THE GULF AND TORMENT.
A Brother who read the exposition of the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Jan'y. TOWER, would like to have an explanation of the statement, "In hell he lifted up his eyes being in torment:" also of the meaning of the gulf between them.
We thought the explanation full enough to cover these points, but perhaps it was not sufficient. We therefore answer this query publicly.
Please read the explanation given in January TOWER again very carefully. Then note that the gulf is the wide difference between the Gospel church and the Jew; the former enjoying free grace, joy, comfort and peace, as true sons of God,-- and the latter holding to the Law, which condemns and torments him. Prejudice, pride and error, from the Jewish side form the bulwarks of this gulf which hinders the Jew from coming into the condition of true sons of God by accepting of Christ and the gospel of his grace. The bulwark of this gulf which hinders true sons of God from going into the bondage with the Jew--the Law--is their knowledge, that by the deeds of the Law none can be justified before God, and that if any man keep the law (put himself under it to try to commend himself to God by reason of obedience to the Law) Christ shall profit him nothing. (Gal. 5:2-4.) So then we who are of the Lazarus class will not attempt to mix law and gospel, knowing they cannot be mixed and that we can do no good to those who still cling to the Law and reject the sacrifice for sins given by our Lord. And they, not seeing the change of dispensation which took place, argue, that to deny the Law as the power to save, would be to deny all the past history of their race, and to deny all of God's special dealings with the "fathers" (promises and dealings which through pride and selfishness they failed to rightly apprehend and use), hence they cannot come over to the bosom of Abraham into the true rest and peace--the portion of all the true children of faith.--John 8:39; Rom. 4:16 and Gal. 3:29.
True, a few Jews probably came into the Christian faith all the way down the Gospel age, but so few as to be ignored in a parable which represented the Jewish people as a whole. With the end of the Gospel age, comes the end of this parable. It is now ending, and the Jew therefore is getting out of the TORMENT in which he has been for eighteen-hundred years. The torment has not only been as above described,--the torment of a law which none of them ever did, or ever could keep perfectly (except the one perfect man), but they are getting out of another kind of torment, viz., persecution. The Jew has been bitterly persecuted by Pagans, Mohammedans and professed Christians for centuries, but is now--rising to political freedom and influence gradually. And as a people they will be very prominent among the nations in the beginning of the Millennium. The vail of prejudice is being taken away as the [R1043 : page 5] light of the Millennial morning gradually dawns, and we hear of great awakenings among the Jews, and many coming to acknowledge Christ. They are thus leaving their hadean state of torment and coming, the first of the nations, to be blessed by the true seed of Abraham which is Christ. Their bulwark of race-prejudice and pride is falling in some places and the humble, the poor in spirit are beginning already to look unto him whom they pierced, and to inquire, Is this not the Christ? And as they look the Lord pours upon them the spirit of favor and supplication.-- Zech. 12:10.
We are thus enabled to look beyond the limits of this parable and to read the future as foretold by the prophets, the apostles and by our Lord himself. Therefore, "Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem and cry unto her that her appointed time is accomplished."--Isa. 40:1,2, marginal reading.