MORAL CHARACTER, AND THE ROD OF IRON
Copyright © 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica. Used by permission.
The moral nature of the Christian is expressed as the fruit of the Spirit, and is the fruit of the Spirit and not that of our adamic nature no matter how great the effort of the believer. Various elements of our moral nature are listed as follows:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22,23)
Of course there are many other qualities, such as courage, truthfulness, and perseverance. It is worthy of note that these virtues proceed from the Spirit of God. They can be imitated by sincere people, and prayed for. But their eternal form always comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. As He is formed in us, these characteristics become evident.
The parable of the sower tells us that in an honest and good heart, the believer can bring forth the fruit of Christ's moral Nature in his or her life. We can think of the thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and hundredfold as being the extent to which Christ has been formed in us.
It is not that the thirtyfold believer has a seventyfold adamic nature. No individual in the new world of righteousness has any part of the adamic nature in his personality. The Tree of Life is available in the new Jerusalem. That Tree is Christ and the saints who live by the Life of Christ.
The weak believer, if he has truly washed his robes in the blood of the Lamb, and has experienced the crucifixion of his old nature, can enter through the gates of Jerusalem and eat from the Tree of Life. In this manner the body and blood of Christ will build up the Nature of Christ in him. This can be true today!
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. (Revelation 22:14)
"May go through the gates into the city." It is God's will that every member of the new world of righteousness finally grow to the full stature of Christ.
Spiritual maturity is measured by the extent to which the believer can discern between good and evil, and thoroughly embrace the good and just as thoroughly renounce and reject that which is evil.
Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:13,14)
There is a Firstfruits of the mature saints who are close to the Heart of God and Christ. Closeness to God and Christ are what holiness is. I think when Jesus next comes it will be to make alive His Firstfruits and carry them up to Himself in the air.
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)
Mount Zion is the Christian Church. The fact that the Lamb is standing signifies that the time has come for God to put the enemies of the Lamb under the feet of the Lamb, and under the feet of those who are close to the Lamb.
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. 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, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect. (Hebrews 12:22,23)
The name of the Lamb and of the Father written on the foreheads of the Firstfruits means that they do the will of God at all times. In contrast to this is the name of Antichrist in the right hand or forehead of those–even Christians--who are part of the antichrist world system of buying and selling.
And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. (Revelation 14:2)
Can you imagine this? God and the Lamb are so pleased with these believers that many of the harpists of Heaven played together until it sounds like rushing waters and a peal of thunder. Ever since I read about the Firstfruits I have hoped to be in this company. How about you?
And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. (Revelation 14:3)
You know, this is incredible. Drawn from the believers in Christ there will be those who have been the first to press through to the hundredfold experience. This ought to be an inspiration to every true Christian.
Now, why cannot others learn that song? The answer has to do with holiness. Holiness is closeness to God. The aborted fetuses dwell in indescribable holiness. So do babies and small children.
The Heart of God is so childlike, so utterly pure, so devoid of evil, that we have to be very diligent in putting away all the uncleanness of the world if we are to draw close to Him.
Therefore, "Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." (II Corinthians 6:17)
When God calls us out of the world we are "holy" because of His choice. But then we must take steps to bring into our behavior that which actually is holy and not just imputed to us, if we desire to hear the "new song."
The "grace" teaching presents a sort of equality. The idea is we are saved by grace, and so there really are no significant differences in rewards among those who "accept Christ." This idea, that there are no differences in the rewards assigned to those who "accept Christ," is nothing short of a universal disaster.
The truth is, it is the hope of a place near to God that drives those who leave the muddling around of the majority of Christian church members and press through to increased glory.
Why would the Lord Jesus tell us that if we overcome the problems in the churches we will gain a place of service and honor with Him, if there is not a reward for doing so?
He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. (Hebrews 11:26)
"Looking ahead to his reward."
The idea of a uniform salvation through "grace" regardless of the fervor and diligence of the believer not only is totally unscriptural but serves to maintain the present state of spiritual lethargy that exists among the believers.
There is a reward for serving the Lord!
How the concept could exist of everyone being given the same reward in the face of: "No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth," is beyond me. It certainly proves that what is being preached today is unscriptural.
The churches emphasize that we should go forth and bring more baby Christians into our assemblies. Once the babies are enrolled safely in our congregations, they are told that they have been "saved" that they might save other babies.
What is the result of this emphasis? It is churches full of baby Christians who trust they are going to go to Heaven by grace and live in a mansion.
Look at this program from Satan's point of view. It is exactly what he desires. Satan knows and desires that few Christians mature to the point that they present any appreciable threat to his rulership over the earth.
Satan indeed would approve of a "rapture" that carries all the believers to Heaven. Then he and his demons could enjoy themselves in the earth more fully.
Did you notice that "grace" is not mentioned in Revelation 14:1-5. But moral character is!
These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4)
Since the Book of Hebrews states that marriage is honorable and the bed undefiled, and the Scripture never contradicts itself, I do not believe that the verse above is referring to marriage relationships. All of us who are Christians know how easy it is to become excessively involved with a talent, or job, or money, or our children, or even a member of the opposite sex. We defile ourselves by worshiping such idols.
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Hebrews 13:4)
If there is anything in our life that is so precious to us that if Christ demanded it from us, like Isaac from Abraham, we would feel that life no longer is worth living, then that is what it means to be "defiled." It is to have an idol.
Speaking concerning the Firstfruits, such believers "follow the Lamb wherever He goes." It is this statement that makes me believe these are the people who will be made alive and caught up to meet Christ in the air.
After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:17)
"And so we will be with the Lord forever." "They follow the Lamb wherever He goes."
The "rapturists" of today, according to what they say, are concerned only with escaping the problems of the world by going to Heaven. They are not of the attitude of the Firstfruits, whose only desire is to follow the Lamb wherever He goes.
"They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb." Here is a remarkable statement. I seem to perceive the sovereignty of God in this. It is as though God reached down and said, "These are mine"!
We American believers need to be careful here. We are so imbued with our Declaration of Independence and the "Bill of Rights" that we may find ourselves resenting that God may treat some people in a special way.
However, the entire Bible is a record of God selecting certain people to bear witness of Himself, to build His Kingdom, and to govern His Kingdom. God chooses who will sit on the right and left hand of Christ in His Kingdom.
The best any of us can do is to seek to lay hold on that for which we have been grasped by the Lord, and to be thankful that we are not a vessel of dishonor.
God is not fair, by our standards, but He always is righteous. We do well to let God be God and praise Him for whatever He chooses to do.
God will be God no matter how we Americans feel about it.
No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:5)
To be blameless is to have no "lie in our mouth."
We all were born with a lie in our mouth. We always are dissembling in one manner or another. Much if not most of our talking is for the purpose of proving one thing or another, according to our agenda. We fearfully hide behind our mask.
It requires a great deal of the Lord's fire to burn the lie out of us. But it is so necessary! The Firstfruits, whom we are discussing, are forerunners of the new world of righteousness. They have learned to tell the truth, like their Father in Heaven.
It may seem impossible that the earth could bring forth such a company, but it has happened in time past and it is happening today. As it is written, "Many who are last shall be first." It is today that the Spirit of God is going through the church, looking for those who are following the Lamb wherever He goes.
The character of the Firstfruits to God is: iron righteousness of behavior; fiery holiness in the realm of moral choices; and stern, uncompromising obedience to Christ. Let us pray that God will accomplish this in us. These are the hundredfold.
Being a hundredfold Christian is available to anyone who holds this as his or her fervent desire. After all, it is not something we ourselves accomplish, except to work with the Spirit of God as He crucifies our inward adamic nature and fills us with the Nature of Christ.
Godly character and the iron scepter are both Christ.
As Christ increases in us we become more in the image of God, and are better able to rule ourselves and others in righteousness and justice.
We cannot grow in moral transformation or in our ability to rule in righteousness by merely giving instructions to our adamic nature. While such instructions may be necessary on occasion, the actual improvement in our nature, to embrace the good and reject the evil, and our ability to rule, are accomplished only as Christ is formed within us.
We have been discussing the transformation of the moral nature of the Christian believer. As we have stated, maturity in Christ is the ability to discern between good and evil, and to embrace the good and reject the evil. The concept of a sovereign "grace" obviously works against our coming to such maturity.
Now we come to another aspect of the development of the Kingdom of God in the believers. I am speaking of the creation of the rod of iron, the means by which Christ and His saints will govern the world.
The rod of iron is righteousness of character. The strength and power of righteousness always is greater than the efforts of the ungodly. Spiritual uncleanness always is weak, although it may present a brave face. Sexual immorality in particular weakens our character.
There are those in America who see the debacle approaching, who are attempting to utilize a political approach to solve the problem. But since the source of the problem is spiritual, they will not gain their objective. The only power that will overcome the enemy is the iron of righteous behavior.
The prevalence of abortion alone will greatly weaken any attempt to save our nation. When the righteous are not righteous enough they will fall before the forces of Satan.
The rod of iron smashes everything and everyone that resists the will of the Father and Christ. The rod of iron is formed in those who persist in obeying Christ while living in the world.
To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—that one "will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery"—just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give that one the morning star. (Revelation 2:26-28)
The scepter of iron is formed in us as we keep resisting the devil, and pray until we can do what we believe to be what God wants. It is a matter of doing the will of Christ to the end of our life.
If we thus overcome the forces of evil that come against us, Christ will give us the authority over the nations of the earth that the Father has given to Him.
I do not believe I ever have heard a preacher of the Gospel of the Kingdom speak of authority over the nations of the earth. Yet the Book of Isaiah has much to say about how Christ, Head and Body, will bring justice to the nations.
He will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope. (Isaiah 42:4)
When the Lord anoints the ministry of the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter Eleven, they will bear witness of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. As part of their witness they will perform acts of destruction, for that is the nature of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
For myself, I am becoming upset over the injustices occurring around the world. It is my understanding that some members of the European Union force parents who wish to home school their children to send their boys and girls to a state school. The state is afraid the Christian parents will create a "parallel social system."
The Christian parents do not want their children to look favorably on homosexual practices, because such practices are forbidden by the Bible. Such home-schoolers may create a parallel social system. But to remove children from their parents when the children are not being abused in any manner is extremely unjust and wicked!
Two countries that have gained notoriety in this regard are Sweden and Germany.
I am beginning to pray about this matter, and about some of the social injustices occurring in the United States, such as the use of mob violence to influence the decisions of the courts.
While I am writing, a mob is seeking to force a decision in a court in Florida. If the judge and jury yield and issue a verdict they know to be unjust, because of the threat of a social uproar, they will set a precedent that will yield disastrous outcomes for America in the days ahead.
Mobs will be running the courts. Justice no longer will be blind. We will have lost an important pillar of American government–-a trial in which the defendant is viewed as innocent until proven guilty by an impartial, unbiased jury.
I am concerned also about legislating behavior that is contrary to the moral values set forth in the Bible.
In California, where I live, the state government is legislating concerning the curricula of the public schools in the area of sexual conduct. My understanding is that this is a K-12 effort.
Having spent twenty-five years in public school work, I realize how totally unsuitable such instruction is in the lower grades. In fact, it is utterly ridiculous. It is an effort to make homosexual behavior normal and acceptable.
Will the parents in California who home school, eventually have to surrender their children to the state so they may be instructed in a "proper" sexual and gender viewpoint? It certainly could happen!
Considering the way unfamiliar governmental policies are springing up in America, there may come a day in which people take to the streets, as is true in other countries today.
I find myself praying that God will do something about these abominations. Do you suppose there are people along with me who are beginning to seek the power of the two witnesses so we can commence the process of establishing justice on the earth? I hope that such is the case, and it very well may be! The earth is the Lord's and all who live thereon. Such moral chaos must not be allowed to continue.
The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Psalms 24:1)
One of the travesties of justice is occurring in countries that do not provide for the education of children, particularly girls. This attitude toward female children indeed is reprehensible, particularly when the little girls are willing to expose themselves to hardship and even danger that they might learn about the outside world.
I do not believe God created women to be broodmares to satisfy the physical desires of men! I do not find such a concept in the Bible. Rather, women are to be a broadening of their husbands so that the husband more fully portrays the image of God.
But violence and bloodshed will not solve the current problems, nor will political maneuvering, because the problems are coming from the dens of Satan and his demons, the source of the abortion of babies.
The nations of the earth are our inheritance! There is no inheritance that can equal in desirability the inheriting of people. People and the earth are the inheritance of the Lord Jesus Christ and of those who are coheirs with Him.
Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery. (Psalms 2:8,9)
Dashing people to pieces with our iron scepter does not sound like an inheritance of love. But the resistance of people to God's will must be broken completely (smashed) before they are lovable.
Think about today. While I am writing there is rebellion in Egypt, Syria, and other countries. In our own United States it appears that we may be involved in a civil war before long.
The problem with the world in which we live is simply expressed and easy to understand. God wants to rule people. People want to rule themselves. It is as simple as that.
Throughout the history of the world, people have sought to govern themselves; to make their own plans; to carry out their plans by their own wisdom and strength.
God calls in vain to people to allow Him to guide them and carry their burdens. This to me is the height of stupidity. It is the reason behind every sort of corruption, confusion, and chaos.
"Come unto Me," Jesus invites us.
Our response is, "We might go to church; but we will live our own life, thank you!"
As I said before, to not permit Christ to govern every aspect of our life is utterly stupid and catastrophic.
The true victorious saint is characterized by a fierce determination to do God's will in every area of his or her life.
The will of the people of the nations, and of numerous believers in Christ, must be smashed utterly if eternal righteousness, love, joy, and peace, are to prevail among us.
If we do persist in doing God's will in every aspect of our life, Christ will give us the Morning Star. We cannot govern righteously apart from the Morning Star.
The Morning Star is Christ Himself. It is the purpose of the New Testament to guide our decisions and behavior until Christ is formed in us. Then we hear the Voice from inside us: "This is the way. Walk ye in it."
To learn to be led by the Spirit of God is an art. There are many pitfalls. The only manner in which we safely can be guided by the Spirit is to present our body a living sacrifice. We cannot trust what we think we are hearing from the Spirit unless our body is a living sacrifice to God.
There may not be many believers today who will present their body as an offering to God, and proceed to pray and obey until they conquer all the works of Satan and their sinful nature. But only those who do this are scripturally eligible to receive the making alive of their mortal body in the Day of the Lord.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)
So there we have it. Through the Lord Jesus Christ we will become a new creation of moral behavior. Also, through the Lord Jesus Christ, we will inherit the earth and the nations thereof.
As I have said so many times, we Americans are heading toward moral and physical chaos, due to abortion, sexual aberrations, and the insane pursuit of material wealth.
The only manner in which we can prepare ourselves is by learning today to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus, just as the Apostle Paul did. If we will do that, we shall be able to stand throughout the darkest hours, and help others to stand.
Tell me. How do you feel about the injustices and immorality in the world? When I read in the paper about some of the current abominations, I am inclined to ask God for the anointing of the two witnesses so, at least in prayer, I can put an end to such practices.
The Father asked Jesus to pray that He might receive the nations and the earth for His inheritance. Well, are we not coheirs with Him? If we are, how about asking the Lord Jesus to share some of that inheritance with us?
Why can't we ask for the Kingdom to come now in some of these areas of social injustice and immorality? I believe if we will direct our prayers toward these problems, as they are pointed out to us, that God will hear us and move by His power. Do we have the scepter of iron, or do we not?
Please understand me. I am not praying for people to become converted or the world to become Christian. I am praying that justice and righteousness will become the portion of the nations of the earth, from the greatest to the smallest.
Would you be pleased to join your prayers with mine? Who knows what our God might do!
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (John 14:12-14)
Many years ago I was teaching the fifth grade in the Walter Hays elementary school, in Palo Alto, California.
It was my custom to get up early each morning, write down some of the things the Lord was showing me, and then go for a walk in the neighborhood, and pray.
One morning I thought to myself, "Jesus said we can ask for anything in His name and He would do it."
Okay, I will take the Lord up on that. So I prayed as follows: "Dear Lord, grant to me that I may preach the Gospel of the Kingdom wherever people breathe the air."
Mind you, this was before the invention of the personal computer, or the Internet. There was no visible manner in which my prayer could be answered, other than by radio or television; and I was not a minister at that point in my life.
Some time after that Audrey and I felt we should accept the invitation by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel to take responsibility for a small church in Poway, California, that had just been closed due to lack of attendance.
Soon after this I was invited by Morris Cerullo to teach five sessions of his school of ministry, which was conducted in San Diego. He had heard about me through a friend.
Since the pupils at the school were outstanding people from the third-world countries, maybe five hundred of them, this was the beginning of the answer to my prayer.
Then came the personal computer, and finally the Internet. The way to reach everyone who breathes the air with the Gospel of the Kingdom of God was now open. What a miracle!
Recently I have been able to put all of my writings into the Kindle Library, where they are available to everyone with an electronic tablet.
Can you see what a staggering miracle occurred perhaps, at least in part, as the result of one fifth-grade teacher walking and praying early one morning on the streets of Palo Alto?
Now I believe God may have put it in my heart to begin the work of the end-time witnesses by asking God to intervene everywhere there is an injustice or the legislating of immorality.
What do you think might happen if a number of us do this?
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.