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When God created man, he endowed him with qualities of being like his own. Qualities of justice and judgment fitted him to be a ruler; qualities of mercy and love prepared him to be a reasonable, kind and wise ruler. Such is a brief description of earth’s first king—Adam. An image of his Creator, (not physically, but mentally and morally,) he is to be invested with authority over earth and its affairs, like as God is ruler over all, as we read: After our likeness let them have dominion over the beast of the field, the fowl of heaven and the fish of the sea. [Gen. 1:26]. Thus was he installed lord of earth. He was but another form of creation, a step lower than angels, as lower and under him, came the brute creation. Accordingly we read: “Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands. Thou hast put all things under his feet.” [Psa. 8:5-6].
All of this glory, honor and rulership was invested in him, to be used in harmony with his nature, which being perfect, was in perfect harmony with the will of God. This was his inheritance, but
HE LOST IT
As God had foreseen, man disobeys his superior ruler, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This cannot be allowed to go unpunished. He had been informed from the first that disobedience to God would be sin, and that its legitimate punishment and effect is death. While man always was mortal, i.e. liable to death, if disobedient to God’s laws, yet the loving Creator had made every provision necessary to his welfare, in the garden prepared for his trial. And not only had He arranged that the soul (person) that sinned should die, but also that if obedient the person should continue to live. The means for life’s continuance was in “every tree of the garden,” i.e., the food provided for man’s sustenance was amply sufficient to meet all the wastes of his system, and would have preserved the freshness and vigor of his perfect being forever. This would be everlasting life.
When man became a sinner the penalty “death” must be executed. It mattered not so far as the penalty was concerned, whether Adam should die the same moment that he disobeyed, or the same year, or a thousand years after. He must die. The word “day” used in connection with the penalty, is the general term used now as well as in past times, for a period or epoch of time, as: “The day of temptation in the wilderness—forty years;” the days of creation, etc. The marginal reading clears up the meaning: “In the day that thou eatest thereof, dying, thou shalt die.” [Gen. 2:17]. This was fulfilled not by God’s striking Adam dead with a thunderbolt but simply by cutting off his access to the life-giving food supplied by the trees of the prepared garden. Accordingly an angel drove Adam from the garden and prevented with flaming sword, his access thereafter to the tree (trees or woods) of life. [Gen. 3:24].
Thus was the Lord of creation driven out into the world which God, foreknowing his fall, had left in an unprepared or “cursed” conditions. The garden which we are told was “prepared” was doubtless an illustration of what the whole earth will be when man and his perfect conditions are restored—in “The times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets.”
Thus thrown upon his own resources for obtaining by sweat of face, elements to sustain life, Adam found it a hard lot, and by its effects was enabled to know what evil is, and the exceeding bitterness of sin. And oft, no doubt, he desired, perhaps prayed, that he might be permitted again to dwell in Eden, and promised that with his present knowledge of sin and evil he would more highly prize the good things there enjoyed and more fervently love and obey Him “from whom cometh every good and perfect gift.” But though God’s plan was no less loving than this, it was broader, wiser and more comprehensive. God’s plan was to let, not only Adam, but also the entire race, learn just this same lesson of the bitterness of sin and disobedience which each must individually learn to fully appreciate. Then bringing all back to the Eden condition, sin might be forever banished, and the entire race live in harmony with God.
Toil and care told in time upon even the perfect physical form of a perfect man, resulting finally in his complete overthrow and wresting from his grasp the last shred or spark of life. He is dead. After nine hundred and thirty years of struggle with his foe—death—he is conquered. The penalty of sin was inflicted and continues, to this moment, since he still is one of the prisoners in the great charnel house of death, which has since swallowed up the race, and will hold them all until the second Adam, who ransomed the race, and who declares, “I have the keys of hell and death” [hades—the grave] [Rev. 1:18] shall take his great power and reign, releasing “the prisoners of the pit” [grave], “the captives” of sin and death.
But not only did the casting out from the life-preserving fruits of the garden tend, to the impairing of Adam’s physical powers, but of his mental qualities also. It was not possible that he should retain perfect mental vigor, when he became physically impaired, thought being the product of the mental organism made active by the physical vitality.
We see then that Adam’s mental powers decreased with his physical deterioration, and the moral qualities of his mind suffered the most. While the energy of body and mind were taxed to their utmost to take care of self, it is but reasonable to suppose that the quality of benevolence (love) which as he was in God’s image, must have been one of the ruling characteristics of his being was crowded out, and the qualities of acquisitiveness (selfishness) and combativeness were developed instead. This same idea followed out would show us that all the higher, grander, nobler qualities were suffered measurably to decline, while all of the lower ones (common to the lower animals) were the more developed.
As man lost the grandeur of his being, and its powers decreased, his rulership over the lower creation, as well as over self gave way, until today we find him afraid of all wild beasts, and that they no longer recognize the rulership of their fallen lord. And the influence once exercised by our father Adam is barely discernable in the occasional man who can master and tame (partially) the ferocious beasts. Here we have a brief glance at the first dynasty of earth and its overthrow. Now we see the result: “By sin came death.” In the expressive language of Paul,
King of Terrors under “him that has the power of death, that is, the devil”—”the prince of this world.” All bow before him; all are under his control. From the cradle to the tomb, every ache and pain attests his power over us, and the same agency which first placed us under his rule (sin) conspires yet, to more quickly destroy the race. His rule or reign must continue so long as there is sin to be punished, or until the entire race is reduced to the condition of lifelessness. But Jehovah foresaw all this, and in his plan has
A DELIVERER PROVIDED
Such a ransom and deliverance was a part of God’s plan from the first; and we read “for this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil”—sin and death. [1 John 3:8.] And not only so, but also, “him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil.” [Heb. 2:14], and thus release from his grasp all of the race.
But as Satan and death are acting in harmony with a law of the universe, viz: that no sinner shall be permitted to live, and that every creature shall be perfect in its own plane of existence, the one who would deliver the race from his authority must satisfy these claims of the law of the universe. This the fallen ones could not do for themselves, as God had from the first foreknown and arranged for in His plan. Carrying out this plan He had already condemned the entire race on account of one man’s disobedience. His purpose from the first being that he would provide another man, who, being without sin, should give himself “a ransom for all” the race—that “as by one man’s disobedience [the] many [all] were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall [the] many [all] be made righteous” (justified from sin and death). Rom. 5:19.
But who is the one righteous, pure, holy, sinless, one? How could there be such an one among a race all of whom were condemned. “There is none righteous, no not one,” the scriptures answer. But when mankind had learned effectually his own weakness and inability to deliver himself from death, his extremity became
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God’s opportunity, and “God’s eye pitied, and His arm brought salvation.” The very chief of God’s creation higher than angels and archangels [Heb. 1:5-8], He who is called “the beginning of the creation of God” [Rev. 3:14] is selected as the one who shall undergo the labors of redeeming humanity. We are not to suppose this was an irksome or unwilling work, for we cannot suppose a being in perfect harmony with Jehovah who would not take delight in doing his will. Nor would obedience be the only motive which would actuate, partaking as all perfect beings on whatever plane they exist must, of the divine quality—love—he would love to do the work for the sake of its benefits to mankind, releasing them from death. This no doubt was a part of the joy set before him, for which he, endured the
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cross despising the shame. [Heb. 12:2].
Aside from this joy at the opportunity to release the human race from death, was that of “bringing many sons to glory,” i.e., a part of the race “a little flock.” “To these gave he power to become sons of God.” “For, as many as are led by the spirit of God, are the sons of God.” These, according to God’s plan, may, by intimate association with him be reckoned as the bride of Christ and as such enter the heavenly family. To these sons this mighty one would be a leader or “captain of their salvation.” And yet another part of this
“JOY SET BEFORE HIM,”
was that He himself should, because of his obedience, labor, sacrifice, etc., be accounted worthy of still higher honor and more intimate relationship and communion with Jehovah—the object of his supreme love and devotion, than he had ever yet possessed, even to partake of his divine nature. So we read: “He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name,” [Phil. 2:8-9], “that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.” [John 5:23].
But how shall this redemptive work be accomplished? We have seen that God’s plan was, that since by man came death, by man should also come the resurrection of the dead. [1 Cor. 15:21]. Then to redeem man, this mighty one must become a man in every particular. He must partake of “flesh and blood,” [Heb. 2:14], and consequently must have all the qualities of the fleshly race, not the sinful and depraved qualities with which we now are burdened, but he must be a perfect man, standing exactly where Adam stood, except that he would know more perfectly the exceeding sinfulness of sin and its dire effects which he saw everywhere about him, and also for what purpose he had come. He took not the nature and form of angels, for that would not have answered, but he took the nature and form of a man.
All things are now ready. “In the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son, born of a virgin,” “born not of the will of the flesh but of the will of God”—in a word, as much of a specially creative act on God’s part as was the creation of Adam; the difference being that the one could say, “The earth is my mother,” the other was “born of a woman.” Had he in any way been a descendant of Adam he would have been under the curse of death, as are all other members of that race. He would have been as unable to keep the law as other men in whom sinful dispositions and depraved human nature are born. But while of the same (human) nature he is a new being, distinct from the race. He is born, grows in wisdom and in stature but manifests powers beyond others because he is perfect, they imperfect. Now he has reached maturity (according to the law) at thirty years of age. He knows as no one else does the great work for which during those thirty years he has been coming—his body preparing—it was “for the suffering of death”—that he “should taste death for every man”—”that through death he might destroy death,” and liberate the dead race—”in due time.” Now he is come, the second perfect sinless man, and offers this perfect life as a ransom for the race—”Lo, I come, (as) in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O, God.” [Heb. 10:7]. This was his covenant, to die, as he afterward expressed it, saying: “For this cause came I into the world.” And here in type he was buried in the water and rose again, thus making the picture of that which he covenanted to do.
Now as the perfect one he has done all that he can do, given himself up to die as the Father may will, but though the death has not actually occurred (at baptism) it is so reckoned, (as with us when we covenant), and the new nature’s powers and will, which belong to the spiritual body, which he is to be when the work of death is complete; (“raised a spiritual body,”) these powers and qualities were given him as soon as the human—earthly—body was consecrated. This was at his baptism when the spirit descended and a voice from heaven acknowledged His begetting again to the spiritual plane and to the Divine nature. “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” [Matt. 3:17]. Henceforth the life of Jesus is that of a dual being, the outward form being the man Christ Jesus, whose life and being were daily spent for the good of others—a body already given up to death.
The new being within—the Divine nature—was the spirit power of God. And in this he is the pattern and leader of “all who come unto God by Him,” “who become partakers of the Divine nature”—the “little flock” called his bride—His body. We must surrender ourselves to God—be baptized into his death—in order to be begotten of the spirit and receive the earnest of our new spiritual being, the fullness of which will be received when we are completely delivered from this fleshy condition to our spiritual bodies.
Thenceforth he “did not his own human will” but was “led of the Spirit,” and the actions now were of God, as Jesus testified: “The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s, which sent me.” [John 14:24 and 17:8]. “The Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works.” [John 14:10]. If we as our head “are led by the Spirit of God”—even unto death—we also become “the sons of God,” [Rom. 8:14], who will also “work in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.” [Phil. 2:13].
And we who are now “new creatures (in Christ Jesus”) should take courage from the life of our beloved master; as Paul says:
who endureth such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be weary and faint in your minds.” If you sometimes find it hard to endure the frowns of the world and to be thought of and treated as a deceiver by your friends, think of Him weeping in Gethsemane, condemned before Pilate, crucified as a malefactor, forsaken and denied by his loved ones, “yet He opened not His mouth.” And if your human nature sometimes shrinks, although reckoned dead, think again of Him. Remember that He was tempted in all points like as we are, (yet without sin), and can and does sympathize with us, and though you may sometimes cry out, as he did: “Father, if it be possible, let this cup (the ignominy) pass from me,” forget not to add, as he did, “yet not my will but thine be done.” The human will of Jesus though given up at consecration—baptism felt the crucifixion so that He needed the heavenly “grace to help in time of need” to keep the human will perfectly obedient to the will of the new being—the divine.
This dying process continued during the three and one-half years of His ministry, from the moment of His consecration and acceptance at baptism, until on the cross He cried: “It is finished.” But what was finished there—the work of atonement? No, the work of atonement signifies the making at one of two parties. In this case God was one and humanity the other party. Man’s sin had brought upon him God’s curse, death, instead of his blessing; and by its degrading influence (as we have seen) it had so marred the mental and moral likeness of man to his maker, that he no longer took “delight in the law of God,” but in sin, and it will be readily seen that there was much work necessary to bring about full reconciliation between God and man. First—Justice must be met, a ransom must be given for the sinner, else God could never, to all eternity, recognize him as having a right to live. Secondly—Man must be brought to his original condition of perfection—in God’s image—before he can be of himself perfectly in harmony with God’s perfect will and law. Now, while this work, as a whole, was Jehovah’s plan from “before the creation of the world,” its accomplishment only began with Jesus, and will not be completed until the end of the millennial reign, when Jesus shall deliver up all things to the Father, having put down (destroyed) all opposition to God’s laws, (sin). 1 Cor. 15:24-28.
When Jesus cried, “it is finished,” he referred only to the first mentioned part of this work of atonement, viz: The giving of the ransom; this was now complete; the penalty of Adam’s sin was now met, for “Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture”—”gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time.” “Who is a propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” [1 John 2:2.]
Having thus “purchased us from death with his own precious blood,” all the race belongs to him. A race of sinners they were having no right to life; a race of ransomed beings they are against whom justice has no claim, who may be restored to perfect life at the pleasure or will of Jesus their redeemer, who proclaimed, that in due time “all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and come forth.” And again: “I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore, and have the keys of hell [hades—the grave] and of death.” [Rev. 1:18]. Yes, says Paul: “For this purpose Christ was manifested, [in the flesh] that he might destroy death, and him that has the power of death, that is the devil.”
But while we are thus informed of the plan of God to destroy “death” yet, nearly two thousand years have passed since the ransom was paid and still death reigns. Why does not the purchaser take possession of “the purchased possession?” Ah, he has a grand plan with regard to some of the race he has purchased—He will by trial of faith and patience develop
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and separate from the world “a little flock” whom he will associate with Himself as His bride. They will be a peculiar people, zealous of good works, and full of faith, who walk in his footsteps of self-sacrifice and entire giving up of their human nature—will and body—receiving instead the Divine nature—will and body.
When the church—body—of Christ is made perfect through sufferings and trials, and united with Him [which event we believe to be so close at hand], then the great work and reign of earth’s new monarch—the second Adam—begins. Though possessing the power over evil ever since He rose from the grave its victor, yet he has not exercised that power up to the present time because evil is necessary to the development of his body. But when we are complete he shall take to himself his great power and reign. [Rev. 11:17]. This statement is applied as having its fulfillment at the end of the gospel age during the sounding of the seventh (symbolic) trumpet.
Now let us enquire, how long will Christ reign—or exercise authority and rule? Answer. “He shall reign forever and ever,” [Rev. 11:15], that is, being associated with the Father, Christ (and we in Him) shall always belong to the reigning and ruling power—Jesus at the Father’s right hand (next in authority) and we at his right hand, consequently “above all principalities and powers.” But in the especial sense of ruling over and subduing earth, the reign is limited to the period of time necessary to the restoring of all earth’s people and affairs to a condition of at-one-ment or harmony with God, the Father, as Paul expresses it:
“HE MUST REIGN TILL HE HATH PUT ALL ENEMIES UNDER HIS FEET
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” For “He (the Father) hath put all things under his (Christ’s) feet,” but it is evident that the Father did not put himself under the control of Christ. “And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also, himself, be subject unto Him (the Father) that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all,” (or above all).
Man having been restored to his original dominion, every inferior creature will recognize him as its Lord, and every human being will recognize “Christ as Lord to the glory of God the Father.” [Phil. 2:11]. And thus will be completed the great work planned before our creation, commenced at the baptism of Jesus and ending with the close of the millennial reign. [Rev. 20:6] viz: At-one-ment.
Then, “the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth,” and His “will be done on earth as in heaven.”
That this is God’s plan, is implied in the term “Restitution,” and is the legitimate conclusion to be drawn from Paul’s argument. [Heb. 2:6-9.] He starts out with the original plan of God in creating man perfect—”Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor and didst set him over the works of Thy hands. Thou hast put all (earthly) things in subjection under his feet.” But as we have seen, sin has marred all this
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glory and honor, and has degraded us far below angels; taking the dominion out of our hand and permitting “death to reign.” And if we look about us we will say with Paul that it seems as though God’s plan were a failure, for though six thousand years have passed, “We see not yet all things put under him” [man]. But is there any hopeful sign to indicate that man may yet be restored to his honor and glory, and set over the earthly works of God’s hand? Yes, we have the assurance that ALL God’s purposes shall be accomplished, [Isa. 14:24], and that a “seed of the woman” should yet destroy the serpent—evil—and “bless all the families of the earth.” And though this work is not yet accomplished yet we see a beginning of it. As Paul says, “we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels,” [the condition of a perfect man], for the suffering of death … that He, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man.” Thus far had the plan progressed in Paul’s day, and if he were living now, he would doubtless add, as we can, that the church, as his body, is about complete; that the gospel age of suffering with Him and “filling up the measure of the afflictions of Christ which are behind” is ending and the millennial age in which we shall “live and reign with Christ a thousand years” is dawning.
As those who expect to be of the bride—the body—of Christ and be glorified together with Him, we rejoice to think that the time is so near at hand when we shall be changed, leaving forever the human form and nature, and being made “like unto Christ’s glorious body.” But one thing which adds much to our interest and rejoicing is the thought of the necessity of our development and changing, as the body of the great deliverer, before death can be destroyed and the race liberated and brought to the liberty of the sons of God, as Adam and angels—free from the bondage of corruption—death. For we know that “they without us shall not be made perfect.” We must be perfected on the spiritual plane as divine beings before they can be perfected on the earthly plane as human beings.
Seeing then what high honors and glory await the overcoming sons of God, and the blessings awaiting the world through us, can any one wonder that we long for the happy moment of change? Surely not, and not only we, but the world, also, are waiting and hoping [though ignorantly] for a good time coming, for the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now waiting for the manifestation of [the Church] the sons of God, (Rom. 8:22,19)—the sun of righteousness which “arises with healing in his wings” to heal, and perfect, and restore all things to the perfect will of God.
Thus earth will have had, when man is restored, the following great
First—Man under God.
Second—Death and evil, under Satan.
Third—Righteousness under Christ.
Fourth—The first restored, i.e., man under God.
In the second and third of these dynasties, viz.: The reigns of Satan and of Christ, the active rulers are invisible to humanity and their powers only recognizable by the effects and results. The devil is called “the prince [Ruler] of this world.”—”him that has the power of death, that is, the devil.” The effects of His reign and rule have been, as we have seen, to degrade man in every way. How wonderfully successful he has been is evident as we look about us. Sin, misery and death are on every hand, and yet Satan, the ruler, is invisible, seen only through his agencies, and he has plenty of them, for “his servants ye are to whom you render service.” We claim, then, that all persons, or institutions, or governments, which aid in the work of death and degradation and oppression of right and truth, are Satan’s agents.
God classes all present governments of earth as Satan’s. “The prince—ruler—of this world” would not permit any government which would not act in harmony with him, as long as he has the control, which will be until the end of this age, when the Redeemer takes his great power and reigns. Satan has ruled among the nations for ages, except the one nation, Israel, of which God says: “You only have I known of all the [nations] families of the earth.” (We have seen that they were used thus as a type of the higher spiritual Israel, the church, which was to be in the world, but not of it.) The time came, however, that God gave over even this nation as the others when they went into captivity to Babylon, and God’s prophet said of the last reigning prince, “Take off the diadem, remove the crown; this shall not [continue to] be the same, I will overturn, overturn, overturn it [the kingdom] until He come whose right it is, and I will give it Him” [The Christ]. Ezek. 21:27.
At the same time, God indicated that the government of earth was given over to depravity’s rule, and pictures it to Nebuchadnezzar as
A GREAT IMAGE
illustrative of human power, divided into four parts, Nebuchadnezzar’s government representing the head; the succeeding, Medo-Persian government represented by the breast and arms; and the belly and thighs representing the third or Grecian government; while the fourth and last part, the legs and feet represent the last phase of earthly government, the Roman Empire, which, in a divided form, still continues, and is to be followed by Messiah’s Kingdom—the kingdom of heaven, which “shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms [not people], and it shall stand forever.” Danl. 2:44.
Thus, as a glorious image, did these earthly kingdoms appear to the natural man; and as glorious they still are regarded by the world. Extolled in prose and verse, through all generations, are their deeds of blood and violence, which shock the feelings of all possessed of the spirit of love. Their history is one successive record of crime and death, each of their heroes claiming higher honor than his predecessor because he had butchered greater numbers of his fellow-beings, and made more widows and orphans and more misery. No wonder that when God pictured the same four earthly governments to the holy prophet Daniel, he gave it as a beastly picture. (Danl. 8). They are indeed beastly governments. How perfectly they represent, in their evil and death-dealing power, their master, the devil. The picture, or likeness of the fourth
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(Roman power) to Satan is so strong that Jesus, when presenting it in symbol in Revelation, almost invariably calls it “the dragon,” “that old serpent, which is the devil and Satan,” &c., thus using the names of its prince as a name for the kingdom.
While God thus permits evil to triumph now, seemingly without restraint, and uses it as an agency for punishing sin, yet it is under an over-ruling guidance by which God “causes the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder He will restrain.”
The inventions and arts of the last three centuries (machinery, printing, application of steam, electricity, etc.,) have come about gradually, but we believe are none the less of God—His agencies now in preparation for the blessing of humanity during the coming reign of righteousness. These scientific attainments, which will so fully bless in the future, are even now exercising a powerful effect upon humanity, enlightening the understanding, and, by increasing the dependency of one upon another, it naturally tends to promote sympathy, affection, and fraternity between the various members of the human family.
But all of these blessings, while they serve to lift mankind in a measure out of evil, are only temporary helps. Satan is still equal to the occasion, and though he could not now induce millions of men to follow for years a leader for his glory’s sake, he can foment angry strife between nations upon pretexts of honor, etc., and, though men do not now fight as incessantly as of old, yet the “arts of war” more than keep pace with those of peace, so that to-day the standing armies of earth are far larger and far better prepared for mutual destruction than ever before.
The progress of science and art fails to bring now the blessings which will result in the future, because avarice (selfishness) has crowded out love and benevolence. Capital and power combine to oppress the poor, and they in turn despise and envy the rich.
Nor can we wonder if the masses of mankind notice this condition of affairs; and that as knowledge increases among them, they should seek to band themselves together for self-protection, especially if they see, as in Europe, kings, emperors, nobles, and landlords rolling in wealth and luxury, while some of them barely eke out an existence on the commonest necessaries of life, without luxury or comfort. All that they can earn more than will purchase meal, potatoes, and salt, with coarse fabric for clothing, is required as tax to support these corrupt governments, which, like great boils, absorb the strength and vitality of humanity. So we see that Satan is still ruling over earth. Satan may change tactics according to the necessities of the hour, but he is ruling still.
God’s Word informs us that, by the general uprising of humanity and overthrow of governments, the new age will be introduced. In the coming struggle the two spiritual powers, Christ and his saints, and Satan and his angels, will each have earthly armies whose causes they will support and advance. Satan’s will be the kings, chief captains, rich men, and mighty men, [Rev. 19:19] while Christ will espouse and bring to victory the cause of the oppressed, who, inspired by justice and right, will be used to some extent as agents to their own liberation from the thraldom of evil and oppression.
How we see the preparation for this time of trouble in the world, going on all around us, and how unconsciously each one takes his place to play his part in the closing act of the reign of sin and death. In this country, less oppressed and in every way more blessed than others,
CAPITAL AND LABOR
are arraying themselves against each other as if against enemies; labor fearing that capital will grind the life out of it unless it organizes and protects itself; capital fearful of losing the upper hand of labor. Look abroad and see the Nihilists of Russia, the Land Leaguers and Liberals of Great Britain and Ireland, and the Socialists and Communists of Austria, Germany, and France, and tell me, do not all of these things, visible to our natural eye, corroborate what our spiritual eye of faith has seen by the light of the prophetic page—that “the day of the Lord is a day of trouble,” and that we are now in the “harvest” of the gospel age, the chief reaper present, and the work of separation going on [in the church] between wheat and tares?
The third dynasty of earth, like the second, will be the ruling of an invisible power through seen agencies of earth. As now Satan reigns unseen, then “The Christ of God” will reign and rule unseen. As now sin abounds, so then the opposite—righteousness—will rule. As Satan now has agents in men and governments, so with Christ’s reign, every man coming into harmony with truth and righteousness will be reckoned a servant of God. The kingdoms of this world being all overthrown, [Dan. 2:44,] will be re-established on principles of justice and equity, based upon the golden law of love to God and men.
The chief nation of earth during that age, the Word informs us, will be fleshly Israel, in glory and prominence exalted above all other nations—”The joy of the whole earth.” And next in positions of favor and blessing will come other nations in proportion as they conform to the law of the Kingdom of God. Thus will the light of knowledge and truth emanating from the spiritual city—the church—the New Jerusalem, [Rev. 21.] bless all nations, and result in healing and blessing all mankind, until ultimately, having put down all opposition, and brought all men to the condition of perfection and righteousness, the third empire will give place to the fourth, which is the first restored, viz.: man over earth its lord and himself in perfect obedience to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Thus, “God [will be] all in all.” Amen. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
— December, 1882 —