Question: Does our Lord now own the human race?
Answer: If a man were purchasing a building, and had entered into negotiations for it, had signed a contract and were making arrangements to secure the money to apply it in payment for the building, it would be appropriate, as soon as he had signed the contract, to say, This is the owner of the building. In the strict sense of the word, however, he would not be the owner until he had paid the price and all the receipts were properly given, and, instead of the contract, he had the deed. A contract is an agreement for the carrying out of a project; the deed witnesses the transaction actually accomplished.
As far as the contract was concerned, our Lord Jesus entered into it with the Father; and in view of His having given to the Father the ransom price – “the Son of man came . . . to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10: 45) – He already has a claim to being Lord of all, in a prospective sense, not in the actual sense, as there are billions of people on earth today of whom He is not Lord; their knees have not bowed; their tongues have not confessed (Philippians 2: 10, 11). So He is not their Lord in the absolute sense, but His work is progressing, and, in view of the authority which will yet be exercised by Him and of the work which He will do, the Father speaks of Him prophetically as Lord of all.
1 Thessalonians 4: 14 indicates that the world “sleep in Jesus.” We may ask, How can they sleep in Jesus, unless Jesus owns the world? We answer, they sleep in Jesus the same way that Abraham and all Israel sleep and all the kings and prophets are said to be asleep. Not that Jesus at the time of their death had paid the ransom price for mankind, nor had come into the world to do so, but because God, in His Plan, had made arrangements for the entire transaction and had guaranteed that a Redeemer would be found, that a ransom price would be given, and that all mankind would be recovered from the tomb. God spoke from that standpoint when He said that He was the God of Abraham and of Isaac and of Jacob, speaking as though they were really not dead at all, but merely asleep, waiting for Jesus (Matthew 22: 32).
The same is true since Jesus came and died. It is now still more reasonable and proper to say that all “sleep in Jesus,” because He has now been identified as the One who has given Himself a ransom price for all. Not that the price has been applied for all, but merely that He has placed in the Father’s hands His sacrificed life, which is His to appropriate and which is sufficient “for the sins of the whole world.” It has so far only been appropriated for the Church, but it will eventually be appropriated for the world (1 John 2: 2).
1 Timothy 2: 6 reads that Jesus “gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” The “due time” for the application of the ransom for the remainder of the world will be at the beginning of the Millennial Age; but it will not reach the entire human family at the beginning. All the blessings will come gradually, by restitution processes. All through the Millennial Age The Christ will be giving men the benefit of our Lord’s ransom, and the full benefit of this price will not have been given until the work of the Millennial Age shall have been finished and shall have brought to perfection all who desire to be God’s people, upon God’s terms. And if any knee will then refuse to bow and any tongue refuse to confess and any fail to accept of the favor of God, there will be nothing further for him. He will be doing “despite unto the Spirit of grace” and will die the Second Death (Hebrews 10: 29) (Jude 12).