January 31, 1913


Pastor Russell had crowds to hear him here today. He spoke twice. We report his discourse from the text: "These shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal." Matt. 25:46

The speaker approached his subject reverently, declaring that all mankind recognize two great facts: (1) that all are sinners, imperfect, willingly or unwillingly; and (2) that all realize the propriety of a just penalty for sins in proportion to their willfulness, knowledge being a prime factor. All this can be admitted by even those who deny that we have in the Bible an inspired message telling us the origin of sin, its penalty and the conditions governing the Divine judgment of sinners.


The Bible declares that all transgression of the Divine law is sin, and that all sin is punishable with the same penalty death. Thus Adam's disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit brought upon him the sentence of death, which by the laws of heredity he has transmitted to all mankind. All our sin and sickness, sorrow and death, therefore, come as the penalty of Adam's sin. St. Paul specifically says that by one man's disobedience sin entered into the world and death as the result of sin; thus death has passed upon all men, because all are sinners. (Rom. 5:12-19) Although men may multiply the transgressions, they cannot increase the penalty, because the Divine law has only one penalty for sin the death penalty extinction.

But Divine mercy has arranged for man's redemption by providing that Jesus should pay the penalty for Adam's sin. This He did when He offered Himself and died, "the just for the unjust." The life of Jesus, as a corresponding price for the forfeited life of Adam, guaranteed the cancellation of Adam's sin; and this means an opportunity for Adam to return to the Father's house as a son, in due time, under the assistance of Messiah's kingdom. Or, neglecting these privileges when they shall come to him, Adam would be counted as refusing the grace of God and would die the second death, from which there will be no redemption and no resurrection.

But before Adam can refuse God's grace he must be made intelligently aware of it. He could not know of it during the 930 years of his dying under the curse, because it was not yet accomplished. Christ had not yet died. Adam could not be aware of God's grace in Christ since Jesus died, because Adam has been asleep in death, wholly unconscious, waiting for the morning of the new dispensation [HGL583] and the awakening and the knowledge which will reach him then.

What is thus true respecting Adam will be true respecting every member of his posterity. They all lost God's favor and came under the curse of death, by heredity, through Adam, and the redemption of Adam will mean the redemption of all humanity, the payment of the penalty of original sin for every member of Adam's race. The setting up of Messiah's kingdom will not be for the purpose of further punishing them, for under the reign of sin and death they were already under punishment.

Having purchased mankind with His own sacrifice, our Lord will inaugurate the Messianic kingdom for the very purpose of helping mankind up out of sin and degradation, back to the perfect image and likeness to God originally bestowed upon Adam. The Millennial age is spoken of as a thousand year day of judgment, but this does not signify a judgment for Adam's sin. That sentence was pronounced 6,000 years ago.

During Christ's Millennial kingdom mankind will go on trial for judgment to ascertain whether or not, after attaining full knowledge of God, they will avail themselves of Messiah's assistance to come back into harmony with the Creator. The willing and obedient will be perfected again in the flesh and the remainder will be destroyed in the second death as followers of Satan.

The Church will be associated with her Lord in that great work of dealing with the world. In order to prepare her for that great glory and honor, her calling and election must take place in advance of the coming of the King, her Bridegroom. It must take place, therefore, before the end of this Gospel age. The Scriptures clearly teach that some will during the Messianic reign receive stripes or chastisements for their development in righteousness and that the fullest penalty, second death, will come only to willful evil doers. And here we may note the Divine arrangement in respect to all willful sins of the present life. Each willful sin makes its mark makes the conscience more calloused and the heart the more stony. In this manner evildoers treasure up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath the day of judgment, the day of just retribution.

As the doing of righteousness produces a good character, the doing of unrighteousness willfully produces an evil character, and will necessitate the more stripes, which, if unheeded, will bring upon the evildoer the second death. In this connection we can remember St. Paul's words: "Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment (the penalty), while others they follow after." (1 Tim. 5:24) Not merely the Church receives tribulation in the present time, but justice sometimes overtakes evildoers and works a measure of reformation in the present life, leaving proportionately fewer steps to be retracted in the life to come.


God has made provision for the forgiveness and reconciliation of Adam and all of his children. Some during the Gospel age are privileged to come to God through Jesus as their advocate and by becoming His true disciples to have full forgiveness of sins and full reconciliation to the Father. For the remainder of mankind God's provision is different. Divine justice will forgive the world en masse at the instance of the great Mediator, and will turn the world over to Him, that He may restore them to perfection and make it possible for them to be received back again into God's family. Thus we see that God's forgiveness is directed by principles of justice. But He commands His people that, being imperfect themselves and recipients of His mercy, they shall not attempt to deal with their fellows wholly on the basis of justice, but shall forgive one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven them. Divine mercy purposes to embrace every member of Adam's race in the glorious provision through Christ. Our text is the summing up of the parable of the sheep and the goats. Only Bible students, apparently, have noticed that this parable does not belong to the present age; but is a description of conditions which will prevail during Messiah's kingdom. This is indicated by the setting. We read: "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of his glory; and before Him shall be gathered all peoples and He shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats." (Matt. 25:31, 32) Another scripture assures us that when the Redeemer shall appear in glory, His Church will appear with Him for the accomplishment of the blessed things foretold respecting that glorious Kingdom and its work of blessing all the families of the earth.

The Lord's sheep of the Millennial age will be the willing and obedient, who rejoice to be in harmony with God. These will be gathered to the right hand of the King the place of favor. The goats, correspondingly, are placed on the left hand Messiah's disfavor, because of their persistence in waywardness so well illustrated by the goats wayward disposition.

At the close of that thousand year day of blessed opportunities the whole world of mankind will be found in either one class or the other. Then will come the final settlement. The day of Christ

is divinely appointed for the putting down of sin in its every form and the death, destruction of all who love or sympathize with sin Satan and all other wayward ones.

Jesus said to some in His day: "Ye are of your father the devil, for his work ye do." The goats will be of Satan's company, because, like him, they choose the way of sin and opposition to God, truth and righteousness. Our text might be more literally rendered: These (Satan and his followers, including the "goats" of the parable) shall go away into everlasting cutting off from life, but the righteous (the "sheep" of the parable) shall be ushered into life everlasting.

The Lord does not say that either Satan or the goats will be sent to everlasting torment, but into everlasting punishment everlasting death a death from which there will be no resurrection. They shall perish like natural brute beasts. 2 Pet. 2:12

The Greek word here rendered punishment is kolasin, which means pruning, as a husbandman prunes the dead wood from his orchard or vineyard. So Satan and all his hosts will be cut off finally from God's blessings, and be destroyed in the second death. Another use of the word kolasin in classic Greek is to restrain; as, "The charioteers" [HGL584] "restrain (kolasin) their fiery steeds." So God, through Christ, declares that the second death shall everlastingly restrain Satan and all who have his goat-like, wayward disposition, after having had full knowledge and opportunity to develop opposite disposition.

In a previous verse the same parable puts the results of the trial of the nations for life or death, during the Messiah's kingdom, in different language. It declares that the reward to the sheep will be, "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." This is the Kingdom which was originally given to Adam, but lost through disobedience.

This is the Kingdom which Jesus by obedience to the law had a right to claim for Himself, but which He sacrificed for the benefit of humanity. The Father gave to Him and to the Church, His Bride, a heavenly kingdom, not founded when the earth was founded, but "from before the foundation of the world." Messiah, during the Millennial age, will prove who of mankind are worthy of everlasting human life at the end of His thousand year reign. The Lord will deliver to God the dominion, or the Kingdom of earth. Mankind will thenceforth be responsible directly to the Heavenly Father, as we read in 1 Cor. 15:24.

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