Question.—Is it proper to say that Restitution will bring to the obedient of the world a higher condition than that in which Adam existed before he fell? In other words, Will the development resulting from an experience with evil be something beyond a restoration of Adam's position?
Answer.—The word Restitution fixes the answer to this question; no man could be restored to a condition not previously enjoyed. Adam was the representative of his race, and the privileges and rights and opportunities granted to him belonged to his posterity as well. Through Adam's sin all of these rights, privileges and blessings were forfeited—for himself and for all of his posterity—death being the sentence covering the loss.
Restitution will mean the recovery of all these things that were lost. The "Restitution Times" are clearly shown to be the thousand years of Christ's reign. The Restitution work is most evidently the bringing back from both sin and death, degradation and depravity, from "the curse," of Adam and his children and all that he possessed before the curse came. Properly enough, this will be accomplished with each individual in a full, free and understood offer, such as every member of the human family must ultimately have. If, with a clear understanding of right and wrong, they wilfully and intelligently reject the right and choose the wrong, their condemnation to the Second Death will be wholly a matter of their own responsibility, and not because of Adam's transgression, nor because of any failure on the Lord's part to proffer them the Restitution he has provided, through Jesus, for every man.
Undoubtedly the world will attain to lengths and breadths and heights and depths of knowledge of God and his plan, and of his love and of his wisdom and of his power, such as Father Adam never enjoyed. But such attainments will be no part of Restitution, for they never were lost. However, we are to remember that had Father Adam remained obedient to the Lord all of these things would have been his privilege, pleasure and opportunity; and hence, while not directly a part of Restitution work, they are indirectly associated with it: as the privileges of these things were lost, so the privileges of returning to them are to be granted.
Answer.—Adam, as the federal head of his family, was its representative in Eden. This is demonstrated by the fact that we, as his posterity, are involved in every matter affecting him. Thus the sentence or curse of death coming upon Adam affected and impaired as a curse every member of his offspring.
Christ was not a representative in this same sense. He was Adam's substitute—his Redeemer—the one who paid for Adam the penalty demanded by divine law, thus releasing Adam from the original sentence of death. Since Adam was our representative, therefore we have a participation or share with him in the benefits accruing to him through his redemption by Jesus, his substitute. Thus Christ's death is efficacious to the cancelling of all of its effects upon all of his posterity. As we have already seen, the opportunity for return to divine favor, which is to come to every member of Adam's family, is his release from the curse. So far as the sentence is concerned, this will be accomplished at the very beginning of the Restitution work; but the blotting out of all of the effects of the curse will be another matter. The effects of the curse have become very extended and are represented in the impairments of mankind, mentally, morally and physically. After the curse shall have been legally cancelled it will require long years under the Lord's arrangement for the wiping out, or blotting out of Sin's records in the human mind and body. Thus the lifting of the curse and the blotting out of its effects will be seen to be two different matters: the first was accomplished for all mankind by the death of Christ; the second he proposes to accomplish for as many as will be obedient to his voice during the Millennial age.
Question.—What answer should be made to Universalists, who claim that Christ's death purchased everlasting life for all who lost it through Adam's [R3410 : page 238] transgression, and therefore guaranteed a restoration to perfect and everlasting life to every man?
Answer.—Very few Universalists of this kind are to be found. Generally, they either directly or indirectly deny the Ransom—deny that Christ's death purchased everlasting life for anybody. Their theory generally rests upon the assumption that there was no divine sentence to be met; that divine mercy could exercise itself without meeting the demands of divine justice; that our Lord Jesus died, not to purchase us, not to pay the ransom price, not to redeem us, not as a substitute for Adam, but merely, they say, as an example to us of full obedience to righteousness, even at the cost of life.
To such we answer that if Jesus was merely our [R3411 : page 239] example, and not our Redeemer, then our only hope would be to keep his example to such an extent that we would be individually pleasing to the Father as he was; and this would mean that we must keep the whole law blameless as he did. Those who understand this proposition must see clearly that, if that be true, there is no hope for any of us, for, as the Apostle declares, "By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in God's sight." Christ was justified by the deeds of the law, but perfect deeds were possible to him, because he was born holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. Perfect deeds, perfect fulfilment of the divine requirements, are absolutely impossible for us who were born in sin, shapen in iniquity. If, therefore, Jesus be merely our pattern, our exemplar, and not also our Redeemer, we are of all men most miserable, for seeing salvation we shall be wholly unable to attain it. Our whole hope is in the declaration of the Lord's Word that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, that his death was to meet the penalty against us as a race—for Adam's sins and ours. Our hope is that, being covered by faith with the robe of his righteousness, our imperfect attempts to follow his example in obedience to the Father's will will be accounted as though they were perfect—"through the merit of him who loved us and bought us with his own precious blood."
But if there be Universalists who take the position implied in this question, our answer would be as heretofore, that Christ's death did purchase lasting life for all who lost it through Adam's transgression, and that God has guaranteed a full restoration of all that was lost "to every soul of man that believeth"—in the Scriptural sense of obedient believing. Nothing in this implies that they will get all these things at the moment of their awakening from the tomb. At that time they will get a beginning of perfect life if they are obedient to the voice of the great Physician, which will eventuate in their absolute perfection in the close of that Millennial day. Our Lord, describing the matter in John 5:29, declares that the dead will come forth unto a resurrection by judgment. They will come forth from the tomb, from oblivion, to physical conditions somewhat similar to those enjoyed before they died, with surroundings in every way much more advantageous; with Satan bound that he can deceive them no more; with the good influences of righteousness and Truth let loose in the world to such an extent that ultimately the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth; with judges and law givers under the supervision of the Royal Priesthood to look after their best interests, to reprove and correct and chastise their failures, and to encourage, reward and bless their endeavors, and thus, by judgments, of rewards and punishments, they would be gradually brought up step by step, up, up, up to the highway of holiness, to the absolute perfection at the farther end, which the Lord is pleased to grant to all who will have it upon these his terms, obedience to his Son. "But it shall come to pass that the soul that will not hear [to obey] that Prophet shall be cut off"—in the Second Death, from which there will be no redemption and no recovery.
Question.—When will the Spirit and the Bride say, Come?—Rev. 22:17.
(1) There is no "Bride" now. The Church, the "little flock," is now the "chaste virgin" "espoused" to the Lord. She will be the Bride at marriage, and for long centuries she has been looking forward to that great event at the close of this Gospel age.
(2) The context refers to the river of the water of life of verses 1 and 2 of the same chapter. There is no such river now, nor will there be until the establishment of the Kingdom; for this is the picture: the New Jerusalem (the Church in glory, the Kingdom) comes down from God out of heaven, adorned "as a Bride" and then from its throne will proceed the "river of the water of life" of which all may drink freely, and to which the Spirit and the Bride will invite all. Now the prospective members of the Bride class have the Lord's Spirit in them, "a well of water springing up unto everlasting life."—John 4:14.
By and by these well-springs brought together in glory with the Lord shall constitute the source of the great river of life which shall bless and heal all nations. "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." (Gal. 3:29.) By and by the prophecy will be fulfilled: "He that believeth in me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
(3) Now the call is a different one and is not open to mankind. Our Lord declared, "No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him." The Apostle declares that now many are blinded by the Adversary and hence could not see even if there were a river of life flowing, and could not hear even if there were a Bride to say, Come.