The Divine Plan of the Ages

Your word is a lamp
for my feet and a light
for my path.
Psalms 119:105

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1) For the benefit of some readers we remark that changes such as the transformation of caterpillars into butterflies are not changes of nature: the caterpillar is but the larva hatched from the butterfly's egg.
2) Sinaitic MS. omits spiritual before sacrifices.
3) Two texts of Scripture (Isa. 45:7 and Amos 3:6) are used to sustain this theory, but by a misinterpretation of the word evil in both texts. Sin is always an evil, but an evil is not always a sin. An earthquake, a conflagration, a flood or a pestilence would be a calamity, an evil; but none of these would be sins. The word evil in the texts cited signifies calamities. The same Hebrew word is translated affliction in Psa. 34:19; 107:39; Jer. 48:16; Zech. 1:15. It is translated trouble in Psa. 27:5; 41:1; 88:3; 107:26; Jer. 51:2; Lam. 1:21. It is translated calamities, adversity, and distress in 1 Sam. 10:19; Psa. 10:6; 94:13; 141:5; Eccl. 7:14; Neh. 2:17. And the same word is in very many places rendered harm, mischief, sore, hurt, misery, grief and sorrow.

In Isa. 45:7 and Amos 3:6 the Lord would remind Israel of his covenant made with them as a nation--that if they would obey his laws he would bless them and protect them from the calamities common to the world in general; but that if they would forsake him he would bring calamities (evils) upon them as chastisements. See Deut. 28:1-14,15-32; Lev. 26:14-16; Josh. 23:6-11,12-16.

When calamities came upon them, however, they were inclined to consider them as accidents and not as chastisements. Hence God sent them word through the prophets, reminding them of their covenant and telling them that their calamities were from him and by his will for their correction. It is absurd to use these texts to prove God the author of sin, for they do not at all refer to sin.

4) We may properly recognize an additional and a still broader meaning in the Apostle's words; namely, that the entire human family was included in the expression "the dead." From God's standpoint the entire race, under sentence of death, is treated as though already dead (Matt. 8:22); hence the expression "the living" would apply beyond the human family to some whose lives had not been forfeited--the angels.
5) The word nature is sometimes used in an accommodated sense, as, for instance, when it is said that a dog has a savage nature, or that a horse has a gentle nature, or is bad natured. But in using the word thus it signifies merely the disposition of the one described as compared with others, and does not, strictly speaking, relate to nature.
6) Our human bodies are constantly changing. Science declares that each seven years witnesses a complete change in our component atoms. So the promised change from human to spiritual bodies will not destroy either memory or identity, but will increase their power and range. The same divine mind that now is ours, with the same memory, the same reasoning powers, etc., will then find its powers expanded to immeasurable heights and depths, in harmony with its new spiritual body; and memory will trace all our career from earliest human infancy, and we will be able, by contrast, fully to realize the glorious reward of our sacrifice. But this could not be the case if the human were not an image of the spiritual.
7) The word nature is used in an accommodated sense when it is said of a man that he is ill-natured. Strictly speaking, no man is evil by nature. Human nature is "very good," an earthly image of the divine nature. So every man is of a good nature, the difficulty being that this good nature has become depraved. It is then unnatural for a man to be evil, brutal, etc., and natural for him to be God-like. It is in this, its primary sense, that we use the word nature, above. We are justified by Christ to a full return to all the privileges and blessings of our human nature--the earthly image of God.
8) The fact that Rome is called "the Devil" by no means disproves a personal devil: rather the reverse. It is because there are such beasts as lions, bears and leopards, with known characteristics, that governments were likened to them: and so, it is because there is a Devil, with known characteristics, that the fourth empire is likened to him.
9) The Diaglott and Rotherham's translation render this "among you," which is synonymous with "in your midst." It certainly would agree with no theory to insist that the kingdom which Jesus claimed to be about to establish would be within the hearts of the Pharisees, whom he styled hypocrites and whited sepulchres. But this kingdom, when established, will be "in the midst of" or "among" all classes, ruling and judging all.
10) The Greek word gennao and its derivatives, sometimes translated begotten and sometimes born, really contains both ideas, and should be translated by either one of these two English words, according to the sense of the passage in which it occurs. The two ideas, begetting and birth, are always in the word, so that if the one is stated, the other is always implied, as birth is the natural consequence of begetting, and begetting the natural antecedent to birth. When the active agent with which gennao is associated is a male, it should be translated begotten; when a female, born. Thus in 1 John 2:29; 3:9; 4:7; 5:1,18, gennao should be begotten, because God (masculine) is the active agent.

Sometimes, however, the translation is dependent on the nature of the act, whether masculine or feminine. Thus used in conjunction with ek, signifying from or out of, it should be translated born. So in John 3:5,6, gennao should be translated born, as indicated by the word ek--"out of water," "out of flesh," "out of spirit."

11) This same Greek word is translated consider in Acts 15:6. "The apostles and elders came together for to consider [know or understand] this matter." The same word is rendered behold in Rom. 11:22. "Behold [consider, understand] therefore, the goodness and severity of God"; also in 1 John 3:1--"Behold [consider, know, understand] what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us."
12) The words "which is in heaven" (verse 13) are not found in the most ancient and reliable MSS.
13) In this verse the words "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" are spurious. They are not found in the oldest and most reliable Greek MSS, the Sinaitic, Vatican Nos. 1209 and 1160, nor the Syriac MS. We must remember that many passages found in the modern copies are additions which do not properly belong to the Bible. Since commanded not to add to the Word of God, it is our duty to repudiate such additions as soon as their spurious character is established. The words indicated probably crept into the text by accident, in the fifth century; for no MS of earlier date (either Greek or Syriac) contains this clause. It was probably at first merely a marginal comment made by a reader, expressive of his thought upon the text, and copied into the body of the text by some subsequent transcriber who failed to distinguish between the text and the comment.

However, the repudiation of this clause is not essential to the "Plan" as herein set forth; for the rest of the dead--the world at large--will not live again in the full sense, in the perfect sense that Adam lived before he sinned and came under the sentence "dying thou shalt die." Perfect life without weakness or dying is the only sense in which God recognizes the word life. From his standpoint all the world has already lost life, is dying, and might now be more properly described as dead than as alive. 2 Cor. 5:14; Matt. 8:22

The word resurrection (Greek, anastasis) signifies raising up. As related to man, it signifies raising up man to that condition from which he fell, to full perfection of manhood--the thing lost through Adam. The perfection from which our race fell is the perfection to which they will gradually rise, during the Millennial age of restitution or resurrection (raising up). The Millennial age is not only the age of trial, but also the age of blessing, and through resurrection or restitution to life all that was lost is to be restored to all who, when they know and have opportunity, gladly obey. The process of resurrection will be a gradual one, requiring the entire age for its full accomplishment; though the mere awakening to a measure of life and consciousness, as at present enjoyed, will of course be a momentary work. Consequently it will not be until the thousand years are finished that the race will have fully attained the complete measure of life lost in Adam. And since anything short of perfect life is a condition of partial death, it follows that, although the above words are no part of the inspired record, it would be strictly true to say that the rest of the dead will not live again (will not regain the fulness of life lost) until the thousand years of restitution and blessing are complete.

14) The following words are omitted from this verse by the most authentic ancient manuscripts, viz., "of them which are saved," also "and honor." The latter words are also lacking from verse 26.
15) Spiritual Israel is never called "Jacob."
16) We mention this as an offset to the argument of some who regard the fire as literal, and who claim that the literal earth is to be melted, etc. These, to fit their theory, claim that "the people," here mentioned, are the saints, who, after the earth has melted and cooled off, will return to earth and build houses and inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them, and long enjoy the work of their hands. They consider the present few years as a training or preparation for inheriting, and forget that it would be completely lost in the aerial experiences of the thousand or more years of waiting for the earth to cool off--according to their theory. This is a serious mistake, and results from too literal an interpretation of the figures, parables, symbols and dark sayings of our Lord and the apostles and prophets. Following up the same error, these claim that there will be no mountains and seas after this fire, failing to see that all these, as well as the fire, are symbols.