Polskojęzyczna strona poświęcona życiu i twórczości pastora Charlesa Taze Russella
Pastor Charles Taze Russell
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Golden Text.--"Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near."--Isa. 55:6.

In our last lesson--Isa. 53:1-12--the Prophet brought to view the "Lamb of God" whose sacrifice would take away the sin of the world, and thus prepare the way, legally, for the glorious restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began.--Acts 3:19-21.

This lesson opens with the gracious invitation, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." This at once calls to mind the very similar invitation of Rev. 22:17--"And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come; and let him that is athirst come; and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." It will be observed that the call in both cases is only to those who desire the water of life: "every one that thirsteth" and "whosoever will" may have it; but it will not be forced upon any. Here, as frequently in the Scriptures, water is mentioned as a symbol of truth (See also John 4:10-14; Rev. 7:17); consequently the invitation to these is to accept or partake of the favor of everlasting life through obedience to the truth.--John 17:17.

Isaiah also compares this sanctifying and life-giving draught to exhilarating wine and nourishing milk, which the thirsty, who desire it and have nothing to give in exchange for it, may have without money and without price. The truth or water of life thus offered is the good news of redemption and consequent restitution to perfection and eternal life, through "the precious blood of Christ," "shed for many [for all] for the remission of sins." (Matt. 26:28.) Since we were all bankrupt and had no means wherewith to purchase so great a treasure, those who value it will gratefully appreciate its offer as a free gift, without money and without price.

But though these two invitations are virtually the same, the student will observe that that of Rev. 22:17is due in the Millennial age, when the now espoused virgin Church will have become the Bride of Christ. Then the Spirit and the Bride (who has no existence as the Bride yet) will say, Come, etc. But that the invitation of Isaiah 55:1is intended for those thirsting for truth during the Gospel age is manifest from verses 2 and 3, which show that those of this class have not only been desirous of the truth, but that they have been diligently, though hitherto vainly, searching for it. In hope of finding the truth, they have been spending their money for that which is not bread, and their labor for that which satisfieth not. In the Millennial age, none will thus vainly search for truth; for then "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea," and none will teach his neighbor, saying, Know the Lord, for all shall know him from the least of them to the greatest of them (Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34); and the way of life will be so plain that a wayfaring man, though unlearned, shall not err therein. (Isa. 35:8.) But such is not the case now, when hundreds of conflicting creeds jar and jangle with both reason and Scripture, each one saying to the bewildered inquirer, "This is the way of truth: walk ye in it." Such bewildered, yet earnest, thirsting souls the Lord here counsels to leave the unsatisfying portion and to hearken diligently to his Word, saying, "Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." The reference [R1364 : page 43] here is to the good plan of God, the clear unfolding of which, in these last days, is meat and drink in due season for the household of faith.

The invitation is synonymous with that of Rev. 18:4to the same class, to come out of Babylon (confusion--the confusion of sectarianism); for while they remain in those systems of error, endeavoring to support and defend them, they are prejudiced and blinded against God's truth, wherever it conflicts with their creeds, so that they cannot progress in knowledge while they thus continue to spend their "money"--their influence and their labor-- for that which is not bread and which satisfieth not.

But, thank God, there is a satisfying portion for those who earnestly crave it, and some are eating that goodly portion, and their souls are delighting themselves in fatness. Let the thirsty hear further the gracious invitation, "Incline your ear [turn your ear away from the clash of conflicting creeds, and incline it towards God's own precious word, in simple faith [R1364 : page 44] accepting all of its testimony, notwithstanding the testimony of men to the contrary], and come unto me: hear [my word] and your soul shall live."

To those who thus heed the invitation there is a special promise given, over and above the promise of life and the satisfaction now, of receiving this gift by faith. It is this: "I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." [He will make an agreement with such that they may share in those sure, holy promises which belong to his beloved Son--the kingdom, power and glory of the world to come.] The name David signifies beloved; and the Apostle shows (Acts 13:33,34) that it here refers to our Lord, the Beloved Son of God. And not only is the name David sometimes used in prophecy, as here, to refer to God's beloved Son, but David himself frequently figures as a type of our Lord, as in Psalm 22:1,17,18. Moreover, "the sure mercies" or holy promises here referred to as belonging to our Lord, and in which we of this Gospel age are invited to share with him, were made to King David (2 Sam. 7:8-16) and will evidently have a partially literal fulfilment, although the substance is in Christ.

These sure mercies or holy things of David (Christ) are clearly set forth in Psalm 89:20-37, to be--

(1) That the Lord would anoint him to be a great king, and that he would establish his throne forever--as long as the sun and moon endure;

(2) That no enemy should have advantage over him, but that all should be made subservient to him;

(3) That God's covenant to bless all the families of the earth should stand fast with him, or be fulfilled by his reign;

(4) That his children (by redemption and regeneration) should have such reformatory discipline under his reign as would be necessary for their correction and establishment in righteousness;

(5) And that all the willing and obedient who shall profit by the discipline shall endure forever--that thus he might see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied.

Verse 5shows how the work will progress among the people of the world after the Christ has been glorified--after all the members of the "body" have filled up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ and entered into his glory.--Col. 1:24.

The succeeding versespicture for us the blessed opportunities of the Millennial age and the fulness of provision there for all to come into full harmony with God's Kingdom through the Christ.

Verse 6shows that when God does thus reveal his grace it must not be trifled with. God has graciously appointed a day [a thousand years--the Millennium] in which he will judge the world in righteousness--granting to each the fullest knowledge and opportunity for a return to his favor and to its reward, everlasting life; but God has determined to "make an end of sin and to bring in everlasting righteousness," and those who do not "seek the Lord while he may be found" will be accounted unworthy of further judgment [trial] and will perish in the second death as lovers of unrighteousness. (Rev. 21:8.) Or, as elsewhere stated, when God shall raise up to glory and dominion this Great Prophet, Priest and King (the Lord and his body or bride), it will come to pass that the soul that will not hear [obey] that Prophet shall be cut off from [life] among his people.--Acts 3:22,23.

Verse 7. That will not be a time for pardoning wicked men, but for pardoning those who desire to forsake their wicked ways and thoughts. Nor are we to understand that the forsaking of the sin brings the pardon, aside from the sacrifice of Christ: this is merely stating the conditions upon which all during the Millennial age will share its favors. Preceding versesand chapters have shown how the "Beloved" first, by the will of God, died as the redemption price of Adam and his race, and in consequence inherited the "sure mercies"--the privilege of blessing the world by giving to each full knowledge and a righteous trial for life everlasting.

Verses 9-11take note of the present blindness of mankind respecting the gracious character of God--that they will not believe so gracious a message even when it is called to their attention. God reasons with such and shows them why they do not believe that he will be so gracious as he here promises, saying, My plans are not as you would plan, nor my ways of executing my plan such as you would surmise--mine are higher than yours. These my promises are as sure to bring blessings ultimately to all [whether they will hear or whether they will forbear; whether or not they will seek the Lord when he thus draws near], as my blessings now are extended to all--the sun shining upon the just and the unjust and the rain coming upon the evil and the good. "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." I have declared that in the Seed of Abraham (Christ and the elect Church--Gal. 3:16,29) all the families of the earth shall be blessed, [R1364 : page 45] and the whole earth shall be filled with my glory. Although men may count me slack and suppose that this promise and also the promise to bring punishment upon the wicked will never be fulfilled, they are mistaken: they overlook the fact that a thousand years with men are as one day with me. The day so long promised shall come--the day of blessing and restitution to all who shall prove their love of righteousness --the day of vengeance upon all who shall prove their love of iniquity.--2 Peter 3:8.

Verses 12,13recount in symbolic terms the Millennial blessings of peace and joy for all who love righteousness. Instead of the thorn [the wicked man who wounds and injures his fellow creatures] shall be the fir tree [an evergreen tree, representative of a man possessing everlasting life], having inherent grace and fatness: "his leaf fadeth never."

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