NO MARRIAGE IN THE RESURRECTION
QUESTION.--Do you gather from God's Plan that the present reciprocal love of man and woman is to be confirmed by the Lord so as to continue forever, both on earth and in heaven?
Answer.--We answer, No! Marriage is an arrangement that God instituted for a very special purpose, and with the human family only. The object of the separation of Mother Eve from Father Adam [she was formed from one of his ribs] was, the Scriptures tell us, that a race might be produced. Marriage means merely the union of these two recognizing each other as one; and so the Apostle says, "I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the Head of Christ is God."
There is no arrangement in God's Plan to have any of those on the spirit plane male and female. According to the productions of Art, there are no male angels; but according to the Scriptures, there are no female angels. Possibly the reason why so many artists have supposed that angels are females is that there are more women in the Church than men. But the entire idea is erroneous; for angels are an entirely separate order of beings from mankind. Man never was an angel and never was intended to be an angel. Man is of the earth, earthy. He fell from the position of king of the earth and became a degraded being; and the Divine intention and promise is that when Messiah shall reign humanity shall be lifted up from sin and degradation and brought back to human perfection.--Acts 3:19-21.
The only ones who will become spirit beings, as are the angels, are the Church class--those begotten of the Spirit, those who in the resurrection will be given a change of nature. As the Apostle states, "We shall all be changed," for "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God." (I Cor. 15:51,50.) Therefore the First Resurrection, in which the Bride only has part with her Lord, is different from the resurrection of the world. Of those who will have part in the First Resurrection we read that "they shall be priests unto God and shall reign with Christ a thousand years." (Rev. 20:6.) Flesh and blood cannot be a part of that Kingdom. Therefore they must all be changed. We do not expect that Jesus will be changed from spirit to human nature; but that the Church must be changed from human to spirit nature, for they "shall be like Him and see Him as He is" (I John 3:2) and share His glory and be His Bride. When the Church shall thus be changed, all the peculiarities of male and female will be obliterated, for there is neither male nor female amongst the angels; and the Scriptures tell us there will not be in the glorified Church. The perfection of spirit being will be one. All will be alike, sexless.
As for mankind: We think the Scriptures clearly indicate [R4914 : page 415] that Divine provision for mankind will be that they will all be sexless when perfection shall have been reached. That is to say, at the close of the Millennial Age, all having been gradually perfected, each sex will, in their development, have taken on more of the qualities of the other; during that Age the woman will gradually add to her womanly graces the qualities that belong to man; and man will likewise gradually take on with his manly qualities the finer sentiments and qualities of mind and body that belong to the female. Thus man will receive again that which was taken from him originally, represented by the rib. So all will then be perfect; and they will neither marry nor give in marriage; for all will in this respect be "like unto the angels."--Luke 20:34-36.
STILL HOLD SAME SCRIPTURAL VIEW
Question.--Are we to understand from your remarks in THE WATCH TOWER of April 1, 1911, page 102, column 2, paragraphs 2 and 3, that your opinion has altered respecting the "change" of the Church?
Answer.--No; we have no different thought from that heretofore presented. We still believe that since 1878 we are in the time indicated by the statement, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, they shall rest from their labors, and their works follow with them."--Rev. 14:13.
We must all die, but "we shall not all sleep." In the cases of those remaining alive at the time of our Lord's second presence, there will be no need to sleep--the moment of death will be the moment of resurrection change.--Psa. 82:7; I Cor. 15:51,52.
THE CHURCH THE BODY OF CHRIST
Question.--When does the Church become the Body of Christ?
Answer.--The Church may Scripturally be viewed from two standpoints:--
(1) The Church in glory will consist exclusively of the Redeemer and His Bride class, His joint-heirs, or, under the other figure, "Jesus, the Head, and the Church, His Body"--"members in particular of the Body of Christ." These alone will have part in the "first resurrection"; these alone will reign with Christ a thousand years.
(2) In the present time, however, the Church is spoken of as the Bride of Christ, in a formative or developing state, His espoused. Each one who makes a full consecration of himself to the Lord, trusting in the merit of Jesus, when begotten of the Holy Spirit, is counted a member of the Body of Christ. As a member he is to grow in grace, knowledge and love, putting off the former things of the flesh and putting on the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. These, however, develop into three different classes:--
(a) A "little flock," a Royal Priesthood, who will become exclusively the Body of Christ, through participation in the "first resurrection."
(b) A "great company" class, loyal to God and in the end faithful but not sufficiently zealous to be considered sacrificing priests, not worthy, therefore, to be counted of the Body of the "more than conquerors." [R4915 : page 415] These will ultimately come off conquerors and attain the plane of spirit being to which they were begotten at the time of their consecration. These will be the "virgin companions" of the Bride, serving in the Temple.
(c) A third class, described by St. Paul as falling away and counting the blood of the Covenant wherewith they were sanctified an ordinary thing and despising the great favor and privilege of sanctification through justification. These are described also by St. Peter as "the sow returned to her wallowing in the mire"--as turned from spiritual hopes and promises to earthly. These, once counted members of the Body of Christ, will die the Second Death, as brute beasts.
GIFTS AND SACRIFICES FOR SIN
Question.--What is signified by the words of the Apostle that our Lord was ordained to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sin?
Answer.--From the Scriptures it is evident that during the Millennial Age the world of mankind will be privileged to offer themselves to God as gifts, but not as sacrifices. Hence, during the Millennial Age, part of the work of the great High Priest will be to accept these gifts and to make them acceptable to God through His own merit and rights as the Melchizedek Priest. We can, however, apply this text very properly to the present time. The Apostle puts the word gifts first. We may, therefore, look to see whether there is not some way in which the High Priest offers gifts now. Surely our Lord's consecration of His own life was a gift on His part. The Father accepted that gift and ultimately permitted our Lord's gift to constitute a Sin-Offering for others. Likewise, throughout this Gospel Age, the "brethren" are invited to present their bodies living sacrifices--to give themselves to God.--Rom. 12:1,2.
When we thus make a present of ourselves to God, we are not making a Sin-Offering to God; for this we could not do. But the Divine arrangement for accepting our gift is that each gift will be acceptable through the merit of Christ; and that then, later on, these gifts will, according to the same Divine arrangement, constitute the great Sin-Offering which the High Priest gives for the world. Thus the High Priest is ordained to make the ultimate offering of that gift as the Sin-Offering for the world.
Amongst those who served in the office of typical high priest, says the Apostle, the uniform custom was that they should offer both gifts and sacrifices to God. Hence, he proceeds to point out that Jesus, as the Antitype of those priests, must have something to offer. He also must offer both gifts and sacrifices, in order to fulfil His priesthood. He presented Himself without spot unto God; and, by virtue of that presentation, He is a Sin-Offering unto God; and, through His merit, He makes the same true of His Church, who voluntarily give themselves to God.
SHOWS HOW MERIT OF RANSOM IS APPLIED
Question.--Is there anything connected with the Atonement Day sacrifices which corresponds to the Ransom? If so, what?
Answer.--The word Ransom would more properly be rendered Ransom-Price, corresponding price. On the Day of Atonement no type of the ransom-price is given us, but rather a type of the Sin-Offering, showing particularly how that ransom-price will be made applicable. If we scrutinize this Atonement Day type, however, we shall find that which points to the Ransom, in the killing of the bullock; for the whole matter depended upon the killing of the bullock. The goat could not be killed first. The bullock must first be killed and the blood applied in the Most Holy before anything could be done with the goat. Hence, all that was done, not only with the Lord's goat, but also with the scapegoat, was based on the death of the bullock. So if we look for anything that might correspond to the ransom-price in the Day of Atonement sacrifices, we shall see that the death of the goat was not necessary, but all depended on the bullock.