CHRIST THE DELIVERER: FIVE

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CHRIST THE DELIVERER: FIVECopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

("Christ the Deliverer: Five" is taken from Behold My Servant!, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)

God's Servant Brings Deliverance to Israel

God's Servant Brings Justice to the Nations

God's Servant Strengthens the Bruised Reed

God's Servant Brings Deliverance to Israel

The responsibility assigned to the Servant of the Lord is threefold:

To plant the heavens.

To lay the foundations of the earth.

To say to Zion: "You are my people" (Isaiah 51:16).

"Zion" is the Seed of Abraham. "Zion" refers to God's elect, His chosen, the Seed of promise, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth. In the present hour Zion is above us in Heaven.

One day the perfected spiritual Zion will come down and enter Jerusalem on the earth. The Lord Jesus Christ will sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem. All that the Old Testament promises to Jerusalem will come to pass in the perfected spiritual Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22,23).

God always is saying to His elect, "You are My people." It is difficult for each of us to come to the realization that God has chosen him from before the ages of time so he may stand before God forever as a royal priest. We are not of the world. We are holy unto the Lord, having been chosen from among mankind and set aside by Him for His special use and pleasure.

God always is asking His elect if they love Him (John 21:15-17).

The Lord's elect are the members of true Israel whether they are Jewish or Gentile by natural birth.

It is our understanding that in the Day of the Lord there will be an awakening of the nation of Israel and the Jewish people will become aware that Jesus is Christ.

We believe also, following the symbolism of the life of Joseph, that before the coming of the Lord there will be a reconciliation to Christ of a chosen remnant of the Jews because of, and during, the hour of tribulation that is coming; and that the Lord Jesus will assist the Jews, especially the remnant, through all the troubles that will take place before He returns.

The coming salvation of the Jews does not, of course, change the fact that the Seed of Abraham is One and includes all who are part of Christ whether Jewish or Gentile by race. No person, Jewish or Gentile, can enter the Kingdom of God other than by being born again of Christ. Flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of God. There is but one Shepherd, one fold, one Holy Spirit, one Church, one Body of Christ.

First, the Jews must return to Jerusalem from all places where they have been dispersed. We think it is God's will that the nation of Israel once again become one of the major nations of the earth. After a season, when Antichrist has captured Jerusalem and has taken his seat in the Temple, it will be time for the elect Jews to flee into the wilderness.

There, in the Valley of Achor to speak figuratively, the place of trouble and judgment, the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to the elect Jews and they will become one with the elect of the Gentiles, who also have been compelled to flee from the face of Antichrist.

It would not be wise for Jesus to reveal Himself to the nation of Israel in the present hour because the rabbis, being weakened by the knowledge that they have resisted God's Christ throughout the centuries, would fall prey to the great whore--man-operated Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant. They would move from one error to another error--perhaps worse than the first.

We believe that God in His goodness will protect His original chosen people from fleshly Christianity and self-seeking special interest groups and Christian entrepreneurs, until the day Jesus is ready to receive the Jews as part of Himself (not as part of Babylon (man-directed Christianity).

The concept that there will be a Gentile church in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth is an error made commonly by Christians. Such a totally unscriptural concept prevents an understanding of the Hebrew Prophets, cutting off the Christian churches from the revelation of Scripture. This confusion is unfortunate and unnecessary.

When referring to the coming of the Lord we are emphasizing the "remnant," that is, the saints of the Lord (Jewish and Gentile) who will give themselves wholly to Christ, becoming a firstfruits "unto God and to the Lamb" (Revelation 14:4).

The Presence and work of the remnant during the days surrounding the return of Christ is mentioned in several places in the Scriptures (Isaiah 4:3; 32:1,2; Joel 2:32; Obadiah 21; Micah 5:3; Zechariah 12:8; Romans 11:5,26; for example).

The story of Gideon and his three hundred is one of the scriptural types of the power of the Lord working through His remnant in the end-time. Even though the great victory will be won with a remnant, eventually every member of Christ will "know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest (Hebrews 8:11).

One of the major tasks of the Servant of the Lord is the building up of Israel--the people chosen by the Lord to be His peculiar treasure in the earth.

By the term Israel we mean all the elect of God, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth. The reader may complain we are repeating too many times that the elect consist of both Jews and Gentiles. The reason for the repetition, whether excessive or not, is that currently there is confusion over this point.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; (Isaiah 61:1,2)

The above passage is directed toward "Zion," that is, toward the Lord's elect, His chosen. While the Servant of the Lord is destined to bring justice and truth to the nations of the earth, He also is charged with the responsibility for building up Zion--the royal priesthood of God (I Peter 2:5).

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me."

The Spirit of God abides on Christ--Head and Body. "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 8:9). The reason we of the Church are baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ is that we may become working parts of the Servant of the Lord, of the Anointed Deliverer who is to come.

It is through the Holy Spirit that the Body of Christ will be built into the fullness of unity and maturity. All the ministries and gifts given by the ascended Christ are for the purpose of perfecting the saints, for the bringing of God's Israel into the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.

"The Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek."

The "good tidings" are the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The "meek" are those of Israel who are willing to open their hearts to the voice of the Spirit. The meek are not proud, defiant, self-sufficient, always resisting the Holy Spirit. They are teachable and they desire to serve God. They fear God and are submissive to His Word.

The God of Heaven has anointed Christ to bring the good news of God's salvation to each of the elect who will receive the Word with humility of mind, and will repent--that is, who will change the way he or she is thinking and acting and will think and act according to the revealed Word of God.

"He hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted."

There are those of Israel who are happy and prosperous being content, like Lot, to take their chances in a world filled with wickedness and rebellion against God. Although they think of themselves as the Lord's people (whether they are Jews or Gentiles) they "have no room in their inn" for Christ. This has been true of physical Israel and is true today of Christian people.

Then there are those of God's people who are in distress and trouble. They always seem to be out of joint in the present age (even in the churches at times). Such never can be completely happy when the Presence of God is not in their midst. They are not satisfied with things as they are. They find no rest in the world or in a lukewarm, smug, self-satisfied church or synagogue. They weep and mourn for God and are not comforted by the things of fleshly religion.

God always is seeking those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. To them He sends His Servant with healing and blessing. The Servant comforts them and brings the Presence of God to them. He binds up their broken heart and gives them joy and gladness.

Has the Lord ever sent one of His servants to you in the power of the anointing of the Spirit? Did that individual bring healing, blessing, comfort, and the Presence of God to you? If so, then the one who ministered to you is a part of the Body of Christ, of the Servant of the Lord.

Those of Israel who are proud and filled with their own ways--even doctrinally-correct religious ways--will not be ministered to by the Servant of the Lord. The self-sufficient dwell in barrenness and confusion. They will remain in a desolate state, a spiritual wasteland, unless they forsake their proud ways and turn to the Lord.

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, . . . . (II Chronicles 7:14)

If God's own people will humble themselves! The need today is for God's elect, His Israel, to confess their sins and turn from their wicked ways. The Servant of the Lord always encourages Zion to repent and turn to God.

"To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound."

The "captives," in this context, are those of God's people who are bound and oppressed by Satan.

And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? (Luke 13:16)

Jesus of Nazareth, Christ of God, went about doing good and healing all of Israel who were oppressed by the devil. The first sign to follow the believers in Christ is the casting out of devils. The Son of God always destroys the works of the devil.

The Kingdom of God comes as the power of the anointing of the Spirit of God casts out devils. The coming of the Spirit of God tears apart the kingdom of darkness. This is the power that abides on Christ--Head and Body.

Many believers in Christ are heavy and oppressed in spirit!

But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. (Isaiah 42:22)

It is the will of Christ that every one of His people be gloriously delivered from all that is not of the Lord. Who among us will seek God on behalf of God's people? Who among us will lay aside his own life so the saints may be built up in the most holy faith? Who among us will "stand in the midst of Jordan," in the waters of judgment, so God's people may cross over into their inheritance?

The Lord Jesus commands us to feed His sheep and His lambs. Will we provide food for the household of the Lord so the saints may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might?

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (Matthew 24:45,46)

During the Kingdom Age, further opportunities for building up Israel may be assigned to those who in this life have faithfully nourished God's children. It is true even today that as we are faithful in small responsibilities the Lord entrusts us with a larger area of His Kingdom.

"To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God."

The acceptable year of the Lord is now. Each member of the Body of Christ is to bring deliverance to God's people now as the Spirit of Christ guides and empowers him to do so.

(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (II Corinthians 6:2)

It is God's will to bless His saints now with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. It is God's will to save us today, to heal our bodies today, to give us gifts and a ministry today, to pour out His Spirit on us today, to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom with signs and wonders throughout the entire earth today. Today is the Day of salvation. Today is the time accepted of God for every one of His elect to grasp the fullness of God in Christ.

Yet, in order for us to gain any of these blessings we must overcome the resistance of the enemy. God enables us to conquer the enemy as we wait on Him, following Him patiently, moving in His wisdom and timing.

There are specific spiritual opportunities available to the Lord's people during each period of history. The day in which we are living is a time of unprecedented revelation and power, and opportunity to take the Kingdom.

It also is a season of deliverance, of judgment on the unclean spirits that have been dwelling in the house of God. It is an hour of eternal judgment, of vengeance on the forces of wickedness that have produced unrighteousness and rebellion in the saints.

It is time now to make the way of the Lord straight in His Church. It is impossible for God to move when the saints are neither hot nor cold. The Servant of the Lord is pleased when both righteousness and lawlessness are well-defined and mature.

It is time now for righteousness to become exceedingly righteous and sin to become exceedingly sinful. God will work in your life and mine until we make up our minds whom we shall serve. Shall we choose to serve Christ, or Satan?

There are multitudes of God's people in the "valley of decision." "Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision" (Joel 3:14).

The Servant of the Lord announces that whoever will choose to do so may come and drink freely of the waters of eternal life. Christ has paid the full price on the cross. Eternal life is free to whoever will accept it as the gift of God in Christ. God's forgiveness readily is available to each person who will repent and receive the love of God in Christ.

At the same time, God's wrath is directed against the kingdom of Satan and against the believers in Christ who are taking pleasure in the things of the world, in the works of Satan.

Today is the day of salvation, of deliverance, of blessing, of glory to all who will receive Jesus as both Lord and Savior--Lord of their conduct and Savior of their soul. In the near future the Lamb will appear in wrath, executing vengeance on the enemies of God. It is the Lord's will that each of His people escape the wrath that is to be poured on the ungodly.

When the Lord Jesus read this passage (Luke 4:19) He did not include "and the day of vengeance of our God." Apparently, the day of vengeance had not come at that time.

It may be true that the scroll has been reopened in our day and this phrase ("the day of vengeance of our God") now is being included. The Lord has come now to cast out Satan from His Church. This is the beginning of the Day of Vengeance--an era that will continue until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)

When Christ builds up Zion, His Church, He is building up His own Body. It is true also of us that when we build up our brothers and sisters in Christ we are building and strengthening the Body of Christ of which we all are members. As we grow strong in the Lord we are to assist the weaker members. When we are converted we are to strengthen our brothers (Luke 22:32). The Body is building itself in the Head--Christ.

The Lord anoints us with the Holy Spirit so we may comfort His people. Because of sin and ignorance the people of the Lord find themselves in miserable circumstances, their joy gone, being oppressed, guilt-ridden, and in various kinds of trouble. There are domestic problems, divorce, sickness, debt, gloom, dread, ignorance of the will of God. Often there are many sins being practiced by God's people. There is an accompanying spiritual and physical weakness, shame, and loss of confidence in God.

The Servant of the Lord brings the beauty of holiness in exchange for the ashes of the bondage of sin; the oil of joy in the Lord in place of sadness and despair; the uplifting spirit of hope, praise, and confidence in God in exchange for heaviness and moodiness.

The Servant of the Lord is victorious in faith and filled with the Spirit of God. He brings resurrection life to the Lord's people. He heals them physically and imparts eternal life to their spirits. He shows them that God loves them and is able to give them the power and wisdom they need.

It is Christ who does all this for God's people, and He frequently does it through the gifts and ministries the Holy Spirit gives to each member of the Body of Christ. It is the anointing of the Spirit that breaks the yoke of oppression.

God is not always scolding His people because of their sins and weaknesses. Rather, He is waiting lovingly until they return to His goodness and mercy. God loves His people with a very great love. Many times we are led to believe that God is angry with us when such is not the case. God is waiting for us to come to Him in faith in His Word (Mark 9:23).

God must have saints who are willing and able to build up their brothers and sisters in Christ. Those saints who bless and nourish the members of the Body of Christ are performing the ministry of the Servant of the Lord to Israel.

"That they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."

It may be true that there are not many oaks of righteousness in the Christian churches. To a great extent the believers in Christ sit in spiritual ashes (although some of them are wealthy in material riches).

When the Servant of the Lord ministers to God's people they become righteous, holy, and obedient to God in their daily behavior. Wherever there is unrighteous behavior in the churches the will of God is not being performed.

God did not save us in order that we may wander about in the wilderness of sin and lawlessness. God redeemed us so we may demonstrate a holy and righteous life in our deeds, our words, and our thoughts.

For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. (Isaiah 62:1)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

When we are not learning righteousness, holiness, and obedience we are not fulfilling the purpose of God in saving us. We are not bringing forth the fruit for which the Divine Farmer is waiting (John 15:2,8,16; James 5:7).

The reason God called us out of the world is that we may portray His righteousness and praise; that we may be the light of Christ in the darkness of the world; that we may reveal in ourselves the holiness and power of the Person and will of God Almighty.

Whenever we behave in an unrighteous, unholy manner we are not fulfilling the purpose of our calling as saints. When the "branches" do not bear the fruit of righteous and holy behavior they are cut off from the Vine, from Christ, and men gather them in piles and they are burned, so to speak. The reason men "burn" them is that they are useless for the purpose for which God has called them.

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people [people for God's own possession], zealous of good works. (Titus 2:14)

Having your conversation [behavior] honest among the Gentiles [nations]: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (I Peter 2:12)

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; (Philippians 2:15)

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

The nations of the earth must come in contact with the Life of Christ in order to live. The only source from which needy people can obtain the Life of Christ is the Israel of God. But the Divine Life is not present in God's Israel when the saints are walking in sin.

The Servant of the Lord is anointed in order that He may build up the members of Israel into trees of righteousness. When Christ is dwelling in a righteous and holy Church the nations of the earth experience the Person, way, will, and eternal purpose of God.

Those of the nations who accept the Life of Christ that is in the Church, the Israel of God, will be saved in the Day of judgment and brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

The nations of the earth will "keep the feast of Tabernacles" by coming to the Church and receiving the blessing of God and Christ, who then will be dwelling (tabernacling) in the Church.

But those who reject the Presence of God in Christ in the Church will deprive themselves of eternal life.

And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. (Zechariah 14:17)

The rain of the Spirit will not fall upon them if they are unwilling to hear the voice of the Spirit and the Bride and do not come to the water of eternal Life that will flow from the saints for eternity.

God's Servant Brings Justice to the Nations

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit on him: he shall bring forth judgment [justice] to the Gentiles [nations]. (Isaiah 42:1)

We have just discussed the fact that the Servant of the Lord must build up Zion before He can bring justice to the nations of the earth.

Notice the following passage from Matthew. Jesus was ministering to the people of Israel. He healed a man with a withered hand. Then great multitudes of the Israelites followed Him and He healed them all.

But observe the extraordinary significance that Matthew attached to the healing of the Israelites:

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment [justice] to the Gentiles [nations]. (Matthew 12:17,18)

Show justice to whom? To the nations ?

But these were Israelites!

The answer to this seeming contradiction is simple.

The delivering, healing, uplifting ministry of the Servant of the Lord will one day be directed toward the nations of the earth. But first it must be brought to the people of the Lord, to God's elect. As soon as the Lord's elect have been built up into trees of righteousness the Arm of the Lord will be extended to the nations.

The "justice" that the Church will bring to the peoples of the earth is described in the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 2:3 for example) and in the other Prophets as well (Psalms 67:1,2; Joel 2:32; Zechariah 14:16).

Many today are seeking to bring comfort and assurance to people, but God is willing to go a step further and bring justice to them. God looks upon people, such as the man with the withered hand, and God sees the unclean spirits that are keeping the man in this state of bondage. God's justice removes the weakness, pain, and disfigurement, assigning Satan to the regions of darkness, and bringing the individual into the light of God's Presence.

The nations of today are staggering about in blindness, drunkenness, in an agony of pain because they are ignorant of the moral principles that bring peace and healing. The Servant of the Lord, when He is brought to maturity, will release and teach all who will believe and be saved from destruction. This is the "justice" that God has promised to His creatures.

God desires to reach all mankind. God is not willing that any person be lost to His Kingdom. But first of all the Church must be revived into righteous conduct and fervent love of the Lord. How can the Church bring deliverance to the nations before the Church itself has been delivered?

To understand what it means for the Servant of the Lord to bring justice to the nations of the earth we first must be made aware of the relationship of the Church of Christ, of God's Israel, to the other peoples of the world.

The Christian Church, the elect of God, is the Body of Christ. It is the true Israel of God, the Body of the Servant of the Lord. The Church is a called-out group of people as was true of the nation of Israel under the old covenant.

The task of Israel, the Lord's elect, His saints, both Jewish and Gentile, always is to bear witness of the Person and will of God and also to bring the knowledge and blessings of God to the nations of the earth.

When we force a division between Israel of the old covenant and the so-called "Gentile Church" of the new covenant we obscure the role of the Church in bringing justice and truth to the nations of the earth.

There is no such thing as a "Gentile Church," a church of the nations. There is only Israel, the elect of God. Any Gentile who would become a part of Christ, of God's Servant, of the new covenant, must become a part of the true Israel. The new covenant is made only "with the house of Israel" (Hebrews 8:8).

God called out Israel, His elect people, both Jewish and Gentile by natural birth, from the nations of the earth in order to bless the nations through them. Every member of the Body of Christ is called out from the world so God may make him a blessing to the world.

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:18)

The meaning of the term church is called-out . Christians, whether Jewish or Gentile, have been called out by the Spirit of God from all other peoples on the earth, as was true of Abraham our father. God calls us out so that through us He may reveal Himself to mankind, bringing justice and truth to the nations of the earth. We of the elect are God's kings and priests and will rule throughout the ages to come.

The Church is the light of the world . The Church is the set of people who peculiarly are God's own possession, separated to God in order that the love, mercy, holiness, and power of the Lord may be revealed to all persons on the earth.

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

God loves the peoples of the world. In fact, God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son as full payment for the sins of those who are cut off from Himself. God is not pleased that people are perishing in their ignorance of redemption, in anguish of spirit, soul, and body.

God does not work among men the way He does because He hates people but because He loves people and desires to save them from their cruel bondage to Satan. God is creating the Church, the Body of Christ, in order that salvation may be brought to the ends of the earth.

Because human beings are bound in sin, and God is utterly holy, people cannot draw near to Him. People are self-seeking, sinful, rebellious, stubborn, proud, disobedient. God cannot accept human pride and rebellion. No proud flesh can stand in His Presence.

Thus we have the "lonely" God. God loves His creatures but He cannot communicate His love and delivering power to them without destroying them in His wrath.

The death of Christ on the cross of Calvary reveals to us the love that God Almighty has for the people whom He has created. Let no man say that God does not care for him.

God's solution to the separation between Himself and His creatures is the creation of a witness, a living temple, a body, a servant who knows God and who also can communicate with human beings. The Servant of the Lord has one hand in God's hand and the other hand on mankind.

The Servant of the Lord is the hand and heart of God extended to the world. The justice, truth, and saving power of God are brought through the Church, through God's Israel, to every person who will receive His love and mercy.

The called-out Servant of the Lord is the Church of Christ, the Israel of God, the Wife of the Lamb. The members have been willing to work with the Holy Spirit in the destruction of sin and self-will from their own personalities. They have died to sin and self-centeredness, through the grace of God, and now are acceptable to God in Christ. Through them God will be able to bring eternal life and healing to the ends of the earth.

The Servant of the Lord is the Lord Jesus Christ who is multiplied in the members of the Body of Christ.

And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:18)

The blessings of God can come to the nations of the earth only through Christ. There is no other source of Divine help for people. It is the will of God that the Presence, love, and power of Christ come through the members of the Body of Christ.

As soon as Christ has been formed in the saints the Kingdom of God will come to the earth. In the present hour the Holy Spirit is adding people to the Church and also building up the spiritual quality of the Church.

When the Body of Christ attains the desired level of maturity and unity the Head of the Body will appear. Then God through Christ--Head and Body--will reach out to the nations of the earth. This is the Kingdom of God, of Heaven, that is at hand.

We must not, however, relegate the saving, healing power of Christ to the future coming of the Kingdom. It is God's will today for each member of the Body of Christ, each Christian believer, to prepare himself or herself to be a well of healing, delivering power through whom the Lord Jesus can touch and relieve the distressing circumstances of people everywhere.

We prepare ourselves by praying, studying the Scriptures, gathering together with fervent believers whenever possible, giving, serving, and continuing in all other aspects of Christian discipleship.

We are to pray for a greater portion of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Now is the season of the latter (harvest; spring) rain. To each person asking in faith will be given "grass in the field," that is, spiritual fruitfulness (Zechariah 10:1).

Today God is preparing His saints to receive an unprecedented power to bear witness. The fullness of the latter rain is at hand. The power and glory of the latter rain will prove to be the forerunner of the coming of Christ to set up His Kingdom on the earth. It is the Elijah-Elisha anointing to show the peoples of the earth the Kingdom that is at hand so they may be saved in that hour.

The latter-rain outpouring is symbolized by the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11. Christ in and with the members of His Body (the two witnesses) will go forth in a double portion of the Spirit (the two olive trees) to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God for a testimony to every nation. The way of the Lord must be made straight.

When the testimony of power and glory has been completed there will be a season of intense spiritual darkness. The testimony of the anointed saints will be silenced in the large cities of the earth. The man of sin will rule. The Lord's people will be required to exist on the spiritual food they have stored up during the "seven good years" of revival that are upon us now.

Suddenly, at the darkest hour, Christ will appear with His saints and holy angels and destroy the man of sin.

At the coming of Christ the testimony of the saints once more will shine throughout the earth, but now in a quality and quantity of power and glory far more excellent than the latter-rain revival; although the present latter-rain revival is destined to exceed any revival of past history.

The nations are without justice in our day. They are governed spiritually by Satan and physically by politicians who are seeking their own glory, in many instances. They are bound in sin and they need someone who can set them free, who can bring the kind of Divine judgment upon Satan that will release people from their sins, making it possible for them to receive eternal life.

The peoples of the earth, and the entire realm of nature itself, are awaiting the unveiling of the sons of God.

For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)

In the day Adam and Eve sinned they died and all nature died with them. Their bodies kept on breathing. The rivers kept on flowing. The trees continued to pass through the cycles of the seasons. But spiritual life, God's Presence, had left the creation.

The only true life is the Presence of God in Christ. Adam and Eve were driven from the Presence of God, from eternal Life. Adam and Eve, and all nature along with them, died in spirit, in soul, and in body.

All the creation is dead. The unsaved are dead in spirit, in soul, and in body. People are dead because they have no contact with Life, with Christ. The contact was lost because of disobedience to God's will.

As soon as someone accepts Christ he is received of God and his inner man becomes alive with the Life of Christ. The Spirit of God is eternal Life dwelling in him. But the believer's body continues in a state of death, as is true also of those who have not been born again. There is no eternal life in the believer's flesh (Romans 8:10).

At one time Adam and Eve and all of nature were alive with spiritual life as well as with the flow of chemicals necessary for their composition and activity. But sin entered and the eternal Life of God departed. The motion of the molecules continued. The various chemical, muscular, and electrical systems kept on operating. But these do not constitute life .

There is no life in atoms and molecules. Life does not consist of breathing, growing, and moving. Life is the knowledge and Presence of God. Life is in the Person of Christ.

Christ Is the Tree of Life. Christ is the Resurrection and the Life. Mankind cannot live apart from the Divine Word of Life.

In Christ there is eternal life, and that life is the only light of men, the only truth concerning the significance and purpose of all things and events.

When Jesus returns with His saints, the entire Christ of God--Head and Body--will go throughout the earth judging behavior and executing the vengeance of God against sin (Revelation 19:11). As lust and disobedience are being destroyed out of the heavens and the earth, spiritual life will return to the creation.

All the peoples left on the earth, and the entire realm of nature as well, will be touched by the Person of Christ dwelling in His saints. Paradise will return to the earth. Eden will be restored. The trees of the field will clap their hands and the hills will skip for joy. The nature of the fiercest of animals will be made harmless and innocent.

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (Isaiah 55:12,13)

It is not God's will that the world of nature and the bodies of people be forces that lead us away from God. Rather, the Day is near at hand when nature and our bodies will lead us toward God rather than away from the Presence of God. In that Day the very rocks of the landscape will be praising God continually, reminding us of His Person, His will, His way, and His eternal purpose in Christ.

Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)

God has ordained the Servant of the Lord as the One who will bring justice, truth, and deliverance to the nations of the earth.

In order to bring eternal life, righteousness, peace, and joy to the earth on the scale God intends, the Church must be brought to maturity and unity by receiving the Glory of the Lord. As soon as the Church has been made one in the Father through the Son, the whole world will believe that God has sent Christ.

And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles [nations], and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. (Isaiah 61:9)

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23)

The prayer of Christ (above) shall be answered!

When the Servant of the Lord, who is the Temple of God, has been brought to the fullness of maturity and unity in Christ, God through the Servant will be able to wipe away the tears of the peoples of the earth.

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [which is the Church, the Servant of the Lord] is with men [with the nations of saved peoples of the earth], and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes [from the eyes of the members of the nations of the saved]; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things [that the nations have suffered since the fall of Adam and Eve] are passed away. (Revelation 21:3,4)

The preceding passage describes the coming to earth of Christ--Head and Body, for Christ is the "tabernacle of God." But the work begins today as individual Christians are able to receive the Spirit of the Lord and as the Church grows toward unity and maturity.

However, the emphasis of the Church Age is on bringing the members of the Body of Christ to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. The nations cannot be delivered until the Body of Christ has been prepared according to God's standard.

God's Servant Strengthens the Bruised Reed

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment [justice] unto truth. (Isaiah 42:3)

A bruised reed is a reed that has lost its strength and can be broken easily. A smoking flax is the wick of a lamp that has burned down, giving a dim light.

Human beings often are as bruised reeds and dimly-burning wicks. We are so battered by life that we come near to the breaking point. The light and strength of our life in many cases has nearly been destroyed.

What is the attitude of God in Christ toward the weak and oppressed? What should be the attitude of the stronger members of the Body of Christ toward the unsaved, and toward those Christians who are having difficulty serving God and making their way through the wilderness of life as they seek the city that has foundations?

The Servant of the Lord does not despise the weak. He does not flaunt His spiritual strength, His ability to choose God over Satan, His knowledge of God, His strength in the battle against the enemies of the Lord (Philippians 2:5-8).

The Servant of the Lord keeps on looking for ways to bring strength to the weak and the oil of the Holy Spirit to those whose light is going out.

Some Christians are spiritually strong. They are conquerors. They are eligible for the glorious rewards mentioned in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. They are kings and priests of God. They are the heirs of all things in joint account with the Lord Jesus Christ.

But many other believers are not strong. They are not victorious saints. They are not victorious in battle. They are not strong in the Lord. What about them?

It is the will of God that the strong assist the weak (Romans 15:1).

In the Church of Christ there are those who have been given a double portion of spiritual strength. Christian literature tells of the lives of many of God's heroes of faith. Doubtless there were, and yet are, many strong saints who are not well known.

The Lord's victorious saints do not receive spiritual strength in order to make them proud. Rather, those who receive much Divine grace are charged with the responsibility of assisting their brothers and sisters in the Lord.

. . . For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: . . . . (Luke 12:48)

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (Romans 15:1)

Our attitude toward our weaker brothers and sisters is improved when we realize God loves them just as human parents love their handicapped or sick children. God is a Father, not a harsh taskmaster who never can be pleased no matter how hard we try, who despises his weak children, who forever is cracking the whip over us and blaming us for our weaknesses and shortcomings. Such is not the personality of the Lord.

God always is encouraging us, always inviting us to better things, always cheerful and confident concerning the future, always looking for ways in which to help us along. This is not to say God does not respond in anger toward those who willfully scorn His Word (Hebrews 10:26,27)!

But in the case of so many of the weaker believers, they have no intention of scorning God's Word. They are weary, discouraged, and frightened because they know that one day they will stand before God. It is to such people who fear the Lord that the goodness and mercy of God are extended if they but knew it.

The Servant of the Lord seeks to comfort the sorrowful, to strengthen the weak, to bring faith to the wavering, inspiration to the discouraged, a new vision of hope to the perishing. The Servant continues to mend the bruised reed and to feed the flame of the feeble lamp.

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (II Timothy 2:24-26)

Many Christians are "little sisters" (Song of Solomon 8:8). They are not mature now and will not be mature at the coming of Christ. According to the writer's interpretation of the Song of Solomon, Christ does not intend to destroy the immature believers. He will deliver them and nourish them and make of them a structure of eternal value, beauty, and glory in the Kingdom of God.

We must be careful to distinguish between immature, ignorant believers who are serving the Lord sincerely, and careless, lukewarm Christians who are refusing to take up their cross and follow the Master. The careless and lukewarm, of whom there are many, are facing a frightful future. They will be spit out of the Lord's mouth. They will be assigned to outer darkness.

When the Lord Jesus appears in His Glory, His officers, His "mighty men," will appear with Him. Jesus has strong saints who will "return from the wilderness with Him," so to speak, just as was true of King David. Any Christian can be one of the Lord's "mighty men" if he or she so chooses. The believer may be weak now; but if he calls on Christ in sincerity there will come to him the strength and wisdom needed to conquer the current problems.

Christ possesses enough power to lift the faithful believer to the highest throne. But we must seek Him with all of our determination.

When the Lord Jesus returns, the wicked will be ashes under the feet of the Church.

And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4:3)

But God's people will grow up as "calves of the stall."

But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2)

Those who fear God's name will be healed when the Sun of righteousness arises. There will be no sin in that day.

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

Where there is righteousness there is healing, there is peace in the midst of tumult, there is joy in the presence of despair and grief. The Servant of the Lord ministers righteousness and blessing to God's people and also to the nations of the earth. He will continue to strengthen the bruised reed and to stir into flame the smoking flax until every soul whom God has ordained to life achieves righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

All the blessings of God are to "whoever will"; and "whoever" certainly means you!