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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q. If I understand your teachings, you claim that God intends to restore all mankind to the original perfection of manhood in which he created Adam. I can see that you have a strong argument in the fact that Jesus tasted death for all, and thus paid our Adamic debt, which was the cause of death and imperfection. Particularly strong is the argument when we remember that only a fragment of the race ever heard of the only name given under heaven or among men whereby we must be saved. I admit, then, that the ideas advanced are consistent with both Justice and Love; that the arguments and inferences are strong, and the entire plan Godlike, but my question is, Is there any positive statement of Scripture to the effect that man will be restored to Edenic perfection and bliss and life?
A. We claim that the teachings on this point are positive, and not merely inferential; that only the strong prejudice of early training hinders Christians from seeing it to be so. Only this prejudice and training leads any one to suppose that God will punish willful sin with a life of torment when he positively declares, „The wages of sin is death” (cessation of life), and that „all the wicked will he destroy.” (Psa. 145:20.)
We inquire how else could Jesus be the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world? (John 1:9.) How else could the news of a Saviour be „good tidings of great joy to all people? (Luke 2:10.) If only a few have yet heard the „good tidings” in any sense, must there not be a restitution to life as well as a future proclamation of the only name given? Otherwise, God’s plan is a failure. But we have the positive statement that „God will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4.) Notice, they are to be saved first, saved from the Adamic death through the efficacy of the ransom price, and afterward brought to a knowledge of the truth under the favoring circumstances of the reign of Christ.
For a pointed text in support of restitution we refer you to Acts 3:19-21. Here Peter not only tells of the „times (years) of restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets,” but he points out that this restitution cannot and will not take place until Christ our Lord comes. And he comes when his church or bride has been selected, to receive her unto himself.
This restitution is mentioned by all the Prophets. Some refer to one feature and
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some to another. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, tell much of the restoration of fleshly Israel to favor and to their own land. This, which is a part of the general restitution, a slight beginning, is already commencing, and, as we have heretofore shown, was due to commence in 1878. There, in fact, the favor did begin in the decree of the Berlin conference, which placed Palestine under English protection and opened the door for the restoration now beginning. And before long it will be found that the results of the recent Egyptian war will accrue yet more, to Israel’s favor, and their repossession of Palestine.
The Prophet Job, in his own experience, is made a type of the restitution. He first lost all earthly blessings—human health, wealth, friends, etc.; then he had all these restored to him exactly as at first, except that the wealth was increased. So humanity was degraded to the dunghill, but is to be restored to its „former estate,” and will have increase of pleasure and wealth in the increased blessings of knowledge, invention, etc.
The Prophet Moses taught restitution in type. In the same way (in type) he wrote of Christ as Jesus said: „Moses wrote of me.” (John 5:46.) Every fiftieth year was a jubilee year to Israel, in which land and all possessions lost, were fully restored. Thus this Prophet spoke pointedly of the coming restitution of all things, for which, unconsciously and ignorantly, „the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Rom. 8:22.) Read Lev. 25.
Ezekiel not only speaks of the restitution of living Jews, but tells of the restoration of the dead ones to their former estate. Among them he mentions the Sodomites, and says they will be restored. We remember Jesus’ statement, that „it rained down fire and brimstone, and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:29.) Hence we know that Ezekiel’s prophecy is concerning men, dead for nearly a thousand years before he prophecied. Nor need we be surprised at the restitution when we remember that Christ died for their sins as well as for ours, and that in his estimation the Sodomites were far less guilty than some of the Jews of his day who had greater light. (Matt. 11:23.) The time of their restitution will be the time of their trial or judgment; and Jesus says it will be more tolerable for the Sodomites than for some of the Jews, in the day of judgment—the Millennial or judgment (trial) age of the world. [See article—The Day of Judgment—in another column.]
Read very carefully the Lord’s words through Ezekiel, on the subject of restoring to a former estate (chap. 16:48-63), remembering that Jesus by the grace of God tasted death for every man, to be testified in DUE time. (1 Tim. 2:6.) It is evident that the due time to receive this „glad tidings” never yet came to the Sodomites and billions of others, but there can be no doubt that it will come „in DUE TIME”—in the times of restitution of all things.
As we saw in the June number of the TOWER, there is a meaning in the word RESURRECTION, little appreciated until recently by any of us. We there saw, that the Greek word anastasis, from which our word resurrection is translated, means to raise, or lift up to perfection. We saw that the saints would be lifted up to the perfection of their nature—the DIVINE (2 Pet. 1:4), while all men who then submit themselves to God will be lifted up to the perfection of their nature—the HUMAN. We saw that Lazarus and others who were raised to a measure of life only, as a consequence, did not experience a resurrection, and that this is never called a resurrection in Scripture. Jesus was the first being, resurrected. (Col. 1:18.) If this, the proper meaning of resurrection, were recognized, how much obscurity would be removed. „There shall be a resurrection (raising up to perfection) both of the just and unjust.” (Acts 24:15.)
Yes, restitution is abundantly and clearly taught in God’s Word, if we but get ourselves freed from the bondage of prejudice and of man-made church creeds, so that we can „see light in His light.”
But understand us clearly, we do not teach everlasting salvation for all men. Our claim is that Scripture teaches a salvation of all men from Adamic-death and its attendant weaknesses, in order that each shall have a full opportunity to secure everlasting life by obedience.
Q. You say that you are not a sect—that you claim no name but that of Christ, and object not to be called Christians, though not of the denomination so called. But are you not as much of a sect as any of the others, only without a name and without a limited and written creed?
A. No, the word sect means a division, or a separation. Every sect separates itself from all other Christians by a doctrinal fence or creed. Any who would be of them must go inside their pen, believe what they believe, deny what they deny, and be called by their sectarian name. This practice has become so common that many suppose it to be God’s arrangement; and any one found outside all of these numerous pens, is supposed an enemy of God and of truth.
We are opposed to these pens, but love the many children of God, whose growth in grace, and knowledge, and love, is hindered by these restraints. We are opposed to these sectarian pens, because they are not of Jesus, nor of the apostles, but of Satan and Anti-Christ. They prevent the Lord’s sheep from feeding in the green pastures of truth which the true shepherd has provided.
We stand outside of all these fences and recognize the Lord’s sheep, whether in or out of the nominal churches, as our brethren and sisters; and we urge all in the name of our Master to come out—jump the fence or break it down, and come out into the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled with any yoke of bondage. Thus free, we find his yoke easy and our burden light. If all denominational lines and fences and names were obliterated, all Christians would stand just where we stand now, each taught of God through his Word, and each one a brother who exhibits the Spirit of the Head.
All of these sects are condemned to destruction, and the hour of their downfall has come. It will cause pain and distress to all who are worshiping and serving these systems of men, instead of God; but it will be a blessing in disguise, for thus they will be liberated and brought to a refreshing knowledge of God. „Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins,” and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev. 18:4.
Thus you see we are not a sect, and that if all Christians would do as we do in this matter, all sects (divisions) would disappear, and we would be all one in Christ. Soon under the lead of one Master and Teacher, Jesus, we should all come to see things from his standpoint.
Q. If men are to be restored to perfection, and the earth is to become as the Garden of Eden, I suppose that you teach that men will not go to heaven, but that God created the earth for man, and man for earthly existence?
A. Yes, but do not forget that the church changes its nature, from animal to spiritual, from human to divine. These are called „new creatures”—a new creation. The new creatures when perfected will be like and with Jesus—spiritual beings, and in a heavenly or spiritual condition—a height of glory incomprehensible to the human mind—an exhibition of the exceeding riches of God’s grace. The earth then blossoming as the rose, will be all that could be wished for, by those possessing the human nature. See chart in „Food for Thinking Christians,” page 105.
— October And November, 1882 —