Friday, December 16, 2016

The Passing Away of the Law - A Brief Summary

A Brief Scriptural Summary:

Only the people of Israel came to be under the Law Covenant through Moses, and was binding only only the children of Israel, those who became proselytes to Israel, and any foreign person residing in the land of Israel. All others were never bound to the Law Covenant made with Israel. -- Exodus 12:43,45; 19:5,6; Deuteronomy 4:4; 7:6; 14:21; 26:18; Psalm 147:19; Isaiah 63:19; Amos 3:2; Romans 2:12,14; 3:1,2.

The Jews who accepts Christ is no longer bound by the Law; for all other Jews the Law is still binding as long as he lives.  -- Luke 16:14-31; Romans 7:1-6; 1 Corinthians 7:39; 2 Corinthians 3:14.

Being loosed from bondage to the Law Covenant does not release one from the God's eternal law upon which the Law Covenant is based. Matthew 22:37-30; Romans 13:10; Galatians 5:14; Colossians 2:16,17; Hebrews 7:11-28; 8:4,5,13; 10:1; James 2:8.

The Law has not passed away; those still under the law are still bound to that law to this day, and are still under its curse. Once, however, every Jew has either died physically, or has become reckoned as dead through Christ, the old Law Covenant will be no more. Jesus indicated that the present heavens and earth must pass away before the Law covenant vanishes. -- Matthew 5:18; Luke 16:17; Hebrews 8:13; 2 Peter 3:10.

Monday, December 5, 2016

God's Comprehensive Law

They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and marvelous are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty! Righteous and true are your ways, you King of the nations. -- Revelation 15:3 -- RLIV
(1) JEHOVAH'S wisdom, love and justice decide on what is best, and that decision is His will or law. But, strictly speaking, only so much of God's will as He expresses to His creatures is law to them. Hence, while His laws never conflict, they may be more or less fully and differently expressed on one occasion than on another. Thus, while the law was given to Adam not to eat of a forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:16,17), we are not under any such law. And to Noah a command was given to build an ark (Genesis 6:14-7:1), we today are not given such a command.
(2) All of God's intelligent creatures are under instruction, being taught those laws which his infinite love, wisdom and justice have enacted for the well-being of all. Though created perfect, each in his plane of being, yet they all lack that scope of knowledge and wisdom which belongs in full measure to the divine nature only. They all lack experience; hence, in giving them instruction in the wisdom and propriety of his laws, it has pleased Jehovah to make an illustration which would manifest and practically exemplify his own nature and demonstrate to his creatures the wisdom and righteousness of his laws.
(3) It is evident that the spirit of his law is not to take advantage of some transgressive slip, occasioned by lack of experience on the part of his creatures, but that he intends it to apply to the thoughts and intents of the hearts. That this is the real intent of God, we shall see illustrated by his dealings with those who have from lack of knowledge become sinners.
(4) His law in full, as we now see it in the light of his Word, is, "You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind," and "your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37,38) Jesus stated: "The whole law and the prophets hangs on these two commandments." God had given to Israel a covenant, often called the "Law Covenant", and the penalty attached to the slightest deviation from that law is, "The soul who sins, he will die." (Ezekiel 18:4) As applied in the final judgment, this principle would mean that no being will be permitted to continue to live, who, when fully informed of God's righteous will, and enabled to obey it, refuses to conform to Jehovah's will. All such will be cut off from life. Nevertheless, the same principle of law existed before God made his covenant with the children of Israel, for Adam was to either prove or fail to prove his love for his Creator by his obedience or disobedience.
(5) To fully exemplify this law, God caused man to be used as an illustration before this extreme penalty was placed upon the angels. So man was placed under the extreme penalty of his law -- death. God knew that through inexperience man would violate that law and come under its penalty; but he purposed to make an illustration to all his creatures of the exceeding sinfulness of sin and its sure consequences, while at the same time his love and wisdom so marked out the plan, that mankind, the illustration, might not suffer loss, but be blessed by the lesson as learned. -- Romans 7:13; Genesis 22:18; Isaiah 29:18,19; Jeremiah 16:61-63.
(6) Nor should we forget that God's dealing with man was perfectly just. He had a right to demand perfect obedience from a perfect creature; and the fact that he at first did not inflict death upon the angels was a favor toward them; even as toward man he has displayed his favor also, though in a different manner -- through a ransom, and Savior, and restitution, and future trial for life, more favorable than the first, because of the knowledge of sin and its effects, meanwhile acquired by experience. (See our publication: Mankind's Course to the Day of Judgment) This was a masterly stroke of wise economy on God's part; for had the death penalty been pronounced on the angels who sinned, a redeemer of their own kind would have been necessary for their recovery; and not only one, but many -- one redeemer for each transgressor; for they were legion and were individually on trial; and the requirement of God's law is, Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life.
(7) Let us briefly view the exhibition of God's character as displayed in his dealing toward mankind whom he made a spectacle to angels. (1 Corinthians 4:9) In so doing, let us guard against the common error which would judge God's actions exactly as our own. Let us remember that justice, love, wisdom and power, as commonly displayed by the fallen race, in dealing with each other, and by human parents with their children, are far from perfect. In our first parents those qualities were perfect: they were in the image of Jehovah; but in our experience, in consequence of the fall, these qualities are constantly at war with each other. Sometimes love has a victory over justice, and sometimes justice has a victory over love.
(8) But with Jehovah there can be no conflict; and neither ever gains a victory or ascendancy over the other. Both are perfect, and work only in perfect harmony.
(9) Before man was created, the Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power of God held conference on the subject, and devised the plan which has since then been developing. The plan was suggested by Wisdom and concurred in by the other attributes; the arrangement and execution of it being left in Wisdom's hands.
(10) Wisdom designed to have the largest returns from the experience of man, and the most valuable illustration of God's character to all his creatures, on every plane of being. Accordingly Wisdom said, Let the man come under the control of Justice, Love and Power, separately, that the force and operation of each may be the more forcibly illustrated. Let Justice first have complete control, let men be dealt with by the strict law, "You must not" --. "In the day that you eat...dying you will die." And it was so.
(11) Man, inexperienced and unused to self-control and liberty, violated the law, and experienced the full weight of Justice, as Wisdom had foreseen and prepared for.
(12) The lesson under Justice has been long and severe, but the lesson must be thorough, so that it shall never need repeating. Men and angels must learn that Justice is relentless, irrevocable and unalterable. Then, too, before it could be realized that the remedy for man lay only in Jehovah and nowhere else, an opportunity was offered for the trial of other methods for man's recovery. First, the angels were given rulership (during the age before the flood), and made a miserable failure; for, while man became more and more corrupt himself, his evil influence led to the fall of some of those who attempted his assistance -- "those angels who did not keep their first estate." -- Jude 6
(13) With the deluge that order of affairs passed away. Then, under the Law Covenant, given to one selected nation, another and different opportunity was presented, to prove to man that even if God should cancel all enmity, or resentment, and receive the world into covenant relations, they would require a Restorer, so that they could continue in harmony with God, even after being forgiven. Hence sacrifices and offerings for sin were instituted, and God treated that nation as though original sin and guilt had been removed, and then placed them under laws to prove to them, to us and to all, their inability (as degenerate creatures) to keep his law without a restitution to perfection -- to his likeness. -- See How God's Son Condemned Sin in the Flesh.
(14) Meanwhile Love stood ready to manifest itself at the moment Wisdom should give the word. Love would have done so at once, but for two reasons: First, it could not oppose or interfere with the action of Justice in condemning man and delivering him over for the execution of the prescribed penalty. Second: though Love might have acknowledged Justice and approved its action by promptly providing a ransom (an equivalent price), Wisdom objected and did not permit this course at that time, because it saw best to make the lesson complete and thorough.
(15) Hence for over four thousand years Love was not permitted to manifest itself, and might only speak in shadowy sacrifices and ceremonies, and more or less obscure promises. But, finally, when the right time had come, "in due time," "in the fulness of time," Wisdom gave the word, and Love began to manifest itself for man's relief. The first act was to produce a perfect and sinless man to be a suitable "ransom for all:" one not under the Adamic curse -- who would lay down his life for the race, and whose sacrifice would meet all the requirements of Justice, and therefore be acceptable as a ransom and propitiation for man's sins. And Love's great exhibition was seen in the gift of the grandest and greatest and first of all God's creation, who stooped and became man, to redeem men: and "they called his name Jesus."
(16) "Ah!" says one who judges by his own feelings, "Now comes Love's victory over Justice. We shall see that God is more loving than severe." But not so; God is not more loving than severely just: he is perfect in both respects. It will be indeed a victory for Love, but not over Justice. It will be much grander than that. It will prove a victory for both Justice and Love; for it will be gained by Love's paying the price demanded by Justice--a ransom, "an equivalent price." -- 1 Timothy 2:4-6.
(17) Thus did love of God magnify the justice and law of God, and 'make it honorable,' by acknowledging its claims in the payment of the very penalty demanded -- man's death.
(18) We need scarcely say, that the love of God so long veiled from sight, was manifested in the gift of his Son to be our Redeemer and Savior. The record is: "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation [satisfaction or appeasement] for our sins." "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." -- 1 John 4:9,10
(19) When Love had ransomed man, and was ready to reveal itself by restoring the willing and obedient of mankind to perfection and harmony with God, Wisdom postponed this on the ground that a further development of the plan would ultimately enhance Love's glory, and perfect the work: that an interlude (the Gospel age) must occur in which should be selected some from among the redeemed, some sharers in Christ's sufferings and reproach, who should be counted worthy to share his glory and to be his associates in the execution of Love's triumph in "the restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets." -- Acts 3:21.
(20) Long and faithfully has Love labored; yet all her labor will yet be lost, unless in due time Wisdom shall commission Power to do its special part in the great plan.
(21) Power thus far has stood in the background, doing nothing directly in man's relief, save in the resurrection of our Lord, and in the miracles which shadowed forth its coming work.
(22) Now, we are living in the era when Power begins to act, not in opposition to Justice, but in harmony with Wisdom, Justice and Love. Oh, blessed day! The Lamb that was slain and who redeemed us by his blood is now invested with Power to bless all whom he bought; and he is now about taking unto himself his great power, and shall reign until he has subdued all enemies. -- Revelation 20:6; 1 Corinthians 15:25.
(23) Thus, God has chosen the plan which most fully and grandly exemplifies his unalterable justice, and exhibits the exceeding riches of his grace -- his love; and in the restoration of man ("all who come to the Father by him") from destruction, from death, to perfection and life, will God's power be illustrated far more forcibly than even in man's creation. And as men and angels come to recognize the full fruition of God's plan in the ages to come, will they not with one consent exclaim with our brother and Apostle Paul, as he caught a glimpse of it: "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! For who has known the mind [plan] of Jehovah? or who has been his counselor? ... Because out of him, and through him, and for him are all [these] things. To him be the glory for ever." -- Romans 11:33-36.
--- Based on article from Reprints page 1680 (R1680)
Updated 9/26/2010; 3/17/2014

Monday, November 14, 2016

Romans 7:1-4 -- Who Becomes Dead to the Law?

Romans 7:1 WEB
Or don't you know, brothers (for I speak to men who know the law [you who were born under the Law -- not the Gentiles who do not know the Law -- Romans 2:12,13,14,17; 3:19]), that the law has dominion over a man for as long as he lives?
The Law Covenant was not given to the Gentiles; it was given only to the children of Israel, which Paul commonly refers to as the Jew. Of the Gentiles, Paul wrote: "Gentiles ... don't have the law." (Romans 2:14) To the Jew, Paul wrote: "you bear the name of a Jew, and rest on the law,... and know his will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law." (Romans 2:17,18) And he states that to the Jew "were entrusted with the oracles of God." (Romans 3:2) Thus when he addresses those "who know the Law", he is addressing the Jews who were instructed out of the Law.
Only the Jew becomes dead to the Law Covenant, because only the Jew was born under the Law Covenant. Gentile believers do not need to become dead to the Law Covenant, because they were never born under that covenant. We can reason, however, that the same principle applies to the Gentiles also, for they do need to become dead to the law 'unto themselves' in their consciences which would condemn them, for all find themselves, whether Jew or Gentile, condemned before God and dying through the sin of Adam, and under the bondage of corruption and subjection to futility, for as he wrote: "We previously charged both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin." -- Psalm 39:6; Ecclesiastes 1:2,13-15; Romans 1:18-2:1; 2:14,15; 3:9; 5:12-19; 8:20; Hebrews 9:14; 2 Peter 1:4; James 4:14.

Some Studies By Others:

The Three Great Covenants - Herald of Christ's Kingdom
Joined to Another - Herald of Christ's Kingdom

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Matthew 5:17,18 - The Fulfilling of the Law

Matthew 5:17 - Don't think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn't come to destroy, but to fulfill.
Matthew 5:18 - For most assuredly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the law, until all things are accomplished.
Something we should note is that until the apostles were enlightened by the holy spirit there was no general understanding of the basis of salvation through the promised Messiah, although some typical arrangements had been provided to typify the sacrifice Jesus was to give. God, however, who calls things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17), could and did bring a reckoning of salvation before the sacrifice of Jesus was made, since God had foreknowledge that the sacrifice was to be given, and thus due to his foreknowledge, that which was not yet was reckoned as being as though it had already happened, just as he counts people as alive in view of the coming resurrection in the last day. -- Luke 20:37,38.

The everlasting law covenant with Israel was still upon the Jew in general when Jesus gave his sermon on the mount, and it is still in effect upon those still under the law, although it can not give life to anyone due to the sinful flesh. (Romans 8:3; Galatians 3:12) "For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse." (Galatians 3:10) The law -- as a covenant -- is never destroyed, but it does "pass away," 'vanish,' (Hebrews 8:11), once all of its subjects have died, either actually or reckonedly. "The law has dominion over a man for as long as he lives." (Romans 7:1) "Now we have been discharged from the law, having died [reckonedly -- Romans 6:11] to that in which we were held." (Romans 7:6) The Law Covenant was designed only for man in his sinful state; it was not designed for the righteous, the justified, the child of God, who has no sin. (1 Timothy 1:9) Thus, as each of the natural sons of Israel dies, whether physically, or by being reckoned dead through faith in Jesus, the law has passed away for that natural son of Israel. Once all the Jews have either died phycially or reckonedly, the Law will have vanished.

This is because the law covenant was not given to all mankind, but only to the nation of Israel. (Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; Amos 3:2) Gentiles who are grafted into the ecclesia of Christ are not grafted into the law covenant, as some have assumed, for if they were, it would only serve to be a curse for them. (Galatians 3:10) It would further mean that they had not been justified (declared righteous), since it would still account them as sinners. (1 Timothy 1:9) All Christians are, however, under the Law of love, which is spirit of the Law, and thus all the commandments in the Law are to be obeyed in a spiritual way, in a magnified manner, without becoming bound to the Law itself. -- Romans 13:8;

Therefore, Jesus, as the seed of promise (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 9:6,7), the promised son of the man, David (Acts 13:23), had already begun to use his authority as the promised son of David to magnify the Law. Jesus' purpose was not to destroy the law, but to fulfill and establish the justness of the Law. The covenant with Abraham and his seed had already begun long before the Law Covenant. (Galatians 3:16,17) In many cases, it is as the "seed of Abraham" that Jesus acts. Jesus, of course, having received a body especially prepared by his God and Father (Hebrews 10:5; John 6:33,51), did not have the condemnation of Adam, as the rest of mankind. (Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22) And yet, he, although not a sinner, was born under the law. (Galatian 4:4) How could he, a righteous man, be under the law, when the law was made for sinners? The prophet wrote that "Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6) This, of course, was in a reckoned manner, not because Jesus' flesh was actually sinful. Jesus came into the world of mankind in the "likeness" [not actually] of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3) only because Yahweh had laid upon him the iniquity of the whole world. He suffered and died as though he were a sinner, although in reality he wasn't. And yet, through his obedience, Jesus condemned sin the flesh. -- Romans 8:3.
The fulfilling of the law, however, requires not the keeping of the commandments that peculiar to the children of Israel, but rather in the fulfilling of the typical arrangements provided in the law through the realities that are pictured by those types. A type is not the reality, but that anititype is the reality. (Hebrews 10:1) Many seem to get this backwards, as seem to think of the type as the reality, and the spiritual fulfillment as not actually being he real thing. Nevertheless, many of these types involve the Ecclesia of Christ, and thus, the fulfilling of the law extends beyond Jesus himself, although Jesus is still the one bringing about that fulfillment. (Colossians 2:17; 8:5; 10:1) Since some these typical arrangements are not fulfilled until the age to come, then the present heaven and earth must pass away before the law is totally fulfilled.

Additionally, Jesus had to be born under the law, and to suffer as though he were disobedient to that law, else he could not have purchased, redeemed or delivered any from the curse of the law. -- Galatians 3:13.

Romans 4:13 - For not through the law was the promise to Abraham or to his seed that he should be heir of the world, but through the righteousness of faith.
Romans 4:14 For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void, and the promise is made of no effect.

Jesus' inheritance was not of the law covenant (Galatians 3:18; Romans 4:13), although Jesus, being born under the Law (Galatians 4:4), was obligated to keep the Law covenant (Romans 3:19; James 2:10; Romans 7:1), which he did perfectly, else he would have been cursed under the Law just as the Jews in general. (Galatians 3:10) If he had failed in one small matter (James 2:10), he would not have received the inheritance, since he would be condemned just as everyone else under the law. While his keeping the law perfectly proved him to be the promised one, his inheritance as the promised one was due to his being the seed of Abraham, the seed of David, not due the law covenant itself. Likewise, the believers' inheritance is because they are made the seed of Abraham with Jesus, and it is not attributed to the law covenant, nor is directly attributable to the new covenant, but the scriptures do appear to say that one has be first become a son by appropriating the blood of the new covenant and its power from the age to come before he can become members of the seed of Abraham. -- Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 6:5; 10:29; 12:22-24.

We should realize that the new covenant does not have its actual "beginning" until the age to come, when God, by means of that covenant releases the dead from the tomb through application of the blood of Christ. There could be no resurrection of either the just or the unjust without an application of the blood of the new covenant that releases the dead so that they may be raised in the last day, whether to life or judgment. Nevertheless, the believers in this age receive the application of the new covenant through the holy spirit as a token, a down payment, an earnest, of the reality to follow. (2 Corinthians 1:21,22; 5:4,5; Ephesians 1:13,14) Being transferred thereby into the coming kingdom, they become ambassadors of that kingdom, and ministers of the new covenant.

The new covenant, however, is not just for the purpose of releasing the dead from the death condition resulting from Adam, but it is also for the purpose of reconciliation (Romans 5:11; 2 Corinthians 5:19), returning mankind not only to what Adam had before Adam sinned, but also returning mankind to the possibility of perfecting love and faith in the Creator, as Adam could have done. This, of course, does not mean that any released from the condemnation in Adam becomes lawless. Through Christ's obedience to God, including his obedience to the law covenant, as a man, and due to his proving himself unswervingly incorruptible as a man, he brought life and incorruption to light. (1 Corinthians 15:54; 2 Timothy 1:10) A sinless man (Jesus) had not only kept God's law, but had also proven himself to to be incorruptible in obedience to his God and Father.

Likewise the prophets are not yet fulfilled, and will not be fulfilled until all creation has been fully brought back into accord with God through Jesus. This does not happen until after the thousand years of the reign of Jesus and the church, so that it does not happen until after the present heavens and earth will have passed away.

Related Studies by Others
(While we are general agreement with the authors, we do not necessarily agree with all details regarding every conclusion given.)

Are the Christian and Jewish Sabbath the Same?

The Divine Law - Universal and Eternal - The Relationship to This Of Israel's Ten Commandments and Their Sabbath Day.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Jehovah's Plan of the Ages

All Hebrew and Greek words are transliterated into English forms throughout.

(1) As we look around us today it may appear that Jehovah's works have all gone bad. With all of the wars, killing, stealing, and other hurtful things we may think that Jehovah does not know what he is doing. But what we need to do is understand Jehovah's completed work. Then we can understand how all the bad things happening now will help the whole world toward that finished purpose. We can see how Jehovah will use the bad things happening today to bring a better world for all people to live in. Gods finished work will universally declare his infinite wisdom and power. His plans will be seen to be in harmony with his glorious attributes.

Jehovah's Purpose Does Not Change

(2) God tells us that he has a definitely fixed purpose, and that all his purposes will be accomplished. (Isaiah 46:9,10; 55:11) Since this is so, we should certainly want to apply ourselves to trying to understand what Jehovah's plans are, so that we may be found in harmony with them. (Psalm 119:34) Jehovah tells us that he never changes his purposes: "Jehovah of hosts has sworn, saying: 'Surely as I have thought, so will it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so will it be.'" "Jehovah of hosts has purposed, and who will nullify it?" "I am mighty and there is none mightier, and there is none like me ... My counsel will stand, and I will do all my pleasure ... Yes, I have spoken it, I will bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it." (Isaiah 14:27; 46:9-11) For most people, God's works appear to be haphazard or mysterious. This is because they do not understand or appreciate the final outcome. However, those who believe this testimony of his Word must acknowledge that his original and unalterable plan has been, and still is, progressing systematically to completion.

If you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures -- then you will understand the reverence of Jehovah, and find the knowledge of God. -- Proverbs 2:3-5.
The Three Kosmoi of 2 Peter 3:5-13
(3) Mankind in general is groping in the darkness of ignorance. (Isaiah 60:2) They will have to wait for the actual developments of God's plan before they can realize the glorious attributes of the Divine Architect. (Isaiah 29:18) Nevertheless, there is a small number of truly dedicated Disciples of Jesus who are being privileged to see by faith and the light of God's lamp the foretold glories of the future. (1 Thessalonians 5:4,5; 1 Corinthians 2;12) With this knowledge they come to appreciate the otherwise mysterious or secret works of the past and the present. (1 Corinthians 1:7) If you have dedicated your life to God, or are considering dedicating your life to God, by all means apply yourself to God's Word and prayer that through the holy spirit you may understand his purposes as you diligently inquire into the plans and specifications given in the Bible. (Proverbs 2:3-6) There we learn that the plan of God, with reference to man, spans three great periods of time, beginning with man's creation and reaching into the endless future. (2 Peter 3:3-6,13) By designating the heavens and earth that were before the flood of Noah as that world (2 Peter 3:4,5), Peter, in effect, designates all three periods similarly each as a "world", thus resulting in three worlds.

Great Epochs Called "Worlds"
(4) These three great epochs represent three distinct manifestations of divine providence. The first, from the creation of Adam to the flood, was under the administration of angels, and is called by Peter "THE WORLDÂ (KOSMOS) THAT WAS." -- 2 Peter 3:6.
(5) The second great epoch, from the flood to the establishment of the kingdom (rulership) of God, may be styled the world that now is. (2 Peter 3:7) The third world follows, in which righteousness is dwell, may be called "the world to come."

World That Was
By the word of God the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was standing out of the water and in middle of the water. By this means the world that then was, perished. -- 2 Peter 3:5,6

World That Now Is
But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved for the fire against the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly men. -- 2 Peter 3:7

World to Come
Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, are looking for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness will dwell. -- 2 Peter 3:13
(6) The third is to be a "world without end" (Isaiah 45:17) under divine administration, the kingdom (rulership) of God, and is called 'THE WORLD TO COME -- wherein dwells righteousness.' -- Hebrews 2:5; 2 Peter 3:13.

Three Great Worlds
(7) The first of these periods or "worlds," under the administration of angels, was a failure; (Hebrews 2:2,5) the second, under the rule of Satan, the usurper, has been indeed an "evil world"; but the third will be an era of righteousness and of blessing to all the families of the earth. (Psalm 72:7; Isaiah 25:6-8) The last two of these "worlds" are most particularly mentioned, and the statements relative to them are in strong contrast.
(8) The present, or second period, is called "the present evil world," not because there is nothing good in it, but because in it evil is permitted to predominate. "Now we call the proud happy; yes, they that work wickedness are set up; yes they that tempt God are even delivered." -- Malachi 3:15.
(9) The third world or epoch is mentioned as 'THE WORLD TO COME, wherein dwells righteousness,' not because there will be no evil in it, but because evil will not predominate. The blotting out of evil will be gradual, requiring all of the first thousand years. Evil will not rule then; it will not prosper; it will no longer be the wicked that will flourish; but "the righteous will flourish" (Psalm 72:7), the obedient will eat "the good of the land" (Isaiah 1:19), and "the evil doer will be cut off." -- Psalm 37:9.
He will judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice. The mountains will bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He will bring justice to the poor of the people; he will save the children of the needy and will break in pieces the oppressor. -- Psalm 72:2-4
(10) Thus seen, the dispensation, or world to come, is to be so different from today that we could say that it will be the very opposite in almost every way. The Scriptures show why there is to be a contrast between the present and the future dispensations. It is because Jesus will be the prince or ruler of the world to come. (Isaiah 9:6) In it righteousness and truth will prosper. Satan is the prince (ruler) of the present evil world, and therefore evil prospers and the wicked flourish. Jesus stated that the prince of this world has no grip on him. (John 14:30; 2 Corinthians 12:7) Jesus further tells us that in this present evil world or epoch, whosoever will live godly suffers persecution, while the wicked flourish like a green bay tree. -- 2 Timothy 3:12; Psalm 37:35.
God's Kingdom
(11) Jesus said, "My kingdom is not part of this world (Greek, kosmos)." Here, we believe, Jesus uses the word "world" in reference, not just to the world that came after the flood, but to the "world" that God made through him. (John 1:10) "This world" is the world that is spoken of in Romans 5:19, which became corrupted through sin. As a result of sin, this world has come under an oppressive sun of vanity, a bondage of corruption, from which it cannot free itself. (Ecclesiastes 1:2,8-15; 7:13; Romans 8:20-22) Until this present this present condemned world passes away and the new era now called the "age to come" (Mark 10:30; Hebrews 6:5) has arrived, Messiah's kingdom will not have full control of the earth. (John 18:36) And for this we are taught to hope and pray: "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth." (Matthew 6:10) Satan is the "ruler of the darkness of this world," and therefore "darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people." He now rules and works in the hearts of the children of disobedience. -- Ephesians 2:2; 6:12.
I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. -- Revelation 20:1,2
(12) There must be some very important part of the great Architect's plan for man's salvation that has not yet fully developed. If God's plan had been fully developed, the new prince and the new dispensation would have been long ago introduced. But it has been postponed until an appointed time. But the time will come when the present evil empire under Satan will give way to that of the righteous rule of the Anointed One. How these things will come about will be more fully shown in later studies of this series. For now we want to say that the kingdoms of this world, now subject to Satan, are at the proper time to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his anointed. (Revelation 11:15) The context shows that the transfer will be accomplished by a general time of trouble. (Revelation 11:18) In reference to this Jesus said: "No man can enter into a strong man's house and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house." (Mark 3:22-27) Thus we are taught that Satan must first be bound, restrained and thrown into an abyss, before Christ's reign of righteousness and peace can be fully established. This binding of Satan is accordingly shown to be one of the first works of the new dispensation. -- Revelation 20:2.

The Planet Earth is Not Removed
(13) It should be remembered that this planet earth is the basis of all these "worlds" and dispensations. God has promised that the planet itself will never be removed. (Psalm 104:5; 119:90) Carrying out the same pattern, Peter calls three distinct periods of time a separate 'heavens and earth.' He uses the word heavens to signify the higher or spiritual controlling powers, and earth signifies human government and social arrangements. Thus the first heavens and earth, or the order and arrangement of things then existing, having served their purpose, ended at the flood. The physical heavens of the stars, moon and sun did not pass away (Genesis 15:5; Psalm 8:3); the physical heavens were the birds fly did not pass away (Genesis 1:20); nor did the spiritual heavens where God's throne is pass away. (Isaiah 61:1) Likewise, the physical earth which was flooded did not pass away. They all remained. So likewise the present world (heaven and earth) will pass away with a great noise, fire and melting -- confusion, trouble and dissolution. The strong man (Satan), will struggle to retain his power. The present order or arrangement of government and society, not that of the physical sky and earth, will pass away. The present order or arrangement of government will pass away. The present heavens (powers of spiritual control) must give place to the "new heavens" -- Christ's spiritual control. The present earth (human society as now organized under Satan's control) must (symbolically) melt and be dissolved, during the "Day of Jehovah," which "will burn as an oven." (Malachi 4:1) It will be succeeded by a "new earth," that is, society organized in harmony with earth's new Prince -- the Messiah. Righteousness, peace, and love will rule among men when present arrangements have given place to the new and better kingdom, the basis of which will be the strictest justice. Truly, isn't this what all honest-hearted people want?
The Age to Come
(14) Paul was given a glimpse of the next dispensation, or, as he calls it: "the age to come." (Hebrews 6:5) He says he was "caught away" (physically or mentally, or both, he could not tell, things were so real to his view) down the stream of time to the new condition of things, the "new heaven." Hence, he saw the spiritual control of Christ -- things that he was not permitted to disclose. He also saw the "new earth" -- paradise. (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) John was probably allowed to see some of these same things later as he received visions of the future in symbols, which may only be understood as they become due. John, in the revelation given to him by our Lord on the Isle of Patmos, was in vision carried down through this present age and its changing scenes of church and state to the end of the present evil age, or epoch. There, in prophetic vision, he saw Satan bound, Christ reigning, and the new heaven and the new earth (paradise) established. The former heaven and earth passed away. -- Revelation 21:1.
Smaller Ages and Dispensations
(15) We now give our attention to some of the smaller ages or sub-ages into which the three great epochs are subdivided. It is possible to subdivide the first of these great epochs into at least two smaller ages. The second great epoch, or "world that now is," includes three smaller ages, each a step in the plan of God for the overthrow of evil. Each step is higher than the one preceding it, and carries the plan forward and nearer completion. (Of course, each of the great epochs could possibly contain even more smaller ages or ages within ages that we do not deal with here.) The third great epoch -- "the world to come" -- future from the final return of Christ, comprises the Millennial Age, or "the times of restoration." After the Millennial Age, there is a short period of time that Satan is again let loose. At the end of the this short age, Satan and all his followers are destroyed and mankind enters into the endless "ages to come," the details of which are not revealed. (Ephesians 2:7) Present revelations treat of man's recovery from sin and the final test of individual fitness for life, and not of the eternity of glory to follow.
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. And God blessed them, and God said to them: "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living things that moves upon the earth." -- Genesis 1:28,29

Smaller Ages of the World That Was
(16) The first smaller age (pertaining to man) of the first great epoch begins with the creation of Adam and ends when he is thrown out of the Garden of Eden. During this time man enjoyed a special relationship with God. (Genesis 1:28,29; 3:22-24) God had given man his law, written in his very nature. But after Adam sinned God changed his method of dealing with man, causing a second smaller age to begin. From then on God left man measurably to his own course which was downward, for "God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5) During this time many of the angels misused the powers God gave them to materialize. Consequently they made themselves human-like bodies and married the daughters of men, in disobedience to Jehovah. (Genesis 6:1-2; 2 Peter 2:4,5; Jude 6) We find that this second smaller age ended at the flood of Noah's day. Evidently 120 years earlier, when God called Noah, 'Jehovah changed his course toward man whom he made on the earth, and he was grieved at heart.' At this point the second smaller age (or "world"), was on notice that its days were limited (120 years). (Genesis 6:3) During the "last days" of this smaller age the command was given to Noah to build an ark to safely carry him and his family through the end of that world. That age ended with a flood, which took away all but faithful Noah and his family. Thus the second smaller age of Peter's "world that was" not only manifested the disastrous effects of sin, but showed the tendency of sin downward to greater degradation and misery, and proves the necessity of Jehovah's interposition, if the recovery of "that which was lost" -- man's first estate -- is ever to be accomplished. -- Luke 19:10.

Smaller Ages of This Present Evil World
(17) The first smaller age in Peter's "world that now is" we call the PATRIARCHAL AGE, or dispensation. During that period God's dealings and favors were with a few individuals only, the remainder of mankind being almost ignored. Such favored ones were the patriarchs Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Each of these in turn were chosen by God to receive special favor. -- Acts 7:1-15.
(18) At the death of Jacob that smaller age or order ended. After Jacob's death, his descendants were recognized by God as his "peculiar people." Through typical sacrifices they were typically "a holy nation," separated from other nations for a particular purpose, and therefore to enjoy certain special favors. The time allotted to this feature of the divine plan, beginning with the death of Jacob and ending at the death of Christ, we designate the JEWISH AGE, or the Law dispensation. During that smaller age God specially blessed that nation. He gave them his law. He made a special covenant with them. He gave them the tabernacle, whose shekinah glory in the Most Holy represented Jehovah's presence with them as their Leader and King. To them he sent the prophets, and finally his son. -- Acts 7:34,38,44; Luke 16:16; Acts 3:25,26.
(19) Jesus performed many miracles and taught in the midst of the people of Israel. He did not go to any but the nation of Israel. Nor did he permit his disciples to go to the surrounding nations. He sent them out, saying: "Do not go into the way of the nations, and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 10:5,6) And again he said: "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 15:24) Thus, for a while, only the nation of Israel was favored with the message of about the Messiah.
(20) This national favor ended when they showed their national rejection of him by having him executed as a criminal by the Roman authorities. Jesus showed this when, five days before his impalement, he declared to Jerusalem: "Your house is left unto you desolate." (Matthew 23:38) There, at Jesus' death, we can identity a new smaller age that began, which many often refer to as the Gospel (Good News) age. During this period good tidings of justification, not to the Jew only, but to all nations was heralded. Jesus the Messiah, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man. The Good News Age lasts until the full establishment of Christ's Kingdom over all the earth. During this Age a special class is called. This is a class of individuals who by faith accept Jesus as their Redeemer and Master, and follow in his footsteps. They receive a particular favor. To them special promises are made. The Good News proclamation has gone forth hither and thither through the earth since Jesus' death, though often polluted with man's traditions. It has not converted nations -- it is not designed to do so in this age. But it has been selecting here and there some, a little flock, as Jesus had foretold (Luke 12:32), to whom it is the Father's good pleasure to give the Kingdom.
The Time of Trouble
(21) The last part of the Gospel Age the Bible describes as a "time of trouble" (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21) Like the ending period of the first great age, we believe this intervening period could also 120 years long. Jesus called the final stages of the age as a period of "great tribulation." It is during this great tribulation that a final "kingdom" group would be called: "the great multitude" who come out of the "great tribulation." (Revelation 7:9-17) The "great multitude" who pass through the "great tribulation" provide the link between this "present evil world" and "the world to come" just as Noah and his family were a link through the end of the world at that time. -- Matthew 24:37-41.
Restoration For All Mankind
(22) As a result of the "great tribulation" the "present evil age" fully ends. God has been thus permitting the predominance and reign of wickedness, to the seeming detriment of his cause. Nevertheless his deep designs have been steadily progressing according to a fixed and definite plan, and in the exact order of the seasons which he has appointed. In the end of this age, and the dawn of its successor, the Millennial Age, Satan is to be thrown into an abyss and his power overthrown. (Revelation 20:2-3) This prepares the way for the establishment of Christ's kingdom (Revelation 20:4) and the beginning of 'the world to come, wherein dwells righteousness.'
(23) "Millennium," signifying a thousand years, is by common consent used as the name for the period mentioned in Revelation 20:4 -- the thousand years of Christ's reign, the first smaller age in the "world to come." During the Millennial Age, there will be a restoration of all things lost by the fall of Adam (Acts 3:19-21), and before its close all tears will have been wiped away. After the Millennial Age, another short age, the Little Season, is mentioned in the Bible. This smaller age, the length of which is not readily disclosed, will be the final testing of each individual's fitness for life. Beyond its boundary, in the ages of blessedness to follow, there will be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying; neither will there be any more pain. The former things will have passed away. (Revelation 21:4) God's revelations particularize no further, and there we stop.

God's Progressive Plan
(24) We have here only glanced at the mere outline of this plan of the ages. The more we examine it, the more we will find in it perfect harmony, beauty, and order. Each age has its part to accomplish, necessary to the complete development of God's plan as a whole. The plan is a progressive one, gradually unfolding from age to age, upward and onward to the grand consummation of the original design of the Divine Architect, "who works all things after the counsel of his own will." (Ephesians 1:11) Not one of these great periods is an hour too long or too short for the accomplishment of its object. God is a wise economist of both time and means, though his resources are infinite; and no power, however malicious, for a moment retards or thwarts his purposes. All things, evil as well as good, under divine supervision and overruling, are working together for the accomplishment of his will.
(25) To the the material-minded, those who can see only a little of the intricate machinery of God's plan, it appears like anarchy, confusion, and failure, just as the whole, or even a part, of an intricate machine would appear to a child. (1 Corinthians 2:6-3) To their immature and untutored minds it is incomprehensible, and the opposite motions of its wheels and belts are but confusion. But maturity and investigation will show that the seeming confusion is beautiful harmony, working good results. The machine, however, was as truly a success before the child understood its operation as after. So, while God's plan is, and has been for ages, in successful operation, man has been receiving the necessary discipline, not only to enable him to understand its intricate workings, but also to experience its blessed results.
Application of the Ages to Further Study
(26) As we pursue our study of the Bible and the plan it presents, it is essential that we keep in memory these ages and their respective peculiarities and objects; for in no one of them can the plan be seen, but in all of them, even as a link is not a chain, but several links united form a chain. We obtain correct ideas of the whole plan by noting the distinctive features of each part, and thus we are enabled to rightly divide the word of truth. -- 2 Timothy 2:15.
(27) A statement of the Word which belongs solely to one epoch, or dispensation, cannot always be applied to another, as things stated in one age are not always true of another. For instance, it would be an untruth to say of the present time that the knowledge of Jehovah fills the whole earth, or that there is no need to say to your neighbor: "Know Jehovah!" (Isaiah 11:9; Jeremiah 31:34) This is not true in this age, and it cannot be true until the Lord Jesus, having come again, has established his kingdom; for throughout this age there have been seducing deceptions, and we are told that even in the very end of the age -- in the last day ... evil men and seducers will become worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:1,13) It will be as the result of Christ's reign during the Millennial Age that knowledge and righteousness will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

The Kingdoms of This World
(28) A similar mistake, and a very common one, is to suppose that God's kingdom is now established and ruling over the earth, and that his will is now done among the nations. This is manifestly far from the truth, for the kingdoms of this world are supported and enriched through oppression, injustice, and deceit, to as great an extent as the increasing intelligence of the people will permit. Satan, the present "prince of this world," must yet be displaced, and these kingdoms, now under his control, must become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Anointed, when he will take unto himself his great power, and reign. By seeking and searching the scriptures, we discern that system and order which mark the stately steppings of our God through the ages past and into the future.
(29) By the light now due to the household of faith, we discern that system and order which mark the stately steppings of our God through the ages past, and we are forcibly reminded of the beautiful lines of Cowper, inspired by a living faith, which trusted where it could not trace the Almighty Jehovah:

He Will Make It Plain
(Adapted)Yah moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform:
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up his bright designs,
And works his sovereign will.
You fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not Jehovah by frail sense,
But trust him for his grace.
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour.
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain.
Yah is his own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.

Addendum: The Resurrection and Judgment in the Last Day as Related to the "Ages"
There have been some questions that have arisen concerning the "last day" and the ages as spoken of in the study above. We will try to address most of these questions in this Addendum.
There are basically two different Greek words used in the New Testament related to the ages. One is "Aion" (Strong's #165) corresponding in many cases to the Hebrew 'owlam (Strong's Hebrew #5769), and the other Greek word is "kosmos" (Strong's #2889). "Aion" refers to a period of time, which can be definite or indefinite, depending on the context; "Kosmos" refers more to the arrangement of things (government, society, etc.) that can be -- but not necessarily -- associated with a period of time.
We will first focus on scriptures that use the words "aion" and "owlam" as related to specific periods of time. The "age [Greek, aion, Strong's #165] to come" is spoken of in Matthew 12:32; Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; 20:35; Ephesians 1:21; Hebrews 2:5; 6:5. Ephesians 2:7 refers to "ages to come." -- Ephesians 2:7. Usually, "age to come" appears to be referring to the first of the "ages to come," that is, the 1,000 years of Christ's reign, the day of judgment. After the first "age to come" is over, there will be at least one more age which leads into eternity. Whether there will be more than one age "after" the 1,000 years is not stated, although the account in Revelation 20 could be viewed as at least two ages, the "little season" in which Satan is loosed, and age after Satan and that wicked are destroyed.
Ephesians 3:21 and Isaiah 45:17 refer to an "age without end." This would encompass all "ages" to come as one "age" made up of sub-ages.
Hebrews 1:2 speaks of "ages" [plural] as being made by means of Jesus. In context, this seems to be referring to the two great general ages, the one which became corrupted due to Adam's sin, and the second that is to have no end.
Hebrews 11:3 speaks of ages as having been framed by means of the Logos of God. It is possible that "Logos of God" is being used as a title for Jesus, as shown in Revelation 19:13. Nevertheless, this scripture is again probably speaking of the two great ages, the first of which became corrupted through sin, and the second which is to consist of all ages to come.
The present evil age is spoken of in Galatians 1:4: "who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father."Â (World English version) While this scripture is often used to refer to the age from the time of flood of Noah's day, more than likely Paul was actually referring to the age that began with Adam's sin, since that is what the believer is reckoned as being delivered from.
Some other scriptures that refer to this present evil age. - Matthew 12:32; 13:22; Mark 4:19; Luke 16:8; 20:34; Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 2:6,8; 3:18; 8:13; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 1:21; 2:2; 6:12; 1 Timothy 6:17; 4:10; Titus 2:12.
Colossians 1:26 refers to "ages' (plural), during which the mystery about Christ had been hidden, thus indicating more than one "age" as having past since Adam sinned. These "ages" would therefore be sub-ages of the greater overall "age."
This present age is spoken of as having a beginning. Although its beginning was not of evil, it became corrupted due to sin. -- Luke 1:70; John 9:32; Acts 3:21; 15:18; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Hebrews 9:26. The end of this present evil age, that was begun with disobedience of Adam, is spoken of in Matthew 13:39,40,49; 24:3; 28:20; 1 John 2:17.
Hebrews 9:26 also refers to the end of the present evil age, including all of its "ages": "now once at the end of the ages, he has been revealed to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. " (World English) The "ages" here are plural in the Greek, referring to the end of more than one age, evidently referring to time period from his first appearance to his second appearance (Hebrews 9:28); this entire period is being referred to as "the end of the ages". We conclude, then, that this refers, to entire period from the ending of the Law and the Prophets with John the Baptist, to the ending of the Sacrifces under the Law, and also to the ending of the Gospel Age.
One scripture (1 Corinthians 10:11) speaks of the "ends" (plural) of the ages, evidently referring to time of John the Baptist to the time when all ages pertaining to the reign of Adamic death have come ended. (Romans 5:12-19)
Although "age" is not mentioned in Luke 16:16, it is suggested in that the "law and the prophets" were until John the Baptist, indicating John the Baptist to be the last prophet that belonged to that "age." When Jesus began preaching, the new age pertaining the preaching of the kingdom was beginning, and the old age was ending, creating an overlapse of the ages. Later the sacrifices under the Law came to end (AD 70), but the Law itself is still active upon those who were born under the Law. The Law itself will not have vanished until all who are under that Law have either died naturally, or else have become dead to the Law through faith in Jesus.
The Day of Judgment and the "Age to Come"
How is the "day of judgment" related to the "age to come"? The world's judgment day is spoken of as taking place in what Jesus called the "the last day."
"He who rejects me, and doesn't receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke, the same will judge him in the last day." -- John 12:48, World English version.
Thus, we can conclude that those who reject Jesus in this present evil age are to be judged in what Jesus calls the "last day." This is the coming judgment of world, when Jehovah comes to judge the earth -- the world -- by means of the one whom he ordained.
Psalm 96:10 Say among the nations, "Jehovah reigns." The world is also established. It can't be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity.
Psalm 96:11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice. Let the sea roar, and the fullness of it!
Psalm 96:12 Let the field exult, and all that is therein. Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy
Psalm 96:13 Before Jehovah; for he comes, For he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, The peoples with his truth.
[Jehovah] has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; whereof he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead. -- Acts 17:31.
Jesus also spoke of that judgment day when he spoke of the resurrection of judgment. (John 5:29) Revelation speaks of the unbelieving world being released from death (the death in Adam) and hades (the condition resulting from the condemnation of death in Adam) so that they can be judged, not according to Adam's sin, but according to their own works. -- Revelation 20:12,13.
This resurrection of judgment and unbelieving world's "day of judgment" takes place sometime during the "last day" that Jesus spoke of. It is in this same day, however, that the believers are also raised.
John 5:28 Don't marvel at this, for the hour comes, in which all that are in the tombs will hear his voice,
John 5:29 and will come forth; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life; and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.
Here Jesus speaks of both resurrections, that of the believer, and also that of the unbeliever, as happening in one "hour." The word "hour", however, like the word "day" does not necessarily refer to any set period of time. A day can be six days, a day can be 40 years, or a day can be 1,000 years, etc. Likewise, the word "hour" can be used in the same manner. In John 5:28, the word "hour" is being used as a synonym of the "last day." We know this, because Jesus goes on to explain:
John 6:39Â This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing, but should raise them up at the last day.
John 6:40 This is the will of the one who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son, and believes in him, should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day."
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day.
John 6:54 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.
This is the same "last day" in which the unbelievers are to be judged. (John 12:47,48) Thus, both the believers and the unbelievers are raised in the same "last day" or "hour". Consequently, when the heathen are gathered before Jesus for judgment as individuals, as spoken of in Matthew 25:32, it is during that last day. However, the just and the unjust are not raised at the same time during that "last day." The saints will also have the privilege of participating in judging the world with Jesus, thus they have to be all raised "before" the judgment of the world begins, hence, the "first resurrection".
Speaking prophetically, Daniel says:
"Judgment was given to the saints of the Most High, and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom." -- Daniel 7:22.
This is basically the same language that is used of Jesus in John 5:22:
For neither does the Father judge any man, but he has given all judgment to the Son. -- World English.
In harmony with Daniel 7:22, Paul states:
Don't you know that the saints will judge the world? -- 1 Corinthians 6:2.
He states that as a future event. That time is to be when the world is regenerated, since we read:
Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly I tell you, that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. -- Matthew 19:28.
Remember that it was only to Israel that Jesus came, and thus, in those who rejected Jesus, those of whom Jesus spoke in John 12:47,48, were directly of the twelve tribes of Israel. These twelve tribes, who did not accept Jesus, are included in the "world" that is spoken of in John 12:47, when Jesus said he came to "save the world" that they might be judged in the "last day."Â (John 12:48) It was mainly the children of Israel that spoken of in John 1:10,11 as the world that did not recognize him, thus Israel is included as part of this "world":
John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
John 1:11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
This further indicates that this judging of those of Israel who rejected Jesus takes place at a future date, in the regeneration, when they are brought back to life for judgment, as spoken of in John 5:29.
In harmony with Daniel and Paul, John wrote prophetically of those who participate in the first resurrection:
I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. -- Revelation 20:4.
While the saints are counted, reckoned, imputed, as having eternal life in this age (John 3:36; 1 John 5:13; see also: Romans 3:28; 4:5,24; 6:11), they receive their regeneration in this age (Titus 3:5) as a seed, a grain (1 Corinthians 15:38,39), as a token, an earnest, or down payment (Strong's #728 -- 2 Corinthians 1:21,22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:12-14), of that which is to come, but the saints do not actually receive eternal life until the "age to come." (Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; see also Romans 2:7; 8:24; 1 Timothy 6:12,19; Titus 1:2; 3:7) The saints are raised in the same "last day" during which the world is to be judged. (John 5:28,29; 6:39,40,44,54; 11:24) Thus, the "last day" is in the "age to come" that Jesus spoke of. However, they have to be raised before the unbelieving world if they are to participate in the judging of the unbelieving world, so their resurrection is termed "the first resurrection." (Revelation 20:5,6) The saints are raised in the first part of "last day," at which time they receive authority to judge the world, and the unbelieving world is raised for individual judgment later in that same "last day."
Many are thrown off by the addition of some words that appear in Revelation 20:5: "The rest of the dead didn't live until the thousand years were finished." Thus there are many who teach that the world's day of judgment takes place after the 1,000 years, and not during the 1,000 years. Some good evidence suggests that these words of Revelation 20:5 are spurious. The flow of language used also suggests that they are spurious. However, assuming that they are genuine, it would have to be understood as relating to their final coming to life, their receiving eternal life after of the 1,000 years (Matthew 25:46), and not to their being raised from hades. The unbelieving world returns in the age to come for their individual judgment during the 1,000 years, in the same "last day" that the saints are raised, and while Satan is abyssed, not after.