by A. E. Knoch
by Arthur W. Pink
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 brief statements.
In the `Divine Mysteries' (page 225) Mr. Knoch says: "Resurrection comes through mankind, for Christ was raised as a Man. But it will not stop with mankind but, with a scope as wide as death, it will embrace the universe. The Corinthians denied the resurrection of any; the apostle insists on the resurrection of all!
"`Death was introduced into the universe by a man; and resurrection likewise is brought to all by a Man. For as in Adam all are dying thus also in Christ shall all be made alive. It is instructive to notice that it is not said that all shall be raised, though that will be fulfilled at the judgment of the great white throne. They are made alive, as we shall see, at the consummation. But the main point to be insisted on here is its universality in both cases. In Adam all are dying. Thus all shall be made alive in Christ."
There is no ambiguity about the above language. Mr. Knoch is going to make 1 Cor.15 teach the vivification of the entire human race. In order to accomplish this he insists that the `all in Christ' (verse 22) are co-extensive with the `all in Adam.' The supposed proof for this is found in verses 23 and 24a which are regarded as an amplification of verse 22.
A Serious Perversion, Will They Correct It?
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 English version.
We solemnly adjure them before God to publicly acknowledge this grave error and give the true facts of the case in Our Hope. When they have done so, we shall acknowledge their confession in our magazine. Otherwise we may be led to remind our readers, now and again that Our Hope teaches that 1 Cor.15:22 should read `As all in Adam die, so all in Christ shall be made alive,' and thus perverts the word of God in order to destroy the great truth that, `Even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus, in Christ, also, all will be made 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:
I am delighted to tell you the result of my search at the B. and F. Bible Society confirms your contention in every case.
Let me tell you what I have done, and if this is not thorough enough, I shall be pleased to devote a week, or even longer to the task.
I have examined 1 Cor.15:22 in each of the enclosed list of versions, and in every case it reads `In Adam all' and `in Christ all.' My wife and an interested friend came with me and checked my findings, so I do not think there is any possibility of error.
Dr. Kilgour very courteously examined my list and assured me that every necessary one was there. It would, he said, take months to go through every edition on their shelves, but any variation from these would only be a printer's error and of no value to decide a point of doctrine.
Wycliffe Version, 1382; Purvey's revision of same, 1420; Tyndale's Versions, 1525 and 1534; Coverdale's Bible, 1535; Matthews Version, 1537; Taverner's English Bible, 1539; Cranmer's Version (known as the Great Bible), 1540; Whittingham's Version, 1557; Geneva Version, 1560; Erasmus' paraphrase on the New Testament (this of little value, but very interesting),1549; Bishops' Version, 1572; Tomson's revision of the Geneva Version, 1576; Cambridge Standard, 1638; Oxford Standard, 1762.
Wycliffe's Version, 1382, has it, `And as in Adam all men die, so in Christ all men shall be quickened,' W. Tyndale, 1525, has it, `For as by Adam all die even so by Christ shall all be made alive.' Coverdale's Bible, 1535, has it `For as they all die in Adam, so shall they all be made alive in Christ.' Matthews Version, 1537, has it `For as by Adam all die, even so by Christ shall all be made alive.' Taverner's English Bible, 153-9 (a layman's version), has it `For as by Adam all die, even so by Christ shall all be made alive.'
Richard Taverner had high repute for Greek scholarship and was at this time Clerk of the King's Signet. Cranmer's Version, 1540, has it `For as by Adam all die, even so by Christ shall all be made alive.' Whittingham's Version, 1557, has it `For as by Adam all die, even so by Christ shall all be made alive.' He married Calvin's wife's sister. In Queen Elizabeth's reign he became Dean of Durham. His testament, which was based upon Tyndale's, compared with the Great Bible, and largely influenced by Beza's Latin translation (No. 33) was the first portion of Scripture printed in Roman type. Before that black-letter had always been used. The text was divided into verses, and italics were used for the explanatory and connective words. Geneva Version, 1560, has it `For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.' The Geneva Bible became the favorite household Bible of the English people.
For fully three-quarters of a century it maintained its sway in the homes, and hearts of our countrymen, and no fewer than 140 editions of the Bible or New Testament were required to meet the popular demands between 1560 and 1642. Its phrases find an echo in Scripture quotations from Shakespeare to Bunyan. Erasmus' Paraphrase of the New Testament has it `For as by Adam all die, even so by Christ shall all be made alive.' Bishops' Version, 1572, has it `For as by Adam all die, even so by Christ shall all be made alive.' Tomson's revision of the Geneva Version, 1576, has it `For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.'"
Later translations: Noyes, 1878 (a Unitarian); Ferrar Fenton, 1900; J. Mace, 1729; Whiston's Primitive New Testament, 1745; Cunnington (a revision of the 1611 version); Literary Man's New Testament, W. L. Courtney; Westminister Translation (R.C.), 1914; Weymouth's New Testament in Modern Speech and Rotherham's Translation, 1902. These all put the order of the words `in Adam all' and `in Christ all.' Moffat's translation, 1913, is as follows: `As all die in Adam, so shall all be made alive in Christ.'
To this we may add that a number of German bibles, including the Miniatur Bibel, all read "in Christ all."
Thus all the translators are in complete accord on this crucial point. The only exception is the late Pastor Russell. Friends who are acquainted with his works tell me that on page 129 of Vol. 1, and page 695 of Vol. 6, he quotes "As all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive." He boldly states that "The declaration of our common version Bible...is manifestly a mistranslation...The mistranslation favors the doctrine of universal salvation..." Arthur W. Pink and Charles T. Russell are the only ones we have been able to find who alter this passage to conform to their own interpretation.
As we have not the slightest wish to charge anyone falsely, we wrote to our brother and asked him whence he took this quotation. His reply follows:
Swengel, Pa., April 12, 1923.
"Dear Mr. Knoch: In reply to your inquiry would say, that the words you refer to are a typographical error. A similar one is found on the middle of page 568. It should have read, all `in Christ,' and all `in Adam,' the quotation being from 1 Cor.15:22.
Yours by grace,
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).
II. Those who are Christ's (at His presence).
III. The balance of mankind (at the consummation).
"This is the `explanation' of `as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.'" Let the reader pay careful attention to the above analysis (comparing it with the Scripture) and then let him ask himself the question, What is there in verse 24 which in anywise speaks of "the balance of mankind." That, is Mr. Knoch's interpolation, and a glaring one too; we might add, an unwarranted and wicked one.
To justify him making the words `the end' in verse 24 mean the resurrection of `the balance of mankind' (at the consummation), Mr. Knoch insists that the `end' refers to the termination of `the ages of the ages,' and that the `death' mentioned in verse 26--`The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death'--means the second death. He argues that since the first death is cast into the lake of fire (which is the second death), and seeing that the abolishing of death (mentioned in verse 26) occurs subsequently to this, that therefore `at the consummation when this takes place, the only death which can be abolished is the second death' (italics his). And then, he adds, `Instead of this passage referring exclusively to the first death, it has no bearing upon it at all. It refers only and exclusively to the second' (page 226).
What Happens Thereafter?
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."
his own class?" Could anyone suppose that those that are Christ's would be vivified when He was, in the past? Why, then, bring in these "Classes?" And why, after "those who are Christ's" have been vivified, speak of "thereafter the consummation?" What comes after the saints have been made alive? The record reads that this coincides with the abolition of death. Hence there is no reasonable alternative except "the balance of mankind."
Let us allow that the abolition of death refers to the vivification of the saints. Then the coming of Christ is not only post-millennial but long after the thousand years, so long as government exists! Sovereignty continues in the new creation. Death is not abolished until after it has gone. Hence the saints still sleep! There are no saints to reign on the millennial earth! It cannot be true that they live and reign with Him during the thousand years! It cannot be true that they reign in the new earth! Such absurdities ought to satisfy all that the abolition of death has no reference to the vivification of the saints.
As his interpretation of this passage (1 Cor.15:22-27) is the main one upon which Mr. Knoch rests his scheme of universalism we shall the more carefully examine its setting, scope, and true meaning.
The passage before us has its setting in a chapter which treats of resurrection: first the resurrection of Christ, second the resurrection of His people. Upon the former we need not comment; upon the latter we would offer the following remarks. That what is found in this chapter concerns the people of God, and them alone, is clear from its opening words, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you," etc. This is confirmed in what follows, for example in verses 50 and 51, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.... Behold, I show you 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 believers only.
We are heartily in favor of the great principle that every passage in the Scriptures must be interpreted within the scope of its context.
Who Does Paul Write About?
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 Thess.4:14).
"Sleep" for Death is Not Confined to Believers
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 unbeliever.
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 chapter.
It grieves us to comment on such a statement as this. It is difficult not to give offense. Does verse 22 tell any such thing? It is evident that his own perversion of this passage has so blinded his mind that to him it seems to teach what he wishes it to teach. What is true?
"in Christ all..."
or "all in Christ...?
This is sufficient answer yet we wish it clearly understood that we believe that all will be in Christ, just as all are in Adam. If we limit those "in Christ" to those who were in Christ when this passage was written, then not one of us today is "in Christ." If we limit it to all who are "in Christ" now, that would exclude many who may yet believe into Him in the future. It refers only to those who are in Christ at His presence. Many will be born after this, in the millennial age, who will be "in Christ." We make no pretence 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 Christ's."
This is followed by "then cometh the end." The word here rendered "then" in our versions is not as clear as it might be. We give a few passages where it occurs to show that it really means thereafter. We give the A. V. renderings.
||afterward, when affliction or persecution
||then the ear, after that the full
||After that He poureth water into
||Adam was first formed, then Eve
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 26.
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive' (verse 22). Mr. Knoch contends that the `all in Christ' is co-extensive with the `all in Adam,' but the only kind of proof offered in support of his assertion is to add a sentence of his own to verse 24, and then to assume that `death' in verse 26 refers to the Lake of Fire. Now it cannot be gainsaid that in every other passage those who are referred to as being `in Christ' are a restricted company, how then can we `consistently' (to use one of Mr. Knoch's favorite words) ignore such a restriction here? 1 Cor. 15 is another passage which, like Rom. v, treats of Federal Headship and postulates concerning the respective peoples represented by the two great Heads: all represented by Adam `die;' all represented by Christ `shall be made alive.'
It is very clear, even to our critic, that he has been assuming the point he wishes to prove. Now, however, we are to be treated to a real argument. We have never found it necessary to prove that "all in Christ" is co-extensive with "all in Adam," because we quote it as it stands. If he wishes to change this to "all represented by Christ," all we have to say is that we prefer God's words to his. It will only lead him back to his starting point.
True consistency is a jewel. This kind of consistency is a counterfeit. The context determines the scope of an expression. In our Lord's day the gospel was restricted to Israel and the land. What kind of consistency requires that the Jews in Palestine alone are eligible for the evangel today? God Himself has made the change. The number of those "in Christ" is continually growing. Until the consummation they are always, a restricted class. But in this passage God Himself removes the restrictions. This is not consistency. It is unbelief.
In the next place, Mr. Knoch seeks to avail himself of the fact that the second half of verse 22 refers to more than resurrection. `Made alive' Mr. Knoch insists is the equivalent of them receiving eternal life at the consummation of the eons In his booklet replying to Dr. Torrey, Mr. Knoch says (page 22): `The believer's life is not limited to the eons. He receives eonian (`everlasting') life while the unbeliever receives eonian judgment in death. But, at the consummation death is abolished and all receive life (1 Cor.15:22,26). The unbeliever never receives eonian life, but after the eons he receives eternal life. The [un]believer enjoys eonian life until the consummation and then receives eternal life. In both cases eternal life (italics in this sentence, ours) comes as the result of the abolition of death. Eonian life is only for those who believe.' Mr. Knoch's scheme compels him to define the `made alive' in 1 Cor.15:22 as signifying the giving of eternal life. Thus the issue is clearly defined and may be easily settled.
The Greek word here for `made alive' is `zoopoieo.' It is most frequently rendered `quickened' in the 1611 version. Whether or not it signifies the bestowal of eternal life we leave the reader to judge from the following facts. The first occurrence is in John 5:21, `For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.' It is evident that in the first half of this verse the reference is to the quickening of bodies not hearts; so it is in the second half of the verse, for the whole verse is a part of our Lord's vindication for having healed (quickened) the impotent man on the Sabbath day. The same word is rendered `quickened' in Rom.4:17, where the reference is to the re-juvenation of Abraham's body. In Rom.8:11 the reference is plainer still, `But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His spirit that dwelleth in you.' We do not affirm that `zoopoieo,' is limited to physical quickening, but this is the most common application of the word in the New Testament. All doubt should be removed as to its exact force in 1 Cor.15:22 from the fact that in the same chapter it is employed twice more in its primary and restricted sense: `Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened except it die' (verse 36). Here the reference can only be to physical quickening. So, again, we read `There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The First man, Adam, was made a living soul; the "last Adam a quickening spirit" (verses 44,45). Here again it is evident that `quickening' refers to bodily quickening.
The fact that the Holy Spirit has employed the term `zoopoieo' (quickened) rather than `egeiroo' (raised) in 1 Cor.15:22 only brings out the minute and marvelous accuracy of Scripture. If only sleeping saints were in view it would have said "raised," but as there will be living saints to be "changed" as well, the Holy Spirit has used "made alive" so as to include both the dead in Christ and those alive on the earth.
He Who Lives and Believes shall Never Die
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 carries?
Far from calling the healing of the infirm, man by this term, He speaks of this as greater (John 5:20). "For even as the Father is rousing the dead and vivifying them, thus the Son, also, is vivifying whom He will." It is life superimposed on life. This may not be so immediately evident in every case as in the direct statements of our Lord, but there is no passage but bears it out.
Even the case of Abraham, which is adduced to the contrary, is a good example. Abraham was not dead. He was not concerned with his resurrection after he had died. He was concerned with the perpetuation of his life by means of the seed that God had promised. He needed vivification, not resurrection. And God gave it to him, for that seed will live eternally in myriads of his descendants.
In Romans the subject is not resurrection, for the body is not dead, but mortal, that is, subject to death (Rom.8:11). You cannot resurrect a mortal body, for it is not dead. You can vivify it, or give a live body an immortal life. The whole point in this passage depends on the distinction between vivification and resurrection. To give a mortal body physical life is absurd, for it already has 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 time.
No wonder our critic does "not affirm that `zoopoieo' is limited to physical quickening" (though that is vital to his argument) when we read of "being put to death, indeed, in flesh, yet made alive in spirit" (1 Peter 3:18). But why does he not quote this passage? This cannot refer to bodily quickening.
There are three references to vivification in the fifteenth of first Corinthians, two of which, we are told, should remove all doubt that it is limited to "physical quickening." Following the statement that "If there is a soulish body there is a spiritual, also" we are told that "The first man Adam because a living soul; the last Adam a life imparting spirit." This is referred to "bodily quickening." The soulish body has physical life. Consequently the last Adam, when He vivifies, is not a whit superior to the first! All that we will have in the resurrection will be a living body, still subject to death with a glory no greater than our present soulish bodies! Now all who know Him are aware that this is not true. When He makes us alive we will be beyond the power of death with bodies of glory and power. This passage is the last one to appeal to, to prove that vivification is no more than the healing that came to the impotent man at Bethesda.
The Second Death is Natural, Physical Death
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 nothing.
Moreover, Christ Himself is the Firstfruit of those who are vivified. Did He receive non-eternal, physical rejuvenation at His resurrection? How, indeed, can He be the Firstfruits when some were raised by the prophets long before He came in flesh and He Himself raised three from the dead, giving them non-eternal physical life at the very least? What is it that distinguishes His case from theirs, and the case of the saints from the resurrection of judgment?
It is the possession of life, immortal life, beyond the jurisdiction of death. Christ is the Firstfruit of such, and not of the resurrection. It is this abundant life which is indicated by the term "making alive" or "vivification" in the Scriptures. The hopeless tangle in which our brother involves himself, and his own admission that his definition is unsatisfactory ought to be enough to convince all that the truth is elsewhere. Truth does not suppress passages which appear unfavorable, nor does it blindly produce an argument against 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 first death."
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 other.
But it is not necessary to believe God's simple definition to see how untenable is the position taken by our brother. It seems incredible that he should not have been struck by its incongruity. He insists that the last enemy is the first death. Consequently the second death comes after the last enemy has been abolished! He insists it is the believer's last enemy. The time when it is abolished is clear. All sovereignty and authority and power must be abrogated before that time (1 Cor.15:24). It cannot be before the reign of Christ, during the thousand years. It cannot be during the reign of the Son for the eon of the eon (Heb.1:8). It cannot be until the Son becomes subject, and all rule has vanished. Hence death is not abolished for the believer until the consummation! Either we are not raised at Christ's presence, or, being raised, are still subject to death during the thousand years and the reign which follows in the new creation.
Of course, he may say that "all" sovereignty does not mean all. But what sovereignty does our Lord exercise on earth prior to our resurrection? Does not His kingdom commence after we are caught up to meet Him? Consequently "all" sovereignty would be reduced to none! He would give up a kingdom He never had!
Let anyone compare the statement that the lake of fire is the second death (Rev.20:14) with the abolition of death at the consummation when the Son gives up the kingdom (1 Cor.15:24), after death has been cast into the lake of fire (Rev.20:14) and then judge for himself whether it is "a falsehood, pure and simple," to say that the lake of fire is to be abolished at the consummation. When God says one thing is another we have no hesitancy in believing Him.
"Another of Mr. Knoch's glosses (borrowed from Mr. A. Jukes) is the mystical meaning which he gives to the concluding words of 1 Cor.15:28: "That God may be all in all." Mr. Knoch makes this to mean that God may be "all" in all creatures (The Mysteries, pages 246-9), whereas the context makes it plain that God may be `All in all' signifies that "at the conclusion of Christ's mediatorial reign GOD'S SUPREMACY will be fully manifested.
"After we had completed that last sentence above we consulted Mr. F. W. Grant to note his interpretation, and we find ours is in entire accord. Here are his words: `If Christ's enemies had become His friends before He gave up the kingdom [which is what Mr. Knoch contends], His giving it up would not make God all in their hearts any more than before. But it is the giving up of the kingdom that makes God `all in all.' Evidently then the sense is that He will be in recognized and immediate supremacy everywhere'" (`Facts and Theories of a Future State,' page 401).
As I have never possessed a copy of Mr. Jukes' book and had not read it when "The Mystery of the Gospel" was written, it must have been a case of borrowing by mental telepathy. But where is the "mystical" meaning? To say that "all in all" signifies "the manifestation of God's supremacy" may not be mystical, but it is very far indeed from the truth. The Chinese revision committee did not think that "all in all" would convey this idea, so they deliberately made it "Lord of all over all." When we say "Christ is my all," what do we mean? That He is our Lord? Yes, and our Saviour and Friend and our Lover, our Wisdom and our Righteousness, and our Holiness--He is everything to us! There is nothing mystical about that. And that is just what God wishes to be and what He will be!
Will He be this only in some? No! He will be All in all! It is insinuated that this is not the natural sense of in all, so we will give a few passages in which it is used of persons.
|1 Cor. 8:7
||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
|2 Thess. 1:10
||admired in all them that believe
||Marriage is honorable in all,
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 all.
Paternal Authority Replaces Government
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 all.
The "kingdom" is given up to the Father, after all sovereignty and authority and power have been abrogated. What kind of a "supremacy" will God "fully manifest" which has no power, no authority, no sovereignty? Thank God, all these elements, which characterized government during the eons, will be utterly unnecessary when the Son of God is finished with His "mediatorial" work. Instead of God's supremacy being fully manifested at that time, it will be entirely absent, and God, as Father, will guide His family by the sweet constraint of love.
After all, the fullness of "in Christ all shall be made alive" cannot be camouflaged by distorting it. Its meaning does not depend on the order of the words, but on the actual fact conveyed by the previous phrase, "As in Adam all are dying." Altering the divine order of these words into "As all in Adam are dying" does not change the fact that all mankind is involved. So, wrenching the divine order to "all in Christ shall be made alive" does not touch the truth that it is co-extensive with the scope of death.
The whole of this elaborate discussion may be summed up in one query, What has God said:
IN CHRIST ALL
or, all in Christ?
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