ENTERING THE LAND OF PROMISE
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The Book of Joshua is an illustration of what will occur at the end of the Church Age. The death of Moses and the installation of Joshua as leader illustrate the change of the Lord Jesus from Shepherd to Commander in Chief of the army of God. The two spies portray the dedicated disciples in the present hour who are pressing into the promises of God and returning to describe them to the remainder of the Church.
The Israelites crossing Jordan and attacking Jericho represent the saints of Christ entering their land of promise. The people of Jericho typify Satan and his demons who in the present hour are inhabiting the inheritance promised to the Lord’s elect. Rahab signifies the people of the world who will assist the saints of the last days, thus saving themselves and their loved ones.
How do we apply this great type? Precisely what do we mean when we say it is time for the Lord’s people to enter the land of milk and honey, the promised “rest of God”? How will this take place?
Table of Contents
The Book of Joshua as a Portrayal of the Saints Entering the Land of Promise
The Two Areas of the Rest of God
The Three Goals of the Spiritual Area of the Rest of God
Change into the image of ChristThe Three Enemies That Resist Our Entering the Rest of God
Union with God through Christ
The redemption of the mortal body
The claims of the worldThe Physical Area of the Rest of God
The sin that dwells in our flesh
Our willingness to depend on our own judgment instead of the Lord
The Old Testament prophecies of the invasion of the earthConclusion
The New Testament prophecies of the invasion of the earth
ENTERING THE LAND OF PROMISE
The Book of Joshua as a Portrayal of the Saints Entering the Land of Promise
Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (I Corinthians 10:11)
And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? (Hebrews 3:18)
I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. (Jude 1:5)
It is evident from the above passages that the Holy Spirit wishes us to regard the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan as a picture of our salvation.
The Book of Joshua is an illustration of what will occur at the end of the Church Age and the beginning of the Kingdom Age. The death of Moses and the installation of Joshua as leader portray the change of the Lord Jesus from Shepherd to Commander in Chief of the army of God.
Historic changes take place in the Kingdom of God from time to time. Such changes are very unsettling for the people involved but also offer wonderful rewards for those who have the opportunity to participate.
The change from the leadership of Moses to the leadership of Joshua was one such important step in the Kingdom.
Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. (Joshua 1:2)
God promised to give to the Israelites every place where they set their feet but only when they followed His specific directions. God has promised to give us that which we ask in the name of the Lord Jesus but only as we follow His specific leading.
The promised land of the Hebrews was set forth clearly:
From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the great sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast. (Joshua 1:4)
The land of promise of the Christians is not set forth in the Scriptures with such definition, it must be gleaned from the Old and New Testament writings. We shall understand this more clearly as we proceed.
Joshua was exhorted to pay close attention to the “Book of the Law.” The Christian doctrines of our day are filled with traditions and errors of all kinds. If we are to press forward in God we must discard much of what is being taught today, particularly the understanding of Divine “grace” as an alternative to godly behavior, as a covering of the continued sinning of the believers. It is time now to return to the Book!
The Spirit of God is telling us to get ready for the big push forward in the Kingdom. We are close to the coming of the Lord and preparations must be made. God is ready to guide and assist all who will listen and obey Him so they may stand in total victory throughout the tremendous conflict that lies ahead.
Pass through the host, and command the people, saying, Prepare you victuals; for within three days ye shall pass over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land, which the Lord your God giveth you to possess it. (Joshua 1:11)
The present hour is a time to listen carefully to the Spirit of God. Whenever the Jews came to a new feast of the Lord (as today we are moving past Pentecost toward the spiritual fulfillments of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles—Leviticus, Chapter 23) they were commanded to cease from their regular work.
Ye shall do no servile work therein: but ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:25)
God is ready to do marvelous things in our day, but we must receive the instruction and provisions He is offering now so we shall be ready when God moves. There will be tremendous opportunities ahead for every believer who will cease from his own programs and listen carefully to the Lord.
The Reubenites, the Gadites, and half of the tribe of Manasseh wanted to remain on the east side of the Jordan and take care of their cattle. It did not matter to them that the Glory of God, the Ark, the Tabernacle, the priesthood would depart from them or that their brothers would have to fight.
The two and a half cattle-loving tribes resemble the believers of today who are occupied with the things of the world and have no heart for the Glory of God. They will have to fight for their inheritance in the Lord whether or not they wish to do so.
Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle, shall remain in the land which Moses gave you on this side Jordan; but ye shall pass before your brethren armed, all the mighty men of valour, and help them; (Joshua 1:14)
The two spies sent out by Joshua portray the dedicated disciples in the present hour who are being sent out by the Lord to press into the promises of God. They will return to the Church and describe the good land they have seen.
And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. (Joshua 2:1)
Rahab signifies the people of the world who will assist the saints of the last days during great tribulation, thus saving themselves and their loved ones. Those who help the Lord’s brothers, His witnesses, will enter eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:34)
The Israelites followed the Ark of the Covenant across the Jordan. The Jordan River represents death to the old adamic nature and the land of Canaan speaks of eternal resurrection life in the Kingdom of God. The Israelites followed 2,000 cubits behind the Ark, the number of cubits indicating the number of years of the Church Age.
Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. (Joshua 3:4)
God has warned us to listen to Him carefully in the present hour. We are in a time of fundamental change in the Kingdom of God. The Church has not passed this way before.
The Jordan River parted, even though it was at flood level. The priests stood with the Ark in the middle of Jordan until Israel passed over to the west bank. So it is that our Lord Jesus is standing in the middle of death until His elect pass safely into eternal life.
And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan. (Joshua 3:17)
The Israelites crossing the Jordan River and preparing to attack Jericho represent the saints of Christ entering their land of promise. The people of Jericho typify Satan and his demons who are inhabiting the inheritance promised to the Lord’s elect. The placing of the twelve stones on the west bank of the Jordan and the twelve stones on the river bed of the Jordan point to the mainspring of the new covenant—our death with the Lord Jesus on the cross (the stones left in the Jordan) and our resurrection with the Lord Jesus (the stones placed on the west bank of the Jordan as a memorial).
And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day. (Joshua 4:9)
And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the Lord spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there. (Joshua 4:8)
In the present hour the teaching of the Kingdom of God is as a mother in the pains of childbirth. The “Moses” gospel, which includes salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit (deliverance from Egypt and the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai), is blessed of the Lord and anointed wherever it is preached. But the transition to preparation for war is new and is not, in the sight of the Lord’s people, as obviously blessed. However the teaching of the Kingdom, the reviving of the original Gospel message, is the will of God and the day will arrive soon when God’s people everywhere understand clearly that it is time for the Church to move forward to inherit the Kingdom of God.
On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life. (Joshua 4:14)
Satan and his hordes realize that their end is near and they are terrified. There is no reason for the saints to fear the enemy. We must remain watchful because the deceiver will tear down as many as he can. But when we are walking in the will of God, practicing righteousness, holiness, and stern obedience to the Father, we have power over all the power of the enemy.
And it came to pass, when all the kings of the Amorites, which were on the side of Jordan westward, and all the kings of the Canaanites, which were by the sea, heard that the Lord had dried up the waters of Jordan from before the children of Israel, until we were passed over, that their heart melted, neither was there spirit in them any more, because of the children of Israel. (Joshua 5:1)
The circumcising of the new generation reminds us that the present generation of Christians have not, in numerous instances, made a covenant with God. They have been told that the Lord Jesus is their servant, standing ready to give them whatever they desire. It often is true that they have not been instructed that they are the Lord’s bondservants, that they must always be prepared to do whatever He asks to the point of laying down their life in His service.
Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised. (Joshua 5:5)
The giddiness, smugness, false sense of security, self-centeredness, softness of today’s believers is hardly scriptural. They have been taught they never will suffer (even though Christians in many countries today are being tortured and martyred). Their pastors are pampering them instead of warning them of the severity of the Consuming Fire of Israel.
The doctrine that God does not see the sins of Christians is so obviously unscriptural that one wonders if the pastors and their congregations have ever read the Bible. The present theology concerning grace and the Judgment Seat of Christ is in error—very misleading and morally destructive.
It is time for today’s believers, particularly the young people (it may be too late for most of the older generation!), to make a covenant with God. God did His part on the cross of Calvary. Now each Christian who would go forward with the Lord must present his body a living sacrifice as his part of the covenant. This is the circumcision required today.
It is as we offer our body to God, turning away from the world and its ways, that the “reproach of Egypt” (the disgrace of the world) is removed from us.
And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day. (Joshua 5:9)
The Passover then was celebrated on the desert plains of Jericho. Even though we are to be pressing today toward the last three feasts of the Lord (the blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles), we still are to hold before us the shed blood of the Lamb of God on the cross of Calvary. It is the blood of the Lamb that provides the foundation and authority for all that takes place in the Kingdom of God. We overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb. The Commander in Chief is clothed with a robe dipped in blood.
And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho. (Joshua 5:10)
On the day after the Passover the Israelites ate unleavened cakes and roasted grain that were produced in the land of Canaan. As soon as they had eaten of food grown in Canaan the manna no longer fell from the sky. Here is another historic change, for the Israelites had been given manna for forty years.
And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year. (Joshua 5:11,12)
The purpose of the daily manna was to teach the saints in the wilderness that man does not live by bread only but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3)
We Christians have had to learn to trust the Lord. Whether in the realm of money or food or health or strength or wisdom or whatever else we need, we often receive only that which is necessary for the moment.
The Lord Jesus ministered in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. We, however, must be content with gifts, tongues, miracles, discernment that suffice for the particular incident. We see in a mirror dimly.
The eating of the food grown in Canaan and the ceasing of the manna reveal there is coming a day when “that which is perfect” will be our inheritance. We no longer shall be dependent on a daily portion of grace, or a gift of the Spirit, neither shall we see in a mirror dimly. We shall know as we are known. The fullness of the Spirit will be given to us. This has not taken place as yet.
While Joshua was musing on the plains of Jericho a powerful warrior appeared before him with a drawn sword in his hand.
The courageous Joshua approached him and demanded to know whose side he was on.
The man was on neither side. He was there to do God’s will. We need to remember that God is not attempting to march to our drum. He has His own battles, His own victories, and we are to enter God’s war against God’s enemies.
The man proved to be the captain of the Lord’s army. The armed warrior probably was Michael, the commander of the warrior angels. However, many Bible scholars view this personage as Christ Himself.
And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant? (Joshua 5:14)
The man with the sword in his hand reminds us that the battles of the Lord always are fought by two armies—the army of saints and the army of angels. Many Christian programs to further the Kingdom of God have failed because the believers did not wait for the Lord of Armies to march with them.
It appears that godly Christian people are so angry at the increasing sin in the earth they are ready to take action. Some aggressive behavior is being demonstrated in the United States. Individuals have been put in jail for resisting the practice of abortion, for example.
God is not ready to attack the sin in the world but He is ready to attack the sin in the Christian people. If we attack where God is not attacking we will do little more than bring violent persecution upon ourselves. We must learn to wait patiently and diligently on the Lord. We have not passed this way before.
The Two Areas of the Rest of God
What is the Christian land of promise? What is the new-covenant land of milk and honey? What is the rest of God spoken of in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews? What is the goal of salvation? Precisely what do we mean when we say it is time for the Lord’s people to enter the land of milk and honey, the promised “rest of God”? How will this take place?
For most of its history the Christian Church has regarded eternal life in Heaven as the goal of salvation. “We are saved to go to Heaven.” But Heaven does not fit the type of Canaan. Also, no passage of Scripture points to eternal life in Heaven as the goal of salvation. We are not saved to enjoy eternal life in Heaven in a mansion. This is not to say we do not go to Heaven when we die or that in our life after death we cannot spend as much time as we desire in the spirit Paradise. But it is evident that the events of the Book of Joshua do not portray a saint entering the spirit Paradise, and it is true also that neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament suggest that to spend eternity in Heaven is the goal of salvation.
There are two areas of the Christian land of promise, the Christian rest of God. The first area is the spiritual rest. The second area is that of physical conquest. To enter these two areas is to enter our Canaan, to attain our goal.
- The spiritual rest.
- The physical conquest.
The spiritual rest has to do with our deliverance from the image of Satan and from the influence of his personality, and our change into the image of Christ and our entrance into Christ’s Personality.
Also included in the spiritual rest is the resurrection of our body and the clothing of our resurrected body with a robe of righteousness that has been created before the throne of God as we have sown our body to the death of the cross.
The physical conquest is described many times in the Old Testament, and most clearly in the New Testament in Revelation, Chapter 19. It is the invasion of the earth by the Lord Jesus and His saints and holy angels, the driving out of all wickedness, and the giving of the kingdoms of this world to God and His Christ.
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)
The spiritual battle is taking place now. The physical battle will occur when the Lord Jesus returns.
Successful participation in the physical battle depends entirely on successful participation in the spiritual battle. If we do not gain victory in the spiritual battle it is impossible for us to gain victory in the physical battle that is ahead. The strong man must be bound before his house can be occupied. Remember Achan!
The rewards to the overcomer set forth in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation are elements of the spiritual rest, for the most part. They are aspects of the first resurrection from the dead. They climax with the saint seated in the throne of Christ—the highest throne in the universe. This is the full attainment of what it means to be “man.”
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
Physical conquest is the coming of the Kingdom of God into the earth, the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven.
O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. (Psalms 67:4)
“Govern the nations upon earth”!
The appearing of Christ and His saints is the coming of justice and righteousness into the earth. Paradise will be restored. The knowledge of the Glory of the Lord will fill the earth. All of this will be accomplished at the hands of the sons of God—those who were victorious in the struggle to enter the spiritual rest. They will rule with Christ over the saved nations of the earth.
The main theme of the Book of Hebrews is the exhortation to Christians to enter the rest of God.
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)
To enter the rest of God we must exercise faith and obedience. The death of the Israelites during their wilderness wandering is employed to warn today’s saints that it is possible to start on the journey of salvation and then not enter the inheritance.
Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) (Hebrews 3:10,11)
To not enter the rest of God is associated with not partaking of Christ. To attain the inheritance, the land of promise, is to become an eternal part of Christ.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)
Today the Holy Spirit is announcing to the Church that it is time to press forward to total victory over the enemy. Let every one of us set aside every other interest and concentrate on conquering completely in the spiritual area of the rest of God. Then, when the Lord appears, we shall be ready to appear with Him and bring destruction upon God’s enemies and the blessings of Heaven to those who fear the Lord.
The Three Goals of the Spiritual Area of the Rest of God
Three goals are set forth in the New Testament. They are change into the image of Christ, union with God through Christ, and the gaining of a body like that of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Change into the image of Christ.
- Union with God through Christ.
- The redemption of the mortal body
Change into the image of Christ. Those who are called to be saints have been predestined to be in the image of Christ.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to [changed into] the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)
It has been God’s plan from the beginning that we be changed into the image of Christ. To be changed into the image of Christ is to think like Christ, to speak like Christ, to act like Christ, and to look like Christ.
When we first are saved we are in the image of Satan to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the individual. God made Adam in His own image. Human beings are in that image, being descended from Adam. But Satan has been successful in corrupting the image of God until we think like Satan, we speak the words of Satan, and we behave in the manner of which Satan approves. In addition, our appearance often is that which Satan desires. To pass from the image of Satan to the image of Christ is a lifelong battle. We are resisted at every point along the way.
Satan exercises control (always with God’s permission) over the nations of the earth. In our day we see the rise of demonic influence as murder, perversion, and witchcraft are increasing. Truly the tares are coming to maturity. The image of Satan is coming to maturity in mankind.
We notice also that the enemy is entrenched in our own personality. As we seek to behave righteously, to be holy to the Lord, we are resisted fiercely. Satan is determined he shall control us. But God has promised we shall be in the image of His Son. Do you have a heart to fight your way into your land of promise?—into the image of Christ in your thinking, your words, and your actions? Do you desire a glorified body because you want to be able to serve the Lord in righteousness?
We see that the enemy has so infiltrated Christian thinking the believers are viewing the Gospel of the Kingdom as consisting only of forgiveness, the purpose of which is to bring us to Heaven where we shall sin no longer. But sin began in Heaven!
The truth is, the Gospel of the Kingdom includes the authority and power to overcome the enemy in our personality and environment. We can obey the Lord here and now. Many believers are ready to fight and the Holy Spirit is leading them to victory after victory over the sin in their life.
Israel stands at the brink of Jordan today. Let us follow the Ark to total victory over the image of Satan.
Union with God through Christ. A second part of the spiritual rest is union with God through Christ. The union that is promised us is not a mere agreement on points of doctrine, it is the same union in which the Father and the Son dwell.
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)
To be changed into the image of Christ is important. To dwell in Christ in God is even more important. To have image apart from union is to run the risk of becoming Antichrist.
The Lord invites us to abide in Him. This is the voice of love. Each day we choose to go our own way or else to seek the Presence of Him whom we love.
God has given the gifts of the Spirit to today’s churches to an extent that probably is greater than any time of past history. But to possess such power and knowledge presents a problem. Should we use the things of God to attempt to release and bless the prisoners of the earth, or should we return to the Lord and seek His will in every instance?
To decide whether to use the gifts or to seek the Lord is no mere academic issue. It is the major problem facing the Spirit-filled people of today. To attempt to go forth to release and bless mankind is the wrong choice.
We hear the ministry of today saying “we must go out and minister to a lost and dying world.” One would look in vain for such a sentiment in the Scriptures. This is the voice of humanism, not of the Spirit of God.
The saints are not called to relieve the suffering of a lost and dying world. The saints are anointed with the Holy Spirit that they may bear witness of God and His salvation to a lost and dying world. There is a difference between relieving the suffering of people and bearing witness to people. The one is focused on the needs of people. The other is focused on the needs of God. The first seeks to lift the judgment that has come because of sin. The other rebukes the sin so that people may learn to obey the commandments of God.
We are to continually seek union with the Father through the Son. When we do this the Spirit of God will guide us in the used of our gifts and ministries. Our allegiance is to God, not to people!
The ministries and gifts of the Spirit are not given for us to use as we will—even in the assisting of other people. They are abilities set in the Body of Christ for the building up of the saints to the full stature of Christ. All of our abilities are to be used only as the Lord directs. In order to find the Lord’s will we must present our body a living sacrifice.
The Holy Spirit has come, as Eliezer of old, loaded with gifts from the Father. However, the Spirit has not come to give but to take. The gifts are only for the purpose of gaining a bride.
The believers who do not understand will marvel at the gifts and rejoice. The true Bride will perceive the intention of the Spirit and will turn and go with Him to meet the Bridegroom.
The desire to use the gifts to release and bless the world will result in the False Prophet. The False Prophet will assist the Antichrist world government as people are brought into that which appears to benefit mankind but actually is in rebellion against God. Numerous Christians will accept this false Holy Spirit and false Christ because they do not pray, because they have no love for the truth, because they are not willing to take up their cross and follow the Lord.
God knows those who belong to Him and He will deliver them from the deceptions of the last days.
To be married to the Lord, to be in union with Him, to move only at His bidding, to seek His Presence and His face continually—these are the treasured desires of the true saint.
To dash about in an attempt to “do great things for God,” to be occupied with the gifts instead of the Giver, to seek prominence in the “ministry,” to use the blood of Christ in order to gain fame and money—all in the name of glorifying God, of course—has been and still is the mark of religious Babylon.
God has promised He will change us into the image of Christ and—better yet—that He will make us part of His Person. Here is our goal, our Canaan, our land of promise. But there exists a multitude of enemies who will fight against us with every deception, every cunning, every device to frighten us, every confusion, every delusion, every enticement, every seduction they can manufacture. Do you have a heart to press forward in the Spirit of God until you are in the untroubled rest of God through Christ?
The redemption of the mortal body. The third goal of the spiritual area of the rest of God is the redemption of the body. Several times Paul spoke of his desire to attain to the redemption of his body.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (II Corinthians 5:4)
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
Philippians 3:11 (above) is explained a few verses later in the chapter, as follows:
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:21)
If we would understand the resurrection toward which the Apostle Paul was pressing we first must realize that every person who has lived on the earth will be raised from the dead.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28,29)
Some will be raised to glory. Others will be raised to punishment.
We realize from this that it is not enough just to be raised from the dead since every person will be raised from the dead. What is important is what we are raised to—the resurrection of life or the resurrection of judgment.
What we are raised to is not decided by belief, grace, or mercy. What we are raised to depends exactly on what John declares: “they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
“They that have done good; they that have done evil.”
Notice how the Apostle Paul said the same thing:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)
“According to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
The mammoth error of Christian thinking is that the grace of God in Christ changes the statements of the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul, thus doing away with the day of reckoning for believers. This error has destroyed the Christian churches of today. The believers will not serve God as they should because they believe they will not answer to Christ for their conduct.
We Christians can destroy our own resurrection to eternal life by continuing in the appetites and lusts of the body and soul; or we can create for ourselves a glorious resurrection, the putting on of a body like that of Christ. We can:
- Destroy our own resurrection to eternal life.
- Create for ourselves a glorious resurrection, the putting on of a body like that of Christ.
We shall reap exactly what we have sown.
Think about the words of Paul:
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:11-13)
The above three verses mean that God’s Holy Spirit is in us now and will make alive our flesh-and-blood body at the coming of the Lord. Therefore, we are not obligated to follow the desires of our flesh.
However if we do follow the desires of our flesh we will die. We will slay our own resurrection. We will reap corruption in the Day of the Lord.
This is how we destroy our resurrection to eternal life.
How, then, are we to create for ourselves a glorious resurrection so we receive a body like that of Christ when our body is raised from the dust?
Our physical body will die and sleep in the dust of the earth. It will be awakened in the Day of the Lord by the voice of Christ.
We also have a spiritual body, a body that is being created before the throne of God in Heaven. Sometimes this body is referred to as a house, or robe, or a crown of righteousness or crown of life.
The composition of our heavenly body has little to do with faith, mercy, or grace except as faith or mercy or grace affect the way we behave, the thoughts we think, the words of our mouth, the actions of our hands, the paths in which we choose to walk.
Our heavenly robe is washed and made sparkling white as we confess our sins and repent of them forcefully, turning away from them with all our might and, by the Lord’s help, refuse to have anything to do with them for the remainder of eternity.
Our house from Heaven is constructed as we experience the sufferings of Christ and are made like Him in His death. If we choose to live as being crucified with Christ, continuing to trust in His incorruptible Life working within us, then a marvelous house of light and glory has its rise before the throne of God.
When the Lord appears our flesh-and-bone body will be raised from the ground, or water, or from whatever place or situation in which it has died. Then it will be clothed with our conduct, with the heavenly body that is the product of our behavior.
This is the meaning of:
They that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:29)
That every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)
He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)
My reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)
Who will render to every man according to his deeds. (Romans 2:6)
The above passages that reveal the accountability of the believer have been made of no effect by modern Christian doctrine. We think the Lord Jesus is very distressed because of this destruction of His clear warnings. Perhaps the preachers and teachers of today should seek the Lord Jesus and ask Him if these passages really do apply to those have put their trust in Him; and if they do not, why they were written to the saints?
The making alive of our mortal body by clothing it with a house of incorruptible life is the supreme Christian victory, the victory of salvation. It is a very important part of our land of promise.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (I Corinthians 15:54)
Perhaps we have never considered physical death to be an enemy that must be overcome. Perhaps we have thought of the resurrection to eternal life as an experience that will happen to all who take the “four steps of salvation.” We may never have viewed the redemption of the body as a land of promise that must be gained by war.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:26)
Paul was seeking to attain to the resurrection (Greek, out-resurrection), the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection to glorious life and authority.
Paul did attain his goal, as we notice in the following:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (II Timothy 4:8)
God has promised that He will change us into the image of Christ, that He will bring us into untroubled union with Himself through Christ, and that He will raise our flesh-and-bone body from the dust and clothe it with a body like that of Christ, thus completing our transformation into His image.
Each of these three aspects of the goal of the spiritual area of the rest of God is a terrifying threat to the kingdom of Satan. Satan and his followers will do everything in their power to prevent the Church, the Body of Christ, from attaining the image of Christ, untroubled rest in the Father, and a glorious body of eternal life.
We have to fight our way into each of these three areas. The time for advance is now. Do we have the courage and willingness to follow the Lord of Hosts into the total destruction of the enemy?
And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. (Deuteronomy 7:22-24)
The Three Enemies That Resist Our Entering the Rest of God
There are three vicious enemies that will fight fiercely and determinedly to prevent each believer from attaining to the rest of God.
- The claims of the world (the state of uncircumcision).
- The sin that dwells in our flesh (the sin of Achan).
- Our willingness to depend on our own judgment instead of the Lord (the error of Joshua).
The three enemies are attacking us constantly, searching for a weak spot in our armor. Only a determined, faithful, self-denying Christian will be able to defeat all three, with the help of Christ, and enter the spiritual and physical areas of the rest of God.
The claims of the world. The younger generation of Israelites, the generation preparing to enter the land of promise, had not been circumcised. This had to be corrected before the disgrace of the world could be removed from them and they could be considered as holy to the Lord.
The preaching of today has deteriorated to the point that the believers think the purpose of the Christian Gospel is to help them live a happy, self-fulfilled life in the present world. The concept of being a stranger and pilgrim on the earth has not been preached to them.
Go into any Christian church in America and listen to what is being preached. Do you hear the pastor or teacher warning the people that they must present their body a living sacrifice if they are to do the will of God? Do you hear the demands of discipleship? Do you hear that the believers are not to entangle themselves with the things of the present life but are to endure hardness as good soldiers of Christ?
The odds are heavily against your hearing such preaching.
You will hear over and over that the believers will fly away at any moment so they cannot be harmed by Antichrist or the great tribulation. You will hear that God does not see the behavior of the believer but only the righteousness of Christ. You will hear that the believer has no need to fear the Judgment Seat of Christ because even if he has not served the Lord he will be saved as by fire. (Do the preachers and people have any idea of what it means to be “saved as by fire”? By fire?)
There may be some statements made about being crucified with Christ, or serving the Lord, but everyone understands that the pastor is not practicing such a world-rejecting gospel and does not really expect them to do so.
Rather, the pastor in his unfaithfulness wishes to make friends with the people. He is advising them to change what they think they owe the Lord so the demands are not as great.
Then said he to another, And how much owest thou? And he said, An hundred measures of wheat. And he said unto him, Take thy bill, and write fourscore. (Luke 16:7)
Perhaps after he dies the members of his congregation will receive him into the caves of darkness where they are dwelling.
To be circumcised in heart is to be separate from the world and holy to the Lord. We are to totally reject the claims of the world. We are to cleave to the Lord and all His holy Person and ways. We belong to the Lord and to the Lord alone! We are not of this world. We have been called out of this world that we may belong to Christ. We are to be holy as He is holy.
The enticements of the world continually, unrelentingly, claw at the believer. “Look here! Look there! Isn’t this wonderful! Isn’t that wonderful! Just think how marvelous life would be for you if you would take advantage of the opportunities the world is offering you.”
Wasn’t this what Satan offered Eve? Think about the result of her acceptance!
The follower of the Lord must wrench himself away from this siren call and follow the Lord with a holy heart. If he does not reject the malice and wickedness of the world spirit and set himself apart as holy to the Lord, it is absolutely impossible for him or her to destroy the enemy and enter the land of promise that is the inheritance of God’s warriors.
The sin that dwells in our flesh. The covetous Achan brought Israel down to defeat because he disobeyed God.
But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel. (Joshua 7:1)
Achan’s action in seizing some clothes, silver, and gold as booty is not at all unusual for a soldier in the time of war. But God had charged Israel not to touch the spoils during this battle.
And ye, in any wise keep yourselves from the accursed thing, lest ye make yourselves accursed, when ye take of the accursed thing, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. But all the silver, and gold, and vessels of brass and iron, are consecrated unto the Lord: they shall come into the treasury of the Lord. (Joshua 6:18,19)
The Christian churches of our day are not diligent concerning righteousness, holiness and stern obedience to the Father. The prevailing attitude is, “Nobody’s perfect. As long as we are in this world we have to sin. We are saved by grace and not by works. God loves us too much to deny us what we want.”
The faithful pastor who warns his congregation that the Lord Jesus expects us to gain victory over all worldliness, sin, and self-will, as Christ leads us and helps us, is accused of not loving the people.
Can you imagine! The treacherous pastor who tickles the ears of his listeners, refusing to tell them the truth for fear they will leave, is regarded as the one who “loves” the people. The faithful pastor who repeatedly exhorts the people to put away their worldliness and sin, telling them that if they do not they will receive lashes because of their lack of service to Christ, is accused of not loving the people. Indeed, the world is turned upside down.
Let the treacherous pastor keep flattering the people. The day will come when they will curse him for the traitor that he is. Let the faithful pastor keep warning the believers. The day will come when they will bless him for his faithfulness to God and to them.
We are to leave no room whatever for sin or disobedience! Absolutely none! We are to make no excuses for our lazy, cowardly, lustful flesh. We are to put to death the deeds of our body by the sword of the Spirit of God. Christ will assist us every step of the way if we will reject Satan with all our determination and cleave to the Lord.
The Lord shows us, in the judgment that fell on Achan and his family, how we are to deal with the sin in our life.
And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day. (Joshua 7:25,26)
We of today would feel that Joshua was too harsh when punishing Achan, and especially with Achan’s family and livestock. This is because we think God is always gentle and loving and will do no harm to anyone—not even to the wicked. But notice that “the Lord turned from the fierceness of his anger.”
Then we say, “But the Lord Jesus is not like that today.” Thus we reveal that we do not understand the Lord. The truth is, the Lord Jesus has not changed at all.
Think about what is being practiced in the world today, the abortion, the molesting and abuse of small children, the perversions, the pornography, the covetousness, the witchcraft, the despising of God and His righteous ways. Do you believe that the anger of God is less fierce than it was in the days of the covetous, disobedient Achan? Do you truly believe that God will spare disobedient, pleasure-loving, covetous, immoral Christian people because they profess faith in Christ? If you believe this you are deceived concerning the Nature of God.
Be warned! The Gentile holocaust is at hand!
We can overcome the world and Satan by Christ’s help if we are determined to do so. We must overcome the world and Satan if we hope to enter the rest of God, the land of milk and honey.
We absolutely must confess our sins and turn away from them if we hope to enter the land of promise, the rest of God. There is power available today—perhaps as never before in history—to put to death the deeds of our body. It is an eternal judgment upon the enemy. Our part is to confess our sins and forsake them. God’s part is to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
As we have stated previously, if we continue in the works of the flesh we will slay our own resurrection. It is time now to put our sins to death by the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God.
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)
We are to put to death the appetites of our flesh and soul without any compromise whatever. We are to totally destroy the enemy in our flesh as the Spirit leads us from “city to city.”
Our willingness to depend on our own judgment instead of the Lord. Joshua made one mistake in his career and it plagued Israel for hundreds of years.
The Gibeonites, the inhabitants of the next city the Israelites were to attack, came into the camp and told Joshua they had journeyed from a distant country. Instead of asking the Lord, Joshua made a treaty with them supposing they were telling the truth. This single act of carelessness caused trouble for the nation of Israel just as carelessness causes trouble for us. The Gibeonites, who were Amorites, were a source of agitation for many years to come.
And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them. (Joshua 9:15)
Hundreds of years later King Saul in his zeal killed the Gibeonites and brought a famine on the land of Israel.
Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David inquired of the Lord. And the Lord answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites. (II Samuel 21:1)
If we are to overcome the enemy and enter the land of promise we must learn to look to the Lord for every detail of life.
There are many things a Christian can plan and do that are not sinful as such, but neither are they necessarily the plan of God for the individual’s life.
For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. (James 4:15)
To be consecrated to the Lord Jesus is to seek Him day and night for every detail of life. Nothing that we think, say, or do is excepted. All must be given to the Lord each moment of each day so we know what we ought to think, what we ought to say, what we ought to do. If Joshua had done this the Lord would have exposed the trick the Gibeonites played on him.
It appears that the Christian churches have never really understood the third death the Christian must die, the death to self-will. It is not enough to leave the world and accept the Lord Jesus. It is not enough to overcome sin through the Holy Spirit. In addition we must take up our cross and follow the Lord. We must count ourselves as dead to the world and alive to God. We must obey the Father sternly in every detail of living.
Christians speak of giving their heart to Jesus but they do not always do this. They receive the blood atonement and may make some attempts to overcome sin. But the concept that we must in addition count ourselves as crucified with the Lord Jesus so His Life is our life, we must actually give our heart to Jesus, is not commonly understood. If it is understood, it appears not to be widely practiced by Christian people.
We have no life of our own, our life belongs to the Lord Jesus. What, then, is all this talk about Christians being rich, finding self-fulfillment, prospering in the world, using the Lord to accomplish whatever they wish? We would not be hearing such statements if the believers understood their life in this present world ended on the cross of Calvary and they now are seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father. They would be setting their heart on things above not on things on the earth. They would be gaining treasures in Heaven rather than treasures on the earth.
All such concepts of consecration may always have been voiced by Christian people. But they are not practiced today. People are not taking them seriously. If they were taking the call to total consecration seriously, the Christian churches in America would be altogether different from what they are today.
We absolutely must reject the claims of the world and cleave to the Lord in absolute holiness of thought, word, and action if we expect to enter the land of promise
We absolutely must put to death the sinful deeds of our body by the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God if we expect to enter the land of promise.
We absolutely must count ourselves as crucified with Christ and live in His Life if we expect to enter the land of promise.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
We must become dead-living people if we hope to ride with Christ in the Battle of Armageddon. There is no room whatever for the little bit of sin and self-will we wish to retain. The little worldliness, the little sin, the little self-will shall prevent our gaining the victor’s crown. Make no mistake about this!
The enemy is capable, and determined we will not enter the land. The battle is fierce, unrelenting. The inheritance is marvelous beyond the mind of man to imagine.
Do you have the heart to follow the Lord of Hosts into the conflict of the ages?
The Physical Area of the Rest of God
The physical area of the rest of God is virtually unknown to the Christian churches. Sometimes the believers are heard to say “we shall rule and reign (rule and rule?) with Christ.” The next moment they are talking about their mansion in Heaven. Do they suppose they will govern the nations of the earth from their mansion in Heaven?
The rule of Christ over the earth will be a literal, physical rule. Christ will rule from Jerusalem, sitting on the throne of David.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:7)
It is clear also that the victorious saints will govern the earth as part of the rule of Christ.
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27)
There is a great need in the world for righteous government, government that will bring justice to the meek of the earth. When Christ comes He will bring justice to the world.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment [justice] to the Gentiles [nations]. (Isaiah 42:1)
When Christ appears, His saints, those who have attained the spiritual rest, will appear with Him. They will go throughout the earth driving out all wickedness.
It is time for the Church of Christ to realize there will be a literal, physical invasion of the earth by Christ and His saints. The earth will be attacked just as Canaan was attacked.
The army of the Lord can learn from the experience of the Israelites. They often did not demonstrate the stern obedience to God necessary for total victory. The Lord warned the Hebrews that if they did not destroy the Canaanites utterly the Canaanites would lead them into sin. This is exactly what happened.
The soldiers of Christ have been trained with great care. They will not make the same mistake. Every aspect of wickedness will be destroyed out of the earth. There will be no compromise. It is already in their hearts to do this.
The world and most of the Christian people are on one side, pleading the cause of mankind. The Lord and His devoted saints are on the other side, pleading the cause of God. Whose side are you on?
The Old Testament prophecies of the invasion of the earth. There are several prophecies in the Old Testament that speak of Christ and His saints invading the earth and driving out evil.
They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. (Isaiah 13:5)
A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. (Joel 2:3)
And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. (Micah 5:8)
Thou didst march through the land in indignation, thou didst thresh the heathen [nations] in anger. (Habakkuk 3:12)
And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4:3)
We may not enjoy the prospect of returning from Heaven with the Lord Jesus and coming against the evil in the earth, but this is what is going to take place.
We know that during the thousand-year Kingdom Age the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
What we have not understood is that this knowledge will be given at the hands of the saints who return with the Lord. They will pass through the earth in the fullness of the power of Christ, judging evil and delivering those who call on the name of the Lord. They are God’s judges and they will possess the authority to forgive sin and retain sin. They will exercise the keys of the Kingdom of God.
And saviours [deliverers] shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. (Obadiah 1:21)
The deliverers who come up on Mount Zion are the saints of the Lord, the same deliverers who will bring salvation to the nations of Israel.
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Romans 11:26)
The Mount of Esau represents the world of flesh and blood. The Kingdom will be the Lord’s when God’s saints go forth to judge mankind.
The prophecies of the Old Testament will be fulfilled literally. The Kingdom of God, the rule of God in Christ in the saints, will be established on the earth. The saints will govern throughout the thousand years of the Kingdom Age.
Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)
Every believer who presses forward to the spiritual rest of God will have the opportunity to claim his or her inheritance in the physical rest of God.
The saints will go through the earth and drive out the enemy just as in the Book of Joshua. God will crush Satan under their feet.
The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:10,11)
The spiritually weak, flesh-pampering gospel of today is not sufficient to bring to maturity the warlike remnant the Lord will bring with Him in order to drive the followers of Satan from the earth. We must have a much stronger word, and we believe that the stronger word, and the circumstances necessary if the stronger word is to be able to create warriors, are at hand.
Our hymns are changing to songs of war. There is a shout in the camp. The younger generation is hearing the exhortation to righteousness, holiness, and strict obedience to God instead of the lawless-grace-rapture doctrine. The Ark is beginning to move. The deliverance of the earth is at hand.
The New Testament prophecies of the invasion of the earth. The enemy described in the Old Testament was flesh and blood. The moment we pass into the New Testament we find that the Kingdom of God is attacking demons. The first sign to follow the believer is the casting out of demons in the name of the Lord Jesus.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; (Mark 16:17)
We are wrestling against the fallen lords that are established in the heavens. Will the wrestling match ever come to an end? Yes, it will!
And the God of peace shall bruise [crush] Satan under your feet shortly… (Romans 16:20)
Satan is to be crushed under the feet of the saints. This reminds us of Malachi:
And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4:3)
The clearest description in the New Testament of the physical invasion of the earth is as follows:
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (Revelation 19:11)
Here is the coming of the Lord. He is invading the earth to “judge and make war.”
This is not the Jesus who is familiar to us. The Lord Jesus, the gentle Shepherd, has become Joshua—the Commander in Chief of the armies of Heaven.
The Lord always judges and makes war in righteousness. The believers who have not had a new righteous nature created in them are not qualified to ride with the Lord in the attack of Armageddon. They still are in rebellion against God.
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. (Revelation 19:12)
The Commander is Christ—the living Word of God. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood. The army of saints follows the blood of the cross.
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. (Revelation 19:13)
The Commander is not alone. There is an army of saints at His back—saints arrayed in the white robes of their righteous nature and behavior.
The horses on which they ride are war stallions noted for their speed and strength. The horses are white, signifying they are part of the righteousness of their riders. They paw restlessly when there is any sign of indecision. They are ready to race to the battle in their haste to engage the enemy.
He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. (Job 39:21)
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)
The Word of God in the mouth of Christ is as a sharp sword. The Word will strike down the nations of the earth. The Lord Jesus will govern the nations with His iron will, the inflexible determination to do the will of God. He will reveal in Himself the fullness of the fury of God.
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (Revelation 19:15)
This is an attack from Heaven against the literal, physical nations of the earth. This is the heavenly Joshua and His Israel invading the earth. The earth is the land of promise that God has given Christ and His saints.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (Psalms 2:8)
The Lord Jesus is King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Let the nations of the earth tremble because He is coming to govern mankind. Woe unto those who resist His will!
And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Revelation 19:16)
There will be so many dead bodies that the birds will be called to the “great supper of God.”
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. (Revelation 19:17,18)
The King James speaks of the “supper of the great God.” Other translations refer to the “great supper of God.” In either case a part of God’s Nature that the current emphasis on humanism has hidden is emphasized. The death of all these wicked people would cause worldwide mourning in our day—even among Christian people. But God sees the death of the wicked as a blessing for the birds.
The Scripture teaches us that God receives no pleasure from the death of the wicked. God is willing that all come to repentance, that all be saved. This is one part of the picture.
The other part of the picture is that the wrath of God has been held in reserve since the original rebellion on the part of the angels. The Divine wrath has been growing with each wicked act performed on the earth. When the Divine wrath is released in the Day of the Lord it will be of such burning intensity, so universal in scope, so awful in its fury, that all who are not safely under the blood of the Lamb will be in jeopardy.
We cannot even imagine a human being imprisoned in a lake of fire for eternity without hope of release. Yet the same Scriptures that offer the hope of eternal joy warn us of eternal suffering.
God has never changed. The soul that sins shall die. The only reason any of us have access to the Mercy Seat is that Christ was willing to endure the death of the sinner.
There is a lot of talk in Christian circles about how Divine grace cannot be affected by our behavior, how much God loves us and would never permit us to suffer, how Jesus keeps overlooking our sins, how a disobedient Christian has no need to fear the Judgment Seat of Christ, how the Lord wants to be used by us to fulfill our every desire.
Many teachers hold that the words of the Lord Jesus found in the four Gospels do not apply to Christians, only to the Jews of Jesus’ day (why, then, do some Bibles have the words of the Lord in red if they no longer apply?). In addition, some claim that the Book of Hebrews is speaking to unsaved Jews.
It is our own fault that such concepts exist and that people do not understand the severity of God. We ought to know better than to listen to teachers who distort the Scriptures. We should be soundly rebuking such teachers instead of hiring them to teach in our Bible schools!
Imagine someone teaching that the Sermon on the Mount does not apply to Christians, only to the Jews of Jesus’ day! Imagine a Christian teaching that the exhortations of the Book of Hebrews apply to unsaved Jews and not to Christians who must not neglect their assembling together but continue to press forward to the rest of God! Has the teacher never read the Book of Hebrews? To what lengths will Christian ministers go to prove that sinning believers need have no fear of God’s judgment? What has happened to the spirit of the Christian churches? There is no fear of God among them.
This whole package of lies will be swept away by the broom of destruction that is at the door. All of us need to pray we will have enough of Christ in us to stand in victory before the Son of Man.
Joel saw the coming of the warlike remnant, the large and terrible army of the Lord that will go from city to city and village to village until every demon has been removed from the earth.
Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. (Joel 2:5)
Habakkuk trembled in fear at the sight of the invincible army of saints marching in stern obedience to the Father in Heaven.
When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)
We understand, therefore, that the Book of Joshua is a picture of the saints entering the land of promise. The Israelites fighting their way into their inheritance do not portray the believers dying and going to Heaven. It appears that Canaan is not a type of Heaven and that eternal life in Heaven is not the promised inheritance of the Christian.
We have stated there are two areas of the rest of God. The first area is the spiritual. The second area is the physical. Entrance into the physical depends upon our diligence in gaining victory in the spiritual area.
We set forth three goals of the first area, the spiritual:
- Change into the image of Christ.
- Union with God through Christ.
- The redemption of our mortal body.
Then we described three enemies that viciously and unrelentingly fight against us as we strive to enter the rest of God:
- The claims of the world.
- The sin that dwells in our flesh.
- Our willingness to depend on our own judgment instead of the Lord.
Next we turned to the physical area of the rest of God. At some point during the Church Age the traditional Hebrew concept of Christ coming to establish justice on the earth was changed into a flight of the saints to their eternal mansions in the spirit Paradise. As a result, the idea of Christians returning with the Lord Jesus and driving the wicked from the earth is far from the thinking of the believers.
One may wonder, will the saints who return with the Lord Jesus drive out only the evil spirits or will people also be destroyed?
The primary target of the attack of Armageddon is Satan and all members of the spirit realm who follow him.
After that it will be the task of the saints (always through Christ) to judge people.
Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people; To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalms 149:5-9)
Someone may claim, “This concept is from the Old Testament and it never would be found in the New.” But the Apostle Paul was the chief spokesman of the new covenant:
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (I Corinthians 6:2,3)
But God would never give to some people the authority to keep other people out of the Kingdom—or would He? What does the Scripture say?
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)
Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:23)
Will human beings actually be led away into the fire when the Lord returns?
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:46)
Deliverance is coming to the nations of the earth at the hand of the Lord Jesus and His saints. Whoever will receive the Lord Jesus as Savior and King will be saved. Whoever hates the Lord Jesus or His witnesses is in clear danger of eternal fire.
The saved nations will be ruled with the rod of iron that is being formed in the personalities of the saints today as they resolutely reject the world, the lusts of their own flesh, and the ambitions of their soul. The victorious saints will stand guard around the Glory of God for eternity. They are the wall of the new Jerusalem.
The Spirit of God is speaking clearly today. It is time for the Christian Church to press forward. First the believers must gain the spiritual rest, attaining victory in the three areas we have mentioned. It is time to gain these victories now!—today!
Those who press through to victory today will appear with Christ when He returns. They will be given their portion by the heavenly Joshua.
He who overcomes will inherit all things.
Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said. And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance. Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel. (Joshua 14:12-14)
Can you say it with Caleb: “GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN!”?
Rise up and press on with God. The only way in which you can be certain you are pleasing God is if you are gaining victory over sin and self-will each day. Follow the Ark across Jordan and into the inheritance that God has promised. The land of milk and honey is there, waiting to be possessed by those who care enough to seek the Lord with a whole heart.
Is this your choice? If it is, then you will gain your Hebron.
(“Entering the Land of Promise”, 3051-1)