?
And why so much despised?
Because, of their rich robes, unseen,
The world is not apprized."
Satan has tried to counterfeit every part of Jehovah's plan; so he
organized a religious system in the earth which is iniquitous and is
known as "the mystery of iniquity". (2 Thessalonians 2:7; Revelation
17:5) This mystery of iniquity God will destroy in his great day of
vengeance which is now on, and then the mystery of God will be more
clearly revealed to mankind. It is revealed to individuals now as they
come into Christ. It is important, therefore, for us to know how one
becomes a member of the Christ, the great mystery of God.
BODY MEMBERS SELECTED
The mystery of God involves an understanding and appreciation of
the fundamental truths of repentance, consecration, justification,
spirit-begetting, and sanctification. Let us now trace the steps of one
in the world as he comes to Jehovah that he might be a member of the
body of Christ.
Because of the disobedience of father Adam, all of his children are
born imperfect, all sinners. "There is none righteous, no, not one."
(Romans 3:10; 5:12) All such are out of harmony with God. They have no
right to life. It has pleased Jehovah, then, during the gospel age to
draw to Jesus, the great Redeemer and Deliverer, those who have the
desire to come into harmony with him. The Prophet says: 'The reverence
of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom'. (Psalm 111:10) The first thing
essential for one becoming a Christian is an honest desire to know the
Lord and to do his will. A man with this honest desire, then, realizes
that he is a sinner and born such; and he has an honest desire to come
to God. He learns that Jesus is his Redeemer and he wants to know more
about him and do his will. In his mind he does not approve the ways of
the world. He begins to think about the Lord and wants to know more
about him. He begins to turn his face in the right direction. When he
ceases to approve the course of the world, he is repentant to that
extent. Repentance means a change of mind respecting one's relationship
Jesus said: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath
sent me draw him". (John 6:44) The man now is drawn to Jesus by what he
learns of Jesus, what Jesus has done for him, and by his own desire to
follow a different course. When one ceases to approve the worldly course
and begins to seek after the Lord, he is in that condition mentioned by
the Apostle as seeking God, "if haply they might feel after him, and
find him". (Acts 17:27) When he is drawn to Jesus, seeking God, then he
is converted. He is now in the condition spoken of by the Apostle when
he said: "Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be
blotted out". (Acts 3:19) Repentance means a change of mind respecting
one's relationship to evil; and conversion means a change of one's
course. But neither repentance nor conversion, nor both together, brings
the individual into relationship with God. Being drawn to Jesus, he must
exercise faith. Faith means _first_ to understand and believe that God
exists; that he is the great rewarder of them that diligently seek him;
that the Bible is his Word of truth; that Jesus is his beloved Son and
our Redeemer; and _then_ to rely confidently upon these things and prove
this reliance by his action.--Hebrews 11:1,6.
He now needs information to increase his faith, and the Prophet
has written: "The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the
simple". (Psalm 19:7) To such now, as are feeling after God, through
Christ Jesus this message comes: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and
are heavy laden, and I will give you rest". (Matthew 11:28) Heavy laden
means to be weary of the sinful course of the world and to have a desire
to be relieved of this burden. Such a one says: 'I am tired of the
wrongful course. I want to follow the right course, to know God, and to
do his will.'
Now being drawn to Jesus, he learns through the Word that he must
do something. To him Jesus says: 'I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me'. (John 14:6) What can one who
is now repentant and changing his course, but still a sinner, do to come
into harmony with God? He is informed that it will cost him much. So
Jesus says to him: 'Sit down and count the cost'. (Luke 14:28) He learns
it will cost him all he has, namely, the surrender of himself to the
Lord. The next step for one, then, to become a Christian is to make a
consecration; that is to say, to commit himself to the Lord and his
arrangements. And this he may do by saying in substance: 'Blessed Lord,
I commit myself to thy arrangements; here I am. Do unto me according to
thy holy will. I desire to do thy will.'
Neither the Lord Jesus nor the heavenly Father coerces any one,
but we must come to the Lord voluntarily, seeking his aid. This is
clearly indicated as necessary to become the follower of Jesus by the
words the Master used: 'If you will be my disciple, you must deny
yourself, then take up your cross, and follow me'. (Matthew 16:24)
Self-denial means an agreement to abandon one's selfish course and to
agree to do the will of the Lord. It means a full and complete surrender
of oneself unto the Lord. And this is consecration, the setting aside
of oneself to do the Lord's will.
Those who are selected to be members of the body of Christ, which
selection is done during the gospel age, must be justified in order that
they might be accepted. They are justified only for the purpose of being
accepted as a part of the sacrifice of the Lord. On the typical day of
atonement when the high priest of Israel slew the animals, the Lord's
goat pictured this class who come to the Lord in consecration. That goat
must be perfect, without any blemish; thus foreshadowing how that all
who are presented unto the Lord to be accepted as a part of the
sacrifice of Jesus, and hence to become members of his body, must be
perfect; and since man is imperfect himself something must be done for
him in order to make him stand before the Lord Jehovah as perfect. He
must be justified. Justification means to be made right with God. This
must all be done in the acceptable time of the Lord. (Isaiah 49:8; 61:2)
Any one coming to the Lord Jesus with an honest desire to be presented
to the Father in the acceptable year or time may be assured that he
will not be cast out, because Jesus said: "Him that cometh to me I will
in no wise cast out". (John 6:37) He would not decline to present any
genuine consecration before the heavenly Father. Of course this
consecration must be made before the person can be presented.
Jehovah God is the great wise judge of the universe; and he sits
to determine whether or not one thus presented is right or not. "It is
God that justifieth."--Romans 8:33.
The steps essential now to justification, as shown by the
Scriptures, briefly stated, are these: (1) Faith in God and his