THE HOUSE FROM HEAVEN
THE HOUSE FROM HEAVEN Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet 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.
We Christians are going to be clothed with out own works. We are going to reap what we sow. We are going to receive what we have done in the body. There may be no other Divine truth more needful of being proclaimed clearly in our day.
Table of Contents
THE HOUSE FROM HEAVEN
I have discussed this topic, along with the general concept of the resurrection from the dead, in many of my writings. Yet it seemed good to devote one short essay to the house from Heaven. It is extremely important that we Christians understand the relationship of our present behavior to what we are going to receive in the day of resurrection.
Our Christian mythology and traditions have made going to Heaven to live forever our goal. This is not the scriptural goal of the Christian. The scriptural goal is the resurrection from the dead, in particular, the resurrection to life.
And so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:11—NIV)
It is true that Paul wanted to go home to be with the Lord. But going to Heaven was never stated as Paul's goal. His goal was to attain to the redemption of his body, the resurrection to life.
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23—NIV)
The reason we of today do not groan inwardly, waiting for the redemption of our body, is that we do not understand the Christian plan of salvation. We have been pointing toward the wrong goal. Our true goal is not residence in Heaven but the redemption of our body. Salvation never has to do with a change of place. Salvation always is pointed toward a change in what we are. Once we are fully saved we can go anywhere we desire.
If we are to understand the resurrection, there is one aspect that must be grasped. Our flesh and bones will be raised from their place of interment. Whether we have been buried, cremated, blown to bits in an explosion, or have drowned, our body will be reassembled and stand on its feet.
Such resurrection of our flesh and bones is inevitable. It shall happen whether we desire it or not. It shall take place whether our behavior is good or evil. We will be rewarded or punished in our body. Man is not man except as he is in his body.
"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice And come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,28—NIV)
However, it is the next event that is all-important, being related directly to our behavior and not inevitable. It is what happens to us after we are resurrected. The most important next step after we have been resurrected is that which takes place concerning our personality, in particular, what kind of house, or robe, is placed over our body.
In the case of the victorious saints who are alive at the coming of the Lord, the procedure is slightly different. First the flesh and blood metabolism that supports human life will be withdrawn and spiritual life will take its place. Then the individual will be clothed with his or her house from Heaven. This applies only to those who attain to the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection that will take place when the Lord appears.
Notice how the Apostle Paul, after stressing the importance of the resurrection of our body, speaks of the change that will occur.
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (I Corinthians 15:53—NIV)
The perishable is our mortal body. The fact that the mortal body is clothed with the imperishable and immortal means that the mortal body, although clothed with immortality, will nevertheless be present in our future glorified body. It will not be visible, probably, but it will be present.
The cave of Joseph of Arimathea was empty. Jesus revealed his flesh and bones to His apostles. Yet we see, in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation, a form that is infinitely more than flesh and bones.
Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." (Luke 24:39—NIV)
And among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. (Revelation 1:13-15—NIV)
We conclude, then, that the every individual will be raised from the place of interment. But it is what happens after this that is so terribly important.
The message of tremendous significance to the American Christians is that our behavior today, while it does not affect the fact that we will be raised (for all shall come forth from the grave), directly affects what will take place afterward.
"Well," one may wonder, "doesn't grace take care of all of this? Won't grace insure that nothing bad will happen to me after my flesh and bones are revived?"
No, grace does not take care of our future. This is not the purpose of grace. Grace operates now as we go to God for forgiveness and for help in turning from our sinful ways. But grace will not protect us at the Judgment Seat of Christ. What we sow we are going to reap. The idea that grace will make up for a careless Christian discipleship is one of the most grievous errors of current Christian teaching.
There is no truth more in need of being taught to Christians than that having to do with the relationship between the choices they are making today and what they will experience upon entering the spirit realm at physical death, and also in the day of resurrection when the Lord appears from Heaven.
It is the false prophets who are teaching that the believers are "saved by grace" and are to have no fear of the Judgment Seat of Christ. Those who teach such error will suffer along with their followers in the day of reckoning.
We have set forth our belief that the resurrection is in two part. The first part is the reassembling of our flesh and bones. The second part is the clothing of our flesh and bones with our house from Heaven.
We are going to treat our "house" and our "robe" as though they are the same thing, that is, a covering of our personality. If it proves that the robe and the house are two different things, then no harm has been done. The basic idea is the same—that our conduct today is shaping that with which we will be clothed in the Day of the Lord.
Several times in the Book of Second Corinthians the Apostle Paul speaks of his sufferings. He tells us that his sufferings and frustrations result in the dwelling of the Life of Christ in him, the revealing of Christ's Personality rather than Paul's own personality.
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (II Corinthians 4:10—NIV)
Paul is speaking of life coming to other people because of his living the crucified life.
But something else is taking place. An eternal weight of glory is being formed as a result of Paul's willingness to suffer continual death and resurrection in the Lord Jesus.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (II Corinthians 4:17—NIV)
Notice carefully: Paul's troubles were achieving an eternal weight of glory.
The question is: what is this eternal weight of glory? We would suggest that the eternal weight of glory is the house from Heaven that will clothe Paul's revived flesh and bones. If this is the case, then the willingness of Paul to live the life of continual death and resurrection was directly affecting that which will clothe Paul's body in the Day of the Lord. Paul's "light and momentary troubles" were adding weight to Paul's future body, we might say.
As we continue into the next chapter, we see what was on Paul's mind.
Now we know if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. (II Corinthians 5:1—NIV)
Paul's earthly body was being sown to the death of Jesus Christ. However, Paul was not concerned because he was looking forward to receiving his eternal house presently situated in Heaven. Is this not the treasure we lay up in Heaven, of which the Lord Jesus spoke?
Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, (II Corinthians 5:2—NIV)
Notice that Paul was not longing to go to Heaven. He was longing to be clothed with his heavenly dwelling. It is true that we have a mansion in Heaven. But we will not go to live in that mansion. Our mansion will clothe our revived flesh and bones.
For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (II Corinthians 5:4—NIV)
The expression "what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" reminds us of the similar expression in the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians. We are looking forward to our flesh and bones being swallowed up by eternal, indestructible resurrection life. Perhaps this is the crown of life mentioned in the second chapter of the Book of Revelation, the reward for remaining patiently in the prison in which God permits us to be placed.
Again let us state the all-important concept: salvation does not involve a change of where we are but of what we are. It is the hope of the carnal nature, the natural man, that some day he will be brought to a better place, a place where there are no troubles. This is why going to Heaven has become the goal of the Christians and why the hope of an any-moment rapture is so appealing. "Never mind the troubles of the world! We are going home!" There could not be a message more appealing to the adamic nature.
But what God has in mind is infinitely better than a change of environment. It is a fundamental change in what we are, not where we are. You see, if we are not changed, and those around us are not changed, then no matter where we go there will be the same trouble and pain. There is no use putting Adam and Eve back into Paradise if they still are going to disobey God. They first must be changed.
So it is with the plan of salvation. God is saving us. This means He is delivering us totally from Satan, the spirit of the world, the lusts of our flesh, and our self-will. This is what it means to be saved. God will place us in a wonderful situation of peace and joy after we have been delivered completely from sin and self-will.
The purpose of God's grace in Christ is not to bring us into Paradise the way we are, it is to change what we are so we can maintain Paradise once it is regained.
Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (II Corinthians 5:5—NIV)
"God who has made us for this very purpose," that is, for the purpose of clothing us with immortality.
God has predestined each of His sons to a specific destiny in Christ, including a specific house from Heaven to clothe his revived frame. Our destiny is a mark set before us. Whether we attain our destiny depends on the consecration and diligence we bring to its pursuit. It is entirely possible to have one's talent taken and given to another. It is entirely possible to lose one's crown of life.
God has "made us for the very purpose" of being clothed with a marvelous mansion of glory. The Holy Spirit we now have is a deposit on the house of eternal life that is to be ours in the Day of the Lord.
Paul muses for a moment about the desirability of being at home with the Lord, and then reveals the relationship between our present conduct and the house from Heaven.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10—NIV)
The above verse is not received by many Christians of our day. The current preaching is that no Christian need have any fear of the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Satan has a large stake in how we interpret this verse. If he can convince us that Jesus Christ will not act according to Paul's words, then, Satan hopes, he also may be spared in the Day of the Lord.
Though every preacher and devil in the country says that Christians have no need to fear the Judgment Seat of Christ, they are mistaken. Paul trembled with terror at the thought of it, as all true Christians should.
First of all, we will not just be presented before the Judgment Seat, we will be revealed. The Day of the Lord will not result in a transformation of our personality and moral behavior but a revealing of them for everyone to see.
We shall all be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
I am not certain the expression "receive what is due him" accurately portrays what Paul is saying. The truth is that what we are going to receive is more closely related to what we do than just the idea of a reward.
For instance, if someone wins a race, he or she may be given a trophy, a cup, or some other award. But running and a trophy are widely separated in kind.
I think Paul means we will get back in our body what we have done. If we have been cruel to people, somehow we will get back cruelty or the effects of cruelty in our body. Maybe we will look cruel—something like this. Maybe we will be unable to stop being cruel.
If we have behaved with integrity, then in some manner we will receive integrity. God says the righteous shall shine as the stars. Their righteous deeds have shone on the earth in the sight of people. Now their new house shines with righteousness.
It appears we are going to be clothed in our own behavior.
"Whether good or bad." This is where Christians draw the line. They simply will not accept that someone who has professed belief in Christ could receive something bad in the Day of the Lord.
Well, they are mistaken. And the result of their erroneous teaching is multitudes of Christians who do not have a proper fear of Christ or of the Day of Judgment. They have been taught they are saved by grace, meaning no matter what they do they will hear nothing negative at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The result is gross immorality in the churches. This breakdown of morality has carried into all areas of American life. The testimony of the churches has been cunningly destroyed by Satan.
Oh, there is an abundance of Gospel preaching in America. But preaching is one thing; the witness of God is something else.
We can preach all we want to, but if the Christians are not leading godly lives, there is no testimony to the community.
This is what has happened in America—due in large part to an unwillingness to accept II Corinthians 5:10 as written.
The truth is, every person, not only the Christians, will be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ and will receive at that time the things he or she has practiced while living in a body on the earth.
Within the context of II Corinthians 5:10, we realize that we will receive the things we have done during our lifetime in the form of a body that will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones. There is no escaping itwe Christians are going to reap precisely as we have sown.
But where does Divine grace fit into the picture?
Grace operates now as we confess our sins and turn from them. God is willing to give us a new start and help us. But let no individual think he or she can play games with God by waiting until he is old and then confess his sins and turn from them. It does not work this way. God is not a formula, He is a Person. If someone plans to outwit God by waiting until the last minute to take care of his or her sins, just remember that to those who are cunning, God will show Himself to be more cunning. Those who play games with God will discover that God always wins the game.
God is absolutely sincere and has total integrity. When we come to God we must come in absolute sincerity and integrity. If we present ourselves to God in a devious manner God will outwit us and the end will be agony for us. God will help us if we are honest and sincere, but He is not subject to trickery.
Also in context with the house from Heaven is the famous "If any man be in Christ there is a new creation, old things have passed away, all things have become new and are of God."
The last part of our personality to become new is our body. Every other aspect of our personality must be renewed in Christ before we are eligible for a renewed body. Physical death is the last enemy. God has no intention whatever of putting a body like that of Jesus Christ on a worldly, lustful, self-seeking, disobedient, devious believer, by grace, mercy, love, or any other means. This would be to bring more chaos into the creation than is present already. This we do not need.
So the usual Christian attitude about the resurrection - that it will sort of take care of itself while we wait to be raptured into Heaven - is dangerously misleading. The resurrection is to be the focal part of our thoughts, prayers, and efforts. The ascension will take care of itself once the inward nature has attained to the resurrection.
We are building a house, presently in Heaven, that will clothe our revived flesh and bones in the day of resurrection.
We mentioned previously our opinion that the "house" and the "robe" are the same thing. Each is a covering for our inward nature. However, if it proves they are different, it will not change the relationship between our present life and our resurrection that we are discussing.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:7,8)—NIV)
"His bride has made herself ready." This is the first resurrection. In the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation we find the Bride, the Church, "is prepared"—perhaps by other.
But the firstfruits of the Church (Revelation 19:7,8) makes herself ready. How does she make herself ready? By performing righteous acts, the righteous acts that proceed from the maturity of Christ in her.
Then she is given to wear "fine linen, bright and clean." The fine linen is her righteous acts. In other words, she is clothed in her own conduct.
Here is a perfect example of sowing and reaping. We are clothed in our own conduct. What could be fairer? What could be more terrifying to the casual church-attender of our time?
There are other examples in the Book of Revelation of our receiving, in the Day of Christ, the things we have done while living on the earth.
I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:23—NIV)
"I will repay each of you according to your deeds," speaking to the churches.
It is a mystery to me how ministers of the Gospel can assure their followers that they need have no fear of the Judgment Seat of Christ, when such a verse as the above is in the Bibleand in the Book of Revelation at that, the vision that preempts all other declarations and is bound with a curse!
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12—NIV)
Notice the close relationship between action and consequence—"I will give to everyone according to what he has done."
We have grace available today. We can, through the blood of the Lord Jesus, wash our robe and make it clean.
I answered, "Sir, you know." And he said, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14—NIV)
Or we can neglect to keep our robe clean, not confessing our sins and turning away from them.
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4—NIV)
Being dressed in white refers to the royal priesthood. The Lord Jesus is stating here that only a few of the believers in Sardis are attaining to the first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when the Lord appears.
Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed. (Revelation 6:11—NIV)
The verse above opens to my mind the possibility that the saints are clothed in the body from Heaven prior to their return with the Lord Jesus. In this case the Lord Jesus would stop in the air, and then those He brought with Him would descend in the body of glory, gathering the flesh and bones of their deceased frame and enveloping them with indestructible life. This reminds us of the Ark of the Covenant which was covered inside and out with refined gold.
The precise order of events here is not at issue. What the Christian people must come to understand is that their present conduct is directly affecting the house, or robe, that will clothe their resurrected flesh and bones.
This is why the Apostle Paul set as his main goal the gaining of Christ, and equated this with attaining to the resurrection from among the dead. Paul was emphatic that each of us who is following the Lord must have the same goal as he, and be of the same mind as he.
All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. (Philippians 3:15—NIV)
There is no doubt we are working on a building, a house, a robe that will determine the kind of resurrection we have.
It is clear that the present concept of going to rest in a mansion in the spirit realm is not a biblical idea and has nothing to do with our salvation in Christ. Our goal is to attain to the early resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood.
Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6—NIV)
Every lasting revival must have three elements: there must be widespread repentance; there must be worldwide evangelism; and there must be an increase in the understanding of the Scriptures.
There have been outstanding revivals, the effects of which have endured. There have been other gracious interventions of the Spirit of God in which there has been a letdown after the anointing was lifted.
Today we have, in various parts of America, a revival of repentance. Sooner or later the outpouring will abate. Too much rain spoils the crops.
If the effect is to be lasting there must be a move forward in doctrine, an increased understanding of God's purposes.
The present century has been characterized by a restoration of the role of the Holy Spirit in the churches. Much remains to be accomplished in teaching people how to live in the Spirit.
However, in the present hour the Lord is moving forward. We are entering the spiritual fulfillments of the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles. These are the last three of the feasts of the Lord and they follow the feast of Pentecost.
The Blowing of Trumpets signifies Jesus has come to His Church to declare war on His enemies. It is the beginning of the entering of the Kingdom of God into the earth.
The Day of Atonement is the reconciling of God's people to Himself. We must be completely delivered from our love of the world and dependence on the world for security and survival. If any man loves the world the love of the Father is not in him.
The Day of Atonement prepares us for the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles. The feast of Tabernacles has been fulfilled in us when the Father and the Son have made Their eternal abode in us and we are dwelling in untroubled rest in the Father through Christ.
We must be completely freed from the bondages of sin in our flesh. The Holy Spirit stands ready to hear our confession and to deliver us. Older Christians are discovering that sins they thought they had overcome many years ago are surging to the surface and expressing themselves. It is time now to put them to death by the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God.
The worst bondage of all, our self-will, shall be dealt with in the present hour as God brings us into various imprisonments and sufferings. We are useless in the Kingdom until Jesus actually is supreme Lord of our life. As long as we are struggling against the will of God we are in the worst of all bondages, the bondage of the will.
The original sin was the self-will of Satan. It is through self-will that Satan is able to enter us. Until we submit to the dealings of the Lord without blaming the tools God uses, we will remain alive in our adamic nature. As long as we seek to save our life we will lose it.
The Lord is looking today for those who will surrender their will to Himself. It is these, and these alone, who will return with the Lord on the white war stallions. To appear with Jesus Christ, it must be true that He has become our very life. Any soldier in the Lord's army who is not completely, sternly obedient to God poses a threat to the entire army, for Satan can enter this person and cause him to injure those around him, just as self-centered people in the churches of today slander other Christians and cause division in the local body of believers.
Set the resurrection unto life before you. Talk to the Lord about your resurrection. Lay aside all else. Seek Christ until every aspect of your personality and behavior is held before the Lord. Communicate with all relationships, circumstances, and things through the Lord. Count all else as garbage.
Never mind what the other believers are doing. Meditate constantly in the New Testament. Ask for God's wisdom and power in obeying Christ and His Apostles. Set your affection and your thoughts on things above where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Live this way day in and day out.
Some day your waiting will be over and the day of resurrection will be here. Then you will be so glad you turned away from that which is temporary and grasped the eternal. You will receive a house, a body like that of your Lord.
Every person who has this hope purifies himself, washing his robes in the blood of the Lamb, preparing himself for the worldwide manifestation of Divine Glory referred to as the marriage of the Lamb.