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"These Seventy Years"

" Then came the word of the LORD of hosts unto me, saying these seventy years" (Zechariah 7.4, 5).

"At length I became aware of a movement ... supported by a monthly paper called 'Needed Truth.' The paper was devoted largely to the setting forth of the principles of the Church and the Churches of God, the Fellowship, the Kingdom of God, the House of God, etc. It purposed to show from the Scriptures that God has arranged for a collective people on earth to the end of the dispensation, and that those who claim to be disciples of the Lord should give effect to such principles, and thus know the blessedness of being in the will of God collectively, although all believers may not so act." These words were among the last which appeared in "Needed Truth" (Vol.42, p.68) from the pen of a man valiant-for-truth, Mr. W.J. Lennox, in an article entitled "My Story," and we quote them in this commemorative note on the seventy years of the existence of this publication.

For years prior to the issue of the first number in October, 1888, there had been an earnest desire on the part of many children of God for a positive exposition of doctrine relating to the House of God. This had received scant attention (and still today is rarely if ever alluded to) in current publications of comparable character. In 1887 a " Circular Message" had been issued by certain brethren humbly submitting that, "light has been given, light is being given to the hearts and to the understanding, of those who are willing to receive it; which is leading such to discernment in the Word of God of the will and the way of the Lord, in matters which have lain in obscurity for ages." Following this, with but one break of five years (l909~19l8), during which "Wholesome Words" was published, 'Needed Truth" has been issued regularly (at the beginning it appeared quarterly, but later as a monthly magazine), and its numerous volumes now constitute a library of expository and other truth which, we believe, is altogether unique in character and content.

To some it may seem utterly presumptuous to consider so small a movement, as that which followed the publication of "Needed Truth," as being in any way significant in a period outstanding in all the history of the human race. And we might well agree if it were not that the LORD has spoken, who sits" upon the circle of the earth" and marks the progress, or otherwise, of men in their knowledge of His way and will. For it was the LORD Himself who, concerning the seventy years spent in captivity in Babylon, questioned His people:

"When ye fasted and mourned ... these seventy years, did ye at all fast unto Me, even to Me?" To Him, of whom it had been written, "The LORD's portion is His people," this period of their history was a matter of concern. And we may wonder how He would question us, His people in this day, regarding our use of these seventy years. "Surely it is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not."

The few years immediately following the first issue of "Needed Truth" were marked by a deep exercise of heart on the part of many of God's children, to the extent that in the years 1898 and 1894 they separated themselves from varying ecclesiastical associations, subsequently gathering together in Churches of God. The record of this movement is to be found in "The Search for the Truth of God."

The truth, needed truth indeed, had liberated men from sectarian bondage. But this truth of separati6n was one aspect only of the great body of doctrine which called, and still calls, for the exercise of heart of those who, like the Beroeans, " examine the scriptures daily" to learn what the will of the Lord is. How easy it is for us to forget that, as in Joshua's days, so today, "there remaineth much land to be possessed" ! If Moab had "settled on his lees," having been " at ease from his youth," so also had Israel, of whom God said, "I will search Jerusalem with candles; and I will punish the men that are settled on their lees" (Jeremiah 48.11 and Zephaniah 1.11).

Seventy years have passed since the first issue of "Needed Truth," and in the light of the happenings of today, especially those centred in the State of Israel, we wonder how near we may be to the coming again of our Lord Jesus. And we ask ourselves what is NEEDED TRUTH for today? Certainly we may not yield one iota of the precious heritage which is already ours. Dearly the truth has been bought by our spiritual forbears. We must not sell it. And yet the message which Wisdom cries aloud to us is still the same:

"Behold, I will pour out My Spirit unto you, I will make known My words unto you ... whoso hearkeneth unto Me shall dwell securely, and shall be quiet without fear of evil, ... if thou seek her as silver then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God" (Proverbs 1. 28, 33; 2.4, 5).

And those who would find such knowledge must :

"Search the Scriptures,"

Receive "the knowledge of the truth,"

Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness"

"Offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually,"

Have " an understanding of the times,"

"Earnestly desire the coming of the day of God."

How much land, indeed, remains to be possessed!

"Till we all attain

Unto the unity of the faith,

And of the knowledge of the Son of God,

Unto a full grown man,

Unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ."

May our greatest concern be, not only that the testimony shall be maintained, but that individually "we may have boldness and not be ashamed before Him at His coming."