YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER
YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The "former rain" of God’s Holy Spirit is described in the Book of Acts. In the days just prior to the return of Christ the "latter rain" of the Spirit of God will fall. The former rain empowered the spreading of the Gospel witness, the testimony concerning the soon coming of the Kingdom of God, to the ends of the earth. The latter rain also will result in the testimony of the Kingdom of God going forth to the ends of the earth.
It is our point of view that when the Spirit spoke to John "Thou must prophesy again" (Revelation 0:11), the Spirit was referring to the latter rain that was announced by the prophets of Israel. The latter rain is the "again" prophecy. The end-time, latter-rain witness of the Kingdom of God will be prophetic in nature. The members of God’s elect will become a part of the great Light of the world, the Body of Christ, the Lampstand of God.
YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6)
YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER
And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. (Revelation 10:11)
The sounding of the seventh trumpet, the last trumpet, is described in the tenth and eleventh chapters of the Book of Revelation.
The seventh trumpet announces the closing of the present age and the completion of the mystery of God. The mystery of God is Christ in us, the forming of the Body of Christ, the Body of Christ, the eternal Temple of God.
The first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of God’s eternal witnesses, His kings and priests, the judges and rulers of the ages to come, will take place at the time of the seventh, or last, trumpet.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)
The preparatory events that accompany the sounding of the seventh trumpet commence in Revelation 10:1 while the climactic sounding is found in 11:15.
The beginning of the sounding:
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:7)
The climax of the sounding:
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)
The Apostle John was commanded to eat the "little book":
And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. (Revelation 10:8)
These are the days when we are commanded to eat the Word of God, particularly the Word being given in the present hour.
It is necessary we continue to study and meditate in the Holy Scriptures. The study of the Scriptures is a most important aspect of the Christian discipleship.
But in order to bear witness of God we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit until the Word of God is written in our bones, our flesh, our will, our imaginations. The Holy Spirit is creating us the living Word.
It is a little scroll because the work that God will do in the last days will not be "big" or pretentious in the sight of man. Today great men and great buildings are exalted. The exaltation of people and buildings is past for the true saints of God. We are to learn that Christ is found in the manger. We are not to despise the day of "small things."
For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth. (Zechariah 4:10)
God will do a quick work in the last days. A nation, the Body of Christ, the "holy nation," will be born "at once." This climactic work of God will suddenly bring to harvest, to maturity, that which has been in preparation from the time of Abraham—particularly over the past two thousand years.
The mystery of God is Christ in us, as we have stated. The creating of God in people is a mystery. It is contained in a scroll that is sealed.
The sealed book is the heart of mankind, the history of mankind, and the Scriptures. All these are one. All portray the mystery of God, the eternal plan of God. The eternal plan of God is to create a Kingdoma Kingdom which is Christ, formed and expressed in human beings. When the seventh angel is about to sound, the mystery of God will be finished, or accomplished.
Then John was directed to prophesy once again to the peoples of the earth.
And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings. (Revelation 10:11)
The prophets of Israel, in several instances, spoke of a "latter-rain" outpouring of God’s Spirit that will herald the closing of the present age and the dawning of the Day of the Lord.
Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:3)
Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. (Zechariah 10:1)
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. (Joel 2:23)
The "former rain" of God’s Holy Spirit is described in the Book of Acts. In the days just prior to the return of Christ there will fall the "latter rain" of the Spirit of God (James 5:7).
The former rain empowered the spreading of the Gospel witness, the testimony concerning the soon coming of the Kingdom of God, to the ends of the earth. The latter rain also will result in the testimony of the Kingdom of God going forth to the ends of the earth.
It is our point of view that when the Spirit spoke to John, "Thou must prophesy again," the Spirit was referring to the latter rain that was announced by the prophets of Israel. The latter rain is the "again" prophecy.
The end-time, latter-rain witness of the Kingdom of God will be prophetic in nature. The members of God’s elect will become a part of the great Light of the world, the Body of Christ, the Lampstand of God.
First we must understand the difference between the internal ministry of the Body of Christ and the external ministry of the Body of Christ.
The purpose of the internal gifts and ministries of the Body of Christ is to build up the Body itself. The Holy Spirit has given to the members of the Body a diversity of gifts to enable the Body to build itself up in love, finally arriving at the fullness of the stature of Christ.
The gifts and ministries are partial, fragmented manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the members of the Body are dependent on one another for their mutual growth in the Lord.
In addition to the fragmented, partial, internal working of the Spirit of God in the members of the Body of Christ there is also a total, corporate ministry of the Body.
Many of us may be familiar with the internal gifts and ministries of the Church. They are set forth in Romans, Chapter 12; First Corinthians, Chapters 12 and 14; and Ephesians, Chapter Four.
Let us think for a moment about the external, corporate ministry of the Body of Christ.
God is bringing the Body of Christ to unity and maturity in order to accomplish several major objectives. These objectives may be thought of as the external ministry or functioning or purpose of the Body.
A spiritual light for the nations of the earth (Rev 21:24).
An unblemished bride, a complement, for God’s Son (Ephesians 5:27).
An eternal temple for God Himself, built according to His precise specifications in Christ (Ephesians 2:22).
Righteous rulers who will govern wisely and well the nations of the earth (Rev 5:10).
Judges who will judge the conduct of men and angels (Rev 20:4).
A vehicle through which God can destroy the devil and all his works (Rom 16:20).
The means by which the Father will become All in all in Christ throughout His universe (Ephesians 1:23).
The means by which the Father will sum up and center the heavens and the earth in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:10).
The Body of God’s eternal Servant who will plant the heavens, lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, You are My people (Isaiah 51:16).
We believe the first, external, corporate ministry of the Body of Christ will be the earth-wide witness to all God’s people, and to the entire world, of the soon return of Christ to the earth; of the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth; and of the approaching terror of the Day of Divine wrath.
Every member of God’s elect, of the Body of Christ, of the warlike remnant being drawn out from the churches in the present hour, is an integral part of the end-time witness.
Up to now we have been accustomed to being given a "piece" of ministry, as it were, for the perfecting of the Body itself. There are those who, in this fragmented distribution, serve as prophets in the internal working of the Body. They build up the body with their gifts.
But when we come to the external, corporate ministry of the Body of Christ, we are not given a fragment of the witness. It is not given to one saint to be the light of the world; to another to be the Bride of the Lamb; to another to be the Temple of God.
Jesus’ own ministry is total. It is not a special gift or partial ministry. The ministry of the Body of Christ also is total, not fragmented. Every member of the Body is an integral part of the Light of the world, the Bride of the Lamb, the Temple of God.
We are not implying that the need for gifts and ministries is past. Rather, it is our point of view that during the current and future latter-rain witness the gifts and ministries will be poured on the waiting saints in unprecedented abundance.
Our emphasis is, however, that the Body of Christ is being brought to maturity in order to accomplish the several parts of God’s eternal purpose in Christ, and that one of the first parts will be the great end-time testimony of the coming of the Kingdom of God as symbolized by the "two witnesses" of Revelation, Chapter 11. The end-time, latter-rain testimony of the saints is a total ministry to the peoples and nations and tongues and kings of the whole earth.
Each member of the Body of Christ is to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God in order that he or she may be a divinely empowered witness to all persons everywhere.
Speaking of the Servant of the Lord, who is Christ—Head and Body, the Spirit announces:
Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isaiah 43:10)
Notice, in the above passage, that God’s witnesses, His corporate Servant, "know and believe" God. It is the people who know their God who will "be strong and do exploits" in the last days (Daniel 11:32).
Notice also the singular, and then the plural. The Servant (singular) whom God has chosen is made up of many witnesses (plural). The Servant, who Is Christ—Head and Body, consists of many witnesses.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8)
We can see that the witness always is of the Lord Himself, especially of His atoning death and triumphant resurrection ("the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow"—I Peter 1:11). "Witnesses unto me"! This is why the saints must come to know God Himself; why the Lord spends so many years teaching us while we are anxious to go out and "do something."
The prophet of God, God’s witness, always must stand in the Presence of God and proclaim God—His Person, His glory, His will, His ways, His purposes in the earth.
The ministry of the anointed witness is part of the external, corporate ministry of the Body of Christ in which every member of God’s elect shares.
Unlike the purpose of the several gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit, which is to build up the Body of Christ itself, the purpose of the corporate, external witness of the Body is to awaken the peoples of the earth to the Presence and will of God.
I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. (Isaiah 42:6,7)
Therefore they that were scattered abroad [the church at Jerusalem] went every where preaching the word. (Acts 8:4)
We know John was an apostle of Christ. As such he would serve to perfect and unify the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11,12). John has accomplished this through his Gospel and his Epistles.
But now John is being given another ministry, a ministry to the peoples of the earth (compare Genesis 22:18. He is being charged to "prophesy"; not to the members of the Body of Christ but "before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings" (Revelation 10:11).
The charge to bear this prophetic witness to the world is now at hand for the Body of Christ. The great earth-wide preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God "for a witness to all nations" is commencing now (Matthew 24:14).
The witness to all nations is the necessary forerunner of the coming of Christ. It is the "Elijah and Elisha" anointing, the portion and the double portion, the former and latter rain. Here is the spiritual fulfillment of the two wave loaves of the feast of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:17), the two lampstands, the two olive trees.
We think the fig tree is putting forth its leaves now and that the Lord will return in a generation. This may or may not be true.
In 1948 the Spirit of prophecy came upon the churches of our acquaintance. The "latter rain" was prophesied. It was declared that God would perform wonderful works, that powerful miracles would be wrought while at the same time the fires of judgment would burn on the earth.
These events that were prophesied mark the preparation for the sounding of the last trumpet, the period that will conclude with Christ’s return to earth (Revelation 10:7-11:15). It is the seventieth week of Daniel, the week that has been delayed while the Body of Christ is being formed.
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people . . . . (Daniel 9:24)
The above announcement was made by Gabriel.
Then Gabriel proceeded to divide the seventy weeks into sixty-nine weeks plus a separate one-week period:
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Christ the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. (Daniel 9:25)
And then the seventieth week:
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:27)
It appears when Christ was crucified ("Christ be cut off"—Daniel 9:26), the prophetic clock stopped ticking so to speak. But it will commence ticking again during the "week" that transpires just prior to the coming of Christ from Heaven at the end of the age.
Why would the approximately two thousand years of the era of the Christian Church be viewed as an interval of time not recorded by the prophetic clock? It is because the major purpose of the Christian Era has been the creation of the Body of Christ, the fullness of Christ. As soon as the Body of Christ has been created, the ministry of Christ spoken of by the Prophets of Israel will proceed according to the oracles.
It is as though the death and resurrection of Christ is being spread out over the two thousand year period as each member of the Body of Christ reveals in himself or herself the death and resurrection of Christ (Philippians 3:10).
As soon as the entire Body of Christ has been brought "to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ," the Father and Christ will make Their eternal abode in the members of the Body (John 14:23). Then the Head and the Body, acting in the fullness of the Holy Spirit of God, will fulfill the words of the Hebrew prophets concerning the ministry of Christ.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)
The above passage refers to the birth of Christ in Bethlehem of Judea.
What will happen then, according to the Prophet Micah (verse 3)?
"Therefore will he" [Christ]
"Give them up" [the Israelites].
"Until the time she which travaileth" [the Christian Church—Galatians 4:19; Revelation, Chapter 12].
"Hath brought forth" [Christ in the Body of Christ].
"Then the remnant of his brothers shall return unto the children of Israel" [the Christian saints will assist in the reconciliation of the Jewish remnant to Christ during the seventieth week].
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: . . . . (Daniel 9:27)
As we understand it, the above "week" during which the covenant is confirmed to God's elect will take place just prior to the Lord’s return to earth.
Notice that after the remnant of Christ’s brothers return to the children of Israel, the Kingdom of God is brought forth:
And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he [Christ] be great unto the ends of the earth. (Micah 5:4)
Paul reveals that deliverance will come to Israel as Christ works through the members of His Body:
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Romans 11:26)
That the Christian saints are Zion ("Sion") is shown in Hebrews 12:22:
"But ye (Christians) are come to mount Sion,...."
Mount Zion is the Church of Christ:
"To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, . . . ." (Hebrews 12:23).
The "mystery" of the Christian Era is Christ being formed in us (Colossians 1:27). As soon as the Body of Christ has been formed to God’s standard, the mystery of God "should be finished" (Revelation 10:7), and there will be delay no longer. The ministry of Christ, of the Servant of the Lord, will continue as prophesied (Isaiah 42:1).
We understand beyond all doubt that Christ was born of a virgin, ministered on the earth, was crucified for our sins, rose in triumph over death, and ascended into a cloud in full view of many witnesses.
We understand also, beyond all doubt, that Christ will come again in precisely the same manner in which He departed, and in full view of many witnesses. We do not believe in any secret coming of the Lord to "catch away His Bride to Heaven."
There are two comings of Christ described in Micah 5:1-4: one to the manger in Bethlehem, the other to the world as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Or, we may take the point of view that there is only one coming of the Lord. Jesus came two thousand years ago. His coming continues as people are born again and He enters their personalities. Finally He will be revealed from Heaven with His saints and holy angels for all the world to behold.
The exalted Head of Christ, He whose "goings forth have been from of old," came in the flesh two thousand years ago. Then He ascended into Heaven, there to make intercession for us in the Presence of the Father. We know Christ is at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. We know also He is with us to the end of the age and that He has been born in us and is abiding in us.
In the meantime, Christ has sent another Member of the Godhead to us—the Holy Spirit. The body and blood of the crucified and risen Christ are being fed to us through the Holy Spirit. Christ is being formed in us.
Each member of the Body of Christ reveals in himself or herself the death and resurrection of the Lord. We do more than merely tell other people that Christ died and rose again, we demonstrate that eternal truth in our personality (II Corinthians 4:10,11).
Because Christ lives, we live. As He is, so are we in the world.
Therefore every Christian in whom Christ is abiding is a continuation of Christ’s coming. Prophetic "time" is waiting to resume, as far as the nation of Israel is concerned. In fact, all Israel will be delivered from ungodliness when "the fullness of the Gentiles be come in" (Romans 11:25).
The resurrection Life of Christ is in us. We are His Body. We are His fullness (Ephesians 1:23).
As Christ is coming to fullness in us, and we are keeping His Word and revealing in our personalities the power of His coming, He will be able to enter us in an even greater measure, bringing the Father with Him. The fullness of this experience will take place, as we understand it, during the seventieth week—coming to a climax at the end of the week as the Lord Jesus descends from Heaven in full view of the whole world (Revelation 1:7).
During the first half of the seventieth week Christ will come to us as the latter rain (Hosea 6:3). All the miracles set forth in the entire Scriptures, plus many never before witnessed on the earth, will be unleashed through the saints as the end-time preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom is carried forth.
The climax of the coming of Christ will occur as He appears in glory with and in His saints—we appearing with Him as an integral part of His glory. Then the world will see and understand the Father loves the Church, the Body of Christ, as He loves Christ Himself. The world will understand also God has sent Christ and that He has given the Glory of God to the Church, which is the Body, the fullness of Christ.
In the sense we have just described, there is but one coming of Christ: first, the exalted Head; then, the forming of Christ in people and the filling of them with the Spirit of the resurrection; finally, the full manifestation of the Head and the Body in glory at the last trumpet.
Christ alone is Lord, the only begotten Son of God. Jesus is not merely one element of a many-membered Christ. Christ remains the Lord, the Bridegroom. The Church is the Bride—the branches growing out from the one true Vine who is the Lord Jesus Christ. In all things Christ remains central (Ephesians 1:10).
A study of the Prophets of Israel may indicate they do not make a point of two separate comings of Christ, except for the passage in Micah we have just examined.
Perhaps we should make clear at this point that we firmly believe in the two generally accepted comings of Christ, once to make an atonement for our sins and at the end of the Church Age to bring the Kingdom of God to the earth. This should be kept in mind lest someone should be confused as we emphasize the reality of Christ being formed in His Body during the present age.
We Christians are an inseparable part of the glorious Presence of Christ. Our role is to participate in the ministry of Christ to all people whom God claims as His own, especially the nation of Israel. The Gospel of the Kingdom is for the Jews first. It is the children’s bread.
It is our understanding that the seventieth week of Daniel is divided in half. The first half is the time of the latter-rain revival, the "two witnesses," the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom to every person on the earth.
The second half of the seventieth week is the period of apostasy, of lawlessness, during which the testimony of the saints will be overcome, making way for the full revelation of Antichrist. At this time God’s saints will be persecuted fiercely by Antichrist, by the world, and by "Christians" who believe themselves to be God’s people but who actually are the synagogue of Satan.
As soon as the Body of Christ is commissioned to prophesy to the nations in the fullness of the latter-rain power, as portrayed by the angel’s word to John (Revelation 10:11), the members of the Body will be visited with Divine judgment. As soon as Moses was commissioned to prophesy to Pharaoh of God’s will, the Lord met him and sought to slay him because his son had not been circumcised (Exodus 4:24,25).
The Lord cannot entrust to an unjudged people the authority and power that are to be given to the "two witnesses." As we look about us in the church world of today, we realize the giving of such authority and power would only increase the self-glorifying, lying, stealing, and foolishness that are prevalent among believers. The Divine power would be used as the means of exalting the sinful flesh of ambitious men and woman.
The true saints will be brought to repentance and cleansing by the Spirit of God in preparation for the latter-rain revival—the bringing of the Good News of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God.
In the days to come, all the ends of the earth will hear of the Kingdom. God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh. After this will come the great tribulation, the sifting of the believers until only the pure of heart remain, and the perfecting of the Bride of the Lamb. Then the Lord will call up His eternal witnesses, the living and the dead, to Himself, and the wrath of God will fall on the world.
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. (Revelation 11:1)
Measuring, as mentioned in the Scriptures, is symbolic of judgment.
The sanctuary of God is to be judged, the Altar of Incense and those who are worshiping there.
The court outside the sanctuary has been given to the nations, the inheritance of Christ and the saints. They will not experience Divine assessment at this time but will when the Lord comes.
The eternal Temple of God, the Church, the Body of Christ, is measured against the standard. The standard is Christ, not the standard of men. It is the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
We are examined concerning the fleshly lusts, the worldliness, the covetousness, the religious pride and self-will, the disobedience to the Father, that are in us. A determination is made of the extent to which we are in union with Christ and are obedient to the Father’s will.
All three areas of the Church are being judged. Those who have been born again, symbolized by the Table of Showbread, are being tested. Those who have been born again and also baptized with the Holy Spirit (the golden Lampstand of the sanctuary) are being tested.
But the emphasis of judgment is on those who have been born again, baptized with the Holy Spirit, and are pouring out their lives in selfless praise and consecration, as portrayed by the Altar of Incense. They are singled out for careful, precise judgment because they are the firstfruits to God from the peoples of the earth.
Those who are worshiping God at the Altar of Incense are the saints who have pressed past the Lampstand, which typifies Pentecost, and have arrived at the Altar of Incense. The Altar of Incense is the place in Christ where we praise God fervently in every situation; where our life, into which Christ has been pounded as in a mortar, is being poured out in holy worship and service to God.
The Altar of Incense stood in front of the Ark of the Covenant. The holy Veil separated the two pieces of furniture. The Ark of the Covenant represents "that which is perfect," that is, the coming of Christ to us in His fullness. In that hour we will know as we are known because Christ and the Father will be making Their abode with us (John 14:23). There will be no more need for the partial, fragmented manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
We think the saints have been undergoing the judgment of God, the Divine measurement of their lives, over the past thirty years, and that the judgment is continuing as the "Lampstand" (the Body of Christ) is being perfected (Revelation 11:4; Luke 13:32).
We must not lose the vision or become discouraged. God has promised to us the "greater works"—the going forth of the Gospel in the fullness of power to every human being on the earth. An "open door" has been set before us. Let us press in to the full realization of all God has promised.
As soon as God has cleansed us of what is unacceptable to Himself, and has totally reconciled us to Himself, He will pour out on us the double portion of power and glory so we can bear witness of the atoning death, triumphant resurrection, keeping power, and soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)
Here is the worldwide corporate ministry of the Body of Christ during the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week, as we understand it. The "sackcloth" typifies the repentance that must be proclaimed during the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and also the humility, the lack of religious finery and pomp, that will characterize the saints who bear the latter-rain testimony.
Just before Jesus returns the saints will go forth, two by two in some instances, as in the days when Jesus was on earth. The Lord’s witnesses will go to every nation, every city, every village under the heaven. They will heal the sick, cast out devils, raise the dead, and preach the Gospel message: "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!"
The witnesses will preach with great power throughout the first half of the "week." Then God will allow the testimony to be silenced. But at the end of the week the saints, God’s witnesses of all ages, will be raised from the dead and will "ascend up to heaven in a cloud." It is our point of view that this does not mean they will ascend into Paradise, as in the erroneous teaching of the "rapture," but rather that they will be caught up into the clouds, into the heaven immediately above us.
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven [not toward the spirit Paradise but toward the sky] as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven [that is, into the sky]. (Acts 1:9-11)
As we understand it, the resurrection and ascension of the "two witnesses" (Revelation 11:11,12) is the first resurrection from the dead, and the ascension of the saints (witnesses) of all ages to meet Jesus at His return in the clouds of the heaven. We shall rise to meet the Lord "in the air," not in the spirit Paradise. This is an event in the physical realm for which our spiritual training is preparing us.
The world is in darkness today. But God has promised an end-time revival that will be greater in authority, power, and glory than any revival of the past. Truly, Christ has kept the good wine until now.
In the present hour we are ministering to one another, building the "Lampstand," the Body of Christ. One day soon the double portion of oil will be added to the Lampstand. We shall go forth during a period of great confusion and disturbance in the world to preach the soon coming of the Lord Jesus.
These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks [lampstands] standing before the God of the earth. (Revelation 11:4)
Why the God of the earth ? Why not the God of Heaven?
It is because the purpose of this revival is to announce to the peoples of the nations that the Kingdom of God is coming to the earth.
The earth is the Lord’s. For hundreds of years the Christian churches have announced that the purpose of redemption is to bring the saved to live in Heaven for eternity. This is neither scriptural nor reasonable.
Why would God create us on the earth if our eternal home is Heaven?
Heaven is for the angels. The earth is for mankind. God created both Heaven and the earth and He knows the end from the beginning.
Some of the angels left Heaven, their original place of responsibility, and invaded the earth. God has ordained they will be judged by people—the people whom they have caused anguish and terror. Such is the justice of God Almighty.
Today mankind is being seduced by the cunning, lusts, violence, and rebellion of fallen angels. Even the Lord’s people find it very difficult to control themselves in such a demonic environment. They trust that the Lord will remove them from the earth so they can find peace in the spirit realm, in Paradise.
Satan has convinced the churches that he is the God of the earth; but he is not. He is the God of the spirit of this age, of the world system. He is the spirit that directs the children of disobedience.
Our God is the God of the whole earth, praise His holy Name. He has given all the earth and its peoples to Christ and to whomever Christ desires to share them with.
God is preparing a Deliverer who will destroy the evil angels. The Deliverer is Christ—Head and Body.
Before the God of the earth utilizes Christ to deliver the earth from corruption He will use His Christ (the Head working with and in the Body) as a final witness who will testify with powerful signs and wonders to all the peoples of the earth of the coming rule of God over the nations.
The two olive trees represent the double portion of the anointing of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the prophets of all time, of every age. Of particular significance here is the Spirit who abode on Elijah and Elisha. The lives and ministries of Elijah and Elisha are symbolic of the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11. Christ gave the former rain "moderately" under the old covenant (Joel 2:23). The rain increased in power at the time of the Book of Acts. But just before Jesus returns, the full flowing of "oil" will cause the Lampstands to burn with great brightness giving an earth-wide witness of the resurrection of Christ. There will be a continual, unlimited anointing on Christ’s witnesses in the last days.
The two lampstands represent Christ and His Body, as we understand the symbolism. Only Christ and His Body are the Lampstands of God. They are the only "lights" of the world. No prophet ever was referred to as "the light of the world."
Indeed, the prophets were lights shining in dark places as the Spirit of Christ spoke through them. But no saint of the Old Testament ever was termed "the light of the world." However, the Scriptures refer to Jesus as "the light of the world" and to the saints as "the light of the world." Only the Lord Jesus Christ is the Lampstand of God, the Light of the world; and His Body is being built up in Him and fashioned in His image.
John was not "that light," but was sent to bear witness of "that light." "That light" is in us, in the members of the Body of Christ.
The two olive trees, and one of the lampstands of Revelation 11:4, are described in the fourth chapter of the Book of Zechariah:
And the angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep. And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, And behold a candlestick [lampstand] all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof: And two olive trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. So I answered and spake to the angel that talked with me, saying, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me answered and said unto me, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 4:1-6)
Revelation 11:4, in conjunction with the preceding passage from Zechariah, signifies that just before Jesus returns, the true saints will be forced to abandon human efforts to save the world. We shall allow the Holy Spirit to use us as He will. He indeed shall use us. The Spirit is waiting for us to discover only He can perform the work of the Kingdom of God.
The significance of the olive trees and the lampstands is that only the Spirit of God is able to build the Temple of God.
Notice (in Zechariah, Chapter Four) that there are two olive trees but only one lampstand.
The prophecies of Zechariah had directly to do with the return of the Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem to rebuild that which had been torn down by Nebuchadnezzar, particularly the Temple of Solomon. The efforts to restore Jerusalem are described in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah.
In addition to its application to the restoration of physical Jerusalem in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, the Book of Zechariah is strongly symbolic concerning Christ and His Kingdom.
We believe verses six through nine of Chapter Four of Zechariah have to do with the coming of the Lord and the completion of the Temple of God; with the accomplishment of the mystery of God, which is Christ in us:
Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone [Christ] thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation [Christ—the Foundation of the Temple of God] of this house; his hands shall also finish it [complete the mystery of God, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory]; and thou shalt know the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. (Zechariah 4:6-9)
But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets. (Revelation 10:7)
Zechariah speaks of one lampstand and two olive trees. But Revelation 11:4 mentions two lampstands and two olive trees. Why?
The explanation may be this: at the time of Zechariah, the Body of Christ, which is the second lampstand, had not been formed. There was only the one Lampstand—the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ means "the One anointed with oil."
Now we have the exalted Head, Christ, but also the Body of Christ, the Body of the One anointed with oil. There now are two lampstands, although the two are one as we shall discuss later.
Who or what are the two olive trees? Since the two olive trees are the source of continual oil for the Lampstand (unlike the Lampstand of the Tabernacle of the Congregation that had to be refilled every twenty-four hours); and the Lampstand, the true Light of the world, always is the Lord Jesus Christ; it follows that the two olive trees represent the anointing of the Holy Spirit that abides in unmeasured fullness on the Lord Jesus Christ and was sent down by Him to abide eternally in and on the saints.
The Lord Jesus has the Spirit of God without measure.
For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. (John 3:34)
The number two represents a lawful witness. Under Old Testament law, two or more witnesses are required if the testimony is to be established in court.
Also, "two" symbolizes power. The Spirit’s anointing of the prophets of all ages provides the power for their testimony of the Person and Word of God.
Two large loaves made from wheat flour were waved during the celebration of the feast of Pentecost. These two loaves mark the completion of the wheat harvest, indicating that the greatest Pentecost of all will come at the end of the age.
Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves [the two witnesses] of two tenth deals; they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:17)
The two olive trees are the double portion of Pentecost, the power to bear witness of the God of the earth. They are the "greater works," the powerful Pentecostal revival of the last days, the latter (harvest) rain.
The same Pentecostal power that rested on Joel abode on Peter. Therefore Peter cried, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel."
This same Pentecostal power, now in unlimited fullness, will rest on the end-time remnant enabling them to bear witness to the whole earth of the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the meaning of the two olive trees. One olive tree for the former rain. Two olive trees for the latter rain (Joel 2:23).
Notice the statement of James, the brother of the Lord.
Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. (James 5:7)
The two wave loaves are "the firstfruits to the Lord." So it is true that it will be Christ’s "firstfruits," His remnant, who will bear the double portion of Pentecost and who will testify in the days preceding Christ’s return from Heaven.
The "double Pentecost" that will fall on the earth just before the Lord returns can be seen in the symbolism of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The two sections of the linen curtains were joined together by fifty gold "taches" (clasps) (Exodus 26:6). The two sections of the goats’ hair curtain were joined together by fifty bronze clasps (Exodus 26:11). These two sets of fifty clasps were located directly over the Veil that separated the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place.
The Holy Place represents the present age. The Most Holy Place represents the coming of the Lord and the thousand-year Kingdom age.
The word Pentecost is derived from the Greek word that means "fifty."
We see, therefore, that at the point where the Church age passes into the Kingdom age, where the Holy Place became the Most Holy Place, there were placed fifty gold clasps and fifty bronze clasps. The two sets of fifty speak of a double Pentecost, of the "Elisha" anointing. The fifty gold reveals that the end-time Pentecostal witness will be the Glory of God Himself, as is shown also by the golden lampstands. The fifty bronze signifies the end-time Pentecostal witness will be a work of judgment, as we can observe in the destructive works performed by the two witnesses.
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit who abides in His Fullness in and with Christ, expressed Himself in several pairs of Old Testament witnesses: Moses and Aaron, Joshua and Caleb, Joshua and Zerubbabel, and so forth.
The Spirit of Christ spoke in all the prophets of the Old Testament (I Peter 1:11).
There were two prophets who specially are typical of the end-time, latter-rain witness. They are Elijah and Elisha. Much that was true of them and their circumstances and victories will be true of the circumstances and victories of the saints of the last days.
The lives and ministries of Elijah and Elisha are strong types of the double portion of the anointing that will come upon the saints so they may complete the work of the testimony, not by human ability but by the Spirit of the Lord.
The two olive trees and the two lampstands stand "before the God of the earth" (Revelation 11:4); "by the Lord of the whole earth" (Zechariah 4:14).
Both Elijah and Elisha used a peculiar expression: "the Lord God before whom I stand." No other prophet of the Bible described his position in just this manner.
And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. (I Kings 17:1)
And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee. (II Kings 3:14)
Will Elijah and Elisha be reincarnated or descend from Heaven and then preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God before the Lord returns? Of course not. To bear witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God is the responsibility of the saints of Christ, of no one else.
The double portion of the anointing of the Spirit will be given to God’s second Lampstand, the Body of Christ, as soon as the Body of Christ has been built up in the Head. The Head is the first Lampstand, the Lampstand of Zechariah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist was Elijah of whom Malachi spoke:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: (Malachi 4:5)
In a spiritual sense, John was Elijah. Yet, John was John, not Elijah. Elijah was not reincarnated in John nor did Elijah come down from Heaven to prepare the way before Christ.
But the spirit of Elijah rested on John.
But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. (Matthew 17:12)
We look at people and circumstances from the earthly point of view. God looks at people and circumstances from the spiritual point of view. The Book of Revelation is God’s point of view. How we view people and circumstances often is quite different from that set forth in the Book of Revelation. The human mind cannot interpret the Book of Revelation.
The end-time witnesses will not be Elijah and Elisha even though they probably are the strongest scriptural types of the two witnesses. Rather, it is true that the same Power that rested on Elijah and Elisha will abide on the Lord’s remnant.
In order to announce the return to earth of His chosen King, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, the God of the earth will pour out the fullness of His Spirit on His elect so signs and wonders of unparalleled glory and power will be revealed in support of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The God of the whole earth never shall give His earth to Antichrist or to Antichrist’s worshipers.
The Lord Jesus will anoint us and work with us, confirming the Word of the Divine testimony with signs following (Mark 16:20).
The two end-time witnesses are the two olive trees. They are the double portion of the Spirit of God, the latter rain, the source of continual anointing so the testimony of Christ may cover the earth in a short period of time.
The testimony of Christ is the Spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10).
What of the two lampstands? As we understand the symbolism, the two lampstands of Revelation, Chapter 11 are Christ, the one Lampstand; and the Body of Christ, the second Lampstand. These two are one; yet they are two.
Previously we mentioned nine aspects of the external, corporate ministry of the Body of Christ. The first of these corporate ministries is that of being the light of the world, including the bearing of the latter-rain witness of the last days.
Christ Himself is the perfect fulfillment of each of the nine aspects except, of course, the aspect termed "the Bride of the Lamb." Christ is not His own bride. The Body of Christ is the Bride of the Lamb. Yet it is the Divine Substance of Christ that forms the Body in us. Eve was formed from Adam’s substance. Adam was joined to that which originally had been part of himself.
The Body of Christ, when it has been brought to the fullness of the stature of Christ, will be the perfect fulfillment of each of the nine aspects. Then there will be two Lampstands, two Lights of the world—Christ and His Bride.
Seven lampstands are set forth in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation. These seven are the assemblings that bear the name of Christ. But they are only the one Church in different conditions and perhaps in different ages. There is but one second Lampstand—the one Church, the Body of Christ.
Christ and His Body are two witnesses, and yet they are one witness because the Witness is Christ in His Body. The Lord works with His Body but also dwells in His Body.
The Father and Christ are two witnesses, and yet They are one witness because the Witness is the Father in the Son. The Father works with the Son but also abides in the Son.
And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me. (John 8:16-18)
We know God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. Christ never was alone, except for the moment when the wrath of God fell on the sin that Christ had become for us. The Father and the Son, the two Men, are the Light who entered our sin-darkened world and accomplished a perfect redemption for us.
Whenever the Church serves as the Lampstand of God, the Light of the world, it is Christ in the Church who is the Light of the world.
It is nothing the Church does that is the light of the world. It is Christ, and God in Him, who is the Light of the world.
There is no wood, no humanity in the Lampstand. The Lampstand was hammered from solid gold, from that which typifies Divinity. The Lampstand, the Body of Christ, is Divine even though it is created in the personalities of imperfect people.
And thou shalt make a candlestick [lampstand] of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same. (Exodus 25:31)
Until we gain a vision of the great Divine Lampstand of God, who is Christ—Head and Body, we tend to place too much emphasis on the local churches. Placing too much emphasis on the local churches destroys the unity and maturity of the one Body of Christ, the second Lampstand that will bear the end-time witness of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
If we are not careful our local church becomes a kingdom separate from the Kingdom of God.
The Wife of the Lamb is not the local churches. The Wife of the Lamb is the Substance of the Divine Christ created in us by the manifestations of the Holy Spirit that are distributed among us. She is of Christ’s Divine Nature (II Peter 1:3,4; Hebrews 2:11; John 1:13).
If a person were to see Christ ministering and hear Him speak he would believe one Person was ministering and speaking. But we know from what Jesus told us in reality two People were ministering and speaking as One. The Father and the Son work as One; and yet it is "the testimony of two men" and therefore lawful.
It equally is true that whenever the Body of Christ serves in its corporate ministry as the Light of the world, the Temple of God, the Servant of the Lord, and in all the other aspects of its external, corporate ministry, it never is the Body alone that is functioning nor is it Christ alone who is working. It is Christ in and with His Body.
Therefore the Light of the world, the Temple of God, and the Servant of the Lord, consist of "two men" just as the Father and the Son are "two men" (John 8:17).
The elect, the members of the Body of Christ, the remnant, the saints of God, will pass throughout the entire earth in the days preceding the coming of the Lord. We shall heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils, and bear witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
If any person will attempt to stop or harm us the judgment of God will fall on him. He will be consumed by the Word of the Divine testimony, as happened to Ananias and Sapphira who lied to the Spirit of God.
The God of the whole earth has determined every tribe and village on the earth will see and hear His glorious testimony. God will not allow that determination to be frustrated by men or by Satan.
We can understand, from the world conditions of today that it will require the kind of fiery judgment portrayed in Revelation, Chapter 11 if we are to gain access to every person. Many governments of our time are determined the Word of God will not have free course among their citizens.
Because of this rebellion against the Lord God of the earth, the worldly rulers and peoples will be tormented. God’s anointed witnesses will interfere with their pleasures and their self-seeking. But the wicked will not be able to stop the witness, neither will Antichrist be able to stop the witness, until God is satisfied that the testimony has been given to perfection.
The saints will bring plagues on the earth, praying in the Spirit until nature cooperates with the Gospel witness.
We are reminded of Moses, of Elijah, and particularly of Elisha and the two bears (two witnesses) that killed forty-two young men (forty-two months, the period of time set aside for the invincible latter-rain testimony—II Kings 2:24).
Since the Book of Revelation is mostly symbolic representations of spiritual realities, perhaps the plagues that accompany the prophecy of the two witnesses are symbolic of spiritual events and circumstances.
It may be true that shutting heaven "that it rain not in the days of their prophecy" has, in addition to the natural application, a spiritual significance. It may indicate that the anointed saints will possess the authority and power to bind and loose in the spirit realm such that the Glory of God will be manifest and will operate only as they direct. There will be no flowing of revival except in accordance with the will of Christ expressed through the saints.
There will be no more groups of believers called by the name of Christ but "eating their own bread and wearing their own apparel," as is true today (Isaiah 4:1). There will be no more "synagogues of Satan" made up of people who claim to be "Jews" (God’s people—Revelation 3:9). In that day it will be manifest that there is but one Church, one Body, one Word of testimony concerning the Person and will of Almighty God.
What would happen to the Christian witness if God clothed the true saints with glory and also gave them the power to stop the flow of spiritual life to those who call themselves Christians but who are not? Can you think of any other act of God that would enhance the testimony of Christ more than this?
Anyone can call himself a Christian now. Perhaps this will not be the case in the days to come. The power to give the Holy Spirit may be restored to God’s apostles. How would this assignment of authority and power to the true saints affect the Christian witness?
The greatest single hindrance to the Christian testimony today may be the multitude of sects that call themselves Christian but that practice and speak things that are not of Christ.
If God granted great authority and power to the leaders of the churches of today the result would be a huge denomination in which self-seeking men and women strove for position. But the members of the remnant will have been cleansed beforehand of the self-seeking that has divided the Church, the one Body of Christ, into a thousand denominations, destroying the witness of Christ.
The remnant, the elect, are being judged today. Their personal cross is purging the self-love, self-centeredness, self-seeking from each of them.
There are many doctrines, many "waters" that in our day are being drunk by God’s innocent sheep and lambs. Some of the waters are poisonous and produce spiritual death. Yet it is not readily apparent that this is what is happening.
One of these doctrines is the "escape by rapture from the tribulation." Because escape by a rapture is an unscriptural concept, an elaborate scheme of interpretation has been developed in order to create an apparent harmony with the multitude of passages that do not support this idea.
It is our point of view that one of the more harmful elements in the scheme that has been developed to give credence to the so-called "rapture" is the division of the Kingdom of God into a spiritual "Gentile church" and a natural "Jewish kingdom."
If an individual were to sit down and attempt to develop a way of making a reasonable interpretation of the Scriptures impossible he could not find a better means than suggesting that the Body of Christ is a spiritual Gentile church while the physical nation of Israel is destined to inherit the Messianic Kingdom on the earth.
The most elementary knowledge of the nature of the Messianic Kingdom and redemption, beginning with Abraham, does away immediately with any division of the elect into a Jewish elect and a Gentile elect.
Warping the interpretation of certain Scripture passages in order to support the "pre-tribulation rapture of a Gentile elect" has removed the destiny of the so-called "Gentile elect" from the writings of the Hebrew prophets—a removal in direct conflict with Peter’s statement:
Unto whom [the Hebrew prophets] it was revealed, that not unto themselves [physical Israel], but unto us [Christians whether Jewish or Gentile by natural birth] they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. (I Peter 1:12)
The result of the removal of the destiny of the saved Gentiles from the writings of the Prophets has been the erection of a wall between the Old Testament prophecies and the true Israel of God, the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, comprising people who are both Jewish and Gentile by physical birth. This wall effectively prevents the Christian people from understanding the nine objectives of the unifying and maturing of the Body of Christ because the wall causes them to apply the Old Testament prophecies only to physical Israel.
The lack of understanding of the Kingdom has harmed God’s people. Today, in many instances, the Christians are not moving forward into the latter-rain revival but are sitting back helplessly, waiting for a "rapture." They may give verbal assent to the need to bear witness of the Kingdom to the world, but in actual fact, apathy is reigning over them.
Apathy is reigning because apathy is the psychological consequence of teaching the believers that the next step in their salvation is an external event over which they have no control. They are not pressing toward Paul’s mark because they do not believe there is any mark, any clear goal of the Divine redemption. Knowing little of the Kingdom of God the believers are waiting to die so they can go to a "mansion in Heaven."
One of the main arguments that has been advanced in support of the "any-moment rapture" is that the Christians will keep themselves prepared for Christ’s coming since He may come at any moment.
An idea must be tested by examining its results. The "any-moment" doctrine does not produce spiritually prepared saints. People are not able to hold themselves in readiness for a long period of time, unless they are mature saints who need no threat of this kind to frighten them into waiting for the Lord. Many churches that place heavy emphasis on the pre-tribulation rapture consist of worldly believers who are not praying or serving the Lord as they should.
God understands us very well. God knows we cannot effectively resist the pull of the world merely by waiting for an external event, particularly when we have been waiting patiently for this event for forty years and probably will die without seeing it come to pass.
The Kingdom of God does include waiting patiently for the Lord and keeping ourselves intensely prepared so we always are ready to do the Lord’s will. But the Kingdom includes also many times and seasons of refreshing, and "present truth" into which the elect always are pressing. It is this pressing forward each day toward the mark that enables us to keep ourselves perfectly prepared for the Day of the Lord.
It may be helpful to realize the Kingdom of God is primarily an inner kingdom. The great works of redemption portrayed by the major types of the Scripture, such as the seven feasts of the Lord, all have to do primarily (but not exclusively) with what is happening within the believer. Ezekiel’s Temple is a symbolic portrayal of the development of the Kingdom of God in the believer while the first chapter of Ezekiel describes Christ and the mature saint in Christ's image (The attainment of the fullness of Christ's image is for another age or ages but at some future point, no matter how far down the path of eternity, the sons of God will be in His image. The Scriptures cannot be broken!).
Satan makes every effort to keep Christians occupied with externals, such as the concept of being carried up to Heaven, living in Heaven for eternity, gaining things by faith, politics, and so forth. Satan knows that in our adamic, external nature we pose no threat to his kingdom. It is the forming of Christ in us that will bring Satan’s kingdom to an end.
The Spirit is speaking today that the wealthy nations of the earth soon are to be judged because they have perverted God’s way. Therefore the true saints are preparing themselves diligently for the trouble that is coming. We are separating ourselves from the world spirit, making sure (when possible) that our children are well versed in the Word of God, keeping ourselves from entanglement in the affairs of this life, and earnestly seeking the Lord.
There is something for us to do today. We are not waiting passively for the Lord to remove us from trouble because we know from the Scriptures and from church history that God’s people always are accounted as "sheep for the slaughter" (Romans 8:36). We know also we can stand victoriously in the day of trouble provided we are dwelling "in the secret place of the Most High."
The Spirit is not speaking today of a "rapture." (Let the prophets judge!) He is speaking of judgment, of worldwide revival, and of the need for believers to confess their sins, to die to their self-will, and to set their house in order. What is the Spirit saying to you? As many as are led by the Spirit, they are the sons of God.
Other harmful "waters" being drunk by the Lord’s sheep are the concept that the Christians of today will not be allowed to suffer; that Christian people should not fear God; that material gain is a sign of godliness; that "grace" is the Divine magic by means of which the crown of life will be placed on the head of the lukewarm, sinning "Christian."
These concepts are not harmless errors in belief. They have had a direct, destructive effect on the quality of Christian discipleship in our time. We have a generation of believers who are deluded concerning the ways of God in Christ. Yet it is this very generation that God desires to transform into faithful witnesses.
We think the anointed remnant, the "two witnesses," will possess authority and power sufficient to reveal that such doctrines are not waters of eternal life but are in fact "blood," that is, corrupt mortal life. They are the doctrines of men, not the counsel of the Lord.
The humble of the earth will behold the Glory of the Lord and hear His glorious end-time testimony with gladness of heart. There will be worship and rejoicing in the Lord. Many will come to Mount Zion, to the Christian saints, and be delivered (Joel 2:32).
The latter-rain revival will be glorious and unstoppable. The revival power and glory of all time will be combined to give one last earth-wide testimony of the Kingdom of God, just before Jesus returns.
However, God has declared that sin, as well as righteousness, will come to maturity in the earth before the end of the age. Therefore He will lift the glory for a short season (the second half of the "week") in order to perfect the harvest of the earth. Lawlessness will abound on every hand. All restraints on behavior will be cast aside by demon-filled humans. The love of the majority of people will grow cold. The saints will be driven into hiding.
In the days to come, human beings will be given the desire of their hearts. It will be possible to live in lust-filled revelry on this planet. People will "eat quail" until they are retching with satiation. Every desire of demons and humans will be realized.
This is the reign of Antichrist. It is an abomination, and the destruction of all that is worthwhile will result.
Antichrist will make war against the believers who have borne the testimony and will overcome them. How will he do this? He will overcome the believers as he does today by tempting and deceiving them. In some instances he will torture and kill them, driving them out of the civilized areas by violence. In so doing he will create for them a better resurrection.
Christ cannot be overcome and nothing that is born of Him can be overcome. All that is born of Christ overcomes the world, overcomes Antichrist. In order for Antichrist to overcome a believer in Christ he must deceive him, leading him away from the Lord by some means, leading him away from the Presence and power of Christ.
For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (I John 5:4)
We know whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (I John 5:18)
Satan cannot harm us unless he can deceive us. If we abide in Christ we are safe.
During the second half of the "week" the Divine testimony will be driven out of the cities of the earth. The witness of the Kingdom of God in the centers of civilization will be "killed." Many of the saints will be overcome, some by deception, some by violence. There will be Christians who will serve as a source of deliverance and help for God’s people until the Lord returns. These will never see death but will be changed from mortality to immortality, at the coming of the Lord, while they are still alive in the body.
And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people. (Daniel 8:23,24)
. . . it shall be for a time, times, and an half [three and one-half years, the second half of the "week"]; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter [shatter, crush] the power of the holy people [the saints], all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)
Many times in the New Testament writings the Christians are referred to as saints (holy ones).
Antichrist will become increasingly prominent. He will allow the Christian institutions to remain as "dead bodies in the street." But these churches and schools will consist of lukewarm, Laodicean "believers." They will have a form of godliness but will deny the Presence and power of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit will be totally absent from their midst even though they name the name of Christ.
Antichrist will viciously persecute the true saints and will also attack the nation of Israel.
And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. (Daniel 11:33)
Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. (Daniel 12:10)
Our understanding of the Scriptures is that the devout of the Jewish people will experience persecution in the days ahead. We believe the Lord Jesus will work through and with the members of His Body in order to help the devout Jewish remnant and provide for their needs and their safety.
The reconciliation of the remnant of Jews with their Christ is portrayed in the fleeing of Israel to Egypt during the famine, at which time Joseph, the prepared deliverer, fed them and provided for them.
It may be recalled that by this time Joseph had married Asenath, an Egyptian, the daughter of Potipherah, a priest of Egypt.
Asenath is an important type of the Gentiles who have been grafted on Israel by being wedded to Christ. Asenath no longer was an Egyptian. She was an inseparable part of Joseph and shared with him his exceedingly great joy as he was recognized as the savior of his family.
Asenath was not an "Egyptian Jew" just as a Gentile who receives Christ is not a "Gentile Christian." Asenath was the mother of Ephraim and Manasseh, two tribes in Israel. Ephraim and Manasseh were not considered to be part Egyptian, part Jewish even though their grandfather was an Egyptian priest. Ephraim and Manasseh were as much Israel as Simeon and Levi and played a major role in the history of Israel.
Whenever a Gentile becomes part of Christ, he or she is not to be regarded as part Gentile, part Israel. Every member of God’s elect is thoroughly and totally Israel and shares the Abrahamic inheritance with Christ. There is no such thing as a "Gentile Church."
Asenath was absorbed completely into Israel as an integral part of Israel. Joseph did not assign her a special destiny apart from the rest of the family of Israel.
The division of the elect into Gentiles and Jews, a division forced by attempts to provide a scriptural basis for the unscriptural "pre-tribulation rapture," destroys the integrity and consistency of the Messianic redemption, of the Kingdom of God. This unscriptural division causes the saved Gentiles to lose their inheritance in the Kingdom of God. It removes the Gentiles who receive Christ from the promises of the Hebrew Prophets.
Some of the pre-tribulation theorists, in their efforts to be consistent, regard the Christian Church as a special "mystery," a parenthesis as it were, in God’s dealing with His own people, Israel.
Surely those who believe and teach this concept must realize the enormous consequences of their position. Surely it must be apparent to them that the writers of the Gospels and of the Epistles did not regard the Christian Gentiles as being separate from the Israel of God. Several New Testament passages reveal that the writers of the New Testament believed and taught that the Gentiles were being grafted on the family of Israel (Ephesians 2:11-22, for example).
Revelation, Chapter 11 shows that the powerful end-time witness will be silenced in the cities of the earth.
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:8)
Notice that only one "street" is mentioned, the street of sin and disobedience to God. So it is true that only one "street" of the new Jerusalem is mentioned. That street is the way of faith (Revelation 21:21).
Three "cities" are indicated: Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem. These are the three spirits that war against the testimony of God and kill God’s anointed.
Sodom represents the lust of the flesh. This is the animal nature of man. Fleshly lusts war against the soul and attempt to slay the spiritual life. Jezebel, the fornicator, always seeks to kill Elijah. Those who live after the flesh will die spiritually.
Egypt represents the lust of the eyes, the vain, proud attempts of the world to achieve security, pleasure, and achievement through the efforts of human talent. The fleshly "Egyptian" mind is the mind of the world. The fleshly mind always is the enemy of God and of God’s prophets. Whoever will be the friend of the world is the enemy of God. The world hates Christ, the Anointed of God, because He testifies concerning the world that its works are evil.
The Sodomite drowns his personality in the lusts of the flesh. The "Egyptian" is covetous and pursues material splendor. The "Egyptian" tends to ignore the teachings of Christ, turning instead to the pursuit of money.
But it is Jerusalem that is the chief murderer of God’s anointed testimony. Jerusalem represents religious pride. This is the nature of Satan, the source of envy, stubbornness, and other motives that will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
The harshest words spoken by Jesus during His ministry were directed toward the leaders of Israel. Christ accused the Jews of being the children of Satan, because of the wickedness they practiced. Christ emphasized their spiritual pride and the evil fruits being born of their religious pride and self-seeking.
In every century it has been the religious people, those who are zealous concerning the things of God, who have attacked the work of the Holy Spirit. Fervent Christian people who adhere to the Scriptures must constantly keep in mind that Satan is in the midst when the sons of God gather together. The place of greatest spiritual opportunity often is the place of greatest spiritual danger. Antichrist is the imitation of Christ, not the obvious enemy of Christ.
Satan is bitterly envious of Christ and of Christ’s coheirs. He covets the Divine inheritance. Therefore while he spends some time and effort drowning people in their demon-driven appetites, and killing the spiritual life of others by glutting them with material possessions, his chief interest is in the area of spiritual ambition.
Saul of Tarsus was serving God (he thought) with all his strength, but he was in competition with Christ.
Satan is active in every Christian personality until that Christian has been "slain" by the Spirit of the Lord. The most vicious persecution of God’s anointed witnesses comes from "Jerusalem," from those who are seeking to advance themselves in the Kingdom of God.
In the days just before the Lord returns, the Christian churches will cooperate with Antichrist in silencing the anointed Divine testimony in the cities of the world. The blood of the true saints will continue to be on the hands of organized Christianity (Revelation 17:6). This will be revealed in the Day of Christ.
The memory of the latter-rain revival will fade quickly as humanistic thinking fills the minds of people. The rights of people, not the rights of God, will be the emphasis. An unprecedented period of prosperity promoted by Satan working in Antichrist will come into being under the guidance of the world leader.
Soon this talented individual will be emboldened to declare that he is God. The pleasure-loving "Christians" will not possess the spiritual, moral, or physical strength to resist Antichrist’s claims, just as they cannot resist the evil governments that rule over their nations today. Some of the believers will "vex their righteous souls" as did Lot; but they will not choose to leave Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem.
Meanwhile the elect, those who bore the double portion of the Spirit during the great revival, will be hidden away in a prepared place. These are the ones who have not been destroyed by deception or by persecution. They will be covered and protected by the Glory of God. There they will await the coming of Christ. Those who flee from the rule of Antichrist will be protected and delivered by the saints who are strong in the Lord.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalms 91:1)
Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. (Isaiah 26:20)
And a man [God’s King and His princes] shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. (Isaiah 32:2)
And to the woman [the Church of Christ] were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time [three and one-half years], from the face of the serpent. (Revelation 12:14)
"Peace and safety" will fill the Antichrist-dominated earth.
But in the wilderness areas of the world the elect will be enjoying the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles as the Lord reveals Himself to His saints, His brothers, and to the devout remnant of Israel. However, the peoples of the earth will be suffering from a famine of the Word of God.
Therefore will he [Christ] give them [the nation of Israel] up, until the time she which travaileth [the Church, the Woman] hath brought forth [Christ in the saints, in His brothers]: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:3)
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery [the mystery of Christ giving up the nation of Israel for a season, and the mystery of Christ being brought forth through the travail of the Church], lest ye should be wise in your own conceits [which is precisely what has happened, the Gentiles now believing the Gospel of Christ is a device for bringing them into paradise in their sins]; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Romans 11:25,26)
In the unscriptural doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture, the saved Gentiles, as soon as their number has been completed, are carried off to Heaven while the Jews are left to suffer from Satan and the Antichrist.
The truth is, when the full number of the Gentiles has been brought into the Kingdom, Christ working through those Gentiles will turn away ungodliness from Israel; first from a remnant, and then from the whole nation— fulfilling the type of Joseph, Asenath, and Jacob and his family. We believe the scriptural reality will far surpass in glory the traditions that men have invented.
Numerous devout Jews will leave Jerusalem, as we understand it, having been forced to flee from Antichrist’s wrath. They will be joined with the Christian saints of Christ (who are both Jewish and Gentile by race) who have been driven from civilization into the wilderness areas.
This is a moment toward which Christ is looking with an anticipation far beyond our ability to imagine. It will be our great joy and privilege, as members of the Body of Christ, to share in the reconciliation of the Jews to Christ; to be able to say to Zion, "You are God’s people."
The world will be drowning in hideous filth and perversity.
Suddenly the Lord Jesus Christ will appear in the sky. He will be accompanied by the spirits of the righteous dead—God’s elect. These are His witnesses of all time, of every age. At Christ’s Word the Spirit of life from God will fill the dead bodies of the saints enabling their spirits, which have returned with Christ from Heaven, to reenter their bodies.
At the same moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the bodies of the living saints will be made immortal, being clothed with the white robes of salvation. The transformation of the dead and living saints will take place before we are caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)
For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (II Corinthians 5:4)
This resurrection of the dead will take place before the ascension into the clouds.
Antichrist and the wicked of the earth now are faced with indestructible saints robed in the garments of redemption. Standing before these evil, unclean worldlings is Joel’s army, Habakkuk’s army, the elect of the Lord. Moses, Elijah, Abraham, David, Peter, Paul, John, are standing on the earth in resurrection bodies.
That which is perfect has arrived. Now there are no more partial ministries. The Lampstand of God is complete and burning with a flame so bright as to eclipse the sun.
The command of God issues from Heaven:
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:1)
The God of the earth will speak to the enemy through the mouths of His saints:
The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3:16)
The elect, the army of the Lord, are on their feet on the earth. They are invincible, just as Christ was invincible as soon as He was raised from the dead, abiding on the earth in indestructible power and glory for forty days. After Christ had been resurrected it was not necessary to God to catch Him up into the clouds in order for Him to escape being harmed by Caesar.
It was forty days after His resurrection that Christ ascended into the cloud in the sight of many witnesses, but certainly not for the purpose of escaping tribulation.
The standing of the elect on their feet on the earth is the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of God’s kings, priests, and judges. They are His witnesses and have suffered at the hands of the religious leaders of the world. Now they are in authority and are the God- ordained judges of the people who persecuted them. Such is the perfect justice of almighty God.
This is the resurrection of the indestructible army of dead-living saints.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. (Ezekiel 37:10)
Notice that Elijah is a type of the two witnesses in that he was caught up to Heaven. But Elisha also is a type of the two witnesses in that he died of a sickness (typical of the overcoming of the saints by Antichrist) and then was responsible for the resurrection of a dead man. Elisha is a strong type of those who will bear the double portion of the anointing.
And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet. (II Kings 13:21)
Because the elect are resurrected and are indestructibly alive before they ascend into the air to meet the Lord, it can be seen that the contemporary doctrine of the "rapture to escape tribulation " is as illogical as it is unscriptural.
Why would the resurrected saints be required to be caught up to Heaven in order to escape tribulation when they already are indestructible? Most of them have just returned from Heaven, having been there for hundreds or thousands of years.
As soon as we are raised from the dead we are invincible, along with Abraham, Moses, James, and all the other saints. Do we truly believe people of this position in God, already having been in Heaven for thousands of years, must be "raptured" because of their fear of suffering under Antichrist?
Did Jesus ascend into the cloud in order to escape suffering at the hands of wicked people? The resurrected Christ could appear and disappear at will. After His resurrection He no longer was subject to the attacks of wicked, Satan-filled people.
In like manner, after our own resurrection we no longer will be subject to the attacks of wicked, Satan-filled people. There will be no need for us, after we have been raised from the dead, to be caught up into the air in order to escape tribulation.
We are not raised from the dead or transformed in order that we may escape tribulation. We are raised from the dead and transformed because we have attained the first resurrection and are ready to be revealed with Christ to the earth. Through Christ we have overcome the last enemy—physical death.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
We shall ascend to meet Jesus at His return to earth. The purpose of our ascension is that we may be joined to the Head of the Body—the Lord Jesus Christ. The ascension of the saints will be witnessed by all the peoples of the earth, especially by Antichrist and his followers (Revelation 11:12). The resurrection and ascension of the saints will be the greatest witness ever presented to the peoples of the earth by the God of the earth.
In that day it will not be the saints who are afraid of Antichrist, it will be Antichrist and the wicked of the earth who will tremble exceedingly at what they are witnessing.
God’s two witnesses had tormented those who chose to live in moral filth on God’s earth. God’s witnesses always torment those who live in moral filth and disobedience to God. God’s witnesses always are eternal. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, are witnessing today to the churches and to the world, through the Scriptures, of God’s Person and will, as effectively (or more effectively!) as they did when they were alive on the earth.
In this sense, the witnesses, the anointed elect of God, His prophets, have tormented those who have lived on the earth, from the time of the righteous Abel.
As soon as Antichrist is permitted by the Lord to overcome the Christian testimony, driving the godly remnant out of the cities of the earth and snaring the newly saved believers with the love of material ease, the peoples of the earth will make merry and send gifts to one another (Revelation 11:10).
But when they behold the risen saints, glorious in their indestructible, incorruptible resurrection life, they will be terrified.
And after three days and an half [the end of Daniel’s "seventieth week"] the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. (Revelation 11:11)
The whole army of God is now on its feet, a great multitude of righteous people from all ages—perhaps outnumbering the inhabitants of the earth at that time. They all have been God’s prophets, God’s witnesses. We see them portrayed in advance on the Mount of Transfiguration, the elect from both covenants, with the radiant Jesus in the center where He always belongs.
And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:11)
When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops [speaking of the return of Christ with His army after they have been gathered to Him in the air]. (Habakkuk 3:16)
And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. (Micah 5:8)
The peoples of the earth are horrified, paralyzed with fear at the sight. The white raiment of the elect is so bright the onlookers are forced to shield their faces from the Glory of God. The saints have come forth from their graves from all over the world, just as they have testified all over the world.
Antichrist is frantic but there is nothing he can do. Soon he will gather together an army and attempt to prevent the Lord and His army from establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth.
But Antichrist will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire.
The resurrection of the saints will be witnessed by everyone on the earth because the resurrection from the dead is a major part of the testimony of God.
There have been many distinguished religious leaders who have taught on the earth. Some of them have left a multitude of devoted followers who are adhering to the spiritual principles they presented.
Only one religious leader has been raised from the dead. This is God’s method of showing who His true Witness is, who "Aaron’s rod" is. Christ was declared to be the Son of God by the power of the Holy Spirit of God who raised Him from the dead.
It is the resurrection from the dead of the Lord Jesus Christ that is the testimony given by the power of the Spirit of God.
And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: (Romans 1:4)
Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. (Acts 1:22)
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. (Acts 2:32)
And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. (Acts 3:15)
Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; (Acts 10:40)
But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. (Acts 13:30,31)
Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:31)
The Holy Spirit empowers us today to bear witness of Christ’s resurrection, the resurrection being the sign that God will judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has chosen.
One day soon the same Holy Spirit will raise each of God’s elect from the dead. Then the world will know the Father has sent Christ and that the Father loves the saints as He loves His firstborn Son, Christ.
The resurrection of the saints, of the prophets of all ages, will be the supreme witness to the world of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Mankind will behold the fullness of the Glory of God in Christ who then will be being revealed in His Body. This witness will cause some people to repent and be saved; others to curse God and to prepare to resist the coming of Christ from Heaven with His army.
Christ commands: "Come up here!"
In unhurried majesty and splendor the army of saints will leave the surface of the earth and ascend to meet the Commander in Chief in the air.
Michael issues orders to his army of warrior angels—enormous creatures of unsurpassed power and swiftness.
A great earthquake warns the peoples of the earth that the Day of Wrath is at hand. Some give glory to God; others are slain.
The seventh angel sounds announcing the advent of the long-awaited Kingdom of God. Soon the Lord’s army will invade and occupy the whole earth and the thousand-year Kingdom Age will commence.
Let each of us be faithful in this, our hour of preparation and ministry. Let us present our bodies to God a living sacrifice, and pray for the rains of witnessing power in the time of the latter (harvest) rain. The time is now and the opportunities for service will be opened to us if we are seeking the Lord.
The Body of Christ is being prepared for the earth-wide testimony. The second Lampstand is being hammered into shape. As soon as the Lampstand, the Body of Christ, has met the Lord’s standard (the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ), the double portion of unlimited and continual witnessing power and glory will be poured on the members of the Body of Christ.
The Temple of God will be completed, not by the wisdom and energy of the flesh but by the Spirit of the Lord.
When the worldwide testimony has been accomplished to God’s satisfaction we shall be forced into hiding for a season. Some of the saints will be slain and go to be with Jesus. The hindrance to Antichrist will be removed from his path.
Antichrist will have his way in the earth for a limited period.
Then the Lord Jesus will return from Heaven, and all of God’s conquering saints, His prophets, His witnesses, will be filled with the Spirit of life from God. These are God’s kings and priests of the ages to come, the judges of men and angels.
This is the first resurrection from the dead (Revelation 20:4-6).
It is God’s witnesses, His prophets among men, who will participate in the first resurrection from the dead. They are "David’s Tabernacle," the "mighty men" of Christ who have gone outside the camp with Him, bearing His reproach.
The remainder of the dead will not be resurrected until the thousand-year period has been concluded.
"Whoever will" may choose to be a witness of the Lord and participate in the first resurrection from among the dead. But in order to do so he must turn aside from every other interest and seek Christ with all his strength.
Participation in the first resurrection results from drawing on the grace of Christ until we overcome the world, Satan, the lusts of our flesh, and our self-will and self-love.
If we would gain the crown we must run the race with total diligence.
How about you? Are you marching forward in Christ?
If you will keep on giving yourself to the Lord Jesus He will make you one of His eternal witnesses.
Your task is to give yourself to Him diligently and faithfully.
You can run and you can win through the grace of Christ.