Thursday, September 27, 2018

God’s covenant people: Why most believing Jews in Paul’s day weren’t in the body of Christ (Part Two)

Israel’s Covenant-Based Expectation

There is much that could be said concerning the covenant-based expectation of the nation of Israel. However, for the sake of brevity and the purpose of this study, I’ll have to limit my focus to just a few of the many passages of scripture that deal with the subject of Israel’s future allotment during the eons to come.

Concerning Israel’s new covenant, the author of the letter to the Hebrews quoted Jeremiah 31:31-34 as follows:

For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says: Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.

Some think that the new covenant promised in Jeremiah 31 is not a literal covenant, but figurative only. Although I don't think much hangs on whether the covenant is literal or figurative, my own view is that the covenant is indeed a literal covenant, and that the alternative view is based on an erroneous understanding of what a “covenant” actually is. Those who think the new covenant can’t be a literal covenant seem to hold to this position because they define a “covenant” as being something that essentially involves two parties that each have certain responsibilities/duties that must be fulfilled in order for the covenant to exist or remain in effect. But this definition of “covenant” is, I think, too narrow, and doesn't take into account some critical scriptural data on the subject of covenant.

A covenant is, I believe, essentially a legally binding arrangement between parties as to a course of action. Although a covenant does essentially involve at least two parties, it does not essentially involve each party having to do certain things in fulfillment of some covenantal obligation. With regards to stipulations, a covenant can be either bilateral or unilateral in nature. In fact, the first covenant referred to in Scripture – the so-called “Noahic covenant” (the sign of which is the rainbow) – was/is clearly unilateral in nature, depending solely on God for its continuance (see Genesis 9:8-17). This one-sided covenant applies to all humanity (as well as to all other living creatures on earth), and involves no stipulations for those with whom God established it. And in this regard, the “new covenant” that God promised to establish with Israel is like the Noahic covenant. Unlike the “old covenant,” it is unilateral in nature.

Now, we know that the mediator of the new covenant between God and the house of Israel/house of Judah is Christ himself (Hebrews 9:15-17), who “confirmed” or “ratified” the covenant by means of his sacrificial death (a fact which we find reaffirmed in Hebrews 7:22, 8:6, 10:29, 12:24 and 13:20). However, the actual realization of the covenant that Christ ratified through his death awaits a future fulfillment, and will take place when “those who are called may be obtaining the promise of the eonian enjoyment of the allotment” (Heb. 9:15). In fact, just three verses before the passage from Jeremiah 31 that the author of Hebrews quotes, we read that the days when this new covenant will be “established” or “concluded” is when God plants Israel back in their land and begins multiplying people and animals there: Behold, the days are coming, averring is Yahweh, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of mankind and the seed of beasts. And it will come to be just as I was alert over them to pluck up and to break down, to demolish and to destroy and to smash, so I shall be alert over them to build and to plant, averring is Yahweh(Jer. 31:27-28).

Compare the above verses from Jeremiah with Ezekiel 36:10-11 and 37:25-26, where God declares the following to the land in which Israel will be dwelling when the new covenant goes into effect: I will increase humanity on you, all the house of Israel, all of it, And the cities will be indwelt, And the deserted places shall be rebuilt. I will increase on you human and beast, And they will be abundant and fruitful; I will make you indwelt as you were formerly, And I will bring more good than in your beginnings. Then you will know that I am Yahweh. I will lead humanity, My people Israel, onto you, And they will tenant you, And you will become their allotment, And you will never again make them bereaved…Thus they will dwell on the land that I gave to My servant Jacob, in which your fathers dwelt; they will dwell on it, they and their sons and their sons’ sons throughout the eon, and David My servant will be their prince for the eon. I will contract with them a covenant of peace; it shall come to be an eonian covenant with them; I will establish them and increase them…”

Paul understood the implementation of the new covenant to be a future event as well. According to what he wrote in Romans 11:25-27, it will not take place until “the complement of the nations” has entered, and “callousness, in part” has been removed from Israel: “For I am not willing for you to be ignorant of this secret, brethren, lest you may be passing for prudent among yourselves, that callousness, in part, on Israel has come, until the complement of the nations may be entering. And thus all Israel shall be saved, according as it is written, Arriving out of Zion shall be the Rescuer. He will be turning away irreverence from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them Whenever I should be eliminating their sins.

When Paul wrote, “according as it is written,” he had in mind the words of Isaiah 59:20-21. Here is the full quotation of the second part quoted by Paul, from Isaiah 59:21: As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says Yahweh: My spirit which is on you And My words which I place in your mouth, They shall not be removed from your mouth, Or from the mouth of your seed, Or from the mouth of your seed’s seed, says Yahweh, Henceforth and for the eon.” Whereas in Jeremiah 31 God promised to put his laws in the minds and write them on the hearts of his covenant people, here he promises that the “words” which he places in their mouth will never be removed from their mouth. That the fulfillment of this promise will take place when Jerusalem becomes the greatest city in the world is evident from what we read in the chapter that immediately follows (see also Isaiah 2:1-4).

In Ezekiel 36:24-31, we read the following: For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness: and I will call for the grain, and will multiply it, and lay no famine on you. I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that you may receive no more the reproach of famine among the nations. Then you shall remember your evil ways, and your doings that were not good; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations.”

In these verses, we find that, when the new covenant goes into effect, Israel will be gathered by God into the land that God promised to the fathers.

The kingdom restored to Israel

In the next chapter of Ezekiel we find that the land promised to Israel will constitute the geographical territory of the kingdom that is to be restored to Israel. We also find that God’s servant, David, will reign as king over the restored nation (which means that David will be among the saints of Israel who are to be resurrected seventy-five days after Christ’s return to earth):

Thus says my Lord Yahweh:  Behold, I shall take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will convene them from all around and bring them to their own ground. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king for them all. They shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they be divided into two kingdoms any longer. They shall not defile themselves any longer with their idol clods, with their abominations and with all their transgressions. I will save them from all their backslidings in which they have sinned and will cleanse them. They will become My people, and I Myself shall become their Elohim.

My servant David will be king over them, and there shall come to be one shepherd for them all. They shall walk in My ordinances and observe My statutes, and they will do them. Thus they will dwell on the land that I gave to My servant Jacob, in which your fathers dwelt; they will dwell on it, they and their sons and their sons’ sons throughout the eon, and David My servant will be their prince for the eon. I will contract with them a covenant of peace; It shall come to be an eonian covenant with them; I will establish them and increase them; I will put My sanctuary in their midst for the eon, And My tabernacle will be over them. Thus I will become their Elohim, And they shall become My people. Then the nations will know that I, Yahweh, am hallowing Israel When My sanctuary comes to be in their midst for the eon.

The land to which Israel will be gathered by God when the new covenant goes into effect will be the location of the “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of the heavens” of which Christ so often spoke during his earthly ministry. Some have mistakenly understood the words “of the heavens” to mean that the kingdom of which Christ spoke will be in the heavens. However, nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures is heaven ever said to be the future home of God’s covenant people, Israel. It is on the earth - not in the heavens - that believing Israelites expected to live and reign during the reign of the Messiah (Jer. 31:1-40; Isa. 61:1-62: 12; Isa. 65:17-24; Ezek. 36:24-38; Mic.2:12-13; Zech. 14:8-20). We further read that the reign of the Messiah and of the faithful within Israel (e.g., David) will be characterized by peace and harmony on the earth (Isa. 2:1-4; 11:6-9; 14:3-7; Isa. 35:6-7, 32:15, 35:1; Isa. 51:3; Isa. 65:25; Amos 9:13).

The expression “kingdom of the heavens” does not inform us of the location of the kingdom about which Christ taught during his earthly ministry; rather, the words “of the heavens” are a reference to the source and character of this kingdom. In Daniel 2:34-35, 44, we read, You were perceiving until a stone was severed from a mountain, not by hands, and it collided with the image at its feet of iron and clay and pulverized them. Then, all at once, the iron, the clay, the copper, the silver and the gold were pulverized and became as chaff from summer threshing sites; and the wind lifted them up, and not trace at all was found of them. And the stone that collided with the image became a vast mountain range and filled the whole earth….In their days, that is, of these kings, the God of the heavens shall set up a kingdom that for the eons shall not come to harm, nor shall His kingdom be left to another people. It shall pulverize and terminate all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for the eons.”

Thus, the expression “kingdom of the heavens” is simply another way of referring to the kingdom prophesied in the above passage (which is the kingdom that the God of the heavens shall set up), and is perfectly consistent with the fact that it is on the earth that this kingdom will be established when Christ returns (Matt. 6:10; 13:41, 43; Luke 21:31). And, although the kingdom of God on the earth will have dominion over the entire earth (with all other kingdoms being under its authority), the geographical territory of the kingdom of God will be the land of Israel (with the city of Jerusalem on Mount Zion being the capital of the kingdom; see Jer. 3:17; Zech. 8:22; 14:4-21; cf. Rev. 14:1). The enthronement of Christ after his return to earth (as referred to in Matthew 19:28 and 25:31) will mark the beginning of the fulfillment of the following prophecy from Jeremiah 23:5: “Behold, the days are coming, declares Yahweh, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.” 

In Rev. 20:1-8 we learn that, for the first thousand years of this kingdom, Satan will be bound and unable to deceive the nations of the earth. We also read that certain resurrected saints will “live and reign with Christ” for this period of time (:4-6). Among the saints resurrected to live and reign with Christ during this future time will include all who are to be martyred under the regime of the “wild beast” during the 3.5 years of “great affliction” leading up to Christ’s return (Rev. 13:1-8, 15; cf. Matt. 24:15-22). In Jer. 30:7, this period of great affliction is referred to as the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (which distinguishes it as a time that will distinctly involve God’s covenant people, Israel). These saints are undoubtedly the same as those referred to in Daniel 7:23-27, who we’re told will be persecuted for 3.5 years by the “fourth beast” of Daniel’s vision, but will subsequently be given “the kingdom and dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven” (cf. Daniel 9:24, where we find that the final seven years leading up to the commencement of the reign of the “saints of the Most High” will be for Daniel’s people – i.e., Israel – and the “holy city,” Jerusalem). And in Rev. 5:10 we read that those belonging to this category of saints “shall be reigning on the earth.” This is further confirmed in Revelation 20:7-9, where “the citadel of the saints and the beloved city” from which they’ll be reigning for at least a thousand years is clearly located on the earth.

The event referred to in Daniel 7:27 (when the saints among God’s covenant people, Israel, receive the kingdom) is what Christ’s twelve apostles had in mind in Acts 1:6, when they asked him, “Lord, art Thou at this time restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Evidently, it was concerning this important subject that Christ had been teaching them during the forty days preceding his ascension to heaven: “…through holy spirit directing the apostles whom He chooses, to whom He presents Himself alive after His suffering, with many tokens, during forty days, being visualized to them and telling that which concerns the kingdom of God (Acts 1:2-3).

That the kingdom concerning which Christ taught the twelve apostles before and after his resurrection is, in fact, the earthly kingdom that is to be restored to Israel is further confirmed from the fact that this future kingdom is associated with a judgment that Christ referred to as being cast into “Gehenna,” or Hinnom Valley (which, in most Bibles, is unfortunately translated “hell”). In Matthew 18:1-9 we read the following:

Now in that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who, consequently, is greatest in the kingdom of the heavens?" And, calling a little child to Him, He stands it in their midst, and said, "Verily, I am saying to you, If you should not be turning and becoming as little children, you may by no means be entering into the kingdom of the heavens. Who, then, will be humbling himself as this little child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens. And whosoever should be receiving one such little child in My name is receiving Me. Yet whoever should be snaring one of these little ones who is believing in Me, it is expedient for him that a millstone requiring an ass to turn it may be hanged about his neck, and he should be sunk in the open ocean.

Woe to the world because of snares! For it is a necessity for snares to be coming. Moreover, woe to that man through whom the snare is coming! Now, if your hand or your foot is snaring you, strike it off and cast it from you. Is it ideal for you to be entering into life maimed or lame, or, having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the fire eonian? And if your eye is snaring you, wrench it out and cast it from you. Is it ideal for you to be entering into life one-eyed, or, having two eyes, to be cast into the Gehenna of fire?

In the above passage, it’s evident that “entering into the kingdom of the heavens” and “entering into life” (i.e., eonian life) are synonymous in meaning (cf. Matt. 19:13-17, 23-24). But when and where will this “Gehenna of fire” judgment take place? The last verses of the book of Isaiah can, I believe, help us out here. After describing certain events that will precede and be concurrent with the restoration of the kingdom to Israel (see Isaiah 66:7-22), the prophet went on to describe the state of affairs that will characterize the eon to come as follows:

From new moon to new moon, and from Sabbath to Sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before me, declares Yahweh. And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”

When we compare these verses with what Christ said in Mark 9:42-48, it’s clear that the reference to the undying worm and unquenchable fire (which will be consuming the dead bodies of those “who have rebelled against [God]”) refers to the judgment that Christ referred to as being “cast into Gehenna.” Thus, we can conclude that Christ had Isaiah 66:23-24 (among other prophetic passages) in mind when he referred to certain people being cast into Gehenna. And since that which is being described in Isaiah 66 pertains to conditions on the earth during the eon to come (specifically, in and around Jerusalem), we can conclude that it is the kingdom of God on earth (i.e., the kingdom that is to be restored to Israel) concerning which Christ was teaching during his earthly ministry.

Moreover, we know that many (perhaps most) of the Israelites in the kingdom that is to be restored to Israel will not have died before it is established at Christ’s return. These Israelites will enter the kingdom of God with mortal, flesh-and-blood bodies. That there will, in fact, be mortal, flesh-and-blood Israelites enjoying an allotment in the kingdom of God on earth is confirmed from a number of passages in the Hebrew Scriptures where the future kingdom is in view (see, for example, Isaiah 11:6-8; 65:20-25; Jeremiah 23:3-6; 30:18-20 (cf. v. 3); 33:10-11, 19-22; 59:20-21; Ezekiel 36:8-12; 37:25-26; 44:20-25). In these and other verses, we read of things said concerning people in the millennial kingdom during the eon to come - including the priests who will be ministering in the temple - that can only be said of mortal, flesh-and-blood Israelites, and in which only those who are mortal will be involved during this time (such as marrying and “multiplying” in the land). And dwelling among these flesh-and-blood Israelites (and further populating the kingdom with the children they will be having during this time) will be the Gentiles referred to in Ezekiel 47:22-23 (who I’ve argued elsewhere will be the “sheep” of Matthew 25:31-46; see the following article for a more in-depth defense of this position:

Let’s now summarize what we find affirmed in the above passages concerning the covenant-based expectation of the nation of Israel:

1. In the eon to come, God’s covenant people, Israel, will be dwelling in the land that God promised them (the boundaries of which are specified in Numbers 34:1-15 and elsewhere), and it is here that God will be multiplying them.

2. The land occupied by God’s covenant people will be the geographical territory of the kingdom of God (or “kingdom of the heavens”) that is going to be established on the earth when Christ returns, and from which “the saints of the Most High” will be reigning and exercising dominion over the entire earth.

3. In this kingdom, God’s covenant people will be caused to walk in the ordinances and observe the statutes of the law that God gave to them (for God will have put his laws into their minds and written them on their hearts).

4. The capital city of the kingdom that is to be restored to Israel will be Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:1-4; 30:19; 33:20; 52:1-2; Jer. 3:17; 30:18-20; Zech. 8:22; 14:4-21), which is referred to as “the beloved city” in Rev. 20:9.

5. God’s sanctuary (i.e., the magnificent temple we find described in great detail in the last few chapters of Ezekiel) will be “in their midst for the eon,” and by this the rest of the nations will know that God has hallowed the nation of Israel.

The expectation of the twelve apostles

We know that the twelve apostles belonged to a company of believers that predated the death and resurrection of Christ. In Luke 12:32, Christ referred to this company of believers as the “little flock.” This “little flock” was a company of believers that was constituted by those among God’s covenant people to whom God will be giving the kingdom (in contrast with those among God’s covenant people who won’t be entering the kingdom and enjoying the allotment of eonian life during this future time).

It’s also clear that the “little flock” – which, in Christ’s day, clearly had a calling and expectation in accord with Israel’s covenant-based promises – didn’t cease to exist after Christ’s death and resurrection. Rather, it simply grew larger. In Acts 2:36, Peter concluded his first public message as follows: “Let all the house of Israel know certainly, then, that God makes Him Lord as well as Christ -- this Jesus Whom you crucify! The fact that Jesus of Nazareth is “Lord as well as Christ” is, of course, the essential truth constituting the “gospel of the Circumcision.” We then read the following in verses 37-47:

Now, hearing this, their heart was pricked with compunction. Besides, they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “What should we be doing, men, brethren?” Now Peter is averring to them, “Repent and be baptized each of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the pardon of your sins, and you shall be obtaining the gratuity of the holy spirit. For to you is the promise and to your children, and to all those afar, whosoever the Lord our God should be calling to Him.” Besides, with more and different words, he conjures and entreated them, saying, “Be saved from this crooked generation!” Those indeed, then, who welcome his word, are baptized, and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. Now they were persevering in the teaching of the apostles, and in fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Now on every soul came fear, yet many miracles and signs occurred through the apostles in Jerusalem. Besides, great fear was on all. Now all those who believe also were in the same place and had all things in common. And they disposed of the acquisitions and the properties, and divided them to all, forasmuch as some would have had need. Besides persevering day by day with one accord in the sanctuary, besides breaking bread home by home, they partook of nourishment with exultation and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor for the whole people. Now the Lord added those being saved day by day in the same place.

For more examples of people being added to this company of believers, see Acts 4:4, 5:14 and 11:24. Although the growth of this company of saints seemed to slow down significantly by the time that Paul was called on the road to Damascus, we know that in the late 50’s A.D., the “little flock” consisted of “tens of thousands” of believing, law-keeping Jews (see Acts 21:20). And the leaders of this company of believers were, from the beginning, the twelve apostles chosen by Christ (with Mathias replacing Judas; see Acts 1:15-26). It’s also clear that James, the (half) brother of our Lord, quickly gained a position of prominence within the Jerusalem ecclesia.

It would seem that, among those who believe the twelve apostles to have been members of the body of Christ, the “burden of proof” is thought to be on those who deny that they were. But this, to me, is to have it completely backwards. The twelve apostles were clearly members of a company of saints that had a calling and expectation in accord with Israel’s covenant-based expectation, and which predated both the death and resurrection of Christ and the later formation of the body of Christ. Thus, the burden of proof is on those who deny that the twelve remained a part of this company of saints throughout their lifetime.

That the calling and expectation of these twelve chosen leaders of the “little flock” never ceased to be in accord with Israel’s covenant-based expectation is, I believe, evident from what Christ himself declared concerning the twelve apostles in Matthew 19:28 (for the sake of context, I’ll include verses 23-29):

23 Now Jesus said to His disciples, "Verily, I am saying to you that the rich squeamishly will be entering into the kingdom of the heavens.
24 Yet again, I am saying to you that it is easier for a camel to be entering through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be entering into the kingdom of God."
25 Now, hearing it, the disciples were tremendously astonished, saying, "Who, consequently, can be saved?"
26 Now, looking at them, Jesus said to them, "With men this is impossible, yet with God all is possible."
27 Then, answering, Peter said to Him, "Lo! we leave all and follow Thee. What, consequently, will it be to us?"
28 Yet Jesus said to them, "Verily, I am saying to you, that you who follow Me, in the renascence whenever the Son of Mankind should be seated on the throne of His glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And everyone who leaves houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or fields, on account of My name, a hundred-fold shall be getting, and shall be enjoying the allotment of life eonian.

As has been previously argued, the kingdom of the heavens/kingdom of God that Christ had in view here is the kingdom of God that is to be established on the earth at Christ’s return (i.e., the kingdom that is to be restored to Israel). It is in this kingdom that “the allotment of life eonian” will be enjoyed by those faithful followers of Christ whom Christ had in view in v. 29, and into which “the rich squeamishly will be entering” (apparently because of their reluctance to do all that is necessary – such as parting with their wealth - to becoming faithful follower of Christ, as is required for an Israelite to enter into this kingdom).

In light of the unfortunate response of the rich man with whom Christ is recorded as speaking in the verses preceding the above passage (whose refusal to become a follower of Christ led to the exchange between Christ and his disciples found in verses 23-26), Peter reminded Jesus that he and the rest of the twelve disciples had left all to follow him. What would they receive from Christ for their obedience and faithfulness? Christ revealed what their allotment would be in v. 28: ”Verily, I am saying to you, that you who follow Me, in the renascence whenever the Son of Mankind should be seated on the throne of His glory, you also shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”

We read of this same promise in Luke 22:28-30:

“Now you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I am covenanting a covenant with you, according as My Father covenanted a kingdom to Me, that you may be eating and drinking at My table in My kingdom. And you will be seated on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The location of the twelve thrones that Christ promised the twelve apostles (“you who follow Me” and “you who have continued with Me”) will clearly be on the earth, for that is where the “throne of [Christ’s] glory” will be after Christ returns (specifically, the city of Jerusalem, as noted earlier). Concerning the judicial role of the twelve apostles, passages such as Exodus 18:13-27, Deut. 16:18-20 and 2 Chron. 19:5-7 make it clear that the role of judges in Israel was ongoing and required the continual presence of the judges in the land to settle whatever controversies arose among the people. As the ones who will be “judging the twelve the tribes of Israel,” the twelve apostles will necessarily be carrying out their judicial role for as long as the twelve tribes of Israel are dwelling in the land promised to Israel (which will be for at least a thousand years).

As the ones appointed to judge the twelve tribes during the eon to come, we can conclude that the twelve apostles will be among those whom we’re told in Rev. 5:10 will be made “a kingdom and a priesthood for our God,” and who “shall be reigning on the earth.” They will take part in what Christ called “the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:14) and which John referred to as “the former resurrection” (Rev. 20:4-6). In fact, in verse 4, John wrote the following: “And I perceived thrones, and they are seated on them, and judgment was granted to them.” Some have wondered why John (or rather, the One who inspired John to write what he did) didn’t provide the reader with more information concerning the identity of the “they” and “them” referred to in this verse. However, in light of Christ’s words in Matthew 19:28, the identity of the people whom John saw sitting on thrones (and to whom “judgment was granted”) shouldn’t be too mysterious to the reader.

Since the allotment promised by Christ to the twelve apostles remained their expectation throughout their lives, we can conclude that the twelve apostles remained members of the same “little flock” company of believers to which they belonged when Christ first declared the words recorded in Matt. 19:28.

I’ll close part two of this study with the following argument:

1. Those chosen to judge the twelve tribes of Israel will be dwelling among the twelve tribes of Israel in the land that God promised to Israel, and will be among “the saints of the Most High” who will be living and reigning on the earth during the eon to come.
2. The twelve apostles were chosen to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.
3. The twelve apostles will be dwelling among the twelve tribes of Israel in the land that God promised to Israel, and will be among “the saints of the Most High” who will be living and reigning on the earth during the eon to come.

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