GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION
FROM A LAWYER'S POINT OF VIEW
J.F. RUTHERFORD (1907)
A friend has requested me to write something concerning God’s plan of salvation from a lawyer’s point of view. The result appears on the pages following. If poorly written, an apology is due the Lord, and Him only. It is His word with which we are dealing.
Aside from the order in which these points are arranged and treated, there is nothing new considered herein. No theories are advanced. We have tried to examine the subject from an unbiased standpoint, and to briefly point out some of the great truths contained in the Bible. We are entitled to no credit, and claim none, for the effort or the result. Our sole object has been to stimulate individual study of the Scriptures, and, if possible, to assist some in locating these truths.
A casual or hurried reading of these pages will not prove beneficial. To intelligently understand what is herein contained the reader should have before him his Bible, and by it prove or disprove each statement made; and, by the aid of a good concordance, examine each question thoroughly. Those who will lay aside preconceived, man made theories and opinions, and earnestly and honestly seek the truth in the Lord's Word, will find it there. In no other way is it possible to find it. The Lord, by His prophet, has pointed out a time in which the truth can be understood (Dan. 12:4, 9-10). Whether this is the time each must decide for himself. We think it is.
If the reader obtains one half the satisfaction in reading as we have received in writing this booklet, our efforts in preparing and publish it will be greatly repaid.
HAS GOD PROVIDED A PLAN OF SALVATION FOR ALL MEN?
Discussed front a Lawyers stand point.
Definition: Salvation, as used herein, means saved froth eternal death, given eternal life in a state of happiness.
POINTS AND AUTHORITIES
I: MAN'S NEED OF SALVATION.
If the evidence available to man satisfactorily answers the foregoing question in the affirmative, that answer should bring gladness to all who accept it as trite.
If, on the other hand, the proof establishes a negative answer thereto, then man is the most miserable and hopeless of all creatures on the earth.
It is not my purpose, in discussing this question, to advance I any new theory. Neither is it my purpose to criticize the various theories note held by others. My sole purpose here is to collect and point out some competent evidence touching this question hoping thereby to induce others to further investigate this subject.
That mankind is in sore need of such salvation none can gainsay. The profane history of the world is written in blood and tears. It has been truly said, that the tears of bitterness I and blood of man, wrongfully shed, if collected in one body, would float the navies of the earth.
The masses of humanity, from the cradle to the grave, are creatures of sorrow. Injustice, cringe and hunger for many hundred years have stalked hand in hand through the land.
In the courts of the several countries there are daily enacted I heartrending scenes, when the strong arm of the law, acting in the interest of society, to he sure, is compelled to tear the criminal from the bosom of his family and incarcerate him in a
felon's cell. No man can often come in contact with these scenes without a feeling of sorrow for the unfortunates, and hoping for letter conditions.
A large per cent of the population of this world is confined behind prison bars. Many Jill the institutions for the insane. All the result of the weakness and depravity of human nature.
It must he conceded by all, that there is no human government now administered in righteousness. To be sure the existing governments are far better than none, and it is the duty of every plan to obey the laws of the government under which he lives, but the great and good men of the present day, as a general rule, are striving to better the civic and moral conditions. All such hope for better and wiser administration of human affairs.
All men have more or less sorrow. If, perchance, one man is more fortunate than another, is blessed with a happy home, a good wife and obedient children, surrounded with plenty of the necessary comforts for the body, his happiness is but brief. Death enters his home and snatches from him his loved ones; his earthly accumulations perish, and with sorrow he goes down to the grave. No matter how bright we may paint the picture from a worldly stand point, in the background stands the grim reaper whose silent summons comes to every man.
Is this death everlasting; is it followed with eternal torment, or is there redemption therefrom? Has God provided a means by which all men may be saved?
Preliminary to the discussion of this subject we must first determine two questions, viz.:
(1) Does there exist a God, supreme and above all?
(2) If so, has God given man tangible evidence, a record, for his instruction and guidance?
II: GOD EXISTS.
As human beings we reach a conclusion by a process of reasoning. Human tribunals, to establish the truth of any subject at issue, have adopted fixed rules of evidence. These are divided primarily into direct and circumstantial evidence; the
latter often being recognized as a safer medium of proof than human testimony. The reasonable mind, therefore, demands that the truth of all things he established by either direct or circumstantial evidence. Keeping these rules in mind, let us to the first proposition.
The subject here considered assumes the existence of God. That there is an omnipotent being, God, most persons concede, but some do not, and for the benefit of the latter the call attention to some of the evidence.
Behold the sun, around which this earth regularly makes its circuit; whose light is so powerful the eye cannot look thereon. Whose rays give color to the plant and beauty to the flower. Did it have a creator?
Gaze into the sky at nightfall and there behold the numerous planets that encircle the earth, shedding upon it their soft and mellow light. Mark the order in which the moon makes its regular appearance, giving light to man by night, influencing the seasons and controlling the tides of the seas. Had it a creator who still guides its course?
Behold the earth with its lofty mountains, broad plains, mighty and trackless waters. Look at man, the highest order of creation that inhabits the earth, yet insignificant when compared with the universe. These objects ever before us, giving direct evidence of a creator, are they not sufficient proof to satisfy the most skeptical mind that there exists one above all, whose wisdom and power is far beyond the description of man, whom we call God. Evolution does not explain the existence of these, for the manifest reason that the history of the world fails to disclose a single new creation since the creation of the first man.
III: GOD'S RECORD
As to the second proposition: Man has been given a book, commonly called the Bible, which claims to be God's word, given to man for his instruction in righteousness. What proof have we of the truthfulness of this claim?
If upon the trial of a cause in the courts of the land, this
book should be offered in evidence as the Bible. God's record, it would he admitted without further proof of its genuineness, under the established rule of evidence, viz: that it is an ancient document coming from the proper source. The original of this book came from the proper source, to-twit: from the Israelites, God's chosen people. It is the oldest book in existence. Nothing short of miraculous power could have preserved it from the storms that have beaten against it for thousands of years. Time was, when the laws of the land made it a crime punishable by death to have this book in possession. Many men suffered torture and death for possessing and teaching it; every available copy was gathered together and the torch applied, yet it has beens preserved in the original tongue. Every effort of man to efface it front the earth has failed. That the Israelites clung to it as the word of God, is well known to every student of history.
It would be admissible as the genuine record of God under another rule of evidence, viz: That the subscribing witnesses thereto have certified that it is God's word, written by men at the dictation of God. That these witnesses lived in the earth the have abundant proof aside from the Bible itself. Let us examine the testimony of a few of the subscribing witnesses:
David, one of the Jewish kings, said:
"The spirit of the Lord spake by me and his word was in my tongue" (2 Sam. 23:2).
Luke, another subscribing witness, certifies that Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, being filled with the holy spirit, testified, saying:
"God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets which have been since the world began" (Luke 1:70).
"That no scripture is of private interpretation; that prophecy came not by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the holy spirit" (2 Peter 1:20-21).
Paul, another subscribing witness, recognized by historians as a great lawyer and one of the great men of his day, says:
"All scripture Is given by inspiration of God; and Is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for Instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17),
Let its now examine some circumstantial evidence of the genuineness of this book.
The opening chapter gives an account of creation, which no man could have known without being told by the Creator. Scientific research fully corroborates this account of creation.
The subscribing witnesses say, that this book was written by "holy men of God. prophets." In every part of the record will be found standing out in bold relief one character, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. His coming to earth, his mission here and ignominious death, were foretold and recorded by these prophets, who lived and died years before the advent of Jesus into the earth. Agreeable to this prophetic record, we find abundant proof in the histories of Palestine and Rome, that such a man, Jesus, appeared in Palestine, became prominent because of his teaching, and was crucified by the Jews as a malefactor.
The old part of the record, commonly known as the old testament, is fully corroborated by the testimony of the new, and the subscribing witnesses to the new were personal associates with Jesus.
It is manifest that no human mind could have conceived, years in advance, what would come to pass years thereafter and after the men who wrote concerning them had returned to the dust. Other men afterwards recorded the facts approximately as they happened in exact conformity to these predictions. The irresistible conclusion follows that the pages of the Bible were written by men at the direction of God, as His instruments.
The social, moral and intellectual progress of man has been noted in countries alone where this book has been recognized as the word of God. It has been the torch of human liberty and the guideboard to civic righteousness. The laws of the civilized nations of the earth find their basis in the law of God recorded herein by the hand of his servant, Moses. Notwithstanding the argument of the "wise men of the present," that man is a creature of evolution, no man has lived that has written a Gode of laws which, for justice, equity and righteousness, can be compared with the laws written by Moses, who claimed to have written them at the dictation of God.
Much more evidence might be submitted to prove the genuineness of the Bible as God's word, but it would be merely cumulative. Each step taken in an investigation of the contents of the Bible, as we will see, must further convince all reasonable minds, that it is God's book, given man for a specific purpose.
IV: MAN'S PLAN
Man's destiny has claimed the attention of the greatest minds of all ages. Realizing that his existence upon the earth is but brief at best, man has naturally asked: "If a man die shall he live again?" Or is the soul of man immortal, and if so, what is its state after the present life? In answering these questions speculation has formed a prominent part, many theories have been advanced, and upon these theories, with some truth added, have been built numerous earthly organizations denominated churches; each teaching a plan of salvation for some men; most of them agreeing that death is a misnomer and that man is more alive after death than before, and that at death some pass into eternal bliss, and the remaining mass of humanity into eternal torment. These, in brief, are the human plans for salvation. Could they be made much worse?
Permit me to say, that this subject is of too much importance to rest upon theory or conjecture. It will not do to say, "I believe thus and so," because such belief is now and for centuries past has been taught by some human organization. If God has provided a plan for the salvation of man, which He has revealed, it is the solemn duty of every man who desires to be saved, to search God's record for himself, and not rest his case upon the sayings of any man. Believing that the Bible is God's record, let the proof concerning salvation be made by that record, and if not so matte, man cannot afford to accept it.
Conjecture and theory concerning any subject is unstable ground upon which to build, and with stronger reasoning is this true in dealing with God's word. Our Lord tells us to "search the Scriptures" (John 5:39); that is to say, track or trace out through His Word the truths therein contained, harmonize the statements therein made, because His Word, when understood, is entirely harmonious. In doing this we must approach the subject from a reasonable standpoint. God has endowed man with reasoning potters and intends for man to use such. He has invited His creature, man, to study His plan for the salvation of man from the original penalty of sin, in a reasonable, sane
and thoughtful manner. Note His words addressed to man upon this very subject:
"Come now and let us REASON together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).
Accept no man's word as to what the Bible does or does not contain, but read it for yourself, remembering the words of the Apostle to "Prove all things: hold fast that which is good" (1 Thes. 5:21).
V: HAS GOD A PLAN?
A prudent man lays not a stone in the foundation of his building, without first completing in detail a plan, for the entire structure. This being true with finite, man, reason forces its to the conclusion, that God, the infinite, the author and builder of the universe, laid not the foundations thereof, without first formulating a plan, complete in all its details, for the beginning and consummation of all things; that He knew before He created man, what would be man's course, his trials, his destiny. In proof of this we have the testimony of His own witness, who says:
"Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world" (Acts, 15:18).
If God has a plan for the salvation of man, we may expect to find it in His record. which He gave to man for his instruction. If not revealed therein, it is not revealed at all. Let us, therefore, confine ourselves strictly to this record, the Bible.
VI: WHAT IS MAN?
The first chapter of God's book gives an account of creation, the conclusion of which was man. That we may properly apply this testimony to man, let us determine, if we can, what is man? How made and with what powers endowed?
Happily we are not left to speculation on these points, but Ave find clearly recorded therein that:
"The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed Into his nostrils the breath of life, and man BECAME a living soul" (Gen. 2:7).
That is to say, God formed the body of man from the dust of the ground. This body, however, was inanimate. It had eyes, but did not see; ears, but did not hear; hands, but could not feel. Then God breathed into the nostrils of this inanimate body the breath of life and thereupon the body became animate, a living soul, a breathing creature, a sentient being, with all the senses of sight, hearing, etc. You will observe that the record does not say that God gave man a soul and that his soul is immortal, but it does say, that the uniting of the breath of life with the dust of the ground, in the hands of the Lord, produced a living soul, a man, who was named Adam. From the day God created Adam he has added nothing to man, has created nothing new (Gen. 2:2). There was nothing then about man that was immortal, death-proof; he has not acquired it since. Withdraw from the body of man the breath, and, as we all know, man becomes a corpse. There remains no life, and if life is ever again enjoyed it must be a gift front God.
The record also discloses that it was necessary for man to feed his soul upon the fruits of the earth to sustain it, (Gen. 1:29-30). If created immortal such would have been wholly unnecessary. Food would not only have been needless, but God could not have destroyed that soul.
The first man, Adam, was created a perfect being, because all creation of God was "very good," perfect (Gen. 1:31; Deut. 32:4). He was "made a little lower than the angels" (Psa. 8:5), therefore possessing none of the angelic or spirit nature. He was created human. He was created in the likeness, or image, of God, that is, with will power, reason, sense of justice, etc., and as God has dominion over the entire universe, in like manner, God gave Adam dominion over the things of the earth (Gen. 1:26-30).
VII: LAW PROMULGATED.
God planted a garden in Eden, and gave its keeping into the hands of man, Adam (Gen. 2:8). That everything in that garden was beautiful beyond the description of present man, there can be no doubt. God having placed Adam therein, made
known to him His law, viz: Love. That law required of Adam absolute obedience to God; not an enforced obedience; he was not forced against his will to obey, but prompted by love he must obey, and a failure to so obey meant death. Created in the image of God, Adam was endowed with a will, having the right to willingly obey God because of his love for him, or willingly disobey and suffer the penalty. The penalty attached to all infraction of that law was death; God thus stating it to Adam:
"For In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17)*
* Hebrew: "Dying thou shalt die."
VIII: MAN'S FIRST TRIAL
Adam, the first man, was placed upon trial for his life before the tribunal of Jehovah God. The place of that trial, selected by the just, wise and sympathetic judge, was in the earth, the garden of Eden. Perfect and beautiful in all its parts, this was a fitting place, graciously selected by God for the trial of mall. Although endowed with a perfect human body, intellect and will power, one thing Adam did not have, viz: he had not had experience with evil, sin. In this the see a reason for what follows.
This was Adam's trial day, his judgment day. This was the first judgment day. There appeared before Adam, and his wife, on this auspicious occasion, the serpent, more subtle, as we are told, than any other beast of the field, and falsely represented to man that a refusal to obey Jehovah's law would not result in death. Heeding this false advice the law was violated and man fell (Gen. 3:1-6).
IX: JUDGMENT ENTERED
Being called before the bar of God, man admitted his guilt. Having had a fair and impartial trial, nothing remained but to assess the punishment provided; enter the judgment. This the just Judge did, and that judgment is fully set forth in the record. That judgment, affecting as it does, every man that has been horn into the world, it is important that the critically examine it.
Before doing so, permit its to observe that if eternal torment of the defendant, Adam, was the result of that trial, then Adam did not have a fair trial, because there was no such penalty named in the law.
If the sentence of that court was eternal torment for man, then we should be able to find it so stated in the record of the judgment or sentence. If not so stated therein, then we may he sure that no such penalty was ever intended to he inflicted upon man.
At the conclusion of this record it is clearly stated that God has provided a special penalty for any who shall add to or take from this book (Rev. 22:18), hence, the importance of adhering to the record as it is written.
Let the record of this judgment speak for itself (Gen. 3:14-19):
"And the Lord God said unto the serpent, 'Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; and upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life'" (vs. 14).
This part of the sentence has been fully carried out, as every man well knows.
"Unto the woman he said, 'I will greatly muluply thy sorrow and thy conception; In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee'" (vs. 16).
Every mother who has lived in the earth must testify to the literal fulfillment of that part of the sentence.
"And unto Adam he said, 'Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I command ed thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of It, cursed is the ground for thy sake; In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall It bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, TILL THOU RETURN UNTO THE GROUND, FOR OUT OF IT WAST THOU TAKEN; FOR DUST THOU ART AND UNTO DUST SHALT THOU RETURN" (vs. 17-19).
I submit that no kind of sophistry, no sort of reasoning or interpretation can make that judgment and sentence, as there recorded, meant anything else than the utter destruction or blotting out of man from the face of the earth and from the presence of God. Eternal torment is not even intimated, and no man has any authority to read into it such punishment.
Death, as therein used, means what it says, destruction, absence of life. That death sentence, by heredity, passed upon
every man that has been horn into the world, as the testimony reads:
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered Into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH" (Rom. 6:23), NOT ETERNAL TORMENT.
A careful examination of this book will fail to disclose ally other final punishment promised or provided for man.
X: SENTENCE EXECUTED
That the sentence pronounced against man was just, must be conceded by all fair-minded persons. God had clearly defined the penalty and Adam committed the sin with full knowledge thereof.
The severity of the penalty could not have been greater under God's just law.
Adam and Eve here driven from the garden of Eden. They went forth into the then cursed earth, bearing the stripes of convicts, to earn their bread in the sweat of their faces; and every man from then until now has worn these same stripes and borne similar burdens, until hidden in the tomb. We are daily reminded that this sentence is still being enforced, as we see the funeral procession pass along the streets.
Agreeable to the law promulgated, this sentence was not carried into effect instantly, but was gradually enforced. The penalty, in the Hebrew, reads: "Dying, thou shaft die." Howsoever translated, "day," as there used, did not mean twenty-four hours. A day with the Lord is as a thousand years. The process of dying began when Adam was driven from the garden of Eden, and with him ended when he reached the age of 930 years (Gen. 5:5). So ever since, the babe enters the world sick, with pain, a process of dying, which continues until returned to the dust.
XI: RANSOM AND NEW TRIAL PROMISED
In human tribunals when man is tried for an infraction of the law, convicted and sentenced, the Judge before whom the
trial is had, or some higher court of appeal, may, and frequently floes, grant the accused a new trial because of some error committed in the first trial. Such courts are composed of imperfect "'ell and for that reason errors are not uncommon; hence, new trials.
Adam, however, was tried before a just judge, Jehovah, who, because of his perfection and righteousness, could not commit error. A man having been fairly tried, the judgment being just, Jehovah, by reason of His justness, and the immutability of His law, could not grant Adam or his race a new trial. Consistent with this judgment, however, God could provide a means by which another could take man's place and redeem him from that penalty, and then the Redeemer could grant man a new trial for life and restore hint to life. The judgment, heretofore considered, said: "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head" (Gen. 3:15). This, though vague and indefinite, was a hope of some such provision.
Adam and his children went forth in the world to battle with the thorns and thistles, suffer pain and anguish, and in sorrow earn their bread by daily labor. Sin henceforth reigned in the earth and death as the result of sin. Adam died and returned to the dust, and his children and his children's children did likewise. For nearly two thousand years these conditions continued with no new evidence upon which to base a hope. The sun of hope seemed to have set forever.
XII: OATH-BOUND COVENANT FOR NEW TRIAL
Abram, whose name was afterwards changed to Abraham, then appears upon the scene. This record discloses that he was a man who pleased God by his faith and obedience. When at the age of seventy-five years the Lord told him that if he would leave his native land and go into a strange country, which the Lord would show him, that He would make of Abram a great nation and would not only bless him, but the Lord God added, "And in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:1-1). Abram was not told in what manner this blessing would he given, but having faith in the promise of God he obeyed and went forth.
Many more years passed and no more evidence of the promised blessing. Abram and his Wife were both growing old and they had no heir through whom the promise could he fulfilled, but he had an abiding faith in Jehovah and that faith was "counted unto him for righteousness" (Gen. 15:6). And as a token of His favor God changed his name to Abraham (Gen. 17:5), signifying. "Father of many nations." When these were old a son was horn to Abraham and his wife. The hope of the promised blessing sprang anew in the human breast. The Boy, Isaac, grew and being the only son of Abraham by his wife, and the hope of the promise, as Abraham saw it, naturally the father's affections were set upon this boy. To further test the faith and obedience of Abraham, God asked him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, and Abraham, having faith in God's ability to raise up Isaac from the dead, made ready to slay his son as a sacrifice, but the angel of the Lord stayed his hand, and Abraham received his son, in a figure, from the dead (Gen. 22:1-12; Heb. 11:19). Because of this faith and obedience of Abraham, God made, through the medium of His angel, a covenant with Abraham binding it with His oath, wherein he agreed to multiply the seed of Abraham "as the stars of heaven and the sands of the seashore," adding:
"And in shy SEED shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice" (Gen. 22:15-18).
XIII: BLESSING DEFERRED
God's favor having been shown in such marked degree to the son of Abraham, it seemed that the hour of the promised blessing was near. Not so, however, as years passed and the blessing came not. The promise was renewed to Isaac (Gen. 26:3-4), and Isaac died. The hope of the people then centered upon Jacob, the favored son of Isaac, to whom the promise was renewed (1 Chron. 16:16-17). As further evidence of His favor God changed the name of Jacob to Israel, and in his seed founded the twelve tribes of Israel, headed by Jacob's twelve sons, from thenceforth God's chosen people, and who remained His chosen people for many years (Gen. 32:28; 35:10-11; 49:23; Deut. 26:5; John 1:11).
Jacob died and the promise was not fulfilled. His children now domiciled in Egypt, became a great people, "mighty and prosperous" (Deut. 26:5). The promise having passed to this nation, chosen of God, they grew in strength and their hopes increased, that they would soon dominate and bless all nations of the earth. But they were doomed to disappointment. A new ruler in Egypt made them his slaves, and for nearly two hundred years they remained in bondage, sorely oppressed by the grievous burdens heaped upon them. During that time their hope almost died away and the promise was almost forgotten. At this critical hour God raised up from among His people, Moses, who proved to be a mighty instrument in the hands of the Lord. Having renewed to them the promise (Exodus 6:1-8), God, through His instrument, Moses, led the Israelites out of Egypt and they began their journey to the promised land. For forty years they wandered in the wilderness. The Lord, through Moses as His mouthpiece, then declared unto Israel:
"The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken" (Deut. 18:15).
Moses died and the people looked forward to the coming of one "like unto him." Joshua then became their chosen leader, and under his leadership, the Israelites actually entered the promised land, the Lord taking them over the river of Jordan in a miraculous manner (Josh. 3:15-16).
It seemed that the time for the fulfillment of the promise was now at hand, but not so. Joshua died, the promise not being fulfilled. Years passed without any apparent progress being made. Then there arose from among this people the shepherd boy, David, whom God placed at their head as their king. Arising to great distinction as a ruler, the hopes of this people were centered in him. David died and was followed by Solomon, the wise, who builded the mighty temple of the Lord in the city of Jerusalem. Solomon died, the blessing not having come.
Israel was overrun by other nations, carried away as captives, for a time, greatly suffered from indignities heaped upon them by their enemies, and many of them fell away front the faith and refused to return to Jerusalem. Two thousand years had now passed since God had made the oath-bound covenant with
Abraham, and the promised blessing to the families of the earth had not come.
From time to time God had raised up His holy prophets, who, as the spokesmen of the Lord, had testified to the coming of the promised deliverer. All of them with one accord had so testified to the chosen people of the Lord. A careful examination of the testimony of these holy witnesses of the Lord will show the truthfulness of this statement. Isaiah, the prophet, had testified (Isa. 53:1-12) to the manner of his coming; how he would become a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, be despised and rejected of men, "pour out his soul unto death." and be "cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of the people." and bearing their iniquities, by his knowledge he should justify many. But the people did not understand the prophets. They looked for an earthly king. The prophet Jeremiah had testified to them:
"Behold the day comes said the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell safely, and this is his name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Jer. 23:5-6).
The eyes of all Israel then turned to the house of David, looking with eagerness for the coming of their king. Being sorely vexed and oppressed by their foes, the whole nation was in expectation of the promised deliverer (Luke 3:15; 2:25-28).
Rome had become the master of the nations and her iron hand was upon Israel. The faithful were watching and waiting for the sign of deliverance. On a certain night, as this record discloses, in the City of David in the Country of Judea, a child was born, and when born the heavenly host sang together the glory of God, and witnesses then living on the earth testify, that the Lord through His angel sent to the people of earth this message
"And the angel said unto them fear not for behold I bring you GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY, WHICH SHALL BE TO ALL PEOPLE. Far unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:8-11).
The Jews were now rejoicing that their deliverer was born. Thirty years must elapse before the newborn king could attain to his legal majority. This time having arrived, Jesus appeared and began the work for which he was sent to earth (Matt. 3:13,
Luke 3:21; 4:14-15). But the manner of his appearing was a disappointment to Israel's population. It was not pleasing to the "Doctor of Divinity" class, the "wise Pharisee." He came not arrayed in robes of purple and like linen, bearing a golden scepter in his hand: but came without show or ostentation. "Meek and lowly in heart" (Matt. 11:29), as an humble servant, yet a perfect man, mentally, physically, morally. For three and a half years he went among the chosen people of the Lord teaching them concerning his coming kingdom, healing the sick ails comforting the broken hearted. The Jews not understanding him, eager to see his kingdom established that they might throw off the Roman yoke, on several occasions sought by force to make him king. Twelve men, corresponding with the twelve heads of Israel, Jesus chose as his disciples, who accompanied him on his travels. The feast of the Passover, annually celebrated by the Jews at Jerusalem, was drawing near, and Jesus and the twelve were on their way to that city. Approaching Jerusalem a great multitude assembled, and believing that the hour had come for the establishment of the kingdom, they spread their garments in the pathway of Jesus and cried aloud:
"Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is He that cometh In the name of the Lord" (Matt. 21:8-9).
Again disappointment was their portion. Within a few days thereafter Jesus was tried, convicted and crucified as a malefactor (Matt. 27:1-50). The faithful were dismayed, his nearer followers scattered, some denying him with oaths. In sorrow they returned to their fishing nets, exclaiming:
"We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel" (Luke, 24:21).
He, in whom the faithful had put their trust, was now dead, and the promise made to their father Abraham, was unfulfilled, and still remained shrouded in mystery.
Within less than forty years from that date, Jerusalem and its magnificent temple were laid waste, the city left desolate and the remnant of her people scattered to the four corners of the earth, and so remained and without favor until recent years.
Nearly two thousand years more have rolled away and still man suffers under the penalty of death, and the promised blessing to all families of the earth has not become a reality. The
promise itself has been lost sight of and the great mass of the peoples of earth are in total ignorance that such a promise was ever made, and, at this time, except for a comparatively sman number who are still holding up the light, agreeable to the words of the prophet, "darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people" (Isa. 60:2).
Although now living in a time of rapid transit and when knowledge of worldly matters is greatly increased (Dan. 12:4), yet, the precious blessing as promised by God to man, and as recorded in His book, is being forgotten or ignored by "the blind leaders of the blind" (Matt. 15:14). It is a sad commentary yet true, that the great institutions of learning of this world, are now denying the origin of man, repudiating the word of the Lord; denying man's fall and his redemption by the blood of Jesus.
The families of the earth never having received the promised blessing, and four thousand years having passed since the promise was made, the all important question to man is, will the promise ever he fulfilled?
We may be assured, that so certain as God exists, the promise will yet be fulfilled to the letter. God is the embodiment of truth. His word will not return auto Him void. He has provided the means for its full consummation, in His own due time, as we shall see (Num. 23:19; Isa. 55:11).
XIV: THE MYSTERY
God's plan for carrying out His promised blessing to all families of the earth remained shrouded in mystery for four thousand years. The Jews did not understand Jesus, not even His disciples understood him, when on earth. God's mystery was not due to be understood until after the resurrection of Jesus, and not then until after His faithful followers hall been given the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit. Just before His crucifixion Jesus said to His disciples:
"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot hear them now; howbeit, when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth" (John, 16:12-13).
After His resurrection, and before He ascended to the Father, Jesus again told His disciples that the mystery would be revealed to them when the Holy Spirit had come to them (Acts 1:6-5). At Pentecost these did receive the Holy Spirit and for the first time understood and testified concerning this mystery (Acts, 2:1-4). Even then they did not fully understand, but afterwards they did more fully understand. Paul, being after Pentecost miraculously brought to a knowledge of the Lord, received the Holy Spirit, and to him the secret was fully revealed. Concerning which he testified, saying:
"Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints (only), to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, WHICH IS CHRIST IN YOU, the hope of Glory" (Col. 1:26-27).
These words were addressed to a special class, as we shall later see, not to the world in general. It is intended of the Lord that only this special class shall understand at this time, but such will not always be the case. This mystery is God's plan for the salvation of men, yet it is now hid from all except those who, full of faith, in God's promises earnestly seek for the truth. In the pages following we shall endeavor to point out this mystery by giving an outline of God's revealed plan. Through His prophet God has said:
"The secret of the Lord is with them that fear (reverence) Him and He will show them His covenant" (Psa. 25:14).
XV. GOD'S PLAN EXAMINED
In studying God's plan we are admonished to "rightly divide the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). This we must do with reference to epochs of time, because what is applicable to one epoch often has no application to another. The Scriptures disclose that God's plan is divided into three great epochs or dispensations of time, which dispensations are called worlds. The first dispensation began with the creation of man and ended with the deluge and is designated by Peter, "The world that was" (2 Pet. 3:6). Dispensation the second embraces the period of time from the flood to the establishment of the Lord's kingdom on earth at the second appearing of Christ, and is called by the same witness,
"this present evil world" (Gal. 1:4), because it is under the limited control of Satan, who is called the "Prince of this world" (John 12:31; Eph. 2:2; Mal. 3:15); his Satanic influence being predominant in this world, or dispensation. The third dispensation is to be a "World without end" (Isa. 45:17), has its beginning with the establishment of the kingdom of God on earth, continues forever and is called "the world to come, wherein dwelleth righteousness," evil not being permitted therein (Heb. 2:5; 2 Pet. 3:13; Psa. 37:9).
Dispensation the first has no subdivisions so far as God's word discloses. The second dispensation is sub-divided into three separate and distinct periods translated worlds, in the common English version. The Greek word here used for world is aion, properly translated Age. The first sub-division is the Age of the Patriarchs, which began with the calling of Abraham (Gen. 12:1-4), and ended with the death of Jacob, at which time Jacob's twelve sons were made the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel; and here began the Jewish Age, during which period God's favor was shown only to the Jews (Amos 3:2). The Jewish Age ended with the crucifixion of Jesus, the Lord's favor being then withdrawn from that nation (Matt. 23:35). The third subdivision is known as the Gospel or Christian Age, which began at Jesus' death and ends when Christ again appears and sets up his kingdom (Matt. 13:39). This is also the end of the "present evil world." and the beginning of the "world to come." The Scriptures disclose only the first subdivision of the Third Dispensation, which is the Millennial Age (Rev. 20:4).
Space will not permit a detailed examination at this time of the testimony relating to the various ages.* We here merely call attention to these divisions of time, and if the reader will keep these in mind he will thereby be enabled to "rightly divide the word of truth" and apply the testimony to the time or age for which it is intended.
* See, Plan of Tim Ages, p. 65.
NECESSITY FOR A RANSOM
From the evidence thus far examined the have learned that Adam before his fall was a perfect man; that he was tried, justly convicted and a judgment entered against him, forfeiting his life: that the whole human race being then in his loins, all men were born under that death sentence. That judgment worked
a complete "attainder of blood." All men must, at the end of their brief earthly existence, die and remain forever dead, unless redeemed from that death sentence. Because of the unchangeable law of God a pardon could not be, and therefore never was, granted to man. God's justice must be satisfied. If satisfied by another paying the judgment it is manifest that nothing short of a perfect human life could meet the requirement, because it was a perfect human life, a right to live forever as a man, that Adam forfeited. In all the earth there was not a perfect man who could take Adam's place and redeem him and his race from the death sentence. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and others had pleased God by their faith and obedience, but they had inherited the sin of Adam, and were therefore not actually perfect. Upon this point the witnesses positively state:
"There is none good, no, not one for all had sinned." "None of them could by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom (corresponding price) for him" (Psa. 14:3; Rom. 3:10, 23; Psa. 49:7).
It is here pertinent to inquire, who is Jesus, whom, as the have seen, was foretold by all the holy prophets, born of a woman, lived among men and was crucified?
Out of the twelve tribes of Israel. Judah was selected as the one from whence the deliverer must come (Gen. 49:10; Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:6). According to the promise made to Abraham the Savior must be of the seed of Abraham. Matthew traces the genealogy of Jesus from Abraham, through Judah and David. showing that he was born of the flesh in harmony with the promise. Had Jesus been begotten by man he could not have been perfect, but being begotten by the miraculous power of God he was perfect (Matt. 1:1-25). He was, therefore, capable of becoming a ransom for the human race. When on earth, Jesus, speaking of himself, said:
"For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY" (Mark 10:45).
That our faith may be deeply laid in a solid foundation, concerning the ransom of man from the Adamic sentence of death, it is here important to determine Jesus' nature when on earth: that is, whether He was a man of the human nature, or whether He was divine, or whether He was both human and
divine. This point, we believe, has confused many honest seekers after truth.
The theory of the incarnation of Jesus is held by many good and honest Christian people. That theory, as the understand it, is this: That Jesus, when on earth, was divine, of the divine nature; that His body of human flesh was merely a covering or clothing for His spiritual or divine body: that when he left Heaven to become a man, or to take the body of flesh, He laid aside nothing, but retained His divine nature, taking the body of flesh only as a covering to he used as a medium of communication with men. Some hold that He was both a perfect man and a perfect God.
These theories we cannot accept and shall here attempt to show that they are violently opposed to both reason and God's word of truth.
It is impossible to conceive how two perfect beings could exist in one body. Such a combination could be neither human nor spiritual, but a mere hybrid thing, therefore incapable of being a ransom for man. Let us keep in mind that ransom means an exact, corresponding price.
Adam was of the human nature, perfect, and it was this perfect human soul that God sentenced to death. It is not comprehensible how anything short of a being of the human nature perfect could be given as all exact corresponding price, a ransom, for Adam and his race, and meet God's exact justice, if an angel or any spiritual being higher than man was accepted, then God was unjust in accepting more than he had required of Adam. If anything less than a perfect human being, of the human nature, was accepted, then such did not constitute a ransom price. In accepting either, God would not be exactly just, therefore impossible with God. We must not forget that there are some things impossible even with God, such as injustice, inconsistency or falsehoods. If the incarnation theory be correct, only the covering, the body of flesh, could have been sacrificed, and if nothing more than a mere body of flesh and blood was sacrificed, then such sacrifice was false and fraudulent, could not have exactly met the penalty then standing against the human race, and therefore all men must perish under the original sentence: and the promise was made in vain. But why theorize? Let us turn to the Lord's word and see what that says.
We here state the following propositions, which the hold are fully supported by the Bible testimony, namely: That Jesus existed from the beginning with the Father, a spiritual being; that in obedience to the Father's will, and for the express purpose of redeeming man, he voluntarily laid aside or gave up his spiritual nature in exchange for human nature, came down from heaven and became a perfect man, taking the human nature; that at the age of thirty years, when he reached perfect manhood under the law, he presented himself, his human life, to the Father as a living sacrifice even unto death, and was at that time by the Father begotten to the spiritual nature of the highest order, was thereafter put to death, thereby becoming the ransom for all men, and at his resurrection was born to the spiritual nature of the highest order, the divine nature and became immortal. In support of these propositions we submit the following Bible proof:
In the testimony of the witness joint the read, that in the beginning Jesus was with God, and was the active agent in the creation of all thins (John 1:1-3). That He was the beginning of the creation (Rev. 3:1-5). Being with the Father, who is a Spirit, Jesus was necessarily of the spiritual nature. He came down from heaven in obedience to the Father's will (John 6:38), for the express purpose of becoming a ransom for man.
"God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:17).
The Scriptures nowhere intimate that a spiritual being was given as a sacrifice for the satiation of man. Before coming to earth Jesus was rich, and by coming here He became poor. The testimony reads:
"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich" (2 Cor. 8:9).
In what was he rich? In life and spiritual glory with the Fattier in heaven. How did he become poor? By becoming a man, taking a lower nature. in becoming a sin-offering for man. Note the testimony of the prophet Isaiah 53:
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isa. 53:3). "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him' he hath put him to grief" (Isa. 53:10). "For he was cut off out of the land of the living, for the transgression of my people was he stricken" (Isa. 53:8).
The translation of Phil. 2:6-7, as given in our common English version, is misleading. We give below three different translations, which makes clearer the point at issue:
"Who being (originally-margin) in the form of God, counted it not a prize (a thing to be grasped-margin) to be on an equality with God; but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men" (Revised Version).
"Who existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped; but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men" (American Rev. Com.).
"Who, though being in God's form, yet did not meditate a usurpation to be like God; but divested himself, taking a bondman's form, having been made in the likeness of men" (Emphatic Diaglott).
The Apostle Paul tells us that "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." The foregoing clearly shows that originally Jesus a spirit being with a spiritual body, had the same form of God, but did not, as Satan did (Isa. 14:12-14) attempt by usurpation to become equal or above God, but being "Meek and lowly of heart," obedient to the Father's will, he emptied himself, divested himself Of his spiritual nature, wherein he was rich, and became poor by taking the human nature, taking a bondsman's form; that is, he became a man that he might take the place of all men who were under the bonds of death. This view is entirely harmonious with all the Bible testimony on this point.
God's law required "a life for a life" (Exodus 21:23; Deut. 19:21), and in this case, a human life, exactly corresponding to the perfect life lost. It was a perfect human life that Adam lost. A perfect human life must be given in its stead to satisfy the penalty. According to the promise, this human life must be of the seed of Abraham. Now note the Apostle's testimony, in harmony with these two requirements:
"For verily he took not on him the nature of angels (spiritual, though on a lower plane) but took on him the seed of Abraham (human nature). Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation (satisfaction) for the sins of the people" (Heb. 2:16-17).
He was the son of God, begotten by the power of God, and therefore a perfect man (Luke, 1:35). If a perfect man, he could not have been a combination of two natures. Adam was also the son of God, before he fell (Luke 3:35), and was created
perfect as a man, but after his fall his children were all children of wrath (Eph. 2:3).
Adam and Jesus were the two, and only, perfect men that have lived on earth: both sons of God. By the disobedience of Adam sin entered into the world, by the obedience of Jesus, even unto death, life is offered to all the world (Rom. 5:12-19).
We read in Matt. 1:18-25, how Jesus was, by the power of God begotten to the human nature, and was afterwards born of a woman, like other babes are born, a human being. From his youth he was subject to His mother and grew up and "increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men" (Luke 2:51-52). If a spiritual being, incarnated, why was it necessary for him to grow up like other men? Why did he not assume a fully developed human body? If divine, how could he have increased in wisdom and in favor with God and men? If divine, it is hardly necessary to say that he would have been all wise at all times and could not have increased. Can it be said that the process of growing up and increasing in wisdom was a mere pretense to impress men and obtain their favor? Certainly not, because God could not and does not resort to pretenses.
The Bible testimony nowhere says that Jesus was incarnated, but it does say, "He was made flesh and dwelt among men" (John 1:14).
He was born of a woman under the law, an Israelite, that he might redeem those under the law, as well as all other men (Gal. 4:4-5). At the age of thirty years, when he became a perfect man under the law, he at once consecrated himself, his perfect human life, soul, being, to the Father, even unto death. He here agreed to give up his human existence, his life, his all, that the Father might beget him to the spiritual nature, to the end that he might be born a spirit being after the actual death of the human. This consecration he symbolized by water baptism. John did not understand why Jesus should be baptized, but performed this symbol at the earnest request of Jesus. Immediately following this consecration, and the outward testimony thereof by submitting to baptism, he was anointed of the Holy Spirit of God and was then and there begotten by the Father to the spiritual, the divine nature. He here became the Christ, the anointed one. Christ meaning
"anointed one." As evidence of these statements note the following testimony:
"And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and lo, the heavens were opened unto him (if divine the heavens would have been open all the time) and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This Is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:16-17).
That he was here begotten we read:
"So also Christ (anointed one) glorified not himself to be made a high priest but he (God) that said unto him, Thou art My Son, TODAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN TREE" (Heb. 5:5).
This begetting, as we have seen, took place at the time Jesus was anointed of the Holy Spirit of God. We cite the further testimony:
"That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judea and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached, how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost (spirit) and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him" (Acts 10:37-38).
If divine, merely incarnated, this anointing and giving to him of power by the Father would have been wholly useless, and certainly God resorts to nothing useless. If Jesus was at all times divine, how could God beget him to a new nature? Impossible. To us this seems conclusive proof against the incarnation theory. But there is much more evidence against it.
A begetting always precedes a birth of any creature. Jesus clearly laid down the proposition that all human beings who would enter the heavenly, spiritual kingdom must be born again, born spiritual beings. Nicodemus desired of Jesus to know how he could enter the kingdom, and Jesus answered him and said:
"Verily, verily I say unto thee except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).
The birth here referred to is spiritual birth and for that reason Nicodemus did not understand Jesus. Again Jesus said:
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit" (John 3:6).
We have seen that Jesus was born of woman, of the flesh, and was therefore flesh when on the earth, but at the time of his consecration of that human nature to death he was begotten of the spirit. Actual death of the flesh necessarily had to precede the actual birth of the spirit. The spirit that was begotten by
the Father at the time of consecration was actually born a spirit at the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:16-23). The begetting is not the being, but only the embryo from which the being is developed, therefore not a being until birth. This testimony of Jesus clearly demonstrates that two perfect natures cannot exist in one body at the same time, and is conclusive that when on earth he was not both human and divine.
Let its examine some more testimony showing that he was a man and not divine, when in the flesh.
He had greater power when he was on earth and by the use of such power performed many miracles, but this power was not of himself, but all came from the Father. Note what he said about this:
"Then answered Jesus and said unto them, verily, verily, I say unto you the Son CAN DO NOTHING OF HIMSELF, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the San and showeth him all things that Himself doeth, and He WILL SHOW HIM GREATER WORKS THAN THESE that ye may marvel" (John, 5:19-20).
Manifestly if divine he could have seen all things without being shown of the Father. Again he says:
"I CAN OF MINE OWN SELF DO NOTHING; as I hear I judge and My judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will but the will of the Father which hath sent Me. If I bear witness of Myself My witness is not true" (John 5:30-31).
Now note his testimony concerning the glory which lie had when in the spirit and which he did not have when in the flesh. Just previous to his crucifixion he prayed to the Father in these words:
"And now, Oh Father, glorify (honor) Thou Me with Thine Own Self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" (John 17:5).
If he laid aside nothing to become a man, then this testimony is false, but we know it is not false because from Jesus. In his pre-human existence he enjoyed glory, honor, with the Father in the spirit. He had a spiritual body, spiritual nature. This he voluntarily exchanged for a human existence. As a spiritual being he did not die, but merely exchanged the higher for the lower nature, man nature, that he might redeem the human race. His human existence is now about ended. He knows he must now go into death, and he prays the Father to again give hin the glory as a spiritual being which he once enjoyed.
If he was a divine being incarnated he could not have been tempted, yet we read that he was tempted in all points like as we are tempted (Heb. 4:15). Matthew details in what he was tempted by Satan, after having fasted for forty days in the wilderness. Jesus here refers to himself as a man (vs. 4), and after Satan had left him angels came and ministered unto him (Matt. 4:1-11). Could angels have been of assistance to a divine being?
In Gethsemane he suffered intense agony, sweating great drops of blood. Was this suffering of the flesh? It could not have been, for the reason that at the time of his agony he was undergoing no bodily punishment. If a divine being incarnated, nothing but the flesh could have suffered; therefore, we must conclude that this suffering was of the soul, the being, mental agony. His whole existence had been with life. He was now facing death. True the father had covenanted to raise him up from the dead, but before the Father could do so, Jesus must fulfill to the letter his part of the covenant. Should he fail in any particular he could not meet the Father's requirements. Should he fail he must become extinct and all men, then under the death sentence, must likewise perish (I Cor. 15:16-18). Realizing his relation to the covenant and his great responsibility, and fearing that he might fail, he was overwhelmed, and in agony, he offered up prayers to the Father, with crying and tears. Concerning this point note the testimony of the Apostle:
"Who in the days of his flesh when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save him from (out of) death, and was heard in that he feared" (Heb. 5:7).
If a divine being incarnated, why would lie offer up prayers and supplications in tears to the Father? Or was this crying and supplication a mere outward show to impress his disciples; a mere farce and a sham? If incarnation theory be true, their it could hate been nothing more than a subterfuge, a farce. But we know there was no farce in connection with this occurrence, because the Lord is the embodiment of truth and honesty.
Then the apostle tells its that the Fattier heard Jesus, answered hint. concerning the thing which he feared. The Father evidently assured Jesus that he had been faithful and he would raise him up front the dead. If a divine being he would have
had no fear concerning the death of the flesh. Luke, speaking of this occasion, says:
"And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven strengthening him" (Luke 22:43).
Is it possible that an angel could strengthen a God? We have seen that Jesus' pre-human existence was above the angels, and he took not the nature of angels when he came to earth, but "was made a little lower than the all angels." If he did not lay aside his spiritual nature, but retained it when he became a man, being merely incarnated, then why not comfort himself instead of having a being of a lower order come to strengthen him? Is not this proof that he was only a man?
The testimony is, that "Being found in fashion as a man he humbled himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross." That is, after he became poor as a man he further humbled himself by being put to death as a man, as a ransom for all men. This was carrying out his consecration. He was a perfect man, holy, harmless and separate from sinners (Heb. 7:26, 28). As a substitute for Adam's race it was absolutely necessary that he should be such, and that he should suffer the agony of death for sinners. There was no sham, no fraud or deception about his death. It was not merely the flesh that died, but his whole being, his soul. If he was a divine being incarnated, then nothing could have died except the flesh, yet we read that "He hath poured out his soul unto death" (Isa. 53:12). It was his soul, his human existence, his all, that died and was placed in hell (the tomb). Now note the testimony concerning this point:
"Because Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine holy one to see corruption." "His soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption" (Acts 2:7, 31).
In this connection let us examine the testimony of the Apostle Concerning Jesus being made perfect by suffering. We react:
"For it became Him (God) for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain (Author--Jesus) of their salvation PERFECT THROUGH SUFFERINGS" (Heb. 2:10).
Manifestly the sufferings here referred to, do not mean that a perfect man was made by sufferings, because Jesus was a perfect man before he Suffered. He suffered nothing before he
was made a man, for the reason, as he testifies, that during his pre-human existence he had glory with the Father. Then how could sufferings make him perfect and in what respect? Being a perfect man, perfect in human nature, we have seen heretofore that he consecrated that human perfection, all that he had, to death, and was then and there by the spirit of God begotten to a new nature, spiritual nature of the highest order. This new creature now, begotten must be born before it could become perfect, and before the new creature could be born it was necessary for the old, the human being to actually suffer death -- extinction. In no other way could he become a ransom for man. From the time of his consecration, his suffering began and culminated on the cross when he cried, "It is finished." He was then dead, actually extinct. His future existence, and that of the whole human race, for which He died, depended entirely upon the resurrection, according to the Father's promise, and on the third day he was resurrected a new, a spiritual being, and given life as such, and "became the first fruits of them that slept" (1 Cor. 15:23). By suffering death as a man, the begetting to the new nature that took place at the time of his consecration, was made perfect by birth of the new creature, at the resurrection, a spirit being.
It was sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:44). See also Rom. 1:3-4.
He was resurrected a spirit being of the highest nature, of the divine nature. exalted above all, save God alone, as we read:
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name" (Phil. 2:9).
If a divine being incarnated, then he could not have been exalted. The divine nature is the only nature (therein dwelleth immortality. In the beginning God alone was divine, immortal, as plainly stated by the Apostle (1 Tim. 6:16). It is clearly stated by Jesus that he did not possess immortality when on earth. in these words:
"For as the Father HATH LIFE IN HIMSELF so hath He GIVEN to the Son TO HAVE life in himself" (John 5:26).
If the time was coming when he would have immortality, certainly he did not possess it when on earth. But after his resurrection and exaltation, note what he says concerning this:
I am He that liveth, and was dead: behold, I am alive forever more" Rev. 1:18; see also Rom. 6:9; 1 John 3:2; 2 Pet. 1:3-4).
Now let us notice some testimony concerning the power that He had after His resurrection, His birth a spiritual being, Which He did not possess prior thereto, just preceding His ascension He appeared to the disciples and said to them:
"All authority hath been given Me in heaven and In earth" (Matt. 28:18, Rev. Ver.).
Again He said:
"And have the keys of hell and death" (Rev. 1:18; see also 1 Cor. 15:25-27).
Concerning his exaltation and porter the Apostle said:
"The God of our Fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5:30-31).
We have seen from the testimony, that in the beginning He was rich and for man's sake became poor, that He might redeem man, and according to the testimony we see Him made rich again, as we read:
"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and RICHES and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing". (Rev. 5:12).
It was for the love and joy of becoming the savior of man and being exalted to the place of ruler over and restorer of all things (Rom. 14:9) that Jesus left the heavenly courts, became a man and humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross. Of this the Apostle says:
"Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2).
XVI: HIS DEATH, RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION NECESSARY EFFECT
It was a part of God's plan that Jesus should shed his blood for man. This He prefigured in the Passover instituted before the Israelites left Egypt (Exodus, 12:12-14), and in the sacrifice of animals performed by that people, under God's law, until the sacrifice of Jesus (Heb. 9:11-20; 10:8-18). The Sacrifice of Jesus, the anti-typical lamb, was expressly foretold by the prophet and He was put to death as a lamb "without spot and without blemish" (Isa. 53; 1 Pet. 1:19).
All men there under the sentence of death, as the result of the violation of God's law by Adam, the father of the race, and all men must forever perish unless redeemed from that sentence. Because of the unchangeableness of His laws God can not pardon man. Without the shedding of blood the sin could not he remitted (Heb. 9:22). We have observed that nothing but a perfect human life could satisfy that judgment and meet the requirements of God's law. It was therefore absolutely necessary for Jesus to be a perfect man, and being made a perfect human being he was fully qualified to meet the requirements of the law. By giving his life for man He did meet the legal demand and thereby made it possible for man to be brought back to righteousness and live. "He gave himself a ransom for all" (1 Tim. 2:6), that is He gave His perfect human nature, life, corresponding exactly with what Adam, and through him the whole race, lost; and by voluntarily submitting to death Jesus became the propitiation, the satisfaction, for the sin of Adam and all his posterity (1 John 2:2). This satisfaction of the judgment, however, did not give man life, but it did guarantee to every man an opportunity, or a trial, for life. Man must be brought back from his imperfect, degraded condition where the sin had placed him, to justification, human perfection, where He stood before the judgment was entered against him, and until this is done the ransom is not fully operative. Therefore another step was necessary, viz: Jesus must be resurrected, must be made alive again, given life as a divine being, and then ascend to the Father and present to Him the sacrifice, which sacrifice must be accepted by the Father and Christ endowed with the authority to bring man back to the point from which he fell. Note the testimony, "Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures," "and was raised again for our justification" (1 Cor. 15:3; Rom. 4:25). That is to say, He was raised up in order that He might bring its to justification, human perfection, the place occupied by Adam before the fall. Had He not been raised up there would have been no hope for man, because there would have been none to raise man up. The testimony reads:
"And if Christ be not raised your faith is vain; ye are yet ht your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. But now is Christ risen from the dead and become the first fruits of them that slept" (1 Cor. 15:17-18, 20).
And we know that his sacrifice was accepted by the Father, because of the evidence given at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).
How did the satisfaction of the judgment affect man? Nearly two thousand years have elapsed since the ransom was paid, and are men not still dying? This is true, yet this is no argument against the ransom. God did not see fit until four thousand years after the judgment was entered against man, to send his beloved Son to satisfy it. "He gave himself a ransom for all to he testified in due time (1 Tim. 2:6). The ransom becomes operative to every man only when he hears and understands the testimony concerning it, and so hearing and understanding he must accept or reject it, but the time for him to hear and understand must be left entirely with the Lord. God does not enforce salvation upon any man, but gives him a chance to accept or reject it. Note the words of His witness: "As by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification" (Rom. 5:18). "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22). The time when this shall be done is His "own due time."
Again we read, that Jesus bought the human race with a price, to-wit: His own precious blood (1 Cor. 6:20; Heb. 9:12). Having satisfied justice by paying the exact price due God's justice, the race was transferred to Jesus by purchase. Justification means human perfection, being restored to what was lost. Jesus was raised up for the purpose of bringing man to justification. Having become the owner of the race He could do with it as He chose (Matt. 20:15). He could restore man at such time and under such circumstances as He might will. The Lord owed man nothing. All that man gets is purely a gift front God, which gift is prompted wholly by love. Should He choose to exalt some men to a spiritual nature and make some perfect men He can do so consistent with justice. Jesus said: "As the Father raised up the dead and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will" (John 5:21. All the testimony is to the effect that man, before He is given life as a human or spiritual being must first be justified, either actually or reckonedly. This bringing hack to justification
necessitates a trial, man must undergo a trial or judgment to manifest his willingness to render himself obedient to righteousness. God's law does not permit judgment to be entered against His creature without a trial, and Jesus having bought the race necessarily would have to try man. The question here naturally arises, did the Father give to Jesus the authority to give to each man a trial, a chance, to accept Christ Jesus as his ransom and to signify his willingness to become obedient to the Lord and righteousness? Jesus answered this question thus:
"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son. And hath given him authority to execute judgment also" (John 5:22, 27).
The Father judgeth no man for the manifest reason He tried and judged and sentenced man, Adam, and all his race to death. God cannot deal with man further, except through the mediator, Jesus Christ. Jesus having satisfied the judgment entered against Adam, now must give to his race an individual trial for life, and the mere fact that he says that to him has been committed the authority to judge, and execute judgment, is conclusive that he will try the race, giving life to all who meet the requirements of that trial, and send those who do not meet the requirements into the second death.
XVII: ESTABLISHING HIS COURT
A trial pre-supposes a court in which that trial must be field. God gave to His chosen people, through the medium of Moses, His law which law provided for the trial of all offenses committed by that people. Moses administered the law, as the Chief justice of the tribunal established for the trial of offenses, and he had associates and servants who gave him assistance therein (Deut. 1:15-17). Civilized nations of earth have patterned their laws and courts after God's law, commonly called the Mosaic law. Higher courts of this country are composed not only of one but many judges, one Chief justice and associates.
Moses was a type of Christ (Deut. 15:15). He was the head of God's chosen people, the chief of that house or nation,
which nation was a type of a better class to follow, as we shall see. We have seen that Jehovah has made Jesus Christ the judge of men to try them and bring back to righteousness all who are willing to come. While we readily concede that in this work Jesus would need no assistance, yet in view of the type might we not reasonably expect to find in God's plan some provisions for assistants or associates in that work, who would be granted the great privilege of being associated with Jesus the Chief judge in the trial of the world of mankind? If so, and such associates are to be taken from amongst men, we are sure from the testimony heretofore examined, that these must be first tried and then highly exalted to the position of associates with the Savior, and such, that is Jesus, the Chief justice, and the assistants or associates, would necessarily constitute the court in which the world would be tried. If we find that God's plan so provides, then it follows that this court must be first established and opened for the trial before that trial can begin, and therefore before the ransom could become operative as to all men. "Order is heaven's first law," and "every man in his own order" is the rule laid down (1 Cor. 15:22-23).
Our Calvinistic friends leave always adhered to the doctrine of election; our Methodist friends, and others, the doctrine of free grace. Probably in a sense they are both correct. If a special class is to be chosen as associates with Jesus Christ, that would be election. If afterwards the Messing promised shall be extended to all men, that would he free grace. Election necessarily precedes free grace. Let us first ascertain from the Word whether or not God, in His plan, has provided for the selection of a special or elect class.
During the Jewish Age the children of Israel mere God's elect or chosen people. To none other was His favor shown (Amos 3:2). The house of Israel, composed entirely of human beings, was called "the house of servants," of which house Moses was the head (Heb. 3:1-5). Moses, as we have seen, was a type of Christ the Messiah. The "house of servants" was a type or shadow of a better house to follow, as we will observe from the testimony to follow.
The man Jesus was born a Jew, of the "seed of Abraham" of the house of David (Heb. 2:16; Rom. 1:3). When on earth he taught only the Jews, He offered to that nation the exalted favors of his coming kingdom of glory, but the offer was rejected and "their house was left unto them desolate" (Luke 13:35). Within a few days after this memorable declaration by Jesus, He was crucified. Here at his death ended the Jewish Age. God's favor being withdrawn from that nation. At the same time began the Gospel or Christian Age, the beginning of the establishment of the "house of sons." To become a "house of sons" instead of a "house of servants" was the favor Jesus offered the Jews. Note the testimony of John:
"He came to his own and his own received him not; but as many as received him to them (individually) gave he power to become the sons of God" (John 1:11-12).
From the above it is seen that those of the Jews who accepted Jesus did not at once become sons of God, but were given the power, the opportunity, to afterwards attain to that distinction, become members of the "house of sons." No man could become a member of that house while Jesus was on earth. Why? Because Jesus must first die, be resurrected a spirit, ascend to the Father and present his sacrifice which must be accepted of the Father. "Jesus was not yet glorified" (John 7:39), which must first take place. The "house of sons" is to be a spiritual house, composed of spirit beings, and before a man can become a member thereof he must die as a man and "be born of the spirit" (John 3:5-6). Before this opportunity could be opened to man Jesus must be first raised up (John 3:14), and become the head of "the house of sons," and through Him the members thereof must be afterwards selected. Jesus must go before and prepare the house, so he stated to his disciples, who become actual members of that "house of sons" when Jesus returns (See John 14).
Before man can he born of the spirit he must be first begotten of the spirit, as the have heretofore seen. Prior to the resurrection of Jesus no man was ever begotten of the spirit, save Jesus alone. Before going away Jesus told His disciples He would pray to the Father and the Father would send them the Holy Spirit (John 14). This must he done before the door to the race course would be open to man, permitting him to enter
and run in the race for a place in the "house of sons." When did this door open? Fifty days after the crucifixion, at Pentecost when the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and in tongues previously unknown to them, they proclaimed the glad tidings to the people (Acts 2:1-41). This was the beginning of the selection or election of the special class to become members of the "house of sons."
For three and one-half years after the crucifixion the Apostles preached the gospel to the Jews alone, and until the Lord directed Peter to go to the Gentiles, and in obedience to that command Peter event to Cornelius, echo was the first Gentile to receive the glad tidings, the first Gentile to whom the opportunity was given to become a member of the house of sons (Acts 10:20-43). The other Apostles did not understand why Peter had carried the gospel to the Gentiles, and they all assembled to consider this matter. Peter then explained to them how God had directed him to go to Cornelius, and further, that it was God's purpose to "First visit the Gentiles and take out from them a people for his name," a chosen, elect class, and that afterwards His favor would again be extended to the Jews the "house of servants," and then to all nations (Acts 15:14-17). The entire Gospel Age is allotted to the election of this special class. Knowing from the beginning that Israel would reject Jesus, this special class, but not the individuals, was by the Lord "Chosen from the beginning, elected according to the foreknowledge of God" (2 Thes. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2). This special class is designated by many names, for instance: "The called ones" according to the foreknowledge of God (Rom. 8:28-29; 1 Cor. 1:2, 24). "Those called to be saints" (Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; 6:1-2); "The Church", meaning called out class, called out from the world (Eph. 3:21; 5:23-24, 32). Again called "The Bride." Jesus the Bridegroom, the elect the bride (Rev. 18:23; John 3:29; Rev. 21:2; 9:22:17).
Again this class is mentioned as "members of the Christ body," that is to say, Christ Jesus as the head, and this "Bride Class," "The church," composing the members of that body (see Rom. 12:5: Eph. 5:23-24; 1 Cor. 12:12-14). To illustrate: we say the army of the United States is a body of soldiers, with the President as the head of the body, each soldier composing a
member thereof. So Jesus is the head, and the church, His bride, composed of many members are "'embers of the body, together composing "The Christ body."
The members of the body, Jesus described as a "little flock," which shows there will be, comparatively, but a few in the body of Christ (Luke 12:32).
From the foregoing testimony we gather that this special class is "called out from the world according to the foreknowledge of God." Then we may properly ask, what kind of a calling is it and to what? The Word answers, it is "the high calling of God in Christ Jesus;" a "heavenly calling" to be "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" (Phil. 3:14; Heb. 3:1; Rom. 8:17).
This evidence clearly shows that God has made provisions for a little flock, or small class, which He is calling to heavenly glory. Let us now determine from His Word, if we can, the following questions in the order named:
(1) Who are called and elected?
(2) How can man become one of the elect?
(3) Why elected and made members of the Christ body?
XVIII: THE ELECT
In electing men to earthly offices, many run, but few are elected. How does this compare with the election to the heavenly Christ Body? Jesus Christ, being the head of that body. Whet) completed, is the most competent witness to answer. He taught his disciples concerning his coming kingdom, or court. These lessons were taught in parables. In the 20th and 22nd chapters of Matthew He spoke concerning those who will inherit that kingdom, and clearly points out that "Many are called but few are chosen" (Matt. 20:16; 22:14), to offices in his kingdom.
This call, as the will observe from the testimony to follow. extends over the entire gospel age, and while it is not confined to any particular nation, color or tribe (1 Cor. 12:13) many hear the call, but few successfully stand the trial and are chosen Among those called and chosen will be not "many wise, mighty or noble" as these terms are understood and applied by men of the world (1 Cor. 1:26).
XIX: MEN--HOW ELECTED
How can man become one of the elect? This question is of the utmost importance to every man who sincerely desires to enter that spiritual kingdom, and one which, such are eager to understand.
Jesus, in answer to a question of similar import asked him by a Jewish officer, in substance told Nicodemus, that lie must first believe on Jesus as the Christ. the Savior of men, and then, before he could enter the kingdom of heaven lie must be begotten and born of the Spirit, that is, give up the human and become a spirit being (John 3:1-15).
Now seeing is believing, as it has been said. Nicodemus saw Christ and heard the words from His lips, but no man hath seen Him since he ascended to the Father. How then can man believe on Him whom he hath not seen? The witness, Paul, answers: "The just shall live by faith" (Heb. 10:38), and "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17), and "Faith," is defined as, "The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1).
We believe that which the see with our natural eyes, and we also have faith in, or believe by faith, things shown us to exist, by proof or evidence coming from a truthful source. All things pertaining to the heavenly kingdom are hidden from the, natural eye of man, therefore our believing concerning things of that kingdom must be by faith, based upon truthful evidence, and Jesus testified that the word of God, the Bible, which testifies of Jesus, is the truth (John 17:17). So when we believe the testimony therein given by God's witnesses, we have faith in God, in Jesus and all things therein stated.
How does faith affect salvation? In the 4th chapter of Romans, after detailing the promise made to Abraham, heretofore considered, the witness says, "The promise was not made to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith" (vs. 13). It was Abraham's faith in the promise that pleased the Lord. What was the reward to Abraham for His faith? "It was imputed to him for righteousness," that is to say, he was reckoned by Jehovah as a perfect,
righteous man. For the purpose of showing that faith is of the first importance to its the Apostle, continuing his argument, says:
"Now it was not written for his (Abraham's) sake alone that it was Imputed to him but for us also, to whom it shall to Imputed if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered (to death) for our offences and was raised again for our justification" (Rom. 4:23-25).
Because of Adam's transgression all men are begotten and born in sin, away down below the level of human perfection (Psa. 51:5). When man reaches the age of understanding and hears the truth concerning God's plan for leis salvation; when he realizes that he is included in the original death sentence, and that Jesus died "for his offences and was raised from the (lead for his justification," that he might have life; when he hears this testimony, if he believes and accepts it as the truth, then he has faith therein, and in consideration for his faith in the merit of Jesus' sacrifice, God imputes to this fallen man righteousness, that is, reckonedly he becomes a perfect man. He is not actually perfect but constructively so in the sight of the Lord. This is the came kind of righteousness that God imputed to Abraham. Figuratively speaking, man is here picked up by the Lord and placed on the level of human perfection, where Adam stood before the fall, and man is then, for the first time, at peace with God through Jesus Christ, as we read: "Therefore, being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1). God now deals with us individually through Jesus Christ our Lord, who appears before God as our advocate, counselor, our attorney. God recognizes man in no other way and through no other medium. Having now been brought to terms of peace with God, through the merit of the blood of our Savior, we must begin to render obedience, and the first act of obedience which is required of its is the confession of our faith before God and man. The testimony is clear that, "whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed" to confess his name. " With the mouth confession is trade unto salvation" (Rom. 10:9-11: Matt. 10:32: Luke 12:8; 2 Tim. 2:12; I John 2:22; Phil. 2:9-11).
Through the same medium, Christ Jesus, We may now, for the first time entertain a hope of glory, as we read, "By whom
also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom. 5:2). What is the glory for which we may now dare hope? It is the glory of becoming a member of the "house of sons," being exalted from the human to the divine nature, made spiritual beings and given immortality, being "made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:17) in His kingdom, in His court. Wonderful prize! If we obtain this at all we must get it upon the same conditions that Jesus received it, the only difference being that he was perfect as a man and was required to render perfect obedience, while with its we are imperfect, must do the best we can, relying upon the grace of the Lord and His promises. But we must follow in his footsteps (1 Pet. 2:21). This means voluntarily giving up our human nature, now reckoned perfect, that we may be raised to the spiritual nature of the highest order. As with the human so it is with the spiritual being, a begetting must precede a birth, and if we would attain to this glory we must be first begotten to the new nature by the power of the Lord (1 Pet. 1:3; James. 1:18). If we entertain a genuine hope and desire for this glory this is the call to enter the race for a place in His court, and if we obey and follow in the tray pointed out in His word we may, through the merit of Jesus, be elected to the place. What step then shall we take? Let us here remember the step which Jesus took when he reached perfect manhood under the law. We are now reckoned perfect, because of our faith and must take the same step, and that step is
The Apostle, Paul, addressing the justified believers, and for that reason called them brethren, pointed out how we must take this step, saying:
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto. God which Is your reasonable service" (Rom. 12:1).
We are here reckoned as perfect men, therefore reckoned holy. All we have we insist here voluntarily agree to give up, as a living sacrifice, the same as Jesus did, agreeing to henceforth be spent for the Lord. Our own human wills we must give up that we may do God's will. This means that we will
give up all hope for wealth, honor and fame, that we might attain in the world; that we will consecrate to God's service every power and talent we possess, and that we will faithfully carry out this consecration vote until the sacrifice terminates in actual death: and so making a full consecration we are accepted of the Lord and He then and there begets us to a new nature, the spiritual nature. This real consecration even unto death, voluntarily laying down the old that we may be made of the new nature, the giving up of our wills for that of the Lord, constitutes the real baptism into Christ's death (see Rom. 6:3-6; Gal. 3:27). We have been taken out of Adam's death by virtue of the ransom, the blood of Jesus shed for us, and our faith therein, and note we must voluntarily get into Christ's death by presenting ourselves a living sacrifice, that the Father may raise us up to joint heirship with Christ. As Jesus was baptized in water to symbolize his full consecration unto death, so we, as His true followers, should, after the real baptism, observe the same symbol. A water baptism, however, that precedes the real baptism, full consecration, is as nothing and amounts to no more than a bath, is useless and void.
Now the question might be properly asked: If we have been justified by faith, have made a full consecration and have been really baptized into Christ's death, and have observed the symbol, are we now ready for the kingdom of God, the glory for which we hope? The testimony shows that we are not, but now for the first time become a candidate for that office or glory. We are now reckoned dead as human beings, and are reckoned alive as new creatures (Col. 3:3; Rom. 6:3-8; 2 Cor. 5:16-17). But this new nature, which is now in the embryotic state, we have as "a treasure in earthen vessels" (2 Cor. 4:7), and it is this new creature that must be developed. Our minds must be renewed "for to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom. 8:6-7). The transforming process must now begin. To us the Apostle now says, "Be not conformed to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2. See also Col. 3:1-2). We "must now do what we agreed to do, that is, carry out our consecration vow by using our powers, talents, time,
Money, all we have, not in gratifying selfish desires, nor for any worldly purpose, but in the service of the Lord. This does not mean that we are to neglect the duties we owe to those who are dependent on us. We are directed by His word to "Provide things honest in the sight of all men" (2 Cor. 8:21). The witness further says, that if any neglects to provide for those dependent upon him, such as wife and children, he is worse than an infidel and has denied the faith (1 Tim. 5:8). So we see, that the most of us who have these obligations and who fill them as directed, have very little to use in the service of the Lord. When we consecrate all to Him, then He makes us stewards of it, requiring us to use our talents, money and time faithfully, and to account to our Lord when He returns, and our reward shall be according to the faithful use thereof (Matt. 25:15-30; Luke 19:13-26; 1 Cor. 4:2). All the service we can render, all the sacrifice we can make, is far too little, even though there was no reward promised, when we consider what He has done for us.
If we have fully consecrated then we have entered upon our trial for life; this is our judgment day. Remember that we covenanted with the Lord to give up our human existence, and therefore we must receive the spiritual life or not live at all. We start now in the race as babes in the school of Christ (Heb. 5:12-14) and we must learn our lessons and render full obedience to the best of our ability. We are in the race now, how shall we run? When a runner upon a race course enters the arena, he lays aside all weights and hindrances that he may put forth every effort in the contest set before him. To those who have entered the race for a place in the heavenly court Paul says, "Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. 12:1-2). If we would win the prize we must not only put aside the weights and our besetting sins, which hinder our running, but we must set our minds upon obtaining the goal; have but one purpose in view, and seek that. As we read Paul's testimony,
"This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind (which we left behind, gave up when we consecrated) and reaching forth
unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14).
In harmony with this testimony, the witness, addressing those who are running with the hope of becoming members of the "house of sons," of which Christ Jesus is the head, says, "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He (Jesus) is pure" (1 John 3:3). We must purify our minds and our bodies in so far as it is possible, by laying aside all evil thoughts, words and deeds; become of the pure, virgin class who faithfully wait for the coming of the Bridegroom (Matt. 25:1-13).
From the time of full consecration until death of the human being, there is a constant warfare between the old man, the flesh, and the new creature. The Apostle, appreciating the great danger to every runner in the rare, clearly draws the line of demarkation between the two. On one side he places the old man, the flesh, with its fruits, and after naming some of these, says, "they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Gal. 5:19-21). On the other side he enumerates the fruit of the spirit, which must be brought forth if we abide in Christ (vs. 22-25). The new creature is constantly beset by Satan and his agencies, parading through the world under various aliases. In addition thereto we must fight constantly against the allurements of the world and the weaknesses of the flesh. To overcome these we must put on the whole armor of God and fight valiantly the good fight of faith unto the end (Eph. 6:11-18) praying always for the aid that comes only from above. This fight must develop in the runner the fruits of the spirit. He must "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). To his faith, the runner is directed to add virtue, which means fortitude, that the may be able to withstand the "fiery darts of the adversary." To this virtue we must add a knowledge of God's word, and to this self control, and patient endurance, godliness, brotherly kindness and to all of these add love (2 Peter 1:5-7).
Our knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the Father's plan of salvation will be increased in proportion as we manifest diligence in the development of these graces and fruits of the spirit. Note the testimony of the Apostle: "For if these thing
Unto it, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1:3). But to the Christian who has once consecrated and fails or neglects to keep faithfully that consecration vow and to develop these graces to the best of his ability, the Apostle says: "But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged front his old sins" (2 Pet. 1:9). Such are the foolish virgins, described by our Lord, whose lamps are going out, whose knowledge of the truth (whatever they had) is getting away from them, who have failed to provide on in their vessels, the spirit of truth in their minds, and when the Bridegroom appears they are unable to discern his presence until He has gone in and the door is shut (Matt. 25:1-12). But the "wise virgins," who are keeping their lamps trimmed and burning and their vessels filled with oil, that is to say, those who are constantly searching the Scriptures and gaining therefrom a knowledge of the truth, and who are filling their hearts, their minds with the spirit of love and developing Christlikeness, have the blessed assurance that they are not left in the dark, but will be ready to go in with the Bridegroom to the marriage feast. By faith these know of the Lord's presence, at His second appearing; but to all others, "The Lord cometh as a thief in the night" and the unfaithful and the people of the world in general are not aware of His presence. But how about the faithful consecrated Christians, who are earnestly watching and waiting for the establishment of His kingdom, His court? To these the Apostle says: "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief" (1 Thes. 5:1-4; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 16:15).
It is a mistaken and erroneous view to suppose that the Lord makes of men "copies of His dear Son" without effort on the part of men. We cannot hope, as the Word shows us, to become "joint heirs with Christ Jesus" in His kingdom, unless the have experiences to develop us, and profit by those experiences. Therefore, we are put through trials, temptations, testings and sufferings and these we must gladly and patiently endure and use for our development. It is true that without the aid of our Lord and Master we can do nothing, but it is equally true that He expects us to do something to do our best to come into harmony with righteousness and the Lord by gladly
submitting to such trials as He may see fit to give us, and rejoice in the fact that we are privileged to "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ (Col. 1:24). When we realize that these are necessary for our development then we call appreciate the words of the Apostle, saying, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience" (Jas. 1:2-3). It is then that "We glory in tribulation also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience; and experience, hope; and hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the holy spirit which is given unto us" (Rom. 5:3-5).
One of the principal lessons for us to learn from these experiences is to resist evil, not with evil, but with good (1 Thess. 5:15; 1 Pet. 2:19-23). Not only must we refrain from doing evil, but from thinking evil (1 Cor. 13:5). If prompted by love and righteousness we patiently endure these contradictions, trials, persecutions and sufferings, we have the assurance that we may become "more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Rom. 8:35-37). To such, the overcomers, and such only, is given the promise of being glorified with our Lord and Master (Rom. 8:17; Rev. 3:21).
Love is the principal thing. The great Apostle Paul in his wonderful discourse on love (1 Cor. 13), clearly points out that we may run in the race to the end, develop all other graces and fruits of the spirit, but if we fail to bring forth the most precious gem of the cluster, love, we are as nothing and our race is in vain. This great argument, second to one only, concludes with these words:
"And now abideth faith hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these Is love" (1 Cor. 13:13, Rev. Ver.).
When we for a moment consider God's character the can better understand why we must develop love, and why it is placed above all things else. It was not justice, but love alone, that moved God to give His dearly beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased, His only begotten Son, to be put to death that man, while yet in sin, might be brought back to God. It was love that induced Jesus to become a ransom for the human race. "God is love," and Jesus is Love, and now, those who run in the race
to become "joint heirs with Christ, heirs of the kingdom;" must of necessity develop this fruit and bring it to perfection that they may be in harmony at-one, with the Father and the Son (John 17:19-21). All the instruction of the Divine Word is intended to develop our minds, our hearts, and influence our conduct in harmony with His love. That wonderful sermon on the mount, delivered by our Lord and Master, which stands pre-eminent above all discourses delivered in the world, breathes the fervent spirit of love. The requirement of God's law was and yet is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deut. 6:5). To those who would become children of God, joint heirs with Christ Jesus, He says, "But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of our Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:44-45). And again He said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you" (John 13:34; see also Gal. 6:10). If we find in our hearts the spirit of hatred for any man, especially for those who are of the household of faith, we may know that this is a certain evidence that we are not running the race for the high calling. If in the race and we fail to develop love we will be certain to fall out of the race. The Apostle plainly lays down the rule thus, saying, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death" (1 John 3:14). "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (Rom. 13:10).
We have here pointed out some of the Scriptures showing what is required of those who enter the race for the high office of heirship in Christ's kingdom. There are many others. The interested seeker for truth must search the Scriptures, which clearly point out the way back to life. To aid such in these studies we strongly recommend the series of books described in the Appendix.
Some may now ask, how can we hope to succeed in this race, considering our natural weaknesses resulting from sin? To such who are faithfully doing the best they can the Apostle says, "Where sin abounded grace did much more abound" (Rom. 5:20).
The Lord deals with us, not according to Our weakened and depraved human bodies, but according to our new minds; therefore, if our minds are set upon righteousness and love, if we have entirely surrendered our wills and are doing the rather 's will to the very best of our ability, even though we may often stumble because of weakness or ignorance, or trials, temptations and besemtents of the adversary, the Lord says to us as he did to the Apostle, "My grace is sufficient for thee; for 'My strength is made perfect in (your) weakness" (2 Cor. 12:8-10). Jesus assures His faithful followers that He has the same love for them that the Father has for Jesus, and those who abide in Him and keep His commandment, may ask and receive such help as they may need; and the commandment which He requires to be kept is, "That ye love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:1-12). To those who faithfully run in the race, who develop and bring forth these fruits of the spirit, the Apostle says, "For if ye do these things ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1:10,-11).
When do the candidates, who faithfully run to the end of the race course, receive the reward for which they now hope' Remember the words of our dear Lord Jesus, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit" (John 3:6). When we entered the race we fully consecrated our bodies of flesh, reckonedly perfect, even unto death, and at the time of consecration we were begotten to the spiritual nature. The human must go into actual death, and afterward that which was begotten at consecration is born a spiritual being, with a spiritual body, at the resurrection. "It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:44). Those who die in Christ before His second appearing must await resurrection until He appears to set up His kingdom. Concerning the resurrection the Apostle says, "Every man in his own order; Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming." The same witness further says, "We shall not all sleep (in the tomb), but we shall be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed" (1 Cor. 15:23, 51-52). From this testimony we
understand that those dying before the appearing of Christ, and who have been faithful and have been elected, shall he raised from the dead at his appearing perfect spiritual beings, and such of the faithful elected ones who, at his appearing, are yet in the flesh, shall, at death of the human, be instantly changed to the spiritual. The doctrine to which many Christian people hold, that all who have died in Christ, the elected, during the Gospel Age, were resurrected immediately after death and passed at once into glory, seems to be wholly unsupported by any authority whatsoever. Note the testimony of Paul, the faithful:
"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; HENCEFORTH there Is LAID UP for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the Righteous Judge, shall give me at THAT DAY, and not to me only, but unto all them also that LOVE HIS APPEARING" (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
It is at the second appearing of Christ Jesus, when He comes to gather His jewels and set up His kingdom, and not until then, that the elected ones receive the crown of glory. It is then that the elected ones are raised up and given immortality, partake of the divine nature, and are made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ Jesus in His kingdom, and become associated in the court of the righteous judge (1 Cor. 15:52; 2 Pet. 1:3-4; 2 Tim. 4:7-8; 1 John 3:2).
With these truths before us we can understand and appreciate the words of our Lord and Master when He said, "Strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matt. 7:14). Understanding God's plan we can appreciate the words of the Savior addressed to those who are struggling along this narrow way, when He said, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32). Only a few, "a little flock," the faithful sheep, are elected to "joint heirship," associates with Jesus in his kingdom or court.
XX: GREAT COMPANY
Our Calvanistic friends have taught us that only those who are elected see salvation. We rejoice in the truth that God's plan extends further and embraces many others. During the entire
Gospel Age many have become justified by faith and have consecrated that reckoned human perfection to God. But as they pressed along the way they have been attracted by the seductive influences of the world, have engaged in the pursuit of worldly honor or fame or riches, and have not kept their sacrifice upon the altar. These have not denied the faith, still cling to and claim Jesus as their Savior, but are not willing to fully carry out even unto death their sacrifice, hence are overcome by the influences of the world, instead of themselves being overcomers. They fail to bring the fruits of the spirit to perfection; fail to fill their "vessels with the on" of the spirit of truth and are designated as foolish virgins who have forgotten that they were once purged of their sins (Matt. 25:1-12; 2 Pet. 1:9), and hence are not admitted to the marriage feast. Of these the Apostle says, their works are destroyed but they, are saved " "yet so as by fire" (1 Cor. 3:13-15). They miss the prize of being made heirs of the kingdom, yet they become spiritual beings, servants of the Lord, before his throne, but not in the throne. These are described in the Word as the "Great multitude" which comes up through the "great time of tribulation." They get eternal life, but lose the prize of immortality, being made spiritual beings on a lower order than the elected ones, and are made servants in the temple of the Lord (Rev. 7:9-15; Psa. 45:14).
Those who have consecrated and are begotten to the spiritual nature and afterwards fall away, denying the faith, thereby commit the sin unto death, are destroyed in the second death (see Heb. 6:4-6; 1 John 5:16).
XXI: WHY ELECTED MEMBERS OF CHRIST'S BODY
Jesus was the first fruit of the resurrection, and therefore the call of man to spiritual glory was not and could not have been made until after the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to the Father, and not until the Father accepted the sacrifice in satisfaction of the original judgment. Fifty days after his resurrection the Father signified His acceptance of the sacrifice when He poured out His spirit upon the Apostles at Pentecost. The testimony is clear, that this was the very first opportunity that
was opened for man to become a member of the elect, or spiritual body (John 7:38-39; Acts 2:1-4). No man who died prior to the day of Pentecost can possibly get into the heavenly spiritual kingdom. This is in entire harmony with the testimony of Jesus concerning John the Baptist, who was beheaded prior to that date. Of him Jesus Said: "Verily, I say unto you, among them that are born of women, there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist, notwithstanding, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he" (Matt. 11:11). This settles the question beyond a doubt, that John the Baptist, will not be a member of the Christ body, in the heavenly kingdom, because flesh and blood cannot inherit that kingdom (1 Cor. 15:50), John having died before the way was open for him to ever become a spiritual being.
Abraham, the faithful, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the type of Christ, and David, "a man after God's own heart," all good and great men, died long before Christ opened the way to heaven. The holy prophets of the Lord all died and returned to the dust, before Jesus paid the ransom price. None of these can be members of His heavenly body or court.
Millions of men, sane and insane, women and infants, have died before and since the advent of Christ Jesus as a man and the savior of the world, never having heard of the name whereby they might be saved.
Every day we see the funeral car bearing the body of some poor creature to the grave, who died without having heard and understood that God had provided a plan for his salvation. Is it possible that all these good men, the bad men, the sane and insane, and infants are lost, because they had no opportunity to obtain heavenly homes, and become members of the body of Christ? And all those who die, not having heard of that kingdom, are they all lost; and is there no means of salvation provided for these?
If comparatively a few men only are to have a chance to be saved, then the promise made to Abraham by the Lord does not mean what it says.
If God's plan of salvation stops here, and none except those who attain to the spiritual kingdom see salvation, then the message given by the Lord through His angel at the birth of Jesus Christ did not constitute "Glad tidings to all men."
But, it may be asked, is it not possible that God has provided some means of salvation to these millions, aside from that provided through the merit of Jesus Christ? Let the record answer:
"This is the stone which was set at naught of you builders, which is become the head of the corner, neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:11-12).
There is no other way to come back into harmony with God except through Jesus Christ.
The fact that the great mass of the people now on earth are in ignorance of any means for their salvation, is sufficient to cause every man who loves God and his fellow man to have the keenest interest in this question.
The evidence being conclusive, so far examined, that only a few, comparatively speaking, will be saved on a spiritual plane, we may now ask, has God provided for the saving of others on the human plane, giving these life as perfect human beings? We have no right to speculate about this, and let us not do so, but let us stand by the word of the Lord, given us through his inspired witnesses.
We must not lose sight of the promise God made to Abraham "That in his seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed." If we have any faith we must believe that this promise will yet be fulfilled.
What does that promise mean? Is it that all families of the earth shall be blessed by being exalted to heaven and given spiritual bodies? The record does not so state directly or by inference. Adam had life as a perfect human being. That taken away he had nothing, and no amount of blessing, without life, could be of any lasting benefit. No man in the earth now has life. The human existence is a mere process of dying from the cradle to the grave. If man is to be blessed at all with a blessing that is lasting he must be given life. Now the promise made to Abraham was that in him and his seed, not seeds, should this blessing come. Christ is the seed (Gal. 3:16). Christ, as we have seen, means anointed one. The "Christ body," as the testimony heretofore examined shows, is composed of Jesus the head and His elected ones the members of that body. The selection of this elect or special class to be members of the Christ body, must leave some special significance
relating to the promise. Now what was the object of Jesus, the head, coming to earth? He answered that question when on earth thus: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10.) Again Jesus said: "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost" (Matt. 18:11). It therefore necessarily follows that Jesus, the seed, came to bestow upon man the blessing promised, and as life is what Adam and his race lost, the blessing promised must mean the restoring to mankind that which is lost, to-wit: life, as perfect men. Man lost nothing else, if he is given more than perfect human life such would constitute a high exaltation to another and higher nature, which we have seen can be obtained only under certain conditions, and that only during the Gospel Age; and those who do obtain that blessing or high exaltation are made members of the Christ body, joint heirs with Christ Jesus, the head, in the kingdom of glory. Those receiving this special blessing are children of God, members of the "house of sons." Now what relation do these, the members of the Christ body, bear to the Abrahamic promise.,the oath-bound covenant? The witness makes this clear, as we read: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:26, 29). So now the have here the seed of Abraham clearly and distinctly pointed out, and through which seed the promised blessing must come; therefore, this seed, the Christ Court, must be first selected and set up before the blessing promised can come; and it also follows, according to the promise, that when the members are duly elected and honored and the court fully established, the promised blessing will come.
James testified, as we have seen, that it is God's purpose to first take out from the Gentiles a people for His name (Acts 15:14), and it is manifest that this "elect" class must be take out from the world before the blessing can come to the world. This "taken out" or "elected" class must go through their trial or judgment day during the Gospel Age: Their trial is before the Great Judge, Jehovah, and those selected become members of the "Christ body," as we have heretofore observed. In this court for their trial, Jesus Christ, the head of the Christ body, stands as the advocate for those who are seeking to stand the
trial. Advocate is here used in the sense of an attorney or counsel in an earthly court, and Jesus in Jehovah's throne or court bears the same relation to the "called out" or "taken out" class, that an attorney bears to his client in an earthly court. Human tribunals provide for a person to appear and be heard before the court by attorney or advocate. Likewise Jesus in Jehovah's court appears in behalf of the church as its advocate, and it is only through him that the consecrated Christian can have access to God; and when such, because of weakness or ignorance, commits sin, the Apostle says: "We have an advocate with the Father," who makes intercession in our behalf (1 John 2:1). The world has no such advocate and never will have before Jehovah--God. But the world has a mediator, as we will see as we progress. God deals only with such of mankind as are perfect, either reckoned or actual, because only such have peace with God. He could deal with none other. The Christian has peace with and access to God, during the Gospel Age, only through the medium of Jesus Christ, his advocate, and not then until he has been reckoned perfect by faith (Rom. 5:1-2), and this access continues only so long as we remain in Christ, abiding in the true vine, covered by his robe of righteousness (John 15:5). The "Christ body," that is, Jesus and the elect when glorified together, constitute the seed of Abraham according to the promise (Gal. 3:26, 29); therefore, it is manifest that the very object of electing or selecting this seed "out of the world" during the Gospel Age, is that the promise may be fulfilled; that all of the world may hear the testimony concerning the ransom and have a favorable opportunity to accept and receive the blessing.
XXII: THE COURT, SPIRITUAL--ITS JURISDICTION.
No human being can ever see a spiritual being. From the beginning Jesus was a spirit, but had not immortality. Jehovah alone had life in himself "whom no man hath seen nor can see" (1 Tim. 6:16; John 1:18). Jesus, at the resurrection, was exalted to the divine nature and given immortality, and then sat down on the right hand of power of His Majesty on high (Phil 2:9; John 3:26; 1 Cor. 15:44; Heb. 1:3). The "elect"
while in the race and on trial are seeking immortality (Rom. 2:7), and if elected and glorified with the author of their salvation, Jesus, the head of the Christ body, they are made like Him, become immortal and are made partakers of the divine nature (1 John 3:2; 1 Cor. 15:44; 2 Pet. 1:3-4). Let us keep clearly in mind that "The Christ" as heretofore shown by the testimony of the Apostles, is the new creation, Jesus Christ being the head, and the glorified Church, or elected ones, the members of the body, together composing the heavenly court, partakers of the divine nature, spiritual beings of the highest order, and therefore invisible to man.
Now what does the Word say concerning the jurisdiction and authority or power of "The Christ?" The head (Jesus), as we have seen, was appointed Chief justice and given power to execute judgment in the world (John 5:22, 27); and concerning whom He is to try and to judge the Apostle says: "He (God) hath appointed a day, in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto all men in that He hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). In the trial or judgment here mentioned, the saints, namely, the members of "The Christ body," will be assistants. These are the children of God, of "the house of sons," "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ Jesus" (John 1:12; Rom. 8:17; 1 John 3:2). Of these the Apostle says, "If we suffer, we shall also reign with him (Jesus)" (2 Tim. 2:12). And again the Apostle says to this class, "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" (1 Cor. 6:2). Concerning the same class the Prophet wrote, "The saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever" (Dan. 7:18). The Head of the Christ said, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).
Now, let us examine a little further the testimony of our Lord Jesus concerning this same point. He gave several pictures of the corning kingdom or court here under consideration one in the parable of the talents. Here he represents himself as a man traveling into afar country, who called his servants and delivered to them his goods, giving each talents according to his ability, with a requirement that these report to him on his return. Then he takes along journey, and when he returns he
finds some have been faithful and to these he says, "Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things" (Matt. 25:14-23). Another in the parable of the pounds (Luke 19:11-27). Here He represents Himself as a certain nobleman who went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. He called his servants and gave to them certain pounds, saying to them, "Occupy till I come." On returning the nobleman says to the faithful ones, the same ones who will become joint heirs with him in his kingdom, "Because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities" (vs. 17). These are the same ones mentioned in Revelation as overcomers and to these the Lord says: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne." "And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations" (Rev. 3:21; 2:26).
This spiritual or heavenly court, which will try, judge and execute judgment in the world, being invisible to man, what will be the means of communication between this high tribunal and man, those who are to be tried? This question we think is satisfactorily answered by the testimony cited in the following point.
XXIII: EARTHLY AGENCIES
We cannot conceive of God, who is perfection in everything, using superfluous words, and for this reason we conclude that each word used in connection with the promise to Abraham has sonic important significance. When the oath-bound covenant was made with Abraham we note that the Word says, "and the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time" (Gen. 22:15). And again the Lord said to Abraham, "I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore." To us this indicates two distinct features of God's kingdom, a heavenly phase or division and an earthly phase or division. The testimony following, we believe, clearly bears out this assertion.
Without doubt, God made to Abraham a promise relating to the earth. He told Abraham to lift up his eyes and look to the north, south, cast and west, saying: "For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever" (Gen. 13:15). Concerning this promise Stephen said: "And He gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on" (Acts 7:5). This promise must yet be fulfilled. Not only did the Israelites look for an earthly king but none of them looked for a spiritual king. Even the Apostles did not understand that it was God's purpose to make Jesus a spiritual king until after his resurrection, but expected Jesus to be crowned as their earthly king, when he made his triumphal march into Jerusalem. Many centuries have passed and the Israelites are yet a people without a king, without a country.
These "chosen people" of the Lord were led out of the land of Egypt by the hand of Moses, the servant of the Most High God, and who was recognized by the Lord as the "head of the house of sons." He was also a type of Christ, as we have heretofore seen. Through Moses God gave to the Israelites the law. While invisible to the Israelites, God was their real ruler through His servants, Moses and his successors. To these servants God communicated, through His messengers (angels) what should be done amongst the people. Their Government was a Theocracy. These people were chosen of the Lord as a type or shadow of the whole world to follow "in His own due time." It is expressly stated by the Apostle that the law was a shadow or type of better things to come (Heb. 10:1).
Now let us examine the testimony concerning the relationship between the "House of servants," of which Moses was the head, and the "house of sons," the spiritual house, of which Jesus Christ is the head (Heb. 3:1-6). During the Patriarchal Age, God's favors were shown to only a few individuals, with whom He communicated through His angels. At the beginning of the Jewish Age the Israelites as a nation were recognized by God as His chosen people. Moses being the recognized head of this "house of servants."
With these observations, let the reader now take his Bible and carefully read the 11th Chapter of Hebrews. In the testimony there recorded is named Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David and many others, who
pleased God because of their faith in His promises. For Convenience let us call these the "Ancient Worthies." These all had their trial and judgment day, being tried and judged according to their faith. But what reward have they received? The Apostle answers, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises" (vs. 13). And why? For the obvious reason that they, as all other men, were under the Adamic sentence of death, and until that death penalty was removed it was impossible for them to receive the promised blessing, to-wit: life. The ransom had not been paid; the judgment had not been satisfied. Jesus did not become a man until many years after these had died and returned to the dust. Until Jesus did suffer death as a ransom for man there was no way by which man could have salvation. It was, therefore, impossible for these to attain to the spiritual kingdom, because no such way was opened by the Lord until the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to heaven. For this reason Jesus said that John the Baptizer could not be in the kingdom of heaven, the spiritual kingdom (Matt. 11:11). The Apostle Paul, taking Abraham to illustrate the condition of all these said, that because of Abraham's faith in the promise God imputed to Abraham righteousness; that is to say, to him was imputed human perfection (Rom. 4:22); he was not actually perfect, but went into the tomb an imperfect man. Likewise all the others of the Ancient Worthies. None of them could become actually perfect until the death sentence was removed. Concerning these the Apostle again says: "And these all having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise. God having provided some better thing for us (the house of sons) that they without us should not be made perfect" (Heb. 11:39-40). God has provided some better thing than human perfection, which was imputed to the Ancient Worthies, for the house of sons, and that better thing is heavenly glory as spiritual beings, joint heirs with Christ in His kingdom, members of His court; and not until these receive their glory is it possible for the Ancient Worthies to be made actually perfect: and it necessarily follows that when the "Bride and Bridegroom are made one," when the heavenly court is fully set up, then these who, prior to Christ Jesus' death, went into the tomb with righteousness imputed to them, will be made actually perfect. What other conclusion can we here draw from the Apostle's argument?
A close examination of this testimony in Heb. 11, clearly shows that it embraces all the faithful ones who died prior to the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. Where are these now? In the tomb, in the grave, awaiting their resurrection and when resurrected will come forth as perfect human beings. The testimony of Jesus settles this point beyond question. He said:
"Marvel not at this; For the hour is coming, in 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, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment" (John 5:28-29, Rev. Ver.).
All those "who obtained a good report through faith." eent into the grave reckonedly perfect. Jesus says these will come forth to life, and anyone who has life is perfect. Life is what Adam had when he was perfect. Life he lost and thereby became imperfect. So at the resurrection when these faithful Ancient Worthies come forth having life they will be actually perfect men. The other class here mentioned in the testimony of Jesus, come forth to be judged or tried for life, as we shall see as we progress.
According to the above testimony the "Elect Bride," the Church, must be first made perfect, glorified spiritual beings and when done then will the Ancient Worthies be made perfect men. The latter have always been designated as the "Fathers in Israel," but the Prophet says that the order shall be reversed when the Church class is glorified, and then these "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth" (Psa. 45:13-16). The Prophet Here refers (vs. 13) to the church as "The king's daughter," and why? Because the church is "The Bride" of the King's only begotten Son, the wife of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7, 9). It is only those who are of the wise virgin class that go into the marriage feast (Matt. 23:1-12); only those who leave on the wedding garment (Matt. 22:11-13), and such compose the "elect," the "Bride," the "King's daughter." And what is this wedding garment? It is the "righteousness of the saints" (Rev. 19:8). Now note main the picture drawn by the prophet (Psa. 45). Behold the King's daughter entering the King's palace (vs. 15). The uniting of the Bridegroom, Jesus, and the Bride, the saints, has taken place, and then, says the prophet, these "Ancient
Worthies." whom you have heretofore called fathers, shall now be thy children, "whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." Note now the harmony of the words of our Lord Jesus with those of the Prophet: "So the last shall be first, and the first last" (Matt. 20:16). Thus the testimony makes clear the statement of the Apostle, that the Ancient Worthies could not be made perfect until the saints are first perfected (Heb. 11:39-40). Being made perfect they are "made princes in all the earth." The word Prince here used signifies a Head, Captain, one with authority. They will be the representatives of God's kingdom on earth, visible to all other men, because they will be men; they will compose the earthly part, the only visible part, of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus told the Jews, when he was on earth, that the time would come when they would see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom; and that many would come from the east and the nest and sit down in the kingdom with these (Luke 13:28; Matt. 8:11). Manifestly they could not be seen by men, neither would men come from the east and west and sit with them, unless they were on the earth like other men.
The testimony therefore clearly proves, that the court of heaven, or kingdom of heaven, as we may choose to call it, when established will be composed of a spiritual part or division, invisible to men, and an earthly part, representatives of the spiritual, composed of men and visible to man; and as God was the ruler of the Israelites through human agencies, so will Jesus Christ and the members of His body, rule the earth through the agency of perfect men, the Ancient Worthies, for the purpose of blessing and restoring man and the earth according to the promise.
XXIV: NEW TRIAL FOR ALL
Did the death of Jesus guarantee to every snail an individual trial for life, a chance to be saved, or does it apply to a few only?
When Adam was tried and sentenced to death, the whole human race was then in his loins. All born thereafter inherited that death sentence and all die because of the inherited sin. If
the death of Jesus was accepted by Jehovah as a satisfaction of the judgment against any part of the race, it must extend to all. Upon this point what is the testimony?
The Apostle, addressing the elect class, says:
"And He is the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2).
But does this not mean that all men must be saved whether they wish salvation or not? Not at all. We must keep in mind that God has always recognized His creature, man, as a free moral agent, with the right to choose between right and wrong. Every man must be given an opportunity to exercise this will power. Now follow the Apostle's argument:
"Therefore, as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Jesus), the free gift came upon all men unto justification (perfection) of life" (Rom. 5:18).
From this we learn that the opportunity to come to perfect life is a free gift, but how could a gift be effective without the donee accepts the gift? Man must have all opportunity to accept this free gift and then he must accept it if he gets life, and if he does not accept, he does not get life, as we shall see later. Again the Apostle says:
"For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as In Adam all die, even so In Christ SHALL all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:21-22).
Now if Christ's death alone made all men alive the testimony would read, "even so in Christ were all made alive." But it does not read that way, but says, "Shall be" in the future; such shall then be made alive as accept the free gift. Now since Adam's day the greater part of the race has gone into the tomb without hearing of Jesus' sacrifice for their salvation, and therefore without an opportunity to accept the free gift; but it is God's will that every man must have such opportunity. Upon this point we read:
"For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who will have all men to BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:3-4).
Mark the order. It is God's will that all men he saved first, that is, saved from Adamic death, and, as we have seen, Jesus died to save all men from that death. His death operated as a satisfaction of that judgment for all. But in the many
years of the dying process since Adam's day man has been greatly degraded, far removed from human perfection--life. God's will is that the next step for him is to come unto a knowledge of the truth, a knowledge of the means provided for his salvation, the free gift, and then he must exercise his Will power by accepting or rejecting this gift of life. The Apostle then proceeds with his argument thus:
"For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, TO BE TESTIFIED IN DUE TIME" (1 Tim. 2:5-6).
This last statement makes the whole argument clear and harmonious. The ransom (the corresponding price - a life for a life) was given for all men, but it must be testified to each man in God's own due time. Time is an important element in God's plan. "Order is His first law." Here is where it is important to "rightly divide the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15). Every man has his trial or judgment day when he hears and fully understands the testimony concerning the ransom paid for him and all other men. This testimony was given to the "Ancient Worthies" before the ransom was paid, hence no amount of faith and obedience and sacrifice could make them then actually perfect, but perfection to them was imputed, so says the Word (Rom. 4:22), and at their resurrection they will be made actually perfect men. The testimony has been given, heard and understood by a few all down through the Gospel Age, and those accepting it, and following up such acceptance with full consecration even unto death, may attain to the spiritual nature, as the have seen. The spiritual offer is a special gift open only during the Gospel Age, that is, between the time of the ascension of Jesus and His second coming, and when that closes only human perfection can be reached. Many during the Gospel Age hear the testimony and believe, are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1), but do not make a full consecration. Such can never attain to the spiritual kingdom. Mark now the words of the testimony is that "It is God's will that all come unto the knowledge of the truth." Considering the great amount of false doctrines that have been taught by the various sects during the Gospel Age, how many have come into a knowledge of the truth? All men, who have no such opportunity now, must have it some time because that is God's will. God has provided in His plan for such, and of this fact we read:
"God hath appointed a day, in which He will judge the world (that is all men of the world) in righteousness, by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given assurance unto ALL MEN In that He hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:31).
Then will be God's due time to have the world come unto the knowledge of the truth; to have testified to these men the testimony concerning the ransom.
Therefore God hath provided that every man shall have one trial, an individual trial, for life. Whether he gets life then or not will depend on himself, as we shall see by the further testimony. For the coming of this time, says the apostle, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now; waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:22, 19); waiting until the heavenly court composed, as we have seen, of the "House of sons of God" is established, when they shall hear the testimony and have a chance to live. The world knows not of this coming blessing, but that the people are groaning under great burdens of pain, suffering and death, hoping and waiting for something, they know not what, every one must concede: and that for which they wait, according to the testimony heretofore cited, is the coming of the promised blessing. Herein lies the hope of the world. Such righteous government alone can relieve the people from the oppressions they now suffer. The injustice, wrongdoing, financial and labor oppressions, poverty and crime can never be eradicated by human agencies, because all men now on earth are imperfect. Hence, the world of mankind will continue to groan and suffer in pain until the kingdom of righteousness shall be set up.
XXV: BEGINNING OF TRIAL--PRECEDING CONDITIONS
Seeing from the foregoing testimony that the Lord will establish a court of righteousness, the office of which shall he to restore to all men, who will accept, that which was lost by our father, Adam, can we ascertain from God's Word when that trial will begin?
That this trial cannot begin until the second coming of Jesus, there can be no doubt. All of Jesus' teachings concerning the coming of the heavenly kingdom, or court, were
in parables, and each represents Him as returning after along period of time (see Matt. 25:14-19, 31-32; Luke 19:12-15). He told his disciples that He must go away and prepare a place for them and that He would return again and receive them that they might enjoy that kingdom with him (John 14:2-4). On the last night of his earthly existence, while in the garden of Gethsemane, he prayed to the Father that his followers might be made one with him, that the world might then know and believe that God had sent him to the world (John 17:20-21). The world does not now know this fact, only a few men, comparatively speaking, know it, and it would therefore reasonably follow that when the Bride and the Bridegroom are made one, the world will then know that the Lord God did indeed send Jesus.
The Apostle preaching to the people shortly after the crucifixion, told them to repent, turn to righteousness, that their sins might be blotted out (not at the time of repenting), but when the "times of refreshing should come from the presence of the Lord." Jesus had then ascended into heaven, and proceeding the Apostle further says, that the heavens must receive and retain Jesus "until the times of restitution of all things" (Acts 3:19-21); clearly showing that at His second appearing will be the beginning of the time for the restitution of all things, of which time all the prophets have testified since the world began.
The "World to come," or coming Age, as we have heretofore seen, will be a government "wherein dwelleth righteousness;" when "righteousness shall flourish" and when "only the obedient shall eat of the good of the land " and "the evil doer shall be cut off, but those that wait upon the Lord shall inherit the earth" (see (Heb. 2:5; Psa. 72:7; Isa. 1:19: Psa. 37:9).
We know that no government of earth is now righteous, because all men being now imperfect could not have a righteous government. Instead we are now living in this "Present evil world," because evil now predominates (Gal. 1:4). Satan is "The Prince of this present world" (John 14:30), because his influence predominates and influences men to do wrong. Selfishness and greed are uppermost in the minds of the people. It is only the strong arm of the law that makes it possible for men to exist in any degree of peace. There is a constant conflict
between the rich and the poor, neither being wholly right, nor can be, under the present order of things. The Ecclesiastical System is likewise corrupt. Look now at the parable of the "wheat and the tares" (Matt. 13:24-30). Jesus sowed good seed in His field, the world. He delivered to his disciples the pure Word, but after they fell asleep Satan entered the field and sowed the tares, and the two have grown together until now, the harvest, the time in which we are now living. What do we now see in the harvest field? More than three hundred various sects, each claiming to represent Christ on earth, none of which adhere strictly to God's Word of truth. We speak now of the nominal system of churchianity, commonly called "Christendom." Here and there amongst these various sects we find some wheat, but the tares largely predominate. The Theological schools of the country contain many infidel teachers, and instead of teaching God's word the theories of Higher criticism, Evolution, etc. are being taught and also preached from various pulpits. The "Old time religion" is fast dying out, and being supplanted by the spirit of the world, the spirit of selfishness, of pomp and earthly glory. It is a time "when darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people" (Isa. 60:2), because the people are not being taught the Word of the Lord, but are being led away captives to the modern theories promulgated by Satan and his earthly agencies, and of these the prophet of the Most High God wrote:
"Therefore My people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge and their honorable men (their leaders, the clergy, teachers, etc.) are famished and their multitude dried up with thirst" (Isaiah 5:13).
There is now a famine in the land, just such as the Prophet foretold there would he, saying:
"Behold, the days come saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of HEARING THE WORDS OF THE LORD" (Amos 8:11).
The spirit of Satan, the spirit of the world, has so taken hold upon the nominal churches that the wheat is almost choked out by the tares. Now turn again to the parable and note the instructions of the Master of the harvest, the Lord, given to the reapers. He said, "Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them" (Matt. 13:30). Remember this is a parable. What evidence do we now see going on for
the binding together the tares in bundles? We answer, the movement amongst the various church denominations to unite, church union. They are now being bound together. The process may seem slow, but it is being carried out as every person who reads well knows. The reapers are directed to gather the wheat, the true followers of the Lord, into His barn. To such of the wheat class who see these present truths as they are being revealed before their eyes, the Lord says. "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues'; (Rev. 18:4). The Lord clearly points out to the "wheat class" to get away from the nominal systems, which have been "spewed out of His month" (Rev. 3:14-15), and which as the parable says, "are being bound in bundles to be burned," destroyed.
It is manifest that the present evil order of things, both civil and ecclesiastical, will not be permitted by the Lord to exist in His kingdom of righteousness. The ecclesiastical system or power claims to represent and stand for the "heavenly" on earth, the spiritual ruling power, and the system is spoken of as the "heavens." The Apostle Peter, in symbolic language, points out that both the civil and ecclesiastical systems will be destroyed; "in the day of God:" then adds, "Nevertheless, we, according to His promise, lootk for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (see 2 Pet. 3:7, 12-13). Thus clearly showing that orthodox or nominal church sects, these false systems, must be destroyed, before the reign of righteousness begins. Corroborative of this, let us note the words of the prophet:
"And at that time shall Michael (God's representative-Christ) stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of Thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even unto that same time; and at that time Thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book" (Dan. 12:1; see also Luke, 21:22-28; (Heb. 12:26, 29; Mark, 13:19-20; 2 Tim. 3:1-5).
The time of trouble above mentioned cannot mean a destruction of the literal earth, because His Word is that "God created the earth not in vain; He formed it to be inhabited" (Isa. 45:18). "The earth abideth forever" (Eccl. 1:4; Psa. 119:89-90; 115:16; 104:5). It does mean, however, the complete destruction of all man made governments and systems, both civil and ecclesiastical. The zeal and honest efforts of good men
of the world to enact better laws, elect better men to office and have a better government is commendable, because every honest man would prefer righteousness, but the efforts of such cannot succeed. It is only when Jesus the Christ, shall arise with healing in His beams of light, will the world know righteousness. Note the words of the Prophet:
"For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, end all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch, taut unto you that fear My name shall the Sell of righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall" (Mat. 4:1, 2).
As further evidence that these unrighteous systems must be destroyed, that earth's present form of national government must cease. We read:
"Therefore wait ye upon Me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey; for My determination Is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them Mine Indignation, even all My fierce anger; for all the earth (ruling powers) shall be devoured with the fire of My jealousy. FOR THEN (after their destruction) will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord to serve Him with one consent" (Zeph. 3:8-9),
But when will this time come? Do the Scriptures disclose when? Yes, they clearly point out the very year, but our object is not to treat that part of the subject here. The interested will be furnished the desired Scripture references freely upon application. It is only our purpose to here call attention to some of the testimony showing the conditions immediately preceding the great trial or judgment day of the world. As indicative that the time is not far distant, let the interested reader here stop and consider the great preparation for war that is now being made by all the nations of earth. The fabulous sums of money now being spent in building battleships and other monster engines of destruction: and the great men of the world whose time and energy; is now being used in the invention and preparation of instruments of offense and defense, and here take the Bible and read the words of the Prophet as recorded in Joel 3:9-12. Then think again of the wonderful progress that has been male in the past fifty years in inventions and science; how the means of transportation bas been so wonderfully increased that the travel of people through the earth is marvelous when compared with any other period in the history of the world; and in connection
with these thoughts again take your Bible and read the words of the Prophet as recorded in Daniel 12:4, 9. Now think again, of the Jews, once God's chosen people, but who were cast off as a nation when they rejected Christ Jesus, how they were scattered amongst the nations of the earth and have been persecuted and downtrodden by all other peoples; a nation without a home or a country; how they have struggled to again get possession of their old home, Palestine, and how all their efforts have met with failure until they had about given up in despair, and now the Sultan of Turkey, in the latter half of this year (1906), without effort on the part of the Jews, has opened the cherished country to them and they are going back to Jerusalem. And with these thoughts in mind read Jeremiah 16:14-15, 18; Luke 21:24-28; Rom 11:25-26; Acts 15:14-16.
These Scripture references carefully read may create in the mind of the reader a desire to look further into His word, realizing that we now live in the most momentous time in the world's history.
XXVI: LENGTH OF THE TRIAL DAY
This great judgment day, which the Scriptures show is coming for the people of the world, will it not all be concluded in one day of twenty-four hours? Many have so taught, but in the light of reason and the foregoing testimony we are sure such could not be. "Every man must come unto the knowledge of the truth," so says the Word. A knowledge of God's plan of salvation could not he learned by the very brightest intellect in one day, to say nothing about those with weaker minds. Furthermore man must have a trial, a hearing. God's law given the Israelites provided that no man should be judged without a hearing (Deut. 1:17; John 7:51). Certainly the conditions of the trial in The Christ court will be fully as liberal. If man is to be restored the process must be a gradual development into righteousness. Nothing short of a miracle could instantly restore man to perfection, and such floes not appear to be God's plan.
Day means any definite period of time (Job 14:6). For instance, God said to Adam, "In the day thou eatest thereof thou
shalt surely die." The witness Peter, speaking of the world's judgment day said, "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Pet. 3:7-8). In harmony with this testimony and the declaration of God to Adam, we see that Adam did die in the day that the sentence was pronounced, to wit; at the age of 930 years, the latter part of his day.
The Scriptures heretofore examined disclose that the saints will reign with Jesus, the two composing the Christ body, for the purpose of judging the world (1 Cor. 6:2; 15:25-27). The Evangelist John, testifying the inspired words of the Lord, concerning these same members of the Christ body, said: "They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years" (Rev. 20:4). Thus showing the length of the judgment day, and for this reason the first period of the "World to come" is properly called "The Millennial Day." or " "Millennial Age," meaning a thousand - year day.
We do not understated the Scriptures to teach that every man will be given the entire thousand years for his trial, but that such period will be consumed in the trial of all men. Men are greatly depraved and time must be required to bring the race back to righteousness, and those signifying a willingness to become righteous will be given aid from the Christ. The Scriptures indicate that each man will be given an hundred years, if that much time be required, in which to become righteous and if he does not then seek righteousness he will be destroyed. On this point we call attention to this testimony:
"As a lad shall one die a hundred years old; and as a sinner shall be accursed he who dieth at a hundred years old" (Isaiah, 65:20 (Leeser-- Hebrew translation); see also Eccle. 8:12).
Neither do we understand the Scriptures to teach that every man now on earth will have a trial during the Millennial Age. The Scriptures clearly state that every man must have on trial as an individual, not more. He who hears the testimony now, concerning God's plan for his salvation, and understands it is from that moment responsible to God for the light he has; his trial then begins.
XXVII: THE TRIAL--ITS RESULTS
Many good Christian people have long held, and still hold, to the doctrine, that only those who reach the spiritual kingdom of God can be saved, and that all who are not thus saved trust go into eternal torment, to be roasted by the Devil eternally. If this doctrine be true we cannot conceive how any honest minister of the gospel can complacently sit down with a sman flock of followers. If contented with preaching two sermons per week, and these only upon condition that his salary be paid; rather does it seem, that they would spend their entire life, without money and without price, warning people to flee from indescribable torture. If the doctrine is not true, the teaching of it is blasphemous and an insult to the Lord. That such is generally believed by the Christian people, must be admitted. If not true, then it is the duty of the clergy, before God and man, to put the people right.
God is just, and also the embodiment of love. He draws men to Him by love, not by force or coercion. We have seen that none call get into His kingdom unless lie develops love above every other quality of character. In view of God's character of perfect love and justice, the above doctrine is violently opposed to reason. Neither does such doctrine find any support in God's holy word of truth; therefore, it cannot be true. When The Christ kingdom is fully established, and not till then, will the world begin to see salvation. It is God's will that "all men shall come unto a knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4). His will must be done, and, in His due time, will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Since Adam's day men have died and gone into the tomb, where there is "no work, nor device, 'nor knowledge nor wisdom" (Eccl. 9:10), there to remain until the Lord's due time to bring them forth. They have become extinct, only remaining in the memory of the Lord. The Apostle Paul says, that unless raised up from the dead there is no hope for them, but all are perished. The false doctrine of the "immortality of man," that the dead are not really dead, had its inception in
the falsehood uttered by Satan to our first parents, "Ye shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:4). He deceived them, and ever since he has been at his old business of deceiving than, and it is only by being the uncompromising enemy of Satan that 111:111 can bet and retain the truth, in Paul's day, and shortly after the resurrection of Jesus, the "worldly wise men," blinded by Satan, were teaching Plato's philosophy, that the dead are not dead, but alive. Paul, recognizing the great inroads Satan would male upon the Lord's people, laid great stress upon the resurrection. His argument in 1 Cor. 15th chapter, completely exposes the falsity of the doctrine that the dead are alive. He clearly and distinctly points out, that not even the saints are resurrected until the second appearing of Christ Jesus (see 1 Cor. 15:22-23, 51-53; 2 Tim. 4:7-8).
Great numbers of people died before Christ Jesus came to earth, to give himself a ransom for man. Millions of infants have died before and since that could not have had a knowledge of the saving grace of the Lord. A great majority of mankind has gone into the tomb without any knowledge of the provision made for their salvation. All these are still dead. All those who have died without hearing and understanding His word, are unjust in the sight of God, because imperfect. But God has graciously provided a day for the resurrection of these, both the just and the unjust, that the ransom may be applied to the unjust, those who have not previously heard of it in the present existence, the testimony plainly being "That there shall be (future) a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust" (Acts 24:15). The testimony of the Lord's Word clearly points out that there will be two resurrections, first the just and afterwards the unjust. "The dead in Christ shall rise first" (1 Thes. 4:16). This is called the first resurrection, because it is a better resurrection than the one to follow (Rev. 20:6). The first resurrection is the resurrection of the ones who have beets tried and brought into harmony with God prior to the Millennial Age, or the world's judgment day. The second resurrection is the general resurrection of all others who have not been made perfect, and these are brought forth for the purpose of being tried and judged by the tribunal of The Christ. Note here the testimony of Jesus:
Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming (in the future) in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of DAMNATION" (John 5:28-29 Com. Ver.).
Ah, says the advocate of eternal torment, here we have the proof front Jesus himself that the evil or unjust ones come forth to be sent away into damnation, how then can you say there is a chance for them to be saved? This Scripture, as translated in the common English version, has misled many good people. The men who translated the common or King James version of the Bible from the original, had been drilled so thoroughly, in the doctrine of eternal torment that they evidently thought that the unjust or evil should be sent into eternal torture, and so they translated the word "damnation" in harmony with their belief. There seems to be no other excuse for so translating it. The Greek word here used is Krisis. The eminent Greek scholar and lexicographer, Dr. Strong, translates the word thus: "Decision of a tribunal-judgment." This same Greek word, krisis, was used by Jesus as appears by verses 22, 27 and 30 of this chapter (John 5:22, 27, 30), and in these verses even the translators of the common version translate the word, "judgment." Now take your Bible and read these last mentioned verses and where the word judgment occurs read it damnation and see what sense it makes. This exposes the error, another evidence of Satan's deceptive influence. All modern Greek scholars translate the word as judgment. The Revised Version, the American Revised Version, and many other translations so translate the word. So when we read that the evil or unjust are resurrected to judgment, it is in entire harmony with all the other testimony on this point, and clearly shows that all the unjust come forth to be tried and judged it, the tribunal of The Christ during the thousand year judgment day, the Millennial Age. How much more satisfying and harmonious with God's character of love is the truth, when understood, than the Satanic doctrine of eternal torment!
The wickedness in the earth, the depravity of man and his weakness, is traceable to Satan's influence. The unjust will be resurrected as imperfect men, like they went into the tomb, and if Satan is abroad in the earth with the power he bas exercised in past ages, man would still be under his influence. But let us remember that the kingdom of the Lord will be a righteous one.
where evil will not be permitted to flourish. God has made a gracious provision for mans trial during the Millennial Age by restraining Satan during that time.
At the very beginning of the trial day this will be done, as we read:
"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand . And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, THAT HE SHOULD DECEIVE THE NATIONS NO MORE till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season" (Rev. 20:1-3).
The Apostle says, that this trial or judgment day is to be a "tittle of refreshing from the presence of the Lord." "the times of restitution (or restoration-Revised Ver.) of all things" (Acts 3:19-21). This must mean that all things lost shall be restored. And what was lost? Our first parents had life, and hall it in abundance. Man was as then perfect, physically, mentally, morally. lie lived in Paradise, the whole earth and all things in it being beautiful and glorious. There was no sorrow there, no sin nor dying, until Satan entered. All these Adam lost. Thus was Paradise lost. Is all this to be restored? Let us examine God's Word and see. Jesus said: "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10). "All flesh shall see the salvation of God" (Luke 3:6). Here is the clear and unequivocal statement of our Lord Jesus concerning restitution. and to this the Apostle adds, that all the holy prophets of God hate testified since the world began that a time of restitution is coming (Acts 3:21). He cannot here examine the testimony of all the prophets, but we will point out the testimony of some and the interested reader, from these, can take his concordance and find notch more evidence of a similar character.
During that great thousand year judgment day the Lord will make clear the paths that lead to righteousness, so that the most foolish or weak-minded need not err therein. Note His words:
"And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass OVER it, but it shall be for those; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein" Isa. 35:8).
This great highway of holiness shall be for the cleansing of fallen man, but, as the Word says, there shall be a way, one way, of going over that highway -- God's way, and that way for man is humility and obedience. The great, the mighty, the rich and haughty of earth must come to common level and go over ihe same way, or not go over it at all. "And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day" (Isa. 2:17). "Every knee to him shall both" (Phil. 2:10; Rom. 11:11). Man must give up his haughty will and do the will of the Lord, meekly and humbly bow to the new order of things if he will then come into harmony with the Lord and live. He who will not become cleansed after being upon this highway will not be permitted, as the Prophet says, to pass over it, to the end of it, but will be disposed of before he reaches the end thereof. Only the righteous, the clean, shall reach the end of that highway.
We have seen that it is God's will that all men shall "come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4). Therefore, when resurrected, all men must hear the testimony, that Jesus died to save him, "gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (1 Tim. 2:6) and this great trial day will be God's "due time" for man to come unto this knowledge. For nearly twenty centuries there have been a few who been trying to teach God's word, but Satan has blinded the people so that the masses could not understand. In that trial day, however, when Satan is restrained that he may no longer deceive man, all men shall come unto a knowledge of God's plan, as we read:
"For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:14; Isa. 11:9).
Then the ransom, which Jesus paid upon the cross shall be testified to all and become operative as to all men, and not until then. The great antitype of Moses, The Christ, will cause this testimony to be heard and understood by all the people. With what result will this knowledge of the Lord be received by the people? The great prophet, Moses, the type of The Christ, the spiritual high court, long ago answered this question. We quote the testimony:
"For Moses truly said unto the fathers, 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, which will not hear that prophet, SHALL BE DESTROYED FROM AMONG THE PEOPLE" (Acts, 3:22-23).
The first trial, the trial of Adam, was a trial for Adam and for the whole race, then his loins. The death sentence, there imposed, passed by inheritance upon every man. Jesus satisfied that judgment by buying the race with his precious and perfect life, and then grants to each man a new trial. The new trial in The Christ court will be an individual trial. "Adam ate the sour grape and his children's teeth were set on edge," and they all died because of his sin. The trial in The Christ Court will not result in "attainder of blood," but each man must suffer for his own wrong. This point the prophet stakes clear, as we read:
"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 shall die for his own iniquity; every man that eateth the sour grape his teeth shall be set on edge" (Jer. 31:29, 30).
The Prophet further tells its, that in the time of that trial or judgment day, "when the judgments of the Lord are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness" (Isa. 26:9). Learning righteousness and then refusing to do righteousness such will not be permitted to continue further upon the highway of holiness, because "the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, but shall perish" (Psalm 1:5-6). Those that "obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord" (2 Thes. 1:8-9). Everlasting destruction is everlasting punishment, but not everlasting torment. This everlasting destruction is called the second death. Under the first trial all men died and are dying. Those who during the Gospel Age, are begotten to the spiritual nature, heretofore examined, die, but are raised up as new creatures, spiritual beings. Those who during the same period hear and understand and believe the testimony to be true, and refuse to accept the truth and to come into harmony with the Lord so far as they can, die the second death. Those who are resurrected for trial and are tried individually and refuse to come into righteousness, die the second death, which is complete annihilation. Concerning the second death we read:
"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (hades, the tomb) delivered up the dead which were in them, and they
were judged (tried) every man according to their WORKS. And DEATH and HELL were cast into the lake of fire. THIS IS THE SECOND DEATH" (Rev. 20:13-14. See Rev. 21:8).
The language here used is symbolic and file is the symbol of complete destruction, and complete destruction is the second death--the end of the willfully wicked.
But now let us turn to the brighter side of the picture, to the restitution or restoration side--the reward of those who shall humbly then desire to serve the Lord and do right.
In that great day, "the meek will He guide in judgment" (Psalm 25:9). It will not be the stubborn, still-necked hard headed that shall then prosper. "But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace" (Psa. 37:11). Of these Jesus said, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matt. 5:5). Meekness will be a redeeming quality then, as it is now, with those who would follow the Lord.
The Jews were originally God's chosen people. They were cast off, but not forever. Paul says the Jew has much advantage every way (Rom. 3:1-3). They were blinded, but the Apostle says that blindness shall be removed at the end of the Gentile times, and then Israel shall be saved (Rom. 11:25-27). The time of the Gentiles, that is, the lease of the earthly power they have, shall end at the time The Christ kingdom or court is set up, at the second appearing of Christ Jesus. Jesus told the Jews they would be trodden down "until the times of the Gentiles: be fulfilled." and he further said at that time "Your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke. 21:2, 4-28).
Now let us remember God's promise to Abraham concern ing the land . that he Would give it all to him, saying, "All that which thou seest. to thee twill I give it and to shy seed forever" (Gen. 13:14-16). Speaking of this same promise years after Abraham was (lead. Stephen said, that the Lord "gave him not so much as to set his foot on" (Acts, 7:5). God's promise must be fulfilled. Where have the Jews been since the destruction of their nation? Principally in Russia, the country that ties north of Palestine; some are scattered among other nations. The Jews have always spoken and still spear: of the Lord that brought their fathers out of the land of Egypt. The Prophet says the
time will come when this people will cease this saying, as we read:
"Therefore, behold the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, the Lord liveth, which brought up and which led THE SEED OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL OUT OF THE NORTH COUNTRY, and FROM ALL countries whither I have driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land " (Jer. 23:7-8).
Speaking of that same time the Prophet of the Lord further states. concerning these people:
"At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord (the place from which the heavenly judgments or affairs relating to the earth shall be administered); and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord to Jerusalem; neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart" (Jer. 3:17).
And this testimony is in harmony with that of Jesus, wherein he states to the Jews these Words:
"And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west and sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 8:11), the earthly phase of that kingdom.
These prophecies could not refer to times that have passed
for the reason the Word is that they shall build up their nation and it shall abide forever. The restoration of Israel is clearly taught by the Prophet Fzekiel. The Lord showed him in a parable the house of Israel raised up from the tomb and restored (Ezek. 37:1-14), the Lord there interpreting the parable to hint. He shows the whole house of Israel as dead, all those who have gone into the tomb for centuries past; then describes the recreation of their bodies and the giving to them the breath of life. Then the Lord interprets the vision or parable to him thus:
"Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost, we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them thus saith the Lord God: behold. O my people, I 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 have opened your graves O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put My spirit in you, and ye shall live 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. 37:11-14).
In this connection read same chapter, Ezekiel 37:19-28.
The prophet Jeremiah also spoke of the restoration of the Jells as we read:
"For I will 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 thither and NOT PLUCK THEM Up. And I will give them a 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 23:6-7). (see also the testimony of the prophets Amos 9:11-15; Hosea 3:4, 5; Isaiah 52:9:65:19; 66:10-12).
The foregoing testimony applies specifically to the Israelites, but that constitutes no evidence that all other nations will not have a chance. Paul points out that "The Jew first" must receive salvation, and afterwards the other nations (Rom. 2:9-10; 11:25-29): and this is entirely in harmony with the testimony of the holy prophets. For many years the Christian people of this land have made strenuous efforts to save (?) the heathen, but have met with signal failure. They have overlooked the fact that salvation comes from the Lord and not from men, and in His "own due time" the heathen will have a chance for salvation in that great thousand year judgment, the heathen shall be awakened from the dead, that is, all who have at that time gone into the tomb, and be judged by the tribunal of Christ (Joel. 3:11,12). Those who are on earth when the judgment begins will likewise be judged. Now let us examine some of the testimony relating to specific nations. We cannot set it all out, of course, but the interested reader must go to the Lord's Word and there read it. All men, whether on the earth or in the tomb, who have not, prior to that great judgment day been tried, are now and will be then in captivity to death. They must be brought forth from that captivity and tried and judged. We read that the Moabites will be brought forth and judged (Jer. 48:47); and that the Elamites will be brought forth and judged (Jer. 49:39). The Sodomites, Samaritans, and the people of Tyre, Sidon, Nineveh, and all other nations shall be brought forth front the "prison house of death" and given a chance to live, and a fair trial with that chance. But, it is suggested, certainly not the Sodomites, because the Lord destroyed them by fire. It matters not, they did not have a knowledge of the truth at the time of their destruction and all men must have full knowledge of the truth in order to have a fair trial. Even human courts would not condemn a man without giving him a fair hearing and advising him of all the facts and the law bearing upon his case. But what does the Word say about the coming forth of these and their trial? We read:
"When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then
will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them. When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, SHALL RETURN TO THEIR FORMER ESTATE and Samaria and her daughters shall RETURN TO THEIR FORMER ESTATE, then thou and thy daughters shall RETURN TO YOUR FORMER ESTATE" (Ezek. 16:53, 55).
And when these are brought forth, shall they be tried? Jesus answered that question in the affirmative. When on earth He preached to the Israelites, but they were blind, as Paul said. (Rom. 11:25) and could not understand Him. He told the Jews, in substance, that they would have a trial in His great tribunal, but he further said that the former generations who had not all enjoyed the privileges of hearing him, as these had, would have a more tolerable, a more favorable trial in that day, and that they would arise in that day and condemn the generation of Jews then living, because they had not understood and believed Jesus. Note his words:
"The men of Nineveh shall rise IN JUDGMENT with this generation and shall condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonas and behold a greater than Jonas is here" (Matt. 12:41).
Again He said to these same people:
"Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida, for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which are exalted unto heaven, shall be brought down to hell; for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be MORE tolerable for the land of Sodom in the DAY OF JUDGMENT, than for thee" (Matt. 11:21-24).
These words of our Lord plainly mean, that in the day of judgment, the people of Capernaum, who were stir necked and highly exalted in their own opinions and who afterwards were destroyed and went in hell (the tomb, the state of death) will be raised up and given a tolerable trial, that is, a reasonable trial, but the trial of the Sodomites will be more tolerable, easier.
After pointing out specifically the various nations that would receive the blessing of this trial, the Lord has caused to be recorded in His Word a general provision which covers ever idle one, that man may have the additional assurance that all will have one fair trial for life. We read:
"Simeon hath declared how God AT THE FIRST did visit the Gentiles, TO TAKE OUT OF THEM A PEOPLE FOR HIS NAME. And to this
agree the words of the prophets, as it is written: After this I will return and will build again the tabernacle of David, which Is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up; that the RESIDUE OF MEN might seek after the Lord, and ALL the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth these things" (Acts 15:14-17).
This is in perfect harmony with all the other Bible testimony, namely, that God is now, during the Gospel Age, electing, taking out of the world, from among the Gentiles, a peculiar people for His name, the elect church, the bride, to be "joint heirs with Jesus Christ," heirs of God, his children, "the king's daughter" (Psa. 45:13), and when so elected or taken out when the "Bride and Bridegroom" are made one (Rev. 19:7-9), then will the tabernacle of David, God's beloved, the high court of Christ, with the heavenly and earthly phases, be set up, for the express purpose of giving all men aft opportunity to seek the Lord and live. Then will the people of earth hear the glad proclamation of Jesus and his bride, saying: "And the Spirit and the bride say, come. And let hint that heareth say, come, and let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17). Then shall "the dead hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that shall hear shall live." "He that eateth of this bread shall live forever" (John 5:25; 6:58). For the first time since Adam was driven from the garden of Eden will man then have life. "And whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die" (John, 11:26). These words of Jesus will then be applicable to man and not until then. When Jesus uttered these words there was not a man, beside himself in all the earth who had life, and therefore His words could not then hale applied to any man.
During this thousand -year trial day, as we have read, Satan will he bound that he may not deceive the people. But when that thousand years ends and man has been restored "Satan shall be loosed out of his prison" for a little season and shall go out to deceive the people again (Rev. 20:3, 7-8). Thus it appears that God will give man, when restored, a similar trial to Man's first trial, and perfect men may then choose between good and evil. Then those "who live and believe on Jesus," remain loyal to him, shall live forever, and those who do not shall be destroyed in the second death, and the devil himself shall be
destroyed (Rev. 20:9-10; Heb. 2:14). The language employed in Rev. 20:10 is highly symbolic, fire and brimstone being symbols of destruction. If destroyed lie could not be tormented. The word torment is symbolical also. A full explanation of this will be furnished freely on application. The language used by the Apostle in Heb. 2:14 is not symbolical but literal and says the devil will be destroyed. This is in harmony with all the other Bible testimony.
It might be properly asked why will not man fall again. If he must, at the end of the Millennial Age, submit to another testing from Satan, as Adam did. Man will then have all that Adam had, he will be perfect physically, mentally and morally. He will have one thing more, namely the experience of previous ages with sin and the baneful effects thereof, and haling this experience Satan cannot deceive those who desire to remain in harmony with God. Thus it is clearly seen that God has permitted sin in the world for the purpose of giving man full experience therewith, to the end that he might be willing, when restored to perfection, to remain forever in harmony with God.
When originally created, and before the fall, man-was in the image of God (Gen. 1:26, 27), Adam had no book of law, but being in God's image we might properly say that God's law was written in his heart, his mind, his very organization. This image and likeness of God was ruined in the fall, and since then it cannot be said that man's organization, mental and moral, is the image of God. Selfishness and depravity have taken the place of the original qualities. But God has promised that in the great trial or judgment day in the court of His Son, Christ, He will restore this likeness, to all the families of the earth who will accept the blessing and obey Him. The great mediator, Christ, having restored mankind. God will then make a new covenant with him and will write His law in man's heart, in his mind, as it was in Adam before his transgression, as we read His word:
"Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law In their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God and they
shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying, Know tie Lord, for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord, for I will forgive their Iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more" (Jer. 31:31-34).
This blessing will extend not only to the Israelites, but to all the nations, who twill then appreciate the words of our Lord. when he says:
"Behold the tabernacle of God Is with MEN, and He will dwell with them and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God" (Rev. 21:3).
This great trial will result in life, joy and happiness, salvation indeed, to all who will come into harmony with the Lord by accepting His gracious gift and obeying Him, as we read: "Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return and 'come with singing unto Zion (praising the heavenly power) and everlasting joy shall be upon their head; they shall obtain gladness and joy and sorrow and mourning shall flee away" (Isa. 51:11).
Who are the redeemed? The Word answers, all men (Heb. 2:9; see also I John, 2:2; 1 Tim. 2:5-6).
There can never be perfect happiness in the earth so long as there is death in the earth. But we are assured by His precious Word that death shall be destroyed in the end of that judgment day. the words of assurance being: "For He (Christ) must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1 Cor. 15:25-26; see also Rev. 20:13, 14).
God has also assured man that He swill restore to him paradise. And what is paradise? We here quote the definition given by two eminent Greek scholars, translating the word from the original:
Paradise, a park, garden or ground. -- Dr. Young (Presbyterian).
Paradise, a park, that Is an Eden. -- Dr. Strong (Methodist).
Adam had paradise for his home, the garden of Eden: I· was perfect. The earth was perfect, because God said it was good, and nothing could be good in His sight unless perfect. It contained the tree of life (Gen. 2:9, 10) and pure waters. Had Adam obeyed the Lord he could have eaten of the perfect food. and drank the pure water and lived forever. 11th when he was convicted and sentenced to death God drove him out of the garden paradise, that he might not live (Gen. 3:22-24),
and in the judgment entered against man God cursed the whole earth, and since then it has brought forth thorns and thistles (Gen. 3:17-19); and since that day man has had no perfect food and has earned what he got in the Sweat of His face. Man lost paradise when the curse came upon him and the earth. We have seen by the testimony that Jesus gave himself a ransom for ail men. Any sort of death would have satisfied that judgment, but he died on a tree, and His blood running down upon the earth testified that He would redeem the earth also, and would restore paradise to man. Jesus, when on the tree, looking down to the close of the Millennial Age, Mien paradise shall be restored, the earth again made perfect, in answer to the cry of the "thief on the cross," said: "Indeed I say to thee this day, thou shalt be with me in paradise" (Luke, 23:12-43) Emphatic Diaglott. Jesus has not yet come into His kingdom, but He will receive it and set it up when the elected are tried and chosen. He will restore paradise, and the thief will be in paradise as Jesus promised him he would.
Have we any evidence that the earth shall be restored? The Bible answers abundant evidence. Let us consider some of it. Through the mouth of His holy prophet the Lord has said: "O, let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for Thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God even our God shall bless us" (Psa. 67:4, 6). Read also Psa. 85:8-13 and Ezek. 34:24-31. There will then be perfect harmony and peace between all the animals and men. "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed, their young ones shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice's den" (Isa. 11:6-8). "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall he given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord and the
excellency of our God. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the cars of the deaf shall lie unstopped. Then shall the lame frail leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitations of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes" (Isa. 35:1-2, 5-7). "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree, and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for ail everlasting sign that shall not be cut off" (Isa. 55:13).
Marvelous joy and blessing yet in store for the world. "O, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God" (Rom. 11:33). Wonderful love displayed in His plan for man's salvation. The weakened human intellect cannot now comprehend the true meaning of restoration, but can understand enough to make him glad and joyful. When we contemplate all the misery in the world; the great masses of humanity that are to-day hungry for bread; the poor, sick, broken bodies, lame, blind and dumb, dragging through the world; the great number confined in the institutions for the insane, the light of whose minds have gone out; the vast numbers of vicious criminals whom the strong arm of the law has placed behind prison bars that they may not further prey upon society; and the many happy homes that have been broken up by death. When we are assured, by His immutable Word, that all those who will accept, shall be restored to perfection and happiness; friends and families, long separated, reunited in everlasting joy and happiness; the whole earth restored to Edenic glory; death destroyed. and all tears and sorrow passed away, and in their stead happiness and joy shall live in the hearts and minds of men forever (Isa. 25:8. 9:51:11; Rev. 21:1--4), we arc overwhelmed with -ladncs:. Why would any man refuse to love such a God? The Psalmist, with prophetic wisdom from above, saw the coming of the earth's judgment day and blessings to the people, and joyfully exclaimed:
"Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp and the voice of the psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King. Let the sea roar and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands; let
the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for He COMETH TO JUDGE THE EARTH; with righteousness shall He judge the world, and the people with equity" (Psa. 98:5-9; Psa. 96:10-13).
This is the time for which Jesus taught His followers to pray, Saying: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10). When that great time shall come, then will the inhabitants of the earth realize that the message of the angel of the Lord was indeed glad tidings of great joy to all people (Luke, 2:10). From him that sits upon the throne shall the message then come: "Behold I make all things new" (Rev. 21:5); and then, as in the days of old when the foundations of the earth here laid. "the morning star: shall sing together, and all the sons of God shout for joy" (Job 38:7).
ALL THINGS NEW.
"The world is old with centuries.
But not for these she bows her head;
Close to her heart the sorrow lies;
She bolds so many dead!
Sad discords mingle in her song,
Tears fall upon her with the dew,
The whole creation groans-How long
Ere all shall be made new?
Yet brightly on her smiles the sun,
A bounteous heaven delights to bless;
O! what shall be that fairer one,
Wherein dwells righteousness?
O happy world! O holy time!
When wrong shall die, and strife shall cease
And all the bells of heaven chime
With melodies of peace.
No place shall be In that new earth
For all that blights this universe;
No evil faint the second birth-
There shall be no more curse.
Ye broken hearted, cease your moan;
The day of promise dawns for you;
For he who sits upon the throne
Says, 'I make all things new.'
We mourn the (lead. bill they shall wake!
The lost, but they shall be restored!
0! Well Our human hearts might break
Without That sacred word!
Dim eyes, look up! Hall hearts, rejoice!
Seeing Gods bow of promise through,
At sound of that prophetic voice:
'I will make all things new."'
XXVIII: JUST, YET THE JUSTIFIER.
Adam, with full knowledge of the penalty, violated God's holy law. That lie was justly sentenced to death, we must readily concede. The whole human race was then in Adam's loins. From the day lie was driven from Eden he began to die, and being from that day imperfect lie could not produce a perfect race. Therefore, all men have been conceived in sin and born in iniquity (Psalm 51:5), and in the natural order of things all men are born under that sentence of death, and from birth are in a dying condition. Because of the unchangeableness of God's law, He could not pardon-the sin of man, He has not pardoned that sin and never will. The penalty named in the judgment must be fully met, and man must perish, unless the penalty was met by a corresponding price being paid and man released from the operation thereof. God's love was equal to His justice. He owed man nothing, yet, because of His divine love for man, he permitted His only Son, Jesus, to become a man, and he did become a perfect man for the express purpose of saving man from that death sentence. The penalty could be met only by a perfect man, nothing more or less. Jesus owed man nothing, yet his love prompted him to lay aside his heavenly spiritual glory, become a perfect man and give that perfect life, his all, as a ransom, a corresponding price, for Adam's life. Having paid the price, satisfied the judgment, the Father raised him from the dead and exalted him to the divine nature, and endowed him with the power and authority to restore the human family. The Father then set aside a time, the Gospel Age, wherein He has invited a few, by faith and sacrifice, to become "his heirs and joint heirs with Christ Jesus." These being selected and united with Jesus, the head of the Christ body, then Christ will restore, during the Millennial Age, all men of the world who will accept the free gift of salvation and obey Him. In this great work of restoration Christ Jesus is the mediator between God and man, the mediator of the new covenant, for the purpose of carrying out that covenant. To the church He is an advocate, a counselor, an attorney, and not a mediator, for the reason, those who
become members of his body, these are reckoned perfect by faith (Rom. 4:24, 25; 5:1), which reckoned perfection is willingly sacrificed even unto death, after which, and at the resurrection, these become spirit beings, as we have seen. But as to the world Jesus Christ is not an advocate, because God It is no communication with the world until Jesus has restored the men thereof to actual perfection; so in this restoration work He stand s as a mediator, the representative of man and God between man and God. To illustrate: Under the laws of nations there are persons incapable of making contracts, or covenants, such as minors, insane persons, and in some jurisdictions, men under sentence of death. When this disability exists the necessity for a guardian exists, to enter into or perform the contract between the two parties, the guardian or mediator acting as the go-between for the parties and performing the legal functions for the incompetent one, his ward. The disability being removed, the necessity for the guardian ceases. The world, being under the Adamic sentence of death, was dead to God and is not yet reconciled to Him; hence, God could not covenant with man to restore him. But Jesus Christ being the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5-6), has the power to restore all who will accept the free gift of life--salvation. We have seen that during the thousand year trial judgment day He will restore all such who will accept the gift. Having restored all the willing ones, destroyed all the willfully wicked ones; having destroyed death and the devil; and having restored the whole earth to its original Edenic glory, then the necessity for the mediator ceases, and as the Apostle, in effect says, Jesus Christ, having put all enemies under His feet, and all things being in subjection to Him, he delivers up the race to the Father fully restored "that God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:27-28); and thus it is seen that God is absolutely just and unchangeable in all things, yet, through His son Jesus, is the justifier, the perfector of mankind. And when perfected and received by God it is then that the human race restored "shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them and be their God (Rev. 21:3; see also Rom. 3:19-26).
XXIX: TRIALS CONTRASTED.
The key to God's plan of salvation is the ransom. Ransom means an exact, corresponding price. Until we understand the necessity for a ransom, and that the ransom was paid by Jesus for all and must be applied to all men, in due time, the whole Bible is a sealed book. We must first get into our minds clearly, that the whole human race was under the sentence of death, Adam, by direct judgment of God, and all his children, every man, by inheritance; that nothing could save man front that sentence, eternal annihilation, unless that original judgment was first satisfied; that nothing but a perfect human being, a man just like Adam ryas before the judgment Was entered, could become that ransom; that Jesus became a perfect man and by going into actual death as a man, being eternally destroyed as such, did pay that ransom for all men, which must be testified to all men in God's due time (1 Tim. 2:5, 6). We must remember, that man's idea of that due time is not God's due time. Let its now briefly review the application of the ransom to the church and to the world, contrasting the two trials.
During the Gospel Age the church is elected, the ransom being applied to it and to none other during that time. The world must wait until the election is over. The manner of applying the ransom to the church is typified and illustrated by the Tabernacle in the wilderness, and which was built by direction of the Lord for the express purpose of teaching men this lesson. We cannot take up a discussion of that question here. (See Appendix). During the Gospel Age, when man hears the testimony concerning the ransom, understand s and accepts it as trite, God at once imputes to him righteousness, human perfection, through Christ Jesus (Rom. 4:23-25; 5:1). This human perfection, when voluntarily and willingly presented to God as a living sacrifice even unto death, ;is heretofore explained, if accepted by the Lord, is then and there reckoned dead as a man, and God begets him to a new nature. Ibis trial then and there begins and must progress until actual death. His trial is under unfavorable surroundings, because in "the present evil world." and during the whole trial there is a constant conflict between
his new nature on the one side, and his on titan nature, the influence of the world and Satan on the other. The new creature must trip in this fight, must be an overcoming more than a Conqueror, if he receives his reward. If the fight is faithfully waged until death. at the resurrection the new creature is born a perfect spiritual being, and is given immortality, being made partaker of the divine nature. This class was ordained of God before the foundation of the world (1 Cor. 2:7). This is election.
When this class is elected and glorified with Christ Jesus, then begins the application of the ransom to all other men, and all who have gone into the tomb must be and will be resurrected as human beings, coming forth for trial are, will reach life by judgment. The trial of these is more favorable, because the evil influences will then have been removed, and society and Christ's righteous government will be favorable to righteousness, and faithful obedience will then be rewarded and wrong doers instantly punished. These do not have human perfection imputed to them, as it was imputed to Abraham and the church in the justified condition, but they must reach actual human perfection during the great thousand -year trial or judgment day, if they would live. The reward of these will be actual human perfection, and they will enjoy eternal life and happiness as human beings. The whole of that day of judgment, the Millennial Age, will be occupied in "separating the sheep (the meek, obedient ones) from the goats (the stubborn. disobedient ones)," and at the end of that Age all the obedient will be rewarded as it is written: "Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand , come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom (the earth) prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 25:34). This is free grace, and thus it will be freely applied to all who will accept.
XXX: CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
In the foregoing pages, the have briefly pointed out the salient features of God's revealed plan for the salvation of man. We hope that at least some readers of these lines, will be
interested to the extent of taking up a careful, systematic study of the Bible, that such will lay aside all preconceived opinions and prejudices and honestly seek for the truth in the Lord's word. Take no man's opinion, but rely exclusively upon the testimony of God's holy and inspired witnesses. If you will do this, you will find in the Lord's Word more wisdom and love, than has been dreamed of in all the philosophies and theories of men.
Wonderful book is the Bible. Certainly no human mind could ever have conceived what is therein contained. Its contents is the best evidence that God exists and that it is His revealed Word to man. Its opening pages record the creation of man and his fall. Its closing pages tell of his recovery. Its first pages give promise of a coming Savior. Its closing pages show that Savior exalted above all beings, save God alone. righteous, just and loving, restoring man, the world and the fullness thereof. Its intermediate pages set forth in detail the preparation for and the establishment of his kingdom of righteousness, for the blessing of the nations, Jesus the ever prominent and righteous character.
When we have "rightly divided the Word of Truth;" when by His grace we are given an insight into His wonderful plan for the salvation of men; stand ing firmly upon and "earnestly contending for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3), and laying hold upon the old Book which has withstood all the storms of the ages, we can with the poet truly and gladly say
"How firm a foundation, Ye saints of the Lord.
II laid for your faith In His excellent word! What more call He say, than to You He hath said? You who unto Jesus for refuge have fled."
To Bible students, who desire to get all the light they can on the Scriptures, we heartily recommend the books described below. They are furnished by the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, of Allegheny, Pa. at prices within the reach of every one. This Bible & Tract Society is strictly non-sectarian, and seeks only to do good by helping every one who wishes help. no matter to what sect or church denomination he may belong. All Bible students will be interested in the wonderful truths pointed out and discussed in these books.
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES.
These studies are recommended to students as veritable "Bible Keys." Prices are net and barely cover cost of production; when delivered by colporteurs the cost and price are Increased.
Series I. The Plan of the Ages, gives an outline of the divine plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man's redemption and restitution; 358 pages, In embossed cloth, 26c. (Is. Id.). India paper edition, 68c. (2s. 10.).
This volume has been published as a special issue of our journal at the extremely low price of be a copy, in any quantity. postage Included. (To foreign countries, 9c.) This enables people of slender purse to herald far and wide the good tidings in a most helpful form.
Series IL. The Time Is at Hand , treats of the manner and time of the Lord's second coming, considering the Bible Testimony on this subject:370 pages, in embossed cloth, 26c. (18. Id.). India paper edition, 68c. (2s. 10d.).
Series III. Thy Kingdom Come, considers prophecies which mark events connected with the "Time of the End," the glorification of the Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; it also contains a chapter on the Great Pyramid, showing Its corroboration of the dates and other teachings of the Bible:384 pages, in embossed cloth 26c (is. 6d.). India paper edition, 68c (2s, 10d.).
Series IV. The Day of Vengeance, shows that the dissolution of the present order of things Is In progress, and that all the panaceas offered are valueless to avert the predicted end. It marks in these events the fulfillment of prophecy. noting especially our Lord's great prophecy o Matt. 24, and Zech. 14:1-9; 660 pages, In embossed cloth 30c. (is. 3d.).
Series V. The At-one-ment Between God and Man, trolls an all important subject-the hub, the center around which all the features of divine grace revolves. Its topic deserves the most careful and prayerful consideration on the part of all (roc Christians:507 pages, In embossed cloth 30c. (Is. 3d.).
Series VI. The New Creation, deals with the Creative Week. Genesis I and 3, and with the Church, God's "Now Creation:" It examines the personnel, organization. rites, ceremonies, obligations and hopes appertaining to those called and accepted as members of the body tinder the Head:740 pages, fit embossed cloth 30c. (Is, 3d.).
The above prices include postage.
In full leather binding, gilt edges, the set (G vols.) $3.00, (14s.), plus postage 60c. (Is).
"Millennial Dawn" Is published in foreign languages as follows: In German, five vols.: In Swedish. Vols. 1, ?, 3 and 5; In Dano-Norwegian, three vols.; In French, two vols.; In Italian, one vol.; In Greek, one vol.; bound In cloth, uniform with English edition, prices the same.
The volumes in English are bound in two styles, "Millennial Dawn" In green cloth binding and "Scripture Studies" In maroon cloth. Specify which you desire.
ANALYTICAL CONCORDANCE TO THE SCRIPTURES.
In English, Hebrew and Greek, by Prof. Young (Presbyterian). A valuable work for all critical students. Price, In cloth binding, $5, Including postage. We are not permitted by the publishers to cut this price; but may and do give postage free and give besides a premium of any four volumes of the "Millennial Dawn" series in cloth binding with each Concordance, or six volumes if purchaser pays the expressage.
THE EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE TO THE SCRIPTURES.
In English, Hebrew and Greek, by Prof. Strong (Methodist). This is also an able work and useful in critical study. It has some advantages over young's; after getting used to It we prefer it. Special reduced prices, -- in cloth binding. $3; half leather, $5. Carriage prepaid, 65c extra.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER.
A semi-monthly magazine, edited by the author of "Millennial Dawn:" Terms. Including postage, one dollar a year in advance.
it is devoted to sacred literature and current events relating to the parousia (presence) and Kingdom of our Loral Jesus Christ, and to the unfolding and disseminating of all truths Contained in the Holy Scriptures -- "things new and old," "meat in due season," for the household of faith. Sample copies will be maned Free to addresses sent us.
You may, on request, have this journal on credit: If unable to pay, later, we will cancel the debt on request. Our list should include all the interested.
Inexpensive. attractive, Interesting. These should be extensively circulated.
The following are 10 cents (5d.) each. To subscribers to Zion's Watch Tower 50 cents (2s. Gil.) per dozen.
"Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices." 130 pages-full of Interest to earnest Christians. Bible Students. It examines carefully the typical lessons taught through Israel's ordinances, and traces these types to their antitypes.
"What Say the Scriptures About Hell?" This booklet of SS pages examines carefully and reverently every Bible text containing the word "hell" and the "parables and dark sayings" supposed to teach eternal torment. It has helped to open the eyes of many truth seekers to the great Adversary's blinding deceptions, whereby he has grievously misrepresented the divine character and plan.
"What Say the Scriptures About Spiritualism?" This little book under divine providence has already recovered from the snares of "Spiritualism" several who had been prominent as "mediums;" and has been a helping band out of danger to hundreds who were "feeling after God" In the direction of Spiritualism-ignorant of its true character as outlined In God's Word. All Christians should read this little treatise and be prepared for the severe temptations along this line which are fast approaching.
"The Wonderful Story" --The Old. Old Story-complete. This little book of GO pages (IS outline Illustrations) Is just the thing for children. and puts the plan of the ages in verse, in simple language, easily committed to memory.
THE FOLLOWING BOOKLETS 5 CENTS (2 1/2 d.) EACH.
To Zion's Watch Tower subscribers at wholesale price, 25c. (Is. 3d.) per doz.
"Thy Word is Truth" -- A reply to Robert Ingersoll. A good thing for Infidels, Sceptics and Christians. 44 pages.
"The Bible versus Evolution," Just what every Christian should read at this time, when the pulpits of Christendom are being Invaded by the anti-Scriptural doctrine of Evolution, which this booklet clearly shows is a complete dental of the Atonement and hence of Christianity. -48 pages.
"The Second Coming of our Lord--His Parousla, Epiphania and Apokalupsis." This booklet should interest and profit all who "love his appearing."
Hebrew-Jargon Booklet. The best tract for Jewish friends, - The Epistle to the Hebrews, with extracts from Isaiah.
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY,
"Bible House," Allegheny, Pa. U. S. A. British Branch:131 Green 3L, Forest Gate, London.