When God Blesses All Peoples

(1) Today many world leaders and others are trying their best to solve man’s problems and bring about better conditions upon this earth. But it seems that no matter where we look, we are constantly confronted with disheartening troubles. Not only do we have our own personal heartaches, but as we watch T.V., listen to the radio, or read the daily newspaper, we are bombarded with the international, national, and local distresses that the world is in. But will man ever find any lasting solutions to the age-old problems of war, sickness, disease, crime, and the more modern problems of pollution and mental breakdown of society? But, of course, man’s greatest enemy is death. For man to completely be ideal, he would need to have continuous hope for the future. Can we ever expect our scientists and doctors to overcome our greatest enemy death?

(2) Only the Bible holds out the true hope for man. There we read about coming blessings for all mankind that will more than counterbalance his present distressful state. The Bible tells us that one night in Judea many years ago, some shepherds were watching their sheep in the fields. But this was no ordinary night, for on this night these shepherds were to see and hear something very unusual. We can read about what happened to them in the Holy Bible, at Luke 2:9-11. There we read that an angel of God appeared to them, and the glory of God “shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them: ‘Be not afraid! For look, I am bringing you good news of great joy which will come to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'”You may recognize this passage as Luke’s record of the birth of Jesus. Thousands of people have thrilled at this story for almost two millennia. Very few, however, have ever grasped the full meaning of the angel’s message that night. How does this good news that the angel gave that night affect you, your family, your neighbors, and all other peoples on earth?

People Need the Good News!

(3) What do the peoples on the earth need to make them happy? The Bible tells us that the whole creation, that is, all mankind, is groaning and travailing in pain, ignorantly waiting for the these promises. Not only is the world waiting in pain, but also those who are truly serving God are also waiting in hope of new and better conditions to come. (Romans 8:19-26) But God hears the groaning cries of His creatures and will bring them to their desired haven. (Psalm 107:26-30) What will be the better conditions to come which all peoples everywhere desire?

God Fulfills Man’s Earnest Desires

(4) One thing that people everywhere desire is to be free of sickness. Can you imagine a world where no one will say “I am sick”? Yet this is part of the promises of the good news contained in the Bible. (Isaiah 33:24) While doctors of today are trying to alleviate some of the suffering of mankind, God has the power and ability to totally eradicate sickness from the earth. And he will do so and much more. Hear the promise as recorded by an apostle of Jesus Christ: “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying: ‘Look! the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there will be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.'” (Revelation 21:3-5) Does this mean that people will actually live and never die? Yes, this is exactly what God has promised. — Isaiah 25:8; Psalm 37:29.

(5) But, someone might say, I would not like to live forever with all of life’s problems that we have upon this earth! There is further good news from the Bible! The prophet Isaiah tells us that when the blessings arrive upon the earth, people will “not work for nothing, nor bring forth children for trouble.” (Isaiah 65:23) Nor will bad people be allowed to destroy these blessings as often happens now. Then “the inhabitants of the earth will learn righteousness.” (Isaiah 26:9) Aren’t these blessings what mankind really wants, what he really yearns for?

(6) But wait, what about war? How will all of these blessings come if man cannot get along with each other? Today man is learning the lessons of war. But when God blessings all mankind, the whole earth will be taught the ways of peace. Isaiah tells us that through the worldwide governmental agencies that will be operating then, all nations will be taught how to be at peace. As a result all wars will cease. The implements of warfare will be destroyed and remolded into instruments of productivity. (Isaiah 2:2-4; See also Psalm 46:8-11; Micah 4:3,4) Picture in your mind a world without soldiers and the destructive weapons of today. Won’t it be a sigh of relief to see these gone?

(7) But there is one more thing. What about our loved ones who have died? Have they missed out on these blessings? No, for Jesus promised that all in the graves will come forth, some to life, some to judgment (Greek, krisis). They will be given an opportunity to partake of these blessings. (John 5:28,29; Isaiah 25:6-9) Wouldn’t you like to see your loved ones alive again, and happy?

How Will These Blessings Come?

(8) Man has been trying for six thousand years to bring about better things upon this earth. But each new invention, each government, each new development, has brought fresh problems resulting in revolutions, insurrections, and dissatisfaction. To illustrate, during the nineteenth century it was generally believed that man would gradually bring about peace and security by new technology and knowledge. But the outbreak of World War I in 1914 brought in a new era of unparalleled insecurity and distrust. As more and more knowledge is gathered and dispersed on secular topics, it has also spread distrust, fear and dissatisfaction, leading to turmoil and worldwide trouble. And, now, it appears, from the standpoint of man alone, that the world is involved in never-ending war with terrorism. These things are foretold in the Bible as marking the time of the end of the kingdoms of this world. (Daniel 12:1,4; 2:44) All such divisions amongst man will be done away with, allowing for peace to finally come. When the kingdoms of this world are finally removed, then God’s own kingdom will fill the whole earth, bringing about the conditions mentioned earlier. This is spoken of as the “good news of the kingdom.” — Matthew 9:35; 24:14.

(9) When will these things occur? We believe in the near future. Prophecies that are now being fulfilled give us reason to believe that God’s kingdom will soon bring peace and security to all the world. Jesus foretold that in the time of his second coming there would be “distress of nations, with perplexity, men’s hearts failing them for fear” (Luke 21:25,26), as they see things “coming upon the face of the earth.” The apostle Paul tells us that the last days would be marked by a great increase of wickedness and selfishness. (2 Timothy 3:1-5,13) Indeed, these very conditions are what we are experiencing in the earth today! Especially with constant threat of terrorists, the nations are becoming more and more distressed, as the cost of fighting terrorism increases, affecting the economies of the nations.

(10) Without a doubt, the nations today, with their nuclear weaponry could completely obliterate all life upon the earth! Likewise, with other methods of warfare, such as germ and gas warfare. If man is permitted to continue in his mad race to self destruction, this could indeed be his doom! How, then, can we expect hope for the future? Because man will not be permitted to destroy himself, neither by nuclear warfare nor by any other means. Jesus said: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever will be. And except those days be shortened, there should be no flesh saved. But for the chosen’s sake, those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:20,21) In other words, Jesus tells us that things will not be allowed to continue to the point that “there should be no flesh saved.” To his followers in this time he said: “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your deliverance is approaching.” — Luke 21:28.

Faith in the Promises

(11) How can a person believe this? How can we know for a certainty that these things will come to pass? How can we be sure that all these promises aren’t nothing more than the passing fantasies of the writers? The Bible describes faith as “the reality of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) What evidence is there that these promises will come true? One of the major evidences we have is fulfilled prophecies. We can build faith in God’s Word if we can see how the prophecies recorded in the Bible have been accurately fulfilled in the past.

(12) To illustrate, let us see how we build faith in everyday occurrences. We generally have faith that tomorrow will come. We make our plans for the next day, next week, next month, and even next year. We have faith that the next day will come, for if we didn’t have that faith, there would be no need to make plans for those days. But there are reasons for having such a faith. One reason we have this faith is because we have seen the cycle of day and night continue each day since our birth. Had we suddenly been placed into our environment fully developed we might have experienced anxiety as we saw the first evening bring darkness, not believing and not knowing that another day would follow. And if someone who had seen the cycles before had told us that another day was coming, we may have hesitated to believe him until we actually saw it for ourselves. But as it is, having seen these cycles, we have confidence in them for the future.

(13) Likewise, it is the same with the Bible. It may be hard to have confidence in the Bible if we have not seen how accurately it has foretold events hundreds, even thousands of years before they occurred. Additionally, many peoples minds have been turned against the Bible as there is an increasing flood of material that would claim that the Bible is untrustworthy, self-contradictory, etc. Nevertheless, through a careful examination of fulfilled prophecies, verified by history books, we will gain confidence in God’s promises, as we will eventually realize that “God … cannot lie.” (Titus 1:2) While there are other sources of prophecy, many of the prophecies from these sources do not come true, whereas not one of the one of God’s words have failed, nor will they fail in the future. — Joshua 23:14.

(14) The Bible alone shows us what will be the outcome of the present unrest, selfishness and dissatisfaction. The Bible tells that those who think they can bring in the Messianic blessings by carnal weapons are deluding themselves; they have, instead, brought upon themselves, the poor as well as upon the rich, the great and awful trouble which the Scriptures foretold “a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.” (Daniel 12:1) Jesus quoted this passage and added to it the words: “No, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:21) Thank God! that this great, awful “time of trouble,” in which every man’s hand will eventually be against his neighbor and against his brother, will not last. (Ezekiel 18:21; Haggai 2:22) What do the scriptures say to one today who desires to do God’s will? “Seek righteousness, seek meekness. It may be that you will be hidden in the day of Yahweh’s anger.” And we can only find righteousness by putting faith in and obeying Jesus as our Lord and Savior. — Zephaniah 2:3; Romans 3:10-13,23; 5:1,8,9; 10:9; John 3:16; 15:14; 17:3; 1 John 3:23,24.

We hope you will read some of the other Bible studies of Restoration Light Bible Study Services. God willing, we hope to present studies of many of the prophecies of the Bible that may enable one to see and understand, if willing to do so. For those with a hearing ear, through the holy spirit one can know that the Bible is truly the “word of God”. (1 Thessalonians 2:13) We can have reason to believe that God used men to write the words of the Bible, but their writing was done under the direction of God’s holy spirit. You will “know that every prophecy of Scripture did not come into being of its own interpretation, for prophecy was not at any time borne by the will of man, but being borne along by the holy spirit, holy men of God spoke.” — 2 Peter 1:20,21.

Jude and the Book of Enoch

In the epistle of Jude we find the following statement:

Jude 1:14 To these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, Jude 1:15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

According to many, this is a direct quote from the “Book of Enoch”, and from this many argue that we should accept the entire “Book of Enoch” as part of the Bible “canon”. Thus, it is claimed that the “Book of Enoch” is one of the so-called “Lost Books of the Bible”. But is this really true? Is the “Book of Enoch”, overall, inspired of God, or is it a spurious book of Jewish fables that does not belong as part of God’s Word?

We do find in the “Book of Enoch” the statement: “And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones To execute judgement upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works of their ungodliness which they have ungodly committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (1 Enoch 1:9) This is almost the same that we read in to Jude 1:14,15. Evidently, at least this part of the Book of Enoch contains the true words of Enoch; it does not follow that the entire Book of Enoch, as we have it, is true.

The Ethiopic Book of Enoch (also referred to as Enoch I), as we have it, was probably assembled in present form *after* Jude wrote his letter. As far as we have been able to determine, no Septuagint Version of the Bible has the “Book of Enoch”. Evidently, Much of this book reflects later apostate Jewish teachings adopted and adapted from Hellenistic mythology, and not the Bible. Obviously, the Book of Enoch was not written by the real Enoch who lived and died before the flood. The book tells of Enoch’s allegedly speaking with God and angels, and of events related to the days of Noah and the flood, etc. Evidently, the writer of the book allegedly received these messages from Enoch, who, according to this tradition, instead of being actually dead, was taken by God to heaven (the scriptures never say anything about Enoch going to heaven.). In reality, — God took Enoch, translated him into the realm of death without his seeing, experiencing, the process of dying (Hebrews 11:5,13) — and, thus having died (Hebrews 11:13), he was not able to say anything to anyone.** (Ecclesiastes 9:10) Therefore, Enoch could not have possibly revealed to anyone anything from the oblivious realm of death in which condition one cannot praise or give thanks to Yahweh. (Psalm 6:5; Isaiah 38:18) Rather than seeking messages from the dead, we should go to the Law (The Old Testament) and the Testimony (of the New Testament), that which God has revealed through his holy spirit. (Isaiah 8:19,20; see also Leviticus 20:6; 1 Chronicles 10:13) While Jude was evidently quoting Enoch from some source, it does not follow that he necessarily quoted from the “Book of Enoch” as we now have it.
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* See:
Is Enoch Still Alive?
** See:
Life Now and Hereafter

The “Book of Enoch” appears to have been written by different authors, possibly from the time period extending from about 168 BC to about 200 AD. It is an assembled collection of extravagant, unhistorical, Hellenistic-Jewish mythology, evidently the product of exegetical elaborations on the brief Genesis reference to Enoch. Neither Enoch nor Raphael are said to come in the name of Yahweh, or to speak for Yahweh, which leads me to think that if there was a revelation from some spirits, that these spirits were actually demons appearing as “angels of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14,15), and not the loyal angels of God. If one should do a search on the internet, one can see that this book has great appeal to occultists, angel-worshipers, witches, etc.

Nevertheless, much of the “Book of Enoch” repeats, although often with different words, much of the prophecies given by various prophets in the Bible. Of course, many non-canonical books do this same thing.

Evidently the words recorded in 1 Enoch 1:9 are Enoch’s words, and indeed could have come from some ancient writings of Enoch that we no longer have. Jude could have quoted from that same source. Or it could be that the author of the earlier part of the Book of Enoch, believed by some to have been written, or at least assembled into its present form, toward the end of or after the first century AD, in making a collection of sayings traditionally attributed to Enoch, simply quoted from Jude.

Furthermore, the Book of Enoch contains much that gives evidence of Hellenistic mythological influence, such as the description of Hades. Except for Jesus’ parabolic parody of the Pharisees (these Pharisees evidently had adapted the Hellenistic philosophy concerning hades), there is nothing in the Bible that speaks of sheol/hades in the terms described in the Book of Enoch. This description directly contradicts the Bible’s description in Ecclesiastes 9:10, and elsewhere.
See the studies:
Hades/Sheol in the Bible

Luke 7:18-28 – The Disappointed Prophet’s Wise Course

LUKE 7:18-28
(World English used throughout, unless otherwise stated.)

“He has done all things well.” — Mark 7:37.

WHILE Jesus was performing many miracles, making numerous disciples, and meeting with comparatively little opposition, things were going very differently with his cousin, John the Baptizer. Yet this was only in accordance with what John himself had prophesied, saying, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) John was in prison, about 120 miles from where Jesus was laboring so successfully. (Matthew 14:7) To be shut up in a dark dungeon of the kind usual at that time, and to have our Lord proceeding with his work, and raising no voice of protest on his behalf, and exercising none of his mighty power for his deliverance, probably seemed very strange to John — especially in view of his expectations respecting the work of the Messiah — that he would be a great earthly general and king, in harmony with the general Jewish expectations.

Luke 7:19 John, calling to himself two of his disciples, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are you he who comes, or should we look for another?”
Luke 7:20 When the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptizer has sent us to you, saying, ‘Are you he who comes, or should we look for another?'”

We see how readily John might have permitted doubts and fears to enter his mind. He evidently had become doubtful of God’s providential dealings in the past and felt disappointed in heart and hope for the present and for the future; but notwithstanding the great disappointment he felt, his faith continued its firm hold upon Yahweh. This is indicated in his sending of his disciples to Jesus, to make inquiry, and also in the character of the inquiry. He does not say, Is this whole matter a farce, and are we deluded? On the contrary, his question was a sound one, and expressed the conviction that thus far Yahweh had been leading, and yet, due to his circumstance, he may have had some doubts concerning himself as a prophet, and that his cousin was actually the promised Messiah. (Luke 7:19) There is no evidence that John the Baptizer understood that Jesus’ coming at that time was not to restore the kingdom to Israel, but rather to offer himself in sacrifice for the world of mankind.* Much concerning the kingdom was not revealed until after Jesus died, and the holy spirit was sent to the disciples as the spirit of truth. (John 7:39; 16:13) The spirit of truth led the apostles into all the truths concerning Christ and what he said, and thereby the faith was delivered to the saints. (John 14:26; 16:4-13; Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:5; 2 Timothy 2:2; Jude 1:3) John would therefore not have understood that the restoration of all things would be some time in the future. (Acts 3:21-23) Thus, John’s expectations were probably similar those disciples as recorded in Acts 1:6. Seeing himself in prison, and not seeing Jesus restoring the kingdom as expected, John would surely be puzzled concerning this, and would begin to wonder if perhaps something was not wrong, and thus he would have felt the need of reassurance from Jesus.
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*See our study:
The Restoration of All Things

Luke 7:21 In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits; and to many who were blind he gave sight.
Luke 7:22 Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John the things which you have seen and heard: that the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
Luke 7:23 Blessed is he who is not offended by me.”
Luke 7:24 When John’s messengers had departed, he began to tell the multitudes about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
Luke 7:25 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are gorgeously dressed, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.

Our Lord, it will be noticed, did not answer John’s question directly, but he did give John to understand distinctly that the work he was then doing was the very work which had been foretold in the prophets, and the proper thing to be done at that time. While John’s messengers were with Jesus a number of miracles were performed in their sight, and Jesus sent them back to John with instructions that they bear witness to him of the work of Yahweh progressing in his hands, and to say to John that while the opportunities to stumble at Jesus, his work and his words, were many, and while many would stumble at these, as the prophet had declared (Isaiah 8:14), yet a special blessing would rest upon all who would not stumble, but whose faith in the Messiah would continue, despite various disappointments of expectation respecting his work and their fulfillments — through misapprehension of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine plan, which, as the heavens are higher than the earth, were higher than human conception could have foreseen. For instance, what Jew could have thought for a moment of the still higher than Jewish expectations of the Kingdom — of the spiritual Kingdom-class to be selected first before the establishment of the earthly kingdom, and to be sharers with Messiah in his glory, honor and immortality?

All of Yahweh’s faithful servants need to remember the same lessons which were thus forcefully impressed upon John: they need to remember that when sometimes matters turn out very differently with themselves than what they had expected, when they receive injuries, reproaches and oppression, as the rewards of faithfulness to duty and to truth, it does not mean that God has forgotten them, nor that they were misled in their previous service to Yahweh; nor does it mean that Yahweh has changed his plan; nor that he is careless or indifferent respecting their condition. True, their first thought should be whether or not present unfavorable conditions are in the nature of chastisements or the results of any misdoings on their part, or failures to serve Yahweh in his own way, but if they find their course to be harmonious with the divine will and Word they should at once rest their faith upon Yahweh, and conclude that God knows better than they how to manage his own work. Then while thankful to be used in that work for a time they should nevertheless be pleased, if it were Yahweh’s will, to be set aside for a time — perhaps for the good of others, or perhaps for their own training in the school of experience, and in the learning of lessons of patience and of faith.

But such a resting in Yahweh, such a centering of life in him, can be enjoyed only by those who have made considerable progress, who have run a considerable distance in the way of Yahweh, and who have already been exercised under Yahweh’s providences, and have learned many lessons in his school. This, however, is the condition which all of the Messiah’s true followers are to strive to attain, as the only one thoroughly pleasing to Yahweh. The proper course of all God’s servants when perplexed is the one followed by John, namely, to go to Yahweh through Jesus with the perplexity — not doubtingly, but inquiringly — and be set at rest by his Word. We may not be able to hear Yahweh’s words with our own ears, but we can receive it second hand as did John, — through the testimonies of the apostles and prophets, by whose writings God has provided in advance replies to all proper queries.

The question arises, was John imprisoned on account of officiousness — on account of trying to mind Herod’s business? Or was he imprisoned because of his faithfulness in the discharge of that duty? Was it right or was it wrong for him to reprove the king, and to say to him that it was not lawful for him to take as his wife his brother Philip’s wife? There is no question that Herod was in the wrong, and that John’s expression on the subject was a correct one, and that Herod was living in adultery, but the question is, Was this any of John’s business? Did he need to meddle with the king’s affairs, and thus get himself into trouble? And if it was John’s duty to reprove Herod on this subject, was it not the duty of our Lord Jesus to have done the same, and in addition to have uttered a protest against the imprisonment of John, and in general to have raised a great hubbub over the injustice being done by the wicked ruler? And if John was right in this matter was our Lord Jesus wrong in not following the same course? Or if Jesus was right in not following John’s course in reproving Herod, does it prove that John erred in giving the reproof?

We answer that our Lord’s conduct is certainly to be considered as above reproach, since in him was no sin (1 John 3:5), neither was lying deceit found in his mouth (1 Peter 2:22); but this does not prove sin on John’s part in following a different course. We are to remember that in many respects John and his ministry differed widely from our Lord and his ministry. For instance, the uncouth skin-girdle which John wore was very different from the seamless robe which the Lord wore; and the Scriptures call attention to the fact that John lived a very abstemious life, “neither eating nor drinking” (Luke 7:33) ordinary food, but practicing a continual fasting or self-denial as respects these comforts, while our Lord Jesus came “both eating and drinking” (Luke 7:34), and he attended wedding feasts, and banquets made in his honor. (Luke 5:29; 7:36; 11:37; 14:1; John 2:1,2) The lesson is that these grand characters each fulfilled his own mission, according to the divine arrangement, but that they had different missions. John’s mission was toward preaching repentance toward Yahweh respecting the Law Covenant given by Moses, for we read that the Law and the Prophets were until John the Baptizer. (Luke 16:16) Thus, he was pre-eminently that of a reprover and reformer, and we are to understand that as a prophet he was supernaturally guided in respect to the various features of the course which he took. Our Lord’s mission, on the contrary, was a different one; he was gathering to himself those whom John’s ministry served to arouse to righteousness and to zeal to know and do Yahweh’s will regarding the grace to be given through Jesus’ sacrifice. — John 1:17.

At the same, we should not overlook the preaching of repentance toward Yahweh (Acts 20:21; Hebrews 6:1), but not based on the Law as John preached, but on grace. This is another subject in itself, and we will leave this for another time.

JOHN MORE THAN A PROPHET

Luke 7:26 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet.
Luke 7:27 This is he of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, Who will prepare your way before you.’
Luke 7:28 “For I tell you, among those who are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptizer, yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.”

The multitude who stood about must have heard the message which John’s disciples brought to Jesus, and no doubt queried within themselves, if not audibly, Is John losing faith in Jesus as the Messiah? If John is a prophet himself, should he not be informed by God on this subject, without sending to inquire of Jesus? Does not this, in connection with the fact that John did no miracles, prove that John was not a prophet, but merely some sort of a reformer, possibly self-appointed? Our Lord seems to have detected such a questioning, and hence, after John’s disciples were gone, so that his words could not be construed as a sop of flattery to hold John’s confidence, he delivered quite a eulogy upon his faithful forerunner. What were they expect in John — a weak, pliable character, easily swayed by every wind of doctrine and fancy, as a reed is easily swayed by the wind? Those who get such an impression respecting his character are deceiving themselves. On the contrary, Jesus declared that he was a prophet, yes, and more than a prophet — he was a special ambassador and messenger of God at that present time, to do an introductory work related to the Kingdom which Jesus was then preaching. John the Baptizer is referred to by Malachi the prophet (Malach 3:1). Indeed, Jesus declared that there has never arisen a greater prophet than John, and yet Jesus said to his audience that the least one in the Kingdom-class is greater than he; since John the Baptist, belonging to the Law and Prophets, did not belong to the Kingdom-class that was being preached. “The law and the prophets were until John” (and thus John was the last of the prophets under the Law Covenant), and since then the Kingdom of heaven is preached, that now whosoever will of this divinely favored nation may press his way and gain an entrance into it, so as to become not only a son of God, but also with the prospect of being a joint-heir with Christ in the Kingdom. (Romans 8:17) Such a prospect was never offered to John the Baptizer, nor to any of the prophets or faithul ones of old. — Matthew 11:13; Luke 16:16; Romans 8:17.

Note in the text the clearness of our Lord’s words respecting the distinction between the new institution which he was founding and the old institution founded by Moses, and which was then coming to an end, giving place to the new. The apostle shows that the call of was extended to the Gentiles during this Gospel age to the prospect of becoming a joint heirship in the Kingdom as members of the Kingdom-class is because those of the Jews ready to receive the Kingdom favor upon Yahweh’s terms were fewer than the pre-determined number. The extension of this call to the Gentiles is to fill the places of those “natural branches” of the Abrahamic stock, by being grafted into and made partakers of the original root of divine favor — the Abrahamic promise — to be members of the seed of Abraham, by means of which all the families of earth shall be blessed with certain favors of knowledge and opportunity. Having this call in this age affords those of this class the opportunity to go one step further to become “joint-heirs” with Christ, and thus becoming not just servants/sons and princes in the Kingdom, but “kings”, and this is evidently what Jesus meant when said the least in the kingdom (those who rule as joint-heirs – kings) would be greater than John the Baptizer, since John was never offered that joint-heirship. — Matthew 11:11; Luke 7:28; compare Romans 11:1-33; Galatians 3:16,29; Revelation 7:1-8.

See our studies:
With What Body Will We Be Raised?
The Manner of the Resurrection

How highly we who belong to the new dispensation should value its privileges and opportunities, and seek to “be more diligent to make [our] calling and election sure.” (2 Peter 1:4-11) Our calling as sons of God does not guarantee one will actually attain a place in the Kingdom-class of joint-heirs, but as Paul stated concerning himself, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) This goal he speaks of in connection with a certain perfection, a perfection that he did not at that time consider himself to have obtained, and thus he, at that time, felt he was still short of the goal of his high calling. (Philippians 3:12) Moses was was spoken of as faithful to God in all his house (Hebrews 3:5); Moses certainly rendered but a reasonable service when he engaged in Yahweh’s work zealously, as did John the Baptist, and both were found faithful; how much more zeal and energy ought we to put forth who have been favored so much more highly! “What manner of persons ought you to be in holy living and godliness!” (2 Peter 3:11) Let us remember that our calling to sonship in this age is for the purpose of attaining joint-heirship with our Lord in the Kingdom, is a very special and a very limited call, that it will soon end, and that so far as the divine revelation shows, it will never be repeated. In view of these things let us lay aside every weight, and run with patience the race set before us in the gospel, looking to Jesus, our pioneer in faith (he was the first human to put on incorruption, having proven himself incorruptible, thereby bringing life and incorruption to light — 1 Corinthians 15:54; 2 Timothy 1:10), until he shall have become the perfector, of our faith. — 2 Corinthians 13:9,11; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; Hebrews 6:1; 12:1.

Adapted from R2620

Revelation 7: The 144,000 and the Twelve Tribes (r-blogger)

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Revelation 7:1 After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree.
Revelation 7:2 I saw another angel ascend from the sunrise, having the seal of the living God. He cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to harm the earth and the sea,
Revelation 7:3 saying, “Don’t harm the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, until we have sealed the bondservants of our God on their foreheads!”
Revelation 7:4 I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel:
Revelation 7:5 Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand,
Revelatio 7:6 Of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand,
Revelation 7:7 Of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand,
Revelation 7:8 Of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. — World English.

It is claimed by many that the twelve tribes of Revelation refer to the natural Jews, the children of Israel. These overlook the symbolism being employed in the verses, and look at the words “tribe” as speaking, not symbolically, but literally, reference to tribes of natural Israel, and thus they claim that the 144,000 are all natural Jews.

However, we need to remember that the visions that John saw are highly symbolic. The four corners of the earth are symbolic; the four winds are symbolic; the earth, sea and trees spoken of are all symbolic. The four angels are also probably symbolic of the influences of the destructive forces that are to come upon the symbolic earth, the sea and the trees.

Additionally, we should note that the twelves tribes that John saw are no where listed as such in the Old Testament. Each tribe listed in Revelation 7, we believe, has symbolic meaning. Revelation 7 and 14 is not speaking of the twelve tribes after the flesh (1 Corinthians 10:18), but rather these tribes are symbolic of the various parts of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-26), the Israel of faith. Those sealed out of the twelve tribes stand [rule as kings] on Mt. Zion in heaven with the Lamb. — Revelation 14:1.

We will note that there are some Bible Students who believe that the number 144,000 is not to be taken literally; that it is only symbolic. We cannot be dogmatic that there will be literally only 144,000 to be sealed out of the twelve tribes, but we believe that, since this is spoken of in relation to two other groups, the twelve tribes and the great multitude, that this number is indeed literal, and yet it is also symbolic.

Nevertheless, Romans 11:25 speaks of the blindness to Israel continuing until the “fullness [Greek, pleroma, plenitude] of the Gentiles has come in.” “Fullness” does not mean that absolutely all Gentiles must be converted before the blindness is removed from Israel. “Fullness” means the full amount related to filling up what is being spoken of; it refers to all that is needed for the purpose being spoken of. In this connection, it is speaking of filling “the election” (Romans 11:7), the symbolic grafting of Gentiles (symbolic wild olive branches) into the symbolic olive tree of God. (Romans 11:17) The olive tree of God does not mean the Law Covenant, as some have assumed. If it were the Law Covenant that the Gentiles were being drafted into, then this would mean that the Gentiles would become cursed with the Jew under the Law. “For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse. For it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who doesn’t continue in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them.'” (Galatians 3:10) Rather, Paul speaks in Galatians 3:16 of the promises spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The covenant made with Abraham is often referred to as the Abrahamic Covenant. The Law Covenant came 430 years later (Galatians 3:17), but does not annul the earlier covenant with Abraham. Jesus claimed this covenant for himself, as he spoke to his disciples: ” I, covenant unto you – as my Father hath covenanted unto me – a kingdom.” (Luke 22:29) From Galatians 3:16, we can see that the covenant that Jesus refers to, and which he extends to his followers, is the covenant as the seed of Abraham. This agrees with what Paul wrote in Galatians 3:29: “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise.” All who belong to Christ are God’s sons, and are thus heirs. (Galatians 3:26) However, not all the heirs as the seed of Abraham become joint-heirs with Christ. It is out of this antitypical twelve tribes that the joint-heirs are sealed. If Romans 11:25 is speaking a limited number, it would have be related, not to the antitypical twelve tribes as a whole, but rather to the sealing of the 144,000 out those twelve tribes. In other words, the purpose of the “election” is to obtain the joint-heirs with Christ; when that purpose is fulfilled, once the 144,000 are sealed, then some time after that the blindness of Israel would be lifted. This would take us into the age to come, after Satan is abyssed so that he will not be able to deceive the heathen. (Revelation 20:1-3) We do not believe that Israel will be enlightened until after Satan — the god of this age — is will no longer be around bring blindness. (2 Corinthians 4:4) Yahweh says concerning Israel in that age to come: “I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish to you an everlasting covenant. Then shall you remember your ways, and be ashamed, when you shall receive your sisters, your elder [sisters] and your younger; and I will give them to you for daughters, but not by your [Law] covenant. I will establish my [new] covenant with you; and you shall know that I am Yahweh; that you may remember, and be confounded, and never open your mouth any more, because of your shame, when I have forgiven you all that you have done, says the Lord Yahweh.” — Ezekiel 16:60-63.

The sealing out of the twelve symbolic tribes is not the same sealing that is spoken of in 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30. All of the sons of God receive the sealing of the holy spirit, the promise related to the day of redemption that is yet to come. All the sons of God are thus heirs of God, and, except for those of the great multitude*, all are of the antitypical twelve tribes of Israel, but not all who make up the twelve tribes become joint-heirs with Christ. One can be a joint-heir with Christ, only “if” indeed one “suffers with him.” (Romans 8:17) The word “suffer” in Romans 8:17 is rendered from the Greek, “Sumpascho,” Strong’s #4841. Three words in Romans 8:17 all begin with forms of the the Greek prefix “Sun,” meaning “jointly with.” The first is usually translated as “joint-heirs,” the second is rendered “suffer with,” and the third is rendered “glorified with.” Nevertheless, in the Greek, Paul lines the three words, using the same prefix for all, evidently to show a parallel in their meanings. All who are led by God’s spirit are sons and heirs of God. However, to become heirs jointly with Christ, one must jointly suffer, in order to be jointly glorified.

And thus, the 144,000 sealed out the twelve tribes are said to stand with Jesus on Mt. Zion. (Revelation 14:1) The typical Mt. Zion came to used representatively of the holy city Jerusalem, the capital of the whole of Israel, especially Moriah and the temple. — Psalm 2:6; 9:11; 74:2; Isaiah 1:8; Joel 2:23.
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*We should note that in the type, the mixed multitude (Exodus 12:13) who came out of Egypt with Israel also blended in with and became counted as part of the twelve tribes; they did not continue to remain separate from the twelve tribes.

Much that we read in the Old Testament is used as shadows, types, of that which was to come. (Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 10:6,11; Galatians 4:24; Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5; Hebrews 9:24; Hebrews 10:1) In the New Testament, we come to the realities — the antitypes — represented by the typical of the Old Testament. Mt. Zion and the New Jerusalem represent the capital of God’s kingdom, as though coming down out of heaven, cut out without hands, to extend its rule over the whole earth. — Daniel 2:34,44,45; Revelation 21:1-5.

Thus seen, while many Bible Students only see two classes in Revelation 7, we see three classes: (1) The twelve tribes (2) those sealed out of the twelve tribes, and (3) the great multitude.

We will also say that most often when Bible Students speak of the “seed of Abraham,” they seem to limit that seed to the 144,000, as they usually do with the word “church.” Many seem to fail to distinguish between the “heirs” and the “joint-heirs.” We might hear someone declare himself or others to be “joint-heirs” with Christ,  evidently without realizing that such a declaration would be the same as saying, “I/We have obtained the perfection — the mark of the prize of the high calling,” or “I have overcome, and can no longer be harmed by the second death.” — Philippians 2:12-14; Revelation 2:11.

Many Bible Students, by tradition, seem to take the view that one is first counted as being of the 144,000 and then, if they fail to retain (rather than obtain or attain) the prize, then they become of the “great company” class, and thus lose the prize they once had. (Philippians 3:11-14) This, we believe, is almost the opposite of what the scriptures actually say.

Our conclusions is that, in general, throughout the gospel age, those who believe are first placed in the general “Israel” class, as being of one of the symbolic twelve tribes, and then, if he “attains” the mark of the prize, he becomes of the 144,000 joint-heirs. The “great company” class, we believe, are those who consecrate as what Brother Russell called those who ‘consecrate between the ages‘*, and thus they are pictured as coming “out of” the great tribulation, entering into the age to come when Satan will have been abyssed.

Brother Russell assumed that those consecrating between the ages would not be spirit-begotten, since he still retained the idea that spirit-begotten meant that one had sacrificed his humanity, and had become begotten to the spiritual body in the resurrection. We disagree with Russell’s understanding of what it means to be spirit-begotten, since, among other things, the scriptures state that Jesus was begotten of the spirit when he became flesh, a human, not a spirit being. — Matthew 1:20; See our study: “Born of the Spirit“..

The claim of many is that when one is spirit-begotten, he is no longer on the earthly plane, but, as a new creation, he is a son of God on the heavenly plane of life. Actually, the expression “spirit-begotten” does not appear in the scriptures, but we do find the expression “born of spirit”, which can also be rendered “begotten of the spirit”. We also find the expressions “born of water” and “born again (anew)”. (John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:3) Does being “born of the spirit” mean that one is born/begotten to the level of being a spirit being? If so, does being born of water mean that one is born/begotten to being a water being? When Jesus was begotten of spirit in the womb of Mary, was he begotten as a spirit being, or a human being? (Matthew 1:20) Why is there an emphasis in the scriptures on “again/anew”? Why does one have to be born “again/anew”?

We believe that being begotten of the spirit simply means that one is begotten as a new creature, a seed, a grain, firstly reckoned on the earthly plane, being a new creation equal to what Adam was before Adam sinned. Adam was incorrupt morally, but he was corruptible. So with the new creation; the seed, the grain planted is sown incorrupt, but corruptible, morally speaking. Adam could have progressed from being corruptible to being incorruptible, morally speaking, had he developed a character that could not have been corrupted. Likewise, each new creature in Christ is incorrupt, yet corruptible, until he has developed an incorruptible character.

For the new creature there are two types of sin: sin that is attributable to the fallen condition of the mind and flesh, and the sin of the new creature himself. There is no ransom sacrifice to be offered if the new creature sins. If the new creature himself sins, then all that would be left would be second death for the new creature. Once the new creature has fully developed a crystalized will against sin, then he has fully overcome, he has proven himself incorruptible, and the second death can no longer harm that person. (Revelation 2:11) Such will have attained the goal of the prize of the high calling. And yet, it is obvious that very few Christians ever obtain the level of perfection that is expressed in that goal while living in this present age.

See our studies:

With What Body Shall We Be Raised?

The Manner of the Resurrection

However, being a participant in the high calling does not mean that one has already received a crown of joint-heirship; being a participant in the high calling does not mean, that having been given joint-heirship, if he fails, he looses that crown of joint-heirship. The scriptures, taken together, tell us that one is counted first as a son, as was Adam (Luke 3:38), on the human level, and as a son, also as an heir of God, on the human level. The one consecrated is not first counted as a joint-heir. Such would mean that having already obtained the prize of the high calling, he would then stand the possibility of losing that prize. The scriptures do not present the matter in such a manner.

All who come to Christ are first made sons, as Adam was a son. (Luke 3:38)  The ransom sacrifice does not bring us to life in heaven, but rather it places us as Adam was before Adam sinned, with life on earth. Being made alive, they are sons, and if sons, they are also heirs, for “if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” The condition for heirship is to belong to Christ. (Galatians 3:29) “The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ if it so be that we joint-suffer [Strong’s 4841, sumpascho, “to experience pain jointly or of the same kind (spec. persecution; to ‘sympathize’)”] with him, that we may be also joint-glorified [Strong’s 4888, sunarmologeo, “to exalt to dignity in company with”] together.” (See Note #12) The “joint-heirs” are first “heirs” before they become “joint-heirs.” The condition for “joint-heirship” is (different than the condition for heirship) to be joint-sufferers with Christ: “if so be that we joint-suffer with him.” (Romans 8:16,17) The heirs in general are reckoned alive, “new creatures” in Christ Jesus, but only on the human plane. This is the first plane of life for all the Israel after the spirit, the twelve tribes spoken of in Revelation 7. — 1 Corinthians 10:18 (“Israel after the flesh” implies the existence of an Israel after the spirit); Galatians 6:15,16.

See our studies on The Ransom for All and  Born of the Spirit.

Thus, we believe that being begotten of the spirit first places one — as a new creature — on the plane of Adam, who was a son of God before Adam sinned — and with the earthly heirship as a son as Adam would have had it had he remained faithful (Luke 3:38; Romans 8:17; Galatians 3:29), and after that, if one completes the sacrifice by attaining the mark of the prize, then he becomes placed on the level of joint-heirship with Christ. As a result, that which is first accounted to the seed — the grain — (1 Corinthians 15:36-38) begotten of the spirit is the earthy, the physical body, the glory of the sinless terrestrial body (1 Corinthians 15:40; Psalm 8:5; Romans 3:23; Hebrews 2:7), not the heavenly, the spiritual body, the glory of the celestial body. (1 Corinthians 15:45) If and when the new creature is brought to perfection, incorruptibility, as a human, then that humanity is at the point that it can be sacrificed, (just as Jesus sacrificed his incorruptible humanity*), and thus one is sealed out of the twelve tribes at large and counted as one of the 144,000.
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*One should note that Jesus did not just sacrifice his sinless flesh, he sacrificed what he attained, incorruption on the human level. Unlike Adam, Jesus, as a human, brought himself to perfection, to the point of proving himself loyal beyond any shadow of a doubt. Thus, it is due to his being faithful while in the days of his flesh, that he brought life and incorruption (incorruptibility) to light. (2 Timothy 1:10) This he did by his continued, unfailing, obedience. It was this human life, wherein he had to put on incorruption, that he offered as a sacrifice. The sacrifice of the 144,000 would have to be of the same sort, that is, not just sinless human life, but human life that had proven itself incorruptible (counted as such due to perfection of the new creature’s faith, love and hope, proving oneself steadfast, incorruptible, unshakable, immovable, in these — 1 Corinthians 3:13; Ephesians 3:17; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 1:28; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Timothy 1:5,6; Hebrews 6:1; James 1:3,4; 1 Peter 1:6,7; 5:9,10; 1 John 4:18).

Once one gets the proper setting of what being born of the spirit means, we can see that it is not related to being first assigned a joint-heirship and then the possibility of loosing that joint-heirship,  then we can see that there could be tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, today who are begotten of the spirit, who will never receive a heavenly body in the resurrection.

We, indeed, do believe that we have today tens of thousands of brothers and sisters who are called under the general call of the high calling, but who will never attain the goal of the prize of joint-heirship, and that many of them will indeed prove to be of the great multitude who “come out of the great tribulation”. We do not believe that it will become evident exactly who the “great multitude” are until after the great tribulation is over and they are recognized as such after Satan’s sun will no longer hinder them from the true light. It is not important for us to know whether this or that brother/sister is of the great multitude or not.

Will the great multitude be physically separated into a group or movement before the great tribulation is over? Probably not, although we believe a small number who will prove to be of the great multitude are probably now associating with the Bible Students. The problem we see with the idea of getting people out their churches to join with the Bible Students is that this very teaching has led to a sectarian view amongst the Bible Students. Thus, most the Bible Students movement itself has come to be viewed by many, even by many Bible Students as though it were a sectarian group or denomination (of a name, thus “nominal”). All sectarianism will eventually be done away with, whether it be amongst what many call the nominal church or amongst the Bible Students. On the other hand, with the destruction of the Babylonish systems, we believe that it is possible that those ones who are begotten of the spirit that were still in those systems may become more manifest, and could possibly, in a loose association, seek each other out even before the end of the great tribulation. But we do not expect the manifestation of who will be be represented as of the 144,000, the twelve tribes, or the great multitude to take place until after Satan is abyssed.

One prophecy we referred to above says that “Then they cry to Yahweh in their trouble.” (Psalm 107:28) This is during, not after, the great tribulation. The scriptures do not reveal the details of how these prophecies will be fulfilled, so much of what we or anyone else might say is speculative, to say the least. We do know that God can cause great changes rather rapidly, or that He might consider to be a short time may seem to be a long time to us.

We should not, however, droop our hands with laxity so as to neglect preaching the Gospel (Good News) of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14), thinking that such work is over, etc., based on there being a limited number crowns for joint-heirship. There are, we believe, thousands of consecrated Christians in what many call the “nominal” churches who may yet wish to learn about the ransom for all, the coming blessings of the kingdom, etc. Such will not only need to be “witnessed” to, but their interest will have to be nurtured to produce growth, thus follow-up should be supplied. They will need to be taught — step by step — concerning who Jesus and his God are, the ransom, the resurrection hope for both the church and the world, the judgment day and God’s kingdom, as well as nurturing in producing the fruit of the spirit, etc. Again, while the Studies in the Scriptures may be helpful along this line, at the same time we believe that the viewpoint concerning “born of the spirit” that is presented therein, which would limit the number who could be “born of the spirit”, would be a hindrance, both to the teacher as well as to the student.  Additionally, the present views of the majority of the Bible Students would seem to hinder such a work. Therefore, the Restoration Light studies would probably of greater benefit in reaching such ones than the more traditional writings often distributed by the Bible Students. Perhaps Yahweh will bring forth someone with the abilities and wisdom to take the lead in such a work, but we will have to wait and see.

Related Studies:

The Great Multitude

The Manner of the Resurrection

The One Hope

The World’s Judgment Day

The Parousia, the Seventh Trumpet and the Harvest

Divine Law – Part 1

For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. — John 1:17, World English

We should not think that the above words mean that there was no divine law governing heaven and earth previous to the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai through Moses; such would be as unreasonable as to suppose that neither grace nor truth were known throughout the universe until our Lord’s first advent.

On the contrary, we may say that, as surely as it is true that God himself had no beginning, so we can reasonably assume that truth had no beginning and that law itself had no beginning; for God’s righteous will has always been the law incumbent upon all his creation. There was a beginning to falsehood, and Satan is credited with being “the father of lies” (John 8:44); but since God is the Father of truth, we have reason to conclude it had no beginning even as he was never untrue. There was, however, a beginning to lawlessness or sin, and Satan is credited with being the first transgressor; but, since God’s will or law is the standard of righteousness, it follows that it, like him, has been from eternity past and will extend to eternity future.

We have no direct scripture that conclusively proves that God’s government has always existed; the nearest statement in the Bible we have found is that of Psalm 93:2; the World English reads: “Your throne is established from long ago. You are from everlasting.” While this does not literally state that God’s throne has been established from eternity past, it would seem to indicate that this is so by following up with the thought of God’s own eternal past existence. Since the government of God is universal and if assumed to be without beginning or end, it would follow that there never was a time or a place without law. On the other hand, since there was a time when there was no creation at all, then there would have been no created subjects for God’s law to be active upon. Thus, another assumption could be that God’s throne was established upon the first creative act of God. Nevertheless,  even with this assumption, His Law,  in principle, would have existed even without any creation, and  therefore before the act of establishing his throne to enforce that Law.

Notwithstanding, God’s law was made known at Mt. Sinai, through Moses, in a different manner than it had previously been made known. Angels were created before mankind, and the scriptures relate that man was created “a little lower than the angels.” (Psalm 8:5,6; Hebrews 2:7) As man was created in the moral image of the Creator and the firstborn creature (Genesis 1:26; Colossians 1:15), and as the angels were created higher than man, we can reasonably assume that the angels were also created in God’s moral image. Thus, God had given them such intelligence on even a higher degree than man so that they could distinguish right from wrong. Their minds were so properly balanced that right always appeared as right, and wrong never could be mistaken for right. This capability of discernment, on the part of the creature, is said to be God’s “image,” which, when possessed, obviates the necessity of any written law. Adam, the first of the human race, was also created in God’s moral image, and had this law of God written in the construction of his being, or, as it is sometimes said, written upon his heart, of which mankind now falls short (Romans 3:23), but to which mankind is to be restored. — Jeremiah 31:33; Acts 3:23; Romans 2:15; 2 Corinthians 3:3; 1 Timothy 2:5,6.

The Law Covenant given through Moses, however, was a restricted set of laws and ordinances given to a restricted people (the children of Israel — Deuteronomy 4:44), much of which pertained to a certain land of area of the earth, designed for men who were falling short of the full glory of due to sin. (Romans 3:23) This Law Covenant was not made with anyone before it was given through Moses. (Deuteronomy 5:3) As a sign to the children of Israel as respecting His covenant with them, God gave the children of Israel the seventh-day sabbath and seven-day festivals to keep. (Exodus 13:5,6,7,8,9,10; 31:13,14,15,16,17,18) Although the Law proved that man could not make himself straight, justify himself (Ecclesiastes 1:15;  7:13;  Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16; 3:11), the offer made under that covenant was that if one under the covenant arrangement could have obeyed that Law, he would be restored to life as Adam had it before Adam sinned. (Leviticus 18:5; Romans 10:5) Thus, had any man perfectly obeyed that Law, then, as Paul wrote, “if there had been a law given which could make alive, most assuredly righteousness would have been of the law.” (Galatians 3:21) The reason that the Law Covenant could make no man alive was because of man’s crooked condition, from which he could not make himself straight — justified. Nevertheless, that Law covenant was for unrighteous (crooked) man, it was not for a righteous (straight) man. — 1 Timothy 1:9.

The law given by Moses would have been entirely out of place in heaven, or in Eden before sin entered. With the law of God (briefly comprehended in one word, love — to God and all his creatures in fellowship with him — Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 13:10) written in their very beings, how strange it would have seemed to the angels if God had set up in heaven the Mosaic law tables or copies of them. Of what service could such a statement of the law of God be to such beings, who already had a much higher conception of it? And such a presentation to Adam in Eden before his fall would have been similarly useless; and it was not done.

But why was the Law given by Moses? Why about 2500 years after the fall of Adam into sin and death? Why at Mt. Sinai? Why to the nation of Israel, and not to all nations or any other nation? Why was it written upon stones? Why that departure from the previous method of expressing it?

The mere reading of these questions, and a reflection upon the facts upon which they rest, should relieve the mind of many inconsistencies and prepare it for the answer to them all.

The first man Adam was given one simple command that would demonstrate his obedience to law of God, that which was written in his being; his disobedience to the command was, in effect, a violation of the law that had been written in his being. The result was that he came under the condemnation for such disobedience, that is, death. However, along with this death sentence, in order that the matter of may demonstrated as to what it would mean to live without harmony with divine law, God subjected the whole creation of mankind to vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2,14; Romans 8:20), and God turned man’s mind over to reprobate condition. (Romans 1:28) Man was no longer straight and just; God made man crooked and in bondage to corruption, but with the hope that man would be freed from that bondage. (Genesis 3:15; Romans 8:21) Due to Adam’s disobedience, the original law written in his heart became marred, so that his mental and moral processes were no longer on the incorrupt level, but were operating on a corrupted level, for corruption came into the world through lust, a desire out of harmony with God’s eternal law, that that desire led to disobedience. (2 Peter 1:4; James 1:15; Romans 5:12-19) Thus began the effacement from his heart of that power of discerning or intuitively knowing right from wrong. The fallen conditions favored the cultivation of selfishness, and exalted selfishness to be the rule of life, instead of love, as in God’s original creation.

The more selfishness came in and gained control, the more the original law of love was erased from man’s heart. And the fall continued naturally from parent to child as years rolled on, until, in Moses’ day, it is safe to say that, with the majority of the race, the original law was almost gone. A general picture of the whole human race, both Jew and Gentile, is given by the Apostle with an account of just what led to such a dreadful condition. –See Romans 1:21-2:1; 5:12-19.

When the first man sinned, however, God immediately gave a covenant of promise as recorded in Genesis 3:15, which in symbolic language foretold that there would an undoing of the condemnation upon man. Later, due to Abraham’s faith, God gave another covenant of promise to Abraham, that through his seed all families, all nations, of the earth would be blessed.  (Genesis 22:18; 26:4; 28:14) It was because of the faith of Abraham, that God made the promise that Abraham’s descendants would receive the land of Canaan, and thus the Law Covenant. (Genesis 12:7; 13:15; 15:7; 17:8; Deuteronomy 9:5) But, as though to insure men that the Hebrews were not naturally superior to other men, God permitted them to go for centuries into slavery to the Egyptians (Numbers 20:15; Deuteronomy 6:21; 16:12; 24:18), then to be his chosen nation out of all the nations of the earth. — Exodus 19:5,6; Deuteronomy 7:6; 10:15; 26:18; 32:9; Amos 3:2.

From this we conclude that the Law given at Sinai was given because the original law, expressed in Adam’s nature twenty-five centuries previous, had become almost extinct and unintelligible. It was given to a chosen people, at the hands of a specially chosen leader. It could not have been re-written upon their hearts, because that would have implied the restoration of that nation to Edenic perfection; and that was impossible because the condemnation  under which that perfection was lost was death, and that condemnation and the subjection to vanity still rested upon Israel and upon all men, and would continue until a ransom could be found, for Adam, — and hence for all who lost life in him.

The best way to express the law of love to those who do not possess the spirit of love, or mental likeness of God, is as God indicated it in the ten commandments written in stone, — Thou shalt, and Thou shalt not. This brings us to the question, Why did God give the law on tables of stone? Why did he not wait until the due time to send his Son to be our ransom-price, and then, after he had redeemed or purchased all from the sentence of death, begin the work of “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21) –t he re-writing of the original law in the human heart?

The Apostle answers this important question. He tells us that when God told Abraham that he would bless all nations through his seed, he referred not to all of his offspring, but to Christ Jesus, who, according to the flesh, would be born of Abraham’s descendants; and that with Jesus he would select others who would be brought into the covenant through Jesus, all of whom would constitute the seed of Abraham, one seed made up of many members, but all of one spirit with him. This seed, once perfected, will share with Jesus in the work of blessing all the families of earth. (Galatians 3:16,29; 1 Peter 1:11; Romans 8:17,18) Paul tells that the righteous seed, Jesus, had to first come and provide the redemptive price, before the selection of the remainder seed of faith, because they would need to have the merit of redemption applied to them in order for them to join Jesus as members of the seed of Abraham by faith. But as a long interval lay between the promise to Abraham and the “due time” for God to send his Son to redeem men, God purposed a work with Abraham’s natural children, which would fill the interim between then and the coming of Christ Jesus, the real “seed of Abraham” according to the divine intention.

This law covenant which Yahweh proposed with Israel, Abraham’s natural children, would do them great good, even though they might thereby pass through some very severe experiences; it would not only keep them from sinking lower into degradation and losing the image of God as completely as some other nations; but in a few cases it might even make the original law more discernible. And not only so, but this Law given to Israel would be to some extent a standard before the world; and thus Abraham’s natural seed might lift up a standard to the people and to a slight extent bless all nations, by calling a halt in the downward course and by reviving in all to some degree the dying influence of the original law of conscience. Nevertheless, the Law was given to a sinful people, under the bondage of corruption, made crooked, etc., and thus most of the Law Covenant reflects this. Furthermore, much of the Law Covenant could only apply to this people in the land promised to them, since many of the commandments of the Law Covenant pertain only to that land.

Of this law covenant the Apostle declares, The Law “was added [to the Abrahamic covenant of promise] because of transgressions [because sin was spreading and men were degrading very rapidly], till the [promised] Seed should come [until Christ came (not only Christ Jesus, the Head, but also the Church his body) to do the real work, the time for which had come] to whom the [Abrahamic Covenant] promise was made.” “For the Law made nothing perfect:” and, moreover, “the Law which was [given] 430 years after [the Covenant made with Abraham] cannot disannul [or in any manner change the terms and conditions of that covenant], that it should make the promise of none effect.” — Galatians 3:19,17; Hebrews 7:19.

But this covenant which God made with Israel was something more than they could fulfill. Although the Law Covenant contained some promises for obedience to particular laws, and it also held the promise of life for those who obey all the laws of the covenant, it is not among the “covenants of promise” that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 2:2. In Galatians 3 & 4, Paul separates the Abrahamic covenant of promise from the Law Covenant. Paul states: “If the inheritance is of the law, it is no more of promise; but God has granted it to Abraham by promise.” (Galatians 3:18) Additionally, he stated: “For not through the law was the promise to Abraham or to his seed that he should be heir of the world, but through the righteousness of faith.” (Romans 4:13) And we should also note that the promise to Abraham is built upon the earlier promise of the seed of woman. (Genesis 3:15) Thus, there are at least two covenants of promise.

The Law Covenant given to Israel was fruitless as far as the promise of life, because the Law was weak for such purposes due the sinful flesh of mankind. (Romans 8:3) Thus, Paul wrote: “if there had been a law given which could make alive, most assuredly righteousness would have been of the law.” Therefore, it fails as being a covenant of promise as spoken of by Paul in Ephesians 2:2. The Law Covenant itself produced no living sons of God, for no one is justified by that covenant, thus it fails as a covenant of promise, whereas the earlier covenant of promise with Abraham, as well as the even earlier covenant of promise of the seed of woman (Genesis 3:15), do not fail.

God’s dealings with Israel, however were typical of his dealings future from their day. Their Sin-offerings, for instance, typically took away their sins, and brought reconciliation to God for a year at a time to the nation; but, as the Apostle says, those sacrifices could not really cancel sin. — “The blood [death] of bulls and goats can never take away sin.” (Hebrews 10:4) It was man that had sinned, and man that had been sentenced to death, and the death of the animal could at most only typify the death of the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all. (1 Corinthians 15:21,22; Hebrews 10:1-10; 1 Timothy 2:5,6) And not only their sacrifices, but God’s every dealing with that nation, seems to have a typical lesson, the reality of which reaches down either to the Gospel age and even beyond into the age to come. (1 Corinthians 10:6; Colossians 2:17; Hebrews 8:5; 10:1) From what we have shown foregoing respecting the divine law, which establishes the lines of right and wrong upon every question, and which, like its Author, is eternally the same unalterable law, we trust that our readers see clearly that the giving of the Law at Sinai had a special, peculiar significance of its own, incidental to the people to whom it was given.

(The above was adapted from R1723)