by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 742

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 741

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” (1 Thess. 5:1-5)

The common tendency of the human mind is expressed by St. Peter, who prophesied what the worldly would be saying in the present time: “Where is the promise of his coming [presence] . . . all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Pet. 3:4) Ignorance of God’s Plan is to be expected of the world, but the true people of God have the promise of His special instruction so that they need not be in darkness about the Divine Program. Our world for six thousand years has been the battlefield between the forces of light and darkness, truth and error, righteousness and sin; the Prince of Darkness, otherwise styled the “Prince of this world,” has led his forces in person. He has controlled the masses and is still controlling them.

The Prince of Light is represented in a feeble way by ambassadors who are especially cautioned by Him that they must not use carnal weapons nor carnal methods, but must in meekness correct those who oppose them. They must be subject to “the powers that be” to the extent that their consciences will permit, and so far as possible live peaceably with all men. (Rom. 12:18) This experience of subjection to the powers of evil has been a hard lesson, difficult to learn. It has been a trial of faith as well as of endurance, the value of which has been difficult sometimes to appreciate. But these ambassadors must walk by faith and not by sight if they are to please the Captain of their salvation. For centuries the prayer has gone up to God from their hearts, “How long, O Lord!” Reason assures them that it cannot be the Divine purpose to forever permit the victory of sin and death. (Rev. 6:10)

God presents Himself as a great Husbandman, a farmer, a grower of crops. Each age is a “season” that bears its own crop. Each age has its own time for the plowing of the field, the sowing of the good seed, and the harvest work. Bible students note the work accomplished in the age that ended with the Flood, the different work accomplished during the Patriarchal Age, and the still different work accomplished during the Jewish Age, which lasted from the death of Jacob, and particularly from the giving of the Law, until the death of Jesus.

Our Lord’s ministry of three and a half years was a harvest time to the Jewish people in the close of their age of favor, or “day of visitation.” He said to His disciples, “I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.” (John 4:38) The plowing and sowing connected with the Jewish Dispensation was in the far past. The Egyptian bondage served to do a plowing work, as also Israel’s escape from that bondage and the forty years of wandering in the wilderness before they reached Canaan. The giving of the Law and the establishment of them as a people, the lessons of their sacrifices, and the exhortation of their Prophets, all constituted a seed-sowing, harrowing and cultivating experience. In the end of their age Jesus gathered the ripe fruitage of that experience – those sanctified thereby and developed in character and obedience to God.

The crop gathered by our Lord and the Apostles in the Jewish harvest numbered in the thousands. These were gathered out of Judaism and from under the Law Covenant into Christianity – gathered under a covenant applying only to the Church, the Body of Christ. This covenant, under which they became associated with Messiah, reads: “Gather my saints [holy ones] together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psa. 50:5) All coming thus into relationship with God as members of the Body of Messiah came by way of the cross – through a recognition of their own imperfection, and of Jesus and His sacrifice as the satisfaction for their sins, a covering for their blemishes, by which alone their sacrifices were rendered holy and acceptable to God. (Rom. 12:1)

The reaping work of the Jewish Age merged into the sowing work of the Gospel Age as the invitation to become joint-sacrificers with Jesus was extended beyond the Jews to all having hearing ears. Now in turn we have arrived at the harvest of this Gospel Age – the reaping time, the time of gathering into the garner – beyond the veil – by the power of the First Resurrection.

The Lord declares, “None of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Dan. 12:10) The declaration of our text, “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness,” implies either that the brethren are very few or that a considerable number of them have not yet become sufficiently awake to discern the times and seasons in which we are living. Many of the brethren, many of the world and many of the “wicked” do realize we are living in strange times and under peculiar conditions. These try to persuade them­selves, however, that what we see today is merely a recurrence of what has repeated itself time and again during the past centuries. Thus they lull themselves, saying, “Peace and safety!”

This attitude is what the Scriptures foretold: “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” It is only “ye, brethren” who are privileged to have the clearer light respecting present and future conditions. We know that we are in the Harvest time of this age – the reckoning time, the testing time, the time when the “wheat” is being gathered into the Heavenly garner, the time when the field is being cleared of all “tares” in a fiery trouble, the time when the plowshare of trouble runs through the world of mankind to prepare the whole world for the New Dispensation about to begin. Illustrating the Divine methods and the rapid following of events in the Divine Program, the Lord through the Prophet tells us, “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper.” (Amos 9:13)

So accurately timed is every feature of the Divine Plan that part fits to part and work to work closely. The Gospel Age Harvest is the gathered fruitage of this Gospel Age – “the Church of the First-borns, whose names are written in Heaven” – those who have made a covenant with God by sacrifice. The Head of the saintly Messiah is Jesus. The members of the Body of this Messiah have been gathered from every nation, first from the Jews and then from all nations. God’s call and selection of saintly sacrificers in this Gospel Age has ignored all sectarian, all denominational, all national lines; “The Lord knoweth them that are his.” (2 Tim. 2:19) The winds of violence that have been loosed (beginning with the World War in its two phases) started the terrific storm. These winds were held back until the sealing of God’s servants in their foreheads had been accomplished. (Rev. 7:1-3)

This sealing in the forehead implies an intellectual appreciation of Heavenly things, and is intimately associated with the Harvest work – the sealed are the ripe wheat gathered for the Heavenly garner. As soon as the sealing work was accomplished, the winds of strife and trouble were let loose according to the Master’s declaration, and the result is a “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation.” Nor shall there ever be the like again. (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21) The awful lessons which will thereby be learned by humanity will be sufficient for all time.

The strife, the hatred, the malevolence, the anarchy of this day of trouble are depicted in various places in the Word of God. (Rev. 7:1-3; Matt. 24:21; Psa. 46:8-10) The trouble time is indeed declared to be a time of Divine wrath, and we must not lose sight of that feature of it. Divine Justice has indignation against inequity and selfishness in general, for selfishness is but another name for sin. All sin is selfish, and all selfishness is sin. The captains of industry, the captains of education, and captains of wealth have today greater opportunities and therefore greater responsibilities than the kings of the earth for their dealings with their fellowmen. Similarly, there are leaders of the people, presidents and secretaries of unions, etc., who are also captains, and who also have great responsibility.

All perceive that the world of humanity is rapidly nearing a crisis. The almost miraculous opening of the eyes of understanding which God has recently granted has brought to the world inventions and processes which are making the world rich with amazing speed. Although these blessings are to a considerable extent reaching the masses of mankind and uplifting all to a higher plane of comfort, nevertheless general education has opened the eyes of human understanding correspondingly.

“The common people” are looking with amazement at the luxury of the rich as the barbarians of old looked upon the much lesser splendors of Rome. They are covetous, they are hungry for what they term their “share” of the bounties being dispensed by Providence with so lavish a hand. Even if the vast increase of wealth through machinery, chemistry, etc., were to be evenly distributed we doubt if it would satisfy them.


There seem to be two possible solutions: (1) To convert all of the wealthy into saints, whose pleasure it would be to administer the flood of wealth now rolling in upon them for the general blessing of mankind, along the most benevolent lines imaginable; or (2) To convert into saints the masses of mankind and to imbue them with Heavenly hopes and prospects that they would not particularly care for earthly good things nor crave them, but rather rejoice to be “the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom.” (Jas. 2:5)

We cannot believe that either solution can be accomplished; hence we must believe what the Bible teaches – that an awful conflict is about to be precipitated between these two classes because neither one nor the other can be fully converted to the Lord’s way. How glad we are that the Bible shows that the culmination of the conflict will bring everlasting peace – a just, loving, equitable and satisfactory adjustment of earth’s affairs, under Messiah’s glorious Reign of a thousand years!

Some may ask if these same difficulties would not beset any new government which Messiah or others might institute. Will not the element of selfishness forever persist in the human heart, and will not this imply that to all eternity there will be a conflict of selfish interests? No – the Divine Plan solves the problem perfectly. Jesus has demonstrated His unselfishness by laying down His life. He proved not only His loyalty to righteous­ness and to the Father’s will, but also His love. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

This Friend of humanity is to be the great King of the world in the New Dispensation, and His associates in the Kingdom, the Bride class, are to be such only as have His spirit and disposition of obedience to the Father’s will – self-sacrifice and love for fellowman – unselfish love. Under present conditions these may not always be known, nor their true character and unselfishness be discerned, because they have the treasure in “earthen vessels,” which do not always fully present their true benevolence of heart. (2 Cor. 4:7) The Divine provision is that those who have demonstrated their unselfishness of heart and loyalty to the Lord are to be given new bodies in the resurrection: “It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” (1 Cor. 15:42-44)

The Bride, in association with the Redeemer, will constitute the Kingdom class which is to rule the world for a thousand years under the Headship of Jesus. Surely we can trust them, we can have confidence in them. The fact that God has elected them and is pleased to give them rule over the world for a thousand years testifies beyond a doubt their worthiness and capability.

That government will not be a republic, but a monarchy, a theocracy, a Divine Kingdom. Christ and His Bride will be the King and Queen of the New Dispensation, supplanting Satan and the fallen angels, who for centuries have been in control. The Kingdom of God will be invisible just as the kingdom of darkness has been and it will operate through human agencies, just as Satan’s kingdom has. Its human agents have been provided in the Divine Plan; the Scriptures inform us that the worthy ones of the Jewish Dispensation and before, will be the “princes in all the earth” who will represent Messiah’s Kingdom among men. (Psa. 45:16) They will be perfect men, made so by participation in the “resurrection of life.”

How grand the prospect! The Time of Trouble, although it will be awful, will be short, as typed in the terrible trouble which came upon the Jewish nation following the harvest work of their age. Then will come the leveling process, which in the Divine order will prove to be a blessing to everybody. In other words, the socialists and anarchists are not so far from a correct conception of what must ultimately prevail, but they are far astray respecting the methods by which it will be obtained. Their attempt to grasp the rudder of the world’s affairs shows an utter lack of appreciation of the mighty influences with which they seek to contend. Their efforts will merely precipitate upon themselves and upon others the terrible trouble which the Scriptures foretell.

God’s people are distinctly warned that they must keep hands off, must not interfere with the powers that be; their reliance must be upon the Lord, and not in the use of carnal weapons. St. James, writing on this subject, declares the coming trouble and tells that it will be especially severe upon the rich. (Jas. 5:1-7) No doubt the troubles will be equally upon the poor; but to them they will seem less severe since they have been accustomed to less.

The message to God’s people is this: “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” (Jas. 5:8) “Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord.” (Zeph. 3:8) “Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.” (Zeph. 2:3) Herein is safety sure.

(From Pastor Russell’s Sermons, pages 184-191. Edited for clarity and length.)



“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted . . . Your gold and silver is cankered . . . Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth . . . Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton . . .” (Jas. 5:1-6)

Question: Can you explain the first six verses of the fifth chapter of James?

Answer: This is a prophecy relating to “the last days” (Jas. 5:3) and is contrary to the expectations of many Christian people who are anticipating the world’s conversion to Christianity before the second coming of the Lord. This is a clear-cut statement of the Apostle describing the conditions that would exist in the last times. Had he been living in these times he could not have described the situation of affairs in the world more accurately or concisely. Is it not true that treasures have been heaped together? . . . Are not the “rich men” living in pleasure; and are they not “wanton” (extravagant – luxurious) in their ways of living? (Jas. 5:5) Expensive palaces, yachts, auto­mobiles, jewels, balls, banquets, and various forms of amusements are aggravating the poor and the unemployed to such an extent that they are crying out; and these “cries” (Jas. 5:4) have swelled into a mighty volume and find expression throughout all the public press. Do not all intelligent people know that the vast accumulation of wealth has been brought about mainly by “fraud?” (Jas. 5:4) It is the farming class, “the labourers who have reaped down your fields,” that are the real wealth producers of the world, and these are the ones who have been defrauded the most by the political and financial frauds of the times. Pity the poor rich (Jas. 5:1) in the coming “time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation” (Dan. 12:1), for theirs will be a season of special sorrow and anguish of mind when all the accumulated wealth will become valueless. (Jas. 5:2-3)

Question: What is meant by the Scriptures which declare that in the last days there would be a fearful time of trouble? (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21-22) Has this any reference to the industrial and social crisis that is now developing throughout the world?

Answer: There have been seasons of severe trouble and destruction at various times in the history of the race, such as the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, when about a million and a quarter of Jews were slain, and the French Revolution, when vast numbers were slaughtered by the mobs and by the troops – a reign of terror indeed – but the “time of trouble” in the end of this age (not the end of the world for “the earth abideth forever” Eccl. 1:4) is represented as being more dreadful than any preceding experience, in the sense that it will be world-wide and not a local disturbance as were the previous seasons of destruction. (See Rev. 16:14; Luke 21:25; Zeph. 3:8-9) The Scriptures clearly indicate in what way the trouble will be developed, after the nations, kingdoms and governments have become associated together, forming a general community of interests, such as we see existing now, when all are brought together by financial, political, and social ties, treaties and alliances. It will be an industrial and social conflict that will involve all classes and be terrible when the climax is reached. The battle lines are already sharply drawn. Organized capital on the one hand and organized labor on the other are the two forces arrayed against each other in deadly conflict. The Apostle James writes almost like a socialist in describing some of the phases of the impending struggle. (Jas. 5:1-5) After the “trouble” is over conditions will be established on a new basis, and an era of peace and prosperity be ushered in. (Hag. 2:7)

Question: Of what practical advantage is a knowledge of the truth of God’s character and plan of salvation, to one in time of trouble, disappoint­ment, sorrow, etc.?

Answer: The knowledge of God, the Creator, that He is wise and just, loving and all powerful, and that He is our loving Heavenly Father, one that we can draw nigh unto with confidence and trust in every time of need, through the merits of the Anointed Savior, is a wonderful source of comfort and consolation, and is of far more practical benefit than all that earthly wealth or fame could possibly bestow. After all, real advantage or benefit is that which brings peace and happiness to the heart. Those who have the consciousness that they are the children of the Most High God, and that He loves them, and is over-ruling all of the affairs of life to their interest and welfare as spiritual children – ah, these have that inward peace and joy and happiness, that not all the storms, and trials and afflictions of life can mar or take away. The knowledge of the plan of the ages, brings unspeakable joy to those who thus know what God has in reservation for those who love Him; and not only for these, the Church of Christ, but also for all the families of the earth – the world of mankind. In view of the high exaltation to glory, honor, and immortality at the right hand of the Majesty on high, promised to the Lord’s faithful people, how trifling and insignificant must seem the trials and hardships of life! And thus the Apostle Paul expresses the matter saying, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Cor. 4:17)

(What Pastor Russell Said, pages 848-849)



Love is that tender solicitude and affection with which anything commanding admiration and respect is regarded. That which is not lovely never can be loved in the true sense of the word. A degenerate nature may desire and find a morbid satisfaction in that which is unlovely, but that is not love. Love wherever found is a gleam of the Divine likeness, and is spontaneously awakened by the presence of that which is noble and pure and good. This wonderful principle binds in holiest and most delightful union and harmony all intelligent beings controlled by it. God is the most glorious exhibition of its nobility and grandeur. It is the law of His being, and shall ultimately be the controlling law of all His universe.

One may inquire, if only that which commands admiration and respect can be truly loved, how could God love sinners and tell us to do the same? We reply that God never loved sinners as such; He loved the jewel He first brought into perfect being because it was truly lovely. When it lost its excellence and glory through temptation, His love for its perfection caused Him to pity it in its fall. Although His justice condemned it; it was His love that devised the wondrous plan for its recovery.

Note the attitude of God towards those whom He so loved as to give His only begotten Son to redeem. For six thousand years He has permitted their adversary to have dominion over them: Famine and pestilence have stalked abroad; hatred and strife, and war and bloodshed, have filled the earth with untold agony and woe, until the grave closed over generation after generation. God still stands off, and the king of terror still reigns. When the long promised Deliverer comes, it is to rule with a rod of iron – to dash in pieces as a potter’s vessel the kingdoms of earth, which from the human standpoint seem necessary for protection against greater evils. In fear and dismay men look upon God as an enemy, and seek to hide from His presence. Yet, “God is love.”

The love of God is currently veiled, but soon it will be revealed in the glorious restoration to the perfection and bliss of Eden: “And the ransomed of the Lord [all mankind] shall return, and come to Zion [the Church in Kingdom power] with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isa. 35:10) God’s love is often veiled by His wisdom.

True love will seek to shield and protect, but will also justly judge a fault and strive to eradicate it. True love will expose the fault and let the light shine on it, that it may be removed, allowing grace and beauty to take its place. A very false notion of love prevails among the majority of Christian people, and under this false notion our adversary endeavors to shield some of the most dangerous and deadly errors that sap the very foundations of the Christian’s hope. Anyone wielding “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” (Eph. 6:17) against a deadly error presented to God’s children by the adversary is said to be uncharitable, loveless.

This is by no means so! Jesus was full of the love of God, but He spoke out most emphatically against evil-doers: “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in . . . Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” (Matt. 23:13, 24) He also did not refrain from rebuking His own disciples, as when He said to erring Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan [adversary]: thou art an offense unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matt. 16:23)

Paul was a noble pattern of his Master’s spirit in his zeal for the Truth and his care for fellow members of the Church. His usual manner toward all, like that of Jesus, was kind, generous and affectionate, but Paul did not hide the Truth, shield error, or fail to warn an erring brother or the flock of God against the encroachments of the enemy. If he had so done, as an unfaithful steward he would have lost his stewardship.

Though Peter was a noble soldier of the cross and fellow servant in the Lord, Paul “withstood him to the face” when on one occasion he “dissembled” or acted in a two-faced manner in dealing with Jews and Gentiles. (Gal. 2:11-13) Evidently the rebuke was accepted in the spirit of meekness; note the sympathy and love existing between the two. (2 Pet. 3:15) On another occasion, Paul faithfully warned the Church against many who had become “the enemies of the cross of Christ.” (Phil. 3:18)

To the objection, “Judge not, that ye be not judged,” we reply: Exercising human judgment in condemning others is wrong; but applying the judgment of God as expressed in His Word is right. We are in fact commanded to do so, and the various descriptions of evil deeds, false teachings and seducing doctrines, are given that we may judge, “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

It is therefore the duty of every child of God to judge what is right and what is wrong, what is true and what is false. We are cautioned against judging by standards other than the Word of God – condemning by our own or any other human authority. That Paul judged according to God’s Word and taught the Church to do the same is very clear. (1 Cor. 5:3; Gal. 2:11; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Tim. 4:2; 1 Cor. 6:2-3) Note also Paul’s prayer: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.” (Phil. 1:9)

In 1 Corinthians Chapter 4, we see that Paul’s faithful efforts to build up and establish the Church in purity of doctrine and life were often misunder­stood and unappreciated. This is very apparent from his statement: “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.” (1 Cor. 4:3-4) Speaking of his labor and suffering for them, he went on to say: “I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you.” (1 Cor. 4:14)

Jesus said: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35) Paul says: “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.” (Rom. 12:9)

Dearly beloved, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” (Rom. 12:10) “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Tim. 4:2)

(Reprint 663. Edited for clarity and length.)

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by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 740

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” (Rev. 1:18)

We must not allow Easter Sunday to pass without noting its unique lesson – the resurrection of the Savior from the dead. The above text comes to us as fresh as though delivered yesterday from the lips of the risen Redeemer. It is His special message to His people. How much is conveyed in these few words! They affirm positively that Jesus really died, “the just for the unjust,” that He might bring mankind back from sin and condemnation to harmony with God. (1 Pet. 3:18) With equal force they tell us that He is dead no longer. Although unseen by our natural eyes, we may recognize by faith that He arose from the dead and ascended up on high. (Heb. 9:24)

What was accomplished by His death and what is the value of His life to mankind?

His death was necessary because death was the sentence against Adam and all his race because of original sin – disobedience. St. Paul says, “Where­fore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Rom. 5:12) It was not an angel that had sinned and hence an angel could not be the Redeemer. The Divine Law was an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth; hence nothing but the sacrificial death of a perfect man could redeem the race from the death sentence. Any perfect man could have been substituted, but none existed in the whole world. Thus it was necessary that our Lord be “made flesh” so that He might redeem us. (John 1:14) As the Scriptures explain, “Though he was rich, for your sakes he became poor.” (2 Cor. 8:9) He left the perfection of the heavenly nature and came down to perfect human nature; He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26)

The death of Jesus did not redeem the world, but it constituted a ransom price for the world yet to be applied. Our Savior laid down His life, surrendering it to the Father, in obedience to the Divine will. As a reward He was highly exalted and given a name above every name on the spirit plane. (Phil. 2:9) He did not forfeit His human rights by sin; He laid them down in obedience to the Father’s wish, to be disposed of as a bequest to humanity.

Thus we see clearly the inestimable value of our Redeemer’s sacrifice of Himself. A further glance will show His resurrection to be of equal importance. Had the Father not raised Him from the dead, it would have implied some unfaith­fulness, some failure on our Lord’s part. And if He had not arisen, how could He have made application of His human rights on our behalf? No wonder St. Paul forcefully declares: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain . . . ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished . . . But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (1 Cor. 15:14-20)

So the resurrection hopes of the Church and of the world hang upon the death of Jesus and His resurrection. The Scriptures differentiate these hopes. The Church is to share in the “first resurrection” (the chief resurrection), also called “his resurrection.” (Rev. 20:6; Phil. 3:10) It is a resurrection to the spirit nature of glory and perfection. On that glorious plane the Heavenly Bridegroom will soon claim His espoused Church as His Bride and joint-heir in His Kingdom.

Afterward the world’s resurrection will be due to begin. It will not be a resurrection change to spirit nature, nor will it be an instantaneous work. Theirs will be a gradual resurrection to perfect human nature. First they will be awakened, “every man in his own order.” (1 Cor. 15:23) Subse­quently they will be gradually raised up out of sin and death conditions to perfection of life, if they are willing to obey the great King of the Millennial Kingdom. Those refusing to obey will be destroyed in the Second Death. (Acts 3:23)

Regrettably, many Christians, including many of the clergy, fail to discern the great importance of the resurrection as taught in God’s Word. This serious omission has created confusion, leading many to reject the Word of God. Let us heed the testimony of the Bible on the importance of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. In doing so we will surely be following the example of the Great Teacher and the Apostles. Are we wiser than they that we should leave their teachings or neglect them? Certainly not! “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” (Heb. 2:1)


If someone has signed a contract to purchase a building and has secured financing for the purchase, it would be appropriate to consider that person the owner of the building. Strictly speaking, however, he is not the owner until he pays the price, the documents are properly executed, and he has the deed instead of the contract. A contract is an agreement to enter into a transaction; the deed is proof that the transaction has been completed.

Our Lord Jesus entered into a contract with the Father, giving to the Father the ransom price: “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:28) He already has a claim to being Lord of all in a prospective sense, although not in the actual sense. He is not Lord of millions of people on earth today. Their knees have not bowed and their tongues have not confessed. (Rom. 14:11; Isa. 45:23) So He is not their Lord in the absolute sense, but His work is progressing, and in view of the authority which will yet be exercised by Him and of the work which He will yet do, the Father speaks of Him prophetically as “Lord of all.” (Acts 10:36)

Let us consider certain Scriptures bearing on this subject. We cite first the passage which refers to the dead, both good and bad, as “them which are asleep” and those who “sleep in Jesus.” (1 Thess. 4:13-14) How are they asleep in Jesus? They sleep in Jesus in exactly the same way that Abraham and all the Old Testament kings and Prophets are said to be asleep. At the time of their death Jesus had not yet paid a ransom price for mankind, nor had He yet come into the world to do so. However, in the Divine Plan God had arranged for and guaranteed that a Redeemer would be found, that a ransom price would be given, and that all mankind would be recovered from the tomb. Further, God Himself spoke from that standpoint when referring to Himself as “The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” speaking as though they were really not dead at all, but merely asleep, waiting for Him. (Exod. 3:15)

All who believed God then could speak of and think of the dead as merely asleep and awaiting the resurrection, even though Jesus had not yet come. The same is true since Jesus came and died. It is still more reasonable and proper for us now to say that all “sleep in Jesus,” because now He is identified as the one who has given Himself a ransom price for all. The price has not yet been applied for all, but He has placed in the Father’s hands His sacrificed life, which is His to appropriate and which is sufficient for the sins of the whole world. It has not as yet been appropriated for the world, but merely for the Church, for the price is first a satisfaction for the Church’s sins and afterwards for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2; John 3:16)


Next consider this text: “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Pet. 1:18-19) The “ye” referred to here is the Church; the reference does not extend beyond the Church to the world. It does not imply that the world is redeemed as yet. Jesus’ merit, of course, is all-sufficient for the whole world, but He has not yet appropriated it for all men.

Consider another text: “For ye are bought with a price.” (1 Cor. 6:20) Similarly this text speaks not of the world, but of the Church. It is the “ye” class that were bought, but even they were not yet bought when Jesus died at Calvary. There He indeed committed to the Father’s hands a price sufficient for all (Luke 23:46); but it was not then appropriated for anyone until His resurrection and ascension, when He appeared “in the presence of God for us.” (Heb. 9:24) The “us” class, the Church, were then bought with the precious blood of Christ.

Another text: “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) In one sense He was a propitiation, or satisfaction, for the sins of the Church when He died, but the satisfaction had not then been applied for the sins of the Church. When He ascended up on high He appeared for the Church (the “us” class), and made satisfaction for its sins. Therefore, as they believed and made conse­cration, their sins were remitted.

When He died, the merit of His death was also a satisfaction price for the sins of the whole world, but He has not yet applied it for the world. Hence the world is not free from the penalty of sin; it is still under condemnation. Concerning the Church, however, the Apostle says they have “escaped the corruption that is in the world.” (2 Pet. 1:4) And again he says they were “in times past . . . by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” (Eph. 2:3) The others, we see, are still children of wrath. The reason? It is because the satisfaction for their sins has not yet been applied. The great Redeemer has the satisfaction price; it merely awaits the due time for its application.

Notice another passage: “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” (Rom. 14:9) This text succinctly states what our Lord accomplished. His death, His raising and His revival were all necessary features of the redemptive work. Further, He could not yet be Lord in any other way than by the Father’s proclaiming Him such, as when He declared Him Lord of all and when He said, “And let all the angels of God worship him.” (Heb. 1:6)

Although Christ is proclaimed to be Lord of all, it will take time for that to be recognized. In harmony with this the Apostle says, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.” (Eph. 1:10) It will take the fullness of the Millennial Age to accomplish this gathering together under Him, making Him in fact Lord of all. So we see that prophetically and by Divine appointment He already has that office, but now He is waiting until His enemies are brought under Him and all things are subjected to Him. (1 Cor. 15:25-27; Heb. 2:8)


Next consider this text: “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Tim. 2:6) As the man Christ Jesus, He gave Himself at Jordan, surrendering His all to the Father’s will. His work of surrendering His earthly life and all His earthly rights was completed at Calvary when He cried, “It is finished.” He finished the work the Father had given Him to do. He gave Himself a ransom for all, and the merit of His death will be sufficient to constitute a ransom for all as soon as it is applied. Thus far it has been applied only for believers. The time for its application for the remainder of the world will be the Millennial Age.

While our Lord’s merit is fully appropriated during the Gospel Age for all who come unto Him, it will be fully set free when the last of the consecrated ones have passed beyond the vail. His merit has been imputed to them for the very purpose of enabling them to sacrifice, following in Christ’s footsteps. When His merit has been released by the death of the last of the consecrated, it will be again at His disposal for appropriation to the world.

Then the great High Priest will make the second sprinkling of the blood – not on behalf of the Church, because they will have no further need of it. The second sprinkling will be on behalf of “all the people” – all who will come under the New Covenant arrangement. (Lev. 16:33) Once all come to sufficient knowledge under that New Covenant, those who desire to come under the merit of our Lord’s ransom price will receive the Restitution blessings. Those who will reject the ransom price will fail to come under the merit, thus rejecting the blessings of Restitution.

Restitution blessings will come gradually throughout the Millennial Age, not instan­taneously at the beginning. The blessings will not come merely in a reckoned sense by faith; they will be actual. Throughout the Millennial Age, Christ will give mankind the benefit of our Lord’s ransom price. The full benefit of this price will not be given until the work of the Millennial Age is finished and all desiring to be God’s people, upon God’s terms, have been brought to perfection. God never intended His blessings to go to any but those who desire to be in harmony with Him on His terms. God never intended to do anything for those who are willingly and intentionally out of harmony with Him, such as Satan.

Note the agreement of this text: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb. 2:9) This is God’s great work which He purposed in Himself before the foundation of the world – that the ransoming of Adam and all his race should be accomplished through the death of Christ. (Eph. 1:9-10) Thus Jesus tasted death for every man, whether the benefit of it was received on the Day of Pentecost or later during the Gospel Age, or whether they will get it in the Millennial Age. It is for every man that He tasted death, so that He might give them the blessings that will come to the world of mankind during the Millennial Age, blessings that will be theirs to all eternity if they are obedient.

“When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive.” (Eph. 4:8) We think another translation states it more clearly: “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives.” (Eph. 4:8, RSV) This passage (a quotation of Psa. 68:18) shows He is the leader of the entire captive race. They will all be led forth, all delivered from the power of sin and death.


“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Rom. 5:6) This passage does not say that Christ made an application of His merit for the ungodly; it merely states that God arranged His plan so that it was necessary for Christ to die for the ungodly. He arranged it on behalf of all the ungodly, not merely the Jews and those who may desire to be in harmony with God. The merit of His death was intended by the Father to apply to every member of the human race, the ungodly race of Adam, all of them sinners and more or less depraved and degraded and out of harmony with God.

The object for which the price was given is one thing and the application of it is another. The purpose of Christ’s death was to redeem the world, to be the world’s ransom price, that He might be the restorer of all. But time and order are crucial to this plan; the work progresses step by step. The first step was for Christ Himself to secure eternal glory by being obedient unto death, thus securing an asset that He could then give away – His earthly life, which He had not forfeited.

The next step was for Him to ascend up on high and apply this price. He appeared as advocate for a special class, those from among men who desired to come into harmony with God, who desired to accept God’s favor and to become members of the Body of Christ under a special plan that God had arranged. When He appeared for these He imputed the merit of His sacrifice on their behalf, and thus all this merit was absorbed in this one work of justifying and assisting this special class. He did not do this by first giving them earthly restitution, but by simply imputing His merit to them.

This imputation of His merit has covered the Adamic sin of those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, turning from sin and consecrating themselves to God. It has made up for all deficiencies of their flesh, allowing them to present themselves “a living sacrifice, holy, accept­able unto God.” (Rom. 12:1) In other words, He became their guarantor. Not being sufficient of themselves, He has guaranteed for them that if they faithfully performed this laying down of their lives, His merit would continue to be applied for all their imperfections. These are the Royal Priests, represented in one picture as His Bride and in another as members of His Body. These are “more than conquerors.” (Rom. 8:37) They are the “called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14)

However, not all of those called have made their “calling and election sure.” (2 Pet. 1:10) There have been those (probably few) who “fall away,” who “draw back unto perdition,” sinning willfully against full light and dying the Second Death. (Heb. 6:4-6; Heb. 10:39) For them there is nothing reserved but everlasting destruction. They are perished as brute beasts. (2 Pet. 2:12)

There is also a large secondary class, a “Great Company,” who have not voluntarily, heartily and cheerfully laid down their lives in the desire to please the Father and do His will. These, nevertheless, are loyal at heart but are restrained from full sacrifice “through fear of death,” through fear of what it will cost them. (Heb. 2:15) They could only be saved “so as by fire.” (1 Cor. 3:15) “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:9-14) They take a lower place than that to which they were called.

These three classes having finished their course, all the merit that Christ imputed will again be available and will be applied in the sealing of the New Covenant. The New Covenant will be made with Israel, but it will be broad enough to include all those of every nation of the earth who are willing to come under its terms. Through faith and obedience, they will become the children of Abraham.


Now consider this text: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:13-14)

The Holy Spirit granted to the Church is the earnest or foretaste of their inheritance. They are to “inherit all things.” (Rev. 21:7) First of all they inherit the Divine nature, and secondly they inherit the great Abrahamic promise that through them, in union with our Lord Jesus as members of His Body, all the families of the earth will be blessed. (Gen. 22:18; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29) They are spoken of as the Lord’s purchased possession and this part of His possession will be complete when they are changed to receive His glory. They will then be perfect and under His direct control.

After this, another part of this same promise (another feature of the same possession) will become operative. The precious blood will then be applied to seal the New Covenant on behalf of the sins of all the people. The work of recovering the still larger possession will progress until the close of the Millennial Age, when the entire possession will be redeemed. Christ will have put down all enemies and accomplished His mission of restoring mankind to perfection. He will then deliver up His completed work to the Father. (1 Cor. 15:24)

Also consider this passage: “For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” (Rom. 5:15) Here the Apostle evidently does not mean that the full abundance of grace had at that time reached the many, because that would be untrue. It is now nearly 2,000 years since the Apostle’s day, and the abundance of grace has not yet reached the majority of mankind. So we must understand him to mean that the abundance of grace in Christ according to the Father’s plan and purpose is yet to reach the many. The world is yet in its sins; Israel is yet in its sins and will not be recovered until after the glorification of the Church, as the Apostle points out: “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Rom. 11:26-27)

Since this grace has not yet gone to the Jews nor to the Gentiles in general, the only way in which it has abounded is through the promise of God that the death of Christ will yet be made efficacious for all. Therefore, speaking from this prophetic standpoint, it is plain to be seen how Jesus is the Savior of the world, although the work of saving the Church will not be complete until the end of the Gospel Age. Similarly, He will not be the Savior of the world in the full sense until the end of the Millennial Age. Some will never be fully saved because they will refuse the grace of God; and yet He is, according to the Scriptures, the Savior of all men – the Savior of the world.

The Scriptures declare that He was the Savior of the world when He was born. The message of the angels was, “For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) He was then a Savior in the prospective sense – not because of what He was then, as a babe, and not merely because of what He has since accomplished through His sacrifice, but because of all that He will accomplish according to God’s promise by the time He delivers up the Kingdom to the Father. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25)

He now saves in a partial sense, by hope, those who come unto the Father through Him. The saving of the world will begin when He awakens them from death; but they will not be fully saved, will not attain full Restitution nor gain eternal life, except as they exercise faith and obedience. He opens the door; He makes the way; He provides all the arrangements by which they may know and obey.

The whole earth is a part of the purchased possession and shall be filled with the glory of God. And if any knee will then refuse to bow and any tongue refuse to confess and any fail to accept of the favor of God, there will be nothing further for that person; he will die the Second Death. “And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:23)


This paper is based on writings of Pastor Russell, primarily Reprints 4587 and 4632.



Question: Are the Youthful Worthies of the Household of Faith?

Answer: We use the expression, the Household of Faith, from a variety of standpoints: . . . [1] In the Old Testament times all believers in the promises were of the Household of Faith. (Heb. 11:1-39) [2] All Gospel-Age believers in Jesus are of the Household of Faith . . . (Rom. 4:11-12) This was typed by all children – the afterborn as well as the firstborn – in each family in Israel partaking of the Paschal Lamb in Egypt. (Exod. 12:3-17, 21-28) [3] All new creatures, as a finished work, in the end of the Gospel Age, especially during the Epiphany, are the Household of Faith. (Heb. 9:24; Heb. 10:14; 1 John 2:2; Mal. 3:2-3; 1 Cor. 3:11-15) Aaron and his house on the Atonement day typed this Household of Faith. (Lev. 16:6,11) [4] The Little Flock, the Ancient Worthies, the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies will be the Millennial Household of Faith. (2 Tim. 2:20) The Priests and Levites dwelling about the Tabernacle type this Household of Faith. (Num. 1; Num. 3:4) The Youthful Worthies, of course, are not of the New Creature Household of Faith, because they are not new creatures. But from the standpoint of having “the faith of Abraham” (Gal. 3:7,9) they are, of course, like him, of the Household of Faith. They are among the believers referred to under [2] . . . The reason why they are of the Household of Faith is that they are a faith class; for all that are of the faith of Abraham are of the Household of Faith. [See also R5358, page 358]

Question: If they are of the Household of Faith, what is their position with regard to the blood of the antitypical Bullock?

Answer: We understand that the blood of the antitypical Bullock is actually imputed on behalf of that Household of Faith only which consists of new creatures, those referred to under No. [3] . . . “He hath now appeared in the presence of God [in the antitypical Most Holy, with the antitypical Bullock’s blood] for us” (Heb. 9:24); hence for the firstborn only. “By one offering [imputation of His merit] He hath perfected [justified reckonedly] forever them that are sanctified” [the consecrated who become new creatures]. (Heb. 10:14) These are the antitypes of those for whom Aaron made atonement with the bullock’s blood. The Youthful Worthies are not among these, for their justification is not vitalized. While because of their faith God tentatively treats them as though the merit of the antitypical Bullock had been imputed on their behalf, actually there has been no such imputation made for them; actually they are not yet released from the Adamic sentence; and actually, with the Ancient Worthies and the Restitution class in general, they must wait for the application of the Lord’s merit on their behalf in connection with the blood of the Lord’s antitypical Goat; for they are counted in among the Ancient Worthies, of whom it is written, “That they without us [apart from the application of the Lord’s merit in the blood of the Lord’s antitypical Goat, and The Christ bringing them back from the tomb] should not be made perfect.” (Heb. 11:40 )

(Brother Paul Johnson, E-4, pages 405-406)

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by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 739

“And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.” (Exod. 12:14)

The time again approaches for us to commemorate the anniversary of our Lord’s Supper. While the thoughts presented here should be very familiar to most of our readers, such an important topic warrants frequent review.

The correct time for the observance for 2019 is after 6 p.m. on March 19. The date is determined by this method: The moon nearest the Vernal Equinox becomes new in Jerusalem on March 6 at 6:03 p.m., thus establishing 6 p.m. March 6 as the beginning of Nisan 1. Counting forward to Nisan 14, we arrive at 6 p.m. March 19. Any time that evening after 6 p.m. would be proper for the celebration.

The Passover memorial was and still is one of the most important religious observances among the Jewish people. It was the first feature of “the Law” given them as a typical people. The typical Passover occurred more than three thousand years ago in Egypt, where the Israelites were held in servitude by the Egyptians. When the Lord’s providence provided for their deliverance, their masters sought selfishly to keep them in bondage, refusing to let them go to the land of Canaan. During that year the Lord sent nine different plagues upon the people of Egypt. One after another, the Lord relieved the plagues when Pharaoh begged for mercy and made promises which he afterwards broke.

Finally, the servant of the Lord, Moses, announced a great, final disaster: the firstborn in every family of Egypt would die in one night. In the homes of the humblest peasants as well as in the home of Pharaoh there would be great mourning. As a result they would finally yield and let the Israelites go. In fact, they would urge them to go quickly, for fear the Lord would ultimately bring death upon the entire people if Pharaoh continued to harden his heart and resist the Divine mandate.

The first three plagues were common to all in Egypt, including the Israelites. The next six plagues affected only the Egyptians. The tenth plague was to be common to the entire land of Egypt, including the Israelites, except that the Israelites were given a means of salvation. They were to show faith and obedience by sacrificing a lamb and sprinkling its blood upon the sides and lintels of their doorways. The flesh was to be eaten in the same night, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. The eaters were to stand with staff in hand and girded for the journey, fully expecting that the Lord would strike the firstborn of the Egyptians with death and make them willing to let the Israelites go, and with full faith also that they would share in this calamity were it not for the blood upon their doorposts and lintels.

Because of the sprinkled blood and the eaten lamb on that night (the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish calendar), the firstborn of Israel were passed over – spared from the plague of death which claimed the firstborn of the Egyptians. The next day Israel marched out free from Egyptian bondage; therefore, by God’s command (Exod. 12:14), they were instructed to commemorate this great event every year on its anniversary.

While Jews still have a measure of respect for this ancient custom, not many have inquired deeply into its meaning. Why was the lamb slain and eaten? Why was its blood sprinkled upon the doorposts and lintels? Because God so commanded, of course; but what reason, motive, object or lesson was there behind the Divine command? Although Christianity has the answer to this question, the majority of Christians are likewise unable to discern it. Truly a reasonable God gives reasonable commands, and in due time He will be willing for His faithful people to understand the meaning of every requirement.


The Israelites saw only the letter of this ceremony and not its typical significance. We might have been in similar darkness had not the Holy Spirit of God given us the key to its meaning by inspiring the Apostle to write the words: “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (1 Cor. 5:7-8)

The severe bondage of Israel under Pharaoh calls to mind the bondage of sin and death under which the whole creation groans. (Rom. 8:21-22) Pharaoh fitly typifies Satan, “the god of this world.” (2 Cor. 4:4) In the deliverance of all Israel under the leadership of Moses we see the deliverance during the Millennium of all who will reverence God and His Laws under the leadership of the greater than Moses, Christ, head and body. In the destruction of Pharaoh and his hosts in the Red Sea we see the destruction in the Second Death of Satan and all who follow his course. All of these anti-typical blessings are the results of the anti-typical Passover, of which Christ is the central figure.

The Apostle’s words having called our attention to the matter, we find other Scriptures which clearly show that Jesus, “the Lamb of God,” was the antitype of the Passover lamb and that His death was as essential to the deliverance of “the church of the firstborn” from death, as was the death of the typical lamb to the firstborns of Israel. We are thus led to the words and acts of Jesus at the last Passover which He ate with His disciples.

God is very exact, and the slaying of the typical lamb, on the fourteenth day of the first month, foreshadowed or typified the fact that in God’s plan Jesus was to die at that time. And it is remarkable that God arranged the reckoning of time among the Jews so that it was possible for Jesus to commemorate the Passover with the disciples, and Himself be slain as the real “Lamb” on the same day (the Jewish day commencing at six o’clock in the evening and ending at six the next evening). By eating the Passover that evening, Jesus and the disciples ate it “the same night in which he was betrayed,” and the same day in which He died – thus not “one jot or one tittle” was left unfulfilled. (1 Cor. 11:23; Matt. 5:18)

Five days before His crucifixion Jesus presented Himself to be received or rejected when He rode into the city on the ass, fulfilling the prophecy, “Behold, thy king cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass.” (Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:4-5) At the same time, the feature of the Passover type was fulfilled which stipulated that the lamb must be received into the house five days before it was killed. (Exod. 12:2-3) Thus Jesus made His last presentation to the house of Israel five days before the Passover, as we read: “Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany . . . On the next day [five days before] much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem . . . went forth to meet him.” Then it was that their King came unto them, “sitting on an ass’s colt.” (John 12:1,12-15) Afterward, He wept over them declaring, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matt. 23:38-39)

Jesus knew the significance of the Passover, but the disciples did not. He was alone; none could sympathize, none could encourage Him. Even had He explained to the disciples, they could not have understood or appreciated His explanation, because they were not yet begotten of the Spirit. Nor could they be begotten until justified from Adamic sin, until “passed over,” or reckoned free from sin by virtue of the slain Lamb, whose shed blood ransomed them from the power of the destroyer, death. Thus He walked the narrow way alone, where none before had walked. It is no wonder that His heart at times was exceedingly sorrowful even unto death.

When the time came, they sat down to eat the Passover and Jesus said to the disciples: “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer. For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 22:15-16) He doubtless longed to have them understand how the fulfillment would begin a little later that very day by the slaying of the real Lamb. He probably especially desired to eat this Passover with them in order to use the occasion to break the truth of its significance to them to the extent they could comprehend it. As the Apostle recounts: “For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor. 11:23-25)

We cannot doubt that the design of the Master was to call their minds from the typical lamb to Himself, the antitype, and to show them that it would be no longer proper to observe a feature of the Law which He was about to fulfill. Thereafter the bread and wine were to be remembrancers of Him, the elements which would take the place of the lamb. Thus considered, there is force in His words, “This do in remembrance of me.” No longer were they to kill a literal lamb in remem­brance of a typical deliverance. Instead they were to use the bread and wine to represent His flesh and life – the basis of the real deliverance – the real passing over.

Thus our Lord instituted His Supper as the remembrancer of His death, and as a substitute for the Passover as observed by the Jews. One might wonder why Jesus first ate of the typical Passover lamb before instituting the substitute. It was because He was born under the dominion of the Law, and must observe every requirement of it. Since He made an end of the Law, nailing it to His cross, we are free from the Law as it relates to either the Passover or its substitute, the Lord’s Supper. However, we esteem it a privilege to celebrate each year the anniversary of our Lord’s death, in remembrance of Him. “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast.”


As on many other matters, most Christians have left the teachings of the Word and the example of the early Church in observing the Memorial of the Last Supper. Few observe it as a “supper” at all, many selecting for convenience mid-day instead of evening. Some commemorate the Lord’s death every Sunday and some at various times throughout the year. They consider the time and frequency as unimportant, perhaps reasoning that if it is a good thing to do, why not do it often, even daily, causing the service to lose much of its significance.

Those who celebrate every Sunday may point to the Scriptural record of the “love feasts” of the early Church. (Acts 2:42,46; Acts 20:7,11 ) They suppose those occasions to have been the Lord’s Supper, but it was the custom of the early Church to eat a plain meal together when they gathered from distant places on the first day of the week. These love-feasts were not instituted by any command of our Lord or of the Apostles. Like the celebration of the first day of the week, they seem to have been the spontaneous prompting of grateful hearts. The early Church thus celebrated the resurrection of our Lord (not His death) every week, and the breaking of bread in their love-feast was probably a pleasant reminder of the fact that the Lord was made known to the disciples at Emmaus and on other occasions after His resurrection in the breaking of bread at their ordinary meal. (Luke 24:29-30,42 ; John 21:12-13) They neither used wine (no less important than the bread in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper), nor did they call it the Lord’s Supper, or observe it with special gravity, but rather with thankfulness and joy they “did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” (Acts 2:46)

St. Paul’s statement that “as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup” (1 Cor. 11:26) does not imply liberty for doing it whenever one pleases. On the contrary, the Apostle uses the term “as often” to mean “whenever.” The context shows that Paul was referring to the “same night in which he [our Lord] was betrayed,” when the bread and wine was then instituted by our Lord as His remembrancers to take the place of the typical Passover eaten by the Jews. Paul wrote to those who well knew the Jewish custom of celebrating the Passover and how often it was celebrated, so that “as often,” or “whenever,” to them signified each anniversary.

The Lord’s Supper was designed to replace the annual commemoration of the typical passing over of Israel’s firstborn, whose lives were saved through the blood of the typical lamb. Such an event could only be properly celebrated on its anniversary, which our Lord and His disciples and all the Jews strictly observed. They no more thought of celebrating it at any other time, than Americans would think of celebrating the signing of their Declaration of Independence on any other day than the fourth of July.

We do not imply that those who have commemorated the Redeemer’s death at inappro­priate times are condemned by our Lord. No, thank God, the Gospel Age faithful are not under the Law but under grace, in this as in every other matter. Those who in heart sincerity have so partaken of the emblems of our Lord’s body and blood may have suffered loss of some of the power the occasion was designed to have on their hearts; nevertheless, they have not been spurned by He whose sacrifice they thus commemorated. But surely, when the intent of our Lord’s words is grasped, all the fully consecrated will gladly comply with His arrangement, assured that it is best and most appropriate, as well as most acceptable to Him of whom it is a remembrancer.


The bread and wine symbolize the body and blood of our Lord. Our Lord as a man was the living bread (bread of life) which came down from heaven to give life to the world. The illustration is perfect: Mankind is dying for want of life and needs some food so full of life-producing quality that it will arrest the wasting of death, and repair and restore mankind to the original perfection lost in Adam. Men have sought panaceas, elixirs, life restorers of all kinds – in foods, in minerals, and in chemicals, but all in vain. No such “bread of life” has ever been found. But Jesus said: “I am that bread of life . . . I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.” (John 6:48,51) That is, if by faith in the means which God has provided to accomplish his redemption he accepts the favor of life, he can have it on those terms, and those only. This our Lord symbolically termed “eating” His flesh.

Notice how perfect is this illustration. The Son of God as a heavenly or spiritual being in His pre-human condition was not bread for man, and had He given His spiritual body as bread, we being of a different nature (human), could not have appropriated it, just as that which would nourish and perfect a tree (air, water, and soil) could not perfect and nourish a man, who is of a different nature. Man is of the fleshly nature; hence if the spiritual Son of God would give to dying men the bread of life, it must be flesh, full of life-giving nutriment.

The preparation for this was the change of the Son of God from spirit to flesh. Humbling Himself, He was “made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14) The flesh was to be the life-giving bread. Because He who had been in the heavenly or spirit state had become earthly or human, it is literally true that this “bread” came down from heaven, from the heavenly or spirit condition to the earthly or human nature. “This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.” (John 6:50)

How are we to eat this bread of life? We cannot eat anything that is still alive and anything that died by disease would not be fit for food. So if our Lord had died what is called a “natural” death,[1] it would have proved that He was a sinner like other men; for death is the penalty of sin, and hence to partake of Him would have given no new life. So then we see that there was no way to give us this life-food or “bread of life” except by the sacrifice of the man Christ Jesus. He did not die because His life, like ours, was forfeited, but He gave Himself a ransom, a corresponding price, a substitute for all – for Adam and all who lost life through him. His life in the flesh, His example and counsel, teachings, etc., could not give life. We may study and try to follow His perfect example, but we cannot do it perfectly because we are dying and lack strength. We need life, life-producing food, and He became flesh, for the very purpose of providing us this life supply which we could get in no other way.

So He told His disciples that the killing of the Lamb was necessary so that they could eat of Him: “The Son of man must suffer many things . . . and be slain . . .” (Luke 9:22) Had He remained with them in the flesh, they would indeed have been greatly blessed, but they could never have gotten life. Hence He said, “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.” (John 16:7) That is, if He had remained flesh and not submitted Himself in sacrifice, He could not carry out the Father’s plan for their redemption. Only by His sacrifice, and by their partaking (eating) of Him, could they escape condemnation and come into harmony and acceptance with God and be granted life.

It is a mistake to suppose that truth is the bread of life, and that the eating of truth will justify us, or give us a right to life. It is a mistake to suppose that believing the Sermon on the Mount and other of our Lord’s sayings will give life. These truths are good for food after and with the Lamb, but indigestible without it. These very truths were indigestible to many who heard them, acting as emetics rather than as nourishing food, and “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.” (John 6:66) Even the Apostles got little nourishment from our Lord’s teachings until after the Lamb was slain and they by faith had eaten of that life-giving food. With the vigor of that food, they were able to find sweetness and strength in all things the Master had spoken unto them.

When Jesus was “made flesh” He became human. So then, to give His flesh means He gave Himself as a human being. He sacrificed the human rights and privileges He possessed under God’s law so that the human family might receive them back. Adam’s family was all in him when he sinned and lost life and all the rights and privileges of son-ship, and so we all are sharers in that one loss. Those rights then belonged to the new man, “the man Christ Jesus,” who exchanged His higher rights as a perfect spirit being for the lower rights of a perfect man, rights which Adam forfeited. He then laid down all that He had in the interest and for the use of the condemned race. (Matt. 13:44) The giving of His flesh for the life of the world means handing back to dying men the lost life, liberties, and privileges: “The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)

What He gave up when He died is ours. It is free to every member of the human race, but only to those that eat, those who by faith appropriate what He sacrificed. The eating of His flesh means the eater appropriates to his own use the rights, liberties, and life which the perfect sinless “man Christ Jesus” possessed, no more, and no less.

If a person has a hereditary disease it is not he alone who is affected; all in him, i.e., all his unborn posterity are affected as well. If a treatment (a bread of life), a sure cure for this hereditary condition were provided, it must be received into the system and appropriated to be effective, else no cure can result. The entire family could not be cured by any one of them taking the treatment or bread of life.

It is the same with Adam and his posterity. Adam sinned and all his unborn posterity were affected through heredity. Christ is the bread of life, the treatment for the condition of the condemned and dying sinner. This bread must be made accessible to each sinner and he must eat it, that is appropriate it by faith. It is “for every man” (Heb. 2:9), hence every sinner must have an opportunity to eat and live. None can eat it ignorantly (though many eat its symbol ignorantly). Since all must come to the knowledge of this truth, this of itself is proof of the judgment (trial) to come, in the great Millennial Day; for it must be “testified in due time” to all in order that all who are willing may eat and live forever. (1 Tim. 2:4-6) Since only a few have come to even an imperfect knowledge of the Truth in this age, it is evident that God’s “due time” for spreading this great feast before the world, is in the Millennium, when the knowledge of the Lord will fill the whole earth. (Hab. 2:14; Isa. 25:6)

Those who eat this bread of life now do not now experience restitution to human perfection; our perfection is only reckoned, not actual. It is only by faith that we eat of the flesh of our Redeemer, accepting by faith (contrary to sight) human rights, liberties, and life from His sacrifice. While none can walk by sight now, mankind in the next age will have sight as an aid to their faith. They will feel their gradual physical improvement as they take the steps of faith and obedience.

But why should any be permitted to eat thus of His flesh (His human perfections, rights, etc.) beforehand – before the general time for spreading the feast for all? There is a very precious truth there which lies covered from the view of the world: “That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us [the Church] through Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:7)


Let us look at this hidden truth. The shed blood, symbolized by the wine, represents death, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” (Lev. 17:11) So the shed blood of Christ signifies the death of Christ – the life given up for the sins of the world. In the typical Passover in Egypt, the Lamb was eaten but the blood was not (no Israelite was allowed to eat blood). This was symbolic of how all are to eat the flesh of the Son of man but all are not to drink or partake of His death. Those to whom our Lord gave the wine as representative of His blood, were invited to partake of and share in His death, which was proper, because they were to be members of His body; and not only He, the Head, should taste death for every man, but His body should be “made conformable unto his death” (Phil. 3:10), and become dead with Him. (Rom. 6:8) The “cup” then is the symbol of Christ’s death.

This being true, how appropriate that the giving of the wine was after the eating of the bread, and to those only who had eaten it. This teaches, in harmony with all the Scriptures, that only those who are justified from all sin by faith in the merit and sacrifice of the Lamb of God (and no others) are invited to crucify their (justified) humanity and share in the afflictions of Christ in this age, and in His glory in the age to follow.

The drinking of the cup of suffering and death by the spirit-begotten Church of the Firstborn must all be done in the Gospel Age. When the age of glory opens, all the sufferings of Christ will be in the past, both those of the Head and those of every member of His body. When the Prophets spoke of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow (1 Pet. 1:11), they spoke truly, of the entire Christ including the smallest and last member. With the door to that High Calling closed, the drinking of the blood will be at an end.


Is it still appropriate to partake of the Lord’s Supper if the door to the High Calling is closed? We recognize that the primary participants in the Lord’s Supper were to be the Saints, the Little Flock. However, we believe there is an unbegotten class who consecrate after the closing of the High Calling similar to those faithful ones who preceded the Gospel Age (see Reprint 5761). We call that class “Youthful Worthies” and believe they will be rewarded in the earthly phase of the Kingdom in honor and in service with the Ancient Worthies of Hebrews Chapter 11.

Youthful Worthies may certainly partake of the Lord’s Supper. They are thankful and appreciative of what our Savior has done for them. They do not “suffer with Christ,” nor will they “reign with Christ;” therefore they partake of the bread and wine symbolizing their tentative justifica­tion and our Lord’s death as the Lamb of God. Their trial is for faith and obedience and not for life as was the Saints’ trial, although they make the same kind of consecration as did the spirit-begotten: “Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger [the unbegotten], as for one of your own country [the spirit-begotten]. (Lev. 24:22)

It is our prayer that this year’s remem­brance may be profitable to all who partake in sincerity and in Truth. As always, we suggest reading the Passover chapter in Volume Six; and we pray a rich blessing upon all who partake. We are living in wonderful times, and we know not what a day may bring; but we have the strong assurance that we can firmly trust Him who left us an example that we should follow in His steps. (1 Pet. 2:21)


This paper is based on writings of Pastor Russell, including Reprints 465, 1013, 3525 and 5640.

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[1] There is really no such thing as natural death. In God’s arrangement life is the natural condition and death comes as a violation of natural life, as a consequence or penalty for disobedience, sin. However this term may be considered an allowable expression when referring to the fallen, condemned race, because it is the natural result of sin, common to all human sinners. So our Lord could not have died by disease, etc., unless He had sinned, in which case His flesh would have been far from life-giving. Nor could His life be taken from Him. Rather, He chose to give it as our ransom price, that His flesh might impart life to us.


by Epiphany Bible Students

No. 738

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” (Isa. 40:1-2)

Christendom is united in admitting that all of the Divine Revelation came to and through the Hebrew people. Listen to the argument of the Apostle Paul: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” (Rom. 3:1-2) The “oracles of God” are the collection of sacred writings containing the Divine promises and these writings were committed to the care and guardian­ship of the Jewish people. The Apostle also informs us that the entire Gospel Message was summed up in God’s promise to Abraham: “In thee [in thy Seed] shall all nations be blessed.” (Gal. 3:8; Gen. 28:14)

It was natural for the Jewish nation to suppose that this promise to Abraham was fulfilled when the Law was given to them at Mount Sinai, through Moses as the mediator. Nevertheless, history shows they were mistaken. All the features of the Law Covenant – their mediator, their priests and their sacrifices, their Tabernacle with its Holy and Most Holy, the Temple – were merely types or fore­shadows of the “better sacrifices,” higher Priesthood, better Mediator, and glorious blessings of eternal forgive­ness and reconciliation yet to be accomplished. (Heb. 9:23)

The period of Israel’s types was not wasted however. Not only were the types established then, but also a special class of representatives was selected: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the Prophets and worthy ones of that age, holy, consecrated to God, and accepted as agents qualified for the Kingdom conditions. The Scriptures declare that these “fell asleep” and they continue to sleep in the dust of the earth, awaiting the glorious Resurrection morning, and a grand share with Messiah in the work then to be accomplished.

These Ancient Worthies are described as “the fathers” because Messiah was foretold to be of the posterity of Abraham and also “David’s Son.” Other Scriptures, however, show us distinctly that “David’s Son” and “Abraham’s Seed” will be Lord and Father of both David and Abraham. Thus we read, “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.” (Psa. 45:16)

This is not a contradiction. The explanation is simple: when Messiah raises David from the dead, He will then be David’s Father, or Life-giver. He will likewise be the Father of all the Ancient Worthies; and as David’s Lord, and “Lord of lords,” it will be His pleasure to appoint to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, all the Ancient Worthies, the Prophets, and other faithful ones a glorious share with Himself in the great Messianic Kingdom. What a great honor to Abraham and his Seed! Will this not mean honor “to the Jew first?” (Rom. 2:10)


As our opening text declares, there is a “double” connected with Israel’s history; that is, Jewish history naturally divides itself into two exactly equal parts. The first part was a time of favor, although intermingled with disciplines. The second part has been one of disfavor and exclusion from fellowship. As foretold by the Prophet Hosea, Israel for many centuries has been without prophet or priest, without ephod and without communion with God; whereas, at one time they were God’s favored people. (Hos. 3:4)

By their own admission, they have been so thoroughly rejected that they have no communication whatever, no light to shine upon their pathway. The Prophet’s words have been fulfilled: “Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not.” (Psa. 69:22-23)

Thank God their blindness is not to be perpetual! With their double fulfilled, it will begin to vanish, and He who scattered Israel will gather them. (Deut. 30:3; Ezek. 37:20-28) We can see by the Word of God that Israel’s double is now fulfilled, that Israel’s blessing has already begun, and that the opening of Israel’s eyes is now in progress. Because the double is completed, we are told, “Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem.”

Pastor Russell visited Jerusalem in 1892, intending chiefly to call attention to the fact that the set time to favor Zion had come and the time for the regathering of Israel was near. He found no hearing ears among the Jewish people; Zionism had not then been dreamed of. Nevertheless, he felt sure that Israel’s double had been fulfilled, and that her morning of joy would soon break. (Psa. 30:5)

Indeed he saw much happen during the years that followed. Zionism arose in every country, giving hope to the “chosen people” and turning their eyes toward the Land of Promise. Not all thought of returning there, but every Jew who retained faith in the God of his fathers and in the Abrahamic promise looked and hoped for the time of blessing long foretold. They still do not know about their double because they have studied the teachings of their ancients as presented by the Talmud instead of studying the Holy Scriptures. They have been making a very similar mistake to that of Christian people, who have been studying the creeds of the Dark Ages instead of God’s Word.

Glancing at three different statements about Israel’s double by three different Prophets, we notice their different time perspectives. Jeremiah first tells of Israel’s coming disfavor: “Then shalt thou say unto them . . . Therefore will I cast you out of this land into a land that ye know not . . . where I will not show you favour.” Then he speaks of their future regathering: “I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.” (Jer. 16:11-15) Then the Lord declares, “And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double.” (Jer. 16:18) Jeremiah’s prophecy here views the double from the perspec­tive of his own day, more than six hundred years before the second part of their double began.

Turning to Zechariah’s prophecy, we note that his prophetic viewpoint is at the very time when the second part of the double began. His words are, “Even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee.” (Zech. 9:12)

Next note that in our opening text the Prophet Isaiah views the matter from the standpoint that the double has been fulfilled: “Her warfare [hardship] is accomplished . . . she hath received of the Lord’s hand double [two equal parts] for all her sins.”

It is our understanding that this double was fulfilled in the year 1878 AD. Since then Pastor Russell and Bible Students generally have declared to the best of their ability, as the Lord granted opportunity, these comforting words to Israel, assuring God’s people that their period of disfavor has ended, and that they are gradually returning to prosperity. Many Jews as well as Christians are becoming aware of this feature of the Divine Program relating to Israel’s restoration to Divine favor. Their eyes are gradually being opened as foretold by the Scriptures.


How do we know when the turning point of Israel’s double took place? How do we know that it was completed in 1878? The answer to the question requires acknowledgment of Jesus as the Messiah. Zechariah’s prophecy distinctly shows that Israel’s rejection of Messiah as their King marks the turning point of God’s favor. Neither Christians nor Jews have appreciated the full significance of an incident mentioned in the Gospel and foretold by the Prophet Zechariah.

Five days before His crucifixion Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem upon an ass after the manner of Jewish kings. A multitude surrounded Him shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” (Matt. 21:1-9) Zechariah had called attention to this event centuries before it occurred. (Zech. 9:9) He then gave God’s decla­ration that “even today,” at that exact point in time, He would render double unto them. (Zech. 9:12)

Israel’s history as a nation began with the death of Jacob, when he gave his blessing to the twelve tribes. (Gen. 49:28) The Scriptures show that the period from Jacob’s death to the death of Jesus was 1845 years. A like period of disfavor from the day of Jesus’ rejection marks the year 1878 as the end of Israel’s disfavor – the time when the message of comfort would go forth. However, Divine favor was only gradually taken from Israel, and altogether a period of thirty-six years intervened between the death of Jesus and the utter destruction of Jerusalem.

Similarly we should expect that the return of favor would be gradual, a like period of 36 years; and this would bring us to the year 1914, as the time when God’s favor for His people was to be gradually manifested during the closing hours of Gentile supremacy at the close of the Gospel Age. (Luke 21:24) (See Studies in the Scriptures, Volume II, Study VII for a detailed discussion of the parallel dispensations.)

What has God accomplished during the latter half of Israel’s double? Did He pass by His chosen people to bless the Gentiles directly? The answer is that Almighty God had one feature of His Plan which He did not make known directly and explicitly to Abraham or any other Prophet. He kept that feature of His purpose a secret.

The secret is this: Messiah could not remain a man and yet accomplish the great things the Father purposed as stated in His Word. The Law called for an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth and a man’s life for a man’s life. In this God set forth His governing principle, His course of dealing with men. As by man (Adam) came the death sentence, passed through heredity upon all of his offspring, even so the Divine Law purposed that there must be a sacrifice of one perfect human life to offset the one human life condemned to death. The one who would thus meet the demands of Justice on behalf of the human race would have the right to give eternal life and human perfection to every member of Adam’s race willing to accept it on the terms of the Divine Law. It was for this reason that Christ died, “the just for the unjust.” (1 Pet. 3:18)

As a reward for His obedience to the Father even unto death, Christ was raised from the dead to the Divine Nature. In this exalted condition He is capable of being a Mediator and of doing a work for Israel and for the world much higher and broader than Moses could do as the typical mediator, making atonement for a year with the blood of beasts. Messiah made perpetual atonement for the sins of both Jews and Gentiles with His own blood. He suffered the death of the cross “for all the people.” (Lev. 16:33)

The glorified Messiah, the Spiritual Seed of Abraham, is soon to bless Israel’s Ancient Worthies and make them “Princes in all the earth.” As ministers of His Kingdom they will rule, bless and uplift all who are willing out of the present conditions of sin and death to life eternal, to full human perfection, with the earth as a Paradise restored.

Some may ask: where do Christians fit in connection with this Divine arrangement? And if God’s dealings with the world are to be through Israel and not through the Church, why has there been so long a delay? Why did the glorified Messiah not set up His Kingdom at once, and immediately bring forth the Ancient Worthies from the tomb to be its earthly representatives?

Here another part of the Mystery of God was illustrated by Israel’s types. Isaac, Abraham’s son, was typical of Messiah, the Spiritual Seed. Before Isaac began the work of dispensing the blessings to his brethren and to his children he first took a bride, and this act also was allegorical or typical. In the antitype Messiah, the glorified Jesus, partook of the Divine Nature according to the Father’s invitation, and He is to take a Bride who is to be His joint-heir on the spirit plane – to share with Him the glory, honor and service of His Messianic Kingdom. The period of Israel’s disfavor as a nation has been the time in which a special class has been called of the Father and begotten of the Holy Spirit to joint-heirship with Christ as His Bride.

But did God pass by the natural seed of Israel to extend these spiritual privileges to the Gentiles – to gather from the Gentiles a people to constitute the Bride of Messiah? No, the Scriptures assure us that this spiritual privilege went first to the Jews. They show us that during the three and a half years of Jesus’ ministry and during the thirty-six years following it, the Gospel Message was given almost exclusively to the Jews. Gathered from that people was any found to be an “Israelite indeed,” without guile; any not only of the circumcision of the flesh, but also of the circumcision of the heart. (John 1:47; Rom 2:29) God did not continue to deal with His chosen people; but after having gathered from them as many as were worthy of the spiritual blessing and exaltation – only then did He send the Message to the Gentiles, to gather from them a number sufficient to complete the foreordained and pre­destined number to constitute the Bride.

In proving from the Scriptures that Israel’s double is completed, that Israel’s blindness is about to be taken away, and that Israel’s exaltation as the earthly representatives of Messiah’s Kingdom is near, we are proving to ourselves another thing – namely, that the full number called from among the Gentiles to participate with Christ on the spirit plane, as members of His Bride class, will soon be completed and exalted to Kingdom glory. (Rom. 11:25-32)


The chosen people look back to the great Covenant which God made with Abraham – the Covenant confirmed by Almighty God with an oath, so that His people might have full assurance of its ultimate fulfillment. But Israel recognized that in order for the world to be blessed, the Divine Law must be established and mankind must be blessed legally. Thus they point back to the Law Cove­nant, despite their disappointments connected with it.

As a people they had expected much more from it – they had expected that by obedience to its requirements they themselves would become possessors of everlasting life. They also expected that God would then use their nation for the blessing of other nations; by bringing all the world of mankind under the dominion of the Law of God, the whole world would receive blessing, restitution and everlasting life through the Law Covenant. Despite their great disappointment that they gained neither eternal life nor national exaltation, they still held to that Covenant and trusted that its blessings were yet to come. In their perplexity, they cried to the Lord for relief and for explanation of why the blessings hoped for did not come.

Through the Prophets they received His answer: Before those promised favors could be fulfilled, the great Messiah must come. He would be a great Teacher and Ruler like unto Moses, but much more powerful. He would embody in Himself all the qualities of Judge, Priest, Mediator, Law-giver and King. Under His superintendence Israel would yet be blessed and become the channel of Divine blessing to every nation. Moses foretold this greater Prophet:

“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.” (Acts 3:22-23; Deut. 18:15,19)

Thus Israel waited for the Messianic Priest and Kingly Mediator who would do for them abundantly more than Moses had been able to accomplish, though they had profited much through the ministry of their great Lawgiver. This anti­typical Moses, Messiah, is referred to by the Lord through the Prophet Malachi, saying: “Behold, I will send my messenger [John the Immerser], and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly [not quickly, but unexpectedly] come to his temple [the Church is the Temple], even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in.” (Mal. 3:1)

This sending of the New Mediator implied a New Covenant, or at least a renewal of the old Law Covenant under Messiah, the more efficient Mediator. The Prophet Jeremiah, now speaking as though at the close of Israel’s long period of exile from Divine favor, specifically refers to this renewal of the Sinaitic Covenant by the superior Mediator. The time is indicated by these words:

“And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the Lord. In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.” (Jer. 31:28-29)

These words clearly indicate that not any period of Israel’s past history is referred to, but rather the period that is about to be inaugurated. The “sour grapes” refer to the evil influences of heredity. The sins of the parents have influenced and affected the children of all humanity so that all are in fact sinners, regardless of their intentions. As David declared, “I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psa. 51:5) With the great dispensational change, however, this condition of heredity will not continue to prevail against the human race. Instead of falling further, it will rise up. Restitution will begin and only those who willfully and knowingly transgress the Divine Law will be held responsible and receive the wages of sin – death. (Rom. 6:23)

Having introduced the main feature of this message respecting the New Covenant, the Prophet continues:

“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: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; 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. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord, for 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 will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:31-34)

The superiority of this New Covenant is clear. The old one was written on tables of stone; the new one will be written in the hearts of all the willing. The old Law had to be continually taught, every Sabbath day and oftener; but the New Law will not need such continuous teaching. All will know it since it will be written in the heart and conscience of all, from the least to the greatest. The Old Law Covenant under Moses as Mediator required annual sacrifices of bulls and goats to cleanse the sins of the people and to bring them Divine forgiveness for another year. The New Law Covenant, with its better sacrifices, will forever do away with the yearly repetition of the Atonement Day. The sins of the people will be so thoroughly eradicated as to need no further sacrificing.

Israel has waited, hoped and prayed for its better Mediator for more than three thousand years. Thank God His reign is near at hand! His power, glory, honor and dignity will be all that Israel expected and much more. With Israel’s period of disfavor closed, we believe that the time for the establishment of His Empire on earth will be after the great time of world-wide trouble to come upon the earth.

But Messiah will be a spiritual Mediator, invisible to men. Only the effects of His power and glory will be seen on earth as He casts down the unfit and lifts the worthy, the down-trodden. The great Priest referred to in the Scriptures as “King of kings and Lord of lords” will be invisible to men then just as Satan, recognized by the Scriptures as the “prince of this world,” is now invisible. During the Time of Trouble the King will bind Satan, restraining him from every power to further deceive mankind during the glorious Millennium.

This great spiritual King must of course have earthly representatives and agents among men, just as Satan has used as his servants wicked persons out of harmony with God and not submissive to His arrangements, many of them unwittingly serving him. But the King will use only the pure, the holy, the reverent, the godly. And none of His servants will be under restraints of ignorance or bonds of superstition.

On the contrary, the righteous will then flourish and the evil-doers will be cut off: “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.” (Prov. 11:28) “For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psa. 37:9-11)

God has already selected those wonderful persons who will represent Messiah to Israel and to the world. They were selected long ago according to their trials of faith and obedience and patient endurance for righteousness’ sake. They are a noble band. They are select members of the chosen people: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David, and all the Prophets, besides others too numerous to mention. Through trying ordeals of faith and patience and loyalty, they demonstrated their love for righteousness, for Truth and for God. These are worthy. These are God’s “elect” for this great purpose.

Nor will it serve the Divine purpose that these should be awakened from the tomb in the condition in which they went down into death. No, by their faithfulness under trying conditions they proved to the Divine satisfaction their loyalty to the core. As their reward, they will come forth from the tomb under more favorable conditions than do their fellows. (Heb. 11:35) They will come forth perfect in mind and in body, glorious specimens of perfect humanity. They will be examples to Israel and to all the nations of what each member of Adam’s race may attain if he will be obedient to the terms of the Covenant.

We believe, as Pastor Russell taught, that there is also a similar class of conse­crators after the closing of the High Calling who will be associates of the Ancient Worthies during the Millennium. (See Studies in the Scriptures, Volume VI, Study III, page 157 and Reprint 5761.)


For a thousand years the great Mediator will stand between Divine Justice and Israel to give to all the willing and obedient the blessings of Divine favor. They would not be worthy of these blessings by their own merits because of their inherited imperfections through the fall. God’s Providence will afford them the opportunity of rising up gradually to full human perfection in the likeness of the Ancient Worthies, who as the representatives of Messiah among men will be their instructors and guides.

That will be a glorious day for the chosen people! All that they ever dreamed of, and far more, will be their everlasting heritage. Nor will these wonderful privileges be theirs alone, for although the Covenant will be made with Israel, the privilege of coming into that Covenant relationship with God will be extended to all nations, permitting all to become Israelites, through faith, through obedience to that Law of the New Covenant:

“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain 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 shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” (Isa. 2:2-3)

The chosen people have had some sad experiences while waiting for the great Messiah-Mediator of their New Covenant. But the glorious results will more than compensate for all their trials and disappointments during the delay. Under the Law Covenant they merely lived as a nation under Divine favor for a few years and then lapsed into death. Under the arrangements of the New Covenant they will obtain life eternal and full human perfection. It will be possible for them to have the absolute and continuous approval of the Divine Law.

More than this, as agents of God their mission under the New Covenant will be the blessing of all the Gentiles – the Gentiles will be brought up to the same glorious standards of human perfection and eternal life. Surely all who love the Divine promises to the chosen people and the New Covenant through which those promises will be fulfilled may well pray, O Lord, thy Kingdom come! Messiah, come quickly! End the reign of sin and death! Exalt Thy chosen people and bless all the families of the earth!


This paper is based on Pastor Russell’s Sermons, pages 396-403 and What Pastor Russell Wrote for the Overland Monthly, pages 89-92.

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