MAN’S INFIIRMITY DOUBTS GOD’S GOODNESS
He regards doubt of God’s universal and unending goodness as an infirmity of man, founded on no reality in God’s purpose or disposition. Hence he declares:
“Will the Lord cast off forever? And will He be favorable no more? Is His mercy clean gone forever? Doth His promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath, He in anger shut up His tender mercies? Selah. And I said, this is my infirmity; but I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.” Psalms 67:7-10
“For he says, The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will He keep His anger forever.” Psalms 54:8-9
“ For His anger endureth but a moment; in His favor is life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalms 30:5
“If his children forsake My law and walk not in My judgments; if they break My statues, and keep not My commandments; then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquities with stripes, nevertheless My loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer My faithfulness to fail.” Psalms 89:30-33
“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all and His tender mercies are over all His works” Psalms 165:8,9
“All nations whom Thou has made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord, and shall glorify Thy name.” Psalms 86:9
“O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come.” Psalms 65:2
“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindred’s of the nations shall worship before Thee.” Psalms 22:27
See also his faith in the welfare of his wicked son Amnon as expressed heretofore. We might here rehearse his triumphant exultations concerning the brevity of God’s anger, and the endless duration of His mercy, elsewhere found in the Psalms. He evidently looked forward to the expiration of God’s anger, and the triumph of Divine mercy and grace in all souls.
THE PROPHET ISAIAH
Uttered some of the most comprehensive and glorious of all the statements of this doctrine ever framed by human lips or pen. “He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces.” Isaiah 25:8
If we have any doubt whether this teaches universal deliverance from death and sorrow, in other words, whether the prophet inculcates universal life and happiness, we have but to turn to 1 Corinthians 15…where Paul quotes it, and applies it to the final resurrection, so that if Paul has not made a mistake, Isaiah, in this language teaches the restitution of all things to God.
GOD’S WORD CONQUERS
“Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself; the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear surely say;
“ In the Lord have I righteousness and strength.” Isaiah 45:24-27
Here is universal worship and service. “He, (Christ) shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied.” Isaiah 3:11
As He died to redeem all souls, and is satisfied with the result, it follows that the purpose of His mission is accomplished. The triumph of God’s grace is thus described: As the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth and maketh it bring forth and bud that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater, so shall My word that goeth forth out of my mouth, it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:10,11
The divine word is irresistible, and it has gone forth to compel every soul to confess righteousness and strength in the Lord. This certainly was a prophetic anticipation of the universal reign of Christ. The prophet must have been inspired by the spirit of this faith when he inquired:
“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”? Isaiah 49:15
God will never forget a child of His or cease to care for it, or neglect it, and can only fail to restore it to Himself from lack of means, a lack we cannot impute to One whose wisdom and power are infinite.
Foresaw the grand result when he declared:
“Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith the Lord. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and I will be their God and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, know the Lord, for they shall all know Me from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord, for I will forgive their sin and I will remember their iniquity no more.” Jeremiah 31: 31-34
“It will at once be perceived that this language is uttered of the Jews, but it should be remembered that the Jews cannot be saved till after the Gentiles are redeemed. For I not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits, that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the gentiles be
come in. And so all Israel shall be saved.” Romans 11:25, 26
This is the substance of His declaration founding Lamentations 3:31, 32 Thus even the “weeping prophet” saw the bow of promise in the sky, beheld “the rainbow round about the throne!”
Agrees with his brethren, the prophets. “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues: O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from Mine eyes.” Hosea 13:14
We are not left in doubt as to the meaning of this language for Paul quotes it in
1 Corinthians 15 and declares that it denotes the anastasis, or ascension of all humanity to a condition of holiness and happiness. Even Hosea foresaw the destruction of hell, and the delivery of its inhabitants at the final resurrection.
“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger forever because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and Thou will cast all their sins into the depth of the sea. Thou will perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which Thou has sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.” Micah 7:18-20
This reference to the promise to Abraham, coupled with the declaration that He retaineth not His anger forever, harmonizes with the idea expressed by
“And there was give Him dominion, and glory and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve Him: His dominion is an ever lasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:14
Thus, whatever may be the extent of sin, or its duration, even those who had not seen the fullness of the Gospel as revealed by Him “who brought life and immortality to light,” were able to agree with…
THE “WISE WOMAN ”
Who told King David: “For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground which cannot be gathered up again, neither doth God respect an person, yet doth He devise means, that His banished be not expelled from Him.” 2 Samuel 14:14
The Prophet Malachi comprehended this when he called Jesus…
“And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.” Malachi 3:3
The silver refiner kindles the fire beneath his crucible that he may purge the dross away from the precious metal, and when he can see his perfect image reflected in the molten mass, his task is done. So Jesus will pursue his great work till the dross of sin shall be purged from all hearts, and every soul shall “resemble the Son as the Son resembles the father.” In thus designating Jesus as the Refiner, the prophet foretold “the Divine event to which the whole creation moves,” when…
“O’er every foe victorious
He on His throne shall rest,
From age to age more glorious…
All blessing and all blest,
The tide of time shall never
His covenant remove.
His name shall stand forever…
That name to us is love.”
Thus the end of the elder dispensation harmonizes with its beginning, when the universe was finished, and all that God had made was pronounced very good. “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” Genesis 1:31
We have thus briefly denoted the more prominent considerations in behalf of our blessed faith that are recorded in the Old Testament. It was not to be expected that the dim twilight of revelation would be radiant with the glory that burst from the cross. Having beheld the dawning of the truth, let us turn with delight to the glory that streams from the Sun of Righteousness. In the gospel of Jesus Christ we shall find the truth so plainly revealed that “he who runs may read,” and “the wayfaring man need not err,” as he consults the declaration of Him “who spake as man never spake,” and the words of his disciples who repeated the blessed truths they had heard Him utter.
The great truth of universal redemption is taken for granted, or expressed on nearly every page.
THE NAME JESUS.
Before the birth of Jesus the Angel of the Lord comprehended the grand result when he said to Joseph, ‘thou shalt call His name JESUS, for He shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
He is to save His people. Who are His people? Sinners, for they are to be saved from their sins. How many sinners will He reach and redeem?
“Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession. Psalms 2:8 “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hands.” John 3:35
In one sense, in the sense employed in this passage, the people of Christ are sinners, and all sinners are His people, and as “no man liveth and sinneth not,” the expression “His people” denotes all men. The apostle illustrates the thought when he says; “God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.” Romans11: 32
The heavenly messenger made His name, Jesus, (one who saves) and epitome of His character and mission. He is entitled to be called Jesus, because he will deliver His people, sinners, all men from transgression and sin.
THE WORD GOSPEL
The word gospel, (Anglo Saxon, “good spell”) signifies good news, glad tiding. Nothing so deserves this description as the doctrine that announces the deliverance of universal humanity from sin and sorrow; and this Gospel is to all.
“Behold I bring you good tidings (the Gospel) of great joy, which shall be to all people” Luke 2:1…..It is a glad announcement to all souls, because it teaches all, that sin, error, suffering, and evil shall be destroyed. No other Christian doctrine so deserves the name Gospel, and this blessed assurance is fully entitled to it.
THE FIRST CHRISTMAS ANTHEM
This was the burthen of the first Christmas song, on the plains of Bethlehem, on the birth-night of the savior. The messenger from the skies said to the shepherds: “Fear not, for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10,11
And the heavenly choir repeated the declaration in angelic chorus:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will toward men. Luke 2:14
The glad tidings of joy are ultimately to reach all people, Christ’s people, sinners. To say that one soul will be omitted from the saving influence of His grace and truth, is to charge the Angels with falsehood, for then the glad tidings would not be to all people. The aged Simeon caught a glimpse of the truth when, taking the infant Jesus in his arms, he said:
“Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles and the Glory of thy people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32
JOHN THE BAPTIST
John the Baptist differed very much from modern Baptists in the style and substance of his preaching. In announcing the coming of one, after him, whose shoe latchet he was not worthy to loosen, the forerunner and herald of the Savior cried:
“As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias (Isaiah) the prophet, saying, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Luke 3:4-6
He thus affirms that the moral universe shall have no valleys, no hills, nothing crooked or perverse, but that universal salvation shall result from the laws of Christ. “All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” He uttered the same great truth, when, seeing Jesus approach, he said:
“Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29
No the sin of a few, or even of many, not of a part only, but of the WHOLE WORLD!
AN INCIDENT AND ITS LESSON
In the very beginning of our Savior’s minist4ry He came to “Nazareth where he had been brought up,” and the accounts says (Luke 4:16-20) He read to the people in a Jewish synagogue. He read theses words:
“The spirit of the Lord is upon me because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recover of sight to the blind, to set at livery them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” Isaiah 61: 1
Here He stopped short, in the middle of a sentence, refusing to read the remainder of the prophet’s language, and “closed the book, and gave it to the minister, and sat down” what was the sentence he refused to read? This:
“And the day of vengeance of our God.” Isaiah 61:2 Why did He end thus abruptly, and decline to read what the prophet had spoken of Him? Because, He came, to represent, God as a Father and Savior, and would not utter of Himself one word that would seem to contradict that great fact. Now it is admitted by all commentators that the Old Testament is silent concerning the subject of endless hell, but say some, the New Testament teaches that awful doctrine, and Jesus come to reveal to men endless torment in the immortal world. And yet when Jesus stood for almost the first time in the presence of His people, and read the prophetic declaration concerning Himself, He refused to admit that He came to announce a day of vengeance, but rolled up the parchment in the middle of a verse. He would not read language that might seem to teach that He came to represent God as other than the Father and Savior of all.
BE LIKE GOD
What is the spirit of that grandest discourse ever yet heard or uttered, the Sermon on the Mount? Be like God. He is kind to the wicked, good to the bad. Be like Him.
“Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you; bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. But love ye your enemies and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again, and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Luke 6:27
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them, which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans do the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans do so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as our Father in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:44-48
Could this language be employed concerning God, if He consigned the sinner to an endless hell? And if He did torment His enemies forever, should we be like Him, if we love our enemies? The fact that we are like God only when we are kind to those who injure us, demonstrates that God is the same, and as He is “without variableness, or even the shadow of turning.” James 1:17 “The same yesterday, today and forever.”
Hebrews 13:8 It follows that He will always manifest Himself with impartial kindness towards all. The spirit of this language is in eternal hostility to the idea of endless torment, and inculcates the restitution of all should, to Him whose property they are. We must treat each other as God treats us, in order to be merciful as God is merciful. If God is not merciful to all who offend Him, where is our obligation? And if we must not be unmerciful because He is not, how can He eternally punish? God forbids us to “overcome evil with evil, and demands of us that we overcome evil with good.”
“Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21
And yet it is said that he employs His infinite power in overcoming evil by evil to all eternity! “Recompense no man evil for evil” Romans 12:17 is the Divine injunction, and yet God employs eternity in disobeying His own commands? We are told to bless our foes:
“If thine enemy hunger feed him; if he thirst give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head” Romans 12:20
And yet we are taught that damned souls shall cry for water in vain “a drop of water” to all eternity. Thus God is represented as not doing what He commands us to do, and doing what He commands us not to do, and that to all eternity! Let it be shown that God is unforgiving, cruel, unmerciful, and will torment His enemies forever, and men will resemble Him most when they are most fiendish? If, God were to torment one soul forever, a Sioux Indian would be His best representative among men. But as we are most like Him when kind and tender, it follows that His mercy and Love towards every child of His will be without limit or bound.
As this Divine discourse proceeds, it culminates in:
THE LORD’S PRAYER
And this may be called the Universalist Profession of Faith. All men are required to recognize and address God daily as their Heavenly Father; One Who is always kind and merciful toward all His children. They are commanded in that prayer to pray for His kingdom to come, His kingdom of Holiness and purity, and for His will to be done. We will show hereafter that His will is that all souls shall be saved, (See 1 Timothy 2:1-6 and Ephesians 1:9-14 also John 6:38-40) It is declared that all true Christian prayer must be “in faith, nothing be doubting,” (1 Timothy 2:8) “For whatever is not of faith is sin,” (Romans 14:23)
Now, how can any one address God as a Father, and pray that His will may be done, and understand that will to include the final welfare of all souls, and offer that prayer in faith and not be a Universalist? The doxology of the prayer is in the same vein. He who offers it understandingly, and who prays in faith can say triumphantly, “Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory” and his “Amen” signifying…. so may it be, and so shall it be, this is an aspiration and a psalm, a petition and an exultation.
He sees the Father’s will universally triumphant, or his “Amen” is but an ignorantly pronounced expletive, offending heaven with his idle rhetoric. Unless he utters it, as a triumphant ejaculation that the desire “Deliver us from evil” will at length be answered in universal redemption, his “Amen” has no meaning. But let us dwell a little on the one great fact in this prayer that demonstrates universal salvation:
THE UNIVERSAL FATHERHOOD
The prophet Malachi 2:10 asks; “Have we not all one Father?” If he employed this language in a restricted sense, confining it to the Jews, Christianity enlarges it. In the Lord’s prayer, above, all are under perpetual obligations to call God by the dear name that describes as no other words can, His kindly purpose towards all men, His children
Jesus declares: “ One is your Father” Matthew 23:9
Paul affirms: “There is one God and Father of all” Ephesians 4:6 and he adds that His punishments are all administered to correct and reform those who, by sinning deserve them.
“We have had a father of our flesh, who corrected us, and we gave them reverence. Shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of Spirits and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us, after their own pleasure; but He for our profit that we might be partakers of His Holiness.” Hebrews 12:9,10
He illustrates His paternal love not only in sending the sunshine and the rain on the evil and the good, who are alike His children, but He punishes because He loves and for the purpose of redemption. Sin does not destroy this relation. It continues when man forgets or disregards it.
“ A certain man had two sons; and the younger of them said to his father, father, give me the portion of good that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in the land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his field to feed swine. And he would fill his belly with the husks the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, how many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, an am no more worthy to called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants and he arose and came to his father, but when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him Father; I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, bring forth the best robe, and put it on him and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet; and bring hither the fatted calf and kill it and let us eat and be merry for my son was and is alive again, he was lost and is found.”
God continues to be the father of the lost, remaining always the same to sinners
“A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel, for they have perverted there way, and they have forgotten their God. Return ye back-sliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” Jeremiah 3:21,22
We are to judge god’s feeling towards His children by our own feelings towards our offspring.
“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask for bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” Matthew 7:9-11
Make the heart of the best earthly parent the unit to be multiplied as far as the mind can go, and the quotient….differing in degree, but the same in kind, indicates Our Father.
The earthly parent will do all he can for his children, but God not only will do as much, He can do all He wills. Let any earthly parent look into his own heart, and in the drop of love there, he will see reflected the great heart of God, planning, devising, executing, in time and eternity, the best possible, for every child. The fact of God’s paternity, infinitely wise and powerful, is a guaranty of universal salvation. God created, governs, punishes, does all things as a Father. He will not permit final woe to befall any one of His vast family. He will accomplish the ultimate welfare of each and all; this we know, as truly as we know that He is “Our Father.”
How the Scriptures dwell on this great fact:
“Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, that ye may be the children of our Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44,45
That is, being the children of God, we ought to imitate Him in character. God’s paternal love resembles that of the good earthly parent for his children, only it is infinitely greater, and far more enduring.
“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask for bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” Matthew 7:9-11
“But Zion said, the Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Isaiah 49: 14.15
A parent would not cast off his child forever. Will God, whose love is infinite? The wicked are still God’s children, and are punished that they may be made better.
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou are rebuked of Him; for whom the Lord loveth He chastens, and scourges every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you, as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But if ye be without chastisement, where of all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons? Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh that corrected us and we gave them reverence; shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of Spirits and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His Holiness. Now, no chastisement for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceful fruit of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:5-11
We act like illegitimate children until punishment reforms us, but we are not such, for what would God be, if we were really illegitimate?
God is father in three senses:
By creation in His image. “Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with honor and glory. Genesis 1 Psalms 8
By faith in Christ and love of God. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of Adoption whereby we cry Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15
By being raised in His perfect likeness, and at the final resurrection, also all souls will be. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, the children of this world marry, and are given in marriage; but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection of the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage; neither can they die any more, for they are equal unto the angels and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” Luke 20:34-36
If the sinner forgets his relation as a child of God, the Father remembers it and though man cannot say “Abba Father.” God says, “My son give me thine heart.” Proverbs 23:26
THE GOOD SAMARITAN
What else than this is taught in that immortal parable, the Good Samaritan?
“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, cane and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds pouting in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence and gave them to the host, and said unto him, take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again I will repay thee. Which, now of these three, thinkest thou, was a neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?
And He said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, go and do thou likewise.” Luke 10: 30-37
Here a man is given as an example to all time, of a divine and God-like-spirit, because he was merciful and compassionate to an enemy, ministered to his necessities, and relieved his wants. Would the God who gave to man this sublime ideal, violate it in His treatment of His enemies? Is not the parable of the good Samaritan a demonstration that the Father of men will employ all His infinite attributes in the most blessed work that men or angels, or the great God Himself, can ever perform…..the hallowed work of restoring and saying?
Is not this story a guaranty of universal redemption?
THE GOSPEL LEAVEN
The power of leaven is irresistible. However small the quantity placed in meal it overcomes by its fermentation, all opposition, and assimilates the entire mass to its own likeness. Jesus makes this beautiful figure illustrative of the irresistible influence of His Gospel in the human heart, in the moral world.
Another parable spake he unto them: “The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. Matthew 13:33 “And again He said, whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measure of meal, till the whole was leavened. Luke 13:20,21
The Gospel leaven must prevail universally; it will ferment until ‘the whole is leavened.”
THE JEWISH LEAVEN
The Sadducees taught that there is no resurrection, and the Pharisees taught endless torment after death, for a portion of mankind. Jesus warned his disciples, alike, against the doctrines of each part. “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. The disciples did not understand His meaning. And they reasoned amongst themselves, saying, it is because we have taken no bread. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? How is that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, but that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that He bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the DOCTRINE of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Matthew 26:6-12
The Sadducees taught no resurrection, the Pharisees believed in the future happiness of a portion of mankind. Jesus told his disciples to beware of both, only one other view is possible, the final happiness of all
ALL THE LOST ARE TO BE SAVED
All Christians admit that men are in a lost condition. While there is no such language as “finally impenitent” or “finally lost” in the Bible, the gospel everywhere assumes that souls are lost. For the purpose of seeking and saving such, all such, Jesus came to this world. “The Son of Man is come to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
Not a part, but all the lost. Will He succeed? This question He answers, and in the three parables, the lost silver, The Lost Sheep and the Lost prodigal, He teaches that all the lost are to be restored.
“What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she loses one piece, doth not light a candle and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she finds it. Or of a certain man, who had two sons and the one took his inheritance and squandered it and came home destitute…ready to be a servant in his fathers house… whom the father rejoiced at his return and placed him in the position of a favored son….and said…my son was dead and is alive again….he was lost but now is found. Luke 25:11-22
Now, had these parables been related to teach the common doctrines of the sacrificial church, they would have represented the shepherd as having found say twenty sheep, while eight were irreclaimable: the woman would have lost, say six pieces of silver, and found but two, while four were utterly gone, and the father would have had, say four disobedient children, only one of whom returned, while three wandered in the great desert of sin irredeemable forever. But this is not the teaching of these simple yet divine stories.
Their significance is not in the loss of sheep, or silver, or prodigal, nor in the value placed on them by their owners, nor in their diligence in searching. There are beautiful lessons in all this, but the emphasis is placed where the Christian world does not place it, not on the loss or the finding of a part, but on the fact that the search was continued until all the lost were found. The word that Christians overlook, is the word UNTIL, “Until he find it,” “Until she find it” the search continues for sheep and silver, and the father of the prodigal waits until he can see his son return, until he can say “My lost son is found.”
These parables teach beyond all controversy that however many are lost, they are all found, that when the search is finished there are no lost. Hence the divine author of he parables says:
“All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
Christianity tolerates no final loss. All the lost are to be found by the Heavenly Seeker. When the divine task is consummated the entire race will be brought home…. “No wanderer lost, a family in heaven” The language of our Savior can have no significance, if He does not accomplish the redemption of all souls.
“I am the good shepherd and know My sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. John 10:14-16
Christians of all creeds rise to the sublime height of the salvation of all, in their best moments, as witness the universal singing of the “Ninety and Nine” a song that breathes the spirit, while it expresses the literal language of our faith, and yet is sung by Christians of every sect, everywhere.
There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountain wild and bare,
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
“Lord, thou has here they ninety and nine:
Are they not enough for these?’
But the shepherd made answer, “this one of mine
Has wandered away from me;
And although the way be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find my sheep.
But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed,
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Out in the desert he heard its cry….
Sick and helpless and ready to die.
“Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way
that mark the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back!”
“Lord, whence are thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They are pierced to-night by many a thorn.”
All thro’ the mountains thunder-riven,
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a cry to the gates of heaven.
“Rejoice! I have found my sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”