“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen. 12:1-3)
As we have seen, the Scriptures show that the three wives of Abraham typify three great Covenants, represented in the order of those wives. Sarah was the first wife of Abraham, the only acknowledged wife. Then came Hagar, Sarah’s maid-servant; and later Keturah. Sarah and Hagar each had one son, but Keturah had six. The Scriptures show that Abraham made Isaac his heir (Gen. 25:5), and that through Isaac both Hagar’s son Ishmael and the sons of Keturah received their portion. The fact that Ishmael was born before Isaac did not alter the fact that Isaac was the heir.
The original Abrahamic Promise or Covenant, represented by Sarah, is the one operating in the Church. The Apostle Paul tells us that God preached the Gospel to Abraham in advance, saying, “In thee shall all nations be blessed.” (Gal. 3:8; Gen. 12:3; Gen. 28:14) The Abrahamic Covenant needs no mediator; for there are no terms and conditions upon which to base a mediation. In it God merely declared His purpose to find a Seed of Abraham, by certain selective processes of His own, and to bless and honor this Seed for the benefit of the remainder of mankind. This especially selected Seed of Abraham, as the Apostle points out, is Christ and the Church – God’s Elect. (Gal. 3:16,29; Rom. 8:29,30)
The Apostle also shows that the Abrahamic Covenant mentions two seeds, represented in the statement, “I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore.” (Gen. 22:17) Since Abraham here typified God, the Promise shows two classes developed as God’s children: (1) Christ and the Church, on the spirit plane; and (2) the Restitution class of mankind, on the human plane.
St. Paul refers to these two seeds in Rom. 4:16,17, showing that one is developed under faith and the other under the Law and works. The first, the Spiritual Seed, has been in process of development during this Gospel Age. The second, the fleshly seed, is the Restitution class, which will be developed under the New Covenant by its Mediator, according to law and works, and not by faith alone, the exception being the Ancient Worthies who were developed previous to the Gospel Age.
The Scriptures clearly show that our Lord was the Messiah, the long-promised Seed of Abraham. (Luke 1:32,33,55,72-74; Luke 2:11; John 1:41; John 4:25,26) The Church, His Body, is also developed under the original Abrahamic Covenant, which God bound with an oath. St. Paul calls it “the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” (Heb. 6:13-20) Again, he says to the Church, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” (Gal. 4:28) The Church are the children of the Oath.
That promise of begetting through Christ to the new nature, is very different from that by which the Jews were constituted the House of Servants, and wholly different from those promises by which restored Israel and all the families of the earth will be brought to human perfection through Restitution processes, as children of the Keturah, or New Covenant. Since our Lord was developed under the Abrahamic Covenant, the Church also must be developed under that Covenant; for the Spiritual Seed cannot be the child of two mothers. It is written, “In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” (Gen. 21:12)
The Law Covenant, made at Sinai, was a type of the New Covenant, and had for its mediator Moses, the man of God. This Covenant brought nothing to perfection, however, for its mediator was imperfect, as were the people. St. Paul explains that Israel, typified by Ishmael, did not receive the blessing, but that The Christ received it. Later, however, Israel is to receive a blessing, as the Apostle points out; and that blessing will be brought by the New Covenant, after the glorification of the Church.
The question arises: If the Abrahamic Covenant contained the full Divine Promise to both the Church and the world, why did God arrange for two other Covenants, namely, the Law Covenant, instituted at Mount Sinai with Israel, and having Moses for its mediator, and the New Covenant, which is to follow, and under which the whole world is to be blessed?
PURPOSE OF THE ADDED COVENANTS
These two Covenants were added to clarify the Divine Purpose, and to help us appreciate the operation of Divine Love and Justice. The Law Covenant (Exod. 19:3-8) was an addition to the Abrahamic Covenant, but this addition could not interfere with the original covenant. It was typical. It had a typical mediator, typical sacrifices of bulls and goats, a typical Atonement Day, a typical Holy and Most Holy. (Heb. 9:9-23)
As St. Paul explains, the Law Covenant was added to fill up the time until the arrival of the promised Seed to whom the Abrahamic Covenant applied, and this was necessary because of sin, so that the high Divine standard for the Seed might be illustrated. The Law Covenant with Israel set up the standard which approved Jesus and condemned all others. (Gal. 3:19) It also helped to develop the Jewish nation toward God and righteousness, and to fit and prepare a remnant of them for the glorious High Calling of the Gospel Age, inviting them to Divine favor and joint-heirship with Messiah in the Millennial Kingdom.
The types and shadows and prophecies provided by the Law Covenant have also been very beneficial to Spiritual Israel during the Gospel Age, illustrating and prophesying matters related to the blessing of the Church during this age, and that of the world during the next age.
Through the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:6-13), the second addition to the original Abrahamic Covenant, the world will get all of its blessings and favors of Restitution. It cannot set aside, or make null or void, the original Abrahamic Covenant of Grace, any more than could the Law Covenant of Sinai. The New Law Covenant cannot be introduced, sealed, made operative, until the Abrahamic Covenant has brought forth the Seed of Abraham and invested Him with glory, honor and Divine majesty. This New (Law) Covenant will be inaugurated in the end of this Gospel Age when the Mediator (Christ Head and Body) has been completed, and its work of blessing every member of Adam’s race will embrace the entire period of the Millennium.
Jesus, our Redeemer and Head, is the appointed Mediator of the New Covenant by virtue of the merit of His own sacrifice at Calvary. He could have sealed it and begun at once its operation, had not the Father “provided some better thing for us” (the Church, the Bride of Christ, whom God foreknew as Jesus’ members) than for the Ancient Worthies. (Heb. 11:40) This is the mystery – that the Gospel Age has been devoted to the development of the Body of the Mediator. (Eph. 3:3-6; Col. 1:27)
THE NEW COVENANT EVERLASTING
The world will not enter into New Covenant relationship with God individually at the beginning of the Millennial Age. Throughout that Age, matters will be strictly and solely in the hands of the Mediator. He will uplift mankind, making all who are willing individually and collectively worthy of God’s everlasting life and blessing. In this Covenant, God agrees that He will remember the sins and iniquities of the world no more, that He will have nothing against them, and that they may have His blessings the same as though they were personally received of Himself. They will be received through their representative and Mediator, The Christ.
The end of the Millennial Age will be the end of the Mediatorial work of Christ; then each member of the human race will have a personal and individual New Covenant relationship with God. This same New Covenant that starts with the beginning of the Millennial Age will continue through all eternity. There will not be an additional New Covenant at the end of the thousand years of Christ’s reign.
The whole world during the Millennial Reign will be in Covenant relationship with God in exactly the same way that Israel was in Covenant relationship with God, through the Mediator. Just as the Law Covenant continued after Moses died, so the New Covenant will continue after Christ has finished His work and the whole world will be under that Covenant.
Before God finally accepts them, however, He will give them a test to see if they are found worthy of everlasting life. Hence the test at the close of the thousand years is a test by God, a test to prove the worthiness of each to enter into everlasting covenant relationship with Him. They will not be tested as a nation or as a race, but each individual must establish his own right to this covenant relationship, a new covenant relationship in that the original, similar relationship was invalidated by Father Adam’s disobedience.
Throughout the thousand years of Messiah’s Reign, He as Mediator will have absolute control of the whole human family. His Law and His arrangements, in full harmony with those of the Heavenly Father, will be the ones that will be operative. This arrangement will be more favorable than any arrangement with God directly, because mankind, being imperfect, would in the beginning be incapable of perfect thoughts and words and deeds and God’s Law cannot recognize sin in any degree.
Having bought the world, Messiah will have mankind fully under His control and regulations for the purpose of uplifting and perfecting all who are willing. This will also include the right to destroy in the Second Death any who will not obey. (Acts 3:23)
A FULL TRIAL GUARANTEED TO ALL
The Scriptures are clear in their declaration that God has purposed from the beginning that mankind will have an individual trial for everlasting life, wholly free from the injury they received as a result of Adam’s failure in the first trial. (Jer. 31:29-30) Justice can sanction this arrangement because God provided that Christ “by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” (Heb. 2:9) Christ “gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (1 Tim. 2:6) The due time for some is in the present age and the due time for others will be in the Messianic Age.
Only those who have had a full trial and remained unconverted will die during the thousand years of Christ’s Reign; they will be those whose wills are not right. But God purposes that none will perish because of ignorance or misunderstanding. Therefore God has provided that all will be enlightened, and that all who will be obedient will be saved; and this full opportunity will be brought to all through Christ’s Kingdom. (1 Tim. 2:3-6; Jer. 31:34: Isa. 11:9)
All who accept and seek to obey the Divine will after coming to a clear knowledge of the Truth will be helped out of their weaknesses, allowance being made for all their failures through imperfection. But those who would sin willfully under such knowledge and opportunity are spoken of as angels or messengers of Satan and sin; for whoever willfully and intelligently sins against the Divine arrangement is of Satan’s spirit. All who develop such disobedient wills shall go into the Second Death. There is nothing further for them. (Rev. 21:7-8)
GOD’S SELECTION OF THE SPIRITUAL SEED
God has taken certain steps in making a selection of those worthy and pleasing to Him, to constitute this Messianic company. His arrangement for finding these is shown by the Scripture which, referring to this call of the Gospel Age to membership in that Seed of Abraham, says, “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” (Psa. 50:5; Rom. 12:1) This Covenant of sacrifice of the human will, and of all the rights and privileges and liberties of the flesh, proves a most drastic test, and demonstrates to God the very peculiar people whom He desires to be the Spiritual Seed of Abraham. They become a Spiritual Seed by renouncing the flesh and all its rights and liberties – even unto death.
The Head of this Seed contains the life for the entire Body. All the members added to Him must first of all be justified by His merit. These were not justified under the Law Covenant, which made nothing perfect; nor were they justified under the New Covenant, for it is not yet completed. But the blood which will in due time be effective for the sealing of the New Law Covenant for Israel and the world has been effective in advance for the justification of those accepted as the Body of the Mediator. This is possible because these Body members were selected from the same human family as the rest of mankind. Therefore the blood which will seal and make operative the New Covenant to the world is the same blood or merit of Christ which justifies freely all those called to be saints and joint-heirs of Jesus.
(Based on Reprint 5300)
“CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY WHOM YE WILL SERVE” (Jos. 24:15)
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matt. 6:24)
Here our Lord impressed upon His disciples a principle involved in service: no one can possibly render full service to two opposing interests, two opposing masters, because one will surely be neglected in the interest of the other. After making the general observation about the impossibility of serving two masters, the Lord applied this principle, saying, “Ye cannot serve God and mammon” – that is you cannot serve both God and selfishness, righteousness and unrighteousness. Man was originally God’s servant. It was natural for him to appreciate the Divine character and arrangements and to render willing service. But mankind was deceived as it came under the control of the great Adversary, being influenced by the powers of evil, the chief effects of which have been ignorance, superstition and selfishness.
It is a deplorable condition of the present time that from birth selfishness is almost forced upon one. Man learns to give his time and his influence for selfish purposes and projects. He fails to see that God is the One who should be served at any cost. Men were born and shaped in iniquity. (Psa. 51:5) They are servants of sin, slaves of sin. But our Lord Jesus pointed out that through the knowledge of Himself and compliance with His terms of discipleship, there came a release from this slavery, an opportunity to pass over to the side of righteousness.
However, an opportunity to take a stand for right came before our Lord’s time. When knowledge of God is granted to any people, they have an opportunity to assert themselves on the side of right. When the Law Covenant was given, God set forth the principles of righteousness in that Law. The whole nation of Israel accepted God as their Savior, and entered into a Covenant with Him that they would be His loyal people. Yet after they had done this, the influences of evil in their flesh became manifest. They sought to be the servants of both God and self, dividing their interests between God’s affairs and their own affairs.
A WORTHY EXAMPLE
Jesus pointed out that it was impossible to perform this half-hearted service – they could not serve two masters, for nobody would be pleased. If they were to serve mammon, serve the present order of things, then they could not be pleasing to God. If they wished to serve God, serve righteousness, to whatever extent they did this they would be displeasing to the world; they must be servants of either the one or the other; the two services combined would be impossible.
When our Lord Jesus came to earth He was in full harmony with this position; He fully renounced the world and made absolute consecration of His life to God and His service. Thus He set us an example. All who have the same spirit should walk in His steps. This was in accordance with the Jewish Law: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deu. 6:5) Anyone who kept this Law would not be serving self; for his service would be all for God.
Those who are following in the Master’s footsteps are all for God, or, as we sometimes sing, “All for Jesus.” As we follow the example of Jesus, and walk as He walked, we are rendering whole-hearted service to God. The result of serving this Master will be a great reward. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” (Phil. 2:9) The Church was invited to follow Him, and this course, followed faithfully to the end, will bring them to the same reward that Jesus received – glory, honor, immortality.
So we should serve God in everything, with all our heart, mind, soul, strength. This we are to do to the point of sacrificing all earthly interests and of laying down our lives for the brethren.
RENDERING UNTO CAESAR
It may be asked how the idea of choosing whom you will serve harmonizes with the Apostle’s suggestion that one who was bound when he received the Truth should not necessarily seek to be free, although if he gets the opportunity for freedom he should take it. (1 Cor. 7:20-22) St. Paul’s words express the thought that when the Truth finds us it does not necessarily change our earthly relationships. The Apostle is speaking of the body and not the heart when he says, “Seek not to be loosed.” (1 Cor. 7:27) Our bodies may be enslaved for one reason or another. It might be a bondage like that of olden times or it might be that we are the servants of those who are willing to pay for our services. While we are not to do anything contrary to the Divine Law or to our consciences, we are to serve our earthly masters faithfully. They have purchased our time, or a large measure of it; and we must render to them conscientiously all that is theirs by contract. If one is a servant in a military way, or in any other way, he should be faithful.
This will not interfere with one’s service to God; for our Lord has instructed us, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matt. 22:21) Whoever is faithful in this is doing the will of his Heavenly Master. There would be no conflict, but full harmony. The only conflict would be if the master on earth should wish us to do something contrary to the commands of our Master in Heaven. We are to suffer anything rather than do what our Heavenly Lord would not approve, thus defiling our consciences.
Looking into the future, we see that the present master, ruler, of this old order is soon to be bound, that he may deceive the nations no more for a thousand years, and that the new Ruler, the new Master of the world, is to be The Christ – Jesus and His Church. We ask ourselves how this principle will apply then. The answer is that there will be only the one Master to obey. There will be no rendering unto Caesar then. All will be made fully aware that this Master is the only one who has the power, the right to command. The knowledge of God’s glory shall fill the whole earth – the knowledge of God’s Righteousness, the knowledge of God’s Power, the knowledge of God’s Wisdom, the knowledge of God’s Love. Whatever He commands is the right thing, as everyone will then learn and fully understand.
THE SCRIPTURALLY “WICKED”
In the Scriptures Satan is represented as the deceiver of mankind. He puts light for darkness and darkness for light. God’s proposition through Christ is that during the thousand years of the Millennial Reign, the whole world will be brought to the true knowledge of God, an accurate knowledge. Deception will be no longer permitted. The world will see what righteousness really is, what its rewards really are, and how desirable it is. As a consequence, we believe the majority will then be glad to give heed to the one Master. The exceptions are represented as having the same disposition as Satan; and whoever will have that disposition will be destroyed. When a person comes to know the right and when the right is made reasonable, and possible for him, and he then prefers to do wrong rather than right, the sentence will be the Second Death. These are counted as “the wicked,” the incorrigible.
From the Scriptural standpoint, the “wicked” are those who do wrong intentionally. So all the wicked, knowing the wrong to be wrong, and doing it willfully and purposely, shall die the Second Death. In due time none shall be left alive except those who serve the one true Master. The difficulty with mankind at present is ignorance, which God has not yet lifted from the world. He has permitted the ignorance and darkness of the present time that the world may learn its lesson of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and be the better prepared for the lessons that are to follow. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Cor. 4:4) But these blinded minds shall soon have the obstructions removed that they may see.
Those who have become children of the light, who have accepted the Lord Jesus and become His disciples, and who now see clearly the Divine will and Plan, have much more responsibility than those who have never seen but also greater prospects of blessing. God will leave the scattering of the darkness for Christ to do. God has let the world go on its way, while in the meantime providing the Savior, the Deliverer – The Christ – who will soon take control of the whole world. He will cause the light, the Truth, to shine out, to flood the earth with knowledge and blessing. Then with the true light shining everywhere, there will be no excuse for anyone who will not walk in it; each one must then choose finally whether or not he will serve the true Master.
(Based on Reprint 5666)
LETTER OF GENERAL INTEREST
By “accident” I found your website (www.epiphanybiblestudents.com) while checking the spelling of “Youthful Worthyship” in Google.
I am German, living in Germany, and I got to know the Truth given by Br. Russell and Br. Johnson in 1993 through two brothers of the LHMM. While I loved studying the writings of these two Messengers of the Lord I soon recognized that something is wrong with the LHMM. But for many years I did not understand what the reason is. I was so much overwhelmed by the beauty of the Truth which I learned through the books which the brethren gave me that I trusted the brethren that they teach only the Truth. After some years I was so disappointed by the behavior of many of the brethren that I thought that something must be wrong with their teachings. My first conclusion was that the teachings of Br. Johnson are wrong. They seemed to me too complicated and too strict. For some time I had fellowship with Parousia Bible Students, but this didn’t satisfy me, neither. Then I studied again very carefully the writings of Br. Johnson and I recognized that in most cases he was right. Then I studied the writings of R.G. Jolly and was also satisfied. But meanwhile I found some doctrinal mistakes in the Manna comments, which were changed by August Gohlke in order to adapt them to the two classes of God’s people now living on earth. I discussed my findings with the brethren of the LHMM and the brethren of the so called “Opposition”, which arose in the year 2014. But I found almost no understanding among them. By means of these discussions I recognized more and more inconsistencies within the teachings of the LHMM. Most shocking was it when I recognized that the “Consecrated Epiphany Campers” do not exist at all. It was hard to me to accept that if I am truly consecrated I am a candidate for Youthful Worthyship. This seemed to me to be a too high honor and responsibility because I so much appreciate the faith and the valor of the Ancient Worthies. But one brother in Poland (my wife comes from Poland), who also left the LHMM, comforted me saying that the Youthful Worthies are a lower class than the Ancient Worthies.
But, since this brother does not agree with some of the Epiphany truths, I felt very lonely because it seemed to me that I am the only one in the world who accepts the Truth given through Pastor Johnson and rejects the Errors given through R.G. Jolly etc. I was about 2 years in this condition till I found your website one week ago. Now I know that I am not alone in the world with my faith. Thank you very much for continuing the work of Br. Hoefle.
May the peace and grace of God be with you
P.O. Box 2246, Kernersville, NC 27285-2246; firstname.lastname@example.org