Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.
“AND he shall send Jesus Christ, which [who] before was preached unto you: whom the heaven
must receive [retain] until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the
mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3: 20, 21).
All familiar with the Scriptures recognize that Jesus taught His disciples that He would come
again a second time. True, He has been with His disciples since His first advent – guiding,
directing, comforting and sustaining them – as He promised in Matthew 28: 20: “Lo, I am with
you alway, even unto the end of the world [age].” The Church has been aware of His constant
care and love, yet she has longed for His promised personal return, as He said in John 14: 3: “If I
go . . . I will come again.”
The Scriptures declare that His second personal coming would be during a troublesome time, as
we read in 2 Timothy 3: 1-4: “In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be . . .
lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Also, Jesus forewarned His little flock: “Take heed
to yourselves, lest . . . that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them
[not taking heed] that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21: 34, 35).
Some expect the coming and presence of the Lord; but they expect it after the Church has
converted the world, Satan has been bound, the knowledge of the Lord has filled the whole
earth, nations have learned not to war any more, etc. Then the Lord will come to wind up earthly
affairs, reward believers and condemn sinners.
Some Scriptures taken in isolation seem to support this view, but God’s Word and plan as a
whole, show that Christ comes before the conversion of the world, and that the purpose of His
reign is to convert the world. The Church was promised that after her trial is over, she will reign
with her Lord, to bless the world and cause all men to come to a knowledge of the Lord.
One Scripture used to try to prove that the Lord will come after the Millennium is
Matthew 24: 14: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness
unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” The claim is that this verse refers to the
conversion of the world, but witnessing to the world does not imply its conversion, for this verse
says nothing about how the testimony would be received. In fact, this witness has been given.
Back in 1861 reports of the Bible Societies showed that the Gospel had been published in every
language of the earth, though not all of earth’s millions had received it.
The Apostle in Acts 15: 14 tells us that the main object of the gospel in the present age is “to
take out . . . a people” for Christ’s name – the overcoming Church, witnessing to the world being
a secondary object.
There is a close relationship between the first and second advents. The work of the first advent
was to redeem men; that of the second is to restore, bless and liberate the redeemed; and the time
between the two has been to select “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Revelation 21: 9). To be
accounted worthy of such honor, each must overcome the influences of the present evil world.
God foresaw that nearly two thousand years would be needed to select the “little flock” of “joint
heirs,” so He planned for our Lord’s first advent, and His ransom sacrifice, to take place just far
enough in advance of His second advent, when the blessings for the world are due to come. God
has not failed to convert the world, indeed, he has not even attempted to do so. That great work
is future – during Christ’s Millennial reign. God’s purposes shall be accomplished, for His Word
shall not return unto Him void, but shall prosper in the thing whereto it was sent (Isaiah 55: 11).
The two lines of thought that have divided Christians for centuries are the teachings of Election
and Free Grace. Both doctrines, although seeming opposites, have Scriptural support, leading us
to conclude that in some way both must be true. Many recognize the expression that order is
heaven’s first law, or put another way, the Truth seeker must “rightly divide the word of truth.”
Observing this order, we see that an Election has been in progress during the present and past
ages, whereas Free Grace is God’s provision for the world in the future Millennial age.
Election as taught in the Bible is not the arbitrary coercion, or fatalism, usually believed and
taught by its advocates, but a selection according to fitness and adaptability to the end God has
in view, during the period that has been appointed for that purpose.
The doctrine of Free Grace is a much grander display of God’s favor than its advocates have
ever taught. God’s grace in Christ is free in the sense that it is unmerited, but since the fall of
man into sin up to the present time, certain of God’s favors have been restricted to special
individuals, nations and classes. In the next age, however, the entire world will be invited to
share the favors then offered, on the condition of obedience, and whosoever will may come and
drink at life’s fountain freely (Revelation 22: 17).
Looking backward, we see the selecting of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and certain of their offspring
as the channels through which the promised Seed, the Blesser of all the families of the earth,
should come (Galatians 3: 29). We also see the selection of Israel from among all nations as the
one whom God typically illustrated how the great work for the world would be accomplished.
The Israelites alone were recognized until Christ came, and even then His ministry was confined
Hope for the Living and the Dead
Eventually, the Gentiles were also invited to accept the Gospel, and during this Gospel Age those
accepting the Gospel have been in preparation for their great future work. For this promised and
coming blessing, the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting
for the manifestation of the sons of God (Romans 8: 22, 19). Jesus died for all, so the free grace
then offered will not only be for those living at that time, but for all who have died – for those in
their graves have as much right to the future blessings and opportunities then offered.
We ask: What has become of the vast multitude of those who have lived and died, the great
majority of which have never heard of the name of Jesus, which is the only name given under
heaven or among men whereby we must be saved? Thinking Christians have asked themselves
these questions, and a variety of answers have come forth:
Atheism answers: They are eternally dead and will never live again.
Calvinism answers: They were not elected to be saved, and are now suffering in hell, where they
will ever remain, without hope.
Arminianism answers: We believe that God excuses many of them on account of ignorance, and
those who did the best they knew how will be a part of the Church, even though they had never
heard of Jesus.
Many Christians accept the last view, believing that God’s character could not permit any other
view, yet do the Scriptures support their view? On the contrary, they teach that ignorance is no
ground for salvation. The only ground mentioned in the Scriptures is faith in Christ as Redeemer
and Lord. By grace are ye saved, through faith (Ephesians 2: 8). When the apostles were asked,
What must I do to be saved? they answered, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul reasons that a man must hear the gospel before he can believe, saying, “How then shall they
call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they
have not heard?” (Romans 10: 14).
Both Jews and Gentiles find themselves under condemnation. The Jews were condemned by
their Law Covenant, for none were able to keep it. James 2: 10 states that whosoever shall keep
the whole law, except to offend in one point, is guilty; and the Gentiles had enough light of
conscience to be condemned. Romans 3: 10 states that “There is none righteous, no, not one.”
The Scriptures close every door of hope except for one, for not one of the condemned is able to
secure eternal life by good works, and ignorance cannot entitle any one to the reward of faith and
The only way by which any of the condemned race may come to God is not by good works,
neither ignorance, but by faith in the precious blood of Christ, which taketh away the sin of the
world (1 Peter 1: 19) (John 1: 29). This is the Gospel, the good tidings of great joy, “which shall
be unto ALL PEOPLE.”
All Scriptures in Harmony
If the past and present have provided the only opportunities for salvation, and considering so few
of earth’s billions have even heard of Christ, how can we harmonize the following Scriptures:
John 3: 16: “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish.”
John 1: 9: “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.”
Hebrews 2: 9: “Jesus . . . by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
1 Timothy 2: 5, 6: “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ
Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all.”
If He is a ransom for all, why should not all have some benefit from Christ’s death? And why
should not all come to a knowledge of the truth, that they may believe? The key is in the latter
part of the last text quoted – “Who gave himself a ransom for all, TO BE TESTIFIED IN DUE
TIME.” God has a due time for everything, and the fact that He did not testify to them in their
past lifetime is proof that their due time must be future, just as the Gospel Age has been the due
time for the Church.
We see then that the view that death ends all probation is not true for the vast majority. His plan
is that: “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own
order” – the Gospel Church first; afterward, during the Millennial Age, all who shall become His
during that thousand years of His presence (mistranslated coming) (1 Corinthians 15: 22, 23).
As death came by the first Adam, so life comes by Christ, the second Adam. Everything that
mankind lost through being in the first Adam is to be restored to those who believe into the
second Adam. When awakened, with the advantage of their experience with evil which Adam
lacked, those who accept the redemption as God’s gift may continue to live everlastingly on the
original condition of obedience. Perfect obedience will be required, and perfect ability to obey
will be given, under the righteous reign of Christ and His Church. God will not, however,
conflict with their freedom of will, or their liberty of choice, to give them life against their wills
(Deuteronomy 30: 19).
The last part of 1 Timothy 4: 10 reads: “We trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all
men, specially of those that believe.” Universalists claim this Scripture teaches that all will
eventually be saved, but upon closer examination, it indicates that all will be eventually saved
from Adam’s condemnation. Only those who through obedience go on to gain eternal life,
whether in this age or the next, are the “specially” saved.
As the dead come forth from their graves, the good tidings of a Savior will be testified to them,
and those who “believe in that day” will be granted a full release from the bondage of sin, and
the corruption of death, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. But attainment of these
blessings will depend upon hearty compliance with the laws of Christ’s Kingdom. The speed
with which each attains perfection will be dependent upon their love for the King and His law of
love. If any, after being restored to human perfection, become “fearful” and “draw
back” (Hebrews 10: 38, 39), they, with the unbelievers (Revelation 21: 8), will be destroyed
from among the people (Acts 3: 23). This is the second death.
Peter said that this promised restitution to human perfection has been spoken by the mouth of all
the holy prophets (Acts 3: 19-21). Ezekiel says of the valley of dry bones, “These bones are the
whole house of Israel.” And God says to Israel, “Behold, O my people, I will open your graves,
and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall
know that I am the LORD, when I . . . shall put my spirit in you . . . and I shall place you in your
own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the
LORD” (Ezekiel 37: 11-14). This cannot merely refer to restorations from former captivities in
Babylon, Syria, etc., for they since have been plucked up.
Other nations beside Israel are also promised restitution, such as Sodom, whom our Lord
guarantees shall have an opportunity (Matthew 11: 24). Indeed, all nations, “all the families of
the earth” shall have an opportunity.
The Lord says, “In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and
the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one [who dies] shall die for his own
iniquity” (Jeremiah 31: 29, 30). This is not true now, for presently each dies for Adam’s sin, but
the day when every man who dies shall die for his own sin is the Millennial or Restitution day.
Christians in general believe that all God’s blessings are only for the selected Church, but we see
that God’s plan is wider, and though He has given the Church “exceeding great and precious
promises,” He has also made bountiful provision for the world which He so loved as to redeem.
The Jews made a similar mistake in supposing that all God’s promises were to them alone; but
when the “due time” came and the Gentiles were favored, the few among Israel whose hearts
were large enough to rejoice in the wider evidence of God’s grace, shared that increased favor,
while the rest were blinded by prejudice and human tradition.
God’s Plan Greater than Man’s Doctrines
How different is the glorious plan of God – to select a few now, in order to bless the many
hereafter – from the various doctrines of Calvinism and Arminianism! The former both denies
the Bible doctrine of Free Grace and distorts the doctrine of Election; the latter denies the
doctrine of Election and fails to comprehend the blessed fullness of God’s Free Grace.
Whereas Calvinism highlights God’s wisdom and power, it ignores His justice and love. On the
other hand, Arminianism recognizes His justice and love, but diminishes His wisdom and power.
While the doctrines of Election and Free Grace, as taught by Calvinism and Arminianism, could
never be harmonized with each other, with reason, or with the Bible, yet these two glorious Bible
doctrines are perfectly harmonious and beautiful when seen from the standpoint of the plan of
God is, and has always been, the perfect master in the carrying out of His plan of the ages, and in
the end all will eventually recognize that everything has been working together for the
accomplishment of His purposes. Seeing that so many of the wonderful features of God’s plan
for human salvation from sin and death lie in the future, and that the second advent of our Lord
Jesus is the designed first step in the accomplishment of those long promised and expected
blessings, we look upon His second advent with longing instead of dread. Praise God that the
time for evil, injustice and death is about to end by the great power which He will exercise, and
that righteousness, truth and peace are to become universal! We lift up our hearts in anticipation
of the “great joy which shall be to all people.”
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