QUESTIONS OF GENERAL INTEREST.
Question. How can we reconcile with the love and justice of God the selection of the consecrated believers of the Gospel age only to be the bride of Christ, and not the overcomers of all ages?
Answer. To those who for many years have been under the impression that all of the human family who will be saved will be saved to the same plane it is natural that the "diversity" (See Eph. 3:10,11--Diaglott) of God's creation should be difficult to receive. But this does not alter God's plan. The attitude of our hearts should be that of hearty acquiescence in what we see to be taught in God's Word; and we must ever remember the Apostle's words, "Who art thou that repliest [R2059 : page 260] against God?" "Hath not the potter power over the clay to make one vessel unto honor and another vessel unto less honor?" What if the fish should say that it is unjust for them to be confined to the waters? And what if the birds should object to their environment and wish to be as the fleet footed hare or the graceful deer? And what if the king of the forest should insist that it is unjust that he was not made man? What confusion there would be in creation! And is it more consistent for men to wish to be angels, when God never intended them to be such? And why, since God has invited only a special few to be heirs of the Kingdom, should it be taken as a slight to others of mankind not to be invited? God has not arranged to injure any of his creatures. He has blessings in store for them all, but he reserves the right to bestow upon each one such a blessing as his wisdom dictates. If we were to go on the street and from a dozen newsboys select three to whom to give a dollar each, would we be injuring the nine to whom we gave nothing? But if we should do an injury to any of them, we would be guilty of wrong doing. So God has a right to select the recipients of his favors. All that we have is of grace. We have merited nothing. And "the gifts and callings of God are without repentance." On this point we advise that you read again MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., Chap. 10.
To the Church of this Gospel age only, God has offered through Christ a new, a spiritual, nature; they alone are invited to become "partakers of the divine nature." The highest offer to others is restitution to the perfection of human nature lost in Eden through disobedience.
Question. If Noah was 600 years old when the flood came (Gen. 7:6,11), was he not 601 years old when the water was dried up (since the flood covered the earth one year and ten days)?
Answer. In the 600th year of Noah's life (Gen. 7:11), he was 599 years old. In his 601st year, the first month and first day (Gen. 8:13), he was not 601 years old but just beginning his 601st year; consequently up to that date he had lived 600 full years.
Question. What will be the standing of the world in the Millennial age before they believe in Christ, and in case they never come into harmony during that age? Some argue that a man cannot be tried for life until he has life.
Answer. Before they believe in Christ, men are in the attitude of condemned beings. (John 3:18.) We all have been condemned on account of father Adam's sin, and the only name given under heaven or among men whereby we can be saved is the name of Jesus. God can be "just and yet the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus; but he cannot justly be the justifier of any one who does not believe in Jesus. (Rom. 3:26.) Therefore we conclude that any person who has not the Son has not life; indeed, shall not see life; but the wrath of God (death, inherited from Adam) abides on him; he is condemned ALREADY; and this is the condemnation, that light came into the world, and he wickedly loved darkness rather than light.--John 3:36; 1 John 5:12; John 3:18; 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:4; John 3:19.
As for the teaching that "a man cannot be tried for life until he has life," we do not know a single [R2059 : page 261] statement of Scripture to that effect; but we do know, and have quoted above, positive evidence to the contrary.
No man is on trial individually until brought to a knowledge of Christ and his sacrifice and the opportunity of reconciliation with God through him. And this knowledge of the true light, we are informed, must eventually reach every member of Adam's race. If, when he receives this knowledge, he accepts the grace of God and the terms of the New Covenant, his trial for life everlasting under its terms begins: if he rejects the offer his original condemnation to death continues and is approved by his own conduct in refusing this grace of God in Christ.
There are two stages of trial for life set forth in this Gospel age, and similarly there will be two stages of trial set before the world in the next age. The first stage of trial now is to come to a knowledge of the fact that we are sinners, under divine sentence, and that Christ has been appointed Mediator of a New Covenant, under which God is willing to receive us, and under which we may be reconciled to God and gain everlasting life, etc. If we refuse to use this knowledge and to enter into the New Covenant privileges, we thus reject justification;--choose to remain under condemnation, not choosing to take the steps necessary to escape it. If we do accept the favor of the New Covenant, we then begin our trial and discipline and have the assurance that if obedient to the great High Priest we shall be enabled to run the race for life successfully and win the prize of life everlasting.
So with the world in the Millennial age. They must all come to an accurate knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:4.) Those who then decide to reject Christ will be deciding to remain under sentence of death, and "shall not see life." Those who then act upon the knowledge and accept Christ will be reckonedly justified to life and will begin a trial for life, to determine whether they are worthy of everlasting life. The trial will be according to development of character and will close with the end of the Millennial age; and all not having attained acceptable characters before that time "will be destroyed from among the people"--that none but perfect beings may pass into the perfect conditions beyond the Millennium.