Through Death to Life

KEY VERSE: “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” —John 12:32


WE DO not have to puzzle over what Jesus meant by these words. The scripture says that our Lord was thus “signifying by what death he should die.” (vs. 33) It was very difficult for the Jews to associate death in any way with their concept of the Christ. They answered Jesus, “We have heard out of the Law that Christ abideth forever, and how sagest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up?”

The Apostle Paul, commenting on this misconception, which to the nation of Israel proved to be a stumbling block in the acceptance of Jesus as their Messiah, wrote: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness: but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” With many professed Christians today, while observing that Jesus did die upon a cross, any understanding of its necessity is found to be an incredulous mystery. Yet for our Lord to be crucified, lifted up to die, was a necessity which lay at the very foundation of the divine plan for man’s salvation. The world of mankind, as sinners, could not be drawn to God until first the penalty against all had been paid by the ransom price provided by Jesus’ death.

It was needful then, that our Lord should die to redeem men, but more is necessary for the complete success of God’s great plan. According to that plan, the Ransomer must also be the Deliverer, to free those purchased from every stain of sin and imperfection. If this were not accomplished, the bondage of sin, and death its penalty, would remain.

The Prophet Isaiah foretold the ultimate object of our Lord’s great work, which only began with his sacrifice for our sins when, speaking for Christ, he said, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”—Isa. 61:1

For the accomplishment of this great work of giving liberty to the captives of sin and death, God has appointed the Millennial Age. As he had a due time for sending his Son into the world to die, so he has a due time for him to reign in his kingdom and liberate the prisoners of sin.

Nearly two thousand years have passed since the Son of man was lifted up, and still the vast majority of men are ignorant of this great gift of God, and have not been drawn by the Lord. And when we think of the still greater mass of mankind who have died during the past centuries without being drawn, we are required to look to the future Millennial Age for its fulfillment. And why not? If God permitted four thousand years to elapse from the time that sin entered the world and death by sin, before a ransom was provided, is it so unreasonable to expect that another long period might ensue after the ransom had been paid before the general drawing promised should take place?

A careful study reveals God’s great wisdom in this seeming delay: for during all of this latter time the drawing power of Christ has been influencing a special select class—a class who, coming to an appreciation of God’s great love in the lifting up of Christ, are drawn to follow in his footsteps—a class being prepared to be associated with the Lord in the future work of saving all of the remainder of his purchased possession.

What is it that draws us to Christ? It is the truth. The early disciples said, “Lord to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:67,68) This is what drew and held them to the Lord; and so it has been with us also. And so it will be with the world of mankind in the Millennial Age. No one will be left in ignorance of the goodness of God, or without a clear knowledge of his wonderful plan. Everyone will be drawn, not forced against their will. God seeks such to worship him, not only in this present time, but everlastingly, as worship him in spirit and in truth, desirous of being in harmony with God and delighting in his favor.

Our Lord Jesus, after he was lifted up upon the cross, and had there died for our sins, was highly exalted by his Heavenly Father, and given “a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”—Phil. 2:9-11

Dawn Bible Students Association
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