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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica. Used by permission.
But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. (Matthew 13:23)
The Seed is Christ. In the case of those in whom the Seed has germinated, and has brought forth a crop, some produce a hundredfold; some sixtyfold; and some thirtyfold.
I do not think this means some Christians will go into eternity with forty percent or seventy percent of their old nature remaining. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.
But somehow, on the new earth, there will be a difference. It may be in size or strength, or in their role in the Kingdom of God. Everyone who is saved to the new world of righteousness will have the Life of Christ in his or her personality, but some will have more than others.
If the reader is acquainted with the Tabernacle of the Congregation, he may recall the large, barn-like tent. The tent was divided by the Veil into two rooms, the Holy Place, and the Most Holy Place.
Now, here is the interesting part. The Holy Place was 2,000 cubic cubits in volume while the Most Holy Place was 1,000 cubic cubits in volume. The Holy Place was twice the size of the Most Holy Place.
The way I see it is that the entire tent portrays the Church, while the Courtyard, surrounding the Tent, portrays the people of the nations who have been saved.
If this is true, then the Church is divided into two parts—the hundredfold, the Most Holy Place; and then the Holy Place, the sixtyfold members of the Royal Priesthood, the Royal Priesthood being the new Jerusalem.
Now I will tell you plainly that I do not like mystical interpretations of the Bible that elevate some of the believers to a superior position. All such interpretations lead to small puffed-up groups who fancy themselves superior to the rest of us. They already perceive themselves as being able to walk through walls, like the Lord. They talk about this but they can't do it as yet. They view themselves as manifested sons of God before the Lord Jesus returns; and this cannot be!
The hundredfold believers are distinguished by their closeness to Jesus and their love for Him, not by displays of power or authority.
The distinction between the hundredfold and the sixtyfold may endure throughout the ages to come. If it does, the hundredfold will be perceived as having greater love for Jesus and for His Church than the rest of us do.
As for mystical interpretations that tend to exalt small groups of believers, I will have nothing to do with doctrines that do not lead to righteous behavior. Today the Spirit of God is emphasizing that the believers confess their sins, turning away from them with the help of the Lord.
It is true also that the Lord, at the same time, is holding out the prospect of a full reaping of Himself. Those who take the Lord up on this invitation will find that they are distinguished by humility, as well as a great love for Jesus.
We Americans do not like the idea of anyone being closer to God than we are. But the Bible teaches this, and so the discussion is ended.
These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they remained virgins. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among mankind and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:4,5)
I do not believe this is referring to physical, but spiritual virginity. The Bible says marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled. So the reference is to any idol that claims our adoration, such as money, a talent, or an occupation.
We may not believe there is an elite company in the Church. But the Scripture seems to point to this.
Think about the following:
After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. (Mark 9:2)
Whoa! Just one minute! Why would the Lord pick out three of the Twelve to experience this special revelation?
How do you think the remaining nine felt when they heard what Peter, James, and John had enjoyed? How come?
I think all of us Christians are going to have to get used to the fact that the Lord Jesus chooses whomever He will (it actually is the Father who is doing the choosing) to enjoy closeness to Himself.
Think about the fact that God chose Israel to be closer to Himself than is true of the remaining nations of the earth.
How about you and me? Are we more noble than others that we should be called to be part of the Body of Christ?
So God will do whatever He chooses to do, and no one can resist Him or charge Him with not being fair. He is the Potter. He does what He wants with the clay.
The spirit of Humanism that today is filling the minds and hearts of the people of the world, and perhaps especially in America, announces that every person is free to be and do whatever he or she pleases. This is not true in practice, is it? We are not born with equal abilities, so this philosophy results in rebellion. It is of Antichrist.
I have stated that I am not interested in a doctrine that does not lead to righteous behavior. The invitation to the hundredfold possession of the Life of Jesus Christ does lead to righteous behavior, not to people who become so proud that they are in danger of losing any semblance of humanity.
God has chosen some people to possess Christ a hundredfold. Whether they actually attain to this high state depends on how they respond. They cannot decide to settle for a less-demanding calling without being regarded as disobedient servants.
God has chosen some people to possess Christ to a lesser degree. They are to be content to play this role. Spiritual ambition has no place in the Kingdom of God.
Then there are the thirtyfold. They inherit the Kingdom, being citizens of the new earth.
The sixtyfold are members of the Royal Priesthood, as I see it. The purpose for the thousand-year Kingdom Age is to give the hundredfold an opportunity to guide and strengthen the sixtyfold until the entire new Jerusalem is prepared to descend through the new sky and govern the people saved from the nations.
The "mighty men" had a close relationship with King David, although they were an integral part of the nation of Israel.
In like manner the hundredfold will follow the Lamb wherever He goes. But they also are an integral part of the Royal Priesthood that will be installed on the new earth as the new Jerusalem.
There are many members of God's elect, of the Royal Priesthood. But the saved whom they are destined to govern are an unimaginable multitude, who will increase as the future ages unfold.
Let us assume that the reader views a hundredfold possession of the Life of Christ as a goal worth pursuing. Toward what should he address himself or herself.
First we must be willing to replace our original personality with the Life of Christ. At first glance we may respond, "Of course!" But when we realize that He is asking that we yield our life that we may think as Christ is thinking; speak as Christ is speaking; and act as Christ is acting, we may draw back. This is an actual supplanting of our right to be a person and make our own choices.
Please observe that we never lose our uniqueness as a person. What we lose is our ability to act independently of God.
The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are unique Persons. Yet the Son and the Holy Spirit never act independently of the Father. They think, speak, and act as the Father is thinking, speaking, and acting. They are totally One in all they do, but are unique Persons. Christ is not the Father but acts in concert with the Father, never independently of the Father.
If we are to reap Christ to a hundredfold extent we must we willing to give up our independence of thought, speech, and action. From this point forward we are a member of the Body of Christ and are controlled by the Head.
We do not make the change from ourselves to Christ in one moment. It takes a lifetime of looking to Christ for all we think, say, and do. This may seem impossible to the novice, but it is not. It just requires practice. God helps us as we seek to master this new state of being.
God guides and assists us because He does not want little gods exerting their own will in the universe. God has appointed the Lord Jesus Christ as our Head, and we must accept this, or else stumble about in a fruitless attempt to create our own Heaven and earth.
You may notice that the promise of inheriting all that God makes new is restricted to those who overcome all the forces that would seek to persuade them to set a lesser goal.
Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. (Revelation 21:7)
It appears that in these days we do not hear much about victorious Christian living. I do not understand why this is, since the promises we associate with being "saved" are directed toward those who overcome.
It may be that the preaching and teaching of "grace" is the reason living in victory is not stressed. If our goal is to obtain eternal residence in Heaven (instead of attaining to the hundredfold possession of Christ), and we are told that we go to Heaven by merely "accepting Christ," why would we be required to struggle against the fierce onslaughts of Satan, the world, and our sinful nature?
We of today preach that all we need to do is believe that Jesus is the Son of God, He has died for our sins, and we will, when we die, be carried up to Heaven to live happily ever after with the saints and angels.
However, the Bible preaches that we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus at all times. We must keep on resisting temptation as we follow Christ.
Now, both of these descriptions of the Christian life cannot be true. Either it is all by "grace," and we are required only to believe that Christ has done it all; or else we must be pressing forward in the Lord each day, confessing and turning away from our sins, and enduring many afflictions and tribulations that we might enter the Kingdom of God.
One or the other of these understandings is false and destructive. Which way do you believe is true and of God?
Paul spoke of travailing in birth until Christ was formed in the members of the Church. What does it mean to have Christ formed in us?
I believe it has to do with eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood.
The second chapter of the Book of Revelation speaks of the "hidden manna." Perhaps the hidden manna is the flesh and blood of Christ. Perhaps it is hidden to all except those who are living victoriously.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. (Revelation 2:17)
The white stone with the new name signifies we have been voted into the ranks of the chosen.
If we are victorious we will be given some of the hidden manna. It is my opinion this means that each time through Christ we successfully resist a temptation to do evil we are given in the spirit realm to eat of the flesh of Christ and drink of His blood. Now we have been strengthened so we can overcome another temptation to sin. It is a cycle leading up to the fullness of Christ.
We cannot attain to the hundredfold state of being until we are willing to surrender our life to Christ; until we live a life of victory over sin; and until the flesh and blood of Christ form the Virtue and Truth of Christ in us.
To this point we have been referring to the changes in us as we follow Christ, carrying our cross of delayed gratification.
Now we come to the Person of Christ Himself, whose throne is at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. We are not to be confused between the Life of Christ in us, and the unique Person of the living Jesus who is at the right hand of the Father. In fact, the Apostle Paul informs us that we have died and our life is hidden with the Person of Christ in God.
In the Book of Revelation we discover that Christ is knocking at the door of our personality. Christ always is knocking at the door of our personality, and we always are to be opening to Him.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:20)
What does Christ eat? Our loving obedience and our worship.
What do we eat? His loving Presence, His flesh and blood, and the wisdom and strength He gives us so we can serve Him.
It appears to me that many believers do not experience the joy of fellowship with Christ and God.
We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. (I John 1:3)
The Bible does not teach us that we are called to go to live in Heaven forever. But it does teach us that we are to have fellowship with God and Christ.
Sometimes I believe that as we are approaching the end of the Church Age that we will become better acquainted with the Father.
Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life of the Father, not of Heaven!
All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27)
It may be true that the hundredfold believers will have a closer relationship with the Father and the Son than is true of those of lesser attainment.
There are so many fine Christians who seek principles from the Bible that they can live by. In some cases, they do not look to the Author for the daily decisions they make. They may become hard and doctrinaire when the Lord moves in an unexpected manner, declaring "This cannot be God because it is not according to the Bible."
Christ never contradicts the Bible. But with His permission the disciples did harvest grain on the Sabbath!
The Christian discipleship is much more enjoyable when we are having fellowship with the Father and Christ than when we are trying to develop principles from the Scriptures.
The Father is alive and Christ is alive and They enjoy having fellowship with us. Our part is to keep looking up to them and asking Their opinion of all we are doing. I do not say They speak to us in an audible voice, ordinarily. But They always direct our path when we acknowledge Them. Have you found this to be true in your daily life? I have.
Now we come to the climax of the Divine redemption, the renewing of our resurrected mortal body in Divine Life.
I like the following passage:
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3:20,21)
When will the Lord Jesus "transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body"?
This change will take place when we are raised from the dead.
There are two resurrections. The first will occur when the Lord appears. When we are raised in the first resurrection we will experience a change in our body. This is true also of the hundredfold who are living on the earth at the time of the Lord's return. They will not die, and then be resurrected. They will be changed while living. Their mortal life will be replaced by the Divine Life of Christ.
These are the hundredfold saints. They will govern the earth with Christ throughout the thousand years that will take place prior to the second resurrection. They also will be able to enter Heaven, where the immature members of the Royal Priesthood have their home. They will teach and strengthen these weaker sisters of the Bride of the Lamb.
The second resurrection will take place at the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The multitude of people from all of history will be judged according to their works. If their name is found in the Book of Life, they will be brought forth to citizenship on the new earth. These are the thirtyfold, as I understand it. Each one is listed in the Book of Life and has a portion of the Life of Christ.
Those whose names are not found in the Book of Life will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
So you see this essay, although somewhat mystical I suppose, has as its purpose the development of righteous behavior. The hundredfold, by virtue of the fullness of the Life of Christ dwelling in them and abiding with them in fellowship, will be examples of righteous behavior. They will teach the ways of the Lord to whomever the Spirit directs them.
Such is God's Kingdom. The effect of the Kingdom will be the doing of God's will on the earth as it is in Heaven.
It has been a long time, from our point of view, from the original rebellion of the angels until God through Jesus Christ puts an end to all rebellion and sin. From that point forward the saints, having themselves been perfected in obedience, will insure that no human being or angel exalts himself against the will of God, as expressed through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Let us press on, press on, press on until we attain to the fullness of resurrection life in our body, soul, and spirit. Then we will be changed into the image of Christ and be in truth His brothers.
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 Place. (Daniel 9:24)