“It shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and 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)
The order of this blessing is reversed in the prophetic statement probably in order 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 v. 29 refers to the Gospel Age and v. 28 to the Millennial Age.
THE LITTLE FLOCK
First we will describe the class referred to as “the servants.” We notice that the time of their development is limited to the Gospel Age. “In those days” I will pour out my Spirit upon “the servants.” These like the rest of mankind were born under the curse (Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:21,22; Eph. 2:3); but unlike the rest of mankind they have hearts that trust the Lord even when they cannot trace Him (2 Cor. 5:7). They accept Jesus as their Savior, thereby attaining to justification through faith (Rom. 3:21-26; 4:1-12), and then seek to grow in Truth and Righteousness. They respond to His drawings until they are ready to take a second step - consecration - when God invites them to yield themselves to Him as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1). He then gives them His Holy Spirit; begets them of His Spirit (John 3:3; James 1:18; Acts 5:32). He helps 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 Peter 5:10; 2 Peter 1:5-11). They are His witnesses for Truth and Righteousness in the world (Acts 1:8). They are the “called and chosen and faithful.” (Rev. 17:14) They “shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Rev. 20:6)
The hope that He gives them is the attainment of the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ (2 Peter 1:4; Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:11,12). These blessings they will attain in the First Resurrection, if faithful until death (Rev. 2:10; 20:4,6). They will also judge the world in the Kingdom (1 Cor. 6:2).
There is much Scriptural evidence that this class has already been selected the “fullness of the Gentiles come in.” The first of these that we will present is John 9:4 - “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day; night is coming when no man can work.” The work that Jesus and the Apostles then were doing was a reaping work. Hence the work referred to in this text is a reaping work, which could no more be done when the night would come. The night is the Time of Trouble (Isa. 21:11,12), which began with each country of Christendom as it became involved in the First World War. This occurred before the Fall of 1916. Hence no more reaping work could be performed thereafter. Therefore, the reaping and gleaning work ended before the Fall of 1916.
The Elect in each country were all to be sealed in the forehead, reaped (be intellectually in the Truth), before the Tribulation, which began with the First World War, when it involved their country (Rev. 7:1-3). Every country of Christendom was involved in the War before the Fall of 1916. Therefore, all of the Elect were sealed in the forehead, reaped, before the Fall of 1916.
This is corroborated by Amos 9:13 - the plowman and grape-treader overtook the reaper and the sower and put an end to their work. This occurred everywhere as soon as all Christendom was involved in the First World War. Hence, all reaping and gleaning was finished before the Fall of 1916.
According to Rev. 6:9-11, all the saints were to be “slain under the Altar,” consecrated under Christ, their Head, before vengeance was to come upon Christendom. Vengeance started with trench warfare, September 21, 1914. Therefore, before that date, all the Christ class had been consecrated and spirit-begotten, but not yet sealed in the forehead.
THE GREAT COMPANY
Closely related to the Little Flock is another class, called in our text “the handmaids,” and elsewhere in the Bible called a Great Multitude (Rev. 7:9; 19:6). The individuals of this class were originally invited through the High Calling (Phil. 3:14) to the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ (2 Peter 1:4; Rom. 8:17; Eph. 4:4); but, alas, they fail to keep faithfully their consecration vows, and therefore, had to be remanded to a secondary class. As we said, the Little Flock are “called and chosen and faithful.” The Great Company are called, but not chosen or faithful (Matt. 20:16). They were not called to be of the Great Company. The Lord provided a secondary place for them because, even though they were only “measurably faithful,” they still loved the Lord, and had not become unfaithful enough to be utterly cast off into Second Death. They were the only ones 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 the Gospel Age (Heb. 12:23) and will serve before the throne in the Kingdom instead of on the throne as do the Little Flock (Rev. 7:14). This class and the Little Flock, it will be noticed, are developed during the Gospel Age - “in those days” in which Jesus and the Apostles labored, in which the great Apostasy developed, and in which, at the end, the Lord restored the primitive teachings and practices of Christianity under the supervision and leadership of That Servant.
THE ANCIENT WORTHIES
We now turn to those of verse 28 who are called “your old men.” This same class is called “Ancients” in Isaiah 24:23, this being from the same Hebrew word that is translated “old men” in our text. In Psalms 107:32 and Hebrews 11:2 this class is referred to as “elders,” i.e., the “Ancients.” In Hebrews 11:38 they are spoken of as those of whom “the world was not worthy,” therefore, we call them Ancient Worthies. By the “old men” of our text we understand the faithful of the Old Testament are meant. A long list of the ancient and prominent ones in their persons and works is given in Hebrews 11:4-32. They 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 gave us Old Testament Scriptures. He also, unknown to them, used them in the events of their lives to enact many typical pictures of certain future persons, classes and events in His plan. Living before Christ’s death they, of course, could not receive the actual cancellation of the death sentence that they, as well as the rest of the race, inherited from Adam; yet God gave them a tentative justification through their faith in His Promises (Rom. 4:3-9,17-23; Heb. 11:7).
Since they lived before Christ’s death they could not become sons of God and joint-heirs with Him (John 1:12,13; Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:3-5), though they were privileged through their faith-justification to be servants and friends of God (Heb. 3:5; James 2:23). Accordingly, 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 Peter 1:10-12; Heb. 2:3,4; 11:39; 2 Tim. 1:10; Luke 16:16). Jesus was the forerunner of these Kings (Heb. 6:20; 12:1,2) and the Ancient Worthies, who preceded Him, could not share in this high, holy and heavenly calling. John the Baptizer, who died before Jesus’ death, was the last one of this class of Ancient Worthies; and Jesus assures us that John will not be of the Heavenly class; for He says, the least one of the Kingdom of Heaven will be greater than John (Matt. 11:11).
These faithful Ancient Worthies will not attain to the First Resurrection as the Little Flock do, but will be privileged to share in a “better resurrection” (Heb. 11:35) than that of the world. 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.
The honor to which these Ancient Worthies will attain will be that of princeship throughout the earth during the Millennium, and their work will be that of rulership as judges and teachers (Psa. 45:16: Isa. 1:26)
THE YOUTHFUL WORTHIES
The next class shown in our text are “your young men.” It will be noticed that they are linked in standing and in work with the “old men.” Since we call the “old men” the Ancient Worthies, we call the “young men” the Youthful Worthies. These contrasting names are applicable because, as the Ancient Worthies came into action in God’s Plan before opportunity was opened for anyone to enter the High Calling, so the Youthful Worthies come into action in God’s Plan after the opportunity to enter the High Calling is closed.
According to the Bible, the opportunity of entering the High Calling was to be closed after “the fulness of the Gentiles” - the full number of the Elect from among the Gentiles - should come in (Rom. 11:25). This synchronizes with the end of the reaping of the Harvest from 1874 to 1914. But, as before the opportunity to enter the High Calling was opened, many - the Ancients Worthies - desired to and did serve God faithfully, 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. Hence the similar and contrasted names of these two classes. An entrance to this class will be available in the end of the Age for all who come to the Lord in full consecration, and will continue until “restitution sets in,” i.e., the raising of the dead, and a way is opened for the world of mankind.
“Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country.” (Lev. 24:22) This stranger would represent those consecrating between the Gospel and Millennial Ages, and it tells us that they are “strangers” because they are strangers to the Little Flock, having consecrated themselves too late to be of that select company. However, there is “one manner of law” for the Jews and the strangers - the same kind of consecration for the Little Flock and for the Youthful Worthies - a complete desire to do God’s will.
It is because they have the faith of Abraham that they will be blessed with him and have the privilege of blessing 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, too, must become faithful to the Lord - even unto death, if He deems it necessary. Such faithful ones are under the same law as have been the Saints, and they have been similarly blessed with a clear understanding of Present Truth.
That Servant’s comment on these two classes: “Now notice the expression ‘Your old men shall dream dreams and your young men shall see visions.’ We prefer a different translation, which we believe gives the intended thought, namely, ‘Your young men shall see the glorious visions [of Restitution blessings, etc., in process of fulfillment] of which your ancient men dreamed [the things respecting which they vaguely hoped and dimly understood and greatly longed for].’” (Reprint 4467, col. 2, par. 1)
The fullness of reward for the Ancient and Youthful Worthies comes after the Millennium, when they will be changed from human to spirit beings. Reprint 5182 proves that by their being of the antitypical Millennial Firstborn and Levites without inheritance in the land, that the Ancient Worthies will be made spirit beings after their Millennial work. Some of these arguments prove this of the Youthful Worthies, as much as of the Ancient Worthies.
That the Ancient Worthies will become spiritual is manifest from the following: (1) Job, one of them (James 5:11), by inspiration tells us that apart from his flesh, and after it will have been dissolved into dust, he would personally see God, which can be done by spirit beings alone (Job 11:25,26 A.R.V.). (2) If the Ancient Worthies were to be princes forever on earth, seeing that the restitution class will be kings here eternally after the Little Season, the former would eternally be the latter’s inferiors. (3) If they were to remain on earth even as kings, they would have to be degraded from their Millennial superiority to equality with restitutionists eternally, which the Divine attributes would not effect nor permit. (4) As Millennial and post-Millennial Levites they will have no inheritance in the earth - their inheritance will be heavenly; even as the Priests will not have an earthly inheritance, this being typed by Israel’s Priest and Levites having no inheritance in the land (Num. 18:20,23,24). (5) As antitypical Levites they will be of the Millennial firstborn. All first born having their names written in heaven will become spirit beings (Heb. 12:23 compare with Ex. 12:11-13, 21-23,37; 13:1,2,11-15). (6) All of the Levites with the Priests located about the Tabernacle at the same relative distance therefrom and nearer to the tabernacle than the other Israelites, separate and distinct from the latter, thereby type the eternal spirituality of the entire tribe of antitypical Levi. (7) Israel giving tithes to both priests and Levites types the eternal inferiority and subjection of the restitution class to all of antitypical Levi; hence all the antitypical Levites will be spiritual eventually. (8) The fact that the Little Flock and the Great Company as antitypical Levites will be spiritual, implies that all the rest of antitypical Levi will be spiritual. These reasons substantiate That Servant’s thought in Reprint 5182, cited above.
These four elect classes, The Little Flock, Great Company, Ancient and Youthful Worthies, are the only consecrated classes of the Jewish and Gospel Ages. They are the only saved classes for elect purposes. God is not specially dealing with the world of mankind during these Ages, which includes the last special period of the Gospel Age, the Epiphany. The “due time” for the non-elect, Restitutionists, is when the Highway of Holiness is opened up for them (Isa. 35:8).
Here are other Scriptures which show that there are four elect classes:
2 Timothy 2:20: “But in a great house [the Household of faith] there are not only vessels of gold [Little Flock, Mal 3:3], and of silver [Great Company, Mal. 3:3, see Berean comments], but also of wood [Ancient Worthies] and of earth [Youthful Worthies], and [additionally] some to honor, and some to dishonor.” Those in this text called vessels to honor are the converted Jews of the Millennial Age, and those to dishonor [less honor, see concordance] are converted Gentiles of the Millennial Age. They correspond to the “sons” and “daughters” of Joel 2:28,29.
Psalms 72:3: “The mountains shall bring peace to the people; and the little hills by righteousness.” This entire Psalm describes the Millennial reign of Christ, implying that symbolic Jerusalem will be the seat of Government (v. 16). Literal Jerusalem was built upon two mountains, Zion and Moriah, and upon two hills, Akra and Bezetha. Zion and Moriah represent the heavenly and the earthly phases of the Kingdom respectively - i.e., The Christ and the Ancient Worthies as the two higher powers of the Kingdom. Akra and Bezetha represent the tributary (subordinate) powers of the Kingdom, i.e., the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies. Therefore, the four elect classes are represented in this text.
Isaiah 60:13: “The glory of Lebanon [Lebanon means white, and its evergreen trees, the glory of Lebanon, represent the righteous as antitypical Levites (Psa. 92:12,13)] shall come unto Thee [the antitypical Levites will be brought to Christ and the Church, Num. 3:6-9] the fir tree [Ancient Worthies], the pine [the Great Company] and the box [Youthful Worthies] together [rendering a cooperative service], to beautify the place of my sanctuary.” It is a Levitical work to beautify the sanctuary of the Lord. All mankind’s blessings will result from the establishment of God’s residence or sanctuary among men (Rev. 21:3-5). “The earth is my footstool.” (Isa. 66:1) At about this time we are to expect wonderful contortions of nature and some radical changes in earth’s conditions to make it more adapted to the wants of man during the Millennial Age and throughout eternity.
The Scriptures tell us that “out of Zion [the heavenly phase of the Kingdom] shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem [the earthly phase of the Kingdom]” (Isa. 2:3; Micah 4:2) When the Ancient Worthies are made “princes in all the earth” they will have as their associates the Youthful Worthies. This arrangement will appeal first and primarily to the Jew, who would naturally be the first to come under the new regulations. We may not say that all the Jews will do so, but that this will be true of at least a considerable number of them. In time others of the world will join. There are many well-meaning people who have not taken the vow of consecration to the Lord, but who would like to help rather than hinder. Such in due time will attach themselves to the Kingdom, which is the “desire of all nations.” (Haggai 2:7)
The freedom from imperfection of these earthly “princes” will make them conspicuous amongst mankind. As the world comes to know about these, they will say, “Are not these God’s people?” Mankind will perceive that God has rewarded the Worthies by giving them an instantaneous resurrection to perfect life, and will learn that their “better resurrection” was given because of faithfulness in the past.
It should be noted that in all of the passages given above there are only four elect classes. These four will make up the Millennial Age Household of Faith, and any attempt to “make” more classes is adding to the Scripture and is a thing forbidden (Prov. 30:5,6; Rev. 22:18). The two non-elect classes of converted Jews and Gentiles make up the Six Saved classes from among mankind.
E’en through harsh noises of our day,
A low, sweet prelude finds its way;
Through clouds of doubts and creeds of fear,
A light is breaking calm and clear.
A JAPANESE PERSPECTIVE ON THE PALESTINIANS: Yashiko Safamoni, a Japanese national, has written some interesting questions concerning the validity of the Palestinian claims to their ancient homeland. Here is what he says:
“If you are so sure that ‘Palestine, the country, goes back through most of recorded history,’ then I expect you to be able to answer a few basic questions about that country of Palestine:
When was it founded and by whom?
What were its borders?
What was its capital?
What were its major cities?
What constituted the basis of its economy?
What was its form of government?
Can you name at least one Palestinian leader before Arafat?
Was a sovereign Palestine ever recognized by a country whose existence, at that time or now, leaves no room for interpretation?
What was the language of the country of Palestine?
What was the prevalent religion of the country of Palestine?
What was the name of its currency? Choose any date in history and tell us what was the approximate exchange rate of the Palestinian monetary unit against the U.S. dollar, German mark, British pound, Japanese yen or Chinese Yuan on that date.
And, finally, since there is no such country today, what caused its demise, and when did it occur?
“You are lamenting the ‘low sinking’ of ‘a once proud’ nation. Please tell me, when exactly was that ‘nation’ proud and what was it so proud of?
“And here is the least sarcastic question of all: If the people you mistakenly call ‘Palestinians’ are anything but generic Arabs collected from all over - or thrown out of - the Arab world, if they really have a genuine ethnic identity that gives them right for self-determination, why did they never try to become independent until Arabs suffered their devastating defeat in the Six Day War?
“I hope you avoid the temptation to trace the modern day ‘Palestinians’ to the Biblical Phillistines; substituting etymology for history won’t work here.
“The truth should be obvious to every one who wants to know it. Arab countries have never abandoned the dream of destroying Israel; they still cherish it today. Having time and again failed to achieve their evil goal with military means, they decided to fight Israel by proxy.
“In fact, there is only one way to achieve peace in the Middle East. Arab countries must acknowledge and accept their defeat in their war against Israel, and as the losing side, should pay Israel reparations for the more than 50 years of devastation they have visited on it. The most appropriate form of such reparations would be the removal of their terrorist organizations from the land of Israel and accepting Israel’s ancient sovereignty over Gaza, Judea and Samaria.
“I pray the United States and Israel lead the world to victory in this war. Come to think of it, there is no choice, be you Christian, a Jew, or even, believe it or not a Muslim.”
(Bridges For Peace, February 22, 2003)
“AFFRONT: Jewish and Mormon representatives have met to discuss allegations that church members are persisting in the practice of baptizing deceased Jews, including Holocaust victims.
“Seven years after the Salt Lake City-based church signed an agreement to curtail the practice, evidence is emerging that its International Genealogical Index still list at least 20,000 Holocaust victims, as well as notable Jews such as Rashi, Maimonides, Menachem Begin, Irving Berlin and Marc Chagall, who were evidently baptized posthumously by proxy.”
(World Jewry, January 2003)
“SHORT SHIRT: Members of Montreal, Canada’s Jewish community are angered over a newly-produced T-shirt that lists the locations of YMCAs around the world, but omits those in Israel.
“The shirts, meant to promote world peace and handed out at YMCAs throughout the country to mark World Peace Week, include the non-existent country of Palestine on the list.”
(World Jewry, January 2003)
“U.S. JEWS FEAR ANTI-SEMITISM: Though intermarriage and assimilation rates are sky-high and the first Orthodox Jew has just announced his bid for president, the American Jewish Committee’s 2002 Survey of Jewish Opinion reports that anti-Semitism is the community’s No. 1 concern.
“The AJC’s annual survey, which polled 1,008 self-identified Jewish respondents between December 16, 2002 and January 5, 2003, found that 96 percent of respondents think anti-Semitism in the U.S. is a very serious or somewhat serious problem, and 44 percent think the problem will only get worse with time.
“By a margin of two to one, respondents picked anti-Semitism over intermarriage as the ‘greatest threat to Jewish life in the U.S.’”
(The Jerusalem Post, February 7, 2003)
“THE U.N. RECORD ON ISRAEL: Is the U.N. biased? Considering there is only one Israel and twenty-one Arab states that are part of a long conflict in the Middle East, it is hard to believe that Israel is totally responsible. Yet, to look at U.N. figures on the conflict and in relation to Israel would bring you to that erroneous conclusion.
“The General Assembly of the U.N. condemned or deplored Israel 49 times and 0 times the Arabs and the PLO.
“The Security Council passed 131 resolutions in its history. Of those, 88 criticized or opposed Israel, none deplored or even criticized the PLO or Arab states.
“Is it any wonder Israel finds directives from the U.N. far from fair? A balanced approach is certainly not the U.N. agenda.”
(By Clarence Wagner, January 30, 2003)
COMMENT ON THE WAR
Everyone hates war and deplores the inevitable injuries and fatalities. That is what war does. However, we know that God uses war at times to further certain aspects of His Plan, or to keep some evil ruler from thwarting that Plan. Two examples are Napoleon and Hitler. Napoleon was used to break the power of Papacy and Hitler’s attempt to annihilate the Jews caused many to go to their homeland and establish a state there. Of course we cannot be sure that the current war is one of those times. Only the passing of time will reveal that.
But we do know that we are in the Day of Preparation (Nahum 2:3; Psa. 77:18) for the establishment of the Kingdom. Jesus says: “Or else how can one enter a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house.” (Matt. 12:29) Of course the strong man is Satan, but evil rulers who suppress their people and keep them in ignorance and poverty are the agents of Satan and under his direction. In order that “nothing shall hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain” (Isa. 11:9) the wicked must be destroyed or shorn of their power. We are not making a case for or against the war. We are merely making some comments.
At this writing it seems that much has been accomplished in the war, in spite of the fact that the fighting has intensified and there are many casualties on both sides. We still hope that this will be a short war, but we will wait, watch and pray. We pray for all the brave men and women of the armed forces whose lives are in danger, and for their families.