Jehovah’s Organization

conventionThe organization of the church is clearly set forth in the Bible. Jesus is its Head, and it is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the “chief cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:20) In Ephesians 4:11 Paul informs us that the Lord has also supplied evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These have been valuable helpers, but none of them has been inspired in the sense of never making a mistake in expounding the Word of God.

These lesser servants in the church, given the general title of “elders,” are appointed by the local congregations of the Lord’s people. According to the Bible, these appointments are made by a vote of the congregation and not by a centralized authority, as in Papacy. In Acts 14:23, the word “ordained” is used in this connection, and it is translated from a Greek word which, according to Professor Young, means “to appoint by vote.”

In this end of the age, as in times past, a departure from this method of appointing local servants has led to unscriptural dictatorship among the people of God.

In the messages to the “seven churches,” recorded in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Revelation (Revelation 2- 3), an “angel,” or special messenger, is mentioned in connection with each of the congregations named. In Luke 12:42- 44 a special servant is mentioned by Jesus, one whom the Lord would raise up when he returned for the purpose of dispensing “meat In due season” to the “household” of faith. —Mt 24:45-47 These various servants of the church have, in the Lord’s providence, been a rich blessing to the household of faith, and the proof that they have been the Lord’s choice has been the joy which the truths they taught have brought into the hearts and lives of the Lord’s people. None of them has in any sense been the successor of another like servant, but each has been raised up at the proper time to serve the church according to its needs at the time.

The special servant mentioned by Jesus who would be raised up to serve the household of faith at the end of the age is obviously one individual who would be used by the Lord to serve the entire “household.” This servant is riot a class, or group, neither a society, or organization, for the very simple reason that he is mentioned in conjunction with fellow servants. If “that servant” is an organization, then it would be serving other organizations. If it were a class, then the other servants would also be classes, or groups.

The Greek word translated “ruler” in Jesus’ promise that a faithful steward would be made ruler to serve the “household” with “meat in due season” means to “set down” or to place. It does not imply that the faithful steward would rule his fellow servants or exercise lordship over them in any way. His only assignment was to serve his brethren with the “meat in due season,” which the Lord himself would provide through the written Word at the time of his return.

And what is this spiritual food which was served in “due season”? Throughout the Gospel Age the Lord’s people maintained their hopes of a heavenly reward. Truths pertaining to Christ’s return, the “harvest” which is the “end of the age,” the establishment and work of the kingdom were not vital to their needs. But when our Lord did return, these dispensational truths became essential “meat in due season.” During the age it was not the “due time” to proclaim the glorious kingdom hope of “restitution.” But when Christ returned, it was; and in order that this might be included in the witness work of the household of faith, this fundamental truth was restored, and the Lord’s faithful servants have been proclaiming it for almost a hundred years.

The determining of just whom the Lord has used as one or another of his special servants has not been a matter of interpretation or of saying arbitrarily that this or that one has been the Lord’s choice. Rather, it is a matter of discovering from the Bible the nature of the message that was due at any given time, and then noting whom the Lord used to deliver that message. Thus it is in connection with “that servant.” Pastor Russell was the one used to announce the presence of Christ, the work of harvest, the imminence of the kingdom, and the glorious hope of restitution for the world. For this he was hated by nominal churchianity. He was persecuted because he taught that the love and grace of Jehovah extended to the unrighteous dead and that they would be given an opportunity to obtain life when awakened from the sleep of death during the Millennium.

It was this loving message of the grace of Jehovah, this voice of God spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began, that helped to identify Pastor Russell as the one specially used at this end of the age as “that servant.” Obviously his fellow servants delight to proclaim the same glorious Gospel of love. To the extent that they have cooperated in the work of proclaiming this same message the Lord has blessed them—not by large numbers of followers, nor by establishing an imposing institution—but by giving them rejoicing hearts as they sacrifice their all in proclaiming the good news of the “restitution of all things.”

In view of the fact that Pastor Russell died So many years ago, some might ask if we should not now look for another special servant, either an individual or a society. No, this is not necessary, nor is it indicated in the Word of God. Jesus, the Head of the church, is its chief instructor, and we still depend upon the record of what he said more than nineteen centuries ago. New apostles were not needed for the church when the original twelve died. The writings of Paul and Peter and the others are just as vital to us today as they were to the Early Church.

And we still have the glorious message of present truth which that “faithful and wise servant” had found in the Word of God. This message, which continues to live in the hearts of God’s people, is the important consideration; and Brother Russell is still “that servant” to those who continue to rejoice in the doctrines which he had found in his study of the Bible.

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats

sheep_goats also applies to the kingdom period. Its introduction shows this—”When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.” (Matthew 25:31) The Greek word here translated “angels” means “messengers.” It is variously used in the Bible, referring at times to human beings as servants, and at other times to spirit beings, and at times, even to Inanimate things. Paul referred to his partial blindness as “a messenger of Satan.”—2Co 12:7 The “angels” of this parable, who sit with Jesus In the throne of his glory, are the members of his glorified led church. Paul wrote, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” (1 Corinthians 6:2) In Matthew 19:28 Jesus promised his disciples that they would sit on thrones judging the “twelve tribes of Israel.” But Israel will be only one of the nations to be judged thus by Jesus and his church, when together they sit upon the throne of his glory. (Revelation 3:21) As the parable shows, “all nations” will then be judged by them.

In his sermon on Mars’ Hill, Paul stated that God had appointed a day when he would judge the world in righteousness and had given assurance of this unto “all men” by raising Jesus from the dead to be the righteous judge. (Acts 17:31) This appointed “day” was not in Paul’s time. The people were not then on trial before Christ and will not be until the kingdom is established.

The work of judgment is also referred to in a prophecy recorded by Micah, chapter 4, verses 1 to 4. Micah shows that it will take place after the “mountain of the house of the Lord” is established in the “top of the mountains.” Has this yet occurred? Is the Lord’s kingdom today dominating all the nations of the earth? Surely not! The kingdom class is not controlling world affairs but instead is suffering persecution and must be subservient to worldly governments and depend upon their courts for the administration of justice.

When the kingdom of the Lord is established, the law will not go forth from human governments or from man- made institutions but from “Zion.” And the word of the Lord will go forth from “Jerusalem.” Not until then will the Lord “judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off.” Not until then will the nations “beat their swords into  plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks.” Not until then will they cease to “lift up sword against nation,” and learn war no more. Not until then will it be true that “none shall make them afraid.”

What wonderful changes there will be in human experience when the Lord judges among the nations! Who could possibly presume to say that this work of judgment is now going on? Are the nations now beating their swords into plowshares? Have they ceased to lift up swords against one another? Is the world enjoying the full economic security represented in this prophecy by the symbol of “every man” sitting under vine and fig tree?

And above all, is it true today, as this prophecy declares it will be when the Lord is judging among the nations, that there are none to “make afraid”? Never before has the world been So filled with fear. It is the time foretold by Jesus when men’s hearts would be “failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth.” (Luke 21:26) No, this is not the world’s judgment day! The “sheep” are  not now being separated from the “goats.”

It is true that this parable was given by Jesus as one of the signs of his second presence. But we should remember that his presence lasts for more than a thousand years, and that the ultimate purpose of his return is the restoration of those for whom he died at his first advent. So the judgment- day work, while one of the signs of his presence, is a sign which has not yet appeared. We are witnessing the “distress of nations with perplexity,” but not their enlightenment and blessing. But when that judgment work does begin, it will continue until all who prove worthy during that thousand- year age will hear the Master say to them, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world”—the kingdom, or dominion, given to our first parents. —Mt 25:34; Genesis 1:28 The use of the word “blessed” in the Master’s statement, “Come, ye blessed of my Father,” is most significant.

Beginning with Abraham, God continued to promise the future blessing of all the “families,” or “nations,” of the earth. And now, at the close of the final judgment or trial day, the thousand- year kingdom day, we find Jesus saying to those who pass successfully through that trial, “Come, ye blessed of my Father.” These are the ones, in other words, whom the Father promised to bless and who will then be blessed.

Jehovah promised to “bless,” these families, or nations, through the “Seed” of Abraham. Jesus, the Head of that “seed” class, first died to redeem them. Then he comes In the throne of his glory, his church with him, to administer the blessings he provided through his death, the blessings of”restitution,”of “regeneration,”of”resurrection.” God commanded our first parents to multiply and fill the earth and to have dominion over it. He knew that this would be done, and to emphasize the triumph of Jehovah’s loving purpose toward man, the invitation will be extended, “Come, inherit the dominion prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” The ones for whom it was originally prepared are the ones who will finally receive it—the “blessed” of the Father.

Is it Right to Judge?

judgingThe Bible is clear that Christians are supposed to judge matters within the church (1 Cor 5:12-13). Yet most professing Christians refuse to judge even the simplest things according to the Word of God for fear that they would be considered judgmental of brethren. But all throughout the Bible we see many Scriptures that tell us to reason, to think, to be on guard, to test and prove, to test all things, to reprove, rebuke and exhort with all long suffering and doctrine, that the spiritual man judges all things.

Yet due to a common and popular misunderstanding of the context of Matt 7:1,  “Judge ye not lest ye be judged”, most Christians will not proclaim the clear judgments of Christ that we find in the Word of God, that which the Lord Jesus Christ has already judged to be good or bad. Further, these same people often get angry at Christians who do their duty and are willing to be persecuted, those who “earnestly contend for the faith” as we see in Jude 3.

We see clearly in Matthew Chapter 7, verse 1-5 that the context of Jesus’ warning here is not to judge hypocritically:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete [apply], it shall be measured to you again. And why behold you the mote [twig] that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote [twig] out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote [twig] out of your brother’s eye.”

Many lift the above verses out of context to the exclusion of what the rest of the Scriptures teach in the area of judging sin, false doctrine, church-related issues, etc. They falsely justify judging nothing and refuse to proclaim the clear judgments of Christ as given in the Word of God. Certainly we need to clean out our own closets before attempting to help others clean out their closets. It is hypocritical to point out things in the lives of other people if we have not first repented of those very same things ourselves.

Also, Romans 2:1-6 is commonly misinterpreted as a command not to judge anything, when in fact that is not what is being said at all.

“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whosoever you are that judges: for wherein you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you that judge do the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And do you think this, O man, that judges them which do such things, and do the same, that you shall escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:” Rom 2:1-6

These verses simply prohibit the act of passing condemning judgments such as sentencing a person as the judge in a court might do, or taking vengeance on them, etc. Romans 2:1-6 in no way contradicts the other Scriptures that, in so many words, clearly tell us to judge rightly according to the Word of God. There is a big difference between these false judgments and properly judging all things according to the Word of God, which is exactly what every Christian is supposed to do.

Additionally, 1 Corinthians 4:5 must not be misinterpreted as a license to avoid proper judgment:

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”

This verse is referring to things like not presumptuously judging someone’s standing with God. That is obviously not our job. That is for the Lord to judge. This verse is not negating our responsibility to test and prove someone’s teachings and properly judge their doctrine to make sure that it is Scriptural.

Lastly, there are no conflicts in the Bible. We must therefore look for the harmony of all Scripture on a particular subject and then balance those verses together. If we elevate one verse to the exclusion of what the rest of the Bible teaches on the same subject, then we will misinterpret and misapply what the Bible is actually saying.

Christ Died for All

CrossJehovah’s love for the sin- cursed and dying race has been made operative through the gift of his Son to be man’s Redeemer. In John 3:16 we read, “God So loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” This text limits the receiving of everlasting life to those who “believe.” But, as Paul asks, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14) And the same apostle also explains that the “god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) This indicates that as long as Satan continues to rule this “present evil world,” even those who do hear the Gospel imperfectly presented do not have a fair opportunity to believe.

One of the biblical words used to describe the redemptive work of Christ is “ransom,” and Paul explains that a knowledge of the ransom will be testified to all in due time. To Timothy he wrote: “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there Is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the ma Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”—1Ti 2:3- 6

The sequence stated in this text is most revealing. Paul says that it is God’s will that all shall first be “saved” and then come to a “knowledge of the truth.” So far as eternal salvation is concerned, it must be based upon a knowledge 01 the “ransom for all” and a belief and obedience in harmony therewith. What, then, does Paul mean by being “saved’ before  coming to a knowledge of the truth? Obviously this is reference to the fact that in order to have a genuine opportunity to know about the “ransom for all,” the entire unbelieving world will need to be “saved,” or awakened from the sleep of death.

It will be after the people are awakened from death, as Paul indicates, that the glorious truth of the ransom and the manner in which is gives evidence of God’s love will be testified” to them. That will be the “due time” when the “sea” will be converted unto the Lord. Satan, the great deceiver, will then be bound, and the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth. Then the way will be made plain, So plain that “wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”—Isa 35:8 The word “ransom” means a price to correspond, or a price to offset. When Adam sinned he was a perfect man, the “son of God.” (Luke 3:38) God’s just law, demanding an “eye for an eye,”a”tooth for a tooth,”a”life for a life,”meant that if Adam was to be redeemed another perfect man would have to take his place in death. (Exodus 21:23,24; Deuteronomy 19:21) It was for this purpose that Jesus was made flesh—a perfect human being, “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.’ ‘—Gal 4:4; Hebrews 7:26 The claim has been made that Adam was not redeemed by the blood of Christ because he was a willful sinner. The fact is that if Adam had not sinned willfully God could have forgiven him without a ransom. It was because God loved him despite his willful sin that, in order to give him another opportunity for life, he sent Jesus to be a ransom for him. Addressing those who have believed on Jesus and have already accepted the provisions of the ransom, Paul wrote, “If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” (Hebrews 10:26) From this it is clear that if another sacrifice for sin were to be made, the willful sin of those who now have a knowledge of the truth would be atoned for, and they could return to harmony with God if they wished. It is only because there will be “no more” sacrifice for sin that the reconciliation of present willful sinners will never be possible. Jesus atoned for the willful sin of Adam, So Adam will be awakened from the sleep of death and given another opportunity to live forever.

Adam’s children inherited his sin and the sentence of death which came upon him because of his disobedience. (Romans 5:12) Thus, when Jesus redeemed Adam, it meant that he also redeemed his offspring, who lost life through him. Paul explains the philosophy of this, saying: “If by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive  abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by  one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even s by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all mer [including Adam] unto justification of Iife.”—Ro 5:17- 19 Christ stated that he came to give his life a “ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) The Greek text reads, “the many.’ The word “many” as used in this text means an indefinite large number. In the Greek it is polus, and it was this word which Jesus used when he said to his disciples, “The harvest truly is plenteous [polus], but the laborers are few.’ (Matthew 9:37) This contrasting use of the word polus strongly indicates that it denotes a great number, and what better word could Jesus have used to describe the countless millions whom he came to ransom by his precious blood?

The Apostle Paul emphasizes the largeness of this number when he says that Jesus gave himself a ransom for “all”—that is, for the entire human race. This does not mean, o course, that the entire human race will be eternally saved as result of the ransom, for it Is mandatory that there be an individual acceptance of this provision of Jehovah’s grace ii order to receive everlasting benefit from it. But the provision has been made for all; and because of this no one will remain in death because of Adam’s sin, for all have been ransomed therefrom.

The Judgment of the Nations

The people of Egypt and Assyria were, for the most part, enemies of God; yet he has promised to bless them. Concerning the time when they are awakened from death we read: “In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing In the midst of the land: whom the Lord [Jehovah] of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of mind hands, and Israel mine inheritance.”—lsa 19:24,25 The words “captive,” “captivity,” and “prisoners” are often used in the prophecies to refer to the death condition and to those held “captive” in death. Job refers to those in death as “prisoners” who “rest together.” (Job 3:11- 19) Referring to those who die in the great Armageddon struggle, the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “They shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited.”—Isa 24:22 In a definite statement that the people of Sodom and Samaria and the nation of Israel shall be restored to their “former estate”—that is, the estate of life—their awakening from death is described as a bringing again of their “captivity.” The text reads, “When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then wilt I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them.”—Eze 16:53 The 48th chapter of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 48) describes the complete destruction of ancient Moab; yet In the last verse of the chapter we are given the promise, “Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the Lord.” This means that the Moabites are to be  awakened from death and given an opportunity to enjoy God’s premised blessings.

The Ammonites were also a wicked people, yet the Lord has promised to “bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon.”—Jer 49:6

Jeremiah 49:34- 39 describes God’s wrath against the Elamites, resulting In their destruction as sinners; but in verse 39 he says, “It shall come to pass In the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam”— bring them forth that Is, from their captivity in death. God destroyed Egypt’s firstborn, as well as Pharaoh and his Army. He also destroyed certain wicked kings because of their position to his people. Concerning these the Prophet David explained that God  destroyed them because “his mercy endureth forever.” (Psalms 136:10,15,18,19,20) How different Is his explanation from that which, with a restricted viewpoint, some might offer as to why God destroyed those wicked)people. Some would probably be inclined to say that God destroyed them because he had no more mercy for them forever. But this  would not be true. From God’s standpoint it vas a merciful act to destroy them, for he was merely causing hem to sleep until his due time came to further extend his mercy by enlightening them and giving them an opportunity to receive his promised blessings of everlasting life.

That the wicked are to be resurrected in order to come into harmony with God, If they will, is shown in the promise that the Sodomites and Samaritans are to return to their “former estate.” (Ezekiel 16:53- 56)

Verses 60 to 63 ((Ezekiel 16:60- 63) reveal that the purpose of their awakening, as well as the awakening of the Israelites, Is that they might be brought Into covenant relationship with God.

Ezekiel explains that in the resurrection the “shame” of the Israelites, because of their more favorable opportunity, will be greater than that of the Gentile nations then resurrected. Evidently Jesus had this prophecy In mind when he said it would be more tolerable, or “endurable,” for Sodom and Gomorrah In the day of Judgment than for the Jews who rejected him. (Matthew 10:15) But even these are to be raised from the dead and given an opportunity for salvation. Paul emphasizes this. Speaking of those who stumbled and fell In their rejection of Jesus and including them in God’s grace, he said: “All Israel shall be saved; as it Is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer [Christ and his church] and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this Is my covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins.” —Ro 11:26,27 The “covenant” here referred to by Paul is the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah 31:31- 34, a covenant which Is to be made with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. For the Israelites who rejected Jesus to be saved under the terms of this covenant means that they must be raised from the dead. And this, indeed, is Just what the apostle declares, “What shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?”—Ro 11:15 Paul had good authority for this statement. Near the close of Jesus’ ministry he addressed the Jews who rejected him, and particularly his persecutors, saying: “0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:37- 39) Herein one grand sweep Jesus speaks of the wicked Jews throughout the entire Jewish Age, including those who rejected him, and said that In the future they would see him and accept him and would say, “Blessed is he that cometh In the name of the Lord.” There Is no possible way this statement could be fulfilled apart from the resurrection of these wicked Israelites whom the Master addressed.

True, Jesus did say to the Israelites of his day, “Your house Is left unto you desolate.” But this had reference to the loss 01 their opportunity of continuing to be God’s royal, or kingdom, nation. It did not mean that as individuals they would not have the opportunity of receiving the blessings of Christ’s kln9dom. The “kingdom” was taken away from them and given to a “nation bringing forth the fruits thereof,” but their opportunity to receive life through Christ was not taken away.

The scribes and Pharisees were the religious leaders of Israel and, as such, “sat In Moses’ seat.” They were about to lose that honored position, and concerning this Jesus pronounced “woe” upon them. He called them a “generation vipers” and asked, “How can ye escape the damnation of hell (Gehenna]?” (Matt. 23:33) obviously their willful opposition to Jesus and his message resulted In a considerable hardening of their hearts, which will make it much less tolerable for them In the future Judgment day than r those less favored in this life. But Jesus did not say there as no hope for them to escape the condemnation of Gehenna. His question merely suggests the difficulties they , would encounter, difficulties which they could overcome only by humbling themselves and, together with the remainder of mankind, Joyfully and wholeheartedly acclaiming, “Blessed is He that cometh In the name of the Lord.”

In Romans 11:26 we read, “All Israel shall be saved.” And, s Paul further explains, this will be in keeping with God’s promise to take away their sins and to make a New Covenant with them. (Romans 11:26, 27; Jeremiah 31:31- 34) The “Deliverer” who will “take away their sins” and save Israel will “come out of Sion”—Christ and his church In heavenly  glory. It will be then that the Israelites will be restored to divine favor— those who have died, as well as the living generation, Including the scribes and Pharisees who were instrumental In crucifying Jesus.

The majority of the Jews in Jesus’ day refused to believe on him. A few did believe partially, but Paul explains that “God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon au.” (Romans 11:32) How vast, Indeed, is the mercy and grace of Jehovah! “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his Judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33) The reason God will be able to extend his mercy to the unbelieving Israelites Is that receiving them back Into his favor will, as Paul explains, mean “life from the dead.”—Ro 11:15 In setting forth this great fact of Israel’s restoration, Paul was merely emphasizing the verity of God’s promises which are recorded in the Old Testament. In Ezekiel 37:1- 14 is presented a remarkable prophecy of the restoration of Israel, a prophecy in which the “whole house of Israel” is symbolized by a valley of dry bones. “Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts,” they are represented as saying. This has been very true of the Israelites throughout the centuries.

But the prophecies show that this scene would change, that they would be restored eventually to their own land. (See Jeremiah 31:8- 12; Amos 9:14,15; Jeremiah 30:3- 7; 16:14- 16; Ezekiel 20:33- 37) The last prophecy cited Indicates that the regathering would take place in times of great stress. The Lord declares, “I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye were scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. … And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.”

This indicates that the Israelites are to be regathered to Palestine prior to their acceptance Into the New Covenant. In another prophecy the Lord says, “I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you Into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and: ye shall be clean; from all you filthiness, and from alt your idols, will I cleanse you.” (Ezekiel 36:24,25) This also shows that they are regathered In unbelief.

The prophecy of Joel 3:1,2 reveals that the regathering of Israel would take place during the “last days” assembling of the nations for the great Armageddon struggle. We have been witnessing the fulfillment of this prophecy. The fact that the Jewish people themselves do not yet recognize the significance of what is occurring does not mean that the Lord’s hand is not overruling In their restoration to the land. This however, is but the first phase of their restoration. Their ‘dry bones” are coming together, but not until they are clothe with flesh and the Lord puts his Spirit In them, will the Israelites turn to the Lord. The prophecy reads, “When have opened your graves, 0 my people, and brought you up out of your graves, and shall put my spirit in you, and ye shaII live, … then shall ye know that I the Lord hath spoken it, saith the Lord.”—Eze 37:13,14 This prophecy refers to the national resurrection of Israel as well as to their individual restoration to the Promised Land, and it includes those who are in their graves. How right, therefore, was Paul, when he wrote that the receiving again of Israel would be “life from the dead”! How true also is his statement that “all Israel shall be saved” and that God had counted them all in “unbelief that he might have mercy upon ill.”And this Is also In full harmony with Jesus’ assertion to the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees that while the “house” of Israel was left desolate, they would later see him, and would say, “Blessed Is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” But only after the Lord has awakened them from the sleep of death will they thus discern that Jesus is the messiah and, recognizing his blessedness, acclaim and serve him, and serve Jehovah who sent him.