JESUS ALONE THE RANSOMER
It would not be correct to say that the scapegoat class atones for sin and thus make it possible for a certain part of humanity to be brought forth from the tomb. The tomb represents the penalty upon Adam for his transgression, and this penalty has been inherited by all of Adam's children. The Apostle says that "by one man sin [disobedience] entered into the world, and death by [as the result of] sin; and so death passed upon all men." --Rom 5:12.
The death of Jesus alone can cancel the sin of Adam. He only was the Redeemer, the Ransom. He gave His life for Father Adam's life, and thus as a satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. Those for whom Jesus advocates as the members of His Body become associated with Him and identified with Him in His work, not by virtue of their own merit, but because "accepted in the Beloved." These are scripturally shown as having something to do with the cancellation of "the sin of the world," because of their association with the Head. The Great Company has nothing whatever to do with the cancellation of THE sin of the world.
"The sin of the world" (John 1:29) was the sin of Adam; but there are other sins aside from Adamic sin, which were brought upon the race by the fall. We may suppose that in every Age there have been sins committed against a measure of light. But the sinners were not begotten of the Holy Spirit, and therefore their sins against light would not involve them in the Second Death. Nevertheless, in whatever proportion they had light and knowledge, they had also responsibility. And while Jesus died in order that all might have an opportunity of coming back from the tomb, and to perfect life, yet He did not die on account of any individual sin committed against light. For such sins the individual is himself responsible. In the case of the Church class, willful evil-doers will be cut off from life. The Apostle Paul says that some were delivered over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that their spirit might be saved. Every willful sin, no matter by whom committed, or when committed, must be answered for by stripes or by the death of the sinner.
Nothing is to be atoned for by Christ's death but the sin of Adam. But other sins of direct responsibility, sins against light, must also be settled for. In olden times there were bitter persecutions of God's people, and those persecuted were obliged to dwell in caves and dens of the earth. (Heb 11:32-40) The transgressions against these, in proportion as they were committed with a degree of light, were to be settled for by the transgressors. God's providence squared off the account against the Jewish people in the end of the Jewish Age. There came upon that people wrath to the uttermost. The squaring of accounts for that nation, we understand, was completed A.D. 70. As for other nations (at the time), we must assume that God has dealt with them along similar lines—though not just the same; because they were not in covenant relationship with Him as were the Israelite's. Coming down to the Gospel Age, many sins have been committed which could in no way be covered by Christ's sacrifice--sins against a measure of light and knowledge.
The chief of all these sins have been, according to the Master's words, against His people. He said that whoever would harm one of the "little ones" who believed in Him should have punishment; and that whoever would give even so much as "a cup of cold water" to one of these should have a reward.--Matt 18:6; 10:42. We read of terrible atrocities committed against the saints during the Dark Ages. They were covered with tar and burned; they were fed to wild beasts, their poor bodies being torn to pieces. They were tortured in innumerable ways. We are reasonably sure that some punishment is due to those who committed these atrocities. But the Lord has told us that we are not to judge before the time, in due time we shall be made judges of the world. Now we are to look to the Lord and wait for His judgment.
The Scriptures indicate that as there was a settling time, culminating in A.D. 70, with the Jews, so there will be a settling time with those claiming to be Christian nations. To whatever extent they have lent themselves to injustice, to whatever extent they have sinned against light, they are responsible. We do not know the extent of their responsibility--God knows! But in this Time of Trouble He will square all these matters, in order that the New Dispensation may be free from all accounts-- that there may be nothing of this kind charged up to humanity. The sins committed nationally will be expiated nationally. And of course, as individuals suffered from the wrong-doing, so individuals will suffer in the expiation.
And how will God reckon with the injustice which He wishes to cancel, so that the world may come forth with a clean slate?
We answer; the Great Company class will have a share in that trouble. And since they do not really deserve a share in the trouble, in the sense of having merited Divine wrath, what they will suffer will be in a measure a suffering the merit of which will go to others. It is not a punishment to get into the Great Company class. The Great Company will be a very blessed class. They will not be seated in the Throne, but will serve before the Throne; neither will they obtain the Divine nature, immortality.
The Little Flock class will get the great prize of being associated with the Master, joint-heirs with Him in the Kingdom. The other class will get a reward on a lower spiritual plane--a spiritual plane, because they also were begotten of the Spirit.
So far as the Great Company is concerned, God's permitting them to share in the trouble at the end of this Age will be for their own development. Their Covenant was unto death; and unless they lose their lives in obedience to the Lord, unless they prove faithful unto death, they will not be worthy of any position of life on any plane. Hence it will be to their own personal advantage that they suffer in that time. They are said to suffer for the iniquities, the sins and transgressions of the people of the world as the antitypical scapegoat. (Lev 16:21, 22 See Tabernacle Shadows, pages 68-72)
Instead of allowing that merit of the Great Company to go for nothing (i.e. the merit of Christ which was first imputed to these when their consecration was first accepted), the Lord makes a credit of it, as it were, to balance the world's account for willful sins. (Excerpts taken from R5464)
We will review what we have learned thus far in regards to who survives Armageddon in our next post.
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