THE OLD TESTAMENT HOUSE OF THE LORD: SEVENTEEN

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THE OLD TESTAMENT HOUSE OF THE LORD: SEVENTEENCopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

("The Old Testament House of the Lord: Seventeen" is taken from The Tabernacle of the Congregation, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)

Christ Will Rule on the Earth

God Available Through the Church

The Goal of the Christian Life

The Promised Land Is the Earth

Revolutionary Force

Practical Impact of the Kingdom Concept

Christ Will Rule on the Earth

Christ will rule on the earth. The mistake in concept we make concerning the coming of Christ and the Kingdom of God appears to be the reverse of the mistake in concept made by the Jews. The Jews were picturing the coming of Christ to be the advent of a powerful military-political ruler who would restore the authority and power of the kingdoms of David and Solomon.

But Christ came as a spiritual ruler over the hearts of men. The Kingdom of God has come as a Seed that is planted in the heart. At first the Seed is small. But if it is tended carefully by the diligent convert, the Seed will grow and branch out until it extends into every part of the overcoming Christian—spirit, soul, and body.

The Jews were looking for another Joshua or David or Solomon. But Christ came as Lord of the inner man of the heart.

Now we Christians, in so many instances, are looking for the return of a spiritual Christ who will carry our spirits to a spiritual existence in Heaven where departed souls float about carrying harps and doing we know not what.

In fact, Christ's inheritance is the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. He is Lord also of the heavens and all the personages therein.

Christ is coming as a conquering warrior—God's Commander in Chief. He is far more powerful than any Caesar! He shall assume the rulership of the present earth.

Satan held out the prize of dominion over the earth to Christ during Christ's temptation in the wilderness. Satan knew the rulership of the earth is a permanent, strong desire of Christ, that desire having been put in His heart by the Lord God. The law of obedience in Christ prevented Him from accepting at that time.

However, God has decreed that Christ indeed shall govern this earth and all the glory of it. Christ now is waiting patiently until all who would contest His rulership are put under His feet.

Christ is coming again, and this time to exercise His lordship over the earth. As soon as the Church has been prepared to govern with Him the reign of God will extend into the politics and business of the earth.

When we Christians think of Heaven as being the focus of our efforts concerning the building of the Kingdom of God it becomes quite difficult for us to grasp much of the Scriptures. The writings of the Hebrew Prophets, as well as the text of the Book of Revelation, then will not admit to a direct, unforced interpretation.

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)

The authority to govern the nations of the earth has been promised to Christ and the saints—to those who keep the works of God to the end. We must overcome through Christ every obstacle to God's will placed in our path. If we hold back we never will overcome the world, Satan, or our own fleshly nature and self-will. The reward of rulership in the earth is for the victorious saints. Satan will do all he can to prevent our wresting dominion over the earth from him.

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (Hebrews 10:38)

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)

In the second chapter of Isaiah we find in the last days the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, is to be "exalted above the hills." This expression means the Church will be the strongest political power on earth. It indicates also the state of Israel is to become the greatest Christian nation on earth.

The dominion will be given to Christ and the saints at the sounding of the last trumpet, which is to say at the hour of the first resurrection—the time of the redemption of the bodies of the saints.

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)

We have emphasized for so long that Christians go to Heaven—and they surely do, temporarily—we may have forgotten that the plan of God is to set His Son as Ruler over the earth. The kingdoms of this world are to become the Kingdom of God and Christ. God shall rule over the earth through His beloved Son, Christ; and through the Christian Church, which is the Body of Christ.

The Kingdom of God is portrayed in Isaiah:2:3:

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain [center of government—capital city] of the Lord, to the house [dwelling place—capitol building] of the God of Jacob;

The dwelling place of the God of Jacob is Christ—Head and Body.

And he will teach us of his ways.

God will teach the peoples of the earth by ministering to them through the members of the Church, just as He does today only under surpassingly glorious conditions.

And we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion [the Body of Christ] shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Consider the converted will of earth's peoples—a conversion brought about by the total destruction of Satan's presence and power, the destruction that will take place at the revealing of the sons of God.

The preceding passage from the second chapter of Isaiah describes the rule of God in Christ, through the Church, over the saved peoples of the earth. It is the Kingdom of God.

Both the Old and New Testaments have much to say about the Kingdom of God that is to be set up on the earth.

And they [the mourners in Zion, the trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord] 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)

Notice in the next verse the reverential awe in which the Church will be held by the peoples of the earth, after Christ returns:

And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. (Isaiah 61:9)

Here is the concept of the peoples of the earth being able to witness the Glory of Christ on His Body, as described in John 17:21-23. And then the response of the Christian saint upon his being glorified at the coming of the Lord Jesus:

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)

Followed by the promise of God concerning the Body of Christ:

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

Let us point out a few more of the many passages that refer to the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth:

That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; (Genesis 22:17)

It is wonderful to think of Christ in His Body being as the stars of the heaven (countless) and as the sand on the seashore.

The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (Genesis 49:10)

All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations. (Psalms 22:27,28)

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalms 46:10)

For the Lord most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet. (Psalms 47:2,3)

All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah. (Psalms 66:4)

Sing unto God, ye kingdoms of the earth; O sing praises unto the Lord; Selah: (Psalms 68:32)

All the earth would have worshiped and have sung to the Lord Jesus at His first appearance had not wicked men put Him to death. At His next appearance they will not find it as easy to shut His mouth and stop His hands.

The governments of the earth may not realize it as yet, but the day is coming when they will praise the Lord and meekly submit to His authority. Woe to them if they do not!

He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. (Psalms 72:6-11)

The promise of the coming Day, when the Glory of God will fill the earth, appears several times in the Scripture.

Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations. (Psalms 82:8)

The nations of the earth are God's gift to Christ.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. (Psalms 96:9,10)

One of the problems with human governments and rulers is that they do not judge the people "righteously." Because of the sin and other limitations of human rulers, personal and social injustices abound. Sometimes injustices are corrected. Sometimes they are ignored or even made worse. It always shall be so with human government.

There will be little personal or social justice and righteousness until Christ becomes the ruler of the world. The Kingdom of God contains the only solutions to the bewildering problems with which the peoples of the earth are faced in the present hour.

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth. (Psalms 96:11-13)

"He cometh to judge the earth."

The preceding passage describes the beneficial impact on the natural environment when the Lord returns with His saints. When Jesus was on the earth the first time, the trees, waves, storms, and fish obeyed Him. The presence of sin in the earth has had a corrupting effect on the world of nature. When sin has been removed from the earth, the creation itself will be "delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Romans 8:21).

In Psalms 96 the Spirit of Christ in David is exhorting all nature, and perhaps in symbolic form the peoples of the earth, to respond joyfully to the coming of Christ.

A hostile response can lead only to the destruction of the individual and the nation. Christ shall reign over the earth with a rod of iron, and it will be a period of never-ending happiness and joy for all who receive Him gladly.

In that day [the Day of the Lord—the coming of Christ] shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: (Isaiah 4:2,3)

The Lord Jesus will have "a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." It will be "holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:27). It will be the "beautiful and glorious" branch, of Isaiah, Chapter Four.

When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (Isaiah 4:4)

Observe the terms, "spirit of judgment," and "spirit of burning." These refer to the baptism with fire that purges the saint. Compare Matthew 3:11,12. Anyone who has set his mind on reigning with Christ must prepare himself for the fiery trial of his motives and deeds. Are we willing to be baptized with the baptism of fire? We cannot reign with Christ apart from suffering with Christ.

And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion [the Body of Christ], 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 [the "camp of the saints" of Revelation 20:9]. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. (Isaiah 4:5,6)

The above passage is interesting because it points toward the day when the Church will be established as God's Glory in the earth but when there yet will be trouble in the earth. Note the expressions: "for upon all the glory shall be a defence"; and "a place of refuge"; and "covert from storm and from rain."

It is our understanding that this period of simultaneous glory and trouble may be the tribulation period just preceding the return of the Lord, or possibly the Kingdom Age, the age when the Kingdom of God is further refined and perfected.

God Available Through the Church

The rulership of God through the Christian Church is the fulfillment of the words of Jesus, "Ye are the light of the world." The Christian Church will be set up in the earth as the center of government and teaching for the redeemed nations. God will be available through the Church to the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

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)

Compare: Ye are the light of the world.

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)

Ye are the light of the world.

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)

Ye are the light of the world.

In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21,22)

Ye are the light of the world.

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

Ye are the light of the world.

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)

Ye are the light of the world.

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. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:1-3)

Ye are the light of the world.

The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. (Isaiah 60:19)

Ye are the light of the world.

For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. (Isaiah 62:1,2)

Ye are the light of the world.

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2:15)

Ye are the light of the world.

It is recorded in the first chapter of Genesis that God gave light on the earth. The light mentioned in verses 3 and 4 was not the light of the sun, moon, or stars, for they had not been created as yet.

Perhaps the light of Genesis 1:3-5 was the same light that will proceed from the Body of Christ and provide illumination for the nations of the earth. It is noteworthy that both at the beginning of the old creation and the beginning of the new creation the light proceeds from a source other than the sun, moon, and stars. The Lord prefers men walk by His Spirit rather than by human reasoning.

The Goal of the Christian Life

The goal of the Christian life is not residence in Heaven. Heaven is a definite place and all Christians hope to be gathered to their loved ones in Heaven. However, the spiritual Heaven is but a station along the way.

The true goal of the Christian pilgrimage is the victorious resurrection from the dead: the receiving of eternal life in the inner man, and finally the redemption of the mortal body. The redemption of the mortal body includes the clothing of the body with its heavenly counterpart (II Corinthians 5:12).

The raising of the mortal body from the dead is the resurrection. The clothing of our resurrected flesh and bones with the "house from heaven" is the glorification—the reward of the overcomer. We may think of the glorification (in terms of the Tabernacle of the Congregation) as being the gold (heavenly body) upon the wood (earthly body).

The victorious resurrection of the body into glory, according to what we have been stating, is a condition that the believer must attain. It is not a state into which all church members will arrive because of their profession of faith in Christ and therefore is to be taken for granted.

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

All persons shall be raised from the dead in the last day, but not all will be raised to eternal life in the Presence of the Lord.

The Promised Land Is the Earth

It is important for us to realize the land of promise of the Christian Church is the earth—especially the inhabitants thereof. Part of this inheritance is our own body (Romans 8:11).

Until we grasp the concept that the purposes of God are directed toward the earth rather than toward the spirit Paradise it is difficult to understand the nature of the redemption that is in Christ or the purpose of the Temple of God. The idea of the Christians becoming a royal priesthood remains a figure of speech.

When we understand that this earth and the peoples of it are our inheritance, our land of promise, then the thought of being a royal priest becomes meaningful. Is it true indeed that this earth and the people in it are our land of promise, as symbolized in the Old Testament by the land of Canaan?

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)

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)

The nations of the earth are Christ's inheritance: "even as I received of my Father."

And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)

"We shall reign on the earth"! "On the earth "!

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 first resurrection, you may recall, is the goal of Paul's attaining, mentioned in Philippians 3:11. It can be seen that the concepts of resurrection and governing are tied together. The rulership is over the nations of the earth (see context of Revelation 20:6). Paul was aware of the rulership of the saints over the nations of the earth and he was setting himself toward this rulership.

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

Christ's princes will rule with Him.

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

Revolutionary Force

And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. (Micah 5:8)

And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4:3)

The emphasis in Micah 5:8 and Malachi 4:3 is on the fierceness of the manner in which the saints will confront the people and spirits of the earth. A student of history will recognize the pattern. Ordinarily when there is a change of government in the earth there is accompanying violence and revolution. The nature of people is such that government must be installed and maintained by force.

In every nation the government is maintained by the armed forces. We may not think about this until there is a serious attempt to interfere with the decisions of the government. Then there is reliance on various agencies that enforce the decisions with weapons.

When we are referring to the rule of Christ over the nations of the earth, and when we are speaking of the kingship, the political rule of the saints, we are indicating changes in the government of the earth.

This is why the contexts of the passages referring to the Day of the Lord refer to lions, tearing in pieces, the execution of judgment, armies from heaven, threshing the nations in anger, and so forth.

It is incorrect to picture the second coming of Christ as the appearing of a dove who will gently flit about while the heads of state graciously turn over to Him their authority.

Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords—the avenging Lamb of God. He will return in thunderous power and royal majesty to rule with a rod of iron. Woe to anyone who attempts to resist Him!

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the farthest reaches of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalms 2:8-12)

Anyone who believes that the nations of the earth will not wage war against God and His Christ does not understand mankind and does not know the Scriptures.

One of God's names is the Lord of Hosts. God is a warrior, a Man of battle. Mankind is determined to rule without God and will fight against God. Witness the treatment accorded the Son of God when He came to the earth. When He returns, ambitious men will attempt to murder Him once more. There is no end to the wickedness of Satan-inspired men.

So incensed will be the heads of state at the new Ruler that they will attempt to resist Him.

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)

When Israel invaded Canaan, the land of promise, the Jews had to drive out the inhabitants. There was fierce resistance and much blood was shed. Israel fell back many times before the desperate counterattacks of the Canaanites.

The nation of Israel never did occupy fully the land of promise. To this day their right to even a small part of the area is being contested bitterly. It is no light thing to invade another nation's homeland and wrest it from them, destroying the natives in the process. Men will fight desperately when defending their families and homes.

So it is today. The whole world, including our physical body, is influenced by the kingdom of darkness. The evil powers consider the world and its inhabitants their possession. They will not give up their claim without a terrific struggle.

As to Satan's influence on the world:

And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. (I John 5:19)

Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. (John 16:11)

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)

As to Satan's influence on our physical body:

Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:17).

Sin dwells in every person. No one understands this more clearly than the Christian who is attempting to live victoriously in Jesus.

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. (Romans 7:18-20)

Sin dwells in our flesh. The flesh itself is neutral, being composed of chemicals. It is the spiritual power of sin, of Satan, that exerts influence on the flesh of man, including the flesh of Christians.

I find then a law [a law of sin, of Satan], that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God [the Ten Commandments] after the inner man [the conscience, and the inborn Nature of Christ in the case of the Christian, that love God and His ways]: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind [the desire of the righteous man to please God], and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. (Romans 7:21-23)

The seventh chapter of Romans stresses that many people, including Christians, are determined to do God's will and the desires of their flesh and fleshly mind make it difficult for them to do so. The true Christian life is a struggle to overcome the world, Satan, and our own lusts and self-will. It is a continual battle, one in which we must be unceasingly diligent, maintaining a solid front of faith and looking to God in prayer every moment.

Our Lord, Christ, gives us total victory over sin each day if we seek Him with our whole heart. We must learn to come under the discipline of the Holy Spirit, for when we walk in the Spirit we do not fulfill the lusts of our flesh (Galatians 5:16).

The battle and the overcoming must be accomplished in the guidance and strength of God. It is not in the power of man to please God because of the weakness of man's flesh and because of the cunning opposition of the adversary.

We desire not to be bitter, not to backbite, not to speak or act spitefully, not to lust, not to become impatient. It requires a constant seeking of God to be able to resist. We seem to be pushed constantly toward thoughts, words, and action that our mind rejects as sinful.

Such continual temptation is true of all Christians from the least spiritual to the most spiritual. There is no letup from the forces of evil. The murderous, lying, lustful pressure is on day and night. Whatever else may be true of the Christian pilgrimage, it is a battle. The spoils of war go to the conqueror.

There is, as Paul instructs us, a law of sin. The law of sin is the will of Satan and it dominates the age in which we are living. The evidence of this is before our eyes throughout the world. Yet the earth, by Divine edict, belongs to Christ and is the land of promise. Someday we will have the opportunity to wrest it completely from the hands of the adversary.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:11,12)

Our land of promise, the earth, is governed at the present time—but not by us! The whole world is under the influence of Satan and his horde of rebels. The condition of Christians in the present hour may be compared to that of the Hebrews when they were in the wilderness. We are learning lessons that God deems necessary for our continuing association with Him in His purposes. It is the Divine curriculum and the Holy Spirit is our Teacher.

The Tabernacle of the Congregation was in the possession of the Hebrews while they yet were in the wilderness. The Tabernacle was being carried by the Hebrews toward the land of promise. The Israelites were bringing God Himself into Canaan.

So it is with us Christians. We have the Lord Jesus in our heart while we are making our way through this world. We still are in the wilderness. We are in the process of bringing the Presence of God in Christ into the land of promise, which is the earth. It is a slow journey, not only because of the resistance presented by the devil and his forces in the world but also because of the unbelief and hardness of our own heart.

But the day certainly shall come, as foretold by the Prophets, when the Christians (anointed people of God; anointed by the Holy Spirit; anointed to be a royal priesthood) possess the earth. We will bring the Tabernacle of God, the re-created Christian heart, into the earth. Thus God and we will come into our inheritance at the same time; we being dependent on Him, and He on us. This extraordinary plan was created by our wise and loving Father in Heaven.

Jesus must be patient until God works out His entire plan. The Kingdom of God is associated with patience, hope, and expectation.

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (Hebrews 10:12,13)

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:9)

We also must learn to rest in God until He brings the earth into subjection to the Spirit of Christ. It is a slow process, from the human point of view, but the end already has been announced. We will possess the earth if we continue in Christ and are not moved away from steadfast faith and hope in Him.

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13,14)

The above is a description of Jesus and His saints receiving the nations of the earth for Their inheritance. We are coheirs with Him.

Satan attempted to persuade Jesus to turn aside from God (just as he does us) by saying, "All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me" (Matthew 4:9). Satan was referring to "the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them." The desire for rulership already had been put in the heart of Christ by the Father.

It is true also of us that the desire for the possession of one thing or another may be present to a degree. Satan will play craftily on this God-given desire. If the adversary can, he will persuade us to turn aside from God in order to fulfill our desire. We need to be careful because Satan does not always attack us frontally or in an obvious manner.

Sometimes the suggestions of Satan are concealed in a religious setting and we make the horrible error of the Pharisees: we oppose Christ as we try misguidedly to rule in God.

If we stay with God and are willing to be made of no reputation we will be exalted in God's time. We need much patience so after (sometimes a long time after) we do the will of God we may receive the promise of fruitfulness, or rulership, or whatever God has laid on our heart.

But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole Heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. (Daniel 7:26,27)

The vision described in the seventh chapter of Daniel must, we believe, be carved into the consciousness of the Church of Christ. It portrays the destiny of the Body of Christ.

Perhaps our concept of the fruition of the Christian life has been limited to our heavenly citizenship. It may be true that our problems, worries, sickness, bills, and so forth vanish when we die and go to Heaven. We look forward with joy to entering Paradise at our decease and to being reunited with our loved ones there. This glorious hope keeps us moving forward in Christ.

The Lord Jesus is anticipating our being made one with Him. We anticipate being forever with our Lord. Together we (Jesus and we) wait on the will of the heavenly Father as He brings all peoples and circumstances toward the Day of days when the anointed Servant of the Lord, Christ—Head and Body—is commissioned to go through the earth, destroying sin and bringing eternal righteousness, peace, and joy to every person who will receive with a glad heart the lordship of Christ.

Practical Impact of the Kingdom Concept

Let us pause for a moment to consider the immediate, practical aspect of the teaching concerning the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. Any teaching that proceeds from God must move us in a practical manner toward worship, holiness, and obedience to God.

The concept of reigning in the earth, under the jurisdiction of and in cooperation with God in Christ, holds true now, not only in the distant future. If we will serve Christ today we become a royal priest. The scope is not nearly as great as what is coming, but the essence is the same. We can be the house of Christ and God now.

We can learn to rule in God over the small part of the earth that has been assigned to us, even if it is a prison cell. We can serve God as a ruling priest by performing in absolute faithfulness and diligence the duties that have been given us by the Lord.

If we are faithful in the little domain that presently is assigned to us we will be faithful in the larger area. If we are not faithful and diligent with the talents and opportunities now at hand we will be not faithful over a larger area, and we have no hope of being assigned a large scope of responsibilities by the Lord.

It is not true that we will be plucked suddenly from a careless, halfhearted Christian life into a grand rulership with Christ. It shall never happen. The Scripture teaches against it by revealing that the promises of such glory are reserved for conquerors. It is a false hope, and the believer holding this hope is in deception. If we cannot rule in Christ today, in our present circumstances, we will not be able to rule in the Day of the Lord. We are on our proving ground now.

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. (Matthew 25:14,15)

Many of us may be familiar with this parable but never have thought about its meaning.

And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (Matthew 25:20,21)

The joy of the Lord, in this instance, is rulership over the earth. The nations are the inheritance of Christ. We are destined to enter the joy of rulership with our Lord Jesus provided we are faithful in the diligent use of our gifts and ministries, as the Holy Spirit leads and enables; and in bearing our cross as Christ directs us.

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)

If Christ's inheritance is the nations, and we are coheirs with Christ, then our inheritance is the nations.