Adapted from Behold My Servant!, by Robert B. Thompson
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
God the Father has given three commissions to Christ (Isaiah 51:16):
- To plant the heavens.
- To lay the foundations of the earth.
- To say to Zion, “You are my people.”
These are the three issues with which all of God’s people are to be concerned: the condition of the heavens, the condition of the earth, and the condition of God’s Israel, His Zion.
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And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. (Isaiah 51:16)
These are the three commissions of Christ:
- To plant the heavens.
- To lay the foundations of the earth.
- To say to Zion, “You are my people.”
These are the three issues with which all of God’s people are to be concerned: the condition of the heavens, the condition of the earth, and the condition of God’s Israel, His Zion.
The heavens were created before the earth. In the heavenlies above the earth rule the wicked lords of darkness against whom we struggle.
The first issue is that Christ has been commissioned to plant the heavens with the righteousness that is in and of His own Person. This righteousness is formed in us as we choose to love righteousness and hate lawlessness. As we wrestle against the rebellious lords of darkness our spirit is perfected in Christ in the heavenly Mount Zion. Thus the heavens are filled with the righteousness of Christ that has been formed in the saints.
The second issue facing each person whom God has called is the doing of God’s will in the earth. God’s will is that Christ fill both the heavens and the earth, becoming the foundation on which all that is part of the earth is built. There is no eternal foundation other than Christ on which mankind can build. The earth has no stable and lasting foundation until it is founded on God’s Christ.
The third issue is that of assuring each member of God’s elect that God loves him; that his destiny is to abide in Jesus and Jesus in him; and that he is to cleave to the Lord in perfect union, perfect marriage.
All mankind is divided into two groups: God’s Israel, His Zion, His elect, and then the remainder of the peoples of the earth. This does not mean the elect are saved and go to Heaven while the remainder of the peoples are doomed to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. Rather, it means according to God’s own counsel and purposes He has called certain members of mankind from the beginning of the world. They have been predestined to be changed into the image of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 8:28-30).
The national, natural aspect of God’s Israel consists of the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. However, the physical children of Abraham cannot establish their election until they embrace Christ. In addition to the Jews, God has added to true Israel, to the good olive tree, a number of elect Gentiles. These also must embrace Christ.
The Jews and the Gentiles who have been called by the Lord and who have responded to their calling by giving themselves to Christ, are true Zion. They are God’s eternal kings and priests, the royal priesthood of whom the Scriptures speak. They make up the Body of the Servant of the Lord, the Body of Christ.
The Lord Jesus is unique. He is the Lord, the Word of God from eternity. He is the eternal Life who was with the Father and now has been manifested to us. Jesus is Christ.
Now the Lord Jesus is adding to Himself a body, a fullness. He is taking to Himself a wife. She is being created from His body and blood and is, therefore, an eternally indivisible, integral part of Himself. She is the holy city, the new Jerusalem. The Throne of God and of the Lamb is in her and she will rule over the nations of saved peoples of the earth forever.
God did not call out His Israel in order to curse and destroy the nations of the earth but to bless the nations of the earth. The calling out of Israel is not a sign that the other peoples of the earth will be destroyed. Rather, it is through the Seed of Abraham (which is Christ and all who are of the Body of Christ) that the nations of the earth will be blessed with eternal life.
Christ always comes to those whom God has chosen for Himself and says to them, “You are God’s people.” We must be told this many times and in numerous ways and forms before we are totally willing and able to turn away from the world.
It is difficult for most of us, elect Jews and elect Gentiles alike, to accept that we have been called to be a part of God in a unique way; that God Himself and not something else is our inheritance. We may believe we belong to the Lord but we desire also to be a part of this present world. We have been called to be saints (holy ones) but we always are seeking some other inheritance.
The Jews and the Christians have suffered throughout the centuries because of their unwillingness to be a holy nation, a royal priesthood, a people separate from the remainder of mankind. The saints usually are seeking popular approval rather than following the example of Abraham their father, who refused to take so much as a shoelace from the world (Genesis 14:23).
Christ comes to us through the gifts and ministries given by the Holy Spirit and tells us over and over again that we are not part of the present world, that we are the Lord’s personal possession. Christ always comes to Zion, to God’s people. He reveals to us the heavenly romance.
But we much prefer to use Jesus to get what we want out of the world and also to obtain from Jesus the assurance of an eternal amnesty, the promise that no matter how we live in the world we will go to Paradise when we die. We often miss the whole point of our calling as Israel.
As for the nations of saved peoples of the earth, their day will come when Christ appears with His saints, His holy ones, and releases the creation from the bondage of corruption. At that time many people will be assigned to the tormenting fire, but others (hopefully the majority) will be brought forward into eternal life. In that Day national Israel will be established as the ruling nation of the world.
Planting the Heavens
For two thousand years Christ has been planting the heavens.
Christ came and shed His blood for the sins of the world, making it possible for whoever chooses to do so to be forgiven his sins and to enter in prayer into the Presence of God in Heaven.
Also, through the various ministries and gifts given by the Holy Spirit, and through fiery trials, the spiritual nature of the members of the Body of Christ is being perfected. The spiritual Zion consists of the spirits of righteous people made perfect. The spirits of the righteous people of the Church of the Firstborn are being made perfect in the Virtue that is in Christ (Hebrews 12:23).
Because of the length of time being devoted to establishing the heavens, Christianity has come to be regarded as a “heavenly” religion. Salvation is viewed as a means of enabling us to enter permanent residence in Heaven when we die.
The other two commissions of Christ (and of us because we are the Body of Christ) are largely ignored. Most of us understand little about laying the foundations of the earth or saying to Zion, “You are my people.”
The vision of the Kingdom of God announced by the Hebrew Prophets, the Kingdom preached by John the Baptist, by the Lord Jesus, and by the Apostles of the Lamb, has been lost to the Christian churches. In its place we have an accumulation of fables and traditions that speak of “mansions” in Heaven where we will spend eternity apparently doing nothing. We have changed the Gospel of the redemption of the earth into an escape to the spirit realm, to the realm where sin and rebellion originated.
The blood of Christ is being presented as a “ticket” to Paradise. Another common teaching is that physical death is will free us from sin. It is believed that Christ came primarily to forgive the sin and rebellion that is to be our portion throughout our stay on the earth.
The typical believer has but the faintest concept of Christ as deliverer, particularly from the bondages of sin. He believes that he will be sanctified when he dies because death, his redeemer, will resolve the problem of his sin and rebellion. No matter how he has conducted himself on the earth, when he dies he will go to Heaven where he never can sin again. He will be a mighty king and priest of God, although whom he will rule over and intercede for is not clear. So distorted is the unscriptural nature of today’s preaching!
Because of our ignorance, the greater part of the Scriptures remains an unusable puzzle to us.
We apply Isaiah’s prophecies to the physical Jews, and are wresting to our own destruction Paul’s explanation of the grace of God under the new covenant. The interpretation of John 14:2 to mean Jesus is building houses for us in Heaven is a sublime example of the errors that have entered Christian thinking since the first century.
We truly are in an hour of theological blindness and are in need of a reformation of Christian thinking. The absence of a clear, scriptural goal of redemption plus the perversion of the doctrine of grace have resulted in a lack of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God in the Christian churches. We must pray that God will give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so we once again can behold the vision of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
Meanwhile, the wicked spirits in the heavenlies are exerting their influence on the earth.
In our day some of the believers are entering a travail. The purpose of the travail is to build the Body of Christ. Righteousness is returning. The “hair of Samson” is growing.
It is the written will of Almighty God that Satan be crushed beneath the feet of the Body of Christ (Romans 16:20). We yet shall see all the powers of darkness hurled from the heavenlies and the saints of God ascend to those thrones, to the spiritual thrones that govern the material creation (Daniel 7:9; Revelation 20:4).
The heavens will be planted in the Person and righteousness of Christ. First He entered the Holy Place with His atoning blood so God could accept us. Now He is travailing in birth through His ministries until His own Person and righteousness fill His saints, until His righteousness that has been imputed (ascribed) to them becomes an actual righteousness in their personalities. As the righteous Christ is formed in us He is raised to the right hand of the Father, there to await His return to the earth.
The Kingdom of God is actual, de facto righteousness, not imputed (ascribed), de jure righteousness. The light of the world is the righteous deeds of the holy ones of God (Matthew 5:16).
Laying the Foundations of the Earth
Today the nations of the earth have no foundation of truth and righteousness on which to build. The whole world is a lie, a lie of Satan. God’s Foundation is the Truth—Christ.
Abraham was waiting for the city that has foundations (Hebrews 11:10). It may be noted that the wall of the new Jerusalem rests on twelve foundations and that the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb are written in the foundations. Any person or thing not constructed on Christ can be shaken (Ephesians 2:20).
We Christians can be shaken if we know only of imputed (ascribed) righteousness, a righteousness assigned to us by faith in Jesus.
It is true that God “sees” us as being clothed in the righteousness of Jesus and for that reason we can come before His Presence with boldness.
But ascribed righteousness is intended to serve only while Christ is breaking the yoke of sin and rebellion in us. Ascribed righteousness is a temporary provision while the new creation is coming forth. To attempt to prolong the provision of imputed righteousness apart from an accompanying daily transformation from death to life, from Satan to God, is to misuse and pervert the grace of God. Justification must not be permitted to become so swollen and poisonous that it kills the need for sanctification and consecration.
We Christians have fellowship with God when we are walking in the light of His will; otherwise we come under judgment.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another [with God], and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:7)
But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:32)
The Christian redemption is not primarily the forgiveness of our sins. Rather, the Christian salvation is our deliverance from Satan, our personal transformation, and our complete, restful union with God through Christ.
The nations of the earth have little moral light. They are waiting for the Light of Christ to be created in the saints of God. Because the Christians in many instances are limiting God’s grace to a legal righteousness and are not growing in actual righteous conduct, the Light of Christ’s Person, way, will, and eternal purpose cannot be viewed by the peoples of the earth.
How many persons are being destroyed today because the Christian people are not following Jesus as they should?
The Kingdom of God is not a company of sinners who are received into the wonder of God’s Kingdom on the basis of imputed righteousness. There is no sin in the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the holy people (the saints). The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven.
One day soon Christ and His holy ones will return to the earth and impose God’s will on the nations. The nation of Israel will be delivered from its enemies, both spiritual and physical. Israel will be forgiven its sins and will be born again of God’s Spirit by a sovereign act of Christ (similar to the experience of Saul on the way to Damascus—Romans 11:26).
The light of God will arise on all of God’s elect, including Jews and Gentiles. The nations of the earth will come to that light.
In that Day, righteousness and truth will fill the earth. The Glory of God will rest on every continent. The islands will sing the praises of Christ. The wolf will dwell with the lamb and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and a little child will lead them.
The Hebrew Prophets have much to say about the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth:
So the heathen [nations] shall fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:15,16)
For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord. (Psalms 102:19-22)
Christ has been charged by the Father with laying the foundations of the earth. Working with Him and sharing in His inheritance will be those who, through His grace, were able to conquer the world, Satan, and their own lusts and self-will.
The work of salvation has not been accomplished in us when our sins are forgiven. The work of salvation has not been completed in us until we have been redeemed totally from the authority, power, and effects of sin and have been brought into the image of Christ and into perfect union with God through Christ.
“Salvation” is synonymous with deliverance. To “save” is to deliver from Satan and to bring into union with God.
Once we truly have been “saved,” in this complete sense, we are ready to return in glory with Christ and to lay the foundations of the earth upon the Person, Life, and truth of Christ.
The Lord Jesus came to save us “from” our sins (Matthew 1:21). As soon as we have been saved from our sins we will be ready to be raised from the dead and to participate in the new world of righteous, holy, and obedient behavior.
Saying to Zion, “You Are My People”
“Zion” is Israel, the elect of God—particularly the stronger among the elect; although it appears the term often is enlarged to embrace all the Lord’s people. Zion includes God’s kings and priests, His holy nation—those whom He has called out of the world, as He did Abraham, on the basis of foreknowledge and predestination.
Zion consists primarily of those who are Jewish by race but also the elect Gentiles. However, the national, political aspect of Zion always is of the Jews, never of any Gentile nation no matter how devout.
One day Jerusalem will rule the nations of the earth. During the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, which is an eternal rulership, the new Jerusalem will govern the nations of the saved peoples of the earth.
The redemption of mankind began with the calling of Abraham. God loves the nations of peoples whom He has created, and has devised a plan whereby the nations may be able to draw near to God and to learn of His Person, will, and ways. God desires to bless people and to teach them, not to condemn them to the fires of torment.
God called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees. Abraham’s calling was by God’s own choice, His foreknowledge and election. God did not speak of Abraham’s righteous behavior, as He did of Noah’s, nor did God refer to any wickedness on the part of the people of Ur.
The gifts and callings of God proceed from His own choices. Each of us is required to respond diligently and faithfully to God’s unique calling on his own life. If we do not, we are chastised more severely than are those who do not have the same calling.
Abraham met all of God’s requirements. God then spoke of blessing the nations of the earth through Abraham’s Seed (Genesis 22:18).
The promise of God continued through Isaac, Jacob, and the sons of Jacob. Two separate aspects were present: (1) the physical offspring of Jacob; and (2) the Messianic anointing, which Paul carefully explained was given by promise, never by natural birth. The Seed of Abraham is a seed by promise, not by natural birth alone, and not by the works of the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses was added because of sin.
Israel was given the Law. But the Messianic promises were suspended until the Seed should come to whom was to be given the inheritance promised to Abraham. The Seed is Christ. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and all the other heirs of the Divine promise must receive the Life that is in Jesus if they would enter the Kingdom of God.
Well then, as Paul would ask, what profit is it to be born of the lineage of Jacob? There is much profit in being born a Jew. First of all, it is the nation of Israel, especially the city of Jerusalem, that one day will be the spiritual, moral, and political head of the nations of the earth.
Also, to the physical Jews were given the holy Law, the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the anointed Prophets, and the promise of the coming Christ. Christ was born of a virgin of Israel. No other nation ever at any time has been set aside by the Lord God of Heaven in the manner that is true of the nation of Israel.
In the fullness of time, Christ, the salvation of Israel, was born in Bethlehem of Judea. When He came of age, Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth ministered under the greatest anointing of the Holy Spirit ever witnessed on the earth.
The majority of the Jews could not perceive the revelation of God in Jesus because God sent spiritual blindness upon them (Romans 11:7,8). However, the elect of the Jews received Him, and thus the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, came into being.
Immediately God made it known that He had elect Gentiles in every nation and that the Jews must go forth and invite them to partake of the salvation in Christ. This caused some consternation at first, and God gave Peter a clarifying vision. Then Peter was emboldened to set foot in the house of the Gentile, Cornelius.
God proceeded to disperse the physical descendants of Abraham among the nations, while the Spirit of God began to search out the members of the elect Gentiles from every race, city, tribe, and village on the earth. The calling of the elect Gentiles has continued until Christianity is thought of today as a Gentile religion, while the Jews appear (to the Gentiles) to be crying in vain for their Christ to come.
Soon the full number of Gentile branches will have been grafted on the good olive tree, on Christ, on the anointing and promise that at one time had been given to Abraham and to his natural lineage.
Then it will be time for God to return to the physical descendants of Abraham. God will turn His attention to the Jews and “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:25-27). The Deliverer will come out of Zion and take away the sins of Jacob.
We know from the Scriptures that the Jews will be delivered from all evil but we are not certain when and how it will happen.
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)
God never changes. He has not for one moment forgotten His ancient people, the Jews. We Gentiles have become proud, thinking that the Christian Church is Gentile and that if a Jew is to be saved He must change his religion. The truth is, it is we Gentiles who must turn away from our demon worship and embrace the God of the Jews.
The Jew does not have to change his religion in order to become a Christian. All he must do is repent of his sins, turn in faith toward his own God, and embrace Jesus, His own Christ. He then is to be baptized in water, not as a sign he has left Judaism but in order to represent his identification with the crucifixion and resurrection of his Christ.
In so doing the Jew does not become a Gentile or a member of any Gentile church. Rather he enters the same Body of which Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude—all Jews—are members. We of the elect Gentiles look on with joy as our Jewish brothers and sisters regain their own inheritance.
For two thousand years the ministries and gifts that come to us from the ascended Christ have been saying to elect Gentiles, “You are God’s people. You are not of the world. You have been called out to be one with Christ as He is One with the Father. You are to come out of the world and to offer up spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise to the Father, sacrifices acceptable to Him because of the blood and Person of Christ.”
The time is drawing near when the eyes of many members of the nation of Israel, the race of the Jews, will be opened. God will use some of us Gentiles to begin teaching them, “You are God’s people.”
It is not our role to make Gentiles of the Jews or to make them members of any church. God forbid! The Jewish religion was ordained of God. Most of the liturgies and practices of the Christian churches never were ordained of God but merely are human adjustments to the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Jewish Law, feasts, priesthood, and sacrifices were commanded by the Lord!
It is our task as Gentiles to say to the Jew, “You belong to God. God has chosen you to be a king and priest to Himself. Receive your Christ, the Lord Jesus, for your salvation is in His name. Receive your Bridegroom. He loves you with an everlasting love.
“He is your sin-offering. He is your Passover Lamb. He is your Lampstand, your Light. He is your Booth, your Tabernacle in which to dwell before the Lord. The promised salvation has come and it is Christ.”
We Gentiles have alienated the Jews by our insistence that they become Gentile Christians, and then have forsaken them in the hour of the Holocaust. How many Gentile nations turned the Jews away from their shores when they sought refuge from Nazi Germany?
Have these nations not refused to minister to the Lord’s brothers in their hour of need, and will they not therefore be cast into the fiery Gehenna (Matthew 25:41)?
Now we have the monumental task of proving to the Jews that we are of God and that Yeshua is in fact their Christ. Only the Spirit of God is able to overcome the hurdles erected by the miserable performance of the Christian churches through the centuries and to bring the Gentiles and Jews together into one Body of Christ. The Lord Jesus is coming for one Church, one Body, and it is not a Gentile church. It is a new creation, having been formed from the elect Jews and the elect Gentiles.
It appears Antichrist, as he consolidates his power, will turn against the Jews with malice. He will attempt to destroy the Jews, as has occurred in recent history.
During the days of Antichrist the true Christian Church will have been refined to a remnant of believers who have been driven from the cities of the earth. The majority of “Christians” will be part of “Babylon” (man-directed Christianity), having the spirit of Laodicea. We see this trend today as Christians begin to speak of becoming wealthy in the world, of using their faith to gain material riches.
It is our point of view that the refined remnant of believers will render physical and spiritual aid to the Jews during the period of the great tribulation. The authority and power of spiritual deliverance and salvation will reside in this remnant of saints whom the Lord shall call (Joel 2:32). The Lord Jesus will draw the elect Jews out into the wilderness and speak comfortably to them.
Jesus has warned the Jews to flee from Judea when they see the abomination of desolation, that is, Antichrist, standing in the holy place (probably the Holy of Holies of a restored Temple—Matthew 24:15,16), claiming to be God. The claim of Antichrist to be God will bring about the great tribulation.
Those who unwisely remain in Jerusalem will suffer at the hands of Antichrist.
At the climactic hour, Christ will appear with His resurrected holy ones on the Mount of Olives. Then He will deliver “all Israel,” taking away the sins of the Jews and filling them with His Spirit. The Son of David will sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem and rule over all the nations of the earth.
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations [this is the Battle of Armageddon], as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (Zechariah 13:9-14:5)
Christ will come from Heaven with His army. The saints of all ages will appear with Him. They will be clothed in immortal bodies. They will attack Antichrist and his armies, and destroy them. The Lord Jesus will be installed on the Throne of David in Jerusalem and then will go forth with His army to bring the entire earth into subjection to Himself, as we read in the second chapter of the Book of Joel.
Jerusalem shall be filled with the living water of God’s Holy Spirit and be a holy nation to the Lord.
And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. (Zechariah 14:8,9)
Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 14:21)
Today our reborn inner spiritual nature is in Christ in Heaven at the right hand of God and is being refined in righteousness by means of our struggle in the earth. When Jesus returns we shall return with Him in order that the will of God, now being done in Heaven, may be performed in the earth.
In the meantime, the Lord Jesus is speaking to His Bride, both the elect Jews and Gentiles. “You belong to Me. Come away My beloved. Follow Me wherever I go. Receive My body and blood that you may become an eternal part of Me and forever be with Me where I am.”