Identity—In The Kingdom Will We Know One Another.
Question (1987)—Will we know one another in the earthly Kingdom?
Answer.—Yes; the restored world and those on the human plane will know each other, for the blessing is to come to them through restitution, and each will begin his new life on practically the same plane of thought, experience, etc., that he quitted at death. As for the elect Church, the Apostle informs us that “It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him” (1 John 3:2). To be like Him will mean to be partakers of His spirit-nature, as described by the Apostle in 1 Cor. 15:43, 44, in glory, in power, a spiritual body. Earthly beings will not see these spiritual beings with their natural eyes, for the same reason that we cannot see angels now. They will know of them, however, in the same way that we know of our Lord and of the heavenly Father, and this knowledge will be as satisfactory to them as our knowledge of the Lord now is satisfactory to us.
“We see Jesus” and are “looking unto Jesus”, etc., the eyes of our understanding being opened. But these glorious spirit beings will see and recognize each other, as it is written, “[We] shall know even as [we] are known” (1 Cor. 13:12), and they will be able to see their earthly friends, though we do not see them. The glorified class will be able to care for and bless their earthly friends more particularly than they could do if they were with them in the flesh. The Scriptures exhort us to lay aside every weight and to run and patience to obtain this great spiritual blessing, and while we see many of its advantages we may rest assured of others which we cannot now so fully realize, because “now [we] know in part” and “see through a glass darkly [obscurely].” ’87-47
Iran—The Present Strife.
Question (1979)—What is the significance of the clamor for the removal of the Shah of Iran from power, and the accompanying strife, in relation to Bible prophecy?
Answer.—(1) This is another evidence of the fulfilment of Psa. 110:1, 2, 5, 6:
“The LORD [Jehovah] shall send the rod of thy strength [the Messiah, v. 1] out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies [Jehovah through Messiah sets up His Kingdom gradually; it is gradually smiting the kingdoms of this present evil world—Dan. 2:35, 44; Gal. 1:4—and will not cease until they are all overthrown and the Kingdom of God is established].
“The Lord at thy right hand [compare v. 1] shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath [in the great Time of Trouble from 1914 onward the Lord has been striking through kings, absolute monarchs, the latest being the Shah, and stripping them of power, though some remain as figureheads] . . . He shall wound the heads over many countries.”
Also, (2) what is happening in Iran is another evidence of the sounding of the seventh trumpet, the antitypical Jubilee trumpet (Lev. 25:9, 10; Rev. 11:15; see The Time is at Hand, chap. 6), proclaiming liberty and justice for the people, here in the Laodicean period (Laodicea means justice for the people), and the soon-coming establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth (Rev. 3:14-20). The formation of a civilian government in Iran will give the people many liberties that they were denied formerly, even though they may in some respects greatly misuse them. The immense wealth of the Shah is to be used to a large extent for the benefit of the common people.
Furthermore, (3) the recent events in Iran seem to be a part of the gradual aligning for the people to the situation as it will exist in the time of “Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7), Phase II, at the end of the Anarchy stage of the great Time of Trouble, when the remnants of European, Asiatic and African nations will go up against and seek to plunder Israel (Zech. 14:1-3), which will then be in comparative peace and enormously wealthy (Ezek. 38:10-23; 39:1-29). Meshech and Tubal (38:3) refer to Northern Europe. The former name for Iran is Persia. In v. 5 it is mentioned among those that will be opposing and plundering Israel. The cutting off by the new civilian Iranian government of any further supply of oil to Israel (it received much of its oil from Iran under the Shah’s rule) and the present attitude of more or less of animosity of the Iranians toward Israel shows matters shaping up for the future.
It is noteworthy that Ethiopia, also mentioned in v. 5, with the downfall of King Haile Selassie in 1974, the last of the pre-1914 absolute monarchs, also has assumed an anti-Israel stand; and Libya (v. 5), under President Khaddafi, is perhaps the most anti-Israel of all the Arab countries. ’79-22
Isaiah 19:23-25--Israel, A Third With Egypt And Assyria.
Question (1978)—In Isa. 19:23-25 we read: “In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrian. 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 of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.” When and how will this prophecy be fulfilled?
Answer.—In the Bible prophecies the expression “in that day” generally refers to the Messianic Millennial Day, the seventh thousand-year day of mankind’s history, in one or more of its phases. Under the New Covenant, God will bless Israel (Jer. 31:31-34) and all the families of the earth (Gen. 12:3; 26:4; 28:14); “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD” (Isa. 11:9), and “the way of holiness” then opened, the way to eternal life for the world, will be so plain that “the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein (Isa. 35:8).
We understand that in Isa. 19:23-25, Egypt stands for the heathen people, Assyria for the nominal Christians and Israel for the Jews, in God’s Kingdom in the Millennial Day, when only obedient ones of these three classes will through Messiah become God’s people, on the way to gaining eternal life. God’s Chosen People, the Jews, will be the third with the heathen and the nominal Christians, even a special blessing in their midst, and will be instrumental to bringing many of them into covenant relationship with God, as they come up “to the house of the God of Jacob,” to learn of His ways and to walk in His paths (Isa. 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4). ’78-47
Isaiah 26:19—“Thy Dead Men Shall Live” When Will This Happen.
Question (1923)—What is meant by Is. 26:19: “Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body shall they arise?” Does not this verse teach that the bodies that are laid away in the grave are brought forth on the Last Day?
Answer.—It might, but it does not necessarily teach it, even if the Authorized Version rendering and its interpolations were accepted; but if it should be so construed, the rendering and the interpolated words make the passage contradict a very clear answer given by St. Paul (1 Cor. 15:35-37) to a question on the body with which the dead come from the tomb? His language is, “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? And with what body do they come? Thou fool [foolish one], that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die; and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain.” These verses very clearly show that the bodies that are laid away in burial do not come back again, and give as an illustration the fact that grains of wheat, etc., that are sown do not come back again; but that new grains are raised. Just so, he says, the bodies, which are buried, do not come back in the resurrection.
Sometimes John 2:19, 21 (“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up. But he spake of the temple of His body”) is interpreted as teaching the raising of the same body that is buried. This interpretation not only contradicts the Apostle’s words just quoted; but also the many Scriptures and Scriptural teachings that we gave in our March 15, 1923, issue, pp. 9-13, that prove that our Lord did not take back His body of flesh when He arose from the dead. Jesus’ words are explained by St. John, against the misunderstanding of Jesus’ hearers, as referring to the temple pictured forth by the Jewish temple, i.e., He referred to the antitypical temple, which is the Church. (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:19-22.) We also know that the Church is called the body of Christ. (Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 1:23; 3:6; 4:4, 12, 16; 5:23, 30; Col. 1:18, 24.) Jesus, therefore, here promised that even if His enemies should kill the various members of His Church, He would, nevertheless, on the third [one thousand years’] day raise it [the Church] up. He uttered this language on the fifth one thousand years’ day from Adam’s fall into sin; and we have already proven that the Church will be reigning with Him, hence will be resurrected, on the seventh one thousand years’ day, which is the third such days from and including the fifth. So understood, the passage makes no reference to the raising of the bodies of the saints.
The Scriptures nowhere teach that the bodies that are laid away in death are raised again on the last day, but on the contrary deny such a thought. By accepting this Scriptural teaching, we are unaffected by infidel objections to the resurrection, based on the material elements of some bodies becoming parts of other bodies by assimilation through cannibalism or through eating fruits, vegetables, grains or animal flesh into which elements of dead human bodies have been assimilated.
It will be noted that in Is. 26:19 there are several questionable things, as the passage is translated in the Authorized Version. In the first place the words printed in italics in this verse, just as the italicized words everywhere else in the A.V., are inserted into the text without having any corresponding words in the original; for the translators resorted to the use of italics, not to indicate emphasis, which italics are usually made to express; but to inform the readers that the italicized words are interpolated. The interpolated words, “to-gether with” make the verse liable to the interpretation that we have shown contradicts the Bible in many ways. Moreover, in the Hebrew the words translated in the A.V. as “body” is plural, bodies. The Revised Versions, both English and American, correctly renders the verse as follows: “Thy dead shall live: my dead bodies shall arise.” As we have already explained in the Herald of The Epiphany of Jan. 15, 1921, pp. 9-12, the resurrection has two parts: (1) the awakening of the dead, and (2) the lifting up of these awakened ones from the physical, mental, moral and religious imperfection of the Adamic fallen condition, back again into the physical, mental, moral and religious perfection from which Adam fell—a process that will require the entire Millennium to complete for mankind. As we understand the matter, these two things are taught by Is. 26:19: the clause, “Thy dead shall live,” refers to the awakening of the dead—the first part of the resurrection process—and the clause, “My dead bodies shall arise,” refers to the restanding from Adamic imperfection to perfection—the second part of the resurrection process. The expression, “dead bodies,” refers to these bodies as being not actually in the death state, but as dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1, 5); for God regards everyone out of Christ and short of perfection as dead. (2 Cor. 5:14.) The reason for the use of the word, my, in the clause, “my dead bodies” is that Christ, the speaker in this verse, by virtue of His ransoming—purchasing—them, will be their Owner and Lord (Rom. 14:9); hence can properly call them His. So viewed, the passage does not refer in the least degree to the identical bodies that were buried as being raised again on the last day; but refers to the two parts of the resurrection process, (1) the awakening of the dead, and (2) their restanding to perfection. ’23-51
Israel—What Is the Real Secret Of Their Marvelous Success.
Question (1961)—What is the real secret of Israel’s marvelous success and progress during recent years?
Answer.—Many reasons more or less related might be offered, but the basic cause of Israel’s remarkable success, so far as the Jews are concerned, seems to be centered in their innate conviction that they are the seed of Abraham and God’s covenant people to whom God has promised the restoration of their promised land and the privilege of blessing eventually all the families of the earth. (See, e.g., Gen. 13:14-17; 15:18; Isa. 27:6; Ezek 20:40-42; Amos 9:14, 15; Mal. 3:11, 12; Zech. 8:11-23.) The land of Divine promise is most precious to the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and many of them have kissed the soil as they have returned to it. The Zionist movement rejected tempting offers made by the great powers, notably Great Britain, of richer lands in regions politically less complicated: It could not be moved from the ancient promises of God to Israel, nor from the land and city of the fathers. And when, as the first act of its newly won sovereignty, Israel announced that its gate were open to receive the oppressed, it did so by saying that it was committed to “the ingathering of the exiles” (Ezek. 28:25; 34:12-14; 37:21).
It is the view of the Old Testament, and of the Jewish faith to this day, that the goal of God’s purpose for mankind is the coming Kingdom of God to be established on earth, with its consequent blessings for all mankind through the seed of Abraham—the realization of a human society of universal brotherhood, peace and prosperity. Throughout the centuries the Jews have looked to God to fulfill His promises, and now since He has regathered them to their promised land and is greatly prospering them therein, they have taken a renewed interest in the promises of God’s Word and their faith has been increased. They are filled with renewed hope, courage and joyful expectancy by God’s promises, such as found, e.g., in Isa. 65:17-25: “Behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever [unto all eternity—Leeser] in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying . . . They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain [kingdom], saith the Lord.”
Since God promised (Isa. 46:13): “My salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory,” since so many prophecies preliminary to the early establishment of His reign of truth and righteousness in the earth are now being remarkably fulfilled, since among the nations Israel is to be the leading nation and the first one to receive God’s salvation in restitution (“The Lord also shall save the tents [the tribe] of Judah first,” the Gentile nations following—Zech. 12:7; 8:20-23; 14:16; Micah 4:1-8), and since God intends to complete His purpose by means of His people, the believing Jews, in proportion to their faith in God’s promises for them, have taken fresh courage. Their patriotism and indomitable energy in rebuilding their ruins and rehabilitating their land is closely connected to their religious beliefs, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18). Throughout the centuries the seed of Abraham according to the flesh have been sustained by the vision that God has given them—and this is so today more than ever. ’61-77
Israel—Are They Accepting Christ As Their Messiah.
Question (1961)—Are we to understand that the people of Israel are accepting Christ as their Messiah?
Answer.—There are some in Israel who have accepted Jesus of Nazareth as their hope of salvation; but this is the exception not the rule. The general movement of the Jews is toward their Sacred Scriptures of the Law and the Prophets. This is very encouraging, as it is centering their attention on God and His promises for them, and is preparing them for further revelation of truth.
The cross of Christ is still very unpopular in Israel, for to the average Jew it represents the intolerance and persecution of the Dark Ages. While the majority of Jews scattered throughout Christendom today may regard it simply as the symbol of Christianity, without bothering about its significance, in Israel it is hated by the extremely fanatical Jews who are trying to compel the government to use the Torah and the Talmud as its only sources for legislation. Their pressure and influence is seen all over the country. E.g., the children in Israeli schools are taught to make a plus sign, not like the conventional cross (+), but like this 1. Recently a complaint was received by the Israeli railways that a ticket punch used by one of its conductors punched holes in the shape of a cross, and the punch was withdrawn from use. About a year ago the Israeli postal authorities were compelled under pressure from these same fanatics, to stop the issue of an airmail stamp because it had on it a picture of picturesque Nazareth with a cross showing on one of its church buildings. The time for the fulfillment of the prophecy in Zech. 12:10 is not yet. Now is the time to comfort God’s people in Israel, to tell them that their appointed time is accomplished, that their “double” is fulfilled, that “the times of the Gentiles are ended and that their deliverance is at hand (Isa. 40:1, 2; Jer. 16:16-21). ’61-78
Question (1972)—Just what is meant by “Israel’s Return”?
Answer.—By Israel, the Bible means the Jewish people (John 4:22; Matt. 10:5, 6; 15:24). And it sets forth two lines of thought connected with their return: (1) their return to their land, and (2) their return to God’s favor. Let us first consider (1):
The antecedents to their return to their land are their dispersion among all nations and their persecutions, both during the Dark Ages and in more recent times. Their dispersion throughout the Gospel Age in many lands was forecast in Lev. 26:33-39; Jer. 16:13-16; 30:11; Hos. 3:4. The desolation of their land and cities was forecast in Lev. 26:31-35, 43; Deut. 29:22, 24, 27; Isa. 17:4-6; Jer. 4:20, 26-28; 12:4-7, 10-13; 19:8; Amos 3:14; 5:3, 5; 7:8, 9; Mic. 1:6; Matt. 11:20-23; Luke 10:12-15; 21:24. These prophecies have had an abundant fulfilment. Until recently, the land has been practically bereaved of the Israelites, its fertility has been greatly diminished and it has been desolate. The inducements to Israel’s returning to their land are their religion, their patriotism, their persecutions in various countries, their need of a place where they can dwell in safety, the awakening of national consciousness, the returning fertility of the land and the resumption of business there. We see it becoming an actuality, in part due to the individual and collective initiative manifested by the Jewish people in Israel, e.g., in their colonization and collective immigration. The prophecies point it out (Jer. 16:14-18; 30:4-8, 18-22; 31:4-14, 21, 23-25, 27, 28, 35-40; 32:36, 37; 33:7, 10, 11; Ezek. 36:1-15, 24-38; 37:1-28; Hos. 3:4, 5; Amos 9:14, 15). These Scriptures cannot refer to their return from Babylon, for they call it the return from the North country, while Babylon is east of Palestine. The predicted seven times (7X360 years) or 2520 years’ punishment (Lev. 26:18, 21, 24, 28), lasted from 607 B. C. to 1914 A.D. Particularly since 1914 A.D. there has been an ever increasing activity along the lines of the above inducements. Even as far back as the 1890’s political Zionism began to influence numbers to return to the land, and their return is progressing rapidly.
Secondly, we consider Israel’s return to the Lord’s favor. The cause for their loss of the Lord’s favor was their stubbornness and pride, culminating in their rejection of Christ. In Lev. 26:14-45 Moses gave a remarkable prophecy of the punishments that God forecast as coming upon them for their violations of His covenant. Hos. 3:4, 5; Matt. 23:27-39; Luke 19:42; Rom. 11:10, 11; 11:25 also indicate their loss of the Lord’s favor. However, their blindness and disfavor were not to continue forever, according to the Scriptures (Lev. 26:40-45; Psa. 102:13-17; Isa. 40:1, 2; Ezek. 16:60, 63; Rom. 11:25-32). In harmony with these prophecies, and the fact that we are living in the time to expect their fulfilment, we find Israel’s blindness and prejudice against Jesus passing away; whereas Jews formerly were very bitter against Jesus, many of them now regard Him as the greatest of their prophets. We find the New Testament translated into Hebrew being circulated among the Jews; we find much non-sectarian evangelism being used to awaken in them a recognition of their mistake in rejecting Jesus, and also in helping them to see that He is the Messiah foretold in the Old Testament. The glorious results of Israel’s return to the Lord’s favor are shown in Rom. 11:12, 15, 16; Ezek. 16:46-63. For more details on this subject, please see The Bible (E Vol. 12) pp. 367-377. ’72-70
Israel—Many Jews Still Returning.
Question (1972)—Israel’s return is explained in the Sept. BS Bible Question Box, but no mention is made as to how many are going to Israel. Are many going there at the present time?
Answer.—It is true that no figures are given, but the statement is made that “their return is progressing rapidly.” At the end of 1971 the unprecedented number of 100 Jews a day were emigrating from Russia alone (with many coming also from Rumania and other countries), and it was expected that of the 3 million Jews in the Soviet Union over 100,000 would leave for Israel during 1972, but Soviet restrictions may cause the total to be nearer 35,000. It is estimated that the emigration and settlement cost to Israel is about $10,000 for each Jewish person, which includes complete care and housing until all are established in Israel and those of working age are gainfully employed. Of course, many Jews continue to come from other countries also, but the main emigration of late is from Russia (“the land of the north”—Jer. 16:15). ’72-77
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