THE SCRIPTURES teach that special favor and privileges from God have been and will be given to Abraham and his seed, including both his natural descendants through Isaac and Jacob, and those who are not his natural progeny, but are Divinely counted as being his seed because they have similar faith (Genesis 12: 1-3; 22: 16-18).
Beginning with the Gospel Age Harvest in 1874, this Bible truth and the doctrine of restitution were repeatedly set forth and elaborated by Bro. Russell, “that faithful and wise servant.” He described how Abraham’s fleshly seed were given precedence in the High Calling, but because of unbelief all except a remnant were cast off and Gentiles were taken in instead (John 1: 11, 12) (Romans 11). He also showed: (1) that after the close of the High Calling, God’s favor would begin to return to fleshly Israel; and (2) that they would be given precedence above other nations, for the Kingdom on earth will be established in Jerusalem, with the Ancient Worthies being the first ones to be raised from the dead and to come under the New Covenant, and made the chief ones on earth in the Kingdom (Isaiah 32: 1) (Luke 13: 28).
What proof do we have that the earthly phase of the Kingdom will be set up first in Jerusalem instead of some other place? (1) The fact that the Lord will save the tents of Judah first (Zechariah 12: 7); (2) Israel’s national return to Palestine before the Kingdom is for the purpose of having a converted nucleus of Israel there, in order that the earthly phase of the Kingdom may be first established among them (Zechariah 12: 3-10); (3) the fact that in the Jewish, Gospel and Millennial Ages, the Jews have the first opportunity and chief responsibility, implies that the earthly phase of the Kingdom will be first established in their midst (Romans 1: 16; 2: 9, 10-12, 16); (4) the fact that the nations will send delegates to Jerusalem to seek the ways and means of coming into harmony with the Lord, implies that the Kingdom’s representatives will be there at the time (Zechariah 8: 20-22); (5) the fact that verse 23 had its primary fulfillment in the person of Disraeli, a literal Jew, at the Berlin Congress of Nations in 1878, seems to imply that the Jerusalem here referred to is literal Jerusalem; and (6) the fact that converted Israel will be the missionaries of the Millennium to convert the Gentiles to the Kingdom, implies that from the converted nucleus of Israel in Palestine, these missionaries will go forth under the lead of the Ancient Worthies to all the nations to help them to come into harmony with the Kingdom (Psalm 107: 22) (Romans 11: 12, 15, 16).
Precedence of Youthful Worthies and Consecrated Epiphany Campers
The Youthful Worthies, a spirit-enlightened but non spirit-begotten class (Joel 2: 28), although mainly of Gentile lineage, will, together with the Ancient Worthies, be given precedence over the Jewish quasi-elect and the rest of the nation of Israel in the resurrection awakening, in coming under the New Covenant and in being made the chief ones on earth in the Mediatorial Reign. Likewise, the Consecrated Epiphany Campers, who are also mainly of Gentile lineage, will have precedence over the fleshly Israelites in general in coming under the New Covenant, and otherwise in the Kingdom.
God’s estimation of individuals and His bestowal of His favors upon them has always been and always will be based on their heart attitude and the closeness of their relationship with Him, and not on anything outward, such as physical appearance, strength, health, etc. (1 Samuel 16: 7). He is not a respecter of persons (Romans 2: 11), but is a respecter of character (Romans 9: 13). The consecrated (who are all counted by God as Israelites, Jews, regardless of whether their flesh is Jewish or Gentile) are always regarded by Him as being a higher order of the seed of Abraham then the unconsecrated, whether or not they are of Jewish lineage.
Order of New Covenant Classes Pictured
The Scriptures seem to show the order of precedence in the antitype in bringing the different Millennial earthly classes under the New Covenant. They show this, for example, by the order of the birth of Keturah’s children in the type (Genesis 25: 1-4). The general rule is “to the Jew first,” but there are some exceptions, cases in which consecrated believers of Gentile lineage will be given precedence over the unconsecrated quasi-elect Jews and the unbelieving Jews.
The first class to benefit from the application manward of Christ’s ransom merit, by being raised from the dead, and to come under the New Covenant, will be the 70 most prominent Ancient and Youthful Worthies, pictured in Zimran, Keturah’s first son.
The second class to benefit from the ransom merit’s application manward, by being raised from the dead, and to come under the New Covenant, will be the rest of the Worthies, pictured by Jokshan, Keturah’s second son. The rest of Ancient Worthies, typed by Jokshan’s first son Sheba will precede the rest of the Youthful Worthies, typed by Jokshan’s second son Dedan. All of the Worthies will at the beginning of the Mediatorial Reign be raised perfect in their physical, mental, artistic, moral and religious faculties (Hebrews 11: 40; 12: 23), but not yet perfect in character.
The third class to benefit from the ransom merit’s application manward and to come under the New Covenant will be the Consecrated Epiphany Campers class – typed by Medan, Keturah’s third son – in members who will then be living. Prominent among those of this class then living will be consecrated converted fleshly Israelites, most of whom will probably by that time have been regathered to their homeland. These Jews and those Consecrated Epiphany Campers of Gentile lineage, in proportion as they have at heart the truth on Israel and its place in God’s plan, will be the first of this class then living who will in hearty acceptance and obedience come under the New Covenant and under the Worthies as the nucleus of the earthly phase of the Kingdom.
The fourth class to benefit from the ransom merit’s application manward and to consecrate and come under the New Covenant will be quasi-elect fleshly Israel – typed by Midean, Keturah’s fourth son – in members then living, most of whom will probably by that time have been regathered to their homeland. These will all then have their standing not only as Covenant-believing and justice-practicing ones, but also as tentatively-justified ones because of believing on Jesus as their their Savior (Zechariah 12: 7-14). This group of Jews, converted to belief in Jesus as Savior, is pictured separately and especially in Abidah and Eldaah, Midian’s fourth and fifth sons. As they consecrate, after the Mediatorial Reign begins, they will become the first group of Consecrated Millennial Campers, as distinct from Consecrated Epiphany Campers. Because so many of the Jews will then have accepted Jesus as their Savior, the Jewish nation will become the first nation to come under the New Covenant (Zechariah 12: 7).
The fifth class to receive the pertinent benefits and to consecrate and come under the New Covenant will be the loyal tentatively justified and justice-practicing Gentiles in members of this class then living. They are typed by Ishbak, Keturah’s fifth son.
The sixth class to get the pertinent benefits and to consecrate and come under the New Covenant will be the non-elect, the unjustified Jews (unbelieving Jews, who will be treated as Gentiles during the Millennium) and unjustified Gentiles – daughters (Ezekiel 16: 60, 62) (Joel 2: 28) (Isaiah 60: 4), in members of this class then living. They are typed by Shuah, Keturah’s sixth son. This class will then also be by God counted as Abraham’s seed because of their faith. The New Covenant will be made with Israel. In order to avail themselves of this Covenant, therefore, all other nations and peoples will be obliged to become a part of Israel. Thus eventually Abraham will become the father of many nations. All who will come into harmony with God will be the children of Abraham, for they will attain to that faith which Abraham had. Both faith and obedience will be necessary.
Thus the Scriptures show the order of precedence for these classes – first the 70, then all the rest of the Worthies, and then in order among those living at the pertinent time: Consecrated Epiphany Campers, unconsecrated tentatively justified Jews, unconsecrated tentatively justified Gentiles and finally the non-elect Jews and Gentiles. These are class pictures, which means that each individual in any one of the last three classes then living will not have to wait to get the pertinent benefits and to come under the Covenant until every individual of the preceding class or classes among these three has done so.
(to be continued)