EIGHT APPEARANCES OF THE VICTORIOUS SAINTS

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Words of Righteousness)

EIGHT APPEARANCES OF THE VICTORIOUS SAINTS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

It is clear in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation that the Christian Church is divided into two major groups, the larger group being the believers with their many problems and the smaller group being the victorious saints. We can see this same division in most Christian assemblies of our day. It is our opinion that this division will prevail until the coming down to earth of the new Jerusalem, at which time the two groups will form one whole.

Table of Contents

Introduction The Sealed Servants The Second Lampstand The Male Child The Firstfruits to God and the Lamb The Sea of Glass The Firstfruits of the Bride The Army of the Lord The Royal Priesthood Conclusion

EIGHT APPEARANCES OF THE VICTORIOUS SAINTS  

Introduction

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)

I realize I have mentioned some of the appearances of the victorious saints in previous writings, but the topic is expanding in my mind and seems to be pressing on me. So I ask your indulgence when I repeat myself.

We woke up this morning (March 7, 1997) to read that thirty-nine men and women, members of a cult, had committed suicide in Rancho Santa Fe which is near us. Why would young intellectuals in an affluent society, well able to live the typical life of the American middle or upper middle class, kill themselves? Why would they desire to go to live with people from another planet.

The only solution to the UFO mentality is the presentation of a better hope, a real hope, which is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

There is an intensifying spiritual hunger in the United States. Money, improved communication devices, vocational success, do not feed this hunger. Some Americans are turning to the Hindu or Buddhist religions in search of spiritual realities. Others to weird cults, as in Rancho Santa Fe.

The Christian churches must bear a great deal of the blame, I believe. We who have access to the very deepest of mystical experiences in Christ have become small businesses that make infrequent allusions if any to the world of spirits, the world for which all people finally hunger. Some Christian denominations and churches are modeled after the successful business organizations of the world, seeking superior marketing techniques in order that their numbers may grow.

Oftentimes the Christian businesses (churches) go into all the world to add members to their organization, not to make disciples and train them to keep God's commandments. Rather, they offer a sterile gospel, a gospel that will not offend anyone except perhaps the Jews, the Muslims, and the Communists, who have their own values.

Ours truly is a day for intense prayer and repentance, humility, sackcloth so to speak, not a parading of how marvelous we Christians are as we go forth to lend a hand to a "bleeding, dying world." The world is bleeding and dying because we are not bearing a true witness of God. We are seeking to please people rather than God, the historical error of Christianity.

Jesus Christ is not asleep. He is drawing near His churches. The great Mountain of Fire has the stars and the lampstands in His nail-scarred hands. Already many lights have gone out. Already the "rights of the people" have put out the blazing Shekinah.

It is time for the High Priest to trim the wicks and put in fresh oil. And you—never mind the rest of the world; you who know and love God—it is time to turn away from the improved marketing techniques, from the shallow "Jesus did it all" pap being presented. Look to the Holy One of Israel. If you have to, go it alone. Be an Antipas—against all. You soon will find others marching along.

Jesus Christ is looking for believers today who will come out of the babylonish mess (at least in their hearts, the bodies will come out at some later date) and begin to seek God with a pure heart. The Holy Spirit will reveal areas of your personality He wants to repair.

God is ready to move in the United States. But it will be in the churches first. The churches need to repent. Having repented they are to present the true Gospel of Christ, the Gospel of turning away from sin, taking up our cross, and following the Master.

Will the true Gospel drive multitudes of spoiled believers out of the churches? I can't say it will or it won't. It doesn't matter. Better to have twenty people who love the Lord than twenty-thousand who are attending because the church is "interesting and exciting."

Twenty-thousand of today's believers will do little more than stand in line to have their diapers changed, meanwhile grumbling about the inconvenience. But twenty dedicated disciples of Jesus will make an eternal impact on the present generation.

Yes there are true spiritual depths in Jesus Christ—horizons of splendor against which the psychedelic orgies of the drug-inspired appear as rancid garbage.

But we will not experience the spiritual wonders of Christ until the churches become centers of glorious worship and pageantry, holding forth a Word of Life that feeds the saints and causes sinners to fall on their faces. This can be accomplished only by constant, fervent prayer and stern obedience to the Spirit.

The problem is not with the secular realm it is with the churches. Babies are collecting more babies. Let the godly pastors and teachers step forth and begin to bring up the babies until they attain the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Then the secular realm will turn and pay heed to the vision of Christ appearing before them.

We have titled our booklet "Eight Appearances of the Victorious Saints." There may be more than eight appearances of the victorious saints. For example, the "great multitude" of Revelation 7:9 may be one such appearance. However we feel more certain of the eight we have selected.

There are two major points we wish to make in this brief article. One point is that there are the churches and then there are the victorious saints within the churches—two defined groups. The second point is that at no time are the victorious saints shown to be in mansions or in the garden of God mentioned so often in our traditions and described by those who have had visions or near-death experiences.

We feel it to be of the utmost importance that today's believers come to recognize that the average lukewarm church-attender will not participate in the sublime rewards offered to the overcomer. Also that our goal is not eternal residence in a "mansion" in the spirit Paradise.

Our Christian teaching is so weak, so threadbare that in many instances the believers are choosing to go back under Judaism where there at least is some substance that the worshiper can work at each day. The current "make a decision for Christ," "profess Christ and there is nothing else to do but tell others to profess Christ and then wait to go to Heaven to live in a mansion doing little of significance," does not satisfy the diligent individual who wants to find more in his or her church than an aerobics class or weight-loss program..

It sometimes is taught that every person who "makes a decision for Christ" is ex officio an overcomer, a victorious saint. Apparently the purpose of such an unsupported position is to perpetuate the myth that all we have to do is "accept Christ" and everything else has been accomplished. We are an overcomer by identification with Christ, or some such.

The most superficial reading of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation will reveal that Christ is speaking of works, not belief. If it were true that we automatically are an overcomer by a profession of belief in Christ then the two chapters are nonsensical.

In the prison and jail work conducted by our church and others with which we are familiar, the message of the Kingdom of God, of righteous living, is remarkably well received. Many of the inmates have at one time or another "made a decision for Christ." Now they are beginning to realize that there is a life to be lived and they are laying hold of it in an extraordinary manner.

Yesterday one of the prison workers north of here called me and said, "Help! Send me some literature. Someone is getting in here with the ‘grace message.’ " By "grace message" he meant the typical lawless-grace-rapture-Jesus did it all-go live in a mansion preaching.

At long last people are beginning to see the difference. The inmates of the state prisons and county jails recognize the difference between the two gospels and are asking for literature to help them combat the "Jesus did it all" teaching.

Many of them had "made a decision for Christ" previously, but then they were not taught we have to keep the commandments of God. So they are back in jail.

The issue is being joined in our day. Which is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ? Is it "make a decision for Christ and you soon will be raptured to Heaven to live in material wealth in a mansion, possessing a harp, golden slippers, and acres of diamonds"? Or is it "turn away from your sin, take up your cross, follow Jesus every day until you become a new righteous creation in Him"?

Is Jesus the ticket or the way? Is salvation a change of location or a change of personality? Is grace an alternative to character transformation or is Divine grace the wisdom and power from God through Jesus Christ to enable us to obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles?

One of these doctrines is scriptural. One is not. One is not an enlarged version of the other. They are coming from two different spirits. One is building the Kingdom of God and one is tearing down the Kingdom of God.

The "change of location" gospel is held by the great majority of Christian churches in America.

The "change of personality" gospel is held by an increasingly vocal minority.

The majority of the lemmings still are rushing into the ocean. Do you have the will, the character, to be an Antipas, to stand against all, to accept the sufferings of Christ including rejection by the majority, to be a wrong-way lemming?

Will you turn again to God and separate the priceless from the worthless?

Will you walk with Jesus Christ against the tide?

Someone said a hundred thousand lemmings can't be wrong. What do you say?

The Sealed Servants

And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. (Revelation 7:2,3)

The Christian churches can be separated into the victorious saints and the rest of the church-attenders. You can see the two groups in most churches.

The majority, the church-attenders, make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. They attend church, help pay the bills, participate in the functions of the assembly. But their daily life, other than some prayer and Bible reading, is much the same as that of the unsaved.

The victorious saints do all the same things in church but they are much more occupied with Jesus Christ. They are learning to walk in openness before God, confessing and turning away from their sins, listening for the voice of the Lord. They are ready to go, ready to stay, ready to do the Lord's will.

The victorious saints are growing in ministry, in the use of their talents. You can see the growth in holiness and service from month to month as they pass through "many dangers, toils, and fears." They are true Christians, true saints.

They do not live like the people of the world.

Many people who attend church grow hardly at all over fifty years. After fifty years of attending church they still have the same problems of personality. Perhaps the main change in them is that the women have become bitter, unforgiving gossips. Some of the men drop out, sit at home on Sunday morning, read the paper, watch the television, and talk about "them preachers that want all your money."

However, the victorious saints after fifty years are prophets.

One characteristic of the victorious saints may be noticed in the seventh chapter of the Book of Revelation. 

Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. (Revelation 7:3)

The victorious saints are "the servants of our God."

Every Christian is called to be a bondslave of the Lord Jesus Christ. This means that Christ has the authority to dictate every detail of his or her life.

Paul commands us to present our body a living sacrifice to God. This is our reasonable service of worship. This is the only way in which we can prove the will of God for our life.

First Corinthians informs us that the Holy Spirit has given a gift, a talent, to every member of the Body of Christ. How many church-attenders know what their gift is? Not very many and this is why the Body of Christ is so immature. The Body can be built up only by the contribution of each member.

The churchgoers of today are not, for the most part, presenting their body a living sacrifice to God. Therefore they do not know the will of God for their life. As a result the members of their assembly, including themselves, do not come to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

This situation has prevailed for two thousand years. Now it is coming to a halt! The Lord Jesus has come to His churches. He is calling out (in heart, for now) whoever will turn aside from the world and his or her own ways and seek the face of God. There is no time to waste. The tares are coming to maturity.

If you want to be a victorious saint, an inheritor of the promises of God, you must become the bondslave of Jesus Christ.

The tribe of Dan is not mentioned in the list in Revelation, Chapter Seven because the name Dan refers to judgment. The sealed servants of the Lord are going through judgment now, as they confess their sins, and will not be judged but sentenced to eternal life at the appearing of the Lord.

How could we be changed into immortal life and rise to be forever with the Lord until we first have been judged?

The tribe of Ephraim also is omitted in Revelation Seven. Ephraim is included in the tribe of Joseph. Joseph represents the Gentiles who are among the servants of God.

The point is, the victorious saints do not live for themselves but for the will of Christ. Are you ready to be a servant of the Lord?

Young person, listen to me. My generation, the older generation, of American Christians has failed the Lord to a great extent. We are occupied with the material riches of America, vacations, our retirement scheme, our hospital plan, our entertainment. We attend church but in many instances we are not burning with the fires of consecration that Jesus demands.

God is calling to your generation and that of your children and grandchildren. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only source of power great enough to change the world from its slavery to lust, money, politics, and violence. All the talk in the world won't do it. The problems are coming from Satan and only Jesus Christ is able to conquer Satan—and this He can do and shall do.

But how about you? You have your life ahead of you. Why don't you give it to God, not like the church people around you but like the saints of history who have followed Christ with a single heart.

Listen to me! If you will give your best to Christ He will give His best to you. And the "best" of Jesus Christ includes all the power on earth, in the atmosphere, and in outer space. Christ is where the power is. Christ is where the wisdom is. Christ is where the beauty and splendor are.

You have but one life. If you do your best you may accomplish some small good in the world, and I know you want to do the best you can when you see what is taking place around you.

But if you take the fish and loaves of your life and hand them over to the Lord Jesus He will feed the multitude.The Lord and you working together can change this stinking mass of protoplasm we call the world.

You can make it a better place for children, for animals, for nature, for people of all kinds, for the many races in America, for the handicapped and sick.

The Lord and the world are waiting for your answer. What will it be? A servant of yourself or a servant of God?

The Second Lampstand

These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. (Revelation 11:4)

The first appearance of the victorious saints is as the sealed servants of the Lord. The second appearance is in the form of the second lampstand of Revelation, Chapter Eleven.

The two witnesses have been described by some as Moses and Elijah, or Enoch and Elijah. Actually Elijah and Elisha might be better candidates because of the things that transpired in their lives.

However it is not likely that God is going to bring two bearded patriarchs down from Heaven to do the work assigned by the Lord Jesus Christ to His Church. After all, he who is least in the Kingdom is greater than any of the prophets, or so the Lord said.

The task of witnessing to the world of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus has been assigned to the members of His Body.

The golden lampstand of the Tabernacle of the Congregation always represents Christ and those who are part of Christ. The Lampstand is Christ, the One anointed with the Holy Spirit to bear witness of God.

The Lampstand was golden, representing Divinity.

In the fourth chapter of the Book of Zechariah, from which the figures in Revelation, Chapter Eleven are taken, we see only one lampstand, that is, Christ. But in Revelation Eleven there are two lampstands.

Who is the other lampstand?

Christ is the Light of the world. But He referred to His saints as the light of the world.

In Revelation we notice there are seven lampstands, seven churches.

If Christ and His Church are the only lampstands of God, how come there are not eight lampstands—Christ and the seven churches? It is because the second lampstand consists of the victorious saints, the church within the churches.

The latter-rain revival, the harvest revival mentioned on four occasions in the Scriptures, is portrayed in Revelation Eleven as two lampstands and two olive trees. The two lampstands, as we understand it, are Christ and the victorious saints. The two olive trees speak of the double portion of the Spirit, the Elisha anointing, that will enable Christ in and with His saints to perform the greater works and to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God in all the world for a witness to every nation. Then the end of the Church Age will have come. Here is the fulfillment of the two wave loaves of the Jewish feast of Pentecost.

The witness given by Christ working in and with His victorious saints will be different from the witness we have known because it will be accompanied by works of judgment and destruction. Such works are necessary if the nations of the earth are to be awakened to the nearness of the coming of the Kingdom of God, a kingdom that will be installed on the earth with great violence.

As soon as the witness has been given to the Spirit's satisfaction the special anointing will be lifted. Then the saints will be driven from the cities of the earth and forced to live in hiding until the return of the Lord. The witness will be brought to an end by the spirit of the world, by the lusts of the flesh, and by the envy of self-seeking people (Egypt, Sodom, and Jerusalem).

There is an age of moral horrors at hand. Also ahead is the climax of the latter- rain outpouring. You and I have no time to waste. Let us ask the Lord for rain in the time of the harvest rain. To everyone who asks shall be given an abundance of rain and great fruitfulness.

The present world is approaching a dead end. Turn now to the Lord and give your life some meaning.

The Male Child

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:5)

This is a third appearance of the victorious saints.

Paul spoke to the saints in Galatia. They had been saved. They had received the Holy Spirit, according to Paul's statements to them.

Now Paul was in travail that Christ might be formed in them.

We know that we receive a portion of Christ when we first are saved. But evidently having Christ formed in us is a process requiring effort on the part of the ministry over a period of time.

How did Paul know Christ had not been formed in the Galatians? Because they were accepting the teaching of the Judaizers that in order to be saved they had to be circumcised. When Christ has been formed in us we are not that easily deceived.

The Book of Isaiah tells us that as soon as Zion travails she brings forth her children and a nation will be born at once. Micah also speaks of the travail that will take place in the last days.

It is happening today. It has taken two thousand years to bring us to the point that God is ready to bring forth Christ in the Church.

The single most important aspect of what is taking place today in the Kingdom of God is the travail of the believers to bring forth Christ.

You will find you have a burden in your personality. You still may be torn between your life in the world and the Kingdom of God. As you struggle in prayer and determination there will come a point at which you break through.

I don't know how else to describe it—you break through!

After that it is easier to maintain your position of victory in Christ. Prior to this breaking through it was a constant struggle to assert your determination to do God's will and only God's will.

When you get close enough to God you begin to fall toward God instead of back toward the earth.

There still are many battles to be fought and we still can be led astray by deception. But it is different now. We are on top looking down. If we keep praying, keep committing ourselves to the Lord, we can maintain perfect victory in Christ.

The sensation of "praying through" comes because Christ has been formed in us to the place where He has been able to break through to God's throne. Christ is the Ruler of the ages to come and He has fought through in you to perfect victory.

This is not to say the battle is over. It assuredly is not. But, as we have said, it is now a case of maintaining victory instead of gaining victory.

What a force, what a power enters our personality when we once and for all determine that Christ shall rule in us. We pass from the ranks of the spiritual adolescents to membership in the army of the Lord.

Satan is standing before you to devour the Child as soon as He is born in you. But God will not permit this. He is Christ the Son of the Living God and His place is with His Father on the Throne that governs all things.

Satan could not care less about the religious activities of the churches. But all Hell trembles at the thought of Christ being formed in a believer.

How many believers struggle endlessly to overcome a multitude of sins?

Be patient. Don't quit. Don't despair. Be faithful to God and the moment will come when all of a sudden praise will fill your heart. You will know  that God has heard you. The bells will begin ringing: "Well done, well done, well done my servant; well done, well done, well done my son. Well done, well done, well done my servant, well done, well done, you have overcome."

You have passed from Pentecost to Tabernacles, from the sixtyfold to the hundredfold. You have passed from the called to the chosen to the faithful.

No weapon formed against you will be effective. From now on your righteousness is of the Lord.

Truly, in the day we seek Him with all our heart He will be found of us.

The victorious saints are mentioned soon after as those who keep God's commandments and have the testimony of Jesus. Satan always wars against such. It is they who represent a terrible threat to his kingdom.

When we have the testimony of Jesus but do not keep God's commandments we cannot do much damage to the kingdom of Satan. We do not incur his wrath to the same extent. 

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)

The Firstfruits to God and the Lamb

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

There has been speculation about who the 144 thousand are.

Stop and think. Who are the people who follow the Lamb wherever he goes? Doesn't the Apostle Paul say that those who are raised and then ascend to meet the Lord in the air will be ever with the Lord?

Well then, it is kind of obvious that the 144 thousand of Revelation, Chapter Fourteen are the victorious saints, the Christians who are sold out to God. (Will there be another group following the Lord wherever He goes?)

How do we know they are victorious saints? We know they are victorious saints because they are standing with Jesus on Mount Zion. This means they are with Him in victory. Mount Zion was the location of the Ark of the Covenant when the rest of the Tabernacle was at the high place of Gibeon. Zion represents victory in Jesus.

They have Jesus' Father's name written in their foreheads, meaning they always do God's will. Is that true of you?

They are singing a new song because they are new creations in Christ.

They have been redeemed from the earth. They have counted their life in this present unstable world as a pilgrimage toward a city that has foundations.

Is this the case with you? It is of all true disciples of the Lord.

They are not defiled with "women" meaning they are not "married" to their job, their money, their life in the world, or any other thing, circumstance, or relationship. Their love for Jesus is of supreme importance.

This does not mean they neglect their family. The true disciple of the Lord fulfills all his family obligations. The Lord Jesus will accept nothing less!

If you want your relationships to your family and other people to be satisfying and permanent, relate to them through Jesus. If you do not relate to your wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, son, daughter, mother, father, through Jesus your relationship to the person will not prove to be as solid as a relationship established in Jesus.

Put Jesus first and all else will fall into line.

They follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Is this true of you? I hope so.

They are firstfruits to God and the Lamb.

The first green beans picked from the vine are the best. But after you pick over the vine a few times the beans begin to get stringy and woody. The firstfruits off the vine are the best.

The firstfruits off God's vine are the best. They are the victorious saints.

No guile is found in their mouth. The problem with us humans is that we are full of guile. Satan has wounded our heel so we can't stand upright.

Do you know why we talk so much? It is because we are trying to prove to people we are righteous in what we are doing.

The more mature we become as saints the less talking we do. We don't have to prove anything to ourselves or anyone else.

Only the Lord Jesus can burn the guile out of us until we stand upright on our feet and look people squarely in the eye.

Being free from guile is the mark of spiritual maturity. Such are without fault before the Throne of God. They have become as children as far as malice and deceit are concerned.

There is no guile in God or Christ and there is to be none in us.

God says what He means and means what He says. Let us be like this.

God has forgiven you through the blood of Jesus Christ. Your sins of the past have been cast behind God's back. Now He will strengthen you and give you wisdom until you are one of the 144 thousand standing on Mount Zion with the Lord.

What? You are afraid there already are 144 thousand with the Lord and you're too late?

Don't worry. Like the rest of Revelation it is probably a symbolic number.

Tell Jesus you want to join the group. I think you'll find there's room for you.

"Though millions have come, there's still room for one" (from an old hymn).

Move over, guys, there's a new kid on the block.

Again, the victorious saints are seen as those who escape being influenced by Antichrist because they keep the commandments of God and hold the faith of Jesus. If we have the faith of Jesus and yet do not keep God's commandments we are vulnerable to Antichrist. 

Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

The Sea of Glass

And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. (Revelation 15:2)

During the time of the pouring out of God's wrath the victorious saints stand on the sea of glass mixed with fire.

The seven last plagues are about to be poured out. These mark the completion of the wrath of God.

The greatest contrast ever to be experienced in God's universe is that between the idyllic scenes of Garden of Eden and the Hell's twilight of the closing days of the Church Age.

God gave mankind a perfect environment. Satan entered and the results are now history. This has been God's way of showing His angels and all His other creatures the folly of rebellion against the Father's will.

God easily could have prevented the entrance of Satan into the garden. God chose to permit the evil to work itself out to its conclusion, just as He does with us from time to time.

Another great contrast is that between the inhabitants of the earth, suffering from the plagues of God, and the victorious saints standing on the sea of glass. The sea of glass is located in front of the Throne of Almighty God. 

And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. (Revelation 4:6)

The sea of glass represents the utter purity of those who stand before God's throne. There is no guile in them, no filthiness of the spirit.

The four living creatures were present in the middle of the throne and around the throne. They represent the Character of God—that which man is destined to become. But no human being was standing on the sea of glass at that time.

However when God is ready to pour out the seven vials that represent the conclusion of His wrath there are people, the victorious saints, standing on the glass. Also the sea of glass is now mixed with fire. This is because the fire of God's judgment has burned out of the victorious saints all guile and filthiness of spirit.

It is fashionable in our day to speak of reverence for God rather than the fear of God. The change is just one more symptom of the influence of humanistic thinking on Christian teaching.

God is to be feared. Christians often do not fear God at all. Yet they should be working out their own salvation with fear and trembling (not with reverence and trembling!).

The only people who have reason to be unafraid in the day of God's wrath are the victorious saints. They have won victory over the beast, his image, his mark, and the number of his name.

There always is a song in our heart when we gain victory, and this is the significance of the harps.

There is more to being a Christian than taking the four steps of salvation. We must gain victory over the beast, his image, his mark, and the number of his name.

There are three great powers of darkness in the world. They form a trinity of evil. Satan is the counterpart of God the Father. Antichrist is the counterpart of God the Son. The False Prophet is the counterpart of God the Holy Spirit.

The beast, Antichrist, comes out of the sea, that is, out from the mass of mankind. We see the Antichrist spirit whenever we behold man making himself God. Antichrist is the exaltation of self. Jesus Christ is the denial of self and the exaltation of God.

The philosophy of democracy lends itself to the Antichrist spirit because it stresses the rights of the individual, not the rights of Christ but the rights of the individual. While such an emphasis may appear at first glance to be Christian it is the very opposite of true Christianity.

The False Prophet comes from the earth, that is, from the soul of man. It is religion, including Christianity, without Christ. It seeks the power of Christ but it speaks with the voice of Satan.

The Charismatic movement of today is in danger of moving in the direction of the False Prophet. The emphasis is on the use of ministries and gifts instead of our taking up our cross and following Jesus. Gifts and ministries always flow properly from the crucified, resurrected life—the life lived in Jesus.

Whenever you see an attempt to use gifts and ministries to "save the world," but the individual is not a humble servant of Christ who is hearing from God, you have there the False Prophet.

I have been troubled recently by the spirit of those who talk about going forth and getting the world saved. While this seems scriptural it decidedly is not. I do not know what to call this spirit, but it seems to me it does great harm to the saints. Not only does it bring the members of the assemblies under condemnation (because they are not "going out into the highways and byways and compelling them to come in"), but it diverts the minds of the saints from the close relationship with Jesus they should be seeking.

The emphasis on going forth and saving the world turns our mind away from the Lord and onto activities and people. I think this is more of Satan than of the Lord.

You can't command a woman to bear children. You have to marry her.

So it is with the Christians. You can't command them to "get souls saved." You have to get them married to Jesus. Then fruit will come in its mature time. Ministry should always be a fruit that comes from a life married to the Lord.

I'll tell you what God is after, and I think I have heard from the Lord on this. God wants assemblies that are seeking righteousness, holiness, and the Presence of God. God wants holy places where He can come and enjoy the worship of people. And where the Bible, not the current traditions, is being preached.

Every Christian church should be a sea of glass mixed with fire. Every member should be standing there with his harp, the music that God has put in him and is God, and singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. That song never changes from one covenant to another. It is the pure worship of Him whose ways are always righteous and true and whose righteous acts have been revealed.

But you cannot stand on the sea of glass mixed with fire until you gain the victory over Antichrist.

To have the mark of Antichrist in our right hand or forehead is to act and think according to the will of man and not the will of Christ. The true servants of God have God's name in their forehead because they have been transformed by the renewing of their mind and now are performing the will of the Father.

The number of the name of Antichrist is 666. Man was created on the sixth day. Three is the number of God. Three sixes symbolizes man making himself God. This is how I interpret it.

I can't tell you what the image of Antichrist will be. I do know from the Scriptures that it is the False Prophet who will tell the people of the earth to make an image to Antichrist. The False Prophet also will give life to the image of Antichrist so that the image speaks and is able to kill those who do not worship the image of Antichrist.

You usually can see the essence of these Biblical symbols worked out in everyday life as you look around you.

Not having any great revelation from the Lord I would say the scenario is something like this, because you can see it working today. There is a tremendous emphasis in the United States and other nations on the rights of people accompanied by a somewhat scornful attitude toward the Lord Jesus and His people. These attitudes are not fully developed as yet but the Scripture warns that we Christians will be hated by all nations before the end of the present age.

But what is taking place in the churches? In some instances the churches are joining in the attitude of the Western democracies. The accent is on the rights of people.

I think that when the spirit of Antichrist is personified in one individual he (or she) will seek the help of the churches in promoting a worldwide social program. The emphasis will be on "saving" people and meeting their material needs. There may be much social good accomplished by the governments and the churches working hand in hand. That is, until the spirit of Satan completely takes over the personality of Antichrist.

We see today a few voices crying in the wilderness to the churches, telling them that the emphasis of the Scriptures is not on improving man's condition but on reconciling man to God. But such are beginning to appear as oddballs, kooks, misfits. We think this trend will continue, although it will be interrupted by the worldwide latter-rain revival.

Yesterday was Easter. Some of the sermons were printed in the newspaper. I noticed that one minister told his congregation no person need have any fear of the Judgment Seat of Christ. Meanwhile others of us are crying to the churches that the American Christians have very good reason to tremble at the thought of the Judgment Seat of Christ because they are not taking up their cross and following Him!

Both voices are being heard in Christian churches. Which one do you think our current governing officials would favor? We ask this question because we believe in the future the secular governments will make an alliance with the Christian churches and possibly with other religions as well.

A card just came in the mail to our song leader who gave it to me. It was advertising a local church. The idea was to come to that church and begin a new life this Easter. The church assured the people that all their family needs would be met, the music would be contemporary, and no person would be made to feel guilty because "we are all friendly folk."

Sounds so innocent. I noticed that Christ was not mentioned even once in the advertisement. Yet this is a Christian church.

What do you think the Apostle Paul would think of this assembly? What do you think Jesus Christ thinks of this assembly?

As I said, I don't know what the image of Antichrist will be but I'll take a crack at it. I suspect that democratic governments will be supported by the Christian churches. Perhaps the churches will create and portray the image of democratic government as being beneficial to all people. The churches will give life to this image just as Christian churches have given spiritual life to the "prosperity message."

The prosperity message (all Christians are supposed to be rich) is in harmony with humanism, capitalism, and democracy. Yet it is absolutely against all the Bible teaches.

Most of us, unless we are in advertising, have no idea how important the idea of "image" is, how much we are affected by image makers. The advertisers, the merchants, the politicians, the media, understand the importance of image.

One time there was a commercial advertising a credit card. The commercial showed twenty or thirty well-dressed young business types carrying briefcases. The idea was, all these young professionals are working for you if you use our credit card. Do you see the image of power it creates? Just think. If you use this credit card all this power is working for you. The truth is, all this baloney is working on you.

$99.99 that we have mentioned previously is an image. The idea is we are dealing with less than one hundred dollars. Ridiculous!

We are shown an exercise machine. The model has a flat, muscular stomach. Buy the machine and you will have a flat, muscular stomach. Probably not unless you are ready to go on a strenuous diet for several months accompanied by daily isometric exercises! The machine ends up in the corner collecting dust. Do you have an exercise machine in your house? Do you use it daily?

The cowboy, lean and tough, the real he-man, has a cigarette dangling from his lips. They don't show him years later in the hospital with throat cancer. Smoke a cigarette and you will be a rugged he-man. Nonsense! Smoke cigarettes and you will be a cool dude. You probably will end up being a sick dude. Smoke a cigarette and you will be cool and refreshed in the summer. Ha-ha. But the image is persuasive.

The athlete is shown on the cereal box. Eat the cereal and you will be an athlete. Chew tobacco and you will be a baseball star. Wear our sport shoes and you will be the fastest man on earth.

One time they advertised a rotary engine. On the television it sounded like a whirling top, so smooth—almost musical. Not like a regular piston engine at all. Do you own one of those? Check out what it sounds like.

Some friends drove here from Wisconsin. As they approached Las Vegas at night their little girl said, "A golden city." Las Vegas at night all lit up. It reminded me of a story a musician wrote about a gambler falling dead at the table in Las Vegas. They came and carried him out while the game continued. The dead man's arm was swinging in time to the music being played. The musician never forgot that sight and eventually became a Christian.

Do you know our whole country is like that? The politicians speak in words of image. "The bridge to the future." In your mind's eye you see a rainbow bridge leading the way to Utopia. You see a generation of young people, brilliant because of the computer, solving all the problems of civilization, putting an end to war, to disease, to hunger, to handicaps of all kinds.

"From sea to shining sea." America enters as leader of the brave new world.

So the image makers in government would have us believe. But many of the computerized young have had little or no training in morals. Unless they turn to Christ we will be witnessing the emergence of self-seeking monsters without conscience.

Then we turn to the newspaper. It is "from sea to bloody sea." Just today's paper had enough homicides to make you sick.

America is in social turmoil. The gap between the rich and the poor is increasing. The immorality is causing crime to soar.

I remember when I was in public-school work the talk of some of the liberal teachers. I saw from their conversation how it could be true that people under the Antichrist regime would be saying "peace and safety" when all around them was intellectual, financial, artistic, educational, social desolation. It is because people perceive according to the image in their mind, not according to reality.

The truth is, our nation is in shambles, in anarchy. The area in which I live is supposed to be a great and glorious place to be. It is filled with murder, drugs, lawlessness. People are living in the street but the city is building a huge new sports arena. It is all image and money.

Nebuchadnezzar made a huge statue of solid gold. I think the image the False Prophet will provide for Antichrist will have a lot to do with money—money that can create a brave new world of social assistance for every person, advanced educational technology, all major cities linked together by telecommunications, space travel into the heavens.

But like Las Vegas, when you look past the golden glow into what actually is taking place, it is nothing I would ever want. How about you? Hell is Hell even with neon lights and psychedelic colors.

Disneyland, which is the same as Heaven to some of the people from the third world countries, may look like Paradise but it is not a paradise that I want anything to do with. Like Hollywood it is all image, image, image.

One time Audrey and I went on a tour of the movie studios in Hollywood. Never again! You could feel the spirit of death. And the workers there were unpleasant and irritable.

The golden world of Hollywood will never be a suburb of Heaven. I'll guarantee it.

Promoters cannot build an image in your mind unless you let them. Jesus is the Truth. He is not an image, He is reality. There is no disappointment in Jesus. He alone is the rainbow bridge to the real Utopia.

Dorothy was looking for Oz. There is an Oz. Never lose your dream of the golden city. There is one.

But Jesus of Nazareth is the only door.

The secular government is happy when things are upbeat and the citizens are prospering. It may not be too long before the secular society begins to frown on the deeper message of Christ.

How would today's society and churches react to Christ when He says "I did not come to bring peace but a sword. I came to set the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law"?

Did Jesus actually say that? I think so!

Thousands followed Christ when He created food. But when He began to talk about eternal food, His body and blood, the people left grumbling.

Jesus didn't come to make us happy. He came to do the will of God and to reconcile us to God, not God to us.

But would religious people enable the Antichrist to kill those who did not worship this wonderful world where the rights of people were held up as the supreme good? Religious people enabled Pilate to kill Christ!

Let me tell you there is no creature more vicious than the religious person who is envious of someone to whom the Lord has spoken.

I have often marveled, and still marvel when I read the Book of Acts, at how the Jews chased Paul from one city to another. As soon as they heard that God was blessing Paul, over they would come and try to kill Paul.

One of the truly abominable events of history was the incident of the Pharisees seeking to kill Lazarus because Christ had raised him from the dead. Religion does this to people. It justifies the worst forms of perversity.

This blindness, this poison, this devilish envy, this pride, this arrogance, murdered the Lord Jesus. Don't blame the Jewish people. It was not the race of Jews that killed Jesus. The common people heard Him gladly.

It was the babylonish spirit of self-serving religion that killed Jesus, tried to kill Lazarus, and chased Paul all over Greece and Turkey.

This very same spirit is in the Christian leaders of today in many instances. They will be invited to assist in government social programs. And maybe in some instances they should do so. They will have to seek the Lord on each occasion.

But let me tell you that when God begins to move on His true saints the Christian leaders will rise up in satanic fury just as religious leaders always have. The religious person who has had an experience with God but has never learned to bow the knee to Christ will be filled with satanic rage when he or she perceives a true saint of the Lord being used or exalted by the Lord.

The higher in leadership the religious person is placed the more he must guard himself against the spirit of envy, for it was this spirit that crucified Christ and tried to destroy Paul.

In the days to come the Christian leaders (and perhaps leaders from other religions) will become part of the Antichrist worldwide effort to lift the curse of God from the earth. But God will raise up His witnesses who will rebuke the world because of its neglect of Jesus Christ.

Then the Spirit of Hell will fill the religious leaders and they will seek the death of all who will not worship this image of humanitarian aid and comfort they have developed.

God's justice is seen in the fact that at the end the secular realm will arise and destroy Babylon the Great and its headquarters in Iraq, the site of ancient Babylon.

Let every believer pray mightily to be delivered from the man-centered spirit of our day. Those who accept the mark of self-centeredness in their actions and their thinking face a fearful future. 

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: (Revelation 14:9,10)

Those who gained victory over the beast, his image, his mark, and the number of his name, sing the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.

Here are the victorious saints of all covenants. The Law of Moses is represented. The new covenant also is represented. These are the true saints, the witnesses of God of all ages.

What do they sing?

The works of God are great and marvelous.

The ways of the King of saints are righteous and true.

Everyone should fear the Lord and glorify His name because He alone is holy.

All nations finally will come and bow in worship before God because His judgments now are made manifest in the seven final plagues. His righteous acts have been revealed.

How great God is! How righteous are His acts!

This is what the victorious saints will be singing.

Yet the most terrible judgments will be being visited on mankind.

Antichrist, the False Prophet, Satan, and mankind will be raging against God because of the suffering that has come upon people.

But the victorious saints are on the Lord's side. They know the goodness of God. They do not take the side of rebellious mankind. They do not hold up the rights of people over the rights of God.

How about you today? Where are you in this picture? Are you on the side of people or the side of God? There is no middle ground.

The Firstfruits of the Bride

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)

Now we see the victorious saints as the firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb. This is the sixth of the eight appearances we are describing.

Why do we say firstfruits ? Because there is a greater appearance of the Bride at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. 

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

The two different portrayals of the Bride of the Lamb, one at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age and one after the thousand-year Kingdom Age suggests that the purpose of the thousand years is to move the Bride from the first stage to the second stage.

There are several major types in the Old Testament that point toward a temporary division of the Church into a militant firstfruits and then a complete Church. Not the least of these types is the temporary separation of the Ark of the Covenant from the Tabernacle of the Congregation. We have discussed these types more at length in other of our writings.

The first appearance of the Bride points toward her clothing of "fine linen," while the second appearance shows the Bride as the holy city, the new Jerusalem.

The first appearance of the Bride emphasizes that she has "made herself ready."

The second appearance of the Bride speaks of her being "prepared" or "made ready," suggesting perhaps that others have prepared her for the wedding. This follows the eighth chapter of the Song of Solomon where the younger sisters of the Bride are made ready by others.

The first appearance of the Bride is followed up by her descent behind the Lord as His army.

The second appearance of the Bride is followed up by the eternal rule of the new Jerusalem over the saved nations of the earth.

One very important aspect of the first appearance has to do with the "fine linen." The King James defines the fine linen as "the righteousness of saints." When we speak of the righteousness of saints in the Christian circles of today we mean only one kind of righteousness—that which is ascribed to us upon our receiving Christ. We are heavily biased in this direction.

The Greek noun used in Revelation 19:8 will not support this interpretation. It can be translated only as righteousnesses or righteous deeds.

Of course the righteous deeds do not come from our adamic nature but from the new man who has been born within us. All eternal righteousness comes only from Christ, either in its imputed form or in its inwrought form. The most important by far, in fact the only enduring Kingdom righteousness, is that which is inwrought. Ascribed righteousness is a temporary device to get us started. It is a bypass while the highway is under construction.

To not understand this is to be ignorant of the true nature of the new covenant. Those who would carry imputed righteousness past its appointed limits and use imputed righteousness to replace inwrought righteousness of character, are destroying the testimony of the Church.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life and he who wins souls is wise. Souls will never be won from our imputed righteousness, only as they are drawn to God by the fruit of righteousness that Christ has wrought in us.

The victorious saints do not march alone into the Kingdom of God! Other people see the Glory of God in them and want to come along.

The Army of the Lord

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

The army of the Lord is made up of victorious saints, obviously. They are clothed in the fine linen, the robe of righteousness created from their conduct on the earth as they continually have chosen to reject evil and embrace the righteous ways of the Lord.

What the horses are is another matter. The horses are white, signifying righteousness. The thirty-ninth chapter of Job speaks of God's war-horses. Christ and His saints are going to appear on horseback, apparently. 

The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. (Joel 2:4)

Whether the horses are symbolic, representing speed and strength, it is difficult to say. Much of Revelation is symbolic. My guess is that while they represent speed and strength there actually will be some kind of horses involved in the appearing of Christ.

We don't always think of animals being in the realm of spirits. We know there are cherubim and seraphim with wings. Although the purpose of the wings is unclear since there may be no air to give lift to the wings.

It may be that our glorified body will be capable of assuming different forms, depending on the need. It has been my belief for some time that our armor will be alive having a mind of its own.

We think of angels as having wings and flying around in Heaven. But when they appear on the earth it is as men. Never as women. I wonder why? I usually associate angels with ladies or children.

Maybe we can appear as riders on horses, and when we are finished with that we can assume some other form.

God's army! Having been a Christian for many years I have witnessed the change from "Sweet Hour of Prayer" to "Our God is an awesome God."

If your assembly is still sitting quietly in the pews while the choir is singing sweet anthems, how about buying some banners, getting up, and marching around the church. The King is coming. Don't you want to meet Him in the grand style? Or are you going to go through three points, some anecdotes, and a conclusion when Christ and His officers are ready to come through the door?

Joel, Chapter Two describes the invasion of the earth by the army of the Lord. There are those who disagree with this. They prefer locusts. Some locusts!

But if you are willing to ascribe such power to locusts, you can find the Lord's army in Isaiah, Chapter Thirteen; Micah 5:8; Habakkuk, Three; Malachi 4:3; Romans 16:20; Jude 14,15, and the passage in Revelation we currently are reviewing.

The victorious saints will be raised from the dead (or changed) when the Lord appears. They will ascend to meet the Lord in the air, for this is where the thrones of evil are. They will take possession of those thrones.

As soon as the strong man has been rendered helpless the Lord and His army will descend with such speed, authority, power, and fury, the rebellious of the earth will be destroyed in a moment.

Then will the sons of God go throughout the earth, lifting the curse, and bringing peace, righteousness, and justice to the saved nations.

The good that all righteous people long for will never come to our earth until the wicked have been destroyed by the army of the Lord. All the profound pronouncements of the politicians, the educators, the psychologists, and all other scholars, savants, and utopian dreamers, all the image makers of civilization will continue to fail as they have throughout the history of man.

The problem is sin. Not ignorance, sin! It seems mankind is always learning but never coming to the knowledge of the truth. Until sin is destroyed we never will have peace. There can never be peace where there is wickedness.

The future is bright indeed! The Kingdom of God is on the horizon. The Kingdom of God is no utopian dream, it is a real kingdom governed by the saints of all ages. God's rulers will not seek their own glory but the good of those whom they rule. They are dead to their own will but gloriously alive to the will and praise of God.

Blessed indeed will be the people they govern! 

The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. (II Samuel 23:3,4)

God's army and His rulers are being prepared today. We must learn not to thrust one another but to walk straight ahead as the Lord points out the way. That's how the cherubim of glory do!

Above all, we must learn stern obedience to the Father. Obedience can be learned only through suffering as our fondest hopes remain unfulfilled and we are obliged to continue in situations we detest. There is no other way. Even Christ learned obedience to the Father by means of the things He suffered.

Are you willing to do the Father's will even when your own hopes are dashed? You have all eternity to do what you want. But right now the King needs your service.

Are you one of those who will give over your own life so Satan can be torn down and the Kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy brought into the earth?

What do you say?

The trumpet is blowing in Zion!

The Royal Priesthood

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)

You hardly ever hear Revelation 20:4-6 preached. This is a shame. It is one of the most important passages of the Scriptures because it tells us about the first resurrection, that is, the resurrection that will take place when the Lord appears.

John saw "thrones." This is because the purpose of the first resurrection is to change the individuals who sit on the thrones from wicked spirits to the victorious saints. The thrones in the air govern the spiritual environment of the earth.

Being "beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God" refers, we believe, to those who choose to forsake their carnal mind and put on the mind of Christ.

The more experienced we become in the ways of the Lord the more we realize that our biggest problem is our mind. The biggest difference between merely religious people and the victorious saints is that the saints have learned not to lean on their own understanding while the believers who are living and ministering "in the flesh" trust their own mind and their own judgments and decisions.

The reason "judgment" has been assigned to these throne-dwellers is that they do not judge according to their own mind but according to the mind of the Lord, which they detect by looking to Jesus instead of to their own thoughts and emotions.

We already have discussed the worship of the beast and his image, and the taking of his mark on our forehead or in our hand, when we were speaking of the victorious saints standing on the sea of glass mixed with fire.

The statement that the victorious saints "lived" means they were raised from the dead. We of today put altogether too much emphasis on life in the spirit realm. God does not consider us to be completely alive until our body has been raised from the dead and filled with His Life. The great hope of the Church is the resurrection from the dead unto eternal life in Christ.

They "reigned" with Christ a thousand years, whether a literal or figurative thousand years. The purpose of the first resurrection is rulership. This is why the first resurrection must be attained.

It is believed commonly in our day that all who make a profession of Christ will be raised at His coming. It is our point of view that the Scriptures do not confirm this. Only the victorious saints are authorized and competent to be raised and to rule with Christ at His appearing.

This does not mean that all other believers will automatically be assigned to the Lake of Fire. Revelation 20:4-6 is not describing the resurrection of salvation but the resurrection of the royal priesthood.

The general resurrection from the dead, in which every person will be judged according to his or her works, will not take place until after the thousand-year Kingdom Age has been concluded. At that time the righteous will enter eternal life in the Kingdom of God and the wicked will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

It is clear from the description given in Revelation 20:4-6 that we are not dealing here with basic salvation from wrath. No books are opened because these saints were judged during their lifetime on the earth.

When Jesus returns the victorious saints will be changed into eternal life and rise to be ever with the Lord. They will not be judged after this. How could they be? They already have been sentenced to eternal life. Rather, they have confessed their sins and have turned away from them during their discipleship.

When we confess our sins and turn away from them we are forgiven and cleansed. This is an eternal judgment. They never will be mentioned to us again—never!—provided we do not return to them.

You can see how desirable the first resurrection is, how it is worth our total attention and effort. Paul was striving to attain to the out-resurrection, and this after many years of ministry.

People may ask, "But where does grace fit into this picture. Aren't we saved by grace?"

Yes, we are saved by grace. But Divine grace is not an alternative to our serving the Lord with all our might. Rather, Divine grace is the motivation, power, and wisdom that come to us from the Lord so we indeed will turn away from sin and follow Christ with a pure heart.

We of today have made grace an alternative to righteous conduct. Grace is not an alternative to righteous, holy conduct. Grace is God in Christ providing for man all he needs to become a new creation, a new creation that walks in newness of life. The newness of life is one of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

The rest of the dead, meaning all who did not attain the first resurrection, will be raised at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. We Christians often refer to this as the "White Throne Judgment."

Do you know who will be sitting as judge on the White Throne? Christ and His victorious saints.

The Father judges no man but has committed all judgment to the Son. The Son, Jesus Christ, has shared the authority of judgment with His saints. This is taught commonly in the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New.

Do you remember the reward given to the early Apostles? "You will sit on thrones judging the tribes of Israel."

The victorious saints will judge the world, and the angels also. This honor have all the Lord's saints.

"Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection." Can you sense from these words that this is an elite group? The members are distinguished by being blessed and holy.

There is nothing about the first resurrection that sounds anything like a resurrection to basic salvation. Rather it is the resurrection of God's firstfruits, His holy kings and priests.

The second death has no authority over them because there is no sin in them. Do you remember when we were talking about the sealed servants that Dan (judgment) was not present? As long as there is sin in us the Lake of Fire has authority over that part of us, for the Father has assigned specific behaviors to the Lake of Fire and into the Lake of Fire they shall go. They shall not be admitted into the city of God, not by grace, mercy, or by any other means.

Again it is repeated "shall reign with him a thousand years."

This is the last appearance of the victorious saints we shall mention.

The new Jerusalem, the holy city, is the Bride of the Lamb. All the elect of God are part of the new Jerusalem. The firstfruits, the victorious saints, were separated for a season in order that they might gain victory for the entire camp.

We see this pattern where Gideon and his three hundred gained victory for all Israel. Also where David won victory for all Israel. The Lord has His "mighty men"!

It is our point of view that the emphasis of the Holy Spirit in the present hour appears to be on the calling forth of rulers. Many who are last in time shall be first in the Kingdom of God. The Church is in travail. He who is to govern the creation of God is being brought forth. Christ, the King, is being formed in us.

Every generation of the Church Era has had it own revelation, its own grace, its own part in building the Kingdom of God. Those who have gone before have borne witness to us, making it possible for us to press toward the summit.

Now they are watching us and profiting as we struggle toward the peak.

The whole body is built by that which every joint supplies.

Not every member of God's elect has had the opportunity we have today to press upward toward the Throne just as we did not have the opportunity to walk with Jesus of Nazareth along the shore of the Sea of Galilee. But everyone who is called will attain his or her own destiny if found diligent and faithful to the Lord.

Ours is a truly great hour. The window is open. We can lay hold on the fullness of God. The generation after us will have even greater opportunity and so on and on until the Lord returns.

Let us serve our generation by the will of God. Those who have gone before will profit as they watch us from the spirit realm. Those who come after us will profit from our example and teaching and press upward toward the mark.

Only one life, we have, and it is so brief! Let us not be foolish. Let us make every minute count.

We have all eternity to rest!

Conclusion

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

Our point in this booklet is to emphasize to God's people that we must live in victory in Jesus if we expect to receive the rewards normally associated with the Christian life.

The standard of Christian living in America is far, far below the Bible standard. We are living in the flesh. We have a fleshly hope (the rapture). We have a fleshly understanding of our destiny (eternal residence in a mansion in the spirit realm where we are surrounded by material wealth.)

We have a fleshly understanding of Divine grace (God's way of receiving us even though we are making little or no effort to take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus, little or no effort to live a righteous, holy, obedient life).

We have fleshly services in which we either sit quietly, passively, waiting for the minister to conduct the "service," or else we exhibit unrestrained emotionalism in an orgy of metaphysical-fleshly rejoicing which the elders are afraid to restrain.

We have a fleshly zeal for collecting members instead of bringing to maturity those believers whom God has brought to us to love and feed.

It is time now to pray, to seek the Lord, to hear and obey His voice. What He says may not be what we hear everyone else saying. Are we courageous enough to do what Christ says even if it goes against the traditions of the elders?

Our is a new day. We are close to the coming of the Lord. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Both the wheat and the tares are coming to maturity.

It is a new wine and cannot be put in old bottles.

There will be increased repentance, increased revelation of the Word, and increased evangelism in the days to come, for these three always accompany genuine revival.

There will be an increasing emphasis on spiritual warfare. As the Church brings forth Christ in the believers Michael and his angels will be empowered to cast Satan and his angels from the heavenlies.

As soon as Satan is cast down, and this may be beginning already from what we are seeing, it will be impossible to survive as a nominal Christian. You will be compelled to join the ranks of the militant remnant or else to remain in the Laodicean condition. In this case you will soon find yourself a part of Babylon the Great, the massive religious institution of the last days. The pressures will be too great to permit you to survive as an independent individual.

Either you will be standing on the sea of glass singing praise to God or you will be moving about in a superheated environment, cursing God, suffering from huge boils and skin cancers, not permitted to escape by dying. Eventually mankind on the earth will be composed of these two groups.

You can stand on the sea of glass and sing praise to God while yet alive on earth. Many spiritual realities are independent of whether we are alive in the body or at home with the Lord.

The symbolic images of the Book of Revelation portray what God sees in the spiritual realm. We behold the same thing or event in quite a different manner. God sees an angel (messenger) blowing the trumpet of God. We see the same individual as a preacher in a small church telling us what is on God's mind.

God sees an individual standing on a sea of glass mixed with fire, singing His praises. We see an ordinary church member, going through God's fire, lifting his or her hands in praise to the Father.

Revelation becomes a down-home, practical book when you understand that it is talking about ordinary things taking place now.

Soon it will be nearly impossible to resist temptation, especially lust. Soon it will be increasingly difficult to pray as the spirit of Antichrist reaches up into the heavens.

You will have to be a fervent Christian or you will default to the weakness and deception so common among the Christians of our day.

Christ is ready to receive you and train you to be a soldier in His army. But you are going to have to mean business with God.

My burden is for you, that you will not miss the best God has for you.

You can be a victorious saint through Christ who is ready to strengthen you.

You can be part of the royal priesthood.

You can attain to the first resurrection from the dead.

Go for it!