0 / 0
NOTWITHSTANDING all that we have written on the subjects of the Ransom and the Sin-Offering in the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, in THE WATCH TOWER and in the TABERNACLE SHADOWS, it would appear that some of our dear readers are not yet clear in respect to these matters. Some even confuse themselves and others by hinting that "Brother Russell has changed his views—or that the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES contradict THE WATCH TOWER. These are harmful mistakes. Should our views change we will state the change in no uncertain terms. We therefore make a renewed effort to make plain what we believe to be the proper interpretation of these subjects.
"The Ransom-Price relates to the valuable thing itself; namely, the blood or death of Christ—a ransom price sufficient for the payment of the penalty of one member of the human family or of all, as it may be applied."—Z'09, p. 309.
The Ransom views the matter of man's recovery from sin and death as a purchase—a Redemption. The basis of this thought is the Divine Law, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a man's life for a man's life." (Deuteronomy 19:21.) Adam and his entire race of thousands of millions are in dire distress through sin and its penalty. God has provided a recovery by a Ransom process—purchasing back from their fallen condition.
Our first thought naturally would be that to redeem, or purchase back, the right of humanity to life, would mean that each member of Adam's race must be purchased by the life of another person, holy, harmless, unsentenced. But looking deeply into God's Plan we find that only one man was tried before the Divine Court—namely, Father Adam; that only Adam was sentenced to death; and that all of his children go into death, not because of their individual trial and death, but simply because Adam, having failed to maintain his perfection, was unable to give his children more life or rights than he possessed. And so it has been throughout the entire period of six thousand years from the time of Father Adam's sentence until now.
Here we see a wonderful economic feature connected with the Divine Plan. God would not permit more than one member of the human race to be tried and sentenced to death; for His purpose from the beginning was that the sacrifice of one life should redeem the entire human race. By one man the whole trouble came; by another Man the whole trouble will be rectified. This the Apostle points out, saying, "As by a man came death, by a man comes also the resurrection of the dead; for as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive—every man in his own order."—1 Corinthians 15:21-23.
Thus we see the value of Jesus' death—that it was not merely for Adam, but included all his posterity. We see, too, how necessary it was that Jesus should be "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners"; otherwise, He, like the remainder of the race, would have been under a Divine death sentence. Because all of Adam's race were involved in sin and its penalty it was necessary to find an outsider to be the world's Redeemer; and that outsider, whether angel, cherub, or the great Michael Himself, the Logos, must exchange the spirit nature for the human nature in order to be a corresponding price—a Ransom for the first man.
It was not a God that sinned; hence the death of a God could not redeem. It was not a cherub that sinned; hence the death of a cherub could not redeem. It was a man who sinned, and the ransom for him must be furnished by the death of a man. It was for this cause that the great Logos, in carrying out the Divine Plan for human redemption, left the glory which He had with the Father before the world was, humbled Himself and became a man, "was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor [the perfection of human nature]; that He, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man."—Hebrews 2:9.
If we have established clearly what a ransom is, and that Jesus was the only One suitable to be a Ransom for Father Adam, our next point is to show from the Bible that He did give Himself as a Ransom. We have the word of Jesus Himself on the subject (Matthew 20:28); and also St. Paul's testimony, "the Man Christ Jesus, [R5873 : page 88] who gave Himself a Ransom-price for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Tim. 2:6.) This proves that the giving of the price sufficient to ransom Adam and all his race was accomplished in Jesus' death at Calvary.
But the work of ransoming Adam and his race is much more than merely the providing of the Ransom-price. The thought connected with the word Ransom goes beyond the mere giving and appropriating of the price. It includes the recovery of Adam and his race from the power of sin and death. Manifestly, this work has not yet been accomplished; indeed, it has scarcely begun. The only disposition thus far of the Ransom, the merit, has been its imputation to the Church, and this only by faith. The Church is not yet glorified as a whole—not yet delivered from the power of sin and death completely. Manifestly, then, it will require the entire thousand years of Messiah's Kingdom to ransom, to deliver, to set free, from the power of sin and death, Adam and all his children. Consequently, the Ransom work, which began more than eighteen centuries ago, is still to be accomplished.
There is no difficulty about the Ransom-price; for that price has been in the hands of Justice for nearly nineteen centuries. But it has been unapplied as respects the world and only imputed to the Church that has been called out from the world during this Gospel Age. The full completion of the Ransoming work will include what the Bible speaks of, saying, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave." (Hosea 13:14.) Nor will the Ransoming work be fully accomplished when the last member of the race has been delivered from the power of the grave; for there will still be a great resurrecting work to be done—a raising up out of imperfection of mind, morals and physique, to the full image and likeness of God, lost through Adam's disobedience and redeemed by the precious blood at Calvary.
With the thought of the Ransom before our minds, we now investigate the subject of the Sin-Offering, remembering to keep the two subjects separate and distinct. "The Sin-Offering shows the manner in which the Ransom-price is applicable, or effective, to the cancelation of the sins of the whole world." (Z '09, 309.) The Sin-Offering does not require so long a time for its accomplishment as does the Ransom. We have already seen that the Ransoming work has been in progress nearly nineteen centuries, and will be in progress nearly ten centuries in the future, or a total of twenty-nine centuries. But the Sin-Offering will all be completed before the glorious Reign of Christ begins, His Church then being with Him in glory.
The Sin-Offering of Israel's Atonement Day shows us the same sacrifice of Jesus which constitutes the Ransom-price, but it is a different picture; for it shows how God appropriates the merit of Christ in behalf of human sins. This matter was pictured in that feature of the Law which provided the Day of Atonement. The sin-offerings were its principal feature. There were two. First was the bullock of sin-offering, which was furnished by the priest himself, the blood of which was made applicable to the priest's own family and tribe. This we see represented the death of Jesus, and the primary imputation of His merit to the Church of the First-borns.
This Church consists of two classes. First, is the priestly class, who, like the High Priest, are especially devoted to God and His service, who "present their bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, their reasonable service." (Romans 12:1.) In the type these were pictured both by Aaron's sons and by the body of Aaron, he being the head. Thus the Apostle speaks of Christ as being the Head of the Church, which is His Body, we being "members in particular of the Body of Christ."—1 Corinthians 12:27.
Second, there is the other class of the Church which, although making the same Covenant of Sacrifice, fail to go on obediently to lay down their lives in the Lord's service. They do not draw back to sin and to death, but neither do they go on to the sacrificing stage: hence they constitute a secondary class, servants of the first class. These were typified in the Levites, who were the servants of the priests. These are not to be in the Throne with the sacrificing Priests, the Royal Priesthood, but are to serve God in His Temple. They are not to have the crowns of Glory, but will be granted eventually palms of victory. And all not found worthy of a place in either of these classes will die the Second Death.
In this picture the Lord shows us a special imputation of the merit of Jesus for the sins of His consecrated people only; and that these, justified by the merit of Jesus, are thus qualified through His merit to be sharers with Him in His glorious priestly functions.
The secondary Sin-Offering of the typical Atonement Day was called the Lord's Goat. It was not provided by the typical High Priest, as was the bullock, but was taken from the people. Indeed, two goats were taken at the same time, as representing the two classes of the Church. The sacrificing class or priestly class were represented by the Lord's goat. The less zealous of the Church, the antitypical Levites, were represented in the second goat—the Scape Goat. It was the Lord's Goat class, the under priesthood, that constituted the secondary Sin-Offering.
The account says that the Lord's Goat was sacrificed and was in every way dealt with in precisely the same manner as the bullock, which preceded it. Thus the type tells us that the Church must walk in the footsteps of her Lord, sacrificially even unto death. We should remember that the blood of the bullock was not applied for the sins of the people, but merely for the sins of the high priest's family and tribe—typically for the Church. We should also notice that this secondary Sin-Offering, the Lord's Goat, was not offered for the same persons; for they needed no further offering. It was offered by the high priest as a secondary part of his own original offering; and its merit was made applicable to all the people, to bring atonement to all.
In the antitype, the High Priest, Jesus, completed His own personal Sacrifice at Calvary. Forty days later He ascended up on High, and appeared before the Mercy Seat and presented the merit of His Sacrifice, not for the world, but for the Church. As the Apostle writes, "He appeared in the presence of God for us," the Church—not for the world. (Hebrews 9:24.) This is in full accord with what we have just seen in the type.
Ever since Pentecost the Lord has been accepting the consecrated persons represented in the two goats; and those sufficiently zealous He has accepted as His members, and has been offering them up as a part of His own Sacrifice. Soon He will have finished this work—when the last member of His Body shall have been found faithful unto death. The next step in the antitype will be for the High Priest then to present again at the Mercy Seat the blood of the antitypical Lord's Goat as His own blood—otherwise, the sacrifice of His Church as part of His own Sacrifice. This He makes applicable to the sin of all the people—the original sin of all the people.
At that moment, which we believe is in the near future now, the Father will turn over to the Son all the people, their sins fully forgiven so far as the original transgression [R5873 : page 89] is concerned. Forthwith Messiah's Kingdom, established in power and great glory, will begin to deal with the world for its rescue from sin and death, for the ultimate uplift to human perfection of all who are willing and obedient to the regulations of His Kingdom.
Meantime, there will be other sins of the world not included in the Adamic transgression. The Sin-Offerings are merely for Adam's sin and all the various weaknesses and imperfections which flow from that original sin. The other sins will be such as are not to be attributed to human weakness, but which represent more or less of sin against knowledge, against light. Full, wilful sin against [R5874 : page 89] full light would bring upon the sinner the Second Death. But only a few have had full light, full knowledge, full opportunity; and hence very few indeed will have sinned the sin unto death.
Wherever the light of the Gospel has gone, however, a certain measure of knowledge has gone, and a certain measure of responsibility accrues; and God intimates that He keeps a very exact accounting with all. Every sin must receive a just recompense of reward. The penalty of Adam's sin has reached down in a general way over the whole race for six thousand years; but the penalty must be paid for the other sins of which we speak, sins which were more or less wilful, more or less against light and knowledge and which have not been previously expiated, but which have been accumulating since Pentecost.
Before the New Dispensation can rightly be ushered in with all its blessings, the world's accounts must be fully squared. It will be the settlement of these accounts against the world which will bring the great Time of Trouble such as never was since there was a nation—the Time of Trouble which we believe has begun in the present war, and which will progress until the great catastrophe of anarchy will complete it in the near future. Then the accounts of Justice having been squared in that great Time of Trouble, the blessings of Messiah's Kingdom will immediately begin.
However, God is a very strict Accountant. As He is sure to count against the world all wilful disobedience, and especially all persecutions of His Church, so also He is willing to give the world credit on account wherever possible. This, we believe, is intimated in the picture given us of a work which followed the Sin-Offerings; namely, the confessing over the head of the scape goat certain transgressions of the people, and the sending away of the scape goat into the wilderness.
Understanding that this scape goat represents some of God's consecrated people who have failed to live up to their privileges, we understand this to signify that these will go into a great Time of Trouble, as represented in Revelation 7:14. There they are represented as coming up out of great tribulation and washing their robes and making them white in the Blood of the Lamb. Those tribulations coming upon the Great Company class, the Levite class, are not tribulations for wilful sins, but tribulations for the destruction of the flesh, in harmony with the Covenant entered into by this class, a Covenant of Sacrifice, which they failed to keep. The sufferings of this Great Company class, we understand, therefore, go as a credit to the world to square the account of the world's sins against light and especially against God's people. The Time of Trouble will be especially against the hypocrites, but the Great Company Class will have their portion with the hypocrites and be bearers of a certain share of punishment due the world.
That we may clearly note the character of sins for which the world is held responsible, let us recall the statement of Rev. 6:9-11, "I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held; and they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? and white robes were given unto them"; and they were told that they should wait "a little season," until their brethren, who also were persecuted, should have the persecutions accomplished in them.
Thus the same idea respecting the Divine requirements in the end of the Gospel Age is given to us that Jesus specified in regard to the Jews in the end of their Age. He said that all the righteous blood shed on the earth from the time of Abel down, would be required of that generation—to square the accounts. (Matthew 23:34-36.) In the great time of trouble with which the Jewish Age ended, those accounts were squared up to that time. Similarly we expect that all the remaining accounts of the world will be squared during the culmination of the great Time of Trouble—just before us.
The Apostle, in contrasting the typical and the antitypical Sin-Offering, declares that Jesus, not by the blood of bulls and of goats, but by His own blood, accomplishes the blessings. (Hebrews 9:11-15.) And again, the sacrifices of the antitypical High Priest are styled the "better sacrifices"—in the plural. This points us back to the institution of the Jewish Covenant arrangement, where Moses took the blood of bulls and goats and inaugurated the Law Covenant, sprinkling first the Tables of the Law, and afterwards the people, with the blood.—Exod. 24:3-8.
The question arises, Why did Moses use the blood of bulls—plural—and of goats—plural; whereas in the type of Leviticus 16 the blood of one bullock and the blood of one goat alone was used? We reply that there was really but the one antitypical bullock, the one Man Christ Jesus who died for us; and that there is really but one antitypical Goat, the one Church, which is accepted by the Lord as His Body, and is associated with, and part of, His sacrifice. But in the inauguration of the Law Covenant, more than one animal of each kind was necessary because of the multitudes of the people of Israel who were to be sprinkled with that blood. The blood of one bullock and of one goat would not have been sufficient; hence the statement, bulls and goats—in the plural—and yet not definitely stated as to how many; for it was really the one bullock and the one goat duplicated as many times as was necessary to provide a sufficiency of blood for the sprinkling of all the people.
In the antitype, when the New Law Covenant will be inaugurated by Messiah's Kingdom, the blood of Christ, as represented in the blood of Jesus and also in that of His associated sacrifices, the Church, will be used in sprinkling, or satisfying the Divine Law, first of all. This will be the basis for the turning over, to the Kingdom of Messiah, of the whole world by the Father. Then will progress the work of sprinkling all the people with the blood—the work of cleansing mankind—giving all men the benefits secured by the redeeming blood.
We trust that from the foregoing our readers will see clearly the distinction between the Ransom which Jesus gave and its application; and the Sin-Offerings of this Gospel Age and what they signify. We wish now to impress a further point; namely, that the Sin-Offerings were associated with the Day of Atonement for sin in the type [R5874 : page 90] and in the antitype. The antitypical Day of Atonement began with our Lord Jesus and His sacrifices. The entire Gospel Age has been a part of this Day of Atonement. This Day will witness the full completion of all the sin atonement and more; for all of the Millennial Age will be a part of the antitypical Atonement Day.
The sacrifices of the Day of Atonement are merely the means to an end. The end to be attained is the blessing of the world, and the bringing of the world back to at-one-ment, or harmony, with God. That work will require all of the Millennial Age. It will include the teaching of the world, the restoration of mankind to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed at Calvary. The Sin-Offerings of the Atonement Day merely represent God's Purpose in the use of the Sacrifices which must be completed before the world's at-one-ment with God can begin to go into effect.
So, then, let us hope that all will henceforth see clearly that the Sin-Offerings of the Atonement Day and its Sacrifices constitute a picture of the processes by which God accomplishes the world's blessings; while the Ransom is entirely distinct, and shows the work of Jesus alone and its ultimate effect for mankind throughout the whole wide world.