ACTS 3:19-21 – The Restitution of All Things

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The King of kings has come! We are even now in the parousia (presence) of the Son of Man! Soon the last members of his “elect” body, the Bride of Christ, will be gathered to him—glorified and invisible to men,—and then he will begin the rule of the iron rod which shall break the world’s vaunted institutions as potters’ vessels (Revelation 2:27).

He declares, I will “gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. And then will I turn unto the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent” (Zephaniah 3:8,9).

This symbolic burning and breaking will be the new missionary method, by which the glorified Bride of Christ and Church, will, after 2043, under and with her glorious Head, “bring in everlasting righteousness.”

“When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness” (Isaiah 26:9).

“The glory [majesty] of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5).

Through the words of the Apostle Paul in Acts 3:19-21, Christ Jesus, intended his disciples to understand that for some purpose, in some manner, and at some time, he would return. True, Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), and by his spirit and by his Word he has been with the Church continually, guiding, directing, comforting and sustaining his saints, and cheering them in the midst of all their afflictions. But though the Church has been blessedly conscious of the Lord’s knowledge of all her ways and of his constant care and love, yet she longs for his promised personal return; for, when he said, “If I go, I will come again” (John 14:3), he certainly referred to a second personal coming.

Some think he referred to the descent of the holy Spirit at Pentecost; others, to the destruction of Jerusalem, etc.; but these apparently overlook the fact that in the last book of the Bible, in the Book of Revelation—written by the Apostle John some sixty years after Pentecost, and twenty-six years after Jerusalem’s destruction, he that was dead and is alive speaks of the event as yet future, saying:

“Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me.” And the inspired John replies, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:12,20).

Quite a number think that when sinners are converted that forms a part of the coming of Christ, and that so he will continue coming until all the world is converted. Then, say they, he will have fully come.

These evidently forget the testimony of the Scriptures on the subject, which declares the reverse of their expectation: that at the time of our Lord’s second coming the world will be far from converted to God; that “In the last days perilous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4); that “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (Verse 13). They forget the Master’s special warning to his little flock:

“Take heed to yourselves lest that day come upon you unawares, for as a snare shall it come on all them [not taking heed] that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34,35).

When it is said, “All kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him,” when they see him coming (Revelation 1:7), no reference is made to the conversion of sinners.

Do all men wail because of the conversion of sinners?

On the contrary, if this passage refers, as almost all admit, to Christ’s presence on earth, it teaches that all on earth will not love his appearing, as they certainly would do if all were converted.

Some expect an actual coming and presence of the Lord in the future, claiming that through the efforts of the Church in its present condition the world must be converted, and thus the Millennial age be introduced. They claim that when the world has been converted, and Satan bound, and the knowledge of the Lord caused to fill the whole earth, and when the nations learn war no more, then the work of the Church in her present condition will be ended; and that when she has accomplished this great and difficult task, the Lord will come to wind up earthly affairs, reward believers and condemn sinners.

However, when God’s Word and plan are viewed as a whole, we learn that Christ comes before the conversion of the world, and reigns for the purpose of converting the world; that the Church is now being tried, and that the reward promised the overcomers is that after being glorified they shall share with the Lord Jesus in that reign, which is God’s appointed means of blessing the world and causing the knowledge of the Lord to come to every creature. The Lord’s special promises include:

  • “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne” (Revelation 3:21).
  • “And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).

There are two texts chiefly relied upon by those who claim that the Lord will not come until after the Millennium (the 1000 years of Christ’s reign with his 144,000 Bride “body” members):

1. “This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).

They claim this as having reference to the conversion of the world before the end of the Gospel age (the 6000 years of permission of evil). But witnessing to the world does not imply the conversion of the world. 

The Apostle (Acts 15:14) tells that the main object during the gospel age is “to take out a people” for Christ’s name—”the Church of the firstborn” (Hebrews 12:23) which, at his second advent, will be united to him and receive his name. The witnessing to the world during this age is a secondary object.

2. “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psalm 110:1)

The vague, indefinite idea regarding this text seems to be that Christ sits on a material throne somewhere in the heavens until the work of subduing all things is accomplished for him through the Church, and that then he comes to reign. This is misconception. The throne of God referred to is not a material one, but refers to his supreme authority and rulership; and the Lord Jesus has been exalted to a share in that rulership.

Paul declares, “God [Jehovah] hath highly exalted him [Jesus] and given him a name above every name.” He hath given him authority above every other, next to the Father.

If Christ sits upon a material throne until his enemies are made his footstool [all subdued], then of course he cannot come until all things are subdued. But if “right hand” in this text refers, not to a fixed locality and bench, but, as we claim, to power, authority, rulership, it follows that the text under consideration would in no wise conflict with the other scripture which teaches that he comes to “subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:21), by virtue of the power vested in him.

Right hand—signifies the chief place, position of excellence or favor, next to the chief ruler. Thus Joseph was at the right hand of Pharaoh in the kingdom of Egypt—not literally, but after the customary figure of speech. Jesus’ words to Caiaphas agree with this thought: “Hereafter shall ye see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64) He will be on the right hand when coming, and will remain on the right hand during the Millennial age, and forever.

The specific work of :

(a) the first adventwas to redeem men. In Hosea 6:3, this period is referred to as the time of the “former rain.”

(b) the second advent—is to restore, bless, and liberate the redeemed. In Hosea 6:3, this period is referred to as the “latter” rain. Having given his life a ransom FOR ALL (1 Timothy 2:6), our Savior ascended to present that sacrifice to the Father, thus making reconciliation for man’s iniquity. He tarries and permits “the prince of this world” to continue the rule of evil, until after the selection of “the Bride, the Lamb’s wife,” who, to be accounted worthy of such honor, must overcome the influences of the present evil world. Then the work of giving to the world of mankind the great blessings secured to them by his sacrifice will be due to commence, and he will come forth to bless all the families of the earth.

True, the restoring and blessing could have commenced at once, when the ransom price was paid by the Redeemer, and then the coming of Messiah would have been but one event, the reign and blessing beginning at once, as the apostles at first expected (Acts 1:6). But God had provided “some better thing for us”—the Christian Church (Hebrews 11:40); hence it is in our interest that the reign of Christ is separated from the sufferings of the Head by this 2000 years of waiting since Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary in 33 A.D.

The period between the first and second advents, between the ransom for all and the blessing of all, is for the trial and selection of the Church, which is the body of Christ; the “little flock” and “joint-heirs”; otherwise there would have been only the one advent, and the work which will be done during the period of his second presence, in the Millennium, would have followed the resurrection of Jesus. God has designed the permission of evil for six thousand years, as well as that the cleansing and restitution of all shall be accomplished during the seventh thousand.

Jesus has been absent from earth—in the heaven—during all the intervening time from his ascension to the beginning of the times of restitution—”whom the heaven must retain until the times of restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21).

We find the Scriptures teaching a further step in the divine plan—a RESTITUTION for the world, to be accomplished through the elect Church, when completed and glorified. The “little flock,” the overcomers, of this Gospel age, are only the body of “The Seed” (Galatians 3:16, Romans 4:13) in or by whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed. The fact that the world has not yet been converted, and that the knowledge of the Lord has not yet filled the earth, is a proof that it has not yet been sent on that mission.

Election and Free Grace 

While an election has been in progress during the present and past ages, what is by way of distinction designated free grace is God’s gracious provision for the world in general during the Millennial age.

Election—as taught in the Bible, is not the arbitrary coercion, or fatalism, but a selection according to fitness and adaptability to the end God has in view, during the Gospel Age.

God’s grace or favor in Christ is ever free, in the sense of being unmerited; but since the fall of man into sin, to the present time, certain of God’s favors have been restricted to special individuals, nations and classes, while in the next age all the world will be invited to share the favors then offered, on the conditions then made known to all, and whosoever will may come and drink at life’s fountain freely (Revelation 22:17).

Glancing backward, we notice the selection or election of Abraham and certain of his offspring as the channels through which the promised Seed, should come (Galatians 3:29).

The selection of Israel from among all nations, as the one in whom, typically, God illustrated how the great work for the world should be accomplished—their deliverance from Egypt, their Canaan, their covenants, their laws, their sacrifices for sins, for the blotting out of guilt and for the sprinkling of the people, and their priesthood for the accomplishment of all this, being a miniature and typical representation of the real priesthood and sacrifices for the purifying of the world of mankind.

God, speaking to the people, said, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2).

This people alone was recognized until Christ came.

Afterwards, Christ’s ministry was confined to the Jewish people, and he would not permit his disciples to go to others—saying, as he sent them out, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.”

Why so, Lord?

Because, he explains, “I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:5,6; 15:24).

All his time was devoted to them until his death, and there was done his first work for the world, the first display of his free and all-abounding grace, which in “due time” shall indeed be a blessing to all. However, God’s grandest gift was not limited to nation or class. It was not for Israel only, but for all the world; for Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9).

When the called-out company (called to be sons of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord—who have made their calling and election sure) is complete, then the plan of God for the world’s salvation, will be only beginning.

Not until it is selected, developed, and exalted to power, will the Seed (Christ—”head” and “body” in glory) bruise the serpent’s head (Romans 16:20Genesis 3:15). The Gospel age makes ready the chaste virgin, the faithful Church, for the coming Bridegroom.

In the end of the age—when she is made “ready” (Revelation 19:7), the Bridegroom comes, and they that are ready go in with him to the marriage—the second Adam and the second Eve become one, and then the glorious work of restitution begins.

In the next dispensation—the new heaven and the new earth, “the Spirit and the Bride say, Come! And let him that heareth say, Come! And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

For this promised and coming blessing, the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting for “the manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:22,19).

Thus, free grace in fullest measure, not merely for the living but for those who have died as well, is provided in our Father’s plan as the blessed opportunity of the coming age because Jesus died for all. 

The United Nations expects the global population to reach 9 billion in the year 2043. (www.thoughtco.com/most-populous-countries-in-2050-1435117) What then will happen to the vast multitude who have not heard about nor accepted Jesus as their personal savior and redeemer? Did God make a wretched and merciless provision for their hopeless, eternal torment, as many of his children claim? Not at all. The opposite is true. God has yet in store for mankind an opportunity for all to come to the knowledge of that only name, and, by becoming obedient to the conditions, to enjoy everlasting life. When the Bride class is complete, then they, together with Jesus Christ, will regenerate the world.

Satan will be bound so that he cannot intrude his deceptions upon mankind.

In Revelation 20:1-3 (ESV) we read,

(1) Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. (2) And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, (3) and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

The saints will reign with Christ for a thousand years, as priests, to bring mankind back to God (Revelation 20:6). The whole creation “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).

To Be Testified In Due Time

For those who will be of the “Church of the firstborn,” the bride of Christ, and share the kingdom honors, the present is the “due time” to hear; and whosoever now has an ear to hear, let him hear and heed, and he will be blessed accordingly. Though Jesus paid our ransom before we were born, it was not our “due time” to hear of it for long years afterward, and only the appreciation of it brought responsibility; and this, only to the extent of our ability and appreciation. The same principle applies to all: in God’s due time it will be testified to all, and all will then have opportunity to believe and to be blessed by it.

Since God does not propose to save men on account of ignorance,  but “will have all men to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4); and since the masses of mankind have died in ignorance; and since “there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave” (Ecclesiastes 9:10); therefore God has prepared for the awakening of the dead, in order to knowledge, faith and salvation. Hence God’s plan is, that “as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive, but each one in his own order”—the Gospel Church, the Bride, the body of Christ, first; afterward, during the Millennial age, all who shall follow Godly righteousness during that thousand years of Christ’s reign with his Bride.

Everything and Everyone To Be Restored To Perfection

As death came by the first Adam, so life comes by Christ, the second Adam. Everything that mankind lost through being in the first Adam is to be restored to those who believe into the second Adam. When awakened, with the advantage of experience with evil, which Adam lacked, those who thankfully accept the redemption as God’s gift may continue to live everlastingly on the original condition of perfect obedience, and the perfect ability to obey will be given under the righteous reign of the Prince of Peace (Pastor Charles Russell, Volume 1 of “Studies In The Scriptures”, p.107).

All mankind shall be fully released from the slavery of sin, and the corruption of death, into the glorious liberty of children of God. But attainment to all these blessings will depend upon hearty compliance with the laws of Christ’s Kingdomthe rapidity of the attainment to perfection indicating the degree of love for the King and for his law of love. If any, enlightened by the Truth, and brought to a knowledge of the love of God, and restored (either actually or reckonedly) to human perfection, become “fearful,” and “draw back” (Hebrews 10:38,39), they, with the unbelievers (Revelation 21:8), will be destroyed from among the people (Acts 3:23). This is the second death.

Restitution Concerning Typical and Antitypical ISRAEL

Peter tells us that this restitution is spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets (Acts 3:19-21). They do all teach it. Ezekiel says of the valley of dry bones, “These bones are the whole house of Israel.”

And God says to Israel, “Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I …shall put my spirit in you, and I shall place you in your own land; then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord” (Ezekiel 37:11-14).

To this Paul’s words agree (Romans 11:25,26)—”Blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles [the elect company, the bride of Christ] be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved,” or brought back from their cast-off condition; for “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew” (Verse 2). They were cast off from his favor while the bride of Christ was being selected, but will be reinstated when that work is accomplished (Verses 28-33).

The prophets are full of statements of how God will plant Israel again, and they shall be no more plucked up (Jeremiah 24:5-7; 31:28; Jeremiah 32:40-42; 33:6-16).

“In those days, they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge, but every one [who dies] shall die for his own iniquity” (Jeremiah 31:29,30).

This is not the case now. Each does not now die for his own sin, but for Adam’s sin—”In Adam all die.” The day in which “every man [who dies] shall die for his own sin,” only, is the Millennial or Restitution day.

While Israel as a nation was typical of the whole world, its priesthood was typical of the elect “little flock,” the head and body of Christ, the “Royal Priesthood”; and the sacrifices, cleansings and atonements made for Israel typified the “better sacrifices,” fuller cleansings and real atonement “for the sins of the whole world,” of which they are sharers in, by God’s grace.

After comparing Israel with Sodom and Samaria, and pronouncing Israel the most blameworthy (Ezekiel 16:48-54), the Lord says, “When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them.” In death all are captives; and Christ comes to open the doors of the grave, and to set at liberty the captives. (Isaiah 61:1Zechariah 9:11) In verse 55 this is called a “return to their former estate”a restitution, when Jehovah says to Israel:

“(60) I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. (61) Then, thou shalt remember thy ways and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters…. (62) And I will establish my covenant with thee, and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; (63) that thou mayest remember and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, SAITH THE LORD GOD” (Ezekiel 16:60-63).

To this Paul adds his testimony, saying, “And so all Israel [living and dead] shall be saved [recovered from blindness], as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins.’…They are beloved for the fathers’ sakes; because the gracious gifts and callings of God are not things to be repented of” (Romans 11:26-29).

A Summarized Explanation of Acts 3:19-21

Acts 3:19speaks of the “refreshing” that comes from the face of Jehovah (“presence” is not the Greek word parousia here, but prosopon, Strongs 4383) whenever they would convert and come to Jesus.

Acts 3:20The sending mentioned in verse 20 means sending Jesus not at his second advent, but sending him to bless them in their repentance. (As in verse 26, “Unto you first God, having raised up his son Jesus [by the resurrection] sent him to bless you [early Gospel Age work, not the second advent], in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.”)

Acts 3:21This verse explains that Jesus will remain in heaven until the times of
restoration, and then he will return. We understand those times of restoration have begun as evidenced in the restoration of Israel, which is what these Jewish hearers of Peter were interested in. Since Christ’s second presence (“parousia”), the saints here who are still living, continue on here for some time, before their service here is complete as we read about in Luke 12:36-37. Here it speaks of a time when Jesus returns, knocks, and asks those saints the living to “open unto him.”  Further explanation about the Second Presence of Christ is provided in the “Further Reading” links, below.

As we continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), may we rejoice in knowing that “great joy shall be TO ALL people” (Luke 2:10“in due time.”

Acknowledgement

Br. Charles Taze Russell. The above post was based on content from Study 6 of Volume 1 of “Studies In the Scriptures.” The series of six volumes by Br. Russell can be read at http://www.htdbv8.com

Br. David Rice. Editing and content.

Further Reading

Christ’s Parousia (Second Presence) In 1874.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/11/10/christs-parousia-second-presence-in-1874/

“Where Is The Promise Of His Advent. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine. Sept/Oct. 2014 issue.
URL: https://herald-magazine.com/2014/09/01/where-is-the-promise-of-his-presence/

The Prophetic Date, 1874. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine. March/April 2003 issue.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2003/03nd_5.htm

Signs of Christ’s Presence. Beauties of the Truth. Volume 3, Number 1, February 1992
URL: http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTFEB92.PDF

A chapter by chapter studies of the Book of Daniel in the “Journal” section at www.2043ad.com

Free Booklet titled: “I Will Come Again – John 14:3”
https://chicagobible.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/I-WILL-COME-AGAIN.pdf

Jesus – The Name. BIBLE Students DAILY website.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

Time and Prophecy by Br. David Rice.
http://2043ad.com/timeandprophecy.pdf

 

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/02/acts-319-21-the-restitution-of-all-things/

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Jesus’ Commission: Make Disciples. Baptize. Teach.

Mat. 28, 20 -2

Let’s begin with the words of Matthew 28:19‑20 (KJV)

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

WHAT IS OUR WORK? 

We are definitely not travelling alone in this narrow way since GOD called out a faithful band of servants who, with every talent consecrated to His work, are steadily pursuing their course in the narrow way. We know some of them by name and by character and by their steady and progressive activity in the blessed work. And though not all of these have a copious amount of talents, they, nevertheless, quietly and unobtrusively go about from day to day preaching the wonderful words of life, and GOD is with them and is leading them on. Their hearts are full of joy and hope and they are kept securely amidst all the perils of this evil day. No amount of discouragement from the adversary, stops these that still remain amongst our midst, from continuing on with FULL ZEAL in the LORD’s work.

The ones who have the greatest appreciation of Truth,
are those who are FULLY enlisted in the LORD’s service.

If we bury our one or our many talents under a weight of worldly cares and encumbrances which might be avoided or set aside; if we bury them under worldly ambitions for either self or family — whether this be by wasting consecrated time upon science, philosophy, music or art; or upon business, politics or pleasures; or in pampering pride and appetite – then as unfaithful servants we will sooner or later go into outer darkness, by being caught in some of the snares of this “evil day.” and will be led farther and farther into error and away from truth. (R.1282)

In no single case have we seen one drift away from the Truth in these last years of the Gospel Age among those who were very active and FULLY enlisted in the LORD’s work, whose one aim and endeavor was to herald the truth and to bless others with it. (R.1282)

“To such the LORD says, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee’ – Ye shall never fail, for so an abundant entrance shall be ministered unto you into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ .” (R.3696).

Each royal priest is the peer of each other one in authority and dignity of priesthood; though in talents, intelligence, etc., and therefore in fitness, they are not all equals. (R.1137:4)

Some stewards do not quickly enough note talents which might be utilized in the Lord’s service. (R.1047:5)

Jesus’ words of Matthew 28:19‑20 to the apostles, apply to all fully consecrated disciples of Christ – who are authorized to preach the Gospel in any and every way, publicly or privately, by word, pen, or printed page.

THE THREE PARTS OF JESUS’ COMMISSION

PART 1 – MAKE DISCIPLES of all nations

The word “disciple” signifies pupil, in the school of Christ, in the primary department. We are to first inform those who have ears to hear that they are sinners through the fall, but that GOD has made a provision for their rescue.

“We have a commission to proclaim the Gospel according to our opportunities and abilities.”(R5588:1)

The work of the Evangelist comes first, to make disciples. So let us continue to preach as the twelve disciples preached, by the wayside” (Matthew 13:4) or wherever you find a hearing ear (Mark 4:9).

Pastor Charles Russell encourages and suggests, the following:

“If you lack talent for preparing a discourse,
READ FORCIBLY AND CLEARLY
something touching the subject
you consider most needful to your hearers.” (R. 1047:5)

“This Gospel shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.” (Matthew 24:14)

Since Christ died on Calvary as our Passover Lamb, the message of redemption has gone out to all who are willing to be disciples of Christ – no longer restricted to the Jewish people. The early disciples became witnesses to the Truth, and we should follow that example.

“Ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

PART 2 – BAPTIZE them

Immersion is the correct translation and the original method of baptism, as acknowledged by many authorities. Water immersion is the outward symbol by which believers confess their faith in Jesus as their Redeemer. When a Christian devotes his or her life to GOD, one is “immersed” into the will of GOD, and thus into the service of Christ whom GOD appointed as our Lord and Master.

In Romans 6:3-11, Apostle Paul adds another dimension to our immersion into Christ – namely, immersion INTO the sacrificial DEATH OF CHRIST:

“Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?”

4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

WHO CAN PERFORM THE IMMERSION SERVICE?

“All authorized to teach are equally authorized to baptize. That includes every follower of Christ, not excluding females, only that modesty indicates that they should avoid such public services except in rare necessary cases” (R1541:4).

“All baptized would be commissioned to perform this symbol for others; and, if no consecrated could be found, an unconsecrated believer, or even a worldly person or unbeliever, might do it.” (Volume 6, “Studies in the Scriptures,” page 454).

The following words are recommended by Pastor Charles Russell for any immersion service:

“Brother … in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, by this authority, I baptize thee into Christ” (Volume 6, “Studies in the Scriptures,” page 455).

There is the thought amongst some Bible Students that the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 may have been altered during the third century to support the development of the false doctrine of the trinity. This is well explained in a study titled “In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” by Lenard Griehs (“Beauties of the Truth”, January, 1991). The evidence for this seems good.

However, if one favors the text as it appears in the common version, following are some comments that are helpful.

“Into the name of” – signifies into accord with, into fellowship with (R5587).

By the words “The Father” ‑ the meaning is that “all of Christ’s disciples are to recognize the Father’s name as standing for righteousness; and they are to become dead to every other principle than that which His name represents, and to be thoroughly immersed into that name of righteousness, justice, truth.” (R.5587 )

“These words do not imply three baptisms in one. The use of the three names is as if you were using a firm name, such as Smith, Jones and Brown; all three names would be used to show that it has the authorization of the whole firm. The Divine Three ‑ Father, Son and holy Spirit ‑ are related to our faith in the Creator, Redeemer and Regenerator; and this suggests the three steps in bringing men into the divine image.” (R.197:3)

The words “Of the Son ‑ shows that we ignore all sectarian names, Protestant or Catholic, but rather, recognize the name of Jesus, Yeshua, the Messiah, and desiring to be his members, his Bride and his Body, “the Church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23, NIV).

The term “holy Spirit refers to GOD’s spirit, influence and character in our lives. The word in the Greek is “pneuma”, which means spirit (not “ghost” as in the King James version). The use of these words in Matthew 28:19 has been understood to signify that the immersed candidate’s own spirit or will becomes dead, and GOD’s holy will and mind are to become their will and purpose.

PART 3 ‑ TEACH them

The word “teach” in verse 19, is from a Greek word “matheteuo” and signifies proselyting or making disciples of.

It is not a command to convert the world but to gather out of all nations those willing to be disciples of Christ.

In verse 20, the words “teaching them” means instructing them regarding GOD’s divine character and plan, the graces of the spirit and the rooting out of the spirit of worldliness and selfishness. Not astronomy, geology, nor any of the vain philosophies about which the world speculates, but “the things which I have commanded you.” (R5045:4, 3200:2).

In Jesus’ words “observe all that I command you” we are reminded that all men are sinners, that Christ came to give himself a ransom, that he is the only way to life, that whosoever would come must take up his cross, that all believers are one with him, that every branch in him must bear fruit or be taken away, that those who trust in him are to hope for and expect his second coming, that we have a hope to be of those of the first resurrection, and that love is the fulfilling of the Law.

Jesus reassures, encourages, and strengthens us through his words to the Apostles, “I am with you always,” and we see this by the gift from GOD of the holy Spirit of GOD to guide and lead us through the age. By this, means Jesus is present with us in spirit. As our high priest, he sees to our spiritual interests. Jesus has been with his representatives in all their labors of love and self‑denial throughout the entire age so we are NEVER alone! We have the companionship of him who promised, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).

In our Lord’s words, “even unto the end of the age,” the word “end” is from the Greek word suntelia, which means the ending period of the age. Now, in the present “Harvest,” or ending period of the Gospel Age, beginning with 1874 as pointed to in Daniel 12:12, Jesus is actively engaged on behalf of his saints to complete the Church, and inaugurate a period of transition into his Millennial Kingdom.

Jesus’ work for his people includes raising his sleeping saints in the first resurrection! Once the last member of the 144,000 shall have gone through the 2nd vail into the Divine Realm, then Jesus with His Bride, the Elect, shall establish his Kingdom, bless the nation of Israel with the New Covenant, and thus bless all mankind.

We are now not only in the Harvest, the ending period of the age, but even in the closing years of the harvest period itself. We have some years to go. Some brethren point to Acts chapter 27, and Paul’s voyage to Rome, as indicating the travel of the Church through the Harvest to the Kingdom, the center of world authority.

In this case, it is feasible that the 14 days of storm which precede the “Armageddon” crash of the ship of state, could suggest 14 years of distress closing the harvest.

In this case, those who consider that the blessed Millennium might commence another 27 years hence, find a milestone along the way, by which to check their expectations.

Meanwhile, let us not neglect our opportunities
to represent the Truth to all who may have a hearing ear.

We seek the last grains of wheat for the heavenly barn – so that thereafter the blessings of life can flow to the world. Then, through the elect, raised to heavenly glory, the inhabitants of the world shall all come to a saving knowledge of Christ, and secure wonderful, everlasting, earthly blessings.

“Let us remember, too, while using all the WISDOM we can in this service, that the Lord’s object in giving us a share in his work is not so much what we can accomplish as in the blessing that the labor will bring upon us. This will be an encouraging thought to the dear ones who are engaged in the “Volunteer” work; and if they find many discouragements and but small results the reflection that the Master knoweth them that are His, and that He appreciates every sincere effort made to serve His cause and to lay down our lives on behalf of the brethren, will give courage and strength to those who otherwise might faint by the way” (R. 2811).

“Let us see to it, not only that we do with our might what our hands find to do, but also that our every sacrifice and gift to the Lord and His cause is so full of love and devotion that the Lord will surely approve it; as done from love for Him and His, and not from vainglory” (R3166).

 

Acknowledgments:

Charles T.  Russell – “R” represents the “Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.” The numbers next to the “R” represent the page numbers of the reprinted articles.

Leonard Griehs’ – for his study from “Beauties of the Truth” – as referenced in the above post.
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/BOTJAN91.PDF

 

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/08/15/jesus-commission-make-disciples-baptize-teach/

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