FULFILLING THE VISION
Copyright © 1998 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
In the beginning God endowed man with the fullness of blessing—an inheritance truly worthy of the sons of the Mightiest of all kings and lords:
- To be in the image of God.
- To be male and female, that is, capable of entering union with God and with one another.
- To be able to reproduce his own image.
- To govern all the works of God’s hands.
God has given us a vision. He has shown us what He had completed in vision before the foundation of the world. The total restoration has been completed in God’s mind all the way to the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now God is resting. Our task is to follow the Lord Jesus into that rest, into that finished work.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)
The new covenant is superior to the old covenant.
Under the old covenant, God forgave the sins of people when they performed the appropriate animal sacrifices.
‘And he shall offer the second as a burnt offering according to the prescribed manner. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin which he has committed, and it shall be forgiven him. (Leviticus 5:10)
“So the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD, and he shall be forgiven for any one of these things that he may have done in which he trespasses.” (Leviticus 6:7)
The obedient Israelite was forgiven his sins. But the presence of sin, the compulsion to yield to sin, remained in and with the believer. The Day of Atonement called attention each year to the presence of sin in the camp.
The blood of bulls and goats is not able to remove the presence of sin from us.
Through the Lord Jesus Christ the very presence of sin can be removed from us. Through Christ the guilt, the urges, and the effects of sin can all be removed from us.
The marvel of the new covenant is that once we truly receive Christ, repenting of our sins, the guilt of all the sins we ever have committed or ever will commit has been cast behind God’s back, never to be remembered against us. By one offering Christ has perfected forever those who are sanctified, those who are abiding in His Presence and will (Hebrews 10:14).
We now are without condemnation in the sight of God.
The purpose of the complete pardon is that we may be able to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He begins to remove the presence of sin from us and heal the effects of Satan’s influence and presence. The Holy Spirit desires to cast out of us the lust of our flesh and to remove King Self from the throne of our heart, installing Christ in his place.
Without the assurance of total forgiveness we could not stand up under the transforming processes of the new covenant, the processes that bring into existence the new creation, conforming us to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ and bringing us into restful union with God through Christ.
We always must keep in mind that this pardon is in effect only as long as we are following the Spirit of God in the program of sanctification, of transformation. The moment we go back to living in the flesh, according to the desires of our soul, flesh, and fleshly mind, we come under the condemnation of the Law of Moses.
God never permits any creature to exist without law. Either we are being governed by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ or else we are being governed by the Law of Moses.
We have not been set free from the Law of Moses so we may behave as we please but so we may be married to Christ. There is a total difference between these two positions.
There is a misunderstanding in current Christian theology. How clearly this incorrect view of salvation has been stated we do not know but it is apparent that it is widely held among the believers. The misunderstanding is that people can walk in the flesh, not seeking to abide in the Person and way of Christ, and still remain under the pardon of Calvary by virtue of their profession of belief in Christ, in His atoning death and bodily resurrection.
The Apostle Paul, whose teaching concerning “grace” is the basis for this misunderstanding, spoke clearly to the saints in Rome: “If you live after the flesh, you shall die” (Romans 8:13).
The Scriptures are eternal: if we live according to the lusts of our flesh and according to the dictates of our self-love, self-will, and self-centeredness, not forsaking our life and following the Lord Jesus, we will die spiritually. We will slay our resurrection to life.
The person who teaches or believes he can live according to the appetites of his body and soul and remain without condemnation on the basis of his profession of belief in Christ, is bringing spiritual death on himself and on those who are following his example.
If any man, Christian or not, practices sin and rebellion against God’s will, he shall come under the judgment of God.
If any believer in Christ puts to death, through the Holy Spirit, the lusts of his flesh, he shall enter eternal life.
The purpose of the eternal pardon is that we may be able to enter the transformation into righteous behavior. This is the new covenant. To walk in sin is to choose death. To walk in the Presence and will of Christ is to choose eternal life.
Let us choose to abide in Christ, laying hold on eternal life so we may save ourselves and those who hear us (I Timothy 4:16)
FULFILLING THE VISION
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times [opportunities] of refreshing [reviving] may come from the presence of the Lord,
“and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,
“whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21)
In the beginning, God endowed man with the fullness of blessing—an inheritance truly worthy of the sons of the Mightiest of all kings and lords:
- To be in the image of God.
- To be male and female, that is, capable of entering union with God and with one another—a characteristic apparently possessed by no other creature of God.
- To be able to reproduce his own image.
- To govern all the works of God’s hands.
Then God placed “Adam,” for so the man and woman were called, in Paradise on the earth. Also, God gave them access to the tree of eternal life.
God Himself walked in the garden.
The task of the first man and woman was to take care of the garden, a garden on an earth that yielded its fruit joyfully and in which there was neither weed nor blight.
There were no tears nor sorrow nor pain nor death in the garden of Eden.
Adam and Eve had need of nothing. Everything anyone could desire was present. Man’s desire for Heaven actually is a longing for the restoration of Eden.
All these that we have described were the things God created and placed under the charge of man.
The Scriptures, Old and New Testament, are the Divinely given vision of the restoration of all things, that is, of the restoration of all things spoken by the Prophets.
Adam and Eve lost nearly everything, as God knew they would. But God has promised to restore all things to man.
The story of restoration is, perhaps, the most fundamental of all stories. It is the story of the prodigal son, of Samson, of the Christian Church, of Israel, of mankind, of every one of us.
We seldom appreciate what is given to us. We cannot hold it securely. Whatever God gives us we waste, supposing it proceeds from an endless source. Also, we tend to despise those who are less richly endowed, imagining that somehow we deserve better treatment than our neighbors.
After we lose our inheritance the road to regaining it is long. If we ever do regain our gifts we are wiser in the use of them.
The comforting thing is, God knows. He knew Samson would neither appreciate nor hold his strength. God knew the early Christian Church would lose the Glory of Christ. God knew from the creation of the world (for that was when His works were finished) that you and I would make the mistakes we have made in our lifetime.
God knew that Adam and Eve had no way of evaluating the desirability of Eden and that they would not be able to resist the tempter.
God knows everything about every human being and has designed history in advance according to His foreknowledge. All has been restored—in vision. The work of restoring what has been lost was finished from the foundation of the world. After having done that, God rested. We are to enter the “rest” of God, into the stream of His Word that is bringing about the restoration of all things.
The pattern of human history is as follows:
- Man is given an inheritance.
- Man loses the inheritance through lack of experience.
- God gives the vision of the restoration of what has been lost.
- The work of fulfilling the vision takes place.
- Man receives an infinitely greater inheritance.
We have already described the incredibly marvelous inheritance of Adam and Eve. We do not know how long they enjoyed Paradise before the tempter appeared. We do know the hope of every human is to find somewhere, somehow, that land where all is rest, peace, beauty, glory; where there is no suffering, no deferred hopes, no parting from loved ones, no death.
An even deeper desire of the human soul, although men often do not recognize it, is the longing for fellowship with God. Adam and Eve had that fellowship in abundance. God was visible and present. Now we cry night and day for the restoration of the Presence of God.
Inheritances are easy to lose. They can be agonizingly difficult to regain.
In the beginning mankind was given an incomparable inheritance. But man did not have the experience that is necessary if he is to keep his crown of authority over all the works of God’s hands.
The history of the Christian Church has followed this same pattern. The early Church was given apostles, prophets, gifted teachers, the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, the supernatural manifestations of the Spirit. What a tremendous spiritual inheritance the first-century saints enjoyed!
Man lost his marvelous inheritance. The Christian Church lost its marvelous inheritance. Samson lost his marvelous inheritance. The prodigal son lost his inheritance. Perhaps you yourself have lost something, your health, your family, your position—something that was given freely to you at the beginning.
Why do we lose what is given to us? It is because we do not possess the experience necessary to keep and profit from the gifts of God.
How do you think Adam and Eve feel now—today? They still are alive in the spirit realm.
What if God were to put Adam and Eve back in Eden and allow them to try again?
How do you think they would perform this time? Do you suppose the past six thousand years have added to their experience? What would they say to the serpent now?
How would Samson behave if he were given another chance?
Today is the first day of the remainder of your life. How will you handle the gifts of God from now on?
It is our point of view that the “latter rain” began with the Protestant Reformers. Slowly, sometimes in great anguish, from the time of the Reformers the Christian Church has been struggling to recover what was given so freely in the first century. Line by line, principle by principle, doctrine and supernatural wisdom and power are being restored. It is an uphill climb attended by vicious persecution. Those of us who choose to participate in the work of restoration allotted to our own generation are required to fill up in our flesh the afflictions of Christ for his body’s sake, which is the Church (Colossians 1:24).
Having now regained “the righteous shall live by faith,” water baptism by immersion, the born-again experience, holy living, speaking in tongues, will we lose them again? No, we will not lose them again because an inheritance regained through great effort and tears is not lost easily.
The Church forfeited its inheritance immediately after the first century. As we have stated, the Church has been regaining its inheritance since the days of the Reformers. We have gained much experience because of the tortuous route we have been obliged to travel, and that same experience will enable us to keep and profit from what has been regained at such expense.
An interesting symbol of losing and laboriously regaining the gifts of God is presented in the Book of Exodus (24:12; 32:16,19; 34:1,2). God gave to Moses two tables of stone on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments. Moses threw the tables down and broke them in a fit of anger. Moses was required to cut out new tables of stone, two granite slabs, and carry them back up the mountain—all the way to the top.
The things of God are given freely to us at first, and then we smash them. Now we must hew them out ourselves and carry them all the way to the top of the mountain, so to speak. Such is the record of human history.
Man is given an inheritance and then loses his inheritance through lack of experience. He obtains the necessary experience as he “hews out the tables of stone and carries them all the way to the top of the mountain of God.”
Now we come to the third aspect of the pattern of human history—the revelation of God’s intention to restore all that has been lost.
Let us emphasize we are not teaching that Satan or his angels ultimately will be saved. Neither are we implying that a person can live in sin or fail to obey God, and that he or she then will be given another chance, a second chance, in the next world. Those who adhere to such error will certainly end up in remorse and destruction. God cannot be mocked.
What we are teaching, however, is that God has provided for every human being an opportunity to regain, through the Lord Jesus Christ, that which Satan has stolen from mankind.
We stated at the beginning that the Scriptures, Old and New Testament, are the Divinely given vision of the restoration of all things. The Bible is a book of restoration.
“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. (Joel 2:25)
“I will restore”!
The traditional vision of the Christian churches has been the departure of the righteous to Heaven to reside there forever.
The “holy prophets” never spoke of eternal residence in Heaven as the object of the Divine restoration of that which has been lost to mankind. Eternal residence in the spirit realm is not a vision portrayed by the Scriptures.
Every person longs in his heart for Paradise to be regained. The confusion arises because we think of Heaven and Paradise as the same thing, the same place. Paradise, the goal of our quest, is the place in which Heaven and earth are one. When Adam sinned, Heaven withdrew, leaving the earth dead. The goal of restoration is the bringing of the life and glory of Heaven, of Paradise, back to the earth.
Redemption and restoration have to do with the regaining of what has been lost. The Scriptures do not speak of Heaven as being that which was stolen from mankind.
The Old Testament seldom or never points toward Heaven as the reward of the righteous. This is true also of the Epistles of the Apostles.
Jesus spoke much concerning Heaven but never of our making our eternal residence there. Rather, Jesus told us that the Kingdom of which we are a part is in Heaven now; also, that our rewards are spiritual and are in Heaven and from Heaven. Christ will bring both the Kingdom and the rewards with Him when He returns to the earth.
Heaven on earth was lost. Heaven on earth will be regained.
It was easy for man to lose the Presence of God (which is the Essence of Heaven). It is proving to be exceedingly difficult to regain the Presence of God on the earth, and so we call unceasingly on the Lord Jesus to return.
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on the earth as it is in heaven.”
As noted earlier, Paradise was easy to lose; it is difficult to regain. Christ (and His Body) is a ladder reaching from the earth to Heaven (God’s answer to the Tower of Babel). The angels of God ascend and descend on this ladder, revealing that the point of origin is the earth. The angels are here because it is on the earth that the restoration is being accomplished. The angels ascend to receive the life and glory of Heaven, and return with Divine grace so the sons of God may be restored (John 1:51).
Let us look now at the scriptural vision of the restoration. Perhaps the first mention of the restoring of what Adam and Eve lost is the well-known Genesis 3:15:
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
Christ is the Seed of the woman. He will destroy the ancient serpent. This concept is repeated throughout the Prophets.
Your hand shall be lifted against your adversaries, and all your enemies shall be cut off. (Micah 5:9)
You went forth for the salvation of your people, for salvation with your Anointed. You struck the head from the house of the wicked, by laying bare from foundation to neck. Selah (Habakkuk 3:13)
One of the most important goals of the Divine restoration is to crush the head of Satan. The crushing will be accomplished through Christ-filled people and is the coming of the Kingdom of God.
And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:20)
The destiny of the members of the Body of Christ is to be filled with the Life of Christ so they can bring judgment on the adversary who robbed them in the beginning.
If we will place our faith in God He will enable us to regain all that has been stolen from us.
Another important goal of restoration is to bring the blessings of God on the nations of the earth. It is the Seed, Christ and those who are an integral part of Him, who will be the instrument through which God will be able to dwell once again with His creatures on the earth.
I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
This prophecy is stated repeatedly, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14). The role of the Christian Church, which is the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, is to serve as the light of the world—the eternal source of blessing to mankind (Revelation 21:3).
It is clear from the Prophets that God intends to return to the earth and bless the nations of peoples whom He has created:
For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven the LORD viewed the earth,
To hear the groaning of the prisoner, to release those appointed to death,
To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and His praise in Jerusalem,
When the peoples are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD. (Psalms 102:19-22)
Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice
before the LORD. For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with His truth. (Psalms 96:12,13)
Here is a picture of the restoration of what was lost in Eden. The Presence of God will fill the whole earth.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)
In the beginning, God created man in His own image. He gave to Adam the capacity for union. He assigned to him (them) fruitfulness, and dominion over the animals.
In the New Testament we notice that God is restoring all that has been lost. God is doing this through Christ, our Redeemer.
- We are becoming the sons of God (Hebrews 2:10).
- We are being changed into Christ’s image (Romans 8:29).
- We are being brought into union with God and one another (John 17:21).
- We are being made fruitful (John 15:5).
- We are being prepared for rulership over all the works of God’s hands (Hebrews 2:8).
Previously we set forth the pattern of human history:
- Man is given an inheritance.
- Man loses the inheritance through lack of experience.
- God gives the vision of the restoration of what has been lost.
- The work of fulfilling the vision takes place.
- Man receives an infinitely greater inheritance.
We already have discussed the first three aspects of restoration. We have noted that man was given a marvelous inheritance and that he lost it through lack of experience. This is, of course, the story of the prodigal son, of the nation of Israel, and of the Christian Church. It also is the story of each of us.
We then quoted a few passages of Scripture representative of numerous passages in order to emphasize that the Bible is a book of restoration. God has given to us in the Scriptures a vision of the restoration of what was lost through the transgression of Adam and Eve.
God has given us a vision. He has shown us what He had completed in vision before the creation of the world. The total restoration has been completed in God’s mind all the way to the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now God is resting. Our task is to follow the Lord Jesus into that rest, into that finished work.
Let us state again, we are not teaching that all people ultimately will be redeemed or that Satan or his angels will be redeemed. The restoration will be of all that was spoken by the Hebrew Prophets; not of all things but of all that was spoken by the Prophets (Acts 3:21). The Hebrew Prophets did not state that all men eventually will be saved or that Satan will be saved.
Entering the rest of God is not always easy because of the opposition from Satan, from the world, from our own lusts, from our self-centeredness and self-seeking, from well-intentioned religious people.
We are faced with the work of restoration, with the task of fulfilling the vision.
How do we set out to do what already has been finished in vision? It is only as we answer this question correctly (and there are several incorrect answers) that we can make a success of our Christian discipleship.
How does one work out what already has been accomplished? How does one cease from his own works and press into the rest of God? (see Hebrews, Chapter Four).
The major principle to consider is, God speaks of nonexistent things as though they already are in existence:
(as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did; (Romans 4:17)
God already had made Abraham a father of many nations. “And calls those things which do not exist as though they did”!
This statement is referring to Genesis 17:5:
Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made you.
God spoke in the past tense referring to facts not yet in existence.
God says a thing is so even though it is nonexistent in the material realm. How do we respond to this method of operation?
Is it a fact or isn’t it? Was Abraham at that time a father of many nations even though Isaac had not as yet been born, or wasn’t he?
It is obvious that a correct approach to the vision will produce miracles while an incorrect approach will result in confusion and emptiness.
God has spoken several things to us Christians—acts of restoration that have not as yet taken place in the material realm:
We who are in Christ are new creatures. Nothing of our old personality remains. All is new, and all is of God (II Corinthians 5:17,18). Is this true of us Christians?
- We are dead to sin (Romans 6:1,2).
- We have been raised to the right hand of God, far above all other authority and power (Ephesians 2:6).
- We were healed of all our diseases (I Peter 2:24).
- We were glorified (Romans 8:30).
- We have passed from death to life (John 5:24).
How do we address ourselves to the aspects of our restoration God has declared to be facts but are not in evidence in the physical realm?
It is important how we answer this question because the righteous live by seeking and following invisible realities.
Let us list several incorrect or incomplete approaches to fulfilling the vision of restoration, and the correct approach, and then discuss each of these.
Some incorrect or incomplete approaches to fulfilling the vision, to entering the rest of God’s finished work, are as follows:
- What God has said is not possible of fulfillment.
- It is not possible of fulfillment in this present life.
- It was possible in the days of the Apostles but no longer is possible.
- We can fulfill the vision if we try hard enough.
- The work will be done in Heaven.
- We can fulfill the vision by manipulating the supernatural realm by “faith”: “I believe, I believe,” until it takes place.
- It is true now: “I am not sick or sinning regardless of how it appears.” The Bible says it is so and therefore it is so.
- It is all true “by grace.” The fact that I believe in Christ makes it so. His perfection is imputed (ascribed) to me.
The one correct approach to fulfilling the vision, to entering the rest of God, is as follows:
Let us examine first the above eight incorrect or incomplete, approaches.
“What God has said is not possible of fulfillment.” This is to stagger at the promise of God through unbelief. God has promised complete restoration of all that mankind has lost. We shall find ourselves one day in a glorious world in which there is no sin at all. The Church will be perfect in its role as the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem. The nations of the earth will dwell in the light of the Church.
We shall be changed into the image of the Lord Jesus in spirit, soul, and body. We shall be at rest in the fullness of God in Christ.
All these marvels shall be brought to pass, the works having been finished from the foundation of the world. If we would enter our Divinely ordained inheritance we must believe God can and will bring into existence everything He has promised. He is an all-powerful God! He is faithful, He does not lie.
“It is not possible of fulfillment in the present life.” It is true there are portions of the restoration that are to take place during appointed times. Those who would work with God, abiding in His rest, learn how to wait on God for the sense of His timing.
Restoration always is an opportunity, not an inevitable occurrence. We must keep ourselves in such a state of readiness that we are able to move with God when the time comes. Also, we must be ready to accept the suffering that attends each segment of the restoration—suffering that is necessary if other people are to receive the grace available from Christ who is in us (II Corinthians 4:11).
One of Satan’s devices is to convince us a given work of redemption cannot be accomplished in this world, when the fact is it can and should be performed here and now.
A good example of this is the victory over sin possible under new-covenant grace. According to Paul, we can and must put to death, through the Holy Spirit, the deeds of our flesh (Romans 8:13). We are not required to continue in sin (Romans 8:12; Galatians 5:16).
Yet, it is taught commonly in Christian churches that as long as we are in the world it is impossible to overcome sin. This teaching does not come from the Holy Spirit. It prevents us from entering the restoration available to us now.
It was possible in the days of the Apostles but no longer is possible. This thinking often is applied to Divine healing and other manifestations of supernatural power and wisdom. It effectively prevents the Lord’s people from receiving the Divine grace available to us now.
To relegate the Lord’s grace and power to the past is a most illogical and unscriptural position. It is illogical to hold that the born-again experience still is part of the Christian experience but miracles are not. It also is unscriptural. Where does it state in the Scripture that the early part of the Church Age would be characterized by the gifts of the Spirit and the latter part of the Church Age would be denied these necessary aspects of new-covenant grace?
To claim we no longer need the healing touch of the Lord Jesus because we have the completed New Testament writings proceeds from human reasoning plus an ignorance of the provision God has made for His Church. Did the miracles cease for Israel after the Jews possessed the Torah? It is a desirable ignorance from the enemy’s standpoint. It hinders the operation of the Divine restoration.
There are numerous illnesses and afflictions in our day that medical doctors cannot heal with all the modern drugs and techniques. But the Lord Jesus can and does heal all diseases! Nothing is impossible to Him.
“We can fulfill the vision if we try hard enough.” The Scriptures teach us a balance between God’s efforts and our efforts. There are many things God will do and many He will not do. There are things we must do and things we cannot do. Considerable experience is required before we understand what God is to do and what we are to do.
Many saints have had trouble with personal sanctification. The harder they try to be holy the more they sin, or so it seems. It is true that we must confess our sins and exercise our will against sin to the extent we are able. But after that, we must trust in our freedom from condemnation and in the power of Christ to give us victory over our sins. No matter how hard we try we never can achieve victory over sin by our own determination. Yet, we always must resist sin to the limit of our ability (I Corinthians 15:34). If we do all that the Lord has commanded us through His Apostles the Lord will complete the work of delivering us from sin.
It is true also of service in the Kingdom. We cannot save souls or teach the saints by our own strength and wisdom. Huge amounts of money will not accomplish the work of restoration. It is only as God leads and works with us that we are able to bring the completed vision into material existence.
The burden must remain on Christ. If we attempt to carry the burden of the needs of people we certainly will collapse under the weight. Only God can carry the weight of the burden of the restoration.
“The work will be done in Heaven.” Here is one of the principal errors of our Christian thinking. The Scriptures do not suggest that the work of restoration will take place after we die and go to Heaven.
Some of us believe that even though we have not been faithful here, after we die everything will take care of itself. We will be in Christ’s image. We will be spiritual giants ruling over the nations of the earth. We will not sin or be self-centered. We live in defeat here, but there we will live in victory. We follow Christ afar off here but in Heaven we will sit at Christ’s table in His Kingdom.
On what Scripture do we base this concept? Given that sin originated in Heaven, it is not reasonable to assume we will be cleansed from our sins by the fact of dying and passing into the realm of spirits.
The concept that our restoration will take place in Heaven, in the spirit realm, has had a profound effect on the quality of Christianity. The churches are not reflecting the Divine Life and Light that result from the Divine restoration. The reason is, the believers view their faith in Christ as being a “ticket” that will admit them to Heaven. Heaven, they suppose, is where the lost inheritance will be regained.
It is true that many aspects of our land of promise are reserved for the future, particularly for the Day of the Lord. But this has nothing to do with residence in Paradise in Heaven.
“We can fulfill the vision by manipulating the supernatural realm by ‘faith.’” There are at least three aspects of this approach to fulfilling the vision of restoration:
- Stepping out in faith.
- Speaking the word of faith.
“Stepping out in faith” has been popular throughout the years of the writer’s experience as a Christian. The idea is to do rashly what one feels to be desirable in the Kingdom (like Jesus leaping from the pinnacle), and God will come to the rescue—particularly in the area of finance.
Recently we were offered a spot on a powerful radio station at a reasonable cost. However, the last business meeting had revealed that our radio funds were declining, the expenses were exceeding the income.
According to the “stepping out in faith” approach to fulfilling the vision we should have accepted the new opportunity for broadcasting. “After we commit ourselves to the contract God will send in the money,” according to the “stepping out in faith” concept of Kingdom work.
Instead, our approach was to take the issue to the Lord and attempt to determine if He was speaking to us through the decline of our funds. Past experience suggested that when we are on the Lord’s course the funds are available. It seemed the Lord was recommending that we not pursue this particular opportunity.
There have been occasions when we have moved ahead in blind faith because of a solid, continuing impression that the Lord Jesus was leading us.
It is our point of view that “stepping out in faith” apart from a clear leading of the Lord is not a scriptural concept.
A careful study of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews shows that the people mentioned there did not “step out in faith.” Rather, they were obedient to God. God spoke to them, and then they obeyed. Their faith was obedience to the will of God, never a “stepping out in faith” as we often use the term.
Moses and Gideon were reluctant to obey God, but they are listed as examples of faith.
Abraham was (is) a man of tremendous faith. Yet, “stepping out in faith,” spiritual adventurism, was not evident in his life, as was true also of all the other saints mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. Abraham’s faith was the faith of obedience to what God commanded.
The Scriptures are not a record of people “stepping out in faith.” They are a record of God revealing Himself to people, and of those people demonstrating their faith by obeying God.
How many Christians do you know of who “step out in faith” and soon are begging for money? There is no scriptural precedent for this. It is a spirit of adventurism, of presumption. Satan suggested to the Lord that He show His faith by stepping off the gable of the temple. This Jesus refused to do, as we also should refuse to participate in the spirit of adventurism, in the spirit of “attempting big things for God.”
“Speaking the word of faith” has become fashionable. It is based on Jesus’ teaching concerning casting mountains into the sea, cursing the fig tree, and, in general, commanding nature.
We think the majority of those who are advocating the fulfilling of the vision by “speaking the word of faith” are ignorant of the Lord and His ways.
Christ taught many things to us while He was on the earth. We soon learn, however, that we cannot perform His teachings in our own strength and wisdom, or timing. Those who have attempted to imitate Jesus and do what He said in their own strength have tended to attract attention to themselves rather than to the Lord.
It is the writings of the Apostles that show us how to obey the Words of Christ. Our task is to enter Christ, to have Christ formed in us. As Christ is formed in us and dwells in us with the Father, we begin to reveal the Nature of Christ. We begin to do by nature what Jesus taught.
But it is not we who are doing the works, it is Christ in us who has become our life. This is the true relationship between the teachings of the Gospels and the writings of the Apostles.
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
We pay attention to the Scriptures until the Day Star, Christ, arises in our heart. Christ is the Word made flesh. We are the flesh being made the Word.
There do come instances in which the Christ-filled disciple commands nature. He does so through the faith given to him at that time. Thus the word of Christ is fulfilled.
But the believer who sets out to fulfill the vision by “speaking the word of faith” is not abiding in Christ; rather, he is practicing a principal of metaphysics. The worldly understand the power of positive thinking and apply this power in order to advance their own positions. Jesus did only what He saw the Father doing. However, we see people “speaking the word of faith” to accomplish things that are not of God. The principal of speaking faith, of positive thinking, is of the soul, not of the Spirit.
If the Christian people were not neglecting prayer and were taking up their cross and following the Lord Jesus, the teaching of “imaging” would never have gained any entrance into Christian churches. Imaging is a supernatural practice, not a Christian expression of faith. Imaging is the attempt of the soul to bring into being that which is pictured in the mind.
We are not to have faith in faith. We are to have faith in the Lord Jesus and to ask the Father in Jesus’ name for the things we need and desire. Imaging is not a form of prayer but of “positive thinking” and it has no place whatever in the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
“It is true now. I am not sick or sinning no matter how it appears. The Bible says it is so and therefore it is so.” This approach to fulfilling the vision sometimes is applied in the area of personal sanctification, and many times by those who are claiming physical healing.
Paul’s teaching in the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans appears to support this concept. We are dead to sin. We are to reckon this to be true, to count it as an accomplished fact. We are not to consider or judge our own actions. God has said we are dead to sin; therefore we are not sinning.
This belief can be a relief to some tortured soul who has been struggling unsuccessfully to gain victory over the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
Remember, we are dealing with a work of restoration completed in vision from the creation of the world. It is true that God sees us perfect in Christ.
But we must keep two facts in mind. First of all, Paul is not stating that we are not sinning. In many other passages he warns the saints about the penalties of continuing in sin. Rather, Paul is balancing his teaching in the earlier chapters of Romans. He is reminding us that we renounced sin when we were baptized in water and have taken our place with the crucified and resurrected Jesus. Therefore to continue to sin is to contradict all we have professed.
Paul then warns us, in the last two verses of the sixth chapter, that if we do not choose to serve righteousness we will die. God has given to us the gift of eternal life—eternal life that is the fruit of choosing to serve righteousness. We are to recognize that God sees us as being dead with Christ and resurrected with Christ. We then are to choose to live in this eternal fact.
Regarding ourselves as dead with Christ and risen with Christ is the all-important mental position we must assume if we are to make a success of the Christian discipleship. Having taken that mental stance we now are to abide in Christ at all times, cooperating with the Spirit of God until our death to sin and resurrection to life are brought from the realm of vision to the realm of reality.
Death and resurrection in the Lord Jesus are precisely what the new covenant is all about. The theory of it is subtle enough to invite interpretations that are nearly correct. But any variation is enough to cause emptiness and confusion in the experience of the believer as he seeks to gain his inheritance in the Lord.
The transition from sanctification by Divine vision and ordinance to actual sanctification, which is one aspect of fulfilling the vision of restoration, is taking place now. It appears that the opportunity is here now to cast off the chains of sin, by the authority of the blood of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. “Lazarus” has been raised, by the voice of Christ and now it is time to unwind the graveclothes. The “scapegoat,” Christ, is ready to bear out of the camp of God’s Israel not only the guilt of sin but the sin itself.
The finishing touches of sanctification will be added to us when Jesus returns from Heaven, including the redemption of our mortal body. After that we shall, no doubt, continue to grow in God’s image for the endless ages to come.
There are certain aspects of redemption that are to take place now or at least to begin now, as we demonstrate our complete dedication to Christ. Perhaps this especially is true in the preparation of the kings and priests of the Kingdom of God.
Fulfilling the vision by claiming “I am perfect now no matter how it appears” is more incomplete than incorrect. This concept is a necessary factor in the fight against discouragement. It becomes an incorrect approach when it is static, when there is not a daily pressing forward from the assumed state to actual godliness of behavior.
The bulk of Paul’s writings have to do with the practical steps of transition from the envisioned state to the material state rather than with just the envisioned state.
As time passes, the Christian Church is being led by the Spirit from the envisioned state to the actual, material restoration of all that was lost to the early Church, and finally to all that was lost to mankind. Each generation of Christians, from the days of the Protestant Reformers, has its own unique opportunity to place another brick in the wall that forever will surround the new Jerusalem.
The entire Scriptures contain the Divine plan for bringing into physical reality the restoration of all things, as spoken by the Hebrew Prophets.
When standing on the new covenant promises of sanctification of spirit, soul, and body we must keep in mind that in the coming Kingdom of God such perfection will be restored to the material realm. The Kingdom results in the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is done in Heaven. The vision must become substance, otherwise the new Jerusalem is not actually holy. It is a city that is holy only by imputation (assigned righteousness). The perfection of it only is a concept in God’s mind. There is no light, no good works, that can guide the nations of the earth.
The same principle holds true in physical healing. The Scripture states we already have been healed (I Peter 2:24). Many mental gymnastics take place as well-intentioned believers who are sick state they are healed. They believe this is the way to bring the Divine vision to reality.
If you are sick, you are sick, and it is no sin to be sick. How can you know you are healed until you first know you are sick?
If you are sick do not state you are healed. Why should the Lord take His time to heal you if you already are healed?
The Kingdom of God is not a departure from reality.
Why should we go to the elders of the church and be prayed for if we already have been healed?
When we are sick we are to tell the Lord we are sick. We remind the Lord of His promise to heal all our afflictions, and then we place the matter in His nail-scarred hands. Every day we remind the Lord we are sick and in need of healing, and then we praise Him for the answer and for the wonderful blessings we already have received.
If we will let our requests be made known to God, and at the same time praise Him for His wonderful goodness to us, He finally will come to us and heal us. The writer has been healed several times and knows well the reality of Divine healing. He has promised to heal all our diseases!
Divine healing is another example of bringing the vision of Scripture into physical reality. The works were finished from the foundation of the world (Hebrews 4:3). Our healing was accomplished from the creation of the world. Now, God is resting. We are to enter that finished work, that rest. When we do, we will have the glorious adventure and blessing of being made perfect in spirit, in soul, and in body.
The reader may notice that entering God’s rest does not mean we no longer pray, no longer serve the Lord diligently and intensely. Rather, entering God’s rest requires that we diligently and intensely seek God’s will, not attempting to force the outcome by presumptuous faith or by any other means.
By prayer we press into the finished work, into God’s rest. More often than not (although not always!) it is God’s will to heal us immediately. On other occasions the answer is delayed and we must abide patiently in the Lord until the answer comes fully and perfectly.
The incorrect approach of presumptuous faith has become popular in our day because man is becoming a lover of himself. Man is determined to seize power, and if he can force God to move he will do so. Christianity is becoming man-centered. Salvation and Christ’s love are being viewed as our natural right—things that God owes us. We hear people speak of God standing ready to do our bidding—and we shudder! We have lost the fear of God. The servants are ready to take dominion over their Lord. Indeed, these are perilous times!
“It is all true ‘by grace.’ The fact that I believe in Christ makes it so. His perfection is imputed (ascribed) to me.” As in the case of “it is all true now regardless of how it appears or what I do,” the “grace” approach is correct until it is carried beyond its appointed bounds. Then it becomes a truly destructive error. It results in calling Jesus “Lord” while not doing what He says.
The “it is all true by grace” approach to fulfilling the vision is by far the most widely held concept of present-day Christians. There are a few passages written by Paul (by no means the majority of passages) that appear to support the “grace” approach. But it is evident that the overemphasis on “grace,” at the expense of the continuing transformation of the personality of the believer in the present world, is the most important reason for the current deplorable state of the Christian Church and for the doctrinal errors that recently have entered the present-day churches.
What Paul meant by grace and what the churches of today mean by “grace” are two significantly different understandings of the term.
Perhaps some theologians are correct in their definition of grace. But the majority of Christian believers interpret the theologians to mean Divine grace is an unconditional, continuing pardon of their sins.
They make a profession of “faith in Christ.” From now on God keeps on forgiving their sins no matter how they behave (they believe) and will take them to Heaven when they die where they will live forever in Paradise. An incorrect interpretation of John 14:2 has added “mansions” to this concept.
Even a cursory review of the writings of the Apostles would reveal there certainly is something lacking here.
Why does Paul say, “I press toward the mark” if it is all done by grace? A profession of faith in Christ alone does not require any pressing toward a mark.
Most believers mean well and would agree that we should be following the Lord Jesus. But the spiritual pressures that bear on us daily are not affected very much by our good intentions. It requires a truly desperate earnestness and determination if we are to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil.
The concept that grace is an unconditional, continuing pardon of our sins does not encourage a desperately earnest discipleship. Rather, it invites us to live in the world according to our fleshly lusts and then promises us Paradise when we die.
It easily can be seen that such an approach cannot bring into physical reality the vision of restoration. The conventional interpretation of Divine grace assents vaguely to the idea of a “new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.” But it postpones the creation of the new personality, which is the most important aspect of salvation, to the future.
The overemphasis on grace does not produce the Church without spot or wrinkle. It assumes that God will perform the work of transformation instantaneously, somehow, somewhere—or maybe never in actual substance. Some have taught that Christ will shower “grace” (whatever that means) on us eternally because we always will be worthy of nothing more than Hell. Only He is worthy and we are doomed to be unworthy sinners forever. We never actually will be in Christ’s moral image. Such a picture of the future can be gained readily from current theology.
The misapplication of Paul’s doctrine of grace has resulted in perpetually immature believers who have little understanding of what it means to grow in grace.
When the most hardened of sinners comes to the Lord Jesus Christ he is received warmly and unconditionally, if he truly has repented.
Let us think about repentance for just a minute.
Repentance is not being given enough emphasis by today’s evangelists. “Slip up your hand, acknowledge Christ as your Savior, and you are ready for Heaven.”
What if the prodigal son returned to his home followed by the pigs, carrying a bundle of husks on his shoulder with a bottle of whiskey in his hand, and said to his father, “Where’s the party?”
So it is in today’s “conversions to Christ.” After all, the son came “home” didn’t he?
If the sinner truly repents he is received warmly and unconditionally by the Lord Jesus. Jesus spreads His own robe of righteousness on the newly born child of God. He now has been received in Christ. This is the grace of forgiveness and it is one of the foundations of the new covenant.
Remember, no work of restoration has occurred as yet (except the necessary turning of the person’s heart toward God). Rather it now is possible for the work of restoration of personality to begin.
From this point forward the convert is obliged to abide in Christ. Abiding in Christ is a new challenge every day, for the Lord keeps leading the believer in the steps of restoration. This is how we grow in grace. We cannot grow in forgiveness. We grow in the moral image of Christ.
The Kingdom of God is not a kingdom by imputation, by ascribed perfection. It is a kingdom of actual perfection and righteousness. Imputed righteousness, the righteousness given to the new convert, is necessary because he is in chaos of personality. But Divine grace is not a Divine excuse for him to remain in chaos of personality, it is the God-given means by which he is brought gradually into the image of Christ and into harmonious union with God through Christ.
New-covenant grace indeed is a continuing pardon of our sins, but it is conditional, requiring certain behaviors on our part.
To keep “under the blood” we must continue to abide in Christ. Abiding in Christ means that we seek the Lord each day, read the Scriptures, have fellowship with fervent believers (if available) on a regular basis, and obey the other commandments found in the writings of the Apostles. The blood cleanses us as we “walk in the light.”
We must, through the enabling wisdom and strength of God’s Spirit, do what is written. We must keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. We must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Abiding in Christ is a dynamic daily experience requiring utter dedication and attention on our part. We must interact vigorously with the new-covenant plan of redemption if it is to operate in our personality.
If we abide in Christ we will bear the fruit of God’s image, and He then will prune us so we bear more fruit.
If we do not abide in Christ but live carelessly in the world we will not bear the fruit of the image of Christ in our own life or in the lives of those whom we influence, even though we believe in Christ and attend church.
If we do not bear fruit we will be cut out of the Vine. God will remove us from our place in Christ. We will be cast forth as a branch and will wither and die. Then we will be thrown into the fire (John 15:2,6).
In order to receive the continuing pardon of our sins we must walk in the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14). Walking in the flesh means being preoccupied with eating, sleeping, playing, working, and reproducing. Walking in the Spirit means abiding in prayer, in the Word of God, in the unceasing consciousness that we are dead and our life is hidden with Christ in God.
Living and walking in the Spirit is living and walking in the prophetic, heavenly realm. Such a life must be cultivated continually.
Living in the Spirit is extraordinarily difficult in a materialistic culture. It is so easy for worldly pleasures and responsibilities to choke out the Word of God! But if we live according to the appetites of our body and soul we will drive out the resurrection life that is in us. We will run short of “oil.”
To keep on availing ourselves of the pardon of God we must obey God. We must read the Scriptures and obey them, as Christ helps us.
Sometimes people claim that once we have eternal life we cannot lose it. Have they never encountered a backslider who is attempting to get back the joy of his salvation?—who is terrified because he thinks he may have lost the Presence of God permanently?
It is not unusual in our day for God to speak to someone personally and command him to do something, and for that individual then to disobey God. We cannot walk in such disobedience and remain under the pardoning grace of the Lord Jesus. In order to remain “under the blood” we must walk continually in the light of God’s revealed will.
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another [with God], and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (I John 1:7)
We have fellowship with God and are cleansed continually from all sin provided we walk in the light of God’s will for our life.
Disobeying God is unthinkable. Disobedience is not tolerated in the Kingdom of God. The present willingness to disobey God is nourished by the concept of Divine grace as an unconditional, continuing pardon of our sins.
Unless God brings tribulation upon us the present generation of “Christians” is lost to the purposes of Christ. They are not abiding in Christ, they are not walking in the Spirit, and they are not obeying God—all because of the teaching that God’s forgiveness is unconditional. It is not reasonable or practical to teach people that it is not critically important how they behave and then expect them to meet the stern demands of Christian discipleship.
The “ifs” of the new covenant have not been emphasized nearly enough by Christian theologians.
but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. (Hebrews 3:6)
For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, (Hebrews 3:14)
if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Hebrews 6:6)
“If we hold fast.” “If they fall away.”
Numerous preachers and teachers of our day are seeking to please their listeners. They are afraid to present the demands of Scripture. They are not teaching the fear of the Lord. They want the people to like them and come to them and so they are shielding them from the Holy One of Israel, like a mother who is afraid to severely chastise her children—afraid she will lose their love. They are not bearing a true witness of God. The blood of the sinning believers is on their hands.
Restoration, under the new covenant, is a gradual transformation of what we are. The resurrection of our body will be instantaneous but the other changes of our personality are gradual. It is a growing in grace.
We are not made a new creation the moment we receive Christ except in the sense of God’s vision that was finished from the creation of the world. God sees us already glorified and now He is resting. We enter God’s rest by ceasing from our own works of religious striving and by pressing into the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.
God has said we are perfect in Christ in spirit, soul, and body. Now we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit until what is not yet in existence, except in God’s mind, becomes flesh-and-bone reality.
We are changed by beholding Jesus continually.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:18)
While we are participating and proceeding in the program of restoration, marching along in the light of God’s will, forsaking all other interests in order that we may follow Jesus with a perfect heart, the blood of God’s Lamb is cleansing us from all sin. God sees us perfect in Christ. Here is a foundational aspect of new-covenant grace.
But if we are not proceeding in the program of restoration, are not marching along in the light of God’s will, are not forsaking all in order that we may follow Jesus, then God will judge our sins and discipline us. If we repent He will put us back on the track of restoration. But if we refuse and rebel we will be treated as an adversary of God (Hebrews 10:27).
The new covenant is the writing of God’s laws in our mind and in our heart (Hebrews 8:10). It is a transformation of how we think and how we are motivated and act. Christ is the Word made flesh. We are the flesh being created the Word of God.
But our transformation is a gradual process of restoration:
For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” (Isaiah 28:10)
Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning [of the Day of the Lord]; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter [harvest] and former [seed] rain to the earth. (Hosea 6:3)
The patient, detailed work of restoration is portrayed in the third chapter of the Book of Nehemiah as the wall and gates of Jerusalem were restored. Careful attention is paid to “the beams thereof,” and “the doors thereof,” and “the locks thereof,” and “the bars thereof” (verse three).
The redemption of the human being is a gradual process. The writings of the New Testament assume that this process begins the moment we receive Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.
When any human being comes to Christ he is forgiven all his sins. This is true no matter how wicked he is or considers himself to be or how righteous he thinks he is. He is forgiven.
But his conversion assumes two facts:
- He genuinely has repented of his sins against God and man.
- His life now belongs to Christ and he is to abide in Christ’s will each day. God will help him do this as he looks always to the Lord for wisdom and strength.
But if he has not genuinely repented of his past way of life or if he does not intend to give his life to his Savior, then he is as the prodigal son who returns to his father’s house with his pigs, his husks, and his riotous living.
The Lord Jesus did not tell us a story about a prodigal who continued in his excesses but about a prodigal who repented and returned as a faithful servant and son. Jesus never envisions His salvation as being an excuse for a sinful life. He will cast away from His Presence those who continue to live in sin and rebellion.
No liar, for example, will ever sit at the Lord’s table by mercy, grace, or any other means except as he asks the Lord’s forgiveness and turns away from his lying.
The eighth incomplete approach to restoration we have listed is this: “It is all true ‘by grace’; the fact that I believe in Christ makes it so; His perfection is imputed (ascribed) to me; I am identified with Him.” This approach is true for the initial act of salvation, but is not intended to be a substitute for a transformed life. We are received of God by a forgiving grace and then created in the image of Christ by a transforming grace.
All redemption is by grace through faith. The problem arises when we define grace as a lifelong imputation of perfection to us when we are not living in Christ. There is a grace of forgiveness and also a grace of transformation. When we neglect to preach the grace of transformation we turn the grace of forgiveness into lust and abort the spiritual life of the believer.
The new covenant is not primarily a covenant of forgiveness; rather, it is a covenant of transformation, of the creation of a new personality. The old covenant was primarily a covenant of forgiveness, although God insisted on righteous behavior even under the old covenant.
Under the old covenant our sins were forgiven (Leviticus 4:26,31). The guilt was removed from the sinner.
Under the new covenant the sin itself is removed. The guilt, urges, and effects of sin are all removed. It is a covenant of regeneration, of re-creation, of transformation into Christ’s image. The guilt, the power, and the penalty are removed. It is a total restoration of all God promised mankind in the beginning and it is proceeding according to the Divine vision. The last two chapters of the Book of Revelation describe the finished work.
We have discussed eight incorrect or incomplete approaches to fulfilling the vision of restoration. Now we come to the correct approach:
We inherit the promises through faith and patience.
that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:12)
The Book of Hebrews is an exhortation to experienced Christians to return from their spiritual sluggishness and press forward to the rest of God, to the perfection of the finished inheritance. These believers in time past had been persecuted to the point of having their property confiscated but now had become careless and were not assembling as they should. They were neglecting their salvation.
What is the correct approach to bringing into reality the vision of restoration?
We must be totally dedicated and diligent concerning the promises of restoration and the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.
We must follow the pattern of life of those whom God has given as examples. The inheritance is restored through the kind of faith that characterized the saints of the Scriptures—particularly those mentioned by name in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews.
After we, in the right kind of faith, have performed all that God has revealed to us, we are to exercise patience until the promise is fulfilled.
We must continue in fervent belief and dedication, keeping the commandments found in the New Testament. We must follow the example of the saints. We then must wait for the fulfillment of the promise.
The Scriptures are the vision of the restored inheritance. They contain the promises that embrace all the inheritance that was given to Adam—an inheritance God has promised to restore in a marvelously glorified form.
Many patriarchs and prophets who have gone before us have participated in the fulfilling of the vision of restoration. They have died in faith after having served their own generation by the will of God. Now they (who are in Heaven) are waiting for us to bring into being our portion of the restoration so the entire Church, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem, the Kingdom of God, the Israel of God, can be made perfect in glory at the same time.
Meanwhile these Old and New Testament saints bear witness to us of the true Person, the true purpose, the true way of God. We are to remain spiritually conscientious and industrious, imitating their lives, following their example.
The patriarchs have portrayed to us that the miraculous transition from the vision to the material fulfillment was based, in the majority of instances, on obedience to what God had spoken and on their patient waiting for the material fulfillment to take place. There is not one example of a “stepping out in faith” in the sense of a man planning a program he thinks will aid God’s cause and then challenging God to rise to the occasion. This concept of adventurous faith, which currently is popular, is not found in the Scriptures.
God has given to us the saints, prophets, and apostles of the Old and New Testaments as examples of true faith and patience.
My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. (James 5:10)
We of today are to have faith in what God has spoken to us, both in the written Word and also to us personally. Then we are to do the will of God as we understand it. Finally we are to stand. We are to stand steadfastly in faith and patience until the promise becomes reality, whether that promise has to do with victory over sin, or physical healing, or improved circumstances, or the salvation of our loved ones, or some hope the Lord has given to us personally, or with any other aspect of our life.
The eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews is a list of those whose faith we should be imitating, whose lives illustrate the correct approach to fulfilling the vision. They portray to us the meaning of the declaration: “The righteous shall live by faith.”
We emphasized at the beginning of this booklet that God has promised the restoration of all things (referring to Acts 3:21). “Things” refer especially to the material realm, to all that is visible to us.
The Christian salvation is not, as commonly supposed, a movement away from things and into the spirit realm. Rather the Christian salvation is a work of restoration. It is the restoring, the redeeming of what God gave in the beginning.
God is not making all new things but all things new in Christ.
The material things are restored as we are delivered from the person and works of Satan and filled with the Life of God through Christ. This is the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God, the performing of God’s will in earth as it is in Heaven. This is the Kingdom preached by John the Baptist, by the Lord Jesus, and by the Apostles.
The Lord Jesus gave to us the grand vision of the Kingdom but He spoke in parables. The Epistles of the Apostles provide us with the practical steps and means of entering the Kingdom of God—the Kingdom that is in Heaven and is coming from Heaven to the earth.
Faith is our conviction concerning these “things” of restoration that are in the process of being brought from the Divine vision into the material realm. We “hope” for the coming of these things because they are not in evidence as yet.
The visible material things were created by invisible spiritual forces, and by these spiritual forces the material things will be restored.
As we examine our examples of faith, in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews we notice that none of them suggests to us any of the eight false approaches we mentioned earlier.
“The glorious restoration God has promised cannot be brought into reality.” None of the people of Chapter 11 adopted the attitude that what God has promised cannot be brought into reality, although it was not possible for them to fulfill the vision in their own strength by means available at that time.
“There cannot be a fulfillment during this present life.” The patriarchs died in faith without having received all the promises because it was not yet the appointed time of total fulfillment; but they steadfastly kept on looking for their fulfillment, and some of the promises of health, wealth, and long life were fulfilled in their lifetime.
“The fulfillment was available previously but not now.” None of the saints of the Scripture ever took this attitude toward the promises of God. It is inconceivable that theologians should take this position concerning the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit.
“The restoration will take place in Heaven.” This concept does not appear in the Old Testament or the New Testament. It originated, apparently, at some point in the Christian Era and has become part of our tradition.
“We are to manipulate the supernatural realm by ‘speaking the word of faith.’” It appears superficially that Joshua did this when he commanded the sun and the moon to stand still. But Joshua at the time did not speak to the sun or moon directly but “to the Lord.” And Joshua was fighting a battle under the specific directions of the Lord.
And the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.”
Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.” (Joshua 10:8,12)
“Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel.”
This was not an instance of man getting his desires by speaking the “word of faith” but of a servant of the Lord working with the Lord in the fulfillment of God’s promises to the Israelites concerning their land of promise. It was the Lord’s program, not Joshua’s.
When we are walking with the Lord and performing His will there are times when we are to proceed boldly in faith. It is true also that the Lord may give us a promise of Scripture and we are to stand on it through every kind of adversity. But by no means are we to walk after the desires of our own soul and then attempt to manipulate the supernatural realm by “speaking the word of faith.” To do so is to move into the camp of the False Prophet.
“We can fulfill the promises if we try hard enough.” As we think about Noah, Abraham, Moses, we can see that they did not strive to bring into existence the Divine promises. Noah worked hard to prepare an ark but not to bring down rain. He merely obeyed God.
Abraham did attempt to help God out but the result was Ishmael. God has ignored Ishmael as far as His promises to Abraham are concerned.
Moses obeyed God but he was quite reluctant at first. The plagues, the Passover, and the exodus did not come about through the wisdom and strength of Moses and Aaron. They came from God. Moses and Aaron demonstrated their faith by being obedient to the Lord.
A study of the men and women of Hebrews, Chapter 11 does not reveal people of adventurous faith who “did big things for God,” who “stepped out in faith” and then challenged God to help them fulfill their dreams. One would suppose, after being exposed to today’s preaching, that this is how the heroes of faith operated. But the concept of “stepping out in faith” does not appear in the Scriptures to our knowledge, except in the instance where Satan tempted Jesus to step off the gable of the temple.
The saints of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews were ordinary, doubting people just like you and me. They primarily were involved in surviving personally as the Lord brought them through various tests and challenges to their faith.
The work of restoration was accomplished through them. The eternal testimony they bore did not proceed from their own plans and strivings. Rather their contributions flowed from them as naturally as trees bear fruit, being incidental to their day by day obedience to the Lord,.
“The promise has been fulfilled in me already although there is no evidence of it.” There are instances when the Lord tells us the work is done, and we then are to praise Him for the answer. This is not uncommon and is an example of the correct approach to fulfilling the vision. But this is different from stating (apart from the revelation of the Lord to us personally) that the promises of the Scriptures have been fulfilled in our lives when there is no evidence people can view. To pursue this approach is to lose touch with reality.
To state “we have it because the Scripture says it” is to enter a kind of “salvation” that is static and barren, having none of the corn and wine of Canaan.
There is no example of the “it says it therefore I am” approach to the work of restoration, in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. Rather, the saints of God inherited the promises by faith and patience, by seeking after God until they possessed the reality of the fulfillment.
“All the promises are fulfilled in me by grace, by imputation.” It is obvious that no saint of the eleventh chapter of Hebrews utilized this approach to fulfilling the vision of restoration, to entering the rest of God.
But, one will say, they were under the old covenant. They had to follow God in faith and patience. However, under the new covenant we are given all these things by grace, by imputation, as we take our place in Christ.
If this were true, the writer of the Book of Hebrews would not have used the experiences of the patriarchs as an illustration of “the just shall live by faith.”
Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:38)
Right here is exposed one of the errors of current theology. It is the concept that the Christian Church is a new, special work of God; that it is not a true part of Israel; that it somehow is primarily Gentile; that it is not of the Kingdom of which the Hebrew Prophets spoke but is a “mystery” destined to be carried up to Heaven—there to abide forever under “grace” in imputed righteousness.
Any Bible scholar should be able to see at once that the concept of the preceding paragraph is a distortion of the holy Scriptures—that seamless robe of Christ. But, amazingly enough, devout scholars have accepted the idea that there is a “Gentile Church,” a Body of Christ that is not part of Israel. The result of such doctrinal confusion is that the Church of Christ is a valley of dry bones, having no clear destiny, no part in Israel, no place in the Kingdom of God set forth by the Prophets.
If their hypothesis were correct we Christians could not claim any the promises of the Old Testament, including the twenty-third and ninety-first Psalms, or even the new covenant, for all these are made to Israel. But the contemporary scholars are in error. The Church is one and is the Kingdom of God announced by the Prophets of Israel. There is one Bride, one Body of the Christ, one fold, one Shepherd. Our destiny is proclaimed by the Prophets; we are an integral part of Israel; we are part of the one Kingdom of God. We are of the same body as Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Peter, and Paul.
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
The context of the above passage will reveal that Paul was speaking of the Jews and Gentiles becoming “one new man” in Christ.
The work of God is one from Abel to the youngest saint of today. God never has justified any individual other than through faith, and that is why God teaches us faith by the examples of the old-covenant saints. In fact, God goes all the way back to Abel (Hebrews 11:4). What sense would this make if the Church is a “mystery,” as they put it today, that God treats differently from the godly of the pre-Christian ages?
The model of “Dispensationalism” is incorrect in its theory, destructive in its fruit.
Scriptural understanding and interpretation is simple, clear, straightforward, if we view the working of God as one progressive restoration of what was lost to man.
Restoration always has been and always will be brought about by means of faith and patience. We learn the meaning of “the righteous shall live by faith,” an expression found both in the Old Testament and the New Testament confirming that the principle is common to both, by the examples of the lives of the patriarchs and prophets of previous eras. The things that happened to the elders took place in order that we, upon whom the climax of the age has come, may have concrete illustrations of spiritual facts and principles.
They, the patriarchs, the beginning of the work of restoration, are an integral part of us and the witnesses who surround us. Through their example we are being made perfect and they apart from us cannot be made perfect. They are watching us from the spirit realm and learning of God’s plan just as we have learned from them.
And behold, two men talked with Him, who were Moses and Elijah,
who appeared in glory and spoke of His decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9:30,31)
The Lord’s “decease which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” affects Moses and Elijah as directly as it does us.
The Kingdom of God consists of all of us, of all the godly regardless of the time period in which we have lived and served. God never changes. Christ never changes. Their way of dealing with mankind never, never changes.
The Kingdom of God, of Heaven, is one Kingdom. It is the bringing of God’s will into the earth, the restoring of spiritual life to the dead material creation.
New-covenant grace is not a different means of dealing with men; rather, it is a crown on all that has gone before. We are the beneficiaries of all the elect who have gone before us. We owe a very great debt to them, particularly to the Hebrew Prophets.
All of us, from Abel to the latest Christian, are one Kingdom of God, one holy city, one new Jerusalem, one true Israel. The Jew by race always is favored of God because of God’s love for Abraham, Moses, and others of the fathers. The Jews were broken off from the Olive Tree, from Christ, because of unbelief; but God will return to them in the near future and will reveal to them Jesus, their Christ.
There is one fold, one Shepherd, one true and eternal Israel, one Holy Spirit, one Redeemer, one Kingdom. It is the Kingdom of God, of Heaven. It is destined to come from Heaven to the earth.
Isaiah, Ezekiel, Habakkuk, John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul, Peter, all spoke of the one Kingdom. How could it be otherwise?
The saints of old contributed to the work of restoration by providing examples for us. The actual restoration of man began when Jesus rose from the dead and poured out the Holy Spirit from Heaven.
The Law of Moses was given to Israel as a means of dealing with sin until the true Seed of Abraham should come. Everything prior to the life and death of Jesus prepared the way for the coming of the true Seed, for the true spiritual work of restoration (no unclean spirits were judged and cast out under the old covenant).
The concept that God’s work with physical Israel is a separate work from Christianity, a separate work that will be resumed after the Church is lifted into the spirit realm, is totally in error. It is contrary to the teachings of the Prophets and of the Apostle Paul.
God’s dealings with physical Israel were the necessary preparation for the coming of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God, into which we Gentiles now have been brought, actually is the “children’s bread.” It belongs to the Jews first. It is the Divine blessing for which the Jews are waiting. There only is one olive tree, one root of Abraham. We Gentiles have been grafted on the true stock. We do not constitute another olive tree, a wild olive tree that will be “raptured” into Heaven.
The purpose of grace, of assigned righteousness, is to give all of us, especially the Jews, a means of entering the work of restoration while we yet are sinners. Grace is not a substitute for the new creation of God; rather, it is the Divinely given means through which all men, especially the Jews by race, can enter the transforming work of the new covenant without the condemnation of the Law hanging over us.
No individual, Jew or Gentile, can enter the work of restoration by means of adhering to the Law of Moses. The Law is our guardian and guide that brings us to Christ, not another method of God’s dealing with man under a different “dispensation.”
The saints in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews are our examples of patient faith, which is the only way to inherit the promises of God. None of the eight concepts discussed earlier are portrayed in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews nor are they to be found anywhere else in the Bible.
What do we find in the lives of those whom God has given to us as examples?
We note at once that the elders pleased God through faith. They understood that the material universe was fashioned by invisible, spiritual hands. They always looked past the visible in order to discover the path of life. How much wiser they were than the educated people of today!
Abel portrays the joy of giving by faith. Cain’s sacrifice was one of grudging duty. As a result there was bitter envying and strife in his heart. Abel sacrificed in faith, that is, his thank offering was given in loving gratitude and trust.
God loves those who rejoice while they practice righteousness. Those who would see the fulfillment of God’s promises must learn to serve the Lord with gladness. Religious duty performed in a spirit of strife and envy is worthless in the Kingdom. It does not result in gaining the riches of the Kingdom.
Those whose faith and patience we are to imitate believed that God rewards those who seek Him diligently. Apparently Enoch spent his days in just such a loving quest for God. In this manner he escaped physical death—that which is part of the curse imposed in Eden.
Noah reveals to us godly fear and the obedience that proceeds from godly fear. Let us take note. It is fashionable to teach and believe people should reverence, but not fear, God. This is why our age is characterized by immaturity and foolishness.
Noah’s life was one of faith and patience. He will be raised with those of like character when the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven.
Abraham is the father of all who believe in Christ. He and his family are our example of “tenting,” of not making the present world our home.
The life of Abraham teaches us that those who would inherit the promises of God must obey God regardless of the consequences; also, that our life in the present age must be a quest for the “city that has foundations.” That city is the new Jerusalem, the Kingdom of God.
We will be made perfect together with Abraham provided we follow his example of faith and patience. What patience Abraham exercised! What faith!
Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, portraying his unshakable faith that what God has promised God will perform.
Notice how the patriarchs coped in a balanced and successful manner with the problem of bringing into reality what already has been completed in vision. They did not state it had happened already. Rather they demonstrated their conviction that what God had spoken was certain of fulfillment. They demonstrated faith in a future over which the Lord exercises total control.
By giving commandment concerning his bones Joseph emphasized the sense of continuity that is a necessary part of the thinking of those who would participate in the rest of God, in the work of fulfilling the vision of restoration. Joseph knew that the work of redemption would continue until the perfect Day.
The fulfilling of the vision operates independently of our physical death. It was working before we were born and it will continue to work long after we die—continuing until the vision of the Apostle John in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation becomes reality in the spiritual and physical realms.
The work of restoration did not begin with us and it will not cease when we die. The aspect of restoration being accomplished in us and through us is founded on aspects accomplished prior to our lifetime. The work of restoration of the future will be founded on all that has gone before, including our contribution.
The work will keep on progressing and unfolding until total perfection has been attained. Whether we are alive on the earth or in the spirit realm makes little or no difference. We still shall be involved in the restoration so that all the saints will come to perfection at the same time.
We of today shall die in faith, not having attained the perfection of restoration toward which we are pressing; for it is likely that more remains to be fulfilled than can be accomplished in our lifetime. But this makes no difference. If we die in faith we will come to perfection along with all the saints.
Physical death is not nearly as significant an aspect of our life as we usually assume. When we enter Christ we enter eternity—we never shall die!
The hiding of the infant Moses reveals the Divine preplanning, which is such an important dimension of fulfilling the vision of restoration. God protected the baby knowing the role Moses was going to play in the Kingdom of God.
Moses exhibited a willingness to set aside the pleasures and opportunities of the present world. Those who would participate in the work of restoration must possess this characteristic. Moses chose to suffer immediate, temporary affliction because he was able to grasp the splendor of the reward of Christ. Those who would follow the path of faith and patience must prefer the invisible to the visible.
In order to be a true Christian one must turn aside from present, visible pleasure in order to obtain future, invisible pleasure. This is the test of faith and patience.
In Moses we see exemplified the faith that is obedience to the commands of the invisible God. We behold meekness as well. There is none of the presumption and adventurism that today are associated with faith.
There was no presumptuous faith in evidence as the Divine plan unfolded through the life of Moses. Moses’ one mistake was to point toward himself and Aaron rather than toward the Lord, on a certain occasion. Apart from this exception, Moses is a model of “the righteous shall live by faith.” It is this patient, constant, courageous obedience to the will of the Lord that successfully brings into existence the fulfillment of the Divine vision.
The remaining verses of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews continue to reveal, through the lives of God’s examples, the proper manner in which one is to inherit the promises of restoration. Principally it is a faith that works through obedience—a faith that exercises much patience after having done all God has commanded.
True faith obeys God and then waits patiently for the promises to be fulfilled. The grace of Divine forgiveness makes a powerful contribution toward this process but never is intended to be a substitute for it.
None of the saints attempted to manipulate the supernatural realm by saying I believe! Rather, they sought the Lord and obeyed His voice.
There is not one instance of the saints claiming to possess something they did not possess (except in the sense that one day it would be theirs according to the promise of God). When Moses and the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, Moses did not announce to the people, “We now are in the land of promise because God has said He would bring us into the land of milk and honey.”
We recognize that God did not speak to the Jews of that day concerning spiritual realities as He has to us. Nevertheless there are New Testament passages that teach us to view the experiences of the Israelites as examples and parallels of the Christian discipleship:
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (I Corinthians 10:11)
The conditional nature of our redemption is expressed as follows:
but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. (Hebrews 3:6)
See the entire third chapter of Hebrews. “If we hold fast”!
Notice in the above verse that our redemption, the restoration of our personality, our salvation, is treated as a “hope.” We possess redemption now in one sense but not in another. If we would fulfill the vision of restoration we must recognize that the salvation we have now, as well as our future hope, depend for their permanence on our steadfastness throughout our lifetime
We are saved by hope.
But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5)
God brought the Jews out of Egypt as a demonstration of Divine grace. He spoke to His called-out people concerning the abundance of the land to which He was bringing them.
But with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, the adults who began with such high hopes did not exercise the faith and patience necessary for fulfilling the vision of restoration. They did not inherit the promise of God.
They are an example to us.
We stated previously that the pattern of human history may be divided into five aspects. So far we have discussed the first four of these aspects:
- Man is given an inheritance.
- Man loses the inheritance through lack of experience.
- God gives the vision of the restoration of what has been lost.
- The work of fulfilling the vision takes place.
Now we are ready to think about the fifth of the aspects: Man receives an infinitely greater inheritance.
‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts.” (Haggai 2:9)
“The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former.”
Jesus has kept the good wine until now. Many of those who are last in time will be first in the Kingdom of God.
It is difficult to grasp how the Lord God of Heaven can bring us to an inheritance greater than that set forth in the opening chapters of Genesis and in the Book of Acts. Nevertheless what God has given in vision is much greater than these.
The original physical and spiritual inheritances will be restored but in an exceedingly glorified form.
The garden of Eden witnessed two imperfect people, dwelling in a perfect environment, who had been given a marvelous role to fulfill. The end of God’s workings will be perfected people in a perfect environment having an exceedingly superior role to fulfill.
Eternal man in an eternal environment performing eternal service to God—this will be the outcome of the work of restoration.
As to eternal man:
“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (Revelation 21:7)
As to an eternal environment:
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1)
As to eternal service:
And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. (Revelation 22:3)
Once again Paradise and the tree of life will be on the earth. Once again God will walk in the garden in the cool of the day. But how much more marvelous, how exceedingly glorious, will be the new heaven and earth reign of Christ!
Adam and Eve were the children of God but to an incomplete extent. God is a consuming, creating, eternal Fire who fills all things. Adam and Eve merely were the dust of the ground.
When we receive Christ we receive the authority to be children of God, but we still are the dust of the ground. Then we are born again and the Nature and Substance of God in Christ begin to be formed in us.
If we continue to nourish the Divine Seed, not allowing the things of the world to choke out the Seed, we will become the sons of God by Substance and Nature, having been begotten through the Lord Jesus Christ. Here we have restoration on a level infinitely higher than the original creation.
The same is true of the image of God. Adam and Eve were in the image of God to a superficial and faint extent. But we have been predestined to be changed into the express image of Christ in spirit, in soul, and finally in body. We shall be the very image of God in Divine Substance and Nature, whereas Adam and Eve were but the form of God shaped in clay.
God made man “male and female.” No other creature of God has been fashioned as an incomplete being, dependent on another for the capacity to receive his inheritance.
Man, male and female, is made for union. We are useless as an individual. Before we can receive our inheritance we must be brought into oneness with Christ, and oneness with our fellow members of the Body of Christ as the Lord directs us.
The union of male and female in the present age is limited, only a vague shadow of union with God, being a union of dust and dust. But when God creates eternal substance in us we become capable of eternal union. There can never be an eternal union of creatures of dust—only of members of the new creation.
Jesus prayed in the seventeenth chapter of the Book of John that we may be one in the Son and in the Father. This is the union existing in the Holy Godhead.
The final result of the work of restoration will be the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb. Here is God in Christ in the saints shining in the world as one Light, one Entity. Such a state of holy union in the Being of God is inconceivable, but it is the restored and glorified fulfillment of which “male and female” was the forerunner.
To Adam and Eve were given the charge to be fruitful. To us also has been given the charge to be fruitful. If we are not fruitful we are cut out of the Vine, out of Christ, and thrown into the fire.
The Lord God is looking for fruit. That fruit is the image of His Son—Christ. Christ, the Vine, has been planted in the earth. We are the branches. God expects righteousness and praise to spring forth in us in the sight of the nations of the earth.
As we abide in Christ and are pruned periodically we bear fruit, and then much fruit.
To Adam and Eve were given the authority to rule the other forms of life God had created with them. The concept of man ruling over the works of God’s hands has been developed through the Scriptures until we understand that man—the image, the son, of God—is destined to rule, under Christ who is under God, all the creation. The angels in Heaven are commissioned by the Lord to minister to the heirs of this great salvation.
There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
A man and a woman in a garden. The Lord God walking in the garden. If only the first humans had realized what had been given to them! But the nature of man is such that he cannot appreciate or hold what is given to him so freely.
God knew they would fall because of their inexperience. The cross of Calvary, as well as the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ, was finished in detail in God’s mind before He created Adam and Eve. God is God.
The Scriptures are a vision of the restoration of all things, as promised by the Hebrew Prophets. Because of the marvelous love and Glory of God’s Personality, the restored inheritance will be infinitely greater than what was lost through inexperience.
The restoration has been completed in vision and God now is resting. Our task is to enter this rest of God, to flow with the flowings of God’s Word as the almighty Word brings into existence the fulfillment of the finished vision.
The world, Satan, people, and our own lusts and self-will all strive to keep us from entering God’s rest, to keep us busy with our dead vocational or religious works. Indeed it is a warfare and the spoils go to the victors. The rewards go to the conquerors. Christ will divide the spoil with the strong (Isaiah 53:12). If we suffer in the conflict of the ages we will divide the inheritance with Him.
There is an aspect of the work of restoration that has been assigned to our generation, as has been true of every other generation. Since we are close to the end, Christ is opening the scroll (the Scriptures), loosing the seals thereof (Daniel 12:9; Revelation 5:9). As a result we are able to understand the Scriptures more clearly than has been true previously. The knowledge of the Scriptures will increase as the Lord’s return draws near (Daniel 12:4).
Today there is moral chaos in the Church of Christ. This is because of the wrong approaches that have been employed to cope with the finished vision, to bring into existence what God has promised.
God has stated that the Church will be without spot or wrinkle and will be one as Christ and the Father are One. How do we respond when God refers to something as being a fact when as yet it is not in evidence? We have, in many instances, responded incorrectly. Therefore the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is not as righteous and holy as we could wish.
There are many voices in the land, but the voice of the Lord also is speaking. There are those who have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
As we turn away from what obviously (by its fruit) is false, and begin to separate the precious from the worthless, God will make us a reinforced bronze wall. We will speak as His voice. God working with us will build a wall of separation between His elect and the world (including worldly Jews and worldly Christians).
The Spirit of God will breathe on the slain and they will stand on their feet—an exceedingly great army. When this army marches a tremendous work of restoration will take place in the earth. The promised Kingdom of God will come to the earth.
Yesterday a man and a woman in a garden with God. Today an unbelievable cesspool of filth and violence as God permits the heavens and the earth to witness and understand the end result of obeying Satan, of disobedience to the Father.
Tomorrow the stupendous grandeur of the holy city coming down from a new heaven to rest forever on a new earth wherein there is no sin, no death, no crying, no pain.
Let us serve our own generation by the will of God so we shall not be ashamed to have fellowship with our brothers and sisters of past ages. They through faith and patience have brought us closer to the Day of all days when God through Christ through the saints reigns in glory over the nations of saved peoples of the earth. Let us continue in the same faith and patience.
(“Fulfilling the Vision”, 3331-1)