No Worldly Answers
“For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name
of the LORD, to serve him with one consent” (Zephaniah 3:9).
The following is a partial excerpt from Volume 4, pages 415-420. Before quoting Senator Ingalls, Bro. Russell wrote, “A wide view and a broad and very dispassionate statement of the struggle for wealth and the consequent crush of the lower classes has been furnished to the press by Hon. J. J. Ingalls, a man of broad sentiments, of moderate wealth, and an ex-Senator of the United States. We make liberal extracts from it because it is a moderate statement of the case … it shows that even wide-awake statesmen who see the difficulty know of no remedy that can be applied to heal the malady and save the victims” (page 414).
Senator Ingalls Wrote:
“Liberty is something more than a name. He who depends upon the will of another for shelter, clothing, and food cannot be a free man in the broad, full meaning of that word. The man whose daily bread for himself and family depends upon wages that an employer may give or withhold at pleasure is not free. The alternative between starvation and submission to a schedule is slavery.
“Freedom does not consist in definitions. The declaration that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the inalienable rights of every human being makes no man independent. … Freedom is not merely the removal of legal restraints, the permission to come or go. Added to these must be the capacity and the opportunity, which only exemption from … incessant daily labor can bring. To paraphrase Shakespeare, Poverty and Liberty are an ill-matched pair. Freedom and dependence are incompatible. The abolition of poverty has been the dream of visionaries and … philanthropists from the dawn of time.
“The inequality of fortunes and the obvious injustice of the unequal distribution of wealth among men have been the perplexity of philosophers. It is the unsolved enigma of political economy! Civilization has no paradox so mysterious as the existence of hunger when there is an excess of food — of want in the midst of superfluity [excess]. That one man should have possessions beyond the capacity of extravagance to squander, and another, able and willing to work, should perish for want of embers, rags, and a crust, renders society unintelligible. It makes the charter of human rights a logogriph [puzzle]. So long as such conditions continue … the brotherhood of man is a phrase, justice is a formula, and the divine code is illegible. …
“If the unequal distribution of the burdens and benefits of society depends upon legislation, institution, and government, then under a system like ours the equilibrium should be restored. If wealth results from unjust laws, and poverty from legislative oppression, the remedy is in the hands of the victims. If they suffer it is from self-inflicted wounds. … In every man’s hand is the ballot. The school offers education to all. The press is free. Speech, thought, and conscience are unfettered.
“But universal suffrage has not proved a panacea for the evils of society. Poverty is not abolished. Though wealth has accumulated beyond the dreams of avarice, the inequality of distribution is as great as in the time of Job and Solomon and Agis [King of Sparta]. Not only is the old problem unsolved, but its conditions are complicated and intensified. … more stupendous fortunes [are] acquired by individuals under a republic, than under a monarchy.
“The gulf between the rich and the poor yawns wider day by day. The forces of labor and capital, which should be allies, auxiliaries, and friends are arrayed against each other like hostile armies in fortified camps, preparing for siege or battle. … “Utopia is yet an undiscovered country. Ideal perfection in society, like the mirage of the desert, recedes as it is approached. Human nature remains unchanged in every environment.”
After this lengthy observation by Senator Ingalls, Bro. Russell commented. “Here is a statement of facts; but where is the statement of the remedy?” He goes on to cite noted authorities who likewise addressed the problems of society. However, none were able to present solutions. The conclusion of Senator Ingalls, that “human nature remains unchanged,” is the dilemma that prevents the utopian society many long for. Bro. Russell then offers the only possible solution.
The Only Hope — “That Blessed Hope”
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” “Which hope we have as an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast.” “Gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13, Hebrews 6:19, 1 Peter 1:13).
In considering this vexed question of Supply and Demand … doing so much to divide humanity into two classes, the rich and the poor, we … avoid harsh criticism of either side; firmly believing, as we have endeavored to show, that present conditions are the results of the constitutional law of selfishness (the result of the Adamic fall) which dominates the vast majority of the human family, rich and poor alike. These deep-seated laws of constitutional selfishness are detested by a small number (chiefly the poor) who, having found Christ and come heartily under his spirit and law of love, would gladly abandon all selfishness, but cannot. These laws often crowd small merchants and contractors as well as employees. Yet so certain is their operation that, if all the rich were dead today, and their wealth distributed pro rata, those laws would within a few years reproduce the very conditions of today. Indeed, many of the millionaires of today were poor boys. And any system of laws that the majority of men might enact, which would deprive men of the opportunities for exercising their acquisitive and selfish propensities, would sap the life of progress and rapidly turn civilization back toward improvidence, indolence, and barbarism.
The only hope for the world is in … the Millennial Kingdom. It is God’s long promised remedy … nigh, even at the door. Once more man’s extremity will be God’s opportunity. “The desire of all nations shall come” … when human ingenuity and skill will have exhausted themselves in seeking relief without avail. … The time of trouble, the “day of vengeance,” with which this age will close and the Millennial age will open, will not only be a just recompense for misused privileges, but it will tend to humble the arrogance of men and to make them “poor in spirit,” and ready for the great blessings God is ready to pour upon all flesh (Joel 2:28). Thus he wounds to heal.
But someone unfamiliar with the divine program may perhaps inquire, How can the Kingdom of God be established if all these human methods fail? What different scheme does it propose? If its scheme is declared in the Word of God, why cannot men put it into operation at once and thus avoid the trouble?
We answer, God’s Kingdom will not be established by a vote of the people, nor by the vote of the aristocracy and rulers. In due time He “whose right it is,” he who bought it with his own precious blood, will “take the Kingdom.” He will “take unto himself his great power and reign.” Force will be used, “He shall rule [the nations] with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken” (Revelation 2:27). He will “gather the nations and assemble the kingdoms and pour upon them his fierce anger, and the whole earth shall be devoured with the fire of his jealousy; and then [after they are humbled and ready to hear and heed his counsel] he will turn unto them a pure language that they may all call upon the Lord to serve him with one consent” (Zephaniah 3:8,9).
Not only will the Kingdom be established with force, and be a power that men cannot resist, but it will so continue throughout the entire Millennial age; for the entire reign is for the specific purpose of vanquishing the enemies of righteousness. “He must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.” “His enemies shall lick the dust.” “The soul that will not hear [obey] that Prophet [the glorious Christ — antitype of Moses] shall be destroyed from among the people,” in the Second Death.
Satan will be bound, his every deceptive and misleading influence will be restrained, so that evil shall no longer appear to men to be good, nor good appear undesirable, evil; truth shall no longer appear to men untrue nor falsehoods be caused to appear true (Revelation 20:2).
But as heretofore shown, the reign will not be one of force only; side by side with the force will be the olive branch of mercy and peace for all the inhabitants of the world, who, when the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, will learn righteousness (Isaiah 26:9). The sin blinded eyes shall be opened; and the world will see right and wrong, justice and injustice, in a light quite different from now — in “seven-fold” light (Isaiah 30:26, 29:18-20). The outward temptations of the present will largely be done away, evils will neither be licensed nor permitted: but a penalty sure and swift will fall upon transgressors, meted out with unerring justice by the glorified and competent judges of that time who will also have compassion upon the weak (1 Corinthians 6:2, Psalms 96:13, Acts 17:31).
These judges shall not judge by the hearing of the ear nor by the sight of the eye, but shall judge righteous judgment (Isaiah 11:3). No mistakes will be made; no evil deed shall fail of its just recompense: even attempts to commit crimes must speedily cease under such conditions. Every knee shall bow [to the power then in control] and every tongue shall confess [to the justice of the arrangement] (Philippians 2:10,11). Then, gradually probably with many, the new order of things will begin to appeal to the hearts of some, and what at first was obedience by force will become obedience from love, and appreciation of righteousness. And eventually all others — all who obey merely because compelled by force — will [expose themselves and] be cut off in the Second Death (Revelation 20:7-9, Acts 3:23).
The rule and law of Love will thus be enforced; not by the consent of the majority, but in opposition to it. It will be turning civilization back from its republican ideas and placing mankind temporarily under an autocratic rule — for a thousand years. Such autocratic power would be terrible in the hands of either a vicious or an incompetent ruler; but God relieves us of all fear when he informs us that the Dictator of that age will be the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ, who has the welfare of man so at heart that he laid down his life as our ransom price in order that he might have the authority to lift out of our sin-defilement and restore to perfection and divine favor all who will accept his grace by obedience to the New Covenant (pages 516-520).
This wonderful and enlightening description of the incoming government of God is thrilling. Many noble people have desired and fought for the ideals described above. Although their gallant efforts have lifted the hearts of many, their goals were never fully realized. What a joy to hope for the kingdom that will fill the earth and satisfy the hearts of the righteous. We take great comfort in a plan that could only come from the
mind of God.
Categories: 2021 Issues, 2021-July/August