JOEL 2:28, 29 AND CONTEXT EXAMINED. "THE SERVANTS." "THE HANDMAIDS." "YOUR OLD MEN." "YOUR YOUNG MEN." "YOUR SONS." "YOUR DAUGHTERS." THE REPENTANT FALLEN ANGELS.
IN this chapter we will give some additional details pertaining to the Little Flock, Great Company and Youthful Worthies, whose gathering and deliverance is accomplished by our Lord during the beginning of His Second Presence, in the lapping period in which the Gospel Age closes and the Millennium begins. As parts of the heavenly and earthly seed of Abraham, these classes will by the end of this lapping period be ready, as instruments in the Lord's hand, to bless all the families of the earth during the Millennium. In this connection we will also set forth some Scriptures pertaining to four additional saved classes, for we find seven saved classes indicated in the Scriptures.
Many people have been accustomed to thinking that God has planned that all who will ultimately be saved will be given the same reward. The very fact that God has arranged for so much diversity in the lower creation should speak eloquently to all in favor of similar diversity in the spiritual realm. In addition to mentioning Michael the archangel (Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9), the Scriptures give spirit beings various other names: cherubim, seraphim, principalities, thrones, dominions, powers [mights] and angels (Gen. 3:24; Is. 6:2, 6; Rom. 8:38; Eph. 1:21; 3:10; Col. 1:16), which seem to indicate seven differences in nature among these heavenly beings, thus being an expression of the manifold creative wisdom of God. If these names do not imply differences in nature, assuredly they do indicate differences in rank,
or order, among these beings. This is implied in the very use and meaning of these terms. The Apostle Paul writes (1 Cor. 15:41, 42), "There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead." Here we have direct Scripture proof that all the saved will not have the same reward. Hence we should not think it strange if we find in the Scriptures a description of various classes among the saved, separate and distinct from one another, with differing rewards.
JOEL 2:28, 29 AND CONTEXT EXAMINED
Our study of the seven saved classes will be based mainly on a text that mentions six of them, viz., Joel 2:28, 29. It reads: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon [for, on behalf of] all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit."
This text is taken from a rather remarkable prophecy in the book of Joel. In the first chapter of his book the Prophet describes under the figure of blights, droughts and famines the devastating work of the great Apostasy, which began to show marked evidence even in the days of the Apostles, proceeding in the second and third centuries to the development of a hierarchy (the palmerworm); later, in the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries, it progressed in the development of the Papacy (the locust), and beginning about the middle of the sixth century reached its first climax in the completed Great Antichrist System (the cankerworm). After the reformation it reached its second climax in the formation of lesser Antichrist and false prophet systems in Sectarianism (the caterpillar) (Joel 1:2-4). The thought of this chapter is that as in nature all fruitage has been destroyed by such blights, so the various stages of the apostasy from primitive
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Christianity destroyed the fruitage of the Apostolic sowings of truth and righteousness—did away with the teachings, practices and works that Jesus and His Apostles gave the Lord's people in the Harvest of the Jewish Age. Thus briefly in this figurative way the first chapter of Joel describes the spiritual desolation prevailing in the figurative fields where the Apostolic sowing occurred—a desolation lasting until recently.
In the second chapter of Joel the prophet describes (vs. 1-11) the resultant Great Tribulation of the Day of the Lord, and those who will bring it about. But the prophet shows that before the trouble will come the Lord will send forth a message to the people to repent (vs. 12-17). The faithful receive the assurance that before the Trouble breaks out the Lord will take away the effects of the figurative blight (v. 25), and, punishing the wrong-doers (v. 20), will restore the Apostolic teachings and practices, which will result, before the Tribulation, in great fruitfulness returning to the fields of labor where His faithful will work (vs. 19, 21-24, 26, 27). Then God through the prophet tells (v. 28) what is to happen after those days of restoration of the Apostolic teachings and practices, i.e., what will happen after the Gospel Age—viz., during the Millennium: God will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh. Then, in v. 29, returning to a discussion of "those days" (the Gospel Age) God tells us what He would do during the Gospel Age—pour out His Spirit upon His servants and handmaids.
Analyzing vs. 28, 29, we find that they treat of six saved classes: (1) "your sons," (2) "your daughters," (3) "your old men," (4) "your young men," (5) "the servants" and (6) "the handmaids." It is Zion that is addressed in this passage (v. 23). Zion represents the Kingdom (Is. 60:14; Rev. 14:1), and stands for the Lord Jesus and His faithful Church. It is "in those days" (during the Gospel Age) that the Spirit is poured out upon these (v. 29); and it is "afterwards" (during the Millennium) that the Spirit
will be poured out upon all flesh (v. 28). We understand that by the expression "the servants" in v. 29 the Church class is meant. First we will briefly describe this class.
We notice that the time of their development is limited to the Gospel Age—"In those days I will pour out my spirit upon my servants." These like the rest of mankind were born under the curse (Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:21, 22; Eph. 2:3); but unlike the rest of mankind they had hearts that trusted the Lord even when they could not trace Him (2 Cor. 5:7). It is this faith-quality that caused them to hunger for fellowship with God; while those without this faith-quality did not crave fellowship with Him. Consequently the latter were not, but the former were, drawn to the Lord by the preaching of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. They turned from sin and Satan to righteousness and God. They accepted Jesus as their Savior, thereby attaining to justification through faith (Rom. 3:21-26; 4:1-12), and then sought to grow in truth and righteousness. As they responded to His drawings, the Lord led them onward until they were ready to take a second step—consecration. When God invited them (Rom. 12:1) to yield themselves wholly to Him, and to accept His will as their own, their faith in and love for Him, wrought in them by Christ through the Word, prompted and enabled them to give themselves to Him as living sacrifices.
He then gave them His Holy Spirit—begat them of His Spirit (John 3:3; Jas. 1:18; Acts 5:32). He caused them, with their own co-operation, to grow in grace and in knowledge (Phil. 2:12, 13; 2 Pet. 3:18). He helped them to overcome self, sin, error and the world (Rev. 3:21), and to work out their own salvation by self-denial and world-denial, by watchfulness and prayer, by the study, practice and spread of His Word, and by suffering for loyalty to His Word
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(Phil. 2:12, 13; 1 Pet. 5:10; 2 Pet. 1:5-11). They witnessed in the world for truth and righteousness (Acts 1:8). The hope that He gave them was the attainment of the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ (2 Pet. 1:4; Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:11, 12). These blessings they attained in the First Resurrection, as they, faithful until death, became in character like Christ (Rev. 2:10; 20:4, 6; Rom. 8:29). They are variously called the Branches in Christ the Vine (John 15:1-8), the Body of Christ (Eph. 1:22, 23), a Holy and Royal Priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9), Living Stones of God's Temple (1 Pet. 2:5; Eph. 2:19-22), the Seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:16, 29), the espoused Virgin and Bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7, 8; 21:9), Disciples of Jesus (John 8:31), Soldiers of Christ (2 Tim. 2:3, 4), Brethren of Jesus (Rom. 8:29), the Little Flock (Luke 12:32), etc., etc. They are by far the most important class in God's Plan; for with and under the Lord Jesus they are the Kings and Priests who will administer the blessings of the Millennium for the world (Rev. 1:5, 6; 5:9, 10; 20:4, 6).
Closely related to this class is another, called in our text "the handmaids," and elsewhere in the Bible called "a great multitude" (Rev. 7:9; 19:6), of whom we treated in considerable detail in E Vol. 4, Chap. 2. The individuals of this class were originally invited through the High Calling to the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ (2 Pet. 1:4; Rom. 8:17; Eph. 4:4); but, alas, they failed to keep faithfully their consecration vows, and have had, therefore, to be remanded to a secondary class. These have in practice rebelled or supported rebels against more or less of the teachings of God's Word (Ps. 107:10, 11). They have by sin marred their characters and spotted their robes (1 Cor. 5:1-13; Jude 23; Rev. 7:14). They have failed faithfully to sacrifice their humanity for God (Heb. 2:15; Jude 22). They have fellowshipped
with the world (2 Tim. 4:10; Jas. 1:8). They have accepted and spread various false doctrines (1 Cor. 3:12, 15; Matt. 25:3, 8). They have developed sectarian systems (1 Cor. 3:3, 4; Matt. 7:26, 27; 1 Tim. 1:19, 20). They have usurped the office and persecuted the persons of their faithful brethren (Is. 66:5). They have more or less served Satan (Heb. 2:14, 15). They will receive from him the destruction of their flesh and works (1 Cor. 5:5; 1 Tim. 1:20; Matt. 7:27; 1 Cor. 3:15); but they will finally escape with their lives, after losing the prize of the High Calling (1 Cor. 3:15; Heb. 2:15; Jude 22, 23; Phil. 3:14).
Accordingly, they will meet a great disappointment, when they learn that they have lost the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ (Cant. 5:6, 7; Matt. 25:11, 12, 30). This consideration, combined with the thought that they will be lost unless they repent, will lead them to cleanse themselves (Rev. 7:14). Thereafter they will have a successful ministry (Cant. 5:9—6:1; Rev. 19:6); and will in Heaven attain a subordinate spiritual glory (Ps. 45:14, 15; 1 Cor. 5:5; Rev. 19:9). As parts of the First-borns they will be Levites in God's Temple and Noblemen in God's Kingdom (Heb. 12:23; Rev. 7:15; Ezek. 44:10-14). Many members of this class are just now, at the end of the Age, coming into special notice, activity and prominence. We usually speak of them as the "Great Company." For more details on the Great Company, please see E Vol. 4, Chap. 2. This class and the preceding class, it will be noticed, are developed during the Gospel Age—"in those days" in which Jesus and the Apostles labored, in which the great Apostasy developed, and in which (at their end) the Lord restored the primitive teachings and practices of Christianity.
We now turn to the consideration of the four classes of whom v. 28 treats. This verse describes the Millennial blessings and works of these four classes. Two of these classes, "your old men" and "your young
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men," will have been developed before the Millennium; while as saved classes the other two classes, "your sons" and "your daughters," will be developed during the Millennium.
"YOUR OLD MEN"
We begin the discussion of these four saved classes with those who are called "your old men" in v. 28. This same class is called "ancients" in Is. 24:23, where the same word is used in the Hebrew as is translated "old men" in our text. In Ps. 107:32 the same class is referred to by the same Hebrew word translated, however, by the English word "elders," i.e., the "ancients." So, too, the same class is in Heb. 11:2 called the "elders," i.e., the Ancients. Because they are in Heb. 11:38 spoken of as those of whom the world was not worthy, we call them Ancient Worthies, in distinction especially from the "young men," whom we call Youthful Worthies, and from the Little Flock and the Great Company. By the "old men" of our text we understand the faithful of the Old Testament to be meant. A long list of many of the more ancient of these in their persons and works is given in Heb. 11:4-32. Others of them are referred to, though not by name, in vs. 33-40. They were the heroes of faith before Christ came. God used them as His representatives, servants and witnesses in their times, and through some of them gave us the Old Testament Scriptures. He also, unknown to them, used them in the events of their lives to enact many typical pictures of certain future persons, classes and events in His Plan. Living before Christ's death they, of course, could not receive the actual cancellation of the death sentence that they, as well as the rest of the race, inherited from Adam; yet God gave them a tentative justification through their faith in His promises (Rom. 4:3-9, 17-23; Heb. 11:7).
Living before Jesus' death, they could not become sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ (John 1:12, 13; Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:3-5), though they were privileged
through their faith-justification to be "servants" and "friends" of God (Heb. 3:5; Jas. 2:23). Accordingly, God did not offer to them the privilege of becoming kings with Jesus and partakers with Him of the Divine nature; for such promises were first given at the beginning of the Gospel Age (1 Pet. 1:10-12; Heb. 2:3, 4; Luke 16:16). Jesus being the Forerunner of these kings (Heb. 6:20; 12:1, 2), the Ancient Worthies, preceding Him, could not share in this high, holy and heavenly calling—in the race for the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ (Heb. 3:1; Phil. 3:14). John the Baptist, dying before Jesus' death, was the last one of this class of Ancient Worthies; and Jesus assures us that John will not be of the Kingdom class; for if, as He says, the least one of the Kingdom class will be greater than John, evidently John will not be of that class (Matt. 11:11). The reward of these faithful Ancient Worthies will be inferior, therefore, to that of the Little Flock (Heb. 11:38, 39). They will, however, be privileged to share in a "better resurrection" than that of the world, gaining Millennial perfection ahead of the world (Heb. 11:35), though it will be inferior in rank to that of the Church (Rev. 20:6). The honor to which they will attain will be that of princeship throughout the earth during the Millennium (Ps. 45:16; Is. 32:1), and their work will be that of rulership as judges and teachers (Is. 1:26, 27). Our text shows us that they will be given new Divine revelations, "shall dream dreams," for the service of mankind during the time of the Kingdom. Thus will God during the Millennium reward them by making them perfect human beings and princes throughout the earth for their past faithfulness; and after the Millennium He will reward them for their Millennial faithfulness with a spiritual nature in Heaven.
"YOUR, YOUNG MEN"
The next class of whom we will treat is called "your young men" in our text. It will be noticed that
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they are contrasted in standing and in work with the "old men." Since we call the latter the Ancient Worthies, to bring out one of these contrasts we call the "young men" the Youthful Worthies. These contrasting names are applicable, because, as the Ancient Worthies proved themselves loyal unto God and faithful unto death prior to the opening of the High Calling to the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ, so the Youthful Worthies, the fourth and final class of God's elect through whom He will bless the non-elect, are selected in the end of the Gospel Age, as it laps into the Millennial Age, after the opportunity to enter the High Calling for the Divine nature and joint-heirship with Christ is closed. "The fulness of the Gentiles" (Rom. 11:25), i.e., the full number of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:4; 14:1) that make up the Little Flock, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, having come in with the end of the reaping of the present Harvest, those who have consecrated since then and are faithful unto death will be rewarded similarly to the Ancient Worthies. This Epiphany-elect class, the "young men" of our text, may therefore properly be called "Youthful Worthies"—not that they are necessarily young in years, for this is not the thought, but rather that they are the "young men," literally "youthfuls," in contrast to the "old men," the "elders" (Ps. 107:32), or "ancients" (Is. 24:23), who were faithful unto death before the High Calling was opened, and "of whom the world was not worthy" (Heb. 11:38). The Youthful Worthies will be associated with the Ancient Worthies in Millennial and Post-Millennial rewards and service.
The Youthful Worthies as a class are pointed out in various Scriptures. E.g., we read in 2 Tim. 2:20 that "in a great house [the great house of the typical Aaron, Lev. 16:6; Num. 17:2, 3; 3:6-9, 17-20, consisted of his sons and the three typical classes of Levites—the Kohathites, Merarites and Gershonites; accordingly, in the great House of our Great High
Priest, there are four classes antitypical of these] there are not only vessels of gold [the Little Flock, Mal. 3:3], and of silver [the Great Company, Mal. 3:3], but also of wood [the Ancient Worthies] and of earth [the Youthful Worthies, who with the Ancient Worthies will be, during the Millennium, the human or earthly members of the antitypical Aaron's House, as they were or are of the human nature also before the Millennium]; and [additionally] some to honor [the faithful Restitutionists, the 'sheep' of Matt. 25:31-40], and some to dishonor [the 'goats' of the next Age, Matt. 25:41-46]."
Ps. 72:3 treats of the Youthful Worthies, in connection with the other three classes of God's elect, through whom the non-elect will receive their Millennial blessings: "The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness." This entire Psalm describes the Millennial reign of Christ, implying that symbolic Jerusalem will be the seat of government (v. 16). Literal Jerusalem was built upon two mountains, Zion and Moriah, and upon two hills, Akra and Bezetha. Zion and Moriah represent respectively the heavenly and the earthly phases of the Kingdom (see v. 16, "top of the mountains"). Akra and Bezetha represent the tributary (subordinate) powers of the Kingdom, i.e., the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies (see Berean Comments on the word "hills"). As Moriah was the first height of literal Jerusalem to be built by the Israelites, so the Ancient Worthies were the first part of the Kingdom to be developed. And as Zion was the second height of this city to be built by the Israelites, so the Little Flock was the second part of the Kingdom to be developed. As the hill Akra, one of "the little hills," was the third height of Jerusalem to be built by the Israelites, so the Great Company is the third class among the powers (a subordinate power) of the Kingdom to be developed. And as the hill Bezetha was the fourth and last height of
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Jerusalem to be built by the Israelites, so the Youthful Worthies are the last one of the powers (the other hill, or subordinate power) of the Kingdom to be developed. The world of mankind are symbolized by the valley sections of literal Jerusalem. Thus Ps. 72:3 indicates how Jehovah will during the Millennium bless the world of mankind with peace and prosperity through the two mountains (the Little Flock and the Ancient Worthies) and the two hills, the two subordinate powers of the Kingdom (the Great Company and the Youthful Worthies).
Num. 3:6-8; 1:49-54; 3:23, 29, 35, 40-51; Heb. 12:23, prove that the three groups of Levites, as types of the Millennial Levites, together with Aaron's family, type the Church of the Millennial firstborns, as Jehovah's servants in a particular sense. The priests represent the Little Flock; and from the standpoint of the Millennial Levites the Kohathites represent the Ancient Worthies; the Merarites, the Great Company; and the Gershonites, the Youthful Worthies. The typical Gershonites were counted in as a part of the firstborns (Num. 3:12-17, 45) and were therefore separated (Num. 1:49-53) from the Israelites in general for the service of the tabernacle, to which the Israelites were not allowed to come nigh for service (v. 51). Thus we see that the Youthful Worthies, together with the antitypical Kohathites (the Ancient Worthies) and the antitypical Merarites (the Great Company), are given to antitypical Aaron (Jesus) and His sons (the Little Flock) for the service of the antitypical Tabernacle—the Christ—and of the people—the world of mankind (Num. 3:6-9). And as all three classes of the Levites in the type were given special locations about the tabernacle (Num. 3:23, 29, 35), separate and distinct from the Israelites in general, who encamped in their twelve tribal groups at a greater distance from the tabernacle, so these three classes of antitypical Levites are given an inheritance
separate and distinct from the world of mankind, the Restitutionists, who are typed by the "Israelites" in their twelve encampments.
The Youthful Worthies are symbolized also by the box tree in Is. 60:13: "The glory of Lebanon [Lebanon means white; its evergreen trees, the glory of Lebanon, represent the righteous as antitypical Levites, Ps. 92:12, 13] shall come unto thee [the antitypical Levites will be brought to the Christ, Head and Body, Num. 3:6-9], the fir tree [Ancient Worthies], the pine tree [Great Company] and the box [Youthful Worthies] together [rendering a co-operative service], to beautify the place of my sanctuary [God's residence, or sanctuary, with mankind, to be established in the Millennial Age—Rev. 21:3]; and I will make the place of my feet ["the earth is my footstool"—Is. 66:1] glorious" ("all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD"—Num. 14:21). Thus the Youthful Worthies will have a share in "the resurrection of the just" (Luke 14:14; Acts 24:15) with the Little Flock, Great Company and Ancient Worthies and will enjoy perfection of human nature in the "better resurrection" with the Ancient Worthies (Heb. 11:35); also, they will be the Ancient Worthies' special assistants in helping to "beautify the place of God's earthly sanctuary" with the restored world of mankind. Other Scriptures also treat of the Youthful Worthies—the "young men" of our text. Please see E Vol. 4, Chaps. 5-7, for additional details.
The third of the four classes brought to our attention in v. 28 of our text is called "your sons." We understand that these Millennial-Age sons (referred to also in Is. 60:4) will be the measurably faithful believers of the periods prior to the Millennium. Numbered among them will be those believing Jews who in Old Testament times were not faithful enough for Ancient Worthiship, nor in the Gospel Age faithful
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enough to be transferred from Moses into Christ. They are the seed of Jacob, and as such have a special promise and call from the Lord (Gen. 28:13, 14; Rom. 11:28, 29). The promise is that they shall forever inherit Canaan, and the call is that as a secondary earthly seed, under the Ancient and Youthful Worthies as the primary earthly seed, they "shall bless all the families of the earth." For this purpose God chose Israel, instead of any other nation, to be His people (Amos 3:2). He favored them with special revelations, providences and His Law Covenant to give them the opportunity as a nation to become "a kingdom of priests" (Ex. 19:5, 6), and to furnish a practical demonstration of the truth that none of Adam's fallen, imperfect race can fulfill God's Law, which is the full measure of a perfect man's ability, and gain life by obedience to the Law (Rom. 3:9, 19, 20; Gal. 3:10-12). Many of them tried hard, but failed to keep the Law perfectly. This wrought in them the sense of the need of, and the desire for, a Savior from its sentence (Gal. 3:21-24, 13). God also used them to furnish by their Acts and institutions types of future features of His Plan (Heb. 9:9, 10; 10:1; Col. 2:16, 17), and to preserve His oracles, which He deposited in their care (Rom. 3:2). While some individuals among them, though not perfect, proved faithful, and thus became of the Ancient Worthies, the people as a whole were wayward (Rom. 10:21); and when Christ came, though some individuals among them proved to be "Israelites indeed," and as such inherited the promise of becoming a Kingdom of Priests, the bulk of them rejected Him (John 1:11-13, 47; Rom. 2:28, 29; 1 Pet. 2:9). Therefore they were rejected from God's favor until the end of the Gospel Age (Matt. 23:34-39; Rom. 11:7-11, 25); and throughout this Age instead of favoring them God has permitted them to suffer such untold miseries as perhaps no other single nation has suffered (Jer. 16:13, 17, 18).
True to the prophecy, with individual exceptions, they have been blinded to the High Calling of the Gospel Age, and in darkness and error with respect to Christ and the Church have passed through this Age far away from the favor of God (Rom. 11:30-32; Jer. 16:11-13). However, the Bible prophesies their return to God's favor and to their land at the end of this Age (Rom. 11:25-32; Is. 11:10-13; Jer. 16:14-16; Ezek. 36:24, 28-30, 33-36; 37:15-22, 25; Amos 9:14, 15). Before our eyes these prophecies are fulfilling; for since the year 1878 Israel's blindness and prejudice toward Christ are passing away; and God has since 1878 opened the way for their return to Palestine. An ever-increasing number of them have availed themselves of the opportunity of returning thither, especially since the close of the World-War, Phases I and II, and even more especially since their establishment as the nation of Israel. They are now receiving civil rights there that give them advantages not enjoyed by them in Palestine since the overthrow of their polity, 66-73 A.D. These events are the precursors of the Millennium (Ezek. 37:21-25). According to the Scriptures, another wave of woe is to overflow Israel, but Christ will thereafter appear as their Deliverer; and Israel as a nation will be converted to Him by the Great Company's ministry (Ezek. 38; 39; Zech. 12:2-14; Rev. 1:7; Cant. 5:8—6:1). Shortly thereafter the Ancient Worthies will return from the tomb and will be accepted in Palestine by Israel, who will by the preaching of the Great Company have been prepared for the return of their ancestral patriarchs and prophets. Thenceforth Israel will be a blessing in the earth (Is. 19:24). God will make with them the New Covenant, giving them Christ Jesus and His Bride as their Mediator, and taking away from them the Old Covenant with its curses, and Moses as its unavailing mediator (Jer. 31:31-33; Ezek. 16:60-63; 37:26). Their gratitude at their deliverance will cause them to be especially zealous for God and His
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Truth. As the missionaries of the next Age they will, under the lead of the Ancient and Youthful Worthies, by preaching ("your sons shall … prophesy") convert the world to the Kingdom of God (Ps. 107:22; Joel 2:28; Rom. 11:12-15).
Thus they who have been so greatly despised during the Gospel Age will, because they are "beloved for the fathers' sakes," become greatly favored during the Millennium as the chief nation on earth. Their Jewish-Age and Gospel-Age experiences, combined with their efforts to fulfill the Law of God, will all the more inure to their becoming subject to the Kingdom arrangements, through which, as they continue to obey, they will be lifted up to the perfection of human nature as father Adam enjoyed it in the beginning. As many of them as will prove true to the Lord during the trial in the "little season" at the Millennium's end (Rev. 20:7-9) will inherit the land that God promised Abraham and his seed after him (Gen. 13:14-17; Acts 7:5); but during the Millennium this land will belong to the Ancient Worthies.
As another part of the class represented in the "sons" we have the persevering faith-justified of the Gospel Age. These are the Gentiles (and some Jews) who during the Gospel Age have recognized themselves as sinners, at enmity with God. Repenting of their sins and accepting Jesus as their Savior, they have attained to justification by faith and peace with God (Rom. 5:1); but instead of using their justification as a stepping stone for access into a higher standing (Rom. 5:2), into the race for the prize of the high calling (Phil. 3:14) or for Youthful Worthiship, they have stood still. They have not been willing to follow in the Master's footsteps (1 Pet. 2:21), to make a full consecration of themselves to God (Rom. 12:1), to deny their own will selfward (Matt. 16:24) and worldward (Matt. 10:37-39), and to accept God's will as their own (Matt. 26:39; Heb. 10:7).
However, while they have not given themselves to the Lord in consecration, they have nevertheless clung to faith in the Ransom, and continued to practice righteousness to the end. We understand that they also will be numbered among the secondary earthly seed, who under the Ancient and Youthful Worthies as the primary earthly seed will bless all the families of the earth, converting them to the Kingdom of God.
The sixth and last of the saved classes of whom Joel 2:28, 29 treats is those who are there called "your daughters" (Is. 60:4). As we contrast the daughters of Is. 60:4 with the sons of Is. 60:4, 9 (in the latter of which verses Britain's ["the isles"] instrumentality in helping Israel return to Palestine, especially at the close of World War Phase I, is prophesied) we recognize that the Gentiles are meant by the term "daughters" (see also Ezek. 16:61). Israel's superiority to the Gentiles during the Millennium is, from the standpoint of the superiority of sons to daughters in oriental lands, also in harmony with the thought that the daughters represent Gentiles. By the Gentiles such nations as are not in covenant relationship with God are meant.
However, those Israelites who either during the Jewish Age or the Gospel Age apostatized by giving up faith in the Abrahamic promises and in the Law Covenant will not receive the special Millennial favors of Israel just described above. They will be treated as Gentiles during the Millennium; for their apostasy made them practical, if not fleshly, Gentiles. Hence all who are not of Fleshly or Spiritual Israel (Is. 8:14) are from the Divine standpoint Gentiles.
The human race from the Fall until the Covenant was made with Abraham (Gen. 12:1-3) was entirely Gentile. Because the Gentiles did not desire to glorify God as God, He gave them up to their own ways, which, as both the Bible and history attest, have been
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largely evil (Rom. 1:21-32). Satan and the fallen angels deceived them into false religious worship and beliefs and into wicked practices (1 Cor. 10:20; Eph. 2:2). Hence the history of the nations consists in large part of degrading events, religions, institutions and pursuits. Intrigues, revolutions, wars and plunder largely characterize national histories; while violence, brutality, dishonesty, immorality and selfishness largely characterize the history of man's social relations. Mighty empires have arisen only to fall before still mightier empires. More or less of ignorance, vice and superstition, like a withering pall, has descended upon the Gentile world. These remarks apply as well to the period before, as to the period since Christ. And where intelligence has been the greatest, evil has frequently attained the largest proportions, as was manifest in the palmy days of the Roman Empire and in the late war.
In permitting the Gentiles to take their own course in an experience with evil, Jehovah designed that the Gentile world, that refused to retain Him in its knowledge, might by experience learn the lesson that it would not learn by precept—that sin is bad—bad in its nature and bad in its effects, and therefore should be hated and shunned as a rattle-snake. Therefore to their better learning of this lesson, He simply let them follow the desires of their own selfish hearts. Moreover, He permitted Satan and his fallen angels to secure dominion over them (Eph. 2:2; 6:12), knowing that these would give them such experiences (2 Cor. 4:4; Heb. 2:14) as would make all the more impressive the detestableness of sin and the desirability of avoiding and of being free from it, by the great sufferings and deceptions into which these evil angels would involve the human family under their dominion. True, this lesson has not yet been taken to heart by the Gentiles; but when, during the Millennium, the opposite experience with righteousness will come to man through the blessings of the reign of the Christ, the
contrast of the misery suffered under the experience with evil with the blessings enjoyed under the experience with good will effectually teach them to hate and avoid sin, and to love and practice righteousness. When this glorious result shall be attained, God's having permitted the fallen race to have had the bitter experience of over 6000 years of evil will become manifest to all as being the acme of Divine Wisdom, justice and Love for the ultimate good of the race.
According to the Scriptures, the climax of evil is reached in the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21; Dan. 12:1), consisting of world-wide war, revolution, anarchy, famines and pestilences. We understand that we have with the beginning of the World War in 1914 entered this Great Tribulation. It will entirely sweep away Satan's empire over the race, and pave the way for the establishment of God's Kingdom. This, as we have already seen, will first be set into operation by the Christ at the hands of the Ancient Worthies in Palestine, where it will speedily greatly benefit the Israelites. Then the news of its establishment will spread among the Gentiles, who at that time will be utterly exhausted, broken and humbled by the horrors of the Great Tribulation. It will be to them like a rope thrown to a drowning man—the Gentile world will grasp for it as their only hope of deliverance from their unspeakable and indescribable miseries (Hag. 2:6, 7; Rom. 8:19-22; Is. 2:3, 4). And, bless God, it will be the effectual cure of the curse, and will teach the world righteousness (Rev. 22:3; Is. 26:9)!
Then they will rejoice, when after the storm of the Tribulation they will come into their desired haven (Ps. 107:22-32). They will indeed "exalt him [God] in the congregation of the people [the Little Flock] and praise him in the assembly of the elders [the Ancient Worthies]." The glorious work of that Kingdom in destroying every element of the curse, and in introducing restitution—to human perfection will more than satisfy their hearts (Rev. 21:3-5; 22:1-3; Acts
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3:19-24), and prompt them to praise God by spreading His Word (Is. 25:6-9; Joel' 2:28). Yea, "your daughters shall prophesy"—teach others the truths of God's Kingdom. Obedience to the Kingdom's laws will raise them to human perfection, and faithfulness in the final trial at the Millennium's end (Rev. 20:7-9) will result in their gaining everlasting life on earth; while the incorrigible will be eternally cut off in the Second Death (Matt. 25:34, 41, 46; Rom. 6:23; Ps. 145:20; Is. 1:28; Ps. 37:10, 35, 36).
Certainly Joel 2:28, 29 is a remarkable summary of these six saved classes. It does not give us the details on them. Rather, in harmony with a general principle of the Bible, it gives us only a little about them; for the Bible expressly teaches that it gives its information "here a little, and there a little" (Is. 28:9, 10, 13). It is for this reason that in giving the details on any Biblical subject it is necessary to quote what it says on that subject from "here a little" and from "there a little" throughout the Bible. Hence we have in this treatise, for example, quoted from many different Biblical books. It is for this reason that the Bible is the most difficult book in all the world to understand. God has designedly made it so, in order that its treasures may be found by those only who so appreciate them as to be willing to search diligently for them, as men search for gold and hidden treasures (Prov. 2:1-5; Is. 28:9, 10; Matt. 7:7; John 5:39; Acts 17:10-12). It is indeed true that "Great truths are dearly bought."
THE REPENTANT FALLEN ANGELS
The fact that only six saved classes are mentioned in Joel 2:28, 29 may strike some as being incomplete, since many things in the Divine arrangement come in sevens. But as we consider the matter further, we realize that while there are only six saved classes from the human family, as mentioned in Joel 2:28, 29, there is another, a seventh saved class, mentioned in other Scriptures, viz., the repentant fallen angels. God will also grant the opportunity of life eternal to them. The
fact that they are mentioned in the Scriptures as being bound in chains of darkness (2 Pet. 2:4) is in a measure due to the depravity of the Adamic sin in the antediluvians that occasioned their fall. Since Satan originated sin among all fallen beings, he originated sin also in the fallen angels, who were induced by him to marry the daughters of men, while seeking to reform the race (Gen. 6:2-4). Their ardently seeking, as its powers of spiritual control, the reformation of the race, gave Satan the opportunity to tempt them to marry the daughters of men. Their ill success at such reformation had a discouraging effect on them.
While in this state of mind Satan told them that they were leaving out of sight the real root of the antediluvians' increasing sin—hereditary depravity, whose only cure was the propagation of children free of Adamic depravity. This they could bring about by materializing human bodies, and in them marrying women and propagating a race that would inherit their perfection and thus secure the reformation of the race, and also by allowing no Adamites to become fathers. Some, not all, of these powers of spiritual control in the world that was, were deceived into carrying out Satan's suggestion and, by doing this unauthorized thing, fell into sin. Thus their deception was occasioned in part by the prevalence of Adamic depravity and their desire to overcome it; and since Christ's merit is an offset not only to Adam's original sin, but also to all sins resulting from the transmitted Adamic depravity, it takes care of that part of the fallen angels' sin due to that depravity. Therefore, the Bible teaches that the merit of Jesus' blood covers that part of the fallen angels' sins that resulted from the Adamic depravity in the race; and, accordingly, God gives them an opportunity for reconciliation through Jesus (Col. 1:20).
The fact that our Lord by His ministry, death and resurrection, preached to them, also implies such an
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opportunity (1 Pet. 3:18-20). Their being kept for the judgment of the great Day proves the same thing (Jude 6; 2 Pet. 2:4). The fact that the saints will judge them (test, try them) is in harmony with the same thought (1 Cor. 6:3). They are "the things in heaven" that in the next Age are to be given an opportunity of being made one in Christ (Eph. 1:10; Phil. 2:10). This is also implied in the fact that the Church's earthly example and preaching is for their enlightenment (Eph. 3:8-10; 1 Cor. 4:9). Jesus' death and resurrection being for the purpose of qualifying Him to be the ruler over fallen angels and men (Rom. 14:9) implies that they are to have such an opportunity. Thus, all these passages imply and teach that an opportunity to demonstrate their desire to return to harmony and fellowship with God will be given the penitent fallen angels. In the Gospel Age they have been undergoing a test as to whether they desire to return to harmony and fellowship with God. What they have learned from the teachings and example of Jesus and the Church has given some of them the hope of such a restoration. They have likewise learned from these that if they are to have such an opportunity they must separate themselves from Satan and his works. Some of them have been acting accordingly, doubtless amid great difficulties incidental to the opposition of the impenitent angels.
The Scriptures assure us that during the time of our Lord's appearing, i.e., His Epiphany, the crisis of their trial goes on (2 Tim. 4:1); for fallen angels and new creatures, never sentenced to death, are "the living" who at His appearing, i.e., in the Epiphany, are separated as a result of their judgment crises.
By the end of the Epiphany the fallen angels will be divided into two classes: (1) the repentant, and (2) the unrepentant. The latter will thereupon be sentenced to destruction with Satan, imprisoned with him and finally executed of the end of the "little season" (Rev. 20:3, 9). The former will at the end of the
Epiphany be placed under Christ and the Church for their Millennial opportunities of overcoming everything sinful in them and of developing perfect love, fitting them for the heavenly society and for fellowship with God. Thus seen, their Gospel-Age opportunities are for their rescue from co-operation with Satan in evil; and their Millennial-Age opportunities are for their fitting unto eternal life. Those who fail in the crises of their Gospel-Age test, i.e., who, during the Epiphany do not separate themselves from the evil angels, will not be given the Millennial opportunities of a return to fellowship with God; but will as irreformable and fully wilful sinners be sentenced to destruction before the others enter on their final probation. The details of the reformatory methods that Christ and the Church will apply for their full reinstatement into God's fellowship are not revealed to us. All we know of them is that Christ and the Church will reign over them for the purpose of effecting their complete reunion with God. When they are reinstated, they also, together with all other creatures in heaven and earth, will join in saying, "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever" (Rev. 5:13).