SHAKING THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH

(Trumpet Ministries,Inc. / Words of Righteousness)

SHAKING THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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

When self-will entered the heart of Satan the troubles of the universe began. God then prepared the Lake of Fire for Satan and the angels who would follow him. However, instead of immediately casting Satan and his angels into the Lake of Fire, God conceived a plan to insure there never again would be a rebellion against Himself. The plan included the creation of a new race of creatures, mankind, whose destiny would be to govern the works of God's hands.

But before the fullness of authority and power can be entrusted to the future rulers, the King of the kings had to be tested as to total obedience to God. After Christ the King passed the test, all of the future rulers must also be tested as to total obedience to God.

Now we have come to the point in history when God is ready to shake the heavens and the earth so disobedience is removed from all positions of power, and those who have been proven as to their obedience to God are installed on the thrones formerly occupied by Satan and his angels.

SHAKING THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH

It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: "What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet."   In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him. (Hebrews 2:5-8—NIV)

When self-will entered the heart of Satan the troubles of the universe began. God then prepared the Lake of Fire for Satan and the angels who would follow him. However, instead of immediately casting Satan and his angels into the Lake of Fire, God conceived a plan to insure there never again would be a rebellion against Himself. The plan included the creation of a new race of creatures, mankind, whose destiny would be to govern the works of God's hands.

But before the fullness of authority and power can be entrusted to the future rulers, the King of the kings had to be tested as to total obedience to God. After Christ the King passed the test, all of the future rulers must also be tested as to total obedience to God.

Now we have come to the point in history when God is ready to shake the heavens and the earth so disobedience is removed from all positions of power, and those who have been proven as to their obedience to God are installed on the thrones formerly occupied by Satan and his angels.

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."  (Hebrews 12:26—NIV)

The above verse is taken from the following Old Testament passage:

This is what the LORD Almighty says: "In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD Almighty." (Haggai 2:6,7—NIV)

The first shaking seems to be referring to the giving of the Law of Moses on Mount Sinai.

Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain  trembled violently, (Exodus 19:18—NIV)

The second shaking appears to be reserved for the last days. Its purpose is to remove all that can be shaken so only the unshakable will remain.

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."  The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:26,27—NIV)

We can understand that the earth shook at the giving of the Law. But what is the meaning of the shaking of the heavens and the removal of that which cannot be shaken?

The shaking of the earth and the heavens has to do with the establishing of God's eternal Kingdom.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, For our "God is a consuming fire."  (Hebrews 12:28,29—NIV)

The shaking of the earth and the heavens has to do also with the consuming fire of God's judgment.

As we have stated, sin began in Heaven around the Throne of God when self-will entered the heart of Satan, the anointed, guardian cherub.

You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. (Ezekiel 28:14—NIV)

You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." (Isaiah 14:13,14—NIV)

Self-will is the source of all sin.

Apparently Satan influenced a number of angels, many of them rulers and authorities, who then became "his angels."

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12—NIV)

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. (Revelation 12:7—NIV)

There entered into God's universe a kingdom of darkness and self-will governed by Satan and his angels.

It did not take long for Satan to convince Adam and Eve that their hope for a better life lie in employing their self-will instead of obeying God.

Thus the darkness and death of self-will, in both angels and humans, fills the creation to the present hour. In the Book of Revelation we read that even after the thousand years of rule by Christ and His saints the nations of the earth can be persuaded to revolt against God and His people.

Self-will, rebellion, disobedience to God, are as a black cloud that pollutes the works of God's hands—works that otherwise would be filled to overflowing with beauty, wonder, and peace.

Before we proceed with a discussion of the shaking of the heavens and the earth, one concept needs to be emphasized. Ordinarily we think of the Gospel work of the Church Age as being the saving of souls, the bringing of them to Heaven. But a closer look at the New Testament will reveal that the Gospel work of the Church Age has to do primarily with calling out from the world a royal priesthood, that is, a governing body.

The Lord Jesus commanded us to preach the Gospel to every creature, explaining that he who is baptized shall be saved. Being saved in this sense means not being destroyed in the Day of Wrath, the day when the Lord Jesus returns with His saints and holy angels.

Saving from wrath whoever will believe the Gospel is one matter. Calling out from the world the royal priesthood and bringing them to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ is quite another operation. Can you see this?

There will be citizens, so to speak, of the new world. These are people who have been saved by the preaching of the Gospel. They have been spared destruction and brought forward to eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

Then there is another scenario. It is the creation of the governing priesthood. Each member of the royal priesthood is called out by election and then trained night and day for his place in the government of the Kingdom of God.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9—NIV)

To not understand the difference between the calling and training of the royal priesthood and basic salvation from wrath causes confusion and sometimes a lack of consecration and diligence.

Confusion is caused because some of the verses of the New Testament imply that all we have to do is believe in Christ and the job is finished. There is nothing else to do but wait until we die and go to Heaven. Other verses of the New Testament indicate we are running a race that demands every ounce of consecration and diligence we can bring to the effort. The Apostle Paul toward the end of his life claimed he still was trying to gain Christ, to attain the resurrection from the dead. Obviously Paul was not straining every nerve in order to be saved from wrath and be accepted in Heaven! This is foolishness.

A lack of consecration and diligence is caused because we humans, being naturally spiritually lazy and willing to settle for the least amount of dedication on our part as long as we can escape Hell, will emphasize the verses that suggest we need only believe in Christ. No further effort is required. We just ignore the numerous passages that command us to present our body a living sacrifice, to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow the Lord Jesus.

The royal priesthood of the New Testament is a continuation of Israel of the Old Testament. When God called out Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees God was summoning from the world the Church, that is, the governing priesthood. This did not mean the great city of Ur was doomed to destruction like Sodom. It meant only that the time had come for the creating of the royal priesthood.

Because the purpose of the royal priesthood is to prevent further rebellions against God, Abraham was tested very severely in the realm of obedience, just as was the Lord Jesus at a later time.

The promises to Abraham are that he will inherit the physical land of Israel, that his Seed (Jesus Christ and all who belong to Christ) will conquer the enemies of the Seed, and that in his Seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed.

Thus the setting apart of Abraham, and Israel, was not to say that the Jews were to be saved and all the other nations destroyed by Divine wrath, it was to reveal that the Jews are God's firstborn, so to speak, His firstfruit from among mankind and through whom mankind is to be saved.

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,<R> You  will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites. (Exodus 19:5,6—NIV)

Even though there was a priestly caste within the ranks of Israel, the entire nation is destined to be a priesthood that will govern the works of God's hands forever. This is why the governing city of the future is called the new Jerusalem, the names of the twelve tribes are written on the twelve gates, and the names of the twelve Jewish apostles are written on the twelve foundations of the wall of the city.

So it is with the Christian Church. The setting aside of the Church from the ranks of mankind (the term church means "called out from") does not indicate the remainder of mankind is doomed to be cast into the Lake of Fire, there to be tormented forever. Rather it is through the Church that mankind is to be saved and blessed, as we read so many times in the Book of Isaiah.

We see then that there is a great difference between being saved from wrath and becoming a member of the royal priesthood.

The members of the sheep nations will be saved from wrath and brought into the Kingdom of God on the basis of rendering assistance to the brothers of Christ, that is, to the members of the royal priesthood.

Now, why is God going to such great lengths to bring forth from mankind a governing priesthood, a firstfruits of His creatures as James says? It is because the original problem was one of rebellion, of disobedience, of self-will. All that has transpired since self-will was conceived in the heart of Satan can be understood only by viewing it against the backdrop of the original rebellion.

Paul told us the saints are struggling against rulers in the heavens. The battle is in the heavens. Fleshly weapons are useless in fighting the problems found in the world. The source of the problems is Satan and the rulers who followed him. Therefore the battle is fought in the realm of righteousness, holiness, stern obedience to God, truth, and our choosing to grasp truth and obey it.

When one of God's elect is called from the world he is regarded as crucified with Christ. He is regarded as resurrected from the dead with Christ. He is regarded as raised with Christ and seated with Christ at the right hand of God, the place of supreme authority and power.

Think about this. We usually view our salvation as preparing us to go to Paradise when we die physically. Isn't that so?

But this is not the case. Paradise is not our goal. Our goal is to maintain our place at the right hand of authority and power in Heaven. This has little to do with reclining on a sofa in a mansion in Paradise.

Why are we placed immediately at the right hand of authority and power in Heaven? It is because we were brought into the world in order to govern the works of God's hands. This is why we were created. Our calling always has been in the past tense.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:29,30—NIV)

There have been many arguments concerning whether we are predestined to be saved. This is the prattle of children. We have been predestined to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ that we might be His brothers!

Does this mean no matter what we do our future is engraved in steel? Of course not! There are numerous passages in the New Testament, especially in the Book of Hebrews, that warn the members of the royal priesthood of the danger of not pressing through to the fullness of that to which we have been called.

We already have been justified and glorified. But in between justification and glorification there is the long, wearying, boring, difficult, challenging march through the wilderness. It is perfectly possible to die, as did the Jews, before we gain our inheritance. To teach otherwise is to deny several passages of the New Testament.

Each saint (holy one) of God has been positioned at the right hand of God, ready to appear with Christ and govern all the works of God's hands. Thus we have a dual personality. A substantial part of our life is on the earth in our human body and soul. Another very real part of our life, our new born-again nature, is of Christ and is at the right hand of God in Heaven. Christ is our life, the Bible says.

Now the struggle is to deny our life on the earth and to pay attention to establishing our new life in the seat of power in Heaven. It is in this struggle that the future kings and priests are created.

Satan and his angels will strive ceaselessly to distract us so we cultivate our life on earth to the neglect of our life in Heaven. If he is successful we will be torn down during the shaking. If he is not successful, if we prevail, then we shall have attained the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of the priesthood.

Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6—NIV)

But won't all of God's elect end up as members of the governing priesthood? Perhaps yes, although it is not good to trifle with God's calling. Remember the parable of the talents!

But in the present hour God is calling for His highest and best. The conflict of the ages is upon us and the thrones shall be taken by those who follow Christ with total diligence and obedience.

God has reserved His wrath until the end of the Church Age, which is upon us. After the great tribulation the Lord Jesus will call together His elect from the far corners of the heavens and from the earth. Those who have prepared themselves will be caught up to become part of the slain Lamb who then will have appeared in the sky above us.

In which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. (Ephesians 2:2—NIV)

"The ruler of the kingdom of the air." This is why we meet the Lord in the air. The Kingdom of God is established first in the air.

At that time the saints will take their places on the thrones vacated by Satan and his angels and will descend with the Commander-in-Chief, now being authorized and competent to destroy the wicked from the earth and to establish the Kingdom of God, bringing all the saved nations into obedience to Jesus Christ.

Beginning now, and continuing until the time of the coming of the Lord Jesus with His saints, God will shake the heavens and the earth. The shaking has to do with self-will, with obedience to the Father.

God has washed His Church in the blood of Christ. God has poured out His Spirit on the Church. Now the Church has the authority and the power to possess the thrones that govern the creation.

The next step is for the Church to learn obedience to God—stern, uncompromising obedience to God.

This is where we are today. We are washed in the blood. We have God's Spirit in us. Now we must learn obedience.

Antichrist is the personification of self-will, of man making himself his own god. This is the spirit that is filling the earth today. The people of the world are being led away from obedience to authority into self-government, into the desire to do as they please. This is true also of the Christian people. They are being advised that since they have access to the power of the Spirit they are to go out and build the Kingdom of God. They suppose it is no longer necessary to wait until we hear from Jesus. We just read the Bible and do what it says.

God is calling to His true saints to cease from their self-will and enter His rest, into the place where they are totally dependent on Christ for every breath they take, every word they say, every task they perform.

In order to teach us total, stern, uncompromising obedience God brings us into difficult situations. We are denied that which we fervently desire—perhaps for many years. We are compelled to remain in circumstances that are distasteful to us—perhaps for many years.

This is how we learn obedience. It is our personal cross that teaches us obedience. Even Jesus Christ learned obedience by the things He suffered, thus being brought to perfection.

The question is one of truth and choice. Either we grasp the truth and choose to obey it, or else God sends delusion upon us.

The shaking is taking place now. The gifts and ministries of the Spirit are in abundance. But the Spirit has not come to the churches to give but to take. He is looking for the true Bride and He, the Spirit, is ready to bring her to the Bridegroom.

So many of the churches look at the gifts of the Spirit and then think about how they may profit from them, just as may have been true of Rebecca's brother, Laban.

Now Rebekah had a brother named Laban, and he hurried out to the man at the spring. As soon as he had seen the nose ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and had heard Rebekah tell what the man said to her, he went out to the man and found him standing by the camels near the spring. (Genesis 24:29,30—NIV)

But the Bride of the Lamb must be totally obedient to the Bridegroom. The members of the Body of Christ must be totally obedient. Those who ride behind Jesus Christ at His invasion of the earth must be totally obedient. We do not receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit that we may use them according to our own understanding or desires but only as the Lord Jesus directs.

Satan fell through self-willed disobedience. Adam and Eve fell through self-willed disobedience. Abraham passed the test of stern obedience to God. Jesus Christ passed the test of stern obedience to God.

Now, all who would rule with Christ, the totally obedient Son, the One who is not self-willed but God-willed, must be tested and shaken until God is certain no rebellion remains in their personality. This is why the heavens and the earth shall be shaken.

We can understand the reason for the earth being shaken, that we must be tested, but why the heavens?

Most of the host, the army of the Lord, is in Heaven at the right hand of God. As I understand it, this army must be tested and shaken in some manner.

The reason for the shaking is that all may be removed that is not of Jesus Christ. We read in the Bible that we are dead and our life is hidden with Christ in God. This is true. But there still is an interaction between our heavenly life and our earthly life. Consequently our heavenly position remains in jeopardy until we overcome the challenges and enemies that confront us on the earth.

As we overcome the enemy on the earth our position in the heavens is established. But if we give way to the passions and appetites of our flesh, we threaten our position in the heavenlies.

How can this be? Is this scriptural?

Of course. Paul says we now are at the right hand of God in Christ. Paul also states that if we live in the flesh we will die, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Paul says this in several passages of His Epistles.

Now, put this together. If we now are at the right hand of God, and yet Paul says we will not inherit the Kingdom if we live in the flesh, then it must be true that our actions on earth affect our status in the heavenlies.

Also, the Lord Jesus told us in the parable of the sower that the Word of God can begin to grow in a life and then be choked out and die, having borne no fruit. Then the Lord told us if we do not bear fruit we will be cut out of the Vine, out of Christ.

To gainsay these clear passages, saying we are secure in Christ and we cannot fall away, will only jeopardize the believer's future role in the Kingdom. One cannot grasp the passages that speak of our security in Christ and ignore the other passages that warn us it is possible to die in the wilderness. Either both are the true Word of God or neither is. We cannot choose parts of the Bible because they appeal to us and then remove those that frighten us.

How will God shake the host in the heavens and on the earth? He will shake us by testing our obedience. He does this during our lifetime on earth by permitting Satan to put us in one prison or another, looking to see if we will remain steadfast or if we will bolt and run, trying to save our life. If we run away from our test we will only be given a more difficult one. God is preparing kings and priests who will be authorized and competent to judge the rebellious angels and humans and prevent future rebellions. There is to be no weakness or disobedience at this point.

Probably we can accept without too much trouble the reason for our testings on the earth. But how is the host in Heaven shaken? It will be shaken by Antichrist who will be given power by the Lord to shake the heavenly host.

Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saints  and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. (Daniel 8:9-12—NIV)

The horn is Antichrist, from my point of view. His power extends to the south and to the east and toward the land of Israel. Then it grows vertically until it reaches the host of the heavens. We see this in the Book of Revelation.

Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so he might devour her child the moment it was born. (Revelation 12:3,4—NIV)

Some might object that the "starry host" that is flung to the ground is composed of the self-willed angels. I would not disagree strongly with this, except that it does not make sense for Satan to cast his own angels to the earth and trample on them. He will need them later when he fights against Michael and the angels of God.

Also, I don't see how Satan can cast the holy angels of God to the earth and trample on them. I don't believe God would permit this. The angels of God are not the rulers of the world to come but ministering spirits. It is the saints, the rulers, who must be shaken and shaken.

Usually when we get into the mysteries of the Scriptures we can step back, as it were, and look for something practical we can understand. I think this is true with the casting down of the host, the warriors of Heaven (who I believe are saints in this case, although there also is an army of angels that fight alongside the saints).

But let us look at the practical we can understand. In our day we have seen prominent ministers cast down from their heavenly prominence and trampled into the mud. Satan managed to enter them through physical lust. They had been dwelling at the right hand of God. Now they are in the chains of physical lust unless they repent totally and turn back to the Lord.

True or not? I think this is all that is being said here. In the last days, when it becomes time for the saints to take the Kingdom of God, every potential ruler must be tested severely, particularly in the area of self-will. Will we go God's way or will be yield to the enemy?

Notice carefully:

Because of rebellion, the host of the saints  and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground. (Daniel 8:12—NIV)

The shaking takes place because of "rebellion." I think the meaning of "the daily sacrifice were given over to it" (along with the host of the saints) is this: Antichrist will have the power to interfere with the prayers of people until—at least in the major cities of the earth—it no longer will be possible to receive Christ as Savior. Only in the godly remnant hidden away in the wilderness will there be salvation, because God's very Throne will be passing from its former place in Heaven into the hearts of the ruling saints, both in the heavens and on the earth.

God's Throne is destined to be located in the new Jerusalem for eternity, no longer remaining in its previous place in Heaven.

We can understand how people on earth can lose their place at God's right hand and fall back to earth. We have seen this happen in our own day.

But how about the members of the host who already have died? My guess is that they too will be affected in some manner.

We know Christ will have a bride without blemish. We know from the Book of Hebrews that all the saints will be made perfect together. We know the gifts and ministries of the Spirit will continue until we all come to the unity of the faith. We know, from the fourth chapter of First Peter, that God judges the dead as well as the living.

Putting this all together we come to the conclusion that our growth in Christ does not stop when we die. Thank God for this! It is evident that most believers in Christ die without being completely delivered from worldliness, lust, or self-will. If there is no change after death there are going to be very few who govern with Christ.

We know deliverance from sin is being emphasized today and there is power to be delivered when we confess our sins and turn away from them.

We know we have spiritual knowledge today about the Body of Christ and the Kingdom of God that has not been in the possession of believers previously.

We believe the great tribulation period will result in a separation of the godly remnant from the babylonish confusion of the churches and will purify the believers until they are free from self-will and come up out of the wilderness leaning on their Beloved.

If this is true, then how are those saints who have been dead for thousands of years going to be brought to perfection together with us?

Consider this: we know Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are part of the Kingdom of God. Yet no person can enter or see the Kingdom of God until he is born again. But no individual was born again until the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, because He is the Firstborn of the new creation!

How, then, can Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob be part of the Kingdom of God? It is obvious they could not be born again until the Lord Jesus rose from the dead. Therefore Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob must have been born again after they died physically, after the Lord Jesus rose from the dead. Also, Peter tells us both the living and the dead are judged. Not only are we judged while living on the earth but those who have died are also judged. That judgment, according to the fourth chapter of the Book of First Peter, includes fiery sufferings by which we are saved from sin.

It is my point of view that we Christians profit from the things God did with the patriarchs, and now the patriarchs, as a great cloud of witnesses, are profiting from the things God is doing with us. I believe further that no revelation of God's Kingdom purposes comes forth in Heaven among the deceased, only from the vessels of earth as we are being refined in the fire. Even the angels desire to know what God is doing among us.

All this being evident, I would suggest we do not go to recline on a mansion in Paradise when we die. While there might be a great sea of people that mill around in various areas of the spirit realm, waiting for the Day of Judgment and for the new world to appear, the members of the royal priesthood, those stationed at the right hand of the Father, are growing together with us who yet are on the earth. It may be true that the entire Body of Christ continues to be built up by that which every joint supplies, independently of physical life or death.

If this is so, perhaps the passage in Daniel signifies that Antichrist is able to tempt those saints who already have died to act in self-will, just as Satan acted in self-will while he was a guardian cherub that sheltered the very Throne of God with his wings.

Or it may be true that the reference is only to living saints who are tempted to leave the Presence of God and live in the passions of the flesh. However, if this is the case, what is to be done with the saints who died before being thoroughly tested in the area of obedience? Either they were perfected in obedience before they died; or they will be perfected in obedience while in Heaven at God's right hand; or else they will not appear with Jesus Christ as a member of the governing priesthood.

No matter what position one takes concerning the above concepts, one thing is certain: there will be no one riding behind Jesus Christ on a white war stallion who in any manner is disobedient to God. I think we all can agree with this.

All shall be shaken in the last days. The purpose of the shaking is to remove from the governing priesthood everything in them that has not become part of the Lord Jesus Christ, that does not live by His body and blood. All rebellion shall be removed.

God never before has fully avenged Himself concerning the original self-will of Satan. God has permitted it to spread throughout mankind. Then God has made Christ, the obedient One, available to the elect so they might have the opportunity through Christ to overcome all worldliness, bodily lust, and self-will.

Those who succeed in choosing Christ over worldliness, lust, and self-will, those who have been called, chosen because of their choosing Jesus over all, and faithful throughout every imprisonment, will inherit the "all things" of God. They will shine as the stars forever. They will govern all the creation of God, insuring that never again will a rebel approach the Throne.

There is a firstfruits to God and the Lamb. They have the Lamb's name written on their forehead because they are part of the Lamb. They have the Father's name written on their forehead because they are sternly obedient to the Father.

There will be multitudes in the Kingdom who have not had to drink from the cup the firstfruits were required to drink from, who have not been required to be baptized with the baptism wherewith they were baptized. Yet these saved people will be totally joyous in their assigned place in the new world.

The Lake of Fire was not prepared for man but for the devil and his angels.

Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels." (Matthew 25:41—NIV)

The only human beings in the Lake of Fire will be those who have chosen the way of Satan over God. They have refused the deliverance that comes only through Jesus Christ because they are self-willed. They are not going to turn their will over to Christ. Therefore they are another satan in the universe and will be confined for eternity where they cannot bring misery and death back into the Paradise of God.

Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.<R> The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it? (Joel 2:10,11—NIV)

Ordinarily we think of the events of the Day of the Lord, the end of the Church Age, the coming of the Lord, the resurrection of the dead, as being events over which we have no control. We shall be carried out of ourselves, we suppose, and what will happen will happen.

This is not the case. Jesus Christ is waiting at the right hand of the Father until His army has been prepared. If this were not the case He would have established His Kingdom at His appearing two thousand years ago.

But it has pleased Christ to divide the spoil with the strong, with coheirs of the Kingdom.

When a "great people and a strong" have been prepared, when rebellion has been shaken out of the host of the saints, then the Lord and they shall appear from Heaven, bringing judgment first on the hypocrites in the churches and then on the nations that have chosen the wickedness of Antichrist.

All judgment of men and angels has been given to the saints. They are the feet of the Body of Christ, the bronze feet of judgment. Satan himself shall be crushed under their feet along with all his forces.

May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands To inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, To bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, To carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD. (Psalms 149:6-9—NIV)

The heavens and the earth shall be shaken. All shall be shaken. Everything that is not of Jesus Christ shall be removed from the governing priesthood. The Lord will call up His saints to Himself that they might occupy the thrones in the air from which Satan and his angels, the former authorities of the heavens, have been driven.

Then the wrath of God shall fall on the inhabitants of the earth. Down through the clouds will hurtle the One whose name is Faithful and True, the One of perfect integrity. Those who follow Him will obey His every command. None will break rank. None will thrust another as the believers do today.

All the self-willed of the earth will try to repel the Commander whose name is Faithful and True, just as today the rulers of the nations resist integrity that they may carry out their subterfuge, their hidden schemes to advance themselves.

This is the coming of God's Kingdom to the earth. This is the time when all that is in the heavens and on the earth is brought into total obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then Jesus Christ will be in subjection to the One who brought all in subjection under Him, that God the Father may be All in all.