SALVATION: SEVENCopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
("Salvation: Seven" is taken from Three Deaths and Three Resurrections: Volume One, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
As soon as we begin to examine the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit we can see that we are in the realm of the adversary. Let us take a look at the negative side of our personalitythat which must be destroyed out of us by the Lord.
Love is the first aspect of the fruit of the Spirit. The opposite of love is hate. Hate is foremost among the qualities that characterize the enemy, the adversary. Satan is a murderer. He is the personification of hatred. He has filled the earth with bitterness, malice, backbiting, anger, wrath, evil speaking, competition, violence, gossip, slander, jealousy, envy, and war.
The devil sets person against person, nation against nation. He is the creator of the divisions between the young and the old, between man and wife, between father and son, mother and daughter. He is the accuser, the whisperer, the evil speaker, the author of suspicions. Satan pierces the human mind with jealousy and rage.
The root of murder and all its branches grow in the appetites of the flesh of man, and the flesh of man is set on fire by the fire of Hell. One of the fiercest of the fires burning out of control is the fire of hatred. God is love personified. The adversary is hatred personified.
The negative aspect of redemption is the destruction of hatred out of our personality. The positive aspect of redemption is the creation of Divine love in us and the healing of the damage done to our personality by the hatred that at one time lived in us.
Hatred is more than the absence of love. It is an evil force dwelling in our flesh, being part of the law of sin that abides in our members.
Love is more than the absence of hatred. It is Divine Life that can dwell in us and overcome the hatred to which the flesh is prone.
God is destroying evil out of us and creating good in us. He destroys Satan in us and creates Christ in us. He brings His love to His heavenly Kingdom. Satan and his hatred are cast into the Lake of Fire. God abhors mixtures. He prefers that everything in His creation have integrity in itself. God not only creates Christ in us but also destroys wickedness out of us.
It is not enough to possess Christ, we also must accept the judgment, destruction, and removal of the wickedness that dwells in us. Both works proceed simultaneouslyadding the Substance of Christ to us and putting to death the evil.
When our "eye is single" our whole body is full of light. A house divided against itself cannot stand. When there is both good and evil in us we are in conflict. Either good or evil must triumph. We cannot continue for long without a decision. We will come to love the good and reject the evil or we will come to love the evil and reject the good.
We make the decision. If our decision is the correct one (and the Lord will help us if we call on Him), God will fill us with His love and remove the hatred and anger from us.
When we obey the will of the Spirit of God, being obedient to His guidance and walking in His counsel, the love of God grows in us. The love of God is not fleshly love but is of Divine Substance and enters us from above. The quality of God's love is as high above our love as the heavens are high above the earth.
Satan, who desires to be like the Most High, expresses a counterfeit that he terms "love." When combined with the soulish love of people it teaches human beings to ally themselves against God. The soulish, satanic love of people is often mistaken for genuine love, and is preached by humanists everywhere. But one would be safer dwelling with a pride of lions than with humanists filled with their kind of love.
Humanistic "love' is a thinly disguised lust and sometimes leads to immorality and sexual perversion. Humanistic love turns to hatred and rage in a moment of time.
Howbeit he would not hearken unto her voice: but, being stronger than she, forced her, and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone. (II Samuel 13:14,15)
The strength of God's love is as strong as God is strong and is as eternal as God is eternal. Our human love is sentimental and self-centered. God's love is pure, clean, healing, liberating.
When we give way to the will of the adversary, being obedient to his guidance and walking in his paths, the hatred that is from Satan grows in us. This hatred is not restricted to fleshly hatred but is of demonic substance. It originates in the spirits of Hell. The quality of the hatred of the adversary is so violent, so ugly, so void of compassion, that the flesh of man cannot contain it all.
The evil men of history are expressions of this foul hatred, but we have not as yet witnessed the most wicked exhibitions of Hell. The culmination of evil has been reserved for the last days, and we now are entering the end of the present age when we will see the full fury of Hell rage on the earth.
We are wise if we choose quickly whether we wish to have the fruit of the Holy Spirit growing in us or the fruit of the adversary. It is not possible to remain neutral. The night is coming when the individual no longer will be able to choose how he or she behaves. The spirit realm is approaching war. Christ will confront Satan. Each person will be moved by one power or the other.
The opposite of joy is sorrow. Sin appears to be enjoyable for a while but eventually brings sorrow, remorse, and torment. The enjoyment sin brings always is accompanied by remorse, grief, destruction, lawlessness, and every other tormenting factor. The individual walking in sin is a person of sorrow, not of joy. It is only the Christian who possesses joy in the midst of severe problems.
The sinner possesses sorrow while abiding in the land of plenty. There always is fretfulness and misery when one is living in contradiction to the laws of God. That which is pleasurable at first is soon followed by disgust, dissatisfaction, unrest, irritation, problems, grief, and trouble. Those who abide in the palaces of pleasure must obtain their measure of satisfaction from alcohol or from some type of drug or other excess.
The servant of the Lord discovers peace and blessing in unlikely circumstances. His anthem of praise and joy ascends from the prison cell. His chains form a ladder that reaches from earth to Heaven. Surely hatred and misery will follow the sinner all the days of his life but there will be goodness and mercy for those who love the Lord.
The opposite of peace is unrest. How true it is that sin brings unrest! We behold sin being practiced without restraint in the world today. Following that sin always and inevitably, be it the sin of an individual or of a nation, is the wild unrest and confusion that sin creates.
Endless amounts of money, intelligence, and time are being applied today in the search for an end to violence; but everywhere we turn there are new accounts of astonishing crime and viciousness of all kinds. Violence, unrest, and confusion are increasing, and will continue to increase because sin is becoming more virulent and perverse.
The fruit of walking in the appetites of the flesh is a continual state of uproar in spirit, soul, and body. Peace is an exceedingly precious treasure but it is the exclusive property of the Holy Spirit of God. There is no peace for the wicked. The fruit of abiding in the Spirit of God is a deep, imperturbable kind of peace that endures through the most difficult circumstances and holds equally steady during seasons of refreshing.
We are free to choose between the fruit of sin (hatred, grief, and unrest) and the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy and peace).
The quality of longsuffering characterizes the saint of the Lord The opposite of longsuffering is impatience. Impatience demands that we break every law of God and man until we obtain what we desire and feel we must have. We must have it at once. Such impatience produces every evil work.
Much that truly is worthwhile and good in life requires patience for its accomplishment, attainment, or winning. Trees grow slowly. One of the prime disciplines of Christian discipleship is that of bearing cheerfully throughout seasons of delayed gratification, accepting self-denial, so we may achieve our desires in God's way and in God's time.
The saint goes to his knees in prayer and beseeches God for the needs and desires of his heart and life. These desires are purified, and in God's time the blessing comessometimes a thousandfold more glorious than the saint could have asked or thought.
Evil forces are not patient. The murderer who wrenches and rapes his surroundings in the insane passions of his dark lusts never can obtain satisfaction. Each conquest adds to the inferno mounting in him. His impatience and lust never can be satiated and will drive him into Hell, there to torment him throughout eternity.
Gentleness (kindness) is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit of God. The opposite of kindness is harshness and roughness the violation of human dignity and the forcing of people and circumstances.
The ways of God are peaceful, full of hope and good will. The ways of sin are rough, brutal, harsh, unkind, creating fear, confusion, worry, and every other wicked attitude and atmosphere. Human beings, and animals also, respond readily to kindness and gentleness. No one enjoys being beaten harshly into performing a task or obeying a command.
The Spirit of God invites us to accept the goodness of God and leads us gently into eternal life. Evil spirits come with deception, driving us with harshness and fear in the path that leads to destruction of spirit, soul, and body.
God is capable of sudden, violent action; but this type of treatment is reserved for His enemies. His manner is that of kindness when he is bringing us along in the program of redemption. Jesus' sheep know His voice. They will not follow the voice of a stranger.
Our part as people of God is to be adults in understanding but children in malice. We are to be gentle to all people, apt to teach, patient. If we behave in this manner, the Holy Spirit will present Christ to our listeners. We must not force anyone to do God's will. We are to invite each person in kindness, and then leave the rest of the task to the Holy Spirit, who is gentle as a dove.
In time past the Christian Church, in certain instances, has attempted to carry out the program of the Kingdom of God by treating people harshlytorturing heretics, strangling them, burning them at the stake. Can you imagine the Lord Jesus torturing a "heretic," a heretic being someone who is confused concerning theology? The Catholic Church has tortured and murdered heretics and, as far as we know, has never repented of its past history of violence.
The Lamb is never harsh with His Bride. Strong Christians are not to be harsh and impatient with weak Christians or with the unsaved. Those who are confused in doctrine or in the ways of the Lord are to be instructed with patience, understanding, and mercy.
There are instances when the saint must be stern. The Holy Spirit will provide the necessary wisdom on such occasions.
The opposite of goodness is badness. The badness of sin is evident, the grasping, murderous, harsh, self-seeking behavior of those who are bound in sin is familiar to us. The bondage of sin teaches its victims to hate, to hold back good, to treat other people with suspicion and contempt, to grasp what is desired without regard for the consequences to others.
We can observe such "badness" in the earth today where some people are starving to death while others are on diets because of overweight and their governments are throwing away food or paying farmers not to grow crops. There can be no justification or excuse possible for such selfishness. It is of sin, as is all the virulent and contagious badness that surrounds us.
The rich man was put in Hell because he was mean to a poor man.
The saint of God may be infected when he comes in contact with the malice and perversity that abound in the world. The malicious evil may pierce the man of God even in the churches and he may be tempted to fight back. The body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ are the only antidote for the poisonous spiritual atmosphere of our times.
When Christ's body and blood dwell in us we possess sufficient virtue to overcome evil with goodthe Good of God in Christ. There is no other good powerful enough to counteract the perversity and rebellion around us. It is an evil without precedent in history.
Some are claiming that Satan has come down to the earth. They may be correct. For example, recent newspapers have reported such things as a father attempting to kill his own son for the insurance money. Such deeds go against every human instinct involved in the relationship between father and son.
Apart from the influence of demonic badness a father will give his life for his son, and do it cheerfully. A normal father gives all his strength and wisdom so that his son may be lifted into a stronger position in God than he himself has known.
This type of crime (a father murdering his own son for money) has always been in existence but it is more prevalent now. It is a demonstration of how the spirit of the age grows more wicked each day. In addition we have fathers molesting their own children and thus destroying them psychologically.
Little children are being arrested for murder, in our day, in the United States of America.
At the rate in which "badness" is coming to maturity it is difficult to imagine what we can expect to be true twenty years from now. It should neither surprise nor alarm the saint of God when the world plunges downward into the deepest flames of Hell. Only God can prevent it.
There is one thing of which we can be sure: the fruit of the Holy Spirit is goodness, and the Christian's opportunity and responsibility is to walk each day in the Holy Spirit of God. As he conducts his life in the Spirit he will discover that "badness" is being destroyed from his nature, and in its place is growing generosity, kindness, good will, guilelessness, and gentleness toward all individuals. Such goodness is not of the flesh, it is God's goodness that is created in us by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus exclaimed: "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God" (Matthew 19:17). Only God is good. His Spirit alone causes the Spirit-filled saint to grow increasingly kind and generous of nature while the world is set on fire by malice and greed.
The opposite of faithfulness is treachery. Faithfulness is our testimony concerning God's trustworthiness and integrity. Faithfulness is revealed more by our actions than by our words, although our confession in words is important. The first sin committed by humans was an act of treachery, of not keeping covenant with God.
The tree of knowledge of good and evil was growing in the midst of the Garden of Eden. God had stated: "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
The adversary came in immediately: "Ye shall not surely die." Here is the challenge to faithfulnessthe concept that God is unable or unwilling to do what He says.
Then followed this abominable suggestion: "God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Here is the secondary challenge to faithfulnessthe concept that the Lord is attempting to deprive us of something of value.
Two concepts are present when there is an unwillingness to be faithful to God's Word: (1) the belief that God may not perform what He has declared; and (2) we shall be happier if we disobey God because His intention is to harm us and make us miserable.
Adam and Eve knew there is a God. He was their Creator and had spoken to them. (Apparently, God was accustomed to walking in the Garden of EdenGenesis 3:8). Can you see that it was not God's existence but His trustworthiness and goodness that were being questioned?
The problem of treachery, as opposed to faithfulness, is not limited to belief in whether or not God exists. The fallen angels rebelled in unbelief when they were very well aware that God existed. Only a fool doubts the existence of God; for even though God is invisible we can behold His handiwork all about us. The bodies in space, and space itself, had to originate somewhere. The understanding of this is helpful, but it is possible to know of the existence of God, as do the demons, and still to be doomed to eternal fire, as is also true of the demons.
The question is one of our trust in God's intentions toward us. Will He really perform what He has stated He will do? Is He helping us or hurting us? Can God be trusted? Is He actually a rewarder of those who seek Him with diligence? What is your answer? Is God faithful?
Our answer is revealed more by our actions than by our words. Our faithfulness is portrayed by our response to God's Word.
Adam and Eve revealed their lack of faithfulness toward God's Word by eating the forbidden fruit. By partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they were proclaiming: We do not believe that God can or will do what He has promised. We believe that we shall be happier if we decide what is good for us. We shall pursue our own path no matter what God says or does not say. It is perfectly all right to disobey God.
This is what the unbeliever declares by his behavior.
As the fruit of faithfulness grows in us we act more and more in line with the Word of God without too much regard for the apparent results to ourselves. We behave as though every Word of God is unchangeable and will be fulfilled to the least detail. The proclamation of our actions is that each of God's dealing with us will result in our benefit, no matter how painful the operation may be.
The mature fruit of faithfulness does not deviate from God's Word but abides in absolute confidence in God's trustworthiness. The fruit of faithfulness is exemplified in the life of Christ.
The concept that we can be faithful to God's Word and that He will do good to us, that we are not obligated to rob and murder other people like beasts of the jungle in order to survive, is difficult for the unbeliever to accept. The uproar among the nations of the earth today is due to unbelief in the existence and faithfulness of God.
People are attempting to persuade each other that there is no Heaven, no Hell, no Day of Judgment, no eternal glory no eternal punishment; that the Scriptures are the work of the genius of men and therefore are subject to the evaluation and criticism of men.
If some of these unbelievers could find it in their hearts to trust in God's goodness, the demon spirits would howl with rage and then would toil without ceasing until their slaves returned to the insane clutching of things and relationships. These same forces of darkness made certain that Adam and Eve did not continue to walk in fellowship with God!
The Lord Jesus is our example of perfect faithfulness to the Father. We Christians are not always faithful to the Lord although our experiences teach us that God is dependable and that He will bring us into pleasant paths if we will be faithful to His Word.
The cross of Calvary reveals to us that God's thoughts toward us are loving. Our unbeliefthat which causes us to act treacherously toward God's Wordmust be judged and removed from us. As we confess to God our unbelief and lack of faithfulness He will forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Then we are to accept the faithfulness and constancy that God gives us and act in this manner.
When we use the measure of faithfulness with which God has blessed us, steadfastly performing His will, especially in seemingly insignificant tasks, God will nourish our faithfulness with His Divine faithfulness and our portion of faithfulness will become stronger. If we diligently seek Him He always will reward our pursuit of Him. If we do not use the faithfulness we already possess, it will not be increased.
If we are sick, or a member of our family is sick, we may not have the faith that God will heal the sickness. We can, however, exercise faithfulness and call for the elders of the church and have the sick one prayed for. By so doing we are demonstrating faithfulness to God's Word.
When God sees that we have been faithful to His Word He may add to us the faith to believe for the answer. We cannot exercise faith we do not possess; we are required only to keep on pressing forward faithfully in obedience to God's Word, as the Holy Spirit directs and enables.
As we gain experience in walking in the Spirit of God we begin to recognize the leading of the Lord. As soon as we are reasonably certain that God has spoken to us, our ever-increasing faithfulness will enable us to trust in and act on the personal revelation of God's will. Successful walking in the present-day voice of the Lord requires experience and practice.
The sons of God are called to be led by the Spirit of God. If we succumb to the wickedness of unbelief and disobedience to God it will destroy our pursuit of Christ, prevent our pleasing God, and insure that we turn back into the wilderness, never to enter the land of promise (Hebrews, Chapter Three).
And, as we stated previously, if we are faithful to God we will be faithful in our obligations toward people. It is utterly impossible to be faithful to God and yet be treacherous toward people.
Integrity includes faithfulness. In the United States we see throughout the land, beginning with the government, a turning away from integrity. The earlier concept that a man's word was his bond, is scorned. The marriage contract is broken as readily as it is assumed. Treachery, graft, fraud, bribery, lying, deception, are the order of the day. This is the nature of Satan.
The opposite of meekness is arrogance and unteachableness. It is difficult for the Lord to work with the person who is not meek. God has so much to teach, so much to impart. If we rush about in hardness of heart, determined to assert our own will at every point, there is no room in our life for the meek and gentle Jesus. We have all the answers and solutions. We think we do not need the Lord's help.
The meek and quiet soul, on the other hand, is listening continually for the voice of the Holy Spirit of God. The meek are taught by the Lord, therefore they inherit the earth. The brash, unteachable person will not accept the gentle ways of the Lord. He leaves no room for Christ in his inn, so to speak. The world and the flesh are strident, garish, self-seeking. The realm of unclean spirits is a noisy, frenzied environmentraucous, loud, harsh, full of yelling, fighting, quarreling, strife, and debate.
The Spirit of the Lord is quiet, unassuming, seeking the good of others, often slow to act, soft-spoken. There is a willingness to allow others their place and a desire to be constructive and helpful. There is harmony, peace order, understanding, and enough time to think and be sure of what one is doing.
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth." Thank God that this is so! When the world is filled with meek people it will be a wonderful place in which to live. We shall find rest for our spirits, souls, and bodies.
Temperance is the ninth aspect of the fruit of the Spirit. The opposite of temperance is excess or lack of self-restraint. Self-restraint is another term for self-discipline. God is a disciplined Person and He desires that we be under self-discipline in Christ.
One of the characteristics of the age in which we are living is the teaching and practicing of the concept that discipline is harmful. We witness a thrusting against government, against law, against any rule that prevents people from indulging their lusts and appetites. People are drunk on the pleasures of the world.
There is a tendency to rebel against any person or institution that enforces the law. Whether it is a parent, police officer, schoolteacher or other authority, the belief is that he or she is harming us by not allowing us to follow our impulses. We must be free to do what we desire or we will defy or destroy those who are hindering us.
There is a destructive doctrine that teaches that if a child is disciplined by his parents or teachers he will not learn self-control. Just the opposite is true. The untended child does not grow toward self-control just as an untended garden does not grow orderly rows of flowers.
An untended garden brings forth weeds and the pattern of flowers is disorderly. The untended child grows the weeds of rebellion, despising of authority, arrogance, willfulness, self-centeredness, self-love, self-will, pride, hatred of God, and every other wickedness one can imagine.
God insists on government and authority. God always acts in terms of established authority, discipline, law, control. No part of God's creation is left unsupervised.
The nature of the kingdom of darkness is rejection of law, rejection of discipline, rejection of anyone and anything that attempts to bring about self-control.
Our world today is reflecting an increase in the activities of the hordes of Hell. The demons have but a few days left in which to rampage through the earth. In order to expand the scope of their activities they have suggested subtly, through "educated" people, that the way to lessen crime and the other evils of our age is to provide increased permissiveness for children and to remove the traditional restraints on social behavior. The lessening of controls has just the opposite effect from what is desired, and the children grow toward maturity in chaos of personality.
Those who practice undisciplined social behavior, whether it is in the realm of premarital sexual conduct, perversion, homosexuality, drugs, or violence, end up in hopeless slavery to their own lusts, bringing themselves and their loved ones down into the dark regions of those chained in despair. They become ill physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. They pay a fearful price for rejecting the laws of the Holy One of Israel.
One of the methods of science is the manipulation of variables, and careful observation and measurement of the results of such manipulation. An observer can examine the results of our current practice of removing restrictions on behavior. We are endeavoring to solve existing social problems, but the results are a heating up of the social environment rather than a cooling off.
If one removes the pressure cap from the radiator of his automobile engine, the engine will heat up rather than cool off. Children left to themselves "heat up." They become disorderly rather than calm and controlled. On some occasions children do not enjoy the lack of supervision and will ask for adult guidance and control.
Lack of self-control is a curse in the earth today. The rejection of the discipline that is imposed externally by the laws of the land, and also internally by our own conscience, leads us directly into problems. God expects the law to be obeyed, and the judge and the police officer, more often than not, are ministers of God.
If the Christian breaks the law or strikes another person or acts dishonestly, he or she will be arrested. Being a Christian requires self-control in the matter of obeying the law regardless of how the law may inconvenience us or limit our "freedom."
Excess (lack of self-restraint) is evident in many areas of our lives. Eating more than is necessary is a sin against the body and results in health problems. Working too much breaks down the health, and in addition takes away from the time that should be given to waiting on the Lord. Too much entertainment and play make the believer frivolous. We are in a war, and five unguarded minutes are long enough for Satan to lead us into a trap. Getting out of that trap may require five (or twenty-five) years of anguish and diligent prayer.
Self-control is required also in religious duties. The Lord is not pleased with the Christian who sets a regimen for himself that shuts out his family. Time and attention are required in order to raise a family.
If a believer is part of a family it is God's will that sufficient time and attention be given to wholesome family relationships. This is especially true of a father and mother, because if time and attention are not devoted to the needs of the family, family stability will break down. God will not hold the family together while the father and the mother are excessively active in religious work. The children may develop severe problems while the parents are "serving the Lord."
As we learn to walk in the Holy Spirit our whole personality is brought under discipline. God teaches us to behave in prayerful moderation, always being aware of the effects of our actions. One of the best ways of determining whether we actually are being led of the Spirit is to observe the results of what we are doing. If we are being led by the Holy Spirit there will be signs of Christ in our conduct and in the effects of our actions.
We cannot always see and understand everything that God is working in us, but the Lord always remains ready to verify His dealings with unmistakable signs of love, peace, joy, lawfulness, holiness, and the other qualities of the life lived in the Spirit of God.
If it has become necessary to us to force people and situations, to injure our health, to break the law, to yell, bluff, lie, to act defiantly and rashly, we should consider prayerfully what we are doing, for the Holy Spirit does not act in this manner.
Would you like to examine a rogues gallery? Then let us look at the opposites of the fruit of the Spirit and you will gain a glimpse of unregenerate humanity, and of the unseen forces of evil who originated these opposites and who daily feed and strengthen the practicing of them, whether or not the practitioners are Christians: hate, murder, wrath, sectarianism, competition, misery, sorrow, anguish, pain, remorse, grief, torment, confusion, unrest, strife, fighting, uproar, impatience, desperation, explosiveness, turmoil, emotional instability, stealing, harshness, cruelty, bossiness, forcing, driving, rape, rudeness, boisterousness, badness, malice, wickedness, self-seeking, rebellion, stubbornness, craftiness, spitefulness, self-love, high-mindedness, insolence, unbelief, scornfulness, hatred of God, fear, timidity, double-mindedness, insecurity, unteachableness, pride, haughtiness, self-importance, intemperance, grasping, selfishness, self-will, jealousy, greediness, perversion, hoarding, arrogance, drunkenness, treachery, lying, stealing, sorcery, self-pity, self-centeredness, disobedience to parents and authorities.
These rogues are not pretty companions but they are some of the wicked spirits that are prominent in our age. God has stated that those who practice such things are worthy of death (Romans 1:32). Such behaviors characterize Christian people as well as non-Christians because they are our attributes until the work of redemption has been completed in us.
The program of redemption judges and removes these qualities from us and develops their opposites in us. Their opposites are the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The "word of the kingdom" is not merely a spoken or written word that comes to the mind and causes understanding in terms of a person's background, as is true of human words. The word of the Kingdom is the Word of Godthe Substance of God. God is in His Word. Christ is the Word of God made flesh.
By the term the Word of God, in this instance, we are not referring to the Scriptures. We are speaking of the living Word. The Word of God is alive, carrying Divine Life in itself. It brings understanding as it is taught and imparted by the Spirit of God. The Word of God transforms us by renewing our mind (Romans 12:2), and it comes to us also as the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, entering and re-creating our personality.
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
The Word of God does not grow in us in the same way that a new idea "grows" in a person or in a group until the mind is captivated by it. Rather, the Word of God grows in us in an organic sense, bringing forth the image of Christthe fruit of the Spirit. The Word of God truly is the "Seed" of Divine Substance.
God's Word is creative. A human could declare, Let there be light. Unless he turned on a switch or lighted a candle or lantern, light would not appear. When God commands, Let there be light, or Let there be stars, or Let there be animals and people, these forces, masses, and living creatures appear. We understand, therefore, that there is a difference between the word of man and the Word of God. There is a difference in kind.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus compares the Word of God to seed. All seed comes from living organisms, and each seed contains in itself a code that controls growth so that a living organism in the image of the parent can be produced. There is nothing in nature that more reveals the genius of God than the manner in which a large organism (even a human being!) comes from a small seed.
The living Word of God is much more than the written words of the Scriptures, although the Scriptures are the record that we possess of the words of people who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures are the "more sure word of prophecy" and our infallible guide to faith and conduct. Yet, the living Word of God is much more than Hebrew or Greek or English or German words and sentences written on paper. The Word of God is ChristHe who was with God from the beginning, who is God, by whom all things were made.
When Christians give forth the words of the Scriptures on earth, the Holy Spirit moves in the spirit realm bringing the Word of God in spiritual Substance, provided the Holy Spirit is working together with the Christian ministry. If the ministry is not working in the wisdom and enabling power of the Holy Spirit, the words of the Scriptures do not compose the living Word of God.
The scriptural statements are accurate, interesting, and usefulbut this is true of thousands of other books. The Scriptures do not become the Word of God to us until the Holy Spirit breathes life into the statements. The letter of the Scriptures does not bring life in itself, for "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life" (II Corinthians 3:6)
When the Holy Spirit sows the Word of God, the living Substance of Christ, the Divine Seed falls into the hearts of people. The hearts of people are as several types of "ground." In some instances, as we notice in the parable of the sower, there is momentary growth but no lasting fruit.
The limits on what the Divine Seed can become in the human heart are not placed there by the heart itself. The limits are established by the coding in the Seed. The heart merely is groundnothing more. If the heart is not sincere or is filled with worldliness, the Seed is not able to bring forth the Goodness that is in it. But the quality of the fruit of the Seed depends only on the quality of the Parent from whom the Seed came, although its growth can be limited by our response.
When the Divine Seed falls into an "honest and good heart," taking root there, Divine Life begins to multiply. If beneficial conditions prevail throughout the period of germination and growth, the mature plant will develop into a son of God, in God's image and of His Substance and Divine Nature. The nine-dimensional fruit of the Spirit is the image of Christ's Divine Nature, and it is the fruit of the Seed described in the parable of the sower.
If we tend to the Seed that has been sown in our heart, the image of God will be brought forth. The Seed will reproduce the Parent, for that is the law that God has established concerning seeds. The Divine Nature of the Parent is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and temperance, in addition to all the other attributes of God.
There is more to the image of God than the nine characteristics mentioned here. For example, under appropriate circumstances God is jealous, wrathful, and exercises vengeance on His adversaries. He roars out of Zion. God, our Father, is clothed with majesty and power. He breathes out fire and destruction, charging on His enemies as a hurricane. He soars in fierce independence in the heavenlies and above the heavenlies and has His way in the storm.
The fury of the gale, the thunder, the lightning, reveal God as much as do the calm and the singing of birds that follow the rain. Because we are God's children, made in His image, we will be able to behave in these ways at some future time.
Such behaviors are "adult" and we may not be mature enough for them. We are far too susceptible to evil for God to allow us to charge about in fury breathing fire on our enemies. We do not trust a child with a large caliber rifle. But the day comes when he is old enough to be trusted with a rifle, and even required to accept it and carry it in defense of his country. So it is true that one day we will judge all sin and destroy it from the earth.
If we are willing for God to have His full way in the development of the Divine Seed that is in us, the result will be a complete maturing of the Divine Life and Character. The Seed comes from God and it is able to bring forth in the image of God.
As the Word of God grows in us our original personality undergoes a transformation. Our old nature is occupied with eating, working, sleeping, playing, and reproducing, because it is of the earthearthy. The new man being created in us is born of the Divine Seed.
As the new man develops, the old nature is brought into frustration and impotence and our first personality resents this loss of power and liberty. As the new man gains and the old man loses it becomes increasingly clear that this is a battle to the death. When first we become a Christian, the conflict between the old and the new may not be evident to us because the adamic personality may be able to perceive only the benefits to us that flow from accepting Christ.
As the years go by and the Seed comes under the training of the Holy Spirit, our old personality commences to experience loss. Our familiar patterns of acting, speaking, planning, and imagining are challenged, and in many instances our personal liberty must be sacrificed to the current manner in which God is working in and with us. The program becomes so involved that we can understand neither the process nor the goal.
At some point along the way we may decide to bring to a halt the tearing apart of our self by the Spirit of the Lord. This is as far as we desire to go. We have endured all we care to put up with of the seemingly endless dealing, probing, and pruning of the Spirit of God.
Our willingness to stop the program of redemption is the reason why some bring forth thirty, some sixty, and some a hundredfold. The Seed of Christ is capable of bringing forth the whole image of Christ, but the believer may or may not be willing to endure the blows to self that the Divine re-creative process requires.
The title of our book is Three Deaths and Three Resurrections and the content of the book has to do with the three aspects of the plan of redemption. We are explaining redemption as the process of destroying the evil out of us and the creating of the image of Christ in us. The goal of redemption is our complete union with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.
We have applied the term salvation to the first of the three aspects of redemption, sanctification to the second aspect, and conquest to the third. Like every other description or model of the Lord's workings, ours is incomplete. Hopefully it is useful. We are pointing out, in the immediate text, that thirtyfold fruitbearing is related to salvation, the first aspect of redemption.
Every person who is saved has the touch of Christ on his life. It is impossible to be brought into the Kingdom of God, into the area of escape from the destructive wrath of God that will sweep throughout His creation, unless one has been touched by Christ and the mark of Christ has been left on him. We must be "sealed" to the Day of Redemption.
People bring forth the nature of Christ to different degrees, as indicated by the parable of the sower, but every person who will be carried over into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ (and that is what it means to be "saved") must possess at least a "thirtyfold" amount of Christ in his personality. When God passes among His creatures He looks for the image of His beloved Son, and when He does not find that image, judgment will follow (Matthew 22:12).
Thirtyfold fruitbearing has several requirements:
A person must accept the blood of the cross for the atonement for his sins. He must repent, turning away from the world, and be baptized in water (if it is possible), for this is God's commandment.
He must confess Christ before people, stating and truly believing that Christ is his Lord and Savior. He must accept the Spirit's right to dwell and rule in him. He must, by faith, as demonstrated in the Communion service, partake of the body and blood of Christ.
He must cleave to Christ, forsaking all other gods, and must accept in utmost sincerity the fact of his participation in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ His Lord, as portrayed in water baptism.
All persons who bear fruit to the extent mentioned in the preceding three paragraphs will be saved provided they maintain faith in Christ throughout their life on the earth. It is not enough to begin in faith. In order to be saved, one must keep on with that same trust and hope in Christ firmly to the end. "He that endureth to the end shall be saved" (Matthew 10:22).
If we maintain throughout our life a firm commitment to the salvation that is in Christ, and a clear testimony to our personal redemption through His blood, obeying the Holy Spirit when He speaks to us, we will be saved.
The thirtyfold level of fruit-bearing represents a grasp on the salvation that is in Christ. Such a grasp will bring the believer through to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The individual is saved and possesses a measure of eternal life.
In keeping with our concept of three aspects of redemption we shall speak of the bearing of fruit at three levels: (1) fruit; (2) more fruit; and (3) much fruit. The Vine, abiding in the Vine, and being pruned, are concepts stressed in the above passage.
There is only one true Vine, only one true planting of God in the earth. The Lord Jesus Christ is the true Vine and spiritual Israel is His Body. All other religions are manmade. Christ is God's Son and in Him exclusively resides the Divine blessing.
God the Father is the Vinedresser. God attends to the proper growth and fruitbearing of the Vine.
God is the One who cuts away dead branches and prunes back the living branches. "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away."
Abiding in Christ means cleaving to Him each day, setting aside time for prayer, the study of the Scriptures, and assembling with fervent fellow believers wherever possible. It means obeying the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The expression abiding in Christ is not referring to accepting Christ as Savior and then walking in our own path and doing whatever we please. We must sow to the Spirit of God each day of our life, and this is possible only if we take up our cross and follow Him. We must give time and effort on a consistent basis to seeking the Lord's will for us.
If we abide in the Vine, keeping ourselves in His will, we shall begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, faith, meekness, gentleness, will increase. The test of whether we truly are abiding in Christ is the demonstration of the moral image of Christ in our personality. If there is little or no moral image, then there is little or no abiding in Christ. When we do not abide in Him we do not bear fruit.
There are seasons of severe testing and pruning in our Christian discipleship during which it appears we are going backward rather than forward with respect to bearing the fruit of the Spirit. These are exceptional periods. If we truly are abiding in Christ, the nature of Christ finally will be seen in us as the result of our fiery trials. "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:20).
We need not strain in order to bear the fruit of the Spirit. It is the fruit of the Spirit. It comes forth naturally when we are living in the Spirit. The Divine fruit appears in its season, breaking through our wicked nature with irresistible force just as a blade of grass will grow through a tiny crack in the rock.
We cannot produce the fruit of the Spirit by the striving of our flesh. The flesh of man brings forth the wicked works of the flesh. The Spirit of God brings forth the righteous and holy works of the Spirit.
. . . every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)
Grape vines will be bulging with fruit one month but in another season will be pruned back nearly to ground level. A vinedresser who knows his business will prune to an extent that an untrained person would consider to be destructive. Yet, skillful pruning results in an abundance of fruit. God prunes us so we may bear more fruit, which is His goal.
Jesus informed us that God will prune every fruitbearing branch. Pruning is death to a part of us. When God goes to work on us with His pruning equipment we do not enjoy the process; but our end is glorious if we do not give up and turn away from the Lord.
We grow along one line for a while, bearing fruit in many directions. Then circumstances occur that cut us back down to the ground. These circumstances are God's pruning tools. We may not recognize this and as a result may begin to fight back. We may blame people and fret over the situations that upset us. If we are abiding in the Holy Spirit we finally will come to see the hand of God behind the trouble.
Sometimes God will prune until all that we have accomplished lies in ruins around us. This is the time to draw near to God and resist the devil. We must learn to be patient in such instances because nothing touches the servant of the Lord apart from God's specific will and directions.
An important first pruning of our life occurs when we receive Christ, when we come to Him in our sins and receive forgiveness through the blood that He shed on the cross of Calvary. God commands us to repent and be baptized. Water baptism symbolizes death to the world, the devil, and our old nature and patterns of behavior.
To repent is to turn around and go in the opposite direction. We were on our way to Hell, being filled with the unclean works of the flesh. When we receive the Lord Jesus Christ we are to come out of the world and confess that we no longer are part of the world, having chosen to become a Christian. We forsake our former works of filthiness, lying, hatred, covetousness, stealing, and begin to demonstrate the righteous ways of the Lord Jesus.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. (John 15:3)
As soon as we accept Christ His Word cuts through the wickedness that is in our life and we begin to lay aside the unclean works of darkness. This is the "appearing of the dry land," the first bearing of the fruit of the Spirit of God.
Whether or not we press forward to the next two levels of "more fruit" and "much fruit" depends on us. If we are willing to put forth the time and effort required for abiding in Christ we will come to another place of pruning that will result in the bearing of more fruit.
If, however, we become careless, do not pray, do not meditate each day in the Scriptures, do not fellowship with fervent believers, do not obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and begin to drift back into our old ways, becoming filled to excess with the pleasures of the present age, we will begin to lose our connection with the Lord Jesus Christ. Soon the signs of withering will appear.
We will become apathetic toward prayer, toward gathering together with the saints, toward seeking the things of the Kingdom of God. The Spirit will warn us; but if we keep on ignoring the reproofs of the Lord, allowing our heart to become hardened, we will be cut out of the Vine by the Father.
If we have come to know the Lord, and then allow ourselves to go back into sin, it may prove to be difficult indeed to regain our joy and fellowship with the Lord. Anyone who has witnessed a person who has known Christ but has fallen and is attempting to get back to the place of joy and victory, will testify that it is a sobering sight to behold. God is not mocked and His Word is eternally true.
God has warned us about the need to remain in the Vine, Christ. If, in spite of all His provisions and entreaties, we keep on ignoring His salvation, there remains only a fearful looking for of the fiery judgment that will destroy the Lord's adversaries.
We are not speaking here of some conscientious believer who has stumbled. Satan often beats such with accusation after accusation. The disciple who has erred can be restored immediately to full and improved fellowship upon the confession and repentance of his sins.
Rather, the problem arises when there is long-term backsliding. It is this condition that brings fiery judgment and the need for tearful, sincere, sometimes anguished, remorse and repentance.
If we have received Christ we have begun to bear fruit. His Word has pruned us already. Now we must prepare our hearts so that the Vinedresser can prune back our works according to His expert knowledge. After He prunes us we shall bear more fruit.
Later, when we are more mature in the Lord, we may endure a more severe pruning. As difficult as that later trial may prove to be, the end result will be much fruitthe fullness of the image of Christ and the abiding in us of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.
The Lord never afflicts us in order to enjoy our distress. All His work in us is for the purpose of bringing us forth in the image of His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 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 8:28,29)
Noah's Ark symbolizes safety in the Day of God's judgment. The expression "saved" refers to protection in the Day of Wrath so that one comes through judgment safely and is not destroyed. Noah, his family, and selected animals were "saved" and the Ark was the means of their salvation.
Although we may not always think about it as such, it is true that the world came to an end during the life of Noah. Every creature was killed, including the fish that apparently were forced into unfamiliar and harmful waters by upheavals in the floor of the oceans. The destruction was total.
The earth on which we live will experience three periods of Divine wrath, the final one resulting in the dissolution of the planet Earth and the starry heavens.
The first occurred during the life of Noah.
The second will occur at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The third will take place at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, at which time the physical universe will be folded up and tossed aside by the Lord, just as one might discard old, worn-out clothes.
The Ark of Noah represents the limits of the area of salvation, the boundary beyond which salvation does not occur, and is equivalent in symbolism to the linen fence that surrounded the Courtyard of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Every creature in the confines of the Ark was saved. Every person "within the fence of the Tabernacle" is saved because that area is dominated by the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering that represents the cross of Christ.
Every creature not in the confines of the Ark was lost, was destroyed by the judgment of the Lord. Every person outside the linen fence of Christ's righteousness will be destroyed because he or she has not been protected by the blood of Christ.
The "flood" is coming, and the ark we are building is that of the protection of Christ. We enter the protection by receiving the blood of the cross as the covering on our life. When God sees the blood He will pass over us and we shall be saved. Therefore we warn all people of the wrath to come and of deliverance from wrath through the blood of the Lord Jesus.
Notice that as the water of judgment rose the Ark was lifted up. The water that destroyed all life outside the Ark was the force that buoyed up the Ark and kept Noah and his family safe. The greater the flood of waters the higher went the Ark.
God did not use one force to destroy the creatures of the earth and a different force to save His elect. The waters of judgment lifted up the saved so they could continue to breathe air. So it will be in the Day of the Lord. There is no reason for God's elect to fear the judgments of God that will fall on the earth in the last days. The greater the outpouring of judgment the higher in God the saints will ride. The force of the judgment will lift the disciples ever higher so they can "breathe good air" of God's Holy Spirit.
All we are required to do in order to be preserved in the Day of Judgment that soon is to come is to remain "watertight." God did not remove Israel from Egypt before He rained down judgment on the Egyptians, He merely placed His hand over the land of Goshen. "A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee" (Psalms 91:7).
The Ark was made watertight with pitch, which is asphalt. The word pitch is related in the Hebrew language to the word atonement. This reminds us that the blood of Jesus is the "pitch" that makes our life "waterproof" (Genesis 6:14). The waters of judgment cannot harm us provided we remain in Christ and His blood is protecting us.
The force of judgment lifts us to safety as long as the water cannot get into our personality. If we do not have the protection of the blood of Christ the water of judgment will seep into our soul and we will die. Any sin or disobedience we habitually practice will permit the water to "leak into us."
There were eight people saved in the judgment. Eight is the number of our covenant with God. Every Hebrew male was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, thereby affirming the covenant of blood with God (Genesis 17:12). Milcah bore eight children (Genesis 22:23). Rebekah, a type of the Bride of the Lamb, came through Milcah. Jesse had eight sons, and one of them, David, is associated in the Scriptures with the Lord Jesus.
The firstborn of animals were presented to the Lord on the eighth day (Exodus 22:30). The person cleansed from leprosy was brought before the priest on the eighth day (Leviticus 14:10). The eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:36,39) portrays the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the eternal age.
The Holy Spirit employs the number eight as a symbol of the whole realm of the savedthose who enter eternal life because of having made a covenant with God by blood.
The Ark was three hundred cubits in length. Three hundred is the number that represents the salvation of the elect at the appearing of the Lord Jesus.
Gideon's army consisted of three hundred men (Judges 7:7). The overcoming of Midian at the hand of Gideon is one of the most remarkable portrayals of the appearing of Christ to be found in the Scriptures. This story reveals to us that the Day of the Lord will be a time of victory for the Church, not a whisking away from the earth of a defeated, weak Church in order to avoid harm at the hands of Antichrist.
The linen fence of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was three hundred cubits in length (100 + 50 + 100 + 50Exodus 27:18). The linen fence portrays the fact that all the saved will possess eternal life in the Kingdom of God but the unsaved will abide in outer darkness.
The Ark was fifty cubits wide. The number fifty is the number of Pentecost (a word that signifies fifty.) The Year of Jubilee, which was celebrated every fiftieth year, was the year of redemption, of freedom, of restoration (Leviticus, Chapter 25).
We learn from this that the Day of the Lord will be a period of an unparalleled outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the earth through the ministry of the Church of Christ; an era of redemption through deliverance from the yoke of Satan; a release into freedom for all God's creatures (except those who resist Christ) including the created universe (Romans 8:21); and a time of restoring to mankind all of its inheritance, including every good thing that was taken by trickery from humans in the Garden of Eden.
The Day of the Lord will include protection from wrath (the buoying up of the Ark on the face of the waters); the salvation of all who have made a covenant by blood (eight people) and their separation from the remainder of the people of the earth; the destruction of all evil in the earth; and salvation and eternal life for all who lay hold on Christ and endure to the end (three hundred cubits long).
Notice that the Ark had one window constructed in it (Genesis 6:16), and also one door that the Lord Himself shut (Genesis 7:16). There was but one window because God does not want us to gaze about at every sight on earth. He desires that our eye be "single," that we fasten our vision on His workings in the Lord Jesus Christ. When we look through God's "window" we observe His Glory in the earth. The earth is filled with God's Glory when we look with the eyes of the Spirit of God.
"There is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God" (Romans 13:1). We may behold the power of God's destruction fall on the wicked of the earth, but it cannot touch us provided we abide in Christ, in the Ark of protection. "Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked" (Psalms 91:8). Judgment cannot harm us as long as we remain "in the secret place of the most High."
We enter through the one door (Christ) and find safety. The day will come when the Lord shuts that door (Genesis 7:16).
In the ages to come God may show us the past scenes of earth's history so that these eternal lessons can be stamped deeply into our personality.
Can you imagine the panic that gripped the millions of people on the earth as the oceans and seas rose steadily because of the influx of water from within the earth and as the greatest rain of all history began to pour down on them? They realized suddenly that Noah truly had been speaking with the voice of the almighty God.
Satan, the cherub who had deceived them, now began to accuse them, scorn them, mock them, laugh at their terror in hideous delight, just as he will do to us if we ever turn away from Christ and are assigned to the regions of darkness for eternity.
The icy chill of death's horror pierced through the violence and merrymaking of the inhabitants of the earth. People ceased their buying and selling, their marrying and giving in marriage, and stared numbly, panic-stricken as the impossible began to take place.
Up and up rose the waters. Soon there was not enough room for everyone on the high levels of ground, and the people, accustomed to violence, began to fight each other for a place to stand in order to keep their heads above the water.
Those near to the Ark pounded on the sides, screaming with fright. To no avail. God Himself had closed the door. Noah would have opened it but God had closed it. The wail of the millions of dying people rose from the ground to be lost in the clouds. The Ark lifted from its platform and was driven before the winds.
Finally the waters closed over the heads of the strongest. The last fist was shaken at God. The obscenities and shrieks of rage and despair died away. Quietness reigned over the face of the earth. The world had been destroyed by Divine judgment. Man had met his deserved doom and had brought with him to destruction all other living creatures.
The silence that followed this most terrible of scenes was broken only by the howling of the winds and the swirling of the debris-laden waves. Soon the surface of the water was covered with millions of bloated bodies of people and animals. The grim scene bore to eternity a true testimony to the Character of God and the integrity of His Word. The soul that sins shall die.
The flood was tragic! Horrible! Sometimes our preaching today leaves people with the false idea that God has changed and no longer is capable of such an action. The Apostle Paul knew the terror of the Lord. "As it was in the days of Noah . . . "
We who teach are directed by the Holy Spirit to bring the love of God gently to people and to assure them that His mercy abounds and endures forever. If we do not reveal also the awful finality of God's judgment we have become false prophets and the blood of the sinning Christians is on our hands. We have been charged to instruct people in both the goodness and severity of God (Romans 11:22).
The sights and sounds of the violent, sinful peoples of the earth as the fountains of the deep were broken up and the windows of heaven were opened were terrifying enough. But they appear as child's play when compared with the sights and sounds that will occur when the Lord shuts the door of salvation. There will come a day, and we believe it is not far off, when God will say, "It is enough. Let the holy remain holy and the wicked remain wicked" (Revelation 22:11).
As soon as the dreadful edict is issued, Heaven will be closed to prayer. No more will people be able to enter the covenant with God through Christ. The period of salvation, of covenant, of redemption, will have been brought to an end.
The massive gates of the Kingdom of God will begin to close. The multitudes standing outside in outer darkness will realize that the opportunity for salvation has ended. They will rush to the door and pound on it, so to speak, just as the doomed pounded on the door of the Ark. God is the One who is closing the gates and His warrior angels are standing guard.
People will gnash their teeth in an agony of soul and mind as the blackness of a hopeless eternity closes in on them. The hosts of Hell, who are doomed already, now will have company to share their misery. The demons will mock, scorn, and terrorize the lost of mankind. They will express their rage against God by tormenting the lost souls who were created in God's image.
As the exiles see the city of God for the last time, the light, the peace, the joy, the children playing in innocence with the angels, they will realize that these scenes and experiences are denied to them forever. Adding to their torture will be the knowledge that God has been just and compassionate with them and that they knowingly have turned their back on the love of God in Christ.
When the gates of the city finally have closed and no more light can be seen, the lost will turn to the future that awaits them. When they look at the creatures with whom they have chosen to be associated for eternity, the lustful, the vicious, the murderous, the avaricious, the drunken, the liars, the witches, the fearful, the unbelieving, the perverse, the spiteful, understanding that never again will the righteous be available for prayer and counsel, their despair will be total.
The men and women of the days of Noah were certain that God never would destroy the earth. For one hundred years the righteous Noah warned them of the wrath of God to come. The people of those days scorned and mocked Noah and continued their pursuit of the pleasures of the world. The water came and the "impossible" turned into nightmarish reality. Then it was too late.
Mankind today is certain God never will destroy the world or eternally close the gates of Paradise against those who reject Christ as their Lord and Savior. People "know" that there is no Lake of Fire. Satan, a cherub who is in rebellion against God, has convinced the world that God will not do what He has said, and that if people serve God He will deny them what is good.
Satan has convinced the church people that they can keep on sinning and Jesus will keep on forgiving them. The lukewarm have never read and believed Jesus' teaching concerning the branch that does not bear fruit. They have never pondered the parable of the ten virgins. In spite of the numerous New Testament passages that warn us that the believers who continue in the works of the flesh shall reap corruption, today's pastors and their followers continue to teach and believe that every believer will ascend to Heaven in a "rapture" whether or not he or she has been a faithful and true servant of the Lord Jesus. This is a deadly error and those who are preaching and believing it stand in danger of an unbelievably dreadful future. Let the reader be warned!
The hour is coming when Divine judgment will be poured out and the words of the prophets will be fulfilled in terrifying reality. Then it will be too late for repentance. It will be eternally too late. God will not be mocked. Let us take heed to the salvation that He offers so lovingly and faithfully.
The Ark of Noah was thirty cubits in height. Thirty is the number that signifies the beginning of ministry. Joseph was thirty years of age when he stood before Pharaoh (Genesis 41:46). It is our understanding that Joseph typifies the Lord Jesus Christ who was thirty years of age when He began His ministry (Luke 3:23).
The Levites began their service of ministry in the Tabernacle of the Congregation when they were thirty years of age. The Tabernacle building was thirty cubits in length. The number thirty is common to the Tabernacle building and Noah's Ark, indicating that these two structures are related in symbolic significance.
The children of Israel wept for Moses thirty days (Deuteronomy 34:8). The change of ministry from Moses to Joshua occurred when Israel entered the land of promise. Our Lord Jesus has appeared, through the ministries and gifts given to His Body, as Moses. He calls His flock out from the spirit of the world and nourishes them during their discipleship "in the wilderness." In the future, the same Lord Jesus will appear in and with His Body as Joshua and will bring His army out of the wilderness and into the land of promise.
David was thirty years of age when he began his reign (II Samuel 5:4). David ruled in Hebron over Judah for seven years and six months, and then he governed in Jerusalem over all Israel, including Judah, for an additional thirty-three years. As we will see in a subsequent section, there is much of prophetic significance associated with the three anointings of David and with his capture of fortress Zion, his bringing of the Ark of the Covenant to Zion, his mighty men, and his gathering of materials for the building of the Temple of Solomon. Many aspects of the Kingdom of God that have been presented in symbolic form in David's career will be brought to pass when our Lord Jesus Christ appears from Heaven with His "mighty men."
There were three stories, three levels, in Noah's Ark, and three areas of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The three levels and areas portray the three areas of redemption that are the subject of this book. We shall be examining the three areas further in later chapters.
We have seen that Noah's Ark and the flood are rich in prophetic meaning, having to do especially with the wrath of God that soon is to fall on the world, and with the redemption that God has provided in Christ. The Ark of Noah portrays the realm of the saved. Everyone who truly receives Christ as Lord and Savior, repents, and is baptized, shall be saved.
Lot was saved "so as by fire" (I Corinthians 3:15). He lost his wife, symbolizing the destruction of his power to be fruitful and to possess dominionthe power assigned to men when they were created by the Lord God. Lot did not have an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God. He himself was saved but by a narrow margin of safety, and only because the Lord remembered the prayers of Abraham.
Abraham, on the other hand, gained an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God. He inherited the fruitfulness and rulership promised to mankind (Genesis 1:28; 22:17). Abraham witnessed from a distance the smoke rising from the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah, but the fires of Divine judgment did not come near him. Lot lost everything, including his wife and sons-in-law, to the burnings of the eternal fire (Jude 1:7).
Many Christians will be saved by Divine fire that will burn away from them the works of their flesh and soul. They have chosen to remain in the lower level of the Ark rather than to press upward toward their heavenly calling in Christ. They may be saved into eternal life when Jesus appears because they have relatives who are interceding for them before the Throne of God. They will not receive the opportunities for authority and service that will be assigned to God's "Abrahams."
A person first must be saved or he or she will suffer the wrath of God. Then he has the choice of pressing upward in Christ into greater areas of redemption. Taking a chance on being saved "so as by fire" is risky. Lot came close to being destroyed along with his wife and sons-in-law, and would have been destroyed were it not for the intercessory prayers of his uncle, Abraham.
If we choose to remain at the borders of redemption after we believe in Christ we may be drawn back into the world and lose our salvation altogether. It is better to move along each day, following after and seeking the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
There are many "Lots" today in Christianity and many "Abrahams" praying for them. Hopefully each soul who begins in Christ will attain Paradise with Christ, as did the thief on the cross.
We must not cease pressing forward and upward in Christ. It is dangerous to abide in the hope that we will be saved anyway even though we are making no effort to serve the Lord. Both Hebrews, Chapters Three and Six, and John, Chapter Fifteen, warn us concerning the end of the branch in Christ that does not bear fruit. Let us be counted among those who follow on to know the Lord and who obtain an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Christ.