The National Labor Tribune April 29, 1915


Q' If death is the gateway from earth to heaven why does the Apostle Paul speak of it as an enemy in 1 Cor. 15:26?

Answer' Death is not the gateway to heaven, but the gateway to the tomb, and a state of unconsciousness (Psa. 6:5; 115:17; Eccl. 9:5). The gateway to heaven is through the "Resurrection," and the Apostle is showing that if there is to be no resurrection, there will be no hereafter (1 Cor. 15:18). But the resurrection of the dead is made possible through the death and resurrection of Christ. We get our reward at the resurrection (Luke 14:14). Death is an enemy, and will hold its victims until such time as our Lord returns, when he must reign to put all enemies under his feet, and death is one of those enemies.

Q' If the eternal torment theory be not correct, where are the dead who die out of the Lord?

Answer' The Scriptures most positively state that the dead are DEAD! All who have died are fallen asleep, i. e., they are in the death state or condition, waiting for the Lord at his second advent to call them forth from their graves by his resurrection power (John 5:28, 29). That the dead in Christ even are unconscious until the resurrection is taught in 1 Cor. 15:16-18. The thought in this last cited passage is that the dead remain in their present condition until they are raised from the dead. If there were to be no resurrection, they would, of course, remain in the "perished" state. Since Christ Jesus has been raised, death is now termed a sleep, because an awakening in the resurrection is promised. Those who died outside of Christ are in the same condition. The only hope of future life is in resurrection. This has been secured for all; and so there shall be a resurrection. (See 1 Pet. 2:9 ,Rom. 6:23 ,Psa. 37:20 ,Psa. 145:20 ,Eccl. 9:5-10). "Perished" cannot possibly be made to mean "preserved throughout eternity." The whole question is a matter of life and death; life to the obedient, no life to the disobedient; and the decision in both cases is eternal.

Q' Does the Psalmist refer to himself as being "born in sin," or does he apply this to all children?

Answer' The Psalmist is here recording the common lot, "for all have sinned" and therefore "death reigns" (Rom. 5:12, 17-19). Death is the inevitable result of sin, hence the fact that all die is proof that all are "born in sin." This is sometimes called "original sin," for it originated with the first man, Adam, who deliberately sinned by disobedience in the Garden of Eden, as the Apostle declares: "By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men" (Rom. 5:12). There the matter would have rested, and not one of the race could ever have escaped from the prison-house of death, but for the Heavenly Father. His love and wisdom had foreseen the end from the beginning and had provided a Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who laid down his life as a ransom for the original sinner, and all in him. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Cor. 15:22). When the final triumph of Christ's kingdom over sin and death is complete (1 Cor. 15:25), then will be seen by all the redeemed, the ineffable love of God the Designer of the plan of redemption and of Jesus Christ the willing agent in its execution. "Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto Him. . . and unto the Lamb." (Rev. 5:13).

Q' Kindly explain John 6:53: "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." [HGL710] Answer' All the human race, through Adam's transgression in Eden, lost life (Rom. 5:12). From God's standpoint they are legally dead as the following texts show: Matt. 8:22; 2 Cor. 1:9, 5 :14. It was a perfect human being who sinned and as a result brought death into the world. Consequently, if man were to be released from this condition, a perfect human being must be found willing to die on behalf of the race (John 3:16), for nothing less could be accepted to take away sin (Heb. 10:4). Our Savior fulfilled this requirement by becoming a man (John 1:4) and offering his flesh as a ransom a corresponding price for all, the testimony to be given to all in due time (John 6:51; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6). All who would have life must accept it at Christ's hands, for he is the one who sought and found that which was lost, and he will give it to all who shall obey him. Therefore, to our understanding, John 6:53 means that only those who appropriate to themselves the benefit of the sacrifice of Jesus will have eternal life; the remainder will be destroyed, as this gift of life will not be forced upon any (Rom. 6:23; Acts 3:22, 23).

Q' If there are only two salvations, the Little Flock and those restored by the end of the 1000 year reign of the Christ, on what plane is the Great Company, spoken of in Rev. 7:14. As they are on a lower plane than the Little Flock would not that make three salvations? Are both the Little Flock and the Great Company one?

Answer' It is not proper to think of salvations to a certain plane. In distinguishing between different salvations, the point to be considered is the process. In describing the world's salvation by restitution processes our Lord speaks of it as a resurrection by judgments (John 5:29). The Little Flock alone is referred to in Rev. 20:6 as having part in the chief resurrection. The life resurrection of John 5:29 includes all who will come forth to immediate perfection of life. The Great Company is included in this. They have their testings and developments in this life and will each perfection of character, although through unfaithfulness they fail to carry out their covenant of sacrifice. Their life will be forced from them in the time of great tribulation (Rev. 7:14) because they fail to give it up in sacrifice. The world will not thus come forth to perfect life but must be raised up by processes of judgment. The judgments of the Lord will teach them righteousness when the Royal Judges wield their sway throughout the earth (1 Cor. 6:2; Isa. 26:9). The Great Company will be different from the Little Flock in that they will have the spirit nature. Apparently they will share the angels' nature and work.

Q' I wish you would explain for me the meaning of 1 Tim. 2:5, 6, "Christ Jesus gave his life a ransom for all, to be testified in due time;" especially the RANSOM FOR ALL.

Answer' The word "ransom" here signifies an exact corresponding price, and pertains to the entire human family. Adam, the father of all the race, was created a perfect man with the right to eternal life, subject to his rendering obedience to God. He disobeyed God, and the judgment of death was passed upon him, and as a result death passed upon all of Adam's descendants (Rom. 5:12). The only way man could be redeemed was by the death of another perfect man as Adam's substitute. Jesus became a man perfect, holy, harmless, and without sin for the very purpose of redeeming or ransoming man, and to this end he "tasted death for every man" (Heb. 2:9). Our Lord, as a man, was the exact equal of Adam before he sinned, hence he was qualified to ransom or redeem the human race. As a perfect man he met the requirements of Justice. The man, Adam, sinned and forfeited life. The man, Jesus, exactly corresponding to the perfect Adam, voluntarily gave up his life as a ransom for Adam and all of his descendants. Since Jesus died for all, in God's "due time" all men must be given a knowledge of the truth concerning this ransom work of Jesus, and an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, and those who do accept and obey shall be restored to what Adam lost. "Times of Refreshing shall come from the Lord, and he shall send Jesus Christ, whom the heavens must retain until the Times of Restitution. For Moses said unto the fathers, 'A Prophet shall God raise up unto you from amongst your brethren, Him shall ye hear in all things; and it shall come to pass that the soul that will not obey that Prophet shall be destroyed from among the people'" (Acts 3:19-23).

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