Joel – Since almost nothing is known about Joel except the little he says about himself, we simply make inference from his own statements. In his first verse he tells us he is “the son of Pethuel”; but the Septuagint has it Bethuel. We are not even certain about the period in which he lived. His prophecy is concerned wholly with Judah; thus it may be assumed that his home was in that country. He speaks repeatedly of Zion, the children of Zion, Judah and Jerusalem; and he shows a close familiarity with the Temple and the ministrations of the priests.
The Book is one of the shortest in the Old Testament, containing only three chapters; but it may properly be said those three chapters contain some of the most potent and difficult parts of the Bible. He comes right to the point in v. 4: “That which the palmerworm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the cankerworm eaten; and that which the cankerworm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.” It seems the visitation of locusts was of unusual severity (of which more later in this paper), accompanied with a devastating drought. (v.20)
Desolation prevailed thruout the land; the corn, grapevines, and fruit trees were all destroyed together; man and beast were alike in despair. The means were gone not merely for providing the banquets of the wealthy or dissolute, but even for maintaining the daily services of the Temple, or for that matter the sustenance of life generally. While the Jews are the main targets of all this, it reaches out and touches also their heathen neighbors. Joel emphasizes “the Day of Jehovah” and the subsequent revival of Judah, and the gathering of all nations to “the valley of Jehoshaphat,” and contends with them there in judgment. Inasmuch as we are fully persuaded that we are now in “the Day of Jehovah,” we may conclude that the entire prophecy is definitely applicable to the time in which we are living. There is strong difference of opinion among scholars about the date of Joel, as well as the real meaning of his writing; but these differences we shall presently pass over, as we stress some of them later on. As was the case with Daniel, Joel apparently “wrote, but understood not.” And the Apostle Peter tells us, “Not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you... which things the angels desire to look into.” (1 Pet. 1:12)
The Locusts – While some writers think the pest of locusts mentioned by Joel is figurative in meaning, yet the actual experiences with that contagion are described by others; thus, we need not write off the actuality of the pests, as some comments by the following writers readily verify:
“Modern travelers speak often of the literally incalculable numbers in which locusts came. An observer to South Africa writes; ‘For the space of ten miles on each side of the sea‑cow river, and 80‑ 90 miles in breadth, an area of 16 ‑ 1800 square miles, the whole surface might literally be said to be covered with them; the water of the river was scarcely visible on account of the dead carcasses which floated on the surface, drowned in the attempt to come at the weeds which grew in it.’
“Again in Cyprus, the locusts lay swarming above a foot deep in several parts of the high road, and thousands were destroyed by the wheels of the carriage driving over them. A writer in Nature states that a flight of locusts that passed over the Red Sea in November 1889, was 2,000 square miles in extent; and on the assumption that the flight was 48 miles square, half a mile deep, and contained 144 locusts, each weighing 1/16 ounce, to a cubic foot, he calculated that it contained 14,420 billions of insects, and weighed 42,850 millions of tons. A second similar, perhaps even larger flight, was seen passing in the same direction the next day. In Cyprus in 1881, up to the end of October, 1,600,000,000 egg‑cases had that season been collected and destroyed, each case containing a considerable number of eggs. By the end of the season over 1300 tons of eggs had been collected; and yet not less than 5,076,000,000 egg‑cases were, it is believed, deposited in the island two years afterwards.
“The locust’s teeth are edged like a saw, and very powerful; hence, though infinitely smaller, they may for destructiveness be compared to those of a lion. Locusts first attack plants and vegetables; when these have all been consumed, they attack trees, consuming first the leaves, then the bark. The effects of such ravages are felt sometimes for many years – ‘the wine of Algiers, before the locusts in 1723 wasted the vineyards, was in flavor not inferior to the best Hermitage. Since that time the wine has much degenerated, and has not yet (1731) recovered its usual qualities.’ Joel 1:7 undoubtedly refers partly to the fragments of bark and wood which have been bitten off by the locusts; but being uneatable by them, have fallen to the ground and partly to the barked branches and trunks themselves, which the insects have ‘cast away.’ After they have passed, nothing remains but the large branches, and the roots, which, being underground, have escaped their voracity. The bushes were eaten quite bare, though the animals could not have been long on the spot. They sat by hundreds on a bush gnawing the rind and the woody fibers.
“‘The corn, the wine, the oil’ (Deut. 7:13) – apparently the three principal products of the soil of Palestine, are often mentioned together as a triad of blessings, bestowed by Jehovah upon His people; or, it withheld in the event of their unfaithfulness – at which time the locusts moved in with their devastating gluttony. The oil from the olive was almost a necessity of life in Palestine; used in cooking and for food, as we use butter. Olive oil was burnt in lamps; and used for anointing the person; it has medicinal virtues; was used in ancient times in sacrifice and was prized as a gift. It was a valuable commodity, subject to tithe. (Deut. 12:23)”
“Joel 1:9: ‘The meat offering and the drink offering is cut off from the house of the Lord’ – the means of providing them having been destroyed by the locusts. The cessation of the daily sacrifices would be regarded as a national misfortune: even during the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans, they were maintained as long as possible; and when ultimately they had to be suspended, the people, we are told, ‘were terribly despondent.”’ (Josephus)
The Day Of The Lord – While the foregoing certainly leaves no doubt about the literal visitation of the locusts, yet the prophet speaks of a far greater calamity that will come upon the people – Joel 1:13,14: “Gird yourselves, and lament, ye priests, as ministers of the altar... the meat offering and the drink offering is withholden from the house of your God ... Gather the elders into the house of the Lord, and cry unto the Lord... For the day of the Lord is at hand.” Clearly enough, “the day of the Lord” was not then immediately at hand. That statement refers to the day in which we are now living when “all faces shall gather blackness.”
Let us consider now the fate of Great Babylon (Christendom) as compared with the devastation of the locusts in Joel’s time: “A mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea (the anarchistic‑masses of men, the antitypical locusts), saying, thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” (Rev. 18:21) As the vegetation was so completely consumed by the locusts, so shall Great Babylon be destroyed by the lawless elements here in the end of the Gospel Age. Joel 3:1‑3 elaborates some on this situation (although it is clearly evident that the prophet did not clearly grasp what he was saying): “In those days (the present day), when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah (as they are now gathered in Palestine), I will also gather all‑nations, and will bring them down to the valley of Jehosphaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations... they have cast lots for my people, and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine.” Certainly the prophet was here speaking of a future time – a time of far greater calamity to come, even the great “Day of Jehovah” itself; and he sounds the alarm which that prospect should create – a destruction from the Almighty. Joel 1:15 quotes verbatim from Isa 13:6: “The day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.” In the original Hebrew this is even more emphatic: “an overpowering from the over‑power shall come.”
Joel 2:1‑11 offers greater detail, and the people are invited most earnestly to repent – if perchance Jehovah may be induced to stay the threatened judgment; and the “day” as depicted is borrowed from the recent visitation of locusts. Note the striking similarity of this with Rev. 9:3‑11, of which we quote just a small part: “There shall come upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power... to hurt those men which have not the seal of God (the Truth) in their foreheads... And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle... teeth as the teeth of lions.”
Here we offer a quotation from another writer: “A column of locusts which appeared in India was so compact that, like an eclipse, it completely hid the sun, so that no shadow was cast by any object; and some lofty tombs, not more than 200 yards distant, were rendered quite invisible. Our attention has often been attracted by the sudden darkening of the sun in a summer sky, accompanied by the peculiar noise which a swarm of locusts always makes moving through the air... The day before the locusts arrived, we were certain that they were approaching from a yellow reflection produced by their yellow wings in the heavens. As soon as this was observed, no one doubted that a vast swarm of locusts was at hand. Of a flight of locusts in the Sinai peninsula, it is related that they soon increased in number; and as a people and a strong, there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after them, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the Garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness. Many settled on the ground, which was soon in many places quite yellow with them, and every blade of grass soon disappeared. Their flight may be likened to an immense snowstorm, extending from the ground to a height at which our visual organs perceive them only as minute, darting scintillations... a vast cloud of animated specks, glittering against the sun. On the horizon they often appear as a dust tornado, riding upon the wind like an ominous hail‑storm, eddying and whirling about and finally sweeping up to and past you, with a power that is irresistible – as blackness on the mountains.
“‘A fire devoureth before them’ (2:3: A hyperbolical description of the destructive march of a swam of locusts: The country which they have passed over is left as bare as if it had been wasted by fire; and Joel imagines poetically a fire as preceding and following them on their course. Many travelers have used the same comparison: one says, for instance, ‘Wherever they come, the ground seems burned, as it were with fire.’ Another: ‘They covered a square mile so completely, that it appeared, at a little distance, to have been burned and strewed over with brown ashes,’ And a third: ‘Wherever they settled, it looked as if fire had devoured and burned up everything. Palestine was invaded by locusts in 1865; from June 18 and 15 they poured into Nazareth. The trees an eyewitness wrote are as bare as in England in winter, but it looks as if the country had been burned by fire.’
“‘None hath escaped them.’ The prophet’s words are literally true. On whatever spot they fall, the whole vegetable produce disappears. Nothing escapes them, from the leaves on the forest to the herbs on the plain. In one instance they had – for a space of eighty to ninety miles in length – devoured every green herb, and every blade of grass. Not a shrub or blade of grass was visible. An Arabic poet writes of them: ‘They have the thigh of a camel, the legs of an ostrich, the wings of an eagle, the breast of a lion, a tail like a viper’s; and the appearance of a horse adorns them about the head and mouth. When I was in the midst of them, it was as loud as the dashing of waters occasioned by the mill‑wheel. While passing over our heads, their sound was as of a great cataract. In flying they made a rushing, rustling noise, as when a strong wind blows through trees.
“‘Like the noise of a flame of fire.’ This noise they make while feeding, like the crackling of a prairie fire or a strong wind, as the rushing of flames driven by the strong wind. They prepare for the attack like a mighty nation – arrayed in order for the fray. The people are distressed – like a woman in travail. The panic terror produced by an invasion of locusts can be readily imagined if we remember not only the immense loss of property, of which they are the cause, but also the terrible destitution, which follows in their train. In Algiers, after an invasion of locusts in 1866, 200,000 persons are said to have perished from famine. The destruction wrought frequently by the Rocky Mountain locust, over a large area of the United States, is almost incalculable. The onward movement of the locusts is compared to that of a well‑appointed army, nothing impedes their advance; there is no disorder to their ranks; they climb the highest walls, and penetrate into the strongest cities.
“It is practically impossible to arrest or divert the advance of a body of locusts. The guard of the Red Tower attempted to stop their irruption into Pennsylvania by firing at them; but when the balls and shot swept through the swarm, they gave way and divided; but having filled up their ranks in a moment, they proceeded on their journey. When locusts on the march approach a village, the inhabitants endeavor often to stop their advance by kindling fires, or digging trenches and filling them with water, but to little effect; but a flight of locusts is sometimes deferred from alighting by the noise of pots and pans, kettles, drums, etc. But no sooner have they gained an entrance than they make the city their own and take possession of the walls. They are likened to a roaring lion, a raging bear, and of chariots charging the suburbs of a city.”
The Day Of Jehovah – From the foregoing it is clear enough that there have been literal pests of locusts, although some superficial readers have concluded that the prophet was merely giving us a play on words when he says in 1:19: “O Lord, to thee will I cry: for the fire hath devoured the pastures of the wilderness, and the flame hath burned all the trees of the field.” His statement here is not nearly so clear and decisive as that given us in Psa. 21:8,9: “Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies; thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in time of thine anger (in the Day of Jehovah now upon us); the Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.” Even more to the point is Mal. 4:1: “Behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up ... that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.”
Joel elaborates upon this day of “fire,” and one writer has this to say about it: “The fate here predicated of the locusts must in reality be emblematical of the fate of the human invader – is identical of the scourge which he describes, but is far beyond any plague of locusts.” And with this we would agree. And this from another writer: “What then may be said of the prophecy of Joel? The prophecy springs out of the circumstances of the time (the degradation of the people – JJH). Its central thought is the idea of the Day of Jehovah, which is suggested to the prophet by the drought and the visitation of locusts from which at the time the land of Judah was suffering. Joel sees in the locusts more than a mere swarm of insects, however vast: they are Jehovah’s army. Note v. 2:11: “The Lord shall utter his voice before his army... the day of the Lord is great and very terrible.”
We have given much detail on the locusts, and the devastating effect they have had upon the areas in which they operated. We did this because the locusts described by Joel are typical of a more far‑reaching devastation in the antitype. We refer to the “Day of Jehovah” – the Time of Trouble which we are now experiencing. The antitype is always greater than its type; and this is emphatically true of the antitypical locusts. As Jesus foretold, we have had “wars and rumors of wars” (Matt. 24:6) thruout the Gospel Age, but World War I (in 1914) was the world’s greatest calamity up to that time. It affected all nations – even those not directly involved in it. That was the beginning of the real “Time of Trouble,” which trouble accelerated with the great depression of 1929‑32; then World War II (1939‑1945), with other major calamities since that time.
Our Lord warned us what to expect in this great day: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” – for the last clause of which we are most grateful. Jesus said this trouble would be the one prophesied by Daniel 12:1: “At that time shall Michael stand up ... there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.” Michael is another name for our Lord Jesus, who is now “standing up.”
But we are not pessimistic about this situation, because we know these things must occur to remove the existing evils now so prevalent – after which the Lord will establish that Kingdom for which He taught us to pray: “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” – which is the essence of all our prayers. Thus, we have a picture of this time in the locusts described by Joel; and we are certainly not out of order when we explain the meaning of his writings. The surgeon wounds to heal and this is a portrayal of what we are now witnessing.
THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
As most of our readers know, the word gospel is from the Greek meaning “good news.” Thus, “Jesus went about preaching the gospel of the Kingdom” – the good news of the Kingdom. And most of the prophets offered limited comment on that great subject. Jesus had specifically told his disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth.” Thus we have some statements in Joel that promise relief from present troubles – “in due time.” Many learned scholars hold the opinion that the Kingdom – complete suppression of evil, and full triumph of righteousness will never be realized on this planet; but Jesus was certainly not tantalizing His followers when He told them to pray for that condition. His instruction clearly teaches that it will some day be realized; and it is our opinion that the full realization of the Kingdom is in the very near future. The present distress is the firm assurance of that fact. “When ye see these things begin to come to pass, lift up your heads and rejoice.” (Luke 21:28)
Of the afflictions now present Job offers some consolation: “Despise not the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up; he woundeth, and his hands make whole.” (5:17,18) And the Psalmist puts it this way: “The people stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end (“The earth – Society as presently organized shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage” – Isa. 24:20). “Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm. Then are they glad because they be quiet... Let them exalt him also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.” (Psa. 107:27‑32) And Joel 2:25 tells us: “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.”
Joel 3:1, 2: – “In those days (when the Kingdom has been established) ... when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem. I will gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people, and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.” This prophecy is now being fulfilled in a limited way, but it will become very much more apparent when the Kingdom is fully set up.
Noah’s Ark – This picture presents one of the strongest types concerning this “present evil world” and the Kingdom just ahead. Here are the Berean Comments on Gen. 7:7: “Noah and his family, with the ark, represent the Church, lifted up above the whole earth during the time of trouble, preserved from the terror of the trouble, and afterward coming down from heaven to bless and replenish the earth.” All classes of mankind are represented in the Ark and its contents: The four elect classes of men 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, who is the Heir of the righteousness which comes to us by faith (Heb. 11:7). These classes very well represent in the order stated: Noah and his wife, Shem and his wife, Japheth and his wife, Ham and his wife, the males apart from Noah representing all the leaders of their respective classes, and the females 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 as typically clean and the believing Gentiles who will be saved.
One of the outstanding features of the clean animals is their split hoof. Feet in the Bible represent character: “Make straight paths for your feet.” (Heb. 12:13) Therefore, the clean animals having the split hoof would typify those believers in Jesus who have a character acceptable to God and man; whereas, the unclean animals – such as the hog, dog, etc. – would represent the Heathen world and unbelievers in the Christian world. Thus the people and animals in the Ark would represent substantially all people who will eventually be blessed through the sacrifice of Christ and His faithful followers.
Summing Up: – The Ark and its contents were all that survived in the world that was. “The world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” – was completely annihilated. (2 Pet. 3:6) Thus, Noah and his family began a new world – the world that now is. While “this present evil world” (Gal. 1:4) is slated for destruction, we have the sure record that it will not be destroyed by water: “Neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth” – the present social order – (Gen. 9:11). “The earth (the planet) abideth forever.” (Eccl. 1:4)
Joel 2:28‑31 – Much of the foregoing is corroborated by Joel, although in such veiled language that it will not be noticed by the casual reader. “It shall come to pass afterward (after ‘those days’ – the Gospel Age) that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.” This would be better translated “for all flesh.” This is simply a promise of one of the blessings that will come to the human race when the “Kingdom” is set up. “Your sons (the ‘clean’) and your daughters (the ‘unclean’) shall prophecy (teach the Truth to others who have not yet learned it), your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.” The “old men” here are the “Ancients” – the Ancient Worthies, who will dream dreams – for another book of the Bible (Rev. 20:12) – much the same as Joel and others wrote as they “were moved by the Holy Spirit” in Old Testament times. “And your young men – your “Youthful” – shall see visions. The distinction here is much the same as the four Major and twelve Minor prophets of the Old Testament. “And also upon the servants (the Christ Company) and upon the handmaids in those days (the Gospel Age – the New Testament days) will I pour out my spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth.”
In the days of the approaching Kingdom we shall see the fulfillment of Ezek. 36:34, 35: “The desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate shall become like the Garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.” Thus far in our study of “the prophets” we observe emphatic justification for the statement in Acts 3:21: “The times of restitution (restoration, as was Eden) of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
Much in the foregoing part of this article has stressed a very gloomy picture; but it is no different than what the Prophet Isaiah says in Isa. 24:20 – although the “Gentleman of the Old Testament” offers a more refined explanation of the picture: “The earth (the present social order) shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall and not rise again.” Giving this a practical everyday explanation, we would state it about like this: If a man has an expensive piece of land upon which he wishes to construct a magnificent building, but that land had a decaying shack, the first thing he would do would be to remove that shack. And that is exactly what the Lord is now doing. This is abundantly corroborated by the Prophet Daniel (2:44): “In the days of these kings shall the God of Heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed ... it shall break in pieces and consume all those kingdoms (the ones now existing), and it shall stand forever.”
Some of the brilliant commentators of our day present a glowing picture of the coming Kingdom, but they then water it down with their own conclusions. We now present just one of them, including his doubts about the accomplishment of the Biblical statements: “The prophets, in their visions of the future, throw out great and ennobling ideals, but ideals which, in many cases, are not destined to be realized literally in fact. That is the case with Joel. The contrast between Israel and the nations is typical of the great contrast between good and evil, between truth and falsehood, which is ever being exemplified in the history of the world, which has already resulted often in partial triumph of right over wrong, and which, we may be sure, will in the end result in its complete triumph: but this triumph, we may be not less sure, can never be gained in the form in which Joel’s imagination pictured it.”
Of course, some of the above statement smacks of Higher Criticism, and thus makes the Word of God of no effect. Joel was not giving his own thoughts when he wrote what he did; he was writing by inspiration; and we may be sure he wrote correctly. He says further: “Joel draws a magnificent picture of Jehovah’s coming to judgment... The Day of Jehovah can never come precisely in the form in which Joel pictured it; nevertheless, it is a day which comes constantly to nations... and often in ways which they do not expect.”
To the above we would quote the words of Jesus, which He gave to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus – after His resurrection: “O Fools, slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have written.” Here Jesus was emphasizing that we should believe what the prophets have written; and He further emphasizes this in John 5:39: “You search the Scriptures (the Old Testament writings), because you think by them to obtain eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.”
“Be strong and of a good courage: be not afraid neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” (Josh. 1:9) “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.” (Psa. 25:14)
QUESTION OF GENERAL INTEREST
QUESTION: – Is it proper for Youthful Worthies to indulge in worldly pleasures?
ANSWER: – A similar question is in E‑4, pp. 458‑460, which please see. However, we will give some excerpts from that answer: “Those who consecrate while sin is in ascendancy in the world cannot carry out their consecration apart from renouncing selfishness and worldliness, because Satan sets against a consecrated course the allurements of sin, selfishness, worldliness and error; and one cannot proceed faithfully in consecration without denying himself of these, therefore of selfishness and worldliness.” (E‑4:458)
We would add to that, that in our self‑denial, it is from our natural rights – the things that a worldly man could enjoy without being sinful. We do not deny ourselves of sin: We should have renounced sin before our consecration – that is, when we were “repentant and believing.” Sin in any form will not help us serve Truth and righteousness.
“We properly satisfy our desire for food, drink, rest, etc., every day and these are human, selfish and worldly propensities. We may make use of any of these propensities, if we employ them to help us serve Truth and righteousness.” (E‑4:458)
“If it is merely a selfish and worldly purpose, apart from better qualifying us for the Lord’s service, the indulgence is to be abstained from. Let us remember the Apostle Paul tells us to use the world, but not to abuse it; and let us not take the monastic view of sacrifice. Jesus is our example in sacrifice; and He participated in the festivities of the Jewish wedding at Cana, where worldly pleasure ran to the very climax; and we are sure that Jesus’ course there was not one that chilled and squelched the pleasures of the participants.” (E‑4:459)
“The principle contained in this answer applies to all the consecrated alike – the Little Flock, the Great Company and the Youthful worthies,” (E‑4:459, Bottom and p. 460 top)
“And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the Lord; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof? so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land.” (Num. 9:14) We understand the ‘stranger’ to be the Youthful Worthies, and those born in the land to be the spirit‑Begotten.
Also, “And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him; as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death.” (Lev. 24:16)
However, in the case of the spirit‑begotten, they are on trial for life? while the unbegotten are on trial for faith and obedience. If the spirit‑begotten commit the sin unto death, there will be no other trial for him: it means the second Death for him. But it means the death of their standing in the Youthful Worthy class when the “stranger who commits the sin unto death.” It means they are remanded to the restitution class.
This is well described by the Epiphany Messenger in another question on pp. 461‑462 regarding the Youthful Worthies having to develop perfect love: “The Youthful Worthies must now develop disinterested love in some measure, though not necessarily unto perfection; for to carry out a consecration unto death, which is not a demand of justice, duty love, but is a matter of privilege, disinterested love, it is inevitable, if one is faithful, that he develop a measure of disinterested love, though not necessarily unto perfection, i.e., crystallization.
“In the case of the Little Flock and the Great Company, their trial being fog life? they must develop disinterested love unto crystallization, otherwise they could not get life. .... We would not even say that they (the Youthful Worthies – JJH) must develop perfect untested love, i.e., gain the mark, though some of them do it, which will bring them a higher reward in the Millennium than those of them who do not develop it,
“Apparently God does not now permit to come upon them such trials as would be necessary to develop disinterested love unto perfection, crystallization. But He does have come upon them such trials as will test their faith and devotion to righteousness sufficiently to quality them for Millennial princeship, as well as such as will measurably test their disinterested love.” (E‑4, p. 461 bottom and p. 462)
It could not be said better than the above quotations, although we add that all who are capable of developing disinterested love to the mark, though not to crystallization, should certainly do it. If we retain our standing as Youthful Worthies, we will have to develop disinterested love to crystallization in the Little Season if we get eternal life, which will mean our heavenly reward, as we will be spirit‑begotten in the Little Season. The Restitutionists will not have to develop disinterested love to that degree.
LETTER OF GENERAL INTEREST
Dear loved Ones: Loving greetings in Jesus precious name!
Thank you both for your kindness to us while with you. Trust you are improving daily, John. It was good to see you both. Our trip down and back was tiring but very interesting and rewarding.
Our time spent with our son was good for him and their study of Volume One. We met a Korean minister and gave him Vol. 1 in Korean which he asked for. Trust it will prove fruitful. Oh for the Kingdom! How long, Oh Lord!
The Lord bless and keep you in His loving care. As always, ------- (MASSACHUSETTS)