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down from God out of heaven . And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is WITH MEN, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himsel: shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Rev. 20:11-15; 21:1-4.
This, my brethren, will be our future and eternal home. It is the home that Jesus went to prepare, the one to which he promised to receive us upon his return to earth. This marks the grand climax of Christ's redemptive reign. Paul declares that Christ must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet, and that the last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:25, 26); and when the dead, small and great, stand before God in judgment, the last enemy will then have been destroyed- the wicked will be banished to their eternal punishment in the lake of fire, while the righteous, clothed with immortality, their redemptive blessing, will take up their everlasting abode in the "new heavens and the new earth,” and “God himself shall be with them."
This new earth" is, in reality, Paradise restored. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”; at the end John “saw a new heaven and n new earth.” In the beginning the tree of life stood in Eden; in the end the tree of life is again found “in the midst of the Paradise of God.” In the be. ginning the Lord God walked in the garden and talked with man; in the end “the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them.” The first earth was ruined by sin; the new earth is one “wherein dwelleth righteousness.” Because of sin the first earth was cursed; concerning the second earth we read, “There shall be no more curse: BUT THE THRONE OF GOD AND OF THE LAMB SHALL BE IN IT." Man lost his universal dominion in the first earth; in the second earth the overcomers “sit with Christ in his throne” and reign in triumph and glory forever. Death, sorrow, and suffering found entrance into the old world; in the new world “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes : and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." In the beginning disobedient man was barred from the tree of life; in the end the obedient ones—the nations of them that are saved”-“have right to the tree of life, and enter in through the gates into the city."
MATERIALISTS' ARGUMENTS CONSIDERED.
In order to do justice to the reader, it becomes my duty to present the arguments brought forth by materialists to sustain their doctrine. In doing this I shall present their strongest points, and then apply them. Also I shall give their replies to the truths presented in the previous chapters, and then consider them.
1. Materialist. God only hath immortality. It is an attribute which belongs to him alone. If God only hath immortality, then man does not possess it. Proof: 1 Tim. 6:15, 16.
Reply. This indeed has a show of argument, if we would simply accept their wording of Scripture without making examination. This they apply exclusively to the Father. But a careful reading of the text shows that Paul here refers directly to Jesus Christ the Son of God—“Our Lord Jesus Christ: ... who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords: who only hath immortality.” Other texts prove that it is Christ who is King of kings, and Lord of lords. See Rev. 17:14; 19:16. To take this text. in an unqualified sense, as Adventists do, would deny the immortality
of God the Father. It would also deny the immortality of angels. But we have already seen in the previous chapter that angels stand wholly upon the plane of spirit and immortal beings. See Heb. 1:7, 14; Mat. 22:29, 30; Luke 20:35, 36.
But it may be asked, In what sense hath Christ "only” immortality! The Word answers: "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.” 1 Cor. 15:20. “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” Rom. 6:9. We all are yet mortal in body. We inhabit mortal flesh. The same is subject to death. But Christ has already received his immortal and glorified body. He, being already "raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” In this sense he only hath immortality. Our vile body will not be changed in the likeness of his glorious body until the final resurrection. So, since we yet inhabit a mortal body, decaying flesh, which is subject to death, and Christ the “first-fruits" has already received his glorified body, and “death hath no more dominion over him,' he only can be said to be wholly immortal. This is not a feather's weight of evidence against the immortality of the soul.
2. Materialist. We are commanded to seek for immortality. Rom. 2:7. Why seek for something we already possess ! If we are already immortal, it would be nonsense to seek it.