Question: Will the conversion of Israel to Christ take place before or after the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies?
Answer: The resurrection of the Ancient Worthies cannot take place until the sprinkling of the blood of the antitypical Goat. At that time, the human merit of Christ will be available to be applied on behalf of the world of mankind, including the Ancient Worthies. The Ancient Worthies, who will receive a better resurrection (Hebrews 11: 35), will be among the first to come back from the grave. The sprinkling of the blood of the antitypical Goat will also be the event that will indicate the change from the Transitional or Epiphany Setting to the Millennial-Age Setting in the Tabernacle Picture.
The question now becomes, Will the conversion of Israel to Christ take place in the Transitional or Epiphany Setting or in the Millennial-Age Setting in the Tabernacle Picture? Bro. Paul S.L. Johnson writes about the ten purposes of the Gospel Age in E. Volume 16, The Chart of God’s Plan, pp. 99-131. He writes “The tenth and final Divine purpose of the Gospel Age is Israel’s conversion to Christ and return to Palestine as a nation.” He continues, “From the fact that the latter’s conversion occurs in the time of trouble – Jacob’s trouble (Zechariah 12: 9-14) and from the fact that it was to be gradually wrought onward from the time the fulness of the Gentiles probationally would come in – the Spring of 1878 (Romans 11: 25), we infer that Israel’s national conversion is pre-millennial, and therefore a work of the Parousia and Epiphany of our Lord. In 1878 both aspects of the tenth purpose of the Gospel Age – Israel’s conversion to Christ and return to Palestine as a nation – had their beginnings. In April 1878, Delitzch’s Hebrew translation of the New Testament began its work among the Jews, and in June 1878 the Berlin Congress of Nations made Israel’s return to, and favorable conditions in, Palestine a matter of international law. From that time forward new agencies, movements and events have set in, with powerful results toward accomplishing these two ends” (pp. 129, 130).
The reference above was written several decades ago, and since that time further progress has been made pointing to Israel’s conversion to Christ. Apparently much more needs to transpire before Israel is prepared to accept their Messiah, but we are living in a time when events can move at a fast pace. Eventually all the nations will abandon Israel (Jeremiah 4: 30), and several of them will attack her during the time of Jacob’s Trouble, Phase II (Jeremiah 30: 4-8). But our Lord will give them such a miraculous deliverance (Ezekiel 38: 18-39: 29), that as one man they will turn to the Lord (Zechariah 12: 9-14). They will thus be prepared to receive the Ancient Worthies, who will set up the earthly phase of the Kingdom in their midst.