Human nature and the state of the
Human nature essentially mortal
In nothing will Christendom appear in the eyes
of the Bible student further astray than in the ordinary theological
view as to the nature of man. We ask what the Bible teaches on
the subject, and getting the Bible answer we find that, according
to the Scriptures, man is destitute of immortality in every sense;
he is a creature of organised substance subsisting in the life-power
of God, which he shares in common with every living thing under
the sun; that he only holds this life on the short average tenure
of three-score years and ten, at the end of which he gives it
up to him from whom he received it, and returns to the ground,
whence he originally came, and meanwhile ceases to exist. Such
a proposition may well be shocking to ordinary religious susceptibility;
but, it demands investigation. Our business is to look at the
First, and most astounding fact
of all (as it must appear to those who think the Bible teaches the
immortality of the soul), we do not find anywhere in the Bible those
common phrases by which the popular doctrine is expressed. "Never-dying
soul", "immortal soul", "immortality of the
soul", etc., so constantly on the lips of religious teachers,
are forms of speech which are not to be met with throughout the
whole of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. Anyone may quickly
satisfy himself on this point by reference to a concordance, if
he be otherwise unacquainted with the Scriptures. How are we to
explain the fact? All the essential teachings of Scripture are plain,
unequivocal, and copious; but of the doctrine of the immortality
of the soul, there is not the slightest mention. This fact is acknowledged
by eminent theologians, but does not seem to suggest to their minds
the fictitiousness of the doctrine. They argue the other way, and
maintain (or at least suggest) that the reason of the Bible passing
over in silence the doctrine of human immortality is because it
is so self-evident as to require no enunciation. This is very unsatisfactory.
A more rational course to pursue is surely to suspect a doctrine
not divinely inculcated, and subject it to the severest scrutiny.
Some, however, may not be satisfied
that the doctrine of that immortality of the soul is not definitely
broached in the sacred writings. Recalling to mind the constant
use of the word "soul", they may be disposed to consider
that it is countenanced and endorsed in such a way as to render
formal enunciation superfluous. For the benefit of such, it will
be well to look at the use made of the word in the Scriptures, in
order to see its meaning. First let it be remembered that in its
original derivation "soul" simply means a breathing creature,
without any reference to its constitution, or existence. This fact
is strikingly illustrated in the renderings adopted by our translators
in the first few chapters of Genesis. As applied to Adam, it is
translated soul (Gen.2:7); as applied to beasts, birds, reptiles
and fish, it is rendered "creature" and "thing"
(Gen.1:20-21,24,28). The word is employed to express various ideas
arising out of respiring existence as its fundamental significance.
It is put for persons in the following:
"And Abram took... the souls
that they had gotten in Haran, and they went forth to go into
the land of Canaan" (Genesis 12:5).
It is applied to animals in this:
"Levy a tribute unto the
Lord of the men of war which went out to battle, one soul of five
hundred, both of the persons, and of the oxen, and of the asses,
and of the sheep" (Numbers 31:28).
It is also used to represent mind,
disposition, life, etc.; and that which it describes is spoken of
as capable of hunger (Prov.19:15), of being satisfied with food
(Lam.1:11,19), of touching a material object (Lev.5:2), of going
into the grave (Job 33:22,28), of coming out of it (Psalm 30:3),
etc. It is never spoken of as an immaterial, immortal, thinking
entity. The original word occurs in the Old Testament about 700
times, and in the New Testament about 180 times; and among all the
variety of its renderings, it is impossible to discover anything
approaching to the popular dogma. It is rendered "soul"
530 times; "life" or "living" 190 times; "person"
34 times; and "beasts and creeping things" 28 times. It
is also rendered "a man", "a person". "self",
"they", "we", "him", "anyone",
"breath", "heart", "mind", "appetite",
"the body", etc. In no instance has it the significance
claimed for it by professing Christians of modern times. It is never
said to be immortal, but always the reverse. It is not only represented
as capable of death, but as naturally liable to it. We find the
"None can keep alive his
own soul" (Psalm 22:29).
"What man is he that liveth
and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul
from the hand of the grave?" (Psalm 89:48)
And in making an historical reference,
he further says,
"He spared not their
soul from death, but gave
their life over to the pestilence" (Psalm 78:50).
Finally, Ezekiel declares:
"The soul that sinneth it
shall die" (Ezek.18:4).
We have to note another difference
between scriptural and popular sentiment. Theologians have estimated
the value of the supposed immortal soul very highly: "Oh! the
value of one human soul! Countless worlds cannot be placed in the
balance with it!" Now we meet with nothing of this sort in
the Scriptures. The sentiment there is entirely the contrary way.
Take for instance this:
"What is your
life? It is even a vapour that appeareth for a little
time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14).
"Lord, what is man that thou
takest knowledge of him, and the son of man that thou makest account
of him? Man is like unto vanity; his days are as a shadow that
passeth away" (Psalm 144:3-4).
There is only one passage that looks
a little different from this. It is this:
"What shall it profit a man
if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what
shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36-37).
This is frequently quoted in justification
of the popular sentiment; but it will at once be observed that the
words do not describe the absolute value of a man’s life in
creation, but simply its relative value to himself. They enforce
the commonsense principle that for a man to sacrifice his life in
order to obtain a thing which without life he can neither possess
nor enjoy, would be to perpetrate the highest folly. Does any one
insist that it means the "immortal soul" of common belief?
Then let him remember that the same word which is translated "soul"
in this passage is translated "life" in the one immediately
before in which if we were to read it "immortal soul"
the absurdity would at once appear: "For whosoever will save
his immortal soul shall lose it, but whosoever shall lose
his immortal soul for my sake and the gospel's the
same shall save it."
What an awful paradox would this
express in the mouths of believers in the immortal soul. But regard
the words in the light in which we have already seen the Scriptures
use it, and you perceive beauty in the idea - preciousness in the
promise. He who shrinks not from sacrificing his life in this age,
rather than deny Christ and forsake his truth, will be rewarded
with a more precious life at the resurrection: whereas he who renounces
the truth to protect his poor mortal interests, will be excluded
from the blessings of the life to come.
We get to the root of the matter
in Genesis, where we are furnished with an account of the creation
of man. Here the phraseology is not at all in agreement with the
popular view, but entirely coincides with the view advocated:
"And the Lord God formed
man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the
breath of life, and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7).
Here we are informed that man was
made from the ground, and that which was produced from the ground
was the being called man. "But",
says an objector, "that only means his body". It is possible
to say that it means anything we may fancy. A statement of this
kind is worth nothing. There is nothing in the passage before us,
nor anything else in the Scriptures, to indicate the popular distinction
between a man and his body. The substantial organisation is here
called man. True, he was without life before the inspiration of
the breath of life, yet he was man. The life was something super-added
to give man living existence. The life was not the man; it was the
principle; it was something outside of him, proceeding from a divine
source, and infusing itself into the wonderful mechanism prepared
for its reception. "He breathed into his nostrils the breath
of life, and man became a living soul".
This is frequently quoted in proof of the common doctrine - or rather,
misquoted, for it is generally given "and breathed into
him a living soul", but it really establishes
the contrary. What became a "living soul"? The dust-formed
being. If, therefore, the use of the phrase "became a living
soul", prove the immortality and immateriality of any part
of man’s nature, it carries the proof to the body, for it
was that which became a "living soul". But, of course,
this would be absurd. The idea expressed in the passage before us
is simple and rational, viz., that the previously inanimate being
became a living being when vitalised, but not necessarily immortal,
for, though a living soul, it is not said he became an "ever-living"
or "never-dying" soul, though doubtless he would have
lived had not sin brought death.
But, whatever Adam may have been
as originally constituted, the decree went forth that he should
cease to be - that he should return to the state of nothingness
from which he had been developed by creative power: that he should
die: and this constitutes the greatest disproof that could be brought
forward of man’s immortality in any sense. It was said to
Adam that in the day he ate of the forbidden tree, he should "surely
die" (Genesis 2:17). If there could
be any doubt as to the meaning of this, it is set at rest by the
terms of the sentence passed upon him when he disobeyed.
"Because thou hast eaten
of the tree of which I commanded thee saying, Thou shalt not eat
of it... in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till, thou
return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou
taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust
shalt thou return" (Genesis 3:17-19).
To say that this sentence merely
relates to the body and does not affect the being, is to play with
words. The personality expressed in the pronoun "thou"
is here distinctly affirmed of the physical organisation. "thou
are dust." What could be more emphatic? "thou
shalt return to the dust." Abraham expresses this view:
"Behold now I have taken
upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes"
This is Abraham’s estimate
of himself; some of his modern friends would have corrected him.
"Father Abraham, you are mistaken; you
are not dust and ashes; it is only your body." Abraham’s
unsophisticated view, however, is more reliable than "the (philosophical)
wisdom of this world", which Paul pronounces to be "foolishness
with God" (1 Cor.3:19).
Paul keeps company with Abraham:
"I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good
thing" (Romans 7:18) and tells us in general to "beware
of philosophy and vain deceit", which are specially to be guarded
against on this question. James adds to this testimony:
"Let the brother of low degree
rejoice in that he is exalted; but the rich in that he is made
low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away"
Which is something like a reiteration
of Job’s words:
"Man that is born of a woman
is of few days and full of trouble; he cometh forth like a flower,
and is cut down; he fleeth also as a shadow and continueth not"
Then comes the words of Solomon,
the wisest of all men:
"I said (or wished) in mine
heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might
manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are
beasts; for that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts;
even one thing befalleth them; as the one dieth so dieth the other;
yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath
no pre-eminence above a beast; for all is vanity.
All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust
again" (Ecclesiastes 3:18-20).
Thus do the Scriptures pronounce
man to be a creature of frailty and mortality, who, though bearing
the image of God, and towering far above all other creatures in
his intellectual might, and in the grandeur of his moral nature,
and in his racial relation to futurity, is yet labouring under a
curse which hastens him to an appointed end in the grave. It is
of the highest importance that this truth should be recognised.
It is impossible to discern the scheme of Bible truth while holding
fundamental error on the nature of man. The doctrine of the immortality
of the soul will be found to be the great error - the mighty delusion
which overspreads all people like a veil - the great obstruction
to the progress of true Christianity. Words truly fail to describe
the mischief the doctrine has done. It has rendered the Bible unintelligible,
and promoted unbelief by making the Bible responsible for a doctrine
with which its historic and moral features are inconsistent. It
has taken away the vitality of religion by destroying its meaning,
invested the subject with a mystery that does not belong to it,
and robbed it of its vigour. Fling the doctrine of the immortality
of the soul to the moles and to the bats, and humbly accept the
evidence of fact, and the testimony of God’s infallible word.
The dead unconscious till the resurrection
If Christendom is astray on the
nature of man, it naturally follows that it is astray on the state
of the dead. We now look at this subject in the light of facts and
the testimony of Scripture.
Death is the greatest fact in human
experience, considered in its relation to the individual. Its occurrence
is universal and inevitable: its gloomy shadow, sooner or later,
darkens every house. Who has not felt its iron hand? Who has not
beheld the loved one chilled and stiffened by its desolating blast?
The blooming child with all its prattling innocence and winning
ways: the companion of youth, rosy, and healthy; the cherished wife,
the devoted husband, the tried and trusty friend; which of them
has not been torn from our side by the terrible hand of this ruthless
and indiscriminating enemy? One day we have seen them with bright
eye, beaming countenance, supple frame, and have heard the words
of friendship and intelligence drop from their living lips; the
next we look upon them stretched on the bier - still, cold, motionless,
What shall we say to these things?
Death brings grief to the living. It overwhelms them with a sorrow
that refuses consolation. It is not for ourselves that we mourn;
news of life would bring gladness, even if friends were far distant,
and intercourse impossible. No, it is for the dead our hearts are
pained. Let us consider the bearing of this upon popular theology.
It cannot be on account of the uncertainties "beyond the grave"
because our grief is quite as poignant for those who are believed
to have "gone to heaven", as for those about whom doubts
may be entertained. Tears flow quite as fast for the good as for
the bad, and, perhaps, a little faster. There is something inconsistent
with the popular theory here.
If our friends are really gone to
"glory", we ought to feel as thankful as we do when they
are promoted to honour "here below"; but we do not; and
Why? The evidence will justify the answer. Because the strength
of natural instinct can never be overcome by theological fiction.
Men will never practically believe the occurrence of death to be
the commencement of life, when they see it to be the extension of
all they ever knew or felt of life. If the dead are not dead, but
"gone before"; if they are "praising God among the
ransomed above", they are alive, and, therefore, they have
merely changed a place of "temporal" for a place of eternal
abode. They have simply shifted out of the body from earth to heaven,
or to hell, as the case may be. The word "death", in its
original meaning, has, therefore, no application to man. It has
lost its meaning as popularly employed. It is no longer the antithesis
of "life". It no longer means the cessation of living
existence (its radical signification), but simply means a change
of habitation. "A man die? No, impossible! He may go out of
the body, but he cannot die". This
is the popular sentiment the dictum of the world’s wisdom
- the tenacious belief of the religious world.
We shall enquire if there is anything
in the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, or in the testimony of nature
to warrant this belief. And we shall find that there is not only
an entire absence of warrant for it, but great evidence to show
that death invades a man’s being and robs him of existence,
and that consequently in death he is as totally unconscious as though
he had never lived. Let the reader suspend his judgment. He will
find that the sequel will justify this answer, appalling as it may
at first appear.
First, let us consider, for a moment,
the primary idea expressed by the word death. It is the opposite
of life. We know life as a matter of positive experience. The idea
of death is derived from this experience. Death is the word that
describes its interruption, or negation, or stopping. Whether life
is used literally or figuratively; whether it is affirmed of a creature
or an institution, death is the opposite of the life so spoken of.
It means the absence or departure of the life. In order, therefore,
to understand death in relation to our present enquiry, we must
have a definite conception of life.
What is life as known experimentally?
It is the answer of literal truth to say that it is the aggregate
result of the organic processes transpiring within the human structure
in respiration, circulation of the blood, digestion, etc. The lungs,
the heart, and the stomach conspire to generate and sustain vitality,
and to impart activity to the various faculties of which we are
composed. Apart from this busy organism, life is unmanifested, whether
as regards man or beast. Shock the brain, and insensibility ensues;
take away the air, and you produce suffocation; cut off the supply
of food, and starvation ensues with fatal effect. These facts, which
everybody knows, prove that life depends on the organism. They show
that human life, with its mysterious phenomena of thought and feeling,
is the evolution of the complicated machinery of which we are so
"fearfully and wonderfully made". That machinery, in full
and harmonious action, is a sufficient explanation of the life we
now live. In it and by it we exist.
Now, whatever prejudice the reader
may feel against this presentation of the matter, he cannot evade
recognising this, that there was a time when we did not exist. This
important fact shows the possibility of non-existence in relation
to man. The question is, shall this state of non-existence again
supervene? And this is a simple question of experience, on which,
alas! experience speaks but too plainly. Since human existence depends
on material organic function, non-existence ensues upon the interruption
of that function. By experience we know that this interruption does
take place, and that man dies in consequence. Death comes to him
and undoes what birth did for him. The one gave him existence; the
other takes it away. "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou
return", is realised in every man’s experience. In the
course of nature, his being vanishes from creation, and all his
qualities submerge in death for the simple reason that the organism
that develops them then stops its working.
These are the facts of the case
from a natural point of view. But when we look into the Scriptures
it is astonishing how much stronger the case becomes. When the Scriptures
speak about the death of anyone, they do not employ the phraseology
of popular religion. They do not say of the righteous that they
have "gone to their reward", or "gone to their last
account", or that they have "winged their flight to a
better world "; or of the wicked, that they are "gone
to appear before the bar of God, to answer for their misdeeds".
The language is expressive of a contrary doctrine. The death of
Abraham, the father of the faithful, is thus recorded:
"And Abraham gave up the
ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years,
and was gathered to his people" (Genesis 25:8).
So also in the case of Isaac:-
"And Isaac gave up the ghost
and died, and was gathered unto his people" (Genesis 35:29).
So of Jacob:
"And when Jacob had made
an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the
bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people"
Of Joseph it is simply said:
"So Joseph died, being an
hundred and ten years old, and they embalmed him, and he was put
in a coffin in Egypt" (Genesis 50:26).
So in the case of Moses:
"So Moses, the servant of
the Lord, died there, in the land of Moab, according to the word
of the Lord. And he buried him in a valley, in the land of Moab,
over against Bethpeor, but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto
this day" (Deuteronomy 34:5-6).
And so we shall find it in the case
of Joshua (Joshua 24:29), Samuel (1 Samuel 25:1), David (1 Kings
2:1-2,10; Acts 2:29,34); Solomon (1 Kings 11:43), and all others
whose death is recorded in the Scriptures. They are never said to
have gone away anywhere, but are always spoken of as dying, giving
up their life, and returning to the ground. The same style of language
is adopted by Paul when he speaks of the generation of the righteous
dead. He says (Hebrews 11:13):
"These all died in faith,
not having received the promises, but
having seen them afar off."
In speaking of the death of Lazarus,
Jesus recognised the fact in its plainest sense:
"Jesus saith unto them, Our
friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of
sleep. The said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do
well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death, but they thought he had
spoken of taking rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly,
Lazarus is dead" (John 11:11-14).
When Luke records the death of Stephen
(Acts 7:60), he does not indulge in any of the high-flown death-bed
rapture so prevalent in religious literature. He simply says, "He
fell asleep". Or when Paul has occasion to refer to deceased
Christians, he does not speak of them as if "standing before
the throne of God!" The words he employs are in keeping with
those already quoted:
"I would not have you ignorant,
brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not,
even as others who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
There are no exceptions to these
cases in Bible narrative. All Bible allusion to the subject of death
is as unlike popular sentiment as it is possible to conceive. The
Bible speaks of death as the ending of life, and never as the commencement
of another state. Not once does it tell us of a dead man having
gone to heaven. Not once, except by an allowable poetical figure
(Isaiah 14:4) or for purposes of parable (Luke 16:19-31), are the
dead represented as conscious. They are always pictured in language
that accords with experience - always spoken of as in the land of
darkness, and silence, and unconsciousness.
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth
to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device,
nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave,
whither thou goest" (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
Job, in the anguish of accumulated
calamity, cursed the day of his birth, and wished he had died when
an infant; and mark what he says would have been the consequence:
"For now should I have lain
still and been quiet; I should have slept; then had I been at
rest with kings and counsellors of the earth, which built desolate
places [tombs] for themselves; or with princes that had gold,
who filled their houses with silver, or as an hidden untimely
birth I had not been, as infants which
never saw light; there the wicked cease from troubling, and there
the weary be at rest. There the prisoners rest together; they
hear not the voice of the oppressor; the small and great are there,
and the servant is free from his master" (Job 3:13-19).
He also makes the following statement,
which with the one just quoted, ought to be well considered by those
who believe that babies go to heaven when they die:
"Wherefore hast thou brought
me forth out of the womb? O, that I had given up the ghost, and
no eye had seen me; I should have been as though I
had not been" (Job 10:18-19).
David incidentally alludes to the
state of the dead in the following impressive words:
"Free among the dead, like
the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more;
and they are cut off from thy hand. Wilt thou show wonders to
the dead? Shall the dead arise and praise Thee? Shall Thy lovingkindness
be declared in the grave? or Thy faithfulness in destruction?
Shall Thy wonders be known in the dark? and Thy righteousness
in the land of forgetfulness?" (Psalm 88:5,10-12).
These questions are answered in
a short but emphatic statement:
praise not the Lord, neither any that
go down into silence" (Psa.115:17).
And the Psalmist gives pathetic
expression to his own view of man’s evanescent nature, in
the following words, which have a direct bearing on the state of
"Behold, thou hast made my
days as an hand-breadth, and mine age is as nothing before thee.
Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity.... Hear
my prayer, O Lord, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace
at my tears, for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as
all my fathers were. O, spare me, that I may recover strength,
before I go hence, and be no more"
He says, "While I live will
I praise the Lord, I will sing praises unto my God while
I have any being" (Psalm 146); clearly implying
that in David’s view, his being would cease with the occurrence
In addition to these general indications
of the destructive nature of death as a deprivation of being, there
are other statements in the Scriptures which specifically deny that
the dead have any consciousness. For instance:
"The living know that they
shall die; but the dead know not anything,
neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of them is
forgotten; also their love, and their hatred, and their envy is
now perished, neither have they any
more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun"
How often we hear the remark concerning
the dead, "Ah, well! He knows all now!" What shall we
say about it? If Solomon's words have any meaning, the remark is
the very opposite of true. What can be more explicit? "The
dead know not anything." It would certainly be a wonderful
feat of exegesis that should make this mean "The dead know
everything". How common again, to believe that after death,
the dead will love and serve God with greater devotion in heaven,
because freed from the clog of this mortal body; or curse him with
hotter hatred in hell, for the same reason; that, in fact, their
love will be perfected, and their hate intensified; in the very
face of Solomon’s declaration to the contrary. "Their
love and their hatred, and their envy are now perished." David
is equally decisive on this point. He says:
"Put not your trust in princes,
nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help; his breath goeth
forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his
thoughts perish " (Psalm 146:3-4).
"In death there
is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall
give thee thanks?" (Psalm 6:5).
Hezekiah, king of Israel, gives
similar testimony. He had been "sick, nigh unto death",
and on his recovery, he indited a song of praise to God, in which
he gave the following reason for thanksgiving:
"For the grave cannot praise
thee, death cannot celebrate thee, they that go down into the
pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living,
the living, heshall
praise thee as I do this day" (Isaiah 38:18-19).
This array of Scripture testimony
must be conclusive with those with whom Scripture authority carries
weight. If there is anything decisive in the verdict of Scripture,
the state of the dead ought no longer to be a debatable question.
The Bible settles it against all philosophical speculation. It teaches
that death is a total eclipse of being, a complete obliteration
of our conscious selves from God’s universe. This will do
no violence to the feelings of those who are governed by wisdom
of the type inculcated in the Scriptures. Such will but bow in the
presence of God’s appointment, whatever it is. They would
do this if the appointment were harder to receive than it is in
this case. Instead of being hard to receive, it accords with our
experience and our instincts. And still better, it frees all Bible
doctrine from obscurity.
It establishes the doctrine of the
resurrection on the firm foundation of necessity; for in this view,
a future life is only attainable by resurrection. The second coming
of Christ and the resurrection are the events to which the Scriptures
direct our hopes. The earth we inhabit is the destined arena in
which Jehovah’s great salvation will be manifested. Here,
subsequently to the resurrection, will the reward be conferred and
enjoyed. There is no point more clearly established than this by
the specific language of Scripture testimony.
Old and New Testaments agree.
"Behold the righteous shall
be recompensed in the earth" (Proverbs
"Blessed are the meek; for
they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew
In Psalm 37:9-11, the Spirit speaking
through David, says:
"Evildoers shall be cut off;
but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit
the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked
shall not be; yea thou shalt diligently consider his place, and
it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall
delight themselves in the abundance of peace."
Some corroboration is to be drawn
from the following promise to Christ, of which his people are fellowheirs
"I will give thee the heathen
for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of
the earth for thy possession" (Psalm 2:8).
In celebrating the approaching possession
of this great inheritance, the redeemed are represented as singing:
"Thou wast slain, and hast
redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue,
and people and nation, and hast made us unto our God kings and
priests, and we shall reign on the earth"
And the end of the present dispensation
is announced in these words:
"The kingdoms of this
world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of
his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation
Finally, the angel of the Most High
God, in announcing to Daniel, the prophet, the same consummation
of things, says:
"The kingdom and dominion,
and the greatness of the kingdom under
the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of
the Most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all
dominions shall serve and obey him" (Daniel 7:27).
These passages of Scripture prove
unmistakably that it is on the earth that we are to look for the
development of that divine programme of events which is to result
in "glory to God in the highest, and on earth
peace, goodwill toward men."
(Extracted from Christendom Astray
by Robert Roberts with slight amendments to reflect the current
state of affairs among the nations.Copies of this excellent guide
to understanding the Bible are available by contacting