"JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES" CHALLENGED
By WILLIAM WEIR - PORTADOWN
Prepared for use on the internet by
Arches church of Christ, Belfast, Northern Ireland, BT4 1AQ
The Debate concerning "The Resurrection of Jesus Christ," which took place in the Town Hall, Portadown, Co. Armagh, on July 22nd, 1949, aroused considerable interest. Not only was the Hall packed, and many people turned away, but letters of enquiry have come in from different sources expressing the desire to have some account of the proceedings.
During the Debate Mr. Woodburn, the representative of "Jehovah's Witnesses" said "I have prepared my argument in script form, a copy of which will be available for the local Press and thus placed on record. After reading from this prepared script, Mr. Woodburn gave it to the Editor of the "Portadown News", in whose possession it remained for several weeks.
When asked for my manuscript I had none to give, as I had used only brief notes. Some weeks later, on my return from holiday, the Editor of the "News" asked me to prepare a written statement of the arguments I had used, as he intended to publish in booklet form this statement along with Mr. Woodburn's address, the script of which he still had in his possession.
In order to give as complete an account of the whole Debate as possible, Mr. Woodburn was asked to supply a written statement for the ten minutes and the further five minutes, giving his reply to my arguments. Not only did he refuse to do this but he strongly objected to having his side of the Debate published and demanded that his manuscript should be returned to him immediately.
He had given his manuscript over to the Editor, but when, eight weeks later, he learned that it was to he published along with my statement, he strongly, objected, although during the Debate he said he wished his statement to be "placed on record."
Not only were both local papers represented at the Debate, but, with access to Mr. Woodburn's Script, they were in a position to give a very full and accurate report of his main arguments. Fortunately for us the "News" report concentrated on the first part of Mr. Woodburn's address, while the "Times" report concentrated on the latter part, so that in using these newspaper reports we are giving a very fair presentation of Mr. Woodburn's statement. We are adding a few Scripture references which were not given in full by the reporters.
We would have preferred to have published Mr. Woodburn's own prepared statement, but, since he absolutely refused to have this done, we are obliged to present the account of the Debate in the form in which it appears in the following pages.
Reprint from "The Portadown News," 30-7-49
RELIGIOUS CONTROVERSY IN PORTADOWN
REMARKABLE SCENES AT TOWN HALL DEBATE
Clergymen and laymen of all the principal Protestant denominations in Portadown thronged the Town Hall on Friday evening for the much talked of Public Debate between Pastor Wm. Weir, B.A., B.Sc., of the Portadown Baptist Church, and Mr. S. Woodburn, London, a representative of the sect known as "Jehovah's Witnesses."
Though the meeting was advertised for eight o'clock p.m., there was a lengthy queue in process of formation shortly after seven o'clock, and by 7.30 the hall and gallery were packed to their utmost capacity. A PORTADOWN NEWS representative who arrived at the hall at 7.35 had to use the open sesame, "Press," in order to gain entry. Shortly before eight o'clock a few more were admitted to the main building, and many of these were content to remain inside standing throughout the proceedings, or to stand in the foyer hoping to snatch even scraps of the arguments put forward by the speakers. About two hundred failed to get into the hall.
Eight o'clock had just struck when Mr. D. W. J. Woodman, B.E.M., B.A., headmaster of Portadown College, who presided, entered with the two principal speakers. Each speaker was accompanied by one person, to whom he could refer if the necessity arose.
The meeting was almost unique for this part of the world, and there was an almost tense feeling prevalent during the moments Mr. Woodman sorted out his papers and placed his alarm clock on the table before him.
The Chairman said the Debate to be held that evening dealt with what was one of the foundation stones of the edifice of the Christian Faith - the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the speaker's left they had Mr. S. Woodburn who had made the journey from London. Pastor Wm Weir, the Chairman said, was minister of Portadown Baptist Church, and whose acquaintance he had recently made.
There was an air of challenge, Mr. Woodman thought, about that meeting; there might even be a surprising measure of agreement.
After stating that each speaker would be given thirty minutes for the main statement, ten minutes to reply to each other's arguments, and each to have five minutes for the final summing up, Mr. Woodman said they would ask all those present at the end to go away and draw their own conclusions.
"NEWS" REPORT QUOTED
The first speaker called was Mr. Woodburn, who opened by saying that in considering the reasons for the Debate it would be well for the benefit of those present to recall that on April 17 last, Pastor Weir, preaching in the Baptist Meeting House on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, proceeded to refer to a "sect known as Jehovah's Witnesses." According to the Press report six days later in THE PORTADOWN NEWS, Mr. Weir made some statements concerning the members of that movement, and the late Pastor Russell. If Pastor Russell were alive to-day, said Mr. Woodburn, those statements would amount to nothing less than libel. "This mans character," the speaker quoted from Pastor Weirs sermon, "does not bear any closer investigation than his evil doctrine."
"Pastor Weir" he asserted, "knows nothing about the moral character of Pastor Russell other than what he has read in publications which have always sought to heap reproach upon him, even to this day, thirty-three years after his death whilst on a preaching tour, and I defy him to produce truthful evidence to that end."
"THE PORTADOWN NEWS goes on to report Mr. Weir as saying that he had no feeling of animosity towards any individual." Mr. Woodburn further quoted, adding the comment: "I leave the comparison of these two statements to each one's personal judgement. Was Pastor Weir's object to bolster up his own ideas on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at the expense of another man's character? If so I would remind him of our Lord's own words: "Judge not that ye be not judged ... why do you see the splinter in your brother's eye and do not see the plank in your own eye?" (Matt. 7) ( Moffat). If Pastor Weir had a message to convey to his congregation on the subject of the `Resurrection of Christ Jesus' then what has the life of Russell, or anyone else for that matter, got to do with it? He made sport of Jehovah's Witnesses as a sect of recent origin. Because the orthodox religions of this generation disagree with them in their beliefs, does that make them taboo?
"Were not our Lord Jesus and his Apostles, and their teachings and beliefs, taboo to the accepted religious leaders of their day? Has Pastor Weir forgotten the origin of the Baptist sect, their forerunners, Ana-baptists, a Continental sect which first appeared in Switzerland about 1520? Has he read how Bishop Hooper (1549) complained that the Baptists gave him trouble? Does not history tell us that the earliest Baptists in the strict sense were found in Congregational Churches, and it was not until John Smith, an early Separatist, broke away from the Brownists, the Congregationalists with whom he worshipped, that the Baptists existed apart from their fellows ?
"Read the Encyclopaedia Britannica concerning their chequered career and of the various Baptist groups even today `Open' Baptists, `Strict' Baptists and `Peculiar' Baptists. Note this, those who charge Jehovah's Witnesses with several changes of name.
"Let us thank God," Mr Woodburn said, that His truth does not rest upon the titles and reputations of men, the opinions and prejudices of any religious movement. Let us forget reproaches. If we let reproaches by men influence us then we have nothing to do with Jesus Christ. Remember Jesus said: `The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.' Am I going to shun you who are Baptists, or of other denominations who have come here, because we disagree? If that were so then I would not have come here to talk to you. May each of us here to-night keep cool and calm, and let not religious passions becloud our clear thinking and close our ears.
"When Pastor Weir and myself have said what we have to say, then everyone will form his own conclusions on the matter, and may we do as did the early Christians at Berea, who `searched the Scriptures whether these things were so' (Acts 17:11). When all has been said we have the wise counsel of Paul to face for he said: `We can do nothing against the truth but for the truth'." (2 Cor. 3:8).
Mr. Woodburn then entered upon the controversial issue at considerable length.
(Reprint from "The Portadown Times," 29-7-49)
First of all, he (Mr. Woodburn) wished to make it clear that Jehovah's Witnesses did believe in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. So did the Baptists and others, but Jehovah's Witnesses believed that the Scriptures showed that he was raised in the Spirit and not in the body in which he was crucified. Nowhere in the Bible was the expression `the resurrection of the body' found, nor did Jesus Himself nor any of the Bible writers say He was coming back to earth in the flesh. Jesus said: "Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more."
[At this point the speaker gave the following Scripture quotations which were not included in the Press reports:- 1 Cor 15:45, "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit." 2 Cor 5:16, "Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more." Heb. 5:7,8, "Who in the days of His flesh when He had offered up prayers and supplication with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered."]
"If Jesus were still in the flesh up in Heaven, why would Paul speak (Heb. v., 7,8) of the days of Jesus' flesh as passed? John, who wrote in his Gospel (1:14) "And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." says after His resurrection: "it doth not yet appear what we shall be." Thus a change in Jesus condition is noted.
"Nearly 2,000 years ago, by the miraculous power of Almighty God, the life of His Son was transferred from a glorious heavenly position with God His Father in heaven to the womb of the Virgin Mary. He was born a child of flesh and blood ... to provide a ransom sacrifice and free human kind from the effects of sin which they inherited from Adam."
"Those who were to be ransomed were human creatures. Consequently the life that Jesus must give to be a ransom must be a human life ... To return to heaven, Jesus must lay down His human life." It was not God's Will that this faithful Son should for ever suffer humiliation in flesh, but God promised Him eternal glorification for His faithfulness. Quoting John vi, 51-56, he asked: "How could His followers eat His flesh and yet Jesus have it at the same time? Jesus said He gave His flesh for the life of the world, and that they might have life forever.
Did any human eye see Jesus rise in a fleshly body from the tomb in the Garden of Gethsemane? They saw the angel that rolled away the tombstone, but not Jesus. As to the appearances to the disciples, could Jesus, with all power in heaven and earth, not materialise bodies, like the angels, in order to show Himself alive?
Why would Paul say "to abide in the flesh is more needful to you" if Jesus in heaven were still flesh? Those who argued for Christ's resurrection in the flesh could not produce a single Scripture to show that Jesus has the body of His flesh in heaven. He was seen to ascent to heaven in a fleshly body, but after a cloud intervened, Jesus could dissolve that body just as He had done with all the other bodies in which He had appeared to His disciples. How could He get into heaven with it? God told Moses: "There shall no man see Me and live." The "resurrection of the body" was taught in spite of Paul's statement."
[At this point Mr. Woodburn gave the following as a translation of 1 Cor. 15:35-44, which was not included in the newspaper report: "But someone will say, How can the dead rise? What kind of body will they have when they come back? You foolish man, the very seed you sow never comes to life without dying first; and when you sow it, it has not the form it is going to have, but is a naked kernel, perhaps of wheat or something else; and God gives it just such a form as He pleases, so that each kind of seed has a form of its own. Flesh is not all alike; men have one kind, animals another, birds another, and fish another. There are heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies, but the beauty of the heavenly bodies is of one kind and the beauty of the earthly bodies is of another ... It is so with the resurrection of the dead ... The body is sown in decay, it is raised free from decay. It is sown in humiliation, it is raised in splendour. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in strength. It is a physical body that is sown, it is a spiritual body that is raised."]
"If Jesus was raised in His humiliated, crucified body why was it only seen by those to whom He appeared and no one else saw Him? His object was to re-establish their faith in Him as the Messiah. The entire time He was with them during the 40 days would probably have been less than 12 hours. Therefore, He was with them unseen during 79-80ths of that time. He appeared at different times in different forms."
[Here the speaker quoted John 21:4, 14, "He showed Himself the third time to His disciples ... and they knew not that it was Jesus." Mark 16:12, "After that He appeared in another form."]
"He told Thomas: "Blessed are those who believe, not having seen." It would be remembered that the grave-clothes were left folded in the sepulchre and when He appeared to Mary it was probably in such apparel as a gardener would wear, or did He go about naked?
A spirit body and a human body were different things, but our Lord's human body was supernaturally removed from the tomb as it would have been an insurmountable obstacle to the faith of the disciples who were not yet instructed in spiritual things. Before His crucifixion He had been on familiar terms with His disciples but after the resurrection, though He loved them none the less, His manner was more reserved - doubtless to impress them more forcibly with the dignity and honour of His high exaltation, and inspire due reverence for His Person and Authority.
If He bore and imperfect scarred, marred body in heaven, and if we shall "be like Him," would it not imply that the Apostles and saints who were crucified, beheaded, stoned to death, burned, cut to pieces and torn by beasts, would bear blemishes and scars? Would not heaven then present a most awful spectacle? Jehovah's Witnesses knew Him as the glorious, mighty, resurrected spirit, immortal and invisible, King of kings and Lord of lords."
The literal bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ has been considered by all evangelical denominations to be fundamentally essential in the Christian faith. Any belief that refuses to accept this doctrine cannot be considered to be truly Christian. Dr. R. A. Torrey has well said: "while the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of Christian doctrine, it is also the Gibralter of Christian evidence and the Waterloo of infidelity and rationalism. If the scriptural assertions of Christs resurrection can be established as historic certainties, the claims and doctrines of Christianity rest upon an impregnable foundation. On the other hand, if the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead cannot be established, Christianity must go." F. C. Spurr has spoken of this fact as "the foundation supporting our edifice," and the "title deeds guarding our estate."
Right at the beginning of the Christian Era the enemies of the cause of Christ realised the vital importance of this. The chief priests and Pharisees, after plotting the death of
Jesus Christ, went to Pilate with the request: "Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall he worse than the first." Matt. 27:64.
When these efforts to prevent Him rising proved futile, and on the third day the tomb was left open and empty for all to examine, these same enemies invented a lie in an attempt to answer any enquiries that might be made concerning something that demanded explanation: "Say ye, His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we slept." Matt. 28:13.
Ever since that time the enemies of the cause of Christ have bitterly contested the Church's affirmation that He Who was crucified actually rose from the dead on the third day. The conflict is, therefore not new. It is as old as Christianity itself
Apart from those who are confessedly sceptical and materialistic, the most recent and most active protagonists on the anti-Christian side of this conflict are those who have assumed the name of "Jehovah's Witnesses." They propagate the heresies that used to be known as "Russellism." Their teaching is the more insidious and dangerous seeing it is accompanied by a professed belief in the inspiration and authority of Holy Scripture.
If it were a matter of differing opinions amongst Christians about something that does not vitally concern the whole professing Church, I would not feel obliged to enter into the conflict at all. It is not my intention, therefore, to follow Mr. Woodburn back to early or pre-Reformation days in an attempt to trace the history of those who have held Baptist doctrines. But since on the subject of this Debate as well as on other fundamentals of our Faith, "Jehovah's Witnesses" challenge all the evangelical Churches, and profess to be the only body of people who really teach the truth, it is necessary to examine their pretentious claims.
In doing this, we have no feelings of animosity toward individuals whatever their particular beliefs may be. We are not concerned with personalities, but only that people should be warned and delivered from a false teaching that is anti-Christian and soul-destroying.
It is true that on a former occasion I made reference to Mr. C. T. Russell, the founder of this movement which now goes by the name of "Jehovah's Witnesses." Mr. Woodburn says that if Pastor Russell were alive the statements made would amount to libel. I reply that the statements referred to were perfectly true. It is a matter of history that his wife sought a separation from him on the grounds of cruelty and of having wrong relations with other women. This separation was granted in both the lower and higher court. At the same time there was a grant of alimony fixed by court. It is not possible to refer to the different libel actions that Mr. Russell himself took against some who dared to expose his evil character, including a claim for $100,000 from the Brooklyn Eagle." The courts pronounced against him, and justified the paper for exposing him. If Mr. Woodburn is anxious to have truthful evidence concerning this man's character, the records of the American and Canadian courts will furnish all that is needed.
My justification for making any mention of such an unsavoury affair is two-fold. First, because of the prominent part Russell played in originating the movement carried on by "Jehovah's Witnesses." Secondly, because the Lord, in warning the people "to beware of false prophets," said: "Ye shall know them by their fruits." A belief that does not lead to proper moral behaviour stands self-condemned. Paul could write to Timothy: "Thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life....." Russell desired to make his doctrine widely known, but he had reason to shrink from any investigation into his manner of life.
I am glad, however, that Mr. Woodburn has been honest enough to acknowledge Russell. Indeed, it would be difficult for him to do anything else in face of what is stated in one of their recent publications - "Let God Be True." Nevertheless, there has been amongst many "Jehovah's Witnesses" a tendency to disown any connection with Russellism. In the May 14 issue of the "Portadown Times," one of their representatives - Mr. M. C. Reeder of London - was reported as saying that "Jehovah's Witnesses" have no connection with Russellites.
There is a special advantage in testing any system by examining its teaching on the subject of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ because of the "keystone" position of this doctrine in "the arch of our Christian Faith." If a system is seen to be false on this vital matter, then it is not to be trusted anywhere; it has no Gospel to preach. "If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins." 1 Cor. 15:17.
This evening we are not dependent upon what Mr. Woodburn has given us for our knowledge of the teaching of "Jehovah's Witnesses." I have with me eleven volumes of over 300 pages each, and several smaller publications of the "Watchtower Bible and Tract Society" - the official publicists to "Jehovah's Witnesses." The quotations given here as representing their teaching are all taken from these volumes.
It may be necessary to warn you that, as different editions of some of these books have been produced, the pages seem to have been altered. However if anyone wishes to verify any quotations given, I have the books with me and the correct pages carefully noted.
"Jehovah's Witnesses" deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. The following seven points are given to prove that this position is anti-Scriptural and therefore entirely false. As Professor James Orr, M.A., D.D., has truly written: "If the narratives are at all to be trusted they leave no room for doubt as to the resurrection of the Lord in the body."
I. There was the Lords claim before He died. "Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up... But He spake of thetemple of His body. When therefore He was risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this unto them; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said." (John 2:19-22). This was the sign given to the people that the claims He made were fully justified, and no greater sign could have been given. He claimed that He would raise to life again the body that would be laid low in death. What this passage categorically affirms, Russellism and "Jehovah's Witnesses" definitely deny. He said He would raise His body. They say the body never was raised. I would ask Mr. Woodburn to read this passage to the audience, and then explain its meaning. He will have 10 minutes later.
II. There was the open and empty sepulchre. When certain women came to the sepulchre upon the first day of the week "they found the stone rolled away... And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus." (Luke 24:2-3). Mary Magdalene was distressed over this disappearance of the body - "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid Him." But the explanation of the empty tomb is given in the following words: "Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified; He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid him" (Mark 16:6). If there is any definiteness in the meaning of language, then the Jesus of Nazareth who had been crucified was risen; what they laid in the tomb (the body) came forth from the tomb alive. "So then, this body, so precious both to the love of one party and to the hatred of others, is not in the hands of either!...what, then, really became of it? The only possible explanation of this mysterious disappearance is that it reappeared as the body of Jesus risen."- Professor F. Godet. This is the unmistakable testimony of Scripture, and it is flatly denied by "Jehovah's Witnesses."
Russellism teaches that when the Lord appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He "created the body immediately in their presence and dissolved it when He disappeared" ("The Harp of God", p. 171). Indeed the former speaker has said that He assumed "different bodies" to suit the occasion. How, then, do the "Witnesses" explain the disappearance or the body that was laid in the tomb? Here is their explanation!
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES." Series 2, page 129:-
"Our Lord's human body was, however, supernaturally removed from the tomb; because had it remained there it would have been an insurmountable obstacle to the faith of the disciples, who were not yet instructed in spiritual things ... Whether it was dissolved into gases or whether it is still preserved somewhere as the grand memorial of God's love, of Christ's obedience, and of our redemption, no one knows."
Again "THE HARP OF GOD," page 172:-
"Our Lord's human body, the one crucified, was removed from the tomb by the power of God. Had it remained there it would have been an obstacle in the way of the faith of His disciples who were not yet instructed in spiritual things... Scriptures do not reveal what became of that body, except that it did not decay or corrupt. We can only surmise that the Lord may have preserved it somewhere to exhibit to the people in the Millenial age."
Apparently, but for the effect on the disciples, it would have mattered little whether the Lord's dead body had continued to lie in the tomb or not.
Had the body remained in the tomb "it would have been an insurmountable obstacle to the faith of the disciples." This is perfectly true. We would go further, and say it would have been the death of Christianity. In order to avoid this, we are told that God supernaturally removed that body, leaving the tomb empty, in order to make the disciples believe that He was risen. Suppose we attribute such action to the disciples; suppose they had disposed of the body in some way, and then had shown the empty tomb in order to make the public believe that He was alive -what would be thought of their action? They would be regarded as deceivers and frauds, and unworthy of our confidence in any matter. And yet these would-be "Jehovah's Witnesses" will not hesitate to attribute to Jehovah something that would be considered dishonest if discovered in the actions of human beings. This being so, these "Witnesses" might appropriately use the words found in 1 Cor. 15:15, "We are found false witnesses of God."
III. There were the unmistakable appearances to the disciples after the resurrection. "He showed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days" (Acts 1:3). Mr. Woodburn suggests that no one saw Him rising from the tomb. This may be true, but that the disciples believed that He did rise from the tomb is equally true, because they bore testimony to having seen Him risen. One cannot read the Acts without seeing that the Apostles considered their witness concerning the resurrection to be a vital and all-important part of the message they carried to the world. If it had been only a matter of seeing a spirit and not the actual body alive from the dead, then their witness would have been absolutely valueless and would have convinced few, if any. It was because they could bear testimony that they had seen, not a ghost, but the actual person of Jesus of Nazareth alive from the dead that their testimony proved so effective in convincing thousands.
The language used to describe these appearances places this matter beyond all possibility of doubt for any who will examine the records with unprejudiced honest minds.
"Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit." If the Lord by His action and words had confirmed this supposition, "Jehovah's Witnesses" might have had some ground for their contention. But the fact is He laboured to disabuse their minds of this false idea. "And He said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have...And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish...And he took it and did eat before them" (Luke 24:36,43).
It is important to notice that the Lord's words and actions here were not calculated to convince the disciples that He was a spirit creature. They could easily have believed this. The survival of the spirit after death was no new idea to them. But it was difficult to convince them that the man Christ Jesus had actually risen from the dead and now stood alive before them. It was in order to convince them of this that the Lord acted and spoke as He did.
There was another occasion when the Lord appeared to the disciples, Thomas being absent. When the others said to Thomas: "We have seen the Lord," his reply indicates how difficult it was for Thomas to believe the Resurrection Message. "Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe." How even a sceptic like Thomas was convinced is told in the following quotation: John 20:26-29, "After eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith He to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas because thou hast seen Me thou hast believed." What did Thomas believe? Of what was he convinced? There is only one possible answer to such a question. He and the others were convinced that the same body that had suffered on the cross and had lain in the tomb now stood before them alive, still bearing the marks of the passion. This conviction has its important sequel, but we shall consider this later.
The teaching of "Jehovah's Witnesses" concerning the post-resurrection appearances is indicated in the following quotations:-
THE HARP OF GOD," page 171:---
"He had power to create a fleshly body and appear in it and dissolve it at any time; and without doubt when he appeared to his disciples behind locked doors he created the body immediately in their presence and dissolved it when he disappeared."
It may be well to point out that we have nothing whatever except the authority of Charles Taze Russell and his followers for such a statement as this. Some of us would prefer to have a "Thus saith the Lord."
Another question from the same book:
"It was hard to convince Thomas, who declared he must have some more proof; therefore the Lord created a body having in it the marks of the nails in order that Thomas might be convinced."
If the sight of the marks of the nails convinced Thomas of anything, it convinced him of something that was entirely false, if this teaching is to be accepted. So we are asked to believe that what is recorded in the Gospels was merely a Spirit Creature practising deception -depicting a condition of things that had no existence in actual fact. No language can he too outspoken in condemning such blasphemy. Any system that leads to attributing such deception to the blessed Son Of God is itself a lying system, and stands utterly condemned.
IV. There was a very great change in and around Jerusalem which cannot be explained apart from the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. The following points are worthy of a careful consideration:
1. There was a remarkable transformation in the disciples themselves, lifting them from despair to joyful confidence, and sending them out to preach "Jesus and the resurrection." Immediately after the crucifixion they were filled with fear and inclined to remain behind closed doors. Their attitude very quickly changed, and they became bold and fearless even in face of bitter persecution. This change could not have been brought about by seeing a ghost.
2. There were the phenomenal results that followed their testimony concerning His resurrection. Within a very few years, from a very small beginning, the Church numbered hundreds of thousand, and quickly spread over a wide area. One remarkable feature about this growth was that it began in the region where Jesus Christ had been crucified, where it would have been comparatively easy for anyone to have examined the tomb and investigated the claims of the disciples that He Who had been put to death was now alive. Can we believe that if the disciples had gone out to tell the people that they had come into contact with His spirit their message would have been convincing or that it would have met with any success?
3. There was the seeming helplessness of the Jewish leaders to put a stop to the growth of Christianity, or to refute the claims of the disciples that He Whom that they had condemned to death had been raised to life. The story that the disciples had stolen away the dead body while the guard slept was a very weak attempt to counter the convincing arguments of those who had seen Him. It was no more worthy of belief than is the entirely unfounded invention of "Jehovah's Witnesses" that God secretly disposed of the body.
Let us notice where the teaching of this false system leads it's followers and supporters. They tell us that the body laid in the tomb never rose to life, but that a spirit creature manufactured "bodies" for the different appearances, even going the length of having the marks of the passion, in order to convince the unbelieving disciples. Believing that they were actually looking at the body that suffered they were convinced of a lie.
Furthermore, not only were they the victims of deception themselves, they went out to preach what they believed, and the early Church was founded on a hoax. This is the logical conclusion to which their theory leads, and, if it is justified, no right-thinking person can be proud of our Christian heritage. We must either reject "Russellism" as not being Christian, or reject Christianity as not being worthy of our serious consideration and acceptance.
It may be well to point out that the records we have in the Gospels were not written immediately after the resurrection, but many, many years later when the Church had been well established. This means that we have not a record of first impressions, but the truth written down by those who had reflected upon and were explaining the meaning of all that took place many years before. Could the apostle John, some fifty years after the resurrection, have written: "Reach hither thy finger and behold my hands," if he had not believed that the actual body was there? Could he have written thus without any kind of explanation as to the Lord's reason for acting in a way likely to mislead His own? The truth is that John, even fifty years later, believed that he had seen the Lord's body alive from the tomb.
V. The identity of the One who lived on earth with the One raised from the dead is repeatedly stated in Scripture, and the teaching of "Jehovah's Witnesses" leads to the denial of this identity. In order to understand the matter we are considering here, it is necessary to give several quotations from their own publications:-
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES", series 5, page 84:-
"Our Redeemer existed as a spirit being before he was made flesh and dwelt amongst men. At that time, as well as subsequently, he was properly known as `a god' ... As chief of the angels and next to the Father, he was known as the Archangel...whose name, Michael, signifies `Who as God' or God's representative."
We are indebted solely to Russell for this piece of information that Jesus Christ was none other than the Archangel Michael. In a more recent publication - "THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE" - we are given this information again.
In "WHERE ARE THE DEAD?" page 36, we read:-
"He was a perfect man, exactly like Adam before Adam sinned."
In "RECONCILIATION," page 79, we read:-
"Jesus did not possess immortality prior to his resurrection to the divine nature."
Page 111:- "In truth when Jesus was on earth he was a perfect man, nothing more and nothing less."
And so we see that while on earth there was nothing about Jesus Christ but His manhood. He was "the MAN CHRIST JESUS" and nothing more.
What happened when this Man died on the Cross? Let "Jehovah's Witnesses" give their answer. Speaking of the meaning of death we read in "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES," series 5, page 329:-
"Death ... is a period of absolute unconsciousness - more than that, it is a period of absolute non-existence, except as preserved in the Father's purpose and power."
In "WHERE ARE THE DEAD?" page 31:-
"To die means to cease to exist." Page 38:- "All animals are souls. When an animal is dead it is a dead soul or creature or animal. A man dies like other animals, and all go into the same place, to wit the grave, ... No one would contend that any of the beasts are in purgatory or in eternal torment. They are dead and out of existence."
All this applies to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In "LET GOD BE TRUE," page 63, we read:-
"Even the man Christ Jesus was mortal. He did not have an immortal soul: Jesus the human soul died."
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, series 5, page 362:-
"Our Lord's being or soul was non-existent during the period of death ... But his soul (being) was revived in resurrection, being granted a new spiritual body."
This is not a matter of soul-sleep. There is no soul to sleep. Nothing exists after death except the lifeless body.
Here we are faced with the blasphemous teaching that Jesus Christ was annihilated on the Cross. When He died He simply passed out of existence. And yet this One Who ceased to be had power to take up His own life again! (John 10:17-18).
But this is followed by something, if possible, even more startling, especially as it comes from those who say they believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ:-
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES," series 5, page 454:-
"It was necessary not only that the man Christ Jesus should die, but just as necessary that the man Christ Jesus should never life again, should remain dead, should remain our ransom-price to all eternity."
"RECONCILIATION," page 128:-
"The man Jesus must remain dead for ever if he is to be a substitute for Adam."
"GOVERNMENT," page 110:-
"If Adam and his offspring are to profit by the death of the perfect man Jesus, then Jesus as a man must remain dead for ever."
In face of these quotations, we must ask "Jehovah's Witnesses" a question. If the "Man Christ Jesus" was nothing more than a man, and when He died on the cross the "Man Christ Jesus" passed out of existence, and, further, the "Man Christ Jesus" must remain dead to all eternity, who or what was raised from the dead? According to this teaching there was absolutely nothing to raise up. God created the world out of nothing, but it is not proper to speak of resurrecting something that has no existence and must be created.
It is futile for these false "Witnesses" to attempt to get over this difficulty by saying that: "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES," series 1, page 231:-
"Jesus, ..... at and after His resurrection, was a spirit - a spirit being, and no longer a human being in any sense."
Again:- "STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES", series 1, page 180:-
"Thus we see that in Jesus there was no mixture of natures, but that twice he experienced a change of nature: first, from spiritual to human; afterwards, from human to the highest order of spiritual nature, the divine; and in each case the one was given up for the other."
We have similar teaching in later publications such as "RECONCILIATION," "GOVERNMENT," and "LET GOD BE TRUE."
The point we wish to emphasise about all this teaching is that there can be no real identity or even connection between the "Man Christ Jesus" who lived on earth and at death ceased to be, and must remain dead forever, and the "spirit creature" raised out if nothing and ascended to heaven.
Mr. Woodburn insists that "Jehovah's Witnesses" do believe in the resurrection, but, in the light of the quotations given, we reply that they cannot logically believe in the resurrection of One Who must "remain dead to all eternity." Such teaching not only outrages sound reasoning, it means the denial of many clear Scriptures. Our chief embarrassment here is the abundance of passages that might be quoted. In Acts 2:22-24, Peter insists that "Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God," who had been crucified, was the One whom God had raised up. In verse 36 we read: "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ."
In Acts 13:29-3l we are told that the One taken down from the tree and laid in the sepulchre, was raised by God from the dead, and was seen of witnesses.
In Hebrews 4:14-15, we are told that "Jesus the Son of God" Who is "passed into the heavens" is the same One Who in earth "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin," How could such words be applied to a "spirit being, and no longer a human being in any sense?"
In Hebrews 10:12, we are told that the One Who "offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God," Scripture assures us of the identity between the "Man Christ Jesus" on earth, and the Man Who, as our Great High Priest, represents us in heaven.
Other Scriptures could be given, but we must content ourselves with giving one other - Revelation 1:17-18 - "I am the first and the last: He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold I am alive for evermore." The One Who claims to be alive for evermore had passed through the experience of death. How could such language be used by a "spirit creature," who had no connection with the Man Christ Jesus Who lived and died on earth?
That which Scripture asserts concerning the identity of the Man Christ Jesus on earth with the One risen and ascended to heaven "Jehovah's Witnesses" definitely deny,
VI. "Jehovah's Witnesses" would have us believe that Calvary was the end of the man Christ Jesus, and that the One risen from the dead, being only a "spirit creature," can never be seen again.
In "RECONCILIATION." page 128, we read:- "The man Jesus must remain dead for ever."
In "LET GOD BE TRUE," page 122:- "Christ Jesus was put to death in the flesh, and was resurrected an invisible spirit creature; therefore the world will see him no more."
In "GOVERNMENT" page 113:- "He now is and ever will he invisible to man."
The only reply to refute such statements is to quote the following verses:-
1 Timothy 2:5-6, "For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all."
Therefore the "Man Christ Jesus," "Who gave Himself a ransom," is also the "One Mediator" in heaven. Those who assert that He must remain dead for ever are false witnesses.
Acts 17:31:- "He (God) hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by THAT MAN Whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead."
The Man Christ Jesus was not annihilated on the Cross. Scripture assures us that He is God's appointed Judge, and the fact that He has been raised from the dead is proof to the world that there can be no escaping the coming judgment.
Revelation 1:7:-"Behold, He cometh with clouds; and EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM, and they also which pierced Him and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him."
VII. In Jesus Christ risen from the dead we have the guarantee that the believer in Him will be raised, and we have also the pattern of what the believer's resurrection will be. This is clear from a study of 1 Corinthians, chapter 15. In verse 20 we read: "But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept." The first fruits indicate the character of the full harvest. Therefore, if the bodies of believers are to be raised up, Christ's body must have been raised. "Jehovah's Witnesses" are inconsistent in affirming the former while denying the latter.
This chapter makes it clear that the body quickened in resurrection is not the same as the body sown in death, because a great transformation has taken place. Instead of the "corruption," "dishonour," and weakness" associated with the "natural body," the "spiritual body" is characterised by "incorruption," "glory," and "power." In this sense it is not the same body. This, however, is very different from saying that there is no body at all. The chapter makes it equally clear that the body "quickened" to life is the same as the body "sown" in death, in the sense that identity is preserved. How often we read: "It is sown ... it is raised." That which is sown is raised up again.
Referring to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, Professor James Orr points out that it was not "a simple re-animation of His mortal body." A study of the Gospel narratives "show that while Jesus was truly risen in body, He had entered, even bodily, on a new phase of existence in which some at least of the ordinary limitations of body were transcended." He says that the resurrection body while possessing "mysterious (supernatural) traits," also possessed "attributes and functions which attest it's full physical reality, and identity with the body that was crucified." There was a transformation without destroying identity.
In Philippians 3:21 (R. V.) we are told that the Lord Jesus Christ "shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory." What could be the meaning of such words if the risen Lord was only an invisible spirit without a body?
Mr. Woodburn has made reference to the ability of the Lord Jesus Christ to appear suddenly in the midst of His disciples in a closed room, and again disappear from sight, and he has taken this as proof that the body with which He appeared could not possibly have been the physical body raised from the tomb. What then is Mr. Woodburn's explanation of the strange phenomenon? This, forsooth: A spirit creature manufactured out of nothing, a "natural body" that could be handled and felt, and then disappeared by dissolving it again into its original elements. Presumably it is easier for "Jehovah's Witnesses" to believe this nonsense than to believe what Thomas and the other disciples believed, that the actual body that had lain in the tomb appeared before them, now possessing strange powers and obeying strange laws of which they had no experience or knowledge.
Naturally, when we attempt to apply the standards and laws that belong to ordinary experience to a quality and condition of life of which we have no knowledge or experience we get into difficulties. This world may yet hold many mysteries of which the scientist is still ignorant, and, therefore, the believer can accept the plain statements of Scripture without doing any violence to reason. At any rate, if anyone should seem to have intellectual difficulties in accepting the Gospel records, the teaching of "Jehovah's Witnesses" will not help to overcome such difficulties.
TEN MINUTES - MR. WOODBURN
Mr. Woodburn did not occupy the full ten minutes allotted to him. He turned to his manuscript again and emphasised some of the points which he said I had not attempted to answer.
He objected to my references to "ghosts," and said: "We do not believe in ghosts, else we would join the Spiritualists." He pointed out that the Greek word for "ghost" was "phantasma," whereas the word for spirit is "pneuma."
He said that he did not deny that the Lord appeared in bodies of "flesh and bones." "The bodies were real human bodies, not delusions." As proof of this the Lord had invited His disciples to handle Him and see that the body was real flesh and bones.
Mr. Woodburn then pointed out that there were other instances of spirit creatures appearing to people in human form. The angel of the Lord that appeared to Manoah and his wife in the form of a man ascended into heaven in the flame of the altar (Judges 13:20-22). And yet we did not believe that the angel took the human body into heaven.
Referring to Rev. 1:18, the speaker said that Jesus was alive as a spirit and not with His human body. Nowhere did it say that the angels were in the form of a body, although they appeared to men in that form. He said that while he believed in the resurrection, he believed that "Jesus died as a man and died as a man for ever." Since they were agreed that the Lord went back to the same world from whence He came into this world, surely He could not now be a man subject to death.
Mr. Woodburn said that if the Lord Jesus Christ had His human body in heaven, and Christians were going to be like Him, then they would know what they were going to be. But Scripture definitely stated that they did not know what they were going to be like in their future state. 1 John 3:2, "It doth not yet appear what we shall be." "We shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye."
The speaker concluded by saying that Scripture taught that He was raised a quickening spirit, not in flesh and blood, and that we do not know Him after the flesh, but as the glorious, mighty, resurrected spirit, immortal and invisible, King of kings and Lord of lords.
TEN MINUTES - MR. WEIR
Mr. Woodburn has just said that I have not answered the passages he has given, which speak of Jesus Christ as a spirit. The fact is I have answered his faulty interpretation of these passages, but not in the way he wanted me to answer them. I have answered his whole teaching in much the same way as God answered the Pharisees and Sadducees. They had a false theory about the Lord Jesus Christ, namely that he was only a man. In this they were rather like these "Jehovah's Witnesses," except that they were more logical in saying that being only a man and making claims that no mere man should ever make He was an imposter. Because of this they plotted his death. Then, three days after His crucifixion, those Jewish leaders were faced with a new and startling fact that proved all their theories concerning Him to be false. They were faced with the open and empty tomb. God had raised Him from the dead, and this was His answer to all their opposition. This new situation should have sent them back to reconsider and readjust their theories. Instead of taking such a course, they invented a lie in a face-saving attempt to vindicate their own past attitude and actions.
Mr. Woodburn has avoided any real facing of what the Gospel records tell us about the resurrection, and he has made no mention of the unmistakably clear passage in John 2:19-22. The fact is that "Jehovah's Witnesses" have theories about the Person of
Christ, the meaning of death, and the "Ransom Price," etc., that make it necessary for them to deny what Scripture clearly teaches concerning the bodily resurrection.
This is significant. Not only do we see that their teaching concerning the subject of this debate is utterly false, we see, too, that their whole tenets, which involve them in such a blatant denial of Scripture, must he false. Their teaching simply cannot be made to fit into the data supplied in the Gospel narratives.
Time would not permit us to refer in detail to all the verses cited by Mr, Woodburn, but we would suggest that in some instances it is only necessary to take the whole verse instead of the part quoted in order to see that his inference is entirely unjustified. In other instances an examination of the whole context will reveal the fallacy of his contention.
Part of 2 Corinthians 5:16 was quoted: "... yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more." And is this proof that Jesus Christ has no material body? What then can be the meaning of the first part of the verse, which reads : "Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh"? Does this mean that no man possesses a material body? This reference proves nothing so much as the folly of trying to build a theory on an isolated expression like knowing "Christ after the flesh," when the theory is not in keeping with of her clear statements of Scripture.
Mr. Woodburn seems to put great dependence upon certain verses from 1 Cor., chapter 15. He has quoted freely from it. But in doing so he has made unjustified changes in the text of the Authorised Version. Although the word "soma" is consistently rendered "body" in the A.V., not only in this passage but throughout the New Testament (with one unnecessary exception, Rev. 18:13), Mr. Woodburn on several occasions substitutes the word " form." The reason for this change is not to he found in the Greek text. The only possible reason is that it seems to suit his purpose better. Indeed. it is very awkward for one who believes that Jesus was raised a spirit without a body to have to speak of God giving a Body in resurrection - "God giveth it a Body as it hath pleased Him."
The primary design of this chapter is to establish the resurrection of the believer, of which Christ's resurrection is said to be the "first-fruits." The whole meaning of the chapter is entirely against the teaching of "Jehovah's Witnesses." If it proves anything, it proves that the believer's body is to raised.
In verse 44: "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body," the word translated "natural" is from a Greek word meaning "soul," and the word translated "spiritual" is from a Greek word meaning "spirit." Dr A. T. Robertson, whose knowledge of the Greek language will hardly be seriously questioned, points out that just as the natural body is not all "soul" and no body, so the spiritual body cannot be all "spirit" and no body.
Mr. Woodburn quotes verse 45: The first man Adam was made a living soul: the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." But this gives no proof that He is a spirit without any body.
In verse 50 we read: "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." The expression "flesh and blood" is used several times in Scripture, and refers to the present condition of humanity, which must in the resurrection give place to something more glorious and wonderful. Mr. Woodburn insinuates that when we teach the resurrection of the body we mean that Jesus Christ has a natural body of "flesh and blood" in heaven. This is utterly false. It is worthy of note that when Christ appeared to His disciples He said: "A spirit hath not FLESH and BONES, as ye see me have," He did not appear in a natural body of flesh and blood," as "Jehovah's Witnesses" would suggest. The change had taken place, but His was a real body of "flesh and bones."
A study of the history of the controversy concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ shows that the contention has raged around the Body and what became of it. Men have invented different theories in an attempt to account for the open and empty sepulchre:- (1) that the witnesses who said that they saw Him alive were guilty of fraud; (2) that they were the victims of hallucination; (3) that the Lord did not really die but bad swooned. These and other suggestions have been put forth from time to time. A man may believe any one of these if he chooses to do so, but none of them can account for all the data given in the four Gospels. When, however, any man tells us that the disciples did not believe or teach that the body was ever raised to life, then we are bound to enter our strongest protest. This is simply not true.
In the nineteenth century, Strauss, who denied all miracles, and was one of the cleverest opponents of the Christian faith, admitted that the disciples, even the five hundred, "were firmly convinced that they had seen Jesus who had been dead and was alive again." Baur, a sceptic of the same school of thought, wrote: "History must hold to the assertion that to the faith of the disciples the resurrection of Jesus Christ was a fact, certain and indisputable. It is in this faith only that Christianity found ground solid enough to erect upon it the superstructure of its whole historic development." To these men the resurrection meant the coming to life of the body.
The historian is faced with the account of the open and empty tomb. The daring confidence of the disciples, the helplessness of those in authority to give any effective reply to the disciples as they went to preach "Jesus and the resurrection" and the amazing growth and power of the early Church. If the infidels and materialists of the past could have discovered any way of accounting for these phenomena without admitting the miracle of the actual body coming to life they would have hailed it as a great victory against Christianity. Christians rejoice that every attempt to do this ended in failure. In our own day "Jehovah's Witnesses" would deny the bodily resurrection, and at the same time attempt to account for the Gospel records, but they are no more successful than those who have preceded them. Again we insist that we either reject "Russellism" as not being Christian, or reject Christianity as not being worthy of our serious consideration and acceptance.
FIVE MINUTES - MR WOODBURN
Mr. Woodburn occupied only a small part of the last five minutes for his closing message. He referred to the passage I had asked him to explain - John ch. 2 -, and suggested that the Lord Jesus was speaking of the spiritual membership of His body. In proof of this, he quoted from 1 Corinthians 6:14-17, "God hath raised up the Lord and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ ... he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."
The speaker said that "Jehovah's Witnesses" would stand firm in their faith that Jesus Christ will soon bring in His glorious Kingdom. He quoted John 5:28, "Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth" - a message of hope for all who have lost loved ones. They shall come back again in resurrection.
Mr. Woodburn concluded by assuring his audience that if "Jehovah's Witnesses" were of man they could not prosper, but if they were of God none could stop them.
LAST FIVE MINUTES - MR. WEIR
The last five minutes is perhaps the most difficult period; there is so much one would like to say that cannot be crowded into such a short space of time.
What Mr Woodburn has just given as an explanation of the meaning of John 2:19-22 is not likely to deceive anybody who will turn to the passage and read it. The fact that he has suggested such an explanation proves nothing so much as the untenability of the position he endeavours to maintain.
The reference to the "three days" in this passage, and also the fact that it was "when He was risen" the disciples remembered and understood the meaning of the statement, make it perfectly clear that the Lord can have referred to nothing less than the raising up of His own body. It is absolutely impossible to reconcile the teaching of "Jehovah's Witnesses" with this passage.
In the light of all that has been considered I would appeal to Mr. Woodburn and to all supporters of "Jehovah's Witnesses" to turn away from this soul-destroying heresy. It is the direct denial of the clearest and most precious teaching of Holy Scripture.
To all who have come to this debate I would issue a warning to have nothing to do with any literature published by the "Watchtower Bible and Tract Society," or with those who come to your doors offering this literature for sale. You cannot accept the teaching of these books or of these false witnesses without throwing overboard the great doctrines that are so plainly taught in Scripture, doctrines that all Evangelical Churches down the centuries have held to be fundamental and essential to the Christian faith. If you accept this heresy, you at the same time condemn the men who have been outstanding as leaders in the long history of the Church during the past centuries - men who have given abundant proof of their saintliness and scholarship, and whose names are rightly honoured: men like Wesley, Whitfield, Spurgeon, and the great missionaries like William Carey and David Livingstone, and very many others whose labours have placed not only the entire Church but whole communities and even countries under deep debt of gratitude. These "Jehovah's Witnesses" will not hesitate to question either the godly character or the sound scholarship of such leaders. They have the temerity to tell us that they were either frauds who purposely deceived the people for personal gain, or ignorant and incapable of giving the true meaning of the original languages in which the Scriptures were written. I ask any sane man to think again before he turns his back upon all that has proved of such value in the past, to accept the guidance of a man like C. T. Russell, who in a court of law was obliged to admit that he did not know even the alphabet of Hebrew or Greek.
No fact of history can claim to have more convincing evidence of its veracity than the fact that "God hath raised up this Jesus." Dr. Arnold of Rugby, has said: "I have been used for many years to study the history of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them; and I know of no fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair enquirer than the great sign which God has given us, that Christ died and rose again from the dead."
"Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus, my Saviour!
Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus, my Lord!"
"Up from the grave He arose
With a mighty triumph o'er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives for ever with His saints to reign.
He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!"
It is difficult to give a true impression of the closing moments of the meeting, but the following sentence taken from a report given in the "Belfast Telegraph" may help. "Except for one or two interruptions, the audience gave the speakers a patient hearing, but there was a strong burst of applause when, at the conclusion, Pastor Weir urged the audience to close their doors on the `Jehovah's Witnesses' representatives who came selling their books."
What is your interest, dear reader, in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? If you know Him Who died and rose again as your personal Saviour and Friend, then you can rejoice in His triumph. "The Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto Salvation to every one that believeth," Rom. 1:16. On the other hand, the resurrection brings to every unbeliever an assurance of judgment ahead. "He hath appointed a day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man Whom He hath ordained whereof He hath given assurance unto all men in that He hath raised Him from the dead," Acts 17:31. He becomes the Saviour of all who really trust in Him; He will be the Judge of all who reject His claims and refuse to bow before Him.
"Then take, with rejoicing, from Jesus at once
The life everlasting He gives;
And know, with assurance, thou never canst die
Since Jesus thy Righteousness lives."
Copies of this Booklet may be had from Mr, W. WEIR, 111 Thomas St., Portadown. (6d each, 8d post free.)
Arches church of Christ
Come to the Saviour today and obey the Gospel then you can truly know Him:
"He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." Mark 16:16.
"Repent and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Acts 2:38.
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Rom. 10:9
"And why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." Acts 22:16.
Why tarriest thou?
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