Monday, December 18, 2017

Isaiah 59:1 – God’s Hand Is Not Short

Behold, the hand of Jehovah is not shortened, that it can not save; neither his ear heavy, that it can not hear. — Isaiah 59:1, Restoration Light Improved Version.

(1) 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. Jehovah through His Word informs us that Satan is operating in the world in opposition to the light of truth and blinding the masses. We are also assured that God has full power over Satan. When His due time comes Satan will be bound, restrained, so that he will not deceive the nations until the thousand years are finished. During that thousand years of the Millennial Age the world will be free from all such blinding influences. (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9; 20:1-3; Isaiah 29:18,24) The Scriptures tell us that darkness now covers the earth, society, and gross darkness the people. Yet in God’s due time the light of Truth will mount up high in the heavens as the Sun of Righteousness. It will scatter the darkness and clouds of sin and superstition. Thus from two standpoints a blessing will come by restraining the powers of darkness and by setting free the powers of light. Of that time we are further assured that the knowledge of Jehovah will fill the whole earth as the waters cover the sea. — Isaiah 60:2; Malachi 4:2; Isaiah 11:9.

(2) Those who think of God as having done all that is in His power to cause the knowledge of His grace and truth to fill the earth have not yet come to know the power of Jehovah’s hand. It is not shortened, as he tells us in due time all His purposes will be accomplished. (Jeremiah 51:29) The difficulty with mankind is in shortsightedness — the feeling that more should be done now. We need to be calm, and to sink into Jehovah’s will. We should not tell Jehovah how we think his plan for the glorification of his name and the salvation of man should be carried out. We should not try to carry out our own plans irrespective of the divine arrangement. We should, as obedient children, listen to the voice of our Father through His Son and through the apostles and prophets. These assure us that in His due time the message of salvation will be good tidings of great joy to all people. They also assure us that now He is doing a preparatory work of finding and developing His jewels, those who will be the judges and governors of that coming age of glory. (Malachi 3:17; Luke 19:15-19; Isaiah 32:1; 1 Corinthians 6:2) Mankind must completely learn the lessons pertaining to the rulership of sin and death. Then Jehovah will work through his chosen servants of this age to the fulfillment of His great and glorious plan, not merely for the salvation of those called in this age, but for the salvation of the whole world — that whosoever will may take of the water of life freely. — 1 Timothy 4:10; John 4:42; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 22:17.

(3) Thus Paul spoke concerning that time saying: “He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom He has ordained. Of this he has given a guarantee to all, in that He has raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31) This verse does not refer to the judgment of the saints of this age. Their judgment takes place in advance, and was already in progress when the apostle uttered these words. On the contrary, we are assured that faithful saints will not come into judgment with the world in the end of this age, but will be counted, not as “children of wrath,” but as “children of the day,” “children of God by faith.” — Ephesians 2:3; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 1:10.

(4) It is in full agreement with this line of thought and in disagreement with every other thought on this subject that the apostle declares: “Do you not know that the saints [dedicated ones] will judge the world?” (1 Corinthians 6:2) Here he distinctly differentiates between the Church [called-out ones] and the world. The saints, he tells us, are being judged now. Every son whom Jehovah receives is disciplined, corrected, and proven. (Hebrews 12:6) All do not receive the same reward. There are various stations and rewards to be given to the saints according to Gods choosing. (Luke 19:17,19) The world, he distinctly tells us, is not on judgment now — not on trial — but will be on trial in the future. When the world will be on trial the saints [dedicated ones] will be the judges. (Hebrews 12:6,7; 1 Corinthians 11:32) Having already passed trial themselves, the saints will be the judges under the Messiah as the great Judge. (John 5:22; 12:47,48) They will be judges of the world during its trial time, during the millennial kingdom reign. — Revelation 20:4; Isaiah 32:1.

(5) We should rid our minds of the thought that the day of judgment is merely a time for sentencing for past wrong doing. We should see clearly that, on the contrary, sin in the present life is of ignorance, of blindness, of superstition. These have come to all through the fall and through the power of the adversary. (Romans 5:18; 2 Corinthians 4:40) All this is to be forgiven men during the Millennial rule, if they accept Jehovah and His gracious arrangements through His Son, Jesus, just as these ignorances and blemishes are now forgiven the disciples of Jesus. (Jeremiah 31:34; Isaiah 2:4; 26:9; 29:24) If we believe in Jesus we can even now be counted as free from all condemnation though our Redeemer’s merit and sacrifice. (Colossians 1:13,14; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 8:1) Even so, the people blinded of this world, when they come to a knowledge of Jehovah and an appreciation of His arrangement during the 1,000 years of the Christ’s reign, will be cleared of responsibility for original sin and all the blemishes coming from it. They will be helped by Jehovah and the glorified Church out of all these blemishes, according to the promise of His word, that this will be a time of restoration of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. — Acts 3:21.

(6) No, Jehovah’s hand has not been shortened. All his good words concerning the world’s enlightenment will come true!

Friday, December 15, 2017

God’s Hidden Glory Revealed!

And the glory of Jehovah shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of Jehovah has spoken. – Isaiah 40:5, Green’s Literal Translation.

The scripture quoted above tells us all humanity, all flesh will someday see the glory of Jehovah. We should not understand this to mean that all flesh will be able to see the actual being of Jehovah, but rather as Habakkuk 2:4 tells us, it is referring to "the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah." By saying “all flesh” the prophecy refers to more than just a few of humanity as so many might think. Today only a few who are walking in the path of light even get a glimpse of God’s glory.  — Matthew 7:14; 20:16; Hebrews 11:13.

The Bible tells us of a future time that a new heavens and new earth will take the place of the present order of things, of which Satan is declared to be the prince, ruling secretly and unrecognized by his subjects.  — 2 Peter 3:7,13; John 12:31; Revelation 12:9.

The general tendency of the carnal mind, however, would limit any favor from Jehovah to only a few, often of a certain sect or religious group. It is Satan who desires us to present a distortion of Jehovah’s love, justice, wisdom and power. (2 Thessalonians 2:9) If it were not for the blinding influence of Satan, we believe that most could grasp the full meaning of the divine assurance that Jesus Christ tasted death for every man.  (2 Corinthians 4:4; Hebrews 2:9) They would be able to understand that God’s provision is for a day of judgment for the whole world, every member of the race, aside from the Church, which has its judgment during the present age. (Acts 17:31; 1 Peter 4:17) Without Satan’s blinding forces, they would be able to understand that a resurrection has been provided not only for the just, but also for the unjust. (Acts 25:15) They could further understand that all that are in their graves will hear the voice of God and will come forth, the few to the life resurrection, but the great mass to the resurrection of judgment, of testing, of trial for life or death eternal, in that day when the glory of Jehovah is to be revealed and all flesh will see it together. — John 5:28,29.

In that day Jesus will indeed be the true light that will enlighten every man. (John 1:19) In that day, Jesus as Immanuel will cause God's Kingdom to be under the whole heavens. This, we believe, will take place in that thousand-year day in which the Son of man will come in the glory of the Father and sit upon the throne of his glory. At that time he will gather all nations before him, and judge the living and the dead according to the things that are written in the books then opened to the world, according to his own words in which he instructed that love is the fulfilling of the law love to God and love to our neighbor. — Revelation 20:4; Isaiah 29:18; Matthew 25:31-32; 22:37-40.

This same rule of love will judge mankind during the Millennial Kingdom and will test each member of Adam’s race, in order to identify each person, including all those who are now dead or dying in Adam, either as a sheep or as a goat, in the favor or disfavor of the Judge. — John 5:28,29; 12:47,48; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22.

At the conclusion that judgment day, the sheep, having been thoroughly tested, will be rewarded with the gift of life everlasting; while the goats, having been given a full opportunity to repent and accept Jesus, will be rewarded with the penalty of divine disfavor — everlasting destruction from which there will be no recovery, since there is not to be another sacrifice for sin. — Acts 3:32; Matthew 25:46; Hebrews 10:26.

In conclusion, those who now hear and understand these things will more and more allow their hearts to feast upon the good things of their Heavenly Father’s Word, which reveals to them the glorious attributes of his divine character. For in proportion as they come to know him and to appreciate him, they will have the riches of his favor in their hearts, and the power of God working in them more and more to will and to do his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12,13) They have a God greater and nobler than mere humans, more just, more loving, more tender as well as more wise and more powerful. — Job 36:26;37:32.

And how few indeed today know their Creator in such a wondrous light! The great majority of those in the popular churches, like many religious people in Jesus’ day, are blinded and confused by the errors of traditional religious teachings. (Mark 7:6,7) They are striving unsuccessfully to worship a God inferior to themselves in justice, love, and wisdom. Let those true children of God, who have ears to hear, more and more cherish the various assurances of his Word regarding the coming revelation of his glory, that they may become more patient themselves in respect to the matter, and feel more content to be sharers for the time in the blasphemous reproaches and misrepresentations which come to them in connection with their endeavors to show forth the praises of him who has called them out of darkness into his marvelous light, for now the world does not know them, even as it does not know the Son of God. — 1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 3:1.

Nevertheless, the day is coming that the glory of Jehovah will be revealed and all flesh will see it together. Then the faithful sons of God will be participators with Christ in his glory for their glory will also be revealed. (Romans 8:19; 2 Thessalonians 1:10) Additionally, they will be glad also with exceeding joy of showing forth to others the glorious qualities of our Heavenly Father. — 1 Peter 4:13.


Jesus is able “to save them to the uttermost that come to God through him” (Hebrews 7:25), and He lovingly invites us, “Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” “he who comes to me I will in no way cast out.” (Matthew 11:28; John 6:37) Since our days in this world are few and uncertain, those with a hearing ear should not delay in accepting God’s great love-gift. — Matthew 13:9; Psalm 90:3-12; James 4:14; 2 Corinthians 9:15.

Some related studies:



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2 Thessalonians 1:4-10 – Eternal Destruction – When?


 By Ronald R. Day, Senior

2 Thessalonians 1:4-10:
2 Thessalonians 1:4 so as for us to boast ourselves in you in the assemblies of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions, and the afflictions which you endure,
2 Thessalonians 1:5 a clear token of the just judgment of God, for you to be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you indeed suffer;
2 Thessalonians 1:6 since it is a just thing with God to pay back tribulation to the ones troubling you,
2 Thessalonians 1:7 and to give you, those being afflicted, relief with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from Heaven with angels of His power,
2 Thessalonians 1:8 in flaming fire giving full vengeance to those not knowing God, and to those not obeying the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 Thessalonians 1:9 who will pay the penalty: everlasting destruction from the face of the Lord, “and from the glory of His strength,” when He comes to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all those who believe in that Day, because our testimony to you was believed. — J.P. Green’s Literal Translation

These verses, especially 2 Thessalonians 1:8,9, are often quoted by those who believe that God will eternally destroy millions of people before the blessings of the day of judgment (see our study: Mankind’s Course to the Day of Judgment); associated with this claim is the claim that many who have never been justified will die eternally without receiving any benefit from the ransom. (See the study: The Restoration of All Things) The thought usually alleged is that in the Armageddon battle, God will eternally destroy those unjustified of the world who do not know him. (See our study: Will Billions Be Eternally Destroyed in the Battle of Armageddon?) Often this is associated with the non-acceptance of a certain doctrine, or a religious organization. The scriptures above are offered as proof that many who have not believed in this age suffer the punishment of eternal destruction. Is this, however, what Paul is speaking of?

To make 2 Thessalonians 1:8,9 mean that millions will be eternally destroyed without having received the benefit of the ransom sacrifice, the verses have to be taken out of context and misapplied to the generation living at the end of the age rather than to those who persecuted the Christians in the first century. However, in the context 2 Thessalonians 1:8, Paul is speaking about those who were persecuting the Christians in the first century. He speaks of their patience under persecution, and how their patience offers a sign of the righteous judgment of God toward them, that they be found worthy of the kingdom, for which they were patiently suffering persecution. Then Paul speaks of God’s right to repay affliction to those who had been afflicting them, and that there would be such when the Lord Jesus is revealed. When the Lord Jesus is revealed is speaking of the same time when the “the sons of God” are likewise revealed (Romans 8:19), for which revealing the groaning creation is unknowingly in expectation. Such revealing cannot take place until Satan is abyssed, so that the world will no longer be blinded by his deceptions. (Revelation 20:3) The result of the revealing of the Sons of God is for the purpose that “that the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.” — Romans 8:19-22.

2 Thessalonians 1:6
eiper dikaion para thew antapodounai
IF EVEN RIGHTEOUS (THING) BESIDE GOD TO GIVE BACK INSTEAD
1487_3 1342 3844 2316 0467
tois thlibousin humas thlipsin
TO THE (ONES) MAKING TRIBULATION FOR YOU TRIBULATION
3588 2346 4771_7 2347
Westcott & Hort Interlinear

While it is righteous on God’s part to seek retribution on those making tribulation for those first century Christians, God was not at that time doing so. In a general way there was a retribution upon the Jews who persecuted the Christians, especially with the destruction of Jerusalem and Masada, but this retribution was not particularly because of the Jew’s persecution of Christians, and did not include others who were not Jews, but who persecuted the Christians in Thessalonica. What Paul is saying is that God would have been just had he brought retribution upon those who were persecuting them, but he doesn’t, for some reason.

Peter, in effect, speaks of the same thing, when he said:

2 Peter 2:9 – [Jehovah] knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment to the day of judgment.

The unrighteous are kept under the punishment in Adam until the day of judgment, when they will be judged in the last day (John 12:47,48), not according to Adam’s sin, but according to how they respond to the books that are opened in that “last day”, the day of judgment. — See my study: Unbelievers Saved (Delivered) for Judgment in Last Day

After speaking of the fact God would have also been righteous to have brought retribution upon those who persecuted those first century Christians, then Paul speaks of the time coming when those who had persecuted them will be judged individually, at the time when Jesus will be revealed, made known. I do not know of anyone who would claim that Paul was saying that those who persecuted the first century Christians will be raised back to life “before” the end of the age in order to be punished with everlasting destruction in the Battle of the Great Day. Nevertheless, if one applies “the everlasting destruction” to Armageddon, if one actually takes into consideration the context, the effect would be to claim that those who persecuted those first century Christians would have to be raised back to life sometime before Armageddon in order to be eternally destroyed in Armageddon. In reality, Paul tells the first century Christians of that coming day of judgment, of the time Jesus is revealed, and of something better than revenge: that is, that many of those persecutors may believe “in that day”. Nevertheless, while that judgment day is a time of rejoicing, a time of blessing, it will also be a time of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Luke 13:28), especially in the early arrival of many from the graves when they realize that they are not in positions where they thought they would be. It will not be easy at first for many, as Jesus said to his twelve apostles when he sent them out to preach:

Matthew 10:14 Whoever doesn’t receive you, nor hear your words, as you go forth out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet.
Matthew 10:15 Most assuredly I tell you, It will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Jesus did not say that they would not be raised in the resurrection of judgment, or that they were condemned to the second death, but he speaks of both those who did not receive his apostles, as well as those of the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, as being raised in the resurrection of judgment, at which time it would easier for those of the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, than for those Jews who did not receive his apostles.

Paul is basically speaking of the same principle in 2 Thessalonians 1:4-7, and he returns to this in verse 10, in speaking of those who believe in that day, that day of judgment, when the saints will be glorified with Jesus. (Romans 8:17,19,21) His speaking of the time of Jesus’ being revealed is the same time described in Revelation 20:12, when the dead are judged individually, not in Adam, by the things recorded in the books that then opened [revealed] to them.

But in 2 Thessalonians 1:8 Paul describes the end result of the day of judgment on those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news (being made known, revealed, to them at time), which needs to be taken in harmony with other scriptures, such as Revelation 20:15, for anyone, after having undergone the kingdom blessings who are not found written in the book of life, are cast into the lake of fire. This is also spoken of in Isaiah 26:10: “Let favor be shown to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness will he deal wrongfully, and will not see the majesty of Jehovah.” Thus there is God’s final vengeance on those who do not know Him, and who do not obey the good news, and it will indeed be eternal destruction, for there is to be no ransom for those in the second death, but this final vengeance is taken on any unrepentant persecutors of the church at the end of the millennial reign, not before it. — Hebrews 10:26.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

2 Peter 3:9 – God Desires All to Attain to Repentance

“Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” — 2 Peter 3:9, New World Translation

The claim is made by some that this scripture declares that those who are destroyed at the end of this age will be eternally destroyed, and God is thus trying, through some human agencies, to convert as many of the world as possible in order that they might escape eternal destruction.

What is this scripture actually saying? Is Jehovah (Yahweh) determined to eternally destroy billions of blinded men, women and children because they fail to repent before his final wrath is expressed upon Satan’s empire? At first glance, if we have such an idea already in mind, it would appear that this is what Peter was saying.

We should first note that the Greek word rendered as "destroyed" or "perish" does not necessarily mean "eternally destroyed". The usage of the same Greek word in Matthew 8:25; Mark 4:38; Luke 8:24; 11:51; 13:33; 15:17,24; 19:10; Acts 5:37 could hardly mean eternal destruction. The world is perishing, being under the condemnation of Adam. (Romans 5:12-19) That destruction, however, due to Jesus' sacrifice for Adam and all his descendants, is not eternal, for -- due to the ransom sacrifice of Jesus -- there is to be a resurrection of both the justified and unjustified. -- Acts 24:15; 2 Timothy 2:5,6.

Nevertheless, let us look more closely at the context and the Greek text and the meaning of what Peter was saying comes in clearer view.

2 Peter 3:9, Westcott & Hort Interlinear
(from Bible Students Libray CD-ROM)
ou bradunei kurios tees epaggelias hws tines
NOT IS BEING SLOW LORD OF THE PROMISE, AS SOME (ONES)
3756 1019 2962 3588 1860 5613 5100
braduteeta heegountai alla makrothumei
SLOWNESS THEY ARE CONSIDERING, BUT IS BEING LONG IN SPIRIT
1022 2233 0235 3114
eis humas mee boulomenos tinas apolesthai alla
INTO YOU, NOT WISHING ANY (ONES) TO BE DESTROYED BUT
1519 4771_7 3361 1014 5100 0622 0235
pantas eis metanoian chwreesai
ALL (ONES) INTO REPENTANCE TO ALLOW SPACE FOR.
3956 1519 3341 5562

In this we should note that Peter was not writing his letter to the world, but to those “who have obtained a faith … by the righteousness of our God and the Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1) In other words, it appears likely that Peter was not saying to people of the world that God has been patient with them, with hopes that these people of the world would repent so as not be destroyed. Rather, he was speaking to those who had come out of the world, and had been regenerated as sons of God, those who had been made alive as new creatures in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1-5) In 2 Peter, chapters One and Two, Peter was encouraging these to make their calling and choosing sure, and he was seeking to rouse them by means of reminders, and was warning them of the false teachers, and those who leave the truth. He was not talking about the world, but those who had received the knowledge of the truth, and were turning away from it.

In chapter Three, Peter begins to speak of the patience of God, as has been expressed toward the world, and then he says to God’s people: “Jehovah has not been slow respecting his promise, as some consider slowness, but he is patient with you [who believe] because he does not desire any to be lost [Strong’s Greek #622, not the same word used in 2 Peter 3:7,16, but it is the same as used in Matthew 18:14; Luke 15:6,9; John 6:39; 18:9; 2 John 1:8] but desires all [of you who believe] to attain to repentance.” These believers were in great danger of not making their calling and election sure, thus losing out in the great reward being offered to them. He had already given them the means of attaining to the repentance, the making of their minds over (Romans 12:2, NWT) so as to overcome, so as to make their calling and election sure, as shown in 2 Peter 1:2-11, that they not lose out in receiving the reward of being joint-heirs with Christ in the kingdom. — Romans 8:17). Getting the full picture of what Peter was speaking of helps us to appreciate even more the love, justice, wisdom and power as shown in God’s great divine plan of the ages.
————-
https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/greek/622.html

This is further shown in the scriptures that follow in 2 Peter 3:14-16a: “Hence, beloved ones, since you are awaiting these things, do your utmost to be found finally by him spotless and unblemished and in peace. Furthermore, consider the patience of the Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given him also wrote you, speaking about these things as he does also in all his letters.” He further states: “You, therefore, beloved ones, having this advance knowledge, be on your guard that you may not be led away with them by the error of the law-defying people and fall from your steadfastness.” (2 Peter 3:17) Thus we see that in the context, Peter is not speaking to the world, but his concern is for those who have believed, that they attain the full repentance, that they may, as Paul expressed, “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14) — making their calling and election sure.

As we mentioned before, the Greek word *Apollumi* (Strong’s #622) does not necessarily mean “destruction” in the sense of being “eternally destroyed”, but it can refer to many kinds of losses. In Matthew 10:36, Jesus told his disciples to go to the “lost (apollumi) sheep of the house of Israel.” He was not telling his disciples to go to sheep that have been eternally destroyed, but he is referring to their “lost” condition. In Mark 9:41, Jesus told his disciples: “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose (apollumi) his reward.” The thought is not here that every person who gives to Jesus’ disciples had a reward that he was not going to lose, but that the future reward due them would not be lost. In 2 John 1:8, John tells the Christian: “Watch yourselves, that we don’t lose (apollumi) the things which we have accomplished, but that we receive a full reward.” The “full reward” that a Christian can recieve is joint-heirship with Jesus. To lose this reward does not mean that one is already in possession of it and then loses it, but rather that he would lose the prospect of ever obtaining that reward. Nor does failure to attain that high reward necessarily mean that the one who fails to attain will be eternally destroyed. If this was the thought in 2 Peter 3:9, then what Peter could have been referring to was losing the goal of the prize of the high calling. There are two classes who fail to attain the “full” reward, one of which simply retain the position of heirs of God as that due to all the sons of God (Romans 8:17), and the other would be those represented as one who willfully “has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace.” (Hebrews 10:29) For such a willful sin, there is no more sacrifice. — Hebrews 10:26.

Nevertheless, Jehovah has indeed been patient with the world; his patience toward the world, and his love for the world of mankind has been so great that he sent his Son to die as the savior of the world. (John 3:16,17) Later, Jesus stated: “If anyone hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I came, not to judge the world, but to save the world.” (John 12:47, NWT) The world is already judged in Adam, thus John says of those that disobey the son: “The wrath of God [the wrath upon man through Adam] remains upon him” (John 3:36); and also: “He that does not exercise faith has been judged already (through Adam). (John 3:16, NWT; See Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22) Jesus, however, shows in what way he came to save the world, showing that their salvation will result in a new judgment “in the last day.” (John 12:48) This new judgment will be separate from the judgment that is already upon the world through Adam.

When Adam disobeyed, the punishment that was placed upon him was not the second death (for which no ransom is provided), but the condemnation was what we might term “the first death” — death and sheol [hades] (for which a ransom is provided). (Hosea 13:14) The human race has inherited this condemnation through Adam, but God’s love caused his Son to be “made flesh,” “a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death . . . that he by the grace of God should taste death for eavery man.” — Genesis 2:17; 3:17-19; Romans 5:6-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Matthew 20:28; John 1:14; 3:14-18; Hebrews 2:9.

God exercised patience toward Adam in allowing Adam to continue to live, but eventually God did bring the sentence of death to Adam. God could have justly taken Adam’s life right away, but he forsaw a better way of settling the matter of disobedience once for all time. Thus he has allowed a short period of time, a few millennia, in which man may be “exercised” by sin, and its futile results. (Ecclesiastes 1:2,13,14; Romans 8:20) The purpose is to eventually have all creation willingly in harmony with himself, for such harmony will then be known to be to the advantage of all creation.

Thus, Jehovah’s patience toward the sinful race of mankind the will not last forever. God “has appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness” — “the day of judgment and perdition [destruction] of ungodly men; but . . . do not be ignorant of this one thing, that one day with Jehovah is as a thousand years.” — Acts 17:31; 2 Peter 3:7,8; Psalm 90:4.

During the past six millenia of mankind’s history since Adam, Satan, “the god of this world,” has been permitted to blinded the minds of the people. (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9) As a result the world has been living in darkness, so that darkness has covered the earth and “gross darkness the people.” However, in the world’s coming great judgment day Satan is bound, “that he should deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years are ended.” — Isaiah 60:2, Revelation 20:2,3,7.

“In that day,” spoken of in Revelation as a 1,000 years, Jesus will judge mankind, but then “the earth will be full of the knowledge of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea.” It will be that time that people will say: “Look, this is our God. We have waited for him, and he will save us . . . . We will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” — Isaiah 11:9,10; 25:6-9; 40:5; 52:10: Jeremiah 31:34; Habakkuk 2:14.

But today, the church is being tried and chosen out of the world before the world of mankind. There is a purpose for this, since the saints of this age will will rule with Jesus over the earth in 1,000-year judgment day and assist in judging the world, offering to mankind “the water of life freely.” — Daniel 7:22,27; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Obadiah 21; Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:29,30; Romans 8:16-21; 2 Timothy 2:11,12; Revelation 3:21; 5:9,10; 20:4,6; 22:17.

The promise is made that through Abraham’s seed, all the nations, the heathen, will be blessed. The seed is not only Jesus, but also all who, in this age, belong to Christ. The blessing comes to the heathen while Satan is abyssed, so that he cannot deceive them. — Genesis 12:3; 22:16-18; Galatians 3:7-9,16,29; Hebrews 6:13-20; Acts 3:19-25; Revelation 20:1-4.

It is during the time when Satan is abyssed and that there are no deceptions, that the unbelieving of this age will be raised from hades (sheol), and englightened by and judged individually by the things written in the books that are to be opened at that time, not by the collective judgment received through Adam. -- Psalm 6:5; 146:4; Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 12:2; John 5:28,29 NASV; John 11:11-14; 12:47,48; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 2 Peter 3:4.

Recognizing that the judgment takes place in the “last day” (John 12:47,48), and also that those who will be doing the judging with Jesus will be raised in the same “last day” (John 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24), we recognize that the saints must be raised first, before the world, in order for them to participate with Jesus in this judgment. (Revelation 20:6) Realizing this helps us to understand the time when Jesus comes to judge the heathen, as described in Matthew 25:31-46. The judgment of the unbelieving heathen (nations) as individuals (not as in Adam) cannot begin until after the saints are raised in the last day.

Thus we read that “When the Son of man will come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then will he sit on the throne of his glory. Before him all the nations [the unbelieving heathen – Psalm 46:10; 67; 72:1,11,17; 96:3,10; Isaiah 2:2-4; Ezekiel 37:28; 38:16; 39:7] will be gathered [from hades and death — Revelation 20:12,13], and he will separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” The “holy angels” referred to are probably the saints, especially the joint-heirs who will come with Jesus to rule and judge the earth. In the parable, those whom he finds to be righteous, pictured as sheep (those who become sheep in the next age, not Christ’s sheep of this present age — John 10:14-15), will be given everlasting life and will “inherit the kingdom” on earth (the meek will inherit it — Matthew 5:5; Psalm 37:9,10,29), whereas those who will not have proved worthy, pictured as goats, will “go away into everlasting punishment [Greek, kolasin, cutting-off]” in the second death, never to live again. “All the wicked he will destroy.” — Matthew 25:31-46; Psalm 145:20; Revelation 20:9,15; 21:8.

The destruction of the wicked at the end of that thousand years is symbolized by their being cast into the “lake of fire,” “which is the second death,” into “everlasting fire [fire is an apt symbol, not of preservation, but of destruction], prepared for the devil [who is to be destroyed, annihilated — Hebrews 2:14; Ezekiel 28:19] and his angels” — Revelation 20:14,15; 21:8; Matthew 25:41.

Then it will be true that “The soul that is sinning, it will die.” Eventually “every soul who will not hear [obey] that prophet [Christ] will be destroyed from among the people.” The “wicked will be no more.” — Psalm 37:9,10; Ezekiel 18:4,20; Acts 3:19-23.

Thus God’s patience will lovingly provide ample provision for the world to repent even into the age to come, after Satan is abyssed. It will be then, especially, that the principle of 2 Peter 3:9 will apply to the world in general.

For further study, we recommend:
Will Billions Be Eternally Destroyed in the Battle of Armageddon?
Mankind’s Course to the Day of Judgment
Adam and the Ransom Sacrifice

Keys: Armageddon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Bible Students, eternal destruction, repentance, the Lord is not slack, divine plan of the ages, Apollumi, Christian overcomers, second death, punishment

Monday, December 11, 2017

1 Corinthians 3:10,11 – The Right Foundation of Faith

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But let each man be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ.” — 1 Corinthians 3:10,11.

(1) The individual faith of each disciple of Jesus is a building, and as such must have both foundation and superstructure. Every principle of truth or error adopted becomes a part of our faith-building. A building made of wood, and thatched with straw, may look well and for a time protect, but it will not endure like a better and more costly structure. So a faith building constructed with man’s traditions, may for a time look passably well, be less costly and more quickly finished than one built from the precious truths patiently excavated from God’s Word. The former is easily swept away with the storm of infidelity which does not even shake the latter. The one will stand the test of fire and protect its owner, the other will but feed the flame and endanger the owner.

(2) God leaves the building of our faith largely with us. He furnishes us the mine of truth. (John 8:31,32) He places tools within our reach. (2 Peter 1:3) He even urges us to build well with enduring materials, adding virtue to faith, knowledge to virtue, self-control to knowledge, patience to knowledge, etc. Thus he would have us grow in his favor and knowledge and love, following examples of building which he has furnished. — 2 Peter 1:5-7; 3:18

(3) “For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11) This statement of the importance of Jesus as the foundation of all faith toward God, is in full accord with the statement that “There is salvation in none other, for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, in which we must be saved!” (Acts 4:12) No other basis of faith will do. Yet some are led astray by laying a basis for faith on another foundation, even another Jesus. (2 Corinthians 11:4) Contrary to what many may propose, this faith is not about joining this or that organization, or of placing faith in this or that leader. Some are quickly influenced by works of an organization or a man, and thus may be led to believe that this or that man, or that the leaders of this or that organization, are God’s specially appointed channel for our time, and thereby build their foundation of faith on submission to such men who may claim to have authority to rule over their fellow believers. Some have been led into Mormonism, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and other groups who have presented certain “evidences” that their group is the one true religion. The “evidences”, usually consist of some “works” they are doing, or of works performed by such a favored leader or leaders; the manner in which these “evidences” are presented may appear to have scriptural support, and thus can be very deceptive, for such often appeals to the carnal mind. (1 Corinthians 3:1-4) Beware of these tactics! — Matthew 7:21-23.

(4) Nevertheless, those who build on the rock foundation of Jesus are his disciples no matter how poor their faith may be when they begin to build. Such may be found amongst all the denominations that profess to be Christian. Such may be carried away with many of the traditions of men. Even though they build entirely with the wood, hay, and stubble of men’s traditions, yet, we believe, that many of these are indeed builders upon the Rock, and, as such, they are disciples of Jesus, although they are found to be foolish. Though in the DAY OF JEHOVAH their works will suffer loss, yet such themselves who are true disciples of Jesus will be saved — delivered — so as by fire. (1 Corinthians 3:14,15) These may suffer loss, but will do so only for disciplining purposes that “the spirit [disposition] may be saved [delivered] in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:5) Thus God has arranged for a fierce trial of faith to come upon all who profess to be on the Rock, Christ Jesus. (1 Peter 1:6,7) Everything which is of man and not from God’s Word will be burned up, whether in this age or in the age to come. — Hebrews 12:26-29.

(5) Many Christians have not carried out their dedication to give up worship according to the flesh. (Colossians 3:5-10) Some remain as babes in Christ all their lives, and cannot seem to get beyond thinking in carnal terms. (1 Corinthians 3:1) Whether through ignorance, or having knowledge, many of the Lord’s servants desire to continue in the worship of the traditions of men, the idols of flesh, and thus have their worship adulterated before God. (Luke 12:47,48; 1 Corinthians 10:14; Ezekiel 23:37) Many may base their faith in something created rather than their Creator, as may be evidenced in worship according to the flesh, such as idolizing and attributing power to things made by the hands of man, unauthorized by scripture. (Galatians 5:19-23; 2 Corinthians 6:16,17) Others hold onto certain doctrines which lead them away from preaching the kingdom and its hope for all mankind. (Ephesians 4:14,15) They spend hours and hours (that could have been used in preaching the Good News) trying to prove certain pronunciation of words or names, trying to prove genealogies, chronology, etc., and often demand in some way that others have to accept their conclusions to be saved, to receive the highest reward, etc. — 1 Timothy 1:3,4; 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:14.

ON WHAT ARE YOU BUILDING?

(6) What we have just seen regarding faith structures is important, but our present question is yet more so, because if we are not building on the rock foundation, Jesus Christ, our faith is in vain and our hopes are delusive. — Ephesians 5:5-7; Luke 6:49.

(7) For example, to believe that Mohammed once lived and died on earth does not constitute us Mohammedans, nor give us a basis for faith and hope for a future life. Neither does the simple belief that Jesus once lived and died on earth constitute us his disciples, nor give us a basis for future life. What is needed as a foundation is the belief that Jesus died as our Redeemer. He “died for our sins according to the Scriptures,” “gave himself a ransom for all”; Jehovah “has laid on him the iniquity of us all”, and that “with his stripes we are healed.” Only this conviction will constitute us his disciples and give a firm foundation for faith that our sins are canceled, and that in his due time all may be released from sin’s penalty death. (1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Timothy 2:6; Isaiah 53:5,6; 1 Peter 2:24) Upon the foundation, then, we build our works in accordance with obedience to Jesus, even if such obedience, as found in the Bible, should lead us to appear to be disobedient to the religious efforts of man. — John 14:15, 1 John 2:3-5.

(8) In examining how many build on various foundations other than Christ, we find that some build on “right doing” as a basis of hope that God will justify them so that they may live forever. These are not building on the Rock, Jesus. Instead they are building upon their own works. Of this class were the Jews, who sought to justify themselves. (Luke 16:15) While faith without works is dead, the works themselves should not be the basis for our faith. (James 2:20) Paul assures us that such are not building on a good foundation, for “by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight.” — Romans 3:20.

(9) Others build their hope of salvation on the love of God. They feel sure that because God has great pity and with tender mercy, therefore he will ultimately, eternally save every one from death. Such seem to forget that God had the same love for mankind for the past six thousand years, yet he has permitted mankind to go down lower and lower into misery and death. We suggest to these that if God has so long kept love subservient to justice, and never overruled his original sentence of death, their hope rests on a sandy foundation. God’s Word declares concerning him: “with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow.” (James 1:17; Exodus 34:7) Such are not true Disciples of Jesus because they are building a hope and faith on the love of God and not on the only foundation, Jesus Christ, and his sacrificial death for our sins. The love of God provided the foundation, but the love of God is not the foundation needed to build true faith.

(10) Others build their faith on the justice of God as a foundation, and boldly declare that God is bound by principles of justice to save all men out of Adamic death. Their argument is that God placed man in his present condition of sin, misery and death, and that in justice to his creatures he must restore them. To those who reason in this manner and build their hopes of future life on God’s justice, we would suggest that if this reasoning is correct, then many scriptures which tell us that by grace (unearned favor) we are saved, are all untrue, because if Jehovah is obligated to save men on such alleged principles of justice, then salvation is not of grace (unearned favor), but of justice. We suggest, further, that if God is bound in justice to save all men out of death, it is proper to infer that God has been unjust toward man for six thousand years. The inference, then, would be that God will sooner or later be obligated to change his methods and to do right — to turn from doing injustice to his creatures to doing justly to his creatures. Of course, those who believe the last-mentioned teaching would not state matters as we have presented them. Most have never thought that such theories, when reasoned out, leads to dishonor of the name of God. If they had, doubtless they would not be building their hopes on God’s justice — outside of his plan to redeem through Christ Jesus — for if he has been unjust for six thousand years, he might continue to be unjust indefinitely. Thus faith is left on an untrustworthy foundation.

(11) None of these theories are scriptural, hence none of them are proper foundations for faith. Any building fostered thereon is doomed to failure. We ask the question: “Can those who build on these sandy foundations be properly termed disciples of Jesus?” It is not for us to determine, individually, if they are actually disciples of Jesus or not; one may be a disciple of Jesus who has agreed, and who has been accepted to reach the goal of discipleship, but who may be, for a time, led astray but many and varied doctrines and practices (Ephesians 4:14); in the end, however, only those who eventually prove that their hope and faith is built solely and only on the rock foundation which God has laid — Jesus Christ — will be shown to be true disciples of Jesus. Thus, Jesus speaks of the time when many of his disciples, having been led astray, are disciplined. (Luke 12:47,48) And Paul speaks of a time when they are tried as by fire, so that the spirit may be delivered in the light of the coming day. (1 Corinthians 3:14,15; 1 Corinthians 5:5) And yet, Jesus also speaks of many who will in that day claim that they did many works in the name of Jesus, but Jesus will then tell them that he never knew them (as his disciples). (Luke 7:22,23) Those of this latter class will be shown to never have been true disciples of Christ; such often appear to be consecrated, but are most often consecrated to an organization, a sect, or a man other than Jesus.

(12) Paul also declares the foundation of all true faith, saying: “I delivered to you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3) In the two preceding verses Paul tells us that this was the Good News which he preached, which they had received, and by which they might reckon themselves saved. This is not all of the Good News — no, there is much more, but it all comes as a consequence of this fundamental or foundation truth. Without this faith in Jesus as our Redeemer, who died and gave his life a ransom for our lives which were condemned through Adam’s sin, we must see that we are still guilty and condemned before God’s law and could have no scriptural grounds for expecting future life. – Romans 5:18.

(13) It is in vain that any tell us that they are building on Christ because they acknowledge him as a leader and noble pattern. All men — yes, and demons also must acknowledge the grandeur and perfectness of Jesus’ life. All must admit that he is a noble example, but to acknowledge Jesus as the foundation of faith in a future life, is to recognize the fact that all men are sinners, and as such JUSTLY condemned to death, and that Jesus is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. (John 1:29) Thus, by paying the wages of man’s sin – death – he procured for all a release from death, a right to life. He justifies them, or makes them righteous, having a right to life, which in his due time he will give them. – Romans 5:18, 8:24; 1 Timothy 2:5,6.

(14) Jehovah’s plan, looked at from the standpoint of his inspired word, recognizes the impartially and justness of the trial of Adam, Adam’s deliberate violation of God’s just and easy requirement, and the justice of enforcing the penalty which God threatened, that is, DEATH. “In the day of thine eating of it — dying thou dost die.” (Genesis 2:17, Young’s Literal Translation) God’s foreknowledge of the consequences of Adam’s sin cannot be urged against the justice of his trial, as the trial was the same and had the same results, as though God had not foreknown its result.

(15) God is not responsible for all the mental and physical imperfections of our race. These are traceable as results of sin to Adam our first parent. Here is a thought not generally recognized, that God creates only sinless intellectual beings such as Adam was before he sinned. He who is born of God is without sin. All of the fallen, mentally and physically imperfect men and women, are not God’s creation, but the offspring of disobedience, and are thus sons of disobedience, children of wrath. (Ephesians 2:2,3) These imperfections, therefore, are not chargeable to God, but to Adam’s sin. All die, therefore, as a result of Adam’s unrighteousness and not of God’s injustice. If, then, God was just in condemning Adam, and was in no way responsible to Adam’s offspring, it must have been as the Bible says: “By grace [unmerited or undeserved favor] have you been saved.” (Ephesians 2:5,8) Yes, while we were in just condemnation as enemies and sinners, God so loved and pitied us that he gave his son, that he “by the grace of God he should taste of death for everyone.” (Hebrews 2:9) To this agree the words of other scriptures: 1 Corinthians 15:22; Romans 5:12,17,19 and 11:32,33. If, then, the Scriptures are true, the theory that Jehovah has dealt unjustly toward the race in condemning all to death, and the argument that he is bound in justice to restore them to life, falls.

(16) Let us look at matters from the standpoint of the divine revelation instead of purely human reasoning. Love is a prominent factor in all of God’s plans and an element of the divine nature. Yet his foreknowledge and omnipotence make it unnecessary for his love to come into conflict with his justice. God had justly condemned man as unworthy of life. God could not do otherwise without denying himself, who he is, for his very character forbids him to allow anything that does not reflect Himself to be considered fit for life. His very nature would demand that the wages of sin would be death. (Romans 5:23) Nor could his Love step in and reverse the decision and set the prisoner free without first satisfying the claims of justice. Should God do so we would properly consider him changeable, and his word untrustworthy. (Malachi 3:6; Isaiah 55:11) Not only so, but, in considering the idea that God’s justness must save everyone, if so, we should realize that either the first or the last decision would be unjust. If the first decision was just, then the reversing of it was unjust. Likewise, if the last decision was just, then the first must have been unjust. God is just and true. In him is no variableness. (James 1:17) He does not simply clear the guilty without exacting satisfaction of their guilt. (Exodus 34:7) The real method God used was to place the guilt of the whole race in one man, so that guilt could be removed by its being placed upon one man. (Isaiah 53:6; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:fc21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6) The claims of justice were satisfied in the sacrifice of the one man, Jesus. If we say we have no sin [and hence no need of a savior to deliver us from the consequence of it: death], “we make [God] a liar,” for he declares regarding all offspring of Adam condemned in Adam's sin, “There is no one righteous. No, not one.” – 1 John 1:8,10; Romans 3:10; 5:12-19.

(17) All of us who are the offspring of Adam enter life in this condition of sin and condemnation. (Romans 5:12,18) We can neither help ourselves nor each other, because all of us are descendants of Adam. (Psalm 49:7) All of us have received the same condemnation from Adam. But God’s love has provided a means by which he could clear the guilty race and restore them to life and at the same time do it justly. (Romans 3:26) He so loved the sinner, whom he had justly condemned, that he gave his Son that he should taste death (our penalty) for every man. (Romans 5:8; Hebrews 2:9) He was a propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins (the believers’ sins), and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (John 12:47,48; 1 John 2:2) Thus God’s love and wisdom, operating in harmony with his justice, have succeeded in clearing the guilty without any injustice. Only by means of the sacrifice of Jesus could God be just and yet the justifier of sinners. (Romans 3:26; 1 Timothy 2:4-6) An earthly judge could not justly set a convicted and sentenced prisoner free. He could not declare the guilty one guiltless in the eyes of the law. But suppose someone came forward and paid the imposed penalty for the prisoner. The Judge would be just in justifying, or declaring right in the eyes of the law, the one whom he had formerly been just in condemning.

(18) Very few have actually seen into the “depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God.” (Romans 11:33; 1 Corinthians 2:10) Everyone of us have been condemned in Adam. (Roman 5:15-18) If we had been judged individually, more than likely we would have failed even as Adam did. Then each one of us would have needed an individual salvation. In other words, if 50 billion people had been tried individually, and 50 billion people had failed and were thus condemned, then 50 billion more totally obedient and sinless individuals would have been needed to offer up their lives as sacrifices for the 50 billion who had sinned.

(19) How much more economical is God’s wisdom. All of us were condemned in one man’s disobedience. (Romans 5:19) God concluded all in disobedience that he might have mercy on all. (Romans 11:32) By allowing all to be condemned in one, only one perfect human life would be needed as a sacrifice to buy back all the condemned. How grand, how marvelous is God’s wisdom! “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22, New American Standard Bible translation) “As through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. . . . . but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:17-21, New American Standard Version translation) “For what the law couldn’t do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3) “God has shut up all to disobedience, that he might have mercy on all.” (Romans 11:32) “Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out! . . . For who has known the mind of [Jehovah]? Or who has been his counselor?” “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen.” – Romans 11:33-36.

(20) In conclusion: On what are you building your faith? Is it on the sands of men’s opinions and theories beyond what is actually written in the Bible? (1 Corinthians 4:6) Or is it on the one rock foundation which Jehovah himself has laid — Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” — the one “who died for our sins”? — John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 15:3.

ADDENDUM:
Is the above denying that ransom for all? Is it narrowing salvation to only those who in this age believe in Jesus?

No, nothing in the above means that we are denying that Jesus' sacrifice is the propitiation (satisfaction), not just for those who believe in this age, but also for the whole world, the latter being applied in the "last day", "the age to come.". -- John 12:47,48; Romans 5:12-19; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:2.

See our studies:
The Restoration of All Things
The Ransom For All

Thursday, October 26, 2017

John 1:29 – The Lamb of God

John 1:29 On the next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" — World English.
John 1:36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” — World English.

(This study is not yet completed and many edits still need to be done)

The words of John the Baptizer as recorded in John 1:29 do not refer to the sins of the world in the plural, but to the sin of the world in the singular. “Sin” nevertheless, in the singular, refers to the sin that is in the world which, from the Divine standpoint, is the sin had its beginning in one act of disobedience on the part of Adam, resulting in the wages of sin being exacted upon the whole world of mankind. (Romans 5:12-19; 6:23) “Sin” has gradually affected and undermined mankind’s powers, mental, moral and physical, until -- as a result -- all of Adam's descendants suffer from imperfection, weakness, depravity, etc.; indeed, sin, is somehow associated with almost every word and deed of the children of men, and this appears to be more so in last century or so than in centuries before. (Job 14:11; Ecclesiastes 2:23; Romans 1:26-31) For instance, one cannot watch most TV shows without some form of depravity, whether in words, such as cursing, swearing, lying, gossiping, or in other deeds, will be presented by the actors. Indeed, this is a form of indoctrination for most people, as they become so accustomed to hearing and seeing such conduct, that they may not actually realize that any “sin” is involved. As a result, we find that the conscience of many have been figuratively branded to think what is bad in God's sight is actually good. (Isaiah 5:20: 1 Timothy 4:2) Since most people tend to imitate that which they see and hear, they may find themselves performing the same sins to which their minds have been accustomed to hearing and seeing in TV programs, music, literature, etc. In some measure the world is responsible for this general depravity but in the general sense it is not responsible, because these tendencies toward sin were inherited from the one disobedience. -- Romans 5:12-19.

Nevertheless, the first man Adam did not have any inherent tendency to sin, and yet God gave him the freedom to exercise his will to either obey or disobey; God told him what the wages of disobedience would be, that is, death. (Genesis 2:16,17) The command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad shows that Adam had a choice; he was not born so that he HAD to sin, as some have claimed. If he had to sin, then the choice put before Adam was a farce.

The Wages of Sin


We should note that in the original creation of man, the first man was not a living soul until after God formed his body from the dust of the ground, and then blew into that body the spirit, the breath, of life, and then Adam became a living soul (Genesis 2:7); before Adam became a living soul, he had no consciousness. Adam, thus, knew what death would mean: the absence of life; he knew that -- if he disobeyed, he would become a “dead soul” (Hebrew, transliterated, “meth nephesh” – Leviticus 21:11; Numbers 6:6; 9:10; 19:11,16; 2 Chronicles 20:24; Psalm 79:2; 110:6; Haggai 2:11), a soul that no longer has sentiency. We should note also that God did not say that Adam would be dead for a few days, or for a few years, or even for many thousands of years, and that then he would be brought back to life. Nor did God say to Adam that the wages of sin would be to spend an eternity in conscious torture. The death sentence would bring Adam back to the very condition that he had been in before Adam was created, a condition of oblivion. (Ecclesiastes 9:5,10; 12:7) The sentence was, transliterated from the Hebrew, “muth temuth” – to die, you will die.
See our studies:
What is the Soul?

We know from the Biblical record that Adam and Eve did disobey (Genesis 3:1-6), and thus, in that very day, God took them away from the trees of life that were in the Garden (Genesis 3:22-24), so they began to die until they finally died (Genesis 5:5), and their flesh returned to the dust, while the spirit of life – the spark of life – that God had given to them returned to God who had given it. (Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 12:7) As a result of Adam’s disobedience, sin came into the world, the whole creation of mankind that had been made through Logos, as spoken of in John 1:10, were made sinners in Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12-19), bringing the death sentence upon all mankind. Romans 5:12-19 also shows that there was no sin the world until Adam disobeyed, thus there was a period of time that Adam was sinless. God had made man upright [just, straight – Ecclesiastes 7:29], and man could have remained in that upright condition had he chose to obey, but man, as represented in the first man, Adam, chose to disobey, and thus did not remain with that original sinless upright condition.

Mark the apostle’s words on the subject – “sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin; and so death passed to all men, because all have sin.”* (Romans 5:12) Note again the statement of the Psalmist, which reflects upon us all: “I was brought forth in iniquity. In sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5) As a result of Adam's sin, we find that "the [human] creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now." (Romans 8:20-22) From man's own efforts, there is no escape from from this bondage of corruption, "for who can make that straight, which he has made crooked?" (Ecclesiastes 7:13; see also Ecclesiastes 1:15) Nevertheless, none of Adam's offspring are individually responsible therefore for the general fact that we have inherited this crooked condition, but we are responsible to the extent we may have knowingly cooperated with sin, and intensified its blight in our own persons and in our children.
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*The Greek verb tense reflects the accumulation of sin upon Adam's descendants that was introduced through Adam, which is elaborated upon in the following verses.

Thank God that the light of divine truth, which light was expressed earlier in the Law Covenant with Israel (Proverbs 6:23), and then which was expressed in the sinless life of the one whom the Baptizer applied the symbol of “the Lamb of God”. (John 1:4,5,9; 9:5; 2 Timothy 1:10) To whatever extent that light has had any effect among the people, it has had the effect of blessing in proportion as its influence has been accepted. Civilization as we know it would certainly have become much worse than it is had it not been for such influence of the Bible. But, alas, how unsatisfactory our civilization is! How far from purity is the kind of “Christianization” that we generally see! How few there are today who could say with the apostle, brother, “Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) Indeed, how few there who are even reckonedly, in the spirit of their minds, in their daily life, in their daily course, are walking not after the flesh but after the spirit. (Romans 8:4; Galatians 5:16-26) Today, with the great influx of non-Biblical philosophies, the Bible exerts very little influence on the greater masses of people at all!


General Sin and Personal Sin

The scripture says that “through the one man’s disobedience the many [the entire human race in Adam] were made sinners.” (Romans 5:19, New American Standard) Thus, we should discern that there is a general sin in the world, that it is common to all from the very time of conception, and that the embryo and the child of but a day is a participant in this sin, in this sinful condition that God cannot look upon with approval. Sin cannot be harmonized with God. All of Adam's descendants are, from God's standpoint, by nature, under the condemnation in Adam, children of wrath. (Ephesians 2:2), and thus in need some way to be reconciled to God. Adam's entire race has been declared to be unworthy of eternal life – worthy of death. In other words, from this standpoint, our race is not worthy of perpetuation. The general penalty against this universal condition of sin is the one originally pronounced against father Adam, and still resting upon the world of mankind in general — “dying you shall die.” (Genesis 2:17, Green’s Literal Translation) Death is upon all because all are counted as sinners under this general sentence pronounced in Eden. As already intimated, it is possible for the individuals of the race to either strive against this downward tendency in which they were born or to fall in line with it, and hurry down the broad road of destruction more rapidly. (Matthew 7:13) The responsibility before God that one has as related to sin varies, depending on the degree of light that the sinner has. Even the heathen, the apostle tells us, has some light in his conscience regarding what is right or wrong. (Romans 2:15) Thus, as such run in the way of sin, practicing iniquity, there is additional responsibility, which will need to be accounted for in the coming day of judgment. (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Matthew 12:36; Romans 2:16; Jude 1:14,15) For some in that day of judgment, the chastisements will be easier to endure than for others, and, in that judgment day, for some who set their heart upon willfully sinning, they will not be able escape coming under the second judgment of the lake of fire. (Matthew 10:15; 11:22,24; 12:36; 23:3; Mark 6:11; 2 Peter 2:9; Revelation 20:15) However, in this age, sowing to the flesh often reaps the rewards of their wrong course under what we sometimes term “natural laws”. As, for instance, the licentious man in many instances brings upon himself temporal and distressing sickness, which hastens his death and increases his sorrows and troubles.

In many other instances, however, one desiring to do right may suffer through laws of heredity as much as do those who desire to do bad; it is still true today the proud are set up on high and given greater privileges than are those who do not exalt themselves; indeed, the proud often seem to escape much of the sorrow and anguish of the humble, and the prosperity of the proud is often at the expense of those upon whom they trod. (Job 21:7-15; Psalm 49:18; 73:3-12; Jeremiah 12:1; Malachi 3:15) Yet, God has promised that these things will not always be so. (Isaiah 40:4; Ezekiel 21:26) There could be no evening up of matters to an exact point of justice if God did not make some way to release man from the present condemnation, so as provide something better than the present life, and we are assured that he has made such a provision. – Romans 5:12-19; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:2; 4:9,10.

Today, however, the infant may be from the day of his birth be suffering from some loathsome disease often considered unjustly received from its parents. The divine law might have left us in this position as a race and have done nothing for us. In reality, from God's standpoint, Justice could offer no plea on behalf of the suffering infant or others, because the decree of justice against Adam and all of his posterity is that by disobedience and by inherited blemishes all are found unworthy of everlasting life – worthy of death. Hence, without some way to balance justice, justice decrees that any and everything which tends to hasten death among mankind is working out the sentence of justice, “Dying, you will die.” (Genesis 2:17) If, however, what God has made crooked cannot be made straight, then what hope is there for mankind?

Furthermore, it is still true that "one man has power over another to his hurt." (Ecclesiastes 8:9) Down through history and still today, human governments often create suffering and suffering, that, esteemed merely from the human standpoint, to be unjust. As pointed out, however, from God's standpoint, all the suffering in the world is due to God's just condemnation of all in Adam. And yet, if all are not condemned in the one condemnation, then neither are all redeemed, purchased out that condemnation, through the sacrifice of the one man, Christ Jesus. -- Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6.

Redemption and Regeneration

Indeed, it would be a sad state of affairs if our Creator had no good reason for condemning the whole human race in one man. If one does not follow through to see God’s love in his purposes, one might be led by his own reasoning to conclude that God has surely been unjust in condemning all mankind in one man. Nevertheless, the Bible does reveal why God has done this, but, although this is not hard to understand and appreciate, God has, in his wisdom, hidden the truth from most of mankind until his due time for the world to understand.

First, we should note that it was never God’s intention to leave the world in the groaning condition as it now is. And this has to do with the expression that the Baptizer used as relayed in John 1:29. If one, with a righteous heart attitude, follows the scriptural presentations carefully and diligently, however, to whatever extent that God desires one to understand, then that one will understand. (Proverbs 2:4,5; 8:17; Mark 4:33) On the other hand, if God does not wish one to appreciatively understand, then, no matter how diligently we may present the scriptures, that one will not appreciate such truths until God permits him to do so. Unless God allows one to the understand in a way that can be appreciated, the truth will still be a mystery to that person. – Mark 4:11; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10.
See our study:

Many realize that the sacrifice of Jesus, in some way, takes away the sin of believers in Christ, although most do not actually understand how this can be so. We should note that the Baptizer, by the words recorded in John 1:29, does not discuss this matter of taking away the sins of the believers of this age, but on the contrary deals with sin as a whole and the world of sinners as a whole. John 1:29 points us to the fact that our Lord’s mission is to take away the sin of the world – to take away the general blight and curse of death which came upon all mankind through Adam’s disobedience. To accomplish this work two steps were necessary: Justice must be satisfied, and a legal redemption must be effected. When we look out over the world and note the billions living today, and reckon up the thousands of millions who have died without having received an understanding of God’s purposes as found in the Bible, our hearts would fail us if we could up with some answer as to how a recompense could be made to Justice which would offset the obligation, the sins of all these billions of people. But God, in his wisdom, provides the answer in the Bible.

Someone has stated that man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. While whoever came up with this saying probably did not seek the depth of how it could scripturally be applied, as we look into the Bible, we find that divine wisdom and divine love combined had foreseen the entire matter and had arranged for it in advance; man’s sin does not at all thwart either God’s wisdom, His justice, nor His love regarding His creation. (Psalm 89:1,2; 104:24; Proverbs 3:19; Isaiah 28:29; Acts 15:18; John 3:16,17) In the final end, therefore, we should expect that God’s justice, His wisdom and His love can be seen as vindicated in the plan he has chosen for man. If each individual of our race had been personally sentenced for his own misdeeds, his own shortcomings, then indeed, for God to be found just, it would have required as a corresponding price that some sinless man would need die for each individual in order to release that one from death. This would be an awful proposition — that many billions of sinless men would have to die as redeemers for the many billions of sinners. Where would such redeemers be found? Nowhere. Not one man among Adam's descendants earth was found sinless, or capable of being his brother’s redeemer. As we read, “There is none righteous, no not one;” and again, “all have sinned and come short;” “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Romans 3:10,23; Psalm 49:7) Where, we ask, is the remedy, the hope?

Giving attention to the divine message as given through the Bible, we hear its statement that our Creator has, in His love, decreed that all mankind were tried and condemned in the sin of one man, Thus, God's love is shown in that He condemned all in one man, so that only one sinless man would be needed to offset what Adam had done. In the method only one man would be needed to satisfy his justice, so they He would remain just, while justifying the sinner. (Romans 3:26) Thus, the payment of Adam’s death sentence would not only redeem Adam from the curse, but likewise redeem all who are dying by means of him, due to his having come under that death sentence. How amazing the divine wisdom and love! This very fact, that once in our blindness we supposed was injustice toward us, is really an evidence of divine foreknowledge and divine mercy. God condemned the race as a whole that he might have mercy upon the race as a whole. (Romans 11:32) “As by man came death, so also by man came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” – 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22.

The meaning is very plain, very simple. From the scriptures already given, we can see that we all inherit sin and death conditions through Father Adam. We see the imperfections all about us, we feel many of them in us; and now we learn that as we have thus inherited blemishes and sins and imperfections and death, another one has acted on our behalf, has paid the penalty; and that by coming into relationship with him, by being regenerated, begotten again, born again, we may inherit eternal life through him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood. Man, today, is still under the subjection to vanity. (Romans 8:20; Ecclesiastes 2:3) The whole creation through Adam still groans and travails in pain under the heavy burden of sin and its consequences as afflicted by God. (Romans 8:22; Ecclesiastes 1:13) Many, endeavoring to make this world a better place, cannot see beyond the present affliction, and thus they may even speak evil of God for such affliction. -- Revelation 16:9,11.

Taking Away the Sin

From the foregoing we should note that there are two steps necessary to the release of humanity from its present thraldom to sin and death: (1) It was necessary that the penalty against Father Adam and his offspring should be paid to justice. (2) It is necessary that Adam and any of his posterity to be blessed must come into relationship to the Redeemer – must be regenerated, obtain a new life. The first father or life-giver, Adam, not only failed to keep the life bestowed upon him in his creation but failed to hand it down to his posterity. His children have been produced under sin-and-death conditions, suffering and dying.

The scriptures tell us that the satisfaction of Justice for the sin of the world was somehow connected with the death of our Lord Jesus Christ – that, “he died the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18) He has died, yet, as we can well observe, the world has not yet been brought to God. Indeed, amazing as the proposition may seem, the world as a whole gets farther away from God day by day. Counting all the population of lands often referred to as “Christendom” as though they were Christians — though many of them are really as much without God as the poor, ignorant ones whom we designate heathen — we find that those who are put down in statistics as the heathen people of the world have continued to be proportionately about the same for the past two centuries, although over the same time missionary efforts have been the most remarkable of all the world’s history in the endeavor to carry the name of Jesus to the ends of the earth. How shall we understand this matter? Is the Divine plan miscarrying?

No, we answer. Other scriptures must be allowed to assist in clarifying God's overall plan and how it is progressively being brought to its ultimate goal of blessing the whole human race. Other scriptures assure us that before the times of restoration of all, before the time of the blotting out of the curse, before the time when there will be no more curse, no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying (Revelation 21:1-5; 22:3), before that time shall come, God has ordained the election or selection of a seed (Galatians 3:29), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), that is to be associated with the Redeemer in His work of glory that is to bless all the heathen (Genesis 22:18) during the millennial age. The scriptures show that in that coming age the heathen will no longer be under the influence of Satan. (Revelation 20:3) The members of the seed of Abraham are — in the Scriptures — very properly called a “peculiar people”. (Titus 2:14; Luke 12:32) While there were those of faith in God's promises before Jesus arrived, the main part of the work of the selection of this seed began with our Lord’s ministry, and especially at Pentecost.

However, those who believed in Christ were, before such belief, still under the condemnation of sin, as all men. Paul says that they “were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Ephesians 1:3) They themselves needed to first be regenerated; they had to become a new creation, a creation that is not of the world that is condemned in Adam, for the world under the curse of the present "sun" of vanity cannot bring forth a new creation. (Ecclesiastes 1:9) Thus, before they could be members of that seed in the covenant made with Abraham (Genesis 28:14; Galatians 3:29), they have to first receive the blessings of the one who becomes their head in the seed of Abraham, that is Jesus. (Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18; ) Jesus is the one who is the primary one of that seed (Galatians 3:16), and, as we have seen, it is his sacrifice that counts in giving new life to the world, bringing the foretold blessings of the promise made to Abraham. Likewise, before the believer can become members of that seed so as to be co-workers with Christ in the regeneration of the world, they, themselves, must first have received the blessings that is to come upon all nations as given in that promise to Abraham. (Luke 22:20; Galatians 3:6-9) How can this be done, if those blessings do not come to the heathen until the millennial age?

The scriptures tell us that this is done through their acceptance, by faith, in Jesus’ sacrifice now. (Romans 3:25,26; 5:1) Paul tells us that this done in the manner that God calls things that are not as though they were, thus, reckonedly applying the justification through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice to them before it is applied to the world, similarly to the way it was applied to Abraham because of his faith. (Romans 4:17-25) Thus, for the new creature in this age, the old creation condemned in Adam (Romans 5:12-19; 8:20-22) is reckoned as though already passed away, and they are reckoned as of the new creation, as of that millennial age to come, when the old creation will have passed away. (2 Corinthians 5:27; Revelation 1:1-5) To become sons of God in this age, they, in effect, partake of the power of “the [millennial] age to come” (Hebrews 6:5), so that they are a certain “first fruit” of the new creation. – James 1:18.

Joint-Heirs With Christ

{Romans 8:16} The Spirit itself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God; 

{Romans 8:17} and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ if indeed we jointly suffer with him, that we may also be jointly glorified with him. -- Restoration Light Improved Version

The purpose, however, of calling people to be of the seed of Abraham, is that they may attain the resurrection from dead, being found in this age worthy of that resurrection, that they may become joint-heirs with Christ. (Luke 20:35; Philippians 3:11; Romans 8:17) While all who are accepted of God in Christ become sons of God through faith, and while all of the sons are therefore heirs according to the promise through Abraham (Galatians 3:29), not all the sons of God become joint-heirs with Christ. (Romans 8:17) Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi that he believed he had not (at the time of the writing) yet attained the “mark of the prize” of their high calling. (Philippians 3:12-14) Thus, he indicates that there are two levels of those who are justified believers: (1) those who are sons of God, but who had not yet obtained the mark of the prize, and (2) those who have obtained that mark, and thus receive the prize for which they had been called. Evidently, very few believers actually ever make the second level, and therefore only a very few actually become joint-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom. Those who reach that goal in this age, however, Jesus says will sit with him on his throne, just as he, Jesus, has overcome so as to sit down on the throne of his God. – Revelation 3:12,21.


Long and Careful Choosing


From what is revealed in the scriptures, we believe that the selecting work has since progressed, and we have reason for believing that the number of the joint-heirs is almost complete, that the time of the permission of evil for their testing in faith and obedience is nearly at an end. When completed, the joint-heirs as the bride of the lamb will be glorified as joint-heirs with Christ, to sit upon His throne. – Revelation 21:9.

We believe, then, that it is the divine purpose that these joint-heirs, now being selected from among the world shall have the spirit of Christ – the spirit of self-sacrifice, the spirit of love for righteousness, the spirit of hatred for sin – to such an extent that they will rejoice to lay down their lives with their Master, in his cause, in cooperating with Him, under His direction and guidance. Thus we believe that, while the merit was in our Lord and in His sacrifice for sins, nevertheless, the world is waiting for the completion of, and the revealing, not just of the joint-heirs with Christ, but all the sons of God, including those of faith before Christ. (Romans 8:19-22; Hebrews 11:4-40) Nevertheless, before any son of God can receive the glory of joint-heirship, they must be tested and they must become also joint-sacrificers with Christ.

In harmony with this is the scriptural exhortation, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God [in providing the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world, including your sins, and in giving you a knowledge of His grace in advance of the world], that you present your [sinless] bodies [reckoned as being given from God in heaven as new creatures, having a crown of glory on the same level as Adam before Adam sinned – Psalm 8:4,5; Luke 3:38; 1 Corinthians 15:38,39,40; 2 Corinthians 5:1; Hebrews 2:6-8] living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God and your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1) This appeal is not make to the world, but rather to those who have been called to be "saints" -- consecrated. (Romans 1:7) Therefore, we conclude that before the believer can have the glory of joint-heirship, he has to sacrifice the glory as a human that has been provided by means of the sacrifice of the Lamb.


God’s Permission of Evil

More importantly, however, before the blessings that have been secured through the sacrifice of Jesus can be applied to the world at large, it is God’s purpose to allow man to try out all of his own schemes (Ecclesiastes 7:29), which is why the scriptures tell us that God has subjected man to vanity. (Romans 8:20) Paul also stated: “we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now”. (Romans 8:22) Does this mean that God himself is the cause of all the suffering now taking place? No, but it does mean that God has lifted his protective care so that he is allowing mankind to experience what it is like to be estranged from him. It was no idle pessimistic exclamation when Solomon expressed the fact: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) He was expressing the simple truth as can be seen all around us. Further, it means that, from God's standpoint, none of Adam's race have a right to be alive, and they must die. Thus, God can and has brought about the execution of the penalty upon whom He wishes at any time (whether upon one person, or upon all individuals of a whole nation) and by any means He may choose. Mankind under that condemnation have not basis to claim any injustice when he does this.  (Romans 9:20) Nevertheless, even such destruction will be healed in the age to come. 

Nevertheless, if one has not comprehended the divine purpose behind God’s allowing the present  evil conditions, again, one might reason that God has certainly been unjust in allowing the misery and suffering of his human creation. Many have often compared God’s work in his human creation to the work of a building under construction. If one is has no knowledge of how such a building is constructed, as that one sees a crew as they begin to construct the building, it may appear that they destroying rather than building. It may appear that the building crew is in chaos, rather than working toward a common goal. Likewise, God’s wisdom is making use of the present permission of evil to teach, not only his human creation, but all present and future creation, a lesson that will stand for all eternity as a touchstone relating to any desire to again strike out into disobedience to the Creator, and try their own schemes.

At present, however, the human creation is still in the condition that Solomon expressed, when he stated:

Ecclesiastes 1:9 That which has been is that which shall be; and that which has been done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Is there a thing of which it may be said, “Behold, this is new?” It has been long ago, in the ages which were before us.

The world that was made through Jesus (John 1:10), although it was originally created upright — straight, not crooked, good – soon was taken over by the rulership of the serpent, Satan the Devil. (Genesis 1:31; 3:1; Revelation 12:9) As a result, the world of mankind in general have become the seed of the serpent (Genesis 3:15), sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 2:2) Only through faith in God’s promises have any been reckoned as having been justified – made straight – in the sight of God, He who calls things that are not as though they were. (Luke 20:38; Romans 4:3,6,17-22) Only the justified walk in a path that is different from the path of the world that is around them. (Proverbs 4:18; Isaiah 26:7; Matthew 7:13) Thus, there are two seeds that are spoken of in Genesis 3:15, the seed of the serpent, and the seed of the woman, the serpent representing Satan and His works (Revelation 12:9), the woman representing God’s promise (covenant), especially as expounded upon in God’s covenant with Abraham for a seed. – Galatians 4:22-25; Revelation 12:1,17.


The Salvation of the World

Returning, however, to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, Jesus tells us that he did not, at his first advent, come to the judge the world, but rather that he had come to save the world. (John 3:17; 12:47) The world has already been judged, as we have seen, through Adam, due to Jesus' sacrifice, the world is to saved from that judgment, and given a new judgment. (John 3:18: 1 Corinthians 5:12-19) Jesus' words recorded in John 12:47,48 show that the new judgment is not under the present conditions, but that it is reserved for last day, elsewhere called the day of judgment. (2 Peter 2:9) The prophecies speak of the promised Messiah as being a judge. (Psalm 72:2,4; Isaiah 11:1-4) Paul tells us that God has appointed a day in which to judge the world by means of the one whom he has ordained. (Acts 17:31) This is an reference to Psalm 96:13 and Psalm 98:6, wherein we read that Jehovah comes to judge the world. Thus, from Acts 17:31, we understand that Jehovah comes to judge the world in that appointed day by means of Jesus. That it is Jesus whom Jehovah has ordained can be seen from John 5:22,23.

Nevertheless, we also read that, with Jesus, the saints will also judge the world. (Daniel 7:22; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 20:4) Thus, many Bible students believe that the “man” whom God has ordained is a figurative composite man, made up of Jesus as the head and all the saints who rule and judge with Jesus as the body of the one ordained. (Romans 12:4,5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-14; Ephesians 4:12; 5:23; Colossians 3:15) Actually, however, the Greek word for "man" in Acts 17:31 is not a form of the word often transliterated as as anthropos, but rather it is a form of the word often transliterated as aner; this word can refer to human male, but it more of an honorable title. This word is used of angels in Luke 24:4 and Acts 1:10; this word appears to be also used of the church as a whole in Ephesians 4:13.

God's Perfect Way

Earlier it was pointed out that had not the divine plan made provision for a resurrection of the dead, there would have been no evening up of accounts as between those who in the present life have sought to live justly and honorably and those who on the contrary have deliberately violated right principles. But in the arrangement which we find scripturally set forth there is a provision whereby those who now seek to walk in the ways of righteousness will then find their blessing for having so done, while those who have willfully transgressed will now find a retribution. Not merely believers in Christ and consecrated followers in his footsteps have sought to stem the downward tendencies of the fallen flesh and to rise to higher and nobler conditions of mind and deed. Yet only the church, the sanctified believers, get the blessing for which the Heavenly Father is now calling the seed of faith, the peculiar people.

Even among the heathen there have been some wonderfully noble characters- Confucius, for instance, as an illustration, an example. Likewise in so-called civilized lands many noble people have never seen with clearness the reasonableness of a full faith in and a full consecration to the service of the Lord Jesus. Such, having sought to live justly and honorably in the world, will be advantaged in the coming age; they will come forth on a higher plane proportionately; mentally, morally, every way they will be superior to what they would have been had they not put forth efforts for righteousness. It still shall be required of them that they go on to perfection, but they will have fewer rungs of the ladder to climb than if they had misused their opportunities and privileges. Similarly those in the present life who have misused their opportunities, and degraded themselves and brought degradation upon others, in proportion as they knew better they will undoubtedly, as the Master declared, receive stripes or punishments, or as those of the world, will find the day of judgment to more severe. (Matthew 10:15: 11:22-24; Luke 10:12-14; 12:47,48) That is to say, they will find themselves that much nearer the foot of the ladder, and with that many more efforts necessary to be put forth to gain its topmost round, eternal life, perfection.


The Lamb of God

The expression, “Lamb of God,” is a very forceful one. Man would not choose such a symbol as Divine inspiration has chosen. Nations, clans, and tribes often choose various beasts or birds as an emblem of their particular people. Usually, however, they choose animals that ferocious and appear in masterful in some way, such a lion, an eagle, a wolf, a tiger, etc. But look at our Lord’s emblem, a meek, innocent, gentle lamb. John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, tells us that he was specially commissioned of God to bear this witness at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry -- that Jesus was the “Lamb of God,” that he was a man who was gentle, patient, without murmuring, who would die on our behalf, that we by his stripes might be healed; that through his paying for us the death penalty, ultimately the whole world of mankind would be released from death, and so many of them as will would be brought up out of sin and death conditions to the full perfection of life everlasting.

John cried, “Behold the Lamb of God.” (John 1:29) Let us behold, look upon, him -- not as many of the Pharisees and Scribes did with eyes of malice and envy and hatred. Let us look at him in the light of the Divine revelation, and perceive that he was without spot or blemish (Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19) -- that “in him was no sin” (1 John 3:5) -- that “he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” (Hebrews 7:26) How was it that all such could be found in this man?

The scriptures answer our query, and assure us that he was not born like others of the race -- that while he received his human development by means of his mother, his life itself was from above, and that by the selective processes of perfection even in his embryo condition he maintained himself in mind and every attribute perfectly. Jesus is depicted as saying that it was his God who provided his body of flesh. (Hebrews 10:5) We read that he was begotten in the womb of Mary by means of God's Holy Spirit, and that he became as man was originally, having the sinless glory that is a little lower than the angels. (Matthew 1:20; Hebrews 2:9) Thus, his body of flesh with its blood was not under the condemnation through Adam as were all mankind in general, and so, if he remained sinless, he had the offsetting price necessary to pay the wages of sin for the whole human race dying in Adam. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:2; 4:10) His life itself, however, did not start in the womb of Mary; the scriptures tells us that he had been a mighty one with Father long before the world of mankind had been made through him. (John 1:1-3; 17:1,5) He was the firstborn Son of God before the world mankind had been made through him. -- Job 3:4-8; Colossians 1:15.

Thus, it was that Jesus was the only one who could become the symbolic "Lamb of God" for the purpose of taking away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) The more we look into the divine word the more astonished are we with the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the love and wisdom, justice and power of God which are being revealed to us through his Son and through the great plan of salvation. Truly, we should bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus (Ephesians 1:3), and give honor to His Son for his obedience while in the days of flesh, remained obedient to God, by which he provided the means for our salvation. -- Romans 5:8; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 5:7.

Who Offers the Lamb in Sacrifice to God?

{Isaiah 53:10} Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him. He has caused him to suffer. When you make his soul an offering for sin, he will see his seed. He will prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah will prosper in his hand. -- Restoration Light Improved Version.


It has been claimed that Isaiah 53:10 shows that it was Jehovah (Yahweh) who offered up his son in sacrifice. Thus, it is claimed that since other scriptures show that Jesus gave himself in sacrifice for our sins (Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 5:2,25; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; Titus 2:14), that Jesus is therefore Jehovah (Yahweh). Definitely, Jesus did not give himself to himself in sacrifice to himself. He offered himself to the "one God" of 1 Corinthians 8:6. -- Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:14.


If Jehovah had not given His Son to become flesh, with a sinless human soul as a offering for sin, then we would not have any sacrifice for sin, as has already been shown in the study above. It was Jehovah who provided Jesus with a body of flesh with its blood so that it could be an offering for sin, but it was Jesus himself who offered up that body of flesh to Jehovah for our sins.


Nevertheless, it is also true that Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 3:14,15), often speaks of things that he allows, or permits, as being his work. Thus, we read, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11) Did Paul mean that God Himself would personally delude people? No! The statement is made in the sense that God permits Satan to delude people, as can be seen from 2 Thessalonians 2:9. The one person who is the Lord Jehovah of Isaiah 61:1 is the source of the offering; Jesus is the means by which the offering is made. -- 1 Corinthians 8:6.


There are many scriptures that show that Jehovah takes credit for what many of servants do. (Exodus 3:10,12; 12:17; 18:10; Numbers 16:28; Judges 2:6,18; 3:9,10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:24,25; 14:6,19; 15:14,18; 16:20,28-30, 2 Kings 4:27; Isaiah 43:11, 45:1-6; etc.) No one seems to think that these servants of Jehovah are Jehovah.


Likewise, we read that Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, but we also read that Jehovah led the children of Israel out of Egypt. (Exodus 3:7-10; 12:51; 16:22; Deuteronomy 32:12; Acts 7:36) Moses, as a type of Jesus, was the instrument that Jehovah used; Jehovah is the source. Thus, we read:


Psalm 77:20: You [Jehovah] led your people like a flock, By [by means of] the hand of Moses and Aaron.


Hosea 12:13 – By [by means of] a prophet Jehovah brought Israel up out of Egypt, And by [by means of] a prophet he [Israel] was preserved.

In the same way that Jehovah provided Moses to deliver Israel, so he also has provided His Son to deliver us from sin. This does not mean that Jesus is Jehovah (Yahweh).

It was Satan who, through his lie to Eve, led man into sin. (Genesis 3:1-6) It was man who sinned, and brought death into the world. (Romans 5:12) And we read that God turns man to destruction, and yet, he also brings them out that destruction. (Psalm 90:3) This God did by preparing a sinless body of flesh for his Son to offer, to offset the sin of Adam. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Hebrews 10:5,10) Thus, it was God who provided the sacrifice, but it was not God who offered up the sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:2.

The sacrifice itself had to be that of a sinless man, not God, since it was a man — not God — who sinned. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; 1 Timothy 2:5,6) To prove God just (Romans 3:26), that sacrifice could not be “God in the flesh” as some claim, for if the man was “God in flesh”, it would have proven that Adam would have needed to have been “God in the flesh” in order to obey God. (Genesis 2:17) Since Adam was certainly not “God in the flesh”, such an offering of “God in the flesh” would have, therefore, justified — rather than condemn — sin in the flesh. – Romans 8:3.

Nowhere do we read that God “gave himself” to God for our sins, or that God offered the lamb to himself for our sins. Rather than proving that Jesus is Jehovah, the fact that Jesus gave himself as a the man Christ Jesus to God (Ephesians 5:2; 2 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 9:24; 10:10,12) for our sins shows that Jesus is not Jehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. – Exodus 3:14,15; Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Acts 3:13-26.


Was Jesus His Own Shepherd?

It is being claimed that Jesus was the Lamb of God, and that therefore Jesus was his own Shepherd and was his own sheep. In the expression, “the Lamb of God”, the word “God” designates only one person, and the Lamb is designated as being of that one person. We read, “to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all [literally, “the all”]” (1 Corinthians 8:6) Jesus, as the Lamb “of” God, is therefore “of” the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and therefore being the Lamb “of” Jehovah, it is Jehovah who is his shepherd. Indeed, as we have pointed out before, in Psalms 23:1, David is prophetically relating the words of the Messiah, in that is the Messiah who states, “Jehovah is my shepherd.”

Thus, the Lamb of God is led by his Shepherd -- his God and Father -- through God’s spirit. – Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1.

The Lamb of God always obeys his Shepherd (John 8:29), is therefore spotless, without sin. – Hebrews 4:15; 2 Peter 1:19.

The Lamb of God was obedient to the words – the voice – of his Shepherd even to the point of death. – Isaiah 53:17; John 15:15; Acts 8:32; Philippians 2:8.

It is claimed that Jesus was the Shepherd of Israel. We can agree that Jehovah did send His son to be the "one shepherd" of His people, Israel, if that is what is meant. – Ezekiel 34:23; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6.

The sheep of Jesus are given to him from the one person who is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Acts 3:13. Jehovah, in effect, is the Most High Shepherd; Jesus, as opposed to the false shepherds, is the “genuine” (Greek, transliterated, Kalos, Strong’s #2570) shepherd appointed over the sheep by the Most High Shepherd. The Most High Shepherd Jehovah shepherds His sheep through, by means of the genuine shepherd whom he has appointed. — Psalm 23:1; 96:13; 98:9; Ezekiel 34:2-24; John 5:22,23; 10:11-17,29; Acts 10:42; 17:31; Romans 2:16; 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 8:6; 2 Corinthians 5:10.

However, only a remnant of Israel proved to be sheep in this age (John 1:11,12; Romans 11:5), thus God turned his attention to the Gentiles to call out a people for His name. -- Acts 15:14.

Did Jesus Become One of His Own Creation?

It is claimed the Shepherd, Jesus, became one of his own sheep; since, it is claimed, that in John 1:10, it is clear that Jesus is presented as becoming one of his own creation..

John 1:10 states:

He [the Logos] was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn’t recognize him.

Actually, there is nothing in John 1:10 that says that Jesus became one of his own creation. John 1:10 is clear that Jesus came into the world of mankind that God made through Jesus, that is true. It does not say that he became one of his own creation; elsewhere, however, we are told that Jesus is not of this world that was made through him, nor are those who become new creatures in Christ of this world that was made through him. – John 8:23; 15:19; 17:14,16; 2 Corinthians 5:17.

If Jesus had been a part of this creation, then he would have been under the same condemnation that this world has come to be under. – Romans 5:12-19.

Likewise, the new creature in Christ is not of this world, else the new creature would also be condemned in the sin of Adam. – John 3:18; 17:14,16; Romans 5:6; 8:1.

Additionally, if Jesus did become a part of the world that was made through him (John 1:10), he would have been under the same subjection to vanity that this creation has been subjected to, and he would be just as crooked as all other men, and he could not have justified himself. – Ecclesiastes 1:1,14,15; 7:13; Romans 3:20; 8:20; Galatians 2:1

Nevertheless, Jesus, while in the days of his flesh, did take on the outward appearance of being a slave to sin, in that he suffered as though he was under the same condemnation as all mankind, as though he were under the bondage of corruption, and yet proving himself obedient even to death, that he might pay the wages of sin for Adam and all who are dying in Adam. – Philippians 2:6-9.

If Jesus had become part that creation, he would have then been under that condemnation; he would have been “made” a sinner as all mankind (Romans 5:19), and he could not therefore have been an offering for sin. Jesus, therefore, did not at all become part of the creation that had been made through Jesus, but rather it was his God who prepared a body for him apart from world that had been made through him, and he was begotten in the womb of Mary without the taint of Adam’s disobedience. (Matthew 1:20; Hebrews 1:10) His being created as a new human creation, in other words, was actually totally apart from that creation that had come into existence through him, for, since God has subjected that old creation to vanity, there is no new creation that can come from that source. – Ecclesiastes 1:2,9,10,13-15; 8:20.
See also:
The Seed of David



The Slain Lamb


One tells that Jesus is still the Lamb in heaven after he was raised. Evidently, in some vague manner, this is presented to make the claim that Jesus is still a human being in heaven. Such an idea would mean that Jesus took back his sacrifice, or else that God gave back to Jesus that which he had sacrificed.


Of course, the word “Lamb” is a symbol, not actually Jesus Himself. Jesus is not literally a “lamb”, neither while he was in the days of his flesh, nor after his resurrection. John the Baptizer used the masculine form of the Greek word for “lamb”, “he”, in reference to the symbolism of a Lamb that was yet to be sacrificed; in the Revelation, however, the Greek form used for the word “lamb” is neuter, “it”, rather than “he”. Jesus was raised from the dead, not in the flesh, but in the spirit (1 Peter 3:18); nevertheless, Jesus was still himself, and he was the figurative lamb, but he was then the lamb that had been slain. – Revelation 5:6.



We read:
Hebrews 10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good to come, not the very image of the things, can never with the same sacrifices year by year, which they offer continually, make perfect those who draw near.
Hebrews 10:2 Or else wouldn’t they have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers, having been once cleansed, would have had no more consciousness of sins?
Hebrews 10:3 But in those sacrifices there is a memory made of sins year by year.
Just as the sacrifices made each year continued to typically cover sins for each year, so the sacrifice that Jesus gave of his human body is eternal, as we read:
Hebrews 10:10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Hebrews 10:12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever.

Thus, Jesus is forever the symbolic lamb that was slain for our sins, the lamb representing the sacrifice that Jesus gave once. Just as the passover lamb could still be referred to as the passover lamb even after it had been slain, so Jesus is the eternal lamb that was slain, for there is no more sacrifice for sin. (Hebrews 10:26) Jesus will never die again, so he is not pictured in Revelation as the lamb that is to give himself for the sin of the world, but rather an the lamb that was slain for the sin of the world.

Nothing in this means that God gave back to Jesus what Jesus sacrificed; the sacrifice itself was Jesus’ human soul, his human body, his human flesh, his human blood. Indeed, he has no reason at all to retain being a human being, since there is no need of any more sacrifice for sin. Thus, “Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin.” (Hebrews 9:28) He does not appear as a human being, since he has already “offered one sacrifice for sins [his human body – Hebrews 10:10] for all time,” (Hebrews 10:12). Indeed, we read, “there remains no more a sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:26) Thus, there is no need for Jesus to retain the body that he sacrificed. But as figure, he is now the lamb that was slain.



Does this mean that Jesus will never appear again in a physical form? We cannot answer this either yes or no; we can only say that, as best as we can determine from what God has revealed through his spirit by means of the Bible, we see nothing that indicates that he will ever again he been seen in his former body, since, after his ascension, Jesus presented his body and its blood (representing his human soul) to his God and Father in heaven. Thus, if Jesus appears again in physical form, we should not expect that he would take back what he had sacrificed, but that he would appear in a form of man in the same way that angels did so as we find recorded in the Bible. Those angels, being spirit creatures, were not actually men, but they had appeared in a human form, and thus, because they appeared as men, were called “men”.

Related:

By Ronald R. Day, Sr., Restoration Light Bible Study Services

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