HERE and there are to be found people who hold what are known as Christadelphian views, which are in some respects much like the views advocated in ZION'S WATCH TOWER, and in other respects the very opposite. Their views, briefly stated, are (1) That the Church is chosen or elected (according to the foreknowledge of God) through the truth; and that in all it is a "little flock," heirs of the Kingdom. (2) They hold, however, that the Kingdom will be a visible, earthly throne, on which Christ will sit with his apostles, and that somehow all Christadelphians will be "joint-heirs," who will "sit every man under his own vine and fig tree," plant, build, etc., and long enjoy the work of their hands. (3) As for the dead Christadelphians, they will be resurrected to share these blessings, but for all other dead people, good or bad, they see no hope, no resurrection. (4) A great catastrophy at the second coming of Christ will destroy nearly all of the living except the Christadelphians, and the few spared will merely be spared so as to be the everlasting servants of the Christadelphians--their hewers of wood and drawers of water,--their slaves.
Lest some generous soul should suppose that they use the term "Christadelphian" in a broad sense to mean all true Christians, we answer, No; the term Christadelphian is used in the narrowest sense, applicable only to those who have believed as foregoing, and who then have been immersed, and who do not change their faith afterward. Other portions of their creed, made very prominent, are, that our Lord Jesus never had an existence before he was born in Bethlehem, and that there is no devil. They also deny the ransom. [R1951 : page 56]
Anyone can see at a glance, when these views are thus concisely stated, the very wide difference between them and the views presented in the TOWER and in MILLENNIAL DAWN as Scriptural. But the policy of advocates of all false systems is to avoid a full, plain statement of their theory, and, covering the features of which they are properly somewhat ashamed, they proceed to fasten it on others piecemeal as they themselves received it. And thus they occasionally get some confused with the following texts of Scripture: Isa. 26:14; 43:17; Jer. 51:39,57. These are quoted in opposition to the teaching that, because our Lord Jesus gave himself a ransom for all, therefore all must have a full opportunity to obtain eternal life by resurrection. We will examine them in the above order:
(1) Isaiah 26:14. The first nine versesof this chapter are a prophetic description of the Millennial day,--when the land of Judah has been reclaimed (verse 1) and when the nations of earth are walking in the light (teaching) of the glorified Church--the New Jerusalem. (Compare verse 2 and Rev. 21:24-26and Isa. 60:11,18-22.) Verse 5 describes the humbling of the proud and the fall of mystic Babylon. Verse 9shows how some (the body of Christ) have desired and prayed "thy Kingdom come" throughout the "night" of the Gospel age while waiting for the Millennial dawning; and how the judgments of the "day of [R1951 : page 57] trouble" which introduces the Millennial reign are necessary to teach the world righteousness. Verses 10 and 11 show, however, that even those terrible lessons will be insufficient for some who even in the land of uprightness (the Millennial or "new earth" state), will be unjust still, and refuse to recognize the mighty "hand" of God. Yet they shall see, and eventually all enemies of the Lord shall be destroyed.
Verses 12-15represent the faithful taking a glance backward, and acknowledging that the deliverance has been wholly God's work. "O Lord our God, other lords [rulers, powers] have had dominion over us [Sin, the great task-master, and his representatives in civil, ecclesiastical and financial despotism, including trusts, combines and every evil system which oppresses men at the present time;--some of which are now highly esteemed among the oppressed]; but of Thee only would we make mention [now as our ruler]--of thy name. They are dead, they will not live again; they are departed, they will not arise again: because thou hast visited and destroyed them and made every memorial of them to perish."--See Leeser's translation.
Ah, yes! every power of evil and oppression shall be destroyed forever, never to rise again, when the kingdom is the Lord's and he is the Governor amongst the nations.
(2) Isaiah 43:17. The Lord is encouraging Israel by reminding her of his deliverances and helps in the past, and incidentally teaches us something of the larger meaning of those deliverances.
Verses 16 and 17remind them of how God opened for Israel a path through the waters of the Red Sea; and how he vanquished their enemies, Pharaoh and his army, in the Red Sea, utterly cutting them off from power to reenslave them, by drowning them, extinguishing the life from an entire army suddenly. Do ye not remember the former things, neither the things of old?
Yet verses 19-25show that the deliverance from Egypt and the journey through the wilderness were but foreshadowings of future blessings upon all who shall become true Israelites, who were typified by Israel in bondage. The greater taskmaster than Pharaoh is Satan with his servants. The greater deliverer than Moses is Christ (Head and Body); the greater overthrow than that of Pharaoh and his army will be the overthrow of sin and Satan in the time of trouble already begun; the leading and care and miracles greater than those through the Wilderness will be those of the Millennium; and the greater Canaan beyond will be the condition of everlasting perfection to be entered by the worthy of mankind at the close of the Millennium.
(3) Jeremiah 51:39,57. The description of the fall of Babylon here given applies only partially to the literal city--chiefly to the fall of "Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth," the mystic city; and the language is correspondingly figurative. Babylon's great ones, highly esteemed by her deluded subjects, are called by various dignified and high-sounding titles, from "the Lord's anointed" down to Reverend and Doctor of Divinity. These as such shall all perish with the fall of Babylon (Rev. 18), and as such they shall never awake or exist again. In their awakening they will see matters more clearly in the light of the Millennial day--the sun of righteousness --and will be ashamed of the titles and offices now "highly esteemed among men."
The unprejudiced reader will confess that nothing in these proof-texts intimates that only Christadelphians will have a future life, experience a resurrection from death. The Scriptures assure us that "Christ died for the ungodly," for those who aside from his redemption were "without God and having no hope." He "tasted death for every man," and is the true light which must soon or later enlighten every man that has ever been born. The only ones for whom there is absolutely no hope in the future are those for whom "there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sin." (Heb. 6:4-10; 10:26-31.) These are not the ignorant ones whom the "god of this world hath blinded," but those who have seen, who have tasted, who have in the present life received the grace of God, but have received it in vain, received it to reject it and to count the blood of the [New] covenant, wherewith they were sanctified a common thing. These wilful sinners of the Gospel age will have no resurrection privileges in the future, because they have enjoyed those privileges in the present life and have wilfully despised and misused them.
All who now hear the joyful message of salvation through the precious blood of Christ, and by acceptance pass from death unto life (justification by faith), have received an awakening equivalent to what all mankind will enjoy in the Millennium; and whether the life-offer be intelligently spurned now or then the result will be the same: to such there will remain no more interest or share in the great sacrifice for sins, and hence nothing but destruction.