King's Business - 1963-10

H I t II

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2 PS. 18.2 &26. 1 a (Ps. 22.5) Ps. 31. 1 b Ps. 13.4 &30. 1

3 Y ea ,c let none "that wait on thee be ashamed : let them be ashamed which 6/transgress without cause.



CONCORDANCE EDITIONS The most widely known reference Bible in the English language, this work of reverent scholarship is acknowl­ edged to be one of the most helpful annotated editions o f the King James Version ever published. Styles listed on this page include complete concordance, dictionary of Scripture proper names, subject index, and colored maps with indexed atlas, in addition to these famous S co field B ible features: notes and helps on same page with text, connected topical references to great Scriptural themes, revised marginal renderings, complete synopses of each book, helps at difficult places, definitions and explanations of seeming discrepancies, chapter subheads, summaries, chronology, comprehensive index, and a panoramic view of the Bible.

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17 For God sent not his Son into the “world to ^condemn the world; but that the world through him might, be “saved.

a lcosmos

(Mt.4.8) = mankind.


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T h e K i n g ' s B u s i n e s s E S T A B L I S H E D 1 9 1 0 A publication of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, Inc. Louis T. Talbot, Chancellor • S. H. Sutherland, President • Ray A. Myers, Board Chairman OCTOBER, in the year of our Saviour Vol. 54, No. 10 Nineteen Hundred and Sixty-three Established 1910 Dedicated to the spiritual development of the Christian home / M l WILL THE CHURCH GO THROUGH THE TRIBULATION — Martin R. DeHaan ............................................................................... 10 GOSSIPING — Paul S. Rees ..................................................................... 12 DID THEY DIE IN VAIN — Richard Pittman ................................... 14 SUCCESSFUL PROGRAMS FOR TODAY'S YOUTH — George Santa 16 HIS WAY IS PERFECT — Mary Chisholm .....................„ ................... 18 THE TALKING WASTE BASKET — Jean Cerling Allen ................... 20 THE CULT OF THE UNCOMMITTED — Vance Havner .................. 22 EXCUSES OF THE UNSAVED ................................................................... 26 THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE WORLD — William Bass ......................................................................................... 27 FIVE REASONS WHY PRAYER MUST BE ANSWERED — George Muller ................................................................................... 32 JONAH IS BACK ................................................................... ...5................ 33 WHAT MAKES A SAINT — Lon Woodrum .................................. 34 WOULD YOU HAVE WAITED .............. 44 THE TRAIN TRIP TO CALIFORNIA — Betty Bruechert ................ 48 SALVATION IN HOLLYWOOD — Bob Turnbull ............................... 50 THE BIBLE: MORE PRECIOUS THAN GOLD ......................................... 51 M l / l M MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR---- Samuel H. Sutherland .................. 6 WORLD NEWSGRAMS — James O. Henry ........................................ 24 SCIENCE AND THE BIBLE — Bolton Davidheiser .............................. 25 CULTS CRITIQUE — Betty Bruechert .................................................. 31 DR. TALBOT'S QUESTION BOX — Louis T. Talbot .......................... 36 TALKING IT OVER — Clyde M. Narramore ........................................ 38 PERSONAL EVANGELISM — Benjamin Weiss ................................... 39 BOOK REVIEWS — Arnold D. Ehlert ....................................................... 42 UNDER THE PARSONAGE ROOF — Althea S. Miller ....................... 47 ALUMNI NEWS — Inex McGahey ....................................................... 53 Colum READER REACTION 4 PEOPLE IN THE NEWS ............................................................................. 8 PRESENTING THE MESSAGE ................................................................... 37

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A Great Expositor’s Commentary— Through The Bible Day By Day by F. B. Meyer A layman’s commen­ tary for busy Chris­ tians that will richly reward you for the in­ vestment of only a few minutes each day as you travel through the Bible with this famous Bible teacher. Great in­ spiring truths stimulat- ingly presented.

7 compact volumes totaling 1,500 pages. Size 4 VS x 6 5 /8 . $1.20 each. Boxed set, $8.00. Order from your bookstore or write Dept. KTB63 American Sunday- School Union 1816 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia 19103, Pa.

EDITORIAL COMMENTS I certainly take a dim view of Dr. Suth­ erland’s article in the June issue of the KING’S BUSINESS. I do not propose to debate issues on doctrinal points, but I certainly do not believe in attacking any­ one. I feel it is completely out of keeping with the interdenominational stand of the school. When you attack anyone it gives them every right to attack you, and I feel this is completely out of Christian prin­ ciples. Frank Marler, Tacoma, Washington This is to commend you for your splen­ did editorial in the July issue of the KING’S BUSINESS. A friend has shared her copy of the magazine with me. I am a long-time member of the Church of the Open Door. Miss Emily Jennings, Los Angeles, California The latest issue of KING’S BUSINESS arrived yesterday and, as usual, your edi- • torial was read with interest. We do ap­ preciate the fact that you are not reticent about bringing controversial subjects be­ fore your reading public. W e also appre­ ciate the stand which you take in rela­ tion to these subjects. In your editorial you stated that to your knowledge no Los Angeles pastor had brought the subject of the increase and rampancy of homosexuality before his con­ gregation, and we thought it would inter­ est you to know that our pastor, Dr. J. Vernon McGee, has dealt with this topic on several occasions, and recently elab­ orated upon it considerably in connection with the first chapter of Romans in our “ Through-the-Bible” program on Thurs­ day night. However, to our knowledge, he is the only pastor who is either willing or able (who knows which?) to discuss such issues from the pulpit. We, too, and many more in our church, are appalled and dismayed at the timidity of the fundamental-evangelical (so-called) pulpit today. Where are the Los Angeles pastors who are dealing forthrightly and honestly with the “ tongues” problem? Our church went so far as to publish in the Sunday calendar a statement from the Board which prohibited such practice in the church. And there are so many, many topics which are apparently “ taboo” in most churches today. Also, most of the most vocal anti-Communist preachers would not even open their mouths to declare that the Roman church is as much a political dan­ ger to America, if not more of a danger, as Communism. Mrs. Kathryn L. Corneal, Pasadena, California

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A Long-Overdue Indictment In the August, 1963 issue o f the Reader’s Digest a most signifi­ cant article appeared, entitled, "The Cigarette Controversy — A Storm is Brewing.” For many months, now, there has been offered to the American public an increasing amount o f darriaging evidence concerning the evil effects o f cigarette smoking. Once again the public is being presented with factual information concerning the dangerous results o f this filthy habit. Early in this century the cigarette companies began to advertise more and more extensively in an effort to dispose o f their product. During that time many clergymen and an appreciable number o f medical doctors raised their voices in protest against the increasing use o f tobacco, especial­ ly in cigarettes. But these valiant voices were gradually stilled by the onrush o f advertising propaganda and an ever-increasing use o f tobacco. World War I brought on a great advance in cigarette smoking. Many o f the men returning from the battle fields o f Europe testified to the fact that they had taken up smoking because o f the horrible stench o f the trenches on the battle fields. Cigarette smoke was much to be preferred to the smell o f decaying human bodies. Following World War I, the cigarette interests (very cau­ tiously at first) began to suggest that it was a sporting thing for women also to smoke cigarettes. After the loud protests on the part o f moralists had tlied down, the tobacco interests increased their advertisements until a brand-new market for the industry had opened up. The Christian church, in large measure, accommodated itself to the trends o f the times so far as cigarette smoking was concerned and for years there has been practically no voice o f protest against the spread o f this damnable habit. Today there is hardly a home in the country that cigarette advertisements do not enter either via television or magazines and scarcely is a voice o f protest or warning raised against this propa­ ganda foisted upon the American home by the tobacco interests. N o thought is given to the physical and moral welfare o f our American youth by these tobacco interests; they stoop to any level whatever that is necessary in order to add a dollar to their coffers. But, once again, there is a hue and cry going up against this

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soul-and-body destroying habit. This time the protest comes from the medical profession itself. It seems rather ironical that the medi­ cal profession should be so engaged in such a protest when so many o f its own members are avid addicts. This time the Surgeon General o f the United States Public Health Service, himself, has taken a hand in the matter and has appointed a committee o f as impartial judges as possible to make an exhaustive study o f the effects o f cigarette smoking upon the human body. The Reader’ s Digest article referred to above states, “ As evi­ dence piles up linking heavy cigarette smoking with cancer and other serious ills, the tobacco industry, the medical profession and the public anxiously await the report o f a committee o f scientists assembled by the Surgeon General o f the U.S. Public Health Serv­ ice.” On a basis o f numerous previous investigations o f this subject, all available evidence certainly points to a terrific indictment against smoking. It will be interesting, indeed, to note whether this "com ­ mittee o f scientists” will have enough strength o f character to pre­ sent a factual report. In the light o f all previous unbiased investi­ gations, it would appear that the only conclusion which can possi­ bly be reached, on a basis o f evidence available, is that cigarettes are far more dangerous to the health o f an individual than even heretofore suspected. We suggest that it is about time for the Protestant churches o f our beloved land to warn young people once again concerning the evils o f the cigarette habit. Christian people who themselves are the victims o f this condition should surely consider very serious­ ly their responsibility in warning their own young people against this vice with all o f its harmful effects. It is encouraging to note that, according to a newspaper item which appeared in the Los Angeles Times on July 15, 1963, "In an all-out attack on cigarette smoking the (California) State Health Department recommended, Thursday, the establishment o f clinics to assist people in breaking the habit. The evidence now indicates that cigarette smoking has such a profoundly harmful effect on health that it should be abandoned.” With the wealth o f data mounting at an ever-increasing rate, it would seem that surely now is the time for Christian leaders o f youth programs to present a double-barrelled warning concerning this evil practice. For the sake o f our testimony, as well as for the sake o f our own physical health, cigarette smoking should be diligently avoided by any and all who name the name o f our Lord Jesus Christ. While it is true that smoking is not mentioned in the Bible (tobacco having been first found in use by the American Indians when Columbus landed in 1492) there are innumerable Scriptures to cover the subject, such as Colossians 3:17: "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name o f the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father by Him.” Never have I heard o f anyone’s thanking God for or praying His blessing upon this dirty, dangerous "weed” !

“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." I O f first importance in all Christian enterprise is the dissemination and proc­ lamation o f G od’s Word. T o this great task the Pocket Testament League is wholly dedicated. ■ You can contribute substantially to this world-wide ministry, and assure y ou rself o f a dependable life-tim e income, through two sound plans: Write Mr. Alfred A. Kunz about either or both of these guaranteed income plans, also about “ living memorials’’ and bequests, with the booklet “A Plan for Faithful Stew­ ards.” J. EDWARD SMITH, International Director POCKET TESTAMENT LEAGUE, Inc. 49 Honeck St., Englewood, New Jersey Canada: 74 Crescent Rd., Toronto 5, Ontario Pray for the ministry of this Magazine OBSERVING PROTESTANT PRESS MONTH HOW CAN THE JEWknowCHRIST This 75-year old mission was found­ ed to bring a Christian witness to the Jew. Every day in many cities in the U. S. and Israel a staff of dedicated workers make their way along the streets in business and residential areas to engage Jews in conversation concerning Messiah •Jesus. Children are gathered for club meetings and are won to the Saviour. Radio messages reach millions of Jews every week, in North America and Israel. The results — the Lord says, “ Sow the seed . . . and I will give the in­ crease." Will you share in this seed sowing ministry? A copy of the A.M.F. Monthly will be mailed to you free if you write today to: Arcbiw A. MocKInney, Director America« Messianic Fellowship 7448 N. Daman Ave., Chicago 45, III.

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and store owners that they were called “ physicians providing the anti­ dotes of purity for those who have been bitten by the serpents of por­ nography.” Mr. Hobbs saluted them as “merchants of miracles” who are “ teachers of truth to a generation which has been victimized by false­ hood and half-truths.” Dr. Walter Judd, former Minnesota congressman, recently urged Christian publishers and book dealers to be as skillful in the use .of honest words as the Communists are in the use of lying words. “ The strategy which the Communists have used in every coun­ try where they have come to power is to capture the minds of youth with books,” said Dr. Judd. “ They have become master of words, the tools of communication. Lying words, yes, but skillfully used. They are simply fol­ lowing Lenin’s first principle which is to debase the language.” Dr. Ralph W. Mitchell has been ap­ pointed as president of the Biltmore Terrace Hotel in Miami Beach, Flori­ da. Dr. Mitchell, an associate of Dr. Billy Graham for nine years, had been serving as chaplain and program director of the hotel which was ac­ quired to “ offer the public a first- rate hotel that doesn’t depend on its bar to show a profit.” The hotel does not serve liquor and its former night club has been transformed into a small concert hall. Non-denomina- tional services are conducted daily in the Meditation Chapel by Dr. Mit­ chell. Dr. Ralph T. Davis, General Director Emeritus of the Africa Inland Mis­ sion, was called into the presence of the Lord rather suddenly on Au­ gust 19. This completed a life of fruitful ministry both in Africa and here in the homeland. Dr. Davis served as General Director of A.I.M. for seven years. Mr. William E. Millet, production manager of Editorial Las Americas, and Dr. V. E. Cory, Chairman of the Board of Scripture Press, are working with their staff to translate the Scrip­ ture Press Sunday school materials from Beginner through Adult into Spanish. Editorial Las Americas head­ quarters are located in Puebla, Mexi­ co where missionary personnel, na­ tional pastors and educators work to­ gether in the translation of these les­ sons and other materials into Spanish. Pictured is a Latin American boy holding a Spanish edition of Scrip­ ture Press’s Sunday school lessons.

Dr. Harlin J. Roper, pastor of the Sco­ field Memorial Church in Dallas, Texas, has announced the scheduling of the first Southland Keswick Con­ vention to be held in January. Speak­ ers at the Convention will be Dr. G. Allen Fleece, president of Colum­ bia Bible College; Dr. Stephen F. 01- ford, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, New York. Dr. R. Kenneth Straehan, general di­ rector of the Latin American Mission, recently acted as host for a conference which met to study the possibilities for mapping a comprehensive future strategy for evangelism in Latin America. Numerous missionary agen­ cies participated in the conference which was held at the Latin Ameri­ can Biblical Seminary. Dr. Robert B. Munger, minister of University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, Washington, was featured speaker recently at The Navigators international h e a d q u a r t e r s , Glen Eyrie, Colorado, for the dedication services marking their debt-free own­ ership of the estate. Presentation of the cancelled mortgage documents to Mrs. Lila Trotman, widow of Naviga­ tor Founder Dawson Trotman, was made during the ceremony. This com­ memorated the completion of an “ im­ possible” venture and the fulfillment of Dawson Trotman’s faith that God would supply funds for the purchase price of the estate. Dr. Cíate A. Risley, executive secre­ tary of the National Sunday School Association reported that the theme

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for the 1963 Na­ t i o n a l S u n d a y School Week held recently was “ For Times Like These . . . Exalt Christ.” Thousands of Sun­ day schools through­ out the nation co­ o p e r a t e d in the week - long Sunday s c h o o l emphasis.

Dr. Risley

Many echo the words of Vaughn Shoe­ maker, Pulitzer Prize winning edi­ torial cartoonist, “ Sunday school was important in my life, for most of what I learned about living was taught me by the words and deeds of my Sunday school teachers.” Dr. Hershel H. Hobbs, past president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of the First Baptist Church, Oklahoma City, speaking recently at a luncheon of the Christian Booksell­ ers Association, told the publishers



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.There are no Bibles made with more care and skill than the Bibles made in l Cambridge, where theprinting o f Bibles has been a responsibility o f fine craftsmen since the sixteenth century.



by Dr. Martin R. DeHaan

“ But 1 would not have you to be ignorant, breth­ ren, concerning them which are asleep, that y e sor­ row not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus w ill God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these Words.” 1 Thess. 4:13-18. In this first epistle to the Thessalonians Paul sets the hearts of the believers at rest with the assurance that the next event for them to look for is the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, not after the millennium, but before that sets in. THE SECOND ERROR But this first error was hardly corrected by the apostle Paul when Satan foisted a second error upon the believ­ ing Church. Paul wrote his first epistle to establish the fact of a pre-millennial rapture. The second error, how­ ever, was in regard to the pre-tribulation rapture. Evi­ dently someone had written a forged letter to the Thessa- lonian Church, and had signed Paul’s name. This is very evident from 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-2, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That y e be not soon shaken in mind, or be trou­ bled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us.” 2 Thess. 2:1-2. Literally it should be read: “ Be not so soon shaken in your mind by a so-called spirit, or a word, or even a letter written over my signature, as though the tribulation were already here.” This spurious letter with Paul’s name forged at the end, informed the believers at Thessalonica that the trou­ bles and the tribulations which they were experiencing were already the tribulation of the last days. Naturally they were confounded and confused, for Paul had clearly taught them in the first epistle that they would be caught out BEFORE the tribulation set in. If this then was the tribulation through which they were passing, then it meant that they had been left behind, for the rapture

“ 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.” 2nd Thess. 2:3 T h e Second Epistle to the Thessalonians was written to correct a false teaching concerning the church and the tribulation. According to the Bible this age will end in apostasy and war, and culminate in a period of trouble, sorrow, war, death and destruction without prece­ dent in all history. This period of time now rapidly approaching is called the “ tribulation.” At the close of this tribulation Jesus will return to this earth, destroy the man of sin, (the Antichrist) and fully restore Israel to the land of Canaan, and will set up His Messianic King­ dom of one thousand years here upon this earth, with Jerusalem as the capital. The Bible is equally clear that before this tribulation of the last days sets in, our Lord Jesus Christ will return for His Church, 'shout from the air, and the dead in Christ shall arise to be joined by the living believers, and together caught up to meet the Lord in the air, far, far away from the tribulation of this world. THE RAPTURE NEXT The order of prophetic events then is as follows. The next event will be the rapture of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then the Antichrist will be revealed and set up his false millennial kingdom. After three and one-half years he will plunge the nations into the last great atomic war, seek to destroy the nation of Israel completely and prevent the return of Jesus Christ with His Church to this earth to set up His Kingdom. The last battle is called “ The Battle of Armageddon,” and will be terminated only by the personal return of the Lord to defeat the Anti­ christ and set up His throne in the city of Jerusalem. This program was the clear revelation of Scripture, and accepted by all of the early saints of the Church age, and believed by the Church in every age, and is called in Scripture, “That Blessed Hope.” But the Devil hates this truth, and seeks to pervert it, and to rob it of its blessing for the children of God, as well as its warn­ ing for the unsaved. And so from the earliest apostolic days, he has sought to bring in false doctrines through false teachers who taught that the Church would not be raptured either before the millennium or the tribulation period. In Paul’s day these errors were already taught and were quite prevalent. First, there were those who taught in Thessalonica that the dead in Christ would not be raised until after the Kingdom age. This greatly dis­ turbed the believers and they came to Paul with this vexing question. In answer to this false, post-millennial teaching of those days, Paul wrote First Thessalonians, and says in chapter 4:



would already then be past. No wonder that they were alarmed. How would you feel if you awoke some morn­ ing arid found that the rapture had already taken place, and you were still here, and had been left behind? LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU As soon as Paul, therefore, hears about this false teach­ ing, he hastens to write this second epistle to the Thessa- lonian Church, for the express purpose of assuring the believers that they will never have to pass through the tribulation. He says, Don’t believe anyone who makes such an assertion, even if they quote Scripture, even if they quote me, even though you have a letter with my signature under it. Don’t believe a word of it. And that is the force of the words of 2nd Thessalonians 2:3, Let no man deceive you by ANY MEANS.” And then he gives his argument to prove that the rap­ ture will occur before the tribulation period. 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, shewing himself that he is God. Remember y e not, that, when I was y et with you, I told you these things?” 2nd Thess. 2:3-5. Two things, says the apostle Paul, must happen before the “ day of the Lord,” which is another name for the tribulation, can set in. W ill you notice these two things very, very carefully, because they are fundamental. I. There must be a falling away first. II. The man of sin must be revealed. Now the expression translated “ falling away” is “ apostasias” in the Greek. It may refer to a religious apostasy, which is here, or as some would affirm, it means a “ catching away.” Some scholars translate the phrase as follows: “That day (the day of the tribulation) cannot come until there be a ‘catching away’ first.” If this is the correct translation, then it is, of course, an outright state­ ment that the Church will be raptured and caught away first, before the tribulation period. THE MAN OF SIN The second thing before the tribulation can begin is, according to the words of Paul, the revelation of the Man of Sin—the Antichrist, who will rule during the tribula­ tion period. Now we are to note very well this following point, that the day of the Lord cannot come until that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. The sign of the tribulation is the identification of the superman, the Antichrist. But now follow the language of Paul closely. The Man of Sin, the Antichrist, cannot be revealed until after the catching away of the Church. You are to notice very carefully verses 6 and 7: “And now y e know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth w ill 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.” 2nd Thess. 2-6-8. From these verses we learn that according to Paul there is a power in this world today which is restraining and holding back the Devil (called the Mystery of In­ iquity) from introducing this Man of Sin upon the scene of action. No other construction can possibly be placed on the words: “ Only he who now hindereth w ill hinder, imtil he be taken out of the way.” There is then, according to the words of Paul, a power and a person able to hinder and hold back and restrain the Devil in this dispensation. We are to notice several things about this power: I. He is a person. The personal pronoun, “ he,” is used. “ Only HE who now hindereth will hinder until HE be taken out of the way.” II. It must be a supernatural person. No created being is able to restrain Satan. Even Michael, the arch­ angel, was no equal for Satan, but turned him over to the Lord and said, “ The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 9). III. From these facts, therefore, we conclude that the “HE” of 2nd Thessalonians 2:7 is none other than Deity. Since the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is dwelling on earth in the Body of Christ and in the be­ liever, He is the only person who can hinder Satan from revealing the man of sin in his time. He came to dwell in thé Church, the Body of Christ, on the day of Pente­ cost," and according to Jesus was to abide with us even until the end of the age. And now will you further notice: 1. The day of the Lord cannot come until the Man of Sin is revealed. This is made perfectly clear in verse 3 where we read: “ For that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” 2 Thess. 2:3. 2. The Man of Sin cannot be revealed until the Holy Spirit dwelling‘in the Body of Christ is taken out of the way. This is perfectly evident from verse 7 where we read: “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth w ill let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall the wicked be revealed.” 2 Thess. 2:7-8. 3. Therefore, the tribulation cannot come so long as the Church is here in the world. “ Let no man deceive you by any means.” The argument of Paul is so conclusive and so convinc­ ing that we must needs repeat it once more. According to Paul the tribulation period cannot come until there be a falling away first, and the antichrist be revealed, but this antichrist cannot be revealed as long as the Holy Spirit, dwelling in the Body of believers is here upon the earth. Therefore, there is only one conclusion left, and that is that the Church will be taken out before the tribu­ lation, and immediately afterwards the Antichrist will make his appearance upon the scene of action.

One of these days the Lord will come, and will deliver His waiting Church and then pour out the judgments of His wrath upon a wicked, Christ-rejecting world. ■ I ", . . caught out before the tribulation



One o f the greatest sins a Christian faces is . . .










by Dr. Paul S. Rees

rumor, tattle; especially, scandalous, half-confidential, ill-founded remarks.” Such has been the deterioration and demoralization of a once splendid word. All of this present and ugly meaning of the term belongs to the shabby busi­ ness in which Gashmu was engaged twenty-five hundred years ago. Gashmu, much as we loath to admit it, is the symbol of something that too many of us love to do. If we were more honest, we should be saying to ourselves, “ Thou lovest all devouring words, O thou deceitful tongue” (Psalm 52:4). We have a fondness for the verval morsel that means chewing on somebody’s name or character or reputation. The more the gossipy tidbit is surrounded with an air of secrecy and confidence — the “please- don’t-breathe-a-word-of-this” sort of thing — the better we like it. Our eyes light up with a strange glint and our ears become very alert. Yes, we love it. And we’ll never be anything but members of the Gashmu clan until we admit it. Cheap Gabbling Gashmu is the symbol, also, of something wasteful. When the faculty of language is so astounding a gift from God, what a pity it is to debase it by pressing it into the services of gossip! I was struck recently with the Williams translation of our Lord’s admonition in Matthew 12:36, “ So I tell you, for every worthless word that men utter, they will have to give account in the day of judgment.” I hope no supersensitive soul will misread this word of the Master, taking it to mean that you must never engage in any conversation of gaiety or humor. I assure you that there is a place for lighter moods in conversation — a place so wholesome and relaxing that every one of us needs it from time to time. But talk that lowers the rating of someone else, cheap gabbling that gratifies someone’s vanity by making him appear to have the upper hand over another, a senseless carrying on of conversation in a negative vein — this is simply wasting the breath God gives us and the endow­ ment of speech which He has entrusted to us. Unproven and Unprovable The symbol of something we love to do and something stupidly wasteful — that’s Gashmu. But these fall short of the worst element we need to see in his representative character. He is the emblem of something wrong. His whisper that Nehemiah was getting ready, in all proba­ bility, to rebel against the emperor of Persia and to have himself made king of Jerusalem was unproven and un-

G a s h m u is a c h a r a c t e r with a double name. Part of the time in this chapter he is called “ Geshem,” part of the time ‘Gashmu.” But I am all for the “ Gashmu” form of his name. Being the sort of person he was, “ Gash­ mu” suits him much better. There is a kind of slashing harshness about the sound of it that well fits the hurtful role he played. Gashmu was a man who long ago hired out his tongue in the service of rumor, suspicion, and slander. Follow­ ing the long captivity of the people of Judah in Babylon, certain Persian rulers came to power in the East who were friendly to the Jews and permitted their return to the homeland. One of these rulers had a Hebrew attendant of whom he was fond — a man by the name of Nehe- miah. When Nehemiah requested permission to go to Jerusalem and supervise the task of rebuilding its walls, the king consented. Here enters Gashmu. Along with some others, he cared nothing about the restoration of the city. He wanted no success to crown Nehemiah’s efforts. So he helped cir­ culate the baseless rumor that Nehemiah was trying to organize a following for the purpose of leading a rebellion against the Persian ruler. This mischievous gossip en­ abled the leader of the opposition, Sanballat, to say cun­ ningly and correctly, “ Nehemiah, do you realize that the report is going around, and I heard it from Gashmu, that you want to be the new king of the Jews.” “ It is reported . . . and Gashmu saith it.” That is the entry that occurs in the Book after the name of Gashmu. Now before we dismiss Gashmu the gossip, it might profit us to think of him as a symbol. A Word of Honor Someone has said, “ Lilies, when they fester, smell worse than weeds.” The word “ gossip,” which Gashmu so well symbolizes, began its life as a word of honor and beauty. My dictionary says that it comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word, “ godsib,” which means literally “ re­ lated in God.” The meaning given to it was that of “ spon­ sor,” especially when the sponsorship had some solemn or sacred associations. From that high level it first descended to the state where it meant harmless, idle chatter. Shabby Business Finally it reached the lower stage where, according to the main definition now given, it meant “ groundless



to every house in the village and drop a feather in oach yard.” The peasant did as he was told. Returning to the monk, he asked if this completed his penance. “No,” said the monk, “ you must now lake the empty bag, go back to every house, and pick up the feather you dropped there.” “ But that is impossible,” protested the peasant, “ for by this time the wind has blown most of them somewhere else.” “ And so it is with your slanderous stories and evil words,” replied the monk, solemnly. “They are easily spoken, but, no matter how hard you try, you cannot bring them back again.” That is the warning that I beg you to see in the unpleasant figure of Gashmu. There are Gashmus in every community and church. God forgive their sin! But — let it be said reverently — God Himself cannot undo all the effects of their sin. * * * Let me add a more positive note: Gashmu can render us service not only as a symbol and a warning, but also — if you will forgive an overworked word — as a chal­ lenge. Examine Ourselves The bad example of Gashmu should serve as a stern summons to examine ourselves and our speech. Ourselves! Why? Because the habit of gossip often reveals much more about you than it does about the per­ son about whom you are carrying on your tittle-tattle. Many a woman has said concerning another woman who has a larger wardrobe than she, “Don’t you think she overdoes her dressing?” without realizing that what she is really saying is, “ I’m envious of her.” And many a man has jibed concerning another, “ Look at him — always hogging the limelight!” without understanding that his real meaning is, “ Look at me — I’m uncomfortable because his success is greater than mine!” The M irror of the Cross This behavior in people of the world is bad enough; in Christians it is serious. It comes from our not holding before us the mirror of the Cross long enough for us to see — and be horrified at — this wretched ego-minded- ness. Then, with self-awareness and conviction, to sur­ render wholly to the power of the Cross! Calvary is so hot a flame that when we consign ourselves to it, it sears to a cinder the self-importance that lies behind our gossipy tongues. And then our speech — that, too, should be examined in the light of Gashmu’s sorry spectacle. Live on the Heights Put your speech about others to three tests, said Alexander Whyte, if you want to live on the heights with your Lord. Test one: is it true? Do I know it to be true? If it is hearsay, the test is not passed. If it appears in print, the test is not necessarily passed. Many a misrepresentation has found the light of print that belongs to the darkness of the pit. Test two: is it necessary? Granting that it is true, is there any need of its being made the subject of idle chat­ ter in this situation or before these people? Test three: is it kind? How does it fit in with our Saviour’s statement of the second greatest commandment: “ Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself?” How does it harmonize with Paul’s appeal to the Christians of his day: “Accept life with humility and patience, making allowances for each other because you love each other. Make it your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will inevitably be at peace with one another?” (Ephesians 4:2, 3, Phillips)

provable. Did that stop him from spreading the tale? Not at all. He persisted in encouraging the fanciful charge. “ In the multitude of words,” says Proverbs 10:19, “ there wanteth not sin.” It is worse than poor judgment. It is more sérious than innocent error. It is sin. There is guilt involved. Dr. R. F. Horton once said, “ I would not allow a known talebearer to come to the Lord’s table.” It was that seasoned minister’s way of conveying how deep a sin he felt it to be for one person to spread unverified tales about another or to make unChristian use of them even if verified. Deadly Sins Medieval Christianity worked out a list of what it called “The Seven Deadly Sins:” pride, anger, envy, im­ purity, gluttony, slothfulness, avarice. Not so familiar to most of us is a list of deadly sins in Judaism, with idolatry first, adultery second, murder third, and in fourth place, gossip. Gossip, moreover, is defined in this list as any sort of rumor or report that would defame or mar the reputation of another human being. Whether you put it in one position or another in the scale of sins, certain, it is that we’ll never deal with it seriously enough unless we see it as a wrong to be con­ fessed and not merely as a weakness to be lightly ad­ mitted. It’s ugliness and viciousness in God’s sight must be faced. “ It is reported . . . and Gashmu saith it,” is one of the devil’s trademarks. Words A re Deeds He stands as a warning against the mistake in think­ ing that words are only words. The fact is that words are deeds. We dismiss the matter far too superficially when we say, “Words, just words! It’s action that counts.” Or when we give out with the remark, “Well, say it. You might as well say it as to think it!” From one point of view — God looks into our hearts — that may be true. But from another viewpoint it is quite wrong. Once you have said it you have, in some measure, committed it to the public. You have loosed it into the stream of history. For the inescapable fact is that a word is a deed. Furthermore, Gashmu stands as a warning that gossip is a way of doing damage that goes beyond all possibility of repair. Hear me carefully. I did not say that it goes beyond the possibility of your repentance or of God’s forgiveness, but only that it exceeds even God’s ability to wipe out its consequences. The Worm of Suspicion Take an example of how subtle and far-reaching this can be. An army chaplain said that one day he was talk­ ing to another chaplain about a third — a colleague of both of them. When he remarked that the absent chaplain had been very fine and co-operative on the post, the chaplain being addressed replied, after a few seconds’ pause, “Well, he feels that you have the ear of the higher- ups, and he’s bucking for a promotion.” What was the effect? The chaplain said that, although he resented such a remark and had no reason to believe there was the slightest truth in it, he found that the worm of suspicion had been placed in his mind. In spite of all he could do to talk himself out of it, he was forced to admit that it spoiled something fine in the friendship he had enjoyed with the comrade who had been downgraded in that momentary remark. It’s the old story of the peasant and the monk. The peasant, having told an unkind story about another, asked the monk what he could do to atone for his sin. “ Fill a bag with chicken feathers,” said the monk, “ then go



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