WATCH: A Return to Eden

TGP Newsletter - November 28, 2023


A consideration of the promise to the faithful as revealed to the ecclesia of Ephesus in Revelation 2:7. We review the process of God's plan of redemption, the reason it is needed in the first place, and the wonders that await those who remain faithful and overcome the sin in our members. A readable copy of this exhortation is available at the "Download/Print" link above.

WATCH: World War I - A Pivot in Prophecy

TGP Prophecy Letter – February 13, 2023

Join us as we examine the wonderful prophetic significance of World War I and its particular bearing upon Christadelphian understanding of latter-day prophecy! We discuss what Brother John Thomas believed about the roles of Britain, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire, and then traverse through history from the time he fell asleep on through the first world war. We examine what went as predicted, what went differently, and the ramifications of these things as we draw nearer to the return of our Master. This listener will also learn about the formation of the Middle East as we know it today and how its present borders and endless strife were born.

WATCH: The True Spirit of Christmas

December 27, 2022

Should Christadelphians celebrate Christmas? Given on Christmas day 2022, this exhortation explores the ancient origin of the famous holiday and its relation to the Lord's servants.

WATCH: The Season of Anticipation

October 5, 2022

This exhortation was given September 25, 2022, regarding the season in which we live and our response to it. We warmly encourage a deep consideration of this subject in light of the events we have been so blessed to see and the inevitable return of the Lord! This subject is of great importance for the Household in these last days, and we sincerely hope that it will help arouse us all to faithful, loving action. 

As many had trouble opening the original MP3 file, we have posted it to our YouTube channel as a video.

We send love and regard to all in these terminal days of our wandering!

Hebrews 10:37-39 - For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. (38) Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (39) But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

WATCH: Dinosaurs and the Bible

September 11, 2022

Where did dinosaurs come from? When did they live? Are dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible? What evidence is there? Let's find out! Join us as we drill down and examine the evidence that the scientific community ignores, misleading the world to believe that they lived millions and millions of years ago. 

Please note: The following was given this past July at a Bible school. Our microphone appears to not have fully synced at the time of presentation, so the audio is not quite as clear as we would wish. It is, however, still intelligible. Please excuse the inconvenience. 

The video has been posted to our newly established YouTube channel and is fully searchable on the internet (be sure to type "Dinosaurs and the Bible - Tanner Hawkins" as there are many videos on this subject). 

The Divine Institution of Marriage

Today, the concept of marriage has drastically changed from what God instituted. Marriage, in most places, is no longer restricted between a man and a woman, but is permitted between any gender (which is an abomination to the Lord). The roles the man and the woman are to play have in many cases flipped, have been blurred, or have been completely removed, leading to confusion and trouble in the relationship. Even those who call themselves “Christians” have departed from the original framework, claiming that God’s rules on marriage are “outdated” or were written only for those times and are therefore not relevant to today – a great and terrible error.

In this article, we will seek to illustrate the Scriptural definition of what marriage is, review some of the responsibilities of the parties involved, consider the guidance that the Lord gives us in dealing with the troubles that will inevitably arise along the way, and contemplate the beautiful and everlasting meaning of marriage as expounded in the Word. While the world views God’s laws on this subject as “cruel” or “sexist”, the exact opposite will be found. God’s way produces the happiest, most rewarding, and fruitful union between a man and a woman.

Marriage was instituted in the very beginning of man’s existence:

Genesis 2:18-24“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.  (19)  And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.  (20)  And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.  (21)  And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;  (22)  And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  (23)  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  (24)  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

God sought a help meet for Adam, meaning a help or counterpart that was sufficient for him as none was found among the animals. As man was given a higher intellect than the beasts of the earth, it’s only reasonable that a sufficient counterpart was not found among them. He required a companion with an intellect like unto his; one capable of comprehending the higher things of God and appreciating His handiwork in creating the earth and the flourishing beauty that surrounded Adam in the Garden of Eden. God then took a rib from Adam, and out of it formed the woman. She was thus a part of him, enjoying a relationship with him that no other creatures on earth could know. We do not read that the female animals were derived from their male counterparts. It is only with mankind that we see the female created out of the substance of the man. Truly, a much superior bond!

Though unfortunate events can and do occur as we are mere mortal and fallible flesh, marriage is intended for life:

Malachi 2:14-16 - “Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant(15)  And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.  (16)  For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.”

1 Corinthians 7:10-11, 39“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:  (11)  But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife…(39) The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.”

Matthew 19:4-6“… Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, (5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? (6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

The only permissible reason given for ending marriage not due to a spouse’s death is detailed for us by Christ in Matthew 5:32“But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”

Marriage is for the long haul. The man and woman become “one flesh.” As Adam said of Eve, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” Though it was literally true for Adam and not so much for us today, it is nevertheless how we are to perceive this most special relationship. The two are one. Adam and Eve were then given the commission to replenish the earth(Genesis 1:28). Marriage, then, between one man and one woman became the basis of the family, the means of procreation.

We are familiar with these things, but it is profitable to go over them as we often forget or subconsciously minimize them. Do we think of us and our spouse as ONE? Do us husbands look at our wives and see one created specifically to be sufficient for us? Do the wives look at their husbands and think similarly? They are to complement one another so that together they create a comprehensive whole.

Roles and Responsibilities

What does the relationship of marriage look like? Once married, how are the man and woman to act? What are they to do? Are they to carry on with their lives as before? Again, these things are basics, but they are basics that we often tend to forget and/or neglect. The world is ignorant of these responsibilities, and the sad effects of this are apparent upon a quick glance. Roughly half of all marriages end in divorce. Why? The reasons are nearly endless, but it seems the main culprit is unhappiness with the relationship. One or both parties are not satisfied or are not getting what they need - whatever that might be. Though we won’t go into more detail, we can safely say that most, if not all, of these problems are fixed when the Lord’s way is followed. What does God say about the roles of the man and the woman?

Ephesians 5:21-33 – “Submitting yourselves one to another (our Brothers and Sisters) in the fear of God.  (22)  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  (23)  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  (24)  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  (25)  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  (26)  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  (27)  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  (28)  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  (29)  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:  (30)  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.  (31)  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  (32)  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  (33)  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

The message of verse 22 is vehemently protested in this age of humanism. The submission of a wife to the husband is considered outdated and sexist. This view, however, completely misses the point and puts the concept of “submission” in the wrong light. Why is the wife to submit to the husband? The question is answered in the next verses, here reproduced for ease:

Ephesians 5:22-25Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  (23)  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  (24)  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  (25)  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”

It is absolutely critical to understand that marriage is a figure of Christ and the ecclesia. It is the reason for the roles assigned to each party. We see the reasoning of this husband-wife relationship further explained in 1 Corinthians 11:

1 Corinthians 11:3, 7-9“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. (7) For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.  (8)  For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.  (9)  Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

The Scripture is clear. These commandments are not “suggestions” as many might like them to be, but are Divinely prescribed roles. Wives, respect and submit to your husbands. BUT, husbands, that means we must be loving and respectable. This is something that is perhaps spoken of less, but is of equal importance! We must be Christ-like husbands that our wives want to submit to and follow. Man must remember that he is not the highest authority. As we just read, “The head of every man is Christ.” He cannot do all that he pleases, but he too has a Master to submit to

The husband must imitate how Christ treats his Bride - the ecclesia. Think for a moment: Does Christ oppress us? Have we any account of him speaking down to his disciples at any time? Did he ever hit or harm them? Did he ever take advantage of them for any reason? Was he ever out of touch with their fears and feelings? Did he make fun of them and belittle them? Do you and I ever have wonder if we can trust Christ? Do we doubt that he is leading us in the right direction? Has he ever given us any reason not to trust or submit to him? All the other way!

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” He cared so much for his Bride that he gave his own life for her salvation – for you and I. He is long-suffering and of tender mercy. He desires that we “cast our cares upon him” (1 Peter 5:7). We can approach God through him at any time. He has promised us, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). With Christ, you and I do not wonder if he will take care of us. He has proven his faithfulness through sacrifice. We do not fear whether he is guiding us in the right direction or not. We are not given reason to regret our decision to be espoused to him, but gladly and lovingly follow him.

It is in this wonderful light that the wife should be able to look at her husband. His thoughts must be directed to the well-being, and most importantly, the salvation of his wife. This should be what guides his decisions for their household. These are the attributes that the husband should exemplify. The role of a husband is therefore a lofty and great responsibility that should not be assumed lightly. He should be a spiritual leader that his wife can trust and follow.

If we keep this aspect in mind, we will never want for the right course of action. In short:

Husbands: We need to always ask ourselves whether the things we do and say are things that Christ does and says to US. If not, then we need to correct this error as it is harmful to our wife.

Wives: Consider if you would treat and respond to Christ as you do your husband. If not, then it too suggests a change of course.

Both: Perhaps this is something that the couple should talk about to see what they can do to better fulfill their God-given roles. It should not be a contentious issue, but one that should be done heartfully and lovingly as both parties are seeking to take better care of one another. Not only this, but both seek to know how they can best fulfill the Divinely established and wonderful roles intended for the husband and wife, and therefore please God in doing so. Like Christ and the ecclesia, it is a relationship that goes both ways and is shared by a strong bond of love and sacrifice.

It is of PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE to emphasize that such dispositions toward one another are only profitable and reasonable if both parties assume their responsibilities to one another. Consider,

-        How can a wife submit to a husband that is mean, bitter, ungrateful, unmerciful, dull of hearing, or does not show regard for her well-being and salvation? You and I would not want to follow Christ if those were his attributes, and we can expect no more of our wives.

-        Likewise, how can a husband lead and care for a wife who is rebellious, will not communicate, is bitter, angry, or untrusting? How do we think Christ responds to us when we act like this – when we disobey his commandments, do not trust in his guidance, deny him before men, etc.?

Both parties must assume the lofty roles assigned to them by the Lord. Though we are merely flesh, we cannot do this perfectly, and so we husbands must ask our wives to be patient with us as we must also be with them. If, however, the efforts of both parties are in this direction and share the same ideal, granting such patience will be no issue at all. And in doing so, not only will the marriage be a happy and fruitful one, but it will make the proper impress upon children and play a critical role in their upbringing, providing them with the proper image of a spouse to aid them in their search when the time comes. It will also help them see the loving relationship of Christ and the ecclesia! And, too, think about how this will enrich OUR relationship with OUR Bridegroom, for we will constantly be ruminating upon his care and love for us as we pattern ourselves after him. Like all of God’s ways, the blessings and benefits of keeping them are without end. It is merely a matter of humbling ourselves and setting our minds and hearts to do them.

The love between the two can and should be manifested in all parts of life. Oftentimes, it is the smallest of things that can mean the most (like helping with chores, a simple ‘thank you’ for doing something to show appreciation). It can be shown by communicating frequently and honestly with one another, seeking strength and comfort in one another, bearing with one another in trials and frustrations, showing care and concern, long-suffering, seeking each other’s best interests, and making time for each other.

Verses on Marriage - Further Guidance and Blessings

Below are a variety of verses that either speak about marriage or offer guidance in conduct to ensure a happy and fruitful marriage:

Titus 2:3-6 - “The aged women likewise… (4) That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, (5) To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (6) Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.”

Proverbs 12:4“A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”

Proverbs 18:22“Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.”

Proverbs 19:13 - “A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.”

Proverbs 19:14 - “House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.”

Proverbs 21:9 - “It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”

Proverbs 21:19 - “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”

Proverbs 27:15 – “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.”

Proverbs 31:10-11“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.  (11)  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.”

Hebrews 13:4“Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.”

The Challenge of Marriage

As we have previously mentioned, we are merely flesh. As such, there are naturally obstacles that will arise in marriage. Paul makes a special point to “warn” all of this inevitability:

1 Corinthians 7:28“But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.”

Most problems arise from our speech: what we say, how we say it, what we do not say, etc. COMMUNICATION is one of the most important aspects of a relationship. Problems and arguments will arise, it is only through communication that the issue will be resolved.

Proverbs 10:12“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”

Proverbs 14:29“He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.”

Proverbs 15:1“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”

Proverbs 15:18“A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.”

Proverbs 17:14 “The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.”

Proverbs 17:27-28“He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. (28) Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”

Proverbs 18:13 – “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

Proverbs 19:11 - The discretion (prudence – see mg.) of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.”

Proverbs 21:23“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”

James 1:19-20“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: (20) For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

The Meaning and Figure of Marriage

We have seen the bearing of the figure of marriage on how the husband and wife should act, how they should perceive themselves, and how they should perceive one another. There is, however, more to be learned from the figure.

Choosing a Spouse

For the believer seeking a spouse, it is important to keep the figure of Christ and the ecclesia in mind. We, God’s “called out” ones (“ecclesia”) have chosen to espouse ourselves to Christ – a loving and merciful Lord. As marriage is figurative of this relationship, we should be careful to seek a spouse who serves the same Lord. Marrying someone who is not in the Truth has not only been shown to cause numerous problems on a physical and spiritual plane, but it also puts a strain on the meaning of marriage and the responsibilities of both parties. The wife is to submit to her husband. If the wife is in the Truth and the husband is not, does this remove her obligation to submit to her husband? Scripture does not say so. The wife, in this case, is in the difficult position of having to submit to a husband that does not aspire to be Christ-like. She must submit, at least, in all ways that do not interfere with God’s commandments.

In like manner, a believing husband is to lead his house in a Godly manner. The question then arises, Will an unbelieving wife submit to and follow one whose aim is eternal life in the Kingdom of God when the wife does not seek this same thing? Will she comply with principles of obedience and glorification to God when she does not seek Him or desire to please Him? It is unlikely that she will, though not impossible.

We desire to emphasize that such a relationship can exist where the Believer and unbeliever live an enjoyable life together, but such is not Scriptural, nor is it ideal as it has many pitfalls and troubles. Should the couple have children, they will inevitably wonder why one parent stands for memorials and why one doesn’t. Depending on the disposition of the unbelieving spouse, there might also be the contention of whether the children learn about the Truth or not: a very serious issue.

Consider this also: one spouse has the hope of eternal life, the other does not. Personally, we would not want to live an entire life with a spouse knowing that once they die or Christ returns, we will likely never see them again. Paul, however, offers his thoughts on the issue of the unbelieving spouse:

1 Corinthians 7:12-15“But to the rest speak I, not the Lord (note that these are not words that Paul was told by God to speak, but was given permission to say): If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.  (13)  And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.  (14)  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.  (15)  But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.”

This speaks of a marriage where one person is in covenant and the other is not. It’s important to note, however, that this appears to be talking about a particular situation where both people are outside of the Truth and one of them learns of it at some point, eventually taking on the name of Christ. This person, then, might wonder if they should remain with their unbelieving spouse or not. This appears to be the situation Paul is talking about; not someone who is already in covenant deciding to marry outside of the Truth. That being said, the point still remains: “the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy” (verse 14).

This does not mean that the unbelieving spouse is considered to be in covenant, but it does show that they are in a peculiar position. We believe it means that when Christ returns, the unbelieving spouse and the young children of the believer who is “alive and remains” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) will be protected from the troubles to come and allowed to live in the millennial age as mortals, given the opportunity to come to repentance and serve the Lord. There is no “hard evidence” of this stance, but it is our understanding of the verse and makes the most sense to us, particularly considering that the unbelieving spouse is said to be sanctified in the same way as the children who young and not mature enough to understand and take on the name of Christ.

What about if one person is baptized and their partner has shown a sincere and persistent interest in the Truth, but has not yet been baptized? Should they marry? It has been done before, and we personally know of a few cases where this occurred and thankfully resulted in the unbaptized spouse eventually taking on the name of Christ. Please note, though, that one of these people, after having been baptized and maturing in knowledge of the Truth, told their spouse later on that they should have waited until they were baptized to marry them. Though the baptized person was completely confident in their partner’s interest in the Truth, the partner later came to the conviction that they should have waited. Though this does happen, we also know of examples where the partner showing interest in the Truth eventually lost that interest and remained unbaptized.

In summary, it is a great risk to marry outside of the Truth, and it should not be done. It is something that has been watered down in these latter days, but the Scripture is clear. 1 Corinthians 7:39 speaks of marrying “only in the Lord”. Considering the meaning of marriage, a believing wife marrying a man outside of the Truth correlates figuratively to marrying someone other than Christ. Likewise, the believing husband marrying an unbelieving wife corresponds to Christ marrying someone other than his called-out ones. It is wise to seek a spouse that is in covenant.

This is, in our day, perhaps a discouraging thought as the Household continues to shrink, and therefore one’s “options” continue to narrow. It is important to understand that marrying in the Lord does not mean that one must only consider those in Christ as potential spouses. Oftentimes, seeking a spouse is how many from the world come into contact with the Truth. Though, too, perhaps more difficult in these last days as the hearts of man turn further and further away from God, one should not be discouraged! Though society continues to plummet deeper and deeper into moral filth, the Lord calls whom He will, and He will call men and women in like manner until the day of His Son’s return. We encourage all to not be discouraged in this, but to trust in the Lord. If it is the Lord’s will for one of His servants to marry, they will marry if they are faithful to Him.

A Personal Note

Here, we offer advice from our personal experience (for those readers who are young and presently looking for a spouse, please know that this writer is in his early-mid 20’s, so the world conditions that we sought a spouse in are the same conditions that exist now). We recall what seemed like endless years of discouragement and disappointment, though in reality it was perhaps only four or five years. We hoped in High School that we would find someone who would answer the call to righteousness, but found none with those qualities. Surely, we reasoned, we would find someone in college! This, too, however, proved a terrible disappointment.

As college was nearing its end, we felt no closer to finding a partner than before. We wondered if we would ever get married! All the while, however, we were always diligent to come to our Father and ask His guidance and comfort. As we did not know His will on the matter, we prayed that if it be His will we might find a spouse, but if not, that we might be content. One must be patient and trust that God will provide what He sees fit, remembering His great love and care for those who are His sons and daughters.

We then decided to set our mind to focus on the things of the Truth, knowing that God would provide all things as necessary. Then, while in our last semester of college, we felt the urge to contact the “girl of our dreams”, one that we always saw at Bible School and “liked” for as long as we can remember. After contacting her and corresponding for a few months having lived in different states, the two of us were finally able to see one another at a Bible School. Never did we think that we would even so much as be able to date her, but as we write this article, we call her our wife. The Lord’s blessings have abounded on every plane!

What does this mean for others? Everyone’s experiences, circumstances, and needs are different. Not all will find a spouse who is already in the Truth, not all will bring someone into the Truth to marry, and not all will marry. The lesson is: seek the Lord. Do not fret over what may or may not happen in the future, but “rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10). “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3). Seek the Lord and let us give our full diligence to our eternal spouse – Jesus Christ. If this is where our hearts and desires are, we will never want. The Lord will provide all things as necessary in the lives of His servants. He simply asks that they recognize that HE is their greatest need, live this understanding, and be patient. We must TRUST in Him, for if we do so, we will never truly want.

Here are a few of the passages that comforted and guided us when in distress over the subject. Particularly for those seeking a spouse, ruminate upon these verses. Drink in their messages and draw nigh to our loving and caring Creator:

Romans 8:32“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” The message is, If God was willing to give His own Son as a sacrifice for those who seek Him, how much more so will He bless and give us now that His Son is at His right hand!

Matthew 6:8“Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”

Philippians 4:19“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Psalms 27:14“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

Take courage and comfort, dear Brothers and Sisters. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you (1 Peter 5:6-7). 

Now, back to the further lessons of the relationship of Christ and his ecclesia:

Whose Name to Take?

When a man and woman are married, the woman leaves her last name behind and takes on that of the man. Today, many challenge this way of things: either the man takes on the woman’s name or they use both names, though that does not seem as common (Tanner Hawkins-Bennett for example). Does it matter whose name is taken? Why is it that the woman always took on the name of the man?

The answer lies in the true meaning of marriage as found in the figure of Christ and the ecclesia. It by association with the name of Christ that men and women come into the scope of the everlasting covenant. It is by taking on his name that we become “alive” to God:

Romans 6:11 (referring to after baptism) – Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Proverbs 18:10“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”

Acts 2:38“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in(to) the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”

Acts 19:5“When they heard this, they were baptized in(to) the name of the Lord Jesus.”

1 Corinthians 6:11“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Galatians 3:27-29“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  (28)  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  (29)  And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

1 Corinthians 15:22“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” Whose name are we under? Adam or Christ? Our old name or the new one?

Romans 8:2 “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”

It is clear that taking on the NAME of Christ is imperative for our salvation. It is only in the name of Jesus Christ that there is the remission of sins and life. We even see this life aspect in the naming of Adam’s help: “WOMAN.” As it is written, “she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man (Genesis 2:23). The woman owed her existence to the man; not in the sense that ADAM created her, but in that it was for the man that she was created. It was out of the man that she was formed. So it is with Christ’s Bride. After baptism, man is a new being created out of Christ just as Eve was created out of Adam:

John 3:5“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:17“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Ephesians 2:10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Only after we are baptized, have taken on the name of Christ, and have come into the Law of the Spirit of Life IN CHRIST JESUS are we reckoned alive to God. Those who are never baptized are never “alive” to God, but are “dead in their sins” (Ephesians 2:1,5, Colossians 2:13).

This is why when a man and woman marry, the woman takes on the name of the man and not vice-verse, nor do they “meet in the middle” and take each other’s names. If Christ had taken on the name of the ecclesia or of any other person, or if he had stayed under the federal name of Adam, salvation would not be possible. It makes the difference of life or death for mankind. Who would have thought such grandeur and magnificence would be entailed in a custom that occurs every day all over the world! How few truly know and understand it!

Remaining faithful to our Bridegroom

Another lesson we will mention in this regard is that if we are espoused to Christ, we must remain faithful to him. We should not “cheat” on him.

2 Corinthians 11:2-3“For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (3) But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

Falling away from the Truth is like a bride abandoning her husband. Mingling with the false doctrines and religions of the world is likened to harlotry. Recall the times when God spoke about Israel as “playing the harlot” in having departed from His ways (Hosea 1:2, 4:12-15). We must remain faithful and true to our spouse, just as we must to Christ. We have to remember that WE are espoused to HIM.

Christ as our Bridegroom

Do we think of Christ as our Bridegroom? Do we understand that we are as bound to him as we are bound to our spouse – even more so? Marriage a covenant that we have entered into.

Thinking of all the things the husband and wife should do for one another, let us think of those things in relation to Christ and us. Though our prayers are to God through Christ (not TO Christ), it is profitable to ask, Is our communication frequent and sincere? Do we make time for our Lord, to contemplate his life, his teachings, and learn of him? All of the love and care that we show toward our temporal spouse – do we give such love and care to our eternal one? As bitter-sweet as it might be, marriage in this life is a temporal thing, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven” (Matthew 22:30).

From the point of resurrection and immortalization, ALL of the saints comprise the Bride of Christ. THAT is their role from then on. All of our temporal roles will no longer be in effect. Recall what Christ said when Mary and his brethren, his family after the flesh, sought him:

Matthew 12:47-50“Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.  (48)  But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?  (49)  And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!  (50)  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

In the Kingdom of our Lord, we will not be considered fathers, mothers, husbands, and wives. We will be, as we are now spiritually, Brothers and Sisters of Christ, the Sons and Daughters of God! For those who are married, we should contemplate this blessing to be given such opportunity in the present to enjoy the wonders and comforts of marriage; to have the opportunity of a comfort and companion to “get us by” in the meantime, to share the impeccable bond of love and devotion – all of which, if done as the Lord commands, gives us a small taste of the perfect communion that we will enjoy with him forever and ever! Our marriage now should cause us to look forward to that everlasting union with our Lord who gave himself for us!

It is for this same reason that those who are not married at present should not fret, for all are espoused to Christ, and that is the relationship that will last forever (see 1 Corinthians 7:25-40 for Paul’s words on the unmarried and widowed).

At present, the Bridegroom is away from his Bride, preparing a place for her. He has promised, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3). 

The question is, is she waiting and longing for him? Has his long absence caused her to lose hope and begin to doubt, saying “Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Peter 3:4).

We are all familiar with the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13). The lesson is for us to ensure that we have plenty of oil, so that when the Bridegroom does come, we can then trim our lamps and go out to meet him! Let us do so while time remains!

We close with the picture of this eternal union of the Lamb and his Bride - a scene that, Lord willing, you and I will shortly see with our own eyes and be active participants in:

Revelation 19:6-9“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.  (7)  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  (8)  And to her (yes, to YOU AND I) was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.  (9)  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Tanner Hawkins, Editor and Publisher

April 18, 2022

Preparing to be Gathered

The return of Christ has been published by his Brothers and Sisters since he ascended, though we think none of them at the time knew just how far into the future it was. It seems that every generation from that time forward has proclaimed, “Christ could return at any moment! The signs are all there!” There are many things we would like to say on this topic. We would like to speak on the timing and the reason for the seemingly endless years of expectation without fruition, but we will defer for another time.

At the present moment, we desire to set aside this aspect of WHEN Christ will return and focus solely on the fact itself: Christ will return. Though it is out of watchfulness that we try to determine the general timing, a deep contemplation and laying to heart of the event itself will be found to be far more profitable than trying to determine when it will occur. The fact itself is ironclad. As surely as he ascended, he will descend once again (Acts 1:11). For us who are his servants, his reappearance will be the most critical moment of our lives. We talk frequently about Christ’s return, but we submit that it is a rare thing for us to fully comprehend the enormity of what is going to happen. A sober and searching consideration of it is therefore of our greatest interest. Our comments are out of the spirit of 1 John 2:28 – “...abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”

There will come a day when our lives, as you and I know them, will end. By this, we do not refer merely to death, but to the return of Christ itself, as both essentially result in the same thing from the individual’s perspective. When the appointed day arrives, the Lord “shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other… Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left” (Matthew 24:31,40-41).

The Scriptural testimony leads us to conclude that we will be going about our day as usual – at work, in Sunday School, working in the garden, doing whatever things make up our day - when the last trump will sound, initiating the resurrection of the covenanted dead followed by the gathering of those in Christ who are alive and remain:

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17“the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 15:52“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

We imagine that this great sound will stop us in our tracks and an angel will suddenly appear, uttering words to the effect of, “It is time. The Master calleth thee.”

It is this precise moment that we wish to dwell upon. There will be a moment in time when our minds comprehend that our lives as we know them are over. Our probation will have expired, the contest will have ended, the time will have run out. Our lives will come to a screeching halt. All of the plans we had in store for the minutes, hours, days, months, and years to come will be effectively nullified. Tomorrow, perhaps we had plans of going to go to the grocery store for the next week? Maybe we were in the middle of researching colleges to attend? Perhaps we had been adamantly saving to buy a house? Maybe we had been preparing to have children? Perhaps we had invested much time, money, and effort in our retirement that is just around the corner? All plans large and small alike will no longer be needed.

The future for us who are in covenant now rests upon the one event that we have been – or should have been - preparing for since our baptism: the judgment seat of Christ. “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

The event should not come as a surprise to us. The return of Christ had been talked about for generations. For many of us, we grew up hearing about it all of our lives. It was the focal point upon which all efforts in the Household hinged. It had been the subject of countless exhortations and classes. Prophecy was the topic of continual conversation as it told us the nearness of Christ’s return. Conduct and walk were spoken on so we might be found acceptable when he returns. Faith was bolstered and strengthened so that we might endure until the return. All efforts in the Household were in preparation for the return of the Son of God and to make our “calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). The question is, Did we grow numb to the warnings around us, or were we properly exercised by them? If our consciences do not reveal the answer to us now, they most certainly will when we are gathered by the angelic host.

Though we know Christ’s return is an eventuality, we submit that all will undergo a degree of shock. His return had been thousands of years in the making, and here it is! Who, upon realizing the time has finally come, will not tremble in this moment? Who will not drop to their knees? Who will not fall with their face to the ground as Daniel? (Daniel 10:8,9,15). What words could we utter to the angel before us? Will we not all be dumb before him? We can only imagine that the enormity of the event will overcome us. We will know that at this point, our fate is set. The opportunity for further action and repentance will have ceased: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still” (Revelation 22:11).

To help in this most important exercise, we suggest picturing yourself in a specific part of your day and contemplating being greeted by an angel at that particular moment. Personally, for reasons unknown, we tend to picture ourself getting out of our truck after work and walking to the house. Create this image in your mind, and now ask yourself, “What will I think and do in this moment? Will I panic, knowing that I should have and could have applied myself more sincerely, but simply put it off for another day? Will I fear, knowing that I never set my Lord and Master as my chief desire? Will I be thinking of a Brother or Sister I offended and had not yet ‘had a chance’ to make amends? Will I attempt to hide as did Adam and Eve?” (Genesis 3:8).

Let it not be so, Brethren! Instead, may we cry out and shout, falling to our knees and bursting into unrestrainable tears of joy at the realization that our Lord has come at last! May our minds race with the prospect of seeing our Master face to face! May we have waited long and labored diligently for him, and therefore rejoice at the visual proof that he has returned to fulfil the longed-for promises and will receive us to himself, so that where he is, there we may be also (John 14:3).

This, dearest Brethren, is the ideal response. All of us will certainly fear, but may it be the reverential fear of standing before the Son of God himself. May we have confidence before him, but let it only be because we have exerted our sincerest efforts and trust that his grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9). Our confidence will be in his righteousness and that he will impute his righteousness to us if we have overcome the flesh to his satisfaction.

At this juncture, we want to alter the direction of our thinking to help bring to light and lay to heart what all is at stake. Please pause for a moment and consider your life. Reminisce on all of it that you can remember. Consider all of the intricate things that make your life unique from others. Search back through your earliest memories: the joys and innocence of childhood, the comforting and consoling hand of your parents, sweet memories with siblings in growing up together, all the years of memories - good and bad - that are unique to you, all of the experiences, of the countless comforts and blessings throughout the years, all the years of working hard and laboring, all of the trials that had been set before you. Remember all the Gatherings and Bible Schools attended throughout your life. Think on how the Lord has sustained you all of your life with food, drink, health, a home, family, friends, perhaps a spouse and children.

We submit that in so reminiscing, we will see that the Lord has overseen our growth all of our lives. Perhaps we will see that He has invested time and energy in us and has given us comfortable, enjoyable lives.

Now, when this life stops – either by death or the return of Christ - what will all of these things have been for? What will our life have been for? What was its purpose? Will it have all been in vain, merely to pass from the world scene as if we never existed? Is this the grand culmination of our lives – our trials and sufferings - merely to appear before our Lord and Judge and be rejected, sentenced to the second death for negligence or indifference? Such a life is a wasted life, an investment lost, an entire life lived merely to cease as if it had never been.

Or, will all of these things in our lives have been with purpose. Will they have contributed and culminated in the moment when this mortal puts on immortality, and death is swallowed up in victory? (1 Corinthians 15:53-54). Our lives will have therefore been meaningful, and not only this, but instead of disappearing from the earth without a trace, will continue and abide thereon for the boundless ages of eternity in a state of perfect, everlasting praise and glory to God! This is the wondrous existence that awaits those who are diligent in their calling!

In a way, it is sad to think about leaving the things that we have known all of our lives, but we must realize that these wonderful things have been given to us by our Lord. They are gifts from our Father intended to make our lives enjoyable and to “get us by”. In the words of the familiar hymn “Son of God our Savior” (#224 in the Old), we are grateful to our Lord

For the varied blessings

Given us to share;

Mothers’ fond caressings,

 Fathers’ guardian care;

For our friends and kindred,

For our daily food,

For our wanderings hindered,

For our learning good.


For all thou bestowest,

All thou dost withhold,

Whatsoe’r thou Knowest

Best for all thy fold;

For all gifts and graces

In this world of woe,

Til the heavenly places

Of thy throne we know.


Once we see our lives and all things in them in this light, we can then enjoy the blessings of this life to their fullest extent without them being a snare to us, for our treasure will not have been in these things, but in the One who gave them.

Matthew 6:19-21 - “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Brothers and Sisters, our life’s aim should be to do everything within our ability to ensure that the calling to meet our Lord and Judge will be the most momentous moment of our lives! And here is the wonderful thing: you and I alone determine our response on this great and glorious day! We make the answer now! God is for us if we are for Him, and He has promised to help us if we seek Him out. Though not a single one us will be perfect, God is aware of our limitations. Please drink in, absorb, and take confidence in what is recorded for us in the 103rd Psalm:

Psalm 103:11-14 “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”

God be thanked, we have been told that it is by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God(Ephesians 2:8).

The signs of our Lord’s reappearance abound. Though the world writhes and moans at the sea and the waves roaring, most are still in darkness as to the message of it all. But Paul tells us, ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6). Let us put our hands to the plow and labor for the crown of righteousness which the Lord Jesus Christ has promised “unto all them also that love his appearing(2 Timothy 4:8). Do not tire of watching and waiting for Christ, for “unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). Then, shall we – yes, you and I - “walk with him in white” forever and ever! (Revelation 3:4)

Brothers and Sisters, let us make ready! He is coming. 

The Restitution of All Things

Our discussion this morning will begin in Acts chapter 3. It will concern some wonderful and critical aspects of the Kingdom of God. What is it? When will it be? We've talked on the Kingdom before, but this is an aspect of it that I don't think we have brought out so clearly, and we're going to do about it in such a way so that if we are ever in conversation with somebody about the kingdom of God all the things pertaining to it, we have a great passage to start with that will allow us to easily branch off to the various aspects of the Kingdom. This passage in Acts 3 is particularly useful to our understanding because it has various words and phrases that encapsulate the many aspects of the Kingdom. It'll show us what it is, when and why the hope originated, when it will be realized, by whom it will be realized, and what we have to do to get there; all very important things in the way of salvation!

Acts 3:19-21 – “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

It is clear that we are talking about something wonderful here. We note the words "REfreshing" and "REstitution." This is very important! The prefix “re” is used to signify the doing AGAIN of something. If I were to tell you that I'm going to replace my cell phone and you found out that I have never had a cell phone before, there is now a great deal of confusion as to what I'm actually talking about. We cannot replace something unless it has already existed in some form. And so we see the words here having the prefix “re”. The times of refreshing and the times of restitution (reconstitution, restore - Strong's).

Naturally, we then ask, when and what was the original that is going to be restored by the presence of the Lord? Here the passage actually points us right where we need to go. The last phrase says that it is the “restitution of ALL THINGS, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. And so we go back to the beginning of the world.

I know there are times when this word “world” does not mean the earth itself, but refers to an “age” or “ages.” THIS is not one of those times. The text brings us back to the very beginning in Eden before the fall, where we find many wonderful things. We find God creating the Heaven and the Earth and all things in it: animals, plants, and man. Man was the chief of God’s creation, separated from the animals not only by being made in the image of God, but by his intellect and ability to serve God. It is the intellect that separates animal and man. We find Adam and Eve were in a “very good” state, and we read of no barrier between them and God. To MAN, God gave a very special responsibility and position that I think we often overlook:

Gen. 1:26-28 – “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

God gave man DOMINION over all creation. I think we often interpret this as meaning that man is at the top of the food chain like today, but this is a very different thing. At this point, there was no fear of man in animals (that didn’t occur until after the flood). What this “dominion” means will hopefully become more apparent shortly, but THIS is what we find at the beginning of the world. We know, however, that things did not continue in this state, but man fell from his lofty position and was expelled from the garden. Why was he expelled? It is not merely that God was angry with them, but the fact that they no longer enjoyed a closeness to Him. The casting from the garden was the visual representation of the severed ties between God and man.

THIS is the beginning of the world. We find man with his wife in paradise, having dominion over the earth and a close presence to God, and these are the things that were lost due to the transgression.

We remember that the verse in Acts 3 said that these things were spoken of since the world began. This promise of “reconstitution” was not first made known to man by Moses are Christ. It was revealed from the beginning. We know that in the rebuking of Adam and Eve, there was the promise of life and hope in that the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head. And it seems that Adam and Eve understood what this meant: a triumph over sin and death, for Adam decided to call his wife “Eve” after this, for she would be “the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20).

Of GREAT importance is Gen. 3:24 – “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life. That word “to keep” does not mean to bar entrance forever, but to preserve the way until man was allowed to re-enter. If the way was completely taken away, man would be without hope of ever returning to God. The greatest result of the transgression was that severance of ties between God and man.

Some have suggested (and I agree with them) that Adam and Eve would return to the entrance of the garden to offer their sacrifices, where they would appear before the Cherubim. The flaming sword made the sacrifice a burnt offering or sin offeringthe sword killing the animal and the flame consuming it. I do not see what other purpose the flaming sword would hold. If this be the case, Adam and Eve would return to the gate of the garden on a continual basis, seeing the entrance, but unable to go in. But there would be the connection of a promise of return. Until the time came for it, however, they would live in a sin-stricken state and a sin-stricken world. And so we see that this promise of REturn to Eden, or Eden Reconstituted, was known from the beginning.

Thinking about this “Eden restored” aspect of the Kingdom of God causes us to consider other things we might not have otherwise considered. Turn to Psalm 8.

Psa. 8:1-9 – “To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

It appears that David has considered the Lord’s work of creation and was so awe-struck by its wonder that he questions, “Why would God pay attention to man? And not only this, but also give him dominion over His handiwork?” BUT, is this a correct understanding? Or is it the fullest meaning of it? Paul says otherwise. He quotes this same Psalm and brings out the fuller meaning:

Heb 2:5-9 – “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

Paul says that this has not been fulfilled yet. Why? Because the dominion has not been restored! “But now we see not yet all things put under him.” That fact is obvious when we look out at the world. But reading Psalm 8 with this understanding, we will now notice more things in the chapter that tell us that this primarily has a FUTURE application. Twice David says, “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” Is the name of the Lord excellent in ALL of the earth today? His name is excellent, but people do not know it or revere it in all the earth. This speaks to the time of Christ’s reign, prophesied in Isa. 11:9 – “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” It is at THAT time that his name will be excellent in all the earth.

And so, judging from the fact that Psalm 8 refers primarily to the FUTURE, it would seem that man lost his dominion after the fall. We can maybe argue that he is at the top of the food chain, but he has no command of animals, nor is he safe from them.

Knowing that the Kingdom to come is Eden restored explains why we find parallels of Adam and Christ in Scripture.

1 Co. 15:45-47 – “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.”

Why refer to two Adams? Why not just say Adam and Christ? It’s because each is the beginning of a new creation. Rev. 3:14 – “… things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” We know that Christ was NOT the beginning of the creation 6,000 years ago. We find no record of his presence there. But we do find him in shadow, prophesied in Adam, the man who in Luke 3:38 is called the son of God: “Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.” He was a son in the sense that God made him, but God made him of the dust of the earth. Christ was begotten of the Spirit of God (Mt. 3:17, Lk. 1:35).

Again, “Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.” It is the concept so frequently shown in Scripture of the natural first, followed by the spiritual, and the spiritual is always greater than the natural. We read the Genesis account literally and understand the beginning of this world. After understanding that, we go back and look at it through the spiritual lens and see the last Adam and his bride, told by God to subdue the earth and have dominion. The disobedience of the first Adam resulted in Paradise lost, but the tested and tried obedience of the last Adam would result not only in Paradise restored, but restored in a greater state.

We now ask, what will be the purpose of reconstituting Eden? Again, we find the answer in the beginning. What were Adam and Eve told to do? To subdue the earth and have dominion! It is apparent that they did not have the opportunity to carry this out to any great extent as the fall seems to occur shortly. And yet the charter to the last Adam will still be the same: Subdue the earth and have dominion. This will be apparent from the following testimonies:

Psa. 2:7-8 – “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

Psa. 22:27-29 – “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. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.”

Psa. 145:10-13 – “All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.”

Zech. 9:9-10“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.”

Rev 1:5-6“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

Dan 7:13-14 – “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Here is the VISION of the last Adam receiving the dominion from God, just as Adam did, but in a much higher manner. Unlike the first Adam’s, this one WILL NOT fail. This Adam is not the one of the earth, earthy, but the tried, faithful, and triumphant Son of God! There will be no opportunity for it to fall. It will be an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away!

This passage is similar to that in Acts 3 in that it encompasses numerous aspects of the Kingdom! Recall the first verse. Jesus comes with the clouds of heaven to stand before the Ancient of Days (God Himself), and it is from Him that Jesus, the last Adam, receives the dominion. (As a side note, this also shows the fallacy of the doctrine of the trinity. If Jesus is God, then how can God give Jesus the dominion as he did Adam? It destroys the parallel that the Word of God SAYS exists. Not only this, but how can God give authority to Himself in such a manner? It is foolishness. But back to our subject…)

Recall that Acts 3 refers to “the restitution of ALL things.” Here in Daniel, we gain a greater understanding of this “all.” It does not merely say that Christ would be given dominion, but also a kingdom! “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” But again, if it is the RECONSTITUTION, the Kingdom must also have existed at some time in history. This is something we do not see in Eden (at least clearly), but later on in history under David and Solomon, which we are all aware of. The REstoration of the Kingdom of Israel was a central aspect of Christ’s preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom:

Matt. 19:28-29“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” We read of a REgeneration when Christ will sit upon a throne, and will also give his Apostles thrones over the tribes of Israel. And we are left with no room for doubt that this IS talking about the hope of man because the last verse tells us that THIS is when men and women will be given eternal life.

In the first chapter of Acts, the disciples ask Jesus a question that shows that they understood the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel as the Kingdom of God: Acts 1:6 – “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Note carefully that they did not ask IF he was going to restore the Kingdom to Israel. Jesus continually sent his disciples “to preach the kingdom of God (Lk. 9:2). The disciples wanted to know WHEN. Jesus’ response to them was this, “And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:7-8). They did not know at the time, but Christ said that they WOULD know when the Kingdom would be restored. The power of the holy spirit would reveal it to them, but only AFTER Jesus ascended.

Jesus had told them this very thing before: John 14:25-26, 16:7 – “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you… It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”

And as Christ said, so it happened. In Acts 1, the disciples ask Jesus when the Kingdom will be restored, him responding by telling them he would ascend and send “the comforter.” The next verses detail Christ’s ascension. Acts 2 records the day of Pentecost, when “the comforter” that would reveal all things was given. And then in Acts 3, we have the answer. WHEN will the Kingdom be restored? It will come from “the presence of the Lord”, from his literal return to the earth to establish his dominion and his Kingdom. We have countless Scriptural witnesses to this end, which we are all aware of. One being

2 Tim. 4:1 – “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom

Our hope, then, is the combined grandeur of both Eden and the Kingdom of God restored to a greater extent than ever before!

We ask, WHERE will the Kingdom be? Well, WHERE was Eden? WHERE was the first Kingdom of God? BOTH were here on the earth, not in heaven. Again, if it is to be these things RESTORED, it must fit the same mold. If the first was on the earth, so must the second.

What will be the purpose of Christ’s dominion? As stated in Genesis, to subdue the earth and have dominion. in Rev. 11:15 depicts this time when the earth has been subdued:

Rev. 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”

This same charter is shown in its completed state is described by David and Paul as “to put all enemies under his feet” (Psa. 8:6). In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul describes this charter and the end RESULT by not only quoting from Psalm 8, but using the parallel of the first and last Adam:

1 Co. 15:21-28 – “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”

It will be an unspeakably glorious thing. Think of all of the things that Eden restored might entail. We know that the curse will be removed from the animals (Rom. 8:18-23, Isa. 11). But we’d like to suggest something else that we believe is a very likely possibility:

Today, the continents are separated by large oceans. As a result of the flood, they were separated from one another closer to their current positions. It does not take a scholar to look at a map of the world and see that the continents seem to “fit” together if they are moved closer to one another. It is not SEAMLESS, nor should we expect it to be after thousands of years of erosion by hurricanes, rain, and endless beatings of waves upon the shore. There are, in fact, geological features that strongly imply that the continents were once much closer together. For instance, South America and Africa both have a mountain range that goes right up to their shores, and when put together forms a continuous mountain range. There are soil similarities among other things. THIS, we strongly believe, was what the world was like at the time of the garden of Eden. If Eden is to be restored, will the continents be pushed back together? It is a possibility, and Scripture might even hint at it:

Isa. 66:18-20 – “For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD.” Note all of the methods man will take at that day to come and worship: horses, chariots, on mules, and on swift beasts. Not a single sea creature or ship is mentioned. This is not to say that ships will not exist, for they are spoken of as well. I do believe it interesting though that none are mentioned here.

It is also our conviction that “global warming” is merely the earth resettling from the great upset of the flood. It is most likely the burst of the waters of the deep that formed that vast amount of ice at the poles, which has been melting. It is like shaking up a snow globe. Once the action is over, all of the particles settle down. Likewise, the earth with all of its many systems has been in a “resettling” state. It is possible that the earth will return to the state that it was at the time of Eden.

Consider: In Eden, we know that the plants and crops grew very easily. It was only after the fall that Adam was told in Gen. 3:17-19“…Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

But when the last Adam rules the dominion, what do we read?

Psa. 72:16 – “There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.”

If we remember that Christ is undoing the effects of the fall, we see that these things MUST happen! The curse of the earth will be removed, and it will once again “bring forth abundantly” as it did when God created it.

We want to now consider how a return to Eden was made possible. Back in Genesis, we recall the flaming sword placed to keep or preserve the way of the tree of life, and that the flaming sword signified a burnt offering. The importance of this burnt offering is seen all throughout the Old Testament, even before the Law of Moses. THIS was the kind of offering that Abel offered that was acceptable to the Lord. THIS is the offering that Abraham often made, and it is the offering that God told Abraham to make of Isaac in Gen. 22:2 – “And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.”

Recall WHERE the flaming sword was placed. It was at the east of the garden, at the entrance (we assume as the sword was to also prevent them from returning). It was placed at the gate or entrance, OUTSIDE of the garden which they longed to return to. In the law of Moses, God instructs in

Exo. 29:11-14 - “…thou shalt kill the bullock before the LORD, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar. And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar. But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering.

The sin offering was to be burnt without, meaning OUTSIDE OF, the camp. This, I believe, not only refers us back to Genesis record, but of the fact that a sin offering needed to be made OUTSIDE the camp before one could re-enter the camp. Likewise, a burnt sin offering, acceptable to the Lord, must be made before man could re-enter the garden. Keeping these things in mind, consider carefully the words of Paul in Hebrews 13:

Heb. 13:11-14 – “For the bodies of those beasts (the animal sacrifices under the law), whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.”

It all points forward and culminates in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. He was brought to the place of the skull – Golgotha – without the camp, and there he was crucified. And as Paul says, we have no continuing city here. We seek one that will soon be RESTORED!

These things now bring us to the next, very important question: How does man become part of it? How can man re-enter? The flaming sword and Cherubim were placed to preserve “THE WAY” of the Tree of Life.

And so we read in John. 14:6 – “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” What is Christ the way to? We admit that it does not here say Eden, but to the Father. But this is the same thing, as a return to Eden would mean the reforming of the ties between God and man that were broken. Man was cast to the garden due to his severed ties with the Father. The undoing of this then is a return to the Father, and therefore a return to Eden. It is about mending these ties that were broken so long ago.

This is what “religion” is. The word comes from the Latin “religare,” which means to re-unite, to reconnect” (, Again, the prefix “re” showing that there was once a unity that, for some reason, has been broken. These things are all restored in their perfect, magnificent fullness by the man Jesus Christ.

Christ is the way to return to Eden which he will restore upon his re-appearance on the earth. By being baptized into his name and spending our days in newness of life - praising our Lord and performing His will - WE can be granted entrance into that glorious kingdom, and RULE the dominion of the earth with our Bridegroom. It is the offer freely made to any who will take advantage of it and serve the Lord in spirit and in truth (Jn. 4:24).

Rev. 2:7 - “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.


Tanner Hawkins

Exhortation, Jan. 16, 2022