|Topical Bible Study||December 1961|
God’s Plan for Man—Lesson XIX
The Better Resurrection
THE kingdom of God, or the kingdom of Christ, as discussed in the Bible, consists of both rulers and subjects. The Bible reveals that the chief rulers in the kingdom are Jesus and his church, his faithful footstep followers. These will be on the divine plane of life, and invisible to human eyes. However, these spiritual rulers will be represented here on earth by perfect humans, raised from the dead in what the Bible describes as a “better resurrection.”—Heb. 11:35
Those to receive this blessing of the “better resurrection” are the ancient servants of God, those who proved their absolute devotion to God and to his principles of righteousness prior to the first advent of Jesus. (Heb., ch 11) The first of these was righteous Abel, and the last was probably John the Baptist, whom Jesus said would not be in the kingdom of “heaven,” meaning the spiritual, or heavenly phase of the kingdom.—Matt. 11:11
Jesus said to the people of Israel of his day that they would see and sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets. (Matt. 8:11; Luke 13:28,29) This implies that the people of Jesus’ day will have been raised from the dead, and that the Ancient Worthies, who will be the earthly representatives of the spiritual phase of the kingdom, will also have been raised from the dead, having proved their worthiness of this exalted position in the kingdom by their loyalty to God in the severe tests to which they were subjected.
The Bible indicates these Ancient Worthies will be raised to perfection, “made perfect” However, this “better resurrection” of the earthly representatives of the kingdom must await the completion of the spiritual class and their resurrection to “glory and honor and immortality,” this being the “better thing” which the followers of the Master will receive.—Heb. 11:39,40; Rom. 2:7
In another promise of the “better” resurrection of those who will serve as the human representatives of Christ throughout the thousand years of his reign, we are informed that they will shine “as the stars forever and ever.” (Dan. 12:3; Matt. 13:43) This is in contrast with the much brighter shining of those who will be the spiritual rulers in the kingdom, which will be “as the brightness of the firmament.”
The shining of both these classes is symbolic of the fact that through the spiritual and earthly phases of the kingdom the knowledge of the Lord will be caused to fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.—Isa. 11:9
During the forty years of Moses’ service as a deliverer and lawgiver, the people’s contacts with him, were largely through “counselors.” Later, during the period of the judges, they were ruled through judges whom the Lord raised up to them. These circumstances are employed by the Lord to illustrate his future use of the Ancient Worthies, whom he will raise up in the “better resurrection” to be judges and counselors. (Isa. 1:26) These will surely be wonderful servants of the people.
The faithful servants of God of past ages are to be restored to life on the earth, and to be the human executives of a new world government under Christ. The answers to the following questions will reveal this important truth of the divine plan.
Who will be the invisible rulers in the kingdom of God?
Who, on the earth, will represent the spiritual rulers in Christ’s kingdom, and how is their resurrection described?
What is implied by Jesus’ statement that the Ancient Worthies will be seen here on earth in the kingdom?
What did Paul mean concerning the Ancient Worthies in his statement they would be “made Perfect”?
What is implied by the promise that the Ancient Worthies will “shine” when raised from the dead?
What did the Prophet Isaiah meat mean by the promise that judges and “counselors” would be raised up in the kingdom?
“The Divine Plan of the Ages,” pages 288-292.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANT THOUGHTS
There will be two parts in the ruling phase of the kingdom of Christ—the spiritual and the earthly. The earthly rulers will be the Ancient Worthies; and the spiritual, Jesus and his faithful followers.