Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Price of Redemption - God or Man?

Many argue that man's sin is so great, that no man, nor any created being, could not possibly pay the price to atone for sin -- that only God can pay for man's sin. Some speak of what they call "infinite sin", which according to the reasoning given, would require a "infinite" price that only God Himself could give for sin. This may sound "reasonable" to human thought, but the question is: Is such reasoning in harmony with the Bible, and with God's thoughts on the matter?

In all that was revealed by means of God's Holy Spirit through the apostles, there is nothing at all said about God's death would be needed to suffice for sin. God did not sin and bring death upon mankind, thus God's death is not required to offset sin.

What did the apostle Paul state concerning this?

1 Corinthians 15:21 For since death came by man, the resurrection of the dead also came by man.
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. -- World English.

Romans 5:12 Therefore , just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned -
Romans 5:13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
Romans 5:16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned ; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.
Romans 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:18 So then 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.
Romans 5:19 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. -- New American Standard

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
1 Timothy 2:6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. -- New American Standard.

God did not give himself as a ransom, an offsetting price, for sin, but it was the "man Christ Jesus" who gave himself
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God, in his wisdom, condemned all of Adam's offspring in one man, so that only one righteous man would be needed to pay the price for sin. That one man was not God, but was the man Christ Jesus.

Paul also wrote:

For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh. -- Romans 8:3, NAS.

Thus, if God died for our sins, what would that mean? It would mean that Christ did not condemn sin in the flesh, but rather that he justified sin in the flesh, proving that Adam would have needed to have been God in order to obey God. It is only because Jesus was indeed a human being, having the full crown of glory a little lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9), sinless -- never having fallen short of the glory of God  (Romans 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5) -- that Jesus' obedience condemned sin the flesh, and by his sacrifice of his humanity, made the way for God to remain just, while yet justifying the sinner. -- Romans 3:26.

Add to this the fact that God cannot die; if God actually died, and his being as Most High actually ceased to exist, he is still dead, for there would have been no one to raise him out such a death. Some respond to this by imagining that Jesus is both God and human, and thus claim that Jesus the human died, but God did not die, evidently not realizing that such an argument is contradictory to the argument that God had to die for sin. Nor do they seem to realize that their dogma of "dual natures/hypostatic union" has to be imagined in human imagination, added to, and read into the scriptures. The Bible never mentions such an idea.

Furthermore, one can present all the human reasoning they wish concerning the matter; yet in the Bible you will not find any thing that says that God requires that He present Himself to Himself as a offering to Himself for sin. No such idea exists anywhere in the Bible. That which God required as a offering for sin was not Himself, the price needed to offset sin was not God, but rather an obedient man to offset the first man's disobedience. The world was not condemned in God, but in man. -- 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:12-19.

It is claimed that God was offended. not man. According this reasoning, if man was offended, then man could provide the ransom.

We assume that "offended" (as used above) is meant to transgress against. This simply sidetracks the true issue of the redemptive price. Since it was God who was transgressed against, it was God, to whom the price must be paid, or given, to offset the transgression. It was a man who transgressed (committed offense) not God, that is the scriptural point, and thus the redemptive price to offset that transgression requires an obedient man, not God. -- 1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Romans 5:12-19.

Indeed, in the Bible, it is ONLY a human sacrifice that is ever mentioned as being what was acceptable to take away sin. The Bible NOWHERE says that God had to sacrifice Himself to Himself for sin. The scriptures are given above related to this, but for continuity here, we present them again, this time using Catholic translations:

1 Corinthians 15:21,22:
As it was by one man that death came, so through one man has come the resurrection of the dead. Just as all die in Adam, so in Christ all will be brought to life; -- New Jerusalem Bible translation.

1 Timothy 2:5,6:
For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and humanity, himself a human being, Christ Jesus, who offered himself as a ransom for all. This was the witness given at the appointed time, -- New Jerusalem Bible translation.

That which was required was not God to pay for the sin of Adam, but it was "man", and it was the "human being, Christ Jesus, who offered himself as a ransom for all."

If death came to many through the offence of one man, how much greater an effect the grace of God has had, coming to so many and so plentifully as a free gift through the one man Jesus Christ! -- Romans 5:15, New Jerusalem.

Again, it is by means of the sacrifice of the "man Jesus Christ" that the free gift comes.
Ephesians 5:2 WEB
Walk in love, even as Christ also loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance.

Hebrews 10:5 WEB
Therefore when he comes into the world, he says, "Sacrifice and offering you didn't desire, But a body did you prepare for me;

Hebrews 10:10 WEB
by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

He sacrificed his humanity — including his body of flesh — as an offsetting price, which sacrifice he formally presented as priest after his ascension. – - Hebrews 8:4; 9:24-26; 10:10.

Jesus sacrificed his human blood.

Matthew 26:28 – for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins.

Mark 14:24 – He said to them, “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many.

Luke 22:20 – He took the cup in like manner after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, that which is poured out for you.

Acts 20:28 – Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son. – Revised Standard Version.

Romans 5:9 – Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God’s wrath through him.

Ephesians 1:7 – in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.

However, what does blood represent? Jesus’ human soul, which is included in his sacrifice.

Leviticus 17:11 – For the life [Hebrew, nephesh - soul] of the flesh is in the blood.

Deuteronomy 12:23 – The blood is the life [Hebrew, nephesh - soul].

The human soul consists of the body made from the dust of the ground and the neshamah, activated by spirit of life as received from God. - Genesis 2:7.

Jesus did sacrifice his human body:

Hebrews 10:10 by which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Hebrews 10:11 Every priest indeed stands day by day ministering and often offering the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins,
Hebrews 10:12 but he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
Hebrews 10:13 henceforth expecting until his enemies to be made the footstool of his feet.
Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified.

Luke 22:19 He took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and gave to them, saying, “This is *my body which is given [as an offering in sacrifice to God - Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:14] for you*. Do this in memory of me.”

Yes, it was Jesus the man -- not God -- who "bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed." -- 1 Peter 2:24.

Thus, Jesus sacrificed his human flesh:

John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.
Jesus sacrificed his human soul:

Matthew 20:28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life [soul] as a ransom [price to offset] for many.

Isaiah 53:12 He *poured out his soul* to death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

He died; he was totally dead, ceased to be sentient, else there has been no ransom. His human body, his human soul, his human flesh, his human blood, was given in sacrifice. (Hebrews 10:10; Luke 22:19) Jesus’ human soul — his sentiency as a human — was given in sacrifice (Ecclesiastes 9:5) and went into into the oblivious condition of sheol, where there is no work, device, knowledge or wisdom, and wherein one cannot give thanks to, or praise to, Yahweh. (Isaiah 53:12; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; Ecclesiastes 9:10; Psalm 6:5; Isaiah 38:18) Jesus’ human blood — which represents his human soul/being (Leviticus 17:11; Deuteronomy 12:23) — was given in sacrifice. (Mark 14:24; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 9:14) Thus his soul — his being — as raised, made alive, from the oblivious condition of sheol was no longer human, but spirit, with a spiritual body and glory, not with the earthly, fleshly, physical body and glory. As a human sentiency, Jesus remains oblivious forever, since that would have been the result of the condemnation upon Adam, had Jesus not offered his human soul as the offsetting price. If, however, Jesus now has human sentiency, as man's self-proclaimed "orthodoxy" claims, then the offsetting price was not completed. The dogma that Jesus is still a human being would actually annul the purpose of Christ's coming the flesh. -- Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 John 2:2; 4:2,3; Hebrews 10:20.

Additionally, if Jesus had to be the only Most High in order to pay to God the redemptive price for sin, then this would have proven that for Adam to have obeyed the Most High, Adam would have needed to have been the Most High. This would, in effect, give justification to Adam's sin, and thereby justifying sin in the flesh, since neither Adam nor any of his descendants are the Most High. In other words, if Jesus was "God in the flesh", it would have proven that Adam would have needed to have been "God in the flesh" in order to obey God, which, in turn, would justify sin the flesh rather than condemn sin the flesh.

However, Paul wrote that Jesus condemned sin the flesh (Romans 8:3). He did this because Jesus was flesh, a little lower than the angels, just as Adam -- the first human son of God (Luke 33:8) -- had been, but instead of disobeying as did Adam, Jesus remained obedient to his God. (Romans 5:19; Hebrews 5:8) Thus, "Just as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience are many to be made upright." (Romans 5:19, New Jerusalem) It was not God's obedience to God, but rather it as Jesus' obedience as a man.

It was the man, Christ Jesus, "gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling fragrance." (Ephesians 5:2) It was the man, Christ Jesus, who "offered himself without blemish to God." (Hebrews 9:14) It was the man Christ Jesus, who "suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh." (2 Peter 3:18)  Not once do we read that God offered Himself to God.

Furthermore, in saying "to God" in above verses, it is saying that Jesus offered himself to only one person, not to three persons. "God" does not mean three persons, but rather it refers only to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who raised Jesus up as a prophet like Moses. (Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Acts 3:13-26; Hebrews 1:1,2).

Yes, scriptures tell us plainly that, although under the Law bulls and goats were offered for sin, that such sacrifices cannot actually take away sin. (Hebrews 10:4) We find next that what is needed to take away sin is a human body, which God prepared for Jesus, thus making Jesus' human body apart from the sin in Adam. (Matthew 1:20; Hebrews 10:5) That this human body was indeed what was required for sin is shown by Hebrews 10:10.  The scriptures are in full harmony in testimony that it was indeed the man, Christ Jesus, who offered himself to God as a ransom for all. -- Romans 5:12-19; Ephesians 5:2; 2 Timothy 2:5,6.

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One has claimed: "If Jesus wasn't God in the flesh, then He never might have been our Deliverance from sin." The false premise presented is that if Jesus was not God in the flesh, then he would have been "have been just like every other person who died for a good cause." Such overlooks the fact that Jesus was not born of the world that became condemned through Adam. (Romans 5:12-19) Jesus was, while in the days of his flesh (Hebrews 5:7), indeed, not of this world, even as the sons of God -- having been begotten again (born again) -- are not reckoned as being of the old creation, this world that is passing away. (John 3:7; 8:23; 15:19; 17:14,15; 2 Corinthians 5:7; 1 John 2:17) Unlike the dying world around him, Jesus' body was specially prepared by God (Matthew 1:20; Hebrews 10:5), and thus, Jesus -- although he was a man, a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:4,5; Hebrews 2:9) -- was not under the condemnation through Adam.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Basis for Atonement


Unless stated otherwise, all Bible quotations are from The World English Bible  translation.

THE doctrine of the Atonement*, or reconciliation, lies at the very foundation of the Christian religion. Having thus the most important place in theology (aside from the glorification of God), a clear understanding of this subject is very essential, and this is generally conceded amongst Christian people. Nevertheless, the atonement, though believed in, is little understood; the various ideas and theories respecting it are disconnected as well as vague; and faith built upon these disconnected and vague views of such a foundation doctrine must, of necessity, be proportionately unstable, weak and vague. On the contrary, if this important subject be clearly seen, in all the grandeur of the proportions accorded it in the Word of God, as the foundation of the divine plan of salvation, it not only will firmly establish faith, rooting and grounding it upon correct principles, but it will serve as a guide in discriminating between truth and error in connection with all the minutiae of faith. When the foundation is well established and clearly discerned, and every item of faith built upon it is kept in exact alignment with the foundation, the entire faith superstructure will be perfect. As we will show later, every doctrine and theory may be brought in contact with this touchstone, and have its proportion of gold or of dross quickly determined thereby.
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*Atonement, or at-one-ment, is based on the Hebrew word Kaphar (Strong's Hebrew #3722). This word is given several meanings: "(1) to cover, purge, make an atonement, make reconciliation, cover over with pitch (a) (Qal) to coat or cover with pitch (b) (Piel) 1. to cover over, pacify, propitate 2. to cover over, atone for sin, make atonement for 3. to cover over, atone for sin and persons by legal rites (c) (Pual) 1. to be covered over 2. to make atonement for (d) (Hithpael) to be covered" (Brown, Driver, Briggs and Gesenius. "Hebrew Lexicon entry for Kaphar". The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon".. Another related Hebrew word is Kippur (Strong's Hebrew #3725). In the New Testament Greek, the atonement is referred under the words Katallage (Strong's Greek #2643), which appears at Romans 5:11; 11:15; 2 Corinthians 5:18,19, and Katallasso (Strong's Greek #2644; Romans 5:10; 1 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18,19,20). Three other related words in Greek are Hilasmos (Strong's Greek #2434; 1 John 2:2; 4:10), Hilasterion (Strong's Greek #2435; Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:5) and Hilaskomai (Strong's Greek #2433, Luke 18:13; Hebrews 2:17). "The meaning of the word is simply at-one-ment, i.e., the state of being at one or being reconciled, so that atonement is reconciliation. Thus it is used to denote the effect which flows from the death of Christ." (Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Atonement". Easton's Bible Dictionary.)

Three Views of the Subject

¶2 There are two general views of the Atonement:

¶3 First View: What is labeled as the "orthodox" view, namely, that man, as a transgressor of the divine law, came under divine condemnation—"under wrath"; and that God, while hindered by justice from exonerating the sinner, has provided a just redemption for him, and thus provided for the forgiveness of his sins, through the sacrifice of Christ. This entire work of satisfying the claims of justice and making the sinner acceptable to God, is denominated the work of atonement.

¶4 Second View: What many have labeled as the "unorthodox" view of the Atonement (at one time represented chiefly by some Universalists, but which has since spread rapidly amongst the various church systems), approaches the subject from the opposite side: it presupposes no requirement on the part of divine justice of a sacrifice for the sinner's transgression; it ignores the wrath of God as represented in any special sentence of death; it ignores "the curse." It holds that God seeks and waits for man's approach, placing no hindrance in the way, requiring no atonement for man's sin, but requiring merely that man shall abandon sin and seek righteousness, and thus come into harmony with God — be at-one with God hence this view is generally styled at-one-ment, and is understood to signify harmony with righteousness regardless of the methods by which mankind may be brought into this state: atonement for sin being considered from the standpoint of expiation by the sinner himself, or else as unconditional forgiveness by God. From this standpoint our Lord Jesus and all his followers have part in the atonement, in the sense that they have taught and exhorted mankind to turn from sin to righteousness, and in no sin-offering or ransom sense.

¶5 A Third View: The view which we accept as the Scriptural one, but which has been overlooked very generally by most theologians, embraces and combines both of the foregoing views. Since the basic meaning of the word "orthodox" is "right view," the only true orthodox teaching is that of the Bible, God's viewpoint. The Bible doctrine of the Atonement, as we shall endeavor to show, teaches clearly:

¶6 {a} That man was created perfect, in the image of God, but fell therefrom, through willful disobedience, and came under the sentence of wrath, "the curse," and thus the entire race became "children of wrath." -- Ephesian 2:3.

¶7 {b} While God justly executed against his disobedient creature the sentence of his law, death, and that without mercy, for over four thousand years, yet, nevertheless, blended with this justice and fidelity to principles of righteousness was the spirit of love and compassion, which designed an ultimate substitutional arrangement or plan of salvation, by which God might still be just and carry out his just laws against sinners, and yet be the justifier of all who believe in Jesus. (Romans 3:26) By this plan all the condemned ones might be relieved from the sentence without any violation of God's justice, and with such a display of divine love and wisdom and power as would honor the Almighty, and prove a blessing to all his creatures, human and angelic -- by revealing to all, more fully than ever before seen, the much diversified wisdom and grace of God. — Ephesians 3:10, Diaglott

¶8 {c} It was in the carrying out of this program of atonement to the divine law for its transgression by father Adam, that our dear redeemer died, "a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." — 1 Timothy 2:6, King James Version.

¶9 {d} But the sacrifice for sins does not complete the work of atonement, except so far as the satisfaction of the claim of Justice is concerned. By virtue of the ransom paid to satisfy God's justice, a transfer of man's account has been made, and his case, his indebtedness, etc., is wholly transferred to the account of the Lord Jesus Christ, who paid to God the price necessary to satisfy God's justice, thereby releasing condemned mankind from the claims of justice. Thus Jesus, by reason of this "purchase" with his own precious blood, is now in consequence the owner, master, "Lord, of all." — Acts 10:36; Romans 14:9; 1 Corinthians 15:27,47; Ephesians 1:20,21; Philippians 2:9,10.

¶10 {e} One object in this arrangement for Adam and his race was the annulment of their death sentence, which, so long as it remained, estopped love from any efforts to recover the condemned, whose privileges of future life under any circumstances were wholly abrogated — destroyed.

¶11 {f} Another object was the placing of the fallen race beyond the reach of divine justice in its demands of death resulting from Adam's sin, and under the special supervision of Jesus, who as the representative of the Father's plan proposes not only to satisfy the claims of justice, but also undertakes the instruction, correction and restoration of so many of the fallen race as shall show their desire for harmony with Justice. Such he will ultimately turn over to the Justice of the divine law, but then so perfected as to be able to endure its perfect requirements.

¶12 {g} Though originally the only separating influence between God and man was the divine sentence, now, after six thousand years of falling, degradation and alienation from God through wicked works — and because of ignorance, superstition, and the wiles of the Adversary — and because the divine character and plan have been misrepresented to men, we find the message of grace and forgiveness unheeded. Although God freely declares, since the ransom was accepted, that he is now ready to receive sinners back into harmony with himself and to eternal life, through the merit of Christ's sacrifice, nevertheless, due to the blinding and deceptive influence of Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 12:9; 13:14; 18:23), the majority of mankind are slow to believe the good tidings, and correspondingly slow to accept their conditions. Some have become so deluded by the sophistries of Satan, by which he has deceived all nations (Revelation 20:3), that they do not believe that there is a God; others believe in Him as a great and powerful adversary, without love or sympathy, ready and anxious to torment them to all eternity; others are confused by the Babel of conflicting reports that have reached them, concerning the divine character, and thus are bewildered regarding what to believe; and, seeking to draw near unto God, are hindered by their fears and by their ignorance. Consequently, as a matter of fact, the number who have yet availed themselves of the opportunity of drawing nigh unto God through faith in the blood of Christ is a comparatively small one — "a little flock." -- Romans 3:25; Ephesians 2:13; Luke 12:32.

¶13 {h} Nevertheless, the sacrifice for sins was not for the few, but for the "many," (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45) — indeed, "for all." (1 Timothy 2:5,6) "Through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:19, New American Standard Version) And it is a part of the divine program that he who redeemed all with his own precious blood shall ultimately make known to all men, "to every creature," the good tidings of their privilege under divine grace, to return to at-one-ment with their Creator.

¶14 {i} Thus far only those of faith have been benefited by the Atonement, except indirectly; but the teaching of the Scriptures is that the saints (Ephesians 1:18; Colossians 1:26) shall constitute a "Kingdom of priests" (Exodus 19:6; Daniel 7:22,27), "a kingdom and priests" (Revelation 5:10, New American Standard Version) and they are a "royal priesthood," (2 Peter 2:9) with Christ the Royal High Priest (Hebrews 3:1; 4:14,15; 5:1); during the Millennial age this Kingdom class, this royal priesthood, shall fully and completely accomplish for mankind the work of removing the blindness which Satan and error and degradation brought upon them (2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:9; Isaiah 2:2-4; 11:9; 25:7; Revelations 21:1-5; 22:2), and shall bring back to full at-one-ment with God whosoever wills, of all the families of the earth. -- Revelation 22:17.

¶15 {j} In harmony with this is the apostle's statement that we, believers, the saints, have received the atonement. (Romans 5:11) The provision for atonement was made, so far as God was concerned, eighteen centuries ago, and that for all; but only those of faith have received it in the sense of accepting the opportunity which the grace of God has thus provided — and the rest of mankind are blinded. "The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them." — 2 Corinthians 4:4.

¶16 {k} In harmony with this thought also is the statement of scripture, that the first work of Christ in connection with his Millennial reign, will be to bind, or restrain, Satan, so that he will deceive the nations no more for the thousand years. (Revelation 20:3) We also have the numerous statements of the prophets, to the effect that when the Kingdom of God shall be established in the earth, the knowledge of Yahweh will fill the whole earth, as the waters cover the great deep, and none will need to say to his neighbor, "Know Yahweh". (Hebrews 8:11; Jeremiah 31:34) Additionally, we have the petition of the Lord's prayer, "May your kingdom come. May your will be done, as in heaven, so on earth." — These scriptures agree with what the apostle expressly declares, that God desires all men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. — 1 Timothy 2:4.

¶17 {l} Therefore, the Atonement is in two phases — the satisfaction of Justice, as well as the bringing back into permanent harmony or at-one-ment with God of so many of his creatures as, under full light and knowledge, will avail themselves of the privileges and opportunities of the New Covenant. The atonement work continues until the close of the Millennial Age, when all who have willfully and intelligently rejected divine favor, offered through Christ, "will be destroyed from among the people," with "an everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power" — with a destruction from which there will be ransom offered for, and no hope of recovery by future resurrection. — Acts 3:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:9.

¶18 {m} Then the great work of the Atonement will be completed. All things in heaven and in earth will be found in harmony with God, praising him for all his munificence and grace through Christ. (Psalm 103:19-22; 148:3-10; Revelation 5:13; Philippians 2:9-11) There will be no more dying and no more sighing, no more pain there, because the former things will have passed away (Revelation 21:1-3) — as the result of the work of the Atonement, commenced by the propitiation of Justice by our Redeemer's sacrifice, concluded by the full reconciliation of all found worthy of eternal life.

¶19 However the word Atonement may be viewed, it must be conceded that its use at all, as between God and man, implies a difficulty, a difference, an opposition, existing between the Creator and the human creation — otherwise they would be at one, and there would be no need of a work of atonement, from either standpoint. And here particularly we discern the deadly conflict that exists between the Bible and the modern doctrine of evolution as the explanation of the origin of man, which, for the past century in particular, has been permeating the faith of Christian people of all denominations, and which shows itself even in many theological schools and pulpits of Christendom.

¶20 The theory that the first man evolved from lower forms of life denies the fall of man; denies that he ever was in the image and likeness of God; denies that he was ever in a fit condition to be on trial before the bar of exact Justice; denies that he ever sinned in such a trial, and that he ever was sentenced to death. It claims that death, so far from being a penalty is but another step in the process of evolution; it holds that man, instead of falling from the image and likeness of God into sin and degradation, has been rising from the condition of lesser sentient abilities into greater levels of sentient abilities. The logical further steps of the theory would evidently be, to deny that there could be any justice on God's part in condemning man for rising from a lower to a higher plane, and denying, consequently, that Justice could accept a sin-offering for man, when there had been no sin on man's part to require such an offering. Consistently with this thought, it claims that Christ was not a sin-offering, not a sacrifice for sins — except in the same sense, they would say, that any patriot might be a sacrifice for his country; namely, that he laid down his life in helping to lift the race forward into greater liberties and privileges.

¶21 But we find that the Word of God most absolutely contradicts this entire theory, so that no harmony is possible between the scripture teaching and the teaching of evolution of man from lower forms of life — science falsely so-called. (1 Timothy 6:20, King James Version) Whoever believes in the evolution theory as an explanation of the origin of man, to that extent disbelieves the Scriptural teaching; and yet we find a very large number of Christian people vainly struggling and attempting to harmonize these antagonizing teachings. To whatever extent they hold the theory of evolution to account for how man can be, to that extent they are off the only foundation for faith which God has provided; to that extent they are prepared for further errors, which the adversary will be sure to bring forward to their attention, errors presented so forcibly from the worldly-wise standpoint that they would, if it all possible, even lead astray the elect. (Matthew 24:24*) But the elect have in the scriptures "the faith once delivered to the saints"; by God through his holy spirit to aid them to hold to the doctrine of the atonement. Having also the holy spirit, if they submit to what the spirit has revealed, they will thus be aided to guard against every item and feature of the evolution theory respecting the origin of man, for the faithful will be willing to be taught by God through holy spirit, by means of the apostles and the prophets (Luke 11:49; Ephesians 2:20; 3:5; 2 Peter 3:2), especially upon this doctrine of the atonement, which lies at the very foundation of revealed religion and Christian faith.

¶22 The Scriptures unequivocally testify that God created man in his own image and likeness — mental and moral; that man, an earthly being, was the moral and intellectual image or likeness of his Creator, a spirit being. (Genesis 1:26,27; 9:6) They declare his communion with his Creator in the beginning (Genesis 2:16); they declare that his Creator approved him as his workmanship, and pronounced him "very good," very acceptable, very pleasing; they show that the proposition of life or death was set before the sinless and incorrupt Adam, and that when he became a transgressor it was an intelligent and willful act, inasmuch as it is declared that Adam "was not deceived." They declare the beginning of the execution of the death penalty. They record the progress for centuries of the death sentence upon the race. They point out how God revealed to faithful Abraham his purpose, his intention, not at once, but later on, to bring in a blessing to the race, which he declared he had cursed with the sentence of death. -- Genesis 1:31; 2:16,17; 3:23; 1 Timothy 2:14; Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 3:17.

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Since the curse or penalty of sin was death, the blessings promised implied life from the dead, life more abundant: and the promise to Abraham was that in some unexplained way the savior who would accomplish this work of blessing the world should come through Abraham's posterity. The same promises were, with more or less clearness, reiterated to Isaac, to Jacob and to the children of Israel. The prophets also declared that the Messiah coming should be a Lamb slain, a sin-offering, one who should "pour out his soul unto death," for our sins, and not for his own. And they portrayed also the result of his sacrifice for sins, in the glory and blessing that should follow; telling how ultimately his Kingdom shall prevail, and, as the Sun of Righteousness, he shall bring into the world the new day of blessing and life and joy, which shall dispel the darkness and gloom and the sorrow of the night of weeping, which now prevails as the result of original sin and the fall, and inherited evil tendencies. Isa. 53:10-12; 35; 60; 61

The Apostle Peter, speaking under the inspiration of the holy Spirit, so far from telling us that man had been created on the plane of a monkey, and had risen to his present degree of development, and would ultimately attain perfection by the same process of evolution, points, on the contrary, a reverse lesson, telling us that Christ died for our sins, and that, as a consequence of the redemption accomplished by his sacrifice, there shall ultimately come to mankind, at the second advent of our Lord, great times of refreshing — times of restitution of all things, which, he declares, "God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:19-21) Whoever may think the Apostle Peter was preaching a doctrine of evolution, when preaching the gospel of restitution, must have closed his eyes and stopped the operation of his reasoning faculties; for if the original condition of man was that of a monkey, or if it was anything whatever inferior to our present condition, the Apostle would have been the veriest fool to hold out, as a grand hope and prospect, times of restitution, for restitution means a restoration of that condition which previously existed.

On the contrary, the Apostle's words are thoroughly out of harmony with and antagonistic to the theory of evolution, and in strictest harmony with the doctrine of the Atonement, reconciliation and restitution — in strictest harmony with the Scriptural teaching that mankind were sold under sin, and became the slaves of sin, and suffered the degradation of sin, as the result of father Adam's original disobedience and its death-penalty. Restitution, the good tidings which Peter preached, implies that something good and grand and valuable was lost, and that it has been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, and that it shall be restored, as the result of this redemption, at the second advent of Christ. And the Apostle's reference to the prophets, declaring that these restitution times were mentioned by all of them who were holy, distinctly implies that the hope of restitution is the only hope held out before the world of mankind by divine inspiration.

All the Apostles similarly pointed backward to the fall from divine favor, and to the cross of Christ as the point of reconciliation as respects divine Justice, and forward to the Millennial age as the time for the blessing of all the world of mankind with opportunities of knowledge and help in their reconciliation to God. They all point out the present age as the time for the gathering out of the elect Church to be associates with Messiah (his "royal priesthood" and "peculiar people") to cooperate with him as his "bride," his "body," in the work of conferring upon the world the blessings of restitution secured for them by the sacrifice finished at Calvary.

Mark the words of the Apostle Paul along this line: "By one man's disobedience sin entered into the world" — and death as a result of sin; and so death passed upon all men, for [by reason of inherited sin and sinful dispositions] all are sinners. The Apostle Paul quite evidently was no more an Evolutionist than the Apostle Peter and the prophets. Mark the hope which he points out as the very essence of the Gospel, saying: "God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us; much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath [E25] through him." (Rom. 5:8,9) Here is a specific declaration that the race was under divine wrath; that the saving power was the blood of Christ, the sacrifice that he gave on our behalf; and that this sacrifice was an expression of divine love and grace. The Apostle proceeds to show the work of Atonement, and the restitution which will follow as a result, saying: "As through one offense [Adam's disobedience] sentence came upon all men to condemnation [the death sentence]; so also through one righteous act the free gift [the reversal of the sentence] came on all men unto justification of life. For as through the disobedience of one man [Adam] many were made sinners [all who were in him], so by the obedience of one [Jesus] many [all who ultimately shall avail themselves of the privileges and opportunities of the New Covenant] shall be constituted righteous." Rom. 5:12,18,19

The same Apostle, in many other of his masterly and logical discourses, presents the thought that the Atonement, so far as God is concerned, is a thing of the past — finished when "we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son," while we were yet sinners. (Rom. 5:10) In this he evidently did not refer to a work accomplished in the sinner, reconciling the sinner to God, because he states it in the reverse manner, and declares that it was accomplished, not in us, but by Christ for us, and while we were sinners. Note also that in various of his learned and logical discourses he points out a work of blessing to the world, to be accomplished through the glorified Church, under Christ, her divinely appointed Head, showing that it will consist in bringing the world to a knowledge of God's grace in Christ, and that thus so many of the redeemed world as may be willing can return to at-one-ment with their Creator during the Millennial Kingdom — a restitution of the divine favor lost in Eden.

As an illustration of this point note the argument of Rom. 8:17-24. Here the Apostle distinctly marks as separate salvation of the Church and the subsequent salvation [E26] or deliverance of the world, the "groaning creation." He calls attention to the Church as the prospective joint-heir with Christ, who, if faithful in suffering with him in this present time, shall ultimately share his glory in his Kingdom. He assures us that these sufferings of this present time are unworthy of comparison with the glory that shall be revealed in us by and by. And then he proceeds to say that this glory to be revealed in the Church after its sufferings are all complete, is the basis for all the earnest expectations of the groaning creation — whose longings and hopes necessarily await fruition in the time when the sons of God shall be revealed or manifested.

Now the sons of God are unrevealed; the world knows them not, even as it knew not their Master; and though the world, indeed, looks forward with a vague hope to a golden age of blessing, the Apostle points out that all their earnest expectations must wait for the time when the Church, the sons of God, shall be glorified and shall be manifested as the kings and priests of God's appointment, who shall reign over the earth during the Millennial age, for the blessing of all the families of the earth, according to the riches of divine grace as revealed by God in his promise to Abraham, saying: "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Gal. 3:8,16,29

The Apostle proceeds to show that mankind in general, the intelligent earthly creation, was subjected to frailty ("vanity") by heredity, by the transgression of father Adam, according to divine providence, and yet is not left without hope; because under divine arrangement also, a sacrifice for sins has been provided, and provision made that ultimately mankind in general may be emancipated, set free, from the slavery of sin, and from its penalty, death, and may attain the glorious freedom (from sickness, pain, trouble, sorrow) which is the liberty of all who are the sons of God. It was from this plane of sonship and such "liberty" that mankind fell through disobedience, and to the same [E27] plane of human sonship they will be privileged to return, as a result of the great sin-offering at Calvary, and of the completion of the work of Atonement in them, reconciling them to the divine law by the Redeemer, as the Great Prophet, the antitype of Moses. (Acts 3:22,23) The Apostle also points out that the Church, which already has received the Atonement (accepted the divine arrangement) and come into harmony with God, and has been made possessor of the first-fruits of the spirit, nevertheless, by reason of the surroundings, groans also, and waits for her share of the completed work of the Atonement, in her complete reception to divine favor, the deliverance of the body of Christ, the Church, in the first resurrection. Rom. 8:23-25

These two features of the Atonement, (1) the righting of the wrong, and (2) the bringing of the separated ones into accord, are shown in the divine proposition of a New Covenant, whose mediator is Christ Jesus our Lord. When father Adam was perfect, in complete harmony with his Creator, and obedient to all of his commands, a covenant between them was implied, though not formally expressed; the fact that life in its perfection had been given to father Adam, and that additionally he had been given dominion over all the beasts and fish and fowl, and over all the earth as the territory of his dominion, and the additional fact that it was declared that if he would violate his faithfulness to the Great King, Jehovah, by disobedience, he would forfeit his life and vitiate all those rights and blessings which had been conferred upon him — this implied, we say, a covenant or agreement on God's part with his creature that his life was everlasting, unless he should alter the matter by disobedience, and bring upon himself a sentence of death.

The disobedience of Adam, and its death penalty, left him utterly helpless, except as the Almighty provided for the recovery of the race through the New Covenant, and the New Covenant, as the Apostle points out, has a mediator — God, on the one part, deals with the mediator, and not with the sinner; the sinner, on the other part, deals with the mediator, and not with God. But before our Lord Jesus could become the Mediator he must do for mankind a work which, in this figure, is represented as sealing the New Covenant with his own precious blood — "The blood of the New Covenant." (Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Heb. 7:22; 9:15-20) That is to say, God, in justice, cannot receive nor deal with the sinner, either directly, or indirectly through a mediator, so as to give the sinner a release from the sentence of death, and reconciliation to God, with its accompanying blessing, the gift of eternal life — except first divine Justice be remembered and satisfied. Hence it was that our Lord Jesus, in paying our penalty by his death, made possible the sealing of the New Covenant between God and man, under the terms of which all who come unto God by him, the mediator, are acceptable.

Reconciliation with God, at-one-ment with him, was impossible until, first, the redemption had been secured with the precious blood, that the one seeking at-one-ment might approach God, through the mediator of the New Covenant: "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." (John 14:6) It is for this reason that the highest privilege of the most favored of mankind, previous to the commencement of Christ's sacrifice, was that of "servants" and "friends" of God — none could be accorded the high privilege of sonship (with all that this implies of divine favor and eternal life), and none were thus recognized. (John 1:12; Matt. 11:11) Thus it will be seen that those who ignore the sin-offering and Justice-appeasement features of the Atonement are ignoring important and indispensable parts — primary and fundamental features. But not less do others err, who, while recognizing the sacrifice of Christ as the sacrifice of the Atonement for sealing the New Covenant, ignore a work of reconciliation toward men, by which men are to be brought, through the operation of the New Covenant, back into harmony with God.

Nor can this work of Atonement, so far as mankind is concerned, be accomplished instantaneously and by faith. It may begin in an instant and by faith, and at-one-ment may be reckonedly accomplished between the sinner and the Almighty through faith; but the scope of the At-one-ment which God purposes is grander and higher than this. His arrangement is that those of the human race who desire to return to at-one-ment with him (and his righteous law) shall be reckonedly accepted through their Mediator, but shall not be fully and completely received (by the Father) while they are actually imperfect. Hence, while it is the work of the Mediator (Head and "body") to proclaim to mankind the fact that God has provided a sin-offering, whereby he can be just and yet receive the sinner back into harmony with himself, and that he is now willing to confer the blessing of sonship and its eternal life and freedom from corruption, it is additionally his work to make clear to all mankind that this offer of salvation is a great boon and should be promptly accepted and that its terms are but a reasonable service; and additionally to this, it is the Mediator's work, as the Father's representative, to actually restore — to mentally, morally and physically restitute mankind — so many of them as will receive his ministry and obey him. Thus eventually the Mediator's work will result in an actual at-one-ment between God and those whom the Mediator shall restore to perfection.

This great work of the Mediator has appropriated to it the entire Millennial Age; it is for this purpose that Messiah's Kingdom shall be established in the earth, with all power and authority: it is for this purpose that he must reign, that he may put down every evil influence which would hinder the world of mankind from coming to a knowledge of this gracious truth of divine love and mercy; this provision under the New Covenant, that "whosoever will" may return to God. But while the great Mediator shall thus receive, bless and restore, under the terms of the New Covenant, all who desire fellowship with God through him, [E30] he shall destroy from among the people, with an everlasting destruction, all who, under the favorable opportunities of that Millennial Kingdom, refuse the divine offer of reconciliation. Acts 3:23; Matt. 25:41,46; Rev. 20:9,14,15; Prov. 2:21,22

The close of the Millennial age will come after it shall have accomplished all the work of mediation for which it was designed and appointed. And there the mediatorial office of Christ will cease because there will be no more rebels, no more sinners. All desirous of harmony with God will then have attained it in perfection; and all wilful sinners will by that time have been cut off from life. Then will be fulfilled our Lord's prophecy that all things in heaven and earth will be found praising God; and then will be realized the divine promise that there shall be no more dying, no more sighing and no more crying, because the former things (conditions) will have passed away. Rev. 21:4; Psa. 67

When the great Mediator-King shall resign his completed work to the Father, delivering up his office and kingdom as the Apostle explains (1 Cor. 15:24-28), what lasting results may we expect the great Mediator's redemptive work toward mankind to show?

It will have accomplished:

(1) The sealing of the New Covenant with his own precious blood; making its gracious provisions possible to all mankind.

(2) The reconciling or bringing back into harmony with God of a "little flock," a "royal priesthood," zealous of good works — willing to lay down their lives in God's service; who, because thus copies of their Savior, shall by divine arrangement be privileged to be his joint-heirs in the Millennial Kingdom and partakers of his divine nature. 1 Pet. 2:9,10; Titus 2:14; Rom. 8:29

(3) The reconciliation, the full restitution, of an earth full of perfect, happy human beings — all of mankind found desirous of divine favor upon the divine terms: these the [E31] Mediator turns over to the Father, not only fully restored but fully instructed in righteousness and self-control and full of the spirit of loyalty to God, the spirit of holiness and possessed of its blessed fruits — meekness, patience, kindness, godliness — love. In this condition they shall indeed be blameless and irreproachable, and capable of standing every test.

(4) The destruction of all others of the race, as unworthy of further favor — the cumberers of the ground, whose influence could not be beneficial to others, and whose continued existence would not glorify their Creator.

Thus, at the close of the Millennial age, the world will be fully back in divine favor, fully at-one with God, as mankind was representatively in harmony, at-one with God, in the person of Adam, before transgression entered the world: but additionally they will possess a most valuable experience with evil; for by it they will have learned a lesson on the sinfulness of sin, and the wisdom, profit and desirableness of righteousness. Additionally, also, they will possess an increase of knowledge and the wider exercise of the various talents and abilities which were man's originally in creation, but in an undeveloped state. And this lesson will be profitable, not to man alone, but also to the holy angels, who will have witnessed an illustration of the equilibrium of divine Justice, Love, Wisdom and Power in a measure which they could not otherwise have conceived possible. And the lesson fully learned by all, we may presume, will stand for all time, applicable to other races yet uncreated on other planets of the wide universe.

And what will be the center of that story as it shall be told throughout eternity? It will be the story of the great ransom finished at Calvary and of the atonement based upon that payment of the corresponding price, which demonstrated that God's Love and Justice are exactly equal.

In view of the great importance of this subject of the Atonement, and in view also of that fact that it is so imperfectly comprehended by the Lord's people, and in view, additionally, [E32] of the fact that errors held upon other subjects hinder a proper view of this important subject, we propose, in its discussion in this volume, to cover a wide range, and to inquire:

(1) Concerning Jehovah, the Author of the plan of the Atonement.

(2) Concerning the Mediator, by whom the Atonement sacrifice was made, and through whose instrumentality all of its gracious provisions are to be applied to fallen man.

(3) Concerning the holy Spirit, the channel or medium through which the blessings of reconciliation to God are brought to mankind.

(4) Respecting mankind, on whose behalf this great plan of Atonement was devised.

(5) Respecting the ransom, the center or pivotal point of the Atonement.
Taking these subjects up in this, which we believe to be their proper and logical order, we hope to find the divine statement respecting these various subjects so clear, so forceful, so satisfactory, as to remove from our minds much of the mist, mystery and misconception which has hitherto beclouded this admittedly important subject of the Atonement. But to attain these desirable results we must not come to these subjects hampered by human creeds or opinions. We must come to them untrammeled by prejudice, ready, willing, nay anxious, to be taught of God; anxious to unlearn whatever we have hitherto received merely through our own conjectures or through the suggestions of others, that is not in harmony with the Word of the Lord; anxious also to have the whole counsel of God upon every feature of this subject. To all who thus come, who thus seek, who thus knock, the great Teacher opens the way, and "they shall be all taught of God." Isa. 54:13
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Last update: March 29, 2009 *** We still have more to add to this document, so please check back later.