THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID
THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
In the time of King David, God’s house was divided into two parts. The Tabernacle of the Congregation was located at the high place in the city of Gibeon while the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the city of Zion, a suburb of Jerusalem. The division of the house of God is a prophetic portrayal of what is taking place in our time as God draws out from the Christian churches a warrior-firstfruits—people who will bring deliverance to the remainder of Israel and to the nations of the earth.
Table of Contents
War Zion The Tabernacle of David God's House Divided Into Two Parts The Spiritual Significance of the Two Parts of God's House The Warrior-firstfruits The Ark and the Tabernacle Are Brought Together in Solomon's Temple
THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID
After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. (Acts 5:16,17)
A separation is taking place today among the Lord's elect. The majority will continue in the accustomed ways of the Lord. Salvation, water baptism, the born-again experience, the baptism with the Spirit, praise, Divine healing, the gifts of the Spirit, will continue to be given and practiced.
But the Lord Jesus is calling out from the elect a firstfruits. While the members of the Lord's firstfruits embrace and practice all the graces we have mentioned, another element is being introduced into their lives. That element is war! The time of judgment and war against Satan has arrived, the Day of Vengeance of our God (Isaiah 61:2).
Whereas the majority will continue seeking to be blessed, the firstfruits, while seeking to be blessed, are also seeking the destruction of the devil.
Whereas the majority of believers are praying for revival in the churches, the firstfruits are praying for revival in the churches and also for the Lord Jesus Christ to come and bring the nations of the earth into subjection to Himself.
Whereas the majority are interested in the progress of local ministry and in the work of missions, the firstfruits, while continuing in all good works, are growing vitally concerned with Jerusalem; for the Lord Jesus soon is to come and sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem.
However, before the Lord Jesus can sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem He first must be placed on the throne of the hearts of His saints. Before the Lord can put His enemies under His feet He first must achieve victory in the hearts of His people. Armageddon is being fought now in the warrior-firstfruits, the bridal remnant. The Lord is judging the sin and rebellion in us.
The kingdoms of the world cannot become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ until first we of the Church permit the Lord of Armies to enter us and crush all resistance to His Person and will.
The separation between the warlike remnant of believers, who compose the firstfruits of the Church, and the majority of Christians, is portrayed in the Old Testament in a powerful type. We are referring to the removal of the Ark of the Covenant from the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the placing of the Ark in a tent in Zion, the city of King David.
In those days God's house was divided into two parts: (1) the Tabernacle of the Congregation located on the high place in Gibeon; and (2) the Tabernacle of David in Zion. Let us see how this division of God's house came about and how it typifies the manner in which God will bring to pass total victory in Israel and finally throughout the whole earth.
In order to understand the significance of the separation of David's Tabernacle from the Tabernacle of the Congregation we must consider the historical background of David's city, Zion, and how the Ark came to be located there.
After the death of Saul, David was anointed King of Judah, and then of all Israel. At first, David's government was located in Hebron. But then David decided to capture Jerusalem from the Jebusites.
The Jebusites defended the city of Jerusalem from the vantage point of Zion, a militarily advantageous stronghold of Jerusalem. David and Joab succeeded in capturing Zion and gaining possession of Jerusalem (II Samuel 5:7). From that time forward, Zion, an area in the larger city of Jerusalem, became known as the city of David.
Zion has to do with war. Although the term may be used to refer to all Jerusalem, Zion represents war and battle. Zion speaks of Christ and His mighty men, His warriors.
In the present hour God is calling out from His Church the saints who are destined to destroy Satan out of the Church and out of the earth. The trumpet is being blown in Zion. The day of vengeance against God's enemies is upon us. It is the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement, and of the Jubilee.
Zion is being separated from Jerusalem for a season. The separation will endure throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age. But Zion and Jerusalem once again will be brought together in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.
Notice the fortress (Zion), and then Jerusalem, in the following verse:
And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: . . . . (Revelation 20:9)
The "camp (fortress) of the saints," and then "the beloved city."
The Law will go forth from Zion and the Deliverer will come out of Zion. Redemption can come only by war. The salvation of Israel can come only by war. The redemption of the nations of the earth can take place only by war. Until Satan is destroyed, the royal priesthood and the nations of the earth will continue in the chains of spiritual slavery. The "Zion" aspect of Jerusalem is the realm of spiritual warfare.
David was a man of war; Solomon, a man of peace. The thousand-year rule of a rod of iron is a "David" period. The new heaven and earth reign of Christ is a "Solomon" period.
It is important for the saints of today to understand that the Day of Judgment and resurrection comes at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, not at the beginning, not at the moment of the return of Christ to the earth.
The appearing of Christ in the clouds of glory with His saints and holy angels is not the day of judgment and resurrection for those who have died, although it may be true that the living nations of the earth will be judged at that time.
The appearing of Christ is the coming of the Deliverer out of Zion. Jesus will come with His mighty men, with His "Zion" company. They alone of all the peoples of the earth will receive back their bodies prior to the general day of resurrection. This is the first resurrection, the resurrection out from among the dead. This is the resurrection the Apostle Paul was striving to attain (Philippians 3:11).
The reason the Zion company, the Lord's judges, the judges of the house of David (Psalms 122:5), are given back their bodies at the appearing of the Lord is that they may rule with Christ over the living nations of the earth. The rest of the dead, including the majority of the elect, according to our understanding, will not be given back their bodies until the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Revelation 20:4-6).
We see, therefore, that Zion signifies a warrior-firstfruits, a group of mighty men who will appear with the Son of David and fight the Lord's battles until the whole earth (which is the inheritance of Christ) has been brought under subjection to Christ.
Now that we briefly have considered the spiritual significance of Zion, David's city, let us turn our attention to the separating of the Ark of the Covenant from the Tabernacle of the Congregation and to the present-day application of that historical event.
Hopefully the reader has a general understanding of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. If not, reading Exodus, Chapter 25 through to the end of the book may prove useful at this point.
The Courtyard of the Tabernacle was surrounded by a linen fence. In the Courtyard was erected the Tent, which was divided into the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.
There were seven furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation: the Altar of Burnt Offering, the Laver, the Table of Showbread, the Lampstand, the Altar of Incense, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Mercy Seat. The solid-gold Mercy Seat with its covering cherubim served as a lid on top of the Ark.
The Ark with its covering Mercy Seat (properly, Lid of Atonement) was the holiest of the vessels.
In the days of Eli, the High Priest of Israel, the Tabernacle of the Congregation and its seven vessels were located in Shiloh, a city approximately twenty miles north of Jerusalem.
During a battle between the Philistines and Israel the Ark of the Covenant was removed from the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle and carried to the battle area. The Philistines rallied, overcame Israel, and captured the Ark of the Covenant (I Samuel 4:11).
The Ark brought judgment on the Philistines and on Dagon, their fish-god. The Philistines sent the Ark back to Israel, where it came to rest in the home of Abinadab (I Samuel 7:1).
It appears that Saul sent for the Ark during times of stress (I Samuel 14:18). But Saul had no heart for God. Saul did not seek out the Ark because he desired the Presence of God but because he wanted God's help in battle.
Saul represents the religion of Christianity—particularly the organizational aspect of the Christian religion. The author holds that true Christianity is not a religion but the revelation of God through Christ. A religion is an attempt of men to find God or to discover spiritual principles or elements of the spirit world or of righteous, productive living.
Saul's heart never was right in the sight of God. Saul enjoyed his position as king over God's people, but Saul had no heart for God.
Organizations and denominations have little heart for God. They enjoy the things of Christ. They seek to rule God's flock. They "win many battles," as did Saul. But they consistently err in their hearts and often end up fighting against God, as did Saul.
David was altogether different from Saul. David loved God with all his heart. David was deceived by his lusts and committed a great sin, for which he suffered appropriately. But David repented and his heart continued to be steadfast with God.
The heart of David was like the heart of God. The moment David was anointed king he sought to bring the Ark of God from the house of Abinidab and establish it in his city, Zion. David prepared a tent for the Ark in Zion.
And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. (I Chronicles 15:1)
After an abortive attempt, David finally succeeded in bringing the Ark to the tent he had pitched for it in Zion. The Ark in its tent in Zion was known as the Tabernacle of David—that to which Amos and James referred when speaking of the coming of God's salvation to the nations (Amos 9:11; Acts 15:16).
David was filled with the Spirit of Christ and prophesied by that Spirit. In addition to being a king, David was one of the foremost prophets of Israel. This is the only manner in which we can account for David's not returning the Ark to its proper place in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. We think Christ in David was portraying what would take place when the Kingdom of God was ready to come to the earth.
As we noted previously, the Tabernacle of the Congregation was located in Shiloh during the days of Eli. But at some point the Tabernacle (with its empty Most Holy Place) had been moved to the high place at Gibeon.
Gibeon was about six or seven miles northwest of Jerusalem. The term "high place" was used to denote a place of demon worship. Perhaps the priests of Israel, in order to draw people to the Tabernacle sacrifices, placed God's house in an area that was familiar to people as a place of worship.
Now we have two separate houses of God. The Tabernacle of the Congregation was at the high place in Gibeon, while the Ark of the Covenant was located in the city of Zion.
The division of the house of God is a prophetic portrayal of what is taking place in our time as God draws out from the Christian churches a warrior-firstfruits—people who will bring deliverance to the remainder of Israel and to the nations of the earth.
It is important that we do not regard such a separation as the creation of another organization. Rather, it is a "coming out" of the heart. To organize the "Zion" remnant would be to bring them back under "Saul." They are to remain unmarried to such affiliations.
While the Lord's firstfruits often are the most dependable workers of a church, they are spiritual "virgins." They are married to Christ and to none other. They stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion. They follow the Lamb wherever He goes (Revelation 14:1-5).
It is our point of view that the coming persecutions and tribulations will cause the firstfruits to be separated physically from the babylonish (manmade, man-centered, man-directed) churches. But in the present hour it is the exodus of the heart that is of supreme importance.
How did David administrate the divided house of God? David placed singers and priests at both locations. David appointed Asaph and his fellows to conduct Divine worship in Zion, and Zadok, a distinguished priest of Israel, to take charge of the worship being conducted at the high place in Gibeon (I Chronicles 16:5,39).
There is an important concept here. It is that the blessing of God remains on both aspects of His house.
There is a tendency among the Lord's victorious saints to despise the weaker believers, while the weaker believers look on the fervent saints as fanatics and filled with the devil. This attitude is not pleasing to the Lord. The victorious saints have been blessed with a double portion of a hunger and thirst for God's righteousness. It is their role, therefore, to strengthen the remainder of Israel and to serve God in the work of bringing the nations of the earth into submission to the will of Christ.
God did not bless Zion and despise Gibeon. God always is seeking ways of building up His elect, including the weakest of the elect. The calling out of the "Zion company" (for want of a better term) is for the purpose of delivering all Israel, and finally the nations of the earth, from the kingdom of Satan.
The story of Gideon's army is an excellent portrayal of the manner in which God will use the warrior-firstfruits to help the majority of Israel. God called out the 300. He did not condemn the remainder of Israel. The Lord called out the 300 of Gideon's army so His name would be glorified in victory.
As soon as the Midianites were thrown into confusion all Israel joined in the victory. Through the small number of warriors the entire nation was delivered (Judges 8:28).
So it is true that through the relatively small number of "Zion" warriors, those typified by David's Tabernacle, all Israel will be set free from Satan. The Deliverer will come out of Zion and save all Israel.
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: (Romans 11:26)
There is an aspect of the division of God's house that must be made clear or else some will stumble. In speaking of the weaker believers we are not referring to the lukewarm, the careless, the lazy. There are passages of Scriptures, including the parable of the ten virgins and the parable of the talents, that warn us of the fate awaiting those who are lazy and careless in the things of the Kingdom.
Rather we are speaking of those who through ignorance or because of their calling are not among the Lord's firstfruits.
The Kingdom of God includes many levels of calling. To sit on Jesus' right hand and His left has not been prepared for everyone, but it has been made ready for some.
And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. (Matthew 20:23)
All that God requires of any person is that he or she lay hold on that for which he has been grasped, that he press toward his own mark. Not everyone has been called to be among the Lord's warrior-firstfruits. Yet, in another sense, to be an overcomer and receive the royal inheritance is to whoever chooses to live victoriously in Jesus.
God knows from the days of creation all His works. No man can come to Jesus except the Father draw him. When all has been revealed we will understand that God Himself has constructed the Kingdom according to His own wisdom; and part of that wisdom is to draw out from His Church a firstfruits that will deliver the remainder of the Church—and the nations of saved people as well.
But the lukewarm, the backslidden, the careless, and the lazy will face an angry Christ in the Day of the Lord.
Both the "Zion Christians" and the "Gibeon Christians" fulfill the plan of God as it is revealed to them. God's blessing is on both aspects of His house.
At one location we have the Tabernacle of the Congregation with five of its original seven furnishings. The Ark of the Covenant and the covering Mercy Seat are missing. At the other location we have the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat in their tent in Zion.
Let us think about the spiritual meaning of the seven vessels of the Tabernacle so we can understand the significance of separating the Ark and the Mercy Seat from the other five furnishings.
The Altar of Burnt Offering—the sacrifice of our Lord on the cross of Calvary; our receiving the blood atonement.
The Laver—repentance and water baptism; also, our daily washing as we read the word of God and do what it says.
The Table of Showbread—the born-again experience; partaking of the body and blood of Christ; the Substance of Christ in the anointed preaching of the Word of God.
The Lampstand—baptism with the Holy Spirit; the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit; the Spirit-filled life.
The Altar of Incense—the place of death to self as we pour out our soul in consecration to God; worship, praise, adoration, supplication, intercession, in the Spirit of God.
The Ark of the Covenant and the covering Lid of Atonement (Mercy Seat)—the Presence of the God of Israel; war against Satan. The tables of stone, the Ten Commandments, which were placed inside the Ark, were God's covenant of righteousness with man and the Divine judgment on Satan.
We see, therefore, that if we have the Tabernacle of the Congregation without the Ark of the Covenant and the covering Lid of Atonement we have everything to which Spirit-filled people are accustomed, with the exception of the Presence of God Himself and His judgment on Satan.
Is it possible to have the gifts of God apart from God Himself?
Indeed it is. We of the Christian churches, although we may think we know all about Christ and His salvation, are often quite ignorant of the realities of the spirit realm. Sometimes we do not understand the difference between God and His gifts.
We do not understand, for example, that the gifts of the Spirit operate at several levels. We do not understand the difference between spirituality and spiritual giftedness. We are not aware of the distinction between the numerous spirits that operate in the assemblies and the Holy Spirit of God.
Sometimes it happens that a man or woman is used mightily of the Lord in evangelism, or in working miracles, or in leading people into the baptism with the Spirit of God. We may idolize this gifted individual.
Then we discover that our idol is dishonest or immoral. We cannot understand how such an immoral person could be used to bring souls into the Kingdom of God. The inconsistency causes confusion. We do not know whether God simply is not interested in morality or whether the entire Christian enterprise is a hoax.
What we must come to realize is that God gives a variety of gifts and graces to people with the hope that they and those to whom they minister will profit and grow in the knowledge of the Lord. The gift of such a minister is subject to the minister. He may stir it up or allow it to lie dormant. He may use his gift for his own aggrandizement, or to become rich, or to seduce weak believers to commit adultery with him, or to bless and enrich the Lord's flock.
But God Himself—that is another matter. The only way in which the Presence of God can be gained is by total, stern obedience to God's written and revealed Word, righteous and holy conduct, and much waiting on the Lord.
There is a wealth of ministry in the churches of today. Multitudes are being saved and baptized in water. Some are following the rules of righteousness and holiness. People are being born again. Believers are being filled with the Spirit of God. A few are seeking a life of discipleship and are pursuing the Spirit-filled life. Christians are seeking and receiving the gifts of the Spirit.
All this is the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
Then there is David's Tabernacle.
Out from the active Christians there is being drawn a company of people who have profited by and engaged in the graces we have mentioned but who have an unsatisfied hunger for God Himself; not just for the works, gifts, and ways of God but for God Himself. This is David's Tabernacle.
The latter group of saints are being made conscious that God is ready to avenge Himself on Satan and that God is beginning with their own personality. Every sin, every rebellion must be dealt with by fire. All that is of Satan must go. All that is of the world must leave. All that is of self-will, of stubbornness, of rebellion, of self-centeredness, of self-love, must be driven from their personalities.
"Saul" enjoys the activities of the ways and works of God. He is able to participate in these and yet retain His own will and glory. He becomes spiritually adept.
"David" also enjoys the activities of the ways and works of God. But he never can be satisfied with these. He always is pressing past the veil into the Presence of the Ark of the Covenant. "David" wants God! He will not be content with any sort of blessing. "David's" hunger and thirst after righteousness can be quenched only by the Presence of the God of Heaven in Christ.
We believe the separation between the believers represented by the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the believers represented by David's Tabernacle, is beginning in the days in which we are living and will remain until the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
We believe further that when Christ returns in the clouds of glory, only those who are of David's Tabernacle, so to speak, will be raised from the dead. The first resurrection is for God's rulers, His judges. They will exercise judgment in the earth. They will bring all nations into subjection to Christ. Theirs is the rule of a rod of iron—a violent, crushing, imposition of force on all sin and rebellion.
Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. (Isaiah 13:9)
The Ark of the Covenant with its covering Mercy Seat was the heart of David's Tabernacle. The Covenant consisted of the two tables of stone, the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were the judgment, the condemnation of God on Satan and all who follow Satan.
When the Ark moves forward, the Covenant, the Law, the judgment, the condemnation upon the enemy moves forward. Those who receive the Lord and His Covenant enter eternal life. Those who reject the Lord and His Covenant abide under the judgment of God.
Although the rebellion of the angels apparently took place in eons past, God never has executed His vengeance on the rebels. Now the Day of Vengeance has come. It has pleased God and has been ordained by Him that it will be Christ-filled human beings who will destroy Satan's kingdom. Satan will be crushed under our feet (Romans 16:20).
It is the responsibility of the believers who are portrayed by David's Tabernacle to bring the Law (in Christ), the Covenant, the judgment of almighty God against all sin and rebellion. Therefore they themselves must first be cleansed from all that is of darkness, from all that is not of God.
The judgment and cleansing of the warrior-firstfruits is taking place today. It is the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. The judgment and cleansing will spread to all Israel, and then to the ends of the earth, as soon as obedience has been perfected in the warrior-firstfruits.
Amos and James mentioned the nations in connection with the Tabernacle of David because it is the warrior-firstfruits who will go forth to war against the satanic spirits that hold the nations in bondage, bringing salvation to every human being who will accept the rule of Christ and the atonement made by Christ.
In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this. (Amos 9:11,12)
After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles [nations], upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. (Acts 15:16,17)
For two thousand years the Christian churches have been occupied primarily with their own reputation and growth. Now it is time for the Lord God of Heaven not only to bring salvation to the Jewish people but also to release the nations from Satan so they may serve and worship God. The kingdoms of the world are destined to become the Kingdom of our Lord and His Christ.
The days in which we are living are momentous. God is putting into the hearts of those who love Him a desire to nourish the Jewish people in every way possible. We must realize the Christians have insulted and assaulted the Jews for two thousand years. We are to blame for the distrust of Christians that the Jews have.
Only the Holy Spirit of God is able to cause the Jews to realize some Christians finally have understood that the Gospel of the Kingdom is for the Jew first and that we Gentiles are the ones who must be grafted on the good olive tree.
Christ is the salvation of the Jews first and of the Gentiles second.
God also is putting into our hearts the desire to bring the nations of the earth under subjection to the Lord Jesus. We no longer are satisfied that churches are being built, that people are believing in the Lord Jesus. We must have the obedience of entire nations. We must see the nations brought under the laws of the Kingdom of God until they are willing to do all Christ has commanded us (Matthew 28:20). This longing reveals to us that the Church Age is passing and we are approaching the Kingdom Age, the age of the rulership of Jesus from the Throne of David in Jerusalem.
As we have stated, the warrior-firstfruits will receive back their bodies from the dead at the time of Jesus' return to earth.
. . . and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4)
This is God's royal priesthood, His judges and kings. They will reign on the earth with the Lord Jesus. They will be dwelling in eternal bodies like that of the Lord and will be governing flesh and blood people, both of the nations and of the race of the Jews.
And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)
It is the writer's opinion, based on several passages of the Scriptures, that only the victorious saints, overcomers, will participate in this first resurrection. The majority of Israel, the Lord's people, both of the Old Testament and of the New, were not and are not victorious warriors.
No person will receive a body like that of the Lord Jesus until he, through Christ, has gained victory over the world, over Satan, and especially over his own self-will, stubbornness, rebellion, self-love, self-centeredness, fear, unbelief, and lack of trust in God.
Consider the following statement made by Christ:
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)
The church in Sardis had a name that it was alive but in the sight of God it was dead. The church in Sardis was the lampstand of the Lord. It was one of the seven churches in Asia.
Of the total number of believers in Sardis there were only a few who had not defiled their garments. The majority of Christians had practiced behavior that made them unclean in God's eyes.
What can we say of the majority of believers in Sardis? We can state they will not walk with Christ in the white robes of eternal resurrection life until they wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.
There were a few, a David's Tabernacle if you will, who were worthy to follow the Lamb wherever He goes.
So it has been in every place and in all times. Of the many who are called by the Lord to eat at His table, only a few are chosen as being worthy of the Lord's fellowship.
Most people will not give themselves to God. They have this excuse and that excuse why they cannot come to the table God has prepared.
Then there are the few who respond with faithfulness and diligence. They are the ones who will share the inheritance with Christ.
Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; . . . . (Isaiah 53:12)
After discussing the sinners who had entered the churches, Jude proclaims that some of the saints will return with the Lord to judge those who had crept into the assemblies and had turned the grace of God into immorality (as we see happening today):
. . . Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 14,15)
Several passages of the Scriptures speak of the strong people who will appear in the day of the Lord and destroy all sin out of the earth.
. . . a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. (Joel 2:2)
They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: (Joel 2:7)
This onslaught will take place at the time of Christ's return, the time of the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars.
The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: (Joel 2:10)
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)
We notice that on His return the Lord Jesus will gather together His elect with "a great sound of a trumpet" (Matthew 24:31).
Traditionally we have viewed the summoning of the elect as indicating the hour of their "going to Heaven," there to live forever in mansions. This viewpoint is not scriptural. It is true, rather, that the appearing of Christ signals the return to earth of the mightiest of the saints of all ages, of whom Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration are representative.
A study of the events attending the return of Christ reveals that the elect are gathered together for the purpose of receiving back their bodies from the grave so they may return with Christ and destroy all the works of Satan from the face of the earth.
Notice in Joel 2:7,10 (above) the accent on "they" and "them." The Day of the Lord includes more than "Him"—Jesus. There is a "them." It has pleased God that Jesus be revealed in and with his warrior-firstfruits. Here are Jude's "ten thousands of his saints."
Again, in Isaiah:
I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. (Isaiah 13:3)
Notice that the above will be fulfilled at the time of the return of Christ:
For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. (Isaiah 13:10)
It is the period God has set aside for the execution of judgment on all sinners, angelic and human.
And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. (Isaiah 13:11)
The Prophet Habakkuk speaks of the strong people whom the Lord will bring with Him at his appearing and His Kingdom:
. . . when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)
The Lord and His firstfruits will appear on Mount Zion, ready to come and destroy all sin out of the earth. Zion speaks to us of David's Tabernacle.
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels (Hebrews 12:22)
The Scriptures teach plainly that it is the saints who will judge mankind and the angels.
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? . . . (I Corinthians 6:3)
To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalms 149:9)
By the expression "all his saints" is meant those of Israel and the Church who have walked in victory before the Lord Jesus.
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: (Revelation 2:26)
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power [authority], but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
One of the erroneous approaches of biblical interpretation is the practice of applying the statements made by the Prophets and by the Apostles to all who profess belief in Jesus, who attend a Christian church, who have subscribed to the doctrinal confession of some denomination.
The Scriptures are clear that the Messianic promises apply to those who are "in Christ," who are abiding in the Lord. It appears that only a few believers actually are abiding in the Lord.
Abiding in the Lord Jesus requires laying down the present world and carrying our personal cross in stern obedience to God. How many Christians of our day are living according to the standard required for the Divinely chosen elect?
We think relatively few believers will rule with Jesus. Only a few will appear with Him in the clouds of glory. Of these, some will be taken from the members of the new covenant and some from prior workings of God with men.
The Mount of Transfiguration is a model of the coming of Christ in His Glory. Jesus is there in transfiguration glory. There are Moses and Elijah, representing the righteousness, holiness, obedience, and power of those who walked with God in days gone by. Then there are the three Apostles who were the closest to the Lord Jesus: Peter, James, and John.
Although the members of "David's Tabernacle" are drawn from the true saints of all eras of world history, it is our point of view that many who are last in time will be first in the Kingdom of God. We believe it is in the present hour, when we have the opportunity to draw on the experiences of the saints of the past, that many of the Lord's heroes of faith will come forth.
How strict, how thorough, how total must be our preparation! We must be willing to allow the Lord God to deal with us until every trace of Satan, every trace of the world, every trace of self-will has been removed from us. We must learn total obedience to the Lord. Such purity requires the fires of tribulation. It is during the great tribulation that the holy remnant will be separated from organized Christianity and made ready for marriage to the Lamb.
The fourteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation portrays the perfection of those who are of Zion, of the Tabernacle of David so to speak.
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)
The number 144,000 signifies a perfect representation of all Israel, of those who truly are of the Lord.
The sons of God, the deliverers, are standing on mount Zion, on the stronghold of Jerusalem—exactly as prophesied by Obadiah:
And saviours [deliverers] shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau [the flesh]; and the kingdom shall be the Lord's. (Obadiah 1:21)
The Father's name is written in their foreheads. This signifies they are in one accord with the Father's will. To be at one accord with the Father's will is to be in the Kingdom of God, in the rest of God.
Earlier in our pilgrimage we endure our Gethsemanes. We learn to say, "Not my will but Your will, O God." As our will and God's will are ground together in the mortar the two wills become one. We think as God thinks. We plan as God plans. God's desires become our desires. We react to people and circumstances as God reacts. Only then are we free and joyous in the Lord.
The process of learning to trust in God's will continues throughout our discipleship. There is no place in Zion, in David's Tabernacle, for any person who is not totally obedient to the Father in all matters.
The chief joy of the heart of Christ is to bring forth the firstfruits of the earth. It is an hour of exceedingly great rejoicing in Heaven as the Father's wisdom is manifest. Therefore there is a "voice from heaven as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder." There is the "voice of harpers harping with their harps."
The warrior-firstfruits sing the new song before the Throne of God and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one else is able to learn that music.
And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts [living creatures], and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. (Revelation 14:3)
The warrior-firstfruits are spiritual virgins. The Holy Spirit has removed every relationship, every thing, every circumstance that is idolatrous from their hearts.
Believers are married to many things: their job, their church, their home, and so forth. Little by little the Spirit breaks these ties until we are free from the idolatry of human relationships, things, and all circumstances and ambitions.
We are not free in the Lord until winning Christ is of supreme importance. Yet, we are not to neglect any relationship or responsibility. But we are free from "marriage" to the elements of the world.
The warrior-firstfruits follow the Lamb wherever He goes. We learn to follow Jesus today. Sometimes He goes where we are glad to follow. On other occasions He goes where we do not wish to go. But the firstfruits follow Jesus wherever He goes.
Because the firstfruits have been willing to follow Jesus today, even into places of distress and severe pain, their inheritance is to follow Him for eternity. The love of Jesus for His bride is so incomprehensibly great that He desires her presence at all times. She always must be with Him where He is, in the bosom of the Father. She must be one with Him in the Father. This is the will of Christ.
These are the firstfruits of mankind to the Lord, having been redeemed "from among men." They are the Lord's "firstborn." Through them the remainder of mankind will be delivered from the bondage of corruption and brought into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
There is no lie, no guile in their mouth. Every human being is born in sin and shaped in lawlessness. Deep in every human heart there is a lie. All persons, saved and unsaved alike, lie, deceive, connive, and otherwise seek security, pleasure, and achievement by means are not upright. The big lie is in each of us.
It requires many years in the furnace of affliction before the lie is uncovered and begins to burn. We are so insincere!
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
We cannot be perfect before the Throne of God until the fundamental lie of our nature has been destroyed out of us. Those who are called to Mount Zion are righteous but they must be made perfect by having the lie burned out of them by fiery trials.
. . . and to the spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)
The righteous made perfect are before the Throne of God. They are the Lord's rulers, His princes, His royal priesthood. They will reign in righteousness with Him.
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. (Isaiah 32:1)
We have seen that the house of God will be divided into two parts. The one part, represented by the Tabernacle of the Congregation (minus the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat) continues to participate in all of the blessings, gifts, and graces to which Christians have become accustomed; and the other part, represented by the Ark of God in its tent in Zion, is being prepared to exercise judgment, to destroy Satan out of the earth, to build up all Israel, and to bring the nations of the saved into obedience to Christ.
It is a temporary separation. The warrior-firstfruits will receive a double portion of God's Presence and Spirit, not so they may vaunt themselves but so they may perform the will of God in the heavens and on the earth.
The warrior-firstfruits are the victorious saints, the conquerors. They are the firstfruits of Israel, being princes with God (Genesis 32:28). They will inherit all things. God will be their God and they will be God's sons. They will sit in the throne with Christ, being bone of His bones and flesh of His flesh.
And all the elders of Israel came; and the Levites took up the ark. And they brought up the ark, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, these did the priests and the Levites bring up. (II Chronicles 5:4,5)
As we have stated, the rule of David speaks of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the age of conquest, while the rule of Solomon portrays the new heaven and earth reign of peace and glory.
During the rule of David the Ark was separated from the remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. At the beginning of the reign of King Solomon, the Ark and the remainder of the Tabernacle were swallowed up in the great Temple.
Thus it will be when the new Jerusalem descends from Heaven and is positioned forever on the new earth. The warrior-firstfruits and the remainder of the elect, both groups having come to perfection during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, will be made one in the holy city. All the elect will be one in God and Christ.
There will be no temple in the holy city. God and the Lamb will be there in unconcealed splendor. Every member of Israel, from the least to the greatest, will know the Lord. In fact, the entire city is the temple of God
No doubt it is true that the ruling strength that had been developed in the warrior-firstfruits will be their portion forever. Their closeness to the Lord will not be taken away from them.
In the Kingdom of God, as in any kingdom, there is a multitude of levels of responsibility and service. Each person fits into the place created for him. Each individual is satisfied and joyous because he has found the meaning and purpose of his existence. He is at peace with God and with himself.
Let us in closing emphasize once again that God is not dividing His house into two parts because He loves the one part and hates the other. Rather, God is calling out to Himself a warrior-firstfruits whose responsibility it is to accomplish the perfect will of God in all Israel and in the nations of the earth as well.
God is not desirous that any individual, whether of the elect or not, be lost to God for eternity. There will be some who will choose Satan over God and in so doing cut themselves off from their Creator forever. But God works in love, seeking to save and to build up in righteousness each person who has been born on the earth.
Let each of us present his body a living sacrifice to God and prove God's will for his or her life. If we hear in our heart the trumpet of God sounding, let us rise up and seek the Lord with all the strength we possess. The conflict of the ages is at hand. It is time for the Kingdom of God to come to the earth, for Christ to sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem, for Christ's enemies to be made His footstool. Let us not neglect the call to battle, thus depriving Jesus and mankind of the glorious redemption God has provided.
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (Joel 2:1)
It is the day of preparation for a large and powerful army.