Due to various electronic necessities, insignificant formatting, punctuation, capitalization, etc. and other minor editing has taken place. Spelling has been addressed especially where scanning has caused errors.

Links to the various sections can be found at the bottom of the page.


Government

CHAPTER V

Identity and Qualifications

JEHOVAH God chooses those who shall be associated with his beloved Son in his government of righteousness. (1 Thess. 2:12) It was God who anointed Jesus to be King. (Acts 10:38) "Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God." (2 Cor. 1: 21) It follows then that the associates with Jesus can be identified only by the rules which God has made; also that the qualifications of those associates must be determined by and according to the Word of God alone.

Seeing that the government which Jehovah will establish is a righteous government; that his government will rest upon the shoulder of his beloved and righteous Son; and that it is the will of Jehovah that there shall be taken from amongst men some who will be associated with Jesus in that government; then we must know that those associates will be prepared exactly in accord with the rules God has made governing his kingdom. There are millions of persons on earth who claim to be Christians and who expect to be associated with Christ in heaven but who will not be there. They have been mistaught, and therefore misled, by the clergy. The Scriptures definitely set forth that those to be associated with the Lord Jesus in the kingdom of God will be but a small number.

138

Speaking to his disciples concerning that government Jesus said: "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32) The royal family or officials of the government of righteousness will be but a small flock or company. The required qualifications of these are laid down in the Scriptures. The Bible shows that there will be a great multitude who will be given life as spirit beings but who will not be of the royal family. These will be considered in a subsequent chapter.

Religion

All nations and peoples practise some kind of religion. They have been led to believe that such is necessary to insure their future well-being. Religion means an outward form or ceremony of worship practised by the people and by which they indicate their belief in the existence of a supreme power or a supreme being. He who worships God in spirit and in truth does not need to perform any outward ceremony. The only worship with which God is well pleased is that which is true and sincere and which is devoid of formalism. (John 4: 24) God hears those who worship him in secret, and he rewards them openly. (Matt. 6:18) The church of God is that class of people who come to God with the sincere desire to serve him and whom he takes out and separates from the world. This company is called the ecclesia, or taken-out class, or church. God organized his church with Christ Jesus as the Head thereof. (Col. 1:18; Eph. 1: 22, 23) There was no formalism in the early church. After the apostles had died the clergy came to the fore. The

139

clergy were selfish and ambitious and desired to impress the people with their own importance. The Devil saw to it that they were guided to seize the church organization and use it for a selfish purpose.

The pagans had a formalism or religion. Following the rule of the pagans, selfish and ambitious men in the church organized a system of formalism which they called the Christian religion. A number of the stronger nations of the world have adopted this formalism or religion called the "Christian religion" or "organized Christianity", and therefore these nations are designated as "Christian nations". Among such nations are the United States, the British Empire, and others. The term "Christian nation", as applied to such nations, is merely in name only. None of these nations are Christian nations. God never intended that Christians should rule this evil world. Jesus in plain words said: 'My kingdom is not of this world; my kingdom is future.' (John 18:36) Satan is the god of this world, and therefore the nations of the world can not properly be designated as Christian nations. There is no such thing as a Christian religion, because true Christianity is not a religion.

Christianity

Christ Jesus is the Head of true Christianity. He is the Anointed One of God to be the Ruler over God's kingdom of righteousness. All who become Christians in truth and in fact are anointed of God's holy spirit by and through Christ Jesus the Head of God's organization. Before one receives an anointing from God he must believe that Jehovah is the true and only

140

God and that Jesus Christ is his beloved Son and Redeemer and Savior of man; and he must manifest that belief by making a full consecration to do God's will. He must then be justified, or made right with God; which means that God judicially determines that because of his faith and consecration he is right with him. The man must then be begotten as a new creature in Christ and receive the anointing or official designation to a place in God's organization. The politicians and profiteers and the influential men who form the chief ones of the congregations of so-called "organized Christianity", together with the clergy or nobles thereof, do not even claim to have made a consecration to do God's will. Therefore these were never justified and never begotten and never anointed, and could not be properly called Christians. In fact the most of modern clergymen deny the Bible and entirely repudiate the blood of Christ Jesus as the redemptive price for man. This precludes them from being called true Christians.

Christianity has been, and is now, wofully misrepresented and misunderstood by many. The misrepresentation has been caused by the evil influence of Satan exercised upon men and practised by Satan's representatives. The misunderstanding by the people has been and is due to the fact that they have been misled. Many have been led to believe and to understand that God has for centuries been making a desperate effort to get men into heaven in order to save them. That is not true. The clergy have told the people that all they have to do in order to be saved is to believe on Jesus Christ; but they have left the people in the dark as to what constitutes belief. A mere men-

141

tal conception that Jesus is the Son of God is not belief within the meaning of the Scriptures in order to be saved. Satan the Devil believes that much. (Jas. 2:19) No one can believe the truth unless he hears the truth; and if he is told that which is not the truth there is no basis for true belief. (Rom. 10:10-15) If a man really understands and believes the truth, that man will prove his belief or faith by what he does. Otherwise stated, true faith or belief leads to action in exact harmony therewith. — Jas. 2:14, 24.

The Scriptures show that Satan is the god of this world; that Christ Jesus is the Savior of man; that God through him will establish a righteous government for the benefit of men; and that he who will be associated with Christ Jesus in that government must be conformed to or be made like the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 8:29) If a man knows and really believes the truth he will get on the Lord's side and be for the Lord wholly and completely and not try to serve two masters by serving the Devil's organization part of the time and at the same time claiming to be a Christian. The two things do not go hand in hand. "No man can serve two masters."

Seemingly the clergy have proceeded upon the theory that God needs them and can not get on without them. Feeling their own importance they reason that other men should look up to them and give them honor. Many others who are not clergymen but who profess to be Christians manifest a like disposition. They appear before the people and assume an air of great gravity and delight to make a show of their learning and supposed wisdom. They are puffed up and impressed with their own greatness and insist on

142

being exalted in the eyes of the people. Jesus is the perfect pattern, and all who please God must follow the course that he took. The proud forget that Jesus did not come to earth to exalt himself. He said: "Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased." (Luke 14:11) Jesus did not put forth an effort to receive honor and glory from men. He did not even seek glory for his faithfulness in the performance of his covenant. He asked God for only what he had previously enjoyed. (John 17: 5) Jesus came to the earth to do his Father's will, and that he did. Every one who will be associated with Christ Jesus in his government must do the same thing. Many claim to be followers of Christ. They call upon his name and assume to represent him but Jesus says they will never get into the kingdom. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." — Matt. 7:21.

Many professed Christians have the thought that the purpose of becoming a Christian is to get to heaven, and to there have an easy time for ever. The salvation of man is particularly for humanity on earth. Heavenly glory is for those who prove themselves worthy of the kingdom, who have made a full consecration, and who are taken into the covenant by sacrifice. Many who claim to be Christians have failed to see this point. Go into a company of professed Christians who claim to have made a full consecration to the Lord and propound to them this question: Why did you make a consecration unto God? One will answer the question in this manner: 'I made a consecration in order that I might get life and go to

143

heaven. I wanted to be saved and God was anxious to save me. Now if only I can be real good and get to heaven I shall be satisfied. If only I can get in the back door and find some small place, then all will be well with me.'

It is true that God will cause the truth to be testified to all in order that all may have an opportunity for life; but such is not the reason for calling the Christian, and therefore not the reason for consecration during the period of sacrifice. God has never tried to get any one into heaven. Heaven is the reward that the Christian receives after the faithful performance of his mission while on the earth.

Another answers: 'I made a consecration that God might take me to heaven there to shine in his presence. My mission therefore since making a consecration is to develop a sweet and beautiful character; and as soon as that is accomplished God will take me to heaven. I am anxious, of course, to go home, and for this reason I am diligently striving to develop such character as is required. In order to develop that character I must appear to be very pious and speak with great gravity. When I attend a function of the congregation I must wear a long coat and a long solemn face. I must appear on the platform with great solemnity, and in the presence of the congregation bow my head in solemn and silent prayer that they may see how much I am like the Lord. When I speak or pray aloud I must assume a certain carefully-studied, prayerful voice. When the meeting is ended I must rush down to the door and shake hands with the common people in order to show that I possess a beautiful and sweet character. I must thus have fel-

144

lowship with them. If before me there have been some great men in the church, I must honor them and give them credit for what they taught because some day I shall expect the people likewise to honor me and give me credit for what I teach.'

The one who blindly pursues such a course does not realize that he is playing squarely into the hands of the Devil. He does not realize that he is trying to have fellowship with the Lord and at the same time is having fellowship with the Devil. The apostle declared that this is a course impossible to pursue to the satisfaction of the Lord. — 1 Cor. 10: 20,21.

Another answers: 'I made a consecration; and I am trying to live a good Christian life in order that I may go to heaven and sit with Christ Jesus on the throne to judge the world. I am practising judging now that I may do well the work of judging when I get to heaven. I have been called to that high place; and my mission while on earth is to deeply meditate upon various questions and to assume an air of grave dignity befitting one who shall judge the world, that my character may be duly prepared and polished so that I can reflect the glory of the Lord when I get on the heavenly bench.'

Like the others, this one is blinded to God's real purposes. He has not understood nor appreciated why God has called him, and therefore has not understood and could not properly perform his mission as a Christian while on the earth.

Seemingly only a very few have appreciated what it means to be called unto the kingdom of God. The call to that exalted place is only after one has been begotten of and by the will of God. The call of

145

and by Jehovah is a summons to the one who has been begotten to the discharge of a particular or specific duty. It is an invitation to enter into training for a specific purpose; it is a designation to the performance of official duties. If the one called proves his loyalty and faithfulness while on the earth, then he shall enter upon the high and responsible duties of the heavenly mission of the Christian. Therefore the consecration of the real Christian is for the purpose of affording him an opportunity to prove his loyalty and his faithfulness to God. In order to prove his loyalty and faithfulness he must do the will of God while on earth, and must do it joyfully.

God never called any one for the purpose of giving him a chance to develop a beautiful character. Had he wanted only beautiful characters he would have selected the angels, who have always been beautiful. Of course a Christian called to the heavenly calling must follow a course of righteousness and purity; but every sensible person knows that it is impossible to develop himself to perfection in thought, word, and act.

Paul was one called or invited to the kingdom. He said: "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." (1 Cor. 1:9) Fellowship really means partnership. It means an association of one with another in a specific duty or work. After Jesus consecrated himself at the Jordan God called him to fill the great executive office of Priest and Ruler in his kingdom. Thereafter God condescended to call other men to participate with the Lord Jesus Christ in that great office and work. That means to have fellowship or

146

partnership with Christ Jesus his beloved Son. These are called to take a similar course to that which Jesus took. (1 Pet. 2: 21) The real purpose then of a Christian's making a consecration and being called is that he might be trained, prepared and qualified to share with Christ Jesus in his kingdom.

Qualifications

Meekness is one of the qualifications of those who make progress toward the kingdom. When Jesus came and offered himself to Israel as king he came in meekness. (Matt. 21: 5) To his disciples he said: "Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart." (Matt. 11: 29) He was not puffed up nor impressed with his great importance. He appreciated the fact that he was God's representative. Why is meekness a necessary requirement or qualification? God through his prophet answers: "The meek will he guide in judgment, and the meek will he teach his way." (Ps. 25: 9) Pride is the very opposite of meekness. One who has been favored of the Lord and then becomes proud and haughty is wicked in the sight of the Lord. Concerning such God says: "The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground."  — Ps. 147:6.

To be meek means that one does not think more highly of himself than he ought to think. (Rom. 12: 3) He always keeps in mind that whatsoever he has is not by reason of his own greatness but everything worth while is a gracious gift to him from God. Jehovah is the Giver of every good and perfect gift.  — Jas. 1:17.

147

The poor in spirit are those who do not feel exalted in their own minds but who walk in meekness and in love before the Lord. Jesus said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5:3) One of the qualifications therefore is to be meek. Again he said: "Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 19:14) A little child is meek and teachable, and if being properly trained it is obedient. These are the qualifications that must be manifested by those who will be of the kingdom.

These divinely stated rules would exclude those who are proud, haughty, and self-centered, and who seek the honor and plaudits of men. The clergy of modern times claim to be righteous, and at the same time they seek the honor of men. They unite with profiteers and politicians to form and participate in the present evil world, over which Satan is the god. They are the exact counterpart of the Pharisees, who constituted the clergy when Jesus was on earth and who claimed to be the representatives of God. To the disciples Jesus said: "For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." — Matt. 5: 20.

The "holy hill" of God is a poetical name given to the official part of God's organization, called Zion, or the kingdom of God. The tabernacle for God's holy ark was a picture of the kingdom. David, who foreshadowed Christ, propounded a question: "Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?" (Ps. 15:1) Under inspiration he gave the

148

answer which shows the qualifications required to enter the kingdom: "He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart [meaning he whose course of action is right, and who speaks the truth, and refrains from lies; and whose motive in so doing is to glorify God]. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour [meaning he that does not indulge in slander of his brother or try to do injury to one who represents the Lord]. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned [avoided]; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not [making a consecration, and knowing it means his reproach, suffering and death, he carries it out]. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent [that does not indulge in oppression, but deals honorably and justly]. He that doeth these things shall never be moved." — Ps. 15:1-5.

Again God through his prophet asks: "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place?" (Ps. 24:3) Again the prophet answers the question: "He that hath clean hands [meaning that he uses his power for clean things and refrains from things that are contrary to God's kingdom] , and a pure heart [the heart, the seat of motive; meaning that his motive is pure and right and in harmony with God's law]; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity [the worship of idols, church systems and the like], nor sworn deceitfully [agreed to do God's will and then takes a contrary course]. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation." — Ps. 24: 4, 5.

149

Jesus had repeatedly told his disciples about the kingdom. He taught them in parables concerning the kingdom. Among other things he said: "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman, seeking goodly pearls; who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it." (Matt. 13: 45, 46) The privilege of being in and a part of God's kingdom is greater than any other that man could possibly have, because it means to be for ever associated with the Lord Jesus in his great work. It is more than the pearl of priceless value. If the merchant would sell all he had to buy such a pearl, with stronger reasoning should the man be willing to give everything that he possesses that he might have a part in the kingdom of the Lord. Having taken the step then toward the kingdom, his zeal for the Lord is such, and his joy in having a part in the blessed kingdom is so enhanced in his mind, that the man permits nothing to stand in the way of his absolute and complete devotion to the Lord. Such was the meaning of the parable.

Another requirement is to love those who are striving to serve God and who are therefore brethren in Christ. To his disciples Jesus said: "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I command you. . . . This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." (John 15:14, 12) To love one another means to look out for the interests of one's fellow Christian and to avoid selfishness in so doing. There is a proper love between the members of each well-regulated family. Those who have become members of the family of God by consecration and anointing should manifest an unselfish interest in each other, to

150

help each other grow in a knowledge and in the likeness of the Lord.

There arose a dispute amongst the disciples of Jesus as to who would be the greatest in the Lord's government. Jesus seized upon this occasion to instruct them as to the qualifications of one who would be honored with a place in his kingdom. He stated to them that the rulers of the nations of the earth exercised lordship over the people, and thus lording it over the people received homage of the people while claiming to be the people's benefactors. Then he added: "For who is greater, he who reclines, or he who serves? Is not he who reclines? but I am among you as he who serves." — Luke 22:27, Diaglott.

Jehovah disclosed to David the same rule. The spirit of the Lord came upon David and he prophesied concerning the qualifications of those who rule in righteousness. He said: "The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God: and he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain." — 2 Sam. 23:3, 4.

Very few men on earth have ruled amongst their fellow creatures in harmony with God's stated law. The men of this world, given authority, think they must be bosses or tyrants in ruling over their fellow creatures. But the law of God shows that the requirements of those who shall be with Christ Jesus are that they must deal justly and righteously toward mankind. Jesus was teaching his disciples this righteous rule. He knew that their heart condition was proper

151

but they had not yet learned their lessons. The lesson he taught them is for the benefit of all who have been called to a place in the kingdom of God.

Faithfulness

Then Jesus informed his disciples that they should be taken into his covenant for the kingdom," even the sure mercies of David." But mark the reason why these would be accepted in his covenant. It was not because they were mighty and wise and great. It was because of their loyalty and faithfulness. The eleven had been faithful to him in all his trials. Jesus showed by his words that faithfulness is absolutely an essential qualification to be shown by all who will be taken into the covenant and the kingdom. He said: "And you are they who have continued with me in my trials. And I covenant for you, even as my Father has covenanted for me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." — Luke 22: 28-30, Diaglott.

One of his disciples had become unfaithful. The same thing was true with reference to Israel. All of the ten tribes of Israel were unfaithful to their covenant with God. The tribe of Judah, through which tribe the kingship must come, had proven faithful. God through his prophet said: "Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints." — Hos. 11:12.

Likewise great numbers have professed to be followers of Jesus and to represent God, but they have com-

152

passed the Lord about with lies by slandering and misrepresenting God and Jesus and persecuting the brethren of Jesus. Jesus spoke a parable in regard to those to whom God has given an opportunity to be of the kingdom, and in connection therewith said: "For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matt. 22:14) The manifest reason is that many of those called become unfaithful. If a man mixes with the Devil's organization he can not remain faithful to the Lord. If one will compromise with the Devil's organization to avoid persecution because he is a Christian, he is not faithful to the Lord. If one fails to be a true witness as opportunity affords he can not be faithful to the Lord. Surely those who deny God's Word deny the blood of Jesus Christ, which is the great ransom price, and could not be of the kingdom. — Jude 4-9; Heb. 10:28-30.

Identity

It is not the prerogative of any one to judge another individual, but the Lord gives a rule by which a Christian may be identified. "By their fruits ye shall know them." (Matt. 7:20) Fruit is the effect of a consistent course of action taken by one. By such course of action a person may be identified as being for or against. In America there are two major political parties. Members of these respective parties can be identified by their fruits. By that is meant, If a man belongs to one or the other, and shows by his words and his course of action that he is giving allegiance to one particular party, he is identified as a member thereof and a supporter. If he pursues a wabbly

153

course for the purpose of obtaining favors from both opposing parties no one who knows him has confidence in him. The same rule applies to a Christian. If a man professes to be a Christian, yet is self-seeking and desires the approval of men, mixes with the politics of the world, manifests an apologetic air when the Lord's name is mentioned, and shows no enthusiasm for the Lord and his righteous government, that man can be identified by his fruits, and his fruits are not such as are required for the kingdom. On the other hand, if you see another man who without hesitation says, "I am a Christian," who is indifferent to the approval of men, who manifests a zeal and enthusiasm for God and his righteous government, who refuses to compromise with any part of the Devil's organization, who holds himself aloof therefrom, who seeks always to glorify God and his beloved Son Christ Jesus, who is enthusiastic in availing himself of opportunities to be a witness for God's kingdom, that person is manifesting the fruits of the kingdom. Any one can see that the clergy of the present day do not manifest the fruits of the kingdom, but the fruits of this world.

To the Pharisees, who were a counterpart of the clergy of this day, Jesus said: "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof." (Matt. 21:43) Those who today show a zeal for the Lord and for his kingdom will generally be found to be the poor and those without reputation amongst men. "Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" (Jas. 2:5) Those bringing forth the fruits of the kingdom are anxious

154

to devote their all to the glory of the Lord, and to magnify his name and his cause of righteousness; and this they do meekly without seeking honor or approval of men or notoriety amongst them.

Reproaches

Because of his zeal and loving devotion to the work which God had given Jesus to do he was reproached by the Devil and his instruments, particularly the clergy. In the face of all opposition he continued faithful until his zeal consumed him. (Ps. 69:8, 9) Similar reproaches fall upon those who keep their part in the covenant by sacrifice and who are prospective heirs of the kingdom. (Rom. 15:3) Today the clergy of the denominational systems and the principal ones of their flocks are popular in the world because they are a part of it, and these are the men that cast out of their company the earnest and zealous advocates of God, his Christ, and his kingdom. By their course of action you can identify those who are and those who are not real Christians. Jesus said: "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets."  — Luke 6: 22, 23.

Reproaches are heaped upon those who love and advocate God's kingdom of righteousness, and this is done generally by the religious element made up of

155

the clergy and the principal ones of their flocks. The reason they do so is because they are of the world. Bear in mind that the world is Satan's organization over which he is the god, and therefore his children and advocates have hated and persecuted Jesus. (John 8:42-44) For the same reason the same class hates, reproaches and persecutes those who are faithful to the Lord. Jesus said to those who followed him faithfully. "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also."  — John 15:19, 20.

Suffering reproach for righteousness' sake, that is to say, because one is advocating God's kingdom of righteousness, is another means of identifying those who are prospective heirs of the kingdom. (Heb. 10: 33) God permits these reproaches for the purpose of testing and preparing his children and also as a proof to encourage them that they are his: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings: that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified." — 1 Pet. 4:12-14.

156

Sufferings

It pleased Jehovah to make his beloved Son perfect through suffering. He learned obedience by the things which he suffered. (Heb. 5:8, 9) Those who will be his associates in the kingdom must be partakers of the same sufferings. (1 Pet. 2:21) Paul, under inspiration, wrote to the Christians: "The spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."  — Rom. 8:16, 17.

Those who will share with Christ in the rulership of the world will necessarily be required to give orders or directions as to what shall be done. No creature could be capable of giving orders unless he first learns to obey orders that are given to him. This is one of the lessons that each true Christian must learn. It has been one of the hardest to learn. God does everything orderly. He gives his commandments and declares that those who keep them joyfully because they love him are pleasing to him and prove their love for him. (1 John 5:3) The true follower of Jesus only desires to know what is God's will and then he is eager to do it regardless of whom the Lord uses to give the orders or directions. He recognizes that he is in training for a place in God's kingdom. Seeing then that Jesus learned obedience by the things which he suffered we may know that like discipline God will give to every one who becomes an associate with Jesus. (Heb. 12:5, 6) Therefore suffering reproach for righteousness as Christ suffered is a condition prece-

157

dent to being associated with Christ Jesus in his glorious reign. In this manner the Christian learns to be obedient, and for this reason the Christian is instructed: "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us." (2 Tim. 2:12) There is a difference between being dead with Christ and suffering with him. By being taken into the covenant by sacrifice the Christian must die as a part of the sacrifice of Jesus in order to be given a part in the divine nature. He must suffer the reproaches that came upon Jesus and like trials in order that he may learn obedience to the end that he might be permitted to reign with Christ. — 2 Tim. 2:11, 12.

Understanding these divinely provided rules we can see why a real Christian has never been popular in the world. We can also see how Satan has organized a body of men into a system called "the Christian church", who have called themselves by the name of Christ but who not only have been popular with the world but are part of the world. Satan has used the so-called Christians of his organization which is called Christendom to persecute the true Christians, even as foretold and foreshadowed in the persecution of Jacob by Esau. The clergy and the principal of their flock, by their hypocritical course of action, have also brought reproach upon the name of God and caused many men of honest hearts to turn away from God and from the Bible, and have made infidels of them. Let a man take a firm stand for the Lord and enthusiastically advocate his cause, and no matter how prominent he has previously been he becomes the object of reproach and persecution at the hands of the religionists. God could prevent such, of course, but

158

he has permitted the Devil to pursue his own wicked course and has used the circumstances to perfect the true followers of Christ Jesus.

Paul was an example of this. He was a man of unusual attainments. He became a Christian and thereafterward suffered reproach, afflictions and loss that he might be approved and received into the kingdom of God. (Phil. 3: 8-14) His course and experience are the course and experience of every one who is true and faithful unto the Lord and who grows into the likeness of the Lord Jesus. A Christian is not discouraged by such experiences, because he remembers that it is written: "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." (Rom, 8: 28) That means that those who have been called to be associates with Christ Jesus in God's kingdom, and who really love the Lord and prove that love by an unqualified devotion to him, God orders their course and overrules all their experiences for their own good.  —Prov. 3:5, 6.

Overcomers

The final qualification for association with Christ Jesus in his glorious reign is that the approved must be overcomers. To overcome means to conquer, prevail and get the victory. What then must the Christian overcome? The clergy have made men believe that they must overcome bad habits while they, the clergy, continue to practise bad habits. But this could not be what the Lord meant. Should a man overcome all of his weaknesses and become perfect in the flesh, that

159

would not entitle him to a place in the kingdom. He must put forth his best endeavors to live a pure, upright and honest life. But he must do more than that. What, then, must the Christian overcome? He must overcome the world and its god. This means that the Christian must be absolutely and unswervingly devoted to Jehovah God. The world is the Devil's organization, over which that Evil One has long been the invisible ruler. (John 12: 31; 14: 30; 2 Cor. 4: 3,4) The true Christian must resist the Devil and the seductive influence which he exercises through his organization and his emissaries. (1 Pet. 5: 8-10) The man who claims to be a Christian and who at the same time is a friend of the world or part of it is the enemy of God, because that man is allied with and supports the Devil and his organization. This plain statement is not made vindictively, but because it is the truth recorded in God's Word. God is training for, and will have in, his kingdom those and those only who are uncompromisingly on the Lord's side. The clergy and the principal ones of their flocks claim to be Christians and at the same time manipulate, manage and control the politics of the world, which is of Satan's organization. They constitute a visible part of the governments of the world which they themselves claim are corrupt. In the Scriptures the relationship of a professed Christian who mixes up with the world and its polities is called "adultery" because it is an illicit relationship of man with the Devil's organization and God's organization. For this reason God's inspired witness wrote: "Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore

160

will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God."  — Jas. 4:4.

It is not an easy matter to overcome the world. A man must take a firm stand for the Lord and refuse to be influenced to compromise the Lord's Word and his cause with the world. The clergy have yielded to flattery and have therefore fallen easy victims to the god of this evil world. All who profess Christ are subject to a like temptation that was placed before Jesus. (Matt. 4:1-8) To resist the Devil and the influence of his emissaries requires a course of vigilance and constant fighting. In so doing the Christian suffers much tribulation. Concerning this Jesus said to his followers: "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16: 33) The fact being that Jesus had to overcome the world, and did, it follows that all who will be associated with him must overcome the world. Only those who have faith and continue faithful unto God can overcome the world. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." — 1 John 5:4.

That the Christian, in order to be of the kingdom of God and be made a member of his righteous government, must gain the victory and overcome the world, is made clear by the words of Jesus, who said: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (Rev. 3:21) "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations."  — Rev. 2:26.

161

Trials and tribulations beset the Christian from the beginning of his earthly course as a Christian and follow even unto the end thereof. Many fall under these trials and drop out. These trials and tribulations are essential.

"We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God." (Acts 14: 22) In such tribulation the victory must be gained over the evil one and his organization before the Christian can be made a pillar in the glorious temple of God. (1 John 2:14,15; Rev. 3:12) It was that great fight of faith which Paul fought, and won at the end of his earthly journey. He had been taken into the covenant for life, for a crown, and for the kingdom, and when he had finished his course he said to his beloved brother: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2 Tim. 4:6-8) And so must all fight the good fight and gain the victory, being faithful unto the end. Such are the qualifications of those who shall be associated with Christ Jesus in the kingdom and share in the great reward. (Rev. 2:10) All true Christians like Paul, who have fought the good fight, have been looking forward to that blessed and happy day when God through Christ would set up his kingdom. God foretold that when that blessed day should come his true people would know his name and would recognize his Word and understand it. He also foretold that these would

162

be publishing the message of peace and good news concerning the kingdom. It necessarily follows that the last members to be called, and who would remain on the earth at the time for the setting up of the kingdom, would be represented by the feet of Jesus. Looking down to that happy day God through his prophet said: "Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak; behold, it is I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion." (Isa. 52: 6-8) All faithful followers of Jesus must be fulfilling this prophecy when his government begins.

Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0!