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The Clarion Herald

    It is now only two short months until time for the Thanksgiving Fellowship Meeting at Rockford. A number of brethren have already indicated that they are making plans to be with us at this time.
    Each year there is a real spiritual feast for those who share in giving attention to the good Word of God. In the past we have heard many excellent messages --- without any organized "program". The Holy Spirit has wonderfully made His presence and power known by the orderly way wherein the name of our dear Lord has been exalted.
    In the 18 years since Landmark first started to entertain such meetings we have been blessed by a continuing spirit of liberty, unity and Christian brotherliness. There have been no "heresy hunting expeditions" -- even when someone introduced a thought that was not commonly held among us. Knowing that no one among us is infallible, and that no one is fully qualified to speak the final word on any issue, we have attempted to give to each other the sort of courteous hearing that we desire to receive. And it is our EARNEST DESIRE that
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    FUNDAMENTAL, in the minds of God fearing, Bible Believing Christians, is the belief that the Word of God should be interpreted faithfully. Such fidelity requires that the interpretation come from the Word itself -- as Scripture is compared with Scripture, (I Cor. 2:13). And it is commonly known that a proper understanding can come ONLY through "spiritual discernment", (I Cor. 2:14).
    Seldom does one discern the truth while in the process of "reacting" to some extreme position that has been taken while ignoring the Above mentioned "fundamental". Two positions, at opposite poles, furnish little assistance to such as sincerely desire the truth -- however dogmatically those "positions" are defended.
    How eternally important it is that we hear the warning of James: "My brethren, be not many TEACHERS, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation", (Jas. 3:1). Let us handle the Word of God faithfully, not deceitfully; with honor, and without strife in our hearts. Contentiousness may glorify one's flesh, but its indulgence involves one in "lying against the truth".

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The Clarion Herald The Clarion Herald


    As a result of Jesus' miracles, Nicodemus, a teacher of the Jews, sought Him out --- that he might satisfy the questions in his own heart that were crying out for an answer. The "signs" wrought by our Lord had convinced Nicodemus that Jesus was One whose credentials far surpassed his own. He recognized Jesus as "a teacher come from God". And the words of Jesus imply an awareness that Nicodemus suspected Him of being the very Messiah of Israel who would soon establish the Kingdom and exalt the covenant nation to the pinnacle of glory that her prophets had foretold.
    But Jesus frustrated his expectations by His declaration: "Except a man be born again (or "from above"), he cannot see the Kingdom of God".., and again; "Marvel not that I said unto thee, YE (plural) speaking of the Sanhedrin, or perhaps of the whole nation) MUST BE

BORN AGAIN". Like so many in our day, Nicodemus immediately thought of "childbirth"; the very thought staggered his imagination; it was utterly IMPOSSIBLE for one to be delivered, a second time, from his mother's womb!
    The words of Jesus imply that Nicodemus had made the wrong analogy; that a teacher in Israel OUGHT to have been familiar with the symbolic language He had used in showing the IMPOSSIBILITY of the long expected Kingdom except it be PRECEDED BY A RESURRECTION. But, HOW might he have known this? How many sermons have YOU heard dealing with such Old Testament passages (using the terminology employed by our Lord) as might have enabled this "ruler of the Jews" to grasp the significance of Jesus' words.
    Let us search Nicodemus' Bible. Psalm 2:7 reads like this: "The Lord said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I BEGOTTEN thee". Here is the idea of a "begetting" or "birth" which clearly looks forward to the coming of the Messiah. As a pattern, for our understanding, Paul has interpreted that passage for us (in Acts 13:32-34) as being fulfilled in His RESURRECTION! Nor is this an exception to the general usage in the Old Testament. It is perfectly harmonious with the general usage -- though the Jews had misunderstood it, just as they had misunderstood the meaning of Isaiah 53 which prophesied a "suffering Messiah".
    Such passages as Isaiah 66:7-10 and Ezekiel 37:1-14 clearly regard the RESURRECTION as a "new birth" or "second creation", through the

power of the promised Spirit. It is "the earth" that "brings forth" so that a NATION is "born at once". No, it is not the "diplomatic recognition" of Israel by her enemies. It involves, rather, her RESURRECTION, and restoration to that covenant fellowship from which she was severed through the prolonged disobedience of her stubborn unbelief. Her "dry bones" shall be quickened to life; but Micah (5:3-4) views it as being delayed during a long dispersion -- until a time of restoration connected with the revelation of Messiah's strength.
    In the New Testament Jesus refers to a future "regeneration" (new birth) whereby men of faith will be delivered INTO a sphere of unexcelled blessedness -- to share the very nature and authority of their dear Lord, (Matt. 19:28 comp. I Pet. 1:3-5). And Paul connects the ultimate REDEMPTION, both of men and creation, with the coming "regeneration" -- at our Lord's return. This involves "the blessed hope" of being RAISED FROM THE DEAD and CONFORMED TO the image of our Lord, in glorification, (Rom. 8:l8- 23; comp. Eph. 1:13; Phil. 3:20-21; Hos. 13:14; Isa. 51:11; Tit. 2:13- 14).
    When one examines Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus, in the light of the Spirit's consistent symbolism, it becomes evident that He is not instructing him in the Way of salvation. Rather, He is setting forth the necessity of a RESURRECTION before the introduction of the Messianic Kingdom and its blessings under David's Son. And while it MAY be appropriate (in a secondary

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sense) to use Jesus' language (John 3:3-7) of our SAVING EXPERIENCE, it cannot be stated too emphatically that the meaning of Christ's words is NOT EXHAUSTED IN ANY EXPERIENCE OF BELIEVERS IN THIS PRESENT AGE!
    Biblical terminology OUGHT to be used biblica1ly! When the Word of God is allowed to define and interpret its own terms: hearts will be blessed, God's name will be magnified, philosophizing will be unnecessary, and a great deal of confusion will be avoided. E.G.


    While consistency of interpretation seems to REQUIRE that Jesus' words concerning the "new birth" be PRIMARILY a reference to a FUTURE RESURRECTION, this does NOT mean that men of faith may not legitimately CONSIDER themselves "born of God" and "of the Spirit" in a sense that is VERY REAL -- however mysterious. A "salvation EXPERIENCE" and entrance INTO the way of life, IS NECESSARY -- by whatever terminology it may be described. Nor is there room for doubt that the person trusting in Jesus IS SAVED.
    Our Lord's resurrection was a LITERAL experience. He is LITERALLY ascended into heaven where He, in a human body, is seated at the Father's right hand. By faith; WE are to RECKON (judge, consider, regard, or deem) ourselves risen and seated "in the heavenlies IN CHRIST". Though we are LITERALLY still "in the body" and "on earth", God RECKONS us to be IN CHRIST Who literallly
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such a spirit of mutual love and brotherliness may continue.
    One of the common goals that has tended to unite our hearts has been the support of missionary brethren in South America and Japan. The Lord has, unquestionably, blessed these endeavors in the planting of a number of churches that are holding forth the word of life and light. And it is the earnest desire of this pastor/editor that nothing will be done in this Fellowship Meeting (by way of word or attitude) that will hinder the support or progress of the Gospel, (I Cor. 10:l5).         --Eugene L. Garner

shares His throne. This principle of "reckoning" is stated by Paul in Romans 4:17, whereby "God...calleth those things which be not AS THOUGH THEY WERE."
    This principle may be illustrated by the death of our Lord. According to the Scriptures, God RECKONED Him to be "slain" from the foundation of the world, (Rev. 13:8). His death was SYMBOLIZED in His submission to baptism at the hands of John the Baptist. (He did NOT - literally die at this point in time, but acknowledged His surrender to the Father's will, and the dedication of His heart to fulfill that will in death & resurrection.) At Calvary that death was CONSUMMATED, when He was lifted up on a cross -- bearing our sins.
    In the SAME WAY, it may be proper to RECKON one's self "born again" at the point of faith commitment to Jesus Christ. And this is no more a matter of "pretending" than God was pretending about the death of His Son some 4,000 years before the literal consummation of that event. Again, this birth is SYMBOLIZED in one's submission to Christian Baptism wherein he DECLARES the "old man" crucified, and figuratively, "puts on" Christ -- declaring also his HOPE of being raised in the likeness of His resurrection. But the
CONSUMMATION of this birth is reached in the resurrection and glorification that await our Lord's return -- Wherein we will become ACTUAL PARTAKERS of a Divine Nature, and be conformed to the very image of Christ. E.G.