One idea is clear throughout the Bible: God has not been attempting to convert the whole world since resurrection. The Scriptures speak of God dealing with only a Jesus' death and few for a specifice purpose. Christ's followers are spoken of as a little flock. "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32) God is good only calling a few; a representative of every type of the human race is being called into the church of Christ. These will share with Christ when he establishes his kingdom for the blessing of all Paul says, "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" mankind. Thus (1 Cor. 6:2) The Revelator discloses that the followers of Jesus will live and reign with him during his kingdom, during that the benefits of Jesus' death are being bestowed upon the time the world of mankind. Rev. 20:4
Jesus' words in Mark 4:11-12, show that God is not presently interested in converting even the majority of mankind. "Unto you it is given to know the mystery [secret] of the kingdom of God, but unto them that are without all these things are done in parables: that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them." This scripture might seem strange to some, but it gives us an insight into what God has been doing between the death of Jesus and his return to set up his kingdom upon the earth. Have you ever wondered why the Bible is difficult to understand? By divine intent it has been written in parables, dark sayings, symbols, so that it would not be easily understood. Why? So that the majority would not bother and consequently would not be converted. During the Christian Age, the Lord is only converting a few, a "little flock," "who by patient continuance in well doing seek for, glory, honor, and immortality." (Rom. 2:7) These are elsewhere symbolically referred to as the bride of Christ. After Christ returns, this class of believers will be united with him and then the conversion of the world will begin. Revelation 22:17 prophesied of that time: "And the Spirit and the bride [the church class] say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
This sequence of the call of the church, the establishment of the kingdom, then the blessing of the remainder of mankind is also corroborated by Acts 15:14-17. "God for the first time did visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name [the church class]. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, after this I will return and will build that tabernacle of David which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: that the residue [remainder] of men might seek after the Lord "
Note these points: First a small group, "a people for His name" are selected. Then the tabernacle of David, which was an Old Testament type or illustration of the Kingdom of Christ, is set up again. The restoration of the nation of Israel in Palestine is an indication that the Kingdom will soon be fully set up. Why is the church first called? Why is the kingdom (tabernacle of David) then set up? "That the residue [all that remain] of men might seek after the Lord."
It is said of Jesus that he "gave Himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time." (1 Tim. 2:6) The "due time" for the church class to learn of the ransom is now during the Christian Age, but the "due time" for the rest of mankind to understand the ransom is yet future.
Since the vast majority of the human race went down into their graves without hearing or understanding the "ransom for all" the kingdom will require the raising of the dead. And this is just what Jesus tells us in John 5:28. "Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good to a resurrection of life and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment." R. S. V.
Note again the same pattern of sequence we have seen in other Scriptures. All will be raised from the dead. First "they that have done good." This refers to the church class. During Christ's return they will be raised to spiritual life and united with their heavenly Lord. Then will follow the resurrection of the evil class, all the remainder of men.
They will come forth to a "resurrection of judgment." The King James Bible translated in A. D. 1611, during the "Dark Ages," grossly mistranslated the word "judgment" with "damnation." The American Revised Version in 1881 used the word "judgment" and no translation since has used the word "damnation." The Greek word in the text is krisis and it actually denotes a crucial testing time. This Greek word is the source of our English word "crisis." And it has the same meaning. A doctor might say "the patient will reach his crisis tomorrow morning." This does not mean that the patient will die tomorrow morning. Rather the crisis of an illness is that period when the patient will take a turn for better or worse.
The Crisis or trial for the church is in this present life, but the crisis or trial time of the remainder of mankind will be at the resurrection in the kingdom. Billions of mankind before and after Jesus' earthly ministry died without receiving the light of Jesus. Yet John 1:9 states that Jesus is the light that "lighteth every man that cometh into the world." This truth enlightenment will require an awakening from the dead for most humanity.
Why is the church class first selected to share with Christ in the kingdom work of blessing mankind? There are a number of reasons given in the scriptures. One can be illustrated by the noble work of Alcoholics Anonymous. An essential step of A. A. therapy is to assign a former alcoholic to each alcoholic that comes for help. The victim being driven by alcohol will not often accept help, sympathy, or advice from anyone. How can they know his agony, his depression, his desperation if they have not experienced it? But the alcoholic will accept help from a former alcoholic oftentimes because he knows this person can understand the agony he is going through, and this former alcoholic stands ready at anytime to come to his side with assistance. It requires an experienced person to help an alcoholic.
When mankind comes forth from the grave in Christ's Kingdom, they will be informed of their redemption and be made aware that they are now under the reign of Jesus Christ and his church. (1 Cor. 6:2) The church will know just how to enter into their problems! Why? Because they also were once sinners. The majority will gladly receive the instruction, the disciplining, the nurturing necessary to pass their trial for eternal life. And the restored world will gladly accept the invitation "to take the water of life freely." Revelation 22:17