TWO CURRENT ISSUES

TWO CURRENT ISSUES Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Two main events transpired after the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. The two events were the construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the organizing of Israel into an army. These milestones portray today’s burden of the Spirit.

In Bible symbolism, the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai is equivalent to the giving of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. We have been at Pentecost, so to speak, throughout the present century. The next century will witness the construction of the Body of Christ and the organizing of the members of the Body into an army.

Table of Contents

Two Burdens of the Spirit    

   The building of the Body of Christ     The organizing of the members of the Body into an army.

The Reason for the Two Burdens of the Spirit

    Driving Satan from the earth     Bringing Christ to the nations of the saved.

TWO CURRENT ISSUES

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4—NIV)

Two Burdens of the Spirit

Two main events transpired after the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. The two events were the construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the organizing of Israel into an army. These milestones portray today’s burden of the Spirit.

In Bible symbolism, the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai is equivalent to the giving of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. We have been at Pentecost, so to speak, throughout the present century. The next century will witness the construction of the Body of Christ and the organizing of the members of the Body into an army.

The building of the Body of Christ. To the Apostle Paul was given the revelation that Messiah (Christ) is to have a Body. Messiah is the Servant of the Lord, mentioned in the Book of Isaiah. Messiah shall bring justice to the nations when He appears.

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (I Corinthians 12:12—NIV)

The Head of Messiah is the Lord Jesus Christ. The Head appeared two thousand years ago and died for our sins. But He did not bring justice to the nations at that time. Rather, He made it possible for His Body to be brought into being.

The purpose of the Church Era has been to create a body for the Messiah, Jesus. When the Lord Jesus ascended He gave gifts consisting of men. These gifts are gifts to the Body. Their purpose is to build the body to the stature of the fullness of Christ, of the Messiah.

The Church comprises people who are called out from the world to form a body for the Messiah, a body that will complete Messiah just as a wife completes her husband. When Christ has been completed with the addition of His Body, the entire Messiah, the One anointed with the Spirit of God, will return to the earth and bring justice to the nations.

The purpose of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ with His saints, His Body, is not to carry His Church to Heaven, as is taught commonly. The purpose of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ with His saints is to bring justice to the saved nations of the earth.

"Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations." (Isaiah 42:1—NIV)

Because of the tendency of human beings to form a religion, the term church has come to mean a building in which the followers of a religion congregate. In order for us to comprehend what is meant in the writings of Paul by "the body of Christ" we must set aside the traditional meaning of the term church. We must think of people who are connected to the Head, to Jesus.

It appears Christianity as a whole is not connected to the Head, nor has it ever been. Christianity consists, for the most part, of good, decent people who pray, read their Bible, and worship God in the name of Jesus. This is the Christian religion. Such are members of the Body of Christ in an immature sense. However, most of the believers have not experienced the meaning of being brought to the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Now it is time for each true Christian to forget the past, as good or bad as it may have been, and press forward to know Jesus Christ in a much more personal manner. We must come to know the power of His resurrection. We must come to know the fellowship of His sufferings. We must learn to live by Him as He lives by the Father. This is a much more intimate relationship than we may have expected when we first received Christ as our personal Savior.

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57—NIV)

Coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ means we have learned to trust Him for our security and survival in the world. Most Americans, including Christians, trust in money for their food, shelter, and clothing. Trust in money is part of our culture. We need to be brought into experiences where we begin to realize our security and survival are not based on the American economic system but on God’s faithfulness. This may seem far-fetched and idealistic, but that is only because we are Americans. Actually the concept of trusting God for our physical security is solidly biblical.

Coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ as a member of the Body of Christ means we, through Christ, have gained victory over the lusts of our flesh, over the desire for pleasure in the flesh. God always provides His faithful saints with enough joy to continue their discipleship. But the American lust for sexual gratification, for entertainment, for thrills, is demonic. Each member of the Body of Christ must pray and stand in God until these fires have been quenched. This is not easy, but it is possible through Jesus. And it is absolutely required if we are to appear with the Lord as a member of His Body and bring justice to the nations.

For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:13—NIV)

Coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ requires total, stern, strict obedience to God in all things. Freedom from the world and deliverance from lust have been taught at times in America. But we do not know much about obedience to God.

Stern obedience to the Father is learned through suffering, just as our Lord learned obedience through suffering. We must remain in the prisons in which we are placed until God lifts the constraints from us. We must endure long periods of denial of our most fervent desires. We must be patient in tribulation, in frustration, in pain.

We must never step forth in our own enthusiasms and ambitions to "do great things for God." God is not looking to us to accomplish great things. Such a concept is only an expression of spiritual pride and personal ambition. It is not scriptural.

We are to wait on God, looking to Him constantly for every breath we take. The need never constitutes the call. Because we have been given an opportunity to do something that seems to promote the Kingdom of God does not mean God has spoken. Because an experience is so "natural," so accompanied by positive signs and omens, and it makes us feel so good, does not mean it is from God. It most likely is not!

God’s will is found by presenting our body a living sacrifice. God’s will is found in things close at hand, familiar things that have been part of us, not in exotic "Hagars."

We have so much to learn these days, and the Spirit of God is ready and willing to teach us.

Each member of the Body of Christ is to live by the body and blood of the Lord. Every time we deny ourselves and go God’s way we are given to eat of His flesh and to drink of His blood. These become our eternal life, our resurrection, our strength, our wisdom.

Iron righteousness! Fiery holiness! Stern obedience to the Father! Whoever is lacking in these will not appear with Christ as a member of His Body when He returns to bring justice to the nations.

I think the responsibility for bringing the members of the Body to further maturity falls on the pastors and elders of the assemblies. We must move the congregations from passive listening to more active participation.

How do we do this?

We are going to have to require of all the believers that they participate vigorously in prayer and worship in every service. Our services should begin with fervent prayer, having the congregation come to the front if possible, or at least stand and enter vigorously and fervently into vocal praise and calling on the Lord.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. (Psalms 150:3-6—NIV)

Does the above sound like a typical Christian service. If not, why not? If the above was true of the old covenant, are we to remain frozen in our pews?

The people on Sunday morning are not going to stir from their complacency unless they are lovingly pressed, for they are accustomed to coming in, flopping down, and talking to those around them. We must not permit this any longer.

During the past few years worship teams have come into existence. We have a worship team in our church, which includes pageantry and mime as well as guitars, keyboards, slide trombone, saxophone, drums, and flute. There are vocalists on the platform.

The worship-team approach has been helpful and it still is. But I think the Lord is saying this is not enough. We must have more prayer. The music is contemporary and excellent, but it is not a substitute for militant prayer. It still contains too much of the performance and spectator model.

We are a long way from the exercise of the varied gifts and ministries given to the Body, by which it is built up in the Head.

It is time now for every member of the Body of Christ to be activated. As we press into the Lord the Holy Spirit will, I believe, cause many gifts and ministries to operate. This is necessary if the Body of Christ is to come to maturity.

We of the churches must understand that we are not as yet ready for the Lord to appear and bring justice to the nations. The great need of the hour is for the believers to grow. The Pentecostal experience is wonderful, but Pentecost is the fourth feast, not the final convocation. We have three more interventions of God to experience, and they have to do with our coming to maturity in Christ, and Christ and the Father dwelling in us.

Tradition tells us that the Jews arrived at Sinai fifty days after the Passover. Then the Law was given. From this the Jews and we believe that Sinai represents the giving of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the Law of the new covenant.

But what is next? The construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the Old Testament representation of the Body of Christ.

"Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them." (Exodus 25:8—NIV)

The Tabernacle was the repository for the Ark of the Covenant, for the chest within which was placed the Covenant, the Ten Commandments.

Then came the formation of the army.

"The Israelites are to camp around the Tent of Meeting some distance from it, each man under his standard with the banners of his family." (Numbers 2:2—NIV)

The Israelite army was camped around the Tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, to protect it. The Covenant, the Ten Commandments, was kept inside the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle.

When Israel was on the march the Ark of the Covenant was carried by the Kohathite Levites, and then placed once again inside the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle when the army made camp.

"After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move, the Kohathites are to come to do the carrying. But they must not touch the holy things or they will die. The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in the Tent of Meeting." (Numbers 4:15—NIV)

When the army marched, the Ark of the Covenant containing the Ten Commandments was marching toward the land of promise. So it is that the Body of Christ contains within itself the eternal moral law of God. It is written in our mind and heart. When we appear with the Lord Jesus Christ we will be bringing the eternal moral law of God into the world. Since the moral law of God has to do with right relationships with God and man, the Body of Christ will bring justice to the saved nations of the earth.

First the Body must be built to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. Until the eternal law of God is inscribed in our mind and heart we are of little use for the purposes of Christ.

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Hebrews 8:10—NIV)

The significance of Israel invading Canaan did not lie in the fact that Jewish people were receiving fertile agricultural country. The significance was that the Law of God, the Ten Commandments, was coming as the judge of the demonic practices of the Canaanites.

God is not intent on bringing back the Christian believers into the world so they may play in Paradise. God is intent on bringing His law into the world so the influence of Satan will be removed and justice and peace will be brought to the nations. "God so loved the world . . ."!

The members of the Body must learn to wage war against the enemy. When the Commander in Chief appears, His soldiers will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Then He will descend to the Mount of Olives followed by the members of His Body on the war stallions.

Can you see from this, given the soon coming of the Lord, why we who are pastors and elders, leaders in the churches, must go to the Lord without delay to have Him show us how to build the Body of the Christ?

Let’s do it!

The organizing of the members of the Body into an army. If you will listen to today’s choruses you will be amazed how many of the new ones have to do with war.

The Christian church services will change over the next few years, I believe. We will have to learn how to battle in prayer, for one thing. Numerous church members are so bound they cannot raise their hands and pray out loud. They can be set free only by spiritual warfare.

The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: "He is good; his love endures forever." Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud. (II Chronicles 5:13—NIV)

And people say we are to sit quietly in church and not raise our voice above a whisper, while the organ plays softly! Such behavior may be suitable for a funeral, but sometimes not even then—especially if one of the Lord’s warriors has been released from the chains of the flesh. There ought to be high praises when a saint goes home. I don’t know whether or not you agree with this.

Think seriously about the passage above! These people were not even born again or filled with God’s Spirit! Are we to sit frozen in our pews like so many graven images?

Also, we must learn discipline. We must obey the elders. We must never, never, never slander or gossip about a fellow believer. This is to drive a sword into a fellow soldier! The day of church gossip is gone forever for those who are being prepared to march in the army of the Lord. I think we who are pastors and elders need to bear down on this. Satan often uses slander and gossip to destroy the Lord’s work.

If we lack courage, the Lord has enough for us and to spare. We need only ask Him.

We must present our body a living sacrifice so we can prove the will of God. There is no time left for disobeying the Lord, for practicing sin—even our little sins. This is serious business. We must, if at all possible, fellowship regularly with fervent Christians. We must desire fervently the gifts and ministries of the Spirit of God.

The Lord Jesus is our Commander in Chief. He is to be obeyed strictly. The days of church foolishness are over. The tares of sin are coming to maturity. The amount of grace that has brought us this far is not sufficient now. More is needed and more is available.

No soldier of Jesus Christ entangles himself or herself with the affairs of this present life, the Apostle Paul advises us. This means that although we are in this world and have to work in this world, our heart is with the Lord. We are not consumed with the American way of life. We are not attempting to make a million dollars so we can retire and waste our time in a vacation trailer. We are to be on call every minute of every day, if we hope to be a part of the army of the Lord. For a Christian to live otherwise is to invite severe chastening from the Lord.

The thought of really practicing what the New Testament commands may be new to many of us. My suggestion is that each of us ask Jesus for ourselves and see if He really is demanding such radical changes at this time.

The Reason for the Two Burdens of the Spirit

Now we ask ourselves, Why is it so utterly necessary that the Body of Christ come to maturity? Why do we have to train as soldiers in the army of the Lord?

We already have said the purpose for the return of Jesus Christ to the earth, according to the Hebrews Prophets, is to bring justice to the nations of the earth. If justice is to be brought to the nations, two works must be accomplished. The first work is the driving of Satan and all other workers of evil from the earth. The second work is that of ministering to the nations that were spared from destruction when the Lord appeared from Heaven.

Driving Satan from the earth. There are several passages in the Old Testament and some in the New that portray the coming of the army of the Lord to drive the influence of Satan from the earth. Such violent warfare must be waged before justice can be brought to the nations.

The following New Testament passage describes the Battle of Armageddon. This is the time when the Body of Christ appears with the Head to drive wickedness from the earth and bring justice to the nations. Here is the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the blessed hope of all of us Christians.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:11-14—NIV)

The "armies of heaven" are the members of Christ’s Body and also the holy angels.

And give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power On the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (II Thessalonians 1:7-10—NIV)

A few verses earlier (in Revelation, 19) we are informed that the "fine linen, white and clean, is the righteous deeds of the saints. No one will ride in that army, no one will appear with Christ, dressed in imputed righteousness only. He or she must have been called, chosen, and proven faithful by overcoming, through Christ, all the works of Satan.

Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:8—NIV)

This is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. It will be a tremendous confrontation with evil by Christ and His Body.

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Romans 16:20—NIV)

Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things," says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 4:3—NIV)

To bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, To carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD. (Psalms 149:8,9—NIV)

The second chapter of the Book of Joel portrays the army of the Lord. Some teachers have objected to this interpretation, insisting that only locusts are being described. In our opinion the language soon transcends a reference only to locusts.

The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it? (Joel 2:11—NIV)

We do not have to rely on Joel, however. There are enough other passages in the Scriptures that inform us of the coming of Christ and His forces to drive all the works of Satan from the earth, and to install righteousness, peace, joy, and justice so the meek of the earth may enjoy God and His Paradise.

Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd of the Twenty-third Psalm. Jesus Christ is the Lord of Hosts of the Twenty-fourth Psalm. We have known Christ as the Good Shepherd. Now He is coming to us as the Lord, strong and mighty in battle. He is asking that we open the everlasting gates of our heart that He may enter us and dine with us. We dine on His body and blood. He dines on our worship and obedience.

We of the Christian churches of today are sheep. Now the sheep must become warriors. The Battle of Armageddon will be a genuine battle, not a Sunday-school picnic. Therefore the next few years of the Church Age will include preparing the believers to fight the battles of the Lord. The face of Christianity, as we have known it, will change dramatically. The religious structure will go on to become Babylon the Great. But in the midst of the manmade activities, programs, and religious confusion will be the voice of the Bridegroom and the Bride—a warlike Head and Body who are being prepared to bring justice to the nations.

Do you feel this call today? Is it for you? Can you hear the war drums of El Shaddai, the powerful One?

Bringing Christ to the Nations of the Saved. It is not enough to drive Satan from the earth. In addition, the nations of saved people must be taught the law, will, and ways of the Lord.

Do you remember the following passage?

Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:3,4—NIV)

Can you see in the above how the coming of the Lord will be associated with peace and justice? Obviously, Mount Zion will then be on the earth and the Lord will be there.

But Mount Zion is the Christian Church!

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:22,23—NIV)

The heavenly Jerusalem will return with the Lord Jesus Christ and be superimposed on the earthly Jerusalem, just as our body from heaven will be superimposed on our resurrected flesh and bones.

The nations of the earth will not go up to Heaven to learn the ways of the Lord, they will go up to Jerusalem.

Will the saved nations come to God Himself? Not directly.

Will the saved nations come to Jesus Himself? Probably not directly?

To whom then will they come? They will come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Now, who composes the heavenly Jerusalem?

The Church, the Bride of the Lamb, composes the heavenly Jerusalem. The Bride shall descend from Heaven and be established on the new earth.

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. (Revelation 21:9,10—NIV)

The saved nations want to bring their worship and wealth to God. This is in the heart of every person whose mind has not been corrupted by Satan. But no one can approach God except through the Lord Jesus Christ. So the nations must bring their worship and wealth to Christ in order to please God.

It has pleased Christ to pass the glory on to His Church. In order to bring their worship and wealth to Christ they will have to bring it to the Church, which is the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb.

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24—NIV)

If all we have presented above is scriptural and true, if in fact it is the Church, the royal priesthood, who will receive the nations and teach the nations, then what does that mean for the members of the Body of Christ today?

It means we must mature to the place where we have been conformed to the moral image of Jesus Christ and are dwelling in untroubled rest in the Father and the Son, and They in us. We have more growing to do toward spiritual maturity!

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:23—NIV)

And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19—NIV)

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23—NIV)

Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13—NIV)

"The whole measure of the fullness of Christ." Have we of the churches attained such maturity? Can we truthfully state we have been crucified with Christ and now it is Christ who is living in us?

I don’t think so. From what I have seen I would venture that most Christians have never denied themselves, taken up their personal cross, and set out after the Master.

If we are to be the presence of Jesus Christ in the earth so people can come to us and receive the teaching and commandments of Christ, then it must be true of us that Christ is living and walking in us. I do not expect that any true Christian would disagree with that concept.

After the influence of Satan has been driven from the earth, the peoples who have been saved from destruction must be governed with the rod of iron of the Spirit of God, and also taught the righteous ways of the Lord. The governing and the teaching will be conducted by the members of the Body of Christ.

The Lord’s true saints know well how the Lord deals with us endlessly, day and night, night and day. Every thought, every word, every action is scrutinized. We are perplexed. We are cast down. We are persecuted. We are frustrated. We are made weak. Our most intense desires are set aside—perhaps for our lifetime on earth.

Situations other people take in stride are not permitted to us. We must exercise endless patience if we are to endure to the end.

All of this chastening and instruction are for the benefit of other people—perhaps for multitudes yet unborn. God is making us His eternal dwelling place, His chariot, His voice and hands reaching out to those who have been saved from wrath.

To sum up all we have been saying: We of the Christian churches of today are being prepared for the Lord’s return. We are not ready as yet to rise to meet Him in the air and then return to earth to govern and teach the nations. But those who are hearing the voice of the Spirit are pressing into the new realms of grace that are available in the present hour.

The Body of Christ must be constructed and the eternal moral law of God must be engraved in our minds and hearts.

The members of the Body must learn spiritual warfare so we can bring the eternal moral law of God into the earth in order that the peoples thereof may dwell in righteousness, peace, and joy. This is the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is soon to come to the earth. The Kingdom of God consists of Jesus Christ and those who are integral part of Him, those whose life He is.

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4—NIV)

The nations of today are being destroyed by Satan-inspired people. The political leaders are willing to sacrifice the lives and welfare of their citizens in order that they might gain their own desires. The rich amass their wealth and ignore the needs around them. Some people have more food than they can eat while multitudes are starving. Injustice abounds.

It is the responsibility of the pastors, elders, and other leaders of the Christian churches to work with the believers until they are filled with the Lord Jesus Christ and ready to appear with Him that justice and peace might be brought to the nations.

Will you help?