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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Ques. Do those who die in childhood ever obtain spiritual bodies?
Ans. If the child was begotten of the spirit it will be in the resurrection, born of the spirit to perfect spiritual being. If not, it still retains the human nature, and in due time will have a part in the restitution of all things and may with all mankind, if it will, reach full human perfection.
Since the begetting of the spirit is through the word of truth, (James 1:18.) it follows that children who cannot understand at least the first principles of the doctrines of Christ, could not be begotten by those principles, or influenced to a consecration—sacrifice of their human nature.
Ques. Does not the “Greek Church” as well as the Church of Rome have a place in prophecy?
Ans. God of course could have given us a history of all the governments of earth. Yet as a matter of fact he has confined his prophetic declarations to a few—as outlined in Daniel’s image and four great beasts. The declarations relative to present governments being almost exclusively confined to the nations of Europe—the remnants of the Roman Empire.
Probably for similar reasons God has measurably confined those prophetic utterances which apply to religious systems, to that system which was given the seat of the beast (Rev. 13:2.)—The Church of Rome and her daughters (Rev. 17:5.) and passed by almost unmentioned, the other, and some of them larger, religious systems, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, Mohammedanism and the Greek Church.
Ques. Please explain Rom. 6:10. “He died unto sin once.”
Ans. The Diaglott reads “by sin;” Murdoch’s Syriac “for sin.” We think the signification is that Jesus died for, or on account of, or by reason of sin. So it is also with those who as members of the body of Christ, are sharing in his death. (vs. 11.) With the body as with the head, it is not a dying to sin in the sense of presenting cut off sins as a sacrifice to our Father. No, Jesus “knew no sin” and his death was a sacrifice, giving up, not of sins, but of a sinless nature for the sins of others. So too with his body—we were sinners even as others, but we were redeemed, bought with a price, even his precious blood (life); and now with every sin stain cancelled, we as he did—present a sinless offering. (In God’s estimation sinless and it should be so esteemed by us.) We present this sinless nature to share in his death—thus having fellowship in his sufferings and death which fills up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ, and complete the World’s ransom price.
Read succeeding vs. 11-13. Reckon that the dead or sinful nature was buried when Christ died for your sins; reckon that as justified human beings you became alive when he rose; but go further and as justified beings present yourselves to God (living sacrifices) and yield your members to God as his instruments in doing all of his good work.
Ques. Please explain Phil. 3:21. “Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body.” Does not this Scripture contradict the thought which you have so often expressed, viz: that the bodies of saints will be in the resurrection spiritual bodies, and totally “new creatures“—not formed in part by and out of the earthly bodies of the human nature? Does not this Scripture positively assert that the new body will be merely this vile body changed?
Ans. The body to be changed, here mentioned, does not refer to our personal bodies, for then it should read “change our vile bodies that they &c.” But it is our vile body; one body (the body of Christ) composed of many members that is spoken of.
It will help, in this as in every case if we examine the context. Paul is drawing a contrast between two classes claiming to be Christians. He sets himself as at the head of those who are living properly, and exhorts all true followers of Jesus running for the prize to follow and imitate him, and concludes by saying, “Brethren be followers together of me,” vss. 15-17. This company constitute members of the true body of Christ, because they follow in his footsteps of self-denial.
On the other hand he mentions the false ones saying, vss. 18 and 19, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly (appetite) and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.”
Now contrast with this body which falsely claimed to be a body of Christ, but which sought and gloried in and minded the very earthly things to which Jesus was crucified—contrast these, I say, with the aims, joys, and mind of the true body. Paul details the experiences, &c., of the true body in vss. 7-15. (Read carefully.) He says that the true body instead of glorying in earthly things and pampering earthly desires, counts all earthly glories and honors and gains as loss and dross, and casts them away as detestable compared to the glories and joys anticipated in the future with its head. Then he concludes his argument by assuring them that though this true body of Christ has become very poor, miserable, outcast, and vile, from a human standpoint, yet the time is coming when they will be owned and accepted to a condition of glory as his body by the true head. In consideration of this coming change from a condition of degradation to glory, he exhorts “Therefore my brethren … so stand fast in the Lord my dearly beloved.” (Ch. 4:1.)
We give here, Murdoch’s translation from the “Syriac,” “Our concern (interest) is with heaven; [We are not minding earthly things,] and from thence we expect our vivifier, our Lord, Jesus the Messiah; who will change the body of our abasement that it may have the likeness of the body of His glory.”
Ques. Please explain 1 Kings 17:22.
Ans. The Hebrew word here translated soul, is nephesh; it signifies being, or life, or existence. Now read it: “the child’s life came into it again”; and all is clear. The word soul has been shrouded in mystery by theologians, and helps to deceive themselves and others with the idea that it is an intelligent person which lives in a man. There is no excuse however for any one who has even a slight knowledge of the Hebrew, or is possessed of any of the “helps” of our day—there is no excuse for such persons making this mistake, as this same word nephesh, is repeatedly used with reference to the lower animals and fish, &c. But this is hidden from the general reader by the English translation. The translators, when nephesh is used in referring to fish and lower animals, generally translate it “breath” or “life,” and sometimes where nothing else will make sense they translate it “breath“
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or “life” in connection with mankind. But wherever the mystifying word soul can be used to give seeming support to the teachings of theology, it has the preference.
Ques. What about baptism now; should it still be performed?
Ans. Baptism into Christ, we regard as no longer possible since Oct. ’81. All however who previous to that time had performed the real baptism into death; (consecration) we would still urge to perform the outward illustration of it, i.e., immersion into water.
It should, however, be remembered that the “Baptism of John” was an outward sign of repentance and turning (being converted) to God. This symbol of sin washing, may still be performed on any who desire it. This last form is all that is generally recognized by christian professors of today—”Knowing only the baptism of John.” Very few know of the higher baptism into Christ’s death, and thus into membership in his body.
Ques. If God never cursed man for sin, why was it necessary for Jesus to die?
Ans. God did curse man. The words of the curse were: “Dying, thou shalt die.” We cannot make this subject more plain than we have done in “Why evil was permitted.” Read it again. Those who are so anxious for truth as to be willing to sacrifice other things to get it, are the ones for whom God prepared it. If thou searchest for her as men search for silver, then shalt thou find the knowledge of God and his plans. (Prov. 2:2-11.)
Ques. Isa. 13:9-13. This will be answered with other similar statements in “Millennial Day Dawn.”
Ques. Relative to explanation of Matt. 25:46 in March WATCH TOWER, permit me to inquire the Greek word there translated punishment and its critical definition.
Ans. The word is kolasis. Young defines it to mean restraint; Liddell and Scott say it means pruning, and B. Wilson in the Diaglott renders it “cutting-off.” These are the best authorities on Greek. Thus it is clearly evident that the punishment referred to is—everlasting restraint or cutting off from life, of which they had proved themselves unworthy.
As to when this destruction is due, read more particularly March number and see it to be at the close of the Millennial age.
Ques. Do you claim that the Bible does not teach that there are three persons in one God?
Ans. Yes: On the contrary, it does tell us that there is one God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ of whom are all things (or who created all things). We believe then in One God and Father, and also in one Lord Jesus Christ whom God hath highly exalted, and given a name above every name. But these are two and not one being. They are one only in the sense of being in harmony. We believe also in a spirit of God called also the spirit of Christ and spirit of truth. But it is no more a person than is the spirit of devils and the spirit of the World and the spirit of Anti-Christ. The one represents the influence or power or will of God, and the other the power or influence or will of Satan and of the World. The biased views of the New Testament translators has led them to translate it when they could, as though it were a person. More on this again.
— June, 1882 —