Question. Your explanation as to how death is to be destroyed in the next age seems most reasonable, but there has ever seemed to be one scripture in the way, viz., "The child shall die a hundred years old." (Isa. 65:20.) This child must be one in process of restoration; how, then, can it die?
Answer. By reading the entire verse, especially as given in Leeser's translation, the thought will be more clearly understood. Verse 17 shows that the time referred to is under the new heavens (new ruling powers) and the new earth (mankind regenerated or brought to life again). Verse 20 reads: "There shall no more come thence an infant of few days, nor an old man that shall not have the full length of his days; for as a lad shall one die a hundred years old; and as a sinner shall be accursed he who dieth at a hundred years old."
The inference is plain. No infant shall be born to die in a few days, as many now do, but every one born in that time shall come to years of maturity. Now they die because the fathers have eaten the sour grape of sin, but if any die in that age it will be on account of their own sins, and not of their father's sins. (Jer. 31:29,30.) If he dies at all in that age, it will not be until he has reached the age of one hundred years; but he need not die if he will comply with the conditions for retaining life. If he dies at a hundred years, it will be because he is a sinner, because he will not submit to the easy yoke and light burden which is necessary for his development and perfecting. It will be his own fault, and cannot be attributed to any other. He dies for his own sin, not Adam's, and as Adamic sin has been cancelled so has Adamic death, and when he dies it is not Adamic death, but the Second death from which there is no redemption promised.
The shortest period of probation in the next age will be one hundred years. And such as refuse to make progress under those favorable conditions, will be cut off from life after one hundred years trial, but even then he would be but a lad comparatively.
But some might inquire, How will it be with those born in this age and regenerated or brought to life again in the age to come? Would the time they lived here count as part of their probation there? No, for the Prophet says, Neither shall there be an old man that shall not have the full length of his days, i.e., the full length of his days of probation, a hundred years. The old man who died, and who will be brought to life again, will have just the same chance as the infant in that age. He shall have the full length of his probation, and all who improve it may have everlasting life.
Q. Is it anywhere stated how long a time will intervene between the coming of Christ for his saints, and his coming with them to judge the world; and what will be the moral aspect of the Church and world during this period?
A. We have learned, as heretofore shown, that the coming of Christ for his saints was in the fall of 1874, and that the first work before him was the glorifying of the saints. There, the harvest time began—the separation of wheat from tares, etc. Since the fall of 1881 we learn that "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth"—blessed because they would not have to sleep, for to them the instant of death is the instant of change.
At that time we believe that the resurrection of the dead saints was due, because the living were not to be changed until first the dead are raised. (1 Thes. 4:16.) Rev. 14:13 (Diaglott) also informs us that those who thus find it blessed to die, "rest from their labors, and their works follow with them." That is, the labor and toil incident to the work here will cease, and they will continue their work untrammeled by earthly hindrances.
Of course, as soon as they are changed they are with the Lord, and like him are present but unseen, and engaged with him in the present work. This being true those engaged in the work on the earthly plane are co-workers together with them. The condition of the Church and world during this period, observation will show. "Behold," even now "the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints." (Jude 14.) Just how long it will be before the whole body of Christ is changed is wisely hidden from us to prove our faithfulness. It may be a very brief time, or it may be some years yet. Blessed is he that endureth to the end.
The theory that Jesus would divide the second advent into two parts, first to gather his saints and afterward to with them judge the world in righteousness, is a misleading theory which has gained some prominence of late years, being advanced by some people called PLYMOUTH BRETHREN. It seemed to them a necessary theory because of one truth and one error which they attempted to unite. They saw from Scripture that the Lord's coming would be as a thief unobservedly. They saw, too, that a separation of the true from the lukewarm and cold in the Church must take place, and the little flock be exalted to power before the world's trial commenced. These considerations and others led them to the correct thought, that Jesus would be present and accomplish a work for and in the Church before it would be glorified.
But we think that in holding to a visible fleshly coming of Jesus they erred, and to have a place for both thoughts they concluded that Jesus would go away with his Church all unseen to the world, and then all come together in the flesh visible to human sight—with observation or demonstration to establish a visible dominion in some spot of earth—probably Palestine. (Luke 17:20.)
To our understanding there is only one second coming. He comes to do a variety of work, and shall not leave it nor return until he hath accomplished to put down all power and authority. "He shall not fail nor be discouraged till he hath set judgment in the earth" (Isa. 42:4), having first selected and glorified his saints.
A. Since "there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest" (Eccl. 9:10), we believe that infants and all will be raised just as they went down, excepting infirmity and disease.