The Bitter Fruit of [the] Vine
The nineteenth century death-knell for the teaching of universal salvation was sounded in 1853 when the voice of John F.D. Maurice, an outstanding English theologian, was silenced when he was forced to vacate the coveted Chair of Theology in King’s College, University of London. His crime?
He upset the established “orthodox” church by urging his Fellows to seriously investigate the actual meaning of certain Greek terms including ainious [eonian] which he claimed (when it was translated into the English equivalent rendering) could not be understood as meaning, or intending, “eternal” or “everlasting.” The suffocating atmosphere of intense hostility in the church of the time (have things really changed that much?) was such that the “divines” could not tolerate a simple, honest and straightforward examination of koine Greek!
This is all the more astounding when we realise that while Maurice declared that “everlasting punishment” in the Greek of the NT meant literally (and only) “an age,” he himself firmly believed that conditional immortality was “the verdict of the Bible on the future life” (Horton Davies, Worship & Theology in England: From Newman to Martineau, 1850-1900, Princeton University Press, 1962, 198, 291).
Persecuted and hounded by former colleagues, Alfred Lord Tennyson extended to Maurice the right hand of fellowship. He was one of the few to do so. In his poetic tribute “To the Rev. F.D. Maurice” Tennyson penned these words:
Come, when no graver cares employ,
Godfather, come and see your boy:
Your presence will be sun in winter,
Making the little one leap for joy.
For, being of that honest few,
Who give the Fiend himself his due,
Should eighty-thousand college-councils
Thunder ‘Anathema,’ friend, at you;
Should all our churchmen foam in spite
At you, so careful of the right,
Yet one lay-hearth would give you welcome
(Take it and come) to the Isle of Wight;
Where, far from noise and smoke of town,
I watch the twilight falling brown
All round a careless-order’d garden
Close to the ridge of a noble down.
You’ll have no scandal while you dine,
But honest talk and wholesome wine,
And only hear the magpie gossip
Garrulous under a roof of pine:
For groves of pine on either hand,
To break the blast of winter, stand;
And further on, the hoary Channel
Tumbles a billow on chalk and sand;
Where, if below the milky steep
Some ship of battle slowly creep,
And on thro’ zones of light and shadow
Glimmer away to the lonely deep,
We might discuss the Northern sin
Which made a selfish war begin;
Dispute the claims, arrange the chances;
Emperor, Ottoman, which shall win:
Or whether war’s avenging rod
Shall lash all Europe into blood;
Till you should turn to dearer matters,
Dear to the man that is dear to God;
How best to help the slender store,
How mend the dwellings, of the poor;
How gain in life, as life advances,
Valour and charity more and more.
Come, Maurice, come: the lawn as yet
Is hoar with rime, or spongy-wet;
But when the wreath of March has blossom’d,
Crocus, anemone, violet,
Or later, pay one visit here,
For those are few we hold as dear;
Nor pay but one, but come for many,
Many and many a happy year.
Previously in England, at Bristol in 1740, John Wesley preached a very provocative sermon entitled Free Grace. In this sermon he clearly outlined the NT position on universal salvation, denouncing the popular Calvinist concept of double predestination, prevalent at that time. Wesley claimed in this remarkable sermon that the doctrine of election is “a plain proof that the doctrine of predestination [to hell] is not a doctrine of God.” Rather, he considered that predestination (as a doctrine) “tended to destroy the comfort of religion, the happiness of Christianity.” Those who believed in it were often to experience “a return of doubts and fears” concerning their inner struggle with the downward pulls of human nature. He readily acknow-ledged that those who were really converted, and had sincerely repented of sin, and who had accepted the Messiah as their Personal Saviour (looking with eagerness to the time when He would “make them alive” in the first resurrection) were indeed “elect according to the foreknowledge of God” — a view which gave “the strongest encourage-ment to abound in all good works, and in all holiness.” In contradistinction, the belief in predestination tended “to destroy your zeal for good works” and in particular “the greatest of all, the saving of souls from death” — the Lake of Fire.
It must be said that it was of unfortunate concern to Wesley that ministers of the day who accepted various forms of universalism “held that God would save all sinners in their sins without first requiring them to achieve holiness” (Bernard Semmel, The Methodist Revolution, 1973, 46). He wrote that they were “absolute avowed enemies to the law of God” who “termed all legalists” who went and preached obedience to that same law. It distressed Wesley that these wolves “would ‘preach Christ,’ as they called it, but without one word either of holiness or good works” (John Wesley, A Short History of Methodism, Works, VIII, 1764[?] 349-351. Also Wesley, Journal, IV, July 25, 1756, 178. See also Southey, Life, 1, 314-316).
William Cudworth and James Relly carried on Wesley’s work during the years of the Methodist reform movement and spread the word that the Christians of their day were also “believers in election” who held “the elect to be merely the first fruits, for Christ had died so all men would be saved” (Semmel, op.cit., 45; Section II. The Battle Against ‘Speculative’ Antinomianism).
The conclusion must be drawn that the early Wesley had studied under the inspiration of the holy Spirit to arrive at the conclusions that he did. We can draw from this reference to the “firstfruits” that he realised the Messiah was not feverishly attempting to save the entire world at this time, but that Messiah’s salvation would be received in later intervals, by the world at large, in the purposes of God’s election.
Certainly, scholars of the nineteenth century admit that America received the message of universal salvation from the person of John Murray, a “high Calvinist” and convert to James Relly, in 1770. Both Relly and Murray extended the logic of Wesley’s “grace to all” to mean that the sacrifice of the Messiah was not meant as a mere Substitute for the elect, but for all humankind.
Such knowledge, then, took the New World by storm. Churches were established in a number of states beginning in Massachu-setts in 1779. But the year 1770 as the proposed date for the doctrine of universal salvation’s reception on American shores is far too late. As early as 1710 there were individuals in New England who preached “grace for all” and who were, incidentally, non-Trinitarian. We would respectfully suggest that these same colonists were also seventh day Sabbath-observant. After all, there were a number of sabbatarian converts settling in Rhode Island and New England between the years 1664 and 1800, who claimed descent from the persecuted European Waldenses (and other related sabbatarians) that had espoused an anti-Romanist doctrine of universal salvation. These believers were immigrants who had fled persecution in England and consti-tuted “a Church of God that was sabbatarian” (Mead, Religious Denominations) and not Sunday-observant.
Modern Authorities Agree — “Oil’s Ain’t Oils!”
Modern experts on koine Greek seem confused. Some claim, like W.E. Vine, that aionios can be open-ended. Others stake their credibility on the belief that the Greek word means nothing more than an “age.” Others admit they just don’t know. But no less an authority than the noted evangelist, preacher and author Dr G. Campbell Morgan is on record as stating emphat-ically: “Let me say to Bible students that we must be very careful how we use the word ‘eternity.’ We have fallen into great error in our constant usage of that word. There is no word in the whole Book of God corresponding with our [modern concept of] eternal…”
We’ll return to Morgan a little later.
Dr F.W. Farrar: “It may be worthwhile… to point out once more to less educated readers that aion, aionios, and their Hebrew equivalents in all combinations are repeatedly used of things which have come to an end. Even Augustine admits (what, indeed, no one can deny), that in Scripture aion and aionios must in many instances mean ‘having an end,’ and St Gregory of Nyssa, who at least knew Greek, uses aionios as the epithet for ‘an interval’.”
Farrar, who authored books on the life of Yeshua and Paul and gave us a Greek Grammar, was well versed in the original biblical tongues. He also made these comments: “The pages of theologians in all ages show a startling prevalence of such terms as ‘everlasting death, everlasting damnation, everlasting torments, everlasting vengeance, everlasting fire’ – not one of which has Scriptural authority.”
Dr Edwin Abbott in his Cambridge Sermons writes, “And as for ourselves, though occasionally mentioning in language general and metaphorical, states of eonian life and eonian chastisement awaiting us after death, the Holy Scriptures give no detailed information as to either condition” (see page 25).
In An Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, celebrated Greek scholar Dr Alford Plumer states: “It is often pointed out that ‘eternal’ (aionios) in ‘eternal punishment’ must have the same meaning as in ‘eternal life.’ No doubt, but that does not give us the right to say that ‘eternal’ in both cases means ‘endless'” (pp. 351,352).
Why did Plumer take such a position? Why, for the simple fact — overlooked by most modern expositor’s of the Word of Life — that the words aion and aionian are the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew ol’m which NEVER EVER meant “end-less.” Ol’m invariably and always intended the thought (or concept) of “an age.” Nothing more, nothing less. Our concept of “eternity” is not the concept conveyed in Jewish thoughtform. The Jewish people in the days of Yeshua thought of ages rolling one upon another in succession. They never once considered that an “age” (ol’m) did not have a beginning or an ending! The ages in Jewish thoughtform were “framed” much as a picture frame that hangs on the wall. The unknown author of Hebrews referred to the thinking of his day when he penned “the ages were framed by the Word of God” (Heb 11.3). They were framed — they had a beginning and they will have an end. As surprising as this may at first sound!
The biblical eschatologist, Sir Robert Anderson, agreed: “The NT unfolds an economy of times and seasons; many ages head up in the one great age, within which the manifold purpose of God, in relation to earth, shall be fulfilled. Here, these words eon, age are applicable, and are used.”
And so also the eminent archaeologist and biblicist, Dr Edward Plumptre: “I fail to find [in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures] … any instance in which the idea of time duration is unlimited.”
Because it was written by Jews and expressed in Jewish thoughtform “[t]he Bible has no expression for endlessness. All the Biblical terms imply or denote long periods” (German Lutheran theologian Professor Hermann Oldhausen). In agreement with Oldhausen, another authority readily admits: “The Hebrew was destitute of any single word to express endless duration. The pure idea of eternity is not found in any of the ancient languages” (Professor Knappe of Halle). “The conception of absolute endlessness as etymological of olam or eon would clearly have prevented plurals” (Professor Taylor Lewis). He adds, that “ever” from the German ewig was “originally a noun denoting age, just like the Greek, Latin and Hebrew words corresponding to it.”
More Authorities Voice Agreement — Aion (Eon) Ain’t Endless!
Not all advocates of eternal hellfire theology are as straightforward and honest as Jeremy Taylor. He reluctantly admits “[t]hough the [Gehenna] fire is everlasting, not all that enters it is everlasting… The word everlasting signifies only to the end of its period” (Jeremy Taylors’ Works, Vol. 3., 43).
Even Sir Isaac Watts insists, “There is not one place in Scripture which occurs to me, where the word death necessarily signifies a certain miserable immortality of the soul.”
Of course, he was absolutely correct. God has no plan to torment our immortal souls or spirits for eternity! Hellfire in the first century existed for purification purposes, and was remedial, not punitive. God would not be just if He did not love us. But God is love. That love is unconditional, a fact often overlooked by zealots of the Hellfire and Brimstone Club.
Dr W.H. Griffith Thomas, commenting on the text of Hebrews 11.3: “[T]he word rendered ‘worlds’ is ‘ages’ and refers not so much to the material creation as to the world regarded from the standpoint of time… The last mentioned [age, aion] is the name used here, and it seems to refer to what may be called time-worlds, the idea being that of various ages or dispensations being planned by God with reference to a goal toward which all are moving” (The Christian).
Eruditely, Thomas notes, “As mankind’s connection with Adam involved him in certain death, through sin, so his relation to Christ insures to him life without fail. The double headship of mankind in Adam and Christ show the significance of the work of redemption for the entire race” (notes on Romans 5.18-19).
Dr Max Muller, commenting on the Latin word aeternum, from which we get our modern term ‘eternity,’ articulates: “[I]t originally signified life or time, but has given rise to a number of words expressing eternity – the very opposite of life and time.” He then adds that the Greek aionon, later aion, became “the name of time, age, and [the] derivative [of the Latin aevum], aeviternus, or aeternus, was made to express eternity.” Further, as recognised by Muller and other scholars, it was not until the 5th century CE that theologians projected ol’m and eon into the holy Scripture as an expression of “endlessness” (Alexander Thomson, Whence Eternity? 1935).
Dr G. Campbell Morgan, mentioned earlier in this article, and commenting on Matthew 25.31-46 said this: “[W]e must be careful not to read into this section of prophecy things which it does not contain; for while it has been interpreted as though it were a description of the final judgment… These shall go away into age-abiding punishment; but the righteous into age-abiding life – the terms are coequal in value, and whatever one means the other means. Only remember that here Christ is not dealing with the subject of the soul’s destiny either in heaven or hell. They are terms that have to do wholly with the setting up of the kingdom here in this world” (Studies of the Four Gospels).
In his The Corinthian Letters of Paul Morgan takes exception to the Protestant notion of “Jesus” the Messiah as the “second Adam” and notes “[1 Cor 15.22] The word Adam is used here in the sense of headship of a race, the one from whom the race springs. But God’s second Man was the last Adam. If we say second Adam, we presuppose the possibility of a third Adam, another from whom a race shall spring. There will be none such. It is ‘first Adam’ and ‘last Adam.’ What does relationship with Him mean? In the program of God all are to be made alive in Christ” (191).
- Astonishingly, despite what he saw plainly written in the Word, George Campbell Morgan refused to believe that all people would ultimately be saved. But he was an honest scholar when it came to an appropriate translation of the biblical revelation.
More Healthy Criticism of the KJV
Well, we seem to be on a roll so let’s not stop here. Dr Lewis S. Chafer warned Christians: “The word, which in common usage has a limited meaning, is used by the translators [of the KJV] as the one English rendering for at least four widely differing ideas in the original [texts]. So that if the truth contained in this important body of Scripture is to be understood, the student must not only know the various meanings which are expressed by the one word, but also be able to determine to correct use of it in the many passages in which it occurs. Therefore, the KJV has placed the simple truth they contain beyond the average reader of the Bible. The English word ‘world,’ as used in the New Testament, may mean a distinct period of time, commonly known as an age (as its original is a few times [in the KJV] translated), or it may refer to the things created: the earth, its inhabitants, or their institution. The ages are often referred to in Scripture, and the study of the exact conditions and purposes of each of them are not fanciful; but it is rather the only adequate foundation for any true knowledge of the Bible.”
Enter [the] Vine’s Bitter Fruit
The contents of the popular Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words by W.E. Vine rejects the accumulated wealth of Greek scholarship pertaining to the correct translation into English of aion (noun) and aionios (adjective), lending itself to the rendering “eternal.” Vine also claims that the Greek can mean, depending on its context, “non-eternal.” Those who would depend on a proper translation of Greek words into English, for their studies into a deeper appreciation of the biblical revelation, based on the faulty scholarship of Vine, are in danger of being poisoned by its fruit.
One glaring example of faulty scholarship pertaining to Vine is located in Philemon 15 where we have the one place in the Messianic Scriptures (the so-called NT) where there is an absence of the noun. The KJV has “for ever.” Vine would place emphasis on “eternal” or “eternity.” But Philemon could hardly receive his runaway slave back as an eternal payment. Clearly, this was not what Paul had in mind! What Rav Shaul said, was simply: “For perhaps therefore is he separated for a short time, that you may be collecting him as an eonian repayment.”
Philemon was getting his slave back — but for all eternity? What a travesty of interpretation! Philemon’s slave was returning for the duration of his life, or until Philemon released him from further servitude.
Vine or Vincent?
Marvin R. Vincent — arguably the greatest Greek scholar — penned the following quotations.
“Aion, transliterated aeon, is a period of longer or shorter duration, having a beginning and an end, and complete in itself. Aristotle… says, ‘The period which includes the whole time of one’s life is called the aeon of each one.” Hence it often means the life of a man, as in Homer, where one’s life (aion) is said to leave him or to consume away… It is not, however, limited to human life; it signifies any period in the course of events, as the period or age before Christ; the period of the millennium; the mythological period before the beginnings of history. The word has not ‘a stationary and mechanical value’ (De Quincey). It does not mean a period of a fixed length for all cases. There are as many aeons as entities, the respective durations of which are fixed by the normal conditions of the several entities. There is one aeon of a human life, another of the life of a nation, another of a crow’s life, another of an oak’s life. The length of the aeon depends on the subject to which it is attached.
“It is sometimes translated world; world represents a period or a series of periods of time. See Matthew 12:32, 13:40,49; Luke 1:70; 1 Cor 1:20, 2:6; Eph 1:21. Similarly oi aiones, the worlds, the universe, the aggregate of the ages or periods, and their contents which are included in the duration of the world. 1 Cor 2:7, 10:11; Hebrews 1:2, 9:26, 11:3. The word always carries the notion of time, and not of eternity. It always means a period of time. Otherwise it would be impossible to account for the plural, or for such qualifying expressions as this age, or the age to come. It does not mean something endless or everlasting. To deduce that meaning from its relation to aei is absurd; for, apart from the fact that the meaning of a word is not definitely fixed by its derivation, aei does not signify endless duration. When the writer of the Pastoral Epistles quotes the saying that the Cretans are always (aei) liars (Titus 1:2), he surely does not mean that the Cretans will go on lying to all eternity. See also Acts 7:51; 2 Cor 4:11, 6:10; Hebrews 3:10; 1 Peter 3:15. Aei means habitually or continually within the limit of the subjects life. In our colloquial dialect everlastingly is used in the same way. “The boy is everlastingly tormenting me to buy him a drum.”
“In the New Testament the history of the world is conceived as developed through a succession of aeons. A series of such aeons precedes the introduction of a new series inaugurated by the Christian dispensation, and the end of the world and until the second coming of Christ are to mark the beginning of another series. 1 Cor 10:11; Eph 1:21, 2:7, 3:9,21; compare Hebrews 9:26. He includes the series of aeons in one great aeon, ‘o aion ton aionon, the aeon of the aeons (Eph 3:21); and the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews describes the throne of God as enduring unto the aeon of the aeons (Hebrews 1:8). The plural is also used, aeons of the aeons, signifying all the successive periods which make up the sum total of the ages collectively. Romans 16:27; Gal 1:5; Philip 4:20, etc. This plural phrase is applied by Paul to God only.
“The adjective aionios in like manner carries the idea of time. Neither the noun nor the adjective, in themselves, carry the sense of endless or everlasting. They may acquire that sense by their connotation, as, on the other hand, aidios, which means everlasting, has its meaning limited to a given point of time in Jude 6. Aionios means enduring through or pertaining to a period of time. Both the noun and the adjective are applied to limited periods. Thus the phrase eis ton aiona, habitually rendered forever, is often used of duration which is limited in the very nature of the case. See, for a few out of many instances, LXX, Exodus 21:6, 29:9, 32:13; Leviticus 25:46; Deuteronomy 15:17; Joshua 14:9; 1 Samuel 8:13; 1 Chronicles 28:4; See also Matthew 21:19; John 13:8; 1 Cor 8:13. The same is true of aionios. Out of 150 instances in LXX, four-fifths imply limited duration. For a few instances see Genesis 48:4; Numbers 10:8, 15:15; Proverbs 22:28; Isaiah 61:17; Jonah 2:6; Hab 3:6.
“Words which are habitually applied to things temporal or material cannot carry in themselves the sense of endlessness. Even when applied to God, we are not forced to render aionios everlasting. Of course the life of God is endless; but the question is whether, in describing God as aionios, it was intended to describe the duration of his being, or whether some different and larger idea was not contemplated. That God lives longer than men, and lives on everlastingly, and has lived everlastingly, are, no doubt, great and significant facts; yet they are not the dominant or the most impressive facts in God’s relation to time. God’s eternity does not stand merely or chiefly for a scale of length. It is not primarily a mathemat-ical but a moral fact. The relations of God to time include and imply far more than the bare fact of endless continuance. They carry with them the fact that God transcends time; works on different principles and on a vaster scale than the wisdom of time provides; oversteps the conditions and the motives of time; marshals the successive aeons from a point outside of time, on lines which run out into his own measureless cycles, and for moral ends which the creature of three-score and ten years cannot grasp and does not even suspect.
“There is a word for everlasting if that idea is demanded. That aiodios occurs rarely in the New Testament and in LXX does not prove that its place was taken by aionios. It rather goes to show that less importance was attached to the bare idea of everlastingness than later theological thought has given it. Paul uses the word once, in Romans 1:20, where he speaks of “the everlasting power and divinity of God.” In Romans 16:26 he speaks of the eternal God (tou aioniou theou); but that he does not mean the everlasting God is perfectly clear from the context. He has said that “the mystery” has been kept in silence in times eternal (chronois aioniois), by which he does not mean everlasting times, but the successive aeons which elapsed before Christ was proclaimed. God therefore is described as the God of the aeons, the God who pervaded and controlled those periods before the incarnation. To the same effect is the title ‘o basileus ton aionon, the king of the aeons, applied to God in 1 Tim 1:17; Rev 15:3; compare Tob 13:6,10. The phrase pro chronon aionion, before eternal times (2 Tim 1:9; Tit 1:2), cannot mean before everlasting times. To say that God bestowed grace on men, or promised them eternal life before endless times, would be absurd. The meaning is of old, as Luke 1:70. The grace and the promise were given in time, but far back in the ages, before the times of reckoning the aeons.
Zoe aionios eternal life, which occurs 42 times in NT but not in LXX, is not endless life, but life pertaining to a certain age or aeon, or continuing during that aeon. I repeat, life may be endless. The life in union with Christ is endless, but the fact is not expressed by aionios. Kolasis aionios, rendered everlasting punishment (Matthew 25:46), is the punishment peculiar to an aeon other than that in which Christ is speaking. In some cases zoe aionios does not refer specifically to the life beyond time, but rather to the aeon or dispensation of Messiah which succeeds the legal dispensation. John says that zoe aionios is the present possession of those who believe on the Son of God (John 3:36, 5:24, 6:47,54). The Father’s commandment is zoe aionios, John 12:50; to know the only true God and Yeshua the Messiah is zoe aionios. John 17:3… while aionios carries the idea of time, though not of endlessness, there belongs to it also, more or less, a sense of quality. Its character is ethical rather than mathematical. The deepest significance of the life beyond time lies, not in endlessness, but in the moral quality of the aeon into which the life passes. It is comparatively unimportant whether or not the rich fool, when his soul was required of him (Luke 12:20), entered upon a state that was endless. The principal, the tremendous fact, as Christ unmistakably puts it, was that, in the new aeon, the motives, the aims, the conditions, the successes and awards of time counted for nothing. In time, his barns and their contents were everything; the soul was nothing. In the new life the soul was first and everything, and the barns and storehouses nothing. The bliss of the sanctified does not consist primarily in its endlessness, but in the nobler moral conditions of the new aeon – the years of the holy and eternal God. Duration is a secondary idea. When it enters it enters as an accompaniment and outgrowth of moral conditions.
“In the present passage it is urged that olethron destruction points to an unchangeable, irremediable, and endless condition. If this be true, if olethros is extinction, then the passage teaches the annihilation of the wicked, in which case the adjective aionios is superfluous, since extinction is final, and excludes the idea of duration. But olethros does not always mean destruction or extinction. Take the kindred verb apollumi to destroy, put an end to, or in the middle voice, to be lost, to perish. Peter says, “the world being deluged with water, perished (apoleto, 2 Pet 3:6); but the world did not become extinct, it was renewed. In Hebrews 1:11-12 quoted from Psalm 102, we read concerning the heavens and the earth as compared with the eternity of God, “they shall perish” (apolountai). But the perishing is only preparatory to change and renewal. “They shall be changed” (allagesontai). Compare Isaiah 51:6,16, 65:22; 2 Pet 3:13; Rev 21:1. Similarly, “the Son of man came to save that which was lost” (apololos), Luke 19:10. Yeshua charged his apostles to go to the lost (apololota) sheep of the house of Israel, Matthew 10:6, compare 15:24, “He that shall lose (apolese) his life for my sake shall find it” Matthew 16:25. Compare Luke 15:6,9,32.
“In this passage, the word destruction is qualified. It is “destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power,” at his second coming, in the new aeon. In other words, it is the severance, at a given point of time, of those who obey not the gospel from the presence and the glory of Christ. Aionios may therefore describe this severance as continu-ing during the millennial aeon between Messiah’s coming and the final judgment, as being for the wicked prolonged throughout that aeon and characteristic of it, or it may describe the severance as characteristic or enduring through a period or aeon succeeding the final judgment, the extent of which period is not defined. In neither case is aionios to be interpreted as everlasting or endless” (Marvin Vincent, additional note on 2 Thes 1:9 “olethron aionion” in Vol IV, Word Studies in the New Testament, 1887, 58-62).
So which Greek “authority” would you prefer to be your particular “benchmark” for further study — Vine or Vincent?
Despite our faulty theologies, God has pronounced that he “will have all men to be saved [recovered out of the death cycle and the death state and imbued with Messiah’s holy Spirit] and to come to an accurate knowledge of the truth that there is One God, and One mediator between God and men; namely, the Man Messiah Yeshua, who gave himself a ransom [correspond-ing price] for all, to be testified in [future] strategic seasons having a unique character of their own” (1 Tim 2.4-6 Gk).
F.D. Maurice was resolute in his stand. He suffered alienation and rejection at the hands of his “Christian” peers. He was not alone in the world’s rejection. He was not alone then, and he is not alone today. The BRI has been faithfully announcing the full Gospel since its inception in 1981, and teaching the entirety of God’s Word publicly in speaking engagements (and in printed format) utilising the restored Jewish thoughtform in which the Scriptures were originally conceived.
Mashiach is not now feverishly attempting to save all of lost humanity. It’s not their time. There is, however, in this present evil Age (aeon) a special class being especially blessed with the revelation of God’s Grace: “Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.”
- Are your eyes and ears open to God’s truth? Have you found God’s Word palatable, enjoyable, rich and granting a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction?
Many believers have feasted on W.E. Vine to enable them in personal Bible study to gain a better grasp of God’s plan for the Messianic Community and the world. Vine’s fruit tastes OK to start with, but when it begins to internally digest it turns to poison leading to a death of the understanding of God’s GRACIOUS intent and purpose for humankind — indeed for all the universe.
Its high time for all honest theologians and Bible students to return to the faith that was once for all time delivered to the saints and to reject outright the false apostles who have exchanged the true vine for the false.
May God richly bless you in your endeavours.
Would to God more people would believe it.