THE WORK OF REDEMPTION PROGRESSIVE

BIBLE EXAMINER, Vol. XX NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER, 1876. No. 12 (page 368)

THE WORK OF REDEMPTION PROGRESSIVE:

OR, ‘AGES’ EMPLOYED IN ACCOMPLISHING IT.

The Christian church have been right in believing in the eventual conversion of the world, no doctrine of the Bible is so clear and unmistakable; but they have failed to distinguish between the work of the gospel of the kingdom, and the kingdom itself; the one being a preparatory step to the other.

If the reader will but entertain the natural and Bible outcome of this progressive plan; that ‘the world to come,’ belongs after the ‘world that now is;’ that the passage from the one to the other, is but a change of dispensation, greater than occurred at the first advent between the law and the gospel, but still only a change of dispensation from the Gospel of the kingdom to the kingdom; a change involving a resurrection; for, ‘as in Adam all die, so in Christ, shall all be made alive, but every man in his own order;’ he will see that ‘a restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began’,{# Ac 3:21} is not a forced doctrine, but a necessity. He will also see that as yet, no one has entered the ‘world aion, or age to come,’ nor can until this one ends.

And that therefore, the Adamic death is but a sleep; and only when ‘they that sleep in the dust of the earth, shall awake, ’ do they enter upon a future life.

Probation to a restored human family is not consistent, it is true, with the idea that the heathen, and all the unconverted go to a place of torment at death; but is consistent with the statement so universal in the Bible, that they are not dead, but sleep. The almost unanimous testimony of Scripture, when one was said to die, was, that ‘they slept with their fathers, and were buried’ &c.; ‘They that sleep in Jesus, will God bring with Him.’ And Christ said of more than one who was buried, or ready for burial, ‘He is not dead, but sleepeth.’

This is what the Bible terms ‘sleep,’ but there is a death; to distinguish it, it is called the ‘second death.’ And it is a clearly Scriptural position that no man can die the real death, without committing that one sin which is, ‘unto death;’ ‘There is a sin unto death; I do not say that ye shall pray for it’;{# 1Jo 5:16} a sin which Paul claims that one must ‘taste the good word of God and the powers of the world to come,’ and thus be brought ‘to the knowledge of the truth; if such sin willfully, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a fearful looking for of fiery indignation’ (compare #Heb 6:4-6 and #Heb 10:26,27). A sin Jesus says, ‘Can be forgiven, neither in this world; neither in the world to come.’ But one must sin willfully after having been brought by the Holy Spirit, to the knowledge of the truth, before they can commit the sin ‘that is unto death.’ But God has declared that ‘He will have ALL men come to the knowledge of the truth.’ Before the plan of redemption is finished this will be accomplished. God has promised a resurrection to all; and a universal restitution; and that ‘All nations which thou hast made, shall come and worship before thee.’ Even the Sodomites are promised a restitution back to their ‘former estate.’ {#Eze 16:55}

There is much positive scripture, to be adduced, to prove that there is to be probation in the world to come, for all who have not been brought to the knowledge of the truth in this world, and committed the unpardonable sin. Christ gave Himself ‘a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.{#1Ti 2:6} God ‘is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.’ {#1Ti 4:10} Not that He saves all men eternally; but He will save all men from the Adamic fall. Every person must and will be saved; that is, come to the knowledge of the truth, taste of the good word of God and power of the world to come; and have their sins forgiven, before they can ‘fall away’ into that fearful condition for which ‘there remaineth no more sacrifice.’ ‘I have sworn by myself, the word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess.’ {#Isa 14:23} Paul in reasoning ‘that Christ both died and rose, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living, For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God’,{# Ro 14:11} is proving a resurrection; and that all, both dead and living, will, in the day of judgment, or millennial age, be brought to this good confession.

If it be asked, Why did not God bring these extinct nations to the knowledge of the truth before they fell asleep, if He even intended to do so? I answer, God having arranged that there was to be a second Adam, and a second Eve, the ‘wife’ of this second Adam; {see #Re 19:7} and that through this second Adam all that was lost through the first Adam should be restored; has, thus far, been doing only a preparatory work. The Jewish nation supposed the promise of God that ‘All the families of the earth should be blessed,’ through the Seed of the woman, would be fulfilled under the law; while the Christian church have, with as little authority, claimed all for the gospel. If God had satisfied the Jewish nation, much Scripture in relation to Gentiles would have remained unfulfilled. If God satisfies the nominal Christian church, much prophecy irreconcilable with ‘the narrow way,’ would remain unfulfilled. But He has said that ‘He will be for a stone of stumbling to both the houses of Israel.’

The salvation under the law, was for a class, and not for all mankind. The salvation under the ‘Gospel of the kingdom,’ is for a class, ‘the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’ Hence, the way is narrow, and few there be that find it. Hence, ‘many are called, and few are chosen.’ Hence, ‘No man cometh unto me except the Father draw him.’ But in the kingdom, the waters of life will be broad and deep; and there, will the ‘Spirit and the bride say Come, and whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.’

As the ‘marriage of the Lamb,’ and beginning of ‘the restitution of all things,’ follows the second advent; the salvation of the world does not commence until then. Hence, Christ says, ‘I pray not for the world, but for them thou hast given me’;{# Joh 17:9} and adds, {#Joh 17:20} ‘Neither pray I for these the twelve alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.’ Notice carefully the meaning; He prays, not for the world, but for His own, His bride, all that will believe through the word of the twelve, that they all may be one with Him; ‘they twain become one;’ and the outcome of this mystical marriage, is ‘that, the world may believe. And, to show that this is the true order, the marriage is placed at the end of the Gospel dispensation.

The positive proof that there is an opportunity for the world after this present dispensation ends, after the second Adam and his ‘wife’ are joined together, is gathered, first, from the order of progression given in #1Co 15:45-49. The apostle, be it remembered, is speaking not of the individual, but of the race of Adam: ‘And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul person; the last Adam a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural or animal; and afterwards that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.’

The apostle’s reasoning is, that the first stage of this progressive development of the human family, is to bear the image of the first man, male or female, for ‘they were one flesh;’ after which, they are to bear the image of the ‘second man,’ who also has a ‘wife’ who becomes one with Him. And to suppose the apostle is speaking of only the ‘second man’ and his wife, simply the bride of Christ, is just as absurd as to suppose when speaking of the ‘first Adam,’ he meant only the individual pair. He is showing that the earthly animal man, precedes the heavenly, spiritual man, as God’s true order; and therefore, the work of the ‘first man,’ precedes that of the ‘second man.’ And God does not perfect separate individuals, but works by dispensations. Hence, ‘David hath not ascended into the heavens’;{# Ac 2:34} nor has any man, ‘No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.’ {#Joh 3 13} And the second Adam does not begin the re-generation of the ‘children of the kingdom,’ until the ‘marriage of the Lamb, when His wife hath made herself ready.’

As the natural or animal man has multiplied and replenished the earth; so also, ‘In the re-generation, when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of His glory,’ will He multiply and replenish the earth with a spiritual family; ‘and a nation shall be born in a day.’ And the evidence is conclusive, that when He sits on the throne of His glory; when ‘the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He is the governor among the nations,’ ‘All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all kindreds of the nations shall come and worship, before thee.’ But it is only when He comes in His glory, and during the sounding of the seventh trump, that ‘the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of our Lord, {#Re 11:15} and He thus becomes ‘the governor among the nations.’ Hence, it is after the marriage of the Lamb; after this present dispensation is ended; and in the ‘world to come,’ that the conversion of the world, is due.

If God has been trying to save the world before the ‘second man’ and his wife were perfected in opposition to His own pre-arranged plan, He has taken a strange way to do it. Why, for more than two thousand years, did He let the human family go down in death for death reigned from Adam to Moses, with no effort to bring them to the knowledge of the truth? Why, if He was trying to save the world under the Jewish dispensation, did He make it ‘unlawful to give the children’s meat to the dogs?’ Why should Christ command His disciples, ‘Go not in the way of the Gentiles; and into any city of the Samaritans, enter ye not?’ They were dying day by day, and if modern ideas be true, were going to hell, to eternal torment; and Christ, who was about to give His life for the world, would not allow the ‘bread of life’ to be given them; and excused Himself by saying, ‘For I am sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’

If there was to be no ‘restitution;’ and this life was indeed the end of all hope to the sinner, such apparent indifference to man’s eternal interests, could not be reconciled with God’s professions of love to the world; ‘ all men,’ ‘every man that cometh into the world,’ &c. Not a Gentile saved, or even an effort in that direction, until a pre-arranged and definite point of time had arrived; and yet God no respecter of persons: ‘And when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, ’ and until the day of Pentecost, He made no provision for any other class. He did not come, at His first advent, to save the world; for he was sent only to those under the law. He did not even pray for the world, ‘I pray not for the world.’ {#Joh 17:9} He took upon Him our nature, ‘that He might taste death for every man,’ and ‘gave Himself a ransom for all; to be testified in due time.{#1Ti 2:6} And this ‘due time,’ is after His second advent

The Gospel is designed now to reach only a class, ‘a royal priesthood, a holy nation;’ to become one with Christ; truly a wonderful exaltation, exalted above angels, principalities, powers; ‘know ye not that ye shall judge angels?’ But the gospel dispensation must end, and a new order of things commence, before the world can be reached. Here, we are to be ‘pilgrims and strangers,’ separate from the world. Here, we are to suffer, and obey the powers that be. Here, the way is narrow, ‘strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it.’ Here, ‘many are called and few are chosen;’ wheat and tares grow together; evil men and seducers wax worse and worse; even as it was in the days of Noah. How then can ‘all know the Lord, from the least to the greatest,’ and ‘the knowledge of the Lord cover the earth, as the waters do the sea,’ in this dispensation?

When the ‘second man,’ Christ and His body, are complete; then begins the process of re-generation, and ‘the restitution of all things.’ ‘And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion, that lost by the first Adam, and the kingdom shall come to the daughters of Jerusalem; {#Mic 4:8} the bride, ‘the Jerusalem that is above; the mother in prospect of us all.’

Eve was a part of the human family; and was ‘the mother of all living.’

Then, indeed, when Christ ‘takes to Himself His great power and reigns,’ the nations will be subdued under Him. And He will rule them with a rod of iron; ‘and when thy judgments are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.’ {#Isa 26:9} And this is the song to be sung by the immortalized bride on the ‘sea of glass;’ ‘All nations shall come and worship before thee, for thy judgments are made manifest.’*{# Re 25:4???}

*Note. The word ‘judgments,’ in #Re 25:4???, in the Greek, is (dikaioma), and means righteousness; and is so rendered, in most cases in the New Testament. And the Hebrew word occurring in #Isa 26:9, (mishpaht) has precisely the same meaning. The same word occurs in #Ps 112:5. ‘He will guide His affairs with discretion.’ margin, judgment. Hence, the above texts are equivalent to saying, When Christ guides the affairs of the earth, when He is the governor among the nations, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

‘Come and let us reason together, saith the Lord.’ If God has been trying to save the world during the gospel dispensation, He has made as great a failure as during the Jewish age. And if He was not trying to save the world during the Jewish age, nor for the thousands of years prior to that, if He did not then care how many human beings went to hell, what put the happy idea into His heart, even at this late day, to send Jesus to suffer and try to save a few; for under the Gospel, He claims but few, ‘narrow is the way, and few there be that find it?’ If it be claimed that perhaps there was some way, before the first advent, for the myriads who never heard of a Saviour, to be saved; then it was a cruel thing to send Christ; for now there is no other way, ‘or name given among men, whereby we can be saved.’ And with all the dark ages under the papacy, there has not been one million in a hundred millions, since the Gospel began, who have had any knowledge of Christ, or the way of salvation. If any man of ordinary ability could have been in possession, for these eighteen hundred years, of one half of the means of Him, whose ‘are the cattle upon a thousand hills,’ he could have placed the simple story of the Gospel before every human being on this earth.

Is God’s arm shortened that it cannot save? Does He not care for perishing men? Or peradventure He sleepeth, and must be awaked; or on a journey, and left the eternal welfare of His children to a few church societies, trusting that they will successfully carry out the great plan of the redemption of a lost world.

Are God’s ways unequal; or is it our theology which is unequal? It is true Christ sent His disciples with a world wide commission, to gather out from all nations a chosen people; but it is not true that He commissioned us to send all others to hell. ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not, shall be damned.’ {#Mr 26:16???} The Greek katakrino‘ damned,’ occurs eighteen times, in sixteen of which it is rendered condemned. ‘The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation and shall katakrino condemn it; because they repented at the preaching of Jonas and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.’ {#Mt 12:41} This has no connection with eternal torment, but means that the repentance of the Ninevites is a precedent which will condemn, or put to shame the nonrepentance of the Jews. In the next verse, the queen of the south is to condemn that generation. The Jews condemned Christ by rejecting Him and choosing Barabbas. Many thousand men and horses, were sent to the front and condemned, in our late war, being unfit for the service. And the great mass of mankind will be condemned as unfit for the service of the Master, in this ‘high calling.’ ‘Many are called, few are chosen.’ He that believeth shall be chosen, he that believeth not, shall be rejected.

If the second Adam and Eve, are to restore what was lost by the first Adam, they must of necessity restore this rejected class. And there is to be not only a restitution, but a re-generation, or reproducing. Even the Sodomites, who are held up, all through the Bible, as an ensample of wickedness; and ‘as suffering the vengeance of eternal fire’;{# Jude 7} are to share in the restitution. ‘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 sister Sodom and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate. Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elders, and thy younger; and I will give them unto thee for daughters; but not by thy covenant.’ {#Eze 16:53-61}

Long before this prophecy was written the Sodomites were submerged under the dead sea; and if, in the restitution of all things, they are restored to their former estate and if the above is true, they certainly will be, Why may not Pharaoh and his Egyptian host also be restored? Even if God did raise him up, and harden his heart for the express purpose ‘of showing forth His power.’

Because God has ‘foreordained and predestinated certain men to destruction, is no evidence that they are not to share in the restitution, for the evidence is conclusive that such destruction, however strong the language used, has only to do with this Adamic life. Christ ‘taste death for every man,’ Pharaoh as well as Moses. As the potter has power over the clay, to make one vessel to honor, and another to dishonor, that is, to be used for a less noble purpose; so God has power to mold the works of His hands. But that does not prove that all who are not called to this ‘high calling in Christ Jesus,’ are to be tormented to all eternity. O how lovable is the God of the Bible; and how hideous is the God of theology!

Election is a glorious doctrine; it is choosing out a few to become the bride, the spiritual mother of a redeemed world. And ‘we trust in the living god, who I the saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.’ {#1Ti 4 10} and the fact that ‘He gave Himself a ransom for all, will be testified in due time’;{# 1Ti 2:6} and this dispensation is only a preparation, ‘that in the ages to come, He might show the exceeding riches of His grace, in His kindness towards us, through Christ.’ {#Eph 2:7}

There is a second life, as well as a ‘second death.’ ‘As in Adam all die; so in Christ shall all be made alive; ’ and if any man die the second death, it will be because he crucifies Christ afresh, after having been brought to the knowledge of the truth. And ‘for such, there remaineth no more sacrifice, but a fearful looking for of fiery indignation.’

In all the Bible, there are but two or three passages which appear to conflict with these views, and they are parables, given to illustrate certain truths; and, like the ‘rich man and Lazarus,’ refer to nations, or churches, but never to individuals.

Let it once be admitted that there is to be a restitution, that man sleeps in death, but is to live a second time, that this re-generation, or reproducing, is as universal as the generation of the first Adam, and Scripture becomes harmonious, the ways of God are equal, and His foreordinations, and denunciations, refer only to this present forfeited Adamic life; and would have been eternal in all their consequences, had not Christ, when there was no arm to save, stepped in, and as the second Adam, taken upon Himself to reproduce and restore what was lost in Adam. This being true, the other class of texts have some meaning, Christ tasted death for every man: He gave Himself a ransom for all; He is the light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

There are myriads of men who have come into the world and passed out of it, who never saw this light; ‘How can they hear without a preacher; how can they preach unless they are sent?’ And if that is true, they must receive that light hereafter.

Some think this is too good, that if the threatnings of God’s wrath are confined to this Adamic life, that if Christ is to step in, and restore, and give every man a fair opportunity; men will cease to fear, and a great inducement to repentance will be lost. Indeed! Then let us go back to ‘priest, candle, and purgatory;’ if error is better than truth, let us have it in abundance.

—Dr. N.H. Barbour