World's Judgment Day
hath appointed a Day in the which He will judge the world."—#Ac
it is not today fashionable in civilized communities to worship
images; and yet in another sense it is still fashionable. To a
great extent idolatry still prevails throughout the civilized
world, but in a different form from that of old. No longer do
we bow before wooden images, but before inward images—the
images of our minds, our mental aspirations—with some, wealth
and fame; with others, ease and pleasures; and with still others,
the creed idols of our forefathers—miserable misrepresentations
of the true God.
Paul on Mars Hill preached Jesus and the resurrection—Jesus
as the Redeemer from the death sentence, making possible the resurrection
of the dead by satisfying the demands of Divine Law against the
sinner—the resurrection as the means or agency through which
the blessing of the Savior’s death will reach Adam and all
the families of the earth. As we follow St. Paul’s thought
we shall surely be blessed by his view of the Gospel.
the Gentiles, the Apostle explains that for a long time God had
"winked" at polytheism and image worship, "but
now," he says, "God commanded all men everywhere to
repent." Let us note the meaning of these words. How did
God "wink" at sin and idolatry? And does He still "wink"
at it? And why did He change and when did He begin to command
all men to repent?
answer is that for four thousand years idolatry prevailed and
God "winked" at or took no notice of it.
did not "wink" at the idolaters dying in their ignorance,
and say to the devils, "Take these poor creatures who know
no better! Roast them to all eternity!" Nothing of the kind.
Our forefathers merely imagined that, and by false reasoning convinced
themselves, and twisted some texts of Scripture which they did
not properly understand in support of this theory; and then they
handed it down to us to our perplexity and to the testing of our
faith in God.
"winked" at idolatry and sin for four thousand years
in the sense of not noticing it, making no comment on it, sending
no reproofs, leaving the heathen in their ignorance. The only
exception to this was God’s dealings with the little nation
of Israel. To the Jews He gave a Law Covenant which offered eternal
life on the condition of their thorough obedience to the Divine
Law, the measure of a perfect man’s ability, which they
were unable to comply with; and hence they died the same as did
the heathen. All went to the Bible hell—to the tomb—to
sheol, to hades, the state or condition of death—an unconscious
state, a "sleep."
was in no haste, however. Over four thousand years elapsed before
Jesus was born, and thirty years more before He began His ministry.
Had it been true, as some aver, that millions for all those centuries
were blindly stumbling into eternal torture for lack of a Divine
revelation, we may be sure that our gracious God would not have
left them without it. Who can think of a just and loving God as
winking at the going of millions of His creatures to eternal torture?
But since they merely "fell asleep" in death, He could
very well "wink" at the matter in view of His future
plans, as we shall see.
fact is that no release from death could possibly be made until
the Redemption-price had been provided for the original sin under
which they were condemned to death. This is the Apostle’s
argument, viz., that "now God commandeth all men everywhere
now implies that He did not command men previously to repent;
and the reason why He did not do so is manifest; for all the repenting
they could do and all the righteous living possible to them would
not have saved them. They would have died anyway. Hence there
could have been no message sent to them; for if the messenger
had come and had said, "Repent, and live contrary to your
fallen tastes and appetites," the people might properly enough
have said, "Why? For what reason should we practice self-denial,
self-restraint? Would it bring us any blessing of everlasting
life or harmony with God?" The truthful answer would have
been, "No, because you are already under a death sentence
and alienated from God as sinners."
God merely overlooked or "winked" at the ignorance and
superstition of the period from Adam to the death of our Redeemer.
But as soon as Jesus had died, " the Just for the unjust,"
to make reconciliation for iniquity—immediately the message
went forth—God offered forgiveness and reconciliation to
those who would believe in Jesus and would accept the Divine terms.
Such have their sins forgiven. Such may come back to fellowship
with God. And, in the next Age, such may eventually attain full
human perfection by restitution processes, up, up to all that
was lost in Adam and redeemed at Calvary.—#Joh 3:16,17.
us note carefully what the Apostle says respecting God’s
appointed Day for the judging of the world.
says that the command to repent now goes forth to all men everywhere,
"because God hath appointed a [future] Day, in which He will
judge the world." The Apostle does not refer to that Day
as already begun, but as merely appointed or arranged for in advance.
He means that in arranging that "Jesus, by the grace of God,
should taste death for every man," God was arranging that
every man might have a judgment or a trial, to determine whether
or not he will be worthy of this blessing which Jesus’ death
provides him an opportunity to secure. The Day was future in St.
Paul’s time, and it is still future, because God has other
work which He purposes shall be accomplished first, before the
world’s Day of Judgment or trial shall begin.
world’s Trial Day, or period of judgment, or testing as
to worthiness or unworthiness for everlasting life, will be one
of the thousand-year Days mentioned by St. Peter, who said, "A
Day with the Lord is as a thousand years." The same period
is called elsewhere the "Day of Christ," the Day or
period of Messiah’s glorious reign. By the righteous ruling
of His Kingdom, by the suppression of Satan and sin and the scattering
of darkness, ignorance and superstition, by the shining forth
of the Sun of Righteousness with healing in its beams, that glorious
Day will bring blessing to the world in general—opportunity
for each individual to come into judgment or trial, the result
of which will be either the reward of life everlasting or the
punishment of death everlasting—"everlasting destruction
from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."—#2Th
great thousand-year Day is still future; and, meantime, the Apostle’s
words respecting mankind are still true: "The whole creation
groaneth and travaileth in pain together"—"waiting
for the manifestation of the sons of God." (#Ro 8:22,19.)
If the nineteen centuries delay in the introduction of this great
Day seems long, let us not forget that it is less than half as
long as the period which preceded—the period prior to the
coming of Jesus and His dying, "the Just for the unjust."
is the entire period long from the Divine standpoint; for as the
Prophet declares: "A thousand years in God’s sight
are but as yesterday," or even shorter, "as a watch
in the night." The six great Days of a thousand years each,
in which Sin and Death have reigned, are to be followed by a great
Sabbath of rest from evil—a thousand years of refreshment,
reinvigoration, upbuilding, restitution.—#Ac 3:19-23.
MYSTERY OF GOD"
purpose of the nineteen centuries between the time when Jesus
died as man’s Redeemer and the time when He will take His
Throne as the Restorer of Adam and his race is spoken of as a
Mystery, because the great work of grace herein accomplished is
measurably hidden from the world. The Jews do not understand it;
they expected that Messiah’s Kingdom and their own national
exaltation would have come long ago. They cannot tell now why
they have been for eighteen centuries outcast from the Divine
favor. It is a mystery to them.
Scriptures tell us who may know or understand this Mystery and
when it will be finished. They say, "The secret of the Lord
is with them that fear Him, and He will show them His Covenant."
They tell us that "in the days of the voice of the Seventh
Angel, when he shall begin to sound, the Mystery of God shall
be finished," which He hath kept secret from the foundation
of the world. St. Paul refers to this Mystery, saying that it
was "hidden from past Ages and Dispensations," and that
it "is now revealed to the saints." He explains what
it is, namely, that we should be fellow-heirs and of the same
nature with our Redeemer.—#Eph 3:6.
clearly means that the entire Church class, sometimes called "the
Body of Christ, which is the Church," and sometimes styled
"the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife," is to be sharer
with the Redeemer in the sufferings of the present life and in
the glories of the future. The nearly nineteen centuries of this
Age, therefore, according to the Scriptures, have been for the
purpose, not of giving the world its trial for everlasting life
or death, but for the trying, testing, the electing or selecting
of the Church, and her perfecting with her Lord as sharers in
"His resurrection," "the First Resurrection."
have in the past made two serious mistakes respecting the Divine
purposes. One was that we assumed without Scriptural authority
that the whole world is now on trial for eternal life, failing
to see that it is merely the elect Church, the consecrated class.
The other mistake is that we reasoned as though the Church were
part of the world and, therefore, that the trial of the Church
meant the trial of the world. But hearken to the Scriptures respecting
the Church: "Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of
the world"; "I have chosen you out of the world";
and again, "Let your light so shine before men that they,
seeing your good works, may glorify your Father which is in Heaven"
"in the day of their visitation."—#Joh 15:19;
#Mt 5:16; #1Pe 2:12.
should notice also the wide difference between the reward promised
the Church and that proffered the world. In both cases the reward
will be everlasting life.
both cases this will mean full harmony with God, because "All
the wicked will God destroy." And again we read that "Whosoever
hath the Son hath life, and whosoever hath not the Son shall not
see life." So, then, the attainment of everlasting life,
either by the Church class or by the world, will mean coming into
full harmony with the Heavenly Father and with the Lord Jesus,
by the merit of Christ’s sacrifice. It will mean a full
turning away from sin and a full devotion to God and to righteousness.—#Ps
145:20; #Joh 3:36; 5:12.
difference will be as to nature. The reward for the world will
be earthly nature, human nature, with everlasting life in an earthly
Paradise or Eden—worldwide.
never lost a spiritual or Heavenly condition through Adam’s
disobedience, nor in any other manner.
never had such a condition or nature, or a right to it, that he
could lose it. He was made man, " a little lower than the
angels." His crown of glory and honor was an earthly crown.
His dominion was over the birds of the air, over cattle and over
the fish of the sea.
which he lost Jesus gave the Redemption-price for at Calvary;
and these things lost are the very things which Jesus and His
elect Bride will restore to mankind during the thousand years
of the Messianic Kingdom. Thus we read: "The Son of man came
to seek and to save that which was lost."—#Ge 1:26;
#Ps 8:4-8; #Lu 19:10.
OF THE DIVINE NATURE
reward of the Church, eternal life, perfection and harmony with
God, will be on the spirit plane—wholly different from the
human. Man in perfection will again be a little lower than the
angels; but the Church, as the Body of Christ, will share with
her Lord in His exaltation, "far above angels, principalities
and powers and every name that is named"—the Divine
nature. This reward comes to the Church under a special covenant
of sacrifice, which the Bible specifies.—#Eph 1:21; #Ps
Church class, like her Lord, must sacrifice the earthly nature,
earthly interests, hopes and aims, and must be begotten of the
Father to a Heavenly, spiritual nature, in order to be a sharer
in the First Resurrection; and she must enter into her reward
before the Messianic Kingdom can be established for the blessing
of mankind in general—the saving of the race from sin and
the Apostle wrote that the groaning creation "waits for the
manifestation of the sons of God."
8:19.) "Now are we the sons of God, but it doth not yet appear
what we shall be [how glorious, how great], but we know that when
He shall appear we shall be like Him." Our resurrection change
will make us like the Savior; as it written, "We shall all
be changed, in a moment, in a twinkling," because "flesh
and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven."
back again to St. Paul’s words. He does not say that God
commanded the Church to sacrifice; for if sacrifice were a command
it would cease to be a sacrifice.
are God’s people commanded to present their bodies living
sacrifices, nor to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, nor to take
up the cross and follow Him. To the saintly these sacrificing
features are set forth as a privilege —as an opportunity.
If they do these things the Divine arrangement is that through
the imputation of Christ’s merit their sacrifice will be
holy and acceptable unto God, and they will be granted a share
with the Redeemer in His high exaltation—the reward of sacrifice,
of self-denial, of loving, voluntary service to God, the Truth
and the brethren.
ALL TO REPENT"
to the world in general the Lord issues a command, viz., Repent;
turn from your sins; come back to Me; seek My face; seek to know
and do My will. The basis of this command is the Divine declaration
that God’s grace has provided redemption in the blood of
Jesus, a reconciliation through His blood, and that by and by
the whole world will be on trial for life or death everlasting,
in a great Day of trial, which God has ordained and over which
Christ and the Church will supervise, as Judges.—#1Co 6:2,3.
comes to a knowledge of this great Divine arrangement through
Christ has an incentive to live righteously, soberly and godly
in this present time. Whoever hears and heeds this command is
laying up for himself a good treasure of character and preparation
for his life or death trial in the great Judgment Day of the Messianic
Kingdom. Whoever ignores this knowledge and "sows to the
flesh" will find himself reaping to the flesh further weakness,
further degradation and severer stripes or punishments in that
great thousand-year Judgment Day.
He who is our life Appears, to take the Throne, We, too, shall
be revealed, and shine In glory like His own.