“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Cor. 8:6)
“GOD” AND “LORD” IN THE BIBLE
In the Old Testament: The word “god” as used in the Old Testament is generally the translation of the Hebrew word elohiym and its variations el and elowahh. Each of these words signifies “mighty one,” but not always the all-mighty one. It is a generic term, often and properly applied to our heavenly Father, as well as to our Lord Jesus, to angels and to men. To illustrate:
“For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords…” (Deut. 10:17) The word translated “god” here is elohiym – a mighty or great one – and is used in referring to Yahweh, the almighty God, as well as to other gods.
“…we have seen God.” (Judges 13:22) From verse 21 we see that the word elohiym used in verse 22 refers to an angel: “Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.”
“…there shall ye serve other gods day and night...” (Jer. 16:13) Here earthly heathen kings and governors are called “gods” – elohiym.
“…I have made thee a god to Pharaoh...” (Exod. 7:1) Moses is called a god – elohiym.
“Then his master shall bring him unto the judges...” (Exod. 21:6) In this verse and also in Exod. 22:8,9,28, the word elohiym is used to refer to the Judges of Israel appointed by Moses, because they were “mighty ones,” or persons in authority. The translators of the KJV have rendered the word “judges” in all except the last instance, where they rendered it “gods,” but it is the same word – elohiym.
In Exod. 12:12 the princes of Egypt are referred to as “gods [elohiym] of Egypt.”
“God [Elohiym] standeth in the congregation of the mighty [el]; he judgeth among the gods [elohiym].” (Psa. 82:1) Here the first word “God” evidently refers to Yahweh (working through Jesus Christ, the divinely appointed deliverer and Judge of Christendom), the Almighty One, who judges “the gods,” the princes of the earth. The “mighty” [el] refers to the Church, the sons of God: “I have said, Ye are gods [elohiym]; and all of you are children of the Most High [elyown, the highest God].” (Psa. 82:6)
The word “LORD” in all capital letters, as used in the Old Testament, is generally the translation of the Hebrew word Yahweh. The word Yahweh is not a general name, like the word god, but a proper name, the distinctive personal name of the Almighty Father, and is never applied to any other being. The name Yahweh, like other proper names, should not be translated. In our common version of the Old Testament its distinctiveness as a name is lost by being translated LORD. Some erroneously suppose that the name Yahweh applies also to Christ. We therefore cite a few of the many Scriptures to prove that this name belongs exclusively to the great First Cause of all things:
“I am the LORD [Yahweh]; that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another...” (Isa. 42:8)
“And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty [El Shadday], but by my name JEHOVAH [Yahweh] was I not known to them.” (Exod. 6:3)
“That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH [Yahweh], art the most high over all the earth.” (Psa. 83:18)
“Lord” in the lower case is generally a translation of the Hebrew word adonay or its variations adon and adown. It is a title of reverence and may refer either to Yahweh or to the Lord Jesus. Yahweh is frequently declared to be the Savior of men (Isa. 43:11) because He was the Author of the plan of salvation (“God, the Father, of whom are all things”), our Lord Jesus being the Savior in a secondary sense, as the instrument through whom the plan of Yahweh was executed (“Lord Jesus Christ by whom are all things”). David makes the distinction between Yahweh and our Lord Jesus very marked: “The LORD [Yahweh] said unto my Lord [adown, master – Christ], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psa. 110:1) Our Lord Jesus and Peter call attention very forcibly to this Scripture and to the distinction made. (Luke 20:41-44; Acts 2:34-36)
In the New Testament: The word “god” in our New Testament, whether in referring to our Heavenly Father or to His Heavenly Son, our Lord Jesus, or to false gods, is almost invariably the translation of the Greek word theos. Exceptions are that the word kurios is once translated God when it should have been rendered “Lord” or “Master,” namely in Acts 19:20; and in Acts 17:18 daimonion is rendered gods, and should be demons.
It may be said that nothing whatever in the words used distinguishes the Father from the Son. The matter is left entirely to the judgment of the reader, and indicated only by the construction of the sentence, except that where the word theos is used twice in the same clause the Greek prepositive article is sometimes used, so as to give the effect of “the God” in contrast with “a god.” An illustration of this is found in John 1:1: “…the Word was with God [ho theos, the God], and the Word was God [theos, a god].” The careful student (freed from prejudice) will generally have no difficulty in determining the thought of the Apostle.
The title “Lord” in the New Testament, whether it be applied to Yahweh, to Christ, to man, or to angels, is generally the translation of the Greek word kurios signifying Master, or Lord. It is frequently translated Sir and Master. Exceptions are that in five places “Lord” is the translation of despotes, where it would better have been translated “Sovereign” or “Autocrat:” These instances are Luke 2:29; Acts 4:24; 2 Pet. 2:1: Jude 4; and Rev. 6:10.
Rhabboni (master) is once rendered “Lord.” (Mark 10:51)
Kurieuo (to be lord of) is once rendered “lords.”(1 Tim. 6:15)
But, says Paul:
“For though there be [many] that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father…” (1 Cor. 8:5,6)
The Father is the Mighty One over all other mighty ones – the One God over all. None others are mighty or great, except as they receive their greatness, as well as their existence, from Him. And it is to this one fact that the attention of Israel is called in the words of Moses – “Hear, O Israel: The LORD [Yahweh] our God [Elohiym] is one LORD [Yahweh].” (Deut. 6:4)
 In the original Hebrew Bible this is the tetragrammaton (Greek for “four letters”), YHWH or YHVH. While most often translated as “LORD,” it is translated four times in the KJV as “Jehovah.” We prefer to use the name “Yahweh” as the proper name of the Almighty Father.
GOD THE PERFECT STANDARD
Logic and human reasoning tell us that the Almighty God must be far superior to every human being in His character, thoughts, and plans. True, the Scriptures inform us that man was created in his Maker’s moral image (Gen. 1: 26,27) and that this enables him to reason and think on moral subjects on a higher plane than does the animal creation. But the same Scriptures also inform us that the entrance of sin has wrought havoc with the likeness of God in the human race, blurring it and to a considerable degree, obliterating it. (Rom. 1:23) While we disagree with those who claim that total depravity has overtaken the human race, we are all witnesses to the fact that there is a wide variation in moral sense; some have little or none, while even the best and brightest have limitations which are recognized by themselves as well as others.
Believers hope to attain in the resurrection the highest standards of justice, love and wisdom. That perfect condition of heart and mind will signify our renewal in our Creator’s likeness, He being the perfect standard before our minds. The Scriptures admonish us that Satan, moved by selfish ambition, rebelled against Yahweh (Isa. 14:12-14) and His government and that he has since sought to use his every opportunity and ability to ensnare our minds, to poison them against our Creator, to make His goodness appear in a false light, to put light for darkness and darkness for light. (Isa.5:20)
When we look at the world we can see that to a large extent Satan has been successful. The human race has followed his leadings as the Apostle points out in Rom.1:28, where he assures us that mankind, originally in accord with God, became alienated from God, who gave them over to a reprobate mind and evil works by which they have degraded themselves more and more. As a consequence, we see members of the race who are almost devoid of the original likeness of God and proportionately blind to the truth – “…the god [Satan] of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not...” (2 Cor.4:4)
“WORSHIP YE KNOW NOT WHAT”
Nevertheless, amid the darkness that prevails respecting God’s true character and plan, the instinct of reverence and worship persists in the human brain and hence we find among all people a tendency to worship, and this, combined with a realization of their own imperfection and unworthiness, leads them to fear the God they do not know.
In some cultures, people may make images (of earth, stone and metal, or of silk batting and gold thread) to assist them in the worship they feel they should render. These images illustrate their conceptions of God, illustrating power, strength, ability; intelligence, wisdom, knowledge of us and our whereabouts and doings, anger, malice, hatred, vengeance, cruelty. These unfortunates evidently do not know the true God, hence do not worship and serve Him.
They need a revelation that will remove the delusions from their mental eyes and give them a glimpse of the true God: gracious, merciful, kind, loving, as well as wise, powerful and just. They need to learn the message of God’s love, exemplified in the gift of His Son who died for our sins, and thus opened the way for our return to harmony with the Father. (Rom. 5:10; 2 Cor. 5:18,19)
We send missionaries; we give millions of money and thousands of prayers for the breaking of the bonds of ignorance and the opening of the blind eyes of the ignorant. We thank God that so many have this degree of appreciation of God and this degree of sympathy for the heathen. But let us look nearer to home in the developed lands of highest civilization where Christian doctrine has prevailed for centuries, where all from the least to the greatest should have had an opportunity to learn of the grace of God in Christ and to become reconciled to God.
What do we find in so-called Christendom? We find scores of sects of Christians possessed of the same mental tendency of veneration, exercising it to some degree in worship. We find that being more educated, they realize the impropriety of making images of God out of wood, stones, metal, etc. But each faction promotes a mental image of God for their followers to worship. We find no fault with this, for without some mental appreciation of the Divine Being worship would be impossible.
We are reminded of the words of our Lord Jesus to the woman at Samaria, who inquired about the worship of the true God. Our Lord said to her, “Ye worship ye know not what.” (John 4:22) And undoubtedly this is true of the majority of worshippers of all the various denominations and creeds. They worship, they exercise the instinct of veneration, partly under the impulse of fear, but without particular knowledge of whom they worship and without any particular desire to become acquainted with Him, “…that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent.” (John 17:3)
TWO PROMINENT IMAGES OF GOD
While it is true that probably the majority of worshippers of all Christian denominations have no real mental image of God, there are those who hold fast to images of God as taught by their creeds. Let us examine two of the most prominent.
The Calvinistic conception of the Almighty pictures Him as the high and lofty one possessed of all wisdom, knowledge, and power. It pictures Him as grave, dignified, commanding reverence and worship. While this image inspires us with awe and reverence, there is something lacking. The message which this God of Calvinism sends is terrifying. He has declared His omnipotence, His justice and unchangeableness; He has declared an election and predestination of a little handful of the human race to wondrous glory in His presence, and equally foreordained and predestinated the vast majority to have none of His loving favor, predestinated before their birth not only to ignorance in the present life of the only name whereby they might be saved, but also to an eternity of suffering in the ages to come.
Love is lacking in this image! If we question the justice of this plan, the answer comes that those not favored to know Christ were foreknown of God to be unworthy, and that they would not have received Him if they had heard His message. If we ask respecting the masses of Christendom who have heard of the only name but have rejected it and failed to become His footstep followers as saints, if we inquire what hope there is for these, the answer is – none!
This Calvinistic image, glorious in many of its features and details, can never satisfy the longings of our hearts, for while one may argue that its qualities of justice and power are satisfactory, its lack of love and sympathy shows it to be deficient in the most important element of a truly noble character. With all of our human weaknesses and faults, only the most depraved among us would torture their enemies; especially torture them to all eternity, hopelessly, uselessly. We would say to ourselves that if we possessed the wisdom and power of the Calvinistic God, the love and sympathy in our hearts would have co-operated with our wisdom and power and would have prevented us from creating a soul that could not be destroyed, could not be blotted out of existence.
This is the claim made in the name of this image of God: He made man with an indestructible soul so that he must live forever, that God Himself cannot destroy him and that being unworthy of a place in glory, God has no alternative but to perpetuate his existence in misery. This implies that the Calvinistic God lacks either power or wisdom.
Arminianism offers a different view of God. While Calvinism is held by almost all the various branches of Presbyterians and by some Baptists, Congregationalists, etc., Arminianism is most particularly represented today by different branches of Methodists, but also includes many branches of other Protestant denominations.
The celebrated “five points” of Arminianism are in substance: (1) Conditional Election (as opposed to the unconditional election held by Calvinists). (2) Universal Redemption, or that Christ died for all alike, though only those who accept His atonement by faith will be actually saved (as opposed to the Calvinistic theory that the atonement was only for the Elect). (3) Salvation is by grace, or man can exercise true faith only by the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, with which, however, he can cooperate (in contradiction to the Calvinistic view that the grace of God, His mercy, His forgiveness, His assistance was only intended for the Elect and applies to no others). (4) God’s grace is not irresistible (in contrast with the Calvinistic theory that it is irresistible; that the Elect cannot resist God’s grace, but must yield to it.) (5) It is possible to fall from a state of grace (in contrast with the Calvinistic view that it is impossible for the Elect to fall from grace.)
The Arminian image, which has appealed to an increasingly large number of Christian people during the past two centuries, appears to have more warmth, more love, and more grace, which draws our hearts sympathetically towards it. But as we listen to its message we are impressed with the thought that it, too, is lacking. It seems deficient in the qualities of wisdom and power. Its message is really no broader than that of the Calvinistic image: the same “Little Flock” only will reach the heavenly Kingdom; the same untold millions will be condemned to an eternity of torture.
The only difference between these two images seems to be not in the result of their work but in the method pursued therein. Unlike the Calvinistic image, the Arminian one does not elect, does not foreordain, does not predestinate, but gives to every member of the race the opportunity to either yield to God’s grace or to resist it, so that if they are lost, it is in spite of the best endeavors of the Arminian image for their aid. And so when the vast majority of mankind are lost in eternal torment it will not be because God willed it so, not because He predestinated it so, but because He could not help it. With His very best endeavors He was unable to bring about a more favorable result, either in civilized or heathen lands, because the great adversary, Satan, had more power for evil than He had for good! The benevolent designs of this image can never reconcile us to its weakness, its inability, its lack of wisdom to foreknow and to fore-arrange and to accomplish its good and loving purposes.
Neither image can fully satisfy our hearts. To be satisfactory to our hearts, the proper mental image of the true God must be completely perfect in justice, in love, in wisdom, in power. And this can be said of neither of these. We must look further. Surely the Bible is the divine revelation of the divine character, and surely an error has been made by which some of God’s people have shown Him from one side, ignoring the other, while others have shown Him from the opposite side.
It should be the ambition and effort of every true child of God to formulate before his mental sight that proper image of God which would be complete in all respects, which would be in harmony with every declaration of the Bible, the image of God before which we could bow and worship and adore, the image of God which would awaken in us the grand conception of the Almighty as superior in every detail to all of His creatures, infinite in justice and love and wisdom and power.
THE SCRIPTURAL IMAGE OF GOD
“God is love.” (1 John 4:8,16)
“Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne...” (Psa. 89:14)
“He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom…” (Jer. 10:12)
Because both the Calvinistic and Arminian images are worshipped by many as the best and grandest imaginable, accepted for centuries by some of the best minds, we might naturally be reluctant to formulate before our minds and hearts a superior image. We know also that these images were vast improvements over the grosser misconceptions of those who burned each other at the stake and otherwise tormented one another, while they considered themselves to be copying the divine character, method and program.
Let us remember that we are not left to the resources of our own imagination in formulating the proper image of God. God has revealed Himself in His Word, in the Bible, and properly we must go to it for guidance. We know that these two prominent images before the minds of Christendom were both constructed with the aid of the Bible. We say to ourselves: If the Bible presents one of these images to some minds and the other image to other minds, it surely proves that there has been some mistake in interpretation, because the Word of God cannot contradict itself as these two creedal images contradict and oppose each other in vital points.
Let us therefore go to the Bible, casting away all of our preconceived ideas, notions, and opinions. Let us rebuild our image of God from the very foundation, accepting nothing that is not in full accord with all Scripture. The true God must be as perfect in His love as in His other qualities, and He must be as perfect in His wisdom and in His power as He is in His love. Surely any other image of Him must be defective.
How encouraging are these statements:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it”. (Isa. 55:8-11)
What does it please God to accomplish? The Apostle tells us:
“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Tim. 2:3-6)
In our Father’s house are many mansions, many rooms, many stations (John 14:2): one is for the angels, another for the “Little Flock” of the Elect, and still another for the world in general, who will be brought into harmony with God as a result of the Millennial blessings, during “…the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:21)
The picture presented in Isaiah continues: “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.” (Isa. 55:12-13) The thorn and the briar typify the wicked, the injurious who now flourish. The fir tree represents the evergreen, whose balsamic influence is healthy, giving a refreshing effect, while the myrtle tree, also an evergreen, yields sweet perfume and berries that are a delicacy. These two trees represent mankind under the favorable blessing of the LORD during the Millennium, yielding good influences and possessed of everlasting life, symbolized by the evergreen trees.
How divine mercy shines through these declarations of divine foreknowledge and power! The joy and peace spoken of by Isaiah is future, “in due time,” during the Millennial Age, when Christ who redeemed the world shall be its deliverer from the power of sin and the prison house of death. The joy and peace will mean the restitution to the former estate of harmony with God, lost through father Adam’s disobedience, but redeemed for all the willing and obedient by the precious blood of Christ.
THE WORD OF GOD’S MOUTH
The difficulty with God’s people for centuries has been that they have not given sufficiently critical heed to the word of God’s mouth; they have been content too frequently to take the words of men, or, as our Lord Jesus declared, “…teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men...” (Mark 7:7,8) The lesson to us is that we must give heed to the Word of God if we would have true wisdom, and the words of man must be hearkened to only as they are found to be in close alignment with the divine Word, which alone is authoritative. Let us go back to the Word, that from its standpoint we may have the true image of God’s character before our minds and may worship Him in spirit and in truth.
The Scriptures tell us that man was created in God’s image and likeness; that he was intelligent, upright and worthy of trial for eternal life and that he was placed on trial in Eden. They tell us that he was disobedient and thus came under the divine sentence, a death sentence. They do not tell of his being condemned to an eternity of torture. They do not tell of his being condemned to Purgatory to expiate his guilt. They tell us plainly that the penalty for disobedience was death, and that the penalty was announced to him in advance of his trial. (Gen. 2:17) They tell us that after his trial he was cast out of Eden so that the penalty might take effect, so that he might die; and they reiterate the penalty, saying, “…dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen. 3:19)
No one could misunderstand this simple statement without the assistance of trained theologians, skilled in the art of handling the Word of God deceitfully, who “wrest” the Scriptures, as the Apostle terms it. (2 Pet. 3:16)
The Bible record shows that from the time the penalty took effect sin and death have prevailed. God did, however, give a glimmer of hope when pronouncing the sentence upon the serpent when He declared that ultimately an offspring from the woman would bruise the serpent’s head. (Gen. 3:15) We see that the Seed of the woman is Christ Jesus, the Head, and the Church, His Body. The clear intimation is that eventually this glorified company shall have a victory over Satan, and in some manner this victory will benefit the entire human race.
Eighteen centuries later God revealed His purpose further to Abraham. After testing the loyalty of his faith God declared to him, “…in thy Seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 22:18) For centuries this was more or less a plain promise which the nation of Israel hoped they would inherit. They waited for Messiah to be sent to them to exalt them, to use them as the Seed of Abraham in blessing the world with a divine law and government, stamping out sin and lifting up the slaves of sin from the prison-house of death and from the power of sickness.
At His first advent, Jesus accomplished a different work than His nation expected; it was necessary that He should first redeem Israel and all the families of the earth before He could give them the permanent blessing of life eternal. The penalty upon them was death and they had gone down to sheol under it. And so we read that Christ died for our sins, that His soul, His being, descended to sheol, hades – the death state – and that He was not left in sheol, in hades, but was raised on the third day. (Acts 2:27) We read that He tasted death for every man. (Heb. 2:9) He did not pay an eternal torment penalty, for no such penalty had been announced; He paid a death penalty, the one the Scriptures declare God had announced and enforced.
Thus the basis was laid for the general blessing of every human being, because Christ died as the substitute or ransom for father Adam, and in Adam’s redemption all of Adam’s race was redeemed, just as through Adam’s transgression they were all condemned: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22)
Jesus the Messiah first offered to His own people, the Jews, the privileges of joint-heirship with Him in the sufferings and in the glory that should follow and a share in the heavenly nature. When few of them accepted the offer, the rest were blinded until His second coming. (Rom. 11:7) After selecting the remnant of “Israelites indeed” to be members of the spiritual Seed of Abraham, our Lord subsequently turned to the Gentiles “…to take out of them a people for his name.” (Acts 15:14)
In the light of other Scriptures we see that the death of Jesus was necessary as the very foundation of any blessings of forgiveness toward the human race. We see that those who have accepted Jesus and received forgiveness during this Gospel Age have been invited to become of the Elect Church, His joint-heirs in the Messianic Kingdom:
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Rom.8:17)
We see that this Kingdom is to crush Satan, destroy evil and release mankind from bondage to sin and death:
“For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God…Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom. 8:19,21)
God’s Word has prospered in the thing whereto it was sent. It evidently was not sent to convert the world, neither is such a statement to be found in the Word of God. It was sent “for a witness” (Matt. 24:14) to gather out a people for His name, both from the Jews and from the Gentile nations. It has accomplished this, the Seed of Abraham has been found, and just so surely as that occurred, the other part of the promise will also be fulfilled, namely, that in and through that Seed “…shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 28:14)
ELECTION AND FREE GRACE HARMONIZED
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Rom. 8:28-30)
This is a consoling and encouraging message, declaring in one breath not only the justice and love of God, but also His wisdom to foreknow, prepare and plan for the execution of His justice and love, and His divine power to carry out all that His wisdom, justice, and love have planned. The Scriptures supply the features lacking in the Calvinistic view or image of God. We see the election of the Church during the Gospel Age, an election according to favor, and we equally see that the great mass of the world are non-elect, not called, not chosen. They consequently could not be faithful to a calling they did not receive or even hear about.
But far from the election of the Church signifying the condemnation of the remainder of mankind, the Word of God to Abraham tells us that this Elect Class will be God’s instrument for the blessing of the non-elect during the Millenial Kingdom. (Rev. 20:4) The Scriptures repeatedly draw attention to the Kingdom which will be established under the whole heavens for the breaking down of sin, the exaltation of righteousness, and the assistance of all who under that enlightening influence will be willing to go onward to perfection on the “way of holiness:” (Isa. 35:8)
“They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.” (Psa. 145:11-13)
“Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:7)
The Kingdom was the main topic of all of our Lord Jesus’ preaching: “…he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God…” (Luke 8:1)
He taught his disciples to pray for the Kingdom: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:9,10)
Now we see the proper image of God, not merely the dignity of His foreknowledge, His wisdom, His justice, His power, but we see also in Him the love which so draws our hearts and which calls upon us to bow before Him and adore Him. We see that His plan must be considered as a whole, properly applying those promises which belong to the Elect and those which belong to the world, promises which assure us that they shall be brought into divine favor and have glorious opportunities for gaining eternal life by obedience:
“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh…” (Joel 2:28)
“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain [kingdom]: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. 11:9)
We also find the elements of character lacking from the image of God as given to us by the Arminian view. Here is the very God of love they were looking for, all loving, all generous, all kind, yet just, not sparing the guilty from the punishment He had meted out to them, death, not proposing in any sense of the word their torture at any time. Here we see the justice, wisdom and power lacking in the Arminian image. We see that God has provided the Millennial Age for the purpose of granting free grace to every member of the human race under much more favorable conditions than now prevail. We see that the election of the Gospel Age is not to the disadvantage of the world, but that ultimately it will be to their great advantage, when the elect Seed of Abraham, as the agents of God, shall bless all the families of the earth.
THE PROMISE AND OATH OF GOD SECURE
Can we be sure that after the election of the Church the world will not be destroyed or tormented, but receive divine blessing? Are there other proofs? Yes, once you focus the eyes of your understanding upon the Word of God and away from the medieval doctrine of eternal torment. You will see that God’s plan is full of rich provisions for all mankind, as announced to the shepherds: “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” (Luke 2:10)
To the Church are made “exceeding great and precious promises” of joint-heirship with the Lord Jesus in glory, honor and immortality on the spirit plane. (2 Pet. 1:4) But God has also made rich provisions for the entire race of Adam redeemed by the precious blood: “…in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” The Apostle declares that the Church is this Seed of Abraham, joint-heirs with her Lord Jesus, saying, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.” (Gal. 3:29)
In the Millennial Age the Church will begin and complete the work of blessing the world of mankind by releasing them from the bondage of sin and death and helping whosoever will onward through faith and obedience back to harmony with God and life everlasting. Let us have full confidence in the Word of God that it will be accomplished, that it will not return unto Him void.
Portions of this paper were derived from Pastor Russell Reprint 1410 and from “God’s Pan Vs Man’s Plan,” published in Harvest Gleanings Volume Three.
Please direct all correspondence to:
P.O. Box 2246, Kernersville, NC 27285-2246