The National Labor Tribune December 13, 1914


Q' Does the Bible teach Universal Salvation?

Answer' The Bible does clearly teach that because of the disobedience of Adam the judgment of death came upon all, and that it is the will of God that all men shall be saved and brought to a knowledge of the Truth (Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Tim. 2:3-6). The death of Jesus was for the benefit of all men; as we read, "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man." Thus we see that the redemption of the human race is universal, and that the coming to a knowledge of the Truth of what the Lord has done for mankind will be universal, and the purpose of this is that all may have one fair trial for eternal life. But there the universal feature ceases, because eternal salvation is promised only to the "willing and obedient." In the present Age the Church is on trial, and the willingly obedient ones will have eternal life; as we read, "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." During the reign of the Messiah in the incoming Age, all who did not have a trial during the present Age must then have an opportunity for life, the Word stating, "God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness, by that man (Christ) whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). Then "it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear (obey) that Prophet (Christ) shall be destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:23).

Q' Why is it that quite good people are great sufferers, invalids, etc. Who is responsible for all the distress and suffering in the earth?

Answer' No difficulty more frequently presents itself to the inquiring mind than this. Certainly God is not responsible, for he is a God of love merciful and gracious, long-suffering, kind even to the unthankful, abundant in goodness and truth. The guilt lies at Satan's door. He is the god of this world, God having permitted him, for wise reasons, to usurp authority. Through Satan's temptation Adam fell, was sentenced to death, and so death passed upon all because in him all have sinned (Rom. 5:12, margin). Suffering and pain are concomitants of death, and because all are involved in condemnation to death, these have passed upon all, good and bad alike. "The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge" (Eze. 16:2). Many aggravate their sufferings through their own sin, and bring additional pain on others. But death and sorrow are the lot of all through heredity. God has provided, through the death of his Son, for a release from the grave for all who have suffered through Adam. "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22). Before the promised return from the grave takes place the Kingdom of Christ will be established, and Satan will be bound. Then it will be possible for all to realize the wisdom of God in permitting the long reign of evil. It will be observed how suffering has been useful in the formation of character, in restraining from further wickedness, and in showing the intense sinfulness and hatefulness of sin. Everyone admits that experience is the best teacher.

Q' In what sense can the death of one man become the ransom price for millions of people, if apparently justice demands an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?

Answer' The Apostle Paul answers the question in Romans 5. In verse 12 he says: "As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, in whom (margin) all have sinned;" and in verses 18 and 19, "As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." Adam alone was a perfect man. His sin was willful. Without weakness of mind or imperfection of under-standing he sinned against the light. All other sin has proceeded from this first transgression. Because of it man has been born mentally and physically weak, unfit to resist temptation, often imbecile and insane. All that was necessary, therefore, for the satisfaction of the claims of justice, was that one perfect man should be found who was willing to take the place of Adam, and die on his behalf. If Adam could be legally set free all who were involved in his condemnation would be entitled to liberty as well. Jehovah found a ransom in his own Son. Our Lord Jesus Christ left the glory which he had with the Father, and "was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death*** that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:9). He was, like Adam, a perfect man the only other perfect man the world has yet seen therefore it was possible for him to become the ransom (corresponding price) for all, so that "As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:21).

Q' In Josh. 24:2 we read that Abraham's forefathers "served other gods;" then in Gen. 25:8, that Abraham "was gathered to his people." Does this mean that Abraham and his heathen ancestors went to the self-same place?

Answer' Yes. All go into one place, "Sheol," the condition of death, and their organisms return to the dust (Eccl. 3:20). While they are in the death condition they know not anything (Eccl. 9:5; Psa. 6:5; 146:4; Isa. 63:16); they praise not the Lord (Psa. 115:17); they are to come out of that condition (Psa. 90:3; 104:29-30; John 5:28-29). "Gathered unto his people" means to join his ancestors in death. Joseph explains it in this way (Gen. 49:29-33; 50:5).

Q' How can Satan be bound with a chain? See Rev. 20:1-3.

Answer' The entire book of Revelation is symbolic, figurative. The woman, wonderful beasts, voices, thunders, lightnings, etc., are figurative illustrations of great truths. So with the chain that is to bind Satan. It will not be a chain of iron or gold, but his binding will be a divine restraint of his evil power. As light dispels darkness, so knowledge overcomes ignorance, and truth destroys error. Satan has been deceiving the nations and people for [HGL638] centuries past, but when he is restrained "he will deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years be ended." During the period of restraint "the knowledge of the glory of God will fill the whole earth as the waters cover the deep."

Q' Will you please explain 1 John 2:15, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him," and harmonize the latter part with John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Answer' This quotation has reference not to the race of mankind, nor to the physical earth, but to the order, methods, and institutions, as clearly shown in the next verse. These are all to pass away (verse 17), in order to make way for the "world to come" (Heb. 1:6; 2 Pet. 3:6) a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness, contrasted with the "present evil world" of which Satan is the god (2 Cor. 4:4) or prince. The latter term was applied to him by our Lord (John 14:30). It is very evident to every child of God that he is not to love the evil order of things, and our Lord prayed (John 17) that such should be kept from the evil not taken from the world. James tells us that friendship with the world is enmity with God, and we would understand this friendship to mean sympathy with the general principles that govern the world at the present time. John 3:16 refers to the love of God for the lost world of mankind, the human race which was condemned in Adam. He so loved the race that he gave his only begotten Son to redeem it. Jesus tasted death for every man. He gave himself a ransom for all (see Rom. 5:18). So, while the Lord's followers are exhorted to set their affections on things above and not on things of the earth, they are also instructed to do good unto all men, and to love even their enemies, those who would do them a wrong.

Q' In 1 Pet. 4:6 we read that the Gospel was preached to them that are dead; Isa. 38:18 says: "They that go down into the pit, cannot hope for thy truth." Can you harmonize these texts?

Answer' The Scriptures do not apply the word "dead" exclusively to those who are in their graves. The whole world is dead "in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1), and Jesus said to one who desired to be a disciple: "Let the dead bury the dead" (Luke 9:60). Mankind are all dead in the sight of God, being under condemnation in Adam. The Lord's own people are also dead. Though alive unto God, they are dead to the world, to sin, and to themselves. They are "buried with Christ by baptism into death," "planted together in the likeness of his death" (Rom. 6:4, 5), and the Apostle declares in Col. 3:3: "Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." It is to the latter class Peter refers in the above passage. The Gospel has been preached to them that are dead, so that while the world judges them as in the flesh, like other men, the Lord judges them in the spirit according to the intention and desire of their hearts. Isa. 38:18 is part of Hezekiah's prayer of thanks when he recovered from his sickness. Those in the grave have no hope. In that very day that man's breath goeth forth "his thoughts perish" (Psa. 146:4). There is no "work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave" (Eccl. 9:10). The dead are asleep, unconscious. Though the living have hope on their behalf, and may understand and delight in the truth as God is pleased to unfold it, the dead "know not anything" (Eccl. 9:5). If it were true that God tortures his enemies eternally, the atrocities of the dark ages might be lauded as supreme manifestations of Christian virtue.

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