THE PLAN OF THE AGES.
EXPLANATION OF THE CHART.
KEY.--K, the plane of Glory; L, the plane of Perfect Spiritual Being; M, the plane of those Begotten of the Spirit; N, the plane of Human Perfection; P, the plane of Typical Perfection; R, the plane of Depravity and Sin. a, Adam; b, the World; c, Abraham; d, the World; e, Israel; f, a Time of Trouble; g, Jesus; h,i,k,l, Christ Jesus; n, the "Little Flock;" m, the "Great Company;" p, Justified Persons; q, Hypocrites; r, Christ; s, the "Little Flock;" t, the "Great Company;" t,u,v, "Babylon" Falling; S, the "Day of the Lord" Trouble; w,x, Christ and Bride Enthroned; y, the "Great Company" before the Throne; z, Israel Restored; W, the World; T, the "Gate;" U, the "Brazen Altar;" V, the "Laver;" X, the "Golden (Incense) Altar."
In the chart illustrative of this topic, we have sought to aid the mind through the eye, to understand something of the progressive character of God's plan; also, the progressive steps which must be taken by all who ever attain to the divine nature.
First, we have an outline of the various dispensations, A,B,C. The first (A) lasting from man's creation to the flood; the second (B) from the flood to the commencement of the Millennial reign at the second advent; and the third, or "Dispensation of the fullness of times," (C) lasting from the beginning of Christ's reign for untold ages--"ages to come."--Eph. 2:7.
These three great dispensations are frequently referred to in Scripture: A being called "the world that then was;" B is called by Jesus "this world;" by Paul "the present evil world;" by Peter "the world that now is." C is called "the world to come, wherein dwelleth righteousness," thus contrasting it with the present evil time. Now evil rules and the [R271 : page 106] righteous suffer, while in the world to come the rule is to be reversed; righteousness will rule and evil-doers will suffer, and finally all evil be destroyed, so that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God.
Secondly, we find that the two last of these dispensations (B and C) are composed of various ages--each of which as a successive step leads upward and onward in God's plan. Age D was the one during which God's plan was represented and typified by such patriarchs as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, etc.
Age E is the Jewish age, or the period from the death of Jacob, during which all of his posterity are treated of God, as his especial charge--his favored people. To these he showed special favors and declared--"You only have I known (recognized with favor) of all the families of the earth."--Amos 3:2. These as a nation were typical of the Gospel Church--the "holy nation--the peculiar people." The promises, etc., made to them were typical of "better promises" made to us. Their journey through the wilderness to the land of promise (Canaan) was typical of our journey through the wilderness of sin to the heavenly Canaan. Their sacrifices justified them typically and not really, "for the blood of bulls and goats...can never take away sin." But in the Gospel age (F) we have the "better sacrifices," which do make atonement for the sins of the whole world. We have the "royal priesthood," of which Jesus is the chief, or "head," composed of all those who offer themselves to God "living sacrifices," holy and acceptable, through Jesus Christ. In the Gospel age we find all the realities of which the Jewish age and its services and ordinances were but a shadow --the Law being "a shadow of good things to come."--Heb. 10:1. Theirs was all typical, ours is all real.
The Gospel age (F) is the period during which the body of Christ is called out of the world, is shown the crown of life and the exceeding great and precious promises whereby (by obedience to the promises and high calling) they may become partakers [R271 : page 107] of the divine nature.--2 Pet. 1:4. Evil is still permitted to reign over or rule the world, in order that by contact with it, these may be tried to see whether they be willing to give up the human--a living sacrifice--being made conformable to Jesus' death, that they may be also in his likeness in the (First) resurrection. G is the Millennial age (one thousand years,) during which Christ Jesus shall reign and rule and thereby bless all the families of the earth, accomplishing the "restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets."-- Acts 3:19-21. With this age sin and misery and death shall be forever blotted out, for "he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet....The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death"--the Adamic death. During this reign and associated in it with Jesus, will be the church called the Bride-- his body--"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne even as I overcame and am set down (during the Gospel age) with my Father in his throne." Blessed privilege to be thus intimately associated with our Lord in the great work of blessing all men--as "kings and priests unto God." H shows "ages to come;" ages of perfection, blessedness and happiness for all, but regarding the work of which Scripture is silent.
The "HARVEST" at the end of the Jewish age was a period of forty years, lasting from the beginning of Jesus' ministry, when he was anointed of God by the Spirit (Acts 10:37,) and began his ministry (A.D. 30,) until the destruction of Jerusalem (A.D. 70.) In this harvest the Jewish age ended and the Gospel age began. There was a lapping of the ages, as you will note, by careful examination of the diagram.
The Jewish age ended in a measure when, at the end of Jesus' three and one-half years' ministry, he gave them up, saying: "Your house is left unto you desolate."--Matt. 23:38. Yet, there was favor shown them for three and one-half years after this by the confining to them of the Gospel call, in harmony with the prophet's declaration (Dan. 9:24-27,) regarding seventy weeks (of years) of favor toward them; and "in the midst of the [R271 : page 108] (seventieth) week," Messiah should be cut off (die), but not for himself ("Christ died for our sins:") and thus did he cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease in the midst of the week--three and one-half years before the expiration of the seventy covenant weeks. When the true sacrifice had been made, of course, the typical ones would no longer be recognized by Jehovah.
There was then a more complete sense in which that Jewish age ended with the end of the seventieth week or three and one-half years after the cross--(after which the Gospel was preached to the Gentiles also--beginning with Cornelius.)--See Acts 10:45. This ended their age so far as the Jewish church [R273 : page 108] was concerned; but their national existence terminated in the great time of trouble which soon followed, resulting in the destruction of their city and nation.
In that "harvest" the Gospel age had it beginning also: this age is designed for the development and trial of "the Christ of God"--head (Jesus) and body (the church.) It is the Spirit dispensation, hence, it is proper to say that the Gospel age began with the anointing of Jesus (our head) "by the Holy Ghost, with power," (Acts 10:38; Luke 3:22; 4:1,18,) at the time of his baptism; while in another sense we might say that it commenced at Pentecost, three and one-half years later, when the Spirit came upon his body, which is the church.
A "HARVEST" will constitute the closing period of the Gospel
age, during which there will again be a lapping of ages--the
Gospel age ending and the Restitution or Millennial age beginning.
This age closes by stages, as did its pattern or "shadow"
--the Jewish age. As there, the first seven years of the harvest
were devoted in an especial sense to a work in and for the Jewish
church and were years of favor; so here we find a similar seven
years marked as having the same meaning and bearing upon
the Gospel church, to be followed by a period of trouble (judgments
--seven last plagues, etc., called "fire,") upon the nations
of the world as a punishment for wickedness, and as a preparation
for the reign of righteousness; of which more again.
[R273 : page 109]
THE PATH TO GLORY.
K,L,M,N,P,R, each represent different planes. N is the plane of perfect human nature (sinless, undefiled.) Adam was on this plane before he sinned; from the moment of disobedience he fell to the depraved or sinful plane, R. The world has been on that same plane since--fallen far below perfection of manhood. P represents the plane of typical justification, reckoned as effected by sacrifices of the "Law;" but it was not actual perfection, for "the Law made nothing perfect."
N is not only the plane of human perfection, as represented by the perfect man, Adam, but it is the plane occupied by all justified persons. "Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture," and in consequence every believer in Christ--all who accept of his perfect and finished work as their justifier, are, because of their faith, reckoned of God, justified or perfect men --as though they had never been sinners. In God's sight then, all believers in Christ's sacrifice are on the N plane, viz., human perfection. This is the only standpoint from which man may approach God, or have any communion with him. All on this plane (N) God calls sons (human sons--Adam before sin was thus a son, Luke 3:38.)
During this Gospel age God has made an offer to the justified human beings, telling them that on certain conditions they may cease to be earthly, human beings and become heavenly spiritual beings--like unto the angels--like unto Christ's glorious body. Some believers--justified persons--are satisfied with what joy and peace they have, through believing in the forgiveness of their sins, and heed not the voice which calls them to come up higher; others moved by the love of God, as shown in their ransom from sin, say, "Lord what wilt thou have me to do?" To such the Lord answers through Paul:--"I beseech you brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice; holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service."--Rom. 12:1. Paul, what do you mean by our giving ourselves living sacrifices? I mean that you shall consecrate and give every power, [R273 : page 110] which you possess, to God's service, that henceforth you shall live not for self, nor for friends, nor family, nor for the world, nor for anything, but for and in the service of him, who bought you with his own precious blood.
But Paul, surely God would not accept of blemished or imperfect sacrifices, and since we all became sinners through Adam, we cannot surely be sacrifices, can we? Yes, beloved, it is because you are holy that you are acceptable sacrifices, and you are holy and free from sin, because God has justified you from all sin freely through Christ's death.
As many as obey the call of Paul, rejoicing to be accounted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Christ--those who look not at the things that are seen, but at the things that are not seen--at the "crown of life," at "the glory that shall be revealed in us," at "the prize of our high calling--in Christ Jesus"--these consecrate themselves wholly to God and are from that moment no longer reckoned men; but, as having been begotten of the Holy Ghost through the word of truth--no longer human, but henceforth spiritual children; they are now one step nearer the prize than when they first believed. But their spiritual being is yet imperfect; they are begotten, but not yet born of the spirit. They are embryo spiritual children on plane M-- the plane of spiritual begetting. Because begotten of the spirit, therefore they are no longer reckoned human, but spiritual; for the human nature once theirs--once justified, they have now given up, or reckoned dead--a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable and accepted of God. They are now new creatures in Christ Jesus, old things (human hopes, and will and all) are passed away and all things are become new, for "ye are not in the flesh but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you."-- Rom. 8:9. If you have been begotten of it, "ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God."
Plane L represents perfect spiritual being; but before plane L is reached, the conditions of your covenant must be carried out. It is one thing to covenant with God that you will be [R273 : page 111] dead to all human things, and a further thing to perform that covenant throughout your earthly career,--keep your body under (dead); keep your own will out of sight, and perform only the Lord's will. The entrance upon plane L is called birth, or a full entrance into life as a spiritual being--like unto Christ's glorious body, and like unto the angels. We cannot enter on that plane until the entire church is gathered in from the world --when "the dead in Christ shall rise first," (this corruption must put on incorruption--immortality.) Then we, which are alive and remain, (not having entered the tomb) shall be changed in a moment--made perfect spiritual beings like unto Christ's glorious body (for "this mortal must put on immortality.") Then, that which is perfect being come, that which is in part (the begotten condition with the various hindrances of the flesh, to which we are now subject) shall be done away.
But there is a still further step to be taken beyond a perfection of spiritual being--viz., to "the glory that shall follow"--plane K. We do not refer to a glory of person, but to a glory of power or office. The reaching of plane L brings us to a full personal glory, i.e., to be glorious beings like unto Christ's glorious body. But after we are thus perfected, and made entirely like our Lord and head, we are to be associated with him in the glory of power and office--to sit with him in his throne, even as he after his being perfected at his resurrection, a glorious being, was exalted to the right hand of the majesty (glory) on high: so we shall enter in everlasting glory--plane K.
Now notice carefully the chart, while we look at illustrations on the path to glory. (A pyramid is a perfect figure or shape, hence we use it to represent perfect beings, in the chart.)
(a) represents Adam; he was a perfect being and hence a pyramid. Notice that he is on plane N, which shows that Adam was a perfect man (before he sinned).
Below him (b) is an imperfect or topless pyramid, it represents the world of mankind, which sin had degraded; notice the plane on which it stands--R, the "Depraved Plane." [R273 : page 112]
(c) represents Abraham (whom we use as an illustration of several other persons.) Abraham was a member of the depraved human family, and should be on plane R; but Paul tells us that Abraham was justified by faith, that is, he was reckoned of God a (sinless) perfect man, because of his faith. This, in God's estimation, lifted him up above the world of depraved sinful men to plane N: and though actually still imperfect, he was received into the favor that Adam had lost, viz., communion with God as a "friend."--James 2:23. All on the perfect (sinless) plane (N) are friends of God, and he friend of theirs; but sinners (plane R) are at enmity against God--"enemies through wicked works."
(d) represents the world of mankind after the flood still on plane R--still at enmity, where they continue until the Gospel church is selected and the Millennial age begins.
(e) represents "Israel after the flesh" during the Jewish age, when the typical sacrifices of bulls and goats cleansed them, not really, but typically; "for the Law made nothing perfect."-- Heb. 7:19. Because they were typically justified, but not actually so, we put them on plane P. The plane of typical justification, which lasted from Mount Sinai until Jesus made an end of the Law, nailing it to his cross. There ended the typical justification by the institution of the "better sacrifices" than the Jewish types, which actually "take away the sin of the world," and "make the comers thereunto perfect."
(f) represents the (fire) trial through which fleshly Israel went when Jesus was present, sifting them and taking out of their nominal church the wheat or "Israelites indeed, in whom was no guile," and especially after the separation of the wheat when he "burned up the chaff (refuse part of that church and nation) with unquenchable fire," (a time of trouble, etc., which they were powerless to avert.)--See Luke 3:17; also, 21:22; and 1 Thess. 2:16.
(g) represents Jesus (at thirty years of age) a perfect man, he [R274 : page 112] having left the glory of the spiritual condition and become a man in order that he (by the grace of God) should taste death for every man. God's law requires an eye for an eye, a tooth [R274 : page 113] for a tooth, and a life for a life; it was necessary that a man should die for mankind or the penalty (man's death) would not be paid: hence the death of an angel would no more pay the penalty and release man, than the death of "bulls and goats, which can never take away sin." Therefore, the first-begotten of God became a man, that he might give that which would redeem mankind. He must have been a perfect or sinless man, else he could do no more than any member of the fallen race to pay the price. He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." He took the same form or likeness which the sinners had--"the likeness of sinful flesh"--the human.
Being found in fashion as a (perfect) man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death. He presented himself to God at baptism--"Lo I come in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God." When he thus presented himself--consecrated his (human) being, his offering was holy (pure) and acceptable with God, who showed his acceptance by filling him with his spirit and power--when the Holy Ghost came upon him, thus anointing him, thus he became the "Christ." [The word Christ meaning anointed.]
This filling with the spirit was the begetting to a higher form of being, which he should receive when he had fully accomplished the offering--sacrifice of the human nature. This was a step up from human conditions, and is shown by pyramid h, on the spirit-begotten plane, M. On this plane (M) Jesus spent three and a-half years of his life--until it ended on the cross. Then, after being three days dead, he was raised to life --quickened of the spirit to the perfection of spiritual being, (i plane L) for now he was born of the spirit--"The first-born from the dead." "That which is born of the spirit, is spirit;" Jesus, therefore, at and after his resurrection, was a spirit--a spiritual being, and no longer a human being in any sense.
True, after his resurrection he had power to, and did appear, as a man, in order that he might teach his disciples, and prove to them that he was no longer dead; but he was not a man, and [R274 : page 114] no longer was controlled by human conditions, but could go and come as the wind (even when the doors were shut) and none could tell whence he came nor whither he went,--"so is every one that is born of the spirit."--John 3:8.
From the moment of consecration (baptism) the human had been reckoned dead--and there the new nature began (begotten) plane, M,) which was completed at the resurrection, when he reached the perfect spiritual plane, L--raised a spiritual body.
Forty days after his resurrection Jesus ascended to the majesty on high--the glory plane, K, (see pyramid k.) During the Gospel age he has been in glory, l, "set down with the Father on his throne," and during this time he has been the head over his church on earth,--her director and guide. During all this Gospel age the church is in process of development, discipline and trial to the intent, that in the end, or harvest of the Gospel age, she may become his bride and joint-heir. Hence she has fellowship in his sufferings, that she may be also glorified together with him, (plane K,) when the proper time shall come.
The steps of the church to glory are the same as those of her leader and Lord, Jesus (he hath set us an example that we should walk in his footsteps,) except that she starts for glory from a lower plane. Jesus, we have seen, came to the plane of human perfection, N, while all of the Adamic race are on a lower plane, R,--the plane of sin and enmity against God. The first thing then, for us to do is, to be justified, or get upon plane N. How is this accomplished--is it by good works? No, sinners can do no good works; we could not commend ourselves to God, so God commended "his love toward us (sinners, on the depraved plane, R,) in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Then the condition, upon which we come to the justified or perfect human plane, is that Christ died for our sins, redeemed us and lifted us up to the perfect plane. But, have we nothing to do with the matter? Nothing whatever, except to believe it. "We are justified (lifted to plane N) by faith." And "being justified by faith, we have peace with God," (Rom. 5:1) [R274 : page 115] and are no longer enemies, but justified human sons, on the same plane as Adam and Jesus, except that they were actually perfect, while we are reckoned so, of God, and know it, because God's word tells us so; "ye are justified freely from all things." We stand in God's sight absolutely spotless, because Jesus' robe of righteousness cover all our imperfections.
But remember that while justification is a blessed thing, it does not change your nature--you are still a human being, and unless you proceed you will never be a spiritual being--never be anything but a human being. You are saved from the wretched state of sin and alienation from God, and, instead of being a human sinner, you are a human son, and now because you are a son, God speaks to you as such, saying, "My son, give me thy heart:" that is, give yourself, all your earthly powers, will, talents--your all to me (as Jesus hath set us an example) and I will make you a son on a higher plane than the human; I will make you a spiritual being (i.e. a being with a spiritual body) like the risen Jesus--"the express image of the Father's person." If you will give up all of the earthly and consecrate it entirely to me and use it up in my service, I will give you a higher nature than the rest of your race--I will make you "partakers of the divine nature"--make you "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that you suffer with him, that you may be also glorified together."--Rom. 8:17.
Do you value this prize set before us in the Gospel? Then lay aside every weight and run with patience the race, that you may win it. Works were not called for in lifting you out of sin. No, Jesus did all the works that could be done to that end, and lifted you by faith to plane N. But now, if you would go further, you cannot go without works: true, you must not lose your faith, else you will lose your justification; but being justified you are able (through the grace given unto you by your begetting of the Spirit) to have works, to bring forth fruit; and God demands it. He demands that you shall show your appreciation of the grand prize by giving all that you have and are [R274 : page 116] for it, not to men, but to God--a sacrifice holy and acceptable to him--your reasonable service. When you present all these things, say: Lord, how would you have me deliver these things to you? Examine the Word for God's answer and you will probably hear his voice instructing you to deliver your all to him as Jesus and as Paul did, viz., by "doing good unto all men as you have opportunity, especially to the household of faith." Serving them with spiritual or natural food, clothing them in Christ's righteousness or with earthly raiment, as you may have ability or they have necessity. Having consecrated all, you are begotten of the spirit--you have reached plane M, and now, through the power given unto you, if you will use it, you will be able to do all of your Covenant and to come off conquerors, and more than conquerors through (the power or spirit of) him who loved us and bought us with his own precious blood. Thus walking in the footsteps of Jesus--
"Ne'er think the victory won,
Nor once at ease sit down;
Thine arduous work will not be done
Till thou hast gained thy crown."
The crown will be won when you, like Paul, "have fought a good fight and finished the course." You may not get the prize as soon as the race is finished and won, but may wait perhaps, as Paul did, until the entire body of Christ is complete, as he said: There is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: (the day of the Lord--) and not to me only, but unto all those also who love his appearing.--2 Tim. 4:8. [We hope and believe that we shall not be obliged to wait in death as did Paul, but that we are living in the days of the completion of the church, which is the body of Christ, and shall be among those who shall not sleep in death, but be changed in a moment as Paul says: "Behold, I show you a mystery--we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed."--1 Cor. 15:51.] [R274 : page 117]
Those of this class who sleep (a little flock) accounted worthy of THE resurrection (first) shall be raised spiritual bodies (vs. 44) --plane L. And we (of the same class--overcomers) who are alive and remain--shall be changed--to the same plane of being [L] viz., spiritual: like unto Christ's glorious body. No longer weak, earthly, mortal, corruptible beings, we shall then be fully born of the spirit; heavenly, spiritual, incorruptible, immortal beings. "That which is born of the spirit is spirit."--"I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness."
We know not how long it will be after our perfecting as spiritual beings (plane L) before we shall be glorified (plane K) with him: united with him in power. This uniting we understand to be the "marriage of the Lamb" to his Bride, when she shall thus--enter into the joys of her Lord.
Look again at the chart--n, m, p, q, represent the nominal church as a whole, all claiming to be the body of Christ. n and m are both on the spiritual begotten plane--M. Both of these companies have existed throughout the Gospel age; both [R275 : page 117] have covenanted with God to become living sacrifices; both have been "accepted in the beloved" and begotten of the spirit as new creatures; but the difference is this: n represents the company who are fulfilling their covenant and are dead with Christ to earthly will, and aims, and all. They will be the overcomers--the Bride--the Body who will sit with Jesus in his throne, in glory--plane K, when the Gospel age is ended. These are a "little flock" to whom it is the Father's good pleasure to give the kingdom.--Luke 12:32. m represents the larger company of the spirit-begotten children; they have covenanted, but, alas! they shrink back from the performance of it --they shrink from the death of the human will, etc.; but God still loves them and therefore will bring them by the way of trouble and adversity--(ultimately resulting in the destruction of the human will)--to plane L--the perfect, spiritual plane. But they have lost the right to plane K--the throne of glory--because they were not overcomers. Notice that in the case of both of [R275 : page 118] these companies, the earthly nature must be destroyed; but in the case of the "great company," m, it is taken from them, while in the case of the "little flock" it is, as it was, with Jesus, the example--a willing sacrifice. Oh, if we prize our Father's approval, if we desire our Lord's smile, if we desire to be members of his body--his Bride--and to sit on his throne, we must fulfill our covenant of sacrifice! I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice-- holy, acceptable unto God, your reasonable service.
p represents the majority of the nominal church. You will notice that they are not on plane M, but on plane N; they are justified, but not sanctified (not entirely consecrated to God,) not begotten, therefore, as spiritual beings at all. They are higher than the world, because they accept of Jesus as their ransom from sin, but they have not come high enough to be a part of the real church--the spiritual family, and unless they progress and sacrifice the human, they will never be anything but human, and in the resurrection they will be in the likeness of the earthly man, Adam, whereas those who sacrifice the human, will be in the likeness of the Lord--like unto Christ's glorious body. q represents a class connected with the nominal church who never did believe in Jesus as the sacrifice for their sins and who consequently are not justified--not on plane N. They are "wolves in sheep's clothing"--they are in no sense a part of the church--they belong to plane R, are part of the world and are out of place in, and a great injury to, the church.
Thus, in a mixed condition, the church has existed throughout the Gospel age: as our Lord had foretold--the kingdom of heaven (church) is like unto wheat and tares in a field (the world) --"Let both grow together until the harvest. In the time of harvest I will say unto the reapers (the angels,) gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn (destroy) them, but gather the wheat into my barn.--Matt. 13:38,41,49.
These words of our Lord show us that while he purposed that both should grow together during the age, he also purposed [R275 : page 119] that there should come a time of separating between these different elements. This division comes in the end of the age, for "the harvest is the end of the age."--Vs. 39.
During the Gospel age the seed has been growing and tares (counterfeits) also--"the good seed is the children of the kingdom" --the spiritual children--classes n and m--while "the tares are the children of the wicked one"--all of class q, and many (if not all) of class p--for no man can serve two masters --and "his servants you are to whom you render service." As class p does not consecrate its service to the Lord, doubtless it gives much of its time and talent really in opposition to God, and hence in the service of the enemy. Now notice on the chart the "harvest," or end of the Gospel age; notice the two parts into which it is divided--seven years and thirty-three years, the exact parallel of the Jewish age and harvest. This "harvest," like the Jewish one, is to be a time of trial and sifting, first upon the church, and afterward a time of wrath or pouring out of the "seven last plagues" upon the world, and such of the church as are not separated as wheat during the first seven years. The Jewish harvest is the "shadow" or pattern on the fleshly plane, of all that the Gospel church enjoys on the spiritual plane. (The two cherubim which were types, also teach this equality and likeness of the two ages. They were "of equal size and of equal measure.")
The thing which tried (fleshly) Israel was the "stone of stumbling and rock of offence"--Jesus was present as the Lord of their harvest, (the disciples being reapers under his direction.) The truth as to his presence was the sickle, and it separated the "Israelites indeed in whom was no guile" from the nominal Jewish church, (and the true wheat there were but a fragment compared to the professors.) So, also, in the harvest of this age; Jesus comes a second time, not again a fleshly being, (not again to sacrifice,) but a spiritual body, to "take to himself his great power and reign"--blessing thereby all the families of the earth. (As already shown, spiritual bodies are invisible to humanity unless a miracle be performed.) [R275 : page 120]
The second advent of Jesus, leaving the plane of glory, K, and coming to the unglorified spiritual plane, L, is shown by figure r. As has been stated heretofore, we believe that the prophets, etc.,* teach that we are now in the "harvest" of this age; that our Lord has come, and the work of harvest, or separating wheat from tares, has been progressing since A.D. 1874. The first work of the Lord in this harvest will be to separate the true from the false, and the truly consecrated children from the unconsecrated ones. This work we believe is now going on.
Then, too, note the abundant provision of the Lord: the message is sent to them--though you are not of the Bride, you may be present at the great celebration--"Blessed is he that is called to the marriage supper of the Lamb," (vs. 9.) This company is called to make use of the Lord's chastisements and to come fully into harmony with him and his plan, and they shall ultimately reach the position next to the Bride--on the spiritual plane L. The time of trouble, as it will affect the world, will succeed the fall of Babylon and will be an overturning and disintegration of all human governments and of society, preparing the world for righteous and equitable government. During the time of trouble, fleshly Israel, which was cast off until the fullness of the Gentiles should be come in, will be restored to [R276 : page 123] God's favor, because the Gospel church, or spiritual Israel, will be completed. These, during the Millennial age, shall be the chief nation of earth--at the head of all on the earthly plane of being--"a praise in the whole earth."
Their restoration, as well as that of the world in general, will be a gradual one, requiring all of the Millennial age to fully accomplish it. During that thousand years' reign of Christ, death will be gradually swallowed up or destroyed. Its various stages--sickness, pain and weakness, as well as the tomb, will gradually give place before the Great Restorer's power, until at the end of that age the great pyramid of our chart will be complete. x. The Christ--the head of angels and men, next to the Father. y. The great company, spiritual beings, like unto the angels. z. Israel after the flesh at the head of earthly creatures, and W, the world of men restored to perfection of being like the head of the human race, Adam (before sin.) The world, as we have already seen, are to be resurrected, or again brought into existence, the penalty for their sin being paid for them in Christ's death. Their bringing again into being will be a restoring, and will be due during the Millennial age--the times (years) of restitution. --Acts 3:21. It requires all of the Millennial age to accomplish the work of restoring to the perfection of manhood. They will then be like Adam, except that they will have enjoyed a greater range of knowledge than he possessed, both of Good and Evil. They will be mentally in the image of God; for this is a part of God's plan, that under the new covenant he will take away the stony heart out of their flesh, (not take away their flesh and make them spiritual beings,) and give them a heart of flesh--again as Adam's, an image of God. "This is the covenant I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws in their hearts, and in their minds will I write them."--See Heb. 10:16; Jer. 31:29; Ezek. 36:26-32. Sin is now written on the hearts of all humanity: This must first be blotted out and the former image--the law--of God reinstated before men will be perfect men. This work is called [R276 : page 124] restitution, and this God hath promised to men. When restored they will be in no danger of falling, because no longer liable to mistake evil for good--knowing both. In Rev. 20:9, we learn that some will be destroyed in the end of the Millennial reign, because when presented full opportunity to become perfect men, and in harmony with God and his law of love, they chose evil. Such die the second death, from which there is no resurrection, nor restitution. When we look at our Father's great plan for the exaltation of the church, and the blessing through her, of Israel, and all the families of the earth, by a restitution of all things, it reminds us of the song of the angels: "Glory to God in the highest; on earth peace, good will toward men!" That will be the consummation of God's plan--"the gathering together of all things in (under) Christ." O the height and depth, the length and breadth, of the love of God which passeth all understanding! Who will say that God's plan has been a failure then? Who will say that he has not overruled evil for good and made both the wrath of man and of devils to praise him?
THE TABERNACLE OF THE WILDERNESS
teaches the same general lesson as the chart of the ages, and we place it alongside, that the different planes or steps to the Holy of Holies may be duly noted and appreciated. Outside the court of the tabernacle lies the whole world in sin--on the depraved plane. Entering through the "gate" into the court we become believers or justified persons. Those who go forward in consecration, press to the door of the tabernacle, and, entering in, become priests--are strengthened by the "shew-bread," enlightened by the candlestick, and enabled to offer acceptable sacrifices to God, by Jesus Christ, at the "Golden Altar." (Notice the corresponding planes, M and N, on the chart.) Finally, when sacrifices are all over, in the resurrection, they enter the perfect spiritual, or most holy place (plane L), and then are associated with Jesus in the glory of the kingdom. "Praise ye the Lord!"