A BASIC CONCEPT

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

A BASIC CONCEPT Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The purpose of this booklet is to explain the Divine purposes in redemption and to describe the Kingdom of God. We are stating that there are two classes of saved people, the Church and the nations of the saved, and that God has a specific plan for each group.

We are defining the elect, including Jews and Gentiles, as those who have received Christ and have been born again of the Spirit of God.

The nations of the saved are not part of the Church, the elect of God, but people whom Christ has chosen to be ruled by His Kingdom and who will receive eternal life at the hands of the saints.

Table of Contents

The Elect and the Nations of the Saved God's Purpose for the Nations of the Saved Who Are the Elect? God's Immediate Objectives for His Elect      To be in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ      To be in union with Christ and with one another as Christ is one with the Father God's Purposes for His Elect     The Bride of the Lamb     The Temple of God      The Body of Christ        The light of the world        The vehicle for the end-time revival     The restorers of Paradise to the earth     A source of eternal life and healing for the nations     The royal priesthood     The witnesses of God     The salt of the earth     The sons of God     The brothers of Christ     The overcomers of the accuser     The governors of the nations     A soldier in the army of the Lord     The judges of men and angels     The wall of defense around the Glory of God     The revelation of God Himself—God in Christ in the saints Review A Model of Salvation

A BASIC CONCEPT  

The purpose of this booklet is to help clarify our thinking about the Divine purposes in redemption and to give us understanding of the Kingdom of God. We will be describing the two classes of saved people, the Church and the nations of the saved, and what God has in mind for each class.

The terms Church, elect, Wife of the Lamb, new Jerusalem, saints, Body of Christ, Israel of God, sons of God, brothers of Christ, house of God, temple of God, tabernacle of God, Zion, and mountain of the Lord are treated as synonyms in this booklet. The people so described are those who have received Christ and have been born again of the Spirit of God, including both Jews and Gentiles.

We view the present physical land and people of Israel as God's elect. In the future they will be redeemed through Christ and brought into the spiritual-material realm of authority known as the Kingdom of God (Kingdom of Heaven). As soon as the people of Israel embrace Jesus, their Christ, they will be an integral part of the one Kingdom, the one Church of God.

The nations of the saved, the other class of saved people, are not part of the Church, the elect of God, but are nations of people whom Christ has chosen to be part of His Kingdom and who will receive eternal life.

The Elect and the Nations of the Saved

We cannot comprehend the Divine plan of salvation, or the Kingdom of God, until we grasp the fact that there are two classes of saved people—the elect (the Church), and the nations of the saved. There also are people who are not saved, that is, they are not accepted of God for one reason or another and will not enter eternal life in the Kingdom of God. They will not be part of the new world of righteousness.

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (II Peter 3:3)

The primary purpose of the two thousand years of the Christian Era has been to bring the elect, the saints (holy ones), to the maturity God desires. As soon as the elect, or at least a firstfruits of the elect, have come into the unity with the Godhead to the extent God desires, many nations of the world will believe God has sent Christ and will come to the spiritual light emanating from Christ—Head and Body.

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 thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

"That the world may believe."

Compare:

For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles [nations] shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:2,3)

The revival indicated by the above two passages will result in the salvation of multitudes of earth's peoples. Another passage pointing toward the flowing of the living water of eternal life from the mature saints is as follows:

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)

The greatest revival of all is ahead of us. This future revelation of God's saving power is awaiting the coming to maturity of the saints.

God's people have long been ignorant of the fact that there will be people who are saved but who are not part of the Church, the Israel of God. We will point out some of the pertinent passages that show this to be true. It is impossible to understand the Kingdom of God, or the significance and purpose of an elect, a church, until one is clear as to the difference between the Church and the nations of the saved.

Abraham and Sarah were promised a son. After the son came, God required of Abraham that he slay the son of promise. Because of the extraordinary obedience of faithful Abraham, God made some additional promises to him. One of these promises reveals God's intention to bless the nations through Abraham's Seed, the Seed being Christ and those who belong to and are part of Christ.

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:18)

And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)

The promise is that all the nations will be blessed through the promised Seed.

"And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

"The tabernacle of God with men."

The "tabernacle of God" is the Church, the Lamb's Wife, the new Jerusalem, the eternal house of God.

And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. (Revelation 21:9)

In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)

The Tabernacle of God is the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the glorified Church of Christ. It will be brought to perfection in Heaven above. After the thousand-year Kingdom Age the glorified Church will descend from Heaven through the new sky to be established forever on the new earth. This is in accordance with the proclamations of the Hebrew Prophets.

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. (Isaiah 65:17,18)

Notice above that the "tabernacle of God is with men" (Revelation 21:3). As we have stated, the tabernacle of God is the glorified Church. The men are the saved peoples of the earth, who are the inheritance of Christ—Head and Body. They are the nations of the saved.

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)

The glorified Church, the Wife of the Lamb, is destined to be on the earth forever so God through Christ through the saints may be able to minister to the nations of the saved.

Notice the following:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. (Isaiah 2:2)

The "last days" may be thought of as the thousand-year Kingdom Age, or possibly the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. It does not seem likely that the passage is referring to a time previous to this.

The "mountain of the Lord's house" is Mount Zion. Mount Zion, out from which will come the moral law of God to the whole earth, is the Church of Christ.

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrews 12:22)

"All nations shall flow unto it."

It is obvious the nations that "shall flow unto it" are saved nations. Portrayed here is the rulership of Christ and His elect from Jerusalem, and the nations of the saved volunteering to go up to Jerusalem to learn the ways of God.

And the Gentiles [nations] shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:3)

The nations of saved peoples of the earth will come to the light of the Spirit of God as soon as that light is given to the Lord's elect. The stupendous outpouring of grace portrayed in Isaiah, Chapter 60 will take place when "the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people." This may occur at the closing of the present age and the opening of the next.

Isaiah, Chapter 60 describes a glorified elect becoming the center of interest of earth's saved peoples.

Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles [nations] shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord. (Isaiah 60:4-6)

Compare Revelation:

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)

The nation that refuses to serve God's elect will be punished.

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12)

As soon as Christ—Head and Body—is installed in Jerusalem for the purpose of governing the earth, the nations of the saved peoples will be required to come to Jerusalem annually to observe the feast of Tabernacles. The nations of the saved will celebrate the feast of Tabernacles by recognizing and being blessed by the fact that God is tabernacling in Christ who in turn is tabernacling in His Body, His Church.

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)

Here we have Jerusalem, God's elect, and then the nations of saved peoples of the earth ("every one that is left").

The Jews will resist Antichrist and the desires of the major nations, and great armies will march against Jerusalem.

He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. (Daniel 11:41)

For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. (Zechariah 14:2)

And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know the desolation thereof is nigh. (Luke 21:20)

Jerusalem will be taken and desolated—a repeat of what happened under Nebuchadnezzar, and later under the Roman general Titus in the first century. On this third occasion, Jerusalem will be attacked by "many nations." As soon as this happens, the Lord and His saints will descend in flaming glory and destroy Antichrist and the armies of wickedness.

Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. (Zechariah 14:3)

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. (Revelation 19:19)

The wicked shall be destroyed.

And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with sulfur. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:20,21)

The war described above will take place at the coming of the Lord. The nations that remain alive after this tremendous battle, which is the Battle of Armageddon, will then go up to Jerusalem to recognize and be blessed by the dwelling of God in Christ in the saints.

How is a nation saved? One way in which the people of a nation are saved is by receiving the Lord Jesus as Lord and Savior and being baptized in water.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19)

Another way, that may be true in the future, is by being kind to the Lord's elect, His brothers.

Then shall the King say unto them [the people of the nations] on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:34-40)

Being kind to the saints is not a replacement for receiving the Lord Jesus. However, we are saying there have been and will be people who are not part of the elect, who will help the saints in their hour of need. When the Lord comes in His Kingdom He will bring them into His Kingdom. Rahab is a good example of someone who received the blessings of Israel by assisting God's people in their hour of need.

Today there are some people who have a kind heart toward Jews and Christians, toward God's elect, the Lord's brothers. There are other people who are becoming increasingly hostile toward the Jews and the Christians. Those who show kindness will not be without their reward. Those who are hostile toward the Lord's chosen will be led away into the fiery Gehenna.

Whoever gives a prophet a cup of cold water in the name of a prophet receives a prophet's reward.

Again, we are not stating we can substitute being hospitable toward Christians in place of receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. When Christ is presented to an individual, he or she must accept Him as Lord and Savior. If the person does not receive Jesus he comes under the condemnation of God.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)

God's Purpose for the Nations of the Saved

The nations of the saved will be brought into eternal life in Paradise on the earth. The Kingdom of God has been prepared for them.

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)

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

The nations of the saved are the inheritance of Christ and His coheirs.

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (Psalms 2:8)

We Christians often talk of mansions, golden slippers, acres of diamonds, and other material goods that do not satisfy here and will not satisfy during the ages to come. The only inheritance worth having is an inheritance consisting of people.

People are our inheritance—people to love and cherish, to teach, to warn, to bless throughout eternity.

Notice the coming of people to the Church:

Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles [nations] shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)

We shall have an enlarged heart because of the love God will give us for the nations of the saved. We shall begin to know the love of Christ that passes knowledge.

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

We shall continue in Christ's love.

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. (John 15:9)

Again, the only inheritance worth having is people.

It is God's intention to bring the nations of the saved into Paradise on the earth. These nations are the inheritance, the joy, the responsibility of the saints.

At one point in history Paradise was on the earth. It was located in the region of the Persian Gulf, in the country of Eden. The memory of that garden, that marvelous park, is in the heart of every descendant of Adam.

Because of man's rebellion God removed the garden from earth and placed it in the heavens. Man looks to go to Heaven when he dies because of the memory of the garden eastward in Eden.

There is no death in the garden of God, no pain, no sorrow, no crying, no backbreaking toil in the midst of weeds and destructive insects. There is no danger to children. All is joy, peace, security, eternal happiness.

All of this is to be restored to the earth, along with the Presence of God, for man to enjoy forever.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' [viper's] den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)

Paradise will be restored to the earth at the hand of the perfected elect.

Who Are the Elect?

The term elect means "chosen" and is related in meaning to "church"—the people summoned from mankind to accomplish God's purposes.

Election is not the same as "salvation."

The elect are the people whom God has chosen from among the ranks of mankind to represent Himself to mankind. It is not that the elect are saved and the remainder is lost. The elect are God's witnesses whose role in the Divine economy is to reveal God to people.

The elect are the firstfruits of mankind, not the saved of mankind. Israel is God's "firstborn." We might think of the elect as being older brothers who receive the double portion of the inheritance that they might provide for the younger brothers and sisters. The elect are the first to be blessed in the Seed of Abraham. Then they become part of the Seed itself so through them Christ may bless the remainder of the peoples of the earth.

And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: (Exodus 4:22)

Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. (James 1:18)

The Lord has chosen us not only to be saved but also to bear fruit.

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16)

We were not predestined from the foundation of the world to be saved but to be changed into the image of Christ.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

The first member of the elect was Abraham. Abraham was called out of Ur of the Chaldees. Abraham was chosen by the Lord to become the father of the Church, the called of God.

Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: (Genesis 12:1)

The above passage marks the beginning of the Church, of God's chosen from among the peoples of the earth.

The tribes of Israel were God's elect, His chosen. This does not signify that the remainder of the world was lost to God but that through Israel God would reveal Himself, His will, His way, His eternal purposes, to the other nations.

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:5,6)

"All the earth is mine."

Divine election, membership in the cultivated olive tree, always is by promise. The Messianic anointing, the olive tree, was given to Isaac, to Jacob, and to the sons of Jacob. The Spirit of Christ spoke through the Hebrew Prophets.

When the Lord Jesus came, only a remnant of Israel recognized Him. The anointing, the olive tree, was given to a remnant of Jews and then was extended to a remnant of Gentiles. The selection took place by promise, by predestination operating through the Divine foreknowledge.

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) (Romans 9:11)

Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. (Romans 9:24)

The chosen nation, the Body of Christ, now included both Jews and Gentiles.

Today the elect includes both Jews and Gentiles. In the days to come the promise will be removed from the Gentiles and God once again will pour out the fullness of His promise on the nation of Israel. The entire nation will be born again "at once" of the Spirit of Christ. The nation of Israel will resume its former role as the elect, the chosen nation.

To sum up what we have stated thus far, the peoples of the earth may be divided into three groups:

The nations of the saved.

The Divine elect.

The lost.

God's plan is to bring the nations of the saved into eternal life, into Paradise on a new earth.

The elect are those persons, Jewish and Gentile, whom God has chosen to be a firstfruits of mankind to himself. The role of the elect is to bring the blessings of God to the nations of the saved. The nations of the saved are the inheritance of the elect.

The elect were chosen from the foundation of the world. They are God's witnesses, God's servants, God's royal priesthood, God's rulers of the ages to come. While they also will enjoy a paradisiac environment, their primary destiny and inheritance is to be with God, to be an integral part of God through Christ for eternity.

God's Immediate Objectives for His Elect

God has two immediate objectives for His elect:

That they be in the image of Christ.

That they be in complete, perfect union with God and with one another through Christ.

None of the eternal purposes of God for His elect is possible until the two immediate objectives have been accomplished.

The Christian ministry has pointed toward residence in the Paradise of God as the goal of the Divine redemption. Paradise was lost because there was no protection against sin, no wall that would keep out rebellion against God.

God has no intention of bringing anyone back into Paradise on the earth until provision has been made to insure there will be no more sin and rebellion there.

God's first action to insure a sin-free Paradise was to perfect the Lord Jesus through suffering. Christ learned obedience to the Father by the things He suffered on earth.

God's second action is to form Christ in a firstfruits of His elect, His people. The firstfruits, the victorious saints, also will learn obedience through suffering. Each one of these future guardians of the peace must overcome, through Christ's Virtue, his love of the world, his love of sin, and his self-will. As soon as the firstfruits have overcome these three aspects of the fallen nature they will be seated on the thrones of the universe, the thrones currently occupied by Satan and his followers.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)

God's third action will be to expand the victory gained by the victorious saints to the remainder of the elect until the entire body of chosen people is one great tabernacle of God. The Tabernacle of God is the new Jerusalem, the holy city. Every member, from the least to the greatest, will know the Lord.

God's fourth action, in His program for preventing future rebellion, will be to employ His elect, His royal priesthood, as teachers and judges of the nations of the saved until every knee has bowed in submission to Christ, and God the Father is All in all.

The accomplishment of the Divine program is possible only when a firstfruits of the elect, and then the entire elect, have attained the moral image and the unity in Christ in God that God is seeking.

To be in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. The elect are to become all that the Lord Jesus is in moral nature and character. The Lord Jesus Christ is perfect in righteousness, perfect in holiness, perfect in obedience to the Father.

Christ is the Lion of Judah when a lion is needed. Christ is the Lamb when a lamb is needed. Christ can be more cunning and ferocious than any earthly emperor. Christ can be gentler than a nursing mother. Christ is a more powerful, awesome lord than any human ruler. Christ also is as playful and innocent as a small child.

Christ is as free as an eagle, as kingly as a lion, as patient as an ox, and as compassionate as a man.

Christ is fully in the image of His Father. Christ is what God meant when He said, "Let us make man in our image."

Each member of the elect is being created so as to be perfect in righteousness, perfect in holiness, perfect in obedience to the Father. The remaining characteristics of Christ will be wrought in us according to our calling in the Kingdom of God.

Such transformation of moral nature and character is possible only as Christ is formed in us. The purposes God has for His elect become possible only as the objective of the transformed image is accomplished in the elect.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

To be in union with Christ and with one another as Christ is one with the Father. The first two parts of the original Divine declaration concerning man is that he would be in the image of God and be male and female. Apart from being in God's image and being male and female, there can be no fruitfulness and no rulership over the creation.

Unlike the other creatures of God (as far as we know), man is made in half. Half of mankind is male and half is female. The incompleteness of man makes union possible—union with God and union with people.

Of all the areas of human existence, relationships are the most important. Each of the Ten Commandments has to do with relationships. The world is in ruins today because of destructive relationships.

Man is to be brought into perfect union with God through Christ and into perfect union with people. Perfect union is possible only through love—not human love or human compassion or human sentiment, but Divine love and compassion. Much of our discipleship consists of the Lord removing destructive, humanly instituted relationships from us and replacing them with pure, peaceable, God-instituted relationships.

The perfect union of which we are speaking is that which exists in the Godhead.

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 thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

Of all the aspects of redemption, union with God through Christ is the most important. To love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength is the first and most important commandment. To be in the image of Christ is not enough. In fact, image apart from union is Antichrist. Satan desires to be "like the most High" but he has no intention of coming into union with God.

Satan desires to be independent of God. Satan labors night and day to convince people that they should be their own god. Satan knows that man is nothing but dust unless he is in union with a spiritual reality. Satan understands that the individual who does not come into union with God will automatically come into union with Satan and worship Satan. There is no middle ground!

Thus we have the two immediate Divine objectives—that God's elect be in the image of Christ in moral nature, in character, and finally in body; and that God's elect be in perfect union with Himself through Christ and with one another.

None of the eternal purposes of God can be accomplished apart from bringing the elect, the Church, into the image and union God is seeking.

God's Purposes for His Elect

We have stated that in man there is a memory of Paradise—the garden that was located on earth in the country of Eden. Every human being desires to dwell in the Paradise of God, including God's elect. To be where there is only joy and peace is our heart's desire.

It is God's desire also that the people who are His inheritance dwell in love, beauty, joy, and peace. But God has an additional desire for His elect.

It was an ordinance of the Law that the firstborn of man and animal had to be redeemed because it belonged to the Lord.

Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine. (Exodus 13:2)

The tribe of Levi was selected by the Lord from the tribes of Israel to be His firstborn.

And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine; (Numbers 3:12)

So it is true that God's elect, His Church, is His firstborn from among mankind. The elect are God's inheritance and He is their inheritance.

And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them: I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel. (Numbers 18:20)

The members of the royal priesthood are God's special inheritance and God is their inheritance. Each member of the elect will enjoy the environment of Paradise. But the elect have a far higher calling than to dwell in Paradise: the calling of the Divine elect is to be with God and to be a part of God through Christ to the ages of ages.

Notice that the promises to the victorious saint outlined in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation do not stress residence in Paradise. They have to do with eternal life, with authority, with nearness to the Lord, with opportunities for service.

To attain eternal residence in Paradise may have been our goal to this point. Now we are beginning to see that as members of the Lord's elect we have a much higher calling. We must seek the Lord as never before. Personal transformation and union with the Lord are possible only as we overcome our love of the world, our love of sin, and our self-will. The eternal purposes of God in His universe are possible only as the elect experience personal transformation and union with the Lord.

Let us think about some of the purposes of God. God will satisfy His needs and desires and the needs and desires of His creation by creating the saints in the image of Christ and bringing them into perfect union with Himself. Then they will be able to serve in the following roles:

To be a member of the Bride of the Lamb (Revelation 21:9)

To be part of the Temple of God (Ephesians 2:22)

To be a member of the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12)

To be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)

To be a part of the vehicle for the end-time revival (Isaiah 60:1,2)

To be a restorer of Paradise on earth (Romans 8:21)

To be a source of eternal life and healing for the nations (I Corinthians 15:45)

To be a member of the royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9)

To be a witness of God (Isaiah 43:10)

To be salt (Matthew 5:13)

To be a son of God (Revelation 21:7)

To be a brother of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29)

To be an overcomer of the accuser (Revelation 12:11)

To be a governor of the nations (Revelation 2:26,27)

To be a soldier in the army of the Lord (Joel 2:11)

To be a judge of men and angels (I Corinthians 6:2,3)

To be a wall of defense around the Glory of God (Revelation 21:14)

To be a part of the revelation of Himself—God in Christ in the saints (Revelation 3:12)

The Bride of the Lamb.

And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. (Revelation 21:9)

Of all the purposes of God, the most important, the most holy, may be acquiring a bride, a counterpart and complement, for His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

What will she be like, this Miss Universe? Where will she come from?

Are the churches of the earth the Bride of the Lamb? Not entirely!

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)

Like must marry like in God's economy. The present churches consist, in the main, of fleshly people seeking by fleshly means to qualify for entrance to a fleshly heaven where they will wear golden slippers, walk on golden streets, and live in palatial mansions. These are not suitable as a bride for the Lamb.

The Lord Jesus is true God and true Man. His Nature is Divine. Yet He has a human soul and body born of a human mother.

Like must marry like. Whoever marries the Lamb must also be of Divinity and of humanity. How is this achieved in us who are dust?

Adam and Eve compose the scriptural picture of the Lamb and His Wife. Adam was fashioned from the dust of the ground. Eve was fashioned from a piece of Adam.

In like manner the Lamb came out from God, was born of God. The Wife of the Lamb is being fashioned from the body and blood of the Lamb.

Adam cannot marry God. Adam must go to the cross. As Adam dies, Christ is formed. We eat the Lamb of God and drink His blood. By this means we become the Wife of the Lamb.

We learn to live by the Life of the Lamb. When the Lamb appears, we who live by eating and drinking the Lamb will be drawn up to Him in the air. Until we go to Him He remains incomplete because we are an integral part of Him.

It is impossible for us to comprehend the intensity of the love of the Lamb for His Bride. The Lamb created all people and has authority over all people. But the Bride is special and greatly loved. The Song of Solomon gives us a small notion of the place the Bride has in the heart of the Lamb of God.

It is easy to understand no individual will be a part of the Bride of the Lamb until he has been transformed from Adam to Christ and is willing to surrender his individuality and independence in order to become one with the Lord.

The Temple of God.

In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)

God is looking for a house in which He can live and move and have His being. He has created multitudes of people, but He cannot be with them and bless them because He does not have a suitable dwelling place, a dwelling place that the members of the nations of the saved can approach without being destroyed.

Heaven is God's throne. The earth is God's footstool. Neither Heaven nor earth is God's house, the place of His rest.

Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1)

One of God's main purposes in His elect is to have a house, a habitation in which He can dwell and through which He can approach people and bless them. The Church of Christ is being fashioned into a living house for God. The Lord Jesus is the chief Cornerstone. The saints, the elect, are living stones in the eternal Temple of God.

The Body of Christ.

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:15,16)

Christ is the Anointed Deliverer announced by the Hebrew Prophets.

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 to the Gentiles [nations]. (Isaiah 42:1)

When Christ comes He will govern the world from Jerusalem. The meek will rejoice. The godly will dance for joy. Lawlessness and injustice will be removed from the earth. All problems will be solved when Christ comes.

When the Lord Jesus came He did not fulfill the promises of the forty-second chapter of Isaiah, which state He will bring justice to the Gentile nations. Jesus, the Head, could not bring the deliverance apart from His Body, for God has determined only the completed Christ will bring the promised deliverance and restoration. God has been in the process of fashioning the Body of Christ for two thousand years. As soon as the Body has been fully prepared, the Head and the Body will be revealed. The whole Christ then will fulfill the wonderful promises of Isaiah concerning the restoration of Paradise to the earth.

Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution [restoration] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:21)

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

Christ has come and has given Himself as a sin-offering for the sins of the world, as it is written of Him.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)

Christ is coming again, but this time in power and glory. Before He comes He must be formed in the elect.

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1:27)

Christ is in us. This is the mystery that has been hidden from ages and generations.

As Christ is formed in us we become cells in His great Body, the Body of the Anointed Deliverer. The Anointed Deliverer includes the Head, and then the Body fashioned from the Head.

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ [the Christ]. (I Corinthians 12:12)

The Servant of the Lord has a Head, the exalted Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. The saints, the elect, the Israel of God, are members of the Body. Christ is in every cell of His Body, the cells having been fashioned from His body and blood.

In order for any person to become a part of the Body of Christ he must be transformed in moral nature and character and brought into restful union with the Head. Otherwise we have a body that does not obey the Head. A body that does not obey its head is suffering from an illness of the nervous system.

The light of the world.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:14)

There is only one Light of the world, only one true Testimony of God. How then can Christ refer to us as the light of the world?

In our adamic personality we may tell what we have learned about Christ, and this is a worthwhile endeavor. But this is not the testimony of God, the testimony that reveals God's Person, God's will, God's way, and God's eternal purpose in Jesus Christ. Only Christ Himself can reveal God accurately and completely.

How then can we be the light of the world, the truth that people must have if they are to serve God acceptably?

The only way that we can be a true witness of God is through the forming of Christ in us. The more we are willing to turn aside from our own life and look to the Lord for every decision we make, the more we are fed in the spirit realm with the body and blood of Christ. In this manner Christ is formed in us.

The more Christ is formed in us, the more we portray God in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds.

Every true Christian is called to be a prophet and a witness of God. However our success in attaining to our goal depends on Christ coming to maturity in us. He alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No person comes to the Father except through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The vehicle for the end-time revival.

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:1,2)

As we have mentioned previously, at the time of the transition from the Church Age to the Kingdom Age there will be a tremendous, double-portion outpouring of the Spirit of God upon the elect, as described in Isaiah, Chapter 60.

The double portion of Divine Glory and Divine judgment is typified by the two sets of clasps (50 gold and 50 bronze) that connected the coverings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation (Exodus 26:6,11). The two sets of 50 clasps were located over the veil that led into the Holy of Holies, signifying the transition from the present Church Age to the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

Fifty is the number of Pentecost.

Such an outpouring of Divine Glory, and the resulting ingathering of the nations of the saved, will not be possible until a firstfruits of the elect have attained the desired image and union. God will not give Glory to this extent, nor will He entrust His beloved nations, to anyone who is not walking in righteousness, holiness, and obedience or is not in perfect union with Himself through Christ.

God will not give His Glory to another! We must become part of God, married to Him, if we are to receive the fullness of the Glory.

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:22,23)

The restorers of Paradise to the earth.

Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)

Paradise will be restored to the earth at the hands of the sons of God.

The material creation will be set free when the Lord Jesus and His brothers return in the Glory of the Father.

The Day of the Lord is being created in God's elect. The Day Star, Christ, rises in our heart as we serve the Lord in diligent discipleship.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the Scriptures]; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)

The Day Star heralds the Day of the Lord. The principal characteristic of the Day of the Lord is that all the works of the flesh are brought down and the Lord alone is exalted.

The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. (Isaiah 2:11)

We may be looking for a new age in which righteousness and glory will pour down from Heaven and nature will come alive in the Spirit of God. The truth is that the new age is being created in God's victorious saints. When the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, the will of God, has been perfected in them, then the Lord Jesus will return to earth with His saints and with them and through them set up His Kingdom.

The Day of the Lord, the Millennium, the new world wherein dwells righteousness, and the peaceable kingdom – these all will come from within the elect. The lion and the lamb must lie down in peace together in us, meaning that the savage aspect of our personality (which is of God and of the image of God) must be at peace with the meek aspect of our personality (which also is of God and of the image of God). Both of these aspects, the savage and the meek, must be led by a little child. We must become as little children in malice if we would enter the Kingdom of God.

The curse will be lifted at the hands of the sons of God. Eternal life will be given to people at the hands of the sons of God. The areas of earth that have been destroyed will be rebuilt by the sons of God.

And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. (Isaiah 61:4)

The Glory of the Lord will fill the earth because of the Presence of Christ—Head and Body.

The garden of God cannot come to the earth for mankind to enjoy until God's elect are renewed in image and brought into union with God through Christ.

A source of eternal life and healing for the nations.

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening [life-giving] spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45)

Man, in the image and likeness of God, is being created in two stages. The first stage is that which is born of a woman. I often refer to this as our adamic personality.

The second stage is born of God. It is Divine in substance, having been born of Divinity.

We often use the term "born again" to refer to conversion to the Christian faith. This is an incorrect and misleading usage of the term. Being born again refers to the Life of God being conceived in us, which often takes place at the time of our conversion but is the planting of Life within us rather than the adoption of the Christian faith.

Our first personality is a living soul. Our second personality is a life-giving spirit, having been born of Jesus Christ. It is this second personality that inherits the Kingdom of God and in fact is the Kingdom of God.

God is not saving what we are. God is crucifying what we are in order that the new Divine Life may grow to maturity. When it does, the very Throne of God comes to reside in it. Then the water of eternal life, the Holy Spirit, flows out of us bringing life and healing to the people of the world.

The royal priesthood.

Ye also, as lively [living] stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2:5)

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (I Peter 2:9)

It is God's intention that Israel be a nation of priests. In Old Testament times the Levites served a particularly holy office. The Aaronic priesthood was set apart to an even greater extent than the Levites. From the Aaronic priesthood came the High Priest of Israel—a progression of holiness of calling. Yet the entire nation was to be holy, a kingdom of priests.

And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:6)

The role of a priest is to present to people the Person, way, will, laws, and eternal purpose of God. The priest is a teacher who directs people in the righteous ways of the Lord.

The Lord Jesus is the great High Priest of God. The Lord Jesus is the only priest of God to the elect. It is not of the Lord that some of the elect be priests over others of the elect. In the Body of Christ there are no "reverends," no clergy. We need to abolish the clergy-laity pattern at the earliest possible moment.

But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. (Matthew 23:8-10)

"All ye are brethren."

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ; (I Timothy 2:5)

Jesus is the only priest over the members of His Body, His Church. The Church itself consists of God's priests who are to bless and teach the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles [nations], and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. (Isaiah 61:6)

It is not possible for us to serve as a priest to the nations of the saved until we are in the image of Christ and in union with God. Otherwise we will set a bad example for people, as did Eli and his two sons. Also we will seek our own glory, causing discord in God's creation.

Because Eli the priest honored his sons above God, God spoke to Eli as follows:

Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. (I Samuel 2:30)

No man can decide to be a priest; he must be chosen by the Lord.

And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. (Hebrews 5:4)

To be a member of the Body of Christ is the highest honor God can bestow. Let us follow the Lord until He makes us worthy of the priesthood.

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

The witnesses of God.

Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isaiah 43:10)

God has brought forth His witnesses since man has been on the earth. From the days of Abel there have been people who have represented God and His righteousness.

Every witness of God is eternal. Whether we are referring to Noah, or Abraham, or Moses, or Elijah, or Paul the Apostle, that person is bearing witness of God's righteousness to the present day.

No individual can be a complete witness of God until he is in the image of the Lord and in union with the Lord. The more nearly complete the image is and the more nearly complete the union is, the more the testimony approaches perfection. The Lord Jesus is the complete, perfect witness of God.

God spends much time and effort when He fashions a witness.

For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. (Isaiah 43:3)

Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isaiah 43:10)

The true witness of God is an individual who has been chosen of God, who knows God, who believes God, who understands that God alone is God. In order for a person to come to know God to this extent he must be brought through a multitude of experiences—many of them distressing.

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (Isaiah 43:2)

God brings us through distressing circumstances so we will be pressed into God, so we will know Him in a personal manner, His perfect faithfulness, His unfailing love, His dependability, the immutability of His Word, His concern for the details of our life.

Sometimes many years go by while the Lord is teaching us. During this period it may be true that the most intense desires of our heart remain unfulfilled. Every relationship, circumstance, and thing is tested, tested, tested. Unending patience is required on our part.

The most important treasure we lay up during our pilgrimage on the earth is the knowledge of the Holy One. It requires our entire lifetime to come to know the Lord. "That I may know him," Paul cried.

As we pursue the Lord, responding faithfully to the crosses and challenges, as well as to the blessings that are given us, we become an ever more effective witness of the Lord. Bearing witness of the Lord often must include much more than "telling others about Jesus," although telling others about Jesus has its place in the plan of God.

The strongest witness we can give is the expression of our entire personality as we grow more in the image of the Lord and in union with Him.

The new Jerusalem is the complete witness of God, the clear revelation of His holy Being. The new Jerusalem will reflect the Person, will, and way of God throughout eternity.

There is a difference between ministry and witness. The gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit are given by the ascended Christ to whomever He will, independently of the spiritual maturity of the one who receives the gift. Christ bears witness of His will through the gifts and ministries of the Spirit.

However there is a greater witness than that of gifts and ministries. The true witness of God is a "lampstand" that shines in the night of the world. The entire Body of Christ is the Divine Lampstand, the counterpart of the Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The purpose of the gifts and ministries is to build the Lampstand, the testimony of God.

The light of the world is the righteous, holy behavior of the saints.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

There is an abundance of gifts and ministries today. However in many instances there is little moral witness. The ministry often loves the spirit of this age and practices the lusts of the flesh. The greatest darkness of all is found in the self-seeking of many of God's ministers. Each is seeking his own glory, his own kingdom, not the things that belong to Christ.

Throughout the world the Divine witness has been extinguished, both by faulty doctrine concerning the proper role of grace in the Christian life and also by the willingness of God's people to live in the world, in the lusts of the flesh, and in self-will and self-centeredness.

The lamp of God is nearly out, but God is speaking to His Samuels.

The greatest witness of God ever given on the face of the earth, with the single exception of the days of Jesus of Nazareth on the earth, will take place in the near future. We are referring to the latter-rain revival of God's power, as symbolized by the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11. Notice at the beginning of Chapter 11 that the witnesses are judged before they are empowered.

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. (Revelation 11:1)

Those who are at the Altar of Incense, to speak in a figure, worshiping God and dedicating their lives to Him, will be judged very carefully in a detailed manner. Then they will be empowered to bear witness on the earth clothed in sackcloth, that is to say, clothed with humility.

The last-day witness will not be, as exists today, a situation in which many self-seeking "ministers" are heaping gold to themselves and living in luxury. Rather, the saints who bear witness in the closing days of the present age will be true disciples of the Lord, bearing witness of God's holy Person and ways from their position on the cross with Christ.

The greatest witness of all is about to come to pass, but the witnesses first must be created in the moral image of the Lord and then brought into complete union with Him.

The salt of the earth.

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (Matthew 5:13)

The term "salt" is used throughout the Scriptures.

And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt. (Levicitus 2:13)

For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. (Mark 9:49)

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so you may know how you ought to answer every one. (Colossians 4:6—RSV))

It may be true that the preceding verse approaches the meaning of "salt." Did you ever notice that God is gracious in His behavior? This is the way He wants us to be, not belligerent, doctrinaire zealots seeking to force the "four steps of salvation" on people, but kindly and considerate, seeking to gain understanding from the Lord in each circumstance.

A study of the Reformation in Europe portrays the fierce antagonism that often characterized the efforts of both Catholics and Protestants to establish their belief systems. There is little savor of Christ in the persecutions, tortures, and destructive words and actions that sometimes prevail as people attempt to build the Kingdom of God according to their own strength and wisdom.

Evidently this is exactly what the Lord meant when He said believers employ violence to gain the Kingdom. This is not acceptable to the Lord. We have been instructed to meekly explain our hope, not attempt to force our religious opinions on other people.

With all our getting we are to get understanding, according to the Scriptures. Wisdom and knowledge are necessary in their place, but understanding is greater than either wisdom or knowledge in that it combines both and mixes into them mercy, humor, and common sense.

Unfortunately the Christian religion has not always been characterized by the Divine graciousness. It sometimes leaves a bad taste in the mouth of people.

In our day the Lord Jesus would teach us to adopt His gentle manner, in meekness sharing the wisdom He has given us. If we are willing to do this, numerous people shall be brought to the Great Shepherd—people who otherwise are alienated by the haughty attitude of those who would make proselytes of them.

The sons of God.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

God is a Father. He has created multitudes of people, all of whom are, in a general sense, His children. These are the descendants of Adam.

Now God is fathering children in a more specific sense. He has provided that whoever is willing to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior will be born of the Seed of God, thus having the Divine Nature formed in him.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons [children] of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12,13)

Each of the children so begotten is then challenged to overcome, through Christ, the love of the world, the love of sin, and finally his or her own self-will. Each believer who emerges victorious in this fierce struggle becomes a son of God in the final triumphant sense.

The material creation is waiting expectantly to see the unveiling of the sons of God, for when they are unveiled the creation will be set free from the bondage of futility and corruption and will enter the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Each victorious son of God will be in the image of Christ, in total, restful union with Him, and will be led by God's Spirit.

When the sons of God have been created and are one in and with Christ, the great Son of God, they will be lords over the entire creation of God—angelic creatures included. They are the heirs of all that God is and possesses

For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)

God is in the process of making all things new. Those who press through to victory in Christ shall inherit all these things that have been made new in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The brothers of Christ.

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

"The firstborn among many brethren"!

Here is the Lord Jesus, the Son of God from eternity, surrounded by His little brothers. They are little now but they will grow in Christ throughout the uncounted ages to come.

The Lord does not despise us. He considers us true brothers because we have been born from His Father.

For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. (Hebrews 2:11,12)

Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17)

It is the Lord's greatest joy to refer to us as His brothers. We can hear this expression of joy the moment He came from the cave of Joseph of Arimathea.

Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (John 20:17)

Go to my brethren!

How wonderful!

But if we are to be the brothers of the Lord Jesus we must be in His image and in union with Him. Otherwise we would cause harm to ourselves and to others were we to be placed in such an exalted position of honor.

The overcomers of the accuser.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)

Satan continually accuses the righteous before the Throne of God, as we learn from the story of Job. Satan's access to God is a continuing source of distress to the inhabitants of Heaven.

God has never given Michael and his angels enough power to cast Satan down from Heaven. The reason is that God will not execute judgment on Satan until God has demonstrated to Satan and the rebellious spirit-dignitaries that the Spirit of Christ in human beings is sufficiently righteous to enable them to live in righteousness and holiness on this sin-cursed planet.

God has been vindicated in the eyes of the angelic lords by the behavior of His Son in the earth, and will continue to be vindicated in His righteousness and judgment by the behavior of His sons as their Adamic nature is crucified and Christ lives in them.

One of the main roles of the saints is to follow Jesus to the extent the Father is justified in executing judgment on Satan. Today, as never before perhaps, the call is going forth: "Who is willing to lay hold on the blood of the Lamb, to persevere in his witness of God, and to lay down his own life, until the accuser of the brothers has been fully overcome?"

There have been saints throughout history (and there are some today) who have served God and remained faithful to him while experiencing every conceivable difficulty, pain, and self-denial. They have been tempted in every manner by the fallen lords of Heaven and sometimes have been led astray through deception. Yet, the cry of their heart has been for righteousness. "Lead me in paths of righteousness for Thy Name's sake!"

When they became aware they were off the track they have returned. They have trusted in the blood of the Lamb to forgive their mistakes, to wash them whiter than the snow.

The Word of God has been proved in them seven times as in a furnace of earth. The Holy Spirit has brought forth the testimony of God in their minds, in their mouths, and in their actions. Every Word of God has been justified and established in them. When they were brought very low they praised God for His unchanging faithfulness. Their hope has burned brightly, knowing that righteousness will triumph at last.

When their moment of truth came, they writhed on the cross. Their soul was torn out of them. But they continued to praise God, knowing that in His right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

When the lords of darkness are through playing with the conquerors, God will look at Satan. "What else would you like to try?"

Satan's mouth will shut in that hour. The Spirit of Christ in the elect has overcome every accusation of Satan.

Then the command will issue from the Father. Michael and his legions will be filled with irresistible power. The army of Heaven will rush at Satan and his angels. The armies will clash. Satan and his forces will be hurled from the heaven to the earth.

The princes of darkness never again will have access to the Throne of God—never! never! never!

The anthems of worship and pure joy will pour from every corner of Heaven:

... Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:10,11)

They overcame him!

Total victory now is at hand. The wrestling match is approaching its conclusion. Satan will be crushed under the feet of the saints. Thus it is written. Thus it shall come to pass and no power can prevent it.

Victory over all the powers of darkness will be gained by those who have been formed in the image of Christ and brought into total union with one another and with the Father through Christ.

The governors of the nations.

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)

Many of the problems of the world today arise from poor government. The rulers and leaders often are filled with the love of the world spirit, the lusts of the flesh, and self-seeking. They are not seeking God nor are they humble before Him. They trust in money, military strength, and education to save them. They are seeking their own glory and profit.

Meanwhile those who are being governed are suffering. There are ample resources on the earth to feed and shelter many times the present population. Because of the avarice of the rulers, the resources of the earth are overabundant in some areas and lacking in others.

Democratic government is being heralded in many places as the solution to the problems of people. However, people have not been created with the ability to govern themselves, and so the so-called "free" nations are chained in every kind of satanically inspired corruption. The socialistic and totalitarian systems are just as bad if not worse than the democratic, in terms of an equitable application of earth's resources.

In the meantime there are wars, revolutions, famines, economic distress, while all the governments promise liberation to those who will accept their philosophy.

At the present time in the United States of America a presidential election draws near. It does not matter who is elected. Crime and other forms of social disintegration will become increasingly prevalent unless the nation humbles itself and turns to God.

When the world began, man was placed in a garden, in a situation that contained every element needed for a totally joyous existence. Before the Lord returns, the whole earth will become as Sodom and Gomorrah—indeed, far, far worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. From the large cities the scream of demoniac laughter, the piercing cries of children being molested, the agonized whisper of the fetus being aborted, the jungle-beat of drug-inspired music, the foul stench of raging, cursing, drunken men and women will ascend to the heavens.

The democratic governments understand their role to be that of pleasing the citizens. But God's plan for civil government is that it regard sin as crime and enforce compliance with weapons.

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (Romans 13:3,4)

The civil government is "the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil."

"Him that doeth evil" in terms of Bible morality, not in terms of humanistic, democratic morality.

Many of the governments of our day have lost the will to rule. They are afraid of the people because they are elected by the people. But in actuality the politicians serve themselves, not God or the people. They have been weighed in the balances and found wanting.

God has appointed His King.

Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. (Psalms 2:6)

And His lesser kings under the great King, under the King of kings.

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)

God understands better than we that conditions on the earth are caused by those who are in authority. Therefore the training of the future rulers is severe.

All of God's designated kings must suffer because suffering breaks down our self-will and disobedience, insuring that in the future, when we receive great authority, we will be sternly obedient to the Father.

If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: (II Timothy 2:12)

We must patiently endure when we are put in prison, whether a literal prison or a situation where we are not permitted to live as we choose.

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

We must look only to the Lord, not permitting another person to take our crown of authority.

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (Revelation 3:11)

If we allow another individual to take our crown from us, to persuade us to take a path different from what the Lord has shown us, a friend, for example, or a husband or wife, an employer, an agent of the government, or a teacher of the Scriptures, we are not competent to rule as one of God's kings.

If we overcome all the challenges set before us we will be placed on the highest throne of all.

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)

God has a great need for rulers to govern His inheritance. But if we are to govern the Lord's inheritance properly we must be in the image of Christ and in perfect union with the Father through the Son.

Today the governors of the earth live in luxury and lie, steal, and do everything else in their power to maintain their own elevated position. The poor continue in their rags, hoping somehow justice will come and they will have enough to eat and a place to sleep with their families without fear.

When Christ comes, the poor of the earth will rejoice over the abundance of peace and security. But those who have lived in luxury, using their position and gifts to benefit themselves, will weep and howl in their rage and anguish. In that day there will be no one to save them, for they have not taken care of the poor as the Lord commanded the rich to do.

The righteous are not to fret themselves. Justice is coming at the hands of Christ—Head and Body.

A soldier in the army of the Lord.

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 2:11)

It is not unusual for Christians to view themselves as soldiers. Sometimes the idea of our being soldiers is expressed in our hymns. However, it may be true that we are not really serious about this. We may not be ready to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.

The second chapter of the Book of Joel (and several other passages in the Scriptures) portrays the coming of a mighty army. In fact, the main characteristic of the Day of Christ, the return of the Lord Jesus, is that of war. The Kingdom of God shall be installed on the earth with violence, as Christ and His armies of saints and angels descend from Heaven and attack the wicked of the earth.

It may be true that the return of our Lord is at hand. If such is the case, we can expect to find that the Spirit of God is speaking to us of war against unclean spirits: first in our own personality, and then as we have an opportunity to help other people.

One aspect of our preparation will be an emphasis on strict discipline. Many of God's people are undisciplined. They do pretty much as they please. They have accepted Christ as their personal Savior but not as their personal Lord.

Apart from the strictest discipline there can be no army. The coming of Christ and His saints and angels to set up God's Kingdom, God's will, on the earth will not be some sort of Sunday-school adventure. It will be a real war against wicked personalities who regard the earth as their possession.

The Battle of Armageddon indeed will be a fierce conflict. We can be certain the Lord will have no individual in His army who is not instantly obedient to Him. Such obedience must be learned by us today, or we will not be raised into incorruptible resurrection life at His appearing.

The judges of men and angels.

Do ye not know 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)

In eons past there was a rebellion against the Father and His laws. That rebellion and sin have not been avenged as yet. The Day of Wrath is ahead of us.

Rather than immediately sentencing the rebels, the Father determined to play out a drama in which He would demonstrate to the lords of the spirit realm the righteousness of His ways.

The 6,000 years of human history are the drama, the play in which God is revealing His wisdom and righteousness to angels and to men. The Ten Commandments are a word of judgment against Satan, and his followers and the wicked spirits understand this. However they still are attempting to prove the righteousness of their cause.

In the process of illustrating His righteousness, God is creating an army of judges. God's saints, His elect, are an army of judges.

Two righteous armies are involved in God's war against evil. Michael and his angels are the army that moves with Divine power. The saints, Israel, are the army of judges. The army of judges must speak before the army of angels can move in power.

When Israel camped at the borders of the land of promise they constituted an army of judges because they were bringing with them the Ten Commandments, the judgment of the God of Heaven against Satan.

Then another army came into view. The Commander of the spirit army appeared to Joshua and reminded Joshua of the holiness of God.

And the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:15)

It is given to the saints to pronounce the word of judgment against Satan. It is they who have the authority, through Christ, to bind and to loose. It is God's Spirit, sometimes working through angels, who executes the sentence.

It is the dance of two armies.

Man permitted Satan to enter the earth. Christ has come in the fullness of Divine authority to enable man to drive Satan from the earth.

The saints will judge the angels. The saints also will judge mankind.

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 [nations], 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)

The Divine judgments on men and angels that will take place in the future will be administered by God's elect, His saints. The saints will be God's judges forever, maintaining order in the creation—angels and the nations of the saved being subject to their decisions.

It is not possible for the saints to rule in judgment until they have been created in Christ's image and brought into union with the Father through Christ.

The saints, as they are filled with the Spirit of God, will decide who is permitted to enter the Kingdom of God and who is held under judgment. It is a terrible authority and responsibility.

Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:23)

The wall of defense around the Glory of God.

And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Revelation 21:14)

Of all that would be of interest to people concerning the new Jerusalem, such as the activities of the inhabitants; the types of dwellings, parks, and music that exist there; or scenes of children playing in the grass, the emphasis instead is on the wall and its twelve foundations. We have been given two short chapters describing our eternal destiny, and God has seen fit to occupy several verses with the wall!

And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: (Revelation 21:12)

And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Revelation 21:14)

And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. (Revelation 21:17-20)

"And had a wall great and high." "And the wall of the city had twelve foundations." "And the building of the wall of it was of jasper."

The lesson we learn from the emphasis on the wall and its twelve foundations is that sin and rebellion will remain a possibility throughout eternity. The Glory of God and the peace of His saints will be guarded by an impenetrable wall. No fallen angel, no rebellious human, will be able to enter the city and bring torment and death into the place of God's holiness.

Had the garden of Eden been walled, Satan could not have entered.

Never again will there be an unwalled paradise.

And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. (Isaiah 4:5)

The names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb are in the twelve foundations of the wall, and the foundations are wondrously ornamented. The jewels in the foundations of the wall portray the creation of resistance to sin in the Apostles of the Lamb and in those who follow their teaching. The wall against sin is being created in us, being founded on the Apostles of the Lamb.

The sons of God will stand as an eternal wall against sin and rebellion. No individual who practices lawlessness will be able to enter through the gates into the city.

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

All sin is kept outside the city.

For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Revelation 22:15)

The present-day interpretation of "grace" has turned the true grace of God into immorality. Divine grace is not an alternative to keeping God's commandments. Divine grace is the Presence of God through Christ given to people so they may be able to keep the commandments of God and enter through the gates into the city.

Satan's supreme deception is the teaching that we are in a dispensation of "grace" such that we can enter the Paradise of God by professing belief in Jesus apart from moral transformation.

No angel or human being ever at any time shall enter the city of God by a grace that prevents God from seeing the actual condition of the individual. Sin shall never enter there. The abominable, the witches, the immoral, the perverted, the violent, the covetous, the liars shall never enter the city of God by grace, by mercy, by love, or by any other means.

God began His Kingdom with Christ. After Christ comes the firstfruits of the elect—those who overcome sin through Christ. Next comes the rest of the family of God, and finally come the nations of the saved. This program cannot progress until the firstfruits of the elect have overcome sin and have been formed in the image of Christ and brought into union with one another and with God through Christ.

The revelation of Himself—God in Christ in the saints

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)

This is a love story.

God in His great love has elected to lose His Life, His individuality, to become one with Christ. God can never be found apart from Christ. God and Christ always are together. This is the true meaning of marriage—the combining of two persons into one. True marriage, eternal marriage, can take place only in the spirit realm.

God and Christ dwell together in perfect love.

Christ is repeating the pattern. He has chosen to lose His Life, His individuality, to become one with God and us. When the process of image and union has been completed it will be true that Christ cannot be found apart from us. We shall always be together. We shall be with Christ where He is—in the Bosom of the Father. We shall be one in Christ in God, as Christ is One with the Father.

As we mature in Christ the pattern will be repeated in us. We shall choose to lose our life, our individuality, to become one with Christ, and one with other people as God directs. We shall continue in Christ's love.

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. (John 15:9)

God's goal is to bring into being a glorious holy city, which will be the Law (Torah ) of God personified. The city will be the Throne of God and of the Lamb. It will be the incarnation of God—God made flesh in Christ, Head and Body.

The reason the Name of God and the Name of the City of God will be inscribed for eternity on the victorious saints is that they are the city; they are the Presence of the Lord; they are the chariot of God; they are the eternal Temple of God; they are Immanuel—God with us.

Here is God's love for His elect—that they be married to Him forever, be one with Him, and be the revelation of Him to His creation. The inheritance of the saints is to be an integral part of God forever.

The inheritance of the nations of the saved is Paradise on earth ruled by the Presence of God in His saints. This is the eternal Kingdom of God, the Throne of David.

The inheritance of the elect includes Paradise, but primarily—and infinitely more importantly—oneness with God through Christ. The elect are destined to be the eternal Temple of God, and the victorious saints are pillars in that temple and never will go out from that temple—not for eternity.

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Revelation 3:12)

Never again will mankind be without the knowledge of God, for God will be present throughout His creation in the form of His elect.

Review

The purpose of this booklet, as we have stated, is to explain the Divine purposes in redemption, to describe the Kingdom of God.

We have mentioned the two classes of saved people, the Church and the nations of the saved, and have described what God has planned for them.

We have defined the elect, including Jews and Gentiles, as those who have received Christ and have been born again of the Spirit of God.

The nations of the saved were presented as being, not a part of the Church, the elect of God, but nations of people whom Christ has chosen to be ruled by His Kingdom and who will receive eternal life at the hands of the saints.

We have suggested that the primary purpose of the two thousand years of the Christian Era has been to bring God's elect to the "measure of [maturity as measured by] the stature of the fulness of Christ." As soon as the firstfruits of the elect have come to the required image and union with the Godhead, the nations of the world will believe God has sent Christ and will come up to Jerusalem to be blessed by the Glory of God abiding in Christ—Head and Body.

We have stressed repeatedly that God cannot be satisfied nor the nations blessed until the elect, the Israel of God, attain to the image of Christ and union with God through Christ. This is a basic concept, a much needed concept in our day. If we subscribe to this idea it should make a difference in how we serve the Lord personally, in our ministry to the Body of Christ, and in our attitude toward unsaved people.

A Model of Salvation

(This model was developed with some young people of Huntsville, Alabama in October of 1992.)

the Negative Dimension of Salvation

To Be Rescued From Wrath (Mark 16:16) (I Thessalonians 1:10)

the Positive Dimension of Salvation

the Positive Dimension for the Church (Revelation 21:2)

The primary aspects:

To be changed into Christ's image in spirit, in soul, and in body (Romans 8:29) (Philippians 3:21)

To be brought into union with God and all saints through Jesus Christ (John 17:21-23)

The secondary aspects:

To be a member of the Bride of the Lamb (Revelation 21:9)

To be part of the Temple of God (Ephesians 2:22)

To be a member of the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12)

To be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14)

To be a part of the vehicle for the end-time revival (Isaiah 60:1,2)

To be a restorer of Paradise on earth (Romans 8:21)

To be a source of eternal life and healing for the nations (I Corinthians 15:45)

To be a member of the royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9)

To be a witness of God (Isaiah 43:10)

To be salt (Matthew 5:13

To be a son of God (Revelation 21:7)

To be a brother of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29)

To be an overcomer of the accuser (Revelation 12:11)

To be a governor of the nations (Revelation 2:26,27)

To be a soldier in the army of the Lord (Joel 2:11)

To be a judge of men and angels (I Corinthians 6:2,3)

To be a wall of defense around the Glory of God (Revelation 21:14)

To be a part of the revelation of Himself—God in Christ in the saints (Revelation 3:12)

the Positive Dimension for the Nations of the Saved (Revelation 21:24,26)

During the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Revelation 20:6) --To live in Paradise on the present earth (Isaiah 11:4-9)

During the new heaven and earth reign of Christ (Revelation 21:1) --To live in Paradise on the new earth (Revelation 21:4)

* * *

When the members of God's Church, His elect, have attained the positive dimension of salvation, they will constitute the Kingdom of God. They will govern the creation of God forever (Revelation 22:5).

The positive dimension of salvation for the nations of the saved will come into being through the Kingdom of God. The creation awaits the revealing of the sons of God. The sons of God will not be ready for their unveiling as the liberators of the creation until they attain the positive dimension of the great salvation that the Lord God has prepared for them (Romans 8:19).