THAT WHERE I AM...

THAT WHERE I AM

THAT WHERE I AM . . . Copyright Š 2006Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

The Lord Jesus invited us to be with Him where He is. Traditionally we have supposed this meant we would go to Heaven to be with Jesus when we die. I don’t think this is what the Lord was saying. I think He was declaring that we would be with Him where He is in the Father and at the right hand of the Father, not in Heaven as of a place.

THAT WHERE I AM . . .

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:3)

Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)

I am going to present the King James Version of John 14:3, because the New International Version (above) is somewhat misleading, I believe. See what you think.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3—KJV)

Compare the two:

NIV—"I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

KJV—"I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."

Compare:

"Take you to be with me."

"Receive you unto myself."

"What is the difference?" you may ask

The difference is, "Take you to be with me" suggests our removal to another place.

The first makes us think the Lord is speaking of bringing us to Heaven.

The second emphasizes that the Lord is speaking of bringing us to Himself, that is, to a Person rather than a place.

Again:

You know the way to the place where I am going. (John 14:4—NIV)

And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. (John 14:4—KJV)

"Receive you unto myself" follows what Jesus said in this chapter and the following. Jesus never said He was returning to Heaven. Read John, Chapters 14 through 17 and see if Jesus ever said He was returning to Heaven.

Jesus always spoke of returning to the Father.

What is the difference between returning to Heaven and returning to the Father?

What is the difference between going to England and going to the king of England?

Try both of these trips and see if there is any difference.

The New International Version, with the best of intentions, is following the Christian tradition that Christ came to bring us to heaven, at least the translation seems to imply this to me.

The King James is translating the Greek properly, I believe, which is that Christ is the way to the Father, not the way to Heaven.

I am not interested in speculating about novelties, I do not break tradition unless I see a definite bearing on the way people live the Christian life.

If we are seeking to go to Heaven we have to wait until we die to attain our goal. But if we are seeking to go to the Father we can attain our goal each day of our discipleship.

Jesus said, "that you also may be with me where I am."

Now, the important question is: Where is Jesus?

The answer is: In the heart of the Father as to relationship; at the right hand of the Father as to authority.

The Lord Jesus dwells in the Fullness of God. The Fullness of God dwells in the Lord Jesus.

The Lord Jesus dwells in the Fullness of the Consuming Fire. The Fullness of the Consuming Fire dwells in the Lord Jesus.

This is where Jesus is, and always is. Jesus is the "I Am." He Is, He Was, He Shall Be whatever He chooses to be from eternity to eternity.

Where Jesus is has little to do with Heaven. Heaven, as we think of it, is the highest of many "heavens" in the spirit realm. It is not enough to go to Heaven. Heaven is where sin began, around the Throne of God. Our goal is the Father—to be where the Lord Jesus is with and in the Father—not merely to go to Heaven however wonderful that may be.

In order to follow my thinking in this essay you will have to keep reminding yourself that the spirit realm, Heaven, the heavens, Paradise, refer to them how you will, are not beyond the farthest star. Our relationship to them has nothing to do with distance. Distance is a function of the physical world, along with time. Time and distance are not the same in the spirit realm as they are here.

We must get used to the concept that the spirit realm is all around us. Heaven is immediately above us. It is the real realm from which our present physical universe was created.

Our problem with the real, spirit realm is that it is invisible to us. If we could see into the spirit realm we would notice a world of tremendous activity. At all times we are surrounded by clean and unclean spirits, angels both wicked and righteous, and probably saints who are observing and perhaps aiding us.

Here is the important part: When we place our faith in the blood atonement, repent of our sinful ways, and are baptized in water, Christ gives us of the Holy Spirit. We are born again of the Spirit and of the living Word of God.

At this point a firstfruits of our personality passes into the spirit realm and enters Christ at the right hand of the Father. This takes place as soon as we truly are saved.

For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:6)

Our visible, physical life is spiritually dead, waiting for God to remove the sin from it that it may live.

Our spiritual life, that which has been born in us, is hidden with Christ in God. No matter where we are on the earth, our new spiritual personality, the firstfruits of our entire personality, remains hidden with Christ in God in the invisible spirit realm.

Here is an important point: our position in Christ is eternal. Notice the following verse:

Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)

"Never again will he leave it."

The Lord Jesus Christ, no matter where He is, is always in the Father and at the right hand of the Father. Whether Christ is on earth, in Heaven, or on some planet in another galactic system, Christ always is in the Father and at the right hand of the Father. He has the power of multiple presence.

The Lord wants this to be true of us. He wants us to be in Him at the right hand of the Father whether we are on earth, in Heaven, or on some planet in another galactic system. Please meditate on this concept of our remaining in God at all times, for it is the central thought of the present essay.

What about when we die and go to Heaven, and are going about our business there? It makes no difference. Our new spiritual life, which is Christ in us, is still in Christ at the right hand of the Father.

What about when Christ and we return to earth at His coming? Nothing changes. We still are in Christ at the right hand of the Father.

If we are on earth, and also in Christ in God, are we conscious of being in both places? What if we are serving Christ in Heaven, will we be conscious of where we are serving and also of being in Christ in God?

Yes, we will be. Christ always is conscious of being where His form is, and also of His position in the Father. He always is in the Father no matter where He is. This is true of us right this moment. We are conscious of being on the earth. Yet when we turn to God in prayer we realize we are in Christ at the right hand of God.

Please keep in mind that the right hand of the Father is not beyond the stars somewhere. It is just above us, though invisible.

If all this is true, what practical bearing does it have on our present discipleship?

The practical bearing is as follows. We continually are tempted to spend all of our time and strength on the visible, physical realm. The problems of life, the temptations of Satan, the world, our bodily passions, our personal ambition, our fears and dreads, keep our attention on the visible, physical world in which we are attempting to survive.

We are tossed about. We are afraid. We worry. We strive for this and that, attempting to go here and there. This especially is true in America where there are so many opportunities to pursue, situations in which to be involved, lusts and passions to be exploited.

Our dead flesh clamors to be satiated. Our soul lusts after fulfillment of its adamic capabilities. Meanwhile our born again spiritual nature resides in Christ at the right hand of God.

Can you see the struggle, the warfare? The Apostle commanded us to center our thoughts on our new life at God’s right hand. Satan does everything in his power to keep us focused on the things of the earth.

The victorious life in Christ consists of keeping our focus on our life at God’s right hand, not on our spiritually dead body. It is not easy. Everything in us and around us clamors for attention. But we can conquer these attractions through faith, prayer, diligence in the things of God, and patience.

We must set our heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God; for this is where our eternal life is. By "above" I do not mean above outer space but immediately above in the spirit realm.

Every individual every day is faced with decisions. It is how we make our decisions that determines our destiny in the Kingdom of God.

Let us say someone invites us to go with him to the park. This seems innocent enough. Now we have a decision to make. Should we or should we not accept the invitation.

We can look at our calendar. We can review our past experience with our friend. We can examine the weather. We can check to see how we feel. All these things we should do.

However, the most important action to take at this time is to look to the Lord to see what we should do.

The longer I live as a Christian the more I see the necessity for interacting continually with the Lord concerning every aspect of life, from the greatest issue to the smallest detail. I guess this is what Paul meant by praying without ceasing.

God does not speak to everyone in a clear voice. Sometimes we just have an impression in our mind. But if we keep looking up, looking up, looking up, acknowledging the Lord in all we do, we receive guidance of one sort or another.

Looking to God continually in this manner develops our consciousness of our life at the right hand of God. The things of earth grow increasingly dim, as it were, and we keep looking to Jesus in every situation.

I think looking to Jesus in every situation is going to be of great important during the age of moral and physical horrors we are facing.

As part of learning to live at the right hand of God, we must put all of our treasures in Heaven: all relationships; all material possessions; all of our hopes for the future; our ministry in the Body of Christ; we must be willing to let all these go, as the Lord directs—even our health and our very life.

If we cling to any relationship, if we clutch anything at all, we cannot make a success of learning to live at the right hand of God.

There may be danger ahead for those of us in America.

Let us say we are downtown and our children are at home, possibly with a baby sitter. There is a violent earthquake. What would our reaction be?

We may begin to scream and run about, trying to remember where our car is. We may drive home at a high rate of speed, endangering ourselves and those about us.

Or, we may hold down our terror and look up to Christ for wisdom and assurance. He may assure us that our children are safe, and direct us to assist those around us with prayer or counsel. Or He may help us return home immediately so we can turn off the gas and the water.

Some of us live near a nuclear installation. Should a terrorist blow up one of these there is going to be the danger of fallout.

We might throw our belongings in our car and join the long string of vehicles attempting to evacuate the area. In doing so we might place ourselves in a dangerous situation of some kind.

Or, we can look up to Christ. He might instruct us to remain where we are, and then send a strong wind to blow the radioactive material out over the ocean.

If we do not look to Christ we might rush into a danger we are not anticipating.

Here is the problem with the teaching of the pre-tribulation rapture. Those who teach the "rapture" are not preparing people to survive in a time of danger, telling them "you won’t be here." Well, we have "been here" through every sort of danger and chaos for two thousand years and we haven’t been evacuated yet.

Since this is true, we had better not count on a "rapture" but learn to live today at the right hand of God. Then, when trouble comes, we will be prepared to survive and stand joyously in the Presence of Christ.

The greatest danger facing us in America may not be that of physical danger but of spiritual danger. I am referring to dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life.

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. (Luke 21:34)

The Lord Jesus is referring here to the typical American way of life, the continual pursuit of material wealth and luxury. These things that we seek so avidly bring pleasure to our dead animal nature, our dust, as it were. They are of no help to our true life, which is at the right hand of God.

We are going to spend our time and strength on the pursuit of material wealth and comfort, or we are going to place the highest priority on our new spiritual life at the right hand of God.

If we keep encouraging our material life we are going to die spiritually. We are going to lose our position at the right hand of God. If we do this we will not receive a body of life in the Day of Resurrection but will enter spiritual darkness in our state of corruption.

It is emphasized in American Christian teaching that once we have been born again and have a new life at the right hand of God it is impossible to lose that life and that position.

Does the New Testament teach this?

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13)

Whom is Paul addressing? He is writing to the Christians in Rome.

What does Paul tell these saints?

Paul says, if you live according to your sinful nature, that is, according to the spiritually dead animal existence that is our life on earth at the present time, we will die.

If our life consists of dissipation, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life, we will die.

Now, here is the important question. What does Paul mean by "you will die"?

Does Paul mean we will die physically? Of course not. We will die physically whether we are righteous or wicked.

Does Paul mean we will die spiritually? Of course he does.

What happens when we die spiritually?

The life of Christ leaves us. We are cut from the Vine. We are as the virgins that ran out of oil.

Do you remember in the parable of the sower how the Word of God germinated in soil that was full of weeds, and the weeds choked out the new life until it withered and died without ever bearing fruit?

The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22)

If we don’t bear fruit we are removed from the Vine, from Christ.

The fruit is Christ. The fruit is the Kingdom of God. The fruit is eternal life. It clearly is possible, from the Scripture, to have eternal life and then lose it. Eternal life is the Life of God in Christ, it is not a legal state in which we are authorized to exist forever. We will exist forever whether or not we have the eternal Life of God in us!

Do you know, the greatest lie to circulate among Christians is that once we have received Christ we never can lose eternal life. Although many denominations profess to not believe in eternal security, yet if you listen to what they teach and preach, the bottom line is you are saved by grace and you never can lose your salvation.

This is a tremendous lie! It is the voice of Satan saying, "You shall not surely die!"

Believe me, we can lose our crown! Believe me, our talent may be given to another and we may be assigned to spiritual darkness! Believe me, it is possible to have the door shut in your face! Believe me, it is possible to work miracles and cast out demons in the name of Christ, and then have the Lord say, "Depart from Me, I never knew you!"

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. (Revelation 3:11)

Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:28-30)

But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. "Sir! Sir!" they said. "Open the door for us!" But he replied, "I tell you the truth, I don’t know you." Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:10-13)

Many will say to me on that day, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?" Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!"  (Matthew 7:22,23)

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. (II Peter 2:20)

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5)

If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (John 15:6)

None of the passages above have to do with the people of the world. They all are directed toward the Lord’s elect.

Will the American churches ever wake from the sleep of death and realize the time of our visitation is now, and we are to arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom? Will we open the door and invite the Lord of Hosts, the King of Glory, to sit on the throne of our personality and drive out the worldliness, lust, and self-will that are in us?

Many that are last in time shall be of first rank in the Kingdom of God. Why is this? I do not know. Perhaps because it is so difficult today to escape the siren call of the world. Never before in history has it been possible for the average person to engage in every sort of sin, from corporate fraud to pornography on the Internet. In prior years, such opportunity for fleshly indulgence may not have been available.

The tares are coming to maturity. We see this as children are being exploited for sexual purposes, or even murdered. These indeed are heinous crimes. Some of the crimes being committed today in America warrant public hanging, but such shall never take place. Christian mercy has entered the criminal courts in a warped manner, such that criminals who hack people to death with axes are tenderly put to death with a hypodermic needle with nurses in attendance.

Criminal activity and moral perversion will grow much worse before the Lord returns. God will permit Satan to reveal all that is in his character so God’s rulers, having seen the results of self-will, will never again permit self-rule to enter the creation.

Meanwhile Christ is drawing closer to us. He is at the door of each believer’s personality. He is asking us if we desire to be with Him where He eternally is—in the fullness of the Presence of the Consuming Fire of Israel.

Many "Christians" are married to their religion. They do not have enough "oil" to go to the Bridegroom. They will not, cannot open the door to Him. They are buried under their possessions.

A remnant from the churches will open their lives to the Lord of Armies. He will enter and attack the enemies in their personality. He will eat and drink of their obedience and worship. They will learn to live by His body and blood. This means they will continue to turn aside from their own ways that they might receive His Life in place of their own. We are married to the Lamb by eating His flesh and drinking His blood.

The marriage of the Lamb has come. The Bride is clothing herself in her own righteous works—the righteous works that she performs as she turns aside from her own ways, choosing to live in Him and with Him.

This is taking place now, make no mistake about it. He who has ears to hear, will hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches in our day. Make sure you are one of them.

Do you know, we are only intelligent dust. Christ is eternal Life and the Kingdom of God. Our cry every day ought to be: "Lord Jesus, live in me to a greater extent than ever before. Be my thoughts, my words, my actions. Remove from me all that is not of You. Keep me focused on You at the right hand of God, where my new born again life is.

We are dust, God said in the beginning. However, in Christ we can ascend to the stars and shine throughout the eternal ages.

This is no romantic dream, it is the literal truth.

We can return to the dust or we can rise in Christ to the highest of all thrones.

The choice is ours. But we must choose today—right this moment. The hour soon will come when the Divine visitation has been concluded; when the window has been closed; when the filthy are to remain filthy.

What will you do about this? What choice will you make?