Readers of the Bible often find what they call “examples of (seeming) divine injustice”. Many Christians are likewise perplexed when reading certain portions of the Scriptures, but would recoil from using such language of their Lord. In this case the attitude is usually one of “sweeping it under the carpet out of sight.”!! In this essay we shall address ourselves to one such area of conflict that sticks out like a sore thumb to many who read the Bible. We refer to the apparently capricious nature of God’s dealings with certain nations and peoples.
Take Sodom and Nineveh as examples. Sodom was given no chance, but suddenly destroyed, whereas Nineveh was approached by Jonah, repented, and was allowed to continue as a city. Both were equally as bad. To make matters worse (or so it would seem), our Lord said of Sodom that had His works been performed there, the city would have repented in sackcloth and ashes. (Luke 10:12, Matt.10:15) The question that immediately forms itself in the mind is, why did God give one city a chance, but denied it to another?
To anticipate our findings, we shall show that the problem is essentially one of our own making, because we have (as Christendom) established certain doctrines as truth and fact, whereas a deeper reading of the Bible shows them to be falsehood, and an unjust indictment of God. We shall present our subject matter in the form of nine cameo sketches centredaround the personalities of Abraham, Moses, David, Amos, Jonah, James & John, the Twelve Disciples, Paul, and our Lord.
1. ABRAHAM. Our sketch will reveal Abraham’s character as he walks with the Lord towards Sodom. He pleaded with the Lord on behalf of the righteous, “Will you destroy the righteous with the wicked? Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen.18) The Lord assured him that He would not destroy the cities of the plain if He found 50 righteous there. Deferentially, Abraham interceded for the cities on the basis of 45, 40, 30,20, and 10 righteous. Each time the Lord assured him in like fashion. Subsequent events showed the removal of only four souls before judgment fell.
In this respect the Lord tested Abraham. “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” And Abraham showed a RIGHT SPIRIT. He was concerned that “the Judge of all the earth” should be SEEN to do right. And we learn from this story that God is much concerned that man should understand the nature of true justice and judgment.
What do we know about Sodom? The Bible reveals further facts to those who care to examine a concordance. In Verse 7 for example, Jude informs us that these cities were set forth as an EXAMPLE of age-lasting judgment by fire, due to their gross iniquity. But many other cities of the world have been, and still are, as wicked and perverted as Sodom. Why does not God judge them in like manner? One well-known public figure, Billy Graham’s wife, has stated concerning certain cities in the U.S.A., “If God doesn’t judge them, He will have to apologise to Sodom.” This is an example of the irreverent way in which man flies in the face of God. If we are told that Sodom was an EXAMPLE set forth to all peoples, then clearly there is no further need for other such example-judgments. One example is enough, as long as it is fully documented. The problem to man is that he only considers these issues relative to THIS LIFE. If there is no other life beyond this one, then of course it would be right and proper to speak about injustice, but the Bible does not teach that. We read in Ezekiel 16:53-55 that there would be a day when God will “restore the fortunes of Sodom.” Because every man, woman, and child was killed in the cataclysm of the plain, these words can only refer to a state of resurrection. How important are these words. God has a future for all mankind, even the most evil, the most injurious, the most perverted, and the most violent. All will find a place in God’s world at some future time. And God chose Sodom and the other cities of the plain as His example to prove this point. This is the REAL teaching about Sodom. Not that it was destroyed, but rather that it will re-appear at some point in future history. Jude declared that because of their evil they had forfeited their place in God’s millennial kingdom, but what about after that?
Our Lord spoke on this point. With a degree of passionate and righteous anger He upbraided the cities of Galilee, such as Capernaum, by saying, “Verily I say to you, it shall be MORE TOLERABLE for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day oi judgment than for you.” (Matt.10:15, and Luke 10:12) Advocates of “everlasting conscious punishment” cannot fit these words into their theology. They would rather preach a God of injustice. All such do not possess a RIGHT SPIRIT. Jesus said that if His miracles had been performed in Sodom, Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented in sackcloth and ashes, and Sodom would have remained to His day. Only in the prospect of resurrection to an earthly patrimony can such words be understood. All men are condemned to death by Adam’s sin. But all men are guaranteed resurrection through Calvary. Death, including the second death, is the last enemy to be destroyed.
Our cameo sketch demands of us that we cultivate a right spirit, of the type that Abraham had, concerned that the “Judge of all the earth” shall do right.
2. MOSES. We shall focus our thoughts on two events in Moses’ life. The first refers to the time of his descent from the Mount of God. After many days in the holy presence of God he was confronted by a ghastly scene. The people had made a golden calf, and were indulging in fornication and idolatry. As he stared in unbelief that such an event could happen, the Lord spoke to him, “Let me alone, that my anger may wax hot against them, that I may consume them, and I will make of you a great nation.” (Exodus 32:10)
Here was Moses’ great test. How should he respond to God’s words? The thought that he, Moses, should be the literal father of a new nation! And were not these people thoroughly evil in what they had done? And had not God once before destroyed Sodom? “Let me alone – – that I may consume-.” The words buzzed around inside Moses’ head. But not for long.
Very deliberately Moses spoke to the Lord, “The Egyptians will say that you delivered them from Egypt only to slay them in the mountains.” (Ex.32:12) Immediately he was concerned for God’s honour in the sight of other nations. All thoughts of personal pride, the future patriarch of a great nation, were banished from his mind. Moses was showing the Lord a RIGHT SPIRIT. And what was the result? “The Lord changed His mind concerning the evil which He thought to do to His people.” (Ex.32:14) You and I are now living in a very evil world. The question is, do we want to see the fiery judgment of God come upon the world in the manner depicted in the book of Revelation, or are we praying that God will be merciful? Have we learned the lesson that God will CHANGE HIS MIND when a righteous man prays?
Two days later Moses ascended the Mount once again. He interceded with God. “0h, this people have sinned a great sin and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if you will forgive their sin – – -, and if not blot me I pray You out of Your Book which You have written.” (Ex.32:31-33) Such selflessness must have touched the heart of the Almighty, but divine justice is incontrovertible. “Whosoever has sinned against Me, him will I blot out of my Book.” The nation was spared through the intervention of Moses, but the holiness of God demanded that certain actions should be met with appropriate punishments. To be blotted out of God’s book was a most serious matter. Who knows how long it might be before a relationship with God might be restored?
The second occasion followed the evil report of the twelve spies sent in to view the promised land. Once again the Lord’s anger boiled up. Again He threatened the extinction of the nation. Again Moses was promised the dignity of headship of a new nation. But Moses had learned the ways of God and he answered the Lord, “The Lord is longsuffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech Thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of Thy mercy, and as Thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”Once again the Lord was entreated. “I have pardoned according to you word.” However a price had to be paid for this great iniquity. All those who were 20 years of age or over would die in the desert and not see the Promised Land. Only Joshua and Caleb were spared from this judgement because of their good report.
Notice carefully what had transpired. The nation of Israel was a PARDONED PEOPLE, but it was also a PRECLUDED PEOPLE. But unlike the Sodomites, they were also God’s CHOSEN PEOPLE. The lesson from this passage is clear enough. It is possible to be a Christian, and therefore to be pardoned for one’s sins, but also to forfeit a place in the “promised land” of God’s future kingdom in the Millennium. Such a person would still be a forgiven sinner, but would have to pay the price of his folly. Sadly this teaching is not very commonly found in modern theology. But still it is true that“whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.” (Numbers 14:18-20, Galatians 6:7)
We have already referred to Ezekiel 16 in connection with Sodom. In this passage (v.61) the Lord said concerning Jerusalem, “You shall remember your ways and be ashamed when you shall receive your sisters (i.e. Sodom and Samaria), and I will give them to you for daughters, but NOT BY THE COVENANT.” How instructive this is. Jerusalem is under God’s covenant, and the covenant is preserved for future days. But Jerusalem is going to have two adopted daughters in days to come, and somehow I do not think that she will like them too much! But it will be a just solution, because God said of her (v.51) that her sins were MORE THAN DOUBLE those of Sodom and Samaria. It is almost impossible to contemplate the magnitude of her crime, but even so God promises eventual forgiveness for all that she has done, (v.63) and therefore what class of unenlightened theology can place limits on God’s ultimate forgiveness? Our minds need to expand to take in the majesty of God’s lovingkindness. We need to cultivate a RIGHT SPIRIT of the type Moses had, and intercede for the worst of sinners according to the great mercy of God. Even though the waiting may be long for them, they must be told that there is NO TERMINUS to divine love.
3. DAVID. In what sense was David a “man after God’s own heart”? (1 Sam: 13:14) Was he not an adulterer and a murderer? Yes, to be sure he was, but his repentance was real and permanent. Psalm 51 is his own testimony. All heaven rejoices over a repentant sinner. But the repentance must be real, and not just a single act of remorse that is soon forgotten. Instead it must be a diametrically opposite way of life henceforth. Not only is this the testimony of David, but also the testimony of the divine mercy, because as a murderer, the law required the ultimate penalty. But David was allowed to live. The death sentence was repealed. But he had to pay a high price for his sins, including the death of his firstborn son through Bathsheba.
The facet of David’s character that concerns us in this sketch is his attitude towards King Saul. Saul was God’s anointed King over all Israel. But disobedience led to his downfall. Samuel was sent to anoint David as King in his stead. At the time David was a mere lad of about 16 years, and he had to wait for another 14 years before assuming the throne. During those years he was mercilessly hounded by Saul, who was out for his life. But at certain times the life of Saul was in David’s hands, yet he never laid a finger on him. Even after Saul’s death David sought to honour and care for the remaining members of Saul’s family.
David therefore “loved his enemy” and “did good to him who hated him”. His heart was therefore “perfect; even as his heavenly Father.” He was eminently a man with a RIGHT SPIRIT, who sought not his own things but the things of others, even his worst enemy. Why does this delight the heart of God so much? Because He is “longsuffering towards us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to. repentance.” (2 Pet.3:9) Eventually all will, but for some the time will be long before human pride finally yields to the gentle pressures of divine love. Do we have a RIGHT SPIRIT like David? Or do we want to take vengeance on our enemies, those who do us much wrong? We must remember the Lord’s words, “vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay.” The Lord’s “repayment” is never destructive. His penalties are always instructive, enlightening, and purgative. If we tried to be like that, undoubtedly we should fail. But to RECOGNISE that God is like that is enough. We must not try to create a false character for God. He is not like man. His thoughts are above ours, ‘as the heavens are above the earth.’
4. AMOS. This man’s confession was that he was NOT a prophet but a farmer. (Amos 7:14) But he could hear the voice of God. In addition, God saw what manner of man he was and so He sent Amos northwards to prophesy to the people of the northern kingdom of Israel.
Our sketch focuses on Amos’ reaction to two visions that God gave him. They are both found in chapter 7. Both show the divine anger against the sins of Israel. Amos could well have accepted them objectively, because he was a member of the southern kingdom of Judah, and therefore the fate of his northern brethren need not have bothered him over much. But this was not the mind of Amos.
In the first vision Amos saw locusts, a mighty swarm eating up everything in sight. He was a farmer, and he knew the implication of this vision. In a matter of hours the whole countryside could be devastated by locusts, and people could starve to death. Amos threw himself on God’s mercy and pleaded for his northern brethren. “Let it not be, Lord, Jacob is so small. How will he survive?” And God heard his prayer, much as He heard the prayer of Moses. “This shall not be”, said the Lord.
In the second vision Amos saw fire, not ordinary fire, but a sweeping fire from heaven that was about to lick up the land and the water. Again Amos entreats the Lord, saying “Let it not be; Jacob is so small; how shall he survive?” And again the Lord hears and responds, “This shall not be.”
But then the Lord gives Amos a third-vision, that of a plumbline. And Amos instinctively knows what is meant. He says nothing. God speaks to him firmly, saying “No more will I pass by”, in other words, the nation of Israel must pay the price. We must see these things in the light of what they really are. It is not so much that God has changed His mind, but that he has tested his prophet and found him faithful, as he found Abraham faithful in earlier times, and Moses and David, and of course others as well.
Amos therefore had this RIGHT SPIRIT. He interceded for a people that he might well have despised. But his heart contained compassion, and God was well pleased with him. But this is not the end of the story, because God has again used the symbolism of locusts and fire in later apocalyptic literature. We are thinking mainly of the Book of Revelation. What do we find on the market today? Books without number which analyse the future. Some of them present a terrifying spectacle of a vengeful God wreaking havoc on a sin soaked earth. Pictorial visions are treated as though they are factual, even though the angel tells John the meaning of some of the symbols. The result is that the true character of God is distorted. Instead of the lessons of men like Abraham, Moses, David, and Amos being the guide to interpretation, we are encouraged to think in the manner of the next on our list – Jonah.
5. JONAH. The name “Jonah” means DOVE. But the prophet Jonah presented a manner which more resembled a HAWK. The lessons that have been presented in this essay were well understood by Jonah. When God told him to go to Nineveh, he was well aware of the possibility of repentance. In speaking to the Lord he said, “I knew that You were a gracious God, merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and You would repent of the evil.” (Jonah 4:2)
Why then did Jonah act in this uncharacteristic way, refusing to take the message of doom? Jonah was prophet to Israel in the days of Jeroboam son of Joash who “did evil in the sight of the Lord” all 41 years of his reign. And “the Lord saw the affliction of Israel that it was very bitter” (2 Kings 14:25-26) Jonah was therefore sent to encourage Israel at this time so that they would not be blotted out from under heaven. And he knew that if Israel failed to implement God’s word of warning, Nineveh might be God’s instrument of wrath, a rod of correction upon their backs.
“Go and tell Nineveh” – Jonah waited expectantly – “in 40 days it will be destroyed.” Ah, that was music to Jonah’s ears. All his fears were scattered to the four winds. God had seen the wickedness of Nineveh and was going to act! Prophet he may have been, but he was also a confirmed patriot. He began to mull over this message. And it soon occurred to him that people sometimes repent. Israel did not look set upon that path, but -but – BUT WHAT ABOUT NINEVEH? Suppose they repented? What then? He saw the fate of Israel well and truly wrapped up. What had first seemed to be music was now more like a war trumpet. Straight way he set off in a westerly direction. Mistakenly he thought that if Nineveh failed to hear the warning, it might be overthrown. It was just a matter of killing time, 40 days to be exact.
But God intended to have His way with Jonah as well as with Nineveh. The story is well known of how the prophet was conveyed to Nineveh partly by fish and partly by walking. And the City repented. And Jonah was angry. And God had to teach him a further lesson. “Should I not spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein there are more than 120,000 little children and much cattle?” (Jonah 4:1-11)
Luke records Jesus’ words, “Jonah was a SIGN to the Ninevites” just as Sodom’s destruction was an EXAMPLE of judgment. (Luke 11:30) And in the future purposes of God, in the unfolding of ages to come, in resurrection, God will show great mercy and spare many people whose assumed fate according to evangelical theology is that of EVERLASTING CONSCIOUS TORMENT.
Jonah failed to show that RIGHT SPIRIT characterised by the others, even though he knew God’s character. How many of God’s people today are similar to Jonah, most patriotic towards “the church”, and equally glad to hear of the destruction of the wicked? Jesus used the sign of the prophet Jonah Himself. He said that it was the ONLY sign that He would give to His generation. Equally today the “sign of the prophet Jonah” stands. God will take many of His children “through death”before sending them with a message of hope to nations without hope, a message of light to those who walk in darkness, a message of love to those who know not what love is. And God will have His way with this world. He will rejoice in a mighty harvest, for there will be “multitudes in the valley of decision”, and a “great multitude whom no man can number” who“make their robes white in the blood of the Lamb.” At the moment man is not ready to take such a message. The church needs first to be purified and learn to have the RIGHT SPIRIT before she can be entrusted with God’s greater message of hope.
6. JAMES AND JOHN. Luke 9:51-56. “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face, and they went and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him. But they did not receive Him because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, would Youthat we command fire to come down from heaven and consume them as Elijah did?’ But He turned and rebuked them and said, ‘You know not what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man is not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. ‘ And they went to another village.”
Very little further comment needs to be added to this passage. It speaks for itself. We have already raised the issue of fire, whether it should be used literally in God’s judgments, as shown in Revelation. It is clear that we should rather be praying for a change of God’s mind. Can we now say that Jesus’ words to James and John are the authentication for this approach?
But let us examine the Book of Revelation on this subject. What does it say? In chapter 11 we are introduced to God’s “Two Witnesses”, and whether they are literal people, or symbolic of groups of people is neither here nor there. What matters is that “fire proceeds out of their mouth and devours their enemies.” Il Is this literal fire? Clearly it is not. The Bible uses many figures of speech. In another place it speaks of a sharp two-edged sword proceeding out of the mouth of God, but nobody ever thinks about this sword in a literal sense. It is undoubtedly a pictorial way of explaining the incisive nature of God’s word. But the second beast of chapter 13 is different. We are told that “he does great wonders, so that he makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceives those who dwell on the earth.” How important are these words! The false apostles find a source of supernatural power, and use it to produce LITERAL FIREWORK DISPLAYS to authenticate their message, and many are thereby deceived. Here we have literal fire, but the very context shows that it is Satan’s way of doing things, not God’s way.
And so the little passage in Luke 9 is of great importance. At that stage, James and John did not possess the RIGHT SPIRIT. Jesus said of them that they knew not ‘what manner of spirit they were of’. In days that followed, they knew full well what the Master expected of them. But do we? Or are we feasting our minds on all this modern ‘antichrist literature’ which speaks about God in ‘Star Wars’ terminology, rather than in accordance with Jesus’ own words – “I have not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them”.
7. THE TWELVE were taught by our Lord the positive approach they should adopt in their ministry. But although the Lord taught them many things, we here concentrate only on that aspect which connects with our theme. It is found in Matt.5:43-48, and Luke 6:27-36.
“You have heard that it has been said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy’. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be the children of your Father in heaven. For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors the same? And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more than others? Be perfect therefore, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The last sentence of this quotation is the crux of the matter. We need to read, learn, and inwardly digest the teaching of the whole Bible on this theme, and to learn something of the true heart of God. If we don’t attend to this, we shall be in danger of thinking like James and John, and focussing our minds on ‘power’ all the time. These days we see books on the shelves with titles like “Power Healing”, and “Power Evangelism”, and know that they find ready sales to many people who still haven’t learned the lessons of the sermon on the mount.
8. THE APOSTLE PAUL. Saul of Tarsus was a Pharisee. He was taught by the learned Gamaliel. In today’s terms he would be classed a University graduate, a man of letters and learning, perhaps a “Doctor of Divinity.” But he had a head full of knowledge, and an empty heart. His learning caused him to be a bigot. He felt that his best for God would be to enforce his views on others. He therefore put Christians in prison, and caused many of them to suffer physically for their faith, and in a few cases he was corporately responsible for the deaths of believers in Jesus Christ.
But God knew what this man COULD be like, and so He intervened in his life in a most dramatic way. It happened on the road to Damascus. In a matter of moments, Saul’s manner of life was turned on its head. He saw that his persecutions had essentially been addressed to the Lord, to Jesus, the One whom he thought to be a deceiver. In the quietness of the Arabiandesert he bemoaned his past, and learned of a new way. The learning process was quite rapid. Like Moses of old he knew that God had given him a very specialised ministry, and that it would involve much suffering. But then, what else could he expect after the way that he had treated others? As he said to the Galatians in later days, “Whatsoever a man sows, thatshall he also reap.” He knew from his studies in the Old Testament that sinful acts demanded not only sacrifice, but also repayment for the wrongs that had been done. And he was learning that things had not changed. The sacrifices of the O.T. had been replaced by Jesus’ own sacrifice, but God still expected a man to pay for his sins.
As Saul pondered these things, and considered his place within the Jewish economy of those days, he realised the terrible plight his nation was in. Most of the Jews had rejected Christ, and like him had been persecuting their Lord and Master without realising it. God had been so merciful to him! Why should he have been singled out for such benevolent treatment? This was beyond his understanding, except to say that God’s grace was superabundant beyond all he could think or say.
But what about his own people? What fate was awaiting them? They were blind to what they were doing! What could he DO about it? It was eating into his own heart until it caused him intense pain. He finally wrote to the Romans and poured out his heart to them. It comes out in snatches all through the letter. “What advantage then has the Jew? Much in every way.”He knew about the glory of the people of Israel, their position in God’s purpose by covenant with Abraham, the giving of the living oracles, the priestly ministrations, and national blessings. “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites.”
Here is the beauty within Paul. God knew that he would become a tender plant, with a heart that bled for others, even though they were wicked, unbelieving, and obstinate. Here is an echo of the heart of Moses, who also asked of the Lord a similar thing, when he requested his name to be removed from the Roll of the Living. Here is the justification for God’s unilateral action in appearing to Saul on the Damascus road. And all of us have been made that much richer through our knowledge of this man’s life, and his letters.
“I say then, has God cast away His people? God forbid! – – God has not cast away His people WHOM HE FOREKNEW. – – – So then, the ELECTION HAS OBTAINED IT, and the rest were hardened.” Paul is beginning to understand some of the perplexing things about national destiny. God must be seen to be just, and yet keep to the terms of a covenant which may appear to suggest favouritism. There has always been a ‘remnant’ within Israel, and this remnant has been guaranteed a special place in tomorrow’s world, a place of government, a position of regnal authority over nations. But the rest of the nation are blinded as to the truth, cast off by God in respect of future rule, and oftentimes allowed to be severely ill-treated by other nations for their sins. Yes, Paul was seeing more and more clearly the difference between the ELECTION and the REST, the FEW whom God foreknew would be trainable and trained for the kingdom, and the MAJORITY who would refuse all training, and cast it back in the face of the Lord they apparently worshipped.
This much was clear to Paul. But he wasn’t satisfied just to think of the ELECTION. What about the rest? What would their fate be in days to come? Where would they be in resurrection? And he finds the answer to this as well. “And so the Deliverer will come out of Zion and turn away ungodliness from Jacob, for this is my covenant with them when I shall take away their sins.” Israel is the overcomers name, used by the remnant. Jacob is the ‘worm’, the natural seed, the name that God gives to the REST. But a day would come when He would turn away their transgressions, and so “All Israel shall be saved.” The election will rule, and the rest will be ruled, but all will be saved. Praise God! Paul saw the “end of the Lord”, and his aching heart could rest.
9. THE LORD. Very briefly to conclude, what does the Scripture say about the heart of God in respect of all people who ever have lived?
“God so loved the WORLD that He gave His only begotten Son.” (John 3:16)
“While we were yet SINNERS Christ died for us.” (Rom.5:8)
“When we were ENEMIES we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son.” (Rom.5:i0)
“Those who were AFAR OFF are made near by the blood of Christ”. (Eph. 2:17)
“He is the Saviour of ALL MEN, but particularly those who believe.” (1 Tim.4:i0)
“God will have ALL MEN to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim.2:4)
“Christ has been manifested for the PUTTING AWAY OF SIN by His sacrifice.” (Heb.9:26)
“He tasted death ON BEHALF OF EVERY MAN.” (Heb.2:9)
“He gave Himself a ransom for ALL, a testimony to be made known in its own time.” (1 Tim.2:6)
The combined force of all these great Scriptures is undeniable. In this present age God is still selecting His remnant, the ones who will be trained for governmental positions in the age to come. In the Millennium, God will expand His work to seek out the “residue of men”, and in the ages that follow that, even the men of Sodom, Tyre, Samaria, and the “Jerusalem” of Ezekiel’s day, will have an opportunity to find forgiveness and enter into the blessings of God. And so God will be seen to be THE PRINCE OF PEACE. These ages of ‘ultimate reconciliation’ are as yet only understood by a few. But the time will come when illumination will increase amongst God’s people. For if they are being trained to rule, and there is no one left to rule, God will have worked in vain!