of Christ's Kingdom
VOL. VI. April 1 and 15, 1923 Nos. 7-8
Table of Contents
SAY THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT OUR LORD'S RETURN?
PRESENCE OF OUR LORD JESUS, CHRIST
SAY THE SCRIPTURES CONCERNING HELL? WHERE ARE THE DEAD?
OF THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS
AND UNPARDONABLE SINS
VOL. VI. April 1 and 15, 1923 Nos. 7-8
THE DIVINE PURPOSE THE RESTITUTION OF ALL THINGS
COMFORT FOR THE BEREAVED
"And He shall send Jesus Christ, which [who]
before was preached unto you; whom the heaven must retain until the times of restitution
of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world
Acts 3: 20, 21
FOR centuries past, a considerable number of professed Christian
people, in reading the Scriptures on the Second Coming of Christ, have failed to find
there, the comfort intended for the truth-hungry. Instead of seeing in our Lord's return
the dawn of hope for the groaning creation-the restitution of all the willing and obedient
to Paradise -- they have seemed to read only a dreadful doom for the great bulk of
humanity, and the destruction of all things mundane. According to this conception, the
Plan of God is seen to end in disaster and defeat so far as the vast majority of our race
is concerned, and in an overwhelming victory for Satan.
Consequently many of God's people have been offended,
"stumbled," as respects the doctrine of the Second Coming of our dear Redeemer,
by reason of peculiar, extravagant, unreasonable, illogical, and unscriptural views on the
subject, presented by some, who professedly love the Lord's appearing. But this is all
wrong; we are not to reject one of the grandest and most prominent doctrines of the
Scriptures, simply because some fellow-Christians have erred egregiously respecting the
matter, and brought a certain amount of worldly-wise contempt upon everything connected
with this subject. On the contrary, this doctrine, as a glorious gem, should be given the
first place among the precious jewels of Divine truth, where it can cast its halo and
,splendor and brilliancy over all connected and related promises and blessings. It should
not be left in the imperfect setting which hides its glory and beauty, but should be
recovered, remounted, set in its true place, to the glory of God and to the blessing of
all who are sincerely and truly His people.
We need offer no apology for the interest which we feel in this
grand- subject, which is the center upon which all the testimony of Divine grace, through
all the holy prophets, is focused. Rather do they need to apologize who, knowing that the
Second Coming of the Lord and the resurrection of the dead hold the most important -places
in the Scriptures, next to the doctrine of the atonement for sin, have, nevertheless,
neglected these while they have quarreled, skirmished, fought and bled over trifling
things of no real importance, doctrinally or otherwise.
St. John, the beloved, in his wonderful revelation was given a
glimpse of future events, and in marvelous vision was borne across this dispensation with
the powers of evil still in control; he saw its changing scenes of Church and State and
witnessed the final culmination. He saw a great, change take, place on earth-Satan was
bound, the forces! of evil overthrown; Christ and the saints reigning in' glorious
triumph. He saw the world of mankind liberated from the prison-house of death, and their
return to their home in Eden--Paradise restored. No wonder the beloved John, as he beheld
this heavenly vision of the future blessing of the world, out of the depths of his soul,
cried, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
As one of the Twelve who walked with Jesus while upon the earth, St.
John remembered the prayer that the Savior taught His followers: "Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done in. earth as in heaven." The Apostle knew that there could be no
more sure guarantee of the lifting of the curse from the earth, and the restoration of
humanity, than in this promise of the Kingdom at the Second Coming of the Lord.
Thank God, that with the
clearer light of our day shining upon the pages of His Holy Revelation, the sincere Bible
student is able to read in fairer lines the Plan of God with regard to our Lord's return
and the consummation of all things in the ultimate and everlasting defeat of Satan and in
the recovery of a sor rowing and ruined world.-Rev. 21: 3-5; 22: 3, 17.
We presume that it is admitted and believed by all familiar with the
Scriptures, that our Lord intended His disciples to understand that for some purpose, in
some manner, and at some time, He would come again. True, Jesus said, "Lo, I am with
you always, even unto the end of the Age" (Matt 28: 20), and by His Spirit and by His
Word He has been with the Church continually, guiding, directing, comforting, and
sustaining His saints, and cheering them in the midst of all their afflictions. But though
the Church has been blessedly conscious of the Lord's knowledge of all. her ways and of
His constant care and love, yet she longs for His promised personal return; for when He
'said, "'If I go, I will come, again" (John 14: 3), He certainly referred to a
second personal coming.
Some think He referred to the descent of the Holy Spirit at
Pentecost; others, to the destruction of Jerusalem, etc.; but these apparently overlook
the fact that in the last book of the Bible, written some sixty years after Pentecost, and
twenty-six years after Jerusalem's destruction, He that was dead and is alive -- the
risen Christ-in living tones speaks of the event as yet future, saying "Behold I come
quickly and My reward is with Me," and the inspired John replies, "Even so,
come, Lord Jesus."--Rev. 22: 12, 20.
Quite a number think that when sinners are converted that forms a
part of the coming of Christ, and that so He will continue coming until all the world is
converted. Then, say they, He will have fully come.
These evidently forget the testimony of the Scriptures on the
subject, which declares the reverse of their expectation; that at the time of our Lord's
Second Coming the world will be far from converted to God; that "in the last days
perilous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of
God" (2 Tim. 3:1-4); that "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,
deceiving, and being deceived."--Verse 13.
They forget the Master's special warning to His Little Flock-
"Take heed to yourselves lest that day come upon you unawares, for as a snare shall
it come on all them (not taking heed) that dwell on the face of the whole earth."
(Luke 21: 34, 35.) Again, we may rest assured that when it is said, "All kindreds of
the earth shall wail because of Him," when they see Him coming (Rev. 1: 7), no
reference is made to the conversion of sinners. Do all men wail because of the conversion
of sinners? On the contrary, if this passage refers, as almost all admit, to Christ's
presence on earth, it teaches that all on earth will not love His appearing, as they
certainly would do if all were converted.
CHRIST'S REIGN TO ACCOMPLISH WORLD'S CONVERSION
Some expect an actual coming and presence of the Lord, but set the
time of the event a long way off, claiming that through the efforts of the Church in its
present condition, the world must be converted and thus the Millennial Age be introduced.
They claim that when the world has been converted, and Satan bound, and the knowledge of
the Lord caused to fill the whole earth, and when the nations learn war no more, then the
work of the Church in her present condition will be ended; and that when she has
accomplished this great and difficult task, the Lord will come to wind up earthly affairs,
reward believers and condemn sinners.
Some Scriptures, taken disconnectedly, seem to favor this view; but
when God's Word and Plan are viewed as a whole, these will -all be found to favor the
opposite view, viz., that Christ comes before the conversion of the world, and reigns for
the purpose of converting the world; that the Church is now being tried, and that the
reward promised the overcomers is that after being glorified they shall share with the
Lord in that reign, which is God's appointed means of blessing the world and causing the
knowledge of the Lord. to come to every creature. Such are the Lord's special promises:
"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne." (Rev. 3: 21.)
"And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." -Rev. 20: 4.
ONLY THE CHURCH CALLED IN THIS AGE
There are two texts chiefly relied upon by those who claim that the
Lord will not come until after the Millennium, to which we would here call attention. One
is, "This Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto
all nations; and then shall the end come." (Matt. 24: 14.) They claim this as having
reference to the conversion of the world before the end of the Gospel Age. But witnessing
to the world does not imply the conversion of the world. The text says nothing about how
the testimony will be, received. This witness has already been given. In 1861 the reports
of the Bible Societies showed that the Gospel had been published in every language of the
earth, though not all earth's millions had received it. No, not one-half of the sixteen
hundred millions living have ever heard the name of Jesus. Yet the condition of the text
is fulfilled-the Gospel has been preached in all the world for a witness--to every nation.
The Apostle (Acts 15: 14) tells that the main object of the Gospel in
the present Age is "to take out a people" for Christ's name-the overcoming
Church which, at His Second Advent, will be united to Him and receive His name. The
witnessing to the world during this Age is a secondary object.
The other text is, "Sit thou on my right hand until I make thine
enemies thy footstool." (Psa. 110: 1.) The vague, indefinite idea regarding this text
seems to be that Christ sits on a material throne somewhere in the heavens until the work
of subduing all things is accomplished for Him through the Church, and that then He comes
-to reign. This is a misconception. The throne of God referred to is not a material one,
but refers to His supreme authority and rulership; and the Lord Jesus has been exalted to
a share in that rulership.
St. Paul declares, "God hath highly exalted Him [Jesus] and
given Him a name above every name." He hath given Him authority above every other,
next to the Father. If Christ sits upon a material throne until His enemies are made His
footstool (all subdued), then, of course, He cannot come until all things are subdued. But
if "right hand" in this text refers, not to a fixed bench or locality, but, as
we claim, to power, authority, rulership, it follows that the text under consideration
would in no wise conflict with the other Scripture which teaches that He comes to
"subdue all things unto Himself" (Phil. 3:21), by virtue of the power vested in
To illustrate: In common usage we may make the statement that such
and such a King is occupying a certain throne, yet we do not refer to the royal bench,
and, as a matter of fact, he seldom occupies it. When we say that he is on the throne, we
mean that he rules that country. Right hand signifies the chief place, position of
excellence or favor, next to the chief ruler. Thus Joseph was at the right hand of Pharaoh
in the kingdom of Egypt-not literally, but after the customary figure of speech. Jesus'
words to Caiaphas agree with this thought--"Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man
sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." (Matt.
26:64.) He will be on the right hand when coming, and will remain on the right hand during
the Millennial Age, and forever.
JESUS CAME FIRST ADVENT TO REDEEM MEN --
HIS SECOND ADVENT IS TO RESTORE THE REDEEMED
A further examination of God's revealed plans shows a broader view of
the object of both the First and Second Advents; and we should remember that both events
stand related as parts of one Plan. The specific work of the First Advent was to redeem
men; and that of the Second is to restore and bless, and liberate the redeemed. Having
given His life a ransom for all, our Savior ascended to present that sacrifice to the
Father, thus making reconciliation for man's iniquity. He tarries and permits "the
prince of this world" to continue the rule of evil, until after the selection of
"the Bride, the Lamb's Wife" who, to be accounted worthy of such honor, must
overcome the influences of the present evil world. Then the work of giving to the world of
mankind the great blessings secured to them by His sacrifice will be due to commence, and
He will come forth to bless all the families of the earth.
The Apostle informs us that Jesus has been absent from earth-in the
heaven during all the intervening time from His ascension to the beginning of the Times of
Restitution, or the Millennial Age--"Whom the heaven must retain until the times of
restitution of all things," etc. (Acts 3: 21.) Since the Scriptures thus teach that
the object of our Lord's Second Advent is the restitution of all things, and that at the
time of His appearing the nations are so far from being converted as to be angry (Rev. 11:
18) and in opposition, it must be admitted either that the Church will fail to accomplish
her mission, and that the Plan of God will be thus far frustrated, or else, as we claim
and have shown, that the conversion of the world in the present Age was not expected of
the Church, but that her mission has been to preach the Gospel in all the world for a
witness, and to prepare herself, under Divine direction, for her great future work. God
has not yet by any means exhausted His power for the World's conversion. Nay, more-He has
not yet even attempted the world's conversion.
This may seem a strange statement to some, but let such reflect that
if God has attempted such a work He, has signally failed; for, as we have seen, only a
small fraction of earth's billions have ever intelligently heard of the only name whereby
they must be saved. We -have only forcibly stated the views and teachings of some of the
leading sects--Baptists, Presbyterians and others--viz., that God is electing or selecting
out of the world a "little flock," a Church. They believe that God will do no
more than choose this Church, while we find the Scriptures teaching a further step in the
Divine Plan -- RESTITUTION for the world, to be accomplished through the elect Church,
when completed and glorified. The "little flock," the overcomers. of this Gospel
Age, are only the Body of "The Seed" in or by whom all the families of the earth
are to be 'blessed:.
THE ELECTION AND FREE-GRACE OF THE BIBLE
Those who claim that for six thousand years, Jehovah has been trying
to convert the world, and failing. all the time, must find it difficult to reconcile such
views with the Bible assurance that all God's purposes shall be accomplished, and that His
Word shall not return unto Him void, but shall prosper in the thing whereto it was sent.
(Isa. 55:11.) The fact that the world has not yet been converted and that the knowledge of
the Lord has not yet filled the earth, is a proof that it has not yet been sent on that
This brings us to the two lines of thought which have divided
Christians for centuries, namely, Election and Free Grace. That both of these doctrines,
not with standing their apparent oppositeness, have Scriptural support, no Bible student
will deny. This fact should lead us at once to surmise that in some way both must be true;
but in no way can they be reconciled except by observing heaven's law-order, and
"rightly dividing the Word of Truth" on the subject. This order, as represented
in the Plan of the Ages, if observed, will clearly show us that while an Election has been
in progress during the present and past Ages, what is by way of distinction designated
Free Grace, is God's gracious provision for the world in general during the Millennial
Age. If the distinctive features of the Epochs and Dispensations indicated in the Bible be
kept in mind, and all the passages relating to Election and Free Grace be examined and
located, it will be found that all which treat of Election apply to the present and past
Ages, while those which teach Free Grace are fully applicable to the next Age only.
However, Election as' taught in the Bible, is not the arbitrary
coercion, or fatalism, usually believed and taught by its advocates, but a selection
according to fitness and adaptability to the end God has in view, during the period
appointed for that purpose.
The doctrine of Free Grace, advocated by our Methodist friends, is
also a much grander display of God's abounding favor than its most earnest advocates have
ever taught. God's grace or favor in Christ is ever free, in the sense of being unmerited;
but since the fall of man into sin, to the present time, certain of God's favors have been
restricted to certain individuals, nations, and classes, while in the next Age all the
world, including the dead who will then be awakened, will be invited to share the favors
then offered, on the conditions then made known to all, and whosoever will may come and
drink at life's fountain freely.--Rev. 22: 17.
BOTH THE LIVING AND THE DEAD SHARE
IN THE BENEFITS OF MESSIAH'S REIGN
Some who can see something of the blessings due at the Second Advent,
and who appreciate in some measure the fact that the Lord comes to bestow the grand
blessing purchased by His death, fail to see the vast scope of that blessing as applicable
to all mankind, and that all those in their graves have as much interest in the glorious
reign of Messiah as well as those who happen to be living at the time, of His return. Is
it not because of God's Plan for their release that those in the tomb are called
"Prisoners of hope"?
We read that Jesus Christ by the grace of God, tasted death "for
every man." (Heb. 2: 9.) But if He tasted for all humanity, both the living and the
dead, and from any cause that sacrifice becomes efficacious to only a small fraction of
earth's billions, was not the redemption comparatively a failure? And in that case, is not
the Apostle's statement too broad? When again we read I , "Behold, I bring you good
tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL PEOPLE" (Luke 2: 10), and, looking about
us, see that it is only to a "little flock" that it has been good tidings, and
not to all people, we would be' compelled to wonder whether the angels had not overstated
the goodness and breadth of their message, and overrated the importance of the work to be
accomplished by the Messiah whom they announced.
Another statement is, "There is one God, and one Mediator
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all." (1
Tim. 2:5, 6.) A ransom for all? Then why should not all for whom the ransom had been
provided have some benefit from Christ's death? Why should not all come to a knowledge of
the truth, that they may believe.?
A RANSOM TO BE TESTIFIED "IN DUE TIME"
Without the key how dark, how inconsistent, these statements appear;
but when we find the key to God's Plan, these texts all declare with one voice, "God
is Love." This key is found in the latter part of the text last quoted--"Who
gave Himself a ransom for all. To BE TESTIFIED IN DUE TIME." God has a due time for
everything. He could have testified it to these in their past life time; but since He did
not, except to a small minority, it proves that their due time must be future. For those
who will be of the Church, the Bride of Christ, and share the Kingdom honors, the present
is the "due time" to hear; and whosoever now has an ear to hear, let him hear
and heed, and he will be blessed accordingly. Though Jesus secured our ransom before we
were born, it was not our "due time" to hear of it for long years afterward, and
only the appreciation of it brought responsibility; and this, only to the extent of our
ability and appreciation. The same principle applies to all: in God's due time it will be
testified to all, and all will then have opportunity to believe and to be blessed by it.
The prevailing opinion is that death ends all probation; but there is
no Scripture which so teaches; and all the above, and many more, Scriptures, would be
meaningless, or worse, if death ends all hope for the ignorant masses of the world. The
one Scripture quoted to prove this generally entertained view is, "Where the tree
falleth, there it shall be." (Eccl. 11 : 3.) If this has any relation to man's
future, it indicates that whatever his condition when he enters the tomb, no change takes
place until he is awakened out of it. And this is the uniform teaching of all Scripture
bearing on the subject.
ALL MEN TO BE BROUGHT TO A KNOWLEDGE *OF THE TRUTH
--1 Tim. 2: 4.
Since God does not propose to save men on account of ignorance, but
"will have all men to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2: 4) ; and
since the masses of mankind have died in ignorance; and since "there is no work, nor
device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave" (Eccl. 9: 10) ; therefore God has
prepared for the awakening of the dead, in order to knowledge, faith, and salvation. Hence
His Plan is, that "as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive, but
each one in his own order"--The Gospel Church, the Bride ' the Body of Christ, first;
afterward, during the Millennial Age, all who become His during that thousand years of His
presence (mistranslated coming), the Lord's due time for all to know Him, from the least
to the greatest. (1 Cor. 15: 22.) Thus the hope of the world lies beyond the return- of
As death came by the first Adam, so life comes by Christ, the Second
Adam. Everything that mankind lost through being in the first Adam is to be restored to
those who believe in the -Second Adam. When awakened, with the advantage of experience
with evil, which Adam lacked, those who thankfully accept the redemption as God's gift may
continue to live everlastingly on the original condition of obedience. Perfect obedience
will be required, and perfect ability to obey will be given, under the righteous reign of
the Prince of Peace. Here is the salvation offered to the world. This will not mean of
course that God will coerce or force the world into a state of salvation in the future
Age. In that Day of full knowledge and opportunity, only those who accept the Message and
reform and become obedient thereto, will be restored to everlasting life. Others who
willfully reject the way of righteousness under the reign of Christ, will be judged
incorrigible and will be ultimately destroyed in the "Second Death" from which
'there will be no recovery.-Acts 3: 23; Rom. 6: 23.
THE JEWS WILL BE BROUGHT OUT OF THEIR GRAVES
AND PUT IN THEIR OWN LAND--Ezek. 37:12-14
St. Peter tells us that this restitution is spoken of by the mouth of
all the holy Prophets. (Acts 3: 19-21.) They all teach it. Ezekiel says of the valley of
dry bones, "These bones are the whole house of Israel." And God says to Israel,
"Behold, 0 my people, 1 will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your
graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the, Lord, when
I . . . shall put my spirit in you, and I shall place you in your own land; then shall ye
know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord."--Ezek. 37:
To this, the words of St. Paul agree (Rom. 11: 25,
26)--"Blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles [the
elect company, the Bride of Christ) be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved," or
brought back from their cast-off condition; for "God hath not cast off His people
which He foreknew." (Verse 2.) They were cast off from His favor while the Bride of
Christ was being selected, but will be reinstated when that work is accomplished. (Verses
28-33.) The prophecies are full of statements of how God will plant them again, and they
shall be no more plucked up. "Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel,
set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land; and I will
build them and not pull them down, and I will plant them and not pluck them up. And I will
give them an heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will
be their God, for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart." (Jer. 24: 5-7;
31: 28; 32: 40-42; 33: 6-16.) These cannot refer merely to restorations from former
captivities in Babylon, Syria, etc.,, 'for they have since been plucked up.
EVERY MAN WHO DIES THEN SHALL DIE FOR HIS OWN SINS
Furthermore, the Lord says, "In those days they shall say no
more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge, but
every one [who dies] shall die for his own iniquity." (Jer. 31:29. 30.) This is not
the case now. Each does not die now for his own sin, but for Adam's sin--"In Adam all
die." He ate the sour grape of sin, and our fathers continued to eat them, entailing
further- sickness and misery upon their children, thus hastening the penalty, death. The
day in which "every man [who dies] shall die for his own sin," only, is-the
Millennial or Restitution Day.
Though many of the prophecies and promises of the future blessing
seem to apply to Israel only, it must be remembered that they were a typical people' 'and
hence the promises made to them, while sometimes having a special application to
them-selves, generally have also a wider application to the whole world of mankind which,
that nation typified. While Israel as a nation was typical of the whole world, its
priesthood was typical of the "little flock," the Head and Body of Christ, the
"royal priesthood"; and the sacrifices, cleansings, and atonements made for
Israel typified the "better sacrifices," fuller cleansings, and real atonement
"for the sins of the whole world," of which they are a part.
Seeing, then, that so many of the great and glorious features of
God's Plan for human salvation, from sin and death, lie in the future, and that the Second
Advent of our Lord Jesus is the designed first step in the accomplishment of those
long-promised and long expected blessings, shall we not even more earnestly long for the
time of His Second Advent than the less informed Jew looked and longed for the First
"Watch, therefore; for ye know not the day* your
Lord doth come." "What I say unto you, I say unto all [believers], Watch!''
-Matt. 24: 42; Mark 13: 37.
*Thus read the oldest Greek MSS.
IN VIEW of the foregoing Scripture testimony as to the object and
purpose of our Lord's return, we are prepared to recognize the great importance that
logically attaches to the time as well as the signs or indications which mark the
appearing and presence of earth's new King and the exercise of His power in, the affairs
Whatever the character of the watching, and whatever the thing to be
looked for, there can be no question that the exhortation to watch for an event whose
precise time is not stated implies that the watching ones will know when the event does
take place. Watch, because ye know not, in order that at the proper time ye may know, is
the thought; and the intimation clearly is, that those who do not watch will not know;
that the events which are to be known in due time to the Watchers will be recognized by
them, and not recognized by others, at the time of accomplishment.
This, the only logical interpretation of our Lord's exhortation, is
fully corroborated by several of the Apostles. The Apostle Paul urges us, saying:
"Yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the
night, and when they [the world, unbelievers] shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden
destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not
escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a
thief" (1 Thes. 5: 34) ; because, being children of the light, ye brethren will be
watching and be enlightened and taught of the Lord. The ,Apostle Peter suggests the means
by which the Lord will teach us and inform us respecting our location upon the path of the
just which shineth more and more unto the perfect day. He shows that it will not be by
miraculous revelations, nor by dreams, but through the Word of testimony, the Bible. He
says, "We have a more sure word of prophecy,- to which ye do well that ye take heed,
as unto a light which shineth in a dark place, until the Day dawn and the Day-star arise
in your hearts."--2 Pet. 1: 19.
The united testimony of these Scriptures teaches us that, although it
was riot proper not possible for the Lord's people to know anything definite in advance,
respecting the exact time of the Second Presence of the Lord Jesus and the establishment
of His Kingdom, yet when the due time would come the faithful ones, the Watchers would be
informed--would not be left in darkness with the world. It is in vain to urge ' as
contradicting this, our Lord's statement, " * Of that day and hour knoweth no man,
no, not the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but My Father only." Those who use
this Scripture to prove to themselves and to others that no man will ever know anything
respecting the time of the Second Advent find it to prove too much, and thus spoil their
own argument; for if it means that no man will ever know ' it must similarly mean that no
angel will ever. know, and that the Son Himself will never know. This evidently would be
an absurd construction to place upon the passage. The Son did not know at the time He
uttered this statement, the angels did not know then, and no man knew then: but the Son
certainly must know of the time of His own Second Advent, and at least a little while
before it takes place; the angels also must know a little while before it takes place, and
the true children of God, the Watchers, as we have seen above, are to watch in order that
they also may know at the proper season, and not be in darkness, in ignorance, with the
World; and that their watching shall be rewarded is guaranteed: "None of the wicked
shall understand; but the wise [in heavenly wisdom] shall understand."--Dan. 12: 10.
HOW ARE WE TO WATCH?
Our watching consists not in looking up into the
sky--"stargazing;" for those who study the Lord's Word to any purpose soon learn
that "the day of the Lord so cometh as [like] a thief in the night," and that
its dawning cannot be discerned with the natural eye. If the Lord's people would discern
anything by watching the sky with their natural eyes, could not the world discern the same
thing? If the Second Advent of our Lord were to be an open, outward manifestation, would
not the world know of it just as soon as the saints, the Watchers? In such event it could
not be true that the day of the Lord should come as a thief, as a snare, unawares, upon
the world, while the Church would have foreknowledge thereof--not to be left in darkness.
We are to watch the signs of the times, in the light of the Lord's
Word, our lamp as the Apostle declares, "We have a more sure Word of prophecy, .. as
a light shining in a dark place, until the Day dawn."
Tose who have taken heed to the landmarks, pointed out by the Lord
through Daniel and Isaiah and Jeremiah, and all the holy Prophets, realize that we have
come already a much longer journey than was expected by the Church when first she started
out; but we realize also from these landmarks that we have approached very closely to
the end of the journey, very near to the time when the great blessing, for which God's
people have so long waited and prayed, is at hand. For instance, the Watchers have noted
the Lord's testimony through the Prophet Daniel that "the time of the end" would
be a period of time (More than a century), and that in this "time of the end"
there would be a great increase of travel, running to and fro throughout the earth, and a
great increase of general intelligence, increased I knowledge, as it is written, "In
the time of the end many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be
Those carefully watching see the lifting of the curtain of ignorance,
and the letting in of the light, and that thus God is using mankind at the present time to
make ready it! a natural way the mechanical and other arrangements and conveniences which
ultimately shall be such great blessings to the world, when the Sun of Righteousness shall
arise with healing in His beams, the Millennial Day shall be ushered in, with all its
multiplied blessings and mercies and opportunities -- the times of restitution of all
things, spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the World began." -Acts 3:
Watching intently, earnestly, interestedly, because they know of the
good things God hath in reservation (1 Cor. 2: 10-13), the Watchers note that Daniel's
prophecy further points out that, as the increase of travel brings the increase of
knowledge; so the increase of knowledge will bring an increase of discontent to the world
of mankind in general; and the result will be as prophetically stated, that "there
shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." The Watchers,
seeking to note whether these things have yet a fulfillment or not, look about them and
behold on every hand discontent, unhappiness; far more than when the world enjoyed far
fewer of the mercies and blessings of heaven. These latter day gifts of Providence
(preparations for the Millennial Age), instead of provoking thankfulness, gratitude and,
love to God and generosity to man, produce in unregenerate hearts ambition, greater
avarice, selfishness, envy, hatred, strife, and other works of the flesh and of the devil.
Yes; the Watchers can clearly discern the great approaching climax of human trouble in
which the Scriptures distinctly declare that all the present human institutions shall go
down in anarchy' in confusion, in chaos. But the Watchers do not lose sight of God and His
providence. They see that, while the approaching social and ecclesiastical catastrophe
will be the natural result of the operation of selfishness under highly favored
conditions, nevertheless they remember that God is at the helm, and that He is able to
cause the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder of man's wrath (which would not,
praise Him) He will restrain.
PAAOUSIA, EPIPHANIA, APOKALUPSIS
Because not heedless, careless, indifferent servants of the King, but
faithful and earnest, the Watchers have scrutinized every little particular. which fell
from the lips of Him who spake as never man spake; and all the messages which He has sent
them through His faithful Apostles and Prophets. And discriminating carefully, they
discern that there are, three words of distinctly different sigpification used in respect
to the Lord's Second Advent; namely, parousia,
and epiphania, and apokalupsis. Parousia is used in respect to the earliest stage
of the Second Advent, while epiphania and. apokalupsis relate to the same Advent later --
not that apokalupsis and epiphania relate to another or a third advent,
but merely to a later feature of the Second Advent. These Greek words, it is true, are
somewhat obscured or hidden in the Common Version of the Bible, and probably for a
purpose. The Lord's purpose evidently was to keep the world and the wicked in ignorance of
His gracious Plan until His due time, nor did He wish the particulars to be understood by
the Watchers until nearly the time of the fulfillment. But now we are, "in the time
of the end," in "the day of His preparation," in the time in which it was
foretold that then "the wise [not the worldly-wise but the humble Watchers who are
wise enough to take heed to the. Word of the Lord] shall understand. ' (Dan. 12: 10.) And
hence, since many of the Watchers are not Greek scholars, God has made gracious provision
through valuable helps (such as Young's Analytical Concordance and the Emphatic Diaglott)
so that the very humblest of, His people may have a clear and discriminating,
understanding of the meaning of certain features of His Word which hitherto. have been
kept hidden under imperfect translations: and these matters God Himself has been bringing
to. the, attention of His people, through special helps in the way of Scripture Studies.
These "Helping Hands for Bible students" have reached many of the faithful
Watchers all over the world.
By these helps, the Watchers are rapidly coming to see that the word
"parousia," translated in our Common
Version "coming," does not mean what our English word signifies, namely to be on
the way,. approaching; but that on the contrary it signifies presence, as of one who has
already arrived. The Greek 'word epiphania
signifies bright shining or Manifestation. It is rendered "appearing" and
"brightness." The Greek word apokalupsis
signifies revealment, uncovering, unveiling. Thus these words epiphania and apokalupsis signify "appearing'' and
"revealing," as of a thing previously present but hidden. The Watchers note also
that the Scriptures predicate certain things respecting the Lord and respecting His parousia (His presence), which clearly intimate
that He will be present and doing His work, His great work (of setting up His Kingdom and
smiting the nations with the sword of His mouth) wholly unknown to the world,--"as a
thief in the night." The Watchers also notice that the Scriptures clearly indicate
that. after the Lord has done certain things during His presence (parousia) and unknown to the world, He will later
make a manifestation of His presence--a manifestation which will be discerned by all
mankind: and the outward manifestation is designated His "epiphania" and "apokalupsis" which signify "shining
forth," "bright shining," and, "uncovering," and
During the period of the parousia
(presence) preceding the epiphania (shining
forth) a certain work will be accomplished, unknown to the world, unknown to the, nominal
Church, known only to the Watchers. The ignorance of the impending trouble in the end of
this Age will be similar to that of the people who lived. in the days of Noah. "As it
was in the days of Noah, so also shall it be in the days of the Son of Man."Luke 17:
As "the days of Noah" were not days before Noah's time,
neither are "the days of the Son of Man" days before the Son of Man's presence.
The days of the Son of Man are the days of His parousia, or presence -invisible and
unknown to the world, known only to the Watchers and seen by them only with the eye of
faith. "As in the days that were before the flood they were eating, drinking,
marrying, ... and knew not, ... so shall also the presence [parousia] of the Son of Man
be"--the world will simply go on about its usual affairs and know not of the Lord's
presence.-Matt. 24: 38.
"IN THE DAYS OF THESE KINGS"
We have a number of general prophecies, indicating that we are living
in about the time of the Master's Second Presence. We have already referred to Daniel's
testimony respecting "the time of the end," in which many will run to and fro,
and knowledge, will be increased, and the wise understand, and which the time of trouble
follows. Then we have' the inspired dream of Nebuchadnezzar, and its inspired
interpretation by Daniel, showing the earthly governments, which would - bear rule over
the. earth-during the interim between the overthrow of, the typical Kingdom of God, whose
last king sitting upon the throne of David was Zedekiah, and the installation of the true
King, Immanuel, in His Millennial Kingdom glory. These different governments of earth are
here pictured as a great image; Nebuchadnezzar's government, the first universal empire,
of earth, being represented by the head of gold; the Medo-Persian Empire, which, according
to history, was the second universal empire, is here shown as the breast and arms of
silver; the Grecian Empire, which overthrew the Persian, and became the third universal
empire, is represented by the belly and thighs of brass; the Roman Empire, which succeeded
the Grecian, and constituted itself the fourth universal empire of earth, was represented
in the image by the legs of iron--strong exceedingly; and the later development of the
same Roman Empire with the intermixture of papal influence is represented in 'the image by
the feet, which were partly iron (civil government), and partly of clay (ecclesiastical
government -- Papacy). These were to constitute the sum total of Gentile dominion; and
"in the days of these kings"' (represented by the ten toes of the image),
Jehovah God Himself would establish His Kingdom-the very Kingdom for which we -pray,
"Thy Kingdom come!"
We are all witnesses that the Heavenly Kingdom has not yet come-that
we are still under the dominion of the "prince of this world"--the prince of
darkness. All the efforts to prove to us that the greedy and unholy governments of
Christendom, so-called, are the Kingdom for which we prayed, and were taught to pray,
could not prevail: we could never recognize these as Immanuel's Kingdom: they are only the
kingdoms established by Antichrist, and recognized by Antichrist, and named by Antichrist
"Christendom." The true Kingdom waits for establishment at the hands of Him
Whose right it is; and He has promised that, when He sits upon His throne, all His
faithful ones, the "little flock" of the Gospel Age, shall sit in that throne
with Him, and be associates in the work and in the honor of blessing the world.
The Church is not neglected in the picture of earthly dominion given
to Nebuchadnezzar, and interpreted by the Prophet Daniel. She is shown therein as a stone
taken out of the mountain without hands (by Divine power). This stone represents God's
Kingdom (Christ and the Church), and the inspired dream and explanation show that the
disaster which shall come to the' kingdoms of this world, represented in the image and in
the toes of its feet, would come through the impact or smiting of the image by the stone.
Daniel says: "A stone was cut out "Which, without being in hands, smote the
image upon his feet. . . . Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the
gold broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floor,
and the wind carried them away that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote
the image became a great mountain [kingdom], and filled the whole earth."
THE STONE CUT OUT OF THE MOUNTAIN
The explanation is that--"The great God hath made known to the
king [and indirectly 'more particularly to the Watchers] what shall come to pass
hereafter." "In the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom
which shall never be destroyed, and the kingdom shall not be left to other people-, [It
shall have no successors, for the others will all be destroyed] it shall break in pieces
and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever." Here is a prophecy which
gives a full delineation of the empires of earth, to which God granted dominion during the
interim between the removal of the typical crown from His typical kingdom, and the
institution of the crown of righteousness and glory upon the true King in the inauguration
of the Kingdom of Heaven. Even the surface evidences are that human empire has nearly run
its course, and that heavenly empire is needed to deliver the world from its own
selfishness; this next universal empire will be the Kingdom of God's dear Son.
But the scrutinizing Watcher will readily perceive that it is one
thing to know the time when earthly dominion shall cease, and give place to the completed
Kingdom of God, while it would be a totally different matter to know when the
"stone" Kingdom would begin to smite the image upon its feet, preparatory to its
destruction. This period of smiting of the image, which precedes its destruction, must
also precede the full establishment of God's Kingdom to fill the whole earth. This smiting
period is the period of the parousia; the period
in which Christ, is present, gathering His "jewels," His "elect," and
in which He will smite the nations with the rod of iron and with the two-edged sword of
His mouth, dashing them in pieces as a potter's vessel, and preparing mankind for the
royal majesty of the heavens. Let the Watchers note critically the Prophet Daniel's
explanation that it will be "in the days of these kings" (the kingdoms
represented in the feet and toes of the image--the divisions of Papal Rome) that the God
of heaven will set up His Kingdom. God began the selection of His Kingdom class in the
days of Civil Rome-represented by the legs of iron: He has continued the selection ever
since, and the setting up or bringing of His Church (Kingdom) into power comes toward the
close of Gentile dominion, but before it ends; for it is to be "in the days of these
kings" and not after their days. Now note the similarity of the expressions, "in
the days of the Son of Man" and "in the days of these kings," and give both
the same significance and remember that, as we have proved, they will be the same
days-days before the lease of Gentile power expires, in which the Son of Man will be
present to "set up" His Kingdom, which shall a little later destroy all these
HIS PRESENCE INVISIBLE
One point which more than any other seems to con fuse students of
this subject is our Lord's resurrection. They note the fact that He appeared in a body of
flesh and bones, after His resurrection, and they therefore conclude that He still has a
body of flesh and bones bearing all the scars of Calvary; hence, in thinking of His Second
Advent they invariably, expect it to be an other advent as a human being (in flesh and
bones), "a little lower than the angels." These expectations. are wrong, as we
shall show from the Scriptures. ' Our Lord after His resurrection was a spirit being, and
His manifestations of Himself to His disciples in various fleshly bodies, then, were
similar to manifestations made before He became the man Christ Jesus, while He still
possessed the glory which He had with the Father before the world was-the glory of a
spirit being. For instance, are we not particularly told that the Lord and two angels
appeared as men in bodies of flesh and blood and bones ' and in ordinary human garb, to
Abraham and Sarah? And the record is that "they did eat and talk with Abraham."
On another occasion the Lord appeared to Moses, not in a body of flesh, but "as a
flame of fire" in a bush which apparently burned, and from which He spoke to Moses.
We con tend that such a power to appear in any kind of a body is a power which in the
past was considerably used in communicating the Divine will to mankind, and that it is
only discontinued now because the canon of Divine revelation is complete, I so that in it
the man of God is thoroughly furnished unto every good word and work, and needs no special
message or revelations.--2 Tim. 3: 17.
In reading the narrative of our Lord's appearance to His disciples
after His resurrection, the fact seems generally to be overlooked that He appeared only a
few times, in all, and that these visits were always brief, and that between these visits,
after the day of His resurrection, there were long periods of days and weeks' in which the
disciples saw nothing of Him. It is generally overlooked, also, that He appeared in
various forms, one of which was identical with the body that was crucified, because Thomas
had said he would not believe unless he could have such a demonstration. Even, then our
Lord rather upbraided Thomas, assuring him, that there was a still greater. blessing in
store for those who ask not for such ocular demonstration. It is generally forgotten that
none of the world ever saw our Lora after His resurrection, but merely His disciples, to
whom, it is said, He "showed Himself." This was in harmony with His statement
made before His death, "Yet a little while and the world seeth me no
more."--John 14: 19.
The Scripture declaration is, that our Lord was made flesh "
took upon Him our nature "for the suffering of death;" and not to be encumbered
with fleshly conditions to all eternity. Besides, if our Lord must bear the scars of His
wounds to all eternity, the implication would be that His people would also bear all their
blemishes and scars to all eternity. Surely, if such were the Divine arrangement, that
which is perfect would never come, for we should be encumbered with the imperfect
forever.-- 1 Cor. 13: 10.
When we get the correct view of this matter, every difficulty and
objection ceases. As the Scriptures declare, so it was, "He was put to death in
flesh, He was quickened in spirit." "Though we have known Christ after the flesh
yet now henceforth know we Him no more [so]." (2 Cor. 5: 16.) It was at His
resurrection that He became the Second Adam--"the last Adam, a quickening
spirit." (1 Cor. 15:45.) "Now the Lord is that spirit." (2 Cor. 3:17.)
After appearing to His disciples under various peculiar conditions after His resurrection,
in various bodies, the Lord invariably vanished-as soon as He had communicated to them the
appropriate lessons, causing, as they declared, their hearts to burn within them. He
appeared in these various forms for two, reasons:
(1) They could best receive His instructions under such conditions,
whereas, if He had appeared to them in the glory of His spirit being, and had performed a
miracle upon their eyes by which they could have discerned His spiritual glory, they would
have been too much affrighted to have benefited by what He would have said.
(2) They were still natural men, not fully begotten of the Holy
Spirit, because Pentecost was not yet come (John 7: 39), and hence they were unprepared to
understand spiritual things; "for the natural man receiveth not the things of the
spirit of God, neither can he know [appreciate] them, because they are spiritually
The Apostle Paul was the only one of the disciples who saw the Lord
"as He is." He tells us that the Lord's I real spiritual presence, so far from
being fleshly or human-like, shone with a brightness "above the brightness of the sun
at noonday." The effect upon St. Paul's eyes was serious and, we may readily believe
the effects remained with him to his dying day, notwithstanding the miraculous removal of
the callous scales, which permitted him to see ' though indistinctly. Very evidently our
Lord's design was to educate His Apostles up to the thought of His resurrection, and also
to the thought of His resurrection being not to former conditions, limited by the flesh,
but to new conditions in which He (as He had already explained to Nicodemus) could come
and go like the wind, and none could know whence He came nor whither He went; He could
appear in one body or in another body, or be present with them without their being aware
of it, just as "the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him,"
yet invisible to them, because a spirit being.
"WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM, FOB WE SHALL SUE HIM AS HE
When the right conception of our Lord, in His glorified condition, is
gained, and when the Apostle's statement is remembered, that His Church shall be like Him,
and "see Him as He is," it is comparatively easy to understand that the entire
glorified Church will be as invisible to the world as the Heavenly Father is, and as our
Lord Jesus was after His resurrection; and when it is remembered that this Church
constitutes the Kingdom of God, the "royal priesthood," which is to rule and
bless the world during the Millennial Age, our Lord's words to the Pharisees are quite
intelligible --!'The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation -neither shall ye say, Lo
here or, Lo there! for behold ' the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you"--a present
but invisible authority, government, rule of righteousness.
"EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM"
Looking about us today for evidences of a change of dispensation and
of the Kingdom approaching, we find that many even who are not -of the Watchers, are
noting the signs of our times and are startled, and led to exclaim, What do these things
mean ?-This 'remark able latter-day advance in science, art, and mechanical
invention?--This latter-day unsettling of all the social and economic relations of
mankind? This discontent and general unrest in the midst of plenty and luxury? This
latter-day growth of millionaires and paupers? This growth of giant corporations of
world-wide power and influence?--Why are national policies and public men and their
utterances and doings criticized (judged) by the masses as never before?--And what means
it that with an apparent -growth in wealth and numbers in all denominations of Christians
there is a growing dissatisfaction, discontent in them all: a growing tendency to
criticize the creeds and the preaching and everything?--How comes it that nine-tenths of
the preachers in all denominations know that their hearers desire a change, and would
gladly "move on," if they knew how to better themselves even at smaller salaries
The Scriptural answer is, The hour of God's judgment is come; the
time when "Christendom,'! political,' financial, social and ecclesiastical is being
judged -- being tried in the Divine balances. And the Scriptures declare that she will -be
found wanting and will be adjudged unworthy to further administer the affairs of earth,
which will be turned over to Messiah and His Bride, the elect "little flock,"'
according to the Divine promise.-Luke 12: 32.
Thus in fulfillment of the Scriptures and with great clearness the
presence of Jesus is to be made manifest to the world. He is to "appear," to be
"revealed." His Presence is to be made known to the whole world so that
"every eye shall see [discern] Him;" that is, the eyes of understanding of the
whole human family shall be opened to a realization of the great truth, when Messiah's
Kingdom has come into power, and henceforth to rule the world, to overthrow sin and Satan,
to uplift righteousness, to bless all the willing and obedient, and to destroy in the
Second Death all willful sinners.
"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.
Amen. Even so,. come, Lord Jesus." -- 'Rev. 22: 20.
can see the glory of the presence of the Lord;
He is trampling out the winepress where the grapes of wrath are stored;
I see the flaming tempest of His swift descending sword:
Our King is marching on.
"I can see
His coming judgments, as they circle all the earth
The signs and groanings promised, to precede a second birth; I
read His righteous sentence in the crumbling
thrones of earth:
Our King is marching on.
seventh trump is sounding, and our King knows no defeat;
He will sift out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.
O! be swift, my soul, to welcome Him; be jubilant, my feet:
Our King is marching on."
OUR FRIENDS, OUR NEIGHBORS; THE HOLY, THE UNHOLY;
THE CIVILIZED, THE VILE?
"Men and Brethren, let me freely speak to you of
the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto
this day. For David is not ascended into the, heavens." (Acts 2:29, 34.) "And no
man hath ascended up to Heaven, but He that came down from Heaven, even, the Son of
A CORRECT understanding of this subject has become almost a necessity
to Christian steadfastness. For centuries it has been the teaching of
"orthodoxy," of all shades, that God, before creating man, had created a great
abyss of fire and terrors, capable of containing all the billions of *the human family
which He purposed, to bring into being; that this abyss He had named "hell;"
and. that all of the promises and threatenings of the Bible were designed to deter as many
as possible (a "little flock") from such wrong-doing as would make this awful
place their perpetual home.
As knowledge increases and superstitions fade, this monstrous view of
the Divine arrangement and character is losing its force; and thinking people cannot but
disbelieve the legend, which used to be illustrated on the church walls in the highest
degree of art and realism, samples of which are still to be seen in Europe. Some now claim
that the place is literal, but the fire symbolic, etc., etc., while others repudiate the
doctrine of "hell" in every sense and degree. While glad to see superstitions
fall, and truer ideas of the great, and wise, and just, and loving Creator prevail, we are
alarmed to notice that the tendency with all who abandon this long-revered doctrine is
toward doubt, skepticism, infidelity.
Why should this be the case, when the mind is merely being delivered
from an error, do you ask? Because Christian people have so long been taught that the
foundation for this awful blasphemy against God's character and government is deep-laid
and firmly fixed, in the Word of God -- the Bible -- and, consequently, to whatever degree
that belief in "hell" is shaken, to that extent their faith in the Bible, as the
revelation of the true God, is shaken also; so that those who have dropped their belief in
a "hell," of some kind of endless. torment, are often open infidels, and
scoffers at God's Word.
That the advocates of the doctrine of eternal torment have little or
no faith in it is very manifest from the fact that it has no power over their course of
action. While all the denominations of Christendom sustain the doctrine that eternal
torment and endless, hopeless despair will constitute the punishment of the wicked, they
are mostly quite at ease in allowing the wicked to take their course, while they pursue
the even tenor of their way. Chiming bells and pealing organs, artistic choirs and costly
edifices, upholstered pews and polished oratory which more and more avoid any reference to
this alarming theme; afford rest and entertainment to fashionable congregations that
gather on the Lord's day and are known to the world as churches of Christ and
representatives of His doctrines. But they seem little concerned about the eternal welfare
of the multitudes, or even of themselves and their own families, thou one would naturally
presume that with such awful possibilities in view they would be almost frantic in their
efforts to rescue the perishing.
The plain inference is that they do not believe it. The only class of
people that to any degree show their faith in it by their works is the Salvation Army; and
these are the subjects of ridicule from almost all other Christians, because they are
somewhat consistent with their belief. Yet their peculiar, and often absurd, methods, so
strikingly in contrast with those of the Lord of whom it was written, "He shall not
cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street" (Isa. 42: 2), are
very mild compared with what might be expected if they were fully convinced of the
doctrine. We cannot imagine how sincere believers of this terrible doctrine go from day
to, day about the ordinary affairs of life, or ,meet quietly in elegance every Sunday to
hear an essay from the pulpit on the peculiar subjects often advertised. Could they do so
while really believing all the time that fellow mortals -are dying at the rate of one
hundred a minute, and entering
"That lone land of deep despair," where
"No God regards their bitter prayer"?
If they really believed this, few saints could. complacently sit
there and think of those hurrying, every moment into that awful state described by that
good, well- meaning, but greatly deluded man, Isaac Watts (whose own heart was
immeas-urably warmer and larger than that he ascribed to the great Jehovah), when he wrote
"Tempests of angry fire shall roll
To blast the rebel worm,
And beat upon the naked soul
In one eternal storm."
People often become frantic with grief when, friends have been caught
in some terrible catastrophe, as a fire, or a wreck, though they know they will soon be
relieved by death; yet they pretend to believe that God is less loving than them-selves,
and that He can look with indifference, if not with delight, at billions of His creature's
enduring an eternity of 'torture far more, terrible, which, He prepares for them and
prevents any escape from forever. Not only so, but they expect that they will get
literally into Abraham's bosom, and will then look across the gulf and see and hear the
agonies of the multitudes (some of Whom they now love and weep over) ; and they imagine
that they will be so changed, and become so like their present idea of God, so hardened
against all pity, and so barren of love and sympathy, that they will delight in such a God
and in such a plan.
It is wonderful that otherwise sensible men and women who love their
fellows, and who establish hospitals, orphanages, asylums, and societies for the,
prevention of cruelty even to the brute creation, are so unbalanced mentally that they.
can believe and subscribe to such a doctrine, and yet be. so indifferent about,
investigating its authority!
Only one exception coin we think of -- those who hold the
ultra-Calvinistic doctrine; who believe that God has decreed it thus, that all the efforts
they could put forth could not alter the result with a single person; and that all the
prayers they, could offer would not change one iota of the awful plan they believe God has
marked out for His and their eternal pleasure. These indeed could sit still, so far as
effort for their fellows is concerned; but why sing the praises of such a scheme for the
damnation of their neighbors whom God has told them to love as themselves?
Why not rather begin to doubt this "doctrine of devils,"
this blasphemy against the great God, hatched in the "Dark Ages," when a crafty
priesthood taught that it is right to do evil that good may result?
The doctrine of eternal torment was undoubtedly introduced by Papacy
to induce pagans to join her and support her system. It flourished at the same time that
"bull fights" and gladiatorial contests were the public amusements most enjoyed;
when the Crusades were called "holy wars," and, when men and women were called
"heretics" and were often slaughtered for thinking or speaking contrary to the
teachings of the Papacy; at a time when the sun of Gospel Truth was obscure; when the Word
of God had fallen into disuse and .was prohibited to be read by any but the clergy, whose
love of their neighbors was often shown in torturing "heretics" to induce them
to recant and deny their faith and their Bibles-to save them, if possible, they explained,
from the more awful future of "heretics" -- eternal torture. They did not borrow
this doctrine from the heathen, for no heathen people in the world have a doctrine so
cruel, so fiendish and so unjust. Find it, whoever can, and show it up in all its
blackness, that, if possible, it may be shown. that the essence of barbarism, malice,
hate, and ungodliness has not been exclusively appropriated by those whom God has most
highly favored with light from every quarter, and, to whom He has committed the only
oracle-His Word. Oh! the -shame and confusion that will cover the faces of many, even good
men, who verily thought that they did God, service while propagating this blasphemous
doctrine, when they awake in the resurrection, to learn of the love and justice of God,
and when they come to know that the Bible does not teach this God- dishonoring,
love-extinguishing, truth-beclouding, saint-hindering, sinner- hardening, "damnable
heresy" of eternal torment.--2 Pet. 2: 1.
But we repeat that, in the light and moral development of this day,
sensible people do not believe this doctrine. However, since they think that the Bible
teaches it, every step they progress in real intelligence and brotherly kindness, which
hinders belief in eternal torment is in most cases a step a-way from, God's Word, which is
falsely accused of being the authority for this teaching. Hence the second crop of evil
fruit, which the devil's engraftment of this error is producing, is skepticism. The
intelligent, honest thinkers are thus driven from the Bible into vain philosophies and
sciences, falsely so-called, and into infidelity. Nor do the "worldly" really
believe this doctrine, nor is it a restraint to crime, for convicts and the lower classes
are the firmest believers in it.
But, says one, Has not the error done some good? Have not many been
brought into the Churches by the preaching of this doctrine in the past?
No error, we answer, ever did real good, but always harm. Those whom
error brings into a Church, and whom the truth would not move, are an injury to the
Church. The thousands terrorized, but not at heart converted, which this doctrine forced
in-to Papacy, and which swelled her numbers and her wealth, diluted what little truth was
held before, and mingled it with their unholy sentiments and: errors so that, to meet the
changed condition of things, the "clergy" found it needful to add error to
error, and resorted to methods, forms, etc., not taught in the Scriptures and useless to
the truly converted whom the truth controls. Among these were pictures. images, beads,
vestments, candles, grand cathedrals, altars, etc., to help the unconverted heathen to a
form of godliness more nearly corresponding to their former heathen worship, but lacking,
all the power of vital godliness.
The heathen were not benefited, for they were still heathen in God's
sight, but deluded into accepting what they did not understand or do from the heart. They
were added "tares" to choke the "wheat," without being profited
themselves. The Lord tells who sowed the seed of this enormous crop. (Matt. 13: 39.) The
same is true of those who assume the name "Christian" today, who are not really
at heart converted by the truth, but merely frightened by the error, or allured by
promised earthly advantages of a social or business kind. Such add nothing to the true
Church; by their ideas and manners they become stumbling blocks to the truly consecrated,
and by their inability to, digest the truth, the real food of the saints, they lead even
the few true pastors to defraud the true "sheep" in order to satisfy the demands
of these "goats" for something pleasing to their unconverted tastes.
Seeing, then, the unreasonableness of man's view, let us lay aside
human opinions and theories and come to the Word of God, the only authority on the
subject, remembering that
"God is His own.
interpreter, and He will make it plain."
"HELL," AS AN ENGLISH WORD
In the first place, bear in mind that the Old Testament Scriptures
were written in the Hebrew language, and the New Testament in the Greek. The word
"hell" is an English word sometimes selected by the translators of the English
Bible to express the sense of the Hebrew word sheol and the Greek words hades, tartaroo
and gehenna--sometirnes rendered
"grave" and "pit".
The word "hell" in old English usage, before Papal
theologians picked it up and gave it a new and special significance to suit their own
purposes, simply meant to conceal, to hide, to cover; hence the concealed, hidden or
covered place. It! old English literature records may be found of the helling of
potatoes-putting potatoes into pits; and of the helling of a house--covering or thatching
it. The word hell was therefore properly used synonymously with the words
"grave" and "pit," to translate the words sheol and hades as signifying the secret or hidden
condition of death. However, the same spirit which was willing to twist the word to
terrorize the ignorant is willing still to perpetuate the error presumably saying,
"Let us do evil that good !bay follow."
If the translators of the Revised Version Bible had been thoroughly
disentangled from the Papal error and thoroughly honest, they would have done mote to help
the English student than merely to substitute the Hebrew word sheol and the Greek word hades as they have done. They should have
translated the words. But they were evidently Afraid to tell the truth, and ashamed to
tell the lie; and so gave us sheol and hades
untranslated, and permitted the inference that these words mean the same as 'the word
"hell" has become perverted to mean. Their course, while it for a time shields
themselves, dishonors God and the Bible, which the common people still suppose teaches a
"hell" of torment in the words sheol and hades,
Yet any one can see that if it was proper to translate the word sheol thirty-one times
"grave" and three times "pit," it could not have been improper to so
translate it in every other instance.
A peculiarity to be observed in comparing these cases, as we 'will
do, shortly, is that in those texts where the torment idea would be an absurdity' the
translators of the King James Version have used the words "grave" or
"pit;" while in all other cases they have used the word "hell", and
the reader, long schooled in the Papal idea of torment, reads the word "hell"
and thinks of it as signifying a place of torment, instead of the grave, the hidden or
covered place or condition. For example, compare job 14: 13 with Psa. 86: 13. The former
"Oh, that Thou wouldst hide me in the grave [sheol], etc., while the latter reads, "Thou
hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell [sheol]."
The Hebrew word being the same in both casts, there is no reason why, the same world
"grave" should not be used in both. But how absurd it would have been for job to
pray to God to hide him in a hell of eternal torture! The English reader would have asked
questions and the secret would have gotten' out speedily.
While the translators of the Reformation times are somewhat excusable
for their mental bias in this matter, as they were just breaking away from the old Papal
system, our modern translators, specially those of the recent Revised Version, are not
entitled to, any such consideration. Theological professors and pastors of congregations
consider that they are justified in following the course of the revisers in not explaining
the meaning of either the Hebrew or Greek words sheol or hades and by their use of the words they also
give their confiding flocks to understand that a place of -torture, a, lake of fire, is
meant. While attributing to the ignorant only the best of motives, it is manifestly only
duplicity and cowardice which induces educated men, who know the truth on this subject, to
prefer to continue to teach the error inferentially.
But not all-ministers know of the- errors of the translators and
deliberately cover and hide those errors from the people. Many, indeed, do not know of
them, having merely accepted, without investigation the theories of their seminary
professors. It is the professors and learned ones who are most blameworthy. These have
kept back the truth about "hell" for several reasons. First, there is evidently
a sort of understanding or etiquette among them, that if they wish to maintain their
standing in the "profession" they "must not tell tales out of school";
i. e., they must not divulge professional secrets to the "common people," the
"laity." Second, they all fear that to let it be known that they have been
teaching an unscriptural doctrine for years would break down the popular respect and
reverence for the clergy, the denominations, and the theological schools, and unsettle
confidence in their wisdom. And, oh, how much depends upon confidence and reverence for
men, when God's Word is so generally ignored! Third, they know that many of the members of
their sects are not canstrained by "the love of Christ" (2 Cor. 5: 14), but
merely by the fear of hell, and they see clearly, therefore, that to let the truth be
known now would soon cut loose the names and the dollars of many in their flocks; and
this, to those who "desire to make a fair show in the flesh" (Gal. 6: 12) would
seem to be a great calamity.
But what will be the judgment of God, whose character and plan are
traduced by the blasphemous doctrine which these untranslated words help to support? Will
He commend these unfaithful servants? Will He justify their course? Will the Chief
Shepherd call these His beloved friends, and make known to them His further plans (John
15: 15) that they may misrepresent them also to preserve their own dignity and reverence?
Will He continue to send forth "things new and old," "meat in due
season," to the household of faith, by the hand of the unfaithful servants? No, such
shall not continue to be His mouthpieces or to shepherd His flock. (Ezek. 34: 9, 10.) He
will choose instead, as at the First Advent, from among the laity--"the common
people"--mouthpieces, and will give them words which none of the chief priests shall
be able to gainsay or resist. (Luke 21 : 15.) And, as foretold, "the wisdom of their
wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be
hid."--Isa. 29: 9-19.
"HELL" IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
The word "hell" occurs thirty-one times in the Old
Testament, and in every instance it is sheol in the Hebrew. It does not mean a lake of
fire and brimstone , nor anything at all resembling that thought: not in the slightest
degree! Quite the reverse: instead of a place of blazing fire it is described in the
context as a state of "darkness" (job 10: 21) ; instead of a place where shrieks
and groans are heard, it is described in the context as a place of "silence"
(Psa. 115: 17) ; instead of representing in any sense pain and suffering, or remorse, the
context describes it as a place or condition of forgetfulness. (Psa. 88: 11,12.)
"There is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, in the grave [sheol] whither thou
goest."--Eccles. 9: 10.
The meaning of sheol is "the hidden state," as applied to
man's condition in death, in and beyond which all is hidden, except to the eye of faith;
hence, by proper and close association, the word was often used in the sense of grave-the
tomb, the hidden place, or place beyond which only those who have the enlightened eye of
the understanding can see resurrection, restitution of being. And be it particularly noted
that this identical word Sheol is translated "grave" thirty-one times and
"pit" three times in our common Version by the same translators -- more times
than it is translated "hell",and twice, here it is translated
"hell," it seemed so absurd, according to the present accepted meaning of the
English word "hell" that scholars have felt it necessary to explain in the
margin of modern Bibles, that it means grave. (Isa. 14: 9 and Jonah 2: 2.) In the latter
case, the hidden state, or grave, was the belly of the fish in which Jonah was buried
alive, and from which he cried to God.
ALL TEXTS IN' WHICH "SHEOL" IS TRANSLATED
(1) Amos 9: 2.--"Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine
hand take them." [A figurative expression; but certainly pits of the earth are the
only hells men can dig into.]
(2) Psa. 16: 10.--"Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell; neither
wilt Thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." [This refers to our Lord's three
days in the tomb.-Acts 2: 31 ; 3: 15. ]
(3, 4) Psa. 18: 5 and 2 Sam. 22: 6--margin.--"The cords of hell
compassed me about." [A figure in which trouble is represented as hastening one to
(5) Psa. 55: 15.--"Let them go down quick into
hell"--margin, "the grave."
(6) Psa. 9: 17.--"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all
the nations that forget God." This text will be treated later, under a separate
(7) Psa. 86: 13.--"Thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest
hell"--margin, "the grave."
(8) Psa. 116: 3.--"The sorrows of death compassed me, and the
pains of hell gat hold upon me." [sickness and trouble are the figurative hands of
the grave to grasp us.]
(9) Psa. 139: 8.--"If I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art
there." [God's power is unlimited; even over those in the tomb He can and will exert
it and bring forth all that are in the graves.-John 5: 28.]
(10) Deut. 32: 22.--"For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and
shall burn into the lowest hell." .[A figurative representation of the destruction,
the utter ruin, of Israel as a nation--"wrath to the uttermost," as the Apostle
called it, God's anger burning that nation, to the "lowest deep," as Leeser here
translates the word sheol.--1 Thes. 2: 16.1
(I1) Job 11 : 8.--"It [God's wisdom] is as high as heaven; what
canst thou do? deeper than hell [than any pit] ; what canst thou know?"
(12) Job 26: 6.--"Hell [the tomb] 'is naked before Him, and
destruction hath no covering."
(13) Prov. 5: 5.--"Her feet go down to death; her steps take
hold on hell [i. e., lead to the grave]."
(14) Prov. 7: 27.--"Her house is the way to hell [the grave],
going down to the chambers of death."
(15) Prov. 9: 18. "'He knoweth not that the dead are there, and
that her guests are in the depths of hell." [Here the harlot's guests are represented
as dead, diseased or dying, and many of the victims of sensuality in premature graves from
diseases which also hurry off their posterity to the tomb.]
(16) Prov. 15: 11.--"Hell and destruction are before the
Lord." [Here the grave is associated with destruction and not with a life of
(17) Prov. 15: 24.--"The path of life (leadeth) upward for the
wise, that he may depart from hell beneath." [This illustrates the hope of
resurrection from the tomb.]
(18) Prov. 23: 14.--"Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shall
deliver his soul from hell" [i. e., wise correction will save a child from vicious
ways which lead to premature death, and may also possibly prepare him to escape the
(19) Prov. 27: 20.--"Hell [the grave] and destruction are never
full: so the eyes of man are never satisfied."
(20) Isa. 5: 14.--"Therefore hell hath enlarged herself and
opened her mouth without measure." [Here the grave is a symbol of destruction.]
(21, .22) Isa. 14: 9, 15.--"Hell [margin, grave] from beneath is
moved for thee, to meet thee at thy coming." . . . "Thou shalt be brought down
to hell" [the grave-so rendered in verse 111.
(23) Isa. 57:9.--"And didst debase thyself even unto hell."
[Here figurative of deep degradation.]
(24, 25) Ezek. 31:15-17.--"In the day when he went down to the
grave, . . . I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to
hell with them that descend into the pit. . . They also went down into hell with him, unto
them that be slain with the sword." [Figurative and prophetic description of the fall
of Babylon into destruction, silence, the grave.]
(26) Ezek. 32: 21.--"The strong among the mighty shall speak to
him out of the midst of hell with them that help him." [A continuation of the same
figure representing Egypt's overthrow as a nation to join Babylon in destruction-buried.]
(27) Ezek. 32:27.--"And they shall not lie with the mighty that
are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war:
and they have laid their swords under their heads; but their iniquities shall be upon
their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living."
[The grave is the only "hell' where fallen ones are buried and lie with their weapons
of war under their heads.]
(28), Hab. 2: 5.--"Who enlargeth his desire as hell [the gravel
and as death, and cannot be satisfied."
(29) Jonah 2: 1, 2.--"Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God,
-out of the fish's belly, and said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord,
and He heard me; out of the belly of hell cried 1, and Thou heardest my voice." [The
belly of the fish was for a time his grave-see margin.]
(30, 31) Isa. 28:15-18.--"Because ye have said, We have made a
covenant with death, and with hell [the grave] are we at agreement; when the overflowing
scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us, for we have made lies our refuge,
and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore, saith the Lord, . . . Your covenant
with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell [the grave] shall not
stand." [God thus declare's that the present prevalent idea, by which death and the
grave are represented as friends, rather than enemies, shall cease; and men shall learn
that death is the wages of sin, and that it is in Satan's power (Rom. 6: 23; Heb. 2: 14)
and not an angel sent by God.]
ALL OTHER TEXTS WHERE "SHEOL" OCCURS
RENDERED "GRATE" AND "PIT"
Gen. 37: 35.-"1 will go down into the grave unto my son."
Gen. 42: 38.--"Then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with
sorrow to the grave." [See also the same expression in 44: 29, 31: The translators
did not like to send God's servant, Jacob, to hell simply because. his sons were evil.]
1 Sam. 2: 6.--"The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: He bringeth
down to the grave, and bringeth up."
1 Kings 2: 6, 9.--"Let not his hoar head go down to the grave
with peace. . . . His hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood."
Job. 7: 9.--"He that goeth down to the grave."
Job. 14: 13.--"Oh, that Thou wouldst hide me in the grave, that
Thou wouldst keep me secret until Thy wrath be past, that Thou wouldst appoint me a set
time, .and remember me [resurrect me] !"
Job. 17: 13.--"If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made
my bed in the darkness." [job waits for resurrection--"in the morning."]
Job. 17: 16.--"They shall go down to the bars of the pit
[grave], when our rest together is in the dust."
Job. 21: 13.--"They spend their days in mirth, and in a moment
go down to the grave."
Job. 24: 19, 20.--"Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so
doth the grave those which have sinned." [All have sinned, hence "Death passed
upon all men," and all, go down to the grave. But all have been redeemed by "the
precious blood of Christ;" hence all shall be awakened and come forth again in God's
due time--"in the morning," Rom. 5: 12, 18, 19.1
Psa. 6: 5.--"In death there is no remembrance of Thee; in the
grave who shall give Thee thanks?"
Psa. 30: 3.-"0 Lord, Thou hast brought up my soul from the
grave: Thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit." [This passage
expresses gratitude for recovery from danger of death.]
Psa. 31: 17.--"Let the wicked be ashamed; let them be silent in
the grave." I
Psa. 49: 14, 15, margin.--"Like sheep they are' laid in the
grave: death shall feed on them; and the upright [the saints-Dan. 7: 27] shall have
dominion over them in the morning [the Millennial morning] ; and their beauty shall
consume, the grave being an habitation to every one of them. But God will redeem my soul
from the power of the grave."
Psa. 88: 3.--"My life draweth nigh unto the grave."
Psa. 89:48.--"Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the
Psa. 141: 7.--"Our bones are scattered at the grave's
Prov. 1: 12.--"Let us swallow them up alive as the grave: and
whole, as those that go down into the pit" [i. e., as of an earthquake, as in Num.
Prov. 30: 15, 16.--"Four things say not, it is enough: the
Eccl. 9: 10.--"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy
might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither
Song of -Solomon 8: 6.--"Jealousy is cruel as the grave."
Isa. 14: 11.--"Thy pomp is brought down to the grave."
Isa. 38: 10.--"1 shall go to the gates of the grave: I am
deprived of the residue of my years."
Isa. 38: 18.--"The grave cannot praise Thee, death cannot
celebrate Thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Thy truth."
Num. 16: 30-33.--"If ... they go down quick into the pit, then
shall ye understand. ... The ground clave asunder that was under them, and the earth
opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained
unto Korah, and all their goods. They and all that appertained to them went down alive
into the pit, and the earth closed upon them; and they perished from among the
Ezek. 31: 15.--"In the day when he went down to the grave."
Hosea 13: 14.-"1 will ransom them from the power of the grave; I
will redeem them from death. 0 death, I will be thy plagues; 0 grave, I will be thy
destruction. Repentance shall be hid from Mine eyes." [The Lord did not ransom any
from a place of fire and torment, for there is no such place; but He did ransom all
mankind from the grave, from death, the penalty brought, upon all by Adam's sin, as this
The above list includes every instance of the use of the English word
"hell" and the Hebrew word sheol in the Old Testament. From this examination it
must be evident to all readers that 'God's revelations for four thousand years contain not
a single hint of a "hell," such as the word is now understood to signify.
"HELL" IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
In the New Testament, the Greek word hades corresponds exactly to the Hebrew word
sheol. As proof see the quotations of the Apostles from the Old Testament, in which they
render it hades... For instance, ,Acts 2:27,
"Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades,"
is a quotation from Psa. 16: 10, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in sheol." And in
1 Cor. 15: 54, 55, "Death is swallowed up in victory. 0 death, where is thy sting? O
grave [hades], where is thy victory?" is an
allusion to Isa. 25:8, "He will swallow up death in victory," and to Hos. 13:
14, "O death I will be thy plagues; O sheol, I will be thy destruction."
"HELL" FROM THE GREEK WORD "HADES"
Matt. 11: 23.--"And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto
heaven, shalt be brought down to hell," Luke 10: 15: "Shalt be thrust down to
hell." [In privileges of knowledge and opportunity the city was highly favored, or,
figuratively, "exalted unto heaven;" but because of misuse of God's favors, it
would be debased, or, figuratively, cast down to hades,
overthrown, destroyed. It is now so thoroughly buried in oblivion, that even the site
where it stood is a matter of dispute. Capernaum is certainly destroyed,, thrust down to
Luke 16: 23.--"In hell be lifted up his eyes, being in
torments." [A parabolic figure explained further along, under a separate heading.]
Rev. 6: 8.--"And behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on
him was Death, and. Hell followed with him." [Symbol of destruction or the grave.]
Matt. 16: 18.--"Upon this rock I will build my Church; and the
gates of hell shall not prevail against it." [Although bitter and relentless,
persecution, even unto death, should afflict the Church during the Gospel Age, it should
never prevail to her utter extermination; and eventually, by her resurrection,,
accomplished by the Lord, the Church will prevail over hades--the tomb,]
CHRIST IN "HELL" (HADES) AND
RESURRECTED FROM "HELL" (HADES) ACTS 2:1, 14, 22-31
"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, Peter ... lifted
up his, voice and said, ... Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man
approved of God among you, ... being delivered by the determinate counsel and
foreknowledge of God [He was delivered' for our offenses], ye have taken and by wicked
hands have cruci fied and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains [or
bands] of death, because, it was not possible that He should be holden of it [for the Word
of Jehovah had previously declared His resurrection]; for David speaketh concerning Him
[personating or speaking for Him], 'I [Christ] foresaw the Lord [Jehovah] always before My
face; for He is on My right hand, that I should not be moved. Therefore did My heart
rejoice, and My tongue was glad; moreover also My flesh shall rest in hope, because Thou
wilt not leave My soul in hell [hades, the tomb,
the state of death], neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou
[Jehovah] hast made known to Me [Christ] the ways of life'." Here our Lord, as
personified by the Prophet David, expresses His faith in Jehovah's promise of a
resurrection and in the full and glorious accomplishment of Jehovah's plan through Him,
and rejoices in the prospect.
St. Peter then proceeds, saying--"Men and brethren, let me
freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his
sepulchre is with us unto this day [so that this prophecy could not have referred to
himself personally; for David's soul was left in "hell" -- [hades], the tomb, the state of death --and his
flesh did see corruption] : Therefore being a prophet, and. knowing that God had sworn
with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh, He would raise
up Christ to sit on his ,throne; he, seeing this before [prophetically], spake of the
resurrection of Christ [out of "hell" -- hades,
the tomb-to which He must go for our offenses], that His soul was not left in hell [hades--the death state]neither His flesh did see
corruption," Thus St. Peter presents a strong, logical argument based on the words of
the Prophet David-showing first, that Christ, who was delivered by God for our offenses,
went to "hell," the 'grave, the condition of death, destruction (Psa. 16:10) ;
and, second, that according to promise He had been delivered from hell, the grave, death,
destruction by a resurrection--a raising up to life; being created again, the same
identical being, yet more glorious and, exalted even to "the express image of the
Father's person." (Heb. 1:3.) And now "this same Jesus" (Acts 2:36), in His
subsequent revelation to the Church, declares --
Rev. 1: 18.--"I am He that liveth and was dead, and, behold, I
am alive forevermore, Amen ; and have the keys of hell [hades, the grave] and of death."
Amen! Amen! our hearts respond; for in His resurrection we see the
glorious outcome of the whole Plan of Jehovah to be accomplished through the power of the
Resurrected One who know holds the keys of the tomb and of death and in due time will
release all the prisoners who are, therefore, called the "prisoners of hope."
(Zech. 9: 12; Luke 4: 18.) No craft or cunning can by any possible device wrest these
Scriptures entire and pervert them to the support of that monstrous and blasphemous Papal
tradition of eternal torment. Had that been our penalty, Christ, to be our vicarious
sacrifice, must still, and, to all eternity, endure such torment, which no one will claim.
But death was our penalty, and "Christ died for our sins," and "also for
the sins of the whole world."--1 Cor. 15: 3; 1 John 2: 2.
Rev. 20:13, 14.--"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it;
and death and hell [the grave] delivered up the dead which were, in them: and they were
judged, every man, according to their works. And death and hell [the grave] were cast into
the lake of fire: this is the Second Death." [The lake of fire is the symbol of final
and everlasting destruction. Death and hell [the grave] both go into it. There shall be no
more death;. "the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."--1 Cor. 15: 26;
Rev. 21: 4.]
OTHER OCCURRENCES OF THE WORD "HELL"
Having examined the word sheol, the only word in the Old Testament
rendered "hell," and the word hades,
most frequently in the New Testament rendered "hell" we now notice every
remaining instance in Scripture of the English word "hell." In the New Testament
two other words are rendered "hell"; namely, gehenna and tartaroo,
which we will consider in the order named.
"GEHENNA" RENDERED "HELL'
This word occurs in the following passages--in all twelve
times:--Matt. 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; 18:9; 23: 15, 33; Mark 9: 43-47; Luke 12: 5 ; Jas. 3 6.
It is the Grecian mode of spelling the Hebrew words which are translated "Valley of
Hinnom." This valley lay just outside the city of Jerusalem, and served the purpose
of sewer and garbage burner to that city. The offal, garbage, etc., were emptied there,
and fires were kept continually burning to consume utterly all things deposited therein,
brimstone being added to assist combustion and insure complete destruction. But no living
thing was ever permitted to be cast into Gehenna., The Jews were not allowed to torture
When we consider that in the people of Israel God was giving us
object lessons illustrating His dealings and plans, present and future, we should expect
that this Valley of Hinnom, or Gehenna, would also play its part in illustrating things
future. We know that Israel's priesthood and. temple illustrated the Royal Priesthood, the
Christian Church as it will be, the true Temple of God; and we know that their chief city
was a figure of the New Jerusalem, the seat of kingdom power and center of authority-the
City (government) of the Great King, Immanuel. We remember, too, that Christ's government
is represented in the book of Revelation (Rev. 21: 10-27) under the figure of a city-the
New Jerusalem. There, after describing the class permitted to enter the privileges and
blessings of that Kingdom -- the honorable and glorious, and all who have right to the
trees of life --we find it also declared that there shall not enter into it ,anything that
defileth, or that worketh abomination, or maketh a lie ; but only such as the Lamb shall
write as worthy of life. This City., which thus will represent the entire saved world in
the end of the Millennium, was typified in the earthly city, Jerusalem; and the defiling,
the abominable, etc., the class unworthy of life everlasting, who do not enter in, were
represented by the refuse and the filthy, lifeless carcasses cast into Gehenna outside the
city,--whose utter destruction was thus symbolized--the Second Death. Accordingly, we find
it stated that those not found worthy of life are to be cast into the "lake of
fire" (Rev. 20:15)--fire here, as everywhere, being used. as a symbol of destruction,
and the symbol, lake, of fire, being drawn from this same Gehenna, or Valley of Hinnom.
Therefore, while Gehenna served a useful purpose to the city of
Jerusalem as a place for garbage burning, it, like the city itself, was typical, and
illustrated the future dealings of God in refusing and committing to destruction all the
impure elements, thus preventing them from' defiling the Holy City, the New Jerusalem,
after the trial of the Millennial Age of judgment. shall have fully proved them and
separated with unerring accuracy the "sheep" from the "goats."
So, then, Gehenna was the type or illustration of the Second
Death--final and complete destruction, from which there can be no recovery; for after
that, "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins," but only "fiery
indignation which shall devour the adversaries. "--Heb. 10: 26.
Let us remember that Israel, for the purpose of being used as types
of God's future dealing with the race, was typically treated as though the ransom had been
given before they left Egypt, though only a typical lamb bad been slain. When Jerusalem
was built, and the temple-representative of the true Temple, the Church and the true
Kingdom as it will be established by Christ in the Millennium-that people typified the
world in the Millennial Age. Their priests represented the glorified Royal Priesthood, and
their Law and its demands of perfect obedience represented the law and conditions under
the New Covenant, to be brought into operation for the blessing of all the obedient, and.
for the condemnation of all who, when granted fullest opportunity, will not heartily
submit to the righteous ruling and laws of the Great King.
Seeing, then, that Israel's polity, condition, etc., prefigured those
of the world in the coming Age, how appropriate that we should find the valley or abyss,
Gehenna, a figure of the Second, Death, the utter destruction in the coming Age of all
that is unworthy of preservation; and how aptly, too, is the symbol, "lake ,of fire
burning with brimstone" (Rev. 19: 20), drawn from this same Gehenna, or Valley of Hinnom, burnling continually
with brimstone. The expression, "burning with brimstone," adds force to the
symbol, "fire," to express the utter and irrevocable destructiveness of the
Second Death; for burning, brimstone is the most deadly agent known. 'How reasonable, too,
to expect that Israel would have courts and judges resembling or prefiguring the judgments
of the next Age; and that the sentence of those (figurative) courts of that (figurative)
people under those (figurative) laws to that (figurative) abyss, outside that (figurative)
city, would largely correspond to the (real) sentences of the (real) court and judges in
the next Age. If these points are kept in mind, they will greatly assist us in
understanding the words of our Lord in reference to Gehenna; for though the literal valley
just at hand was named and referred to, yet His words carry with them lessons concerning
the future Age and the antitypical Gehenna -the
SHALL BE IN DANGER OF GEHENNA, MATTHEW 5:21, 22
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, 'Thou shalt
not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be amenable to the judges'; but I say unto you,
that whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall [future-under the
'regulations of the real Kingdom] be amenable to the judges; and whosoever shall say to
his brother, 'Raca [villian]' shall be in danger of the high council; but whosoever shall
say, 'Thou fool,' shall be in danger of hell [Gehenna] fire."
To understand these references to council and judges -and Gehenna,
all should know something of Jewish -regulations. The "Court of judges"
consisted of seven men (or twenty-three--the number is in dispute), who had power to judge
some classes of crimes. The High Council, or Sanhedrin, consisted of seventy-one men ,of
recognized learning and ability. This constituted the highest court of the Jews, and its
supervision was -over the gravest offenses. The most serious sentence was death; but
certain very obnoxious criminals were :subjected to an indignity after death, being
refused burial and cast with the carcasses of dogs, the city refuse, etc., into Gehenna,
there to he consumed. The -object of this burning in Gehenna was to make the crime and the
criminal detestable in the eyes of the people, and signified that the culprit was a
hopeless case. It must be remembered that Israel hoped for a resurrection from the tomb,
and hence they were particular in caring for the corpses of their dead. Not realizing
fully God's power, they apparently thought He needed their assistance to that extent.
(Exod. 13: 10; Heb. 11: 22; Acts 7: 15, 16.) Hence the destruction of the body in Gehenna
after death (figuratively) implied the loss of hope of future life by a resurrection.
Thus to such, Gehenna represented the Second Death in the same figurative way that they as
a people represented or illustrated a future order of things under the .New Covenant.
Notice that our Lord, in the above words, pointed out to them that
their construction of the Law, severe though it was, was far below the real import of that
Law, as it shall be interpreted under the real Kingdom and judges, which theirs only
typified. He shows that the command of their Law, "Thou shalt not kill," reached
much farther than they supposed; that malicious anger and vituperation "shall
be" considered a violation -of God's Law, under the New Covenant; and that such ,as,
under the favorable conditions of that new Age, will not reform so thoroughly as to fully
observe God's Law will be counted worthy of that which the Gehenna near them typified-the
Second Death-. However, the strict severity of that Law will be enforced only in
proportion as the discipline, advantages, and assistance of that Age, enabling each to
comply with its laws, shall be disregarded.
The same thought is continued in
"Ye have heard," etc., "but I say unto you ... it is
better for thee to lose one of thy members, than that thy whole body should be cast into
Here again the operation of God's Law under the New Covenant is
contrasted with its operation tinder the Old or Jewish Covenant, and the lesson of
self-control is urged by the statement that it is far more profitable that men should
refuse to gratify depraved desires (though they be dear to them as a right eye, and
apparently indispensable as a right hand) than that they should gratify these, and lose,
in the Second Death, the future life provided through the atonement for all Who will
return to perfection, holiness and God. These expressions of our Lord not only serve to
show the perfection (Rom. 7:12) of God's Law, and how fully it will be defined and
enforced in the Millennium, but they served as a lesson to the Jews also, who previously
saw through Moses' commands only -the crude exterior of the Law, of God. Since they found
it difficult in their fallen state to keep inviolate even the surface significance of the
Law, they must, now see the impossibility of their keeping the finer meaning of the Law
revealed by Christ. Had they understood and received His leaching fully, they would have
cried out, Alas! if God judges us thus, by the very thoughts and intents of the heart, we
are all unclean, all undone, and can hope for naught but condemnation to Gehenna (to utter
destruction, as brute beasts). They would have cried, "Show us a greater priesthood
than that of Aaron, a High Priest and Teacher able fully to appreciate the Law, and able
fully to appreciate and sympathize with our fallen state and inherited. weaknesses, and
let him offer for us 'better sacrifices,' and apply to us the needed greater forgiveness
of sin, and let him as a great physician heal us and restore us, so that we can obey the
perfect Law of God from our hearts." Then they would have found Christ.
The point, however, to be specially noticed here is that Gehenna,
which the Jews knew, and of which our Lord spoke to them, was not a lake of fire to be
kept burning to all eternity, into which all would be cast who get "angry with a
brother" and call him a "fool." No; the Jews gathered no such extreme idea
from the' Lord's words. The eternal torment theory was unknown to them. It had no place in
their theology, as will be shown. It is a comparatively modern invention, coming down, as
we have shown, from Papacy-the great Apostasy. The point is that Gehenna symbolizes the
Second Death-utter, complete and everlasting, destruction. This is clearly shown by its
being contrasted with life as its opposite. "It is better for thee to enter into life
halt, or maimed, than otherwise to be cast into Gehenna." It is better that you
should deny yourselves sinful gratifications than that you should lose all future life,
and perish in the Second Death.
ABLE TO DESTROY BOTH SOUL AND BODY IN GEHENNA MATTHEW 10:
28; LUKE It: 5
"Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the
soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell
[Gehenna]." See .also another account of the same discourse by Luke12: 4, 5.
Here our Lord pointed out to His followers the great cause they had
for courage and bravery under the mast trying circumstances. They were to expect
persecution, and to have all manner of evil spoken against them falsely, for His sake, and
for the sake of the "Good Tidings" of which He made them the ministers and
heralds; yea, the time would come, that whosoever would kill them would think he did God a
service. Their consolation or reward for this was to be received, not -in the present
life, but in the life to come. They were assured, and they believed, that He had come to
give His life a ransom for many, and that all in their graves must in consequence, in due
time, hear the Deliverer's voice and come forth, either to reward (if their trial had been
passed in this life successfully), or future trial (judgment), as must be the case with
the great majority who do not, in this present life, come to the necessary knowledge and
opportunity essential to a complete trial.
Under present conditions men are able to kill our bodies, but nothing
that they can do will affect our future being (soul), which God has promised shall be
revived or restored by His power in the resurrection day--the Millennial Age. Our revived
souls will have new bodies (spiritual or natural--"to each 'seed' his own [kind of]
body"), and these none will have liberty to kill. God alone has power to destroy
utterly-soul and body. He alone, therefore, should be :feared, and the opposition of men
even to the death is not to be feared, if thereby we gain Divine approval. Our Lord's
bidding then is, Fear not them which can terminate the present (dying) life in these poor,
dying bodies. Care little for it, its food, its clothing, its pleasures, in comparison
with that future existence or being which God has provided for you, and which, if secured
may be your portion forever. Fear not the threats, or looks, -or acts of men, whose power
can extend no farther than the present existence; who can harm and kill these bodies, but
can do no more. Rather have respect and deference to God, with whom are the issues of life
everlasting--fear Him who is able to destroy in Gehenna, the Second Death, both the
present dying existence and all hope of future existence.
UNDYING WORMS AND QUENCHLESS FIRES
MATTHEW 18:8, 9; MARK 9:43-48
Here it is conclusively shown that Gehenna as a figure represented
the Second Death-the utter destruction which must ensue in the case of all who, after
having fully received the opportunities of a future being of existence through our Lord's
sacrifice, prove themselves unworthy of God's gift, and refuse to accept it, by refusing
'obedience to His just requirements. For it does not say that God will preserve soul or
body in Gehenna, but that in it He can and will "destroy" both. Thus we are
taught that any who are condemned to the Second Death are hopelessly and forever blotted
out of existence.
[Since these two passages refer to the same discourse, we quote from
Mark-remarking that verses 44 and 46, and part of 45, are not found in the oldest Greek
MSS., though verse 48, which reads the same, is in all manuscripts. We quote the text as
found in these ancient and reliable MSS.] "If thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is
better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into Gehenna, into
the fire that never shall be quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is
better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into Gehenna. And
if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the Kingdom of
God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into Gehenna, where the worm dies not
and the fire is not quenched."
After reading the above, all must agree with the Prophet that our
Lord opened His mouth in figures and obscure sayings. (Psa. 78: 2; Matt. 13: 35.) No one
for a moment supposes that our Lord advised the people to mutilate their bodies by cutting
off their limbs, or gouging out their eyes. Nor does He mean us to understand that the
injuries and disfigurements of the present life will continue beyond the grave, when we
shall "enter into life." The Jews, whom the Lord addressed, having no conception
of a place of 'everlasting torment, and who knew the word Gehenna to refer to the valley
outside their city, which was not a place of torment, nor a place where any living thing
was cast, but a place for the utter destruction of whatever might be cast into it,
recognizing the Lord's expression regarding limbs and eyes to be figurative, knew that
Gehenna also was used in the same figurative sense, to symbolize utter destruction.
The Lord meant simply this: The future life, which God has provided
for redeemed man, is of inestimable value, and it will richly pay you to make any
sacrifice to receive and enjoy that life. Should it even cost an eye, a hand, or a foot,
so that to all eternity you would be obliged to endure the loss of these, yet life would
be cheap at even such a cost. That would be better far than to retain your members and
lose all in Gehenna. Doubtless, too, the hearers drew the lesson as applicable to all the
affairs of life, and understood the Master to mean that it would richly repay them to deny
them selves many comforts, pleasures, and tastes, dear to them as a right hand, precious
as an eye, and service able as a foot, rather than by gratification to forfeit the life
to come and be utterly destroyed in Gehenna -- the Second Death.
But what about the undying worms and the unquenchable fire?
We answer, in the literal Gehenna, which is the basis of our Lord's
illustration:, the bodies of animals, etc., frequently fell upon ledges of rocks and not
into the fire kept burning below. Thus exposed, these would breed worms and be destroyed
by them, as completely and as surely as those which burned. No one was allowed to disturb
the contents of this valley; hence the worm and the fire together completed the work of
destruction--the fire was not quenched and the worms died not. This would not imply a
never-ending fire, nor everlasting worms. The thought is that the worms did not die off
and leave the carcasses there, but continued and completed the work of destruction. So
With the fire: it was not quenched, it burned on until all was consumed. just so if a
house: were ablaze and the fire could not be controlled or quenched, but burned until the
building was destroyed, we might properly call such an "unquenchable fire."
Our Lord wished to impress -the thought of the completeness and
finality of the Second Death, symbolized in Gehenna. All who go into the Second Death will
be thoroughly and completely and forever destroyed; no ransom will ever again be given for
any (Rom. 6:9); for none worthy of life will be cast into the Second Death, or lake of
fire, but only those who love unrighteousness after coming to the knowledge of the truth.
Not only in the above instances is the Second Death pointedly
illustrated by Gehenna, but it is evident that the same Teacher used the same figure to
represent the same thing in the symbols of Revelation-though there it is not called
Gehenna, but a "lake of fire."
The same valley was once before used as a basis of a discourse by the
Prophet Isaiah. (Isa. .66:24.) Though he gives it no name, he describes it; and all should
notice that he speaks, not as some with false ideas might expect, of billions alive in
flames and torture, but of the carcasses of those who transgressed against the Lord, who
are thus represented as utterly destroyed in the Second Death.
The two preceding verses show the time when this prophecy will be
fulfilled, and it is in perfect harmony with the symbols of Revelation: it appertains to
the new dispensation, the Millennium, the "new heavens and new earth" condition
of things. Then all the righteous will see the justice as well as the wisdom of the utter
destruction of the incorrigible, willful enemies of righteousness, as it is written:
"They shall be an abhorring unto all flesh."
MATTHEW 23:15, 33
The class here addressed was not the heathen who had no knowledge of
the truth, nor the lowest -and most ignorant of the Jewish nation, but the Scribes and
Pharisees, outwardly the most religious, and the leaders and teachers of the people. To
these our Lord .said, "How can ye escape the judgment of Gehenna!" These men were hypocritical; they
were not true to their convictions. Abundant testimony of the truth had been borne to
them, but they refused to accept it, and endeavored to counteract its influence and to
discourage the people from accepting it. And in thus resisting the Holy Spirit of light
and truth, they were hardening their hearts against the very agency which God designed for
their blessing. Hence 'they were wickedly resisting His grace, and such a course, if
pursued, must eventually end in condemnation to the Second Death Gehenna. Every step in
the direction of willful blindness and opposition to the truth makes return more
difficult, and makes the wrong-doer more and more of the character which God abhors, and
which the Second Death is intended to utterly destroy. The Scribes and Pharisees were
progressing, rapidly in that course: hence the warning inquiry of our Lord, "How can
ye escape?" etc. The sense is this-Although you boast of your piety, you will surely
be destroyed in Gehenna, unless you change your course.
SET ON FIRE OF GEHENNA, JAMES 3: 6
"So [important] is the tongue among our members, that it
defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature, and [or when] it is set
on fire of Gehenna."
Here, in strong, symbolic language, the Apostle points out the great
and bad influence of an evil tongue--a tongue set on fire (figuratively) by Gehenna
(figuratively). For a tongue to be set on fire of Gehenna signifies that it is set going
in evil by a perverse disposition, self-willed, selfish, hateful, malicious , the sort of
disposition which, in spite of knowledge and opportunity, unless controlled and reformed,
will be counted worthy to be destroyed--the class for whom the "Second Death,"
the real "lake of fire," the real Gehenna, is intended. One in that attitude may
by his tongue kindle a great fire, a destructive disturbance, which, wherever it has
contact, will work evil in the entire course of nature. A few malicious words often arouse
all the evil passions of the speaker, engender the same in others and react upon the
first. And continuance in such an evil course finally corrupts the entire man, and brings
him under sentence as utterly unworthy of life.
"TARTAROO" RENDERED "HELL"
The Greek word tartaroo
occurs but once in the Scriptures, and is translated hell. It is found in 2 Pet 2:4, which
"God spared not the angels who sinned, but cast [them] down to
hell [tartaroo], and delivered them into chains
of darkness, to be reserved unto judgement.". all other words rendered
Having examined in the Bible, and all the texts in which they occur,
we conclude the examination with this text, which is the only one in which the word tartaroo occurs. In the above quotation, all the
words shown in italic type are translated from the one Greek word tartaroo. Evidently the translators were at a loss
to know how to translate the word, but concluded they knew where the evil angels ought to
be, and so they made bold to put them into "hell," though it took six words to
twist the idea into the shape they had pre-determined it must take.
The word tartaroo, used by
St. Peter, very closely resembles tartarus, a
word used in Grecian mythology as the name for a dark abyss or prison. But tartaroo seems to refer more to an act than to a
place. The fall of the angels who sinned was from honor and dignity, into dishonor and
condemnation, and the thought "seems to be--"God spared not the angels who
sinned, but degraded them, and delivered them into chains of darkness."
This certainly agrees with the facts known to us through other
Scriptures; for these fallen spirits frequented the earth in the days of our Lord and the
Apostles. Hence they were not down in some place, but "down" in the sense of
being degraded from former honor and liberty, and restrained under darkness, as by a
chain. Whenever these fallen spirits, in spiritualistic seances, manifest their powers
through mediums, pretending to be certain dead human beings, they must always do their
work in the dark, because darkness is the chain by which they are bound until the great
Millennial Day of judgment. Whether this implies that in the immediate future they will be
able to materialize in daylight is difficult to determine. If so, it would greatly
increase Satan's power to blind and deceive for a short season-until the Sun of
Righteousness has fully risen and Satan is fully bound.
Thus we close our investigation of the Bible use of the word
"hell." Thank God, we find no such place of. everlasting torture as the creeds
and hymn books, and many pulpits erroneously teach. Yet we have found a "hell,"
sheol, hades, to which all our race were condemned on account of Adam's sin, and from
which all are redeemed by our Lord's death ; and that "hell" is the tomb-the
death condition. And we find another "hell" (Gehenna-the Second Death-utter
destruction) brought to our attention as the final penalty upon all who, after being
redeemed and brought to the full knowledge of the truth and to full ability to obey it,
shall yet choose death by choosing a course of opposition to God and righteousness. And
our hearts say, Amen! True and righteous are Thy ways, Thou King of nations! Who shall not
venerate Thee, 0 Lord, and glorify Thy name? For Thou art entirely holy. And all. nations
shall come and worship before Thee, because Thy righteous dealings are made manifest. --
Rev. 15: 3, 4.
PARABLE OF THE RICH MAN AND LAZARUS
The great difficulty with many in reading this Scripture is that,
though they regard it as a parable, they reason on it and draw conclusions from it as
though it were a literal statement. TO regard it as a literal statement involves several
absurdities; for instance, that the rich man went to "hell" because he had
enjoyed many earthly blessings and gave nothing but crumbs to Lazarus. Not a word is said
about his wickedness. Again, Lazarus was blessed, not because he was a sincere child of
God, full of faith and trust, not because he was good, but simply because he was poor and
sick. If this be interpreted literally, the only logical lesson to be drawn from it is,
that unless we are poor beggars full of sores, we will never enter into future bliss; and
that if now we wear any fine linen and purple, and have plenty to eat every day, we are
sure of future torment. Again, the coveted place of favor is "Abraham's bosom;"
and if the whole statement be literal, the bosom must also be literal, and it surely would
not hold very many of earth's millions of sick and poor.
But why consider absurdities? As a parable, it is easy of
interpretation. In a parable the thing said is never the thing meant. We know this from
our Lord's own explanations of His parables. When He said "wheat," He meant
"children of the kingdom;" when He said "tares," He meant "the
children of the devil;" when He said "reapers," His servants were to be
understood, etc. (Matt. 13.) The same classes were represented by different symbols in
different parables. Thus the "wheat" of one parable correspond to the
"faithful servants," and the "wise virgins" of others. So. in this
parable, the "rich man" represents a class, and "Lazarus" represents
In attempting to expound a parable such as this, an explanation of
which the Lord does not furnish us, modesty in expressing our opinion regarding it is
certainly appropriate. We therefore offer the following explanation without any attempt to
force I our views upon the reader, except so far as his own truth-enlightened judgment may
commend them as in accord with God's Word and Plan. To our understanding, Abraham
represented God, and the "rich man" represented the Jewish nation. At the time
of the utterance of the parable, and for a long time previous, the Jews had "fared
sumptuously every day"--being the especial recipients of God's favors. As St. Paul
says: "What advantage, then hath the Jew ? Much every - way: chiefly, because to them
were committed the oracles of God [Law and Prophecy]." The promises to Abraham and
David. and their organization as a typical Kingdom of God invested that people with
royalty, as represented by the rich man's "purple." The typical sacrifices of.
the Law constituted them, in a typical sense, a holy (righteous) nation, represented by
the rich man's "fine linen,"--symbolic of righteousness.-Rev. 19: 8.
Lazarus represented the outcasts from Divine favor under the Law,
who, sin-sick, hungered and thirsted after righteousness. "Publicans and
sinners" of Israel, seeking a better life, and truth-hungry Gentiles who were
"feeling after God" constituted the Lazarus class. These, at the time of the
utterance of this parable, were entirely destitute of those special Divine blessings which
Israel enjoyed. They lay at the gate of the rich man. No rich promises of royalty were
theirs; not even typically were they cleansed; but, in moral sickness, pollution and sin,
they were companions of "dogs." Dogs were regarded as detestable creatures in
those days, and the typically clean Jew called the outsiders "heathen" and
"dogs," and would never eat with them, nor marry, nor have any dealings with
As to how these ate of the "crumbs" of Divine favor which
fell from Israel's table of bounties, the Lord's words to the Syro-Phoenician woman give
us a key. He said to this Gentile woman--"It is not meet [proper] to take the
children's [Israelites'] bread and to cast it to dogs [Gentiles] ;" and she answered,
,,Truth, Lord, but the dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from their master's table."
(Matt. 15: 26, 27.) Jesus healed her daughter, thus giving the desired crumb of favor.
But there came a great dispensational change in Israel's history when
as a nation they rejected and crucified the Son of God. Then their typical righteousness
ceased-then the promise of royalty ceased to be theirs, and the kingdom was taken from
them to be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof-the Gospel Church, "a
holy nation, a peculiar people." (Titus 2: 14; 1 Pet. 2: 7, 9; Matt. 21: 43.) Thus
the "rich man" died to all these special advantages, and soon he (the Jewish
nation) found himself in a cast-off condition-in tribulation and affliction. In such
condition that nation has suffered from that day to this.
Lazarus also died; the condition of the humble Gentiles and the
God-seeking "outcasts" of Israel underwent a great change, being carried by the
angels (messengers-Apostles, etc.) to Abraham's bosom. Abraham is represented as the
father of the faithful, and receives all the children of faith, who are thus recognized as
the heirs of all the promises made to Abraham; for the children of the flesh are not the
children of God, "but the children of the promise are counted, for the seed"
(children of Abraham) ; "which seed is Christ;"--and "if ye be Christ's,
then are ye [believers] Abraham's seed [children], and heirs according to the [Abrahamic]
promise."--Gal. 3: 29.
Yes, the termination of the condition of things then existing was
well illustrated by the figure, death--the dissolution of the Jewish polity and the
withdrawal of .the favors which Israel bad so long enjoyed. There they were cast off and
have since been shown "no favor," while the poor Gentiles, who before had been
"aliens from the common wealth [the polity] of Israel and strangers from the covenant
of promise [up to this time given to Israel only] having no hope and without God in the
world" were then "made nigh by the blood of Christ" and reconciled to
God.-Eph. 2: 12, 13.
To the symbolisms of death and burial used to illustrate the
dissolution of Israel and their burial or hiding among the other nations, our Lord added a
further figure--"In hell [hades, the grave] he lifted up his eyes, being in torments,
and seeth Abraham afar off," etc. The dead cannot lift up their eyes, nor see either
near or far, nor converse; for it is distinctly stated, "There is no work, nor
device,, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave"; and the dead are described as
those who ',go down into silence." (Eccl. 9: 10; Psa. 115: 17.) But the Lord wished
to show that great sufferings or "torments" would be added to the Jews as a
nation after their national dissolution and burial amongst the other peoples dead in
trespasses and sins; and that they would plead in vain for release and comfort at the hand
of the formerly despised Lazarus class.
And history has borne out. this parabolic prophecy. For eighteen
hundred years the Jews have not only been in distress of mind over their casting out from
the favor of God and the loss of their temple and other necessaries to the offerings of
their sacrifices, but they have been relentlessly persecuted by all classes, including
professed Christians. It was from the latter that the Jews have expected mercy, as
expressed in the parable -"Send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in
water and cool my tongue;" but the great gulf fixed between them binders that.
Nevertheless, God still recognizes the relationship established in His covenant with them,
and addresses them as children of the covenant. (Verse 25.) These "torments"
have been the penalties attached to the violation of their covenant, and were as certain
to be visited upon them as the blessings promised for obedience.-See Lev. 26.
The "great gulf fixed" represents the wide difference
between the Gospel Church and the Jew-the former enjoying free grace, joy, comfort, and
peace, as true sons of God, and the latter holding to the Law, which condemns and
torments. Prejudice, pride, and error, from the Jewish side, form the bulwarks of this
gulf which hinder the Jew from coming into the condition of true sons of God by accepting
Christ and the gospel of His grace. The bulwark of this gulf which hinders true sons of
God from going to the Jew-under the bondage of the Law-is their knowledge that by the
deeds of the Law none can be justified before God, and that if any man keep the Law (put
himself under it to try to commend himself to God by reason of obedience to it), Christ
shall profit him nothing. (Gal. 5: 2-4.) So, then, we who are of the Lazarus class should
not attempt to mix the Law and the Gospel, knowing that they cannot be mixed, and that we
can do 'no good to those who still cling to the Law and reject the sacrifice for sins
given by our Lord. And they, not seeing the change of dispensation which took place, argue
that to deny the Law as the power to save would be to deny all the past history of their
race, and to deny all of God's special dealings with the "fathers" (promises and
dealings which through pride and selfishness they failed rightly to apprehend and use) ;
hence they cannot come over to the bosom of Abraham, into the true rest in peace-the
portion of all the true children of faith. -- John 8: 39; Rom. 4: 16; Gal. 3:29.
True, a few Jews probably came into the Christian faith all the way
down the Gospel Age, but so few as to be ignored in a parable which represented the Jewish
people as a whole. As at the first, Dives represented the orthodox Jews, and not the
"outcasts of Israel," so down to the close of the parable he continues to
represent a, similar class, and hence does not represent such Jews as have renounced the
Law Covenant and embraced Christianity or such as have become infidels.
The plea of the "rich man" If or the sending of
"Lazarus" to his five brethren we interpret as follows:
The people of Judea, at the time of our Lord's utterance of this
parable, were repeatedly referred to as "Israel," "the lost sheep of the.
house of Israel," "cities of Israel," etc., because all of the, tribes were
represented there; but actually the majority of the people were of the two tribes, Judah
and Benjamin, but few of the ten tribes having returned from Babylon under Cyrus general
permission. If, the nation of the Jews (chiefly two tribes) were represented in the one
"rich man," it would be a harmony of numbers to understand the "five
brethren" to represent the ten tribes chiefly scattered abroad. The request relative
to them was doubtless introduced to show that all special favor of God ceased to all
Israel (the ten tribes, as well as to the two more directly addressed.) It seems to us
evident that Israel I only was meant, for no other nation than Israel had: "Moses and
the Prophets" as instructors. (Verse 29.) The majority of the ten tribes had so far
disregarded Moses and the Prophets that they did not return to the land of promise, but
preferred to dwell among idolaters; and hence it would be useless to attempt further
communication with them, even by one from the dead-the figuratively dead, but now
figuratively risen Lazarus class.-Eph. 2:5.
Though the parable mentions no bridging of this "great
gulf," other portions of Scripture indicate that it was to be "fixed" only
throughout the Gospel Age, and that at its close the "rich man,", having
received the measurement of punishment for his sins, will walk out of his fiery troubles
over the bridge of God's promises yet unfulfilled to that nation.
Though for centuries the Jews have been bitterly persecuted by
Pagans, Mohammedans and professed Christians, they are now gradually rising to political
freedom and influence; and although much of "Jacob's trouble" is just at hand,
yet as a people they will be very prominent among the nations in the beginning of the
Millennium. The "vail" (2 Cor. 3: 13-16) of prejudice still exists, but it will
be gradually taken away as the light of the Millennial morning dawns; nor should we be
surprised to hear of great awakenings among the Jews,. and many coming to acknowledge
Christ. They will thus leave their hadean state (national death) and torment, and come,
the first of the nations, to be blessed by the true Seed of Abraham, which is, Christ,
Head and Body. Their bulwark of race prejudice and pride is falling in some places, and
the humble, the poor in spirit, are beginning already to look upon Him whom they have
pierced, and to inquire, Is not this the Christ? And as they look the Lord pours upon them
the spirit of favor and supplication. (Zech. 12: 10.) Therefore, "Speak ye
comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her appointed time is
accomplished."--Isa. 40: 1, 2, margin.
In a word, this parable seems to teach precisely what St. Paul
explained in Rom. 11: 19-32. Because of unbelief the natural branches were broken off, and
the wild branches grafted. into the Abrabamic root-promise. The parable leaves the Jews in
their trouble, and does not refer to their final restoration to favor-doubtless because it
was not pertinent to the feature of the subject. treated; but St. Paul assures us that
when the fulness of the Gentiles-the full number from among the Gentiles necessary to make
up the Bride of Christ -is come in, "they [natural Israel] shall obtain mercy through
your [the Church's] mercy." He assures us that this is God's covenant with fleshly
Israel (who lost the higher, spiritual promises, but are still the possessors of certain
earthly promises), to become the chief nation of earth, etc. In proof of this statement,
he quotes from the Prophets, saying: "The deliverer shall' come out of Zion [the
glorified' Church], and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob [the fleshly seed]."
"As concerning the Gospel [High Calling.], -they are enemies [cast off I for your
sake; but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes."
"For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all. 0
the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"--Rom. 11: 26-33.
"These shall go away into everlasting
but the righteous into life eternal."--Matt. 25: 31-46.
WHILE the Scriptures, as we have shown, do not teach the blasphemous
doctrine of everlasting torment, they do most emphatically teach the everlasting
punishment of - the wicked, the class represented in the parable as "goats." Let
us examine the parable, and then the sentence pronounced at its close.
It has been truly said that "Order is Heaven's first law";
yet few, we think, have realized how emphatically this is true. In glancing back over the
Plan of the Ages there is nothing which gives such conclusive evidence of a Divine
Director as the order observed in all its parts.
God has had definite and stated times and seasons for every part of
His work; and in the end of each of these seasons there 'has been a finishing up of its
work and a clearing off of the rubbish, preparatory to the beginning of the new work of
the dispensation to follow. Thus in the end of the Jewish Age order is observed a
harvesting and complete separation, of the "wheat" class from the
"chaff," and an entire rejection of the latter class from God's favor. With a
few judged worthy in the end of that Age, a new Age-the Gospel Age-began. And now we find
ourselves amidst the closing scenes, the "harvest," of this Age: the
"wheat" and the "tares," which have grown together during this Age,
are being separated. With the former class, of which our Lord Jesus is the Head, a new Age
is about to be inaugurated, and these "wheat" are to reign as kings and priests
in that new dispensation, while the "tare" element is judged as utterly unworthy
of that favor.
While observing this order with reference to the Jewish Age and the
one just closing, our Lord informs us through the parable under consideration that the
same order will be observed with reference to the Age to follow this Gospel Age.
The Harvest of the Jewish Age was likened to the separation of wheat
from chaff ; the Harvest of this Age to the separation of wheat from tares; and the
Harvest of the Millennial Age to the separation of sheep from goats.
That the parable of the sheep and the goats refers to the Millennial
Age is clearly indicated in verses 31 and 32--"When the Son of Man shall come in His
glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory,
and before Him shall be gathered all nations; and He shall separate them one from another,
as a shepherd divideth His sheep from the goats." As in the present Age every act of
those on trial (the Church) goes to make a part of that character which, in due time, will
determine the final decision of the judge in our case, so will it be with the world (the
"nations") in the Age to come. As in the present Age the trial of the majority
of the individual members of the Church ends, and the decision of their case is reached.
long before the end, of the Age (2 Tim. 4: 7, 8), so under the Millennial reign the
decision of some individual cases will be reached long before the end of the Age (Isa. 65:
20) ; but in each Age there is a "harvest" or general separating time in the end
of the Age.
In the dawn of the Millennial Age, after the "time of
trouble," there will be a gathering of the living nations before Christ, and, in
their appointed time and order, the dead of all nations shall be called to appear before
the judgment seat of Christ-not to receive an immediate sentence, but to receive a fair
and impartial, individual trial (Ezek. 18: 2-4, 19, 20) under the most favorable
circumstances, the result of which trial will be a final sentence, as worthy or unworthy
of everlasting life.
The scene of this parable, therefore, is laid after the time of
trouble, when the nations shall have been subdued, Satan bound (Rev. 20: 1, 2) and the
authority of Christ's kingdom established. Ere this, the Bride of Christ (the overcoming
Church) will have been seated with Him in His throne of spiritual power and will have
taken part in executing the judgments of the great day of wrath. Then the Son of man and
His Bride, the glorified Church, will be revealed and be seen by men, with the eyes of
their understanding and shall "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their
Father." Matt. 13: 43.
Here is the New Jerusalem as St. John saw it (Rev. 21), "That
holy city [symbol of government] ... coming down from God out of heaven." During the
time of trouble it will be coming down, and before the end of it, it will have touched the
earth. This is the stone cut out of the mountain without hands (but by the power of God),
and it will then have become a great, mountain (kingdom), filling the whole earth (Dan. 2:
35), its coming having broken to pieces the evil kingdoms of the prince of darkness.--Dan.
2: 34, 35.
Here is that glorious City (government), prepared as a bride adorned
for her husband (Rev. 21: 2), and early in the dawn of the Millennium the nations will
begin to walk in the light of it. (Verse 24). These may bring their glory and honor into,
it, but "there shall in no wise enter into it [or, become a part of it] any thing
that defileth," etc. (Verse 27.) Here, from the midst of the Throne, proceeds a pure
river, of water, of life (truth unmixed with error), and the Spirit and the Bride say,
Come, and take it freely. (Rev. 22: 17.) Here begins the world's probation, the world's
great judgment Day--a thousand years.*
*See THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES, Vol. 1, Chapter VIII, "The Day
But even in this favored time of blessing and healing of the nations,
when Satan is bound, evil restrained, mankind in process of release from the grasp of
death, and when the knowledge of the Lord fills the earth, two classes will be developed,
which our Lord here likens to sheep and goats. These, He tells us, He will separate. The
sheep class-those who are meek, teachable and willing to be led, shall, during the
Millennial Age, be gathered at the judge's right hand-symbol of His approval and favor;
but the goat class, self-willed and stubborn, always climbing on the rocks-seeking
prominence and approval among men-and feeding on miserable refuse, 'while the sheep graze
in the rich pastures of the truth furnished by the Good Shepherd -these are gathered to
the judge's left hand, the opposite of the position of favor-as subjects of His disfavor
This work of separating sheep and goats will require, all of the
Millennial Age for its accomplishment, During that Age, each individual, as he comes
gradually to a knowledge of God and His will, takes his place at the right hand of favor
or the left hand of disfavor, according as he improves or misimproves the opportunities of
that Golden Age. By the end of that Age, all the world of mankind will have arranged
themselves, as shown in the parable, into two classes.
The end of I that Age will be the end of the world's trial or
judgment, and then final disposition will be made of the two classes. The reward of this
"sheep" class will be granted the in because, during the Age of trial and
discipline, they cultivated and manifested the beautiful character of love, which St. Paul
describes as the fulfilling of the Law of God. (Rom. 13: 10.) They will have manifested it
to each other in their times of sorest need; and what they will have done for one another,
the Lord will count as done unto Him, counting them all as His brethren-children of God,
though they will be of the human nature, while He is of the Divine.
The condemnation of the "goat" class is shown to be for the
lack of this spirit of love. Under the same favorable circumstances as the
"sheep," they willfully resist the moulding influence, of the Lord's discipline,
and harden their hearts. The goodness of God does not lead them to true repentance, but,
like Pharaoh, they take advantage of His goodness and do evil. The "goats," who
will not have developed the element of love, the law of God's being and Kingdom, will be
counted unworthy of everlasting life, and will be destroyed; while the "sheep,"
who will have developed God-likeness (love), and who will have exhibited it in their
characters, are to be installed as the subordinate rulers of earth for future Ages.
In the end of the Millennial Age, in the final adjustment of human
affairs, Christ thus addresses His sheep: "Come, ye blessed, ... inherit the kingdom
prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
It is manifest the "sheep" here addressed, at the close of
the Millennium, are not the sheep of the Gospel Age, the Gospel Church, but those
"'other sheep',' to whom the Lord referred in John 10: 16. And the kingdom prepared
for them in the Divine Plan, from the foundation of the world, is not the kingdom prepared
for the Gospel Church. The Church will receive her kingdom at the beginning of the
Millennium; but this is the kingdom prepared for the "sheep" of the Millennial
Age. Their kingdom will be the dominion of earth which was originally given to Adam, but
which was lost through sin, and which is again to be restored when man is brought to
perfection, and so made fit to receive and enjoy it. That dominion will not be a dominion
of some of the race over others, but a joint dominion , in which every man will be a king;
and all will have equal rights and privileges in appropriating and enjoying every earthly
good. It will be a sovereign people--a great and grand republic on a basis of perfect
righteousness, wherein the rights of every man will be conserved; because the golden rule
will be inscribed on every heart, and every man will love his neighbor as him-self. The
dominion of all will be over the whole earth, and all its rich and bountiful stores of
blessing. (Gen. 1: 28; Psa.. 8: 5-8.) The kingdom of the world, to be given to the
perfected and Worthy ones of the redeemed race at the close of the Millennium, is clearly
distinguished from all others by being called the kingdom prepared for them "from the
foundation of the world," the earth having been made to be the everlasting home and
kingdom of perfect men. But the kingdom bestowed upon Christ, of which the Church, His
"Bride," becomes joint-heir, is a spiritual kingdom, "far above angels,
principalities, and powers," and it also shall "have no end"--Christ's
Millennial Kingdom, which will end, being merely a beginning of Christ's power and rule.
(1 Cor. 15: 25-28.) This endless heavenly, spiritual kingdom was prepared long before the
earth was founded-its inception being recognized in Christ, "the beginning of the
creation of God." It was intended for Christ Jesus, the First Begotten; but even the
Church, His Bride and Joint-heir, was chosen or designed also, in Him, before the
foundation of the world. -- Eph. 1:4.
The kingdom or rule of earth, is the kingdom that has been in
preparation for mankind from the foundation of the world. It was expedient that man should
suffer six thousand years under the dominion of evil, to learn its inevitable results of
misery and, death, in order by contrast to prove the justice, wisdom and goodness of God's
law of love. Then it will require the seventh thousand-years under the reign of Christ, to
restore him from ruin and death, to, the perfect condition, thereby fitting him to
"inherit the kingdom prepared for him from the foundation of the world."
That kingdom, in which all will be kings, will be one grand,
universal republic, whose stability and blessed influence will be assured by the
perfection of its every citizen, a result now much desired, but an impossibility because
of sin. The kingdom of Christ during the Millennium will be, on the contrary, a theocracy,
which will rule the world (during the period of its imperfection and restoration) without
regard to its consent or approval.
The brethren of the Gospel Church are not, the only
"brethren" of Christ. All who at that time will have been restored to perfection
will be recognized as sons of God--sons in the same sense that Adam was a son of God (Luke
3: 38)--human sons. And all of God's sons, whether on the human, the angelic or the Divine
plane, are brethren. Our Lord's love for these, His human brethren, is here expressed. As
the world now has the opportunity to minister to those who are shortly to be the Divine
sons of God, and brethren of Christ, so they will have abundant opportunity during the Age
to come to minister to (each other) the human brethren.
The dead nations when again brought into existence will need food,
raiment, and shelter. However great may have been their possessions in this life, death
will have brought all to a common level: the infant and the man of mature years, the
millionaire and the' pauper, the learned and the unlearned, the cultured and the ignorant
and degraded: all will have an abundant opportunity for the exercise of benevolence, and
thus they will be privileged to be co-workers with God. We are here reminded of the
illustration given in the case of Lazarus: Jesus only awakened him from death, and then
were the rejoicing friends permitted to loose him from his grave clothes -and to clothe
and feed him.
Further, these are said to be "sick and in prison" (more
properly, under ward or watch). The grave is the great prison where the millions of
humanity have been held in unconscious captivity; but when released from the grave, the
restoration to perfection is not to be an instantaneous work. Being not yet perfect, they
may properly be termed sick and under ward; not dead, neither are they yet perfected in
life: and any condition between those two may be properly symbolized by sickness. And they
will continue to be under watch or ward until made well-physically, mentally, and morally
perfect. During that time there will be abundant opportunity for mutual helpfulness,
sympathy, instruction, and encouragement, and any, failure to assist will mark a lack of
the Lord's spirit of love.
Since all mankind will not be raised at once, but gradually, during
the thousand years, each new group will find an army of helpers in those who will have
'preceded it. The love and benevolence which men will then show to each other (the
brethren of Christ) the King will count as shown to Him. No great deeds are assigned as
the ground for the honors and favors conferred upon the righteous: they will have simply
come into harmony with God's law of love and proved it by their works. "Love is the
fulfilling of the law" (Rom. 13: 10), and "God is love." So, when man is
restored again to the image of God--"very good"man also will be a living
expression of love.
"Inherit the kingdom prepared, for you from the foundation of
the world," does not signify a rule independent of the Divine law and supremacy: for
although God gave earth's dominion to man at first, and designs restoring it to him when
He has prepared him for the -great trust, we are not to suppose that God intends man to
rule it, otherwise than as under, or in harmony with, His supreme law. "Thy will be
done in earth as in heaven," must forever be the principle of government. Man
thenceforth will rule his dominion in harmony with the law of heaven--delighting
continually to, do His will in whose favor is life, and at whose "fight hand
[condition of favor] there, are pleasures forever more. (Psa. 16: 11.) Oh!, who would
not say, "Haste ye along, ages of glory!" and give glory and honor to Him whose
loving plans are blossoming into such fullness of blessing?
Let us now examine the message to those on the left--"Depart
from Me, ye cursed" (condemned) condemned as unfit vessels for the glory and honor of
life, who would not yield to the molding and shaping influences of Divine love. When
these, "brethren," were hungry and thirsty, or naked, sick, and in prison, ye
ministered not to their necessities, thus continually proving yourselves out of harmony
with the Heavenly City (Kingdom) ; for "there shall in no case enter into it anything
that defileth." The decision or sentence regarding this class is--"Depart from
Me into everlasting fire [symbol of destruction], prepared for the devil and his
angels." Elsewhere (Heb. 2: 14) we read without symbol that Christ "will destroy
... him that had the power of death, that is, the devil."
"And these [the "goats"] shall go away into
everlasting [Greek, aionios--lasting]
punishment, but the righteous into life 'eternal [Greek, aionios--lasting] . " The punishment will be
as lasting as the reward. Both will be everlasting.
THE EVERLASTINGNESS of the punishment being thus established, only
one point is left open for discussion, namely the nature of the punishment. Take your
Concordance and search out what saith the great judge regarding the punishment of willful
sinners who despise and reject all His blessed provisions for them through Christ. What do
you find ? Does God there say--All sinners shall live in torture forever? No,; we find not
a single text where life in any condition is promised to that class.
God's declarations assure us that ultimately He will have a clean
universe, free from the blight of sin and sinners--because "All the wicked will He
destroy."Psa. 145: 20.
But while we do not. find one verse of the Bible saying that this
class can have life in torment, or in any other condition, we do find numerous passages
teaching the reverse. Of these we give a few merely as samples--"the wages of sin is
death." (Rom." 6: 23.) "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezek.
18: 4, 20.) "The wicked shall perish." (Psa. 37: 20.) "Yet a little while
and the wicked shall not be." (Psa. 37: 10.) Thus God has told us plainly the nature
of the everlasting punishment of the wicked--that it will be death, destruction.
The false ideas of God's Plan of dealing with the incorrigible,
taught ever since the great "falling away," which culminated in Papacy, and
instilled into our minds from childhood, are alone responsible for the view generally
held, that the everlasting punishment provided for wilful sinners is a life of torment.
This view is held, notwithstanding the many clear statements of God's Word that their
punishment is to be death. Here St. Paul states very explicitly what the punishment is to
be. Speaking of the same Millennial Day, and of the same class, who, despite all the
favorable opportunities and the fulness of knowledge then, will hot come into harmony with
Christ, and hence will "know not God , " in the true sense and "obey
not," he says--"Who shall be punished." Ah, yes! but how punished? He tells
us how: They "shall be punished with everlasting destruction [a destruction from
which there shall be no recovery, no redemption or resurrection-Heb. 10: 26-29] from the
presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power." (2 Thes. 1: 9.) This
destruction is represented in the parable as the everlasting "fire" prepared for
the devil and his angels; it is "the lake of fire and brimstone," which is the
Second Death (Rev. 20: 14), into which the "goat" class of this parable are
Thus the meaning and reasonableness of this statement concerning
everlasting punishment are readily seen when looked at from the correct standpoint. The
fire of the parable, by which the punishment (destruction) is to be accomplished, will not
be literal fire, for the "fire" is a-, much a symbol as the "sheep';' and
"goats" are symbols. Fire here, as elsewhere, symbolizes destruction, and not in
any sense preservation.
We might well leave this subject here, and consider that we have
fully shown that the everlasting punishmint of the "goat" class will be
destruction; but we direct attention to one other point which clinches the truth upon this
subject. We refer to the Greek word kolasin,
translated "punishment," in verse 46, This word has not in it the remotest idea
of torment. Its primary significance is to cut off, or prune, or lop off, as in the
pruning of trees; and a secondary meaning is to restrain. The wicked will be everlastingly
restrained, cut off from life in the Second Death. Illustrations of the use of kolasin can easily be had from Greek classical
writings. The Greek word for "torment" is basinos,
a word totally unrelated to the word kolasin.
Kolasin, the word used in
Matt. 25: 46, occurs in but one other place in the Bible, viz., 1 John 4:18, where it is
improperly. rendered "torment" in the Common Version, whereas it should read,
"Fear hath restraint." Those who possess a copy of Young's Analytical
Concordance will see from it (page 995) that the definition, of the word kolasin is "pruning, restraining,
restraint." And the author of the Emphatic Diaglott, after translating kolasin in
Matt. 25:46 by the words "cutting oft," says in a footnote:
"The common version and many modern ones render kolasin aionon
'everlasting punishment,' conveying the idea, a's generally interpreted, of basinos, torment. Kolasin in its various forms occurs in only three
other places in the New Testament: Acts 4: 21; 2 Pet. 2: 9; 1 John 4: 18. It is derived
from kolazoo, which signifies, 1. To cut off; as lopping off branches of trees, to prune.
1 2. To restrain, to repress. The Greeks write--'The charioteer restrains [kalazei] his fiery steeds., 8. To chastise, to
punish. To cut off an individual from life, or from society, or even to restrain, is
esteemed as a punishment; hence has-arisen this third or meta-phorical use, of the word.
The primary signification has been adopted [in the Diaglott], because it agrees better
with the second member of the sentence, thus preserving the force and beauty of the
antithesis. The righteous go to life, the wicked to the cutting off from life, death.2
Thes. 1: 9."
Now consider carefully the text, and note the antithesis, the
contrast, shown between the reward of the "sheep" and the reward of the
"goats," which the correct idea of kolasin
gives-the one class goes into everlasting life, while the other is everlastingly cut off
from life-forever restrained in death. And this exactly agrees with what the Scriptures
everywhere else declare concerning the wages or penalty of willful sin.
Consider for a moment the words of verse 41: "Depart from Me, ye
cursed [once redeemed by Christ from the Adamic curse or condemnation to death, but now
condemned or cursed, as worthy of the' Second Death, by the One who redeemed them from the
first curse], into everlasting fire [symbol of everlasting destruction, prepared for the
devil and his messengers (servants) I."
Remember that this is the final sentence at the close of the final
trial-at the close of the Millennium; and that none will then be servants of I Satan
ignorantly or unwillingly, as so many now are; for the great Deliverer, Christ, will
remove outside temptations, and provide assistance toward self-improvement, which will
enable all who will to overcome inherent weaknesses and to attain perfection. These
"goats," who love evil and serve Satan, are the messengers ("angels,")
of Satan. For these and Satan, and for no others, God has prepared Second Death-the
everlasting destruction. Fire will come from God out of heaven and consume them. Consuming
fire and devouring fire all can appreciate, unless their eyes are holden by false doctrine
and prejudice. No one ever knew of a preserving fire; and as fire never preserves, but
always consumes, God uses it as a symbol of utter destruction.-Rev. 20:9.
"THE LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE WHICH IS THE SECOND
DEATH" -- REV. 19:20; 20:10,14,15; 21:8
"The lake of fire and brimstone" is several times mentioned
in the book of Revelation, which all Christians admit to be a book of symbols. However,
they generally think and speak of this particular symbol as a literal statement giving
strong support to the torment doctrine, notwithstanding the fact that the symbol is.
clearly defined as meaning the Second Death: "And death and hell were cast into the
lake of fire. This is the Second Death," etc. (Rev. 20: 14.) It is sometimes spoken
of as "a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Rev. 19:20), the element
brimstone being mentioned to intensify the symbol of destruction, the Second Death;
burning brimstone being one of the most deadly elements known. It is destructive to all
forms of life.
The symbolism of this lake of fire is further shown by the fact that
the symbolic "beast" and the symbolic "false prophet," and death and
hell [hades], as well- as the devil and his
followers, are destroyed in it.--Rev. 19: 20; 20: 10, 14, 15; 21 : 8.
This destruction or death is. called the Second Death in
contradistinction to the First or Adamic death, and not to signify that everything which
goes into it dies a second time. For instance, death (the first or Adamic death), and hades, the grave, are to be cast into it -- this
work will require the entire Millennium to accomplish it; and in no sense will they ever
have been destroyed before. So also "the devil," "the beast," and
"the false prophet," will never have been destroyed before.
From the first, or Adamic death, a resurrection has been provided.
All that are in their graves shall therefore come forth. The Revelator prophetically
declares: "The sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell [hades, the, grave] gave up the dead which were in
them. ... And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were
opened." (Rev. 20: 13, 12.) It was in view of God's Plan for redeeming the race from
Adamic death that in both the Old and New Testaments it is called a "sleep." In
Israel's history of the good and the wicked it is repeatedly stated that they "slept
with their fathers." The Apostles used the same symbol, and our Lord also. But no
such symbol is used in reference to the Second Death., On the contrary, the strongest
figures of total and utter destruction are used to symbolize it, namely "fire and
brimstone"; because that will be a destruction from which there will be no recovery.
Blessed thought! the Adamic death (which claimed the whole race for
the sin of their progenitor) shall be forever swallowed up, and shall cease in this Second
Death into which it is to, be cast by the great Redeemer who bought the whole world with
the sacrifice of Himself. Thus God tells us through the Prophet, "I will ransom them
from the power of the grave [sheol]. I will redeem them from death. ... O grave [sheol] I
will be thy destruction." (Hos. 13:14.) The first or Adamic death shall no longer
have liberty or power over men, as it has had for the past six thousand years; no longer
shall any die for Adam's sin. (Rom. 5:12; Jer.31:29; Ezek.18:2.) Thenceforth the New
Covenant, sealed with the precious blood, shall be in force, and only willful
transgressions will be counted as sin and punished with the wages of sin--death--the
Second Death. Thus will the Adamic death be cast into and swallowed up by the Second
And hades and sheol--the dark, secret condition, the grave, which
in the present time speaks to us of a hope of future life by God's resurrection power in
Christ-shall be no more; for the Second Death will, devour no being fit for life--none for
whom there re mains a shadow of hope, but such only as, by the unerring judge, have been
fully, impartially and individually found worthy of destruction. And Satan, that lying
tempter who deceived and ruined the race and who, with persistent energy and cunning, has
sought continually to thwart the purpose of God for our salvation through Christ, and
with him all who are of his spirit, "his angels," shall be destroyed, and shall
never awake from death to trouble the world again, Here he is said to be cast into
"the lake of fire,"--the Second Death; and St. Paul in Heb. 2: 14, referring to
the same thing,, calls it destruction--"that He might destroy death, and him that
hath the power of death, that is the devil." And "the beast and the false
prophet," the great false systems which have long oppressed and .misled nominal
Christendom, shall never escape from it. These systems are said to be cast
"alive" (that is, while they are still organized and operative) into, the lake
of fire burning with brimstone. -- Rev. 19::20.
The great time of trouble, the Lord's judgment, which will utterly
destroy these systems, will undoubtedly cause great ;social, financial, and religious
difficulty and pain to all those identified with these deceived and deceiving systems,
before they are utterly destroyed. These systems will be cast in, destroyed, at the
beginning of the Millennium, while Satan's destruction is reserved until its close, when
all the "goats" shall have been separated from the "sheep," and they
shall perish with Satan in the Second Death as, "his angels," messengers, or
servants. None of those abominable characters among men, who, knowing the truth, yet love
unrighteousness--none of "the fearful and unbelieving"--those who will not trust
God after all the manifestations of His grace afforded during the Millennial reign of
Christ; nor the abominable, who, at heart are murderers and -whoremongers and sorcerers
and idolaters and liars-none of these shall escape from the Second Death, to defile the
earth again. All such after a full and abundant opportunity for reformation will be judged
unworthy of life, and will be forever cut off in the Second Death, symbolized by the lake
of fire and brimstone.
Several prophetic pen pictures of the Millennial Age and its work, in
chapters 20 and 21 of Revelation, clearly show the -object and result of that Age of
trial, in harmony with the remainder of the Scriptures already, noted.
Chapter 20, verses 2, 4, 11, with verses 1, 2, 10, 11 of chapter 21,
show the beginning of that Age of judgment, and the restraining of blinding errors and
misleading systems. The "beast" and the "false prophet" are the chief
symbols, and represent the organizations or systems of error which, together, constitute
"Babylon." This judgment against the "thrones" of the present time,
and against "the beast and the false prophet" systems follows speedily upon the
introduction of this Millennial judgment reign. The thrones of the present dominion of
earth will be "cast down," and the dominion transferred to the great Prophet,
Priest, King and judge, "whose right it is." (Compare Dan. 7: 14, 22; Ezek. 21:
27.) Then the systems of error will be speedily judged worthy of destruction, "the
lake of fire," "the Second Death."--Rev. 19: 20.
Thus the second destruction (or death) begins quite early in the new
judgment: it begins with the false systems symbolized by the beast, false prophet, etc.,
but it will not reach the world of mankind, as individuals, until they have first had full
trial, with full opportunity to choose life and live forever. Chapters 20: 12, 13, and 21:
3-7, indicate the blessed, favorable trial in which all, both dead and living (except the
Church, who, with Jesus Christ, are kings, priests, joint-heirs and judges), will be
brought to a full knowledge of the truth, relieved from sorrow and pain, and freed from
every blinding error and prejudice, and tried "according to their works."
The grand outcome of that trial will be a clean universe. As the
Revelator expresses it, "Every creature which is in heaven and on the earth' heard I
saying, Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth-upon the throne,
and unto the Lamb forever." But this result will be accomplished in harmony with all
God's dealings past and present, which have always recognized man's freedom of will to
choose good or evil, life or death.
We cannot doubt then that in the close of the Millennial Age, God
will again for a "little season" permit evil to triumph, in order thereby to
test His creatures (who will by that time have become thoroughly acquainted with both good
and evil, and the consequence of each, and will have-had His justice and love fully
demonstrated to them), that those who finally prefer and choose evil may be cut
off--destroyed. Thus God will for all eternity remove all who do not love righteousness
and hate iniquity.
We read, regarding that testing, that Satan will endeavor to lead
astray all mankind, whose numbers will then be as the sand of the sea for multitude; but
that many of them will follow Satan's evil example and choose evil and disobedience, with
past experience before them, and unhampered by present weaknesses and blinding influences,
we need not suppose. However, when God does not tell us either the number or the
proportion of those to be found worthy of life, and those to be judged worthy of death
(the Second Death), we may not dogmatize. Of one thing we may be confident, God willeth
not the death of the wicked, but would that all should turn to Him and live; and no one
will be destroyed in that "take of fire and brimstone" (figurative of utter
destruction--Gehenna) who is worthy of life, whose living longer would be a blessing to
himself or to others in harmony with righteousness.
Utter and hopeless destruction is intended only for willful
evil-doers, who, like Satan, in pride of heart and rebellion against God, will love and do
evil notwithstanding the manifestations for God's disapproval, and notwithstanding their
experience with its penalties. Seemingly the goodness and love of God in the provision of
a ransom, a restitution, and another opportunity of life for man, instead of leading all
to an abhorrence of sin, will lead some to suppose that God is too loving to cut them off
in the Second Death, or that if He did so He would give them other, and yet other future
opportunities. Building thus upon a supposed weakness in the Divine character, these may
be led to try to take advantage of the grace (favor), of God, as a license for willful
sin. But they shall go no further, for their folly shall be made manifest. Their utter
destruction will prove to the righteous the harmony and perfect balance of justice,
Wisdom, Love, and Power in the Divine Ruler.
REVELATION 21: 8
The true character of the goat class is portrayed. The fearful and
unbelieving [who will not trust God], the abominable, murderers [brother-haters],
whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters (such as misappropriate and misuse Divine favors, who
give to self or any other creature or thing that service and honor which belong to God]
and all "liars"--"whosoever loveth and maketh a lie" [in. a word, all
who do not love the truth and seek it, and at any cost defend and hold it] "shall
have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brirnstone [Gehenna, symbol of
utter destruction], 'Which is the Second Death." Such company would be repulsive to
any honest, upright being. It is bard to tolerate them now, when we can sympathize with
them, knowing that such dispositions are no* in great measure the result of inherited
weakness of the flesh. We are moved to a measure of sympathy by the remembrance that in
our own cases, often, when we would do good evil is present with us. But in the close of
the Millennial judgment when the Lord, the righteous judge, shall have given every
advantage and opportunity of knowledge and ability, this class will be an abhorrence and
detestation to all who are in harmony with the King of Glory. And the righteous will be
glad when, the trial being -ended,.the gift of life of which these shall have proved
themselves unworthy, shall be taken from them, and when the corrupters of the earth, and
all their work and influence, shall be destroyed.
THE DEVIL, THE BEAST AND THE FALSE PROPHET TORMENTED
Rev. 20:9 tells of the destruction of those individuals who join with
Satan in the last rebellion; and verse 15 tells of that same destruction in other words,
using the symbol "lake of fire." They are, devoured or consumed in fire. This
being the case, the torment 'of verse 1.0 cannot refer to these human beings who are
consumed, destroyed. Hence 'the question narrows down to this, Will Satan and a false
prophet and a beast be tortured forever? and does this verse so teach ?
We answer in God's own words, "All the wicked will be
destroyed." Concerning Satan, the arch enemy ,of God and man, God expressly ad-vises
us that he will be destroyed, and not preserved in any sense or condition.- Heb. 2: 14.
The beast and false prophet systems, which during the Gospel Age have
deceived and led astray, will be cast into a great, 'consuming trouble in the close of
this Gospel Age. The torment of those systems will be aionion, i. e., lasting. It will
continue as long as they last, until they are utterly consumed. So also the system of.
error, which will suddenly manifest itself at the end of the Millennial Age and lead the
"goats" to destruction, will be consumed. (Rev. 20-7-10.) That deceiving system
(not specified as to kind, but merely called Satan, after its instigator) will be' cast
into the same sort of trouble and destruction, in the end of the Millennial Age, as the
beast and false prophet systems are now being cast into, in the end of the Gospel Age.
Rev. 19: 3, speaking of one of these systems, says: "Her smoke
rose up forever and ever." That is to say, the remembrance ("smoke") of the
destruction of these systems of deception and error will be lasting, the lesson will never
be forgotten-as smoke, which continues to ascend after a destructive fire, is testimony
that the fire has done its work.-See also Isa. 34: 8-10.
Of Rev. 14: 9-11 we remark, incidentally, that all will at once
concede that if a literal worshiping of a' beast and image were meant in verse 9, then
few, if any, in civilized lands are liable to the penalty of verse 11; and if the beast
and his image and worship and wine and cup are symbols, so also are the torments and smoke
and fire and brimstone.
The casting of death and the grave into utter destruction, the Second
Death, during the Millennial Age, is a part of the utter destruction which will include
every improper, injurious, and useless thing. (Isa. 11:9; Psa. 101:5-8.) The Second Death,
the sentence of that individual trial, will be final; it will never be destroyed.' And
let all the lovers of righteousness say, Amen; for to destroy the Second Death, to re
move the sentence of that just and impartial trial, would be to let loose again not only
Satan, but all who love land practice wrong and deception, and who dishonor the Lord with
their evil institutions-to oppose, offend and endeavor to overthrow those who love and
desire to serve Him and enjoy His favor. We rejoice that there is no danger of this, but
that Divine justice unites with Divine wisdom, love, and power, to bring in ever lasting
righteousness on a permanent basis.
TURNED INTO HELL
"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and the nations that
forget God."--Psa. 9:17.
This statement of the Lord recorded by the Psalmist we find without
any qualification whatever, and we must accept it as a positive fact. If the claims of
"Orthodoxy" respecting hell were true, this should be, indeed, a fearful
But let us substitute the true meaning of the word sheol, and our text will read: "The wicked
shall be turned into the condition of death, and all the nations that forget God."
This we believe; but next, who are the wicked? In one sense all men are wicked, in that
all are violators of God's law; but in the fullest sense the wicked are those who, with
full knowledge of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and the remedy provided for their
recovery from its baneful effects, willfully persist in sin.
As yet few--only consecrated believers have come to a true knowledge
of God. The world knows Him not, and the nations cannot forget God until they are first
brought to a knowledge of Him. The consecrated have been enlightened, led of the Spirit
through faith to understand the deep and hidden things of God, which reveal the glory of
God's character, but which, though expressed in His Word, appear only as foolishness to
As we have hitherto seen, this will not be so in the Age to come, for
!then "The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the
sea:" (Isa. 11 : 9.) Much that we now receive by faith will then be demonstrated to
the world. When He who has ransomed man from the power of the grave (Hos. 13: 14) begins
to gather His purchased possessions back from the prison-house of death (Isa. 61: 1), when
the sleepers are awakened under the genial rays of the Sun of Righteousness, they will not
he slow to realize the truth of the hitherto seemingly idle tale, that "Jesus Christ,
by the grace of God, tasted death for every man.".
We have also seen that the gradual ascent of the King's Highway of
Holiness in that Age will be possible to all, and comparatively easy, because all the
stones -- stumbling-blocks, errors, etc.--will have been gathered out, and straight paths
made for their feet. It is in that Age that this text applies. Those who ignore the
favoring circumstances of that-Age, and will not be obedient to the righteous judge or
Ruler--Christ--will truly be the wicked. And every loyal subject of the Kingdom of God
will approve the righteous judgment which turns such an one again into sheol--the condition of death. Such an one would
be unworthy of life; and, were he permitted to live, his life would be a curse to himself
and to the rest of mankind, and a blemish on the work of God.
This will be the Second Death, from which there will be no
resurrection. Having been ransomed from the grave (sheol)
by the sacrifice of Christ, if they die again on account of their own sin, "there
remaineth no more sacrifice for sin." (Heb. 10: 26.) ."Christ dieth no more;
death hath no more dominion over Him." (Rom. 6: 9.) The Second Death should be
dreaded and shunned by all, since it is to be the end of existence to all those deemed
unworthy of life. But in it there can be no suffering. Like Adamic death, it is the
extinction of life.
It is because through sin mankind had become subject to death (sheol,
hades) that Christ Jesus came to deliver us and
save us from death. (1 John 3:8; Heb. 2:14.) Death is a cessation of existence, the
absence of life. There is no difference between the conditions in the Adamic and Second
deaths , but there is hope of a release from the first, while from the second there will
be no release, no return to life. The first death sentence passed upon all on account of
Adam's sin , while the Second Death can be incurred only by willful, individual sin.
That the application of our text belongs to the coming Age is
evident, for both saints and sinners go into sheol or hades now. This Scripture indicates that, in the
time when it applies, only the wicked shall go there. And the nations that forget God must
be nations that have known Him, else they could not forget Him; and never yet have the
nations been brought to that knowledge, -nor will they be until the coming. time, when the
knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth, and none shall need to say unto his
neighbor, Know thou the Lord, for all shall know Him, from the least to the greatest of
them.-Isa. 11: 9; Jer. 31: 34.
The Hebrew word goi,
rendered "nations" in this verse, is elsewhere used by the same writer and
rendered "heathen ... Gentiles" and people. The thought seems to be-any who do
not become God's covenant people, even though they be not -openly wicked. The nations
(Gentiles, all who under that full knowledge do not become Israelites indeed) who are
forgetful or negligent of God's favors enjoyed, and of their duties and obligations to
Him, shall share the fate of the willfully "wicked," and he cast into the Second
In further proof of this, we find that the Hebrew word shub, which in our text is translated
"turned," signifies turned back, as to a previous place or condition. Those
referred to in this text either have been in sheol or are liable to enter it, but being
redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, will be brought out of sheol. If then they are
wicked, they, and all who forget God, shall be turned back or returned to sheol.
DID THE JEWSBELIEVE IN EVERLASTING TORMENT?
Noting that we teach that the doctrine of everlasting torment was
engrafted upon the doctrines of the Christian Church during the period of the Apostasy,
the great falling away which culminated in Papacy, some have inquired whither it does not
seem, according to the works of Josephus, that this doctrine was firmly held by the Jews;
and, if so, they ask, does it not seem evident that the early Christians, being largely
converts from Judaism, brought this doctrine with them, in the very outstart of
We answer, No; the doctrine of everlasting torment sprang naturally
from the doctrine of human immortality which as a philosophic question was first
promulgated in something like the present form, by the Platonic school of Grecian
philosophy. These first affirmed that each man contained a fragment of deity, and that
this would prevent him from ever dying. This foundation laid, it was as easy to describe a
place for evil-doers as well as for well-doers. But to the credit 'of those heathen
philosophers be it recorded that they failed to develop, or at least to manifest, that
depth of degradation from benevolence and reason and pity, necessary to paint, by word and
pen and brush, such details of horrors and agonies as were soon incorporated into their
doctrine, and a belief thereof declared "necessary to salvation" in the
professed Church of Christ.
To appreciate the case, it is necessary to remember that, when the
Christian Church was established, Greece stood at the head of intelligence and
civilization. Alexander the Great had conquered the world, and had spread respect for
Greece everywhere; and though, from a. military point of view, Rome had taken her place,
it was otherwise in literature. For centuries, Grecian philosophers and philosophies led
the intellectual world, and impregnated and affected everything. It became customary for
philosophers and teachers of other theories to claim that their systems and theories were
nearly the same as those of the Grecians, and to, endeavor to remove differences between
their old theories and. the popular Grecian views. And some sought to make capital by
claiming that their system embraced all the good points of Platonism with others which
Plato did not see.
Of this class were the teachers in the Christian Church in the
second, third, and fourth centuries. Conceding the popularly accepted correctness of the
philosophers, they claimed that the same good features of philosophy were found in
Christ's teachings, and that He was one of the greatest philosophers, etc. Thus a blending
of Platonism and Christianity took place'. This became the more pronounced as kings and
emperors began to scrutinize religious teachings, and to, favor those most likely to awe
the people and make them law-abiding. While heathen teachers were truckling to such
imperial scrutiny and teaching an everlasting punishment for those who violated the laws
of the emperors (who ruled as divinely appointed), we cannot suppose otherwise than that
the ambitious characters in the Church at that time, who were seeking to displace
heathenism and to become the dominant religious power instead, would make prominent such
doctrines as would in the eyes of the emperors seem to have an equal hold upon the fears
and prejudices of the people. And what could be more to the purpose than the doctrine of
the endless torment of the refractory?
The same motives evidently operated with Josephus when writing
concerning the belief of the Jews. His works should be read as apologies for Judaism, and
as efforts to exalt that nation in the eyes of Rome and the world. It should be remembered
that the Jews had the reputation of being a very rebellious people, very unwilling to be
ruled even by the Caesars. They were hoping, in harmony with God's promises, -to become
the chief nation. Many rebellious outbreaks had occurred among them, and their peculiar
religion, different from all others, came in for its share of blame for favoring too much
the spirit of liberty.
Josephus had an object in writing his two principal works,
"Antiquities" and 'Wars of the Jews." He wrote them in the Greek language
while living at Rome, where he was the friend and guest successively of the Roman Emperors
Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian and where he was in constant contact with the Grecian
philosophers. These books were written for the purpose of showing off the Jewish people,
their courage, laws, ethics, etc., to the best advantage before the Grecian philosophers
and Roman dignitaries. This object is covertly admitted in his preface to his
"Antiquities," in which he says:
"I have undertaken the present work as thinking it will appear
to all the Greeks worthy of their study. ... Those that read my book may wonder that my
discourse of Jaws and historical facts contains so much of philosophy. ... However, those
that have a mind to know the reasons of everything may find here a very curious
philosophical theory." In a word, as a shrewd man who himself had become imbued with
the spirit of the Grecian philosophers then prevailing, Josephus drew from the Law and the
Prophets, and from the traditions of the elders and the theories of the various sects of
the Jews, all he could find that in the most remote degree would tend to show:
First, that the Jewish religion was not far behind popular Grecian
philosophy; but that somewhat analogous theories had been drawn from Moses' Law, and held
by some Jews, long before the Grecian philosophers broached them.
Secondly, that it was not their religious ideas which made the Jews
as a people hard to control or "rebellious," as all liberty-lovers were esteemed
by the Caesars. Hence he attempts to prove, at a time when virtue was esteemed to consist
mainly in submission, that Moses' Law "taught first. of all that God is the Father
and Lord of all things, and bestows a happy life upon those that follow Him, but plunges
such as do not walk in the paths of virtue into inevitable miseries." And it is in
support of this idea, and for such purposes, evidently, that Josephus, after saying:
"There are three philosophical sects among the Jews; first, the Pharisees; second,
the Sadducees; and third, the Essenes," proceeds to give an account of their three
theories, especially detailing any features, which resembled Grecian philosophy. And
because the last and least, the Essenes, most resembled the doctrines of the Stoics and
leading Grecian theories, Josephus devotes nearly ten times as much space to their views
as to the views of both Sadducees and Pharisees combined. And yet the Essenes were so
insignificant a sect that the New Testament does not even mention them, while Josephus
himself admits they were few. Whatever views they held, therefore, on any subject, cannot
be claimed as having Jewish sanction, when the vast majority of Jews held contrary
opinions. The very fact that our Lord and the Apostles did not refer to them is good
evidence that the Essenes philosophy by no means represented the Jewish ideas This small
sect probably grew up later and probably absorbed from Grecian philosophy its ideas
concerning immortality and the everlasting torment of the non-virtuous. It should be
remembered that Josephus was not born until three years after our Lord's crucifixion, and
that he published his "Wars" A. D. 75 and "Antiquities" A. D. 93 at a
time when he and other Jews, like all the rest of the world, were eagerly swallowing
Grecian philosophy and science falsely so called, against which St. Paul warned the
Church.-Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 6:20.
Josephus. directed special attention to the Essenes because it suited
his object to do so. He admits that the Sadducees, next to the largest body of Jewish
people, did not believe in human immortality. And of the Pharisees' views he makes a blind
statement, calculated to mislead, as follows: "They also believe that souls have an
immortal vigor in them [This might be understood to mean that the Pharisees did not
believe as the Sadducees that death ended all existence, but believed in a vigor or life
beyond the grave-by a resurrection of the dead], and that under the earth there will be
rewards and punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this
life; and that the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison [death-not torture],
but that the former [the virtuous] shall have power to revive. and live again."
Is it not apparent that Josephus has whittled and stretched the views
of the Pharisees, as much as his, elastic conscience would allow, to show a harmony
between them and the philosophies of Greece? St. Paul who had been a Pharisee, contradicts
Josephus. While Josephus says they believed "that only the virtuous would revive and
live again [Does not this imply a resurrection, and imply also that the others would not
live again, but remain dead, in the great prisonthe tomb?] St. Paul, on the contrary,
says: "I have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be
a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust."--Acts 24: 15.
We have no hesitancy about accepting the testimony of the inspired
Apostle Paul, not only in regard to what the Jews believed, but also as to what he and the
early Church believed; and we repeat, that the theory of the everlasting torment of the
wicked, based upon the theory that the human soul cannot die, is contrary to both the Old
and the New Testament teachings, and was introduced among Jews and Christians by Grecian
Philosophers. Thank God for the purer philosophy of the Scriptures, which teaches that the
death of the soul (being) is, the penalty of sin (Ezek. 18: 20) ; that all souls condemned
through Adam's sin were redeemed by Christ's soul (Isa. 53: 10) ; and that only for
willful, individual sin will any die the Second Death-an everlasting punishment, but not
an everlasting torment.
CHOOSE LIFE THAT YE MAY LIVE
"I have set before thee this day life and good, death and
evil." "I have set before thee life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore
choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."--Deut. 30: 15, 19.
We come now to the consideration of other Scripture statements in
harmony with the conclusions set forth in the preceding articles.
The words here quoted are from Moses to Israel. To appreciate them we
must remember that Israel as a people, and all their covenants, sacrifices, etc., bad a
God knew that they could not obtain life by keeping the Law, no
matter how much they would choose to do so, because they, like all others of the fallen
race, were weak, depraved through the effect of the "sour grape" of sin which
Adam had eaten, and which his children had continued to eat. (Jer. 31: 29.) Thus, as St.
Paul declares, the Law given to Israel could not give them life because of the weaknesses
or depravity of their fallen nature.-Rom. 8: 3; Heb. 7:19; 10: 1-10.
Nevertheless, God foresaw a benefit to them from even an unsuccessful
attempt to. live perfectly, namely that it would develop them, as well as show them the
need of the better sacrifice (the ransom which our Lord Jesus gave) and a greater
deliverer than Moses. And with all this their trial furnished a pattern or shadow of the
individual trial insured to the whole world (which Israel typified) and secured by the
better sacrifices for sin, which were there prefigured, to be accomplished by the great
Prophet of whom Moses was but a type.
Thus seeing that the trial for life or death presented to Israel was
but typical of the individual trial of the whole world, and its issues of life and death
(of eternal life or the Second Death), may help some to see that the great thousand-year
day of trial, of which our Lord Jesus has been appointed the judge, contains the two
issues, life and death. All will then be called upon to decide, under that most favorable
opportunity, for righteousness and life or sin and death, and a choice must be made. And,
although there will be rewards and "stripes" according to the deeds of the
present life, as well as according to their conduct under that trial (John 3:19; Matt.
10:42; Matt. 11:20-24), the verdict in the end will be in harmony with the choice
expressed by the conduct of each during that Age of trial.
The second trial, its sentence and its result, are also shown in the
words of Moses quoted by St. Peter (Acts 3:22, 23): "A Prophet shall the Lord your
God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me. Him shall ye hear in all things
whatsoever He shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul [being] which
will not hear [obey] that Prophet [and thus choose life] shall be destroyed from among the
people." In few words this calls attention to the world's great trial, yet future. It
shows the great Prophet or Teacher raised up by God to give a new judgment or trial to the
condemned race which He has redeemed from the condemnation which came upon it through its
progenitor, Adam. It shows, too, the conditions of eternal life to be righteous obedience,
and that with the close of that trial some will be judged worthy of that life, and. some
worthy of destruction-the Second Death.
Our Lord Jesus, having redeemed all by His perfect and precious
sacrifice, is the Head of this great Prophet; and during the Gospel Age God has been
selecting the members of His Body, who, with Christ Jesus, shall be God's agents in
judging the world. Together they will be that Great Prophet or Teacher promised. "Do
ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?"-- 1 Cor. 6: 2.
The first trial was of mankind only, and hence its penalty or curse,
the first death, was only upon man. But the second trial is to be much more comprehensive.
It will not only be the trial of fallen and imperfect mankind, but it will include every
other thing and principle and being out of harmony with Jehovah. "God will bring
every work into judgment, with every secret thing."
The "judgment to come" will include the judgment to
condemnation of all false systems -- civil, social, and religious. These will be judged,
condemned, and banished early in the Millennial Day, the light of truth causing them to
come into disrepute and therefore to pass away. This judgment comes first, in order that
the trial of man may proceed unhindered by error, prejudice, etc. It will also include the
trial of "the angels which sinned" -- those angels "which kept not their
first estate" of purity and obedience to God. Thus it is written by the Apostle of
the members of the Body of the great Prophet and High Priest, who is to be judge of all --
"Know ye not that the saints shall judge angels?" -- 1 Cor. 6:3.
This being the case, the condemnation of the Millennial trial
(destruction, Second Death) will cover a wider range of offenders than the penalty or
curse for the sin of Adam, which "passed upon all men." In a word, the
destruction at the close of the trial will be the titter destruction of every being and
every thing which will not glorify God and be of use and blessing to His general creation.
IN THE preceding pages we briefly show the extreme penalty for
willful sin. Adam's penalty, which involved his entire race, was of this sort; and only as
the result of Christ's death as our ransom from that penalty of that willful sin, is any
forgiveness of it or subsequent sins possible.
Forgivable sins are those which result from weaknesses incurred
through that one Adamic sin which Christ settled once for all. They are such as are not
willful, but are committed through ignorance or weaknesses of the flesh. God stands
pledged to forgive all such sins upon our repentance, in the name and merit of Christ's
Unpardonable sins, sins which cannot be forgiven, are such as are
willfully done. As the penalty of the first willful sin was death--extinction of being--so
death is the penalty of every willful sin against full knowledge and ability to choose and
to do the right. This is called Second Death, in distinction from the first or Adamic
penalty, from which Christ's ransom sacrifice will release all mankind.
The "sin, unto [Second] Death," for the forgiveness of
which the Apostle declares it is useless to pray (1 John 5: 16), is not only a willful
sin, but a sin against clear knowledge; a sin for which no adequate excuse can he found.
Because it is a sin against clear knowledge, or enlightenment in holiness, it is called
the "sin against the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 12: 31,32), for which there is no
But there arc other partly-willful sins, which are, therefore,
partially unpardon-able. In such the temptations within and without (all of which are
directly or indirectly results of the fall) have a share-the will consenting under the
pressure of the temptation or because of the weakness. The Lord alone knows how to
properly estimate our responsibilities and guilt in such cases. But to the true child of
God there is but one proper course to take-repentance and an appeal for mercy in the name
and merit of Christ, the great sacrifice for sin. The-Lord will forgive such a penitent,
in the sense of restoring him to His favor; but be will be made to suffer
"stripes" (Luke 12: 47, 48) for the sin, in proportion as God sees it to have
been willfully committed.
Not infrequently a conscientious person realizes that he has
committed sin, and that it had some willfulness in it. He properly feels condemned, guilty
before God; realizing his own guilt, and forgetting the fountain for sin and uncleanness,
opened by God for our weak, fallen race, he falls into a state of sadness, believing that
he has committed the sin of death. Such wander in deserts drear until they find the
cleansing fountain. Let such remember, however, that the very facts of their sorrow for
sin and their desire to return to Divine favor are proofs that they have not committed the
sin, unto death; for the Apostle declares that those who commit sin of this sort cannot be
renewed unto repentance. (Heb. 6: 6.) Penitents, then, may always feel confident that
their sins were in part, at least, results of the fall, and hence not unto death, but
requiring forgiveness and stripes.
Such is the wonderful provision of God, through Christ for the
acceptance of every soul which, forsaking sin and the love of it, seeks righteousness and
life through Him who is the Way, as well as the Truth and the Life. Thus all, whether
naturally stronger or weaker, have an equal. opportunity to gain everlasting life as well
as to gain the great prize of joint-heirship with Christ.
While the Scriptures teach that the present Gospel Age is the
Church's Judgment- Day or period of trial, and that the world's judgment-Day or time of
trial will be the Millennial Age, it is, nevertheless, a reasonable question to ask -- To
what extent will those who are not of the consecrated Church be held responsible, in the
Millennial Age, for their misdeeds of cruelty, dishonesty, and immorality, of the present
time? And to what extent will those of the same class then be rewarded for present efforts
to live moral and benevolent lives ?
These are important questions, especially to the world; and well
would it be for them if they could realize their importance and profit thereby. They are
important also to the Church, because of our interest in the world, and because of our
desire to understand and teach correctly our Father's plans.
We have learned that the sacrifice of Christ secures for all mankind,
however vile, an awakening from death, and the privilege of thereafter coming to
perfection, and, if they will, of living forever. "There shall be a resurrection of
the dead, both of the just and the unjust." (Acts 14: 15.) The object of their being
again brought into existence will be to give them a favorable opportunity to secure
everlasting life, on the conditions which God requires-obedience to His righteous will. We
have no intimation whatever in the Scriptures that, when awakened, the moral condition of
men will have changed, but we have much, in both reason and revelation, to show that as
they went into death weak and depraved, so they will come out of it. As there is "no
work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave" (Eccl. 9: 10), they will
have learned nothing; and since they were sinners and unworthy of life and Divine favor
when they died, they will still be unworthy; and as they have received neither full
rewards nor full punishments for the deeds of the present life, it is evident that just
such a time of awakening as God has promised during the Millennium is necessary-for
rewarding, and punishing, and giving to all mankind the opportunity for eternal life
secured by Christ's great ransom-sacrifice.
While, strictly speaking, the world is not now on trial, that is, the
present is not the time for its full and complete trial, yet men are not now, nor - have
they ever been, entirely without light and ability, for the use of which they are
accountable. In the darkest days of the world's history, and in the deepest degradation of
savage life, there has always been at least a measure of the light of conscience pointing
more or less directly to righteousness and virtue. That the deeds of the present life have
much to do with the future, St. Paul taught very clearly when, before Felix, he reasoned
of justice and self-government, in view of the judgment to come, so that Felix
trembled.-Acts 24: 25, Diaglott translation.
At the First Advent of our Lord, an increased measure of light came
to men, and to that extent increased their responsibility, as He said: "This is the
condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,
because their deeds were evil." (John 3: 19.) For those evil deeds committed against
the light possessed, whether of conscience or of revelation, men will have to give an
account, and will ,receive, in their day of judgment, a just recompense of reward. And,
likewise, to the extent of their effort to live righteously: they will receive their
reward in the day of trial.-Matt. 10: 42.
If men would consider what even reason discerns, that a time of
reckoning, of judgment, is coming, that God will not forever permit evil to triumph, and
that in some way He will punish evil-doers, it would undoutbtedly save them many sorrows
and chastisements in the Age to come. Said the Prophet, "Woe unto them that seek deep
to bide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who
seeth us? and who knoweth us?" (Isaiah 29:15.) Behold, "The -eyes of the Lord
are in every place, beholding the evil and the good" (Prov. 15:3); and "God
shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or
whether it be evil." (Eccl. 12:14.) He "will bring to light the hidden things of
darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts."--1 Cor. 4:5.
The Age of Christ's reign will be a time of just judgment; and though
it will be an Age of golden opportunities to all, it will be a time of severe discipline,
trial, and punishment to many. That the judgment will he fair and impartial, and with due
consideration for the circumstances and the opportunities of each individual is also
assured, by the character of the judge (the Christ-John 5: 22; 1 Cor. 6: 2), by His
perfect knowledge, by His unwavering justice and goodness by His Divine power and by His
great love as shown in His sacrifice to redeem men from death, that they might enjoy the
privilege of this favorable, individual trial.
The varied circumstances and opportunities of men, in this and past
Ages, indicate that a just judgment will recognize differences in the degree of individual
responsibility, which will also necessitate differences in the Lord's future dealings with
them. And this reasonable deduction we find clearly confirmed by the Scriptures. The judge
has been, and still is, taking minute cognizance of men's actions and words (Prov. 5: 21),
although they have been entirely unaware of it; and He declares that "Every idle
["pernicious," injurious, or malicious] word that men shall speak, they shall
give account thereof in, the day of judgment" (Matt. 12: 36) ; and that even a cup of
cold water, given to one of His little ones, because he is Christ's, shall in no wise lose
its reward. (Matt. 10: 42.) The context shows that the "pernicious" words to
which Jesus referred were words of wilful and malicious opposition spoken against manifest
light. (Matt. 12: 24, 31, 32.) He also affirmed that it would be more tolerable for Tyre,
Sidon, and Sodom in the day of judgment than for Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, which
had misimproved greater advantages of light and opportunity.--Matt. 11:20-24.
In the very nature of things, we can see that the punishments of that
Age will be in proportion to past guilt. Every sin indulged, and every evil propensity
cultivated, hardens the heart and makes the way back to purity and virtue more difficult.
Consequently, sins willfully indulged now, will require punishment and discipline in the
Age to come; and the more deeply the soul is dyed in willing sin, the more severe will be
the measures required to correct it. As a wise parent would punish a wayward child, so
Christ will punish the wicked for their good.
His punishments will always be administered in justice, tempered with
mercy, and relieved by His approval and reward to those who are rightly, exercised
thereby. And it will be only when punishments, instructions, and encouragement fail; in
short, when love and mercy have done all that: wisdom can approve (which is all, that
could be asked), that any will meet the final punishment which his case demands--the
None of the world will meet that penalty until' they have first had
all the blessed opportunities of the Age to come. And while this. is true of the world,
the same principle applies now to the consecrated children of God in this our judgment
(trial) day. We now receive God's favors (through faith), while the world will receive
them in the next Age, viz., instruction, assistance, encouragement, discipline and
punishment. "For what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? But if ye be without
chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons."
Therefore, when we receive grievous chastisement, we should accept it as from a loving
Father for our correction, not forgetting "the exhortation which speaketh unto us as
unto children, My son, despise not thou the, chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou
are rebuked of Him; for whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom
He receiveth." -Heb. 12: 4-13.
How just and equal are God's ways! Read carefully the rules of the
coming Age--Jer. 31: 29-34 and Ezek. 18: 20-32. They prove to us, beyond the possibility
of a doubt, the sincerity and reality of all His professions of love to men: "As I
live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the
wicked turn from his way and live: Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye
die?" Ezek. 33: 11.
All who in this life repent of sin, and, as the term repentance
implies, begin and continue the work of reformation to the best of their ability, will
form ,character which will be a benefit to them in the Age to come; when awakened in the
resurrection Age, they will be to that extent advanced towards perfection, and their
progress will be more rapid and easy; while with others it will be more slow, tedious, and
difficult. This is implied in the words of our Lord (John 5: 29, 30--Diaglott) : "The
hour is coming in the which all that are in their,, graves shall hear His voice, and shall
come forth 'they that have done good unto the resurrection of life [those whose trial is
past; and who were judged worthy of life, will be raised perfect--the faithful of past
Ages to perfect human life, the overcomers of the Gospel Age to perfect life as Divine
beings], and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of. judgment." These are
awakened to judgment-to receive a course of discipline and correction--as the necessary
means for their perfecting, or, otherwise, their condemnation to the Second Death.
The man who, in this life, by fraud and injustice, accumulated and
hoarded great wealth, which was scattered to the winds when he was laid in the dust, will
doubtless awake to lament his loss, and bewail his poverty and his utter inability under
the new order of things to repeat unlawful measures to accumulate a fortune. With many it
will be a severe chastisement and a bitter experience to overcome the propensities to
avarice, selfishness, pride, ambition and idleness, fostered and pampered for years in the
present life. Occasionally we see an illustration of this form of punishment now, when a
man of great wealth suddenly loses all, and the haughty spirit of, himself and family must
We are told (Dan. 12: 2) that some shall awake to shame and
age-lasting contempt. And who can doubt that, when every secret thing is brought into.
judgment (Eccl. 12:14), and the dark side of many a character that now stands measurably
approved among men is then made known, many a face will blush and hide itself in
confusion? When the man who steals is required to refund the stolen property to its
rightful owner, with the addition of twenty per cent interest, and the man who deceives,
falsely accuses or otherwise wrongs his neighbor, is required to acknowledge his crimes
and so far as possible to repair damages, on peril of an eternal loss of life, will not
this be retributive justice? Note the clear statement of this in God's typical dealings
with Israel, whom he made to represent the world.--1 Cor. 10: 11; Lev. 6: 1-7. See also
"Tabernacle Shadows," page 99.
As we are thus permitted to look into the perfect Plan of God, how
forcibly we are reminded of His word through the Prophet Isaiah, "Judgment also will
I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet." (Isa. 28:17.) We also see the
wholesome influence of such discipline. Parents, in disciplining their children, realize
the imperative necessity of making their punishments proportionate to the character of the
offences; and so in God's government: great punishments following great offences are not
greater than is necessary to establish justice and to effect great moral reforms.
Seeing that the Lord will, thus equitably adjust human affairs in his
own due time, we can afford to endure hardness for the present, and resist evil with good,
even at the cost of present disadvantages. Therefore, "Recompense to no man evil for
evil." "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus our Lord."
-Rom. 12: 17-19; Phil. 2: 5.
The present order of things will not always continue: a time of
reckoning is coming. The just judge of all the earth says, "Vengeance is mine, I will
repay;" and the Apostle Peter adds, "The Lord knoweth how ,to deliver the godly
out of temptation and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished."
(2 Pet. 2: 9.) And, as we have seen, those punishments will be adapted to the nature of
the offences, and the benevolent object in view-man's permanent establishment in
Other Scriptures corroborative of this view of future rewards and
punishments are as follows: 2 Sam. 3:39; Matt. 16:27; 1 Pet. 3:12; Psa. 19:11 ; 91: 8;
Prov. 11:18; Isa. 40:10; 49:4; Matt. 5:12; 10:41, 42; Luke 6:35; Rev. 22:12; Rom. 14:11,
LET HONESTY AND TRUTH PREVAIL
Having demonstrated that neither the Bible nor reason offers the
slightest support to the doctrine that eternal torment is the penalty for sin, we note the
fact that the various Church creeds, and confessions, and hymn books, and theological
treatises, are its only supports; and that under the increasing light of our day, and the
consequent emancipation of reason, belief in this horrible, fiendish doctrine of the Dark
Ages is dying out. But alas! this is not because Christian people generally are zealous
for the truth of God's Word, and for His character and willing to destroy their, grim
creed-idols. Ah no! they still bow before their admitted falsities; they still pledge
themselves to their defense, and spend time and money for their support, though at heart
ashamed of them, and privately denying them.
The general influence of all this is, to cause the honest-hearted of
the world to despise Christianity and the Bible - and to make hypocrites and semi-infidels
of nominal Christians; because the nominal Church clings to this old blasphemy, and
falsely presents its own error as the teaching of the Bible, the Word of God, which is
still nominally reverenced, but is being practically repudiated. Thus the Bible, the great
anchor of truth and liberty, is being cut loose from, by the very ones who, if not
deceived regarding its teachings, would be held and blessed by it.
The general effect, not far distant, will be, first open infidelity,
then anarchy. For much, very much of this, lukewarm Christians, both in pulpits and pews,
who know or ought to know better, are responsible. Many such are willing to compromise the
truth, to slander God's character, and to stultify and deceive themselves, for the sake of
peace, or ease, or present earthly advantage. And any minister, who, by uttering a word
for an unpopular truth, will risk the loss of his stipend and his reputation for being
"established" in the bog of error, is considered a bold man, even though he
ignominously withhold his name from his published protests.
If professed Christians would be honest with themselves and true to
God, they would soon learn that "their fear toward God is taught by the precepts of
men." (Isa. 29: 13.) If all would decide to let God be true, though it should prove
every man a liar (Rom, 3:4), and show all human creeds to be imperfect and misleading,
there would be a great creed-smashing work done very shortly. Then the Bible would be
studied and appreciated as never before; and its testimony that the wages of' sin, is
death, (extinction), would be recognized as a "just recompense of reward."
We have given foregoing but a mere suggestion of the light now
shining in "due season!' for' the "household of faith." We invite
correspondence from all who "hunger and thirst after right." We have free
tracts, and books to loan to the poor in spirit who are poor also in purse. See page 2.