An Examination of Dr. E.W. Bullinger's Bible Teaching

Table of Contents

1. Preface
2. An Examination of Dr. E. W. Bullinger's Bible Teaching
3. Christ's Words to the Dying Malefactor
4. Absent From the Body
5. Paul's Desire in Philippians 1:23
6. The Rich Man and Lazarus
7. A Very Real Reason for This
8. The Kingdom of Heaven
9. The Church of God
10. The Priesthood of Believers
11. The Bride of Christ
12. Prophecy
13. Appendix


Among the many forms of error ministered to the people of God, there is none more subtle and deceptive than the extreme dispensational teachings advanced by the late E. W. Bullinger, D. D., and his followers.
There were persons in the days of Isaiah who contended that darkness was light and vice versa. These erroneous doctrines are likewise advanced as truth and a revelation from God.
Various assemblies on this continent have been circularized by propagandists of these subversive doctrines in the hope that these extreme views may be embraced by others.
The followers of Dr. Bullinger in the U. S. A. do not accept in toto his doctrinal beliefs, but in the British Isles many of his disciples embrace practically all his doctrinal vagaries. The most lamentable situation is that of ministers and teachers, who stand in public places, and at every opportunity use their positions to advance these doctrines.
In Elisha's day, when the people's food was poisoned, he placed meal in the pot to counteract the poison. Such food has been placed before many an unsuspecting child of God, and this calls for a fearless exposure of these dangerous errors by one competent to do so. Mr. Pollock has been invited by the Publishers to expose and point out the doctrinal errors of Dr. Bullinger's teaching.
He has met calmly, courageously and fully, the false theories of this theological system. Knowing the unreliability of Dr. Bullinger as a teacher and expositor, I hail this book as a great contribution to the defense of pure Bible doctrine. It is the clearest and most devastating criticism of Dr. Bullinger's teachings that I have been privileged to read. I heartily recommend it to all who treasure God's truth in preference to man's speculation and false reasoning. -John Watt.
Wayne, Pennsylvania, U. S. A.

An Examination of Dr. E. W. Bullinger's Bible Teaching

The Rev. Ethelbert W. Bullinger, D. D., was a well-known clergyman in the Church of England, a prominent preacher, a frequent speaker on Convention platforms, and the author of numerous books and pamphlets. The then Archbishop of Canterbury rewarded him for his labors in producing a Greek Lexicon to the New Testament by conferring upon him the degree of doctor of divinity. He died on the 6th of June, 1913.
It is reported that on his deathbed he said to a clergyman present, "This is NOT sleeping." We wonder if, in the light of the coming world, his dying eyes saw something that caused him to realize that though "absent from the body" he would be "present with the Lord." We hope so.
The writer has been urgently asked in the interests of truth to examine his Bible teaching. The reason for this is that both in the United States and Canada, as well as in Great Britain, many have imbibed his teaching. Wherever this has happened it has caused sorrow, and in some cases divisions among Christians.
The writer never met Dr. Bullinger. This examination is undertaken solely in the interests of the truth, that Christians may be delivered from serious error, and that seeds of unrest, sorrow and division may not germinate. In examining Dr. Bullinger's writings the desire will be to find therein the truth. If there is any departure from the truth, and this departure can be shown from Scripture, we believe no one would rejoice more than Dr. Bullinger himself, could he know of it.
If any, who have imbibed Dr. Bullinger's views, read these lines, may we crave a careful reading of this pamphlet to the end? It is a sign of great weakness when there is a refusal to read the other side. If the truth is attacked, the weakness of the assault upon it will only strengthen the reader in the truth. If error is attacked, the strength of the truth is sufficient to convince any fair-minded reader of the error.
May the reader emulate the example of the Berean believers, who subjected even the teaching of the great Apostle Paul to the test of the Word of God. We read, "These [the Berean believers] were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).
The writer has before him a pamphlet by Dr. Bullinger of 52 pages. It is entitled, "The Rich Man and Lazarus; or 'The Intermediate State" (Third Edition). In it he teaches that at death the extinction of life in man-that is, in spirit, soul and body-takes place.
The spirit in which he writes may be gauged by the following extract, "It will be well for us to remember that all such expressions as 'Intermediate State,' 'Church Triumphant,' and others similar to them, are unknown to Scripture.* They have been inherited by us from Tradition; and have been accepted without thought or examination" (p. 4).
(*Throughout this pamphlet all quotations from Dr. Bullinger's writings will be given exactly as printed. All italics will be his.)
Such a statement pulls one up with a start at the very commencement. It may look very convincing in the eyes of the unthinking. But such a sweeping statement will not convince the thinker. It is true that such expressions as "Intermediate State," and "Church Triumphant," are not found in Scripture. But are the ideas conveyed by these expressions found in Scripture? If they are, then the expressions are useful and helpful. To jibe at them is only ignorance.
Such expressions as "Trinity," "Sovereignty," "Substitution," "Eternal Father," "Eternal Son," are not found in Scripture. Are we therefore to reject them as "inherited from Tradition," because the actual words are not found in Scripture? Dr. Bullinger was a very able man, and a scholar of repute, and should have known better than to make such a crude and sweeping and illogical statement.
What is "Tradition?" Used in the connection in which Dr. Bullinger employs it, it means religious teaching, handed down from father to son, from generation to generation-teaching that is either corrupted, garbled, added to or taken from, something that we cannot be sure how much is truth and how much is error.
Dr. Bullinger most unfairly classes as "Tradition" everything that does not square with his teaching. He says, "In dealing with this Scripture [Luke 16:19-31], and the subject of the so-called 'intermediate state,' it is important that we should confine ourselves to the Word of God, and not go to Tradition. Yet, when nine out of ten believe what they have learned from Tradition, we have a thankless task, so far as pleasing man is concerned" (p. 1).
Is this fair to class everything as "Tradition," which differs from his teaching? And to say that nine out of ten accept Tradition "without thought or examination" is a charge as reckless as it is untrue.
Do all theologians rely on "Tradition" for their teaching? On the contrary, is not the appeal of all respectable theologians made to the fountain-head of all divine knowledge, the Word of God, and not to "Tradition?" To say that teaching as to "the Intermediate State" is accepted "without thought or examination" is a libel upon men just as scholarly and Christian as Dr. Bullinger -men who have given us their thoughts based on a careful examination of Scripture.
Anyone carefully reading Dr. Bullinger's writings will see that he teaches that at death man ceases to exist. According to him not only does his body die, but his soul and spirit cease to exist. He says, "There is Eccl. 9:5, which declares that 'The dead know not anything.' This also seems so clear as to admit of no second meaning. 'The dead' are the dead; they are those who have ceased to live; and, if the dead do or can know anything, then words are useless for the purpose of revelation" (pp. 4, 5).
Then to make his meaning crystal clear he says, "It does not say dead bodies know not anything, but 'the dead,' i.e., dead people, who are set in contrast with 'the living' " (p. 5).
Dr. Bullinger goes further than teaching soul-sleep, for in soul-sleep the soul is in a state of suspended animation. A man asleep is in a state of suspended animation, but can be awakened to normal life. But Dr. Bullinger teaches that at death a man-spirit, soul and body-ceases to exist.
Right throughout his pamphlet Dr. Bullinger takes Eccl. 9:5 as his great foundation text. He gives it a settled meaning, and builds on that. If his interpretation of Eccl. 9:5 is correct, then all other scriptures bearing on the point will fall into line. But, alas, we have to show that his interpretation is plainly a false one, and that the subsequent texts adduced as proofs are by him twisted and misrepresented in shocking fashion. It is the case of a man getting a fixed idea into his mind, and then making everything conform to it. He becomes the slave of an idea.
But let us see if Eccl. 9:5 teaches all that Dr. Bullinger dogmatically says it does. He must have known surely that "UNDER THE SUN" is the great key-phrase of Ecclesiastes, occurring no less than twenty-five times in the book. Solomon, the writer of the book, is stating the condition of the dead in relation TO THIS EARTH. When death supervenes a dead man is completely out of touch with his earthly environment. He knows nothing of his former surroundings. Let us quote the passage in full: "The dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in anything that is done under the sun" (Eccl. 9:5, 6).
Indeed, to explain the passage as Dr. Bullinger does is to go too far, even for him. He teaches the resurrection, but here in this passage the dead have no more a portion forever. This can be true only as far as this world is concerned. A dead person will never have a portion in this life forever. But to take it literally, as Dr. Bullinger does, would shut out the resurrection. Indeed, if the man ceases to exist, it is not a resurrection that can take place, but a re-creation. But when it is seen that the outlook Solomon had was "under the sun," all is plain and simple. Dr. Bullinger builds up a whole theory on a gross misinterpretation of a single verse.
It is significant that Dr. Bullinger begins his proofs by quoting Old Testament passages. It is not that the Old Testament is not equally inspired and equally authoritative as the New Testament, but that the New Testament gives fuller light on such subjects as we are examining.
Christadelphian and Adventist writers do the same thing. They base their anti-Christian theories on misinterpreted Old Testament scriptures.
Reviewing a Christadelphian writer, the late F. W. Grant in his monumental work, "Facts and Theories as to. a Future State," writes: "Thus for his own views [Mr. Roberts, a Christadelphian writer], out of over fifty passages produced, nine belong to the New Testament and forty-seven to the Old. Whilst out of the passages which he thinks might be adduced as against his views (though scanty in number), nine out of ten are from the New Testament.... Really does it not seem a question between the Old Testament and the New?
It is not that; but still there is a tale that these quotations tell, the moral of which will be found in 2 Tim. 1:10; where the Apostle tells us that Christ `has abolished death, and brought life and incorruption [not immortality] to light by the GOSPEL.
That means that these writers are groping for light amid the shadows of a dispensation where was yet upon this subject comparative darkness. They look at death as it existed before Christ had for the believer abolished it. They look at life there where as yet it had not been 'brought to light.' No wonder if they stumble in the darkness they have chosen" (pp. 124, 125).
It is no wonder that Dr. Bullinger was quoted as an authority in a debate by Miles Grant, a prominent Annihilationist.
On page 6 Dr. Bullinger quotes a scripture that completely upsets his own theory: "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (Eccl. 12:7). Surely when the dust returns to the earth, that is, when death supervenes, THEN the spirit RETURNS TO GOD. But this is just what Dr. Bullinger denies. He writes: "Where Scripture is silent, we may well be silent too; and, therefore, as to the spirit and its possibilities between dying and resurrection we have not said, and do not say, anything. Scripture says it will 'return TO GOD.' We do not go beyond this; nor dare we contradict it by saying, with Tradition, that it goes to Purgatory or to Paradise; or with Spiritualism that it goes elsewhere" (p. 6). But Dr. Bullinger has just said the very opposite of this on the strength of his misapplication of Eccl. 9:5. Now he affirms that he dare not contradict the statement that the spirit returns to God when the dust returns to the earth. But he plainly does contradict this. He is not consistent.
Then he has a fling at his bugbear-"Tradition." He knew well that only the Roman Catholics believe in Purgatory; and as to Paradise did not so great an authority as the Son of God declare that the dying thief should be with Him in Paradise? As to Spiritualists they are not Christians at all. So his fling is rather misjudged.
We wonder how he would have explained Eccl. 8:15. Solomon writes: "Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing UNDER THE SUN, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry."
If Dr. Bullinger had followed that out he never would have been a clergyman, or preached, or written books and pamphlets. To take this passage other than in its manifest setting would be arrant folly; it would necessitate the throwing aside of the Sermon on the Mount, and all the exhortations to the heights of Christian living, just as Dr. Bullinger has refused the fuller light of the New Testament by pinning his faith to a misconception of an Old Testament passage. Verily he builds a grotesque superstructure on a handful of shifting sand.
Dr. Bullinger tells us: "There are five passages which are generally relied on and referred to by Traditionists; viz.:-
1. Matt. 22:32.
2. Luke 23:43.
3. 2 Cor. 5:6, 8.
4. Phil. 1:23.
5. Luke 16:1 9-31" (p. 24).
He proposes to comment on them in that order. The first is "THE GOD OF THE LIVING" (Matt. 22:32; Mark 12:27; Luke 20:38). Dr. Bullinger gives his whole case away in the following extract: "In these Scriptures it is stated that 'God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.' But, Traditionists believing that the 'dead' are the 'living,' make God the 'God of the dead,' which He distinctly says He is not" (p. 24). It looks as if the reverend writer had some misgiving at the bottom of his heart, for in a footnote, referring directly to the quotation just given, he writes, "If not, and these New Testament passages do uphold the teaching of Tradition, then, quite a different meaning must be given to those passages which we have quoted above from the Old Testament; and Traditionists must show how they understand them; and support their interpretations by proofs from the Word of God."
Here Dr. Bullinger touches the fatal mistake he has made in misinterpreting the Old Testament Scriptures, which misinterpretation we have clearly pointed out in reference to his great foundation text, "The dead know not anything" (Eccl. 9:5). He builds on an illogical foundation a superstructure of twisted and mangled texts.
How blind Dr. Bullinger is when he gets a fixed idea into his mind! He is not here for us to quote for his benefit the whole of the last scripture he refers to. We quote it for the benefit of his followers: "For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living; FOR ALL LIVE UNTO HIM" (Luke 20:38). If ALL live unto Him, then ALL are alive. If I am alive on this earth, I live unto God in the wide sense of the word, involving responsibility; if I am dead, so far as this earth is concerned, I still live unto God.
This is what the passage plainly teaches. It teaches the survival of the soul after death.
Dr. Bullinger goes on to say: "The whole context... shows that the words refer to the RESURRECTION, and not to the dead at all" (p. 25).
We ask in amazement, Can the resurrection be apart from the dead? Does not the resurrection, perforce, refer to the dead, and to the dead only? Yet ten lines further down Dr. Bullinger, forgetting his own extraordinary statement, quotes from this very incident: "Matt. 22, 'as touching the RESURRECTION of the dead' (ver. 31). Mark 12, 'as touching the dead, that they RISE'" (ver. 26).
It is remarkable that this incident occurs in each of the Synoptical Gospels. In each of them our Lord quoted from Ex. 3:6. Here we are surely on authoritative ground when our Lord Himself quotes THE VERY WORDS OF GOD addressed to Moses out of the burning bush: "I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Ex. 3:6). Our Lord's comment on this is plain and unmistakable: "For He is not a God of the dead, but of the living" (Luke 20:38), adding the words, "FOR ALL LIVE UNTO HIM."
We wonder why Dr. Bullinger did not refer to Ex. 3:6, especially when he had already found his proof (?) texts in the Old Testament. Why did he not refer to this important passage? Was it that he could not bring in the resurrection there, and could not explain away its plain meaning? In Ex. 3:6 there is no question of resurrection, but GOD HIMSELF says without any qualification, "I AM the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."
When God spoke out of the burning bush to Moses Abraham had been dead over three hundred years, and yet He said, "I AM the God of Abraham." If Abraham, having died, had ceased to exist, spirit, soul and body, as Dr. Bullinger teaches, God could not have said this. God could not call Himself the God of that which does not exist.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were dead, as far as this world was concerned, but they were all alive unto God. Our Lord by that statement has settled the question once for all. THERE IS AN INTERMEDIATE STATE. We prefer to believe our Lord rather than to bow to a false interpretation of Scripture such as Dr. Bullinger offers to us.

Christ's Words to the Dying Malefactor

We come now to the second of the five scriptures which, Dr. Bullinger says, are generally relied on and referred to by Traditionists.
The whole of his argument on this passage (Luke 23:43) is based on the punctuation of the promise of the Lord to the dying thief: "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." Taking sides with the Christadelphians and Adventists in this matter, Dr. Bullinger says, referring to Luke 23:43: "This... can mean only, 'Verily I say unto thee this day,-thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.' In the first place we must remember that the punctuation is not inspired. It is only of human authority. There is none whatever in the Greek manuscripts. We have, therefore, perfect liberty to criticize and alter man's use of it, and to substitute our own" (p. 27).
We may have liberty to criticize man's use of punctuation in the English translation of the Scriptures, but we have no right to substitute our own. If the translators are clear as to the sense of the passage in the original, they put punctuation in the English translation to give the sense. For that there should be the greatest care exercised.
The translators of the Bible, who gave us the Authorized Version, were Christian divines and scholars of repute. They gave us the verse-Luke 23:43-punctuated as follows, "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise." Their scholarship surely would not suffer as compared to Dr. Bullinger's. Moreover, there is the consensus of opinion that a deliberating body would give to the matter, especially where the Holy Scriptures are concerned. Similarly the translators of the Revised Version were scholarly men, and they have given us the verse with the same punctuation as the Authorized.
Dr. Bullinger makes an appeal to the Greek with a great flourish of learning. A scholar and a Christian teacher, however, referring to Dr. Bullinger, writes: "His references to the original Greek cannot be accepted without great reserve; indeed in such matters as Greek rules and references, he may well be described as 'a law unto himself.'" We can only say, if his treatment of the Greek language is not more careful than his treatment of the English language, we can have no confidence in his show of Greek.
F. W. Grant, a Christian teacher, and scholar of repute, writes:- "The common method of dealing with this text [by Christadelphian, and Adventist writers] is by altering the punctuation. They would have us read the words, 'Verily I say unto thee to-day: thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.'... But the order of the words in the sentence is all against them. With the emphasis they give it, σήμερον "today," should precede the verb.... But, beside this, the Lord is answering a prayer in which a time wherein the thief sought to be remembered was expressed. He had said, 'Lord, remember me when thou comest into Thy kingdom.' The Lord says virtually, ' you shall not wait for that; to-day you shall be with Me.' This is the simple, intelligible reason for the specification of time" (Facts and Theories as to a Future State, p. 148).
We add the judgment of Dr. A. Plummer, an undoubted Greek scholar: "'With Me,' Luke 23:43: not merely in My company (σὑν ἐμοί), but sharing with Me (μετ' ἐμοί). The promise implies a CONTINUANCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS AFTER DEATH."
But this is just what Dr. Bullinger denies. As we observe the treatment Dr. Bullinger metes out to the texts of the Bible, it reminds us of what a venerable German professor of the first rank remarked, that much of the criticism of the sacred Scriptures in which his countrymen indulge, "strikes out that which is inconvenient to it, and drags in that which has not the support of a single word in the text."
We have been amazed how Dr. Bullinger often twists Scripture in order to foist his own opinions upon the credulity of his readers. This is not said in any uncharitable spirit, but as a statement of sober fact. This pamphlet abundantly bears this out.
Then to clinch his argument that there is no intermediate state, Dr. Bullinger writes: "We are now prepared to see that we must translate Luke 23:43 in this manner, 'Verily I say to thee this day, thou shalt be with Me in Paradise.' The prayer was answered. It referred to the future, and so did the promise: for, when the Lord shall have come in His kingdom, the only Paradise the Scripture knows of will be restored" (p. 28).
Then he adds in a footnote: "It [Paradise] is never used in any other sense than that of an earthly place of beauty and delight. 'The tree of life' and the river of the water of life' are its [Paradise] great- conspicuous characteristics" (p. 28).
Is it true that the only Paradise Scripture knows of is on earth? We read of "a pure river of water of life" and "the tree of life" in Rev. 22:1, 2. This, we believe, is a symbolic description of the Bride, the
Lamb's wife, as "that great city, the holy Jerusalem," and that it descends out of HEAVEN from God. If it comes out of heaven this Paradise is clearly heavenly, and not earthly. It belongs to heaven. It comes out of HEAVEN. It sets forth the Church of God, which is the Bride of Christ, in relation to the Millennial reign of our Lord over the earth.
In Rev. 2:7 we read: "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God." Surely "the tree of life" is a symbolic expression setting forth Christ Himself, that He will be the food of the overcomer when the conflict is over. A little lower down the overcomer is promised that he will be given to eat of the hidden manna, another allusion in symbolic language to our blessed Lord. Remember, this is no earthly Paradise, but the Paradise of God. Lastly we read in 2 Cor. 12:1-9, of the Apostle Paul, "How that he was CAUGHT UP into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter" (verse 4). Notice he was "CAUGHT UP." If the only Paradise the Scripture knows of is on earth, these words have no meaning. But we are left in no doubt as to what is meant by Paradise. In verse 2 of this Chapter we read: "I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one CAUGHT UP to the third Heaven." This identifies Paradise as the third HEAVEN. The third Heaven is the dwelling-place of God. The first Heaven is the atmospheric Heaven, in which the clouds are generated, the atmosphere that belts the earth. The second Heaven sets forth the vast spaces of the stellar system beyond the power of man to penetrate. The third Heaven is the dwelling-place of God.
What becomes of Dr. Bullinger's statement that Paradise is only on earth? It was necessary to make this statement of his in order to buttress up his idea of there being no intermediate state. His argument only recoils on his own head.

Absent From the Body

(2 Corinthians 5:6, 8)
WE come now to the third of the five scriptures that, Dr. Bullinger says, are generally relied on and referred to by Traditionists: "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:6-8). Commenting upon this passage Dr. Bullinger says, "We have shown that 'to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord' was the inspired desire of the Apostle, which could be only realized in resurrection. Resurrection (and not death) is the subject of the whole context" (p. 29).
But the Doctor is clearly illogical here. To be "absent from the body" clearly means death, and NOT resurrection, just the opposite of what he says. In resurrection the individual will clearly be in the body, and not absent from it. To be "absent from the body" means death, and shuts out resurrection as long as that condition exists. When resurrection takes place that condition will cease, but till it does the condition exists.
Dr. Bullinger goes on: "These words are generally misquoted, 'Absent from the body, present with the Lord,' as though it said that when we are absent from the body we are present with the Lord. But no such sentence can be found" (p. 29).
But verse 8 of our Chapter contains the following words, "Absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." If this is not the sentence that Dr. Bullinger says does not exist, then we do not know what plain simple words mean. Put these words before a humble Christian who can scarcely read, and he would have no difficulty in understanding that when the believer is "absent from the body" (that is death and NOT resurrection) he is "present with the Lord." Blessed hope!
Dr. Bullinger goes on, "No less than nine words are deliberately omitted from the context when the quotation is thus popularly made" (p. 29).
We object strongly to Dr. Bullinger saying that these nine words "are deliberately omitted." This is to imply deceit and lack of honesty, and that in divine things. It is a most serious and unwarranted charge. We would not like to charge Dr. Bullinger with deliberately explaining away scriptures in order to make them square with his theory of no Intermediate State. We have, in our judgment, much mare ground for doing so, but we forbear.
Dr. Bullinger continues: "The omission of these words creates quite a new sense, and puts the verse out of all harmony with the context; the object of which is to show that we cannot be 'present with the Lord' except by being clothed upon with our Resurrection body-our 'house which is from heaven.'...
The context is, 'We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord' (ver. 8).
By omitting the words which we have printed in bold type, the sense is entirely changed" (pp. 29, 30).
We would ask any fair-minded reader whether these "nine words" make any difference to the thought that "absent from the body" means "to be present with the Lord," that the one condition is the counterpart of the other. We cannot see that they do.
The beginning of 2 Cor. 5 teaches just the opposite of what Dr. Bullinger would make it out to be. Verse 4 says, "For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life." Now to be "unclothed" means for the soul to be apart from the body-the soul is "unclothed" at death. But if, as Dr. Bullinger teaches, the whole man-spirit, soul and body-ceases to exist at death, there can be no unclothing according to him. The clothing, and the tenant within the clothing, according to him, cease to exist, how then can the believer be "unclothed"? Dr. Bullinger is on the horns of a dilemma.
"Clothed upon" means the receiving of the resurrection body, which the "unclothed" believer will have given to him at the second coming of Christ. Then mortality will be swallowed up of life.
The whole passage proves most clearly that there is an Intermediate State.

Paul's Desire in Philippians 1:23

We come now to the fourth of the five passages which, Dr. Bullinger says, are generally relied on and referred to by Traditionists. We read, "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better" (Phil. 1:23).
Commenting on this he writes: "We have... shown that the desire of the Apostle was not 'to depart' himself, by dying; but his desire was for the return of Christ; the verb rendered 'depart' being used elsewhere in the New Testament only in Luke 12:36, where it is rendered return; 'when he shall RETURN from the wedding.' May we not fairly ask, Why are we not to translate it the same way in Phil. 1:23?" (pp. 30, 31).
One cannot but feel a measure of indignation at a writer juggling with words, which looks like endeavoring to evade the obvious meaning of the passage. Dr. Bullinger says the Apostle Paul was waiting for the return of Christ. But the passage does not say so. But even if we allow him to alter the word from "depart" to "return" he is no better off. If we alter the verse to suit him, it would read, "Having a desire to return, and to be with Christ." It would be the desire of the Apostle for his own return, and not the return of Christ. To alter the words as Dr. Bullinger suggests would be to make no sense. What a good thing it is, that he did not produce the Revised Version by his own unaided efforts. What an unutterably unreliable translation he would have produced!
Further, we spoke of juggling with words. Why did Dr. Bullinger print the word, "RETURN" in capital letters, and not give us the whole expression, "RETURN FROM"? To "RETURN FROM" clearly means to "Depart." If I return from New York to Boston, it means I came from Boston to New York, and am now departing from New York, and going to Boston, which clearly means, I "DEPART" from New York. Dr. Bullinger is only throwing dust in the eyes of his readers. The passage most plainly means that the Apostle had a desire to die, and to be with Christ, which latter is far better.
In a footnote to page 20 Dr. Bullinger says, "True in Phil. 1:21 some think Paul spoke of death as 'gain,' but we may ask, Whose gain? The answer is clear, for the whole context from verses 12-24 shows that Christ and His cause are the subjects to which he is referring; not himself. Paul's imprisonment had turned out to be for 'the furtherance of the gospel' (ver. 12). His death might further it still more, and thus prove a 'gain' for it."
How Dr. Bullinger, who was quite able to read English, can say that Paul did not refer TO HIMSELF in Phil. 1:21 is staggering. Let us quote the text for the benefit of the readers of this pamphlet: "For TO ME to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21). "TO ME," clearly governs both statements, so that it could read, "To ME to live is Christ, and to ME to die is gain."
Dr. Bullinger also suggests that the gain of dying to Paul would be because he was in prison, and death "would have been a happy issue out of his then afflictions." We remember that the Apostle wrote to the Philippian saints from prison, and instead of only wishing to die, he was in a strait betwixt two, that is, to abide in the flesh was more needful for the saints, yet to depart and to be with Christ was "FAR BETTER."
Dr. Bullinger evidently felt himself in a difficulty, when he wrote: "We have four passages which seem to be opposed to those we have quoted from the Old Testament.* Both cannot be true. We must either explain away the Old Testament passages, or we must see whether these four passages admit of other renderings, which remove their apparent oppositions" (p. 33).
(*Eccl. 9:5; Psa. 146:2-4; Psa. 104:33; Psa. 104:29,30; Eccl. 12:7.)
These four passages, which we have just been examining, viz., Matt. 22:32; Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 5:6,8; Phil. 1:23, and the Old Testament passages quoted by Dr. Bullinger,* including his great foundation (?) text of Eccl. 9:5 are ALL true. We do not need to explain away the Old Testament passages, nor to explain away these four passages from the New Testament. The New Testament Scriptures are not in opposition to the Old, and both are equally inspired.
Now these four passages, as we have seen, do not only seem to be opposed, but are DEFINITELY opposed, not to the passages quoted from the Old Testament by Dr. Bullinger, but to HIS wrong interpretations of them. We cannot understand how a Christian teacher, and scholar of his reputation, could be so blind to the plain truth of the Old Testament passages. The writers spoke of death as understood in THIS world, and in relation to its environments. In short, to what is "UNDER THE SUN."
For how could death be a "gain" to the Apostle Paul, if he ceased to exist-spirit, soul and body-and became non-existent till what Dr. Bullinger calls resurrection, for how could there be a resurrection of that which does not exist? 1 Cor. 15:42-44 says: "So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: it is sown a natural BODY; it is raised a spiritual BODY."
That describes resurrection. What goes into the grave comes out, and there is a link between what is "sown" in corruption, dishonor, and weakness, and what comes forth in incorruption, power, and glory.
The question is asked, "But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?" (1 Cor. 15:35). No question is asked about the soul. If the life of the soul ceased to exist, as well as the life of the body, as Dr. Bullinger states, why is the inquiry limited to the body? The very silence of Scripture is informative.
What "gain" does Dr. Bullinger get from his cheerless theory that there is no Intermediate State? What cheered millions of dying saints, from the days of the Coliseum in Rome, where the martyrs died to the cry of "Throw the Christians to the lions!" to the present time, was the thought that being "absent from the body" meant being "present with the Lord." That were indeed gain and the "far better" portion.
Paul would surely have chosen to have the company of the Lord in prison than to exchange it for non-existence at death. That were no gain.
The further we go in examining this theory that there is no Intermediate State, the more we wonder that Dr. Bullinger did not see through his folly.
Take the matter of the gift of eternal life. When a sinner believes on the Son of God he becomes the possessor of eternal life. What an absurd position the teaching of Dr. Bullinger would put the Apostle Paul in, to have eternal life for, say, 30 or 40 brief years of this life, then to die and become non-existent. What becomes of eternal life? Then after long centuries the resurrection comes. How can a non-existent person be raised? How can a nonentity possess eternal life? Eternal life is the inalienable portion of every believer, his portion in life, his portion when the body is dropped, his portion in resurrection, his portion forever, his portion uninterruptedly. "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Rom. 11:29). That is, God does not change His mind, and give the believer eternal life, and then take it away, and do away with the very existence of the believer till the resurrection.
It is clear that Dr. Bullinger feels himself in a difficulty, and is under the necessity of explaining away this matter of eternal life being the inalienable and uninterrupted possession of the believer in Christ. He writes: "It is, of course, most blessedly true, that there is a vast difference between the saved and the unsaved in this 'falling asleep.' The former have received the gift of 'eternal life' (Rom. 6:23): not yet in actual fruition; but 'in Christ,' who is responsible to raise them from the dead (John 6:39), that they may enter upon the enjoyment of it" (p. 36). How can the doctor write such a denial of Scripture in the face of such plain unmistakable words? We read: "He that believeth on the Son HATH everlasting life" (John 3:36). "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye HAVE eternal life" (1 John 5:13). How can you receive a gift, if it is not "in actual fruition?" Otherwise it would not be a gift, but only the promise of it. The believer has eternal life NOW, in present possession, and that on the authority of God's own Word. We prefer to believe God.
Dr. Bullinger says the gift of "eternal life" is "in. Christ," meaning that it is not in the believer in this life. It is true that the believer has it "in His [God's] Son" (1 John 5:11), as we have all blessings "in Christ," but Scripture plainly tells us that the believer "HATH" eternal life, and both statements are true, just as a leaf has life in it, but its life is in the tree. Our Lord says: "The water that I shall give him shall be IN HIM a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14). So much for this glaring perversion of Scripture.
Dr. Bullinger's denial of the Intermediate State also does violence to the truth of the believer being sealed by the Spirit of God. We read: "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION" (Eph. 4:30). The believer is here stated to be sealed "UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION." When is that? At the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, when the sleeping saints shall be raised, and the living believers changed, and all caught up to be forever with the Lord, the day when believers will receive the redemption of their body (Rom. 8:23).
The believer is sealed when he receives what Eph. 1:13 describes as "the gospel of your salvation." The Scripture says he is sealed "UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION." Should the believer die, Dr. Bullinger says, he becomes non-existent. How can the Spirit of God seal what is non-existent? So according to his teaching the seal is broken. But Scripture does not say so, and we prefer to believe Scripture. The Apostle Paul is sealed "UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION." Though "absent from the body," the believer, who has fallen asleep in Jesus, is "present with the Lord," in His blissful company, waiting for the "redemption of the body" (Rom. 8:23). So are all the departed saints, including Dr. Bullinger himself, who would surely rejoice in this pamphlet as a modest attempt to undo the mischief his theorizing is doing among Christian assemblies, could he know of it.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

We now come to the last of the five passages which Dr. Bullinger says are generally relied on and referred to by Traditionists. He says, "There remains the fifth passage, Luke 16:19-31, commonly called `The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus,' or of 'Dives and Lazarus.' It is absolutely impossible that the Traditional interpretation of this can be correct; because, if it were, it would be directly opposed to all the other teaching of Scripture. And the Lord's words cannot and must not be so interpreted. If it be Bible truth (as it is) that 'the dead know not anything,' how could the Lord have taught, and how can we believe that they do know a very great deal?" (p. 34).
The Lord did certainly teach that the dead in the other world are conscious, and know a great deal. If He taught this, and He did, it is true, whatever Dr. Bullinger may say to the contrary. Dr. Bullinger puts his misinterpretation of "The dead know not anything" against the words of our Lord; and he proceeds to explain away our Lord's words so that they shall not contradict his misinterpretation of Scripture.
Here are the words of our Lord: "And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; and in hell [hades] he lift up his eyes being in torments" (Luke 16:22, 23). Whether we treat this as a parable or not does not alter the meaning. It is given to set forth the truth. If a parable, its solemn teaching is to inform us as to what takes place the other side of death. Revelation alone can draw aside the veil. Our Lord clearly teaches that there are two destinations in the next world, one of happiness and the other of woe.
Our Lord further teaches in the most implicit language that there is consciousness after death. Lazarus dies, and without the very slightest hint that there is any interregnum, any period of time between the two statements, we are told he was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom.
Further, when our Lord spoke these words Abraham had been dead over eighteen centuries. How comes he in the place of bliss, if he had ceased to exist, spirit, soul and body, as Dr. Bullinger teaches? Abraham is alive there, at any rate, for he speaks three times to the rich man. This could not be, if there were no Intermediate State.
Moreover the rich man dies, and is buried, and, without any break in the narrative, lifts up his eyes in Hades being in torment. All this most clearly teaches consciousness after death of the soul apart from the body.
Dr. Bullinger waxes sarcastic as to the inconsistencies of Traditionists in explaining what is literal and what is figurative. He asks how can the soul go on thinking without a brain, and how can the soul of a dead person, whose body with its tongue lies buried in the grave, have a tongue and speak in the other world?
So he asks: "There is the further difficulty as to a man who has been actually buried, could think without a brain, or speak without a tongue. How can the spirit speak, or act apart from the physical organs of the body? This is a difficulty our friends cannot get over: and so they have to invent some theory (which outdoes the Spiritist's invention of an 'Astral body') which has no foundation whatever in fact: and is absolutely destitute of anything worthy of the name 'evidence' of any kind whatsoever" (p. 38).
We do not and cannot tell how the soul in another world can think or speak, but we know that they do because Scripture tell us so. We do not invent any theory, but simply state a fact that Scripture warrants us in so doing. We read of God speaking and listening, and many other things, and He is a Spirit. We do not ask how this could be.
A clear case of consciousness after death is that of the prophet Samuel. His disembodied spirit spoke and knew more than the living Saul did. He prophesied the future to him with clearness of vision.
When King Saul was in dire straits and in deep despair he, also, turned to Spiritism. He had sought to cut off all those who had familiar spirits out of the land. and now when in deep perplexity he turned to demoniac aid.
Disguising himself, he asked a woman with a familiar spirit at Endor to bring up Samuel, so that he might in his sore perplexity consult him. She expected to bring up a personating demon, which is all that spiritists can do, but was affrighted when she saw that God permitted a most unusual thing—the spirit of Samuel himself to appear in the likeness of an old man covered with a mantle. This is the only record in Scripture where a dead person appeared in communication with this earth.
Samuel spoke to Saul, remonstrated with him for disturbing him, and proceeded to prophesy that on the morrow Saul and his sons would be with him. So we see a spirit could think, speak and act, and be as conscious as Saul himself. How this could be, we know not, seeing Scripture is silent. We "invent" no "theory," in spite of Dr. Bullinger's charge that such is done. We get an unanswerable proof of consciousness after death when Samuel prophesied to Saul: "Tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me" (1 Sam. 28:19). "WITH ME" shows that Samuel was conscious, alive and speaking. His words would have had no sense if he had meant the grave. Moreover, in the circumstances it was impossible for Samuel and Saul and his sons to occupy the same grave. The next day Saul and his sons fell on the mountains of Gilboa, some forty-five miles north of Ramah, where Samuel was buried. Then the bodies of Saul and his sons were exposed on the walls of Bethshan, from thence taken to Jabesh, their bodies burned, and their bones buried under an oak there.
How then could Saul and his sons be with Samuel, save as conscious spirits in the other world? In short, they entered into the Intermediate State. And yet Dr. Bullinger would have us believe that Samuel, Saul and his sons ceased to exist, spirit, soul and body, at death.
David too believed in the Intermediate State. When the child begotten in adultery with Bathsheba died, the sorrow-stricken and sorely sinning father cried out in his grief: "While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I SHALL GO TO HIM, BUT HE SHALL NOT RETURN TO ME" (2 Sam. 12:22, 23). David did not believe that at death his son had ceased to exist, nor did he believe that at death he himself would cease to exist, for he said: "I shall go to him."
Dr. Bullinger makes the astounding statement: "It seems to us perfectly clear that the Lord was not delivering this as a Parable, or as His own direct teaching; but that He was taking the current traditional teachings of the Pharisees, which He was condemning; and, using them against themselves, thus convicting them out of their own mouths" (p. 48).
One really cannot understand any sensible Christian writing such a palpable travesty of the truth. According to Dr. Bullinger Luke 16:19-31 is not the Lord's direct teaching. We would ask a thousand readers as they read this passage, Does it convey to your minds our Lord's direct teaching in parabolic form? The answer would be unanimously in the affirmative.
And why must Dr. Bullinger take such extraordinary ground? He says: "If we 'hear them' [Old and New Testaments], it would be impossible for us to suppose, for a moment, that Christ could be teaching, here, that which is the very opposite to that of the whole word of God. We have the Scriptures of truth: and they reveal to us, in plain, direct, categorical, unmistakable words that 'the dead know not anything'; and that when man's breath goeth forth, 'in that very day his thoughts perish'" (p. 49).
It is really pathetic to see how Dr. Bullinger quotes again, and again, and again, scriptures which he has misinterpreted, and builds upon them a superstructure of mangled and twisted scriptures. If scriptures do not fall into line with his misinterpreted texts, then they must be explained away, in order to maintain his misinterpretations. To do this he dares to explain away the "plain, categorical, unmistakable" words of our Lord, and to tell us they do not set forth His direct teaching, but simply "current, traditional teachings of the Pharisees." If this is not Modernism of a most flagrant type, then we do not know what Modernism is.
Perhaps the high-water mark of profanity is reached in the following: "But, when we read the passage [Luke 16:15-31] in the light of the whole Word of God, and especially in the light of the context, we see in it the traditions of the Pharisees, 'which were highly esteemed among men,' but were 'abomination in the sight of the Lord' (verse 15)." (p. 50).
So now our Lord's own teaching as to what obtains in the other world, that the spirit is conscious after death, and goes either into happiness or woe, is described as "abomination in the sight of the Lord." We leave the reader to judge in this matter. There can be only one verdict.
We have now examined the way Dr. Bullinger explains away every one of the five scriptures he says are generally relied on and referred to by Traditionists, and found that he has twisted, mangled and misinterpreted every one of them in order to square them with his misinterpretation of Old Testament scriptures. The Old Testament Scriptures are equally inspired with the New, and we find no contradiction between them, but perfect harmony.
We have before us a pamphlet written by Dr. Bullinger, entitled "SHEOL" & "HADES:" Their Meaning and Usage in the Word of God. (Second Edition)
We agree with Dr. Bullinger in stating that the Hebrew word, Sheol, in the Old Testament is synonymous with the Greek word, Hades, in the New Testament; that is, they have one and the same meaning.
It would be well to state what we believe is the true meaning of Sheol or Hades. It does not refer to a place, but to a condition, and a condition ONLY. It stands in opposition to death, which also is a condition, and a condition ONLY.
Death is the condition of the body apart from the soul, the body in which life is extinct, and which fast goes to corruption. Sheol or Hades is the condition of the soul apart from the body, which condition is either one of bliss or torment, as taught in Luke 16:19-31. We read in Rev. 20:13, 14: "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [sheol, or hades] delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell [sheol, or hades] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
The true meaning of Sheol or Hades harmonizes with this description of the second resurrection when the wicked dead shall be raised. Death and Hades are cast into the lake of fire. Death, the condition of the body apart from the soul, and Hades, the condition of the soul apart from the body, come to an end, and when the separated bodies and souls are reunited in the moment of resurrection, and the individuals, who, in the death state represented these two conditions, are cast into the lake of fire.
It does not do to say that Sheol or Hades means the grave on the one hand, or a place in the unseen world on the other, for then we should have a place and a condition cast into a place, which would be nonsensical. How could "death and hell," or death and the grave, as Dr. Bullinger would teach, be cast into the lake of fire?
Now let us see what Dr. Bullinger says Sheol means. He begins by telling us that Sheol occurs 65 times in all in the Old Testament, translated "grave" 31 times, "hell" 31 times, "pit" 3 times. Then he tells us that in four passages where the word is "hell" in the text, "grave" is given as the marginal reading.
Then he tells us: "In the MARGIN 'the grave' is put 4 times for 'hell,' thus neutralizing 4 passages, by reducing the total of 'hell' renderings to 27, and correspondingly raising the total of the 'grave' renderings to 35 instances out of 65" (Sheol and Hades, p. 6).
But why cannot we work it the other way about equally logically, and say the "hell" renderings number 35 instances out of 65? We can only charge Dr. Bullinger with manipulating figures to suit his own theory.
Then he concludes: "The grave, therefore, stands out on the face of the above list as the best and commonest meaning" (Sheol and Hades, p. 6).
It is really pitiable to see a Christian man throwing dust, in the eyes of his readers in this fashion. He goes on to say: "As to the rendering 'hell,' it does not represent Sheol; because, both by Dictionary definition and by colloquial usage, 'hell' means the place of future punishment" (Sheol & Hades, p. 7).
So divine terms are to be settled by the Dictionary and the speech of "the man in the street."
He then proceeds: "Sheol has no such meaning; but denotes the present condition of death. 'The grave' is, therefore, a far more suitable translation, because it visibly suggests to us what is invisible to the mind, viz., the state of death" (Sheol & Hades, p. 7).
We should have thought that a dead body in its coffin was a visible enough representation of the condition of death. But at any rate Dr. Bullinger admits that Sheol denotes the present condition of death. Then he thinks that "the grave" is the best translation, which means, according to him, a condition, is best described by a place. Is this logical? We think it is confusion.
One can understand how in the Old Testament, before Christ had abolished (annulled) death, and brought life and immortality (incorruptibility) to light through the gospel (2 Tim. 1:10), they understood well what the condition of death was when they saw their dead with life extinct, and corruption set in. But as for the soul they had very little light as to what happened to it at death. One is not surprised that many look at Sheol or Hades as a place, rather than a condition. But it is in the full light of Scripture most evidently the counterpart of death, one affecting the body, the other the soul, and both conditions, and conditions ONLY. So in no case can Sheol or Hades mean the grave.
We ask the question why Dr. Bullinger did not mention a Hebrew word, Queber, which means the grave, and is found over 60 times in the Old Testament, and is generally translated, "grave" or "sepulcher." It means the grave or its equivalent in every case. Why is nothing said about this? Is this honest? If he brought it in, it would upset his argument, we fear.
Now we come to Hades in the New Testament. The word occurs eleven times in the New Testament. Dr. Bullinger gives his readers a list of these, but, mark well, in every case he gives the quotation with the Greek word, Hades. Why? The reason seems obvious. We are slow to accuse Dr. Bullinger of want of good faith. We can only excuse him by saying that he is so obsessed with his own theories that he is rendered blind to the most obvious things. Please note carefully, out of these eleven times the word Hades is translated "Hell," it is only ONCE translated by the word, "Grave" (See 1 Cor. 15:55).
When it is a question of Sheol, and he found according to his calculation that it was rendered 54 percent by the word, "grave," 41 1/2 percent by the word, "Hell"; and 4 1/2 percent by the word, "pit," Dr. Bullinger concludes, "The grave, therefore, stands out on the face of the above list as the best and commonest rendering" (Sheol & Hades, p. 6).
Why then does he not say, seeing Hades is translated "hell" ten times out of eleven, and only once the "grave," that it should be translated "Hell" as the best and commonest rendering? In this case the percentage is not a mere 54, but over 90 percent. Why is Dr. Bullinger not consistent? It is hard to suppress one's indignation at dishonest manipulation of figures to suit himself.
Then, again, why does he not mention the ordinary word for "grave" in the New Testament? Mnemeion (and its cognate word, Mneema) is translated grave,.sepulcher, tomb 49 times. Why is this not mentioned?
Dr. Bullinger writes: "In our examination of 'Sheol' we showed that THE grave (not A grave) was the only rendering which accurately represents the Hebrew word Sheol. As Hades is used by the Holy Spirit as the New Testament substitute for the Old Testament Sheol it follows that the same meaning must be given to Hades in the New Testament" (Sheol & Hades, pp. 17, 18). So because the Translators of the Bible give "grave" as the equivalent of the Hebrew word, Sheol, in the majority of cases, Dr. Bullinger thinks he is justified in saying that Sheol means the "grave." Yet when the same Translators give "hell" as the meaning of the Greek word Hades (the equivalent of Sheol), no less than ten times out of eleven, Dr. Bullinger ignores this, and fastens on THE ONE SOLITARY EXCEPTION, where the word is translated "grave," and says that the Old Testament usage must govern the New Testament word. Is this logical? Is it honest? We leave our readers to judge.
Further, Dr. Bullinger in the quotation just given tells us that the "grave" is "the ONLY rendering which accurately represents the Hebrew word Sheol." And yet in the same pamphlet, and only ten pages earlier, he writes: "Sheol... denotes the present condition of death. The ' grave' is, therefore, a far more suitable translation, because it visibly suggests to us what is invisible to the mind, viz., the state of death" (Sheol & Hades, p. 7). So he describes a condition by a place, and tells us this is the ONLY rendering. Verily, "the legs of the lame are not equal." And in such a solemn matter as this, it is really most unpardonable. One cannot believe a Christian scholar, such as Dr. Bullinger was, did not know better. He was surely building with wood, hay and stubble.
Commenting on 1 Cor. 15:55 we read: "O Hades, where is thy victory? This is translated in the Authorized Version 'O grave,' which is conclusive as to the meaning to be put upon the word Hades" (Sheol & Hades, p. 22).
Why conclusive? Dr. Bullinger surely knew that ten times out of eleven instances in which the word Hades occurs in the New Testament, it is translated by the word "hell," and only ONCE the "grave" (1 Cor. 15:55). Should this not be conclusive? But this would not suit his theory, so he prefers to juggle with words, and throw dust in the eyes of his readers. So Hades translated "grave" once, is conclusive, as placed against ten cases where it is translated "hell." We should be ashamed to be guilty of such shameless sophistry.
The fact is, there is no one word in the English language the equivalent of Sheol or Hades, so that to translate it "grave," or "pit," or "hell," cannot be correct.
And further, in the Revised Version (1 Cor. 15:55) we read, "O death, [not "grave," as in the Authorized Version] where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" Why does Dr. Bullinger not say that this is conclusive? Then he states: "In the Revised Version, and in the American Revised Version, every one of these passages is rendered uniformly 'Hades' without any alternative rendering in the margin"* (Sheol & Hades, p. 17).
(*We have just seen that this statement is not quite correct, that 1 Cor. 15:55 is an exception, but it is quite true that in every other case the actual Greek word, Hades, appears as a transliteration in the sacred text.)

A Very Real Reason for This

There is a very real reason for this. It shows that what we have just said is true that the Translators, both British and American, of their respective Revised Versions, saw the difficulty of translating a word which has no equivalent in the English language, and have therefore given us the Greek word itself in the text. If there had been an equivalent word, in the fuller light of scholarship, they would have given it to us. But there is none. It can only be translated by using a phrase or sentence.
There is one more passage we ought to consider before leaving this subject. Dr. Bullinger writes, Acts 2:27. "Thou wilt not leave my soul (i.e., Me) in HADES." Acts 2:31. "His soul (i.e., He) was not left in HADES." "These two passages, being respectively the quotation and interpretation of Psa. 16:10, must have the meaning that Sheol there has; and show that they speak 'of the resurrection of Christ' (ver. 31) from the grave. This is clear if we read the whole context, Acts 2:24-25; and 13: 30-37. Hades is, here, the place where 'corruption' is seen; and 'resurrection' is the only way of exit from it" (Sheol & Hades, p. 22).
Dr. Bullinger tells us that at death spirit, soul and body cease to exist. To be consistent he must apply this to our blessed Lord, for He died. But in the above quotation he places the Lord's soul in the grave, for he says "grave" is the only correct translation for the word, "Hades." What right has he to do this? It is not consistent with his former teaching.
Let us quote Psa. 16:10, a most wonderful passage: "For Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell [Hades]; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption."
How satisfactory is the real teaching of that verse, that the soul of our blessed Lord-a soul conscious and in bliss-did not remain in the condition of being apart from the body; nor was His holy body left in the grave in the condition of death. Moreover, it was not suffered to see corruption. To end these two conditions meant the reuniting of the soul with the body, and this came about in His glorious resurrection, the proof that God was glorified in the work of the cross, that redemption's work was completed to God's eternal glory and the assurance of blessing of every believing sinner. We prefer to give the true interpretation of the text than commenting on the irreverent suggestions, if not worse, of Dr. Bullinger. The subject is too sacred.
If the reader cares to pursue this matter further, he will find in the Author's pamphlet, "Hades and Eternal Punishment" (2nd Edition), ample Scriptural proof of the definition he has given of Sheol or Hades, that is, it is the condition of the soul apart from the body, a condition and a condition ONLY, and of the truth as to Eternal Punishment. (To be had of our Publishers.)

The Kingdom of Heaven

WE will now make some comment on what Dr. Bullinger teaches about the Kingdom of Heaven. The following quotations will tell us what that teaching is. "The Kingdom... belongs to the past Dispensation. It was proclaimed by John the Baptist; and afterward as being then 'at hand';... but, having been rejected, it is now in abeyance until the time comes to set it up in Divine power and glory" ("How to Enjoy the Bible," p. 115). "There can be no kingdom without a king, therefore while He [The Lord Jesus] is away, the kingdom must be in abeyance" ("The Mystery," pp. 10, 11). "The end of the Kingdom was marked externally by the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of Israel" ("The Kingdom & the Church," p. 16).
Just as Dr. Bullinger taught that the believer ceases to exist at death, so now he teaches that the Kingdom of Heaven ceased to exist when Titus destroyed Jerusalem and scattered the Jews among the nations. This is clearly what he means when he says the Kingdom is "in abeyance." We would like to know what warrant he has for this statement, for we know of no such insinuation in the Word of God. He tells us "there can be no kingdom without a king." By that he means a visible King on. earth. The Sermon on the Mount teaches us plainly the fact of the Kingdom being on this earth, spite of the absence of the King. We read in Matt. 4:23: "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom."
Then we read that great multitudes followed Him "from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan." What a stir there was! What a mighty hunger to hear the Kingdom gospel! He then went up into a mountain with His disciples, and taught them. His discourse on this occasion is commonly called The Sermon on the Mount. And what does this Sermon contain? Surely instructions as to the Kingdom of Heaven, its characteristics when the King is absent, and how the children of the Kingdom must comport themselves in the circumstances of His absence. There cannot be a Kingdom without a King, but this King may be rejected, and therefore absent. And this is what is happening at the present time in relation to the Kingdom of Heaven.
Our Lord said: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5:3).
Will any be "poor in spirit" when the King is present, and has set up His Kingdom in power and majesty? No; in His absence this can be and is true. It is true of the Kingdom during the absence of the King.
Again we read: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (ver. 10).
Will any be persecuted for righteousness' sake when the King is in power? Impossible! It sets forth what is taking place when the King is absent.
The whole of the Sermon on the Mount is framed from the standpoint of the Kingdom of Heaven being, in the absence of the King, subject to persecution and violence. Blessed are the subjects of the Kingdom, who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, which certainly they will not do when the King reigns in righteousness. Blessed are they when men revile them, and persecute them, and say all manner of evil against them falsely for the King's sake, a condition of things that will certainly not be allowed when the King is all-powerful.
But some follower of Dr. Bullinger's views may say, "This will be all true of the remnant after the Church is caught up. There can be no application of this to the Christians of this dispensation."
We reply that Dr. Bullinger's own statement rules that out. He writes with an air of finality that there can be no kingdom without a king, meaning a king visibly present and in power. During the Great Tribulation the King will be absent as much as now. So that explanation will not work in the light of Dr. Bullinger's dogmatic statement.
Six times over in Matt. 13, that great Chapter of the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven, the sentence occurs, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like." Dr. Bullinger's comment on this is as follows: "When He [the Lord Jesus] says, 'The Kingdom of Heaven is like,' it is as though He said, 'The Kingdom is to be in abeyance, here is a likeness of what will happen to it; here is another; here is another. I am speaking concerning the things connected with the Kingdom which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world" ("The Kingdom" & "the Church," p. 9).
The Lord Jesus said, "The Kingdom of Heaven IS [PRESENT tense] like." Dr. Bullinger says that our Lord by these words meant that the Kingdom of Heaven would be in "abeyance," meaning that it would cease to exist. Any child of tender years in one of our schools could tell the learned doctor that this is practically saying that white is black. Can any sane Christian swallow such a gross contradiction of the words of the Lord Himself? One hesitates to say so, but it looks very much like blasphemy to contradict the very words of our Lord. One cannot believe that Dr. Bullinger did not know the meaning of words. To say that our Lord's "IS" means Dr. Bullinger's WILL is more than serious. Dr. Bullinger says: "The public preaching of the Kingdom ends with Acts 19:20" ("The Kingdom" & "the Church," p. 14).
How does Dr. Bullinger know this? Is he omniscient? It is true that the last recorded mention of the public preaching of the Kingdom is in Acts 19:8 (not verse 20, which Dr. Bullinger quotes, and which says nothing about the preaching of the Kingdom of Heaven). But the last mention in Acts 19:8 does not necessarily mean that the public preaching of the Kingdom of Heaven ceased then. There is no hint that it was to cease, nor do we think it did. On the contrary, we read in the last two verses in the Acts of the Apostles, "And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him" (Acts 28:30, 31).
Would not the Apostle have publicly preached the Kingdom of God, if he had had his liberty? But he used what liberty he had in proclaiming the glad tidings. And was he the only preacher of the Kingdom of God?
We know that only the Gospel of Matthew uses the expression, "The Kingdom of Heaven," yet the allusions to the Kingdom of God in Mark and Luke clearly refer to the "Kingdom of God" as synonymous with the "Kingdom of Heaven." Here and there it speaks of the Kingdom of God in its real aspect, as it does also of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Even with the parables in Matt. 13 this is so in more than one instance. The "treasure hid in the field" (ver. 44), and "one pearl of great price" (ver. 46), only include the real; whereas the wheat and the tares, the mustard tree, and the leaven in the three measures of meal, set forth profession, and include what is real and unreal.
The Kingdom of Heaven is presented from its purely moral aspect in Rom. 14:17. We read: "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
When the King comes in power, "all things that offend, and them who do iniquity" (Matt. 13:4) shall be gathered out of His Kingdom.
Plainly in Scripture the Kingdom of Heaven is in mystery now, the King is absent. The glorious day is coming when it will be in manifestation and power. Lord, haste that day! "Thy Kingdom come!" (Matt. 6:10).

The Church of God

One is not surprised to find that Dr. Bullinger has originated teaching as to the Church of God peculiar to himself. He claims to have found out that which hundreds of spiritual teachers and scholarly men, who have studied closely and deeply the Holy Scriptures, have failed to find. He teaches that the Church of God was not brought into existence on the Day of Pentecost. He writes: "There can be no doubt that the Acts of the Apostles (as man calls the book) records the transitional history between the rejection of the kingdom and the preaching of the mystery, the church which is His body. It also removes another popular tradition that the church dates from Pentecost" ("The Mystery," p. 40).
Can Dr. Bullinger's statement be substantiated from Scripture? In the very Chapter in which we read of Pentecost we find these words, "And the Lord added to the CHURCH daily such as should be saved" (Acts 2:47).
That is pretty early on in the Book. There are no less than seventeen references to the Church in the Acts of the Apostles. As a matter of fact Christians acted in a traditional way at first, continuing in the Temple for a time; but, mark it well, there is no transitional teaching in the Book, and that teaching would set them free from the Temple and Judaizing influences. See the Epistles to the Galatians and Hebrews, whose aim was to set the believers free from what is merely traditional.
There is no mistaking Dr. Bullinger's extraordinary teaching on this subject. He writes plainly: "Thus the Acts of the Apostles is, like the Gospels, a historical record of the rejection of the King and the kingdom by Israel, and this explains how it was that God rejected Israel for a season, while He revealed and made known His secret purpose concerning the church. Pentecost thus is shown to have nothing whatever to do with the church, and those who so think are such as neglect the teaching of the Holy Ghost in the later Pauline epistles" ("The Mystery," p. 41). "Pentecost... nothing to do with the Church!" So says Dr. Bullinger. To do so, he has to explain away the very words of our Lord, "Upon this rock I will build MY CHURCH" (Matt. 16:18). He tells us that Christ did not come "to found a Church." But this passage looks like it. If He built a Church, He certainly founded one. Does not Eph. 5:25-27 very definitely contradict this statement of Dr. Bullinger's? "Christ also loved THE CHURCH, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Was not the Church planned by the Father and the Son in the counsels of eternity? Did He not love the Church, and give Himself for it? Scripture says so. Then what are we to make out of Dr. Bullinger's statement?- "Christ's coming had reference to the Jew and Gentile, not to the founding of a church" ("How to Enjoy the Bible," p. 94). We believe what the Word of God says, rather than the theories of Dr. Bullinger.
It is very interesting to note that when a scripture is rightly interpreted, every other scripture bearing on the subject, rightly interpreted, only strengthens the interpretation of the first scripture used. On the contrary, a wrong interpretation of a scripture only makes a right interpretation of other scriptures bearing on the subject more and more difficult and impossible. This we have found in examining Dr. Bullinger's writings. He gets an idea into his mind, and then proceeds to twist and mangle scriptures right and left in order to square them with his misinterpretation, and ends by contradicting himself.
As an illustration of scriptures, rightly interpreted, being strengthened by other scriptures bearing on the subject, we get a good example of this in Lev. 23. Here we get the seven feasts of Jehovah. Two in particular demand our attention. We read, "Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the Lord" (ver. 10). This was "on the morrow after the sabbath," that is, on "the first day of the week." We are told in 1 Cor. 15:20 that Christ risen from the dead has become the first fruits of the great harvest, those that are Christ's at His coming. The wave-sheaf offering, "on the morrow after the Sabbath," sets forth the resurrection of our Lord.
Then we read that a new meat offering was to be offered unto the Lord fifty days after the wave-sheaf had been offered. We ask with interest, What event of importance took place fifty days after the resurrection of our Lord? We know He spent forty days on the earth establishing the great fact of His resurrection in the minds of His disciples. Then the disciples were bidden to tarry in Jerusalem till they were "endued with power from on high." Then we read in Acts 2:1: "And when the day of Pentecost [a Greek word meaning the FIFTIETH] was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place." Then was poured out on the disciples the great gift of the Holy Spirit. Is that not the fulfillment of the type of the "new meat offering?" It was to consist of "two wave-loaves of two tenth deals," evidently setting forth the bringing in of Jew and Gentile to the Church of God. So we read in Scripture, "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free: and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13). We see how the type and the antitype answer the one to the other, as the glove fits the hand.
That Dr. Bullinger sees a difficulty in finding Scripture to substantiate his position is seen in the following quotation: "It seems impossible for us to fix the date of the revelation of the mystery to Paul, or to say in what part of the Acts it should be placed. From 2 Cor. 12:1-7 it would appear that 'the abundance of the revelations' was given 'fourteen years before.' This was written about A. D. 60, and fourteen years before would bring it to A. D. 46, which would synchronize with the important dispensational Chapter, Acts 13, where we have the solemn epoch-marking words pronounced to the Jews, 'It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you and judge your selves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles' (verse 46). The Gentiles, as such, had been blessed and brought in long before this. But now a special work connected with the mystery was about to be commenced, as is clear from verse 1, where Barnabas and Saul had been SEPARATED by the Holy Ghost Himself for the work 'whereunto (He says) I have called them' (verse 2)" ("The Mystery," p. 40).
We would imagine that such a supremely important matter, viz., that the Church in its peculiar sense was founded years after Pentecost-the Apostle Paul being, according to Dr. Bullinger, the chosen vessel for the revelation of it-would be clearly specified in God's Word as to how and when it took place. But this is not so. Even Dr. Bullinger could not find any such specification. Even he with all his ingenuity can only make vague guesses.
On the contrary, Pentecost was indeed an arresting phenomenon. Coming fifty days after the Lord's resurrection, brings it into striking accord with Lev. 23, as we have seen. The disciples all gathered with one accord in one place, the descent of the Holy Spirit accompanied by the sound of a rushing mighty wind; the appearance, as it were, of cloven tongues as of fire; the miraculous gift of tongues; about three thousand souls being added to the believers in one day, and the Lord from that day adding to the CHURCH daily such as should be saved, was an arresting spectacle. Coupled with the fact that the Holy Spirit baptized Jew and Gentile into one body, as we have seen, clearly establishes the fact that the CHURCH, the CHURCH that our Lord said He would build, was brought into being on the great day of Pentecost, and there is NO OTHER CHURCH IN EXISTENCE in the Word of God.
Now what does Dr. Bullinger make out of the Church which Christ said He would build, and which the gates of Hades should not prevail against? He writes, "Isaiah also crieth CONCERNING ISRAEL, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, A REMNANT SHALL BE SAVED" (Rom. 9:25-27). This Remnant is the Ecclesia mentioned by the Lord in Matt. 16:18. The gates of hell will strive against it, as Rom. 9:28 testifies, but the remnant shall be saved. This future Ecclesia of Israel is to be built UPON Christ, the Messiah, as the Foundation Stone.
The Church of God is now a spiritual building IN Christ: but the Ecclesia of Matt. 16:18 is the future, corporate, saved 'remnant' of Israel. The present Church of God is composed of Jews AND Gentiles, but the Ecclesia of Matt. 16:18, taken with Hos. 2:23; Isa. 10:22, 23; and Rom. 9:27, is a 'remnant' OF 'the children of Israel'" ("How to Enjoy the Bible," p. 148).
Dr. Bullinger here uses the Greek word Ecclesia, which most know means, "called out," and is generally translated by the word, Church. It occurs 115 times in the New Testament, and out of that number it refers 112 times to the Church of God, or in the plural to the Christian assemblies in their local character. The three exceptions refer to the unlawful riot in Ephesus of the heathen devotees of the temple of the great goddess Diana, when the tactful town clerk dismissed the assembly (ecclesia).
What terrible confusion is evidenced in these quotations we have just given. If the Church of Matt. 16:18 is "the future, corporate, saved remnant of Israel," how is it that the disciples in Matt. 18:15-20 have instructions given to them that carry no intention of the far- off future, but are instructions what to do in the Church in the near absence of the Lord from the earth?
"Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (ver. 20),
is proof of His absence, for its states His omnipresence wherever and whenever two or three should be gathered to His name. On earth the disciples were with Him personally.

The Priesthood of Believers

Scripture tells us that all believers are now priests to God the Father. In the Old Testament only priests of the house of Aaron were allowed to minister in the holy place in the Tabernacle, or Temple. Their part was to offer sacrifices, eat of them when accepted as sacrifices, and minister at the golden altar of incense. All this was typical of believers appropriating the glorious sacrifice of our Lord as settling the question of sin once and for all, then having communion as to it (set forth in the eating of the flesh of the sacrifices). The golden altar sets forth the worship of the true believer, and his happy service of intercession. This is, in contrast with the one family of Aaron out of all the tribes of Israel, to be the portion of ALL believers. To be a priest is to be a worshipper.
So we read, "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, AN HOLY PRIESTHOOD, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5). "But ye are a chosen generation, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, an holy nation" (1 Peter 2:9). "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and PRIESTS unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen" (Rev. 1:5, 6).
This clearly teaches that ALL believers are priests. There is no place in Scripture where a special body of men by virtue of theological training and ordination are priests. Such are practically the denial of the priesthood of all believers. Yet Dr. Bullinger dares to contradict these scriptures, or explain them away, which is really the same thing. He writes, "The fact is there is no priesthood recognized by God on the earth during the present Dispensation,* while Israel as a nation is excluded" ("How to Enjoy the Bible," p. 127). "It is urged that in this present Dispensation 'all are priests'; but this is just as incorrect as to say that some, or any, are priests" ("How to Enjoy the Bible," p. 126).
(*How was it that Dr. Bullinger was ordained a priest in the Church of England, and continued so to the end of his life?)
If this is true then there are no worshippers to God on earth in this Dispensation. If this is true, it is the contradiction of the following scriptures: "But the hour cometh, and NOW IS, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him" (John 4:23).
Again we read: "We are the circumcision, which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Phil. 3:3).
The Apostle Paul warns his readers in the preceding verse of the "Concision," that is a term of reproach, leveled against the Jew, who rejected the Messiah. In contrast to that he says, "WE are the circumcision," that is, believers on the Lord Jesus. Such worship God in the Spirit. We read in confirmation of this: "He is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly: and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God" (Rom. 2:28, 29). Heb. 10:2 speaks of "the worshippers once purged." So there are plainly priests, or worshippers, in this dispensation.
Dr. Bullinger says: "To see this Dispensational truth [that is, HIS misrepresentation of it] makes a priesthood' in the Church of God an impossibility. For Christ never was a priest on earth; and He would not be a priest if He were on earth to-day" ("How to Enjoy the Bible," p. 128). Not quite so fast, reverend Doctor. Had he not read the following scripture?: "Behold the Man whose name is The BRANCH; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord: even He shall build the temple of the LORD; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His throne; AND HE SHALL BE A PRIEST UPON HIS THRONE: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both" (Zech. 6:12, 13).
There we find that the Lord will be a Priest on earth in the future day, and if He were on earth today He would be a Priest upon His throne, but that day is not yet. Now when we come to the Epistle of the Hebrews we find Christ could not be a priest on earth after the order of Aaron, for He was of the tribe of Judah. In Heaven, however, He is exercising His priesthood with Aaronic functions, though of the Melchisedec order.
So the believers are exhorted to enter into the holiest, that is, to come consciously into God's presence as worshippers. We read: "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He bath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; and having AN HIGH PRIEST over the house of God: let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" (Heb. 10:19-22). "By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise [worship] to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name" (Heb. 13:15).
Entering into the holiest is a matter of the soul, not of a place, neither Heaven nor earth, but of the spiritual condition of the believer. Nor is the House of God here a place; it sets forth the thought of God dwelling among His people, the Recipient of their worship, praise and intercession.
We are bidden to: "Consider the Apostle and HIGH PRIEST of our profession" (Heb. 3:1).
The whole of the wonderful Epistle to the Hebrews is occupied with the priesthood of our Lord in exercise NOW. "We have A GREAT HIGH PRIEST, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession" (Heb. 4:14).
And a HIGH priest implies there are priests of which He is the Chief. Where are the priests in relation to the High Priest? If believers are not priests now, there cannot be a High Priest. What terrible confusion does Dr. Bullinger make, whatever he touches.

The Bride of Christ

Dr. Bullinger denies that the Church is seen in Scripture as the Bride of Christ. He writes: "It is clear from all the Scriptures relating to the mystery, that the members of Christ's body are not the bride, but part of the Bridegroom Himself. Whereas the elect Old Testament saints will form the bride" ("The Mystery," pp. 49, 50). "What are we to understand but that this "CITY," which is declared to be the "BRIDE," the Lamb's wife -is the city for which all those who were partakers of the heavenly calling looked; and that these elect saints of the Old Testament will form the bride" ("The Mystery," p. 48). This is definite enough. The Old Testament believers, according to Dr. Bullinger, will form the Bride, the Lamb's wife. That means "That great city, The Holy Jerusalem," is likewise formed of the Old Testament saints. There is not one word in Scripture to substantiate this.
John the Baptist belonged to the Old Testament saints. He was not in the Kingdom of Heaven, as is plain from our Lord's illuminating words: "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he" (Matt. 11:11). That is, the least in the Kingdom of Heaven, the new and wonderful Kingdom in connection with the Lord of Glory as King, renders the least in that Kingdom greater than the greatest in Old Testament times. That does not mean such are greater in themselves, but in their RELATIVE positions to Christ; just as the Princess Elizabeth of England is the third lady in the land, not because of her intellectual powers or personality as a human being, but because of her near relationship to the King. So on State occasions she takes precedence of ladies far superior to her in knowledge, attainments and experience.
But, if what Dr. Bullinger states, that "the elect Old Testament saints will form the Bride," is true, John the Baptist would be part of the Bride. But hear the position John the Baptist takes for himself. One imagines he knew better than Dr. Bullinger his position in relation to Christ. John the Baptist says: "He that hath the Bride is the Bridegroom: but the FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM, which standeth and heareth Him, rejoiceth greatly because of the Bridegroom's voice: this MY JOY is therefore fulfilled" (John 3:29). So John himself takes the place of "THE FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM." The friend of the Bridegroom is neither the Bridegroom, nor the Bride. What becomes of Dr. Bullinger's contention? And, in describing himself as "THE FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM," John assigns the place that all the Old Testament believers will have. In that case instead of their being the Bride, Scripture gives them the place of being the friends of the Bridegroom.
We read: ""I am indeed jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2).
Is this not a distinct intimation of the Church as the Bride of Christ? To be "espoused" as "a chaste virgin to Christ," is language definite enough. The Greek word here translated, "espoused," means, to give in marriage.
Eph. 5:22, 23 carries this thought on. There the relation between husband and wife is illustrated by the relationship of Christ and the Church. It seems that the marriage relationship does not happen to be a convenient illustration, used as such by the Spirit of God; but that it was designed as the type of the prototype of the relationship of Christ and the Church. This puts marriage on a very sacred footing.
Let us follow this through this deeply interesting passage. We read: "As the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the Church, and gave Himself for it." "That He might present it to Himself a glorious Church." "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh" [referring to a man's wife] "but nourisheth and cherisheth it, EVEN AS THE LORD THE CHURCH: for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones" [illustrated by Eve being built of the side of Adam, and Adam exclaimed, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh"—Gen. 2:23.] (vers. 24-30).
Then the whole of the illustration is wound up by the deeply significant words: "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church" (ver. 32). Surely, if the Church were not the Bride of Christ, the whole of this beautiful passage would be evacuated of all meaning.
Then we come to Rev. 19:7, 8. We read: "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [literally, righteousnesses, plural] of saints."
Who would imagine that John would have in his mind Old Testament saints, when he is writing to New Testament saints? What a miserable idea of the Bride of Christ Dr. Bullinger must have, when he confines it to the few saints in Old Testament times connected with the little land of Israel, a paltry 180 miles long and about 80 miles wide, and shuts out the heavenly saints of this Dispensation, a glorious company.
Nor is Dr. Bullinger consistent with himself. He says: "This 'Holy Jerusalem' may contain the Church or Body of Christ, as well as the Bride, inasmuch as `the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the Temple of it' (Rev. 21:22), and 'the Lamb is the light thereof.' But it is not necessary on this account that we should identify them" ("The Mystery," p. 48).
Now with one breath he tells us the Bride is composed of "the elect Old Testament saints." If this is so, the Bride is COMPLETE, and yet he says that the saints of this dispensation, a far, far larger number than the "elect Old Testament saints," MAY be part of the Bride, or the "Holy Jerusalem." He gives no Scripture to support this extraordinary statement.
On page 48 he says the Holy Jerusalem may contain the Body of Christ, on page 51 he tells us it "cannot possibly" be. Here is the extract: "What is clear and certain is that the Church is the Body of Christ Himself, and that the members of that Body being 'in Christ' (mystical), are PART OF THE BRIDEGROOM, and cannot possibly, therefore be the Bride herself" ("The Mystery," p. 51). What are we to believe? That the New Testament saints "may" be part of the Bride, as stated on page 48, or "CANNOT POSSIBLY" be so, as stated on page 51? Both statements cannot be true. "Cannot possibly" is fairly strong language, as compared to the "may" three pages earlier. Dr. Bullinger is mixing symbols. He mixes the symbol of the one body with that of the Bridegroom, and thereby gets mixed himself.
To speak of a bridegroom suggests a bride, and to speak of a bride suggests a bridegroom. The one is complementary and necessary to the other.
And to say that the saints of this dispensation, the Church, MAY be part of the Bride, and then to state they are part of the Bridegroom, seems juggling with words. How can they be part of the Bridegroom, and part of the Bride?
And further, if the Church is part of the Bridegroom and the Bridegroom is married to the "elect Old Testament saints," it follows that the Church will be married to the Old Testament saints. The further Dr. Bullinger goes, the more he makes confusion worse confounded.
In his attempt to prove that "The Holy Jerusalem," or "the Lamb's Bride" is made up of "elect Old Testament saints," he writes: "It will be noted that the names ON the GATES of the city (i. e., the visible parts of the city), are `the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel' (Rev. 21:12); whilst the names 'IN the FOUNDATION' (i. e., the invisible parts of the city) are the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb' (ver. 14). This again carries us to the Gospels (Matt. 19:28), to the solemn words of the Lord Jesus in answer to a specific inquiry as to the portion of the Twelve Apostles. "Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in (upon) the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel."... The promise to the twelve apostles has never been abrogated; and we ask, what are we to do with it, if the apostles form part of the body of Christ? The Church is part of Christ the Bridegroom; but the apostles, by a comparison of Matt. 19:28, with Rev. 21:14, form part of the Bride" ("The Mystery," p. 49).
These proofs, that the "Holy Jerusalem" is made up of "the elect Old Testament saints," as Dr. Bullinger claims, are, in our judgment, proofs the other way.
What is meant by the names of the twelve tribes of Israel being on the GATES of the city, a visible part thereof? Gates in Scripture set forth the place where disputes were settled by the elders of the city and the place where judgment was carried out. So we read: "Judges and officers shalt thou make thee IN ALL THY GATES, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment" (Deut. 16:18). "Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, UNTO THY GATES, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die" (Deut. 17:5).
In the light of this scripture we can quite understand the twelve apostles sitting on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes. That by no means proves that the city sets forth the Old Testament saints. The Old Testament saints died many centuries ago, and to form the city would have to be resurrected. If that were so, would there be any necessity for judging? Is there going to be any judging in Heaven, or in that which comes down from Heaven? The idea is absurd. When saints are raised, they are not going to be judged by their fellowmen. The Apostles, too, would have to be raised, and will they judge their countrymen, who have been raised? The question needs no answer. It is too obvious.
What is meant by the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb being in the foundation of the city, its invisible part? Dr. Bullinger says that this carries his mind to Matt. 19:28. One never knows where Dr. Bullinger's mind will carry him. It carries our mind very obviously to Eph. 2:18-21. We read: "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built UPON THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS, JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF BEING THE CHIEF CORNER STONE; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord." This passage clearly proves that the New Jerusalem is a symbolical representation of the Church of God in relation to the millennial age. It is very singular what scriptures Dr. Bullinger fails to notice, in this case a very striking and germane passage.
In the Index of Texts Explained, in his book, "How to Enjoy the Bible," a book of no less than 436 pages, Eph. 2:19-22 is not ONCE mentioned, nor is it in his pamphlet of 56 pages, "The Mystery." We ask in wonderment, Why? It so obviously bears on the subject in hand. He writes: "The apostles, by a comparison of Matt. 19:28, with Rev. 21:14, form part of the Bride" ("The Mystery," p. 49). We think this pamphlet, "The Mystery," is well named. Fancy the Apostles of the Lamb being part of "the elect Old Testament saints," in the face of the Church being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets. Dr. Bullinger unchristianizes the very apostles. They are not, according to him, God's heavenly saints, but earthly and Jewish saints. Fancy Peter an Old Testament saint and Paul a New Testament saint. We think we have reached the high-water mark of crazy exegesis. There we will leave it.


We have before us a book of Dr. Bullinger's, entitled, " "The Apocalypse or the Day of the Lord" (Second Edition), running into no less than 741 pages. He lets himself go in the preface. He says: "It will be found to differ in its conclusions from any other work that has been issued with the same design." "Very few care to be thought peculiar, and therefore they like to have some names to appeal to. But this is the very reason why the mists of tradition have been allowed to take the place of independent research."
We propose to be very brief in our remarks on this subject. All through Dr. Bullinger's writings, as far as we have seen, he seems to take a delight in differing from everybody, and in so doing is constantly being driven into such tight corners that he has again and again to contradict himself. The most charitable critic cannot attribute to him humility, and he cannot escape the charge of excessive and conceited dogmatism. He is tight and everybody else is wrong. The above extracts are really very lamentable in a Christian writer.
Writing of the addresses to the seven churches in Asia (Rev. 2 and 3) Dr. Bullinger writes: "The fact of their being called 'churches' has naturally led commentators and students to infer that it is the Church of God, or at any rate the historic Christian Church, which is meant" (p. 63).
Dr. Bullinger insists again and again on taking words at: their literal meaning. Why did he not apply this in this case? "Churches" are Churches, and so, in uniformity with the way this word is used to designate the Church of God, we would follow his example, and believe that "Churches" means Churches-Christian assemblies composed of members of the Body of Christ..
Then if these "churches" do not refer to the local representatives of the Church of God, what does Dr. Bullinger tell us they do refer to? He says: "If these 'churches' are future assemblies of Jewish believers on the earth, after the Church has been `caught up to meet the Lord,' then all is clear, consistent, and easy to be understood" (p. 71).
Dr. Bullinger seems determined to elbow the Church of God out of her choicest blessings, and to exalt "the elect Old Testament believers," and the "FUTURE assemblies of Jewish believers," into its place. These latter, he teaches, are the seven Churches of Asia; the former, the Bride of Christ and the Holy Jerusalem.
When he comments on the "seven lamp-stands," he says: "As to 'the seven lamp-stands,' ought not this expression at once to send our thoughts back to the one golden lamp-stand of the tabernacle (Ex. 25:31-39)?... So that just as the one lamp-stand represents Israel in its unity, the seven lamp-stands represent Israel in its dispersion: and tells us that Jehovah is about to make Jerusalem again the center of His dealings with the earth" (p. 72).
Did not Dr. Bullinger know that the Tabernacle spoke "of good things to come" (Heb. 9:11), and the "shadow of heavenly things" (Heb. 8:5)? The lamp-stand comes under this category, and instead of Dr. Bullinger looking back to the type, why does he not look forward to what it is a type of, and give us the anti-type? Why go back to the shadow, instead of rejoicing in the Substance? The whole of the Epistle to the Hebrews shows how the Tabernacle with its furniture and sacrifices all POINTED FORWARD to Christ, His Person and Work and the blessings He brings the be liever into. Surely the lamp-stand is a type of Christ, the Light of His people, and as such speaks of the testimony in responsibility the local assembly is permitted to bear to Christ. When the assembly fails in this, it will cease to be; the lamp-stand will be removed, as in the case of Ephesus.
Here we see another of the numerous occasions when Dr. Bullinger contradicts himself. He tells us these "churches" are "FUTURE assemblies of Jewish believers." Then he tells us that Ephesus sets forth "The Day of Israel's espousals;" that is, in one breath he tells us it is FUTURE, with the next breath that it is long PAST, that it dates back to Exodus, nearly 3,500 years ago.
Pergamos is said to refer to "The Wilderness Period;" "Thyatira-The Period of Israel's Kings;" "Sardis-The Period of Israel's Removal;" "Philadelphia-The Period of Judah's King (2 Chron.);" and "Laodicea-The Period of Judah's Removal."
These are all incidents LONG PAST, yet we are told the seven Churches are assemblies of FUTURE Jewish believers after the rapture of the Church. If this is not crazy exegesis we do not know what is.
We now go to the end of the Book, and ask, How does Dr. Bullinger view the passage, "That great city, the Holy Jerusalem" of Rev. 21:9-27;22:1-5?
He appears to be so anxious to contradict every other writer and glorify himself, that he writes: "Man says that the idea of a city literally descending from heaven... is absurd' (Barnes, in loco). But we ask, Why? True, it is contrary to our experience" (The Apocalypse, p. 658). "Many things we once thought, when measured by our experience, to be absurd have been proved to be the contrary" (The Apocalypse, p. 659). "Who shall dare to question the reality of this description? Man only exposes his folly and ignorance when he dares to question whether this is a literal city. Great Babylon was a literal city. Herodotus tells us it was 120 furlongs on each side. Why should not this Holy City be 12,000? Babylon had a wall 50 royal cubits wide and 200 in height. Why should not the wall of this city be 144 cubits high? Babylon had 100 gates of bronze. Why should this not have 12 gates of pearl? In other words, why not believe what God says? It is simpler, easier and happier" (The Apocalypse, p. 659).
We would like to ask a few questions. Dr. Bullinger says this city is literal, and any who dares to question this exposes his folly and ignorance. What does Rev. 21:9 say? "Come hither, I will show you the Bride, the Lamb's wife." The angel then proceeds to show John "that great city, the Holy Jerusalem." This identifies the Bride and the City as two presentations of the SAME thing. We believe the city sets forth the Church as seen in administration over a renewed earth during the Millennium; the Bride; the Church seen as the Bride of Christ in relation to the new heaven and the new earth during the blissful eternal state.
We ask, Why did Dr. Bullinger not insist that the Bride was a literal WOMAN? He insists on the city being literal. Why did be not insist on the woman being literal? The same thing could not be a literal city and a literal woman. Someone may unctuously say that with God all things are possible. We answer, God does not do foolish things. He does not do things that are contrary to His Being. To charge God with folly is the pass to which Dr. Bullinger's vagaries bring him.
It has been wisely said that if a passage in its literal sense makes sense, that is the interpretation of it. But if a passage taken literally does not make sense, then it is clearly symbolical. To take the "Bride, the Lamb's wife," as literal would be absurd. To think that the §heep of Christ have four legs and eat grass would be absurd. The title, "sheep," sets forth symbolically most beautifully the wonderful care of the Lord for His own.
Into what absurdities Dr. Bullinger's literal city would land him! Take the length of the walls. The city lies foursquare. Its length and breadth are equal. It measures 12,000 furlongs, or about 1,500 miles. Each side measures 1,500 miles, according to Dr. Bullinger. There were three gates of pearl on each side, that would give a distance of 500 miles between each gate. If an architect were guilty of such a lack of proportion he would be roundly condemned. Shall the heavenly Architect be guilty of such folly? Even the furthest removed cities of refuge in the land of Israel were within reach by a long run of the man-slayer seeking refuge.
Take, again, the wall, 144 cubits high, equaling about 80 yards. The length, breadth, and height are equal, so the height would be 1,500 miles. A wall round a building bears some sort of proportion to the building. But what is 84 yards compared to a height of 1,500 miles? Dr. Bullinger says, "Man only exposes his folly and ignorance when he dares to question whether this is a literal city" (The Apocalypse, p. 659). We consider that Dr. Bullinger exposes his folly and ignorance in supposing the city to be literal. Why is he not consistent, and consider the Bride, an aspect of the same thing as the city, as literal-a woman?
Take the figures of the Church in Scripture. None of them is literal. Why make this an impossible exception? The "one flock and one Shepherd"—are believers literal sheep, and the Lord a literal shepherd? The one Body, and Christ the exalted Head. Is this a real body with legs, and arms, and head, and blood circulation, eating and drinking material food and drink? An holy temple in the Lord built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets-is this a literal building, superimposed on the bodies of apostles and prophets? Lively stones, built up a spiritual house-is this literal? The Bride of Christ-is this a literal woman? The New Jerusalem-is this a literal city? We do not need to answer these questions. They answer themselves. It is the absurdity of imagining the city to be literal that forces us to ask such absurd questions. Scripture says, "Answer a fool according to his folly" (Prov. 26:5).
As a matter of fact these measures we have been considering have a beautiful symbolical meaning. Dr. Bullinger says that, "Twelve is a perfect number, signifying perfection of government, or of governmental perfection. It is found as a multiple in all that has to do with rule" (Number in Scripture, p. 253). With this we agree.
Twelve thousand furlongs is 12 multiplied by 1,000, setting forth in a most intensive way that the government of the city will be the greatest, justest, most immaculate government that has ever been, as well as on the very largest scale, so large as to be beyond our calculation.
The wall was 144 cubits high. One hundred and forty-four is the square of twelve, again stressing the administrative idea. There were twelve gates of pearl, still further stressing the same idea.
The city lay foursquare. Four is the number setting forth that which is universal. This city is not to serve merely the land of Israel, but will be for the service of the whole world. "And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it" (Rev. 21:24).
We get the four winds of heaven; the four quarters of the earth; four seasons of the year; four divisions mark the day-"even, midnight, cockcrowing, morning" (Mark 13:35); four components constitute the earth-matter, water, air, fire.
All this is very beautiful and suggestive as throwing light on these symbols of Scripture.
To recapitulate. Dr. Bullinger has already distinctly said that we are to understand that the "CITY" is declared to be the "BRIDE," the Lamb's wife, and that the "Bride" is composed of the "elect saints of the Old Testament." But he has also told us the city is LITERAL. If the "Bride" and the "City" are two representations of the same thing, as he states, how can the City be a literal city, and yet be composed of the Old Testament saints?
Then again he tells us that the Holy City MAY contain the Church, or Body of Christ. That would be the less containing the greater. But then he says that the Body of Christ is "PART OF THE. BRIDEGROOM," and "CANNOT POSSIBLY" be the Bride.
He likewise tells us that the Church of the early part of the Acts of the Apostles, the Church of the Day of Pentecost, is composed of Old Testament believers and has nothing to do with the Church of God. He tells us the Apostles of the Lamb do not belong to the Church.
What becomes then of the Church, the Body of Christ, founded on the teaching of the Mystery by the Apostle Paul? Dr. Bullinger cannot quite tell us when this happened, and what he does with this glorious Church we have not found out, because his self-contradictory statements leave us in doubt of what he really means. The mystery is a mystery still, only more so. Muddle would be the better word.
There are certain crank religions in the world that only get adherents through enquirers examining the Scriptures through the spectacles of their teachers, such as Mrs. Eddy, Pastor Russell, Judge Rutherford, Robert Roberts and the like. We fear those who follow Dr. Bullinger must read Dr. Bullinger first, and then their Bibles to find HIS views in them. We are sure they would not discover his views firsthand in the Bible.
One can understand the feelings of a recent author who says, "Into the wild dispensational theories of Dr. Bullinger it is not my intention to enter; one must draw the line somewhere in investigating the labyrinth of prophetic fads and theories."
We have only touched a fragment of what has come from the pen of Dr. Bullinger. We have not been astonished, in reviewing the works of anti-Christian writers of crank religions, to find that they misunderstand, misinterpret, and mangle scriptures, and; added to this, suppressing scriptures that they cannot explain away. Dr. Bullinger was a true Christian, and earnestly sought to serve his Lord, but never in all our reading have we come across a true Christian author so guilty of misinterpreting, misunderstanding and mangling the Scriptures as he has done. This is no exaggeration, but the sober truth.
It has been no pleasure to expose Dr. Bullinger's teaching. It has been profitable, as it has helped, in our judgment, to bring out the truth, and therefore has been with real profit to our own soul.
May God in His great mercy give deliverance to those who have been caught in "the labyrinth of prophetic fads and prophecies."


Three questions have been received since writing this pamphlet, which we propose to answer in a short appendix.
(1.) Is "The Lord's day" spoken of in Rev. 1:10 a future day into which the Apostle John in vision was projected by the Holy Spirit, or does it refer to the first day of the week, the day that is commonly called Sunday?
We consider there is no question but that it refers to the first day of the week for the following reasons.
First of all, in every case where the phrase, "The Day of the Lord," occurs, it is always with the Greek word, Kurios, which, when applied to a person, means Lord, Master, Owner, Possessor. With the definite article it is equivalent to the Hebrew Jehovah.
If "The Lord's Day" in Rev. 1:10 were "The Day of the Lord," as setting forth the coming Day of Judgment when man's day has come to a close, it would surely have followed the invariable custom we have pointed out. But in Rev. 1:10 a different, though cognate, word is used, kuriakos, meaning belonging to a lord or master. It is only twice used in the Scriptures, the case we are considering, and in 1 Cor. 11:20, "This is not to eat the Lord's Supper."
The Lord's day is sometimes styled the Dominical Day (Dies Dominica). The fact that a different word is used is sufficient to show there is a difference between "The Day of the Lord" and "The Lord's Day."
A further reason is cogent. The Apostle John tells us he was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day. The Day of the Lord had not come. How could John be in the Spirit on a day that had not arrived? Moreover, John goes on to say that his instructions were to write (1) "The things which thou hast seen," (2) "THE THINGS THAT ARE," (3) and "The things that shall be hereafter." Now "The things that are," are certainly antecedent to the things that shall be hereafter. These things are distinct from each other, and separated as to time. The one is present; the other is future. If John were projected into "The Day of the Lord," how could he write of "The things that are?" Every detail falls into place naturally when "The Lord's Day" is taken as referring to the first day of the week, but when it is taken as meaning "The Day of the Lord," you are forced to accommodate and twist Scripture to make it appear to fit.
AFTER writing of "The things that are" (chapters 2 and 3), we read that John was invited "to come up hither, and I will show thee things that must be hereafter." In vision he would then be in the time that is set forth as "The Day of the Lord." Considering these points of distinction they point very unmistakably to "The Lord's Day" being undoubtedly the first day of the week.
(2.) Are Baptism and the Lord's Supper Jewish ordinances, which cease to be observed when the offer of the Kingdom to Israel is withdrawn?
Baptism-that is, baptism of men and women-as an ordinance was never Jewish at all. From the time of Sinai, the Tabernacle in the wilderness, and the Temple in the land, there was no such baptism as John's, the Forerunner of the Lord. That baptism had to do with his ministry of forerunning, and ended with him. Then we find the Lord baptizing through His disciples on the same lines of John, all preparatory to the Kingdom. But that also passed away in His lifetime on earth.
We come now to one of the prison epistles of the Apostle Paul, the Epistle to the Ephesians, where it says, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, ONE BAPTISM, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" ( Chapter 4:4-6). Surely the setting of these verses settles once and for all that Christian baptism is for the whole period of the Church's sojourn here on earth. It is put in connection with the one Body and one Spirit. There is not a trace of what is Jewish in Eph. 4:4-6. If one begins to deny that Baptism is a Christian rite, and relegate it to Judaism, one can only say the door is opened to any kind of wild theory, and to the deadly methods of the Modernists. "There is one Baptism" simply emphasizes that John's Baptism was first, and only Christian Baptism obtains.
As to the Lord's Supper. We remember talking to an aged schoolmaster among the Friends. The Friends neither observe the rites of Baptism nor the Lord's Supper, so greatly do they exaggerate the truth of the Holy Spirit. This Christian Friend made the statement that Baptism was instituted in our Lord's time, and therefore was a Jewish institution, and had no binding force upon Christians.
We replied, "If that be the case, how can you explain why it was the Apostle Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, whose writings bring out the truth of the Christian assembly, had a communication from the Lord Jesus in glory as to the Lord's Supper? (1 Cor. 11:23-34). Further," we said, "this communication came after the Church was set up on the Day of Pentecost, after the Body of Christ was formed upon earth." The old gentleman had no more to say. He was silenced. The Lord was not authorizing a Jewish ordinance when He made this touching communication from the glory to the Apostle of the Gentiles, who was converted in the Church period. The Lord's Supper is a precious link with the Lord, and woe betide anyone seeking to refuse to it the place of an ordinance in Christianity.
(3.) Are the later epistles of the Apostle Paul to take precedence over his former epistles? The earlier epistles were written during the time the offer of the Kingdom was being made to Israel. Paul's prison epistles were writer after the truth of the Mystery was made known to Paul by special revelation, and contain the special truth of the Church today.
We are sure Paul would not say so. You would need to have Dr. Bullinger's spectacles to see what he saw. The sentence in your question-"the earlier epistles were written during the time the offer of the Kingdom was being made to Israel"—has no foundation in the Scriptures. Certainly the Kingdom could not be offered to the Jews apart from the reception of the King, the Lord Jesus. When the Jews rejected' the King, they rejected the Kingdom. Not till Zechariah is fulfilled will Israel accept their King.
"I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and supplications: and they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him as a man mourneth for his only son" (Chapter 12:10).
You need more than a microscope to see what Dr. Bullinger saw.
Take the prison epistles, and the revelation of the truth of Christ and the Church, the Head of the Body and the members on the earth, does it follow that the Church which was Christ's Body was not in existence then? If so, you must invent a superior Church, or a different body of believers to what was seen on the day of Pentecost. As we have seen, it can only bring in confusion and the discovering of what does not exist, except by the process of twisting and mangling Scripture.
As well might you say that because the account of the Creation was revealed to Moses somewhere about B. C. 1,500, that the creation occurred then, instead of 2,500 years before, if we refer to the reconstruction of the earth "without form and void," or the dateless day when it emerged in all its beauty at the hands of a God who "saw everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good" (Gen. 1:31).
There is one thing certain, if there were some plain statements in Scripture on the line that Dr. Bullinger has put forth, other gifted servants of the Lord would have certainly seen the same. But when hundreds of years go by, and thousands of scholarly, spiritual students of the Word have not seen this truth, or rather this theory, we may be sure it is one of the many wild theories that Dr. Bullinger's fertile but irrational brain discovered, but which has not an atom of foundation in Scripture. The Church was formed by the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. There is ONE BODY, and only one; one Body of Christ, one Church of God on earth. To teach other is to mangle and distort the Word of God.