GLORIFIED IN HIS SAINTS
Copyright © 1995 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The Christian churches of today are a mixture of righteousness and sin. They are not ready for the Lord Jesus to be glorified in them. Great persecution and tribulation are about to come upon the churches. The purpose of the suffering is to purify and unify the one Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem.
when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. (II Thessalonians 1:10)
The first and second chapters of the Book of Second Thessalonians describe the parousia, the coming (presence; appearing) of the Lord Jesus Christ, His saints, and His holy angels. The coming of the Lord Jesus is described also in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew, the fourth and fifth chapters of the Book of First Thessalonians, and in Revelation 1:7. Let us examine closely, in II Thessalonians, the elements that will be present in the Day of the Lord:
Saints who are suffering persecution and tribulation as a “manifest token” (proof) of the righteous judgment of God (II Thessalonians 1:4,5).
Those who are troubling the saints (verse 6).
The bringing of rest to the saints at the revelation of the Lord Jesus with His powerful angels (verse 7).
Punishing with everlasting destruction those who obey not the Gospel (verses 8,9).
The glorifying of Christ in His saints (verse 10).
The teaching of the Apostle Paul in the above passage is that the Christian saints will be suffering persecution and tribulation until the appearing of the Lord Jesus from Heaven.
When the Lord appears from Heaven His power and glory will be revealed in His saints on the earth and in the clouds of the heaven at the same time. This follows the type of the flood of Noah where the “fountains of the great deep” were “broken up” at the time the “windows of heaven were opened” (Genesis 7:11). The Glory of Christ will shine in His resurrected saints on the earth, and from His own Person in the heaven (in the clouds in the sky above the earth), as one glorious appearing.
The coming of the Lord will be as the lightning that shines from the east to the west in that His Glory will be seen everywhere in His saints.
The nations of the earth will behold the Glory of God in the saints, and those who believe will be converted (John 17:21-23; Isaiah 60:1-4).
The saints then will be caught up to meet the Lord Jesus in the air, to the utter terror of those who were accustomed to persecuting and afflicting the Lord’s disciples.
Now Christ and His saints will be in control of the spiritual thrones in the air that control all activity on the earth.
The tables have been turned. The saints are in joyous positions of authority and power, and wrath and affliction are falling on those who previously had been troubling the saints.
The saints had been experiencing the “righteous judgment of God” in the form of the tribulations that had been coming upon them (II Thessalonians 1:5). Now it is time for the judgment of the nations (Revelation 11:18).
It is a principle of the Kingdom of God that those who weep now will be comforted and those who are making merry now will weep when the Lord returns. It is the story of Lazarus and the rich man.
Let us consider for a moment the fact that the saints experience the righteous judgment of God now, in this present life, but that Christ will come to be glorified in them in that Day.
When the Lord is revealed from Heaven He will be “glorified in his saints” (II Thessalonians 1:10).
First the saints experience judgment in the form of persecutions and tribulations. Then the Lord Jesus is glorified in them.
The Christian churches of today are a mixture of righteousness and sin. They are not ready for the Lord Jesus to be glorified in them. The churches are not ready for the parousia—the appearing of the Lord from Heaven with His mighty angels.
Therefore persecution and tribulation are about to come upon the Christian churches. From now until the Lord appears His Churches will experience every possible form of chastening and testing. The purpose of the suffering that is coming is to purify and unify the one Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem.
The persecution and tribulation will continue until the Church has been made ready for the Lord’s appearing. Then the Lord will be revealed from Heaven and be glorified in His purified and unified Body. The saints will enter rest at the coming of the Lord because the power of the Lord will have made them more powerful than those who had been persecuting and afflicting them.
The Hebrew Prophets spoke of the purifying and unifying of the saints, of the creation of a holy remnant of people who will be ready for the coming of the Lord:
In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious; and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.
And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion [tested Christians] and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy—everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.
When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, (Isaiah 4:2-4)
I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; and each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’” (Zechariah 13:9)
Two problems are at hand for the Christian churches.
- The great tribulation, including the fiery trials that will fall on the believers.
- This second problem is even worse: it is the hour of temptation.
The hour of temptation is produced by the seductive ability and spiritual power of Antichrist, a wisdom and power able to deceive all but the most diligent of the saints. The emphasis now being placed on money and lust is the herald of the enticing world of Antichrist, a world based on buying, selling, and pleasure rather than on the worship of God through Christ. Of the two problems of the last days, the great tribulation and the hour of temptation, the most dangerous by far is the hour of temptation. It is the abundance of sin and lawlessness of the hour of temptation that will cause the love of the majority to become cold. The great tribulation will serve rather to refine the saints.
Because people have become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, escaping the tribulation is often the focal point of concern. However, it is not tribulation we are to be concerned about, it is sin and lawlessness!
Only the most devout Christians will be able to distinguish the voice of the Spirit of God. The Christian churches of our day already are moving in the direction of Antichrist, of Laodicea, as they become part of the worldly, monetary success pattern that is of Antichrist. Those who do not escape this trend but who proceed to “serve Christ” according to the worldly success pattern of big buildings, large budgets, multitudes of people, will be judged along with the nations when the Lord Jesus appears.
The Lord Jesus is not being glorified in such worldly efforts now and will not be glorified in them at His appearing.
The purified remnant will continue to serve Christ throughout the Antichrist-tribulation period. The remnant will be perfected by suffering, by Divine Glory, and by every other means. Their judgment will be accomplished while they yet are on the earth. When Jesus appears He will be glorified in them. Their judgment will already have been completed. They will be ready to be revealed with the Lord.
The pattern is that of judgment followed by rest in the Lord. This is the pattern of the feasts of the Lord, which are described in the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Leviticus.
The seven feasts are as follows:
- Unleavened Bread
- Day of Atonement
The first three feasts typify the salvation experience. The fourth feast, Pentecost (the feast of Weeks), speaks of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
The last three feasts are celebrated in one month, the seventh month of the Jewish religious year, which is the first month of the Jewish civil year. The civil year symbolizes the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
It is time now for the saints to enter the spiritual fulfillment of the last three feasts. Many Christian believers have come as far as Pentecost, so to speak. Now we are ready for the spiritual fulfillments of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles.
The spiritual fulfillments of the last three feasts work together as one, with the completion and fullness being the entering of the Father and the Son into us in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles (John 14:23).
The personal fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets is the coming of Christ to us in the Spirit (not to the world), according to Malachi 3:1-3 and John 14:18-23. We can tell when the Blowing of Trumpets is taking place by the entering into us of an inner faith for spiritual warfare, a willingness and readiness to be free from the bondages of Satan. The Lord Jesus, the Lord of Hosts, of Armies, is ready to do battle against His enemies that are keeping us in slavery to sin.
The Day of Atonement is the Divine judgment on the world, sin, and self-rule—on these three dimensions of spiritual darkness that are part of our personality.
The first part of the Day of Atonement, which is the offering of blood for the guilt of our sins, takes place as we trust in Calvary for forgiveness for the sins we have committed in the past and for the sins we are committing in the present. We are not referring to willful or presumptuous sins, for they are not covered by the Levitical offerings or by the blood of Calvary. The believer who sins willfully, after receiving Christ, will experience the wrath of God.
For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26,27)
The second part of the day of Atonement, which is the removal of the presence of sin from the camp (Leviticus 16:21,22), is also taking place today. God is ready to make the enemies of Christ His footstool, and this aspect of redemption is beginning in the saints who are living close to the Lord.
God is ready to give us, through Christ, the desire and the ability to overcome the world, sin, and our own self-rule and self-centeredness. Our task is to confess our sins as they are revealed to us, and then to patiently obey the Lord as He judges the darkness in us and drives it out of our personality. This is the personal, spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical Day of Atonement.
One aspect of the work of the Day of Atonement, of the Divine judgment, consists of the persecutions and afflictions that come upon us in the world. This is why Paul speaks of our being made worthy of the Kingdom of God by means of the sufferings we experience.
which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; (II Thessalonians 1:5)
Apart from our experiencing such Divinely appointed sufferings in this life it is impossible for the Lord Jesus to be glorified in us at His revelation from Heaven.
The Christian believers who in the future avoid suffering by cooperating with the economic system of the world, when their government is dictating how they must serve the Lord, will not be qualified to experience the inner glorification. Most Christians will choose the way of Laodicea (Matthew 24:12) because of the pleasures that are available as a result of the widespread lawlessness.
The majority of the believers of the last days will not serve Christ fervently enough to be able to resist the abundance of sin, as is true of the believers in the wealthy nations of our day. Such lukewarm believers are part of the world system. They are not cross-carrying disciples of Jesus but are living as part of the present world. They will not be included in the appearing of Christ.
How to avoid becoming part of the world system is an individual matter. We cannot be specific because God leads each individual differently. We would counsel the Christian to pray much, obey the Lord Jesus strictly, meditate constantly in the Scriptures, and gather together with the most fervent saints he can find.
The Laodicean churches are preaching that Christians should be happy, content, and prosperous in the present world for they by grace (lawless grace!) will soon be carried away to the paradise in the sky. This is how we can recognize a Laodicean assembly.
The true churches are warning the believers to prepare their families for the days of judgment that are ahead; to get ready to stand in Christ in the midst of great tribulation; to seek the Lord with all their might; to arm themselves mentally (I Peter 4:1) so when trouble comes they are not dismayed. Deception is here—now! Only the most sincere will not be deceived.
After the Levitical Day of Atonement comes the feast of Tabernacles.
So it is that after we have been purified by various tribulations and persecutions the Lord enters us in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
First, the Lord gives us the desire and the ability to engage in spiritual warfare, to become a part of the army of the Lord. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament memorial of blowing of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24).
Second, we enter the Divine judgment. We wrestle with the Lord and confess our sins as God deals with our love for the spirit of the world, the lusts of our flesh, and our self-rule and self-love—all of which are part of our personality. The working of God to deliver us from spiritual darkness and to reconcile our personality to Himself is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27).
Daniel speaks of the time of purification, of judgment and cleansing, of atonement (reconciliation to God) that will come to the Church during the reign of Antichrist:
“And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.
“Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue.
“And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. (Daniel 11:33-35)
“To purify, and make them white.” The great tribulation will cause many to purify their personality through the blood of the Lamb.
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:13,14)
The sufferings of the great tribulation will cause the sincere believers to practice righteousness now, and to receive a body of righteousness in the Day of Christ. It is this righteousness of behavior that is the white robe of the saint.
And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. (Revelation 19:8)
God’s royal priesthood consists of those who overcome the Antichrist:
And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)
Revelation 20:4 (above) describes the royal priesthood, the participants in the first resurrection—those who will rule throughout the thousand-year Kingdom age. They have lost their own heads, their own self-direction, and have borne a true witness of Christ and of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They follow Christ to the point of death (compare John 21:18).
These same purified saints, clothed in the white raiment of their righteous deeds, are the army of the Lord, a firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb. They will participate with Christ in the cavalry charge of Armageddon:
And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. (Revelation 19:14)
It is this glorious attack that the first and second chapters of Second Thessalonians are describing when they speak of “taking vengeance on those who do not know God”; “when he comes to be glorified in his saints”; and “the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”
The army of the Lord Jesus Christ is terrifyingly invincible.
They run like mighty men, they climb the wall like men of war; every one marches in formation, and they do not break ranks. (Joel 2:7)
The Christian believers of our day are not ready for such deadly spiritual warfare. During the days ahead the fervent churches will be pruned, being reduced greatly in number; although first there will come a worldwide “latter-rain” revival that will bring multitudes of people into the Christian fold.
After the latter-rain revival there will be an age of unprecedented lawlessness. Sin and rebellion will abound. Because of the abundance of sin most Christian people will fall away from the faith. The fraction that remains will be tested in every conceivable manner. Those who persevere with God will be judged totally, and all the aspects of their personalities that are not pleasing to the Lord will be burned out of them. Then when they fall on the sword, the Word of God, they will not be wounded (Joel 2:8).
The Lord’s judges must be the first to partake of His judgment. The work of judgment, of the Day of Atonement, of reconciliation, has begun already. Every aspect of our personality that is opposed to the Lord must be judged and removed from us. It is by means of judging and casting out the adversary that we are reconciled to God in the Day of Atonement, the Day of Reconciliation. In this manner we are married to the Lamb.
After we pass through the work of judgment and deliverance the Father and the Son will enter us through the Holy Spirit. Here is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34).
The Father and the Son dwell in us in a measure today, as we pass through judgment. But in the Day of the Lord, God in Christ will enter us to the extent that our bodies will be changed from mortality into immortality. Our enemies will behold our transfiguration and will be terrified:
Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. (Revelation 11:11)
The saints in Thessalonica were being persecuted and afflicted by those who refused the knowledge of God, who were disobedient to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul showed the believers that they were suffering so they would be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God. When the Lord Jesus appears He will take vengeance on those who are afflicting them, and the saints then will enter the glorious rest of His Presence.
since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,
and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, (II Thessalonians 1:6,7)
The ignorant and disobedient are expressing themselves in our day and such will increase their activities greatly in the future. We are approaching the hour of darkness of which the Scriptures speak (Matthew 24:21,22).
Meanwhile the Lord Jesus is drawing us to Himself. He is teaching us to wash our robes and make them white in His blood.
Suddenly the Lord Jesus Christ will appear from Heaven. The lukewarm and sluggish among the Lord’s people will be astonished. The sinners in Zion will be terrified. Antichrist and his followers will be enraged and will attempt to resist Christ’s entrance into the earth.
The purified remnant will be filled with the Presence of the Father and Son. Their bodies will change from mortality into immortality. They will shine as the lightning from one end of the heavens to the other.
Then shall we rest from our tribulations and afflictions. Then will the nations be judged. Then will the Lord Jesus be crowned King on the Throne of David in Jerusalem and all nations will serve and obey Him.
(“Glorified in His Saints”, 3158-1)