Can you explain the first six verses of the fifth chapter of James (`Jam. 5:6`)? (J.G.S.)
<ANSWER>–This is a prophecy relating to “the last days” (`verse 3`) and is contrary to the expectations of many Christian people who are anticipating the world’s conversion to Christianity before the second coming of the Lord. This is a clear-cut statement of the Apostle describing the conditions that would exist in the last times. Had he been living in these times he could not have described the situation of affairs in the world more accurately or concisely. Is it not true that “treasures have been heaped together?” It is said that one man controls directly and indirectly more than $16,000,000,000 and that another individual has given away over $200,000,000 and yet has not touched the principal of his wealth. Are not the “rich men” living in pleasure; and are they not “wanton” (extravagant-luxurious) in their ways of living? (`Verse 5`.) Expensive palaces, yachts, automobiles, jewels, balls, banquets, and various forms of amusements are aggravating the poor and the unemployed to such an extent that they are crying out; and these “cries” (`verse 4`) have swelled into a mighty volume and find expression throughout all the public press. Do not all intelligent people know that the vast accumulation of wealth has been brought about mainly by “fraud” (verse 4)? It is the farming class, “the laborers who have reaped down your fields,” that are the real wealth producers of the world, and these are the ones who have been defrauded the most by the political and financial frauds of the times. Pity the poor rich (verse 1) in the coming “time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation” (`Mat. 24:21`), for theirs will be a season of special sorrow and anguish of mind when all the accumulated wealth will become valueless. `Verses 2 and 3`.
What is meant by the Scriptures which declare that in the last days there would be a fearful time of trouble (`Dan. 12:1`; `Mat. 24:21,22`)? Has this any reference to the industrial and social crisis that is now developing throughout the world?
<ANSWER>–There have been seasons of severe trouble and destruction at various times in the history of the race, such as the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, when about a million and a quarter of Jews were slain, and the French Revolution, when vast numbers were slaughtered by the mobs and by the troops–a reign of terror indeed–but the “time of trouble” in the end of this age (not the end of the world for “the earth abideth forever”–`Eccl. 1:4`) is represented as being more dreadful than any preceding experience, in the sense that it will be world-wide and not a local disturbance as were the previous seasons of destruction. (See `Rev. 16:14`; `Luke 21:25`; `Zep. 3:8,9`.) The Scriptures clearly indicate in what way the trouble will be developed, after the nations, kingdoms and governments have become associated together, forming a general community of interests, such as we see existing now, when all are brought together by financial, political, and social ties, treaties and alliances. It will be an industrial and social conflict that will involve all classes and be terrible when the climax is reached. The battle lines are already sharply drawn. Organized capital on the one hand and organized labor on the other are the two forces arrayed against each other in deadly conflict. The Apostle James writes almost like a Socialist in describing some of the phases of the impending struggle–`Jam. 5:1-5`. After the “trouble” is over conditions will be established on a new basis, and an era of peace and prosperity be ushered in– `Hag. 2:7`.
Of what practical advantage is a knowledge of the truth of God’s character and plan of salvation, to one in time of trouble, disappointment, sorrow, etc.? (We refer particularly to one who is already converted–a member of the Church.) (E.W.)
<ANSWER>–The knowledge of God, the Creator, that He is wise and just, loving and all powerful, and that He is our loving Heavenly Father, one that we can draw nigh unto with confidence and trust in every time of need, through the merits of the Anointed Savior, is a wonderful source of comfort and consolation, and is of far more practical benefit than all that earthly wealth or fame could possibly bestow. After all; real advantage or benefit is that which brings peace and happiness to the heart. Those who have the consciousness that they are the children of the Most High God, and that He loves them, and is over-ruling all of the affairs of life to their interest and welfare as spiritual children; ah, these have that inward peace and joy and happiness, that not all the storms, and trials and afflictions of life can mar or take away. The knowledge of the plan of the ages, brings unspeakable joy to those who thus know what God has in reservation for those who love Him; and not only for these, the Church of Christ, but also for all the families of the earth–the world of mankind. In view of the high exaltation to glory, honor, and immortality, at the right hand of the Majesty on high, promised to the Lord’s faithful people; how trifling and insignificant must seem the trials and hardships of life! And thus the Apostle Paul expresses the matter saying “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”