PROCLAIMED FROM THE HOUSETOPS

PROCLAIMED FROM THE HOUSETOPS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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

I read a lot. Do you? Recently I read a version of "The Song of Roland," telling how the legendary Roland finally was betrayed by Ganelon. This started me thinking about how often it is true that self-seeking people wickedly betray and seek to supplant people more honorable than themselves, behaving falsely, lying to achieve their own purposes. Absalom is a biblical example of this.

Suddenly my understanding was opened and I seemed to see how all such schemers will be dealt with after death. It was a great relief to me to realize perfect justice finally will be served in each individual case.

PROCLAIMED FROM THE HOUSETOPS

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.  (John 3:20,21—NIV)

Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops. (Luke 12:3)

In the version of Roland that I read just the other day, the betrayer, Ganelon, was killed by King Charlemagne on the battlefield in the midst of the slain heroes of France.

I tried to picture in my mind what it would be like in the spirit world as Ganelon appeared in the midst of Roland, Oliver, and the other peers of France.

It began to dawn on me. Ganelon now was powerless to scheme against Roland, and Roland and his comrades were powerless to harm Ganelon. There they stood in the spirit world looking at each other.

One aspect of life on earth followed them into the spirit world—their reputations, the knowledge of how they had behaved under the pressures of various temptations and trials.

What would or could Ganelon do? Absolutely nothing except slink away in shame. Roland and his warriors were honorable, courageous, trustworthy men. Ganelon had a cause against Roland and lied to Charlemagne, causing the death of the flower of Charlemagne’s army, including Roland and Oliver.

The spirit world knew of the behavior of Roland and Oliver, their loyalty to their king, their honorable actions. The spirit world knew of the treachery of Ganelon, forcing him to flee to the company of people like himself.

How much of the story of Roland is true must remain in doubt. He is a legendary figure on the same order of King Arthur of England. But treachery and supplanting appears throughout the accounts of history so many times that only the Lord Himself knows the truth. It still takes place today, and the reader may have a story of his own to tell.

I have heard of more than one instance in which someone has deceitfully taken credit, or sought to take credit, for the hard work of another individual. Also in our government today there is a great deal of suspicion concerning the actions of well-known people. Yet they are so skillful they manage to cover their tracks so no one is really sure what took place.

Although wicked schemers are often found out, there obviously are a number of instances in which they carry the truth to the grave. They managed to conceal their actions. They died in triumph.

Or did they?

Christians often warn the wicked of the fires of Hell. I think sinners sometimes figure they will take their chances on there not being a Hell, or that life in Hell will be bearable. "I’ll see you in Hell," the angry man yells. This bravado may not be based on reality, however.

But there is another aspect of life after death. It is that, independently of Hell, the outer darkness, or the Lake of Fire, our record of life on earth will follow us. The people we have wronged cannot harm us or exact revenge on us, it is true. But how about the effects of our reputation on the attitude of other people toward us?

Those who lie and manipulate do so under the cover of darkness. But what if all of this is brought to the light of day?

What if all the great politicians of history, when they die, discover every secret action of treachery and scheming is made clear for everyone to see? Would they prefer the fires of Hell to the shame of being seen by other people as the traitors they have been?

I have read what some historians have said about the self-seeking well-fed, warmly clothed politicians in Congress who were seeking their own advantage while Washington was pleading for supplies for his starving, freezing men at Valley Forge. I hope these historians are mistaken.

What about the rich "Christians" who made money from the slave trade, or prostitution, and stole land from the Indians, while they were serving as elders of their churches?

The rich man was in Hell because he was selfish. Were there people other than Lazarus who witnessed the torment of the rich man, becoming aware of his selfishness? By not being generous with the poor he was violating the Law of Moses.

There are so many instances of treacherous, self-seeking, hypocritical behavior on the part of "successful" people and leaders that one indeed could grow cynical. The wealthy acquire more money than they possibly can spend while there are millions of children in the world who go to bed hungry every night.

Injustice abounds in the world, and armed revolution sometimes provides a temporary solution; but then the leaders of the revolution spend their lives in luxury while the poor continue to starve.

This world is a playground for the devil. The only reason Jesus Christ permits it to continue is that from this dunghill the flowers of overcomers are growing who one day will govern the world in righteousness. This the Bible clearly teaches in both the Old and New Testaments.

The above is historically and biblically factual.

In the meanwhile, the rich and the poor are dying each day and each enters the spirit world. They do not bring their wealth or their rags with them. One thing they do bring, however, is their reputation—the record of what they did while living on the earth.

Our personality and our biography cannot be hidden in the land of endless day. What we shall be then will be what we have become while on the earth. There will be no hiding. The liar will appear as a liar, waiting for the Day of Judgment.

In fact, it may be true that the liar will still be bound with a spirit of lying but be unable to deceive anyone. The lustful person may burn with the fires of his or her lust and be unable to touch anyone.

The faithful servant will appear as being a faithful person, waiting for the Day of Judgment. Isn’t that perfect? Doesn’t that keep you from worrying about the treacherous behavior of people?

Some visionaries, such as Sundar Singh, have portrayed life in the next world. His account agrees with what we are stating.

Dr. Ritchie, in Return From Tomorrow (Chosen Books, Virginia, 1978) describes the people he saw who were chained to their behaviors and to the results of their behaviors. Some of the people he saw in the spirit world would have harmed other people if they were able, but the worst they could do was to curse them. There was an army of such people on a great battlefield futilely boxing the air, as it were, as they sought to harm their opponents.

Some years ago there was a television series titled Mission Impossible. Each program in the series had the same plot. An individual was captured and blindfolded. Then he was placed in an environment in which special equipment was used to give him the impression that he was someplace else. Events were fabricated until he was completely deceived as to where he was and what was taking place.

Finally, because he was convinced as to the reality of his situation, he agreed to sign a paper or do whatever else the conspirators desired.

As soon as he had done what was required he was released. Can you imagine his chagrin when he walked out into the daylight and realized he had been tricked?

This is what life on earth is like. We are brought into certain situations to see what we will do under temptation or some other kind of pressure. Will we abandon our integrity in order to gain what it is we desire, or will we maintain our integrity and trust God to give us the desires of our heart in His time?

When we die we will emerge into the sunlight, so to speak. There we will discover we have been tricked. Heaven had put together an environment designed to reveal what kind of person we really are. Now we are labeled forever as an honorable champion, or a weak but sincere individual, or a snake who will do anything if he thinks he can hide his actions from other people.

Can you imagine how a man will feel who has molested his daughter, or who has abandoned his wife and family in order to run off with another woman? Now all of them are in the spirit realm and he no longer is attracted physically to the partner of his lust. Her ugliness can be seen while his daughter or his wife and family now appear to be attractive, worthy people. But what will be their attitude toward him?

In the day of resurrection we will be thrown into the Lake of Fire if our name has been blotted from the Book of Life. But if Christ should save us into His everlasting Kingdom, we may have a dwarfed spiritual nature that will reveal in itself the kind of person we are. There is more than one kind of consequence of our behavior!

No doubt there have been monsters of wickedness who were hurled into the deepest Hell as soon as they died, the demons binding them with chains and dragging them down into Hell before they scarcely were out of the body.

But the great sea of mankind probably must await the Day of Judgment to receive the fullness of the consequences of their actions while on the earth. This may be the case even with numerous nominal Christians.

It is likely that those who have lived as being crucified with Christ and risen with Christ will be taken to God’s right hand upon their physical death. This may or may not be the case, but I think it is not unlikely. There is a reward for serving the Lord!

This all seemed so clear to me as I pondered the fate of Roland and Ganelon. But what does the Scripture say, for it is the only reliable source we have?

The first passage that came to mind is as follows:

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs. (Luke 12:2,3—NIV)

Now, I had always pictured in my mind that the above verses apply only to the present life. Perhaps they do to a great extent. Yet there is nothing that says they must be limited to the present life. Maybe time is not a factor here.

It seems clear that much that is hidden is never brought forth in the present world. But since the Words of God will never return to Him empty but will accomplish His purpose, we understand somewhere, sometime, everything that has been concealed shall be disclosed; everything that has been hidden shall be made known; everything that has been whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.

There is nothing that has been concealed that shall not be revealed. This is God’s Word.

Can you imagine all the lies and treacheries that have taken place in the history of the world that were never discovered? All shall be brought forth to the light.

And then there is a verse I have wondered about:

The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here. (Luke 11:32—NIV)

Did you ever wonder about this verse? At the time of last judgment the people of Nineveh will condemn those to whom Jesus was speaking.

Have you ever thought about this? Usually we think of God being the one who judges individuals. But the above passage states that other peoples and nations will be involved in the act of judging. It is as though all mankind will be brought together in the work of judgment so everyone can witness the justice of God as He judges the quality of every person’s work.

Today’s Christian preaching leaves the impression that if an individual professes to take the four steps of salvation he or she can forget about a future judgment. This is not scriptural. The purpose of receiving Christ is not that of escaping an evaluation of our life, it is for the purpose of receiving a pardon for our past sins, and then virtue, power, and wisdom so we may turn away from our past behaviors and lead a new life in Christ.

If we truly repent, take up our cross, and follow Jesus, God will forgive our sins and help us lead a new life in Christ. We may suffer because of our actions in the past as well in the future, because we are not perfect as yet. But the people in the spirit world will recognize that we have repented and turned to God, and so we do not have to worry about their opinion. And God has promised to spare us in the Day of Wrath because we have called on the name of Jesus.

But if we do not repent, do not take up our cross, do not follow Jesus each day, do not obey the Holy Spirit, then our professing of the four steps of salvation will not save us. We have tried to use God’s grace as a ticket to Heaven instead of a means of transforming our life. God will not be mocked by such trickery.

God demands a change of behavior. If He does not see this in us, all the faith, belief, grace, love, mercy, and everything else we think will help us evade the laws of righteousness will prove to be worthless.

I sometimes have thought about the following:

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2—NIV)

Notice that this verse makes no reference to Hell, the Lake of Fire, or outer darkness. Rather it points toward the opinion of other people as being the opposite of everlasting life. Some upon being resurrected will face shame and contempt in the sight of God, Christ, the holy angels, and people. They have not been honest people, people of integrity.

Daniel 12: 2 (above) is not referring to what happens to us at the point of physical death but in the day of resurrection. So there are two areas of concern. One is what we will face in the hour of our physical death. The other is what we will experience when we are raised from the dead.

All Christians know the parable of the wasteful manager. He had not worked faithfully and diligently so his employer decided to fire him.

Since he did not know how to get another job, the dishonest manager went to people who were in debt to his employer. He had them change their bills so it appeared they owed a lesser amount.

The employer of the manager commended him for acting shrewdly.

Jesus commented on this incident. He advised Christians who were not true to their calling to make friends with the people of the world so when they died they would have someplace to go, some spirits who would receive them in the eternal dwellings in the spirit world.

I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. (Luke 16:9—NIV)

The following verse is interesting. It sounds as though those who were kings in this world will be seated on thrones when they descend into the spirit realm. This seems reasonable to me. The people over whom they have ruled would expect to be governed by their familiar kings and queens when they died. It seems likely to me that they could chose to be so governed, if they wished.

Then notice what happens when Satan is cast down from the heavens.

The grave below is all astir to meet you at your coming; it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you—all those who were leaders in the world; it makes them rise from their thrones—all those who were kings over the nations. They will all respond, they will say to you, "You also have become weak, as we are; you have become like us." (Isaiah 14:9,10—NIV)

In the above verse it appears Satan is being scorned by the kings he had deceived.

Another verse that sometimes has troubled me is as follows:

The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. (I Timothy 5:24—NIV)

Perhaps this means the wicked works of some individuals are revealed quickly, while others will appear at a later time.

And then the next passage:

His work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. (I Corinthians 3:13—NIV)

"The Day will bring it to light." There is coming a Day in which our works will be tested as to their quality. That which we have done in cooperation with the Spirit of God will stand the fire. That which we have done out of our own enthusiasm, or self-will and personal ambition, will not stand the fire.

The Lord Jesus spoke to some of His servants who had accomplished mighty deeds in His name: "Get away from Me. You are unrighteous. I do not care what miracles you did in My name. I never knew you."

The above is an important word for our generation. We in America evaluate Christian ministry in terms of the number of people affected. Consequently ministers who have a flair for business administration or showmanship soon bring together thousands of people.

We judge them to be successful.

Yet in our heart we must know better than this. Jesus fed the multitudes but it was eleven men who brought the Gospel to the whole world. There were only three on the Mount of Transfiguration.

We understand a very large congregation may signify that the demands of discipleship are not being presented clearly to the audience. This is not always the case, but it may prove to be a fact more often than we could wish.

Would we view a faithful couple who had worked for many years with twenty-five people as being as successful, as spiritual, as a young minister just out of Bible college who had two thousand people attending on Sunday morning?

In our heart we must know the numbers of people apparently being influenced is not a measure of Kingdom worth. Even a thoughtful, unsaved person might point out that we are not using the correct criteria to measure success in the Kingdom of God.

Yet we go on, and on, and on, and on talking about "the fastest growing church in America." Personally I think this viewpoint is an abomination to the Lord. How could it be otherwise?

Is Christ impressed with our "success" or with our faithfulness?

One thing is certain: If we have not walked with God in such a manner that His standards of integrity and faithfulness have been met, all the works we have done in Jesus’ name will profit us nothing at all in the Kingdom. The Holy Spirit may bring forth many excellent saints from our ministry. That is His role. But there will be no profit to us personally if we have succeeded by manipulating people and circumstances, not being too careful with the fine points of righteousness. The people we have betrayed in our mad rush to be important will scorn us in the spirit world. The Lord Jesus Himself will drive us from His Presence as being unworthy of His fellowship.

We of the Christian churches often hold unscriptural values. We need to get this straightened out before we stand before our Creator, His angels, the righteous dead, and the wicked dead.

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. (I Corinthians 4:5—NIV)

All that has been hidden in darkness will be brought to light at the coming of the Lord. The motives of the hearts of individuals will be exposed. Then God will praise or condemn the person.

Again, this is pointing toward the day of resurrection, toward the return of the Lord Jesus to the earth.

We have had so much false teaching concerning the coming of the Lord that the concept of the day of resurrection has been pushed into the background. Yet the day of resurrection is by far one of the most important concepts of the Christian salvation.

The fourth chapter of the Book of Thessalonians, where Paul speaks of the coming of the Lord, has been warped into a mythological going of the saints to Heaven.

If we would read the verses carefully we would notice that Paul is not emphasizing the going of the living saints but the return of the deceased saints and their resurrection from the dead.

We believe Jesus died and rose again and so we believe God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:14-17—NIV)

"Those who have fallen asleep in Him."

"Those who have fallen asleep."

"The dead in Christ."

The emphasis in this passage is on the dead in Christ, not on the living.

It is my personal point of view that the dead in Christ will include all the righteous dead from the time of Abel. That is, they will constitute a tremendous host of God’s true saints.

The "dead in Christ" does not refer to everyone who has taken the four steps of salvation but those who truly are abiding in Christ. To abide in Christ is vastly more than making an initial profession of faith and then living our own life as we see fit. It is speaking of being crucified with Christ so it is Christ who is living in us rather than our old personality.

"When Christ who is our life shall appear," Paul says in another place. There are the dead in Christ; then there are those who still are living physically on the earth but who at the same time are living in the heavenlies in Jesus.

"The dead in Christ will rise first." This is the first resurrection from the dead. This is the blessed and holy royal priesthood of God. They have lived a victorious life through Jesus Christ until the second death, the Lake of Fire, no longer has authority over them.

How could this be true of Abel, Abraham, and Moses? I do not know how they could be crucified with Christ and risen with Christ. But this is what it means to be born again; and until we are born again we cannot see or enter the Kingdom of God. So I guess some things take place in the spirit world that we will understand later.

In any case, the patriarchs cannot be made perfect apart from us but shall be made perfect together with us in the day of resurrection.

We see then, that we need to concentrate on what we shall face in the day of resurrection. It is certain only those who have been found abiding in Jesus Christ will be raised in the first resurrection (or transformed into immortality if they are alive on the earth at the time of the return of Christ). Such instantaneous transformation into glory requires that they have been judged prior to this time. They certainly cannot be transformed into immortality and after that stand before Christ and be judged! The transformation that shall take place at the first resurrection will be their sentence—a sentence based on a prior judgment.

(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:5,6—NIV)

The general resurrection of the dead will take place at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. (Revelation 20:12—NIV)

Unless we have been living as a victorious Christian, really following Christ each day, we need to give careful thought to the general resurrection, for this is where we shall appear.

Some of the verses we have quoted previously apply to the general resurrection:

The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here. (Luke 11:32—NIV)

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2—NIV)

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. (I Corinthians 4:5—NIV)

None of the three preceding verses applies to the first resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood. No books are opened at the time of the first resurrection. The participants already have been judged worthy to walk with Christ in the white robes of the priesthood. In no case will any of these be a foolish virgin, or someone who wasted his or her talent.

Those who are judged worthy to participate in the first resurrection will always be with the Lord.

But most people on the earth, including perhaps the majority of the believers in Christ, need to realize their death will bring them to a time of waiting. Their rewards or punishments will not be given to them until the Lord returns.

The vision of the pre-tribulation "rapture" of all believers is not a vision from God. It is a deception and has lulled to sleep the majority of Christian believers. We think God in His mercy is about to send enough trouble on the United States that many believers will awaken, call on the name of the Lord, and change their careless attitude toward Christ to one of utmost diligence. By so doing they will save themselves and those who hear them.

Anyone who is teaching that the believers in Christ will never experience judgment is not hearing from the Lord. The truth is, judgment begins with those who are closest to the Lord. Every one of us shall give an account of Himself to Jesus Christ.

At some point after we pass from this life, the hidden things will be revealed. That which was spoken in the ear will be shouted from the housetops.

God may see fit to spare us from His judgment and the judgment of people if we turn from our devious ways and serve God in sincerity and truth. How much we are spared depends entirely on the judgment of Christ.

We see, then, that the issue of the future is not just Hell, or the outer darkness, or the Lake of Fire. There surely is a Hell, an outer darkness, and a Lake of Fire. But we also should be concerned about how we shall be viewed when we enter the spirit realm.

And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24—NIV)

"They will be loathsome to all mankind"!

Will we be regarded as someone who is loathsome to all mankind?

Will we be seen as one who was utterly faithful to the Lord Jesus, who laid down his life for the Gospel’s sake so many might be brought into the Kingdom of God?

Will we be seen as a weak believer who wanted to live a righteous life but because of circumstances beyond our control, in some instances, did not achieve much maturity in Christ?

Will we be seen as a person who never heard the Gospel but who was regarded by our relatives and friends as being upright and generous?

Will we appear as a schemer who cheated a more honorable person, preventing him from receiving the just rewards of his efforts?

Just how will we appear in the spirit world when we die, and what will we experience when we are revealed before the Judgment Seat of Christ?

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10—NIV)

We Christians have had much false teaching concerning the consequences of our behavior on earth. Our doctrine states that after we take the four steps of salvation we have nothing to fear in the future. This is not the case.

What we are, we are, and this is how we will pass into the spirit world.

How do you wish to appear when you are brought out from your Mission Impossible fabricated environment and stand in the sunlight of a world where everyone can see you as you truly are?

If you are alive on the earth there still is time for you to turn from any wickedness in your life, make things right with God and man, and show that you actually are a person of honor and integrity.

The Christian religion, as has happened with other religions of the world, has become an alternative to honor and integrity.

Don’t let this happen to you! The Christian salvation is a wonderful gift from the Lord God of Heaven. But God will never authorize its use as an alternative to righteous behavior, to holiness of personality, to stern obedience to God.

Live righteously before people and they will glorify God, in this world and in that which is to come.

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (I Peter 2:12—NIV)