The National Labor Tribune, April 29, 1906


Brockwayville, Pa., April 29 – Pastor C. T. Russell spoke twice here today in the Grand Opera House. His afternoon discourse was his "Cure for Infidelity – To Hell and Back."

His evening discourse was the day of judgment and blessing for the world guaranteed or made possible by the death of Christ. The latter was from the text, "He hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom He hath ordained; whereof He hath given an assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17:31)

Pastor Russell said: The statement of our text, that the resurrection of Jesus is God's assurance to us that the world will have a general judgment, must sound peculiar to the majority of Christian people and others who have so long been taught that the day of judgment is synonymous with the day of doom. For several Sundays past some of you have been keeping in touch with our discourses on the resurrection, as presented in the public press. In these we showed the fact of the resurrection as attested by the apostles, and as foretold and foreshadowed in the Law and the Prophets; and we have shown, too, that the Church participates with Jesus as members of His body in the sufferings of this present time, and that they shall also participate with Him in the glories of the coming age. Today's subject relates to that coming age which our text calls "the day of judgment."

Elsewhere in the Scriptures it is called the day of Christ, His day, etc. (Philip. 1:6; Jer. 23:6)

This is not to be understood as a 24-hour day, but as a day on a larger scale, which the Apostle Peter calls a "day with the Lord," saying, "Brethren be not ignorant of this one thing, that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years." 2 Pet. 3:8

Even from childhood's day we have probably all realized that there was something incongruous in the ordinary conception of the day of judgment which has been handed down through traditions and creeds from the "dark ages" – a 24-hour day, in which we are told Jesus would sit upon the circle of the earth while the earth revolved, and that during that time He would judge the world of mankind respecting their words and thoughts and doings of the present life. When we noticed the time necessary for a single case in an ordinary court of law we wondered that it would be possible for our glorious Redeemer to judge all of the twenty thousand millions of our race in so brief a space of time. The more we look at it the more ridiculous the entire statement grows, until common sense declares that it is totally unreasonable; and then, turning to the Bible, to which we should have looked at first, we find that no such thing is there declared, but on the contrary a thousand-year day for the world's judgment.


The word judge in our text does not mean to render judgment, as in a case already tried and determined; the Greek word is "krino," and signifies to discern, to reach a decision. True, there will be a decision reached in the end of that Millennial age, and that decision will go into execution, too; but the thought of the word "krino" is that of trial rather than of verdict. The ordinary thought among Christian people respecting this [NS330] text is that all the trial takes place in the present life; that none of the trial goes beyond the present life into the Millennial; that a decision is reached as soon as one dies, and that the future could in no sense change or alter that decision. This is wholly a mistake, as every Greek scholar must admit upon examination of this word "krino."

Before going into a Scriptural examination of the question let us turn this over reverently in our minds, agreeably to our Lord's invitation, "Come and let us reason together." (Isa. 1:18)

The world already has passed a trial and received a condemnation. The trial took place in Eden: Adam, our father, was the representative of himself and his race in the trial. He failed, and was sentenced to death, and the whole world, his posterity, are still resting under the incubus of his sentence, "Dying thou shalt die" – you are unworthy of the eternal life which was proffered you at the beginning – your disobedience has proven you unworthy. As we look about us we see that none of the race has improved and reached perfection – rather, on the contrary, the course of the race in general has been downward, and the Scriptural assurance is: "There is none righteous, no not one." [Rom. 3:10]

If then the whole world is already condemned to death – if all were born in sin, shapen in iniquity, and thus from birth have been under the sentence of death, what kind of a judgment further would they need? What more condemnation could they receive from the Lord than that already against them? Surely we are not to suppose that God doubts the wisdom of His own decision, which the Scriptures express so forcefully, and that He will try matters again to see whether or not any mistake was made in His original decision. We cannot so suppose. The Supreme Court of the Universe is infallible; its decision is beyond repeal; its sentence is: "The wages of sin is death." (Rom. 6:23)

For 6,000 years this penalty has been inflicted. There could be no hope of a change upon the part of the great Judge. We see, then, that any thought of a repetition of the original trial and sentence is inconsistent, and hence our text must refer to a new trial.


But on what grounds could the great Supreme Judge of the Universe grant a new trial to Adam and his family? We reply that, since he could not rescind His own just sentence, the only consideration upon which a new trial could be granted would be that the penalty of the original trial should first be met and cancelled. And this is exactly what did take place: "By one man's disobedience sin entered the world, and death as a result of sin – and so death passed upon all men, for all have sinned" – have inherited the sin, are sinners. (Rom. 5:12)

But now Christ has died for the ungodly – has redeemed Adam, and, incidentally, all of his posterity involved in his transgression. Hence the Scriptures assure us that God can be just and yet be the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. Here notice that our text refers right back to our Lord's great transaction, His great redemptive work and how that, after He had died for our sins, God raised Him from the dead. The apostle declares that in so doing, God gave us an assurance of His intention to grant another trial to the race of Adam and that this Jesus who died for Adam and his race is, by divine appointment, the Judge and Mediator through whom all the condemned ones, if they will, may return to the full perfection of harmony with their Creator, and the eternal life which He is pleased to give to all those who are obedient to His laws.


The first judgment was that of one man, the effects of which extended to all of his posterity – all lost, all were condemned, all went into death. The divine standard can never alter – a sinner can never have eternal life, either in heaven or elsewhere; eternal life is a gift of God, and He will give it to none except those who please Him. The divine proposition is, to give to Adam and every member of his race an individual opportunity for returning to harmony with God, and thus to a recovery to all that was lost through the original fall – with added blessings in the case of the Church.

This is the Gospel, the good news – that there is a hope of eternal life through Christ. Over 4,100 years had elapsed before our Redeemer was born, yet in all that time none of Adam's race had escaped from death, and only a few had any knowledge of the divine intention to provide a Savior and Redeemer and ultimately to roll away the curse and bring in blessings through Him. Those few were of the Abrahamic line, the Israelite line. But even to them no promise of eternal life was given, though it was indirectly hinted at, and they were told to hope for it through the Messiah promised. Thus the Scriptures declare that our Lord brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel – it was not brought to light before. (2 Tim. 1:10)

At His birth the angels declared that they were heralds of the Gospel, which would have its fulfilment through the new-born babe, saying, "We bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10, 11


The Apostle declares that these good tidings for our race are the tidings of salvation – not salvation from the [NS331] torture of demons nor from the eternal torment, but salvation from sin and its death penalty. This salvation implied two things:

(1) The sinner must be reformed in heart and begotten again to a newness of life;

(2) The sinner must be raised up out of present death conditions – brought back to the full perfection of life as it was enjoyed before the sentence or curse came upon all mankind. This is salvation in the broadest meaning of the term, and the Apostle declares, which salvation began to be spoken by our Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that there was no offer of salvation, no basis upon which it could be offered, until Christ, as our Redeemer, our Savior, brought life and immortality to light.

Still, nothing that He said and nothing that the apostles said warrant us in believing that this salvation will be attained by any except the willing and obedient. The offer of salvation, indeed, we are assured, is to extend to Adam and every member of his race, but it will be for each one of them to accept or reject its terms. The good tidings of joy shall be unto all people, but it will mean eternal salvation only to those who obey Him – those who obey the great Redeemer, who is also the Teacher, the King and the judge. In harmony with this thought the preaching of the Gospel began with Jesus, and has progressed amongst His followers since.

We perceive, however strange though it be, that the truth has never been popular, that not many believed on the Redeemer Himself, that not many believed on the apostles, that the great growth amongst the followers of Christ came when an admixture of error was added to the gospel truths. And so we find today that, in proportion as the error is combined with the truth, the larger are the numbers and the lower is the Scriptural standard so far as faith and heart-obedience is concerned. We find now, as in our Redeemer's day, that not many great, not many wise, not many learned, not many noble have the Lord's favor, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, to be heirs of the Kingdom.


It is not difficult to prove from the facts as well as from the Scriptures that there is a favor of the Lord at work in the world at the present time – that, as during the Jewish age, the seed of Abraham according to the flesh were specially favored of the Lord, and, as the apostle declared, a "Jew had much advantage every way, chiefly in that to them were committed the oracles of God" (Rom. 3:2); so during this Gospel age, while the middle wall of partition has been broken down between Jew and Gentile, there is still a selection according to favor, as the apostle points out – only a certain class of the world is being dealt with.

The great mass of mankind are not favored with the necessary information and opportunity to come into harmony with the Lord at the present time. I know that some, ignorant of the Scriptures and short-sighted in their view of the conditions of the world, may dispute this, but it will stand examination from both standpoints. Notice how frequently our Lord declares that only some have the ear to hear. This means that only those are called. And He assures us that even amongst the called only a comparatively few will be chosen. The prophet holds forth the same thought, assuring us of a future time coming, when the wilderness shall blossom as arose, namely, the Millennial age, when all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped. (Isa. 35:5)

He thus implies that at the present time many eyes are dosed and many ears are stopped, so that the majority of mankind now see not and hear not, appreciate not, the things which God has revealed at the present time to a special class only – "the called according to His purpose." 2 Tim. 1:9 The apostle also refers to the matter in the same way, only more explicitly, telling us "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Cor. 4:4)

This implies that originally the whole world was blinded, but that by God's grace His message through Jesus and the apostles comes as an eye-salve to some, but not to all. The vast majority, blinded by the adversary, by false doctrines, selfishness, weakness, depravity, superstition, etc., are utterly blind and ignorant respecting the real character of God and of His Son, and the plan of salvation being worked out on their behalf, and the apostle declares "The world knoweth us not, even as it knew Him not." (1 John 3:1)

We are not therefore to say that God has blinded the world, but rather, as the apostle does, that it is the great adversary that has brought this blindness of heart upon mankind, which hinders their knowing, loving and appreciating God's love and offer of salvation.

We question, Why should God provide a great feast of fat things through the sacrifice of His Son, and yet not make provision that all of the poor human family of Adam should hear of it? The very thought seems incongruous. He who loved the whole world so as to give His only begotten Son as their redemption price surely should love them all to such an extent that He would give them all the proper knowledge of that Son – the knowledge necessary to their appreciation of Him, and of His work, and of their privilege of return to harmony with their Creator and to everlasting life. We search the Scriptures to ascertain the secret of this peculiarity, and are there informed that the Lord is now selecting a peculiar people, a cream class as it were, from the world of mankind. The Scriptures inform us that these are [NS332] the called, and that their eyes of understanding open gradually, and thus the apostle prays even for the Church "that the eyes of your understanding being opened, ye may be able to comprehend with all saints the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love of God." (Eph. 3:18)

Only a special class are now granted this eye-salve by the great Physician, and the explanation is satisfactory when we learn that the Lord is choosing from amongst the world a little flock to be joint-heirs with His Son in the Kingdom, a class figuratively called the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, figuratively called the members of His body, figuratively called the Royal Priesthood, under their Redeemer as the Chief Priest and King.


What happens to those whose eyes of understanding open? What blessing comes to them? We answer, A blessing of knowledge and of trial. In proportion to their knowledge they have a responsibility toward God. They are on trial for life or death everlasting. In proportion as they respond to the love and grace of God by obedience to His will and by growth of character likeness to Jesus, in that same proportion do they make their calling and election sure to a place in the Bride company, a place with the King of Glory in His throne, when they shall, as overcomers, have been granted glory, honor and immortality. But notice that only those whose eyes and ears see and hear are on trial – being judged. The remainder of mankind, whom the god of this world hath blinded, are not on trial, are not being judged now. Let us prove this.

First, the whole world is under the original Adamic sentence, and cannot be released from that sentence except by faith in the Son of God as the Redeemer – a faith based upon a reasonable degree of knowledge. Only by the exercise of this faith and obedience do any pass from under the condemnation that came upon all through Adam into the justification which comes to believers through Christ; second, the whole world is still under the Adamic condemnation; as the apostle declares, only believers have escaped it. Should no opportunity be given to the world to come to enlightenment on the subject they could never escape that condemnation – could never be rid of the original sentence of death – could never, therefore, go on trial again.


Some tell us that God is doing all in His power for the world, to bring mankind to a knowledge of the truth, of His grace and the opportunities of eternal life through His Son. We believe no such thing – it is contrary to both reason and Scripture. The Lord through His Word not only informs us that Satan is operating in the world in opposition to the light of truth, and blinding the masses, but we are also assured that God has full power over Satan, and that when His due time shall come Satan will be bound, restrained, that he shall deceive the nations no more until the thousand years are finished – that for the entire thousand years of the Millennial age the world will be free – from all such blinding influences.

The Scriptures also assure us that though now darkness covers the earth, society, and gross darkness the people, yet in God's due time the light of Truth shall mount up high in the heavens as the Sun of Righteousness, to scatter the darkness and clouds of sin and superstition, and that thus from two standpoints a blessing will come by restraining the powers of darkness and by setting free the powers of light, and we are assured that it is at that time, not the present time, that the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep. Isa. 60:2; Mal. 4:2; Isa. 11:9

Those who think of the Lord as having done all that is in His power to cause the knowledge of His grace and truth to fill the earth have a miserably small conception of the power of Jehovah's arm. It is not shortened, as He tells us in due time all His purposes shall be accomplished. (Jer. 51:29)

The difficulty with mankind is in our shortsightedness – we feel that more should be done at the present time. We need to be calm, and to sink into the Lord's will; and instead of attempting to tell the Lord how we think the plan of salvation should be carried out, and instead of attempting to carry out our own plans irrespective of the divine arrangement, we should as obedient children hearken to the voice of our Father through His Son and through the apostles and prophets, assuring us that in His due time the message of salvation will be good tidings of great joy unto all people – assuring us that now He is doing a preparatory work, finding His jewels, those who will constitute the Bride class; and that as soon as this Royal priesthood shall have been developed, as soon as the elect number shall be completed, then He will work through these to the fulfillment of His great and glorious plan, which is not merely for the salvation of the Church, but for the salvation of the world – that whosoever will may take of the water of life freely.


Who do not see then that the judgment or trial of the world in general cannot begin until the eyes of their understanding are opened, and that God will not set into operation the general plan for the opening of all the blind eyes and the unstopping of all the deaf ears until first He shall have chosen the elect, the little flock, [NS333] the Bride, who with their Lord shall constitute the Sun of Righteousness, which will then shine forth for the blessing of the world when Satan shall first have been bound. Now look again at our text: It does not refer particularly to the judgment of the Church, which takes place in advance, and which was already in progress when the Apostle uttered these words. It evidently did not refer to the judgment of the Church as a part of the judgment of the world. On the contrary, He assures us that if we are faithful we shall not come into judgment with the world in the end of this age, but will be counted as the first-born of the Lord's people, a kind of first-fruits of His creatures, "the Church of the First-born." (1 Cor. 11:32; Jas. 1:18) Judgment begins at the house of God. (1 Pet. 4:17)

We must all be tested during the present time, and only the overcomers of the consecrated will eventually attain to the glories, honors and privileges promised. But judgment does not end with the house of God – it will extend to the whole world. If we are glad that by God's grace we are not left under the original sentence of death, but were redeemed and are now being tested, granted a trial to prove whether we love righteousness or sin, in proportion as our eyes open to behold the real distinctions between them – so if we rejoice in our privileges of present trial why should we not also rejoice that God has a great trial day still in the future for the whole world of mankind, and that in due time all of their blind eyes shall be opened and all their deaf ears be unstopped, that they thus under favorable conditions may come to a knowledge of the Truth and to a trial for life or death everlasting. We do rejoice in it more as we see the beauty of this, the divine plan.

Noting our text carefully again, we see that it refers to the entire matter of the world's judgment as future from the Apostle's day; it is still future from our day, though very near at hand. We believe that the great Sun of Righteousness will soon be disclosed, and the shadows of the dark night of sin and superstition and ignorance shall begin to flee away. We can no longer wonder that the Lord, through the prophets, spoke so joyfully of this coming judgment of the world as a great blessing, saying: "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord; for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth; He shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with His truth." Psa. 96:10-13

Whoever gets the right conception of this word judge, "krino," sees clearly that it means that the Lord will give a trial even to the poor and the humble, no matter how degraded, no matter how fallen through sin and superstition and ignorance. The divine plan is so wide and so deep and so broad that every member of Adam's race will have full opportunity of coming to a knowledge of the truth that he may be saved. He cannot be saved in ignorance, he cannot be saved without the eyes of his understanding being opened, and God's arrangement is that they all shall see; that they all shall know Him from the least to the greatest, and that then under the blessing of that knowledge will be their trial.

If after they know the Lord and know of His righteousness and its reward, and of the penalty of sin – if then they choose disobedience wilfully, persistently, intelligently, they will die the Second Death, "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of His power" – in which there will be no hope, from which there will be no resurrection. 2 Thess. 1:9


It is in full agreement with this line of thought and in disagreement with every other thought on this subject that the apostle declares, writing to the Church of this age: "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" (1 Cor. 6:2)

Here he distinctly differentiates between the Church and the world. The saints, he tells us, are being judged now – every son whom the Lord receiveth is being chastened, corrected, proven, that only the faithful may be granted a share in the life resurrection to glory and honor and immortality. But the world, he distinctly tells us, is not on judgment now – not on trial – but will be on trial in the future; and when the world shall be on trial the saints will be the judges.

Having already passed trial themselves and been adjudged worthy of eternal life as the Bride of Christ, the saints will be the judges under Him as the great Judge – the judges of the world during its trial time, during the millennial kingdom reign. The Scriptures distinctly teach that the world's present course will have an influence upon them in their judgment day. They assure us that if any man give even a cup of cold water to one of the elect because they belong to the Lord, he will by no means lose his reward; and that whosoever shall harm one of the least of the Lord's people will correspondingly have a punishment.

In other words, every act of life conscientiously done brings a blessing of strengthening of character and uplifting, while every act contrary to conscience, contrary to one's appreciation of righteousness, as surely brings a penalty by degrading the conscience. In other words, if we represent character by the length of a ladder we see that the whole world is near the foot of it, and that the whole world during the Millennial age, while exercising faith in Christ, must climb to the top of that ladder by obedience to the laws of the kingdom; that to whatever extent a man in the present time violates [NS334] his conscience and degrades it, such conduct will carry him that many rungs the lower on the ladder and give him that many more to climb in the future. Thus in the man's own character the acts of his life are faithfully recorded, and will have to do with his future eternal welfare: "That which a man soweth, that shall he also reap." (Gal. 6:7)

True, the arrangements of the Lord for the time are that the weaknesses and blemishes inherited by mankind through the fall shall be graciously forgiven, and that man shall be helped over such difficulties; but the difficulties which were willfully his and not in any measure attributed to his share in the fall, he must pay for under the stripes and punishments which our Lord mentions, saying: "He that knew the Master's will and did it not shall be punished with many stripes." (Luke 12:47)

Be it noticed that, knowing the Master's will, knowing the right, has to do with the responsibility of the world. We should then rid our minds of the thought that the day of judgment is merely a time for sentencing for wrong doing and the blindnesses of the present life of the world, and should see clearly that, on the contrary, whatever there is in the present life that is of ignorance, of blindness, of superstition, that has come to all through the fall and through the power of the adversary, all this is to be forgiven men, is to be blotted out, if they accept the Lord and His gracious arrangements, just as these ignorances and blemishes are in the present time forgiven the Church, and we who believe are counted as free from all condemnation through our Redeemer's merit and sacrifice.

So the world, when it shall come to a knowledge of the Lord and an acceptance of His arrangement, will be cleared of responsibility for original sin and all the blemishes coming from it, and will be helped by the Lord and the glorified Church out of all these blemishes, according to the promise of His word, that this shall be a time of restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:21

In conclusion, notice the context: The apostle is speaking of the ignorance of the heathen worshiping images, and declares that prior to the advent of Christ God winked at all those things on the part of the heathen, sent them no messages, no Gospel, no offer of eternal life; but now since Christ has bought the world and since in God's plan the sins of the world are to be blotted out, the world is to be given a fresh trial for eternal life; therefore, now it may be preached everywhere that Christ has redeemed the world, and that eternal life is to be had through faith in His blood and through acceptance of His teachings.

Those who can hear now, those who are called now, have the special favor of the invitation to joint-heirship with Christ and to be judges of the world, but eventually all of the world shall have that blessed opportunity of a judgment, a trial for life. God has given an assurance of this, says the apostle, in that he raised Christ from the dead. The lesson is that the resurrection of Christ guarantees an opportunity for eternal life to the whole world in that trial day, the Millennial age, and as seen in our last Sunday's discourse the Church is now on trial in advance, that she, if found faithful, may be associated with her Lord in that millennial glory.

Let us, dear brethren and sisters, who have been favored with this wonderful call, this advance privilege of blessing with Christ, strive the more earnestly to make our calling and election sure. He who has thus favored us in advance of the world, to give us the knowledge of His grace in the present time before the world's day of judgment, is for us and able and willing to make all things work together for our good, for our development in the character likeness of His Son, that we may be His bride and joint-heirs.

The National Labor Tribune, May 6, 1906


Pastor C. T. Russell preached at Carnegie Hall, Allegheny, Sunday, taking as his text the words – "God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace are ye saved); and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Eph. 2:4-7

Continuing our series of investigations in respect to the resurrection of Jesus, let us note today that while the resurrection of the Church and the resurrection of the world are both dependent upon the resurrection of Jesus, there is, nevertheless, a wide difference between these two resurrections, their methods and their results. In both cases the word resurrection signifies a raising or lifting up out of sin-and-death conditions of the present time. The instantaneous resurrection of the Church will be to perfection of life, and the gradual resurrection of the world during the Millennial age, the "judgment resurrection," will similarly result in perfection of life. Yet they will not [NS335] be the same; the world's resurrection will signify the raising of the willing and obedient to perfection of life, human beings, while the Church's resurrection will mean a raising of the willing and obedient to perfection of life, as spirit beings. In the case of the world, the new dispensation – the reign of Messiah's Kingdom for the blessing of all the families of the earth – will bring release from the Adamic death and opportunity for regeneration, for the beginning of a new life through faith in the glorified Lord and through obedience to his instructions, providences and guidance, rewards for well-doing and stripes for misdeeds. Only in proportion to the obedience, however, will be the rise from sin-and-death conditions to the perfect heights of restitution – to the full perfection of human nature and all the rights and privileges lost through Adam and redeemed through Jesus, our sacrifice.

The whole world is spoken of as coming forth unto, or to have, that judgment resurrection – a raising up under the Kingdom system of rewards and punishments. The Scriptures show us that not all of the world will avail themselves of that privilege, and distinctly tell us that those who refuse to make progress under the new conditions will be tolerated no longer than a hundred years. The sinner of that time, a hundred years old – will be cut off – forever cut off in the Second Death. (Isa. 65:20)

But, as the Lord through the Prophet explains, even then he will be dying in childhood, for it will be the privilege of all mankind, by giving obedience to the Kingdom, to live to the full end of that Millennial reign if they will be obedient to its reasonable requirements. Do we ask why they will not then be permitted to live forever obedient to the Kingdom laws?

We answer that the Scriptures represent the Millennial Kingdom to be merely a provisional one, a temporary matter intended to deal with mankind under present imperfect conditions engendered by the fall. It is not the Lord's purpose to have that Kingdom remain indefinitely in control of the world, rewarding well doing and punishing misdeeds. The divine requirement is higher than this. The Lord would inculcate such development of heart and mind as would bring the willing and obedient up to that perfect standard where they would need no further chastisements – where their weaknesses would be entirely effaced by the restitution processes of that Kingdom, and where evil doing in the least degree would be willful, intentional, against light and knowledge and ability, and would merit and have the same divine discipline that came upon father Adam for his disobedience when he was perfect – and the same penalty, death; for the divine law will always be that the wages of sin is death. We have seen that the Second Death, which will come upon the willful evildoers of the Millennial age, will be one without hope, and in that respect different from the Adamic death, under the curse of which all except our first parents were born without their volition and from which they were redeemed without their volition. At the close of the Millennial age we are clearly shown in the Scriptures that Christ and the Church (his Bride and consort in the Kingdom), the members of his body, will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father, that he may be all in all – that the world then renovated, perfected, restored, might thence forth be under direct responsibility to the Father, needing no Mediatorial Kingdom because they will have gained the full perfection in which sin will be utterly renounced. It will be at that time that a searching test will be made, under divine guidance, with a view to proving the entire race perfect. The intimation is that strong delusion will be permitted to test the heart loyalty of each one, and to manifest those who would at heart have any degree of sympathy with pride or self-will or insubordination to the divine arrangement.

This last will be a heart-searching matter, and all found disloyal at heart will be counted as enemies of the divine government and will be destroyed, with Satan and all who are his messengers, servants or sympathizers, in the Second Death – an utter destruction. Then there will be a clean universe, and the crucial test which all will have passed is the guarantee the Lord gives that there will be no more dying, no more crying, no more sighing, no more sin.


From the foregoing it will be seen that the word resurrection in the Greek, anastasis, signifies to raise up again – to lift out of some improper place or condition to a proper place or condition. Our race fell in father Adam from perfection of life into death; the dying, the falling into death, was gradual. Adam was 930 years in dying. Similarly man's resurrection will be gradual, requiring the entire Millennial age, called in the Scriptures "times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:21)

Those living in the world (nine-tenths dead) will not need to go into the tomb, for from the Scriptural standpoint they are already dead – under sentence of death. Their raising up or restitution will begin speedily after the Kingdom shall have been established. "All that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man and shall come forth." (John 5:28,29)

Their coming forth will merely be their awakening, not their resurrection. Their resurrection, their anastasis or raising up, will be a gradual one, and this will be to their advantage in [NS336] that it will permit the development of character inch by inch, step by step, with lessons and schoolings in righteousness and all the graces of the Spirit of God, until by the close of the Millennial age all the willing and obedient will have been fully raised up. The case of the Church is different, and yet there is a similarity'. To see the resemblance we must take the Scriptural standpoint, and recognize that now the Lord is dealing only with those who are begotten of the Spirit – that these alone properly constitute the Church, and that these (figuratively) are said to have begun their resurrection now. The New Testament abundantly substantiates this thought: our Lord refers to believers as already possessing eternal life – "He that hath the Son hath life."

The apostles speak repeatedly of our being risen with Christ and seeking those things which are above. Our text is a clear testimony along this line: it points back to the time when we were dead in sins – to the time when we turned away from sin and abandoned it, and accepting Jesus as our Redeemer took our places figuratively at his side as soldiers of the cross, to fight a good fight against sin. Our text proceeds to show how we passed from death unto life, that it was through being quickened – a word not in general use today, but signifying made alive. The Apostle, however, points out that we are not made alive individually, but with Christ – as members of his body – not actually but reckonedly, by faith. Mark his explanation: he tells us that "we are saved by hope," and again that our life is hid with Christ in God, and that when he who is our life shall appear we shall appear with him in glory." (Rom. 8:24; Col 3:3; l John 3:2)

We have not the life in ourselves, nor in any sense separate and apart from our glorious Lord and Head: we have no standing with the Father except as members of his body, or, under the other figure, members of his Bride.


Proceeding along this same line of thought – showing that the Lord's consecrated followers are now enjoying an incipient resurrection and that it is progressing – the Apostle tells us that as new-born babes we should desire the sincere milk of the Word, that we may grow thereby. (1 Pet. 2:2)

Here the figure is of the resurrection life already begun as a babe in Christ. He exhorts us to grow in grace and in knowledge and in love and all the fruits and graces of the Spirit until we attain to the "full stature of manhood in Christ." [Eph. 4:13]

In another place, referring to this matter, he tells us that we are being gradually transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may prove

(1) the good and

(2) the acceptable and

(3) the perfect will of God. (Rom. 12:2)

He tells us again that as New Creatures in Christ, walking in newness of life, we are to look into the perfect law of liberty as it is held before us in the divine Word, and that we are to be changed from glory to glory as in the image of the Lord – to become daily, hourly, as New Creatures more like our Pattern, our risen Head.


This is the same thought that we find in our text (v. 6), "and hath raised us up with him and made us sit with him in the heavenly places."

What is the Apostle's thought here? Into what heavenlies do these, the Lord's followers reckonedly risen from the dead, enter? We answer that the Apostle is directing our attention to the great lessons taught in Israel's Tabernacle of the wilderness, and later in their Temple – both built under divine instruction to represent great spiritual lessons.

The lesson now pointed out to us is that as the High Priest that typified Jesus killed his sacrifice in the court, representing his full consecration to the Lord, and thus passed under the vail into the first of the Hollies, so we, accepted as his members, as members of the Royal Priesthood – having cast in our lot with him and "become dead with him" – are reckoned as also risen with him, and as having entered into the Holy of the Tabernacle, as being priests of God in the antitypical Tabernacle.

It will be remembered that there were two holy places, separated by the second curtain or vail, the rear one being called the Most Holy, and which represented, the Apostle tells us, heaven itself. We have not entered into the Most Holy, but into the first of these Holies or Heavenlies, the one in which was the golden lamp stand with its seven branches, representing the Church in its oneness and perfection as the divine light bearer. In it also was the table of shewbread, of which only the priests might eat, and the golden altar of incense, at which only the priests could offer the incense acceptable to God. The Apostle pictures the consecrated ones, quickened, risen with Christ, as being together in his company in this Holy – as having fellowship with the Lord in the glorious privileges and blessings and spiritual enjoyments represented by the furnishings of the Holy to which he has referred. We are not abiding there, but as the Apostle said, "seated there."

We are to go no more out – we are to remain under these blessed favorable conditions throughout the remainder of life.


This special class, the consecrated, the quickened, the begotten, the anointed, the risen with Christ seated in the Holy, are separate and distinct from all the remainder of mankind. They were children of [NS337] wrath, even as others, but they are such no longer. They have been begotten again by the holy Spirit – they are "New Creatures" in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor. 5:17)

These have a dual existence. From God's standpoint they are New Creatures, risen with Christ, and rising more and more day by day as their minds become more conformed to the divine likeness, as they become more and more copies of God's dear Son. (Rom. 8:29)

These recognize each other according to the Spirit, as God recognizes them, and, as the Apostle declares, they know each other no longer according to the flesh. The world knows, them not, even as it knew him not. (1 John 3:1)

The world sees nothing of the New Creatures, comprehends nothing of the change by which they are risen with Christ. The world indeed may see, should see, more or less of a change in their outward conduct, in their words, companionship, etc., but the world knows not how to account for this; to it they are still men as others – not risen, not New Creatures, not begotten again of the holy Spirit. The world knows them as men and women as formerly, sees them still in the affairs of life, endeavoring to provide things honest and decent in the sight of all men. It may indeed think that they carry matters to an extreme, that they are too conscientious, or that they give too much time and attention to spiritual and religious matters and may think it strange that they run not with it to the same excess as formerly, and do speak evil of them, as the Apostle declares. (Matt. 5:11)

The world in this case includes not merely the murderers and thieves, not merely Jews and infidels, but indeed a large proportion of Christendom, who though nominally members of the churches, are not really members of the true Church whose names are written in heaven – not begotten again they can not understand spiritual matters. As the Apostle declares, "The natural man (not begotten of the Spirit) receives not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14

In various respects there is a correspondence, then, between the raising up of the world as it will proceed during the Millennial age. Both must have a beginning in knowledge of Christ and in faith and obedience; both must move onward and upward in character development, in the likeness of God, of whose character likeness our Lord Jesus is the perfect example furnished us. But there are differences between these two resurrections: The world's resurrection will affect the mind and body together proportionately. As they make progress in mental attainments they will also be making progress in physical development. As they reach perfection of mind they will also reach perfection of body – restitution. But not so with the Church in this age. The Church's resurrection is merely of the mind, of the will, of the heart, not physical – the outward man perisheth, but the inward man is renewed day by day and progresses. (2 Cor. 4:16)

The new creatures in Christ now risen, now quickened, being raised up in his likeness, going on from grace to grace, from knowledge to knowledge, from glory to glory, we are assured are under a very special divine supervision and protection. "Their angels do always behold (have access to) the face of my Father," "nothing shall by any means injure them (as New Creatures – in their highest interests)." (Matt. 18:10; Luke 10:19)

All things shall work together for good to them because they love God and have been called according to his purpose. No accident in the ordinary sense could befall these: we mean that nothing could befall them outside of divine knowledge, power, supervision. Whatever befalls them is of divine foreknowledge and permission – not a hair of their heads could perish without their Father's notice. All the steps of a righteous man (justified, sanctified in Christ) are ordered of the Lord, and he will direct his paths. Psa. 37:23; Prov. 3:6

We may be sure then that under divine providence sufficiency of time will be granted to each of these to make his calling and election sure – to pass through the change of character likeness from glory to glory, to develop in his heart the fruits and graces of the Spirit, of which love is the principal and all-comprehensive one. This development may be more gradual with some, more speedy with others – those who love the Lord much will be the most zealous, the most energetic, the more quickly transformed, the most active in his service; and, as star differeth from star in glory, so it is with these, as the Apostle explains, and so it will be with them in the consummation of their resurrection, when, in the end of the age, those who fell asleep in Christ will come forth clothed upon with the spiritual body, perfect in its every particular. So it will also be with those who will be alive and remain unto the second presence of the Redeemer – until the second advent of our Lord as King. These living members of his body shall not hinder or go before or take precedence of the members already developed and asleep in Christ waiting for this time, as the Apostle explains – "The dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air." (1 Thess. 4:16,17)

The catching away or meeting shall not be at the same moment, but gradually. As each member shall attain to the character likeness of the Lord and shall have served [NS338] the purposes of the Lord's cause here, he will, so far as human discernment goes, die even as other men: but according to the testimony of the Lord's Word his death will be very different from that of others in that the moment of his dying will be the moment of his change to spirit conditions. Thus each "will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," and thus caught away from earthly conditions to be with the Lord in the heavenly conditions, spiritual conditions, "in the air" conditions.


While every man should act in harmony with some reason or purpose, we find that many in the fallen condition do not do so; but when dealing with divine things we may be sure that there is a reason, a purpose, back of every divine arrangement and proposition. And so in the present case we may confidently look for a particular reason why God is now raising up as a special class a little flock to be members of the body of Christ, otherwise his Bride and joint-heirs. If we ask why this special honor to the few, what object is to be served, our text answers, saying, "that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:7)

God is not now showing the exceeding riches of his grace toward the Church. The world, looking on, sees little but sacrificing, self-denial, abstemiousness, fighting a good fight, warring a good warfare, enduring hardness as good soldiers. The time for showing the divine favor to the elect has not yet come. When it does come we may be sure, as the Scriptures everywhere tell us, that the Church will shine forth all glorious with their Lord. The Apostle speaks of the light afflictions of the present time as unworthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. He exhorts us also to faithfulness, that we may attain the promised glory, honor and immortality. To some who were neglecting the present opportunities for self-sacrifice he wrote that they were living as kings without waiting for the time to come to have association with the other members of the body, and then he adds, "I would to God that ye did reign that we also might reign with you." 1 Cor. 4:8

When the reign of Christ begins all the members of the body, every member of the Bride, all of the elect, will share the glory, share the reigning. In one of our Lord's parables he pictures the Church in the present time as wheat living in the midst of tares, and then tells us that the harvest will come and the separation take place, and that then the wheat gathered to the garner will shine forth as the sun. What a wonderful picture of the glory that will be revealed in us – revealed to the whole world. Speaking of this coming glory one Apostle says, "It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear (our Head, our Lord, our Bridegroom), we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" – "When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." 1 John 3:2; Col 3:4

This glory that is to be revealed in the Church in the future the Apostle calls exceeding riches of God's grace. We have just seen that he has great grace and wonderful provision for the restitution of the world – something better than we ever could have hoped for, much better than the majority of Christian people have ever dreamed of. Yet this grace, provided for the world in its salvation by restitution to the full perfection of all that was lost in Adam, will not compare with the exceeding riches of his grace and loving kindness toward us – the Church, the body, the Bride. The Apostle Peter tells us something along this same line, saying that "God hath given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might become partakers of the divine nature." (2 Pet. 1:4)

O, yes, that crowns it all! The divine nature is far above angelic nature, and the perfection of human nature is still a little lower than the angels. Who could have dreamed of such wonderful glory reserved by the Father for the Christ, head and body, Bridegroom and Bride.


The Millennial age is the next age to come, but we have just seen that in the divine order it will have an end after a thousand years of prosperous work, in which our Lord and his glorified Church, his body, will put down all sin, all insubordination, lifting up all the willing and obedient and destroying all wilful sinners. Then will come a new age beyond, with still different glories and honors and blessings, not yet made known to us in any measure and concerning which therefore we need not speculate. But we have the assurance in our text that not only during the Millennial age will God bestow great honor and blessing upon the Church of which Jesus is the Head, but also in succeeding ages the exceeding riches of God's grace will still be manifest toward God's peculiar people, his little flock, these Jewels which he is now gathering out. Mal. 3:17 No wonder the Apostle exhorts us saying, "He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure." (1 John 3:3)

No wonder he exhorted that we cast aside every weight and every besetting sin, and run with patience the race set before us. (Heb. 12:1)

No wonder he declares that since Jesus is the Head of [NS339] the Church and the Church is his body, therefore the resurrection of Jesus to the plane of glory, honor and immortality is the same resurrection in which all the members of the body of Christ are to share. No wonder he declared that he counted all things but loss and dross that he might win Christ and be found in him – that he might know him and the power of his resurrection, being made conformable unto his death – sacrificial death, the condition of terms upon which we may share in his resurrection. Let us also, dear hearers, resolve that by the grace of God this greatest of all gifts shall not slip from us – that we will hold fast to that which we have already attained, and onward press our way.

>WHAT can it mean? Is it aught to Him,
That the nights are long, and the days are dim?
Can He be touched by the griefs I bear,
Which sadden the heart and whiten the hair?
Around His throne are eternal calms,
And strong, glad music of happy psalms,
And bliss unruffled by any strife.
How can He care for my poor life?

And yet I want Him to care for me,
While I live in this world where the sorrows be;
When the lights die down on the path I take;
When strength is feeble, and friends forsake;
When love and music, that once did bless,
Have left me to silence and loneliness;
And life-song changes to sobbing prayers –
Then my heart cries out for a God who cares.

When shadows hang o'er me the whole day long,
And my spirit is bowed with shame and wrong;
When I am not good, and the deeper shade
Of conscious sin makes my heart afraid;
And the busy world has too much to do
To stay in its course to help me through,
And I long for a Savior – can it be
That the God of the universe cares for me?

Oh, wonderful story of deathless love!
Each child is dear to that Heart above;
He fights for me when I cannot fight;
He comforts me in the gloom of night;
He lifts the burden, for He is strong;
He stills the sigh and awakens the song;
The sorrow that bore me down He bears,
And loves and pardons, because He cares.

Let all who are sad take heart again:
We are not alone in our hours of pain;
Our Father stoops from His throne above,
To soothe and quiet us with His love.
He leaves us not when the storm is high,
And we have safety, for He is nigh.
Can that be trouble, which He doth share?
Oh, rest in peace, for the Lord doth care.

The National Labor Tribune, May 13, 1906


Philadelphia, Pa., May 13 – Pastor C. T. Russell spoke to large audiences twice here today. His afternoon topic was his anti-infidel discourse on "To Hell and Back" – the Bible defended against tradition. The evening discourse was on the resurrection, from the text, "For as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive. But every men in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his presence." 1 Cor. 15:22, 23

This evening we continue the examination of the Scriptural teaching respecting the hope of the resurrection of the dead, built upon the great fact that Christ died for our sins. Numbers of this audience, we know, are following these discourses weekly through the public prints, and those who listened this afternoon to our discourse, "To Hell and Back," will, we trust, also find our subject helpful. We saw this afternoon that the penalty upon our race through Adam's disobedience was not an eternity of torment, but everlasting death, "everlasting destruction." (2 Thess. 1:9)

We saw how God inflicted death as a penalty on account of sin, as it is written, "Thou turnest man to destruction." (Psa. 90:3) [NS340] We saw also how divine mercy had arranged for man's recovery, and so that his experiences with sin and death might work out for him an increase of knowledge, valuable to him through all eternity. We saw that to this end Jesus died for our sins – paid the penalty for Adam and his race, that he and all of his posterity might be saved and get free from that death penalty, in resurrection from the dead. We saw too that God has a plan for the general awakening of the world, for the release of all in the prison-house of death, and that there is an appointed time for this great event, and that meantime "the dead know not anything" (Eccl. 9:5), that their awakening moment will seem to them the very next instant to the one in which they fell asleep in death. We saw that while the death penalty was really a sentence to extinction of being ("The soul that sinneth it shall die"), yet on account of the divine prearrangement of redemption through Christ this has not been reckoned as extinction, obliteration of the being, but merely as a sleep from which in the Millennial morning the whole groaning creation shall awaken to the blessings of the Millennial privileges and opportunities under the reign of the Prince of Light, the Lord of lords and King of kings, to whom every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. (Philip. 2:10, 11)

We saw also this afternoon that during this Gospel age God has been selecting from the world of mankind a "little flock," to be the "Bride," "the Lambs wife" – joint-heirs with Christ in his Kingdom of glory and in the work of blessing, judging and uplifting the world.


This evening from our text we wish to show what the Scriptures reveal respecting the divine order in the resurrection of the dead. It will be noticed that the Apostle specifically declares that all of Adam's race died in him. We know this to be a fact; not a member of the race of Adam has escaped the inheritance of the death penalty. The alternative statement of the text is that "even so in Christ will all be made alive." [1 Cor. 15:22]

We call attention here to the fact that this text does not teach the thought of universal salvation: not all who died in Adam will be made alive – will gain perfect or everlasting life. The Scriptures set forth that Father Adam essayed to be the head, the life-giver to the race, but that he failed to accomplish his purpose by reason of transgression and the divine sentence of death. He did beget children endowed with a spark of life and able to transmit the same to others, but it was only a very weak spark, which flickered but for a few years in each generation, until at the present time the average of human life is thirty-five years. What Adam failed to accomplish God proposes still to accomplish – through Christ. God proposes a regeneration for the world. All mankind were generated once in what we term natural birth, but, as we have seen, this brought no life in its perfection, but merely a spark of life soon to die out. What as a race we need is what the Scriptures declare our Lord Jesus came to give, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" – perfect life, everlasting life, "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (John 10:10; Rom. 6:23)

Christ, therefore, is set forth in the Scriptures as being the Life-Giver provided of God for the race of Adam. He is called the second Adam, in that he takes the place of the first Adam – undertakes to be the Father and Life-Giver to Adam and every member of his race upon condition of their obedience to him. What a grand proposition this is! What a hope for life everlasting it holds out to the race of Adam! Truly our God is a God of mercy, compassion and love. He has done great things for us, whereof we are glad; he has provided a Savior and a great one – able to save to the uttermost all who come unto the Father through him. Heb. 7:25


Our text not only tells us that all who come unto Christ will be made alive, will reach full perfection of life, everlasting life – "He that hath the Son hath life, he that hath not the Son shall not see life" – but it also tells us that these in Christ who will receive everlasting life will not all get it at once, neither will they all be of one order or class, but "every man in his own order." [1 Cor. 15:23]

This is in exact accord with what we have just seen, namely, that God during this Gospel age has proclaimed a special calling for a special class of the human family. The Apostle speaks of it as "our high calling of God in Christ Jesus," and again he calls it "our heavenly calling." (Philip. 3:14; Heb. 3:1)

The Scriptures everywhere speak of this class of present selection as a little flock, especially favored above the remainder of mankind, in that to them is specially granted the hearing ear and the understanding heart. We are particularly told that God at the present time does not desire the entire world to hear and understand respecting his plan, and that therefore he has covered the matter in the Scripture revelation in symbolical, figurative, parabolic language, so that the majority hearing may hear and not understand, seeing may see and not perceive – not be converted and not be healed. This is the Lord's own statement of the matter. (Mark 4:11, 12)

He declares that he is choosing a special class, and that in this manner of withholding some of the truth he is singling out those of the particular class he is now selecting for the Royal Priesthood. [NS341] The Apostle again tells us that the "Elect" of this present age are members of the larger Christ, of which the "Head" is our Lord and Redeemer Jesus, and all the faithful of this age are "members in particular of the body of Christ." (1 Cor. 12:27)

He emphasizes this statement in the same chapter, declaring that in every congregation of the Lord's followers this body picture is preserved, so that the head is represented in their midst by certain members, and that as a whole they are as hands and feet, eyes, ears, etc., for the building up of the body of Christ, which is the Church, until we all come to the full stature of a man in Christ. He tells us that to make this new man, this New Nation, of which the Redeemer is the glorious Head and Lord, God took from the Jewish nation at the time of the first advent all who were Israelites indeed, and is now gathering people of the same general character from every nation, people, kindred and tongue. He tells us that the Lord made of these twain one body, that there should be no schism in the body, no separation, no division, naught but perfect unity amongst those who are in harmony with the Father under the Headship of his Son and under the guidance of his Word and Spirit.


The reference in our text to Christ the First-fruits applies to this whole body of Christ, the Church, whereas some have understood it to refer merely to our Lord Jesus. The Apostle, however, cautions us that this is the "mystery hid from the ages and generations" of the past, but now made known unto the saints, that we should become heirs of the same body – that the Messiah of prophecy would include the body of followers who now accept the Lord's favor and call, under present conditions of self-sacrifice and devotion even unto death. This idea of First-fruits is everywhere maintained throughout the Scriptures, as, for instance, in the statement, "Of his own will begat he us by the Word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures." (Jas. 1:18)

In everything our Lord is chief and has pre-eminence, for, as the Apostle declares, "He is the Head over the Church, which is his body." (Col 1:18)

But according to the analogies of the figure the body and Head must co-operate, are intended to cooperate, must be together in every respect. If the Head is of the first-fruits the body must be of the first-fruits. It is in accord with this that we are told that the Gospel Church will have a special resurrection – the First Resurrection, the chief resurrection to glory, honor and immortality. More than this we are told that the resurrection change which the Church will experience will be one and the same in kind with that which our Lord experienced, "We shall be like him, and see him as he is." (1 John 3:2)

The Apostle even declares that our resurrection is "His resurrection," saying, "What things were gained to me, those I counted loss for Christ. .. that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." (Philip. 3:7-11)

What does the Apostle mean here by saying "attain unto his resurrection," except that Christ's resurrection was specially, peculiarly different from that which would come to the world in general, the chief resurrection to glory, honor and immortality, and that the Apostle, a reckoned member of the body of Christ, trusted to make his calling and election sure to a place in that body, and thus have a share in that same resurrection with our Lord – the First Resurrection? This is the same thought which the Lord presents to us through the Prophet, saying, "Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Shall a nation be born at once? For as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to come forth, saith the Lord? Shall I cause to bring forth and close the womb? saith thy God." (Isa. 66:8)

In other words, shall the Head of the Christ, the great Deliverer, be born from the dead and shall the body not also be born? The assurance of Scriptures is that although an interval of time elapsed between the birth of the Head, Christ Jesus, the first-born from the dead, and the birth of the Church, his body, as a part of his resurrection, nevertheless the latter is surely guaranteed by the former. As surely as the Head was raised up by the Father, so surely he will raise us up also by Jesus. Thus the First Resurrection will be completed – the resurrection of the blessed and holy, the resurrection of those who will be kings and priests unto God and shall reign on the earth, the resurrection of the "first-fruits."


We, dear friends, are specially interested in the First-fruits class, in his resurrection, in the First Resurrection, in the resurrection of "the blessed and holy."

This, however, does not hinder our having a deep interest in the divine plan as it relates to the remainder of our race. Even though we have gotten rid of the gross darkness which once misrepresented the divine plan and taught that all (except the first-fruits) were to be tormented to all eternity. It is not sufficient that we should realize that God's provision for the world in general is not eternal torment, for he has graciously made known to us something respecting the blessing which will come to the world as soon as the Elect, the First-fruits class, the Christ class, the Abraham's seed class, shall be completed. In our text the word "afterward" [NS342] marks off all the remainder of the world who shall come into Christ from this First-fruits class, which now becomes associated with him under the peculiar high calling of this Gospel age. "Afterwards they that are Christ's at his coming" – literally, at his presence. What about these? What is the divine provision for them? Our text says that they shall be made alive. This implies that they are of a separate or distinct order or class from the Christ, the First-fruits, and so the Scriptures everywhere show that those who will be blessed during the Millennial age will not receive a change of nature from earthly to heavenly.

They will not have a heavenly calling. As human beings the entire race lost human nature, for which the earth was prepared as the proper and most suitable abode. It was this human nature then and the earthly paradise that our Lord Jesus redeemed, and that he proposes to restore during the Millennial age to all the willing and obedient of Adam's race who will accept his favor and the eternal life necessary to enjoy these blessings. God's provision for the salvation of mankind in general is by restoring them to the original God-likeness in the flesh possessed by Adam and lost, for him and for all others disobedient, his posterity. In harmony with this the Millennial age is specially called the "times [years] of restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." Acts 3:19-21

From the statement of our text it is evident that the work of this age is kept entirely separate and distinct from the work of the next age. There are not two calls in the world today. It is not open for people to say, I choose the heavenly, or I choose the earthly: for the Apostle declares, "Ye are all called in one hope of your calling." (Eph. 4:4)

That calling is the heavenly calling, as he declares, and those who reject it can have nothing else now whatever God's mercy may provide for them in the future. Besides, our text clearly indicates that this claim of the earthly order to which the great majority of Adam's race will belong, will become Christ's – that is, will come into relationship to Christ during the Millennial age, because it specifically states, "at his coming."

The word here rendered "coming" is parousia, which signifies presence. Our Lord declared that at his second coming he would be present in the world. As we look back to his first presence in the end of the Jewish age, we find that it lasted in all about thirty-three years. But as we look forward to the second presence or second advent of our Lord we find that it will be of much longer duration, for, as the Apostle declares in this very chapter, he comes to reign, and he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet, even the last enemy, death, and he will then deliver up the Kingdom to the Father. And this period of his second presence and work in the world we are specifically told will be a thousand years, for does not our Lord tell us through the Revelator that the saints of this Gospel age, accepted as members of his body, shall live and reign with him a thousand years? Rev. 20:6


We who during this Gospel age become the Lord's people, and are accepted as members of his body, do so during his absence, when the clouds of error and obscurity cause special trials and difficulties and narrowness of the way, and when special faith and special obedience are necessary. Those who are faithful under these conditions are to have the chief reward, joint-heirship in the Kingdom. But there will be another class found worthy of life eternal, though not accepted as joint-heirs or granted the heavenly reward. There are, we believe, millions living today who, under the glorious provisions of the Millennial age with sin and error and deception and falsehood out of the way, and the light of the glory of God shining clearly in the presence of the Lord, will be glad to accept the Savior fully and unreservedly and to consecrate their all to him.

True, their consecration in that time will not mean suffering, sacrificing, dying daily, etc., because the Adversary then will be bound and deceive them no longer, the darkness will be past, the Sun of Righteousness will be shining, the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth, everything about them will be helpful to their uplift, not only in knowledge but in mind, in body, in morals. The day of the Lord's presence will be a glorious time for the world, and it would astonish us greatly if the number who would gladly receive the message of salvation then, under those favorable conditions of obedience, would not be very large indeed.

With our own hearts loyal to the Lord, and willing to follow him and to suffer for righteousness' sake under present adverse conditions, it would seem as though none in the future under these favorable conditions could reject divine mercy and the offer of life eternal: but the Scriptures most unmistakably teach that there will be some who will refuse the grace of God, and who as a consequence will die the Second Death. Since our Lord's presence will last a thousand years, and, as a whole, will be a period of blessing and enlightenment, it will easily be seen that it will not only afford an opportunity for those who have already gone into the tomb to come forth, that they also under favorable conditions may hear of the Lord's plan and participate in the resurrection of that time if they will. Their awakening will be one thing, their uplifting will be another. The awakening will be instantaneous, their uplifting or resurrecting will progress rapidly, step by step, to all the willing and obedient until the [NS343] last rung of the ladder of uplift and restitution shall have been gained and they shall be perfect and entire, lacking nothing. They shall be as Adam was in his perfection in Eden – "in the image and likeness of God." [Gen. 1:27]

Even better than this, they will then have the knowledge which Adam with all his perfection of being lacked: they will have had the experiences proving to them the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the bitterness of its wages of death, and on the other hand the blessedness of righteousness and the joys of its reward, everlasting life in divine favor.


In view of this, the Scriptural presentation of the great work of Christ during the Millennial age in lifting up and blessing the world in general, what a blessing there is in the assurance that we who now are called to be of the elect class will have the inestimable privilege of association with our Redeemer in this great work of uplifting the world, resurrecting the world, raising up the world out of the present sin-and-death conditions to the full perfection of life everlasting in harmony with God. If we are faithful, in a very little while we shall hear the Master's voice at his second advent saying to us, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joys of thy Lord." Matt. 25:21

The joys of our Lord are the joys of the Kingdom and its work of blessing and uplifting the lost race in Adam, condemned to death and redeemed by Jesus and awakened and given an opportunity to obtain life. How wonderful is our privilege, dear brethren and sisters! I exhort those of you who have not yet made your covenant with the Lord to do so forthwith – to count that it is the grandest opportunity that could be imagined. It seems to me that if ever the holy angels could covet any matter it would be the privilege of being in such a position as we occupy to be privileged to suffer with Christ in his glorious service in the promulgation of his Truth and by and by reign with him, to enter his glorious joys and work a blessing to all the families of the earth. Then all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped, and the knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth. All shall hear, all shall know, all shall have an opportunity, and only the willfully disobedient shall be cut off in the Second Death, and all who will may enter into life eternal through the great Life-Giver whose entire work is done in accord with and along the lines of the divine plan of the ages, which God purposed in himself before the world was.

Prev   Next