THE RANSOM AND ITS APPLICATION TO ALL MANKIND
THE word "Ransom" is used in respect to the purchase-price of humanity and also in connection with the deliverance of mankind after having been purchased by that price. As an illustration of the two uses of the word, we give two texts of Scripture: (1) "Who gave himself a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (I Tim. 2:6.) (2) "I will Ransom them from the power of the grave." (Hos. 13:14.) In these texts we see the two uses of the word "Ransom." The word Ransom in the Scriptures is often used in a similar manner to the word "redeem." The two words, indeed, have the thought of purchase connected with them. To redeem is to buy back; to ransom, as used in I Tim. 2:6, is to buy back, by giving a price to correspond.
The Bible sometimes speaks of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ as the giving of the price. The Scripture says that our Lord Jesus gave himself to be a Ransom-price. (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45.) He gave himself at Jordan; he completed the giving of himself at Calvary. In his death he laid down the ransom-price, the price necessary for redeeming Adam and all of his race from the sentence of death.
But there is a difference to be observed between the laying down of the Ransom-price and the application of that Ransom-price. The price was in our Lord Jesus himself, but he must lay it down sacrificially before the [R4819 : page 152] benefits of it could be given to others. The Scriptures show us that, after he had laid down that price, God empowered him to make use of it, permitting him to enter into the Most Holy, even heaven itself, to do so. He makes use of that price, as outlined in the Scriptures, in a two-fold offering to God:--
First, he appropriated of that life which he had laid down--the merits of that Ransom-price--to those who would constitute his Body, the Church. He himself had no sins to cleanse, but those who, according to God's arrangement, were to be the members of his Body, had sins; and for these he applies his blood as a redemption price or merit on their behalf, securing for them, not only release from condemnation, but also the opportunity of becoming sharers with him in the Ransom work. He has not applied the merit of that sacrifice as yet to Adam or his children, but merely to those who, in the type, were represented by the under-priests, and to the Levites, the brethren and servants of the priestly family.
Secondarily, Christ will make use of his sacrifice on behalf of all the people. As was shown in the type, the sprinkling of the blood on the mercy-seat at the close of the Day of Atonement, which was the second sprinkling, was for all the people. The antitype of this act will constitute a full offset to the Adamic condemnation. Another Scripture, however, shows us that while all the people are to come under the direct control of the great Messiah, they are not to be turned over perfect, but as they are found--in a dying condition, the wrath of God, because of imperfection, still being upon them. Then, under the New Covenant, of which our Lord is made the responsible Mediator, the Great Messiah will take charge of "all the people," even while they are still subject to the weaknesses resulting from the sentence of death. Under this New Covenant, as many of them as will become obedient to the laws of Messiah's Kingdom, will come into relationship to the Life-Giver, in harmony with the text which says, "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son shall not see life." (I John 5:12; John 3:36.) All of Adam's posterity will have an opportunity to accept Jesus, either as his brethren at the present time, or as his children in the next Age.
Coming back, then, to the words Ransom and Ransomed: They are used in respect to our Lord, to indicate, not that he completed the Ransom work when he died, but that he there provided the Ransom-price. During his Mediatorial reign the whole work of Christ will be that of delivering those for whom he gave the Ransom-price. In this last use of the word, it would be right to say that the Church shares with Christ in this Ransom work of delivering the world. This is the thought everywhere set before us in the Scriptures. But it would be wrong to say that the Church participates in the Ransom-price. The Ransom-price was the perfect Man, Jesus, who gave himself to be a Ransom-price for all. In that sacrifice there is a sufficiency of merit for all of Adam's posterity. The Church, therefore, has no participation in the work of giving the Ransom-price, though it is to participate in the work of Ransoming or recovering those for whom the Ransom-price is to be applied.
The sentence of death, passed upon Father Adam, was transmitted in a natural way to all of his children. At the end of this Gospel Age, the Great High Priest will have finished his atoning work. Then, by applying the Ransom-price on behalf of the world, he will become invested with all the rights and titles to humanity and to the earth. The full price having been paid over in behalf of mankind and their home, and having been accepted by the Almighty, the "world and the fulness thereof" will all be turned over to Christ, who will then be King of kings and Lord of lords. Justice will then have no further claim upon mankind, all of whom will have been turned over to Christ. But he will not recognize those who are in a rebellious attitude toward God's arrangements.
Such, however, will be held in restraint and will still be under Divine Justice, for the Great Mediator will be a representative of Divine Justice, as well as of Divine Mercy. During his reign it will be his duty and privilege to teach mankind a great lesson. In one of the prophecies we read, "Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isa. 2:3; Mic. 4:2.) And it shall come to pass that the nation that will not go up to Jerusalem will have no blessing.-- Zech. 14:17-19.
In other words, while the Millennial Kingdom will be fully established, its blessings will be operative only toward those who will seek to keep the Divine Law. But as the nations perceive that there is no blessing apart from the keeping of the Divine Law, they will doubtless be influenced to do so. In due time, the light of the knowledge of the Lord will fill the whole earth, and ignorance and superstition will be supplanted by Divine enlightenment. The Scriptures assure us that this New Covenant will be made with Israel, and with all mankind, who will become Israelites; for God will also give the heathen to Messiah, who will be Ruler of all the earth, not merely of those who accept his Government. "Ask of me and I will give thee the heathen for an inheritance." He will rule with the iron rod, to the intent that all mankind may learn the Divine Law and have the Divine blessing.-- Psa. 2:6-12.