It is 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
That this 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 deliverance."
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
"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
In these 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.
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 sins."
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
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
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?
But, 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.
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
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
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 spirituality.
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
|We Have Borrowed From the
An amusing 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
"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 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
All 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 universal reconciliation.
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 offense.
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?
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!
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
"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 greatly errs."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 matter!
"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
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 phrases.
1. 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
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
2. Adam's offense condemned those who
are legally and vitally connected with him.
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
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
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).
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).
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 15-17).
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
Holy Spirit next supplies a reason why the Law was given, and
draws a contrast between sin and grace (verse 20).
climax of the argument is reached by affirming that grace
reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ
our Lord (verse 21).
Analysis of the Passages|
We 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 men.
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.
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.
known, Justification 1:1-1:6
Greetings, brief 1:7
The Conduct of Mankind
The Conduct of the Saints
Greetings, extended 16:1-16:23
up, Conciliation 16:25-16:27
FRAMEWORK OF ROMANS 5:12-21
:13 the law
:14a death reigns
|:14b Adam's transgression: its
antitype -- All mankind
|:15 One man's offense:
:17 One man's offense: death --
:18 Adam's offense: its
counterpart -- All
:19 One man
:20 the law
: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
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!
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.
It 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...
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
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.
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 Christ.
||sin entered into the world
||death came through into all mankind
||the grace of God and the gratuity in
grace, which is of the One Man, Jesus Christ, into the many superabounds
||the judgment is out of one into condemnation
||the grace is out of many offenses into a just award
||as it was through one offense into condemnation
||it is through one just award into all mankind for life's
||grace, too, should be reigning, through
righteousness, into eonian
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
We 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."
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 said,
or, all the elect?
THE VIVIFICATION OF ALL
IF 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
`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
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 22.
Will They Correct
The 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
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 alive.'"
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.'"
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.
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
Yours by grace,
ARTHUR W. PINK
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 written.
Verses 23 and 24a are analyzed
as follows: "Three classes are made alive. These are:
I. Christ the
firstfruits (in the past).
who are Christ's (at His presence).
III. The balance of mankind (at the
"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.
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
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
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
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
heartily in favor of the great principle that every passage in the
Scriptures must be interpreted within the scope of its context.
Does Paul Write About?|
All 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
|"Sleep" for Death is|
Not Confined to
We 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
"in Christ all..."
or "all in Christ...?
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 Christ.
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
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. renderings.
||afterward, when affliction or
||then the ear, after that the full|
||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 thereafter!
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
`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.
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 unbelief.
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 easily settled.
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 quickening.
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
He Who Lives and Believes shall Never
Our 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
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 that.
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
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
One 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
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 itself.
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 this?"
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
Meaning of "All in All"|
The 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
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
"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
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 this knowledge
||One God and Father
of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in all|
||admired in all them that believe|
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
What 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
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 said,
IN CHRIST ALL
or, all in Christ?
WE 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
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 heavens.'
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
A Faulty Foundation for a False
This 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 Hope.
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 this.
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
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.
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 of time.
English, "the All" means the
We 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, 28).
...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
He Who descends is the Same Who ascends, also,
above all the heavens that He should complete the universe (Eph.4:10).
...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 (Phil.3:21).
...and through Him to
reconcile the universe to Him
being the Effulgence of His glory and the Emblem of His assumption,
as well as carrying on the universe by
His powerful declaration...(Heb.1:3).
`Thou dost subject all underneath his feet.' For
in the subjection of all to him, He
left nothing unsubjected to him (Heb.2:8).
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 "obliges?"
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 residue.
If Christ Creates All,
He also Reconciles
But 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
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
The other change which Mr. Knoch
has made from `hath made peace' to `when peace is made' is, if possible,
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, "when offering."
"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.
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 accomplished."
Aorist is Not a Past
Once 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 future.
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'
The Greek "Neuter" is
In a 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 persons.
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
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
Cor.12:13 For in one spirit we all are baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free...
It Does Not
No 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 only!
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 their falsity.
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 all.
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
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 following scriptures:
`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
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 reconciliation.
|Conciliation is One-Sided . .
Sir 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 conciliation.|
||if their casting away
is the conciliation of the
||the dispensation of the conciliation|
||the word of the conciliation|
|katallassoo, DOWN-CHANGE, conciliate
||being enemies, we were conciliated to
conciliated, we shall be saved by His
||let her remain
unmarried or be conciliated to
||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
Sir 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 mutual.
||and should be reconciling both with
||and through Him to reconcile the universe to
||And you...He now reconciles|
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.
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.
No 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.
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.
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 said
HE RECONCILES THE
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 Scriptures
THE EON OF THE EON, Heb.1:8.
EON OF THE EONS, Eph.3:21.
THE EONS OF THE
EONS, Gal.1:5; Phil.1:20; etc.
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
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.
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 millennium.
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 from
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 epistle.
|"The Ends of the World"|
-- When Is It?
He 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 time.
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
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
| Paul desired to know
and the power of His
and the participation of His sufferings,
to His death,
he should be attaining to the
among the dead
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
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
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 justification.
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
Thus 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 judgment:
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 past!
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
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.
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
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
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
|Sin will be Repudiated|
at the Conclusion of the
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
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 matter.
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 seen.'
|Is Twenty Thousand Years|
Our 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:
momentary light affliction|
b transcendently transcendent
eonian weight of glory
a that of ours which is observed
what is not observed
a what is observed is temporary
what is not observed is
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
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
If 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.
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 times?
THE 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 judgment."
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
The 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 death.
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 place.
We Believe that Sinners
will Suffer for
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 here.
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 very few.
"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.
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
In 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
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
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
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.
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
or, All in a few ?
IT 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 guilt.
The Crime of Keeping to
the Form of Sound
But 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
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?
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 earth."
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
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
We will now
give the test statements which we must
believe and the scriptures which we must not believe:
|A. W. P.
||"before anything was created
"the Son" was GOD as fully as
was "the Father."" |
"the beginning of the creation
of God (Rev.3:14).
Firstborn of every
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 Cor.8:5-7).
As to the future, we are called
upon to choose between the following pronouncement and passage:
|A. W. P.
||"after He has completed His
mediatorial work He will remain forever God with equal glory as the Father."
||"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
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 God.
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.
Let 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
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
the Son ?
THE 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.
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.
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|
We 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
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 the eon.
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" (Ezek.16:48,53,55).
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
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
At 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
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.
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 not.
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 light.
"Mr. Knoch and his
colleagues will yet have to answer to God for so defiantly
opposing the plain teachings of His holy
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 otherwise.
|The Character of our God|
The 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.