INTERESTING QUESTIONS ANSWERED.
THE APPLICATION OF JOHN 5:25AND REV. 20:12.
Question.--If lasting life (on conditions) is accorded to all the world at the moment of awakening, in what sense are we to understand the expressions: John 5:25and Rev. 20:12.
Answer.--John 5:25reads, " Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and they that hear shall live."
This verse is applicable both to the present time and to the future age. Now we who were dead in trespasses and sins and who have been justified freely by God's grace, through faith in the redemptive blood, and who have made a consecration of ourselves to the Lord, are counted as "alive unto God"-- alive from the dead. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life. The life which is to last forever has begun in him as a New Creature, and will be perfected, or completed, in the First Resurrection change to glory, honor and immortality. As the Apostle explains respecting this overcoming class who now have the treasure of the new nature in the earthen vessel-- imperfect, ignoble, corruptible:--he says, "It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; it is sown in weakness, raised in power; it is sown an animal body, raised a spiritual body."
With this fulfilment of the Lord's words and our own experiences before us we are guided to an understanding of that fulfilment which will belong to the world in general in the Millennial age. First will come the awakening; second, the voice of the Son of man; the message declaring the terms on which the life enjoyed may be continued everlastingly will be declared throughout the world, that every creature may hear and clearly understand; the knowledge of the Lord's grace and abundant provisions shall fill the whole earth. Some may refuse to hear--refuse to obey. Such will receive chastisements and stripes; and if they still refuse to obey, the declaration through the prophet is very explicit, that the sinner shall die an hundred years old. At an hundred years old he shall be cut off, and yet he shall die as it were in childhood, because under the favorable conditions then proposed each might by obedience live at least to the end of the Millennial age--then to be tested respecting his worthiness or unworthiness of heart to go further. After the Millennial Kingdom shall have expired the world will be directly answerable to God the Father. To those who will hear, obey, the voice of the Lord, the great Teacher, the voice of the Bridegroom and the voice of the Bride, say Come; and whosoever will say, Come, and take of the water of life freely-- these will progress step by step to the attainment of all that was lost, and beyond this to the attainment of those things which God had in reservation for Father Adam, and to which he might have attained had he remained in obedience to God.
Rev. 20:12reads, "And I saw the dead, the great and the small, stand before the throne, and the books were opened: and another book of life was opened, and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works."
This is a brief description of the work of the Millennial age. The whole world will be on trial before the throne--the Millennial throne--the throne of Christ. Our common version says, stood before God, but this is not in agreement with the reading of the oldest manuscripts, from which we have quoted above. The world will be standing on judgment before the throne of Christ throughout the Millennial age in the same sense that the Church has been standing on judgment during this Gospel age. A picture of the [R3433 : page 287] world's judgment is given us in Matt. 25, where the two classes that will be found amongst men are to be separated into sheep and goats, and the division between them is to be the work of the Millennial age-- to separate the true sheep, who will be accounted worthy of divine favor everlastingly, from those of the goat nature, who, refusing to come into subjection to the Lord's will, shall be estimated unworthy of any favors beyond the Millennial age, and will be destroyed with Satan, as described in Rev. 20:9,10.
The judgment, or trial, of these will not be along some new lines, but along the same lines that God has already made known to us through his Word. The Bible is now a sealed book to the world, understood only by those who are his, and by them because revealed to them through his Spirit. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; he has covenanted to show it unto them." During the Millennial age these books of the Bible--Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, etc., will be opened to the whole world, will be understood fully, clearly, and the great lessons therein taught will be emphasized; and, as our Lord declared to the Jews, so it will be-- my Word shall judge him in the last day--the Millennial day.
In the present time the Church is judged, not according to her works, but according to faith, and works are required merely as a test of the sincerity of the faith; but when the world's judgment, or trial time, shall come it will not be so. The things now mysterious and dark and hidden will be made plain and simple and easily understood, and the rewards now offered for faith will no longer be given, for faith will in large measure have turned to knowledge,-- "the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth." Moreover, Satan being bound and all the conditions favorable, it is proper that the Lord, the King of that day, should require of each human being who receives the knowledge such works as he is able to render--"they shall be judged according to their works." Advancing experience, increasing knowledge and increasing strength, under the blessing of the Lord's Kingdom, will make possible increasing good works of obedience, and these good works will measure the progress of each individual, mentally, morally and physically. Under the judgment rewards of that time the faithful in good works will attain to the full perfection of life, while those who do not come into hearty obedience will be judged unworthy to retain the life that was within their grasp and will be condemned to the Second Death.
From the very beginning of their blessing and hearing of the voice of the Son of man their new life will be, so to speak, in their own hands, either to strangle it or to increase it under the Lord's blessing and direction. The other book of life then to be opened is in contrast with the book of life now open. The book of life opened during this Gospel age is the one in which the names of the Church are written, and from which the Lord will not blot out our names, if we continue faithful to our covenants. This book of life will be complete and no additions made to it after the close of this age, but another book of life will be opened for the world; and whosoever resolves, by the grace of God, to make use of the lasting life which the Redeemer will put within his grasp at the beginning of the Restitution times may never have it blotted out, but by obedience to the voice and judgment of the great King he may attain to all of the blessings of restitution and perfection.
EXPLANATION OF ROMANS 9:22.
Question.--Please explain Rom. 9:22.
Answer.--God is not averse to manifesting his wrath, his indignation, against sin and sinners, after the manner he has indicated in his law, the penalty of which is death (not eternal torment). Nevertheless, while having this willingness to execute his law, he has endured or permitted a continuance of sin and sinners in apparent contradiction to his law, thus manifesting much long-suffering toward those who were properly subjects of destruction. The Lord has done this at various times, but particularly in connection with the nation of Israel, which came under the Law Covenant at Sinai, and which proved itself unworthy of continued favors by repeated falling into idolatry. But he kept that nation together, the evil as well as the good, the sham Israelites as well as the "Israelites indeed," up to a certain time--the time when, according to his purpose, the true Israelites would be called out from the chaffy ones, to be the nucleus of the Gospel Church. These were the vessels of mercy, upon whom the Pentecostal blessings came, and who were accepted of the Lord out of the house of servants into the house of sons. (John 1:11,12.) Forthwith, as soon as all of the worthy had been selected, destruction came upon Israel's polity; as the Apostle expresses it, "Wrath to the uttermost against this people;" and the vessels fitted for destruction met with their destruction--the chaff was consumed in that fire. (Mat. 3:10-12.) Not all of the individuals were destroyed, but their existence as a nation was blotted out. Henceforth divine mercy, ignoring the natural Israelites who were not Israelites indeed, has been blessing with mercy those whom the Lord is calling out--Gentiles as well as Jews.