Archive for May, 2022

Paul’s Latter Epistles – The Pinnacle

God’s revelation to mankind was a progressive unfolding of divine truth. As time progressed, God gave increasing light concerning His purpose of the ages. In some cases this revelation superseded previously-given revelation. For example, God revealed more of His plan to Abraham than He had to Adam; more to Moses than to Abraham; more to David than to Moses; more to Peter than to David; with Paul being the summit of God’s revelation.

An often-overlooked advance on truth is that final revelation given to Paul after Acts 28 called “the Administration of the Secret”[1] (Ephesians 3:9, Concordant). Paul, the apostle, received a revelation that was such a distinct advance on truth for today that it was given to him by special revelation (Ephesians 3:3). These truths never before had been revealed to anyone (Ephesians 3:5-9; Colossians 1:25-26).

Thus, observe in Ephesians 3:1-8 the numerous times that Paul uses the personal pronouns “I” and “me” (“by revelation the secret is made known to me” :3). This is why the phrase, “the Secret,” is so distinctly used in his latter epistles (Ephesians 1:9; 3:3-4, 9; 6:19; Colossians 1:26; 2:2; 4:3; I Timothy 3:9, 16, Concordant).

In the 28-year history of the Bible Student’s Notebook we have steadily given place to the principle of progressive revelation. We have persistently developed the theme of right division as God has graciously granted us the eyes to see those distinctions found in His Word. Despite opposition, by His enlightening grace we will continue to adjust our understanding and refine our presentation with even greater certainty and clarity.

Sometimes a visual illustration is helpful in better grasping concepts. In a future issue of the BSN we will run five simple charts from those who share in understanding the pinnacle of revelation found in Paul’s latter, perfection epistles. These shall set the stage for further development of these great truths in these pages.

[1]The administration of the secret” (Diaglott);
the administration of the sacred secret” (Rotherham);
the administration of the mystery” (Holman);
the new order of that divine secret” (Moffatt);
the administration of the mystery” (Darby).


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For His achievement are we, being created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God makes ready beforehand, that we should be walking in them (Ephesians 2:10, Concordant).

A Faithful Testimony

Throughout the course of this dispensation, God’s truth has never been “lost” to the Ecclesia.[1] God indeed has had His testimony in every generation – those who have proclaimed the richest aspects of His present truth.

“Church History” is not our story. It’s a record of organized religion, from which the Ecclesia has been “called out.” We should not then be surprised that it provides so little record even of our existence. When mentioned, we’re often relegated to mere footnotes citing our many “heresies.”[2] Christendom has endeavored to ignore us, writing their histories so as to promote their error and remove our testimony altogether.

Double Honor

Let [them] … be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who are toiling in word and teaching (I Timothy 5:17, Concordant).

We know much concerning the people and details of national heritage, yet very little of our spiritual ancestry. Our children are well educated concerning the names, dates and details of those advocated by our society as supposed “great men.” However, this is not our society or country, “for our citizenship is in the heavens” (Philippians 3:20, Young). Earth is not our realm, “for our realm is inherent in the heavens” (Concordant).

How sad it is that we and our children know so little about those who had leading roles in HIStory. While the nations routinely honor the birthdays and highlights of their men of reputation and memorialize those who sacrificed so much for their causes, our abundant heritage for the most part remains unknown to us and our children. We of all people should celebrate “His achievement” from past generations.[3]

Gone, but Not Forgotten

Though he is dead, he still speaks (Hebrews 11:4, Weymouth).

We believe that, for both historical and edificational reasons, it is important to preserve the broad, rich heritage of those members of Christ’s Body who, with great sacrifice and opposition, devoted their lives to searching tirelessly for and diligently conveying even some portion of the truth that we now hold dear.

We also believe it to be an important part of our ministry, here at the Abbey, to seek, acquire, archive and preserve the treasured diversity of paths (from their beginning to end) of those whose steps God has led to “recover” and “advance” some glorious aspect of His truth that, at least for them, had been “hidden” beneath the veils of religious tradition.

The Body of Christ is not made up of a mere handful of saints, nor is God’s truth relegated to a single man in any generation. God’s ways are far more multifaceted than our imagined limitations. As the called-out ones, we have a vast and glorious history that, humanly speaking, would be all but completely forgotten if it were not for a commitment by some to advance such a spiritual legacy forward to future generations.

Till I come, give heed to reading, to entreaty, to teaching (I Timothy 4:13, Concordant).

A part of our life’s passion has been the conservancy of a broad cross-section of God’s dear and valued, loyal and faithful servants of past generations who have paid the costly price for truth’s procurement and distribution. Over the years we have managed to spend an enormous amount of time and what is for us a small fortune collecting the written works of such saints so that they would not fall into further obscurity. It is our desire not only to preserve these in our own private library, but to the extent that we are able, to make them accessible to others. We have sought to honor the sacrifice of these saints, preserve their memory, and thereby provide a measure of instruction and encouragement for believers today. We have endeavored to do so through the pages of the Bible Student’s Notebook, in the Daily Email Goodies, and through Bible Student’s Press. Over the past few months we have significantly augmented this ministry through Nathan Pilkington’s ardent labors with our Facsimile Project.

Our Archives

The coat which I did not take from Troas and which is with Carpus, get when you come, and the books, specially the papers (II Timothy 4:13, Bible in Basic English).

Now, another undertaking is presently underwaythe management of the scriptural and historical archives in our possession. At this point we have bookcases, boxes and filing cabinets filled with priceless materials that belong to Christ’s Body. We have begun the active process of organizing our collection so that they can be better preserved for the future, as well as be better utilized by visitors who come to the Fellowship Inn for fellowship and study.

These resources are our heritage; we view ourselves as trustees of these treasures and are continually seeking to expand these archives, and we could use your help. Undoubtedly, there are those of you who have in your possession great scriptural treasures that assist in telling God’s story of our legacy (books, booklets, leaflets, flyers, tracts, magazines, newsletters, periodicals, conference schedules, recordings, pictures, correspondence, etc.). Some of you may have found yourselves “finished” with them, and may have wondered what you could do with them that would in turn benefit others.

We ask that if you have any material that concerns scriptural themes which we hold dear, which you no longer require, that you consider donating them to our archive collection. Before long we hope to begin providing online access to a catalog of our resources so you can see what we have and what we don’t have, to better assist you in your donation of materials.

Thank you for co-laboring with us financially as well as materially in this work.

[1]     The Greek word often translated as “church” in most English versions is ἐκκλησία (ekklēsia, or ecclesia). The word is a compound word meaning “called-out” (ek = “out”; kaleō̄ = “called”). The ecclesia is God’s “called-out” ones. The ecclesia is not a building or denomination; not a meeting, or doctrinal creed; it is not somewhere we go, or something we do, it is who we as believers are. For more information see:

  • The Outsiders, Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr. (see order form);
  • The “Ecclesias” (Churches) of the Scriptures, Adlai Loudy (see order form).

[2]     For a closer look at “Church History,” see:

  • Three Groups in Church History: To Which Do We Belong? Gene Edwards, Bible Student’s Notebook #24;
  • Brief Notes on Church History, Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr., Part 1, Bible Student’s Notebook #28; Part 2, Bible Student’s Notebook #29; Part 3, Bible Student’s Notebook #55; Part 4, Bible Student’s Notebook #56;
  • The Paulicians – Additional Historical Information, Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr., Bible Student’s Notebook #77;
  • The Torch of His Testimony, John W. Kennedy, Bible Student’s Notebook #78;
  • The Church in Ruins, Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr., (book, see order form).

[3]     By example, God instructed the fathers in Israel to instruct their children concerning, among other things, their spiritual heritage. Those of us who know the sovereignty of God should not fail to appreciate that the circumstances which lead us to where we are currently are divine events.

For He established a testimony in Jacob … which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children (Psalm 78:5-7).

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… rightly dividing the Word of Truth (II Timothy 2:15, KJV).
… cutting straight the Word of the Truth (Diaglott).
… correctly cutting the Word of Truth (Concordant).

Dispensational teachers often fall into three basic categories related to the chronology of the Book of Acts: early-Acts (2), mid-acts (9-11-13), and the end of the Acts period (28).

I was raised in a Baptist church that used the Scofield Reference Bible. Then, as a very young teenager I discovered and devoured Clarence Larkin’s Dispensational Truth. Both works taught an early-Acts position. While these were very basic introductory approaches to “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” I am nonetheless very thankful for them as they prepared my heart and mind for what I would later learn.

Over subsequent years I would be introduced to many of the great Bible teachers of the past who had dared to teach from a dispensational approach. Regardless of the various particulars of their attempts at being precise at finding the truth for today, I have great respect for those who labored in the Word before us and were willing to take a stand for God’s grand plan of the ages.

In 1985, after two decades of exposure to an early-Acts approach, I purchased a rather large library of used books from Vince Mercer of North Carolina that ran the full gamut of dispensational positions. In one fell swoop I was introduced to all of the prominent authors of the numerous points of view.

While they varied as to where the present dispensation (or administration) actually may have begun, as related to the Book of Acts, thankfully their contributions have made grand advancements related to the right division of Scripture within a literal, contextual, grammatical and historical approach.

Following is an alphabetic list of some of the authors of the past from whom I have had the distinct honor of learning. Although their works represent the unique results of their own individual journeys and studies, they all had the same goal of freeing believers from the unnecessary burden of attempting to live under administrations that did not belong to them.

Rest well, dear brothers; your labors were not in vain.

Stuart Allen (?-1998)
Sir Robert Anderson (1841-1918)
Charles F. Baker (1905-1994)
Oscar Baker (1898-1987)
Donald Grey Barnhouse (1895-1960)
A.E. Bishop (1861-1947)
William Tucker Broad (1860-1923)
Robert C. Brock (1931-2015)
E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913)
Walter H. Bundy (1881-?)
Alan Burns (1884-1929)
Leon Albert Bynoe (1895-1983)
John Robert Caldwell (1839-1917)
Lewis Sperry Chafer (1871-1952)
Edward Henry Clayton (1887-1972)
E. Lynwood Crystal (1872-1946)
J.N. Darby (1800-1882)
M.R. DeHaan (1891-1965)
Theodore Epp (1907-1985)
John H. Essex (1907-1991)
Arno C. Gaebelein (1861-1945)
Vladimir Gelesnoff (1877-1921)
James M. Gray (1851-1935)
I.M. Haldeman (1845-1933)
William B. Hallman (1902-?)
Norman B. Harrison (1874-1960)
Donald G. Hayter (?-1988)
Richard Holden (1828-1886)
Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951)
Win Johnson (?-1993)
Edgar Gerald Jones (1894-1974)
William Kelly (1820-1906)
John H. Kessler (1914-1963)
Guy H. King (1885-1956)
Joseph E. Kirk (1903-1974)
A.E. Knoch (1874-1965)
Clarence Larkin (1850-1924)
E.A. Larsen (1884-1978)
Adlai Loudy (1893-1984)
F.E. Marsh (1858-1931)
C.H. Mackintosh (1820-1896)
D.L. McCroskey (1902-1991)
William Mealand (1873-1957)
William R. Newell (1868-1956)
J.C. O’Hair (1876-1958)
William L. Pettingill (1886-1950)
Alan Reid (1910-1992)
Samuel Ridout (1855-1930)
George L. Rogers (1869-1947)
Frank Neil Pohorlak (1907-1988)
Eugene F. Rueweler (1910-1993)
C.I. Scofield (1843-1921)
W.B. Screws (1984-1961)
W. Graham Scroggie (1877-1958)
Otis Q. Sellers (1901-1992)
R.B. Shiflet (1919-2012)
Ike T. Sidebottom (1899-1970)
Theodore Joseph Silva (1909-1974)
C.R. Stam (1909-2003)
Miles Stanford (1914-1999)
Lehman Strauss (1911-1997)
W.H. Griffith Thomas (1861-1924)
W. Leon Tucker (1871-1934)
Merrill F. Unger (1909-1980)
William H. Walker (1840-1924)
Charles H. Welch (1880-1967)

While certainly all of the Bible is for us, not all of the Bible is written to us or about us.

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Back in 2012 we ran our first article in the Bible Student’s Notebook by W.B. Screws entitled God’s Will, Counsel and Intention.[1] In this current issue we are running two more of his faithful writings.William Benjamin Screws, of Glennville, GA was an able advocate of the Pauline gospel and staunch defender of the ultimate salvation of all mankind. He had an extensive teaching ministry that was concentrated, but not limited to, the southeastern United States. He was the longtime editor of the monthly periodical, The Pilgrim’s Messenger.

A.E. Knoch referred to his laborious zeal for truth as a “fire brand” and a “man after my own heart,” going on to say,

When he sees God’s truth he stands for it, unafraid. There is nothing half-hearted about his ministry. His paper is the greatest little sheet I ever saw.

A former pastor, Screws described leaving his denomination,

[In] August [1932] I came to the point of choosing between the organized “church” and the truth of God. I chose the latter, and thank Him that I was so led. I was dismissed from the “church” where I had served exactly half my life – twenty-four years. I was given a letter of recommendation, as to character and faithfulness, but the letter stated that the church was dispensing with my services, and dismissing me as a member, because I did not believe according to the accepted doctrines of the Primitive Baptist Church. The letter did not claim that I had taught contrary to the Scriptures.

Screws conducted a circuit teaching ministry in Swansea and Fairview, SC, as well as Glennville, Collins, Wrens, Augusta and Swainsboro, GA. He co-labored regionally with Brothers D.C. Plumb (who came from CA), I.T. Watkins (Augusta, GA), C.E. Jones (Hardeeville, SC). He taught in Bible conferences as far away as San Antonio, TX, and El Centro, Oakland and Los Angeles, CA.[2]

[1]     Bible Student’s Notebook #370.
[2]     Unsearchable Riches, Volumes 23 (1932), 24, (1933), 25 (1934), 28 (1937), 29 (1938), 30 (1939), 36 (1945) and 53 (1962).

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For me, writing is an arduous process. I’ve seen authors typing away at frantic speeds, with flood-like thoughts flowing through to their keyboards. For me, my keyboard is utilized at a snail’s pace, not for lack of skill, as I took typing class in high school. Instead, it is the slow, meticulous thought-process that slows me to a near crawl. I can spend many hours on a single page, causing me to feel inadequate in this time-consuming process.

For the past few years I have been reading my way through the bound copies of the Unsearchable Riches magazines. Imagine my surprise when I reached volume 18, from 1927, and read these words penned by A.E. Knoch (1874-1965):

Few can imagine the amount of work involved in the writing of the articles. We have spent more than a day in preparing a single page.

What comfort I found in reading these two sentences; for, at times, a week’s worth of my writing efforts can be taken up by a single article. Now, granted, Knoch was quite the superior wordsmith, which is adequately demonstrated by his material. Nonetheless, these intimate lines regarding his personal labors inspired in me a measure of relief and encouragement.

As I reflect on my own writing efforts, I ceaselessly thank God for the humbling call to express to others small glimpses from His grand storehouse of truth. In turn, I am continuously grateful for those few who faithfully co-labor with me in gracious giving. Their sacrificial ministry grants me time to devote to writing. God turns our “mites”[1] – both yours and mine – into a lasting investment which will never be diminished. Let us never forget that we’re depositing wealth into the divine treasury, thus assuring us true capital lasting for the ages.

[1]     Luke 21:2.

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Dear students of Scripture,

A while back we ran an outstanding quote from E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913). Here again are his words:

For our own part we are prepared to learn and to accept all the blessed results of the recovery of lost truths. For we are not among those who think we have exhausted the Divine Word, in which are still precious “treasures” hidden, “great spoils” to be found, and “things new and old” to be brought forth.[1]

This was an excerpt taken from an article which he had written for his publication, Things to Come: A Journal of Biblical Literature.[2] Bullinger was editor of this monthly periodical for 19 years, from 1894 until his death in 1913.

Until his resignation in 1866 Bullinger was, for over two decades, an acclaimed Anglican minister. What followed would be an amazing progression in truth. The course of his rich studies can be traced through the nearly two decades of his magazine. He and many associates across the globe made tremendous strides in the recovery of grand Scriptural truths.

What is most striking to me about Bullinger’s words cited above is his age at the time. He was nearly 70 years old when he wrote:

For our own part we are prepared to learn and to accept all the blessed results of the recovery of lost truths.

For me, it emphasizes how spiritually and scripturally hungry he remained throughout all of his life. Such a spirit would have him learning exponentially during his senior years.

Bullinger always viewed himself more as a student of Scripture than a teacher of it. He never reached a place where he thought he possessed “all of the answers.” When so many teachers of Scripture, decades younger than he, would be found in fixed positions, he remained extremely teachable until his death.

In fact, over the years he remained humble, even receiving enlightenment from far younger men than himself. Young men who were students of his works would in turn be his welcomed teachers as well – men such as A.E. Knoch and Charles Welch.[3]

Even to this day God has richly blessed us with Bullinger’s teachable spirit, which is manifested in so many grand truths that others over the years have taught and advanced.

May God also grant each of us a lifetime of a teachable spirit, so that we, too, may continue to find precious hidden treasures from His Word.

[1]     The Pauline Epistles: The Dispensational Teaching of Their Chronological Order, Things to Come, Volume 13, April 1907.

[2]     We now have the reprinting of the entire 21 volumes of Bullinger’s original Things to Come (1894-1915).  (see the order form under E.W. Bullinger).

[3]     For more details on the reciprocal influence of Bullinger, Knoch and Welch see the editorial in Bible Student’s Notebook #591.

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ListenListen to Today’s Audio Goodie
(Let Clyde read the Goodie for you!)

The world is filled with blindness: relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers. As impairing as physical blindness can be, this is not the one to which I refer. Instead, I speak of one far worse: spiritual blindness.

Most go through life groping in the darkness. Only those granted the spiritual eyes to see have any divine light. It is not hard to see the effects of such a condition all around us.

The blinded condition is as divinely ordained as is sight, for,

Who appointed a mouth for man, or Who appointed him to be dumb, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I Jehovah? (Exodus 4:11-12).

Listen as John’s Gospel (12:37-40) describes the true condition of unbelief:

But though He had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on Him: that the saying of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke,
“Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
Therefore they could not believe, because that Isaiah said again,
“He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; lest they should be seeing with their eyes, and should be understanding with their heart, and be converted.”

Those who “believed not” simply “could not believe, because” God had “blinded their eyes,” “lest they should be seeing.”

The reason for their blindness is certain; it is divine.

Without the imposition of divine spiritual blindness, all of those of Jesus’ day would have believed. Israel’s Messiah “had done so many miracles before them,” it took an act of God to prevent them from seeing Who He really was.

There is no need to be frustrated or irritated at the divine work of blindness among our fellow man. Faith will not belittle, make fun of, or mock them. The blind merely play their part in the divine drama.

Be careful that we do not fall into a carnal mindset: being demeaning, condescending, insulting, disrespectful and sarcastic toward those who are blind. All such reactions are childish and irresponsible.

Our response toward blindness is compassion, kindness, tenderheartedness, empathy and graciousness regarding their handicap. It has been thrust upon them, as equally as has been our sight.

For who makes you to be different from another? What do you have that you didn’t receive? Now, if you received it, why are you proud, as if you hadn’t received it? (I Corinthians 4:7).

By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain (I Corinthians 15:10).

(Check out our video on this title: Our Response to Blindness)

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies

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If any man thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know; but if any man love God, the same is known of him (I Corinthians 8:2-3).

When we’re young and immature we imagine that we know everything. As we gain a measure of spiritual maturity it begins to dawn on us that we know nothing as we ought.

Unlike the divinely inspired authors of Scriptures, we students of it, at best, merely offer the results and opinions from our studies. We’re researchers of the treasure house found in God’s Word.

Perhaps, on occasion, we envision that we fully understand some small facet of God’s truth, demanding that others agree with our assessments; but we can’t truly be sure that the next enlightenment granted us by God will not throw an entirely greater understanding upon all that we thought we knew.

While we all have our own different perspectives and insights, let’s never be deceived into imagining that we’ve finally arrived at some mystical summit where we are somehow the source of all truth. Honest seekers of God’s truth continually refine and change their understanding over the course of their lives. They submit themselves to the superiority of God’s Word.

Sadly, many attach themselves to teachers and organizations which have their understandings chiseled in stone. These understandings often develop into traditions which are seldom questioned or explained; they just are.

The establishment will always resist the spirit of truth. The truth of Scripture has been veiled; it requires a divine quickening of the mind to be freed from reading into Scripture our own particular creeds, dogmas and traditions.

We all possess a flawed understanding of Scripture. Grasping truth is a gradually unfolding, life-long process. As fellow-travelers on this spiritual journey, may we ever seek to help each other, through a meek and uncontentious attitude.

I am thankful to share this journey with you.

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The Pilkingtons

We have a small collection of books on the Pilkingtons. The family name is an old English one (similar to Washington). Our Pilkington namesake is traced back to Alexander de Pilkington, Lord of Pilkington Manor, town of Pilkington, Lancashire, England.[1]

A map of ancient Pilkington in Lancashire England.

Pilkington is a compound word, broken down thus:

Pilk” (or “Pylk”) the root surname, being Teutonic[2], Celtic and Saxon;

ing” (or “in,” both short for “ingas”) meaning “offspring”

ton” (or “town”) meaning dwelling-place

Put together then Pilkington[3] is,

The Town[4] of the Offspring of Pilk.

It is easy for us to trace our family roots, since once we work our way back to British records, they comprise one of Europe’s royal lines. The Pilkingtons were said to have been ranked “among the great families of the county.”[5]

By some accounts we can trace our direct parental ancestry through a line of distant kings as far back as 300 b.c., to my 82nd great-grandfather. We have direct parental ancestors who were Sirs, Knights, Lords, Dukes, Earls, Barons, Counts, Viscounts, High Sheriffs, Princes and Kings.

The Pilkington Crest

The Pilkington family crest is that of a mower with a scythe. We use this on the masthead of the Bible Student’s Notebook and as a logo for Bible Student’s Press. As story has it, a royal ancestor of our family, being sought during the Norman Conquest, disguised himself as a lowly mower, performing the monotonous job of clearing the meadows to deceive the enemy into thinking he was of no importance. One of the crests captions read, “The master mows the meadows.”[6]

Maternal Ancestry

Through our maternal line we trace our heritage to the Stewards of Scotland, and King James our cousin, who united the Scottish and English crowns and commissioned the self-serving version that would bear his name. Through another branch of our maternal line we are also distant cousins of the House of Windsor, current Royal family of England.

Back in 2011, only months before my mother’s death, during the weeks leading up to royal wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, she would lightheartedly “wait” each day for the mailman to bring her wedding invitation for her cousins at Westminster Abbey. It would bring a smile to our faces. To no one’s surprise, it never came.

Far Removed from Royalty

While our family tree can trace back to royalty, we are far removed from such nobility. My father was a simple man, a carpenter and farmer. My grandfathers on both sides for generations were farmers, some sharecroppers. Neither I, nor my siblings, nor any of our recent past generations graduated from college. None of us have held any position of power or honor. So, more recently our heritage has been quite a humble one, and not surprisingly so,

For you are observing your calling, brethren, that there are not many wise according to the flesh; not many powerful, not many noble, but the stupidity of the world God chooses, that He may be disgracing the wise, and the weakness of the world God chooses, that He may be disgracing the strong, and the ignoble and the contemptible things of the world God chooses, and that which is not, that He may be discarding that which is, so that no flesh at all should be boasting in God’s sight.

I Corinthians 1:26-29, Concordant Version
  • Not Many Wise
  • Not Many Powerful
  • Not Many Noble

God’s revealed method is to choose from the lowly, ignoble. This magnifies Him – His wisdom, His Power, His Majesty. However, this passage has no particular reflection on those who happen to be “wise,” or “powerful,” or “noble.” These are merely not normally God’s primary choice in servants.

Throughout my life I have heard and read where Queen Victoria, longest reigning monarch of the British Empire, supposedly said to the Archbishop of Canterbury, “I thank God for the letter ‘M’.”

Intrigued, he inquired as to her meaning. She then quoted I Corinthians 1:26, saying, “You’ll notice it does not say, ‘not any noble.’ It says ‘not many noble.’ I’m thankful for that ‘M’.”

Whether this story is true or not, and whether Queen Victoria had faith or not, one thing is for certain, any who have divine calling among the “wise,” or “powerful,” or “noble” by world’s standards must indeed be thankful for the letter “M.”

Gaining Ancestral Perspective

It can be mind boggling how quickly ancestral trees can grow as you go back. Think about it, we all have two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents; and the number grows exponentially, generation after generation.

Look at it this way:

  • 2 – Parents
  • 4 – Grandparents
  • 8 – Great-Grandparents
  • 16 – Great, Great-Grandparents
  • 32 – Great, Great, Great-Grandparents
  • 64 – Great, Great, Great, Great-Grandparents
  • 128 – Great, Great, Great, Great, Great-Grandparents

After going back 7 generations we all have 128 5th great-grandparents. This means that in the early 19th-century there were 128 people living that would make up, as it were, 1/128th of who each of us are today.

However, watch what happens once we go back even just another five generations.

  • 256 – 6th Great-Grandparents
  • 512 – 7th Great-Grandparents
  • 1,024 – 8th Great-Grandparents
  • 2,048 – 9th Great-Grandparents
  • 4,096 – 10th Great-Grandparents

With only 12 generations passing there are now 4,096 individuals who join in providing us with our genetic makeup. These ancestors would have been alive during the second half of the 1600s.

You can see then that it might not be all that impressive to have royalty in your family tree. Going back only 1000 years, it could be possible for anyone to find a royal link. The only trouble that many might have is simply managing to trace their lines far back enough to identify a royal connection.

With so many great grand-parents in each of our gene pools, we probably all have some earthly nobility in our blood; but rest assured there probably are plenty of peasants too, not to mention those who bring shame to a family tree.

I once heard of someone many years ago who responded to the issue of evolution in this way: “None of my ancestors ever hung by their tails, but some of them probably hung by their necks.”

Endless Genealogies

There are a number of things that we can learn by considering our genealogies. One thing is how seemingly endless they all are.

Nor yet to be heeding myths and endless genealogies, which are affording exactions rather than God’s administration which is in faith.

Titus 1:4, Concordant Version

Meaningless Genealogies

Another thing we learn from Paul is how meaningless all genealogies really are. Though there was a time when one’s ancestry was important, it now has no value whatsoever in our relationship to God or His service.

Note closely Paul’s own testimony in this regard. Though he once had great pride in being of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews,” he quickly went on to say,

But things which were gain to me, these I have deemed a forfeit because of Christ.

Philippians 3:5-7, Concordant Version

The Closeness of Humanity

Additionally, we are able to see from all of our many generations of great-grandparents how very closely related all of humanity really is.

Interestingly, we are told that within one’s own culture or ethnicity everyone is related by no greater distance than a 15th cousin; while the farthest relation we may have globally is likely to be no more than a 50th cousin.[7]

Our Common Ancestor

Of course, regardless of our immediate individual ancestry, all humanity traces their lineage back to one common progenitor: Adam. Thus, Adam called his wife’s name “Eve” (חַוָּה [chavvâh][8], i.e., Lifegiver), because,

she becomes the mother of all the living.

Genesis 3:20, Concordant Version

Little wonder Paul wrote,

[God] giving to all life, and breath, and all things, He made also of one blood every nation of men, to dwell upon all the face of the earth – having ordained times before appointed, and the bounds of their dwellings.

Acts 17:25-26, Young’s Literal Translation

Our New Ancestry

Moreover, just as all humanity can trace its family tree to Adam, we can now trace it to One far greater than he: the Christ. For, what was true of us all in Adam, is now transversely true of us all in Christ.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

I Corinthians 15:22

Or, more literally,

For even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified[9].

Concordant Version

Thus, the Christ,

In Himself, [is] creating one new humanity[10].

Ephesians 2:15

Our New Aristocracy

While some of our own particular families may have lived in castles and palaces (how far we have fallen!), these temporal stations pale in comparison to the far grander position that is the destiny of the ecclesia which is His Body.

Our citizenship is in the heavens.

Philippians 3:20, Young’s Literal Translation

Our realm is inherent in the heavens.

Concordant Version

Paul teaches us that as members of Christ’s Body we have a citizenship, and it’s not on earth: it’s in heaven. Our true home and government is in heaven; our allotment is there; our King is there; our politics are there.[11]

Those of us called today have the celestials as our homeland. It is easy to get caught up in the crosscurrents of gentile (national) politics, for truly “the nations rage, and the people imagine a vain thing”(Psalm 2:1; Acts 4:25).

For us, He is our only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords:

… Our Lord Jesus Christ: Who in His times He shall show, Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

I Timothy 6:14-15

A.E. Knoch (1874-1965) writes concerning this verse:

We have no valid rights on earth. It, with its fullness, belongs to Jehovah, and He has not delegated any of its privileges to us. But why should we wish to meddle here, seeing that God has given us a far more glorious sphere? We are citizens of the heavens. We will not go there as fugitives of earth or as guests dependent on the hospitality of others. We will need no pass, no visa, as though we were foreigners, limited in our rights and restricted in our movements, alien expatriates,[13] despised emigrants of a despicable and death-doomed race. This we would be in ourselves, but in Christ we are entitled to all the rights and privileges which He Himself can claim.[14]

Our Preparation

Just as human monarchs groomed and prepared their prodigy to enter into their destined part of their ruling dynasty, so our Father is now preparing us for a matchless celestial enthronement.

God is using the experiences we have in our lifetime as a means of preparing us for our high place and service among the celestials (Ephesians 2:6). — Herman H. Rocke (1908-1996)[15]

God is preparing us for glory, a glory as vast as the regions beyond the stars. We should not question God’s training program but rather thank Him for it. — A.E. Knoch (1874-1965)[16]

Let us welcome our every encounter with evil, by faith believing that it is preparing us for our future place among the celestials (Ephesians 2:6-7). We do not inflict evil, we suffer evil; our feet are shod with the evangel of peace (Ephesians 6:15). — D.M. Johnson[17]

The Celestial Reign of Love and Grace

Earthly speaking, if we would learn anything from royal ancestries it would be what doesn’t work. After all, this is the purposeful lesson of human history. War doesn’t work; strong-arming doesn’t work; legislation doesn’t work; nor does manipulation, tyranny or oppression.

Heavenly speaking, however, we learn what does work. Love works. Grace works.

We are going to engage in a celestial overthrowing of evil with good, of corruption with righteousness, of pride and arrogance with humility, of war with peace, of hatred with love. We are going to overcome the strongholds of the heavens with meekness, gentleness, kindness, grace and love.

All that God is now manifesting toward us is the true training-ground of all that we will be manifesting in the heavens.

That, in the oncoming eons, He should be displaying the transcendent riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:7, Concordant Version

We’re not merely the recipients of “the transcendent riches of His grace,” we are the channels of it as well. God will use us as His grand celestial showcase. We are now being prepared for such a glorious “display.” May God be granting each of us the realization of our lofty position and privilege of being the grand stewards and manifestors of His supreme grace.

[1]The town of Pilkington was established in the High Middle Ages and continued until succeeded by Bury in 1894. It was bounded on two sides, the southwest and north, by the River Irwell, and encompassed the settlements of Blackford Bridge, Cinder Hill, Prestolee, Hollins, Besses o’th’ Barn, Outwood, Ringley, Stand, Unswort, and Whitefield.

[2]Teutonic is “related to a people who lived in Jutland [the continental portion of Denmark and the northern portion of Germany.] in the 4th century b.c. and fought the Romans in France in the 2nd century b.c.” (Oxford Dictionary).

[3]“In ancient records some variation in the spelling of the name is met with, ‘y’ being frequently substituted for ‘i’ [Pylkington, Pilkington] and the letter ‘g’ occasionally being dropped [Pylkinton, Pilkinton).” – John Pilkington, The History of the Lancashire Family of Pilkington and its Branches from 1066 to 1600, Thomas Brakell LTD, 1894

[4]“Each Teutonic chief received his share of land at the time of the Saxon invasion, and the name of the locality often becomes composed of the patronymic for the family or race.” – Thomas Wright, The Celt, the Roman, and the Saxon

[5]John Brownbill, William Farrer William (1911), A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 5 (1911).

[6]John Pilkington, The History of the Lancashire Family of Pilkington and its Branches from 1066 to 1600, Thomas Brakell LTD (1894).

[7]Tim Urban, Your Family: Past, Present, and Future.

[8]From the Hebrew root word חָוָה (châvâh) meaning “to live.

[9]I.e., resurrection beyond the reach of death.

[10]“The new humanity is quite a distinct matter from the one body.” – A.E. Knoch, Concordant Commentary.

[11]Related study materials:

[12]Concordant Commentary, Philippians 3:20 (abridged).

[13]Someone who does not live in their own country (Cambridge).

[14]Studies in Philippians, Unsearchable Riches.

[15]Check Your Panoply; available through Study Shelf, see order form.

[16]Unsearchable Riches, Volume 52.

[17]Unsearchable Riches; Volume 63, abridged.

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