THE CONVERGENCE Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The promises of God concerning the Kingdom always are to Jerusalem.
Those who would press forward in God today must become rightly related to Israel, for the promises of the Scriptures are to Israel. Spiritual Israel and natural Israel will come into glory at the same time, and the light of the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord will issue from the saints and cover the whole earth.
Table of Contents
A Reformation of Christian Thinking The Return of the Jews of the World to the Land of Israel Repentance and Righteous Behavior on the Part of All God’s People The Spiritual Fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles The Coming of the Kingdom of God to the Earth The Organizing of the Body of Christ Into an Army The Convergence of the Spiritual and Material Realms Physical Israel Spiritual Israel The Travail of the "Woman" The Warlike "Remnant" "One Stick" in Christ’s Hand
There appear to be several dimensions of the present-day burden of the Spirit of the Lord. For example:
A reformation of Christian thinking.
The return of the Jews of the world to the land of Israel.
Repentance and righteous behavior on the part of all God’s people.
The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
The coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
The organizing of the Body of Christ into an army.
It is our point of view that these six dimensions will converge in the near future, culminating in the return of Christ to the earth.
Christian theology is founded on the atoning blood and triumphant resurrection of Christ. On this sure foundation has been constructed an assortment of traditions and fables.
Among these traditions and fables are the following:
The concept of eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven as the goal of the Christian salvation.
The existence of a "Gentile Church."
An any-moment pre-tribulation "rapture" of the believers in Christ to provide an escape from Antichrist and the great tribulation.
The concept of the new covenant as a "new dispensation"—a work of God separate from all that has gone before in the dealings of God with His elect.
The concept of a Gentile Church in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth.
The concept of Divine grace as an alternative to godly behavior.
And recently—in the Charismatic movement—such manifestly unscriptural emphases and practices as:
The regarding of faith as a force within people they can release in order to accomplish their own ends.
The Christian’s right to be prosperous and successful in the present world and to be free from suffering.
The "dominion kingdom" and "replacement theology" positions.
Most of what is being preached today in Christian churches is unscriptural, although in many instances some scriptural teaching is included.
The most serious error, and perhaps the basis for the other errors, is the perverting of the definition of "grace." New covenant "grace" is the Divine enablement for our transformation into the image of Christ. Today "grace" is being defined as an unconditional amnesty whereby a believer in Jesus can continue in sin and still be assured of the blessing of God.
Such a monstrous doctrine reflects an ignorance of Paul’s teaching. It is a changing of Paul’s argument against the Judaizers into a special Divine indulgence toward the Gentile believers—an excusing of their immoral behavior. The truth is, God always requires righteous behavior on the part of His creatures.
Humanism (the happiness of people is the supreme good), Gnosticism (salvation removes us from the material world so we may live forever in the spirit realm), antinomianism (Christians are under no law) and Dispensationalism (Gentiles are saved by Divine forgiveness apart from moral transformation) are "four horsemen" of error that prevent Christians from perceiving what the Scripture actually teaches.
The "four horsemen" compose a spirit of blindness of tremendous power and influence that will not be driven from the churches without concerted prayer and faith on the part of the believers in Christ.
The current revival includes an opening of our understanding of the Scriptures and we hope that the contemporary errors will pass away like the dew before the rising of the morning sun.
The Christian believers, for the most part, are acquainted only with the rudiments of true scriptural theology. The remainder of their understanding is not scriptural.
No doubt the current return of the Jews to the land of Israel is the most important sociological phenomenon of the twentieth century. This move is of God, being nothing less than the fulfillment of the writings of the Prophets.
There is no authority or power on earth that can prevent Jacob from returning home to his land of promise. The nations that attempt to hinder the return of the Jewish people to their homeland will be destroyed.
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that they shall no more say, The Lord liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land. (Jeremiah 23:7,8)
The Spirit of Christ is speaking here of a second exodus of Israel. The enormous significance of the second exodus can be seen in the fact that its importance will eclipse the first exodus.
The first exodus always has been uppermost in the mind of the Jews, being the outstanding event of their history. That God no more will be known as the Lord of the exodus from Egypt but as the Lord of the exodus from the country north of Israel, and from the remainder of the nations of the earth, reveals to us the importance of what is beginning in our day.
In some instances the nations in which the Jews are dwelling are attempting to prevent their return to Israel. Such nations will be visited with Divine judgment.
In other cases the Jews themselves prefer to remain where they are or to move to a more wealthy nation in the hope of living a life of material abundance. This is a mistake on their part.
The Jews are not like the other peoples of the earth. They are a special, called-out race, a nation of priests. Their business in life is to serve God, to be married to God. When they are not waiting on the Lord as His servants and witnesses they are ignoring their Divinely ordained role among mankind.
The reason the Jews have suffered throughout history is that they have neglected to serve God in prayer and holiness. The Jews who insist on living in abundance in this world, who neglect the call of the Spirit to return to Israel, will be driven back to Israel by tribulation.
Many of the Jews in Israel do not believe in God and are not seeking to serve God with all their heart. God will take care of their faithlessness in His time and in His way. It is imperative, we believe, that the Jews return to the land of Israel in the present hour.
It is time for the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament observance of the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur ). Yom Kippur is the most solemn of the Hebrew convocations. It calls for the deepest searching of the heart, for godly sorrow for our sins, for repentance, for a return to righteous behavior.
It is time for the Jews of the world to repent of their sins and to serve the Lord God of their fathers. It is time for the Christians of the world to repent of their sins and to walk according to the words of Christ and of His Apostles.
Whoever does not repent and begin to walk in righteousness and holiness in the present hour will come under the judgment of God. In fact, even those who are seeking the Lord with all their heart will come under judgment and will experience much trouble and suffering. This is because the Lord is making us worthy of the Kingdom soon to come to the earth (II Thessalonians :5).
There were three times when all the Hebrew males were to present themselves before the Lord: in the feast of Unleavened Bread, in the feast of Weeks, and in the feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16).
The feast of Unleavened Bread typifies the salvation experience.
The feast of Weeks speaks of the baptism of the believer with the Holy Spirit.
The feast of Tabernacles portrays the entrance of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit into the faithful saint to make Their eternal abode with him (John 14:23).
The plan of God from the beginning has been to create a holy dwelling place for Himself. The elect of God, the saints, are called out from the world in order to be living stones in the eternal Temple of God.
It is God’s will to reveal Himself to the nations of the earth, to live among the various peoples whom He has created. God intends to reveal himself through the individuals He has chosen.
It is God’s will that every person be saved, and God has made provision for the salvation of each individual. Unfortunately some will not accept the gift of God through Christ.
In addition to the nations of the saved there is the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the royal priesthood. The members of the royal priesthood are the dwelling place of God, the new Jerusalem.
God saves His elect, and then fills them with His Holy Spirit. After that, God uses many devices in order to build each individual into a dwelling place for Himself.
Multitudes of believers have experienced the spiritual fulfillment of the week of Unleavened Bread (salvation through the blood of the cross) and the feast of Pentecost.
Today the Holy Spirit is emphasizing the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. Each of us is to follow Jesus with dedication. As we do, the Holy Spirit gives us victory over all sin and self-will in preparation for the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in us.
The entrance of the Lord’s people into the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is one of the principal burdens of the Spirit in the hour in which we are living.
The coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth is the main subject of the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament.
The coming of the Kingdom was preached by John the Baptist, by the Lord Jesus, and by the Apostles. The proclaiming of the Kingdom soon gave way to the development of a religion and the construction of special edifices known as cathedrals, churches, chapels, and so forth. The Christian liturgy and accompanying culture came into being.
The Christian religion, the music, the structures, the liturgies, and the other elements of the Christian culture are accommodations to the concepts and plans of humans. The denominations are attempts to consolidate the achievements of the religious workers.
Very little of the Christian religion and culture, as we know them, is of God. They are a temporary scaffolding God has permitted for a season. God will do away with them in His time.
The Divine redemption is not a religion. On the one hand it is a personal discipleship to the risen Jesus of Nazareth. On the other hand it is a kingdom—a kingdom that will be brought into the earth suddenly and with great violence. The ministries of the Body of Christ are for the purpose of perfecting the Body—the Body being the Kingdom that will invade the earth.
We are drawing near to the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven to the earth. Soon the whole face of Christianity as we know it will be changed. The Hebrew Prophets have many things to say about the coming of the Kingdom, about the Day of the Lord, about the return of the Lord Jesus from Heaven.
The coming of the Lord will not be the Sunday-school picnic we have imagined. The coming of the Lord is the invasion of the earth by holy, militant people in whom God and His Christ are dwelling. It is an army of judges that is poised at the door (Jude 1:14,15).
The apostolic meaning of being "saved" is to be spared the destructive wrath of God when the Kingdom comes to the earth. It does not matter whether we are physically alive or dead when the Kingdom comes, for the Kingdom is a convergence of the material and spirit realms.
The Kingdom of God deals with living and dead people with equal visibility and effectiveness. There will be no place to hide during the Day of the Lord for physical death will flee at the Presence of Christ (Revelation 6:16; 9:6; 20:13).
The second chapter of Joel, the third chapter of Habakkuk, and the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation portray the army of Christ, the army of the Kingdom of God, the army of holy judges that soon will enter the earth and drive out all sin and rebellion.
We cannot see in Church history a period of time during which the army of Christ has been formed, although undoubtedly the individual soldiers have been trained throughout Church history. Therefore we believe the army will be organized and many soldiers brought forth during the period from now until Christ returns. This especially may be true of the children who are being raised in the present hour. (Perhaps this is why evil spirits are placing such an emphasis on abortion.)
The movement of Israel from Egypt to Canaan is a type of the movement of the Christian Church from bondage to the world to rest in resurrection life. There came a time when the army was organized (Chapter 10 of Numbers). This took place after the Law was given on Mount Sinai.
The giving of the Law of Moses to Israel is typical of the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Christian saint. Mount Sinai speaks of Pentecost.
Two programs went into effect after the giving of the Law:
The construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
The organizing of Israel into an army.
It is the writer’s point of view that these two programs are the main purpose for the Christian Era: (1) the building of the Body of Christ, which is the Tabernacle of God; and (2) the organizing of the army of Christ.
During the Christian Era there also has been a witness given of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. But the principal works of the Christian Era have been the beginning of the creation of the eternal Temple of God, and the procuring and training of the officers and soldiers of the army of Christ.
The Christian believers of today are anything but an army. Out from the babylonish (manmade, man-centered, man-directed) confusion of the denominations and churches are being called the officers and soldiers of Christ’s army. The Lord’s warriors are gaining, through Christ’s Virtue, victory over the world, victory over Satan, victory over the lusts of the body, and victory over self-love and self-will. There is no place in Christ’s army for anything less than total victory.
Such an army of victorious saints will be formed prior to the coming of the Commander in Chief from Heaven.
It seems impossible, given the "dead bones" of today; but the army of conquering judges indeed will be formed and no authority or power in the heavens or on the earth can prevent their coming to the perfection God has ordained (Joel 2:2-11; Isaiah 13:3-5; Habakkuk 3:13-16; Malachi 4:3; Jude 14,15; Revelation 19:14).
No doubt there will have to be a disruption of our environment before the believers in Christ will be willing to turn away from the world and give themselves wholly to the rigorous training required of the soldiers of Christ. Whatever is necessary will be done, for the Kingdom of God cannot be installed on the earth until the army of judges has been formed.
We have listed six aspects of the present-day burden of the Spirit of the Lord:
The need for a reformation of Christian thinking.
The return of the Jews of the world to the land of Israel.
Repentance and righteous behavior on the part of all God’s people.
The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
The coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
The organizing of the Body of Christ into an army.
We have stated further that these six aspects will converge in the near future, finding their ultimate purpose and oneness in the return of Christ to the earth to establish His Kingdom. Jesus shall reign on the Throne of David in Jerusalem and His Kingdom will include all the nations of saved peoples of the earth and all the territories of the earth.
Christian thinking must be reformed, because the current assortment of traditions and fables has left the believers in an appalling state of spiritual babyhood. They understand little beyond being "saved" or being "saved and filled with the Spirit."
The tentacles of humanism, Gnosticism, antinomianism, and Dispensationalism have penetrated Christian thinking and preaching until the understanding of the nature and goal of the new covenant has been destroyed.
The Christians of today are not able to receive the solid food of the Word of God because they are babies, not having their senses exercised to discern the difference between good and evil.
When they are aware of the difference between good and evil they do not have enough spiritual strength to reject the evil and choose the good. Instead they claim it does not matter whether or not they serve the Lord because they are saved by "grace."
How can such spiritual infants serve as the ladder that joins earth to Heaven? How can the sinning, self-serving believers of today be transformed from mortality into immortality while standing on their feet, as will be true of those who remain physically alive until the revealing of Christ?
The appearing of the Lord depends on the coming to spiritual maturity of the saints, on the development of a great and strong people who can drive out sin and rule with the Lord Jesus. The coming to spiritual maturity of the saints depends on their having access to the solid food of the Word of God. The prevailing accumulation of traditions and fables is not the solid food of the Word of God.
The Jews must return to the land of Israel because the Prophets reveal that the Jews will be in their land when Christ returns. The second exodus, the exodus from the north country and from all the other countries of the dispersion, must take place before Christ descends to the Mount of Olives.
We Christians are to do all in our power to assist the Jewish people as the Spirit of God points them toward immigration to their land. God will bless those who help His original chosen people.
We Christians are not to force our doctrinal beliefs (many of which are incorrect) down their throats. We merely are to assist the Jews as the Spirit of God brings them back to their land in preparation for the coming of the Deliverer to them (Romans 11:26).
All of God’s people are to repent and turn to righteousness in the present hour. This includes both the Jews and the Christians. We now are in the days of the coming of the Refiner (Malachi 3:1-3). Judgment has begun in the house of God.
The Jews and Gentiles who humble themselves will be spared in the Day of Wrath. The Jews and Gentiles who do not humble themselves, who do not repent and turn away from their sin and self-love, will be visited with fiery tribulation. Some will fall away from God. The love of the majority will grow cold. The way of the Lord will be made straight.
We who have experienced the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost, who have spoken in tongues and have praised God in the Spirit, are to press forward to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. If we turn to Jesus with all our heart, doing what He has commanded us, the Father and the Son will enter us through the Holy Spirit to a greater extent than we have known (John 14:23).
The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles will continue to increase in power and revelation until the fullness of the Light of God arises within and upon the saints and they are revealed to the world. This will take place at the time of the return of Christ from Heaven.
The Kingdom of God is at hand. The return of the Jews to Israel is one of the major signs that the Kingdom of God soon is to come from Heaven to the earth. Because our fables and traditions view the goal of the Christian redemption as eternal residence in mansions in Heaven (revealing the influence of Gnosticism), a reformation of Christian theology is necessary. The Lord’s people who are Gentiles do not realize that the Hebrew Prophets are talking to them as well as to the land and people of Israel (I Peter 1:10-12).
The Kingdom of God is described in the Prophets. The Hebrew Prophets reveal the destiny of the elect of God as well as of the nations of the saved. The destiny of the elect is to serve God as a royal priesthood in the earth. The heavenly aspect of the Kingdom is being perfected now and will enter the earth at the coming of Christ.
The spiritual life of the Body of Christ, of the Kingdom of God, is in Heaven in Christ at the right hand of God. A small part of the members of the Body are alive on the earth.
The spiritual life of the Kingdom of God, of the Body of Christ, is increasing in the present hour as the saints are taught of the need for victory over sin and self-will. Many tribulations yet will come upon us so our perfecting may be completed. This is a spiritual perfecting, not a physical perfecting. That which is taking place in our lives while we yet are on the earth is bringing to maturity our spiritual life in Heaven.
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:22,23)
The spirits of righteous men are being made perfect through much tribulation. As we see it, the purpose of tribulation is to bring the Bride of the Lamb to unblemished beauty—the beauty of holiness to the Lord—in preparation for the Lord’s coming to receive her.
Today the elect of God and all the other peoples of the earth are to repent, because the Kingdom of God soon is to come to the earth.
Every human being is to turn away from his sins, be baptized in water, and live in humility before God. Those who do so will be saved when the Kingdom comes. Those who do not will experience the wrath of God. It is the meek, the humble who will inherit the earth in the Day of the Lord.
The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the entering of the Father and the Son through the Spirit into the elect. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints ruling over the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
Therefore the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is necessary if the Kingdom of God is to come to the earth.
Because the Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven, and because the peoples of the earth are under the control of Satan and are rebelling against God’s will, it is clear (and the Prophets confirm this) that the Kingdom of God will be installed on the earth with violence.
The Kingdom of God will be established on the earth by the army of the Kingdom. Christ-filled warriors of the Lord will descend from Heaven on the war horses of God. They are the great and strong soldiers of the second chapter of Joel, the third chapter of Habakkuk, and the nineteenth chapter of Revelation. They will execute the fury of the Lord. The wicked will be crushed to powder under their feet.
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)
In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. (Zechariah 12:8)
It is not too difficult to understand, therefore, that these six current burdens of the Holy Spirit are interrelated and that they will converge and culminate in the return of Christ to the earth.
Let us turn to the thirty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, the chapter of the "dry bones." This chapter is an excellent example of the principle of convergence.
Convergence is an important concept to grasp in the present hour.
The Kingdom of God is a convergence of the spiritual and material realms. The fullness of what today is in Heaven at the right hand of God is destined to find material expression in the earth in the Day of Christ. The spiritual will clothe itself with the physical. This is the Kingdom of God—the clothing of righteous spirits with the physical creation.
Another convergence that will take place is the covering of the earthly form of the victorious saint with spiritual life and glory that have been formed by means of his tribulations on the earth.
It is as though a mechanic had taken a machine apart, had repaired, cleaned, and oiled the several parts, and then had put them back together. So it is that God has separated our physical nature and our spiritual nature for a season while our spiritual nature is being perfected. When our spiritual nature has been made perfect, then our personality will be joined together once again.
Yet another convergence must be considered, and that is the convergence of the Christian Church, which is the Body of Christ, and the physical land and people of Israel.
The convergence of the Christian Church and the land and people of Israel is a part of the convergence of the spiritual and material realms. The Christian Church, including both elect Jews and elect Gentiles, is the spiritual dimension of God’s Israel, while the land and the people of Israel remain bound in the material realm. Yet the two dimensions of Israel are one Kingdom and are destined to converge.
When reading the Hebrew Prophets we can note that some passages apply to the physical land and people of Israel and do not lend themselves to a spiritual interpretation, except by fanciful applications.
For the head of Syria is Damascus, and the head of Damascus is Rezin; and within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people. (Isaiah 7:8)
Obviously the above verse is not to be spiritualized and applied to the Christian Church.
A second category of passages point directly toward Christ and those who are part of Christ’s spiritual Kingdom.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:12)
The second category (the passages that point directly to Christ and His Kingdom) apply to all who are of spiritual Israel—Jews and Christians alike. The term Israel refers primarily to spiritual Israel, that is, to all those (Jews and Gentiles) who are part of Christ.
There is a natural, physical Israel. When we are thinking of Israel we need to differentiate in our mind whether we are considering spiritual Israel or physical Israel.
Although the natural Jews have lost the Divine favor for a season, we must remember that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. God never changes His mind because He knows the end from the beginning. It was from natural Israel that the first Christian church was formed. In the last days God shall turn again to natural Israel and shall take from them a people for His name. Those whom God elects in that day will become an integral part of spiritual Israel, of the Body of Christ. Let us always keep in mind that the ultimate manifestation of salvation is the new Jerusalem.
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)
Notice in the following passage that in the last days God will purify a remnant of natural Israel.
And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. (Zechariah 13:8,9)
While it is possible the above passage may apply also to spiritual Israel, the Church, it appears to be pointed toward natural Israel.
These two categories of the utterances of the Hebrew Prophets, those addressed to natural Israel and those addressed to spiritual Israel, are not laid out in neat packages. The words of the Prophets pass from one category to another such that only the Spirit of God can indicate to us what God is declaring. The efforts of scholars to analyze the Prophets do little more than divide the scholars.
The Prophets, when speaking of the Kingdom of God, were addressing Christ and those who are His, that is, spiritual Israel.
Unto whom [the Hebrew Prophets] it was revealed, that not unto themselves [the physical Israelites], but unto us [the Christians—Jews and Gentiles] they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. (I Peter 1:12)
It is the writer’s point of view that the richest yield of Divine truth is obtained when we accept the principle of convergence, recognizing that the Spirit of God moves back and forth between the natural land and people of Israel and their spiritual counterpart in the Christian Church, with the intention of bringing the natural kingdom into union with the perfected spiritual kingdom.
As we have stated previously, the thirty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel is an example of the moving of the Spirit of Christ back and forth between natural Israel and spiritual Israel, with the end in view of their convergence in Christ.
The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, (Ezekiel 37:1)
Here is an example of prophetic utterance that applies both to physical Israel and spiritual Israel. It may be true that the dead bones are a picture of the Jewish people of today and also of the members of the Body of Christ. One does not have to strain the allegory in either instance.
If such be the case, the bringing of the bones together, the binding of them with sinew, and the covering of them with flesh and skin, is showing us that the Spirit of God in His sovereign workings will establish a powerful nation of Israel, and also make a powerful army of the members of the Body of Christ.
When we speak of the breathing of life into the army God has created, we have to go a bit more slowly. This could be illustrative of an awakening of national life on the part of the nation of Israel. One could think of the bringing of the Jews out of their "graves" (verse 13) as signifying the return of the Jews from Russia and from the other nations where they have been dispersed.
Perhaps this is true. However, the expression "will put my spirit in you" (verse 14) does not seem to indicate an awakening of a national human spirit. God’s Spirit is not a national, soulish spirit. The Spirit of God is God and not man.
Therefore, even if the bringing of the Jews out of their graves is referring to their returning from the nations among which they have been dispersed, it is clear that after they have been brought together they will be filled with God’s Holy Spirit.
We would suggest that two events are portrayed here, one involving natural Israel and one involving spiritual Israel. Eventually spiritual Israel and natural Israel will be brought together into one kingdom. Ezekiel, Chapter 37 is speaking of "the whole house of Israel" (verse 11) (reminding us of Paul’s expression, "all Israel"—Romans 11:26).
When employing the term "spiritual Israel" we are referring to the members of the Body of Christ. These members are both Jewish and Gentile by race. They constitute an elect whose eyes have been opened while the remainder of the Jews and Gentiles continue in spiritual darkness.
(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day. (Romans 11:8)
When employing the term "natural Israel" we are speaking of the physical land and people of Israel. It is our point of view that the land and people of Israel will be filled with eternal life at the coming of Christ. Spiritual Israel, being glorified together with Jesus in the Day of the Lord, will appear from Heaven and bring eternal life to physical Israel.
The good olive tree is Christ. The natural seed of Abraham, the physical Jews, were at one time part of the good olive tree, according to the promise of God. When Christ returns, the natural seed of Abraham will be born again "at once" by the Spirit of God, being grafted back on their tree, the good olive tree, according to the promise of God.
Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. (Isaiah 66:8)
Let us think for a moment about the two events portrayed in Ezekiel, Chapter 37, one involving natural Israel and one involving spiritual Israel. As we have stated previously, spiritual Israel and natural Israel will be brought together into one Kingdom of God; and so we have the expression, "the whole house of Israel," and "all Israel" (Ezekiel 37:11; Romans 11:26).
The first event has to do with the return of the Jews to the holy land and the restoring of the Glory of God to the land and people of Israel, as depicted by the assembling and clothing of the dry bones, the breathing of life into the bones, and the raising of them from the dead.
The second event has to do with bringing together the members of the Body of Christ, of the elect (both Jewish and Gentile), of the true saints, of the holy remnant. They will be brought together out of the many "kingdoms" (denominations) among which they have been dispersed.
They will be linked together, strengthened with "muscle and flesh," and adorned with the beauty of holiness. Then they will be raised from the dead (literally) and brought into their land in the sense of the fullness of the spiritual rest of God, and into the land of Israel literally.
The resurrected holy remnant is an army that will fall on the wicked of the earth with Divine ferocity. The coming of the army of Christ is described in the second chapter of Joel, the thirteenth chapter of Isaiah, the nineteenth chapter of Revelation, and several other chapters.
The two events of which we are speaking are as follows: (1) the gathering and glorifying of natural Israel, first as a strong nation (which has commenced already), and secondly as an integral, spiritual part of the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem; and (2) the bringing together of the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, into a Church without spot or wrinkle and the raising of the perfected Church as a powerful army that will destroy Satan and all wickedness out of the earth.
The spiritual army of victorious saints will destroy the spiritual adversary (Revelation 12:11) and later the natural enemy (Micah 5:8; Revelation 19:19,20).
Each of the two events has four aspects that are to be accomplished:
Restructuring what has been dead and scattered.
Breathing resurrection life into what has been restructured.
Bringing the restructured army into the land of Israel.
Bringing into oneness what has been divided.
Let us begin with the natural dimension of Israel—the physical Jews and the land of Israel.
The gathering and covering of the dead bones is a graphic picture of the "second exodus" of the Jews, which has begun in our day. It is our point of view that the nation of Israel, although surrounded with hostile neighbors, will, for a season, prevail and continue to grow in power and size. The land of Israel will be managed well and will be able to support the immigrants who are returning from Europe and other areas.
God’s hand is on the Jews. Woe to the nations that fight against Israel! They will be destroyed. Israel is God’s nation among the nations of the earth and God will defend it.
God has called the Jews to serve Him in righteousness and prayer. They are not as yet fulfilling their role as God’s priests. Therefore they will continue to suffer.
In the Day of the Lord, all nations will be gathered together against Jerusalem. Then the Jews will suffer much.
For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. (Zechariah 14:2)
Daniel revealed that Antichrist will take possession of Jerusalem. The Apostle Paul declared that Antichrist will take his seat in the Temple of God:
And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. (Daniel 11:45)
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. (II Thessalonians 2:4)
The Apostle Paul was referring to the prophecies of Daniel, with which he was familiar.
The Apostle John stated that there have been antichrists in the world since the first century:
Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (I John 2:18)
We already have suggested the principle of convergence, meaning that God is working simultaneously with natural Israel and spiritual Israel with the goal in mind of bringing the two together. In the Day of Christ the two, physical Israel and spiritual Israel, will become one, resulting in the salvation of "all Israel." All of God’s elect will be glorified together.
We would suggest another principle of biblical interpretation, the principle of multiple fulfillment.
It is as though the pattern of Antichrist overcoming the saints is repeated again and again until there will be a final entering of Antichrist into Jerusalem—a mature, full interpretation of the Prophets.
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the creation of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Matthew 24:15-21)
Christ will return immediately after this tribulation:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29,30)
We know from history that the Holy Place and Most Holy Place of the Temple have been defiled at the hands of the nations, and the Jews have been forced to flee for their lives. There have been many antichrists who have sought to overturn the God of the Jews and gain the worship of their fellow man.
But, in keeping with the principle of multiple fulfillment, there will be an end-time fulfillment that will be the most devilish, the most mature in wickedness, of all the manifestations of the antichrist spirit.
Notice the order of events as set forth by the Lord Jesus. They begin with the worldwide preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, which we believe is commencing today with renewed authority and power, and extend to the return of Christ in the glory of His Kingdom. The events are set forth in Matthew 24:14-31.
The preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom for a witness to all nations.
The enthroning of Antichrist as God in the Temple in Jerusalem.
The fleeing of the elect from Judea.
The tribulation resulting from man making himself God.
The arising of false Christs and false prophets.
The darkening of the sun and moon, and disturbances in the heavens.
The coming of the Son of Man with power and glory.
The gathering together of His elect at the sound of the trumpet.
We would suggest there is an interval of time between Zechariah 14:2 and 14:3. It appears to us that Antichrist will enter Jerusalem and claim to be God. At that point there will arise a persecution of the Jews, and also of the true Christians because they have been grafted on the olive tree of Israel.
The result of man sitting as God in the Temple of God will be an unparalleled desolating of the whole earth.
Whenever man attempts to discard God and rule as God without God, the result always is desolation—the wrecking and impoverishing of everything of value. Today the nations of the earth, in their "sophistication," are attempting to guide their destinies apart from God. We can expect economic collapse, disease, war, and every other painful, terrifying situation to result from the current folly.
Immediately after the tribulation there will be catastrophic events in the heavens. One can imagine the effect on the earth of the darkening of the sun and the moon. Men will cry out in anguish when they behold the fearful events taking place in the sky above them.
When life returns to normal, after the stupendous signs in the heaven, and people are confident of peace and safety, the Lord Jesus will suddenly appear and send His angels to gather together all His elect, whether in the heavens or on the earth. They all will be gathered together in Him.
Now He will go forth to fight against the nations that have harmed the holy city.
Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. (Zechariah 14:3)
. . . and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (Zechariah 14:5)
It is the coming of Christ in the fire of His glory that will destroy Antichrist and save the Lord’s people. Jesus will come with His victorious saints and deliver the land and people of Israel, bringing the Glory of God to the Holy Land.
Paul taught us the same thing:
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the Presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (II Thessalonians 1:7-10)
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (II Thessalonians 2:8)
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Romans 11:26)
It is clear from the Scriptures that Christ will destroy Antichrist and his armies by the power and glory of His coming. The teaching that Christ will come but not destroy Antichrist until seven years later, or three and one-half years later, is, as far as we can see, totally lacking in scriptural support.
If there is to be a secret coming of the Lord before His appearing in glory, such a secret coming ought to be taught plainly in several passages of the Scriptures. There is no passage of the Scriptures that describes a secret coming of Christ before His coming to destroy Antichrist.
When the Lord comes, every eye shall see Him. The elect will be gathered to Him. Then He will pour out His wrath on the wicked of the earth.
The "Lots" will be called out of the cities marked for destruction. The "Abrahams" will rule with Christ in that hour. God’s kings and judges will administer the chastisement of the wicked.
To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalms 149:9)
The "ten horns," perhaps the members of a united Europe, will destroy the institutionalized church—the whore that has persecuted the true saints throughout the Christian Era and is filled with every demon.
And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. (Revelation 17:16)
We have seen, then, the application of the thirty-seventh chapter of Ezekiel to the nation of Israel. There is taking place now a "second exodus" of the Jews. Although surrounded by hostile countries the nation of Israel is becoming ever stronger.
In the days to come there will be increasing persecution against the Jews. Many Jews will receive Jesus as Christ, making them members of the Body of Christ along with the elect Gentiles. It appears that the nation of Israel will continue its pursuit of material prosperity, largely ignoring its calling as a kingdom of priests to the Lord.
Finally the nations of the earth will come up against Jerusalem to battle. God will permit Antichrist to enter the Holy Land. Then there will be a period of trouble for the Jews. Many will flee from Judea. These are the days of "Jacob’s trouble," of the great tribulation.
Antichrist will sit in the Temple of God in Jerusalem for a season. There will be massive signs in the heavens, the sun and the moon turning dark. The "powers of the heavens" will be shaken in some manner. The "stars shall fall from heaven" (probably not the physical stars of the firmament but those personages, both angelic and human, who stand in the presence of the Lord). After these signs the nations will return to "business as usual," exclaiming "peace and safety have come!"
At the time of the spiritual darkness, when all appears normal, Christ will appear. His elect will be gathered together to Him. Now will He descend with His army of judges and angels to destroy the wicked out of the earth.
The feet of the Lord will rest on the Mount of Olives. Antichrist and his armies will be attacked and destroyed. The resurrected saints will enter the holy city. It will be then, we believe, that the Spirit of God will be poured out on the nation of Israel. Jerusalem will be filled with the Glory of the Lord. The nation of Israel will be born again of God’s Spirit "at once."
Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. (Isaiah 32:15)
The Redeemer shall come to Zion:
So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 59:19,20)
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:1)
In that day the Lord Jesus will sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem surrounded by His saints of all ages. There will be one fold and one Shepherd. Spiritual and natural Israel will have converged forming one Wife of the Lamb.
The Apostles of the Lamb will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The victorious saints will go forth from Jerusalem, being filled with God and Christ, to rule over the nations that were not destroyed when the Lord Jesus and His army descended from Heaven.
Jesus will be King over all Israel in that day.
We have discussed briefly the significance of Ezekiel, Chapter 37 for the physical nation of Israel. Let us turn now to the application of this chapter to spiritual Israel, to the members of the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the Wife of the Lamb, the Christian Church, the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the eternal Temple of God.
The Body of Christ is a remnant including elect Jews and Gentiles. Many Jews are being called by Christ in our day. Blindness has come on the physical nation of Israel, but only in part; for there is an elect of Israel today as was true in the first century.
In the seventh chapter of the Book of Revelation we read of the sealing in their foreheads of 144,000 members of "all the tribes of Israel." Whether or not this is the same group mentioned in Revelation 14:1 we do not know. Whether or not these are people who were born Jews we do not know. The purpose of the sealing is to protect them from the plagues of the trumpets.
The 144,000 who are sealed are God’s remnant. They are "servants of God." They are sealed in their forehead.
The concept of the servant of God is important. It appears that the majority of Christians are not servants of God. They are "saved" by believing and being baptized in water. However they are pursuing their own survival, pleasure, and ambitions in the present world. They may be saved from wrath but they are not active members of the Body of Christ. They are not servants of the Lord.
The active members of the Body of Christ are described as follows:
And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17)
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)
The true saint is the one who keeps God’s commandments and does so because he is married to Christ. It is his union with the Lord Jesus that enables him to keep God’s commandments. The concept that these are Jewish saints because they keep God’s commandments reveals the influence of antinomianism on today’s theology. Some scholars believe that the Book of First John was written to combat antinomianism (we are saved apart from keeping God’s commandments).
The greatest theological error of our day is the doctrine that believing in Christ releases us from the obligation to keep diligently the eternal moral law of God.
How many believers in Christ are being destroyed by Satan because they are under the impression that being saved "by grace" means they do not have to serve God? Listen to the eternal Word of God:
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:4)
It is time for repentance among Christians. Our doctrine is a shambles. Our moral stature is deplorable. We have been deceived.
The true servants of God are sealed "in their foreheads." This means that God in His goodness has established His sovereign will in their minds, according to the new covenant (Hebrews 8:10), just as the Orthodox Jew wears his phylactery on his forehead..
Only those who have had the sealing of God’s will in their mind will be able to discern and resist the satanic delusions of the last days. It already is true. The believers are living in deception. Of a thousand believers there may be one who understands. There is a remnant who are hearing the Spirit of God. Blessed are those who have ears to hear in our time.
The majority are falling into the moral filthiness of Babylon (man-directed Christianity). They are foolish, desiring to be entertained, heaping to themselves teachers who for money and popularity tickle their ears.
Sometimes the teachers of today refer to the Scriptures. But there is no power in their utterances because they are ministering from their flesh and soul and not from their death on the cross with the Lord Jesus.
The battle is for the mind. Antichrist is a deceiver. The Christians are inundated every day by information and persuasion from the television, radio, and reading material. The temptation is to yield to the media and allow Satan-inspired people to do our thinking for us.
The wise saint spends little time listening to the knowledge and opinions of the ungodly. He is turning to prayer as an alternative to the communication devices of the world.
We must be renewed by the transformation of our mind. If we do not seek God with diligence and intensity we surely will allow the thinking of Antichrist to conform us to the world system.
Change into the image of the world is taking place in the minds of the majority of Christians. They are not offering their bodies as a living sacrifice to the Lord and so God is not sealing their minds with His will. They are not guarding the Word of Christ’s patience and so Christ will not guard them during the hour of temptation.
It is our point of view that many Jews will be driven from their places of security during the tribulation just as Jacob and his sons were driven from the Holy Land during the famine. The elect of Israel will be reconciled to their "Joseph." Hopefully many of us Gentiles will be used of the Lord in the process of reconciliation.
There will be one elect, one purified remnant consisting of both Jews and Gentiles by physical birth.
However, it will not be as has been true historically where the Christians have attempted to force the Jews to become Gentiles, to leave their culture and heritage. The reconciliation of the Jews to Christ will be, as is happening today in so many instances, a direct revelation of Christ to the individual Jew. Let each of us Gentiles be sensitive to the Lord’s will so we do not hinder what God is doing among His chosen people.
We have stated that Ezekiel, Chapter 37 sets forth four phases of restoration:
Restructuring what has been dead and scattered.
Breathing resurrection life into what has been restructured.
Bringing the restructured army into the land of Israel.
Bringing into oneness what has been divided.
Let us apply these four phases to spiritual Israel.
In our day the Body of Christ is a valley of dry bones. But there is a stirring. Believers in various places are being awakened by the Spirit of God to the deplorable, chaotic condition of the churches. Truly, the Christian churches of our day are becoming prisons of unclean spirits.
It is the writer’s point of view that one of the purposes of the tribulation is to perfect the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb. It will require much suffering before the Christian Church begins to be without spot or wrinkle or blemish of any kind.
The tribulation shall produce the desired result.
In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (Isaiah 4:2-4)
There will be a fulfillment of the above passage in the physical land and people of Israel, as we have pointed out. Great suffering will be involved but the end will be a purified Jerusalem.
The above passage applies also—and particularly—to spiritual Israel. Spiritual Israel, as we have stated, is made up of the elect Jews and Gentiles, those who have been called to be part of the Body of Christ.
Notice the perfection for which the Body of Christ is destined:
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)
This unity, knowledge, perfection, and maturity indeed shall be brought into being. The ministries given by the ascended Christ will play their role. The latter rain must fall in order to give the required growth. Then the burning sun of tribulation must harden the "heads of wheat" until the desired perfection and beauty have been attained.
The Bride of the Lamb is destined to be perfect.
God will accomplish this by His wisdom and power.
When the army of the Lord has been restructured (and the Wife of the Lamb is just that—an army), the Lord Jesus will return from Heaven and breathe resurrection life into the remains of the saints who have died physically while abiding in Christ, and into the bodies of the true saints who are alive at the coming of the Lord.
Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners? (Song of Solomon 6:10)
This will be, for the members of the Body of Christ, the maturity of the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. The victorious saints will receive bodies like the glorified Jesus. The Father and the Son in the fullness of the Holy Spirit will enter the saints—now in their glorified bodies.
The saints, being filled with the Presence of the Father and the Son, will enter their "land," their inheritance in God. They have attained the "rest" of God, having submitted patiently and continually to God until they have arrived at all God has spoken concerning them from the creation of the world.
They now and forever are the eternal Temple of God and pillars in that Temple. They are the beginning, the firstfruits of the holy city, the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem will be completed and brought to perfection during the thousand-year period set aside for this purpose.
Something else has transpired here.
These victorious saints, who are kings, judges, and priests of God, have had accomplished through them a mighty work of conquest. Before physical death can be destroyed, before the Antichrist and his armies can be defeated, Satan and his angels must be cast down from their thrones in the heavens.
The casting down and destruction of the authority of the ancient dragon will be accomplished before the Lord returns. It will be performed by the angels on the basis of a company of saints who overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and by loving not their lives to the death.
The basis for the overcoming of the hosts of darkness is pictured in the Scriptures as a travail—a travail of the Christian Church to bring forth Christ in the saints (Revelation 12:2).
The travail of the Church will bring forth Christ (not Christ-likeness, but Christ) in the saints. The reason we stress that it is Christ and not Christ-likeness who is to be brought forth is so the reader will not be led to think we are speaking of our attempting to be "more like Jesus."
While it is a good thing to be more like Jesus, what is needed to bring down Satan from his throne in the heavens is the Substance, Virtue, and Life of Christ. The Divine Nature and Life of Christ must be formed in us if we are to conquer in the spiritual warfare. Christ Himself, formed and abiding in us, is the only One who can cast down the ancient dragon from his throne in the heavenlies.
Let us turn now to the Book of Isaiah to begin our study of the travail of the woman—the travail described in both the New Testament and the Old Testament. The travail of the woman and the bringing forth of Christ in the saints is the key to the events of the Day of the Lord. The deliverance of "all Israel" depends on the bringing forth of Christ.
Samson did not bring down the temple of Dagon by his life but by his death. The churches of Christ have all sorts of plans and programs, as has been true throughout Church history, with which they hope to perform the work of God in the earth. From the viewpoint of eternity, all their plans will come to nothing if they have not originated in Christ.
The work of God will be performed in our day by Christ Himself working through the saints. Until the strong man of sin and self-will has been bound in the churches, Satan’s house cannot be taken. It is only as the churches die to their own efforts and enter the travail of the Spirit that Christ can come forth and perform the work of God.
Satan fears nothing the churches can do. Satan fears no one but God and His Christ. It is only as the churches die to self-will and self-seeking that Christ can work through the saints and destroy the rule of Satan in the heavenlies.
A voice of noise from the city, a voice from the temple, a voice of the Lord that rendereth recompence to his enemies. (Isaiah 66:6)
Here is described the work of the last days, the rising of the King of kings within His saints in the beginning of vengeance on the spiritual enemy of God.
Notice the pattern:
Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. (Isaiah 66:7)
This is speaking of the bringing forth of the Lord Jesus. Zion did not travail in order to bring forth Jesus. The Lord was brought forth by a sovereign intervention of God.
Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. (Isaiah 66:8)
Before Zion travailed, the Head, Christ, was born of the Virgin Mary. However, in our day, Zion is entering the travail of the Spirit of God. The result of the travail of the Church will be the "children" mentioned above, that is, the members of the Body of Christ. This is speaking of the travail of the Christian Church to bring forth Christ in the saints. The bringing forth of Christ mentioned in the Old and New Testaments will take place on a large scale in the days just prior to the return of the Lord from Heaven.
My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
As soon as Christ has been brought forth in the Church the warlike remnant of Christians will turn their attention to the natural land and people of Israel, for Christ in the saints is the Deliver who will come out of Zion and turn away ungodliness from Jacob.
Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:3)
And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. (Revelation 12:2)
The bringing forth of Christ within the saints will result in Satan being cast down from his position of authority and power in the heavens.
And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. (Revelation 12:5)
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)
The events of the last days, including the deliverance of all Israel, depend on the overcoming of the accuser by the bringing forth of Christ in the saints. The creating and indwelling of Christ in the saints requires a group of Christians who are willing to trust in the blood of the Lamb for the forgiveness of their sins, to live and preach by the Spirit a clear profession of faith in the whole Word of God, and to let go of their lives until the will of God is performed in them perfectly.
These are the "mighty men" of the Son of David. They are a firstfruits to God and to the Lamb and will follow the Lamb forever. They are among those who are first in the Kingdom even though they have emerged in the last days.
Everything hinges on the travail of the Church and the bringing forth of Christ in a company of victorious saints. Will you choose to be one of these? Will you give yourself to the work of the Lord so redemption may come to all Israel and then to the nations of the earth?
We do not pay the price of redemption in the same manner that was true of the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary. But unless we are willing to pay the price of laying down our life for the Lord Jesus and His Gospel it is not possible for the full victory of Jesus to be expressed in and through us.
The Lord has a company of people whom He has afflicted who are not "at home" in the churches.
In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth [the lame], and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; (Micah 4:6)
What will the Lord do with this humbled remnant, these lame "Jacobs" whom He has brought to grief?
And I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. (Micah 4:7)
"Zion" is the citadel of Jerusalem, the first line of defense of the city. The despised remnant of believers, those who do not "fit" the ways of the churches, will be God’s Zion.
And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem. (Micah 4:8)
Zion shall enter travail and bring forth the King within herself. Then she shall cast down every spiritual foe and every natural foe.
Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth. (Micah 4:13)
The Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem before Zion travailed.
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)
The Lord Jesus has been born a Man. He is the ruler in Israel. He has had to give up the Jews, leaving them to suffer through two thousand years of persecution while they cry for Christ to come and save them.
For what is the Lord waiting? He is waiting for the Church to bring forth His brothers—those in whom He has been formed.
Therefore will he give them [the people of Israel] up, until the time that she which travaileth [the Church] hath brought forth [Christ in the saints]: then the remnant of his brethren [the sons of God] shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:3)
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be changed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)
"The remnant of his brothers." "The firstborn among many brothers."
We see in the above verse the merging into oneness of Christ’s brothers and the children of Israel. This is the Kingdom of God—the convergence of the spiritual and natural Israel.
Wherever the saints are laying hold on God, entering the travail that is bringing forth Christ in them, they are experiencing a love for the people and land of Israel. This is in fulfillment of Micah 5:3. It is beginning to take place.
Perhaps for the first time in the history of the Christian Church there is a major move of God’s saints toward recognition of the preeminence of Israel in the Kingdom of God, and a desire to love the Jewish people and to allow them to receive their Christ without becoming part of a "Gentile Church."
When she who travails has brought forth, and the brothers of the Lord return to the children of Israel, the nation of Israel will have the power to deal with its enemies.
And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. (Micah 5:8)
As we have applied the four phases of restoration to spiritual Israel, to the members of the Body of Christ, we have seen that the Body will come together in the last days, in the time in which we are living. A clear line of demarcation will be established between the true saints and the institutionalized churches. The tribulation will serve to purify and perfect the remnant, which is the Church, the Wife of the Lamb.
There shall be a travail, as we have noticed, that will bring forth Christ in the Church, in the remnant who have entered wholly into the salvation that is in Christ. As Christ is brought forth He spiritually is caught up to God and to His throne.
The saint in whom Christ has been brought forth has begun to enter the authority and power of the Throne of God. As a consequence he is able to gain victory over Satan, over the world, and over his own lusts and self-will.
Bringing forth Christ in the saints enables them to overcome the accuser of the brothers. The result of the overcoming of the accuser is the empowering of Michael and his angels to cast Satan out of the heaven, as set forth in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation.
Soon after that the Lord Jesus will appear, breathing resurrection life into the members of His purified Body. When the Lord builds up Zion He will appear in His glory. The victorious saints will stand on their feet—a terrifying army indeed!
They will enter their promised land in a spiritual sense, meaning they will inherit the fullness of the Presence of God, the spiritual "rest" of God. All things will be given to them.
In addition they will enter with the greater Son of David through the gates of physical Jerusalem, there to bring release to the people and land of Israel.
They compose the most powerful of all armies—the army of Christ.
There are many passages of Scripture that describe the army of resurrected saints:
. . . a great people and a strong, there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. (Joel 2:2)
. . . when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)
I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. (Isaiah 13:3)
. . . and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding army. (Ezekiel 37:10)
. . . and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (Zechariah 14:5)
. . . Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, (Jude 1:14)
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)
This is the entering of the Kingdom of God into the earth by the hand of God in Christ in the saints.
The nations that have invaded Jerusalem will be destroyed by the army of the Lord.
Spiritual Israel and natural Israel will come into glory at the same time and the light of the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord will issue from the saints and cover the whole earth.
Living waters will flow from Jerusalem:
And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. (Zechariah 14:8)
The living water is the Spirit of God that will flow from the saints who have entered the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. The Spirit of God always flows from the Throne of God. The purified remnant has become the firstfruits of the new Jerusalem. They are the Throne of God and of the Lamb forever.
. . . and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward:.... (Ezekiel 47:1)
The expression "eastward" refers to the rising of the Sun of righteousness, Christ, in the Day of the Lord.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Revelation 22:1)
In the last day, that great day of the feast [of Tabernacles], Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:37,38)
First the purified remnant must enter waters to the loins, and then waters to swim in. Then, when the Lord returns, the same Holy Spirit will flow from the remnant to the nations of saved peoples of the earth:
Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. (Ezekiel 47:8)
The spirit of Jerusalem is being perfected today in the warrior-remnant of saints. The eternal Life of God is being developed in them.
In the Day of Christ, this eternal, incorruptible resurrection life will be brought by Christ and the members of His Body into the natural Jerusalem on the earth, causing it to become both the spiritual and the physical capital of the world.
Until Satan has been overthrown in the spirit realm it is impossible for Jerusalem to be released into the liberty that always accompanies the glory of the children of God. The spiritual victory can be attained only as there is a company of victorious saints who place all their trust in the blood of the Lamb, who follow the Holy Spirit until the testimony of God has been established in them, and—perhaps most important of all, most central to the bringing forth of Christ—who are willing to love not their lives to the death.
In them Christ is brought forth. Christ in them gains victory in the heavenlies, in the spirit realm.
As soon as the spiritual victory has been won, Satan will be cast down to the earth. Then Christ will come at the head of His army and crush the armies of the earth. Christ will sit on the Throne of David in the city of Jerusalem. Through His saints He will bring all the nations of the saved into obedience to Himself. The resistance of the nations to Christ’s rule through the saints will be broken by the rod of iron of His power.
The Jews will be delivered and will enter their inheritance because they are the chosen of the Lord. They have been punished for twenty-five hundred years. Now it is time for them once again to become the blessed of the Lord.
The army of purified saints always will be with the Lord Jesus for they are pillars in the Temple of God. They are the victorious saints and all things have been given to them for an inheritance. They will stand in the Presence of the Father forever—ages without end.
The army of saints includes people of Jewish and Gentile origin.
Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions: (Ezekiel 37:16)
It is our point of view that Judah represents the Jews and Ephraim represents the multitude of nations that have been grafted on Israel through Christ.
Ephraim, the second son of Joseph, was claimed by Jacob along with Manasseh as belonging to him, that is, to Jacob (Israel). From that time Ephraim and Manasseh no longer were considered half-Egyptian and half-Hebrew. Ephraim and Manasseh now were genuine tribes of Israel, as genuine as Reuben or Simeon or any of the other sons of Jacob.
Whereas Manasseh is destined to be a people, Ephraim is destined to become a multitude of nations—not one nation but a multitude of nations.
And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations. (Genesis 48:19)
After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; (Revelation 7:9)
Ephraim speaks of those who at one time were Gentiles but now are of Israel.
And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. (Ezekiel 37:17)
While the joining of the two sticks may refer on a natural level to the reunion of Samaria with Jerusalem, we believe the deeper meaning is the union of Jews and Gentiles in Christ, the union of all that is of Christ.
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (Ephesians 2:15)
Until natural Israel becomes a part of Christ it possesses no incorruptible resurrection life. It remains in the bondage of the flesh. Physical Israel is Mount Sinai, Hagar, the slave woman.
Until natural Israel is joined to spiritual Israel, spiritual Israel has no physical expression in the earth, no city, no visible form through which the Glory of God can be brought to the waiting nations.
The promises of God concerning the Kingdom always are to Jerusalem. If we would reign on the earth we must enter Jerusalem and become part of Jerusalem. Those who would press forward in God today must become rightly related to Israel, for the promises of the Scripture are to Israel. The Lord Jesus is Ruler in Israel.
The day will come when Jerusalem is the Throne of God. In that day, Jerusalem on earth will be to men what Heaven is today. Jerusalem will become "heaven," and all of saved mankind will look toward Jerusalem and go to Jerusalem for the Presence and blessing of God.
At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:17)
Do we wish to remain in Paradise in the spirit realm when our Lord Jesus is ruling from the Throne of David in Jerusalem?
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore. (Ezekiel 37:24-28)
"They all shall have one shepherd."
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:16)
"There shall be one fold, and one shepherd."
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)
"That they all may be one."