WHAT HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD ME?: TWO
Copyright © 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
(“What House Will You Build Me?: Two” is taken from The Temple of God, copyright © 2011 by Trumpet Ministries)
The Patriarchs and Prophets
Table of Contents
The Temple of Solomon
The Body of Christ
The Testimony of Stephen
The Chief Cornerstone
The Destiny of the Temple of God
The Kingdom-age Jubilee
The Time of Darkness and Light
The Kingdom Comes
The Day of Atonement
Atonement Means Reconciliation
The Patriarchs and Prophets
God communicated in many different ways with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Elijah, Elisha, and numerous other patriarchs and prophets. The Holy Spirit of God came upon them and they prophesied, performed miracles, received Divine direction, conquered in battle, and exercised supernatural strength. The Glory of God was revealed in the things they did and taught.
Never once, however, did God take up His permanent dwelling in them. Yet, the New Testament, from the Gospels forward, teaches that God’s plan is to live in the believers. The new covenant re-creates the personality, spirit, soul, and body, providing a holy dwelling place for the Fullness of the Godhead.
The mystery of the Gospel is “Christ in you.” Because of the re-creation and the indwelling, the new covenant is superior to the old covenant.
Jesus stated that he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist, although John, being “Elijah” who was commissioned to announce the arrival of Christ, was the equal of any of the prophets.
God is in the process of taking up His eternal abode in each member of the Body of Christ from the least to the greatest. God did not create His eternal dwelling place in any of the prophets of old—not even in John the Baptist.
God did not fashion His sanctuary in anyone prior to His coming to earth in Christ. Work began on the construction of God’s Temple after the resurrection from the dead of the Lord Jesus.
The true tabernacle that God is establishing is being built on the holy, tested Cornerstone—Christ. The Christian Church, which is being measured from and constructed on the Rock, Christ, is the new Jerusalem, the Body of Christ, the everlasting Mount Zion mentioned so often in the Book of Psalms (Psalms 102:16; Hebrews 12:22).
The Temple of Solomon
The desire that came into David’s heart to build a house for God can be found in the seventeenth chapter of I Chronicles, beginning with the first verse:
Now it came to pass, as David sat in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, Lo, I dwell in an house of cedars, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord remaineth under curtains.
Then the answer of the Lord to him, verses four and five:
Go and tell David my servant, Thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not build me an house to dwell in: For I have not dwelt in an house since the day that I brought up Israel unto this day; but have gone from tent to tent, and from one tabernacle to another.
Also, verses eleven and twelve:
And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.
Solomon, David’s son, indeed did build a magnificent temple that followed the design of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. When Solomon’s Temple was finished it was dedicated with great ceremony. During the dedication the Glory of God descended into the Temple in such power that the priests were unable to enter the house of the Lord (II Chronicles 7:1,2).
The Body of Christ
When the Scripture is studied it becomes clear that the Lord was not speaking primarily of Solomon when He said, “He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever.”
The Holy Spirit was looking down through the years to a greater Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Word of God to David through the prophet Nathan was a prophecy concerning the Body of Christ, an announcement of the plan the Lord had all along—that of the construction of the eternal dwelling place of the Most High.
King David himself was one of the most outstanding prophets of all time.
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. (Psalms 50:2)
Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever. (Psalms 68:16)
The Scripture just quoted, Psalms 68:16, describes God’s desire to inhabit Mount Zion. Spiritual Zion is the Kingdom of God, the fulfillment of David’s Tabernacle, the building of which is the purpose for the present age (Acts 15:16; Hebrews 12:22). Christ is the chief Cornerstone in Zion.
The eighteenth verse of Psalms 68 gives additional understanding:
Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. (Psalms 68:18)
The fourth chapter of Ephesians unfolds the meaning of Psalms 68:16,18:
Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Ephesians 4:8)
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (Ephesians 4:11)
The gifts “for the rebellious” are the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit, especially apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors and teachers.
Psalms 68:18 reveals the purpose to be accomplished by the gifts and ministries given to the Body of Christ: “that the Lord God might dwell among them.” The fourth chapter of Ephesians confirms this statement of purpose: “the perfecting of the saints; for the work of the ministry; for the edifying [building up] of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
In the fourth chapter of Ephesians, verses seven through sixteen, the method and goal of God’s plan for a temple are set forth in brief form. Paul states, in this chapter, that God has given gifts and ministries to the Church and that the end result of the operating of these ministries is the building of the Body of Christ until it stands complete in all the will of God.
The Body of Christ is to be brought to perfect Divine unity and is to attain a maturity described as “the measure of [maturity as measured by] the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
God the Father will dwell only in Christ. He will dwell nowhere else. It is vain for the “high hills” to leap because God will dwell only in Zion, which is Christ—Head and Body. As of now the Head, Christ, is perfect. God has found His eternal resting place in the Lord Jesus Christ.
God desires to have much more room, a much larger family than this. Also, God is in the process of creating a bride for His beloved Son. In order to accomplish His goals, God Almighty has purposed in Himself to build the Body of Christ. The Body is to be fashioned from members selected by Himself (II Timothy 1:9).
In Christ, Head and Body, God can fill the universe with Himself in bodily, visible form (Colossians 1:15; Revelation 3:12).
The Christian Church is far too immature, at the present time, for a calling as high as this. Therefore God, through the ministries and gifts given to the Body of Christ, is fashioning each victorious saint with the end in view of forming the saints together into one body—a body that can be called in truth “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ,” “the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 4:13; 1:23).
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, so the dwelling place of God, Mount Zion, may be a holy and wholly fit place for the Presence of God.
When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:16)
For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. (Psalms 132:13,14)
Spiritual Mount Zion is the Body of Christ. Mount Zion of the physical world was one of the hills on which the city of Jerusalem was built. It was referred to also as the city of David. It was here that David installed the Ark of the Covenant under a tent, amid much rejoicing, while the Tabernacle of the Congregation remained at Gibeon (I Chronicles, Chapters 15 and 16).
Spiritual Zion is the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God. Zion is the habitation of God, the place of His rest.
In the Book of Isaiah, Israel is asked this question:
Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1)
Here is one of the great questions of the Scriptures. The next verse gives the answer:
For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)
The follower of Christ who is poor and of a contrite spirit—he is the house of the Lord; he is the place of God’s rest.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
If we are rich in our own ways and of a proud and ambitious spirit, then—Christian or not—we are not a suitable dwelling place for the Father in Christ. Christ wishes to come in to us Christians and to dine with us and find pleasure in and with us. This is not possible if we are filled already with other things—even religious things.
The Testimony of Stephen
In the seventh chapter of Acts, the question concerning God’s house is asked again—this time through Stephen:
Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (Acts 7:49)
The circumstances surrounding this new covenant posing of a question first asked under the old covenant are significant. The episode concerning Stephen occurred shortly after the giving of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The elders of the Hebrew community had a witness of Christ on trial for his life.
Jesus had stated previously:
But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. (Mark 13:11)
Stephen had been delivered up to the Council by some of the members of the synagogue of the Libertines, and others. They had set up false witnesses who proceeded to distort Stephen’s testimony. These attacks came after Stephen had performed “great wonders and miracles among the people.” In accordance with the Word of Christ, it was the Holy Spirit, not Stephen, who was answering the question of the high priest: “Are these things so?”
Because Stephen’s trial took place on the occasion of the birth of the Christian Church it is of the utmost importance. The charges were that Stephen had spoken “blasphemous words against Moses and against God,” and, “blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: for we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs that Moses delivered us.”
Notice that it was the Jews, not Stephen, who first raised the question of “this holy place, and the law.” The battle was joined right at this point.
Under the old covenant, the Temple had been the dwelling place of God. Somehow the Jews began to be aware Jesus was going to change the location of God’s habitation. “We heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place.” What Jesus had said was, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19) referring to His own physical body.
The Holy Spirit was ready to begin building the Body of Christ which, along with the Lord Jesus, is the habitation of God. The scribes and the elders could sense the change coming, being under the influence of Satan, and so they attacked immediately. The Holy Spirit wasted no time in responding. (Acts 7:46-51).
The words with which Stephen (the Holy Spirit, actually) answered the charges should be weighed in light of the fact that they reflect one of the principal concerns of God for the Church age.
Up to this moment the elders of the Jews had supposed that God had restricted Himself to the Temple in Jerusalem and to its ordinances of worship, programs, politics, sales, and other activities. The Holy Spirit had a message for the Hebrew elders. He spoke it through the mouth of Stephen straight into their hearts:
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. (Acts 7:51)
What the Holy Spirit was testifying to the Jewish leaders may be paraphrased as follows:
“You builders suppose I am dwelling in your temple in Jerusalem and in the activities conducted there. But I am building for Myself a temple made without hands. You have rejected the Cornerstone that I have selected. You are always resisting the Holy Spirit, as your fathers did, so do you.
“The building of My eternal Temple is at hand. Here is a living stone of My Temple standing before you, testifying to you. Yet, you cannot perceive it. My rest, My house, is constructed from the meek of the earth—the faithful, who tremble at My word. I resist the proud but strengthen the humble and cause them to stand.
“If you would submit yourselves meekly to Me with lowly and believing hearts, you would find rest and peace for your souls. But as long as you are filled with pride and your own ways I can not find My habitation, My rest, in you.”
The Chief Cornerstone
The Lord God has certain specifications that must be met before He will be pleased to rest in a dwelling place. God will dwell only in His Christ, His Anointed One. Christ Himself is the only acceptable pattern for the House of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone in the Temple of God. Each of the other stones must be measured carefully from Him. More than that, each stone must be created by Him and of Him and He must be formed and dwelling in each of them. The Temple of God is Christ, Head and Body, brought to absolute completeness and perfection as the eternal dwelling place of God.
Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever. (Psalms 68:16)
The preceding verse indicates that none of the manmade institutions (“high hills”) has any hope of becoming the dwelling place of God. They may “leap,” that is to say, they may desire and attempt to become God’s headquarters. But God has chosen Zion, the Body of Christ, the Christian Church, as His home.
Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste [will never be dismayed]. (Isaiah 28:16)
To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 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 2:4,5)
God is in Jesus and Jesus is in God. While He was on the earth the Lord Jesus reminded us continually that it was not He who did the miraculous works but the Father who dwells in Him. Yet, as we find in the second chapter of First Peter, there are more living stones who are to be added to the eternal habitation of God.
The coming of God to dwell in His Church remained a mystery throughout Old Testament times. Now it is revealed openly by the writers of the New Testament.
We who are Christians need to be more aware of the significance of the hour in which we are living and of the nearness of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our realization of His nearness should result in a Spirit-directed, diligent grasping of a life of holiness in the Presence of the Lord.
We firmly believe and desire that the Lord “shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Not only we, but the whole creation also groans in travail, looking toward and hoping for the coming of the Day of days (Romans 8:19).
We believe also God’s purpose at the present time is the building of a temple in which he can abide continually. Let us make sure we do not go to sleep spiritually while we are waiting for Him to come, and thus miss the plan that Christ has for us as individuals at this moment.
We must make a success of the overcoming life now if we are to be able to pass successfully through the judgments that certainly will come upon the world because of the abundance of sin, and if we hope to be prepared to meet Christ when He appears.
We must give all our attention to ensuring that Jesus is having His unhindered way in our personality.
What do we Christians mean when we testify that we have Christ in our heart? Do we mean the Seed, the Word of God, has been planted in our heart? Or do we mean we have undergone a transformation of character?
Is it a fact that God and Jesus are dwelling in us? Do the Persons of the Godhead actually enter us?
Since a considerable portion of the Scriptures is devoted to the concept of the building of a habitation for God, we should take a closer look at what the Word of God states concerning God’s plan for His Temple.
The Destiny of the Temple of God
The Christian tradition is that the believers will make their eternal home in the spirit realm, continuing in a state of bliss and accomplishing little of importance. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Numerous passages of the Old Testament portray the destiny of the Body of Christ, Israel, the Temple of God. The Kingdom of God is being designed to govern the nations of saved peoples of the earth. Heaven is coming to the earth. Our inheritance to a great extent is here in the earth. The Temple of God will be located in the earth. The remainder of our book describes some aspects of the destiny of the Temple of God.
Christ, Head and Body, is the Temple of God. Christ is the Anointed One who is to come (Isaiah 11:10). Jesus is Christ, the Anointed Deliverer. The Christian Church is the Body of Christ, the Body of the Anointed Deliverer.
The Lord Jesus is the Head of the Body, He came to earth two thousand years ago. The Body of Christ is being formed now and has not as yet been revealed to the world.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (I John 3:2)
The revelation of the Head and Body of Christ is drawing near (Romans 8:19; Colossians 3:4). The son of God was revealed in order to “destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8). The Head and Body of Christ will be revealed so the task of destroying the works of the devil may be completed (Romans 16:20).
The purpose of the coming of the Lord is to separate the good from the evil, the light from the darkness.
Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (Matthew 24:40)
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. (Matthew 13:47,48)
The work of Christ, Head and Body, is to loose the bondages produced by wicked spirits and to remove from the earth every trace of the works of darkness.
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41,42)
God has assigned the responsibility for destroying the Kingdom of darkness to Christ. The task will be accomplished totally. No part of it will be left undone.
Unlike the incomplete conquest of Canaan by the Israelites, the fighting forces of the Church of Christ will leave no area of bondage touched. The Lord’s soldiers will invade every segment of the earth and bring all nations under the Head, Christ. The conquering saints totally share Christ’s love of righteousness and hatred of sin and rebellion.
Christ, the Seed of Abraham, shall deliver the earth from bondage.
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; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:17,18)
The Seed of Abraham is Christ. There is only one Christ, and yet Christ will be multiplied as “the stars of the heaven.” Christ, the Seed, is being multiplied in us. It is Christ, the Seed, who will be revealed in the end-time and who will release the created universe from the chains of futility into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:20,21).
The Seed is multiplied through the members of the Body of Christ. How many are the Seed? The Seed is destined to be as the stars of the heavens and as the grains of the sand on the seashore. No man will bring deliverance during the Day of the Lord. It is Christ, Head and Body, who will set the creation free.
The birth of the ruling Son, described in Revelation, Chapter 12 is an expression of Christ formed in the Church. It is Christ in the Church, in His Body, who will judge and deliver the earth, bringing justice to the nations (Isaiah, Chapter 42).
Ultimately the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, the Temple of God, will assume its rightful place as the highest government of the earth, possessing authority and power over all God’s creation.
The belief that wicked people will continue indefinitely to govern the earth is laughable.
The Son who is born represents the authority and power of the multiplied Christ. As He announces the Lord’s army, Joel cries: “There hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations” (Joel 2:2).
The victorious saints have attained eternal life through Christ and are the “firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4). They are the right arm of the Church of Christ that will reach into every corner of the earth and enforce obedience to Christ. They will rule with a rod of iron. They are the bronze feet of Christ that will crush Satan under foot shortly (Revelation 1:15; Romans 16:20; Genesis 3:15).
The Kingdom-age Jubilee
The Temple of God will usher in the Kingdom-age Jubilee. The return of the Lord Jesus with His saints will be a consuming fire on all the works of unrighteousness but a time of blessing and edification for Israel and of deliverance for the nations of the earth. It is the Year of Jubilee.
Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:9,10)
The thousand-year Kingdom Age (Millennium) is the Year of Jubilee, the Day of Atonement, of Reconciliation, the Day of the Lord, the establishing of the rule of God on the earth.
There are several aspects of the Year of Jubilee that give us understanding concerning the millennial rule of Christ:
The term jubilee is associated with musical instruments (Genesis 4:21), indicating that the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be a period of rejoicing.
The trumpet of the Jubilee was sounded on the Day of Atonement, showing that the thousand-year Kingdom Age will be a period of reconciliation to God by the removal of sin (Hebrews 9:28).
The trumpet was heard throughout all the land, suggesting that during the thousand-year Kingdom Age complete deliverance will come to the children of God and “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26).
Jubilee was celebrated on the “fiftieth” year, making the Jubilee a type of Pentecost (Pentecost means “fifty”), pointing toward the unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit during the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
Every Israelite was to return to his original house and field, signifying that the slavery to sin into which mankind has sold itself will be abolished during the thousand-year Kingdom Age—especially with regard to the Church. Every true believer will have restored to him his birthright as a child of God.
The Time of Darkness and Light
The Scriptures give us a solid basis for rejoicing. A time of glory and of the Presence of God is coming to the earth because of the love of God for those whom He has created. The Temple of God, Christ—Head and Body, will be that Presence.
No matter how dark the cloud may become that even now is settling on the peoples of the earth, the Glory of God shall appear. All the revivals of past history have been but the merest sprinklings compared with the deluge of harvest rain soon to come.
Economic chaos, famine, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, violence, unbridled lust, and every other abominable work are appearing on the horizon of the earth. The days ahead will be times of shaking, of sin, of judgment, of heavy spiritual darkness, of despair, of men’s heart failing them for fear. God will demonstrate once and for all to both the heavens and the earth the consequences of rebellion against His will.
There will be no sin that wicked spirits can conceive that will not abound in the last days of the present age. Weak, unstable, halfhearted Christians will be tossed about like straw in a hurricane. Some will be saved as by fire. Others will fall away and be destroyed (remember Lot’s wife!). Every Word of Christ will be fulfilled to the letter. It is the great and terrible Day of the Lord.
The days of God go from evening to morning. Man has had his day to show what he can do. Now the Day of the Lord has come upon us. It will begin with an “evening.” There is coming a darkness never before known on the earth.
The oppression, pain, and insanity of sin will be intensely horrible. Except those days were shortened by the Lord no flesh would be saved. All life on the earth would perish. The Book of Zephaniah describes the great tribulation.
And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. (Zephaniah 1:17)
For His elect’s sake the Lord will execute His work on the earth quickly (Matthew 24:22; Romans 9:28).
All during the period of coming darkness, even when the oppression reaches its blackest and heaviest, there will be spiritual protection for the true believers, God’s remnant, and for those who go to the remnant for safety. It may be recalled that when God poured His wrath on the gods of Egypt, the land of Goshen was spared (Exodus 9:26). No matter how dark Egypt became, Israel had light in the midst of the darkness (Exodus 10:23).
We find in Revelation, Chapter 12 that the Woman, representing the Christian Church, will be “nourished” from the face of the serpent. “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee” (Psalms 91:7).
There shall be seasons when the saints will be persecuted, thrown into prison, and otherwise suffer for the Gospel. Persecution for the Gospel’s sake is taking place now in some parts of the world. It always has been so with the Church of Christ because we must “with much tribulation” enter the Kingdom of God.
Jesus says to us, “Fear none of the things that thou shalt suffer: behold the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried, and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
Yet, as far as the Church of Christ is concerned, there always will be light—especially at the height of the darkness (Isaiah 60:1-3). God will not leave Himself without a witness in the earth.
The wrath that will be poured out is the anger of God against the gods of the world, against the spirit of the present evil age that is attempting to carry on the business of the earth apart from the Spirit of God. God will crush and destroy this spirit and all who embrace Babylon. “Babylon” refers to man-directed, institutional religion, including (and especially) the Christian religion.
“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalms 9:17). It will be a period of horror until men cry out for death; but death will flee from them.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalms 24:1). God will never turn over His earth, Christ’s inheritance, to the wicked one. God will exercise His wrath on the evil spirits in the earth—and they tremble at the prospect! (James 2:19).
Yet, even in the midst of the terrifying judgments that soon are to come, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered” (Joel 2:32). The earth belongs to the Lord and He will not leave it.
The Glory of the Lord will increase in the saints as the Day of the Lord draws near. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the Glory of the Lord is risen upon thee” (Isaiah 60:1). The remnant of saints will be the source of God’s authority, protection, and blessing for all who seek Christ during the great tribulation.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:31,32)
At the climax of the darkness, when the world cries “Peace and safety,” having destroyed (so it believes) the testimony of the saints, Christ will appear in glory. The dead in Christ will rise. Those who are alive in Christ on the earth will be caught up together to meet the Lord and to participate with Him in the destruction of the forces of wickedness.
The Church at that time will arise (Ezekiel, Chapter 37). The Church, the army of the Lord, will shine as never before because the Father and the Son will be dwelling in the saints (John 14:23; Joel 3:16,17). The Light of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ, will descend from Heaven and avenge the blood of the saints who have been tortured and martyred on the earth.
Christ will come to tread the grapes of the wrath of God, and all the ungodly will drink of the unmixed wine until they are full.
The Kingdom Comes
God’s wrath will issue from His Temple.
I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. (Isaiah 42:14)
There will be poured on the wicked, to an extent never before witnessed on the earth, the destructive vengeance of God. Statesmen, generals, the wealthy, the famous, the poor—all who have chosen the spirit of this age and have refused the Gospel of the Kingdom—will be destroyed at the coming of Christ and His army.
The rulers of the earth will attempt to resist the government from Heaven but all their efforts will be crushed. Finally they will throw down their weapons and cry out to the mountains and rocks to hide them from the Face of God and from the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16).
To no avail. They will be sought out and killed. Every person who resists Christ will be consumed by the fire of God’s judgment.
The thousand-year Kingdom Age will be a period of judgment, war, and liberation. It will result in the destruction of those who resist Christ but also in the building up of the saints of God and in deliverance and healing of the earth and its peoples.
The Millennium (thousand-year Kingdom Age) is the period of redemption and release—redemption and release by judgment, war, and then the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the earth. It is the time of the imposition of the power of the Holy Spirit on the Church and the nations such that the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord will fill the earth—the knowledge of the righteous Person and ways of God. This righteousness will be enforced with the rod of iron that characterizes the Kingdom Age reign of Christ and His saints.
In spite of the outpouring of blessing and praise that will cover the earth during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the nations will be governed by a rod of iron. This is because the rebellion against God has gone so deep into the personality of mankind and has been of such long duration that it will not be purged from people in a moment.
In fact, after the Kingdom Age period of the rule of righteousness and the teaching of God’s ways throughout the earth, Satan still will be able to deceive the nations and lead them in revolt against the rule of God through Christ and the saints.
After the Battle of Armageddon, Satan will be bound and locked in the bottomless pit. The saints will stand with Christ upon the earth in transfiguration splendor. It may be a highly select company of saints, as we think about the fact that only three of the twelve disciples were present with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration.
The Lord Jesus, who by then will have manifest all authority and power in Heaven and on the earth, will delegate portions of His authority and power to His faithful disciples. They will go out from his side to their appointed realms.
As soon as the victorious saints have been enthroned in their places as spiritual overseers, the Church will begin its ministry to the saved people of the earth—people who have been protected throughout the judgments of God on the workers of sin and rebellion.
The light of the Glory of God will be abiding on the saints. The nations of the earth will flow to the Church asking for the knowledge of God Almighty, the God who came down in thunderous wrath on the vileness that had grown in the cities of the world until they had become ten times worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.
As the Church begins to minister and teach, exercising the authority and power of the Kingdom of God, the Holy Spirit will commence His work of healing the people of the land. The ends of the earth will come, seeking the Lord. The Life that is in our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Tree of Life, will be supplied through the saints so the nations of the saved can partake and live.
The ministry of the Church will increase, the nations becoming more and more obedient, until the Holy Spirit is as a mighty ocean of glory covering the earth. The destroyed areas of the earth will be rebuilt.
The saints will be called “restorers of paths to dwell in,” “the seed that the Lord hath blessed” (Isaiah 58:12; 60:9).
The fiercest of animals will become harmless. Sickness and death will be removed. The wisdom and blessing of God will flow to all people as they receive His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus. The nations will believe in Christ because they will see Him in the saints (John 17:21-23). All rebellion will be put down under a rod of iron, the disciplining power of the Holy Spirit that will be exercised through Christ and His saints.
This era of judgment, deliverance, reconciliation, and healing will continue until the entire Church has been perfected and is ready for its installation on the new earth as the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb.
The Presence of the Holy Spirit will increase until the Glory of God is a broad river of Divine Life issuing from the believers (John 7:38). The destruction of the spirit of the current age, this Sodom and Egypt, this attempt to live on the earth without Christ, will be total. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon and through the fervent disciples of the Lord Jesus also will be total. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20).
The Church of Christ will be delivered from the power of sin and death and made ready for its ministry to the prisoners of the earth (Isaiah, Chapter 42). The thousand-year Kingdom Age will be an age of such joy and rejoicing in God that we Christians scarcely can visualize it in our most wonderful dreams.
In view of the events that are approaching the earth, the message of the Church to the unsaved is now and will continue to be until the Lord returns: “Flee from the wrath to come. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Be baptized in His name and you will be saved in the Day of Wrath. Enter the covenant now because terrible destruction is coming from the Lord.”
All can be saved by accepting the blood of God’s Lamb, Christ. No person will be able to stand in the Day that is near unless he has accepted the protection of the blood of Jesus.
The Day of Atonement
The coming thousand years of redemption will be a jubilee of deliverance and glory for the Israel of God as well as for the nations of saved peoples of the earth, as God reveals His Glory through His Temple. The term “Israel of God” refers to those persons whom God has called out from the world under the old covenant and the new covenant. It has a secondary, significant reference to those who are Jews by race because of human birth (Romans 2:28,29; Galatians 6:15,16).
The fact that the trumpet of Jubilee was sounded on the Day of Atonement is worthy of note. The Day of Atonement (Leviticus, Chapter 16) was the only day of the Hebrew year during which the high priest was instructed to pass beyond the veil that hung in front of the Most Holy Place. The blood of a young bull and of a goat was sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat, the young bull being offered for Aaron and his household, and the goat for the sins of the people.
Then the sins of the children of Israel were placed, by the laying on of Aaron’s hands, on the head of a live goat and that goat was led out of the camp. Here is a picture of I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
During the Day of Atonement, God performs two services for us: first, He forgives our sins (the blood of the slain goat sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat); second, He cleanses us from all unrighteousness (the sins placed on the living goat and carried out of the camp). God through Christ both forgives and delivers us.
The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ was shed on Calvary for our sins. His blood was sprinkled upon and before the Mercy Seat in Heaven and also on our heart. As we confess our sins, after we have become a Christian, our sins are carried away from us so we do not continue committing them.
After our sins have been forgiven and removed from us, we then are eligible for all the blessings of the Jubilee. Deliverance is appointed for us. It is with the greatest rejoicing and praise that we glorify God in the returning of our birthright as God’s children. Little by little we are enabled by the Holy Spirit to fight our way into the land of promise and to begin to recover the spiritual life that was lost in the Garden of Eden.
The redemption that is drawing near has to do especially with the restoring to us of immortality. Adam and Eve had access to the Tree of Life. If they had eaten of it they would still be alive on the earth to the present hour. When they sinned, spiritual life withdrew from their bodies. They “died” the moment they sinned, as God warned they would, although their physical bodies did not manifest the death for nearly a thousand years.
Christ “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (II Timothy 1:10). We who are Christians have been sealed to the Day of Redemption that soon is to come. In that day eternal life will be restored to our bodies. We will be immortal on the earth.
Even though we are Christians our bodies are “dead because of sin.” We are dragging around a “body of death.” Christ was offered as a sacrifice to God for the forgiveness of our sins. Having been forgiven we now are looking for His glorious appearing. When He appears, He will raise our mortal bodies from the dead without sin unto salvation (Hebrews 9:28). The Millennial Jubilee will commence with the restoration to life of the victorious saints.
The door is open now to “whoever will.” Those who set their heart and mind to the task of conquering in Christ can fight their way into the riches of the Kingdom of God. Even though the remainder of the Church may be slow to realize their opportunities in Christ, any person who will seek Christ with his whole heart can forge ahead in God and begin to eat the old corn of the land.
When the thousand-year Kingdom Age comes, and the Head and Body of Christ appear in glory, the blessings of the Day of Atonement will be applied to the whole earth, particularly to the Lord’s people. During that Day, as Paul teaches us, the Lord will restore the nation of Israel to His favor. “All Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26).
A multitude of people who are Jewish by physical birth will be brought into the one Seed, Christ, thereby becoming heirs of the promises of God.
In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek. Any man, woman, boy or girl who receives Christ as Savior and Lord becomes a part of the Israel that will rule with God throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. God will “make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles” (Romans 9:23,24).
The full blessings of the Day of Atonement will be applied to all Israel during the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The sins of the Lord’s people will be forgiven and their bondages broken. This is the promise of God to His people in the Day when He shall take away their sins.
What a day of release is at hand! The authority and power of the blood of the cross shall deliver all the people of God.
The guilt of sin was removed on the cross. The power of sin will be broken as the army of God, the victorious remnant of saints, goes forth in the full anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God into the earth.
No other kingdom can withstand the coming of the Kingdom of God. As soon as Christ has His saints ready to appear with Him, every other personality and force will move before their advance. The saints will come with Christ at their head to cleanse and deliver the peoples of the earth.
This will be the greatest period of rejoicing imaginable. The appearing of Christ with His army will usher in the Day of Jubilee for the earth. All the cleansing and delivering will be founded on the work of atonement accomplished on Calvary.
When the Lord Jesus comes to set up His Kingdom on the earth, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).
Atonement Means Reconciliation
The term atonement has many shades of meaning. One of the main concepts is that of reconciliation.
Before we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior we were alienated from God, separated from the life of God. We were not in God’s family. As soon as we accepted Christ, putting our faith in Him, the process of reconciliation commenced. It began in our inner man and will be completed when our body is raised from the dead into immortality.
Atonement brings us from alienation from God all the way to reconciliation to God. Our final level of reconciliation will be as complete as was true of our former level of alienation. We were alienated completely and we shall be reconciled completely. It is a perfect atonement, a perfect reconciliation.
The works of the devil separate us from God. When man sinned at the beginning he came under the authority and power of the wicked one. Over many thousands of years the nature of the adversary has been developed and revealed in mankind to such an extent that humans are conceived and born in sin.
Rebellion against God and His ways saturates our every fiber—we were born that way. The evil nature of people is not reconciled to the Father in a moment, although any person can gain forgiveness and come under the protection of God in the moment of receiving Christ.
The first step in the process of absolute reconciliation is the removal of the authority and the guilt of sin. This removal was accomplished perfectly on Calvary. Satan has no authority whatever over a human being who has asked Christ for salvation. At the moment of receiving Christ the individual passes from the authority of darkness to the authority of Christ.
God has provided the legal foundation for the change of authority. There is nothing anyone can do to prevent the change of authority from occurring when a human being fulfills the legal requirement by believing and being baptized.
At the moment of believing in Christ, the person is found to be not guilty, by the Judge of the court of Heaven. Therefore the authority of the wicked one is nonexistent as far as the believer in Christ is concerned. However, the Lake of Fire retains jurisdiction over sin whether found in a non-Christian or Christian.
What about the power of sin? So great is the power of sin over Christians that many churches deny that it is possible for the believer to overcome his sinful habits; although the Scripture states: “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live in the appetites of the flesh” (Romans 8:12).
We understand that Satan uses the lusts of our fleshly nature, guiding and deceiving us into the “works of the flesh.” The world, Satan, and our fleshly nature conspire against us as we attempt to live in a righteous, holy, and obedient manner. We love to obey God but sometimes we find it difficult to perform His will with a pure heart.
If we will cooperate with the Spirit of God He will come in judgment against the control that the world, Satan, and our fleshly nature have over our behavior. The result of the Divine judgment will be the destruction of sin and the bringing of us into the fullness of resurrection life. Seen from this point of view, the judgment of God is to be greatly desired by the believer in Christ.
To the extent that we sin we have not been reconciled to God. It continues to be true, however, that our guilt has been removed and we are without condemnation as long as we are doing God’s will to the best of our knowledge and ability.
The fact that sin still retains some control over our behavior is proof that a part of our personality has not as yet been reconciled to God. Our mortal body remains unredeemed. It is still under the power of the enemy. It is dead because of the sin that dwells in it.
Every part of our personality that has been reconciled to God obeys God promptly. The part of our personality that still is hostile toward God and seeks to compel us to live in the lusts of the flesh is under the judgment of God and will be destroyed.
Insofar as a part of us still lusts after the world, to that extent, and in that particular area of lust or rebellion, the atonement (reconciliation) made by Christ has not as yet accomplished its work in us.
The trumpet of Jubilee signaling release from servitude and restoration of property was sounded on the Day of Atonement, the Day of Reconciliation (Leviticus 25:9). The fact that the kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, which is the thousand-year Kingdom Age, is still ahead for the Church of Christ, indicates to us that a more complete salvation and reconciliation to God than we have known will come to the Church in the future.
The thousand-year Kingdom Age that will begin when the Lord Jesus returns to earth will be a period during which the Church will become reconciled to God through Christ. It is the time of the marriage of the Lamb, the union of Christ with His Bride.
Mankind was separated from God originally by the working of Satan. The only manner in which reconciliation to God can be accomplished is by the destruction of all the power and influence of the devil, his authority having been destroyed on the cross of Calvary.
Since the route to reconciliation to God is destruction of the enemy, the way to bring about full atonement is war. Our complete redemption will have been accomplished when every trace of the kingdom of Satan has been driven from us by unrelenting war.
The Kingdom of Christ comes against the forces of darkness. Now we can understand why it is that the trumpet of Jubilee, the establishing of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and the Day of Atonement are all associated with warfare and judgment. Peace and restoration can come to the nations of the earth only through Christ’s rule with a rod of iron.
The thousand-year Kingdom Age will be installed on the earth by the power of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Army. The saints will judge and cast out all the works of darkness. The peoples of the earth, particularly the Israel of God, will enter glorious liberty during the Kingdom Age. All the deliverance and glory is founded on the blood of the Lamb. It is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Day of Atonement.
(“What House Will You Build Me?: Two”, 3160-1)