The Restitution of All Things
By George Hawtin
When Peter stood up to preach before the wondering crowd who were eye witnesses of the healing of the lame man at the beautiful gate of the temple, he told his hearers in no uncertain tones, "Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you: and killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead" (Acts 3:14-15). But, after having said this, he consoled them with these wonderful words: "And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled. Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may he blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto You: Whom the heavens must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:17-21) Peter's statement speaks clearly of the times of the restitution of all things. Restitution, according to the best English usage, means the act of restoring something that has been taken away or lost; the act of making good or rendering an equivalent as for loss or injury. (Funk and Wagnall's Dictionary) This is in exact harmony with the Greek work temuriak which means restoration.
Some will no doubt reply to this by stating, as many do, that Peter was not promising that God would restore everything but only those things of which the prophets had spoken. I wish, however, to show as clearly as possible that the grammatical construction of this sentence declares the exact opposite to be the truth. I mean that Peter was actually saying that all the prophets from the beginning of the world had prophesied that there would be a restoration of all things and that the restoration would indeed be universal and would include all things. You will notice that in the scripture quoted (Acts 3:21, King James Version) there is a comma after the word things. This comma indicates that the clause following : "which God hath spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets since the world began" - is what is known as a nonrestrictive clause. A nonrestrictive clause is one which can be omitted without changing or destroying the meaning of the principal clause or main statement. (See Mastering Effective English by Tressler-Lewis, Revised Edition, Pages 545-546.) It simply adds further information. Now read the scripture, omitting the clause in question, and you will find the meaning is clearly stated and nothing of the sense is destroyed. If this clause were modifying the word things, it would be restrictive and no comma would be used.
To this agree the words of many scholarly translators, a few of whom I will quote here for the benefit and understanding of all who read.
"That the Lord may send Jesus, your long-decreed Christ, who must be kept in heaven till the period of the great Restoration. Ages ago God spoke of this by the lips of His holy prophets." Moffatt.
"Heaven must receive Him until those times of which God has spoken from the earliest ages through the lips of His holy prophets - the times of the restitution of all things." Weymouth
"He must remain in heaven till the time for the universal reformation of which God told in ancient times by the lips of His is holy prophets." Goodspeed.
"Whom it behooveth heaven, indeed, to receive till times of a restitution of all things, which God spake through the mouth of all His holy prophets from the age." Young's literal.
We could easily fill the page with the words of many other translators, but I think the above is sufficient to testify that this is the true meaning of the words of Peter and that he was teaching us and all who have ears to hear the Spirit's voice that there is coming a time of universal restitution and reconciliation in which all things will be restored, whether they be things in heaven, things in earth, or things under the earth.
It should be very evident to us all that, if the scripture says that all the prophets spoke of the restitution of all things, then there should be some evidence that they did. Though we have neither space nor ability to peruse all the inspired teaching of the prophets concerning that coming age of blessedness and restoration, it is time well spent to notice it at least in part. Isaiah above all others seems to have been given the great prophecies of restoration and they are so extensive that they seem to touch life and creation in every phase. To me it is a most significant and wonderful thing to notice how the prophets, while prophesying terrible doom on the unbelieving and rebellious people, suddenly break off their message to revel in the coming glory. A good example of this is found in the thirty-ninth chapter of Isaiah, in which the prophet tells of Judah's coming captivity in Babylon. Then he breaks forth with these revealing words of consolation: "Comfort ye, comfort ye My people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins. The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Isa. 40:1-5
"The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, and the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will conic with vengeance, even God with a recompense: He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes." Isa. 35:1-7 With many such statements of restoration and restitution does Isaiah picture the glory of those coming times as he speaks of the restoration of nations, of Israelites, of Gentiles, of rugged land and barren places as well as wonderful physical restoration, which undoubtedly prefigures the coming state of incorruption and immortality.
Surely Daniel was carried in spirit far into the times of restoration when he said, "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven. and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought Him near before Him. And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve Him: His dominion is an everlasting dominion. which shall not pass away. and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed Dan. 7:13-14.
Great as are these prophecies, they are limited by man's ability or inability to understand them. Like so many statements of scripture. they are really only shadows of things to come. See Col. 2:17 where Paul shows that meat and drink, holy days, new moons and sabbaths are in reality shadows of things to come. A shadow is caused when a body or some object obscures the light. It is not the shadow that is important, but the body that made the shadow. That is why Paul says here that new moons and feasts and holy days are shadows, but the body Christ. All these things foreshadow the day when He will be all and in all, and when He will be our sabbath of rest, our holy day and our meat and drink.
We have already noted how the simple statement of Gen. 1:20 - - Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle. and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" is really a foreshadowing of the day when God shall put all things under the feet of man, who is being created in His own image. It seems only normal that the prophets of the Old Testament were largely confined to prophecies concerning Israel and her coming restoration, yet their prophecies reach out to the Gentile nations and proclaim that all flesh shall see the glory of the Lord. Wonderful and glorious as are the prophecies and shadows of the Old Testament, it is not until we begin to see the vastly extended and infinitely brighter light of the New Testament that the Picture of the complete reconciliation of the universe begins to unfold before our wondering eyes.
The inability of God's people to understand and accept the restitution of all things, which was spoken of by all the prophets since the world began, may be traced to three great faults in our traditional teaching. Firstly, very, very few people are familiar with the truth that there is a coming age which the Bible names the dispensation of the fullness of times (Eph. 1: 10), and that that age above all others has been specially set aside for the work of reconciling all things in heaven and in earth and bringing all things into Christ. The age, as I will point out presently, is the age of the ages. It is the greatest age of all ages and is the time in which the Almighty God brings to completion the unfailing word spoken before time began, "Let its make man in our image and after our likeness. " A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: He shall bring forth judgment onto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for His law." Isa. 42:3-4. Secondly, God's people fail to see the final restitution of all things because they also fail to see the greatness of the work of Christ and the all-inclusive faith which God the Father has in that marvellous work of redemption. Thirdly, and perhaps most important of all, is the failure of God's people to see that till things are of God, that He is working all things according to the Counsel of His own will. Nothing has ever gone wrong with the merciful purpose of God. Once these three truths become clear to the spiritual mind of a devout child of God, then the mysteries of the ages disperse like mists before the rising sun and all the parts of the puzzle begin to fall into their appointed place to form a perfect blueprint of the progression of God's purpose through the ages.
Though I have dealt with this third proposition many times in the past, because of its great importance we shall consider it briefly in these pages also. When we are considering the works of God, we must reverently call to mind that we are not dealing with one whose power and might is only slightly greater than our own. God is not such an one as ourselves. "Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture." Psa. 100:3. The Lord He is God! He hath set His throne in the heavens and His kingdom ruleth over all. When we are speaking of God. we are not speaking of an angel, or a seraphim, glorious in wisdom and knowledge as such may be, but we are speaking of Him who created such celestial beings as these granting them some small measure of His own wisdom and power. We are speaking of Him who is omnipotent, omniscient, immutable, omnipresent, eternal, full of loving kindness and tender mercies, who will not always - vs chide nor be angry forever. He is the one who sees the end from the beginning.
Yea, much greater still, He is the end and He is the beginning He it is whose inscrutable wisdom laid the foundations of the earth and hung it upon nothing. Job 26:7. He is the Father of lights. With Him there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. "By His own will begat He us that we should be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures." And we know very well that firstfruits is an assurance of an abundant harvest to come.
Not only did He lay the foundation of the earth in wisdom but He ordained the ages in His understanding, appointing to each age some particular blessedness to be fulfilled in its order as the divine intention progressed. (This was pointed out in the article "The Six Water Pots of Stone," available upon request.) He. who in wisdom laid the foundation of the earth, is almighty in His power and ability to carry out the glory of His own Purpose. No power in the universe can let or hinder Him. Satan has no power at all except by divine consent and permission. as may be clearly seen in the story of God's dealings with Job. When Satan was permitted by the Lord to tempt Job and destroy all that pertained to him, it was for Job's own betterment and eternal good this was done, and I do not think I am overstepping or demanding too much of the type when I say that the whole story of Job becomes an allegory of the entire human family, whom God in His wisdom has lowered into the realms of death to be cruelly afflicted of the devil. From his hand we suffer great pain and tribulation through our lack of understanding, but, when calamity has been completed and every earthy stronghold and carnal argument has vanished away, then comes the revelation of God Himself and of His perfect will; and, following that, the restitution of all things, yea, double all things. Job 42: 10. " I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear," cried Job, "but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Job. 42:5-6 And so shall it be with all men and all their frail arguments in the end. They will at last see the Lord and, seeing Him and understanding His purpose, they will abhor the flesh and the world and themselves and will repent. Then from the coldness of their death and the darkness of their understanding shall come light and wisdom and truth, that the latter end may be much more glorious than it was in Eden in the beginning.
Jesus is all this poor world needs today.
Blindly they strive, for sin darkens the way.
O, to draw back the grim curtains of night!
One glimpse of Jesus and all will be bright.
How can He who is omniscient, omnipotent, and immutable ever fail in His purpose'? Why, my brother, my sister, it is blasphemous to imagine that such a thing could possibly be!
I do not believe that the Bible anywhere teaches that man is a free moral agent. That teaching is a figment of the imagination of the harlot church system. In fact, the Bible teaches the exact opposite. It tells us, " It is not of him that willeth or of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." Rom. 9:16. Someone will ask, "Will God save men eventually against their will?" The answer is no! He will have no need to do that, for all Men will be one hundred percent willing when God reveals Himself to them. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. We have only to consider the case of Saul of Tarsus to understand the miraculous power of the Lord to change the leopard's spots and melt the heart of stone. No man was evermore hateful toward Christ than Was Saul of Tarsus, yet, when his turn came to see the light, he changed in an Instant, crying out in fear and trembling and with bitter repentance. "Who art Thou, Lord'?" and "What wilt Thou have me to do?" It is God that controls the will, and He turns the hearts of mighty and rebellious kings as easily as He turns the water courses. Even in the case of Pharaoh the Lord Himself took the responsibility for the hardening of his heart. Had He not done so, Pharaoh would have yielded long before he did. The truth is that Pharaoh's hard heart was not hard enough to accomplish the difficult task the Lord had appointed for him, so the Lord undertook to harden his heart on six occasions until all His plan and will was accomplished through him.
There is an overwhelming desire in my heart that God's dear people might know that "God is God," glorious in power, fearful in praises, doing wonders. I long with a great longing that His people will repent of ever having believed the insipid and useless traditions that make the almighty God seem to be a victim of the will of His own creation. It is my opinion that most of the theology of the church system is insipid humbug that to render the almighty God impotent by robbing Him of His omnipotence. It teaches that God gave His Son that all the world through Him might be saved and then renders His sacrifice hopeless by leaving ninety-nine percent of all His creatures in the hands of the devil for all eternity. Such a doctrine as that belittles the power and wisdom of God and does despite to the Spirit of grace, the atoning work of Christ and the precious blood that He shed so that the world through Him might be saved.
Now our second proposition was that Christians fail to see the restitution of all things because they fail to see the greatness of the work of Christ, The apostle John remarked that, if all the books were written that should be written, the world itself would not contain them. Therefore we know before we start that it would be completely impossible to do more than probe the fringes of the greatness and completeness of the work of Christ, and to exhaust that ocean of its truth is beyond the power of even the most inspired pen. Nevertheless. there are one or two points which should be made clear. These, I regret to say, I have never seen mentioned by sermon or writing in all the years of my life.
The book of Romans is a most remarkable book, and I think I cannot be far astray in saying that all Paul's other epistles are sermons enlarging on texts from this book. This remarkable book shows the progression of the plan of God from Alpha to Omega, from beginning to end, from Eden to Eden, from paradise lost to paradise regained, and from the fall of man in the beginning to the manifestation of the sons of God in the end. Chapter one brings the whole world under condemnation. Chapter two condemns the Jew. Chapter three shows how both Jews and Gentiles are justified only by faith, and chapter four proves that this is so. Chapter five, with its key expression ''much more" repeated five times, shows with the greatest possible clearness that everything that was lost in Adam has been regained, and much more, in Christ, as the writer so clearly states in verse 18: "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." Chapter six manifests the complete identity of the believer with Jesus Christ in death, burial, and resurrection life. Chapter seven sees the believer delivered from the power of the carnal nature. Chapter eight is the very heart of the whole epistle - so much so that I am tempted to say that it is the heart of the whole Bible and the very heart of all Christian experience from the time the believer begins to walk in the Spirit until he emerges as a manifested son of God, inseparable from Jesus Christ. We do not have space here to mention the themes of the remaining eight chapters, but we trust this brief synopsis may aid us in our understanding of the whole.
Now after Paul, in chapters one and two, has brought all mankind under condemnation and the guilt of sin, he proceeds to unfold God's one true method of justification. Having said in chapter three, verse 20, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin," he says in verses 24, 25, and 26, "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ; whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." The word propitiate means to appease, to soothe, and to conciliate. When Paul says, therefore, that God has set forth Christ to be a propitiation, the great question that must be answered is this: Whom is Christ propitiating? Whom is He appeasing? Whom is He soothing? Whom is He conciliating? Is this propitiation for His benefit? Or is it for the sinner's benefit? Is God trying to conciliate Himself or is He conciliating the sinner" You know as well as I do that the church system has always erroneously taught that it is God who must be propitiated. conciliated and soothed, but I want you to know that Such teaching is utter rubbish and the brashest sort of nonsense. It springs from that Romish tradition that likens God the Father to a fearful and offended despot, spoiling for the blood of the offenders, and it makes Christ to be the one who pleads with God on behalf of the victim until the Father is consoled and conciliated The following words from a hymn show how deeply engrained this error really is:
"Five bleeding wounds He bears Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers, They strongly plead for me.
Forgive him, 0 forgive, they cry, Nor let the ransomed sinner die.
"The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One: He cannot turn away
The presence of His son." etc. "My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear," etc.
The opposite of all this is the truth. It was God the Father who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. He did not give that Son as a propitiation for Himself or to appease His own wrath. He gave Him for you and He gave Him for me. He did not die that I might live, as is so commonly taught. He died that He might give His life to me. And to this truth the scripture endlessly attests, All sermons and songs that Picture God as a God of wrath who must be appeased by the cruel death and bloody sweat of His Son are heathenish and should be discarded from our shelves, because they form the wrong picture entirely.
God hat set forth His Son, Jesus Christ, to be a propitiation through faith in His blood. The idea that God would set forth His Son to propitiate and appease Himself is exceedingly absurd. There is not one scintilla of evidence in all the Bible that would hint that God would ever need to be reconciled to man. It is man who needs to be reconciled, not God. It is man who needs to be propitiated, not God. God does not need to be reconciled, because He knows what the plan is. He understands why the fall came. He takes the responsibility for the act of subjecting the creature to vanity, and He also shoulders the responsibility of raising that creature to a greater glory than he could possibly have had, had there been no fall at all. Therefore, He has given His perfect Son. in whom is life and from whom comes all life, as a propitiation that through His death on the cross He might give His life to all mankind, as it is written: "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." Life can only be released by death; and that first and foremost, above all other, is the reason God gave His Son, who to give us life became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Our heavenly Father, full of all grace and truth, does not have to be reconciled to man. He does not have to be propitiated, appeased, soothed, or conciliated. He gave His Son willingly, not only for our pardon, but also to reconcile the man and dispose the man to His loving favor that He might deliver him from sin and death. All this was done as part of His is original intention to make man in His own image and likeness. The death of the Son of God was the ultimate wickedness and the blackest crime that sin was able to commit. Sin can reach no deeper depth than the murder of God's Son, but God's intention was that He through death would destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them (all of us) who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage, so that what sin hoped would be the ultimate triumph proved to be its own destruction. The death the great Redeemer died heralded the wonderful day when death and sin will be abolished from the universe and there will be a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth only righteousness.
The erroneous notion that God must be propitiated and reconciled to man has given rise to all those Romish doctrines such as prayers for the dead, intercession through the virgin Mary, prayers to the saints, purgatory, indulgences, penance, and a host of other unscriptural errors, all of which make God the Father to be a grudging despot who needs to be placated continually and whose reluctant mercy may diminish or increase as more or less is done to conciliate Him. All such doctrine is hateful and does despite to the true spirit of grace and the infinite love of our kind heavenly Father.
Let us notice one thing further. Paul, writing that wonderful twenty-fifth verse, says, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood. Now who is it that Paul says has faith in the blood of Christ? I know that all theology and past teaching will oppose me, but the truth is simply this: It was God the Father who had faith in His Son and in His blood, and because of that faith in the blood of His Son, He openly declared His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, that is to say, all the sins of the world from Adam to the cross, and undoubtedly for the ages ahead. The life is in the blood. Do not forget that cardinal truth. So great was God's faith in the life blood of His Son that was released by crucifixion and death that He declared the remission of all the sins of the past, making Christ the justifier of all who believe in Him. This surely is the meaning of the text. "To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of Him which believeth in Jesus." Rom. 8:26.
So, then, we see from this that it was God who gave Christ to us as a propitiation and that that propitiation was given to propitiate man, not God. Furthermore it was God Himself who had faith in the blood of His Son that through Him all the world will be saved. There can be no question about that; and, when this truth is revealed to us, then our own faith rises up and we too have faith in that mighty atonement, and we are justified and at the same time cleansed and made righteous in the sight of God.
See how thoroughly the truth concerning the faith of God is confirmed by verse three, which says, "For what if some did not believe'? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect'? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings and mightest overcome when Thou art judged. " Rom. 3:3, 4. Thus these verses clearly teach that it is God who propitiates man. and it is God first of all who has faith in the blood of Christ for man's justification. What a tremendous thing it is to know that by one stroke of faith in the blood of His Son. Jesus Christ, God the Father remitted the sins of the past, which includes all the generations before the cross, and that Christ after His death, according to the faithful word of the apostle Peter, went in the Spirit and preached to the spirits in prison, which had been disobedient when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the ark was being prepared! See I Pet. 3:18-21. And what did He preach to these long-departed Souls? Well, I Peter 4:6 certainly answers that question! By it we are informed. "for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are (lead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. The gospel was preached to them, informing them of the death of God's Son, who was given as a propitiation and a reconciliation for them, and that God had faith in the blood of His Son to deliver them from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of the sons of God. Shall our unbelief make the faith of ' of God without effect? Certainly not! If we believe not, yet He abides faithful. He cannot deny Himself. God's plan goes on just the same, and He will bring all men to faith, each in his own order and in his own appointed time. Does my unbelief make your faith of none effect? No! Certainly not! Much less then shall the unbelief of the world or the unbelief of God's own children annul God's faith in the great propitiation of His is Son or make it of none effect.
More and more I am compelled to say that we are God's workmanship. created in Christ Jesus. He doeth His will in the army of heaven and none can resist His intention. None can hinder His cause. Therefore, when we do but faintly glimpse the immutable purpose of God, we can see that the Father, before ever time began or sin blighted our way, laid down the plan in every detail for the restitution of all things.
Lastly, let us consider briefly that great age which the word of God describes as the dispensation of the fullness of times. Ephesians 1:10. Time is not eternity. There are many times and many dispensations, but there is only one eternity. Eternity does not begin; neither does it end, but times, dispensations, and ages all have beginnings and all have ends. It is wrong to assert that, when time ends, eternity will begin, because eternity has no beginning. Neither did it end when time began, as so many charts indicate. Ages have their place in eternity in the same way that minutes have their place in years, except that years end and eternity does not. Therefore it is very important that we make a clear distinction between ages, which belong to time, and eternity. which is timeless. It is more important still that we, in our study of the Bible, search out diligently those passages which refer to time and those which refer to eternity. In making this search, I strongly recommend that wherever possible the searcher avail himself of a good, exhaustive concordance such as Young's Analytical or Strong's, available at almost any good book store. Both of these give the correct meaning of every Greek and Hebrew word in the Bible. I also highly recommend the use of the Emphatic Diaglott which emphasizes emphatic word translation rather than any beauty of style.
It is most regrettable that many Bible translators have been careless in their translation of words that concern the ages. The common thought seems to have been that any age following this present age must be identical with eternity, which. of course, is gross error, and we get ourselves into all manner of confusion by thinking that such is the case. For instance, according to the King James Version Jesus, speaking of the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, is clearly quoted as saying, "He that blasphemeth the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness." Mark 3:29. Because of this faulty rendering we have concocted the fallacious notion of an unpardonable sin. But the Emphatic Diaglott translates the passage correctly thus: "Whoever may blaspheme the Holy Spirit has no forgiveness to the age, but is exposed to aionian (age lasting) judgment. " The age referred to here is the millennial age. Likewise also the passage in Matt. 12:32: " Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." The word world here, as the margin of your Bible will probably indicate, is translated from the Greek word aion, which means age or some indefinite time. See also Young's Concordance. Hence the translation should be, "It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age nor in the coming age." Diaglott. Jesus was born in the age of law. Therefore, when He spoke of this age, He was speaking of the age of law, the age to come being the age of grace in which we now live. Our problem concerning the ages will be cleared up if we remember the following simple facts. The Greek noun aion, which literally means an age, or an indefinite period of time, (Young), has been translated into the following fifteen different words and phrases in the King James Version of the New Testament: age (2), beginning of the world (2), course (1), world (32), eternal (2), world began (1), forever (27), for evermore (2), ever (1), while the world standeth (1), for ever and ever (1), for ever and ever (20), for evermore (1), never (7), world without end (I). Along with this the adjective aionios is translated eternal 42 times, everlasting (25), and for ever (1). Yet all these words, which YOU may look tip in your own concordance and at your leisure, come from one original word, aion, which means age and should be so translated.
Anything and everything that has to do with an age or a dispensation has to do with time and therefore has both a beginning and an end. That which is eternal has nothing whatever to do with time, because that which is eternal is timeless. Eternity cannot be described as endless time, because there is no such element as time in eternity. It may come as a great surprise to most readers to learn that the Bible does not use any word that is equivalent to our English word eternal. All God's dealings with man concern ages, dispensations, and times. It is not until Christ delivers up a perfect universe to the Father that time will be no more, and there will be no need of the sun to rule by day nor of the moon by night, for the Lord God giveth them light. Where there is neither day nor night there is no time. That is the eternal realm. In that realm there is not only no more time, but a complete absence of things that belong to time - no pain, no crying, no tears, no more hell, no more lake of fire no more judgment, and no more death, for all the former things will have run their course of duty and will have passed away. All will be perfect in God's universe. All will be reconciled and all will be restored.
There are yet at least two great ages to come, first, the kingdom age, which in scripture is often referred to as the age, and following this there comes the age of the ages, which in Eph. 1: 10 is named the dispensation of the fullness of times. Our failure to recognize God's workings in that wonderful age of the fullness of times is the reason so many thousands of God's good people fail to see the restitution of all things.
Reading from the King James Version, Eph. 3:21 reads thus: "Unto Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." Now since the word world here is translated from the Greek aion, it can hardly be called a good trans] at ion -simply because the word world is translated from aion (age), and an age cannot be without end. The Emphatic Diaglott renders the passage correctly by saying, "to Him be glory in the congregation by Jesus Christ to all the generations of the age of the ages." This, of course, conveys the Correct meaning. This age of the ages, which is identical with the dispensation of the fullness of times, embraces some very important teaching simply by reason of its name. First of all let us notice that it is the age of the ages. I am not at all sure how many ages there have been in the past. There could have been countless ages for aught I know. I do know, however, that ages existed before Adam. There was a great age from Adam to the flood and another great age front the flood to the resurrection of Christ. The age of grace or the church age, of which we are now a part, runs from the resurrection to the setting up of the king- The kingdom age, next in order, will last at least one thousand years. Rev. 20:4. Then follows the age of the ages, or the dispensation of the fullness of times. The term age of the ages identifies this age as the greatest of all the ages. No age, not even the kingdom age, can be compared to it. Just as the Song of Solomon is the song of songs, that is, the greatest of all songs, and as the holy of holies is the holiest of all, so the age of the ages is the greatest age of all the ages, far surpassing even the millennial kingdom in its power and glory, its revelation of God, and its wonderful reconciliation and restitution. Men today use such terms as "the greatest day of my life," "our finest hour," or the "day of days." It is in this same sense that our almighty Father speaks of the dispensation of the fullness of times as the age of the ages.
As we read Eph. 3:21 from the Emphatic Diaglott. it may have escaped our notice that the text says, "To Him be glory in the congregation by Jesus Christ to all the generations of the age of the ages. " The expression, "to all the generations of the age of the ages" gives us some slight conception of just how long a period of time the age of the ages may be. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established, and I think it
is of singular interest that twice the inspired writers of scripture made clear reference to a thousand generations. "Know ye therefore that the Lord Thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations Deut. 7:9. And again, "Be ye mindful always of His covenant: the word which He commanded to a thousand generations." I Chron. 16:15. These mighty statements of truth are not mere picturesque flourishes. These are statements intended to tell us truth that belongs to the whole plan of redemption. As yet I have not found any man able to say accurately just how many years are encompassed by one generation, but, supposing it to be such a small number as forty, a thousand generations would comprise forty thousand years from the time God gave His covenants to Abraham until the end of the dispensation of the fullness of times. I am not trying to say or guess how long a period of time is indicated by these thousand generations, but we may be certain that it was to them that Paul was referring when he wrote, "To Him be glory in the church throughout all generations of the age of the ages." Can you not see that God has allotted almost infinite time to His Christ and the glorified church to accomplish the purpose of the redemption and the reconciliation of all things?
There is yet one more truth I would like to present concerning this age of the ages. That truth concerns the name of the age, the dispensation of the fullness of times. Eph. 1: 10. Now all ages have to do with time and times, but there comes an hour eventually when time has reached its fullness. When all other ages have run their course. then we have come at last to the fullness of times Time is full, time is complete, and time shall be nor more. At the consummation of the fullness of all time the purpose of God, laid down in the edict, "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness, " is complete, and time shall be nor more. I The dispensation of the fullness of times is the eighth dispensation. The dispensations of innocence, conscience, human government promise, law, grace and the kingdom - these seven will have run their course and all will end in judgment, but the dispensation of the fullness of times is the eighth dispensation, and it will conclude all former things. It will end death, judgment, pain and tears, and its final act will be the delivering up of a perfect kingdom to the Father of all. Then time will have reached its fullness and will be nor more.
The number eight in scripture is the number of new beginnings. That is why the dispensation of the fullness of times is the eighth dispensation. If the first day of a month falls on a Sunday, then the eighth day of the month is also a Sunday, as you will see in the months of April and July, 1973. So, if the first day of man's time was in Eden, then the fullness of time, the eighth day, brings us back to Eden again, not in the weakness of the first Adam, but in the strength and imperishable life of the last Adam.
Let us notice the extent of the promises made for the age of the ages, for I think in so doing our hearts will be assured that that age is indeed the age above all other ages. Nothing can be compared to it. Even the blessed millennial kingdom has some rebellion in it and ends with the armies of Satan gathering together against the camp of the saints. But not this age of the ages!
Paul's epistle to the Ephesians is a very wonderful book. Above all other of Paul's writings it manifests God's purpose in calling and perfecting the church. Those foolish people who in their willful and petulant ignorance dare to say. " If God is going to save everyone, why need I bother?" really do not deserve either recognition or an answer. Since my eyes have caught a glimpse of the supernal glory of the work of reconciliation and my ears have heard the word of Christ saying that He has committed to us the word of reconciliation, my heart responds with the greatest eagerness, and, laying aside every earthly weight, I grasp with joy the hope that is set before me. My hope has made me like Elisha, who would not let his master out of his sight lest he miss the double portion in store for him. Let the foolish delight themselves in their God-rejection and idle words, for God has said, "Him that is filthy, let him be filthy still, and he that is unholy, let him be unholy still." The lake of fire that burns with refining brimstone is reserved for their purging throughout the generations of the age of the ages, but let us, who are of the light lay hold on the promise that is set before us, for herein is the refining, the finishing of our faith.
So Paul wrote to the Ephesians to lay the plan of God before them in the hope of quickening their step and increasing their faith in God's purpose. Turning their eyes to their ministry in the age of the ages, he wrote, "Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ." Eph. 1:9-12 Is that promise not reason enough for going all out that we may attain, since we have been predestined to such a glory as this? This is the hope that consumes my life and all my waking hours, and beside it all else is the grossest and lowest vanity. Stir yourself in repentance and in prayer and consecration, ye worldly-minded, wealth-seeking souls, for what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul or be cast away to endure the lake of fire and brimstone until his refining comes? Is it any wonder that Paul said, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Phil. 3:8-9. It is when we begin to see the plan of God that we willingly lay aside every weight and the sin that does so easily beset us. It is when we see the plan of God that all things begin to make sense, and then and then alone does our walk with Him become something real and worthwhile.
Now I want you to pay particular attention to what God says regarding the mighty work of the age of the ages, the dispensation of the fullness of times. In it we are promised that He will gather together in one all things in Jesus Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in Him. Eph. 1: 10. I don't know how the Christian who disbelieves God's power to restore ail things is going to explain this mighty state Even blind unbelief can find no explanation for it, for there is no way around it. This is a clear statement of reconciliation definitely declaring that during the dispensation of the fullness of times all things are to be gathered into His Son, Jesus Christ. The statement is unconditional. There are no conditions attached in any way, shape or form. It is an edict of the Almighty, and it is saying with the greatest power and simplicity that He intends to restore absolutely everything and gather it all into the Prince Redeemer, Jesus Christ, whether it be things in heaven or things on earth.
The dispensation of the fullness of times is the age of the ages. It is the greatest age of all time, and with its end time shall be no more. The dispensation of the fullness of times is the day of God. The present day with all its corruption is the day of man. The millennial kingdom is the day of the Lord. 2 Pet. 3: 10, The dispensation of the fullness of times is the day of God in which all things are made new and we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. 2 Pet. 3:13.
Because this final age is the dispensation of the fullness of times, we know that it belongs to time. Because it is the age of the ages, we know that ages have not yet passed away. Many things are to be accomplished in that age that are at present far beyond our comprehension. In it the Lord has declared, "Behold, I make all things new." Rev. 21:5. Before its end every knee shall have bowed and every tongue will have confessed that Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. In it the old heavens and the old earth pass away and a new heaven and a new earth take their place. All the havoc caused by ages and dispensations of man's evil reign will be cleared away and blotted out as things are made new.
The end of this present age of grace will be marked by the resurrection of the just. Rev. 20:17. They will reign with Christ over all the earth for a period of at least one thousand years. Few scriptures are more specific as to length of time than this, in which the term one thousand years is used six times. First Satan is bound for one thousand years, at which time the reign of the saints for a thousand years begins. In Rev. 21:5 we are distinctly told that the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. No unbeliever has part in the first resurrection. Then at the end of the thousand years all the rest of the dead, both small and great, are raised to stand before God to be justly judged before the great white throne, and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. Rev. 20:11-15.
I do not wish to over-emphasize the importance of this article or the truth it contains, but I am constrained to say that these truths are of immense importance because they are .foundational. Upon their firm footing rests the whole superstructure of God's plan of the ages, If we cannot see how in the very beginning God created man for the specific purpose of ruling the universe. and to have dominion over all the vast sidereal with its infinite space and multi-billion galaxies, then we have missed the heart of God's intention completely and we become doomed to spend our lives in the idle pettifogging of the Romish and Protestant systems, which give neither reason for man's existence nor cause for his humiliation and fiery testings in the realm of death. Even redemption, full and complete as it is and in spite of its infinite cost, will fail to reconcile and save more than one percent of all creation, if the fruitless interpretation of the Babylonish system are to be believed.
How different does all this appear when our hearts grasp the understanding that before all things, back of all things, beneath all things, and above all things is the majesty of God's eternal intention and the immutability of His purpose to make man in the image of Himself - infinite in wisdom, perfect in understanding, faultless in counsel, almighty in power, un changeable in purpose, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, unswerving in faithfulness, and doing the wonders of God throughout the universe as sons of God and members of His family, man complete in God's image and likeness.
The answer to the eternal question, "What is man that Thou art mindful of him," is two fold, because the question is two-fold. What is man? The answer by example is JESUS CHRIST highly exalted, His name being above every name. He is the first man and the last man. He is the beginning of the creation of God and He is the end of the creation of God. We are His younger brothers, all members of the same family, first being sons of men and secondly sons of God. What He is we are becoming, to which the scripture clearly attests, saying, "As He is, so are we in this world. " I John 4: 17. Every creature, whether of beasts or birds or fish or any plant or insect, brings forth seed after his kind, and shall it be different with God? Shall He not bring forth after His kind? Shall not be who is begotten of God be a son of God and a member of His family? Did not Jesus settle the contention forever when He said, " If He called them gods unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken, say ye of Him whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said I am the Son of God?" John 10:35-36. Jesus Christ was the Son of God and we, too, are sons of God because we are members of the family of God.
The first part of the question is, "What is man'!" The second part of the question is, -That Thou art mindful of him?" Or, "What hast Thou in mind for man?" The answer is that man will be given dominion, when his perfection comes and his Christ-likeness is complete, over fish, over birds, and over the beasts and creeping things of the earth. Gen. 1:26. The fish represent the things beneath. The birds represent the things in the heavens above. The beasts and creeping things represent things on the earth. That is what God decreed in the beginning, and that is His immutable intention now and in the ages to come man in God's image, ruler and lord of the universe.
The teaching concerning the lake of fire does not appear anywhere in scripture except in the book of Revelation where it is spoken of in the following scriptures: Rev. 19:20, 20:10, 20:13- 15, and 2 1:8. This last scripture definitely states, " But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murders, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." There should be no question remaining as to the certainty of this lake of fire; neither should there be any doubt as to the awful consequence of having to be cast into it. These scriptures with their dreadful foreboding should be a fearful warning to all unthinking and foolish people who, because of their love for the baser things, have dared to ask why we should serve God now if we are all going to be saved eventually. Such people have no love for God, and they manifest by what they say that their professed serving of God is only a pretense, arising - not from any true love for Him - but from fear of punishment. It is not thus with those who truly love God, for they serve not from fear, but from pure love and devotion.
Because of the gross misunderstanding of almost all people concerning the lake of fire, I would like to make the following observations: First, to show the meaning of fire and brimstone and, second. to show that the lake of fire is the second death.
In my study of the lake of fire and brimstone I was very much helped and impressed by the understanding given by Charles H. Pridgeon, M.A., and because of the excellency of his work I would like to quote several paragraphs in full, knowing that my own ability falls far short of his. The following paragraphs are from his excellent work, Is Hell Eternal.
"The lake of fire and brimstone signifies a fire burning with brimstone. The word brimstone, or sulphur, defines the character of the fire.
"The word theion (Greek), translated brimstone, is exactly the same word theion, which means divine. Sulfur, or brimstone, was sacred to the deity among the ancient Greeks, and was used to fumigate, to purify, and to cleanse and to consecrate to the deity; for this purpose they burned it in their incense. The verb derived from theion is theioo which means to hallow, to make divine, or to dedicate to a god. (See Liddell and Scott Greek English Lexicon, 1897 Edition.)
"To any Greek, or to any trained in the Greek language, a lake of fire and brimstone would mean a lake of divine purification. The idea of judgment need not be excluded. Divine purification and divine consecration are the plan) meaning in ancient Greek. In the ordinary explanation this fundamental meaning of the word is entirely left out, and nothing but eternal torment' is associated with it.
"The word torment needs study. In the New Testament the same word is used of one "sick of' the palsy, grievously tormented." (Matt. 8:6). It is used of the disciples' ship in Galilee, and is translated "tossed with the waves" (Matt.14:24) It is translated by the word tailing in Mark 6:48. It is translated by the word vexed in speaking of Lot. (2 Pet. 2:8). It is translated by a word that means birth-pains (Rev. 12:2). In other scriptures it is translated by the word torment or tormented. The original idea of the verb is "to put to the test by rubbing on a touchstone." Then it means "to question by applying some test or torture to discover whether true or not." The original idea was to test some metal that looked like gold to find whether it was real or not. The meaning and usage of this word harmonizes with the idea of divine purification and the torment which is the test to find whether there has been any change in the sufferer or not. Through the hidden loving purpose of God, every pang of torment will he a birth-pang; and the grace of God will not be absent - and, as He says, "Behold, I am making all things new" (literal), He will leave no spot in the universe unrenewed, "Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess" (Phil. 2:10, 11, literal). The ages of the ages come to an end. "Then cometh the end (I Cor. 15:24-28). Time ceases. There will be no "day and night" in eternity. The suffering lasts only while there is "day and night". Rev. 20: 10." End of quotation.
I realize that the above quotation covers the subject very briefly, but how can we put the ocean of eternal truth into the cup of our human understanding? If there is to be a restitution of all things. and the scripture is very clear on this issue, and if it be completely correct, not only offers hope but expresses the ultimate fulfillment of the purpose which was purposed in Christ Jesus before the world began or before the ages were formed.
Everyone who considers himself a student of God's word should familiarize himself with the facts I have mentioned above. Purchase a good concordance such as Young's or Strong's and learn how to use it. Also get a good Greek-English lexicon such as the Emphatic Diaglott so that you can check these things out for yourself. Then you will not have to depend on what I or some other human being has to say about it. The fifty scholarly men who sat for ten years, translating the King James Version of the Bible, produced a magnificent work. We cannot speak too highly of it, and I sincerely doubt that any other work of translation has ever remotely equaled its style and beauty; but with a task so great as theirs it is no small wonder to discover that a few inconsistencies in translation crept in. Many Christians fail to realize that no translation of the holy scripture is inspired. Only the original writings by the apostles and the prophets were inspired. Since, then, the original writing was done in Hebrew for the Old Testament and Greek for the New Testament, all translating into the multitudes of other languages has had to be done by learned scholars of Greek and Hebrew, and these for the most part have done a masterful work.
No other book that ever was written can be compared to the Bible, which is the word of God. Because the Bible is a spiritual book, it has very little appeal to the natural mind. This wonderful book of God does not unfold its mysteries to the careless reader. Its parables were not written to make spiritual truth clear to the simple and careless. Parables were not given that a child could understand, as we have been taught in the past. Parables were written for exactly the opposite reason. Do you not remember that on one occasion, when Jesus had been speaking to the people in parables, His disciples asked Him, "Why speakest Thou unto them in parables?" Matt. 13: 10. He said unto them. "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven but to them it is not given." Matt. 13: 11. Again in Luke 8: 10 we read, "But to others in parables, that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand," or, as He said in Matt. 13: 15, " By hearing ye shall hear, and shall Hot understand: and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive." So you see from the words of Jesus that parables were not given to make the mysteries clear to everybody. but rather to hide the mystery from some and to reveal it by the Spit-it to those who were ordained to understand.
This wonderful book is literally packed full of mysteries, parables, types. shadows, and allegories, which are only unfolded by the Holy Spirit when it is in the best interests of God's infinite purpose to unfold them. It has been a thing of endless delight and surpassing joy to me to have made the discovery that the Bible itself and everything in it is a parable, setting forth by many means the intention of the all-wise, all-powerful unchanging Lord. As these wonderful truths fall into place before the eyes of my spirit, each one in its turn signifies the immutable purpose of God, who, after having made a man of the clay, undertook to lower the work of His hands into the fiery realm of death for his own edification, his good, his learning and his understanding. Then comes the restoration of the creation, not merely to what it was originally, but to an exaltation so high that our minds completely fail to grasp its supernal eminence. Even the life and experience of our Messed Redeemer becomes a parable of the truth of restoration, for He, who was in the form of God and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, humbled Himself take upon Himself the form of a man, and. being found in fashion as a man, lie became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and that every tongue should confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Can we not see here how the Son was first lowered into death and then highly exalted? Have we failed to perceive that "as He is, so are we in this world?" Is it too much for us to believe the parable set forth here, pressing forward in faith that we may attain the prize that is set before us as we look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross and despised the shame and is set down at the right hand of the majesty on high? Is not this the "excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord," for whom we have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung that we may win Christ and be found in Him without spot or blemish? So if the life of our Lord becomes a parable and a type, how much more shall lesser things!
We have already considered how Adam's dominion over the fish beneath the earth, the animals on the earth, and the birds above the earth was a prophetic foreshadow of man's eventual glory as judge and ruler of the universe under God's authority and with the mind of Christ. Furthermore in His saying, " Let its make man in our image and after our likeness," He was saying that this was His unchanging intention, not only for Adam, but for mankind as a whole. The first man was presented faultless two thousand years ago, and His beautiful perfection is a pledge and guarantee that before the age of the ages has run its course all men will be presented faultless before the throne of His glory with exceeding joy It cannot be otherwise, for we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. And He, tasting this death, for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the majesty on high, henceforth expecting until His enemies be made His footstool, or a resting place for His feet.
Paul gave us a remarkable clue to these great mysteries when He explained that the whole national existence of Israel was a parable or an allegory teaching great spiritual things. -These things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world (ages) are come," he said. I Cor.10: 11. You know the history of Israel as well as I do. You have read of their beginnings, their rebellion against God and their punishments, and how some of them have been scattered among all nations while other of their tribes have become mighty nations in the earth, though they are so blind that the vast majority of their people have completely lost sight of their national identity. Shall we believe that all these people will be cast away and lost forever? Or shall we let our faith embrace the immutable promise of God, as Paul has said, "Hath God cast away His people? God forbid . . . God hath not cast away His people which He foreknew." Rom. 11: 1-2. Then by his pertinent question and its positive answer the apostle explains the mystery of their being cast away, for he says, "If the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?" Rom.11:15. Someone will say, "I cannot understand this mystery," and I confess I cannot understand it either. But shall my unbelief make the faith of' God of none effect? God forbid. Rom. 3:3. "But I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel (all Israel) until the fullness of the Gentiles (nations) be come in. And so shall all Israel be saved." Rom. 11:25. Well. what do you think of that? Shall we not say that God is true though every man be a liar? In the light Of Such fathomless wisdom is it any great wonder that the apostle breaks off in the midst of his explanation to burst forth into heavenly praise crying, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counselor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed to him again? For of Him, and through Him and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen." Rom.11:13.
Can we now open the eyes of our understanding to behold the parable from the life of Job? Notice how this perfect and upright man, who feared God and stayed clear of every evil, was delivered into the hand of the enemy that through his dreadful experience in the valley of the shadow of death he might come forth refined by its fire and brimstone. Was it not the torment and tribulation of this first death that delivered his soul from all his carnal arguments and set him free from every last remaining trace of self-righteousness, until from out the fire and brimstone of his experience - yea, the fiery trial that was to try him - he came forth as gold tried in the fire with shining face and glorified vision, crying, "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:5-6. Certainly we can see all these things, but let us notice still further how this man, who lost all things when he was lowered into such a fearful death, a loss that included both his riches and his family, had all restored when the fire had devoured his corruption - and not only restored, but restored double in all things until he was much richer and exceedingly more famous and influential than he had ever been before. Shall we not see in this story a parable of the history of all mankind from the time man was lowered into this realm of death, passing through the fiery furnace of affliction into the image of God and the restitution of all things? Let us not be like those adamant folk who, because of their impenetrable hardness, seeing, see not and hearing, hear not, neither do they understand, but let us see with our eyes and hear with our ears and understand with our hearts and lay hold of the promise of restoration that is clearly set before us.
What shall we say of Nebuchadnezzar, who through God's decree left his high estate and was lowered into the realm of the beasts and was given a beastly mind? There in the degrading realm of beasts he remained until he learned that God is all in all. Then, when seven times had passed over him, his humiliation and repentance were complete, the glory of his kingdom was restored to him and he, walking in harmony with God, commanded all men everywhere to fear and tremble before the God of heaven. In my book, The Mind of Christ, (free upon request), I have gone into greater detail to show that the experience of this man was a parable of the experience of all mankind from the time of their transgression and humiliation until the exceeding glory of that day when all will possess the mind of Christ and all will be fully restored.
I suppose I could fill whole volumes with the unfolding of these blessed things, but I shall now leave the parables, the types, the shadows and prophecies of the Old Testament to speak of Jesus Christ our Lord and show how His life and ministry was a prophecy, a parable, a living witness and testimony of the restitution of all things. Hear Him as He reads this scripture: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Luke 4:18, 19. The acceptable year of the Lord is nothing less than the kingdom of God, that millennial kingdom for which all creation groans. The day of the vengeance of our God Isa. 61:2) 1 believe to be identical with the dispensation of the fullness of times, the age of the ages, in which the Lord through the fiery Judgment of the second death will gather into Himself everything in heaven and in earth. Eph. 1: 10.
Our Lord Jesus Christ did not attempt to heal every diseased person during His brief ministry on earth; neither did He deliver every captive nor restore sight to all the eyes that were blind. He did not set at liberty all that were bruised, nor did He heal all that were broken-hearted. It was never God's intention that all the ills of earth should be cured during the short period of His first advent. The ministry of Jesus, wonderful and remarkable as it was, was only to be a beginning, a foreshadowing and an ensample of that mighty work of restoration, reserved for the kingdom age, which will be completed when the body of Christ is complete. The truth that His earthly ministry was only the beginning seems to be taught in the words spoken of the miracle performed at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, "This beginning of miracles did Jesus and manifested forth His glory," (John 2:11), and is certainly confirmed by Luke's words, "All that Jesus began to do and teach." Acts. 1:1.
There was a day when the disciples came to Jesus with the question, "Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you that Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise also shall the Son of man suffer of them." Matt. 17:10-12. Then they understood that He spoke of John the Baptist, but I am not so sure that this was His final meaning. At any rate the restoration was not to be completed then. His ministry was to be only a foreshadow of the restoration of all things, which, though begun in some small degree then, would not be completed until the age of the ages. In my meditations before God I have become convinced that the mighty signs and wonders wrought by the hand of our Lord Jesus Christ were not wrought entirely for the sake of those few tormented people who were healed and delivered from their afflictions, but this manifestation of His glory was intended to be a literal and living witness, a life full of prophetic acts foreshadowing the kingdom of God and the final dispensation of the fullness of times that will complete the restoration of all things. The gospel Jesus was preaching was not the gospel of grace. It was the gospel of the kingdom of God and His mighty works were a foreshadow of that acceptable day of the Lord. Luke 4:19. The acceptable day of the Lord is the kingdom day. As the vision on the Mount of Transfiguration was a miniature foreview of the kingdom of God (Matt.16:28), so the entire ministry of Jesus Christ was a foreshadow of the extent and fullness of all the mighty wonders that are reserved for that wonderful sabbath day which is to come.
It would be quite impossible for us here and now to trace the full glory which each act in His mighty ministry foreshadowed, yet be it known that each and every wonder of His life from the miraculous draught of wine at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee to the healing of the ear of the centurion's servant tells us some new story of the wonders that are to be when He is King of kings and Lord of lords in the ages yet to come. The changing of water to wine at the wedding feast portrays the difference between our present realm of death, and that wonderful realm of life when He has taken His bride, the New Jerusalem, and that age of the ages begins. However, to avoid any doubt as to my meaning, we will consider just a few events in the life of Jesus that clearly demonstrate how His whole life and ministry was a prophetic foreshadow of the acceptable day of the Lord, which is the kingdom age of one thousand years. We will certainly not try to cover all the events, but if you will think each one out for yourself in the Spirit and with the mind of Christ, you will uncover a whole realm of truth hitherto hidden from your eyes.
Among the first of the works Jesus did was His calling of the twelve disciples. This is a very important and significant thing. These men were chosen to minister with Him and were given power over all manner of sickness and disease and over demons. The common thought prevalent in our day is the notion that the main purpose of this present age of grace is the conversion of the world and the salvation of as many as possible. The real truth is that this entire age has been set aside in the wisdom of God to "take out a people for His name." Acts 15:14, According to James this is in harmony with the prophecies of the Old Testament. These people who are now being "taken out" from the mass of mankind are a people being prepared to reign with Christ in the kingdom of God, and they will be used in that wonderful ministry of destroying the works of the devil. Therefore, when Jesus in this age of grace speaks to the heart of any man or woman, saying, "Follow Me," it is an extremely important event. I am not saying that all who are thus called will be chosen, for "many are called, but few are chosen" (Matt. 22:14), and those who are finally with Him are "called, chosen and faithful." Rev.17:14. Only those who lay aside their own minds and become possessed of the mind of Christ will have any hope of reigning in His kingdom. The carnally minded, though they are believers and though they be saved, will not reign with Christ in that wonderful kingdom. No carnality will reign with Him. Only those whom the scripture speaks of as "in Christ" will reign with Him; and I shall add that the term in Christ excludes most of the professing Christians. While some will have an abundant entrance (2 Pet. 1: 11), others will be saved so as by fire" (1 Cor. 3:15). Let us neither forget nor neglect these things, but let us lay aside every weight and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the majesty on high.
In the Gospel of Mark the mighty works of Jesus are recorded in quick succession. Immediately after He called His disciples, Jesus is seen entering the synagogue, and there He taught a doctrine that astonished the people. Mark 1:21. Let me say that if ever the truth is told in our modern synagogues, those steepled houses that men speak of as churches, the people who hear will be astonished. They will either accept the message as wonderful and life-giving or else they will brand the messenger a heretic, a false prophet, or a nut and cast him out. What Jesus taught He taught with authority (Mark 1:22), and authority in teaching is something the people are not accustomed to. What a watered-down gospel the poor people have been compelled to hear decade after tiresome decade, and century after weary century! The wicked thought now prevalent in the minds of preachers is to give the people what they want. They do not give them what they need as shepherds should do, but they prophesy falsely, and the people love to have it so. Jer. 5:31.
The next great thing of note was the discovery that right in the synagogue there was a man possessed with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, saying, "Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth. Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God." Mark 1:24. Now I wonder who that man was who was possessed with an unclean spirit? I dare not be certain, but I will tell you who he may have been and who he probably was. He was probably the leader of the synagogue. Are you horrified at my suggestion? Well, you need not be, for I have on my desk at this moment a large picture of a preacher with a reverse collar and all the regalia of a minister, marching with a crowd of homosexuals, all replete with signs and banners, agitating for public acceptance and recognition. Do you know what Moses said of homosexuals? He said they should be cut off from among the people. Lev. 18:22-29. Yet in our day these abominable demon-possessed people are being ordained as ministers of the gospel! If Jesus walked into their congregation today, He would have no choice but to cast the devil out of them, for all homosexuals and lesbians are sodomites and possessed with an unclean spirit.
There are other devils in the church system besides this one. There are false prophets, covetous, boasters, men who do not believe in the resurrection, the blood of Christ, the Holy Spirit, or regeneration. The Roman system from start to finish is a "do it yourself" religion. I do not hesitate to say that all who are rubbing shoulders with it and glorying in ecumenism and the charisma of the whole evil business are coming under the control of Satan and the power of devils working miracles. Rev.16:13,14. Have you never read this scripture? "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." Rev.18:2.
Following the casting out of the unclean spirit, Mark tells of the healing of the fever. Mark 1:29-3 1. The whole church system and the entire world system is in a dreadful burning fever. Men's hearts are failing them for fear and for looking after the things that are coming upon the earth, for even the powers of the heavens are being shaken. Nations are rising against nations, kingdoms against kingdoms, states against states, provinces against provinces, husbands against wives, children against parents, man against the elements, the floods, the earthquakes. The sea, the land, and the air groan because of the awful pollution. The whole creation is in a ferment. But Jesus, the Prince of Peace, took the fevered woman by the hand, and the fever left her. So it will be when the kingdom shall come and the saints shall reign. The fever will be gone and hushed will be all the vain strivings of sinful men.
Following the account of all these works of power comes the announcement of the healing of all that were sick. Mark 1: 32
At even, when the sun did set,
The sick, 0 Lord, around Thee lay;
O with what divers pains they met,
And with what joy they went away!
This mighty manifestation of His power was also a foreshadow of that coming day when all who dwell in the light of His throne will be free from the sorrows of the past; for there shall be no more sickness, no more pain, nor sorrow nor death nor sighing. Neither shall there be any more tears, for the former things are passed away. Rev. 21:4. Our Lord Jesus Christ, when He healed the sick who came to Him, was not making an effort to cure the world that then was of all sickness and disease. Had that been His intention, he would not have ceased until His work was done. Because He came preaching the kingdom of God, He was demonstrating the glory and the power of that coming kingdom and showing us the wealth of its glory by doing for the few what will be done for the all when the light of His kingdom shall cover all the earth as the waters now fill the sea.
Thy kingdom come!
Thy will be done in earth!
Even as it is done in heaven!
Then in Mark 1:40-45 we have the account of the healing of the leper. Leprosy is always considered to be typical of sin. It is a disease in the blood. It is a fearful, wasting disease that has always forced men to live separate from all society. This disease was always considered incurable by human means. Leprosy is a physical type of inbred sin. Poor mankind in his blindness vainly hopes for a remedy, but there is no healing medicine for that which has rotted the flesh away. Only Jesus Christ can heal the wasted body or soul. All our efforts at self-reformation are useless, for they leave the soul even as it was. The blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, cleanses from all sin, and there is no other remedy either in heaven above or in earth beneath; neither is there any other name given among men whereby we must be saved.
So Jesus cleansed the leper. His divine power alone could cleanse the filth away. What heart is so vile that He cannot cleanse it? In that coming age, when the knowledge of the Lord fills the earth as the waters cover the sea, the multitude of the nations will walk the highway to Jerusalem where His throne abides, for "in that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." Zech. 13: 1. "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one Lord, and His name one. " Zech. 14:9. "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts. and to keep the feast of tabernacles.- Zech. 14:16. "in that day there shall be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; . . . yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts " Zech.14:20, 21.
Jesus paid it all!
All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain;
He washed it white as snow.
Now consider the healing of the palsied man, who had control neither of his limbs nor of his actions. How truly this poor afflicted fellow typified the mass of mankind in our day who "do not know what makes them stumble!" But Jesus knew that at the base of his uncontrollable self and the hopeless shaking of his limbs lay sin yet unforgiven: and when the sin was gone, the sickness, too, was soon remedied. What demonstration of Christ's power could show more forcefully than this that He who has power over palsy has power to forgive sin and cleanse mankind of its crimson stain? Thus shall it be in the kingdom of God where the whole mass of mankind is concerned, for the leaves of the tree, which He Himself is, are for the healing of all nations that inhabit the earth.
The Jews were always greatly offended when Jesus healed the sick, fed the hungry, or did any manner of good on the Sabbath day. It seems to me He often chose that hallowed day above all others to work His wonders. He did not do it, I assure you, to rouse their anger, but to demonstrate with power that, when the millennial sabbath finally comes, it will be able blessed day of deliverance from all the evil of the previous six days of man's in is rule. "Six days shalt thou I labor," saith the Lord, "and do all thy thy work; thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work. . . ." Exod. 20:9, 10. The six thousand years or the six dispensations that have passed away since Adam - these have been man's six days of labor, and what a tragic mess, what a mass of confusion and disorder has followed his rule! But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord. The seventh day, the seventh dispensation, is the kingdom of God. The seventh day is God's day. It is the kingdom of God. In it man will labor no more. God will loose the thirsty ox from the stall and lead him away to the watering.Christ who is Lord of the sabbath, and in that day He will deliver the captives, recover the sight of the blind, set at liberty the bruised, for that is the acceptable year of the Lord. He will show that the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath day.
In that day "the stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; (Allelujah!) we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psa. 118:22-24. "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the cars of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: . . . And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Isa. 35:5-7, 10.
And what shall I say of the healing of the poor man with the withered hand, which infirmity had rendered him powerless to work for either himself or His Lord? And what shall we say of the power that healed him or of the significance of the fact that it was done on the sabbath day'! Mark 3:1-5. What of the new relationship we read of in Mark 3:31-35, which sets aside the bonds of the flesh and makes all who do God's will His brothers and sisters? Or of the healing of the maniac of Gadara who sat clothed and in his right mind? Mark 5:1-15. Is he not a parable of the insanity and ruthless power of man today? We have read of the feeding of the five thousand, not from bread in store, but from the wonder of His blessing, and of the stilling of the troubled sea, which must be likened to the turmoil of our nations and of how He rebuked the wind, the restless spirit, that troubled them so. If the reader will diligently search into all these things, the Lord will reveal to his heart how great a gospel Jesus Christ came to preach when He came in the power of the Spirit to preach the gospel of the kingdom and to display in parables, in mighty sayings, and in mighty deeds that glory which will fill the earth when that which was first preached as a gospel shall become the established authority and rule of all the earth. He, who was at first but the lonely Galilean, shall in that day stand tall and mighty among His many brethren to establish the acceptable day of the Lord in all the earth.
Jesus shall reign wherever the sun,
Doth his successive journeys run;
His kingdom spread from shore to shore
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
From north and south the people meet
To lay their trophies at His feet,
While western empires own their Lord
And savage tribes attend His word.
Such were the teachings of Jesus Christ and I shall not hesitate to say that His whole life and ministry was a mighty, though miniature, display of the glory and power of the kingdom which He preached. It was a beautiful parable of His coming reign with the saints.
The second point I wish to consider is the subject of the second death. Failure to understand the second death hinders the full view of the restitution of all things. In my article "From Death to Life," Vol: 10, No. 9, 1 carefully pointed out that it is impossible for one to understand what the second death is until he understands what the first death is. (I would strongly urge every reader to re-read the article mentioned above. If you do not have it in your possession, it will be sent to you gladly upon request). The truth, briefly stated, however, is this: Adam in the beginning was warned of God, ''In the day that thou eatest thereof (of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) thou shalt surely die." Gen. 2:17. The fatal truth is that in the self-same day he ate the fruit, in the same day he died, both spiritually and physically. We are wrong when we affirm that he died spiritually the same day, but lived physically nine hundred and sixty years. Our whole trouble is that we have not learned what death is. That thing which God calls death is the self-same thing we have been erroneously calling life. But let us see how the scripture will help our understanding of this matter.
Paul, writing to Christians born of the Spirit, said, "if Christ be in you, the body - is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness." Rom. 8:10. Previous to their conversion both the spirit and the body were dead, as is clearly stated in Eph. 2: 1: "You hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." But now that the spirit has partaken of the resurrection life of Christ, only the body remains dead. "Ye are dead, " says Paul, "and your life is hid with Christ in God." Again, "If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you." Rom. 8: 11. Jesus, too, definitely spoke of man's present condition as death. When the young man requested, " Let me first go and bury my father," He replied, "Let the dead bury their dead, but follow thou Me." By this statement He was indicating that the men who carried the coffin were as dead as the man that was in it. Paul also, speaking of the pleasure loving, who above all others believe they are enjoying life to the full, wrote to show that what the pleasure loving mistakenly hail as life is, in fact, naught but death, for said he, "She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. " I Tim. 5:6.
From these statements of holy scripture we must confirm that the very element which man mistakenly believes is life is in fact that which from the beginning God has spoken of as death - the death that was promised when He said, "in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Therefore our whole present existence from the cradle to the grave is the first death. Everything in it and about it is death and the grave is only the final consummation of the death experience. When David wrote, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death," " he was speaking, not of some brief illness before he was taken to the cemetery, but of his whole earthly journey, which is in truth a valley where death is everywhere. Though we, for want of a better expression, speak of our earthly pilgrimage as life, the real truth is that what we are now experiencing is in fact in truth the first death, and this I have proved in no uncertain manner in my book From Death to Life. If we have a clear understanding of what the first death is, then we can easily grasp what the second death would be. The believer enters into life by the resurrection unto life; but the unbeliever will also be resurrected, not to life but to aionian judgment or the second death. And I shall add with much emphasis that the second death, which follows the resurrection of the unjust, will be much more severe than the first death, through which the world is now passing. Even in this life, which is really the first death, men suffer fiery trials that are to try them, and we are told that it is through much tribulation we enter the kingdom of God. The Bible is packed full of evidence that confirms that this first death is replete with fiery trials both for those who believe and those who do not.
We have read with reverent awe of the blessed saints who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens; women received their dead, raised to life again, and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance that they might obtain a better resurrection. Heb. 11:32-35. And all this fiery trial that was to try them belonged to the realm of the first death. How much more severe, then, shall be those fiery trials, which God's word describes as a lake burning with fire and brimstone - which is the second death! We have noted above that the word brimstone, translated from the Greek theion (Rev. 21:8), means divine fire, and it should be so understood. The word fire in Rev. 20:10, 14, 15 and 21:8 is translated from the Greek word par and is exactly the same word as used in Acts 2:3 where it is stated, "There appeared unto them cloven tongues like unto fire." That fire is divine fire to judge, to cleanse, purge and purify until every knee has bowed, every tongue has confessed, and every garment has been made white in the blood of the Lamb.
O how good it would be if God's dear people would only seek to understand that the omniscient Father is preparing every man in his own order! In each and every age He seeks to accomplish some definite purpose, and, having accomplished it, He moves on to the next. In this present age He is calling out an elect people for His name. These people are being perfected as sons of God. At the end of this age Jesus Christ will no longer be the lonely man of Galilee, but the firstborn of many brethren, as it is written, "Behold I and the children (sons) which God hath given Me." Heb. 2:13. During the coming age, which is the millennial kingdom, God will perfect the bride, and at the consummation of that wonderful age of righteousness the bride of Christ, the New Jerusalem, will be seen descending from God out of heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. Rev. 21:9-27. It is easy to see the marvelous procession of His eternal purpose. When the New Jerusalem bride is united in marriage with the sons of God, then (and certainly it is no wonder) will begin the age of the ages, the dispensation of the fullness of times. It will begin with the resurrection of all the dead of all ages who were not raised in the first resurrection. Rev. 20:1-6. They will be judged and their second death experience of fire and brimstone will begin. But the gates of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, shall never be shut day or night throughout all the age of the ages. The nations shall walk in the light of it and the people shall bring their glory and honor into it. Both the Spirit and the Bride will be saying, "Come," and whosoever will may take of the water of life freely,
Before that age is over ( I am not sure how long a time it will be), every knee in heaven and in earth and under the earth will have bowed to Christ and every tongue will have confessed to God that He is Lord to the glory of God. Phil. 2: 10. The name of Jesus signifies much more than is implied by the simple use of the name in speech. According to the Hebrew idiom it signifies "in the very nature of Jesus," and as no man can say that Jesus is Lord but by the Holy Ghost (I Cor. 12:3), we know that there will be no hypocritical confession nor will there be any confession by compulsion, but a true confession of Christ by every creature in the universe and that to the glory of God the Father.
As I have concentrated upon the message Creation, Redemption and the Restitution of All Things, I am well aware that I have barely scratched the surface of any of these momentous truths, but may the eternal God give us ever increasing understanding in the knowledge of His will and purpose that we may see in part what was in His infinite mind when He said in the beginning, "Let us make man in our image and after our likeness, and let them have dominion. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, and He has commit- unto us the word of reconciliation. " But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all he made alive. But very man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming. Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all author- and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him (Christ), then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him (the Father) that did put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.'' I Cor. 15:20-28.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments. and His ways past finding out!" Rom. 11:33. "For from Him every thing comes; through Him everything exists ; and in Him everything ends! Glory to Him forever! Amen." Rom. 11:36. (Goodspeed).
Brother Hawtin, a man known by many as "The Apostle of the Latter Rain Revival," has since passed onto his reward. But this selection from his 32 volume works gives you a taste for his writings and truth. You may write TREASURES OF TRUTH P.O. Box 99 Eagle, Idaho 83616 for his books. Send a generous offering, each volume is generally over 100 pages.
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