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The Bible reveals that God's ultimate purpose for the world of mankind is to fulfill His promise to faithful Abraham, "In thee and in thy seed shall I bless all the families of the earth." But even to honest hearted Christians, that promise still seems far from its fulfillment and many questions persist.
For instance, what does God intend to do to relieve the conditions of sin and death in the world? And when? Why has He waited so long? When is Jesus Christ going to establish His Kingdom on earth? And why is a plain reading of the Bible so difficult and confusing to so many? Is there a key which opens the door of understanding to the Bible for us?
For over 100 years the key to Biblical understanding has been in the hands of Bible students. In The Divine Plan of the Ages all the great themes of the Holy Scriptures are introduced to the reader in a clear and understandable topic-by-topic method. The Divine Plan of the Ages reveals:
* the great time features of God's plan
* why God has permitted evil
* the MANNER of Christ's return
* The Biblical meaning of "ransom" and "restitution"
* a study of the Kingdom of God
These and many other important Bible topics are discussed in depth. The opening statement of The Divine Plan of the Ages best describes its aim and its value as a key to Biblical understanding.
"The title of this series of studies -- The Divine Plan of the Ages, suggests a progression in the Divine arrangement, foreknown to our God and orderly. We believe the teachings of divine revelation can be seen to be both beautiful and harmonious from this standpoint and from no other."
Following is a review of the book by Joseph Rotherham, translator of the Emphasized Bible (Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 49501):
"This is a notable book bold, broad, and breezy; very refreshing after the stereotyped dogmas and platitudes which pass current in the theological world. It is a book for men and not for children . . .
"The one leading thought of this book . . . in a single word . . . is RESTITUTION or RESTORATION: Restoration, sharply and constantly distinguished from Universalism. The author is not a Universalist, nor anything near it. With him the second death is total and final. From it there is no redemption and no recovery. But he is a restorationist out and out. He holds that all men will rise from the dead all be delivered from Adams sin and all its consequences sooner or later all be put afresh and individually on trial, under new and improved conditions, with a fair chance of obtaining eternal life so that none shall fail of the prize save by his own inexcusable crime. He holds that this restoration of the race as a whole distinguished from the little flock, the elect, the Church, the bride of Christ, who will have been previously raised from the dead and exalted to be sharers of Christs own glory will take place during the Millennial Age; progressively, if we mistake not, at any rate within or during the Thousand Years; and that at the close of that period, the incorrigible will be utterly destroyed for ever, and sin and sorrow thenceforward be no more. The author is strong upon the point that all loss through Adams sin will be more than made up to every man through Christ. Adam was created perfect. Every man must be restored to the like perfection, and then decide for himself his eternal destiny. . . .
"It cannot be denied that there is to be a restitution; and very likely it is to be larger and grander than most of us have dreamed. For, though the word apokatastasis in Acts 3:21 might be satisfied by the rendering "due accomplishment" (of the prophecies, that is), and so merely send us to the old prophecies to see what therein we can find to be fulfilled, yet still, when we get to the prophets, it is undeniable that they descry in the Messianic Age such an enormous amount of restoration than our poor systems can no way find room for it. If Elijah is to restore all things, depend upon it, it must be a restitution to Moses whose counterpart he is. (Malachi 4) The only Messiah that Elijah knows must needs honour the Law before he delivers from it. So here is a great, even if only temporary, work of restitution to make room for. Then, again, there is the restoring of Israel, to her saving shame (Ezekiel 16); and if this includes her dead generations, as it surely must, who of us can find room for that in our "little systems," to say nothing of the restoring of Samaria and the restoring of Sodom itself; yes, of Sodom itself for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it, and when we tremble at His word as we ought, and at the same time have an adequate apprehension of what fair interpretation really is, we shall blush even to begin to explain and mystify it away as we have done all too long. So that, up to this point, we can have no quarrel with Mr. Russell; nor can we doubt that there is much more of restitution in the Old Testament than even he has formally pointed out: there, in the sacred text itself, if we only knew how to read it ...
". . . The Chapter of The Permission of Evil is alone more than worth the price of the whole volume, and is the fullest discussion of this great mystery, and the nearest approximation to a probably correct solution of it, with which we are acquainted."
Table of Contents
|Title, Dedication, and Author's 1916 Foreword|
|Study I||Earth's Night Of Sin To Terminate In A Morning Of Joy||9|
|Study II||The Existence Of A Supreme Intelligent Creator Established||29|
|Study III||The Bible As A Divine Revelation Viewed In The Light Of Reason||37|
|Study IV||The Epochs And Dispensations Marked In The Development Of The Divine Plan||65|
|Study V||"The Mystery Hid From Ages And From Generations, But Now Made Manifest To His Saints" -- Col. 1:26||77|
|Study VI||Our Lord's Return -- Its Object, The Restitution Of All Things||89|
|Study VII||The Permission Of Evil And Its Relation To God's Plan||117|
|Study VIII||The Day Of Judgment||137|
|Study IX||Ransom And Restitution||149|
|Study X||Spiritual And Human Natures Separate And Distinct||173|
|Study XI||The Three Ways -- The Broad Way, The Narrow Way, The Highway||205|
|Study XII||Explanation Of Chart Representing The Plan Of The Ages||219|
|Study XIII||The Kingdoms Of This World||245|
|Study XIV||The Kingdom Of God||273|
|Study XV||The Day Of Jehovah||307|
|Study XVI||Concluding Thoughts||343|
|Volume 1 Study Questions|
|Chart of the Ages|