A discussion of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus; of its present benefits
in this day of "great salvation"; why mankind in general is not
yet blessed; and how God's favor will reach all mankind.
A Faithbuilders Fellowship Bible Study
True Grace Ministries
100 Lee Road 419
Opelika, AL 36804
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him."
--Proverbs 9:10, 3:13, 18:13
A Ransom for All.......................................................................... 1
The Sin.......................................................................................... 2
The Penalty.................................................................................... 4
"Many Made Sinners".................................................................... 6
All the World Guilty Before God................................................... 8
Bought With a Price....................................................................... 9
The Corresponding Price a 'Touchstone'........................................ 11
The Lord of All.............................................................................. 14
The Everlasting Father................................................................... 16
He Shall be Satisfied...................................................................... 18
Why Many Have Received No Ransom Benefits.......................... 20
Selection of Judges Still in Progress.............................................. 21
The Doctrines of Faith................................................................... 26
The Bible Teaches......................................................................... 28
Questions with Free Offer............................................................. 31
FROM earliest times to the present day, the necessity of sacrifice of life to make propitiation for sins has persisted as an idea in the human mind. This requirement was illustrated at the first by the coats of skins which the LORD God made for Adam and Eve after He had pronounced sentence on account of their sin.
That provision should convey the thought of a sacrificial victim, and also of the sinner's inability to make the necessary atonement arrangement himself. It also teaches us that just as the LORD God provided the victims whose skins were made into robes for the sinners, so He would, and only He could, provide in due time the necessary sacrifice that would actually supply the needed covering, and make propitiation for sins. Thus the incident in the garden of Eden illustrated the love of God for the guilty pair, and foreshadowed its grander manifestation to be made in "the fulness of the time" on behalf of them and all their race.--Gen. 3:21, John 3:16, Gal. 4:4,5, 1 Pet. 1:20
The extent of the ignorance of and alienation from God of the human race is shown in the fact that most of the tribes of men have been worshippers of demons or idols, not knowing the true God. As the divine likeness <page 2> in them was more and more obliterated, notions of cruelty and vindictiveness on the part of their deities were introduced into their religions, in connection with the persistent idea of the need for a means of satisfaction, in order that atonement might be realized.
The fact that the sinner could not himself provide that which enables atonement, but that it must be provided by God, has been generally lost sight of. Thus the teaching concerning the relationship of the creature to his loving creator has been so distorted that it might be said of some that their gods have been made by men. Even Christendom is guilty of this, as evidenced by the vindictive characteristics often ascribed to the Almighty.
God's justice must be exact and stern, and it can be both without being vindictive. On the other hand, a loving provision for the removal of the divine penalty against the sinner who believes in Jesus is quite compatible with justice. It magnifies the divine honor, exhibits the love of both God and Christ for a lost world, and lays the foundation for many benefits which in due course will come to all who desire to attain them. The teaching of Scripture on this most important subject is both harmonious and convincing.
Our father Adam was "a little lower than the angels," but perfect on his own plane, when placed by his Maker in the garden. Without experience, and therefore without established character, though perfect in physical and mental processes, he and his beautiful companion were placed under a command which was to test their obedience and loyalty to their Creator.
The literal test itself was a very simple one, being merely the abstinence from the fruit of a certain tree, the lack of which would in no way interfere with their sustenance. As no law is of force unless a penalty be arranged for infractions, so a penalty was provided in case of disobedience to the command. This is a great difficulty to some, for the penalty arranged seems out of all proportion to the insignificance of the offence to be punished. Yes, capital punishment was the penalty for eating a little fruit in the garden of Eden! And why was this? It was so because the loyalty of the creature to the Creator was being tested. The value of the fruit was not at all an element of consideration.
It must not be overlooked that the smaller and less significant the incident, the more severe it is as a test of loyalty. In harmony with this, the teaching of Jesus expressed the principle. "He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much" (Luke 16:10). <page 4> God had a right to require perfect obedience from His creature, man, and to declare that the disobedient should not be allowed to live.
Not a word in the first three chapters of Genesis reveals anything that could be construed as implying an eternity of pain as the threatened penalty for disobedience. "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof dying thou shalt die" (Gen. 2:17, margin). This is the only record of God's words to Adam on this subject before he sinned. Here should be found the straight-forward teaching of eternal torture, had that been the penalty of disobedience. But God said nothing about it. Instead of saying that Adam should expect to be kept alive in pain, He said that the transgressor should die. On subsequent occasions the penalty of sin was repeated in the same terms--"The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Death came by sin.--Ezek. 18:4, Rom. 5:12
Some have found difficulty in understanding how Adam died in "the day" he ate the forbidden fruit, it being obvious that he did not die on the literal day of disobedience. The sin of human disobedience brought <page 5> condemnation to death the very moment the divine command was broken. Later, with the angels, God dealt differently. The disobedient of them have been "reserved in everlasting chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6). And there is no direct statement that Satan was condemned to death as soon as "iniquity was found in" him. But he has been sentenced to death, the execution of which has been postponed (Ezek. 28:15, Rev. 20:10,14, Rom. 16:20, Gen. 3:15). So also with Adam--he did not die as soon as condemned to death.
Some teach that the Hebrew word yowm,< 1> used in Gen. 2:17 for 'day', must mean a literal 24-hour day. Yet it is acknowledged that Adam lived 930 years (Gen. 5:5). Because Adam did not die the same 24- hour day he transgressed, a teaching has been formed, though nowhere suggested in the Bible, that Adam died two deaths--first a spiritual death, and much later a physical death. Next, to fit the imagined teaching, came a non-Biblical definition of death--that it means separation from God. All of this has confused many on the subject of death. Such purely human reasoning is entirely out of harmony with the Scriptural teaching on death, ransom, and redemption. <2>
There is no real difficulty with Gen. 2:17 when one recalls the wide use in 'our day' as well as in Bible usage, of the word 'day'. Heb. 3:8,9 refers to "the day of temptation in the wilderness," which was really 40 years. 2 Peter 3:8 reads, "one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." While others lived longer than Adam (Gen. 5:27), there is no record that any outlived "the day." When these and similar references are considered, it is not at all difficult to understand that Adam died within the day that he sinned. The dying process was completed in less than a thousand years.
<page 6> The words threatening the penalty said nothing about eternal torment, and nothing was said of torment when the sentence was pronounced and more fully explained after the transgression. "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken (Gen. 2:7): for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen. 3:19). This language is very precise. None need mistake its meaning. The sinful man was to return to the ground from which he had been taken. Adam, when God formed him "of the dust of the ground," did not emerge from a condition of misery and woe unspeakable, for "return unto the ground" does not mean eternal torment.
The language describing the execution of the sentence is equally clear, allowing no room for the thought that eternal torment was indicated. "Lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken."--Gen. 3:22,23
Here is the best possible evidence that the penalty was a taking away of all power to live, as indicated in the act of excluding the man from the garden where the trees were, whose fruits would have kept him alive. The penalty was not a perpetuation of existence in misery. In order that the sinner might die, he was driven forth into the unprepared portion of the earth, to struggle on as best he might with the thorns and thistles. Near the close of his 'day' the execution of the sentence was finished, and he returned to the dust. Had he not sinned, he would have been permitted to live on.
No other explanation than that of God's Word suffices to tell us why infants die. These do not bring death upon themselves, because they know not right from wrong. Yet they die. It is as the Scripture says, that by "one man sin entered, and death by sin." What is true of the infant is true also of the youth, of the middle-aged, and of the old: all die because of the legacy of death bequeathed to them by our first parents. All are born dying, not with eternal life, and the whole of what we call life is imperfect growth and a process of decay, arrested temporarily by such expedients as man can devise. Adam completed the journey in nine hundred and thirty years. The world-wide average length of life is now about 63 years.
Why did God so arrange that the penalty of Adam's sin should descend to all the billions of his race, none of whom enjoyed his privileges of perfection and favorable environment? Does it not seem unjust that such a vast multitude should, without being consulted, and without power to avoid it, enter into a curse which they did nothing to bring upon themselves? Is there any wisdom in it?
Before mentioning what seems to be the Scriptural <page 8> answer to these reasonable questions, it might well be asked whether it is at all likely that we, in Adam's position, would have done better than he did. Let each one carefully think it out for himself, and the conclusion must be that most of us, if not all, would under such circumstances have done precisely what our progenitors in the garden of Eden did. Therefore, it cannot be said that God was unreasonable in not giving us an experience exactly like that of our first parents. And when the arrangements made for atonement for sin are comprehended, it will be clear that the course God took was not only reasonable, but was the most advantageous for the human race.
Our all-wise Heavenly Father foresaw the difficulty into which the entire race would be plunged by the transgression of the first man. Even before creating the man, He had fully in mind the redemptive measures, compatible with His principles, which He foresaw <page 9> would be required for man's rescue. The attributes of the divine character cooperated harmoniously to devise that plan. Wisdom showed the way in which the interests of love and justice could be fully served. The requirements of justice could be met and love could be fully exercised. The way would be opened by which the race could be blessed. Love would express itself by providing the sacrifice--a corresponding price which alone could satisfy the righteous claim of divine justice.
And what would be a corresponding price? A corresponding price would be the substitution of life for life. Nothing more could be required, nothing less would be satisfactory. But where shall be found the corresponding price? Since all the race was condemned, "none of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him" (Psa. 49:7). But wisdom had shown the way by having arranged that the whole race might be condemned on account of one man's sin. The first man's posterity, which was in his loins at the time of the transgression, would share in the sin and its penalty. If a man of perfect righteousness could be found, willing to give up his life as a sacrifice, justice could accept that as full satisfaction, because this man would also be giving up the life of a possible bride and race which might have been developed from him, as from the first man.
But where was such a man? No member of Adam's race could meet the requirements, and there could be no assurance that another inexperienced, newly-created man, such as Adam was, would not have followed his way of sin.
The "only begotten Son" could be satisfactory to justice as a ransom only by leaving the heavenly glory and becoming a man. As a man He would be able to offer a ransom, or price to correspond. <3> Could divine power accomplish such a wonderful change of nature, as to transfer Him from heavenly to earthly conditions? Yes, divine power could do this. And so it came to pass that He who was in a form like God's form, and who "counted not the being on an equality with God was a thing to be grasped,...emptied himself, taking the form of a servant" (Phil. 2:6,7 ASR). He was born under the Law. The blood of bulls and goats, not being a corresponding price, could never take away sin; and the life of a heavenly being could not have been a proper price. One was not valuable enough; the other would have been too valuable. Thus the sentiment of Jesus' heart made mention of His own flesh for sacrifice, as it was written, "a body didst thou prepare for Me." And all can come unto God by faith in that one sacrifice.-- Heb. 10:5,10 ASR, John 6:51-58, Psa. 40:6-8
<page 11> The glory and perfection of the first man is described in Heb. 2:7,8. "Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet." But the entrance of sin made a great change in man's condition, in view of which the Apostle continued: "But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."--Heb. 2:8,9
Note how clearly the ransom is here defined. Adam, crowned with the glory of perfect humanity, a little lower than the angels, and with the honor of being ruler over the works of God's hands, loses all by reason of sin, and his posterity shares the loss. Jesus, a spirit being, one who had participated in the creation of angels and men, divests Himself of His heavenly glory, and takes instead the glory and honor of perfect humanity. He too is made "a little lower than the angels." He takes this lower position for a very particular and special purpose which is so definitely expressed that there is no room to question it--"Jesus,...made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death,...that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
The Bible's ransom teaching confirms that the temptations of Jesus were real, vital experiences to our Master; that His prayers to God were not formalities; that He really gave up His all, His entire human life and its potential, for Adam and his race, trusting the Father to raise Him from death. It is plain that in giving up Himself He was giving up all prospects of a race which might have then sprung from His natural life. He supplied a price to correspond with every requirement of justice. "To this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord both of the dead and living." "He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world" when they believe.--Rom. 14:9, 1 John 2:2, 1 Cor. 6:20, 1 Pet. 1:19
The ransom for all by the Lord Jesus was in itself a testimony of God's love for our race, and it was indeed provided in its "due time." The apostles noted this timely witness and identified it for us. "In due time Christ died for the ungodly." "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (Rom. 5:6, 1 John 4:9,10). But further than this, 1 Tim. 2:5,6 assures that God has ordained 'times' in which shall be made known or explained forth the great sacrifice of our Master and what it has made possible for the intelligent creation. This testimony will yet be given to those who have not previously heard or accepted it. In the 'times' promised by the Apostle, this witness shall reach "all men." It is for such that He "gave Himself a <page 13> ransom," and for whom He is the "one Mediator between God and men."
A clear view of the ransom, and what it required, affirms the understanding that the penalty of sin is not life in misery, but the taking away of all life in death. The Son of God had to leave the heavenly glory, in order that He might correspond in nature and perfection to the first man, whose race He was to redeem. For human redemption, divine justice required the death of a perfect man as an offset to the penalty against Adam and his race. Scripture is clear and simple on this point. As the original transgressor was told he should die if he sinned, so the first article of the Christian faith is that "Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures."--1 Cor. 15:3
If death meant eternal torment in Adam's case, it could signify nothing less for Jesus, the ransom-price. Since "the iniquity of us all" has been laid upon Him, and since He "bare our sins in His own body to the tree," must not Jesus now be suffering eternal torment, if eternal torment be the penalty of our sins? (Isa. 53:6, 1 Pet. 2:24) The case is plain. If eternal torment be the penalty for our sins, and Jesus is not suffering it, then we are not redeemed; no corresponding price has been paid to divine justice, and we can look forward to nothing but unspeakable woe to all eternity.
But we are redeemed; we are "bought with a price," even "the precious blood of Christ." He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. This being so, eternal torment cannot be the penalty for our sins, because our Redeemer, upon whom they were laid, is not suffering eternal woe. He tasted death for every man, and the evidence that His sacrifice was satisfactory is that He was raised from the dead by the power of the Father< 4> ,< 5> (Eph. 1:19,20, Acts 2:24). Let those who believe in eternal torment ask themselves the <page 14> solemn question, "Has a ransom, a corresponding price, a propitiation, that which expiates, ever been offered for what is due on account of my sins?"
The Scripture teaching on the ransom makes clear so much in the Bible that before was hidden to our understanding. It is not surprising that William Tyndale, the great reformer, said that the doctrine of the ransom is the "touchstone to try all teachings." Every student of God's word may to his spiritual benefit apply this test to other religious or Bible teachings.
The Apostle instructs us to "prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thes. 5:21). But it cannot be that he means God's people are to acquaint themselves with the details of all religious teachings in the world. He wrote that there was one foundation, Christ, and other foundation can no man lay (1 Cor. 3:11). If a teaching be presented for our consideration, we are not to shut our eyes and ears and run away from it without knowing what it is. We are to prove it; and the first question could be, Does it agree with the one foundation, that Jesus "gave Himself a ransom for all"?
On account of His obedience unto the death of the cross, "God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth." He has been raised from the dead "to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away."--Phil. 2:8-10, 1 Pet. 1:4
While He was the man on earth, Christ Jesus was not a combination of two natures. Had He been that, He would not have been a "corresponding price," because Adam was not a combination of two natures, as explained on pages 11 and 12. But Jesus had the benefit of the information supplied by His mother concerning His origin, as well as deeper discernment into spiritual things revealed to Him through the holy spirit (1 Cor. 2:13,14). Of His spiritual understanding, the prophet was inspired to write, "by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities" (Isa. 53:11). Nor is our Lord since His resurrection a combination of two natures. Nevertheless, the memory of His experiences on earth is important to Him, and to us, "for we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."--Heb. 4:15
The risen Jesus is not only the merciful and faithful high priest for His people. He is also the Lord, with all authority in heaven and in earth (Rom. 14:9, Matt. 28:18). He is priest after the order of Melchisedec, one who was at the same time both a king and a priest (Heb. 7:1,17). "He dieth no more" (Rom. 6:9), having become a priest "after the power of an endless life" <page 16> (Heb. 7:16). It is He, the foreknown "Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), that has become "Lord of lords, and King of kings" (Rev. 17:14). He is represented as overcoming the forces of ignorance and error represented by various segments of Gentile power agreeing in something contrary to God's will.
Faithful believing Christians are encouraged to follow in the steps of their Master in service and sacrifice, and to seek a reward for that service--"glory, honour and incorruptibility, eternal life," joint heirship with Him whom the Father has "appointed heir of all things." "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God...It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is."--Rom. 2:7, 8:17, Heb. 1:2, 1 John 3:1,2
Carrying out the same figure, the Apostle Paul speaks of Christ as the "last Adam." "The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit" (1 Cor. 15:45). Having accomplished the death on the cross, our Savior was raised by the Father's mighty power, and is now a quickening, that is, a life-giving spirit. "Put to death in flesh, made alive in spirit," is the way it is literally expressed in 1 Pet. 3:18. (See also Heb. 2:9, 5:7, 1 Tim. 2:4-7.) It is the risen Lord, then, and not Christ Jesus as a man, who is referred to in the Bible as the "last Adam."
"The first man Adam" was set in the earth as head of and life-giver to a race that was to be. Disaster overtook him before he had become the father of even one, and the whole of his prospective race was by divine decree involved in the disaster, so that all of Adam's posterity became subject to death. Thus it is stated, "in Adam all die," and, "so death passed upon all men," and, "by one man's disobedience many were made sinners."--1 Cor. 15:22, Rom. 5:12,19, 8:20
"The last Adam," a quickening or life-giving spirit, is set at the right hand of God as life-giver, or "everlasting father." Christ's race, in order to receive His life, must be united to Him, just as Adam's race received death on account of being united to him when he sinned. But here observe a reversal of process. Adam's race sprang from him; Christ's race consists of those who come into Him. His race includes all who will be <page 18> saved, both in the Upward Calling Age and in the Earthly Kingdom Age, the union with Christ being, of course, not physical, but a union of allegiance through faith and obedience.
The opportunity to become members of Christ's race is, or will yet be, extended to all who were overtaken by disaster on account of being members of the race of "the first man Adam." All who fulfil the requisite conditions of faith and obedience are transferred, as it were, from the first Adam and his death, to "the last Adam" and His life. He that believeth "is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24)<6>. Those who refuse this gracious offer after proper enlightenment still have death abiding in them. So it is written: "In Christ shall all be made alive," and, "Whosoever believeth in [literally 'into'] Him should not perish, but have everlasting life," and, "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."--1 Cor. 15:22, John 3:16,36, 1 John 5:11,12
The first Adam bestowed death upon his race. "The last Adam," by purchase with the price of His blood, takes over the condemned and dying race, and offers to assist back to harmony with God as many of them as will fulfil the simple yet necessary conditions. "The last Adam"<7> will bestow life upon such as become believers in His ransom sacrifice and become obedient to the Father's will: not life for a while, but everlasting life, hence His title, "everlasting father."
Scripture indicates that there will be some in the Earthly Kingdom Age who, even after enjoying all the favors of light and knowledge, will be ungrateful and disobedient. Such will not be allowed to live forever. After their incorrigibility and hardness of heart are fully demonstrated, they will be destroyed in the second death from the face of the Lord and the glory of His power, and will be heard of no more forever (Rev. 20:7-10,15). The loss of these does not, however, interfere with the Lord's satisfaction over the "travail of his soul," since the opportunity given them to repent and to receive the life everlasting will have come to them as a result of His ransom sacrifice.
The study of the Bible's ransom teaching results in a clearer view than ever of the harmony of the divine wisdom and foreknowledge, and of His justice, love and power. It shows us that God, who required a sacrifice for expiation of sin, provided it. Had He not done so, the race would have forever remained unredeemed. This study can deliver us from any thoughts we may have had of vindictiveness on God's part, and enable us to recognize Him as the God of love and mercy. It reveals the sure foundation upon which rests the entire divine purpose for the blessing of all the families of the earth. It is by and through Him who is the "seed of Abraham," who by the grace of God tasted death for every man and gave Himself as the satisfactory <page 20> "corresponding price," the "ransom for all," that which atones. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ."--1 Cor. 3:11
"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."--John 3:16, 1 John 5:11,12
The birth of John the Baptist brought a prophecy which affirmed God's intent to fulfil the promise that Abraham's "seed shall possess the gate of his enemies" (Gen. 22:17, Luke 1:71-74). But its accomplishment is by stages. First the son of David would become David's lord. Next, the remainder of the seed of many members, Christ's faithful church, "the children of promise" (Gal. 4:28, 3:29), would be developed and joined with its head. Though once counted as enemies <page 21> because of wicked works (Col. 1:21), these become sons through faith, belief, and sacrifice (Rom. 12:1,2). His church is to be a certain "firstfruit to God and to the Lamb" (Rev. 14:4, James 1:18), the first fruitage following the resurrection of Jesus Himself (1 Cor. 15:20) to result from His faithfulness unto death. To demonstrate that He had fully made the required one offering for sin, our Lord, as prophesied, "forever sat down on the right hand of God [having concluded the entire offering for propitiation of sins], from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool [to result from His completed sin offering]" (Hebrews 10:12,13)<8>. The faithful firstfruit, some of whom are still suffering and dying with Him, soon shall live and reign with Him in glory (2 Timothy 2:11,12), a reign which will render entirely ineffective every opposing rule and authority and power.--1 Corinthians 15:24
Paul wrote about the work to be assigned to faithful believers under Jesus in the future ministration of righteous judgment. "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? Know ye not that we shall judge angels?" But "judge nothing before the time..." (I Cor. 6:2,3, 4:5). The Christian is not qualified to judge others while his own loyalty to the principles of righteousness is being proved (II Cor. 10:6). That is as Peter taught, "that judgment must begin at [from] the house[hold] of God" (I Pet. 4:17). Believers are now privileged, as exhorted by Paul, "to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual (margin, 'well- pleasing') service of worship."--Rom. 12:1,2 NASB
It is through the sacrificial process here referred to, as exampled by their Head, and through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and their cooperation therewith, that believers may become a "kingdom of priests" (Exod. 19:6, I Pet. 2:9, Rev. 1:6, 5:10), to instruct, judge and bless all the people of the earth. Jesus promised, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in his throne" (Rev. 3:21). The throne here mentioned is the judgment throne of mercy identified by Isaiah. Service from that throne is reserved for each faithful member in the rebuilt tabernacle, or house, the ruling family, of David. "In mercy shall the throne be established: and He shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness" (Isa. 16:5, 55:3, Amos 9:11, Acts 15:14-18). All who follow the example of their Head will constitute the elect church, be "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ," and share the judgment throne.--Romans 8:17
The foretold time of individual eternal judgment of <page 23> the non-elect cannot come until those judges are seated on the throne, installed in office in heavenly, glorified, invisible authority. Not until then will commence the awakening of the non-elect, those who had done evil, and those who had not yet prepared a character worthy of the reward of eternal life. Jesus Himself promised this awakening and future judgment, as recorded in John 5:27-29. A poor translation of the last word of the passage has obscured its promise of merciful judgment in the Earthly Kingdom Age. "And he gave him authority to do judgment, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this, because an hour comes in which all the ones in the tomb will hear the voice of him, and will come forth, the ones having done the good things to a resurrection of life; the ones having done the evil things to a resurrection of judgment" (Marshall Interlinear). Those here noted as "having done the evil things" are the 'unjust' mentioned by the Apostle in a similar promise: "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust."--Acts 24:15, Dan. 12:2
The awakening and judgment of all who died in unbelief will proceed in an orderly manner. Then they will learn righteousness, in one of the 'times' mentioned in the verses at the head of this booklet, in which the testimony of His ransom will be given. Of course this world-wide judgment day will require hundreds of years. Its commencement waits for the completion of the bride of Christ.
Note the Apostle's summary of the experience of the race of "the first man Adam," which still continues. "The creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. For the creation waits with eager <page 24> longing for the revealing [manifestation] of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:20,21,19 RSV). These not-yet-revealed sons of God are the elect saints, the called-out church, and their gathering to heavenly glory with their Lord and Head will soon be accomplished. Then will Christ, together with that elect church, begin His future work, the world-wide blessing of all the non- elect.
What a contrast that will bring in comparison with man's present experience, "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Rom. 8:22). That will be a 'time' of great rejoicing for all the willing and obedient!
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