Sunday, February 19, 2017

Is Satan Winning?

According to the Bible, God originally created the spirit being often called Lucifer as sinless angel, but he rebelled against God (Isaiah 14:12-20; Ezekiel 28:12-19), and so became Satan (adversary), God's enemy.

The Bible reals that Satan is a person -- not just an evil principle -- for he abode not in the truth, spoke to God, reasoned, etc. -- John 8:44; Job 1:1-22; 2:1-13; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 11:14,15.

God created Adam just, straight, upright (Ecclesiastes 7:29) and told him if he disobeyed he would begin to die, but Satan won control over mankind by his first lie that they would not die. -- Genesis 2:17; 3:4; Ezekiel 18:4,20; Romans 5:12; 6:23.

As a result of sin, God sentenced Adam to the foretold condemnation, "Dying, you shall die" (Genesis 2:17, Green's Litera); "to dust you shall return," but He also offered a covenant promise of reversal of this condemnation when He said that the woman's seed shall bruise Satan's head. -- Genesis 3:14-19; Revelation 12:9; 20:2.

A woman in the Bible often symbolizes a covenant. (Galatians 4:22-26) Thus, the woman of Genesis 3:15 may be seen to be God's covenant "word of promise", a promise of a seed. -- Genesis 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Romans 9:9; Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:8,16,18,29; 4:28; 2 Timothy 2:8.

Nevertheless, ever since God's sentencing of Adam and Eve, Satan has tried to destroy or ensnare the seed of the woman.

The Bible shows that Satan before the Flood induced some angels to materialize and marry women, thus producing a hybrid offspring and very evil conditions. -- Genesis 6:1-7; Jude 6,7.
God, however, by the Flood destroyed that "world [Greek, kosmos, its social order consisting of both a heavens and an earth -- not the planet earth (Psalm 104:5)] that was" -- saving only Noah and family. -- 2 Peter 2:4,5.

Consequently, Satan with the aid of his fallen angels soon enslaved Noah's progeny through Nimrod, and began various false religions, etc., and thus by usurpation became "the god [mighty one] of this ['present evil'] age." -- Genesis 10:1-32; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4; John 12:31; 14:30.
And yet Jehovah promised righteous Abraham that through him and his seed all nations would be blessed. -- Genesis 12:1-3; 15:6; 17:19, 21; 22:15-18; 26:4; 28:14; Romans 4:3.

Therefore, Satan made special attacks on Isaac, Esau (causing him to sell his birthright), Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the children of Israel, Saul, David, Solomon, his progeny, the prophets, etc. -- Luke 11:47-51.

Finally, God sent His only begotten Son, the promised seed, to give his life a ransom, so all would be given one full individual trial for eternal life. -- Galatians 3:8,16; Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:5,6; 1 John 2:2; 4:9,10.

In an effort to thwart God's purposes, Satan tried to ensnare or destroy Jesus and finally succeeded in having him crucified. -- Matthew 4:1-11; 8:24; Luke 4:29; 22:3-6,47,48; 23:33,34.

Despite Satan's efforts, God raised Jesus from the dead and exalted Him to the highest position in the universe, next to Most High. -- Acts 2:33,36; 5:30,31; Philippians 2:9-11; Ephesians 1:3,17-23; 1 Corinthians 15:27; Hebrews 1:4; 1 Peter 3:22.

Due to Jesus' victory of Satan, Satan became desparate, realizing that he was running out of time; thus, Satan, no longer able to attack Jesus personally, has since tried to destroy the Church, Jesus' Body and has sought to hinder its development, for it also is a part of Abraham's Seed that is to bless all mankind. -- Romans 12:5; 4:13-16; Ephesians 1:18-23; Galatians 3:7-9,29; Revelation 12:9-17.

Jehovah, in spite of Satan's persecutions, prospered and multiplied the early Church. -- Acts 2:41; 5:14.

Consequently, Satan, failing to destroy the Church by persecutions, perverted it with false doctrines and bad practices {Matthew 13:24-28; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10; 1 John 4:3), so that the true Church became almost unrecognizable, because of so many tares (imitation Christians).

God, however, has kept His promise never to forsake His loyal people, so amid all Satan's errors and the "gross darkness" upon the people, God gave His true saints "a little help" through such faithful servants as Marsiglio, Wyclif, Huss, Savonarola, Luther, Zwingli, Cranmer, Wesley, and many others. -- Hebrews 13:5,6; Matthew 28:20; Isaiah 60:2; Daniel 11:34; Micah 5:5.

Nonetheless, Satan controlled Christendom by "the chained Bible," ignorance, superstition, heathen philosophies and various errors, especially errors such as the Divine right of kings, clergy and aristocracy -- and to support his first lie (Genesis 3:4), he used the false teaching of consciousness of the dead, inherent immortality of the human soul and the blasphemous doctrine of eternal torment, using figurative Bible texts and parables literally and confusing hades and Gehenna so as to deceive.
God's prophecies, however, indicate that since 1799, in "the time of the end," God has greatly increased knowledge. -- Daniel 12:4; Nahum 2:3,4.

Therefore, with the dispelling of his old errors, Satan and his demons ("seducing spirits") have brought forth new "doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1): Evolution, Theosophy, Christian Science, New Thought, Mormonism, Rosicrucianism, Universalism, Scientology, etc. -- and are multiplying deceptive "signs and wonders" (2 Thessalonians 2:9) -- including witchcraft, black art, fortune-telling, alleged talking with the dead, Satanism, clairvoyance, spirit-rapping, sorcery, crystal-ball gazing, tea-leaf reading, spirit-writing, hypnotism, ESP, astrology, poltergeists, horoscopes, ouija boards, "flying saucers", and much more.

Yet, many Christians do not realize that God forbids His people to have anything to do with such media. -- Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:26,31; 20:6, 27; Deuteronomy 18:9-14; 1 Chronicles 10:13,14; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Isaiah 8:19,20; 19:3,4; Jeremiah 29:8,9; Zechariah 10:2; Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8; 22:15.

The Biblical prophecies show that God through Christ victorious in refuting Satan's errors by the truth and in using the "time of trouble" (World War, Revolution and Anarchy) to bind Satan and demolish his empire, preparatory to establishing God's Kingdom on earth, --Revelation 19:11-21; 11:15-18; 20:1-4; 1 Kings 19:11, 12; Psalms 46:8-11; 76:8-10; Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21,22; 12:29; 6:10; Micah 4:1-4.

Eventually, the Satan's dominion will be brought to an end, for God "shall bruise Satan under your [the elect Seed's] feet shortly"; for God "will have all men [including the non-elect -- 1 Timothy 4:10; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2] to be saved [from Adamic condemnation] and to come unto the [exact] knowledge of the truth." -- Romans 16:20; 1 Timothy 2:4-6; Numbers 14:21; Isaiah 11:9.

With Satan out of the way, God will bring forth "the new earth [social order]" in which mankind will have their judgment (trial for life) as they come up the "highway" to human perfection, without the present blinding influence of Satan. -- Acts 17:31; 2 Peter 3:7-13; Isaiah 35:1-10; 65:17-25; Revelation 20:1-4; 21:1-5; 22:17.

However, the prophecies show that Satan, when loosed for mankind's final testing, will soon gain a host of followers, but God will annihilate him and all the wicked.  -- Revelation 20:3,7-10; 21:8; Psalms 37:9-11,38; 145:20; Isaiah 43:17; Hebrews 2:14.

Gleefully, the result will be that God will thus have won the contest; for Satan will be no more, "all iniquity shall stop her mouth," and all creatures will praise God and Christ forever. -- Ezekiel 28:19; Psalms 107:42; Revelation 5:12, 13.
     

Monday, January 2, 2017

On This Site

    Thursday, December 1, 2016

    Parable of the Four Servants -- Luke 12:42-48

    Jesus, in speaking of his return, asked the question regarding whether he would find "the faith" when he returned. (Luke 18:8, Rotherham's Emphasized Bible) Jesus was pointing out that the true faith, the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3), would be extremely hard to find when he returns. Jude points out "the faith" had already been delivered "once for all." How was it delivered?
    God has revealed his truth by means of his holy spirit through the prophets in the Old Testament and through Jesus and his apostles in the New Testament. (Mark 12:36; Luke 4:11; 10:21; 24:27,44; Acts 1:16; 2:33; 10:38; 28:25; Hebrews 1:1,3; 3:7; 1 Peter 3:10-12; 2 Peter 1:21) God, by means of his holy spirit, especially led the apostles into all the truths concerning Christ and what he said, and thus "the faith" was delivered once for all time to saints in the first century. (John 14:26; 16:4-13; Acts 1:2; Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:2) The truths revealed to the apostles and made available to us are recorded in the Bible (the commonly-accepted 66 books) itself. (Ephesians 3:3-12; Colossians 1:25,26; 1 John 4:6) Of course, without the holy spirit, these things that are recorded will still be a mystery to us. -- Mark 4:11; 1 Corinthians 2:7-10.
    Part of the truth revealed by means of the holy spirit was that there was to be an apostasy, a "falling away" from the truth of God's Word, with strong delusions. (Matthew 13:24-30; Acts 20:29,30; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:3,4) This falling away had already begun in the first century, with some receiving a different spirit and preaching "another Jesus"; the apostasy was restrained for only a short while. (2 Thessalonians 2:7; 1 John 2:18,19; 2 Corinthians 11:4) The apostasy spread rapidly after the death the apostles and developed into the great "Man of Sin", or more correctly "Lawless Man", or "Illegal Man", a great religious system, which claimed to have the authority to add to God's Word since their revelation was allegedly of God's Spirit. The central doctrine became the false teaching that Jesus had to be God Almighty in order to provide atonement for sins. With this spirit of error in mind, the writings of the apostles were totally reinterpreted to accommodate the error, and many of the Hellenic Jewish philosophies were adapted and added to and blended in with the New Testament, even as the Jews had done with the Old Testament.
    Isaiah, in prophesying concerning the stone of stumbling (Isaiah 8:14; Romans 9:23) to both the houses of Israel (Romans 9:6,31; 11:7; 1 Corinthians 10:18; Galatians 6:16), warns us: "To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20, New King James Version) The "law", of course, is what we call the Old Testament; the "testimony" of this prophecy is the testimony of the apostles, as given in the New Testament. This the way to test the spirits. (1 John 4:1) It is to these and through these scriptures that the holy spirit today gives true direction, and anything not in agreement with these scriptures is not of the light of the day. (John 11:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:5) The distortion of who Jesus truly was and is -- who while on earth before his death was only human, a little lower than the angels, who gave his flesh for the life of the world -- is one of the greatest stumblingblocks to understanding the true Gospel revealed in scripture. Thus Jesus becomes a stumbling stone, not only to the house according the flesh which was corrupted from true doctrine (Israel after the flesh -- Luke 13:25-28; Romans 9:30-33), but also the house which claims Jesus, which has also become corrupted from true doctrine through spiritual fornication. -- Matthew 27:21-23; Revelation 2:13-15,20-24.
    Thus, it is due to the great apostasy, wherein "the faith" that was once delivered to saints has been greatly obscured by the traditions and doctrines of man, that we can understand why Jesus asked: "However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [the] faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8, New American Standard) The Greek has the definite article before the word "faith." Jesus was not talking about faith in just anything. Everyone who has some kind of hope has faith in something, although that faith may be false to its promise. Jesus was talking about "the" faith, that is, "the faith" that was about to be delivered to the saints, and to some extent, had already been so delivered, but was not to be fully understood until after the "spirit of truth" should be sent to the apostles.
    It is to this, "the faith that was once delivered," the "servant" of the master was to be faithful and wise in providing food for the household of faith. That faith, as has already been shown, was given in the first century in the Bible. Thus, in the time of Jesus' parousia, Jesus finds that very few of the servants can be actually called "faithful and wise" in stewardship. Indeed, we believe that most of Christ's servants today fall into the category of "that servant" (Luke 12:47) "who didn't know, and did things worthy of stripes." (Luke 12:48, World English Bible translation) Such will have to receive some disciplining for this, but will be able to easily respond to such disciplining, so that their anguish will not be so great.
    We believe that the next largest group of Christ's servants today are in the category of those shown as "that servant, who knew his lord's will, and didn't prepare, nor do what he wanted." (Luke 12:47) This second "servant" class will have to receive discipline, which, for them, will be harder to respond to than the first class mentioned above.
    The next is "that servant" who is called the "bad servant" (usually rendered "evil servant" -- Luke 12:45,46), those who would symbolically "beat" the fellow servants into a form of sectarian subjection, so as to bring Christ's servants under some kind of sectarian leadership. These may be aligned with the spirit of a spiritual "pride". These evidently receive the most severe disciplinary punishments. Such will certainly receive great anguish when they learn that they are positioned far below the high and lofty grandeur that they had positioned in their imagination for themselves. While Jesus does not in this parable condemn them to the second death, it is quite possible, however, that some of this class may have sinned as new creatures, thus bringing the second death upon themselves.
    The category with the least amount is, of course, is that depicted by "the faithful and wise steward." (Luke 12:42-44) These are probably those who receive the reward of joint-heirs with Christ, who have overcome so as that they no longer can be hurt by the second death. (Revelation 2:11) They will have been perfected in discipline, having proven themselves incorruptible. (See our study: With What Kind of Body Will We Be Raised?) However, it is possible also that some who fail to attain that joint-heirship but who come so close to that faithfulness that they have such little difficulty in later overcoming, that they would not be accorded a separate classification in this parable.
    It is not for any of us, however, to point the finger at another and say, "you are this or that 'servant'." We are to show love to all of the household of faith, and leave the judging up to Jehovah through Jesus.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2016

    The Parousia, the Seventh Trumpet and the Harvest



    Some have confused the matter concerning the parousia, and have evidently misread the arguments of many of the Bible Students so as to conclude that the word "Parousia" is being interpreted as having the definition of "invisible presence." In other words, some have made the claim that Bible Students who believe that Christ's parousia is invisible are presenting the word "parousia" itself as carrying the meaning "invisible." Without judging the motives of those who would present this kind of argument, in reality the argument diverts attention from the invisible aspect of Christ's return to the word "parousia" itself, and ends up being a strawman argument.
    Some have cited some works of the Greeks and Romans concerning this, as alleged proof that the the word "parousia" does not mean "invisible." Of course, the Romans and Greeks of the first century, not knowing or understanding spiritual matters, would not think of the word Parousia as expressing a spiritual presence that could not be seen. -- 2 Corinthians 4:18; 5:7.
    Nevertheless, the word parousia, of itself, does not prove either a visible or invisible presence, and we don't believe most, if any, Bible Students have intended to leave that impression.
    Jesus, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, and having once for all time offered up his flesh, will never be seen in that flesh again. (Hebrews 7:27; 9:28; 10:10; 1 Peter 3:18) However, this does not rule out the possibility that Jesus may manifest himself as did the angels of Yahweh in the Bible, who appeared as "men," ate as men, and looked like men, manifesting themselves with a body of flesh. -- Genesis 18:2,8,22; 19:1,5; Judges 13:2,6,8,9; Luke 24:4.
    See the study:
    Jesus Died a Human Being - Raised a Spirit Being
    http://atonement.reslight.net/archives/1.html
    However, Jesus does indeed return bodily, with a body, that is, with the spiritual, celestial body, and with its glory. He no longer has the body of a man, a glory a little lower than the angels. (Hebrews 2:9) Having offered (to his God in heaven) his terrestrial, earthly, fleshly body for sin, once for all time (John 6:51; Hebrews 7:27; 9:11,12,24;10:10), he will never again be seen with that body. (1 Corinthians 15:40,44) Now being a life-giving spirit, he comes again from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:40,45-48), during the blowing of the last trumpet, the seventh trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 8:2,6), with a celestial, spiritual body, resulting in (not necessarily in the order given):
    (1) The end of the age, during which a harvest of the people of God begins. This harvest begins while the nations are still blinded by Satan, but it ends after Satan is abyssed, when the saints, the sons of God of this age, will be manifested and "will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father." (Matthew 13:3-43; Romans 8:19} Unlike many Bible Students, however, we do not believe that this harvest reveals who is of what class by any visible manifestation, except until after Satan is abyssed. Jesus said that the tares, not the wheat, are first gathered and bundled. (Matthew 13:39,40) Although the human servants of God labor in the harvest work, the harvest work itself is not entrusted to men, who would surely misjudge and treat much of wheat as tares, but it is entrusted to angels.
    (2) The nations become angry, resulting in a great "time of trouble”, during which time the people in general do not take notice of the parousia. — Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-30; Revelation 11:15,18; Daniel 12:1,2.
    (3) God’s wrath upon the children of wrath of this age comes to its conclusion — Ephesians 2:2,3; 5:6; Revelation 8:1.
    (4) The dead are raised and the unjustified in this age are judged individually during the "last day" — Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 7:9,10; Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:28,29; 6:39,40,44,54; 12:47,48; Romans 2:16; 3:6; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 6:2; 2 Timothy 4:1,8; Revelation 11:18; 20:11-15.
    (5) God’s servants, prophets, saints are rewarded in the first resurrection. — Isaiah 40:10; Daniel 7:9,10; 12:1,2; Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 3:8,14; Colossians 3:24; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 15:18; 20:4; 22:12.
    (6) Those who would destroy the earth are themselves destroyed after the judgment day. — Psalm 37:10; Revelation 15:18; 20:8,12; 21:8.
    Thus, the seventh trumpet begins to sound while the nations are still ignorant and are angry, and continues to sound until after the millennial age, up to the age of the ages, the eternal age.
    Of Moses, it is said that, "he endured, as seeing him who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27) In context, "him" could be referring to the prehuman Jesus, who, before coming the earth, had the glory of the invisible, the celestial -- the glory that he did not have while on earth. (John 17:5; 1 Corinthians 15:40) Or, more than likely, "him" probably refers to the God and Father of Jesus, who is the "invisible God." (Colossians 1:15) Either way, Moses saw him who is invisible by the eye of faith, not by literal sight, for he did not see that which is invisible by means of the physical eye. The point is that "seeing" does not necessarily mean seeing with the physical eye.
    On the other hand, the Jews in general saw Jesus at his first appearing in the flesh, but did not see who he was -- the Messiah -- which could only have been seen with the eye of faith. They did not recognize him. (John 1:10) Nor could they "see" the God and Father in Jesus. (John 14:9) Having seen Jesus in the flesh, however, Jesus said of the world that had seen him in the flesh, that they would see him no more. (John 14:19) Since they had only seen him in the flesh, and had not seen him with the eye of faith as the Messiah, the son of God, then this can only mean that they will never see him in the flesh again. They will see the Son of Man coming [Erchomai] on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
    Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen. -- Revelation 1:7.
    The word "coming" in Revelation 1:7 is not "parousia," but a form of the verb "Erchomai," -- to come. However, we have no doubt that it is reference to "coming" in the days of the son of man, the parousia. (Matthew 24:37; Luke 17:26) The statement here is not that he comes on a cloud, a singular cloud, but rather "clouds."
    Another scripture describes this event in the Old Testament:
    I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. -- Daniel 7:13.
    Again, the reference is to clouds, plural, not a cloud, singular. Prophetically, the plural can used to represent two, as "times," representing two times. (Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 12:14) Regardless, there is the possibility of at least two clouds being spoken of, indicating the possibility of two symbolic meanings. A cloud or clouds can represent: glory (Exodus 16:10; Ezekiel 1:28); guidance (Exodus 13:12); covering of sin (Isaiah 44:24); darkness (2 Samuel 22:12; Job 38:9; Psalm 18:11; Isaiah 5:30; Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15); a covenant, a promise of God (Genesis 9:13,16); God's anger (Lamentations 2:1); alienation from God (Lamentations 3:44); storms (Ezekiel 1:4; 38:9; Luke 12:54; Jeremiah 4:13; Nahum 1:4); a hiding of the sun (Ezekiel 32:7); majesty (Isaiah 14:14); a communication from God (Exodus 24:16; Psalm 99:7; Matthew 17:5; Luke 9:35); trouble, distress (Ezekiel 30:3; Zephaniah 1:15).
    In Daniel 7, the one like a son of man, in coming with the clouds, comes before the Ancient of Days, that is, Yahweh, and is presented to him. As a result, there was given to him an everlasting dominion, and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. (Daniel 7:14) This brings us into the age of the ages, the everlasting age after the millennial age, the age that will never end.
    In Revelation 10:1, we find a reference to an angel coming in a cloud (singular).
    Revelation 10:1 I saw another mighty angel coming down out of the sky [heaven], clothed with a cloud. A rainbow was on his head. His face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire.
    Here is depicted an angel clothed as with a cloud. Of course, the language is symbolic. The "angel" is either Jesus or a messenger (angel) representing Jesus. Jesus, of course, will come as the "sun of righteousness." -- Malachi 4:2.
    The "rainbow" probably represents the new covenant, which will be the means by which the seed of Abraham will bring blessings to all the families of the earth.
    This angel is clothed with a cloud, a symbol of majesty, and yet we believe that it is also includes a symbolism of mystique, as a cloud hiding the sun, producing darkness. The angel has a face like the sun of righteousness, as a great ruler, but he also has feet like pillars of fire, representing a distressful situation and/or destruction. "Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to deliver them in the day of Yahweh's wrath, but the whole land will be devoured by the fire of his jealousy." (Zephaniah 1:18) "My determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour on them my indignation, even all my fierce anger, for all the earth will be devoured with the fire of my jealousy." (Zephaniah 3:8) In this is pictured the wrath of Yahweh (Revelation 11:18), which wrath is brought to a finish during the blowing of the seventh trumpet, by means of seven symbolic bowls that are poured out. -- Revelation 11:15,18; 15:1,7.
    Revelation 10:2 He had in his hand a little book open. He set his right foot on the sea, and his left on the land.
    Revelation 10:3 He cried with a loud voice, as a lion roars. When he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices.
    Revelation 10:4 When the seven thunders sounded, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from the sky saying, "Seal up the things which the seven thunders said, and don't write them."
    Revelation 10:5 The angel who I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand to the sky,
    Revelation 10:6 and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and the things that are in it, the earth and the things that are in it, and the sea and the things that are in it, that there will no longer be delay,
    Revelation 10:7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as he declared to his servants, the prophets.
    Thus, we believe this cloud appears either shortly before or at the beginning of the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the last trumpet. The prophetical statement is that when the angel is about to sound his trumpet, the last trumpet, then the mystery of God is finished. The Greek word rendered "about" -- transliterated as "Mello," does not necessarily mean "about," as though it was something yet to happen. We believe that it can also refer to the actual "being about" of something, that is, the actual doing of what is being spoken of, and we believe, in accordance with the context, "in days of the voice of the seventh angel," that this is meaning of Mello in Revelation 10:7. When the seventh angel, having the seventh trumpet, is about the business of blowing his trumpet, then the mystery of God is finished. Many believe that this mystery refers to completing the mystery members of the bride of Christ, but we believe it refers to the completing of the mystery pertaining to the ages; in other words, it pertains to bringing to completion God's purpose of the ages (Ephesians 3:9,11,Young's Literal), which would bring us to up to the foretold "world without end," or the age of the ages, the final age that never ends. -- Isaiah 45:17; Ephesians 3:21, See Young's Literal for Ephesians 3:21.
    I looked, and behold, a white cloud; and on the cloud one sitting like a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. -- Revelation 14:14
    Another angel came out from the temple, crying with a loud voice to him who sat on the cloud, "Send forth your sickle, and reap; for the hour to reap has come; for the harvest of the earth is ripe!" -- Revelation 14:15
    He who sat on the cloud thrust his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped. -- Revelation 14:16.
    Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest time I will tell the reapers, "First, gather up the darnel, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn." -- Matthew 13:30.
    The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. -- Matthew 13:39.
    The "age" being referred to this present evil age, the age in which Satan is god. -- Galatians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 4:4.
    By saying that the "harvest time" is the end of this age, and then describing events that take place during that "end," Jesus shows that the "end" is not something that happens suddenly, but that the "end" itself -- being "the time of the harvest" -- is a period of "time."
    Revelation 14:14 depicts one like a son of man coming on a white cloud, a cloud of glory, and he has a sharp sickle in his hand.Revelation 14:16-20 shows that the sickle is used to harvest the earth.
    When Jesus comes, one of the things he accomplishes is the harvest of the earth by means of his angels. This takes place during the "end" of the present evil age, while Satan is still the "god of this age." As long as Satan is still blinding the minds of people, we know that this "harvest" has not ended. Nevertheless, the harvest does take place as a result of Jesus' coming on the clouds.
    Thus we conclude that the harvest has been going on, especially since about 1874, with an influx of worldly knowledge that is separating the tares from the true wheat. Jesus said that the tares were to be first separated from the wheat (Matthew 13:30), again indicating a time involved; the tares are thrown into the fiery furnace (symbolic of the the severe part of the time of trouble), and the wheat is gathered into the barn (representing a condition of spiritual safety; the spiritual ark, true faith in Jesus' sacrificed body with its blood by which we are sanctified, set apart -- Hebrews 9:12,14; 10:10,29). Then, after this, the wheat -- the righteous -- will shine forth as the sun, depicting the age to come, when Satan is abyssed so that he cannot deceive the heathen. -- Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43; Revelation 20:3.
    Jesus indicated that the foretold time of trouble is pictured by what happened in Noah's day, thus, it is possible that the last part of the foretold time of trouble is depicted by the 40 days' flood of Noah's day. (Genesis 7:4; Matthew 24:37,38) We are now certainly experiencing a flood of knowledge now available through the internet and other means of fast communication. More and more professed Christians are falling into infidelity as a result of this influx of knowledge, thus proving themselves to be tares, rather than wheat. This increase of knowledge, however, brings discontent among the masses, and greed, and thus is also a source of trouble, and ends up being like a fiery furnace, as "fiery feet" stomping upon the people, with the trouble becoming so bad, that unless the days should be cut short, no flesh will be saved. -- Matthew 24:21,22.
    Addendum:
    One asks if we believe that Jesus returned in 1874 and "inspected the temple".
    While we probably not put it that way, we do believe that Jesus began the harvest work related to the separating of the tares from the wheat; this is indeed an inspection of all who profess to be Christian, and since those who are being called to follow Jesus are spoken of as the temple of God,  one could say that this is a inspection of the temple. Many claim that the harvest is carried out along physical lines, but we believe the harvest is along spiritual lines, and that is carried out, not by the servants of Jesus in the flesh, but by the angels.
    The questioner further asks:  "Did jesus make a decision during that time period and make a chosing of a particular group?"
    The questioner is evidently asking if we have a belief similar the Jehovah's Witnesses, who claim that Jesus, in 1918, inspected the temple, and approved of Rutherford's religion, to which our answer is no. We need to remember that that the choosing of the faith seed of Abraham has been going on ever since the first century. In 1874, we believe that a special period began which is called the "harvest". However, we also believe that the choosing of the wheat class at the end of the age is done by means of the angels, and therefore, we conclude that the wheat class cannot be represented by any physical group, such as the Bible Students. The revealing of the wheat, however, cannot be until after Satan is abyssed.
    The questioner further asks: "Did jesus really return and examine babylon the great, and then appoint a certain group? Was that the great tribulation? "
    By "group", I assume this refers to physical outward group, such the Jehovah's Witnesses, or the Bible Students movement. We have no reason to believe that Jesus has appointed a certain sectarian group, nor a certain individual, etc., to be "the true religion", or "the true church." Babylon the Great represents sectarianism, denominationalism, organizations (and associated false doctrines created by humans) that separate the sheep. To come out of Babylon the Great would signify rejection of denominational sectarianism and, and to the extent possible, the doctrines of men associated with such demoninationalism. The destruction of Babylon the Great signifies the destruction of all kinds of sectarianism and denominationalism. God is not going to allow such sectarian divisions to continue in His kingdom.
    On the other hand, the tares are now being revealed as false Christians, often denying the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, accepting the idea that man got here by evolution, etc. Many of these tares openly deny Christ, and openly declare themselves as deists, agnostics, atheists, etc., while others retain the name of Christ, but in some way deny the power of blood of Jesus. Indeed, one can often hear of some claiming to be a Christian atheist, Christian agnostic, Christian deist, Christian Wiccan, Christian Buddhist, Christian Spiritualist, etc. We do believe, however, most of the Christians who profess Christ today will be found to be of the tare class. Nor does joining in association with the Bible Students movement make one of the wheat class. This does not mean that those who are found to be tares will be eternally destroyed, as the JWs teach; it simply means that their outward standing as a servant of Christ will eventually be burned up in the furnace of the time of trouble. No one amongst mankind, however, has been given any authority to point to this or that professed Christian and say "You are a tare," although many are claiming they have authority to do so. Likewise, we have no authority to claim that one is of the wheat class because they belong to the Bible Students movement. Nor can we believe we have any authority to designate who among the "wheat" class will be found to arrived at the goal, the mark, of the prize of our high calling, so we should say to this person: "You are one of 144,000", and to another, "You are not one of the 144,000." We believe that all three major classes of Revelation 7 will be revealed after Satan is abyssed.
    Thus, we do not believe that Jesus came in 1874 to inspect and approve any outward "group" as being approved as the JWs teach in doctrine concerning 1918. The inspection is of individuals, not of an outward "group." Nor do we teach, as to the JWs, that one has belong to and/or recognize the Bible Students, Charles Taze Russell, or any other outward group, etc., in order to be saved, as as to live into the new age.
    As Charles Taze Russell pointed out many times, the true church is not about an outward organization, but it pertains to individuals.
    See also:
    The questioner asks if we "are saying that jesus inspected the temple in 1874, and found that the sect called 'russelites', or 'bible students' were thus in an approved condition?"
    We do not know of any place that Russell taught expressly that Jesus "inspected the temple" in 1874, but Russell's view of the temple had nothing to do with any external sect, group, denomination, etc. His view of the temple was that the temple is the church that belongs to Christ. Russell was non-sectarian.
    Russell stated:“the Lord in Heaven records as members of His true Church all the saintly — whether Roman Catholics, Anglican Catholics, Greek Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc.— and none others…. Do we not see that a part of our mistake was in calling the outward organization the Church of Christ, instead of remembering that the Lord alone writes the names of the Church, that He alone reads the hearts, that He alone is the Judge, and that He alone has the right to blot out the names of those who become reprobates?… We must see that the Church is a comparatively small company of saintly footstep followers of Jesus, irrespective of sectarian lines.”
    And Russell stated: “all who are worshiping any church organization should be warned. See thou do it not.’ These are thy fellow servants.‘Worship God.’`Rev. 22:9`.”
    He further stated:“so far as the true Church is concerned, the only authority in it is the Lord, the Head of the Church, and his Word, and the words of those whom he specially chose to be his mouth-pieces, the apostles.”
    And,“we believe that in every nation and denomination there are some true saints of God, members therefore of the true Church of God.”
    http://ctr.reslight.net/?p=505
    Thus, Russell viewed the temple of God to be any true Christian, regardless of what external group or denomination he might be associated with. His view of the temple of God was not restricted to a "group", such as the Bible Students, nor a denomination, nor a religious organization, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses. Indeed, Russell preached against the kind of authoritarianism and sectarianism that is found in the Jehovah's Witnesses' organization.
    Related

    Revelation 19:1 and the Great Multitude

    After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God: -- Revelation 19:1.
    Does this mean that the "great multitude" spoken of in Revelation 19:1 are being pictured in heaven where God's throne is, and where the angels are always able to "see" the fact of God? (Psalm 11:14; Matthew 18:10) No, for the word "heaven" in the Bible does not always mean such. The context of Revelation 19:1 shows that this “great multitude”, whoever they are, are in this “heaven” when Babylon the Great is destroyed, thus before or at the full end of this age. If “heaven” here refers to the heavens where God’s throne is, then to fit this scenario the great multitude would need to be resurrected to a spirit life sometime before or immediately after the destruction of Babylon the Great, before Satan is abyssed, and also that Babylon the Great would evidently have to be in heaven where God’s throne is before the end of the age, and where the angels see the face of Yahweh. We find no scriptural support for such ideas. Therefore the conclusion is that the words “in heaven” refer to their religious standing in the figurative ecclesiastical heavens, not the heavens where God’s throne is.
    The present “heaven” that now is, which relates to the authoritarian religious elements of mankind, however, is to pass away. (Revelation 21:1; 2 Peter 3:7,12) This heaven that is to pass away is not the heaven where God's throne is, since God's dwelling place will never pass away; thus the heavens that passes away is evidently the sectarian religious elements amongst mankind here on earth that seek to control mankind with their religious authority. While this great multitude is yet among the sectarianism of Babylon the Great, they have consecrated themselves to God. In this position, many Christians today of many diferent denominations, nations and tribes, are now proclaiming their salvation in Christ, although as yet they are still being hindered by mankind's sectarian influences. Thus, they are still to a great degree being deceived by the sectarianism that exists all around them (Revelation 13:14); it is only after this sectarianism is destroyed in the great tribulation and Satan is abyssed, that they will be able to see beyond the deceptions of Satan (Revelation 12:9; 13:14), and then the Lamb will lead them to the waters of life, which Isaiah 25 shows will be on the earth, not in heaven where God's throne is. -- Isaiah 25:6-8; Revelation 7:14-17; 20:1-3.
    See also:
    The Great Multitude
    http://binfo.rlbible.com/?p=56

    Wednesday, November 23, 2016

    The 144,000 and the Great Multitude


    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.
    =========
    *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:
    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.
    =========
    *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:

    Armageddon - Links to Other Sites

    Armageddon On "Biblical Resurrection Hope"

    Charles Taze Russell and Armageddon