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    CHRIST OUR HOPE

    In 1 Timothy 1:1, Paul calls “Christ our hope.” Of course a true gospel hope must center in Jesus Christ as the object, being, or agency, through whom the promises of God concerning man are to be carried out. “We are complete in him.” Without him we “can do nothing,” and are nothing. He is the “Alpha and Omega.” Alpha and Omega is the more ancient form by which the Greeks expressed their alphabet. Alpha being the first Greek letter, and Omega, the last one, in their alphabet; from the Alpha to the Omega was from the first letter to the last, or, in other words, the whole alphabet. So Christ is the Alpha and Omega, or the alphabet of God’s plan and purposes concerning man. As the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet, arranged in various combinations, constitute literally the words of the Bible, so the subject matter of the plan of salvation treated of in the Bible is Christ arranged in various forms as the being through whom God’s purposes concerning man will be carried out. As Christ was employed in the work of creation, so also is he the second Adam, through whom the restitution of all things God has promised will be carried out. The Father “has given him authority to execute judgment also because he is the Son of man.” So, also, the Father “has given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as he has given him.” Christ is in the promises of good, and in the threatenings of judgment. He is the root and center of the great plan of atonement devised for the rescue of man, and, in fact, he is the grand source of all the bliss and joy promised to the faithful. Christ is the agent by whom, and through whom, all is to be accomplished. With this view of the subject, we see, then, that the Bible itself is Christ arranged in his various offices, form, and work. As we would arrange the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet in their various combinations to form a book, so we see how Christ is the Alpha and Omega.HPGO 9.2

    When we say, Christ is our hope, it embodies all that is in Christ, or is to be brought about through Christ. In making our inquiries respecting him, and of what is accomplished by him, we should find ourselves, in some respects, in a similar position to that occupied by the ancient prophets in their researches concerning Christ: “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1 Peter 1:10, 11.HPGO 10.1

    Hence, we see that a hope in Christ embraces all that is wrought out by Christ till the glory of God is revealed in his people, in their being brought to their eternal rest in his kingdom.HPGO 11.1

    In the very connection of the text above, we gain some light as to what our hope embraces: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5. In writing to the Colossians, Paul says, “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in Heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel.” Colossians 1:3-5. Thus we see that the true gospel hope brings to view the final consummation, when the saints of God shall receive the heavenly inheritance which is now in reserve for them; when they shall become possessors of that of which they are now heirs-the kingdom of Heaven.HPGO 11.2

    We will look again at Paul’s testimony to the Hebrews, and we may gain some light as to what is the hope: “When God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. For men verily swear by the greater; and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” Hebrews 6:13-18.HPGO 12.1

    From the foregoing, we understand Paul argues that we have strong consolation from the hope, because the Abrahamic promise was made sure. This is conclusive evidence that that promise has special reference to the hope. That this promise to Abraham had reference to some future inheritance is clear from the following testimonies: Paul says of Abraham, that he was called to go out into a place “which he should after receive for an inheritance.” “He sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country.” Hebrews 11:8, 9. Stephen said of Abraham, that the Lord gave him none inheritance in it [the land], no, not so much as to set his foot on.” Acts 7:5. Again Paul says of him and all the multitudinous seed that sprang from him, that they “died in faith, not having received the promises.” The promise, then, which was made with such certainty to Abraham and his seed, must relate to things beyond this life. Again he says of these ancient worthies: “These all having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”HPGO 12.2

    These quotations show that the promise to Abraham had not been fulfilled when Paul wrote to the Hebrews. They also show that the promise cannot be fulfilled until all those are made perfect who are embraced in the term, “us,” which embraces all Christians in the gospel age. So the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise must be beyond the gospel age. That promise embraces Christ as the true seed. “He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ.” Galatians 3:16. Christ is the seed to whom the promises are made. He has been on earth once, as the “Child born,” and the “Son given.” But he is to come again as “King of kings, and Lord of lords,” and then “the government shall be upon his shoulder.” We are now “joint-heirs” with him; but we shall then be recipients of the glory, entering “into the joy of” our Lord.HPGO 13.1

    Paul, when permitted to speak before Agrippa, said, “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers; unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come; for which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.” Acts 26:6, 7. If Paul, with the twelve tribes, still hoped to come to that promise, it had not yet been fulfilled. We do not think that Paul would submit to be judged for his expectation concerning a promise that had already been fulfilled. From his reasoning, he must have considered the fulfillment of that promise in the future. Knowing the manner in which their thoughts would run, he says, “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?” Verse 8.HPGO 13.2

    We must conclude from this reasoning that Paul considered the fulfillment of that promise as an event beyond the resurrection. As this promise to Abraham is the sure foundation of the hope which affords consolation to those who have laid hold upon it, it follows that the gospel hope is the hope of a future inheritance.HPGO 14.1

    Peter says of this inheritance, “Reserved in Heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:4, 5. But, you may say, he here speaks of an inheritance reserved in Heaven, which cannot be the future kingdom. Paul said of Abraham, “He looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Hebrews 11:10. That city of foundations is now in Heaven—“Jerusalem which is above is free.” Galatians 4:26. It is in reserve for the obedient. “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14. It is finally to come down from Heaven, and be the great center of the new-earth kingdom. Revelation 21:2. So this glorious portion of the inheritance is reserved in Heaven, ready to be revealed, not at death, but “in the last time.”HPGO 14.2

    It was not our design in this work to give a detailed exposition of the kingdom, but to call attention to some features of the hope and the time when it is to be consummated.HPGO 14.3

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