KEPT FROM TEMPTATION

(Trumpet Ministries,Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

KEPT FROM TEMPTATION 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.

There is coming to the earth an "hour of temptation." I often refer to this period as "the age of moral horrors."

There is much talk today in Christian circles about the "great tribulation." This is because God's people do not want to suffer, of course. But the danger to the Christian is not that of suffering. We are made perfect through suffering. The danger is temptation.

Satan does not have enough power to separate a saint from God. Christ retains all power. Satan works through temptation, through deception. He brings about our downfall by seducing us away from God.

An abundance of temptation is the danger of the age we are entering.

KEPT FROM TEMPTATION

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Revelation 3:10—NIV)

The Greek term translated "to test" has several shades of meaning, as it is employed in the New Testament. It can refer to any kind of testing or sifting, the idea being we are examined to see what we will do or can be provoked or seduced into doing.

I believe the meaning in Revelation 3:10 (above) emphasizes seduction, a drawing away from righteous behavior. I derive this from the following verses:

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:12,13—NIV)

When we consider this passage we see it is referring to Christians, because the people under consideration at one time had loved Christ.

We see also that the issue is not tribulation or suffering. The issue is "wickedness." This is why I refer to the coming period as "the age of moral horrors."

We may notice in the history of the world that persecution and suffering serve only to strengthen the true saints. The problem arises when there is much wickedness, the ready availability of moral sin.

Antichrist's tactic in the last days will include persecution and suffering, but these will only refine the true saints.

Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked. None of the wicked will understand, but those who are wise will understand. (Daniel 12:10—NIV)

There will be, if I am correct, an unprecedented worldwide revival in the not too distant future. At this time it may happen that a majority of earth's people will make a profession of faith in Christ.

But, as always happens after a great revival, there will be a cooling off period. It will be during the cooling off that Antichrist will gain power by enlisting the support of people who believe in God. The new believers will be swept off their feet because of the seeming friendliness of Antichrist.

The Christians will let their guard down. Moral depravity will come forth to an extent never before witnessed on the earth. The majority of those who had professed faith in Christ will grow cold. Only a holy remnant will remain and be ready to receive Christ at His return.

The sincere believer will ask himself, "How can I be certain I will be kept from being drawn away by moral temptation?"

It may be noted at this point that even in the present hour some pastors and believers are being seduced by pornography, especially that presented on the Internet. We do not have enough spiritual strength to stand when physical lust is presented so graphically.

This is why the Lord Jesus gave us His guarantee of protection.

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Revelation 3:10—NIV)

This verse is used by Dispensationalists to prove the believers in Christ will not be present on earth during the "great tribulation."

Let us remove this error before we proceed.

When Paul was teaching the Thessalonian believers he remarked about their abundance of suffering, and then promised them they would be relieved by the coming of the Lord to destroy Antichrist, not relieved by being removed from the earth but relieved by God's vengeance on Antichrist and wicked people.

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you And give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (II Thessalonians 1:6-8—NIV)

The above statement is so clear that the seeker after truth will undoubtedly be convinced. As for the others, they are blind to the truth and cannot perceive what is plainly written no matter how much Scripture is presented.

Back to our verse.

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Revelation 3:10—NIV)

Notice that the promise of being kept is addressed to those who "endure patiently."

Again:

But he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13—NIV)

Saved from what? Saved from losing his love for Christ as a result of the abundance of wickedness.

In Revelation 3:10, the verb translated "have kept" is the same Greek word translated "will also keep." The word means to watch over, preserve. It often is employed to mean keeping Christ's commandments.

The concept is that if we are willing to keep Christ's command to endure patiently throughout the period of temptation, Christ will keep us from losing our love for Him.

Many of my readers will have received Christ at some point in their life. They are saved by faith in the blood atonement made by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Through the blood they have the authority to approach God.

Many will also have prayed until they have been anointed with the Holy Spirit, probably yielding to the point of speaking in tongues.

These two experiences are of God. But they are not strong enough to guarantee our safety throughout the age of moral horrors, the time of the increase of wickedness and lawlessness.

We can observe today that numerous people who have received Christ and also have spoken in tongues are falling into temptation. They are not strong enough to stand when the opportunity to sin is so great. They are being overcome by the attractions and guarantees of the world, by the lusts and passions of their flesh, and by their personal ambition.

God has made provision for our protection during the dangerous and yet wonderful days of the closing of the Church Age. God's provision is not to remove immature people to Heaven. It is to bring the believers to maturity and fill them with His Presence until they are more than conquerors no matter how thoroughly sin fills the earth.

The Divine provision has to do with patient endurance and the resulting protection the Lord has promised.

We have been saved through the blood. We have received the Holy Spirit. Now it is time for the Father and the Son to enter us in a manner greater than we might have believed possible during the Church Age.

Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks [Pentecost] and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed: (Deuteronomy 16:16—NIV)

There are three great works of grace under the new covenant.

There is salvation through the blood of the cross, corresponding to Passover.

There is the empowering by the Spirit of God, corresponding to Pentecost.

There is the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in the believer, corresponding to Tabernacles.

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

I have written much about the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles. The aspect I wish to stress in the present essay is the role of our will as we enter the third great work of Divine grace.

When we are saved and filled with the Spirit our will has not been affected too much. We still are in water to the knees. We still can churn about as we please.

If we are acquainted with the Christian churches we may have noted that there is a great deal of willfulness, of seeking preeminence, of divisiveness, of personal ambition, of jealousy and envy. All these traits of the self-centered personality are exhibited. The leaders sometimes vaunt themselves, obviously seeking their own glory.

My point is, basic salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit are not sufficient to deal with the self-will so prominent in the Christian churches.

The central characteristic of Satan, of Antichrist, of the False Prophet, is self-will. All the other sins spring from self-will.

Satan wants to be like God but yet maintain his self-will.

Satan seduced Eve into exercising her will against God.

The first sin was not immorality, murder, or covetousness, the first sin was disobedience.

The first punishment was not entrance into Hell, it was death. This is because self-will separates us from God.

The Christian churches of today are filled with self-will.

In the secular realm in America, self-will is glorified. The rights of the individual are elevated over the rights of society as a whole. This is Antichrist.

We cannot endure patiently with Jesus Christ unless we are willing to let the Lord crucify our self-will. It is our personal cross that will keep us from being deceived by the wickedness of the last days. Jesus will guard us against deception if we will agree to patiently bear our cross. Our cross will destroy our self-will if we will bear it faithfully.

We have been saved. We have been filled with the Spirit. Now we must go back to the Lord. God is not requiring of most of us to attempt to save the nations of the earth. What God is looking for in our day is believers who will return to Him and allow Him to deal with the worldliness, lust, and self-seeking in their personality.

The seven furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation portray our growth in Christ, commencing with the Altar of Burnt Offering and finishing with the Lid of Propitiation (Mercy Seat).

While we are at Pentecost we are at the place of the golden Lampstand. The Lampstand was the fourth furnishing. The Lampstand was the most ornate of the seven furnishings of the Tabernacle and threw light on Table of Showbread and the Altar of Incense. So it is that Pentecost is beautiful and illumines the other aspects of God's dealings with us.

We of Pentecost are standing at the Lampstand.

The next furnishing, the one following the Lampstand as we approach the Veil, was the Altar of Incense. The Altar of Incense, the fifth furnishing, was the last stop before we passed through the Veil into the very Presence of God.

The spiritual fulfillment of the Altar of Incense is characterized by the cup of suffering. It is here we bow in death to our self-will. It is here we cry "Not my will but Yours be done" and drink the cup of total obedience to God's will.

Our Pentecostal experience strengthens us so we can hold up our body as a living sacrifice to God in fulfillment of the Altar of Incense.

Another type of our death to self is the River Jordan. We must die here to all of our personal ambition before we can begin the conquest of the land of promise.

Yet another type of our death to self is the Jewish Day of Atonement or Day of Reconciliation. We are reconciled to God by submitting to His perfect will in every aspect of our personality and behavior. The Day of Atonement is a period of warfare as God comes against everything in our personality that is not in harmony with His will.

Pentecost is so attractive! The work of the Spirit draws people, and here we are!

Now we are facing death.

It is over the issue of suffering and death to self that the current Charismatic movement will be divided. A remnant will go the way of the cross. The majority will seek to go forth under their own guidance and attempt to use their spiritual gifts to save the world. Such are very impatient with the subjective concerns and writhing on the cross of those who have returned to Christ, and often slander them. Such slander is part of the sufferings of Christ that the remnant shall endure.

But the majority will continue on, rejoicing because some of the leaders of government are joining them. Antichrist will capitalize on the self-centeredness of the Christians. The self-willed Christians will support the Antichrist system, thus becoming the False Prophet.

While both Antichrist and the False Prophet will each be epitomized by single individuals I believe, the spirit of Antichrist and the spirit of the False Prophet dwell in the heart of the self-willed person.

Antichrist is self-will in the political realm. The False Prophet is self-will in the religious realm. The two will join forces in the future.

The Pharisees, priests, scribes, and elders of Jesus' day were self-willed. They did not murder Christ because they wanted to indulge in the lusts of the flesh but because they were envious. In their envy they did not hesitate to employ the services of that former representative of the Antichrist system, Pontius Pilate.

Self-willed religious people will join self-willed secular people in the last days. I think in some instances the self-willed Christians will join with the Antichrist forces and drive the remnant from the major cities of the earth, scorning and persecuting them. It has happened before in history!

It is the False Prophet who strengthens and helps Antichrist and brings him to the pinnacle of power. But finally the secular will destroy the religious.

The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. (Revelation 17:16—NIV)

The main issue of the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, as distinguished from the first two works of grace, is our will, our obedience to God the Father.

The Kingdom of God is the doing of God's will in the earth as it is performed in Heaven.

When we first receive Christ our fleshly personality is left intact.

When we are baptized with the Holy Spirit our fleshly personality remains intact, as we can see from the behavior of Pentecostal people.

Now God is ready to change our fleshly personality. How does He do this? By bringing numerous situations into our life that tear down our self-will and personal ambition. God knocks out the props from under us until we come up out of the wilderness of judgment leaning on our Beloved.

We Christians are not always aware that our suffering results from God's judgment on our personality. If we are to be worthy of the Kingdom of God we must submit patiently to our sufferings, always turning to God for help.

Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. (II Thessalonians 1:4,5—NIV)

When we are frustrated, in pain, resisted, or knocked down in some other manner, we are not to complain or blame God, people, or the devil. We are to stay before God faithfully and patiently, in the meanwhile always praising God and letting our desires be made known to Him.

Suffering is such a blessing if we use it to drive us to Christ! Before we suffer we grow careless and foolish. We let our spiritual guard down. We speak idle words. We are not fit for the Presence of God. Then calamity overtakes us and we turn to God instead of giving in to fear, dread, and blaming others. How sincere our prayer becomes, how pure, how strong, how fervent!

The purpose of our suffering is to purify us from sin, to drive us to God in prayer. It is through such pain and fear that we are pressed into God. If we receive suffering correctly our self-will, that supreme enemy of God, is crucified. It is then we find peace and holiness.

Every time you are confronted with disaster or trouble of some kind, pray! Keep on praying! Use your trouble to drive you to Christ.

God has a great throne in Heaven where His will is done. But the angels, led by Satan, rebelled against God. At this point God charged His angels with error and conceived a tremendous plan. God's plan includes placing His new creature, man, in charge of His creation.

But God had to go one step further. If He assigned all authority in the heavens and on the earth to man, there would be a clear danger that man would fall through pride and disobedience. He would become another Satan. Also, God is not willing to give His glory to another.

Therefore as part of His plan to place man in control of His creation, God created a throne room in each individual. God is in the process of moving His throne from Heaven to the hearts of His sons. Then the sons will be part of Himself through Jesus Christ. They will not be separate from God, and so when God gives them authority and power He is giving it to Himself. He is not giving His glory to another.

Basic salvation includes our being forgiven through the atonement made by Jesus Christ. This does not change what we are and we still are on the throne of our own personality.

The baptism with the Holy Spirit includes the Presence of God's Spirit upon us and in us. However, this does not change our motives for we still are on the throne of our own personality. This is where the Pentecostal people are today.

Now God is asking us if we will permit Him to enter the throne room of our personality; if we will step down from the throne and permit the Father and the Son to take Their place as the origin of our will and motives.

Since the essence of the human being is his will, we can see that God is asking nothing less than the surrender of our right to be ourselves. God is requiring that we enter the same relationship with Jesus Christ that Jesus Christ has with the Father.

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

That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so the world may believe you have sent me. (John 17:21—NIV)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20—NIV)

The message to the church in Laodicea may be directed especially toward the closing days of the Church Age. The Lord had little praise for this church. It seems the church was on friendly terms with the government for it had become wealthy and needed nothing. The believers were spiritually lukewarm and lacking in insight and righteousness.

Yet to this apathetic group was given the supreme invitation:

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:20,21—NIV)

The Lord Jesus is standing before the believers in our day. He is requesting entrance into our personalities.

If we hear Him knocking we are to open the door of our heart. If we do this He will come in and eat with us and we with Him. He eats of the worship and obedience of our personality. We eat of His flesh and drink His blood. It is this continual eating and drinking together with Him that brings us into the intense, fiery union that characterizes the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles, the third great platform of Divine grace.

As we persist in living in union with Him, overcoming all that would draw us away into more external interests—even religious interests—we gain the right to sit with Christ on His throne.

Where is the throne of Christ? It is in Heaven at the right hand of God. It also is in our heart.

Jesus Christ also overcame. He is seated with His Father on His great throne in Heaven, and we are there with Him.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:6—NIV)

But perhaps more importantly, the Father also is enthroned in the heart of Christ. Christ sits with the Father on the throne of His own heart.

Although at first we are to get off the throne of our personality that Christ and the Father may rule there without conflict, the time will come, if we are faithful in overcoming all that comes against us, when we will be invited back on the throne of our own heart that we may govern there with the Father and the Son.

This is how I interpret the above passage (Ephesians 2:6).

It is important that we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies at God's right hand. But it is even more important that God and Christ are ruling from within us and we with Them.

Heaven is the Throne of God Almighty, but the Throne is coming to the earth to reside for eternity in Jerusalem.

At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. (Jeremiah 3:17—NIV)

And again:

No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. (Revelation 22:3—NIV)

Can you see the enormity of what is being suggested in the above two verses? The new Jerusalem will be the Throne of Almighty God.

Since the new Jerusalem is the glorified Christian Church, we are saying the Christian Church is destined to become the Throne of God. And since the name of the holy city is engraved on each overcomer, then each overcomer will be an integral part of the Throne of the living God.

Next to the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus and His triumphant resurrection, it may be true that the greatest concept found in the Scriptures is that of the transfer of the very Throne of God from Heaven to the hearts of people. No greater concept, no grander proclamation, could possibly be issued.

Just think! The living God will dwell among His creatures, the people of the saved nations of the earth. No more will they be praying to an invisible God somewhere in the heavens. God will be on earth where He can be found in the members of His royal priesthood.

This is the reason why each member of God's elect is dealt with so rigorously day and night, night and day. It is because we are being prepared to be Immanuel, the Presence of God, among people. We are being made the Throne of God.. His will shall be personified in us because we shall be His Kingdom.

It is my opinion that the transfer of the Throne of God from Heaven to the hearts of His victorious saints will take place at the time of the heaviest spiritual darkness earth has known. It is when darkness shall cover the earth and thick darkness the people that the Glory of God will rise on His saints.

In Mount Zion, that is, in the warlike remnant of saints, there shall be deliverance throughout the dark hours of Antichrist's rule. Antichrist will have authority to reach into the heavens and shake the forces there, and so it is absolutely necessary an even greater authority and power be issued to the saints. Otherwise we could not overcome the massive weight of spiritual darkness and evil soon to blanket the earth.

The water of eternal life always flows from Throne of God, from nowhere else.

The entrance of the Throne of God into the personalities of the victorious saints is the Kingdom of God and the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.

When God's Kingdom comes into the earth God's will is done in the earth. This is why if we are to move past the Pentecostal experience into the Tabernacles experience we must make Jesus absolute Lord of our life. We have received Him as our Savior. Now we must receive Him as our Lord.

The greatest King of all is standing at the door of the saints. He is the Lord of Glory, the Lord strong and mighty in battle against all who would oppose the will of His Father. When the Father has brought all in subjection under Christ, then will Christ Himself be subject to the Father that God may be All in all.

So the call is, "Open up gates of your heart and let the Lord enter." You have been saved through the blood, you have been filled with the Spirit of God. Now it is time to permit the Father and the Son to make Their eternal abode in you.

The earth is the Lord's with all its resources and all those who dwell on the earth. God left the earth because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. God will return to the earth when the obedience of His sons has been fulfilled. Then He will avenge all disobedience.

Will you be one of those who is willing to surrender his right to be himself that Christ may make you part of Himself? Only in so doing can you pass from Pentecost to Tabernacles.

If you insist on remaining at Pentecost that you may retain your right to serve Christ on your own terms, you will be in clear danger of being deceived during the age of moral horrors. Christ will not guard you against deception because you have not been willing to patiently keep His Word. You have decided to go your own religious way.

Why not cease from your dead religious works and enter the rest of God? Blessed are those who die in the Lord from this time forth. You will be able to rest from your own works while the mighty works of Christ in you will accompany you through the darkness that soon is to come.

Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty—he is the King of glory. Selah (Psalms 24:7-10—NIV)