written: "Faithful is the saying and worthy of all welcome, for for
this are we toiling and being reproached, that `We rely on the
living God, Who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially of those
who believe.' These things be charging and teaching. Let no one be
despising your youth..." (1 Tim.4:9-12). It is written again: "Now
the Lord's slave ought not to be fighting, but to be gentle to all,
apt to teach, bearing with evil, in meekness training those who are
antagonizing, if perchance in time God may give them repentance to
come into a realization of the truth (2 Tim.2:24,25).
The reproach which is promised to
those who believe that God is the Saviour of all mankind is
administered in an article in the March and April numbers of
Our Hope, by Arthur W. Pink, entitled "Universalism
Refuted, Eternal Punishment Established From the Scriptures." It is
introduced by an editorial in the March number by A. C. Gaebelein.
It must needs be that this reproach should come, that the
Scriptures may be fulfilled. Yet we cannot help a feeling of sorrow
that these brethren, whom God has used for the truth, should fall
so far from the standard set in the second quotation.
The spirit which pervades the article
is but a reflex of the doctrine which it teaches. Those who do not
hesitate to consign the majority of mankind to endless torture
naturally are not tender of the feelings of any of God's creatures.
As God gains so few they care little about convincing or convicting
those they deem in error. Let us not judge these brethren too
harshly. If we believed as they do, we should probably pursue the
same course. We would gladly omit the offensive terms in the
following quotations, But they are so interwoven that it is
difficult to do so, and we may be misjudged.
|We Are Not "Universalists
article is not the ordinary kind, but is considered crushing and
conclusive by the editor of Our Hope is evident from his
editorial concerning it. After suggesting that we believe the lie
of the serpent "Ye shall not surely die" (though we teach that the
unbeliever dies twice), he continues:
"The article in this issue by Mr. A.
W. Pink is an excellent one. It completely annihilates the
inventions of old, restated and dished up in the `Concordant
Version of the Bible,' by a Mr. Knoch in Los Angeles. We understand
that some believers on the coast have listened to these miserable
perversions of the faith. We hope the article will be used in their
As we will reprint the greater
part of the article in our reply, little need be said by way of
introduction. After several pages of appeal to the prejudices of
his readers, he seeks to show that the justification of all mankind
in the fifth of Romans is confined to the elect, that the
vivification of all in the fifteenth of first Corinthians is
confined to the resurrection of the saints, and that the
reconciliation of the universe in the first of Colossians is
limited to the things (not persons) in earth and heaven.
This is followed by putting "the ending of the ages" in the
past, and a discussion of the word "eternal."
We are grievously slandered by being
called "Universalists." Lest we should be guilty of the same sin,
and misrepresent the writer of this article, we sent for another of
his pamphlets on this same subject, "Universalism Examined and
Refuted." In it he gives his definition of "Universalism"
again and again, by telling what they believe. On almost every
point we do not hold what he attributes to Universalists.
Is it honest for him to call us by this name, knowing that in so
doing he is fastening on us a stigma which will prejudice his
readers against us? He says "They insist on the Fatherhood of God
and universal Brotherhood of man." They believe that Christ
suffered at the hands of men, but deny that He suffered at the hand
of God." "They deny that Christ died to satisfy the demands of
God's broken law..." They "insist that an age spent in the Lake of
Fire will remove the dross from and refine the character of the one
who is sent there by God." They say "there is something good still
within man, something that is capable of being educated by
punishment." Now he knows that we do not hold any of these
things. We would be glad to think the slander a matter of
ignorance. But since he knows what Universalists teach and knows
what we teach--
We feel this matter very keenly, for,
while we are glad to suffer reproach for the sake of God's truth,
we cannot bear to be classed with those who, according to their
reputed teaching, dishonor our Saviour, and our God. May God
forgive him this wrong!
"Universalism Refuted, Eternal Punishment
From the Scriptures"
Arthur W. Pink
Does the Word of God affirm the
everlasting punishment of those who die in their sins? That it
does has been the firm and settled conviction of a host of
godly men all through the centuries of this Christian era. That it
does is the expressed declaration of the 1611 translation
of the Scriptures. But today both the piety and the scholarship of
Christian leaders of the past is being called into question. We are
told that they held views of God which reduces Him to a heartless
Fiend, a Monster comparable to the worst of the gods of the
heathen. We are asked to believe that all of these Christian
scholars of the past were so ignorant of Hebrew and Greek, and so
careless in their searching of the Scriptures to ascertain the
exact force of its terms, that their translations and
interpretations are not only egregiously faulty, but a slander upon
the Lord God.
In the present day there are a number
of men so filled with conceit that they hesitate not to dismiss
with a wave of the hand the concentrated and consecrated studies of
all who have gone before them. Not content with branding as
damnable heresy the doctrines proclaimed by such men as Luther,
Whitefield, Edwards, Spurgeon, etc., they declare that the 1611
translation of the Scriptures -- which God has so markedly and
marvelously honored - is full of serious mistakes. We are told that
its translators were so bound by the traditions of men, so
prejudiced in their views, so tied down by theological systems,
that, wittingly or unwittingly, their labors have resulted in
traducing the character of God and caricaturing His
opening paragraphs the writer bares the principles which pervade
his protest. In it he denies the solemn truth that we are living in
an era when men turn away from the truth (2 Tim. 4:4). As he does
not believe God's express declarations as to this matter, we find
him continually turning away from the Scriptures themselves to find
some human authority on which to lean. The tradition of the elders
is, to him, the voice of God.
The second principle which permeates
and vitiates almost all he says is a lamentable looseness in
dealing with the words of God. Paul's exhortation to Timothy is
unheeded, for there is no attempt at a pattern of sound words (2
Tim.1:13). Unsound theological terms are defended. The 1611
translation of the Bible does not "affirm the everlasting
punishment of those who die in their sins." This is said of the
nations at the left hand of the Son of Man when He comes in His
glory (Matt.25:31-46), not of untold billions "who die in their
Those who degrade the word of God
below the words of men, or so pervert the word of God as to apply a
statement made to a particular class at a special time to all men
at all times, deserve to be in darkness. We would not speak of this
opening statement if it stood alone. But the principles involved
are at the base of his whole position. We are told that, in Romans,
all men does not mean all men, but only the elect. In
Corinthians "in Christ all" means "all in Christ." In Colossians
"the all" means "all things." He deals loosely with God's
inspired words yet insists on hanging all on human
Before entering into details let
us weigh thoroughly some of the general issues involved. To begin
with, let us ask the question, Is it thinkable that the God of the
Scriptures would have suffered His holy Word--which He had
magnified above all His name (Psa.138:2) and which He has so
graciously and so wondrously preserved during the centuries--to be
thus abused? God knew all that was involved in the making of that
1611 translation. He knew that it would be, for centuries, the only
transcript of His mind which countless numbers in the
English-speaking world (who had no access to the Hebrew and Greek
originals) would have. He knew that this 1611 translation would
form the basis of hundreds of others into as many different
tongues. Is it thinkable, then, we ask, that God would ever permit
that translation to give such a radically misleading view
of His character, and an utterly erroneous setting forth of the
final destiny of probably the greater part of the human race? That
there should be inaccuracies in it was only to be expected; for it
is human to err. But that God should allow such
inaccuracies that completely mislead its countless readers
concerning the two most vital of all subjects -- the character of
God and the destiny of men -- is to us, and we doubt not to all
reverent and honest minds, utterly
Reverent and honest minds will
remember what God has said concerning the apostasy of the end time
and will believe God that the errors of the last days will be very
grave. It is not a question to be decided by mental incapacity, but
by a written revelation.
Whenever a writer begins by creating
a prejudice in the minds of his readers in favor of a doctrine for
which he cannot find sufficient support in the word of God, he
reminds them of the crime of differing from godly men. It is
perfectly proper for good men to differ among themselves, it is
quite commendable that he should differ from them in many
matters, but for anyone else to appeal to the Scriptures
themselves--that is the height of heresy! We shall see that, in
differing from such men as Calvin on the subject before us, our
brother has classed himself as a criminal in this indictment! These
godly men all had much truth and some error. Does our brother
believe Luther's doctrine that the bread and the wine are
transformed into the actual body and blood of the Lord? That the
epistle of James is not inspired?
suppose that we are so constituted that we must have something
besides the revelation God has given, what should our reason
recommend? Seeing that the Scriptures plainly teach that this
economy will end in apostasy, the presumption is that all doctrines
which are commonly received throughout Christendom, are false. They
should be viewed with suspicion. None should be received without
first being tested by God's word. Such, for instance, is the
orthodox dogma of inherent immortality. The overwhelming majority
of men, including the great and good, believe it. Yet the
Scriptures emphatically deny it. It is not conceit but faith that
follows the word of God.
Or, if we cannot see the appalling
plight of the apostasy, we should fall back upon the simple, clear
statements concerning God Himself, and the spirit which He has
given us. God is love, and the spirit He has given us is one of
grace. The nature of God and the new life of the believer are
utterly opposed to hatred. We are to love even our enemies and do
them good, because this is what God does. Suppress it, stifle it,
denounce it we may, but no real believer has ever escaped the
thought, "How can God torture His creatures forever and ever?"
Every honest heart will bear witness to this. This does not prove
eternal torment to be wrong, but it does cast a cloud of suspicion
upon it. What is so contrary to the spirit which we have received
from God demands investigation. If it is of God, let us cling to
it: if not, let us repudiate it. Its nearly universal spread proves
that it is a part of the apostasy, if it proves anything.
But even those who have the mind of
Christ cannot be the final arbiters of truth, for they differ among
themselves. Truth should be viewed in the light of the revealed
character of God. Both His attributes and His essence are
irrevocably arrayed against eternal torment. It outrages His love,
it sullies His holiness, it robs Him of His justice. Limited
suffering satisfies love, and fully answers the demands of justice
and holiness. It was so in the case of Christ. If eternity alone
can suffice for sin, why does not the Saviour suffer
That the 1611 version is not
perfect is freely granted. That there is room for godly men,
possessing the requisite scholarship, to correct its flaws is
doubtless true. And during the last three hundred years there have
been many such who have reverently and painstakingly studied the
Hebrew and Greek texts. These men have earnestly and prayerfully
sought God's mind. The results of their labors have appeared in
print, and thousands of believers have been helped thereby. But now
we are asked to believe that their translations, at least
where certain truths are involved, are misleading and erroneous.
They, too, were so blinded by prejudice that they could not see the
truth; or so cowardly, they were afraid to herald it; or so
dishonest, they deliberately perverted it. This may pass with the
credulous and thoughtless, but sober-minded men and women will be
slow to believe it.
This paragraph is a deliberate
attempt to create the false impression that we invariably change
the accepted versions to suit our teaching. But what are the facts?
He (not we) wants to alter "all men" to "all the
elect" (Rom.5:18). He actually does corrupt "in
Christ all" to "all in Christ" (1 Cor.15:22). Worse than this, in
order to undermine our more accurate rendering, "the universe" for
"all things," he actually offers misleading and false evidence and
suppresses the true! We do not need to change these passages. He
does. We are willing to leave them as they are.
With regard to the word for the ages,
is there a single modern translator or expositor who does not, in
some passage, give the true meaning? Newberry calls attention to
it. Rotherham has two long notes on it and, I believe, always has
age or age-abiding. The Revisers have age in the
margin half of the time. We have taken the most straightforward
course possible in a case like this, and have simply transliterated
the Greek, leaving the interpretation to the reader. Nay, more than
that, we venture to say that our brother himself refuses such
phrases as "the end of the world." So that our real crime
lies in doing just as he does--only doing it consistently.
The next few pages are so contradictory that they cancel
themselves, hence we shall not transcribe them. On one page we are
told that good men have searched the Scriptures "with the hope they
might discover something which would at least modify" that "against
which their own sentiments revolted," on another eternal torment
commends itself "to the consciences of His children." If the
unction they received approved of the teaching of eternal torment,
why did they try to find some escape from it?
As, however, we build nothing on such
broken reeds as these, we will not even attempt to answer these
appeals, lest it may seem that we also depend on such methods of
shoring up the truth. The word of God is sufficient for us and does
not need the props of a perverted "conscience" or a spurious
Two books lie before us as we
write, `The Divine Mysteries: The Mystery of the Gospel' and `All
in All: the Goal of the Universe'--which are the occasion of this
brochure. The former is written and published by a Mr. Knoch of Los
Angeles, the latter published by the same man contains a number of
articles from different authors and several from the pen of its
editor. We shall here notice only those written by Mr. Knoch.
"The above books present a system of
Universalism, for they teach the ultimate salvation of every
creature of God. But like the majority of those who contend for the
ultimate salvation of every one of God's creatures, Mr. Knoch is
not a consistent Universalist. His later writings--from which we
quote at the conclusion of this paper--contains not a little which
he has borrowed from Annihilationists. The arguments made have,
almost all of them, been presented many times before, though no
acknowledgment is paid to those from whom they have been borrowed.
These arguments have been repeatedly examined during the last two
hundred years by the servants of God, and being weighed in the
balances of Holy Writ have been found wanting. But many of the
present generation are more or less ignorant of this, and know
little or nothing of the ease with which "other students of the
Word have exposed and refuted these sophistries of Satan. This is
our chief reason for engaging in the present
|We Have Borrowed From the Bible!
incident has occurred in connection with thecharge that no
acknowledgment is paid to those from whom we are supposed to have
borrowed our arguments. Speaking on the subject of vivification in
a public gathering, we asked if anyone had heard or read any
similar exposition of the theme. For a while no one spoke and all
seemed to indicate that they had never known of it before. But, at
last, one brother, holding up a book, so that all could see,
shouted, "I have a book that has it!" The audience turned to see.
He was holding up a Bible! So we humbly retract any claim
we are supposed to have made as to originality. It is all
borrowed from the Bible!
Our main testimony is concerned with
the universal reconciliation and the various mysteries. We know
that our teaching on these themes has been derived fresh from the
word of God. We do not know of anyone else who teaches the same.
Others have taught the salvation of all mankind, or a kind
of "restitution." But where is the record of anyone teaching the
justification of all mankind, the vivification
(not resurrection) of all mankind, the reconciliation (not
salvation) of the universe? Who has presented the mystery of
Babylon as we have? Who teaches as we do concerning the present
secret economy? We do not ask this merely to show that we have not
"borrowed" from others, but we would gladly know of others who have
found these treasures in God's holy word.
If then, what we have presented has
been practically unknown, how can it be that it has been repeatedly
examined and answered? Answers to Universalism there are, not
doubt, in plenty. But, as we have been told by those who had
belonged to the Universalist church that our teaching was as
different from theirs as could be, they do not cover our case. We
base all blessing on Christ. They build on character.
The purpose of Mr. Knoch's
books is to repudiate the doctrine of the everlasting punishment of
the lost. In his efforts to accomplish this he attempts to do two
things: First, to so interpret certain portions of the New
Testament as to make them affirm the justification, vivification,
and reconciliation of all; second, to show that the Greek
words rendered "eternal" and "for ever and ever" in the 1611
translation do not signify endless duration. We shall, therefore,
test his teaching at these two points.
"The Mystery of the Gospel"
originally contained the following: "The underworld, though not
sharing in the universal reconciliation, will be powerless to
prevent and impotent to infringe upon that perfect bliss" (See page
187). It can hardly be the purpose of a book to prove that
which its author did not believe when he first wrote it. Yet the
above statement of our critic is an admirable summary of "All in
Really, all that is needed
to refute any system of Universalism is to demonstrate
that the Scriptures do expressly affirm the endless punishment of
the lost, for truth is always consistent, and as God's
Word is "truth" it cannot contain any contradictions; therefore, it
is evident that though certain passages may at the first glance
seem to teach the salvation of all, yet in fact they
can not do so. However, it may help some if we expose the
various glosses which Mr. Knoch has placed upon the passages he
appeals to in support of his heretical dogmas.
The Scriptures Cannot Teach What
They Seem To!
that is necessary to refute the doctrine of endless punishment is
to quote a single passage of Scripture which affirms the contrary
(Col.1:20). One argument is as good as the other, only that in
favor of ultimate reconciliation is immeasurably better, for its
conclusion is in harmony with the revealed character of God and the
spirit of love which He has implanted in His saints. Our brother
asserts this when he protests that many have made a study of the
Scriptures "with the hope that they might discover something which
would at least modify" this doctrine. If it appealed to their
hearts and consciences and the spirit God had given them, why did
they seek to modify it? We are not seeking to alter the
The first passage he summons to
his aid is Rom.5:12-21. Upon the first verses Mr. Knoch comments as
follows: `Sin fixes its fangs firmly on every one of Adam's sons.
There is no escape for any one. Sin is not evil theoretical, but
actual and practical. It is not presented as a matter of choice. It
is powerful and sovereign. The grand proof of this is Death. Death
can enter only through sin. But Death claims every single son of
Adam. These universal results have come through a single
"For the present at least, the
acceptance of the conciliation is not universal. But Adam's offense
did not merely make it possible for men to sin and merit
condemnation, it made it impossible for them to do
otherwise. And we dare not refuse to believe that the work
of Christ is "THUS ALSO." So that it is beyond denial that Christ's
one righteous act is the basis upon which all mankind will yet be
freed from every effect of Adam's offense. Truly, God locks up
all in distrust in order that He may be merciful to all
(Rom.11:32). And we may ask, Upon what other grounds could God
justify the inclusion of all under sin? In order that He might
condemn them? Never! But in order that He might create conditions
in which He can reveal His love to them?
"Here the Universalist dogma is
plainly set forth; upon the basis of Christ's one righteous act
"all mankind" will yet be freed from every effect of
Adam's offense." Mark how in the closing sentences of this
quotation (from "The Divine Mysteries," pages 65 and 66) Mr. Knoch
disposes of the mystery of evil, and undertakes to fathom the ways
of the Almighty. `Upon what other grounds,' he asks, `could God
justify the inclusion of all under sin? In order that He might
condemn them? Never! But in order that He might create conditions
in which He can reveal His love to them.' What an arrogant replying
against the Creator is this!
"Commenting on the
singleness of the acts of Adam and Christ and upon the
universal (?) effects of these, Mr. Knoch says (page 56), `And
right here we challenge all who reverence the Word of God to array
their strong reasons against a universal reconciliation before the
adamantine fortress which these words provide.' It is needless for
us to call attention to the spirit which such language
displays. But what follows is far worse. On page 67 the venom of
the Serpent is plainly observable: `The damnable dogmas of
interminable sin, of estrangement irreconcilable between God and
man, of endless torment, of a vindictive God--all these,
shuddering, flee before these verities like foul vapors before the
ascending sun.' We verily trust that all who read these lines will
`shudder' at such `foul' language!
"There is a certain plausibility
about Mr. Knoch's statements which is well calculated to beguile
the unbeliever. Unless the true scope and meaning of Rom.5:12-21 be
clearly perceived it is well nigh impossible to detect the
fallacies in the Universalist's reasonings. That the apostle is
not treating of a numerical contrast is freely
granted; that he is not drawing an antithesis between one part of
the Adamic race and another part of that same race as such we fully
allow. But when Mr. Knoch, commenting on these verses, says,
`Christ's work has no limits, either in power or extent! It
restores far more than sin has taken away! It vitally affects
all humanity who were mortally affected by Adam's sin,' he
Little need be said concerning
this extract except that he deserves credit for giving a very fair
presentation of our position. Our error consists in refusing to
limit the work of Christ. We are content to have it so. He now
proceeds to prove by a somewhat lengthy and involved process, that
Christ's work has limitations, that Romans does not deal with "all
men" (as it says) but with all the elect.
It would require too much space to give
here a complete and detailed exposition of this most
important passage in Rom.5, yet we must try and say enough to bring
out its central teachings and enable the reader to see how
thoroughly unfounded are Mr. Knoch's reasonings upon it.
To begin with, a word needs to be
said concerning the relations of Rom.5:12-21 to the context. In the
previous chapters the Holy Spirit had dealt at length with the
depravity and sinfulness of men, both Gentiles and Jews--even in
the first half of Rom.5 this is further brought out by such
expressions as `without strength;' `ungodly,' `sinners' (verse 6),
`enemies' (verse 10). But now in the second half of Rom.5 we are
conducted to the fountain-head and shown the cause of all
this--the fall of Adam. This, then, explains why `Adam"'is
referred to here.
Again; in the second section of this
Epistle (which begins at 3:21) a brief exposition is given of God's
way of salvation -- see 3:21-26). In chapter 4 this is illustrated
at length by the case of Abraham. God's way of salvation is by
imputing righteousness (made possible by the death and
resurrection of Christ) to every one that believeth. That this
principle of imputation is neither novel nor exceptional,
but basic and universal, is now proven in chapter 5 by an appeal to
the case of Adam, where we are thus taken back to the very
beginning of God's governmental dealings with the human race.
The dominant purpose of Rom.5:12-21
is to illustrate the doctrine of the justification of
sinners on the ground of Christ being made the righteousness of God
to every one that believeth. From the beginning of the Epistle the
Holy Spirit has been engaged in inculcating one dominant truth,
namely, that the ground of the sinner's acceptance before God is
not anything in him or from him, but instead, solely by what Christ
has done. This comes out clearly in 5:9,10,11. But as this idea of
men being treated and regarded not according to their own doings,
but on the merits of Another, is altogether contrary to the
thoughts of the carnal mind, and is particularly offensive to the
self-righteous desire of fallen man to win the Divine
favor, God moved the apostle to illustrate and enforce this vital
principle and truth by a reference to the great analogous fact of
the fall of Adam and the consequent ruin of his race; a ruin
brought about not by anything done personally by the members of
that race, but accomplished solely by the acting of one outside of
So much then for the central design
of our passage. Let us next point out the key which unlocks it. It
should be obvious to all who have given it much study that the
clause which illuminates the whole paragraph is the one found at
the close of verse 14. There we are told that Adam was `the
figure of Him that was to come.' What this signifies is made
clear by what follows: It means that the first Adam, like the last
Adam, was appointed by God as the FEDERAL HEAD of a race. Like the
words `The Holy Trinity' and `Substitution,' `Federal Headship' is
a theological term, and it is an idle cavil to object that these
terms are not found in Scripture. The words themselves may not be,
but the truths they express certainly are. The principle
of representation, of one acting for the many, of the many being
looked at as in the one and as that one legally standing
for them, is illustrated in the Word of God again and again; for
example, the High Priest representing the whole house of Israel on
the annual day of atonement. It is in this sense our
passage presents Adam as `a figure,' or type, of Christ. So in 1
Cor.15:47 Christ is termed `the second Man,' which can only mean
the second Federal Head.
Now the all-important question
arises, Whom did Christ represent, of what race
is He the Federal Head? I answer, all who believe on Him to the
saving of their souls. THESE constitute the new race, the
new creation, the `one new man' (Eph.2:15).
There is, therefore, no difficulty
whatever in harmonizing the so-called universal terms of
Rom.5:15-19 with the fact that a multitude of Adam's race will be
eternally lost. The `many' unto whom the gift of God's grace
abounds (verse "15) are the same `many' as in John 17:2 and Acts
13:48. The `all men' unto whom comes the free gift `unto
justification of life' (verse 18) are the `all men' that the last
Adam represented, namely, God's, elect; each of which is brought to
`receive' Christ as a personal Saviour (John 1:12). In short, the
second `all' and the `the many' are those legally and vitally
connected with Christ, as the first `all' and `many' are those who
are legally and vitally connected with Adam.
Adam's Transgression Is the Ground of the
There is much to commend in this, especially the central
sentence, "this idea of men being treated and regarded, not
according to their own doings, but on the merits of Another, is
altogether contrary to the thoughts of the carnal mind...the great
analogous fact of the fall of Adam and the consequent ruin of his
race; a ruin brought about not by anything done personally by the
members of that race, but accomplished solely by the acting of one
outside of themselves." It is racial, then. It was the race that
was ruined by Adam's fall. But of course it is not the
race which is restored by Christ!
We might object (as he himself does)
to the unscriptural term, "Federal Head." Christ is the Head of the
body (Col.1:18). In the natural sphere He is the Head of every man
(1 Cor.11:3). He is the Head of every sovereignty and authority
(Col.2:10). He will be the Head of the universe (Eph.1:10). But I
have not been able to find any passage to support the statement
that He is the Federal Head of "all who believe on Him to the
saving of their souls." He is never spoken of as the Head of the
new humanity (Eph.2:15). It is a very misleading expression to
impose on this passage.
Headship, in the Scriptures, has to
do with rule. The question here is not the character and
extent of Adam's dominion, or of Christ's sovereignty. The point of
the passage lies in the character and effect of Adam's
sin. It is not that he was a ruler and so Christ also will
reign. It is that he was a man, and Christ also is a Man. One act
of his involved all mankind in ruin, and one act of Christ's will
bring all mankind justification of life.
All types are restricted. If
one man were exactly like Christ in all particulars, he would not
be a type. Many men were types of Christ, not in all they were or
did, but in some particular. In what way is Adam here brought
before us? Do we read of the headship of Adam, or of the
transgression of Adam? It is Adam the transgressor who is
the type here. In the following argument His headship is not
alluded to, but his transgression is always before us. The
introduction of the theological "Federal Headship" into this
passage proves nothing so much as the absolute necessity of
injecting some foreign element in order to destroy its clear and
unequivocal assertion that all mankind shall be justified through
the one act of Christ just as they were condemned through the one
offense of Adam.
It is in order to prove that
"all men" means only some men, that this phrase
"Federal Headship" is introduced. It is not the form of sound words
which the apostle so earnestly exhorts us to hold. Yet since this
seems the only way of showing that Scripture does not mean what it
says, he adopts it, not, we are pleased to note, without some
qualms of conscience. But what does he gain?
Suppose we allow the unfounded
"federal headship." It proves nothing. It is far more reasonable to
deduce from it that, as Adam was the "federal head" of the whole
race, without exception or distinction, so Christ has become the
"federal head" of the whole race. No type is ever greater than its
antitype. This chapter bears witness that, in every other
particular, the work of Christ is "much more" effective than the
default of Adam. But there is no necessity to reason or deduce
anything. God says it includes "all mankind." When God said that
sin came through to "all mankind" (verse 12), our brother believes
it because of the evidence of his senses. Now, when God says He
will justify all mankind, he does not believe it. As there is no
other evidence, he refuses to believe God. Instead, he actually
asks us to believe him in opposition to God! God says all
mankind." I (A. W. P.) answer," "God's elect."
Now we come to the heart of the
matter. As he intimates, it is the all-important question.
The bringing in of "federal headship" has served no useful purpose
whatever. It has only thrown dust into our eyes. The all-important
question is "Whom did Christ represent? Of what
race is He the Federal Head?" God has no answer for this. He is
silent. No passage can be produced. But that does not
"I answer all who believe on Him to the saving of their souls."
"The `all men' unto whom comes the free gift `unto justification of
life' (verse 18) are the `all men' that the last Adam represented,
namely, God's elect;..."
We confess that we are gravely
sorrowful for a brother who can stake all upon his own word, or who
can expect his readers to believe him in preference to God. Not a
shred of scriptural evidence is given that "all men" means all the
elect, for there is none.
But perhaps his assertion is based on
reasoning. Let us examine his premises. The question is, How many
will be justified? Under protest we will use his own unscriptural
Christ is "federal head" of a race, as Adam was "federal head."
2. Adam's offense condemned all mankind.
Conclusion. Christ's work justifies all mankind.
Let those who prefer reason
to revelation try to write down definite premises for the
conclusion that the work of Christ is limited to the justification
of the elect. They will soon find that the great fact that Adam's
offense actually makes all mankind sinners is fatal to such a
deduction. If we were only given a choice in the matter, if some of
mankind had refused to be ruined by what Adam had done, then we
could reason out a limit to Christ's work, as the antitype
of Adam's fall. Yet even this would not be conclusive for in all
other particulars, where the effect of Christ's work varied from
Adam's, it was much more.
Let us try to manipulate the minor
premise as is suggested, and make it
Adam's offense condemned those who are legally and vitally
connected with him.
But, as all are thus
connected, it hinders, rather than helps, for it proves that all
will be legally and vitally connected with Christ. It is evident
that nothing can be done with the premises. The only possible way
to get the result we want is to slip a cog. The "federal headship"
will cover this slip. We are forced to take for granted the very
thing we are supposed to prove! Keep at this passage, dear
brethren! Reason with it. Wrestle with it. You will never be
satisfied until you acknowledge that Christ's work, in all its
aspects, completely eclipses Adam's.
For those who desire to make a
more minute study of this passage we submit the following
First, as the point to be illustrated
is the justification of sinners on the ground of
righteousness being imputed to them, appeal is made to the
condemnation of the old race through the offense of Adam (verse
Second, before carrying out that
analogy and applying the principle of the illustration, proof is
first supplied that all of Adam's race were
condemned on account of the sin of their Federal Head (see verses
13 and 14a).
Third, Adam was, therefore, a figure
or type of Christ, inasmuch as what he did is imputed to (reckoned
to the account of) all whom he represented (verse 14b).
Fourth, having stated that Adam was a
type of Christ, we are next shown in what particulars He was and
was not so. There was both a comparison and a contrast (verses
Fifth, the Holy Spirit then returns
to the principle of headship and plainly states the
consequences to the members of the old race and the members of the
new race of the federal relations of both Adam and Christ (verses
Sixth, the Holy Spirit next supplies
a reason why the Law was given, and draws a contrast between sin
and grace (verse 20).
Seventh, the climax of the argument
is reached by affirming that grace reigns through righteousness
unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (verse 21).
|An Analysis of the Passages
see nothing in this analysis which will assist the student to
settle the point before us. So we present another analysis which we
confidently believe will be a much greater help in studying the
whole passage and definitely decide that "all men" means all
The word of God is vitally alive. All
living organisms have a symmetrical structure, part corresponding
with part. In man, one arm corresponds with the other, finger
balances finger. So the whole epistle of Romans has a structure in
which each passage has a companion passage in the corresponding
division of the book. For the sake of those who do not possess the
CONCORDANT VERSION it is reprinted here. No one who will carefully
consider this framework will doubt for a moment that here we have
God's analysis. We have not made it. We have only discovered it.
This, we submit, is not an outline based on human insight or the
lack of it. Like the flower of the field, the marvelous symmetry
and relation of the parts in this "outline" reveals the handiwork
of God. It is given on the next page.
From this structure we learn that the
companion passage is found somewhere in the eleventh chapter. We
may expect to find there a counterpart of the justification of all
mankind, but from the national standpoint rather than the
individual. Is there any statement dealing with all
mankind? There is, and it is just as clearly all as the fifth
of Romans. "God locks all up together in obstinacy, that
He may be merciful to all" (Rom.11:32).
The same marvelous proportion of
parts is to be seen in this passage itself. If we should ask our
hearts what part of the context will cast most light on the
interpretation of this scripture, the answer will be found in the
framework which we submit herewith. It will be noted that it is a
miniature of the epistle as a whole, a reversal in which each
subject is reviewed in opposite order once the center of the
passage has been reached.
Reversal with Doctrinal Alternation
Gospel, made known, Justification
The Conduct of Mankind
The Conduct of the Saints
Gospel, hushed up,
FRAMEWORK OF ROMANS
|:12 One man sins
:14a death reigns
|:14b Adam's transgression:
its antitype -- All mankind
|:15 One man's offense: death
:17 One man's offense: death --
:18 Adam's offense: its counterpart --
:19 One man obeys
:21 grace reigns
Is it possible that such symmetry
can be accidental? Since it is undoubtedly designed, we should take
advantage of its plan, for it points unerringly to the closest
context for any part of the passage. This is not necessarily the
next verse. It is the corresponding member of the structure.
Adam's sin is twice brought before us
and used as a picture of present conditions. First it is called a
transgression and the question is whether those who have no law, as
Adam had, are reached by its dire effects. The answer is that
all mankind are included, even though they had not
transgressed, as Adam had. This is the lead which the eighteenth
verse follows. All between verses fourteen and eighteen is
parenthetic. This is evident to the careful student apart from any
structure. There is nothing in verses fifteen, sixteen, or
seventeen on which to base the conclusion in verse eighteen. So
that we are justified in reading the passage as follows:
14 "...death reigns from Adam
unto Moses, over those, too, who did not sin after the likeness of
Adam's transgression, which is a type of that which is about to be
(15,16,17). 18 Consequently, then, as
it was through one offense for all mankind for condemnation, thus,
too, it is through one just award for all mankind for life's
Now we are ready once more to ask
the question, Does this refer to all the elect or all
mankind? Since the plain statement of the text is denied, we
ask the further question, Did Adam's sin reach a portion or all of
mankind? There is no need to answer. Consequently
justification, also, is for all mankind.
We have now shown that both
revelation and reason are for the justification of all mankind. We
ought to stop here. It is useless to study human opinions on such a
matter. Yet our failure to follow may be urged against the truth.
So we will see what men have to say!
"The brief exposition which
we have furnished above upon the second half of Rom.5 is no novel
interpretation of ours, invented for the purpose of disposing of a
difficulty. In substance it is -- as Mr. Knoch very well knows, or
ought to know, since he appears to be so well acquainted with the
commentaries of Christendom -- the identical interpretation
uniformly given by the Reformer and the Puritans. Were it
necessary we could prove this by quoting from upwards of
twenty-five of the leading Christian teachers of the sixteenth,
seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. But we have adopted it not
because it comes to us endorsed by so many godly scholars, but
because we have long been personally satisfied it is the
only interpretation which fairly, and consistently with
other scriptures, gives a place and meaning to all of its
terms. That Mr. Knoch ignores this interpretation -- an
interpretation embodied in some of the leading Catechisms and
Creeds -- only serves to show the weakness of his case. Not that we
are complaining because he has failed to notice the Catechisms and
Creeds (which are no more authoritative to us than to him), but
fairness requires an exegete, who is advancing a system of
interpretation which is opposed to the one which has been widely
received by God's people in the past, to show the untenableness of
that which he seeks to supplant. If a man should offer some
refinement of Socinianism to the Christian public, it
would be incumbent upon him to attempt to show where he
believes they err who believe in a plurality of Persons in the
Godhead. Failure to do this will cause reflecting minds to conclude
he was unable to do so.
|The Commentaries of Christendom
is with a deal of diffidence that I speak of personal matters. They
are of no moment when dealing with God's truth. The fact that Peter
had recently denied his Lord did not impair his preaching at
Pentecost. Yet if I must descend to speak of myself I will
only confess my ignorance. I am not at all acquainted with the
commentaries of Christendom. I have long ago read in the Scriptures
that this is a day of departure from the faith. This defection
must be reflected in Christendom's commentaries and I do
not wish to feed on apostasy. It is bound to have its effect on
everyone who absorbs it. I have spent half a lifetime fitting
myself to hear God speak through His inspired word, and, having
heard Him, it would be hard to find commentaries which would
interest me. Yet I have a broken second hand set to refer to when I
am expected to know what Christendom thinks, but the volume on
Romans is missing. However, sometime ago some one kindly gave me a
copy of Barnes on Romans, which I believe, is a standard work. I
will look up the point in question. This is what I find:
BARNES ON ROMANS 5:18
"Upon all men. The whole
race...Came upon all men eis pantas anthroopous.
Was with reference to all men; had a bearing upon all men; was
originally adapted to the race. As the sin of Adam was of
such a nature in the relation in which he stood as to affect all
the race, so the work of Christ, in the relation in which he stood,
was adapted also to all the race. As the tendency of the one was to
involve the race in condemnation, so the tendency of the other was
to restore them to acceptance with God. There was an original
applicability in the work of Christ to all men--a richness,
fullness of the atonement fitted to meet the sins of the entire
world, and restore the race to favor...
"...Perhaps there could not be found
a more striking declaration anywhere that the work of Christ had
an original applicability to all men; or that it is, in
its own nature, fitted to save all. The course of argument here
leads inevitably to this; nor is it possible to avoid it without
doing violence to the obvious and fair course of the
discussion...Calvin concurs in this interpretation, and thus shows
that it is one which commends itself even to the most strenuous
advocates of the system which is called by his name."
Both Barnes and Calvin were
"leading Christian teachers" and they do not teach that
"all mankind" in Romans 5:18 is confined to the elect. It includes
the whole race of mankind. For once I will quote a commentary: "The
course of argument leads inevitably to this; nor is it possible to
avoid it without doing violence to the obvious and fair course of
the discussion." These words come from one who, like the writer in
Our Hope, must find some way to avoid the plain
teaching of this passage. That seems to be the function of
commentaries. But he could not force himself to do such "violence"
to the passage as we are now called upon to approve.
|The Conciliation of the World
Perhaps our critic will smile at the mental contortions of Mr.
Barnes. The specially strong inspired INTO, he would like to change
to "with reference to," or, "had a bearing upon." But these are not
just satisfactory, so he has a brilliant idea. It was
"originally adapted" (his italics) to the race." This
seems to relieve him wonderfully, so it is repeated as "an
original applicability...to all men." All that we need now
is a commentary on Barnes, for we do not know what he means.
Neither does he.
What are the facts? In this passage
this word eis INTO is used eight times. The occurrences
follow. In place of into, in each case put one of the
phrases proposed and the absurdity of the whole position is
manifest. This is the only safe commentary. You may call it mine if
you like. I am not ashamed of it before either God or man. Little
discernment is necessary to see that this not only robs mankind as
a whole, but it strips us of everything that we have in
||sin entered into the world
||death came through into all
||the grace of God and the gratuity in grace, which is of
the One Man, Jesus Christ, into the many
||the judgment is out of one into
||the grace is out of many offenses into a just
||as it was through one offense into
||it is through one just award into all mankind
for life's justifying
||grace, too, should be reigning, through righteousness,
into eonian life
We must, however, acknowledge that
Barnes has a glimmering of a great truth which no theologian that I
am aware of has ever seen, and which seems to be almost unknown in
the present day. Our dear brother who is refuting universalism
gives no hint, in his analysis, that he has even heard of it. It is
this, "that God was in Christ conciliating the world to
Himself, not reckoning their offenses to them" (2 Cor.5:19). This
is not reconciliation, for that would prove that God's present work
includes the salvation of the world at this time. It is
conciliation on God's side. It describes God's attitude.
Reconciliation ensues only when we obtain the
"conciliation" (Rom.5:11). Had our verse (Rom.5:18) read "all
mankind for conciliation," then Barnes would have been
very near the truth. But all mankind are already conciliated. God
is not reckoning their offenses to them. He is not threatening, but
beseeching them. This is the great, unknown secret of the evangel,
which is the subject of "The Mystery of the Gospel." But
justification is an entirely different matter. Conciliation on
God's side does not guarantee salvation necessarily. That rests
with its acceptance. Not so with justification. He who is justified
can face the entire creation and challenge them to lay anything to
his charge. Justification through Christ need not include eonian
salvation, but it includes far more than ultimate deliverance.
At this juncture we may as well take
up one of the most serious charges against our personal character.
We have not dismissed anyone with a wave of the hand--not even our
critic. The little we know of the teaching of others on these
themes has shown us that they are in hopeless disagreement. If we
choose one side in preference to the other then we are
dismissing some as utterly wrong, and we are presuming to
decide between men and between their opinions. Our opponent does
not even recognize Barnes and Calvin. Using his own argument we
ought to charge him with colossal conceit. But we shall not descend
to such foolish fighting, for it is unprofitable and vain. We
should not compare ourselves among ourselves (2 Cor.10: 12). Those
who do this do not understand (A.V., are not wise). It
takes just as much conceit to dismiss Calvin as a heretic as to
pass by some lesser light.
We cannot commend such a course, but
if we must not study the Scriptures themselves,
but consult human interpretations, is it wise to follow one class
of expositors (exclusively when they are opposed by others equally
good and great and learned? Is it not wiser to compare each with
the Scriptures and give both credit for as much as accords with
God's word? Calvin is right when he claims that "all men"
means all men in Romans five. We are with him. Our dear
brother is right when he insists that it is not a mere
provision for salvation but actual justification. We are with him.
But we cannot follow him when he says that all men means
some men. Neither can we follow Calvin when he says "It is
offered to all without distinction." Each has a
measure of truth. Neither has a monopoly. Is it conceit or prudence
to believe only so much of each as does not conflict with God's
revelation? Does not our position accord with both as far
as it is possible when they are in disagreement?
"All Mankind" Is Better Than "All
plead guilty of having changed the reading "all men" in the common
version to "all mankind." The inaccuracy of fixing all sin upon and
exculpating Eve and her daughters is evident.
The word here translated men
in our version is not the special term for men
aneer as distinct from women, but refers to any
human being anthropos. Hence the CONCORDANT
VERSION has "humans" in its sublinear, and mankind in the
version. Everyone knows that "all men" does not exclude women, so
no one can object to this change. The best rendering is "all
mankind." It is precisely the same as in the twelfth verse. Death
came through to "all mankind."
To conclude. Revelation, reason, and
even some forms of tradition, all unite in assuring us of that
grand and glorious fact that God, through Christ, will justify the
life of every human being. How and when He will do this we have
elsewhere inquired. May God give us grace to believe Him and revel
in the rich redundance of His grace!
We may sum up the whole of this
lengthy discussion in one simple question, What has God
or, all the elect?
THE VIVIFICATION OF ALL
you wish to convince a brother that his belief and the Scriptures
do not agree, the best method is to quietly ask him to quote the
passage which bears on the question. Almost always, unconsciously,
he will alter the text slightly to fit his apprehension of it. Our
dear brother has done himself and the truth a great service when he
quotes 1 Cor.15:22, as "all `in Christ'" instead of "`in Christ'
all." This was doubtless done unconsciously, but that is all the
better. It should show him that he is at variance with God on this
point. He cannot correct his slip without acknowledging his whole
position to be wrong.
The second leading passage to
which Mr. Knoch appeals in support of his scheme of Universalism is
1 Cor.15:22-27. We cannot now quote all that Mr. Knoch has said
upon this passage, but we believe we can be fair to him and yet
condense his interpretation into a few brief statements.
In the `Divine Mysteries' (page 225)
Mr. Knoch says: "Resurrection comes through mankind, for Christ was
raised as a Man. But it will not stop with mankind but, with a
scope as wide as death, it will embrace the universe. The
Corinthians denied the resurrection of any; the apostle insists on
the resurrection of all!
"`Death was introduced into the
universe by a man; and resurrection likewise is brought to all by a
Man. For as in Adam all are dying thus also in Christ
shall all be made alive. It is instructive to notice that it is not
said that all shall be raised, though that will be
fulfilled at the judgment of the great white throne. They are
made alive, as we shall see, at the consummation. But the
main point to be insisted on here is its universality in
both cases. In Adam all are dying. Thus all shall
be made alive in Christ."
There is no ambiguity about the above
language. Mr. Knoch is going to make 1 Cor.15 teach the
vivification of the entire human race. In order to accomplish this
he insists that the `all in Christ' (verse 22) are co-extensive
with the `all in Adam.' The supposed proof for this is found in
verses 23 and 24a which are regarded as an amplification of verse
|A Serious Perversion,
Will They Correct It?
editor of Our Hope and the writer of the article against
us both insist that the CONCORDANT VERSION is an effort to pervert
the Bible to teach what we believe. Here we have a test passage. Do
we change this to suit our doctrine? So far as the present question
is concerned we render it the same as all the versions we have
seen. "Even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus, in Christ, also, all
will be made alive" is not only an exact rendering of the Greek,
but is practically the same as the Authorized, the Revised and
Rotherham, the only versions we have at hand. Our critic quotes the
rendering "all in Christ" and "all in Adam," and thus gives a twist
to the passage to which we vigorously protest. Instead of
our being "so filled with conceit" that we "do not
hesitate to dismiss with a wave of the hand the concentrated and
consecrated studies of all who have gone before us," they
do not even wave their hands but calmly give a rendering which, so
far as we know is totally at variance with every version ever
made. They pervert this passage, not we.
They would render it, "As all in Adam die, so
all in Christ shall be made alive." This restricts it to
believers. But this is an unwarranted mistranslation, unsupported
by the original or by any recognized English version.
We solemnly adjure them before God to
publicly acknowledge this grave error and give the true facts of
the case in Our Hope. When they have done so, we shall
acknowledge their confession in our magazine. Otherwise we may be
led to remind our readers, now and again that "Our Hope
teaches that 1 Cor.15:22 should read `As all in Adam die,
so all in Christ shall be made alive,' and thus perverts
the word of God in order to destroy the great truth that, `Even as,
in Adam, all are dying, thus, in Christ, also, all will be made
In Our Hope the words "all
in Christ" are in quotation marks. We wondered whence the quotation
had been taken and made a thorough search. A friend in England
visited what is probably the most complete collection of English
versions extant, through the courtesy of the officers of the
British and Foreign Bible Society. His report follows:
I am delighted to tell you the
result of my search at the B. and F. Bible Society confirms your
contention in every case.
Let me tell you what I have done, and
if this is not thorough enough, I shall be pleased to devote a
week, or even longer to the task.
I have examined 1 Cor.15:22 in each
of the enclosed list of versions, and in every case it reads `In
Adam all' and `in Christ all.' My wife and an interested friend
came with me and checked my findings, so I do not think there is
any possibility of error.
Dr. Kilgour very courteously examined
my list and assured me that every necessary one was there. It
would, he said, take months to go through every edition on
their shelves, but any variation from these would only be a
printer's error and of no value to decide a point of doctrine.
Wycliffe Version, 1382; Purvey's
revision of same, 1420; Tyndale's Versions, 1525 and 1534;
Coverdale's Bible, 1535; Matthews Version, 1537; Taverner's English
Bible, 1539; Cranmer's Version (known as the Great Bible), 1540;
Whittingham's Version, 1557; Geneva Version, 1560; Erasmus'
paraphrase on the New Testament (this of little value, but very
interesting),1549; Bishops' Version, 1572; Tomson's revision of the
Geneva Version, 1576; Cambridge Standard, 1638; Oxford Standard,
Wycliffe's Version, 1382, has it,
`And as in Adam all men die, so in Christ all men shall be
quickened,' W. Tyndale, 1525, has it, `For as by Adam all die even
so by Christ shall all be made alive.' Coverdale's Bible, 1535, has
it `For as they all die in Adam, so shall they all be made alive in
Christ.' Matthews Version, 1537, has it `For as by Adam all die,
even so by Christ shall all be made alive.' Taverner's English
Bible, 153-9 (a layman's version), has it `For as by Adam all die,
even so by Christ shall all be made alive.' Richard Taverner had
high repute for Greek scholarship and was at this time Clerk of the
King's Signet. Cranmer's Version, 1540, has it `For as by Adam all
die, even so by Christ shall all be made alive.' Whittingham's
Version, 1557, has it `For as by Adam all die, even so by Christ
shall all be made alive.' He married Calvin's wife's sister. In
Queen Elizabeth's reign he became Dean of Durham. His testament,
which was based upon Tyndale's, compared with the Great Bible, and
largely influenced by Beza's Latin translation (No. 33) was the
first portion of Scripture printed in Roman type. Before that
black- letter had always been used. The text was divided into
verses, and italics were used for the explanatory and connective
words. Geneva Version, 1560, has it `For as in Adam all die, even
so in Christ shall all be made alive.' The Geneva Bible became the
favorite household Bible of the English people. For fully
three-quarters of a century it maintained its sway in the homes,
and hearts of our countrymen, and no fewer than 140 editions of the
Bible or New Testament were required to meet the popular demands
between 1560 and 1642. Its phrases find an echo in Scripture
quotations from Shakespeare to Bunyan. Erasmus' Paraphrase of the
New Testament has it `For as by Adam all die, even so by Christ
shall all be made alive.' Bishops' Version, 1572, has it `For as by
Adam all die, even so by Christ shall all be made alive.' Tomson's
revision of the Geneva Version, 1576, has it `For as in Adam all
die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.'"
Later translations: Noyes, 1878 (a
Unitarian); Ferrar Fenton, 1900; J. Mace, 1729; Whiston's Primitive
New Testament, 1745; Cunnington (a revision of the 1611 version);
Literary Man's New Testament, W. L. Courtney; Westminister
Translation (R.C.), 1914; Weymouth's New Testament in Modern Speech
and Rotherham's Translation, 1902. These all put the order of the
words `in Adam all' and `in Christ all.' Moffat's translation,
1913, is as follows: `As all die in Adam, so shall all be made
alive in Christ.'
To this we may add that a number
of German bibles, including the Miniatur Bibel, all read "in Christ
Thus all the translators are in
complete accord on this crucial point. The only exception is the
late Pastor Russell. Friends who are acquainted with his works tell
me that on page 129 of Vol. 1, and page 695 of Vol. 6, he quotes
"As all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive." He
boldly states that "The declaration of our common version
Bible...is manifestly a mistranslation...The mistranslation favors
the doctrine of universal salvation..." Arthur W. Pink and Charles
T. Russell are the only ones we have been able to find who alter
this passage to conform to their own interpretation.
As we have not the slightest wish to
charge anyone falsely, we wrote to our brother and asked him whence
he took this quotation. His reply follows:
Swengel, Pa., April 12, 1923.
"Dear Mr. Knoch: In reply
to your inquiry would say, that the words you refer to are a
typographical error. A similar one is found on the middle of page
568. It should have read, all `in Christ,' and all `in Adam,' the
quotation being from 1 Cor.15:22.
Yours by grace,
This absolves him from misquoting
the Bible, but shows that he has more regard for his own reputation
than God's truth. We hoped it would touch his conscience and that
he would change the order of the words to conform with what is
Verses 23 and 24a are analyzed as follows: "Three classes are
made alive. These are:
I. Christ the firstfruits (in the past).
II. Those who are Christ's (at His presence).
III. The balance of mankind (at the consummation).
"This is the `explanation' of `as in
Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.'" Let the
reader pay careful attention to the above analysis (comparing it
with the Scripture) and then let him ask himself the question, What
is there in verse 24 which in anywise speaks of "the balance of
mankind." That, is Mr. Knoch's interpolation, and a glaring one
too; we might add, an unwarranted and wicked one.
To justify him making the words `the
end' in verse 24 mean the resurrection of `the balance of mankind'
(at the consummation), Mr. Knoch insists that the `end' refers to
the termination of `the ages of the ages,' and that the `death'
mentioned in verse 26--`The last enemy that shall be destroyed is
death'--means the second death. He argues that since the
first death is cast into the lake of fire (which is the second
death), and seeing that the abolishing of death (mentioned in verse
26) occurs subsequently to this, that therefore `at the
consummation when this takes place, the only death which can be
abolished is the second death' (italics his). And then, he
adds, `Instead of this passage referring exclusively to the first
death, it has no bearing upon it at all. It refers only and
exclusively to the second' (page 226).
Having accepted the great truth that all shall be made alive,
the next question is, when? The answer is, Not all at
once, but in classes. Vivification is progressive. Christ is the
first class. The second is those who are Christ's at His presence.
The third is at the consummation. This is clearly indicated by the
expressions of time: "the Firstfruit, Christ; thereupon
those who are Christ's at His presence; thereafter the
consummation, whenever He may give up the kingdom...Who
will be included in the last class? It is a simple matter of
subtraction. Indeed I have not even ventured to do the subtracting.
The difference between "all" and those enumerated cannot be
otherwise than "the balance."
Now let us suppose that only "all in
Christ" are included. How shall we understand "Yet each in his own
class?" Could anyone suppose that those that are Christ's would be
vivified when He was, in the past? Why, then, bring in these
"Classes?" And why, after "those who are Christ's" have been
vivified, speak of "thereafter the consummation?" What
comes after the saints have been made alive? The record
reads that this coincides with the abolition of death. Hence there
is no reasonable alternative except "the balance of mankind."
Let us allow that the abolition of
death refers to the vivification of the saints. Then the coming of
Christ is not only post-millennial but long after the thousand
years, so long as government exists! Sovereignty continues in the
new creation. Death is not abolished until after it has gone. Hence
the saints still sleep! There are no saints to reign on the
millennial earth! It cannot be true that they live and reign with
Him during the thousand years! It cannot be true that they reign in
the new earth! Such absurdities ought to satisfy all that the
abolition of death has no reference to the vivification of the
As his interpretation of this
passage (1 Cor.15:22-27) is the main one upon which Mr. Knoch rests
his scheme of universalism we shall the more carefully examine its
setting, scope, and true meaning.
The passage before us has its setting
in a chapter which treats of resurrection: first the resurrection
of Christ, second the resurrection of His people. Upon the former
we need not comment; upon the latter we would offer the following
remarks. That what is found in this chapter concerns the people of
God, and them alone, is clear from its opening words,
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the
Gospel which I preached unto you," etc. This is confirmed in what
follows, for example in verses 50 and 51, "Now this I say,
brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom
of God.... Behold, I show yon a mystery." To this it might be
replied, We allow that this chapter is addressed to
believers, but we also insist that it treats of a wider circle,
including within its scope unbelievers, too. We might
dispose of this objection simply by saying, It is one thing to
affirm this and another to prove it. But we go further. We call
attention to three of the proofs that 1 Cor.15 concerns
We are heartily in favor of the great
principle that every passage in the Scriptures must be interpreted
within the scope of its context.
|Who Does Paul Write About?
of Paul's epistles are addressed to believers. Are we therefore to
conclude that all is concerning them? Would our critic
insist that "with their tongues they have used deceit, the poison
of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and
bitterness...." refers to them? We do not wish to apply it
to them, though they might have difficulty in disproving the
charge. In Corinthians are we to conclude that the "all men"
referred to in the statement "we are more forlorn than all men" (1
Cor.15:19) is restricted to believers? It is not evident that a
cause is desperate that allows the use of such an argument? Paul
always writes to the saints, but he writes of all created beings,
including the archangel and Satan, the demons and the lower
animals. Since when has the recipient of a letter been the sole
subject which it can discuss?
If, instead of beginning at verse
22, the reader will turn to verse 20, to which the `for' at the
beginning of verse 22 and verse 21 looks back, it will be found at
once that those who are to be `made alive' are the saints, for
there the apostle says, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and
become the firstfruits of `them that slept.' Never are the lost
referred to in the New Testament as `them that slept,' or
`sleep.' `Sleep' is a figurative expression (signifying
rest and refreshment, etc.) applied only to God's people.
"Koimaomai" when used figuratively is restricted to
believers (see John 11:11; 1 Cor.11:30; 1 Thess.4:14).
|"Sleep" for Death is
Not Confined to Believers
have taught that the word koimaomai, sleep, or
repose, is usually confined to the saints. Now we
are asked to believe that it is restricted to them alone.
Its literal use, of the soldiers who guarded the tomb of our Lord,
who were told to say `His disciples came by night and stole Him
away while we slept' shows that literally, it is
not so restricted. The sad duty devolves on us to point
out that our critic in giving passages to prove his position (John
11:11; 1 Cor.11:30; 1 Thess.4:14) deliberately passes over one
which disproves it. In the phrase `if her husband be dead'
(1 Cor.7:39) we have the figurative used of both believer and
Second. Verse 22 explicitly tells
us that it is those who are `in Christ' who shall be `made
alive,' and there is not a single verse in the New Testament which
speaks of unbelievers as being in Christ. The lot of those
out of Christ does not fall within the scope of this
It grieves us to comment on such a
statement as this. It is difficult not to give offense.
Does verse 22 tell any such thing? It is evident that his
own perversion of this passage has so blinded his mind that to him
it seems to teach what he wishes it to teach. What is
or "all in Christ...?
This is sufficient answer yet we
wish it clearly understood that we believe that all will
be in Christ, just as all are in Adam. If we limit those "in
Christ" to those who were in Christ when this passage was written,
then not one of us today is "in Christ." If we limit it to all who
are "in Christ" now, that would exclude many who may yet believe
into Him in the future. It refers only to those who are in Christ
at His presence. Many will be born after this, in the
millennial age, who will be "in Christ." We make no pretense that
any will be made alive out of Christ. At the consummation it is
only "in Christ" that the erstwhile unbeliever will be made alive.
The passage plainly states that all will be made alive in
Third, that this chapter concerns
believers, and them alone, is further proven from verse
23: `Afterwards they that are Christ's at His coming.' The passage
does not concern the human race (as such) at all, but only "they
that are Christ's.
This is followed by "then
cometh the end." The word here rendered "then" in our versions is
not as clear as it might be. We give a few passages where it occurs
to show that it really means thereafter. We give the A. V.
||afterward, when affliction
||then the ear, after that the
||After that He poureth water
||Adam was first formed, then
We are asked to believe that the
phrase "they that are Christ's" excludes the class
thereafter. It is just as easy to believe that the forming
of Adam proves that Eve was not formed because she was formed
Were we to conclude our remarks on
1 Cor.15 at this point we might be charged with begging the
question -- assuming the very point at issue. So we will now
proceed to show how forced, unwarranted, and unscriptural are Mr.
Knoch's interpretations of verses 22 and 26.
`For as in Adam all die, even so in
Christ shall all be made alive' (verse 22). Mr. Knoch contends that
the `all in Christ' is co-extensive with the `all in Adam,' but the
only kind of proof offered in support of his assertion is to
add a sentence of his own to verse 24, and then
to assume that `death' in verse 26 refers to the Lake of Fire. Now
it cannot be gainsaid that in every other passage those
who are referred to as being `in Christ' are a restricted
company, how then can we `consistently' (to use one of Mr. Knoch's
favorite words) ignore such a restriction here? 1 Cor. 15 is
another passage which, like Rom. v, treats of Federal Headship and
postulates concerning the respective peoples represented by the two
great Heads: all represented by Adam `die;' all represented by
Christ `shall be made alive.'
It is very clear, even to our
critic, that he has been assuming the point he wishes to prove.
Now, however, we are to be treated to a real argument. We have
never found it necessary to prove that "all in Christ" is
co-extensive with "all in Adam," because we quote it as it stands.
If he wishes to change this to "all represented by
Christ," all we have to say is that we prefer God's words to his.
It will only lead him back to his starting point.
True consistency is a jewel. This
kind of consistency is a counterfeit. The context determines the
scope of an expression. In our Lord's day the gospel was
restricted to Israel and the land. What kind of
consistency requires that the Jews in Palestine alone are eligible
for the evangel today? God Himself has made the change. The number
of those "in Christ" is continually growing. Until the consummation
they are always, a restricted class. But in this passage God
Himself removes the restrictions. This is not consistency. It is
In the next place, Mr. Knoch seeks
to avail himself of the fact that the second half of verse 22
refers to more than resurrection. `Made alive' Mr. Knoch insists is
the equivalent of them receiving eternal life at the
consummation of the eons In his booklet replying to Dr. Torrey, Mr.
Knoch says (page 22): `The believer's life is not limited to the
eons. He receives eonian (`everlasting') life while the unbeliever
receives eonian judgment in death. But, at the consummation death
is abolished and all receive life (1 Cor.15:22,26). The
unbeliever never receives eonian life, but after the eons
he receives eternal life. The [un]believer enjoys eonian life until
the consummation and then receives eternal life. In both
cases eternal life (italics in this sentence, ours) comes
as the result of the abolition of death. Eonian life is only for
those who believe.' Mr. Knoch's scheme compels him to
define the `made alive' in 1 Cor.15:22 as signifying the giving of
eternal life. Thus the issue is clearly defined and may be
The Greek word here for `made alive'
is `zoopoieo.' It is most frequently rendered `quickened' in the
1611 version. Whether or not it signifies the bestowal of eternal
life we leave the reader to judge from the following facts. The
first occurrence is in John 5:21, `For as the Father raiseth up the
dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He
will.' It is evident that in the first half of this verse the
reference is to the quickening of bodies not hearts; so it
is in the second half of the verse, for the whole verse is a part
of our Lord's vindication for having healed (quickened) the
impotent man on the Sabbath day. The same word is rendered
`quickened' in Rom.4:17, where the reference is to the
re-juvenation of Abraham's body. In Rom.8:11 the reference is
plainer still, `But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from
the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall
also quicken your mortal bodies by His spirit
that dwelleth in you.' We do not affirm that `zoopoieo,' is limited
to physical quickening, but this is the most common application of
the word in the New Testament. All doubt should be removed as to
its exact force in 1 Cor.15:22 from the fact that in the same
chapter it is employed twice more in its primary and restricted
sense: `Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened
except it die' (verse 36). Here the reference can only be to
physical quickening. So, again, we read `There is a natural
body, and there is a spiritual body. And
so it is written, The First man, Adam, was made a living
soul; the "last Adam a quickening spirit" (verses 44,45). Here
again it is evident that `quickening' refers to bodily
The fact that the Holy Spirit has
employed the term `zoopoieo' (quickened) rather than `egeiroo'
(raised) in 1 Cor.15:22 only brings out the minute and marvelous
accuracy of Scripture. If only sleeping saints were in
view it would have said "raised," but as there will be living
saints to be "changed" as well, the Holy Spirit has used "made
alive" so as to include both the dead in Christ and those
alive on the earth.
He Who Lives and Believes shall Never
Lord calls Himself the Resurrection and the Life" (John
11:25). He speaks of "the resurrection of judgment" and "the
resurrection of life" (John 5:29). It is evident that resurrection
includes life. Those raised for judgment will have life. Why, then,
is it not also a "resurrection of life?" Is it not clear
that our Lord is giving the word "life" a higher and fuller sense
than it ordinarily carries?
Far from calling the healing of the
infirm, man by this term, He speaks of this as greater
(John 5:20). "For even as the Father is rousing the dead
and vivifying them, thus the Son, also, is vivifying whom
He will." It is life superimposed on life. This may not be so
immediately evident in every case as in the direct statements of
our Lord, but there is no passage but bears it out.
Even the case of Abraham, which is
adduced to the contrary, is a good example. Abraham was not dead.
He was not concerned with his resurrection after he had died. He
was concerned with the perpetuation of his life by means of the
seed that God had promised. He needed vivification, not
resurrection. And God gave it to him, for that seed will live
eternally in myriads of his descendants.
In Romans the subject is not
resurrection, for the body is not dead, but mortal, that is,
subject to death (Rom.8:11). You cannot resurrect a mortal
body, for it is not dead. You can vivify it, or give a live body an
immortal life. The whole point in this passage depends on the
distinction between vivification and resurrection. To give a
mortal body physical life is absurd, for it already has
The same great truth is evident in
connection with the law. If there had been a law given able to give
life, righteousness would have been out of law (Gal.3:21). Surely
it is not a question of the law raising the dead, or of giving
physical life! If it could have been kept it would have given
eternal, deathless life. The law has no jurisdiction over the dead.
It came to those who had physical life. It promised those who kept
it immunity from death, or, in other words, vivification.
Even as the Father has life in
Himself, thus also He gives to the Son to have life in Himself
(John 5:26). He alone has immortality (1 Tim.6:15). This is the
context in which we find the statement that God is making all alive
(1 Tim.6:13). It would be intensely trite to say that He gives all
physical life in such a connection. He does that and far more. He
has vivified Christ. He will vivify those who are His at His
presence. He will vivify all in due time.
No wonder our critic does "not affirm
that `zoopoieo' is limited to physical quickening" (though that is
vital to his argument) when we read of "being put to death, indeed,
in flesh, yet made alive in spirit" (1 Peter
3:18). But why does he not quote this passage? This cannot
refer to bodily quickening.
There are three references to
vivification in the fifteenth of first Corinthians, two of which,
we are told, should remove all doubt that it is limited to
"physical quickening." Following the statement that "If there is a
soulish body there is a spiritual, also" we are told that "The
first man Adam because a living soul; the last Adam a life
imparting spirit." This is referred to "bodily quickening." The
soulish body has physical life. Consequently the last Adam, when He
vivifies, is not a whit superior to the first! All that we will
have in the resurrection will be a living body, still subject to
death with a glory no greater than our present soulish bodies! Now
all who know Him are aware that this is not true. When He makes us
alive we will be beyond the power of death with bodies of glory and
power. This passage is the last one to appeal to, to prove that
vivification is no more than the healing that came to the impotent
man at Bethesda.
The Second Death is Natural, Physical
more passage remains which he deems conclusive. "What you are
sowing is not being made to live if it should not die" (1 Cor.
15:36). We quote from the CONCORDANT VERSION because the A. V. does
not heed one word in the Greek at all. It is AN, meaning
ever. The word die is in the subjunctive,
MAY-BE-DYING. To indicate the force of AN, ever, we change
the MAY to SHOULD. It is usually supposed that the argument runs to
the effect that no seed will germinate unless it dies first. Anyone
who will put this to a practical test will be greatly disappointed
in his crop. Dead seeds will not give life. Here, as elsewhere, it
is life superimposed on life. The life of the plant perpetuates the
life of the seed, though the seed itself must die. This is in a
different natural realm and should never be used in this
discussion, yet it is in full harmony with the truth that, in the
Scriptures, to vivify is a different matter from resurrection. It
is an added grace.
If no other proof could be offered
will not his own words suffice? He says that "make alive"
is used in this passage because when the Lord comes, there will be
living saints as well as those raised from the dead. The living
saints will be "made alive." The living will be given
non-eternal physical life! As they already have that,
vivification is reduced to nothing.
Moreover, Christ Himself is the
Firstfruit of those who are vivified. Did He receive non-eternal,
physical rejuvenation at His resurrection? How, indeed, can He be
the Firstfruits when some were raised by the prophets long before
He came in flesh and He Himself raised three from the dead, giving
them non-eternal physical life at the very least? What is it that
distinguishes His case from theirs, and the case of the saints from
the resurrection of judgment?
It is the possession of life,
immortal life, beyond the jurisdiction of death. Christ is the
Firstfruit of such, and not of the resurrection. It is this
abundant life which is indicated by the term "making alive" or
"vivification" in the Scriptures. The hopeless tangle in which our
brother involves himself, and his own admission that his definition
is unsatisfactory ought to be enough to convince all that the truth
is elsewhere. Truth does not suppress passages which appear
unfavorable, nor does it blindly produce an argument against
In conclusion, let us give our Lord's
definition of His own statement that He is the Resurrection and the
Life (John 11:25). He expands the first thus: "he that believeth in
Me though he were dead, yet shall he live." He is the Life because
"whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall not die for the eon."
In brief, vivification imparts eternal life. "Believest thou
Before leaving this passage we
must notice two other points in Mr. Knoch's erroneous
interpretation. In 1 Cor.15:26 we read, `The last enemy that shall
be destroyed is death.' Would it be thought possible that any one
who boasts so frequently of his consistency would make this to mean
anything more than natural death, physical death, the first death?
Let the reader note carefully the following statement: the word
`die' occurs in verses 22, 31, 36, `died' in verse 3; `dead' in
verses 12, 13, 15, 16, 20, 21, 29 32, 35, 42, 52; `death' in verses
21, 26, 54, 56, and in no single instance is the reference
to anything more than physical death, the first death! By what
sound principle of exegesis then can `death' in verse 26 be made to
mean the second death, the Lake of Fire? To say as Mr Knoch does
that `death' in 1 Cor.15:26 signifies the second death, is
an arbitrary assertion, as a glance at the above reference
will prove. It is more: it is a wicked perversion of the truth. On
page 58 of `All in All' Mr. Knoch writes: `These all find their
place in the lake of fire and sulphur, which is the second
death (Rev.20:14; 21:8). A comparison of 1 Cor.15:26 with this
statement will show that the lake of fire is to be abolished at the
consummation.' This is a falsehood, pure and simple, for 1
Cor.15:26 says nothing about `the lake of fire' being
abolished. 1 Cor.15:26 declares that it is `death' which shall be
destroyed, death there termed `the last enemy,' and the context,
both before and after, shows plainly that it is the
believer's `last enemy' which is in view; and
their `last enemy' is not the `second death,' but
the first death."
|The Meaning of "All in All"
falsehood in our statement lies in believing that the lake of fire
is the second death. It lies in believing that the second death is
death. The second death is so called, not because it is something
entirely different from natural," "physical death," but because it
is natural, physical death. Because our brother has some unnatural,
metaphysical, theological death in mind he is led into this
outburst. It would lead us too far away from our main theme to
prove that the word "second" does not affect the character of the
death. In the same scroll we read of the second animal (Rev.4:7),
the second seal (6:3), the second messenger (8:8), the second woe
(11:14), the second Alleluia (19:3), the second foundation (21:19).
In no case does the word "second" suggest anything different.
Moreover, the phrase "the second death" is God's definition of the
lake of fire. He uses a well-known term "death" to explain to us
what the lake of fire is. We must take it in the same
sense as it is elsewhere used. The second death is death just as
much as the first. It is perfectly consistent to refer the
abolition of death to the second. In fact it is absurd to refer it
to any other.
But it is not necessary to believe
God's simple definition to see how untenable is the position taken
by our brother. It seems incredible that he should not have been
struck by its incongruity. He insists that the last enemy is the
first death. Consequently the second death comes after the last
enemy has been abolished! He insists it is the believer's last
enemy. The time when it is abolished is clear. All sovereignty and
authority and power must be abrogated before that time (1
Cor.15:24). It cannot be before the reign of Christ, during the
thousand years. It cannot be during the reign of the Son for the
eon of the eon (Heb.1:8). It cannot be until the Son becomes
subject, and all rule has vanished. Hence death is not abolished
for the believer until the consummation! Either we are not raised
at Christ's presence, or, being raised, are still subject to death
during the thousand years and the reign which follows in the new
Of course, he may say that "all"
sovereignty does not mean all. But what sovereignty does our Lord
exercise on earth prior to our resurrection? Does not His kingdom
commence after we are caught up to meet Him? Consequently
"all" sovereignty would be reduced to none! He would give
up a kingdom He never had!
Let anyone compare the statement that
the lake of fire is the second death (Rev.20:14) with the abolition
of death at the consummation when the Son gives up the kingdom (1
Cor.15:24), after death has been cast into the lake of
fire (Rev.20:14) and then judge for himself whether it is "a
falsehood, pure and simple," to say that the lake of fire is to be
abolished at the consummation. When God says one thing is another
we have no hesitancy in believing Him.
"Another of Mr. Knoch's glosses
(borrowed from Mr. A. Jukes) is the mystical meaning which
he gives to the concluding words of 1 Cor.15:28: "That God may be
all in all." Mr. Knoch makes this to mean that God may be "all" in
all creatures (The Mysteries, pages 246-9), whereas the
context makes it plain that God may be `All in all' signifies that
"at the conclusion of Christ's mediatorial reign GOD'S
SUPREMACY will be fully manifested.
"After we had completed that last
sentence above we consulted Mr. F. W. Grant to note his
interpretation, and we find ours is in entire accord. Here are his
words: `If Christ's enemies had become His friends before
He gave up the kingdom (which is what Mr. Knoch contends), His
giving it up would not make God all in their hearts any more than
before. But it is the giving up of the kingdom that
makes God `all in all.' Evidently then the sense is that He will be
in recognized and immediate supremacy everywhere' (`Facts
and Theories of a Future State,' page 401).
As I have never possessed a copy of
Mr. Jukes' book and had not read it when "The Mystery of the
Gospel" was written, it must have been a case of borrowing by
mental telepathy. But where is the "mystical" meaning? To say that
"all in all" signifies "the manifestation of God's supremacy" may
not be mystical, but it is very far indeed from the truth. The
Chinese revision committee did not think that "all in all" would
convey this idea, so they deliberately made it "Lord of all
over all." When we say "Christ is my all," what do we
mean? That He is our Lord? Yes, and our Saviour and Friend and our
Lover, our Wisdom and our Righteousness, and our Holiness--He is
everything to us! There is nothing mystical about that.
And that is just what God wishes to be and what He will be!
Will He be this only in some? No! He
will be All in all! It is insinuated that this is not the
natural sense of in all, so we will give a few passages in
which it is used of persons.
||Howbeit there is not in every man
||One God and Father of all, Who is
above all, and through all, and in
||admired in all them that
||Marriage is honorable in
These passages make it clear that
in all may refer to persons without the least mysticism.
Knowledge and belief and marriage are not associated with things.
But let us call special attention to the reference found in
Ephesians, for God is there spoken of as being in all His
saints at present, precisely as He will be in all at the
consummation. But He is also above all. This is an
entirely different thought from being in all. Yet this is
the terse vigorous way of speaking of God's supremacy. But this is
not what He will be at the consummation. He will be
in all, not over all.
The thought of manifestation is
entirely absent. It is not that He will appear to be
over all, but He will be in
|Paternal Authority Replaces Government
a pitiable play on words is the charge that we teach that Christ's
enemies become friends before He gives up the kingdom!
When have we ever said it? Again and again we have said that
when the last enemy is abolished, then the Son
abdicates and God becomes All in all. If there were still enmity we
might imagine God being over all, but with all enmity
gone, it is easy to see how He can become All in all.
The "kingdom" is given up to the
Father, after all sovereignty and authority and power
have been abrogated. What kind of a "supremacy" will God
"fully manifest" which has no power, no authority, no
sovereignty? Thank God, all these elements, which characterized
government during the eons, will be utterly unnecessary when the
Son of God is finished with His "mediatorial" work. Instead of
God's supremacy being fully manifested at that time, it
will be entirely absent, and God, as Father, will guide His family
by the sweet constraint of love.
After all, the fullness of "in Christ
all shall be made alive" cannot be camouflaged by distorting it.
Its meaning does not depend on the order of the words, but on the
actual fact conveyed by the previous phrase, "As in Adam all are
dying." Altering the divine order of these words into "As all in
Adam are dying" does not change the fact that all mankind
is involved. So, wrenching the divine order to "all in Christ shall
be made alive" does not touch the truth that it is
co-extensive with the scope of death.
The whole of this elaborate
discussion may be summed up in one query, What has God
IN CHRIST ALL
all in Christ?
now come to the grandest of all God's revelations, the
reconciliation of the universe, and we are actually asked to
believe that this refers to things, not to persons! This
assertion has been made before. We have thought it so ridiculous
that it seemed best not to notice it, leaving it to expose its own
folly. This has been the wisest course, for honest hearts who heard
it were led to conclude that, if such an absurdity is necessary to
sustain the point, the contrary must certainly be true. How can
things be reconciled?
The few phrases in the Hebrew
Scriptures, such as reconciling the house, have been
properly changed to atoning in the Revision. As the
theological definition is "the act of bringing God and man into
agreement," it is evident that our brother boldly ignores all the
good and great men he has been lauding, without even an
explanation. Were they all wrong? He must prove, hot
assume, that reconciliation is confined to things. He cannot
produce a single passage to substantiate it. The very next verse
tells us the Colossians were reconciled. Were they
We shall notice one other passage
which Mr. Knoch claims in support of his scheme of Universalism,
and that is Col.1:20: `And, having made peace through the blood of
His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, I say,
whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.' In
connection with this verse the impious audacity of Mr. Knoch
appears in its boldest form. With regard to his distorted
interpretations of the scriptures which have already been before
us, we have shown how he is guilty of reading into them what is not
there, and how that he is obliged to interpolate phrases of his own
for which there is absolutely no warrant. But here he dares to
offer a translation which entirely changes the meaning of the words
used by the Holy Spirit in the original. On page 169 of `The Divine
Mysteries' we find him rendering Col.1:20 as follows: `And through
Him to reconcile the universe for Him (when peace is made through
the blood of the cross) whether that on earth or that in the
Before indicating what we believe to
be the real meaning of this verse, we call attention to two of the
changes made by Mr. Knoch. First, he changes `all things' to `the
universe;' and second, he alters the `having made peace' to `when
peace is made.' Now the Greek here for `all things' is `ta panta.'
Panta signifies `all things,' ta is the article in the neuter
gender, so that ta panta means `the all things.' When this
expression occurs on the pages of the New Testament close attention
must be paid to the context, so as to gather its scope from the
setting where it is found. Whether or not there is anything in the
meaning of these Greek words `ta panta' which obliges us
to render them `the universe' we leave it to our readers to judge
for themselves, by the occurrence of them in the following
passages: `I am made the all things to all men, that I
might by all means save some' (1 Cor.9:22). `If any man be in
Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold,
the all things are become new' (2 Cor.5:17). `But speaking
the truth in love may grow up into Him in the all things,
which is the head, even Christ' (Eph.4:15). The words we have
placed in italics in these three passages correspond exactly with
the Greek for `all things' in Col.1:20. Let any one attempt to
substitute `the universe' in 1 Cor.9:22,--`I am made the
universe to all men,' or in 2 Cor.5:17--`Old things have
passed away, behold, the universe is become new;' so with
Eph.4:15. Thus, not only is there nothing in the Greek expression
`ta panta' which obliges us to translate it `the
universe,' but its usage in the New Testament demonstrates the
utter absurdity and impossibility of such a rendition.
A Faulty Foundation for a False
certainly looks serious, for here we have no appeal to human
authority, but to the Scriptures themselves. This is the real way
to go about determining the meaning of ta panta! If we
find, upon investigation, that all of the passages which have this
phrase are like those given it would be well for us to revise our
rendering, and acknowledge our mistake. But there is some subtle
reservation in the twice emphasized "obliges," which arouses our
suspicion that all is not just as it should be. It is evident that
his conscience is uneasy and demands a loophole through which to
escape in case his facts are checked.
The choice of passages given to
substantiate the meaning of ta panta is most unfortunate.
These three passages do not "correspond exactly with the
Greek for `all things' in Col.1:20." Not one of them. The
first one (1 Cor.9:22) omits the the. None of the three
most ancient manuscripts, no recent Greek text or editor has it. It
is simply, as in the CONCORDANT VERSION, "To all I have become
all..." If the writer wishes to act honorably, and no
doubt he does, he will correct this error publicly in Our
In the second one (2 Cor.5:17) the
whole phrase, the all, is omitted by all modern editors
and texts and by the three most ancient manuscripts. The Revisers
do not even give it a note in their margin. Justice to the readers
of Our Hope demands that they be undeceived as to
Thus we see that two of the texts do
not even have the phrase in question! Do these "exactly
correspond?" Is this the way that truth is to be established? These
are false witnesses against the truth. O, why should one of God's
servants fall so low? May God forgive him this wrong!
In the third instance (Eph.4:15) the
phrase actually occurs, but the grammatical usage is entirely
different. We are considering ta panta as the direct
object of the verb, in the phrase reconciles the universe.
Anyone can see that it will not do to translate Eph.4:15 this way,
for that would be "should be growing the all." The A.V. gets around
this by changing to the dative, "may grow up in all
things." But this would be tois pasi or en tois
pasin in the Greek, hence the C. V. prefers "we all
should be growing" because ta panta may be the subject as
well as the object of the sentence.
Worse evidence could scarcely be
found. In fact, in culling out texts to prove his contention he
was forced to choose those which were spurious because the others,
which are authentic, are against him! But why did he suppress
them? He well knew that few readers of Our Hope could or
would look up the other passages. It is very sad!
But we do not wish to hide behind the
errors of others. Their wrong, does not make us right. There are
passages where the phrase the all cannot be rendered by
"the universe," and we need only refer our readers to the
CONCORDANT VERSION to show that we, too, hold with our dear brother
that there is nothing in the phrase itself which
obliges us to render it so. Why, then, do we do it?
The word all, as used in the
Greek original, is quite a study in itself. In the concordance made
for the CONCORDANT VERSION every form of the word has been
classified and special usages have been grouped together.
All is sometimes used as an adjective and sometimes as a
noun. When used as an adjective it is limited by the noun it
modifies, as "all men." When used as a noun it is limited
only by its context.
The all is used as a noun
and is further classified as to whether it is the subject or the
object of a sentence. Gathering together the occurrences which have
the all as their object we have a magnificent
cluster of passages which shame the brilliancy of Orion, and
compass the uttermost realms of space as well as farthest stretches
|In English, "the All" means the Universe
do not wish to be sticklers for any form of phraseology and are
quite willing to withdraw the phrase "the universe" just as soon as
it is shown to be wrong. But we believe that few will find fault
with the following renderings, in which "the universe" is used to
distinguish the simple "all" from "the all." These
passages actually are the same in every way in the Greek and have
the same usage in English, hence should be rendered alike.
Now whenever He
might say that all has been subjected, it is evident that it is
outside of Him Who is subjecting the universe to Him. 28
Now whenever the universe may be subjected to Him, then
the Son Himself, also, shall be subject to Him Who subjects the
universe to Him, that God may be All in all (1 Cor.15:27,
...He makes known to us the secret of His will...to have an
administration, the complement of the eras, in which the
universe is to be headed up in the Christ--that in the heavens
as well as that on the earth--even in Him in Whom our lot is cast,
being designated beforehand according to the purpose of the One Who
is operating the universe in accord with the counsel of
His will..." (Eph.1:9-11).
...God, Who creates the universe...(Eph.3:9).
He Who descends is the Same Who ascends, also, above all the
heavens that He should complete the universe
...Who will transfigure the body of our humiliation, to conform it
to His body glorious, in accord with the operation which enables
Him to subject even the universe to Himself
...and through Him to reconcile the universe to Him
Who, being the Effulgence of His glory and the Emblem of His
assumption, as well as carrying on the universe by His
`Thou dost subject all underneath his feet.' For in the subjection
of all to him, He left nothing unsubjected to him
For the universe Thou dost
Happily one of the passages gives
a divine discussion of the very point at issue. The fifteenth of
first Corinthians defines all as in itself so unlimited in
its scope as to include God Himself! Only the nature of the case
leaves God outside of its range. What English expression means just
this? In German we would follow the Greek literally and say
das All. But in English the universe is the exact
equivalent of the divine definition here given, even to the point
that it may or may not include the Deity. Any dictionary will
This is the passage which our
beloved brother should have quoted to show the meaning of the
phrase. There is no question of its right to a place in the text.
It is in exact grammatical accord. The usage is the same. It
specifically defines the very point at issue, which is that the
all, unless limited by the context, includes the universe.
What motive would have prompted the deliberate omission of this
passage? Is not this the offense he seeks to cover with the word
But we cannot consider such priceless
pearls of truth strung on the phrase ta panta without
pausing to view their amazing beauty. We are led from the beginning
to the consummation, from the creation to the reconciliation. He
creates, He carries on, He operates, He subjects, He reconciles.
Did He create a fragment? Then He will reconcile a few. Does He
operate a fraction? Does He subject a selection? Is His headship
confined to His followers? Then reconciliation is restricted to a
If Christ Creates All,
He also Reconciles All
if God creates all and operates all and subjects
all, then He reconciles ALL. Rob Him of the brightest gem
in His diadem and you filch the rays from all the rest.
And so with every one of these
marvelous activities of God and Christ. Rob them of their
universality and they are shorn of their splendor, they sink into a
dread and dark eclipse. One thread of thought will suffice. If all
is not eventually subjected to the Son, then rebellion will never
cease. God will be in constant and eternal conflict with His
creatures. Christ will be proven powerless to perform the task
assigned to Him. The creature is stronger than the Creator!
It will be noted that we do not
render Heb.2:8 the universe. The reason is obvious. In
this context the scope of the passage is limited to the future
inhabited earth (Heb.2:5). Had it not been so confined, we
should have been fully justified in the usual rendering. In
Colossians, the passage in point, the conditions are the opposite.
Instead of limiting the all to the earth, it is expressly
amplified so as to include both earth and heaven lest we should be
led to confine it to this sphere.
The most important conclusion is yet
to be stated. We ourselves could not produce a more powerful
argument for the truth than is furnished by this incident. Why, the
suppression of a dozen passages which disprove his point is enough
for any honest heart! But the tragic faculty of ferreting out all
the texts which are inapplicable or spurious absolutely assures us
that the one who chose them is seeking a foundation for that which
is false. He, rather than we, has put this point beyond the
possibility of appeal! We thank him for his efforts.
other change which Mr. Knoch has made from `hath made peace' to
`when peace is made' is, if possible, even worse.
As no reason or evidence is given
why "when peace is made" is so impossibly worse than "hath made
peace," we will not take the space to repeat what we have already
set forth on page 19 of "The Greek and English Indefinite." The
rendering we gave was the result of weeks of careful study and
compilation of hundreds of passages in which the indefinite
participle occurs. Examples were found where its action was in the
past, as here, and examples were found where the action is in the
future, as "what shall I do to inherit eternal life" (Luke
18:18)? When all the evidence is considered, there can be no doubt
that this indefinite participle is timeless. It records a
fact, not an act. In the CONCORDANT VERSION the
when has been omitted because the simple participle
"making peace" carries the indefinite sense sufficiently without
it. Besides all this, "having made peace" calls for a
different form of the verb, ending in -koos.
At the time this is written we are
working on the translation of Heb.7:27. Speaking of the sacrifice
of Christ, we read, "this He does once, when offering up
Himself." Was the sacrifice after "having offered" up
Himself? This is surely incorrect, for the offering up was the
sacrifice. Hence the indefinite participle is here rendered,
"Now in order to arrive at a
proper understanding of Col.1:20 several things in it need to be
carefully weighed--any one of which is sufficient to show the
falsity of Mr. Knoch's interpretation.
"First, the Greek verb which is
rendered in the 1611 version `to reconcile' is in the aorist, and
refers, therefore, to a past action. The reconciliation of
verse 20, so far from pointing forward to some far distant hour in
the future, refers to something already
|The Aorist is Not a Past Tense
more we must make allowances for those who study grammars
about the Greek rather than the inspired text itself. The
statement that the aorist is a past tense may be "proven" by a
reference to most elementary Greek grammars, but it cannot be shown
in the Scriptures themselves. Great scholars, as Weymouth, say it
is not past. As we have a complete pamphlet on this
subject, we refer our readers to "The Greek and English
Indefinite," which shows that this form is just what its Greek name
says it is. It is not a past tense, but indefinite. One example
will suffice for those who wish to bow to the authority of God's
Word. Paul wrote to the Romans concerning the saints of the
Circumcision, "for if the nations participate in their spiritual
things, they ought also to minister to them in carnal
things" (Rom.15:27). The word for to minister is in the
aorist, exactly the same as to reconcile. How could Paul
urge the saints to minister to them in the past?
Was it "already accomplished?" This is an aorist, or
indefinite form, and includes the past, present and
Second, as already quoted above,
in the Greek the `all things' is prefaced by the definite
article--`the all things.' The usage of the article
limits the `all things.' It serves both to define and
confine the `all things' spoken of."
This statement is so vague that we
will supply an example in order to determine whether "the" really
limits the simple all. That it is used to
define it, we have indicated by translating the
all, the universe, and without the, simply
all. In 1 Cor.15:27 (quoted above) all occurs
both with and without the the, as follows: "now whenever
He might say that all has been subjected, it is evident
that it is outside of Him Who is subjecting the all to
Him." What difference is there between the limits of
all and the all in this passage?
There is none at all. Both include
the universe with the evident exception of God Himself. This
missile, thrown at a venture, is a boomerang. The truth is not
driven to such expedients. Only the false needs such
Third, Col.1:20 is speaking of the
reconciliation of `things,' not persons. It may be replied
that `all things' includes persons. Our reply would be, Not so
here. If every passage where `panta' and `ta panta' is examined, it
will be found that in the vast majority of instances the reference
is strictly to `things,' not persons--(cf Matt.19:26; 21:22, etc.,
etc.). In the very few cases where persons are included
the Holy Spirit has been careful to indicate this by a specific
amplification, as for instance in 1 Cor.3:21,22 and in Col.1:16.
But where `all things' stands alone (no persons being named in the
words immediately following) persons are always excluded. What
`the all things' in Col.1:20 is we are told in the
remainder of the verse--`whether they be things in earth, or things
in heaven;' for the `things in heaven' compare Heb.9:23.
The Greek "Neuter" is
previous quotation it is said that "Panta signifies `all things,'
ta is the article in the neuter gender, so that ta
panta means 'the all things.' "Such a slip as this may be
pardoned when we reflect that it is usual, in elementary Greek
grammars, to call the indefinite gender "neuter." In English the
neuter gender cannot be used of either masculine or feminine
objects. The Greek has no form like this. The so-called "neuter"
applies to both persons and things. We do not need to study Greek
grammar to satisfy ourselves on this point. Any of the passages
already quoted will show that ta panta is not confined to
things. What sense can there be to the subjection of all
things to the Son except God? Our dear brother
surely does not wish to tell us that God is not a Person (1
Cor.15:28)! Is Christ's headship to be confined to things
(Eph.1:10)? Does not God's creation include persons (Eph.3:9)? Does
God make all things alive (1 Tim.6:13)? The single phrase
panta ta ethnee, "all the nations," completely destroys
the contention that panta is neuter (Mat.28:19; Luke
21:24; 24:47; Rom.16:26; Rev.12:5; 14:18). Nations are not composed
of things only, but of persons. So also, "all the demons"
(Luke 9:1). Panta is indefinite, referring to either
persons or things.
Besides, how can things be
reconciled? Our brother himself sees this, for in his
fifth objection he insists that only those who have been alienated
can be reconciled. Those passages in the Hebrew Scriptures which
speak of reconciling the house (Ezek.45:20, etc,)
are mostly mistranslations of the word otherwise rendered
atone. Heb.9:23 speaks of cleansing, not
reconciling. The basis of the reconciliation is the peace made by
the blood of the cross. Has He made peace for things? Both
of the two other occurrences of reconcile, apply to
The very next verse applies it to the
Colossians: "And you, being once estranged and enemies in
comprehension, in acts of wickedness, He now reconciles..."
(Col.1:21) "that He should create the two, in Him, into one new
humanity, making peace; and should be reconciling both with God in
one body through the cross" (Eph.2:15,16).
Let us try another test. Having
disposed of the fallacy that only things are referred to,
it is easy to see that the reconciliation of the Colossians, in the
next verse, is a part of the all to be reconciled. When
did it occur in their case? Was it when the Son of God died for
them? No. It was after they had been estranged. It was not until
they "obtained the conciliation" (Rom. 5:11). "To reconcile" is
still future for all who have not yet been called, and for that
great host who will not enjoy it until the consummation.
For the sake of those who know no
Greek, we must explain that the original knows nothing of
things on earth or things in heaven. It is simply
the article the. Any argument based on it is built upon a
weakness in translation.
Fourth, it should be carefully
noted that nothing whatever is said in Col.1:20 about the
underworld--`the things under the earth' being omitted by the
Holy Spirit. If the reconciliation of `the universe' was
comprehended in the expression `the all things' then, most
assuredly, would the remainder of the verse have read, `whether
things in earth, or things in heaven or things under the
earth, seeing that the concluding clauses are
obviously a definition and description of what is to be
`reconciled.' That `things under the earth' (cf Phil.2:10) are
not mentioned here is conclusive proof that the underworld is
excluded from the reconciliation.
There can be no question in the
mind of anyone who understands English that the word
whether never introduces a definition or description of
any kind. But perhaps the translation is wrong, and our brother
uses the word as it is in the Greek. Let us consider a few
1 Cor.12:13 For in one spirit we all are baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves
It Does Not Limit
one can read this and say that the spirit is limited to
Jews and Greeks, slaves and free. It includes them.
"Whether" amplifies a statement. It insists that it is
true in either alternative. Reconciliation is true whether in
heaven or on earth. It removes limits.
Suppose we inject the idea of
limitation into 2 Cor.5:10 "that each may be requited for that
which he puts into practice through the body, whether it
is good or bad. It verges on silliness to say that this
restricts the investigation to our good and bad acts
Test Eph.6:8 the same way,
"...whatever good each one may do, for this he will be requited by
the Lord, whether slave or free." Those who are
neither slave nor free will not be rewarded in that day!
Take 1 Cor.3:22. Without the
necessity of mentioning everything which might be enumerated, we
are given an overwhelming sense of universality. "...for all is
yours, whether Paul or Apollos, or
Cephas, or the world, or life, or death,
or the present, or the future--all is yours, yet
you are Christ's, and Christ is God's." The continued repetition of
or tends to enlarge our vision so we shall not miss the
all-embracing scope of the first statement.
Coming closer to the context, what
limitations shall we put on Col.1:16? "Seeing that the universe in
the heavens and on the earth is created in Him--the visible and the
invisible, whether thrones, or dominions or sovereignties
or authorities--" Is the invisible creation of the Son of God
confined to these specially named forms of government? We
note that "powers" (Eph.1:21) are lacking in this list. Are they
outside of its scope? May God forgive such treasonable
insinuations! He knows we would not suggest them except to expose
Finally, we will take a passage of
exactly the same scope as Col.1:20. In 1 Cor.8:5,6 we read, "For
even if so be that there are those being termed gods,
whether in heaven or on earth, even as there are
many gods and many lords, nevertheless to us there is one God, the
Father, out of Whom all is, and we for Him, and one Lord, Jesus
Christ, through Whom all is, and we through Him. "Who would even
suppose that the scope of this passage is limited to
heaven and earth? The gods in the sea and in the underworld are
outside its consideration! These places did not come from God or
through our Lord! We would like to see a single Scripture in which
the phrase heaven and earth is used that does not convey, to all
honest and rational minds, the idea of a complete inclusion of all
there is. Until its application to the reconciliation of all was
noted, no one dreamed of giving it any other force. From the first
of Genesis to the twenty-first of Revelation it includes
Fifth, that the reconciliation
cannot be absolute or universal is unequivocally established by the
fact that every creature in the universe needed not to
be "reconciled," for the simple reason that every creature has
not been "alienated" from God. The unfallen angels have
never been at enmity against God, and, therefore, peace needed not
to be made for them. Hence, as there is one class of God's
creatures who cannot be "reconciled" there can be no such
thing as a universal reconciliation.
If we must reason, here
is a premise on which we can agree. Only those at enmity with God
can be reconciled. Hence things cannot be included, for
they can not harbor enmity. As the Scriptures know nothing of
"unfallen angels," this is only another case of the rejection of
God's Word because of a theological tradition. There is no
Scriptural ground whatever for excluding any part of the universe
from the benefits of the death of God's beloved Son.
Sixth, it should also be noted
that the reconciliation of `things in earth' and `things
in heaven' is not universal, for it does not say
`all things in earth,' or `all things in heaven.'
As a matter of fact all `things in earth' have not been reconciled,
nor will they be. One of the `things' in earth is the sea,
and this, we learn from Rev.21:1, is to be done away with, for
there we read, `And there was no more sea'--that which so
often separated the saints from one another during "the
time of their earthly pilgrimage will be `no more.' Mr. Knoch
himself has felt the force of this and in his characteristic
serpentine fashion has sought to wriggle out of it. On page 244 of
`The Divine Mysteries' he says: `It is a notable fact that the word
aretz (earth) does not include the sea. So that the
statement, `In the beginning Elohim created the...earth,' gives us
to understand that there was no sea on the primeval earth. In the
new earth we are told, `And there was no more sea' (Rev.21:1). So
that an earth as God made it and as He will yet have it has no
seas.' This is a fair sample (illustrations could easily be
multiplied indefinitely) of the subtle but evasive methods which he
follows when fairly cornered. What has the `primeval earth' got to
do with the subject? Whether it had any sea or had no sea is
altogether beside the question. It is not the "things" of
the primeval earth which need "reconciling," but the
"things" of the present earth which have been defiled by
sin. This earth has `seas' and the fact that they are
not among the `things' reconciled refutes his contention
of universal reconciliation.
The thought that the sea is one of
the "things" in the earth which need reconciling is quite
a novel one. We were not aware of its enmity to God. However, as it
is to vanish in the new earth, it does not affect the matter in
hand. We willingly and cheerfully acknowledge that the sea itself
will not be reconciled to God!
But the dead in the sea will be
reconciled, for the sea will give up the dead in it before it is
done away with (Rev.20:13). After that they certainly will be
included in the phrase "on earth or in the heavens." This is
bordering so closely on the ridiculous that we forbear. Are ships
"on earth" when they sail the sea? Are submarines? "On earth"
includes the sea. The Son glorified the Father "on the earth" (John
17:4). Shall we conclude that He was out of fellowship when He
walked upon the sea (Mark 6:48)? The conviction of all sober Bible
students that "heaven and earth" includes all, is fully confirmed
by a close study of every occurrence.
Seventh, what follows in verse 21
unequivocally fixes the scope of verse 20. Here we read, `And you,
that were some time alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked
works, yet now hath He reconciled.' Two things should be noted:
first, the `and you' (persons) is in designed contrast
from `the all things' of verse 20; second, `yet now hath
He reconciled' points a further contrast. Mr. Knoch has been quick
to seize upon this (while complacently ignoring the first contrast)
and argues that the present reconciliation of the Colossian saints
is contrasted with the yet future reconciliation of the
`universe'(?). But, as a matter of fact, the antithesis is of quite
another nature. The `yet now' (present) is set over
against the past (accomplished) reconciliation of the
previous verse, where the verb is in the aorist tense. In proof, we
ask our readers to weigh carefully the use of this same term in the
`For when we were in the
flesh (judicially), the motions of sins, which were by the law, did
work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But
now we are delivered from the law,' etc. (Rom.7:5,6). `That at
that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the
commonwealth of Israel....but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes
were far off are made nigh by the blood of
Christ' (Eph.2:12,13). `Even the mystery which hath been
hid from ages and from generations, but now is made
manifest to His saints' (Col.1:26)--(cf also Rom.7:21,22; 1
Cor.5:9; 2 Cor.8:22). In all of these "now" points a contrast
from the past, not the future. It is so in Col.1:20,21. We
conclude, then, our comments upon this passage with words borrowed
from Sir Robert Anderson: `All this leads to the unmistakable
conclusion that `the reconciliation of all things' is not a hope to
be fulfilled in the coming eternity, but a fact
accomplished in the death of Christ.'
Our authority for complacently
ignoring the "contrast" between "and you" and "the all
things" is the introductory conjunction. And
cannot introduce a contrast. If such had been intended,
yet, or but, would have been used. It shows
beyond question that things includes the Colossians.
If we have ever based a contrast
between the present reconciliation of the Colossians and the future
universal reconciliation on the word now we are heartily
ashamed of it and retract it without qualification. We cannot find
any place in our writings where we have done this. The contrast is
clearly between the past estrangement and present reconciliation of
the Colossians themselves, and has no reference to the universal
|Conciliation is One-Sided . . .
Robert Anderson's unmistakable conclusion was not based on the
point here presented, but on a study of the word
katallassoo, conciliate, showing that it was a
one-sided change. This meaning he transferred to
apokatallassoo, reconcile, notwithstanding the
fact that the added prefix transformed it into a two-sided change.
In other words, his unmistakable conclusion was founded on the
mistake of failing to distinguish between the things that differ.
His study of conciliation was very good, and a great advance in the
truth. But he should not have allowed himself to ignore the vital
distinction between conciliation and reconciliation. That all may
be able to consider this important point for themselves we give all
of the occurrences of these two words:
||Through Whom we now obtained the
||if their casting away is the conciliation of the
||the dispensation of the
||the word of the
||being enemies, we were conciliated to God
||being conciliated, we shall be saved
by His life
||let her remain unmarried or be conciliated to her
||yet all is of God, Who conciliates us to Himself
||God was in Christ conciliating the world to
||We are beseeching for Christ, "Be conciliated to
|. . . Reconciliation is Mutual
Robert Anderson's deductions from these passages was that
conciliation (miscalled reconciliation) was on one side only. God
is conciliated. We receive it. This is the essence of the gospel
for this era of grace. We do not differ from him in this. Rather,
we commend and thank him. But when he seeks to carry this point
over to the fuller form, we must protest. Reconciliation is more
than conciliation. The latter is one-sided, the former is
||and should be reconciling both with God
||and through Him to reconcile the universe to
||And you...He now
The conciliation is concerned with
God's attitude toward the world. There is no estrangement on His
side. The message of the gospel is not "be reconciled!" for that
would imply a change on God's part. We beseech men to be
conciliated, to lay aside their enmity as God has done His. The
result of mutual conciliation is reconciliation.
In Ephesians the estrangement is
between Jew and gentile. Both were at enmity. A change was needed
on both sides. Hence they are reconciled. Conciliation was effected
at the cross, reconciliation occurs when we obtain the
conciliation. Hence the Colossians were reconciled (1:21). This
leaves the one passage in point. Does He conciliate the
universe or does He reconcile it? Which word is used?
As the word for conciliation is
not used the "unmistakable conclusion" is that it is
not "a fact accomplished in the death of Christ." The time
element in both Ephesians and Colossians shows that it was after
Paul's ministry that the reconciliation was accomplished. Jew and
gentile were not reconciled at the death of God's Son. It was not
until Paul's Roman imprisonment and the casting aside of Israel
that this reconciliation was possible.
The Colossians were once estranged.
They continued to be estranged long after the death of Christ. When
this estrangement ended, they were reconciled. This was not a fact
accomplished on Calvary.
other conclusion is possible but that the reconciliation of the
universe, though founded on the peace which comes through the blood
of His cross, is not a mere conciliation, but a full reconciliation
to be accomplished only when all estrangement between God and his
creatures is done away.
In concluding this section of our
defense we desire to record our sorrow that necessity has compelled
us to expose the false dealing of our brother in choosing
discredited texts to prove his position, and in deliberately
suppressing those which disprove it. It is really painful to be
drawn into a discussion concerning the reconciliation of
things, for we feel that no sober, intelligent saint
wishes to descend to such unprofitable inanities.
Our only consolation lies in the
thought that, if such arguments are the best that can be brought
against the truth, they alone should be sufficient to convince all
of God's grand purpose to reconcile the universe through the blood
of His cross.
In brief, what has God
HE RECONCILES THE
or, He reconciles some things?
THE EONIAN TIMES
TO ONE acquainted with
the doctrine of the eons, as set forth in the works mentioned, the
following criticism is most convincing! He prefers not to take up
the subject of the ages or eons, though this is vital to the whole
discussion! We particularly requested anyone who wishes to dispute
this great truth to explain the three different phrases found in
THE EON OF THE EON,
THE EON OF THE EONS, Eph.3:21.
THE EONS OF THE EONS, Gal.1:5; Phil.1:20; etc.
So long as he has not even
attempted to explain the three test phrases, we conclude that he
cannot do so. If he cannot do so, let him acknowledge it
publicly and not hide behind such futile excuses as that it is
"outside the scope of the present discussion." It is not
outside. It is inside. It is the very heart of the whole matter. We
will go much farther than he dares. We will publish any explanation
he may offer, within reasonable bounds. We are not afraid of having
our readers consider any argument against the truth.
Just as he finds it necessary to
misquote "in Christ all" and to bring up spurious passages to
discredit our rendering "the universe," while avoiding the true
texts, so now he finds it convenient to pass by all passages which
prove our position and base his argument on two texts which he and
everyone else knows are not even intelligible in the versions.
Altogether apart from any argument, the necessity which compels him
to do this, instead of boldly facing the facts, is sufficient to
show how utterly untenable and hopeless his case is.
We might well conclude at the
stage which has now been reached, but, lest those who have been
ensnared by the sophistries of this system should conclude that
what Mr. Knoch has advanced in connection with the Eons is
unassailable, and for the benefit of those who are anxious for this
part of his teaching to be examined, we have decided to offer a few
remarks upon the closing sections of his books.
Mr. Knoch is determined to repudiate
the endless punishment of the lost at all costs and so fearful that
those he addresses may not be fully convinced by his interpretation
of the scriptures, which he claims teach the ultimate salvation of
all without exception, he has been at great pains to show that the
many passages in the 1611 version which affirm the everlasting
misery of those who die in their sins are erroneous renditions,
that the Greek words do not mean what the English translators have
made them to signify.
Mr. Knoch has drawn up an elaborate
scheme concerning the Eons (Ages). He tells us that "time is
divided into three grand divisions, which are characterized in
Scripture as `before the eons' (query: what `time' was there
before `the Eons?') `The eonian times,' and `the
consummation,' which follows the end of the eons" (1 Cor.10:11).
Instead of following Mr Knoch through all his wanderings on this
subject, we propose to test his scheme at the one point which is
most vital to our present discussion, and that is, whether or not
the Word of God speaks of the ending of the Eons or Ages
that follow the Great White Throne judgment. It is outside the
scope of our present purpose to examine what he has written
concerning the beginning of the eons, as it is to follow him with
regard to his teaching concerning the present eons. Nor shall we
occupy ourselves with the next eon--the millennium. What we are now
concerned with is the eons which follow the
It should be apparent to all that
what is of most vital moment in connection with the issue raised is
whether or not the Holy Scriptures expressly affirm that the ages
following the Great White Throne judgment have any ending.
Once the inquiry is narrowed down to this point It will be
discovered by any one who has given Mr. Knoch's writings a careful
reading that here is the real weakness in his position.
All that he has so laboriously compiled on the other branches of
the subject of the Eons leads away from the vital issue in
It will be noted from the quotation
made above that when speaking of "the consummation," which Mr.
Knoch tells us "follows the end of the eons," and which in this
connection can only mean the ending of all the
eons, or to use his expression "the eonian times"--it will be
noted, we say, that he refers to 1 Cor.10:11 as his proof. Let us
turn then to this passage which he invests with such peculiar
importance and see whether it furnishes what he leads us to expect
1 Cor:10:11 in the 1611 version reads
as follows, `Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples:
and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the
world are come.' The only change needed in its wording is to
substitute `ages' for `world.' Reading it thus what are we told?
This: "They are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of
the ages are come." This verse, then, makes no
reference at all to what shall follow the Great White
Throne judgment. It has nothing whatever to say about the ending of
any future ages. Instead, it speaks of past ages, the
"ends" of which had already arrived when the apostle wrote his
|"The Ends of the World"
-- When Is It?
asks "what `time' was there before `the Eons?'" It is
written that God's grace was given us in Christ Jesus "before
times eonian" (2 Tim.1:9). God promises us life "before
times eonian" (Titus 1:2). God's secret wisdom existed "before
the eons" (1 Cor.2:7). There was a gift, a promise, a secret
purpose before the eonian times. If the period preceding the eons
was not "time," what was it? When we use similar phrases, we always
imply the presence of time. "Before the time of Christ" refers to a
The question here is really very
simple. Does the phrase "the ages" or the "the eons" refer to the
past eons or to "the eons" without any such restriction?
Misled by the loose rendering of the context he insists that they
are past. We propose to show that the context does not call for the
past and that there were no ends of the past eons present when Paul
wrote to the Corinthians.
The two simple phrases "from
the eon" and "for the eon" define the length of the
present eon. The present evil eon (Gal. 1:4) goes back to a time
before David (Luke 1:70) and all the prophets (Acts 3:21). The
nearest single end of an eon which might "come" upon the
Corinthians was before the deluge, a matter of at least two
thousand years. The present eon will continue as long as Israel is
apostate (Matt.21:19; Mark 11:14). It stretches out beyond the time
of the Corinthians nearly two thousand years. Then a single eon
will end. How then can we understand "upon whom the ends of the
ages are come," when the Corinthians were two thousand
years from the beginning and end of the present eon? The answer
lies in the word come, and is suggested by the translators
themselves when they rendered precisely the same word
attain in Phil.3:11.
|The Comsummations of the Eons
have Arrived, in Spirit
About thirty different Greek words are translated "come" in our
version. This is one of them. Five words are rendered "attain," but
this one seems most suitable. Its ordinary, literal meaning may be
expressed by "arrive at." Its figurative use in Philippians is the
key to its meaning in Corinthians.
| Paul desired to know Him,
and the power of His resurrection
and the participation of His
being conformed to His death,
if somehow he should be attaining to the
from among the dead (Phil.3:10,11).
It is evident, from the whole
tenor of the epistle as well as the immediate context, that Paul is
not concerned to attain to the literal resurrection when
Christ comes. That is not a matter of attainment, but of grace.
What he wishes is a present experience, based on the power
of the future resurrection. He desires to live as a resurrection
man. In this way he wished to attain to the resurrection.
The following context confirms this conclusion. He has not
already obtained or been perfected.
Here we have a use of the word
attain which solves the whole difficulty in Corinthians.
There is no need of involving ourselves in futile explanations.
Just as Paul was not actually raised from the dead but entered into
a spiritual realization of the resurrection, so the consummation of
the eons does not actually arrive, but their spiritual counterpart
is present with the Corinthians.
But is there any evidence that this
was really the fact? What is it that will actually come to the
nations at the various consummations of the eons?
The present eon arrives at its
consummation when Christ comes to Israel. Then all the nations will
be blessed through them. The blessing of Abraham will be theirs.
But the Corinthians do not need to wait for that blessed era, for,
in spirit, they received the blessing of Abraham long before it
flows to the nations through Israel. They are justified. The end or
consummation of this eon attains to them in the gift of
The consummation of the next eon is
the new creation. Then God will be at peace with the nations, and
accessible apart from the mediacy of Israel's priesthood. Does this
come to the Corinthians? It surely does! There is a new creation (2
Cor. 5:17)! God is conciliated to the nations! They enjoy, in
spirit, the consummation of the next eon. Is it not clear that the
new creation which they entered is not the literal one which
follows the next eon, but its spiritual counterpart? Just so, the
consummations of the eons have become a spiritual reality to them,
for the blessings of justification and conciliation are theirs,
though these are not due until this eon and the next have run their
course. Even the consummation of the last eon, which brings in the
abrogation of all rule and authority attains to them in a small
measure, though its full manifestation is seen more clearly in
Paul's later epistles.
|Did Christ Appear at
"the End of the World?"
we see the Corinthians enjoying the consummations or fruits of the
three "ends" which are still future. All that we wish to prove is
that each eon has an end or consummation, and that there
is absolutely no shadow of suspicion for any such idea as that the
Corinthians attained the consummations of past eons! The very
absurdity of the thought ought to be sufficient to sink it into
Following his introductory remarks
upon the Eons, Mr. Knoch supplies a number of diagrams. The first
and simplest is a perpendicular line divided into three sections,
the first and last of which are very much shorter than the central
one. These three sections are denominated respectively, "Before the
Eons," "The Eonian Times," "After the Eons." Our object in quoting
this is to call attention to the fact that, though it is vital to
Mr. Knoch's scheme, yet the Word of God never uses the
expression after the Eons." "After the Eons" is an
invention pure and simple.
Some years ago a book appeared
entitled "After the Thousand Years." This expression is not found
in the Word of God. It, too, is an invention. But we are glad to be
able to say that no one thought of attacking it on this score.
Notwithstanding the fact that Scripture does not use the set phrase
"after the thousand years," it speaks of the consummation
of the thousand years (Rev.20:3,5,7), hence no sane expositor can
object to speaking of the time after it.
The same word is used of the eons,
and the objection to "after the eons" will be made by no one whose
stock of arguments has not become very low. The fact remains that
the eons have a consummation, or end.
The second diagram is merely an
expansion in detail of the first, and concerning it we have nothing
now to say. The third, arranged in the form of a chart, is so
elaborate that we cannot properly describe it without reproducing
it, but this is not necessary. It purports to show every reference
in the New Testament to the various eons, plus their supposed
beginnings and endings. Opposite the subsection entitled "The
Consummations of the Eons," which comes right at the close of this
chart, the only reference given again is 1 Cor.10:11. But
in another section entitled "The Conclusion of the Eons" Heb.9:26
is the reference, and the only one that is furnished. Let
us then return to it and see if this passage has anything to say
about the ending of the ages which shall follow the final
`For then must He often have suffered
since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the
world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of
Himself.' Here again we need to change `world' to `age' or rather
`ages' for the Greek uses the plural number. Having made this
change, what does Heb.9:26 tell us? Is it referring to ages yet
to come? Does it conduct us to the terminal of `The Eonian
Times?' Not at all. Like 1 Cor. 9:11 this verse also refers to
`ages' which are already past. It speaks of that point
which had been reached in time when the Son of God `appeared to put
away sin.' Little wonder, then, that Mr. Knoch terms Heb.9:26 `a
puzzling passage' (`All in All,' page 53). The `puzzle' is for him
to find a more satisfactory passage. Really, there is nothing
`puzzling' about it, for it simply refers to `ages' already
1 Cor.10:11 and Heb.9:26 are the
only passages to which Mr. Knoch appeals when speaking of
the ending of the ages. And that for a very good
reason--they are the only ones he can appeal to. As then these two
passages refer to ages, the ends of which have already arrived, we
may confidently affirm that the Word of God is absolutely
silent concerning the ending of any age which follows the
Great White Throne judgment. We earnestly entreat every reader to
seriously and solemnly ponder this.
If the Authorized version of
Heb.9:26 is not a puzzling passage to everyone it is
simply because they are lacking in a sense of the fitness of
things. Did the world come to its end when He appeared to put away
sin? That is what is clearly stated by the common version. And the
puzzle is quite as difficult when we substitute "ages" for world.
Then Christ appeared in the end of the ages! If the ages ended
then, why does our brother deny that they have any end? It is not
vital to our position when the eons or ages end. If they
have an end, that is all that is needed to show that they
are not endless.
We sympathize with the popular
misconception that the cross must of necessity be the great
boundary between this and a previous "age." We talk about "the
gospel age" as though it were inaugurated by the death of Christ.
But the Scriptures are against any such idea. This eon did not
commence at the cross. It is the same age as that in which our Lord
When his disciples asked Him "...what
is... the conclusion of the eon?" (Matt.24:3) did He tell them of
His sacrifice on Calvary? No. He told them of the appearance of
false christs, and of battles. But even then the end was not to be
(Matt.24:6). There would be famine and persecution and the
abomination of desolation and the proclamation of the evangel of
the kingdom in the whole inhabited earth. Then the
consummation will be arriving. The end of the age in which our Lord
lived is still future.
The harvest is at the conclusion of
the eon (Matt.13:39). The coming eon, of which he spoke, is not the
present one, inaugurated at His death, but the still future
Millennial age. No eons were concluded at His sacrifice
for the "putting away" of sin (Heb.9:26).
|Sin will be Repudiated
at the Conclusion of the Eons
Furthermore, sin was not "put away" at that time. Our version
uses "put away" for eight different Greek expressions. Take
away, release, thrust, pardon,
expel, discard, are all rendered "put away." The
word here used means to repudiate. In its only other
occurrence our version makes it disannulling (Heb.7:18).
The verb is rendered reject (Mark 6:26; 7:9; Luke 7:30;
John 12:48), despise (Luke 10:16; 1 Thess.4:8,; Heb.10:28;
Jude 8), bring to nothing (1 Cor.1:19), frustrate
(Gal. 2:21), disannul (Gal.3:15), cast off (1
Tim.5:12). The best English term we could find which combines the
thought of reject, despise, disannul, is
repudiate. Hence, Heb.9:26 speaks of the time when sin is
rejected, despised, disannulled,
repudiated. The cross has made provision for
this, but sin is still with us, and is not despised or rejected or
repudiated by any means.
As this did not occur when the
Sacrifice was offered, when will it take place? At the
conclusion of the eons. The yearly sacrifices under the law
suggested that sin never would be done with. The one Sacrifice is
sufficient and needs no repetition. It insists that the question of
sin will be finally settled. Here we are told when this will be. At
the conclusion of the eons sin will be finally "brought to
nothing," as the translators themselves render the verb when
speaking of the wisdom of the world (1 Cor.1:19).
The CONCORDANT VERSION gives the
following as the literal word for word, equivalent of the Greek:
NOW YET once ON TOGETHER-FINISH OF-THE eons INTO UN-PLACing OF-THE
missing THRU THE SACRIFICE OF-Him HE-HAS-been-made-APPEAR.
This has been idiomatically rendered: "yet now, once, has He been
manifested through His sacrifice, for the repudiation of sin at the
conclusion of the eons."
In all this let us not lose sight of
the fact that it makes no real difference to the argument
when the eons end. He himself proves his own undoing when
he speaks of ages already past. If some ages have ended, then ages
have both a beginning and an end, and that settles the whole
A brief word now upon the
adjective `aionios,' rendered uniformly by the 1611 version (with
one exception--`forever' in Phil.15) `eternal' and `everlasting.'
The meaning of this word has been definitely defined for us by the
Holy Spirit in 2 Cor.4:18: `While we look not at the things which
are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things
which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are
eternal.' Here a contrast is drawn between things `seen' and things
`not seen,' between things `temporal' and things `eternal.' Now, it
is obvious that if the things `temporal' should endure forever
there would be no antithesis between them and things `eternal.' It
is equally obvious that if the things `eternal' are only `age-long'
then they can not be properly contrasted with things
`temporal.' Mr. Knoch felt the force of this and has attempted to
evade it. He tells us that "the word here rendered `temporal' is
nowhere else so rendered, but rather by such phrases as `for a
while' (Matt.13:21), `for a time' (Mark 4:17), `for a season'
(Heb.11:25)." But this does not help his case at all. Let us allow
his alternative rendering--"The things which are seen are for a
while--time--season." Quite so: very true. But now let us
complete the sentence as he would have it worded--"And the
things which are not seen are age-long." What point is there to
this? There is no antithesis between `for a season' and
`age-long.' No; this is merely an evasion. It is more: it is a
denial of God's Word. Just as the things seen are but
temporal, so the things with which they are contrasted will last
as long as the things `not seen.' The difference between
`temporal' and `eternal' in this verse is as great as the
difference between the things `seen' and the things `not
|Is Twenty Thousand Years
a "Temporary" Period?
Lord Himself contrasts the seed sown on rocky places,
which has no root and has but a temporary existence, with
that sown in fine earth, which brings fruit to maturity
(Matt.13:21-23; Mark 4:16-20). To make this as sharp as possible,
we will suppose that the seed sown on the rocks sprang up and
withered in a week and that the fruitful seed was harvested in six
months. This will give the ratio of contrast as one to twenty-four.
Of course, this is exaggerated, but we wish to make every
concession possible. Our brother may object that there is no
antithesis here, but our Lord thought there was, and we will defer
to His opinion.
The contrast in 2 Cor.4:17,18 may be
set forth as follows:
|a Our momentary light affliction
b transcendently transcendent eonian weight of
a that of ours which is observed
b what is not observed
a what is observed is temporary
b what is not observed is
In a we have that which
is momentary and temporary in b that which is eonian. It
is a question of our present experience as contrasted with our
resurrection life. Let us say that the average saint's experience
lasts a hundred years. This is too long, but we wish to forestall
every objection. We now need to discover how long the eons will
last. We know that the next eon will exceed a thousand years. We
have every reason to think that the succeeding eon will be very
much longer. Considerations based upon the "thousand generations"
of the Psalmist and the grand cycles of the heavens, suggest that
the last eon will be at least seventeen thousand years in length.
This makes the utterance of Paul about twenty thousand years from
the end of the eons. The ratio, therefore, would be one to two
hundred. Our Lord instituted a comparison between one and
twenty-four. Why should Paul not be allowed to state a contrast
over eight time as great?
How is it possible to deal in a
kindly way with such a statement as "There is no
antithesis between `for a season' and `age-long.' No; this is a
mere evasion. It is more: it is a denial of God's Word?"
Our Lord contrasts this very same term with a single season, yet we
are pilloried for presuming to see a contrast between it and many
thousands of seasons!
The definition of `aionios'
supplied by the Holy Spirit in 2 Cor.4:18 fits precisely
every occurrence of the word in the New Testament. Thus
Rom.16:26 is accurately rendered `the everlasting God;'
Heb.5:9, `eternal salvation;' John 3:15, `eternal
life;' Mark 3:29, `eternal damnation;' Jude 7,
`eternal fire.' There is only one seeming
exception to this, and that is but a seeming one, namely,
Phil.15, which reads `For perhaps he therefore departed for a
season, that thou shouldest received him forever.' Here
the apostle is beseeching Philemon to receive Onesimus, who had
left his master, and whom Paul sends back to him. When the apostle
says `receive him forever' his evident meaning is never
banish him, never sell him, never again send him
away. In fact, it is to be noted here that the apostle has
expressly contrasted `aionios' with `for a season,' which gives us
another Divine example of its precise force and scope--it signifies
that which is the very opposite of what `for a season' suggests.
After having carefully examined each passage where this word is
used in the New Testament, we have no hesitation in saying that the
one unvaried meaning of "aionios" is `eternal.'
The dictionary definition of
"eternal" is "having neither beginning nor end of existence." How
does this accord with 2 Titus 1:9; Titus 1:2, "before
eternal times?" Not a single passage is eternal in the
What about the future? If
eternal is, strictly speaking without beginning or end,
everlasting may apply to that which has a beginning, but
can never have an end. Let us come right to the point and consider
the phrase, "everlasting (or eternal) life." The apostle John
certainly claims to possess everlasting life (1 John 5:11).
Consequently he has not died, but is alive yet! So with all who
believed on Christ (John 6:47; 10:28). As there is no death, there
can be no resurrection. It is useless to cloud the issue with a
mass of tradition. If this "everlasting" life can be interrupted by
death now, why not in the glory?
John has died. All who had
everlasting life died. Their life was not everlasting at
all. It was eonian. It will commence with the resurrection
and will continue for the eons, and thence onward through
Rom.16:26 is accurately rendered "the everlasting God,"
then the previous verse can be accurately rendered
"everlasting times." We then have the absurd statement
that the secret which has been hushed in "everlasting times" is now
manifest! In other words, the "everlasting times" have come to an
end! More than one "time" can hardly be eternal. The God of the
whole earth is not confined to the earth, neither is the
eonian God confined to the eons. Just as the earth is a
special section of the material universe, so the eons are a segment
of the sphere of time.
As our brother has carefully examined
each passage where this word is used we cannot doubt that he has
considered Romans 16:25. The Authorized translators cleverly
camouflaged the rendering by making it "since the world began." The
Revisers have the blundering but honest "through times eternal." We
now suggest that, instead of examining every passage he concentrate
on this one. Let him explain the possibility of making manifest a
secret hushed in times eternal. It cannot be done. He will then
hesitate long before he says that "the one unvaried meaning of
`aionios' is `eternal.'" It never has this meaning.
Through the longest period of time in the Scriptures, there is
always a beginning and an end.
This whole discussion may be narrowed
down to one question, Was the secret spoken of in Romans 16:25,26,
which is now manifested,
HUSHED IN TIMES EONIAN
or through everlasting
foregone conclusion of those who oppose the great truth of
Universal Reconciliation without giving it consideration is that it
does away with judgment. It is the natural reaction from one
extreme to the other. There is nothing in the truth as set forth in
the Scriptures or in our writings which suggests this thought.
Indeed, we have always taken pains to guard this point, and to
insist that there is no escape from God's wrath except through
faith in the Son of God.
In "All in All," the pamphlet under
review, we begin our summary as follows: "We have borne testimony
in the pages of this pamphlet to our uncompromising belief in the
reality of punishment. There is no law in God's universe more sure
than the inexorable decree that every transgression and
disobedience shall receive a just recompense of reward. The
absolute certainty of punishment should be insisted
upon..." (All in All, page 110).
In "The Salvation of the Unbeliever,"
which is especially referred to in what follows, the judgment of
the unbeliever is actually referred to on every single
page except the last! We speak of "the infliction of the pains
and penalties each deserves" (page 11). Again "whatever may be the
variety and degree of the tribulation and anguish meted out to
each..." (page 13).
Not only that, but in the very
quotation which is adduced to prove that we do not believe in any
future suffering at all, is the phrase "unstinted force in his
The eternal punishment of the lost
Mr. Knoch denounces as a `damnable dogma' ("The Divine Mysteries,"
page 67). What punishment, then, does he consider
consistent with the perfections of the Divine character? No doubt
many of our readers will now be able to forecast the answer to this
question. Mr. Knoch does not believe in any future suffering at
all. This is very evident from what is to be found in the last
issue but one of his bimonthly magazine. There, in an article
entitled `The Salvation of the Unbeliever,' he says, `This leaves
the way open to consider the moral effect of this doctrine as it
relates to our conception of God's love. The sinner is dead, and,
apart from the power of God in resurrection, quite as good as
annihilated. What possible benefit can accrue to the sinner to
expend unmeasured power in his resurrection, and unstinted force in
his judgment, only to return him to OBLIVION?' (Italics
ours). Similar language is used in the paragraph following, where
Mr. Knoch speaks of `the extinction of the unbeliever in
the lake of fire.' The words we have emphasized in this quotation
reveal Mr. Knoch's real views with sunlight clearness, and
leave us in no doubt whatever as to what school of error he
belongs. After he passes out of this life, and previous to the time
of his resurrection, the sinner is `quite as good as annihilated,'
and thus the teaching of God's Son, as found in Luke 16:22-31, is
boldly repudiated. After the lost sinner has been raised and judged
at the Great White Throne, instead of suffering for `the
ages of the ages,' he is merely returned `to oblivion.' Thus it
cannot be gainsaid that Mr. Knoch blankly denies any
suffering for those who die in their sins."
the Judgment Session
moral turpitude of these emphatic statements should make us blush
for shame, for he is a brother in Christ. He has deliberately put
himself beyond the pale of consideration by honest men, and this
while seeking to stand for God's truth. It is not necessary to
prove his statement false, for words would be wasted on any one who
cannot see it in the very words he uses for his proof. No one who
speaks of unstinted force in the judgment of the
unbeliever can possibly believe they have no suffering. No one
who is not totally blinded by a mad desire to defend error at any
cost, would say that the "inflictions of the pains and penalties"
each unbeliever deserves, denies that they suffer at all.
We cannot argue with him on this
matter, for we are not on the same moral plane. We have put up with
his perversion of 1 Cor.15:22; we have suffered his subversion of
the true texts and the substitution of the false when dealing with
the phrase "the all;" we have borne with his attempt to prove that
the ages have long since ended; but our Lord does not wish us to
descend into a moral atmosphere far beneath the dignity of one who
is His slave.
The Lord's slave ought not to be
fighting (2 Tim.2:24). I have always believed and taught, both by
tongue and pen, that "indignation and fury, affliction and
distress" will come "on every human soul which is effecting evil"
(Rom.2:9). I believe the unbeliever will suffer at the judgment of
the great white throne. Our brother says I do not. Nothing but a
fight can settle this, and I will not fight. I will wait until we
stand before our Lord and let Him decide, not for me, nor for my
brother alone, but for the thousands whom he is seeking to turn
against the truth by a method so low that it is a kindness not to
call it by any name.
The quotation he uses was written to
appeal to so-called annihilationists, and the terms used and
concessions made, for argument's sake, are such as they would
understand. We believe that there is no life except in Christ. We
find no warrant in Scripture for punishment before judgment, or in
For many years we preached the gospel
in the city jail. It was a rule there that we were not allowed to
even see those who were awaiting trial. Only those who had stood
before the judge and received their sentence were allowed to come
into the tank where the meeting was held. The reason given was that
no one was deemed guilty until his case had been tried, and it
might be punishment for an innocent man even to be seen in such a
We Believe that Sinners
will Suffer for Sin
Everyone who has given the subject serious thought has wondered
at the orthodox view which punishes the criminal for thousands of
years and then brings him before the Judge. It is everywhere
recognized that justice demands that all should have a speedy
trial. It is a most hateful form of tyranny when conditions before
trial are oppressive, or when unnecessary delay halts the free
course of justice. What then shall we say of a theology which
represents God as acting a thousand times more tyrannically than
the worst of human rulers? It should be a most welcome relief to
find that the Scriptures give us a God as ideal in His judgments as
He is in grace.
As to the parable of Luke 15--16, we
boldly believe that the prodigal son was not literally dead in the
first part and have the best of reasons for taking a similar view
of the corresponding section concerning Lazarus and the rich man.
As we have a full exposition elsewhere, we will not repeat it
We boldly affirm that not a single
passage of Scripture can be found to support the assertion that all
unbelievers suffer for the ages of the ages. That is only for a
"In the above-mentioned article,
in which Mr. Knoch gives his conception of how unbelievers
are saved, or rather, how their salvation is to be brought about,
instead of appealing to Scripture he relies solely on the
deductions of human reason. He supposes that the resurrection of
the wicked and the awful display of God's majesty at the Great
White Throne judgment, will cause all unbelief to be `swept away,'
and this in the face of Luke 16:31! He says, `in the process of
winning the unbeliever we judge their resurrection and
final vivification to be ample to account for their salvation and
reconciliation.' He affirms, `the resurrection and judgment of
unbelievers leave no reasonable alternative but their
ultimate salvation.' He appeals to carnal sentiment thus, `Is the
Christ who saved you capable of completing His work by
saving all like you? Or, if He can, why will He
not? Would you, if you could?' Thus, it will be seen that
when he boasts that his appeal is solely to Scripture his
claim is as false as that made by all other Universalists and
Again we are confronted by that
pitiably immoral method which is so distressing to the soul of
Christ's slave. Nine pages of our pamphlet deal with many passages
of Scripture. Then, on page 10, those who insist on reasoning about
these things are taken up on their own ground. The passage quoted
above is preceded by the following: "Let those who are fond of
reasoning about the destiny of the universe accept their own
premises and follow them out logically..." If others "appeal to
carnal sentiments" and we condescend to humor them, should we be
blamed, especially when there is nothing to be blamed for? We do
base all on God's Word, but our position will stand the
test of reason as well, and we have the best of authority for
defending it from that quarter. Eternal torment is not only
unreasonable but absolutely devoid of sanity and has driven many
into actual madness. I know of one bright young believer who was so
wrought up by constant contemplation of the fate of the damned that
he lost his mind and is today utterly insane.
The only Scripture which is brought
to bear is characteristic. In Luke 16:31 we read that "neither will
they be persuaded though one rose from the dead." The One referred
to here can mean none other than Christ Himself. The nation refused
Him when He came at first, and they refused Him again in the person
of His apostles, after He rose from the dead. Even taking this
literally it has no connection with the resurrection of the sinners
themselves. Had it read, "neither would they be persuaded
though they be roused from the dead," it might be
considered. However unscriptural the doctrine that unbelief will be
swept away before the great white throne may be, he has not been
able to find a passage to refute it. All he is able to do is to try
and distort one.
"But mark the inconsistency and
horrible absurdity of the scheme Mr. Knoch has advanced. First, he
tells us that `the unbeliever will be saved by sight,'
i.e., by a sight of the Sitter on the Great White Throne. Then, he
tells, this `will be followed by their death in the lake
of fire.' So, they are first `saved' and then cast into
the lake of fire! That this is not an unstudied statement--a mere
slip of the pen--appears from a subsequent remark. `The change
which eventuates in the ultimate salvation of the unbeliever is
wrought, not only by his resurrection, but by the august session,
when he stands in the presence of Christ with all his unbelief
swept away by the awful realization of His power and the justice of
His throne. We are asked, Is it possible for them to repent?
Rather, we would like to know, Is it possible for them not
to repent, or change their minds? We cannot conceive an unrepentant
sinner before the great white throne.' Thus it will be seen that
Mr. Knoch teaches that God will cast into the lake of fire those
from whom all unbelief has been swept away and who are
then penitent. Surely Satan himself cannot originate anything more
diabolical; and surely only those whose minds are blinded
by the Arch-enemy can receive such horrible blasphemies."
The Unbeliever will not
be Saved through Faith
explanation of the passage that God is the Saviour of all mankind,
especially of those who believe, we desired to press the fact that
salvation is on the principle of faith for us, but will be
on the principle of sight for the unbeliever. We did
not say "by a sight of the Sitter on the Great White
Throne." Christ is Judge, not Saviour, there. The absurdity which
he scouts is of his own creation. The process by which the
unbeliever will be saved does not end until the consummation. He is
cast into the lake of fire before his salvation. Witness the next
statement which he quotes: "The change which eventuates in
the ultimate salvation of the unbeliever..." He certainly
did not study this statement!
How many have ever marked the
"horrible absurdity" of God actually saving men first, and
afterward allowing them to be burned at the stake! Not
sinners, mind you, such as those who appear in judgment, but holy,
godly witnesses for His truth, burned alive with far more attendant
shame and suffering than will be the lot of unbelievers! But, some
will say, their sufferings ended when they died. So will those cast
into the burning lake, for it is the second death.
Our brother seems to think that the
gospel of repentance and pardon of sins (which pertains to the
kingdom of Israel) should be applicable to the unbeliever before
the great white throne. That is, if the sinner changes his mind
then, he should be forgiven. But the time for that will long have
passed. Many a criminal stands before the judge and repents. Many a
judge is "diabolical" enough to sentence a man for his crime even
if he has changed his mind with regard to it!
As a matter of fact, our brother
himself believes that a man can repent and yet be lost. Judas
repented (regretted) his action (Matt.27:3). Will that save
Let us briefly restate our position.
We speak of the judgment of the individual sinner after death, not
of the many judgments of various classes in life. There is no
judgment before they stand before the Judge at the great white
throne. Each one is judged according to his acts. The judgment
consists of the affliction and anguish suited to each case. It ends
in the second death.
Many passages will come to mind which
seem to teach otherwise, but a careful consideration of
each will show that it concerns a different judgment. There are
many judgments before the great white throne is set up, but they
are concerned with sinners before they die, and have no bearing on
their ultimate destiny, for all of these sinners appear again at
the great white throne.
We all agree that, after this
judgment, the unbeliever is in the lake of fire. That is as far as
some can see. But God has given us two grand declarations which
pierce this gloomy future and show that beyond it is the glory of
God. One is, that the lake of fire is death (Rev.20:14).
It is the last enemy. The other is that it shall be
abolished (1 Cor.15:26).
And the grand result guarantees the
correctness of our deductions, for then, when death is abolished,
God shall become All in all. So we sum up the simple
statement of the case like this: Shall God be
ALL IN ALL
All in a few ?
IS possible for a man to be right on one point yet absolutely
astray on another. Luther was grand on justification, but even his
most faithful adherents today will not deny that his teaching on
the eucharist was unfounded. It is probable that every believer,
including the writer, is right in some things and wrong in others.
But the fact that we are all astray in a few matters does not prove
that we are astray in all. Such a line of reasoning is a sword
which cuts both ways. Either our esteemed brother must claim
absolute perfection or he must acknowledge that he is absolutely
and hopelessly wrong in every respect. That he is certainly wrong
in some is evident to all who have followed the argument thus far.
Now, to use his own reasoning, he must be wrong on the subject of
the sonship of Christ.
If this reasoning is foolish as
applied to him, it ought to be just as inane when used of us. If he
has proved us wrong on the subject before us, then his logic would
prove us wrong in other doctrines. But he seems not at all sure
that he has proved us wrong, so he insinuates (what he
cannot prove) that we are wrong on the subject of the "person of
Christ." And this is supposed to show that we are "dangerous" on
all other points!
One other thing should be pointed
out before we turn to our concluding section. Some years ago, when
Mr. F. C. Jennings exposed the errors of this system of
Universalism, attention was called to some of the teachings of Mr.
Knoch which attacked the Person of Christ. In the books
from which we have been quoting there is not wanting evidence to
show that, like all other Universalists and Annihilationists, Mr.
Knoch's views of the person of Christ are vitally and fundamentally
unsound. It is true they are not presented in positive and
systematic form, but here and there expressions are used which
cause us to seriously question whether, after all, Mr. Knoch
believes that the Lord Jesus is anything more than a
creature, though the highest and first of all. The studied
refusal to speak of His eternal pre-existence (in "The
Divine Mysteries" he says of the Lord Jesus, "As creation's
Firstborn He was primevally pre-existent
pre-eminent this should be.--A.E.K.]," which is the term
he applies to the pre-Adamic earth, on page 244--"the
primeval earth,") the absence of any reference to His
person before He commenced His mediatorial work, the
language used when treating of Him as the "image of God," cause us
to seriously doubt whether he knows the Christ of God at all. If
our suspicions on this point are unfair we stand ready to
withdraw this paragraph as soon as Mr. Knoch assures us in print
that he believes that, first, before anything was created "the Son"
was GOD as fully as was "the Father;" and, second, after
He has completed His mediatorial work He will remain forever God
with equal glory as the Father. Anything short of a clear
testimony upon these two points will be deemed an evasion,
and that will only confirm our suspicions and establish his
The Crime of Keeping to
the Form of Sound Words
this reasoning is not only illogical. It is immoral. Such tricks
are clever politics and will be successful in creating prejudice.
But they will afford nothing but fuel in the day of Christ. If any
of our readers wish to engage in unscrupulous theological
discussion to maintain their own position and prestige, a few hints
will suffice. First find out in what particulars your opponent
differs from orthodoxy, or the opinions of the public you wish to
reach. It makes no difference whether he is right or wrong, your
denunciation will make him appear a dangerous man, and even if you
fail to prove him unsound on any other particular, you will have
ruined his prestige with the people. You must remember, however,
that he gains greatly with God and Christ.
But we will let our brother prove the
falsity of this assumption himself. We will allow that all that we
teach is wrong. So far as we are aware we alone teach that the four
wild beasts of Daniel are combined in the wild beast of the
Revelation. We alone teach that apostate Israel is the Babylon of
the Apocalypse. If this is false why does he repeat it in his
book on "The Antichrist?" What better proof can he offer that
we are right even when all are against us?
Our crime consists briefly in this:
We have studiously avoided theological phrases which are not found
in the Scriptures. We have never spoken of His "eternal
pre-existence." The Bible never speaks of His "eternal
pre-existence." Hence, we should "seriously question" whether the
Bible is right on this point! Why, the Bible does not even speak of
the "person" of Christ! It is clear then that we are not being
judged by the Bible, but with the Bible. We are
fellow-criminals with the Book of Books!
The second charge might well be true,
for the book under review is not concerned with the Sonship of
Christ. But it happens that we have made a clear "reference to His
person before He commenced His mediatorial work." On page 177,
first paragraph, is the following: "Before heaven or earth knew
aught of rule or ownership, the Son of God, in His solitary
sublimity, held undisputed sway and complete possession of creation
from center to circumference, in the heavens, as well as upon the
Let it be clearly understood, once
for all, that we do not believe doctrines; we believe God. The most
correct human creed cannot be the object of true faith, unless it
consists of the words of divine revelation. When we are threatened
with anathema if we do not believe so and so, our case is quite
hopeless, for credence to a human formulary is credulity and
fanaticism, not faith. How can I believe God when He has not
spoken? How much less does a human dogma claim my belief when, not
only is it absent from the revelation God has given, but is
contrary to it?
We do not Believe Doctrines
We Believe God Himself
Again, we repeat, we will place our signature on any copy of the
Scriptures in the original (we have already done this in the
CONCORDANT VERSION), but we will not sign a single sentence of
human origin. We will consider it. Perhaps we will assent to it.
But we put our faith in God alone, and in His Word.
We will now give the test statements
which we must believe and the scriptures which we must
|A. W. P.
||"before anything was created "the Son" was
GOD as fully as was "the Father.""
beginning of the creation of God (Rev.3:14).
Firstborn of every creature (Col.1:15).
there are many gods and many lords, nevertheless to us there is one
God, the Father, out of Whom all is, and we for Him, and
one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all is, and we
through Him. But in all there is not this knowledge" (1
As to the future, we are called
upon to choose between the following pronouncement and
|A. W. P.
||"after He has completed His mediatorial
work He will remain forever God with equal glory as the
||"then the Son Himself, also, shall be
subject to Him Who subjects the universe to Him, that God may be
All in all" (1 Cor.15:28).
As to creation, God says Christ is
the beginning, or Original, of creation, not before it. As to
sonship, the Scriptures make Him the Firstborn, not before the
firstborn. As to Godhood the apostle warns us that there is one God
out of Whom all is, not two sources of all, and then gives Him His
true place as Lord of all and the channel of all. As it is utterly
impossible to believe both A. W. P. and God, I hope he will forgive
me for following the footsteps of Abraham and of John and of Paul,
and of our blessed Lord Himself.
Scripture draws a sharp contrast
between the place of the Son and God. The Son has been sovereign:
at the consummation He becomes subject. How God can be subject to
Himself, and as subject be equal in glory to Himself as regnant, is
one of those deep mysteries of theology which are hopelessly
incomprehensible. I am sure that A. W. P. does not expect us to
understand it. But how crystalline clear and
comprehensible is the Word of God! There is no difficulty about
understanding it. The difficulty is to believe
it. That requires a miracle, for God alone can give sight to those
who will not see.
Of course, theology insists on the
privilege of explaining these texts, for it is a well
understood axiom that the evident meaning is only a gloss, and the
real meaning can only be discovered by modifying the terms by means
of the very theory it wishes to establish.
We too, reserve the right to explain
these passages, but our explanation differs in this, that we will
not use other scriptures to contradict, but to uphold the plain and
apparent sense of the words as they stand.
We ask our readers to kindly refrain
from deducing our position, for all of us unconsciously have the
tendency to blend our own ideas into our conception of what a
writer means, who does not fully explain himself. We prefer not to
denounce error, but to replace it by truth. But now that we have
been forced to do so, we do not hesitate to brand these statements
as subversive of the word of God and grieving to the Christ of
We freely admit that our position on
this matter is quite as unpalatable as our stand on God's purpose
to become All in all. For a score of years I have lived in constant
companionship with the sacred originals, and human statements which
stab at the heart of God's revelation, while they seek to cloak
themselves in its sanctity, have become utterly repulsive to me. It
is only with an effort that I can refrain from expressing my
opinion of such outrageous audacity.
The moment it becomes necessary to
express a hypothetical truth in language foreign to God's holy word
it loses all authority, it invites suspicion, it excites distrust
and disgust. This is tenfold more true in a case like this, when a
man is on trial for heresy.
us suppose the Diet of Worms had asked Luther the question, "Do you
believe in purgatory?" Should we read this today who would be
convicted of heresy by it, they or him? Similarly
now, I am constrained to class A. W. P. among those who do not
believe God, because he proposes to try a fellow slave on charges
which are not found in the word of God. I will not evade it, I
absolutely refuse to believe A. W. P. On such a theme I would not
believe him, even if he spoke the truth, but I would
believe all that he can present from the word of God.
In conclusion, if A. W. P. will
restate his dogmas in the words of the inspired original, I will
sign his statements. If he cannot, he stands self-condemned,
subject to the grace that knows no condemnation.
Briefly, we may summarize this point
as follows: What do the Scriptures teach, that Christ is
THE SON OF
or God the Son ?
closing argument for eternal torment consists of a collection of
seven scriptures, dealing with God's judgments, not one of which
deals with final destiny at all. Instead of correctly apportioning
the various judgments, all are wrenched from their proper tune and
forced to fill the place of God's final dealings with His
creatures. All we need to do in each case is to inquire
When? and Who? and we see immediately that all
are special inflictions at special times. Not one throws any light
on the end we are considering.
We thoroughly believe that the
nations who have neglected Israel in the end time will be judged at
the beginning of the day of the Lord (Matt.25:46). Their judgment
is called eonian chastening. It will last for the whole
eon. More than this, we believe that the individuals composing
these nations will probably be present in the judgment at the great
white throne to answer for their private sins, for assuredly their
treatment of Israel is not the only part of their conduct which
will call for the judgment of God. The judgment of Matt.25:46 is
limited to living nations, for the kingdom eon, and has no
bearing on the final destiny of the people who compose them.
Our expositions of the Revelation are
witnesses to the fact that we believe fully in the great judgments
which attend the unveiling of our Lord Jesus Christ (2
Thess.1:8,9). If they are "punished with everlasting
destruction," it is difficult to see how they can appear
before God at the later judgment, as God has sworn they shall.
They, unlike those nations who survive, but did not succor Israel,
suffer the justice of eonian extermination. Yet they, too, shall
rise in the resurrection of judgment. Their final destiny is not in
view in Thessalonians.
|Sodom Shall Return to
her Former estate
likewise subscribe to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, who
"are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal
fire" (Jude 7). This occurred many centuries ago. How poor a
passage to apply to that which is thousands of years hence!
The word "set forth" is, literally,
"lying before." The term "example" or specimen, is from the word
show. These are readily comprehended if we apply them to
the sites of Sodom and Gomorrah today. Their destruction was so
complete that their exact location is in dispute. Now the
preponderance of opinion places them under the shallow end of the
Dead Sea. No one can visit this terrible desolation without fully
appreciating the force of these words.
But we are asked to forget this
solemn and forceful scene for an "example" which no one can see,
and which is not at all "set forth" or "lying before" us. We are
asked to forget the fire (Gen.19:24) which destroyed these cities
so that the smoke of the plain went up like the smoke of a furnace.
The justice or "vengeance" of this fire is all too evident to this
very day. It is a powerful reminder of God's judgment which should
deter those who are tempted to follow a similar path. This fire is
called "eternal." Just now the plain is covered by water, not fire.
It was an eonian fire, as is witnessed by its effect for
Speaking of Jerusalem, Ezekiel gives
us God's thoughts concerning Sodom. "As I live, saith the Lord God,
Sodom thy sister hath not done, she nor her daughters, as
thou hast done, thou and thy daughters." And again, "When
I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her
daughters...then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives
in the midst of them...when thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters,
shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy
daughters shall return to your former estate"
2 Peter 2:6 gives a parallel passage,
where we read that God condemns the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah,
reducing them to cinders by an overthrow, having placed them for an
example. This is perfectly plain, unless we try to distinguish
between the cities and the people, and make conscious cinders
suffer from flames beneath the waters of the Dead Sea.
If the Sodomites were on public
exhibition where all could see them suffering in the flames of a
medieval hell, we might consider them as set forth as an example,
but as no one has ever seen them, and no one can see them, they are
no example at all. The cities, however, are lying before us as a
specimen of God's eonian justice. The effects of the fire endure
for the eon. When Jerusalem is restored, they will be restored.
Proverbs is hardly a proper place for
texts to prove the final destiny of mankind. It deals with the
present life. Yet we are assured that Prov.29:1: "He that being
often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and
that without remedy," proves the hopelessness of all who
die in their sins. 2 Chron.36:16 gives us the same expression,
"without healing." Israel "mocked the messengers of God, and
despised His words, and misused His prophets, until the wrath of
the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy. If
Israel is "without remedy:" they will never be restored as a
nation. "All Israel shall be saved" (Rom.11:26) cannot apply to
them. Hundreds of prophecies foretelling the day when the "sun of
righteousness shall arise with healing [the same word in Hebrew as
remedy] in His wings" will never be fulfilled! In fact,
all saints who die of an incurable disease (according to such
reasoning) are hopelessly lost! But let us comfort ourselves with
the thought that their case is in the hands of One Whose name is
Jehovah Ropheka (Ex.15:26), the great Healer. It is not nearly as
hopeless as a cause that appeals to Proverbs on a subject
altogether out of its field of vision.
The tenth of Hebrews is given as an
example of those for whom "there remaineth no more
sacrifice for sins!," hence no possibility of salvation. The
passage deals with Hebrews who apostatized when the kingdom which
had been proclaimed failed to materialize. Since they degrade the
blood by which they were hallowed, the great Sacrifice is rejected.
Since Christ, there is no longer a sacrifice for sins, or
sin-offering, as under Moses. As a result, like the rejector of
Moses' law, such are subject to severe temporal judgments. Moses'
rejector was stoned. The rejecters of Messiah in the nation were
dealt with by the living God Himself, when He judged His people
soon after the epistle to the Hebrews was written. Let any one read
Josephus' account of the Jewish wars and the siege of Jerusalem and
he will find how fearful it is to fall into the hands of the living
The Temporal Process is not
the Final Result
the end time, during the great judgment scenes, the severest of all
will fall on the apostates in Israel. But this is not their final
judgment. It has to do with God's government of the earth, the
process and not the ultimate. They will all appear before God at
the great white throne and find their place in the lake of fire. It
is after this, when death is abolished as the last enemy, that they
enter their final state.
No one reading Paul's lament over
those "who are enemies of the cross of Christ...who are disposed to
the things of earth," will doubt for a moment that they are beloved
brethren in the faith. Paul is not lamenting over the world in
Philippians, nor does he expect the unbeliever to walk as he did.
Thousands upon thousands today are friends of Christ, yet enemies
of His cross. They are seeking to reform and educate and sanitate
the world which hates Him. They have no fellowship in His shame.
The end of such is destruction, so far as their walk is concerned
and that is what is in view here, in line with the whole tenor of
the epistle. This will occur at the bema, or judgment seat
of Christ, soon after we are in His presence. Then fire will test
all our work, and such as is unworthy will be burned up, and we
will forfeit it, yet we shall be saved, yet thus, as
through fire (1 Cor.3:12-15). If the enemies of the cross are
doomed to eternal torment, we fear few of His servants in these
days will escape!
The last scripture concerns the
resurrection of life, and the resurrection of judgment (John
5:28,29). The latter undoubtedly refers to the great white throne
before which all who are not in Christ will be arraigned. They will
have their part in the lake of fire, which is the second death.
This is the last enemy which is abolished at the consummation. They
emerge out of death and receive life, are saved and reconciled to
God through the blood of Christ.
Thus we see that, in every case, the
scriptures quoted for man's final destiny relate to the process by
which God is preparing His creatures for it. Judgments scattered
over a period of at least five thousand years are all confused with
God's dealings at least that much later than the last of them. A
cause that calls for such proof confutes itself.
The closing contention is
characteristic. Like all that preceded it, the writer errs, not
knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. He insists that, if
the ages are to end and the wicked issue forth from the lake of
fire, this should be told us in the closing chapters of the book of
Revelation. He has never learned the great truth that the highest
and greatest scope of divine truth was given not to John, but to
Paul. He it was to whom it was granted "to complete the word of
God" (Col.1:25). He it is who enlarges the scope of God's grace to
include the heavens as well as the earth (Eph.1:10) and he is
the only one who speaks of the time before the eons (1
Cor.2:7). If he could reveal glories to the Corinthians before the
eons of which no other apostle knew, why should he not reveal a
grace after the eons of which John was not aware?
It is a simple fact that he does this
in the fifteenth of First Corinthians. John unveils the rule of
Christ; Paul reveals His abdication. John sets up the kingdom; Paul
closes it. John leaves the last enemies still in possession.
Sovereignty and authority and death are in full sway in the closing
scenes of the Unveiling; Paul reveals a brighter day in which these
are all abolished. We conclude, then, that nothing in the Unveiling
is final. Except that it is at the end of our Bible, there is no
reason for taking it so, and Paul definitely states that it is
After all, what can give us such
unquestioning confidence in this great truth, as the utter failure
of every argument against it? We ourselves could not test our
position, for it is difficult to see our own faults. But when the
best that can be offered against the truth exposes itself by
contrast, and is condemned by the very texts to which it appeals,
we may rest satisfied that God has graciously granted us the true
"Mr. Knoch and his colleagues will
yet have to answer to God for so defiantly opposing the plain
teachings of His holy word."
Thus commences the closing paragraph.
Let me assure our brother, beloved by the Lord, that we fully
expect to answer to God for all our acts, and will rejoice to see
all that is not of God destroyed by the fiery test of that day. But
such threats do not alarm us in the least. We know a God of
transcendent grace. It is only natural for one who thinks Him
capable of tormenting His own creatures eternally, to seek to
follow His example, and torture His servants here and now. Indeed,
it would be strange if it were not so. We would not have it
|The Character of our God
Controls our Conduct
character of the God you worship will determine your ways and your
words. We trust it will be so with us also, for we would delight to
be like Him. Hence, we do not threaten you with His wrath, but
commend you to His grace. Perhaps no sin can be so great as to
distort His words and defame His character. But His grace is
superbly sufficient, His love is lavish in its long-suffering. It
never lapses, but looks longingly for the reconciliation which is
the justification and crown of all His ways with His creatures. So,
as we close with the absolute certainty of a reconciliation between
us, we anticipate it on our part and throw all enmity aside. We are
conciliated no matter what you do. We recall with joy and
satisfaction the great truth that, by God's grace, it is impossible
for you to enter into condemnation, no matter how much you may
offend Him (Rom.8:1) and the still greater truth that we are saved
for grace (Eph.2:8). While your words and ways have seemed
to us to be offensively unlike His, this only gives greater ground
for grace. This of itself justifies them, for grace must
have a foil.
We close, then, with a prayer for
such an outpouring of His grace on your own head as will force you
to feel the affection which is found in Him for all the creatures
of His hand and heart.