“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”—John 6:44
We open our consideration of this subject with a concise meaning of “draw him.” These words carry the thought of God giving an invitation to a justified believer, in fact all of God’s dealings with his intelligent creatures are on this principle of drawing, persuading, and constraining, and not of compulsion. During the Gospel Age, including the work of the expanded Gospel Age Harvest, the Father Himself is the one who draws or persuades to righteousness by His Truth. Our Lord Jesus attributes to Him all the drawing of the present time, saying, “No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him.” The Father’s work is to invite or call, and to select from among the called the one true church whom He shall accept with and under Jesus Christ to constitute His kingdom, heavenly and earthly, to bless and draw all the families of the earth, which is to be a Millennial work.
Jehovah does not urge everybody to become His disciples and threaten them if they do not comply; no, the Master treats the subject in the very opposite style. While there is room for a different opinion, our understanding is that the Lord exercises a favorable influence upon a certain class only—an enlightening influence to the extent of bringing that class to a knowledge of Christ and of forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ. Whenever the Truth reaches the heart and understanding of the called-out ones, its influence is to draw!
That which the Scriptures speak of as a drawing of God seems to be a natural drawing along the lines of the flesh, not toward things sinful, but toward holiness, yet along lines which belong to the natural man. With some of the race, a desire for God and righteousness has prevailed above the stupefying influence of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. This class are drawn Godward by the natural inclination of their minds. In these persons that endowment which God gave to Adam and pronounced “very good” has been less impaired by the fall than it has been in others. Such naturally desire to have God’s approval and His blessings. The consecrated Child of God is desirous of being with the sheep, not in fellowship with wolves. Rebecca and the sheep were found at the well, symbolically representing the desire of the Little Flock class for the Water of Life—the well representing the Bible. This is pictured so beautifully in Gen. 24 and this picture continues to the called classes to this day.
The Gospel message knows nothing of the ordinary mission work of rescuing drunkards, harlots and the profane. While not refusing publicans and harlots, it did not and does not go about seeking them. It waited for them to seek for righteousness. Even when drawn, by the opening of our mental eyes to the Truth, under the unfavorable conditions of the present time, we are not compelled to follow; we may “go away” (R1056).
The Father draws to the Son for “justification by faith in his blood” those who love righteousness and hate iniquity, and are feeling after God, if haply they might find him. Some of the Lord’s followers were drawn to Him of the Father before Calvary, and others have been drawn throughout the Gospel age; as the Apostle declares, “Even so many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). Let us note again our Lord’s words in this connection, “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). There is an exclusiveness about this: the time has not yet come, mentioned in Revelation, when the water of life shall flow freely, and whoever will may come (Rev. 22:17). That glorious time belongs to the Millennial Kingdom and not to the present time, which is devoted to the election or selection of those whom the Father is now inviting, drawing. Until the Millennial Mediatorial Reign of Christ begins, there is an exclusiveness to the work of the Expanded Gospel Age call!
DRAWING ALL MEN IS YET FUTURE
We digress for a moment to make this comparison. The Scriptures assure us that Jesus is not drawing all men at the present time. On the contrary, Jesus indicated that during the present Age the Father does all the drawing as stated in John 6:44. That our Lord is not drawing all men to Himself at the present time is evident when we observe how many there are in the world who have never heard of the name of Jesus, much less have had a favorable influence toward Him. The drawing by the Son will not begin until after the drawing by the Father has accomplished its intended purpose. That purpose is to take out of them a people for his name. When this work of selecting the faithful of the present Age shall be completed, then the due time for the Son to “draw all men,” the rest of mankind, will have arrived. And just as the Father has been drawing the faithful during this Age, so the Son and His Church associated with Him in the work will draw all men in the next Age during His coming Kingdom, His Mediatorial Reign (Isa. 32:1; Acts 3:21, 22; 2 Tim. 2:12).
During the incoming Millennial Age, the world of mankind, as they come into harmony with God’s arrangements, will be coming nearer and nearer to the standard of sonship–human sonship. Christ will then be doing the drawing and will draw all men unto Him (John 12:32; see P-5 p. 414, 415). In the end of that Age, those who have met the conditions fully, who have come wholly into harmony with the laws of the Kingdom, will have attained full sonship. They will then have the Spirit of God which was lost in Adam in the sense that they will be in full accord with God’s disposition of justice, of righteousness, of love. This will then be their own disposition. They will be earthly images of God. They will have fully regained the condition of perfect mentality and morality, of Godlikeness, which Adam had when he was perfect, plus the crystallized character for righteousness which Adam failed to develop. All this great blessing the world will receive through Christ Jesus who is called in the Scriptures “Everlasting Father” (Isa. 9:6).
JEHOVAH GUIDES HIS SAINTS
The Psalmist in writing Psa. 31:15 states, “my times are in thy hand.” He had consecrated his life to God—not in the same way, as does the Christian, but nevertheless as fully as was possible for any one in his time. He placed all his interest in the hands of the Lord, and in the many and varied experiences of his eventful life his confidence in Jehovah never failed. King David had strong faith, and the many beautiful and touching expressions of his faith have through all the centuries since his day been an inspiration and blessing to the saints of God. In times of his greatest trials and afflictions—and he had many—his trust in the Lord remained steadfast and firm. Yes, he was one of God’s heroes!
May we assume that in a special way King David spoke prophetically for The Christ, Head and Body; for “holy men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit;” and we know that their utterances were especially for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the Ages are come and more or less for the saints throughout the Gospel Age to this day.
The saints of this Age are a particularly consecrated class, with clear knowledge of the purpose of their consecration, this being the time during which the Christ, and the Great Company work is done, and the Youthful Worthy call is complete. Jehovah is, since 1954, calling another pre-restitution class of Saints called Consecrated Epiphany Campers. (Quote from PT 1977 p. 38): “An additional clear distinction is made here between the restitution class . . . and the Great Company, as well as other pre-restitution consecrated classes. God will make all the five pre-restitution consecrated classes—the Little Flock, the Ancient Worthies, the Great Company, the Youthful Worthies and the Consecrated Epiphany Campers—symbolized respectively by Mt. Zion, Moriah, Akra, Bezetha and Ophel—the special means of assisting the non-elect up the Highway of Holiness (comp. Psa. 72:3). He will exalt them for this purpose (E 16, p. 138).” (End quote)
This class of saints (Hagios, holy ones, dedicated ones) as Consecrated Epiphany Campers are pictured also in the Nethinim, who were the assistants to the Levites in their service (PT ‘71, pp. 37-42). This class will be blessed richly Millennially as they assist the Worthies in blessing all the non-elect with their restitution opportunity. The Nethinim [CEC’s] are pictured so wonderfully in Ezra 8:20, “Also of the Nethinims, whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinims: all of them were expressed by name.”
They will be the highest class of the restitutionists Millennially under the Worthies and also the highest earthly class post-Millennially. Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, who led the women in singing the great anthem of deliverance, after the overthrow of Pharaoh and his hosts in the Red Sea, seems to picture those who will be leaders among mankind, in the great Hallelujah chorus (Rev. 5:13), after the destruction of Satan and his hosts in the Second Death in the Little Season (E-11, p. 293). The Consecrated Epiphany Campers will be the chief ones in antitypical Miriam. The Millennial work and labor of love of this class will never be forgotten by those they helped to go up the Highway of Holiness to everlasting life on earth. They also will be highly rewarded.
Let us bring our focus back to the word “times.” Times carries the thought of years. The Scriptures speak of the Times of Restitution, the Times of the Gentiles, and the Seven Times of Israel’s chastisement under the Gentile kingdoms. The term, “my times”, would mean, all my years, including the thought of all my interests, the use of all my talents, my opportunities for service, during these years—all that might be mine to use for the Lord during the period of my consecrated life. As children of the Heavenly King we have placed in His Hands our every interest, in trust, in faith, in obedience, in consecration.
Invited of Jehovah to become members of His family in a special sense, we have gladly accepted His invitation, counting all the things of this life as loss and dross. With this decision we have the assurance that since we have accepted His marvelous offer, and have placed ourselves fully in His hands, He will give the most careful attention to our training, development and preparation for the special call open at this Time. This He has pledged Himself to do. He assures us that “all things are ours,” because we are His, in this peculiar sense. Oh, how we embrace the words of Hymn 186, “My times are in thy hand:” My God, I wish them there; My Father’s hand will never cause His child a needless tear.
Our Father will overrule all the affairs of our life for our good and our upbuilding, to prepare us for the glorious work of the Millennial Kingdom. This does not mean, however, that our times are so entirely out of our own hands as to be beyond our control. We are made very largely controllers of our own destiny. The Lord neither compels nor coerces our will. He leaves it to us to will and to do according to His good pleasure, although He works in us to that end, after we have become His. Our times are in His hands to the extent that we are faithful to our Covenant of Consecration, to the extent that our trust is in Him. If at any time we allow self-will to actuate us and are not entirely obedient and in cheerful harmony with His will, if we ever desire our own will or way and yield to the slightest degree to a spirit of rebellion, to that extent we are taking ourselves out of His hands; and the result will be our spiritual loss and to the same extent the hiding from us of the Father’s smile.
Let us be very clear about this! The consecrated child of God shall be permitted to move away from Him if we choose, though His loving hand will follow us and administer necessary stripes to bring us back, that we stray not out of the fold. The true child of God should exercise great care and watchfulness that he may keep in the closest touch with the Lord. Experience teaches us that yielding to the impulses of the old nature makes easier a future yielding.
Jehovah having our times in His hands, under His protection, began with us when we made our full surrender to Him in consecration. There we gave Him our all; there we submitted ourselves and became dead to the will of the flesh and alive to the will of God. There the new life began. While, as we have said, the time of our consecration was particularly the time when we came into the Lord’s hands, there is a sense in which some of us were in the Lord’s hands before we made a personal consecration to Him. Some of us had consecrated parents; and because of this our times, our interests, while we were children, were in God’s hands, in His care and keeping, under His protection and guidance.
We must emphasize however that this care of the child on account of the parent would seem to last only so long as the child was a minor. If, when he comes to years of discretion of mind, he should fail to make a personal consecration of himself to the Lord, he would no longer be counted as justified, and would no longer be under this special Heavenly guidance and care. As he failed to place himself in the hands of God, failed to choose Him for his Guide, he would not wish the Lord to be his caretaker and instructor.
The word “hand” has here an incredibly beautiful significance. The hand is one of the most skillful and beautiful members of our body. Our hands can be used in an almost infinite variety of ways. With our fingers we can handle, touch most deftly, most delicately, most artistically. The hand is related to all the services we render. So, when the Scriptures speak of God’s hand, the expression is very full of meaning. Jehovah is represented as “holding the seas in the hollow of His hand.” These expressions represent the great skill, power, and majesty of the Almighty God. He tells us, His children, “Lo, on the palms of my hands, have I portrayed thee” Isa. 49:16 (Rotherham). So the assurance of the Word that all our times, our interests, all that concerns us, are in our Father’s hand—that His power, His skill, is continually exercised on our behalf—is full of comfort and of deep significance to the saints of God, and shows how fully He controls every circumstance, every experience. Yes, there is much evidence that we have been drawn of God.
Jehovah, through the Gospel Message, has issued an invitation to certain classes as shone in this article previously. This invitation presupposes the existence of a class that are dissatisfied with the present evil things and are yearning to come into favor with God, as the Apostle said, Feeling after God, if haply they might find Him (Acts 17:27). During the Gospel Age, in the broad since, the only ones whom He has invited are those who were feeling after God and striving against sin. The self-satisfied were not invited. All the promises of the Bible are designed for those who come to the place where they long to get away from sin and to draw near to God. During the Gospel Age the only ones whom He has invited are those who were feeling after God and striving against sin. The self-satisfied were not invited. All the promises of the Bible are designed for those who come to the place where they long to get away from sin and to draw near to God.
In dealing with all the five pre-restitution consecrated classes whom He called out from the world, four of these calls now completed, God has a variety of methods of operating. Of old He spoke through the Prophets. In later times He has spoken through His Son and through the Apostles. There is a larger sense in which God speaks to all mankind, but not in a special way: He sends His rain on the just and the unjust; His sun shines on good and bad alike; “Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.” To the un-consecrated world these “wonderful words of life” are indefinite, mostly unheard. But to called out ones, “Come out of her my people,” (Rev. 18:4) the matter is vastly different. In the words of the Son of God and the Apostles we have a clear, succinct statement that God is perfect in Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power; and that in proportion as any come to understand the character of their Creator, in that same proportion will they come to understand His plans and purposes.
JEHOVAH HELPS BY HIS WORD
The New Testament tells us that in olden times “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:21). Our Lord Jesus and His Apostles spoke in similar manner. As a result we have (through the writings of the Prophets, the Apostles, the evangelists Mark and Luke writing for Peter and Paul respectively) the full measure of the Divine revelation. The Word of God is sufficient, that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished (2 Tim. 3:16, 17). When the holy Spirit came upon the Lord’s people at Pentecost, it enabled them to understand the deep things of God. It did not set aside the Word in any way, but quickened their understanding so that, as pertinent Scriptures became due to be understood, the people of God have been enabled to understand them.
We see that God has a great fund of instruction, laid up long ago, to be used by His people when the proper time should come; and as we come into harmony with Him, He guides us into the right understanding, teaching us how to obtain the blessings which He designs His people to have. This statement does not ignore our Lord’s declaration, that when the holy Spirit should come, it would guide His Church into all Truth (John 16:13). Since the death of the Apostles, the Spirit merely enables its possessors to understand the things written aforetime for our admonition (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11). We who are enlightened of the Spirit are therefore to expect the clarifying of our understanding so that we may be able to see, understand and comprehend the length, breadth, height and depth, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fulness of God (Eph. 3:17-19).
As to the influence of the Holy Spirit of God in enlightening our minds and clarifying our understandings to appreciate His Word, and as to how this enlightenment affects the whole life in the battle against the weaknesses of the flesh, we understand that God preferably operates with His people along the lines of their new will, their new heart, and that He has given them incentives, suggestions, to enable them to fight the good fight to the very end of the way. Or, as the Apostle Peter says, God has given us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we may become partakers of the Divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). The mere reading of these promises, however, will never give us that great boon. We must set our hearts and our affections on the things above (Col. 3:1, 2); and if these are properly understood, we are led by them to conform our lives to the conditions attached to the promises.
This course of conduct results in our putting away those things which are displeasing to God. Moreover, we learn to add to our faith fortitude, knowledge, self-control, patience, brotherly-kindness, love, as the Apostle suggests in this connection; for if we do these things, we shall have an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Pet. 1:5-11.) It becomes our privilege to permit the promises of the Scriptures to exercise a controlling power in our hearts and lives. Our Lord prayed, “Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth” (John 17:17). This is the power which is to sanctify our hearts.
The question, then, might arise, “Does God ever exercise an influence apart from the Word in order to enable us to conquer some weakness of the flesh which we would never have conquered ourselves?” We reply, If God sees that we will not conquer if we continue to pursue a certain course, He will provide the necessary help in order that we may do so—on condition that we trust Him for it. But if He sees that we can conquer without outside assistance, He will say, “My grace is sufficient for Thee”—fight it out for thyself. Those who do so will get a greater blessing and will become the stronger in the Lord. We should always seek Divine help to conquer our weaknesses, we should ask the Lord for the needed grace to help in time of need. This will be supplied from the Word or by angelic assistance or by any other means which the Lord may elect to use. We are enjoined to grow in grace and in the knowledge—to grow up into Him who in all things is the Head of the Body, even Christ.
Let us assemble ourselves at the light that the Lord has prepared: the Parousia and Epiphany writings should be what we partake from. We need present Truth for our present work. We need the Parousia literature for our background and the Epiphany literature as present Truth. Present Truth prepares us for the present work. Let us draw near: study in private and with others—the former with the help of the Parousia and Epiphany literature and the latter from our elders and brethren. Let us feed on the carcass with the other eagles, “For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together” (Matt. 24:28).
GOD TEACHES US HOW TO FLY
How blest are we, as Consecrated Children of God, to know that God is the great Master eagle, that teaches us how to fly! Isa. 40:28-31; vs. 28, “Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?” That great eagle that teaches us how to fly? He likens Himself to an eagle, and so we speak of Him that way here. He teaches us how to fly. What kind of a teacher would teach us how to fly and then grow weary and give up? Oh, He does not faint, neither is He weary. There is no searching of His understanding. We can never fathom the fullness, the depth of His wisdom. Vs. 29, “He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might, He increaseth strength.”
Now, of those that do not receive their strength from Him, people in general, vs. 30, “Even the youth shall faint and be weary, [Even the men of this world, in the fullness of their strength, they will faint and become weary] And the young men shall utterly fall”—the strong men shall utterly fall, even the strong men of this world are trembling now for what they see coming upon this earth, and many of them give it up; they say, How can we ever solve the problems!
Then the 31st verse, “But they that wait upon the LORD [Jehovah] shall renew their strength.” [Oh, it’s the spirit that quickeneth. We are going to renew our strength] “they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk, and not faint.” Yes, they shall renew their strength as the eagles. That is why we are here at the carcass, to renew our strength. And day by day the Lord renews our strength as we stand our tests, and strength that is not tested cannot be approved. That is why God is testing our strength. That is why He gives us trials. And that is why as eagles He gives us strength in our trials to overcome, to renew our strength as the eagles. And, the Lord promises, “My strength is sufficient.”
The thought of an eagle drawn to the carcass can also be illustrated by a magnet. The drawing which the Father gives, and which many have experienced, seems to be a natural drawing of our human hearts along the lines which belong to the natural man. It is nothing supernatural. There is no Scripture for such a thought. To explain: When God created man in His own image, naturally he would love His Creator. Naturally, he would desire to be obedient to God and to worship and serve Him. These impulses were all natural to him because He was in a natural condition, in a pure condition. It is sin that has made man unnatural. But even since sin has entered in and perverted the original character which God gave, we find certain longings in the human heart for God.
All men have degenerated from the likeness of God; but vestiges of His image in man still remain, such as the desire for worship, the desire for righteousness and the desire to be in accord with God. These still inhere in mankind and are much more marked in some than in others. This is the impulse of a heart in which the original likeness of the Father has been less obliterated than it has been in many other hearts. This natural impulse was God’s original gift to man, a heart sentiment which naturally drew men to their Maker. Therefore, this impulse which still remains, if sufficiently strong, is properly called a drawing of the Father. These qualities draw or incline their possessors toward God, and they feel that they cannot be happy without Him. This is the drawing influence.
GOD THE MAGNET TO LOVERS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
God is represented as the great magnet, drawing toward Himself all who love righteousness. He drew us before we became Christians at all—the Truth and righteousness of our Heavenly Father were the magnet. Man having been originally created in God’s image and likeness, a measure of this image and likeness still remains. And to whatever extent the natural man loves righteousness, Truth and mercy, he has something that is approved of by God, who is the great center of righteousness, justice, mercy and Truth.
Some people have fallen so low that the drawing power of the great magnet has very little influence upon them. In others of our fallen race there is a larger measure of God’s character-likeness remaining. Such as have some love for Truth and righteousness, some vestiges of God’s holy Spirit still in them, realize a drawing toward Him. Perhaps all of us who are disciples of Christ felt something of that drawing before we came to Jesus as our Savior. He tells us: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). So, we must first be drawn by the Father.
But God has appointed only one way for us to come to Him—and this way is Christ. Jesus explains: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Those who desire to come to God, then, must come by this way, and must learn the terms upon which they may come. They are told that they can come only by humbling themselves, by laying down self-will and accepting God’s will to govern them in all things.
God first works in us to will His holy Spirit, worked in us an earnest desire to come back into harmony and fellowship with Him through Jesus our Savior, who died for us and whom we accept by faith, freeing us from the Adamic condemnation of death (Rom. 5:1; 8:1). In this faith-justified condition we are invited to present our bodies to God, dedicated to Him for His service (Rom. 12:1). They are acceptable because of Jesus’ ransom merit imputed on our behalf. Jehovah becomes our covenant God and we become His children. We are not His children until we give ourselves to Him.
With the thought that all our interests are fully in the Lord’s hand, and with the thought that He graciously, wisely and abundantly loves and cares for us (John 16:27; 1 Pet. 5:7), we can with the full assurance of faith enter the New Year, confident that in it He will make all things work together for our good, since we are of those who love Him, and who are the called according to His purpose. We may, therefore, depend upon it that He will guide and manage our affairs better than we can ask or think, whatever course the events of this year may take. This consideration gives us assurance, peace and joy as we enter the New Year. Surely such a state of heart should work in us more and more love to Him, to His, and to all others whom He would be pleased to have us love. May we this year make much progress in realizing such a character, as we cooperate with Him in this His gracious design toward us!