The Hope of the World

THE HOPE FOR the world lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity to be brought to all by Christ’s Millennial Kingdom—the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified church—when all the willfully wicked will be destroyed.—Acts 3:19-23; Isa. 35

‘Eschatology’ is a word not often met with in ordinary conversation today. It is a word of Greek origin—eschatos—and literally means ‘the furthest’, ‘the last’. Applied to Scriptural matters it may be called ‘the doctrine of last things’. It has to do with the subjects of death, resurrection, judgment, immortality. This was early a subject of vast and wide debate in the church, and whole sects were built on ‘this, that, and the other’ interpretation of the words of Jesus and the teachings of the apostles concerning the end toward which the Christian was tending.

There has, since those early days, been much speculative philosophy about these same subjects, and perhaps as much confusion exists now as then as to just what was to be the end of the earthly life. Does man go to heaven? Does he abide forever in a hell of flames and torment? Does he enter at death into a purgatory of cleansing experiences? Does he ultimately earn a place in Paradise? Is death the end of everything, and is this life man’s only experience?

The questions are endless; the answers, however, are also numerous, with seemingly conflicting answers for every question. Is there a true answer? And if so, may it be easily found?

Let us take the last two-part question first, and reason out an answer from God’s Word. God says, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isa. 1:18); and the psalmist says, “Thy Word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” (Ps. 119:160) Jesus himself declared concerning his Father, “Thy Word is truth” (John 17:17), and concerning himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) The Apostle John also declared Jesus to be the Word of God (John 1:1), and Jesus taught both the multitudes, and his disciples privately, concerning the hope that the world might find salvation through him and his ministry of reconciliation.

Reconciliation of man to God through Jesus Christ is the central doctrine of the Christian faith, and at the heart of this central and most important teaching is Jesus, the atoning sacrifice for man’s sins.

In parable after parable, Jesus declares the purpose of God to be that through his—Jesus’—sacrifice, man might again find life; that even as the ‘first Adam’ lost life for his children, so the ‘last Adam’, Jesus himself, should purchase the world of mankind from the hands of divine justice, and having bought it, restore the world to life. To restore is ‘to replace’, ‘to reestablish’, ‘to return’, and in the case of the human race it could only mean a giving back to them something they had once possessed, otherwise it could not be a matter of restoration at all.

What was it man had once possessed, lost, and through the Mediatorial work of Jesus, could have restored? Life, for one thing; a sinless state, and a perfect environment. Without the sinless state, life could not be lastingly restored.

Mark well this fact! God could not give man a spiritual reward, for man had never possessed a spiritual nature. Anyone being begotten by God to a spiritual nature is no longer counted as human by God, but is described by the apostle as a “New Creature” in Christ.—II Cor. 5:17

The vast majority who have been born into this world have no conception of being children of the Spirit, or New Creatures. They are human, and have no defined spiritual aspirations. They are of the earth, earthy. (I Cor. 15:47) To impose upon such a reward of heaven as a dwelling place for eternity would be to compel them to live under conditions for which they have no desire. Jesus, in his many parables, speaks of his going away from the earth, but that he would return in due time and take over the rulership of earth’s affairs.

Through the testimonies of the ancient prophets, the mind of God concerning his plan for world restoration can be traced. Peter, the apostle, declared that these “times of refreshing” which should come from “the presence of the Lord” had been “spoken by the mouth of all his [God’s] holy prophets.” (Acts 3:19-21) These ‘times of restitution’ consisted entirely of giving back mankind his lost heritage, the earth, which had been prepared for the human creation.

Moses spoke of the coming of one who would speak with such authority that all would have to hear him and obey if they desired life, and all the prophets from Moses to Jesus also spoke of a time of restoration which will apply to all mankind. True, the people of Israel gradually came to the viewpoint, which was encouraged by their leaders, that they as a nation were to be the chief recipients of God’s restoring favor, and assumed to themselves all the values inherent in the promise made by God to Abraham, that through Abraham should come the ‘seed’ that would carry out the work of blessing.

The Apostle Paul, however, in the masterly argument presented in his letter to the Galatians, punctured this theory by the fact of the universality of the promised blessing. He identifies the ‘seed’ of Abraham with Jesus Christ, and shows Israel that their position was assured only by and through the Law Covenant which was added to the original promise, and which, having done the work for which it was intended, had ceased to be of any further value in the outworking of the divine plan for man’s salvation. The original promise, however, remained, and would be fulfilled in due time through the redeeming work of the Messiah, the Savior, which work would apply to all people—“all the families of the earth.”—Gen. 22:18

First, however, must be accomplished the work of selecting from all kindreds, peoples, and tongues those who will constitute the bride of Christ, the co-workers who were to have the oversight of humanity’s affairs in the reestablishment of peace and happiness on the earth.

The times of restitution, or restoration, which will be ushered in during the millennial reign of Christ and his church, his bride, are spoken of by another, and one of the greatest of God’s prophets, Isaiah. He refers to this great work under the symbol of a road along which mankind would travel toward the new Paradise. In the thirty-fifth chapter of his prophecy he speaks of the wilderness of this earth restored to beauty and perfection. He describes the blinded, sin-sickened masses of humanity, having lost all physical vigor and spiritual strength in their long struggle to establish themselves without God’s aid, finally being brought to hear the true message of hope, and to see the blessings they might enjoy under the rule of the glorified Christ.

He then describes the onward march, during the thousand years of the Messianic reign, of the people of earth, all who respond to the voice of the risen Lord calling them back from the tomb and from among the shambles of a fallen man-made ‘civilization’. (John 5:28; Rev. 18:4) “An highway shall be there,” Isaiah says, “the way of holiness.” Paraphrasing his following comments, he says: “Unclean ones shall not reach its end uncleansed, but it is meant for such. Foolish, headstrong men shall not repeat their former mistakes, for all things that formerly caused them to stumble shall be removed.” These, ransomed from sin and death by the great sacrifice of Jesus, shall reach the end of this trial period rejoicing, and shall “come to Zion” with “joy and gladness.”—Isa. 35

The Apostle John, sees the completion of this picture and records it in Revelation 21:3-5: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, … and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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