0 / 0
"He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet; the
last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."—I Cor. 15:25,26 .
THE DIVINE arrangement respecting Messiah's Kingdom seems very clearly stated in the Scriptures. Our text above, if no other, proves that Messiah's Kingdom will not be dealing with perfect conditions. By the sealing of the New Covenant He will make satisfaction for the sins of the world; and those of the world who prove worthy have God's assurance of attaining eternal life. The great work will be that of uplifting mankind out of sin and death conditions. For this reason He will rule as King and will officiate as the great Priest. The basis for this is the fact that our Lord Jesus purchased the world through the merit of His sacrifice.
"Where a tree falleth, there shall it be." (Eccl. 11:3.) So, as mankind go down into death, there they remain. In the awakening from death there will be a resuscitation to practically the same conditions—mentally, morally and physically—which they had before they went into the tomb. If mankind came back from the tomb perfect, no one would have any way of identifying himself. If one were raised perfect in every thought and word and act, he would not know himself; for all those things composing his identity would be gone. Hence, he would have no way to distinguish himself from the rest of mankind! The world will be resuscitated with the same kind of intelligence [R4986 : page 83] in which they went down into death. But theirs is a death condition, and the very object of Messiah's Kingdom is to uplift out of that condition, and to raise up that which was lost to the perfection of man's nature.
The Scriptures show us that at the end of the thousand years of Christ's reign the whole world will be turned over to the Father; and the race will then have a trial time, a testing, just as Adam had when he was in Eden. For "a little season" Satan will have the power to tempt mankind as he tempted Mother Eve. But the world should then be so thoroughly established in righteousness of heart that nothing which Satan or any other being could bring upon them in the way of temptation would make them sin; and those who will not have learned to hate sin and to love righteousness will not be fit for eternal life. We read that fire [judgments] will come down from heaven and destroy such.
But we are to remember that there is another trial which precedes that occurring at the end of the Millennial Age. From the very time when the Kingdom shall have been established, the world will be on trial. Under The Christ's beneficent rule some will avail themselves of the opportunity to rise gradually back to the perfection of human nature, lost in Eden; others, apparently, according to the Scriptures, will still maintain an attitude of rebellion, loving sin and hating righteousness. These will be granted a hundred years (Isa. 65:17-25) of trial, even though they do not come to perfection of mind and body, because of their rebellious attitude of heart.
Such are spoken of as children, in comparison with others of that day who will live on and become perfect. Messiah, as the great Judge, will cause such to die accursed, condemned, cut off from further opportunity of attaining life; for such will not have benefited by the merit of Christ and the Kingdom of Christ. And if this would be true of their condition after one hundred years, we may infer that if any, who during the first hundred years had proved faithful, should during the second hundred years assume a position against righteousness, such would then be cut off from life.
"Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" (I Cor. 6:2.) We certainly know it. The work of giving mankind the necessary knowledge and assistance will be in the hands of Christ and the Church. The final sentence against sinners will be destruction, death, as is clearly shown in the parable (Matt. 25:31-46) where Jesus (with the Church) is pictured in power and great glory judging the world, "For God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained" (Acts 17:31)—the Day of the great Messiah, the antitypical Moses—Jesus, the Head, and the Church, His Body. The parable shows that the work of the Millennial Age will completely separate the "sheep" class from the "goats"—the "sheep" being on the right hand (place of favor) and the "goats" at the left (place of disfavor). At the end of the Age Messiah will destroy the goat class and, in the Father's name, bless all the sheep class. But nothing is more evident than that the trial for life or death will proceed during all the Millennial Age—throughout all that thousand-year Judgment Day.
Now the Church is on trial for life or death, and Christ gives us an imputation of His merit and thus covers our weaknesses and shortcomings. By and by, He will give the world actual perfection on condition of perfect obedience. But now, under the great Advocate's imputation of righteousness, the decision regarding the Church comes in a few years from the time when we reach the point of consecration unto death. If this time is sufficient for the accomplishing of the trial of the Church, then we can see that a hundred years is ample time for the world to see [R4986 : page 84] whether they will make even a little progress upward on the Highway of Holiness.
The testing of the Church we recognize as a fact; for the Apostle points it out to us. If those who are now consecrated should fall away into sin, there remains no more sacrifice for sins. (Heb. 10:26,27.) Why? Because the imputation of Christ's merit will not be repeated to any. If we get the imputation of Christ's merit in this present life, then there will be no further imputation for us. Those who do not get the imputation of Christ's merit now, as the Church, will never get it; but instead they will get the benefit of the New Covenant. The effect, however, in either event, will be a life or death trial and a life or death sentence.
In the case of the Church, if we were faithful until the very last day of our experience and on that day proved unfaithful, it would certainly settle the matter as to our future. Similarly, we may say of the world that, if any should prove unfaithful during their trial in the next Age, their trial would end immediately and, undoubtedly, the sentence would be to the Second Death. In other words, the trial continues until each individual has been either rewarded or punished; and every act down to the last has to do with the sentence of that trial.
In Ezekiel there is an intimation along this line, where God says, "But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all My statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him; in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live....But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity,...shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned; in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die." (Ezek. 18:21-24.) This seems to be the principle of Divine Justice, and one to which we can all readily assent, and which we can recognize as just and righteous altogether. "Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints."