A Vast Difference
In some remarks, prefacing the reprinting of the Janes collection "on the imminent, personal, premillennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth to reign gloriously where once he suffered great pain and dishonor when 'He was despised and rejected of men' " (this phrase is in the Janes will), Jorgenson says, "that these same differences—both in faith and teaching—have continued all along among disciples and that never before, so far as history discloses—at least in this latest Restoration'—have they been urged to draw the line." (Word and Work, April 1945) Yet it seems that Jorgenson had forgotten that just one year earlier he mentioned as believing that Christ would come before the millennium, Lard, Creath, Milligan, Harding, Brents, and Sommer; but said " 'Premillennialism', as conceived of by many today, these men might disavow." This is a significant expression. Things are tacked on to the premillennial theory these days that the men mentioned never dreamed of. Yes, there is a vast difference.
1. They did not continually harp on the millennium.
I think it can be safely affirmed that everything all these men said about the millennium would be a small amount compared with what Boll has said. On this point Brother Harding said to me, "Brother Boll needs to pray for wisdom." And that was before Robert had written his pamphlets and tracts on his theories. Since then he has kept up an almost constant agitation in Word and Work, in addition to his pamphlets and preaching. None of the men mentioned did so. And there is a wide difference in what these men believed and what Boll and his converts believe.
2. These men believed in Jesus as the Christ—that Jesus is the Christ; but Boll's faith is different.
In commenting on Revelation 12 Boll says, "This mystic man-child is not simply the child that was born in Bethlehem, but the Christ as including both Himself, the Head, and the church, His spiritual Body, which is one with him." (Word and Work, Jan. 1930) Peter said to Jesus, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" —that was his faith, and should be ours. Boll confesses that Jesus and the church is to be the Christ—that is his faith, as it was also Pastor Russell's. So far as I know, Russell first set forth that heresy. "Thus the saints of this gospel age are an anointed company; . . . and together with Jesus, their chief and Lord, they constitute Jehovah's Anointed—the Christ." (Russell's Vol. 1. pp 81, 82)"The Christ includes all anointed of the Spirit Thus the plan of God was hidden in types until the gospel age began the development of the Christ." (p. 85) To be sure, if the
Christ is to be composed of Jesus and the church, the Christ is still being developed. No one, not even Boll or Jorgenson, believes that Lard, Milligan, Harding, and others of the past, believed and taught such stuff. Why say they did?
Another thing, a man's confession should be as broad as his faith: Why not ask the candidate for baptism, Do you believe that Jesus and the church is the Christ? Foolishness, you say? Certainly, the theory is foolishness; but a man should confess what he believes. If it takes Jesus and the church to constitute the Christ, the Jesus in his own person is not the Christ.
3. In his book, "The Kingdom of God," Boll says, "It," the new birth, "is the universal requirement of acceptance with God and characteristic of the new covenant which now in its principles applies to the church, and which the Lord will make with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah 'after those days'."
If you are acquainted with Boll's future kingdom you will know that he must, to maintain his theory, put the making of the new covenant yet future. Those who know the future kingdom theory know that its advocates deny that any Old Testament promise or prophecy refers to the scheme of redemption preached by the apostles of Christ—that no prophet said anything about the period between the ascension of Christ and what they call the "rapture," the taking up of his saints. The men Jorgenson mentioned did not believe and teach anything that would so flatly contradict what Paul says about the new covenant. Of course when Jeremiah (31:31-34) wrote about the new covenant, its being made was future, but Paul wrote of it as an accomplished fact. (2 Cor. 3:6-18; Hebrews chapter 8:9: 15-17) I know of no brother who taught otherwise till Brother Boll began his career as a leader in fantastic theorizing. What he says about it is not the expression of an opinion; it is an emphatic contradiction of what God says.
4. Boll's teaching on the immanency of Christ's second coming is likely to discredit in the minds of thinking men the teaching of the apostles.
Notice these statements: "The apostolic church was taught to wait and look for the coming again of the Lord Jesus." "The apostolic church was in an attitude of waiting for Jesus." "They were hoping for Him and they were looking for His return in the days of the apostles." (Second Coming by R. H. Boll pp 7, 8, 10) And notice the implications of this strange statement: "The apostle Paul was looking forward to it in his day. He taught the Thessalonian brethren and others to wait and look and long for it, and the apostle Paul knew as much about God's plans as any man on earth, for he was an inspired apostle and he knew no more than that the coming of the Lord Jesus was continually to be expected." (pp 32,33) If the apostles had taught the brethren to expect the Lord to come in their day, they would have raised false hopes. That would have discredited their claim to be inspired of God, for God never raised any false hopes. But Paul did not so teach the Thessalonian brethren, though it seems that some, misunderstanding Paul's first letter, and others, claiming spiritual guidance, taught "that the day of the Lord is just at hand." In his second letter Paul corrects that mistaken notion. "Now we beseech you, brethren, touching the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him; to the end that ye be not quickly shaken from your mind, nor yet be troubled, either by spirit, or by word, or by epistle as from us, as that the day of the Lord is just at hand; let no man beguile you in any wise; for it will not be, except the falling away come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition..." (Chapter 2:1-3) Paul goes on to say more about this falling away and the man of sin. And so "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him" would necessarily be considerably in the future when Paul wrote second Thessalonians. They knew, when they read this letter, that the coming of the Lord was not "just at hand." And so, Boll contradicts Paul, a thing the brethren Jorgenson mentioned would not have done.
5. Years ago, when Brother Nichol and I wrote "Christ and His Kingdom, a Review of R. H. Boll," some brethren who should have known better, accused us of misrepresenting Brother Boll. If we erred at all in that Review, it was in failing to make our Review as strong as his perversions really demanded. When a man teaches that no Old Testament promise or prophecy refers at all to the kingdom of Christ as we have it today, none refers to the church, none refers to the gospel plan of salvation as preached by the apostles, his theory is so absurd that no one could make it more so by misrepresenting it.
In this article I cannot follow all the ramifications of his future kingdom theory, but will make a few quotations and comments. "But the trouble is that neither in detail nor otherwise can we trace the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel 2 in anything that has ever happened in the past." (Boll's Kingdom Book p. 14) "This is the stone which has been forming throughout the present age and which in due time comes down to smite the image and assume the control of the earth." (p. 20) "For in God's time Israel will come into her own according to all the words that he spake by his holy prophets from the days of old." (p. 32) So "due time"—"God's time"—to establish the kingdom is yet future. Why then, then did Jesus and John preach as they did? John preached, "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." "Now after John was delivered up, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel." "The time is fulfilled"; what time? Whose time? "due time?" "God's time"? When Jesus said, "The time is fulfilled" he knew what he was talking about.
Boll says, "When John the Baptist lifted up his voice in the wilderness of Judea and announced 'the kingdom of heaven is at hand' he used a phraseology which was already common and current among the Jews, and which was perfectly understood by all." The fact is, the phrase "kingdom of heaven" is not found in the Old Testament. On what grounds did Boll affirm so confidently that the phrase was "common and cur- rent among the Jews?" And how does he know that it was perfectly understood by all the Jews? He could not know the truth of what he so emphatically affirms. "Perfectly understood by all," and yet Jesus called the Pharisees blind guides! Again, "But if the Jewish expectations had been utterly wrong (. . .), even then a ,sense of justice would suggest that God would not have left the people under such misapprehension without a clear protest and correction." Whose sense of justice? Does he mean to say that man's sense of justice would suggest what God should do? But when Boll reaches the end of Matthew 12, he forgets this sense of justice. The Jews had reached the climax of their hard- ness of heart; and so, Boll tells us, that Jesus in his parables (Matt. 13) set forth new truth. Notice this: "These parables are really an announcement of the new and unexpected aspect the kingdom would assume during an anticipated age of the king's rejection and absence from the world." And yet Jesus did not tell them that he was not now talking about the kingdom they expected, but a new and unexpected phase of the kingdom. In this case what would Boll's sense of justice suggest as to why Jesus did not tell them he was now talking about the new and unexpected aspect of the kingdom, not about the kingdom they expected? Again: "In the teachings that follow in Matt. 18, 19, 20, the references to the kingdom bear variously upon one or the other of these features—the present spiritual aspect, as the kingdom shares the incognito of the king, —on the one hand; and the glory to come on the other." So we are to understand that Jesus changed his talks from one aspect of the kingdom to the other, yet he never did say which aspect he was talking about. Why did not Boll's sense of justice suggest that Jesus would tell which aspect he was talking about? Well, he could not make any point by such suggestion. All this nullifies the point Boll sought to make when Jesus did not at the start tell the Jews that he was not talking about such a kingdom as they expected.
6. The way Boll butchers up Matthew 25:31-46 is a shame.
That he tells us will be a judgment of the nations that will be in existence when Jesus comes again. He will separate the good nations, the ones that have treated his disciples right, from the bad nations, nations that did not help his needy disciples. The baby sprinklers used to make a similar play on the word nations in Matthew's account of the great commission. "Teach all nations, baptizing them"—baptizing the nations, and nations included infants; but in the Greek the word nations is a neuter noun, but the pronoun them is masculine. So they were to baptize people, not nations as such. In Matthew 25:31-46 the word nations is neuter; but all articles, participles, and pronouns in the passage are masculine. Take the last verse: "And these (masculine in Greek) shall go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous (masculine in Greek) into eternal life." Jesus will not be dealing with nations, or governments, as such, but with people.
7. In Word and Work, of July 1944, Brother Boll prints seven pages under the heading of "The Jerusalem Conference." I could not see why some brethren were so stirred up by what he said in that issue; for he set forth the same ideas in his book, "The Kingdom of God," published about twenty years before he published the article that so excited brethren G. C. Brewer and S. H. Hall.
In discussing this "conference" Boll says in his book: "About the middle of Acts, occurs an event of first importance. The acceptance of the Gentiles into the church—into the favor of God as joint-sharers of the blessings of Israel's Christ —was a terrible perplexity to all believing Jews. It was in fact a mystery. It had never been revealed that such a thing would happen. (Eph. 3:4-6) That the Gentiles were to be blessed in messianic days was no mystery; that had been previously revealed. But the observant reader of the prophets will notice that it is always after the national restoration and exaltation of Israel, and always through restored Israel and in subservience to Israel that the Gentiles were to be blessed." You can see why Boll puts the prophecy Janes quoted as yet to be fulfilled; his theory demanded it.
After quoting Janes short speech up to the close of the quotation from the prophets, Boll added, "The critical words upon which the question of the meaning turns are in the first line of Janes quotation from the prophets— after these things I will return'—The fact is significant, however, that the prophet from whom Janes quotes this, never used the words at all—Janes purposely added these words, as summing up the teaching of the prophets on the point in hand, This being the case the words are to be regarded as meaningful, and are not to be slurred as being only a conventional and meaningless introductory formula, but are to be given their full weight of meaning in the connection in which Janes brings them forward.
So you see that more than twenty years ago Boll doctored up Janes speech and quotation to make it harmonize with his theory. It is true that in his Word and Work article he discussed matters more at length, but really said nothing new, unless it be an enlargement of what he conceives to have been the purpose of Janes speech. He asserts that the speeches of Peter, Paul and Barnabas had settled the question about the salvation of the Gentiles. This he does not know—it is merely a reckless assertion. But it furnished a basis for saying to the puzzled Jews that the coming in of the Gentiles would not interfere with their coming glory, and quoted Amos to show that their glorious kingdom would yet come. And so Janes speech was not about Gentiles at all. But Boll ignores Janes "wherefore" in verse 19. "Wherefore my judgment is, that we trouble not them that from among the Gentiles turn to God: but that we write..." No, Janes did not make a speech about the future of the Jews and then drawn a conclusion about the present standing of the Gentiles.
8. In brief Boll's plan for the millennial kingdom is this:
The Messiah (composed of Jesus and the church) will rule. The Jews, nationally converted, will be the citizens. As such they will enforce the decrees of the Messiah; they will be the police force. Other nations will be subject peoples, not citizens. Of the Jewish believer, Boll says, "So far as his own scriptures had taught him he was looking for the earthly and spiritual deliverance of his nation through Christ; and as a result of Israel's blessings, the Gentile nations to the ends of the earth would render homage to Israel and her God and her king, and would receive their blessings through her." Yes, only through the Jews can anybody then receive anything. But notice how Boll makes God and Christ tribal Deities—"her God and her king."
Other places we have "Israel's Christ," "Israel's Messiah."
But if you know the plan of the ancient Roman government, you have an idea of Boll's millennial government. Rome had its rulers and citizens, then its subject peoples. These subject peoples paid tribute, but really had no legal rights. In Boll's millennial kingdom all other nations will be subservient to the Jews. This subservience puts every body but Jews in a degraded position. Subservience is a strong word.
9. A challenge to Brother Jorgenson.
Let me pick out some of the essential points
of Boll's theory, stated in his own words, and you reprint extracts in which the men you mentioned I taught the same thing. I charge that you misrepresented them when you said they believed and taught the same things. But do not quote from Sommer; I do not regard him as a good witness. I could not tell why, but it is not because of any thing he said on the matters before us.
10. Over a period of several years I have a number of times had this proposition published:
The gospel plan of salvation preached by the apostles is the scheme of redemption foretold in promise and prophecy.
I have had only one little nibble, and he asked if I would affirm that all prophecies referred to this plan of salvation. That was only a dodge, and I think the brother knew it. I wonder. Do all future kingdom advocates know that the proposition states the truth? Is that the reason none of them will deny it?