SPIRITUAL FORCES OF THE LAST DAYS
SPIRITUAL FORCES OF THE LAST DAYS Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Several spiritual forces are operating in the world and will continue to be significant until the Lord returns. There are at least three major forces of the last days that are of God: the return of the Jews to the land of Israel, the latter-rain revival, and the perfecting of the godly remnant. Some of the other forces are sophisticated expressions of Satan. They are so subtle, so satanic, that only the most dedicated Christians will be able to perceive them as wicked. There will be much deception in the last days and it already is present.
Table of Contents
Who the False Prophet is The False Prophet will support the Antichrist The False Prophet will work spectacular miracles Miracles, performed in the name of the Lord Jesus, will be used to support the Antichrist system The image of the beast The False Prophet will enforce the mark of the beast The current stage of development of lawlessness
What Babylon is After the death of the Apostles of the Lamb Knowing God’s will Entering the rest of God Spiritual ambition The inability of Christian organizations to follow the Lord The Christian religious systems are involved in the world Babylon is a prostitute Babylon is a murderer Babylonish ecumenicism The Babylon of the future The exodus of the Bride The destruction of Babylon
SPIRITUAL FORCES OF THE LAST DAYS
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent [without self-control], fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. (II Timothy 3:-5)
Several spiritual forces are operating in the world and will continue to be significant until the Lord returns.
The first three we shall mention are of God and beneficial for the righteous. The remainder are sophisticated expressions of Satan. They are so ingenious, so subtle, that only the most dedicated Christians will be able to perceive them as wicked.
The world is filled with unclean spirits and forces that are attempting to conquer God's Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. None of them shall succeed in their objective.
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14)
The intent is to deceive. Neither Satan nor any other spiritual personage or force has enough power to overcome one of the Lord's elect. Satan's authority over God's people was destroyed on the cross of Calvary.
Therefore Hell uses deception to seduce the minds and emotions of the saints. There shall be much deception in the last days and it already is present.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24)
The main problem is not with other religions or Communism or the New Age movement. Many teachers are warning the Christian churches of the dangers of Communism or the New Age movement or the Muslim religion. None of these present a mortal threat to the true saints. The worst they can do is to kill the bodies of the Christians. The Lord Jesus advised us to not be concerned about those who can do no more than kill the body. Rather, we are to fear God—He who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)
The answer to the question of how both soul and body can be destroyed in the spiritual Hell is found in the convergence of the physical and spirit realms in the last days.
Communism, the Muslim religion, and the New Age movement pose no great threat to God's elect because it is obvious to the saints that such are not of God. The true danger lies in the ultrasophisticated wickedness of the last days.
The error in goal and means. It may be true that the common denominator of the deceptions of the last days is a misunderstanding of the grace of God under the new covenant. The current perversion of Paul's teaching of grace may prove to be the deadliest, the most destructive, of all the heresies that have afflicted the churches of Christ.
All the forces of the New Age, Communism, Socialism, and the Muslim religion combined probably have done little to harm the churches. God's elect are aware of the dangers in these and are watching for them. But the misunderstanding of the new covenant and the resulting doctrinal errors have destroyed the Christian testimony throughout the world.
It is taught commonly among Christians that the goal of redemption is to go to Heaven and dwell there forever in a beautiful mansion, and that the means of going to Heaven is to proclaim belief in the theological facts concerning the Nature of Christ, the atonement made by Him, and His bodily resurrection from the cave of Joseph of Arimathea.
Nowhere in the Scriptures is the goal of redemption presented as eternal residence in Heaven above. Rather, the goal of redemption is twofold: to be formed in the image of Christ, and to be perfected in union in Christ and He in us. These are the goals toward which every saint is to be pressing.
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)
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)
All of the inheritance promised to the sons of God is possible only as the believer is changed into the image of Christ and is perfected in oneness in the Father and the Son.
The current Christian doctrine concerning the role of grace in bringing us to the Divine goals is so incorrect as to be terribly destructive. This error may be the foundation of the perversions that have come forth in the last two hundred years.
The current teaching states that since we are complete in Christ our sin is not counted as sin. It says we ought to try to do good, but if we are not successful in our attempt there is no critical problem. It claims that God does not hold us guilty of sin because Christ's righteousness covers us.
Although Christian believers do not always draw this teaching to its logical conclusion, what they are stating is that if a Christian rapes and kills an individual he is not guilty before God of rape or murder because he is complete in Christ. To claim that a truly saved individual would not rape or kill someone is to dodge the issue. It is a fact that Christians sin. Either the Lord judges sin as sin or He does not.
If we claim that a true Christian would not sin we are removing almost all (if not all) believers from the Church!
Notice the following pertinent passage:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:7-9)
It is held today that this passage refers to the need for the unsaved to receive Christ. As soon as they do, they are in the light and their sins are gone. The concept is that salvation is a one-time experience resulting in an eternal, unconditional amnesty. The conclusion drawn from this misunderstanding is that there never is a need for a Christian to repent, because his sins no longer are an issue—regardless of his behavior.
Here is a frightful error in theology. It has destroyed the morality of the Christian churches (and as a result of the civil governments that look to the churches for moral guidelines), and has given rise to several distortions.
The truth is, the above passage does not apply to the unsaved but to the saved. A casual examination of First John will reveal that the entire letter is addressed to the saints.
I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. (I John 2:14)
If the letter is written to the saints, then the "we" in "If we confess our sins," is speaking to Christians, not to those outside the churches.
The true saint walks in continual repentance. As the Spirit of God points out to him the sins of his personality he confesses them and repents of them. When he does his sins are forgiven and he is cleansed. Thus his fellowship with God is maintained.
There is no genuine Christian experience apart from a continuing confession of sin and repentance.
Because of the erroneous belief that "accepting Christ" results in an eternal, unconditional amnesty, the Christians of today do not know how to respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit. If God should pour out a Spirit of revival, beginning with a conviction of sin, the churches would be unable to respond. They would perceive the convicting Presence of the Holy Spirit as being an accusation of Satan, since they are convinced that being in Christ means they have no sin.
False doctrines proceeding from the error in goal and means. The first false doctrine we will mention is the pre-tribulation "rapture" of the believer.
Because it is believed that sin is no longer an issue in the life of the Christian, the emphasis now has been placed on avoiding physical pain. The thought is, we have no need to fear God because we are without sin; therefore we shall fear pain and seek to avoid it.
The objective of the "rapture" is to prevent the saints from suffering physical pain. The doctrine of the pre-tribulation ascension of the saints to escape pain is based on the assumption that there is no need to fear the Judgment Seat of Christ now that God has provided an eternal, unconditional pardon. "Let us flee to Heaven and avoid physical suffering at the hands of Antichrist."
Given the passages of Scripture that teach the need for tribulation, plus the history of suffering of the Christian churches, it is amazing that the fanciful concept of a rapture to avoid suffering ever gained the ground it has. An alert high-school student could easily prove from the New Testament (as well as from Church history) that God's elect often experience many forms of suffering, and sometimes martyrdom.
It is the wicked spirit of loving pleasure more than God that has given birth to the doctrine of a rapture to avoid physical suffering. The rapture never is presented as a means of glorifying Christ or of bringing us into the image of Christ or into union with Him, which are the Scriptural goals, but as a means of avoiding the pain of the great tribulation. This fact alone should have warned the churches that it is a false doctrine. The doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture is man-centered. It is in complete harmony with the man-centeredness of the Antichrist spirit.
As we have said, the error of presenting eternal residence in Heaven as the goal of redemption, and a once-for-all profession of belief in Christ as the means of attaining the goal, has made it possible for such a distortion as the pre-tribulation rapture of the believers to gain credence.
We trust that the rapture will take us to Paradise; and there is no need to worry about facing Christ even though we have been worldly, lustful, and disobedient to the call of God on our life. We are without sin and are assured of eternal residence in Paradise because of our confession of belief in the theological facts concerning Christ. This false conclusion drawn from the writings of the Apostle Paul keeps the believers in perpetual babyhood.
One of the purposes of the great tribulation is to perfect the Bride of the Lamb, separating her from the babylonish (manmade, man-centered, man-directed) confusion of organized religion. Since the current doctrine of "grace" teaches that Christians already are perfect through their association with Christ, the idea of their being perfected by suffering is not logical. The conclusion is, there is no need for us to be perfected by suffering when we already are perfect in Christ.
We understand, then, that the doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture is no mere error in eschatology; rather, it is a time bomb planted by the enemy, the purpose of which is to prevent the present-day Christians from preparing themselves for the tribulations that are just ahead.
Another distortion in Christian thinking is the so-called "faith message." The Lord appears to be inviting us to move mountains by supernatural processes. If God has been so kind as to pardon all of our sins unconditionally it must be His will to give us whatever we speak "in faith."
We are without sin, they claim. Let us, therefore, use our "faith" (which is not true faith at all but an attempt to "believe" something into existence) to make sure we are living a pleasant life surrounded by all pleasurable things and circumstances. What an abomination! How totally unscriptural! How well suited to an age in which people love pleasure more than they love God!
The "prosperity" message is an expected sequel to the "faith" message, just as "reconstructionism" is the expected sequel to the faith and prosperity messages. The emphasis is that Christians ought to be prosperous, commanding by faith the resources of the material realm.
In spite of the warning of the Scriptures from Balaam to Judas, from Gehazi to Ananias and Sapphira, the Christians (of the wealthy nations) have been seduced into believing they are to be rich in the present world system. The love of money is characteristic of the worship of Antichrist.
The deception concerning the desirability of material riches would not have been successful had the Christians not been convinced that sin no longer is an issue in their lives and that they now are to have the best of this world—and Heaven too.
The preliminary deceptions of the pre-tribulation rapture, of "speak it into existence," and of the righteousness and desirability of possessing material riches, have brought the Charismatic believers to Satan's goal. It is to convince Christians they are to rule the present world before the Lord returns.
If the followers of Christ no longer need be concerned with the worldliness, sin, and self-will of their own personalities they can afford to turn their attention to gaining control of the civil governments. Then they will have a godly world to present to Christ when He appears. This totally unscriptural concept has gained wide acceptance among Charismatic believers under the name of Reconstructionism.
The Reconstructionists already are revealing their guiding spirit by their harsh attitude toward society and by their anti-Semitism. They will succeed in bringing persecution on all Christians as they seek to force their standards of morality on non-Christians.
The outcome of the Church Age will not be the conversion of the nations to the will of God but a company of royal priests who will rule with the Lord Jesus over earth's peoples. Their rulership will begin when He and they appear—not before.
All of God's rulers are subjected to many years of suffering. The purpose of the suffering is that they may learn obedience to the Father and come to know Him. It is only after they have been called, chosen, and proven faithful that they are fit to rule with God.
Those who are planning to rule today are not living as part of the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord but according to their own soulish impulses—although they speak and act in Jesus' name.
The Kingdom of God shall be established on the earth by force, as the Lord Jesus descends with His army to crush all resistance. The nations of the earth will attempt to resist God's anointed, but they shall be destroyed. This is what the Scriptures teach, both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
The concept of Christians setting up the Kingdom of God by means of their faith, prior to Christ's appearing, is an Antichrist idea. It is not proceeding from the Lord but from the False Prophet.
The true Christian of today is patiently bearing his cross after Christ. He is clothing himself with the armor of righteousness, preparing himself to stand in the day of evil. He is not seeking to be wealthy. He is seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, realizing that all material goods necessary for his survival and well being will be provided by the Lord.
The spirit that is teaching Christians they are to be wealthy, to be leaders of the world, to be without pain, to live in pleasure, is not of God. It is the False Prophet spoken of in the Book of Revelation.
The true saints are hearing the voice of the Bridegroom. As they laboriously place one foot after the other in the pressured way that leads to eternal life, the Spirit of God is warning them of the Antichrist spirit, of the False Prophet, of Babylon, and of Laodicea. The day will come when the preachers who are seducing God's people, inviting them to wealth and positions of power, who are of the synagogue of Satan, will come and worship God at the feet of His true saints.
He who has an ear to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches, let him acknowledge that the love of money is the root of all evil and that God's true followers are always accounted as sheep for the slaughter. This world is not their home. Their kingdom is not of this world.
When we listen to the Lord today, does He invite us to go forth and set up His Kingdom now? He does not! He warns us to set our own house in order because the spirit of deception is in the land. Judgment and persecution are coming. There will be no rapture to deliver the believers from the seductions and persecutions of Antichrist or from the great tribulation.
The end of the age is upon us. Those who overcome Satan, the world, and their own lusts and self-seeking, will sit with Christ in His throne. Those who seek to live in pleasure, even though the pleasure is obtained in the name of the Lord Jesus, will be snared by Antichrist, by the False Prophet, and by Babylon (man-directed Christianity), and will finally be brought to unbearable remorse and torment.
There are at least three major forces of the last days that are of God:
The return of the Jews to the land of Israel.
The latter-rain revival.
The perfecting of the godly remnant.
The return of the Jews to the land of Israel. No doctrine is taught more clearly in the Scriptures than that of the return of the Jews in the last days to the land of Israel. The return is mentioned many times in the Old Testament.
And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. (Isaiah 11:12)
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be said, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The Lord liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. (Jeremiah 16:14,15)
Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 11:17)
And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24)
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 an error to believe that God will not fulfill His promises to the people who are Jewish by race. God indeed shall fulfill His promises and shall gather them and pour out His Spirit upon them as He has promised.
It is significant that some of the chief spokesmen of Reconstructionism (the movement of Christian people that seeks to gain control of the power and wealth of the world) maintain that God is finished with the Jews, that Judaism is evil. They are against the idea that God will turn again to the Jews and that Israel will become the leading Christian nation of the world, which is the promise of Isaiah. They cannot accept the fact that the Kingdom finally will come to Israel.
The Charismatic leaders who speak against Israel in this way reveal that Satan is in them. Satan greatly fears the Jews and their return to the land of Israel. He knows that his rulership of the world will be brought to an end only when Christ takes His place on the throne of David.
It is not true that the Christians are the new Jews, the new Israel. It indeed is true that the Gentile saints have been grafted on the one true olive tree, the one Seed of Abraham. But there are numerous passages of the Scriptures that have to do with the Jews as a race, and these passages shall be fulfilled to the letter.
In our day we are beholding the wonderful sight of the Jews returning to the land of Israel. Also, Christ is opening the eyes of many Jews to the truth concerning Himself. It indeed is a great day for the Jews and for all who love God's original chosen people.
As is to be expected, many Gentile nations, as well as those "Christians" who are part of Babylon or the False Prophet (the attempt of Christians to employ the power of the soul to work miracles), despise the Jews and do not pray for the peace of Jerusalem. It is to be hoped that the Jews of the land of Israel will cease trusting in their political alliances and turn to the God of their fathers. Only then will they be protected from the pressure exerted on them by the larger nations.
God has promised to be an enemy of the enemy of the Jews. The true, victorious Christians pray for the Jews and support them in every manner possible. The deceived Christians have been deluded into believing that God no longer regards the Jews as His chosen people.
The Gentile nations will continue to betray the Jews, as they always have. God will curse every nation that deals treacherously with the Jews and bless every nation that assists the Jews as they return and rebuild the nation of Israel. Woe to the people who do not help the Jews in this hour, for the Lord Jesus shall send them into everlasting fire at His appearing! (Matthew 25:41).
The most significant sociological event of the twentieth century is the return of the Jews to the land of Israel. It is the responsibility and privilege of every person who loves Jesus to assist His Jewish brothers and sisters as they return to the land.
The latter-rain revival. Another godly force that will be prominent in the last days is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as the "latter rain." The land of Israel has two important periods of rainfall: the fall, planting (former) rain, and the spring, harvest (latter) rain. Joel, Hosea, and Zechariah speak of the downpour of the "latter rain" of the Spirit of God.
Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. (Joel 2:23)
Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:3)
Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field. (Zechariah 10:1)
It is the writer's point of view that the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11 portray symbolically the double portion of God's Spirit, the latter rain, empowering the members of Christ's Body to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God with unprecedented power and authority.
The witnesses will torment all those who dwell on the earth by bringing various plagues along with their message of repentance. If such plagues were not forthcoming, people would not repent. The Christian preachers and teachers would assure them no repentance is necessary since every believer is complete in Christ.
But the awesome disasters wrought by the hands of the end-time witnesses will sweep away the chaff of Christian teaching and cause the people to bow their hearts in repentance before the God the whole earth.
The former-rain outpouring of the Holy Spirit portrayed in the Book of Acts gave birth to the Christian Church. The outpouring of the latter rain, the harvest downpour, will bring the Church to maturity. It is our point of view that during the latter-rain dispensation of grace and glory the majority of the inhabitants of the earth will make at least a nominal profession of Christ.
The perfecting of the godly remnant. A third godly force that will operate in the last days is the perfecting of the godly remnant of the Church. The Scriptures speak several times of a remnant of Israel who will play an important role in the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth. The story of Gideon's triumph, which may be the strongest of the Old Testament types of the Day of the Lord, portrays a remnant gaining victory over the enemy.
A remnant shall be saved.
Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: (Romans 9:27)
Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. (Romans 11:5)
The Scripture teaches that the remnant (which may be portraying the firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb, consisting of both Jews and Gentiles) will be purified by suffering before the Lord returns.
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 4:3,4)
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 13:9)
The doctrine of the remnant is important. There is an abundance of emphasis in both the Old Testament and the New Testament to support the view that only a remnant of the Church will be resurrected when the Lord appears the next time. It is the holy remnant who, as a fulfillment of the type of David's mighty men, will return with the Lord in order to establish His Kingdom on the earth.
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)
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, (Jude 1:14)
Notice, in the following passage, that it is the members of the ruling priesthood who are given back their bodies in the first resurrection:
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power [authority], but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
Most of the Lord's elect are not ready for the Battle of Armageddon. But a warrior-remnant is being formed who will ride with Jesus in that day.
Today the Bride of the Lamb can be found in the babylonish Christian religious system. The Lord Jesus is speaking to the heart of His Bride, calling her to come away with Him. She must be purged completely of worldliness, lust, and self-seeking. Then she must learn to lean on the Lord in every area of personality and behavior.
The Bride is being brought down to the Valley of Achor. She is passing through the fires of judgment. All that is covetous and grasping in her is being revealed by the Light of God, and then buried with Christ in crucifixion.
When the judgment has been finished she will sing there, in the place of judgment, as in the days of her youth. Her first love for Jesus—that which the religious system tends to destroy—will be restored to her. She no longer will refer to Jesus as Lord, but as "my Husband." She will come up out of this wilderness leaning on her Beloved.
And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me Ishi [my husband]; and shalt call me no more Baali [my master]. (Hosea 2:16)
When the Bride has been purified, as was Queen Esther, she will cry, "Come, Lord Jesus." It is that plea coming from a perfected Church that will bring back the Lord.
We have just spoken of the three forces that are of God and beneficial for the righteous. Now we will turn to the forces of evil that seek continually to deceive the elect and reserve them for Satan's use.
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. (Revelation 13:18)
The Antichrist is 666, that is, a trinity of sixes. Three is the number of God; six is the number of man. Antichrist is man making himself God.
There is only one legitimate will in the creation. It is the will of God the Father. It is the Father's will that Christ be Lord over all spirits and people. Only Christ has the Divine right to govern.
Every will opposed to the will of Christ is Antichrist. We understand, therefore, that each of us Christians is an antichrist until we accept the absolute lordship of Jesus over our lives.
The nations of our day have rejected the lordship of Christ. The democratic nations, the communistic nations, and the monarchies and feudal societies have all rejected the lordship of Christ. All have the Antichrist spirit.
There will be a man in whom the aspirations of all who resist the rule of Christ is fulfilled. He will claim he is God and there is no other god. This is what New Age, humanistic, democratic, communistic, and socialistic thinking, as well as all false religions, are leading to.
Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. (Daniel 8:11)
Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any God: for he shall magnify himself above all. (Daniel 11:37)
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (Revelation 13:16)
It may be true that the day soon will arrive when a debit system in which the hand and forehead are stamped becomes the prevailing system of commerce. We can imagine the consternation of those who have believed in the pre-tribulation rapture when their local stores turn from the credit card to the debit card, and then from the debit card to an identifying mark in the body.
We do not know how the mark will come into being. The important issue is whether the individual is obeying the will of Christ through the Holy Spirit, or whether he or she—Christian or not— is following his self-will. It is the self-will that is Antichrist (against the rule of Christ).
Characteristics of the Antichrist spirit. The current talk about the rights of people is a sign of the Antichrist spirit, the spirit of self-will, self-centeredness. The idea that all people are equal is another symptom.
It certainly is true that we should never disparage anyone or prefer anyone solely on the basis of his or her race, gender, wealth, social standing, or for any other reason. However, the Scriptures do teach that from mankind has been called an elect, and that from that elect will be gathered a smaller group of chosen vessels, and that from the chosen will emerge the faithful, the Lord's "mighty men," the firstfruits to God and the Lamb.
We do not choose Jesus, He chooses us. This fact alone does away completely with the concept that all people have an equal opportunity to approach God. God works in terms of a ruling priesthood, not in terms of a democracy. It is a kingdom that is coming, not a democracy.
Other indications of the Antichrist spirit are the doctrines of self-government, free-enterprise capitalism as a preferred economic system (the economic system of the saints is, seek first the Kingdom of God and all material needs shall be added to you), and every other form of government and economic system in which man gains power and takes control, whether it is totalitarian, socialistic, feudal, or democratic.
The saints have been chosen out of the world to bear witness of God and His Kingdom, not to gain control of the people or resources of the world. It is our point of view that the Antichrist himself (or herself) well may be, as was Judas, a deceived Christian.
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. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (I John 2:18,19)
Until we are willing to take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus we are in danger of taking part in the Antichrist system. It is the cross of delayed gratification that destroys our self-will and brings Christ to the throne of our personality. We have to deny ourselves. We have to choose between God and pleasure.
All systems of government by man are Antichrist when they do not submit to the lordship of Christ. However, the most subtle, the most deceiving, the most threatening, of all systems, as far as the Christian saints are concerned, is the philosophy and practice of democracy, of humanism, of libertarianism.
Antichrist emerges from the "sea" of people.
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. (Revelation 13:1)
And he shall speak great words against the most High,.... (Daniel 7:25)
"The name of blasphemy "!
America may be the principal example of democracy in the world. It may be noticed that it is from the art forms and media of America and other democratic nations that blasphemy is proceeding. Motion pictures and works of art that blaspheme Christ are lawful in America because of the tenets of democracy and libertarianism.
Superficially, democracy appears to be related to Christianity, in that it speaks of concern for people, equality, personal freedom, and other values that appeal to Christians—and to all decent people. However, democracy is a satanic imitation of the true freedom that can come only when the Lord Jesus Christ sets us free from sin.
The proponents of civil liberty in America do not always point out that it is impossible to assign rights to a person without depriving others of their rights. For instance, the federal and state governments are anxious to protect the rights of those with AIDS. By not treating AIDS as leprosy or any other deadly communicable disease is treated; by not using all the power of the civil government to remove the carriers of AIDS from positions where others can be infected; the rights of the healthy majority are violated.
It often is true in America that the rights of the majority are violated so that the rights of the minority may be protected. It often is true that the rights of the innocent are discarded while the rights of the guilty are supported.
Also, it often is true that much harm is caused by the insistence of the media that they be allowed to reveal what they will without regard for the consequences to people or institutions.
In no manner are these expressions of "freedom" and "concern for individual rights" a part of the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are contrary to Kingdom morality (as well as common sense) and destructive of righteousness, peace, and joy.
We must keep in mind that in the last days the danger to the saints will be deception, not physical suffering. Other religions, or Communism, or the New Age movement (about which Christians are so concerned), are but a minor threat to the believers. They obviously are in error. It is democracy that is so deadly. The Christians cannot see the difference between the Statue of Liberty (the goddess of democracy) and the cross of Calvary. They cannot see any difference between the pursuit of happiness and the pursuit of righteousness.
The Christian schools of America are somewhat confused, it appears, concerning the nature of America. They do not realize there are two Americas: the religious America founded by the Puritans and the secular America of the humanists. The secular America is prevailing today and will not willingly adopt Christian values. Our job is to bear witness of the Kingdom of God, not to attempt to force secular society to conform to our way of thinking.
The right of freedom of speech is not a value of the Scriptures but of libertarian philosophy. The Scriptures teach us to gain control over our tongue, and over all other forms of self-expression, because our adamic personality is inherently lawless.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. (James 1:26)
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Corinthians 9:27)
The Scriptures teach subjection and self-control, not abandonment to our senses. We do not have a right to do as we please, except as God wills.
Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. (James 4:13-15)
The only truly free individual is he or she who is the slave of Christ. The Christian who has left the Law of Moses but who is not the slave of the Lord Jesus is a spiritual "single." He will make little progress in the Kingdom of God.
The Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech has made possible every form of blasphemy in America. How, then, is freedom of speech a Christian value? We have been deceived.
The true Christian pilgrimage is one of patient, cross-carrying obedience, of delayed gratification, of repentance, and often of physical suffering and martyrdom. Where are these found in the tenets of libertarian democracy?
We appreciate that the government of America has not prevented us from following the Lord Jesus, according to its promise not to interfere with the exercise of religion. Our point is that libertarian democracy and the Kingdom of God are by no means the same form of government, and the Christian schools need to understand this and teach the children clearly and forcefully that the true saints always will be hated by the world—even by (and in the future perhaps especially by) the democratic governments of the world.
The Christians of America are to come out of the worldly society in which they live and become a holy remnant before the Lord. Our eternal government is a Kingdom governed by the Lord Jesus Christ. Our constitution is the Scriptures. Our economic system is that of seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. All other governments, constitutions, and economic systems are at enmity with our most important values.
When we attempt to mix Christianity with democracy, or trust in God with free-enterprise capitalism, we enter deception and confusion. God's anointing never will remain on people who become entangled with worldly governments or financial systems.
Money takes the place of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God is the Power of Christ's rule. Money is the power of the rule of Antichrist. The love and worship of money will be prominent in the worldwide Antichrist government that is on the horizon, according to our present understanding.
It is difficult for citizens of the wealthy nations of today to imagine a way of life apart from an emphasis on the acquisition of money as the objective of life on earth. However, the rule of Christ does not emphasize money at all. The emphasis is on seeking God's Kingdom and God's righteousness, with the understanding that all of our material needs will be supplied.
It has not always been true that lending money for the sake of obtaining interest has occupied such a prominent place in society. In fact, the Scripture speaks against the practice of loaning money with the intent of gaining interest. God prefers we share with one another. The practice of lending money on interest does not appear to be in the best interest of society.
Although we distinguish between interest and usury today, it does not appear that this is the case in the admonitions of Scripture. From the beginning, God spoke against lending wealth with the intent of obtaining increase.
Take thou no usury of him, or increase: but fear thy God; that thy brother may live with thee. (Leviticus 25:36)
He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, (Ezekiel 18:8)
God regards the man who shares his wealth as being righteous.
He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. (Psalms 37:26)
Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; (I Timothy 6:17,18)
In our day it has come to be accepted, in the major nations in particular, that the gaining of more money by the investment of money (as distinguished from producing wealth by working, by manufacturing, by creating) is a basis of economic life. Much stress is placed on the accumulation of money.
To accumulate money is to build a reserve of power. Accumulating money is a substitute for trusting God's wisdom, power, and care.
"No man can serve God and mammon," Jesus declared. "He will love one and hate the other." Every person must choose between trusting God and trusting money. One cannot serve both God and money. Each is a God and demands our worship.
One of the major efforts of Satan in the last days will be directed toward persuading Christians that they should seek, glory in, love, worship, and trust in material wealth. The true saint will flee from every attempt to involve him or her in the pursuit of money.
Related to this is the Christian involvement in politics. Except for individuals whom God may direct into public office, the Christians are not to seek to govern the peoples of the earth. Our time to govern will come with the appearing of the Lord from Heaven. Meanwhile we must keep in mind that the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus is not of this world but will come with Him from Heaven.
If a Christian should come into authority as a public official, let him govern according to his integrity, competence, and experience. He is not to employ a Christian mystique such that he is governing as a prophet of God.
It is acceptable that a public official be a Christian. It is not acceptable that he attempt to set up the Kingdom of God at this time, that he seek to substitute the mysteries of his faith in place of integrity, competence, and courage, or that he attempt to use a high office to put his Christian friends in positions of power.
It is not unusual for popular Christian leaders to be lacking in integrity. They have permitted their Christian faith to destroy their character. They have no business being in public office. The destruction of their character is the result of their belief that accepting Jesus as our Savior relieves us of the necessity for maintaining integrity and faithfulness.
The current prophecies that Christians are to control the wealth of the world and gain political power are not of God. They are from the enemy. The true saint will shun all attempts to call him down from his cross of patient obedience to the Lord Jesus.
The Scriptures teach us, by illustration and commandment, that the saint is not to worship the God of money. We have the examples of Balaam, Gehazi, Judas, and Ananias and Sapphira, to help us understand God's attitude toward the love and worship of money.
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition [destruction]. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. (I Timothy 6:8-11)
Will we obey Paul or not?
And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. (Revelation 13:11)
Who the False Prophet is. The False Prophet comes up out of the earth, that is, out of the soul of man. This is not true of the beast, the Antichrist, who rises up out of the "sea" (the peoples of the earth),
The Antichrist dwells in man when man insists upon sitting on the throne of his own personality, the throne that was created in man to be the seat of God and His Christ.
The False Prophet dwells in spiritually gifted individuals who seek to employ spiritual wisdom and power but who do not enter the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
The Pentecostal outpouring that took place at the turn of the twentieth century was of God. The Charismatic movement, while it came into being as a sequel to Pentecost, has embraced the gifts of the Spirit but not the cross-carrying pilgrimage of the true saint. Therefore it has been deceived in many instances with the faith, prosperity, and reconstruction errors.
While it may be premature to claim that the Charismatic movement is the False Prophet of Revelation, Chapter 13, it is true that the spirit of the False Prophet is present among Charismatics. The False Prophet has "two horns like a lamb" but speaks as a dragon. Horns, as employed in the Scriptures, speak of power. The False Prophet attempts to use the power of the Lamb but speaks with the voice of Satan.
The False Prophet will support the Antichrist. If, as we think, the first beast, the Antichrist, will be represented in the last days by libertarian democracy and capitalism (self-government plus the love of money), and the second beast represents Christians who are not crucified with Jesus but who are seeking to manipulate the metaphysical realm according to their own soulish abilities, then we would expect to see the soulish believers supporting democracy as a form of government and capitalism as an economic system; for the Scripture teaches that the False Prophet will be the mainstay of the Antichrist.
And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. (Revelation 13:12)
Evidently democracy and capitalism are going to be dealt a terrible blow, perhaps by the Communists attacking the United States and then England. But after that takes place, the deluded Christians, moving according to their own soulish promptings, will assist in the restoring of democracy and capitalism to the nations of the earth.
Since the first edition of this booklet, the Soviet Union has apparently undergone radical changes. Whether this is a master ploy or an actual collapse of Communism remains to be seen. In any case, the democratic form of government finally will prevail. It is best suited to the desire of Satan to govern the world.
And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, (Revelation 13:13)
Since 1950 there has been a gradually increasing acceptance and expectation of miracles, especially on the part of Charismatic believers. Many outstanding healings and other miracles have come from the Holy Spirit of God.
However, in some instances the workers of miracles have not been following the Lord as they should; therefore, the miracles have been endorsing unscriptural beliefs and unrighteous practices. The believers seldom are careful to examine if the Lord's will is being done. It is enough that the name of Jesus seems to be honored and the miracle occurs. Thus the Charismatic believers are wide open to deception—and they have been deceived!
In the days ahead there will be unprecedented miracles, continually increasing in number and power. Some will be worked by true saints; others will be wrought at the hands of those who are being moved by their own soul and who are not part of the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord. They are not abiding in the Lord Jesus and are lawless as far as the Kingdom of God is concerned.
And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. (Revelation 13:14)
One can imagine how attractive libertarian democracy will appear to the peoples of the earth who have suffered so long under totalitarian systems. When democracy is then endorsed by tremendous signs and wonders, such as fire coming down from the sky, the appeal will be irresistible.
The teaching that faith is a method by which the believer can obtain what he wants is the forerunner of the use of faith to bring about democratic government. It is not a huge leap from using soulish faith to get the job we desire, or the money we want, to using soulish faith to support the kind of government and economic system we believe to be the most moral, enjoyable and productive. We use the term soulish faith to distinguish the current "positive thinking," imaging, and "creative speaking" from true scriptural faith in the Lord Jesus.
The image of the beast. It is not clear to us what the image is that the False Prophet will make in honor of the Antichrist system of government and economics. We do know that the concept of image is important in the business world of today. We know also that much is said in Christian and secular circles about the power of dwelling on images in the mind in order to attain one's desires.
No doubt the soulish believers, operating in the Satan-inspired supernatural realm they have accepted as being of the Lord Jesus, will be able to conceive of something that will portray the ideal of democracy and capitalism. One is reminded of the image set up by King Nebuchadnezzar—an image of gold that Nebuchadnezzar felt would consolidate his power and deify his person.
The Statue of Liberty, coming from France, a land of revolution, represents the values of the American Constitution. A few years ago the Statue of Liberty was honored in a ceremony that was idolatrous.
Chinese students, when attempting to gain some aspects of personal freedom, made a replica of the Statue of Liberty that they referred to as the "goddess of liberty."
The concept of "liberty" refers to political freedom. Political freedom is desirable, but the Christian redemption often flourishes more readily under oppression than it does under political freedom.
The slavery that is to be feared is spiritual slavery. Men are slaves to the lusts of demons until they are set free by the Lord Jesus. The freedom of spirit that Jesus brings can be enjoyed under a democratic government or a totalitarian regime. The citizens of the Western governments have much political freedom but they are in the chains of slavery to Satan and his demons.
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (Revelation 13:15)
It remains to be seen whether the image will be a physical statue or some other representation of democracy and capitalism. In any event, Christians working miracles will make this form of government and economics "live." Furthermore, the Christians may murder those who refuse to go along with their scheme for world peace.
It may be difficult for us to believe that some Christians would murder others, but such has occurred on numerous occasions in Church history.
One must remember that under the reign of Antichrist, soulish Christians will be working together with libertarian government to provide a peaceful world in which every person will have sufficient food, clothing, shelter, and health care. "Renegade" Christians and Jews who refuse to participate in the new world order will be tolerated at first, then scorned, then perceived as enemies of mankind.
There is a movement today among Christians to organize civil government according to Mosaic Law. This would include the institution of capital punishment for a number of crimes that today would not warrant the death penalty.
When the Pharisees had the Lord murdered, and when Saul of Tarsus was imprisoning Christians, they were doing so according to the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses commands very harsh punishments for anyone found worshiping a false God.
Satan’s original declaration was that he would be like the Most High, that he would be above the stars of God, that is, seated on a throne above the other sons of God. Satan is always present in a fervent Christian assembly. He looks about to see if any believer has a desire for preeminence. If he can find such an individual he enters him and begins to seduce him.
The fervent Christian who thus becomes invaded by Satan’s desire for preeminence becomes a destroyer of the work of God. He will split his assembly or do whatever else is necessary attain preeminence among the brothers and sisters. He or she will gossip, slander, lie, persuade and exploit young people, and do anything and everything else to gain preeminence and control.
After having seen such believers at work it is not too difficult to picture them arranging circumstances resulting in the death of those who truly were obeying the Lord, sincerely believing by doing this they were serving God.
And he [the False Prophet] had power to give life unto the image of the beast [of Antichrist], that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. (Revelation 13:15)
As Antichrist gains control he will be emboldened to put uncooperative Christians to death. Let us call to mind that Pontius Pilate was the one who sentenced the Lord to death, but he did not do so until forced by the leaders of Israel.
As the Pharisees gave satanic life and utterance to the Roman government through Pilate, so the supernaturally driven Christians will give satanic life and utterance to the world system of democracy and capitalism and cause to be put to death all who refuse to participate in their plans.
And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. (Daniel 11:33)
The False Prophet will enforce the mark of the beast. It is the False Prophet who enforces the mark as a sign of compliance with the preferred economic system.
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: (Revelation 13:16)
Notice that there still are people who are not socially equal ("small and great, rich and poor, free and bond") at this time. Even though liberty and equality are revered, there still will be people who are the servants of others. People who worship at the altar of humanism are never able to perceive what is true. They live in a dreamland of their own conjectures. In the midst of desolation they perceive themselves as possessing abundance. Truly, they prefer to rule in the cardboard shacks of Hell than to serve God in His Kingdom.
Such wishful thinking and blindness can be observed today in America. The center of economics in America is in New York City. The squalor and vice of New York City are beyond description. The center of government in America is in Washington D.C., a city filled with drugs, drunkenness, moral filth, and crime.
Yet, America condemns every government that does not embrace the precepts of democracy. The blind are attempting to lead the blind.
Notice also that the rich will not be able evade the requirements of the system, as they so often are able to do today. The rich no longer will be able to control the nations, the power will be in the hands of those who are forcing democracy and capitalism on the nations of the earth.
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:17)
Not being able to buy or sell will force the true Christians into the place in the wilderness that God has prepared for them.
And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. (Revelation 12:14)
The current stage of development of lawlessness. At the present time there has been a preliminary establishment of the use of supernatural power among Charismatics, as seen in the faith and prosperity teachings. Also, outstanding Charismatic leaders are examining the possibility of Charismatics and other Christian people taking a leading role in civil government.
It is our opinion that in the near future the Communist governments will regroup and react against the current spread of democratic ideals among their people. There will be war and democracy will be dealt a deadly blow.
Russia then will make the fatal mistake of attacking Israel. When this happens, God will intervene and Russia will be destroyed.
It is after the destruction of the Communist forces, the nations of the earth having been influenced greatly by the power of the worldwide revival of the last days, that a deceived Christian will proceed with the concept of Christian government empowered by supernatural faith (as distinguished from true faith in the Lord Jesus Christ).
The Antichrist emphasis on world peace, material abundance, and social equality will be so utterly deceiving to Christians that almost the entire Christian world will follow this inspired leader. Gradually he will be filled with Satan, as was Judas Iscariot, until he—in his lust for power—turns against God and proclaims himself to be God.
He will go up against Israel and succeed in establishing himself in the rebuilt Temple between the wings of the Cherubim of Glory. He will say, "I am God and there is none other." This statement will so anger God as to cause the great tribulation to commence.
Then the devout Jews are to flee into the wilderness, to be nourished there by the godly remnant of Christians who already will have been driven from the cities of the earth by the government and the fleshly churches acting together. The Christian world by this time will be in confusion and many will go out to join with the remnant.
Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. (Daniel 11:34)
Antichrist, assisted by the False Prophet, will establish a world order. The humanists and libertarians will cry "peace, peace," while all about them is desolation. The rule of man is the abomination that produces artistic, intellectual, financial, agricultural, technical, social, and educational desolation.
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:) (Matthew 24:15)
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Revelation 17:3-5)
What Babylon is. Babylon represents the efforts of people to build the Kingdom of God by their own wisdom and strength.
The first Babylon was an attempt to reach into the heavens by human wisdom and strength.
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. (Genesis 11:4)
The people wanted to make a name for themselves, and to band together in unity. Their purpose was to make themselves strong so they could accomplish their personal desires, not so they could please or worship God.
God knows that when people band together to accomplish things in their own strength they forget God, and so He brought confusion into their midst. God always will do this.
Every denomination, every religious organization, every Christian work, has in mind to band together in order to accomplish what it believes to be God's purposes. When we see the Glory of the Lord, our instinct is to do something, to build three tabernacles—or anything else!—not knowing what we are doing. But God desires that we "keep our hands off the Ark", that is, that we allow Him to build His own Kingdom.
For two thousand years people have attempted to do Christian works, to work "for God." However, it appears that almost all Christian endeavor has been performed in ignorance of God's specific will. This is why we have many denominations and works of various kinds that hold different beliefs and compete with one another. The Christian organizations of today, in many instances, are a part of Babylon the Great, the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth.
At first thought it might appear that the description of Babylon in Revelation, Chapters 17 and 18 is too harsh to represent the efforts of well-intentioned people to do God's work. The truth is, the established denominations, particularly the Roman Catholic organization, have murdered thousands—perhaps millions—of true Christians during the Christian Era.
To attempt to build a spiritual kingdom by our own strength, to try to be like God, is close to the heart of Satan. This is why there is so much envy and hatred in religious circles. This is why the Pharisees murdered the Lord Jesus. Spiritual envy is a deadly sin.
After the death of the Apostles of the Lamb. The Apostles of the Lamb, including the Apostle Paul, lived and moved under an unprecedented anointing. They represented in themselves the fullness of the work of redemption. No other believer dared to join himself to them. They were a dispensation to the Christian Church.
After they died, less-inspired men took over their work and office, as God knew they would. No doubt many of the Church fathers were devout, godly men. Perhaps some of them knew the will of God.
It cannot be denied, however, that many of the early builders were spiritually blind. They guessed at God's will and proceeded to build organizations of believers. There was, and continues to be, much hatred and strife as the various organizations fight one another.
A survey of the history of the Christian religion gives the impression of babylonish confusion of doctrine and practice. In addition, there has been much torture and murder as one group attempted to force another group to conform to its beliefs. In many instances the Christians have not been one in the Father and the Son nor have they loved one another. (There have been notable exceptions.)
Knowing God's will. The difference between Babylon and the true saint is simply that the true saint knows God's will and is performing it.
Notice carefully the following passage:
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:1,2)
True Judaism and true Christianity have never been characterized by men working for God but by God speaking to men. It is true that whoever seeks God with a sincere heart will find Him. But when we find Him, then we are to search for His will each day, proving His will by presenting our body a living sacrifice.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1,2)
There is no shortcut to finding God's will. We have to work it out by years of cross-carrying obedience, patiently seeking the Lord each day of our pilgrimage.
The Scriptures are clear concerning God's foreknowledge, concerning predestination, concerning the fact that it is Christ alone who builds His Church.
Jesus loved us before we loved Him. He accomplished His perfect work of atonement on the cross of Calvary before we were aware that we are sinners. God chose His elect before the creation of the world, and then revealed His salvation to them at some point after their physical birth.
We did not choose Him, He chose us.
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:16)
The believers know that such statements are in the Scriptures. They realize that God reached down and touched us before we were aware of our need of Him. However, since the first century, men have set out to do God's work without a certain knowledge of God's goal, means, or timing. We humans find it almost impossible to believe that what God has started He will finish, and that our sole task is to determine His specific will.
Moses is a good example of what it means to know God's will. Whatever the Lord told Moses to do, that is what Moses did.
It is true that every Christian does not receive a direct revelation of God's will in the same manner as Moses. It is true also that God has taught us through the Scriptures His attitude toward man, the standards of conduct He requires, and our need to be in the image of Christ and to be one with Him. We are to study the Scriptures and, by the help of the Holy Spirit, do what they say.
In the case of numerous energetic people however, they are not content to live a godly life before the Lord. They are ready to set out to spread their faith. They may pray and ask God to guide them, to assist their efforts; but then they proceed before they hear from the Lord. They are so desirous of doing what is on their heart (and it may indeed be the Lord who has given them the desire!) that they go forth before the time is ripe.
God's way is to give us a desire for something, a ministry perhaps, or a particular circumstance, relationship, or blessing. He may visit us in a dream, or vision, or a sudden clarifying of our thoughts. However, we have no way of understanding the exact nature of the fulfillment of the promise or when or where it will be fulfilled.
The actual fulfillment of the word of God to us may be close at hand, or many years in the future as was true of Abraham. The mistake of Babylon is to seize the promise, guess at how it is to be fulfilled, and proceed to force people and circumstances until the vision is fulfilled according to the guesswork of the ambitious individual. This is how the Christian organizations have operated during the two thousand years of Christian Church history.
The true saint soon learns he never is to put forth his hand and help God along. Since he does not know what the actual fulfillment will be (for example, he doesn't know whether God has spoken literally or symbolically), or when or where the fulfillment will take place, he will only create confusion if he attempts to bring God's will to pass.
The character of the saint is formed in the interval between the giving of the vision and its fulfillment. Either he waits for God, patiently bearing his cross and following Jesus while various desires burn in him, or else he is deceived into going forth in his own strength and brings forth an "Ishmael."
Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. (Isaiah 50:10,11)
The story of Uzzah is the Lord's warning to us to keep our hands off the Glory of the Lord, to allow the Lord to establish His own Kingdom.
The Ark was returning to Jerusalem on a new cart, which typifies the strength and wisdom of men in doing the work of the Kingdom. According to the Law, the Ark was to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites, not on a cart.
Because the Ark was on a cart and not on the shoulders of men, it came to a place where it was in danger of falling to the ground.
And when they came to Nachon's threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. (II Samuel 6:6)
One would think that the Lord would appreciate the diligence of Uzzah in seeking to prevent harm to the Ark. Surely Uzzah's intentions were good. But good intentions are not sufficient in the work of the Kingdom of God. Uzzah was struck dead for touching the Glory of the Lord.
And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God. (II Samuel 6:7)
The error of Uzzah was presumption.
Entering the rest of God. If we are to enter the rest of God, and thus escape from the self-will of Babylon, we must accept the fact that God knows precisely what He is doing, that His works have been finished from the foundation of the world all the way through to the new Jerusalem.
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. (Hebrews 4:3)
God made everything in six days and then rested on the seventh. The animal realm of Adam and Eve was but a prototype of what is in the mind of God. The Divine fiat, that man be in the image of God, male and female, be fruitful, and have dominion over all things, can be realized only in Christ.
When God finished His work, every detail of the new Jerusalem had been completed in His timeless vision. Every person is encouraged to enter that rest, that completed work.
We are not to seek ways to save ourselves, to create our own paradise, to accomplish our own destiny. Rather we are to enter the perfect work of God and allow Him to bring us to the place prepared for us from the creation of the world.
It is difficult for us to merely allow the Lord to have His way. Our personal desires, the lusts of our flesh, the counsel of the world, fear, the feeling that we ought to be doing something, false teaching—all combine to remove us from God's rest.
The diligent saint finally comes to the realization that he knows nothing at all. His task is to lean not to his own understanding but to acknowledge the Lord in all that he thinks, all that he says, all that he does.
Babylon comes into being whenever we take matters into our own hands and go forth to do God's work without knowing what we are to do or when or where we are to do it.
Spiritual ambition. Satan is ambitious. He wants to be like God in every way but not to be part of God. He desires to be an individual who is like God but who maintains his own will.
Satan aspires to the majesty of God, to His authority, His power. He wants to have the worship of all of God's creatures. He also seeks the virtues of love, joy, and peace; and this is why we hear the humanists and other worldly people speak so much of love, joy, and peace.
When man disobeyed God, the spirit of Satan entered him. As a result, man desires to be like God in every way but not be a part of God. Because of the spirit of Satan that is in him, man seeks to be an individual who is like God but who maintains his own will.
Religious man aspires to the majesty of God, to His authority, His power. He wants to have the worship of all of God's creatures. He seeks the virtues of love, joy, and peace, but on his own terms. He is not always ready to surrender his individuality in order to be one with God through Christ.
He desires to be free from the Law of Moses but not married to Christ.
For two thousand years religious man has been active in Christian works of various kinds. Satan's spirit of envy and murder, which often dwells in the leaders of Judaism and Christianity, have been revealed on numerous occasions. Babylon is the "mother" of abominations of the earth.
How many religious leaders actually know God's will? How many are plowing ahead, working as hard as they can, but not receiving clear direction from the Lord? How many think they are hearing from the Lord but are in deception?
Waiting on the Lord for direction should be the most important subject in the curriculum of every institution that trains ministers of the Gospel. But how many of such institutions emphasize numerous methods for spiritual success, yet give minimal attention to the necessity for coming to God for clear direction?
Babylon teaches that we should study the Scriptures and from them build the Kingdom of God. The Spirit of God teaches us that we should look to God always and not trust our own judgment. As the Spirit leads us He emphasizes appropriate passages of the Scriptures. The sons of God are led by the Spirit.
The inability of Christian organizations to follow the Lord. Any person who is doing the Lord's will, resting in Him, is ready at any time to go, to return, to cease the work altogether and turn in a different direction.
We are not referring to the believer who is weak, impressionable, double-minded, unable to pursue an objective to its conclusion. We are not speaking of people who begin projects and then become bored and try something else, saying "the Lord told me to do this and the Lord told me to do that." Such people never can bear fruit, because they do not work at an undertaking long enough to bring it to a successful conclusion, or remain in one situation long enough for their roots to go down into God.
When we speak of moving with the Lord, of being one of God's chariots that move at the whisper of God's command, we are not indicating a light, frivolous believer who cannot be depended on to bring any fruit to perfection. Rather, we are emphasizing the absolute need to follow the Lord closely, not assuming that God is commanding today the same thing He commanded yesterday.
One sign that we are not watching the Lord closely enough is that we find it necessary to plead for money. The individual who is performing the Lord's will does not have to beg for money. God pays for what He orders. It is the person who is working in his own wisdom and strength who must beg for money to help him do what he believes to be God's will.
It is difficult for an organization, particularly a denomination, to keep moving with the movings of the Lord, to be God's chariot. A denomination organizes, in the first place, for the same reason the builders of the Tower of Babel organized—to build a city and a tower whose top may reach to the heavens, and to make a name, so the people will not be scattered abroad over the face of the earth.
At the beginning, a denomination is formed in order to organize and coordinate the efforts of a group of people in order to accomplish what they believe to be God's work, and so they may all teach the same doctrine. It is not long, however, before the organization exists for its own sake; and its efforts thereafter are directed at strengthening and enlarging itself.
Perhaps it was God's will for a particular group to organize in the first place. But once the denomination has been formed it is impossible to dismantle it. The assumption of the members is that it is God's will for the denomination to continue forever in the same work, holding the same doctrine.
It is not unlikely that soon after the denomination has been formed, God desires that it either cease to exist (because its work has been completed) or that it accept new doctrines and experiences that the Holy Spirit is bringing forth as He moves the Church toward the restoration of all that was given in the first century.
The denomination begins with one gifted person or a small band of holy radicals. Soon there is considerable financial involvement. People are hired who were not part of the original vision. Costly edifices are constructed. Seminaries are established.
The office of president of the denomination becomes attractive because of the prestige and salary. Ambitious men with administrative skill make their way to the top and then proceed to move the denomination as one would a business, using the latest techniques of advertising and merchandising. The original emphases on prayer and holiness fall by the way.
The idea of dismantling the organization appears ridiculous. Many people would lose their jobs. Yet, the Lord had removed Himself from the organization many years previously. Ornate structures remain that actually are receptacles for sacred relics. It appears that there is no exception to this.
Some spiritual life may remain in the organization and good works may be being accomplished. The Bride of the Lamb remains in Babylon to the present hour. There are godly people who love the Lord in the Catholic, Methodist, Pentecostal, and other institutions. But the denominations themselves will never be able to move with the current Presence of the Holy Spirit. Almost the moment the denomination is formed, "Ichabod" (the Glory has departed) is written on it in letters of fire.
The Christian religious systems are involved in the world. The Christian religious systems have been and still are involved in the economic and political activities of the world. Much is said in Revelation, Chapter 18 about the grief of the merchants when the secular governments finally turn against organized Christianity and destroy it from the large cities of the earth.
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)
And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, (Revelation 18:9)
And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: (Revelation 18:11)
Many of the large retail establishments of the world would collapse today if the Christian population refused to honor the pagan celebrations known as Christmas and Easter and did not buy material goods to give to one another.
The expression "And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her" (above) reminds one that there will be a convergence of the spiritual and natural realms as we approach the Day of Judgment, the Day of the Lord. In that hour, the spiritual and the natural realms will be one, making it possible for all the kings of history to see the execution of God's vengeance on the Christian religious systems that had represented themselves as the vicars of Christ.
The interaction between the Catholic Church and the nations of Europe is well known to historians. The kings and popes played politics with one another under the impression (held by the Catholic leadership) that the Catholic Church actually represented the Lord Jesus.
The murder, the immorality, the thievery, the covetousness, the politics that occur as the religious leaders and the heads of government vie with one another for control of people, have no place in the Lord Jesus. His Kingdom is not of this world. Yet the Catholic Church and other large Christian organizations continue to this day to play the role of the representative of Christ in the earth. This truly is an abomination.
There have been, and yet are, members of the Catholic Church who are true Christians. But the institution itself along with the other Christian institutions does not know the Lord and has no part in the Lord. It all is Babylon—the mother of prostitutes and abominations of the earth.
Babylon is a prostitute. A prostitute is one who refuses to be faithful to a husband, preferring to sell her beauty and graces to whoever will pay for them.
Whenever the Christian religious systems reach out to attract the world, either to gain members or to acquire some other kind of profit for themselves, the Spirit of God leaves them. The cry of the churches to "go out and save souls" often is not coming from the Spirit of God but from the desire of the institutions to be successful. They compass land and sea, as Jesus said, to make one proselyte, and then make the proselyte twofold more the child of Hell that the institutions are.
God has given gifts of grace to His Bride, and the beauty of holiness. None of these are to be used apart from the Presence of the Lord. They are only to be employed under the direct supervision of the Holy Spirit.
The world has nothing of value to offer and it is spiritually blind. It is willing to come to the churches when they have something it perceives to be of benefit to itself—such as Christmas shopping season.
Christians who love the Lord have been instrumental in numerous works of social value, such as the education of children, prison and hospital reform, and the abolition of slavery. But it remains true that the churches are to remain separate from the world—holy in the Presence of God's holiness.
We are to assist the widows and orphans while keeping ourselves unspotted by the world.
God has not charged the churches to "save souls." Rather, the responsibility of the churches is to practice and teach righteousness of behavior and holiness of personality. When the churches do this, the Lord will raise up evangelists and others who are able to bring the Word of Life to sinners.
The pressure to "save souls" proceeds, more often than not, from the personal ambition of the religious leaders. A church of many people brings money and status to the leadership. The emphasis of the Epistles to the churches is not on going forth and saving souls nor is it on building assemblies of numerous people. Rather, the emphasis is on righteousness, in view of the coming of the Lord in His Kingdom. One has only to read the Epistles of the Apostles to see that this is so.
The Christian Church is to be the prophet of God among men. As such its gatherings are to be holy convocations in which God is worshiped and the mysteries of the faith are practiced. The Christian assembly is not for the purpose of attracting members of the community nor is it for the purpose of healing the ills of the local community.
When the assembly of Christians keeps itself separate and holy before the Lord, the needs of the local community will be met by one means or another. But when the churches compromise the worship of the Lord in order to make themselves understandable and attractive to the community, then neither God nor the community will be served.
The babylonish Christian systems are prostitutes. They take of the spiritual graces that have been given to them by the Lord God and attempt to use His Glory for their own ends.
Babylon says, "I am a queen."
How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. (Revelation 18:7)
She claims to be no "widow," but she is a widow. The Lord is not her husband.
She claims to be a queen. But the Lord will have no queen. His wife is His body, His glory, not His queen. Queens are separate individuals. They share with their husbands in the majesty of their kingdom and sometimes compete with them for power.
The true Bride of the Lamb is an eternally indivisible, integral part of the Person of Christ. She is not separate from Him. She does not compete with Him. How could she? She has been formed from His Substance and lives by His Life.
Babylon, the religious systems, will never understand the oneness of Christ and His Wife. They believe themselves to be queens, to be married to the Lord. They make sure that they live in sensuous pleasure and believe they cannot be harmed. But their destruction shall come in one hour and they shall not be seen again in God's creation.
Babylon is a prostitute by nature, ready to sell herself in order to gain the approval of the world. She does not keep herself for a husband nor could his heart safely trust in her. She is a proud, imperious woman who calls herself by the name of the Lord but who chooses to wear her own clothes and eat her own bread.
And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. (Isaiah 4:1)
The "seven women" are the denominations of our day, and the "one man" is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Babylon is a murderer. Satan wants to be like God in every way but God has chosen Jesus to receive the fullness of the inheritance. Therefore Satan is filled with envy and murder, and does everything in his power to destroy everyone who loves and serves Jesus.
We behold Satan in the religious leaders of Israel. They were filled with satanic envy and therefore sought to murder the Lord's Anointed.
Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; (Matthew 26:59)
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. (Matthew 27:20)
For he [Pilate] knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. (Mark 15:10)
This is a clear picture of Babylon in action. The leaders of the religious system were filled with murderous rage against the innocent Jesus, the Lamb of God.
One of the most amazing facts of history is that devout men, learned in the Law, zealously serving God to the best of their ability, would be so deceived as to murder God's Christ.
We all should take heed to this example. Whenever we aspire to religious prominence or power, Satan is not far away. Christian leaders throughout history have tortured and killed many hundreds of thousands of innocent followers of Jesus. Yet, just as was true of the chief priests and elders, they thought they were serving the God of Heaven.
We say we would never do such a thing. How do we know? The Scriptures warn us clearly concerning Babylon. We are to come out of Babylon, as the Lord leads us, and serve the Lord in a personal way, not just as part of a Christian system. We are to seek the Lord daily, remembering that Satan is intent on deceiving us.
This does not mean we cannot attend a denominational church or participate in the activities of the denomination. But we must always keep in mind that we are married to Jesus, not to an organization.
The day will come, according to the Scripture, when God will call His true people out of Babylon. When that hour arrives we must be ready to leave without glancing back even one time. We shall leave many friends behind, because they are married to the system, not to the Lord.
Whoever is seeking power and prestige in a Christian denomination is in danger of being deceived by Satan. He may think he wants a position of prominence because of the good he can do. It is highly unlikely that this is his true motive. He is deceiving himself. He, like Satan, is aspiring to be "like God."
The "high hills" of religious aspiration "leap" in their pursuit of honor and preeminence. But God has chosen Zion.
Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever. (Psalms 68:16)
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were filled with satanic envy. They desired to receive the honor being given to Moses and Aaron. They brought themselves, their families, and their followers, to destruction.
They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation. (Numbers 16:33)
After this, God showed by the miracle of Aaron's rod that He had chosen Aaron. Aaron was no better a person than any other member of Israel. The difference was, God had chosen him. The blossoming of Aaron's rod signified the choosing of Aaron and symbolized the creation and maintenance of the royal priesthood of God by the power of resurrection life.
True Judaism and true Christianity, which constitute the only God-given plan of redemption, were instituted and operate according to the plan that God made before the heavens and the earth were created. Whenever ambitious man, following the lead of Satan, decides to acquire prominence in the Judaic or Christian realm, he exposes himself to the danger of becoming part of Babylon or of the False Prophet.
The high hills leap in vain, because the true Divine salvation works in terms of God's choices.
He who would seize spiritual preeminence soon comes into conflict with those whom God has chosen for preeminence. Then the ambitious individual is filled with rage and seeks to destroy God's anointed servant.
Whenever the Holy Spirit brings the churches forward in the plan of restoration, the leaders of the established denominations are filled with satanic rage. In spite of the obvious fruit of the Pentecostal revival, there still are denominational leaders who cry, "Speaking in tongues is of the devil." Thus they blaspheme the Holy Spirit of God and are in danger of eternal condemnation.
But God is merciful.
Why do they rage against something that is not hurting them? It is because they are filled with satanic envy. They are enraged because God has not revealed Himself in the same manner to them. "How could God dare to bypass the leadership of our denomination? How could other people be blessed spiritually in a manner not true of us? Why won't these individuals submit themselves to our Board of Inquiry?"
Babylon is so wicked in the sight of God that it is destined to become a prison of unclean spirits.
And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. (Revelation 18:2)
The serpent in the garden was made to go on his belly and condemned to eat dust all the days of his life, meaning that God has given him an insatiable desire for human flesh. So it is true that every unclean spirit, every unclean and hateful bird, will be imprisoned in the Christian religious systems. These wicked spirits will be bound in the system and prevented from escaping. They have vented their lusts on the innocent who sought to worship God; now they are imprisoned in the system and cannot depart.
Over the years the religious systems, particularly the Catholic Church, have tortured and murdered the Lord's elect. In the last days the Catholic Church will probably be part of a huge Christian organization located at the site of ancient Babylon, along with all other groups that have become part of the worldwide Babylon. This tremendous conglomerate will finally be destroyed as a political-financial power.
Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. (Revelation 18:20,21)
The Book of Revelation, though brief, is of extraordinary importance. Everything mentioned in this vision is highly significant. The number of verses allotted to the fall of Babylon, the destruction of the works of ambitious religious men, is an indication of how seriously God views the well-intentioned but misguided efforts of people to build the Kingdom of God by their own ambition, talents, wisdom, and strength. Let us not make this mistake but rather wait on the Lord and seek Him for every decision, always being ready to go when He goes, to turn when He turns, to stop when He stops.
Let the humble of the earth rejoice. Let the true saints rejoice. God will destroy her who has shed the blood of the righteous. God will avenge Himself on her and she shall be destroyed forever. Ambitious man will never again be permitted to make slaves of the Lord's elect.
Babylonish ecumenicism. During modern times there has been an interest in bringing together some of the larger Christian organizations. John 17:21-23 instructs us that we are to be one in Christ in the Father. Babylon has no understanding of this passage. Rather, she is seeking more power, more money, more influence, more status.
The historic denominations are sepulchers. Their joining together will be the joining of sepulchers. There are ecumenical movements taking place today, but none of them are of God as far as we know.
There are serious problems with ecumenicism. For example, how could there be a blending of the Catholic and Protestant churches? How could there be agreement and harmony without fatal compromise? If the Catholic were to cease venerating the Virgin Mary (out of all proportion to the Gospel accounts), or to refuse to call the Pope, "Father" (a title forbidden by the Lord—Matthew 23:9), he or she no longer would be a genuine Catholic.
Can any true Christian accept the worship of Mary or can he call the Pope, Father? If not, there can be no oneness of spirit. Two cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. Eventually one or the other must compromise.
"Ah," we say, "if we love Jesus we can get together apart from doctrine." This may be true to a certain extent for the members of the organizations. But the leaders never will compromise their basic beliefs and will maneuver endlessly for political and financial advantage.
The unity of John 17:21-23 is not that of religious leaders using their administrative skills to combine forces to their mutual advantage. The meaning of John is so far above such fleshly, babylonish thinking and practice that comparing the two is like comparing Heaven and Hell.
The Babylon of the future. It is true, we believe, that the denominations of today will join forces and create a mammoth Christian religious organization. Because of the following passage from Zechariah we think that the headquarters of the organization will be at the site of the ancient Tower of Babel, in the plain of Shinar, on the Euphrates River in the country of Iraq.
Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. And I said, What is it? And He said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base. (Zechariah 5:5-11)
The ephah was a measure of cereal, the size of a person. It was used in the measurement of fine flour for the offering made by Aaron and his sons when Aaron was anointed High Priest of Israel. Since wheat is sometimes employed as a symbol of the Lord's people, we think the ephah of Zechariah's vision refers to the churches.
There was a "woman" sitting inside the ephah. We believe this woman to be the spirit of Babylon as portrayed by the Catholic Church. She is "inside" the Lord's people.
Then two women appeared who carried the basket to the land of Babylonia. We believe one woman to be the Catholic Church and the other woman to be her daughters, the Protestant churches.
The two women lifted up the Lord's people and flew to the land of Shinar, there to build a house—a headquarters, as we understand the symbolism. The ephah will be established there on her "own base." The plain of Shinar, in Babylon, is appropriate as the site of the headquarters of organized Christianity.
Babylon was the location of the first attempt of mankind to reach into the heavens by their own works. Babylon was the empire that God used to destroy Jerusalem and carry away the Glory of God, the Ark of the Covenant. We think that Babylon will be the world headquarters of the Christian religion.
If the Catholic Church and the Protestant churches are to unify, Rome no longer will be suitable as a headquarters. The Protestants never would accept Rome as the world headquarters because of all that is associated with this location.
We see, therefore, the likelihood of there arising in the future a mammoth Christian organization located on the Euphrates River. This organization will be one of the prominent forces of the last days that will promote evil, along with democratic government and the Christians who are exercising miracles in support of democratic government.
The exodus of the Bride. There will come a time when the Lord calls His people out of organized Christianity.
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Revelation 18:4)
True saints will no longer be found in the Christian organizations.
. . . and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: . . . . (Revelation 18:23)
We are not suggesting that today the Lord's people should stream out of the organized churches. To do so would create another Babylon. If the nature of Babylon is that people do what they think is correct without consulting the Lord's will, then to leave the churches without being commanded to do so by the Lord would be to act without hearing from God, which is exactly what we have said one should not do.
We do not believe the Lord is saying at this time that we should leave the churches. Rather, we are to live unto the Lord, seeking Him in all matters, and doing with all our strength what is set before us. We are to live and work as joyously as we can, knowing we shall receive our reward from our Lord and Bridegroom. Then, when it is time for us to leave, the Lord Jesus will show us exactly what to do and how to do it.
Perhaps the clearest symbol in the Scriptures of the Lord's true people leaving Babylon is that of the animals coming to Noah's Ark.
The Lord instructed Noah to include the animals of the earth with the people who were to seek safety in the Ark.
And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. (Genesis 6:19)
From the description it appears as though Noah was to go out and gather two animals of every sort, wild beast, domestic animals, and creeping things. To do so would have been as impossible as it would be today to gather all Christians into one body.
Let us look at how the Lord's commandment actually worked.
There went in two and two unto Noah into the ark, the male and the female, as God had commanded Noah. (Genesis 7:9)
And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. (Genesis 7:15)
Noah did not have to go and bring in the animals; they came to Noah. Without doubt one of the most magnificent sights in all of earth's history was the coming of the animals of the earth, from the largest to the smallest, to the Ark for safety.
The same kind of pattern will occur in preparation for the destruction that is coming with the Day of the Lord. The Spirit of God will bring the true saints into a place of protection in Himself. There they will rest under the shadow of God's wings. The judgments that come on the earth will serve to lift them to safety.
The Scriptures appear to indicate that the saints will be forced to leave the cities of the earth and hide in the wilderness, under the protection of the Lord.
And when they [the saints of the last days] shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)
We think that the killing of the witnesses means that the Christian testimony will be driven from the large cities of the earth, not that all of the elect will be slain. We know there will be Christians who will remain alive until the Lord returns.
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelation 13:7)
And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. (Revelation 12:6)
And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. (Isaiah 4:5)
It seems that the saints will hide in some wilderness area, and all who go out to them will be delivered.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:32)
We understand also that the elect Jews are not to remain in Jerusalem when Antichrist takes his place in the Temple and proclaims himself to be God.
Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: (Matthew 24:16)
It may be true that the account of Jacob and his family fleeing to Egypt during the famine, there to be nourished by Joseph and his Gentile bride, is a type of the elect Jews fleeing into the wilderness, there to be nourished by the Lord Jesus and His Gentile Bride.
There will be a place of deliverance throughout the great tribulation. Multitudes will be saved.
And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:13,14)
"Came out of [the] great tribulation"!
The remnant, the "two sticks," the elect Jews and Gentiles, will remain alive until the Lord returns. Then they will be filled with unprecedented glory and herald the Lord's return.
In the days of Noah, the fountains of the deep gushed forth before the rain fell. So shall it be at the coming of the Lord. The Light of God shall shine from the saints—those on earth and those in the spirit realm—until the Divine Light is as lightning that shines from one end of the heavens to the other.
Babylon, the Christian organization, will not partake of the Glory of the Lord. Only the individual members of the Bride of the Lamb, those who are married to Jesus, will be part of the Divine Light.
No matter how the "high hills leap" they can never participate in the Glory of the Lord. They are serving as scaffolding that will be discarded when the Lord Jesus is ready to receive His own.
The destruction of Babylon. The Antichrist governments will use the massive Christian organization until they are through with it. Then they will destroy it.
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)
The world governments will permit the spiritually dead Christian organization to exist for a period of time.
And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:8)
But wickedness will attain such a depth of foulness that not even the dead Christian institutions will be allowed to exist any longer. The true saints, during this period, will be hidden away in the wilderness, waiting for the Lord to return.
Every vestige of Christianity will be removed from the large cities of the earth.
There will be great rejoicing in Heaven and among the saints when God, using the worldly governments, destroys the religious systems.
Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. (Revelation 18:6)
Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. (Revelation 18:8)
And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. (Revelation 19:1,2)
What Laodicea is. Laodicea is one of the seven golden lampstands. This means that it is a part of the true Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unlike the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and Babylon, the members of the church of the Laodiceans have the opportunity to receive the promises designated for the overcomer.
In fact, the most stupendous promise of all is offered to the Laodicean Christians—that of sitting on the throne of Christ.
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
Laodicea is surfeited with material wealth and as a result is apathetic.
Some believe that the seven churches of Asia portray seven historical periods of the Christian churches. If this is the case, it may be true that in the present hour we are in the period of Philadelphia and are approaching Laodicea.
Jesus, the Lord and Christ. Notice the manner in which Christ presents Himself to the believers in Laodicea:
And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; these things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (Revelation 3:14)
The Lord Jesus is the "Amen." In an age when the values are held to be relative, when people are insisting that there is no fixed standard of righteousness, the Lord reveals Himself as the Amen of the Word and will of God. All that God has spoken shall come to pass in its entirety.
We either approve of all that God has said or the Lord Jesus will not approve of us. He is the fixed Standard of righteousness in an age of indecision and confusion.
Satan works in the gray, lukewarm areas. "Ye shall not surely die." Not, "ye shall die," or "ye shall not die," but "ye shall not surely die." It is Satan's business to put doubt in our mind concerning the Father's power and faithfulness. It is the business of Christ to say amen to God, thus driving away all indecision and lukewarmness.
"Choose this day whom you will serve!"
The Lord is the "faithful" witness. We are in a time of unfaithfulness. People are unfaithful to God and unfaithful to other people. The individual who stands by his word whether or not he is hurting is becoming rare. Marriages, business agreements, and other promises are broken if the individual sees something "better" for himself.
God and Christ are utterly faithful and they demand total faithfulness in those who would appear with them in the Day of the Lord.
Christ is the only "true witness." The civilized nations are one huge lie. The love of money readily leads people into lying. In the effort to sell merchandise, to make money, lying abounds. In real estate transactions, in the selling of cars, in the offering of investment opportunities, and in other areas of selling people often are cheated as the free-enterprise capitalist craves and amasses material wealth.
The educational philosophies are one mammoth lie. The media are filled with lying as the editors influence the articles with their biases. The entertainment industry promotes wretched values that often are absorbed by children and young people.
Jesus is Truth! Truth does not answer the questions of what, where, what kind, when, how. Truth answers the question, what is the meaning, the significance of this? What is the final result? Will this bring peace and joy, or misery?
One can gather scientific data concerning a thing or circumstance and never understand its significance. Truth is not found by the physical senses but only as we are in touch with the Lord Jesus. He advises us concerning the truth of a matter. He alone is Truth—God's Truth. He who is not in a proper relationship with Jesus has no means of obtaining truth.
The Lord Jesus is the Beginning of the creation of God. The Lord is the Source of the first creation and the Firstborn from the dead of the new. As such He deserves the honor due the One who has begun all things.
Satan has placed doubt in the minds of people concerning their origin. The unsupported hypothesis termed evolution has done much to tear down the belief that man is accountable to his Creator, that there will be a Day of Judgment, a final reckoning.
Also, those who would deny the Deity of Jesus do not present Him as having risen from the dead. Christ indeed did rise from the dead physically and all people are accountable to Him. God has appointed a Day in which He will judge all men at the hand of Christ.
The churches of our day, in some instances need to be reminded that Jesus is the Amen, the faithful and true witness of God, the Beginning of all things. The worth of every circumstance, every relationship, every thing is measured by His standard. Christ is Judge of the creation. God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ.
That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10)
The Laodicean Christian. Antichrist, the False Prophet, and Babylon are self-centered, man-pleasing, deceitful, and wicked. They have influenced the Laodicean Christian and produced apathy in him. His spiritual life is nearly gone. The forces of darkness have robbed him of his zeal for Christ.
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. (Revelation 3:15)
Sometimes the Laodicean believer is drawn away into the worldly, man-centered ways of Antichrist. Or he may get caught up in the False-Prophet attempts to manipulate the physical realm by using supernatural faith: "I will believe until it happens; I will speak it into existence; I will picture it in my mind and maintain the mental image until it is brought into reality."
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16)
The Laodicean Christian is not fit for Paradise or Hell. He is disgusting to the Lord, the King of all. Jesus will spit him out of His mouth.
The Laodicean Christian believes himself to be rich because of his abundance of material things. The Antichrist government has given him material security and is using him as part of the satanic plan to bring all people into a worldwide community.
The Antichrist will invite Christian leaders, including fundamentalists, into positions of leadership in the government. Satan understands that the best way to destroy a Christian is to put him at ease in the world.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Revelation 3:17)
We believe that the world of Antichrist will be friendly to the Christians at first, in that Antichrist himself will be a Christian in the beginning (as was Judas). But soon Antichrist, the False Prophet, and Babylon will combine to force the Laodicean Christians to either cleave to the Lord with all their strength or else compromise their consecration to the Lord.
Those who compromise will be able to continue in their churches whether or not the churches are fundamental in doctrine. The true saints, those who live in a daily relationship with the Lord, will be forced into hiding, no longer able to engage in the world economic system.
It is not fundamentalism in doctrine that will deliver the saints from deception in the last days. Deliverance will come only by entering the power of Christ's resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, and cleaving to Him and depending on Him at all times. Sharing in Christ's power and sufferings is our insurance against being led astray by the deceiver.
The Lord's advice to the Christians in Laodicea. The Lord Jesus Christ has some things to say to the believers in Laodicea.
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:18)
The Christians in Laodicea will be wealthy and secure in material things but spiritually impoverished. The Lord counsels them to seek faith that can be purified only in the fires of tribulation in order that they may be rich in the sight of God Almighty.
The believers in Laodicea will be adorned in the finery of the world, admiring one another as they assemble in their ornate structures. But in the spirit realm they will be naked. Christ advises them to be filled with His Presence that they may behave in a righteous manner, thus clothing themselves with white raiment.
The members of the Christian assemblies in Laodicea will be confident that they see and understand the things of the Kingdom of God. The truth is, they will be blind, not seeing the Lord at all and understanding little of the Kingdom. The Lord Jesus warns them to begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit that they may truly see and understand His will for them.
For if these things [the traits of godliness] be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (II Peter 1:8,9)
The Antichrist, the False Prophet, and Babylon all urge the Christian in Laodicea to seek ease, to seek pleasure, and to live sensuously. But the righteous Lord rebukes and chastens those whom He loves.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Revelation 3:19)
Some Christian leaders are telling their followers that a Christian must not repent. They claim that because we have made a profession of faith in Christ we have obtained an eternal amnesty that nothing can injure. No matter what we do, God sees us perfect in Christ. They claim there no longer is a need for repentance, except for the unsaved who are coming to Christ for the first time.
But Revelation 3:19 is addressing the angel of the church of the Laodiceans, not the unsaved community. It is the apathetic Christians in Laodicea who will be rebuked and chastened and who are to be zealous and repent.
These facts are so clearly stated it appears that those who attempt to refute them are willfully leading themselves and their followers into destruction.
The Lord Jesus stands outside the door of the hearts of the Christians in Laodicea. They are filled with material goods and are cared for by a seemingly benevolent government. They are in love with love and with one another but it is soulish love. They speak endlessly about love and how they desire to help mankind. They do not see their need of the virtue and power of the Lord. Many of them are doctrinally "correct" (more or less) and rejoice in their fundamentalism of belief.
The Lord stands at the door and knocks!
Here and there is an individual in the church of the Laodiceans who hears the voice of the Bridegroom. He opens the door of his heart and the Lord enters. Then the heavenly romance begins. The Lord spreads a table for His beloved. His banner over him or her is love. The Song of Solomon is lived once again in a human being. Antichrist, the False Prophet, and Babylon offer their sensuous pleasures in vain. The Lord alone is worshiped in the throne room of the person.
To the Bride is given one of the greatest of all promises:
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
The Throne of the Father is the Heart of Jesus. The throne of Jesus is the heart of the believer in Laodicea who removes himself or herself from the clamor of Antichrist, the False Prophet, and Babylon, and finds rest in the love and will of Jesus.
There is a throne room in every human being. This room is made for the Father and the Son. Until God and Christ are seated on the throne of a person he dwells in confusion and pain.
There is a place for us also on the throne that is in us. But we are not allowed to sit there with the Father and the Son until we overcome our love for the Antichrist world system, the lusts of our flesh, and the self-love and rebellion that are an integral part of our personality.
Notice that the two verses go together and refer to the same Kingdom attainment:
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:20,21)
From the apathy of Laodicea to the seat of the authority and power that control the creation! Many that are last in time shall be first in the Kingdom. The last days present the greatest opportunity and the greatest danger to the people living in that hour.
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36)
One of the areas of greatest confusion in the history of the Christian Church is that of the relationship of the Church to the civil government.
The Scriptures are clear that God has instituted civil government, and that the government is to be obeyed, unless it commands us to practice behavior contrary to the eternal moral law of God or contrary to His express will for us.
For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (Romans 13:3,4)
Man is not able to govern himself. It is God who upholds the rule of men over other men. Human beings have not been created with the ability to govern themselves; they must be governed. This fact hinders the effectiveness of democratic government.
The spiritual-political environment of the earth consists of God and Satan. Gigantic spiritual forces are arrayed on the side of righteousness and also on the side of wickedness. Because man is a feeble bit of dust he cannot rule himself in the presence of the colossal spiritual powers that are contesting for his worship and allegiance.
Whenever man decides to govern himself he automatically is governed by Satan. Until a person chooses to be ruled by the Lord he is fair game for the enemy. Whoever does not gather with the Lord, scatters. There absolutely is no middle ground!
This is why the otherwise beneficial political doctrine of freedom of speech has been corrupted in America until it is the legal basis for governmental support of a figure of Christ in a urinal and of various other art forms that blaspheme God. The direct result of freedom of speech, as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America, is a figure of Christ in a urinal.
To maintain that the same guarantee of freedom of speech applies to the Christian ministry is not an adequate defense. No true saint will ever accept a government policy that blasphemes the King of all kings and Lord of all Lords. Nor will the God of Heaven accept it! Ungoverned expression produces wickedness, and wickedness shall be punished with everlasting fire.
The policy of separation of church and state. The Lord Jesus did not direct us to advocate the separation of church and state. Rather He commanded us to make disciples of the nations, to teach the people of the nations His commandments until He is ready to appear and assume visible, physical control of earth's governments.
This does not suggest that the Christian churches are to be involved in the political affairs of civil government.
The history of the Catholic Church has been one of political involvement in the politics of civil government. This was true also of the early development of the Protestant Reformation. In many instances the most ungodly political maneuvering has been conducted in the name of Christ. Such maneuvering was and continues to be an abomination. Neither the Catholic Church nor any other ecclesiastical organization is the representative of Christ on earth.
Political involvement is not an acceptable relationship of the Church to civil government.
"My kingdom is not of this world."
The Pilgrim fathers came to America in order to be able to worship God according to their conscience. The later immigrants came to escape the political conditions of Europe, and other countries, and to attain an improved economic state.
To this day there are at least two sets of people in America: those who want to worship God in peace, and those who are seeking material security and freedom of speech and action and who desire release from every claim of Christianity. The two groups are in bitter conflict today.
The Constitution of the United States seeks to promote peace among its varied citizenry by removing religion from every aspect of civil government. This effort is failing because it is impossible to rule or conduct governmental-social functions, such as education, in a spiritual, moral vacuum.
Today, various aspects of the Hindu religion, although cloaked in acceptable phrases such as transcendental meditation, or therapy, are practiced at all levels of public education. Also, specific occult behaviors are openly endorsed and practiced. Humanism, also a religion, is widely sponsored by school administrators; and sometimes the philosophy of Existentialism is embraced.
The conviction of humanists and libertarians that public education must be free from religion is interpreted to mean it must be free from the Christian religion. In some instances public-school teachers appear to be horrified at the thought of a Bible being found in a child's possession in the classroom.
Given the fact that Christian children are compelled by law to attend school, and many Christian parents cannot afford private schools and must pay taxes to support public schools, it is clear we have religious persecution in the United States.
The attempt to remove the teaching of special creation from the science curriculum is not an impartial verdict of sincere scholars. It is not impartial at all but a thinly disguised anti-Christian bias. An unbiased investigation of the factual basis of evolution and the factual basis of special creation leads relentlessly to the superiority of the latter as a respectable hypothesis. The doctrine of evolution is secular dogma, not science.
The pronouncements and actions of public education officials in America regarding the problem of the beliefs and values of Christian children who are compelled by law to attend public-school classes are a sham, a disgrace to the state and federal governments. The beliefs and values of the Christian family no longer are being protected. They are being invaded by the several states in the name of the rights of children. While there is much abuse of children in America, the answer to the problem is not to take away the rights of Christian parents to raise their children in the ways of the Lord.
The Bible has been outlawed in the public schools of America. The constitutional separation of church and state is not working to the benefit of all citizens. It is not working because people are spiritual creatures and they have been created to worship God. If they do not worship the true God of Heaven through Christ, they will find another God. To teach otherwise is to ignore reality.
The Apostles of the Lamb were charged to make disciples of the people of the nations, to command the nations of the earth to receive their rightful King and to be baptized in water as a sign of their repentance and submission. The nation that does this shall be saved in the Day of the Lord.
In past eras, when civil governments have received Jesus as King, the large Christian organizations have stepped in and presented themselves as His representative on earth. They have competed with the civil government for the allegiance of the citizens. They have not given to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. Thus confusion has prevailed.
The role of the Church is to warn the civil governments that the Kingdom of God is coming to the earth and to prepare themselves by believing, repenting of their sins, and being baptized in water. The role of the Church is also to be a pure, holy moral light so that the civil governments may know what is sin, and enact laws that punish those who sin against God. This is the true relationship between the Christian Church and the civil government.
Christian people have always been interested in social reform. The abolition of slavery in the United States was brought about in large part by Christian concern and action.
Today, numerous Christian people are outraged at the practice of aborting fetuses and are willing to take action to prevent this hideous practice, even though the steps they take may bring much suffering to them.
The rise of Christian Reconstructionism. Lately we have been witnessing what may be an unprecedented twist to the problem of the relationship of church and state.
Given the outrage of Christian people in America over the teaching of non-Christian values and demon-inspired religions to their children, the historic interest of Christians in social betterment, and the concept of their role in determining their political environment by the citizens of democratic nations, it is not surprising that those who have been convinced that they can obtain whatever they are willing to believe for have decided to bring civil government under their control. It is an attempt to create the Kingdom of God on earth apart from the coming of the Lord and His direct intervention.
Those who are entering the ranks of the Reconstructionists appear to have a strong orientation toward the political process. They have determined to act in a militant manner until the United States is governed by the moral law set forth in the Scriptures. Apparently they have discarded the pre-tribulation rapture error and also the concept of democratic government.
The Reconstructionists are in spiritual deception. Their concept of the Christian pilgrimage is incorrect. They do not understand the patient, cross-carrying walk of the true saint but believe that the Christians are to convert the present world into the Kingdom of God. They do not know God's ways. They have not been crucified with the Lord. They do not share His sufferings. They are living by religious adamic life rather than by the eternal resurrection Life of the Son of God.
The future rulers of the universe are being prepared today as they learn obedience to the Father through much affliction and patience.
As we have stated previously, whoever does not die to his self-will, choosing instead to conduct his discipleship according to his own understanding and strength, automatically comes under the influence of Satan. No human being has any strength at all compared with the spiritual titans who are maneuvering to gain the worship of human beings.
There are Christian leaders who are aspiring to be President of the United States. Some of the former presidents of the United States have been Christians. There is nothing wrong with a president being a Christian. Genuine Christian character is an asset to any line of endeavor.
But when one attempts to be a Christian president, that is, a president who attempts to use the mysteries of the Christian faith, and supernatural wisdom and power, to govern in the civil realm, he is defying Jesus' statement that His Kingdom is not of this world. The politically ambitious Christian should flee from such a role as Jesus fled from those who would make Him a king before His time.
A Christian President of the United States would be faced with conflicts in the civil realm that are impossible to resolve, and that the Lord would not resolve for him since he would be out of Divine order. Also, he would be required to compromise his convictions in order to gain a large enough base of support. All kinds of religious people would be willing to support him in order to gain their own desires, not in order to glorify the Lord Jesus.
If a Christian becomes President of the United States, and attempts to govern by means of the mysteries of the faith, and supernatural wisdom and power, the result will not be of God but of Satan. It will be confusion and totally against the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some time ago two spirits identifying themselves as the angels Michael and Gabriel approached an experienced pastor. He received them and they instructed and assisted him. He was the pastor of a large congregation of Christian believers.
Since the angels supported the pastor's erroneous doctrine concerning the pre-tribulation rapture and the immunity of the believers from Divine judgment, he did not question their claim to be Michael and Gabriel. The pastor wrote a book about his experience.
Many Christians, including myself, were rejoicing over his experience with the angels. The book was a best seller. However, during a season of prayer while ministering in another country, it became clear to us that the doctrine advanced by the angels was not completely scriptural but was supporting the current delusions. Soon afterward the pastor died.
If a Christian becomes President of the United States he will be approached by Satan masquerading as an angel of God, or as the Lord Jesus Himself. Because of the level of deception in which the Christian President already will be living he will accept the credentials of the angel. The angel will offer to give him victory in war, prosperity in the United States, unprecedented popularity, and other desires of his heart.
He may not be as fortunate as the deceived pastor. He may not die and thus escape through death the web being spun around him. He may go on to be a forerunner of Antichrist, or Antichrist himself.
There can be no question that we are in the last days. The return of the Jews to Israel from all over the world is one indication that the prophetic clock is ticking again. Daniel's seventieth week is about to begin.
The witness empowered by the latter-rain revival will be given to the nations of the earth. There will be unprecedented signs and wonders. It is our point of view that in the near future, because of the outpouring of the power of God, a majority of earth's population will profess Christ.
Meanwhile the firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb will hear the voice of the Bridegroom and commence the long, tortuous route from worldliness, the lusts of the flesh, and self-will, to the state of perfect conformity to Christ's image and complete union in the Father and the Son.
The Antichrist, democratic system of encouraging each person to be his own god, to nourish his own will until it becomes the most important factor of the universe, already has made substantial progress in the world.
The Communist system of dictatorship may prove to be the last effort of an individual, or a small group of people, to rule the masses by physically crushing the resistance. We think it is possible, in spite of the current demise of the traditional control of the Soviet Union by the Communist Party, that the Communists will deal the democratic governments a deadly blow in the near future. After that, Russia, the leader of the Communist war machine, will be destroyed by the Lord on the mountains of Israel.
Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. (Ezekiel 39:4)
(Since <MI>Spiritual Forces of the Last Days<D> was first written (1991), Russia has ceased to be a threat to the democratic nations. Today the danger is from Islamic terrorists. The Islamic terrorists did succeed in dealing the United States a serious blow by attacking the World Trade Center. It is our opinion that this attack was only a prelude to a far more serious blow that may substantially affect world commerce. However, it remains our viewpoint that the philosophy of democracy ultimately shall prevail, because it benefits the most people in a material sense. It appeals to the normal, universal desire of people to acquire physical security and comfort.)
Then the False Prophet, whom we believe to be Christians living in the soul who have learned to operate supernatural power, will lend their support to the concept of man-centered government. Thus the wound of the Beast, who represents the democratic philosophy of government in conjunction with free-enterprise capitalism, will be healed and the concept of libertarian democracy will prevail in the major nations of the earth.
There will be pressure from a seemingly benevolent democratic government on all Christian groups to join together to work for the common good of mankind. This will appear to be a righteous effort and many Christian leaders will accept positions of influence in the civil government, thinking they will be able to exert a godly influence. They will not understand the depth of Satan's wisdom.
The result of the joining together of the Christian groups will be Babylon the Great. We think the gigantic Christian organization of the future will be located at the site of ancient Babylon, near the Euphrates River in present-day Iraq.
We believe that Israel will refuse to join the worldwide Babylon. Christ Himself will reveal His redemption to His own people and not permit them to be corrupted by the influence of Western Christendom.
Eventually Antichrist, in his rage, will go up against Israel and sit between the wings of the Cherubim of Glory in the rebuilt Temple.
The godly remnant, including the elect of the Gentiles and the elect of the Jews, will become one stick in Christ's hand. They will be forced into the wilderness, there to await the return of Christ.
Anyone who goes out to them can be delivered from the guilt and bondage of sin, although many will join them who are not sincere. The Glory of God will protect the remnant from Antichrist.
There will be salvation in the remnant. Apart from them there will be no way of receiving the salvation of Christ. The evil of Antichrist will reach into the heavens and bring down some of the host of the Lord. We do not understand this in detail but are persuaded that people no longer will be able to reach God in prayer. Antichrist will have the power to prevent prayer. From this point forward, men will be able to reach God only through the members of the Bride of the Lamb.
The darkness is coming in which no man can work.
And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. (Daniel 8:10)
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:27)
And a man [the King and His princes] shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. (Isaiah 32:2)
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:32)
"Peace and safety" will be the cry throughout the civilized nations. The one rebel will be Israel, and the nations of the earth will gather their forces in an attempt to put an end to this obstacle to world brotherhood.
When the spiritual darkness has reached its greatest intensity the Holy Spirit of God will clothe the remnant. Then the heavens will open and the Lamb of God will be visible.
The wicked will watch in horror as the graves burst open with explosive power and the saints of all ages come forth in eternal life to join the living remnant. The remnant will be clothed in incorruption and the great hour of fellowship will begin. God will have set a table before His elect in the presence of their enemies.
A soon as the saints have enjoyed the first wonder of the eternal fellowship, the entire group—perhaps outnumbering the inhabitants of the earth at that time—will rise to meet the Lord in the air.
The wrath of God will be poured out, under the direction of the saints, upon the wicked of the earth. Then the Lord and His army of righteous ones will descend in thunderous fury upon earth's armies, ready to deliver Israel from the surrounding armies.
Antichrist and his armies will be boxed in on the East and North by the Lord's armies riding through the dried-up bed of the Euphrates River. The Mediterranean Sea, now turned to blood, will cut them off on the West.
Perhaps Christ and His chief officers will leave the Mount of Olives and ride through the valley opened by the great earthquake, enabling them to confront Antichrist on the south.
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:4)
The blood will run for 200 miles to the height of a horse's bridle.
Antichrist and the False Prophet will be hurled in their bodies into the Lake of Fire (the physical and spirit realms will have converged by that time). One angel will bind Satan and cast him into the bottomless pit.
Christ will proceed to the Temple Mount, there to be crowned King of all the earth. Multitudes of His faithful saints will attend the coronation. Jesus now will face His own people, Israel, and they will realize that He whom they crucified is the true Son of David, Christ of God.
Meanwhile, the clamor of wickedness will be stilled and a mantle of quietness will cover the earth.
The singing of birds will be heard as the morning of the Day of the Lord begins. The nations left on the earth will come to Jerusalem to learn the righteous ways of the Lord. There they will find members of the royal priesthood who are ready to return with them and help them to live peacefully in the new world of righteousness.
The Spirit and the Bride say to all nations, "Come, and drink of the water of life freely."
Whosoever desires to may come and partake of the Life of God.
A few more patient steps of obedience, and then a new world of glory and beauty beyond the mind of man to imagine.