Sunday, July 23, 2017

Revelation 12:1 - Who is the Woman?

By comparing spiritual revealing with spiritual revealing, we conclude that the woman of Revelation 12:1 represents the promise, the covenant, which was to produce the seed, the seed of Abraham. That sign "was seen" (Isaiah 7:14) in the symbolic ecclesiastical heavens in the first century, with Abraham's seed of faith being brought forth. -- Genesis 3:15; Romans 4:13,16; Galatians 3:6-18; 4:23,24.

Not only was Jesus the seed of Abraham, he was not of the crooked and perverse seed of Adam (Ecclesiastes 1:2,13-17; 7:13; Romans 1:24-32; 3:9; 5:12-19; 8:19-22; 2 Peter 1:4), so he was additionally a human "Son of God" as was Adam before Adam sinned. (Luke 3:38) Jesus was begotten of the holy spirit -- not as a spirit being, but as a human being -- in the womb of Mary (Matthew 1:20), and his body was prepared by God. (Hebrews 10:5) Thus, he was not born "under the sun" of vanity, with its present futility (Ecclesiastes 1:2,14,15; Romans 8:20); Jesus was indeed a new creation, and became a new sun, a "sun of righteousness." -- Malachi 4:2.

Nevertheless, to pay the price for sin, Jesus suffered as though he were under that bondage of corruption. Furthermore, the seed of the woman is not just Jesus, for it includes those who, by application of the blood of the new covenant before the age to come, are allowed to come into covenant God made with Jesus through Abraham. (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; Galatians 3:16,29; Hebrews 6:5; 10:14,29; 12:24) It is for the revealing of this seed of the woman that the nations -- the heathen -- the whole creation now groaning in travail and pain (Romans 8:22), is waiting for, since when the seed is revealed all nations will then be blessed, so that the whole groaning creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. -- Genesis 22:18; Isaiah 2:2-4; Romans 8:19-22.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Revelation 7 - The 144,000 and the Twelve Tribes

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) Jehovah 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 Jehovah; 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 Jehovah." -- 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 provides 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 and others as "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.

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, 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 among what many call the nominal church or among 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 be 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 Jehovah 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 what 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.

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 be of greater benefit in reaching such ones than the more traditional writings often distributed by the Bible Students. Perhaps Jehovah, if it is His will,  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.

Revelation 7:14,15 - The Great Multitude in the Temple

Therefore are they before the throne of God, they serve him day and night in his temple (Greek transliterated, NAOS). He who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. - (Revelation 7:15, World English)
Some have claimed that the great multitude are are pictured as being in heaven in Revelation 7:15 since it depicts them as being "in his temple". It is claimed that the Greek word used is NAOS, which refers to the inner temple or temple sanctuary, rather than HIERON which is the outer courtyard of the temple. Based on this, it is then claimed that the great multitude are not on the earth, but that they are in NAOS, the center of the temple, the temple sanctuary; that is, they are in heaven itself with the 144,000.

The assumption appears to be that in the book of Revelation, the Greek word transliterated as NAOS means to be in the literal heaven where God is, and where the angels always see the face of God. -- Matthew 6:9; 18:10.

First, often in the book of Revelation, "heaven" represents the religious elements on earth, which, before Satan is abyssed, is not necessarily all made up of saints.

Second, as best as we have been able to determine NAOS includes all three areas as originally represented by the tabernacle. Solomon's temple had an outer and inner courtyard. The inner courtyard corresponds to the courtyard of the tabernacle. Additionally, Herod's temple had several added courtyards, even one for the Gentiles. It is possible that the court outside the temple that is referenced for symbolic purposes in Revelation 11:2. Regardless, the word "NAOS" evidently sometimes refers to the temple proper, but it appears to also be used of all of Herod's temple. -- John 2:19,20; Matthew 27:5*

Nevertheless, we believe that the great multitude do serve as priests in the temple inner courtyard, and are thus typified by the tribe of Levi; we do not, however, agree with Brother Russell that the great multitude, nor any of the sanctified who fail to be sealed as one of the 144,000, will receive celestial bodies in the resurrection. Having been justified and sanctified (consecrated) by the blood of the new covenant (Matthew 6:28; Mark 14:28; Luke 22:20; Romans 5:9; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 10:29), which gives life on the earthly, not the heavenly plane, they simply remain on the earthly plane since they fail to attain the prize of joint-heirship with Christ. Brother Russell suggested that the "ancient worthies" could receive spiritual bodies after the thousand years, based on the idea that they would be represented as the camp of Revelation 20:9, which camp Russell interpreted to mean a temporary earthly life as opposed to a heavenly celestial life. Some would apply this also to those "consecrating between the ages". We cannot say that Russell is either right or wrong on this, but we can only say that this would seem to read a lot into the scripture that is not actually supported by what is actually written.

Revelation 7:15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God ; and they serve Him day and night in His temple (NAOS); and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle (Skenoo) over them.

One can check the usage of the following words online:
Revelation 1:1 Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff ; and someone said, "Get up and measure the temple (NAOS) of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.

Revelation 1:2 "Leave out the court which is outside the temple (NAOS) and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months."

Outside the temple proper of Solomon's temple was the outer courtyard. Outside Herod's temple were several other "courtyards" that were even beyond the courtyard that corresponds to the "outer courtyard" of Solomon's temple, including one called the courtyard of the Gentiles.

Should we, however, conclude that NAOS in Revelation 1:2 literally means "in heaven" where the angels see the face of God? Was John told to measure the place where the angels see the face of God?

Of course, the usage of NAOS in the book of Revelation depends on what one would see as the fulfillment of these verses, etc.

Whatever is meant by the symbolic NAOS of Revelation 7:15, it does not necessarily mean that one who is serving there is in heaven where the angels see the face of God.
A quote is given from Brother Charles Taze Russell regarding the "great multitude":
They will have everlasting spirit life, as angels have it; but will lose the prize of immortality. They will serve God in his temple, and stand before the throne, having palms in their hands (Revelation 7:9-17); but though that will be glorious, it will not be so glorious as the position of the “little flock” of over-comers, who will be kings and priests unto God, seated with Jesus in the throne as his bride and joint heir, and with him crowned with immortality. --Studies in the Scriptures Volume 1 Study XI page 214.
We are aware of what Brother Russell believed concerning this. His idea was based on the assumption that to be consecrated meant that one had already sacrificed all right to human life. We disagree with Brother Russell regarding this. To become a new creature, a son of God, means that one is accounted as being on the same plane as a sinless son of god as Adam before Adam sinned. -- Luke 3:38.

The old creation is the generation through Adam, which creation was subjected to vanity and a bondage of corruption due to the sin of Adam (Ecclesiastes 1:1; Romans 5:12-19: 8:20-22; Ephesians 1:1:1-3); the new creation is the re-generation through Jesus (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; Matthew 19:28; John 3:3-5; Acts 3:21; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17: Ephesians 2:1-10; Titus 3:5; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-5), which makes one a son of God as was Adam before Adam sinned. -- Luke 3:38.

One becomes a new creature in Christ through regeneration; being a new creature in Christ, does not mean that one has attained the prize to which one has been called, nor does it mean that one has given up all earthly rights. The sanctification through the blood of the new covenant does not place one as having life in heaven, but one is reckoned as justified to earthly life. The prize is not first given and then taken away if one fails to attain; the prize is given only if one attains to the perfection that is spoken of, one who is not just made alive in Christ, but who completes his agreement to sacrifice through joint-suffering with Christ. -- Romans 8:16,17; Philippians 3:12-14.

All of the new creatures in Christ are included in the temple (NAOS) of God in 1 Corinthians 3:16, whether they have attained the mark of the prize or not. The first step in consecration is justification, regeneration to a new life; justification/sanctification (consecration) by the new covenant blood/body/offering of Jesus, however, only gives life on the earthly plane, since that is what Adam lost.

Thus, we read: "Whom he called, them he also justified. Whom he justified, them he also glorified." (Romans 8:30) Those justified are glorified, not with the celestial glory, but the terrestrial glory that God gave to Adam before Adam sinned.

In 2 Corinthians 5:17, the regeneration as new creatures by means of Christ is based on the ransom sacrifice of Jesus, not on our own sacrifice; nevertheless, without that blood of the new covenant that gives justification and consecration, one cannot enter into the either the Holy or Most Holy. (Luke 22:20; Romans 3:24; 5:9; 1 Corinthians 11:25; 12:24; Hebrews 10:10,20,29; One is regenerated through faith in the blood of Jesus, and is thus a son of God, a new creature in Christ, accounted as belonging to the age to come.

Brother Russell himself acknowledged that the ransom sacrifice of Jesus does not give one life in heaven, but rather it reckons one as justified on the plane of life on earth, that which Adam lost. Nevertheless, the application of the blood of the covenant belongs to the age to come. Nevertheless, the scriptures, however, speak of regeneration in two time periods: that which takes place in this age (Titus 3:5), and that which is yet to take place in the age to come, when the whole creation now under subjection to vanity and corruption "will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." -- Matthew 19:28; John 12:47,48; Romans 8:21.

Some have place a lot of emphasis on the Greek word transliterated as "EK" in Revelation 7:14. The claim is that the word "EK" classifies the great multitude as having come "out" of the great tribulation, lifted up to receive life in the heavens. This is thought to exclude the great multitude from being of those who survive the transition into the age to come.

Revelation 7:14
kai eireeka autw kurie mou su oidas kai
2532 2064_5 0846_5 2962 1473_2 4771 1492_5 2532
eipen moi houtoi eisin hoi erchomenoi ek tees
1511_7 1473_4 3778_91 1510_5 3588 2064 1537 3588
thlipsews tees megalees kai eplunan tas stolas
2347 3588 3173 2532 4150 3588 4749
autwn kai eleukanan autas en tw haimati tou
0846_92 2532 3021 0846_96 1722 3588 0129 3588

The word "EK" (Strong's #1537) does not, of itself, designate that those who come "out of" the great tribulation are given life in heaven.

The word "EK" is used in the Bible, and even in the book of Revelation, in many different ways:

Coming out of an experience such as the great tribulation can mean that they have lived through that experience. Having come out of the great tribulation does not, of itself, designate that the great multitude will be given celestial bodies, or that such are "lifted up to receive" life in heaven where the angels see the face of God. Nevertheless, the word "EK" in Revelation 7:14 could refer to their consecration while still in the time period of the great tribulation, but it would not follow that such consecration would mean that they are "lifted up" to receive celestial bodies in their resurrection.

As we have shown elsewhere, Revelation 7 is not dealing with Israel after flesh, but rather the Israel of faith. In Revelation 7:9, the great multitude is depicted as having come "out of" all tribes, tongues and nations. This is in contrast with Revelation 7:4-8, in which the 144,000 are said to be sealed "out of" each of the twelve tribes listed. Corresponding this with Israel when they came "out of" Egypt would mean that the 12 tribes correspond to the twelve tribes of Israel, the 144,000 correspond to the firstborn of Israel, and the "great multitude" corresponds to the "mixed multitude" (Exodus 12:38) that came "out of" Egypt and joined themselves to, and became part of the tribes of Israel. And thus, there are three classes that make up the Israel of faith, often referred to as "spiritual" Israel.

See the studies:
The 144,000 and the Twelve Tribes
The Great Multitude
With What Kind of Body Will We Be Raised?
The Manner of the Resurrection
Jesus Died a Human Being - Raised a Spirit Being

Comment from old site:

3 points of interest with regards to “The great multitude”

1) they have palm branches in their hands, this reminds me of the festival of Booths or Tabernacles and also the scripture found at Zech 14:16-18

Zec 14:16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.

Also Rev 7:17 no more tears, suffering or death and this of course goes hand in hand with Rev 21:4 KJV And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.and Isaiah

Also Isa 25:8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

Not to mention they are standing before the throne just as is recorded in Revelation 20 of those resurrected during the mellinial age.

They have washed their robes! This reminds us of those who do so in Revelation 22:14
King James Version Re 22:14 Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and my enter in by the gates into the city.

I believe these are those spoken of who recognize that Jehovah is with Israel and after Armegeddon join themselves to that nation the are the ones who learn War no more according to Isaiah chp 2 and Micah 4

American Standard Version Zec 8:23 Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, they shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.
These do not wash their robes before Armegeddon nor do they go up and celebrate the festival of booths but they do this during the mellinium