Our Lord's Return
--Its Object, the Restitution of All Things
--Our Lord's Second
Advent Personal and Pre-Millennial
--Its Relationship to the First Advent
--The Selection of the Church and the Conversion of the World
--Election and Free Grace
--Prisoners of Hope
--Prophetic Testimony regarding Restitution
--Our Lord's Return Manifestly the Hope of the Church and the World
"AND He shall send Jesus
Christ, which [who] before was preached unto you;
"Whom the heaven must retain
until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all
his holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:20,21
second personal coming
If Jesus has been with the church
for 2,000 years,
why did he promise
to come again?
| That our Lord intended his disciples to understand that
for some purpose, in some manner, and at some time, he would come again, is, we presume,
admitted and believed by all familiar with the Scriptures. True, Jesus said,
"Lo, I am with you alway,
even unto the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20),
and by his spirit and by his Word he has
been with the Church continually, guiding, directing, comforting and sustaining his
saints, and cheering them in the midst of all their afflictions.
But though the Church has
been blessedly conscious of the Lord's knowledge of all her ways and of his constant care
and love, yet she longs for his promised personal return. When he said,
"If I go, I will come
again" (John 14:3),
he certainly referred to a second
the second advent.
|| Some think he referred to the descent of the holy
Spirit at Pentecost; others, to the destruction of Jerusalem, etc. These apparently
overlook the fact that in the last book of the Bible, written some sixty years after
Pentecost, and twenty-six years after Jerusalem's destruction, he that was dead and is
alive speaks of the event as yet future, saying:
"Behold, I come quickly, and
my reward is with me."
And the inspired John replies,
"Even so, come, Lord
Jesus." Revelation 22:12,20
Quite a number think
that when sinners are converted that forms a part of the coming of Christ, and that so he
will continue coming until all the world is converted. Then, say they, he will have fully
of our Lords second presence, the world will be far from converted
| These evidently forget the testimony of the Scriptures
on the subject, which declares the reverse of their expectation: that at the time of our
Lord's second coming the world will be far from converted to God.
"In the last days perilous
times shall come, for men shall be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God"
2 Timothy 3:1-4
"Evil men and seducers shall
wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." Verse 13
They forget the
Master's special warning to his little flock:
"Take heed to yourselves lest
that day come upon you unawares, for as a snare shall it come on all them [not
taking heed] that dwell on the face of the whole earth." Luke
Again, we may
rest assured that when it is said, "All kindreds of the earth shall wail
because of him," when they see him coming (Revelation 1:7), no reference is
made to the conversion of sinners.
Do all men wail
because of the conversion of sinners? On the contrary, if this passage refers, as almost
all admit, to Christ's presence on earth, it teaches that all on earth will not love his
appearing, as they certainly would do if all were converted.
|| Some expect an actual coming and presence of the Lord,
but set the time of the event a long way off, claiming that through the efforts of the
Church in its present condition the world must be converted, and thus the Millennial age
They claim that when the world has been converted, and Satan bound, and the knowledge of
the Lord caused to fill the whole earth, and when the nations learn war no more, then the
work of the Church in her present condition will be ended. When she has accomplished
this great and difficult task, the Lord will come to wind up earthly affairs, reward
believers and condemn sinners.
| Some scriptures, taken disconnectedly, seem to favor
this view. But when God's Word and plan are viewed as a whole, these will all be found to
favor the opposite view, viz.:
--that Christ comes before the conversion
of the world, and reigns for the purpose of converting the world;
--that the Church is now being tried, and
--that the reward promised the overcomers
is that after being glorified they shall share with the Lord Jesus in that reign, which is
God's appointed means of blessing the world and causing the knowledge of the Lord to come
to every creature.
Such are the Lord's special promises:
"To him that overcometh will
I grant to sit with me in my throne." Revelation 3:21
"And they lived and reigned
with Christ a thousand years." Revelation 20:4
to the world
does not imply
of the world.
| There are two texts chiefly relied upon by those who
claim that the Lord will not come until after the Millennium, to which we would here call
attention. One is,
"This gospel of the Kingdom
shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end
come." Matthew 24:14
They claim this as
having reference to the conversion of the world before the end of the Gospel age.
But witnessing to
the world does not imply the conversion of the world. The text says nothing about how the
testimony will be received. This witness has already been given.
In 1861 the reports of
the Bible Societies showed that the Gospel had been published in every language of earth,
though not all of earth's millions had received it. No, not one half of the sixteen
hundred millions living have ever heard the name of Jesus. Yet the condition of the text
is fulfilled: the gospel has been preached in all the world for a witness--to
of the gospel now?
|| The Apostle (Acts 15:14) tells that the main
object of the gospel in the present age is "to take out a
people" for Christ's name--the overcoming Church, which, at his second
advent, will be united to him and receive his name.
The witnessing to the world during this age is a
not a location,
King Charles II
on his throne
| The other text is,
"Sit thou at my right hand,
until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Psalms 110:1
The vague, indefinite
idea regarding this text seems to be that Christ sits on a material throne somewhere in
the heavens until the work of subduing all things is accomplished for him through the
Church, and that then he comes to reign. This is a misconception.
The throne of God
referred to is not a material one, but refers to his supreme authority and
rulership. The Lord Jesus has been exalted to a share in that rulership. Paul
"God hath highly exalted him [Jesus]
and given him a name above every name."
He hath given him authority
above every other, next to the Father. If Christ sits upon a material throne until his
enemies are made his footstool [all subdued], then of course he cannot come until all
things are subdued.
But if "right
hand" in this text refers, not to a fixed locality and bench, but, as we claim, to
power, authority, rulership, it follows that the text under consideration would in no wise
conflict with the other scripture which teaches that he comes to "subdue all
things unto himself" (Philippians 3:21), by virtue of the power vested in
To illustrate: Emperor William is on the throne of Germany, we
say, yet we do not refer to the royal bench, and as a matter of fact he seldom occupies
it. When we say that he is on the throne, we mean that he rules Germany. Right hand
signifies the chief place, position of excellence or favor, next to the chief ruler.
Thus Prince Bismarck
was exalted or seated at the right hand of power, by the German Emperor; and Joseph was at
the right hand of Pharaoh in the kingdom of Egypt--not literally, but after the customary
figure of speech.
Jesus' words to
Caiaphas agree with this thought:
"Hereafter shall ye see the
Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of
heaven." Matthew 26:64
He will be on the
right hand when coming, and will remain on the right hand during the Millennial age, and
first advent REDEEMS.
The second advent RESTORES.
| A further examination of God's revealed plans
will give a broader view of the object of both the first and second advents. We
should remember that both events stand related as parts of one plan. The specific work of
the first advent was to redeem men. That of the second is to restore,
and bless, and liberate the redeemed.
Having given his life a ransom for all, our
Savior ascended to present that sacrifice to the Father, thus making reconciliation for
man's iniquity. He tarries and permits "the prince of this world"
to continue the rule of evil, until after the selection of "the Bride, the
Lamb's wife," who, to be accounted worthy of such honor,
must overcome the influences of the present evil world.
Then the work of giving
to the world of mankind the great blessings secured to them by his sacrifice will be due
to commence, and he will come forth to bless all the families of the earth.
|| True, the restoring and blessing could have
commenced at once, when the ransom price was paid by the Redeemer. Then the coming
of Messiah would have been but one event, the reign and blessing beginning at once, as the
apostles at first expected. Acts 1:6
But God had provided "some better thing
for us"--the Christian Church. Hebrews 11:40 Hence it is in our
interest that the reign of Christ is separated from the sufferings of the Head by these
the advents is for
of the church.
of the church...
| This period between the first and second advents,
between the ransom for all and the blessing of all, is for the trial and selection of the
Church, which is the body of Christ. Otherwise there would have been only the one
advent, and the work which will be done during the period of his second presence, in the
Millennium, would have followed the resurrection of Jesus.
Or, instead of saying that
the work of the second advent would have followed at once the work of the first, let us
say rather that had Jehovah not purposed the selection of the "little
flock," "the body of Christ," the first advent would not have
taken place when it did, but would have occurred at the time of the second advent, and
there would have been but the one.
God has evidently
designed the permission of evil for six thousand years, as well as that
the cleansing and restitution of all shall be accomplished during the seventh thousand.
the apparent delay in blessings.
|| Thus seen, the coming of Jesus, as the sacrifice
and ransom for sinners, was just long enough in advance of the blessing and restoring time
to allow for the selection of his "little flock" of "joint-heirs."
This will account to some for
the apparent delay on God's part in giving the blessings promised, and provided for, in
the ransom. The blessings will come in due time, as at first planned, though, for a
glorious purpose, the price was provided longer beforehand than men would have expected.
Churchs mission is
God has not yet even attempted
the worlds conversion.
| The Apostle informs us that Jesus has been absent
from earth--in the heaven--during all the intervening time from his ascension to the
beginning of the times of restitution, or the Millennial age--
"Whom the heaven must retain until
the times of restitution of all things." Acts 3:21
Scriptures thus teach that the object of our Lord's second advent is the restitution of
all things, and that at the time of his appearing the nations are so far from being
converted as to be angry (Revelation 11:18) and in opposition, it must be admitted either
that the Church will fail to accomplish her mission, and that the plan of God will be thus
far frustrated, or else, as we claim and have shown, that the conversion of the world in
the present age was not expected of the Church. But that her mission has been to
preach the Gospel in all the world for a witness, and to prepare herself
under divine direction for her great future work.
God has not yet
by any means exhausted his power for the world's conversion. Nay, more: he has not yet
even attempted the world's conversion.
future restitution for every man, woman and child...
| This may seem a strange statement to some, but
let such reflect that if God has attempted such a work he has signally failed. As we
have seen, only a small fraction of earth's billions have ever intelligently heard of the only
name whereby they must be saved.
We have only forcibly stated the views and
teachings of some of the leading sects--Baptists, Presbyterians and others--viz., that God
is electing or selecting out of the world a "little flock," a Church.
They believe that God
will do no more than choose this Church, while we find the Scriptures teaching a further
step in the divine plan--a RESTITUTION for the world, to be accomplished
through the elect Church, when completed and glorified.
flock," the overcomers, of this Gospel age, are only the body of "The Seed"
in or by whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed.
|| Those who claim that Jehovah has been trying for
six thousand years to convert the world, and failing all the time, must find it difficult
to reconcile such views with the Bible assurance that all God's purposes shall be
accomplished. His Word shall not return unto him void, but shall prosper in the
thing whereto it was sent.
The fact that the world has not yet been converted, and that the knowledge of the Lord has
not yet filled the earth, is a proof that it has not yet been sent on that mission.
"Rightly dividing the word of truth"
| This brings us to the two lines of thought which
have divided Christians for centuries, namely, Election and Free Grace. That both of these
doctrines, notwithstanding their apparent oppositeness, have Scriptural support, no Bible
student will deny.
This fact should lead us at once to surmise that in some way both must be true. In
no way can they be reconciled except by observing heaven's law, order,
and "rightly dividing the word of truth" on this subject.
This order, as
represented in the plan of the ages, if observed, will clearly show us that while an
Election has been in progress during the present and past ages, what is by way of
distinction designated Free Grace is God's gracious provision for the world in general
during the Millennial age.
distinctive features of the epochs and dispensations outlined in a preceding chapter be
kept in mind, and all the passages relating to Election and Free Grace be examined and
located, it will be found that all those which treat of Election apply to the present and
past ages, while those which teach Free Grace are fully applicable to the next age.
| However, Election, as taught in the Bible, is not
the arbitrary coercion, or fatalism, usually believed and taught by its advocates, but a
selection according to fitness and adaptability to the end God has in view, during the
period appointed for that purpose.
The doctrine of Free Grace, advocated by Armenians, is also a much grander display of
God's abounding favor than its most earnest advocates have ever taught. God's grace or
favor in Christ is ever free, in the sense of being unmerited.
But since the fall of
man into sin, to the present time, certain of God's favors have been restricted to special
individuals, nations and classes, while in the next age all the world will be invited to
share the favors then offered, on the conditions then made known to all, and whosoever
will may come and drink at life's fountain freely.
is a type
of the great work for the world.
"I am not sent but to the lost sheep
of the house
The Election of the Ancients
backward, we notice the selection or election of Abraham and certain of his offspring as
the channels through which the promised Seed, the blesser of all the families of the
earth, should come. Galatians 3:29
We note also the
selection of Israel from among all nations, as the one in whom, typically, God illustrated
how the great work for the world should be accomplished--their deliverance from Egypt,
their Canaan, their covenants, their laws, their sacrifices for sins, for the blotting out
of guilt and for the sprinkling of the people, and their priesthood for the accomplishment
of all this, being a miniature and typical representation of the real priesthood and
sacrifices for the purifying of the world of mankind.
God, speaking to
the people, said,
"You only have I known of all
the families of the earth." Amos 3:2
This people alone was
recognized until Christ came; yes, and afterwards, for his ministry was confined to
them. He would not permit his disciples to go to others--saying, as he sent them
"Go not into the way of the
Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not."
Why so, Lord? Because,
"I am not sent but to the
lost sheep of the house of Israel." Matthew 10:5,6; 15:24
All his time was
devoted to them until his death. There was done his first work for the world, the
first display of his free and all-abounding grace, which in "due time" shall
indeed be a blessing to all.
|| This, God's grandest gift, was not limited to
nation or class. It was not for Israel only, but for all the world. For Jesus
Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man. Hebrews 2:9
|| And now also, in the Gospel age, a certain sort
of election obtains. Some parts of the world are more favored with the gospel (which is
free to all who hear) than others.
Glance at a map of the world and see how small is the portion enlightened or blessed in
any appreciable degree by the gospel of Christ. Contrast yourself, with your privileges
and knowledge, with the millions in heathen darkness today, who never heard the call, and
who consequently were not called.
When the called-out
company (called to be sons of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our
Lord who have made their calling and election sure) is complete, then the plan of
God for the world's salvation will be only beginning.
Second Adam and
the Second Eve
and the Bride
| Not until it is selected, developed, and exalted
to power, will the Seed bruise the serpent's head.
"The God of peace shall
bruise Satan under your feet shortly." Romans 16:20; Genesis 3:15
The Gospel age makes
ready the chaste virgin, the faithful Church, for the coming Bridegroom. And in the end of
the age, when she is made "ready" (Revelation 19:7), the Bridegroom comes, and
they that are ready go in with him to the marriage--the second Adam and the second Eve
become one, and then the glorious work of restitution begins.
In the next
dispensation, the new heaven and the new earth, the Church will be no longer the espoused
virgin, but the Bride. Then shall
"The Spirit and the Bride
say, Come! And let him that heareth say, Come! And let him that is athirst come. And
whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Revelation 22:17
|| The Gospel age, so far from closing the Church's
mission, is only a necessary preparation for the great future work. For this promised and
coming blessing, the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now,
waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. Romans 8:22,19
It is a blessed fact that free
grace in fullest measure, not merely for the living but for those who have died as well,
is provided in our Father's plan as the blessed opportunity of the coming age.
in the tomb are prisonersof hope.
|| Some who can see something of the blessings due
at the second advent, and who appreciate in some measure the fact that the Lord comes to
bestow the grand blessing purchased by his death, fail to see this last proposition, viz.:
that those in their graves have as much interest in that glorious reign of Messiah as
those who at that time will be less completely under the bondage of corruption--death.
But as surely as Jesus
died for all, they all must have the blessings and opportunities which he purchased with
his own precious blood. Hence we should expect blessings in the Millennial age upon all
those in their graves as well as upon those not in them.
Of this we will find
abundant proof, as we look further into the Lord's testimony on the subject. It is because
of God's plan for their release that those in the tomb are called "prisoners
heard of Jesus.
What has become of the multitudes who
What is their condition?
Is There Hope for the Non-Elect?
It is estimated
that about one hundred and forty-three billions of human beings have lived on the earth in
the six thousand years since Adam's creation. Of these, the very broadest estimate that
could be made with reason would be that less than one billion were saints of God.
estimate would leave the immense aggregate of one hundred and forty-two billions
(142,000,000,000) who went down into death without faith and hope in the only name
given under heaven or among men whereby we must be saved. Indeed, the vast majority of
these never knew or heard of Jesus, and could not believe in him of whom they had not
What, we ask, has
become of this vast multitude, of which figures give a wholly inadequate idea? What is,
and is to be, their condition?
Did God make no
provision for these, whose condition and circumstances he must have foreseen?
Or did he, from the
foundation of the world, make a wretched and merciless provision for their hopeless,
eternal torment, as many of his children claim?
Or has he yet in store
for them, in the heights and depths and lengths and breadths of his plan, an opportunity
for all to come to the knowledge of that only name, and, by becoming
obedient to the conditions, to enjoy everlasting life?
| To these questions, which every thinking
Christian asks himself, and yearns to see answered truthfully, and in harmony with the
character of Jehovah, comes a variety of answers:
Atheism answers, They are
eternally dead: there is no hereafter: they will never live again.
Calvinism answers, They
were not elected to be saved. God foreordained and predestined them to be lost--to go to
hell--and they are there now, writhing in agony, where they will ever remain, without
Arminianism answers, We
believe that God excuses many of them on account of ignorance. Those who did the best they
knew how will be sure of being a part of the "Church of the First-born," even
though they never heard of Jesus.
is the only basis
| To this last view the majority of Christians of
all denominations assent (notwithstanding the creeds of some to the contrary), from a
feeling that any other view would be irreconcilable with justice on God's part.
But do the Scriptures
support this last view? Do they teach that ignorance is a ground of salvation?
No; the only ground of
salvation mentioned in the Scriptures is faith in Christ as our Redeemer
"By grace are ye saved, through
faith is the underlying principle of the whole system of Christianity. When asked, What
must I do to be saved? the apostles answered, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
"There is none other
name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." Acts
"Whosoever shall call upon
the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13
The Gospel sent
to the Gentiles
The Law did not bring life to Israel
| But Paul reasons that a man must hear the gospel
before he can believe, saying,
"How then shall they call on
him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have
not heard?" Romans 10:14
Some claim that
Paul teaches that ignorance will save men, when he says that
"The Gentiles, which have not
the law, are a law unto themselves." Romans 2:14
They gather from this
that the law which their conscience furnishes is sufficient to justify them.
But such persons
misunderstand Paul. His argument is that the whole world is guilty before God. Romans 3:19
That the Gentiles, who had not the written law, were condemned, not
justified, by the light of conscience, which, whether it excused them or accused them,
proved that they were short of perfection and unworthy of life, even as the Jews who had
the written law were condemned by it.
"For by the law is the
knowledge of sin." Romans 3:20
The law given to
the Jew revealed his weakness, and was intended to show him that he was unable to justify
himself before God; for
"By the deeds of the Law
there shall no flesh be justified in his [God's] sight."
The written law condemned
the Jews, and the Gentiles had light enough of conscience to condemn them.
Thus every mouth is stopped from claiming the right of life, and all the world
stands guilty before God.
Christians wrongly say
will not condemn the ignorant.
|| Remembering the statement of James (2:10), that
whosoever shall keep the whole law, except to offend in one point, is guilty, and cannot
claim any blessing promised by the Law Covenant, we realize that indeed
"There is none righteous; no,
not one." Romans 3:10
And thus the Scriptures
close every door of hope save one, showing that not one of the condemned is able to secure
eternal life by meritorious works, and that it is equally useless to plead ignorance as a
ground of salvation.
entitle any one to the reward of faith and obedience.
a blessing for all,
a better way.
|| Many Christians, unwilling to believe that so
many millions of ignorant infants and heathen will be eternally lost (which they have been
taught means to be sent to a place of eternal and hopeless torment), insist,
notwithstanding these Bible statements, that God will not condemn the ignorant.
We admire their liberality of
heart and their appreciation of God's goodness, but urge them not to be too hasty about
discarding or ignoring Bible statements. God has a blessing for all, in a better way than
What will happen
to the heathen?
| But do these act in accordance with their stated
belief? No. Though they profess to believe that the ignorant will be saved on
account of their ignorance, they continue to send missionaries to the heathen at the cost
of thousands of valuable lives and millions of money.
If they all, or even half of
them, would be saved through ignorance, it is doing them a positive injury to send
missionaries to teach them of Christ; for only about one in a thousand believes, when the
missionaries do go to them.
If this idea be
correct, it would be much better to let them remain in ignorance. For then a much
larger proportion would be saved. Continuing the same line of argument, might we not
reason that if God had left all men in ignorance, all would
have been saved?
If so, the coming
and death of Jesus were useless, the preaching and suffering of apostles and saints were
vain, and the so-called gospel, instead of being good news, is very bad news.
The sending of
missionaries to the heathen by those who believe the Calvinistic or fatalistic view of
election, that the eternal destiny of each individual was unalterably fixed before he had
an existence, is even more absurd and unreasonable.
there will be
full knowledge AND
How will the
of great joy"
| But the Bible, which is full of the missionary
spirit, does not teach that there are several ways of salvation--one way by faith, another
by works, and another by ignorance. Neither does it teach the God-dishonoring doctrine of
While it shows every other door of hope closed against the race, it throws wide open the
one, only door, and proclaims that whosoever will may enter into life. It shows that
all who do not now see or appreciate the blessed privilege of entering shall in due time
be brought to a full knowledge and appreciation.
The only way, by
which any and all of the condemned race may come to God, is not by meritorious works,
neither by ignorance, but by faith in the precious blood of Christ, which taketh away the
sin of the world. 1 Peter 1:19; John 1:29
This is the Gospel, the
good tidings of great joy,
be unto ALL PEOPLE."
Suppose we now
look at these things just as God tells us of them, and leave the clearing of his character
to himself. Let us inquire, What has become of the one hundred and forty-two billions?
in a condition
|| Whatever may have become of them, we may be sure
they are not now in a condition of suffering. Not only do the Scriptures teach that
full and complete reward is not given to the Church until Christ comes, when he shall
reward every man (Matthew 16:27), but that the unjust are to receive their punishment then
may be their present condition, it cannot be their full reward; for Peter says,
"The Lord knoweth how to
reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished" 2 Peter
and he will do so.
|| But the thought that so many of our fellow
creatures should at any time be lost from lack of having had the knowledge which is
necessary to salvation would be sad indeed to all who have a spark of love or pity. Then,
too, there are numerous scriptures which it seems impossible to harmonize with all this.
Let us see: In the light
of the past and the present as the only opportunities, laying aside all hope through a
restitution in the coming age, how shall we understand the statements,
"God is love,"
"God so loved the world that
he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish"?
1 John 4:8; John 3:16
Would it not seem that if God
loved the world so much he might have made provision, not only that believers might be
saved, but also that all might hear in order to believe?
has not yet
|| Again, when we read,
"That was the true light that
lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9),
our observation says, Not so. Every
man has not been enlightened. We cannot see that our Lord has lighted more than a few of
earth's billions. Even in this comparatively enlightened day, millions of heathen give no
evidence of such enlightenment; neither did the Sodomites, nor multitudes of others in
"Behold, I bring you good tidings
of great joy,
which shall be to
Christ Died for All
We read that
Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death "for every man."
But if he tasted death
for the one hundred and forty-three billions, and from any cause that sacrifice becomes
efficacious to only one billion, was not the redemption comparatively a failure? And in
that case, is not the Apostle's statement too broad?
When again we
"Behold, I bring you good
tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL PEOPLE" (Luke 2:10),
and, looking about us, see that it is only
to a "little flock" that it has been good tidings, and not to
all people, we would be compelled to wonder whether the angels had not overstated the
goodness and breadth of their message, and overrated the importance of the work to be
accomplished by the Messiah whom they announced.
all benefit from Christs death?
|| Another statement is,
"There is one God, and one
Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for
all." 1 Timothy 2:5,6
A ransom for all? Then
why should not all involved have some benefit from Christ's death? Why should not all
come to a knowledge of the truth, that they may believe?
"To be testified
IN DUE TIME."
| Without the key, how dark, how inconsistent,
these statements appear. But when we find the key to God's plan, these texts all
declare with one voice, "God is love." This key is found in the
latter part of the text last quoted--
"Who gave himself a ransom
for all, TO BE TESTIFIED IN DUE TIME."
God has a due time for
everything. He could have testified it to these in their past lifetime. But since he
did not, it proves that their due time must be future.
For those who
will be of the Church, the bride of Christ, and share the kingdom honors, the present is
the "due time" to hear. Whosoever now has an ear to hear, let
him hear and heed, and he will be blessed accordingly.
Though Jesus paid
our ransom before we were born, it was not our "due time" to
hear of it for long years afterward. Only the appreciation of it brought
responsibility; and this, only to the extent of our ability and appreciation.
The same principle
applies to all. In God's due time it will be testified to all, and all will then
have opportunity to believe and to be blessed by it.
end all hope?
|| The prevailing opinion is that death ends all
probation. But there is no scripture which so teaches. All the above, and many
more scriptures, would be meaningless, or worse, if death ends all hope for the ignorant
masses of the world.
The one scripture quoted to prove this generally entertained view is,
"Where the tree falleth,
there it shall be." Ecclesiastes 11:3
come to know
The two Adams
of the Bible--
Adam and Jesus.
| If this has any relation to man's future,
it indicates that whatever his condition when he enters the tomb, no change takes place
until he is awakened out of it. And this is the uniform teaching of all scriptures bearing
on the subject, as will be shown in succeeding chapters.
Since God does not propose
to save men on account of ignorance, but
"Will have all men
to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4);
and since the masses of mankind have died
in ignorance; and since
"There is no work, nor
device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave" (Ecclesiastes
therefore God has prepared for the
awakening of the dead, in order to knowledge, faith and salvation. Hence his plan is, that
"As all in Adam die, even so
all in Christ shall be made alive, but each one in his own order"
--the Gospel Church, the Bride, the body
of Christ, first; afterward, during the Millennial age, all who shall become his during
that thousand years of his presence (mistranslated coming),
the Lord's due time for all to know him, from the least to the greatest.
1 Corinthians 15:22
As death came by
the first Adam, so life comes by Christ, the second Adam. Everything that mankind lost
through being in the first Adam is to be restored to those who believe into the second
When awakened, with the
advantage of experience with evil, which Adam lacked, those who thankfully accept the
redemption as God's gift may continue to live everlastingly on the original condition of
obedience. Perfect obedience will be required, and perfect ability to obey will be given,
under the righteous reign of the Prince of Peace. Here is the salvation offered to the
give everlasting life
against mans will.
|| Let us now consider another text which is
generally ignored except by Universalists; for, although we are not Universalists, we
claim the right to use, and believe, and rejoice in, every testimony of God's Word. It
"We trust in the living God,
who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe."
1 Timothy 4:10
God will save all men,
but will not specially ("to the uttermost") save any except
those who come unto him through Christ. God's arbitrary salvation of all men is not such
as will conflict with their freedom of will, or their liberty of choice, to give them life
against their wills:
"I have set before you, this
day, life and death; choose life, that ye may live."
Simeon and Jesus
| Simeon contrasted these two salvations, saying,
"Mine eyes have seen thy
salvation,...a light to lighten the nations, and the glory of thy people,
This is in
harmony with the declaration of the Apostle, that the fact that Jesus Christ, the
Mediator, gave himself a ransom for all is to be testified to all IN DUE TIME.
This is that which shall come to all men, regardless of faith or will on their part.
tidings of a Savior shall be to all people (Luke 2:10,11), but the special
salvation from sin and death will come only to his people (Matthew 1:21)
--those who believe into him--for we read that the wrath of God continues to abide on the
the special salvation.
|| We see, then, that the general salvation, which
will come to every individual, consists of light from the true light, and an opportunity
to choose life. As the great majority of the race is in the tomb, it will be
necessary to bring them forth from the grave in order to testify to them the good tidings
of a Savior.
Also, that the special salvation which believers now enjoy in hope (Romans 8:24), and the
reality of which will, in the Millennial age, be revealed, also, to those who "believe
in that day," is a full release from the thralldom of sin,
and the corruption of death, into the glorious liberty of children of God.
But attainment to
all these blessings will depend upon hearty compliance with the laws of Christ's
Kingdom--the rapidity of the attainment to perfection indicating the degree of love for
the King and for his law of love.
| If any, enlightened by the Truth, and brought to a
knowledge of the love of God, and restored (either actually or reckonedly) to human
perfection, become "fearful," and "draw back"
(Hebrews 10:38,39), they, with the unbelievers (Revelation 21:8), will be destroyed from
among the people. Acts 3:23 This is the second death.
Thus we see that all these
hitherto difficult texts are explained by the statement--"to be testified in
due time." In due time, that true light shall lighten every
man that has come into the world. In due time, it shall be "good
tidings of great joy to all people." And in no other way can these
scriptures be used without wresting.
Paul carries out
this line of argument with emphasis in
Romans 5:18,19. He reasons that, as all men were condemned to death because of Adam's
transgression, so also, Christ's righteousness, and obedience even unto death, have become
a ground of justification. As all lost life in the first Adam, so all, aside from
personal demerit, may receive life by accepting the second Adam.
God says to Israel,
Restitution Taught by
All Holy Prophets
Peter tells us
that this restitution is spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets. Acts 3:19-21
They do all teach it. Ezekiel says of the valley of dry bones,
"These bones are the whole
house of Israel."
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 ... shall put
my spirit in you, and I shall place you in your own land;
"Then shall ye know that I
the Lord have spoken it, and performed it,
saith the Lord."
Valley of Dry Bones
Menorah in Israel
Vineyard in Israel
| To this Paul's words agree Romans 11:25,26--
"Blindness in part is
happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles [the elect company, the
bride of Christ] be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved," or
brought back from their cast-off condition; for
"God hath not cast away his
people which he foreknew." Verse 2
were cast off from his favor while the bride of Christ was being selected, but will be
reinstated when that work is accomplished. Verses 28-33 The prophets are full of
statements of how God will plant them again, and they shall be no more plucked up.
"Thus saith the Lord, the God
of Israel,...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 them and not pluck
And I will give them an heart to
know me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, for
they shall return unto me with their whole heart." Jeremiah 24:5-7; 31:28; Jeremiah
merely refer to restorations from former captivities in Babylon, Syria, etc., for they
have since been plucked up.
in the Millennium
for their own sins.
|| Furthermore, the Lord says,
"In those days, they shall
say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on
"But every one [who
dies] shall die for his own iniquity." Jeremiah 31:29,30
This is not the
case now. Each does not now die for his own sin, but for Adam's sin--"In Adam
He ate the sour grape
of sin, and our fathers continued to eat them, entailing further sickness and misery upon
their children, thus hastening the penalty, death. The day in which "every
man [who dies] shall die for his own sin," only, is the
Millennial or Restitution day.
promises have wide application.
| Though many of the prophecies and promises of
future blessing seem to apply to Israel only, it must be remembered that they were a
typical people. Hence the promises made to them, while sometimes having a special
application to themselves, generally have also a wider application to the whole world of
mankind which that nation typified.
While Israel as a nation was typical of the whole world, its priesthood was typical of the
elect "little flock," the head and body of Christ, the "Royal
Priesthood." The sacrifices, cleansings and atonements made for Israel
typified the "better sacrifices," fuller cleansings and real
atonement "for the sins of the whole world," of which they are
for all mankind, including the
people of Sodom.
Lot leaving Sodom
| And not only so, but God mentions by name other
nations and promises their restoration. As a forcible illustration we mention the
Sodomites. Surely, if we shall find the restitution of the Sodomites clearly taught, we
may feel satisfied of the truth of this glorious doctrine of Restitution for all mankind,
spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets.
And why should not the Sodomites have an
opportunity to reach perfection and everlasting life as well as Israel, or as any of us?
True, they were not righteous, but neither was Israel, nor were we who now hear the
gospel. "There is none righteous; no, not one," aside from the
imputed righteousness of Christ, who died for all.
Our Lord's own
words tell us that although God rained down fire from heaven and destroyed them all
because of their wickedness, yet the Sodomites were not so great sinners in his sight as
were the Jews, who had more knowledge. Genesis 19:24; Luke 17:29
Unto the Jews of
Capernaum he said,
"If the mighty works which
have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this
day." Matthew 11:23
for all in the
Day of Judgment.
Ruins at the Synagogue in Capernaum
Future Blessings for the
Thus our Lord
teaches that the Sodomites did not have a full opportunity; and he guarantees them such
opportunity when he adds (verse 24),
"But I say unto you, that it
shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, in the day of judgment, than for
The character of
the Day of Judgment and its work will be shown in succeeding pages. Here we merely call
attention to the fact that it will be a tolerable time for Capernaum, and
yet more tolerable for Sodom. Though neither had yet had full
knowledge, nor all the blessings designed to come through the "Seed," yet
Capernaum had sinned against more light.
| And if Capernaum and all Israel are to be
remembered and blessed under the "New Covenant," sealed by the blood of Jesus,
why should not the Sodomites also be blessed among "all the families
of the earth"? They assuredly will be.
And let it be remembered
that since God "rained down fire from heaven and destroyed them all"
many centuries before Jesus' day, when their restoration is spoken of, it implies their
awakening, their coming from the tomb.
Salt at the Dead Sea near the
Area of Sodom
Ruins at Area
| Let us now examine the prophecy of Ezekiel
16:48-63. Read it carefully. God here speaks of Israel, and compares her with her
neighbor, Samaria, and also with the Sodomites, of whom he says,
"I took them away as I
Neither Jesus nor
the Prophet offers any explanation of the seeming inequality of God's dealings in
destroying Sodom and permitting others more guilty than Sodom to go unpunished. That will
all be made clear when, in "due time," his great designs are
simply states that God "saw good" to do so, and Jesus adds that
it will be more tolerable for them in the day of judgment than for others more guilty.
But upon the
supposition that death ends all probation, and that thereafter none may have opportunity
to come to a knowledge of the truth and to obey it, we may well inquire, Why did God see
good to take away these people without giving them a chance of salvation through the
knowledge of the only name whereby they can be saved?
The answer is,
because it was not yet their due time. In "due time" they will
be awakened from death and brought to a knowledge of the truth, and thus blessed together
with all the families of the earth, by the promised "Seed." They will then be on
trial for everlasting life.
of the human race has a place
in Gods plan.
| With this thought, and with no other, can we
understand the dealings of the God of love with those Amalekites and other nations whom he
not only permitted but commanded Israel to destroy, saying,
"Go, smite Amalek and utterly
destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and
suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." 1 Samuel 15:3
reckless destruction of life seems irreconcilable with the character of love attributed to
God, and with the teaching of Jesus, "Love your enemies," etc.,
until we come to recognize the systematic order of God's plan, the "due time"
for the accomplishment of every feature of it, and the fact that every member of the human
race has a place in it.
|| We can now see that those Amalekites, Sodomites
and others were set forth as examples of God's just indignation, and of his determination
to destroy finally and utterly evildoers. Examples which will be of service not
only to others, but also to themselves, when their day of judgment or trial comes.
Those people might just as well
die in that way as from disease and plague. It mattered little to them, as they were
merely learning to know evil, that when on trial, in due time, they might learn
righteousness, and be able to discriminate and choose the good and have life.
Slaying of the Amalekites
to open the doors
of the grave.
|| But let us examine the prophecy further. After
comparing Israel with Sodom and Samaria, and pronouncing Israel the most blameworthy
(Ezekiel 16:48-54), the Lord says,
"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
referred to can be no other than their captivity in death. Those mentioned were then
dead. In death all are captives; and Christ comes to open the doors of the grave, and to
set at liberty the captives. Isaiah 61:1; Zechariah 9:11
In verse 55 this is
called a "return to their former estate"--a restitution.
are a certainty
God in Christ."
The Old Law Covenant will be replaced with
a New Covenant
| Some, who are willing enough to accept of God's
mercy through Christ in the forgiveness of their own trespasses and weaknesses under
greater light and knowledge, cannot conceive of the same favor being applicable under the
New Covenant to others. Though they seem to admit the Apostle's statement that Jesus
Christ, by the favor of God, tasted death for every man.
Some of these suggest that
the Lord must, in this prophecy, be speaking ironically to the Jews, implying that he
would just as willingly bring back the Sodomites as them, but had no intention of
restoring either. But let us see how the succeeding verses agree with this idea. The Lord
"Nevertheless, I will
remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish
unto thee an everlasting covenant.
"Then, thou shalt
remember thy ways and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters....
"And I will
establish my covenant with thee, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD;
"That thou mayest remember
and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am
pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD."
When a promise is
thus signed by the Great Jehovah, all who have set to their seal that God is true may
rejoice in its certainty with confidence; especially those who realize that these New
Covenant blessings have been confirmed of God in Christ, whose precious blood is to seal
| To this Paul adds his testimony, saying,
"And so all Israel [living
and dead] shall be saved [recovered from blindness], as it is
written, 'There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from
"For this is my covenant unto
them when I shall take away their sins.'
"...They are beloved for the
"Because the gracious gifts
and callings of God are not things to be repented of."
|| We need not wonder that Jews, Sodomites,
Samaritans, and all mankind, will be ashamed and confounded when in his
own "due time" God shows forth the riches of his favor. Yea,
many of those who are now God's children will be confounded and amazed when they see how God
so loved THE WORLD, and how much his thoughts and plans were above their own.
are above our own.
|| Christian people generally believe that God's
blessings are all and only for the selected Church, but now we begin to see that God's
plan is wider than we had supposed. Though he has given the Church "exceeding
great and precious promises," he has also made bountiful provision for the
world which he so loved as to redeem.
The Jews made a very similar mistake in supposing
that all the promises of God were to and for them alone. But when the "due
time" came and the Gentiles were favored, the remnant of Israel, whose
hearts were large enough to rejoice in this wider evidence of God's grace, shared that
increased favor, while the rest were blinded by prejudice and human tradition.
Let those of the Church
who now see the dawning light of the Millennial age, with its gracious advantages for all
the world, take heed lest they be found in opposition to the advancing light, and so for a
time be blinded to its glory and blessings.
|| How different is this glorious plan of God for
the selection of a few now, in order to the blessing of the many hereafter, from the
distortions of these truths, as represented by the two opposing views--Calvinism and
former both denies the Bible doctrine of Free Grace and miserably distorts the glorious
doctrine of Election. The latter denies the doctrine of Election and fails to
comprehend the blessed fullness of God's Free Grace.
God is wise
and all powerful,
but ignores love and justice.
|| This view has its good features. It recognizes
God's omniscience. This would be our ideal of a great God, were it not
that two essential qualities of greatness are lacking, namely, love and justice, neither
of which is exemplified in bringing into the world one hundred and forty-two billions of
creatures doomed to eternal torture before they were born, and mocked with protestations
of his love.
Since God is love, and justice is the foundation of his throne, such cannot be his
God is loving
wisdom and power.
|| Arminianism says: Yes, God is love; and in
bringing humanity into the world he meant them no harm--only good. But Satan succeeded in
tempting the first pair, and thus sin entered into the world, and death by sin. And ever
since, God has been doing all he can to deliver man from his enemy, even to the giving of
though now, six thousand years after, the gospel has reached only a very small proportion
of mankind, yet we do hope and trust that within six thousand years more, through the
energy and liberality of the church, God will so far have remedied the evil introduced by
Satan that all then living may at least know of his love, and have an opportunity to
believe and be saved.
is the Master
of His purposes.
| While this view presents God as a being full of
loving and benevolent designs for his creatures, it implies that he lacks ability and
foreknowledge adequate to the accomplishment of his benevolent designs: that he is
deficient in wisdom and power.
From this view it would appear that while God was engaged in arranging and devising for
the good of his newly-created children, Satan slipped in and by one master-stroke upset
all God's plans to such an extent that, even by exhausting all his power, God must spend
twelve thousand years to reinstate righteousness, even to such a degree that the remainder
of the race who still live will have an opportunity to choose good as readily as evil.
But the one
hundred and forty-two billions of the past six thousand years, and as many more of the
next, are, according to this view, lost to all eternity, in spite of God's love for them,
because Satan interfered with his plans. Thus Satan would get thousands into eternal
torment to one that God saves to glory.
This view must
exalt men's ideas of the wisdom and power of Satan, and lower their estimation of these
attributes in God, of whom the Psalmist to the contrary declares that,
"He spake and it was done; he
commanded and it stood fast."
But no: God was
not surprised nor overtaken by the adversary; neither has Satan in any measure thwarted
his plans. God is, and always has been, perfect master of the situation, and in the end it
will be seen that all has been working together to the accomplishment of his purposes.
doctrines of election and free grace, as taught by Calvinism and Arminianism, could never
be harmonized with each other, with reason, or with the Bible, yet these two glorious
Bible doctrines are perfectly harmonious and beautiful, seen from the standpoint of the
plan of the ages.
Your deliverance draweth nigh!
| Seeing, then, that so many of the great and
glorious features of God's plan for human salvation from sin and death lie in the future,
and that the second advent of our Lord Jesus is the designed first step in the
accomplishment of those long promised and long expected blessings, shall we not even more
earnestly long for the time of his second advent than the less informed Jew looked and
longed for his first advent?
Seeing that the time of evil, injustice and death is to be brought to an end by the
dominion of power which he will then exercise, and that righteousness, truth and peace are
to be universal, who should not rejoice to see his day?
And who that is now
suffering with Christ, inspired by the precious promise that "if we suffer
with him we shall also reign with him," will not lift up his head and
rejoice at any evidence of the approach of the Master, knowing thereby that our
deliverance and our glorification with him draw nigh?
Surely all in
sympathy with his mission of blessing and his spirit of love will hail every evidence of
his coming as the approach of the "great joy which shall be to all
when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads;
for your redemption draweth nigh."
To Return to Home
click on Chart