TO BUILD UP a clear picture of what God's
plan will be beyond the eons calls for a most careful
discrimination of features which occur during the course of the
eons. The character of these features has largely been evil,
serving as a background to reveal God's glory. Amidst these
features, the creatures of the universe, including humans, have
continually shown how estranged they are from the Deity. Yet the
outcome of the eons, due to the glory of God's Son, will be that
our interests are wholly centered in God's glory; these will not
have the aspect of merely passing time, for the interests will
not come from that sense impulse, desire, but rather will they
be interests which flow from the spirit, delighting in the
realization of God. This realization will be the great directing
principle which will obtain beyond the eons; this realization is
the great outcome issuing from God's Evangel concerning His Son.
The Great White Throne It is these matters which give us a clue to the content of the first "All" in the phrase "All in all." It speaks of the personal glory of the Deity, stated in the evangel, and it is capable of fulfilling all the aspirations of all the creatures of the universe. These aspirations have been created amidst and within the eons, and they are filled up out of the glories of God's Evangel concerning His Son.
The ordinary grasp of the evangel has shifted many matters into the term eschatology. This telescoping adds greatly to the difficulty of viewing the glory of the consummation. Little as to God's Deity has entered into our hearts and considerations; we are prone to look at the creature's side. We tend to want a consummation which entertains awards and rewards. Such thoughts, however, serve to inhibit us from really seeing the truth.
In those circles where the eons have been taught and given consideration, the location in time of the Great White Throne has not been wholly realized. That this event should be so near to the conclusion of the fourth eon, and at the same time so far away from the consummation is seldom considered. Yet it is most probable that the fifth eon will be considerably longer than all the four prior eons taken together. The length of the fifth eon will allow it to reveal that much deficiency exists when factors other than life in Christ are in view, even though a tree of life is one of the details.
The glories resident now in God's Son are basic to what will be beyond the eons. Those glories will bring about that which we term the consummation, and this will be that great focusing of all the prior glories which composed the original fame of the Firstborn of creation. For the consummation, the glory which God's Son acquired by the cross is added to His first fame. From that time on the whole creation will be able to approach the Deity, in the sense that it will live and bask in the light which has come to be from Him. This is light which admits no shadows, having glory which is illimitable.
The New Creation The celestial beings have need to understand the multifarious wisdom of God, and so the same glories are to be for them. Conciliation will especially be the theme that will fill the service of the ecclesia. The ecclesia functions as the complement of Him Who is Head of the universe, Christ Jesus.
The ecclesia will be associated with Christ Jesus as His complement. This will be when He carries out His administration which is to complement all the prior eras. The issue on the celestial side is with a view to the consummation. Not alone is the consummation for human beings. In the context of the occurrence of the phrase "All in all," the second "all" does not refer simply to the whole humanity, but to the remainder of the universe as well, and even God's Son is added to the same "all." This tells us that rule and authority is within the purview of the words "All in all."
We are familiar with the new creation from early in Paul's ministry. Barely have we grasped that its full actuality is as far away as the consummation, for we think of the new earth in much the same context as we do the new creation. Yet around the new earth, as described in the Unveiling, the last book of the Bible, there is still much reservation.
It is true that the new creation is used as a figure of that very full value of salvation which is brought by the Evangel of God, and thus it becomes lost to view that the first stage of this truth is peculiar to those who have been chosen out of the nations in accord with the secret of the evangel, that is, the conciliation. We need to discriminate this in order to view the correct sequence and fuller fruition of the Evangel of God.
The nations of the new earth will arise from that section of living humanity which comes out from the present earth, because they do not follow the insurrection which the Adversary will introduce at the conclusion of the fourth eon. They will come from the nations of that eon, and will be those who have given heed to the details of those matters which Israel will have heralded to them in that eon. Some of the aspects of details given in John's account, stated as having accord with the world, will fit here.
The New Jerusalem The new earth is not immediately peopled with the new humanity, for the new humanity will be the outcome of the full spiritual glory related to God's Evangel, as in the Roman epistle. Yet the level of that evangel proclaimed by Israel will provide the nucleus for the new earth, and later this will need to be raised and augmented by the glories which God reveals as the universal glory of His Son, completed in the Ephesian epistle.
This universal glory of God's Son, with those items from God's Evangel which are fully compatible therewith, will indeed cancel and remove every vestige of all that lies around circumcision. Circumcision still has some sway in the new earth of the fifth eon, though Israel's priesthood will have been fulfilled in the prior eon, which eon concludes the present earth, the second of the three earths. Yet Abraham's faith will not be concluded until the nations of the new earth, as well as the holy city, the New Jerusalem, are en-wrapped in the glory of reconciliation. The wall of the city will need to be removed, for the nations, as a division of humanity, will no longer be a feature beyond the eons.
As to the terrestrial aspect, the removal of this division between humanity will bring the new earth into the heading up which has been proceeding among the celestials. God's Son will, by the ecclesia, have been filling out His lot among the celestials, bringing them into the reconciliation with God.
Matters will not, even yet, have been filled out to the consummation, for the lake of fire needs to be dealt with, as it relates to the Adversary and his associates. So, too, those held by the second death need to be brought within the glory of the vivifying by God's Son. Then will they acclaim both the Son and the Father.
The Tree or Log of Life On the new earth, the generations of this fifth eon will be measured in accord with the nations thereon, for the people will still be self-multiplying. They will be living in close association with God, for He then tabernacles with mankind. This will be the new earth in which righteousness dwells, and it will be the first one of which this can be said. It offers much contrast to the present earth.
Affairs on the new earth will have moved along to a character very distinct from what has been hitherto, still perfection has not been attained. Nor can it be, since the unit of the people can still be regarded as a living soul. The tree of life will be available, mitigating the disposition of the flesh in its enmity to God, so that, in a large measure, it becomes agreeable to God Who will then be tabernacling with mankind. The full glory of God's conciliation is not yet being manifested; this is indicated by the use of the word "tabernacling" rather than "dwelling." The circumstances provide a gathering glory which, to some degree, is an anticipation of the fuller spiritual values which will obtain when the eras of this concluding administration have headed up all.
The tree of life will furnish leaves for the cure of the nations, so that there will be no more death. God will be brushing away every tear from their eyes. Mourning, clamor and misery will be absent. But this tree is not a primary basis for life. Its character is rather that of augmenting, so as to preserve, or even rectifying in some respects. It repairs but fails to reach the dominant power compatible with the fulness of the consummation.
The tree of life is entirely precluded by the ultimate which God purposed to achieve in His Son. In fact, the tree of life is not an item in any evangel. It only fills its function when humanity is self-increasing; this is in the fourth and fifth eons.
Heading up all in the Son Even though mankind will, on the new earth, have been in such intimate touch with God, they are not headed up into Christ. Heading up is, for the universe, the major factor that will produce the consummation and beyond. Heading up means that all shall be subject to the Father.
The long experience with God, on the new earth, is an important factor, carrying with it many lessons and much realization of God, in order to fit them to come to and to enter into the vivifying related to God's Evangel concerning His Son. No creature, item or detail can remain outside the circle of heading up all in the Son.
Heading up is the truth which allows the eons to be concluded, and thus it is the truth which will take creation beyond the eons, subject to the God and Father of God's Son, Who also will be subject to His Father.
By the vastness of His love, the Son will, in the capacity of glory afforded to Him, subject to His own will the universe of His God and Father. All will be following the Son's wisdom, thrilled with the Son's love, delighting in the righteousness which He has brought to them from His God. They will be fully obedient to that righteousness. All enemies will have gone, all sovereignty, authority and power will have been nullified. Even that last enemy, death, will have been abolished. This is the Son in "all." Here is the moment when the universe is almost ready to pass beyond the eons.
The Son still reigns; He is the final One, yet ever ready to be subject, and so to make God "All in all." The Son will become subject. Of that there is not the slightest shred of doubt. The Son has ever been obedient; the cross is the great evidence of that, and the Son went to that cross in His faith in God's righteousness. The Son, in His heading up, will remain obedient. The Son's glorious will is that all the glory shall be for His Father.
God is the only One Who is not subjected to the Son.
Every Title of Deity Fulfilled Beyond the eons, matters will flow from this glory, for it is the glory of God's Evangel concerning His Son. There are no questions left over in regard to life, for all has been brought to God's zenith in Christ. The final detail to make God "All in all" refers to rule, not to life. Nor will there be any evils in that life; it is not even necessary to say that nothing will separate any from the love of God.
God's Son, in His original personal glory, will ever remain the token of a reconciled and subjected universe. Every title of Deity will have been fulfilled: His name, Ieue, will have become exhausted with the conclusion of the eons. Beyond the eons He is FATHER. This is the designation which covers every kindred of the heavens and the earth, and it is the issue from God's Evangel concerning His Son.
E. H. Clayton