THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD 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.
The Apostle Paul says each believer will be ministered to until he or she attains to the unity of the faith, to the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ. Thus the perfect Head will receive a perfected Body.
There is a picture in the New Testament of the perfect Head and Body. It is the holy city, the new Jerusalem.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13—NIV)
The Apostle Paul says each believer will be ministered to until he or she attains to the unity of the faith, to the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ. Thus the perfect Head will receive a perfect Body.
There is a picture in the New Testament of the perfect Head and Body. It is the holy city, the new Jerusalem.
If the reader is familiar with the Tabernacle of the Congregation, as described in the Book of Exodus, He may note that the Tabernacle building is a representation of Christ.
If we stood the Tabernacle on end, with the Altar of Burnt Offering being the feet, the Ark of the Covenant would be the head of Christ, crowned with the Mercy Seat, the Glory of God.
The voice of Christ would be the Altar of Incense, crying "Not My will but Yours be done" while continually offering praise and worship to the Father.
In the right hand of Christ would be the Lampstand, the power of God.
In the left hand of Christ would be the Table of Showbread, speaking of His body and blood—the Life of the world.
The Laver would be the hip area, speaking of strength and fruitfulness.
The Altar of Burnt Offering would be the bronze feet of Divine judgment.
Here we see the Messiah, Christ, the living Word of God Almighty.
Because the Tabernacle is the image of Christ it also is the image of every son of God who has been conformed to the image of Christ. When God declared that He has predestined us to be conformed to the image of His Son, this is precisely what God means. God has declared it! God indeed shall perform it!
Our role is to join to our faith courage, hope, trust, stern obedience, and much patience. God’s role is to do what He promised.
The Bible is a contract. Although a few of the details change from time to time the goal of the contract remains the same. It is that people do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
God is one signer of the contract and will never break contract. We are the other signer of the contract. If we break the contract it becomes null and void. One signer of a contract is not obligated to keep the terms of the contract if the contract is broken by the other party. We seem to have forgotten that today.
The new Jerusalem is an actual city that will be located at a specific site, according to our understanding.
However, the new Jerusalem is vastly, infinitely more than this. It is a representation of Christ and His Bride; of the Head and Body of Christ; of the glorified Christian Church.
He who is brought to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ has had formed in his personality all the attributes of the new Jerusalem.
His destiny is to live on a new earth under a new sky. Therefore he is not to cling to this present world as though this were the best our God can do.
There is no more "sea" in him, that is, there is no part of his personality that is a part of the undifferentiated mass of the peoples of the earth. He is known to Christ and knows Christ. He is a son of God.
He will be holy in personality and behavior. He has been called to be a saint, a holy one, someone who is to be an eternal priest of God, who brings God to the saved nations of the earth. He has cooperated with the Holy Spirit until he himself has become holy.
He is of Jerusalem, that is, he is a member of the holy nation that has been called of God to be a witness of God to the nations.
In the last days he will come down out of Heaven from God. He is a righteous person whose spirit has been made perfect by the operations of God.
He has been prepared to be married to the Lamb. His love of the world system, the lusts and passions of his adamic nature, and his stubborn self-will have all been removed from him. In their place has been formed the very Nature of Jesus Christ including all the dimensions of the fruit of the Spirit.
He is the eternal dwelling place of God.
He will live among mankind so God can live among mankind.
Through his priestly ministry and his witness of God the saved nations of the earth will become the people of God.
He will remove all tears, death, mourning, and pain from the members of the saved nations.
He will be as a river of life from whom the nations can drink and be refreshed with the Divine Nature.
He will inherit all that God has promised concerning the new age.
God will be his God and he will be God’s son.
Cowardice, unbelief, vile behavior, a murderous spirit, immorality, the practice of magic arts, idolatry, and lying shall have been removed from him for eternity.
He will be the eternal Wife of the Lamb, the counterpart of Christ, a helper suitable for the Lamb.
He will be a great pearl, a gateway to God. The pearl that he is will have been formed as he reacted in the scriptural manner to the endless irritations of life on earth.
His personality will be a wall against sin. The foundations of the wall will have been built on the foundation of the Apostles. They will be adorned with the precious jewels of character that have been formed by the pressure and heat of life on the earth.
The wall against sin that has been created in him will be beautiful with the beauty of holiness, but it shall be hard and unyielding when approached by that which is unrighteous.
His way of life will be that of transparent gold, pure, undefiled.
He does not "go to church." He himself is the Church. The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb dwell in Him.
He has no need of the sun or the moon because he is filled with the Light of God, the same light that illumined the world during the first three days of creation.
He is an example to the saved nations. They can see God’s Personality and ways in Him. The name of God and of the city of God, and the new name of Jesus Christ, are written on him for all to see.
The kings of the earth bring their wealth to him, including their families.
He always will be the Presence of God among men. Because he is dwelling in everlasting Divine Life there is no need for him to go apart and rest. He is always available to meet the needs of people.
He will not be presented with that which is impure, or shameful, or deceitful. Only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be brought to him.
Because the throne of God and of the Lamb are in him, the water of eternal life, in no manner polluted with the flesh of ambitious man, flows ceaselessly from him. There is eternal life in all his ways.
He is a tree of life, always providing those who come to him with the fruit of Christ’s Nature and Glory, and with healing.
There is no Divine curse wherever he goes. All is fruitful, beautiful, and filled with the wonder of God. In him are the highways to Zion. When he passes through the Valley of Weeping there spring forth waters of peace and joy.
He will serve God for eternity.
He will see the face of God.
He will be the light of the world, and govern the nations of the earth, for eternity.
The Spirit of God, and he who has come to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ, invite whoever wishes to do so to take freely of the water of life.
We invite people today to come to Christ and receive eternal life. When we come to the maturity God has ordained, the life will be in us. The saved nations will come to us to receive life.
"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isaiah 60:1-3—NIV)
Since the above passage describes what will be true when darkness still is covering the earth, we know the role of the mature Christian will begin even before the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.
All the ministries of the Body of Christ will serve until every member of God’s elect, His Church, come to maturity as described in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation. This is what is meant by the stature of the fullness of Christ.
We who have received Christ have just started on the Divine program of salvation. Although we commence the program as sinful, rebellious dust, if we follow the Lord and do what He says we shall surely attain to that which is described above.
When God says He is going to make us in the image of Christ, this is exactly what God means. Let us not stagger at the magnitude of the vision but faithfully embrace it and faithfully pursue it until every inch of what God has declared has become true of us.
We Christians have experienced the power of God. We know also that we are not nearly at the level of maturity described above. So where do we go from here?
The Holy Spirit has given us four great types in the Bible so we can understand where we are, where we have been in the process of salvation, and where we are going. The four types are as follows: the six days of creation and the seventh day of rest; the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan; the seven furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation; and the seven feasts of the Lord.
Each of these four types portrays how we begin in bondage, in chaos, how light comes to us, how we are led forth from bondage, how we pass through a wilderness of difficulties, and how we finally battle our way into our promised inheritance.
Each of the types contains some aspect the others do not have, but all show the progress from bondage to release into the rest of God.
The type that the writer uses most often is the seven feasts of the Lord. These are:
Passover—being covered by the blood of the Lamb, and leaving the bondage of the world.
Unleavened Bread—repentance and water baptism.
Firstfruits—the born-again experience.
Pentecost—being filled with the Spirit of God.
The Blowing of Trumpets—the coming of the King to us.
The Day of Atonement—our reconciliation to God in personality and behavior.
Tabernacles—the dwelling of the Father and the Son in us through the Holy Spirit.
Pentecostal-Charismatic people are acquainted with the blood of the Lamb, with repentance, with water baptism, with being born-again, and with the baptism with the Holy Spirit. This is as far as we have come.
What is this about the coming of the King to us, in the spiritual fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets?
A careful study of John 14:2-23 will reveal that there is a personal coming of the Lord to us. This personal coming is taking place now so we will be ready for His worldwide appearing in the clouds of glory.
The Lord is standing before us. He is requiring that we open our life to Him to a far greater extent than ever before. He wants to dine with us. We dine on His body and blood. He dines on our worship and obedience.
As we dine together we discover He is the Lord of Hosts and that He has come to help us drive the enemy from our life, so we will be qualified and competent to appear with Him when He reveals Himself to the world.
The period of time during which the Spirit of God mounts the attack against the enemy in our life is symbolized by the sixth convocation, the Day of Atonement, or Day of Reconciliation. All that is resistant to the will of God must be dealt with and removed from us.
We must turn away from our trust in the world. I think this may be easier in the days to come as God judges the sinful ways of the American people.
We must confess and put to death through the Spirit the appetites and passions of our flesh. You may have noticed that the Lord is pointing out areas in your personality that are not in accordance with His Word. As soon as He shows you something, confess it as sin. Turn away from it. Denounce it. Renounce it. The Spirit of God will help you do this and will give you total victory over it.
The Lord permits Satan to put us in one kind of prison or another, sometimes for many, many years. We must remain faithfully in the prison where we are placed, in the meanwhile looking to the Lord so we can profit from our times of suffering.
We are not to grumble. We are not to blame people. If we do we lose the benefit of the cross Christ is asking us to bear. It is only as we patiently accept our trials and do the best we can, keeping a good attitude toward God and people, that the trial results in our change from the adamic nature to the image of Jesus Christ.
This is how we are reconciled to God—it is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement. It is a judgment on the sin in our personality, not on us as a person but on the sin that dwells in us.
We now are in the time described in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew when the Lord is removing from His Kingdom that which is offensive to God. Let us be sure we cooperate with the Spirit of God, because if we manage to cling to our love of the world, the lusts of our flesh, and our self-will, then we ourselves shall be removed from the Kingdom. There shall be no sin in the Kingdom of God!
The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (Matthew 13:41—NIV)
In the present hour sin is being removed from us and Christ is being formed in us, if we are faithfully walking in the Spirit of God. This indeed is a strenuous program but the Spirit of God gives us enough peace and joy to keep us pressing forward.
The work of reconciliation of the Day of Atonement is leading up to the feast of Tabernacles.
When we keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, we are delivered from sin and Christ is formed in us. As Christ is formed in us the Father loves us. Then the Father and the Son come to us and make Their eternal dwelling place with us. The dwelling of God in at least a firstfruits of the Church must take place before the Lord returns. Otherwise we would not be ready to appear with Him and help with the installation of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
When the Lord comes, our inward nature will return with Him. We will gather up our flesh and bones from wherever they were interred. Then our house from Heaven, that which has been formed in Heaven as we have lived on earth as being crucified with Christ and risen with Christ, will cover our resurrected flesh and bones. This is the first resurrection from the dead.
When this is true, when our inward nature has been reconciled to God in all its ways, when the Father and the Son are dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit, when our body has been raised from the dead and clothed with our house from Heaven, we then will be able to descend from Heaven through the new sky and be established on the new earth. We then will be able, because we have become the Throne of God and of the Lamb, to bring all the blessings to mankind we have described above.
But before the new heaven and earth reign of Christ there must take place the thousand-year kingdom age. This will commence at the next appearing of our Lord.
Those who have pressed through to the fullness of God will appear to the world with Christ at His next appearing to the world. They will rule the nations on earth, the nations remaining after the armies of Antichrist have been destroyed, with the rod of iron of the Spirit of God. They will bring peace and justice to mankind.
What then is the purpose of the thousand-year Kingdom Age?
I will give you my point of view.
First of all, it will bring peace and justice to a world torn by war and the self-serving of the various governments. It will be a time of safety for children. The knowledge of the glory of the Lord will fill the earth—this present earth.
Second, the main purpose probably is the preparing of the whole Church of Jesus Christ for its role as the new Jerusalem—the dwelling place of God that will come down through the new sky and settle in place on a high mountain of the new earth.
None of us, from the most spiritual to the least spiritual, is anywhere near being ready for the colossal Glory of God that is to be revealed when the new Jerusalem descends through the new sky. Such Divine Glory is simply incomprehensible to us at the present time. The thousand-year period will be necessary to help us make the transition from the gross creatures that we are to sons of God who are destined to shine as the stars forever.
As we said, a firstfruits of the Church will be ready, at the worldwide appearing of the Lord, to descend with Him and help in the task of installing the Kingdom of God on the earth. But most of God’s people are not ready to serve as the eternal Tabernacle of God. They have not come to the unity of the faith. They have not come to the knowledge of the Son of God. They have not grown to maturity as measured by the fullness of the stature of Christ.
There are numerous members of God’s elect who are bruised reeds. They need an opportunity to grow in Christ if they are to serve as members of the new Jerusalem.
So, as it was true that David ruled Judah for several years before He governed all of Israel, it appears Christ will for a season govern only a portion of His inheritance. The partial rule of Christ will take place during the thousand-year period, often referred to as the Millennium. After the thousand years have been completed, and the new Jerusalem has been established on the new earth, the complete rule of Christ will continue for eternity.
It is my opinion that during the thousand years (whether a literal or a figurative thousand years) the victorious saints will minister wisdom and life to the weaker members of the Body of Christ until they have been made ready to descend through the new sky as part of the new Jerusalem.
The new heaven and earth reign of Jesus Christ is so far beyond anything we have understood or even imagined that the most devout among us is hardly prepared for such dazzling glory. In comparison with the holiness that is to descend to the earth, we are as creatures of the mud. We have so much more to receive from the Lord Jesus Christ!
This, I believe, is the purpose for the thousand-year Kingdom Age. It is to give the whole Bride of the Lamb an opportunity to be dressed for the wedding.
All of the feasts of the Lord point to the feast of Tabernacles. The experience typified by the feast of Tabernacles is the goal toward which we are pressing.
The blood atonement gives us the authority to press toward the feast of Tabernacles.
The Holy Spirit provides us with the wisdom and power to press toward the feast of Tabernacles.
However, it is the feast of Tabernacles that is the Kingdom of God in us that will make it possible for us to serve God and man in the manner we outlined toward the beginning of this essay.
We cannot arrive at maturity except as the Father and the Son are dwelling in us.
We cannot serve as an eternal priest of God except as the Father and the Son are dwelling in us.
We cannot attain the holiness and righteousness we desire except as the Father and the Son are dwelling in us.
We cannot be the witness of God to the nations to the extent we desire except as the Father and the Son are dwelling in us.
We cannot be the Presence of God among men except as the Father and the Son are dwelling in us.
We cannot remove all tears, death, mourning, and pain from the members of the saved nations except as the Father and the Son are dwelling in us.
We cannot be a source of the River of Life except as the Father and the Son are dwelling in us.
We cannot possibly inherit all God has promised except as the Father and the son are dwelling in us.
We cannot be the eternal Wife of the Lamb, the counterpart of Christ, a helper suitable for the Lamb, except as the Father and the Son are dwelling in us.
We cannot be a gateway into the Presence of God except as the Father and the Son are dwelling in us.
Our personality will not be a wall against sin except as the Father and the Son are dwelling in us.
Our way of life will not be that of transparent gold, pure, undefiled, except as the Father and the Son are dwelling in us.
We cannot be free from the need of the light of the sun and moon until the Father and the Son are dwelling in us.
The kings of the earth will not bring their wealth to us except as the Father and the Son dwell in us.
We will not be a tree of life and healing except as the Father and the Son dwell in us.
We cannot turn the Divine curse into Divine blessing except as the Father and the Son dwell in us.
We cannot see the Face of God except as the Father and the Son dwell in us.
We cannot be the light of the world except as the Father and the Son dwell in us.
We have been saved through the blood of the cross.
We have God’s Spirit dwelling in us.
Now we are ready to enter the Kingdom of God, the rule of God through Christ in us.
Every preparation has been made. God has given His unchanging Word. He absolutely will do all we have described, all the Scriptures state, if we will but believe and walk patiently with Him.
He is our Father. He is more than willing to give us the Kingdom. It is His delight to do so.
God has created man in His image. In order to have a world filled with children in His image, children who will do His will, God must have a governing priesthood—brothers of Jesus Christ who are in the image of Christ. These shall serve as the light of the world so people will know how to please God, and will be free from the influence of Satan and his demons.
The removing of satanic influence from the earth, and the filling of the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, can be accomplished only by saints in whom the Father and the Son are dwelling.
Our task is not to go forth and deliver the world, as some are endeavoring to do today. Rather, our task, our responsibility is to walk carefully and obediently before the Lord so He can prepare us to be His eternal dwelling place.
God will never give His Glory to another. To receive the Glory of God so we can assist mankind in its numerous needs we must become part of God; then when God issues His Glory to us, He actually is giving it to Himself—keeping the Divine Glory in the family, you might say.
God has called us to be in the image of His Son. In addition, God has called us to dwell forever in untroubled rest in Himself through Jesus Christ.
There are many enemies that seek to prevent our entering the rest of God’s perfect will in Christ. The spirit of the world, the desires of our flesh and soul, and our determination to fulfill our own will all conspire to keep us from flowing serenely with as God works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure.
Every member of the holy city, the new Jerusalem, will have gained victory, through the Lord Jesus, over every force and desire that is not totally in line with God’s will and purposes.
As soon as we are willing to enter God’s rest, and cease trying to create heaven and earth in our own image, Christ will return to earth with us and install His Kingdom. Then the nations will beat their weapons into agricultural implements. Then the nations will go up to Jerusalem. Then the eternal moral law of God will issue from Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
It has required the four thousand years of the pre-Christian Era, and the two thousand years of the Christian Era, to bring us to the place where we can understand that God is seeking to dwell in us through the Lord Jesus Christ. God’s intention has always been stated in the Bible but somehow it was not noticed by most of us.
We can think of all previous Christian movements as base camps. They have brought us this far. Now the summit is in sight. If we are willing we can now proceed to the climax of salvation, that is, the dwelling of the Father and the Son in us in the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.
Are we willing to turn aside from the flurry of activity of the present world and wait before God until we have been prepared to receive His Fullness? This is the question facing you and me.
Meanwhile we continue with our present responsibilities, doing the best job we can with His help.
But the Lord has come to His churches. Even in this dreadful time of war among nations He is skipping on the mountains of spices. He is calling to whoever will hear His voice. He is not troubled. He is not bowed down with the weight of the world. He is the King, the Conqueror. He controls all the peoples, and the events that take place on this poor planet of ours.
The world will be in flames soon enough. But each one of us who will turn to the Lord and serve Him will be protected in the time of trouble. More than that, we shall be singing and dancing with Him on the heights of Zion.
We yet shall be the light of the world if we will keep on looking to the Lord Jesus.