We this month in several articles continue our examination of some of the devices of Satan, which, if possible, would deceive the very elect in this Evil Day of trial and testing, continuing our endeavor to show up the errors of the present "perilous times" in their true light; and helping you to find and adjust the "armor" which God has provided.
It may have escaped the notice of some that this has been God's uniform method of dealing with the Church from the first, namely, giving truth as an offset to error. When error was advanced and was about to sweep away the faith of some, God sent by some messenger the correction of the error and thus disclosed more fully the light upon the subject.
Thus as we look at the Master's ministry, we find that some of his most pointed lessons were suggested by the erroneous teachings about him. The "long prayers" and "sad faces" and public alms-giving of the Pharisees, called forth the truth on these subjects and led Jesus to give us a sample of how to pray in spirit and in truth, after the manner of what is commonly termed the Lord's prayer. The caviling questions of the Pharisees and Sadducees brought out precious truths which not only silenced them, but what was much more important, informed us on subjects of deep interest. So too it was with many of our Lord's parables; for instance, that of the young nobleman. He spoke this parable because they erroneously thought, that the Kingdom of God would immediately appear.
So it was with Paul's letters and those of the other Apostles. The Epistle to the Romans is an answer to the errors of some converts from the Gentiles, who supposed Israel after the flesh to be permanently cut off from all divine favor, and themselves permanently grafted into their place of favor with God. In his correction of their errors, how beautifully and how clearly he sets forth the past favor of the Jew, and the present favor to all, both Jew and Gentile, who in Christ Jesus have become new creatures. How clearly he marks the steps of divine favor in justification, sanctification and honor, to the little flock who gladly hear and obey the call to suffer with Christ that they may be also glorified together. And finally, how beautifully he shows that there is a future favor for Israel according to the original covenants (11:26-28), and also to the world (8:19,21 and 16:20) to be accomplished through the elect church, called and tested during the Christian age. (11:31,32.) The conclusion of the Epistle shows that the mysteries therein unfolded, were intended to be the power of God to establish them in the faith by correcting their errors. The First Epistle of the Corinthians was mainly to correct sectarianism among those at Corinth, and to answer the erroneous teachings of some, that there would be no resurrection of the dead. (1:11-13 and 15:12.) What a valuable fund of blessing and knowledge came to the church down the ages in connection with the answer and refutation of these errors. He shows the false divisions (1:13) and where the divisions should be made. (5:9-13.) He shows the needful unity of all the true body, and that all truly connected with Christ the head, are of ONE BODY. (12:12-27.) He takes advantage of the doubt about the resurrection, to explain the entire subject, that all will be raised, though not all alike (15:22,40.) He shows how the saints will be raised first (15:23,41-44.) He shows that the world's order of time is afterward, in their own order (15:23); and he shows what they will be like (15:48), and other precious lessons.
Thus it was also with other Epistles; for instance in writing to the Galatians it was to correct false teachings concerning the Law and freedom of Christians from its bondage, and to caution them against false teachers and their doctrines, which were perversions of the true gospel. (Gal. 1:6-9; 2:16; 3:1, etc.) How grandly the light shines out upon the entire plan, the true gospel, while he exposes the errors.
The First Epistle to Timothy was to instruct him relative to false teachers (1:3,4,19,20 and 4:1,7.) It was the same with his Second Epistle to Timothy (1:12-15 and 2:14-19,25,26 and 3:1 and 4:3.) It was the same with the Epistle to Titus1:9-16.
The Second Epistle to the Thessalonians was written to correct an error also, a misapprehension regarding the Lord's presence, some having gotten the idea that the Lord was then present. This occasion to correct error, became the channel through which God gave us such clear instruction regarding the "man of sin," the "mystery of iniquity," which has aided us materially in the understanding and applying of many of the prophecies relating to the same.
In view of these facts then, let us not hesitate to meet errors squarely, with the word of God. It will work out good surely to the fully consecrated, even as all things are working for their good. This has been our experience during the past few years: the oppositions of error have in every case resulted in clearer views of truth to some.
For instance: it was the promulgation of errors regarding substitution, that drew our attention more closely to it, and pointed out to us the fact that our Redeemer in becoming such was the substitute for Adam, and thus for all our losses entailed through him. This in turn showed us the distinctions between natures; for we saw that he gave "a corresponding price" for that which was lost and thus our attention was drawn to the fact that the divine nature to which he was raised, is totally distinct from the human nature which he sacrificed.
The same error drew our attention more closely to the teachings of the Tabernacle types, particularly the type of the atonement sacrifices, Lev. 9 and 16. What a blessing came to us all therefrom many can testify. It opened up a wide field of knowledge there hidden for this very time. It showed us beyond question the significance of the sacrifices in the accomplishment of the atonement, and it illustrated to us the [R869 : page 1] privilege of being a partaker in the sufferings of Christ and joint heirs with him in the divine nature and in the glory to be revealed. And this in turn opened up the true meaning of Baptism as never before seen. How much that was precious did the Lord thus give just at the time it is needed to combat the errors.
It was the same way with the false doctrine advanced by some, that Jesus was the natural son of Joseph, the husband of Mary, Jesus' mother. The investigation made necessary to answer the many ingenious sophistries advanced, only made the truth to shine the more clearly on the entire subject, showing more conclusively than ever, that he was "the first born of all creation," "the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending" of God's creation, and that by him as Jehovah's chief son and messenger "all things were made."
We might proceed to enumerate, but forebear, merely reminding you that truth has ever needed to be defended from the great adversary and his repeated and various deceptions. Since "we are not ignorant of his devices" we well know that we must "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints." Let us, like Paul, fight "a good fight" nor cease to wield the sword of the spirit, the Word of God in opposition to every device of Satan, until we lay our armor down permanently.
Reminding you again of the true method of proving all things, described in our last, we make the above our apology to any who have failed to note the general principle used by God in the unfolding of the truth. It will explain this feature common to the TOWER past, present and future, as well as to all the writings of the Scriptures.