Special Issue Booklet, Number 78, 1900 WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT OUR LORD'S RETURN His Parousia, Apokalupsis and Epiphania

The Parousia of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Subsequent Apokalupsis and Epiphania at His Second Advent

This article can be found in Reprint 2972 – 83 – March 1902, entitled, "The Parousia of Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Subsequent Apokalupsis and Epiphania at His Second Advent," with the exception of paragraph 7 on Reprint 2975 which is replaced with the paragraph pleated below from the Old Theology Quarterly and the last sentence on Reprint 2977, paragraph 3, also printed below, which appears in the Old Theology Quarterly.

It is manifest, therefore, that the Church, although absent from the world during the period of the tribulations in the sense of being "changed" from human to divine nature, will be present in it with Christ, as associate executors of the divine justice, breaking to pieces the present order of affairs, and ready to heal the hearts of the world as soon as they shall be broken in their pride, and prepared for the "Balm of Gilead."

In the harvesting of the fleshly house our Lord, in the flesh, was the Chief-Reaper, and his Apostles were colaborers: in the harvesting of the spiritual house our Lord, a spirit being, is to be present as the Chief Reaper, and members of the spiritual house are to be also reapers.

Number 80, January, 1908 Part 1 ARE YOU OF THE HOPEFUL OR OF THE HOPELESS?

The Inspired Message Far Better than the Creed traditions of the Dark Ages This article can be found in Convention Report Sermons, pages CR19-CR22, entitled, "The Hopeless and the Hopeful."

Part 2 SEVEN WOMEN DESIRE ONE HUSBAND None of them has his approval A Symbolical Bible Picture of Present-Day Religious Conditions

Seven women shall take hold of one man in that day, saying We will eat our own bread and wear our our apparel; only let us be called by Thy name, to take away our reproach." Isa. 4:1

Many of the prophecies are highly figurative, symbolical. Doubtless they had some measure of application to the circumstances and conditions of the people of Israel at the time they were written, but we [HG409] have apostolic authority for concluding that their principal lessons were intended for Spiritual Israel. Saint Peter declares that "holy men of old spoke and wrote as they were moved by the holy Spirit," and that "not unto themselves but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you." (2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:12) Our Lord and the apostles in their teachings quoted continually from the prophecies and invariably applied the lesson to their day or to some future event of this Gospel Age. Hence, we are abundantly justified in assuming that our text is applicable to some period of this Gospel Age. Its peculiar expression, "In that day," is usual all through the Scriptures in referring to the closing period of this Gospel Age, with its time of trouble and general Church and world confusion incident to the inauguration of the new dispensation, the millennium. It is proper, then, that we seek to apply this Scripture to our time and appropriate its lesson, whatever it may be.

Throughout the Scriptures a woman is a symbol of the Church – a pure woman of a pure Church, a corrupt woman of a false Church. We find our Lord comparing the true Church in the end of this age to a company of virgins – part wise and part foolish – and likening himself to the bridegroom who, at the end of the age, had come to receive his espoused Church to himself in glory. John the Baptist pictured the matter after the same manner, saying, "He that hath Bride is the Bridegroom;" the Apostle Paul amplifies the figure, declaring, "I have espoused you (the consecrated Church) as a chaste virgin unto one husband, which is Christ." John 3:29; 2 Cor. 11:2) Here, as well as in the Lord's parable of the virgins, the Jewish marriage is set forth as the example or pattern of the union between Christ and the Church – a very different figure from our marriage custom of the present time.

With the Jews in olden time, when a betrothal took place, legal and binding documents were signed by or for the contracting parties, but no actual marriage or union took place for about a year. During that year, while waiting for the coming of the bridegroom to receive her unto himself, to take her to his own house, it was required of the espoused that she should be as faithful, as loyal, as true to her espousal as is now expected of any true wife who has been actually and fully married to her husband. We see the harmony between the Jewish marriage custom and the Lord's dealings with the Church. No one is espoused to the Lord except he has entered into a formal and definite contract with him, the contract on the Lord's part being the exceeding great and precious promises of the Scriptures, assuring the espoused that if found faithful she shall be joint-heir with her Lord, the Bridegroom, in his Millennial Kingdom and all its glories. The contract on the part of the Church is our covenant of consecration, loyalty, faithfulness unto our Redeemer, to whom we are espoused, even unto death. The interim following our personal acceptance of the Lord's gracious promises by a full consecration of our all to him and his service until we actually die corresponds in a measure to the betrothal period of the Jewish maiden; but the still clearer and more exact fulfillment of the figure is found in the history of the Church as a whole. The Lord's virgin Church was espoused to him at Pentecost, and has been awaiting the coming of the Bridegroom and the resurrection change to glory, honor and immortality – the marriage, the union – for nearly nineteen centuries.


Our Lord continued the same lesson and illustration in his last message to the Church, recorded in the book of Revelation. There he still continues to picture the Church as a betrothed virgin, unmarried, but under strictest obligations to purity and faithfulness down to the end of this Gospel Age, where she is represented as making herself ready for the Bridegroom's coming and for the marriage. To be ready, as the Apostle explains, she must have on the wedding garment, and it must be "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing." (Eph. 5:27) Not that any member of that glorious company could even hope to maintain absolute purity and perfection, since all were "born in sin and shapen in iniquity" (Psa. 51:5); but that the robe representing the imputed righteousness of Christ covers every unintentional blemish and imperfection, and that any blemish or soil or spot or wrinkle upon this robe would be a cause of such grief to the betrothed one that the stain would be removed and the wrinkle pressed out by the gracious arrangements made therefore by the heavenly Bridegroom, who presented the robe and gave the directions by which it might be kept "unspotted from the world" – "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing."

The same record shows that with the resurrection "change" in the end of this age the "espoused virgin" Church will be no more, because she will have passed from her espoused state into the more exalted one of the Bride – married or united to her Lord and Bridegroom. Note the symbolical picture by which she is represented: the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven – that is, the heavenly Kingdom, the new government or rulership of the world, is then pictured as the glorified Church, the Bride; for we read that the Messenger said to John the "revelator," "Come and I will show you the Bride, the Lamb's wife" (no longer the espoused virgin). Then he showed him the holy [HG410] city, filled with the glory of God. (Rev. 21:9, 10) The grand office or work of the Church in glory is also pictured before us as the work of the Bride – "the Spirit and the Bride shall say, Come, and whosoever will may take of the water of life freely." At the present time not only is the Church not the Bride, but she is not even privileged to say, Come, to whosoever wills, but only to "as many as the Lord your God shall call" (Acts 2:39); for with the calling and drawing of this present time there is a measure of election, as the Scriptures declare in our Lord's words, "No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him." (John 6:44)

Moreover, there is no river of the water of life now. That bountiful provision is for the future – for the world during the Millennial Age. Now, as our Lord declares, those who believe in him and become his consecrated followers are granted to have in themselves a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. (John 4:14)

The river of the water of life and its bountiful provisions for the world of mankind, to which all will be invited, is most clearly and distinctly set forth as belonging to the epoch of the Millennial Kingdom, when the Church will be no longer an espoused virgin, but the Bride, the Lamb's wife – when she will be no longer in a condition of humiliation and groaning because of her burdens, but, filled with the glory of God, the Kingdom of her Bridegroom, with which she will be associated, will be the fountain (the holy city) from whence will proceed a great river of truth and grace, of which all mankind may drink to full satisfaction and everlasting life, if they will.


The heathen and children in Christian lands when they begin to study the Bible are perplexed and inquire, Which is the Church of Christ? They see various churches of various names claiming they are branches of the Church of Christ.

The unsophisticated mind inquires, Which is the true? Which did Jesus establish?

Of which was he the Head and founder? To which did the apostles belong? The answer implies confusion and reproach. Each denomination claims to be as good as any other and a little better, to be as true as any other or a little more so, to be as legitimately the Lord's espoused Bride as any other. A measure of confusion comes as they severally endeavor to tell us their origin and founders, for one saith, "I am of Calvin;" another, "I am of Luther;" another, "I am of Wesley;" another, "I am of Zwingli." But when confronted with the thought that these various sects and parties all originated within the past few hundred years, and when asked how they can reconcile this fact with the declaration of the Scriptures respecting the founding of the Church by Christ, with the twelve apostles as the living foundation stones, they are confused.

The more courageous attempt an explanation and tell us that their Church was the original one founded by the Lord and the Apostles, but that a great falling away from the original simplicity took place, so that for long centuries Methodism was forgotten, Calvinism was forgotten, Lutheranism was forgotten, until later Wesley, Calvin and Luther revived them. But, we ask, How could Wesley re-establish the original Church if Calvin had reestablished it? How could Luther reestablish it if Zwingli re-established it? Again there is confusion of face and stammering and hesitancy for an answer. Then the Church of Rome, the Greek Church and the Church of England come forward and declare that their organizations are older than any of these others, and that hence theirs are the true, the original; but again we ask, Which of you is the oldest? and where did your organization begin? Give us the proofs. All claim genuineness and originality, but none can show any existence of its present organization earlier than the third century. And when we contrast their elaborate and formal services with the simplicity of the early Church, as described in the New Testament, we are sure that there can be no identity between the two. When we compare their doctrines with the doctrines of Christ and the apostles, as set forth in the New Testament, there is an equal in harmony – their claims fall to the ground for lack of support.

The doctrines and practices of the churches of the Reformation period and since evidently are much more in harmony with the practices and doctrines of the Apostolic Church than are the older systems; but they are still far from being in thorough accord with each other and also out of accord with the original.


We have no time here to discuss fully the difference of faith and practice between the various denominations of today, nor to contrast with these the faith and practice of the Church organized by the Lord. We will merely refer to a few of these latter. The Scriptures teach that there is but one God the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 8:6); that the Father is above all, that he sent the Son to be our Redeemer, and that when he had faithfully accomplished the work the Father raised him from the dead and exalted him to his own right hand or place of favor – next to himself and the Redeemer himself said:" The Father is greater than I." (John 14:28) But the various churches, each claiming to be the original, unite in telling us that there are three Gods, "equal in power and glory." Sometimes they explain that the three Gods operate as [HG411] one God; at other times they claim that there is but one God, but that he has made three different manifestations of himself to assist us in comprehending him, and that each manifestation is as much the one God as the other.

What confusion! How impossible for those whose minds are thus muddled to understand respecting the divine plan of salvation, to comprehend the Scriptural statement that "there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time"! (1 Tim. 2:5,6)

How could one part of God be a mediator for men with the other part of the same God? Above all, how could God in one manifestation die as Adam's substitute and ransom, while the same God in another sense would accept that ransom and raise the other part of himself from the dead? How can our dear friends, confused by the errors they have carried with them from the "dark ages," understand or appreciate that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and the Father raised him from the dead by trying to think of the Lord Jesus as being one in person, one in essence, etc., with the Father, they cannot imagine that he died at all, for if God died in any comprehensible sense there was a period in which the universe was without a God! and how could the Father raise the Son from the dead if the Son was merely another name for the Father? All this confusion has tended to undermine the faith of the more rational members of all these various churches, until today indeed it has any form or tangibility. So disgusted have people in general become with their inability to harmonize their creeds of the "dark ages" with common sense that many of the brightest have abandoned the matter and sought to formulate new and more rational conceptions.

But, alas, the great Adversary, as the Apostle forewarned, manifesting himself as an angel of light and leader into all truth, has captured their college and seminary professors and most prominent ministers. He has beguiled them as the serpent beguiled Eve, with a hope and ambition for greater knowledge than that furnished in the divine revelation. They have with wonderful unanimity become "Higher Critics" and "Evolutionists." In the name of all that is holy and good they are persuading the leading minds in all these different churches that the Bible is not the Word of God, that it is wholly unreliable, that Jesus and the apostles were honest enough, but not brilliant scholars, and were unable to detect the falsities of the Old Testament upon which all of their teachings are based. These wise men of our time assure us that the story of Adam and Eve is not a statement of fact – that at very most it might be considered an allegory, which twenty men might guess at and interpret in twenty different ways. They assure us that there never was a Garden of Eden, there never was forbidden fruit, there never was a sentence upon Adam because of his disobedience in perfection, and that, therefore, the Scriptures delude us when they tell us that it was by reason of this that sin and death entered into the world. They tell us that Adam was merely one removed from a monkey, and hence far from able to keep any divine law, and far from capable of being judged or condemned to death on account of disobedience. And since they deny the fall and that man thus lost his home, his life, his relationship to God, they per force deny also that there was any need of a Saviour. They deny the Lord's words that he came "to seek and to save that which was lost." Denying that there was any sin they deny that Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification. (1 Cor. 15:3) They entirely ignore the Apostle's statement that by one man's disobedience sin entered into the world and death as the result of sin, and thus death passed upon all men because all are sinners. (Rom. 5:12) Thus do they make void the Word of God, and set up instead of it human tradition, human theories – the golden image to which all are required to bow down and worship if they would be called respectable, intelligent, sane.


We have seen that the Scriptures refer to the true Church of Christ as the espoused virgin of the Lord, and that they indicate clearly that eventually she is to be the Bride, the Lamb's Wife. But where is she now? Where has she been all through the period between the days of the apostles and the present time? We answer that the Scriptures explain that she has been in the "wilderness." (Rev. 12:14) In other words, she has been in disfavor, ignored and, to the worldly wise, unknown. Some of her members have been scattered in the various denominations already referred to and some of them outside all of these. Of the true Church the Master said, "If ye were of the world the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."

The Apostle, again describing this class, declares of them that not many wise, not many great, not many learned, not many noble, not many mighty are called-but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith. The popular institutions already referred to are worldly; their aims, their ambitions, their methods are worldly, and hence there can be very little religious sympathy, fellowship and co-operation between the majority of these sectarian systems and the minority in them who are true to the Lord and to his Word.

The majority think it strange that the minority are [HG412] such peculiar people; that they take such different views of life and its proprieties; that they set their affections on things above and not on the things of the earth; that they love a prayer-meeting better than they love a ball game, a concert, or a theater. They think it strange that they do not join with them in all the various questionable means employed for raising money for Church purposes, the fairs, socials, charades, lotteries, grab bags, etc.; and, as the Apostle intimates, they are very likely to speak evil of those who have more of the Spirit of the Lord and of the apostles, the spirit of holiness. Our Lord's parable of the wheat and the tares explains the situation exactly. He sowed the good wheat seed and the apostles followed in the same work; but subsequently the great Adversary sowed tare seed, errors, and brought into nominal Christendom many who were Christians merely in name, and who professed morality for their personal advantage – either in the hope of escaping the torment of the future or in the hope of gaining temporary advantage in the present life. This sowing checked the real wheat and hindered its development to a very large extent, so that today, look where we will over the field of Christendom, we see comparatively few of the true wheat class comparatively few true disciples of the Lord, willing and glad to walk in his footsteps in the narrow way of self-sacrifice and service. We see the vast majority ignorant of the truth and grace of the Lord – not knowing Jesus as the personal Saviour, not knowing from what they were redeemed, not knowing of the call nor to what they have been called, not knowing of the necessity of the trials and difficulties of this present time for all those who will be faithful to the Lord, and not knowing the exceeding great and precious things which God hath in reservation for them that love him.

We see that the fruits of the Spirit – namely, meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, love possessed by the wheat class are not esteemed and not enjoyed by the tare class.

We see, on the contrary, that the tare class is full of earthly ambition, earthly schemes and plans, and in every sense of the word give evidence that they are of the earth earthly. Some of these tares are fine, noble people in many respects; some of them give largely out of their abundance for garnishing the sepulchers of the righteous, for stained glass windows representing the Lord crucified or the apostles preaching the truth; but they have not the root of the matter in them; they have never taken up their cross to follow the meek and lowly One; they have never consecrated their lives to the Lord's service even unto death; they have never entered the narrow way, which alone leads to glory, honor and immortality, to which the true Church has been called. Having in mind the numerous brands of Churchianity – Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, etc. – and having in mind also their various conflicting doctrines, we cannot wonder that the Scriptures use the word Babylon as a name for these systems as a whole – especially when we come to know that the word Babylon signifies confusion. You can put your finger with some degree of definiteness upon the teachings of Confucius and his followers and know what they believe; you can do the same with those of Buddhists, Brahmins and others, but not so with Christians, for their doctrines are legions, as are their names, and it becomes necessary to find out what kind of a Christian one is in order to know what is his faith.

The confusion of doctrines among the various branches of Churchianity has brought reproach upon them all. The heathen are inquiring how it comes there are so many different kinds of Christians, and how it comes that they all have their own Bibles, and how it comes that they all can get their various theories out of the same book. This is a reproach that is being keenly felt by the leading minds of all denominations. As a consequence their creeds are being very generally ignored, while the organizations built upon and by those creeds, as upon foundations separate from others, are held unto most firmly. A Presbyterian may despise his creed and frankly tell some one, as a Presbyterian minister did, that if he wanted to believe the creed he must swallow it as he would a Brandreth pill, for if he would attempt to chew it he would never swallow it. Hence the Longer and Shorter Catechisms are practically buried, as things better to be forgotten in the interests of the prosperity of the denomination which formerly built upon them.

And it is much the same with other denominations and their creeds; the systems are being worshiped more than ever, and the creeds are being repudiated more than ever.

But why should this be if the creeds are admitted to be unsatisfactory and better buried? Why should not all Christians come together upon the simple ground of faith in the Bible – accepting that as their only creed? Why? Because to do this would wound their pride, would destroy their denominational integrity, would destroy the image they have so long worshiped. Each denomination expresses itself as quite willing to absorb all the others, but not willing to be absorbed by any of the others – not that they see there is any principle involved, but only because of pride and Churchianity and a lack of the real Spirit of the Lord. And, as the Apostle says, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his."

Hence, in Churchianity and its various branches there are evidently many, a large majority, who at heart are not the Lord's, but their own. They speak quite truly when they say that they "belong" to this or that [HG413] denomination. It owns them body and mind; they serve and reverence it as the heathen do the idol.

As this situation is more and more clearly seen, and as the people realize the unsatisfactoriness of their old creeds, and as their theologians dispense to them their new creed of Higher Criticism and Evolution and salvation by self help and good works, the various denominations are saying to themselves: Go to now; let us build a great tower of Babel; let us have a federation of denominations without any particular creed, without any particular faith, without any particular hope, without any particular aim except our self-preservation as denominations. Let us build so high that the floods of trouble that we apprehend shall do us no injury; but let us have no confidence in the Ark, Christ Jesus, and feel no necessity for being hidden therein, nor of being buried in the likeness of Christ's death and thus carried over to the new dispensation promised.


Who are the seven women? We have seen that women are pointed to as representatives or types of the churches – that the true Church is symbolized by a woman, a virgin, and the false systems by harlots, unfaithful to their espousals, and associating with the world. (Rev. 17:5) The number seven is well recognized throughout the Scriptures as being a symbol of completeness. And so we assume it here to signify all the churches of this world – but not to include the true Church, which is not of this world and which does not follow its course. We have come to the time when these seven women – that is to say, all the various sects and denominations – are with one heart, and one voice feeling the reproach of their situation, as already described. And what is their conclusion as to the proper course to be pursued? We answer that the one man of our text properly represents our Lord, the heavenly Bridegroom, and that our text signifies that all the nominal churches have come, or are about to come, "in that day," to the place where they will desire to be called merely the churches of Christ, and want nothing whatever more to do with him. They want to hold their sectarian names, Lutheran, Catholic, Methodist, etc., but they want also to be called Christians – that is their chief asset, almost their only asset. For the doctrines of Christ they care nothing, and for any thought of redemption and covering of sins through him they care nothing; it is merely a name that they desire. "We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel – merely let us be called by thy name."


We have already estimated that members of the true Church are still associated with these various earthly systems represented by the seven women of our text, but they will not be therein long, for one by one they are hearing the voice of Truth crying to them, "Come out of her [Babylon], my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4) The more these women want to eat their own bread and to wear apparel of their own furnishment, the more all the true ones of the Lord's people among them will awaken to the true situation and find that they have neither part nor lot there. The true Church does not wish to eat her own bread: she wants the Bread that came down from heaven. She does not want her own theories, her own plans of salvation, her own schemes, her own methods; but desires rather that which God has provided as her daily portion – "Meat in due season for the household of faith" things new and old from the storehouse of divine truth. Neither does the true espoused virgin of the Lord desire to wear her own apparel, for she has come to understand that her own righteousness is as filthy rags. She has learned and is learning more and more to appreciate the robe given her by the heavenly Bridegroom – the wedding garment.

She trusts more and more in the merit of her Redeemer, the covering of whose justification was symbolized by the skins of the sacrifices, given to Adam and Eve as the covering for their nakedness.

The message of the Lord has gone forth to his Church of the present epoch, counseling all those who claim to be his, that they trust not in uncertain riches, earthly riches, but that by faithful sacrificing of the earthly interests they buy of the Lord the gold tried in the fire, the divine nature, and that they maintain the white raiment of justification, that their eyes may see clearly the things that make for their peace and the things to come – the riches of grace, the knowledge of which has not entered into the heart of natural man. The Lord addresses the nominal system of the present time, at the closing epoch of this age, saying, "Thou sayest I am rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness be not made manifest; and eye salve to anoint shine eyes that thou mayest see." Rev. 3:17, 18 To whatever extent, dear friends, we have had the spirit of Babylon, the spirit of the world and the confusion of doctrines that are contrary to the Word of God, let us get rid of these. To whatever extent we [HG414] have had blindness and misapprehension of the true riches, and a failure to appreciate the white raiment of Christ's righteousness, let us finally accept the Lord's favor and anoint our eyes and see the glories of the situation of the true espoused of the Lord, that we may make our calling and election sure as well as be burning and shining lights in the world for those who are seeking the true ways of the Lord.


But a Night of Awful Trouble Will Intervene "Watchman, what of the night? The morning cometh, but a night also." Isa. 21:11, 12

There shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." Dan. 12:1

It is the duty of the watchman on the walls of Zion to declare the whole counsel of God – the bitter as well as the sweet. This duty we continually seek to perform. It is appropriate, however, that the glories of the Millennial epoch, foretold through God's Word, should receive more of our attention than the darker picture of the night of trouble with which it will be introduced. It is appropriate also that we give, as the Scriptures do, still more attention to the inculcation of the principles which go to form Christian character amongst the Lord's consecrated people; because these are essential to the attainment of the glorious privileges and honors of the Kingdom; because this is the work in hand, the Lord's work – the gathering from amongst mankind of the very Elect to be the Bride of Christ, his joint-heirs in the Millennial Kingdom and its glorious work of instructing and uplifting the world in general. We have not failed, however, to point out that the Millennium will not be introduced by the preaching of the Gospel and resulting conversions.

We have shown that the preaching of the Gospel is the method by which the Lord is now inviting those who have "ears to hear" to voluntarily join his standard and follow in the footsteps of Jesus and thus become God's very Elect, but that after this election is complete the divine method of dealing with mankind, according to the Scriptures, will be wholly changed. Then, instead of preaching to those willing to walk by faith in the light of the divine Lamp, the Word of God, there will be laws, commands, rules – with rewards for the obedient and "stripes" for the careless; and that the whole world, instead of longer being in darkness, will be filled with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God; because Christ and the Church will then be to the world the Sun of Righteousness – to scatter its ignorance and superstition, and to assist it out of its degradation up along the highway of holiness to Edenic blessings, which may be reached by all who will by the close of the Millennial Age. We remind you again of what we have before shown – that according to the most favorable statement of the world's statistics there are more than 1,200,000,000 of heathen today, whereas a century ago the number was 600,000,000. Here we see the net result of the century of the most wonderful missionary activity the world has ever known – twice as many heathen at its close as at its beginning. If any one still is in doubt as to the correctness of our position, that the Millennium is not to be brought in by the preaching of the Gospel, let him reflect not only that there are no Scriptures in favor of that position, but let him reflect also that if in this day he could convert all of the 1,200,000,000 of heathendom to nominal Christianity such as prevails in civilized lands, the Millennium would not yet have come, for surely Christendom is as far from Millennial conditions as is heathendom. Discontentment and unhappiness are even more widespread amongst the civilized than amongst the heathen. No reasonable mind can conceive of the possibility of human endeavor bringing the world of mankind to the condition referred to in our Lord's prayer – "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth, even as it is in heaven."


All reasonable minds must concur that there are only two courses open to us – (1) either to repudiate the Bible as an inspired and authoritative teaching, and thus free ourselves from its innumerable references to the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of heaven that is to be established under the whole heavens, to which every knee must bow and every [HG415] TONGUE CONFESS, AND OF WHICH Christ is to be the great King and his Church of the very Elect, his Bride and joint-heir in the Kingdom; or else

(2) we must admit that the Kingdom so clearly foretold in the Scriptures will be introduced by some different means than that which the majority of Christendom has for the past century expected. We must accept the Scriptural presentation, that our Lord's second coming is for the very purpose of establishing that Kingdom, and then when he thus takes to himself his great power and establishes his rule amongst men, it will be done by force, as the Scriptures declare, and not by the preaching of the Gospel, which by that time will have accomplished its purpose of gathering the Elect – the willing and the obedient – the Bride class.

In view of the fact that I have been publicly declaring by voice and by pen for more than thirty years that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand, and that it will be introduced by a "time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation," it is not surprising that the present financial flurry is bringing in numerous inquiries in line with our text, "What of the night?" Is this the beginning of the awful trouble in which the Gospel Age will close and the Millennial day of blessing will be introduced? More than two million copies of the "DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES" are in the hands of thinking people, many of whom for years have been noting the truthfulness of its delineations of the events of the harvest of this age – the period of forty years from 1874 to 1914, during which the Millennial Age is lapping into the Gospel Age, the one beginning, the other closing. A lesser number of people have followed us in the study of the prophecies along these lines in the volume entitled, "THE TIME IS AT HAND" – a lesser number, therefore, see clearly, definitely, the foundation of our expectations in the Word of God, and from this class chiefly come the inquiries. The others well know what we are now explaining, namely, that the severity of the troubles which will wind up present institutions of the world in a world-wide anarchy is not to be expected for yet seven years. But as we have already shown, the unrest amongst mankind will increase as we near the climax. The Scriptures intimate clearly that what is coming is a parallel, an antitype, to the awful trouble upon the Jewish nation which terminated their polity A. D. 70. Again, as we have already intimated, the Apostle likens the trouble coming to "travail upon a woman with child." In harmony with the figure our expectation is that there will be numerous spasms or throes of trouble upon Christendom, increasing in severity up to the last, in which present institutions will die.


"The night is far spent, the day is at hand," the Apostle declared eighteen centuries ago. (Rom. 13:12) The entire period of the night is six thousand years, and hence he was quite right in declaring that it was far spent in his day – more than two-thirds of it had passed. This is the Scriptural figure everywhere used: the period of the dominion of sin and death is likened to a night time, a period of darkness, ignorance and superstition. Well does the Prophet cry, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." (Psa. 30:5) During this dark night, according to a reasonable estimate, twenty thousand millions of our race have gone down to the tomb, to sheol, to hades, to death, and only those who have some knowledge of the divine plan through the Scriptures know that the Lord's provision for these is an awakening from the dead, the tomb, and subsequently the possibility for all of them to attain, if they will, perfection and eternal life. The Prophet David spoke of this awakening in the morning of the Millennial Age from the prophetic standpoint, declaring that joy was then to come to the millions who weep now, not only for their departed ones, but also by reason of the imperfections, mental, moral and physical, which they find in themselves and in their neighbors and friends.

What joy that morning of the new dispensation will bring to humanity! To the "Little Flock," the friends of God, who have walked in the footsteps of their Master in the narrow way of self-sacrifice, it is to bring a share in the First Resurrection to glory, honor and immortality. To the remainder of mankind, it is to bring, through the Redeemer and his glorified Bride, the blessing of release from the bondage of corruption, the bondage of sin and death. No wonder the same Scriptures, which call the present a night time, which declare that "darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the heathen" (Isa. 60:2), picture the future as a sunburst of blessing, bringing relief not only from Satan, who will be bound for a thousand years, but bringing relief also upon terms of obedience from all the aches and pains and imperfections and dyings which now so distress every creature! No wonder that those who caught a glimpse of the matter in bygone times, before this feature of truth had become meat in due season, were ecstatic!

No wonder the Psalmist, speaking under divine inspiriation, repeatedly thanked God for the coming prospect, when the Kingdom should be the Lord's and he should be the Governor amongst the nations of the earth, and the fullness thereof should render unto him the praise and honor and obedience due unto his namer No wonder the apostles looked forward to the second [HG416] coming of our Lord and prayed, "Even so come, Lord Jesus. Come quickly!" No wonder this thought quickened the early Church to a zeal and earnestness which was astonishing to their fellowmen, who "took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus and had learned of him!" (Acts 4:13) And they were hoping for a share in the Kingdom which he had promised them, when he said, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne;" and again, "Pray ye, Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." Rev. 3:21; Matt. 6:10


In our text the Prophet takes his standpoint in our day, and in answer to the question whether or not the night of sin and error and superstition and sorrow is nearly ended, he declares that the morning nears. To our understanding daybreak began more than a century ago – in the year 1799. That is a prominent date in the Scriptures as the close of a prophetic period, following which there would come to the world great enlightenment, great increase of knowledge along every line, as a stirring up, an awakening, a preparation for the Millennial day and its great work. The earliest awakening was along religious lines, and nearly all of the great Bible Societies were organized within fifteen years of that date, and the largest of them, within four years. The Word of God has been the torch which led the best of minds to their grandest achievements during the century which followed.

Today, theologians, college professors, and in general all the elite of the world, under the lead of Higher Criticism, have rejected the Bible; but this is not to its discredit, but to theirs. They have become vain in their imaginations, wise in their own conceits, neglectful of the inspired Word, and the result is that they today are in blindness as respects the times and seasons in which we are living. Hence, the world, which knows not God, is without special leadership from those to whom it might reasonably look for guidance in the present time, when more than ever the wisdom from on high is needed.

The Scriptures declare this period since 1799, under two names:(1) the "Day of his Preparation" (Nah. 2:3)

(2) "The Time of the End" (Dan. 12:4) It is the period which closes the epoch of what the Scriptures term the "present evil world" and introduces the "world Lor age] to come, in which dwelleth righteousness. "(Gal. 1:4; 2 Pet. 3:13) It will be noticed at a glance by every thinking person that this period should be, must be, the most wonderful in the world's history thus far – the period of the most profound change imaginable – the overthrow of the empire of darkness under the prince of darkness, and the inauguration of the Empire of Light under the Prince of Light – Christ and his glorified Bride. To be as brief as possible such a day of preparation and change should have two leading characteristics, and these we find.


(1) So wonderful a day as that which the Scriptures declare is coming should be prepared for! So wonderful a sunburst should give a considerable dawning light before the Sun of Righteousness himself would flood the earth with beams of glory and blessing! And is not this what we find? Is not the whole world awakening from the darkness, ignorance, superstition and slumber of past centuries to a newness of thought, of intelligence, to an awakening of their senses? Is not this the only reasonable explanation for the wonderful progress along every line of invention, in mechanics, chemistry, etc. ? Is not this the answer to the prophetic declaration that in this day of preparation, this time of the end, many would run to and fro, and knowledge would be increased? But, alas, the world by wisdom knows not God, and instead of returning thanks to him for present blessings, and recognizing them as forerunners of the Millennial Kingdom as the Scriptures explain, we find mankind, on the contrary, seeking an explanation along lines of worldly wisdom – concluding that we are experiencing merely the results of a process of evolution; and, indeed, endeavoring to eliminate the Creator entirely and rejecting his Word – casting aside the torch. Thus it is that in the gray dawn they see not the stone of stumbling in their pathway, and realize not the ditch of unbelief into which they are so rapidly falling!

(2) If the whole world were saints, full of faith, obedience and love to God, the blessings coming to us in this time would be wisely used for the mutual good of the entire human family. But it will be admitted that only the few are of such a spirit – that the majority, both inside and outside the nominal Church, are controlled by the spirit of the world, the spirit of selfishness. Hence, while the blessings of our day, although so abundant that they have overflowed in every direction and benefited every member of our race afar and near, have come chiefly into the hands of the worldly wise and acquisitive, we perceive that in the increasing light of each decade the wonderful ingenuity and skill of the world's brightest minds turning increasingly in the selfish direction. Not content with much luxury they seek more. With commendable zeal, energy and skill immense projects are accomplished and more and more mankind in general, though richly blessed through these same channels of genius, find that the bulk of the world's [HG417] wealth and practically all of its opportunities are passing into the hands of aggregated capital, trusts, etc. While the intelligent will acknowledge that they are receiving a blessing in conjunction with these experiences, and that their lot is far better than that of their forefathers, nevertheless the masses have caught the acquisitive spirit as well, and a hunger for wealth is in nearly every bosom and a scheming for it in nearly every brain. Consequently this wonderful day of blessing, instead of bringing thankfulness, gratitude, happiness, contentment, praise and thanksgiving to the Giver of every good, is more and more bringing the reverse of this – unhappiness, discontent, envy, malice, hatred, strife, which the Apostle denominates "works of the flesh and of the devil." As a result there is a mad financial rush everywhere as it is discerned that those who have already procured possession of the wealth of the world practically control the situation for the present, and apparently also for the future. The result is the engendering of a spirit of bitterness against them – well illustrated in the many unreasonable and unjust attacks upon capitalists and who are far more just and generous than the majority of those who assail them through the press. However, we are not discussing particulars but broad generalities.

We are not discussing grades of selfishness, but the great fact that selfishness as a principle is more and more gaining control of the poor and the rich, and is leading on with rapid strides to the very culmination which the Scriptures indicate will be with us within eight years – "a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation." (Dan. 12:1) Our Lord quotes the prophecy and applied it, we believe, as we do, and adds the encouraging statement that there would never be such a time of trouble afterward. (Matt. 24:21) The effect of this trouble will be so overruled by divine providence in the establishment of the Kingdom of righteousness, the Kingdom of light, that such a tribulation will never again be possible. Of that glorious Millennial time the Scriptures declare, "the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." (Isa. 26:9) They will learn that the ways of righteousness are the ways of the Golden Rule. But it will require time, and undoubtedly the great lesson that is coming, respecting the unprofitableness in the end of the rule of selfishness, will be a valuable preparation to the world for the learning of the advantages of the rule of love.

"The knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth," declares the Prophet. (#Hab 2:14) And again, "The Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in its beams," and again, "Then shall the righteous [Christ and his glorified Church] shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father." (Mal. 4:2; Matt. 13:43) "He that hath an ear, let him hear." During that glorious day "Righteousness will be laid to the line and justice to the plummet," and "the judgments of the Lord will be abroad in the earth" – correcting the world in righteousness. Thus all come to a knowledge of the Truth and to full opportunities for obedience. Amongst the assisting and uplifting influences of that time will be the rewarding every good endeavor and punishing with corrective "stripes" of "every soul of man that doeth evil," ultimately punishment of everlasting destruction will be inflicted only upon those who deliberately, wilfully, persistently refuse to come into harmony with the divine arrangement and to go up on the highway of holiness to full perfection and eternal life.


Our text recites exactly what we find, namely, that although the night of six thousand years is now spent, and although we are in the morning of the new dispensation and its gray dawn is already awakening many of the sleeping ones – a brief period of dense darkness, an early morning storm which other Scriptures show to be terrific – is to arise. Various symbols in the Scriptures are used to represent this brief period, which in the Bible is known as a "day of wrath and fierce anger." Sometimes a symbol of storm is used and a hurricane is described, a whirlwind swift and terrible. Again the symbol is that of a flood, at other times of fire melting the earth. The latter symbol has been mistaken by our Second Day Adventist friends, and indeed by nearly all Christendom, as represented in their creeds, to imply a literal burning of the earth, which, on the contrary, the Scriptures declare is to abide forever. (Eccl. 1:4) We quote one Scripture of this latter class in evidence of our position. The Prophet declares: "Wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until that day Lthe day of wrath] when I rise up to the prey; for my determination is to gather the nations, to draw together the kingdoms, that I may pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger.

For the whole earth shall be devoured by the fire of my jealousy." (Zeph. 3:8) We already witness the gathering of the nations, the drawing of them together by the power of steam and electricity, which today makes China nearer to your city than New York was a century ago. This drawing together of the nations in their interests, financial, social and sympathetic, makes the coming cataclysm instantly world-wide in a manner impossible before, and, like a fire, present institutions will be speedily consumed under the ruthlessness of anarchy. True, anarchists today are few, [HG418] but Socialists throughout the world are growing numerous, and it is our expectation that within seven years they will be very powerful. We are not blaming them with having anarchistic intentions – we believe that many of them are noble and generous and little realize the position they will feel themselves forced to assume and the awful world-wide tragedy they will assist in precipitating. We counsel all who are the Lord's people, that while these things will come to pass, as the Scriptures have portrayed, none of the Lord's consecrated people should have any part therein. Those who pray, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," should see to it above all things that the divine will is done to the extent of their ability in their own hearts, in their own lives, in their own families, in their own business. In proof that our interpretation of the foregoing passage is correct – in proof that the fire of God's jealousy which will then devour the earth is symbolical and not literal, we call attention to the verse following, which reads, "Then will I turn to the people a pure language jmessage] that they may all call upon the name of the Lord to serve him with one consent." If the fire were literal and the earth were actually melted there would then be no people left to hear the message of the Lord and to serve him. The fire is symbolical, and the very forcefulness of the statement and the strength of the language is an evidence to us of the terrible character of the trouble which we expect will engulf society, symbolized by the word "earth," within eight years.


Symbolically in the Scriptures the Church is represented as a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet. (Rev. 12:1) The force of the symbol is that the Church of Christ has a special enlightenment in the Gospel, which in this figure is represented by the sunlight, and she stands upon the moon, which represents the Jewish system, the Mosaic Law, which, as the Apostle declared, was a shadow of the better things of the Gospel. Using this figure of speech, our Lord declares respecting the trouble time with which this age will close, that in it the sun shall be darkened, the moon will not give her light, and the stars will fall from heaven. (Matt. 24:29)

While accepting as a matter of fact that there has been a literal fulfilment of this statement within this generation – within less than a century, we hold, nevertheless, that there is a symbolical application. To our understanding it is now being fulfilled, and its fulfillment bears a close relationship to the coming trouble. The sunlight of Christendom, the Gospel message, the Bible, is being rejected by the very highest standard bearers in Churchianity. Higher Criticism, which is a refined name for infidelity, is taught in practically not only every college of Christendom today, but is taught also in the religious denominations – yea, with its handmaiden, the Evolution theory, it has even invaded the common schools and has threatened also the Sunday Schools.

Thus the sunlight of Gospel truth, which has enlightened the Church, is fading out gradually and being eclipsed by worldly wisdom. In the same proportion, of course, the moon, the Mosaic Law, the typical foreshadowing of Gospel truth, is becoming darkened, so that it is not an uncommon thing to hear prominent Christians speak of the "bloody sacrifices" of the Jews in olden times, and failing entirely to understand what the Apostle Paul explains, that "without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins," and that God provided the sacrifices of the Law as foreshadowings of the "better sacrifices" of Christ and those who follow in his footsteps, presenting their bodies living sacrifices. (Heb. 9:22, 23; Rom. 12:1; #Col 1:24)

Furthermore, are not the stars in the religious firmament falling – the brightest ones, to whom Christendom has looked for leading and guidance and instruction – are they not falling from their high position in the estimation of Christendom? What a bright star in the religious firmament was the Apostle Paul as well as the other apostles, and are not all these falling from their exalted position in the judgment of the masses of Christendom – so that it is not an uncommon thing to hear the worldly-wise Doctors of Divinity imply that the apostles were earnest, but ignorant, and thoroughly incapable of shedding any light upon the Church in this our day, when the heavenly wisdom is being rejected and the earthly wisdom is being sought!

With the breaking down of faith in the Bible as a divine revelation and guide Christendom is left without chart or compass as she enters the great gale that is before us. Is it not time that those in all denominations and out of all denominations who are at heart loyal to the Lord and his Word should take their position firmly in defense of the truth and manifest their loyalty? Is any other course for them a safe one? Can they expect to grow in grace and knowledge and be able to "stand in the evil day" (Eph. 6:13) unless they do manifest such a loyalty?

We exhort you all, dear friends, and the hundreds of thousands whom we weekly address through the public press, that we not only awake to the importance of the glorious morning so near at hand, and the preparation therefore in the purity of heart and life and faithful zeal for the Lord, but that we do all in our power to bring the knowledge of Present Truth to all those who have an ear to hear. The trial, the testing, is [HG419] bound to reach every professed child of God very speedily, and those unprepared by the truth are almost certain to be overwhelmed with the error, which is spreading everywhere and preparing the world for the climax beyond, which we see, but they cannot see as yet – the glorious sun of the earth's great Jubilee.


"Times of Restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:19-21

"There as one God and one Mediator between God arid men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." 1 Tim. 2:5-6

At another time we may consider the forepart of this text, but on this occasion I invite your attention to the last clause, which explains that our Lord's sacrifice was for all mankind, and that in due time this great matter will be made known to all people with a view to their being blessed by and through the fact and the knowledge of it.


Perhaps I should take a moment here to answer a question which I understand is frequently raised in respect to my preaching, namely, Why does Pastor Russell give so much more attention to doctrinal questions than do other ministers? Why does he not give more attention to scientific matters, politics, moral reform and practical living? My reply is in the words of our Saviour, "After all these things do the (gentiles seek" – all these are worldly matters while the doctrines of Christ and the apostles are peculiar to Christians. Hindoos, Confucians and Mohammedans have a common interest in the affairs of the world and its moral, physical and political welfare, but the Christian minister is divinely directed to "Preach the Word;" and the Word ignores worldly science, politics, reform, etc., and deals especially with doctrines. I am, therefore, merely following the example of Christ and his apostles, and the reason why this seems peculiar is, that the majority of the ministers largely neglect to heed the Scriptural injunction and the apostolic models. When they do occasionally touch upon doctrine, they, alas, too frequently "teach for doctrines the commandments of men," from the creeds of the past five centuries rather than from the inspired words of the Lord and his apostles.

It may be well here to notice briefly the value of doctrines – the value of those teachings which differentiate true Christians from the remainder of mankind. The ignoring of the doctrines of Scripture and the substitution of the doctrines of men during the "dark ages" have brought the world to the place where all doctrines are tabooed and distasteful, because said false doctrines from the "dark ages" are unreasonable and repulsive to the growing intelligence of the world. Instead of ignoring doctrine, however, the people of God should seek and find the proper interpretation of the Bible, which is everywhere reasonable, logical and harmonious with itself and with sanctified common sense. This, then, is my apology for so frequently discussing the "doctrines of Christ" and of the prophets and of the apostles.


Our text declares a great fact which Christian people generally ignore, if they do not deny – the fact that our Lord Jesus' death was a "ransom price," whose scope covers and includes the entire family of Adam. The fact that the Scriptures do speak of a specially Elect class which is being gathered out of the world during this Gospel Age, and which is promised joint-heirship with Christ in his coming Millennial Kingdom – the fact also that the great mass of mankind at the present time and throughout the six thousand years of the past have been "without God and without hope in the world," because without a knowledge of "the only name given under heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved" – these facts have led many to the erroneous conclusion that our Lord's death had not been and never will be a "ransom price" or "offset price" for the cancellation of the sins of mankind in general. Their reasoning has, indeed, certain logical features; for if the world in general has not and if in future it never will receive a blessing at the Lord's hands it seems the logical conclusion must [HG420] be that justice did not receive and will never receive a full ransom price for Original Sin. In seeming harmony with this erroneous thought is the fact that only a comparatively small proportion of humanity has been specially favored of the Lord with an opening of the eyes of their understanding, and the privilege, through faith, of coming back into harmony with their Creator.

Seemingly supporting this view also are the Scriptural statements respecting the present "narrow way" and "strait gate" which "few" can find, and the many references to the Elect as constituting only a Little Flock. Building upon this erroneous conclusion, our forefathers of the "dark ages" and since have proceeded to give various explanations of the eternal torture of the world of mankind – the non-Elect – those not favored by the Almighty with a knowledge of the only name given under heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved. These false doctrines built upon the "traditions of the elders" have had a nauseating effect upon intelligent minds: They therefore contradict the Scriptural declaration that God is just, loving, wise and all-powerful. What we need to correct the nausea, to refresh the hearts, to reinspire a love and zeal for the Lord and his Word, is to see with clearness what are the true doctrines of the Scriptures respecting these matters.


The Scriptures declare that our Lord Jesus "by the grace of God tasted death for every man." They show conclusively that his death "was a propitiation for our sins (the Church's sins); and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2) But to appreciate these statements, to see how they can be and are true, it is necessary to know that the Scriptures nowhere declare that the present Gospel Age is the only period of divine favor, the only period for the forgiveness of sins, the only period of reconciliation with God, the only period of opportunity for being taught of God and of obtaining his blessing and favor, lost through original sin in Eden. As soon as we grasp this great fact our eyes begin to open to other facts:

(1) That prior to this Gospel Age, during the Jewish Age and previously, all the world except that one little nation were aliens, strangers and foreigners from God and his promises, "without God and without hope in the world" (Eph. 2:12);

(2) that the Scriptures clearly indicate a "world to come," a future epoch, in connection with the affairs of this world, under new and better conditions than now prevail;

(3) that that future epoch is called the "Day of Christ," the "Day of the Lord." It is indeed the Millennial Day, the thousand years of Christ's reign for the very purpose of blessing and uplifting the world of mankind, for whose sins his death was the atonement price and who are to be healed by his stripes.

(4) We find that every invitation and injunction of the Gospel Age is with a view to the selection of an "Elect class," who shall be joint-heirs with Christ during that Millennial Age, to share with him in the great work of general human uplift.

At this point many good people laboring under a degree of blindness, from the "smoke of the dark ages," feel disposed to object and to insist that there can be no future probation. If we ask them why, they reply that the entire Scriptural teaching contradicts the thought of a future hope beyond the tomb. We reply that this is an error – that the very reverse is true, as we shall show. We ask them for a single Scripture on their side of the Scripture subject. To their amazement they find none, but as a last resort quote from Ecclesiastes the words, "Where the tree falleth there shall it be." (Eccl. 11:3)

A very slim text, indeed, to raise up as a barrier against the entire voice of the Scriptures, against all the demands of reason and logic as well. This Scripture is in full accord with what we claim, namely, that a tree when it is fallen is lifeless and powerless, and cannot raise itself up, so is man in death – under the sentence and wage of Original Sin. The Scriptural argument is that the whole race of Adam was thus dead – without life, without power to raise itself out of its fallen condition, without any claim upon eternal life or divine favor in any sense; but, as our text declares, our Lord Jesus "gave himself a ransom for all" – for Adam, the transgressor, in particular and for all of his race who shared in his penalty. And the all redeemed is the same all which shall have the blessed opportunity for release from sin and death bondage.

It was because man was in this helpless condition, dead, powerless to revive himself, that God went to his relief through Christ, and caused the great ransom sacrifice to be made nearly nineteen centuries ago. Our text assures us that that ransom-sacrifice finished at Calvary was on behalf of all mankind, and is consequently to bring a blessing to all mankind.


We are not arguing that all who have died have gone to heaven; quite to the contrary. We stick close to the book, the Bible, in its declaration that the "dead know not anything" that a resurrection is necessary to any future living. We hold with the Scriptures that at the end of this age, the First Resurrection will take place – the resurrection of the "blessed and holy" – those who have pleased God both by their faith and obedience. These, the Scriptures declare, will be "kings and priests unto God, and shall reign on the [HG421] earth." The object of their reign will be to bring blessings of knowledge and opportunity to "every creature." These participants in the First Resurrection are the "Seed of Abraham, " our Lord Jesus, the Head, and his Church, the members of his Body. Thus the Apostle declares, "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's Seed, and heirs according to the promise." Gal. 3:29 The promise to which Christ and the Church are heirs is that they shall be God's instrumentality for the blessing, instruction and uplifting of all the willing of the world of mankind. To be heirs of this promise made to Abraham, that in his Seed all the families of the earth should be blessed, would be a meaningless farce and jest on the Almighty's part had he not purchased or ransomed all men and provided a time and means by which his blessing should accrue to the world.

Thus we perceive that he has arranged a time for granting the world a trial for life – a trial respecting their willingness to abandon the ways of sin and death and to walk in the ways of righteousness under the enlightenment of the Truth, which, we are assured, shall shine forth as the sun, and whose beams shall heal humanity. (Mal. 4:2)

The means for the blessing we see provided in Christ, and his Bride, the "Elect" Church of this Gospel Age; but the guarantee of the whole is fixed beyond peradventure in the fact that "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," or, as our text declares, became the Mediator between God and man by giving himself a ransom for all.

A point I want to emphasize here is that the giving of this ransom price and the acceptance of it by Justice imply divine intention for the blessing of all mankind, in full accord with the various testimonies of the entire Scriptures. Why should a ransom be given for all if it was not intended of God that all should benefit by it, or at least have an opportunity of benefiting by it, which would be virtually the same thing? We hold that it is beyond dispute that the giving of a ransom for all and the divine acceptance of it, in harmony with the divine promise, are the sure guarantee that ultimately a blessing must come to every member of Adam's race as a result.

The fact that this knowledge has not yet reached all mankind in the past and is not reaching all mankind today, but, on the contrary, only a small minority, and the fact that knowledge of God's favor and an intelligent acceptance of it on faith and a reasonable obedience in harmony with that faith are the demands of the divine Word, require no proof. Proof could be given on almost every page of the Scriptures that faith, and endeavor to obedience in hammony with that faith, are necessary to salvation, but we will content ourselves by mentioning a few citations. The Apostle Paul says, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." "How shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard." (Rom. 10:14-17) "Without faith it is impossible to please God." (Heb. 11:6) "All that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God," and "the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep." (John 5:28; Isa. 11:9) "All the blind eyes shall be opened and the deaf ears shall be unstopped." (Isa. 35:5) "They shall no longer teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord." Jer. 31:34


Our text is in full accord with all these statements of the importance of knowledge, declaring the fact that our Lord Jesus gave himself a ransom for all is to be testified in "due time." The present time is the due time for the Church, the household of faith, to hear the voice of the Son of God; and they who now hear live, pass from death unto life – to newness of life, to begetting to newness of nature. By and by, when the present class of "called," "Elect" ones, shall have been glorified with their Lord, all the remainder of mankind shall hear, "All that are in their graves shall hear his voice" and come forth for this very purpose that they may hear, may understand, may appreciate and may be assisted to obey the voice of him that speaketh from heaven – the great Ransomer, who, in that day, will be King over all the earth and will bind Satan and will put down every opposing influence, to the intent that all may come to a full appreciation of God and his righteous laws and to full obedience thereto.

This is the Apostle Peter's declaration in Acts 3:22,23: He points us to the fact that Moses was a type of Christ-Jesus the Head and the Church his Body – and this antitypical "Priest" God is raising up from among his brethren – raising him up to the glory, honor and immortality of the divine nature, and to the power and authority of the Kingdom – to the intent that, as the Seed of Abraham, this great messiah shall "bless all the families of the earth" with knowledge and every opportunity for return to all of divine favor and blessing that was lost in Eden.

And of those who will refuse to hear that great Prophet, Priest and King during the Millennial Age – what of them? The Apostle answers, "it shall come to pass that the soul that will not hear [obey] that Prophet, shall be utterly destroyed from amongst the people" – cut off in the Second Death, from which there will be no hope of [HG422] recovery, no resurrection.


In full accord with all this view is the Apostle Peter's statement respecting the blessings that are to come to mankind during the Millennial Age, following our Lord's second advent and the glorification of his Church to joint-heirship with himself. The Apostle calls that period "Times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, when he shall send Jesus Christ," at his second advent. The Apostle declares that in the meantime the heavens must receive him, must retain him, "until the time of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." In other words, he assures us that these restitution times or years of uplifting of mankind will follow as a result of the Lord's second coming and the establishment of his Kingdom in glory and in power. Acts 3:19-21

That these times of restitution signify years of restitution, I need not state; nor need I point out that here the thousand years of Christ's reign are referred to. The word "restitution" is, or ought to be, familiar to everybody, nevertheless I remind you that it signifies to put back or bring back something to an original or primary condition. The Apostle is speaking of humanity, and hence the suggestion is that the work of Christ and his Church in glory during the Millennium will be to restore mankind to the condition and privileges and blessings and favors enjoyed before sin entered the world – before the "curse" passed upon all by one man's disobedience. (Rom. 5:12) Evolutionists would have little sympathy with the Apostle's statement here, for, according to their erroneous theory, "restitution" to original condition would be the last thing for humanity to desire or hope for, or for God to promise as a blessing. But we are not consulting Evolutionists in this matter – we are taking the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. In harmony with his promise we are to anticipate, therefore, that as the world of mankind has been in a fallen and falling condition, and ups and downs, especially downs, for six thousand years, and that when the Lord's time shall come and "times of restitution" shall begin, the present downward or fallen conditions will give place to upward conditions, to restitution times – for the general uplifting of all mankind.


We have just seen that the great ransom sacrifice finished at Calvary is the basis upon which God can be just and yet be the justifier of those who believe in Jesus (Rom. 3:26) and release them from the sentence of death, which was justly upon them as the imperfect posterity of the fallen Adam, unworthy of life eternal under divine conditions. The more we look into this matter the more logical, reasonable and satisfactory we see the divine plan to be. The first man perfect, the image of God, sinned with deliberation, and received as a penalty a death sentence; after waiting more than four thousand years, God sent a Redeemer in the person of his Son. Since man was not a spirit being but a human being, therefore, the Apostle declares, Christ took not hold upon the nature of angels, but humbled himself and came to the still lower plane of humanity and became the "man Christ Jesus" – "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners." Then, as "the man Christ Jesus," "he gave himself a ransom for all," as our text declares, "to be testified in due time." The testimony has already been in the world for nineteen centuries, and it has selected the very class which God foreknew and foretold – a Little Flock of footstep followers, who are to be joint-heirs with their Redeemer and Lord. Next in order will come the testimony to the remainder of mankind – first to those who have not yet gone into the tomb, and, secondly, to those who have already gone into the tomb, who will be awakened for the very purpose of receiving this testimony and being tested by it. In accord with this the apostle declares that the church is a "kind of firstfruits unto God of his creatures." First-fruits implies an after fruitage. Jas. 1:18 Here we notice the difference between the blessing God designed for the Elect Church he is selecting during this Gospel Age and the blessing he purposes for the obedient of the world of mankind in general. The Church's blessing is not "restitution," and in harmony with this we see no evidence of restitution anywhere about us. The restitution work waits for the restitution time, which begins with the establishment of the Kingdom.

Believers of this present time, indeed, have a faith equivalent to restitution, in that they are reckoned as having their sins covered with the robe of Christ's righteousness, of being reckoned as having passed from the sentence of death in Adam to a share of a life in Christ, reckoned as having received again fellowship and communion with God, lost in Adam through his disobedience in Eden. All this in a sense serves as an equivalent to the restitution which is to come to the world in its "due time." But the world will not get these things by faith, but will get them actually, gradually attaining to them more and more during the thousand years, until at its close all who shall have appreciated God's favors and obeyed the voice of the great Prophet, Priest and King, will be actually [HG423] perfect – as perfect as was Adam in every talent, quality, power and capacity, and with increased capacity through increased knowledge.


Not so the Church of this Gospel Age. She gets none of these restitution blessings actually. She merely has them by faith, and this for a special purpose – to sacrifice them – to pemmit her to present her body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, her reasonable service – her participation in the sufferings of Christ that she may be accounted worthy to parricipate in his glories of the heavenly nature and his Millennial work. The Gospel invitation to the Church is to lay down her life, to exchange these earthly privileges and blessings bought by the precious blood of Christ for heavenly privileges offered to her as a reward of obedience – "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame and am set down with my father in his throne." Glory, honor and immortality, the divine nature – will be the great "change" from present earthly conditions to heavenly conditions, far beyond anything possible for the natural man to appreciate, and seen, even by the saints, as through a glass obscurely. This great change which is to come to the Lord's faithful Bride by her participation in "his resurrection," the "First Resurrection," the resurrection to spirit perfection is the "rear hope and ambition set before us, dear brethren and sisters. It is for this that we are exhorted to lay aside every weight and every besetting sin and to run with patience – sacrificing earthly things and treasures that we may have this better treasure, this pearl of great price, this participation in the Kingdom with our dear Redeemer.


The Apostle declares that these "times of restitution" which are coming are spoken of "by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." We should like to take up this subject in detail, and scrutinize the testimony of all the prophets to know the accuracy of the Apostle's statement, and this we may do on some other occasion. Suffice it now that we take the Apostle's word, calling to mind merely the various statements and promises of the Law and Prophets, pointing out these glorious good things for the world of mankind – that are delayed only until the completion of the "Elect" Church. The prophets speak of the restoration of Israel to divine favor, of how their blind eyes shall be opened, that they shall see in every truth that he whom they pierced was the Messiah indeed who gave his life for their ransom. The Apostle clearly points out in Romans, ninth and tenth and eleventh chapters, that not only was the falling away of Israel foretold in the prophets but also their regathering – their restoration to divine favor; but this, he points out to us, will be after the completion of the Gospel Church – Spiritual Israel. Again he declares, that "they shall obtain mercy through your mercy." The glorified Church, with Christ at her head as the great King, is to dispense the mercies of God to the dew first and also to "all the families of the earth."

Let us, dear brethren and sisters, hold fast to the doctrine of Christ as set forth in his own teachings – that he "came to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10); that he beheld mankind as a treasure in a field and bought the whole field that he might develop the treasure. Let us note that the same Gospel is set forth also in all the declarations of the apostles and of "all the holy prophets since the world began." While the doctrine of men would be inclined to lead us away from God – to make us think of the Almighty as unjust and cruel, heartless, loveless and powerless – the doctrines of the Scriptures open the blind eyes and give us to see the King in his beauty – the glorious majesty of the God of Love, the God of Wisdom, the God of Justice, the God of Power. They give us to see, as declared by the Prophet, that "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God's ways higher than man's ways, and God's plans higher than man's plans." From this standpoint of greater enlightenment respecting the divine character, we will have greater desire to serve and to please him, esteeming it a great privilege to lay down our very lives in his service, counting all things as but loss and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ our Lord – that we might know him intimately and be found in him, as his members, and be made sharers in his resurrection – the First Resurrection – to the change of nature, to glory, honor and immortality. Philip. 3:8-11


We appreciate the tender sympathy which leads to the hope that dear friends and relatives and the heathen, who have died out of Christ are "safe in the arms of Jesus." True, they are safe in the care of him who died for all. He will not torture any of his enemies even to all eternity, as once we feared but now find to be unscriptural. But let us see that, while the Scriptures teach that the worst that can befall any of his enemies will be "everlasting destruction" without hope of a future life, there is a grand hope taught for the ignorant – that all such shall be saved from their ignorance and be "brought to an accurate knowledge of the truth that they may be saved" – in God's "due time." (1 Tim. 2:4-6) Let us recognize the truth of the [HG424] Master's words and build a proper faith in accordance with its statement, "He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son shall not see life" – eternal. (John 3:36) God's salvation is by knowledge and not by ignorance – "through faith in the precious blood" and not in ignorance of it – by a resurrection and a Millennial Kingdom in which we are invited to share with our Redeemer as his Bride and joint-heirs to accomplish the uplift of all who will then prove willing and obedient.

Rev. 21:4
Close your eyes a moment To misery and woe, And all earth's degradations Which from sin and sorrow grow.

And let your mental vision Behold a perfect earth Without a stain of sin to mar The things of grander worth.

No bitter thought nor unkind word Will ever find a part, And only love will meet response In every kindred heart.

Benevolence shall mark each act, And sickness be no more. No evidence of dread decay Shall lodge at mortal's door.

Where health and radiant beauty march In unsurpassed array. And inward purity shines forth, As all seek to obey.

And such will be perfection, In a world that's freed from sin, With all earth's tears and sorrow As tho they had not been.

For those we've loved and cherished And laid within the grave, Shall rise as one great army, For Christ died all to save.

So lift your heads, take courage! There'll come an end to sorrow, When Christ as King shall then reign o'er The blest world of tomorrow.