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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Ques. Will God in love destroy any of his creatures?
Ans. We think not. See the definition of love in our September, 1884, issue. When God finally destroys any of his creatures, it will be because they have irrecoverably lost those traits of character which command respect, esteem, and affection; and because such a life, if prolonged, would only be productive of misery both to itself and others. In mercy, therefore, and not in love, God will finally destroy those who will not be recovered to virtue and purity.
Ques. How may I know that I am begotten of the Spirit?
Ans. By finding in yourself the mind of God controlling your life in its every particular. What is the mind of God? It is revealed through his Word to be a mind or will to suffer for truth even unto death, rather than to have, hold, or in any way assist error: It is a mind to learn and „know the truth”: It is a mind to be free completely from the influence and power of error—”free indeed”: It is a mind to obey the truth under all circumstances and at any cost. It will be in you if of the body of Christ, what it was in the head and early members, a mind to do the Father’s will and to sacrifice all things of an earthly character to gain the heavenly riches and glories promised to the overcomers and joint-heirs.
During the Christian Age the Spirit begets to heavenly hopes, by holding out in Scripture heavenly or spiritual rewards—life everlasting as spiritual beings. In the next age it will beget (hope and aspiration) to earthly life and human perfection, by holding out such, as the reward of obedience. The way during the Gospel Age has been difficult, and few have found it—few, comparatively, have been begotten to the new nature, but in the Millennial Age the spirit of truth and knowledge will be so diffused among „all flesh,” that all may be begotten of it, to the grand hope of human perfection and life everlasting; and though not so grand as the spiritual, the conditions will be easier to comply with, as the same degree of sacrifice and self-denial will not be necessary under the favorable conditions of that age.
Ques. If I understand you, you maintain that the number of those going to destruction finally will be small in proportion to those who will attain to everlasting life. The reverse appears to be taught in Matt. 7:13,14: „Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Ans. This Scripture is applicable only in the Gospel Age. The only way of life that has been open during the Gospel Age has been the narrow way of sacrifice, in which few have cared to walk. The mass of mankind have preferred to walk in the easy way of self-gratification—the broad way which leadeth to destruction. In the age to come this will all be changed: those who are now walking the narrow way, will then have gained the great prize offered to them—immortality—the divine nature. A highway shall then be opened up for the world, and it shall be called the way of holiness. The stones (stumbling stones) shall all be gathered out, and the standard of truth lifted up for the people, and made so plain that the wayfaring man, and those acquainted therewith, shall not err therein. Isa. 35:8; 62:10. That highway will lead to the perfection of human nature. See „FOOD,” page 127.
Ques. Will those who in the next age shall be in, or under the kingdom of God as subjects, not share or partake of it, at least in some measure?
Ans. Those who will be in the kingdom of God will not be the subjects of it, but the rulers in it. When the kingdom of God is fully set up, all men, whether good or bad, willing or unwilling will be the subjects of it; for the kingdom will be over all the earth. As every man within the limits of British territory is subject to the control of the British government, and is entitled to its protection and favors if obedient to its laws, or to its penalties if a violater of its laws: so every man will be a subject of the heavenly kingdom when it is established over all the earth.
If by being in the Kingdom of God, you mean within its territory, and therefore a subject of it, then, in this sense, all men will be in it as soon as it is established. And to be thrust out of the kingdom, would mean to be thrust out of the earth—to die.
But surely, this is not what Jesus meant when he said to the prejudiced and unbelieving Jews, „Ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out.” (Luke 13:28.) The hitherto unbelieving Jews will not be in power, and will not occupy the ruling positions of that kingdom (reserved for faithful Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets); but they will not be deprived of the blessings of that kingdom, which are for „all the families of the earth.” In whatever way divine wisdom shall appoint, all will share its blessings. In some cases it will be severe discipline, in others less severe, until fully restored to perfection.
Therefore if these subjects of the kingdom shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob IN the kingdom, and realize that they themselves are not in it, it is plain that only those in the ruling positions of the kingdom, were spoken of by Jesus as IN the kingdom.
The subjects therefore will not be in the kingdom, in the sense in which Jesus used the expression; but will be under its authority and control. And under its dominion the obedient will be richly blessed. All who will fully and cheerfully submit themselves, will in the end, enjoy a full restitution to perfection; and in the end of the age when Christ gives up the kingdom to God the Father, the original dominion over the earth will be restored to the whole restored human race.—Matt. 25:34.
The dominion given to them will be the same as at first given to Adam, and lost by him. It is now exercised by Satan who uses fallen man as his tool. It will be reclaimed and retaken by Christ who purchased it, („the purchased possession”) at the same time, and by the same precious blood which bought all, in order to restore all things (man and earth) to the original design of the Father, illustrated in Adam and his dominion.—Gen. 1:28. Psa. 8:6-8.
— June, 1886 —