THE RANSOM-PRICE AND ITS APPLICATION
THE doctrine of the RANSOM as related to God's Plan of Salvation is the very center --the hub from which as spokes all other doctrines radiate to the circumference of the Plan. It is hoped that the answers given below may prove illuminating and helpful:
Question 1.--Give a brief definition of the word RANSOM.
Answer.--A Ransom is the amount or consideration paid for the release of a person or property, captured or detained.
Question 2.--Give brief definition of the word MERIT.
Answer.--Merit is (1) that which deserves consideration, reward, or esteem; (2) value, reward or recompense deserved or received, as at school.
Question 3.--Give brief definition of LEGAL TENDER.
Answer.--Legal Tender is that currency or money which the law authorizes a debtor to offer in payment of a debt and requires a creditor to receive. In other words, that which the government or law approves as a medium of exchange.
Question 4.--What is the meaning of the words TO PAY or PAID?
Answer.--To Pay means to discharge a debt, to give an equivalent for, to fulfil. The word Paid would signify that such a debt had been discharged; was fulfilled; that the proper equivalent had been turned over.
Question 5.--Give brief definition of the word DEPOSIT.
Answer.--A Deposit is anything deposited; something committed to the care of another.
Question 6.--What is the difference in the meaning of the terms PAID, APPLIED and DEPOSIT?
Answer.--There is quite a difference in the meaning of these words. When the word paid is used, it signifies that the thing applied to an obligation is sufficient; when the word applied is used, it signifies that a financial obligation has been met, directly or indirectly; when the word Deposit is used, it signifies that something has been left in the care of another which has not yet been appropriated, or applied.
Question 7.--Define briefly the term SIN-OFFERING.
Answer.--The term Sin-Offering signifies an offering made on account of sin, as an offset to sin, as a satisfaction for the sin.
Question 8.--What is meant by the term MERIT OF CHRIST JESUS?
Answer.--We might speak of the Merit of Christ Jesus from various viewpoints; as, for instance, the merit of His having become the Man Jesus, in the sense of its indicating His loyalty to God and His obedience to the Divine Program; or we might speak of His merit as a man--that He made a meritorious delivery of that which He had, of that which was right, just and lawful. But when we speak of the Merit of Christ Jesus with respect to His making atonement for the sin of the world, we have in view another matter entirely; namely, that a contract existed between the Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, by which the Lord was to become a human being and then to give up His human nature, permitting His life to be taken from Him as a man, thus signifying His loyalty and obedience to the Father's will, complete obedience unto death, even the death of the cross.
When we speak of the Merit of Jesus Christ, we understand that, on account of that Merit which He had, and which the Father recognized when He raised the Son from the dead, our Lord was rewarded, not merely by being taken back to the spirit plane, but by being "highly exalted" to the Divine nature. This Merit of Jesus, then, which God rewarded, left Him a certain amount of substance [R5880 : page 107] or blessing which He might bestow upon others; namely, His right to human life, which He had not forfeited by sin, nor by any other procedure. This right to human life, which we speak of as a merit to the credit of Jesus, the Bible informs us is ultimately to be appropriated by the Lord Jesus Christ, in full harmony with the Father's Plan, for the cancellation of the "sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2.)--the sins of Adam and all of his race, who died in Him. That Merit is already our Lord's, and is subject to His disposal at the proper time, set by the Father.
Question 9.--Give a brief definition of the word ATONEMENT.
Answer.--The word Atonement signifies the making at-one, the bringing back into harmony persons or things not in full accord. As applied to the human family, it would signify that, Adam and his race having been disobedient to the Divine arrangement, and having come under Divine displeasure and condemnation, this condemnation, by Divine arrangement, is to be done away with, and mankind are to be brought back into harmony with God--to be at-one with Him again--as many of them as are willing and will accept the Divine terms. The arrangement by which this is to be accomplished is what we term the work of the Atonement; and this work of Atonement was the work begun by our Lord Jesus Christ at His First Advent, continued since, and to be completed at and during His Second Advent. In a word, then, the Atonement in the fullest sense of the word begins with the Church and will not be completed until its provisions shall have been extended to all the members of the human family, bringing all the willing and obedient back into full harmony with Jehovah.
Question 10.--Could a perfect human being pay the Ransom-price?
Answer.--No! A perfect man could not pay the Ransom-price, unless by some Divine arrangement, contract, agreement. If, for instance, there had been a perfect human being in the world, he could not have become the Redeemer of Father Adam, except as a privilege by Divine arrangement. It would be for the Divine Court to determine whether or not one could be accepted for another. In the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, by Divine arrangement He became suitable to be the Ransom-price--a perfect man--and then, in fulfilment of the Divine Program, He gave Himself; and because of this arrangement He was acceptable.
Question 11.--How was the Ransom-price provided?
Answer.--God Himself provided the Ransom; and it "taketh away the sin of the world." Only by Divine provision would the ransoming of man have been possible.
Question 12.--Where was the Ransom-price provided?
Answer.--In the Divine Purpose, the Ransom-price was provided from the foundation of the world; for the Scriptures assure us that our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Divine Purpose, was the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8.) In a secondary sense, the Ransom-price was provided when the contract was made between Jehovah God and His honored Logos. In another sense of the word, the Ransom-price was not provided until the Logos had been made flesh and had reached full human perfection at 30 years of age.
It was then possible for our Lord to serve, in harmony with God's arrangement, as a Ransom-price, and to give Himself a Ransom-price. But He did not give Himself [R5880 : page 108] to be this Ransom-price until He entered into the Covenant with God, symbolizing by baptism the full consecration of His life even unto death. Yet it was not a completed thing then, for there were conditions associated with it. While His will was there given up, and was so recognized by the Father, nevertheless it remained for Him, day by day and hour by hour, to show His full surrender. His sacrifice was completed when He died on Calvary, crying, "It is finished!" He had finished the laying down of the Ransom-price; that is to say, He had fully provided the Ransom-price. We are to recognize a difference, however, between providing the Ransom-price, and giving, or appropriating, or delivering it. It was merely provided at the time when Jesus died; it was not yet given, in the sense of being applied for man's delivery from death.
Question 13.--Who provided the Ransom-price?
Answer.--Jehovah God, primarily, in that He was the One who made the arrangement; without His arrangement the Ransom would not have been possible. In a secondary sense, Jesus Himself provided it, in that He gave Himself; He had full control of His own course at the time He made His consecration. His will was not coerced.
Question 14.--In the type, where did the sin-offering begin, and where did it end?
Answer.--The animal to be the sin-offering was selected and brought to the door of the Tabernacle for this purpose; but it became the sin-offering the moment when the high priest laid his hands upon it and slew it. The sin-offering, according to the type, was composed of two parts--a bullock and a goat. The slaying of the bullock did not finish the sin-offering; for in the Divine Purpose and arrangement, the great High Priest, Jesus, was to offer two sacrifices--the Lord's goat class as well as the antitypical bullock. The goat in the type, we understand, represented the followers of Jesus, as the bullock represented Jesus Himself. In the type, therefore, the killing of the sin-offering was not ended until the goat of the sin-offering was slain. There it was that the sin-offering in the sense of sacrifice was finished. There was to be no more sacrificing. But the word sin-offering has a still broader meaning than this. It included in the type also the presentation of the blood of these animals to Jehovah God, as shown by the high priest's taking first the blood of the bullock, and afterwards the blood of the Lord's goat, into the Most Holy, and sprinkling the blood upon the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat eastward. When this had been accomplished, the sin-offering was ended.
Question 15.--In the antitype, where did the offering for sin begin?
Answer.--In the antitype, the offering for sin began when Jesus presented Himself at Jordan in compliance with the arrangement already entered into with the Father. There, according to the statement of the Apostle, our Lord gave Himself, surrendered Himself, made Himself an offering for sin. He has continued the work during this Gospel Age, offering up those who accept His merit and who voluntarily become His footstep followers, surrendering their wills to Him. He offers these as a part of His own sacrifice.
After Jesus had finished offering His own personal sacrifice, He ascended up on High, and there made a presentation of His sacrificial merit to the Heavenly Father on behalf of the Church class, as symbolized by the sprinkling of the blood of the bullock in the Most Holy of the Tabernacle, for the high priest and his house. Subsequently continuing the sacrificing, in His followers, He will ultimately finish the work of sacrifice when the last member of the Body of Christ shall have tasted death and shall have passed beyond the veil. Then it will remain for the High Priest to complete this matter by offering the Sin-offering "for all the people," by presenting the merit of the "better sacrifices" to Jehovah God, the actual merit being in Jesus alone.
Question 16.--Was the Ransom paid at Calvary?
Answer.--We have already covered this point, showing that the Ransom was laid down at Calvary, and later placed in the hands of Justice, but not paid over in the sense of completing the contract--that being reserved for a future time. The Ransom was laid down at the cross, when Jesus cried, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit"--My life! Thus Jesus, so to speak, made a deposit of the Ransom-price without definitely applying it.
Question 17.--Was the Ransom paid when Jesus ascended into Heaven?
Answer.--No! The reasons for this already stated.
Question 18.--Has the Ransom-price been paid yet?
Answer.--No! For reasons already given; and we will say additionally, that the Ransom-price is not to be fully paid until after the Church has been entirely glorified and with Her Lord. Then it will be paid on behalf of the whole world, securing the release of the whole world from death, and the cancellation of Adamic condemnation.
Question 19.--What did Jesus do with the Ransom-price when He ascended into Heaven?
Answer.--He had already placed it in the hands of Justice as a deposit. The human life-right, the price, still was at His command. His next step was to embargo, or mortgage it, by imputing a share of it to His Church--yet undeveloped.
Question 20.--Did Jesus satisfy Justice when He ascended into Heaven?
Answer.--Justice is always satisfied. Justice never lets go until it has an equivalent. Justice was satisfied, for instance, when Adam was condemned to death on account of transgression. Justice has been satisfied all along in holding Adam and his race for that sin. Justice is satisfied now to allow the Church to pass under the present conditions, because a deposit is in the hands of Justice fully equivalent to the requirements of the Church, and more. Justice will not be satisfied to release mankind until the Ransom-price shall have been fully paid over into the hands of Justice. This will be after the Church is completed and glorified.
Question 21.--When and how is Justice satisfied?
Answer.--This question is answered in reply to the twentieth question. [R5881 : page 108]
Question 22.--How can any one be a joint-sacrifice with Christ, if Justice was not fully reconciled by Jesus Christ when He ascended into Heaven?
Answer.--As stated in answer to question 20, a Deposit was made of sufficient merit to satisfy for the sins of the whole world; and on the strength of this Deposit, Justice was perfectly reconciled to the releasing of these members of the race who came into a special covenant-relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, who made a Covenant by Sacrifice.
Question 23.--Which takes place first, Justification or Consecration, and why?
Answer.--It depends upon the meaning attached to the word consecration. The Bible recognizes consecration from two different viewpoints; first, the consecration of the individual; and second, the making of this consecration valid by the Lord Jesus Christ, and its acceptance by the Father. The consecration of the individual to do the Lord's will, the full surrender of his own will, as typified [R5881 : page 109] by the tying of the goat to the door of the Tabernacle, precedes justification. But the second step is this: namely, that it is necessary for our Lord Jesus Christ to become the Advocate for those who desire to become members of the Royal Priesthood, before they can be acceptable to the Father. Hence, their justification by the Lord Jesus Christ, who imputes of His merit to them, follows their consecration of themselves and is immediately followed by the Heavenly Father's act of consecrating these, in the sense of accepting them as consecrated persons and giving them all the rights and privileges included in this covenant arrangement.
Question 24.--Is it Merit or Righteousness that is imputed to the one who is justified by faith?
Answer.--We would here need to qualify the expression, "justified by faith," because in Bible usage this term has two different significations. We read, for instance, that Abraham was justified by faith, but surely not in the sense that the Church is justified by faith! Abraham was justified to fellowship with God, to receive the Promise, to know about certain things that God purposes in the future, and to demonstrate his loyalty to God under a Divine standard. But he was not justified to eternal life. He was not justified in the sense that he could be invited to present his body a living sacrifice and become a redeemer for Adam, or in any sense a meritorious sacrifice for another. No one could be thus justified by faith until after the death of Jesus, until His imputation of His merit after He ascended up on High and appeared "in the presence of God for us"--the Church.
Question 25.--If Merit is imputed, who imputes it? If Righteousness is imputed, by whom is it imputed?
Answer.--Our Lord Jesus imputes His own Merit to His own followers under the conditions of their covenant of full consecration; but this imputation is with the full sanction of and in cooperation with Divine Justice--not otherwise. This imputation of Merit to the imperfect one desiring to be the follower of Jesus may be expressed as an imputation of Righteousness to such a one on the part of Divine Justice, on the part of the Heavenly Father; as we read, "It is God that justifieth."--Romans 8:33.
Question 26.--What is meant by the terms "right to live" and "life-rights?" And what is the difference between these terms?
Answer.--A person might have a right to live by being in harmony with God; for God has ordained that all of His intelligent creatures may continue to live if they live in harmony with His Divine Law and its requirements. A right to live, therefore, was the privilege of Father Adam in the beginning. He had a right to life and he would not have forfeited that right had he not sinned. Jesus also possessed a right to live. Not only before He came into the world, but also after He became the Man Jesus, He had a right to life. It was because of this right that He would be able to lay down His life sacrificially on behalf of Adam and his race. After He had made His consecration at baptism, He no longer had the right to live as a man; for He had given up that right to live. But having been begotten by the Holy Spirit, He had a right to life as a New Creature, spiritually begotten, unless He should make failure by violating some Divine Law or by violating His own contract, or covenant. The world of mankind will have the right to live after the Millennial Age, after they shall have reached perfection, shall have been delivered over to the Father and He shall have accepted them. They will then have the same right to life that Father Adam had at first, before he sinned.
"Life-rights." This term we may use in different ways. Applying it to the Lord Jesus Christ as having life-rights, for instance, we may say, while He had consecrated His life as a man, He had done nothing really to forfeit that life. He had agreed to lay it down; it was rightfully His; else He would not have had the right to use it again for others. He maintained the right because of His personal righteousness. Therefore He still possessed a right to human life, because this life which He was permitting to be taken, He had not forfeited. He still has the life-rights of a human being, although He has no need of human life or life-rights now for Himself, since He has something so much better, and since He could not use two lives at the same time. He has Divine life-rights; but He still maintains his human life-rights; and these He is about to dispose of, to give as a Ransom-price, as a full offset for Adam and all that was lost through him.
Question 27.--What is sacrificed by one who is begotten of the Spirit to membership in the Body of Christ?
Answer.--In one sense of the word, no one does any sacrificing except the great High Priest. What we do is to consecrate our wills, and present our bodies that they may be living sacrifices, that the great High Priest may make sacrifices of them. It should be easily discerned that merely killing an animal is not sacrificing it. The Jews killed thousands of animals for food, just as we do today; but these animals were not sacrificed by merely being killed. No sacrifice can be offered except by an arrangement with God; and He has arranged that sacrificing must be done by a priest. The priest that sacrificed under the Jewish Law was the high priest, the others being his assistants, and taking his place in case of death. The High Priest was the one who typified Jesus; and Jesus alone is the One who is able to offer up the antitypical sacrifices. All that the followers of Jesus do, therefore, is to present themselves.
This presentation in the type was pictured by the goat's being tied at the door of the Tabernacle. In other words, this class devote, set apart, consecrate themselves as human beings. It is after Jesus lays hold of this individual, accepts his consecration, imputes His own merit, and offers him to the Father, that the Father's acceptance is manifested through the Son, the great High Priest, by the begetting of the Holy Spirit. Thenceforth such an one is a member of the Body of Christ, and his name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, from which it will not be blotted out if he maintains his faithfulness.
Question 28.--Briefly define the difference between Ransom and Sin-offering.
Answer.--The term "sin-offering" specifically refers to the fact that the thing, or life (or lives) is presented to God as an offering, and on account of sin. A sin-offering implies a ransom, but not specifically, not positively. It is an offering for sin, but might not necessarily mean a full, satisfactory offering; and yet the fact that a sin-offering is acceptable to God would imply that such offering was a full, complete offset, or satisfaction. The word Ransom as used in the New Testament, has in it not only the thought of an offering on account of something that was wrong, but additionally it specifies that the offering corresponds fully and exactly, for the meaning of the word Ransom as applied to Jesus, is a corresponding price.
Question 29.--Does the Church participate in the Ransom and in the Sin-offering, and why?
Answer.--In considering this question we must view the Church from two sides. If we think of the Church in connection with the presentation of their bodies living sacrifices to God, we would say that they are not participators [R5881 : page 110] in the Ransom, for they have nothing that they could give as a share in the Ransom--they are imperfect. If we view the question from the other standpoint--that the Church are spirit beings and as spirit beings are members of the Body of Christ, one with Him who is their Head--they would as members of The Christ share with Him in everything He does, just as the hand shares with the head; for the human body is the figure that the Bible gives us, in speaking of The Christ. The Merit by which the Ransom-price is effective with God was in Jesus alone. It was that merit which we did not possess when we presented ourselves to God in consecration. But when we were accepted by Jesus as disciples, He imputed His own merit to us, and made us part of His own sacrifice. He was at the same time making us part of that which He is to give to God for the sins of the whole world, at the close of this Age when the Church, His Body, is complete and glorified together with Him.
We are to remember, however, that none of the human remains; for at the time we were made members of the Body of Christ we had become dead as human beings, by the surrender of our wills. Because we are New Creatures, old things have passed away and all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17.) We are to remember, also, that it is not the spiritual Body of Christ that is sacrificed, even as it was not the spiritual Head [R5882 : page 110] that was sacrificed. The Sin-offering was the flesh. And it was Jesus' flesh that constituted the Ransom--not our flesh. But now that this Ransom-price has been placed in the hands of Justice as a deposit, whose title is possessed by Jesus, we are joint-sharers with Him in this possession by reason of our relationship to Him and our interest in everything that He possesses. Thus the Church becomes a sharer in this Ransom-price, because as His Bride we are His joint-heirs; and we are to be associated with Him in giving to the world the benefits of that Ransom-price.
We do not make the Sin-offering any more than we do the ransoming. We are merely accepted by the High Priest. This acceptance is shown in His sacrificing of us as human beings after He has imputed to us His merit. And in this presentation at the end we shall share as New Creatures. It is not the offering of anything the New Creature has in itself; but the New Creature having participated with Jesus in the crucifying of the flesh, each of these will be associated with Him also when the merit is presented to the Father.
Question 30.--If Jesus paid the Ransom-price when He ascended into Heaven, could He have become the Advocate of the Church? And if so, how?
Answer.--If Jesus had paid over and fully disposed of the Ransom-price when He ascended up on High, it would immediately, if accepted, have taken effect for Adam and his race; and such of the race as were living at that time, or have lived since, would have been on trial again, individually, and would have been liable to death because of their imperfection, not being able to cope with the situation unless Jesus had established His Millennial Kingdom and had immediately begun to provide all the necessary assistance through the New Covenant arrangement. But as for the Church, there would have been no provision for the Church, and no opportunity for giving the Church anything special, since those who are of the Church were members of the human family. The Ransom having been paid over, this would have settled all the obligations against mankind, and would have left no room for the Church class to be dealt with in any different manner from the rest of the world. They would not have had any need of an Advocate, and, of course, would not have had one.
Question 31.--When will the Ransom-price be fully paid and disposed of finally?
Answer.--The Ransom-price will be fully paid and fully disposed of after the Church shall have passed beyond the veil, and when the great High Priest, Head and Body (the Church then being the glorified Body of the great High Priest), shall seal the New Covenant and put it into effective operation on behalf of Adam and all his race. The Ransoming will then be finished. The Atonement work will not be finished at that time, however; it will include the work of the Millennial Age, in bringing mankind (all who will) up out of sin and degradation into full at-one-ment and harmony with God. But the Ransom-price must be fully paid over to Jehovah and accepted by Him before this New Covenant can go into effect, and before human Restitution can properly begin. Man's recovery from death is a part of the Ransom work.--Hosea 13:14.