EXAMINATION OF CURRENT TEACHING, AN

AN EXAMINATION OF CURRENT TEACHING

AN EXAMINATION OF CURRENT TEACHING Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

From our point of view, Christian teaching is filled with errors. The foundational doctrines of the atoning blood and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, that were laid by the Apostles of the Lamb, have been established in the Christian churches. However, on this sure foundation a number of unscriptural beliefs have been added. The following brief essay sets forth several of these current beliefs and challenges them with the Word of God.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Grace (forgiveness) is an alternative to righteous living.

There is such a thing as a "state of grace (forgiveness)," meaning God does not see our behavior except through the righteousness of Christ.

We are under a "dispensation of grace (forgiveness)," meaning God deals differently with people now compared with His previous dealings with mankind.

God does not require that we keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles; the purpose of the commandments found in the New Testament is to show us we are unrighteous and must be saved by grace (forgiveness).

The principal righteousness of the new covenant is imputed righteousness.

God has given up trying to get people to live righteously and now asks only that we believe in Christ.

To be saved is to go to Heaven when we die and to live there forever.

There is such a thing as a Gentile Church that is to be brought to Heaven by grace (forgiveness).

There will be a Gentile church in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth.

Since the teachings and commandments of Christ in the four Gospel accounts came before His resurrection they do not apply to the Christian Church, which is saved by grace (forgiveness). They apply only to Jews.

The primary purpose of the new covenant is to forgive sin. The new covenant cannot remove the compulsions to sin.

The purpose for the return of the Lord Jesus is to carry His waiting Bride to Heaven.

There will be two comings of the Lord: one to carry His Church to Heaven and the second to set up His Kingdom on the earth.

Everyone who professes to believe in Jesus will be caught up to Heaven when the Lord appears and rule as a king over the nations of the earth.

Christ will catch us up to Heaven so we do not have to suffer during the great tribulation.

It is not being resurrected that is important but being caught up to Heaven.

The believer remains guiltless even though he or she continues to sin.

No believer in Christ will be punished at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

We do not have to actually overcome sin in order to receive the promises to the overcomer; we are an overcomer merely by believing in Jesus.

To have eternal life means we go to Heaven to live forever.

To enter the Kingdom of God is to go to Heaven.

To be a new creation means merely that we have accepted Christ.

There is no such thing as saved nations of people who are not part of the Christian Church.

It is impossible for someone who has accepted Christ to then be rejected by the Lord; to be removed from the Vine.

The Great Commission charges us to go into all the world and tell people they can be saved by grace (forgiveness).

To be born again means merely to take the "four steps of salvation."

All the gifts and ministries of the Body of Christ have been given for the purpose of getting souls saved.

The emphasis of the New Testament is on personal evangelism.

To bear witness is to tell other people what we have learned about the Christian religion.

"The just shall live by faith" means if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ we will go to Heaven when we die. It has nothing whatever to do with how we live.

Salvation is a ticket to Heaven. We do not have to work it out. We do not have to endure to the end to be saved because we are saved by grace (forgiveness).

Salvation is a sovereign work of God. A continual response on our part is not necessary. Our salvation never can be affected by our behavior because of the sovereignty of God’s grace (forgiveness).

Revelation 3:10 means we will be caught up to Heaven in order to escape the great tribulation.

Luke 21:36 means we will be caught up to Heaven in order to escape the great tribulation.

Matthew 24:40 means we will be caught up to Heaven in order to escape the great tribulation.

I Thessalonians 1:10 means we will be caught up to Heaven in order to escape the great tribulation.

The "rebellion" of II Thessalonians 2:3 means we will fall away from the earth in order to escape the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation.

Noah’s Ark is a type of our being caught up to Heaven in order to escape the great tribulation.

Ephesians 2:8,9 means we are saved by forgiveness alone, and works of righteousness are not included in the plan of salvation.

All sickness, pain, and trouble come from Satan and are to be rebuked and removed through faith.

It cannot be true that the Lord Jesus will return after the great signs in the heavens, because He is coming as a thief.

There will be a seven-year period between the "rapture" and the coming of the Lord, during which time the business of the earth will continue.

Christ is building mansions for us in Heaven.

Death delivers us from sin

The Lord’s coming will deliver us from sin.

Accepting Christ saves us from Hell.

Everyone who appears at the Great White Throne judgment will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.

No one can obey God perfectly.

The Bible warnings are not addressed to God’s people.

Only Christ is worthy; we cannot become worthy.

People are judged to be guilty of not accepting Christ even though they never have heard of Christ.

A Christian is someone who has taken "the four steps of salvation" and now attends church.

AN EXAMINATION OF CURRENT TEACHING

Introduction.

The following explanations were written to enable the young people of our church to cut a straight course in the Word of truth. When I first came to Christ I was taught by the Navigators to adhere strictly to the written Word of God. This I have attempted to do throughout the days of my discipleship.

As I began to study the Word, after having been baptized with the Holy Spirit, I noticed that the Dispensational teaching I had been given in Bible school was not in accord with the Scriptures. That was over fifty years ago.

During the following half-century I have been astounded at the amount of error that permeates Christian teaching and preaching.

One of the unscriptural emphases is on "going out and getting souls saved." While this often reflects a genuine desire to increase the Kingdom of God, such emphasis on "every man a personal worker" simply is not the emphasis of the New Testament. The New Testament points toward an infinite variety of gifts and ministries, all to be exercised for the building of each believer to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Of course, every Christian is to let his or her light shine, and we will get to the subject of witnessing a little later in the essay. Now, we could say that our stress on evangelism is certainly worthy even though it is not the emphasis of the New Testament. However, we do not prosper when we do not adhere closely to the Book.

But what could be wrong with stressing again and again the need for evangelism, in every service? What is wrong is that the New Testament emphasis on growing to spiritual maturity is sadly neglected—sadly neglected! The purpose of the local church is to encourage the gifts and ministries so each believer begins to grow in the Lord. The believers simply will not grow unless the services are designed to promote their growth! The New Testament emphasis, including the Great Commission, is on making disciples. This should be our emphasis. How many genuine, cross-carrying disciples are there in the Christian churches of America?

There are more wards in a hospital than that of obstetrics!

I think spiritual people would agree the Holy Spirit is calling for repentance in America. We are not, most of us, living righteous, holy lives. Christians attend X-rated movies, drink alcohol, smoke, use profanity in their speech, molest their children, commit fornication and adultery, are bitter and mean in their speech and actions, slander, gossip, promote division, and do everything else the Apostle Paul warned would prevent us from inheriting the Kingdom of God.

Yet the people who do these things were at one time listed as "saved" in the statistics of some Christian denomination. Does this make any sense? Are these sinning converts pleasing to God? Are our results pleasing to the Lord? What is the source of this preoccupation with numbers of people when the congregations we do have are living in the lusts of the flesh?

Yet we go on and on seeking to add more numbers to the churches. Is this some kind of proselyting madness? What spirit is driving the push for more churches and more converts when the rank and file of believers are spiritual babies—far from the stature of the fullness of Christ?

The LORD said to Gideon, "With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the other men go, each to his own place." (Judges 7:7)

Why did God insist that most of the Jews go home at this point? Was it that God at times prefers to work with smaller numbers when He has a great work to do?

Are we under the impression that if our converts take "the four steps of salvation" they somehow will find their way to maturity? Is it true of babies that they will find their way to maturity whether or not they are cared for? Is this the pattern for growth found in the New Testament?

Maybe we are chopping wildly when we ought to be sharpening the axe.

Nehemiah lists the sheep gate before the fish gate. Perhaps if we would tend to the maturing of the sheep, God would tend to the catching of the fish.

It is interesting to note that when Peter was occupied with Christ, God filled the nets with fish.

I think it is time for the Lord Jesus Christ to make us fishers of men. There are numerous kinds of "fish," and only Jesus can enable us to catch the fish that are our responsibility.

But first we have to return to the Word of God. I want the young people of our church to be fishers of men; but above all to know Jesus personally and to adhere very strictly to the written Word of God.

How do you feel about this?

I think some of the current teachings should be challenged with the Scriptures. We need to return to the Bible!

I understand that "grace," as it is used in the Old Testament, for example, would be defined as favor and blessing.

Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the LORD. (Isaiah 26:10).

In the following challenges I usually follow the word "grace" with (forgiveness). I do this because I believe our thinking is not always clear. We know from the New Testament that Divine grace means much more than forgiveness. Yet more often than not we think of "grace" as a synonym for forgiveness.

We sometimes will say, "The Lord will give you grace to go through that trial," revealing that we know instinctively forgiveness is not always what is meant by "grace." By following "grace" with (forgiveness) I am endeavoring to focus our attention on what we actually are teaching when we keep stressing Divine grace, pointing out that perhaps we are not saying what we truly mean.

I could have used favor as a definition of grace. However, favor has been used so much it does not make for clarity of thinking.

When we examine the problem of sin there are at least three aspects that must be considered: the guilt in the sight of God; the compulsive power of sin; the effects of sin on us and our environment.

Therefore I stress "forgiveness" when setting forth how grace actually is defined in the mind of Christian believers. We find favor with God because He has completely forgiven us and has favorably accepted our person.

But if one were to take every usage of "grace" in the New Testament I think it would be seen that complete forgiveness and favorable acceptance does not always account for the intention of the Apostle.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! (Romans 6:15)

It probably is true that in the mind of Paul, being saved by grace was the alternative to being saved by careful adherence to the Law of Moses. The idea is that at one time God counted people righteous by observing the Law, and now God counts people righteous by receiving Jesus Christ. We do not have to obey the Law of Moses any longer. We are saved by grace rather than the Law.

The problem in today’s thinking is that Divine grace under the new covenant grants us favorable acceptance to the Father solely on the basis of forgiveness, thus making grace an alternative to moral transformation. The personality remains untransformed but we believe ourselves to be acceptable to God because of our profession of belief in Christ’s atoning death and triumphant resurrection.

Holding to this definition of grace renders much of the New Testament incomprehensible and confusing. Expository preaching then must be limited to a minimum of passages, because thorough exposition of the entire New Testament soon would reveal that a mere profession of belief in Christ is not the entire range of the new-covenant demands on our attention, time, and energy.

My personal opinion is that the philosophy of Dispensationalism was introduced in order to account for the discrepancies in the prevailing definition of grace, to make New-Testament grace conform to the concept of "unmerited favor." Dispensationalism has accomplished its goal by selecting passages here and there and splicing them together according to an unscriptural model. It is time now for God’s teachers and preachers to turn aside from the unscriptural concepts of Dispensationalism and begin to expound on the text of the New Testament.

In the following explanation, the current teaching is stated. It then is followed by passages of Scripture and reasoning that, from our point of view, indicate the current teaching is in error.

Grace (forgiveness) is an alternative to righteous living.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, While we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. (Titus 2:11-15)

The Christian churches of today are presenting Divine grace (forgiveness) as an alternative to keeping the commandments of Jesus Christ and His Apostles. "We are saved by grace (forgiveness) whether or not we do God’s will," it is maintained.

Grace has come to mean only forgiveness. Yet if we examine the usages of the term "grace" in the New Testament we see that its meaning is not limited to forgiveness. One definition that would include the various usages of "grace" might be: "God in Jesus Christ enabling people to do God’s will." Of course, forgiveness is included; but forgiveness is not the main aspect of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

God would never issue a grace (forgiveness) that would provide an alternative to pleasing Him apart from righteous, holy, obedient behavior.

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:8)

First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. (Acts 26:20)

Do you not know the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10)

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  (Ephesians 5:5)

There is such a thing as a "state of grace (forgiveness)" meaning God does not see our behavior except through the righteousness of Christ.

But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so we will not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:31,32)

If we were in a state of grace (forgiveness) such that God does not see us, then the Lord would not judge and discipline us.

One would look in vain throughout the New Testament to find any passage that indicates God sees us through Christ. When we lie, it is not true that God sees the truthfulness of Christ in us. When we steal, God does not see the honesty of Christ in us. When we practice some unlawful lust of the flesh, God does not see the moral purity of Christ in us. None of this is remotely true.

If it were true that God sees us only through Christ, then there would never be a need for repentance.

In recent times there have been outstanding ministers of the Gospel who have been removed from their pulpits because of immorality. If God sees only the righteousness of Christ in them, why were they removed?

It is true that when a sinner comes to Christ, the righteousness of Christ is ascribed to the sinner at that moment. Why? Because the sinner has obeyed God.

But if the sinner then does not set out to obey God each following day, the righteousness of Christ no longer is ascribed to him. Why not? Because he no longer is obeying Christ. It is not the old covenant or the new covenant that is the critical factor. Rather it is faith in God, a faith that leads to obedient behavior, that is counted for righteousness.

God will never bless or receive a disobedient person. God has provided a wonderful atonement for us through the blood of Christ. We must obey God in order to receive the atonement, and then we must obey God in order to remain under the covering of the atonement.

Christian teaching presents a perpetual, sovereign grace (forgiveness) that shields the sinner from God’s sight whether or not the individual chooses to walk in the Spirit of God. This concept is alien to the New Testament.

Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God. (I Corinthians 4:5)

Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. (I Corinthians 5:3)

If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. (Galatians 2:17,18)

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. (Hebrews 4:13)

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! (Revelation 3:15)

We are under a "dispensation of grace (forgiveness)" meaning God deals differently with people now compared with His previous dealings with mankind.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? (I Corinthians 5:1,2)

There is a continuity throughout the entire Bible. God’s work is not divided into dispensations. The Scriptures are one seamless robe of Christ.

Under the Law of Moses it was a sin for a man to have relations with his father’s wife. This also is true under the new covenant. Moral sin is sin under the old covenant and the new covenant. We are not under a "dispensation of grace (forgiveness)" that excuses our conduct.

It is true that the covenantal aspects of the Law of Moses, such as the laws governing leprosy, and the kosher laws, are no longer binding on Christians. But the moral aspects of the Law of Moses, such as the statutes governing adultery and bearing false witness, are part of the eternal moral law of God. They are of the Nature of God and therefore are eternal.

Thus it is in no manner true that God deals differently with people now. From time immemorial God’s plan for man is that man behave uprightly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. God’s goal never, never changes. What is different today is that we have more of the Divine Virtue available to us so we may attain to the eternal goal.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Matthew 5:7)

"Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise—"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."  (Ephesians 6:2)

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. (Hebrews 1:1,2)

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. (I John 3:4)

God does not require that we keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles; the purpose of the commandments found in the New Testament is to show us we are unrighteous and must be saved by grace (forgiveness).

Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. (Luke 46-48)

If it were true that the purpose of the commandments found in the New Testament is to show us we are unrighteous and must be saved by grace (forgiveness), then what is the Lord speaking of in the above passage?

The Lord says clearly that we are not to call Him "Lord, Lord" and then not do what He commands. Yet, this is what is taught today. We are to believe in Jesus and call Him Lord. But He does not expect us to do what He taught.

But the Lord does not approve of this interpretation. He states that the person who built on the rock is the one who put His Words into practice, not the one who realized he was unrighteous, called Jesus "Lord," and went on his way without practicing the teachings of the Lord.

How frustrating to the Lord must be the current proclamation of "faith alone"!

God is our Father. What if our earthly father told us, when we were five years old, to fix the carburetor of the car. When we discovered we could not do this, he said, " I knew you couldn’t fix the carburetor. I just wanted you to understand how much you needed me."

And then he said, "You never have to do anything I tell you. I just want you to know how impossible it is to obey me so you will always look to me for mercy."

Wouldn’t that be a marvelous relationship to have with our father?

We then could go out and wreck the car. We would say to our father, "I know I shouldn’t have done that. But you know me. I am unable to do what you want. I am trusting in your mercy."

This give us some idea of the fallacy of the current Christian teaching.

Are we in fact to ignore the commandments given by the Lord Jesus Christ and His Apostles and not keep them, when He stands ready to gives us the wisdom and strength so we can obey Him?

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (Deuteronomy 8:2—NIV)

If you love me, you will obey what I command. (John 14:15)

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. (John 14:21)

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (John 15:10)

Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. (I Corinthians 7:19)

If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. (I Corinthians 14:37)

The principal righteousness of the new covenant is imputed righteousness.

Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. (I John 3:7)

The Apostle Paul taught imputed righteousness when he was seeking to convince the Jews that God could count them righteous even though they did not keep the statutes of the Law of Moses. Paul had no idea that Gentiles would seize on the concept of imputed righteousness as being a new way in which God intends to relate to people.

The principal passages dealing with imputed, or ascribed righteousness, are found in Romans, Chapters Three through Five. The remainder of the New Testament passages dealing with righteousness (and there are many!) have to do with righteousness of behavior.

It is not at all true that the only righteousness of the new covenant is imputed righteousness. The principal emphasis of the New Testament is on righteousness of behavior.

The righteousness of behavior that is taught in the New Testament proceeds from the believer who is growing in Christ. The Holy Spirit is enabling him or her to keep the commandments of Christ. When we find it very difficult to do what the Lord said, we are to go to the Mercy Seat for help in our hour of need.

To claim the principal or only righteousness of the Christian covenant is that which is ascribed to us is to reveal a profound ignorance of the writings of the New Testament. The hastiest review of the texts will show that our tradition is not scriptural.

But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:32)

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (Ephesians 4:25)

He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need. (Ephesians 4:28)

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:4,5)

With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood! (II Peter 2:14)

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20)

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)

God has given up trying to get people to live righteously and now asks only that we believe in Christ.

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:8)

First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. (Acts 26:20)

According to the Book of Hebrews, God gave us the new covenant because under the Law of Moses the people were not behaving righteously. The Law could not make the worshipers perfect.

The purpose of the new covenant is to bring forth new creations—people who are in the moral image of Christ. God is making man in His image.

According to current Christian thinking, God has given up trying to make man in His image. God has decided to accept us as we are and to forgive us no matter how we behave.

This is not the case. Through the grace of Christ we are to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. We are to come out from the unclean practices of people. When we do so, God is willing to receive us.

"Therefore come out from them and be separate," says the Lord. "Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."  "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters," says the Lord Almighty. (II Corinthians 6:17,18)

The above was written to the Christians in Corinth. Does this sound like God is not concerned about righteous behavior, only that people believe in Christ?

Why do you call me, "Lord, Lord," and do not do what I say? (Luke 4:46)

That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. (Luke 12:47)

No, I beat my body and make it my slave so after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (I Corinthians 9:27)

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24)

Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. (Hebrews 2:11)

But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Hebrews 6:8)

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26)

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; (I Peter 1:15)

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:7,8)

To be saved is to go to Heaven when we die and to live there forever.

You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)

The idea that eternal residence in Heaven is the goal of salvation probably was derived from the philosophy of Gnosticism. It is not at all a Bible concept, in spite of its support from centuries of tradition.

God created man on the earth. The earth is man’s home. God temporarily removes our spiritual nature from our body until such time as He can perfect our spiritual nature. As soon as our spirit has been made acceptable to God He will return our body to us. Then we can live once again on the earth.

To the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)

We will rule with Jesus on the present earth when He returns. Then we will rule with Jesus on the new earth when it is created. There is no scriptural basis for the idea that Heaven is our eternal home.

To be saved is to be brought from the kingdom of Satan to the Kingdom of God. Salvation is a change in what we are, not where we are.

Until we recognize we are heading toward the reuniting of our body with our inward nature, and that life on the earth is our goal, our rationale for making a dedicated effort to please God becomes confused.

If our goal is heaven, and we go there by believing Jesus is the Christ, then most of us are not going to present our body a living sacrifice in order to prove God’s will.

But if our goal is the resurrection to eternal life, and we understand the way we are behaving now will have a direct impact on the kind of resurrection we shall have, and on our subsequent life on the earth, then we might be a bit more diligent in seeking the will of God for our life.

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

And so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:11)

They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (II Thessalonians 1:9,10)

For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. (Heb 3:14)

To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— (Revelation 2:26)

There is such a thing as a Gentile Church that is to be brought to Heaven by grace.

By abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, (Ephesians 2:15)

The concept of a "Gentile Church" is both unscriptural and illogical.

You will search the New Testament in vain to find a Gentile Church.

None of us knows but what he might have a drop or two of Jewish blood. So who is a Jew and who is a Gentile? What about someone who is half-Jewish and half-Gentile? Would he be part of a Gentile Church? What about Paul the Apostle? Would he be part of a Gentile Church in Heaven?

So we see the concept of a Gentile Church is unrealistic.

Paul declares plainly that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile.

The notion of a Gentile Church in Heaven creates an image in the mind, but the image falls apart when tested by the Scripture and by reason.

Jews and Gentiles who are in Christ form one new man. There is no such thing as a Gentile Church, only the one Olive Tree who is Christ. We are part of Him, being the one Seed of Abraham.

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, (Romans 11:17)

The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. (I Corinthians 12:12)

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:28,29)

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, (Ephesians 2:19)

There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— One Lord, one faith, one baptism; One God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (I Peter 2:10)

There will be a Gentile church in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth.

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Revelation 21;23)

The "city" is the Bride of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem. It is the glorified Christian Church and shall be located forever on the new earth, not in Heaven.

If there is a Gentile Church in Heaven, and the new Jerusalem is a Jewish kingdom on the earth, then the Jewish kingdom is vastly superior to the Gentile Church.

The Throne of God and of the Lamb are in the new Jerusalem, supposedly the Jewish kingdom. Its glory fills the whole earth. The Holy Spirit is a river of eternal life flowing from the Throne of God. The Jewish saints will govern the creation of God forever.

Will the Gentiles be lying on their couches in their mansions during this time?

Can you see what unscriptural folly such teaching is? It is obvious the new Jerusalem, being the Bride of the Lamb, is the glorified Christian Church. It is composed of those Jews and Gentiles who are the one new man in Jesus Christ.

Whether or not there are any spiritual beings left in the new heaven we do not know. The fact that Christ was made a high priest after the order of Melchizedek suggests there may be orders and races of which we know nothing.

We know one thing, however: On the new earth will be located the glorified Christian Church, and it shall govern the works of God’s hands for eternity.

The Old Testament has a great deal to say about the coming of the Kingdom of God and the rule of God over the earth. There is no indication whatever that there will be a kingdom of Gentiles in Heaven and a Jewish kingdom on the earth. There is only the one Kingdom of God. It is in Heaven now and will come to earth when Jesus returns.

This is the Kingdom into which we are born when we are born again, whether we are Jewish or Gentile by race.

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. (Psalms 2:8)

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. (Psalms 145:13)

At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. (Jeremiah 3:17)

In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (Daniel 2:44)

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."  (John 3:3)

But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8:12)

Encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (I Thessalonians 2:12)

Since the teachings and commandments of Christ in the four Gospel accounts came before His resurrection they do not apply to the Christian Church, which is saved by grace (forgiveness). They apply only to Jews.

We know we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:3,4)

If it were true that the Words of Jesus Christ in the Gospels do not apply to Christians, then none of the parables of the Kingdom, or the admonition that we must be born again, apply to Christians. The Sermon on the Mount does not apply to Christians. This cannot be true! How such teaching ever was accepted by Christians must be accounted for in the realm of spiritual deception.

The notion that the teachings of the Apostles have superseded the Words of Jesus Christ came from the fact that Jesus told us there are things we are to do. Since we are saved by grace (forgiveness), as the saying goes, it therefore must be true that apostolic grace has superseded the Words of the Lord Jesus Christ; for there is nothing a believer need do other than believe that Jesus is the Christ.

This would mean many of the time-honored Words of our Lord do not apply to us, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s prayer.

Can you see how ridiculous such a position is?

In addition to this it can be shown that every one of the Lord’s exhortations and commands can be found in the Epistles of the Apostles. The Lord said, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." The Apostle said,"Without holiness no man shall see the Lord."

How could the words of man supersede the Words of God?

Have we not been grievously deceived?

The following passages compare the Word of Jesus with the writings of the Apostles;

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)

Because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment! (James 2:13)

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)

Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18)

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.  (John 3:3)

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (I Peter 1:23)

The primary purpose of the new covenant is to forgive sin. The new covenant cannot remove the compulsions to sin.

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)

For two thousand years the Christian churches have interpreted the above verse to mean the Lamb of God takes away the guilt of the sin of the world. To this day the almost exclusive emphasis of Christian preaching is that if we will come to Christ He will forgive our sins.

As far as actually taking away our sin, it is not often that the Christian redemption is presented as removing the power of sin from us.

Ordinarily we Christians treat the atonement as a specific act of God to which we are to respond in a specific manner, obtaining specific results. But deliverance from the power of sin over us is not treated as a specific act of God to which we are to respond in a specific manner obtaining specific results. Rather we mention, most of us, that Christians ought to do the best they can to cope with the world, Satan, and their own lusts and self-will. But we do not treat the problem of the bondage of sin in a specific, scriptural manner.

The truth is, redemption is not limited to forgiveness.

If the Divine redemption were limited to forgiveness, then there is no Kingdom of God, no rule of God. It would be true that God does not have enough power through Jesus Christ to break the hold sin has over us.

The act of redemption is that which restores to an individual what has been taken from him by force or forfeiture; what he must surrender because he is unable to possess it any longer.

Satan has taken from mankind the ability to serve God without breaking God’s laws. Guilt is God’s response to our breaking His laws. For the Lord Jesus Christ to come to earth and only forgive us without redeeming us from the power of the devil would be a very limited salvation.

The issue is: Can the Lord Jesus Christ actually break the chains of sin that cause us to disobey God? Is the Kingdom of God a real kingdom in which God’s will is done in the earth, or is it a figurative way of saying we have left the earth and gone to Paradise where there is no temptation to sin (although sin began in Paradise, both in Heaven and on the earth)?

Perhaps most of us have experienced, either in our own personality or by observing someone else, a change in an individual who has accepted Christ. He has stopped drinking alcohol, or swearing, or lying, or stealing. We have seen this much of the Divine redemption.

But after twenty years the same individual may be filled with bitterness or unforgiveness, or may have left his wife and children to marry another woman.

So the redemption usually is quite incomplete. There has not been a complete breaking of the bondages of lust and self-will.

We excuse this failure by reciting unscriptural concepts, such as, as long as we are in this world we have to sin.

God’s plan is to make an end of sin, not just forgive sin. If God only forgives sin but does not make an end of it, there is a bleak future ahead of us.

Seventy "sevens" are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.  (Daniel 9:24)

"To put an end to sin."

It is obvious forgiving sin does not solve God’s problem of a rebellious creation or the problem with sin that people have. If everyone on earth were forgiven and taken to Heaven it would not benefit God or people.

Sin entered God’s creation when Satan chose to usurp the Father’s authority. The heaven and the earth will be in chaos until God has put an end to sin.

It is not our death or the return of Jesus that will put an end to the sin in our own life. The only manner by which we can be delivered from the bondages of sin is through the Lord Jesus Christ. That deliverance takes place here and now in a specific, scriptural manner.

We are not speaking of an instantaneous sinlessness. We are referring to a process which includes our confessing, denouncing, and renouncing our sins in the name of Jesus Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit walking each day in victory. This we can do and have been commanded to do.

And because the sin in us is not infinite in quantity, the day will come when we have the upper hand over all that displeases God. Through Jesus Christ we can please God and do His will, on earth, in Heaven, or anywhere else in the creation.

Throughout the Epistles we are warned against continuing in sin. The entire sixth chapter of the Book of Romans warns us if we, as a baptized Christian, choose to continue as the servant of sin, we shall die.

The gift of God is eternal life, meaning, in context, that if we keep on choosing to be the slave of righteousness we will attain to eternal life.

Eternal life is not an undemanding gift. It is, rather, the gift of an opportunity to gain eternal life. We must lay hold on eternal life each day, for the forces of death continually are attacking us, seeking to turn us away from Him who is the Resurrection and the Life.

The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to earth to forgive the works of the devil but to destroy the works of the devil. He can and He will destroy all the works of the devil in you and in me if we will be faithful to walk in the Spirit of God each day of our discipleship.

There is enough power in the Holy Spirit to enable us to put to death the actions of our sinful nature. We are not obligated, under the new covenant, to keep on sinning.

And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him. (Leviticus 4:26)

It is preached today that sins were not actually forgiven under the Law of Moses, but now, under the new covenant, sins actually are forgiven.

However, sins indeed were forgiven under the old covenant, according to the Word of God, as we see in the above verse.

The verse below stresses the actual difference between the covenants. The sacrifices under the Law of Moses could not remove our sins from us. Therefore the sacrifices had to be offered every year. The implication is that under the new covenant the compulsion to sin is defeated.

Because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. (Hebrews 10:4)

The issue is that of taking away sin, not forgiving sin but taking away sin. Removing sin.

The superiority of the new covenant is that there is authority in the blood of Christ working together with the power of the Holy Spirit to put to death the compulsion to sin and finally remove it altogether. If this were not the case we would be doomed to be bound forever by the chains of sin.

The Lord Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of Satan in us, and this He is well able to do. But we must be willing to cooperate with the Holy Spirit by confessing our sins as they are pointed out to us, by denouncing and renouncing them, and by turning to God for the grace to refrain from these sins in the future.

The new covenant forgives our sins and then sets out to remove them. Part of this process of conquering sinful tendencies includes the forming of Christ in us, and then the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in the new creation that has been formed in us.

Not only does the power of the Spirit break the bondages of sin, the Spirit also writes the eternal moral laws of God in our mind and heart. The end result of the new covenant is a new creation in which the old has been done away and all things are new and of God.

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14)

The above means while we were under the Law of Moses sin retained its mastery over us. Under the grace of God that comes to us through the Lord Jesus Christ we are not only forgiven but also, through the Spirit of God, enabled to gain victory over the compulsions to sin. We can live in victory over sin if we are willing to press forward in Christ, but only as the Spirit guides us to this victory. Through Christ we no longer can be compelled to lie, steal, swear, indulge in immorality, or perform any of the other actions of the sinful nature.

To the extent we are willing to turn away from our fleshly life and live in the Spirit of God, to that extent we can, according to the New Testament, cease gratifying the desires of our sinful nature.

We of today, in numerous instances, are not taking advantage of the power there is in Christ to deliver us from the bondages of sin. We are putting off to our physical death, or to the coming of the Lord, deliverance from worldliness, the lusts of our flesh, and self-will.

But today is the day of salvation. Today is the point in time when the Lord is appearing to break the power of the sin that binds His people.

It is true that under the Law of Moses the spiritual power was not present that could enable us to overcome sins. This no longer is true. If we are willing to confess our sins, vigorously denouncing and renouncing them, and are willing to call on the Lord until we are able to resist the temptation of sin, we can overcome worldliness, lust, and self-will. We can go from victory to victory in the Lord Jesus.

A Christian cannot be forced to sin. The Lord is present to guide the believer into complete victory, if this is what he desires with singleness of purpose.

The reason we do not find complete deliverance is that we have not made up our mind this is what we desire.

If we find we are double-minded in this matter, we should go to the Lord Jesus and ask for a resolute determination to overcome whatever it is that is destroying our peace and joy. Christ will give us such singleness of mind, such intensity of purpose, that it will not be long before we have the level of consecration we desire. It is not His will that we keep on sinning.

Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled.

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)

Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, (Romans 8:12,13)

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16)

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. (Hebrews 8:10)

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (I John 3:8)

The purpose for the return of the Lord Jesus is to carry His waiting Bride to Heaven.

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15)

Although the idea that the Lord Jesus is returning to carry His Church to Heaven is commonly expressed by Christian people, there is not one verse or passage in the entire Bible that suggests such a thing. It is true rather that the Lord is returning with His saints and holy angels to set up His Kingdom on the earth.

The Old Testament speaks of the coming of the Servant of the Lord. The Servant of the Lord is Christ—Head and Body. The purpose for the coming of the Servant of the Lord was first, to be offered to God as an atonement for sin. This He did alone, without His Body, the Church

The purpose for His second coming is to bring justice to the nations of the earth, to set up His righteous Kingdom. Christ will do this with His Body, the Church.

The original Gospel of the Kingdom, preached by John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ, announced the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. Somehow, through the centuries, the Gospel of the Kingdom was changed to the gospel of going to Heaven when we die. But there is no scriptural basis for such an alteration of God’s Word.

The Lord Jesus is coming back to earth with His holy angels in the power of His Kingdom. He and His saints and angels will drive sin from the earth and bring justice to the nations. This is the original and only Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, Selah That your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. Selah May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him. (Psalms 67:1-7)

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; They will sing before the LORD, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth. (Psalms 96:12,13)

The nations will fear the name of the LORD, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory. For the LORD will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:15,16)

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)

There will be two comings of the Lord: one to carry His Church to Heaven and the second to set up His Kingdom on the earth.

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (II Thessalonians 1:6-8)

There is no basis whatever for the doctrine that there will be a secret coming of the Lord prior to His coming (parousia) in the clouds of glory. His Kingdom is coming. His will shall be done in the earth. And the idea that there will be a secret coming prior to Christ’s historic return is simply against the tenor of the New Testament passages that deal with the second coming of Christ.

In fact, the pre-tribulation "rapture" preoccupation is cultic in nature, given the obsessive devotion to it instead of to the mainline teachings of the New Testament. It is a specialized doctrine that does not follow the flow of biblical revelation concerning the Day of the Lord.

Can you imagine the Apostle Paul saying, "If by any means I might attain to the catching up"?

The central goal of redemption is the resurrection, not the catching up of the saints to meet the Lord in the air.

It is interesting to note that those who subscribe to the pre-tribulation rapture of the saints subscribe also to his coming seven years later to set up His Kingdom. But they seldom describe this post-rapture return.

Without doubt the coming of the Lord to set up His Kingdom on the earth is more important than removing His Church, His witness, from the earth. Why, then, is so much attention paid to the removal of the Church while the return of the Lord, the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, is not presented accompanied by the numerous statements of the Prophets?

We Christians are greatly deluded concerning this issue. There is no indication whatever in the passages announcing the coming of the Lord that there will be a secret coming seven years previously to whisk away the Church before it is exposed to Antichrist and the Great Tribulation.

In fact, the doctrine of the pre-tribulation "rapture" of the believers has the characteristic of false doctrine in that it is not stated clearly in the text but is garnered from a few passages removed from their context and then supported by reason and assumptions. It is easily disproved by a dispassionate examination of the principal passages that deal with the coming (parousia) of the Lord.

This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:49,50)

For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:27)

Men will tell you, ‘There he is!’ or ‘Here he is!’ Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. (Luke 17:23,24)

And give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (II Thessalonians 1:7-10)

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. (Revelation 19:11)

Everyone who professes to believe in Jesus will be caught up to Heaven when the Lord appears and rule as a king over the nations of the earth.

To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery—just as I have received authority from my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27)

It is not unusual to hear Christian believers announce they are going to "rule and reign with Christ." One wonders if they are giving serious thought to this. Are they going to rule from their mansions, or lay in their mansions for seven years and then hasten to the war stallions and ride behind Christ at the battle of Armageddon?

Are those who ride behind Christ as He descends from Heaven members of the unscriptural "Gentile Church" that has been caught up to Heaven by grace (forgiveness)? Are they Christian Jews who have retained their racial identity in spite of Paul’s statement that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek? Are they non-Christian Jews who are going to fight the Battle of Armageddon without the Holy Spirit?

Who are these who will descend with Christ and govern the nations of the earth? How do proponents of the pre-tribulation, any-moment "rapture" answer this question?

In order to rule with Christ we have to be victorious in the present world. The promise of governing the nations is given only to those of the churches who gain victory over Satan and their own sinful nature. To give the lukewarm believers in America the impression they are going to sit on thrones governing the nations of the earth is to deceive them concerning the nature of the Kingdom of God that will be installed when the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven.

Let the saints rejoice in this honor and sing for joy on their beds. May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD. (Psalms 149:5-9)

A day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come. (Joel 2:2)

The remnant of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, which mauls and mangles as it goes, and no one can rescue. Your hand will be lifted up in triumph over your enemies, and all your foes will be destroyed. (Micah 5:8,9)

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones To judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (Jude 14,15)

The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

Christ will catch us up to Heaven so we do not have to suffer during the great tribulation.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. (I Peter 4:1,2)

The continual declaration today that God will not let the elect suffer is remarkable, given the history of the Christian Church. Even today Christians are suffering terribly in several countries of the world.

The record of God’s people from the time of Abel is one of fiery trials and tribulations. In fact, we enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation.

The historical evidence plus the Scriptures causes one to wonder how intelligent, devout believers could be deceived into believing God will carry them to Heaven so they will not suffer during the great tribulation.

There is coming to the earth a great tribulation, and also a time of great temptation and sin. Our concern ought to be that we are not led astray by the abundance of wickedness, for it is written that most believers will grow cold because of the wickedness of the last days.

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, (Matthew 24:12)

It is not the great tribulation but the great wickedness that is the danger of the last days. Tribulation creates patience in us. Wickedness lures us away from the Lord

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. (Romans 5:3-5)

We know wickedness does not produce character and hope, but tribulation indeed does. We can see from this that the emphasis today on escaping the great tribulation comes from our fallen, sinful nature, not from the new creation of Christ in us.

We have been and are being deceived!

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:35-37)

Trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and sword have been experienced by Christian people throughout the centuries of the Church Era. Why have the saints not been "raptured" during the seasons of torture and martyrdom? Where does it state in the Bible that the saints of the last days will be "raptured" so they will not suffer as have the Christians of history?

In fact, there has been great suffering on the part of the Christians of the twentieth century, and the persecution of thousands of Christians continues to this very day.

It is obvious that part of God’s plan is that Christians experience suffering.

Sometimes believers are being taught God loves them so much He will not allow them to suffer, while at the same time the very people being addressed are suffering every imaginable kind of distress.

During the recent "faith" emphasis, people were told that if they had faith they would never suffer. I guess the Apostle Paul was lacking in faith.

The truth is, the Christian churches of America are preaching and teaching that which is not in the Scriptures. It is a people-pleasing, ear-tickling gospel designed to bring as many people into the churches as possible. Such people will never stand for the idea that to be a Christian we have to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

Our nation is in sore need of revival. We are backslidden. We are lukewarm. We are not carrying our cross as we should. Our doctrine is so far removed from the Scriptures as to be unrecognizable.

What is to be done? I am not certain. My hope is that the young people will become acquainted with the Scriptures and utterly forsake the lies of Dispensational teaching. My generation to a great extent is lost in the foolishness of the flesh. Perhaps our only hope is in the young people and children—that they will turn to Jesus and really serve Him in righteousness and holiness, being sternly obedient to God in all matters.

Let us all pray to this end. Otherwise our nation will be destroyed and God will look elsewhere to build His Kingdom.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11,12)

You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. (Luke 21:16,17)

Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said. (Acts 14:22)

For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him, (Philippians 1:29)

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, (Philippians 3:10)

It is not being resurrected that is important but being caught up to Heaven.

I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)

The doctrine of the pre-tribulation "rapture" of the believers has brought confusion concerning the doctrine of the resurrection. Yet the resurrection from the dead is the central hope of the Christian Gospel. If we abide in Christ, when we are raised from the dead our body will be filled with the eternal resurrection life of the Holy Spirit. This is our great hope!

That the catching up (rapture) of the believers is different from the resurrection can be seen by the fact that Jesus was not caught up to Heaven until forty days after His resurrection.

Being raised from the dead into eternal life, and being caught up into the air to meet the Lord Jesus at His coming, are altogether different experiences even though they may take place at the same period of time. Being raised into eternal life is the climax of redemption, the destruction of the last enemy. Being caught up to meet the Lord in the air is the privilege of the members of the army of the Lord who will rise to meet Him and then descend with Him to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (Jude 1:14,15)

It appears most Christian believers are not certain of the resurrection, only of the so-called "rapture." To verify this fact, ask a Christian concerning the relationship between the resurrection and the rapture. You may find that he believes what happens to his body is not important for he will have a new body when he gets to Heaven. Thus he doesn’t even believe in the resurrection from the dead.

However, the redemption of his body was the cry of the Apostle Paul.

The truth is, the way we behave today is fashioning the body, or robe, with which our mortal body will be clothed when it is raised from the dead. The robe with which we will be clothed may prove to be the principal reward that will be given to the victorious saint when the Lord appears. The type of robe that clothes his resurrected body may be an indication of his role in the Kingdom of God and his eternal destiny.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) (Revelation 19:7,8)

When we stress the catching up (rapture) we miss the whole point of redemption. Our goal is a "better resurrection," that is, a resurrection more glorious than would have been the case had we not been as diligent.

Every day, every hour, we are shaping our resurrection. If we choose to live according to our sinful nature we will slay the eternal life that would have raised our body into the kind of resurrection we desire. If we choose to put to death the sinful deeds of our flesh we will attain to eternal life in our flesh—that which will be given to us when the Lord Jesus appears.

We see from the above what an enormous distraction the repeated proclamation of the rapture is. There is no such emphasis in the New Testament. Also, in the passage from First Thessalonians from which the teaching of the rapture is derived, there is no mention of Heaven. The victorious saints, those who died "in Christ," are caught up into the air to meet the Lord at His return, and then to return with Him as He descends to govern the nations of the earth.

After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:17)

There is no mention whatever of the Lord returning to Heaven with His Church. Such teaching is tradition, not Scripture.

The fifteenth chapter of the Book of First Corinthians is the "resurrection chapter" of the Bible. Yet the catching up of the believers is not mentioned even once in this chapter, revealing that it is not an important aspect of the resurrection.

Notice in the following verses that the catching up of the believers is not mentioned:

Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice And come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,29)

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. (Romans 8:11)

Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (I Corinthians 15:21-23)

In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)

The believer remains guiltless even though he or she continues to sin.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (I John 1:7)

Here is one of the great misunderstandings of our time.

Notice the condition in the verse above, "if we walk in the light." There is no greater error in Christian thinking than the concept that no matter how the Christian behaves, the blood of Jesus continues to purify him from sin.

This is the "state of grace (forgiveness)" that often is mentioned. It does not exist. There is no such thing as a state of grace (forgiveness). There is no such thing as a dispensation of grace (forgiveness). We have been deceived.

The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to earth to excuse the sinning of the elect. Christ came to earth to forgive our sins and then to enable us, through His Holy Spirit, to gain victory over sin.

The goal of salvation, the end product, is not a forgiven sinner but a transformed personality. Until this is preached clearly in America, no amount of revivals will make a lasting impact on the churches. Under the blessing of the Spirit many believers may repent and resolve to turn away from sin. But as soon as things settle down, they will hear from the pulpit that God loves them and forgives them even though they keep on sinning.

Given the tremendous demonic oppression in America, the believers will not turn away from their sins with enough determination until they are persuaded they are killing their own spiritual life.

Notice the following verse:

In order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

When we use the familiar term "imputed righteousness" we mean the righteousness Christ gained by keeping the Law of Moses perfectly is ascribed to us. It is as though we had kept the Law of Moses perfectly.

But, as in the case of I John 1:7, there is a condition. The condition is that we do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.

The New Testament is clear that if we keep on sinning we are removing ourselves from the new covenant.

The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41,42)

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:4-6)

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. (James 1:26)

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. (II Peter 2:20,21)

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know he appeared so he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (I John 3:4-6)

Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know no murderer has eternal life in him. (I John 3:15)

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5)

No believer in Christ will be punished at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

It is taught commonly in Christian churches that no believer has anything to fear from the Judgment Seat of Christ. It appears this doctrine has done much to remove the fear of the Lord from the churches. It certainly is unrealistic and unscriptural!

What does the text say? "That each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." (II Corinthians 5:10)

The Word of God says we shall receive what is due us for the bad things we did while living in the present world.

If we do bad things we shall receive what is due us for doing those bad things. What could be plainer? How then can we maintain that a believer who has done bad things will not receive what is due him or her for those bad things?

I think our misunderstanding comes from our belief that once we accept Christ we cannot be judged.

I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)

Using this verse as an axiom, Christian teachers deduce it is not possible for a person to be judged and receive what is due him for the wickedness he practices while he is a Christian.

But let us look at another verse:

For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)

In fact, the fourth chapter of First Peter is telling us we are judged by the Lord and go through fiery trials while He is saving us from sin.

Let us think, then, about the three forms of Divine judgment we experience.

First, when we accept by faith the blood atonement made by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary we are forgiven all of our sin. This is the first judgment.

Second, we then are judged concerning the choices we make as a Christian.

Third, the works of Satan in us are judged and condemned.

The second and third judgments work together. As we obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, choosing to live in the Spirit of God rather than in our sinful nature, the Lord leads us in battle against the sin that dwells in our flesh. As we confess, denounce, and renounce that sinful behavior as it is pointed out to us, the Spirit of God brings Divine judgment against Satan and we are set free from the compulsion to sin. This happens "city by city," so to speak. This is the third judgment, the judging and condemning of the works of Satan.

If, however, we do not choose to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, do not choose to follow the Spirit of God each day, then the Spirit of God cannot come against the works of Satan in us. We then are judged and condemned for being a wicked, lazy servant.

At the Judgment Seat of Christ we will receive what is due us because of our neglect of our salvation, and then in terms of the wickedness we have practiced because the bondages of Satan were not broken in our life.

We may be saved as by fire, most of our personality and all of our reward and inheritance burned away, and enter the Kingdom of God as a naked spirit. Or Christ may determine we are incorrigible and have us thrown into the Lake of Fire.

"Depart from me, I never knew you!"

You can see from this the terrible danger of the current teaching of grace (forgiveness). The believers have a blithe attitude toward the Judgment Seat of Christ when they ought to, as did Paul, tremble at the thought of being made manifest before the Consuming Fire of Israel.

God does not punish us for being born in sin and being bound with sin. Rather He punishes us for not taking advantage of the provisions He has made through which we can gain victory over the world, Satan, and our own lusts and self-will. When we do not follow Christ diligently, supposing we are being "saved by grace (forgiveness)," we are not set free from the power of sin. Therefore we continue in our chains, and from those very chains we shall reap corruption and destruction in the Day of the Lord.

The choice is ours.

Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:28,29)

God will give to each person according to what he has done.  To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. (Romans 2:6-8)

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)

I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:23)

The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. (Revelation 20:13)

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (Revelation 22:12)

We do not have to actually overcome sin in order to receive the promises to the overcomer; we are an overcomer merely by believing in Jesus.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation are written to the Christian churches. The Lord Jesus has something good and something bad to say about each church. The Lord speaks only of their works, not of their beliefs. He tells them what they are doing right, what they are doing wrong, and what they should be doing.

The overcomers are always addressed as individuals. It always is "to him who overcomes," never "to those who overcome."

What is it we are to overcome? It is the wrong actions concerning which He is rebuking the churches.

Thus each church is divided into two groups of people: those who through Christ overcome the undesirable practices, and those who do not overcome the undesirable practices. They all are members of the churches, but only those who overcome the undesirable practices receive the promises.

To then insist, as is done today, that everyone who believes in Christ automatically is an overcomer, is to cause the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation to be of no significance. They mean nothing at all because every member of the churches already has overcome by virtue of believing in Christ.

The passage that is used to support the idea that every believer is an overcomer by virtue of believing is as follows:

For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (I John 5:4,5)

The above sounds as though everyone who is born of God, who believes that Jesus is the Son of God, automatically has overcome the world.

However, the entire text of First John reveals that anyone who is continuing in sin has not been born of God.

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (I John 3:9,10)

We see, therefore, that what John means by being born of God and what we mean today by being born of God are quite different.

Since the Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation and also First John, we may conclude that every believer who has truly been born of God overcomes the world, the evidence being that he does not continue to sin. According to John (above), those believers who continue to sin are not the children of God but the children of the devil.

Being a Christian is not in word but in behavior. If we do what is right we are of God. If we do not do what is right we are not a child of God. This is what the Bible teaches.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. (II Peter 2:19)

I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father. (I John 2:13)

No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother. (I John 3:9,10)

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. (Revelation 21:7)

To have eternal life means we go to Heaven to live forever.

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)

I may be wrong, but I suppose most Christian believers equate eternal life with Heaven. The truth is, eternal life has nothing whatever to do with Heaven.

Heaven is a place. In fact, there are at least three heavens. God, Christ, the holy angels, and the saints are in the third Heaven, in Paradise, as far as we know. But this is not eternal life. Eternal life has to do with our personality, not with the place called Heaven.

Eternal life is a Person. Eternal Life is the Lord Jesus Christ. Eternal life is the knowledge of God that comes to us through Christ, as we are filled with the incorruptible resurrection life of Christ. Eternal life has to do with our being filled with the Holy Spirit, with living by the power and wisdom of the Spirit. Eternal life begins in our inward nature. If we live according to the eternal life we have now, then, in the Day of Christ, our body will be raised from its place of interment and filled with incorruptible resurrection life.

None of this has anything to do with Heaven.

We have eternal life now, in the present world, if we are a genuine Christian. We will not receive more eternal life by dying and going to Heaven. What passage of Scripture tells us we will receive more eternal life by dying and going to Heaven?

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the Resurrection and the Life. To have more of Christ is to have more of the Resurrection and the Life.

The Christians of today live in the delusion that their problems will be solved when they die and go to Heaven. How does passing into the spirit realm solve our problems? It may be true that some of us will be far worse off after we die than we are now. Death is not our redeemer.

All that we desire is in the Lord Jesus Christ. If we have Him we have everything. Heaven is heaven only because Christ is there. When Christ comes to earth, Heaven will have come to earth. Eternal life will have come to earth.

How would you like to be stuck in Heaven when the Lord Jesus is ruling on the earth?

We think what we want is Heaven. We are mistaken. What we desire is the Lord Jesus Christ, and God the Father in Him. This is eternal life. In fact, our goal is to gain eternal life in our body, not to die so we lose our body. Paul wanted to go to be at home with the Lord. But he groaned for the redemption of his body. When the Lord Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom on the earth, the earth will be our home. Our home is where the Lord is. Heaven is for the angels. The earth is for mankind. Let’s serve God diligently so we can work with the Lord in driving sin from the earth and setting up His everlasting Kingdom.

As we live in intense interaction with the Lord Jesus, He feeds us with His body and blood. In this manner we gain each day in eternal life and are prepared to enter eternal life in our body at the coming of the Lord.

Gaining in eternal life has nothing whatever to do with going to Heaven. It has to do only with the Lord Jesus Christ. It refers to the state of our personality as we abide in Him, the wisdom and strength by which we live, move, and have our being.

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39,40)

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:52)

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25,26)

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:12)

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (I John 5:11,12)

To enter the Kingdom of God is to go to Heaven.

Again he said, "What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade." (Mark 4:30-32)

As in the case of eternal life, the Kingdom of God, or Kingdom of Heaven, has nothing to do with going to Heaven. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God, and this is why it is called the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God at this time is in Heaven, for the most part, and this is why it is called the Kingdom of Heaven. The same parables are used to describe the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God, so we know they are not two different kingdoms.

We have to be born again in order to see and enter the Kingdom of God. This is because the Kingdom of God is that which is born in us. It is Christ conceived and formed in us.

The Kingdom of God is in Heaven now and God’s will is done there. When the Lord Jesus returns to earth, the Kingdom of God will be in the earth and God’s will shall be done here.

Being saved means we will not be destroyed when God judges the world. Entering the Kingdom of God means we have brought ourselves under the rule of God. We now are doing His will.

It is impossible for anyone to be in the Kingdom of God who persists in following his own desires. God will not permit this in His Kingdom, not by grace (forgiveness), mercy, or any other means. If we continue to walk according to our sinful nature we shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, even though we profess faith in Jesus Christ.

Sin and disobedience to God began in Heaven. This is why going to Heaven is not the same as entering the Kingdom of God.

But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. (Matthew 12:28)

Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. (Matthew 21:43)

Nor will people say, "Here it is," or "There it is," because the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21)

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. " (John 3:3)

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

To be a new creation means merely that we have accepted Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: (II Corinthians 5:17,18)

We have made some terms equivalent to accepting Christ. Once a person has accepted Christ we say he has been born again; he is a new creature.

I suppose there is no harm is saying this as long as we recognize that what we are stating is actually the beginning of the process of being born again; the beginning of the process of becoming a new creation.

When we truly come to the Lord Jesus Christ, not just make some kind of formal profession in church, we pass from spiritual death to spiritual life. We could say that at that instance we have eternal life, Christ has been conceived in us, and we are qualified to begin the change from the adamic nature to the Nature of Jesus Christ.

I think too often today we regard taking "the four steps of salvation" as a ticket to Heaven, rather than what it is in actuality—the first step on the path that leads to life. We speak of being "saved" twenty years ago. Such terminology is misleading.

The truth is, we begin the program of salvation at a definite point in time. Then we work out our salvation throughout our lifetime. If we endure patiently the numerous obstacles we encounter, we will be saved when the Lord appears.

We were saved. We are being saved. We shall be saved.

Perhaps the reason for our confusion is that we regard being saved as being made ready to go to Heaven when we die. This is not what it means to be saved. We are not saved from earth to Heaven but from Satan to God.

We are saved from trusting in the world for survival and security, instead of trusting in the Lord.

We are saved from behaving according to the lusts and passions of our sinful nature.

We are saved from the deceptions of Satan.

We are saved from pursuing our own will instead of God’s will.

The purpose of such deliverances is not that we might go to Heaven when we die but that we might be pleasing to God.

The purpose of being pleasing to God is not that we might go to Heaven but that we might have fellowship with God wherever we are. Where we are has little to do with salvation. It is our fellowship with God that is all important.

Until we understand this we do not view salvation correctly.

There are numerous believers who are looking forward to living in Paradise, but they care little for God. They really wouldn’t be too concerned if God left Paradise, just as long as they had their mansion and their backyard full of diamonds.

The fruit of today’s preaching is people who are seeking the comforts of Paradise rather than fellowship with God.

The true Christian would rather be in Hell with Jesus Christ than in Heaven without Him.

We are not trying to escape Hell, we are trying to escape the worship of Satan and our idols. There is a vast difference here.

To be a new creation means very much more than accepting Christ initially. It means to follow Christ each day until all of our adamic nature has died in Christ and been raised in Christ. God is making all things new and all things of Christ. This is a long, sometimes painful, sometimes boring process. But this is the nature of the program of salvation.

There are no shortcuts to becoming a new creation.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3:18)

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (Philippians 2:12)

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13,14)

Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. (Hebrews 4:1)

To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

There is no such thing as saved nations of people who are not part of the Christian Church.

And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)

To the present hour it appears the Christian churches are of the opinion that only the members of the Church will be saved. This is not true.

The Church is a called-out group of people who are being trained to govern the nations of the earth, not the lost nations but the saved nations.

Until we understand that the new Jerusalem is the glorified Church, and that it will govern for eternity the nations of people whom God has granted eternal life, we cannot possibly understand the Kingdom of God.

We notice in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew that when the Lord returns He will gather all nations before Him. The Church will be standing beside the Lord at this time, and He refers to the members of the Church as His brothers.

The King will reply, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40)

Then the Lord will separate the people of the nations so some are on His right hand and some are on His left.

The people on His right hand will form the nations of saved people. They will inherit the Kingdom of God and eternal life.

The people on His left hand will be sent away into the fire.

On what basis are the people separated? On the basis of how they treated the Lord’s brothers, His witnesses.

Thus we see there are two groups of saved people. There is the Church, and then there are nations of people who will be the eternal inheritance of Christ and His saints.

We see this distinction in the New Testament. On the one hand we hear the Lord saying, "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved." On the other hand we read of a very strict program—so strict that Paul toward the end of his days was still striving to reach the goal set before him.

We who are of God’s elect need to realize we cannot accept Christ and be baptized, and then wait to go to Heaven. Rather we must participate every day, every hour of every day, in the intense training that is designed to bring us to the stature of the fullness of Christ. Only then will we be able to successfully govern the multitudes of the sheep nations—the peoples of the earth whom God has decided to bring into His Kingdom.

It is important for us to understand that the Kingdom of God will not come down from the sky and fall on the earth as rain. The Kingdom of God will come to the earth in the persons of Jesus Christ and His saints, and will issue to mankind through their personalities.

The Kingdom is being formed within us. The Day of the Lord is being fashioned in us. When we return with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Kingdom, the Day of the Lord, will have come to the earth. So high is our calling!

Many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so we may walk in his paths." The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)

For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. (Isaiah 60:12)

Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. (Isaiah 61:5,6)

The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. (Revelation 21:24)

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17)

It is impossible for someone who has accepted Christ to then be rejected by the Lord; to be removed from the Vine.

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:2)

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Vine. The Christian is a branch growing from the Vine.

If we are a branch growing from the Vine, but do not bear fruit, we shall be cut off from the Vine.

The fruit that the Christian is to bear is the moral image of Christ. It is the fruit of the Spirit of God.

When we do not abide in Christ, the Life of the Vine does not bear fruit in our personality. If the moral image of Christ is not borne in our personality, we shall be cut off from the Vine.

Salvation is moral transformation. When we are not being transformed morally we are not being saved.

We see from this how terribly, terribly incorrect and destructive the current errors are. They are teaching us that when we make a profession of Christ we are saved, meaning we will go to Heaven when we die.

This is not the Christian Gospel. The Christian Gospel is that the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, is coming to the earth. We who are Christians are a firstfruits of that coming, that rule. We have the firstfruits of the Spirit of God, the Spirit that one day shall fill the whole earth.

As we abide in Christ we discover our personality is changing from hatred, misery, and unrest into love, joy, and peace. God wants love, joy, and peace to fill the whole earth. Love, joy, and peace will not fill the whole earth until first it fills the Church. Love, joy, and peace will not come to the earth until a transformed Church appears with the returning Christ.

The reason the unfruitful branch is removed from the Vine is that it is not fulfilling the purposes of God. It is of no use in the creation. It still is part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

Can you see how utterly different the Gospel of the Kingdom is from the manmade "gospel of Heaven," or "gospel of salvation"? We have made a religion out of what is intended to be a transformation of our personality. We are propagating a religion, attempting to convert people to our point of view rather than showing in ourselves the Person of Christ.

We Christians are to be magnifying glasses so Christ can be seen in us in an enlarged form. We are to be living epistles so all people can read the eternal moral law of God in our personality.

Yes, the Lord Jesus told us if we do not bear the fruit of moral transformation we shall be removed from the Vine. We contradict the Words of God when we teach that once a person receives Christ he never again can be lost to the purposes of God. We are made a partaker of Christ only if we continue in steadfast faith to the end of our discipleship.

Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the desert? And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:16-19)

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:4-6)

But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Hebrews 6:8)

We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (Hebrews 3:14)

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. (II Peter 2:20,21)

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5)

The Great Commission charges us to go into all the world and tell people they can be saved by grace (forgiveness).

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:19,20)

The current concept of the Great Commission is that we are to go to every nation and save souls, teaching them that they are saved by grace (forgiveness) and therefore do not have to obey everything Christ has commanded. We tend to make converts rather than disciples.

Look carefully at the Great Commission.

Make disciples of all nations.

Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.

This is the commission.

How do we interpret these clear commands?

Save souls from every nation.

Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Build churches.

Teach the people that they do not have to keep the commands of Christ because they are saved by grace (forgiveness).

The result is we have numerous believers but few disciples.

If you love me, you will obey what I command. (John 14:15)

Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. (John 14:21)

If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. (John 15:10)

Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts. (I Corinthians 7:19)

We know we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (I John 2:3-6)

To be born again means merely to take the "four steps of salvation."

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— Children born not of natural descent nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12,13)

To take the "four steps of salvation" is to be oriented to the Divine program of salvation. This is not the same as being born again.

You may notice that the Apostles, as recorded in the Book of Acts, did not preach being born again.

We have made being born again synonymous with being saved. This is not scriptural. Being born again has to do with seeing and entering the Kingdom of God. The expression is seldom used in the New Testament—never once by the Apostle Paul.

To be born again is to have Christ conceived in us and then grow to maturity in us. It is not the same as placing our faith in the blood atonement or declaring Jesus is Lord. It is the planting of Divine Life in our personality.

We are using the term loosely today. For example, a politician claims to be "born again." Yet it is evident from his life that Christ has not been formed in him. What he means is that he has made a statement of faith while in a Christian church. He probably has no idea of what it means to be born of God, or that he is supposed to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow the Lord Jesus in order that what has been conceived in him may come to full stature.

The parable of the sower reveals to us that the Word of God is as a seed. It may fall on hard ground. It may fall on softer ground and then be choked out or wither from the sun. It bears lasting fruit only when sown in an honest and good heart of a person who patiently walks with Jesus year after year,

To be born of God is to have the Divine Nature formed and living in us.

But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. (Luke 8:15)

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. (Galatians 6:15)

For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (I Peter 1:3)

All the gifts and ministries of the Body of Christ have been given for the purpose of getting souls saved.

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

All of the gifts and ministries given to His Body by the ascended Christ are for the purpose of bringing the believers to maturity in Christ—maturity as measured by the fullness of Christ.

We need more operation of the gifts and ministries today. We who are pastors must pray continually that the Holy Spirit will help us stir up the gifts that are in the believers. We must exhort the members of the congregation to covet earnestly what appear to them to be the greater gifts.

The saints cannot possibly come to maturity while the pastor of the church is the only person exercising the gifts given by the Spirit.

Until we grow to maturity in Christ, in the ability to discern between good and evil and in the willingness and strength to reject the evil and choose the good, we are unfit to be raised from the dead and caught up to meet the Lord when He appears. The Lord Jesus has no intention of attempting to install His Kingdom on the earth with an army of baby Christians.

When we emphasize "getting souls saved" we should include the idea of bringing souls to the stature of the fullness of Christ. The Kingdom of God is not established when people merely make a profession of theological truth.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. (I Corinthians 12:7)

Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. (Hebrews 2:11)

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins. (James 5:19,20)

The emphasis of the New Testament is on personal evangelism.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (I Timothy 6:11,12)

The above exhortation to spiritual growth is the main teaching of the New Testament.

The term "evangelism" does not appear in the New Testament. The term "evangelist" appears twice. The term "evangelists" appears once.

However, the term "righteousness" appears 99 times in the King James Version of the New Testament and 306 times throughout the Bible.

When we are speaking of emphasis, it is clear that "righteousness" (almost always referring to righteous conduct, not imputed righteousness) is far and away the winner.

Perhaps we are placing the cart ahead of the horse. Perhaps if we concentrate on bringing the Christians to maturity they automatically will win people to the Lord.

The Lord Jesus informed us that when we are one in Him, then the world will believe.

As the Lord brings us to maturity He makes us fishers of men. The work of personal evangelism proceeds as a natural byproduct of our burgeoning spiritual life. We do not have to be continually exhorted to "save souls" any more than we have to continually exhort a husband and wife to have children.

The Lord does not command us to fish, He makes us fishers. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and the wisdom thereof wins souls to the way of righteousness.

There are all sorts of gifts and ministries in the Body of Christ, and evangelism is one of them. Most of us know someone gifted along this line. But there are numerous other gifts and ministries that are not stressed with equal fervor. Thus the believers remain immature.

If we would concentrate on bringing the believers to maturity I think the Holy Spirit then would guide us to those ordained to eternal life, as the Book of Acts declares. The Lord still is able to add to His churches those who are being saved. The Lord Jesus builds His Church on the Rock He Himself is.

I think if we would follow the Bible we would have more success in bringing the saints to maturity. The mature saint is the light of the world and in him or her Christ is magnified. Thus more is accomplished in the way of genuine Kingdom evangelism by bringing saints to maturity than by ignoring the spiritual needs of the present believers and seeking only to gain more and more and more converts.

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. (Proverbs 4:18)

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:2)

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. (Romans 7:4)

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. (II Corinthians 4:10)

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (I Peter 2:12)

To bear witness is to tell other people what we have learned about the Christian religion.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

The light of the Christian, the lamp that guides sinners to Christ, is the good deeds of the saints.

When we substitute Gospel words for good deeds the world does not see Christ. We then are preaching religion rather than Christ.

The American people to a certain extent are cynical concerning Christianity. If an individual during a jury trial were to say, "I am not lying, I am a Christian," the jury would snicker. This is not because they do not fear God but because their experience with Christians often is that the Christians cannot be trusted.

The clearest, most effective testimony to the world is a sinner whose life has been transformed so he no longer is behaving in a wicked manner but in a way that glorifies God.

We cannot possibly bring people to Christ, nor can we bear a clear witness of the Lord, until we are serving the Lord ourselves. While people may come to the altar during an evangelistic service, they probably will not become permanent members of the Body of Christ unless there are truly godly people who will guide them forward.

Also, we have a responsibility to bear witness to the world of the Person, way, will, and eternal purpose of God in Christ Jesus. The United States of America, for example, needs a clear witness of God. Such a witness is not possible until there are believers who walk with the Lord and learn His holy, righteous ways.

If the world is to be prepared for the return of Christ in His Kingdom, there must be mature saints who have been crucified with Christ so it no longer is they who are living but Christ who is living in them.

You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, so you may know and believe me and understand I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me." (Isaiah 43:10)

See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the LORD rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isaiah 60:2,3)

That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so the world may believe you have sent me. (John 17:21)

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (II Corinthians 3:3)

I eagerly expect and hope I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:20,21)

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (I John 3:1-3)

"The just shall live by faith" means if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ we will go to Heaven when we die. It has nothing whatever to do with how we live.

See, he is puffed up; his desires are not upright—but the righteous will live by his faith (Habakkuk 2:4)

"The just shall live by faith" is the cry of the Protestant Reformation. It has come to mean the righteous go to Heaven on the basis of their belief in Christ rather than on the basis of their behavior. "We are saved by faith alone" it is stated.

However, this is not at all what the passage means. Living by faith means living by trusting God instead of our own wisdom and strength. It is a way of living.

According to Habakkuk, the opposite of living by faith is being puffed up and having desires that are not upright. The righteous is not puffed up in his own abilities and his desires are pleasing to God.

The verse is repeated three times in the New Testament. Paul emphasized faith in Christ as distinguished from gaining righteousness by observing the various statutes of the Law of Moses. Paul never contrasted faith in Christ with upright behavior. How could he? True faith in Christ always results in righteous behavior.

The true definition of living by faith is found in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Hebrews. The eleventh chapter is introduced by the following passage in the tenth chapter:

But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.  (Hebrews 10:38)

The eleventh chapter, which is a prolonged definition of the just shall live by faith, consists entirely of works, of actions in response to the revealed will of God. Thus true faith is not belief in doctrine but actions in response to the revealed will of God.

Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. (Hebrews 11:8)

By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, (Hebrews 11:17)

The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. (Hebrews 11:38,39)

Salvation is a ticket to Heaven. We do not have to work it out. We do not have to endure to the end to be saved because we are saved by grace (forgiveness).

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (Philippians 2:12)

Salvation is not a ticket to Heaven. It is a Divine program that transforms a human being so he or she may fulfill a role in the Kingdom of God. It has to be worked out patiently day by day as the Holy Spirit brings down our sinful nature to death and forms Christ in us.

Some of the roles for which we are being prepared are as follows:

Being a member of the Bride of the Lamb (Revelation 21:9).

Being part of the Temple of God (Ephesians 2:22).

Being a member of the Body of the Christ (I Corinthians 12:12).

Being a part of the vehicle for the end-time revival (Isaiah 60:1,2).

Being a restorer of Paradise on earth (Romans 8:21).

Being a member of the royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).

Being a witness of God (Isaiah 43:10).

Being a son of God (Revelation 21:7).

Being a brother of Christ Jesus (Romans 8:29).

Being an overcomer of the accuser (Revelation 12:11).

Being a governor of the nations (Revelation 2:26,27).

Being a judge of men and angels (I Corinthians 6:2,3).

Being a wall of defense around the Glory of God (Revelation 21:14).

Being a part of the revelation of Himself—God in Christ in the saints (Revelation 3:12).

Until we have been built up in Christ, until we are in His moral image and are dwelling in untroubled rest in the Father, we are not able to fulfill these roles in the manner God desires.

We understand therefore that to view salvation as a ticket to Heaven is to miss entirely the process of salvation and the reason for the process. It requires all the grace of God and the patient cooperation of the believer in order to experience transformation into the moral image of Christ and entrance into the rest of God. Salvation must be worked out with fear and trembling—not fear that God will forsake us while we are in the middle of trouble, but fear that we will be deceived or distracted and cease pressing forward toward the goal that has been set before us.

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. (John 15:16)

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

And how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (II Timothy 3:15)

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2:5)

Salvation is a sovereign work of God. A continual response on our part is not necessary. Our salvation never can be affected by our behavior because of the sovereignty of God’s grace (forgiveness).

As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. (II Corinthians 6:1)

If salvation were a sovereign work of God, as often is preached in Christian churches, and a response on our part is not essential to its operation, then the verse above would be inappropriate. It would be impossible to receive God’s grace (forgiveness) in vain.

In fact, if salvation were a sovereign work of God and a response on our part were not essential to its operation, then numerous passages in the New Testament would be unnecessary and misleading.

The truth is, the New Testament is one long exhortation to godly behavior. The blood of Christ gives us the authority to enter the program of salvation. The Holy Spirit provides the strength and wisdom so we may pursue the path that leads to righteousness and holiness, for it is these that lead to eternal life.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)

There can be no eternal life where there is unrighteous behavior, except as the Spirit of God is bringing the believer into righteous behavior.

The exhortations of the entire New Testament reveal that the concept of a sovereign state of grace (forgiveness) unaffected by our response, not dependent on our willingness to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the work of moral transformation, is foreign to the message of the entire Bible. No idea more destructive of God’s intention under the new covenant could be invented were all the brains in Hell assigned the task.

By standing firm you will gain life. (Luke 21:19)

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:23)

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, (Galatians 4:19)

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)

And how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (II Timothy 3:15)

But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (I Peter 2:5)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)

Revelation 3:10 means we will be caught up to Heaven in order to escape the great tribulation.

Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Revelation 3:10)

This verse is employed to prove all who profess faith in Christ will be caught up to Heaven in order to escape the Great Tribulation.

First of all, the passage is not referring to all who profess faith in Christ but those who endure patiently the rigors of the Christian discipleship.

Second, the word "keep" in the expression "I will also keep you" is the same Greek term used in "kept my command."

The Greek term means to guard or place under surveillance.

The idea is that if we will carefully guard the Words of Christ, being careful to obey them, Christ will carefully guard us during the hour of trial.

The hour of trial may be the Great Tribulation, or it may be the Great Wickedness mentioned in Matthew 24:12. Actually we have far more to fear from wickedness than we do from tribulation.

The same writer, John, in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John, reveals what he means by keeping or guarding us.

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. (John 17:15)

The word protect (above) is the same as that used for "kept" and "keep" in Revelation 3:10. We see that in Revelation, John is not speaking of our being taken out of the world but being kept from the evil one.

Our problem seldom is that of suffering. Our problem is that of being tempted to sin. The problem of temptation and deception keeps increasing as our social environment becomes ever more wicked. Only the Lord Jesus can keep us from being deceived. He shall keep us from being deceived if we are willing to endure patiently the numerous challenges, tests, and prisons we are called on to endure.

Luke 21:36 means we will be caught up to Heaven in order to escape the great tribulation.

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)

This verse sometimes is used to mean we will be caught up to Heaven in order to escape suffering. But when we read the previous verses we see that the Lord is not speaking of physical danger but of spiritual danger.

You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. (Luke 21:16-18)

And again:

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:34-36)

The Lord said some of us will be put to death but not a hair of our head will perish. By this Jesus means there is no problem with being put to death, because in the resurrection all of our hair will be restored. We are not to worry about physical danger.

The true danger is found in the above words "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life."

Our goal is to stand in victory before the Son of Man. We can stand before Him if we have been imprisoned or martyred and have kept the faith. We cannot stand before Him if we have let ourselves be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life.

The danger is from sin, not from physical harm. We can stand before the Son of Man if we have been harmed because of our faith. But we cannot stand before the Son of Man if we have lived in the sins of the flesh, even though we profess faith in Christ. Christ keeps us from the snares of the devil, not from being exposed to suffering while on the earth.

When the devil began to sift Peter, Jesus did not tell Peter that he would be caught up to Heaven so he couldn’t be sifted. He said to Peter that He would pray for Him so his faith would not fail.

The Great Tribulation and the Great Wickedness will be a period of sifting. Our prayer is that God will not lead us into temptation but will deliver us from the devil.

If an individual has followed Christ patiently, and then suffers tribulation or intense persecution, when he dies he will stand in victory before the Son of Man.

If an individual has not followed Christ patiently, even though he were to be lifted to Heaven in a "rapture" in order to escape the tribulations of the last days, he still would not be able to stand before the Son of Man.

Thus the use of this passage to prove the unscriptural pre-tribulation "rapture" is without merit.

Matthew 24:40 means we will be caught up to Heaven in order to escape the great tribulation.

Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. (Matthew 24:40)

Again, as always is true in the "rapture" teaching, we have a passage taken out of context.

Matthew, Chapter Twenty-four is one of the important chapters concerning the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth.

The timing of His return, relative to the Great Tribulation, is as follows:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (Matthew 24:29)

The Lord will return immediately after the great tribulation.

Still speaking of His return and our gathering to Him, the Lord declares:

Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. (Matthew 24:40)

Therefore, Matthew 24:40 is not speaking of a pre-tribulation "rapture" but of the gathering of His saints to Him at His appearing. This is the same gathering described in the fourth chapter of First Thessalonians. At His appearing we shall be raised from the dead and caught up to meet Him in the air. If we are living at the time, we shall be changed from mortality to immortality and caught up with those who have just been raised from the dead.

All of this shall take place "immediately after the tribulation of those days."

Neither in Matthew nor in Thessalonians is it stated or implied the Lord then will turn around and take us back to Heaven. This is not a biblical concept.

The days of the Great Tribulation will be shortened so the elect on the earth do not perish before He comes. The Lord desires that there be some still living on the earth to greet Him at His appearing.

If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. (Matthew 24:22)

The fact that the great tribulation is shortened for the sake of the elect reveals that members of the elect will be on the earth during those days. Dispensationalism argues that these are members of the so-called "Jewish elect." The concept of a Jewish elect that is separate from a Gentile elect is completely without scriptural support. The one Divine elect are symbolized by the olive tree, of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Romans. When we receive the Lord Jesus Christ we are grafted into the one olive tree, becoming a part of the Israel of God.

Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:16)

The Apostle Paul never referred to the believers as Christians, but three times as the "elect."

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— (Titus 1:1)

The argument that by the "elect" the Lord meant a Jewish elect is seen to be without merit.

I Thessalonians 1:10 means we will be caught up to Heaven in order to escape the great tribulation.

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. (I Thessalonians 1:10)

This verse is used frequently by "rapturists" in order to prove God will not permit His elect to experience the Great Tribulation.

The problem here is that "the coming wrath" is not the great tribulation.

Tribulation is a good and helpful chastening of mankind. In fact, we enter the Kingdom of God through much tribulation.

However, Divine wrath is another matter. We do not enter the Kingdom of God through Divine wrath. Wrath is destructive whereas the chastening of tribulation creates the patience of the Kingdom in us.

All Christians experience tribulation. In the world we always shall have tribulation. In order to escape tribulation we have to forsake our integrity.

Although we have tribulation we have peace and joy; not as the world gives but as Jesus Christ gives to us.

No, we Christians have not been appointed to Divine wrath. But we indeed have been appointed to tribulation and chastening, for these make us partakers of God’s holiness.

"Before I was afflicted I went astray." Suffering drives sin and foolishness from us, and is to be desired for this reason.

The present generation of American Christians are as spoiled babies. We do not realize those whom Christ loves He rebukes. We are attributing all suffering to Satan. It is a fact that God uses Satan to afflict us, but it is for our good. As long as we are following the Lamb, no evil person, including Satan, can possibly harm us.

I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. (Luke 10:19)

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33

Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said. (Acts 14:22)

Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. (Hebrews 12:10)

The "rebellion" of II Thessalonians 2:3 means we will fall away from the earth in order to escape the Antichrist and the Great Tribulation.

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. (II Thessalonians 2:3)

The Greek term translated "rebellion" is aspostasia, from which we derive the word "apostasy." I have never seen a translation of the Scriptures that translates the term other than a rebellion against authority, a falling away from the laws of God.

Some ‘rapturist" scholars, in their attempt to prove a pre-tribulation rapture, are translating apostasia as "falling away from the earth." This absurd translation reveals the strength of the rapture error.

The Greek term we translate as "rapture" means catching up. It is not a falling away from the earth or from anywhere else. It is a catching up, with the implication that power is exerted in order to remove the subject from that which would hold him down.

Looking at the passage in question:

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. (II Thessalonians 2:1-3)

The Day of the Lord will not come until the rebellion occurs and Antichrist is revealed.

Vine’s An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words declares that the falling away of II Thessalonians 2:3 "signifies apostasy from the faith." In other Greek sources it was used "politically of rebels."

It has been said also that apostasia was used at one time to signify a mutiny.

Notice above: "the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed." "Rebellion" and the man of "lawlessness" are related in meaning. The idea is that rebellion against authority will increase in the earth until it is personified in Antichrist—that archrebel against God.

The original meaning of the term, plus the way it is used in context, supports the universal translation of apostasia as "rebellion against authority." To depart from sound interpretation by using it to mean a "falling away from the earth," when in fact the elect do not fall away but are caught up, is certainly not defensible scholarship. But it reveals the power of this deception.

I think it is time for serious Bible students to take another look at the unscriptural "pre-tribulation rapture" tradition, for it keeps many Christians at ease when they should be preparing themselves for the age of moral horrors that is on the horizon.

Noah’s Ark is a type of our being caught up to Heaven in order to escape the great tribulation.

For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. (Genesis 7:17)

The story of Noah’s Ark often is used as a type of the rapture into Heaven of the believers.

There are some aspects of the story that do not fit the unscriptural "rapture" into Heaven.

In the first place, Noah was not lifted into Heaven but was protected while on the earth. Because Noah obeyed God, his life was preserved as well as the lives of his family members. The heavier the judgment the higher the Ark rose.

The Ark was lifted from the earth, rode on the waters of judgment, and then settled back to rest on the earth. This hardly fits the idea of the Church being carried up into Heaven and living there in mansions for eternity!

The Bible teaches us that God will protect us during the time of judgment.

Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. (Isaiah 26:20)

There is nothing said here about taking us to Heaven in order to protect us. God saved Daniel in the Lions’ den; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace.

The entire ninety-first Psalm speaks of protection during the hour of judgment.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. (Psalms 91:7)

God is well able to protect us in the midst of trouble. If God can shield us to the extent eleven thousand people fall around us and the destruction cannot approach us, there is no need for Him to carry us to Heaven to escape the troubles of the Great Tribulation.

To our knowledge, there simply is no Bible basis for the current teaching that God intends to "rapture" His Church into Heaven in order to escape the Great Tribulation. Those who are teaching this unscriptural doctrine need to look again into the Word, I believe.

Ephesians 2:8,9 means we are saved by forgiveness alone, and works of righteousness are not included in the plan of salvation.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— Not by works, so no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

Ephesians 2:8,9 is a favorite verse of Christian people. The verse is used to prove there is absolutely nothing we are to do about our salvation. It is God’s gift to whoever will receive it.

There are two problem with this point of view.

First, the following verse, verse 10, says we have been created in Christ Jesus to do good works. From the beginning of the world, God prepared good works which we are to do as an integral part of our salvation.

The second problem needs the serious attention of God’s preachers and teachers. Paul, when he wrote that we are saved by grace and not by works, was referring to the works of the Law of Moses, not godly behavior. If Paul were referring to godly behavior he would be making faith an alternative to righteous living. This never can be.

Much of Paul’s preaching and teaching was addressed to Jews. The Jews believed that it was impossible to obtain righteousness apart from a strict observance of every law and statute of the Law of Moses.

Paul stressed that it indeed was possible to look up from the Law of Moses and still be counted as righteous, by placing our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

When we as Gentiles come to Christ we are not thinking of the Law of Moses. So we interpret Paul to mean we can be counted as righteous even though we are living in all the foulness of the sinful nature. We should know better than to believe we can have fellowship with a Holy God when we are living in moral filth; but religion has a way of destroying common sense!

There are several verses that show what was in Paul’s mind when he was saying we are saved by faith and not by works.

Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. (Romans 3:27,28)

We who are Jews by birth and not "Gentile sinners" know a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified. (Galatians 2:15,16)

And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. (Philippians 3:9)

Can you see from the above three passages that Paul was not contrasting faith in Christ with righteous behavior but with the Law of Moses?

The central purpose of the new covenant is to produce new creations of righteous behavior, not a forgiven old creation of sinful behavior. The Kingdom of God consists of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Not ascribed righteousness but actual righteousness.

Not ascribed peace but actual peace.

Not ascribed joy but actual joy.

The Kingdom of God is not in word. It is not a legally supported, schizophrenic state, a withdrawal from reality in which God sees us as something other than what we are. The Kingdom of God is the actual doing of God’s will in the earth. It is a real kingdom made up of people who have been transformed through interaction with the Person of the living Lord Jesus Christ.

As the Apostle John would say, "This is the true God and eternal life."

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (Romans 3:20-22)

Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. (Romans 3:27)

It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. (Romans 4:13)

If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. (Galatians 2:17,18)

Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know he appeared so he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (I John 3:4-6)

All sickness, pain, and trouble come from Satan and are to be rebuked and removed through faith.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so Christ’s power may rest on me. (II Corinthians 12:7-9)

Some Christian teachers are advancing the doctrine that all that appears to harm us is of Satan, and if we have faith we can escape all sickness, pain, and trouble. This concept is quite strong in the fashionable "faith" message.

The stress on mental, soulish belief is not of the Lord Jesus. We are to have faith in the Lord, not faith in faith. To have faith in faith is an attempt to maneuver the spirit realm by belief. This is different from calling on the Lord Jesus for deliverance.

We know from the testimony of the Apostle Paul that God permits Satan to attack us. When Paul was stricken with an affliction in his flesh, probably a disease of his eyes, he did not rebuke Satan. Paul prayed to Christ until the Lord answered him.

Jesus let Paul know the affliction would diminish Paul’s confidence in his own strength and he would be compelled to lean more on the Lord.

The faith message has caused the Lord’s people to get their eyes on Satan instead of the Lord Jesus. Satan loves this attention and would enjoy having Christians rebuke demons all day long. Some have said the demons interpret the attention paid to them as worship, and I think this may be a fact.

When we are afflicted we always are to look to Jesus, and to keep on looking to Jesus until we either are delivered or else are given the assurance that we are in the center of God’s will.

This does not mean we ever are to just accept sickness. The Bible states we have been healed by the lashes laid on Jesus. It is God’s will that we be kept perfect in body, soul, and spirit. We always are to ask God to heal us, and then to rejoice in the answer. It may take many years before the answer comes, but that makes no difference. The Word is the Word!

Sooner or later, maybe in this life, maybe in the next, we will be made absolutely whole, delivered from every work of Satan. We are in a warfare, it is true. However, deliverance from sin and sickness do not come through our striving or will power but through following the Lamb wherever He goes.

A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; (Psalms 34:19)

We are never to look to Satan or spend time wrestling with him. We are to look to Jesus always. We do not overcome Satan by rebuking him but by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our scriptural testimony, and by loving not our life to the death.

Christians need to resist the devil by turning away from temptation. Then Satan will flee from us.

Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. (James 5:10)

So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. (I Peter 4:19)

It cannot be true that the Lord Jesus will return after the great signs in the heavens, because He is coming as a thief.

Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29,30)

The teaching of the pre-tribulation rapture stresses that the so-called "rapture" can take place at any moment. There absolutely is no event on the prophetic timetable that will occur prior to the rapture, it is maintained.

The idea is that the Lord’s coming will be a sudden, unheralded event, catching us by surprise. Therefore we have to be prepared at all times.

Since this is true, it is reasoned, the mighty signs in the heavens spoken of in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew cannot take place before the rapture. Otherwise we would be warned and the element of surprise would be greatly diminished.

There are two problems with this reasoning.

First, the New Testaments tells us clearly that the coming of the Lord will not come as a surprise to the righteous.

But you, brothers, are not in darkness so this day should surprise you like a thief. (I Thessalonians 5:4)

Second, when we say we would be alerted by the signs and thus not be surprised we are assuming that we will be free to make choices the moment the signs begin to appears.

What may be more likely is that the signs of the Lord’s coming will come with such power, speed, and fury that those on the earth at that time will not be able to then decide to repent and receive Christ. All of those events will come suddenly and with such speed they will be concluded within one generation. Indeed they shall surprise and terrify the wicked, who will be unable to repent and put their faith in Christ.

Third, there is evidence in the Book of Daniel that Antichrist will have such spiritual authority and power he will be able to block the prayers of people in the cities under his control. There will be Christian churches in those cities following the elements of the Christian religion. But the Holy Spirit will be absent and genuine salvation will be impossible to achieve.

Fourth, repentance is a gift. No individual can come to Christ except as God draws him or her. If we decide to wait until the last minute to receive Christ we may discover we have waited too long and now are not able to make the necessary spiritual choices.

There will be a seven-year period between the "rapture" and the coming of the Lord, during which time the business of the earth will continue.

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30)

The passage above teaches clearly that there will be no seven-year period of time after the Lord’s return during which the business on the earth will continue. The moment the Lord returns and calls together His elect with the sound of the trumpet, at that very moment destruction will fall on the wicked of the earth.

If, as it is taught, the preservation of Noah and his family in the Ark is a type of the rapture, then we see that the day Noah entered the Ark the "flood came and destroyed them all." Thus the teaching of the pre-tribulation rapture followed by seven years of business as usual on the earth is unscriptural.

Christ is building mansions for us in Heaven.

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)

The King James states there are many mansions in the Father’s house. The New International Version gives the preferred translation: "In my Father’s house are many rooms."

I suppose every student of the Bible knows by this time that the Greek term does not refer to a mansion, as we use the term today. Rather it indicates a place of abode. Yet the tradition persists that Jesus Christ, the Carpenter, has been building mansions for the saints during the last two thousand years.

We never are to establish a doctrine from one verse. There is no other verse in the Bible that speaks of mansions in Heaven.

In fact, even John 14:2 is not referring to mansions in Heaven but rooms in the Father’s house. The Father’s House is the Lord Jesus Christ, not Heaven.

The fourteenth and fifteenth chapters of the Gospel of John use the Greek term monai both as a noun and a verb. Properly translated the term respectively is abode and abide. When Christ says "Abide in Me" He is saying "Mansion in me," if we are to be consistent in the use of the Greek terms.

God’s House is Jesus Christ. In the Lord Jesus Christ there are many places of abode so each one of us can find a dwelling place. The Lord Jesus went to the cross, and then to the Father in Heaven, in order to prepare a place for us in Himself. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.

It is true that each one of us is building a house, a robe of righteousness in Heaven, that will clothe our mortal body when the Lord raises our body from the dead. But that house is a house of eternal life that will clothe our spiritual nature, not a stationary house built on a some sort of foundation in the spirit realm.

Yet the tradition of a mansion in Heaven goes on and on and on, without any scriptural support whatever.

This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. (Isaiah 66:1,2)

Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, (II Corinthians 5:2)

Death delivers us from sin.

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)

We are not delivered from sin by dying. Rather, after we die we face judgment.

The idea that we must sin while we are in the world is based on the idea that after we die we will not sin any more. This is a fallacy. Sin began in Heaven around the Throne of God when Satan decided to usurp the place of the Father; and on earth, in the midst of Paradise, when Eve decided to obey her own will instead of God’s will.

The bondages of sin that keep us in moral chains are spiritual in nature. Why, then, would it be true that when we die we no longer are bound by sin? This idea is neither logical nor scriptural, there being not one passage of the Scriptures to support it. Deliverance from the power of sin is found only in the Lord Jesus Christ, not in the spirit realm after we die.

When we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, all that we are shall be revealed. Then we shall receive the good we have done and the bad we have done.

The Lord’s coming will deliver us from sin.

Later the others also came. "Sir! Sir!" they said. "Open the door for us!" But he replied, "I tell you the truth, I don’t know you." Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:11-13)

For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:29,30)

In the case of the foolish virgins, and the man who wasted his talent, we see that the Lord’s return did not deliver them from sin. Rather, their sin was revealed and they suffered the consequences.

The Lord Jesus Christ has the authority and power to deliver us from sin today, while we are in this world. To put off to His coming our deliverance from the power of sin is not wise, for such a concept is without scriptural support.

When Paul cried out, "Who will rescue me from this body of death," he was reflecting on the inability of the Law of Moses to enable him to overcome sin.

Then Paul proceeds, in Chapter Eight of the Book of Romans, to show, first of all that we are without condemnation when we are living in Christ. Then Paul explains that if we continue to live according to our sinful nature we will die spiritually, but if we choose to put to death through the Spirit of God the deeds of our sinful nature we will attain to spiritual life. Then, at the return of the Lord, our body will be redeemed from its death-doomed state.

The work of attaining to the resurrection to eternal life takes place now, in this present world. To put of our release from sin to the coming of the Lord is to risk being thrown into outer darkness because of our neglect of the Kingdom gifts given to us now.

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, (Hebrews 9:27)

Accepting Christ saves us from Hell.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,  that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

One of the most common aspects of Christian teaching is the idea that we receive Christ in order to escape Hell. In fact, this often is the basis for exhorting believers to go out and save souls, or to go to the mission field.

Yet, while there assuredly is a Hell and a Lake of Fire, there is no scriptural basis for preaching that we escape Hell by receiving Christ.

The term "hell" is not found in any of Paul’s writings, which certainly would not be the case if the Gospel were focused on saving us from Hell.

John 3:16 is not about deliverance from Hell but about gaining eternal life. Eternal life has to do with our possession of the Life of God. Hell is an area of torment where the wicked are confined, such as the selfish rich man who refused to assist Lazarus.

The wicked always will go to Hell whether they are Christians or not. In fact, the wicked would not be happy in Heaven. They are not comfortable among fervent disciples today, why would they suddenly want to be with fervent Christians in the Paradise of God?

Our emphasis today on avoiding Hell and going to Heaven is not scriptural but traditional. We have changed the original Gospel of the Kingdom into a mythology similar to some of the other religions of the world.

Christ saves us from Hell by transforming our personality so we do not belong in Hell. We are mistaken when we tell people they can continue in their wickedness and escape Hell by naming the name of Jesus Christ. This would be to make Christ a supporter of sin. He then would be working against the will of God.

There will be no sin in the Kingdom of God. If we would enter the Kingdom we must follow the Lamb as He breaks the yoke of sin in our life.

The Lake of Fire has authority over all wickedness. As long as we practice the behaviors over which the Lake of Fire has authority we are in danger of the second death. It is only as through Jesus Christ we cease practicing these behaviors that we escape the authority of the Lake of Fire.

In the last days the angels of God will remove from God’s Kingdom all sin, and also all persons who cling to their sin. We think this separation has begun today. Let us work with the Holy Spirit that we may be delivered from sin. If we cling to our sin we shall be removed from the Kingdom of God.

Let us pursue the eternal life that Christ came to bring to us. Eternal life always follows righteous, holy behavior. When we choose to be the servant of righteousness, we gain in eternal life and will gain eternal life in our body when it is raised from the dead at the Lord’s return.

The following two passages are referring to people who have been in the Kingdom of God.

As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:40-43)

Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:47-50)

Everyone who appears at the Great White Throne judgment will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.

And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:12-15)

The common teaching is that every individual who appears at the Great White Throne judgment will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. This is based on the idea that the dead were judged according to what they had done, and since no person can be saved by works, all are lost.

To begin with, the Great White Throne judgment is part of the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Lord Jesus told us the Father judges no person but has committed all judgment to the Son.

Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, (John 5:22)

Moreover, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, where all persons born on the earth shall be revealed, the judgment is according to our works.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

Furthermore, the members of the churches are judged according to their works.

I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. (Revelation 2:23)

Finally, let us look carefully at what the Bible says:

"If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."

If you were unacquainted with traditional teaching, would you say from the sentence above that everyone who appears here will be thrown into the Lake of Fire? No, you would not. You would say it is implied that a minority, the exception, were thrown into the Lake of Fire.

Isn’t it likely that the Holy Spirit would be clear concerning an issue of unimaginable significance?

The Spirit has been clear. The majority of those who appear at the Great White Throne judgment, those whose names are written in the Book of Life, will not be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Thank God for that!

No one can obey God perfectly.

The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (I John 2:17)

In my early Christian days I was informed that no one ever could do the will of God perfectly; that the world was waiting for the man or woman who would do God’s will perfectly and completely.

Not being willing to live under condemnation I told the Lord I would do His will perfectly if He would show me what to do and give me the grace to do it.

Now, fifty years later, I can see Satan’s hand in this destructive concept. Of course we are to do God’s will perfectly and completely. Anything else is unthinkable!

What Father would give His children commands that are impossible of fulfillment?

The Lord’s ways are not grievous, it is the way of the transgressor that is harsh and painful.

God expects every one of His children to do His will from the heart at all times. Each day we are assigned some task, some responsibility, whether in overcoming sin or in ministry. There always is grace given for the day so we can maintain unbroken fellowship with the Father.

Should we be deceived and fall into sin, the moment we become aware of our sin we are to confess it, denounce it, renounce it with all of our might. Then we are to turn to God, receive our forgiveness, and pray for the strength to never, never again fall into that trap.

As long as we are pressing forward in this manner we absolutely are without condemnation and are doing God’s perfect will.

Satan loves to have us bowed down with condemnation. His purpose in this is to separate us from God. Satan always works to separate us from God. We are to resist Satan and always present ourselves to God, praying for wisdom and strength to do His will from the heart.

What I heard as a young Christian, that no one can do God’s will, is unscriptural and destructive. Every one of us is to do God’s will at all times. If we do not we are not qualified to receive back our body and rise to meet the Lord in the air at His coming.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

The Bible warnings are not addressed to God’s people.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

It is our practice, as Christians, to apply the Bible warnings to those who have not received Christ as their Savior. However most of the Bible warnings are addressed to God’s elect.

The verse above is an example.

In the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans, which is one of the clearest statements of the Christian discipleship to be found in the Bible, we Christians are told that now that we have been baptized in water we have a choice. We can choose to serve righteousness or we can choose to serve sin.

If we choose to serve righteousness, to be the slave of righteousness, we will live spiritually.

If we choose to serve sin, to be the slave of sin, we will die spiritually.

The same is true of the following verse which often is applied to the unsaved:

How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. (Hebrews 2:3)

The entire Book of Hebrews is an exhortation to seasoned Christians who were growing cold. They were neglecting to press forward to the rest of God, to the place where they were abiding in untroubled rest in the center of God’s Person and will.

By no means is Hebrews 2:3 addressed to the world.

A third example:

"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

One might assume there is no problem addressing these three passages to the unsaved. The problem is the Lord’s elect do not realize the Spirit of God is reproving them. They throw off the warnings as being to the unsaved and go on their way in their lukewarm condition.

Almost all the dreadful warnings, such as the possibility of being thrown into the outer darkness or being left behind when the Lord returns, are directed toward the Lord’s servants. "Depart from Me, I never knew you" is addressed to those who work miracles in the name of Jesus Christ and also are wicked in their behavior.

If we are wise we will cease applying the Bible warnings to the unsaved, recognizing that it is we who are standing in the need of prayer.

Every person the Lord loves He will rebuke and chasten to prepare him or her for the Kingdom of God.

I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:11,12)

These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. (I Corinthians 10:11)

Who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. (Hebrews 6:4-6)

But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned. (Hebrews 6:8)

It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, we have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (Hebrews 13:14)

If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. (II Peter 2:20,21)

Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. (Jude 1:5)

Only Christ is worthy; we cannot become worthy.

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. (II Thessalonians 1:5)

There is a tendency in Christian preaching to stress that all believers are sinful and disobedient and absolutely unworthy of the Kingdom of God. Only Christ is worthy.

Now, beyond all doubt the Lord Jesus Christ is infinitely more worthy than any of us, having been with the Father from the beginning. However, our current attitude results in our crying "Lord, Lord" and then not doing what the Lord commands.

II Thessalonians 1:5 states that we must bear our sufferings patiently and faithfully if we are to be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God. We must prove by our diligent consecration that we are worthy of the Kingdom.

And note below:

Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37,38)

But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, (Luke 20:35)

36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)

And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, (Colossians 1:10)

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)

People are judged to be guilty of not accepting Christ even though they never have heard of Christ.

Because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. (Romans 4:15)

Christians hold steadfastly to the concept that unless a person "accepts Christ" he or she will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. This doctrinaire position, which defies common sense and compassion, maintains that only those people who have heard the Gospel and have "accepted Christ" will ever be received of God and go to Heaven.

The reason I place "accepted Christ" in quotes is that numerous American believers who confess faith in Christ have never really accepted Christ but rather have been converted to an orthodox belief system that meets with our approval.

The Christian churches are filled with people who have never met Christ and are not abiding in Him as faithful disciples. Their actions and testimony prove this.

The idea that if people have never heard of Christ they will be thrown into the Lake of Fire is used as a motivation for missions. It is not, as far as I know, a scripturally sound basis for missions. The only scriptural motivation for missions is the personal call of Jesus on the life of an individual.

Under the unscriptural doctrine that ignorance of Christ is no excuse we have millions—perhaps billions—of people who are to be thrown into the Lake of Fire, whose primary sin is they never have heard of the Lord Jesus.

Little boys and girls in third-world countries who have never heard the name of Jesus, who would be happy members of Sunday schools had they heard, are doomed to spend eternity in an unimaginable horror. This is because spiritually lazy, lukewarm American Christians (who to be sure are about to be raptured into air-conditioned comfort in Paradise) never sought Christ fervently enough to find out what they were supposed to do in the Body of Christ.

Can’t you imagine? Here stands a young boy in front of God. "My boy, your destiny is to be hurled into the Lake of Fire with the devil and his angels."

"Why"?

"Because you did not accept My Son, Jesus Christ."

"Where is He that I might accept Him?"

"It is too late now. The rules are the rules."

Huge angels pick up the screaming youngster and hurl him into the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

Then Almighty God says: "You can see in this incident My love and righteousness. There is no name given under Heaven by which a person may be saved. This little boy did not call on the name of Jesus, Therefore, in My righteousness and justice I have thrown him into the Lake of Fire."

At this the holiest of angels cried out, "Just and true are thy judgments, who dwellest between the cherubim."

And many voices in Heaven and upon the earth said "Amen and Amen."

This is the nonsensical doctrine of the Christian churches in the United States of America.

I do not teach that a person can hear the Gospel, reject it, and then be saved by his own righteous behavior. But I most assuredly do teach from the Scriptures that we are judged in terms of the light we have been given, and if we have never heard the Gospel we certainly will not be judged by the Gospel.

If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. (John 15:22)

If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. (John 15:24)

God will give to each person according to what he has done.  To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. (Romans 2:6,7)

Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. (Romans 7:9

That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. (Luke 12:47,48)

A Christian is someone who has taken "the four steps of salvation" and now attends church.

And when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. (Acts 11:26)

We notice above that a Christian is a disciple, according to the Bible.

How many American church members are really disciples of Jesus, waiting on His Presence and will every hour of every day? How many are listening for His every Word, praying each day, meditating in the Scriptures, gathering with fervent saints, turning aside from their own lives that they might do God’s will?

How many are presenting their bodies a living sacrifice that they might prove God’s will for their lives?

How many are remaining in the prison where God has placed them, waiting patiently year after year until God releases them?

How many are coveting fervently the gifts of the Spirit that they might build up the Body of Christ?

How many are ready to leave all that is familiar and follow Jesus as He leads them where they never have been?

How many have said an eternal "Yes" to the Lord so He really and truly is their personal Lord?

How many have left all of their achievements, counting them as garbage that they may know and win Christ?

How many are pressing forward toward the goal God has set before them, forgetting all that is behind, living by the power of His resurrection, experiencing the sharing of His sufferings, being conformed to His death?

These, and these alone, are the Christians. The rest are church members, good, decent people; but they are not Christians.

If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26,27)

In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33)

No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. (Luke 16:13)

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." (Luke 18:22)

Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. (Luke 18:28-30)

As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, "That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you." (Acts 24:25)

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (I John 2:15)

***

We who are American Christians are, for the most part, a pitiful lot, spiritual babies, morally weak, being led about by false doctrines and seducing spirits.

Our hope is that the young people coming up will search the Scriptures, reject these weakening, demoralizing traditions, take up their personal cross, and follow the Lamb wherever He chooses to go.

If the children and youth do this we shall see the greatest demonstration of the Presence of God and His power and glory yet to be experienced on the earth.

Let us all pray for rain, for it is the time of the harvest rain. God will not disappoint us.