RESURRECTION WITHOUT COMMOTION.
AS shown in our issue of April 1, the resurrection of the Church will be in spirit bodies, quietly, unknown to human beings, who cannot see spirit beings. But with the world in general, how will it be? They, we have seen, will be raised human beings, and hence will be visible to all mankind; will not their resurrection cause a great commotion, and, indeed, consternation? Would not the appearing of millions of human beings, needing food and clothing and shelter, produce a general famine and shortage for all, and interrupt all the affairs of the world?
We answer: No. Although our Father's Word has not given us clear and direct information on these points, we who have come to some knowledge of his wisdom and power, and of his orderly methods of working out his great designs, can safely trust all to him.
Nor should we "speculate" on these subjects, not clearly revealed, in the sense of accepting or setting forth our ideas as anything more than our opinions or suggestions--carefully guarding lest we ourselves, or others, should take our suppositions for the Word of the Lord, which liveth and abideth forever. What follows, then, is not the Word of the Lord--nor our opinion based upon certain explicit statements of God's Word, but merely inference or mental deductions, based upon general principles, and, so far as we can see, in harmony with the scriptural declarations, touching the divine character and general dealings, past and present, and as revealed for the future.
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Let us suppose ourselves living in A.D. 1915, or thereabouts, that we are of the world, and not of the elect Church, at that time the last member of the latter having been "changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," to be like and with the Lord and the glorified spirit-host--although the world will not be aware of this, because the change will come in the moment of dying. By that time society will be in a chaotic condition--nineteenth century [R1529 : page 151] light, with selfishness, having worked general discontent, and led to the rejection and overthrow of good as well as evil views and institutions. The light of truth having shaken the foundations of sectarianism, which for so long misrepresented the Word of God, the natural result followed: When sectarianism began to fall, it unsettled faith in the Bible. Next followed a union or confederacy of Protestants and an affiliation with Catholics, to rule the world on lines of morality and formalism. This had its day; but finally the masses, freed from the chains of superstition, revolted against class and clerical domination, and overthrew them (probably not many years before or after A.D. 1909). Then followed various efforts to establish peace, prosperity and general welfare, according to various theories-- Nationalism, Single Tax, Socialism, Nihilism, Communism and, finally, Anarchism. Each proved impracticable--all failed to do good. Altogether they proved worse than the worst of earth's despotic governments, because really based on selfishness, while theoretically built on love; leaders selfishly aggrandizing themselves, while violently declaiming against others who had done the same under previous social arrangements.
And now (A.D. 1915) the world has sickened of its own futile efforts to institute and maintain satisfactory, and peace and prosperity-giving government. The time has come for God's Kingdom to begin to reconstruct society upon the principles of righteousness and love. The spiritual Kingdom (Christ and the Church) present in the world, and having all power (but invisible to humanity), begins its work by resurrecting the faithful overcomers of the past (mentioned in Heb. 11). They come forth perfect men, because they passed their trial in this life, and that satisfactorily in God's sight (Heb. 11:39), and men, because they belonged to the human family for which God has provided restitution--to that nature whose perfections were lost by the fall. "These all" are but few; and their appearance amongst the regathering Jews in Palestine is not wholly a surprise, since all are looking for some favor of God to Israel. Their appearance, no less than their superior talents and wisdom, contrast strongly with those of imperfect men around them, and bring them at once the reverence and obedience of Israelites. Taught to believe in the resurrection, the people are ready to surmise who they are, even without their giving any explanation. Soon they are the recognized rulers of Palestine.
Such news, reaching anarchistic Europe and America, excites the sympathy of the worldly-wise for the poor Jews, so easily deluded; and the news goes the rounds that certain impostors have arisen amongst the Jews who, claiming to be "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the prophets," have deluded the people and seized the government. Soon, however, the news is that Palestine is prospering under these new governors; as never before attention is drawn to their laws and methods, which bring the very results so long and so fruitlessly sought otherwise and elsewhere. Finally, the world in general petitions for the same government and laws, saying (in the language of the prophet): "Come, let us go up to the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths." (Micah 4:2.) In some such way the earthly representatives of the spiritual Kingdom of God will come into control of the world; and then will begin the work of restitution; --the formation of the "new earth" [new social order] under the "new heavens" [the spiritual Kingdom, the glorified Church]. The "new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
Now let us step about fifty years farther into the Millennial age, and take a view.--The blessings of peace and wise government by perfect rulers, in whose hearts selfishness has no place, have wrought wonders: they have really [R1529 : page 152] transformed the world; the people are happy, industrious and contented; the idle rich are gone, the unemployed poor are gone, "walking delegates" and breeders of discontent are gone; Love and Wisdom and Justice and Power are in control, under the name of the Kingdom of God. Education is general; for, under the new order, wastes are saved, and all have an abundance, and that with fewer hours of labor; besides, now wisdom is general, and saves woful waste, while yielding increased comfort. Aside from climatic changes, the wisdom of perfect rulers is causing the earth to yield great increase in quantity as well as in quality of food. Machinery now is marvelous, and the results benefit all the people. Health is good, proportionately, as people obey the laws of the Kingdom; and none now die except the wilfully perverse, who resist all the beneficent arrangements provided for their welfare, now and everlastingly. And those who do die now have no hope of future trial;--for all living now are living under the second trial secured for all by our Lord's ransom-sacrifice, and failure now means second death--"everlasting DESTRUCTION from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power."
The knowledge of the Lord is now general: the knowledge of the Lord fills the whole earth, and none need say to his neighbor, Know thou the Lord; for all know him, from the least to the greatest. Seeing that the blessings of restitution enjoyed are the result of the ransom-sacrifice of our Lord, and that it was "a ransom for all--to be testified in due time," and that the Scriptures teach that all the world must be awakened from death and brought to a knowledge of the truth and to an opportunity thus to reach full restitution or full resurrection-- up to the perfection lost--talk about this, and when and how it will come about, is general.
Finally, used to trust in the Lord and pray to him, some unite in prayer for a dear old father and mother, whom now they could make so comfortable, and so readily and gladly provide for. The Lord's time having come for this step in his plan, the prayer is answered, and father and mother walk into the home;-- from whence they know not, but themselves they know. It is a miracle, but without the least confusion.
The matter will for a time be doubted by many, as faith-healings are now doubted. By some it may be falsely accredited to evil agencies, as by many now the powers of Spiritism, although Satanic, are often falsely accredited to good agencies. There will be room to doubt on the part of all who prefer to doubt-- who prefer to lean to a perverse understanding, despite the abundant manifestations then provided, showing the goodness of God and expounding his gracious plan for human restitution.
It may readily be surmised that it will be those who have done the most good in life, those who have exercised and developed patience, benevolence, etc., that will first be thus tenderly thought of and longed for and prayed for. Not until nature and invention shall have made the necessities and comforts of life quite abundant, nor until the hearts of the world have become greatly enlarged with generosity and sympathy, will the viler characters of the world be remembered and prayed for. Those remembered as brutal and devilish, such as Calegnia, Nero, Diocletian, Torquemada, and thousands less notorious, may be expected amongst the last. They will "come forth to shame and lasting contempt." (Dan. 12:2.) By that time the world of mankind will be much nearer perfection than now, and, with their greater powers, will be able to read through and through the minds, the very thoughts, of these miserable, depraved, fellow-creatures. The evil tendency of their lives of selfish gratification will then be seen. They will shun the pure, the generous, the good, and will loathe themselves.
But, although in contempt with all, all will recognize that a share in the great redemptive sacrifice of Christ belongs to even these; because Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man. Yet even while despising their miserable characters, all will be ready and anxious to help them to a knowledge of God and Christ, and to direct their faith and hope. And all will rejoice at every evidence of progress toward God and righteousness and [R1529 : page 153] restitution and eternal life. And whichever of these shall, by full consecration, yield himself entirely to the Lord, shall proportionately lose the contempt of the godly, and gain, instead, their love; and on those who then, after seeing righteousness and sin fully contrasted, choose the ways of sin, the wrath of God and the contempt of all who love righteousness will abide, and they "shall be punished with an everlasting destruction"--the second death.
Thus will be the "coming forth" of "all that are in their graves." And it is written that "They that hear [give attention to, or obey the voice of the Son of Man, at that time] shall live." Their awakening will not be reliving, in the full sense of the word live. Their condition, when they "come forth," will resemble the present condition of men--a dying condition. But theirs will properly be called a living state; because the merit of our Lord's great sacrifice will then be fully operative toward all, and because the general tendencies surrounding all will then be life-tendencies instead of, as now, death-tendencies. And all who under those favored circumstances do not oppose, but hear and obey, the Lord will find themselves coming more and more into man's original estate, "very good," the earthly image of their spiritual Creator, and finally be accounted worthy of perfect life.