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ALL DRAWN, NONE COMPELLED
When our Heavenly Father has revealed his plan it becomes us to submit all our reasonings to what he has laid before us of that plan. Human reason must not array itself in opposition to divine wisdom, but should always be guided by the divine revelation. When, therefore, our Lord declares that he will draw all men unto him, we should avoid reasoning on this statement out of harmony with the various other scriptures which touch the same subject.
Some err in this matter, and reason thus:—Our Lord Jesus is exalted to glory and he himself has said, “All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me.” Therefore, if he who has all power shall draw them, every one will come; for none can resist his “all power.”
This would be fatalism; it would be casting aside the true significance of the word “draw,” and substituting another idea which the Master did not express, viz., force. We have no more right to thus change the significance of his words than we have to change the words themselves. What our Lord meant by the term draw, is illustrated in the experience of each of us, for he used the same Greek word when telling us that, in this present age, none could come to him except the Father draw him. (John 6:44.) The Father draws the bride now, as the Son will draw all men in the Millennial age. The Father draws us by the truth and by his providences, but he does not force or compel one. Even when drawn, by the opening of our mental eyes to the truth, under the unfavorable conditions of the present time, we are not compelled to follow; we may “go away” (John 6:66,67); we may “do despite to the spirit of favor” which enlightened us and thus drew us; we may sin willfully after that we have come to a clear understanding of the truth, and been made partakers of the grace of God in Christ (Heb. 10:26-29); we may abide not in him, and be cast forth as rejected branches (John 15:6), “twice dead, plucked up by the root.” (Jude 12.) So likewise, our Lord’s drawing of all men in the Millennial age, implies that all will be shown the truth and the advantages of righteousness and the evil and disadvantage of sin; and such as choose, [i.e. will follow after righteousness,] will be enabled to come into complete harmony with the divine plan, and will obtain, as the reward of their choice, the gift of life which they may retain forever.
The drawing is one thing and the coming another. It is God’s prerogative to invite, and man’s privilege to come. God did not make man a mere machine to be operated and drawn about hither and thither, with no will of his own; he made him in his own noble likeness, possessed of the God-like faculty of will. Such only of God’s creatures as have this quality of free will, in his likeness, does he recognize as sons, whether they be on the earthly or heavenly plane—human, angelic, or divine sons. All of God’s sons have a will of their own and may decide in matters concerning themselves; and this will be as true in the next as in the present age, though it will be more noticeable then.
This privilege of free agency, ultimately to be restored to all men, will not interfere at all with the divine plan; nor can it in any degree interfere with the final harmony of God’s kingdom; for, though leaving all free to choose life by conformity to the spirit and plan of God, God foretells his intention to cut off from life all who do not thus willingly conform.
What is it that draws us to Christ? It is the truth. What was it that drew the early disciples, when they said, “Lord to whom shall we go?” They confessed it was the truth when they added—”Thou hast the words of eternal life.” It was the truth, “the words of eternal life,” that both drew and held them to the Lord; and so it is with us also. The poet beautifully expressed this drawing and holding power of the truth, saying,
“He drew me, and I followed on,
Charmed to confess the voice divine.”
Not only are we drawn by the truth, which as a cord wraps about us to hold, and steady, and keep us, but we cast out our anchor of hope and faith, which enters into that which is beyond the vail (beyond the present life), and we are thus anchored there. Yet we can sunder either of these cords at our will; they hold us only so long as we will to permit them to control us. Thus we have two cords binding us—first, the truth coming out from God and fastening upon honest hearts; and secondly, the faith and trust of our consecrated hearts reaching back unto God again. So it will be with all mankind in the Millennial age. He who taught and drew us, by giving us the knowledge of the truth, shall so teach the whole world. Not one will be left in ignorance of the goodness of God, or without a clear knowledge of his wondrous plan. Not one will be left without being drawn, just as we are being drawn, by the truth. Yet not one will be forced then, any more than we are forced now. God seeketh such to worship him, not only in the present time, but everlastingly, as worship him in spirit and in truth, not needing to be lashed, or forced, or barred, but such as will be glad to be in harmony with God and delight in his favor.
Some have supposed that the only thing that gives us any appreciation of good, is our experience with evil, but it is not so; those angels which kept their first estate and never sinned, are none the less able to appreciate righteousness. Though by reason of inherited weaknesses we are inclined to sin and find it difficult to do right, yet we do not find it difficult to love righteousness. All present human weaknesses (results of the fall) will be entirely taken away in the Millennial age, so that men will have none of that gravitation towards evil now experienced by all.
But does the assurance of the Scriptures that there shall be a restitution of all things prove that if all were put into a perfect condition, all would therefore willingly serve the Lord and conform to his regulations? No, we answer, we have illustrations of some who were in the perfect state who did not do so. One illustration is Adam. But says one, ignorance in part contributed to Adam’s fall; with fuller knowledge he may act differently. But what shall we say of Satan’s case? was it ignorance on his part that led to sin? is it ignorance that still holds him in the attitude of a sinner? and will it be ignorance on his part all through the Millennial age down to its close that will keep him in rank rebellion against God? No, Satan was not, is not, and will not be ignorant of sin and its wages; and yet through it all, with unimpaired powers and clear knowledge, Satan chooses and wills to do evil. We here cite this remarkable case to show that perfect men—all the race—when the work of restitution (restoration to perfection) is complete—will still need to be tested to prove whether their wills are set to do right, or to do wrong.
God is not attempting to deal with the world now as he is dealing with the church. This is our time of trial, but in the next age when men will have their disabilities removed their trial or testing will begin; and in each individual case the course chosen under that trial, will decide his worthiness or unworthiness to pass beyond the Millennial age, into the ages of glory to follow. “There shall in no wise enter into [that glorious city, the everlasting kingdom] anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie, but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life;” “and there shall be no more curse;” “and they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.” “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates [through the testing process] into the city”—the city for which Abraham looked—the city that hath foundations [of justice and truth] whose designer and builder is God.”
Human society will be something grand when the great High-Priest shall have completed the work which he began to do—or rather, which he gained the privilege of doing, by being “lifted up;” all the willing and obedient having been drawn to him, and the unwilling and disobedient having been cut off. This end of the wicked, at the close of the Millennial age, so repeatedly referred to in the Scriptures, was clearly expressed by the prophet Moses (Acts 3:22) saying, “A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you … like unto me; … and it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear [heed, obey] that prophet [then] shall be cut off from among the people.”
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Christ is not only the High-Priest and Prophet to make atonement for sin and to draw all men unto him, but he is also the King, the executive officer, the great Judge who in the end will pronounce the sentence of justice, saying to the worthy, “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; and to the unworthy, “Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting cutting off prepared for the devil and his messengers.”
Thank God, none are going to be tortured; his sentence is a righteous sentence: “The soul that sinneth it shall die.”
— August, 1888 —