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