Ransom—Adam Was He Covered By Ransom.
Question (1951)—Was the ransom price given for Adam? I am told that he was not deceived; that he was a wilful sinner, and, therefore, the ransom was not given for him.
Answer.—The Bible teaches that Jesus was an exact equivalent of Adam, Adam sinned willfully and so did the race in him, according to 1 Tim. 2:14, compared with Rom. 5:12-14. Jesus died to overcome all the effects of Adam’s wilful sin; and Adam’s wilful sin made him and the race in his loins wilful sinners before Divine Justice. Thus the whole race became guilty of Adam’s wilful sin; and God so regards them. Jesus died for this wilful sin of Adam and Adam’s race. Adam’s debt to Divine Justice was a perfect human body, life, right to life, and life-rights; and these are exactly what Jesus gave up in laying down the ransom. Since nobody else but Adam had these four perfect things, these four perfect things that Jesus gave up to be a corresponding price must have been given up for Adam.
Divine Justice requires an exact equivalent for a debt; and the only person apart from Jesus who had a perfect human body, life, life-rights and right to life was Adam. Consequently, in giving the ransom, Adam was the only one for whom the equivalent price could be given directly by Jesus. As a matter of fact, if Adam was not considered as to be redeemed, God could not have asked for a perfect human being to be a corresponding price; for Jesus is not an equivalent of the imperfect race, considered apart from Adam. Thus there would not have been an equivalent price furnished for the fallen race, unless the fallen race is considered a part of Adam, as in his loins, redeemed in Adam; for one perfect human being is not the corresponding price for billions of imperfect human beings considered in themselves alone. It is only as these billions of imperfect human beings are considered as having been perfect in the loins of perfect Adam that God could have required a perfect human being as the corresponding price, in whose loins was a perfect race. This, therefore, proves Adam was the direct subject of the ransom. The rest of the race was only indirectly involved in the ransom, because they were in Adam’s loins, and for them Jesus gave an unborn perfect race in His loins.
In Heb. 2:7, 9 Adam and Jesus are presented as the only two men crowned with glory and honor, i.e., perfect in the image and likeness of God; and thus Jesus is shown to be an exact equivalent of Adam; and he thus gave Himself to “taste death for every man.” Adam was a member of the human race, and thus was included in Jesus’ ransom, for 1 Tim. 2:5, 6 tells us that Jesus died for “all,” hence for every member of the human race. According to Heb. 2:7-9, Adam was the only one crowned with glory and honor for whom Jesus as another crowned with glory and honor could directly die. It will be noticed that v. 8 shows us that the rest of the human race are not crowned with glory and honor, which, therefore, means that Jesus was an equivalent of Adam and, therefore, ransomed Adam and the race as it was in Adam’s loins. The two passages above explained directly involve the ransom as centered in Adam; and it is on the basis of Jesus’ having provided the ransom for Adam that Paul gives us the contrast between Adam’s effects on the race and Jesus’ effects on the race, in 1 Cor. 15:21, 22, and in Rom. 5:15-19.
Jesus’ ability to undo the consequences of Adam’s sin for the world, as these two passages show, is based on the fact that He before Divine Justice makes good for Adam’s wilful sin and the race’s participation in it while in Adam’s loins. Therefore, the ransom must involve Adam. If it did not, there would be no possibility of removing the effects of his sin before Divine Justice, as these effects involve the race. It should, therefore, be repeated, that Jesus’ sacrifice atones for Adam’s wilful sin and the share the race had in it; as it also atones for all of the effects that come from that wilful sin upon Adam and Adam’s race, the weaknesses and ignorance resulting therefrom.
It is, therefore, a mere sophism to say that our Lord’s death is only for the cancellation of sins of weakness and ignorance. It is true it does effect the cancellation of our sins of weakness and ignorance; but it also cancels the guilt of Adam’s wilful sin, as that guilt involved him and us; and, therefore, Jesus’ ransom is to undo Adam’s wilfulness and the race’s wilfulness in that sin. If Jesus’ death does not atone for Adam’s wilful sin, because of its wilfulness, then it does not atone for the race’s share in that wilful sin, because of its wilfulness; hence we would not be redeemed from the sentence upon that wilful sin as participants in it by virtue of our being in Adam’s loins when he sinned wilfully; and hence, however much our sins of weakness and ignorance would be atoned for by Jesus’ death, we would have no deliverance from the original sentence upon Adam and his race for his wilful sin. Hence the pertinent error makes salvation impossible. To deny that Jesus ransoms Adam is to directly deny the most fundamental part of the ransom—it’s being the corresponding price for Adam. ’51-22; ’66-39; ’86-66
Ransom Price—And The Sin-offering.
Question (1968)—How should we distinguish between the ransom-price and the sin offering?
Answer.—The ransom-price relates to the valuable thing itself, namely, the blood or death of Jesus—a ransom-price sufficient for the payment of the penalty of one member of the human family or of all, depending on how it may be applied. The sin offering shows the manner in which the ransom-price is applicable or effective to the cancellation of the sins of the whole world.
Under the Divine arrangement, the ransom-price was first made effective toward the Church. It justified freely every believer in an acceptable attitude of mind—an attitude of faith in Jesus as Savior and of consecration to be a loyal follower of Him. Secondly, at the end of this Age, the merit of the ransom-price having been imputed on behalf of and to the Church and used by her and laid down in death again, will be available in the hands of the great High Priest as the sin-offering, the atonement price, for the sins of the whole world—apart from the Great Multitude, who are already justified through its merit.
Let us give a hypothetical illustration: A man possessing property valued at $10,000 learned that a number of his friends had been kidnapped and were being held as hostages by bandits. Learning also that $10,000 was demanded for their release, he sold his property for $10,000 to pay for their deliverance. That cash would be the ransom-price for the liberation of his imprisoned friends. No smaller sum would do; no greater sum was necessary, for one or for all. The selling of the property and the getting of the ransom-money into his possession would not constitute a satisfaction for the release of his friends. That must come later. At his convenience he could take this ransom-price and apply it for the release of one of the captives or two or more, or even of all the application of the money, whether for the release of all of his friends at once or for the release of some of them ahead of others, corresponds to the presentation of the sin-offering on behalf of sinners.
The money received from the sale of the property was the ransom-price for the ones to be delivered, even though it was not yet applied. So Jesus gave Himself, surrendered His human life as a ransom-price in the interest of and sufficient for the sins of the whole world of mankind. At Jordan He began to lay down the ransom-price in sacrificial death, and 3-1/2 years later He finished this work at Calvary. But the value, or merit, of the ransom-price was not turned over to Divine justice and made applicable to mankind when Jesus died, nor three days later when He rose from the dead. A little later, after He had ascended on high, He appeared in the presence of God for the household of faith, as the Church’s Redeemer, Advocate and great High Priest (Heb. 7:26, 27; 9:24-26; Eph. 1:7; 1 John 2:1). He had in His possession the merit of His own sacrifice, the ransom-price; and there and then He imputed this merit on behalf of His Church of the Firstborn.
This is typified in Lev. 16 by the high priest’s taking into the “most holy” of the Tabernacle the blood of the bullock, which blood represented Jesus human sacrifice, the ransom-price, the merit of which He possessed and took into the antitypical Most Holy (into heaven itself—Heb. 9:24) and there figuratively sprinkled it upon and before the Mercy Seat (Divine justice). He thus made atonement “for himself [His Body members], and for his house [the rest of the Church of the Firstborn, the Great Multitude]” (Lev. 16:11). Later on He applies the merit of His ransom-sacrifice on behalf of the world of mankind in general, “the people” (Lev. 16:15; Heb. 7:27; 1 John 2:2). For a further explanation of this important matter, please see Tabernacle Shadows, pp. 49-78. ’68-79
Reconciling—All Things (Col. 1:20).
Question (1967)—Does not Col. 1:20 teach universal salvation to eternal life?
Answer.—Since Col. 1:20 is a very marked example of Universalists’ perverting Scriptures on reconciliation on the interests of promoting their errors, we pause here, before considering the text, to expose their pertinent sophistry. Certain passages that teach that by the merit of Christ’s sacrifice God will be pleased with all human beings and with the fallen angels, i.e., passages that apply to the first phase of reconciliation, Universalists apply also to the second phase of reconciliation. This is a gross error, for that would mean that all men and the fallen angels will become pleased and remain pleased with God. The Bible most clearly teaches that through the ransom merit God will become pleased with all fallen men and angels and will give them a favorable opportunity to become pleased with Him. But the Bible nowhere teaches that all men and fallen angels will become pleased with God. On the contrary, it teaches that some of these will not make a faithful use of such an opportunity and therefore will perish eternally.
We now quote the text from the A.R.V.: “And through him [Christ] to reconcile all things unto himself [God, i.e., to make all things in heaven and earth pleasing to God; undoubtedly the expression, to reconcile certain ones to God, as this Scripture uses it, means to make God pleased with them, i.e., it characterizes the first phase of reconciliation, as can be seen from the parallel passages: Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:19, 20; Eph. 2:16. It does not, as Universalists claim, means to make men and angels pleased with God, which is the second phase of reconciliation], having made peace through the blood of his cross [after furnishing by Jesus’ death the ransom as the basis of making propitiation. Let us not forget that while the ransom was laid down at Calvary on the cross, propitiation, satisfying justice, was not made there, but is made in heaven, the antitypical Holy of Holies (Heb. 9:24, 23; 2:17)]; through him [Christ], I say, whether things upon the earth [earthly transgressors], or things in the heavens [spiritual transgressors, the fallen angels].” The second phase of reconciliation for the non-elect of the human family, i.e., making them pleased with God, takes place in the Millennium, after the Elect classes will all be completely prepared for their Millennial service. ’67-86; *’86-55
Reincarnation—And The New-Age Movement.
Question (1994)—Is there a relationship between reincarnation and the New Age movement, which is so prevalent in this time?
Answer.—Definitely Yes. Reincarnation is one of the important elements of the New Age philosophy, and has gained followers and respectability while becoming part of a widespread movement.
For many people, the New Age is a harmless mix of actress Shirley MacLaine and other celebrities, channelers and crystals. But for a small number of Christians, the spiritual and psychological beliefs that characterize the New-Age movement are nothing less than the pernicious work of Satan.
The Bible teaching is in marked contrast to their theories, which are based on the false, unbiblical teaching that life continues at death. The Bible teaching from first to last is that when a human dies he is really dead—all life has ceased—and the only hope for a future life for those who have died is that because of Christ’s death and resurrection (John 14:19:1 Thes. 4:13, 14) and His great resurrection power they will rise from the dead in the resurrection.
Resurrection is defined as a rising from the dead, a returning to life. In the New Testament, the word “resurrection” is translated from the Greek word anastasis (ἀνάστασις, number 386 in Strong’s Concordance) which means “a standing up again.”
Their theory is based on the heathen teaching that when a person dies, he does not really die, but only appears to die, and goes on living somewhere. One of their favorite expressions is, “There is no death.” The Bible, on the contrary, teaches that when a person dies, he is really dead, and would be dead forever if it were not that God provided through His resurrected Son Jesus Christ for a resurrection of the dead.
“NEW AGE” BECOMING MORE MAINSTREAM
For decades, bookstores were known to display Occultism-related books in a section designated “Occult.” In the last five years that very same rack was replaced by one reading “New Age.” Lately, the need for bookstores to provide for bookstores to provide a separate shelf for these books has declined because these ideas, under the innocuous-sounding term “New Age,” are finding their way into many other categories. This has provided a cloak of respectability, which furthers the deception. They maybe found under psychology, self-help, women’s interests, stress-reduction, “holistic health,” medical, environment, etc.
“New Age” teachings were introduced chiefly in the form of Buddhist and Hindu theories as early as 1875 — being then called Theosophy. Within Christendom, such ideas and their adherents remained in the background, until during the 1960’s when interest in Oriental religious was heightened, especially among youth counterculture in the U.S.
Others who hold New-Age theories in some form are the Rosicrucians, Spiritualists, some Masons, the Mormons, Christian Scientists, the Hare Krishnas, the Zen, Buddhists, the Nyingma Institute, and followers of Maharaji Ji and of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Even some Christians hold these theories while remaining in association with a denomination.
The idea of an approaching “New Age” was popularized in the 1980’s helped along by media fuss over such events as isolated gatherings around the world to celebrate chance alignment of the planets in 1982, which had been touted by astrologers as a “harmonic convergence” and the beginning of a new age of spiritual enlightenment for mankind.
In the decade following, a great many occult concepts and practices have been foisted as accompanying this so-called New Age. Within this guise are reports of crystalline rocks with magical powers, channelers (people who relate communications with “ancient and wise deceased spirits”), psychic healing, and stories of near-death experiences.
These, along with other endorsements by media figures (and related controversy as well), brought attention to Occultism in its new garb. As time has gone by, New Age concepts receive less attention for their novelty, and simply get accepted, from being subtler and less faddish. Today we can discern many of its influences having gained a presence in society, by being falsely connected with ideals, which in themselves are respectable — sometimes even Christian.
Schoolchildren are instructed to “mediate on an inner light,” or conceive of an “invisible friend” to discuss problems with. Teens as well as Mom and Dad devour science-fiction parables about extraterrestrial prophets and amoral aliens.
Several books have been marketed on “seeking contact with one’s angels” with the promise of being more prosperous in life. We are advised to “care for our souls,” for we are headed for our “meeting with an all-forgiving light.”
Many seminaries and a few national church groups have embraced rituals praising the goddess Sophia (wisdom). Discussions of the ”goddess Gaia” (or spirit of the Earth) are gaining a place in environmental programs.
Other New Age errors are: Evolution, Spiritism, Astrology, psychic phenomena, rejection of God and of Christ as Ransom, Mysticism, One-World-ism, Secular Humanism, etc.
And, through absence of true religion and morals, people are led to believe what Satan has always been trying to deceive humanity into thinking: “whatever you feel right doing in a given situation is valid, for each person is as God.”
As Christians, we are glad to believe in a new age coming for mankind; however, it will not be in this manner. The Kingdom on earth is yet future, after present systems have been destroyed. In the meantime, through keeping reason and holiness in our outlook, we can hold our faith amid “this wicked generation.” Thus we will know how to apply proper ideals (based on a belief in God, the Bible, and in Jesus as our Ransom), without letting them be tainted with popularly held deceptive falsehoods, pride and self-will ’94-46
Repent—God Commands All Men.
Question (1959)—In Acts 17:30 we read that God “now commandeth all men everywhere to repent”; but the next verse declares that the appointed day for the world’s judgment is future. If the judgment of the world has not yet begun, in what sense and with what justice does God now command all men everywhere to repent?
Answer.—We have already treated this subject in considerable detail in our Oct. 1958 issue. While since the time of Jesus’ First Advent the command to repent is to “all men everywhere,” nevertheless as yet it has reached only a few of mankind—those who have ears to hear. The vast majority have not yet heard the command to repent, because God’s voice through His messengers has not yet reached every creature. The assurance, however, is that the message shall reach all in due time. And whoever hears the message will receive with it a full knowledge of the gracious opportunity for complying with its conditions and arrangements (1 Tim. 2:4). In this Gospel Age the arrangement is that they will be judged according to their faith, while those who hear in the next Age, the Millennium, the world’s Thousand-year Judgment Day, will be informed of a justification by works—for they will be judged every man according to his works (Rev. 20:11-15).
Thus viewed, it will be seen that God’s arrangement for judging the world in the next Age is complete; and it is in view of this feature of future judgments, or future trial, or opportunity which will be granted to all mankind for attaining to everlasting life, that now God commands that everyone should repent of sins and make the effort to come back into harmony with Him through Christ and to receive the boon of eternal life. Had God made no arrangement through the Ransom for the giving of eternal life to the world, it would have been useless to have commanded repentance; for why should men seek by repentance and striving against sin to attain life eternal if it were unattainable—if no arrangement had been made through the redemption, by which God might be just and yet be the justifier of those who believe in Jesus and who seek to follow His directions and to attain the gift of life in and through Him? ’59-31
Restitution—The Length And Breadth Of Restitution.
Question (1967)—In “the times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:19-21), the Millennial Reign of Christ, will not the obedient of the world of mankind be restored to a higher condition than that which Adam had before he fell? In other words, will not the development resulting from an experience with evil and our modern discoveries and inventions be something beyond a restoration of Adam’s position?
Answer.—The word “restitution” fixes the answer to this question; no man could be restored to a condition not previously enjoyed. The perfect human life with the rights to life and all its perfect human life-rights—perfect food, light, air, home surroundings, etc.—that were given by God to Adam belonged to his posterity as well (Gen. 1:26-28). By Adam’s disobedience “sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men” (Rom. 5:12); for as his prospective race they were all in him when he sinned and therefore shared his fate. Thus Adam lost for himself and his race perfect human life and the right to life, with all of its rights, privileges and blessings—death being the sentence that covers the entire loss (Gen. 2:17; Ezek. 18:4, 20).
Jesus came to the earth, “was made flesh” (John 1:14; Phil. 2:7, 8; Heb. 2:14), and gave His human life, His flesh, as a ransom—a corresponding price—for the life of the world—that of Adam and his race (Isa. 53:10, 12; John 6:51; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 2:9). He came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Matt. 18:11; Luke 19:10), namely, perfect human life with the right to life and its conjoined life-rights for Adam and his race. Restitution will mean the recovery of all these things that were lost.
The “times of restitution” are clearly shown to be the thousand years of the reign of Christ and His saints (His elect, gathered out during the preceding Age—the Gospel Age) on earth, for the blessing of the world of mankind (Acts 15:14-17; Gal. 3:8, 16, 29; Rev. 5:9, 10; 20:1-6). The restitution work is most evidently the bringing back from both sin and death, degradation and depravity, from “the curse,” of Adam and his children and all that he possessed before the curse came (Rev. 21:4; 22:3; Psa. 90:3).
Properly enough, this will be accomplished with each individual in a full, free and clearly understand offer, such as God has promised that every member of the human family must ultimately have (Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34; 1 Tim. 2:3, 4). If with a clear understanding of right and wrong they, after being properly enlightened, with full wilfulness reject the right and choose the wrong, their condemnation to the “second death”—which is utter, complete and eternal annihilation (Rev. 21:8)—will be wholly a matter of their own responsibility, and not because of Adam’s transgression and the law of heredity, whereby they inherit his fallen condition of weakness and death, nor because of any failure on God’s part to proffer them the restitution He has provided, through Jesus for every man (Num. 14:21; Ezek. 18:2-4, 19-23).
Of course the world will gradually attain to lengths, breadths, heights and depths of knowledge of God and His purpose and plan, and of His wisdom, justice, love and power, such as father Adam never enjoyed. The marvelous running to and fro and increase of knowledge, with the wonderful discoveries and inventions that God is granting mankind here in “the time of the end,” “the day of his preparation,” just prior to the establishment of His Kingdom on earth (Dan. 12:4; Nahum 2:3, 4), were likewise not enjoyed by Adam. Strictly speaking, such attainments will be no part of restitution, for they never were lost. However, we are to remember that had father Adam remained obedient to God all of these things would have been his privilege, opportunity and pleasure, for they are implied in his life-rights. Hence, while not directly a part of the restitution work, they are indirectly inherently associated with it. As the privileges and blessings of these things were lost, so the privileges and blessings of these things are to be restored to the human race as a part of “that which was lost.” ’67-31
Restitution—When Will The Awakening Of The Dead Take Place.
Question (1967)—When will the dead be awakened?
Answer.—Except for the Christ, Head and Body (Eph. 1:22, 23; Col. 1:18), who will have part in “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:6), and the Great Multitude (Rev. 7:9-17), which two classes together constitute the “church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven” (Heb. 12:23), no one will be awakened from their sleep in death until the present “heavens” and “earth” (2 Pet. 3:7, 10) shall have passed away. This is indicated, e.g., in Job 14:11, 12: “As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up: so man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.”
The “heavens” and “earth” of these texts obviously are the symbolic, and not the literal heavens and earth (which are to remain forever—Gen. 13:14, 15; Psa. 37:29; 72:7, 17; Prov. 2:21; Eccl. 1:4; Isa. 60:21; Jer. 31:35, 36; Amos 9:14, 15). We know that the Flood destroyed the first “world” or “heavens and earth” (2 Pet. 3:6, 7), the order of affairs then existing, the symbolic heavens and earth, but did not destroy the literal heavens and earth. The symbolic heavens of “this present evil world” (Gal. 1:4) are Satan and his fallen angels and those religious systems and teachers that he has had under his control, and its symbolic earth is the present social order of affairs. The symbolic heavens are now being “rolled together as a scroll” (Isa. 34:4; Rev. 6:14), and, together with the present symbolic earth, are to pass away in the “fire,” the consuming trouble, of this great Time of Trouble which is now upon the world, and has been upon it since the outbreak of the World War in 1914 (2 Pet. 3:7, 10, 12; Rev. 20:11; Zeph. 3:8). Satan will be fully bound, so that he will not be able to deceive the nations any longer (Rev. 20:1-3).
Then the new heavens, Christ and the Church (instead of Satan and his fallen angels) as the powers of spiritual control, and the new earth, the new social order (based on love and justice, instead of selfishness, injustice and oppression) will be ushered in (2 Pet. 3:13). Mankind in general will then be remembered by God. Through Jesus He will awaken them from the sleep of death and call them forth from the tomb, as Jesus awakened and called forth Lazarus. This is a blessed provision; they will not be awakened and brought forth for their trial until surrounding circumstances, etc., will be more favorable than at present. God will then give them “a pure language,” a pure message, the message of Divine Truth (Zeph. 3:9), to assist them in that trial time.
For this awakening and time of blessing Job prophetically prayed, saying, “O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man die, shall he live again?
All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands” (Job. 14:13-15). ’67-22
Resurrection—Of Dead, Not Consciousness Of.
Question (1921)—A question has come to us based on Luke 20:37, 38, asking that we harmonize with our presentations the passage especially its last clause: “for all live unto Him.”
Answer.—In answer we say that our presentations are thoroughly in harmony with this passage. It will be noted that the entire section treats of the resurrection of the dead—not of the consciousness of the dead. The connection shows that the Sadducees came to Jesus attempting to refute the doctrine of the resurrection by the question, Whose wife of the seven husbands that a certain woman had would she be in the resurrection? (Verses 27-33.) As easily as a housewife brushes aside the cobwebs that have accumulated in some neglected corner of a room, Jesus overthrows the basis of their argument by showing that in the resurrection people will not marry nor be given in marriage, because they will be like the angels—sexless. (Verse 34-36.) Thus having refuted the argument by which the Sadducees hoped to overthrow the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, Jesus proceeds to give a proof—not of the consciousness of the dead—but of the resurrection of the dead, in verses 37 and 38. He quotes God as saying to Moses at the bush (Ex. 3:6) that He was “the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” Jesus reasons from this statement that the thought of the Sadducees to the effect that the human dead are dead like beasts, never to have another life, is evidently false, because God would not have called Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, if they would be eternally dead; for by calling Himself their God He declared Himself to be in covenant relationship with them, according to which covenant He designed to use them to bless all nations (Gen. 12:3; 22:18; 28:14); therefore they could not . . . like beasts be dead forever. “He is not a God of [one in covenant relations with] the dead, but of the living.” The fact that He as their God was in covenant relations with them proves, as Jesus reasons, that they will have a resurrection, that some day in harmony with the covenant they would be awakened from the dead, and thus live again and in their second life bless the nations according to God’s covenant with them, Let us again emphasize the fact that Jesus cites this passage to prove—not that the dead are conscious, but that the dead will be resurrected, that they will have another life after their stay in death is ended.
If the dead were conscious, it would not necessarily follow that they would have a resurrection, even as the ancient Greek philosophers, the most logical heathen that ever have lived, held that the dead were conscious, but denied their resurrection. (Acts 17:32.) Thus no logical deduction for a resurrection of the dead can be drawn from the doctrine of the consciousness of the dead. On the contrary, if the dead were conscious, there could be no such a thing as a resurrection, because (1) the Scriptures deny that the body will be resurrected (1 Cor. 15:35-38); and because (2) the Scriptures teach that the soul is to be resurrected. (Acts 2:24-32; Ps. 16:10; 30:3; 49:15; 89:48.) Hence the doctrine of the consciousness of the dead contradicts the doctrine of the resurrection, even as the Greek philosopher because of their faith in the consciousness of the dead denied the resurrection.
But it is the last clause of verse 38—”for all live unto Him”—that the advocates of the consciousness of the dead quote as a proof that the dead are alive, and hence conscious. To their use of the passage we reply as follows: The expression, “All live unto Him,” must mean one of two things: (1) that all have devoted themselves to God and thus have given their all, yea, their very lives, to Him, in living service, or (2) that all are in His sight as though they were alive. Evidently the former thought is not true of all; for the most of mankind live for sin, for self and for the world, and not for God; nor, if conscious, would the wicked dead be living to God in the sense of serving God. The second thought evidently is correct, viz., that in God’s sight all are as though they were alive. The Diaglott, one of the best translations, renders the clause in harmony with this thought: “for all to Him are alive.” How, then, can God reckon all as alive? Our answer is that as on account of Adam’s sin He reckons all as dead (Matt 8:22; 2 Cor. 5:14; Eph. 2:1, 5; Rom. 5:12, 15; 1 Cor. 15:22), though all have not yet entered the death state, so on account of Christ’s Ransom as the Purchase-Price, guaranteeing the Awakening of the dead, God, in view of their awakening from the dead, reckons all of them as alive, though mankind has not yet been awakened from the dead. Therefore God speaks of their death as a sleep. (Dan. 12:2; Acts 7:60; John 11:11-14) In this sense and in no other all live unto Him. Thus in view of the Ransom God “quickeneth the dead [reckons them alive] and calleth those things that be not as though they were” (Rom. 4:17), because of what He purposes to do for them, i.e., raise them from the dead. This thought will become very patent as the correct meaning of these words, if we emphasize the expression, “unto Him” as follows: all live unto HIM. And this is evidently the thought of Jesus, for He gives the expression, “for all live unto Him,” as the proof—not of the consciousness of the dead but of the resurrection of the dead. The Ransom guaranteeing for all men another life, after their stay in death is ended, God can very properly consider them; reckon them, as alive in an anticipatory sense. Accordingly this passage contradicts the thought of consciousness of the dead by proving the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead.
The Souls Under The Altar
Not a few have asked whether the reference to the souls under the altar crying out for vengeance (Rev. 6:9-11) does not prove that people are conscious in death. We answer that the passage in question is a highly figurative one, and occurs in a book that is confessedly one of the most figurative books ever written. (Rev. 1:1, “signified,” i.e., gave the thoughts by signs, symbols, figures.) Therefore it behooves none to be dogmatic on the question. The altar in question has been variously interpreted some considering the altar to represent this earth, others considering it to represent Christ. In harmony with both views the thought has been suggested that the Lord’s faithful—the souls of those that were slain for the Word of God and the testimony that they held—having consecrated themselves unto death, have for their loyalty to God been persecuted and thus more or less of their vitality has been consumed by their persecutors, until they died; and thus in their deaths their sufferings from unjust treatment are figuratively represented as themselves crying unto God for vengeance. One thing is certain—that the faithful themselves would not cry to God to avenge them. (Rom. 12:14, 19-21; Matt. 5:43-48; Acts 7:60.) This crying for vengeance must therefore be understood somewhat after the manner in which the blood of Abel cried to God from the ground for vengeance (Gen. 4:10, 11; Heb. 12:24), on the principle that acts and sufferings often speak louder than words. (Heb. 11:4.) These sufferings inflicted contrary to justice, are in this passage personified as the souls of those slain for the Word of God and the testimony that they held crying to God for vengeance. Every wrong cries to God for vengeance in the sense that it appeals to Him as the Vindicator of justice to mete out retribution for the wrong. But as the saints themselves would not pray for vengeance to be wreaked upon their enemies, it must be that the wrongs that they have suffered are personified in them as crying out to God for vengeance. Hence the saints in the unjust deaths that they have suffered do not actually cry to God for vengeance, but the wrongs that they have endured do appeal to Justice for retribution; therefore the passage under study implies nothing whatever as to their consciousness in death, any more than Abel’s blood crying—without vocal sound, of course—from the earth to God for vengeance implies that Abel is conscious in death.
St. Paul Earnest Desire
Some of our readers have questioned whether St. Paul’s language in Phil. 1:23, “Having a desire to depart and to be with Christ,” does not prove that the dead are conscious. A close analysis of his language both preceding and following this verse, and of parallel passages, does not favor such a thought. In these verses (Phil. 1:20-25) the Apostle tells us that He does not know whether to prefer life with its sufferings and its blessings of service for the brethren or death with its release from labor and sufferings. He confesses himself as hard pressed as to which he should choose of these two things, life or death. (Verses 22, 23.) As between these two things, therefore, it was a matter of indifference to him which he should choose, since both had such advantages that he could not decide which of the two would be the more desirable. But in verse 23 he mentions two other things that are far better than life or death; therefore these two things must be a third and a fourth thing. These third and fourth things are stated in the Authorized Version as departing and being with Christ. The Greek word analysai is in this verse translated “to depart;” but in the only other passage of the New Testament in which it occurs it is rendered “return.” “Be ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord when he shall return from the wedding.” (Luke 12:36.) The word analysai means both to depart and to return, in classical Greek. Which of these renderings fits in Phil. 1:23? It will be noticed that in the Luke passage the word is used in a parable illustrative of our Lord’s Second Advent. Our Lord taught us that our reward would be given us at His return from Heaven, and not before (Matt. 16:27; Rev. 11:18), in the resurrection, and not before (Luke 14:14); that the spirit is to be saved in the Day of the Lord, and not before (1 Cor. 5:5), and that it will be only after His return that we will see and be with Him (1 John 3:2; John 14:2, 3; 1 Thes. 4:16, 17.) Hence St. Paul believed that he would for the first time see and be with the Lord Jesus after the latter’s Second Advent. These considerations prove that the word analysai should in Phil. 1:23 be translated, not depart, but return. Hence the translation should read, “Having a desire for the returning of, and the being with, Christ.” These, of course, are the things that are by far better than the other two things—life or death; and we immediately recognize them to be things different from life and death. This is that blessed hope that God has given us to cherish. (Phil. 3:20; 1 Thes. 1:10; Tit. 2:13; Rev. 22:20.) And this was the hope that the Apostle expressed in Phil 1:23, which is to be realized at Christ’s return, through the resurrection. These considerations prove that the clause, “having a desire,” etc., should be enclosed within a parenthesis. They also prove that the passage does not treat of the consciousness of the dead, and therefore should not be quoted to prove that doctrine.
Our Outward Man—Our Inward Man
Some have asked whether St. Paul’s language in 2 Cor. 4:16—5:10 does not prove the consciousness of the dead. We believe a careful analysis of the passage proves that the Apostle is discussing the Christian only; for he alone has both an outward man and an inward man. His inward man St. Paul discusses from three standpoints: (1) “clothed with our earthly tabernacle,” our natural bodies, i.e., in the present life (2 Cor. 5:1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9); (2) “unclothed” or “naked” or “absent from the body” and “from the Lord,” i.e., in the death condition (2 Cor. 5:3, 4, 8, 9); (3) having “a building of God,” “clothed upon with our house from heaven,” “clothed,” “present with the Lord,” i.e., in the resurrection condition. (2 Cor. 5:1, 2, 3, 4, 8.) If these three standpoints and what is meant by our inward man and our outward man are kept in mind, the passage will be recognized as saying nothing at all of the consciousness of the dead. The reason why some think that this passage teaches the consciousness of the dead is that they suppose the expression “outward man” means the body of every human being, and the expression “inward man” means a spirit being, supposed by them to dwell in every living human body. With this thought in mind they interpret this passage in such a way as to them makes it teach the consciousness of the dead. If their theory were right, the conclusion would have to be drawn from this passage that all human beings at death receive their resurrection bodies, then go to the Lord and are with Him in bliss forever. Such a thought not only contradicts numerous other Scriptures, but also this passage itself. It is untrue that the sufferings of all men inure to the eternal bliss of all men. (2 Cor. 4:16-18.) It is untrue that the wicked will have a house—a body—given them, eternal in the heavens. (2 Cor. 5:1.) It is untrue that they desire the house—the body—from heaven. (Verse 2.) It is untrue that they are longing to be given life—immortality—, which according to their theory their supposed spirits already have, and hence could not be longing for it as a future acquisition. (Verse 4; Rom. 2:7.) It is untrue that God has been working in all men for such a thing. (Verse 5.) It is untrue that all men walk by faith and not by sight. (Verse 7.) It is untrue that all men long to die and in the resurrection to be with the Lord. (Verse 8.) It is untrue that all men labor to the end that they may be always after this life acceptable to the Lord. (Verse 9.) These statements are true of the Lord’s faithful people only. The inward man, of which this section of Scripture treats, and of which it says that it is to be clothed with a body from Heaven, is the possession of the true Christian alone. It does not at all belong to the natural man.
What, then, is meant by the expressions, the “outward man” and the “inward man”? By the former our humanity, our natural body with all that it is and has is meant; and by the latter the new heart and mind begun in the Christian at his consecration of himself to the Lord is meant. It is not a spirit being, it is a holy heart and mind, a holy disposition, a holy spirit. Of course, all men have the outward man; but only the spirit-begotten children of God have the inward man. This inward man is a heavenly disposition, begun in the new will at consecration, and consisting of spiritual powers and of the spiritual disposition that the exercise of these spiritual powers develops. The Scriptures give a variety of names to this heavenly disposition in God’s faithful children. It is called an unction from the Holy One (1 John 2:20), an anointing (1 John 2:27; Acts 10:38; 2 Cor. 1:21), The Christ (1 Cor. 12:12, 13; Phil. 1:21), Christ, the First Fruits (1 Cor. 15:23), Christ, the Seed of Abraham (Gal 3:16, 29), Christ in you (Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17), the inner man (Eph. 3:16), the new creature (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15), the new man (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), the hidden man of the heart (1 Pet. 3:4), and most frequently of all the Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ in us. (Rom. 8:1, 4, 5, 6, 9-11, 13-16, 23, 26, 27; Matt. 26:41; Gal. 5:16, 17.) If we look at the connections in which these various expressions occur, we will see that in every case they are predicated of faithful Christians only. Hence they and they only have this inward man. God has promised that if we faithfully exercise this inward man by a loyal use of His Spirit, Word and Providence, He will develop it to perfection amid the various experiences and trials through which we pass. The faithful Christian cooperates with God in this good work, willingly undergoing the sufferings, privations and sacrifices for Truth and Righteousness that attend the narrow way, in the hope of developing a character that will endure forever (verse 17), if he detaches his affections from earthly things and attaches them to heavenly things. (Verse 18; Col. 3:1-4.) Such a course will lead to the death of our bodies—the dissolution of our earthly house of this tabernacle—but is the step necessary for us to take, if we are to gain our resurrection bodies—our house eternal in the heavens (2 Cor. 5:1)—resurrection bodies, which will become ours during Christ’s Second Advent. (Phil. 3:20, 21; 1 Thes. 4:16-18.) These bodies will be of the Divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4); hence will be incorruptible and immortal. (1 Cor. 15:50-54; 2 Cor. 5:4.) It is for these glorious Divine bodies that the faithful long. (2 Cor. 5:2.) It is not the death state for which they long; for during the time they are in that condition the new creature, the new heart and mind, is naked—has no body, and is unconscious. (1 Cor. 5:3, 4; Eccles. 9:5, 6.) It is that the new creature might be given this resurrection body—be clothed upon—that we are now willing to undergo the burdens of the narrow way amid which we now groan. (2 Cor. 5:4.) It is God Himself who is working out for us as new creatures the character fitted for this resurrection body, and has given us His Spirit. His holy heart and mind, the first part of the Divine nature, as a hand-payment—an ear-nest—that, if faithful, we will receive in the resurrection the rest of the Divine nature, the glorious Divine body, thus completing our reception of the Divine nature. (2 Cor. 5:5.) This gives us as new creatures even here the confidence that enables us to walk by faith and not by sight while at home in the body and absent from the Lord (verse 6), the confidence that in due time we will enter death (be absent from the body) and later in the resurrection be present with the Lord (verse 8), for it is only by the resurrection at Christ’s Second Advent that we will be privileged to see, be like, and be with Christ. (John 14:2, 3; Col. 3:4; 1 Thes. 4:16, 17; 1 John 3:2; Phil. 3:20, 21.) This glorious hope enables us to labor in the interests of God’s cause for the perfecting of our new creatures in Christlikeness until death, so that we may be pleasing to Him, whether present with Him in our resurrection bodies or in death absent from Him and from our natural bodies (2 Cor. 5:9); for the faithful are now all the time conscious that they must appear after their resurrection at the Judgment Seat of Christ for their rewards, which will be increased by their good deeds and decreased by their evil deeds.—2 Cor. 5:10; Matt. 16:27; Rev. 11:18.
How clearly 2 Cor. 4:16-5:10 thus is shown to apply to the faithful only. It has no reference to mankind in general. It says not a word about any one being conscious in death. It does not teach that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, as some pervertingly quote and explain (verse 8). On the contrary this verse, like all other Scriptures treating of the subject, shows that to be absent from the body—to be in the death state—is quite another thing from being present with the Lord—(1) “to be absent from the body and (2) to be present with the Lord.” The former begins at a saint’s death; the latter at the Second Advent, on the Judgment Day, in the resurrection.
Thus we have examined all of the Scriptures that are by some thought to teach eternal torment and the consciousness of the dead, and find that none of them so teach. The one united voice of the Scriptures, backed by reason and facts, with an emphasis that is unanswerable and with a multiplicity of proof that is overwhelming, sounds forth the message with unbreakable power that the dead are unconscious, that the wages of sin is death—not eternal life in torment—and that the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord!—Rom. 6:23. ’21-41
Resurrection—First (Matt. 27:51-53).
Question (1961)—In Matt. 27:51-53 we read concerning the time of Jesus’ death that “the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” Was not this the first resurrection?
Answer.—Thinking Christians have experienced much difficulty in trying to harmonize these verses with the general testimony of God’s Word. Certainly it is strange if an earthquake at the time of Jesus’ death opened the graves, but the bodies of the saints waited several days, until after His resurrection, before they came out. Because of this and other difficulties that present themselves in connection with the portion of Matt. 27:51-53 quoted above, because none of the other Gospels gives any record of such events and because some of the items in these verses are lacking in the Siniatic MS., one of the oldest Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, there has been much questioning as to the authentic of these verses.
But be that as it may, of one thing we may be sure: No one could have been resurrected from the dead before Jesus was resurrected. He was “the firstborn from the dead,” “the first that should rise from the dead,” “the firstfruits of them that slept” (Col. 1:18; Acts 26:23; 1 Cor. 15:20). Prior to Jesus’ resurrection some individuals, such as Jairus daughter, the sons of the widows of Zarephath and Nain, and Lazarus and others, were miraculously awakened temporarily from the sleep of death, but they were not Resurrected; they were merely reanimated, soon to die again; after being awakened they were still under the death sentence, and merely experienced a prolongation of their dying existence, and then went down into the death state again. They were not given new bodies and raised up out of death and its curse to perfection of life, into a condition in which if they remained obedient to God they would never die again (Luke 20:35, 36; John 11:25, 26). Therefore they were not resurrected. In 1 Cor. 15:37, 38 the Apostle Paul plainly shows that the bodies that go down into death are not the resurrection bodies. He states, “That which thou sowest [in death], thou sowest not that body that shall be . . . but God giveth it [the person, in the resurrection] a [new] body as it hath pleased him.”
The most, therefore, that could be inferred from Matt. 27:51-53 would be that the old bodies of some saints (we are not told who they were) might have been temporarily reanimated, and then later have gone back into the tomb. Note that nothing whatever is said about their Resurrection. The time for God’s people, except Jesus, to receive their new bodies in the resurrection, was not at Jesus’ First Advent; rather, this takes place during His Second Advent, at the end of the Gospel Age. As in the case of Lazarus (John 11:23, 24), they “shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”—the day of Jesus’ Second Advent and Kingdom, already referred to in this issue, in which the Apostle Paul and the rest of the Body of Christ receive their crown of life (John 14:3; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; 1 Thes. 4:13-17; 2 Tim. 4:8) in the First Resurrection (Rev. 20:6). They, together with Jesus, are “the firstfruits” in the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:23; v. 20 mentions Jesus as the first of these firstfruits). As already mentioned in this issue, they receive a better reward and resurrection than the Ancient Worthies (Heb. 11:39, 40; Matt. 11:11). The Worthies are included among those that come forth “afterward,” i.e., “they that are Christ’s at his coming [Greek, parousia; in other words, during Christ’s thousand-year presence, the day that God has appointed for the judgment of the world—Acts 17:31].” In due time the world of mankind in general, the non-elect, will hear Jesus’ call and come forth from the death state, “unto the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28, 29, R.V.), and those who under trial prove meek and sheeplike in disposition will in due time be given everlasting life on earth (Matt. 5:5; 25:31-34). ’61-46
Resurrection—The Same Bodies Will Not Be Resurrected.
Question (1967)—In the resurrection, will we have the same bodies that we now have?
Answer)—No. It is the soul that dies, and it is the soul that will come back in the resurrection awakening. God said to Adam in Eden (Gen. 2:17), “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” It was Adam, the soul or person (see the booklet What is the Soul?—a copy free on request), and not merely his body, that died. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4, 20; Psa. 78:50; Acts 3:23; James 5:20). Accordingly, Jesus “poured out his soul unto death,” and “made his soul an offering for sins” (Isa. 53:10, 12), in laying down His human life as a ransom for Adam and his race.
In the resurrection, the dead souls, not the dead bodies, will be brought back from the sleep of death. “That which sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be . . . but God giveth it [the soul, the person] a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body”—the kind of body pertaining to his nature, whether spiritual or human; for there are “celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial” (1 Cor. 15:37, 38, 40). The celestial or spirit bodies are for the Church, for human bodies would not be suited to them as spirit beings. The rest of mankind, not having been begotten of God’s holy Spirit, not having become New Creatures, will in the resurrection, after the awakening, be given perfect human bodies—suited to their everlasting existence in the “new earth” (2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:1); for “flesh and blood [the human nature] cannot inherit the kingdom of God [in its heavenly sphere]; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (1 Cor. 15:50). ’67-23
Resurrection—What Type Of Bodies Come Forth From The Grave.
Question (1954)—Do the same bodies that are laid away in the grave come forth in the resurrection?
Answer.—A very clear answer is given to a similar question in 1 Cor. 15:35-37, where we read, “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Thou fool [foolish one], that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body [italics ours].” These verses very clearly show that the bodies that are laid away in burial do not come back again, and give as an illustration the fact that grains of wheat, etc., that are sown do not come back again; but that new grains are raised. Just so, he says, the bodies, which are buried, do not come in the resurrection.
Sometimes John 2:19, 21 (“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. But He spake of the temple of His body”) is interpreted as teaching the raising of the same body that is buried. This interpretation not only contradicts the Apostle’s words just quoted; but also the many Scriptures and Scriptural teachings that we gave in The Chart of God’s Plan, p. 334, that prove that our Lord did not take back His body of flesh when He arose from the dead. Jesus’ words are explained by St. John, against the misunderstanding of Jesus’ Bearers, as referring to the temple pictured forth by the Jewish temple, i.e., He referred to the antitypical temple, which is the Church (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:19-22). We know also that the Church is called the body of Christ (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 1:23; 3:6; 4:4, 12, 16; 5:23, 30; Col. 1:18, 24). Jesus, therefore, here promised that even if His enemies should kill the various members of His Church, He would, nevertheless, on the third (1,000 year) day raise it (the Church) up. He uttered this language on the fifth 1,000-year day from Adam’s fall into sin; and we have already proven that the Church will be reigning with Him, hence will be resurrected, on the seventh 1,000-year day, which is the third of such days from and including the fifth. So understood, the passage makes no reference to the raising of the bodies of the saints.
The Scriptures nowhere teach that the bodies that are laid away in death are raised again on the last day, but on the contrary deny such a thought. By accepting this Scriptural teaching, we are unaffected by infidel objections to the resurrection, based on the material elements of some bodies becoming parts of other bodies by assimilation through cannibalism or through eating fruits, vegetables, etc., into which elements of dead human bodies have been assimilated.
Is. 26:19 is sometimes quoted as allegedly proving that the same bodies which are laid away in the graves come forth. However, there are several questionable things, as the passage is translated in the Authorized Version. In the first place, the words printed in italics in this verse are inserted into the text without having any corresponding words in the original; for the translators resorted to the use of italics to inform the readers that the italicized words are interpolated. The interpolated words, “together with,” make the verse liable to the interpretation that we have shown contradicts the Bible in many ways. Moreover, the Hebrew word translated in the A.V. as “body” has no plural form; but used collectively, as, e.g., in Is. 5:25, it has plural significance.
Thus the American and the English Revised versions, Moulton, Leeser, the Jewish Publication Society, etc., render the verse as follows: “Thy dead shall live; my dead bodies shall arise.”
As we know (Luke 20:36; see also Life-Death-Hereafter, pp. 171-183), the resurrection has two parts: (1 the awakening of the dead, and (2) the lifting up of these awakened ones from the physical, mental, moral and religious imperfection of the Adamic fallen condition, back again into the physical, mental, moral and religious perfection from which Adam fell—a process that will require the entire Millennium to complete for mankind. As we understand the matter, these two things are taught by Is. 26:19: the clause, ”Thy dead shall live,” refers to the awakening of the dead—the first part of the resurrection process—and the clause, “My dead bodies shall arise,” refers to the restanding from Adamic imperfection to perfection—the second part of the resurrection process. The expression, “dead bodies,” refers to these bodies as being not actually in the death state, but as dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1, 5); for God regards everyone out of Christ and short of perfection as dead (2 Cor. 5:14). The reason for the use of the word, my, in the clause, “my dead bodies,” is that Christ, the speaker in this verse, by virtue of His ransoming—purchasing—them, will be their Owner and Lord (Rom. 14:9), hence can properly call them His. So viewed, the passage does not refer in the least degree to the identical bodies that were buried as being raised again on the last day; but refers to the two parts of the resurrection process, (1) the awakening of the dead, and (2) their restanding to perfection. ’54-55
Resurrection—“Unjust” Will They Be Resurrected.
Question (1976)—In view of the fact that some will never reach the condition of perfection, which the word resurrection means, how shall we understand the words of the Apostle Paul in Acts 24:15, that both the just and the unjust are to be resurrected?
Answer.—This Scripture seems very plain if we give careful attention to what we read. Those Jews who stood by and heard the defense of the Apostle before Governor Felix, of which the words of Acts 24:15 are a part, believed that all of the just would have a resurrection, and that an opportunity of the resurrection would be given to the unjust. That is what they had been taught from their forefathers. And now the Apostle was reiterating this, their conviction. He says, “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust”; i.e., the resurrection for which God has provided, and which is yet to come, is not only for the good, but also for those who are now evil.
The thought is not that those who remain is an unjust condition will be granted a full resurrection. The text does not state that all the unjust will be resurrected, brought to perfection of life. There are some now justified who will have a share in the resurrection, even as there are others who are not now justified who will also have a share in the resurrection. And all mankind will have a share in God’s provision for a resurrection.
The just will have a special resurrection, which will be a rewarded for their special obedience. But the opportunity will, during the incoming Kingdom Age, be thrown open for all to gain everlasting life through Christ. The justified ones of the Church class are “charged in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” from the earthly to the heavenly condition—made perfect spirit beings. Those of the past dispensations, justified to God’s favor through faith, are to be brought forth perfect men, instead of in the condition in which they died. This will be after the Ransom merit of Christ will have been applied for all the world.
So we have the resurrection of the highest class of the just—the Little Flock—on the Divine plane; that of the Great Multitude on a lower spirit plane; that of the Ancient and Youthful Worthies on the earthly plane—four elect classes who pass their trial, their testing, in the present life. But it has been provided in the Divine Plan that the remainder of men may gradually be raised fully up, up, out of every frailty, back to the original perfection that Adam had in the beginning. They are unjust now; they have never come into full relationship with God.
The Divine purpose is that the death of Jesus shall effect the release of the whole race from the condemnation in Father Adam. Therefore the Millennial Reign of Christ has been set aside for the resurrection of the world. But how large a proportion will profit by this arrangement remains to be seen. The Scriptures state that during that Age a sinner of a hundred years old—a wilful sinner—shall be cut off from life altogether. They declare that such a sinner will be but a lad, in comparison to what he might have become if he had availed himself of the opportunities provided at that time (Isa. 65:20; see especially Leeser’s translation). It will be entirely their own fault if they do not profit by the blessings of that Day. Only wilful, personal rejection of God and His merciful salvation through Christ will consign anyone to the Second Death.
ALL WILL NOT BE RESURRECTED
Note carefully that the Scriptures do not say that all will share in the resurrection. How about the vitalized justified? Will they all be resurrected? Oh, no! There will be some who have been justified who will go into the Second Death. And so with the world. After they shall have had a full opportunity, under clear light, whoever then sins wilfully against the light will receive the penalty of the Second Death. But nothing will be lacking, so far as God’s provision is concerned. Our Lord said, “The hour is coming in which all 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 a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28, 29, compare ASV and Emphatic Diaglott).
Those who have pleased God in that they have exercised faith, have made consecration of themselves to Him and have obeyed the leadings of His Word, Spirit and providences—these are the ones who have done good. God does not ask any more of them than that they show their loyalty by doing their best, that they seek to live in harmony with His will according to their ability, whether they lived during this Gospel Age or during the Ages preceding. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the prophets (and all others less prominent) who are mentioned by St. Paul in Heb. 11—these died in faith. With these Ancient Worthies, God declares He was pleased, and that they shall have “a better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35). The superiority of their resurrection will include their being awakened as perfect human beings, while the world will have to go through the thousand years to attain perfection.
They that have done good will come forth to a resurrection of life. Some of these will receive a resurrection of life on the human plane, others on the spirit plane, still others on the highest order of the spirit plane—the plane of the Divine nature.
Then Jesus tells us about the other general class—those who have done evil. This includes all whom God cannot approve and accept. Those who are not accepted are those who have not done good, according to God’s standard; they have done evil; they are unjustified. Many of them have been respectable, moral people, but they are not worthy of the “better resurrection.” These will come forth also that they may attain, if they will, complete raising up to life. They will be awakened in order that they may have a resurrection. They will be resuscitated from hades, the grave, the death state; but their awakening will be only the beginning of resurrection, namely, a re-standing to perfect life. Some will be awakened only to die again later, because of failure to accept God’s terms of blessing.
The resurrection process will go on day by day, week by week and year by year during those thousand years—the great Resurrection Day, that Great Day, the Last Day, during which there will be an opportunity for all to gain life eternal. But whoever will not make the proper progress will be accounted unworthy of a full resurrection. Those only who will be judged worthy of everlasting life on God’s terms will get it. Thus there will be a resurrection, a bringing up to perfect life, both of just and of unjust ones. All that are in the graves shall be brought forth, shall come to a knowledge of the Truth, to the intent that they may be restored, if they are willing and obedient, to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed by the world’s Savior—Jesus Christ.
The above presentation is entirely in harmony with the literal translation of the last clause of Acts 24:15: “There shall be a resurrection both of the just and the unjust ones”; for the article the is lacking before the Greek words translated “just” and “unjust.” ’76-37;
Revelation 12:1—Sun, Moon And Stars.
Question (1962)—In Rev. 12:1, what is meant by the “woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars”?
Answer.—Since the book of Revelation is a book of symbols, these terms obviously have a symbolic significance. The woman here, as in 2 Cor. 11:2, represents the true Church. The setting is in the early part of the Gospel Age. The Church is pictured as clothed with the sun (the clear, unclouded light of the New Testament truth), supported by the moon (the Old Testament truth, which is the reflection of the greater light, contained in the New Testament), and crowned with twelve stars (the twelve Divinely appointed Apostles, the inspired, infallible teachers for the entire Church). ’62-79; *’84-54
Revelation 20:4, 5,—Examined.
Question (1969)—We would like to know how you can harmonize the teaching that the non-elect dead, excluded in this life from the chance of gaining the elective salvation, will be awakened during the Millennium, with Rev. 20:4, 5, which, after speaking of the first resurrection says, “The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished”?
Answer.—Notice that this passage does not say that the rest of the dead were not awakened until the thousand years were finished; but it says they lived not again until the thousand years were finished. One may ask, what is the difference? We reply, all the difference between harmony and contradiction in Biblical matters.
A few remarks will make this clear. The race once lived—was perfect in Father Adam; but on account of the curse, God counts the whole race as dead, regardless of whether it is in the death process or in the death state (Matt. 8:22; John 5:24, 25; 2 Cor. 5:14; Rom. 5:12, 15, 17; Eph. 2:1, 5; Rev. 20:12, 13). He does this because the death sentence is on all of them, and because, so far as those who are in the death process are concerned, this death sentence is being executed upon them; as we might say of a condemned murderer in the electric chair just as the electricity is turned on “He is a dead man!” because he is under the death sentence, and it is being inflicted, though not yet completed upon him. From this standpoint we call the death process reckoned death, and the death state actual death. So, too, God calls all who are free from the death sentence alive, regardless of whether they are reckonedly perfect or actually perfect (John 3:36; 5:24, 25; 1 John 5:12; Rom. 5:12; John 1:4; Rev. 21:3-5). We call the former reckonedly alive and the latter actually alive.
These viewpoints will enable us to harmonize our teaching that the rest of the dead (the non-elect dead) will be awakened from the dead during the Millennium, with the statement that they will not be alive until its end. They will not be alive yet—actually perfect—immediately on being awakened from the dead. It will take restitution processes the thousand years to bring them to actual perfection—to make them alive as God from the actual standpoint looks upon life; for as long as there is any vestige of the Adamic imperfection in them, they will be dead from the Divine standpoint (1 Cor. 15:24-26). But as soon as they are actually perfect they will be alive, which will be at the end of, and which presupposes that they will be awakened during the Millennium. God now, through our faith justification, reckons us alive from the Divine standpoint; because our faith justification reckons to us the perfection that the completed restitution processes will have actually wrought in the obedient by the end of the thousand years. Thus we harmonize the apparent contradiction, and find both teachings to be Scriptural and reasonable; for it will take the whole thousand years to restore the imperfection to perfection—to make them alive as God views life, though early in the Millennium they will be awakened. Thus the rest of the dead lived not again—will not be perfect again as once they were in Adam until the thousand years are finished. ’69-30; ’90-14
Rev. 20:5—The Disputed Portion.
Question (1976)—How can you harmonize the teaching that the non-elect dead, excluded in this life from the chance of gaining the elective salvation will be awakened during the Millennium, with Rev. 20:4, 5, which, after speaking of the first resurrection says, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished?”
Answer.—There are good reasons for believing that this portion of Rev. 20:5 is an interpolation, and therefore not genuine Scripture.
(a) The testimony of the best MSS. is against its genuineness. No MS. earlier than the fifth century contains it, e.g., the Sinaitic, the oldest of the New Testament Greek MSS., lacks it, and the oldest translation, the Syriac, does not have it.
(b) As the clause stands it makes the next words, “This is the first resurrection,” tell a falsehood; for they teach that this clause treats of the first resurrection, whereas if genuine it refers to the world’s resurrection, not to that of the Church, whose is the first resurrection.
(c) The demonstrative pronoun haute (this) in the Greek text of the clause, “This is the first resurrection,” makes it refer to the immediately preceding clause, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished”; for as in English the demonstrative this refers to the nearer thing and the demonstrative that to the farther thing, so in the Greek the same rule applies to haute (feminine form of the masculine hautos, this) and ekeine (feminine form of the masculine ekeinos, that). If the disputed clause were genuine and the demonstrative pronoun in the Greek text of the clause, “This is the first resurrection,” were used to refer to the clause, “They lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years,” then that demonstrative pronoun would have had to be ekeine, that, as pointing to the clause farther away than the immediately preceding one, and not haute, this, which would refer to the nearer (the immediately preceding) clause, “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.”
(d) Biblical Numerics indicates that the disputed clause does not belong in the text of Rev. 20:5. This science demonstrates that the whole Bible is constructed on an elaborate mathematical design (proving God’s authorship and the verbal inspiration of the Bible) and that it contains within itself an infallible means for deciding between disputed readings of its text in the original languages. Biblical Numerics is described more in detail, e.g., in our book, The Bible, pp. 603-634, where, among other things, it is shown that not only is the number 7 present on the Bible’s surface, but also that it permeates the Bible through and through, in its sentences, paragraphs, sections, etc.
The letters of the Greek and Hebrew, in addition to serving as the alphabet, serve also as numerals, e.g., the word haute, used in the clause immediately following the disputed clause, is not only a word spelled by its letters, but is also a numeric sum of the value of its numbers, i.e., a=1, u=400, t=300 and e=8 (the aspirate h has no numerical value, as in Greek it is not a letter, but merely a sign of exhalation). Therefore this word, consisting of four Greek numerals, stands for the number 709.
The disputed clause has the numeric value of 5819, which is not evenly divisible by seven. The Greek clause with which the pertinent sentence begins, “And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years,” has the numeric value of 4997. The Greek clause with which the sentence ends, “This is the first resurrection,” has the numeric value of 2976; and the total of the numeric value of these two clauses is 7973, a multiple of seven, for it is the product of 1139 X 7. But if we add to their sum, 7973, the numeric value of the disputed clause, 5819, the sum will be 13, 792, which, divided by 7, gives us a quotient of 1970 2/7, a number with a fraction remaining, and therefore not evenly divisible by seven. Hence the addition of the numeric value of the disputed clause to the numeric value of the rest of the sentence spoils the Biblical numerics of the sentence.
(e) Many Bible passages already mentioned in this treatise prove that the dead will be awakened during, not after the Millennial Reign, e.g., Psa. 22:27-29; Isa. 25:6-9, compare 1 Cor. 15:54-57; Isa. 45:22, 23, compare Gen. 22:16-18 and Phil. 2:9-11; John 5:25, 28, 29; Acts 3:21; Rom. 14:9, compare Rev. 19:16 and Heb. 1:6; 2 Tim. 4:1; 1 Cor. 15:21-26.
Thus we find that there are good reasons for believing (a) that the disputed clause is spurious and (b) that only that belongs to the sentence in Greek which, when translated into English, reads as follows: “And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years; this is the first resurrection.” These reasons would favor our deleting from our Bibles the disputed clause, as something which has been added to it, all additions to, and subtractions from the Bible being Divinely forbidden things (Rev. 22:18, 19).
If the first clause of Rev. 20:5 is spurious, it was added to the Bible sometime between 325 A.D., when the Sinaitic MS. was made, and 450 A.D., when the Alexandrian MS., the first one containing the disputed clause, was made, perhaps in the following way: During that time some reader of his copy of the book of Revelation wrote these words in the margin of his copy as his comment on the passage; and sometime later, another copyist of manuscripts, transcribing from the annotated copy of Revelation, inserted this marginal reading into the text, thinking it to be genuine; and so it came into most Greek MSS. of Rev. 20:5.
If the first clause of Rev. 20:5 is considered genuine, we would have to keep in mind the following:
(a) We would have to consider it as a parenthesis in order to prevent it from contradicting its second clause, “This is the first resurrection”; for if the first clause is not considered to be a parenthesis, to prevent a contradiction the second clause would have to read, “This is the second resurrection.”
(b) The word “dead” in the disputed clause would have to be considered as applying, not to those in the death state, but to those in the imperfection of the dying process, as it does in most of the uses in Rev. 20 (vs. 12, 13), and as it does also elsewhere in the Scriptures (Rev. 3:1; 11:18; Matt. 8:22; John 5:24, 25; 2 Cor. 5:14).
(c) The statement that “the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished” would have to be considered as meaning, not that the dead were awakened merely, though still under the Adamic dying process, as they will be during the thousand years, but that they did not regain the fulness of perfect human life which Adam lost, that they were not fully lifted up out of the imperfection of the Adamic dying process, until the thousand years were finished.
Not to interpret the expression “lived not again” in this way would make it contradict numerous Scriptures, e.g., those cited above, which prove that all in the Adamic death state will be resuscitated during Christ’s Millennial Reign. Parallel passages, therefore, compel us to give the expressions “dead” and “lived not again” in Rev. 20:5 the meaning above attached to them, if we assume the genuineness of its disputed clause. This verse, therefore, does not, as many think, prove that the world will not be awakened from the death state until the thousand years will have been finished, but it means that it will not be until the end of the thousand years that the last vestiges of the Adamic curse will have given way to the all-conquering sway of the life-giving reign of Christ and the Church for the world of mankind.
The removal of this curse is the theme of Rev. 20, 21 and 22. And in these chapters seven pictures of its gradual undoing during Christ’s Second Presence are set before us. One of these pictures is the thousand-year Kingdom figure; and that figure is used in the section to which the first clause of Rev. 20:5, if considered genuine, belongs. This would account for the fact that the gradual wiping out of the Adamic death during the thousand years is described by the use of similar words and with the same thought, in this verse and in 1 Cor. 15:22-26, where also the Kingdom figure is used, and this is what we should expect of passages that describe the same phrase of Christ’s Second Presence on earth.
Accordingly, the first clause of Rev. 20:5, if considered genuine and interpreted in harmony with other pertinent Scriptures, implies that all in the Adamic death state will be awakened long before the Millennium ends, that they will be put under the life-giving conditions of that Age and that as they obey the Life-Giver, they will gradually be lifted up out of the imperfections of the Adamic death and at the end of the thousand years will find themselves perfect—“made alive.”
(In future issues we expect to set forth many more lines of evidence from the Bible proving that there is hope for the unsaved dead who did not have a full and complete opportunity in this life, and to treat additional Scriptures which are claimed to teach other-wise.) ’76-22
Righteousness—Which Is Of Faith.
Question (1958)—”But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above), or, Who shall descend into the deep? (That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)” In this Scripture (Rom. 10:6, 7), what is meant by one’s descending into the deep, to bring Christ from the dead, and by ascending into heaven, to bring Him down from above?
Answer.—The Apostle Paul here meant that some in his time were doubting and did not believe the message that the Messiah had come. They might have said that Jesus was a wonderful man, and that He did many wonderful works. But they were saying, “We do not believe that He was the Messiah and was put to death and then rose again. If you are willing to say that He was only a good man, we can accept that assertion, and are ready to call ourselves Christians. But harmony with God can be attained only by keeping the law.” This, the Apostle said, is not the language of faith. The Christian exercises faith in the Gospel message. He does not ask how anyone could go to heaven to bring Jesus down to earth or how anyone could go down to the grave and bring Him up. A Christian will accept the facts as they are. Others are not in the attitude to believe God. The essential features of the Gospel are that Jesus came from above—that He was holy, harmless and undefiled, and gave Himself a ransom-price for sinners. God recognized the merit of His work and raised Him from the dead, and He ascended on high, there to appear in the presence of God—first for the Church class, later for the world. At this the Christian accepts by faith. ’58-7
Righteousness—Pursuing With Fidelity, Love, Peace. 2 Tim. 2:22 (Diaglott).
Question (1958)—In 2 Tim. 2:22 (Diaglott) we read: “Pursue righteousness, fidelity, love, peace, with all those who invoke the Lord from a pure heart.” Will you please give some comments on this admonition?
Answer.—We need not only to start right, but also to pursue a right course. We may not follow unrighteousness even for a moment; whatever it may cost, justice and righteousness must be followed. But here a difficulty arises with some: they do not know how to judge righteous judgment. They are too apt to judge according to rumor or appearances, or to accept the judgment of some like the scribes and Pharisees, as did the multitude, which cried “Crucify Him! His blood be upon us and upon our children.” Had they followed righteousness they would have seen the Lord’s character in His good works as well as in His wonderful words of life; they would have seen that so far from being a blasphemer He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Heb. 7:26); they would have seen that His accusers were moved by envy and hatred.
It is just as necessary as ever to follow the Lord’s injunction, “Judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24); whoever neglects it brings down “blood” upon his own head and becomes a sharer in the penalty due to false accusers. For as the Lord was treated so will His “brethren” be treated. And the more pure our hearts the less will they be affected by slander, backbiting and evil-speaking, and the more will we realize that those who have bitter hearts from which arise bitter words are impure fountains in which is the gall of bitterness and not the sweetness of love.
Next comes fidelity that is faithfulness. The Lord declares His own fidelity or faithfulness and declares Himself a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24). And even the worldly recognize fidelity as a grace: by such it is often given first place, for many would commit theft or perjury through fidelity to a friend
But notice that God’s Word puts righteousness first. Fidelity, love and peace must be exercised only in harmony with righteousness; but unrighteousness not being proven against a brother, our fidelity, love and peace toward him must continue, and indeed must increase in proportion as envy and slander and all the fiery darts of the Wicked One assail him “without a cause.” This valuable prescription will help to keep our hearts free from the poison lodged in the roots of bitterness, which the Adversary keeps busily implanting (Heb. 12:15). Justice is purity of heart—freedom from injustice. Righteousness is purity of heart—freedom from unrighteousness. Love is purity of heart—freedom from selfishness. (’58-55; ’67-102)
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