Epoch Periods In God’s Plan

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The Light In The First Day

In Genesis 1:1‑5 (KJV) we are first introduced to the “light” of the sun.

“(1) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (2) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (3) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (4) And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (5) And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. 

The Sun

“Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3) evidently refers to the light of the sun, which was sufficient for general illumination, but not sufficient to break through the mists to become an identifiable object in the heavens, until the fourth day when it was “appointed” (as the word there can mean), together with the moon and stars (Genesis 1:16). Genesis 1:11 shows that there were already plants and trees on day three, which required sunlight to grow. The sun was in place and burning before the earth was suitable for life.

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The Length of Each Day of Creation

The days of creation recorded in Genesis chapters 1 and 2 were epoch days of creative activity, of undefined length.

The word “day” customarily describes a normal day of 24 hours, but very often has a broader usage for any defined period of whatever length. For example, Genesis 2:4 says “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens.” Here “day” is a period that includes all of the seven days reported earlier.

In Hebrews 3:8, Paul refers to the “provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness” — which refers to a period of years, not a single day.

When we speak of Jesus’ day, we mean a period of history long ago, not a single day.

The work involved in these “days” of creation required lengthy periods of time for the natural processes to reach maturity, or completion.

Zechariah 14:7-9 provides another example, this time from prophecy, of the greater use of the term “day.”

“(7) It shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time [at the close of the Millennial day that spans 1000 years] it shall be light. (8) And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. (9) And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”

The metaphorical use of the word “day” is usually apparent from the context.

The Third Day

In John 2:19-22 we read about Jesus being raised on the literal third day:

“(19) Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. (20) Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? (21) But he spake of the temple of his body. (22) When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.”

However, if we take the above passage to refer to the metaphorical body of Christ, that is, the body of believers in Jesus, then it is apparent that any application of the three days would be on a larger time frame. In this case the saints are raised on the third millennium from the time of Christ.

In Hosea 6:1-3 (KJV) we read about this “third day.”

“(1) Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. (2) After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. (3) Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.”

In both of these cases — John chapter two and Hosea chapter six — the three days involved are evidently millennial days 4, 5, and 6 as counted from Adam. On the sixth millennium, which includes our day, Israel has been under process of restoration. Jesus’ first advent was in the fourth Millennial day, counting from Adam. Here are those “days”

(1) 3958 B.C. to 2958 B.C.
(2) 2958 B.C. to 1958 B.C.
(3) 1958 B.C. to 958 B.C.
(4) 958 B.C. to 43 A.D.
(5) 43 A.D. to 1043 A.D.
(6) 1043 A.D. to 2043 A.D.

The words of Hosea 6:1-3 is thus about natural Israel (not about Spiritual Israel — the Bride of Christ) because in verse one, we read that God has “smitten” them. God has not smitten the Church. But Israel was “smitten” following their rejection of Christ. God did smite Israel during the Roman wars that closed the Jewish Age. They were cast off in 33 A.D., in day “four” from Adam. After the close of day four, and the close of day five, thus “after two days,” they began to be restored in 1878 and forward, on day “six” from Adam.

Hence Israel is now being restored — presently as a nation, and later, in the Kingdom, to individual life after they recognize Jesus as their Redeemer.

Three Dispensations in the Divine Plan

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There are three large periods of time in the Divine Plan. Sometimes these are termed “Dispensations,” because the administration of these three periods varied. Sometimes they are called three “worlds,” drawing from these three scriptures —

  • World that Was 2 Peter 3:6 — Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water [the Flood], perished.
  • Present Evil World Galatians 1:4 — “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.”
  • World to ComeHebrews 2:5 — “For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.”

Epoch 1 – The World That Was

This epoch lasted from the time of Adam and Eve until the flood. In this period some of the angels were allowed to exercise influence in a way that was later restrained. It was not subdivided into ages because God’s method of dealing with men did not vary from Adam’s fall to the flood. God had given man his law, the law of conscience written into his nature. However, after he sinned God left him measurably to his own downward course, that man might learn through experience the wisdom of God in requiring obedience. The disastrous effects of sin were manifested showing that the tendency of sin is downward to greater degradation and misery, showing the necessity of Jehovah’s interposition, if the recovery of “that which was lost” — man’s first estate — would ever be accomplished.

Epoch 2 – The Present Evil World

The second great epoch (Galatians 1:4, 2 Peter 3:7) spans from the flood to the establishment of the kingdom of God. It is under the limited control of Satan, the usurper, “the prince of this world,” who has no interest in Christ’ followers except to oppose, tempt, annoy, and buffet them (John 14:30, 2 Corinthians 12:7, Malachi 3:15).

In this present evil world, or epoch, whoever will live godly shall suffer persecution, while the wicked flourish like a green bay tree (2 Timothy 3:12, Psalm 37:35).

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world,” and until the era or “world to come” does come, Christ’s kingdom will not control the earth. For this we are taught to hope and pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth.” Satan is the “ruler of the darkness of this world,” and therefore “darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people.” Satan now rules and works in the hearts of the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2, 6:12).

The current epoch is divided into three “ages.”

(a) The Patriarchal Age. God’s dealings and favors were with various patriarchs, such as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. At Jacob’s death his descendants were called “the twelve tribes of Israel.” They were together recognized of God as his “peculiar people,” and through typical sacrifices they were typically “a holy nation,” separated from other nations for a particular purpose, and therefore to enjoy certain special favors.

(b) The Jewish Age (or the Law dispensation). God specially blessed the nation of Israel during this age from Jacob’s death until Christ’s death, as evidenced in the following:

  • Giving the Israelites His law,
  • Making a special covenant with them,
  • Giving them the Tabernacle, whose shekinah glory in the Most Holy represented Jehovah’s presence with them as their Leader and King,
  • Sending them prophets,
  • Sending them His Son, Jesus, who performed his miracles and taught in their midst. Jesus ministered to the Israelites, and instructed his disciples the same during the time that he was with them. “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5,6). Jesus explained, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).

This national favor ended with their rejection and crucifixion of Jesus, as shown by Jesus’ words five days before his crucifixion, “Your house is left unto you desolate” (Matthew 23:38).

(c) The Gospel Age. From Jesus’ death, the good tidings of justification have been heralded for nearly 2000 years not only to the Jewish people, but to all nations; for Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man. During this Gospel age there is a class called to special favor, to whom special promises are made. Namely, to those who by faith accept Christ Jesus as their Redeemer and Lord and follow in his footsteps.

The aim of this age is not to convert nations, but to call out a “little flock” as Jesus foretold (Luke 12:32), to whom it is the Father’s good pleasure to give the Kingdom in an age to follow this.

Epoch 3 – The World to Come

The third epoch is to be a “world without end” (Isaiah 45:17) under divine administration, the kingdom of God. It is called “The World to Come, wherein dwelleth righteousness,” and during this period, all the families of the earth shall be blessed (Hebrews 2:5, 2 Peter 3:13, 2 Corinthians 12:2‑4, Revelation 21:1).

The thousand years of Christ’s reign is the first age in the “world to come” (Revelation 20:4). During the Millennial age, there will be a restoration of all things lost by the fall of Adam (Acts 3:19‑21). Then, all tears, sorrow, pain, and death resulting from the fall of Adam in Eden shall have been wiped away (Revelation 21:4). Following this 1000 year Millennium, there will be “a little season” of final testing time for the world of mankind (Revelation 20:3,7-10).

Revelation 11:15 says that when the seventh angel sounds his trumpet, “the kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord [Jehovah] and His Christ [Jesus].” Thereafter our Lord Jesus exercises his power to remove present powers, and establish his Millennial Kingdom in order to bless the world in righteousness.

There are seven trumpet periods in Revelation. The seventh of these commenced in 1874 with the return of Christ and his subsequent parousia, or presence. Acts 3:21 connects this to the beginning of the “times of restoration.” There the process of restoring Israel commenced.

At the end of the Millennium will come the close of the seventh millennial “day,” introducing day number eight. At this time there will be “a little season” for the testing of mankind. Those found unfaithful and rebellious, disobedient to God and His principles, will not continue further. Thus the world is cleansed, purged, “circumcised” as it were, on the eighth day — evidently represented by circumcision of old being on the eighth day (Genesis 17:12).

Revelation 11:18, part of the description of the seventh trumpet, refer to the raising of the sleeping saints. “The time … that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets [Jesus’ New Testament spokesmen, compare Ephesians 3:5], and to the saints [holy ones of the Gospel Age].” The Millennium will be introduced subsequent, at the close of 6000 years, which we anticipate about a generation future, with the year 2043.

When that kingdom is established, all of the Bride class will have been gathered to glory, ready to serve as priests and kings with Christ to uplift the world (Revelation 20:6). Gradually all will be raised to life again, and have an opportunity to gain life everlasting.

Revelation 11:18,19 shows that the transition period into the Kingdom involves a general time of trouble. Evidently this commenced in 1914 with World War I. Jesus said, “No man can enter into a strong man’s house and spoil [plunder] his goods, except he will first bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house” (Mark 3:22‑27). Jesus has entered the house of the strong man, Satan, and is in process of disrupting his affairs, incident to removing the influence of Satan altogether.

Satan is the “strong man” of the Present Evil World. The disruption of his “house,” and the binding of that strong usurper, is the necessary predicate for the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom. Satan will remain bound for “a thousand years,” allowing the world to grow and learn without the adversary’s deceptions.

We read of this in Revelation 20:2,3

“2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.”

The blotting out of evil will be gradual, requiring all of the first thousand years. Evil will not rule then. It will not prosper; it will no longer be the wicked that will flourish; but “the righteous shall flourish” (Psalm 72:7). Then the obedient shall eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19), and “the evil doer shall be cut off” (Psalm 37:9).

Heavens and Earth – Not Literally Destroyed

This earth is the basis of all these “worlds” and dispensations. Though ages pass and dispensations change, still the earth continues “The earth abideth forever (Ecclesiastes 1:4).

In 2 Peter 3:12, Peter refers to the dissolution of the present heavens and earth. “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” Here “the heavens” symbolize the higher or spiritual controlling powers, and “earth” (verse 10) symbolizes human government and social arrangements.

The first heavens and earth, or social arrangement, ended at the flood, “being overflowed with water” (2 Peter 3:6). “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7). The order and arrangement of things then existing ended at the flood. But the physical heavens (sky and atmosphere), and the physical earth, did not pass away.

Likewise, the present social structure, political and ecclesiastical, will pass away in deference to the Kingdom of Christ. The beginning of this work occurs in the “Day of the Lord” which “shall burn as an oven” (Malachi 4:1). But the complete integration of mankind into the new arrangement, the “new heavens” and “new earth” (2 Peter 3:13) will require time, as the work of the Kingdom proceeds.

Society will become reorganized in harmony with earth’s new Prince, Christ Jesus. Righteousness, peace, and love will rule among men when present arrangements give place to the new and better kingdom, based on justice and equity. The more we examine God’s plan of the Ages, the more we will find in it perfect harmony, beauty and order.

“Each age has its part to accomplish, necessary to the complete development of God’s plan as a whole. The plan is a progressive one, gradually unfolding from age to age, upward and onward to the grand consummation of the original design of the Divine Architect, “who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11). Not one of these great periods is an hour too long or too short for the accomplishment of its object. God is a wise economist of both time and means, though his resources are infinite; and no power, however malicious, for a moment retards or thwarts his purposes. All things, evil as well as good, under divine supervision and overruling, are working together for the accomplishment of his will” (Br. Charles T. Russell, The Divine Plan of the Ages, page 74).

Acknowledgement

Br. Charles Russell — for content shared from his book titled “The Divine Plan of the Ages,” which is Volume One (of six) of “Studies in the Scriptures.” This can be read from the Harvest Truth Data Base website. Here is the direct link: http://www.htdb.one

Br. David Rice — for content & editing assistance.

Further Suggested Reading

The Stream of Time by Br. David Rice. http://2043ad.com/streamoftime.PDF

Booklet titled: “I Will Come Again – John 14:3”
https://chicagobible.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/I-WILL-COME-AGAIN.pdf

God’s Millennium. A Dawn Bible Students Association Publication (booklet).
http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/Gods1k.htm

Israel in History and Prophecyhttp://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/israel_hp.htm

The Approaching End of The Harvest
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/19/the-approaching-end-of-the-harvest/

1 CORINTHIANS 15:45 – How Long Until the Millennial Reign of the ‘Last Adam’?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/06/1-corinthians-1545-how-long-until-the-millennial-reign-of-the-last-adam/

The Book of Revelation: A 2016 Perspective
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/30/the-book-of-revelation-a-2016-perspective/

 

The URL for this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/08/16/epoch-periods-in-gods-plan/

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JESUS – The Name

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There are many names and titles of Jesus found in the Bible, and each of them contains a description or illustration of his life and work. Let us examine some of those names, and gain the lessons to be found in the deeper meanings in Jesus’ name.

Jesus

First, let us look at the most familiar name, Jesus. Matthew 1:18‑23 tells about the angel of the Lord appearing to Joseph in a dream explaining to him to call the boy who would be born to Mary “JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”

“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” These words directly reference the words of Isaiah 7:14.

Bible dictionaries tell us that Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua and both these names are English adaptations of these respective forms of the word just as Elisheba (the wife of Aaron, Exodus 6:23) is a Hebrew form, and Elisabeth (mother of John the Baptist, Luke 1:5) is a grecianized form, but both of these names also are English adaptations. The full form of the name Joshua has two parts—Jeho‑shua, or Jehovah‑shua, meaning Jehovah saves. Later, this name assumed the form Jeshua (sometimes pronounced Yeshua), from which came the Greek form Jesus. But the Hebrew origin of the Greek name Jesus literally means Jehovah saves, or, God saves, and that name was given to our Lord to describe the mission of his life, to save the people from their sins, as we just read in Matthew 1:21.

Why did not Joseph call Jesus’ name Immanuel, like Isaiah prophesied? Here’s where understanding the meaning of names makes everything clear.

The word El means might, strength, power. The Schofield Reference Bible states that God (El) signifies the Strong One. In the Old Testament El refers not only to God, but also to mighty men of earth. The word El was often made part of peoples’ names to include a reference to God. For example, the name Elijah, or El‑i‑Jah, begins with El and means Jehovah is God. The name Daniel, or Dan‑i‑El ends with El and means God is my judge.

Here is a list of text containing the Hebrew word El for your consideration with a link for each from the Strongs Concordance: Genesis 31:29, Deuteronomy 28:32, Psalm 36:6, Proverbs 3:27, Isaiah 45:20, Psalm 89:6, Psalm 82:1, Exodus 15:11, Psalm 29:1, Psalm 50:1.

“Notice the above texts carefully and critically and all will agree that the context in every case shows the meaning of the Hebrew word El to be powerful one. How clearly it is stated in the last three quotations that JEHOVAH is the chief “el” and ruleth over all other el—powerful ones. And it should be known to all, that JEHOVAH is the name applied to none other than the Supreme Being—our Father, and him whom Jesus called Father and God. (John 20:17.) The meaning then of the words ‘Mighty God’ in our text, is,—He shall be called the mighty powerful. And so he is, for to him the Father has given all power in earth and heaven—(Matt. 28:19, and 11:27.) ‘He is Lord of all’next to the Father for “The head of Christ is God.” (1 Cor. 11:3.) They are one in mind, purpose, etc., because Jesus gave up his own will and took the Father’s (John 5:30) just as we must give up our will, mind, spirit and receive the Father’s if we would be made heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord. Does any one ask further proof of a distinction of persons? If so we request such to read Matt. 22:44—Jesus’ application to himself of Psa. 110:1, remembering that the words used by David, translated Lord [Master] are totally distinct and entirely different words, the first one being Jehovah, and the other adon. We give Young’s translation of this verse—’The affirmation of Jehovah to my Lord—sit at my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.’(Reprint 296, Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence)

Immanuel

In the name Immanuel, the suffix ‑El is at the end, which tells us that the word God is part of that name. Bible dictionaries say that the first part of that name, Immanu, means with us. Thus, the entire name means God is with us. Indeed, God was with mankind in that He turned His favor toward mankind when he gave us his only begotten son to be Jesus—the savior of the world.

Since both names, Jesus and Immanuel, convey the thought of God sending his son Jesus to be the savior of the world, what is the deeper meaning of the name Jesus—which the son of man was to be named by Joseph?

It is salvation! But what does “being saved” mean?

Let us first explain what the Bible says is the punishment for sin.

Is it Hell?

No. It is simply death.

The Bible answers in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death.” God’s punishment upon Adam in the Garden of Eden extends to all of Adam’s progeny, the entire world of mankind, as explained in the following three Scriptures.

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Genesis 2:16,17).

“Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).

“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalms 51:5).

This scripture explains to us that death is unescapable. Right from birth, humans inherited the penalty God imposed upon Adam, and that is why everyone dies.

The good news of salvation is all about being saved from death.

What are we saved to, and how? The Bible answers in the following way.

“(3) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (4) Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (6) Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:3‑6).

“(21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22).

The word ransom means a price of release. As by one man’s (Adam’s) sin of disobedience, death came upon him and all mankind, so too, by one man, Jesus, mankind is saved from the just penalty of death. Jesus’ willing sacrifice of his life on the cross provided a ransom, a price of release for Adam and all mankind. The scales of God’s justice remain balanced, yet mankind is allowed relief from the penalty of death. They can be freed from condemnation because Jesus provided the price of release by accepting the penalty upon himself. Mankind may thus be freed from condemnation, and released from death in a resurrection.

Those who come into Christ presently are released from condemnation now. Romans 8:33,34, “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Others will have their condemnation lifted during the Kingdom (Revelation 22:3).

Now the deeper meaning of the name Jesus is clear: we have the whole picture of salvation, and its two main features—the ransom and the resurrection. Jesus is the savior of the world because by his ransom sacrifice he saved mankind from death, to a resurrection to life. We also gain a correct understanding of the nature of man, specifically that he is mortal human flesh, and does not have an immortal soul. For if man had an immortal soul that could not die, then there would be no need for the resurrection of the dead, which is so clearly taught in the Bible.

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

What will this resurrection be like, and when? Let us answer that question by considering the five names of Jesus found in Isaiah 9:6,7 (a prophecy of Jesus’ birth, and a scripture we often hear read or even sung in Handel’s Messiah).

“(6) For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

(7) Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.”

The first few words of Verse 6 refer to Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. The rest of these two verses fast‑forward to a time yet future, as the tense changes from present tense (“unto us a child is born”) to future tense (“and the government shall be”). It is apparent that Jesus’ government, Jesus’ kingdom of peace, is not yet established with judgment and justice. When it is, all mankind will say, this is the government we have always wanted, but never had. This promised government, this kingdom, was the most frequent topic Jesus preached about, during his three and a half year ministry on earth. When Jesus taught his disciples, and us, how to pray in the model prayer, He included these words.

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

In Isaiah 11:9 we read, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”

Mountain is used as another word for kingdom or government. The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord, just as the Apostle Paul wrote in that scripture we read earlier, “God wills that all men will come into a knowledge of the Truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). Jesus will be mankind’s Counselor, or teacher, in that Kingdom.

When will Christ’s kingdom be established “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10)? Examining John 18:36 sheds light on the answer to this question. In the context, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate to answer the charge that claimed Jesus had committed treason against Caesar by claiming to be King of the Jews, which if true would be punishable by death, hence why Pilate put the question directly to Jesus in John 18:33. “Art thou the King of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36).

At first reading, it might be thought that Jesus is saying, I am indeed a king, but my kingdom is not of this world, this planet, this earth; my kingdom is in heaven. But that is not what Jesus is saying. A closer examination of the names of Jesus helps us gain a deeper understanding of his life and work. The word world in Jesus’ reply is kosmos in Greek and it means order. When Jesus said, my kingdom is not of this kosmos, he was as if saying, I am not establishing my kingdom now; it is not of this present order, but there is a new world order coming. And when it does, that new world order, that new social order, that new kosmos, will be my kingdom, here on earth.

In relation to the resurrection to life in God’s Kingdom on earth, some sincere Christians believe that this world will be destroyed by literal fire (based on Scriptures such as 2 Peter 3:12) and that only the true followers of Jesus who have done their best to live a righteous life will be saved from destruction by being taken up to heaven.

That is not what this means.

In fact, Ecclesiastes 1:4 says the opposite: “One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.”

How do we harmonize these two seemingly contradictory scriptures?

We do so by recognizing that 2 Peter 3:12 is symbolic. Here the Greek word for elements is stoicheion, which, like that other Greek word, kosmos, means an orderly arrangement. It is describing the end of the old social order of things in this present evil world, not the end of the planet.

In Ecclesiastes 1:4, the Hebrew word for earth, means the dirt, the planet—these will never pass away.

Coming back to the names of Jesus in Isaiah 9:6,7

Jesus will be the world’s Counselor, instructor, teacher, and guide to give assistance and direction, whereby the billions of resurrected people will return to harmony with Jehovah and to the enjoyment of the blessings provided through the ransom.

His name, The Mighty God, or Mighty, Mighty One, will be recognized then, on earth, as well as in Heaven. As the Heavenly, Divine Being he became after his own resurrection, he will have all the power necessary not only to resurrect mankind, but also to bring to pass justice and righteousness for everyone.

The name, The Everlasting Father, will apply to him as the Life‑Giver of the world, during the thousand years of his reign. In all that time he will be giving “life more abundant” to mankind—everlasting life to all who will obey him—therefore his title, The Everlasting Father, or the Father who will give everlasting life to humanity, is a fitting one. All the world of mankind, resurrected on the human plane, will obtain their right to everlasting life as human beings in an earthly Paradise from their Redeemer, who will then be their King.

His name, The Prince of Peace, will not apply to Him at the beginning of His reign when He will be tearing down the old order of this Present Evil World. However, true peace will speedily be established and he shall be known as The Prince of Peace, whose reign will be undisputed and uncontested. “Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end,” there will be no rebellion, and his kingdom will not pass away.

Combining all these names and the future works they reveal to us, his name will be Wonderful—the one who will be recognized by all as the embodiment, the expression, of Divine Justice, Love, Wisdom, and Power. That will be the Kingdom on earth for which Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth.”

King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Another name or title of Jesus mentioned in 1 Timothy 6:15: “Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

The meaning of this title is fairly straightforward, and this scripture also tells us what the other Scriptures have been telling us about Christ’s kingdom, namely, that it is not yet fully established, but will be, in his times, and we believe that time is soon as we will examine a little later.

Christ

A Bible dictionary gives the following definition for the name Christ:

(1) Jesus of Nazareth (Jesus Christ), regarded by Christians as fulfilling Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah,
(2) The Messiah or anointed one of God as the subject of Old Testament prophecies.

An ordinary dictionary says that Christ comes from the Latin Christus, which in turn comes from the Greek Khristos, which means anointed. Thus, the name Christ carries the thought of, anointed. We can understand that because we have a few English words derived from Christ which convey the idea of anointing. We speak of babies and even ships being christened, with some ceremonious application of a liquid in the manner of anointing.

So when we say the compound name “Jesus Christ,” we are saying, Jesus Anointed, or Jesus, the Anointed one.

What, then, is the deeper significance of this name of Jesus, Anointed, or the Anointed One?

In Old Testament times, a special anointing oil was prepared according to a formula given by God Himself in Exodus chapter 30. It was to be used only to anoint the persons who were to serve as Israel’s priests, as well as the furniture and utensils used in the sacrifices God commanded the nation of Israel to offer on various occasions. This anointing signified that the ones being anointed were authorized to serve as priests. This holy anointing oil was so restricted in its usage, that if anyone used the holy anointing oil for any other purpose, or if anyone concocted an oil like the holy anointing oil, they were to be put to death (Exodus 30:32‑33).

A different oil was also used to anoint Israel’s kings, in a type of inauguration ceremony, to signify the authority of the one being anointed to legitimately assume the office of King. The one doing the anointing was often a prophet whom the people recognized as God’s spokesperson; authorized by God to anoint a king to his office.

We can think of these words anointing, or anointed, as an Old Testament equivalent of what we commonly see today when a president, or governor, or other high official, is sworn into office by placing his hand on a Bible and taking the oath of office administered by a judge or other official.

We now see that this term, Christ, defined as anointed, has a deeper meaning of authorized by God Himself to serve in the capacity or office given to them.

Messiah

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The word “Messiah” comes from a Hebrew term meaning “to smear or anoint.” When grease or oil was applied to objects by Israelites, the commonly used term was “anoint.” However, the name “Messiah” is used in reference only to persons, rather than to “anointed” objects. As mentioned before while discussing the name Christ, persons who were anointed had been appointed and given authority for specific offices and tasks given to them. So, then, “Messiah” is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek name, “Christ.”

Since Old Testament times, Jews have been looking for the Messiah to come and fulfill all the prophecies that foretold his work of delivering Israel from their oppression as a people, and their scattering as a nation. Even today, religious and even non‑religious Jews will say something like, “When Messiah comes, Israel will prosper and the world will be a better place.” So the name Messiah has a connotation of deliverer to the Jews. This matches nicely with the equivalent name Christ, because ever since Jesus died and was resurrected, Christians have been looking forward to his return, or coming again, as mankind’s deliverer. Thus the name Messiah is associated with Jesus’ return. Jews in general do not believe that Jesus Christ is their long awaited Messiah. But when they see the establishment of his kingdom and how it meets and exceeds their grandest expectations, they will.

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The restitution, or restoration, of all things means to restore mankind, and the earth, to the perfection Adam and Eve enjoyed in the Garden of Eden.

The spiritual part of the restitution phase has begun since our Lord’s second presence (invisible to the world, but visible by the eyes of understanding to the spirit begotten of the Gospel Age).

The presence of Christ is referred to by the word parousia in the New Testament, in scriptures such as Matthew 24:3 (where the word “coming” is properly translated “presence”).

NOTE: See booklet titled : “I WILL COME AGAIN”

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When mankind is restored to perfection, then they will be tested individually, as Adam was.

If they are obedient they will live—if they are disobedient they will not.

In that future test, mankind will have the enormous advantage of their past experience with sin and its consequences, that will enable them to

choose life through obedience, and pass the test.

This doctrine of Restitution now gives us the third “R” in a trio of precious truths concerning salvation:

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Christ, Revisited

Let us now consider our key scripture, Colossians 1:26,27.

“(26) Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: (27) To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is, Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Remembering that the anointing represents authorization to a work or office, like the priests and the kings of Israel, this passage tells us that Jesus’ close, footstep followers, can be, like he was, anointed or authorized to join him in his kingdom work.

Is not this thought incredible!

The following Scriptures support this:

  • “If we suffer (with him), we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us” (2 Timothy 2:12).

 

  • “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life” (Romans 2:7).

 

  • “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53).

 

  • “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).

This means that there are actually two resurrections, and therefore, two salvations (See the HOPE & RESURRECTION posts: PART A, PART B, and PART C).

There is a first resurrection, now during the Gospel Age (from Christ’s ascension until the end of the age of the High Calling, ending six millenniums of the permission of evil), to a salvation of glory, honor, and immortality in heaven (Romans 2:7). This is for the very few who share in Christ’s sufferings by living their lives as peculiar people, a Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), following in Jesus’ footsteps.

Then there will also be a general resurrection in the future, on a perfect earth, of the rest of mankind, to a salvation in God’s kingdom.

Why is it taking so long for the Kingdom Jesus taught us to pray for, to come?

Why is it taking Jesus so long to establish his kingdom and do all the things his names imply?

Here is the answer:

Before the general resurrection and earthly salvation can begin, the first resurrection to the heavenly salvation must be complete. Romans 8:19 explains:

“The earnest expectation of the creature [all mankind] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God [the completion of the Bride class].”

All this truth is embodied in the name Christ—Jesus, the anointed redeemer, and the anointed class, his footstep followers, who will reign with him as kings and priests in his kingdom.

Summary

By examining the several names and titles of Jesus and their meaning, deeper illustrations of our Savior’s teachings, life, and work can be learned.

  •  In the name Jesus we see his work of salvation, from death to life, which the doctrine of the Ransom teaches us about.

 

  • In the names Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting father, the Prince of Peace, we see when that due time when that Ransom will have its fullest effect. It will be in the coming Kingdom on earth for which Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come.” In that Kingdom the resurrection will take place. Everyone who has ever lived since Adam and Eve were created will be raised from death to life by the Everlasting father or life‑giver and taught by that Counselor in the peaceful kingdom where none will hurt anyone else.

 

  • In the name Messiah we see the return of Jesus when the spiritual phase of the restitution period begins, after which time shall commence the process of resurrecting, teaching, and guiding mankind back to the perfection enjoyed by Adam and Eve before sin entered the world. Since restitution means to restore to a previous state or condition, here mankind shall be restored to perfect bodies, perfect minds, and perfect characters. After that restitution work is complete, everyone in that kingdom will be equipped and ready to pass the test that Adam failed: obey and live, disobey and die. But this time mankind will have the enormous advantage of experience with sin and its consequences, which will enable them to choose life through obedience, and live.

 

  • In the name Christ, which means anointed and is the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament word Messiah, we see Jesus, authorized by God to be our Savior and to accomplish all things required for the salvation of mankind. More than this, the scriptures tell us that there is also an anointed class of Jesus’ true footstep followers who are also called to be assistants in Jesus’ work for mankind in the kingdom. These footstep followers will have a first resurrection in heaven, following which will come a resurrection for the remainder of mankind on earth. This is the key doctrine of the two salvations.

 

In learning about Jesus’ life and work, we have gained some key insights into commonly held misconceptions that are not supported by the scriptures. We have seen that there is no Hell of torment, and that man does not have an immortal soul.

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[NOTE: The word “many” in the above Matthew 20:28 verse reaffirms that many are involved in being freed from the sentence of death. Thus similarly, in Romans 5:19—many were constitutes sinners but really, ALL of us were (Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10, 1 John 1:8).]

Hymns of Millennial Dawn No. 96

AUDIO [Hymn 96] – The Name of Jesus

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It makes the wounded spirit whole
And calms the troubled breast;
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary, rest.

Dear name! the rock on which we build,
Our shield and hiding place;
Our neverfailing treasure, filled
With boundless stores of grace!

Jesus, our Shepherd, Saviour, Friend,
Our Prophet, Priest, and King,
Our hearts in gratitude ascend;
Accept the praise we bring.

We would thy boundless love proclaim
With ev’ry fleeting breath;
And sound the music of thy name
Abroad through all the earth.

References:

“In Jesus Name”—Public Lecture by Br. Joe Megacz December 2016.
URL: https://chicagobible.org/public‑lecture‑in‑jesus‑name/

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Reprint 296-297 from The Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of  Christ’s Presence. The Everlasting Father.
URL: http://www.htdbv8.com/1881/r296.htm

Hymns of Millennial Dawn—URL: http://www.htdbv8.com/indexhd.html

Further Suggested Bible Study Material:

“The Ransom” video power point presentation discourse by Br. David Rice
URL: http://bibleresources.info/ransom‑david‑rice/

Soul and Spirit. Faithbuilders Fellowship. January 2006.
URL: http://2043ad.com/journal/2006/01_jan_06.pdf

Free Booklet titled: “I Will Come Again – John 14:3”
URL: https://chicagobible.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/I-WILL-COME-AGAIN.pdf

Immortality and the Human Soul. The Dawn Magazine. 1959
URL: http://www.dawnbible.com/1959/5904tbs1.htm

The Doctrine of Christ—Booklet.
URL: http://www.biblestudents.com/docs/DoctrineChrist.pdf

How Does “the Son of Man” Title, Speak Volumes About Jesus?
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/10/how-does-the-son-of-man-title-speak-volumes-about-jesus/

Acts 23:6—HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART A: What Is Jesus All About?
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/03/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-a-what-is-jesus-all-about/

Acts 23:6—HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART B: Will Mankind Resurrection With The Same Mind?
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/05/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-b-will-mankind-resurrect-with-the-same-mind/

Acts 23:6—HOPE & RESURRECTION. PART C: The Order Of The Resurrection Process.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/11/acts-236-hope-resurrection-part-c-the-order-of-the-resurrection-process/

God’s Name—What Is The Heavenly Father’s Name That We Are To Hallow And Why?
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/27/gods-name-what-is-the-heavenly-fathers-name-that-we-are-to-hallow-and-why/

Acknowledgment:

  • Br Joe Megacz—content of this post.
  • Br David Rice—editing assistance.

The URL of this post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

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1 CORINTHIANS 15:45 – How Long Until the Millennial Reign of the “Last Adam”?

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“Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam became a life‑giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15:45).

Of the two natures, human nature and spirit nature, Br. Charles T. Russell wrote in R1259:5: “As surely as there are natural, human or earthly bodies, so surely also there is such a thing as a heavenly or spirit body.”

Adam was the first human man and all the peoples of the earth are descended from Adam, no matter how different in color, stature, intelligence, etc. they may now be (R2344:6). Adam generated no children until first Eve had been taken from his side (R4556:2). The first Adam is the sample of what an earthly body will attain to in the resurrection. (R1855:2, R3564:3).

The Apostle Paul in this statement from 1 Corinthians 15:45 does not contrast Adam and Jesus, but speaks of the “first Adam” and the “last Adam.” Christ is very unlike Adam. Jesus was obedient. However, Adam and Eve in some respects foreshadowed Christ and the Church in the sense that Christ will be the Great Life‑giver, or Father of mankind, while the Church (Hebrews 12:23, 2 Timothy 2:10) will be the mother or caretaker of the regenerated hosts (R5141:5, 777:1).

Jesus as the “Last Adam”

Jesus, as a “last Adam,” presently lifts us from condemnation and restores us to the fellowship of God through redemption. The saints have been regenerated by our Lord from heaven, but rather than grow to human perfection, they sacrifice their justified bodies in the service of Christ for a higher calling, theHigh calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). These, if faithful to their calling, will become, symbolically, a spiritual “bride” for Christ (Revelation 21:2). Then Christ and the Church will together restore and uplift the world, and bring them back to perfection during the Millennium. In this way Christ will be a “second Adam” or life giver to the world, and the Church will be a second “Eve” to nurture and assist them.

Adam was made a living soul since he was given a natural body, which is earthly. The “last Adam,” or life‑giving being, is Jesus, who from his resurrection forward is a glorious spirit being of highest magnitude.

“Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3, KJV).

Eve was drawn from Adam when his side was opened up after he passed into a deep sleep. She was formed from a rib of Adam, “bone of my bones” (Genesis 2:23). Jesus also was caused to pass into a deep sleep, the sleep of death, and then his side was opened up by the spear of the soldier at the cross (John 19:34). From this came blood and water, which represents redemption and the water of the Spirit, by which the Church class is developed.

The Church class are “bone” of Jesus’ bones, in the sense that bones represent one’s hopes for the future. We share the same hopes for glory in the service of God, as our Lord Jesus had. Of Jesus it was said that “A bone of him shall not be broken” (John 19:36). That means that despite the tortuous trials and treatment suffered by Jesus, not one of his prospects for the future was in the least damaged. Those same prospects are sure for his bride also, “bone” of his bones.

The Bride of Christ shall be made Christ’s joint‑heir and help mate in the Kingdom who’s role will be to nourish and instruct all the willing and obedient back into harmony with God during the Millennial age (R4556:2, R5967).

“The plan of God proposes that the second Adam shall in relation to Adam take his place as the life‑giver to a race who shall possess the earth and enjoy it… as Father to our race does our Lord correspond to Adam—as the second Adam” (R4556:2). He is called the second Adam, in that he takes the place of the first Adam—undertakes to be the Father and life‑giver to Adam and every member of his race” (Expanded Biblical Comments). Upon condition of their obedience to him, they may then obtain everlasting life.

Our Redeemer presently enlivens us, in the respect that our old nature has been lifted from condemnation. This allows us to present ourselves in devotion and service to God, in order that we may grow a new life, a spiritual life, a heavenly life, to be secured in the first resurrection. Of that life God is Father, our “Heavenly Father.” “In accepting Christ as Redeemer, the believing one is reckoned no longer as a dying son of the dead Adam, but as a living son of the ‘last Adam,’ having a new life in Christ” (R1438:1). Our renewed standing is then laid down in sacrifice to God for the prospect of a heavenly life above. Our higher prospect is mentioned in Ephesians 2:6, NIV, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”

How Long from the Creation of Adam to the Millennial Reign of the “Last Adam”?

The period in question, judging by the Hebrew Scriptures, was on the order of 4000 years. As we are now on the order of 2000 years further, brethren of our fellowship recognize that it is now timely for the blessed Kingdom of God to become established on Earth. For there is a long standing view, held even by Jewish Sages in pre‑Christian times, that God intended a millennium of blessing for the world following six millenniums of sin and death.

The Holy Scriptures refer to a “day” with God as a thousand years:

“A thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday [one day] when it is past, or as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4).

“With the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).

By this measure, the six days of labor in the Jewish economy represent 6000 years of sin and death, and the sabbath of rest represents the 1000 year Millennium of restoration (Revelation 20:1‑6).

Ezekiel 46:1 (ESV) expresses this concept symbolically. “Thus says the Lord GOD: The gate of the inner court that faces east shall be shut on the six working days, but on the Sabbath day [the 7th day, which represents the Millennial Age of Revelation 20:4‑6] it shall be opened, and on the day of the new moon [when a new covenant will be inaugurated with Israel] it shall be opened.”

With this hope in mind, Christians throughout history have endeavoured to estimate when the close of 6000 years may come.

 A Historical Perspective

In the days of William Miller and the early Adventist Movement, they supposed 6000 years were drawing to a close in the mid 1800s. In fact, William Miller concluded that Christ would return in 1843, assuming that 6000 years would end then. When Christ did not return as expected, some brethren gave up their faith but others simply recognized that they needed to keep looking. Br. Nelson Barbour was among those. He came to believe that Jesus would return in 1873. Therefore, he assumed that 6000 years would end about that time. He went looking, and found in EB Elliott’s work, “Horae Apocalypticae,” written in the early 1800s, a version of Bible chronology suggested there that shows how 6000 years might conclude somewhere near the year 1872.

Br. Barbour was a younger associate of Br. Miller, so he followed Br. Miller’s assumption that 6000 years would approximately mark the return of Christ. As far as we know, Br. Barbour did not consider another option—namely that 6000 years would take us to the completion of the Church, rather than simply to the return of Christ.

Br. Russell met Br. Barbour in Philadelphia in 1876, and accepted the prophetic package, as it seemed reasonable. At the time they anticipated that the Church would be complete in 1878, after that they supposed it would be in 1881, and subsequently the expectation was reset to 1914. But concerns persisted. It seemed that a seventh “day” had commenced, and yet the “thousand years” of Revelation 20:4,6, was deferred. How could this be explained?

Some of the dear brethren seem unaware of the perplexity expressed on this issue by Pastor Russell himself. However, his words are clear and to the point about the uncertainty. It thus surprises us that even some who honor and revere his service bypass the important and specific points he advised brethren of, respecting this. However, the issue did not escape the attention of brethren in Pastor Russell’s own day. Thus, near the end of the year 1900, the following specific question was submitted to Pastor Russell.

“I understand from Revelation 20:4-6 that Christ will reign one thousand years, and from verses 2 and 7 that Satan will be bound during that period. If Christ began to reign in 1878, and Satan will not be bound until 1915, the two periods do not seem to synchronize; and … both extend beyond the seventh-thousand year period which … began in the Autumn of 1872. … Can you assist me?” (R2739

Pastor Russell’s answer is very different from what some appear to suppose it should have been.

Some today appear to suppose that the right answer would have been, “The reign, the binding of Satan, and the 1000 years all began in 1874.”

But not a word of this in Pastor Russell’s actual reply.

Instead, he refers to the “obscurity” of the issue as “an open question” that, at the time, was “not now ‘meat in due season for the household of faith.’ ” However, Pastor Russell did affirm the following part of the answer.

“The Scripture declaration respecting the saints, the ‘overcomers’ is, ‘They lived and reigned a thousand years.’ The reign of the saints cannot be properly said [R2740: page 368] to begin before all the ‘jewels’ have been gathered, nor before ‘the times of the Gentiles’ end, in 1914.”

It is clear from this direct answer to the brother’s question—on an issue that was declared as of then unresolved—that the 1000 years of Revelation 20:6 would not begin until the Church was complete. It was not apparent how this synchronized with the then-current view that 6000 years had been completed.

Pastor Charles Russell continued to affirm his view that the 1000 years of Revelation 20 would not commence until the Church was completed. Nor does he express any view other than this, respecting Revelation 20 directly. In R3460 (Diagram 3), you will find a diagram showing 1000 years beginning in 1914, when he supposed the Church to be complete. He later supplemented this with the following comments in later years.

R5115“The Church shall have passed into glory … Messiah will then reign for a thousand years.”

R5604 “The great Battle of Armageddon … will precede … Messiah’s glorious rule of a thousand years … (Revelation 20:6).”

R5692“Messiah’s kingdom shall be fully inaugurated. Then these shall … reign with Christ a thousand years (Revelation 20:4.)

R5919The Kingdom cannot come until the Royal Family is ready to take the Throne. Jesus, indeed, has long been ready; but in harmony with the Father’s Plan He has waited and has been doing a work in the preparation of the Church, His brethren, who are to be His joint-heirs in the Kingdom—otherwise styled ‘the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife.’ (Romans 8:17; Revelation 21:9,10.) Then for a thousand years the Restitution privileges will be open to the whole world of mankind. It will no longer be necessary to preach; for all will know the Lord, from the least unto the greatest, and unto Him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess. (Jeremiah 31:34; Philippians 2:9-11.)”

There is more. Sometime late in the year 1913, Br. Russell changed the chart to accord with the expression cited just above. Early on, the period from the parousia of Christ forward was labeled “Millennial Age.” But late in 1913, Pastor Russell changed the designation to the broad Messianic Age.”

Why this change?

The reason seems apparent. Strictly speaking, the 1000 years of Revelation 20:4-6 would not begin until the end of the Harvest. Thus, if one begins a period incipiently from the parousia forward, better to give it a more general designation, “Messianic Age,” to avoid the inference that the 1000 years proper, of Revelation 20:4-6, had commenced.

A perceptive awareness of these points is the foundation for a recent presentation by Br. George Tabac, “Harvest Timing Clarifications (2016),” which explains these points in remarkable detail. This presentation is specially excellent for brethren with high regard for the teaching of Pastor Russell.

What is the Answer?

What, then, is the answer to the question that has spurred so much discussion during the Harvest period? Namely—how does one reconcile the end of 6000 years early in the harvest of the Gospel Age, with the fact that the thousand years of Revelation 20:4-6 begins at the close of the harvest?

The answer is now at hand.

In the century and a half since the harvest began, and decades after Pastor Russell completed his course, the history of the Old Testament has clarified. 

Not because of the wisdom of men, but because it was God’s due time for greater clarity, to direct the Church to the approaching climax of their hopes.

The timeline from the Hebrew scriptures directly, respecting the synchronisms of the kings of Israel and Judah, shows that some of the kings of Judah (and of Israel) overlapped one another, in periods of coregencies. The testimony of these facts comes from the scriptures directly. However, the issues had not been solved while Pastor Russell lived. It was premature. “We may see some day just how [these synchronisms in the Hebrew Scriptures] can be harmonized, but at present we do not” (Question Book, page 42).

The overlapping of Judean kings, testified to in the Old Testament Scriptures, reduces the period of Kings from 513 years to 463 years. Affixing the end of this period to the firm date of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, establishes the year in which Israel’s last king, Zedekiah, lost his throne, was in 587 bc.

This means that we can now date the spring of Solomon’s fourth year to 966 bc, at which time was founded (but not yet operational) “Solomon’s Temple,” referred to in 1 Kings 6:1. From that text we can then place the Exodus at 1445 bc. (Note: 1445 bc is discussed in the following post: STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud by Day and The Pillar of Smoke by Night.)

As detailed in Volume Two of Studies in the Scriptures—“The Time is at Hand,” by Br. Charles Russell (page 43-47)—the time from Adam to the Exodus is widely agreed among brethren to be 2513 years. That is:

From Adam to the Flood

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If we now count from the Exodus date of 1445 bc, a period of 2513 years backward to Adam, the result is the date 3958 bc for the creation of Adam. Six thousand years forward from there will be the year 2043 ad—thus the date opening the Seventh Millennium, which apparently is the same as the 1000 year Millennium of Revelation chapter 20.

Now the answer to the conundrum that Pastor Russell said was an “open question” in his day, can be resolved—for it is timely, inasmuch as the end of the harvest approaches. The resolution is straight forward. The end of 6000 years of permission of evil synchronizes with the close of the harvest, rather than with the opening of the harvest. With this key, all is harmonious.

 

Acknowledgements

 

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Only A Little While

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ONLY a little while to walk with weary feet,
Only a little while the storms of life to meet,
Only a little while to tread the thorny way,
Only a little while, then comes the perfect day.

Only a little while to spread the truth abroad,
Only a little while to testify for God.
Only a little while, the time is fleeting fast,
Only a little while, earth’s sorrows all are past.

Only a little while, then let us do our best,
Only a little while, then comes the promised rest.
Only a little while, oh, what a word is this!
Only a little while, then comes the perfect bliss.

Only a little while, then death shall be withdrawn,
Only a little while, then pain and tears are gone;
Only a little while, then by the Crystal Sea,
Only a little while, then Immortality.

Only a little while, Lord, let Thy Kingdom come!
Only a little while, Thy people sigh for home;
Only a little while, the City bring to sight,
Only a little while, come end earth’s dreary night! 

 From “Poems of Dawn”

This short while of striving to follow our Master and King Jesus is worth every moment in the “School of Christ.”

The Lord gives bread of adversity and the water of affliction (Isaiah 30:20) as the greatest of “teachers” to humble and learn submission to and dependency upon God who is the source of perfect love, joy, comfort and strength. To become empathetic New Creatures, one must experience many challenges of life and sufferings in the flesh so as to develop patient cheerful endurance in Christ.

As we see our own daily imperfections in our struggle to please our Heavenly Father, it makes us long for the perfect new body and mind promised to the “faithful unto death” (Revelation 2:10).

Let the New Creatures in CHRIST be encouraged by the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:13.

“I can do ALL things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

The Heavenly Father understands perfectly how hard each of His children try to please Him. This realization, that God reads the heart of all whom He has created, brings us great comfort.

The words of Psalm 103:13-18 (ESV) are so refreshing:

“13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

14 for He knows how we are formed, 
He remembers that we are dust.

15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;

16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him,
and His righteousness with their children’s children—

18 with those who keep His covenant
and remember to obey His precepts.”

Do you feel your “old man” (within) has been “crushed” like grapes to be added to the juice of the most exquisite and sweet barrel of grape juice?

In order to develop “the fruit of the spirit,” did the crushing process today, result in getting rid of the “I”, “me” and “my will”?

“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-25).

Have you asked the Heavenly Father,

  • Father what is YOUR will for me to do now and today?
  • Father how can I please YOU more?
  • Most Holy Heavenly El Shaddai please show me, how can I bring YOU the greatest JOY and pleasure through my existence?
  • Please Father teach me YOUR ways and transform me into YOUR Son Jesus’ likeness for YOUR love brings a JOY that is based on the highest level of JOY that transcends all understanding.

Those who have chosen to put to death daily the “old carnal mind” and renew the “new mind in Christ” by feeding on the word of God and feasting on the precious promises, gain Godly strength as they focus on the Bible where the inspired words of God are found (Isaiah 40:31).

Those who wait upon the Lord develop a maturity in Christ. These are “no longer… children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in lovethey grow up in ALL aspects into Him who is the head…Christ” (Ephesians 4:13-15).

They are not idle with their time as their work in the Father’s service is their delight. It is all they want and need to do, to feel the JOY IN THE LORD that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

They do not conform to the patterns of this world because they are “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” who shew forth the praises of him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvellous light (1 Peter 2:9).

The waiting only for a little while more is aided by the hope in Christ which the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians discusses comes from the holy Spirit of understanding that comes from studying the Word of God in the Bible, prayer and obedience to God, developed as theory is put into practice through the experiences God permits, which can be overcome with the strength God does supply.

“For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).

“17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:17, 18).

The waiting is necessary for TIME is required to develop the fruit of character that comes from a KNOWLEDGE of GOD:

“For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.”

(Malachi 2:7)

Those who have made a full consecration to Christ during the Gospel Age, do endure patiently with joy in the Lord through their experiences, developing a steadfast and resilient character in Christ.

“57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:57-58).

The consecrated believers learn that waiting upon the Lord in all things is a wonderful means by which to prove their loyalty to their consecration vows unto God. They have vowed to serve the Lord their God with all their heart, with all their soul and with all their strength until death, to be used solely for God’s glory to be manifest to all the world.

Living a life in closest communion with God means feeling the highest level of JOY while in this temporary carnal abode!

A wonderful example of loyalty in the Bible can be found in the Book of Samuel: in David, Jonathan and the armour bearer of Saul.

In 1 Samuel 22:14 David’s loyalty to Saul is reflected in the words of Ahimelech (the high priest of Nob in Saul’s day):

“Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, which is the king’s son in law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?

Jonathan’s loyalty to David is also a righteous example of how the consecrated child to God learns to agape their fellow brethren in Christ who profess full consecration to God and this is a sign that “we have passed from death unto life,” because we agape the brethren.

Let’s be reminded of the words of our fellow brother in Christ, the apostle Paul, who in 1 John chapter 3 writes:

15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”

*******

Psalm 37 (ESV)

He Will Not Forsake His Saints

A Psalm Of David.

1Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
    be not envious of wrongdoers!
For they will soon fade like the grass
    and wither like the green herb.

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord,
    and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord;
    trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
    and your justice as the noonday.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
    Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.

For the evildoers shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
    though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.

11 But the meek shall inherit the land
    and delight themselves in abundant peace.
12 The wicked plots against the righteous
    and gnashes his teeth at him,

13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
    for he sees that his day is coming.
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
    to bring down the poor and needy,
    to slay those whose way is upright;

15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
    and their bows shall be broken.
16 Better is the little that the righteous has
    than the abundance of many wicked.

17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
    but the Lord upholds the righteous.
18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
    and their heritage will remain forever;

19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
    in the days of famine they have abundance.
20 But the wicked will perish;
    the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
    they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back,
    but the righteous is generous and gives;
22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
    but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.

25 I have been young, and now am old,
    yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
    or his children begging for bread.
26 He is ever lending generously,
    and his children become a blessing.

27 Turn away from evil and DO good;
    so shall you dwell forever.
28 For the LORD LOVES JUSTICE;
he will not forsake his saints.
They are preserved forever,
    but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.

29 The righteous shall inherit the land
    and dwell upon it forever.
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom,
    and his tongue speaks justice.

31 The law of his God is in his heart;
    his steps do not slip.
32 The wicked watches for the righteous
    and seeks to put him to death.

33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power
    or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.
34 Wait for the Lord and keep his way,
    and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
    you will look on when the wicked are cut off.

35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man,
    spreading himself like a green laurel tree.
36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more;
    though I sought him, he could not be found.

37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright,
    for there is a future for the man of peace.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
    the future of the wicked shall be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
    he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    BECAUSE they take refuge in him.

*******

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ROMANS 12:1 – What Does Being CONSECRATED TO THE LORD mean?

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“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

Dear fellow Brethren and friends in CHRIST,

“Are you consecrated to the LORD?” 

What is your first reaction to this question?

Is it a question you have been asked before or perhaps you have asked others?

Which word in that question stands out the most?

If your answer is “consecration” … then stay tuned! If not, stay tuned anyway as we wish all who read this post to God willing, receive a spiritual blessing.

What does the word consecration really mean in relation to a Christian’s calling?

Is consecration a means of escaping horrible punishment in the afterlife, where just a simple profession of faith, and reasonably moral conduct are enough to avoid the jeopardy and secure a place in heaven?

Of course not.

God is not merely saving a few before He destroys (or worse) the vast majority…

Rather, God is selecting from among men and women of faith an “elect” class (Matthew 24:24, Romans 8:33, 2 Peter 1:10) for a special honour during the coming 1000 year reign of Christ with his “Bride” (consisting of 144,000 members — the more than overcomers from the Gospel Age) — who with Christ, their “Head”, will be the spiritual rulers of the world. They will help lead mankind — that is all the human  race from Adam who will be resurrected — up the “Highway of Holiness”, teaching them godliness and truth, so that righteousness will flourish through the Universe and the eradication of evil and the evil ones will lead to everlasting joy and pain-less-ness and sin-less-ness! (Isaiah 35:8)

What a MARVELLOUS PLAN!

What an incredibly unfathomable Creator of ALL we have!

God’s timing is perfectly precise to work out everything for the ultimate purpose of bringing everlasting JOY to all and in all for eternal eternities (Habakkuk 2:3, Galatians 4:4-5, Romans 5:6, Psalm 27:14, Ecclesiastes 3:11, Romans 11:25, Genesis 18:14).

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Can you imagine what glorious harmony and unity in all things will occur amongst every soul that lives once Christ and his saints lead the world into obedience and understanding?! WOW! It will be like ONE MIND made up of trillions of bodies united in thought, action and purpose bring the Heavenly Father JOY in all things (Revelation 20:1-3, 6).

How High are God’s Standards?

By understanding the high honour associated with the saintly class called by God during this Gospel Age as his “royal priesthood” training as the under-priests of a heavenly government soon to commence—then we can better appreciate the high standards which are expected of them by God.

These standards may be considered in four parts:

(1) Godly conduct, (2) Character Development, (3) Study of the Truth, (4) Service and Sacrifice.

  1. Godly Conduct

Paul clearly explains in 1 Corinthians 6:10 in Corinth, Greece, he knew some of them had practiced the darker sins of the world. He listed these in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (ESV) what our conduct MUST BE:

“9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

We learn from these words of the Apostle Paul to the “called of God” in the church of Corinth in Greece, that once we have been washed,” we are not to return to any immoral ways of conduct of the past.

What then, do you think is the pre-requisite for consecration?

It is REPENTANCE.

Repentance means turning completely 160 degrees away from past ways of living for the flesh to now living to feed the New Creation—the New Mind in Christ.

It means COMPLETELY being DEAD to sin and ALIVE IN CHRIST.

It means soaring like an eagle towards the SUN…

isaiah-40-31

Who does the sun represent in the Bible?

It represents JESUS. Yes, our Lord and Saviour who’s wings are of healing soon to come to all the nations of the earth!

By focusing on JESUS… and by being considered a FOOL IN CHRIST by many if not most, we will not be caught in the VISIBLE spider web spun by the most evil one of all in this dark world — the one who is described in 1 Peter 5:8 as “a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.”

He wants most to deceive “the best of the best”! Watch out and BE ON THE ALERT!

Is a spider web visible in the day?:-

NO — if you are rushing around and careless…

YES — if you tread with CAUTION and are FOCUSED ON WHAT IS AHEAD—a mind fixed on Jesus.

By inquiring “What is your will Father? Please show me” we are at a “safe speed” of zealous action moving forward with Christ who has promised to never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

—– LET US PRAY FOR EACH OTHER AND BE ON THE ALERT. —–

DO NOT SLUMBER even for a moment away from spiritual alertness of the New Mind in CHRIST!

Let our thoughts be on Jesus and the faithful ones of the Bible — the Apostles and the Ancient Worthies — our “cloud of witnesses” talked about by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Hebrews, and the prophets of the Old Testament.

May we be HOT (not lukewarm) for the Truth (Revelation 3:16)… because if we are not careful of GROWTH and PROGRESS in the School of Christ, slipping towards the gates of perhaps no return… means slipping towards second death! To be by these “gates” is emptiness in the fullest sense and a loneliness and rejection and loss of …

EVERYTHING!

Jesus explains to us what should characterize a Christian’s character in his words spoken in his Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:3-11, ESV).

  1. Character Development

Actions are a result of thoughts. Likewise, one’s outward conduct is the result of one’s inward character. Our character is like a mirror that reflects hidden within principles and qualities that are in our heart and mind (Proverbs 23:7, Proverbs 4:23).

How reassuring it is though, that God knows the intent of our heart even when our conduct does not express our intents, or when our conduct is misunderstood or misrepresented by others. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).

How do we live in this world but not be of the world? (John 17:16)

How do we not become friends of this world and thus enemies of God? (James 4:4):-

  • By feasting on the Words of God.
  • By prayer.
  • By disciplining the flesh.
  • By feeding the spiritual mind.
  • By going AGAINST the tide of the world — STARVING the fleshly minds and FEEDING the spiritual mind.
  • Literally saturating the mind with Divine Beauties of Truth and thus feasting on the Word of God and communing with the Heavenly Father moment by moment (Romans 12:1).

The result of these actions is a clear conscience before God which is the only way to righteous peace… a peace unlike that which the world knows… It is a peace that knows only JOY in the spirit for the flesh is counted as dead as one lives in newness of life feeding that which is spiritual — the embryonic New Creature within (Psalm 97:11).

Christian character can be defined by “the fruits of the Spirit” which the Apostle Paul so brilliantly explains in Galatians 5:22-23.

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Another list of Christian character is given to us by Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:5-12:

5Make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.

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  1. Study of the Truth

The Apostle Paul wrote to “the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae” including in this letter, the following words:

“from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…”

To the Philippian brethren, the Apostle Paul wrote:

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment (Philippians 1:9).

Why is studying the Word of God in the Bible so important for the consecrated in the Lord?

Because by doing so, we can learn to understand the plans and purposes of God in part (1 Corinthians 13:9), so that we can be in harmony with Him, and work in sympathy with Him.

Some of the Jews in the Apostle Paul’s day had “a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge” (Romans 10:2). This was because the brethren back then were transiting from the old Jewish Age to the new Gospel Age and the labours of Apostle Paul were in this direction.

We should be zealous as they, but our zeal should be directed by an accurate knowledge of the Divine Plan. One method of reasoning upon Holy Scriptures which the Apostle Paul teaches us from his methods of reasoning, is to understand the types, or pictures, used in the Old Testament.

E.g. The Apostle Paul cited:

(1) the spiritual meaning of the wives of Abraham (Galatians 4:21-31),
(2) the meaning of Israel’s Day of Atonement (Hebrews 9:1-14, 10:1-10),
(3) the meaning of Melchizedek as a figure of Christ (Hebrews chapters 5 & 7).

Other methods of studying the Bible include: drawing lessons from the prophets (e.g. Romans 9:23-33), topical and chronological.

“No work is more noble and ennobling than the reverent study of the revealed purposes of God.”

(Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 1, page 13).

  1. Service and Sacrifice

Does our consecrated life include active service in the cause of Christ? It must.

Why?

Because this is a way of sacrificing our earthly interests for our spiritual work by using our time, strength, energy, talents, or any other means for the Lord’s cause.

A great way of seeking out opportunities in this way is to inquire of the Lord:

“Heavenly Father, please show me, what is your will for me today. Where do you wish I be sent? To whom do you wish me to minister unto? Who may I spiritually edify? Please use me to bring you joy so that your Holy Name may be glorified, and your Son Jesus may shine through into the hearts of whomever you wish requires this.”

Some examples of active service in the cause of Christ include:

  • Opening our home for fellowship with the brethren.
  • Attending meetings of the Lord’s people rather than spending time in pursuing hobbies and things of this world.
  • Preparing answers to Biblical questions asked by others or in preparation for Bible Studies.
  • Travelling to serve the brethren (Acts 15:25, 26).
  • Preach the Truth in favourable or non-favourable circumstances.
  • Visiting/assisting the sick, bereaved, widows, orphans.
  • Accepting physical and/or mental abuse and/or imprisonment. (Note: According to traditions and the Bible, eight of the Apostles died as martyrs. At least two of the Apostles, Peter and Andrew, were crucified.)

Even when on beds of sickness, one can lie in bed and when mentally alert, send prayers of petitions and supplications to the Heavenly father for others as well as for self. This is the GREATEST of gifts perhaps that one can give another!

The Apostle Paul wrote that he was “being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of” the faith of the Philippian brethren, which made him rejoice and be filled with joy. He urged the Philippian brethren to “rejoice in the same way and share your joy” with him. (Philippians 2:17).

In 1 Corinthians 16:15-16 the household of Stephanas is praised by the Apostle Paul because they “devoted themselves to the service of the saints”. Paul encourages the brethren in Corinth to be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer.”

The Word “Consecration”

There are eight different Hebrew words in the Old Testament which are rendered consecrate, consecrated, consecration, or consecrations.

  1. “Nazar” (Strong’s Concordance #5144) means to set apart (for sacred purposes) and this word is in Numbers 6:12 – a text referring to the Nazarite vow, which is a picture of the consecration of Christians to God. (See Study 6 – The Levites). The worshipper taking this vow was to consecrate [nazar, set apart] unto Jehovah the days of his separation..

Are we continuously keeping our earthly life SET APART for the sacred purposes of devotion to God?

  1. “Nezer” (Strong’s # 5145) means something set apart and this word is found in Numbers 6:7 and also refers to the Nazarite vow:

“7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration [separation] of his God is upon his head.”

  1. “Charam” (Strong’s #2763) means to seclude, by a ban, to devote to religious use and this word is found in Micah 4:13, “I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord.”

This refers to the wealth of gentile nations after the judgments of God. It is not directly relevant to our present study.

  1. “Godesh” (Strong’s 6944) means a sacred place or thing and this word is found in Joshua 6:19, “all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron are consecrated unto the Lord.”

This refers to the precious things of the gentile nations conquered by Joshua which would come into the treasury of Jehovah. These precious items of “silver and gold” taken from the world might represent the Church Class (the Elect of the Gospel Age).

[Note: Compare Haggai 2:7, 8, where God will “shake the nations,” and the silver and gold may here too represent the saints of God who will glorify God’s spiritual temple.

  1. “Qadash” (Strong’s # 6942) means to make, pronounce, or observe as clean. This is used three times of the priests. See: Exodus 28:3, 30:30; 2 Chronicles 26:18.
  1. The most frequent Hebrew term rendered consecrate is actually a pair of words used together, “mala” (Strong’s #4390) meaning to fill and “yad” (Strong’s #3027) meaning open hand.

To fill an open hand, in this context, means for the priests to be devoted to their sacred duty to God and ministering to others. In English there is an expression, “my hands are full,” meaning one is fully occupied. So it should be with those consecrated to God during this age. We should have our hands full in the sacred service which is our privilege.

  1. “Millu” (Strongs #4394) means a filling, or consecration.

In Exodus 29 and Leviticus 8 this word is used of the offerings by which the priests were consecrated to their office. In Leviticus 8:33 it is once used in reference to days of consecration of the priests.

In what way is this consecration in relation to the Priests, significant to us?

It is fitting to us since we are called to be priests of God to reconcile the world back to God during the Kingdom.

So actually, we should be consecrated to God even more deeply than the priests under the Old Law were.

In the New Testament, the term “consecration” is found in the following 2 places:

  • Hebrews 7:28 (ESV) – “For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.”

Here it speaks of Jesus consecrated as a priest to serve God, and “the oath” refers to the oath given by God to King David in Psalms 110:4, “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Prophetically, this refers to Jesus Christ, who was descended from the line of David.  Melchizedek was a king of Jerusalem who was also a priest (Genesis 14:18). Paul says Melchizedek was a picture of Jesus, who in heaven, after his glorification, is also a King and Priest. (See further words on Melchizedek in the post: Study 7 – The Priests.)

Jesus is now our high priest, but during the Millennium we will join with him as priests for the world (Revelation 20:6).

By being consecrated unto death now in the entire service of and for God, we will be, God willing, qualified, tested and proven worthy and ready to serve with him to uplift the world.

  • Hebrews 10:20 (KJV) — refers to the “new and living way which he [Christ] hath consecrated [inaugurated] for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.”

Here the Apostle Paul reminds us about how remarkably, the thick veil in Solomon’s Temple was rent from top to bottom when Jesus died on the cross (Matthew 27:51).

The present heavenly calling of the Gospel Age to consecrate our lives to God, was never even extended to the righteous of past ages. This call is unique, and was opened up (inaugurated) through Christ’s death on the cross.

Those who consecrate their lives to God now receive the redemption provided by this ransom now, whereas the world will receive the redemption later, during the Millennial Age.

Are All Christians Consecrated?

We hope they will be as not all now are.

One may believe in God, believe in Jesus as their Saviour, appreciate what God has provide, strive to refrain from sin and evil as best one can, commit to works of kindness and charity, attend worship services but if there is no full personally commitment, then there is no valid consecration .

A step in the direction of full consecration involves showing by an outward sign of God’s invisible grace (the holy Spirit) one’s full commitment to their consecration vow through water baptism — a testimony to others.

If you have still not done so please take some time to thoughtfully consider consecrating your all to the Lord — the benefits in this life, far outweigh any other joy that any other person, thing and place can give!

What will it cost?

A good answer is in Luke 14:26-33. Jesus explains this best!

(See Post: “The Cost of Discipleship.”)

In the earlier verses Jesus spoke of humility (verse 11), and of giving without having any thought of getting back in return (verse 14). Jesus also gave a parable about a great supper prepared by a good man, who sent his servants to invite his guests. It represents God’s invitation through Christ to come into the spiritual kingdom of God. Since most of those invited declined, (giving one excuse or another), the man decided to open the invitation to any who would be interested for he insisted, “my house [will] be filled.” (verse 23).

Are you one of the interested? Are you ready to accept the blessings of “a gracious God [who is] merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love?” (Jonah 4:2)

You know… the fastest way to happiness is BEING A GIVER and what better way than to give the Creator of ALL your ALL?

To the already consecrated brethren in Christ, are you rejoicing in your testing of patient continuance in well doing and seeking for glory and honour and immortality?

Acknowledgment:

We thank the author(s) of the article titled “Consecration”  in the publication “Faithbuilders Fellowship-Proclaiming Christ’s Parousia and the coming Millennial Kingdom,” February 2006 (www.2043ad.com) for content material used in creating this post.

 

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/01/romans-121-what-does-being-consecrated-to-the-lord-mean/

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STUDY 7: The Priests. The Day of Atonement.

ex39-high-priest-garmentsThe Priests

In Leviticus, the ones serving at the altar and approaching near with the blood of offerings were the priests.

The priests had a special service regarding the sacrifices of the Law — representing the saints who have the privilege of sacrifice and service during the present time, together with their High Priest, Jesus.

Only the High Priest and the under-priests were to approach the altar for the service of performing the sacrifices and offerings, as we read in Numbers 3:10, “And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.”

On the Day of Atonement, according to the 16th chapter of Leviticus, the High Priest is said to have offered the sacrifices. This is explained in the following passages of the Bible:

Leviticus 16:1-3, 17: “And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died; And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering.”

17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.

Hebrews 9:7 (NLT): “But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his own sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.”

The ark of the covenant was especially sacred. Levites were not allowed to see the ark. Thus Numbers 4:5 says it was to be covered by priests for moving, before the Levites accessed it.

Who Could Become a Priest?

The first High Priest of Israel was Aaron and the first under-priests were Aaron’s sons. We read about this in Exodus 28:1:

“And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.

God chose Aaron as His mouthpiece (Exodus 4:16). In the Book of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul explains to us that “no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron (Hebrews 5:4).

In the generations after Aaron, the sons and grandsons and great grandsons (etc.) of Aaron, were qualified to become High Priests (as long as they were not otherwise impaired). They did not have to be sons of the then current High Priest.

The High Priests could only come from the Israelite — Levitical — Kohathitical — Amramic and Aaronic line, thus, they could only come from Aaron’s descendants (see Exodus 6:16-18).

In Ezra 7:1-5 there is an abbreviated list of the High Priests and in 1 Chronicles 6:4-14 there is a more complete list up to the captivity.

Here is a chart listing the names of the High Priests (in the two ascending rows to the left of the chart) descending from Eleazar and Ithamar, based on the recorded information by Ezra in 1 Chronicles chapter 6 — that is, until the deportation of Jehozadak when the Lord sent Judah and Jerusalem into exile to Babylon by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.

(Note: There are also other names from the Levitical line listed in the chart below, yet these others were not priests.)

12 The Priestly Line of Levi.jpg

Why was Jesus — our “Melchizedek” priest & “King of Righteousness” (Hebrew 7:1–3)not born through the Levitical Tribe, but rather through the Tribe of Judah?

Jesus was born through the tribe of Judah, because Judah received the chain of genealogy that went from Reuben (disqualified) to Simeon (disqualified) to Levi (disqualified) to Judah.

Jesus by coming through Judah, was in the line of descent of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah as a genealogically clear line. Had Jesus come from Levi, one might suppose that he was a successor priest, and that the Levitical priesthood was intended to continue — which it was not.

(But Aaron married Eli-sheba, of Judah, and Jesus’ mother was from Judah — and her cousin Elizabeth, which is Greek for Eli-sheba, was evidently of Judah like Mary, but married Zachariah, a priest and thus from Levi — so at the beginning the two tribes were united in this way, and at the ending point when John (Levite) and Jesus (Judahite) came, the two tribes were united in this way.)

Here is a chart showing Jesus’ Geneology:

geneology-of-jesus-beauties-of-the-tabernacle-biblestudentsdaily-com

The Function of the Priests

16And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall have charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering, and the anointing oil, with the oversight of the whole tabernacle and all that is in it, of the sanctuary and its vessels (Numbers 4:16).

Here is a brief summary of the priests’ functions, which included:

  • Primarily offering sacrifices on the altar for sins. This included the sprinkling of blood and burning portions of sacrifices (Leviticus 17:6, Hebrews 5:1).
  • Looking after the fire of the brazen altar (in the Court) and the burning incense on the hot coals on the incense altar in the Holy of the Tabernacle.
  • Overseeing the duties of the sanctuary performed by the Levites (Numbers 3:32).
  • Resolving arguments / deciding all cases of dispute and assault — be the ‘mediators’ between 2 parties of Israelites in any dispute (Deuteronomy 21:5, Hebrews 5:2).
  • Covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles when the camp is to move (Numbers 4:5-15).

Some of the differences between the High Priest and the under-priests (who originally were composed of Aaron’s sons) include:

The high priest:

– Was the spiritual leader of the people of Israel;

– Wore different clothing compared to the other priests. e.g. the breast plate was only worn by the high priest (Exodus 28:29)

– Wore/had access to the Urim and the Thummim (Exodus 28:30).

– Offered sacrifices on the Day of Atonement, and on this day, was allowed to enter the Most Holy of the Tabernacle. The under-priests (i.e. Aaron’s sons) could not enter the Most Holy compartment of the Tabernacle, regardless if it was the Day of Atonement or not, unless for the sole purpose of covering the ark of the testimony when the camp was to move (Leviticus 16, Hebrews 9:7, Leviticus 10:1-5, Numbers 4:5). In Leviticus 10, evidently Nadab and Abihu died in front of the sanctuary, where these non-priests could retrieve the bodies. Had they entered the holiest place, their bodies would have been behind the veil, beyond which only the High Priest had authority to enter.

The Antitypical Priesthood

The Priesthood, one body under one chief or High Priest, was typical of the “little flock” (Luke 12:32) which, with its “head” and “High Priest,” Jesus, will constitute a royal priesthood in glory (1 Corinthians 11:3, Colossians 1:18, Hebrews 3:1, 4:14). Members of this priesthood, after the present time of sacrificing, will be kings and priests unto God, and reign over earth for a thousand years (Revelation 5:10, 20:6). But before the under-priests (the members of the Body of Christ) will be united to their “head” and begin their reign as the “Bride of Christ,” the 144,000, they must suffer with him,” sharing in the antitypical sacrifices in order to be glorified together with Christ (2 Timothy 2:12, Romans 8:17).

Those who qualify (at the point of death) as members of the Bride of Christ, shall receive the highest reward due to their sacrifice unto death, suffering for Christ’s sake (2 Timothy 2:12).

“They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years (Revelation 20:6).

These are the 144,000 described in Revelation 7:4, who shall sit with Christ in his throne (Revelation 3:21).

The Apostle Peter addresses these sanctified ones (represented by the Aaronic priests), as “an holy priesthood … acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).

About the spirit-begotten of the present time, Pastor Charles T. Russell wrote, “They are all ministers (servants) of the truth, though not all preachers and Doctors of Divinity: and each must do his share at self-sacrifice ere he will be accounted worthy to be a joint-heir with Christ” (Tabernacle Shadows, page 27).

It is the Bride class that will inherit immortality and live in the Divine Realm reigning with Jesus, as they are the ones described in Revelation 14:4, “which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”

  • Few In Number

Jesus once addressed his followers (representative of the entire Gospel Age) as a “little flock” (Luke 12:32). This term “little flock” refers to the Bride of Christ class from the “called out” ones — that is, “the few” chosen from the “many” consecrated and spiritually begotten of the Gospel Age (Matthew 22:14). The 144,000 members of this Bride class, make their “calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10) revealed at the final verdict of judgment, that is, at one’s death, which is the point of time in the flesh, until one is to be “faithful until” (Revelation 2:10).

In Numbers 4:46–48, the number of Levites (in this context, representative of all the spirit begotten of the Gospel Age) prepared for service, was similarly few, 8580, compared to the population of Israelites as a whole (representative here, of the world of mankind). When we consider the priests inaugurated to serve at the time the Tabernacle was established, the number is remarkably few, five persons in all — Aaron and four sons (Exodus 28:1). Two of those priests were subsequently lost to the priesthood — Nadab and Abihu — evidently through intoxication (Leviticus 10:1, 2, 9). It is a lesson to us how careful we should be to avoid the intoxicating spirit of this world, lest we fall away from our privileges in Christ.

As those called of God to become priests who draw the world back to God, these have special privileges now.

Only the “Priestly” called-out class of this Gospel Age can see the glorious beauties of God’s Divine Plan. Others may know of them only as they hear them described — they have never seen the hidden light and beauty; never eaten of the “bread of presence;” never offered acceptable incense at the “golden altar.” To enjoy these privileges we must pass beyond the “door” of the “Holy,” through an entire (full) consecration to God, displayed even in the smallest intricacies of conduct — such as in one’s gentleness, tone of voice, modesty in clothing attire; not focusing on outward beauty such as (in the case of women) through the use of make-up or wearing of jewelry or expensive clothing or the braiding of hair as is explained by the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:9.

Rather, let us desire to add “shine” to the inner characterthe New Creation — by developing the fruits of the spirit to resemble the character of Christ. We still have this privilege presently, but soon it will draw to a close (Luke 13:25).

The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:1–34)

The Day of Atonement type reflects Jesus and His Church during the Gospel Age (Leviticus 23:27–28). The Day of Atonement is also known as Yom Kippur and was the most solemn holy day of all the Israelite feasts and festivals, occurring once a year on the tenth day of Tishri, the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar. On that day, the High Priest performed elaborate rituals to atone for the sins of Israel — that is, present a sin offering for himself (Aaron) and his “house” (Aaron’s sons), and present a sin offering for the “people” (the Israelites).

The Levites are not mentioned in Leviticus 16. Aaron and his sons were covered by the first sin offering, and the remainder of the Israelites were covered by the second sin offering, including the Levites other than the priests. As of Leviticus 16, the Levites (other than only Aaron and his sons) had not yet been given any special status. For their status was transferred to the Levites from the firstborn in the second year of Israel in the wilderness, whereas the first Day of Atonement occurred during the autumn of the first year of Israel in the wilderness (Numbers 1:1, 3:12).

The Day of Atonement was the only day of the year when the High Priest would enter the Most Holy of the Tabernacle to complete the sin offering ordinance.

Specific animals were sacrificed.

The Animals Sacrificed ON the DAY of ATONEMENT.jpg

We are told of this in Leviticus 16:6, 11 & 33:

 “And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.

11 And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself:

33 And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary [the Most Holy area of the Tabernacle], and he shall make an atonement for the Tabernacle of the congregation [the Holy area of the Tabernacle], and for the altar [the golden altar in the Holy], and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation [for the world].”

Two animals were sacrificed for the ATONEMENT DAY sin offering: (a) a bullock and (b) a goat.

  • (a) The Bullock

The bullock (on this specific day) represents our Lord Jesus as a man — as expressed in the Scriptures, “a body hast thou prepared me” (Hebrews 10:5).

Our Lord’s sacrifice took place at the beginning of his ministry and was finished at its close. Under the Law, it was only from the age of thirty, when Jesus could begin the sin offering sacrifice, and thus at thirty, Jesus came to John at the river Jordan to be baptised (Luke 3:23). It was here that Jesus presented himself in sacrifice to God, at the earliest possible time. It was at Jordan that Jesus fulfilled the prophecy (in Psalm 40:7) saying, “Lo, I have come, as in the volume of the Book it is written of me, to do thy will, O God. Thy law is written in my heart.”

Our Lord Jesus came to “taketh away the first that he may establish the second” (Hebrews 10:9); to set aside the typical for the “better sacrifices.”

From the moment of his consecration at baptism he was reckonedly dead and, at the same time, begotten of the holy Spirit. He was reckonedly alive as a new creature, an embryo spirit-being, during the three and a half years, the flesh being consumed and the new nature growing strong in the Lord, developing in harmony with the Divine will (R 4436).

Although the offering up of our Lord Jesus’ life was instantaneous (consecrating himself in a moment to give up all, even life itself, in the Father’s service), it is the presentation of his body to the trials and difficulties of life (i.e. his actual giving of time, influence, strength and vitality), that continued throughout the three and a half years of his ministry, ending at Calvary, on the cross.

“His House”

Jesus was the sin offering for “his house.” Jesus’ “house” is composed of the High Calling spirit begotten members consecrated to God during the current Gospel Age — those who have been running the race of the high calling during the Gospel Age, striving to present themselves as “living” sacrifices “holy, acceptable unto God(Romans 12:1).

It is only ONE house since there is only ONE high calling to be of the Bride of Christ — and this Bride class will be completed when the last “feet” members shall have passed beyond the “vail” at death of the flesh just before “the four winds” are let loose, signalling the beginning of Armageddon.

The “house” of Aaron are the priests, Aaron’s sons (not the tribe from which Aaron descended), just as the “house of David” meant David’s descendants, not his tribe.

Leviticus 16:6 says that the bullock was to make atonement for the Priest “himself:”

And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.

How then can we understand that Jesus required making atonement for “himself” if Jesus was without sin? (2 Corinthians 5:21)

We have the same question in Exodus 30:19, “For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat” (that is, at the laver). “His sons,” the priests, wash — representing that we wash from our sins. But why does Aaron wash, if he represents Jesus? The answer to this question is that Aaron washes in order to be a fitting picture of the sinless Jesus. This then, also answers the question why Aaron is atoned for — in order to be a picture of the sinless Jesus.

Let us now explain this, using the picture in Leviticus chapter eight (about the consecration of the priesthood). Leviticus 8:14 says, “And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering.”

lev 8 - aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the bullock.jpgHere Aaron was consecrated and also his sons were consecrated. Since Aaron here represents Jesus, and his sons represent the priests (spirit begotten, consecrated of the Gospel Age) it is clear that here Aaron as a picture does not include the Church, for they are separately represented in the sons of Aaron. And yet, Aaron had to be atoned for (Leviticus 8:14), and he had to be “washed” (Leviticus 8:6). These are symbols of cleansing, yet Jesus did not need cleansing. Here is Br. Charles Russell’s comment on this in Tabernacle Shadows, page 29. Being but a sinful man, like others, Aaron had to be washed in order fitly to represent the purity of the antitype, Jesus, who knew no sin.”

Similarly, Aaron in Leviticus 16, after making an atonement for himself, was cleansed, in order to be a fitting representation of sinless Jesus. Thus, atonement for Aaron needed to be made because he personally had sin, and also for him to represent the sinless Jesus.

The non-priest Levites are not mentioned in Leviticus chapter eight, nine or sixteen. So they would not be part of the picture needing to have some fulfilment in the antitype. They are simply part of the “people,” part of the “congregation.” In the book of Numbers, we have a different picture. In the opening chapters of that book we have two classes the Israelites in general, and the Levites as a separate, consecrated class. In that picture (where no priests are mentioned), the Israelites represent believers in Jesus during the Gospel Age, and the Levites represent consecrated believers of the Gospel Age.

Aaron and his sons were atoned for by the bullock, while the “people” were atoned for by the Lord’s goat.

  • (b) The Goat

Besides the bullock being sacrificed on the Day of Atonement, there were also two goats presented before the Lord at the entrance of the “Holy” of the Tabernacle.

We read about this in Leviticus 16:8–10,

“8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.

And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.

10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”

The Lord’s goat represents the Church of the Gospel Age (the spirit begotten and consecrated members of the High Calling).

The scapegoat was a vehicle for showing that the sins of the people were sent away and gone. It is a means of representing the removal of the sins of Israel, as a picture that the sins of the world will be cleansed and gone from the world of mankind, during the Millennium, as a consequence of the antitypical Atonement Day sacrifices of the Gospel Age. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).

The sacrifices of the Day of Atonement represent the Gospel Age.

The removal of sin from Israel represents what the world will appreciate in the Millennial Age soon to commence within a generation when the great High Priest (Jesus) will apply the blood of the antitypical goat on behalf of all the world of mankind — who, by restitution and instruction, will be brought into relationship with God as his people. In due time these will all become true Israelites indeed and the Heavenly Father shall become “All in All”  (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Garments of Glory

After offering the blood of the goat, the High Priest put off his sacrificial garments and put on his garments of glory and beauty, typified by the glorious qualities of Christ’s character and the honorable mission to which he had been anointed as the world’s Prophet, Priest, King, Judge, and Mediator. Thus coming forth he represents our Lord’s Second Advent and assumption of divine glory and power, at which time the Church will be with him as members of his Body, to cooperate in the dispensing of the blessings of the New Covenant to Israel and to all the families of the earth.

As on the Day of Atonement the people of Israel put on sackcloth and ate no pleasant food, but fasted and waited for the High Priest to appear in his garments of glory and beauty, so it has been throughout this Gospel Age. The whole world is under the power of the wicked one (1 John 5:19), overwhelmed in sin and death and corruption.

The Apostle Paul declares, “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God” (Romans 8:22,19) — waiting for the Jesus and the Church (the Bride of Christ composed of 144,000 members) to appear to the world in glory and beauty to serve as their priesthood to bring all humanity back to harmony with God.

If in the type a blessing is portrayed, how much greater will be the blessing in reality!

As in days of old the people could then  arise, threw off their sackcloth and fasting and rejoice in their forgiveness, so in the Millennial morning, the world, coming to an appreciation of the great High Priest and the sacrifices of Atonement, will arise from sin and degradation and death and REJOICE in divine favor and in the realization of the many blessings of restitution set before Israel, as declared by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:20).

References

Pastor Charles Russell: “Tabernacle Shadows,” “The Tabernacle and Its Teachings” — Supplement to Feb. “Zion’s Watch Tower,” Pittsburgh, PA, 1882, Volume 6 — “Studies in the Scriptures,” Reprints of the Watch Tower: R.4427.

Br. Anton Frey: “Notes on the Tabernacle,” pages 362-364; “Wilderness Wanderings.”

Br. David Rice — written content.

Further Suggested Reading

STUDY 1: An Introduction To The Tabernacle And It’s Purpose
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/02/study-1-an-introduction-to-the-tabernacle-and-its-purpose/

STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud By Day And The Pillar of Smoke By Night  https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/09/study-2-the-pillar-of-cloud-by-day-and-the-pillar-of-smoke-by-night/

STUDY 3: The Tabernacle Construction: The Holy and The Most Holy  https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/14/study-3-the-tabernacle-construction-the-holy-the-most-holy/

STUDY 4: The Court (“Holy Place”)
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/20/study-4-the-court-holy-place/

STUDY 5: The Camp. The Israelites.
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/28/study-5-the-camp-the-israelites/

STUDY 6: The Levites
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/18/study-6-the-levites/

STUDY 8: The Tabernacle Coverings
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/02/study-8-the-tabernacle-coverings/

STUDY 9: The Gate. The Door. The Vail.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/01/study-9-the-gate-the-door-the-vail/

The URL for this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/10/study-7-the-priests-the-day-of-atonement/

 

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Who is the World’s RANSOM and Why?

1 Timothy 2, 4-6 - with C & address

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame.
And on that old cross the dearest and best,
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

It is a tragic picture to contemplate. A perfect man, so unjustly convicted, dying in the prime of life. But his greatest defeat was his greatest triumph. That was why he came. That was why he left the heavenly courts to become a man in the first place.

Note how obediently and willingly and humbly Jesus, the firstborn of all creation, the Bright Morning Star answered, when our Heavenly Father asked who should He send down to earth as the Redeemer, “Here am I, send me” (Isaiah 6:8). This is why the Son was the Almighty Heavenly Father’s delight.

Father Adam caused the death penalty to be imposed upon the whole human family, Christ’s willing sacrifice provided the value to redeem all mankind. Only a perfect being who was separate from God could accomplish the task of removing the death penalty upon Adam and his race, thus providing a way for mankind to be redeemed from the power of the grave.

Christ’s sacrifice provided a release from the curse, first for the Church class during the Gospel Age, and later for the World during the Millennial Age.

God loves mankind deeply (John 3:16). We cannot imagine the sorrow and pain that God experienced when Adam fell. We can only get some idea of this feeling when we observe the grief of parents when their children go astray.

God not only provided a mechanism to rescue His precious creation, but authorized His son to execute God’s plan for their redemption.

“By his knowledge the righteous one, my servant, will justify the many, as he will bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11, NAS).

Not only did God provide the mechanism for mankind’s redemption, God also empowered this Righteous One, Jesus, to justify His chosen ones. “Wherefore Jesus, … that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate” (Hebrews 13:12). Jesus was “delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). God has empowered His son to redeem us and justify us.

The death of our Savior, Jesus Christ, provided the price of our release from the curse. The scriptures speak of the life of Jesus, given for us, as a “ransom” for us. Today we think of a ransom as a price for the release of a hostage. The scriptural word “ransom” is from the Greek word “lutron,” which literally means a price of release (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).

The word “ransom” also appears in 1 Timothy 2:4–6, from the Greek word “antilutron,” which means a corresponding price of release. This refers to the fact that the value of the life of Jesus, given for us corresponds to the price required. From the use of the word “ransom” we see that:

  • God wants to save the whole human race, and
  • Jesus provided the price necessary to release us from the death penalty imposed upon Adam and his race.

The PURPOSE of the Ransom

The object of the ransom was not to afford each individual a release from the original condemnation, in order to give them an opportunity to attain everlasting life. It allows mankind an opportunity to return to harmony and communion with God.

“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes” (Hosea 13:14).

HOSEA-13-14.jpg 
RANSOM STEPS

(1) Determine the Price — The price of release (the lutron or ransom) was the value of a human life. God established that the punishment for sin was death, and this was imposed upon Adam when he sinned. Adam passed his condemned life to all of the human race. In order to release mankind from this penalty, would require an obedient man to accept that punishment upon himself, so that it could be released from Adam and all those who received Adam’s life through procreation. Thus every person who descended from Adam — all humanity — will receive a release from death.

(2) Provide the Price — Jesus, as a perfect human being not subject to death, yielded his life in order to take upon himself, the penalty due us — so that we might be released. “By man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:21, 22). Jesus’ life yielded, is the price for Adam’s life to be restored: Jesus for Adam, a perfect life for a perfect life. How beautifully they balance the scales of justice!

(3) Pay the Price — When Jesus died, he said “Father into thy hands I commend [deposit] my spirit” (Luke 23:46). The word “commend” is from the Greek word paratithemi, which means to deposit as a trust. In other words, Jesus committed to God the value of his life for later use, and all of Jesus’ interests for his future work in the Plan of God.

(4) Loosen the Captives The world has been under the penalty of death, but they will be loosed (“luo”) from this captivity in God’s due time, when Christ and his “bride” of 144,000 members rules with him to raise and bless mankind.

RELEASE FROM THE LAW

After Jesus was baptized, he meditated in the wilderness for 40 days. Part of this time he would have meditated on the Law of God, given to Israel through Moses at Mount Sinai. That law was perfect. Therefore, imperfect man could not keep it. As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 7:10, “The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.” For none of Adam’s imperfect race could perfectly keep the Law.

But Jesus did. By keeping a perfect law perfectly he demonstrated that he was a perfect man, and therefore that he could be a corresponding price for the only other perfect man in history, Adam. Like an index finger, the law pointed out the one person who could pay the ransom price.

Adam and Eve had no children until they left the garden of Eden. Therefore, all of their offspring inherited a condemned and imperfect life. Jesus, like Adam before he sinned, had the potential for a perfect human race in his loins. In this sense he was an appropriate value to redeem Adam and his race.

No wonder then we sing with rejoicing:

In the cross of Christ I glory,
Towering oer the wrecks of time.
So l’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to that old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.

As 1 Timothy 2:4-6 reads, God has willed or determined (rather than “desired”) that all mankind will:

  • Be saved from Adamic death, from the destruction of the grave, to be accomplished through the GREATEST MIRACLE the world will EVER experience: THE RESURRECTION!
  • Be saved from ignorance, blindness and deafness.
  • Come under a “new covenant” established by God, during the 1000 year Messianic Kingdom.
  • Be restored to perfection and an opportunity for eternal life.
  • Come to a knowledge of God, and thus secure a relationship with God forever.

The Ransom provides a salvation from the curse of death. It will be UNCONDITIONAL. It depends alone upon the will of God, and the price of release is the value of Jesus’ life, given for us all.

This Scriptural passage, 1 Timothy 2:4-6, speaks of a universal redemption. During the Millennium the curse will be remitted. Then each individual may begin walking up the “highway of holiness” toward everlasting life. Most of mankind will accept this free gift, and progress accordingly. Only a few will use their power of choice differently, and fail to attain everlasting life at the close of the Millennium (Revelation 20:7-9).

God will provide for the enlightenment of every individual when they awaken from the dead, so that everyone will have an accurate knowledge of God, His love, and His standards. The knowledge of Jehovah shall fill the earth (Isaiah 11:9). Mankind will have learned through experience the consequences of sin. During the Millennium, they will learn through experience the blessings of righteousness. All can then choose between the law of God which leads to life, and the law of sin which leads to death. Knowledge of truth is light, and Christ is “the true light, to lighten every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9).

Jesus is an Advocate and helper presently to those who have consecrated their lives to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. They express this commitment by baptism, and rejoice in hope of resurrection glory with Christ in heaven. We suffer with Jesus in the present, by pursuing righteousness in world surrounded by sin. We will reign with Christ in glory, to assist him during the Millennium in drawing mankind back to God (Revelation 20:6).

During the Millennium, when God effects a new covenant for blessing Israel and the world (Jeremiah 31:31), Jesus will serve as Mediator, standing between God and men, in order to reconcile them by bringing mankind back to godliness. The saints who reign with Christ will be with Jesus in this mediatorial work of reclaiming mankind. Thus this work awaits the completion of the “Bride” class to be complete. Mediating for the world will then proceed. The saints will be associated with every feature of this work for the world, assisting them during the Millennium.

The word Mediator from the  Greek is mesite and means middle-man, reconciler, go-between. The Scriptures use the word respecting mediating a covenant between parties who are alienated. A mediator is one who interposes between persons who are at variance, with a view to reconciling them. Moses, as the Mediator of the Law Covenant, was a type of Jesus, the Mediator of the New Covenant.

At the close of the thousand years the Mediator will have completed its role. Thereafter God will stand before God, and demonstrate, during the “Little Season,” their condition of heart. Those who are obedient and godly, will receive everlasting life. Those who are disobedient and rebellious, will lose this privilege.

In 1 Timothy 2:5 we read about “The man Christ Jesus.” The Greek word for “man” is anthropos — human being. It refers to when Jesus when he was made flesh. Jesus “gave himself” as “the anointed” one (the word Christ signifies “the anointed”), who finished the giving of himself at Calvary. The name Jesus is but another form for Joshua, which signifies Deliverer. The name Christ is the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew word Messiah — The Anointed.

Jesus surrendered his perfect human life, that is, all of himself, his human rights and privileges — the full equivalent of Adam’s perfect life. By his willing sacrifice for men he secured the right to purchase Adam and the entire race. He has not applied this human life to Adam and his race. It remains a deposit, for use at the appropriate time to release mankind from the curse.

Christ was both Priest and Sacrifice. As a priest, he offered his sacrifice to God. As a Sacrifice, his human life was yielded up, given, for the benefit of mankind.

THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST PRESENTLY

As mentioned earlier, the ransom Jesus gave constitutes a price of release. Those who have come into Christ in the present time, accepting the value of his sacrifice by faith in him, are granted redemption presently. That is, God counts them as uncondemned, justified, by virtue of the value of Christ’s redeeming sacrifice (Romans 5:9). We then lay down this justified life in service and sacrifice with Jesus, as long as our days remain.

We thus give up our share in the earthly blessings awaiting mankind, in order to secure the higher, heavenly blessings offered during the present time.

The resurrection of Jesus was a testimony from God that Jesus performed his sacrifice correctly, and that all the blessings God has for us now — and the world later — are sure and established (Acts 17:31).

Another evidence of God’s acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice was seen by sending the holy Spirit upon the saints on the day of Pentecost. There God’s anointing, the holy Spirit (symbolized in the Old Testament by the holy anointing oil), came upon the Church. It continues ever since on all the living members of the Church.

Jesus laid down his life as a sin-offering during the 3½ years, and Jesus applied the value of this for the Church class when he appeared in the presence of God for us. Jesus has not yet applied it for the whole world. That awaits the Millennium.

The ransom price that Jesus gave provides a release from condemnation, for us now, and for the world later. That was given on Calvary’s cross.

The sin offering that Jesus gave began at Jordan (when Jesus was 30 years of age), and continued through the 3½ years of Jesus’ ministry (until Jesus was 33 1/2 years old). Jesus was “made perfect,” or complete, in character, “by the things which he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8,9). Jesus was not imperfect at any time in the sense of being sinful (2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 3:5, 1 Peter 2:22). He was perfect, undefiled, in His glorious condition as the Logos, before He left the glory which He had with the Father and was made flesh. When born of Mary, the assurance given us is that He was still “holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26).  His sufferings, therefore, did not make Him perfect in the sense of making Him sinless, but rather, to prove his loyalty to the Father’s will, unto death, even the death of the cross. The promise of perfection on the highest plane — the promise of the Divine nature — was Christ’s reward for fulfilling his Covenant of Sacrifice faithfully and loyally. The beginning of that new nature was granted to Jesus at the time of his baptism, when he was begotten of the holy Spirit. But the new nature begotten there needed development, or perfecting; and it was for this purpose that the trials, difficulties and buffetings were permitted to come to Him (R5472). As our High Priest in glory, Christ — our Advocate (our personal “lawyer”), works with us through our experiences, to purge from us the propensity for sin.

The Church is not a part of the ransom price. However, we do have the privilege of suffering with Christ presently, and being raised in glory to be priests for the world during the Kingdom (Revelation 20:6). From that elevated standing, we will be able to assist Jesus in purging from mankind their propensity for sin. In this way we share with Christ in being an offering for sin.

The Church is not a part of the ransom price but does share in the sin-offering through grace. These two doctrines are inseparable. We could call them the TWIN DOCTRINES as they always work together in the process of salvation.

The ransom expresses God’s justice. For it shows that a payment for sin is necessary, in order to release mankind from the curse justly imposed upon our father Adam in Eden. But as steadfast as the penalty has been — so God’s commitment to release mankind from the curse, now that a payment has been made, is equally sure.

Christ has already redeemed mankind in the sense that he has laid down the ransom price. But he has not yet rescued mankind and applied to them the value of the ransom price provided. That awaits the Millennial Kingdom. In the meantime, God is selecting from among mankind people of faith, to be developed in the pattern established by Jesus, in order to assist Jesus in the world of lifting the world from their plight during the Millennium.

Then God will apply the price of release for Israel and the world. Then a New Covenant will be established for blessing of all who come under its blessings. When the Millennial age shall have been finished its work, and all are restored to harmony with God, then our heavenly Father will be ALL in ALL (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Suggested Further Reading

The Ransom. Faithbuilders Fellowship.
http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2007/02_ma_07.pdf

MATTHEW 26:27-29 — Drinking From Christ’s One Cuphttps://biblestudentsdaily.com/2018/03/19/matthew-2627-29-drinking-from-christs-one-cup/

JESUS — The Namehttps://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

 

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