Present Truth


{J.B. Rotherham is the translator of what is perhaps the most accurate translation of the Bible that has ever been achieved, "Rotherham's Emphasized Bible."}

The Plan of the Ages— A Review by Joseph Rotherham

Joseph Rotherham, the translator of the Emphasized Bible which many Bible
Students use frequently, was the editor of a journal titled
The Rainbow. In
Volume 23, 1886, appeared his 10-page review of the first Volume of
Millennial Dawn,
The Plan of the Ages. Though Rotherham held some of the
conventional misinterpretations concerning the nature of man, the Trinity,
Rev. 20:5, and the identity of the Antichrist (and he criticized the book on
those points), he evidently did embrace a hope of future probation after
death for the unsaved. Perhaps readers will be interested to see a few

"This is a notable book-bold, broad, and breezy; very refreshing after the
stereotyped dogmas and platitudes which pass current in the theological
world. It is a book for men and not for children ...

". . . The one leading thought of this book . . . in a single word ... is
RESTITUTION or RESTORATION: Restoration, sharply and constantly
distinguished from Universalism. The author is not a Universalist, nor
anything near it. With him the second death is total and final. From it
there is no redemption and no recovery. But he is a restorationist out and
out. He holds that all men will rise from the dead - all be delivered from
Adam's sin and all its consequences sooner or later-all be put afresh and
individually on trial, under new and improved conditions, with a fair chance
of obtaining eternal life-so that none shall fail of the prize save by his
own inexcusable crime. He holds that this restoration of the race as a
whole-distinguished from the little flock, the elect, the Church, the bride
of Christ, who will have been previously raised from the dead and exalted to
be sharers of Christ's own glory-will take place during the Millennial Age;
progressively, if we mistake not, at any rate within or during the Thousand
Years; and that at the close of that period, the incorrigible will be
utterly destroyed for ever, and sin and sorrow thenceforward be no more. The
author is strong upon the point that all loss through Adam's sin will be
more than made up to every man through Christ. Adam was created perfect.
Every man must be restored to the like perfection, and then decide for
himself his eternal destiny.... "

... It cannot be denied that there is to be a restitution; and very likely
it is to be larger and grander than most of us have dreamed. For, though the
word apokatastasis in Acts 3:21 might be satisfied by the rendering "due
accomplishment" (of the prophecies, that is), and so merely send us to the
old prophecies to see what therein we can find to be fulfilled, yet still,
when we get to the prophets, it is undeniable that they descry in the
Messianic Age such an enormous amount of restoration than our poor systems
can no way find room for it. If Elijah is to restore all things, depend upon
it, it must be a restitution to Moses whose counterpart he is (Mal. 4). The
only Messiah that Elijah knows must needs honour the Law before he delivers
from it. So here is a great, even if only temporary, work of restitution to
make room for. Then, again, there is the restoring of Israel, to her saving
(Ezekiel 16); and if this includes her dead generations, as it surely
must, who of us can find room for that in our "little systems," to say
nothing of the restoring of Samaria and the restoring of Sodom itself; yes,
of Sodom itself-for the mouth of Jehovah hath spoken it, and when we tremble
at His word as we ought, and at the same time have an adequate apprehension
of what fair interpretation really is, we shall blush even to begin to
explain and mystify it away as we have done all too long. So that, up to
this point, we can have no quarrel with Mr. Russell; nor can we doubt that
there is much more of restitution in the Old Testament than even he has
formally pointed out: there, in the sacred text itself, if we only knew how
to read it . . . “

. . The Chapter on 'The Permission of Evil' is alone more than worth the
price of the whole volume, and is the fullest discussion of this great
mystery, and the nearest approximation to a probably correct solution of it,
with which we are acquainted.''

Incidentally, Rotherham's criticism of Bro. Russell's treatment of Daniel
and Revelation-"He goes in the beaten track. Babylon is Rome, and all the
rest of it .. ." - is evidence that main-line Protestant thought had once
been clear in the historical view of Revelation and the proper
identification of Antichrist. — Contributed

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