by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 728

“For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Rom. 11:27)

God is not in covenant relationship with the brute creation; to them He has made no promises, although He has made a general provision for their needs. But we may understand that with all His intelligent creation He has a covenant, or agreement, to the effect that so long as they will do His will they shall possess life. Because of violation of that arrangement, the fallen angels were cast off, reserved in “chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6), to receive their final punishment. When Adam and Eve were disobedient, they violated this covenant, and came under the sentence of death. “But they like men [‘Adam’ in Hebrew] have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.” (Hos. 6:7)

Because of Adam’s transgression, the world is not in covenant relationship with God in any sense of the word. On the contrary, they are aliens, strangers, foreigners. (Eph. 2:11-13) God brought Abraham back into covenant relationship to some extent, but not fully so. To the nation of Israel He made certain promises in the form of a Law Covenant; whoever kept that Covenant would demonstrate worthiness to receive the blessing God promised to Abraham – that through him all the families of the earth would be blessed. (Gen. 12:3)

Moses was the mediator of the Law Covenant, for it was impossible to make the Covenant with Israel directly. Although they were unable to keep that Covenant because of inherited weaknesses of the flesh, it brought them a measure of blessing, as St. Paul points out. (Rom. 7:7) While it lifted Israel above the degradation into which the Gentiles were falling, nevertheless it did not bring the blessing for which they longed. It did not remove the death penalty – it did not give them life.

In the clear light now shining for the people of God, we see that the Law Covenant was only a type of a better Covenant to be made with Israel after the Church of Christ has been glorified; that Moses himself was only a type of a better Mediator; that the sacrifices of the Law were only types of the “better sacrifices” (Heb. 9:23), and that their priesthood was a type of the Royal Priesthood of the Gospel Age. (Heb. 7:27)

The words covenant and promise are used synonymously in the Scriptures. The children of Israel were under the Abrahamic Covenant long before they entered into the Law Covenant. They are still under those Covenants. St. Paul says, “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew.” (Rom. 11:2) Then he proceeds to say that after the Elect Church has been gathered from among the Gentiles, the favor of God will return to Israel; for they are still beloved for the “fathers’ sakes.” The fathers of Israel are the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Jews are, therefore, under the Abrahamic Covenant. (Rom. 11:25-28)


An actual covenant relationship is one that is fully established – not merely suggested, or pro­posed, but accomplished. As Israel approached Mt. Sinai, God proposed to make a covenant with them. When all was ready, the Covenant was made through Moses as the mediator. The work of mediation was twofold; the first part was the sprinkling of the Law, representing the satisfaction of Justice; the second part was the sprinkling of the people, representing the bringing of the people into covenant relationship with God. That Covenant was then fully made, and has remained in operation ever since. (Exod. 24:3-8; Heb. 9:19)

God made a covenant with the Israelites which was to last for centuries; however, it was good for only one year at a time. For the first year the people were in harmony with God, but at the end of that time the cancellation of sins ceased; for the blood of bulls and of goats cannot take away sin. The whole arrangement was only a type. At the end of that first year, the Day of Atonement was inaugurated, and sacrifices were made for another year. The fact that the Atonement Day sacrifices were repeated year by year shows that they were efficacious for only a year at a time, and so never really took away sin. (Heb. 10:1-4)

After the Day of Atonement, the people made various kinds of offerings. Some of these seem to typify the presentation of the worshiper himself to God, as an indication that he wished to do the will of God. Others were for sin-offerings, indicating that the worshiper realized that there had been a measure of willfulness in his conduct. So rigid are the requirements of the Law Covenant that only one Jew, the Lord Jesus Christ, was able to keep them. This He could do because He was perfect, and the Law is the measure of a perfect man’s full ability.

The Israelites were in covenant relationship with God through Moses, the mediator of their Covenant, as demonstrated by the fact that Moses said, “He declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten command­ments.” (Deut. 4:13) Therefore the Jew is bound by the Law so long as he lives. (Rom. 7:1) Although the Law Covenant is not intended to be an everlasting arrangement, the only Jews who have been able to get from under it are those who have come into Christ; the remainder cannot rid themselves of it. But the time draws near when the Lord God will make a New Covenant with them through a new Mediator, The Christ, who will assist them to keep the Law satisfactorily and thus to be delivered from the evil features of their Covenant.

At the close of the Babylonian Captivity, the Prophet Daniel asked the Lord for an explanation of the prophecies relating to His  people. The answer to his prayer is given in detail: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Dan. 9:24-27) All these things were to be done in those seventy weeks. Of this period of time, we find that the seventieth week was the most critical, for it was the week during which Messiah was to confirm the Covenant.[1]


During that period of seven years, God bestowed special favor upon the Jews. At the beginning of that week of years, our Lord, who was then thirty years of age, presented Himself to God as a sacrifice. This presentation was the first feature of the antitypical Atonement Day work, and corresponded to the sacrifice of the bullock in the type. Our Lord began the antitypical sacrifices; as St. Paul says, “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.” (Heb. 10:9) Our Lord there began to take away the type and to establish the antitype and during His ministry He fulfilled various features of the types. At Calvary His work of sacrificing Himself was finished, and the Divine acceptance of that sacrifice was manifested. Thus He took His place as the antitypical Moses.

Many other features of that antitypical Atonement Day work are not yet completed. It was a part of the Atonement for the High Priest to offer the Lord’s goat and to take its blood into the Most Holy and to sprinkle it there. It was also a part of the Atonement Day work for him to come out and confess the sins of the people on the scape-goat, and a still further part for him to bless the people.

The Prophet’s statement that in the midst of the week Messiah would cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease (Dan. 9:27), implies that our Lord would there terminate the typical work for Israel as a people; they were rejected from Divine favor when they crucified Him. A few days before His death, our Lord had said, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” (Matt. 23:38)

This rejection of the Jewish nation does not indicate the end of their Law Covenant. To the Church of Christ, who have been given the privilege of understanding the deep things of the Spirit of God, it appears that the efficacy of the typical sacrifices, which were offered year by year continually, ceased at the death of our Lord; and that since that time, as a nation they have had no Divine favor; but that the only ones who have had favor since then are those who have come out of Moses into Christ. The typical sacrifices continued until the time when Christ died, for the reason that Jesus Himself was under the Law, a part of which He fulfilled, and no feature of which can pass away until all has been fulfilled. (Matt. 5:17-18)

After our Lord’s ascension, it was possible for greater work to be done than ever before. The work of our Lord was cut short nationally, but it increased the opportunity of the Jews individually. While there were only about five hundred Jews who believed on Jesus until His death, thousands were added afterward. (1 Cor. 15:6; Acts 2:41) During the three and a half years following our Lord’s death, God did not recognize the Gentiles, for He had said that He would give seventy weeks to the Jews, and therefore He allowed no favor to go to the Gentiles until that period had expired.

After the expiration of the seventy weeks of years set apart for Israel, the Gospel began to go to the Gentiles, to gather from among them “a people for his name.” (Acts 15:13-18) The antitypical Atonement work has been progressing during this Gospel Age. Our Lord has already offered the antitypical bullock in the sacrifice of Himself. Since Pentecost, He has been offering the antitypical goat – the Church class. As soon as this work has been finished, the blood will be taken into the Most Holy, to sprinkle the Mercy-Seat and to “make atonement for all the people,” as in the type.


The Abrahamic Covenant, as it was given to Abraham, is a complete covenant; its provisions include all mankind, for it reads, “In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 28:14; Gen. 12:3) Its promise is to THE SEED: (1) Jesus; (2) The Christ, Head and Body (the Church); (3) the earthly seed through them. Its provisions extend to all who have the faith of Abraham. The promise of God was that a blessing shall come to all the families of the earth. This promise was confirmed by an oath on the part of God, so that by two immutable things – the oath and the promise of God – the heirs of the promise may be sure of its fulfilment. (Heb. 6:13-18)

The Seed of Abraham, which is to bless all the families of the earth, was intended to be a Spiritual Seed. The only way by which natural men could become the Spiritual Seed was by the sacrifice of the earthly nature and the attaining to the spirit nature. The opportunity for making this sacrifice was first given to our Lord Jesus. By carrying out His covenant of sacrifice, He became the Head of the Seed which is to bring the blessing. (Psa. 50:5; Psa. 40:7-10) The selection of this Spiritual Seed has been the work of the Gospel Age. With the Seed all gathered, the work of blessing the natural seed will begin, and through them the blessing will subsequently spread to all nations, to as many as are willing to accept the Divine favor.

The Church will always be in covenant relationship with the Father. The fact that He calls them sons implies that they are bound to Him. (John 1:12) Every father is in covenant relationship with his children, and they with him. Every child has a responsibility to the father, and the father to the child. The fact that God has received the Lord Jesus and the Church as sons (Heb. 3:6) signifies that they are in covenant relationship with Him. St. Paul says, “We are the children of God: And if children, then heirs.” (Rom. 8:16-17) His statement not only implies that relationship, but proves it; for the sons have a right to the things which the father has provided for his children.

All who hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matt. 5:6), all whose souls long for God “as the hart panteth after the water brooks” (Psa. 42:1), all who having found Him have consecrated them­selves to Him – these have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, witnessing with their spirit that they are sons of God. (Rom. 8:14-16) As anointed sons these can discover in themselves the worthy traits of true sons – loyalty, zeal, energy, discretion, faithfulness, obedience.

There are, however, conditions attached to this covenant of sacrifice; there are certain requirements which must be fulfilled. All must become partakers of the sufferings of Christ, if they would participate with Him in the glories to follow.


In Jer. 31:31-33, we read, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah . . . After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” We understand the expression “those days,” to refer to Israel’s “seven times” of punishment promised by the Lord for the violation of their Law Covenant. (Lev. 26:18) This New Covenant is to be made with Israel alone; for God never purposed to make a covenant with the Gentiles. The New Covenant will properly be so called because it will take the place of the old Law Covenant, which God made with Israel and which was broken by them. After Israel has been fully established under their New Covenant, all other nations (all peoples) will be privileged to come into this relationship. (Isa. 2:2-3)

Since the people are not worthy to enter directly into relationship with God, the New Covenant must have a Mediator. A covenant does not go into operation until after it has been fully mediated. The Mediator of the New Covenant is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Church, His Body. The Scriptures indicate that the Mediator is complete or nearly complete.

When Moses mediated the Law Covenant, he first offered sacrifices, then took the blood of the animals, dividing it into two parts, and sprinkled both the Book of the Law and the people. Through­out the Gospel Age, our Lord has been offering the great antitypical sacrifices of Himself and His Church. As soon as He will have finished making application of the blood, He will have made satisfaction for the sins of the world. This act will correspond to the sprinkling of the Book by Moses. Divine Justice having accepted this arrangement, the Mediator will antitypically sprinkle the people; that is, He will show them how to come back into full accord with God. (Exod. 24:4-8; Heb. 9:19-24)

The New Covenant will begin to swallow up the old Law Covenant as soon as the Kingdom is established. Gradually the light will come to all who love righteousness and hate iniquity. Sprinkled from all sympathy with evil, they will make their declaration of full loyalty to God. In due time this light will spread to all kindreds and tongues and peoples. (Isa. 60:3)


Speaking of the New Covenant, the Prophet Jeremiah says, “They shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:34) The sins and iniquities of Israel will no longer be remem­bered against them. Christ will have appeared on their behalf and made satisfaction for their sins. They will then be as free from original sin as the Gospel Church are; the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for all. (1 John 2:2)

The Prophet Ezekiel tells us that during the next age the hearts of mankind will be changed: “Thus saith the Lord God  . . . A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” (Ezek. 36:22-27) This change of heart is entirely aside from the making of the New Covenant. It will take a thousand years to remove the stoniness out of the hearts of mankind and to make them stand without a Mediator. Those who receive everlasting life must attain this condition; for all of God’s creatures who would live forever must keep His Law perfectly.

Because of their imperfection, God will not recognize the people during the Millennium. All of their dealings will be through the Mediator. The very moment when the merit of Christ is applied for the world is the same moment when they will be turned over to the Mediator. They will then be in covenant relation­ship with God, but only through the Mediator. Only when they have reached human perfection can they enter into this relationship directly with the Father. When they are brought up to perfection at the end of the thousand years, they will be delivered up to the Father. (1 Cor. 15:24) God will then receive them as sons, heirs of the earthly blessings which He has provided for mankind – the things given to Adam.

The New Covenant will be everlasting; and as it is proper to say that Moses mediated the Law Covenant, so we may say that Christ will mediate the New Covenant. But it would not be proper to say that Moses is now the Mediator of the Law Covenant; for a covenant does not need a mediator after it has been mediated. So the New Covenant will need no Mediator after the thousand years. But the title “Mediator” may belong to Christ to all eternity, just as one who has been a judge may always retain the title of “Judge.”

At the end of the thousand years, when the Messiah will have accomplished His work of Restitution, He will cease to act as Mediator. But the Covenant will continue to stand; for if that relationship with God were to be removed from the people, they would have no blessing of everlasting life. That blessing depends upon covenant relationship with God. Under the favorable con­ditions of the New Covenant, whosoever will may have an opportunity to become the children of The Christ, the Seed of Abraham.

At the conclusion of the thousand years, the willing and the obedient receive the commendation, “Well done,” and will be accepted as fit for the condition of everlasting life on the human plane. Those who prove to be unworthy of life will be destroyed in the Second Death. (Acts 3:23)

(Drawn from Reprint 5162, edited and condensed to fit the space.)



“Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:16-17)

We are living in a day when the very word doctrine seems to offend the majority of Christian people. Each denomination realizes that its own system of doctrines is imperfect, unsatisfactory and indefensible, while believing the same to be true of all other doctrines. So by mutual consent, Christian people seem disposed to hence­forth and forever ignore doctrines, believing that if after twenty centuries they are thus confused, the matter never was clear and never will be.

This is a great mistake; the doctrines of Christ, as presented by the Great Teacher and His Apostles, comprised a great message, of which none of them were ashamed. The difficulty is that we gradually fell away from those doctrines, putting darkness for light and light for darkness, and thus gradually got into the spirit of Babylon, and into the spirit of bondage to human traditions and creeds. Instead of shunning doctrines, we should realize that they are the very things needed to scatter darkness and superstition and draw all God’s people together.

The doctrines of Christ and the Apostles are what we need to inspire us to break down all the creed fences that have so long separated us in various denominational folds, all of which are contrary to the Divine arrangement; for God has but the one fold for all His “sheep” of this age, as He will have another fold for the Restitution “sheep” of the next age – the Messianic Kingdom Age.

If as God’s people we put away sectarianism and the creed spectacles of our forefathers, if we go with pure, sincere hearts to the Lord and His Word, there is no doubt we will there find again the “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all,” and one “church of the firstborn,” whose names are “written in heaven.” (Eph. 4:5-6; Heb. 12:23)

The time seems long to all of us, even though we remember that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years.” (2 Pet. 3:8) It is enough to stagger our faith unless we hold firmly to the Divine promise and remember that God confirmed it with an Oath. By these two immutable, unchangeable things, the Divine Word and the Divine Oath, we know that the Seed of Abraham is to be developed, and that eventually it is to bless all the families of the earth. It is the Divine will that we allow our faith in this great promise of God to be “an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” (Heb. 6:17-19)


What we all need as God’s people is to put away human theories and other gospels and take hold afresh on the Gospel of Christ. These other gospels (for example Theosophy, Evolution, New Theology, etc.) are other messages of hope, aside from the one which the Bible presents. These all hold out a different gospel from that which Jesus and the Apostles presented; the one that was given to us for our sanctification, and through the holding fast of which, and the obedience to The Faith, we are to be saved and given a share with Messiah in His glorious Empire of the world.

The doctrines of Christ are the doctrines presented in the Bible by Jesus and His mouth­pieces, the Apostles. These doctrines relate to the Church and to the world, and God’s blessing for each; they relate to sin and its forgiveness; the terms of that forgiveness, the basis of that forgiveness – the death of Jesus – and the hope of that forgive­ness, release from Divine condemnation, fellowship with God, and ever­lasting life obtained through resurrection of the dead.

Some will inquire why it is so difficult to understand the doctrines of Christ. Why are there hundreds of different denominations of Christians? The simple explanation is that when, shortly after the death of the Apostles, the Church began to have a measure of prosperity, the Adversary came in and sowed the seeds of false doctrines, using human lips and human pens in his service, through pride and ambition. The darkness became so great that today we speak of the period as the “Dark Ages.”

The various denominations of Christendom are evidence of honesty, perseverance and love of the Truth, because our forefathers, who made these creeds, were each trying to get more and more out of the dark and back to the true light. They all made the mistake, however, of holding too much to the creeds and theories of the past. Let us not make the same mistake; let us cut loose entirely from every authority outside the Word of God. We should be glad to have the assistance of whoever can help us understand God’s Word, but we cannot acknow­ledge as inspired or authoritative the teachings of the “fathers” of the early times, however conscientious they may have been. We cannot recognize that any such were authorized successors to the Apostles.

God, who foretold through the Prophets this long period of darkness, and who has blessed and guided His saintly children throughout it, without removing all of their blindness, has promised that with the end of this age will come a great blessing and enlightenment upon His people, when the “wise virgins” will find their lamps burning brightly, and be able to understand and appreciate the deep things of God: “None of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Dan. 12:10) In the end of this age the curtain is to be drawn, and the true light is to shine forth, scattering all the darkness. (1 John 2:8) We are in the dawning of this new age today, and therefore may see much more clearly than our forefathers the Divine character and Plan for human salvation.

The Master gives us the key to a clear knowledge of His doctrines, namely, that the student must be fully consecrated to God and fully desirous of knowing His will and His plan. In order to see God’s light, to see the Truth from the Divine standpoint, we must draw near to God in the spirit of our minds, consecrated in our heart. We must will to do His will.

But what does this mean? God’s will represents actual perfection of thought and word and deed, toward God, toward our fellows in the Body of Christ, and toward all mankind. This is the Divine Standard set up, but we are no more able to fulfil its demands than were the Jews. As St. Paul declares, “Ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:17) We all have weakness of the flesh, frailty and imperfection as does the world; the best that we can do is to will to do right, and to the best of our ability carry out that covenant with the Lord to do His will. At the very best all will come short of perfection.

But for those who have come into harmony with God through Christ – for those who have made a covenant with Him by sacrifice – for those who have Jesus for their Advocate, a provision has been made whereby the willing, all desiring to do the Divine will, and endeavoring to do so, are counted as righteous – as though they did the Divine will perfectly. It is to these that the promises of our text apply, that they shall know to do the Divine will, shall know whether Jesus merely made up these teachings of Himself, or whether He was the active agent of the Father in what He did and taught.

Shall we not determine to give our hearts, our wills, fully to the Lord – determine in our wills to do God’s will? If so, following the instructions of the Word of God we shall doubtless be blessed and enabled fully to know, to appreciate, to understand, the doctrines of Christ – the deep things of God, which are revealed by the Spirit of God.

(Drawn from Reprint 5136, edited and condensed to fit the space.)

[1] See Studies in the Scriptures, Volume II, Chapter III, where it is shown that this week began October, A.D. 29 and closed October, A.D. 36 – from the beginning of our Lord’s ministry until the conversion of Cornelius, the first Gentile to receive the Holy Spirit.


by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 727

“For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast.” (1 Cor. 5:7-8)

The annual observance of our Lord’s death occurs this year after six p.m., March 29. The date is determined by this method: The moon nearest the Vernal Equinox becomes new in Jerusalem on March 17 at 3:11 p.m., thus establishing 6 p.m. March 16 as the beginning of Nisan 1, Bible reckoning. Counting forward to Nisan 14, we arrive at 6 p.m. March 29. Any time that evening after 6 p.m. would be proper for the celebration.

The date for the observance of the Jewish Passover should be the same as for our observance of the Memorial of Christ our Passover. The reason the dates are not the same is because the Jews often allow the condition of the moon to govern their reckoning of the date, whereas, the Bible is very positive that the date should be Nisan 14, regardless of the condition of the moon on that date. We calculate the date using Jerusalem time because the Bible was written in that district. However, any errors in calculating the date, by Jews or by any others, should not be regarded as a crime or sacrilege on their part. If we should err in calculating the date, through ignorance or misun­derstanding, we believe the Lord would accept our good intentions, and forgive the error and grant His blessing.

There was only one real Passover; the annual observance of the Jewish Passover is simply a memorial for that awesome event in Egypt. The Israelites were commanded to celebrate the Passover as the first feature of the Law and as one of their greatest memorials as a nation: “And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.” (Exod. 12:24) This has been done by Jews in all parts of the world, even by renegades and agnostics. Respect for this ancient service is in their very blood, so it is one feature of the Law that has not been violated.

They were told to keep this memorial joyfully, and they concluded that nothing could cheer them better than wine. Conse­quently, four cups of wine were used during the evening, the first before any food was eaten, and the last after the meal had been completed. At the time Jesus ate the last Passover with His disciples, this custom was followed so seriously that poor Jews were provided wine from the public coffer if they could not afford it, because it was not to be just wine, but good wine, the best to be had.

Of course, in the original Passover in Egypt there is no record that wine was used. If any was used at all, we may be sure it was not done to the same degree that subsequent memorials did. That night was a very solemn night; there was no rejoicing, but instead a sober readiness for departure from Egypt the next morning. God had specifically instructed that they eat the lamb, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread, with their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, “and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s Passover.” (Exod. 12:11)

All the instructions of a reasonable God must be reasonable; and while many do not now understand the reasonableness of the various features of the Passover, in “due time” they will be taught to all in a clear and under­standable manner. The Jews do now realize that some features of their Law carried great significance. For instance, their Sabbath day foreshadowed a time of rest from the labor of sin and death. They were told that those who kept the Law would live in it. The Jews did not want to die any more than the gentiles, so they speedily answered, “All these things will we do, and live!”

As we keep the Lord’s Supper as the antitype of the Great Passover, it is well that we keep in mind that we commemorate the greatest event of all history, the sacrificial death of the Savior of the world. And, while there is extensive and elaborate observance of Passover and Easter, few people engaging in those observances appreciate their real significance. As St. Paul has written, “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.” (2 Cor. 4:4) Even with those who are partially awakened, St. Peter says they are “blind, and cannot see afar off.” (2 Pet. 1:9) They do not fully appreciate things related to this ceremony, which has been observed now in type and antitype for more than three thousand years.


We are told, “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.” (1 Cor. 5:7) However, instead of using the lamb and unleavened bread, we use the symbols that Jesus Himself instituted the night before He died, the unleavened bread and the wine being substi­tuted for the lamb and bread. Some may object to this course, but there is no record at all that the early Christians ever again used the lamb and bread; it was always the bread and wine!

Blessed are those whose eyes can see that Jesus was indeed “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), that can see that the cancellation of the world’s sin is to be effected by the payment of man’s penalty, by the application of Jesus’ sacrificial merit in due time for the sins of all mankind. Only faithful believers have as yet received of the merit of Jesus’ death. Greatly favored are those who can see that as the whole world lost Divine favor and came under Divine sentence of death, with its concomitant of sorrow and pain, so it was necessary that a satisfaction of justice should be made before this sentence, or curse, could be removed; and that therefore, as the Apostles declare, “Christ died for our sins”“the just for the unjust.” (1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Pet. 3:18) Thus He opened up a new and living way – a way of life everlasting, not only for us, but for the whole world of mankind in that glorious Kingdom.

The Scriptures call the Church of Christ the “church of the firstborn;” “a kind of firstfruits of his creatures;” and “the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” (Heb. 12:23; Jas. 1:18; Rev. 14:4) These expressions imply that ultimately there will be others of God’s family who are later born; they imply after-fruits. Christian people in general seem to have overlooked these Scriptures, and have generally come to believe that only those who are designated in the Bible as the first-fruits will ever be saved – that there will be no after-fruits.

But the Passover type indicates that it was God’s purpose to save all Israelites, and that as a nation they represented all among man­kind who will ultimately come into harmony with God and be granted everlasting life in the Land of Promise. Note that there was more than one passing over: the one in which only the first-born were passed over, and another greater one at the Red Sea, when by Divine power the whole nation of Israel was miraculously delivered and led across the channel of the sea specially prepared for them by the accentuation of winds and tides. These passed over dry-shod and were saved, while the hosts of Pharaoh, representing all who will eventually go into annihilation, were overwhelmed in the Sea.

The passing over at the Red Sea pictures the ultimate deliverance from the power of sin and death of every member of Adam’s race who desires to come into accord with the Lord and to render Him worship, all who will ever become a part of Israel, for not one Israelite was left behind in Egyptian bondage. Note that not one first-born Jew in Egypt died that night, and not one first-born Egyptian escaped death. The same was true in the Red Sea: not one Jew died; and not one Egyptian remained alive. Little wonder that Moses and Miriam sang their songs of victory after that phenomenal performance! (Exod. 15:1-21) And in the Kingdom only Israelites will live, as all who refuse the Kingdom blessings will die.

But the secondary passing over is not the one we are about to celebrate. We celebrate the antitype of the passing over of the first-born of Israel by the angel of death that night in Egypt. Only the first-born ones of Israel were in danger that night, though the deliverance of the entire nation depended upon the salvation, the passing over, of those first-born. And of the first-born there is no record that anyone of them died that night; they were safe so long as they remained “under the blood.”

Thus the firstborn of the human family, the true Church, were to be “passed over” during this night of the Gospel Age. Only these would be in danger of the destroying angel, but they would be safe so long as they remained under the blood of Jesus; they were all under the sprinkled blood.

In harmony with all the Scriptures, we see that the first-fruits alone were to be spared, passed over, during the present age. But the remainder of mankind who may desire to follow the great antitypical Moses in the age to follow this one will be led forth from the bondage of sin and death, typified by the bondage of the Jews while they were in Egypt. As the Jews were told to remain under the blood that night, or they too would suffer death, so the first-born of this age are also told to remain under the blood of Jesus, or they will suffer death. Some of them have gone out from under the blood, and have suffered extinction as, for instance, Judas. “Good were it for that man if he had never been born.” (Mark 14:21) Divine mercy no longer applies to them.

In “due time” the night of sin and death will merge into the Millennial morning. Then the Christ, the antitypical Moses, will lead forth, will deliver, all the people of God – all who, when they shall come to know, will be glad to reverence, honor and obey the will of God. That “day” of deliverance will be the entire Millennial Age, at the close of which all evil and evil-doers, symbolized by the hosts of Egypt, will be utterly cut off in the Second Death – annihilation. “They shall be as though they had not been.” (Obad. 1:16) They will be cut off in the antitypical Red Sea.

Having clearly and positively identified the Passover Lamb with our Lord Jesus, the Apostle Paul informs us that we all need the blood of sprinkling, not upon our houses, but upon our hearts. (Heb. 10:22) We are to partake of the Lamb; we must also eat of the unleavened Bread of Truth, if we would be strong and prepared for the deliverance in the morning of the new dispensation. Thus we “put on Christ” – not merely by faith, but more and more we put on His character and are transformed into His glorious image in our hearts and lives. (Gal. 3:27)

We feed on Christ as the Jews fed on the literal lamb. Instead of bitter herbs, which aided and whetted their appetites, we have bitter experiences and trials which the Lord prepares for us, and which help to wean our affections from earthly things and give us increased appetites to feed upon the Lamb and the unleavened Bread of Truth. We, too, are to remember that “here have we no continuing city” (Heb. 13:14); but as pilgrims, strangers, staff in hand, we are to gird ourselves for our journey to the Kingdom.

Our Lord Jesus also fully identified Himself with the Passover Lamb. On the same night of His betrayal, just preceding His crucifixion, He gathered His Apostles in the upper room, saying, “I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.” (Luke 22:15) As Jews it was necessary that they celebrate the Passover Supper on that night, the night of the anniversary of the slaying of the Passover lamb of Egypt. It was the anniversary of the saving of the typical first-borns from the typical “prince of this world,” Pharaoh. On this same date the real Passover Lamb was to be slain. But as soon as the requirements of the type had been fulfilled by the eating of the Passover Supper, our Lord Jesus instituted a new Memorial upon the old foundation, saying “This do in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)


Jesus had previously delivered a deep lesson to the Jews: “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove amongst themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” (John 6:49-52)

Jesus then added: “I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.” (John 6:53-55)

These words of Jesus aroused dismay: “These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:59-60) To realize the full impact of Jesus’ words, we must keep in mind that the diet of the religious Jews at that time was much more rigid than it is today; they then adhered scrupulously to the ritual given them through Moses. This is forcefully revealed in Acts 10:9-16, which relates how Peter, in a trance, saw a great sheet lowered to the earth from Heaven. On the sheet were all manner of beasts, and he was commanded to rise, kill and eat. His answer was quick and positive: “I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” (Acts 10:14) The majority of Jesus’ listeners that day would have felt exactly the same way.

Thus their sensibilities were shocked when “this man” said they must eat Him if they would gain life. The very thought of it would nauseate and repel them. His comments offer no problem to us since we know that He clarified this matter on the night in which He was betrayed by offering the loaf and the cup as representing His flesh and His blood. However, it is little wonder that the disciples complained that it was a hard saying, and little wonder that “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66)

Yet Jesus, knowing that His disciples were murmuring, made no effort to explain; He made no effort at all to soothe their abhorrence at His suggested cannibalism. But this also is explained: “Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not” (John 6:64); they were probably some of those who would believe only if they saw one of the Prophets return from the dead. They were not of the leadable and teachable that Jesus was seeking to be “heirs of the Kingdom,” so it was just as well that they should leave.

As these walked away, Jesus said to those remaining, “Will ye also go away?” Although Peter, being thoroughly schooled in the Law, was undoubtedly puzzled by what Jesus had told them, he was quick to respond, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:67-69)

The lesson was too deep for those who walked away, but it is the fundamental teaching of the Gospel of Christ. Whoever cannot receive this lesson (hear this “hard saying”) cannot receive the other lessons which are built upon it. Jesus had not yet given His flesh, though He was in the process of giving it; He was drawing out its vitality, its strength, and would complete the work of His sacrifice by surrendering His all to death – even the death of the cross.


We do not eat the flesh of Jesus literally – we eat it by faith; that is to say, by faith we appropriate to ourselves the merit, the efficacy which was in His flesh and which He surrendered to death on our behalf. But why was this, and what did He surrender, and how do we partake of it? We answer that Adam as the head of the race had forfeited his life through disobedience and hence, instead of being able to propagate a race of perfect beings in harmony with God and privileged to have eternal life, his offspring was like himself, dying, unworthy of eternal life.

In God’s arrangement a redemptive sacrifice was necessary – someone must take Adam’s place, suffer death for him in order to release him and to justify his race from the original sentence. No human being could be found who was perfect and who could give to Justice a ransom – for all were sinners, coming short of the glory, the perfection, which God recognizes as essential to eternal life: “None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Psa. 49:7) It was to meet these requirements that God made the arrangement with His Son by which the latter freely, gladly, for the joy set before Him, died, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. (Heb. 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:18)

So it was our Lord’s flesh or human nature that was given for Adam and his race, and hence given for the life of the world, that the world of mankind might be recovered from under the sentence of death. Thus Jesus, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man and we are all redeemed, not with corruptible things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood (life) of Christ, as a lamb without spot or blemish. (Heb. 2:9; 1 Pet. 1:18-19)

Now that we see how it was necessary for Christ to be made flesh and how it was necessary for Him to give His flesh (His perfect human life) for the life of the world by going into death, how do we eat His flesh? The answer, as put in that figurative form, is beautifully simple and meaningful when we understand it. The eating of the Lord’s flesh must be an individual matter on the part of all those who would benefit by His sacrifice. To eat means to appro­priate by faith. Thus, when one comes to understand the fact of the redemption and believes in it, and goes to God in prayer and by faith accepts the forgiveness of his sins and reconciliation with God, he in so doing is eating the flesh of the Son of man; he is partaking of those benefits or advantages which our Lord’s flesh or sacrifice secured.

The result of such eating by faith signifies the appropriation to one’s self of all the blessings and privileges which our Lord possessed as a perfect man; it implies our justification on the human plane, our relationship to God as those whose sins are graciously overlooked or covered and who have joy and peace and fellowship with God through faith in the precious blood. We are to continue to eat that we may grow stronger and stronger – that we may be able to appropriate more and more the wonderful blessings and privileges, relationships and Divine favors which belonged to our Lord, but which He surrendered on our behalf and on behalf of all the members of Adam’s race.


Those who are rightly influenced by the eating – those who are drawn nearer to the Lord and led to a full consecration of their all to Him – these additionally have received a special invitation during this Gospel Age to drink of His blood. The blood is the life in Scriptural language, and hence ordinarily the Jews were not to drink blood; to do so would make them guilty or responsible for the death of the person or creature. Thus the Jews said of our Lord, “His blood be on us.” (Matt. 27:25) That is, we assume the responsibility of His death.

Thus the Apostle also explains that unless those who partake of the blood of Christ symbolically in the communion cup do so with the proper appreciation of its meaning, they are symbolically representing themselves as being guilty of the blood, the death, of Christ. (1 Cor. 11:27) Our Lord stated the meaning of the cup at the last Supper, saying to His disciples, “This cup is the new testament in my blood.” (1 Cor. 11:25) That is to say, the cup of the fruit of the vine represents His blood, His death; by it the New Covenant will eventually be sealed. He invited believers to partake of it with Him, not as those who caused His death, but as those who voluntarily join with Him in this self-sacrifice.

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit given through the words of the Apostle, we may see a depth of meaning in our Lord’s words which the people whom He addressed did not comprehend. Indeed, we believe that while our Lord addressed these words to the Jews, He intended them more particularly for us to whom they have been communicated and by whom they have been more fully understood.

We rejoice, then, in the justification which we have through partaking of His flesh – through being justified by the sacrifice of His humanity – our appropriation of our share of human justification. We rejoice also that eventually the whole world will have the opportunity to eat of that flesh – to accept the grace of God in the cancellation of their human sins and weaknesses. They will then realize that all the blessings of the Millennium, the Restitution Times, will come to them because Christ died for their sins, because He gave them His flesh to eat.

The whole world is to then eat of that Bread. As the Apostle intimates, the Church has been privileged to be a part with the Lord in the broken Loaf, as well as to be participants in the cup of ignominy and self-sacrifice which the Father poured for Him, to suffer with Him that they may also reign with Him. (2 Tim. 2:12)


The Jews were commanded to keep the Passover each year on the 14th day of Nisan as “a memorial . . . throughout your generations.” (Exod. 12:14) Christians have also been instructed to keep the Memorial “in remembrance” of Christ our Passover each year “till he come.” (1 Cor. 11:25-26) From this statement by St. Paul some have raised the question: Should we continue to keep the Memorial if our Lord has returned? However, when we consider that both the Little Flock and the Great Company are a part of the Church of the Firstborn, and that partaking of the bread and the wine symbolizes their participation in the merit of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, then it should require no argument about them continuing to “show the Lord’s death till he come” – until the last one has come to their journey’s end.

But we believe the command would apply also to those faithful ones here in the end of the age who are not a part of the spirit-begotten Church of the Firstborn, because the merit of our Lamb has been tentatively imputed to all such – to the extent that the New Covenant cannot begin to operate toward the world until that embargo against Christ’s merit has been removed.

While the primary participants in the Lord’s Supper were to be the Little Flock, it is also appropriate for the Youthful Worthies to partake. This is what Brother Johnson wrote on this subject:

“They are not privileged in the Lord’s Supper to symbolize death with Christ; for they are not dying as a part of The Christ. But they may partake of the Lord’s Supper to symbolize His death as the Lamb of God, and to symbolize their faith, tentatively appropriating justification through His death. We have two reasons for believing that it is appropriate for the Youthful Worthies to partake of the Lord’s Supper . . . : (1) Not only the firstborns, but all Israelites by Divine command and approval (Exod. 12:25-27; Josh. 5:10; 2 Chron. 35:1-19) partook of the annual Passover, the type of the Lord’s Supper. This types that all ultimate believers – the Youthful Worthies, as well as all new creatures – may celebrate the Lord’s Supper. (2) The Apostles partook of the first Lord’s Supper while consecrated but in a tentatively justified condition. At that time their condition was very much the same as that of the Youthful Worthies, though they had a prospect of membership in the Body of Christ denied the Youthful Worthies.” (By Brother Paul Johnson, E-4, page 409)

And, as we partake of our Lamb “in newness of life,” so we also partake of His sufferings, each according to the class in which he finds himself. If we are rightly exercised by such experiences, we then receive “the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment (their good character qualities – Exod. 12:35) – which they in turn lose by reason of their unjust acts against God’s faithful people.

Dear Brethren, if we will consider our trying experiences with Satan’s deluded servants as opportunities of obtaining Divine Truth and grace, receiving them in the Lord’s spirit, we will thus receive the symbolic articles of gold, silver and raiment. Let us view these experiences from this standpoint and act accordingly amid them; and we will emerge from them greatly enriched spiritually. This consideration will keep us from murmuring and complaining amid such experiences and will enable us to take them joyfully. (1 Pet. 4:12‑14)

As the Israelites fled from the Egyptians after being told to be gone the morning after the tenth plague, the morning after the Passover had been eaten, the cloudy fiery pillar set a barrier between them and the pursuing Egyptians, casting a light ahead of it to lighten the path of Israel, but working a thick darkness to the Egyptians.

So during this Harvest period and especially so during this Epiphany night, the Truth (the fiery pillar) has been the means of separating the faithful from the measurably faithful and from the unfaithful. That which effects deliverance for the faithful, keeping them standing and growing in “grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18), is the very thing that entraps the unfaithful and brings them to a fall. This is much the same picture as given in Exod. 4:9, where Moses was told to “take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.” The refreshing water of Harvest Truth would appear to be bloody repulsive error to those for whom it was not intended. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him.” (1 Cor. 2:14)

As has been our custom, we shall keep the feast in quietness and confidence, decently, orderly, quietly, without much form or cere­mony, even as did Jesus and His disciples that last night. It is our prayer that this year’s remem­brance may be profitable to all who partake in sincerity and in Truth.


(This paper was derived from writings of Brothers Russell, Johnson, and Hoefle.)

P.O. Box 2246, Kernersville, NC 27285-2246;


by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 726


Our January 2018 paper presented the first part of Brother Johnson’s description of the Kingdom of God from Epiphany Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 17. There he differentiated between the embryo Kingdom and the reigning Kingdom, and described the Kingdom’s creation and its rulers. We now continue his discussion.



From the fact that Jesus and His Faithful will be the invisible Kings in the Millennium, supported by the Great Company on a spirit plane of being as a subordinate and invisible nobility, and from the fact that the Ancient and Youthful Worthies will be visible representatives of the invisible Kingdom, we may speak of the Kingdom of God as having two phases – an invisible, heavenly phase, and a visible, earthly phase. These two phases of the Kingdom are frequently referred to in the Scriptures as separate and distinct, as the following passages will show. Sometimes the two phases are represented in Zion and Jerusalem respectively, as in:

Isa. 2:3: “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain [Kingdom] of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion [Christ, Head and Body] shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [the Ancient and Youthful Worthies].

Isa. 62:1-2: “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy right­eousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.” Jehovah is here the speaker. By Zion He means Christ and the Church, in a sense also including the Great Company as their associates in the invisible phase of the Kingdom. For their sake God will not hold His peace, i.e., will not remain inactive, and for Jerusalem’s sake (the visible phase of the Kingdom, the Ancient and the Youthful Worthies) He will not rest, not cease from doing that which He has determined to do, until the righteousness that Christ and the Church work among the children of men is so bright and clear, that none will go astray. The “lamp that burneth” is the Word of God. (Psa. 119:105) The things that were written in that Word, particularly the writings of the Prophets of the Old Testament, including Moses, with the writings of the star-members to assist in their interpretation, will at that time be like a lamp burning.

Joel 2:32: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion [the spiritual phase of the Kingdom] and in Jerusalem [the earthly phase of the Kingdom] shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said [prophesied in the Old Testament], and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.The remnant is primarily Christ and the Church and secondarily their earthly representatives – the Ancient and Youthful Worthies. By these God will work deliverance to all that obey.

Thus we see that in all of these three passages the two phases of the Kingdom are indicated by Zion and Jerusalem respectively. We will find that other texts indicate these two phases in other ways.

Psa. 107:32: “Let them exalt him [God] also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.” By the congregation of the people, the Little Flock is primarily meant, and secondly, their co-operating Great Company brethren. By the assembly of the elders, the Ancient and the Youthful Worthies are meant; these will be the earthly phase of the Kingdom of God. These two phases will carry out God’s plan and will cause praise, honor, glory, majesty, love, and obedience to be rendered to all eternity unto the God of perfect wisdom, justice, love and power.

Isa. 32:1: “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.” The king here is the Christ, Jesus and the Church, His Body. These, as the heavenly phase of the Kingdom, will reign in righteousness. The princes, the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, shall rule in judgment, i.e., in harmony with the doctrinal teachings that the great King shall issue forth.

Gen. 22:16-18: “By myself have I sworn … That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven [the invisible phase of the Kingdom], and as the sand which is upon the sea shore [the earthly phase of the Kingdom]; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies [Jesus and the Church, will conquer: Satan, the world, and the flesh]; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Here we have God’s Oath­bound Covenant presented to us. All of the families of the earth shall be blessed in due time by Christ and the Church; they will be blessed to the extent that they yield obedience to the Kingdom. Some will yield faithful, loyal obedi­ence; others will not so do, but at least all will get some blessing: the blessing of being awakened from Adamic death, the blessing of enlightenment, the blessing of opportunity of gaining everlasting life, the blessing of being put under conditions conducive to righteousness and then, with these blessed conditions surrounding them, the opportunity of demonstrating whether they will be loyal to God. Thus this passage describes, not only the two phases of the Kingdom, but also the work of blessing all the families of the earth, which is done during the Millennium.


We now turn to some particular proofs that the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, the secondary phase of the Kingdom, will not be heavenly and invisible, but earthly and visible:

John 3:13: “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man.” Jesus indicated to Nicodemus that no human being had ascended or could ascend into heaven, because that condition is only for spirit beings; human beings would have to be begotten and born of the Spirit before they could enter the heavenly, invisible phase of the Kingdom. (John 3:5) The only ones so begotten, and therefore the only ones who could be born of the Spirit and enter into this phase of the Kingdom as their eternal abiding place, would be the Christ – first the Head, and secondly His Body, His Bride, with their associates, the Great Company. This text indicates clearly that none of the Ancient Worthies had ascended into heaven; nor could they, for they had not been begotten of the Spirit, Jesus being the first one to receive the Spirit in this sense. Hence they, together with the Youthful Worthies, will be the earthly, visible phase of the Kingdom.

Acts 2:34: “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand.” Obviously David had not gone to heaven, for Peter reasoned that his tomb is with us unto this day, and that tomb still remains! (Acts 2:29) He was not begotten of the Spirit and therefore he will come forth on earth, even as will the rest of the Ancient Worthies. David has not ascended into heaven; he is not of the heavenly phase of the Kingdom, but of its earthly, visible phase.

Heb. 2:3: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.” This verse also shows that the opportunity to be of the heavenly, invisible Kingdom was closed until Jesus’ First Advent, and therefore that none of the Ancient Worthies could be of it. The “so great” salvation is the high calling. This great salvation was first begun to be spoken by Jesus at His First Advent. Thus this text also proves that none of the Ancient Worthies could attain to this phase of the Kingdom; it indicates rather that the Worthies will be of the earthly, visible phase of the Kingdom.

Joel 2:28: “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. God will pour out His Spirit for all flesh “afterward,” meaning after the things stated in the previous verses, including the terrible devastation wrought by the great Antichrist and the little Antichrist (sectarian Protestantism), after the Gospel Age, to which the call to the heavenly, invisible Kingdom is limited. This is the promise of restitution that God will give for the children of men. The sons (the Christ’s sons) are Fleshly Israel and the daughters are the Gentiles, including those Jews who fell away from the Mosaic Covenant. The sons and daughters will “prophesy,” that is, they will teach others the truths of God’s Kingdom. Your old men are the Ancient Worthies who will see the deeper things (“dream dreams”) of the revelation of God. Your young men are the Youthful Worthies who will see the simpler things (“see visions”) of God’s Word. Since both the Ancient and the Youthful Worthies thus will share in the outpouring of the Spirit for all flesh after the Gospel Age, we see clearly that they will not then be of the invisible, heavenly Kingdom, but of its earthly, visible phase.

We now take up some additional passages, which show even more directly that the Worthies, as the Kingdom’s secondary phase, will be earthly and visible:

Gen. 13:14-15: “And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.” The Lord here was pointing out to Abraham the land of Palestine, and He promised that He would give it to him as an inheritance. Abraham died without receiving that promise, but he will get it in due time, and that time will be the Millennial Age, for Abraham will be one of the Ancient Worthies, therefore sitting in the earthly phase of the Kingdom, and he will at that time get that land that God promised him. Associated with the Ancient Worthies will be the Youthful Worthies, who then will be given a share in that land, because they, with the Ancient Worthies, will be the visible phase of the Kingdom.

Acts 7:5: “And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.” St. Stephen here is pointing out the fact that during Abraham’s life this promise was not fulfilled; but he assures us that it will be fulfilled in due time, for God promised it to Abraham and God is no liar, no perjurer.

Psa. 45:16: “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.” Our Lord Jesus is here being addressed by God, who says that instead of certain ones who were His ancestors remaining such, they would become His children. These are the Ancient Worthies: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and all of the Prophets, and other pre-Gospel-Age faithful ones. These, instead of remaining the fathers of Jesus, will become the children of Jesus, for He will raise them from the dead; and they will also become the children of the Church, for, under Christ as their Head, the Church will assist in giving life to the Ancient Worthies and will make them princes in all the earth. They will set them up as the earthly phase of the Kingdom, the whole earth in due time being subdued unto them. Associated with them as princes will be the Youthful Worthies. They will rule in righteousness, with the Word of God, which they will teach to mankind.

Matt. 11:11: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Here we find another proof, this time indicating both phases of the Kingdom. John the Baptist, the last of the Ancient Worthies, was the one who was given the glorious office of being the herald of the Messiah, the introducer of the Messiah to Israel, the one who could say that he was a friend of the Bridegroom, who had won for the Bridegroom members of His Bride, of His Body. And though set forth here as one of the very greatest of the Ancient Worthies, he is nevertheless expressly called less than – inferior to – the least one in the heavenly Kingdom Class.

Luke 13:28-30: “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.” Jesus’ famous statement is an additional proof, in which also the two phases of the Kingdom are mentioned. Jesus here was speaking to the Pharisees, who were constantly persecuting Him, talking against Him, and seeking to set Him aside; He tells them that they will be in great chagrin and disappointment when they see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the Prophets – the Old Testament Prophets – and other Ancient Worthies in the Kingdom of God and themselves thrust out.

Notice that Jesus here states that the Ancient Worthies will be seen, will be visible, but avoids saying that the Little Flock will be seen, will be visible, in the Kingdom. The Kingdom class proper, together with the Great Company, will be spirits, and as such will be invisible; while the Ancient and Youthful Worthies will be human beings, and as such will be visible. Thus there will be a well-organized and fully equipped Kingdom to take control of human affairs as God’s Kingdom among men. The Little Flock, though called last, will be first in Kingdom power, office, honor and work, while the Ancient Worthies, who were the first to be called, will be the last, having a lesser power, office, work, honor and nature than the heavenly, invisible phase of the Kingdom.

Finally, we consider Heb. 11:39-40: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” St. Paul is here referring to the heroes of faith that he mentions earlier in this chapter, beginning with Abel and ending with John the Baptist. They all received a good report through faith, i.e., their faith was faithfulness to the Spirit, Word and providences of God. Though they thus obtained a good report, they did not receive the promise of immortality in the invisible, heavenly phase of the Kingdom of God. Their perfection will come in the Millennium, as they prove faithful to the New Covenant promises, the New Covenant demands and laws. They will then be made perfect in the earthly, visible phase of the Kingdom.


The purposes of this Kingdom, organized as above described, will be to destroy from among men every evil thing and influence, and to introduce among them every good thing and influence, in order to restore the race to perfection. As our Lord Jesus was manifested to destroy the works of the devil as well as the devil himself (1 John 3:8; Heb. 2:14), this destruction of his works will be carried out during the Age set aside for that purpose; and the destruction of the devil will be carried out just after the end of that Age. Their destruction manifestly has not yet been realized; for evil is yet in the ascendancy, and is doubtless on the increase. But during Christ’s Millennial reign He will destroy the works of the devil.

Rev. 20:1-3 shows this: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”

This mighty angel that the Revelator saw was no less than our Lord Jesus Christ. He came in His Second Advent and had the key of the bottomless pit, the power to open it and the power to close it. The key is that which enables one to exercise the power of opening and closing. The bottomless pit is the condition of error. It is indeed bottomless, because it has no foundation. Our Lord Jesus Christ is going to spirit the devil and all the impenitent fallen angels so far away from the earth that they will be unable to see what is going on here; and, being in error, they will imagine all kinds of erroneous things. They shall remain there, and a seal will be set upon them so that they cannot be loosed, so as to deceive the nations, until the thousand years shall be fulfilled – until the whole Millennial Age will be passed; and at its end, in its Little Season, Satan will be allowed to test all of those who, during the thousand years, will have had the opportunity of gaining everlasting life.

Some of these he will easily deceive, and these will be among those who will die, as accursed sinners, as we read in Isa. 65:20; those acting hypocritically, pretending to be in harmony with the rule of the New Covenant, pretending to obey it, will in heart be disobeying it, for they will not allow its laws of love, of justice, of power and of wisdom to be written in their hearts; hence they will be deceived by Satan at the end of the thousand years in the great sifting that will come at that time – they will stand stark naked as hypocrites, as liars, as deceivers, who use all of the Millennial oppor­tunities selfishly and not for the good of others. These then will be destroyed in the Second Death with the devil and the impenitent fallen angels. (Rev. 20:7-10)

Thus Jesus will have destroyed the devil and all his works. Accordingly, we look for the Millennial Age to witness the destruction of the sentence of death, as well as all the effects of that sentence: sin, error, superstition, sorrow, pain, sighing, crying, sickness, famine, pestilence, drought, extreme heat and cold, scarcity, war, revo­lution, anarchy, oppression, poverty, ignorance, dying and death.

The Millennial Age will witness the effects of the reversal of the death sentence: righteousness, truth, piety, joy, pleasure, ease, smiles, laughter, abundance, health, Edenic climate, prosperity, national and international peace, order, liberty, riches, education, awakening from the dead, convalescence and restoration to perfect life. The Plan of God, the character, training and powers of the Kingdom classes, and the social order, the rewards and punishments of that Age, will combine to realize these desirable purposes.

We may be sure that God’s promises and oaths and Christ’s Ransom-Sacrifice and exaltation will bring about these blessed results, will bear fruitage in the success of God’s Plan. (Gen. 22:16-18; Num. 14:21; Isa. 45:22-23; Isa. 53:11; John 12:32-33; Rom. 5:18-19; 1 Tim. 2:4-6) As the arrangements of Satan’s kingdom have been conducive to the operation of the curse, so the arrangements of God’s Kingdom will be conducive to the operation of the blessing of restitution from the curse. Praise our God for such a hope and prospect!


The entire non-elect portion of the human family, whether living or dead at the time of the establishment of the Kingdom, will become its subjects. (Rev. 15:3-4; Psa. 98:1-4; Psa. 22:27-29; Isa. 25:6-8; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; Rom. 14:9; Phil. 2:9-11) According to the Scriptures, the Kingdom in its earthly phase will first be established among regathered and converted Israel, who will with joy hail their resurrected patriarchs and Prophets, and who will be greatly blessed by the latter’s rule. (Zech. 12:7; Isa. 1:25-27; Isa. 25:9)

A little later the Gentile nations, broken, exhausted and undone by the woes of the Time of Trouble (Matt. 24:21-22; Dan. 12:1), will learn of the blessings that Israel will be enjoying, and will desire these for themselves. (Isa. 2:3-4; Zech. 8:20-22) In response to their humble petitions for help, the Kingdom with its arrangements will be established from one nation unto another, until it will become a universal Empire. (Dan. 2:44; Dan. 7:27) Fleshly Israel, as the secondary earthly seed of Abraham, under the lead of the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, as the primary earthly seed of Abraham, will be privileged to co-operate with the Kingdom in converting the Gentile world. (Gen. 22:17; Gen. 28:14; Isa. 19:24; Ezek. 16:60-61; Psa. 107:22)

After all of the then living subjects of the Kingdom will have advanced considerably on the way of restitution, as well as the earth itself (Isa. 35:1-9; Isa. 29:18-20), the non-elect dead, probably in companies and at various intervals, will be brought back from the tomb to this earth. (Isa. 35:10; Dan. 12:2-3; Isa. 29:24; Isa. 25:8) These will be welcomed and helped to reform, not only by the Kingdom in its two phases, but by those of mankind in general who will be learning righteousness; for these will also be given an opportunity to assist the awakened ones to come back to the image of God. (Matt. 25:35-40) Thus an ever increasing number of the dead will be brought back from the tomb, and, under the assistance of the Kingdom and its arrangements, will be started on the way to restitution.

Some may ask: Will mankind be given perfect bodies when awakened from the tomb?

We would answer that the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, who have stood their trial of faith and obedience in this life, will receive perfect human bodies at the time of their awakening (Heb. 11:35); but those who come forth for resurrection through a judgment process (John 5:29, RSV) will not be awakened with perfect bodies. They will be brought forth from the tomb for the purpose of giving them the opportunity to walk up the Highway of Holiness to physical, mental, moral and religious perfection. (Isa. 35:8-10) To give them perfect bodies at once would interfere with their reformation, since it would withdraw a strong incentive for reformation: the hope of physical healing for well-doing. Moreover, they would not recognize themselves in perfect bodies, and the large numbers who died in infancy would get no advantage from the experience with evil as a deterrent from wrong-doing, if made perfect in their bodies as soon as they are awakened. Hence we look for them to return with imperfect bodies, which, as they gradually reform, will together with their minds and hearts, be gradually perfected.


One of the results of the Kingdom’s reign will be the utter elimination of all the effects of the curse as the unholy fruits of Satan’s rule, authority and power. Among other passages, 1 Cor. 15:20-26 shows this. We quote it from the Improved Version: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become a first fruit of them that slept. For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Jesus] also shall come the resurrection of the dead. For as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ a firstfruit [the Church here is meant]; afterward they that are Christ’s at [during] his presence. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”

Jesus did not die in Adam, for He was not in Adam, and therefore our correction of the translation. [1] The Little Flock is in Christ; they shall be made alive first and primarily. Afterward they that are shown to be our Lord’s faithful followers during His presence, all who come into Christ, shall also be made alive. At the end of the Little Season, when He shall have ruled over all the earth and given every man the opportunity to gain eternal life, which His Ransom-sacrifice, a corresponding price, enables Him to give, He will deliver up the Kingdom to God, who will be the final judge over the earth and will exercise His judgment through Christ, the Head, primarily, and secondarily, the Church, His Body, as His Vicegerent. Every vestige of the governorship and the pretended authority and might of Satan will be put down by the almighty hand of Christ, the Head, and the Church, the Body, using God’s power as that almighty power in their hand. We see that the enemies that He will put under His feet are not only persons, but also things. The Adamic death in the sense of the dying process is the last great enemy. Because of His faithfulness, Jesus became the One who will after the close of the Millennium finally destroy it.

Not all will obtain eternal life. Those who will not even externally reform, but will continue to be rebellious to the Kingdom during the thousand years, will after 100 years of opportunity be cut off in the Second Death. (Isa. 65:20) Those who will reform externally, but without a heart reformation, will live throughout the thousand years and attain human perfection; but by the trial during the “little season” at the Millennium’s close, their unholy heart’s condition will become manifest, and they will perish in the Second Death – everlasting destruction. (Rev. 20:7-9, 15; Mal. 4:3; Psa. 37:10, 35-38; Isa. 1:28; Acts 3:23)

Those who during the Millennium will practice truth and righteousness, from the love of these principles, will be lifted up to human perfection not only in their faculties, but also in their characters (Isa. 66:10-14), and will thus be enabled to remain faithful amid the final trial during the Little Season after the Millennium; and these shall inherit the earth forever, as Paradise restored. (Matt. 25:35-40; Isa. 65:16-25)

Such will be the grand results of the reign of Jesus and the Church in the earth. (Rev. 21:3-5; Rev. 22:1-3) The sad tragedy of sin will forever have ceased to be enacted. The ages to come will witness the realization of the angels’ song of Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will to men (Luke 2:14); and from every part of the Universe the glorious Hallelujah chorus shall forever and ever celebrate Jehovah and Christ, for their glorious Persons, holy Characters, wonderful Plan and great Works! (Rev. 5:13) Therefore let every lover of God and man, of truth and righteousness, pray, “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth, as in Heaven!” Amen and amen!

[1] It is unclear if Bro. Johnson is quoting another translation or giving his own correction to the common translation. However, the correction seems to be proper as Pastor Russell explained in Studies in the Scriptures, Volume VI, page 696: “The declaration of our common version Bible, that ‘As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,’ is manifestly a mistranslation. Standing in that form it is in conflict with other scriptures, which distinctly limit the number of those who shall be made alive through Christ. The mistranslation favors the doctrine of universal salvation, in that it seems to imply that God’s favor and blessing through Christ will not in any sense of the word take into consideration the characters of those to whom life shall be given. Other scriptures, however, make very clear that not all shall ‘enter into life,’ but only those who ‘do the will of the Father which is in heaven.’ A plain statement on the subject is found in the Lord’s words, ‘He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.’” (1 John 5:12)


by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 725

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isa. 52:7)

The following is from Chapter V of Epiphany Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 17, written by Brother Paul S.L. Johnson. It has been condensed and edited to fit the space and the paper format. Readers are encouraged to read the original in its entirety if it is available to them.


The establishment of God’s Kingdom throughout the earth is one of the main purposes of our Lord’s Return. The Kingdom of God is a subject of unusual prominence in the Scriptures, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The expressions “Kingdom of God” and “Kingdom of Heaven,” occur nearly 150 times in the New Testament alone. Its prominence in the Scriptures is a proof of its importance in God’s Plan.


When our Lord Jesus commissioned the Apostles to preach, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 10:7), He evidently did not mean that they were to announce that He and the Church were about to reign over the earth; for over 19 centuries have passed since the charge was given, and the Kingdom is not yet fully established in the earth in the sense of their reigning over the earth. Surely His thought was that the disciples should preach that the embryo Kingdom, the Church, which was about to undergo preparation to become rulers in the next Age, was about to step upon the stage of human history, and there perform in this life the earlier Acts of her part in the drama of the Ages.

Thus He instructed them to preach that a change of dispensation had come, that instead of preaching Moses and the Prophets any longer, they were to preach the Kingdom of God, the embryonic Church. And it was at hand; it was begun by Jesus in His ministry; it was continued by the Apostles at Pentecost; it was advanced further at the home of Cornelius as it went forth to the Gentiles; and throughout the Jewish Harvest it was advanced still more. It was now open to anyone, whether Jew or Gentile; and all through the Gospel Age the star-members, their helpers, and those who looked upon them as such, have preached, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and have thus given those who desired to enter this embryo Kingdom an opportunity to do so, and, on entering, to have God’s special favor and to rejoice in it.

Similarly, when Jesus assures us that from the time of John the Baptist the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and that the violent forcibly seize it (Matt. 11:12), He would not have us understand Him as referring to the Kingdom class while reigning in the earth; for then they will be clothed with almighty power, and none will be able to resist them, much less cause them to suffer, and, least of all, violently seize them! Rather, as the experience of the Kingdom class from the beginning proves, Jesus here refers to the embryo Kingdom, the Faithful in their earthly lifetime, the Church Militant, as suffering while they through obedience to the Word and Spirit of God amid trials and tribulations are being fitted to reign with Jesus as the glorified Kingdom in the next Age. (Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12)

It was a fact that John the Baptist, who proclaimed that the Kingdom was coming, suffered violence, being beheaded by Herod for the sake of Herodias and Salome. The Kingdom of Heaven suffered violence in the person of our Lord Jesus; for certainly He was fearfully persecuted by the Scribes and Pharisees, while He was in the flesh; and the Sanhedrin added to that persecution, when it condemned Him, the Innocent One, to death, under the alleged charge that He was a blasphemer. They brought Him to Pilate and had Pilate enforce, as it were, their sentence against Him. He was first terribly scourged, then crowned with thorns and mocked; on Him was laid the heavy cross, under whose weight He fainted; He was nailed to that cross and suffered violence; and the most terrible imprecations and curses and threats and blas­phemies and evil accusations were hurled into His teeth; He, the Innocent One, bore it all in the spirit of meekness, in the spirit of love, in the spirit of loyalty to God; and though the violent took Him by force and shamefully mistreated Him, He never­theless maintained His loyalty to the end.

The same treatment was given to His followers. The Apostles suffered similarly, beginning at Pentecost and continuing in the work toward Cornelius and his family and throughout the whole Harvest of the Jewish Age. Violence was offered to these holy men and they endured it, being forcibly, violently and vilely treated and cruelly misjudged and misrepresented and in every possible way given injustice. The same is true of the brethren all through the Age.

When the Apostle spoke of God’s translating the saints out of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:13), surely none would think that he meant that during their earthly lifetime they would be the Kingdom of Glory; for the context, as well as the verse itself, shows that the passage refers to the suffering condition of their earthly pilgrimage, hence St. Paul here refers to the embryo Kingdom.

The Bible is very explicit on the point that the earthly career of the faithful members of the Kingdom of God would not be one of reigning, but one of labor, toil, suffering, trial and persecution, culminating in death; the experiences of the faithful also attest to this; and only as any of these proved faithful amid these experiences unto death could they inherit Kingship as their portion, and actually reign in the earth in the future. St. Paul’s statement is clear: “I endure all things for the elect’s sakes … It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” (2 Tim. 2:10-12) To die with Him means to lay down life as He did, as a sacrifice on behalf of God’s plan, in the same form, for the same causes, from the same spirit; it results in attaining the same glorious end. To suffer with Him means to endure similar physical exhaustion, mental sorrow and physical violence for similar reasons. Thus, according to the Scriptures, only those who would faithfully suffer unto death with our Lord would have the privilege of reigning with Him. Hence none could reign with Him in their earthly lifetime.

Again, the promise of the crown of life, the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ, is expressly stated in Rev. 2:10 as being conditional on one’s faithfulness unto death as a member of the Body of Christ. It reads: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” The Lord Jesus is here in the book of Revelation addressing the second phase, the Smyrna phase, of the Church. He tells the brethren that the Roman empire, which He here calls the devil, would cast some of them into prison – would greatly restrain them in their work and persecute them most fiendishly and most outrageously; for the Smyrna Church and the Philadelphia Church were the two most persecuted by violence of any of the seven churches of the Gospel Age. Their tribulation of ten symbolic days was especially the ten years’ persecution they endured under Diocletian. The Lord exhorted them to be faithful unto death in spite of those terrible persecutions and He would give them a crown of life – immortality, the Divine nature.

Some of the Corinthian brethren, losing sight of this fact, acted as though the time of reigning had already come; therefore with irony the Apostle reproves them, saying: “Ye have reigned as kings without us.” (1 Cor. 4:8) This irony was used to bring them the more quickly to their senses, in harmony with what he had taught as to the Church suffering throughout this life before it could reign in harmony with the Divine Plan. Then, realizing how desirable the reigning time was in contrast with the suffering of the earthly life for the Church, he cried out, “I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.” Accordingly, in this verse the Apostle shows that the time for the Kingdom of God to reign in the earth is not during the Gospel Age. It will be during the Millennium, when the sufferings of the earthly lifetime are swallowed up in the glories then attained. (Rom. 8:17-19; Rev. 20:4, 6)

This fact, that the Kingdom class during the Gospel Age would be in a suffering and humiliated condition, undergoing untoward experiences to train her in fitness to reign with the Lord in the next Age, is an all-important one, and must ever be kept in mind by all of the Elect classes, to help them to keep from falling from their steadfastness. It is because early in this Age many forgot this that they in the great Apostasy fell from the primitive truths and practices of the Church and developed the great Antichrist, which claimed that the earthly life is the time for the Church to convert the world and to reign over the earth. And through this fundamental error the gates were thrown wide open for a thousand false doctrines and wrong practices to enter the Church, resulting in that perversion of truth and righteousness which we now see in great papacy. (2 Thess. 2:3-12) The true hope of the Kingdom to come into power at our Lord’s Return always kept the Church pure in faith and practice, as the loss of that hope and the adoption of the false hope of converting the world and reigning over the race before our Lord’s Return occasioned the loss of that purity of faith and practice, and the introduction of almost every evil word and work that became current during the Dark Ages.


If the Kingdom had been set up in royal power at Pentecost, as some of our dear Heavenly Father’s children mistakenly affirm, often with great self-confidence, it would no longer be appropriate to pray, “Thy Kingdom come.” (Matt 6:10) Amid such circumstances we should cease to pray for the Kingdom to come, and instead thank God that the Kingdom has already come and that, as a result, His will is being done in earth as in Heaven – a thing that all know is not now being done. Hence this passage refers to Christ and the Church entering into their reign at His Second Advent.

Luke 21:31 uses the expression, “the Kingdom of God,” in the same sense. Jesus there tells us that when we see the signs of the times connected with His Second Advent enacting before our eyes, we should recognize that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand – that He and His faithful ones shortly will enter into their office as Kings in the earth. Certainly this passage could not refer to the embryo Kingdom, for that has been here ever since Pentecost. When the Lord assured the Apostles (Luke 22:29-30) that they would share with Him in His Heavenly privileges – eating and drinking at His table in His Kingdom – and would occupy thrones, ruling over Israel, He thereby certainly did not mean an activity that the Apostles would exercise in this life while still part of the embryo Kingdom; for instead of ruling over Israel in this life they were by Jews and Gentiles greatly persecuted, even unto death. Nor have they yet ruled over Israel. Hence this passage refers to the Millennial Kingdom. (Matt. 19:28)

Again, in Rev. 2:26-27; Rev. 3:21; Rev. 5:10 we hear Jesus through the Apostle John speak of the Kingdom in the sense of its reigning in this earth after all the Faithful have left the world; for all of these passages show that those who would reign with the Lord would first have to prove overcomers – a thing not completed in any case until death. (Rev. 2:10) Hence these passages refer to the reigning time as following the deliverance of the last member of the Church. Indisputably clear is Rev. 20:4, 6 as proving that this reign is yet future; for it shows that it is the privilege of those only who share in the First Resurrection – a thing that follows our Lord’s Second Advent. (1 Cor. 15:23-26, 42-44, 51-54; 1 Thess. 4:16-17)

The Old Testament has much to say on this point and abundantly proves that the Kingdom of God comes after our Lord’s Return. Hence these passages cannot refer to the embryo Kingdom. They must refer to the Kingdom in power and glory reigning in the earth. On this point we suggest that our readers look up the following references: Dan. 7:13-14, 18, 22, 26-27; Dan. 2:44; Psa. 22:27-29; Psa. 72:1-20; Isa. 2:2-4; Mic. 4:1-4; Isa. 11:1-11; Isa. 25:6-9; Isa. 35:1-10; Isa. 60:2-22; Isa. 61:4-11; Isa. 62:1-12; Isa. 65:17-25; Jer. 23:5-6; Jer. 33:14-16; Ezek. 37:23-25; Joel 2:28, 32; Ob. 21; Zeph. 3:8-9; Hag. 2:6-9; Zech. 8:20-23; Mal. 4:1-3.

From the Scriptures discussed above we see that the Bible treats of the Kingdom class from two standpoints: (1) the embryo Kingdom – the Church in the flesh, being fitted to reign in the next Age; and (2) the born Kingdom – the Church in great power and glory reigning in the earth after Christ’s Return.

It would also be in order to mention the fact that the expression, “Kingdom of God,” is sometimes used of the typical Kingdom of God (Fleshly Israel), because Fleshly Israel was typical of the Church, the real Kingdom of God. (Matt. 8:12; 1 Chron. 17:14; 1 Chron. 28:5; 2 Chron. 13:8) So, too, this expression is used of nominal Spiritual Israel as God’s nominal Kingdom. (Matt. 13:31-33)


The Scriptures mention seven steps in the creation of the Kingdom class:

(1) The begettal of the Spirit in its individual members made them embryo New Creatures. (John 1:12-13[1]; John 3:31; 1 Cor. 4:15; Jas. 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:3, 231; 1 John 5:11; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15; Eph. 2:10; Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10)

(2) Each was quickened (made alive) as an embryo. (Eph. 2:1, 5; Col. 2:13)

(3) They began to grow in grace and knowledge in their embryo condition. (2 Pet. 3:18; Eph. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:2)

(4) They strengthened in every good word and work and in grace and knowledge. (Eph. 3:16; Eph. 6:10-17; Col. 1:11; 2 Tim. 2:1)

(5) They developed by balancing the various parts of a Christ-like character with one another. (2 Thess. 2:17; 2 Thess. 3:3; 1 Thess. 3:12-13; Jas. 5:8; 2 Pet. 1:12)

(6) Their full development as embryos was completed by perfecting their characters, truly conforming them unto Christ’s image. (Rom. 8:29; Luke 6:40; Eph. 4:12; Heb. 13:20, 21; 1 Pet. 5:10)

(7) They were then ready to experience Spirit birth in the First Resurrection, by which they were to obtain the Divine nature, through obtaining immortality. (John 3:5-8; Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5; 1 Cor. 15:20, 23; Jas. 1:18; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:50, 52-54)

All who proved faithful as such underwent these seven processes which, beginning with the begettal of the Spirit and ending in the birth of the Spirit, constitute the creative Acts whereby God brings to completion the creation of a new order of beings on the Divine plane of existence. This New Creation consists of Jesus and all His Body members.

The means which God uses to produce this New Creation are His Spirit (1 Pet. 1:22; 1 Cor. 6:11), His Word (1 Pet. 1: 22-24; 1 Pet. 2:2; John 17:17) and His providences. (Rom. 8:28, 35-39; Heb. 12:5-13) The Scriptures teach that each member of the Kingdom class would have his part in this creative process by consecrating himself to God, becoming dead to self and the world and alive to God, that he might receive the begettal. (Rom. 12:1; Col. 3:3) Then in his various experiences he was to remain dead to self and the world and alive to God. (Rom. 12:2; Rom. 6:2-11; Col. 3:1-2; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; 1 Pet. 2:11; 1 Pet. 4:1-3) By the grace of God this resulted, in the case of those who proved faithful as members of His Body, in the birth of the Spirit in the First Resurrection.

The subject of bringing the New Creation into existence is Scripturally set forth under the figure of the generation of a human being; hence in harmony with this figure God is set forth as the Father who would beget the New Creation as His children. (Jas. 1:18) The Sarah Covenant is set forth in this figure as their mother, in whose womb (representing the promises) their begetting, quickening, growth, strengthening, balancing and perfecting as embryo New Creatures would take place (Rom. 9:7-9; Gal. 4:22-31); and finally, they are set forth in this figure as born from this mother in the First Resurrection. (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5; John 3:5-8)

The birth of the Spirit made those who experienced it spirit beings. Jesus states this in John 3:6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” St. Paul likewise assures us that human beings – flesh and blood – as such cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 15:50) Hence he teaches that the saints are changed from the human nature, which was inherited from Adam (Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:45-49) to the Divine nature, which God and our Lord Jesus have, by receiving Divine, immortal bodies. (1 Cor. 15:42-54; 2 Pet. 1:4; 2 Cor. 4:16-5:4; Phil. 3:20-21; Col. 3:4; 1 John 3:2) Thus they are born of the Spirit in the First Resurrection, no longer with human bodies, but with spirit bodies, and that of the highest nature in existence – the Divine nature! Accord­ingly, when the Faithful reign in the earth they will be Divine beings, like our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

This great salvation to the Divine nature had not been made known until our Lord came and brought it to light. (2 Tim. 1:9-10; Heb. 2:3-4; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; Luke 16:16) It was an entirely new and unheard of thing to Nicodemus, who failed to understand it. (John 3:1-13) However, it is the glorious hope that during the Gospel Age God has offered “the called according to His purpose.” (Rom 8:28; Rom. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:9-10; Col. 1:25-27; 2 Pet. 1:3-4)


The fact that the Kingdom class become spirit beings, spirit beings of the highest of spirit natures (the Divine nature), proves that they will be invisible while reigning over the earth. We know that angels are spirits (Heb. 1:7), and that as such they are invisible; for our guardian angels are about us, but we cannot see their bodies with our natural eyes. (Heb. 1:14; Matt. 18:10; Psa. 34:7; Psa. 91:11-12) The only way that they could manifest themselves to our physical eyes would be by their creating for themselves natural bodies and showing these to us, as they did to various ones during the time that God’s Word was in process of revelation. (Gen. 18:1-8; Gen. 19:1-3; Heb. 13:2; Josh. 5:13-15; Judg. 6:11-22; Judg. 13:3-21; Luke 1:11-20, 26-38; Luke 2:9-15; Matt. 28:2-7; Acts 12:7-10, etc.) But in every case the bodies which were seen were not the spirit bodies of the angels, but those which they materialized. We may be sure that if the bodies of the lower orders of spirit beings, like those of the angels, are invisible to us, the bodies of the highest order of spirit beings (Divine beings) must be invisible. Hence no human being ever saw God’s body. (John 1:18; John 5:37; 1 Tim. 1:17; Col. 1:15) Nor can any man see Christ’s present body which is a Divine body. (1 Tim. 6:16)

Jesus, by comparing them to the wind, told Nicodemus that those who would be born of the Spirit would be invisible. He said that as the wind comes and goes invisibly to us, we know of its presence not by our sight but by other senses and by its visible effects; so also, He said, are all those born of the Spirit. (John 3:8) He told the Pharisees that the Kingdom class would be invisible when they come to reign over the earth, for He said that the Kingdom would come “not with observation” – not with outward show or visibly. Nor would anyone be able to point out these Rulers to the sight of others, saying, “Lo, here! or, lo, there!” (Luke 17:20-21) They would be invisible, “within you,” (literally “in your midst,” see Luke 17:21, NIV).

Thus no human being will ever be able to see the Kingdom class who, glorified as spirit beings of the Divine nature, are thoroughly invisible, just as the angels of God are invisible. But someone may ask concerning this Kingdom, How can there be such things as invisible rulers? We answer: There is now an invisible kingdom ruling over this world – Satan and his angels. (Matt. 12:24-28; Luke 4:5-7; John 14:30; John 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; Eph. 6:11-12) We know, not only from the Bible, but also from the works of the World-Empire that Satan and his angels are now the kingdom over this present evil world. (Col. 1:13; Gal. 1:4) As subjects he has mankind in general, whom he controls politically through the political rulers, socially through the rulers in society, and financially through the trusts, corporations, mergers, etc. He despotically rules over them as a tyrant, as the executioner of God’s sentence, not that God has appointed him to be the ruler, but he has taken this rulership by usurpation and he uses this rulership invisibly.

We can only see from the effects of his reign what he is doing; for we know that he ruthlessly destroys the political, the social, the financial rulers, the trusts, the corporations, the mergers and the like, when they no longer serve his purpose. He does this, not by making himself seen visibly, but by acts that are seen among the children of men. For that reason Satan’s invisible empire, usurped over the children of men during the time of the curse and particularly in the second evil world (from the flood until Christ’s Second Advent) illustrates in its invisibility what the Kingdom of God will be like when it rules over the earth.

The Christ, Head and Body, will be present, but invisible in the Divine nature, as such having immortality and incorruptibility. They will not be seen by the children of men, either before the Millennium or during the Millennium or forever afterwards, even as Jesus says of Himself: “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more.” (John 14:19) So it is not an impossible or an improbable thing that God’s Kingdom – Jesus and the Church – should be invisible while reigning over the earth.

As assistants of Jesus and the Little Flock, the Lamb’s Wife, in the spiritual or invisible phase of the Kingdom, will be the Great Multitude des­cribed in Rev. 7:9-17 and Rev. 19:1-9. This class consists of those who were called to be members of Christ’s Bride, but who more or less came short of the prize of the high calling. They are nevertheless rewarded for their measurable faithfulness by being invited to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (Rev. 19:9) They are not of the world of mankind to be given life as children of the Second Adam and the Second Eve in the thousand-year Day of Judgment, the Restitution time, the Day of Regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His glory (Matt. 19:28), for they will be present at the Marriage Supper, prior to the begetting and birth of the world of mankind in their regeneration unto life. They are of the Gospel-Age salvation, justified by faith, the imperfections of their flesh being covered by Christ’s robe of righteousness, which through carelessness they allowed to become soiled or spotted by contami­nation with the world, etc., and which they wash as a class during the great tribulation. (Rev. 7:14)

They are not given a place in the throne, but before it (Rev. 7:15), as antitypical Levites (who have no inheritance in the land – Deut. 18:1-2) and Noblemen, hence not of the Restitution class, typified by the twelve tribes of Israel exclusive of the Levites. The Great Multitude as antitypical Levites are “before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple.” (Rev. 7:15) They are included in Abraham’s seed among “the stars of heaven” for multitude (Gen. 15:5; Gen. 22:17), as a part of the spiritual phase of the Kingdom, which will be invisible to mankind.


While the Kingdom class proper – Jesus and the Church – will during their reign be invisible to mankind, they will be visibly represented through­out the earth by certain human beings – the Ancient Worthies and the Youthful Worthies – even as Satan and his angels have during their reign been visibly represented by certain human beings, such as oppressive rulers, false religious teachers and predatory aristocrats, who through Satanic decep­tion have more or less claimed to exercise their authority by Divine Right. Satan manipulated such persons through their selfish and sinful desires and through their errors and ignorance to do what he wished accomplished, by making it profitable for them to do so, and hindered them from doing what he did not want done by making it disastrous for them to do it. Hence he controlled them through selfishness, ignorance, error and wrong. Accord­ingly, they have been fitting representatives of his empire.

But the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, before being made the visible representatives of the reigning Kingdom of Heaven in this earth (Gen. 13:14-15; Acts 7:5; Heb. 11:39-40), will have dem­onstrated, through their faithfulness while on trial in this life, their loyalty to truth and right­eousness. Hence they will be suitable and dependable representatives of the invisible Rulers in the next Age. The Ancient Worthies will be the princes (not kings) throughout the earth that will rule in judgment – truth and righteousness. (Isa. 32:1; Psa. 45:16) They will have as their associates the Youthful Worthies. (Joel 2:28) They will exper­ience a better resurrection than the world (Heb. 11:35) – better because they will be awakened perfect at the beginning of Christ’s Reign.

These Ancient and Youthful Worthies will be the subordinate rulers under Christ; the world will then be subject to these Worthies, and will become perfect gradually during the Millennium and will attain perfection completely only at its end. The Ancient and Youthful Worthies will stand before the world as the latter’s visible rulers, and as such will be recognized and obeyed by the world. All these things make their resurrection better than the world’s.

To be continued in our February 2018 paper.



The date of our Lord’s Memorial is March 29, 2018 after six p.m.

 [1] The subject of the begettal and birth of the Spirit has been somewhat darkened by the incorrect translation of the Greek word gennao, which means to beget when a male is the active agent, and to bear or give birth when a female is the active agent. See Matt. 1:16 where this word appears twice and is correctly translated in the first instance as “begat” and in the second instance as “was born.” God is always regarded as masculine; hence gennao, when used in connection with God as in these instances, should be rendered as some form of the word “beget” and not as “born.”


by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 724

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6, NKJV)

Even though Christmas day is not the real anniversary of our Lord’s birth, but more likely closer to the annunciation day or the date of His human begetting (Luke 1:28), nevertheless, since the celebration of our Lord’s birth is not a matter of Divine appointment or injunction, but merely a tribute of respect to Him, it is not necessary to quibble about the date. We join with the civilized world in celebrating the grand event on the day which the majority celebrate – “Christmas day.”

In Isaiah 9:2-7[1], we find a lesson appro­priate to the Christmas season – a prophecy of our Savior and the great salvation, the gift of God, provided through Him. The prophecy begins: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” (Isa. 9:2) This statement pertains to the future although it reads as if it relates to something in the past. (Similarly we read “unto us a Child is born,” whereas Jesus was not born until several centuries later.) The promised great Light is not yet shining upon the people. Mankind still dwells in the land of the shadow of death. The shadows of the demoralized, sinful, dying condition of Adam’s race affect all of life’s interests for the whole world of mankind. As the Apostle Paul subsequently explained, “For we know the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” (Rom. 8:22)

We are still in the time when darkness covers the earth (civilized society) and gross darkness the people (unbelievers). (Isa. 60:2) It is true that there is a measure of light in the world and that it emanated from our dear Redeemer, His words and His works. It still shines forth from all who are truly His, all whose hearts are illuminated by His promises and His Spirit. But this is not the light which is to scatter all of earth’s darkness and to cause all mankind to appreciate the glory of God. It is merely the light of faith, hope, and love that exists in believers.

Our Lord’s light shone into a little corner of the world called Israel and from His lamp many followers have lit their lamps. To these the Master pointed out, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.” He instructed them, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” He added, however, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (Matt. 5:15-16; John 3:202 Cor. 4:4)


That the True Light is not now shining, that the Sun of Righteousness has not yet arisen with “healing in his wings” (Mal. 4:2) is fully evidenced by the gross darkness of the non-Christian world and by the comparatively lesser darkness of Christendom. Some light has spread throughout the world to the degree that Jesus’ true followers have kept their lights trimmed and burning. But all this is merely the shining of light in the midst of darkness and at the present time and under present conditions a light wholly inadequate to dispel the night and to bring in the glorious Day for which the whole creation groans and waits. That glorious Day cannot come until all the members of the Lord’s Body are found; together with Him they will constitute the Sun of Righteousness. (Matt. 13:43)

Soon the Church of Christ will be completed; soon the Sun of Righteousness will shine; soon its rays will light the farthest reaches of the earth. Then every child of Adam, all who shared in his curse, will share in Messiah’s great work of blessing. They will be brought under the influence of that great Light which will make the Millennial Age a Day of glory and of knowledge of the Lord as foretold by prophecy: “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Hab. 2:14)

This prophecy goes beyond those living at the time and assures us that the Light will shine to those who are in the shadow of death – those already in the darkness of the death state – sheol, hades. The light must shine upon every member of Adam’s race, for Christ tasted death for all. (Heb. 2:9) Just as all of Adam’s children were condemned before their birth, so Christ died for all, before the majority were even born. Just as they shared in the curse that came upon Father Adam, so surely they will receive a blessing from the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:17-18)


The prophecy continues: “Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy; they rejoice before thee as with joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” (Isa. 9:3, RSV) This, the Revised Standard Version rendering, is evidently more accurate than the King James Version and is consistent with many other translations. This pictures the world of mankind during the Millennial Age, brought forth from the bondage of death, released from the Adamic curse, rejoicing as those who are dividing a spoil – sharing in something which is not theirs, something which has fallen to them. This is how it will be. The blessings of the Millennium will be distributed as Divine bounty; the curse will be rolled away; the Sun of Righteousness will shine for all, bringing Restitution to all. None will forfeit the blessings except those who willfully refuse them and disregard God’s favor.

The same is true for those who receive Divine mercy now. It is a gift; they can do nothing for it; they are merely assured that they are forgiven. The difference is that now only a very few have the eye to see, the ear to hear and the heart to appreciate God’s mercy as it is told us in the Good Tidings which can only be understood by the hearing of faith. In the next age sight and knowledge will largely take the place of faith. The world will then realize the grace of God in Christ Jesus, forgiving their sins and providing them with life everlasting if they will accept it; and they will rejoice to divide the great spoil, the great gift of God. (Rom. 6:23)

The next verse describes the cause for this rejoicing: “For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.” (Isa. 9:4) It will be because the great oppressor, Satan, will no longer have control. His yoke of sin, sorrow, pain and death, his rod and his staff of affliction and slavery, will be broken forever, as the Lord explains. (Rev. 20:1-3) The victory over the Adversary is not to be a slow and gradual one, not to be accomplished by missions or any human power; but the Lord Himself will interpose His Power, “as in the day of Midian.”


The day of Midian was the day when Gideon and his little band, armed with trumpets and pitchers with lights in them, delivered Israel from the hosts of Midian. (Judges 7:15-22) By the blowing of the trumpets, the breaking of the pitchers and the shining of the lights, they confused the Midianites, so that they killed one another with a great slaughter. The Lord overwhelmed the powerful enemies of His people, granting them a miraculous deliverance.

Our Lord Jesus is the antitypical Gideon, and His “little flock” (Luke 12:32), the Church of this Gospel Age, are the antitype of Gideon’s little army. It will be through their intervention (on the other side of the vail) that the hosts of sin and the present weapons of evil will be utterly defeated and will self-destruct in the great Time of Trouble drawing near. The great victory for truth and righteousness will result in the binding of Satan and the release of all the oppressed.

In the next verse we read of the grand conclusion, the end of sin and trouble: For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire. (Isa. 9:5, RSV) The interpretation of this figurative statement is that everything pertaining to this great conflict between right­eousness and unrighteousness, all of the weapons of Satan, all the accessories of sin and death which have prevailed in the world for centuries, shall be utterly destroyed. The picture shows us the world cleansed from every evidence of opposition to the Divine Government and the Law of Righteousness, and harmonizes well with the statement of Revelation: And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:13)


Next the Lord gives the explanation of the process by which this prophecy of blessing and release will be accomplished, drawing attention to the fact that no such blessing and enlightenment would be possible until Messiah has come. He also shows that Messiah was to be born after the manner of mankind, but would nevertheless be the Son of the Living God: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given . . . . “ (Isa. 9:6, NKJV)

How beautiful, how simple, is the entire statement from the standpoint of faith! Yet the wisdom of this world still may stumble over even such simple statements as these, claiming, as Higher Critics do, that this prophecy was wholly to the Israelites of Isaiah’s day, and that the promised one was King Hezekiah! Blessed are our eyes if they see and our ears if they hear the true meaning of this prophecy and thus permit us to recognize in it the Messiah, Immanuel – meaning “God with us” – the one sent of God to be the great Deliverer and to accomplish for us all the wonderful things which God has promised by all the holy Prophets since the world began, confirming His promise made to Abraham: “In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.” (Acts 3:19-21; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:8,16,29)

The prophecy continues, picturing the Child grown to manhood, and the government placed upon His shoulders: “. . . . And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isa. 9:6, NKJV) The respon­sibility falls upon Him as a royal mantle from the Heavenly Emperor, God the Father. Skipping over the earthly trials and sufferings of our Redeemer and the Church during the Gospel Age, the prophecy points to the complete and glorified Messiah at His Second Advent, viewed from God’s standpoint, the standpoint from which the whole world will ultimately recognize Him.


All the titles given to our Lord – “Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” – represent His majesty, dignity, power and glory. Our Lord is already recognized by His true followers, who know Him as the most wonderful Counselor. No other counsel, no other teaching is like His. The world in general has yet to learn this fact about Him; but before the close of the Millennium it will be generally known: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:10-11) If after confessing Him any willfully and deliberately ignore and reject His teachings, sinning willfully and intentionally, such will die the Second Death. (Acts 3:23)

Our Lord Jesus is recognized now by His true followers as the Mighty Lord, the Mighty God, but not as God the Father. (1 Cor. 8:6) He is the Father’s representative, voice, mouthpiece, the well-beloved Son whom the Father has clothed with glory, honor and immortality, and given all power in Heaven and in earth necessary to the accomplishment of the great work entrusted to Him. (Matt. 3:17; Matt. 28:18) He demonstrated His fitness for this office by His love and His loyalty even unto the death of the Cross.

Our Lord Jesus will be the Everlasting Father of the human race in the sense that, while their father Adam failed to give them life, our Lord redeemed Adam and all his posterity, thus becoming the Author of everlasting life to all who will obey Him. This will include all of the human family that will attain to everlasting life, except the Church class of this Gospel Age, who are chosen out of the world and begotten of the Heavenly Father to a new, spiritual nature. (1 Pet. 1:3-4) These spirit-begotten ones are separate and distinct from the world, and are Scripturally designated the New Creation. (2 Cor. 5:17) They are spoken of as the brethren of Christ in one figure, and as His Bride and Joint-heirs in another, but never as His children. (Heb. 2:11; Rev. 21:2) To the world, however, He will be the Everlasting Father, or Life-giver through whom they may have everlasting life – life to all eternity – if they will become obedient to God’s arrangements.

Another of our Lord’s titles will be Prince of Peace. While His Kingdom will be introduced by the great Time of Trouble such as never before was, the trouble will not be of His producing. (Dan. 12:1) It will be the result of the wrong course of sin and selfishness fostered by the great oppressor, Satan. The Prince of Peace will subdue all enemies, all sin, all unrighteousness, all insubordination to the Divine will. He will neither fail nor be discouraged. Nothing will hinder the accomplishment of this great mission entrusted to Him by the Father. His love of peace will not hinder Him from dashing the nations to pieces as a potter’s vessel, in order that righteousness be established upon a firm and sure foundation. (Psa. 2:9; Rev. 2:26-27)


Our lesson concludes: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isa. 9:7)

The word David signifies “beloved;” and the kingdom entrusted to King David was God’s Kingdom in a typical form, which was never to pass away. (1 Chron. 29:23; 2 Sam. 7:16) It was maintained by the Lord down to the time of Zedekiah, when we are told that the crown and the scepter of authority and power were removed to be overturned until He would come whose right it is. (Ezek. 21:27).

Our Lord in the flesh, as a descendant of King David, was the legitimate Heir to that Kingdom of David which was to have no end. But instead of establishing His Kingdom at His First Advent, He declared, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36) That is to say, His Kingdom was not of that age, that dispensation. He then began the selection of the Little Flock who in the world to come, the Millennial Age, will be His joint-heirs and associates in the Millennial Kingdom. This work of selecting the Church – the kings, rulers, priests – has since been in progress, and we have the assurance of God’s Word that it will reach a final and glorious consummation worthy of our God.

When Christ and the glorified Church reign over the earth, their rule will be the continuation or exaltation of the Kingdom of God which was begun in King David and Natural Israel. This greater David, this greater Beloved of the Father, full of grace and truth, will establish righteousness in the earth with judgment – with punishments for wrong-doing and rewards for right-doing.

Although the Millennial Kingdom will be under the direct supervision of our glorious Lord and His associated Church, yet behind it will be the Father’s delegated power. As the Apostle assures us, when it is said that all things will be put under subjection to Christ, it is manifest that the Father is excepted, for it is He that puts all things under Christ. “Then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God [the Father] may be all in all.” (1 Cor. 15:27,28)

Immanuel’s government, from the time of its beginning to the time it will be transferred to the Father, will be one continuous success; there will be no breaks or changes of course. “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” The discipline and order which He will establish will be on such a firm basis that day by day will see it more secure, until finally the consummation having been reached, the trials all being complete, the willfully incorrigible having been destroyed, the dominion without end will be passed to the Father.

It was the Father’s Kingdom from the time of David; it will be the Father’s Kingdom under the control of Messiah during the period of subjugation and Restitution, the Millennial Age; and it will be the Father’s Kingdom without end after “he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father.” (1 Cor. 15:24) The assurance given is that the work of reconstruction will be so thoroughly carried out that never again will sin bring a curse upon the earth. (Rev. 21:4)


“Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21)

This text sums up the entire work of our Lord Jesus, indicating that it is all implied in the meaning of the name Jesus, Savior. We sometimes refer to our Lord as the Savior of sinners, and properly so, because we are all sinners through our share in the Adamic fall. We sometimes speak of Him as the Savior of the world, and properly so, because the whole world was lost through Adam’s disobe­dience, and the whole world was redeemed and is to have the glorious opportunity of reconciliation to the Father through their Redeemer. But it is also appropriate that we note the statement of this text that He will save His people from their sins.

This statement, that only the Lord’s people are to be saved from their sins, is in full agreement with the other statements that He is the Savior of sinners and the Savior of the world. Although His salvation (from the Adamic death) extends to and embraces every member of Adam’s race, yet only those who accept the great salvation and the opportunities accorded them once they learn of them, thus becoming His people, only they and no others will get the full salvation and be delivered completely from death, and attain to the life everlasting, which is the gift of God to all those who obey Him. (Rom. 6:23)

(Derived from several writings of Pastor Russell, primarily Reprints 3685-3687)



“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14)

The song which the angels sang at the birth of the Savior has been seized upon and misapplied by some who do not see the plan of God for the salvation of the world. Be­coming discouraged by the seemingly poor prospect for the world’s conversion, these have put forth a version of this passage more in harmony with their own doubts and misconcep­tions. To these the prayer which our Master taught His disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” has lost its meaning; for they see no hope of its fulfillment except in a very limited sense. Hence they prefer to translate the latter part of the verse, “And on earth peace, among men of good will.” Were this the proper rendering, our hopes for the ultimate good of all, as far as this passage is concerned, would surely be eclipsed; for very few thus far in the history of the race have been “men of good will,” men who have unselfishly endeavored to any appreci­able degree to bring about the good of their fellows.

But we do not believe this to be the thought of the original. It is not in harmony with what we have clearly seen to be the plan of God for mankind. Such a translation eliminates the thought of God’s eventual good will toward all the world, and greatly minimizes the scope of this glorious song. It implies merely that men who have a feeling of good will are, or will be, at peace among themselves. How utterly barren of hope for all men would such an expression be! And how little the song of the angels would signify if this were its meaning!

On the contrary, this song was a prophecy of God’s purpose to bring about through the newly born Child the overturning of the curse and the establishment of peace and sin­lessness among mankind, in which God and man would become at-one. It was an expression of God’s good will, His good purpose, to bring man back to the image and likeness of Himself in which Adam was created. When this shall have been accomplished, then peace will dwell in all the earth; for the causes of discord will have been eliminated.

The world of mankind came under the curse, or sentence, of death because of the sin in Eden – because our first parents disobeyed God’s righteous command. All humanity, therefore, are members of an accursed race – under penal servitude, which ends in the tomb. The race has been learning the lesson of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and its terrible effects. But God has promised to take away the curse and to bring a permanent blessing in its place. This will mean a return to His favor, to full harmony with Himself.


We speak of this song as a prophecy because the peace has not yet come, nor the good will, in the sense that God’s face is not yet turned toward man. It is a declaration of what God purposes to do. He does not have good will toward the present sinful, re­bellious attitude of the race. He has never had good will toward sin. We are not to understand that God was expressing His good will toward man when He pronounced the sentence of death upon him. God’s curse indicated His ill will toward man – in other words, His displeasure because of man’s sin. He wished man to suffer ill as a just punishment for his willful disobedience. God cut him off from fellowship with Himself. He was not bound in justice to do anything more for the race. But in His infinite mercy He provided a deliverance for mankind. He foreknew man’s fall, and planned his redemption from before the foundation of the world. (1 Pet. 1:18-20)

Through all the ages since the fall of Adam God’s plan has been slowly, steadily progressing. While men have been learning in pain and tears and trouble the nature and results of sin, God has been selecting His saintly ones, His elect – first, the elect who are to be the earthly princes in His Kingdom of blessing; then, the elect who are to reign over all as kings and priests of God on the highest plane of existence. The chief of all the elect is His well-beloved Son, the Savior of the world, whose birth the angels proclaimed to the shepherds watching on the plains of Judea, some twenty centuries ago. (Isa. 42:1) When all the elect ones are chosen the blessing of the world at large will be inaugurated. “For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God [the Church]. For the creature was made subject to vanity [futility], 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.” (Rom. 8:19-21)

The coming of the Son of God to earth was only preliminary to His offering of Himself as a ransom for the forfeited life of Adam, the father of the race, in whom all his posterity fell. But even when our Lord had died as man’s ransom-price, God’s favor did not come to the world. Jesus was next raised from the dead a glorious, Divine being. Then He ascended up on high, and appeared in the presence of God for those who were to be of the spiritual elect. Thus the last became first in God’s plan. The merit of Jesus’ death was utilized first on behalf of these. It has not yet been applied for any others. The Church of Christ now has this promised peace and good will. It is granted only to those who have come into vital relationship with God through Christ – the fully consecrated ones.

The Scriptures show that after these are all selected, prepared and glorified, the next step will be the application to all men of the merit which has been imputed to these elect, and through whom it is to go to the Worthies of old and to the entire world of mankind. This spiritual class has been chosen to be members of the body of Christ, ­joint-associates with Him in the Messianic Kingdom. All of these who prove entirely faithful are to attain this exalted position. As soon as all the spiritual class have been glorified, the sins of all the world, those living and the dead as well, will be legally canceled by the application of the virtue, the merit, of the sacrificial death of Jesus. Then they will be freed from the condemnation of the sentence of death. The death penalty will be lifted. They will be turned over to The Christ, Head and Body, the Great Mediator. The curse will be removed.

The great work of the Millennial Age will then begin. It will be a work of gradual uplift during the entire thousand years of the reign of The Christ. The dead will be gradually awakened and brought to a clear knowledge of the salvation of God in Christ.  All will then have the opportunity of coming into the blessed condition of peace and good will proclaimed by the angels. By degrees they will be brought, if they will, to where they will be ready to be received by the Father, to be introduced to Him. This will be the blessed experience of all who will be obedient to the rules and requirements of the Kingdom. If they prove unwilling and disobedient, after being brought to a clear understanding, they will be “cut off,” destroyed, as not worthy of further effort on God’s part for their reclamation. (Acts 3:23)

(Excerpt from Reprint 5576, with minor editing)

[1] The first verse of this chapter properly belongs with the previous chapter; accordingly, in the Hebrew text it is numbered 8:23. Therefore our topic begins with the second verse.