Ancient Worthies


These are “a class of God’s people not of the ‘Royal Priesthood’ who ‘did suffer for righteousness’ sake,’ proving their faith under adverse conditions.” (T106) Their reward will be “a better resurrection” to human perfection and the privilege of constituting the earthly phase of Christ’s Kingdom.

2 PET.1:21: “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”


JAS. 5:10: “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”
See also verses 11 and 17.


HEB. 11:1,2,39: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report....And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.”


“All do not see distinctly the difference there was between the justification of Abraham and others of the past to fellowship with God before God had completed the ground of that fellowship in the sacrifice of Christ and the justification to life during this Gospel age. There is quite a difference, however, between these blessings, though faith is necessary to both. All were under sentence of death justly, and, hence, none could be counted free from that sentence, ‘justified to life’ (Rom. 5:18), until after the great sacrifice for sins had been made by our Redeemer; as the Apostle declares, that sacrifice was necessary first in order ‘that God might be just’ in the matter. (Rom. 3:26) But Justice, foreseeing the execution of the redemptive plan, could make no objection to its announcement in advance merely, as an evidence of divine favor, to those possessing the requisite faith — justifying such to this degree and evidence of fellowship with God.” F111


“These have had to withstand Satan....These have suffered persecution for righteousness’ sake...” The Apostle suggests that it was not possible that God should give to our fallen race a law of life. They were justly sentenced, and so long as that sentence remained no law could be given them the keeping of which would secure them release from death. Before any such law of life could be given to the human family, the sentence of the first law must be met, and its curse or condemnation must be lifted...”

“Moreover we have the apostle’s assurance that no Jew except our Lord Jesus ever did keep the law, and that only Jesus, therefore, has gained, or could have gained, the rewards of that Law Covenant made with Israel.” “Our Lord had the knowledge that enabled him to see and understand in a manner impossible to Adam. In his case we see that the testing through the adversary during the forty days of fasting in the wilderness was not counted of the Father as sufficient proof of his character-perfection, but, rather, we find that ‘he was tempted in all points like as we are’ — that for three and a half years this testing work continued.... “If, therefore, it was appropriate that our Lord should be tested after he was begotten, as a new creature, after he had consecrated his life even unto death, and if it is appropriate that we also should be fully tested after we become new creatures, begotten of the holy Spirit, then we might wonder in what manner the ancient worthies received any testing which would constitute a full proof of character....” R4612:1 See also R5613:4,5

“The ancient worthies were not on trial for life or death; they were never brought to that condition of intelligent opportunity of eternal life which would make them amenable to a sentence of death....

“...since human perfection will come only under the mediatorial reign of Christ, the ancient worthies will not be introduced to the Father in the complete sense until the close of the Millennium.

“Hence, they will not have life, in this fullest sense, until that time, when, at the close of the Millennial age, the kingdom shall be delivered over to the Father....” R4598:2,3,5,6

“We understand the Scriptures to teach that the ancient worthies will come forth from the tomb perfect, lacking nothing....” R5073:5

“...the ancient worthies — will be awakened from death fully restored to human perfection; and will not require a ‘resurrection by judgment,’ a thousand years long, as will the residue of mankind.” R5074:1

“If perfection of organism makes character, then Adam was perfect in this respect.... “In another sense, Adam never had perfect character; that is, he had no character developed, tested and proved....So we might wonder in what manner the ancient worthies received the testing which would constitute a full proof of character. When we examine the records of these men we find that they manifested great faith, and that they endured some severe ordeals and testing of their loyalty to God and their confidence in him. It does not surprise us, then that the testimony that they pleased God was given respecting them; This assures us that they had considerable character development. God must have seen their hearts to be very loyal, else he never would have considered them worthy of a better resurrection. Yet we believe they will have need of further experience and testing.” R5074:3
See also entire article and R5317:2,4 (“The ‘Better Resurrection’”).


ROM. 9:4,5: “...Israelites...Whose are the fathers...”

PSA. 45:16: “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.”


LUKE 13:28: “ shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God...”


“God has been selecting two special classes from among men, and specially trying, disciplining, and training them to be his honored instruments during the period or day of the world’s judgment.

“These two classes are...the house of sons and the house of servants,...the latter being composed of the faithful overcomers who preceded the Christian dispensation....”

“After being first justified by faith in God’s promises, and having then fulfilled the subsequent conditions...they are accounted worthy of high exaltation......the earthly phase of the kingdom of God will be confined to this world and to humanity. And those so highly honored as to have a share in it will be the most exalted and honored of God among men. These are the class referred to...whose judgment day was previous to the Gospel age. Having been tried and found faithful, in the awakening they will not be brought forth to judgment again, but will at once receive the reward of their faithfulness — an instantaneous resurrection to perfection as men....These will minister among and be seen of men, while the glory of their perfection will be a constant example and an incentive to other men to strive to attain the same perfection....” “The work of the coming age comprises the awakening of all the dead and the restoration of the obedient to perfection. This work will necessitate the establishment of a perfect government among men, with perfect men in positions of control, that they may rightly order the affairs of state. It will necessitate the appointment of proper educational facilities of every character, as well as philanthropic measures of various kinds. And this noble work of thus elevating the race by sure and steady steps (under the direction of the unseen spiritual members of the same kingdom) is the high honor to which the ancient worthies are appointed... “To gain a place in the earthly phase of the kingdom...will be a glorious and satisfying portion from the first entrance into it, and yet the glory will accumulate as time advances and the blessed work progresses. And when, at the end of a thousand years, the great work of restitution is accomplished by the Christ (in great measure through the agency of these noble human co-workers); when the whole human race (except the incorrigible — Matt. 25:46; Rev. 20:9) stands approved,...these who were instrumental in the work will shine among their fellow-men and before God and Christ and the angels, as ‘the stars forever and ever.’ (Dan. 12:3) Their work and labor of love will never be forgotten by their grateful fellow-men. They will be held in everlasting remembrance. Psa. 112:6.” A291


“It is through these two phases of the kingdom that the promise to Abraham is to be verified... [Gen. 28:14] ‘ thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ [Gen. 22:17] ‘...thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea...’ an earthly and a heavenly seed, both God’s instruments of blessing to the world.... “Paul (Rom. 11:17) speaks of the Abrahamic covenant as a root...This root-covenant bears these two distinct kinds of branches, each of which in the resurrection will bear its own distinct kind of perfect fruitage — the human and spiritual classes in kingdom power. In order of development it was first the natural (earthly), afterward the heavenly rulers; but in order of grandeur of position and time of installment, it will be first the spiritual, afterward the natural...” A292

“The Apostle, writing of this same class of ancient worthies...says of them: These all died in faith, not [i.e. without] having received [the fulfillment of] the promise, God having provided some better thing for us [the Christ], that they without us should not be made perfect. (Heb. 11:13, 39, 40)....” A293

ISA. 1:26: “And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.” Jerusalem will again be the city of the great King. (Psa. 48:2; Matt. 5:35)
“At first it will consist of only the spiritual class, will gradually come into power as the present empires break in pieces, during the Day of the Lord. In due time, however, the earthly phase of this city or government will be established, parts or members of which will be the ancient worthies. There will not be two cities (governments), but one city, one heavenly government...” A295

ISA. 2:3: “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain [kingdom] of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion [the spiritual phase] shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem [the earthly phase].”


MATT. 11:11: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”


HEB. 11:35: “...they might obtain a better resurrection...”
HEB. 12:23: “...spirits of just men made perfect.” “...after...the church of the first-borns, St. Paul tells of...’the spirits of just men made perfect’...Neither the church nor the great company will be ‘men made perfect’...The church...give up the human nature.

“‘We are coming to the perfect men whose spirits are just.’ And the ancient worthies were just, although they had fleshly imperfections. The Apostle has referred to this class and told us that they will have a better resurrection....As they were just in spirit, so they will be perfect men in the beginning of the restitution....”