Due to various electronic necessities, insignificant formatting, punctuation, capitalization, etc. and other minor editing has taken place. Spelling has been addressed especially where scanning has caused errors.

Links to the various sections can be found at the bottom of the page.


The Truth Shall Make You Free



CHAPTER XXVIII

PRINCES OF A FREE EARTH

352

NEVERTHELESS we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." This is the glorious outlook which the God of truth gives to those who trust in his Word of promise. The realization of that promise will far exceed in grandeur and blessedness all that our eyes of faith can now visualize. —2 Peter 3:13.

The apostle John, after seeing in symbolic scenes the destruction of "the heavens and the earth which are now", writes: "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 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 he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all

353

things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful." —Revelation 21:1-5.

Political and religious promises to build a new and finer and free world by men's hands are therefore ridiculous and presumptuous. They prove that the promisers forget God and hold his Word as untrue. But it will be their so-called "new order" that will pass away at Armageddon, and God's Word will stand vindicated as true. The new world of righteousness will be fashioned by Almighty God through his Master Workman, The Word, Christ Jesus. "For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create; for . . . the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith Jehovah,"  —Isaiah 65:17,18; 66: 22, A.R.V.

By the enthronement of his King at the end of the "seven times" in A.D. 1914 the great Creator created the "new heavens", the capital organization of his universe. The "war in heaven" that followed ended in the overthrow of the wicked heavens of Satan and his demons, although the destruction of those wicked creatures was not carried out at once after their debasement to the earth but awaits the final end of Satan's organization at Armageddon. The "new heavens" are symbolized by the "new Jerusalem" which descends from heaven. That is, it extends its power down from heaven to the

354

earth for the creating of a new governing organization symbolized as "the new earth". The "new Jerusalem" rules in the midst of its enemies until Armageddon is fought out and the enemies are destroyed. The Righteous Ruler of the "new Jerusalem" is the Lamb of God: "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them." (Revelation 20:11; 3: 21) Then the King and the city, which represents his 'bride, the wife of the Lamb', reign as the "new heavens" over the cleansed terrestrial globe, and the establishment of the "new earth" takes place. Who will compose that new earthly organization?

The "new earth" will be the official visible representatives of the invisible heavenly Ruler, the new righteous Overlord over humankind. The Lord's "other sheep" are being gathered into the "one fold" first since the "new heavens" were created, and hence will not be made the earthly representatives of their invisible Overlord, even though they survive the great tribulation at the world's end. The office of representatives will be granted to faithful men who preceded Jesus' earthly ministry in the flesh. Such men were privileged to foreshadow him and his faithful course and sacrifice by their own deeds of faith and devotion to God. Many of them were in the human line of descent down to his birth in the flesh, being thus his forefathers according to the flesh. Having served as Jehovah's witnesses and as prophetic representations of Jehovah's com-

355

ing King, they will again serve as his trustworthy representatives on earth under the Kingdom actually established. That is no unjustified discrimination against the "other sheep" and is no cause for complaint by them. Everything is of God's mercy and loving-kindness, and is for the glory of him who does all things according to his own unselfish will. —Romans 9:14-16; 11: 29.

One of those faithful men of old prophesied of the destruction of the totalitarian world arrangement, pictured by the king of Assyria and his princes. He then said: "Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind." (Isaiah 31: 6-9; 32:1, 2) Christ Jesus, "the Son of man," will reign as King in Zion, the "new Jerusalem"; and the 144,000 members of his church-body "shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years". (Revelation 20:4,6) They reign with him in the invisible heavens, but the faithful men of old will rule in judgment on the earth under the Kingdom. They receive their life from Christ Jesus the King. When put in official position on earth, they will as the King's sons be "princes" visible to humankind. This is definitely stated in Psalm 45, which is addressed to God's King.

After a description of the King's queen, 'the wife of the Lamb,' and then of her virgin companions, the Lord's "other sheep", Psalm 45:16 says to the King: "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes

356

in all the earth." Among such ones are Moses and John the Baptist, both of whom died before the day of Pentecost and hence were not begotten of the spirit. Accordingly, in proof that these foremost prophets of old will not reign with Christ in heaven but will be princes on earth inferior to the Kingdom, Jesus said: "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding, he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." —Matthew 11:11.

Where are those future "princes" now? Not in any imaginary place called "limbo", neither in heaven. They are dead, in Sheol, or hell, the place of unconsciousness and non-existence in death. Faithful Jacob expected to go there, and thought that his beloved son Joseph was there also. According to Genesis 37:35 Jacob said: "I will go down to my son into HELL, mourning." (Douay Version) Or, "I will go down to SHEOL to my son mourning." (A.R.V.) Or, "I will go down into the GRAVE unto my son mourning." (Auth. Ver.) Also patient Job, while being tormented with bodily afflictions by the Devil, prayed to go to the dead's abode, saying: "Who will grant me this, that thou mayst protect me in HELL!" (Job 14:13, Douay) Or, "Oh that thou wouldest hide me in SHEOL!" (A.R.V.) Or, "0 that thou wouldest hide me in the GRAVE!" (A.V.)

The transfiguration scene in the holy mountain, in which Moses and Elijah appeared talking with Jesus, does not deny the fact that they

357

are dead. Jesus said that what his disciples saw there was a "vision"; just as John, when receiving the Revelation, saw visions in which he himself talked and also saw and heard others speaking. But such visions "were not realities. (Matthew 17: 9; Acts 12: 9) Had the prophets Moses and Elijah actually been raised from the dead and appeared in fleshly bodies in that transfiguration scene, then it would have denied the Scripture truth that Jesus Christ is "the first-begotten of the dead". (Revelation 1:5; Colossians 1:18) Some time before that transfiguration Jesus plainly said: "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man." (John 3:13) And with this fact Peter agreed on the day of Pentecost. —Acts 2: 34.

Such men of old need a resurrection. This they expected to receive through the woman's Seed who should bruise the Serpent's head. The apostle Paul writes to the Christians in the covenant for the kingdom of heaven and gives them a narrative account of those faithful men of old, from Abel to John the Baptist. He tells of their refusal to compromise and bargain their way out of suffering, and adds: "And others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection." (Hebrews 11: 35) Though not sharing in the reward of the "first resurrection" with the "kingdom of heaven" class, yet they do obtain a resurrection better than that of the remainder of redeemed humankind. Why? Because they kept covenant

358

with God and maintained their integrity against the Devil, and thereby they have "done good". Hence Jesus said they come forth to a "resurrection of life". In their awakening out of death they will come forth as perfect men and to the station of "princes in all the earth". —John 5:28,29.

They could not, however, receive this resurrection before Christ's coming to the temple, at which time the "dead in Christ" must rise first. On this matter the apostle writes to Christians called to the heavenly calling and to the "first resurrection" and says to them: "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." (Hebrews 11:39,40) Now that the King has come to the temple and resurrected the sleeping saints and gathered his faithful remnant into the temple condition of unity with him, there is hope that these faithful men of old may be resurrected in the near future. Some Scripture texts and prophetic dramas suggest that they may be raised to life before the battle of Armageddon and may meet the faithful spiritual remnant and with them see the mighty battle and the glorious victory of which they prophesied. The Revelation concerning the destruction of Satan's "woman", Babylon, says: "Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye saints, and ye apostles, and ye prophets; for God hath judged your judgment on her." (Revelation 18:20, A.R.V.) The faithful rem-

359

nant have a hope that, like as Joseph met his aged father Jacob before the seven years of famine in Egypt were up, so they may have the joy of welcoming these faithful prophets and witnesses of old back from the tomb before this dire period of spiritual famine ends at "the battle of that great day." —Genesis 46: 26-30.

Christ Jesus is the Foundation of the new world of righteousness. "And his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end." (Isaiah 9: 6, 7) When he raises those ancient witnesses from the dead by giving them life and thus becoming their "Everlasting Father"; and when, after Armageddon, he installs them in office as "princes in all the earth", then the "new earth" as well as the "new heavens" will have come indeed. That new world will be established that it cannot be moved for ever. Hence the divine command is now given: "Say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth: the world also is established that it cannot be moved: he will judge the peoples with equity. Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; let the field exult, and all that is therein; then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy before Jehovah; for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with his truth."  —Psalm 96:10-13, A.R.V.

Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0!