“Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” (Heb. 12:26-28)
Revelation definitely identifies Armageddon as the great final earthquake: “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon . . . And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.” (Rev. 16:16-18)
Armageddon is a Hebrew word signifying the Hill of Megiddo, or the Mount of Destruction. Megiddo occupied a very marked position on the southern edge of the Plain of Esdraelon, and commanded an important pass into the hill country. This locality was the great battleground on which was fought many of the famous battles of Old Testament history. There Gideon and his little band alarmed and discomfited the Midianites, who destroyed one another in their flight. (Judges 7:19-23) There King Saul was defeated by the Philistines. (1 Sam. 31:1-6) There King Josiah was slain by Pharaoh-Necho in one of the most disastrous conflicts in the history of Israel. (2 Chron. 35:22-25) There also King Ahab and his wife Jezebel lived, in the city of Jezereel, where Jezebel afterwards met a horrible death. (2 Kings 9:30-37)
Those battles were typical, that is they were symbols of something greater. The defeat of the Midianites released the people of Israel from bondage in Midian. Thus Gideon and his band typified our Lord and the Church, who are to release mankind from their bondage to sin and death. The death of King Saul and the overthrow of his kingdom by the Philistines opened the way for the reign of David, who typified Messiah. King Ahab typified the civil government, symbolically called the “Dragon” in Revelation. Queen Jezebel symbolically foreshadowed the great harlot, Babylon (the false Christian church system married to earthly governments), and as such she is mentioned by name: “Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which called herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce my servants.” (Rev. 2:20)
In the Scriptures, the name Armageddon is associated with the great struggle between Truth and Error, right and wrong, God and Mammon that will close the Gospel Age and usher in the Messianic Age. The Lord has purposely used highly symbolic language in the last book of the Bible, evidently to hide certain important truths until the due time for their revealing. But even in the due time, only the “wise” among God’s people will know. (Dan. 12:10)
In 1 Kings we have a record of the Lord’s demonstration to Elijah, who typed the true Church in the flesh. It states: “And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: and after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:11-12)
Here are the four manifestations by which the Lord is revealing Himself to mankind, the first three preparing mankind for the final one, when the blessing of all the families of the earth will come. These manifestations are:
(1) The strong wind, rending the rocks. Wind seems to be used in Scripture to represent war, which will lead to:
(2) An earthquake. Throughout the Scriptures earthquake seems to represent revolution. The conditions following a great war arouse discontent among the masses leading to revolution. Although severe, those revolutionary experiences will not be sufficient to prepare men to hear the voice of God. That will require:
(3) The fire from Heaven. This is an epoch of Divine judgments and chastisements upon a maddened, but unconverted world, wild in anarchy, as other Scriptures show us. The results of the wars, revolutions and anarchy and the failure of the schemes of the world will prepare mankind for God’s revelation of Himself in:
(4) The still small voice. Yes, He who rebuked the winds and waves of Galilee will in due time speak to the people, saying, “Peace, be still.” (Mark 4:39)
Mark the harmony of Psalm 46 with these thoughts drawn from Elijah’s lesson. After portraying in symbol the dashing of the kingdoms of this world, the shaking of society by revolution and the figurative melting of society under the fire of God’s judgments, and after every hope of man in his own power is gone, the still small voice is heard commanding, “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen [the nations], I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psa. 46:10)
Mankind’s difficulty is largely due to ignorance of God. Men fail to know Him, partly at least because of their high opinion of their own wisdom and ability to get along without God. They will soon learn differently and will then be willing to hearken to divine wisdom, 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.” (Isa. 2:3; Micah 4:2) “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” (Psa. 25:10)
The lesson to the Lord’s people from these symbols is that God has the power to bring order out of present chaos. We are to “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” (Psa. 37:7) We are to labor on diligently and fervently to the extent of our opportunities and abilities and “hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 1:13) “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9)
The trouble is inevitable; the powerful causes are all at work, and no human power is able to arrest their operation and progress toward the certain end; the effects must follow as the Lord foresaw and foretold. No hand but the hand of God can stay the present flow of events; and His hand will not do so until the bitter experiences of this conflict have sealed their instruction upon the hearts of men.
The French Revolution provides an example of what Armageddon will be like. In the symbolic language of Revelation, the French Revolution was indeed a “great earthquake,” a social shock so great that all “Christendom” trembled until it was over; and that terrible and sudden outburst of a single nation’s wrath, more than two centuries ago gives an idea of the fury of the coming storm, when the wrath of the angry nations will burst the bands of law and order, causing a reign of universal anarchy following the earthquake of Armageddon.
We should remember that the French Revolution occurred in what was then the very heart of Christendom, in the midst of what was regarded as one of the most thoroughly Christian nations in the world, the nation which for a thousand years had been the chief support of Papacy. In fact the French Revolution is alluded to by Jesus in His Revelation to John on Patmos as a prelude to, and an illustration of the crisis now approaching. (Rev. 12: 15-16) (See Studies in the Scriptures, Volume III, pages 50-54 and 64-69.) Nominal Christianity has not cured the pestilence of infidelity and anarchism and is powerless to avert the further outbreak predicted in the Scriptures to be the greatest trouble ever to be known to earth. (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21)
SOME GRAND PARALLELS
That Servant showed how wonderfully the introduction of the New Covenant by Christ at the beginning of the Millennial Age was typed by the introduction of the Law Covenant by Moses:
“At the institution of the Law Covenant, at Mount Sinai, Moses seems to have been a type of the complete Christ (head and body) at the introduction of the Millennial Age, when the New Covenant will be introduced to the world – after ‘the sound of the great [seventh] trumpet,’ and the black darkness and ‘great earthquake,’ etc., of the Day of Vengeance shall have appalled mankind and made them ready to hear the voice of the Great Teacher, and glad to accept His New Covenant. This is distinctly pointed out by the Apostle (Heb. 12:18-22) who seems to mark every step of the parallelism. Israel had been approaching and had finally reached Mount Sinai, that might be touched, and from which such fearful sights and sounds emanated that all feared and quaked: but we are approaching Mount Zion and its wondrous glories and blessings far superior to those at Sinai; but accompanying these greater blessings will be the more terrible trumpet, blackness and earthquake shaking – the final shaking of all that can be shaken (all that is sinful and contrary to the divine will), that only that which is true and enduring may remain. The solution of the whole matter is in the words: ‘Wherefore we [who anticipate thus] receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably.’ (Heb. 12:28)” (Studies in the Scriptures, Volume IV, page 630)
He also showed how the world’s deliverance was typed by Israel’s deliverance from Egypt:
“The deliverance of Israel from Egypt and from the plagues which came upon the Egyptians seems to illustrate the coming emancipation of the world, at the hands of the greater than Moses, whom he typified. It will be a deliverance from Satan and every agency he has devised for man’s bondage to sin and error. And as the plagues upon Egypt had a hardening effect as soon as removed, so the temporary relief from the pains of this Day of the Lord will tend to harden some, and they will say to the poor, as did the Egyptians to Israel, ‘Ye are idle,’ and therefore dissatisfied and will probably, like them, attempt to increase the burden. (Exod. 5:4-23) But in the end such will wish, as did Pharaoh in the midnight of his last plague, that they had dealt more leniently and wisely long ago. (Exod. 12:30-33) To mark further the similarity, call to mind that the troubles of this Day of the Lord are called ‘seven vials of wrath,’ or ‘seven last plagues,’ and that it is not until the last of these that the great earthquake (revolution) occurs, in which every mountain (kingdom) will disappear. (Rev. 16:17-20)
“Another thought with reference to this Day of Trouble is that it has come just in due time – God’s due time. In the next volume of this work, evidence is adduced from the testimony of the Law and the Prophets of the Old Testament, as well as from Jesus and the apostolic prophets of the New Testament, which shows clearly and unmistakably that this Day of Trouble is located chronologically in the beginning of the glorious Millennial reign of Messiah. It is this necessary preparation for the coming work of restitution in the Millennial Age that precipitates the trouble.” (Studies in the Scriptures Volume I, page 336)
In Revelation we are shown that war has been miraculously hindered to give opportunity for “sealing” the Lord’s consecrated people in their foreheads (intellectually) with the Present Truth: “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth . . . And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.” (Rev. 7:1-3)
We understand the “four angels” to be the leaders of the “four corners” or sections of earthly society (government, aristocracy, bourgeoisie, and labor – the “messengers of wrath”). They are holding back the “four winds,” which we understand to be the fallen angels, restrained until the proper time, but which on coming together constitute the “whirlwind” of revolution and anarchy foretold by Jeremiah. (Jer. 25:32) The “wind” here is war; it is not the “whirlwind,” which will only come when the fallen angels are more fully loosed than when they were causing the war. The wind, as this text implies, must precede the whirlwind, which occurs as a result of the hostile meeting of the fallen angels.
But there is another great trouble, which is not mentioned in 1 Kings 19:11-12, because it is not to be upon the whole world. This trouble will be upon fleshly Israel. “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” (Jer. 30:7) There is great trouble upon them now, but we cannot say for certain that this is Jacob’s Trouble. We will not be able to discern this until more time has passed and we observe events that follow. But one thing is sure and that is God’s promise that He will save them. “For I am with thee, saith the Lord, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” (Jer. 30:11)
In the midst of the trouble God will reveal Himself as Israel’s defender as in ancient times, when His favor was with them nationally. Their extremity will be His opportunity; and their blindness will be removed. The testimony of all the Prophets is that the power of God will be so marvelously manifested in Israel’s deliverance by His fighting for them (and thus for all), with weapons which no human power can control, including pestilence and various calamities, poured upon the wicked (Israel’s enemies and God’s opponents) until speedily all the world will know that the Lord has accepted Israel again to His favor, and become their King, as in olden times. Soon Israel and the whole world will learn to appreciate God’s Kingdom, which shall speedily become the “desire of all nations.” (Hag. 2:7)
GOD’S WISE PROGRAM
If this great cataclysm of trouble were all we had to look forward to, we would think it the course of wisdom to say nothing about it. We would say: Do not think about it or speak of it; for it will be bad enough when it comes. But when the Bible tells us that the great trouble is designed merely to sweep away the outgrown religious systems, social systems, political systems, etc., and that God will on the wreck of all these things establish the Kingdom of Messiah for the world’s blessing, then we are glad of the trouble, and see that it is a necessary thing. This knowledge would be a great comfort and relief of mind to many bewildered ones who see the trouble coming on with increasing momentum, yet who cannot see the ultimate good to result, who feel that revolution and anarchy are confronting the entire world, but do not see the golden lining to the black clouds of trouble.
Speaking about this Time of Trouble, St. Paul says, “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day.” (1 Thess. 5:4-5) God’s people should have general information regarding His plans, purposes and arrangements.
Referring to the new order of things after the fire of God’s retributive vengeance has burned up present evils, God, through the Prophet, says: “For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent.” (Zeph. 3:9) He also says, “They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.” (Isa. 29:24) In other words, all people will be in harmony because they will all know the Truth. Ultimately every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2:11; Isa. 45:23)
Can we not see the wisdom of the great Creator’s program? He has determined to permit mankind to convince themselves of their own impotency, of their need of a God, and of the fact that there is a God, and that His glorious purposes for humanity are revealed in His Word. It is no wonder that the Bible speaks of that revelation of the Lord as the “still small voice” of God, speaking to mankind through Messiah’s Kingdom!
St. Peter gives us a vivid picture of the new order of things in Messiah’s Kingdom. He says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up . . . the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved . . . Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (2 Pet. 3:10-13)
The “new heavens” will be the glorified Church, consisting of Jesus the Head and His Bride class, selected from the world during the past centuries. The “new earth” will be the new social order under the control of the new heavens. There will be no patching of present institutions, but a clean sweep of them by the fire of Divine wrath preceding the establishment of the new order, where only that which is righteous, just, equitable, true, will be recognized.
We rejoice that such glorious things are coming – even though the world must necessarily reach them through the tribulation of the Time of Trouble. Happy are those whose eyes and ears of understanding are open now; and who are in such heart relationship with the Lord that He can make known to them in advance something of the riches of His grace, and show them how the coming troubles will work out blessings for the human family.
(This paper is drawn from various writings of Pastor Russell and Brother Johnson.)
TWO CLASSES IN THE RESURRECTION
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28-29)
The excerpts below are verbatim quotations from the March 15, 1951 Herald of the Epiphany.
“We have been asked, in view of the fact that some will never reach the condition of perfection, which the word resurrection means, how shall we understand the words of the Apostle Paul in Acts 24:15, that both the just and the unjust are to be resurrected? This Scripture seems very plain and simple if we give careful attention to what we read. Those Jews who stood by and heard the defense of the Apostle before Governor Felix, of which the words of Acts 24:15 are a part, believed that all of the just would have a resurrection, and that an opportunity of the resurrection would be given the unjust. That is what they had been taught from their forefathers. And now the Apostle Paul was reiterating this, their conviction. He says, ‘There shall be a resurrection, both of the just and the unjust’; that is to say, the resurrection for which God has provided, and which is yet to come, is not only for the good, but also for those who are now evil.
“The thought is not that those who remain in an unjust condition will be granted a full resurrection. The text does not state that all the unjust will be resurrected, brought to perfection of life. There are some now justified who will have a share in the resurrection, even as there are others who are not now justified who will also have a share in the resurrection. And all mankind will have a share in God’s provision for a resurrection. The just will have a special resurrection, which will be a reward for their special obedience. . . .”
“So we have the resurrection of the highest class of the just – the “little flock” on the Divine Plane; that of the Great Company, on a lower spirit plane; that of the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, on the earthly plane – four classes who pass their trial, their testing in the present life. But it has been provided in the Divine Plan that the remainder of men may gradually be raised fully up, out of every frailty, back to the original perfection that Adam had in the beginning. They are unjust now; they have never come into relationship with God. . . .”
“They that have done good will come forth to a resurrection of life. Some of these will receive a resurrection of life on the human plane, others on the spirit plane, still others on the highest order of the spirit plane – the plane of the Divine nature. Then Jesus tells us about the other general class – those who have done evil. This includes all whom God cannot approve and accept. Those who are not accepted are those who have not done good, according to God’s standard; they have done evil; they are unjustified. Many of them have been respectable, moral people, but they are not worthy of the ‘better resurrection.’ . . .”
The foregoing is in full agreement with the faithful teachings of the Two Messengers; and was also the teaching of The Present Truth publication for some time after the demise of the Epiphany Messenger. We feel justified in concluding that at the time it was written the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement had not yet invented another class of “the just” – a justified consecrated class in the Camp. Nor had they then “discovered” that the Epiphany Messenger had taught such a class.
That Servant set out all four classes of the just – the Little Flock, Great Company, Ancient Worthies, and the unbegotten consecrators here in the end of the Age (from 1881 until Restitution begins) who would be rewarded in honor, service and a “better resurrection” with the Ancient Worthies, although he did not give a definite name to them, so far as we know. There is copious Scriptural support for the four classes of the just. Thus the Epiphany Messenger merely elaborated on these four classes; he did not invent them. In particular, he enlarged upon the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies in the Epiphany period.
Some Truth groups ignore Brother Russell’s teaching of a class of consecrators “between the Ages” who if faithful, will be rewarded in honor and service with the Ancient Worthies. (See Hebrews Chapter 11) They continue to teach that the High Calling is open to new consecrators – although they do teach correctly that Armageddon is imminent, etc. Apparently they have forgotten about this class of unbegotten consecrators here in the end of the Age.
However, so far as we know, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the LHMM are the only groups who have invented a new class never taught by That Wise and Faithful Servant. The Witnesses do not claim support from That Servant for their invention, but the LHMM declares that the Messengers do support their notion – although they have been unable to produce anything from their writings to support their claim. Should they attempt a class study of Epiphany Volume 4, and teach just what that book says, that would be error, according to their present teaching. The same would also be true for Tabernacle Shadows, because it also is silent on a class of consecrators in the Camp before the New Covenant is inaugurated.
The Law of Liberty given to the Household of Faith during this Age applies only to the Fully Faithful. However, the world in general has a certain amount of liberty to do either good or evil, some of the evils being restrained by the laws of our land. The world is also restrained from any evils which would hinder God’s plan, or unduly interfere with His people. But the very opposite will be the case in the Mediatorial Kingdom. Under the Works Salvation they will be put under martial law; they will not be permitted to do evil to others, either willingly or unwillingly. That will be a very pronounced change from being under the present Grace Covenant, which is now the Law of Love and Liberty for the Household of Faith so long as they are faithful. If the Household of Faith were under the same law now that will prevail in the Mediatorial Kingdom, the Great Company would not be permitted to perpetrate the evils they have committed all during this Age.
In Parousia Volume VI, p. 378, there is this: “The world will not be left to a Law of Love during the Millennium, but will be ruled with Justice and Mercy under a law of obedience to the Kingdom . . . [Those] having become pupils in the school of Christ . . . these, and these alone, can be safely put under the Law of Liberty. If they lose the spirit of sonship, they cease to be sons, cease to be under this Law of Liberty.”
Now a statement from Epiphany Volume 3, page 108: “The Little Flock comes out from under this merit by the completion of its sacrificial death; the Great Company by the completion of its constrained death.” These elementary truths should protect all in the Household of Faith who have “good and honest hearts” from such gross errors now emanating from these two groups – the Witnesses and the LHMM – who are flagrantly mixing the Two Distinct Salvations, the Resurrection of the Just and Unjust, as described above.
The LHMM also mixes the imputative Merit for the Faith class, and the applied Merit for the Restitution class. According to them, the Camp now receives tentative justification – a faith justification that requires the imputation of Christ’s Merit to give it any validity; whereas, the Camp never receives the imputative Merit – either now or during the Kingdom. When the New Covenant is inaugurated that will be an actual application of the Merit. Thus, they not only mix the Two Distinct Salvations, but they also pervert the doctrine of the Merit as they grossly revolutionize against the teaching of That Servant on the Merit of Christ for the Faith class now, and for the world of mankind in the Kingdom. They now teach that all who accept Christ in the Kingdom will be of the Household of Faith during a works dispensation!
(Excerpt from No. 226 by Brother John J. Hoefle, April 1, 1974, with minor revisions.)
 For a discussion of the Elijah type, see our May 2016 paper, The Elijah Message – The Voice in the Wilderness.