THE HOPE OF THE DEAD
In great contrast with others is the exposition of this vision, so clearly, logically, as well as scripturally, presented by the Pastor. One of his most luminous statements is found in his early writings and is in perfect harmony with all written by him since. The quotation we now submit deals with the question as to,
Who are meant by the "dead" referred to as standing before the "Throne"?
"'The dead' includes all of the Adamic race who during this Gospel Age do not escape from the condemnation that is on the world--death--by becoming partakers of spiritual life through Jesus. 'By the offense of one [Adam] judgment came upon all men to condemnation,' but there is 'now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus'; for the law of life in Christ made such free from the condemnation of death. (Rom 5: 18; 8:1, 2)
"As during this Age a little fragment of humanity escapes condemnation (death), by obtaining spiritual life offered on certain conditions, so we understand the world is likewise to be privileged to escape from the death condemnation, by obedience to certain laws of natural life. Their right to this privilege of running [having a trial] for life comes as a consequence of Jesus having ransomed them." ["He gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." 1 Tim. 2:6.]--Z March '82-8.
We next inquire, where will these awakened dead ones be standing?
The answer is, there will be no literal standing in empty space before a literal throne as would have to be if the literal earth and heaven had fled away. The Scriptural answer as given by the Pastor is "That this will not be a marshaling of mankind in ranks, and rows, before a literal judgment bench. . . . We believe that the world of mankind, during their day (age) for trial of worthiness or unworthiness of perfect human life, will be tried in a similar way to that in which certain enlightened ones are now being tried and tested in this day (Gospel Age) to prove whether worthy or unworthy of the perfection of the Divine nature."--Z March '82-8.
The enlightened ones, the Church class are now having their judgment-trial. They do not stand before a literal, visible throne of judgment. It is a real judgment-trial, notwithstanding; and thus will it be with the world in its judgment Day. Concerning the world's judgment Day, the ancient Prophet informs us that during its progress "they shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat," etc.--Isa 65:21, 22.
"AND THE BOOKS WERE OPENED"
The books referred to in the vision ARE NOT LITERAL BOOKS containing a literal record of every evil or good thought, word or deed of each individual of the human race, nor that such books will be carefully inspected that each person may be judged according to the standard of perfection. If such were the program for judging the world then of course none would possibly be found perfect, all would be consigned to eternal punishment which as most commentators have taught means endless torment in a vast torture-chamber. Surely such an interpretation of the Apostle John's vision misrepresents both God's character and plan.
What a dreadful punishment would, if this were true, come to these who thus misrepresent Him! We are glad to know that this is not true, for their sakes, as well as for the sake of the whole of Adam's condemned race.
What then do we understand is represented by the "books"? How shall we know?
We reply that Christ gives a hint at least concerning what is meant by the books: "The words that I speak unto you, the same shall judge him at the last [thousand-year] day." These books then are God's Word, and all contained in it necessary for the world to know of God's great Plan will be opened to the understanding of all who will be there. Indeed a perfectly clear understanding of the 'great Plan of human salvation will then for the first time be given to all mankind. A sufficient knowledge of the matters contained in THE DIFFERENT BOOKS of the Bible is now, and has been throughout this Gospel Age, in possession of the Church class to enable them to finish successfully their trial for a heavenly inheritance. This class includes all that have been on trial in this Age. Pastor Russell has thus spoken concerning what is represented by these books:
"The books opened, according to the rulings of which they [the world] will be tried, we understand to be the books of the Bible. The Church, now on trial, is being judged according to these same books-and none now are on trial, to whom those books are not to some degree opened (understood). This too, accords with Jesus' words: 'My words shall judge you in the last day' (period)--the Millennial Day.-John 12:48…
"The words of Jesus will no longer be hidden under parables and dark sayings, that hearing the people might hear and not understand; but the secret things will be uncovered, ‘The mystery of God'--the Church -being finished, the books will be opened, and the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth. For God 'will have all men to be saved [redeemed], AND [then] to come unto the knowledge of the Truth.'--1 Tim. 2:4."--Z March '82-8.
Continued with next post.
Welcome to Christian Forums, a Christian Forum that recognizes that all Christians are a work in progress.
You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.
We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!