by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 746

Sin’s Penalty. The Two Hells.

“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:22-23)


What is the penalty of sin?

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:17)

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned . . . For if through the offence of one many be dead . . . by one man’s offence death reigned by one . . .” (Rom. 5:12, 15, 17)  

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield your­selves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? . . . for the end of those things is death. . . . For the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:16, 21, 23)

“For since by man came death . . . For as in Adam all die . . . The sting of death is sin.” (1 Cor. 15:21-22, 56)

“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” (Jas. 1:15)

Does the soul die?

“Their soul [Hebrew nephesh] dieth in youth, and their life is among the unclean.” (Job 36:14, Darby)

“For thou hast delivered my soul from death.” (Psa. 56:13; Psa. 116:8)

“He . . . spared not their soul from death . . .” (Psa. 78:50)

“Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin . . . he hath poured out his soul unto death.” (Isa. 53:10, 12)

“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezek. 18:4)

“Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” (Matt. 26:38)

“Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death . . .” (Jas. 5:20)

Is the death penalty a form of life?

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil . . . I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deut. 30:15, 19)

 “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 5:21)

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Rom. 8:13)

Is the soul’s existence conditional or unconditional?

“For the kingdom is the Lord’s . . . and none can keep alive his own soul.” (Psa. 22:28-29)

“O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive . . .” (Psa. 30:3)

“Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” (Psa. 33:18-19)

“Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live.” (Isa. 55:3)

“Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.” (Ezek. 18:27)

What does death as sin’s penalty mean?

(1) Cutting off: “Whosoever . . . goeth unto the holy things . . . having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from my presence.” (Lev. 22:3) “But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously . . . the same reproacheth the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.” (Num. 15:30) “For evildoers shall be cut off . . . they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.   . . . the wicked are cut off . . .” (Psa. 37:9, 22, 34)

(2) Perishing: “By the blast of God they perish . . .” (Job 4:9) “My brethren have dealt deceitfully . . . they go to nothing, and perish.” (Job 6:15, 18) “But the wicked shall perish . . .” (Psa. 37:20) “For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish.” (Psa. 73:27) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

(3) Devouring: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Isa. 1:19-20) “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” (Heb. 10:26-27)

(4) Consuming: “But . . . the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs . . . into smoke shall they consume away.” (Psa. 37:20) “Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth . . .” (Psa. 104:35) “And . . . they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed.” (Isa. 1:28) “By . . . the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.” (Job 4:9) “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29)

(5) Destruction: “Is not destruction to the wicked?” (Job 31:3) “Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.” (Psa. 9:5) “But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.” (Psa. 37:38) “The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.” (Psa. 145:20) “And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together . . .” (Isa. 1:28) “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28) “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:23) “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.” (1 Cor. 3:17) “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction . . .” (2 Thess. 1:9) “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you . . . even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. . . . But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed . . . shall utterly perish in their own corruption.” (2 Pet. 2:1, 12)

(6) Extinction: “As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.” (Job 7:9) “For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. . . . I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.” (Psa. 37:10, 35-36) “Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.” (Psa. 49:12) “Let . . . the wicked be no more.” (Psa. 104:35) “. . . they shall be as though they had not been.” (Obad. 16)

What does Christ’s death as our ransom prove sin’s penalty to be?

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. . . . for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. . . . thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin . . . he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isa. 53:5, 8, 10, 12)

“Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:28)

“But for us also . . . if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Rom. 4:24-25)

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. . . . But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. . . . when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son . . .” (Rom. 5:6, 8, 10)

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” (1 Cor. 15:3)

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead.” (2 Cor. 5:14)

“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.”          (Heb. 2:9)

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” (1 Pet. 3:18)

What can save us from sin’s penalty?

(1) Repentance: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47) “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.” (Acts 3:19) “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31)

(2) Faith: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. . . . He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:14-15, 18) “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24) “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25) “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” (Acts 10:43) “Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:38-39)


Where does the Bible teach two hells?

“And death and [1] Hades were cast into [2] the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:14, ASV)

What does the New Testament call the two hells?

(1) Hades: “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [Greek Hades] delivered up the dead which were in them.” (Rev. 20:13)

(2) Gehenna: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell [Greek Gehenna]?” (Matt. 23:33) (Gehenna, or the valley of Hinnom, was where the refuse of Jerusalem was cast out and burned.)

What does the Old Testament call both hells?

(1) Sheol (the first): “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [Hebrew Sheol]; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Psa. 16:10)

(2) Sheol (the second): “As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave [Sheol] shall come up no more.” (Job 7:9)

Who goes to the first Sheol (Hades)?

(1) The evil: “Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell [Sheol]: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.” (Psa. 55:15) “Let me not be ashamed O Lord; for I have called upon thee: let the wicked be ashamed, and let them be silent in the grave [Sheol].” (Psa. 31:17)

(2) The good: “For I [Jacob] will go down into the grave [Sheol] unto my son mourning.” (Gen. 37:35) “Oh, that thou wouldest hide me [Job] in the grave [Sheol], that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!” (Job 14:13) “For thou wilt not leave my [Jesus’] soul in hell [Sheol].” (Psa. 16:10 – compare Acts 2:27-31)

 What puts people in the first Sheol (Hades)?

(1) Sin: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave [Hades], where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin.” (1 Cor. 15:55-56)

(2) Death: The sorrows of hell [Sheol] compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.” (Psa. 18:5)

(3) Trouble: “For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave [Sheol].” (Psa. 88:3)

(4) Pain: “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell [Sheol] gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.” (Psa. 116:3)

When do people enter the first Sheol (Hades) and when do they leave?

They enter at death: “They shall go down to the bars of the pit [Sheol], when our rest together is in the dust.” (Job 17:16) “They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave [Sheol].” (Job 21:13) “Her house is the way to hell [Sheol], going down to the chambers of death.” (Prov. 7:27)

They leave at the awakening of the dead: “So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave [Sheol], that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!” (Job 14:12-13) “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell [Hades], neither his flesh did see corruption.” (Acts 2:31) “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God . . . And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell [Hades] delivered up the dead which were in them.” (Rev. 20:12-13)

Is there life or consciousness in the first Sheol (Hades)?

There is no life: “The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave [Sheol], and bringeth up.” (1 Sam. 2:6) “O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave [Sheol]: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.” (Psa. 30:3) “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave [Sheol]?” (Psa. 89:48) “Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell [Sheol].” (Prov. 5:5) “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell [Hades] followed with him.” (Rev. 6:8)

There is no consciousness: “For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave [Sheol] who shall give thee thanks?” (Psa. 6:5) “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave [Sheol], whither thou goest.” (Eccl. 9:10) “For the grave [Sheol] cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day.” (Isa. 38:18-19)

Is there other scriptural proof of this unconscious state?

Scriptures that teach it plainly: “His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.” (Job 14:21) “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” (Psa. 115:17) “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Psa. 146:4) “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing . . . Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished.” (Eccl. 9:5-6)

Scriptures that show it figuratively: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake . . .” (Dan. 12:2) “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.” (John 11:11-14) “And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was consenting unto his death.” (Acts 7:60, 8:1) “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. . . . But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (1 Cor. 15:17-18, 20)

Will the first Sheol (Hades) be destroyed?

“But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave [Sheol].” (Psa. 49:15)

“I will ransom them from the power of the grave [Sheol]; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave [Sheol], I will be thy destruction.” (Hos. 13:14)

“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell [Hades] shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18)

“So . . . then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave [Hades], where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:54-55)

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell [Hades] and of death.” (Rev. 1:18)

“And death and hell [Hades] were cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:14)

How is Gehenna, the second hell, symbolized in the book of Revelation? What is Gehenna?

Gehenna is symbolized by a lake of fire: “And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet . . . These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.” (Rev. 19:20) “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are . . . And death and hell [Hades] were cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:10, 14)

Gehenna is the Second Death: “And death and hell [Hades] were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Rev. 20:14-15) “But the fearful, and unbe­lieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8)

What is the fate of all cast into Gehenna?

(1) The devil: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Heb. 2:14) “He shall . . . break in pieces the oppressor.” (Psa. 72:4) “In that day the Lord with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” (Isa. 27:1)

(2) The beast: “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” (2 Thess. 2:8)

(3) The false prophet: “Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces . . . Take counsel together, and it shall come to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand . . . Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy.” (Isa. 8:9-10, 12)

(4) Death: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1 Cor. 15:26) “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:4)

(5) The first Sheol (Hades): “O grave [Sheol], I will be thy destruction.” (Hos. 13:14) “O death, where is thy sting? O grave [Hades], where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55)

(6) Incorrigible sinners: “Is not destruction to the wicked?” (Job 31:3) “Thou hast rebuked the heathen, thou has destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever.” (Psa. 9:5) “But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.” (Psa. 37:38) “When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they shall be destroyed for ever.” (Psa. 92:7) “The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.” (Psa. 145:20) “And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners shall be together, and they that forsake the Lord shall be consumed.” (Isa. 1:28) “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:23) “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.” (1 Cor. 3:17) “. . . they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction . . .” (Phil. 3:18-19) “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction . . .” (2 Thess. 1:8-9) “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption.” (2 Pet. 2:12)

What is the primary definition of the Greek “basanos,” translated “torment” in Revelation?

(1) To test (as testing metals by the touchstone): “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented [tested] with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment [testing] ascendeth up for ever and ever.” (Rev. 14:9-11)

(2) To examine: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented [examined] day and night for ever and ever.” (Rev. 20:10 – Compare to Isa. 14:15-20)

Literal Jerusalem destroyed its refuse in literal Gehenna. What will New Jerusalem do with its figurative refuse?

Cast it out: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.” (Rev. 22:14-15)

Destroy it: “But I say unto you . . . whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell [Gehenna] fire.” (Matt. 5:22) “And . . . fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna].” (Matt. 10:28) “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell [Gehenna], into the fire that never shall be quenched . . . And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell [Gehenna], into the fire that never shall be quenched . . . And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell [Gehenna] fire: Where their worm [destruction] dieth not, and the fire [destruction] is not quenched.” (Mark 9:43, 45, 47-48)

If the sheep and goats of Matt. 25:31-46 are not literal but figurative, what should we conclude about the fire of this parable?

The fire represents punishment: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” (Matt. 25:41)

The punishment is everlasting: “And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” (Matt. 25:46)

The punishment is death, the cutting off from life: “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. . . . the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.” (Psa. 37:9-10, 28) “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord . . .” (2 Thess. 1:9)

What are some Old Testament references to Gehenna, the Second Death?

“The wicked shall be turned back [Hebrew shuwb – to return or turn back] unto Sheol, Even all the nations that forget God.” (Psa. 9:17, ASV)

“To the wise the way of life goeth upward, That he may depart from Sheol beneath.” (Prov. 15:24, ASV)

“Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell [Sheol].” (Prov. 23:14)

“Yet thou [Lucifer] shalt be brought down to hell [Sheol], to the sides of the pit.” (Isa. 14:15)

Will any be recovered from the Second Death?

“As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.” (Job 7:9)

 “And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm [destruction] shall not die, neither shall their fire [destruction] be quenched.” (Isa. 66:24)

“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” (Prov. 29:1)


Taken from Epiphany Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 17, pages 450-460 and 467-471. Edited for clarity and length.

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by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 745

Man. Sin.

“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.” (Psa. 8:4-5)


What is man?

(1) Man is a living soul: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen 2:7)

(2) Man is lower than the angels: “Thou madest him a little lower than the angels.” (Heb. 2:7; Psa. 8:5)

(3) Man is higher than the animals: “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.” (Psa. 8:6-8)

Man consists of what two parts?

(1) The body: “It is sown a natural body . . . There is a natural body . . . The first man is of the earth, earthy.” (1 Cor. 15:44, 47) “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.” (Gen. 2:7) “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.” (Gen. 3:19) “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” (Eccl. 3:20)

(2) The life-principle (called the “breath” or “spirit” of life): “And the Lord God . . . breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” (Gen. 2:7) “And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood . . . to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life . . .” (Gen. 6:17) “And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.” (Gen. 7:15) “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; and man hath no preeminence above the beasts . . . Who knoweth the spirit of man, whether it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast, whether it goeth downward to the earth?” (Eccl. 3:19, 21, ASV) “Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones . . . I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. . . . Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind . . . Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.” (Ezek. 37:4, 6, 9, 10)

What does the union of the parts produce? What happens when the parts are separated?

(1) Their union produces a living soul: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (Gen. 2:7) “So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. . . . And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord.” (Ezek. 37:10-14)

(2) Their separation destroys the living soul: “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (Psa. 146:4) “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit [Hebrew ruwach – breath] shall return unto God who gave it.” (Eccl. 12:7) “For as the body without the spirit [Greek, pneuma – life-spark, breath] is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” (Jas. 2:26)

In what condition was man created?

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness . . . So God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen. 1:26-27)

“In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him.” (Gen. 5:1)

 “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.” (Jas. 3:9)

What was the image of God?

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Gen. 1:31)

“He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (Deut. 32:4)

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son . . .” (Rom. 8:29)

“God is love.” (1 John 4:16)

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 3:18)

“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph. 4:24)

“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” (Col. 3:10)

What was the likeness of God?

“And God said, Let us make man . . .  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.” (Gen. 1:26)

“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.” (Psa. 8:5-8)

“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.” (Heb. 2:8)

What are man’s chief physical qualities?

(1) Man is material: “The first man is of the earth, earthy.” (1 Cor. 15:47) “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same . . .” (Heb. 2:14)

(2) Man is mortal: “Shall mortal man be more just than God?” (Job 4:17)

(3) Man is dependent: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” (2 Cor. 3:5)

(4) Man is finite: “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.” (Psa. 8:4-5; Heb. 2:6-7)

What were man’s original moral qualities?

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” (2 Pet. 1:5-7)

What was man’s original abode?

“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And a river went out of Eden to water the garden . . . And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (Gen. 2:8-15)

What law was man under?

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:16-17)

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil . . . I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days . . .” (Deut. 30:15, 19-20)


What is sin?

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1 John 3:4)

“All unrighteousness is sin.” (1 John 5:17)

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Rom. 8:7)

“And he that doubteth is damned . . . for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” (Rom. 14:23)

“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (Jas. 4:17)

How did sin originate among angels?

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isa. 14:12-14)

“He [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

“He that committed sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.” (1 John 3:8)

“And angels that kept not their own principality, but left their proper habitation, he hath kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, having in like manner with these given themselves over to fornication and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example . . .” (Jude 6-7, ASV)

How did sin originate among men?

“Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” (Gen. 3:11-13)

“. . . the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety . . .” (2 Cor. 11:3)

“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” (1 Tim. 2:14)

What was the result of man’s transgression?

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom. 5:12)

How many of the human race are sinful?

“. . . for there is no man that sinneth not . . .” (1 Kings 8:46)

“How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman? . . . yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man . . .” (Job 25:4-6)

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Isa. 64:6)

“What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. . . . Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.     . . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom. 3:9-12, 19, 23)

“But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin . . .” (Gal. 3:22)

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. . . . If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8, 10)

“And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” (1 John 5:19)

How did all become sinful?

(1) By heredity: “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” (Job 14:4) “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psa. 51:5) “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” (Psa. 58:3) “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation . . . by one man’s disobe­dience many were made sinners . . .” (Rom. 5:18-19) “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Eph. 2:2-3) “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers.” (1 Pet. 1:18)

(2) By personal wrongdoing: “Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” (Eccl. 7:29) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of all.” (Isa. 53:6)

Sin can be committed in what ways?

(1) By thought: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5)

(2) By desire: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto to you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matt. 5:27-28)

(3) By word: “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” (Jas. 3:2)

(4) By deed: “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19)

What are the different kinds of sin?

(1) Sins of weakness and ignorance: “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.” (Luke 12:47-48) “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression . . .” (Rom. 5:14) “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.” (Rom. 7:19-20) “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” (1 Tim. 1:13) “All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.” (1 John 5:17)

(2) Sins of willfulness: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit . . . If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” (Heb. 6:4, 6) “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” (Heb. 10:26) “There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” (1 John 5:16)

(3) Sins partly of willfulness, partly of weakness and ignorance: “And that servant, which knew his Lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” (Luke 12:47) “Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Matt. 26:74-75)

What are the chief sins?

(1) Unbelief: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Heb. 3:12)

(2) Atheism: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Psa. 53:1)

(3) Forgetting God: “According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.” (Hos. 13:6)

(4) Alienation from God: “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” (Eph. 4:18)

(5) Disobedience to God: “But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” (Rom. 10:21)

(6) Tempting God: “How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” (Psa. 78:40-41)

(7) Rebellion against God: “Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High.” (Psa. 107:10-11)

(8) Blasphemy: “Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.” (Rom. 2:23-24)

(9) Belying God: “Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.” (Hos. 7:13)

(10) Dishonoring parents: “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” (Prov. 30:17)

(11) Unchasteness: “Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.” (1 Cor. 10:8)

(12) Covetousness: “For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the Lord abhorreth.” (Psa. 10:3)

(13) Evil speaking: “Speak not evil one of another, brethren.” (Jas. 4:11)

(14) Hatred: “But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.” (1 John 2:11)

(15) Scolding: “But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” (Gal. 5:15)

(16) Revenge: “See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.” (1 Thess. 5:15)

(17) Oppression: “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.” (Prov. 14:31)

(18) Flattery: “They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.” (Psa. 12:2)

(19) Falsehood: “And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity.” (Jer. 9:5)

(20) Hypocrisy: “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matt. 23:28)

(21) Murder: “They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.” (Psa. 94:6)

(22) Misleading: “A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.” (Prov. 16:29)

(23) Stealing: “Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbour, neither rob him: the wages of him that is hired shall not abide with thee all night until the morning.” (Lev. 19:13)

(24) Pride: “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” (Psa. 10:4)

Sin is committed against whom?

(1) God: “Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.” (Psa. 51:4)

(2) Christ and the brethren: “But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.” (1 Cor. 8:12)

(3) Mankind in general: “Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee.” (Prov. 3:29)

(4) Self: “But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.” (Prov. 8:36)

Why is sin permitted?

(1) To illustrate its terrible effects: “Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” (Rom. 7:13)

(2) To teach men to forsake it and turn to righteousness: “Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain.” (Psa. 76:10) “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. . . . And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:20-21, 28) “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.” (Rom. 11:32)

What are the effects of sin?

(1) It dishonors and displeases God: “Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?” (Rom. 2:23) “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord.” (2 Sam. 11:27) “Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways.” (Psa. 95:10) “For all that do such things, and all that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God.” (Deut. 25:16) “. . . thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.” (Isa. 43:24)

(2) It alienates, defiles and terrorizes man­kind: “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.” (Col. 1:21) “Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” (Titus 1:15) “Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. . . . Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet.” (Job 18:5, 11) “Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him.” (Psa. 140:11) “Enter not into the path of the wicked . . . For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. . . . The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.” (Prov. 4:14, 16, 17, 19) “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness     . . .” (Rom. 1:28-29) “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:17)

How can sin be overcome?

(1) By repentance: “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.” (Acts 3:19)

(2) By faith in Christ’s blood: “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” (Rom. 3:25)

(3) By consecration to the Lord: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Rom. 12:1)

(4) By mortifying sin: “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Rom. 8:13)

What will those who overcome sin receive?

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Rev. 22:14)


Taken from Epiphany Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 17, pages 438-449, with additions. Edited for clarity and length.

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by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 744

The Bible. God.

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8)


Who is the author of the Bible?

“What advantage then hath the Jew? . . . Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” (Rom. 3:1-2)

“And take . . . the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17)

“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:21)

Through whom was the Bible written?

“David . . . the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.” (2 Sam. 23:1-2)

“Yea, they made their hearts as an adamant stone, lest they should hear the law, and the words which the Lord of hosts hath sent in his spirit by the former prophets.” (Zech. 7:12)

“As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began.” (Luke 1:70)

“But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. . . . 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.” (Acts 3:18, 21)

“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son . . .” (Heb. 1:1-2)

“Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures.” (Rom. 1:2)

“Even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Pet. 3:15-16)

What proves the Bible is inspired?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16)

Its inspiration is proven by:

(1) Its miracles: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” (John 20:30-31) “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will.” (Heb. 2:4)

(2) Its fulfilled prophecies: “Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. . . . Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods [mighty ones].” (Isa. 41:21, 23) “Thus saith the Lord . . . Ask me of things to come . . . who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord?” (Isa. 45:11, 21) “I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.” (Isa. 46:9-10) “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.” (Acts 28:23) “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” (2 Pet. 1:19)

(3) Its practicability: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa. 55:11) “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” (Jas. 3:17)

(4) Its reasonableness: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.” (Isa. 1:18) “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” (Acts 17:2) “But . . . be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” (1 Pet. 3:15)

 (5) The shortcomings and characters of its writers: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13) “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Pet. 1:21)

 (6) Its superhuman knowledge: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. . . . But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (1 Cor. 2:7-8, 10) “Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies . . . I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.” (Psa. 119:98-100) “And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” (Mark 12:24)

(7) Its indestructibility: “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” (Isa. 40:8) “Heaven and earth [the present ecclesiastical and social order] shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matt. 24:35) “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” (1 Pet. 1:25)

What are the general contents of the Bible?

Its contents can be broken down into:

(1) Doctrines and precepts: “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? . . . For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept.” (Isa. 28:9-10) “All scripture is . . .  profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16)

(2) Promises: “For all the promises of God in him [Jesus Christ] are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” (2 Cor. 1:20) “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.” (Gal. 3:16)

(3) Exhortations: “And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.” (Heb. 13:22)

(4) Prophecies: “Seventy weeks are deter­mined . . . to seal up the vision and prophecy . . .” (Dan. 9:24) “And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” (Rev. 22:10)

(5) Histories: “Now concerning his sons, and the greatness of the burdens laid upon him, and the repairing of the house of God, behold, they are written in the story of the book of the kings.” (2 Chron. 24:27)

(7) Types: “But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants.” (Gal. 4:23-24) “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” (Heb. 9:24)

What are the Bible’s leading characteristics?

Its main qualities are:

(1) Truthfulness: “Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.” (Psa. 119:160)

(2) Goodness: “And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come.” (Heb. 6:5)

(3) Harmony: “And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written.” (Acts 15:15)

 (4) Comprehensibility: “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height.” (Eph. 3:17-18)

(5) Authoritativeness: “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20)

(6) Sufficiency: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation . . . That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 3:15-17)

(7) Efficacy: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)

What does the Bible effect?

Its main effects are:

(1) Repentance: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized . . .” (Acts 2:37-38)

(2) Faith: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17)

(3) Cleansing: “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” (John 15:3)

(4) Enlightenment: “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” (Psa. 119:130)

(5) Sanctification: “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)

(6) Spiritual begettal: “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth . . .” (Jas. 1:18)

(7) Spiritual quickening: “For thy word hath quickened me.” (Psa. 119:50)

(8) Spiritual growth: “My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.” (Deut. 32:2)

(9) Spiritual strengthening: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. . . . And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:10-11, 17)

(10) Spiritual balance: “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God . . .” (1 Thess. 3:12-13)

(11) Spiritual perfection: “All Scripture is . . . profitable . . . That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

(12) Salvation: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” (Rom. 1:16)

What should we do with the Bible?

We should:

(1) Love it: “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.” (Psa. 119:97)

(2) Study it: “Search the scriptures.” (John 5:39) “Study to show thyself approved . . .” (2 Tim. 2:15) “But his delight is in the law . . . and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psa. 1:2)

(3) Assimilate it: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. . . . I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.” (Psa. 119:11, 16)

(4) Practice it: “Blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” (Luke 11:28)

(5) Spread it: “And he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully.” (Jer. 23:28) “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Tim. 4:2)


Is there a God?

The proofs of God are:

(1) A first cause: “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” (Rom. 11:36) “Thus saith the Lord . . . I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” (Isa. 44:6) “For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” (Heb. 3:4)

(2) The design in creation: “He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?” (Psa. 94:9) “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead [Divinity].” (Rom. 1:19-20)

(3) The immensity, variety, and harmony of creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth know­ledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” (Psa. 19:1-6)

(4) The absurdity of atheism: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” (Psa. 14:1)

What is God?

What God is not: “Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” (Acts 17:29)

What God is: “God is a Spirit.” (John 4:24) “For a spirit hath not flesh and bones.” (Luke 24:39) “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Tim. 1:17)

Who is God?

“Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the Lord[1] he is God; there is none else beside him.” (Deut. 4:35)

“For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible . . .” (Deut. 10:17)

“For who is God, save the Lord? and who is a rock, save our God?” (2 Sam. 22:32)

“But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king.” (Jer. 10:10)

“Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also.” (Rom. 3:29)

What are God’s inherent qualities?

God possesses:

(1) Personhood: “Who [Jesus] being the brightness of his [God’s] glory, and the express image of his person . . . sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” (Heb. 1:3)

(2) A body: “And the Father himself, which hath sent me [Jesus], hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.” (John 5:37)

(3) The spirit nature: “Now the Lord is that Spirit.” (2 Cor. 3:17)

(4) Self-existence: “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exod. 3:14)

(5) Eternity: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psa. 90:2)

(6) Self-sufficiency: “Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though He needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.” (Acts 17:25)

(7) Immortality: “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself.” (John 5:26)

(8) Omnipotence: “Alleluia: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.” (Rev. 19:6)

(9) Omniscience: “For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” (1 John 3:20)

(10) Omnipresence: “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth?” (Jer. 23:24)

(11) Supremacy: “Thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.”         (1 Chron. 29:11) “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph. 4:6)

(12) Unity: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.” (Deut. 6:4) “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him.” (1 Cor. 8:6)

(13) Immutability: “For I am the Lord, I change not.” (Mal. 3:6) “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (Jas. 1:17)

(14) Invisibility: “Who is the image of the invisible God . . .” (Col. 1:15) “No man hath seen God at any time.” (1 John 4:12)

What are God’s chief moral qualities?

God is:

(1) Wise: “With Him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.” (Job 12:13) “He hath established the world by his wisdom.” (Jer. 10:12)

(2) Powerful: “Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.” (Jer. 32:17)

(3) Just: “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” (Deut. 32:4) “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne.” (Psa. 89:14)

(4) Loving: “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16) “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)

(5) Holy: “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44) “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.” (Isa. 43:3)

(6) Impartial: “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. . . . 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.” (Gal. 3:26, 28) “And . . . call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work . . .” (1 Pet. 1:17)

(7) Truthful: “That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation . . .” (Heb. 6:18) “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” (Tit. 1:2)

(8) Faithful: “Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand gener­ations.” (Deut. 7:9) “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised).” (Heb. 10:23)

(9) Merciful: “For the Lord thy God is a merciful God.” (Deut. 4:31) “O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psa. 136:26)

(10) Good: “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good.” (Psa. 107:1) “There is none good but one, that is, God.” (Mark 10:18)

(11) Gracious: “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.” (Psa. 116:5) “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Eph. 1:6)

(12) Forbearing: “For my name’s sake will I defer mine anger, and for my praise will I refrain for thee, that I cut thee not off.” (Isa. 48:9)

(13) Longsuffering: “The Lord is . . . long­suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9)

(14) Forgiving: “The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression . . .” (Num. 14:18)

(15) Liberal: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (Jas. 1:5)

(16) Gentle: “Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.” (Psa. 18:35)

(17) Orderly: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace . . .” (1 Cor. 14:33)

(18) Fatherly: “Wherefore . . . I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:17-18)

(19) Kingly: “And the Lord shall be king over all the earth.” (Zech. 14:9)

(20) Peaceful: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:7)

(21) Joyful: “And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand . . . for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers.” (Deut. 30:9)

What are God’s works?

His works include:

(1) Creation: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1)

(2) Providence: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)

(3) Redemption: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

(4) Instruction: “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.” (Psa. 25:9)

(5) Justification: “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.” (Rom. 8:33)

(6) Sanctification: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly.” (1 Thess. 5:23)

(7) Deliverance: “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.” (Matt. 6:13)

What are God’s rights?

He is entitled to:

(1) Ownership of all things: “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; . . .” (1 Chron. 29:11)

(2) Rulership of all things: “. . . thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.” (1 Chron. 29:11)

(3) Disposition of all things: “Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.” (Psa. 135:6)

(4) Our obedience: “Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.” (Deut. 13:4)

(5) Our reverence: “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” (Heb. 12:28)

(6) Our confidence: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5)

(7) Our love: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deut. 6:5; Luke 10:27)


Taken from Epiphany Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 17, pages 429-438, with additions. Edited for clarity and length. More questions and answers from this Volume will be presented in future papers.



Sister Angela Matthew of Trinidad finished her course on May 4, 2019 at the age of 68. She was born into the Truth and grew up in it, living faithfully to the end.  Her grandfather’s home was the headquarters for the vibrant Truth movement in Trinidad, and was visited by Brother Johnson and Brother and Sister Hoefle. She is now asleep in Jesus, awaiting the resurrection of the just. (Acts 24:15) We mourn her passing with her family and friends, but we “sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (1 Thess. 4:13)


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[1] In the Old Testament, Lord in all capital letters is the Tetragrammaton YHWH in the original Hebrew Bible. It signifies Yahweh, the proper name of the Almighty.


by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 743

“Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” (Psa. 119:114)

There is an affectionate tenderness about our Heavenly Father which helps us to realize His great love for His people and His special care over them. Through His Prophet Isaiah, speaking from the standpoint of the end of this age, He forewarned us of a great time of trouble. (Isa. 26:5-6, 21) It is to be “a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan. 12:1), when the whole present order of things – civil, social and religious – will be swept with the “besom of destruction.” (Isa. 14:23) Yet in the midst of it all He would have His people to be in rest and peace in Him: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isa. 26:3-4)

Through another prophet the Lord gave us beautiful words of trust and confidence: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth [the present social order] be removed, and though the mountains [governments] be carried into the midst of the sea [anarchy]; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof . . .The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psa. 46:1-3, 7) “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” (Psa. 103:13)

We are very grateful for our Heavenly Father’s special love and care for us as His people and the comfort, encouragement and protection afforded us in the midst of the world’s great tribulation. However, we would come far short of having His spirit if we regarded the matter with self-complacency, forgetting His great love for the whole world also, a love veiled behind the clouds of His righteous indignation against their sins. In His wisdom, He strikes the heavy blow which will shatter all their idols and humble their pride in the dust, so that the sore wounds of His wrath may prepare for their everlasting healing.

We are told, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish [eternally], but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) If He loved the world then, He loves it still, and it is His love that wields the rod for its correction. While His people rejoice in the sunshine of His favor, having by faith and obedience come into an attitude to receive it, He would have us point the world to the cause of its calamities and to the only remedy: “In returning [to God] and rest [in Him alone] shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” (Isa. 30:15) “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen [the nations], I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psa. 46:10)

But who are those the Lord is pleased to designate by the endearing name, “My people?” Does this class include everyone upon whom His name is named – everyone called a Christian? No, for that would include a great number who profess His name falsely. As the Psalmist expresses it, it includes only those who have made a covenant with God by sacrifice (Psa. 50:5), all the consecrated and faithful children of God, however young or weak they may be, whose hearts are fixed firmly and resolutely to be true, loyal and obedient children by His assisting grace.

To be numbered among the people of God is a very great privilege; but it means much more than many seem to understand, much more both on our part and on God’s part. On our part it signifies more than a name to live by and a place in some great organization which bears the Christian name. It means fully consecrating to God to follow in the footsteps of His dear Son. It means renouncing the vain pomp and glory of the world and covenanting to live apart from its spirit, ambitions, hopes and aims. It means striving daily to be faithful, meekly taking up the cross and following our Leader and Head, Jesus Christ.

On God’s part it signifies the fulfillment of all His gracious promises to His people through Christ, both for the life that now is, and for that which is to come. It signifies that in the present life we have His fatherly love, care, discipline, counsel, teaching, protection and encouragement to the end. It means that afterwards we shall be received into everlasting rest and joy and peace. Oh, how blessed to be the people of God! Even in the present life the reward of His favor is beyond computation.

Throughout the Gospel Age God has permitted His people to be scattered as sheep in the midst of wolves, and as wheat in the midst of tares; but now their gathering together unto Him is due. All during the age His people have been growing in the midst of that great organization, the nominal Christian church, which God calls Babylon (confusion), but which men call Christendom (Christ’s Kingdom). This great system has appropriated the name of Christ while misrep­resenting His teachings and His spirit. This it has done despite being in possession of His Word of Truth and having many advantages of precept and example from His saints who were for so long permitted to dwell in her midst.

God has begun pouring His indignation upon Babylon and is involving the whole world with it. Before doing so, however, He issued this warning: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Rev. 18:4) While calling them thus to come out of Babylon, He also called them to come into another place, or condition: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” (Isa. 26:20)

The place of hiding is the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty. (Psa. 91:1-9) It is the place of intimate communion and fellowship with God, through the blessed privilege of prayer and through faith in His precious Word and His promised providential care. Oh, how precious is this hiding place! What rest and refreshment we find in the midst of the commotion now roiling the whole world, especially the nations of Christendom. We find rest from the pride and folly of men in their abortive efforts to readjust the present unsatisfactory social order. We find rest from “the strife of tongues” engaged in the equally vain attempt to evolve clear principles of truth and righteousness from the present confusion of human traditions. (Psa. 31:20) Here we find rest, peace, light and joy, which the world can neither give nor take away.

Few indeed are those who can understand our motives in thus withdrawing from the world and from the various organizations of the nominal Christian church to walk alone with God. Many are the reproaches which must be endured for His name’s sake. But fear not; “shut thy doors [of faith] about thee.” Do not heed the reproaches; turn a deaf ear to them. “Above all, taking the shield of faith [for the conflict before you], wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (Eph. 6:16)

In this time of greatest need, it is especially good that the Lord’s people should consider the value of this portion of the Christian’s armor – the shield of faith. The doors of their faith should thoroughly shut them into the secret place of the Most High. The time for firmly grasping the shield of faith is when the reproaches fall thick and fast. It is when they are told that they have left the faith and gone after fables. It is when they are told that they have incurred the Lord’s displeasure, and that suffering for Christ’s sake is the penalty they deserve. It is when their names are cast out as evil and they are separated from the company of those whom they have long regarded as the Lord’s people, because they bear His name. Then is the time for adopting the triumphant language of the Psalmist:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? . . . Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident . . . For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock . . . When my father and my mother [my most trusted human friends] forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” (Psa. 27:1, 3, 5, 10) “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want . . . Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Psa. 23:1, 4; Psa. 56:4)

It is to inspire such a faith as this that the Lord has offered us, in addition to all His precious promises, so many encouragements to simple, childlike trust in Him, and that He has bidden us turn a deaf ear to the reproaches of men: “Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings . . . I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; And forgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth . . . And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens [the new heavens], and lay the foundations of the earth [the new earth], and say unto Zion [the heirs of the new Kingdom], Thou art my people.” (Isa. 51:7, 12, 13, 16)


What benevolence on the part of the Almighty to thus consider our weakness! When the darts of the enemy wound our hearts, He pours in the balm of His consolation. He would not have one of His children whom Christ has made free to come again under the bondage of the fear of men. (Prov. 29:25) He would have everyone in Christ realize his liberty from sin and superstition and his solemn accountability to God for all his thoughts and words and doings.

The words of the Apostle Paul deserve special notice: “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thess. 5:21) “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” (Gal. 6:4) Thus every individual in Christ is reminded of his own personal responsibility in matters of faith and conduct. Only when he has proved what is truth and what is righteousness, accepting the Word of God as the only standard of authority, is it proper to take a resolute stand. Having proved “what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2), nothing should be able to unsettle his faith or turn him from the line of duty. Fear of man should never again bring him into bondage to superstition, human traditions, or opinions of others.

If each individual proves his own work – his faith in the doctrines and his conduct in life – by the square and compass of God’s Word, his faith will be so established by the Word of the Lord that it will be his own and in no sense dependent upon another, no matter through what privileged human agent or agency it may have been received. It was the neglect of the right and duty of individual judgment in proving all things by the inspired Word that brought upon the nominal church the snare of the great apostacy, setting up infamous popes to dictate in matters of faith and conduct and subvert the consciences of men.

Let us remember the command, “Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” (Isa. 8:13) Let us fear and dread to displease Him; let us see to it that we know and love righteousness and that we have the Law of God, not in our heads only, but in our hearts; so shall we ever find acceptance with Him. To those who in faith continually rely upon the Lord, who go forth strong in the strength which He supplies through faith to do valiant service for truth and righteousness, comes also the blessed assurance that God will be our refuge and strength in trouble.

The storm of trouble engulfing the whole world will affect all people, both individually and collectively. The Lord’s people, however, those who seek only to draw closer to Him, entering more fully into the secret place of communion and fellowship and rest in Him, and shutting the doors of faith about them, will be safely hidden from the alarm and fear and trembling that will take hold upon all other classes. While they patiently endure the effects of the storm upon their temporal interests, they will rejoice in the knowledge of God’s overruling providence in the whirlwind and in the storm as well as in the calms of life. They have His blessed assurance that His wrath will be thus revealed only “for a little moment.” Then His righteous Kingdom will be manifested in power and great glory: “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” (Matt. 13:43)


This article is based on Reprint 1787.



“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)

We are living in a time when faith is greatly discounted. People seem disposed to not care what others believe as long as they live honorably. This generally means that faith is of no consequence and honor is the highest goal. Plainly stated, this means that money and prosperity is the only goal now recognized by an increasing number of people, for without these no one can prosper in the present life, no matter what they believe or who they worship.

The Bible perspective, however, is the very reverse of this. God’s Word puts faith first, and builds character upon that faith. God has not made works the standard because, as He declares, no human being can do perfect works. Faith is God’s standard, and He assures us that whoever has the proper faith must necessarily have works which correspond to his faith. God’s favorites of the Bible have all been persons of faith. Their faith did not make them perfect, nor were their works always acceptable in God’s sight, but He punished them for evil works and rewarded them for their great faith. Some of God’s favorites committed grievous sins and made serious mistakes; yet they maintained God’s favor, by reason of their faith.

The Bible is perhaps the most candid of all religious books ever written. It tells of the mistakes and sins of the very characters it holds up as models and examples of men after God’s own heart. Yet the Bible leaves no room to assume that God loves wickedness, or that the friends of God are the depraved of mankind. On the contrary, the Bible inculcates the highest standards of right­eousness in word, deed and thought, and plainly states that only those who seek truth and righteousness can have full acceptance with God.

We and all mankind are by nature sinners. (Psa. 51:5; Rom. 7:15-25) God tells us that we could do nothing to remove our own guilt and the sentence that stands against us as members of the fallen race, but He also tells us that He purposes to remedy that matter. Hence our responsibility is not for what we cannot avoid, but for what we can avoid. It is not for what we cannot do, but for what we can do. The foundation of all our noblest endeavors is confidence in Him. This confidence He calls faith. He assures us that without faith it is impossible to please Him, and He has shown us this in all the lessons of the Bible. (Heb. 11:6)

Many make the mistake of supposing that faith is credulity – the readiness to swallow any and every religious idea if told that God said it. This is not the faith encouraged by the Bible. On the contrary, the Bible would have us know definitely the things that God has promised, and exercise a definite faith in those things and give no heed whatever to the seductive vagaries of Satan, of our fellow men, or of our own imagination: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” (2 Tim. 3:14-17)

It is not for us to quarrel with those religious leaders who bind their followers with ignorance and superstition, preventing them from using their reasoning faculties. We are to address those who are not content with superstitions, those who yearn to find God, those whose hearts and minds cry out for Him and His Word and long to know His plan and their place in it. Jesus and the Apostles did not attempt to teach everybody, but merely those who hungered and thirsted after righteousness. (Matt. 5:6) As Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt. 11:15)


Abraham manifested such great faith that God called him His friend and gave him the first revelation of His purposes respecting humanity. (Gen. 15:6; Jas. 2:23) Abraham knew that under the curse the whole groaning creation was going to the grave. God’s declaration to him was that in due time He would send a blessing instead of the curse. Instead of men becoming more imperfect and wasting away in death, they would be rescued from the dying condition, and resurrected from the power of the tomb. Abraham believed the message with childlike faith. Because of his faith, God promised to greatly bless him and his posterity, so that through them eventually the great work of blessing mankind would be accomplished, rescuing all from the power of sin, Satan and death. God’s promise is summed up in the words: “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 22:18)

Abraham’s faith in that promise meant that thenceforth his mind would have a larger view, encompassing all of humanity, instead of merely his own immediate family, flocks and herds, and his nearest neighbors. It meant that if God would so honor his posterity, Abraham would seek in everything to cooperate with God and that great promise.

God tested Abraham’s faith for years, yet he still believed. “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” (Rom. 4:20) Even when God directed the sacrifice of Isaac, the son in whom the promise centered, Abraham trusted that God was able to raise him up again from the dead. What a test of faith! Oh, for such a trust in God! What could not be accomplished in the world through the Divine Message if such faith prevailed among God’s children! What would God not do for children who would trust Him thus!

Isaac and Jacob also trusted the promise and it influenced the whole course of their lives. It made them more God-like and it shaped every interest of their lives. Although they understood practically nothing of how God would accomplish so great a blessing, their faith in its fulfillment was unshakeable. From their posterity God would raise up a holy people to be His agency and channel for instructing, ruling, and uplifting the world, resurrecting the dead, and bringing mankind back to all that was lost through Adam’s disobedience. If their faith had been weaker, they would have had many opportunities to stumble. If they had been more worldly-wise, they might have questioned how God could clear mankind from the justly imposed sentence against them and still be just. But their faith did not waver. They knew in their hearts that God will do what He has promised and He will have His own way of accomplishing it. (Isa. 55:11)

In time the nation of Israel as a whole entered into a Covenant with God through Moses, the mediator of the Law Covenant. Israel was motivated by faith in the promise made to Abraham that God would use his posterity to bless all people, both the living and the dead. If they would keep God’s Law blamelessly, God covenanted that in them He would fulfill the promise made to Abraham. Although God knew that imperfect human beings could not keep His perfect Law, He allowed them the opportunity to try. He allowed them to learn the lesson while also providing an example to the angels of His own righteousness.

The Law Covenant would also provide instruction to Spiritual Israel, who were to be developed later, and who were to be the principle channel through whom the blessings actually would come. This St. Paul explains, saying, “It [the Law Covenant] was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” (Gal. 3:19)

In other words, God’s work began with Israel in a typical manner, long centuries before the time for Spiritual Israel to be developed. However, He did not thereby do injury to the people who had covenanted to keep the Law, but who were unable to do so. On the contrary, they as a people were blessed by their endeavors to keep that Law, and blessed also by the chastisements which came upon them because of their failures and lack of faith.

God especially blessed those Israelites who shared Abraham’s faith. In addition to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Apostle Paul enumerates a considerable number who pleased God because of their faith, long centuries before the first advent of Christ, the Spiritual Seed of Abraham. (Hebrews, Chapter 11) Although they will not be the Seed of Abraham in the highest sense on the spirit plane, those Ancient Worthies will be the seed of blessing on the earthly plane – the earthly channel through which the heavenly blessings will ultimately be extended to all nations.

It was faith that motivated the Jewish people during those past centuries – faith in God, faith that He would fulfill the promise made to Abraham. That promise still motivates Jews who have not lost their faith – those that are still Jews. Those who have lost the faith of Abraham are no longer in any sense of the word related to the promise; for the promise was according to faith. St. Paul speaks sympathetically of the Jewish nation as relates to the original promise God made to them, saying, “And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.” (Acts 26:6-7) All Jews, to the degree they still maintain that hope, may still expect to realize its blessings.


The coming of Christ did not change the Divine purpose, and therefore did not change the faith of God’s people. Jesus and the Apostles believed and taught the same Gospel God preached to Abraham: “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen [all mankind] through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.” (Gal. 3:8) The message of the Apostles was the same message – all the families of the earth were to be blessed through the Seed of Abraham.

However, there was an additional feature of the Gospel that was then due to be proclaimed and believed. That feature was that God had already begun the work of providing this Seed of Abraham, the Messiah; God had sent the Logos, His Son, into the world that He might become the Seed of Abraham on the spirit plane, and eventually fulfill every feature of the original promise.

At the time of Jesus’ first advent, all Jews were in expectation of the Messiah. (Luke 3:15) However, not every Jew was an “Israelite indeed;” not all had the proper faith. Consequently, God allowed some of them to remain in measureable blindness on the subject, while others were granted a special anointing to the eyes of their under­standing, their eyes of faith, allowing them to recognize that Jesus was the Messiah. To this class Jesus said, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.” (Luke 8:10) Understanding went only to the meek, honest and faithful of God’s people then, and has continued to go only to this class all through the age.

The death of Jesus was another test of faith for Jesus’ followers. They had expected that He would be crowned their king and would then free them from the yoke of Roman rule, making them the Kingdom of God on earth. When He was crucified instead, they said, “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel.” (Luke 24:21) Not yet having received the Holy Spirit, they did not understand that Jesus had redeemed the whole world, not just Israel, and that the redemption was not only from the Roman yoke, but from Satan’s yoke.

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit after Pentecost, the mystery was revealed: The Messiah would not be one person, but many persons. Jesus alone would not be the Seed of Abraham, but Jesus as the Head and the Church as His members, or Body, would be that Seed. St. Paul says, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” (Gal. 4:28) Here he shows that Issac is a type of Christ, Jesus representing the head of Isaac and the Church representing his body.

In another figure, Isaac types Jesus and the Church is represented by Rebekah, his bride. According to this figure, the antitypical Isaac (Jesus) has entered into glory, awaiting the development of the antitypical Rebekah (the Church). At the appointed and appropriate time He is to come and receive His Bride to Himself, and they become one. Through this One will come the blessing to all the families of the earth in the Kingdom of Glory, as promised to Abraham thousands of years ago.

This is “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3) It is the hope set before us in the Gospel – the faith that God will use the Seed of Abraham to bless all humanity. Let us not doubt the wisdom of God in the arrangement He has made and set forth in the Scriptures. This faith, based upon the Abrahamic promise, is the power that enables us to gain the victory over the spirit of the world, and to be separate, sanctified to God, for service here and hereafter.


This article is based on Reprint 5243.

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by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 742

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” (Joel 2:28-29)

Through the Prophet Joel, the Lord draws attention to the fact that the Holy Spirit will be just as important during the Millennial Age as it has been during the Gospel Age. The above passage is addressed to Zion (Joel 2:23), which represents the Kingdom (Isa. 60:14; Rev. 14:1), and stands for the Lord Jesus and His faithful followers. It is in “those days” – the Gospel Age – that the Spirit is poured out for these. During the Millennial Age, “afterward,” His Spirit will be poured out generally for the world of mankind, “all flesh.” It will then bring the world of mankind back into harmony with God under the terms of the New Covenant, through the merits of the dear Redeemer’s sacrifice.

The order of this blessing is reversed in the prophetic statement, quite probably to obscure the matter until the proper time, and thus to hide some of the length and breadth and height and depth of God’s Plan, until the “due time” for it to be known and appreciated. Consequently Joel 2:29 refers to the Gospel Age and Joel 2:28 refers to the Millennial Age.

Examining these verses we find that they identify six saved classes: (1) “your sons,” (2) “your daughters,” (3) “your old men,” (4) “your young men,” (5) “the servants,” and (6) “the handmaids.”


We will first consider the two classes developed during the Gospel Age. The class referred to as “the servants” is the Little Flock. We notice that the time of their development is limited to the Gospel Age: “Upon the servants . . . in those days will I pour out my spirit.” Like the rest of mankind these were born under the curse (Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:21-22; Eph. 2:3); but unlike the rest of mankind their hearts have trusted the Lord even when they could not trace Him. (2 Cor. 5:7) They have accepted Jesus as their Savior, thereby attaining to justification through faith (Rom. 3:21-26; Rom. 4:1-12), and have then sought to grow in Truth and Righteousness.

They have responded to His drawings until ready to take a second step – consecration – answering God’s invitation to yield themselves to Him as living sacri­fices. (Rom. 12:1) He has given them His Holy Spirit – begotten them of His Spirit. (John 3:3; Jas. 1:18; Acts 5:32) He has helped them to overcome self, sin, error and the world (Rev. 3:21), and to work out their own sal­vation by self-denial and world-denial, by watchfulness and prayer, by the study, practice and spread of His Word, and by suffering for loyalty to His Word. (Phil 2:12-13; 1 Pet. 5:10; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) They have been His witnesses in the world for Truth and Righteousness. (Acts 1:8)

The hope He has given them is the attainment of the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ. (2 Pet. 1:4; Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:11-12) These blessings they will attain in the First Resurrection, if they have been faithful until death. (Rev. 2:10; Rev. 20:4-6)

Closely related to the Little Flock is another class called “the handmaids,” and elsewhere in the Bible called a Great Multitude. (Rev. 7:9; Rev. 19:6) This class we call the Great Company; the individuals of this class were originally invited through the High Calling (Phil. 3:14) to the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ. (Eph. 4:4) They have failed to keep faithfully their consecration vows, and therefore, have had to be remanded to a secondary class. They were not called to this position. The Lord provided a secondary place for them, even though they were only measurably faithful, because they still loved the Lord, and had not become unfaithful enough to be utterly cast off into Second Death. They are the only one of the elect classes to be remanded, but they will finally escape with their lives, after losing the prize of the High Calling. (1 Cor. 3:15; Heb. 2:15; Jude 22-23) However, they will still be included in the “church of the firstborn” of this Gospel Age. (Heb. 12:23)

The Little Flock and the Great Company, it will be noticed, have been developed during the Gospel Age – the age in which Jesus and the Apostles labored, the age in which the great Apostasy developed. At the end of the Gospel Age, the Lord has restored the primitive teachings and practices of Christianity under the supervision and leadership of That Servant.

We now turn to the consideration of the four classes of whom Joel 2:28 treats. While this verse describes the blessings and works of these four classes during the Millennium, two of these classes will have been devel­oped before the Millennium and the other two will be developed during the Millennium.


We understand the phrase “your old men” to mean those we refer to as Ancient Worthies, the faithful of the Old Testament. This class is called “ancients” in Isa. 24:23, this being from the same Hebrew word that is translated “old men” in Joel 2:28. We choose to call them Ancient Worthies because they are spoken of as those “Of whom the world was not worthy.” (Heb. 11:38) Other scriptures refer to this class as “the elders.” (Psa. 107:32; Heb. 11:2)

In Hebrews Chapter 11, we are given a long list of Ancient Worthies who were prominent for their characters and their works. (Heb. 11:4-32) Many others are later referred to who are not identified by name. (Heb. 11:33-40) The Ancient Worthies were the heroes of faith before Christ came in His First Advent. God used them as His representatives, servants and witnesses in their times, and through some of them He gave us the Old Testament Scriptures. Although they were unaware of it, He also used them and events of their lives to type certain future persons, classes and events in His plan. Because they lived before Christ’s death, they could not receive the actual cancellation of the death sentence inherited by the entire human race from Adam, and they could not become sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ. (John 1:12-13; Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:3-5)

Yet God did give them a tentative justification through their faith in His Promises. (Rom. 4:3-9, 17-23; Heb. 11:7) Through their faith-justification they were privileged to be servants and friends of God. (Heb. 3:5; Jas. 2:23) God did not offer them the privilege of becoming Kings with Jesus and partakers with Him of the Divine nature; for such promises were not given until the beginning of the Gospel Age. (1 Pet. 1:10-12; Heb. 2:3-4; Heb. 11:38-39; 2 Tim. 1:10; Luke 16:16) The Ancient Worthies who preceded Jesus, the forerunner of these Kings (Heb. 6:20; Heb. 12:1-2), could not share in this heavenly calling. John the Baptizer, who died before Jesus’ death, was the last of the Ancient Worthy class, and Jesus assures us John will not be of the heavenly class when He says, “He that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matt. 11:11)

Although these faithful Ancient Worthies will not attain the First Resurrection as the Little Flock do, they will be privileged to share in a “better resurrection” than that of the world. (Heb. 11:35) They will attain perfection immediately upon awakening from the grave (“just men made perfect” – Heb. 12:22-23), whereas the world will be raised in the same condition as when they went into the grave. It will require the entire thousand years to bring the world back to perfection. These Ancient Worthies will attain the honor of being “princes in all the earth” during the Millennium, and their work will be to rule as judges and teachers. (Psa. 45:16; Isa. 1:26)

Moving on to the class referred to as “your young men,” we notice that they are linked in standing and in work with the “old men.” Since we call the latter the Ancient Worthies, we call the “young men” the Youthful Worthies. These contrasting names are appropriate for another reason. As the Ancient Worthies appeared in God’s Plan before the door was opened to the High Calling, the Youthful Worthies appear in God’s Plan after the door to the High Calling is closed.

According to the Bible, the opportunity of entering the High Calling was to close after the full number of the Elect had been chosen. (Rom. 11:25) This synchronizes with the end of the reaping of the Harvest from 1874 to 1914. But as many desired to and did serve God faithfully before the opportunity to enter the High Calling was opened, so since the opportunity to enter the High Calling has closed many desire to and do serve God faithfully. Since they show the same spirit of devotion to God as the Ancient Worthies, God purposes to associate them with the Ancient Worthies in Millennial and Post-Millennial rewards and service. An entrance to this class will be available in the end of this age for all who come to the Lord in full consecration, and will continue until this age ends – or until Restitution sets in and a way is opened for the world of mankind.

Commenting on the status of those who present themselves in consecration after the close of the High Calling, That Servant noted that since God is unchangeable, He is always pleased for any to devote their lives wholly and unreservedly to doing His will. (See Reprint 4836) His advice then to all who love the Lord and who desire to be in complete fellowship with Him was the same message that has gone forth throughout this age: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.” (Rom. 12:1)

It is because the Youthful Worthies have the faith of Abraham that they will be blessed with him and have the privilege of participating in the blessing of all nations. (Gal. 3:6-9) Having this faith quality, they heed the Lord’s invitation to consecrate; they give Him their hearts. (Prov. 23:26) There being no opportunity for them to win a crown with Christ, He does not beget them of His Spirit, but gives them a new human heart to love Truth and Righteousness and to serve Him. They too, like the Little Flock, become dead to self and the world and alive to God, practicing watchfulness and prayer, studying and spreading, the Word. Thus the Youthful Worthies also must be faithful to the Lord – even unto death, if He deems it necessary.

We read, “Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country.” (Lev. 24:22) The “stranger” here types those consecrating between the ages. They are “strangers” because they are strangers to the Little Flock, having consecrated themselves too late to be of that select company. Just as there was “one manner of law” for the Jews and for the foreigners visiting in their land, Youthful Worthies are under the same law as the Saints, meaning they make the same manner of consecration – a complete desire to do God’s will and they have been similarly blessed with a clear understanding of Present Truth.

These four elect classes, the Little Flock, Great Company, Ancient Worthies and Youthful Worthies, are the only consecrated classes of the Jewish and Gospel Ages. They are the only saved classes for elect purposes. God has not been dealing with the world of mankind during these ages, including the last special period of this Gospel Age, the Epiphany. God’s “due time” for dealing with the non-elect, the Restitutionists, is when the Highway of Holiness is opened up for them. (Isa. 35:8)


We understand the term “your sons” of our text to represent Fleshly Israel, a class presented in the Scriptures as separate and distinct from other classes. (Isa. 60:4, 9) They are the seed of Jacob, and as such have a special promise and call from the Lord. They are promised that they will forever inherit Canaan; their call is that in them (as a secondary earthly seed, under the Ancient Worthies and Youthful Worthies as the primary earthly seed) all the families of the earth will be blessed. (Gen. 28:13-14; Rom. 11:28-29) For this purpose God chose them in preference to all other nations to be His people. (Amos. 3:2) He favored them with special revelations, providences, and His Law Covenant to give them the opportunity as a nation to become “a kingdom of priests.” (Exod. 19:5-6) He used them to furnish a practical demonstration that none of Adam’s race can fulfill God’s Law and gain life by obedience to the Law, which is the full measure of a perfect man’s ability. (Rom. 3:9, 19-20; Gal. 3:10-12) Many tried hard but failed to keep the Law perfectly. This awakened in them the realization of the need and the desire for a Savior. (Gal. 3:21-24, 13) God also used the actions and institutions of Fleshly Israel as types illustrating future features of His Plan (Heb. 9:9-10; Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:16-17); and He used them to preserve His oracles, which He deposited in their care. (Rom. 3:1-2)

Though they were not perfect, some among them proved faithful, and thus became of the Ancient Worthies. When Christ came in His first advent, there were some individuals among them who proved to be “Israelites indeed.” However, the bulk of them rejected Him. (John 1:11-13, 47; Rom. 2:28-29) Consequently they were rejected from God’s favor as a class until the end of the Gospel Age. (Matt. 23:34-39; Rom. 11:7-11, 25) Through­out this age God has permitted them to suffer miseries as perhaps no other single nation has suffered. (Jer. 16:13, 17-18)

True to prophecy, they have been blinded to the High Calling of the Gospel Age (with individual exceptions). However, the Bible prophesies their return to God’s favor and to their land at the end of this age. (Jer. 16:14-16; Ezek. 36:24, 28-30; Amos 9:14-15; Rom. 11:25-32) The Apostle Paul says, “Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles [full number of the Bride of Christ] be come in.” With the selection of that class complete, these prophecies are fulfilling before our very eyes. Since the year 1878, ever increasing numbers of Jews have returned to their land and Israel’s blindness and prejudice toward Christ are lifting. These events are precursors of the Millennium. (Ezek. 37:21-25)

Because they are “beloved for the fathers’ sakes” (Rom. 11:28), they who have been so greatly despised during the Gospel Age will become greatly favored during the Millennium as the chief nation of earth. Their past experiences in the Jewish Age and the Gospel Age, combined with their efforts to fulfill the Law, will serve to adapt them to the Kingdom arrangements. As they continue to be obedient to these arrangements, they will be lifted up to the perfection of human nature as Father Adam enjoyed it in the beginning. Those who prove true to the Lord during the trial of the “little season” at the end of the Millennium (Rev. 20:3, 7-9) will inherit the land that God promised Abraham and his seed after him (Gen. 13:14-17; Acts 7:5); but during the Millennium this land will belong to the Ancient Worthies.

However, those Israelites who either during the Jewish Age or the Gospel Age apostatized, by giving up faith in the Abrahamic promises and the Law Covenant, will not receive the special Millennial favor just described. They will be treated as Gentiles during the Millennium, for their apostasy made them practical, if not fleshly, Gentiles. Likewise, we believe that persevering but unconsecrated Gentile believers of the Gospel Age will be included among “your sons.” These are those who were faithful in tentative justification but not faithful enough to make and carry out consecration vows while the ascendency of sin is still in the world.

The sixth and last of the saved classes mentioned in Joel 2:28-29 are those referred to as “your daughters.” (Isa. 60:4; Ezek. 16:61) Israel’s superiority to the Gentiles during the Millennium is from the standpoint of the superiority of sons to daughters in middle-eastern culture. This harmo­nizes with the thought that the daughters represent the Gentiles, meaning nations that are not in covenant relation with God. Hence all who are not of Natural or Spiritual Israel (“both houses” – Isa. 8:14) are from the Divine standpoint Gentiles. Accordingly, the human race from the Fall until the Covenant was made with Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3) was entirely Gentile. Because they did not desire to glorify God, He gave them over to their own ways, which as both the Bible and history attest, have been largely evil. (Rom. 1:21-32)

In permitting the Gentiles to take their own course in experiencing evil, God designed that the Gentile world, who refused to retain Him in their knowledge, might learn the lesson that they would not learn by precept – that sin is bad – bad in its nature and bad in its effects. That they might better learn this lesson, He simply let them follow their own selfish hearts and permitted Satan and his fallen angels to secure dominion over them, knowing that these would give them such experiences as would make all the more impressive the detestableness of sin and the desirability of avoiding and of being free from it. (Eph. 2:2; Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 4:4; Heb. 2:14)

This lesson has not yet been taken to heart by the Gentiles. During the Millennium the opposite experience with righteousness will come to mankind through the blessings of the Reign of Christ. Then the misery suffered under the experience with evil contrasted with the blessings enjoyed under the experience with good will effectually teach them to hate and avoid sin, and to love and practice righteousness.


We find the six saved classes typed in Noah’s Ark. Saint Peter describes the Ark salvation as, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us.” (1 Pet. 3:20-21) The Ark typified Christ and His power to replenish and reorganize society. (See Studies in the Scriptures, Volume I, page 318) In other words, the Ark portrays the embodiment of God’s Plan.

There were four human pairs who went into the Ark, as well as one pair of every clean and unclean kind of animal, representing all saved classes of mankind. The four elect classes are represented in Noah and his three sons and their wives – the Christ Company, the Ancient Worthies, the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies. Noah undoubtedly types our Lord, the “heir of the righteousness which is by faith” (Heb. 11:7) and Noah’s wife types the Little Flock, His Bride. Noah’s sons represent the leaders of their respective classes, and their wives the rest of these classes. The animals in the Ark fittingly represent the non-elect who will ultimately be saved. The clean animals represent the Jews (who were typically clean) as well as the tentatively justified. The unclean animals represent the Gentiles, those of the present unclean world. Those who perished in the flood represent the Second Death class, as well as the systems of Satan’s empire.

The fact that only six saved classes are identified in the Scriptures may strike some as being incomplete, since many things in the Divine arrangement come in sevens, and six is the number of evil or imperfection. But as we consider the matter further, we realize that while there are only six saved classes from the human family, there is another, a seventh saved class mentioned in the Scriptures, viz., the repentant fallen angels. God will also offer the opportunity of life eternal to them. At Christ’s appearing, i.e. His Epiphany, the unrepentant angels will be imprisoned with Satan until the end of the “little season” when they, along with Satan, will be executed. (2 Pet. 2:4; Rev. 20:3, 9) The repentant Angels will be placed under Christ and the Church for their Millennial opportunities of overcoming everything sinful in them and of developing perfect love, fitting them for the heavenly society and fellowship with God.


According to the Scriptures the climax of evil is reached in the Time of Trouble, consisting of world-wide wars, revolution and anarchy. (1 Kings 19:11-12) It is quite evident that we have entered this Great Tribulation. It will entirely sweep away Satan’s Empire and pave the way for the establishment of God’s Kingdom. This will first be set into operation by The Christ working through the Ancient Worthies in Israel, where it will speedily and greatly benefit the Israelites. Then the news of its establishment will spread among the Gentiles, who at that time will be utterly exhausted, broken and humbled by the horrors of the Time of Trouble. It will be to them like a rope thrown to a drowning man – the Gentile world will grasp for it as their only hope of deliverance from their unspeakable miseries. (Hag. 2:6-7; Rom. 8:19-22; Isa. 2:2-4) Thanks be to God, it will be the effectual cure of the curse, and will teach the world righteousness! (Rev. 22:3; Isa. 26:9) They will indeed exalt God in the “congregation of the people” (the Little Flock) and praise Him in the “assembly of the elders” (the Ancient Worthies). (Psa. 107:32) The glorious work of that Kingdom in destroying every element of the curse and introducing Restitution to human perfection will more than satisfy their hearts. (Rev. 21:3-5; Rev. 22:1-3; Acts 3:19-24)

Thus, both Jew and Gentile will be brought together under the one God of Israel by the one Mediator between God and men, Jesus Christ. (Deut. 6:4; Mark 12:29; 1 Tim. 2:5) The six saved classes cover all the human classes saved through the Ransom. There is no hint of a seventh human class in the Bible. The entire non-elect portion of the human family, whether living or dead at the time of the establishment of the Kingdom, will become the subjects of the Kingdom. The result of the Kingdom reign will be the utter eradication of all the effects of the curse. (Psa. 98:1-4; Psa. 22:27-29; Isa. 25:6-8) “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1 Cor. 15:25-26)



Question: The LHMM teach that Nethinim is the type of the Consecrated Epiphany Campers. Does this type teach that the Consecrated Epiphany Campers supplant the Jews in the Kingdom?

Answer: All types given by the LHMM are for the purpose of replacing the Jews in the Kingdom. They do not teach “to the Jew first,” as do the Apostle Paul and the two Messengers. All types must be supported in plain terms in the Scriptures: “A type must not be used to teach a doctrine, but merely to illustrate one that is already taught in plain terms.” (Bible Students Manual, Berean Topical Index, page 25)

The Scriptures teach that in Jacob’s last trouble the Jews as a nation will accept Jesus as their Messiah. (Zech. 12:10) During that time, the Lord will fight for them as in the “day of battle” (Zech. 14:1-3) and afterward the Kingdom will be inaugurated. Then the Lord’s message to the Jews will be: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” (Isa. 60:1-3)

According to the teaching of the LHMM, the Consecrated Epiphany Campers would be the first to shine. However, we have no Scripture in plain terms that teach this non-existent class will supplant the Jews. The LHMM is “contending for the teaching of a Great Company,” and not for the Truth that was once given unto the saints. We have no Scripture that exhorts us to “contend” for the teaching of a crown-loser, especially if the crown-loser teaches anything that conflicts with the teaching of the saints. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3) We are on safe ground when we contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints.

We can rely on types only as corroboration of what is taught in “plain terms” in the Scriptures. When Brother Russell understood the Tabernacle types and antitypes, he was enabled to write the six volumes of the Studies in the Scriptures. So types are valuable when used in harmony with God’s Word. We well realize that “The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” (Prov. 4:18) But any so-called “new light” that sets aside what we have learned and been assured of is really “new error.” We do not want to be “Ever learning, and never able come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Tim. 3:7, 14) The exhortation is: “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)

The LHMM teach that the Epiphany ended in 1954, and is now overlapping into the Basiliea. Their “overlapping,” is now longer than their Epiphany proper. We are clearly taught that the Epiphany and the Time of Trouble are the same length – when one ends so will the other. Did the Time of Trouble end in 1954? It seems they should now call their non-existent class “Consecrated Basiliea Campers” at this time.

We continue to teach that the opportunity for Youthful Worthies will be until Restitution sets in as was taught by both Messengers. In Tabernacle types, a place represents a condition in antitype. Anyone consecrating now may be in the condition of the court – that is, if their consecration is acceptable to the Lord. Restitutionists will consecrate to The Christ in the Basiliea camp. Jesus is not accepting consecration of the Restitutionists in the Epiphany Camp.

Question: Are Consecrated Epiphany Campers represented in any way in Noah’s Ark?

Answer: No! And it would be essential for them to be shown in the Ark in some clear manner if they are a genuine class, because the Ark typifies God’s complete Plan of Salvation and the power of Christ to replenish and reorganize society. Noah’s Ark also does not portray the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Jonadabs, or any of the earthly “Organization” they claim will survive Armageddon.


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