Our January 2018 paper presented the first part of Brother Johnson’s description of the Kingdom of God from Epiphany Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 17. There he differentiated between the embryo Kingdom and the reigning Kingdom, and described the Kingdom’s creation and its rulers. We now continue his discussion.
THE KINGDOM’S TWO PHASES
From the fact that Jesus and His Faithful will be the invisible Kings in the Millennium, supported by the Great Company on a spirit plane of being as a subordinate and invisible nobility, and from the fact that the Ancient and Youthful Worthies will be visible representatives of the invisible Kingdom, we may speak of the Kingdom of God as having two phases – an invisible, heavenly phase, and a visible, earthly phase. These two phases of the Kingdom are frequently referred to in the Scriptures as separate and distinct, as the following passages will show. Sometimes the two phases are represented in Zion and Jerusalem respectively, as in:
Isa. 2:3: “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain [Kingdom] of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion [Christ, Head and Body] shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [the Ancient and Youthful Worthies].”
Isa. 62:1-2: “For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.” Jehovah is here the speaker. By Zion He means Christ and the Church, in a sense also including the Great Company as their associates in the invisible phase of the Kingdom. For their sake God will not hold His peace, i.e., will not remain inactive, and for Jerusalem’s sake (the visible phase of the Kingdom, the Ancient and the Youthful Worthies) He will not rest, not cease from doing that which He has determined to do, until the righteousness that Christ and the Church work among the children of men is so bright and clear, that none will go astray. The “lamp that burneth” is the Word of God. (Psa. 119:105) The things that were written in that Word, particularly the writings of the Prophets of the Old Testament, including Moses, with the writings of the star-members to assist in their interpretation, will at that time be like a lamp burning.
Joel 2:32: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion [the spiritual phase of the Kingdom] and in Jerusalem [the earthly phase of the Kingdom] shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said [prophesied in the Old Testament], and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.” The remnant is primarily Christ and the Church and secondarily their earthly representatives – the Ancient and Youthful Worthies. By these God will work deliverance to all that obey.
Thus we see that in all of these three passages the two phases of the Kingdom are indicated by Zion and Jerusalem respectively. We will find that other texts indicate these two phases in other ways.
Psa. 107:32: “Let them exalt him [God] also in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders.” By the congregation of the people, the Little Flock is primarily meant, and secondly, their co-operating Great Company brethren. By the assembly of the elders, the Ancient and the Youthful Worthies are meant; these will be the earthly phase of the Kingdom of God. These two phases will carry out God’s plan and will cause praise, honor, glory, majesty, love, and obedience to be rendered to all eternity unto the God of perfect wisdom, justice, love and power.
Isa. 32:1: “Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.” The king here is the Christ, Jesus and the Church, His Body. These, as the heavenly phase of the Kingdom, will reign in righteousness. The princes, the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, shall rule in judgment, i.e., in harmony with the doctrinal teachings that the great King shall issue forth.
Gen. 22:16-18: “By myself have I sworn … That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven [the invisible phase of the Kingdom], and as the sand which is upon the sea shore [the earthly phase of the Kingdom]; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies [Jesus and the Church, will conquer: Satan, the world, and the flesh]; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Here we have God’s Oathbound Covenant presented to us. All of the families of the earth shall be blessed in due time by Christ and the Church; they will be blessed to the extent that they yield obedience to the Kingdom. Some will yield faithful, loyal obedience; others will not so do, but at least all will get some blessing: the blessing of being awakened from Adamic death, the blessing of enlightenment, the blessing of opportunity of gaining everlasting life, the blessing of being put under conditions conducive to righteousness and then, with these blessed conditions surrounding them, the opportunity of demonstrating whether they will be loyal to God. Thus this passage describes, not only the two phases of the Kingdom, but also the work of blessing all the families of the earth, which is done during the Millennium.
THE EARTHLY PHASE VISIBLE
We now turn to some particular proofs that the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, the secondary phase of the Kingdom, will not be heavenly and invisible, but earthly and visible:
John 3:13: “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man.” Jesus indicated to Nicodemus that no human being had ascended or could ascend into heaven, because that condition is only for spirit beings; human beings would have to be begotten and born of the Spirit before they could enter the heavenly, invisible phase of the Kingdom. (John 3:5) The only ones so begotten, and therefore the only ones who could be born of the Spirit and enter into this phase of the Kingdom as their eternal abiding place, would be the Christ – first the Head, and secondly His Body, His Bride, with their associates, the Great Company. This text indicates clearly that none of the Ancient Worthies had ascended into heaven; nor could they, for they had not been begotten of the Spirit, Jesus being the first one to receive the Spirit in this sense. Hence they, together with the Youthful Worthies, will be the earthly, visible phase of the Kingdom.
Acts 2:34: “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand.” Obviously David had not gone to heaven, for Peter reasoned that his tomb is with us unto this day, and that tomb still remains! (Acts 2:29) He was not begotten of the Spirit and therefore he will come forth on earth, even as will the rest of the Ancient Worthies. David has not ascended into heaven; he is not of the heavenly phase of the Kingdom, but of its earthly, visible phase.
Heb. 2:3: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him.” This verse also shows that the opportunity to be of the heavenly, invisible Kingdom was closed until Jesus’ First Advent, and therefore that none of the Ancient Worthies could be of it. The “so great” salvation is the high calling. This great salvation was first begun to be spoken by Jesus at His First Advent. Thus this text also proves that none of the Ancient Worthies could attain to this phase of the Kingdom; it indicates rather that the Worthies will be of the earthly, visible phase of the Kingdom.
Joel 2:28: “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” God will pour out His Spirit for all flesh “afterward,” meaning after the things stated in the previous verses, including the terrible devastation wrought by the great Antichrist and the little Antichrist (sectarian Protestantism), after the Gospel Age, to which the call to the heavenly, invisible Kingdom is limited. This is the promise of restitution that God will give for the children of men. The sons (the Christ’s sons) are Fleshly Israel and the daughters are the Gentiles, including those Jews who fell away from the Mosaic Covenant. The sons and daughters will “prophesy,” that is, they will teach others the truths of God’s Kingdom. Your old men are the Ancient Worthies who will see the deeper things (“dream dreams”) of the revelation of God. Your young men are the Youthful Worthies who will see the simpler things (“see visions”) of God’s Word. Since both the Ancient and the Youthful Worthies thus will share in the outpouring of the Spirit for all flesh after the Gospel Age, we see clearly that they will not then be of the invisible, heavenly Kingdom, but of its earthly, visible phase.
We now take up some additional passages, which show even more directly that the Worthies, as the Kingdom’s secondary phase, will be earthly and visible:
Gen. 13:14-15: “And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.” The Lord here was pointing out to Abraham the land of Palestine, and He promised that He would give it to him as an inheritance. Abraham died without receiving that promise, but he will get it in due time, and that time will be the Millennial Age, for Abraham will be one of the Ancient Worthies, therefore sitting in the earthly phase of the Kingdom, and he will at that time get that land that God promised him. Associated with the Ancient Worthies will be the Youthful Worthies, who then will be given a share in that land, because they, with the Ancient Worthies, will be the visible phase of the Kingdom.
Acts 7:5: “And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child.” St. Stephen here is pointing out the fact that during Abraham’s life this promise was not fulfilled; but he assures us that it will be fulfilled in due time, for God promised it to Abraham and God is no liar, no perjurer.
Psa. 45:16: “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.” Our Lord Jesus is here being addressed by God, who says that instead of certain ones who were His ancestors remaining such, they would become His children. These are the Ancient Worthies: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and all of the Prophets, and other pre-Gospel-Age faithful ones. These, instead of remaining the fathers of Jesus, will become the children of Jesus, for He will raise them from the dead; and they will also become the children of the Church, for, under Christ as their Head, the Church will assist in giving life to the Ancient Worthies and will make them princes in all the earth. They will set them up as the earthly phase of the Kingdom, the whole earth in due time being subdued unto them. Associated with them as princes will be the Youthful Worthies. They will rule in righteousness, with the Word of God, which they will teach to mankind.
Matt. 11:11: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Here we find another proof, this time indicating both phases of the Kingdom. John the Baptist, the last of the Ancient Worthies, was the one who was given the glorious office of being the herald of the Messiah, the introducer of the Messiah to Israel, the one who could say that he was a friend of the Bridegroom, who had won for the Bridegroom members of His Bride, of His Body. And though set forth here as one of the very greatest of the Ancient Worthies, he is nevertheless expressly called less than – inferior to – the least one in the heavenly Kingdom Class.
Luke 13:28-30: “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.” Jesus’ famous statement is an additional proof, in which also the two phases of the Kingdom are mentioned. Jesus here was speaking to the Pharisees, who were constantly persecuting Him, talking against Him, and seeking to set Him aside; He tells them that they will be in great chagrin and disappointment when they see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and all the Prophets – the Old Testament Prophets – and other Ancient Worthies in the Kingdom of God and themselves thrust out.
Notice that Jesus here states that the Ancient Worthies will be seen, will be visible, but avoids saying that the Little Flock will be seen, will be visible, in the Kingdom. The Kingdom class proper, together with the Great Company, will be spirits, and as such will be invisible; while the Ancient and Youthful Worthies will be human beings, and as such will be visible. Thus there will be a well-organized and fully equipped Kingdom to take control of human affairs as God’s Kingdom among men. The Little Flock, though called last, will be first in Kingdom power, office, honor and work, while the Ancient Worthies, who were the first to be called, will be the last, having a lesser power, office, work, honor and nature than the heavenly, invisible phase of the Kingdom.
Finally, we consider Heb. 11:39-40: “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” St. Paul is here referring to the heroes of faith that he mentions earlier in this chapter, beginning with Abel and ending with John the Baptist. They all received a good report through faith, i.e., their faith was faithfulness to the Spirit, Word and providences of God. Though they thus obtained a good report, they did not receive the promise of immortality in the invisible, heavenly phase of the Kingdom of God. Their perfection will come in the Millennium, as they prove faithful to the New Covenant promises, the New Covenant demands and laws. They will then be made perfect in the earthly, visible phase of the Kingdom.
THE PURPOSES OF THE KINGDOM
The purposes of this Kingdom, organized as above described, will be to destroy from among men every evil thing and influence, and to introduce among them every good thing and influence, in order to restore the race to perfection. As our Lord Jesus was manifested to destroy the works of the devil as well as the devil himself (1 John 3:8; Heb. 2:14), this destruction of his works will be carried out during the Age set aside for that purpose; and the destruction of the devil will be carried out just after the end of that Age. Their destruction manifestly has not yet been realized; for evil is yet in the ascendancy, and is doubtless on the increase. But during Christ’s Millennial reign He will destroy the works of the devil.
Rev. 20:1-3 shows this: “And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”
This mighty angel that the Revelator saw was no less than our Lord Jesus Christ. He came in His Second Advent and had the key of the bottomless pit, the power to open it and the power to close it. The key is that which enables one to exercise the power of opening and closing. The bottomless pit is the condition of error. It is indeed bottomless, because it has no foundation. Our Lord Jesus Christ is going to spirit the devil and all the impenitent fallen angels so far away from the earth that they will be unable to see what is going on here; and, being in error, they will imagine all kinds of erroneous things. They shall remain there, and a seal will be set upon them so that they cannot be loosed, so as to deceive the nations, until the thousand years shall be fulfilled – until the whole Millennial Age will be passed; and at its end, in its Little Season, Satan will be allowed to test all of those who, during the thousand years, will have had the opportunity of gaining everlasting life.
Some of these he will easily deceive, and these will be among those who will die, as accursed sinners, as we read in Isa. 65:20; those acting hypocritically, pretending to be in harmony with the rule of the New Covenant, pretending to obey it, will in heart be disobeying it, for they will not allow its laws of love, of justice, of power and of wisdom to be written in their hearts; hence they will be deceived by Satan at the end of the thousand years in the great sifting that will come at that time – they will stand stark naked as hypocrites, as liars, as deceivers, who use all of the Millennial opportunities selfishly and not for the good of others. These then will be destroyed in the Second Death with the devil and the impenitent fallen angels. (Rev. 20:7-10)
Thus Jesus will have destroyed the devil and all his works. Accordingly, we look for the Millennial Age to witness the destruction of the sentence of death, as well as all the effects of that sentence: sin, error, superstition, sorrow, pain, sighing, crying, sickness, famine, pestilence, drought, extreme heat and cold, scarcity, war, revolution, anarchy, oppression, poverty, ignorance, dying and death.
The Millennial Age will witness the effects of the reversal of the death sentence: righteousness, truth, piety, joy, pleasure, ease, smiles, laughter, abundance, health, Edenic climate, prosperity, national and international peace, order, liberty, riches, education, awakening from the dead, convalescence and restoration to perfect life. The Plan of God, the character, training and powers of the Kingdom classes, and the social order, the rewards and punishments of that Age, will combine to realize these desirable purposes.
We may be sure that God’s promises and oaths and Christ’s Ransom-Sacrifice and exaltation will bring about these blessed results, will bear fruitage in the success of God’s Plan. (Gen. 22:16-18; Num. 14:21; Isa. 45:22-23; Isa. 53:11; John 12:32-33; Rom. 5:18-19; 1 Tim. 2:4-6) As the arrangements of Satan’s kingdom have been conducive to the operation of the curse, so the arrangements of God’s Kingdom will be conducive to the operation of the blessing of restitution from the curse. Praise our God for such a hope and prospect!
THE SUBJECTS OF THE KINGDOM
The entire non-elect portion of the human family, whether living or dead at the time of the establishment of the Kingdom, will become its subjects. (Rev. 15:3-4; Psa. 98:1-4; Psa. 22:27-29; Isa. 25:6-8; 1 Cor. 15:54-57; Rom. 14:9; Phil. 2:9-11) According to the Scriptures, the Kingdom in its earthly phase will first be established among regathered and converted Israel, who will with joy hail their resurrected patriarchs and Prophets, and who will be greatly blessed by the latter’s rule. (Zech. 12:7; Isa. 1:25-27; Isa. 25:9)
A little later the Gentile nations, broken, exhausted and undone by the woes of the Time of Trouble (Matt. 24:21-22; Dan. 12:1), will learn of the blessings that Israel will be enjoying, and will desire these for themselves. (Isa. 2:3-4; Zech. 8:20-22) In response to their humble petitions for help, the Kingdom with its arrangements will be established from one nation unto another, until it will become a universal Empire. (Dan. 2:44; Dan. 7:27) Fleshly Israel, as the secondary earthly seed of Abraham, under the lead of the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, as the primary earthly seed of Abraham, will be privileged to co-operate with the Kingdom in converting the Gentile world. (Gen. 22:17; Gen. 28:14; Isa. 19:24; Ezek. 16:60-61; Psa. 107:22)
After all of the then living subjects of the Kingdom will have advanced considerably on the way of restitution, as well as the earth itself (Isa. 35:1-9; Isa. 29:18-20), the non-elect dead, probably in companies and at various intervals, will be brought back from the tomb to this earth. (Isa. 35:10; Dan. 12:2-3; Isa. 29:24; Isa. 25:8) These will be welcomed and helped to reform, not only by the Kingdom in its two phases, but by those of mankind in general who will be learning righteousness; for these will also be given an opportunity to assist the awakened ones to come back to the image of God. (Matt. 25:35-40) Thus an ever increasing number of the dead will be brought back from the tomb, and, under the assistance of the Kingdom and its arrangements, will be started on the way to restitution.
Some may ask: Will mankind be given perfect bodies when awakened from the tomb?
We would answer that the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, who have stood their trial of faith and obedience in this life, will receive perfect human bodies at the time of their awakening (Heb. 11:35); but those who come forth for resurrection through a judgment process (John 5:29, RSV) will not be awakened with perfect bodies. They will be brought forth from the tomb for the purpose of giving them the opportunity to walk up the Highway of Holiness to physical, mental, moral and religious perfection. (Isa. 35:8-10) To give them perfect bodies at once would interfere with their reformation, since it would withdraw a strong incentive for reformation: the hope of physical healing for well-doing. Moreover, they would not recognize themselves in perfect bodies, and the large numbers who died in infancy would get no advantage from the experience with evil as a deterrent from wrong-doing, if made perfect in their bodies as soon as they are awakened. Hence we look for them to return with imperfect bodies, which, as they gradually reform, will together with their minds and hearts, be gradually perfected.
RESULTS OF THE KINGDOM’S REIGN
One of the results of the Kingdom’s reign will be the utter elimination of all the effects of the curse as the unholy fruits of Satan’s rule, authority and power. Among other passages, 1 Cor. 15:20-26 shows this. We quote it from the Improved Version: “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become a first fruit of them that slept. For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Jesus] also shall come the resurrection of the dead. For as all in Adam die, even so all in Christ shall be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ a firstfruit [the Church here is meant]; afterward they that are Christ’s at [during] his presence. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
Jesus did not die in Adam, for He was not in Adam, and therefore our correction of the translation.  The Little Flock is in Christ; they shall be made alive first and primarily. Afterward they that are shown to be our Lord’s faithful followers during His presence, all who come into Christ, shall also be made alive. At the end of the Little Season, when He shall have ruled over all the earth and given every man the opportunity to gain eternal life, which His Ransom-sacrifice, a corresponding price, enables Him to give, He will deliver up the Kingdom to God, who will be the final judge over the earth and will exercise His judgment through Christ, the Head, primarily, and secondarily, the Church, His Body, as His Vicegerent. Every vestige of the governorship and the pretended authority and might of Satan will be put down by the almighty hand of Christ, the Head, and the Church, the Body, using God’s power as that almighty power in their hand. We see that the enemies that He will put under His feet are not only persons, but also things. The Adamic death in the sense of the dying process is the last great enemy. Because of His faithfulness, Jesus became the One who will after the close of the Millennium finally destroy it.
Not all will obtain eternal life. Those who will not even externally reform, but will continue to be rebellious to the Kingdom during the thousand years, will after 100 years of opportunity be cut off in the Second Death. (Isa. 65:20) Those who will reform externally, but without a heart reformation, will live throughout the thousand years and attain human perfection; but by the trial during the “little season” at the Millennium’s close, their unholy heart’s condition will become manifest, and they will perish in the Second Death – everlasting destruction. (Rev. 20:7-9, 15; Mal. 4:3; Psa. 37:10, 35-38; Isa. 1:28; Acts 3:23)
Those who during the Millennium will practice truth and righteousness, from the love of these principles, will be lifted up to human perfection not only in their faculties, but also in their characters (Isa. 66:10-14), and will thus be enabled to remain faithful amid the final trial during the Little Season after the Millennium; and these shall inherit the earth forever, as Paradise restored. (Matt. 25:35-40; Isa. 65:16-25)
Such will be the grand results of the reign of Jesus and the Church in the earth. (Rev. 21:3-5; Rev. 22:1-3) The sad tragedy of sin will forever have ceased to be enacted. The ages to come will witness the realization of the angels’ song of Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will to men (Luke 2:14); and from every part of the Universe the glorious Hallelujah chorus shall forever and ever celebrate Jehovah and Christ, for their glorious Persons, holy Characters, wonderful Plan and great Works! (Rev. 5:13) Therefore let every lover of God and man, of truth and righteousness, pray, “Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done in earth, as in Heaven!” Amen and amen!
 It is unclear if Bro. Johnson is quoting another translation or giving his own correction to the common translation. However, the correction seems to be proper as Pastor Russell explained in Studies in the Scriptures, Volume VI, page 696: “The declaration of our common version Bible, that ‘As in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,’ is manifestly a mistranslation. Standing in that form it is in conflict with other scriptures, which distinctly limit the number of those who shall be made alive through Christ. The mistranslation favors the doctrine of universal salvation, in that it seems to imply that God’s favor and blessing through Christ will not in any sense of the word take into consideration the characters of those to whom life shall be given. Other scriptures, however, make very clear that not all shall ‘enter into life,’ but only those who ‘do the will of the Father which is in heaven.’ A plain statement on the subject is found in the Lord’s words, ‘He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.’” (1 John 5:12)