THE REBELLION Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
There is a rebellion among God's creatures. It appears that many spiritual personages of high rank are rebelling against God, against His rulership, His will. That the rebellion never has been put down is evidenced by the conditions that exist on the earth in the days in which we are living. God's solution to the continuing rebellion is not to transfer mankind from the earth to Heaven but to create in people the Person and Life of the obedient Christ.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 4:12-14)
God has a rebellion on His hands.
It appears many spiritual personages of high rank have rebelled and are yet rebelling against God, against His rulership, His will.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [heavenly] places. (Ephesians 6:12)
How large a number of these spiritual beings have rebelled against God is unknown to us. It appears likely many angelic beings are included in the rebellion.
We say are included because the rebellion never has been put down. In fact, it still is spreading. Wicked spirits still are influencing mankind from their thrones in the air. Also, every time a human being is born a new rebel comes into being.
One can see, by the conditions that exist on the earth in the days in which we are living, that the rebellion has never been put down.
What is the Lord Jesus doing? He is waiting for the Father to subdue His enemies under His feet.
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (Hebrews 10:12,13)
What, then, was accomplished on the cross of Calvary?
The shedding of the blood on the cross established for eternity the legal basis for the redemption of mankind. Mankind must be redeemed from the guilt, the bondage, and the effects of the rebellion.
The blood of the cross, when it is applied by faith, removes the guilt of the repentant individual.
The Holy Spirit is in charge of breaking the bondages of the world, of the lusts of our flesh, and of our self-will.
The effects of the rebellion, which are alienation from God, character corruption, physical sickness, and destruction of the environment, are remedied after the guilt has been removed and the Holy Spirit begins to break the spiritual chains that are on us. The final act of personal redemption will be the removal of physical death.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:26)
The blood of the cross has made possible the full redemption that is yet to come. We Christians have been sealed by the Holy Spirit to the Day of Redemption that yet is in the future (although eternal judgment has begun in the firstfruits of the Church).
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
We have stated that a great number of God’s creatures have rebelled and still are rebelling against His will. We have said also that God has made provision for the redemption of those human beings who wish to be delivered from the guilt, the bondage (the compulsion to disobey God), and the effects of the rebellion. To our knowledge, no provision has been made for the redemption of the angels that are in rebellion.
The issues associated with rebellion are those of will, of government, and of obedience.
God’s will is being performed today at the highest level of the heavens, that is, in the area of God’s throne. This is the area inhabited by the Father, by Christ, by the mighty angels who always perform God’s will (the elect angels), and by those human beings whose life is Christ.
But there still is rebellion against God’s will in the angels of the lower heavens, in the hearts of the people who constitute the nations of the earth, and in the hearts of the majority of the Christian people.
Current Christian teaching views the redemption (salvation) that is in Christ as the Divinely provided means for forgiveness and for the escape of the believers from the turmoil of the earth so they may live in the spirit Paradise. This erroneous view of the Christian redemption has resulted in a church that is immoral and powerless.
If every person on the earth were to be taken to Paradise, God’s problem would not have been solved. Moving people from earth to Heaven, to the spirit Paradise, does not solve the problem of the rebellion against God’s will. Rebellion originated in the Presence of God in the heavenlies. Adam and Eve while in Paradise, neither one inhabiting a sinful body, rebelled against God’s will because of the influence of a personality that came from the heavens.
Going to Heaven does not solve the problem of the rebellion in the heart of man. Nowhere in the Scriptures is "going to Heaven" presented as the solution to the problem of rebellion. Yet, being saved from rebellion by going to Heaven is one of the fundamental principles of contemporary Christian preaching. It is an unscriptural and damaging concept. It is time now for us to abandon this tradition and to preach and teach the redemption that is in Christ.
Men everywhere are looking for the opportunity to do as they please and yet not be harmed by serious consequences. This tendency may be observed in the nations having democratic governments. It may be observed also in the current Christian tradition—live a life of sin and self-will and go to Paradise when you die. It is a destructive tendency and totally contrary to the Person and Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is of the False Prophet.
The Lord Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth.
The Good News of Christianity is that God’s will one day will be performed in the earth as it is in the highest heaven. This is the Christian Gospel. The Christian Gospel is not that sinners will be brought to Heaven. The Christian Gospel is that all rebellion and sin will be driven out of the earth, and that the people who are saved will enjoy for eternity righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and the Apostles of the Lamb all preached that the Kingdom of God is at hand and soon will come to the earth. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven. When the Kingdom comes, all lawlessness and injustice will be done away. This is the true Christian Gospel.
He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:4)
The creation of the Kingdom of God is God’s solution to His problem of rebellion.
What procedure will God follow in putting an end to the rebellion against His will?
First He sent the Lord Jesus Christ. It was Christ’s obedience to the Father that has made it possible for God to put into operation the plan of salvation—the program that releases people from the guilt, the bondage, and the effects of the rebellion.
Before the Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was written of Him:
I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Psalms 40:8)
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Psalms 45:7)
Jesus stood out among all others as loving the Father’s Person, will, and ways. Therefore God anointed Him with the oil of gladness.
When Jesus began His ministry He was tested at the hands of Satan. What was the issue? The issue was obedience to the Father, the performing of God’s will. Christ Himself learned obedience through the things He suffered.
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; (Hebrews 5:8)
Finally in Gethsemane the will, the obedience of Christ was tested to the ultimate degree. In an agony of committal and subjection Christ cried out, "Not my will, but thine, be done."
Christ’s perfect obedience to God is in contrast to the pride and willfulness of Satan, Satan’s angelic followers, Adam, and the children of Adam.
Christ is the beginning of the Kingdom of God. Christ always is perfectly obedient to the Father. He comes to do the will of God. At unimaginable cost to Himself He performed the will of God in the earth just as it always is performed in Heaven.
Christ was revealed for the purpose of totally destroying the rebellious spirit and works of Satan in the earth. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
If Christ is the first stage of the Kingdom of God, of putting down rebellion against the Father’s will, what is the second stage?
The second stage is the perfecting of the victorious saints, the overcomers, in obedience.
We must make a distinction between the victorious saints and the balance of the believers in Christ. It appears that (at least in the present hour) the victorious saints are few in number. Most Christians still are part of the rebellion against God’s will.
If this previous statement seems to be too strong, ask the believers whom you know if they are doing God’s will. You no doubt will hear in reply every sort of unclear, confused answer.
It is the common belief among Christians that Christ died so we may enter Paradise apart from learning to perform the will of Christ. The believers labor on in guilt and unbelief because they have never been taught, or else reject, the concept that a Christian is an individual who lays down his own life in order that Christ’s will may be done in him.
Christ is the first stage in putting down the rebellion. The second stage is made up of the victorious saints, the conquerors, the true disciples. These are Christian people with whom Jesus works until He develops in them the total obedience God requires of the royal priesthood.
Before we proceed, let us point out the concept of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing and blessing the nations of saved peoples of the earth. God’s kings and priests will rule over the works of God’s hands forever. Therefore they must be perfected in obedience.
Through the Lord Jesus the saints must overcome every temptation and pressure that would cause them to turn away from God’s perfect will for them. God will test them repeatedly, as He did Christ, until He is absolutely certain of their total, unqualified obedience to Himself. No disobedience is tolerated in the Kingdom of God.
It is of utmost importance to keep in mind that we can overcome only to the extent Christ is formed in us. Christ is the Overcomer. We saints can put down the rebellion in our own hearts only as Christ grows to maturity in us.
There is but one solution to God’s problem of rebellion, and that solution is Christ. The reason we keep on pointing out the error of the current emphasis is that the believers are looking to residence in Heaven to accomplish that which only Christ can do. Residence in Heaven cannot possibly remove the rebellion from our hearts. The only manner in which rebellion can be removed from us is by the crucifixion of our fleshly personality and the formation of Christ in us.
Because Christ, and not going to Heaven, is the answer to the rebellion, by making going to Heaven the answer we have brought confusion into God’s plan of redemption. Neither we nor the nations of the earth are helped by our departure to Heaven. No matter where we go when we die physically, we shall spend the time waiting for the Day of the Lord, that is, for the day when Christ returns to the earth to establish His throne in the city of Jerusalem.
The victorious saints are the second stage in putting down the rebellion because in and through Christ they become able to always perform the will of God in the earth as His will is revealed to them.
Being an overcomer is available to every believer in Christ. It is so unfortunate that such a few, it seems, avail themselves of this unparalleled opportunity to please God and to gain unimaginable rewards in the Kingdom of God.
To be an overcomer is to resist successfully all the various lusts, fears, and pressures that continually attempt to cause us to disobey God. The overcomer fights his way, through the Spirit, into the rest of God. The rest of God is that state where we are abiding in restful union with Christ in God.
The rest of God is available to each of us but we have to conquer, through Christ, the world, Satan, and our own fleshly lusts and self-will. We have to overcome every enemy that would urge us to disobey Christ. Total victory is possible through Christ but not easy to accomplish.
We overcome the accuser, Satan, by three means (Revelation 12:11).
By the blood of the Lamb.
By the word of our testimony.
By loving not our life to the point of death.
We overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb as we wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb.
How do we wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb? We do so by walking before God in open confession and repentance of our rebellion and sin.
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (I John 1:7)
Remaining under the authority of the blood of Christ requires that we "walk in the light." To walk in the light is to live in the Presence of God, always performing His will.
If we are living the true Christian life of obedience to Christ, presenting our body a whole burnt offering to the Lord, then the Lord reveals His will to us each day. Also, God begins to point out to us the various sins we are committing.
To walk in the light is to pay strict attention to each item of conduct under present scrutiny. If God directs us to go somewhere or to do something we obey instantly and diligently—as soon as we are certain it is the Lord who is speaking to us. To not do precisely what God is directing us to do is unthinkable for a true saint of God. Any sluggishness on our part signifies we still are part of the rebellion.
The Holy Spirit is faithful to emphasize to us the sins that are to be put to death. The Spirit does not speak of all our sins at once, only those over which He is ready to give us dominion. He brings us to one "city" at a time. When that particular sin in our personality comes up for judgment we are to respond vigorously by confessing the sin to God and repenting of it with all the strength the Spirit gives us. We put the particular behavior to death through the Spirit. In this manner we wash our robe and make it white in the blood of the Lamb.
It is impossible for the Christian to overcome Satan when he is walking in known sin or disobeying God in any manner. The disobedience of Achan was enough to bring down Israel to defeat (Joshua 7:12). The one sin of Adam and Eve resulted in six thousand years of agony and death.
The blood of the Lord Jesus Christ gives us victory over Satan. Through the blood we overcome Satan. The blood of Jesus covers our iniquities so God is able to receive us. But God does not intend this to be a permanent solution to the rebellion, to the lawlessness of people. The covering of the blood is a temporary provision designed to serve until the other aspects of Divine grace have brought forth the new creation of righteousness and obedience.
Today the blood is being presented as the means God has provided to enable the untransformed human personality to walk in fellowship with God, an alternative to actual change in character. To make the blood of the cross of Calvary an alternative to an actual change in character is a gross perversion of the Gospel. The fruit of such teaching is multitudes of self-centered, sinful believers who refuse to accept the standards of discipleship laid down by Christ. (Why should we give up our pleasures and desires when the atoning blood prevents God from seeing our conduct?)
Those who perceive the blood of the Lord Jesus as the means of overcoming Satan, the authority to destroy out of their personalities all the works of Satan, and who act on that perception, are the victorious saints. They are the second stage in putting down the rebellion against God, the Lord Jesus being the first stage. The remainder of the believers are attempting to utilize the blood as the means of continuing in rebellion and yet remaining acceptable to God.
We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and also by the word of our testimony. The earth is a stage and every human being is an actor on that stage. The purpose of the drama is that God may portray to all His creatures the consequences of rebellion against His will and wisdom.
Every word and deed of every person is a testimony to the heavens and to the earth. The lawless individual is testifying of his lack of trust in God’s Character and Word, of his willingness to defy God, of his desire that His Creator not interfere with his self-will and his lusts. Such a testimony is pleasing to Satan, for this is how he behaves.
The Christian who clings to his sins and self-will is testifying to the heavens and the earth of his love for the person, will, and ways of Satan. His personality is stating, because of his willful choosing of disobedience or because of his deception or his surrender to demonic urges, that God is not worthy of his love, trust or obedience. He hopes he will be received through God’s mercy, but his behavior is proof that sin and self-centeredness are of greater value to him than is reliance on God’s Character and Word.
The overcomer bears witness that God is worthy of our complete trust and confidence. The overcomer studies the Scriptures and speaks and acts according to what is written. His testimony, which he gives in speech and action, is that God is true, good, and reliable. When all his security and hopes have crumbled before his eyes he maintains stoutly and consistently that God will provide for him and give him the desires of his heart, and he trusts God to modify those desires until that which finally is given to him is the best of all.
He holds firmly to the things God has stated even though every other person and everything else in the world declares the contrary.
The overcomer conquers Satan by testifying with his whole personality, in the sight of Heaven and earth, that God is true; God is to be trusted; those who wait on the Lord will not lack any good thing. (Satan suggested to Eve that she would lack something desirable if she obeyed God.) The overcomer, through prayer and obedience, brings his life into line with the Word of God. Then the accuser cannot find fault with him. Instead, he conquers the accuser.
Both the heavens and the earth are able to observe the end of those who rebel against God’s will, and those who obey God’s will.
We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. Our authority to be children of God always comes from the blood of Jesus. Our testimony always is created in us by the Holy Spirit.
The third means of overcoming comes as we learn to sternly obey the Father.
We overcome by loving not our life to the point of death.
Loving not our life to the death means that each day of our discipleship we choose to do God’s will—even to the point of death if necessary. We put all of our hopes and dreams past the grave. No matter what is required of us, no matter how it hurts us, we are desperately determined to do the will of God. Many times we are directed to let go of some relationship, circumstance or thing exceedingly dear to us. The overcomer chooses death to his own will every time his will and God’s will are in conflict.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed unto his death; (Philippians 3:10)
For two thousand years the Christian churches have attempted to save themselves and the world by means of their life rather than their death. This is why the rebellion against God is intensifying in the believers rather than diminishing.
The preaching and teaching of today often is directed toward gaining the desires of the individual rather than toward the death of his soulish desires. Much of what is heard in the churches is the voice of Antichrist and the False Prophet (the spirit of delusion). It is the attempt to use Christ for the betterment of human beings; not their betterment in the sight of God but their betterment according to their own ideas. They want God to give them all they desire—and to give it to them now!
Why is it Christ keeps testing us in the area of obedience? Why does Christ insist that we lose our life for His sake and the Gospel’s? Why did He drive away the rich young ruler by demanding he sell all his possessions, knowing this man never would accept such a commandment?
Why is it that the voice of Christ speaks the opposite of most of what is heard in the Christian churches of today? Why do God’s people always seek to overcome the prophets of the Lord (which actually is their way of attempting to overcome God’s will for them)?
The reason is, the human personality is hopelessly corrupt, incurably sick, and in rebellion against God. Our mind is the enemy of God. There is no way of changing the human personality or the human mind and making either of them obedient to God.
We of this self-centered generation must understand clearly that the purpose of the salvation in Christ is not to make people happy. The purpose of the salvation in Christ is to bring an end to the rebellion against God. This is why death to our personality and self-will is such an important aspect of our redemption.
There is only one solution to the rebellion against God. The solution is Christ.
Jesus always is our example. We ought to imitate Him to the best of our ability, and our efforts to be like Christ may help us as we are attempting to do God’s will. But if we are to succeed in learning obedience, our adamic nature eventually must be brought down to death so the very Substance and Nature of Christ can be formed in us.
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
This verse could be perceived to mean we ought to try to be more like Jesus. But this is not what it means, except in a secondary sense.
A person could take some wax and fashion it into the form of an apple. He then could work with it and paint it until the likeness was perfect. One would have to bite into it in order to prove it was not a genuine apple.
Right here is the perennial error of the Christian churches. For two thousand years the churches have been attempting to make an apple instead of growing one. The leaders have sought to save their own lives by constructing the Kingdom of God by means of human wisdom, strength, money, and talent rather than by dying to their own will, wisdom, and strength and allowing Christ to live in them.
The inevitable result of such religious adamic efforts has been the deepening of the rebellion against the Lord God as men ascend to positions of status and wealth in the churches. It appears that if Jesus were to come and threaten their prestige, many of the "Christian" leaders would fight against Him. That is what took place when He came the first time.
The twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation reveals that God’s will for the Church is that it travail in birth until the male child, the Son, the Ruler of the nations, is born. It is Christ, the Son, who will put down all rebellion against the Father.
Our task each day is to not love our life until we are brought down into the death of the cross. As we are willing to die, Christ is able to live. If we choose to live, Christ cannot be brought forth.
To die is to yield to God in total obedience. It is total obedience to the point of death that enables us to overcome the accuser, the devil.
But how do we die?
The young person turns over to Christ all decisions concerning love and marriage. This is death to him or her. It is the determination to be totally obedient to God. It is the end of rebellion.
The talented person turns over to Christ all decisions concerning the use of his talent. He does not say, "I will use my talent for Christ," as is taught commonly. Rather he says, "Lord, what would you have me to do?" The Lord Jesus very well may instruct him to leave his talents and follow the Lord into a different way of life. This is death. It is the end of rebellion.
The ambitious man must turn over to Christ all decisions concerning employment and career. It is not enough that he "make money and give some to the church." Christ is not asking for his money, He is asking for his heart. This is death to the ambitious man.
The man or woman who "cannot stand what I am doing for one more day" may be required to put up with these grievous conditions for several more years. We must remain in the Lord’s prison until we "die." This is death to our first personality. This is the manner in which Christ overcomes rebellion in us.
The victorious saints are those who love not their own lives to the death. Christ comes forth in them. They are crucified with Christ every day. Day by day the very Life of Christ is being formed in them. This does not mean that through hard work they are teaching their old nature to be more like Jesus. It means, rather, that through their death the Lord is able to infuse them with eternal resurrection Life. They are in travail of death so God’s Christ, His Messiah, may be formed in them.
In order to enter the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, we must be born again. Christ must be born in us—not Christ-likeness, but Christ. Christ does not rebel against God, He comes to do the will of God. Our first personality is hopelessly rebellious, devious, conniving, deceitful, always seeking its own security, pleasure, and aggrandizement.
Religion can be used to elevate our first personality. Self-aggrandizement is common among the Lord’s people.
But this is not the Christian redemption. The Christian redemption is the crucifying of the first personality so the new creation may live. We have borne the image of the first Adam. Now it is time to take on the image of the Lord from Heaven.
The male Child (Revelation 12:5) must be brought forth. The Son is the only One who is able to put down the rebellion against the Father. The Son can be brought forth only as God’s victorious saints are willing to love not their own lives to the death.
The Son, and those in whom He has been formed and is dwelling, will rule all nations with a rod of iron. The rebellion dwelling in the nations of the saved will be broken in pieces as God’s power comes forth through Christ—Head and Body.
The first stage in putting down all rebellion is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He always obeys the Father.
The second stage in putting down all rebellion consists of the victorious saints. They overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and by loving not their lives to the death. They are brought down in travail of spirit and soul until Christ is formed in them. They are learning strict, stern, consistent, diligent obedience to God.
The third stage in putting down all rebellion will take place as soon as the warrior-remnant of saints are completely victorious. The Father will give Michael and his angels the power to cast Satan and his angels into the earth, hurling them down from their thrones in the air. What a glorious event this will be for those who dwell in the heavens; but what a horror for all those on the earth who are in rebellion against God! People enjoy the ways of Satan, but they are not quite ready for Satan to come down and live among them.
Here is the perfect justice of God. The rebellious of the earth have loved the person and ways of Satan and so God will give Satan to them. God opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing. We receive what we truly desire.
Why haven’t Michael and his angels cast Satan out of the heavens long ago? The reason is, the actions of the holy angels are related to the decisions made by the saints.
To the saints have been given the keys of the Kingdom of God. To the saints has been given the authority to bind and to loose. God will not act apart from the will of man in this respect. Man permitted Satan to enter his life. Man is responsible to drive out Satan from his life.
The rebellion will continue until the members of the Body of Christ overcome Satan. God has not given Christ to mankind as someone who will destroy Satan by Himself. Rather, God has given Christ to mankind so through Christ we may gain the ability to overcome Satan. God will crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20). The children of Israel had to drive out the inhabitants of Canaan. God did not do it all for them; rather, He helped them do it.
Christ has been born in us so through Christ we may be able to overcome Satan, putting down all rebellion against the Father. The rebellion will continue until the saints are mature enough to conquer the adversary. Christ must wait at the right hand of the Father until the victorious saints come to maturity. Michael and his angels cannot cast down Satan and his angels until the woman (the Church) gives birth to the male Child, that is, until Christ has been formed in the members of the Body of Christ.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is that Christ and His saints are coming to the earth to put down all rebellion against the Father, to enforce with a rod of iron God’s will in the earth as it is done in Heaven. This is the meaning of Christianity. When we cast out devils by the finger of God, the Kingdom has come.
Devils were not cast out under the old covenant. But the casting out of devils is the first sign to follow the believers in Christ (Mark 16:17). Jesus, the Warrior, went about casting out devils. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God. This is the putting down of the rebellion against the Father by releasing people from the bondage and effects of the rebellion.
The first stage of victory is the Lord Jesus Christ. The second stage of victory consists of the victorious saints. The third stage of victory is the casting down of Satan from the heavens into the earth, and also the releasing of people from the demons.
Notice carefully the results of the removal of Satan and his angels from the heavens to the earth:
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. (Revelation 12:10)
Casting down Satan from the heavens is the coming of:
The salvation of our God.
The power of our God.
The Kingdom of our God.
The authority of God’s Christ.
The salvation God has given to us through the Lord Jesus Christ will come to us when Satan and his angels are cast down from the heavens.
The power of God is directed toward casting down Satan. The believers of today are seeking the power of God, but often they desire power in order that they may accomplish their own rebellious ends.
The coming of the Kingdom of our God results in Satan being cast down. Earth’s problems originate in the heavenlies where Satan dwells. When the heavens are cleansed the solution to earth’s problems will begin.
The authority of God’s Christ, His Messiah, is based on the blood shed on Calvary. Satan has no answer for the atonement made by the blood of Jesus. But the vindication, the effect, of the authority that has come to us through the blood of the Lamb will be realized as Satan is cast down from the heavens.
God’s purposes in Christ are not accomplished when men are brought to Heaven but when Christ-filled men conquer Satan so Michael and his angels can remove Satan from the heavens. This is Mahanaim —two armies, the army of saints and the army of angels. It is "the dance of a double camp" (Genesis 32:2; Song of Solomon 6:13—Rotherham).
The Kingdom of God begins in Heaven and then is brought into the earth from Heaven. That is why Matthew refers to the Kingdom of God as the "kingdom of heaven."
Christ’s work begins with establishing obedience in the heavens:
And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. (Isaiah 51:16)
Christ is the first stage in putting down the rebellion against God’s government, God’s will. The victorious saints are the second stage. The casting down of Satan from the heavens into the earth is the third stage.
The fourth stage is the Battle of Armageddon. The Battle of Armageddon is described in several passages of the Scriptures. The Battle of Armageddon is the coming of Christ and His warriors to fight against the rebels on the earth. The Battle of Armageddon is the entrance of the Kingdom of God into the earth, the smashing and total destruction of all resistance to the rulership of Christ and His saints.
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)
The Battle of Armageddon is described in the thirteenth chapter of Isaiah, the second chapter of Joel, the third chapter of Habakkuk, the nineteenth chapter of Revelation, and is referred to in other portions of the Scriptures.
The Battle of Armageddon, which brings into visibility the overcoming of the rebellion against God, is dependent on the prior three stages. Christ cannot return with His saints until those saints have been perfected in obedience to the Father. The Battle of Armageddon would be a woeful debacle indeed if rebellion and sin were to be found in the ranks of the army of the Lord!
The current emphasis on the flight to Heaven of immature believers on the basis of grace is opposed to the purpose of God. The rebellion against the Father cannot be overcome by God’s love and mercy. The rebellion is overcome as Christ’s own obedience is created in the hearts of consecrated saints. The issue is not mercy, it is a change in man’s will.
The purpose of mercy is to give sinful man access to God and to enable the program of restoration to take place. God does not intend that mercy serve as an alternative to removing Satan’s rebellion from the hearts of people.
We now are entering the spiritual errors with which Christ charged the church in Laodicea. We are witnessing the rise of the love of money, the absence of faith refined by suffering, spiritual nakedness because of the abundance of sin among the believers, and the putting out of the spiritual eyes of the Christians (like the blinding of Samson).
Christ, the Amen, the Affirmation of God’s Word, speaks to us of faithfulness in bearing a true witness of God’s Person, will, ways, and eternal purpose.
Ours is an age of "critical thinking" in place of saying Amen to the Word of God, an age of treachery and covenant breaking, of bearing a false witness of God in order to gain the favor of people.
The believers are lukewarm and indifferent toward the demands of the Gospel. A poisonous fog from the swamps of Hell clouds the thinking of the Christian people as they fill their minds and hearts with the death that the world projects through television and the Internet.
God’s people have little desire to be possessed by either Christ or Satan. They want to be left alone to follow their own pursuits until the Lord comes and takes them "home to Heaven." The Antichrist has overcome them with ease and prosperity.
. . . he [Antichrist] . . . by peace [prosperity] shall destroy many: . . . . (Daniel 8:25)
The current spiritual torpor in America is well suited to the purposes of Satan. He does not want excessive righteousness or excessive wickedness. Either of these will wreck his plans. Satan intends to bring forth his Antichrist from the Christian churches. Satan is making himself acceptable to Christians, who are gullible. Witness the wide acceptance of the so-called "prosperity message"!
It is difficult to overcome spiritual apathy in an age of ease and prosperity. But to those who emerge as victors from the church of Laodicea a supreme reward is offered: to sit with Christ in His throne. To sit with Christ in His throne is to participate in putting down all rebellion against the Father’s will. This marvelous opportunity is offered to each believer who is filled with enough faith and determination to cast off the spiritual apathy, treachery, lies, sin, and blindness of the churches of our day and present his body a whole burnt offering to God.
The first stage is Christ. The obedience of Christ makes possible the second stage—the victorious saints. The obedience of Christ and His victorious saints makes possible the third stage—the casting down of Satan from the heavens into the earth. The casting down of Satan from the heavens into the earth makes possible the fourth stage, which is the Battle of Armageddon.
The fifth stage in putting down all rebellion is the reconciliation of God’s people to God’s Person, will, ways, and eternal purpose in Christ, and the rulership of the saints over the nations of saved peoples of the earth. The fifth stage is made possible by the victory of Armageddon.
The saints will take the Kingdom and will rule with a rod of iron. All resistance to Christ will be dealt with severely during the thousand-year period. Because Satan has been shut up in the bottomless pit, the nations of the saved, not being hindered by demons and wicked angels, will choose to go up to Jerusalem to learn of the Lord and His righteous ways.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)
Also, during the thousand-year period, the Lord’s own people, His elect, His Israel, whether Jewish or Gentile by race, will be reconciled to God. Most of the saved people of today have never been reconciled to God except legally through the atoning blood. Their personality has not been brought into untroubled union with God. They are not able to dwell in the Presence of the Fire of Israel. They have chosen God, and they love God after a fashion, but they dwell far from Him.
Under the workings of the new covenant, all of God’s elect shall come to know the Lord from the least to the greatest. It is our understanding that the stronger believers will assist the weaker until the Bride of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, is perfect and complete in every detail.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of [maturity as measured by] the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)
And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:11)
At the end of the thousand-year period Satan will be released from the bottomless pit so the work of the thousand-year period may be tested. Those who at that time rebel against Christ and His saints will be destroyed by fire.
The fifth stage is the thousand-year reign of Christ and His saints. The sixth and final stage in the putting down of all rebellion is the new heaven and earth rule of Christ. Christ and His Bride will govern the nations of saved peoples of the earth from their walled city. All the previous stages work together to make possible this ultimate, perfect rule.
Every rebel against God’s will shall have his part, along with the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the devil and his angels in the lake burning with fire and sulfur. The nations of the saved will be ruled by the saints and will bring the glory and honor of their realms to the new Jerusalem in order to receive the blessing of God through the saints. The saints will be permitted to behold the very Face of God because every trace of rebellion has been removed from them.
It is not sensible that man should rebel against his Creator. But the influence of Satan and his angels has been sufficient to infect mankind with the dreadful disease of rebellion and self-will.
The change from the ideal surroundings of the garden in Eden to the terrors described in the Book of Revelation is one vast object lesson to the heavens and the earth of the folly of rebelling against the will and wisdom of our heavenly Father.
God knew in advance the agonizing history of mankind on the earth. The present world is not that which God has envisioned for His creatures; rather it is a warning and an example so when the real world appears, which is the new heaven and the new earth and the saved inhabitants thereof, there will be no possibility of another serpent bringing rebellion into the Paradise of God.
The present heavens and earth will be destroyed by fire and God will create a new heaven and a new earth. There will be no sin, no rebellion in the new world. Think of it!
The thesis of this booklet is that God’s solution to the continuing rebellion is not the transfer of mankind from the earth to Heaven but the creation in people of the Person and Life of the obedient Christ.
There will be no rebellion or sin in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, not because mankind is on a new earth or because God is Present on the new earth, for those two conditions existed at the time of Adam and Eve; nor is it because the devil and his angels have been confined to the Lake of Fire. Indeed, it will be much easier to live a righteous life after Satan and his angels have been confined to the Lake of Fire; but each saved person forever will be capable of choosing his own way in place of God’s will.
The reason there will be no rebellion or sin in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ is that Christ has been formed and is dwelling in the members of the royal priesthood, and these totally obedient saints are governing the creation. The massive wall of the new Jerusalem is symbolic of the resistance to rebellion and sin created in the believers when Christ is created in them.
A new heaven and earth is not sufficient to guarantee righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. There must be a ruling kingdom that because of its character and nature will not tolerate sin. Christ will not permit sin and rebellion. Those who are filled with Christ will not permit sin and rebellion.
The truest prayer of the Christian is not, "O God, remove me from the earth." It is, "Your Kingdom come. Your will be done in earth as it is in Heaven."