THE FUTURE SALVATION Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Some Scripture (as noted) taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE. Š Copyright, 960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1988, The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Some Scripture (as noted) taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
We know there is no sin in Heaven or in the new world of righteousness that is to come. But at what point is sin removed? Does God have a specific plan for removing sin or does it just "happen"? If He does have a specific plan, when, where, and how will sin be removed from the Kingdom of God?
Table of Contents
Declaring War Against the Enemies of God and the Reconciling of Every Aspect of Our Personality to God Are the Spiritual Fulfillments of the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement of the Old Testament
THE FUTURE SALVATION
Salvation is past, present, and future.
If we are a believer in Christ there was a specific point at which we turned away from the world and entered the Kingdom of God through Christ. This for us is the past salvation.
If we are abiding in Christ today, then we currently are working out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is the present salvation.
We hope for salvation in the future. Usually we think of our future salvation as being the time we die and go to Heaven. There is nothing "wrong" with such a point of view. The hope of Heaven has served the saints well for two thousand years. However, the idea of eternal residence in the spirit Paradise is a limited view of what salvation is. Now that we are drawing close to the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth our understanding of salvation will be increased.
The present article will emphasize the future aspect of salvation.
It will be impossible for us to understand the future aspect of salvation until we define salvation correctly.
When we of today think of being "saved" we picture our entrance into Paradise when we die. We Christians have a strong tradition of Heaven. There have been countless glimpses of the spirit Paradise by people who have died and been resuscitated or have nearly died or have been approaching death or who have seen a loved one after he or she has passed away.
The general vision is one of a garden or park, sometimes with beautiful homes. Often deceased loved ones and friends are present. There is great joy, peace, and love and an absence of pain, dread, and fear. Sometimes there are angels in sight or even the Lord Jesus.
This is Heaven as we view it, and the vision is probably accurate even though it is based on experiences of people and not the Scriptures.
Paul tells us we should set our affections on things above. Since we cannot actually see into Heaven we have to use our imagination, and there is nothing wrong with this. Thinking about the things of Heaven may be the best possible use of our God-given imagination. It is a joy we can choose to set before us.
There is one problem with this hope, this vision of the future of the godly. It is a problem that is being addressed now by the Spirit of God because the Kingdom of God is at hand.
When we envision Heaven we do not see the presence of sin there. Somehow we know there is no sin in the Paradise of God now that it has been lifted from the earth and placed in the third heaven.
There are great cities on the earth containing majestic works of architecture. The spires reach to the skies. The beauty is dazzling. But this is an illusion. There are neighborhoods in that very city filled with poverty, disease, filthiness, murder, robbery, rape, child prostitution, adultery, witchcraft, gossip, slander, strife, dread, fear, and every other undesirable situation and practice. These human conditions put the lie to the glory of the city.
Now, when we picture the Paradise of God we see beauty, peace, love, generosity, patience, kindness. There is a total absence of poverty, disease, filthiness, murder, robbery, rape, child prostitution, adultery, witchcraft, gossip, slander, strife, dread, fear, and every other undesirable situation and practice.
Are you with me so far?
Now, what happened to the poverty, disease, filthiness, murder, robbery, rape, child prostitution, adultery, witchcraft, gossip, slander, strife, dread, fear, and every other undesirable situation and practice?
Think carefully about this question. The answers given today are usually not scriptural and therefore not dependable. But there is a scriptural answer.
You may notice that we have intermingled, in our list of undesirable features, conditions such as poverty, which is not sin, along with adultery, which is a sin. The reason is, disease, poverty, fear, and dread, would no longer exist if everyone was righteous. It is not that it is a sin to be poor or sick, or that one is poor or sick because he or she has sinned, rather it is that sin brings about such problems in the social order. The wealthy are greedy and hoard their money and resources and many people are impoverished as a result. Also, when sin is practiced or the worship of demons there is much sickness in the environment and many people suffer as a result.
When a family or community or nation practices righteousness in the name of Jesus Christ there will be Divine blessing and much good coming to those people.
The vision of a wonderful world of beauty, peace, and joy is a true one. But the problem of worldliness, lust, and personal ambition will not vanish except according to the scriptural specifications. Sin will not just stand up and leave!
Obviously there can be no Paradise to look forward to if sin is still present!
Let's think for a moment about the traditional assumptions regarding how sin is to be removed from the inhabitants of Paradise.
First we need to consider that entering Paradise does not settle the sin question. Sin began with Adam and Eve when they were in Paradise. The fact that they were in Paradise in bodies containing no inherited sin did not prevent sin and death from entering. Also it must be kept in mind that sin actually originated around the very Throne of God in Heaven in Satan who was a guardian cherub.
We can see therefore that entering Paradise does not of itself take care of the problem of sin.
The first assumption is, as we have said, that dying and entering Paradise will remove sin from us. We have pointed out that this point of view is not supported by Scripture.
The second major assumption is that at the coming of the Lord sin will be removed from the Church and the Church will instantly become an unblemished bride for the Lamb. There is no scriptural basis for this belief. In fact, the Scripture informs us that it is appointed to people once to die and after this comes judgment, not deliverance.
We are told that we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ that each may receive the things he or she has practiced while living in the body. Nothing is said about deliverance. It seems the judgment that will take place at the coming of the Lord will reveal what we have done, not cleanse us from unrighteousness.
Then there are those who believe that in Heaven we ought to try to do good but grace will cover our sin and self-will. God will see us only through the Lord Jesus. This is a horrible thought. Let us pray that such never takes place because the believers would soon turn Paradise into Hell with their gossip, slander, jealousy, self-will, arrogance, haughtiness, pride, bitterness, immorality, love of pleasure, covetousness, love of money, seeking preeminence, and so forth. It would not help us at all if God ignored such behavior and saw only the righteousness of Christ.
So we see plainly that we expect Heaven, and the new world that is coming, to be totally free from the sin and rebellion that have brought the curse of God upon the earth. Yet we are unsure how such deliverance will take place. It is evident that the assumptions we have just discussed do not have clear, solid, scriptural support.
We would like to advance several concepts concerning how God has planned to remove sin from His creation.
Salvation is deliverance from sin. This is what salvation is.
The Scripture teaches that salvation, or redemption, will come at the end of the age. Salvation will come in the future.
There are passages of Scripture that point toward the cleansing of God's people in the last days.
After sin has been removed from God's people they will judge and govern the nations of the earth until sin has been removed from the creation.
Redemption will include the clothing of our present body with a robe of righteousness provided we have sown to righteousness while on the earth. Physical death is the last enemy to be overcome, the other enemies of our soul must be overcome first.
We will be required to fight if we are to enter the future salvation.
We must accept the program of judgment and deliverance when it is presented to us.
Heaven and the Kingdom of God are related.
No sin whatever will be permitted in the Kingdom of God.
The earth and the heavens shall be shaken.
Declaring war against the enemies of God and the reconciling of every aspect of our personality to God are the spiritual fulfillments of the feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement of the Old Testament.
Probably nothing we say in this brief essay will be more important to the reader's understanding than the scriptural definition of salvation.
Salvation is deliverance from sin. To be saved is to be saved from sin. The Lamb of God came to take away the sin of the world, to destroy all the works of the devil.
Forgiveness is included in the new covenant, but the prominent feature of the new covenant is the writing of the eternal moral law of God in the mind and heart of the believer.
There is no scriptural basis whatever for the idea that to be saved is to go to Heaven. I am well aware of the weight of tradition supporting the idea that to be saved is to go to Heaven. The reader is invited to reread the entire Bible and mark verses stating the purpose of being saved is to go to Heaven when one dies.
Man was created on the earth. Paradise was on the earth. Man was not created in Heaven and Heaven is not his home. Find in your Bible where it states that Heaven is the eternal home of the saints.
It is absolutely true that our citizenship and our treasures are in Heaven. But this is because Christ and God are there. The only reason Heaven is our home at this time is because Christ our Lord is there.
But the Scriptures teach plainly that Christ will rule the earth from Jerusalem during the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Millennium). After the Kingdom Age the holy city, the new Jerusalem, which is the glorified Church, will descend from Heaven and be established on the new earth. The Throne of God and the Lamb will be in the new Jerusalem, meaning that the Throne no longer will be in Heaven but on the earth.
So our eternal home is, of course, the earth. The meek will inherit the earth.
It can be seen then that to be saved is to be with Christ and God wherever They are. To be saved is to have fellowship with God, and this is entirely apart from going to Heaven. We can have fellowship with God today. We are being saved today.
In order to have permanent fellowship with God, whether in Heaven or on the earth, we absolutely must walk in the light of His Presence and will. We must abide in Christ. We cannot have fellowship with God and at the same time walk in darkness.
To be saved is to be delivered from sin so we can have fellowship with Christ and the Father. We therefore are not saved in a moment. We must work out our salvation each day. Because of our sins we are saved with difficulty, as Peter says (I Peter 4:18).
Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (I Timothy 4:16NIV)
Look at this verse very carefully. Get the whole meaning of it because it is contrary to our tradition. Paul said we save ourselves and our hearers by being careful how we behave and what we preach.
If salvation were a ticket to Heaven we are given when we take the "four steps of salvation" this verse from First Timothy would make no sense whatever. It is contrary to our beliefs that we are to save ourselves by our conduct.
But if we are willing to define salvation as deliverance from sinful behavior, which we accomplish by being careful how we behave and what we preach, abiding in Christ at all times, going before the Mercy Seat continually to gain help in our battle against sin, then the verse fits perfectly.
When we change our definition of salvation from going to Heaven when we die, to being delivered from sin so we can have fellowship with Christ and the Father and carry out the various roles prepared for the members of the Body of Christ, all we have to say further in this essay will make perfect sense. Also the Scriptures will be understandable and coherent.
But if we keep in our mind that to be saved is to hold our ticket to Heaven, then our further discussion as well as large portions of the Scriptures will not be understandable or coherent.
The Scripture Teaches That Salvation, or Redemption, Will Come at the End of the Age.
Now here is a concept that should be given considerable thought. There are several verses of the New Testament stating that salvation is in the future.
Look at the following verses carefully and I think you will agree they point to a salvation in the future.
But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. (Luke 21:28NASB)
And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11NIV)
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30NIV)
Who through faith are shielded by Gods power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5NIV)
"He who endures to the end shall be saved." "We are the house of Christ if we hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at first."
The following passage is particularly significant. It shows that the sacrifice of Christ took away our sins, and in the future He will return to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.
"He who endures to the end shall be saved." "We are the house of Christ if we hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at first."
Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27,28NIV)
Two comments are to be made. First, we know it was the guilt of our sins that was removed. It is obvious from the writings of Paul, John, Peter, James, and Jude, that while the guilt of sin had been removed from the believers there was widespread sin among them. The presence of sinful behavior had not been removed in many instances.
Our second comment is in the form of a question: "Precisely what is the salvation that is to come to us in the last days?"
We know the promised salvation is not to go to Heaven. People go to Heaven when they die, not at the coming of the Lord. The majority of God's elect, from Abel forward, already are in the spirit Paradise. Therefore the statement "to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him" cannot possibly be referring to going to Heaven.
A related thought is expressed in the following:
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39,40NIV)
Those who "were all commended for their faith" are the heroes of faith of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews. We have no doubt most if not all of them are in the spirit Paradise above. I think you would agree with this.
But notice that "none of them received what had been promised." They are in Heaven but they have not received the promise. Therefore residence in Heaven is not the promise. Obviously, from the two verses, the promised salvation is to come in the future.
We submit that the promised salvation is deliverance from sin. The Lord Jesus will come in the last days to remove sin from His people in Heaven and on the earth.
We are not qualified to comment on the manner in which judgment takes place in the spirit realm. We do know from the fourth chapter of First Peter that we are in the last days and that judgment has begun in the household of God. Also that God is judging the living and the dead. How God judges the dead we have no idea.
We do not believe the heroes of faith are sinning in Heaven. It is our point of view that the Presence of God is so strong that sin is prevented even if it is latent in the personality.
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to behave righteously when you are in church and the Spirit of God is present in power? You are lifted out of yourself. You are carried on eagles' wings. You love everybody. You are ready to repent of all your sins.
But in the cold, gray light of Monday morning you begin to yell at your wife and children. You weren't delivered from anger just by being in a glorious service.
The sin was present in your personality while you were in church but the Presence of God overrode it in some manner. Is this a fact with you?
The Presence and Glory of God will be a hundred times as strong in the spirit Paradise in Heaven above as it is in our church services at their best!
We know most believers die with numerous aspects of their personality unjudged. They die filled with bitterness, hate, a tendency to gossip and slander, jealousy, and every evil work.
It is our personal opinion that there are all sorts of lashes and prisons, apart from Hell and the Lake of Fire, that await the sinning believer when he or she dies. Why shouldn't there be? Doesn't the Lord in the Gospels say that His servants who are cruel to their fellow servants will suffer? Whether such punishment takes place in the spirit realm after death or on the earth for those who are alive when the Lord returns is not important. It is inescapable that at some point all believers must be judged, and those who have not repented of their sins will be punished until they repent.
We are not implying that there cannot be for some people eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire, for such is stated in the Scriptures. We are speaking rather of the chastening of believers whom God has accepted so their spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord.
The believer who has worked in the ministry will be rewarded if his efforts have been wrought in Christ. But if they are found to be dead religious works the individual will be saved with no reward, the fire having destroyed the fruit of his or her life.
There is no Scripture whatever that states or implies that physical death delivers the believer from sin. The sin residing in the flesh may or may not after death remain in the flesh (sin is not physical but spiritual). Lust, lying, murder, covetousness, may accompany the believer into the spirit realm. Assuredly sins of the will, of the personality, do not vanish with death. There is no Scripture stating sin ceases to become an issue on the basis of our physical death, and we must always go by the Scripture and not by our assumptions or traditions.
Somewhere, somehow, at some point in time, the sin in every person must be dealt with.
The Scripture points toward a future salvation. We are stating that the future salvation will include the raising and glorifying of our body (if we have lived victoriously in Christ), but its first and greatest benefit will be the removing of every vestige of sin from the believers who are eagerly waiting for Him, beginning with those who are closest to the Lord.
There Are Passages of Scripture That Point Toward the Cleansing of God's People in the Last Days.
We are not without scriptural support when we claim the salvation to come in the future will include the removing of sin from God's people.
When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, (Isaiah 4:4NASB)
And He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness. (Malachi 3:3NASB)
And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:12NASB)
We can see instantly in the above passages that we are not dealing here with the forgiveness of sin but with the removal of sin from God's people.
Perhaps the clearest expression of the judgment and deliverance to come in the last days is portrayed in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew. We are referring to the parables of the tares and the wheat, and the net let down into the sea. Careful attention must be paid to the fact that we are dealing here with the Kingdom of God. There is an actual removal of wickedness from the Kingdom.
It is our point of view that all persons born on the earth have tares in them but no wheat. When Christ is born in us we have wheat in us but the tares are still there. Working out our salvation means we are cooperating with the Holy Spirit as He removes the tares from us. The removal of the tares from our personality is salvation.
After we are saved from sin we can be with the Lord wherever He is, in Heaven, on the earth, or anywhere else. So shall we ever be with the Lord. Salvation from sin makes it possible for us to have fellowship with the Lord.
He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels." (Matthew 13:37-39NIV)
The good seed stands for the sons of the Kingdom, those in whom Christ has been sown.
The weeds are the sons of the devil.
The angels will reap the harvest at the end of the age, perhaps before the Lord returns! We think the harvesting already has started. It has begun with those who are living close to the Lord.
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (Matthew 13:40,41NIV)
Again, at the end of the age, not necessarily at the return of Christ.
Notice we are speaking of His Kingdom.
We think two events are spoken of here. First, everything that causes sins will be removed. Then all who do evil will be removed.
We know well, if we are an experienced Christian, that even though we have the wheat of Christ in us we also have the weeds of the devil. We must confess these weeds and turn away from them. The Holy Spirit stands ready today to empower each of us believers to put to death the deeds of our body.
For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13NASB)
But if we do not cooperate with the Holy Spirit in removing sin from us, then we ourselves will be removed from the Kingdom. First the sin is removed from the righteous. Then those who refuse to be delivered will be removed. They are branches without the fruit God is looking for and so they will be cut off from the Vine, from Christ.
At the end of the age, which we may be entering now, everything that is wicked and lawless will be removed from the Kingdom of God. This is why we can look forward to a new world wherein dwells righteousness.
Another parable tells us the same thing.
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. "So it will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:47-50NASB)
Notice that we are speaking here of the Kingdom of Heaven. The angels will remove from the Kingdom all who practice wickedness and will not repent of their sins.
This parable contradicts the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine which teaches that the righteous will be taken to Heaven and the wicked left here. It is true rather that the wicked shall be removed from among the righteous before the Lord returns, in order to prepare His way.
We are stating that this procedure has begun with those who are living close to the Lord. We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He helps us wash our robe in the blood of the Lamb. The time is now!
After Sin Has Been Removed From God's People They Will Judge and Govern the Nations of the Earth Until Sin Has Been Removed From the Creation.
Sin will be removed from the Church, and then the Church will return with the Lord Jesus Christ and remove sin from the world. God will not permit any kind of sin to be practiced in His creation.
May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD. (Psalms 149:6-9NIV)
"Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall. Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things," says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 4:1-3NIV)
And the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Romans 16:20NASB)
Do you not know the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! (I Corinthians 6:2,3NIV)
It is clear from the above passages that God intends to judge and remove sin from the nations of the earth and that this removal of wickedness will take place at the hands of the saints.
This being true, it is obvious the saints themselves must first be judged and cleansed. An unrighteous judge cannot hold court in the Kingdom of God, not even if he or she is righteous by imputation.
Redemption Will Include the Clothing of Our Present Body with a Robe of Righteousness Provided We Have Sown to Righteousness While on the Earth
The relationship of our behavior now to the robe we will be given in the Day of the Lord is not always made clear.
If today we wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb, turning away from sin and practicing righteousness, we will be clothed in the righteousness we have practiced.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Revelation 19:7,8NASB)
Notice that the Bride makes herself ready. She does this by turning away from sin and practicing righteousness. She will be clothed in the Day of the Lord with her righteous acts.
The wicked also will be clothed in their conduct. We will receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ that which we have practiced during our life on the earth. We are going to reap precisely as we have sown. We are going to be rewarded according to our works.
This is what the Scriptures state. Today's teaching of unconditional grace is strong and widespread but it is a destructive error. The Lord hates it because it is preventing His Bride from coming to maturity.
Ask the Lord and see for yourself! I am only repeating what I think I have been shown.
Physical Death Is the Last Enemy To Be Overcome, the Other Enemies of Our Soul Must Be Overcome First.
We Christians hope for the resurrection and glorification of our body when the Lord appears. However, physical death is the last enemy to be abolished. Every other enemy must be overcome first.
We are given to eat of the tree of life only as we overcome sin through the Lord Jesus Christ. God will have no immortal sinners on His hands. God introduced physical death so He would not have to assign Adam and Eve to eternal punishment, like fallen angels.
It is God's love that made the material creation subject to corruption, decay, physical death, in the hope He one day could set it free by giving it His Holy Spirit in abundance. But such liberty cannot take place until first the sons of God have gone through the earth as an army and have judged and removed sin from the creation.
For hundreds of years Canaan, the land of promise, has been viewed as a type, or symbol, of Heaven. We have thought that to go across Jordan was to die physically and Heaven was the land of promise. Hymns have been composed with this in mind.
However, Canaan is not a type of Heaven but of the rest of God, that is, of our inheritance in the Lord. Our inheritance includes rest in the Father's will, fellowship with God and Christ, and the nations and farthest reaches of the earth. All these are the inheritance of Christ and His coheirs.
Unfortunately our land of promise, our own personality and the earth and its peoples, are bound by Satan.
We are going to have to fight our way into the land just as Israel did.
God did all the fighting when Israel left Egypt. God did not do all the fighting (although He helped) when Israel entered Canaan.
Jesus Christ did all the fighting on the cross of Calvary to redeem us from the guilt of sin. But we, as the Lord leads us, are going to have to fight every inch of the way in order to possess our land of promise.
Our enemy is formidable, an experienced warrior, wise, and utterly determined not to be dispossessed.
If you think you are going to flop into your inheritance by claiming "grace" you do not understand the Kingdom of God. You are going to have to fight your way in. The Kingdom cannot be taken by the fearful, disobedient, and unbelieving.
Christ will divide the spoil with the strong.
Perhaps the reader will agree with us that God's Word teaches that in the last days sin will be removed from the Kingdom, and finally from the nations of the earth. The sin will be judged and cast out by the power of the Spirit of God. The role of the human being in this process is to receive Christ and then cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the work of redemption.
What may trouble the reader is when and where all this is to take place.
As to where, it seems evident that much of it will take place on the earth. We have suggested also that in some manner of which we cannot be certain, judgment and deliverance will take place in the spirit realm.
But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so you can pray. (I Peter 4:5-7NIV)
Peter tells us "the end of all things is near." If that was true two thousand years ago what must be the case now?
It is our point of view that the Judgment Seat of Christ began when Jesus ascended to Heaven. This is why the Holy Spirit fell as tongues of fire, that is, of Divine judgment.
God at that time was ready to judge the living and the deadthe living and the dead!
While we do not understand how judgment proceeds in the spirit realm we know from the above passage that it does take place both in the spirit realm and with those who are alive on the earth.
There is no way in which the removal of sin, as described in the parable of the wheat and the tares and the parable of the net let down into the lake, could take place just in the spirit realm or just on the earth. To make any sense it has to take place in both realms, or so it seems to us.
Considering these factors we are of the point of view that you as an individual must respond to the Lord when He comes to you in judgment. If God was ready to judge the living and the dead in the days of Peter, then we cannot hold all judgment over to the last days. While we maintain that the salvation to come in the future is speaking of the cleansing of the believers from sin, it remains true nevertheless that we must respond when deliverance is presented to us personally.
We are of the opinion that the time of judgment and cleansing is now for many of us. You will have to seek the Lord for your own salvation. Perhaps the Holy Spirit already is dealing with you concerning sin in your life.
In no case can we say, "I will wait until I die before I repent of my sins." If you do this you will be judged as an unfaithful servant. The day of salvation is always today, always the day in which Christ comes to you.
Heaven and the Kingdom of God are not the same thing. There is much confusion over this today as though the two were synonymous.
Heaven is a place in the spirit realm. In fact, there are at least three heavens.
The Kingdom of God, on the other hand, is a realm of authority.
Heaven was on the earth, so to speak, in the garden of Eden. But the Kingdom of God was not present.
Sin began in Heaven but there is no sin in the Kingdom of God.
We must be born again in order to enter the Kingdom of God, not to enter Heaven.
The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing the creation. Heaven is, as we have said, a place in the spirit realm.
At present the Throne of God, the origin of all Kingdom law and judgment, is in Heaven. God created man so He could move His Throne from Heaven into the personalities of a company of sons. After the thousand-year Kingdom Age the Throne of God and of the Lamb will descend to earth in the glorified Church, the new Jerusalem.
It is our point of view that during the second half of Daniel's week, after the latter-rain revival, the Throne of God will move from the spirit realm into the hearts of the godly remnant who have been forced into the wilderness. Then Antichrist will govern the major cities of the earth. Antichrist will have power to reach into the heavens, but he will not have power to reach the Throne of God for by that time it shall have been established for eternity in the hearts of the saints.
Then the water of eternal life will issue from the innermost being of the saints because the Holy Spirit always comes from the Throne of God, from nowhere else.
It is hard to believe but there is coming a day in which there will be no sin.
Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy place. (Daniel 9:24NASB)
There yet will be an end of sin. There yet will be a world of everlasting righteousness. The wrestling match with Satan will be concluded and Satan will be thrown into the bottomless pit, and finally into the Lake of Fire. Hallelujah!
Notice carefully the following:
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21NIV)
Now, why didn't the Apostle Paul say "Those who live like this will not inherit Heaven?"
The reason is, inheriting Heaven is not the issue of the Bible. The issue is inheriting the Kingdom of God. There is no sin in the Kingdom of God because the Kingdom is the realm in which God's will is done, God's will is enforced. No one can inherit the Kingdom of God on the basis of grace or mercy.
We can enter the program of salvation by grace. The purpose of the program of salvation is to help us cleanse ourselves from sin so we can be part of the Kingdom of God.
If an individual keeps on breaking the laws of the government of any country he or she will be put in prison and will be denied the rights of the citizens of the country.
The same is true of the Kingdom of God. If a believer keeps on breaking the laws of the Kingdom of God he or she will be put in prison and will be denied the rights of the citizens of the Kingdom of God. It is as simple as that.
The Kingdom of God rules in Heaven. Our prayer is that the Kingdom will come to the earth so God's will is done in the earth, not so we will go to Heaven to live with the angels.
When God's will is done in the earth the earth will become Paradise. Then all we are hoping for in Heaven will be on the earth. Heaven today is a staging area for the army of the Lord that soon will invade the earth.
Have you ever been in a situation where there has been so much trouble you wish to leave and never return? There are too many bad memories associated with the time you spent there?
This is the way it is with the Lord. He has determined to put His Throne among the saved nations of the earth. He is leaving Heaven, the place of the great rebellion.
All this time Satan has had access to Heaven.
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. (Job 1:6NASB)
We know the story, how Satan raised the question of Job. Can you imagine how tired God is of hearing the voice of the Accuser?
Jesus, in vision, saw Satan falling from Heaven. The occasion was the casting out of demons by the disciples.
And the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning." (Luke 10:17,18NASB)
However the Scripture appears to indicate Satan is not finally cast from Heaven until the end of the Church Age.
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled downthat ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: "Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short." (Revelation 12:7- 12NIV)
Imagine, Satan is still accusing us before the Throne of God. Can you see now why we say God is sick and tired of the whole thing and is ready to move His Throne?
Notice, in the passage above, the tremendous joy among those who dwell in Heaven. But big trouble has now come to the earth.
Therefore God will shake the earth and the heavens. He will shake and shake and shake them violently until everything that has not been established in Jesus Christ is removed from its place.
The shaking will affect all of God's creatures. There may be disaster on all sides of you. Eleven thousand people may be slain in your immediate vicinity. But you shall emerge unscathed if your whole personality is founded in Jesus Christ, is dwelling in the secret place of the most High.
But the part of your personality that is not founded in Jesus Christ is vulnerable to the Divine shaking. The Lake of Fire has a claim on all sin whether it is in a Christian or a non-Christian.
Antichrist shall reach up to the heavens in the last days. God will permit all to be tested and shaken until every trace of rebellion has been removed, beginning, as we have said, with those who are closest to Him.
What or who is Antichrist? The spirit of Antichrist is man making himself god. We think there will be an individual, male or female, who will sum up in himself or herself the modern attitude that man is the only god there is.
The False Prophet is the attempt of people to use the things of Christ apart from carrying their personal cross. They will try to use the power of Christ according to the desires of their own soul. The False Prophet will be the main supporter of the Antichrist government of the last days.
The philosophy of government termed democracy is much too close to the idea of man being his own god for Christians to be comfortable with it. Thank God for the opportunity to worship Christ without being tortured or imprisoned; but this very liberty may be concealing a greater evil. We need to be very careful from now to the end of the age.
According to Daniel the Antichrist will reach up into the very heavens and tear down part of the host. In other words, the spirit of man making himself god will seek to enter Heaven and infect the inhabitants with rebellion. God will not prevent this. He has a greater plan that will result in an end of sin and rebellion and the entrance of everlasting righteousness.
And it grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down. It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down. (Daniel 8:10,11NASB)
Do you remember the building of the Tower of Babel?
And they said, "Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name; lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11:4NASB)
"Whose top will reach into heaven"!
Declaring War Against the Enemies of God and the Reconciling of Every Aspect of Our Personality to God Are the Spiritual Fulfillments of the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement of the Old Testament.
Seven feasts of the Lord were celebrated in the Old Testament and are still observed by Jewish people to the present day.
The first three feasts typify the basics of our salvation experience.
The fourth feast is Pentecost, speaking of the Holy Spirit.
Many of us may not be acquainted as yet with the spiritual fulfillment of the last three feasts.
The fifth feast is the Blowing of Trumpets. We are entering this era now. The Blowing of Trumpets represents the war and judgment of which we have spoken in this essay. The Lord of Hosts, the Lord Jesus Christ, is coming to those who are close to Him and asking for entrance. If we open the door and permit Him to enter (we Christians) He will dine with us on His own body and blood, for it is the body and blood of Christ that are our life, our resurrection, our covenant with the Lord.
Then He will declare war on His enemies remaining in our personality. Also He will discipline us that we may become a part of His army.
The sixth feast is the Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement speaks of the reconciling of every part of our personality to God.
In these days, as the Holy Spirit moves upon you, you will discover several parts of your personality are not reconciled to God. They rebel against God. They become angry with the Lord. Every trace of rebellion in you must be put down. You must be reconciled to God, not just legally through the blood of the cross but actually in your being and behavior.
Your mind, your emotions, your motivations, your imaginations, your speech, your actionsall must be reconciled to the Father. You must be sternly obedient to God in thought, in speech, and in action.
There must not remain in you the slightest trace of rebellion against the Father. As long as sin remains in you, you will be shaken severely in the last days.
Notice our frequent use of the word must. You must do this. You must do that. Today we are hearing, concerning putting away sin, we ought to do this; we ought to do that. The term ought is accompanied by the idea that even if we do not obey Christ we still will go to Heaven to live forever.
The truth is, we must obey Christ. If we do not there are terrible consequences.
The seventh and last feast is the feast of Tabernacles. After God has finished with the enemies in your personality, He and Christ will come and make Their eternal abode in you. This is the rest of God and the fullness of our salvation.
When we are at Pentecost the Holy Spirit comes upon us as rain from Heaven.
When we are at Tabernacles the Holy Spirit issues from the Throne of God within us.
As you move through the last three feasts it will seem as though God is angry with you. He will tear you, but then bind you up. You will receive double punishment for all your sins, but then your iniquity will be pardoned, your warfare accomplished. He will hide His face from you for a short season, but then He will appear again as your eternal inheritance.
Hopefully the reader has gained a feeling for what is at hand in the Kingdom of God. We are facing war and judgmentvicious, unrelenting war until all that is sinful and rebellious has been destroyed from the Kingdom of God.
We always have known that such judgment and cleansing had to come sometime. It is not possible that the holy city, or the new world of righteousness of which Peter speaks, is holy or righteous by imputation alone. If such were the case we would have no paradise to look forward to, only the same old jealousy, competition, anger, lust, treachery.
No matter how wonderful were the buildings and environment of the new Jerusalem, if the people were unchanged there would be no hope.
But God has given us hope. He is going to make an end of sin. Christ already has paid the price to remove the guilt of our sin. Now all that remains is the removal of the presence of sin itself, and this God has promised to do.
It is wonderful to imagine the beauty, love, peace, and joy of the world toward which we are moving. But all of this would be disappointing if it were not for the fact that all the people will be righteous, holy, and totally obedient to the will of God. This is the best part of the new world.
Have you ever been on a family picnic that you looked forward to for weeks? The weather is perfect. The setting is peaceful and attractive. All the family members are present and healthy. There is a little stream where the children can sail their boats.
But before the day is over there is arguing and fighting among the family members.
So it would be in Paradise if we were not changed.
We have the promise. Salvation is coming. It is the same Christ but now in much more abundance. Jesus has kept the good wine until now. Let us keep that hope before us. It will save us by keeping us from the sin that so easily snares us.
Keep pressing the battle. It will be over before you know it. Sooner than you think the twelfth chapter of Isaiah will be your daily bread, for this is the eternal testimony of those who dwell in the feast of Tabernacles.
"You were angry with me, O God, but now You have become my song, my strength, my salvation. Now I will draw water from Your Throne in my heart and multitudes will come and drink. This will bring me joy beyond my comprehension as I see spiritually dead mankind come to life.
"Arise, O God, You and the ark of Your covenant. Attack Your enemies, beginning with me. Make every rebel the footstool of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"You have brought me through the Valley of Achor. All that I am and possess has been buried under the stones of judgment. But You have become my Husband and I will sing as I haven't sung since I was young.
"I have been saved. I am being saved. And I know in the future you will come without sin bringing the fullness of salvation. Therefore I keep my eyes on You for You alone are my salvation.
"Do not tarry, Lord, for the nations are becoming depraved beyond measure. Like Nineveh of old they cannot tell their right hand from their left.
"But our eyes and the eyes of our little ones are on you, O Lord. Come and save us that we may live with You forever where there is no sin but everlasting righteousness.
"Come quickly, Lord Jesus."