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„AS BY ONE MAN’S DISOBEDIENCE”
ONE of our readers inquires how Christ could „appear for us,” the Church, without appearing for Adam or having atoned for him, when Adam was the real transgressor and we merely sharers in transgression through our relationship to him.
We reply that the questioner really answers his own argument: Adam alone was perfect—Adam alone was placed on trial and he alone by disobedience came under a direct sentence of death. Of his posterity it was written that we were „born in sin and shapen in iniquity.” In this imperfect condition we were unfit for another trial, as was demonstrated by the Jews, who, as a special favor, were put under the Law Covenant, which they thought they could keep, and under which they expected to gain eternal life. But the Apostle explains that under its terms they were condemned to death. The same would have been true of all the remainder of mankind under similar conditions, but no such conditions were either thrust upon or offered to mankind in general. Israel alone was put under that Law and is guaranteed a certain blessing as a result of the experiences then unsatisfactorily endured. Be it noted here that the fact that they were put under that special trial, and thus specially condemned, made it necessary that they should be redeemed as a nation. Thus we read that our Lord was „born under the Law (Covenant) that he might redeem them who were under the Law (Covenant).” (Gal. 4:5.) Had he been born outside of the Jewish nation the redemption of the world in general would have been the same as now, but the Jewish nation would not have shared it because by their Law Covenant sealed at Sinai they were, so to speak, lifted out from the remainder of mankind and given a separate trial—as a nation—as the adopted family of Moses, their recognized mediator.
As the Lord could make a conditional covenant with natural Israel through Moses, their mediator, so likewise he could make a conditional arrangement with Spiritual Israel through Christ our Head and Representative. God’s arrangement with believers during this Gospel Age is by a faith-justification of all those who turn from sin and accept Jesus as their Redeemer. He „appeared for us” who are of this class; he now represents us to the Father, appropriating to us the merit of his sacrifice, thereby making it possible for those of this „household of faith” who make a full consecration of themselves to the Father to be acceptable through Christ Jesus, who accepts these consecrated ones as his „members in particular”—his Ecclesia, his Church. Their acceptance is based upon their covenant to walk in the steps of their Redeemer as living sacrifices. Only those who maintain this relationship faithfully will attain the heart-likeness of their Redeemer and become worthy to be of the „little flock,” which the Father has predestinated must be individually heart-copies of his Son.
ADAM ONLY WAS CONDEMNED
So far as the divine program is concerned only the one man sinned, only the one man was sentenced to death and only the one man Christ Jesus needed to die for the redemption and the complete deliverance from death of the whole human family. Nevertheless the one sacrifice of Christ would be necessary for the delivery of any one man of the whole world, because all are imperfect and under the demands of Justice none can claim release from death. It follows then that our Lord, when he had ascended up on high, had in his hand a price sufficient to pay the penalty for any one member of the race or for all of them or for as many as he chose to apply it for. He did choose, according to the Scriptures, to make application of that merit only in behalf of those who should believe during this Age—the antitypical Atonement Day. As a consequence of that application in „our behalf” we who believe have been privileged to return to God’s favor and to enjoy the opportunity of becoming joint-heirs with our Redeemer.
The divine purpose in the redemption provided was to bring a blessing to all the families of the earth—a release from sin and death conditions and a return to divine favor to all who would be obedient; hence our Lord’s work did not end with the application of his merit to those who were accepted of the Father as members of his Body. Rather the sacrifice was allowed to continue on a larger scale—a sacrificing of the Church, the members of his Body being counted as a continuation and a completion of our Lord’s own personal sacrifice. When all the members of this great mystical Body shall have „suffered with him”—when he as the great antitypical High Priest shall have offered up not only himself but us, his adopted members, then justice will have all that it ever demanded and much more. It will have the one great valuable sacrifice of Jesus and additionally the sacrifice of his members—144,000 justified through faith in his blood, whose sacrifice the Apostle declares to be in God’s sight „holy and acceptable.”—Rom. 12:1.
Would it be right for justice to accept 144,001 sacrifices when only the one was really demanded? We answer, Yes. Justice is not hindered—divine justice would not be stopped from receiving all of those sacrifices in the manner arranged. Justice could not have demanded more, however, nor accepted less, than the one perfect life. We are to remember that none of these sacrifices was demanded nor compelled by justice—merely a high reward for faithfulness was held out for the time. Our Lord was attracted thereby and „For the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame.” As a matter of fact the divine plan through him opened the door of opportunity to others who have his spirit (disposition) during this Age, to a limited fore-ordained number, which we believe to be 144,000. Their sacrifice was not demanded. It was voluntary and because they saw riches of grace and divine rewards which they esteemed to be their privilege to attain. Thus in the divine plan the world has been redeemed much less directly than we may have imagined, but much to our advantage, in that it has permitted us to become members of the Bride Class, members of the Body of the Great Mediator, whose work throughout the Millennial Age will be that of Intercessor and Go-between and Mediator between God and men—the world in general. We, who now come in under this arrangement as members of the Body, members of the „Seed of Abraham,” members of the Great Antitypical Mediator, Prophet, Priest, King, Judge, are as his members under his supervision yielding up our lives in sacrifice during this Age, and these sacrificed lives counted in with his constitute the blood of The Christ, which seals the New Covenant between God and the world. That New Covenant will not be sealed until all the blood of the Great Mediator has been shed. Then Head and Body, Bridegroom and Bride, we shall be presented before the Father and the blood of the Great Christ, as shown in the types of Leviticus, will then avail for the cancellation of the world’s sin, even as the blood of Jesus now avails for our sins.
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Meantime in advance of the sealing of that New Covenant Jesus and all the members of his Body are „able ministers of the New Covenant”—qualified ministers or servants—qualified to offer the necessary sacrifice—qualified to represent God and to tell to those who have the ear to hear the terms and conditions of that New Covenant of the future and the terms and conditions by which we become its ministers or servants and ambassadors for God and of his righteousness, which the New Covenant will introduce to mankind in general.
THE LAST FIRST—THE FIRST LAST
Coming back then to the original question we remind all that the Apostle shows that „We are all sinners”—that „the whole world is guilty before God,” not in the sense that each has been tried and sentenced, but in the sense that all have inherited weaknesses and imperfections which would prove them guilty and bring upon them condemnation if they were put upon trial at the present time. Hence, instead of putting mankind on trial, as Adam was on trial before the bar of divine justice, God has arranged the Millennial Age as the period in which the whole world shall be instructed, enlightened, corrected in righteousness and helped out of their sins and death conditions back to perfection, if they will. During the Millennium none will be on trial before the bar of divine justice. Indeed, as the Apostle suggests, it would be „a fearful thing” for any to drop out of the hands of Christ into the hands of the living God, because the divine provision for mercy and forgiveness is all in Christ. Hence there is no salvation through any other name nor in any other way than by faith in and obedience to the Great Mediator.
But it is in no sense necessary that this work of reclaiming the race should begin in Adam—quite to the contrary, the last will be first and the first last, so far as the divine arrangement is revealed. Adam, who enjoyed 930 years of experience, will be amongst the last if not the very last to be awakened from the tomb and to be tested as respects his willingness hereafter to be in harmony with the divine program in every detail. Not until the close of the Millennial Age will Adam and his race be turned over to the Father. They will then „fall into the hands of the living God” without injury because the Mediator will have previously brought them to full perfection of mind and body—all the unwilling and disobedient and refractory being destroyed in the Second Death throughout the Millennial years. But naturally and properly at the close of the Millennium the Kingdom shall be delivered up to God, even the Father. (1 Cor. 15:23-27.) Then the first work of the Father with these will be to test their loyalty as he tested father Adam in the beginning. Whichever of these shall sin after having had the experiences of the fall and the recovery will not only be condemned to death, but that death will be a finality. „Christ dieth no more.” No provision has been made but by the one Redemption and one Restitution.
— October 15, 1908 —