JEHOVAH, the name given in the Old Testament Scriptures to the Supreme Being, the great Creator of the universe, is described by the Apostle Peter as the “God of all grace.” (1 Peter 5:10) The grace of God is the favor of God, the favor which he So lovingly manifests toward all his human creatures, favor which is unmerited by them because of their sin. In order that we may be assured of his abundant favor, Jehovah has revealed by the almost innumerable promises of his Word his intention, in his own due time and way, to bestow his blessings upon “all the families of the earth.” This loving purpose is first clearly stated in a promise God made to father Abraham, when he said to him, “In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3) This promise was repeated several times to Abraham and was confirmed by God’s oath. (Genesis 22:16- 18) Later, It was renewed to Abraham’s son Isaac, when God said to him that “all the nations” were to be “blessed.” (Genesis 26:4) To Isaac’s son Jacob it was again renewed. – Genesis 28:14, 15 Certainly Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were Justified in believing that this promise applied to all the “families,” or “nations,” of the earth who lived In their day; However, the Inhabitants of the earth who were contemporary with these patriarchs did not receive the promised blessings, nor were they offered to them. With few exceptions, all the families of the earth who have lived both before and since the days of the patriarchs have fallen asleep in death without having had an opportunity to participate In them.
Two thousand years after Abraham died, the Apostle Paul wrote about the promise God had made to Abraham and showed that it was to be fulfilled through Christ and those of this age who are “baptized into Christ”—the church. (Galatians 3:8,16,27- 29) This means that two thousand years elapsed after the promise was made before God’s chosen channel of blessing began to be developed. Jesus, primarily, is that channel; but as Paul shows, his church will be associated with him as “heirs according to the promise”; and nearly two thousand years more have elapsed in the calling and selection of the church. Meanwhile other millions continue to die without having an opportunity to receive the blessings which Jehovah promised.
However, we are assured in the Scriptures that all the millions who have died are looked upon by God as merely being “asleep” and that in his own “due time” they will be awakened from the sleep of death and be given an opportunity to receive the promised blessings. The stated purpose of God to restore the dead to life Is one of the fundamental teachings of the Word of God. It Is described in the Old Testament in various ways. Isaiah spoke of the “ransomed of the Lord” and said that they would “return.” Ezekiel mentions It as returning to a “former estate,” that Is, the state of life as In contrast with the state of death.
Jeremiah describes the resurrection as a returning from “the land of the enemy,” that Is, the great enemy, Death.—Isa 35:10; Ezekiel 16:55; Jeremiah 31:16n the New Testament the Apostle Paul wrote, “As in Adam all die, even So in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) In Romans 8:19- 23 Paul assures us that all creation, as well as the church of this Gospel Age, will be delivered from the corruption of death. He shows that all mankind is now “waiting for the manifestation of the sons 0f God”—waiting, that is, for the “seed” of Abraham to be completed and for the promised blessings of life to begin flowing out to the people.
In John 1:9 we read concerning Jesus that he is “the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’ The Sodomites and other wicked people of Abraham’s day certainly were not enlightened by Christ; So this means that they too, being among “all the families of the earth,” are to e awakened from the sleep of death in order to receive that enlightenment.
Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32) Until the present time, comparatively few of earth’s millions have been drawn to Christ. The vast majority have died without even having heard of him or understanding the great purpose of Jehovah, which Christ came to earth to accomplish. This promise by Jesus would, therefore, go unfulfilled unless the wicked dead Revelation restored to life.
In Isaiah 25:6- 9 we are promised that a time is coming when Jehovah will make unto “all people” a “feast of fat things.” What a beautiful symbol this is to emphasize the abundance f God’s grace toward all mankind! This promise also states hat God, Jehovah, will remove the “veil that is spread over all nations.” Certainly this applies to the nations of the past as well as the present, yet the “veil” of misunderstanding concerning Jehovah was not removed from their “faces” while they lived and will never be removed unless they are awakened from the sleep of death and enlightened by the glory of God, which will then fill the earth. It will be then that Jehovah will “swallow up death in victory.”
This will be accomplished during the messianic kingdom reign. It will be then that “all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord’s and he is the Governor among the nations.”— Ps 22:27, 28