SEVEN AREAS OF RECONCILIATION
SEVEN AREAS OF RECONCILIATION Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Before we can attain rest in Christ in God our whole personality must be reconciled completely and perfectly to God. The seven churches of Asia described in Revelation, Chapters Two and Three represent seven areas of personality and behavior. These seven areas must be brought into conformity to God’s Personality and behavior before the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles can take place in us in its entirety.
SEVEN AREAS OF RECONCILIATION
The last three of the seven Levitical feasts typify what is taking place spiritually in the Church of Christ in the present hour. The three feasts are as follows:
The memorial of blowing of Trumpets.
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation. (Leviticus 23:24)
The Day of Atonement.
Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:27)
The feast of Tabernacles.
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the Lord. (Leviticus 23:34)
Each of the feasts of the Lord has a kingdom-wide fulfillment and each has a personal fulfillment.
A kingdom-wide fulfillment.
A personal fulfillment.
According to our understanding, the kingdom-wide spiritual fulfillment of Trumpets is described in Revelation, Chapters Eight through Eleven.
The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the Day of Atonement is the thousand-year reign of Christ and His saints.
The kingdom-wide fulfillment of Tabernacles is the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.
In addition to the kingdom-wide fulfillments of these Old Testament feasts there also is a personal, individual fulfillment of each feast.
The memorial of blowing of Trumpets is fulfilled personally when the Lord Jesus reveals Himself to the individual Christian (John 4:21), coming to the believer to wage war against the enemy in his or her personality and also to prepare him or her to be a soldier in the army of the Lord.
The following two passages refer to the personal fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets in the Christian believer:
Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. (Psalms 24:7,8)
But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: (Malachi 3:2)
The Day of Atonement is fulfilled personally when the saint is cleansed by the Lord from his sins and self-seeking.
The next three passages speak of the personal fulfillment of the Day of Atonement:
When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (Isaiah 4:4)
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is more powerful than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (Matthew 3:11)
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)
The feast of Tabernacles is fulfilled personally when the Father and the Son come and make Their abode in the saint for eternity.
Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. (Psalms 68:18)
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)
We understand, therefore, that Trumpets prepares us for the battle. The Day of Atonement is the battle itself. Tabernacles is the peace, the victory, the rest, that follows the battle.
In this paper we will emphasize the personal fulfillment in the believer of the Day of Atonement, of the warfare. The term atonement may be defined as "reconciliation." There are at least seven areas of his personality and behavior in which the saint must be reconciled to God through spiritual warfare. Each of these dimensions must be reconciled to God before it is possible for God in Christ to settle down to rest in the believer in fulfillment of the last feast, the feast of Tabernacles.
Turning now to the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation we find the Lord Jesus appeared to each of the seven churches in a different manner, gave varying praise and rebukes to the seven, and held out different rewards to each of them.
In the Jewish calendar the feast of Trumpets was observed just before the Day of Atonement. The appearing of Christ to each of the churches is in fulfillment of the memorial of blowing of Trumpets, preparing the believers for the experience of the Day of Atonement.
As we examine the concerns and rewards pertaining to each of the seven churches we notice how the last three feast are involved: first Trumpets; then the Day of Atonement; finally the feast of Tabernacles, which speaks of the rest of God, the land of promise.
Notice how the blowing of a trumpet precedes the messages of the Lord to the seven churches of Asia:
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, (Revelation 1:10)
The coming of the Lord is always announced by a trumpet.
The praises and rebukes of the Lord, concerning the works of the churches, have to do with the need for the believer to be reconciled to God in fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.
The purpose of the Day of Atonement is to make possible the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles which follows. The feast of Tabernacles portrays the dwelling of God with His people. God cannot settle down to rest in the saint until the areas that cause confusion and rebellion are dealt with.
The rewards set forth in Revelation, Two and Three are elements of the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles in the saint. The final reward is to be seated with Christ in His throne as He has been seated with His Father in God’s throne (Revelation 3:21).
When God in Christ is at rest in us we have attained the fullness of redemption. We have arrived at the first resurrection from the dead (in the spiritual sense). The Kingdom of God has been established in us. This is the "mark" toward which Paul was pressing. This is the "rest," the perfection which is the subject of the Book of Hebrews.
Before we can attain complete and perfect rest in Christ in God, our whole personality must be reconciled completely and perfectly to God. As we understand the Scriptures, the seven churches of Asia represent, among other things, seven areas of personality and behavior that must be brought into the likeness of God’s Personality and behavior before the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles can take place in us in its entirety.
The areas of need concerning conformity to God’s Personality and behavior are as follows:
Ephesus—we must worship the Lord Jesus rather than our church and its activities.
Smyrna—we must be willing to suffer, to remain in the prison where the Lord permits Satan to test us. We must be faithful unto death
Pergamos—we must bear a true witness against Satan and all of his works.
Thyatira—we must stand against the spirit of worldliness and immorality in the churches.
Sardis—we must turn away from fleshly talents and enterprises and return to prayer, repentance, and holiness.
Philadelphia—when the Lord sets before us an open door we must wait patiently for Him to move, recognizing that our relationship to Him is more important than any accomplishment we can achieve in our own wisdom and strength.
Laodicea—we must turn away from all self-centeredness and make every effort to please the Lord and do His will.
The saint who would enter fully into the rest of God must be willing to follow the Spirit of God as the Spirit deals with him in each of these seven areas.
Ephesus signifies the beginning of our Christian experience. It is a "honeymoon" stage. We love our Lord and worship Him. He is All in all to us. We see Him everywhere.
Then we become involved in the Christian church culture and its multitude of activities. We become knowledgeable in the ways of our particular denomination or group. Soon, without our knowing how or when it happened, we lose sight of the Lord Jesus. We suppose He is "in the company" while we are traveling along confidently, but He is concerned with His "Father’s business" (Luke 2:44,49).
The transition from Christ-centeredness to church-centeredness can take place quickly. As we become more accustomed to our particular Christian fellowship our faith and our thinking become like the faith and thinking of the people with whom we are serving the Lord. Their friends become our friends. Their problems become our problems.
The bloom leaves our love for Christ. We lose sight of Him. When we lose sight of the Lord Jesus we lose the essence of what it means to be a Christian. We have become a Baptist Christian or a Methodist Christian or a Charismatic Christian. Where is Jesus in all of this?
In order to please the Lord we must return to our first love. We must conquer our human desire to occupy ourselves with the visible elements of Christianity. The way back to our first love is through prayer, through intense devotion to Christ Himself. He is our Lord and we must worship Him. We no longer are a Baptist Christian or a Methodist Christian or a Charismatic Christian. We are one who is in love with Jesus and only with Jesus.
We cannot bring our church affiliation and duties into Christ. We can only bring ourselves. The affiliations and duties may prove to be necessary for a season and Jesus always will help us with whatever we are doing if we ask Him. But Christ came for a Bride, not for religious workers.
To abide in the rest of God we must love Jesus above all else.
Smyrna represents tribulation. Tribulation is a very important, very necessary aspect of salvation. We must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God.
It is through tribulation that love, joy, peace, patience, and similar virtues are developed in us. The fires of suffering and imprisonment accomplish our reconciliation to the Lord as nothing else can.
We are full of sin and self-seeking when we commence our Christian pilgrimage. We may not believe this is so, but it is.
As we suffer we come to know the Lord. The Lord Jesus was a Man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. It is only as we share His suffering, His imprisonments, His rejections, His pains, His griefs, that we come to know Him.
When we suffer, and accept the suffering in the right way, not blaming people or circumstances but trusting in God and bringing all our troubles to Him in prayer, a transformation takes place in us. We learn trust, and hope, and patience. The foolishness and self-seeking are driven out of our personality. We gain insight into the Lord and into people. We can feel our personality growing toward maturity.
For most of us, many years of perplexity and sorrow are necessary before we are ready to come up out of the wilderness leaning on our beloved.
There is a teaching today that Christians are not supposed to suffer. This doctrine clearly is of the False Prophet. The believer who must have his desires met now is not fit as yet to be the dwelling place of God. He is immature, self-centered, ill-tempered, unbelieving, proud, knowing little about men and nothing about God. He is a baby, crying if he does not get what he wants immediately.
The experienced saint knows the value of suffering. He does not find suffering to be pleasant; but, like the Apostle Paul, he has come to appreciate the value of his infirmities. He has learned that after God wounds us He binds us up. The blessing and glory of the binding up far outweigh the pain of the wounding.
The true saint loves Christ and is ready to suffer in His name. He will be faithful to death in his prison, accepting deliverance only at the hands of the Lord.
One of the most important areas of the rest of God has to do with our willingness to wait patiently, to carry our cross cheerfully, until the Lord brings us to the fullness of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Pergamos has to do with our witness against Satan and his works. If we would be reconciled to the Father we must come to hate the Father’s enemies. Satan is not our friend. The demons (whom some Christians unknowingly allow to guide their activities) are not our friends. The world is not our friend.
The Christian Church is a lampstand; it is a light. The Christian Church always is to reveal clearly that the ways of the world are unrighteous, that God will bring every evil work to judgment. The Church is to represent the Person and works of God!
Today the Church is not giving a true testimony of the Person and works of God. The Church keeps on telling the world that God loves everyone. There is a time to present the boundless love of God. But the churches and the world are in sin today and need to become aware of that fact and of the punishment that is to follow. Every sin shall be brought to account!
Many practices take place in the civilized nations that are an abomination to God. The Divine judgment has fallen on the nations of history that have practiced the deeds that abound today on every hand.
Where is the voice of the Christian churches? Where is the voice crying in the wilderness of sinful civilization? Where is the scepter of righteousness? Who is informing the world and the Christian churches that God is holy? Who is warning the churches and the world that judgment is at hand—a judgment that will be as fiery as our sins are abominable?
In our effort to please people, to gain membership and support, we are bearing a false witness of the holy God. We are portraying the Lord God as a kindly, sympathetic person who is accepting our abominable actions. We want to appear "positive" and "loving" instead of "negative" and "condemnatory." God help us!
Chapter 28 of the Book of Deuteronomy presents the true, current attitude of the Lord toward His people. One may notice that the list of blessings is short while the list of curses is much longer.
If we understand the Holy Spirit correctly, all the curses of the Scriptures, including those of Deuteronomy, Chapter 28, are soon to come on the nations of the earth—particularly the so-called Christian nations. Those who knew their Lord’s will and did not do it will be beaten with more lashes than will be applied to the ignorant.
The sin and rebellion of earth’s peoples have been judged. The handwriting now is on the wall. We have been weighed in the balances and found wanting. The sword of judgment will not be long in falling.
Each sincere saint must, by his life and words, bear a true witness against sin. Giving a true witness against sin requires wisdom. We are not to violently demand that unsaved people receive Christ or that they cease their sinning. The anger of man does not bring about the righteousness of God. Sometimes it is enough to testify against sin by leading a pure life.
However, God’s ministers will have blood on their hands in the near future if they do not lift up their voices like trumpets and warn God’s people and the world of God’s wrath against the sins of today.
In connection with the church in Pergamos, the Lord Jesus mentioned the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. The church of Ephesus, which may have been more pure than the church in Pergamos, hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans.
Some scholars hold that the doctrine of the Nicolaitans is antinomian Gnosticism. Antinomian Gnosticism presents the idea that moral behavior on the part of believers is not essential to salvation. The concept that "Jesus did it all," following the Reformation concept of justification by "faith alone," is the modern form of antinomian Gnosticism, of the doctrine of the Nicolaitans.
It is not true that we remain justified by "faith alone." According to God’s Word, faith without works of righteousness is dead because it is alone. It is entirely possible to turn the grace of God into immorality, making grace ineffectual as a means of redemption.
The doctrine of Balaam, as we understand it, is the attempt to mix salvation with money. From the time that Balaam attempted to obtain gold by his gift of prophecy, men have been endeavoring to use the things of God in order to become rich.
Using the Christian redemption as a means of acquiring material wealth is fashionable today. Antichrist has managed to convince multitudes of believers that faith in the Lord Jesus ought to make them prosperous and successful in the world. Riches are deceitful. The advocates of material prosperity have been deceived!
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is not a means of becoming prosperous and successful in the world. The Apostles of the Lamb never preached the Gospel as a means of becoming prosperous. Whether or not we Christians are prosperous in material wealth is irrelevant. What does matter is that we walk in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to the Father’s will.
If we will seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all we need in the way of material blessings will be added to us. This is the promise of God.
It is impossible to mix the Gospel of the Kingdom with the acquisition of money without bringing deception upon oneself. The Christians who love money will come to the same end as Balaam (Numbers 31:8).
Until the King has driven the "moneychangers" out of the believer’s "temple," that individual cannot enter the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
Other scholarship views Nicolaitanism as the involvement of the Christian churches in secular society. Christ does not approve of this. He hates it. The Lord did not want Israel to seek help from or to become involved with Egypt, Babylon, or any other worldly kingdom. The Lord does not want His Church to join forces with any alliance of worldly people no matter how righteous their cause may seem to be.
The Christian Church is to remain separate unto God for His holy purposes!
The moment a Christian church becomes involved in worldly business or politics or any other operation of secular society the Spirit of God leaves the church. The Church of Christ is a chosen, anointed, holy group of individuals. When those individuals join hands with people who are not chosen, holy, and anointed of God, the Spirit of God will not remain.
Since human problems come largely from the devil and his angels, if the Spirit of God is not present it is impossible that any lasting solution to the problems can be found, even though millions of people spend millions of dollars in the attempt.
If we would have the Father and the Son make Their eternal home in our heart we must "come out from among them" and be a separate, holy people to the Lord (II Corinthians 6:17). When the Father and the Son are not making Their eternal home in our heart we are not a true witness of God to the creation.
Thyatira speaks of worldliness and immorality in the churches. No person who is not pursuing moral purity can be reconciled to God (except in his initial coming to Jesus as a lost sinner), can have fellowship with God, can be received of God, can see the Lord.
The sinner can come to the Lord Jesus and be reconciled to God by faith, receiving forgiveness of his sins. God will give the gift of righteousness freely to those who call on the name of Jesus.
After receiving the gift of righteousness the believer must come out from the ways of the world and serve the Lord. The blood gives him access to the Throne of God in Heaven so he may receive the wisdom and strength necessary for overcoming the filthiness of the flesh.
If he receives Jesus and then does not turn away from his sins, continuing to live in the world, he will not be blessed of the Lord. His latter end will be worse than the beginning.
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. (II Peter 2:20)
When a church loves the Lord Jesus, is ready to endure tribulation for the name of the Lord, and sounds forth a clear witness against Satan and his works, it will be blessed by the Lord and will grow.
As soon as a church begins to grow in numbers and in the splendor of its physical facilities it will attract people who are not as intense in their love for Jesus as was true of the founders of the assembly.
As more people attend and the physical facilities improve and expand, the spirit of worldliness will enter. It is one matter to preach holiness and discipleship to twenty-five people in a small building. It is another matter to preach holiness and discipleship to two thousand people in a luxurious sanctuary. It is possible, but more difficult.
When the spirit of worldliness and material wealth enter, sin is not far behind. The love of money leads people into fornication with the spirits that abound in the world. Soon "Jezebel" is advising the disciples to practice immorality and to worship the demon gods of the present age: lust, money, violence, occult practices, and the drunken pursuit of pleasure. Soon there are many parties and revelings in the flesh.
The saint who would be reconciled to God must flee as did Elijah from the Jezebel spirit of worldliness and sin. Jezebel is a killer of prophets.
God’s sanctuary cannot be constructed of wood, steel, and glass. God will dwell only in the sanctified human heart.
Appropriate social activities are necessary for wholesome church life, especially for children and young people. But they easily can be overdone. The saint who is seeking the rest of God love to spend time alone with the Lord.
Sardis was the large people-centered church, the social group. It had a name that it was alive—perhaps because it was growing so rapidly.
What a stress on numbers there is today! It is assumed that the church of three thousand members is blessed of God while the gathering of a few believers is insignificant. This is an unscriptural point of view.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)
"Two or three are gathered together."
Sometimes when two or three thousand are gathered together Jesus is not in the midst.
Every true saint must be prepared to walk alone or with a handful of disciples. We always must stand ready to associate with the Lord’s despised remnant.
Ordinarily, when the Spirit of God leads us deeper into the Person and will of Christ only a few people will respond. The majority remain with the previous movement.
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (John 6:66)
The devout saint recognizes that Jesus works with two or three individuals. The Spirit-filled believer rejects the need to be popular, to be recognized and accepted by the majority. He knows the danger of the large, friendly assembly in which the people are occupied with one another rather than with the Lord.
It is better to have ten disciples who are serving God than ten thousand who are in love with one another.
The need in the Sardis-type assembly is for the people to return to what they had been taught in the beginning, to prayer, to repentance, to the reading of the Scriptures, to sincere, cross-carrying discipleship. If they do not, the Lord Jesus will come to them as a thief and they will suffer punishment and great loss of inheritance.
Sardis apparently was a large assembly that had been built by human talent and effort. But of the multitude of believers, only a few had kept their garments clean. Only a few were worthy to walk in white with Christ. The remainder were in danger of having their names blotted out of the Book of Life (Revelation 3:4,5).
What good is it to have a huge assembly if the people are not disciples of Jesus? The saint who would press forward to the rest of God, to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, is content to be with a handful of fervent saints who are obeying the commandments of the Lord Jesus.
Philadelphia was offered the "key of David," the keys of the Kingdom of God. This is true of the present age, we believe. An open door is being set before us. The Lord Jesus is judging and preparing a number of believers to go forth to all the nations of the world, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The Lord will work with them, confirming the Word with signs and wonders.
We think the Spirit of God is testifying that God is ready to give to individuals the various powers of God—gifts of glory never before seen on the earth.
We believe also these extraordinary powers will be entrusted to the humblest, the lowliest, of the members of the Body of Christ.
These powerfully endued servants of Christ will not build monuments to themselves. They will remain as simple members of the Body of Christ, kindly, gentle, unassuming. They will be the most approachable of people, and yet separated to the Lord with a purity and intensity that are utter!—total!—final!
This "latter-rain" revival will take place during an hour of temptation, during a period of great deception and sin. Those who attend patiently upon the Lord Jesus will be kept by Him from being destroyed by the deceptions of sin. But many "Christians" will behave arrogantly. They believe they are "Jews," that they are worshipers of the true God. But their behavior shows they are of Satan. In the end, they will worship God at the feet of the despised remnant.
Those who overcome during the age of power and deception will be installed as pillars in the eternal Temple of God.
When there is an open door for the Gospel, and little or no persecution, there is a temptation to run ahead of God. Why not go forth and do "big things for God"? Why wait patiently for the Lord when the gifts are here?—when the door is open?
There are times when the Lord leads us to be very active. On other occasions we are to wait patiently until we are sure of His will. We must always keep in mind that the character development of the saint is more important than any work the saint can perform. God is preparing eternal servants.
If we would be fully reconciled to God we must avoid the temptation to leap off the pinnacle. We must wait for God’s time and move only by His Spirit.
Laodicea is the mixture of humanism and Christianity. This mixture is apparent today as the ministers of the Gospel of the Kingdom present Christ as the solution to the problems of the world. "Christ is the answer," they cry, meaning you can use the Lord Jesus to help you make a success of your way of life.
The Christian Gospel is being infiltrated with various self-fulfillment concepts. The believers are to receive power so they can amass wealth, keep in perfect health, control the civil governments, and conduct their life and the rest of the world as they see fit.
This is entirely incorrect. The Gospel of Christ does not give the believer power to do as he pleases. Rather, the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God requires the imprisonment and death of the believer. He must turn away from his life, take up his cross, and follow the Lord Jesus.
It is Jesus who is the true and only King. It is Jesus, not the believer, who does as He pleases. It is Jesus who allocates wealth, keeps us in health, and controls the civil governments.
In today’s preaching, the adamic nature of the believers is exalted to power and authority. In the true Gospel the adamic nature is slain and Christ is exalted to power and authority.
There is no doubt that the Laodicean age is here now. Man-centeredness abounds in the secular and the Christian realms.
Great tribulation and great glory are at hand. The result of the tribulation and the glory will be the separating of the Bride from the man-centered church systems and cultures. This separation is beginning already.
Babylon is manmade, man-centered institutional Christianity. Speaking of Babylon, which always is created when the adamic nature attempts to lay hold on God according to man’s wisdom and strength, the Spirit says:
And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. (Revelation 18:23)
The personal fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is at hand. The Lord Jesus is coming to the hearts of the believers in the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament Blowing of Trumpets. The trumpet of the Lord is announcing the Day of Atonement, of Reconciliation, that follows the Blowing of Trumpets and prepares us for the final feast of Tabernacles.
Every saint who would be in the first resurrection from the dead must be reconciled to Jesus in each of the seven areas we have mentioned:
Ephesus—he must worship the Lord Jesus rather than his or her church and its activities. He must return to his first love.
Smyrna—he must be willing to suffer, to remain in the prison where the Lord permits Satan to test him. He must be faithful unto death
Pergamos—he must bear a true witness against Satan and all of his works.
Thyatira—he must stand against the spirit of worldliness and immorality in the churches.
Sardis—he must turn away from fleshly talents and enterprises and return to prayer, repentance, and holiness.
Philadelphia—when the Lord sets before him an open door he must wait patiently for Him to move, recognizing that his relationship to the Lord is more important than any accomplishment he can achieve in his own wisdom and strength.
Laodicea—he must turn away from all appeals to his desire for wealth and power, take up his cross, and follow the Lord Jesus. He must buy the gold of faith purified by tribulation, the white robe of righteous conduct, and the clear vision of those who walk in the Spirit of Holiness before the Lord God. He must turn away from all self-centeredness and make every effort to please the Lord and do His will.
A greater fullness of God is at hand for those who show their love for Christ by keeping His Word.
My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. (Song of Solomon 2:10)