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    July 27, 1888

    “The Church the Body of Christ” The Signs of the Times 14, 29, p. 455.

    UNDER the figure of the church as the body of Christ, Paul in several of his epistles has discussed our relation to Christ and to one another. In Ephesians 1:22, 23 he says of Christ, that God “hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body.” To the Colossians he says, “He is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church.” Colossians 1:17, 18. And in verse 24 he says that in his sufferings he was filling up “that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.”SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.1

    Therefore, as the church is the body of Christ, to be a member of the church is to be a member of the body of Christ. And so saith the scripture, “Now we are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 5:30. When we were baptized, we were baptized into Christ. Romans 6:3, and as many “as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27. And when we were baptized into Christ we were baptized into his body, which is the church, of which he is the head, and of which we became members by baptism. “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13.SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.2

    We are not only members of his body, but in being that, we are at the same time members one of another. “We, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.” Romans 12:5. “Putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor; for we are members one of another.” Ephesians 4:25.SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.3

    Thus we have set before us in the Scripture the church under the figure of the human body. Of his body Christ is the head; we are the members; and to be members of the body we must necessarily as members one of another. From Christ, the head, all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” Colossians 2:19. Or, as stated in the letter to the Ephesians, From Christ the head, “the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:16.SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.4

    Now, my brother or sister, before examining the scriptures which set forth our duties and obligations to one another individually in this relationship, we wish to ask a question or two upon the views of the church which is presented in the passages already quoted. How have you hitherto looked upon the church? What have you thought it to be? What have you supposed that membership of the church means? Have you looked upon it much as any other association or organization of men for a common purpose? Have you thought it to be a mutual association of persons rather conventional than otherwise? Have you looked upon membership of the church as a sort of fast and loose relationship, that was very good so long as everything went exactly to please you, but was to be lightly set aside as soon as matters went not according to your particular wishes or feelings? Do you look upon it as a relationship the chief object of which is to look with unkind and critical eye upon the weaknesses, and faults, and failings of the brethren, causing pain to them and leanness and misery to your own soul? If any such conception as this has been in your mind, we sincerely hope that it may be forever banished, and that, by the scriptures which we have given, you may obtain a higher and juster idea of what the church of God is, and what the relationship to it is, which you assumed when you took upon you the profession of the name of Christ.SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.5

    We showed in a former article that the church is the house of God. Do you realize that it is so? Do you look upon it as such? Do you realize that by your membership of the church you are a member of the household of God? that you are a part of that spiritual house which is the habitation—the dwelling-place—of God through the Spirit? Are you one of those lively stones reflecting the image and brightness of the precious Corner-stone, Christ Jesus? Are you, as a lively stone, gazing upon that Living Stone with such an intensity of look that you are being changed into the same image from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord, and that he in turn may see imaged in you’re his own precious character of meekness, gentleness, and holiness? Is it such a view as this that you have of the church of God and of membership of it,—such a view as gives you joy, and peace, and strength, and grace?SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.6

    We have shown in this article that the church is the body of Christ. Do you realize that that is so? Do you realize that when you cause pain to the church, or to any member of it, you cause pain to Christ? Do you realize that when you bring reproach in any way upon the church, you bring reproach upon Christ? It is so whether you realize it or not. It cannot be otherwise; because he is the head, and it is the head which bears the real consciousness of pain wherever it may be in the body, and “we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.7

    Let us see further what is the relationship of the church to Christ, and of ourselves as members thereof. The closest relationship which the human family knows is that of marriage. “He which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.” Matthew 19:4-6. Now the Saviour said of himself, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.” And in Romans 7:4 it is shown that we become dead to the law that we should be married to Christ; and in 2 Corinthians 11:2 Paul says, “I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy; for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” These texts show plainly that the closest, the dearest, relationship that is known to the human race, is the only one by which the Spirit of God can fittingly represent the relationship between Christ and the church. In view of that now read the following scripture:—SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.8

    “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church; for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.” Ephesians 5:22-31.SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.9

    Now why did Paul write this long passage about husbands and wives and Christ and the church? He tells us in the next verse, “This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:32, therefore, is not written primarily concerning husbands and wives at all. It is written concerning Christ and the church; and the relationship of husband and wife is employed to illustrate the closeness, and the sacredness, of the relationship that exists between Christ and the church. Therefore membership of the church of Christ is akin to the dearest relationship that is known to man. Oh, that everyone who is professedly a member of the church, would consider this subject well, and live fully up to that blessed consideration!SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.10

    Next week we shall consider our relationship as members one of another in the church.SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.11


    “‘Let No Man Deceive You’” The Signs of the Times 14, 29, pp. 455, 456.

    THE second coming of the Saviour is the most important event that awaits the world. And although the word of God is explicit in regard to it, and the signs are abundant which show it to be near, yet there will be more people deceived in regard to it than upon any other point the world has ever hear of. The Saviour’s words, and also those of the apostles, in relation to this subject, show that it will be made a subject of fearful deception; and they have given clear and definite warning upon this one thought, probably more than upon any other one connected with the whole subject of his coming.SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.1

    When the disciples asked the Saviour, “What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the world,” the very first thing that he said in reply was, “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Matthew 24:4. And when Paul wrote upon the same subject, he said, “Let no man deceive you by any means.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3. The deception referred to by both Paul and the Saviour is not entirely unbelief in the coming of the Saviour, but it is in accepting that as the coming of Christ which is not his coming at all. This is shown by quoting another verse with the one already referred to in Matthew 24, “Take heed that no man deceive. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” This shows that the deception will not be upon the question as to whether he will come, but that it will be upon the question as to whether it is really he who does come. This view also appears in Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.2

    This was written to those who in Paul’s own time were about to be deceived as to the time of the Lord’s coming, and he assured them that all this must come to pass before the coming of the Lord; and that when this man of sin should be revealed he would continue until the Lord does come. “For,” said he, “the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” But before that coming Satan will work “with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” This love of the truth which must be received to be saved, is of course the love of the whole word of God; but, as it is upon the point of the coming of the Lord that Satan is going to use his greatest deceptions, it becomes of particular importance to know what is the truth upon this special subject. It is only unto them that look for him, that he appears unto salvation. But they must not only be looking for him, they must be looking for him in the right way, lest they be deceived by some of the false christs that are to arise and deceive many.SITI July 27, 1888, page 455.3

    What, then, is the truth about the coming of the Lord? What will then occur? The Bible answers these questions so clearly, and makes this matter so plain, that no one who will receive the love of that word, need to be deceived in the least by any pretended christ or false prophet. Suppose that Satan should “materialize,” and, “transformed into an angel of light,” should present himself to the world as Christ, come in glory. Suppose he should come thus and do great miracles and wonders, healing the sick, making the lame to walk, preaching the spiritualistic idea of love and beauty, and by this means should draw all men unto him: how should people be expected to know that that would not be the coming of Christ? They must know by the Scriptures. Let us see what must happen at the coming of the Lord.SITI July 27, 1888, page 456.1

    1. The Saviour comes in his own glory, and in the glory of the Father, and in the glory of the angels. His own glory is “above the brightness of the sun.” Acts 26:13. The glory of the Father is so also, because the city of God has no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine in it, because the glory of God lightens it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. Revelation 21:23. The face of an angel is like the lightning. Daniel 10:6; Matthew 28:3. But when he comes all the holy angels come with him. Matthew 25:31. And of the angels there are ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands,—and innumerable company. An innumerable company of angels with their faces like the lightning, and their raiment white as snow, reflecting the glory of Him who is greater than all, and in the midst of this glorious host, Him whose glory is above the brightness of the sun, surrounded also with the added glory of the Father—all this will fulfill the scripture, “His glory covered the heavens” (Habakkuk 3:3), and also the scripture, “As the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.” Luke 17:24. That is the glory of the coming of the Saviour, and Satan and all his angels of light, can never equal it. But that is not all.SITI July 27, 1888, page 456.2

    2. When he comes, the voice of God is heard saying, “It is done.” Revelation 16:17. That voice shakes both heaven and earth. Hebrews 12:26, 27; Luke 21:26. This shaking of the heaven causes it to split completely open, and part as a scroll when it is rolled together. Revelation 6:14. The shaking of the earth is with such an earthquake as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great; the cities of the nations fall; and every mountain and island are moved out of their places. Revelation 16:18, 20, 6:14. At the same time there falls a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent. Revelation 16:21. In the midst of this mighty tumult “the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman,” run hither and thither to go into the clefts of the rocks and into the tops of the ragged rocks, to hide themselves in the dens and rocks of the mountains, and call to the fleeing islands and tumbling mountains, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand.” Revelation 6:15-17; Isaiah 2:19-21.SITI July 27, 1888, page 456.3

    Satan cannot speak with a voice that will rend the heavens and shake the earth so as to move every mountain and island out of their places. Nor will his appearance to wicked men ever cause them to wish for a mountain to fall on them rather than to have him look upon them.SITI July 27, 1888, page 456.4

    3. At the coming of the Saviour he will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. At the sound of his voice and that trumpet, all the righteous dead arise, and the righteous living are changed, and all are caught up together to meet him in the air. 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17. At the same time all the wicked are slain upon the earth (Revelation 19:11-21; Jeremiah 25:30-33), and there will not be a man left to dwell therein. Jeremiah 4:29. Then the whole earth will be made utterly empty and utterly desolate. Isaiah 24:1-3, 18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18.SITI July 27, 1888, page 456.5

    All these things are the accompaniments to the second coming of the Lord. Whoever comes pretending to be Christ, and is not accompanied with all these things, is a false christ. And whoever preaches a coming of Christ that is not accompanied by all these things, is a false teacher. These things are the truth, and he who receives the love of this truth and looks for the coming of the Lord accordingly, will not be deceived by any false christs or false prophets. Anything that pretends to be the second coming of Christ that is not accompanied by a voice that splits the heavens and shakes the earth so that every mountain and island are moved out of their places; that is not accompanied with a glory that covers the heavens, and which is above the brightness of the sun, and as piercing as lightning; that is not accompanied by the beating hail, every stone about fifty-seven pounds in weight, and by the terror of men calling to mountains and rocks to hide them from the face of Him that sitteth upon the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb; that is not accompanied by the shout, and the voice of the Archangel, and the trump of God, by the resurrection of the righteous dead, and the translation of the righteous living, and their being caught up together to meet him in the air, and that does not leave the earth utterly desolate—anything pretending to be the second coming of Christ that is not accompanied by all this, is a deception of Satan. Receive thou the love of the truth, and “take heed that no man deceive you.” J.SITI July 27, 1888, page 456.6

    “The Third Angel’s Message. The Development of the Beast” The Signs of the Times 14, 29, pp. 459, 460.

    (Lesson 6, Sabbath, August 17.)

    1. WHAT power is represented by the first beast of Revelation 14?—The Papacy.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.1

    2. From what was it developed?—“A falling away.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.2

    3. In what was shown the first definite evidence of falling away from the truth of God?SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.3

    The adoption of heathen rites and customs. “The bishops augmented the number of religious rites in the Christian worship, by way of accommodation to the infirmities and prejudices, both of Jews and heathens, in order to facilitate their conversion to Christianity.” “For this purpose, they gave the name of mysterious to the institutions of the gospel, and decorated particularly the holy sacrament with that solemn title. They used in that sacred institution, as also in that of baptism, several of the terms so far, at length, as even to adopt some of the ceremonies of which those renowned mysteries consisted.”—Mosheim’s Church History, cent. 2, part 5, chap. 4, par. 2, 3.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.4

    4. How early was this manifested?SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.5

    “This imitation began in the Eastern provinces; but, after the time of Adrian [emperor A.D. 117-138], who first introduced the mysteries among the Latins, it was followed by the Christians who dwelt in the western parts of the empire.”—Mosheim, Church History, cent. 5, part 2, chap. 4, par. 5.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.6

    5. What worship was the most widely prevalent among all ancient nations?SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.7

    Sun worship—“the oldest, the most widespread, and the most enduring of all the forms of idolatry known to man, viz., the worship of the sun.”—Tulled W. Chambers, in Old Testament, January, 1886.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.8

    6. When this worship was not directed to an image, how was it performed.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.9

    “Before the coming of Christ, all the Eastern nations performed divine worship with their faces turned to that part of the heavens where the sun displays his rising beams. This custom was founded upon a general opinion that God, whose essence they looked upon to be light, and whom they considered as being circumscribed within certain limits, dwelt in that part of the firmament, from which he sends forth the sun, the bright image of his benignity and glory.”—Mosheim, Church History, cent. 2, part 4, chap. 3, par. 7. See Ezekiel 8:16.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.10

    7. Was this custom adopted by some who called themselves Christian?SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.11

    “The Christian converts, indeed, rejected this gross error [of supposing that God dwelt in that part of the firmament], but they retained the ancient and universal custom of worshiping toward the east, which sprang from it. Nor is that custom abolished even to our times, but still prevails in a great number of Christian churches.”—Mosheims, Ib.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.12

    8. What day was especially devoted to the sun?SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.13

    9. What day was adopted by these Christians also?SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.14

    “That very day was the Sunday of their heathen neighbors and respective countrymen; and patriotism gladly united with expediency in making it at once their Lord’s day and their Sabbath.”—North British Review as quoted in History of the Sabbath, chap. 16.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.15

    10. Upon what is the Papacy built?—Self-exaltation. 2 Thessalonians 2:4.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.16

    11. In behalf of what was manifested the first arrogant claims of the Papacy?—In behalf of Sunday.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.17

    12. By whom?—By victor, who was bishop of Rome, A. D. 193-202.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.18

    13. What did he command?SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.19

    “He wrote an imperious letter to the Asiatic prelates commanding them to imitate the example of the Western Christians with respect to the time of celebrating the festival of Easter [that is, commanding them to celebrate it on Sunday]. The Asiastics answered this lordly requisition... with great spirit and resolution, that they would by no means depart in this manner from the custom handed down to them by their ancestors. Upon this the thunder of excommunication began to roar. Victor, exasperated by this resolute answer of the Asiatic bishops, broke communion with them, pronounced them unworthy of the name of his brethren, and excluded them from all fellowship with the church of Rome.”—Mosheim, Ib., chap. 3, par. 11.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.20

    14. How early in the second century had this question been made an important one?SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.21

    “About the middle of this century, during the reign of Antonius Pius [about 101], the venerable Polycarp went to Rome to confer with Anicet, bishop of that See, upon this matter.”—Ib. par 10.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.22

    15. What is the great characteristics of the Papacy as a world power?SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.23

    The union of Church and State,—the religious power dominating the civil power and using it to further its own ends.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.24

    16. When was the union of Church and State formed, out of which grew the Papacy?—In the reign of Constantine, A. D. 414-447.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.25

    17. What was the condition and work of most of the bishops at this time?SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.26

    “Worldly-minded bishops, instead of caring for the salvation of their flocks, were often but too much inclined to travel about, and entangle themselves in worldly concerns.”—Neander, vol. 1, p. 16, Turley’s edition, Boston, 1856.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.27

    18. What had these bishops determined to do?SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.28

    “This theocratical theory was already the prevailing one in the time of Constantine; and... the bishops voluntarily made themselves dependent on him by their disputes, and had their determination to make use of the power of the State for the furtherance of their aims.”—Ib., p. 142.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.29

    19. What is the “theocratical theory”?—The theory of government of a State by the immediate power or administration of God.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.30

    20. What then is the effect of a man-made theocracy?—To put man in the place of God.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.31

    21. Was this the outcome of the theocratical theory of the bishops of the fourth century?SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.32

    “Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4.SITI July 27, 1888, page 459.33

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