Pittsburgh Gazette'July 31, 1904


Philadelphia, Pa. -Pastor C T Russell of Allegheny, Pa. addressed a very intelligent and deeply attentive audience here at 3 p. m. today. His topic was "The Victory of Right Over Wrong to Be Accomplished by the Reign of Christ." The speaker will return to Allegheny at once, where he is expected to preach next Sunday at 3 p. m. at Bible House chapel. His discourse in full follows:

We select for our text the words of the apostle Paul when discussing the great work which God has appointed to Christ: "He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet; the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." 1 Cor. 15:25, 26. In the context preceding the apostle assures us of Christ's resurrection, that without it there would be no hope. He assures us that through him God has made possible the resurrection of the whole world; not only an awakening from the tomb, but a full raising up to that which was lost in Adam, to human perfection. There are, however, certain conditions attached, namely, that the individuals of our race, upon being brought to the clear knowledge of God's grace in Christ, shall fully accept the same and come into heart relationship with Christ. The apostle declares that as all in Adam die because partaking of his weaknesses, imperfections, etc., and coming under the sentence of death with him, even so all who shall come into relationship with Christ shall live. Then he declares that there will be different orders or companies of those saved through Christ- "every man in his own order."

We have already found that the scriptures speak of the "little flock," to whom shall be granted an "abundant entrance" into the kingdom and joint heirship with their Lord. We have already pointed out that there will be, in addition to these "a great company" who will reach the spirit plane of being through great tribulation. (Rev. 12:14), and who will be in many respects like unto the angels, though inferior to the little flock, the bride of Christ, who will be like our Lord Himself, "far above angels." We have already pointed out that a third class or order are to be saved during the millennial age, namely, a "restitution" class so many of the world of mankind as will, under favorable opportunities and knowledge of that blessed time, come into harmony with the Lord. The salvation provided for these is a restitution to the things that were lost originally through Adam's disobedience restitution or restoration to human perfection, to Edenic conditions, to harmony and fellowship with God through Christ. These are the orders the apostle refers to, saying that all that come into Christ shall be made alive: every man in his own order. Christ Jesus the Head, and the church the members of His body the first fruits; "afterward they that are Christ's during His presence." Verses 22-23.

Our Lord's second presence (for such is the meaning of the Greek word parousia) will last for a thousand years, the millennial age, during which He will be present and do a work of separating the sheep from the goats, as represented in His parable of Matt. 25, and He will find every true "sheep." To every member of Adam's race, bought with His own precious blood, He will then grant the opportunity of demonstrating whether or not he will be one of the Lord's "sheep," or, reversely, a "goat," a follower of the adversary. The work of separating will be complete with the close of the millennial age, and then the sheep of that time will be rewarded with the earthly kingdom originally given to Adam and lost by disobedience, but redeemed by Jesus for presentation to the faithful sheep of the millennial age. The goat class will be utterly destroyed in the second death, without hope of any recovery, as numerous scriptures show.


The kingdom that will be given to the "sheep" class of the millennial age at its close should not be misunderstood or confused with the kingdom that is to be given to the saints of this gospel age, now shortly, at its close. The dominion conferred upon Father Adam was an earthly one. The Prophet David refers to it saying, "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visitest him? Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands giving him a dominion. Thou hast put all things under his feet; all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field, the foul of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea." (Psa. 8:4-8.) This is the kingdom of earth which was prepared "from the foundation of the world" for man, and which will be given to the worthy and perfect members of the race at the full completion of our Lord's work of restitution at the close of the millennial age, at the close of the "times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets." (Acts 3:19-21.) But the kingdom that is offered to the church during this gospel age is a heavenly kingdom, a spiritual kingdom, of which our Lord declared that no one could enter into it or see it unless they were born of the Spirit. (John 3:3-5.) It is of this kingdom or dominion of the church which we wish specially to speak at this time; it is the reign of this kingdom which is referred to in our text, and which begins its dominion of the world at the beginning of the millennium.

Our text declares, "For he must reign." The matter is not stated in a doubtful or problematical manner it is a positive assurance. God's prearranged plan is that Christ shall reign, not permanently, not forever, but for a thousand years; at the close of that time, as our context shows, the kingdom will be delivered up to God the Father after Christ shall have put down all rule, all authority, all power. The apostle in no sense intimates that this reign has already begun he points us to the future, assuring us that such a reign will begin, will perform the work it is intended to do, and will then have a termination. [HGL228] In this same epistle he refers to the fact that himself and others, earnest and self-sacrificing for the sake of the truth, were suffering hardships, while some believers at Corinth were so indifferent, so careless, so filled with the things of this world, that they found no opportunities for suffering for the truth's sake. Ironically, the apostle suggests that they have begun their reign that it had that appearance in their fullness, in their self-satisfied complacency and in their prosperity in the worldly way, "Ye have reigned as kings without us." Then leaving the ironical strain and coming down to the matter of fact, he declares, "I would to God that ye did reign for, the, we also (instead of suffering stripes and imprisonments, evil speakings, etc.) would reign with you." (1 Cor. 4:8.) In a word, the reign of Christ means also the reign of the church, which is to sit with him in his throne. So long, then, as the Lord's faithful people are not reigning, we may be sure that the reign of Christ has not commenced. Indeed, if we believe his kingdom already established, already in power, we should no longer pray "Thy kingdom come," and it would be improper for us to exhort one another to seek the kingdom and to apply to one another the assurances of the apostle that if we suffer with the Lord now we shall reign with him hereafter in the kingdom. Suffering for righteousness has not yet been installed in power the surest evidence that sin and death are still reigning in the world.

Our Lord desired His followers to appreciate the fact that tribulations in this present time must be their experiences, in order to develop in them the character necessary to His service in the kingdom; and he explained through the apostle that, "Through much tribulation shall ye enter the kingdom." (Acts 14:22) And so it was that in the same prayer in which he taught us to look forward to the kingdom as the end of our tribulation and the beginning of the glorious consummation of all the divine promises, he instructed us also to pray, "Abandon us not in temptation, but deliver us from the evil one," as indicating that until the kingdom should come the evil one would not be bound, but would still have power to oppose and persecute all who seek to follow faithfully in the footsteps of Jesus. One of the very first acts of the kingdom, as the Lord delineates the matter, will be the binding of Satan, "That he shall deceive the nations no more" that he shall no longer oppose the truth that the darkness of error might give place to the true light, which will then shine throughout the whole world for the blessing and enlightenment of every creature.


If, then, we concede the apostle's teaching namely, that God has predestinated that He will have a kingdom; that He promised that this should come through the seed of Abraham; that Christ Jesus, as the seed of Abraham, has already laid the foundation for the future work of the kingdom by redeeming mankind; and that, during this gospel age, the Lord is taking out from amongst the nations of the world "a peculiar people" to be associated with Jesus in the kingdom work then we see the confidence of the apostle in his declaration, "He must reign." There can be no doubt about it that after God has spent six thousand years in making ready for the kingdom, after he has laid the foundation in the gift of His son and His sacrifice unto death, and in the call of the church to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, to take up their crosses and follow Him after all this, God will not surely turn back from His purpose. He will carry forward His work and all the power of heaven will be at the disposal of Him who has redeemed the world when He begins His great work of reigning for the very purpose of blessing and uplifting those whom He bought with His precious blood. "He must reign."

Conceding, then, that the apostles were looking forward in their day to the second coming of Christ and to the work which he would accomplish at the second presence conceding that our Lord's parables and teachings taught the same things, and declare that He had gone into a far country, even heaven itself, to receive a kingdom to be invested with the power and authority and to come again and to receive his faithful ones, to Himself and to appoint some to greater and some to lesser stations of honor in His kingdom. (Matt. 25:14; Mark 13:34) conceding that everything of this kind has taken place, yet conceding that there are no evidences of a reign of righteousness at the present time, but, on the contrary, everything corroborates the testimony of the Scriptures and bids us look forward for the rising of the sun of righteousness, with healing in his beams; conceding all this and taking the positive ground that the reign is sure to come that "He must reign," let us note with interest and care what the apostle points out to be the object of Christ's reign.

He says "He must reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet." The expression "under His feet" is figurative, of course, just as when the apostle, speaking of the same great matter but referring to the church's share in the kingdom and its work, says, "The very God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." (Rom. 16:20.) The expression "under your feet" signifies to bring under control in the most absolute sense into subjection.


To put "under His feet" is a very different expression from another sometimes used in the scriptures, namely, to "bring to his feet," as in the declaration, "Unto Him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess." These are separate and distinct thoughts. All who love righteousness and hate iniquity will be brought to the feet of Jesus in willing and glad submission to His reign of righteousness, love, justice and equity; while all of the reverse disposition, who, under the grand instructions and disciplines of that time, fail to correct their sentiments all who continue to encourage themselves in selfishness, pride, sin or any form of opposition to the Lord and the principles of righteousness, justice, meekness, purity, truth all such, with the evils with which they sympathize, shall be crushed, utterly destroyed. The stamping out of everything that is in enmity or opposition to the Lord and to the principles of righteousness, which his government represents, will mean the great blessing of the whole world with the purity and truth and equity for which all who have the Lord's spirit earnestly long and hope, according to His promise.

It may occur to some that a thousand years is a long time to appropriate to the stamping out of evil. Some may indeed say, Why, even humanity, if fully aroused to the subject could stamp out sin in a few years if not in a few [HGL229] months why require one thousand years for the work when it will be backed by omnipotent power and wisdom? We answer in the language of the Lord through the prophet, "My ways are not as your ways, neither My plans as your plans; for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My designs and My methods higher than your methods." It is one thing to put mankind under restraints in respect to sin, and another thing entirely to root out of the hearts of mankind all sympathy or love for sin, and to eliminate all the weaknesses which have come to mankind through the fall and which tend to make him gravitate toward sin as soon as opportunities are favorable and to teach him love for righteousness and its divine rewards. The Lord's ways are so high, so grand His designs, that He purposes the full elimination of every weakness and imperfection, mental moral and physical, not only from the material world, but also from the hearts of those who will become fully His, and who under those disciplines will become prepared for the everlasting life and perfection promised to the obedient.


We are to give this word "enemies" full force if we would appreciate the promise; we are to know that man in his ignorance and superstition is styled in the scriptures and "enemy through wicked works," an enemy of God and of righteousness, an enemy of the truth. But many who are thus enemies of God are so only because of ignorance, blindness, weakness. Many, if they knew better, if they understood the divine character and plan, would be friends of God and would appreciate him as their best and truest friend; but the fall has blunted their sensibilities in a considerable degree, and false doctrines have aided in the matter by misrepresentations of the divine character and plan. The apostle charges this, not to the men who have prepared the false doctrines and misleading creeds, but to Satan, the great deceiver, the first great enemy of God and of righteousness, who now works in the hearts of the disobedient and leads them captive at his will and uses them often in high places, even in the pulpits, to propagate the error, to becloud the truth, to blind those who are "feeling after God if haply they might find Him." 2 Cor. 4:4; Acts 17:27.

The "enemies" to be destroyed are wrong and persistent, intentional, wrong-doers, sin and willful, deliberate sinners. The kingdom of Christ, the "reign" of righteousness will demonstrate to the world the blessings and rewards of righteousness and the bitterness and penalty of sin; it will thus test the heart desires of all, and end with the "everlasting destruction" of all willful sinners and thus of all sin. Mark well that none of these "enemies" are to be everlastingly preserved all are to be destroyed. This is the unanimous testimony of the scriptures except in a few misunderstood "parables and dark sayings," fully explained in the "Hell pamphlet" offered free to all who will send me a postal card request to Allegheny, Pa.

The apostle declares, in our text, "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." He refers to the Adamic death, or, what some people improperly term, natural death. He does not refer to the second death, which shall never be destroyed and which is not an enemy, Adamic death, the death which has passed upon the whole human family, is an enemy, and everybody of common sense realizes the truth of this statement, no matter to what extent erroneous theology has endeavored to teach that death is God's Angel or messenger. Our hearts and our common sense, join in refusing to accept this statement as the truth. As death working through sickness strikes down our dear ones, we feel that it is an "enemy," and as it eventually thrusts the darts still deeper and our dear ones die, our very instincts tell us that the power which thus has operated to our injury and to the cutting off of our dear ones from life is not a friend but and "enemy," as the apostle declares. But much more important to us is the fact that God calls Adamic death an enemy.


This enemy, as we have previously seen, secured dominion over us by divine permission because of sin. Had sin not contaminated our race, death, which is the wages of sin, would never have been inflicted. But if God inflicted the death penalty, why should the scriptures denominate it an enemy? Is the servant or minister of divine justice God's enemy? How so? We answer, because it has stricken down and thrust into the great prison-house, the tomb, millions that if they now had a full opportunity of knowing the right and the wrong, the truth and the error, and if they had a full and fair opportunity of choosing between sin and its penalty, death, the righteousness and its reward, life, would be glad to choose the latter. God foresaw this and has provided the great Redeemer, who has given his life as a ransom-sacrifice for the world. His sacrifice "bought" the world, settled the claims of justice, and authorizes Him as the great Mediator to take possession of the world of mankind and to release them from the bonds of death and bring them up to full perfection and life. Sin and death now stand in the way of impediments to the great work of "restitution," as enemies or opponents to the great work which the great King has undertaken.

The apostle's declaration shows that sin, evil of every form, will be promptly suppressed, but that death will to some extent hold its sway for a long time and be "the last enemy" to be removed. We can readily see why this will be so. The laws of the kingdom will be enforced promptly, punishing sin and rewarding righteousness throughout the millennial age, and this, together with the binding of Satan and the letting loose of all the influence for righteousness and truth, enlightenment, etc., will very soon, more and more, crush out not only active sin but passive sin sympathy with sin. And in proportion as these are overcome, mankind will be rising higher and higher, mentally, morally and physically; more and more getting out from under the power, the influence, the weakness of the dying condition more and more be attaining unto life. But the attainment of life in its full perfection will be at the close of the millennial age, and hence death will continue to have some measure of hold upon mankind until that time.


Father Adam in his original condition, sinless and in harmony with God, was perfect and free in every sense of the word from the power and dominion of death; but [HGL230] the moment he transgressed and came under the sentence of death, "dying thou shalt die," he was no longer in life but in death. He sank lower and lower into death conditions until finally he expired was dead. Similarly the lifting up from death conditions during the millennial age will be a gradual work. First will come the awakening from the sleep of death; but the awakened ones will still be in death, they will not be fully alive, they will still have the weakness and imperfections which are a part of death. Gradually as they will yield to the terms and conditions of the millennial kingdom, these weaknesses and imperfections will pass away, and to that extent death will be in process of being "swallowed up by life" in them; but it will not be entirely swallowed up, not entirely eliminated, until the close of the millennium.

Many, through a misunderstanding on this point, have supposed that Rev. 20:5 implies that all except the saints remain in death during the thousand years of Christ's reign. The passage in question reads, "The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished." As a matter of fact this clause is not in the oldest Greek manuscript of the New Testament. But, treating it as authentic, reliable, the word of our Lord, it is in every sense of the word in full harmony with the foregoing. Indeed, it is just a terse expression of what we have been presenting, namely, that although during the reign of Christ, for the blessing of the whole world, mankind will be rising more and more from the depths and degradation of sin and of death, yet not until the close of the millennial age will they have been fully delivered from the weaknesses and imperfections which are elements of death not until then will they really "live again" in the sense that man lived before he came under the sentence of death. The living of the present time the Lord reckons as so much of death, saying to one of His followers: "Let the dead bury their dead, go thou and preach the gospel."

From this standpoint the entire millennial age will be for the purpose of destroying the reign of the twin evils which the apostle personifies as "the reign of sin and death," which has lasted for now 6,000 years, causing "the whole creation to groan and travail in pain" waiting for this great deliverance at the revealing of the sons of God in kingdom Power and glory. (Rom. 8:19-22.) In verses following our text (54-55) the apostle looks down in the future and rejoices by faith that Christ's death has paid man's penalty, and, therefore, in due time death will be swallowed up in victory. To us who believe it is possible even now to speak of those coming and sure blessings as though already accomplished. Yea, we may even by faith speak of ourselves as possessing everlasting life, resurrection life.


When, under the blessed influences of the millennial kingdom, the whole world shall have been blessed and restored, a great sifting work will come. The heavenly Father will test the work of Christ's millennial kingdom, will test the absolute loyalty of every member of the human family. The nature of the test is not clearly explained, but the fact is most positively stated. When the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed for a little season to tempt, to test all that dwell on the face of the whole earth; all of whom, "as the sand of the sea," at that time will have a full knowledge of the Lord and will have attained to the full perfection of their beings by the restitution processes. They will all be tested to see whether or not their hearts are fully loyal, or whether they still retain a love for sin in any form or degree. The test will manifest all who might at that time in the future, if they have the opportunity, yield to sin, and they will be destroyed in the second death; while all of the "sheep" class, having come into heart obedience to the principles of righteousness, will be ushered into the everlasting life conditions which Father Adam originally enjoyed and lost, and to which these will be restored through the sacrifice and kingdom of Christ.

We have treated our text from the apostle's standpoint, and perceive that it, in accord with the entire scriptures, points us to the second coming of Christ and the glorious kingdom which He will then establish as the hope of the whole world of mankind. In that kingdom all the families of the earth shall be blessed through the great seed of Abraham, Christ Head and body. "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29.)


In conclusion, we wish to call the attention of the Lord's consecrated ones to a certain sense in which they have already come into the kingdom of Christ, as the apostle expresses the matter. "He has translated us not of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son." (Col. 1:13.) In the sense that we recognize the Lord Jesus as the anointed of the Father, in that sense and to that degree we recognize Him as our Head, our Lord, our King, and to that degree we render Him our worship, our reverence, our obedience, and to that degree we seek to bring our thoughts and words and conduct into harmony with the principles of righteousness enunciated by our dear Redeemer and King. His reign in our hearts is a reign of love and not a reign of force. To us He says; "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." This voluntary submission to the Lord on our part, this voluntary acknowledgment of Him as our King, this voluntary seeking to know what His will is and then seeking to do that will, are wholly different from His reign over the world in the future. He will no longer say, If ye love Me keep My commandments, but, on the contrary "He will lay righteousness to the line, judgment to the plummet." The law will go forth from Jerusalem, the earthly citadel and its earthly representatives of the heavenly kingdom, and the word of the Lord from Mt. Zion, the spiritual kingdom, whose messages and directions through its earthly representatives will constitute the law of the world. (Isa. 28:17; Isa. 2:3.) Obedience to those laws will receive recompense, blessing the reward of a measure of restitution; and every disobedience to those laws will receive "stripes," chastisements.

While the ultimate rewards of those who now accept the favor heartily and walk in the footsteps of the Master will be higher every way than the rewards of those who will receive the divine blessing during the millennium spiritual rewards, glories, honors, instead of earthly ones this should not lead us to glory in ourselves, but rather, as the [HGL231] apostle suggests- "Who hath made us to differ," "by grace are ye saved." It is of the Lord's favor that the eyes have been opened to see not only more distinctly than the heathens do, but also more accurately than the majority in the civilized lands see the divine character and plan set forth in the divine word. Since, in the Lord's providence, this knowledge has come to us now, we do well to use it and to attain to the glories and honors and privileges and blessings to which we are called. On behalf of our friends who cannot now see, let us rejoice that the glorious promise of God's word is that by and by all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears unstopped. We cannot even then hope that all who hear will gladly enjoy and promptly obey it, but we can hope that a very large number will be thus affected favorably, as we would be under such conditions, and we can trust in the divine wisdom which has formed the great and wonderful plan, and which assures us that every creature shall yet have a blessing through that plan and a glorious opportunity for life eternal. The more we see of our heavenly Father's greatness, goodness, mercy, love, the more surely our hearts are constrained to obedience- "We love Him because He first loved us."

Let us sustain our hearts, let us support our hopes with the glorious testimonies of the Lord's word, and among these let us hereafter reckon the words of our text, "He (Christ) must reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet (brought them all into subjection.) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." With such a realization of what must be the end of sin and death and of everything sympathetic and affiliated with them, we will find our hearts more and more opposed to sin and desirous of being on the Lord's side, on the side of righteousness and truth. The reign of sin and death under "the prince of the world," Satan, will not last much longer; the reign of righteousness unto life everlasting is soon to begin under the headship of the Prince of life, our Lord, who has promised His faithful followers of this age a share in the glorious blessings and opportunities and privileges of that kingdom.

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