Zion's Watch Tower article, February. 1881 - C T Russell's history of the early Bible Students from 1871 to 1881 Zion's Watch Tower article, February, 1881 - C T Russell's history of the early Bible Students from 1871 to 1881 - CAST NOT AWAY YOUR CONFIDENCE

 

 

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 Zion's Watch Tower Article, February. 1881

C. T. Russell's History of the Bible Students from 1871 to 1881



CAST NOT AWAY THEREFORE YOUR CONFIDENCE


To the words of Paul, Heb. 10:35-38 (Diaglott) your attention is requested. The reading of verse 37--"For yet a very little while indeed, the coming one will come (be present) and will not delay"--indicates that these words of the apostle, although applicable in a certain sense previously, are mainly so in the presence of the Son of Man. And we understand the words here penned by Paul, to have been given by the Spirit especially to us, who are living in the days of Christ's presence--the harvest, or end of this age. And you will remember that much of Paul's writing is especially to us who are living in the close of the Gospel Age--for instance: "In the last days perilous times shall come &c.;" again: "Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in that evil day" "the day of the Lord;" again: "For the fire (trials) of that day shall try every man's work of what sort it is." The same is true of many, if not all the writings of the old and new testaments; in fact the great burden of the Prophet's and Apostle's writings seems to be with reference to the end of the Jewish and also of the Gospel Age, especially the latter.


Since then, we see that these words of the Spirit, were given especially to us who are living "In the days of the Son of Man"--"the evil day"--we should give them the more earnest heed. As in every other case in which we are instructed concerning the evil day, there is the intimation that it will be a time of special trial, and admonitions to hold fast, &c., are given as in this 38th verse. During the last six or seven years, the Lord has been leading us, his people, in a very remarkable manner: As we look backward we can see that our pathway has been as "a shining light...shining more and more." It has been progressive, bringing us strength with "meat in due season." It has caused us to grow both in grace and knowledge and this growth, taken in connection with the fact that we are not obliged to look back and now call darkness what was then called by some of the brethren, "a great flood of light," is the very strongest grounds for confidence that the same Lord who then supplied us light from the word, is still providing of the same kind. We say then, "cast not away your confidence" in our Leader, "the great shepherd of the sheep."


If we were following a man undoubtedly it would be different with us; undoubtedly one human idea would contradict another and that which was light one or two or six years ago would be regarded as darkness now: But with God there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, and so it is with truth; any knowledge or light coming from God must be like its author. A new view of truth never can contradict a former truth. "New light" never extinguishes older "light," but adds to it. If you were lighting up a building containing seven gas jets you would not extinguish one every time you lighted another, but would add one light to another and they would be in harmony and thus give increase of light: So is it with the light of truth; the true increase is by adding to, not by substituting one for another.


Therefore, in mentioning grounds of our confidence that we are in the shining path under the leading of the Spirit, we mention first that the tendency of present truth is to produce the proper fruit of the spirit, of which love is the chief. The tendency of our growth in knowledge is to growth in grace. "He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he (Jesus) is pure." Our pathway has been one of increase of light in harmony with former light. Thus we have been led to increased confidence in our leader. Let us take


A GLANCE BACKWARD


at the steps of progress, and let all notice that the progress is not only forward but upward; i.e., the tendency is from the natural to the spiritual. We will look, not at any one person's experience, but at what serves to show the advance of the knowledge of truth for ten years past. Looking back to 1871, we see that many of our company were what are known as Second Adventists, and the light they held briefly stated, was that there would be a second advent of Jesus-- that he would come to bless and immortalize the saints, to judge the world and to burn up the world and all the wicked. This, they claimed would occur in 1873, because the 6,000 years from the creation of Adam were complete then.


Well 1873 came, the end of 6,000 years, and yet no burning of the world, &c.; but prophecies were found which pointed positively to 1874 as the time when Jesus was due to be present
, and the resurrection of Daniel was also due as proved by the ending of jubilee cycles and the 1335 days of Dan. 12. The autumn of 1874 anxiously expected, finally came, but the earth rolled on as ever; "all things continued as they were from the beginning of creation." All their hearts were sad; they said, surely we have been in error--but where? Surely it is clearly taught that Jesus will come again; perhaps our calculation of time is at fault. Carefully they examined the chronology but it seemed faultless and positively declared that the 6,000 years ended in 1873. Then the prophetic arguments were carefully re-examined: Was an error found? No, they stood the test of all investigation and the jubilee argument and "1335 days" of Daniel could not possibly be prolonged beyond the fall of '74 or spring of 1875 and these periods were both past.


Dark indeed seemed the outlook; all were discouraged. It had seemed as though the Lord had been leading in the past, and yet now all these things which had been thought light seemed to be proved darkness.


Just at this time Bro. Keith, (one of our contributors) was used of the Lord to throw another beam of light on the subject which brought order out of confusion, and caused all of the former "light" to shine with tenfold brightness. Brother K. had been reading carefully Matt. 24 chapter, using the "Emphatic Diaglott," a new and very exact word for word translation of the New Testament; when he came to the 37th and 39th verses he was much surprised to find that it read as follows, viz: "For as the days of Noah, thus will be the presence of the Son of Man. For as in those days, those before the deluge they were eating and drinking, marrying and pledging in marriage till the day that Noah entered the Ark, and understood not till the Deluge came and swept them all away; thus will be the presence of the Son of Man."


His surprise was, at finding that the Greek word parousia which signifies presence, had in our common version been improperly rendered coming, but the new rendering showed, that it was not the act of coming that resembled the days of Noah, but that as in Noah's days the masses of the people "knew not" so it would be in the time of Jesus' presence at the second advent. Humanity will go on eating, drinking, marrying, etc., as usual and "know not" that he is present. The next step was, to see whether the account of the same discourse as recorded by Luke, would harmonize with this new idea of a presence unseen, except by the eye of faith, until the "little flock" typified by Noah had gone from among men into the condition of safety (from the coming storm) represented by the Ark--"one taken and another left."


Luke's account was in perfect accord with Matthew's, though in different words--"As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man." (Luke 17:26.)


This was communicated to others of the disappointed ones, and with the remembrance that the time arguments above referred to had been found faultless and unalterable and proved that Jesus was due here in the fall of 1874, came the thought-- can it be possible that Jesus does not come in a fleshly body at His second advent? Can it be possible that His presence began at the time indicated in those prophecies and yet we went on eating and drinking, etc., and "knew not" of His presence?


A careful examination of the word was begun by all deeply interested, to see whether it, as a whole, would be in harmony with this new thought. It was found to be in perfect harmony and opened up and made clear many scriptures hitherto dark: For instance the differences between natural, earthly bodies and spiritual, heavenly bodies; how that the things which are seen are temporal, natural, but the things that are not seen are eternal, spiritual; that spiritual beings could not be seen by mortals, (without a miracle) and that the object and scope of the Gospel age was, the taking out of the world of mankind a "little flock" to be associated with Jesus in the work of the future--destroying evil and blessing all the families of the earth; that God's plan was not, to destroy all mankind after the gathering of the Gospel church but to "restore all things" and destroy only the evil which now rules in the world; that the fire supposed to be literal, was really symbolic and signified a great time of trouble which would be the close of the Gospel age and dawn of the Millennial in which all evil principles of governments and society would be manifested and destroyed, as a necessary preparation for the coming blessing.


So says the Prophet: "Wait ye upon me saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey, for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms and pour upon them mine indignation even all my fierce anger for all the earth, shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy: For then will I turn to the people a pure language and they shall all call upon the name of the Lord to serve him with one consent." (Zeph. 3:8-9.)


As to the manner of Christ's coming other scriptures were found to be in perfect accord with the accounts of Matt. and Luke, of its being an unseen presence: For instance, the angel's message--Acts 1:11.