The World's Redemption

Chapter 19 - The Judgments of God and the Dispensation of Rewards and Punishment

This is a subject which is closely associated with the resurrection, in certain aspects of it, the antagonism between good and evil, and the ultimate destruction of the devil. A correct understanding of one will yield the same of the others. It is a subject which has both a general and a specific aspect, and we will investigate the former first.

The word "judgment" is variously employed in the Scriptures; and it is translated from several different Hebrew and Greek words. The meanings of these words are, the power of discerning, of sifting matters as to right and wrong; discretion; punishments; ruling on a throne; judicially and officially deciding and decreeing in matters of law; sometimes the words mean the commandments of God; and there is one of the words which stands for throne and judgment seat. We will examine a few examples. When Jeremiah was sent of the Lord to condemn the wickedness of Israel, he said, "And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness" (Jer. 1: 16). Here the word stands for God's decree of punishment. Isa. 34: 5--"For my sword shall be bathed in heaven; behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment," a case where the word means punishment to be visited. Isa. 26: 9-- "Yet, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early; for when thy judgments are in the earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." Here it stands for God's righteous government through Christ, which will teach and guide the people of his reign in the ways of the Lord. Hence the same prophet says, "Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice" (chap. 9: 7). Ezek. 34: 16--"But I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment." Here the word means vengeance or dire punishment. In this sense of the word we may view God's proceedings against His enemies in past ages; in His judgment upon the antediluvians, upon Sodom and Gomorrah, upon Babylon, Greece and Rome; and upon Jerusalem. In some instances there have been special judgments upon individuals, as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, Ananias and Sapphira.

As it has been in the past, so it will be in the future. God's Judgments will be poured out upon the world generally and, no doubt, specially upon some obnoxious individuals, in the latter days of this dispensation, when He will "bind the kings with chains, and the nobles with fetters of iron; to execute the judgments written" (Ps. 149: 8, 9). This is the time Jesus speaks of in the words, "But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matt. 24: 37). Judgments in this sense of the word have overtaken nations and people without any definite revelation of the time or epoch wherein to look for them in advance. From a finite point of view they seem to have depended upon circumstances as these would arise. For instance, Abraham was told that four hundred years would elapse before his descendants should enter the land of promise; and the reason given is that "the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." God's judgments always waited till justice and mercy could no longer forbear; and when the iniquity of the nations became full, as the Saviour said to the Jews, "Fill ye up the measure," then the judgments were poured out. In some cases they would seem to come from natural causes, as in the case of the Romans punished by the Saracens; one nation was brought against another by some complications arising between them. Without the aid of Scripture, such occurrences are viewed only as "in the natural order of events;" but why does "nature" so "order" is a question which cannot be answered with God and the Bible left out.


Upon the principle of the lesser being involved in the greater, the apostle Peter divides the world's week into three grand periods; first, the Antediluvian age; second, the Jewish and Gentile times; and third, the millennium. These he speaks of as "the world that then was," "the heavens and the earth which are now, and the new heavens and earth wherein dwelleth righteousness." At the end of these there is a filling up of the measure of iniquity universally, and a consequent pouring out of divine judgments--in addition to all the incidental visitations upon cities, nations and individuals. A recognition of these facts and truths will show that God's hand is always at work in the affairs of men and nations, using "natural means" to carry out his purposes, it is true, but using them nevertheless. While allowing nations to act according to their own volition, He has in His own mind the limit; so that when that is reached He declares, "Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther;" and so, like Abraham, we may be sure that "the God of the earth will do right." Justice will be guarded by Him who alone is the judge of what justice is, and who alone is to be satisfied with what is done.


The degree of responsibility has been of a special character with God's chosen people, the Jews, because He had delivered them from bondage and entered into covenant relation with them, under a law specially imposed upon them. Hence He says, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore will I punish you for your iniquities" (Amos 3: 2). This high responsibility arose from the contract or covenant entered into at Sinai (Ex. 24: 3-7). This responsibility, however, only reached the affairs of national and natural life. It was a responsibility which belonged to the covenant which "was added" to one of a higher character which alone imposed responsibility to judgment beyond the present life. Every Jew was responsible to the "added covenant" (Gal. 3: 19), and "every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward" (Heb. 2: 2); but the "everlasting covenant," which began in Eden and was more fully revealed in the Abrahamic covenant, was of a higher character, imposing higher responsibilities and consequent greater rewards for faithfulness. Since the Mosaic covenant was temporal and temporary its rewards and punishments were limited to this life; and since the Abrahamic covenant was an "everlasting covenant" (Heb. 13: 20), its rewards and punishments are beyond this life and are either eternal life or the "second death," which will also be eternal.

All the children of Israel were under the Mosaic covenant; but they were not all under the Abrahamic, for the reason that the first was a matter of law only, imposed unconditionally upon those born under it naturally, while the second was one of conditions predicated upon the one faith, reaching beyond this life and dependent upon being "born again" and becoming "new creatures," mentally, morally and relatively. The subjects of this "everlasting covenant" were therefore under the two covenants--the one which was a "schoolmaster" to lead to the other, and that one which the schoolmaster led to; the former has Moses for its head, the latter has Christ. There was no special ceremony under the Mosaic covenant attending the passing of a person from responsibility to the law only, to that of the Abrahamic covenant. The former brought its subjects "nigh to God" as compared with the other nations who were "far off" (Eph. 2: 13) and they were thereby constituted His people and were commanded to worship Him, offering prayers and singing praises for His marvelous works. This placed them in such a relation to God as imposed obligations upon them to accept the gospel, the Abrahamic or the "everlasting covenant" as soon as the "schoolmaster" opened their eyes to see it; and it would seem that this enlightenment only was what transferred them to the higher responsibility. Hence when Jesus "came to His own" He could make a claim of them that could not apply to those who had not been brought into the covenant obligations which made the Jews "nigh." To them, therefore, He says, "He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him; the words that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day"--John 12: 48. They had been divinely forewarned and prepared by careful instructions. The law had kept Christ before them in all its institutions; so that all that they could ask for as evidence that Jesus was that one who was the end of their law, their sacrifices, their all, was that he show his credentials and give such evidence that he was "that prophet" as could not be set aside. This demand was fully met, and therefore Jesus said to them, "If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin; but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father"--John 15: 24. "If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but now they have no cloak for their sin"--verse 22. The result was that the nation was guilty of breaking the Mosaic covenant and was visited with severe judgments in the fearful vengeance which accompanied the destruction of Jerusalem; and their enlightenment being limited to the Mosaic covenant, they received "a just recompence of reward;" but those whose enlightenment, forced upon them though it may be, transferred them from Moses to Christ, will yet have to pass under the judgment which belongs to the "everlasting covenant."


"The day of judgment" is a phrase which, with most people, means "the end of the world," when it is supposed that every human being will be brought before the judgment seat of Christ. Even from the popular point of view, this is very inconsistent; for if the good are separated from the bad at death, and one is sent to heaven and the other to hell, what is the judgment for? As Tyndall said, "If the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good case as the angels be. And then what cause is there for the resurrection?" And we might add, what cause is there for the judgment? The law upon which the judgment seat of Christ is based is the gospel. This judgment must not be confounded with the judgments to come upon the people of the world at large, in whose case there is nothing to show that there will be a formal judgment seat. They will be dealt with as cities and nations have in the past. "All judgment having been committed to the Son," Jesus will be the executor of God's will in all the judgments, whether it be in pouring out vengeance, judicially declaring the rewards and punishments of his household, or ruling according to judgment and justice in his kingdom. These different judgments must be kept distinct. The largest part of the Adamic race will have suffered the judgments of God and have gone down to the grave to come up no more, as we have seen in a previous chapter; but the living nations that will have filled up the measure of their iniquity at the time of Christ's return will be the subjects of divine vengeance, and all who will not yield to the "Son, when his wrath is kindled but a little," will be "dashed in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Ps. 2: 9-11); while those who will submit to the King of all the earth will be spared to be the first mortal subjects of the kingdom of God.


There is to be "the judgment seat of Christ," at which "the law of the spirit of life" will be the criterion. This is entirely a different judgment from those we have been reviewing. It is not for all the world; but for those only who have "works" good or bad to be judged, "works" which have been done during a probationary life in which the question involved is the reward of eternal life, or the penalty of the "second death." The Greek word used for this judgment is different from those employed for the judgments we have considered. It is not krima or krisis, but it is bema. It occurs twelve times in the New Testament. In Acts 7: 5 we have bema podus, meaning foot-step. In Acts 12: 21 it is rendered "throne"-- "Herod * * * sat upon his throne and made an oration." In the other ten cases it is rendered "judgment" and stands for a judgment seat, an institution for formally trying cases according to established law.

Matt. 27: 19--"And when he (Pilate) was set down on the judgment seat," etc.

John 19: 13--the same as the foregoing.

Acts 18: 12--"And brought him (Paul) to the judgment seat."

Acts 18: 16--"Drove them from the judgment seat."

Verse 17--"And beat him before the judgment seat."

Chap. 25: 6--"Sitting on the judgment seat."

Verse 11--"I stand at Caesar's judgment seat."

Verse 17--"On the morrow I sat on the judgment seat."

These passages clearly show the specific meaning of bema, that it applies only to what in our days is called a court of trial. The other two occurrences of the word are as follows:

II. Cor. 5: 10--"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things in body, according to that he hath done, whether good or bad."

Rom. 14: 10--"But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at naught thy brother? for we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."

The difference between this "judgment" and the visitation of "judgments" upon persons and nations who have "filled up their measure of iniquity," and who are not on probation under the law which is to be the criterion for this "judgment seat of Christ," may be illustrated by the customs of civilized nations. When barbarians of uncivilized parts of the earth offend a civilized nation, by some cruelty or depredations, the "judgment" is manifested in the arbitrary use of the sword. Punishment is meted out, either in the destruction of the barbarians, or in such a severe visitation of vengeance as will be deemed sufficient intimidation against a recurrence of the offense. The offenders are not formally brought before the "judgment seat" of the civilized nation, for the simple reason that its law is not a criterion in such a case. But with its subjects, who are under, and thereby responsible to, civil law, in case of offense, there is a formal "trial at the bar," or to use the Scripture term, "the judgment seat."

The bema, or judgment seat of Christ, may be likened to a judge deciding the merits of contestants in a race. He watches their conduct carefully, and when, after the race is over, they appear before him, he decides who of those under the law of the race course have run lawfully, and who have run unlawfully. The latter he rejects and they are driven from the judgment seat for punishment, while the former are rewarded according to the degrees of merit. Onlookers, or the world at large, who never entered the race, and who therefore never passed under the law of merit or demerit within the sphere of this institution, have no standing, either for good or for bad, before this "judgment seat."

Now, to all who are running the race for eternal life, the Apostle Paul says, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside the weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."--Heb. 12: 1, 2.


The world of mankind having forsaken the ways of God, and, like Cain, become as "fugitives and vagabonds" under the curse of God, the plan of salvation, which reflected divine righteousness and love, could reach only comparatively few of the fallen, wicked mass. The faculties of the race having become debased, and the plan of salvation having been adapted to reach the minds and hearts of such only as could and would respond, humbly, intellectually and morally, "from the heart," it was of necessity a question of "taking out of the nations a people for his (Jehovah's) name"-- Acts 15: 14. In the Christian dispensation this "taking out" is effected by belief of the gospel and baptism into Christ. Those who comply with his law of "adoption" become "children of God," "new creatures," "servants," "virgins," "saints"--all names which distinguish them from the "world" from which they have been "taken out." They enter upon a new life, under new conditions, the moment they are symbolically "born again," when they are "born of (out of) water." To these Jesus says, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John 15: 19). These are the people who are in the world, but not of the world, and who are represented in the parables of our Lord, for example: the parable of the nobleman (Luke 19: 12-27). Jesus is the "nobleman;" those "taken out" of the world by the gospel are the "servants" who are given "talents;" and it is according to the use of the "talents" intrusted to them that they are to be judged when the Lord returns to call "these servants" unto him.

Now it is this "judgment seat" (bema) that is spoken of in Rom. 14: 10. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things in body according to that he hath done, whether good or bad." This judgment seat is not, of course, to enable the judge to try the subjects in order to discover whether they are worthy or unworthy; nor is it that he might decide the degrees of worthiness or unworthiness, for from the time their "names are enrolled in heaven" till they have finished their probation he watches over them tenderly, sympathizing with their infirmities, interested in their behalf; and he is "long-suffering towards them, not willing that any should perish." This judgment is therefore "to declare every man's work of what sort it is."


There are two classes whose theories stand in the way of a scriptural understanding of the doctrine of resurrection and judgment. One class, and by far the larger, the popular class, regards the doctrine as of universal application, and claims that in the "last day," which they call the "end of the world," all the dead will be raised to judgment and the final destinies of all the sons and daughters of Adam will be declared, the wicked being consigned to a hell of eternal torture, and the righteous to a heaven of eternal happiness. The other class believes that only the good will be raised, and that their judgment is only to award them according to degrees of merit. Included in this class are some who believe that only the righteous will be raised at the coming of Christ, and that the wicked will be raised at the end of the millennium. In order to rightly divide the word of truth in relation to these theories, it will be necessary to carefully consider


From the fall of man in Eden, by which he passed under "the law of sin and death," whose sentence was, "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return," until Christ had triumphed over death and the grave by perfect obedience to "the law of the spirit of life," the doctrine of resurrection and judgment was an unsolved problem, and made dependent upon Christ. "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead" (I. Cor. 15: 21). The "law of the spirit of life" is the gospel, and the gospel is the "everlasting covenant," or the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants combined. What is true of the "everlasting covenant" is likewise true of the gospel, and of "the law of the spirit of life;" for they are but different terms expressive of the same thing.

Since it is true that the everlasting covenant could not come into full force until it had been ratified by the shedding "of the blood of the everlasting covenant" (Heb. 13: 20), and since the everlasting covenant, and the law of the spirit of life, and the gospel are all one and the same thing, it follows that the realization of the plan of redemption, expressed in these different terms, depended upon Christ's successful performance of his mission--his obedience through a life of probation and his voluntary sacrificial death, which would insure his resurrection by the Father. Jesus would thus become the resurrection (anastasis) and the life (John 11: 25).

Now in the gospel there are first principles involving resurrection, judgment, eternal life, and inheritance in the Kingdom of God for the faithful, and eternal death for the unfaithful. Since the bringing into effect of the whole depended upon Christ, necessarily the bringing into effect of the parts depended upon Him. Had He not fulfilled His mission, resurrection and judgment, as involved in the gospel, or the everlasting covenant, as well as the other "first principles," would have remained practically an unsolved problem, and it could not have been said that "By man came also the resurrection of the dead" (I. Cor. 15: 21).


There are always two modes of Divine procedure; one is governed by a revealed and fixed law, the other is arbitrary, incidental and exceptional. Revealed law comprises all that God has decreed and declared to be the rule of action in the different dispensations of the world. That part of it which is directly related to the subject in hand is the law of faith and obedience, which might be termed an intellectual and moral law, which is the law of the gospel. The other mode of Divine procedure is according as the right, the power, and the prerogative of the Creator may see fit to do at all times with His creatures, every thing so done being necessarily right because God's arbitrary will as seen in action, in any and all cases, is the ultimate standard of right, since, by reason of His attributes, He can do nothing but what is right.


To illustrate the two modes of Divine procedure, we may observe that it is a rule of the moral and intellectual law, which is the gospel, that natural or Adamic death will not be suspended or neutralized in the children of God till a set time, namely, the time of the "judgment of the quick and the dead;" and God has decreed that He will Himself observe and act according to his rule of the law He has enacted. Nevertheless He has made two exceptions to this rule in the cases of Enoch and Elijah. It is also a rule of divine procedure to allow men to live this natural life without any interference, except from disease, old age, or accident; but by His arbitrary right God has many times interposed by that mode which we have termed exceptional and incidental, an example of which will be seen in the sudden infliction of death upon Ananias and Sapphira. These exceptions are variations from the rule, and this is what we therefore term that mode of divine procedure which is arbitrary, incidental, and exceptional.

It is necessary to distinguish between these two modes in order to understand how God could raise some to life in past ages and yet predicate the resurrection upon His Son being an "Holy One" as the reason why "his soul would not be left in Hades." All such cases of resurrection must be distinguished from and kept outside of that law which has decreed that "since by man came death, by man was also to come the resurrection of the dead."


Christ's emergence from the grave (his anastasis or standing again in life) and his receiving eternal life, depended upon his "holiness" as an intellectual and moral power wherewith to solve the problem of resurrection, or whereby the "Key of Hades and of death" would be formed--a key that would fit the lock hitherto never fitted since the day the door was closed by that "key" represented in the words "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return;" "By man came death." It was this moral and intellectual power, that of belief in and perfect obedience to "the law of the spirit of life," that Jesus meant when he said, "I have power to lay down my life and I have power to take it again." This "power" to lay down his life did not mean suicidal power in the physical sense; neither did the "power" to take it again mean physical or dynamic power; for in this respect Jesus was as powerless to raise himself from the dead as is any other dead person. "God raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead," but he did so because Jesus had obtained the power intellectually and morally which rendered the exercise of the Father's miraculous power consistent with his own law upon which resurrection "by man" was predicated. This was what constituted Jesus "The resurrection and the life."

In proof of the principle laid down that the resurrection and the judgment was an unsolved problem till Jesus solved it by his resurrection, we have only to carefully examine the meaning of a few testimonies already alluded to, but which I will here place more fully before the reader:

John 11: 25--Jesus saith unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in (into) me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.

Acts 2: 24--Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that HE should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him. I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand that I should not be moved: therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also, my flesh shall rest in hope, because thou wilt not leave MY soul in hell (hades), neither wilt thou suffer thine holy one to see corruption.

I. Cor.15:21--For since by man came death; by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

Heb. 13: 20--Now the God of peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect, etc.

Rev. 1: 18--I am he that liveth and was dead; and behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen; and have the key of hell (hades) and of death.

Now the first passage must mean that Jesus is the resurrection according to a plan and a law which did not operate in the incidental cases of resurrection which had taken place before his time.

The second passage predicated the resurrection of Christ upon the "impossibility of his being holden of death" on account his being a "holy one," which was the reason why "his soul was not left in hades," implying that if he had not been a "holy one" his soul would have been "left in hades," and therefore the resurrection would have remained an unsolved problem.

The third passage ignores all cases of resurrection previous to Christ's, and must refer to the resurrection within the scope of "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus;" otherwise the words, "By man came also the resurrection of the dead," would not be true.

The fourth passage declares that Jesus was brought again from the dead through the blood of the everlasting covenant; and this implies that had he not voluntarily and obediently offered the blood of the everlasting covenant there would have been a lack of that upon which his resurrection was based, and in that case "his soul" would have been "left in hades," and, again, the resurrection would have remained an unsolved problem.

The fifth passage shows that the resurrection depended upon a "key of hades," and that key was Christ's "holiness" under "The law of the spirit of life," and that was the key which gave Jesus the "power" to "take up his life again" after having laid it--the same life--down; and that is the key that will open hades for all who come within the scope of "The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus" as declared in the words, "And if Christ be not raised * * * then they also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished" --I. Cor. 15: 17, 18.

Now here we have a line distinctly drawn between those who will be in the resurrection and amenable to the judgment seat according to the law of faith and obedience, which governs the divine procedure with all who enter upon probation, and those who are not on probation. The federal head of the first is Christ; the federal head of the second is Adam. God's dealings with the first are according to a revealed law of probation, judgment, rewards and punishments; His dealings with the second are first through the "powers that be," second by an arbitrary, incidental and exceptional interposition. "The powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works but to the evil" (Rom. 13: 1-7).

Since God has in the past dealt with some arbitrarily, incidentally and exceptionally, He, doubtless, will do so in the future, His intention to do so having been clearly declared in some particulars, such, for instance, as the visitations upon the nations which are to besiege Jerusalem; and His special visitations may in some cases be by resurrection and subsequent punishment, in all of which "The God of the earth will do right," His arbitrary action necessarily being right.


The means of coming within the scope of the law of resurrection is in the plan of "adoption" to "sonship," "reconciliation," "atonement," "citizenship," which is in Christ and not in Adam. The law of the spirit of life "is a court," as it were, in which the sinful, figuratively called "naked" children of Adam have no more standing, no more identity, than has a minor in a court of law. "A minor is not known in court," so Adamites are not known in the court of the "law of the spirit of life" or the gospel. That which will cause names to be enrolled in heaven, and consequent cognizance of life as probationary for a second life or a second death is induction into Christ who is the resurrection. The "form of doctrine" which God has provided whereby we may become related to the law of resurrection is a form analagous to death, burial and resurrection. Hence the Apostle Paul earnestly appeals to us in the words, "Know ye not that so many of you as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death; that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection"--Rom. 6: 3-5. Previous to the making of the one offering, provision was made for covenant relation with God by means of typical sacrifices. The covenant was made "firm over dead victims," whose blood had been shed sacrificially. But since the death of Christ, the covenant sacrifice, baptism is the "form of doctrine" which inducts "into the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit," "the only name given under heaven whereby we must be saved" which is the name of Jesus Christ, who was a manifestation of the Father by the Spirit in the Son.

Since the result of the probation of all who come into covenant relationship with God is not declared before the time of the "judgment of the quick and the dead," the resurrection of the faithful and the unfaithful probationers is a necessity, as well as the "gathering together unto him," Christ (II. Thes. 2: 1), of those who "are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord" (I. Cor. 15: 51; I. Thes. 4: 14). That this resurrection is confined to those who have been of the household of God, on probation, will be seen by the parables of our Lord, where he represents them as "virgins" wise and foolish; "servants" faithful and unfaithful; "fish" in the gospel net, good and bad, etc. It is these two classes the apostles write to in their letters, not to the world at large; but to the Ecclesias (called-out ones) in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, etc. They are the "called-out ones" because they have come out of the world, having passed through the "waters of separation" in baptism, in which act they have witness that they are the children of God by the testimony of the "spirit (word), the water and the blood," which "agree in one" to effect the adoption of sonship (I. John 5:7-8). By "rightly dividing the word of truth" we shall thus see that the established law of resurrection and judgment reaches those only who have come under that law, while cases of resurrection past or future not predicated upon the everlasting covenant must be viewed as subject to God's action independently of that law, and for a different purpose, since the question of judgment on the basis of probation does not belong to those who have not passed from the constitution of death in Adam to the constitution of life in Christ.


Now this discrimination will enable us to harmonize many apparently conflicting passages of Scripture, some emphatically declaring that a large part of the human family will never be raised; others declaring that all will be raised. It is only by an observance of the word "all" and its limitation to the law governing those it includes that the difficulty can be removed, and the popular error of universal resurrection corrected. Any interpretation which does not harmonize the general teachings of the Scriptures must be faulty; for He who inspired the Scriptures is a God of law and harmony to perfection.

The testimonies relied upon to prove universal resurrection are the following:

Luke 20: 37--Now that the dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush, when he called the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob for He is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto Him.

John 5: 28--Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

I. Cor. 15: 21-22--For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

II. Cor. 5: 10--For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things in body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Rev. 20: 12--And I saw the dead small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works, and the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell (hades) delivered up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works.

In these passages emphasis is put upon the words "all live unto him," "all that are in the graves," "we must all appear," "in Christ shall all be made alive," and "the dead, small and great."

If the word "all" here pertains to the class we have defined as under the law of the resurrection which is governed by that mode of Divine procedure which is based upon intellectual and moral law, wherein the subjects are on probation, then the word "all" can be taken as absolute in that relation, and the passages will not contradict many others which speak of a large part of the human race who will not be raised. Following are some of the passages which so declare:


Nevertheless, man being in honor, abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. * * * Like sheep, they are laid in the grave: death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.

But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me.--Psa. 49: 12-15.

O Lord, our God, other lords [rulers] beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. They are dead, they shall not live: they are deceased, they shall not rise; therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them and made all their memory to perish.

Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake, and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead--Isa. 26: 14, 19.

In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not awake, saith the Lord of hosts.

And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep and not awake, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.--Jer. 51: 39, 57.

For as many as have sinned without law shall perish without law; and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law.--Rom. 2: 12.

These passages need no comment. All the reader can do is believe them: for they cannot be "interpreted" to mean anything but what they say. They show that those they speak of go down to hell or hades, or the grave, to come up no more. The abnormal increase of the children of Adam's race is the result of the curse which came by man's fall, as will be seen by the words, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception" (Gen. 3: 16). The sentence passed upon all those in Adam, as the federal head of the race, was, "Dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return;" of which the Apostle Paul says, "And so death passed upon all men" (Rom. 5: 12), and "By man came death" (I. Cor. 15: 21). Had man been left under this "law of sin and death" without God interposing in his behalf, death would have been his destiny without the possibility of escape from the grave--unless God by His arbitrary right should see fit to make special exceptions to manifest His power, or for other incidental reasons. But as a rule an irrevocable grave would have been man's portion.


Since it was by a moral and intellectual test and a failure under that test that man brought upon himself death and the grave, so it was decreed that resurrection should be based upon a moral and intellectual test in which there should be success. Adam the first is the federal head of all who are in him, and return to the dust in him; but Christ is the federal head of all who are in him, die in him, and return to the dust in him. And since he has established, ratified, and brought into force the law of resurrection in himself all who are in him are thereby in the resurrection or anastasis by reason of his having become "the resurrection and the life." Hence the words, "For as in Adam all die; even so in Christ shall all be made alive." The "all" in each case is qualified by the "in;" for "in Adam" men are not "in Christ," these being terms expressive of federal relationship; and since Adam's legacy is death and dust, without resurrection, no one can be the subject of the resurrection which came "by man," even Christ, unless a change of relationship has taken place. The line is therefore drawn between "the law of sin and death," on the one hand, and "the law of the spirit of life," on the other, leaving any case of resurrection that might take place in the future as outside of this in the sphere of Divine prerogative, but assured, however, by the testimonies given that such cases will be small exceptions to those wherein the largest part of the "multiplied conception" will like "sheep be laid in the grave, and death shall feed on them;" and of whom it will be true in the future as it was when the prophet Isaiah said: "They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise; therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them and made all their memory to perish."

By properly drawing the lines of divine law, therefore, the seeming conflicting passages are found to be in perfect harmony, every testimony fitting its place. But the blessed thought for us is that God has sent His Son to be the resurrection and that He has provided a means whereby we can have the privilege of reconciliation with Him and enter upon probation in which, if we continue faithful to the end, there is not only resurrection, or anastasis, but the life, the "power of an endless life." With such a privilege there is great responsibility, because to bear the Yahweh name is to be identified with Yahweh, and that great and glorious name will be honored by us according as we are faithful or unfaithful. Those who continue faithful to the end of their probationary career will finally triumph over death and gloriously shout:

"O Death where is thy sting?
O Grave where is thy victory?"
Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


The other class of errorists are those who limit resurrection to the righteous only, including those who believe that only the righteous of the "called-out ones" will be raised at the coming of Christ; and that they will emerge from the grave immortal; but that the unfaithful of the "called-out ones" will be raised at the end of the thousand year's reign of Christ, for punishment. To a large extent, scripture evidence will apply alike to these shades of difference. They start with the assumed premise that the righteous emerge from the grave immortal, and consequently the judgment of these cannot be to declare them worthy or unworthy of immortality; therefore it must be limited to the dispensation of rewards according to degrees of merit only.

The following testimonies clearly show that the judgment of God's household is for the separation of the good from the bad; and that, therefore, they must necessarily all appear for judgment together; also that immortality will be bestowed upon the approved after judgment and that, therefore, they will not emerge from the grave immortal:

Dan. 12: 2--And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

John 5: 28--The hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Rom. 2: 6-16--God will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory, honor and immortality, eternal life; but unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, indignation and wrath * * * in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

I. Cor. 3: 13-15--Every man's work shall be made manifest; for the day shall declare it of what sort it is, etc.

Rom. 8: 11--But if the spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.

II. Cor. 5: 10--For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things in body according to that he hath done, whether good or bad.

The first passage says that both good and bad will awake "at that time," a phrase which cannot mean two times separated by a thousand years. One class come forth "to everlasting life" and the other to "shame" etc., which shows that judgment intervenes between the coming forth and the rewarding of one class and the punishing of the other.

Since the passage in John is substantially the same, the same remarks apply. The passage in Romans declares that eternal life is rendered to the well-doers and wrath to the disobedient "in the day when God will judge," etc.

In I. Cor. 3, those who are brought into the truth, and therefore built upon the foundation, which is Christ, will be as gold, silver, and precious stones, on the one hand; and as hay, wood and stubble on the other. These are to be tried as by fire in "the day" that is to "declare every man's work of what sort it is."

II. Cor. 5 shows that all who appear before the judgment seat of Christ are to receive good or bad, according to their works. The "good" must be eternal life in contrast with the "bad," eternal death; for these terms could not be applied to degrees of reward for the good only. All that the faithful will receive will be "good," and the degrees might be expressed by good, better and best.

The passage in Rom. 8 proves that the good will first appear in "mortal bodies," and that these will be "quickened." This gives no place, therefore, to the theory of "immortal emergence from the grave."

The word "resurrection" comes from the Greek word anastasis, which means "a standing again." It is sometimes used for standing again in mortal life; it also applies to that state to which the righteous attain in the future life. This is its meaning in Luke 20:35, while in Acts 24: 15, where it applies to "just and unjust," it must mean a standing again in mortal life. This distinction is observed by Jesus when he says, "I am the resurrection (anastasis) and the life" (Zoe). He will be the resurrection to the "just and the unjust;" but he will be the life of the "just" only. The Greek word zoe is nearly always used for eternal life. Again in John 5:21--"For as the Father raiseth up the dead and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will."

The theory of immortal emergence is based upon a misunderstanding of I. Cor. 15: 42--"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body." The word "raised" here must not be confined to raising out of the grave only. The analogy employed by the apostle, that of raising grain, must be kept in mind, and the word "raised" allowed sufficient scope to comprise the entire process, when those exalted to the glorious resurrection state will have been "raised spiritual bodies," a process which allows for the fulfillment of other Scriptures, which clearly show a judgment between the time of emergence from the grave and the immortalization of the faithful. Let all, therefore, who put on the great and fearful name of Yahweh realize the responsibility devolving upon them in bearing that name without reproach throughout a diligent and faithful probation, and then they may feel assured that their appearing before the judgment seat of Christ will be to receive the approbation of a just and merciful Judge, who to all will exclaim, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."