Paul declares that there is one mediator between God and men-- the man Christ Jesus, "who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." 1 Tim. 2:5,6. How few of the Gospel Church are prepared to receive such teaching with any degree of complacency; yet it is a glorious truth, and when rightly understood, is the cause of rejoicing, because of the goodness and love of our Heavenly Father. Opposition to the thought, as it is now understood and advocated by quite a number of Bible students, comes in consequence of a misconception of God's plan for showing his love to the world. It is so hard for us to comprehend and accept new ideas, especially when they are of a religious nature, and directly opposed to all we have been taught and have accepted from our childhood up. To testify is to give testimony for the purpose of communicating to others a knowledge of something not known to them. Jesus Christ gave himself a ransom for all, and it is to be TESTIFIED in due time.
That he gave himself, or is a "propitiation for our sins," has been testified to us, "and not for our's only, but for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2), has been made known to comparatively few. "In other ages, it was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel." Eph. 3:5,6.
Then why should it be accounted a heresy to teach, that, in a future age, the millennial reign of the kingdom of God--the nations will be taught that Jesus came to manifest God's love to the world?
What peculiar sanctity has there been in the few who have had more or less knowledge of truth, more than in the many billions, who have not heard?
Paul writes: "I exhort, therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men--for kings, and for all that are in authority --that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty; for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior, who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." 1 Tim. 2:1-4.
"Knowledge of truth is light, and Christ is the true light, to lighten every man--high or low--that cometh into the world." John 1:9.
What would be thought of parents who would educate a part of their children for good positions in the world, and so arrange matters that the rest could not be thus educated, and then punish them for not knowing what they made it impossible for them to learn? Now, this has been and is just the exact condition of the world. A few have had opportunities to gain knowledge of truth, while the large majority have not.
In one sense, God is the father of the whole human race, and all must admit that had it been in harmony with his plan, he could have educated every one of them in the past; but the fact that he has not, shows that the due time has not yet come.
Is it not reasonable, that a God who is love, and no respecter of persons, and a kind and loving father, should provide for the education of every individual who ever came into the world? "The children ought not to lay up--provide--for the parents, by the parents for the children." 2 Cor. 12:14. "So far, they have had neither instructors nor fathers in Christ." 1 Cor. 4:15. Yet Jesus says: "It is written in the prophets, and they shall ALL be taught of God. Every man, therefore, that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh unto me." John 6:45. "And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of thy children." Is. 54:13; Jer. 31:34.
Many will say, But they have all had some idea of God through the works of nature, if nothing more:-- "And as many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law." Romans 2:12. But it will be noticed that 5:16says: "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel," showing that a knowledge of Christ is necessary.
"The devils believe there is one God and tremble." James 2:19. "But there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved" (referring to the name of Jesus). John 4:12.
"Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." "How, then, shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Rom. 10:13-17.
"And this is life eternal: that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3.
It seems so difficult to grasp fully the idea that in all past ages God has only been choosing a few to occupy the position of kings and priests--rulers and teachers--to reign with Christ in the millennial age; yet it is the main line of thought running through the Scriptures, in types and positive statements from Genesis to Revelation.
Seeing that it would not be difficult to understand that, while the "few chosen"--the "elect" taken out of the Gentiles (Ethnon--nations), Acts 15:14--have been receiving their education by giving themselves wholly to studying the Scriptures of truth, "which are able to make wise unto salvation" 1 Tim. 4:15,16; 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Tim. 3:15;) and were being led into all truth by the spirit of truth, the many have had little or no knowledge of God and Christ. "They were suffered to walk after their own ways." Acts 14:16. "But their opportunity will come afterwards." Acts 15:16,17.
Surely the "narrow way" leading to the "royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9), is a difficult way, and few have ever found it, and they will in due time receive the "crown," because they have pressed forward along the line toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God, in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:14. "For the joy that was set before them of testifying to the nations that Jesus Christ gave himself a ransom for all. That God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. Jesus says: "I pray not for the world, but for them thou hast given me, that they may all be one. As thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." John 17:9-21.
Under the law, when they came to reap their harvest (Lev. 23:10), a sheaf was taken as a wave offering-- the first fruits of the harvest--typifying Christ. 1 Cor. 15:23. Fifty days after, two wave loaves were brought out, the first fruits unto the Lord--v. 17--a type of the "body" of Christ, chosen and perfected by the Holy Spirit, given at Pentecost.
"Of his own will begat he us, with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures." James 1:18. "The first fruits unto God and the Lamb." Rev. 14:4. Then there must be other fruits--other creatures--to follow. As in the type, after the first fruits were taken out, the field of grain was not destroyed, but harvested. The chaff was thrown away in both cases.
"If the first fruits be holy, the lump is also holy." Rom. 11:16.
"We who have the first fruits of the Spirit, are waiting for the adoption." Rom. 8:23.
"The earnest expectation of the creature (Ktisis--whole creation) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." Ver. 19; "because the creature itself, also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." Ver. 21. [R34 : page 7]
The evidence is abundant, that we are at brink of the time spoken of: "And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come." Hag. 2:7; transferring authority from Satan's kingdom, to the kingdom of God. "Then all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee." Psa. 22:27. "Then, the wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. And a high way (not a narrow way) shall be there, and a way, it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those; the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein."
"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.
B. W. K.