GOD’S PLAN as set forth in the Scriptures treats of two salvations: a heavenly class and an earthly class; an elect class and a non-elect class; Jesus and the Church, as the elect class, and the world of mankind in general as the non-elect class. It is impossible to clearly understand the Scriptures without understanding the distinction between these two classes (2 Timothy 2: 15).
The Elect and the Non-Elect Contrasted
The Bible contrasts the elect and the non-elect classes in many ways, of which the following are a few. (We cite some sample passages, of which many more could be cited.):
Each class has its respective call – one the elective, which is limited (2 Peter 1: 10), and the other free grace, which is general (Revelation 22: 17).
There are two ways for them to travel – one the “narrow way” (Matthew 7: 14), and the other the “highway” (Isaiah 35: 8).
There are two sets of conditions – one very difficult (Acts 14: 22), and the other easier (Isaiah 35: 8-10).
A different set of promises pertains to each of them – one heavenly (1 Peter 1: 3, 4), and the other earthly (Psalm 37: 29).
Two different abodes will be their eternal homes – one the new heavens and the other the new earth (2 Peter 3: 13).
There are two objects in Christ’s return – the one to save the Church (John 14: 2, 3), and the other to save the obedient of the world of mankind in general (Acts 15: 16, 17).
There are two resurrections – one of the just and the other of the unjust (Acts 24: 15).
Each will receive its pertinent nature as a reward for faithfulness – one the spirit nature (2 Peter 1: 4), and the other the human nature (Isaiah 60: 21).
The two salvations are also different as respects time – the elective salvation takes place during the Gospel Age (Hebrews 2: 3), and the salvation of the non-elect will take place during the Millennial Age (Acts 17: 31).
Each class is developed under its respective covenant – the elect class was developed under the Sarah Covenant (Genesis 22: 17, 18) (Galatians 3: 16, 29), and the non-elect class will be developed under the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31: 31).
Times of Refreshing and Restitution
St. Peter points down to that glorious time of the world’s blessing, calling it “times of refreshing” and “times of restitution.” He tells us that all the holy prophets described the blessings of those restitution times (Acts 3: 19-21). Then Paradise Lost shall be Paradise Restored. Then God will make His earthly footstool glorious (Isaiah 66: 1). Then the blessing of the Lord shall make rich, and He will add no sorrow to it. Then streams shall break forth in the desert and the wilderness and solitary places shall be glad (Isaiah 35: 1, 6, 7).
But the most glorious change will be in humanity. The Lord promises to turn to the people a “pure language [message]” (Zephaniah 3: 8, 9) instead of the contradictory creeds of heathenism and Churchianity. He promises that Satan shall be bound for that thousand years, that he may deceive the nations no more (Revelation 20: 1-3). He promises that all the blinded eyes shall be opened, and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped (Isaiah 35: 5) (2 Corinthians 4: 4). “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, 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 iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (Jeremiah 31: 34).
The Earth “In the Ages to Come”
Man’s restored dominion over earth will not come until the end of the Millennial Age (Matthew 25: 34). “In the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2: 7). All the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD” (Numbers 14: 21). “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35: 10). The righteous of the human family will be given the inheritance of this earth forever (Proverbs 2: 21, 22).
It is difficult for us to imagine what a perfect earth would be. If we imagine a combination of the most beautiful scenery, the most beautiful landscape gardening, and the most tasteful public, home, and park improvements that we have ever seen, we would have a faint idea of how the earth will look in the Ages to come. Variety of taste will display itself in an abundance of beauty, harmony, and utility that will satisfy the hearts and minds and supply all human needs.
The understanding of soil culture will be so thorough at that time, and the inventions so abundant, that only about as much physical work will be required to supply man’s needs from the earth as would be necessary to give him the physical exercise required for the healthy upkeep of his body (Ezekiel 34: 27; 36: 29, 30). Many crops will come to maturity in a season on the same plot of ground. The extreme cold of our present winters, and the intense heat of our present summers will be absent, though there will still be the four seasons forever on earth (Genesis 8: 22).
No weeds, thorns, briars, thistles, nor anything else that mars will be found in the earth. Man will find eternal pleasure in varying fruits, flowers, and other products that the earth will bring forth in abundance for his convenience, comfort, and enjoyment. His homes will be models of convenience, beauty, comfort, and utility.
The wonderful inventions of those times will make the work of caring for the home, farm, garden, factory, etc., take up a small part of man’s time. The inventions, ever increasing, more elaborate, and intricate, will decrease labor, and thus afford the human family more time for study, refreshment, diversion, and pleasure. Even the animal creation will be perfectly subject to man at that time (Isaiah 11: 6-9; 65: 17-25).
The social organization in the Ages to come is not revealed, but the Bible teaches that all on earth will be kings (Revelation 21: 24) as Adam was in the beginning. Because all will be equal implies that the government will probably be of a socialistic, democratic character in which certain members of the race would be elected by the others to carry on such governmental functions as will be necessary for the maintenance of an orderly operation and progress of things among mankind.
Mankind’s Post-Millennial Perfection
Mankind themselves will be perfect in all their faculties and perfect in their characters. Physical perfection will prevail. There will be no more diseases. Vigor, strength, and robustness will mark everyone.
Men will be perfect mentally at that time. He will possess perfect memory, perceptive, reasoning, and imaginative powers. The sense of humor, of the beautiful, and of the sublime will mark man’s state of mind and accomplishment of works. Eloquence and oratory will prevail in everyone.
Man’s inventive powers, depth of thought, literary attainments, prose, music, art, and sculpture in the Ages to come will all have perfect capabilities and will thus make the top masters in those fields at present seem mere beginners by comparison.
There will be only one language at that time, since we know that the existence of various languages is a part of the curse (Genesis 11: 1-9), and that language will be rich in vocabulary, flexible in use, and capable of expressing any and every shade of thought and sentiment. The human intellect in those days will explore fields of knowledge and science of which we cannot at present imagine.
Man will be perfect morally. There will be no more disgraces of character, for the graces will have completely replaced them. What a glorious world to live in that will be, in which everyone will love, be kind, polite, considerate, and helpful to everyone else, and in which everyone trusts, respects, and honors everyone else!
Man will be perfect religiously. Nothing will mar the relations between God and man. God will be man’s supreme delight. Union and communion with Him will be man’s highest privilege and joy. What a wonderful world that will be, with nothing to mar, nothing to blight, nothing to harm, nothing to hurt! The blending of everything good, happifying, and useful will characterize its every arrangement, its every activity, and its every purpose (Isaiah 65: 25). No wonder it is called the desire of all nations (Haggai 2: 7)!