THE HOUSE OF GOD
THE HOUSE OF GODCopyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSIONŽ, NIVŽ Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The House of God is ChristHead and Body. When Jesus said, "In my Father's house are many rooms," He was referring to Himself and the members of His Body. Heaven is the Throne of God. But Christ and His Body are the only House of God.
There are seven feasts of the Lord. The seventh and last observance is the feast of Tabernacles. Each of the seven feasts has a spiritual fulfillment under the new covenant. The spiritual fulfillments of the six preceding feasts have as their purpose bringing about the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
The spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles was declared by the Lord Jesus:
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)
Notice how the preceding verse explains John 14:2:
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)
The only way we become qualified to be a room in the eternal House of God is by obeying the teachings of Christ. The current doctrine of "grace" emphasizes that we do not have to obey the teachings of Christ and His Apostles because we go to Heaven on the basis of a sovereign "grace" apart from such obedience. Not obeying the commands of Christ and His Apostles prevents our participation in the new-covenant feast of Tabernacles.
It has been God's plan from the beginning of the creation, perhaps even prior to the creation, and is the purpose for the creation, has been to create a material house for Himself in which He can be seen, so to speak, and from which He may govern and bless the works of His hands.
I think the earliest indication of this plan may be found in the Book of Exodus:
You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established. (Exodus 15:17)
The mountain is Mount Zion. Mount Zion is another name for the Church, consisting of God's elect, God's Israel, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth.
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Hebrews 12:22-24)
So we see that from the beginning God's purpose has been to create a dwelling for Himself.
One might wonder, "What is the relationship between the Kingdom of God and the eternal house or dwelling of God." Christ--Head and Body, are the House of God, the Tabernacle of God that is to descend from Heaven to a high mountain of the new earth.
This House properly is the Kingdom of God, the government of God which will govern those of the nations of the earth whom Christ chooses to save to life on the new earth. The Kingdom, then, is God in Christ in God's elect, ruling and blessings the works of God's hands. The saved of the nations are part of the Kingdom but not part of the government. They are governed by the Kingdom.
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
They who reign are the members of Christ's Body, that is, the Church, the elect of God, God's Israel. They shall reign over all of mankind who are saved to citizenship on the new earth.
It may be true that mankind eventually shall increase until the population of the gigantic new earth must spread to the stars. Christ and His Body shall govern those living on the stars also. Of the increase of Christ's government there shall be no end.
I am speaking now of the stars that will be formed when the new sky is created. They will not shine by nuclear fission but by the Light which is the Life of Christ, just as in the first three days of creation.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7)
We see further in the Book of Exodus that the Tabernacle of the Congregation was a sanctuary, a dwelling place for God.
Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)
Then we come to the proclamation of Isaiah:
This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." (Isaiah 66:1,2)
It appears from the passage above that the Lord God is seeking a house. Heaven is His Throne. The earth is His footstool. What is still needed is a house.
Notice the need for a "resting place." This reminds us of the "rest of God" mentioned in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews. The rest of God consists of each person who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.
Oh that each of us Christians would be humble and contrite in spirit, and tremble at God's Word! To be living in God's rest we must cease from our own works and think only as Christ is thinking; speak only as Christ is speaking; act only as Christ is acting. This is the eternal Sabbath in which Christ and each member of His Body lives. Such is the House of God!
If we are a member of Christ's Body, we were brought into the world to be made a dwelling place for God Almighty. We are a saint, a holy one, in that we have been set aside for this Divine purpose. We may have one or many talents; but our highest priority is to listen to Jesus carefully as He prepares a place for us in Himself and the Father, and a place for the Father and Himself in us.
On the occasion of the birth of the Christian Church, we find that God has not changed His mind:
This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "However, the Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me?' says the Lord. 'Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?'" (Acts 7:48-50)
The first Christian martyr was stoned to death after speaking these words. From this we can imagine how terribly important they are.
Whether our places of worship are elaborate or small and plain, God does not dwell in them as He did in the Tabernacle and the Temple of Solomon. God will dwell only in ChristHead and Body. This is the resting place of God, and for each of us also. We are to enter His rest.
God never finds His rest, His dwelling place, in the first creation, the adamic man. The saints of old, such as Sampson, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, were filled with the Spirit of God on special occasions. But they never were God's rest, His dwelling place. The Spirit put them on as a glove and worked His works.
Each member of the Body of Christ is the eternal dwelling place of God. This is why the Lord Jesus stated that he who is least in the Kingdom of God is greater than John the Baptist. John was one of those who was used by the Spirit; but John never was the resting place of God.
As I said, God never finds His resting place in the adamic man. God dwells only in Christ, that is, only in that which is of His own Divine Nature. Thus when we use the expression "Christ in us," we are referring to two distinctly separate facts. First, Christ, the Divine Nature of God, must be formed in us. Second, the Father, Jesus Christ Himself, and the Spirit of God must come and take their places in that which has been formed in us.
Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit." (John 3:5,6)
First, Christ formed in us.
My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)
Then, the Fullness of God comes to dwell in that which has been formed in us.
Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)
It is as we, with Christ's help, keep His commands, His Divine Nature is formed in us. Then the Fullness of the Godhead make us Their dwelling place, their eternal Tabernacle.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledgethat you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)
First we must be strengthened with Divine power in our inner being. Then we are a candidate to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
The following passage is relevant to the building of the House of God:
The mountains of Bashan are majestic mountains; rugged are the mountains of Bashan. Why gaze in envy, O rugged mountains, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever? The chariots of God are tens of thousands and thousands of thousands; the Lord has come from Sinai into his sanctuary. When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious that you, O LORD God, might dwell there. (Psalms 68:15-18)
Again we see the emphasis on Mount Zion, where God chooses to reign; where God will reign for eternity.
The Lord has come from Sinai, from the Law, into His sanctuarythe Head and Body of Christ. My understanding is that the "chariots of God" is referring to the members of the Body of Christ.
Then we come to a portion that is repeated in the New Testament:
When you ascended on high, you led captives in your train; you received gifts from men, even from the rebellious that you, O LORD God, might dwell there. (Psalms 68:18)
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:7-13)
The "gifts from the rebellious" are apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastor-teachers (I believe this is one gift, in that pastors generally teach). In this manner Christ prepared God's people, that is the apostles and so forth, for works of service. These four "gifts" have as their mission to build up the Body of Christ.
The "gifts" are to persevere until each member of the Body attains to the fullness of Christ. Since we do not often see such maturity among us on the earth, one might conclude that these, and all the other gifts of the Spirit, will continue in the spirit world among the deceased of the Body (who do not cease to be part of the Body because they have died) until, as the Word of God promises, we all reach the standard set by the fullness of Christ.
And what is the purpose of bringing to pass the work of building us to such maturity? That you, O LORD God, might dwell there.
Then we might ask, "What will be the result of God dwelling in ChristHead and Body?" The answer is found in the last two chapter of the Book of Revelation.
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)
Paul tells us that the Church is destined to be without blemish. I rather suspect that accomplishing this perfection is the purpose for the thousand-year Kingdom Age, commonly referred to as the Millennium.
The eighth chapter of the Song of Solomon tells us that the immature members of the Bride of the Lamb will be ministered to by those who themselves have attained to maturity in Christ.
I read somewhere that Bible scholars are not certain what the new Jerusalem is. This uncertainty puzzles me. The verse above tells us clearly what the new Jerusalem is. It is the Bride of the Lamb, the eternal House of God, the Tabernacle of God. It is the glorified Christian Church.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." (Revelation 21:3,4)
How could there possibly be any confusion here. Look what it states. Now the dwelling of God is with men. The new Jerusalem is the dwelling of God. There is no dwelling of God other than ChristHead and Body. There is no room here for uncertainty, that I can see. Can you?
I rather suspect the problem arises because of the statement the dwelling of God is with men. It may be inconceivable to some that the Christian Church will come down from the new sky to be established for eternity on the new earth. I think there is a teaching abroad that God is going to maintain a Gentile Church in Heaven while the Jews inherit the earth.As obviously unscriptural as such a position is, I am told it is held by some.
The Apostle Paul made it abundantly clear that there is only one new Man in Christ, consisting of Jews and Gentiles.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, (Ephesians 2:14)
If the Apostle of Christ writes that Christ has made Jews and Gentiles one new Man, how can someone maintain that the Gentiles go to Heaven to live forever while the Jews enjoy a kingdom on the earth? Is this possibly one of the errors flowing from the unscriptural theory of Dispensationalism?
This notion possibly could account for scholars having a difficulty identifying the New Jerusalem.
Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. The dwelling of God can be none other than ChristHead and Body. But who are the "men"?
The men are the people from the nations of the earth who, at the last resurrection, have been saved into citizenship on the new earth. They are the "sheep," whose names have been written in the Book of Life.
It is my understanding that current teaching maintains that the only people who will be saved from destructive wrath are the Christian people. The remainder of mankind are destined to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire with Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet, and Satan's angels.
This is not true. The destiny of the Bride of the Lamb, the Church, is to govern all those of mankind whom God chooses to save but who are not of the Royal Priesthood, the elect, God's Israel.
The difference between the Church and the remainder of mankind is portrayed in several places in the Book of Isaiah:
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. (Isaiah 61:11)
Righteousness and praise spring up from the Tabernacle of God, the holy city. The nations see this and accept or reject Christ. Here is fulfilled the Words of our Lord when He stated that when we Christians are one with each other in Christ in God, the world will believe.
That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:21)
Then we notice what shall be accomplished once the Tabernacle of God is located among people, rather than in Heaven above where God cannot be seen.
God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. How often this passage is applied to Christians who have died. It is not speaking of Christians. The Christians are the holy city. The people being spoken of here are the "sheep of the nations" who are the inheritance of the Church. God, through His Church, will wipe away the tears of those whose names are written in the Book of Life.
We have to receive Christ when He is presented to us, if we are to be given eternal life. But God accepts those whom He has not brought to Christ, if they live a decent life.
Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right." (Acts 10:34,35)
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." (Revelation 21:5)
God is not making all new things. Rather, He is making all things new. This means that the spirit world, the Kingdom Age, and the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, will not be unfamiliar, weird, or mysterious. Each of the three domains of mankind will be much as we have known life to be. What will be significantly different will be the absence of sin, self-will, the use of money for commerce, and the presence of churches and religion.
While the new world will be familiar, all relationships, things, and circumstances will have been made new in Christ. It will be an eternal world. People will not grow old if they behave righteously and have access to the trees of life.
My understanding is that all of us, members of the elect and the people of the nations, will grow spiritually in Christ. I believe those who have been appointed to high rank in the Kingdom may be larger than other people; and may even continue to grow as great pillars of truth and righteousness.
Perhaps we will be growing in the image of Christ and increasing in the Fullness of God, for eternity. Something wonderful to look forward to!
He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. (Revelation 21:6)
"It Is done" reminds us of Christ on the cross saying, "It is finished."
All that we are presenting here was finished in God's mind on the seventh day of creation. Then God rested. Since then His Word has been active, bringing to pass all that God envisioned from the beginning. God always is watching over His Word to perform it.
We are to enter that same rest. We are not to try to create our own Heaven and earth but are to keep listening to Jesus so we can think, say, and do what God planned for us from the original seventh day. This is what the Book of Hebrews means by urging us to labor to enter the rest of God.
It is a good thing that Christ is the Alpha and the Omega. This means that if we keep obeying Him, keeping His Word faithfully, He will not only begin but also finish God's plan for our life. The Alpha is wonderful. The Omega is even more wonderful.
God has promised to give the water of life to whoever is thirsty. May the Lord grant such thirst to each one of us!
He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:7)
The expression "He who overcomes" is of the utmost significance for us Christians. The promised rewards are not given to us just because we have made a profession of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have to "overcome." This means throughout our discipleship there will arise various pressures and problems. One writer pictured these as mountain peaks. As soon as we ascend to one peak, we see another in the distancesome new hurdle to overcome through Christ.
The Lord spoke to me recently about "worrying." This is a mountain that I must climb if I am to please the Lord. I immediately asked the Lord to guide me in climbing this mountain. I know He will, although I always have been a worrier. I want to be a warrior, not a worrier! How about you?
A different "mountain" is expressed in Revelation, Chapter Fourteen, in the message to God's firstfruits. It is that we not be defiled with women. This is not referring to marriage, for marriage ordinarily does not defile anyone. It means that there must be no relationship in our life that Jesus has to accept along with us.
These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. (Revelation 14:4)
There may be a child, or wife, or husband, or sweetheart, of whom we are especially fond. There may be an emotional bondage. We cannot conceive of life without this person. This chain absolutely has to be broken at some time.
We speak of putting people on the altar. This means we have offered them to God. But sometimes this has to be done several times before we finally are free. The Lord Jesus simply will not accept our adoration of any individual. Giving the individual over to the Lord may be so difficult as to be beyond our strength and we are required to ask Jesus for help. But Christ is Jealous if we try to hold onto this attachment.
We must come to Christ alone. He is our Creator. He will not share our love for Him with another person, thing, or circumstance. To cling to an idol of this sort is to be "defiled with women," the "women" being whatever it is we find difficult to give to Christ.
Whatever mountains we encounter must be climbed, if we are to be considered an overcomer. This process continues until the end of our life, I think. At least it is that way with me. I do not expect to wake up some morning and find there are no peaks in the distance.
There are three rewards for overcoming: first, inheriting all that God makes new in Christ; second, God will be our God; third, we will be God's son.
That brings up an interesting question: "If people do not overcome, will God not be their God and will they not be God's son?" Because we have been so saturated with Humanism, our inclination is to say, "That can't be true! It is too harsh!"
The Word of God is never too harsh. The truth is, we Christians in America are too soft.
This puts a whole lot more weight on "overcoming," doesn't it?
Once we begin to compromise the Scriptures we are on sinking sand. There is no other rock for us to stand on. Our faith in the Scriptures is going to be more necessary than ever in the coming days, as the world sinks down into the moral abyss.
So I would say, "If you want to inherit all that God makes new in Christ; if you want God to be your God; and if you want to be God's son; then you are going to have to, through Christ, climb the mountains that are set before you." Such is my belief. If anyone desires to believe otherwise, then that is his or her decision and he or she will face the consequences of his or her decision.
God is loving beyond our comprehension. He also is strict beyond our comprehension. Jesus in Gethsemane and on the cross of Calvary assure us that God is strict beyond our comprehension.
I have come to believe that one of Satan's prime objective is to remove the fear of God from us; to persuade us that God is "love" and will never treat anyone harshly, because that would be "unfair." I think Satan's objective is to cause mankind to insist that God not throw Satan into the Lake of Fire because that would be "unfair."
"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liarstheir place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)
The above are some of the mountains that must be climbed if we are to escape the Lake of Fire. God the Father has given the Lake of Fire authority over these eight personalities. The Lake of Fire has a claim on them, whether or not we profess belief in Christ. Christ will enable us to change from a coward to a brave person; but I do not think Christ will seek to deny the Lake of Fire its right to the coward.
"Too strict," you might say. The Scriptures are the Scriptures. Either they are from God or they are not. Each of us has to make our choice.
To be thrown into the Lake of Fire means that we gradually will become part of Satan's person, just as those who live in the rest of God will finally become part of the Person of the Lord Jesus.
The Lake of Fire is a destiny so horrible it is beyond our ability to comprehend. It also is true that there are crimes being committed in America in our day that are so horrible we cannot grasp them. Cruel and unusual crimes deserve cruel and unusual punishments.
America is turning away from Christ, and the unclean spirits increasingly are being released to demonstrate their personalities. God no longer is covering our country! Our leaders of government are not giving glory to God!
Children are tortured to death and people are raped and dismembered in America at this time. So we will not quarrel when God says if He is to be our God we must overcome the pressure of the demons as they seek to create us in Satan's image.
One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, "Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. (Revelation 21:9,10)
The Scripture teaches us that the Bride of the Lamb is the Christian Church. So from the above passage we must conclude that the holy city, the new Jerusalem is the Christian Church.
Then we come to the jasper wall. This heavily ornamented wall tells us that there is an eternal wall between God's Church and the remainder of mankind. Jesus tells us of this wall in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John. He says that we of the Church are not of the world just as He is not of the world. Jesus maintains that God love us just as He loves His Firstborn Son, Jesus, and has given us the Glory He has given to His Son.
It may not be democratic, or "fair," in our opinion, but the truth is that God has chosen individuals from among the ranks of mankind to belong to Him in a special way. They are more holy than others, just as the sons of Aaron were more holy than the remainder of Israel.
They are the elect, the chosen, the Royal Priesthood, the Body of the Messiah, the sons of God, the family of God. Doesn't everyone have this calling? No. The members of the Church have been chosen to represent mankind to God. They will serve to reconcile man to God and God to man.
But is it fair that certain people have thus been selected? How can we talk about fairness? God is the Creator. He is a Potter. He shapes clay the way He wants the clay to be.
If God wants to make an honorable object, then that is what He makes. If God wants to make an object upon which He will demonstrate His anger against sin and rebellion, then that is what He will do.
Does God play favorites? Ask a suffering saint if God plays favorites. No, He does not play favorites among people. God is independent of people. He creates people. God alone determines what kind of an individual He will bring forth.
It is foolish of us who know nothing at all to judge God. I am not suggesting we have a fatalistic attitude. Any person who wants to can choose to be a vessel of honor; to serve God with all his or her heart; to be an outstanding saint. God will never prevent anyone from choosing to be a man or woman of godly behavior.
It is up to us to choose to be a victorious saint. No one can stop us if we call on Christ to help us. We do not have to worry about whether or not we have been chosen. All we need to do is act like we have been chosen, to be close to God and to do His will. The Lord Jesus will take care of the rest.
I know of a case where God has been surprised by the faith of a person, and also of a case where God was disappointed in a person. This tells me that our destinies are not locked in steel. They are subject to our decisions; and a careful reading of the New Testament will validate this, if I am not mistaken.
So there is the great wall between the members of the Body of Christ and those who have been saved to life from among mankind. That wall has been built upon the Apostles of the Lamb. The twelve gates to the city are named after the families of Israel. They are pearls, representing people who have suffered until a pearl of Divine compassion has been formed in them.
I believe the emphasis on precious stones speaks of the godly character of God's people who have suffered the pressures that have made them so. This is the way precious stones are formed, isn't it, in the dark places of the earth.
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. (Revelation 21:22)
You know, when we die and enter the spirit world I do not believe we will see any churches. Churches are manmade. They are supposed to glorify God and the Lamb. But I think more often than not they draw people to themselves, their building needs, their offerings of money, the desire that the congregation go out and bring in more people. None of these three tasks exist in the spirit world.
Can you imagine the consternation of members of one of the various sects or denominations when they discover that their religion is not represented? Who will they fight againstGod, Jesus, the saints, the elect angels, one another?
I believe I am correct that when Jesus returns, churches no longer will be needed. And we can notice in the passage above that there is no church in the holy city. God and the Lamb themselves are the church, and it may be true that they can be seen. So there no longer is a church as such. In fact, the entire city, the Royal Priesthood, may serve as a "church" for those who have been saved of mankind.
I notice in the Book of Revelation that Babylon is destroyed. I think that Babylon includes all religious organizations, for they all exist in confusion, fighting against one another, each one sure that God is on their side.
Perhaps the fall of Babylon signifies that there never again will be religious buildings, or ceremonies, or ordinances, or special beliefs. Maybe from that time forth there will be only God and Jesus, and the members of the Royal Priesthood. For it is certain that the blood of God's saints is on the hands of the religious organizations.
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Revelation 21:23)
Here is a marvelous thing. The Gospel of John tells us that the Life of Christ is the Light of men. The nature of light is such that it enables us to see the material world. But the Light, which is the Life of Christ, enables us to see the material and the spirit worlds, and also the meaning of everything including all laws of cause and effect.
Therefore the Bride of the Lamb does not need the sun or the moon to shine in it. This reminds us of the beginning of the creation when there was light for the first three days but no sun, moon, or stars.
So Christ Himself is the true Light. Those in whom Christ is living are the lights of the world.
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24)
Notice in the Old Testament:
Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that men may bring you the wealth of the nationstheir kings led in triumphal procession. For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. (Isaiah 60:11,12)
The above tells us that eternal Divine Life will so fill the city that the people who compose the city will never need sleep. They will be like God and Christ, so filled with Life at all times that sleep no longer is required. They always are ready to assist the peoples of the new earth.
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. (Revelation 21:27)
Remember, we are speaking of those of the nations whose names were found in the Book of Life. At the final resurrection they were brought forth as citizens of the new world of righteousness. We learn from this that the names of the people who were impure, shameful, or deceitful, were not found in the Book of Life.
However, as I will state later, the people of the nations over whom the new Jerusalem will rule, will lose their right to the water of eternal Life if they begin to behave shamefully or deceitfully.
This reminds us that even members of the churches can have their names blotted from the Book of Life. I have never heard this preached, but it is what the New Testament declares.
Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Revelation 3:4-6)
The above verse is stricter than what ordinarily is preached in our day. I believe it is time for the fear of the Lord to return to America. Notice that the believers had to be found worthy of being part of the Royal Priesthood. We do not hear this preached very often.
We may conclude that access to the new Jerusalem, the glorified Christian Church, is available to those of the nations whose names were found in the Book of Life. They were brought forward to citizenship in the new world of righteousness.
Even at that they had access to the eternal Life found in the city only as long as they were free from that which is impure, shameful, or deceitful. It is the holy cityactually holy, not by "grace" or any other temporary overlooking of the behavior of the inhabitants.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Revelation 22:1)
By this time the Throne of God and of the Lamb has been created in the heart of each member of the Body of Christ. Thus, as Isaiah and Jesus prophesied, the Spirit of God flows from the saints. With joy they bring forth eternal Life to everyone who comes to them. Both the Spirit and the Bride say, "Come."
On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)
The Tree of Life is the Lord Jesus. This tree is on both sides of the River of the Spirit, representing the members of the Body of Christ who themselves have become trees of Life because Christ has been formed in them and is dwelling in them. As the forty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel informs us, these trees of Life have had to pass through four levels of judgment and four levels of the Spirit until they were qualified to bring God's Life into the dead sea of mankind.
They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:4)
Those who make up the holy city will see the Face of God. Probably the Face of the Father I would assume. They can see His Face and live. This is a privilege so exalted as to be quite beyond any understanding whatever.
God's name in their foreheads means they have been transformed by the renewing of their mind. Their mind has been renewed because they obey God perfectly and totally at all times. Like Jesus Christ Himself, they have been made obedient through suffering.
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
One would conjecture that it would not be necessary to rule over the saved members of the nations. But God has given us a will, and we can be tempted. This is why the saints of the holy city have been assigned to govern the nations for eternity. God's will shall be done in the earth as it is in Heaven.
"Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book." (Revelation 22:7)
I have been told there are ministers who have advised their congregations not to read the Book of Revelation because it will confuse them. That does not seem to be in harmony with the verse above.
Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. (Revelation 22:11)
Apparently there is coming a day in which it will not be possible to repent. God does not want mixtures. The way of the Lord must be made straight. Let the lukewarm become cold or hot. Those who sin and are vile in their behavior are to remain that way, and so with those who practice righteousness and holiness.
This is a fearful word indeed, but it is one more indication that our preaching today has become so pervaded with the philosophy of Humanism that the written Word has been replaced with human traditions that remove the fear of God from us.
Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)
Compare the "grace" teaching of today with the verse above. Is it indeed true that Christ will reward everyone according to his or her behavior? If the written Word can never be changed in any manner whatever, what do we do about today's preaching of imputed righteousness?
Let us face the truth. While God overlooks our previous sins so we can get started on the road to eternal life, the concept of a sovereign grace in which God always will overlook our behavior (some teach God will overlook our behavior even in the new world) may well be the most destructive heresy ever to enter Christian theology.
Does Revelation 22:12 (above) apply to all people, even Christians, or not? If it does not apply to Christians, then we are inconsistent if we apply any other part of the Bible to Christians. How can we pick and choose in this manner? How can we know the difference in application? We are in a no man's land of theological confusion.
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation (22:14,15)
The passage above is of interest. It is implying that outside the walls of the holy city are people who are not pure but are sinning against God. Apparently those of the nations who have been considered eligible to live on the new earth under the authority of the Kingdom of God, may include people who still are bound with sin.
They appear to have been given access to the blood of atonement, and can wash themselves and thus be permitted to enter the city and partake of eternal Life and healing.
The longer I live the more I can see how the conditions of the future are similar to that which is familiar to us. The difference is, Satan, Antichrist, the false prophets, and the fallen angels and demons no longer are present to lead us astray. They are forced to remain in the Lake of Fire. Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life are there also, becoming more a part of Satan as the ages go by.
Those on the new earth have a will and can choose to disobey Christ and His saints. If they do they cannot enter through the gates, and thus are denied the renewal of life and healing that it appears are necessary for their survival. I do not understand more than this, but what I have written appears to agree with Revelation 22:14,15 (above).
Here is the monumental error of today's teaching of "grace." There is no sovereign forgiveness which saves us into fellowship with God regardless of our behavior. It always will be possible for human beings and angels to rebel against God.
This is why God goes to such great lengths to perfect in obedience those appointed to govern the Kingdom. Each victorious saint must always guard himself in the matter of strict obedience to Christ. Also, in the future he must always stand ready to bring to account each of those who have been appointed to his charge.
So the future in many ways will be identical to the present. God has appointed Jesus Christ as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Everyone who wishes to continue in God's Presence, now or a billion years from now, must obey Christ strictly and cheerfully. There are to be no more rebellions against God and His Son!
The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17)
The Bride is the new Jerusalem, the Church of Christ. The members of the Bride, of the Body of Christ, always stand ready today and through eternity to give eternal Life to anyone who is thirsty and will come to Christ through them. They are the trees of life that stand along the banks of the River of Life.
The purpose of the redemption of the members of the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, is to change them from living souls to life-giving spirits.
So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45)
As to Isaiah:
"Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation." With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:2,3)
As to Ezekiel:
He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this?" Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Sea. When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. (Ezekiel 47:6-8)
I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (Revelation 22:18,19)
I cannot think of any book of the Bible that is bound with such a curse. I suppose all the books are, but I do not remember any other book so specifically bound with a terrible curse. Perhaps this is because God knew that in the last days the philosophy of Humanism would seek to remove the fear of God from us and endeavor to modify the Scriptures, making the warnings of the Book of Revelation of no effect.
We have seen, therefore, that God is building a house for Himself in which to find rest. We have seen also that God's eternal house is the new Jerusalem, the holy city.
The fact that the name of the city is Jerusalem, and not New York, Paris, London, or Tehran, shows that God never changes. He established His Glory in Jerusalem from the time of King David, and His Glory always shall be in Jerusalem.
Today it is Jerusalem in the spirit world. When the Lord Jesus appears, the House of God, Jerusalem, Mount Zion, will be on the earthand ultimately on the new earth.
ChristHead and Body, is the government of the Kingdom of God. All other creatures will be governed by the Kingdom of God, and as such are part of the Kingdom governed by the Royal Priesthood, God's Israel, the elect, the family of God, the Wife of the Lamb.
No person can come to Christ unless the Father draws him or her. These are God's elect. We are to make our calling and election certain by purging ourselves, as Christ helps us, from all that is unclean. We are to be a holy nation, a people belonging peculiarly to the Lord, as was true of Israel of old.
There are mountains set before each one of us. The peaks can be seen in the distance. We are to climb them, one at a time, as the Spirit of God directs and enables us. This is what it means to be an overcomer, a victorious saint.
Our trials are difficult and sometimes painful. A few times during our discipleship the demands on us can be met only as we are living one day at a time with our trust fixed on God's Word. There are accounts in the Bible that tell of the various kinds of prisons and crosses borne by the saints. Yet they held steady in God.
We also shall hold steady, if that is our single-minded determination. The rewards for doing so must be measured by the faithfulness and greatness of the One through whom the Father created a universe of galaxies of stars quite beyond our ability to imagine.
In other words, our reward for living the victorious life in Jesus Christ are so incredibly stupendous that we just have to accept they will be ours someday; and then turn back to the mountain we are climbing right now.
Be encouraged, all you who have been called to be part of the eternal Tabernacle of God. A few more faithful steps, and then your cross will be lifted from your back.
The summer vacation will be here. The teachers will hand in their final reports and their keys. Now the teachers and students are looking forward to the wonderful time they have earned by their hard work.