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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
SOME misunderstood an item in our March 1 View, namely, that we commended the course of the Boers and Filipinos and condemned Socialism. Nothing of the kind was meant.
(1) THE UNITED STATES AND THE FILIPINOS
The Filipinos would have been much wiser to have thrown themselves upon the mercy and justice of the United States and, expressing thanks for deliverance from Spanish misrule, to have asked for civil and religious liberty under the protection of this great Republic. But their ignorant failure to take this course did not make it right to ignore their aspirations for liberty, and to treat them as enemies on this account. Rather they should have had from the very start distinct assurances and guarantees of as much liberty as they could show capacity for;—eventually full freedom. But the right policy was offset by land-hunger, commercialism and the spirit of empire building, willing to spend thousands of lives and millions of money for its gratification. This we condemn as being contrary to the spirit of Christ, the spirit of love, and as sure to bring its own reward in due time.
(2) THE BRITISH AND THE BOERS
Others thought that we commended the Boers, because we rebuked the British Ministry’s lust for empire extension that would give British capitalists the control of Boer gold and diamond fields, at, however, a far greater cost of British lives and money than they expected. No one is deceived by the claim that the war was precipitated by Mr. Chamberlain’s desire to free the Boer slaves and correct the Boer morals: everybody knows that he had plenty of room to work along those lines at home, where thousands of white children are still the wage-slaves of commercial selfishness, and need deliverance and schooling and moral training. Neither are sensible people deceived by the plea that the war was precipitated by love of liberty and the desire to give the ballot to the assorted white foreigners, called Uitlanders. This was the pretext by which the statesman who engineered the war for commercialism and empire deluded the British masses and got their support. Indeed, the claim that Britain forced the war by insistence, that her own sons, known as “Uitlanders,” should be allowed to expatriate themselves as British and swear allegiance and support to the Boer republics, is laughable. The Boers well knew that such an oath to such men who openly avowed their hostility would be meaningless—that at the very time they were ready to take the oath of allegiance these men were conspiring for a revolution. In refusing the franchise under such circumstances to such persons, they did what every Briton would have done if in their stead.
We by no means commend the Boers! We deprecate their low ideas of civilization, their practice of slavery of the native blacks, and their lack of liberality;—their narrowness and selfishness. But two wrongs do not make one right; and in our opinion the Boers should have been permitted to possess their land, and gradually improve its government as their ideas enlarged. It is but very few years since Britain took the step of giving the ballot, even under limitations, to her own sons. We love and respect British character far more than that of the Boers; and we refuse to believe that the British masses would have sanctioned this land-stealing war in South Africa, had they not been blinded and deceived by their trusted political and financial leaders. Our appreciation of the
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Britons does not mean a love for their rulers, but for the people who more than once have shown their sturdy love of principle to the extent of compelling their rulers to adopt at home the very liberal government which they now enjoy as a consequence. But as the “god of this world” is using Doctors of Divinity to blind many to the divine plan and its justice and love, so he uses Doctors of Finance and Doctors of Politics to blind noble and liberty-loving nations to the rights and liberties of others. Thank God, the liberty of “the prince of this world” will soon be curtailed, that he shall “deceive the peoples no more.”—Rev. 20:3.
However, it is not and has never been our wish to dabble in worldly politics. We are citizens of another country, even a heavenly, and have our Lord’s Word for it that none of the earthly kingdoms are his; but that they all are under the domination of “the prince of this world”—”the god of this world;” Satan, who will continue to blind and deceive the masses until our Master, according to promise, takes the Kingdom and restrains Satan. (Rev. 20:3.) Then the blinding influences being removed and the true light shining, all men shall see clearly, and all the worthy will rejoice.
Our object, in these occasional Views from the Tower, of Babylon’s matters and affairs, is to have all those who belong to the “holy nation” (1 Pet. 2:9) see how widely astray are all the kingdoms of this world, even tho they call themselves “Christian nations”—”Christendom.” We who are in harmony with the Lord and his righteousness must realize that the entire social structure is out of joint, else we could not so honestly and earnestly pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven,”—knowing that the coming of God’s Kingdom means the utter wreck of earthly kingdoms, in a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.
Whoever sees no fault in present arrangements and conditions, but approves them, is not very fit for the Kingdom, nor to be made one of the rulers under the new regime. On the other hand, however, we do not understand it to be the duty of the Lord’s consecrated people (“the saints”) to tirade and fight against the world, but to submit to its ordinances, except when conscience would be violated (1 Pet. 2:13), waiting patiently for the Lord’s promised Kingdom as the only hope. Such are to realize that the worldly are blinded, and not to expect any to see the truth except such as have been specially blessed of the Lord and called to joint-heirship with Christ in the Kingdom, on condition that now they shall suffer with him for righteousness’ sake.
(3) SOCIALISTIC PRINCIPLES APPROVED
Some supposed us to be antagonistic to Socialism. Quite to the contrary; we are very sympathetic toward its aims, and merely object that they are wholly impracticable under present conditions. Unquestionably the new age will see many of the ideas of the Single-Taxers and Socialists, modified, in successful operation, under the auspices and backed by the power of the Heavenly King and his Kingdom, then in full control, and Satan bound.
But we warn any of the saints against building their hopes upon any relief which Socialism now promises. That anchor and its cable are of sand, and will crumble into direct anarchy as soon as put to the test. Our faith and anchor, on the contrary, are sure—faith in the promises of God. This faith anchorage fastened in the divine power will endure every strain. In proportion as any look to earthly sources for the deliverance of the “groaning creation” (Rom. 8:19-23) they are turning their backs on the heavenly Deliverer. And in proportion as we trust in the deliverance that is to be brought about by the second advent of Christ and the glorification of his elect “little flock,” to be the Kings and priests of God’s Kingdom, in that same degree we must rest all our confidence in it.
True, if all the princes of earth, including the financial, the “captains of industry,” were to combine to establish Socialism, its temporary success would seem to be assured; but no sane man dreams of such conditions. And if established all will admit that it would be but an experiment, with the strong probabilities, all would admit (with the certainty, we would claim), that it would frequently contend with anarchy and have a continual fight. With the spirit of selfishness entrenched in the hearts of the individuals, could we suppose that the endeavor to live collectively on the opposite basis of love would be very successful?
Socialism can only succeed to a limited degree at present—to the extent that it benefits the intellectual and wealthy as well as the poor. Any attempt to carry it further will precipitate anarchy. Present aggregations of capital and industry are favorable to Socialism—governmental control, by the people and for the people. The masses seeing this will ere long attempt to grasp the throttle, expecting capitalists to submit to save their lives. But they are mistaken. Money and brains and selfishness are a strong combination, self-confident, resourceful, powerful. The result, as the Scriptures foretell, will not be Socialism but anarchy, humbling to the pride of the rich and the poor, the reformer and the demagogue. But that extremity will be the Lord’s opportunity, and on the ashes of human avarice and pride and boastfulness and self-confidence will be erected the strong equitable government
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of Messiah for which we watch and pray, “Thy Kingdom come.”
We commend to the interested a fresh reading of MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. IV., The Day of Vengeance, in which we discuss this subject at considerable length.
JEWS LOOKING TOWARDS CHRISTIANITY
We have published several articles of late showing that Jewish teachers are gradually turning from a hatred of Jesus (as the originator of what they consider a false religious system) to an admiration of him as one of their race, whose teachings have benefited the world and influenced it for justice and mercy more than any other. Below, however, we give a few of the words of a prominent German Jew, B. Levita, recently published in the Preussische Jahrbuecher (Berlin), in which he advocates (merely nominal) Christianity as the only real relief for the Jews from the social ostracism under which they grieve.
After recounting that the Jew is now refused admission to many clubs and associations and rejected from offices in the Prussian army, he proceeds to point out that Jews are neither more nor less religious and conscientious than these nominal Christians; because both are formalists, but the forms and ceremonies of the Jews are sad, doleful, and relate mostly to the remote past—the exodus from Egypt, etc., and are national rather than personal,—while the nominal Christians practice rites and ceremonies which, however little they really believe them, are consoling or happifying; personal and cheering, rather than saddening. For instance, infant christening (for males and females) is a bright, sunny occasion, the reverse of the bloody circumcision of Jewish male infants; and nominal Christian marriage and death services and social functions are all bright and attractive and consoling as compared to Jewish customs. He argues that it is these links between Israel and the past that hinder his social progress, and that as people of little belief or no belief can and do associate under the name Christian, so may the Jew, who may equally maintain his unbelief or partial belief, become a Christian and share the amenities of life without prejudice. A free translation of the conclusion of his plea may be summarized as follows:—
“It is our religion alone that keeps us apart from the rest of the German people; yet we reject reform upon a Christian basis. We may say that we are no longer Jews,—yet we cannot become Christians. We can not believe in the divinity of Christ. But do the progressive German Protestants, with their higher criticism, believe in it? No; yet they hold fast to the old forms. The same ministers who teach from the pulpit an undogmatic Christianity are compelled to pray to the Holy Trinity before the altar and confess their faith in the ‘Son of God.’ This cast-iron ‘I believe’ is still there, and we can not, will not, pronounce the formula, for we can not believe. A mere formula, a piece of paper, divides us from our most enlightened Christian German brothers.
“But what shall we do? Are we to found a new Jewish-Christian sect in which Christ is recognized as man only? That would only separate us again, and we are tired, so very tired, of separation. Back into Jewdom we will not go; into the German nation we can not go. The terrible cry of our forefathers is still fulfilled in us: ‘His blood be upon us and our children.’
“Our children! Why should we transmit the curse to them? Why should they suffer for a cause which is no longer anything to us? I have it! If we find in Christianity the true religion with the exception of a single doctrine that has lost its force, then we must not educate our children as Jews. The piece of paper which hinders us does not exist for our children. Let them take part in the great spiritual battle which is being fought out in the ranks of Christianity. Ours was the prophet who destroyed the law and taught eternal love. Let the wandering Jew die. Let our children become Christians.”
* * *
How evident it is that when, shortly now, God shall turn away Israel’s blindness they will be in as ready a condition to receive the truth as nominal Christendom will be;—yes, more ready. But not yet. The idea of worshiping Jew Jesus as Jehovah is preposterous to him, and so arouses his contempt that he is unready to even listen to the truth—esteeming that this is the very basis of all Christianity. Hence the above suggestion of Levita is merely that, for the sake of their children’s social future, they join the masses in mere outward profession of things they could not conscientiously consider for a moment.
The “great gulf fixed” still remains, and will remain unbridged until the special work of this Gospel age (to which Israel as a nation was blinded by divine decree) has been accomplished;—until spiritual Israel, the elect bride of Christ, has been “sealed” and “garnered.” Then the individual blessings of the new age (the Millennium) will begin, and Israel will be first to receive the blessing of the “latter rain.” “I will pour upon the house of David the spirit of grace and supplication [in the midst of “Jacob’s trouble”] and they shall look [with the eye of faith, as we do now] upon him whom they have pierced. And they shall all mourn because of him, as one mourneth for his only son.” Then and thus they shall all be saved from their blindness and be granted full opportunity of obtaining everlasting salvation through the Crucified One, then being installed as the King of Glory.—Zech. 12:10; Rom. 11:25-32.
Let us never lose sight of the fact that not until “the times of the gentiles” expire, and not until
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“the fulness from the Gentiles” have come into the Church and been glorified, can the individual blessings of the Millennium be expected; and then to the Jew first. Whatever of Millennial work precedes that time is general, pertaining to the nations and systems;—preparations for their overthrow and for the establishment of Messiah’s Kingdom upon the ruins of present day systems.
— April 15, 1901 —