by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XX

September, 1940

Number 2.

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

"Israel will not be snatched away at all," I said in Chapter One.  A brother reminds me that a company of Israelites - the 144,000, represented by the son of the woman mentioned in Un. 12 - will be snatched away.  

I think he is correct.  If the woman is symbolic of those believing Jews who are to find refuge in the mountains, Matt. 24:16, the son born of her must be symbolic of a company of persons.  There would be no point in saying, "she brought forth a son a male," Un. 12:5, if the expression were not intended to convey the thought of a company of persons, all males.  And this is just what is true of the 144,000 mentioned in Un. 14.  In verse 4, we are told that they "were not polluted with women, for they are celibates."  The "son a male," could not be just one person, for it is said he "is about to be shepherding all the nations with an iron club."  If it were just one person, it would have to be Christ.  And the scene is much too late for the birth of Christ.  Moreover, His mother did not go into the mountains, nor was He snatched away as soon as He was born.  No; the woman, the birth and the son, are all symbolic.  

The company - the 144,000 - is mentioned in Un. 7, and again in Un. 14.  That the same company is mentioned symbolically in Un. 12.  I have no doubt.  The time is the beginning of the 1,260 days of affliction, Un 12:6.  The group represented by the male son, will be snatched away TOWARD God and TOWARD the throne - not necessarily TO God and TO the throne.  See the Greek, where the word is PROS, meaning toward.  

But this is not permanent, nor is it for the eon.  In Un. 14 we see the company on Mount Zion with the Lambkin.  Any student of the scriptures can easily ascertain that Mount Zion is on earth.  It is in Jerusalem.  If the reader doubts this, let him read II Kings, 19:31; Ps. 48:2; etc.  Look up the word in a concordance, and notice its every occurrence.  So, I say, while this company is snatched away, the same company is seen later on Mount Zion.  This is, perhaps, a preview of the kingdom, just as, in Un. 7, we are granted a preview of the blessings of this same company in the kingdom.  

Members of the ecclesia which is the body of Christ will be snatched  away and will be in the heavens eonian, II Cor. 5:1.  The company out of Israel will be snatched away, 1,260 days before Christ comes to the nation.  They will be taken toward God and the throne.  This is not eonian, for they are later seen on Mount Zion, on earth.  

Why not make Mount Zion symbolic?  It is a mistake to MAKE anything symbolic.  Statements are recognized as being so, only when a literal interpretation would not be in line with the facts.  A company will flee to the mountains, Matt. 24:16; and a company shall shepherd the nations with an iron club, Un. 2:26.  Therefore, to interpret the woman and her son literally, would be out of line with the facts.  We are forced to recognize them as symbolic.  

On the other hand, if Mount Zion is to be the joy of the whole earth, Ps. 48:2, why should we symbolize the fact that the Lambkin is seen there, in Un. 14:  His being there is in accord with the facts.  

Seeking a symbol is the wrong way to study the scriptures, and especially the Unveiling, or Revelation.  Arbitrarily making a passage symbolic just to teach some theory of ours, is decidedly wrong, and is lawlessness.  There must be some standard, and here it is: Literal, so long as this accords with known facts; otherwise, symbolic.  

A brother tells me that our prior expectancy is a matter of 75 days, only.  It is true, according to Dan. 12, that Christ is to come to the earth 75 days before the dead of Israel are roused.  But there is no proof that we shall be roused at His coming.  That shall take place when He comes in the air, I Thess. 4:13-18.  Besides, if we are to be roused when He comes to earth, the ecclesia, which is the body of Christ must go through the "great affliction," Matt. 24:21.  The opposite is true.  

Paul says, in II Thess. 2, that the day of the Lord will not come until the man of lawlessness be unveiled.  The man of lawlessness will be operating during the great affliction, which will be in the day of the Lord.  He must be unveiled before that day comes, and of course, before the great affliction begins. 

Concerning the man of lawlessness, Paul says to the Thessalonian saints, "And now you are aware what is detaining, for him to be unveiled in his own era.  For the secret phase of lawlessness, already in operation, is only till that which is detaining at present may be coming to be out of the midst," II Thess. 2:6, 7.  What is it that is detaining?  What is it that must be taken out of the midst before the man of lawlessness can be unveiled?  Paul said to the saints, "You know."  Well, if they knew, it must have been because Paul had told them.  And when was that?  Evidently in his first epistle to them. 

Paul had not said to them, in so many words, "So-and-so is detaining at present."  But he had told them this:  "Now concerning the times and the eras, brethren, you have no need to be written to, for you yourselves are accurately aware that the day of the Lord is as a thief in the night - thus is it coming.  Now whenever they may be saying, 'Peace and security!' then extermination is standing over them unawares, even as trail over the pregnant, and they shall by no means escape.  Now you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should be overtaking you as a thief, for you all are sons of the light and sons of the day.  We are not of the night nor of darkness.  Consequently then, we should not be drowsing, even as the rest, but we may be watchful and sober.  For those who are drowsing are drowsing at night, and those who are drunk are drunk at night.  Yet we, being of the day may be sober, putting on the cuirass of faith and love, and the helmet, the expectation of salvation, seeing that God did not appoint us to indignation, but to the procuring of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, the One dying for us, that, whether we may be watching or drowsing, we should be living at the same time together with Him."  I Thess 5:1-10.  

We are not appointed to indignation, but if we should be on earth during the affliction period, we would be in the midst of indignation.  

The day of the Lord will come upon somebody as a thief, but it will not overtake us as a thief.  The only reason is, we will not be here.  If that day should come on the ecclesia, it certainly would come on most of the saints as a thief - that is unexpected.  

What may we expect - indignation, or salvation?  We are to put on the helmet, the expectation of salvation, says the text.  

Fearful that the doctrine of grace will encourage sin in saints, some teach that only the wide-awake ones will escape the affliction.  Not so; whether we may be watching or drowsing, we are to be living at the same time together with Him.  

Paul certainly meant to teach, in the passage quoted above, that the ecclesia will not be here when the day of the Lord comes as a thief, and the saints so understood it.  This is why the apostle could say, "You are aware what is detaining."  

Our prior expectancy, instead of being merely a matter of 75 days, will be a matter of several years.  We must be taken out of the way, before the man of lawlessness can be unveiled.  

The man of lawlessness may be living, now.  If he is, no one knows who he is.  There are thousands of lawless men.  There are scores of lawless leaders.  But the man of lawlessness is a certain man.  No doubt he will operate as a deceiver for a while before being unveiled.  

It seems that his unveiling will be a public ceremony.  It will be after the temple has been built, for he will sit in it.  This means that the worship of the Jews will be restored before the unveiling takes place. 

Many things are to take place before the unveiling of that man.  But we do not  know that God has any event on his program before we shall be snatched away for meeting the Lord in the air.  It may come any day.  Surely it cannot be long, for we see matters shaping up for the last days of the eon.  Let us be wide awake.  Let us be watching.  Oh, how the saints do need the blessed evangel!  How they do need to be awakened!  Perhaps more than 999 out of every thousand are asleep.  But, grace being what it is, the sleepy ones will not be left behind.  Thank God for that!  

A brother accuses me of teaching thus, because I am holding to a creed, and my mind is not open to the truth.  From 1903 until 1932 I was a member of a denomination that had a creed.  That creed did not teach the prior expectancy.  It spoke of a general resurrection and general judgment.  In 1909 I learned that the scriptures teach that we are to be taken away to be with the Lord some time before Christ comes to establish the kingdom on earth.  This was contrary to the creed and subjected me to many hurtful slights on the part of my fellow saints, and especially the preachers.  This was before I came into the truth of the salvation of all mankind, and the reconciliation of the universe.  Since leaving the "church" I have held to no creed.  I believe in the prior expectancy because the scriptures teach it - not because any creed teaches it.  

I mentioned that some are afraid to go the limit in teaching grace, for fear it will lead saints into sin.  They feel that I am doing great harm in saying all members of the ecclesia will be snatched away when the Lord descends in the air.  Lest any reader of the Messenger might get that idea, let me say that when we are snatched away, we are taken before the dais of Christ, "that each one should be requited for that which he puts into practice through the body, whether it is good or foul," II Cor. 5:10.  Those who have put foul deeds into practice will suffer loss.  But it will not interfere with their salvation.  They are already saved and glorified, before being manifested before the dais of Christ.  Paul said that he was persuading men, because of the fact of our manifestation before the dais.  This is sufficient grounds for persuasion.  Let us all, as teachers, do the same thing.  Let us be diligent in telling saints that there is loss for them at the dais, if they do foul things.  For, despite the fact that grace changes the disposition, yet saints are likely to yield to the flesh thousands of times in life.  But when we persuade them, let us be careful to not dim the blessed doctrine of grace - God's unmerited favor. 

BAPTISM AS A FIGURE OF SPEECH - This is the title of the editorial in the January, 1940, issue of the Messenger.  I think it is instructive.  Two copies may be had for five cents, or a dozen for 25 cents.  Perhaps your friends need it.  A nickel may safely be sent an envelope and the same is true of a quarter.  I want this article widely read. 

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