Comes again the Memorial of our Lord’s crucifixion, the correct time this year 1989 being after 6 p.m. Thursday March 20. The date is determined after this manner: The moon nearest the Vernal Equinox comes new at the Thirtieth Meridian East, Jerusalem time, at 9:24 p.m., March 26, thus establishing 6 p.m. March 26 as Nisan 1, Bible reckoning. Counting to Nisan 14, we arrive at 6 p.m. April 8; and any time that evening after 6 p.m. would be proper for the celebration. We here at Mount Dora shall commence the service at 7:30 p.m., and we issue a cordial invitation to any one in this vicinity to join with us if they be of one mind on the matter.
CHRIST OUR PASSOVER
“Even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us,” says St. Paul in 1 Cor. 5:7, thus establishing a direct connection between the Passover lamb in Egypt the night before the Exodus. This in turn reminds us of the words of John the Baptist: “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29); and it may be in order here to note the clear distinction between the two statements. Jesus, the “Lamb,” at Jordan had indeed come to take away the world’s guilt, but not so with the lamb in Egypt. The lamb in Egypt served as a protection against death for Israel’s firstborn; and all of them under the blood that night were ‘passed over’ as the Angel of Death wrought destruction on all of Egypt’s firstborn. But there was none of the atoning merit reckoned in the lamb in Egypt for the Egyptians (typical of worldlings in sin) as there was in the Lamb at Jordan; and it is well we keep the distinction clearly in mind. The Lamb at Jordan “taketh away” the sin of all mankind.
Of the lamb killed in Egypt that night it is recorded that each householder should “take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the house” (Ex. 12:7); and the typical significance is this: The two door posts in general type the two parts of Justice, or the Law. The first part of the Law, or Justice, is duty-love to God, which is the thankful good-will that by right we owe to God, with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength (Matt. 22:37,38). And the other part of the Law, or Justice is duty-love to the neighbor, which is the good-will that we owe him, a good-will that goes out to him in the same degree as we would have him exercise toward us in thought, motive, word and act (Matt. 22:39; 7:12). One of the door posts thus sprinkled would represent the imputation of the antitypical Lamb’s merit to that part of Divine Justice which demands the sinner’s death for violations of duty-love to God; and the sprinkling of the second door post would represent the imputation of the antitypical Lamb’s merit to that part of Divine Justice which demands the sinner’s death for violations of duty-love to his fellows.
But, for Gospel-Age purposes the foregoing is not enough to relieve us of the death sentence which is ours by inheritance; there must also be a reckoned righteousness (Abraham’s faith was “counted” – reckoned – to him for righteousness) which would enable us to “stand” in the Household of Faith. Thus, the “upper door post” – the lintel – had to be sprinkled also. The lintel of a door is that crossbeam forming the ceiling of the door, and which forms the foundation for the superstructure of the building immediately above it. Thus, it beautifully types that righteousness that comes to us through the Lamb’s blood, and which enables us to build an acceptable character. “No one can lay another foundation besides that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (Christ our Passover). And if, on this foundation, any one build up gold, silver, costly stones; wood, hay, straw; the work of each will become manifest... If the work of any one remain, which he built up (on the lintel above the doorway into God’s House), he will receive a recompense.” (1 Cor. 3:11-14, Dia.) Thus, the sprinkling of the blood on the lintel typifies that “righteousness which is of faith” that comes to those who will avail themselves of it in this faith Age. Thus, the whole work of God and Christ in justifying us is pictured in the sprinkling of the lamb’s blood on the door posts and the lintel. But only the entrance to the house – the door posts and the lintel – were to be sprinkled; and this would typify that faith of the one inside (the firstborn) would suffice to secure for him sufficient satisfaction of justice to spare him from death. “We have passed from death unto life.” (1 John 3:14)
All the firstborn who were “under the blood” that night were secure in their domiciles as they ate the lamb and bitter herbs; and the type is certainly a very definite reminder that the same is meticulously true of the antitype. “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His son, cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) This is further stressed by 1 Pet. 1:18, 19 (Dia.): “You were redeemed from your foolish conduct, transmitted from your fathers, not by corruptible things, by silver or gold, but by the precious blood of Christ, as a spotless and unblemished lamb.” Thus, the sprinkling of the lintel most forcefully portrays the antitypical sprinkling; and brings sharp reminder of the Methodist hymn, “There’s power in the blood.” It is indeed the “blood of sprinkling speaking better things than that of Abel.” (Heb. 12:24)
The charge to each house was that they were to eat the lamb’s flesh throughout the night of Nisan 14; and there is no variable allowance whatever from that date. Thus, regardless of whether or not the moon be in its complete fullness, the Passover was to be kept that night – and “throughout your generations.” Consequently, once we determine the proper time for the moon to become new, the determination of Nisan 14 then becomes only a matter of simple addition.
It is well to keep in mind that on that awesome night in Egypt only the firstborns were in danger of death; the others of the family were simply the “innocent bystanders,” as it were. But in the remembrance that followed each year thereafter the firstborns were no longer in that precarious state, although the firstborn was always given a proper recognition by the head of the house on each occasion. With all the preparations duly made, the lamb, the wine, and other items all properly placed on the table, the father would then tell the oldest son to ask of the father, “What mean these things,” after which the father would give in finely stated detail the events of the night in Egypt, and the exodus of the Jews from the land of bondage – picturing, of course, our departure from the land of figurative bondage, the bondage of sin and death, from which the blood of the antitypical Lamb frees us. Thus, we may grasp in its grand fullness St. Paul’s statement, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.”
The things described above have for this Age been spiritual and not physical, although physical deliverance sometimes accompanies the spiritual. When the Psalmist wrote, “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling” (Psa. 91:10), he was speaking of spiritual and not physical things. All of us know that from Jesus on during this Age the noblest and best of Christians have come to all manner of physical evil – burning at the stake, stranglings, ostracisms, cast out by their own brethren, often regarded as the off scouring of the earth, even as He “was despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Often the world in general has regarded such misfortune as an evidence of God’s disfavor; whereas, the Apostle James says we should “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” One translation puts it this way: “Count it all joy when you are hedged about with difficulties.”
Preceding the Passover in Egypt, Moses met such ‘difficulties,’ so that he came to the Lord with the complaint: “Since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered Thy people at all.” (Ex. 5:23) Much the same experience came to Jesus; thus, St. Paul writes of Him: “In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren... was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 2:17; 4:15) In their ministrations both the typical and the antitypical Moses learned well the adage, Hope deferred maketh the heart sick – “neither hast Thou delivered Thy people at all.” And these illustrations should impress the lesson well upon us – for ourselves, and for those of the Household who are tempted in like manner: such temporary physical reverses should be expected, because they are permitted for our good – to develop in us that patience amid hope deferred that will enable us to have confidence in God’s ability and willingness to “save to the uttermost them that come unto Him by Jesus.” And particularly at the Memorial season do such meditations seem most appropriate. As we consider the Passover – typical and antitypical we may well embrace the promise to Moses: “I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burden of the Egyptians.” (Ex. 6:7)
The assurance to Israel that they would know it was Jehovah who was their God types that God would to antitypical Israel, especially in the Parousia and the Epiphany (when the full Gospel-Age deliverance is to be accomplished), persuade them “in full assurance of faith” that He is their God – self-existent and perfect in wisdom, justice, love and power. “Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest.” (Josh. 3:15) As we know, Jordan is a type of the curse – of the downward course of the race under sin; and it is stated that this curse would be magnified “all the time of harvest.” Since 1874 we have been “in the time of harvest”; and the visible effects of the curse have surely been magnified during this season. Particularly in the past sixteen years has this been markedly in evidence, as we see so much of the honorable and the venerable being trodden under foot in shameless fashion. And, if these things tend to discourage us, distress, disappoint, cast down in tribulation, we should strive to apply to ourselves “in full assurance of faith” the Covenant promises (Gen. 22:16-18); and to remember that “As He was in this world, so are we.” Also, that the promise is sure to us: “I will bring you unto the land (“the land” for Gospel-Age purposes being the Truth and the Spirit of the Truth)... I will give it you for an heritage.” (Ex. 6:8) And particularly at the Memorial Season is it our privilege to claim these promises as ours – to renew our determination to partake of the paschal lamb “in sincerity and in truth.”
PURIFY THE SONS OF LEVI
In Mal. 3:1-3 is given certain things which “The Messenger of the Covenant” would do at His second advent, one of which is that “He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” In this text “the sons of Levi” are the Little Flock and Great Company represented in the gold and silver. At Sinai the sons of Levi were divided into two classes – the Priests and Levites, Aaron and his sons being the Priests, with all the other members of that tribe being styled Levites, who were “wholly given” unto the Priests as their assistants in the various ministrations of the Tabernacle. These replaced the firstborns who had been ‘passed over’ in Egypt, and they typed the “Church of the firstborn” (Heb. 12:23) whom Jesus would purge at His Second Advent.
Perhaps the first feature of that work was to gather them together (“Come ye out of her, My people) by the Truth, which Truth instructed them very clearly as to their status and work to be done. To this end He acted as a refiner and purifier (polisher) of silver, the Truth. The purging of the sons of Levi was also accomplished by their providential experiences – difficulties and trials of various kinds, which touched all of them from the least to the greatest, even including That Servant, the Pilgrims, the Elders. Those who were properly “exercised” (developed) by such experiences were blessed with an increase of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and minds. Of course, such action was carried on all during the Age, but it is especially emphasized in this text as occurring in the end of the Age.
And the text tells us that this would be done “that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness” – literally, “that they may be bringers of a meat offering to Jehovah in righteousness.” Thus, the reason for the previous parts of His work – they should be “purged,” cleansed from faults and developed in good traits to qualify them righteously to serve the Lord in proclaiming the Truth, especially its deeper and more comprehensive features – an antitypical meat offering. The easier features of the Truth would be represented in the drink offering, which is not mentioned here, as it was the Lord’s wish for His own that they be “rooted, grounded, and built up in Him” that they could “give to every man a reason for the hope that was in them.” And this activity was toward both divisions of the antitypical firstborns. Of course, we all know that the “gold” element of those sons profited to the full by the Word, Spirit and Providences which the Lord arranged for them; thus, they became “more than conquerors,” as the others failed, some more, some less, to profit by the purgings meted out to them. These latter did not present a meat offering to the Lord in righteousness; they rather did this in more or less of unrighteousness. In the Parousia the most of these remained with the Truth Movement, however, even though they were not fully “established in the Present Truth.”
But to those who did profit by the purging processes, their sacrifices became ever more acceptable as the years went by, so that many of them have already heard, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord.” These are they who saw the “sickle” of Harvest Truth clearly, made it their own, and ministered it in telling manner to their fellows in the Truth, and to outsiders who had an ear to hear. One of these Truth segments was a vivid understanding of the Passover, type and antitype; and this knowledge greatly aided them in keeping it “in spirit and in Truth.” Thus, we present these thoughts in the same spirit, and with the same purpose as did St. Peter: “Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the Present Truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance.” (2 Pet. 1:12,13) And our Lord’s final message to His own at His first Advent was “This do in remembrance of Me” – which remembrance we do each year as we partake of the bread and the cup.
To all who were properly exercised by the purgings of the Lord during the Parousia He gave the special opportunities of service, the Penny, which was their privilege in 1914-1916. To those of our readers who participated in that service we would now offer our warm commendation, and the assurance that it is our fond wish that we aid in whatever way possible that they “continue in the things they have learned, and been assured of.” And that they also at this Memorial Season resolve to continue to present the Truth in righteousness to crown losers and to Youthful Worthies so long as they have an ear to hear.
Often the trials of God’s people are more severe at the Memorial Season than at other times. It was true when the “remembrance” was instituted. The sifting then manifested Judas as a complete outcast, and manifested Peter as a measurably faithful one, from which he subsequently recovered. Similar experiences may await God’s people now, or in future Memorials. Of course, we know not what the future holds, but we do know Who holds the future.
WHO MAY PARTAKE
There are over 200 variations in belief and practice of the Memorial among the sects of Christendom, with extremes in both directions, and modifications in between those extremes. Some of the sects simply post a notice in front of their church that the bread and the cup are to be served at a certain hour, with cordial invitation for any and all to participate with them in the service. At the other extreme, none are allowed to receive the emblems who are not specifically one of them – a member on their rolls. In the case of the Roman Catholic Church, one must not only be a Catholic in good standing, but he must also come to confession the day before; and for centuries they were not allowed to eat or drink the morning before the service, although that has now been modified in some countries.
With us, we believe it a proper summation to state that we are both the most generous and the most extreme in our administration of the Memorial. Only those should participate who understand clearly the meaning of the bread and the wine, and have covenanted to conform to that understanding. However, if any say that is their condition, we accept that without further ado – unless, of course, we have positive evidence to the contrary. In keeping with St. Paul’s statement, “Let a man examine himself,” we leave it there, not attempting any examination of each other. “And so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup... For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh condemnation to himself, not discerning the lord’s body.” (1 Cor. 11:28,29) Thus, with each one examining himself, and if there should be an unworthy one in our midst, his guilt remains exclusively with him – without contaminating, or attaching guilt, to his fellows who may sit next to him in close relationship. We believe all will recognize the “spirit of a sound mind” in such an arrangement, so we adhere scrupulously to it.
THUS SHALL YE EAT IT
“They shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs... with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.” (Ex. 12:8-11) Inasmuch as the Jews were to be very meticulous in their observance, we may be certain that every word is heavily weighted with typical and antitypical significance. Because of its corruption and corrupting effects, leaven is properly a type of mental, moral and religious corruption; and leavened bread would therefore represent a condition of corruption by sin, error, selfishness and worldliness. Conversely, unleavened bread would represent a condition free from these evils, and inclined toward Truth, justice, love and heavenly-mindedness. And eating unleavened bread would represent the eater’s confession that he is thus minded, with his daily life in harmony therewith.
The “bitter herbs” (literally, bitter things) were also typical, representing the trialsome experiences that attach to those that eat the lamb with unleavened bread; and the entire history of the Gospel-Age Church reveals that there have been trials aplenty as they have kept the antitype of these things. Thus viewed, those things eaten at the Passover supper that night in Egypt type the entirety of Christian living.
And the lamb must all be consumed that night. If the house were too small for an entire lamb, the Jews were to join with neighbors in their participation. And, if after that, any were left, it should be burned with fire – nothing left until morning, which typed that we as individuals should not leave our justification and consecration feasting until the Millennium, because the entire service is one of faith, and there will be no more faith justification in the Millennium. In this Age we are “saved by faith, not by works,” although we know full well that good works must accompany our faith, because “faith without works is dead.” But in the Millennium it will be just the reverse – a justification by works, although those works will be accompanied by a proportionate amount of faith. For the Gospel Age the lamb types the merit of “the Lamb of God” in the antitypical Tabernacle Court, which has been imputed to those who came “under the blood”; but such a course will forever pass away with the full end of the Gospel Age – the merit of “the Lamb of God” will then no longer be an imputable thing.
“Ye shall eat it in haste.” The Jews were to be ready to leave Egypt as quickly as possible, typical of the Christian’s course once he has had enough of Egyptian bondage more than glad to flee the evils of antitypical Egypt, a type of the world in sin. And the girded loins would indicate a desire and willingness to help others to do the same thing – as servants of the Lord and the Truth. “He that would be chief among you, let him be your servant.” “With your staff in your hand.” The staff would represent principally the precious promises, upon which the Christian leans for support, especially in hilly and rough places; and it may be stressed here that it would be impossible for any to make the journey from Egypt to the Heavenly Canaan without those promises to sustain, encourage and nourish him in that journey. “Your shoes on your feet.” The feet in Scripture represent conduct; and, when we read that “Mephibosheth was lame on both his feet” (2 Sam. 9:13), we are to understand he typed a certain class of people who would be lacking in love toward God and man. And, when the type commanded “shoes on your feet,” it meant that here in the Gospel Age we should have a character properly covered by the Lord’s Spirit, and built and acting in harmony therewith.
Only those who “thus” keep the feast will be able to “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” (Heb. 3:6) Only such, with the girded loins, the sandaled feet and the firmly-gripped staff will pursue their course with energy and full determination to the end – all of which is tersely summed up in the drinking of the cup. “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?” “Hereunto were ye called, because Christ having suffered for us, left us an example (by the cup He drank) that we should follow in his steps.”
And with these thoughts comes our fond hope for the Lord’s rich blessing to all our readers as they prepare and participate in this “remembrance” on the evening of April 8. It certainly is not our wish that any should conclude that by this article we are attempting to avoid, or improve upon, the description of the Passover as it is given in Parousia Volume 6. It is our recommendation that all “renew their minds” by reading once more that chapter. “Ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another... and we beseech you that ye increase more and more... walk honestly toward them that are without, that you may have lack of nothing” (1 Thes. 4:9-12) – with malice toward none, and charity toward all.
Sincerely your Brother, John J. Hoefle, Pilgrim
(Reprint No. 189, March 1971)
1 Cor. 15;12‑26
“Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor. 15:57)
1 Cor 15:12‑19 calls attention to the great importance of the doctrine of the resurrection, presenting it as the twin of the other great doctrine which the Apostle set forth “first of all... how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,” (verse 3) to which fundamental doctrine it stands related as effect to cause. So important is this doctrine in the estimation of the inspired Apostle, that he emphatically declares that, if it be not true, then there is no hope for any man beyond the present life; the preaching of the gospel is in vain, and those who preach it are false witnesses; the death of Christ was for naught; the faith of Christians is vain, and their hope delusive; and their life of sacrifice, in view of the resurrection and its rewards, merely robs them of what little enjoyment and advantage they might gain in the present life, which is all they would ever have; and those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. Such indeed is our sad plight if there be no resurrection. If this, which Christ died to secure, is not guaranteed to us, to be realized in due time, we are yet in our sins and under the death penalty, without a ray of hope. And more: if there be no resurrection, although the price was paid to secure it, then God is not fulfilling His part of the contract.
While verses 12‑19 declare the great importance of this twin doctrine of the ransom – the resurrection – verses 20‑26 emphasize its truthfulness. The resurrection of Christ, attested by many infallible proofs (verses 5‑8; Acts 1:3), is the guarantee that all those whom he redeemed by His precious blood shall have not only an awakening from death, but an opportunity to attain a complete resurrection to all the blessings and favors lost in the fall. That was the assurance which God gave to all men (Acts 17: 31) that the ransom for the sins of the whole world given at Calvary was acceptable, a full satisfaction of the claims of Justice against our race, so that now He can be just, and the justifier of all that believe in Jesus. (Rom. 3:26)
In verse 20 let Christians observe what the various creeds of Christendom ignore, and what is in direct antagonism to their teachings, viz., that the risen Christ was “the first fruits of them that slept” – that He was the first one to experience a resurrection in the full sense of the term, viz., to perfection and everlasting life. True, some before him were temporarily awakened, again to relapse into death; for example, Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter, the son of the widow of Nain, the Shunammite’s son, etc., but those were only partial illustrations of resurrection, to assure men of the Divine Power to fully accomplish it in due time – in the day which God has appointed. (Acts 17:31) Now mark the logic of this fact: If Christ was the first one resurrected, none were resurrected before him; and if, as shown in the preceding verses, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished, except they be restored to life by a resurrection; and if those who die in Christ, “sleep in Jesus,” until Christ’s second coming, it is plain that none of them went to heaven when they died.
They were dead, they slept in Jesus, they rested in hope, they were destroyed, and must remain so until the time appointed for their resurrection – at the Second Advent of Christ when all those that sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (1 Thes. 4:14) David hath not ascended into the heavens (Acts 2:34): Daniel must wait, and he shall stand in his lot at the end of the days (Dan. 12:13); Abraham must wait his time for the possession of the promised land, of which he never yet owned so much as to set his foot upon (Acts 7:5): Job must tarry until the wrath of this evil day is overpass (Job 14:12‑15, 21); Stephen must wait the realization of his dying vision (Acts 7:56); and Paul, and with him all those that love the Lord’s appearing, must wait the fullness of time when the reward of their faithfulness will be due. (2 Tim. 4:8)
All this Scripture teaching is in perfect accord; but it is in irreconcilable conflict with the current theology of so‑called Christendom, in whose theories there is no place whatever for the doctrine of the resurrection, logically considered. If a man goes to heaven when he dies, and is glad to shuffle off this mortal coil, which some call his prison, although he loves and cherishes it and stays in it as long as possible, why, in the name of reason, should he hope for a reunion with his body? The position is illogical, unscriptural and untenable.
Verse 21 antagonizes the current theology with equal force. It declares that since by man came death, by man ‑ the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all came also the resurrection of the dead. Current theology says that our redemption is secured by the sacrifice of a God, not a man: but the Scriptures are very explicit in pointing out an exact equivalent, a human substitute for the human head of our race, whose redemption secures the redemption of his posterity, on precisely the same principle that his fall and condemnation entailed sin and death upon us. It was the man Christ Jesus, who, after He had left the glory of His previous spiritual existence and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, said, “A body hast thou prepared me for the suffering of death,” that accomplished our redemption by the sacrifice of Himself – His flesh, His humanity, and that in consequence of that sacrifice has been highly exalted, even to the Divine Nature – “Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth.” (Phil. 2:8‑11)
It was after the resurrection that He said, “All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me.” And if this exaltation and power were granted to Him as a reward for His sacrifice, then it is manifest that, however rich He was in spiritual glory and power before He became a man, He was still more bountifully endowed at His resurrection, after He had sacrificed His humanity, being made a partaker of the Divine Nature and the express image of His Father’s person. (Heb. 1:3)
When the man Christ Jesus gave “His flesh [His humanity] for the life of the world” (John 6:51), He gave it up never to take it again; for it was the price paid for our redemption. And consequently, when He was raised again, His existence was in a new nature, that thus our benefits might not be interfered with, and also that the abundant power of the Divine Nature given unto Him might be exercised in actually reclaiming from the thralldom of sin and death those whom He had legally rescued by His death.
Verses 22,23 show that all who are Christ’s – by faith in His sacrifice – are to receive the benefits of His death in full resurrection to the perfection and lasting life forfeited in Eden. The order of resurrection is to be Christ the first fruits, which includes not only Christ Jesus, the Head and High Priest of our profession, but also all the members of His Body – “Blessed and holy are all they that have part in the first resurrection.” Then, after the resurrection of this glorious Body, follows the resurrection of all “that are His at [during] His [Christ’s] presence [Greek, parousia, presence, not coming].”
The time of His presence is the entire thousand years of His reign. During that period all that are in their graves [good and bad, the just and the unjust] “shall hear His voice and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment [Greek, krisis, judgment, not damnation].” (John 5:28,29) The former class enter immediately upon their reward of full resurrection ‑ human perfection, while the latter class awake to a judgment, or trial for everlasting life, which it will be their privilege to gain if they become Christ’s by fully submitting themselves to His discipline and control.
Otherwise their trial will be cut short at a hundred years and they will die the Second Death, from which there is no recovery. Isa. 65:20) None out of Christ will be made alive, fully resurrected, though all experience the awakening from death, which is the first step in the process of resurrection, and a trial to prove their worthiness or unworthiness of the fullness of resurrection, which is actual perfection and everlasting life. “He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:12) “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John 3:36)
Verses 24,25 assure us of the victory of Christ, and in what that victory will consist – that it will consist in the complete subjection of every opposing power and authority, and in the putting of all the enemies of this, His purpose, under His feet, whether those enemies be evil conditions, principles, powers or individuals. He will banish all evil conditions by permitting first a great time of trouble (Dan. 12:1), and then by causing conditions of righteousness and peace to supplant them. He will forever banish the evil principles by flooding the world with His light and truth and by effectually renewing a right spirit in the hearts of all the willing and obedient. He will completely overcome every opposing power by the exercise of His own almighty power for their complete and final overthrow. And He will put down every opposing individual by cutting him off in the Second Death, from which there shall be no recovery.
“He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet;” and the limited time of that reign is a thousand years (Rev. 20:6‑10), at the expiration of which time all opposing individuals, and the devil who deceived and led them, are to be cast into the lake of fire, which is the Second Death. (Rev. 20:7‑15) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death – not the Second Death into which the opposers have been cast, else the language would be contradictory, but the Adamic death, which Christ came to destroy by liberating all its subjects, which, to fully accomplish, will require all of His Millennial reign.
In the words of our text, “Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(Pastor Russell, Reprints 1591‑1592, October 15, 1893)