REVELATION: CHAPTERS TWENTY-ONE AND TWENTY-TWO

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Words of Righteousness)

REVELATION: CHAPTERS TWENTY-ONE AND TWENTY-TWO Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The heavens and the earth with which we are familiar will endure until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age known commonly as the Millennium. Then the Lord Jesus Christ will recall from existence the physical universe and bring into view a new sky and a new earth.

It is likely that the garden of Eden enjoyed a oneness, a union of the spiritual and physical domains that was dissolved when Adam and Eve rebelled against God. God then put a wall of separation, a "heaven" between the physical and spiritual realms. The new heaven and earth reign of Christ will enjoy a complete restoration of the union of the two worlds.

The Kingdom of God is the eternal union of the spiritual and material realms. Paradise once more will be clothed with that which is material.

Table of Contents 

Revelation: Chapter Twenty-one

Verse One Verse Two Verse Three Verse Four Verse Five Verse Six Verse Seven Verse Eight Verse Nine Verse Ten Verse Eleven Verse Twelve Verse Thirteen Verse Fourteen Verse Fifteen Verse Sixteen Verse Seventeen Verse Eighteen Verses Nineteen, Twenty Verse Twenty-one Verse Twenty-two Verse Twenty-three Verse Twenty-four Verse Twenty-five Verse Twenty-six Verse Twenty-seven

Revelation: Chapter Twenty-two

Verse One Verse Two Verse Three Verse Four Verse Five Verse Six Verse Seven Verse Eight Verse Nine Verse Ten Verse Eleven Verse Twelve Verse Thirteen Verse Fourteen Verse Fifteen Verse Sixteen Verse Seventeen Verse Eighteen Verse Nineteen Verse Twenty Verse Twenty-one

REVELATION: CHAPTERS TWENTY-ONE AND TWENTY-TWO

REVELATION: CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

And I heard a great voice from heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1)

The heaven and the earth with which we are familiar will endure until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age known commonly as the Millennium. Then the Lord Jesus Christ will recall from existence the physical universe and bring into view a new heaven and a new earth. 

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Looking for and hasting unto [hastening] the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (II Peter 3:10,12,13)

The noise, the melting of the elements with intense heat, the burning up of the earth and its works, the dissolving of the heavens in a thunderous conflagration, suggest an atomic chain reaction that will return matter to energy. It is remarkable that such a description was written nearly two thousand years ago.

Since John "saw" the new heaven it is likely he is speaking of the space above the earth, including the starry heavens, rather than the spirit realm of Heaven.

The manner in which the term heaven is used requires explanation.

In the Greek text of the New Testament the same term is used for both the physical heaven and the spiritual Heaven. An additional point of confusion is that our concept of the spiritual Heaven as beyond the stars is not borne out. In the New Testament, the spiritual Heaven often is presented as being at the level of the clouds. 

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, . . . . (John 17:1)

And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, . . . . (Acts 1:10)

. . . Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11)

But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, . . . . (Acts 7:55)

. . . suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: (Acts 9:3)

We might conclude from these passages that Heaven is not much higher above us than the clouds. Maybe we will discover some day that Heaven is not as far away as we thought.

The new physical heaven, the new sky, no doubt will glow with a splendor quite beyond our ability to imagine at this time.

The spiritual Heaven also will undergo a transformation because God, the Lamb, and the Wife of the Lamb will emerge from the invisible spiritual Heaven and appear in the physical heaven, to the utter astonishment of the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

It is likely that the garden of Eden enjoyed a oneness, a union, of the spiritual and physical domains that was dissolved when Adam and Eve rebelled against God. God then put a wall of separation, a "heaven," between the physical and spirit realms.

The new heaven and earth reign of Christ will enjoy a complete restoration of the union of the two worlds, because the Kingdom of God is the eternal union of the spiritual and material realms. Paradise once more will be clothed with what is material.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the integration of Heaven and earth. The saints also will be citizens of two worlds, being of the earth and also of Heaven.

Who will inhabit the spiritual Heaven throughout eternity? The two chapters we are studying do not say. The emphasis is on the new earth. The Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, the center of government of the Kingdom of God, is seen "descending out of heaven from God" (21:10). The holy city will be established for eternity on a "great and high mountain" of the new earth.

We understand from the Scriptures that there are multitudes of spiritual creatures of various orders, such as the cherubim and seraphim. Perhaps these will remain in the spiritual Heaven throughout eternity, since Heaven is their natural domain—the environment in which they were created.

God, Christ, and the Body of Christ (the Wife of the Lamb), will live forever on the new earth. The Holy Spirit will be a "pure river of water of life" flowing from the Throne of God and of the Lamb (22:1).

Also living on the new earth will be "the nations of them which are saved" (21:24).

The angels were created in Heaven and Heaven is their home. In the present hour the angels pass back and forth between earth and Heaven as they perform the will of God in Christ. At least some of them will be stationed permanently on the new earth, for we find an angel posted at each of the twelve gates of the wall of the new Jerusalem (21:12).

People were created from the earth and the earth is our home. However, when the saints enter the glorified state in Christ, the will of God may require that we pass back and forth between earth and Heaven as we fulfill our several duties.

In the present hour, Heaven is the Throne of God and the earth is God’s footstool. Earth also is the home of mankind. Heaven is the home of the many and varied orders of spiritual creatures. In Heaven are also the spirits and souls of the persons to whom God has granted entrance to Paradise.

In the Lord Jesus the throne and the footstool are brought together for eternity.

". . . and there was no more sea."

The sea is utilized in the Scriptures as a type, or symbol, of the mass of mankind—a disorganized multitude in which the individual tends to lose identity and significance as spiritual forces of all kinds drive the nations into war, revolution, famine, repentance, and the other moods and endeavors to which the peoples of the earth are subject.

God prefers to deal with the individual, not with an undifferentiated mass of mankind. Therefore there is no "sea" on the new earth. All persons who are saved, that is, who are brought forward to the new heaven and earth of Christ, will be worshipers of God, will be governed by the Spirit of God, and will have a portion of Christ in them. Each individual will be unique, precious, and known to God. 

But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. (Isaiah 57:20)

Was the Lord displeased against the rivers? was thine anger against the rivers? was thy wrath against the sea, that thou didst ride upon thine horses and thy chariots of salvation? (Habakkuk 3:8)

Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. (Habakkuk 3:15)

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. (Revelation 13:1)

We can notice, in the above passage, that Antichrist will come "out of the sea," that is to say, out of the swirling waters of mankind. It appears that a multitude of people is more likely to produce evil than it is to bring forth righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

God has determined that every member of the nations of saved peoples of the earth will be known to God, will know God, will be known to the holy angels of God, and to some degree will be the habitation of God through Christ.

As to the importance of one individual:

 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. (Isaiah 13:12)

As to the Glory of Christ in each individual: 

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Ephesians 1:10)

And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:28)

We can praise God that no longer will there be on the earth the teeming masses of people who can be driven to and fro by the ambitions of men and devils. Every person will belong to God and will be the dwelling place of God. This is what it means to be saved

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

The Apostle John is bearing witness of what he actually saw. 

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (I John 1:3)

Notice that the city of God, the eternal abode of the saints, is the holy city. Holiness has two dimensions: the absence of the presence and works of unclean spirits; and union with the Holy Spirit of God. The individual who is seeking to dwell in the city of God is desiring to be where there is no sin.

The new Jerusalem is the center of government of the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will. There will be no sin or rebellion of any kind in the holy city.

God is weighing our motives and actions today. God knows whether we truly desire to be free from all sin. If we do He has prepared a city for us. If we are unsure, not being certain that purity really appeals to us, God will bring us into situations that will require some decisions on our part.

If you in your heart fear God and want to please Him, tell Him on every appropriate occasion that you desire to be cleansed from all actions, words, and imaginations that are not pure in His sight, that are not found in Himself and part of Himself. God shall cleanse you by one means or another if this is what you truly want.

The holy city, the eternal home of the saints, is the new Jerusalem. The old Jerusalem is the city that became the center of the nation of Israel during the days of David and Solomon and to this day remains as the focus of Jewish pride and aspirations.

Earthly Jerusalem is the home of physical Israel. Earthly Jerusalem corresponds to Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, and to the Law of Moses. Earthly Jerusalem is "in bondage with her children." 

For this Agar [Hagar—Genesis, Chapter 16] is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. (Galatians 4:25)

The heavenly Jerusalem is the eternal home of the true Israel of God. The true Israel of God consists of every person who has received the Lord Jesus Christ and has become part of Him.

In God’s time the new Jerusalem will come down upon the earthly Jerusalem and the two will be one. This is how God will redeem all Israel.

No human being can become a part of the true Israel of God merely by being born of Jewish parents. A human being can become a part of the true Israel of God only by receiving Christ.

In Christ there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile. There is no such distinction in the new creation that comes into being when Christ is born in us. No human being ever can become a member of the Kingdom of God except by being born again of Christ.

The new Jerusalem is in Heaven today. It is the holy city, the eternal home of every saint of God. It is the eternal home of the true Seed of Abraham (Galatians 4:26).

The true Seed of Abraham is Christ and those who belong to Christ. There is no other seed of Abraham that is heir to the promises of God.

This is not to say that God has forgotten His ancient people. Today the Jews are resettling Jerusalem, and it is the obligation of every Christian to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem."

Satan always fights the physical land and people of Israel. The reason is, God has promised to make Israel the moral head of all nations. The moral law of God will go forth from Israel, from Jerusalem, from Zion, from nowhere else.

Today there is no righteous nation, no Christian nation, on the face of the earth. The only hope of the world is that God will restore Israel and cause His righteous laws to be practiced and taught in that nation. It is necessary that the name of Jesus of Nazareth be honored in Israel, because Jesus is Christ, the Divine Redeemer of whom the Prophets wrote.

In the present hour the Jews are fighting one another as well as the rest of the world. Nevertheless, Israel is the only hope of the world, the only country from which the Lord’s Jubilee of deliverance can come.

The Gospel of Christ, of the Kingdom of God, always is to the Jew first. The Gospel of Christ is the "children’s bread." We Gentiles are "dogs" whom God, in His mercy, has grafted on the good olive tree of Israel.

The heavenly Jerusalem is free in God. It is the mother of every member of the Body of Christ. 

But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Galatians 4:26)

"All" refers to the members of the Body of Christ whether Jewish or Gentile by race. The current idea that Christianity is Gentile by nature is false. Christianity is first, last, and always of the Jews and for the Jews. We Gentiles are added when we place our trust in Christ.

Christianity began with the Jews (the New Testament was written by Jews) and will end with the Jews. It is we Gentiles who are the strangers, not the Jews.

The heavenly Jerusalem, the new Jerusalem, will come down from God from the new heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. This will take place after the Millennium, the thousand-year Kingdom Age, has been concluded.

The holy city will come down out of Heaven from God because it is formed in Heaven. The Church, the new Jerusalem, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, is not being fashioned from the flesh and blood of the earth. It is being constructed by the Holy Spirit of God working in heavenly places, using the Divine Virtues that come from the Tree of Life—the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:13)

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)

The members of the Church, of the new Jerusalem, began their existence as flesh and blood people. Through the various workings of the grace of God in Christ the members of the Church are transformed—spirit, soul, and (in the day of resurrection) body—into heavenly creatures, into the complement of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (I Corinthians 15:46-49)

Christ, the Divine Son of God, partook of human nature. We who are human are partaking of the Divine Nature. Christ and His Bride are an eternal union, a marriage, of what is Divine with what is human and material. Such is the glorious destiny of the Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem.

The Lord God is saying to His people today: 

O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. (Isaiah 54:11-13)

The Church, the Body of Christ, must be "prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." There must be preparation and adornment.

Those who are teaching that the churches of today will be caught up to Heaven before the great tribulation, and married to the Lord Jesus Christ during a brief period of time occurring between a conjectured second and third advent of Christ, surely must realize that God’s people are by no means ready for such an event.

The explanation that we are complete in Christ and that God sees us in Christ is to make the Kingdom of God intangible, an illusion, a collection of unformed creatures who have no real righteousness, holiness, or obedience in their personalities. In that case there would be no new creatures except in a legal, imputed (ascribed) sense.

The teaching that God sees us as holy, while the world views us as unrighteous, unclean, filled with jealousy, gossip, hatred, moral filth, and self-seeking, is a misunderstanding of the role of imputed righteousness in the plan of redemption.

Is the glorious Kingdom that is coming a kingdom of imputed righteousness and not actual righteousness and holiness? No, it is not. The teachers of today are carrying the role of imputation (assigned righteousness) far beyond the Divine intention. The Kingdom of God is not imputed righteousness, it is a new creation.

Current Christian teaching concerning the role of grace is a misinterpretation of Paul’s doctrine, as he brought forth the transition from the Law of Moses to the grace of God that is in Christ.

The Church today is not a bride without spot, wrinkle, or blemish. It is a valley of dry bones. Only the Lord God of Heaven will be able to bring the bones together, give them sinew and flesh, cover them with skin, and breathe life into them.

It is true that in the churches there is a handful of victorious Christians, a firstfruits of the Bride, who no doubt are the saints referred to in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation: 

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous deeds] of saints (Revelation 19:7,8)

It seems that it is this handful of victorious saints who compose the "firstfruits to God and to the Lamb" mentioned in Revelation, Chapter 14. The victorious saints indeed are making themselves ready today, and they will be clothed with their own righteous conduct—a righteous conduct derived from the working of the Holy Spirit as He gives them the things of Christ.

These are God’s kings and priests, the judges of men and angels, the pillars of the eternal Temple of God.

It is worthy of note that the Bride of Revelation, Chapter 19 makes herself ready and is clothed in her own righteous works. She will rise as the royal priesthood in the first resurrection from the dead.

The Bride of Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22 is prepared, or made ready. She did not make herself ready and so she did not rise in the first resurrection. We are not certain what means God will employ to make the whole Church ready for marriage to Christ, but it is likely that the firstfruits will play a major role in preparing the remainder of the elect.

Many of the Lord’s people today do not understand that they are to be purifying themselves, to be making themselves ready to meet the Lord in the air. They believe in Christ and they do not want to face Divine punishment when they die, but they do not understand the role of sanctification in the plan of salvation.

The concept of becoming perfectly united to Christ in spirit, soul, and—at His coming—in body, to be married to the Lord, is not taught with nearly enough clarity or conviction.

It appears that many of God’s people are largely ignorant of His purposes in Christ. There is a deep hunger for God in the present hour, but it is not always possible for the believer to find the food that will satisfy the hunger for righteousness that the Spirit of God has placed in him or her.

If Christ were to return today, many of the believers would be surprised and upset because of His disapproval of their conduct.

Fortunately, there is time yet for the saints to prepare themselves. The events of the immediate future will serve to separate the elect from the churches of Babylon (man-directed Christianity), and to further refine the elect until they cry with all their hearts: "Come, Lord Jesus."

Those who love a lie will continue to be deceived.

However, it is not God’s intention that the majority of the elect be prevented from attaining union with Himself. We believe that throughout the Millennium the bulk of God’s people will be brought into the fullness of marriage that is displayed in the descent of the holy city, the Wife of the Lamb, as it is installed in its place as the capital city of the world.

There are several passages of Scripture in the Old Testament that imply a preparing and perfecting of the Lord’s people.

There is, first of all, the symbolic message of the Book of Esther (Chapter Two). There must be a period of purification before we are prepared to become one in Christ in God.

Notice in Isaiah: 

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (Isaiah 42:3)

Since God has little interest in reeds or flax, we believe this refers to a weak Christian being nurtured by the Lord until he becomes strong.

The following passage seems to point toward the working of the Lord with His people—particularly during the thousand-year Kingdom Age: 

Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:10,11)

The setting of the above passage appears to be the thousand-year Kingdom Age in that the lord Jesus has come with His "reward." Christ feeds His flock at this time, gathers the "lambs" with His arm and carries them in His bosom, and gently leads the nursing ewes.

This may be a picture of the Lord working with His people at all levels of spiritual maturity. "His arm" may refer to the victorious saints to whom He gives the responsibility and opportunity to teach and guide the weaker members of the Church. It is a Kingdom principle that the strong assist the weak wherever possible.

Notice that the coming of the Lord (we believe in one coming, not two) will bring healing to those who are sick: 

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2)

As to the different levels of spiritual maturity, and the Lord’s attitude toward those of lesser growth: 

We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar. (Song of Solomon 8:8,9)

Speaking of the two immature levels of spiritual development, the sixtyfold and the thirtyfold, the Spirit of Christ indicates that such will be strengthened and fortified. The immature will become a "palace of silver," or "barricaded with planks of cedar."

When the overcoming life in Christ is preached, the question often arises: "What happens to the Christian who is not an overcomer?"

Our answer is: the nonovercomer will be judged. The Christian who does not achieve victory through Christ over the world, Satan, and his lusts and self-will, will be judged according to his actions in the world. If Christ judges him to be worthy of eternal life he will be taught the righteous ways of the Kingdom of God—perhaps by his fellow saints who did overcome while serving Christ during their pilgrimage on the earth.

The ministries given by the ascended Christ will continue to operate until the whole Church has come to the fullness of the Lord. 

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of [maturity as measured by] the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)

The new covenant will continue to work until every member of God’s Israel knows the Lord. 

And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:11)

The New Testament writings teach clearly that (at least for now) it is the victorious saints, the conquerors, who are the Bride of Christ, the true Church. Those who do not serve Christ with their whole heart will suffer punishment and loss of inheritance—and in some instances their very salvation!

We see this in the parables of the ten virgins, in the servants who were entrusted with talents, in those who worked both miracles and iniquity, and in the case of the individual who was found at the wedding without proper attire.

Also, the second and third chapters of Revelation by inference teach that those who do not overcome will lose most or all of the rewards that we associate with being a Christian. Those who do not overcome are not worthy to walk with Christ in white. They may, in fact, perish in their foolishness, laziness, lack of preparation, and wickedness. "Remember Lot’s wife"!

Heaven is the throne of God. The Wife of the Lamb is created in the Throne of God because she is God’s ruler, in Christ, of the ages to come.

The land of promise, the rest, the inheritance, the goal of the Body of Christ is spiritual control over the works of God’s hands. "The heavens do rule," as Daniel informed Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:26). It is God’s will that the nations of the earth be governed by the Spirit of God, not by ambitious, self-seeking individuals.

Therefore the movement of the Church is not from the earth to Heaven. The Church is formed in Heaven and is destined to be located in the earth and to rule the earth.

"Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." This is the concept of the Kingdom of God. It is the rulership of God through Christ through the Church over all the works of God’s hands. The new Jerusalem is the center of government of the Kingdom of God.

He who overcomes will inherit all things God has created.

The Church must be prepared. The Church must be made ready for her Lord. It is not possible that the Bride of the Lamb can be received of Him in an unprepared condition. 

And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 22:11-13)

The Bride is being adorned today, and will continue to be adorned throughout the period of tribulation that is ahead, with the Virtues of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit of God is preparing the saints to be ever with the Lord, to be with Him where He is.

If Christ were to call to Himself the Church of today it would be unprepared. A great deal of sanctifying and consecrating must take place in our personalities before we will be prepared to dwell with the consuming Fire of Israel. (Isaiah 33:14).

The time for the marriage of the Lamb has come and the Bride must make herself ready. We have to make ourselves ready for eternal union with Christ. We must purify ourselves. 

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:3)

The Holy Spirit is ready now to assist us in every detail of the sanctifying, the purifying, of our words, our motives, our imaginations—of our whole personality.

The Lamb is the Husband. The Church is the Wife, the complement. The Wife becomes reconciled to the Lamb and brought into absolute union with Him by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. This is the marriage of the Lamb.

Today the Church has commenced the program of reconciliation to Christ. God has declared us to be righteous because of our faith in the blood of the Lamb. Also, we have been born again of the Spirit of God.

It seems, however, that most Christians have not as yet been reconciled to God through Christ except in the legal sense of imputed (ascribed) righteousness. Few are willing to forsake their self-interests so that Christ may have full dominion in every area of their personality and behavior.

Are you willing to give yourself to Christ in all you are and do? In all you are and do? If not, you are not as yet reconciled to Christ.

If you are not as yet willing to give yourself to Christ you are not as yet abiding in the Kingdom of God as you should. You are not as yet ready to descend from Heaven as an eternal part of the holy city, the Wife of the Lamb. You still are part of the problem, not of the solution.

How soon you will be ready depends to a great extent on how willing you are to be pruned by the Lord.

Are you ready to be brought into union with the Lord Jesus Christ? If you are not, the Holy Spirit will bring you to this point if you will allow Him to do so. Do not quit when the way becomes difficult and demanding. Your end will be glorious if you do not draw back from the dealings of God. 

And I heard a great voice from heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

Perhaps this "great voice" is that of an archangel whose eternal residence is in Heaven.

What we need today is a "great voice" speaking to us from Heaven, from the Throne of God Almighty.

God is able to whisper. When God does speak, He speaks loudly enough to be heard by everyone whom He is addressing. In the passage we are studying the Lord wants the whole world to know what is taking place. So God has the archangel speak in a loud voice.

". . . the tabernacle of God is with men."

The "tabernacle of God" is the Church. God in Christ is making the Church His eternal dwelling place. God in Christ intends to dwell among mankind in the form of His Church. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God, the will of God, to the earth.

Here is the end product of the Gospel. It is the central truth of the Scriptures, the Old Testament and the New Testament. There is no greater truth in the Word of God. It is the goal of Divine love.

The mystery of the Gospel is Christ in us. We forever are attempting to keep God external to our personality. God desires to dwell in us so that in us He can dwell among the nations of the earth.

The tabernacle, the dwelling place, the house of God is to be located eternally among men. God will dwell with mankind through His saints, through the members of the Body of Christ.

The house of God is the central topic of the Scriptures.

We can never understand what the Christian redemption is all about until we grasp the concept that God desires to dwell among men, using the members of the royal priesthood as His eternal temple.

Many passages of the Scripture speak to us of the construction of the house of God. Yet this topic remains a mystery to the present hour.

God gave Adam and Eve His Divine image and likeness, fruitfulness, and dominion. At the time of the creation He did not reveal his intention, His plan and desire to live in them, to find rest in them.

When we consider the awful rebellion that occurred among the angels in Heaven, plus the six thousand years of human history, we can understand why it is necessary that God dwell in man and find rest in him. The Kingdom of God, the rule of God, must be an inner rule in which Christ is formed and dwells in us and eventually in every saved person on the earth.

Because God has proclaimed that mankind will be in God’s image, be fruitful, and have dominion over the works of God’s hands, it is in the heart of every individual to multiply his own image in the earth and also to impose his will on the people and circumstances around him.

The world is in chaos in our day as each person, under the direction of his or her human mind, seeks to be in God’s image, to be fruitful, and to exert rulership over the creation.

This chaotic condition exists in the world and also in the Christian churches, as we can observe by glancing about us. If at some point the Lord God did not establish His rule in our heart, the thousand-year Kingdom Age and also the new heaven and earth of Christ would be filled with wars, murders, hatreds, envies, jealousies, and every other evil work.

The world is in an uproar because human beings are seeking image, union, fruitfulness, and dominion apart from the rule of God in Christ in us. Man is seeking his inheritance apart from union with God through Christ.

For six thousand years God has been demonstrating to the heavens and the earth that all image, union, fruitfulness, and dominion must proceed from and be governed by total, restful union with Himself.

From this demonstration we have learned it is impossible to be in God’s image, to enjoy satisfying relationships, to be fruitful, or to have dominion, apart from union with God through Christ.

God Himself always must be ruling throughout His entire creation. God’s Kingdom is His rule in Christ in us. When God’s rule in Christ has been perfected in us we shall govern both the spirit and the material realms. When God is ruling there are no wars. The true children of God are peacemakers.

Wars will continue to curse the earth until every person has accepted the rule of God in Christ in himself.

As soon as God has brought all things under subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ, Christ Himself will be subject to the Father so the Father may be All in all. This is the Kingdom of God. 

And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (I Corinthians 15:28)

God is bringing about His rule throughout all His creation by building an eternal house for Himself. This house is Christ—Head and Body, the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the place of God’s rest forever.

As soon as God’s house has been completed, God will be able to dwell in peace with his creatures. The Tabernacle of God, which is the Wife of the Lamb, will come down from Heaven and be established for eternity on the new earth.

The Old Testament speaks of the new heavens and the new earth: 

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. (Isaiah 65:17,18)

As far as we know, the first insight given in the Scriptures of God’s plan concerning man, particularly His plan to live in and find rest in a called-out group (church), is found in the fifteenth chapter of Exodus: 

The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. (Exodus 15:2)

"I will prepare him an habitation."

Again: 

Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. (Exodus 15:17)

"In the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in."

The two verses above, given in prophecy at the time of a milestone in Israel’s history, indeed are remarkable.

It may be noticed that the issue of God’s house came up again at the time of another milestone in Israel’s history—the persecution and death of the first martyr of the Church (Acts 7:46-49).

Why does the Lord God of Heaven need a house ? Does the Almighty God have no temple in Heaven that He should look to human beings to "prepare him an habitation"? Isn’t this astonishing?

At this point, let us emphasize the concept that the Divine redemption is not primarily for man’s benefit; the Divine redemption is for God’s benefit.

We now are living in the latter part of the twentieth century. As Paul prophesied, people have become lovers of themselves. So tremendous has our self-love become that it is nearly impossible for us to conceive of salvation as first, of benefit to God; second, of benefit to man.

The churches of Christ used to teach that man was created for the glory and pleasure of God. Now this fundamental concept has been reversed. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are viewed as an instrumentality through which human beings can obtain what they desire and "deserve."

It is a cause for thanksgiving if we are healthy, prosperous, getting what we desire, and being blessed in all our circumstances. But none of these blessings is of first importance in the Kingdom of God. What is of first importance is that God’s will is being done and God is being worshiped.

Man was brought into being for God’s pleasure—that God may receive what God desires. Any other viewpoint is of Antichrist and the False Prophet.

God has a use for man, a purpose for creating man. 

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:11)

We are God’s children. God loves us as any parent loves his children. When we attempt to manipulate God in order to accomplish our will we become bold, rebellious, self-centered children, bringing no pleasure or love to our Father in Heaven. Then God will chasten us.

The only truly important accomplishment in the universe is the performing of God’s will. God intends that all the peoples of the earth worship and obey Him. All the ends of the earth are to fear and serve the Lord (Psalms 67). Whether or not we as individuals profit is secondary in importance.

It is impossible for anyone to become a true saint, a true witness of God, until he or she understands that the Kingdom of God is first of all for God’s benefit.

"I will prepare him an habitation." "That thou hast made for thee to dwell in."

God desires a house, a habitation, a resting place. Why?

God already possesses a temple, which is located in Heaven above. 

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. (Isaiah 6:1)

And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. (Isaiah 6:4)

It is clear there is a temple of God, a house of God, in Heaven.

People who have had visions of Heaven have seen the temple of God in Heaven.

Why, then, do the Scriptures speak of preparing a habitation for God to dwell in? 

Why leap ye, ye high hills? this is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever. (Psalms 68:16)

The hill of the Lord is Zion, the Body of Christ, the dwelling place of God.

Notice: 

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)

According to the fourth chapter of the Book of Ephesians, the "gifts for men" are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

To what end do the ascension-gifts serve? They serve to unify and perfect the one Body of Christ.

To what end is the Lord God unifying and perfecting the one Body of Christ? God is unifying and perfecting the one Body of Christ so "the Lord God may dwell among them," that God may be able to settle down to rest in an eternal temple constructed from living stones.

The mystery of the Good News continues to unfold, in Psalms 132: 

I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to mine eyelids, Until I find a place for the Lord, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob. (Psalms 132:4,5)

Again: 

For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it. (Psalms 132:13,14)

So we ponder, "Why does the God of Heaven seek a dwelling place, a home, a haven in which to find rest? Are Heaven and His temple in Heaven not adequate as an abiding place, a resting place, that God should be looking for a house?"

The Spirit of Christ continues, in Isaiah: 

Thus saith the Lord, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1)

The construction of the house of God is the central issue of the Scriptures. Notice how this was revealed when Stephen was speaking in the Spirit: 

Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (Acts 7:49)

Heaven is not the house of God. Heaven is the Throne of God, the place from which He rules His creation.

The earth is not the house of God. The earth is the footstool of God, the place on which His feet rest.

What, then, is the house of God? The house of God, according to the writings of the Apostles of the Lamb, is the Church, the Body of Christ, the Lord’s saints.

The Lord Jesus Christ is Zion. He is the eternal Temple of God, the dwelling place of God, the house in which the Father finds rest. 

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)

"But the Father that dwelleth in me."

Compare:

"This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell," referring to Zion, the "hill" of God (Psalms 132:14).

God dwells forever in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the Temple of God, the Rest of God. Christ dwells eternally in God and God dwells eternally in Christ.

Christ is the House of God.

Heaven is the Throne of God. Earth is the footstool of God. Christ alone is the House of God.

Notice carefully:

"In my Father’s house are many mansions: . . . ." (John 14:2)

The word mansion is misleading, and yet is the basis for much of our tradition concerning Heaven. The Greek noun should be translated dwelling place.

Is the Lord Jesus telling us there are many dwelling places for us in Heaven? No.

Is the Lord Jesus telling us there are many dwelling places for us on the earth? No.

Is the Lord Jesus telling us that there are many dwelling places for us in Himself? Yes.

 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. (Psalms 90:1)

The Father’s House is Christ. The Father dwells always and only in Christ. In God’s eternal House there are many dwelling places, many places of abode, many rooms in which the Father can find rest.

The obedient saints are the rooms in God’s eternal House. We are living stones in the Temple of God, the great Booth of God, of which Christ is the chief Cornerstone and Capstone.

Christ is the Habitation, the Sanctuary, of the Lord God of Heaven. We are members of the Body of Christ, the Body of the Habitation, the Body of the Sanctuary, of the Lord God of Heaven. The Christian Church is the complement of Christ, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

God is creating an eternal dwelling place for Himself. This is the central mystery of the Scriptures. The incarnation of God is continuing in the members of the Body of Christ. The whole Christ—Head and Body—is the Incarnation of God.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the chief living Stone, the Cornerstone, of the eternal Temple. The saints, the elect of God whose names were written from the creation of the world, also are living stones of the eternal Temple of God.

The Temple, the Tabernacle, the dwelling place, of God is the new Jerusalem, the holy city, the Wife of the Lamb.

The habitation of God is set forth as follows: 

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

The mystery of the Gospel of the Kingdom is that Christ, the Dwelling Place of the Father, is in us (Colossians 1:27).

Do the Scriptures teach that the saints are living stones in the eternal Temple of God? Do they actually state we are being made the habitation, the resting place, of the Lord God of Heaven? 

In whom [Christ] all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:21,22)

Again: 

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (I Corinthians 6:19)

Again: 

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (II Corinthians 6:16)

Do you agree that the "Father’s house" is the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, is the enlargement of that house?

Christ went to prepare a place for us in the Father’s house. He went to the cross so that through the atoning authority of His blood we may be accepted of God. This was the beginning of our entrance into God as a living stone in His temple.

Then Christ ascended, giving gifts of ministry to His Church. Through means of these ministries we are brought to unity and maturity, maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ. Such unity and maturity are required of God’s house.

Next, Christ shed forth on the Church the Holy Spirit. If it were not for the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit it would be impossible for us ever to come to the place of being a part of the Father’s house.

Today Christ keeps on making intercession for each member of the Body of Christ, for God’s elect, until we have been made perfect and complete in spirit, in soul, and in body.

If Christ had chosen to remain as the only "stone" of the Temple of God, the whole character of the Kingdom of God would be different from what it is. Christ alone would continue to be the House of the Father.

In that case, we would be exhorted continually to try to be like Christ, to strive to obey the laws of the Kingdom. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit would remain as the Divine Godhead and the saints, no matter how devout and obedient, would forever be separate from and different in kind from God. They could never truly be in the image of Christ or one in Christ in the Father as Christ and the Father are One.

Such is not the case however. God is making us part of Himself. Christ not only is with us He is in us. This is the central truth of the Kingdom of God. This single fact governs what the Kingdom is in essence. If such true union of God and man was not possible, was forbidden, Christ would have told us so plainly.

In the Father’s house there are "many rooms." Christ returned to the Father so these rooms in God may be prepared, that each of the elect may become a part of the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, the Tabernacle of God Almighty.

If we choose to become a victorious saint we can proceed to become a "pillar" in the Temple of God (Revelation 3:12).

The pillars of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and of Solomon’s Temple, were so extraordinarily important that the removal of one of them would have destroyed the perfection of the entire structure.

Once an individual becomes a pillar in the Temple of God he "shall go no more out." How could he go out? If he were to be removed, the perfection of the house of God would be destroyed. The holy city would be blemished because one of the supporting pillars had been removed.

The house of God is being constructed so the world may behold it and profit from it. 

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

"That the world may believe!"

The tabernacle, the dwelling place, of God is designed to be placed on earth so the nations may have access to the Presence and blessing of God, not as is true today where the nations stagger about in famine and chaos, blindness and death. God is creating His living Temple so He may be present among the peoples of the earth.

God already possesses a temple in Heaven. When He is dwelling there He is not present among His creatures on the earth. God is able to find His rest, His pleasure, among His creatures in the earth only by dwelling in Christ.

In God’s eternal Tabernacle on the earth there are to be many rooms, many places in which God can find rest and pleasure. Do you desire to be created an eternal room in the living Temple of God?

God is coming to live among men. God is incarnate in the Lord Jesus Christ. Now God’s incarnation is being enlarged as Christ is being formed in us.

God is coming to live among men. Paradise is regained: first in the Lord Jesus Christ; next in the members of the Body of Christ; finally in the entire creation of God (Romans 8:21).

Glorified man is the chariot of God, the vehicle in which He can ride and be among His creatures.

God loves the nations of the earth and His name is on them. 

That they [God’s saints] may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen [nations], which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this. (Amos 9:12)

God so loved the world . . . the world !

Whoever of the world will believe in the Son whom God has sent will not perish but have everlasting life.

When and under what conditions will the world finally believe? 

That they [the saints, the elect] all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

. . . that whosoever [of the world] believeth in him should not perish, . . . . (John 3:16)

Emmanuel. God is with us. This is the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

After describing the future temple, which is a portrayal of the personality of each member of the new Jerusalem, Ezekiel says: "the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there (Ezekiel 48:35).

God will dwell among the nations of the earth. The nations will be God’s peoples and God Himself will be among them.

"He shall dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God."

Is there a more precious promise in the Scriptures?

Did the Spirit of Christ speaking in the prophets of Israel reveal to us that God intends to dwell among the nations through Christ—Head and Body? 

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house . . . . (Isaiah 2:2)

The "mountain of the Lord’s house" is Mount Zion, the Church, the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, in which God dwells through Christ 

. . . shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; . . . . (Isaiah 2:2)

Compare: 

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrews 12:22)

The "mountains" and the "hills" refer to the governments, principal cities, and other centers of activity and influence in the earth. The Christian Church will be the center of government of the Kingdom of God, being elevated above all other governments and cities, authorities and powers, of the world.

Christ will return to earth and sit on the throne of David. His Church will be with Him and be part of Him. The creation of God will be ruled from Jerusalem. 

. . . and all nations shall flow unto it. (Isaiah 2:2)

All the kings of the earth will bring their honor and glory to Jerusalem. The kingdom that will not serve Jerusalem will perish. 

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; . . . . (Isaiah 2:3)

Satan will be chained and cast into the bottomless pit, and later consigned to the Lake of Fire for eternity. Every fallen angel and demon spirit will be driven from the earth by God in Christ in the members of the Body of Christ. Antichrist and the False Prophet will be cast alive into the Lake of Fire.

The knowledge of the Glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

Because of this change in the spiritual atmosphere the nations of peoples of the earth will choose to go up to Jerusalem where Christ is reigning. They will desire the Presence of the Lord.

When evil spirits leave an individual he has a normal desire to be near to his God. It is only those who are bound by Satan who do not enjoy the Presence of God in Christ.

Do you remember the effect on the Gadarene of his deliverance? 

Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, from whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. (Luke 8:35)

The man of Gadara is a type of the nations of the earth. When the nations are released from the oppression of evil spirits, at the revealing of the sons of God (Romans 8:19), they will desire to "go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob."

The people of Gadara were afraid of the man when he was possessed and afraid when he was released. So it is that the world is a place of fear because of the spirits of sin and rebellion that oppress our flesh. When the power of those spirits is broken, our natural desire is to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His word.

As soon as Satan has been bound and cast from the earth, the nations will desire to be in the Presence of God and receive His blessing.

God’s Presence and blessing will be available to all the peoples of the earth through the saints, the members of the Body of Christ.

God is bringing into unity and maturity the Body of Christ so the nations of the earth may have a light by which to see, a deliverer to rid them of the yoke of the oppressor, and a righteous government that will enable them to live in righteousness, peace, and joy on the earth God has given them. 

. . . he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: . . . . (Isaiah 2:3)

God through Christ through the members of the Body of Christ will teach the peoples of the earth. The nations are the inheritance of Christ and of the coheirs with Christ. We shall be kings and priests among the nations of the saved, teaching them the ways of the Lord, healing their sicknesses, bringing the Life of Christ to them so they may live in the Presence of God. Such is the destiny of God’s saints, His elect. The members of the Body are part of Immanuel—God’s Presence among people.

Notice the converted will of earth’s people: "We will walk in his paths." God loves a cheerful giver. No one, including the Lord, enjoys working with people who despise what they are doing.

The governments of the earth reject God today because Satan is working in them. As soon as Satan has been cast from the earth the nations will choose to serve the Lord.

God’s "paths," in which the nations choose to walk, were announced by the Lord Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Chapters Five through Seven). The paths are the same yesterday, today, and forever. 

. . . for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)

We understand about parallelism in Hebrew poetry. Nevertheless it may be true that Zion is associated especially with the law, the government, of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Out of Zion shall go forth the law."

Zion, the city of David, was one of the areas of Jerusalem. Zion had been the fortress of the Jebusites at the time that David captured Jerusalem.

David, being a man of war, was particularly fond of the Zion area of Jerusalem. He brought the Ark of the Covenant to Zion and placed it in a tent.

It appears that the concept of "Zion" is of special importance. Zion has to do with the return of Christ to the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Zion seems to be associated symbolically with the victorious believers, with the saints who today are fighting and gaining the victory over the world. "Jerusalem," so to speak, the main body of the Church, is not as militant.

Zion may correspond to David’s "mighty men."

There are those believers who are "pillars in the temple of God." They are not stumbling around in lukewarmness. They are pressing the battle, or it may be more accurate to say the battle is being pressed in them. They are marching forward in Christ. They are "Zion," the government of God, the kings and priests of the Kingdom of God, of the worlds and ages to come.

"Zion" is associated with the return of Christ to the earth to set up His Kingdom with the rod of iron—the power of His righteous law enforced by mighty angels. Zion is associated also with the Ark of the Covenant, with David’s Tabernacle.

"Jerusalem" is associated with the new heaven and earth reign of Christ, with the eternity of glory that will commence after the work of the thousand-year Kingdom Age has been concluded.

When the Lord Jesus returns to earth to set up His Kingdom He will be surrounded by His mighty men, His victorious saints, His kings and priests. The thousand-year Kingdom Age, which will begin at that time, is not the fullness of Christ’s reign. The fullness will not come until the appearing of the new heaven and the new earth and the descending of the new Jerusalem to be established forever on a high mountain of the new earth.

King David was anointed three times: once by Samuel while Saul was king over Israel; a second time as king of Judah; and the third time as king over all Israel.

The three royal anointings are a type of the three stages in the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ to the throne of the creation.

After His first anointing as King, so to speak, Jesus returned to the Father. At present, He and His followers are being kept from the camp of acceptability by the Sauls of this world, including the "Sauls" of the churches (III John 9).

Christ’s second anointing will take place as He descends from Heaven with His mighty men, His victorious saints, and seizes control of the governments of the nations of the earth. Christ in His saints will rule the nations with a rod of iron (Daniel 7:18).

Christ’s third anointing will be revealed as God in Christ in the Church, the new Jerusalem, descends from Heaven to be located for eternity on the new earth.

It is the second anointing that especially is associated with Christ’s law, with His authority and power of rulership, with God’s kings and priests, with Zion, with the rod of iron.

"Zion," the army of Christ’s conquerors, is being formed today. You can be a conqueror, a victorious saint. You may be required to go outside the camp of respectability and approval and follow Christ with the same devotion that the mighty men showed toward David (II Samuel 23:16).

We can observe both Zion and Jerusalem at the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age: 

And they [Satan and the nations of the earth] went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God from heaven, and devoured them. (Revelation 20:9)

"The camp [fortress] of the saints"; "and the beloved city."

The "fortress of the saints" is Zion. The "beloved city" is Jerusalem.

Eden was an unwalled Paradise. The inevitable occurred: the enemy entered and created chaos.

The new Jerusalem will be walled.

The new Jerusalem will be defended by "Zion," by the believers who have chosen to be victorious saints during their pilgrimage on the earth. The "wall" of the new Jerusalem is being created now in their personalities.

It appears that most of the Lord’s people of today are "unwalled." There is little or no spiritual resistance in their personalities. They are unable to resist severe, prolonged testing. They are unwilling to make the total effort necessary to overcome the world.

They trust that when they die physically they will go to a place of peace and joy in the spirit realm. They are not pressing toward a victorious resurrection. They are hoping only for acceptance in the regions of spiritual light.

There is a remnant who are determined to follow the Lord now no matter where He leads them or what it costs them. It is they who will walk in white with Christ during the thousand-year Kingdom Age. They are able to rule. They are "Zion" and the law of the Kingdom of God will proceed from them; for the law, and the strength of character to enforce the law, is being formed in them today.

He who overcomes will rule with Christ at His appearing and the appearing of His Kingdom.

The eternal Tabernacle of God will be established on the new earth. It is coming in three stages: first, in Jesus of Nazareth, the Prophet, Priest, King, and Lamb of God; second, in Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, surrounded by His mighty men and dwelling in them; and third, in the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, the glorified Church.

The end result will be a new heaven, and a new earth that is filled with righteous government. On the new earth will be the nations of the saved. Ruling the nations of the saved will be the new Jerusalem, which is God in Christ in the saints. The entire creation of God will be governed from the new Jerusalem. 

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

God has attempted on several occasions to live among men. Eden was the first attempt. Adam and Eve, having "unwalled" personalities, were deceived easily. The Lord Himself apparently was accustomed to strolling through the garden, but Adam and Eve lost fellowship with Him through their disobedience.

That one transgression destroyed their relationship with the Lord. The soul who sins will die. This is the unchanging law of Him who cannot lie.

After the dreadful and costly disobedience in Eden, God did find fellowship with individual people, such as Enoch, Noah, and Abraham.

Mount Sinai was the abode of God for several days, and then the Lord moved into the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The terrifying holiness of God prevented any close relationship with the Israelites or with the Gentiles who surrounded them. Moses alone was permitted to have fellowship with God.

Over one thousand years later a Baby was born to Mary in Bethlehem of Judea. The Baby was the Word of God become flesh. Being flesh He was able to dwell among us.

Jesus of Nazareth is Emmanuel—God with us.

How did the people of Israel and the Gentiles treat God who now was living in the midst of people?

The Gospel record tells us how God was treated while He walked among us. No other person has been dealt with so unjustly.

Why was the Lord treated so shamefully?

God was accepted by the common people when He performed miracles, and then rejected by them when He informed them they were required to eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to live.

God was despised and plotted against by the priests and elders, by those who were spending their lives as God’s representatives among His people.

The Romans found God amusing and contemptible.

Jesus has taught us that God alone is good. The goodness of God that was displayed in Jesus of Nazareth proved to be a giant floodlight that revealed the wretchedness and perversity of human beings.

Mankind does not want God living here. God created us but we do not want Him here. The world does not want Him here. The churches do not want Him here and they prove it by rejecting His prophets and teachers.

The reason we do not want God close to us is that Satan and his demons exert influence on us and have changed our personalities into their likeness. Satan is filled with sin, rebellion, and death and he has filled mankind with sin, rebellion, and death.

The hatred and rejection of God and His ways expressed by humans is a manifestation of the hatred and rejection of God that possesses the fallen angels.

In order to teach the heavens and the earth an eternal lesson, God has allowed humanity to be infected with the personality of Satan. The condition of the world today (and it steadily is growing worse) is a demonstration of what takes place in a social order when God and His ways are rejected by the creatures of that order.

Because human beings have assented to the rule of Satan, every decent, desirable aspect of human life is being perverted. The filthy abominations being practiced today, which are forms of demon worship, are so hideous the saints are to resist even the memory of them.

The governments of the nations of the earth are self-serving. There is little or no justice anywhere as men and women become lovers of themselves.

As Jesus prophesied, the tares are coming to maturity in the last days of this age. The earth has yet to witness the mature flood of filth that is to spew from the mouth of the ancient dragon.

What will be the end of the volcano-eruption of filth and perversion? The end will be the opening of the floodgates of Divine wrath. Human beings will scream for the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them from the face of the Lamb of God. Wailing and moaning will ascend from the surface of the earth as people are led away to outer darkness.

Sinners are accustomed to dwelling in spiritual darkness. But when they see the glory and beauty of the light of the Kingdom of God, and realize they are being forced to live in darkness, they will be filled with torment and rage. They always had been able to buy or lie their way into whatever they desired. But no more!

The violent of the earth take what they want, trampling on the rights of the poor and the meek. It will not be so in the Kingdom of God. The meek and the poor will enter the joys of the Kingdom while the wealthy and violent will be compelled to dwell in places of torment. The Kingdom of God will bring justice to the earth.

The result of a social order conducted apart from union with Christ is the deterioration of everything constructive and beautiful followed by the evaluation of our behavior in the courtroom of an angry God.

What are the results of life without Christ? Tears, death, sorrow, crying, pain.

What will be removed by the Lord from every saved human being? Tears, death, sorrow, crying, pain.

When will God be able to remove sorrow, pain, and death from the nations of saved peoples of the earth? When the Tabernacle of God, which is the new Jerusalem, descends from the new heaven and finds its eternal resting place on the new earth.

The new Jerusalem is Christ—Head and Body. Christ, Head and Body, is the Servant of the Lord. Beginning with the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the Servant of the Lord will bring justice to the nations of the earth. 

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment [justice] to the Gentiles [nations]. (Isaiah 42:1)

God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that whoever chooses to place his trust in Him may not perish but have everlasting life. It is through the saints in whom Christ is dwelling that the nations will come to the understanding that God indeed has sent Christ, and whoever believes in Him will be healed of all sin and death.

God desires to bless the nations of the earth. In order to do so He must find some means of dwelling among them. The means God has chosen is the elect, the Church. The Church comprises the individuals whom God has chosen from among the nations as a royal priesthood, that they may come to know the Lord; and, having gained that knowledge, be able to bring the Presence, the knowledge, the blessing of God to all the peoples of the earth.

This is the reason for the existence and perfecting of the Church, the Body of Christ—that the Lord God of Heaven may have a means of dwelling among people and removing their tears, their death, their sorrow, their crying, and their pain.

As soon as the holy city comes down from the new sky, the griefs of earth will pass away forever. God and the Lamb will have come to the earth to take up Their residence here for eternity. The Divine Godhead will have come in the Church, the new Jerusalem.

The solution to the problems of earth is not for the Christians to go to Heaven. The solution to the problems of earth will come when the Christians, having grown to maturity in the Lord, return from Heaven to earth, bringing the Presence of God with them. 

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Revelation 21:5)

An important concept is contained in verse five (above). God is making all things new.

God is not making all new things, He is making all things new.

In the beginning, God created the substance of the material creation. Then He gave the substance form, separating the light from the darkness so the form can be observed. Finally, He gave His creation purpose by creating mankind. The physical universe has substance, form, and purpose.

The material universe is substantial. It is a real world just as the spirit realm is a real world. The universe is not merely an idea, a metaphor, a mental attitude, or the passing shadow of a true world in Heaven.

It is a fact that the true and eternal world is spiritual and the things of earth are temporal, portraying that which is eternal. Nevertheless the earth and its nations are a genuine creation and the Lord would have us regard them in this manner.

Religious teachers and philosophers have taught that the true world is invisible and supernatural in nature and significance. Some schools of thought that term themselves Christian lean toward this understanding of the physical universe. They are in error. The world in which we are living was created by the Lord Jesus Christ. He intends we view it as the real and desirable environment for people.

The true Christian faith does not regard sickness and other troubles as unreal phenomena that can be changed by mind power or soul power, by the application of concentrated believing that the problem is unreal, by the power of positive thinking. This approach to dominion over the material creation is not of God. It will lead the participant away from Christ and toward the False Prophet, the spirit of religious seduction.

The results of positive thinking do not bring glory to Christ but to the practitioner. However, it is necessary that the saint maintain a healthy, victorious frame of mind during his pilgrimage in the wilderness of the world. The meditating of the saint on what is lovely and pure, versus attempts to manipulate the physical environment by the "power of positive thinking," are different in approach and purpose and are not to be confused.

When God provided light and separated the light from the darkness He enabled us to view what He had created. Christ is the true Light that God has provided. It is only in and through Christ we are able to distinguish what is true, and what is false or unworthy, in the material creation. Apart from Christ all is darkness—without form and purposeless.

The creating of Adam and Eve revealed what is in God’s mind, His eternal purpose. He created man in His image. He created him male and female. Therefore no human being can be the image of God by himself or herself.

God gave man the authority and power to reproduce the image of God and to exercise dominion over the universe, over the works of God’s hands.

Finally, God began to reveal to man that He intends to fashion from human beings an eternal habitation, a resting place for Himself, and to establish this habitation on a new earth for eternity.

The form and purpose of the things God has created are eternal. God, as He works in redemption, is not making all new things, all different things. He is making all things new. He is taking what is, the works of His hands, and recreating all of it in Christ.

The Lord God of Heaven makes no mistakes. He knew the history of the world before He exercised His power in the creation, as described in the first chapter of Genesis. Nothing that has happened in the history of the world has taken God by surprise. All was finished beforehand. God is God.

If God did not want the form and purpose of things as they are He would not have created them that way in the beginning.

The theme of restoration, of the prodigal son, is the fundamental story of mankind, of the Church, of each individual. Everything must be given us twice or we cannot retain it or use it wisely. The first time we receive something from God it becomes an idol to us. It is our God, our bondage, our chain. We either destroy it or worship it. We do not have dominion over our possessions, including our body. They maintain dominion over us.

There come points in our development when God asks us to give back to Him one thing or another. Our willingness to surrender to God an object, or relationship, or circumstance, reveals the level of our freedom from idolatry.

God takes what we give Him and makes it new by filling it with Himself through Christ. Then He gives it back to us. The only things that God removes from us permanently are the objects, relationships, and circumstances that are unworthy of the Kingdom and harmful to us.

That which God returns to us is our possession for eternity. It has gained the qualities of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit that belong to the Kingdom of God. Now we have dominion over our possessions and God in Christ is reigning on the throne of our personality.

The concept of restoration, of what is received, lost, and regained through Spirit-directed effort, is the story of life. It is the story of my life and your life.

Thus the form and purpose of the universe are eternal. When the substance of the universe is filled with the Spirit of God it too becomes eternal (as in the case of the resurrection of our body from the grave). The Kingdom of God is the eternal union of the Life of God with the material creation.

Even though the Apostle John saw a new heaven and a new earth it is a fact that the heaven and earth with which we are familiar are what will endure for eternity. The form and purpose are eternal and unchanging. Let us explain.

It is true that the present heaven and earth will disappear as Christ receives back into Himself the energy that brought them into existence. Then He will speak them back into existence, now wholly imbued with Himself. God has determined to make Christ the Center and Circumference of all creatures and things in Heaven and in the physical realm.

It is a new heaven. It is a new earth. They are new in every sense of the word, having been dissolved in fire and then breathed back into existence. The point is, it is a new heaven and earth—that with which we are familiar. It is not a different type of environment. God is making all things new. He is not making new or different things.

If a pianist goes to the store and purchases a new piano, he purchases a "piano." He does not purchase a "concept of entertainment," such as a record player or a television set.

He does not come home with a set of rubber bands, stretch them to different tensions to form a scale, and then attempt to play Bach on them. He buys a piano. It is a new piano but it is a piano.

The Scriptures do not teach that God will make a new kind of environment for mankind. They state that God is bringing into existence a new heaven and a new earth—that is, things to which we have become accustomed.

Our mortal body will be raised from the dead (Romans 8:11). Our body will be made alive in Christ. It will be renewed but it will be our body. It will not be a sphere, or an oblong from which protrude six arms and nine legs. It will be our body, now filled with the resurrection Life of Christ.

Is it a new body? Yes. Is it the body to which we have become accustomed? Yes, because God will raise our body from the dead. If we were going to have a different body, why would God bother to raise our body from the dead?

If God does not intend to raise our present body from the dead, the physical body of the Lord Jesus Christ remains in the cave of Joseph of Arimathea and only His Spirit was raised. Also, the Christian Gospel is false. The saints are the most miserable of people if God is not going to raise our body from the dead. 

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (I Corinthians 15:17-19)

The form and purpose of things as they are, are eternal. The substance becomes eternal when it is filled with eternal resurrection Life. All will be made new and glorified in Christ, as were Christ’s clothes on the Mount of Transfiguration.

The purpose of God in creating the physical universe is manifold: to provide an eternal habitation and resting place for Himself; to provide a wife, a complement, for His only begotten Son; to bring forth many sons to glory; to create brothers of Christ in Christ’s image; to forge an instrument for the purpose of judging and destroying the works and workers of iniquity; to bring into being an ever-expanding universe peopled with righteous, peaceful, and joyous citizens who always bring pure delight to God, their Creator.

This manifold purpose originated in the mind of God before He created the heaven and earth that we know, a heaven and earth that from the beginning were viewed as expendable prototypes of the final creation. God always knows what He is doing, and His workmanship is perfect. 

And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. (Hebrews 1:12)

God is not creating new things, different things. Rather He is making all things new. The things we have now are what God always has intended. He wants to fill them with eternal life in Christ.

If any man be in Christ there is a new creation. Is the new creation the same person? Yes, and no.

Is Paul still Paul or has he become Christ? Paul is still Paul, no one else. The old Paul has passed away but the new Paul still is Paul. Peter still is Peter although a new man in Christ. John still is John.

Christ is dwelling in Paul for eternity. Paul is new in Christ. He is a new person, but still Paul.

How about you? Are you still the same person? Yes, and no. You are becoming an new person in Christ and yet you still are you. Essentially you are you. Old things are passing away in your life. All things are becoming new and all things are of God. But you are you.

The world in which we live is a real world, not just an idea as some philosophers have taught. Joy is real. Pain is real. Sin is real. God and Christ are real. Christ has come in the flesh.

God has created real people in a real world, and He has created them for eternity. Each individual will live for eternity in the Presence of God and the Lamb if he will allow God to graft Christ on his personality. Apart from Christ he will exist for eternity in the spiritual torment and death prepared for wicked spirits.

Heaven is real and Hell is real, and they are eternal. The spirits of people are real and they are eternal. The spirits of people will reside eternally in the glorious new world that God is forming, or they will remain in the dark fires, separated eternally from their Creator.

Each person who has received Christ and is walking in Christ is heading toward joy and glory. Each person who rejects Christ is rejecting the purpose for his or her existence. He will be cast into the area of eternal separation from God that is prepared for the devil and his angels.

The Lord God of Heaven has determined to center the creation in Christ. Any person who rejects Christ is rejecting his Creator and will suffer the consequences of that rejection.

"I make all things new." Not one element of the creation will remain untouched. All things will experience death and resurrection. What is unworthy of eternal life will be assigned to torment. What is worthy of eternal life will be centered in Christ and will reveal Christ to a greater or lesser extent.

". . . He said unto me, write: for these words are true and faithful."

The Book of Revelation is not to be changed in any manner whatever. No other book of the Scriptures contains in itself such exhortations and warnings concerning its contents. 

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Revelation 1:3)

Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. (Revelation 22:7)

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the book of life, and from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18,19)

The four Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles were written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Book of Revelation is somewhat different in that it describes itself as a revelation that the Father gave to the Son. The Apostle John served merely as a scribe, writing down the vision as Jesus gave it to him.

There are many books of prophecy in the Old Testament but only one in the New Testament.

In the mind of God the Father is a clear picture of all the events of history—past, present, and future. God gave to Christ in symbolic form the future history of the world. Christ sent His angel with the vision to the Apostle John. John was enabled to write the true future history of mankind.

Not one word of the Book of Revelation is to be changed on pain of torment. This is the history of the world through to its fiery end and re-creation.

Today we are approaching the church of Laodicea. Laodicea is the church that joins with the spirit of the world in emphasizing the rights of people. Even now the burden of Christian preaching and teaching is becoming aligned with the world with the result that Christ is viewed as the servant of people.

It is being taught that God’s only thought or desire is to make people happy by answering their prayers. It was regrettable but necessary that Christ suffer agony on the cross. It is proper for God to suffer but people must not suffer. God has made man central in the universe and it is God’s will to assist man in every way, setting him free so he can attain self-fulfillment.

This is the Christian gospel of today. This is Laodicea. This doctrine originated in Satan.

We find Christ revealing Himself to the nauseating Laodicean church as "the faithful and true witness" (Revelation 3:14).

Laodiceans will attack the Book of Revelation because Revelation is not man-centered. Revelation describes the horrors of the period of time when the vials of wrath are poured on mankind, when the temperature of earth’s surface rises above bearable levels and people seek death but cannot find it.

Mankind began its existence in Paradise. Because of sin and rebellion, people in the last days will be gnawing their tongues for pain. How can we account for the dreadful contrast between Eden and the closing days of this age?

There is arising in the world an unwillingness to accept the concept of a final judgment or of punishment for sin. Man will govern his destiny—even to the point of telling God what He can do with man and what He cannot do with man.

The worldwide rebellion against God’s judgments and decisions, and elevation of the "rights" of people, will increase in magnitude until the kings of the earth and their armies gather together to make war against Christ and His army of saints.

The poison of self-centeredness is becoming so virulent and widespread that it will reach forward to the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, making possible a rebellion against the saints—even after one thousand years of the righteous rule of Christ. 

And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. (Revelation 20:9)

The seeds of human self-love have been sown over the past several hundred years by the various philosophers and teachers of world civilization. We are just now beginning to see the early fruit of that which, before it is cut off by the Lord, will turn the earth into a moral cesspool.

Satan, being a cherub, cannot govern the works of God’s hands correctly. Satan will use human self-centeredness as a means of entering mankind to a greater extent than we have witnessed as yet. Before the present age closes the nations will be raging against God. They will attempt to prevent Christ and His saints from entering the earth.

Christ informs the church of the Laodiceans that He is the faithful and true Witness of God. Christ alone is the true Witness of the coming Kingdom of God. All other leaders and teachers are self-seeking liars, except as they follow Christ and are filled with His Words and His Presence.

The words of the Book of Revelation are true and faithful. They are trustworthy and reflect accurately the plan of Almighty God. All that is contained in Revelation will take place exactly as it is presented. Nothing can be changed.

The person who is wise will regard the Book of Revelation as an accurate account of world history through to the descent from Heaven of the new Jerusalem. He or she will govern his or her conduct with these admonitions and events in mind.

We now are two thousand years closer to the complete fulfillment of the vision than was true when John wrote the book on the Isle of Patmos. It is clear that history is unfolding in the precise manner revealed to John by the angel of Christ.

The Book of Revelation is an accurate account of the future history of mankind on the earth. 

And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (Revelation 21:6)

"It is done". The works of God were completed before He spoke the heavens and the earth into existence. The tapestry of history can be viewed from beginning to end by the Lord because it has been completed already in His mind.

"It is done." The work is finished. Our task as an individual is to receive Christ and to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He enables us to perform God’s will in the earth and creates us in the image of our elder Brother, the Lord Jesus Christ.

". . . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. . . ."

Men are hoping that the ridiculous theory of evolution will prove to be true because it will relieve them of accountability to God for their conduct. The universe began in Christ, not in protozoa. All things were created by Him and for Him, and apart from Him nothing exists.

Also, there are some who believe Christ made a fairly good start and now has left it up to "good" men to finish what He began.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Christ originated the creation, the Christian redemption, and the Kingdom of God by His almighty power and authority, His atoning death and triumphant resurrection, and His position today at the right hand of God in Heaven. This is the beginning, the "Alpha."

Every particle of world history, of the Divine redemption, and of the creation of the Wife of the Lamb, is being governed meticulously by the Father who is living and working in the Lord Jesus. Nothing escapes the examination of the Lord’s eyes of fire. All things are open and naked before the gaze of Him with whom we have to do.

Christ will conclude the work of redemption, the removing of sin from the Church and the nations of the saved, will bring the Kingdom of God to completeness and perfection, and will glorify the material creation. Not one detail will be overlooked.

Christ possesses all authority, all power, all judgment. God has given all creatures and all things into His nail-scarred hands. He alone determines the destiny of all flesh. He alone is the Judge. Christ is "Alpha." He also is "Omega," the Finisher of the works of God.

". . . I will give to him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely."

It is true that mankind is facing the horrible consequences of its sin and rebellion against the Lord God of Heaven.

It also is true that any individual who is thirsty for the Life of Christ can receive freely, in the present hour, the water of Life.

The water of Life is the Spirit of God. The Fountain of the water of Life is Christ—the Anointed of God.

Whenever a human being receives Christ, and Christ is born in him, the fountain of living water springs up in him. His inner darkness is turned to light. His soul’s thirst for God is appeased.

The greatest curse that can come on any human being is to feel no need of Christ in his or her life. The greatest blessing that can come on any human being is to have in himself a fervent desire to be filled with Christ in every area of his personality.

Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness indeed are blessed for they shall be filled to overflowing with righteousness. The hunger for righteousness is the blessing and is the assurance of the filling. God fills us with righteousness by filling us with Christ.

Those who do not have Christ have no life in themselves. Those who pursue Christ until they are filled with Christ have in themselves eternal life without measure. 

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)

In order to be saved we must believe in Christ and be baptized in water. Our act of believing is our righteousness before God. Our act of being baptized in water is obedience to God and is a demonstration before God and man of our readiness to forsake the world and follow Christ.

However, the goal of redemption is not limited to our being saved from wrath. We are saved from wrath and to a glorious resurrection in Christ’s Kingdom—a resurrection that includes joy and glory yet undreamed of. With this hope in mind, we are to keep on seeking the Lord from the moment we are saved and have our sins forgiven.

God has called us to be the image of Christ, to be a room in the eternal Temple of God, to inherit all the works of God’s hands.

What does it mean to overcome; for the inheritance goes to the overcomer?

The moment we receive Christ and are saved we enter a race, a battle, a struggle for the fullness of life. Our goal, our mark, is the image of Christ created in our personality, and the filling of our personality with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16-19).

We, upon being saved from wrath, are at the starting line. At the finish line is a personality in Christ’s image, the fullness of the Divine Presence of the Almighty God, and a royal inheritance in the Kingdom of God. The pistol is fired and we begin the race.

It is not an easy race, a painless warfare. Like any other struggle it requires effort and diligence on our part if we are to win, to overcome the many forces seeking to prevent our victory.

The moment the saint begins to press forward toward the image of Christ and the fullness of the indwelling of God he is resisted steadily, cunningly, and viciously by his fleshly lusts, the spirit of the world, Satan, his own self-centeredness and self-will, and sometimes by the churches of Christ.

These are strong enemies. It is only by the grace of God that anyone is able to overcome these obstacles and enter the inheritance. The prize is worth every moment and every pain of the struggle.

It would be impossible for any human being to overcome all his foes. If someone were able to conquer them all through means of his self-will, his self-will would become his greatest enemy.

Only God in Christ is strong enough and wise enough to overcome the world. It is only as we keep on coming in faith to Christ, who has overcome the world, that we can overcome the world.

Through Christ’s assistance, through means of His Life working in us, we can overcome every obstacle to our ruling with Christ.

Any Christian can become an overcomer. If we will keep on asking God to fill us with Christ, with the Overcomer, we slowly but surely will overcome every enemy, every problem, including our own lusts and self-will. We will be victorious. We will enter the inheritance, the rest of God.

The final enemy of the saint is his unbelief. If the disciple will continue to believe, there is no force in Heaven or on the earth that can in any manner harm him as he presses forward in Christ.

Every day of our life on earth the battle is joined. Every day of our life on earth we either are gaining the victory through faith in Christ, or we are being overcome by our fleshly lusts, by the pressures of the worldly people around us, Satan, or our self-seeking and self-love.

If you are being overcome today, ask Christ to fill you with His overcoming Life. He shall help you. He has overcome the world. If you ask Him to, He shall make you a conqueror. Keep on asking. Never give up. The Lord God will take delight in you if you will keep on believing and pressing forward in faith.

". . . shall inherit all things, . . . ."

This promise truly is incomprehensible. Perhaps even the new heaven and new earth may not place a limitation on its dimensions. When the Lord God says "all things" He means all things.

God is greater than we understand. Christ is greater than we understand. The Holy Spirit is greater than we understand.

We human beings appear to be wearing blinders. We look at the starry heavens but we cannot "see" them. Somehow we cannot grasp the fact that Christ is so incredibly tremendous in strength and size He was able to speak the universe into existence.

We declare that Christ made all things and that God knows all things from the creation of the world. God knows every sparrow that falls to the ground and the number of the hairs on our head.

We cannot put two and two together, in our puny brains, and make four. We are so clouded in our thinking we are not able to reason that if Christ spoke the heaven and earth into existence His wisdom and strength must extend from eternity to eternity and infinity to infinity. We cannot grasp the concept that Christ’s appearance to us as an ordinary human being was in order to accomplish our redemption. He is a Man and a Human Being. He is whatever He chooses to become.

One wonders to what extent we have been born again. Perhaps we have been conceived in the womb and now are as an embryo or a fetus that will develop over the next few thousand years. No doubt we are being born again.

We know of the grandeur of the Kingdom of God, and yet we do not know it because it is so far beyond our power of imagination.

We hold on to the few nouns and adjectives of our language that represent the far-off world of glory and beauty that the Scriptures refer to as the Kingdom of God. But it is not far off, it is in us. 

All things!

He who overcomes, who conquers, will inherit all things.

The all things of God Almighty.

God has given mankind dominion over all the works of God’s hands. In order to receive dominion over all the works of God’s hands we first have to prove ourselves in the arena of testing. God’s kings and priests are tested and proven before they are entrusted with the thrones of the universe.

One of the greatest misunderstandings in Christendom today lies in the area of judgment and rewards. It is believed commonly that all saved people will receive basically the same reward. This is not true.

Being saved from wrath brings one to the starting line. Our reward, as in any race, depends on how we run. Paul taught us to run so we may receive the prize (I Corinthians 9:24).

We shall be judged and rewarded on the basis of what we have practiced in our body (II Corinthians 5:10). Our body is for the Lord Jesus and the Lord is for our body (I Corinthians 6:13).

It is our body that is the battleground, the arena in which we are being tested. Our eternal role in the Kingdom of God is at stake. If, through the Spirit of God, we are able to achieve victory such that Christ rules in our body, we are an overcomer.

If life in a physical body has proven to be so difficult, so overpowering in its temptation to evil that we have not allowed Christ to rule in our body, we will be rewarded accordingly in the Day of Christ.

Every person will be judged on the basis of what he has done while living in the mortal body. 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

It is the things done in our body that create our reward in the Day of Christ.

The resurrection of our body from the dead, glory, authority, power, opportunities and responsibilities in the Kingdom of God—all depend on the extent to which we allow Christ to reign in our flesh.

Many Christian people of our day are heading toward a stern rebuke in the Day of Christ. They will not hear the Lord say Well done because they have not done well. In fact, they have done little or nothing in the Kingdom of God.

They have "accepted" Christ and are waiting for the "rapture." In no manner are they servants of Christ. They are worldly people with the label of "Christian" stuck on them. They are imagining that Christ when He comes will say to them, Well done, good and faithful servant. This is a delusion, and it is widespread in our day.

The only individual who will hear Christ say Well done is he or she who has done well. (This is obvious, but religion often makes us blind to the obvious.) How has he done well? By forsaking his life, taking up his cross, and following the Lord Jesus Christ in faithful discipleship. Only this type of person will hear Well done from the Lord Jesus.

If we lose our life in the world for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s we will save it in the Day of Christ. If we save our life in the world we will lose it in the Day of Christ. We may be redeemed as by fire but we will be without the inheritance and rulership promised to the sons of God.

". . . I will be his God, and he shall be my son."

Every person who receives Christ is given the authority to be a child of God. Being given the authority to be a child of God, and actually becoming a son of God, are two different matters.

According to Revelation 21:7 (above) it is those who overcome the world who are the sons of God.

The issue of overcoming has to do with worship. Many "Christians" are worldly. God is not their god. They are children of this world. Their god is the wealth and pleasures of the world.

Often "Christians" repeatedly commit sins of the flesh. They do not repent of them and forsake them; in fact, they justify their sinning. God is not their god, Satan is their god. They are "believers" in Christ in name but they actually are children of the devil.

Many name the name of Christ but are self-willed. They are religious, but in truth they are seeking their own glory. God is not truly their god. They are their own god. They love themselves and serve themselves. The Pharisees of Israel are our example of the depths to which religious pride and self-love can carry us.

Then there are the victorious saints—those who love the Lord Jesus Christ.

They are not of this world and the world hates them.

When they sin they confess their sin and receive forgiveness and cleansing from God. They put the sin to death by the power of the Spirit of God. They do not commit it again. They worship God alone. (All sin is worship of the devil—Luke 4:7.)

The victorious saints are not self-seeking. The love of Christ is in them. They are servants of God, not of themselves. They are ready to be poor or rich, hidden or famous, quiet or intensely active. The cross can be glimpsed in their personality. The Glory of Christ shines through them.

God alone is their God, and they are His sons.

They have been created by God’s Spirit and are led by God’s Spirit in all that they do. They are the sons of God and God’s Spirit abides in them. 

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Romans 8:15)

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Galatians 4:6) 

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and sulfur: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

The fearful (timid; cowards). It is difficult to enter the Kingdom of God if the individual is timid and fearful. Courage is an important element of faith in God. The Israelites displeased God and brought His wrath down on themselves by being afraid of the Canaanites. Through the Spirit of Christ the Christian can conquer fearfulness.

The unbelieving. It is impossible to please God apart from faith. The righteous live by faith. To exercise faith is to place complete reliance on Christ so our whole life is resting on His wisdom and power.

Notice that the first two of the Ten Commandments have to do with placing our trust in God alone. Also, the first two sins that result in eternal torment in the Lake of Fire have to do with placing our trust in God alone.

The abominable. Today the world is full of abominations. The educational systems are teaching self-worship and self-indulgence. The physical body is being perverted and corrupted. Lust is a universal mental illness. Parents are refusing to exercise the patience and self-denial required to nurture children; and in some instances the children are controlling the household. Children are abused sexually by their parents. Fetuses are murdered before they come to term. Homosexuality, a sin condemned in both the Old Testament and New Testament, is being regarded as acceptable behavior. People are revolting against authority., All these are abominations in the sight of Almighty God.

The churches of today keep on telling the peoples of the world that God loves them. If the ministers of the Lord do not also warn the peoples of the world that they will be cast into the Lake of Fire if they do not cease these abominations, the ministers are false witnesses of Christ. The blood of millions will be on their heads.

The murderers. People are impatient. They demand their pleasures now. What they cannot get lawfully they will wrench by violence. They will kill those who stand in their way. Their father is the devil. So great is the wickedness of people today that human beings are being murdered before they are born. Such wild animals will not be unleashed so they can rend and tear the inhabitants of the holy city whether or not they profess the name of the Lord Jesus.

The whoremongers (lewd; adulterers). Adultery, fornication, and other forms of lustful behavior have attained epidemic proportions. All these are the worship of Satan and express his personality and works. The demons find release in the misconduct of humans but the humans suffer the consequences.

The appetite of demons for bodily lusts is the meaning of the curse on Satan: "dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life." The "dust" that the demons "eat" is the flesh of humans. Whenever lust is given free reign it eventually expresses itself in cannibalism.

All expressions of the spirits of lust bring damage to the human personality, producing loss of strength of character, silliness, foolishness, and also bodily illness. In addition, the family unit is destroyed. Lust is a mental illness. It destroys its slaves. Lust will not be allowed to enter the new Jerusalem.

The sorcerers. As Christ works through the Holy Spirit the believer slowly gains the right kind of spiritual control over the material creation. Those who seek spiritual control and power in any way other than through obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ open their personalities to spirits from Satan.

The wrath of God is directed toward any individual who becomes familiar with Satan, his angels, or demons. Once Satan is invited into the human personality it is difficult to persuade him to leave. If you choose Satan over Christ, God will give Satan to you.

The idolaters. Five of the major idols of today are as follows: lust, money ("mammon"), pleasure, sorcery, and violence. The television programs are occupied primarily with the displaying and adoring of these five demon gods.

The New Testament writings call particular attention to covetousness, the love of money, making money our god. 

Mortify [put to death] therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence [lust], and covetousness, which is idolatry: (Colossians 3:5)

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)

The Lord Jesus Christ warned us that we cannot serve two gods. Either we will serve the Lord God of Heaven, giving our time, attention, and energy to Him, or we will serve money, giving our time, attention, and energy to it. We have to make a choice.

In the days of the Lord Jesus there were many gods worshiped by the nations. The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians, as well as the other cultures, worshiped a myriad of gods. Jesus did not bother to mention any of these gods with the exception of one: mammon (money)—that historic enemy and competitor against the true God of Heaven. Jesus, Paul, and James warned us repeatedly that there is an important choice that men make: the service of God or the service of money.

There is no doubt in our mind that money, the love and service of it, is the mark of Antichrist. Money also may have much to do with the False Prophet who gives life to the image of Antichrist (Revelation 13:15).

The acquisition of wealth (the downfall of Balaam, Gehazi, Judas, and Ananias and Sapphira) has become the principal occupation of the civilization of our day. It was not always so. The spirit of money has crept up on us without our realizing it. Most professional services, medicine, education, law and so forth are performed primarily for the profit to be gained.

Even the Christian churches have entered the worship of money, the ministry teaching the people that money is the means of bringing Christ to the world, and an abundance of money is the sign the believer is Divinely blessed. The concept is, give money to the evangelist and God will bless you with money. We are being taught that the Kingdom of God operates by an abundance of money, just as is true of the world. Is this not the False Prophet who is to come? Is this not Babylon (man-directed Christianity)? Is this not Antichrist?

Can the witness of God proceed only in terms of the money available? Is an abundance of money, of things, the evidence of God’s blessing? Is this the spirit of truth or of deception?

Christ bore a witness that has shaken the world to this day. He did not do it with money. There is coming in our time another witness of God, but it will not be accomplished by money but by the Spirit of God. The meaning of the two lampstands of Revelation, Chapter 11 is: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6).

Let us not be deceived. There is an archenemy of God, a competitor for the worship of men. His name is money. You and I must make our choice whether to serve money or Christ. The rich young ruler made the wrong choice.

The idolaters, including the covetous (for covetousness is idolatry), will be cast into the Lake of Fire. The preoccupation with earning money, with banking, with interest, with the amassing of wealth, may seem to us like the normal manner in which people are supposed to live.

The fact is, preoccupation with money, the supplying of goods and performing of services because of the profit that is in it, is a hideous distortion of God’s plan for the nations of the earth.

One day goods and services will be supplied because of the benefit accruing to the recipients. People will live together in love and helpfulness. Mankind will be free to pursue worthy and uplifting goals. There will be no banks, no profit motive, no loaning money on interest, in the new Jerusalem. If there is some form of material wealth there will be no need to amass it. It will be used only for the betterment of all. The cursed spirit of covetousness will be tormented forever in the Lake of Fire; so will the people who do not forsake this spirit in the name of the Lord.

Let us ask Jesus to remove every trace of covetousness from us today. Then we will be prepared to enter through the gates into the holy city.

Notice what happens when the Lord Jesus overturns the tables of the moneychangers of Babylon: 

The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. (Revelation 18:15-19)

How the merchants and traders howled and wept and wailed. They were not concerned that the people of Babylon were in torment. They were not concerned that the power of God was being revealed in a manner that indicated His displeasure with mankind and that all nations of the earth should repent as did Nineveh.

They howled and wept and wailed because of the loss of their money, their means of acquiring wealth. So it is that the love of money pollutes every worthy human sentiment and aspiration just as garbage and dung pouring into a river foul and pollute the crystal-clear water.

The spirit of covetousness, of commerce, will not be allowed to enter through the gates into the holy city. This spirit will find its true and eternal home in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. So will all who love and worship it.

All liars. Satan is the father of all liars. The world today is filled with lying as people seek their own advantage. The love of money often leads to lying, as we see in the case of Gehazi, and Ananias and Sapphira. Christ Himself is the Truth. Those who love truth come to Christ. Those who prefer a lie do not enjoy the Presence of Christ.

The new Jerusalem is the center of government of the Kingdom of God. There is not one liar in it. How wonderful to dwell in a city where everyone tells the truth at all times!

It is interesting to note the close correspondence between the Ten Commandments (Exodus, Chapter 20), and the eight personalities assigned to eternal residence in the Lake of Fire. Sin is a transgression of the timeless moral law of God. Unbelief, murder, covetousness, lying, always are wrong. They never can abide in the Presence of God.

Current Christian doctrine holds that Divine grace is a means of evading the timeless moral law of God. This is not true. Divine grace forgives us and then enables us to purge ourselves of sin against the moral law of God. The believer in Christ will purge himself of sin, or he will repent when God punishes him for his sin, or he will be cast into the Lake of Fire. It is as clear as that.

The people who behave in the eight satanic ways listed above will have their part in the Lake of Fire along with Satan and his angels.

In contrast with these sinners are the peoples of the nations of the saved who are enjoying the new earth, and those who are part of the Wife of the Lamb and are beholding for eternity the Face of the Father.

When discussing the Lake of Fire the Scriptures do not raise the issue of doctrine. In the churches we fuss too much about doctrine, about theological belief, and not nearly enough about conduct. The difference in eternal destiny is not based on belief in the virgin birth or the correct viewpoint concerning the Trinity. The holding of correct theological beliefs will not gain us admittance to the new Jerusalem; neither will the lack of such beliefs result in our being cast into the Lake of Fire.

It is what we are in character that counts with God.

The difference in destiny is shown to be determined by the presence or absence of specific behaviors: fear, unbelief, abominations, murder, adultery, and so forth. By unbelief is meant unbelief in the faithfulness of God and in the promises of God, not lack of belief in theological statements.

When stating that doctrinal belief or lack of it will not determine our eternal destiny, we are not referring to living faith and belief, that is, the placing of our faith in Christ as our Saviour. Living faith is the basis of our salvation, and the second of the eight sinful behaviors is unbelief.

Rather we are referring to dead belief, that is, belief that is mental knowledge and not a personal relationship with the Son of God. Faith without works is dead.

The Scriptures state that if any man be in Christ there is a "new creature." Can we infer from this that if there is no new creature the believer is not "in Christ"? Can he be saved and not be in Christ? We only can be sure that our faith is a saving faith when we can observe a change in our personality from the likeness of Satan to the likeness of Christ.

The true saint is known by what he is in character, how he behaves in the presence of God and man. This is how we are to measure faith. The identifying mark of the Divine redemption is the appearance of a new creation in the moral image of Christ.

The inhabitants of the new Jerusalem will not be practicing sin and seeking continually to be forgiven. They will not be abiding in forgiveness but in holiness, righteousness, and obedience to God. No satanic behavior will be practiced in the holy city.

Perhaps all Christians would agree that the inhabitants of the new Jerusalem will be righteous in behavior, not sinful and rebellious people who are termed "righteous" because of their trust in the righteousness of Christ to save them.

Let us consider a covetous individual who, according to the Word of God, has no inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God (Colossians 3:5, Ephesians 5:5). He is an idolater, and the Scriptures prevent him from entering the new Jerusalem. They cast him into the Lake of Fire.

Let us say our covetous individual receives Christ and is baptized in water. He becomes a Christian. He still is covetous. (Such an individual is not difficult to find.)

His life, after he accepts Christ, is spent in acquiring wealth. He loves money. Money is his God. Yet he names the name of Christ.

We have said that no member of the Wife of the Lamb, or of the nations of the saved, is covetous. It is obvious that if he is to be saved and to enter the holy city he must be delivered from his covetousness.

Therefore the question is, what means has God provided for our deliverance from covetousness? We cannot escape the authority of the Lake of Fire until we have been delivered from covetousness.

Either that is true or else there are covetous people in the new Jerusalem or among the nations of saved peoples of the earth. That would be contrary to the Scriptures. 

At some point we must be healed of our sinning.

At what point are we delivered from covetousness? What do the Scriptures state about how, when, and where we are healed of covetousness?

Paul said, "No covetous man has any inheritance in the Kingdom of God" (Ephesians 5:5).

Was Paul speaking to unsaved people or to believers in Christ? Was Paul saying that the covetous will perish if they refuse to accept Christ as their Savior and Lord, or was he speaking to the Christian people in Ephesus and warning them that if they practiced covetousness they would have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God?

If Paul is speaking to the unsaved covetous, warning them that they must receive Christ because their covetousness is a sin that will keep them from the Kingdom of God, the surrounding verses should state something to the effect that once we receive Christ we shall enter the Kingdom in spite of our covetousness. They should make clear that we must accept Christ so we can enter the Kingdom of God whether or not we continue in covetousness.

If Paul is speaking to covetous saints, telling them they cannot enter the Kingdom of God if they are covetous, in spite of having believed on Christ, the surrounding verses should be in the form of a warning, directing the saints to put away their covetousness at once or they are in danger of losing their inheritance in Christ.

What about the context of Ephesians 5:5? Is the reader of the epistle being asked to receive Christ as His Savior, or is the reader of the epistle assumed to be a saint of the church in Ephesus who is being warned to cease his covetousness?

If the context is advising the saint to abandon his covetousness under the threat of losing his inheritance in the Kingdom of God, millions of Christian people in the world today do not understand the true character of the Christian redemption. 

But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. (Ephesians 5:3-7)

Taking into consideration its context, how would you interpret Ephesians 5:5? Is it assumed the reader is a saint? Is a believer being warned concerning his inheritance in the Kingdom of God?

The question we are pursuing concerns Revelation 21:8: Can an individual continue in his idolatry, his covetousness, and enter the new Jerusalem on the basis of his profession of belief in Christ? Can he escape the Lake of Fire on the basis of his assent to the Lordship of Jesus even though his character remains unchanged? Or is personality transformation the essential part of the Christian redemption, apart from which there can be no inheritance in the Kingdom of God?

Obviously this is an important issue in our time.

It is true that the Apostles of the Lamb preached simple faith in Christ, and water baptism, as the means of obtaining righteousness in the sight of God.

A review of the Book of Acts reveals that in addition to simple faith in Christ the apostles preached repentance. The apostles preached a turning away from the world. The apostles warned their hearers to flee from the wrath to come. In their epistles they showed their followers that the grace of God in Christ produces a change in behavior—a change that always must accompany the true salvation that is in Christ.

It appears today we have adopted one-half of the apostolic message. We are announcing the Good News that Christ died for our sins. But we are not preaching the whole message. We are not warning, men and women, boys and girls, that the true evidence of faith in Christ is a coming out from the ways of the world, that without such coming out, the faith being expressed is a dead faith.

One fact is certain: no human being will be raised from the dead and ascend to meet Christ as one of His kings and priests who continues in his or her worldly ways after receiving Christ as Savior and Lord.

Anyone who teaches that assent to and belief in the facts of Christ’s death and resurrection insures a glorious entrance into the Kingdom of God is wresting the Scriptures to his own destruction and the destruction of his hearers.

The demons understand perfectly that Christ died and rose again from the dead, and that He is "the holy one of God." Their understanding of these manifest facts does not produce a change in their nature. They remain as evil, as unclean, as rebellious, as wicked as ever (James 2:19).

If a human being understands perfectly that Christ died and rose again from the dead, but he remains as evil, as unclean, as rebellious, as wicked, as covetous as ever, the Apostle James would ask: "What doth it profit, my brothers, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? Can faith save him (James 2:14)?

Escape from the Lake of Fire and entrance through the gates of the new Jerusalem do not proceed from belief in and assent to the facts of the Christian redemption. Escape from the Lake of Fire and entrance through the gates of the new Jerusalem are the direct consequence of faith that lays hold on God to such an extent the Holy Spirit is enabled to produce a new creation in the personality.

It is the new creation, Christ formed in us, that escapes the Lake of Fire and enters through the gates into the city.

Since we all agree that "sin can never enter there," at what point, how, when, where, by what means, is the human being released from the sinful personality? Sometime, somewhere, somehow, if we are to be saved, God will have to change us so we will not bring our lusts and self-seeking into the new heaven and earth. If we are not changed, the new heaven and earth soon will be characterized by the corruption that is destroying the present world. We shall be back where we started from.

No doubt those who know the Scriptures would agree that we all shall be released from every vestige of wickedness and rebellion at the time of the Day of Redemption that will come with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Which is the earnest [pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14)

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)

It is clear that complete redemption from sin and death will come to the saints when the Lord Jesus appears from Heaven.

We have stated that we cannot continue sinful behavior in the new world, and also that there is a Day of Redemption coming. During the Day of Redemption Christ will reward the faithful with robes of righteousness—the robes of righteous conduct.

In addition we have stressed the Scriptures teach that a true faith results in godly works, and that if godly works are not forthcoming the "faith" is dead.

If these things are so, what we must determine is our present responsibility for godly behavior. To what extent are we obligated to live a godly life in this world if we are to be candidates for the redemption that is coming to the saints at the return of the Lord from Heaven?

First we note that the Lord Jesus preached three things: faith in Himself, righteous behavior, and the coming and nature of the Kingdom of God. He did not emphasize any one of these three concepts at the expense of the others. The Lord did not present faith in Himself as an alternative to righteous conduct. In fact, Christ placed great stress on our behavior, showing that at His return from Heaven He will severely punish those who practice iniquity. 

The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. (Luke 12:46)

Some are teaching today that the commandments of the Lord Jesus, given before His resurrection, are directed only at the Jews. This is truly a destructive teaching but it is consistent with the current understanding of the grace of God. It is a part of the wretched Dispensational concept that God deals with Jews differently than He does with Gentiles.

If it were true (which it assuredly is not!) that the words of the Lord Jesus are directed only at the Jews (how about people who are half-Jewish), what are we to do with the Lord’s statements about being born again? Is this addressed only to Jews? Or the commandment to abide in Him? Or the commandment to eat His flesh and drink His blood?

Or are the Jews the only ones who are to keep the Sermon on the Mount?

One wonders if such teachers have ever read the Bible? To remove the four Gospel accounts would be an awful loss for us Gentiles.

But let us continue with our discussion of the necessity for godly behavior.

A study of the Book of Acts will reveal that the Apostles preached faith in Christ, righteous behavior, and the coming and nature of the Kingdom of God. The Apostles stressed repentance. Paul’s words to the worldly Felix did not come as "good news." Felix trembled, because Paul was insisting he must repent or face the judgment of God. So throughout the Book of Acts.

The Epistles of Paul, of John, of Peter, of James, of the writer to the Hebrew saints, of Jude, thunder against the ungodly behavior of the believers in Christ. Did the writers of the Epistles assure the churches that all would be saved anyway, or did they warn the saints that those who did not press forward to the inheritance were in danger of dying in the wilderness? Read their writings and judge for yourselves.

What did Paul mean when he wrote to the churches that the believers in Christ cannot enter the Kingdom of God while they are practicing ungodly behavior? Did he mean that a person will perish unless he receives Christ as his Savior? Or did Paul mean that a believer in Christ cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless he stops sinning?

An example of Paul’s teachings is as follows: 

. . . they which do such things [the filthy works of the flesh] shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)

"Shall not inherit the kingdom of God."

Spoken to the Christians or to the unsaved?

If spoken to the Christian, then righteous behavior is a necessity for entering the Kingdom of God whether or not the individual professes faith in Christ.

If spoken to the unsaved, then it is possible the Christian can enter the Kingdom of God apart from righteous behavior. Also, if Paul is speaking to the unsaved, it is implied that if the unsaved cease their filthy behavior they can enter the Kingdom of God on this basis.

The determination of which concept is true must be made from a study of the context and from other relevant passages in the Scriptures.

Does the context suggest that Paul’s warnings are to the person who must receive Christ if he is to escape wrath, or are they directed toward the Christian who must cease sinning if he is to escape wrath?

As to Galatians 5:21, some of the surrounding verses state: 

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:24,25)

The above verses are in context with "they which do such things (adultery, fornication, idolatry, hatred) shall not inherit the kingdom of God." Obviously they are not addressed to non-Christians.

The Epistle to the Galatians is addressed to: "the churches of Galatia."

Is Paul speaking to the unsaved that they should accept Christ so they will not be lost? Or is Paul speaking to the Christians that if they do not walk in the Spirit, thereby overcoming the lusts of their bodies, they cannot enter the Kingdom of God?

It is clear from the context that Paul is speaking to the saints, the members of the churches of Galatia. He is directing them to crucify their flesh, to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the lusts of the flesh.

Therefore we conclude that a Christian cannot continue in the lusts of the flesh and at the same time enter the Kingdom of God. He cannot enter the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is for righteous spirits who have been made perfect. 

To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven [in the heavens], and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)

It appears from the Scriptures that we can be saved by faith in Christ and still be bound by various sins, just as Lazarus was raised from the dead at the Word of Christ but still was bound by graveclothes.

But the part of our personality that is sinning has not entered the Kingdom of God because there is no sin in the Kingdom of God. There is no sin in the holy city or it would not be holy. The Kingdom of God is the doing of God’s will in earth as it is in Heaven.

At what point are the graveclothes removed? At what point do we enter the Kingdom of God?

We who have received Christ believe God will save us and bring us into His Kingdom even though we have not obtained a full victory. No doubt this is true or who would be saved?

The interaction between God’s forgiveness through the blood of Christ, and the Kingdom of God, can be misinterpreted. It is possible to oversimplify this interaction, to overemphasize "grace." In so doing we wrest the Scriptures to our destruction.

It seems obvious that the current attitude toward the behavior of the believer, that he can act pretty much as he will and still enter the new Jerusalem, is not based solidly on the written Word of God.

We believe also that God will save many people who have not made a full success of the overcoming life; for we are confident that many weak believers are loved by the Lord and He will save them.

Again we ask, "At what point are the graveclothes of sin removed?"

In the early chapters of the Book of Romans, Paul teaches that we are saved by the free gift of God’s grace, through the blood of Christ. The doctrine of justification by faith is derived largely from these chapters. (Please keep in mind concerning the early chapters of Romans that Paul was not contrasting grace and righteous behavior but grace and the Law of Moses—an exceedingly important distinction that Gentile believers must keep firmly in mind.)

Then in many other parts of his writings, Paul holds the sinning Christian out of the Kingdom of God.

In addition James, Peter, John, and Jude insist that godly behavior is an integral part of salvation.

Perhaps the resolution of the seeming inconsistency regarding the importance of righteous behavior can be found in a clearer understanding of what the Kingdom of God is. A confused understanding of the Kingdom of God may result in our leading the kind of life that will result in loss at the coming of the Lord from Heaven.

It is not true that belief in Christ is a ticket to Heaven and that the Christian life consists in the main of our waiting to die and go to Heaven. Rather we are to be pressing into the Kingdom of God today. If we are not we may be naked in the Day of the Lord. We may be denied entrance into the new Jerusalem.

For a clarification of the Kingdom of God let us turn to the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John: 

Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. (John 6:27)

The Kingdom of God is bread. Entering the Kingdom of God is not primarily believing the facts about Christ but the continual eating of Christ. As we "eat" Christ we receive the Presence and knowledge of God, which are the basis of eternal life.

The Kingdom of God is "meat that endureth to everlasting life." Everlasting life is Christ-filled life. Christ-filled life always drives out covetousness. The Kingdom of God by its irresistible power drives out all covetousness and all the other works of the flesh. No Christ-filled person is covetous. The Life of Christ and covetousness cannot dwell in the same place.

The references in the Scripture to "eating Christ" are not figurative expressions meaning we are to regard Christ’s statements as true. They indicate rather that we through the Holy Spirit continually are to be receiving Christ, the Life of Christ, into our personality so we are being transformed actually and observably. The transformation is the result of the coming of the Kingdom of God into our personality.

The confusion arises over our definition of eternal life. Eternal life does not mean we go to Heaven and live forever. Eternal life is the Divine Life of the Godhead that enters us today and transforms us.

John says: "Ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him" (I John 3:15). John does not mean by this that a murderer cannot receive Christ and be saved and go to Heaven. He means if we hate our brother we know that we do not have the eternal Life of Christ in us.

To have eternal life does not mean to go to Heaven. Eternal life is the Substance of Christ that enters us and transforms our personality. This Substance is the Kingdom of God.

Many who make a doctrinally pure profession of Christ and His atonement possess no eternal life whatever. They are filled with Satan, not with Christ. How do we know this? From their behavior. If we have eternal Divine Life in us it will be revealed in our thinking, our speech, and our actions. If however we have the life of Satan in us it will be revealed in our thinking, our speech, and our actions. No believer who hates his brother has eternal life in himself regardless of his church affiliation or statement of belief. Unless he repents, the believer in Christ who hates his brother is a child of Satan, a tare, and will be removed from the Kingdom of God in the last days. 

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)

The above has been interpreted to mean if we hear and believe the Gospel of the atonement and believe in God we will go to Heaven when we die regardless of our behavior on earth.

It means rather that if we truly "hear" the Word of Christ and believe in God, the Holy Spirit will breathe incorruptible resurrection life into us. We will be born again of the Spirit of God.

If we then continue to walk in the Spirit the blood continues to cleanse us. We grow in eternal life, gaining more Divine Life each day. Slowly but surely our personality is transformed. A new creation comes into being, a holy creation that can enter through the gates into the New Jerusalem. Meanwhile we are without condemnation because we are obeying the Gospel of God.

The Kingdom of God is not a place, such as Heaven. The Kingdom of God is the new creation formed by Christ being created in us. The new creation, the transformed personality, is the Kingdom of God. The Father and the Son have their eternal throne in those who keep the Words of Christ. Of such is the new Jerusalem that comes down from God out of Heaven.

If we put our trust in Christ and do what He tells us to do we will go to Paradise when we die. But this is not the Kingdom of God, neither is it eternal life. The Kingdom of God and eternal life are the new creation that is formed by the increase of Christ in us. 

Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe in him whom he hath sent. (John 6:29)

The above verse would appear to support the belief that if an individual professes faith in Christ he has performed the requirements of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, insuring his entrance into the new Jerusalem. The verses that follow reveal such is not the case.

The setting of John 6:29 is not that of Gentiles who are being instructed to profess belief in Christ so they will go to Heaven when they die. The setting is that of Jews who were debating in their minds whether to follow Moses or Christ.

Whenever Jesus or Paul spoke of "works," as opposed to "faith," they were referring to the works of the Law of Moses. They were teaching that Christ has come and we are not to labor under the Law as though He had not come.

We Gentiles, not having had the experience of trying to save ourselves by keeping the Law of Moses, have interpreted the statements of Jesus and of Paul to mean righteous behavior is of little consequence in the Christian salvation, in the Kingdom of God. (Somehow we must know in ourselves this cannot be, but religion has a tendency to pervert our conscience and common sense!)

Because of our misunderstanding of the term works we have, on the one hand, Paul instructing us that redemption is the free gift of God apart from "works." On the other hand, Paul is keeping us from the Kingdom of God if we are covetous.

The answer to the seeming contradiction is that by "works" Paul means the works of the Law of Moses, including circumcision (see the Book of Galatians, for example, where we have Paul rejecting the Law of Moses while at the same time demanding righteous behavior through the Spirit of God).

We can enter the Kingdom of God without observing the ordinances of Judaism. We cannot enter the Kingdom of God without observing the eternal moral law of God—the law that condemns adultery, stealing, and covetousness.

A person cannot earn God’s approval by overcoming covetousness, or any other sin, by his own efforts, leaving Christ hanging vainly on the cross of Calvary. However, the Scriptures in many places, both Old Testament and New Testament, do reveal that God recognizes the righteous works of people. The "alms" of Cornelius are an example—Acts 10:4.

Both Jesus and Paul taught us that we cannot satisfy God’s requirements for righteousness by adhering to Moses, now that Christ has come.

What follows our receiving of Christ, our eating of Christ?

The result of eating Christ is that the Kingdom of God enters us and we are changed. Covetousness and the other works of the flesh are cast from us.

If any man actually is dwelling in Christ and Christ in him, a new creation is emerging. The Kingdom of God is being created in him. If no new creation is emerging, the Kingdom of God is not being created in him. He is not dwelling in Christ no matter how much he professes faith in Christ.

That is what Paul meant when he stated that no covetous individual has any inheritance in the Kingdom of God and of Christ, and what John meant when he said no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

The Kingdom of God is not adherence to any set of religious beliefs whether Jewish or Christian. No person can enter the new Jerusalem on the basis of belief in a creed. The Kingdom of God is the new creation. 

For in Christ neither circumcision [Jewish beliefs] availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision [Gentile beliefs], but a new creature. (Galatians 6:15)

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

What does Jesus mean by saying, "Cometh to me"? He means every day in our deeds, our words, and our thoughts, we "come" to Christ. We feed on the risen Christ continually. He becomes All in all to us.

As Christ becomes All in all to us, the hunger of our soul for righteousness is satisfied and then enlarged. The Kingdom of God increases in us. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life gradually are driven out by the power of the Kingdom of God growing in us. 

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)

Christ’s flesh is the eternal Life of God. Christ’s blood is the eternal Life of God. The living Word has become flesh.

As we, each day of our discipleship, keep on pressing into the eternal Life that is in the flesh and blood of Christ, we are enabled through its Divine Virtue and power to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. 

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (II Peter 1:4)

It is not the promises that enable us to escape the lusts of the world, although they certainly help. Rather, the task of the promises of Scripture is to bring us to the Divine Nature, to Christ. It is the Divine Nature working in us that drives the lust from our personality.

"I will raise him up at the last day." Several times in the sixth chapter of John, Jesus speaks of His raising us up from the dead in the last day. Therefore we understand that the resurrection from the dead is associated with eating the flesh of Christ and drinking His blood.

Who will be raised to meet the Lord in the clouds when He appears? It is those who continually are receiving into themselves His flesh and His blood. This is because our eternal life, that which will lift us from among the dead at His appearing and His Kingdom, consists of His body and blood.

The body and blood of Christ are the resurrection Life that dwells in us.

When the "carcass" of the slain Lamb comes down from Heaven to the clouds above the surface of the earth, those who live by feeding on the body and blood of the slain Lamb will be raised by the body and blood that are dwelling in them. Life will call to Life. The body and blood will raise us up.

If we are not living by the body and blood, that is, if we merely are making a profession of Christ while continuing to live in the flesh, in our coveting, lusting, hatred, fleshly pleasures, we will not be raised to meet Him when He appears. We will not participate in the redemption that will remove the last vestiges of sin and corruption from the saints.

It is not that Christ will prevent us from rising to meet Him.

Rather it is that the Life, the Oil, is not in us. There is nothing in us to raise us up to meet the Lord. Even if He called our name there still is nothing there but the spiritually dead life of the flesh. We are not prepared for His coming. It is we who are unable to respond to the call. It is not possible for flesh and blood to enter the Kingdom of God. 

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. (John 6:56)

"Dwelleth in me, and I in him."

Notice carefully: 

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians 4:16)

"Dwelleth in me." "The dead in Christ."

Only those who have died in Christ will rise from the dead at the sound of the trumpet of God, insuring their entrance into the new Jerusalem.

Therefore, the all-important question is, what does it mean to be "in Christ"?

If to be "in Christ" means to assent to the facts of His atoning death and triumphant resurrection, then righteous behavior is not necessary for entrance into the new Jerusalem.

If being "in Christ" means we are dwelling in and participating in His Divine Life so that the world is being driven from our personality, then righteous, holy, and obedient conduct is the evidence that we are prepared for entrance into the holy city. In that case, Revelation 21:8 stands as written, applying to both non-Christians and Christians alike. 

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (I John 2:6)

. . . because as he is, so are we in this world. (I John 4:17)

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57)

"He that eateth me, even he shall live by me."

Whoever is living by Jesus is not living in covetousness. Those who are living in covetousness have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God.

Whoever is living in the lusts of the flesh is not abiding "in Christ." It is clear that he will not be raised when the trumpet of God sounds. He has no guarantee of entrance into the new Jerusalem even though he professes belief in Christ.

Paul instructed each of us clearly: "If you live in the appetites of the flesh, you shall die." If the believer in Christ chooses to live in the flesh rather than in the Spirit of God he prevents his own participation in the first resurrection. He kills his own resurrection.

If any person be in Christ there is a new creation. The new creation is the Kingdom of God, the new Jerusalem. It is the new creation that will be raised from the dead to meet the Lord in the air at His coming.

All persons at one time or another will come forth from the grave, whether or not they are Christians. 

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation [judgment]. (John 5:28,29)

The issue is not whether we shall come forth from the grave, the issue is what kind of resurrection we shall have.

What about the believer in Christ who practices covetousness after he receives Christ, never gaining the victory over it? Paul states that he has no inheritance in the Kingdom of God. What will be true of this believer when he is raised from the dead? 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

Let us suppose this particular Christian has served the Lord in many areas, but the love of money has continued to be a powerful force in his life and seriously affects his behavior while in the body.

He is called from the grave by the voice of Christ. His personality is revealed for himself to see. He is a covetous person.

"The things done in his body". He has practiced covetousness, and this idolatry has prevented him from growing much past the starting point of believing on Christ. He has not contributed of his means as he should and his covetousness has impaired his service to the Lord.

Covetousness has shaped his personality. The leavening power of Christ has been hindered from its work of transformation. He has harmed many people in business transactions. He passes at death into the spirit realm as a professed believer but a covetous personality.

The endowments of authority and power that bring status and abilities in the Kingdom of God are denied him because he has not overcome his covetousness. According to II Corinthians 5:10 he will receive the reward of covetousness. He is in danger of being cast into outer darkness.

If the reader should think this too harsh he need only think about the following: 

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)

Not the unbeliever, the "unprofitable servant."

Now the full authority of Christ comes into play. It is Christ’s decision, and His alone, whether this man is granted eternal life or is cast into outer darkness. Christ has been given all authority of judgment by the Father. He has authority over all flesh, and gives eternal life to whom He will. (We see this full authority exercised in the case of the thief on the cross, whom Jesus took with Him to Paradise.)

If Christ judges the individual to be worthy of the Kingdom of God he will be brought forward to eternal life in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. If Christ decides that the individual is not worthy of the Kingdom of God, and blots his name from the Book of Life, he will have his part in the Lake of Fire.

In the Day of Redemption, Christ will complete the work of deliverance for whomever He will. There is no way of appealing the decision of Christ. The Father has given Him all authority in Heaven and on the earth.

The Scripture does not say in vain: 

Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (Psalms 2:10-12)

It is not that the Lord willingly keeps us from the glory of the Kingdom. It is that we ourselves allow the things of the world to prevent our pursuit of the Kingdom. It is we who judge ourselves unworthy of eternal life.

If someone gave us a valuable horse which, if properly trained, would be worth many thousands of dollars, and we allowed the horse to starve to death, we could not rightfully claim that someone took away our gift because we allowed the horse to die.

So it is in the Kingdom of God. If we slay our own resurrection life by allowing the things of the world to choke out the Divine Life that has been planted in us, we cannot then say Christ kept us from the glory of the Kingdom. The truth is, we kept ourselves from the Kingdom, not being able to rise when the trumpet sounds because of our lack of spiritual life. In this manner we demonstrated that we are not worthy of the Kingdom of God, not having been willing to suffer for it (II Thessalonians 1:5).

The kind of resurrection we will experience depends on how we behave ourselves in this world. If we are a true lover of Christ, allowing the Holy Spirit to mold us in the image of Christ, we will reap the fullness of Christ in the Day of the Lord.

If we are an evil person (and many professing Christians are evil in their behavior) we will reap an evil resurrection. In that Day we shall receive back the evil we have practiced. As we have done, so shall it be done to us.

The story of the rich man and Lazarus is a description of the law of equity that will operate in the Day of the Lord. It will operate independently of our belief in Christ.

The law of the Kingdom of God is that we receive back the things done in our body. We will reap what we sow. This principle cannot be changed. The blood of the Lord Jesus makes it possible for us to be spared in the Day of Wrath, provided we walk in the Spirit of God. Nevertheless, in the Day of Christ we shall reap what we have sown (Galatians 6:7; Revelation 22:12).

We will not, however, receive the evil we have done if we confess the evil and turn away from it sincerely and permanently, as the Lord helps us.

If we would "enter in through the gates into the city," we are required to do what Christ has told us. It is in the doing of the Lord’s commandments each day of our life that the Kingdom of God is formed in us, that we build our house on the rock. 

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

It is the doing of Christ’s commandments, such as taking up our cross and following Him, that gives us access to the tree of life, and allows us to go through the gates into the city.

We have seen, in Revelation 21:8, the categories of people who will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. We have been introduced to the concept that Christ will purge us of our remaining weaknesses in the Day of Redemption provided we have kept His commandments in the world, having been faithful to overcome the sins He has pointed out to us.

Our confession of faith in Christ is not a password by which the angel will permit us to pass through the gates. God never intended that a profession of faith in Christ would serve as an alternative to keeping the laws of righteousness. It is what we have become, the transformed personality, the new creation, that gains entrance through the gates into the city.

Christ is the One who, coming into our heart, transforms us from within. The old passes away. The new creation is brought into being.

When the angel beholds Christ in us he will allow us to pass into the new Jerusalem. He will not question our doctrine, just as the Lord Jesus does not, in the Gospel accounts, ever present Himself as questioning peoples’ doctrine when He returns.

When the angel sees Christ in us he will allow us to enter the city because in Christ there is no fear, but courage; no unbelief, but faith; no abomination, but righteousness; no murder, but love; no immorality, but purity; no sorcery, but obedience to God; no idolatry, but the worship of the one true God; no lie, but transparent truth.

The Kingdom of God does not come by observation, at least not now. It is in us if Christ is being formed in us. The Kingdom of God is not primarily a place, it is a state of being. If Christ-filled saint is in Heaven, the Kingdom of God is in Heaven. If Christ-filled saint is on the earth, the Kingdom of God is on the earth.

When Christ returns to earth He will bring the Kingdom with Him. The Kingdom He will bring will be revealed from within the saints whom He brings with Him; for the Kingdom has been created in their personalities. It is the revealing of the sons of God that will release the creation into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

Today the Kingdom of God must be entered by the determined efforts of the saint. Determined effort is required because Satan, the world, the believer’s lusts and self-will, and sometimes his fellow believers—all conspire against the individual as he seeks to be filled with Christ in every area of his personality.

We have to strive to enter through the narrow gate. We have to labor to enter the rest of God. Anyone who believes our pilgrimage, our race, our battle, consists in the main of a statement of belief has never set out to follow the Master.

Rewards of eternal life, authority, power, status, abilities, and opportunities for service will be granted to the hardy few who put forth the effort that is necessary if one is to enter the Kingdom of God in the present hour.

Let us make the distinction once more.

To be "saved" is to receive by faith the atoning blood and personal Lordship of Christ, and to be baptized in water as a sign of leaving the spirit of the present age and entering the realm of God’s dear Son.

Being saved makes us eligible to move forward into the life, authority, and power of the Kingdom of God, including the first resurrection from the dead. The first resurrection from the dead is the resurrection of God’s judges, kings, and priests. It is this resurrection that Paul was striving to attain (Philippians 3:11; Revelation 20:4-6).

The Christian people, in many instances, are waiting for the Lord to return from Heaven so they may enter the "Kingdom of God," which they have made synonymous with Paradise. In the meantime, many of them are slaying their own resurrection by living in the flesh.

We are to be entering the Kingdom of God today, through much tribulation, so when Jesus returns it will be made manifest that we indeed have entered the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of God eternally is in us.

The Kingdom of God is in us if Christ is being formed in us. It is the Kingdom that will be caught up to meet the Lord in the clouds, that is, the kings and priests, the nobility, of the Kingdom. It is not the flesh and blood people who have made a profession of Christ who will be caught up to meet the Lord in the clouds, but the rulership of the Kingdom.

It is the new creation created in the victorious saints that will be caught up in the first resurrection. This is why the Apostle John, when he beheld in vision the first resurrection from the dead, declared: "I saw thrones (Revelation 20:4)."

It is the Kingdom that is the "oil" in Jesus’ parable of the five wise and five foolish virgins (Matthew 25:1-13).

To "eat of the tree of life" is to gain resurrection life in the body; for that is what was lost by Adam and Eve when they were driven from the garden of Eden.

The way of the tree of life is guarded by mighty cherubim and by a flaming sword that turns every way. In order to eat of the tree of life we are required to overcome Satan, the world, our lusts and self-will, and sometimes the churches. The sword turns "every way." No person who has sin in his personality ever will be able to pass the cherubim and the flaming sword, ever will gain eternal life in his body. 

. . . To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)

Eating of the tree of life is associated with entering through the gates into the new Jerusalem. 

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

To overcome is to gain the strength to do what Christ has said.

We gain acceptance in the sight of God by receiving the atonement Christ has made on the cross of Calvary. God forgives our sins and casts the memory of them behind His back.

We enter the Kingdom of God, into the new Jerusalem, by conquering through the grace of Christ the sin that comes against us constantly.

We cannot enter the city of God while we are unclean and practicing abominations. 

And there shall in no wise enter it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27)

In order to enter the city we must be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If we are to remain in the Lamb’s Book of Life we must be an overcomer. 

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)

To overcome is to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness until the Words of Christ are kept and performed in spite of the pressures of Satan, the spirit of the world, and our lusts and self-will. The Holy Spirit gives the wisdom and strength that enable us to overcome.

To be overcome is to yield to sin, not gaining the victory over it. 

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 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. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (II Peter 2:19-21)

"They are entangled therein, and overcome."

The Kingdom of God is the "way of righteousness." It is the "holy commandment."

If we receive Christ, and then are overcome by "the pollutions of the world," we are as a dog "turned to his own vomit again" (II Peter 2:22).

The "way of righteousness" is the way of the Kingdom of God. As Christ is formed in us we are able to overcome the enemy, who continually strives to keep us from our inheritance, from the rest of God.

The Kingdom of God is like a net let down into the sea. All sorts of creatures come up when the net is drawn in. In the Day of the Lord the angels will separate each creature into its kind. Then the righteous will shine as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.

When we receive Christ we have the Door to the Kingdom of God. It is what we do from then on that determines whether our name will remain in the Lamb’s Book of Life; and if it remains, what status and abilities we shall possess in the Kingdom of God.

Some will be saved but beaten with many stripes because they did not do their Lord’s will. Not all who are saved will be kings and priests of God.

He who overcomes the obstacles placed before him will inherit all things. Best of all, God will be his God, and he will be God’s son.

No person who is lusting, or lying, or stealing can enter the holy city while he still has these tendencies. It is only as the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit enter us and dwell in us that these behaviors finally and forever are crushed and driven from our personality.

Only Christ can drive them out, setting us free from sin and filling us with the Life and Presence of the God of Heaven. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God to us, the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven.

If we do not allow Christ to drive from us the fear, the unbelief, the abominations, the murder, the immorality, the sorcery, the idolatry, the lying, we will have our part in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. God will allow none of these behaviors to remain in His Presence. If we hold onto them we exclude ourselves from the Presence of God.

People attempt to bring such behaviors into the Presence of God. They bring their unbelief and idolatry to the church assembling because of their unwillingness to surrender to the Holy Spirit these areas of their personalities. This is why the Presence of God often is minimal among the believers. Light can have no fellowship with darkness.

In the ages to come, people who practice sin and disobedience to God, whether or not they choose to term themselves "Christian," will not be allowed to gather together with the saints in the Presence of God.

Today, sin and righteousness are mixed together. But the Light of Christ has come to the world and God shall separate the Light from the darkness.

In the Kingdom of God, all things are moving toward definition. What is holy is being emphasized as holy. What is filthy is being emphasized as filthy. It is the Light of Christ that brings definition and emphasis.

The adversary hates the Light. Sinners hate the Light. Every person who practices a lie avoids the Light, attempting to keep all matters in a gray area of confusion. 

Gray is a mixture of black and white. God does not like mixtures. He is bringing everything to definition, grouping like with like, kind with kind, saint with saint, sinner with sinner. When things are separated into their kinds they can be named for what they are. Then they can be judged as good or evil. That which is lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, neither good nor evil, will not be accepted by the Lord.

Christ loves the Light of God and comes to it readily. He is the Light!

The true saint loves the light and embraces it.

Satan and sinners avoid the light. Sin always creates confusion and every evil work. God is not the author of confusion.

Today, saints, hypocrites, and outright sinners assemble in the same church building and "worship" God.

Tomorrow the saints will be part of the glorious holy city, the new Jerusalem. The Light of Christ will be seen in them. Those who turn many people to righteousness will shine as the stars forever.

All hypocrites and sinners will have their part in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. Thus, all parts of the creation will come to definition and clarity so that God’s creatures will understand His will perfectly. 

. . . shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and sulfur: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)

The use of a lake as the eternal residence of sinners seems strange. Yet there is something appropriate about it. Evidently the lake of fire and sulfur is a clear lake because the righteous can look at the bodies of those who have rebelled against their Creator. 

For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (Isaiah 66:22-24)

We think of a lake as a place of refreshing. However, this lake is the area of eternal torment reserved for Satan and his angels and for all who love and worship Satan.

The term "carcases" can be translated dead bodies; corpses; flesh. As we said previously, all human beings will be resurrected. All will stand in their bodies before God.

The righteous will attain varying degrees of glorification of their bodies depending on the faithfulness with which they seek Christ in this life. The physical body will be preserved, being swallowed up by incorruptible life.

In like manner the bodies of the wicked will be preserved. They will be preserved in the Lake of Fire. The members of the Kingdom of God will be able to go to the Lake of Fire and "look upon" the dead bodies, at the flesh of those who have sinned against God. It is a perpetual cremation in which the bodies are not consumed. It appears that the Lake of Fire will be worse by far than any nightmare any human being has experienced. 

And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. (Luke 16:24)

"Cool my tongue." "I am tormented in this flame."

The rich man was suffering as though still in his body, as though he still possessed a tongue. He was experiencing eternal death.

What will it be like in the future to look into the waters of the Lake of Fire and see the famous murderers of history moving about in the flames, glancing up and shaking their fists at us? What if we see in the shimmering blue fire that gives off the choking smell of sulfur an actor or television personality whose antics amused us in the world, or maybe a school classmate, friend, or relative? If such a sight would cause us to wish we had lived differently, let us make the change now; for that hour surely will come to us in the future.

The horrors of the Lake of Fire are beyond our powers of imagination.

Whoever considers the reality of the Lake of Fire, and yet does not gain enough of the fear of God in himself or herself to begin to serve Christ in this world, turning away from sin, is a fool. He or she needs to cry out to God night and day until the fear of God comes into his or her personality. That day is coming to all. It surely shall come!

Our human compassion is aroused at the thought of a man or woman being confined to burning sulfur forever. Yet we know that one sinner can destroy much good. The agonized wails of unnumbered millions of people have filled the earth for six thousand years because of the single disobedience of Adam and Eve. One rebel released from the Lake of Fire would destroy the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

No doubt we shall discover, as we approach the end of the age, that evil spirits will attempt to persuade people that God should relent and not compel Satan and his followers to remain in torment for eternity. We always must keep in mind that the Word of the Father cannot be broken, that the Father always is perfectly righteous in His judgments, and that spirits do not change.

If Satan, or a person who has become part of Satan’s personality, were to be released after a million years in the Lake of Fire, he would set out immediately to persuade people that it is not necessary to obey God in every detail. Thus the ancient rebellion would be perpetuated.

There will be no sea of people in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ but there will be a lake filled with people. The lake will serve for eternity as a reminder to all God’s creatures that the Father is to be obeyed. Because a spirit can never be dissolved once it has come into being, sinful spirits will exist throughout eternity, being confined in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

As we look about us in the churches today we can observe that many—perhaps most—of those who name the name of Christ are in rebellion against the Father’s will. They are careless about resisting sin and they refuse to lay down their lives for Christ’s sake and the Gospel.

In their present condition, many of the believers in Christ are more suited for the Lake of Fire than they are for the holy city, the new Jerusalem.

To make a profession of Christ is not to be granted perpetual immunity to the second death, as some suppose. Rather, Christ is the means God has provided so that through Him we may be able to overcome the personality of Satan and in this manner escape the second death. 

. . . He that overcometh shall not be hurt of [be harmed by] the second death. (Revelation 2:11)

It is appointed to man once to die and after that he will be judged. If he is found to be unworthy of the Kingdom of God he will be cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death.

The second death, the Lake of Fire has authority over all sin and rebellion against God. Every individual, Christian or not, who has dwelling in him any form of sin or rebellion against God is in jeopardy of the second death. The second death has authority over the sin that dwells in his personality.

The Lake of Fire continues to have authority over the personality of the individual until all sin and rebellion have been overcome and cast out. The second death has no authority over the victorious saint, over the believer who attains the first resurrection from the dead (Revelation 20:6).

Revelation 2:11 states that the overcomer will not be hurt by the second death. The implication is clear that the Christian who is not leading a victorious life is in danger of being hurt by the second death, that is, by the Lake of Fire. The dangers involved when we do not serve Christ fervently are much greater than commonly is taught.

Our careless attitude toward the Words of Christ in the Gospels, and in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation, have left multitudes of Christians unprepared for the Day of Christ. Hopefully God will do something to shake the churches, to awaken them to the truth of the Scriptures. If He does not, the coming of Christ will bring to many professed Christians the terrible consequences of sin and disobedience to God.

The Kingdom of God is first, righteousness. There exists only righteousness in the Kingdom of God. Before we receive Christ we behave unrighteously. After we receive Christ, the Holy Spirit begins to correct our behavior. The Spirit brings us into the righteous behavior found in the Kingdom of God.

The result of the righteous behavior of the Kingdom of God is peace. The result of Kingdom peace is joy. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy—all through the Holy Spirit.

The Kingdom of God is not in the words of teaching, it is in the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, the power of the Spirit of God. This power separates the disciple from the person and works of Satan and enables him to embrace God and the works of truth and righteousness.

The result of our transformation into the image of Christ is escape from the authority of the second death. 

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)

So terrible in its authority and power is the Lake of Fire that death and Hell, which evidently are spirits, are cast into it. 

And death and hell were cast into the Lake of Fire. This is the second death. (Revelation 20:14)

Every human being who lives on the earth will be judged by Christ. The judgment always will be righteous and merciful.

God is love. God alone is good.

The Words of Christ concerning Divine wrath and judgment are so fierce that many "believers" of today cannot bear to hear them preached. However, they shall be preached in the last days and every one of them shall come to pass as they are written.

A truly fearful fate awaits the lazy, indifferent "believer."

The sum of what we have said concerning Revelation 21:8 is this: our confession that Christ is Savior and Lord is not a "trick" by which we are able to avoid the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping, by which we are allowed to escape the Lake of Fire and enter the new Jerusalem in our sins and self-will.

The true redemption that is in Christ brings to us forgiveness from our sins. Then the grace of God begins to unwrap from our personality the graveclothes of sin and death.

The extent to which any individual has entered the Kingdom of God, the amount of eternal Life he possesses, can be seen in what he is and what he does.

It is taught commonly that the Kingdom of God consists of two extremes: status as a king and priest of God or eternal torment in the Lake of Fire. Part of this philosophy is the concept that all who are saved receive basically the same reward.

It is our point of view that this is not true. It appears, rather, there is a variety of opportunities for service and glory in the Kingdom and also an assortment of punishments.

The Lake of Fire is more than a punishment. It is the maximum sentence. It is eternal separation from our Creator without hope of reconciliation.

Jesus mentioned there are greatest and least in the Kingdom, and also that some will be beaten with many stripes and some with few.

Outer darkness is not the Lake of Fire because indifferent Christians who are alive on the earth when the Lord comes are cast into outer darkness at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. As we understand it, no persons other than Antichrist and the False Prophet are put into the Lake of Fire at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

(We recognize that the goat nations, of Matthew, Chapter 25 are led away to the fiery Gehenna, and that this very well may take place at the coming of the Lord, at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. It may be true, however, that the sheep and goat judgment will take place in front of the white throne, at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.)

Some Christian churches give the impression that all persons who have lived on earth, with the exception of their group, will be given the maximum sentence—they will be assigned to the unimaginable horrors of the Lake of Fire. We believe God will forgive these churches for such an attitude because they do not perceive what an enormous miscarriage of justice this would be.

It seems, rather, that at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, only the kings and priests of the Kingdom of God will be raised from the dead and ascend to meet the Lord in the air. This is the first resurrection from the dead, the goal of the Apostle Paul.

At the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age will come the general judgment, the judgment of all persons except the rulers and judges of the Kingdom, who were raised at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

At the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, Jesus and His saints will sit in judgment on His white throne. This is the Judgment Seat of Christ before which all human beings are revealed.

At the general judgment, each human being will be evaluated carefully. Only those whose names are not in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire.

The phrasing of Revelation 20:15 suggests those who are thrown into the Lake of Fire are the exception, that the majority are brought into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

We believe God will work with each human being until he repents, or until it becomes obvious the person will never change. Only then will God assign him to the lake from which there is no return.

There are people who will never repent no matter how severely they are chastened. We trust that such are a small minority; for the Lake of Fire is a fate dreadful beyond human understanding.

The common teaching that every saved person will rise in the first resurrection does not fit the vision of Revelation 20:4-6. The common teaching that every person who appears at the general judgment of Revelation 20:11-15 will be cast into the Lake of Fire does not fit squarely with the description contained in those verses.

The teaching that all believers will rise to meet the Lord in the air at His coming is part of a theological framework that is hammered down over such verses in an attempt to substantiate theology. It does not fit. It does not flow with the whole counsel of the Scripture.

In the Kingdom of God there is a wide range of rewards and punishments. Every person is recompensed according to what he has done. The maximum glory is to be seated with Christ in His throne. The maximum punishment is eternal banishment from the Presence of our Creator to a place of terrifying torment.

The lesson we can learn from the above discussion of the Lake of Fire is that our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, did not come from Heaven so that liars, sorcerers, and adulterers may escape the Lake of Fire and enter Paradise with the righteous. Such waiving of the authority of the dreadful lake is not what redemption is, although it is commonly taught as such.

Redemption is the deliverance of the believer from lying, sorcery, and adultery so that the lake has no more claim over his personality. Until he, through Christ, is able to overcome lying, sorcery, and adultery, he cannot partake of the tree of life (gain immortality in the body). He cannot enter through the gates into the holy city. He cannot be free from the threat of the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. The Word of God stands true throughout eternity and cannot be changed in any manner. 

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of [be harmed by] the second death [the Lake of Fire]. (Revelation 2:11) 

And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. (Revelation 21:9)

"The bride, the Lamb’s wife"! This is the Church, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem.

The new Jerusalem is the center of government of the Kingdom of God. The King of the Kingdom of God is Christ. The Bride, the Lamb’s Wife, the wife of the King, is the queen of the Kingdom of God. 

Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. (Psalms 45:9)

"The queen in gold of Ophir."

There is only one Wife of the Lamb, only one "queen" of the Kingdom of God. 

There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. (Song of Solomon 6:8,9)

Our point of view is that the "queen" of Psalms 45:9 indeed is the Wife of the Lamb. The two verses following seem to bear this out: 

Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him. (Psalms 45:10,11)

No doubt the Apostle Paul was meditating on "forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house" when he wrote: "forgetting those things which are behind" (Philippians 3:13).

In the New Testament the Holy Spirit never refers to the Wife of the Lamb as the queen of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is King of kings but His Wife is never referred to as a queen.

How does the Lord refer to His Church, His complement, His fullness?

The Wife of the Lamb is spoken of in the following terms: the Church, the elect, the saints, the sons of God, the royal priesthood, the woman clothed with the sun, him who overcomes, the new Jerusalem, the tabernacle of God, the Body of Christ.

In the present paper we do not, as in some of our other writings, make a distinction between the firstfruits of the Church and the entire Church. There is a firstfruits of the Church, as we understand it, that will be revealed with the Lord Jesus at His appearing (Revelation 14:4). But by the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age the entire Church will be the Wife of the Lamb, and the firstfruits who now are being called out from the Church will be pillars of the new Jerusalem and a wall of defense protecting the holy city.

The term "church" means that the Wife of the Lamb has been called out from the nations of the earth. She has not been called out in order to be saved from Hell, as so often is taught, but called out in order to be a royal priesthood of God. The purpose of the Church is to bring the Presence, Word, and will of God to the nations of the saved.

"Elect" signifies the choosing by the Lord of the members of the Wife of the Lamb, and has to do also with the predestination of the Wife, with her being chosen from the creation of the world.

"Saints" speaks of the holiness of the Wife—that she is free from evil spirits and filled with the Holy Spirit of God.

"Sons of God" indicates that the Wife of the Lamb has been born of God the Father, that the members of the Bride are God’s offspring.

"Royal priesthood" shows that the Wife comprises the nobility of the Kingdom, and that these will stand before God and govern the nations of the earth throughout the ages to come. They are God’s servants who will reign over the earth forever.

A woman "clothed with the sun" speaks of the Glory of Christ covering His Wife, covering the Church, and that from her is born Christ in the saints—the Son, the ruler of all nations with a rod of iron.

"Him who overcomes" reveals that the Wife consists of those who through Christ’s grace have conquered every enemy that has risen up against them. They have not yielded to any foe. They have not stopped at any obstacle.

The victorious saints always are addressed as individuals (him who overcomes) because victory can be attained only through means of an intense, prolonged interaction between Christ and the individual believer. The fellowship of the saints is necessary if we are to be a victorious saint, but overcoming always is an individual matter.

"The new Jerusalem" portrays the Wife of the Lamb as a great city which governs and illumines all the creation of God. The fact that the city is "Jerusalem" shows the continuity from Abraham, through Moses, David, the Prophets, the Apostles—all the way to the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

It always is Jerusalem, not another city, that God blesses and chooses for His rest. God does not change and His promises do not fail. God is faithful.

"The tabernacle of God" means the Wife of the Lamb is the eternal house of God, the throne of God from which He rules the universe, the dwelling place of God in which He finds rest, the Presence of God among the nations of the earth so He can wipe away the tears of the peoples whom He has created for His glory and pleasure.

"The Body of Christ" brings to our attention that the Wife of the Lamb is not to seek her own way, think her own thoughts, follow her own will. As the human body is to the head, so the true Wife of the Lamb is to the Lamb. She obeys Him perfectly in every detail, every action, every word, every thought. She responds perfectly to the will of her Head at all times.

If in the human body the members of the body do not respond perfectly to the head, a serious illness is present. So it is true that the Body of Christ has had a serious illness throughout its history.

What would church history have been like if the Christian churches had allowed Christ to be their Head? To this day the denominations follow their own wisdom which they garnish with "prayer." Christ still is not the head of the churches that are called by His name—no, not by any means. However, Christ indeed is the Head of every true member of the Wife of the Lamb.

The term Body of Christ signifies that the Wife of the Lamb is an eternally integral part of Christ. She is the complement of Christ. His royal anointing has been poured on her. She will be built up by the several ministries of the body until she is the fullness, the completion of Christ.

The "precious ointment" of the Holy Spirit on the Head of Christ runs down on the Body like the holy anointing oil on the collar and skirts of Aaron’s garments (Psalms 133). The Wife of the Lamb is the body of Christ—the body, the fullness, of the High Priest of God. 

The Wife of the Lamb is the most holy of the terms applied to the branches that are receiving their life from the true Vine whom God has planted. Christ refers to His Bride as "the light of the world."

"The Wife of the Lamb" speaks of the perfect, complete union of the saints with the Lamb. Human marriage is but a dim picture of the oneness of the Lamb and the members of His Wife.

It often is taught that in the future the millions of Christian believers (many—perhaps the majority—of whom are not in union with Christ) will stand before God the Father who then will perform a wedding similar to the Anglican ceremony. John the Baptist may be the best man.

It is true, rather, that we are being married to the Lord in the present hour. The manifestation of the marriage will take place in future ages. How much difficulty we have understanding spiritual realities!

The marriage of the Lamb is taking place now as the believer is brought by the various techniques of the Holy Spirit into union with Christ. The complete marriage, the perfect reconciliation, will require the duration and full resources of the thousand-year Kingdom Age and no doubt is one of the principal reasons for the thousand-year period. (Who among us at this point is married perfectly to the Lamb?)

In Scripture the Wife is never spoken of as the wife of the Lion of Judah, the wife of Christ, the wife of the Word, or the wife of the King. She is always the Wife, or Bride, of the Lamb.

She is never referred to as the queen of the Kingdom of God.

Christ has an exceedingly complex Personality. What He is, He is. When He is Shepherd He is all shepherd. When He is Rabbi He is all teacher. When He is Redeemer He is all redeemer. When He is the Lord of Armies He is all commander of battle. He never is a mixture of these.

The gentlest, purest, most holy, most innocent aspect of Christ’s Personality is the Lamb. The Lamb is the aspect the Father prefers, the aspect that will endure throughout the new heaven and earth reign—that is, throughout ages upon unnumbered ages of eternity.

During the thousand-year Kingdom Age Christ will be King of kings and Lord of lords. He will rule with a rod of iron.

There is no rod of iron mentioned in the description of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ because the warfare has been completed. Christ is shown (in the concluding chapters of the Book of Revelation) in the manner in which God prefers that His Son be revealed—the gentle, innocent Lamb possessing all authority and power in the heavens and upon the earth.

God much prefers love, gentleness, and innocence. This is why little children have no difficulty entering the Kingdom. God employs harshness only to the extent necessary for the accomplishment of His will.

When the center of government of the Kingdom of God, the new Jerusalem, descends from Heaven to the new earth, we would expect to see at least two thrones: one on which is sitting the King of the Kingdom; the other on which is sitting the Queen of the Kingdom.

Instead, we behold God’s choice—one glorious holy city. In the city is the throne (singular) of God and of His Lamb, not His King!

If any human being will keep the words of Christ, the Father will love him. The Father and the Son will establish Their throne in him forever. This is true of each living stone of the new Jerusalem. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ seated on the throne of the personality of each member of the Wife of the Lamb.

We are the Wife of the Lamb, never the Wife of Christ. We are the Body of Christ but the Wife of the Lamb. We are the Wife of what is the finest, gentlest, most innocent, most loving, most holy aspect of Christ’s Personality.

We could not come into union with the fierceness of the Lion of Judah. We do not have enough capacity for wrath. Through the work of the Holy Spirit we can come into union with the Lamb, and that is what the Lord God of Heaven prefers.

We have stated that the Wife of the Lamb never is addressed in the New Testament as the queen of the Kingdom of God.

Why is this?

Our answer is found in the eighteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation. It is a terrifying answer, for here we behold the destruction of most of what historically has been considered to be Christendom—the denominations and churches that name the name of Christ. These are the self-appointed "queens" of the Kingdom of God.

The Christian denominations and churches, for the most part, contain many members of the Body of Christ, of the Wife of the Lamb. But the organizations themselves and much of their membership are not part of the Wife of the Lamb.

How can we make a judgment as broad as this? To be a member of the Wife of the Lamb one must be in union with the Lamb, living by His Life as He lives by the Father. To be a member of the Body of Christ one must be under the control of the Head—Christ.

These two conditions (which actually are one condition) are not true of most denominations and churches. It is apparent, when one considers the emphasis on loyalty to the group, the willingness to compete with other Christian groups, the trust in money as being the power of the Kingdom of God, the various assortment of schemes and programs that issue periodically, that union with Christ and submission to the Head are minimal if present at all.

During the days of the Protestant Reformers there was physical warfare between the Catholic and Protestant churches. Could anyone claim that the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, was tearing itself up under the direction of the Head, Jesus?

There has been so much dishonest handling of money on the part of "Christian" ministers that the world has become skeptical of the integrity of the Christian ministry. Does this dishonesty proceed from the Life and guidance of the Head?

When the Spirit of God moves forward into new experiences and doctrines, as has occurred on several occasions throughout church history, the established denominations have fought bitterly the work of the Spirit, often claiming that Satan was the author of such work.

Today many Christian churches are announcing that speaking in tongues and the healing of the sick, both of which are new-covenant graces, are of Satan. Can anyone claim that these critics are in union with the Life of Christ and under the direction of the Head of the Body of Christ?

Today we see a considerable degree of cooperation among Pentecostal and non-Pentecostal churches, such as in the area of Christian education. Meanwhile, each is denouncing the other as blinded by Satan. Can anyone seriously claim that these groups are in union with the Life of Christ and under the guidance of the Head—or even that they possess integrity?

How is it that they can work with each other in Christian endeavors when one believes the other is yielding to Satan? Are they willing to have fellowship with demons? They are inconsistent. Queens often are ready to sacrifice their integrity in order to accomplish their own will.

Today the Catholic and Protestant churches are endeavoring to establish rapport. Are the Protestants willing to worship the virgin Mary? Who are the Protestants attempting to please—man or the Lord Jesus?

If one were to consider the denominations and churches of today to be the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, he would be forced to conclude that the Body is ill, confused, disjointed, afflicted with paralysis and palsy at the same time.

The truth is, the Christian denominations are not the Wife of the Lamb, they are queens seeking their own glory, their own thrones.

When the record of church history is examined and the pertinent Scriptures are reviewed, it appears that Babylon the Great (Revelation, Chapters 17 and 18) is the name given to the Christian organizations. Throughout history the churches, with some exceptions, have demonstrated that they are not willing to be submissive to the Head, they are not willing to abide in union with the Life of Christ. Their behavior reveals that they intend to follow their own reasoning and that self-will, not Christ, is their motivation.

How many saints have suffered, and are suffering today, at the hands of the churches? God never will accept these self-appointed "queens" of the Kingdom of God. The Christian organizational structures, the manmade kingdoms, soon are to become the prisons of unclean spirits. They will be visited with the eternal fire of God’s wrath. Then will God’s holy apostles and prophets rejoice over the vengeance God has determined to take on the queens of the Kingdom. 

Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. (Revelation 18:20)

The apostles and prophets will rejoice greatly because it is they who have suffered at the hands of the self-appointed leaders of the Lord’s flock.

The description of the "great whore", given in the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters of the Book of Revelation, does not fit the thousands of Christian congregations that have labored throughout the centuries doing good, giving of their substance to the poor, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ.

Many churches (perhaps the smaller ones are in the majority here) have been faithful to the Lord Jesus. They have borne a true witness, have been, to some extent at least, in union with the Life and wisdom of the Head, and have travailed in birth as Christ has been brought forth within the members.

But the corruption that is close to every Christian congregation and must be guarded against continually and diligently is revealed in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. The record of church history tells the story of Nicolaitanism, of the Jezebel spirit, of lukewarmness, of leaving our first love—the Lord Jesus.

When we consider the deeds of the large Christian organizations and churches throughout history, and even today, we can understand that organized Christianity is every bit as evil as the seventeenth and eighteenth chapters of the Book of Revelation portray.

So much for the major Christian systems. How about the smaller groups? No doubt many of the smaller denominations and independent works are not nearly as corrupt. But Babylon (man-directed Christianity) is the "mother of harlots." Her daughters, even though they are smaller and not as mature in viciousness, aspire to her wealth and prominence.

How many of the smaller churches, although relatively innocent at this point, are not viewing with envy the ornate tabernacles (tombs) of their notorious mother? The spirit of their mother is in them.

It is not unusual for a little queen to desire to be a great queen, but her character may suffer in the process of becoming great.

How can we recognize the spirit of the queen when it arises in us? The spirit of the queen is the desire to gain an advantage through means of our association with Christ; to act independently of reliance on Christ.

The spirit of religious ambition (whoredom) presents itself as the desire to "bring glory to God." The magnificent Christian edifices are constructed with the professed goal of "bringing glory to God."

But buildings do not bring glory to God, only to the builders!

Numerous Christian enterprises are motivated and guided by human strength and wisdom. This is true even of small missionary groups laboring in primitive surroundings. They vie for converts, money, and success. The vying reveals they are laboring in their own strength and will, not in the strength and will of Jesus.

It is not our purpose to discredit missionaries who give their lives to help lepers, the mentally retarded, and other victims of Satan in remote areas of the earth. Such little known soldiers of the cross have their reward with Jesus. Rather, our purpose is to warn all believers concerning a spirit that is ready to corrupt our labor in the Lord.

God is glorified only in Christ and in the people in whom Christ is dwelling. God is not glorified in a physical structure (Acts 7:48).

How many times do the "queens" of the Kingdom grind the faces of the poor so a monument to the glory of the queen may be constructed? On how many occasions has this happened in church history?

The Christian churches, being queens at heart, desire to sit next to Christ on the throne. They hope to show their own glory to the nations of the world or, in the case of the small assemblings, to the town or village where they are located. 

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. (Revelation 18:3)

The major denominations are involved financially and politically with the institutions of the world, supposing they are promoting the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The small churches may attempt the same thing on their own scale. The small church courts the favor of the local community and its motive is the same as the gigantic federation of churches.

Such involvement with the world is an abomination to God. The true Wife of the Lamb does not commit fornication with the merchants of the earth. The Wife of the Lamb keeps herself pure and holy to the Lamb. Queens seek their own glorification.

In the future, the true Church will perceive this distinction more clearly than it does today. Then it will be time for the saints of the Lord to separate themselves from Babylon the Great. 

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Revelation 18:4)

The Wife of the Lamb is mixed together with Babylon in the present hour. One day soon it will be time for God to judge the queenly spirit that has polluted the Wife of the Lamb. Then the Spirit of God will remove every true member of the Wife of the Lamb from the Christian denominations and churches, for there is only the one Body of Christ.

After that, God will burn the false bride with the eternal fire of His wrath.

The tormenting, destroying fire that will fall on Babylon will be administered by the ten kings who "receive power as kings one hour with the beast": 

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. (Revelation 17:16)

And then by the saints: 

Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. (Revelation 18:6)

Church history contains many accounts of Christians being tortured and killed by other Christians "for the glory of God." The Wife of the Lamb does not torture and kill herself. Rather, it is Queen Jezebel who is seeking to slay the prophets (I Kings 19:2). It is Queen Athaliah who is determined to do away with the royal seed (II Kings 11:1).

During the past two thousand years, millions of Christians have been put to death as the queens "glorified God." In the present century, numerous Christians were put to death in South America by a large denomination for no reason other than that of not belonging to the denomination. They were tortured and killed—all "for the glory of God."

When Pentecost fell in the first part of the twentieth century, the tongues-speakers were harassed and intimidated in many ways by the loyal members of fundamental denominations. The persecution was carried out "for the glory of God."

If the Spirit of God should call out the true saints from your denomination today, what would be the reaction of the leaders? Would they do all in their power to prevent the exodus, never considering the possibility it might be the Lord who was causing their problem? What does this tell us?

It is the righteousness of Christ that the tortured and slain saints of all ages should be the ones to administer the Divine wrath that will fall on these murderous queens. The saints will "double unto her double according to her works." Jezebel and Athaliah were slain at the hands of God’s servants. So will Babylon be slain at the hands of God’s servants.

As did Jezebel, Babylon will attempt to flirt with the saints, pretending that the religious organization is attractive and desirable. It may attempt to adorn itself in some manner so the true saints will tempted to turn to it rather than do the will of Jesus (II Kings 9:30). But the Holy Spirit in the saints will bring the judgment of God upon Babylon.

As did Athaliah, Babylon will cry, "Treason! Treason!" when the members of the Wife of the Lamb go forth to meet their King (II Kings 11:14).

But the doom of Babylon is written in the Scriptures. There are no queens in the Kingdom of God!

Queens love to live "deliciously," but the members of the Wife of the Lamb understand thoroughly that the true Christian walk is a rugged, cross-carrying pilgrimage. There is little in the Christian discipleship that is "delicious." 

How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. (Revelation 18:7)

We can tell when the spirit of the queen is arising within us because we find ourselves attempting to glorify ourselves and to live "deliciously."

There is a tendency today among God’s people to want to live "deliciously," in sensuality. There are many symptoms of this tendency.

One of the symptoms is the spirit of covetousness being presented to the Lord’s people as though it were a gift from Heaven. The evidence of righteousness, of God’s blessing, according to this "strange fire," this "honey on the sacrifice," is material gain. The preaching of material prosperity has spread rapidly even though it is in direct opposition to the teaching of Christ and His apostles. The Lord’s people have accepted the "prosperity gospel" uncritically because they desire to live deliciously.

Another symptom is the overemphasis on the grace of God. This is an extreme, unbalanced application of Paul’s doctrine of grace. Any teaching of the Scriptures can become error if it is not balanced against the whole text. The words of life can become words of death, and this has happened with the doctrine of salvation by grace. The current emphasis on grace, to the exclusion of righteous works as the true index of faith, is an enemy of godliness, an enemy of the cross of Christ.

Another symptom of religious deliciousness is the belief in the pre-tribulation "rapture" of the believers. Although this doctrine can be disproved easily by anyone who is grounded in the Scriptures, it remains popular among the spiritually careless.

Another symptom of religious deliciousness is the disastrous overemphasis on God’s love. Associated with this error is a ministerial silence concerning the extraordinary, rigorous demands of Christian discipleship, the tribulation experienced by all who would enter the Kingdom, and the judgment and wrath of God that accompanies sin committed by Christian or non-Christian.

The Lord Jesus allows His Bride, His beloved, to suffer every inconvenience, every pain, every imprisonment. The promises of glory to the righteous are suspended while character is being formed in the members of the Body.

The current emphasis on "positive" preaching is from Satan, not God. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is extraordinarily positive and extraordinarily negative. Any witness of Christ who stresses only the positive aspect of the Gospel of the Kingdom is seeking his own glory and bearing a false witness of the Person and way of God.

Ours is a day when people love pleasure more than they love God, and the hirelings among the ministry cater to their audiences, appealing continually to their love of ease, of pleasure, of revelry, of "fun." The queen is attempting to live deliciously.

During the past few years the Spirit of God has given us greater freedom and fluency in worship. Our choruses are changing from speaking of Christ in the third person to addressing Him in the second person. We are singing directly to Him, not just singing about Him. Recently the choruses have taken a militant turn, speaking of war and conquest.

The current renewal of praise and warfare through music is wonderful. It is from the Lord. Prolonged, intense worship, singing and dancing before the Lord, flags, banners, and other pageantry are necessary if we are to survive throughout the darkness that even now is upon us. The Lord Jesus is drawing near to the earth in our day and we are celebrating the coming of the King.

But worship can become self-fulfilling and sensual. It can become a form of religious deliciousness instead of the worship of God. Instead of coming to worship God and to learn of His righteous ways we come to enjoy ourselves.

If we are coming to the assembling of the saints to have a good time, what will we do when our assemblings no longer are enjoyable, when they result in torture, in the confiscation of our property by the state, in imprisonment?

Who among us is willing to uphold, encourage and support a pastor, evangelist, or teacher who turns from the current people-pleasing, "positive" gospel and begins to call his hearers to repentance, to godliness, to patient, cross-carrying obedience to Jesus?

If we are coming to church to have fun, to enjoy ourselves, what will we do when the assembling no longer is pleasurable to us? Will we continue to seek God and keep on pressing forward until we are certain His will is being done in our life?

The writer is enjoying the singing, dancing, pageantry, and especially the war choruses being introduced to our assemblings. But the high praises of God must be balanced with the two-edged sword of righteousness. Otherwise immorality will result. All art forms, including music, stir up the soul. It is the responsibility of the elders of the assembling to insure that the worship is carried past the soul into the Spirit of God.

We are pointing out that the Christian discipleship is not "delicious." It is a very rugged way, full of deferred gratification, delayed answers to prayer. Patient endurance is required. Those who bring the fruit of Divine Life to other people do so out of their personal death on the cross with the Lord Jesus.

There is no easy way. Life comes from death, in the Kingdom of God. The saint who steadily, consistently brings forth fruit from the tree of life has no place in his life for religious deliciousness. Our role is to ascend the heights of Zion and hear from God so we may bring His Presence and Word to people. It is not rewarding to come down from that awful communication and find the people playing and dancing in religious deliciousness.

The self-willed, unclean church exclaims, "I sit a queen, and am no widow, and will see no sorrow."

She says she is no widow, but where is her husband? Who is the husband of man-directed Christianity? It is not Christ. The queen spirit in the churches would murder Jesus if it could, just as the Pharisees murdered Him.

If Christ were to appear today to His churches, the spirit of the queen in the churches would seek to murder Him. How do we know? Because the queen spirit, the spirit of organized religion, always strives to murder the Spirit of Christ when He appears in the saints.

Babylon is a fornicator. She may claim the name of Christ but she never has been married to Him. Christ is nowhere to be seen. She uses His name but she is not in union with Him. This is true of much of Christendom and of the works of much of Christendom. 

And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. (Isaiah 4:1)

The queen boasts that she will see no sorrow. As we listen to the Christians of today state that God loves them too much to allow them to experience tribulation, that they must not suffer, that God wants them to be rich and comfortable in the present world, we know the queen is being exalted in our midst.

The Christian churches have been influential in the world’s commerce. Rather than fleeing from the worship of money, as Paul commanded, the Christian churches have embraced money in order to "glorify God." 

And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: (Revelation 18:11)

The destruction of the great Christian organization of the last days, at the hand of the world powers of Antichrist, will be very harmful to the world economy. Today the merchants depend on Christmas sales to keep them prosperous. When there are no more Christmas sales, numerous businessmen will go bankrupt.

We can observe in the Charismatic churches of our day a disturbing trend. The "prophets" are stating that in the last days the wealth of the world will be given to the Christians and they will be the "head" and not the "tail" in the world’s economy. And this before the return of the Lord Jesus!

Can any Christian who loves Jesus, who knows what the Scriptures teach, believe this prophecy is of God? We know the False Prophet is to make his appearance and that he will work together with Antichrist. We think the prophecies concerning the riches to be given to the Christians in the closing days of the present age are from the False Prophet, from the spirit of religious deception.

In some instances, the Christians are so entangled in the economic system of capitalism that they are viewing capitalism as a Christian system of economics. The Kingdom of God neither is democratic in philosophy nor capitalistic in economics.

We are not commenting on any Christian’s duties of citizenship or his loyalty to his country. Our purpose is to point out that the Wife of the Lamb is to have nothing to do with economic systems. It is Babylon, the queen, who is enmeshed in the Antichrist world system of finance. The true Church of Christ has nothing to do with any economic system.

The true Church is looking for the soon coming of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom that will overthrow all other governments and economic systems.

The Christians of today who are advocating and practicing the amassing of material wealth, with the idea in mind that this is part of the Christian discipleship, are not in union with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the queen who has led them into error. She is riding on the "scarlet coloured beast" of the world system of commerce, the Antichrist system (Revelation 17:3).

The Christian religion has been the inspiration for some of the finest of the art and music treasures of the world, as well as the sponsor of major educational institutions. But in some instances the architecture, art, and music have been and yet are a substitute for the Person and Presence of the Holy Spirit of God.

Today music often is the substitute in the assemblings for the living Presence of the Holy Spirit. The churches are filled with music rather than with the Spirit.

Art and music come from God and have a role to play in the world. But art and music are of the soul of man, having been placed there by man’s Creator. They are not manifestations of the Spirit of God in the work of the Gospel of the Kingdom.

Any talented individual can fill a Christian church with inspiring music even though he or she may be very worldly, very sinful, very self-willed and self-seeking. But no worldly, sinful believer can bring the awe of almighty God into an assembling. Only the cross-carrying saint can do that.

There is a difference in kind between the inspiration of music and the Presence of the Spirit of God. Sometimes the Spirit of God does take advantage of a musical environment and work with people while their hearts and minds are open. This is not because the music is a manifestation of the Spirit. The Spirit has chosen this opportunity to perform His own work.

The writer, having a fairly extensive background in music, believes music is being employed in the Christian churches as a substitute for the Presence and awe of God. The music entertains the saints, it does not create Christ in them. The elders as well as the congregations appear to be unable to distinguish between the blessing of the Holy Spirit on the human being, and the inspiration of his soul by music or by another art form or medley of forms. 

And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; (Revelation 18:22)

All the rich experiences of architecture, art, and music, and every other form of human productivity will be stripped from the queen. She will inherit nothing of value, while the true saints will inherit all the good things the Lord God has created.

"Work! work! work!" the queen cries.

We believe in hard work and have little sympathy for the lazy individual. But ecclesiastical labor often is the construction of a source of glory for the queen. The worn-out believer comes to the Lord and the Lord says, "Rest, rest, rest." How wonderful to rest in the Lord and be refreshed in His Presence!

The queen enjoys the sound of the millstone if she is profiting from the labor but she herself will not help turn it.

The only reason God has not judged these queens long ago is that the Wife of the Lamb, the light of the world, is growing up within the Christian organizations. As soon as the Spirit of God draws the Body of Christ out from the various church systems, God’s judgment will fall severely on those who are part of the great religious prostitute.

God will remove all spiritual light from her. Her spiritual light has come from the Lamb’s Wife who has been in her. She does not understand this, supposing God is blessing her fornication with the world and her glorifying of herself. 

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)

Earth’s religious institutions are able to bring men and women into spiritual marriage with them. The bond, the relationship, is with the institution.

The members of the Wife of the Lamb are virgins. They are in the churches but not married to them. The Lord Jesus Christ will not permit one of His choice ones to be married in spirit to a Christian organization.

When the Lord Jesus calls out His Wife there will be no member of His Body left in the Catholic, the Methodist, the Episcopalian, the Baptist churches, or in your denomination or my denomination. There is but one Wife of the Lamb, one Body of Christ. She will be identified as such before the Lord Jesus returns, for the way of the Lord must be made straight.

We are not attempting to "call God’s people out of the Christian institutions." That would be to create our own Babylon. The Spirit of God will call out the Wife when the time has come.

Rather, we are emphasizing the true nature of the Wife of the Lamb—that she is not a queen. Christ will have no competitors, no queens. Christ reigns alone. His true Wife is not a great church that reigns in glory with Him. His true Wife is His Body, His complement, His completion. She is an eternal part of Him.

There is a picture in the Book of Daniel of the Bride of the Lamb being brought before Him and receiving her inheritance. 

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13,14)

We usually do not think of the Lord Jesus as the Ancient of Days, but He is. Jesus is not God the Father but He is the Word who was with the Father from the beginning of the creation.

A study of the verses that follow, in Daniel, Chapter Seven, will reveal that the one "like the Son of man" indeed is the saints of God. They are able to receive the fullness of the inheritance only because they are like Him and completely one with Him. Were they not one like Him and one with Him they never could receive such authority and power. God will not give His glory to another!

The Church never is termed the wife of Christ. The Church is the Wife of the Lamb. The saints become the Wife of the Lamb by eating the Passover Lamb. We are being married to Christ now as we learn to live in and by Him in every area of life. We think that those who are looking for a wedding ceremony in the sky are heading toward disappointment. The marriage is taking place now!

When Christ appears He will be the "carcass," the slain Lamb. Those who live by His body and blood will ascend as eagles to meet Him in the air.

If you desire to be free from every taint of "queendom," from every trace of marriage to Babylon, then covet union with Christ. Seek earnestly to be under the control of the Head. Strive to share in His Life so you may live by Him as He lives by the Father.

Do not attempt to force Christ to go your way, to do what you want. Try to discover what He wants. He is not your servant, you are His servant, His bondslave. There is rest in this relationship.

How wonderful to be an eternal part of the Wife of the Lamb! How abominable to attempt to be a replica of Christ, a queen who seeks to "glorify God" by glorifying herself.

I would rather be a part of Christ than a partner of Christ. Wouldn’t you?

We behold the gloriously perfected Wife of the Lamb descending from the new heaven. The nations of the saved are living on the new earth. 

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

"The kings of the earth."

There is the Church, and then there are the nations of the saved that are governed by kings under the King of kings. Notice that the desire of Babylon, which is to rule the kings of the earth, is given freely to the true Wife of the Lamb. The saints may have to take a lower position today but will rule in the ages to come. The whore grasps what she wants today. She will be stripped naked and burned with fire in the day of reckoning.

The separation between Abraham’s Seed and the world, which commenced when Abraham and his family were called from Ur of the Chaldees, will be preserved forever in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. The separation between the peoples of the world and God’s elect, announced so strongly in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John, will be demonstrated powerfully by the wall that surrounds the new Jerusalem.

The term church means called out from. The Church, the Lamb’s Wife, has been called out and separated eternally from the nations of the earth.

How much of organized Christianity is of God, and how much has proceeded from the efforts of men—sometimes sincere and dedicated men, is known only to God. But there are two facts of which we are certain.

The first fact is that there is only one Body of Christ, and the members of that one true Body are scattered throughout several organizations and independent works. 

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (Ephesians 4:4)

The second fact is that before the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven the Spirit of God will call out the true members of the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, from the religious systems that are not of God and will reveal the abominable nature of all that calls itself "Christian" but is not of Christ. 

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Revelation 18:4)

Let us keep our hearts with all diligence concerning our relationship to the established churches. Let us work as fervently as we can in the framework in which God has placed us. But let us always be ready to "rise up and come away" with our Lord.

When dealing with His Wife, the Lamb never receives a group. He never will receive our denomination as His Bride. Later, when we have been drawn from organized Christianity and brought into full reconciliation and restful union with Him, He will be ready to address us as one Wife, one Body, one Church, one new Jerusalem. 

And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (Revelation 21:10)

"I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife." "Shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem."

The Christian Church is the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the holy Jerusalem, the center of government of the Kingdom of God.

In an effort to provide some biblical foundation for the teaching of the "pre-tribulation rapture", those who support this "revelation" have separated the work of God into a special, peculiarly Gentile Church and a Jewish kingdom on the earth. It is difficult to assess the damage to the understanding of the Scriptures that has been caused by this anti-Pauline separation of Christian Gentiles and Christian Jews. Our knowledge of the Kingdom of God has suffered much from it.

The truth is, there is one Israel of God. The capital city of Israel is Jerusalem. There is a natural Jerusalem and a spiritual Jerusalem.

When a Gentile receives Christ, he receives Israel and becomes Israel. Christ Himself is the true Israel of God, the promised Seed of Abraham. Physical Israel has no inheritance in the Kingdom of God, in David, or in the Prophets (except for the prophecies that refer to the physical people and land). He who has Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, has full inheritance in Israel, in David, in the Prophets, in the promised Kingdom of God.

The Christian, whether Jew or Gentile by natural birth, is the Israel of God. One must be born again of the Spirit of God in order to be a part of the Kingdom of God.

The Christian Church is the new Jerusalem.

The Scriptures indicate that the city is the Bride of the Lamb: "I will show you the bride", "and showed me that city."

Does this mean the Bride dwells in the city, or does it mean the description of the wall, the gates, and so forth are symbolic of the perfected character of the members of the Wife of the Lamb? We tend, with some reservations, to favor the latter.

The angel could have said, "I will show you the city in which the Bride will dwell for eternity"; or, "I will show you the eternal home of the saints."

He did not say that.

It is not a sound procedure of biblical interpretation to assume the Scripture does not mean exactly what is stated, unless it is obvious to any reasonable inquirer that because of the sense of the context, or because of a fuller explanation elsewhere of the concept under consideration, the wording warrants a freedom of interpretation.

The pressure of theological tradition is not sufficient grounds for changing what is stated in order to "make the meaning clear." Some of the modern translations are examples of the warping of the Spirit’s meaning produced by efforts to make the Scriptures understandable to the "average" reader.

Of late there appears to be a disregard for the sanctity of the original texts, not only in the shading of the meaning (or outright changing of meaning, such as referring to the angel of the church as the pastor of the church, a change with undesirable ramifications although innocent at first glance); but also in the footnotes that purport to explain the text but which in fact turn the reader’s attention away from the sacred text and toward the theological system of the commentator.

There are reasons why the present writer leans toward viewing the new Jerusalem as the Church of Christ and not as a costly city in which the saints dwell. Notice that the description of the holy city does not emphasize the inhabitants, as we would expect. Rather, it emphasizes the characteristics of the city itself.

There is a "wall" being built today. It is being built in the personalities of the saints. It is the resistance to sin that is being formed in them. This "wall" is of greater value than any physical wall, even though the foundations of the physical wall may be embellished with gems of incalculable worth.

The reason mankind has experienced agony over the past thousands of years is that there was no "wall" in the personalities of Adam and Eve.

If the city described in Revelation is a symbolic portrayal of the unity and maturity of the members of the Body of Christ, and it seems quite likely that such is the case, is there, then, an actual city? We believe there is an actual city.

Is the new Jerusalem a symbolic portrayal of Christian virtue, or is it a city that people on the earth can see and visit? We believe it is both a symbolic portrayal of spiritual excellence and also a real city on the new earth.

How can this be?

Perhaps it is not possible, in the physical realm to which we are accustomed, for a city to be both a symbolic portrayal and also an actual city. However, many things are possible in the spirit realm that are not possible in the physical realm. For example, some of the saints who have had visions of Heaven say that one can see Christ everywhere one looks, that direction loses the control over vision that it exerts on earth at the present time. Also, time and distance lose their controls.

In the material realm, two, three, or four never actually can become one. Three means three times one. In the spirit realm, three actually can become one, as in the Godhead.

Also, the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil apparently grew from the soil of the garden of Eden. How could a spiritual tree grow from physical soil?

Ordinarily we do not expect to find spirits in things. When we state that a house has a spirit of its own we are speaking somewhat poetically; yet, everyone knows what we mean. Sometimes things do seem to possess spirits of their own, although it may be merely that we associate people or experiences with those things and the sense of spirit comes from former associations.

Such limitations do not necessarily prevail in the spirit realm. A spirit can pervade an object to the point it is animate. In fact, the whole material creation may have been animate before Adam sinned. The trees of the field may have been able to "clap their hands."

When Christ spoke to the storm He declared peace to it as one would to an upset child.

Notice also: 

When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. (Ezekiel 1:21)

It is not possible on the earth, except in a poetic sense, for a spirit to be in a wheel. In the spirit realm it is possible for a spirit to be in a wheel or take the form of a wheel.

We humans tend to glorify buildings and cities. We look at a building and say, "this is a church"; or, "this is a school." We know it is not true. No building is a church; no building is a school. It is people who form a church. It is people who constitute a school.

What, then, is the building? Is it not a reflection of the people?

We tend to glorify the building and serve it. This is the concept of the construction of the Tower of Babel and of religious enterprise throughout the centuries.

A pastor who shows you his "church" may emphasize the new carpet and the parking lot. He may not show you the people. He does not realize it but he is attempting to use the people in order to build a temple. In his mind the word church represents a grand edifice, not holy worshipers of God.

We have projected this idolatrous love of monuments into our concept of the new Jerusalem, and the "mansions" in Heaven. We may talk religiously about wanting to meet Jesus but our hearts are fixed on our gold and mahogany mansions.

Emphasis on things is never the case with God and He does not wish things to be the emphasis and value of His children.

Everything that exists in the creation is receptive to the Spirit of God. Each element and item was brought forth from nothingness by the Spirit of God and each tells us something of the Nature of God.

Unlike man, God never adores or is victimized by things.

The Christian churches appear to be under the impression, and they sometimes declare, that Christ has been busy over the past two thousand years building mansions and a city in Heaven for us to dwell in. The truly important, significant task, that which is consuming Christ’s wisdom and power, is the bringing forth of glorious mansions in a city of gold. This is the current thinking.

Do you believe that Christ, He who spoke the universe into being by the exercise of His creative Word, has been occupied over the past two thousand years building a city of gold and jewels so the love of things that is in His people can be perpetuated for eternity?

Do you believe God is holding out to us as our eternal reward a city of material wealth? Some of us prefer trees, grass, mountains, and valleys over gold and precious stones!

If we still are placing things above people we do not as yet understand God or His Christ.

Christ could have brought into existence a hundred thousand cities, each larger than the universe, over the past two thousand years. What does Christ care for golden streets?

One faithful heart that is willing to go Christ’s way—that indeed is a street of gold well worth building.

We are not impressed with jasper walls or a street of gold. We are impressed with the thought that one day the personalities of the saints will be as rubies, pearls, and refined gold.

If the new Jerusalem is, as we are implying, a symbolic portrayal of the virtues of the Wife of the Lamb, does the city have an external form?

We believe it does. We think it is a city constructed so as to reveal the qualities of Christ’s Body, the Wife of the Lamb. No doubt it is a real city, but the Spirit of Christ and His saints is in every aspect of the city. We believe the saved peoples of the earth will be able to enter it in some manner.

God is our Refuge and Fortress, and we enter Him and find all we need and desire. Perhaps the nations of the saved will enter the holy city in somewhat the same manner in which we enter God.

The point is, the new Jerusalem is not like ancient Babylon in which the important feature was its external grandeur and beauty. The significant aspect of the new Jerusalem is the Christ-filled perfection of the personalities of the members of the Wife of the Lamb. The city will portray for eternity what the saints have become through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The most distinguishing feature of the new Jerusalem is that it is the eternal dwelling place, the throne, of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit. In the city there will be an open revelation of the Presence of God—an unheard of, incredible Glory. Therefore whatever may be true of the external form of the city, the central characteristic of it is that it is Christ and His Body; for God will dwell nowhere else.

The city is the Bride inhabiting glorified bodies of stupendous glory and power. God’s victorious saints are posted in strategic locations everywhere to insure that sin and rebellion are kept from the Presence of God and His people.

We have stated that on the new earth there will be nations of saved people ruled by the "kings of the earth" (Revelation 21:24). In addition to these nations, the new Jerusalem, the Israel of God, also will be on the earth.

The new Jerusalem is the city that will govern the earth, and the remainder of the works of God’s hands, throughout the eternity of eternities. This is the center of government of the Kingdom of God that is to come into the earth, the rule of God in Christ in the saints over all of God’s creation.

This is Heaven, because Heaven is the Throne of God.

When we turn to the prophets we can find numerous passages that portray the Kingdom of God, that is, the rule of earth’s peoples by the Jerusalem of God.

One example is as follows: 

Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces [wealth] of the Gentiles [nations], and that their kings may be brought. (Isaiah 60:11)

From the description we can see that the Spirit of Christ in Isaiah is announcing the coming of the holy city, the new Jerusalem.

Notice the two sets of people on the earth: first, the Israel of God—the elect whom God has called out from the inhabitants of the earth; second, the nations of the saved and their kings. The whole constitutes the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom governed by the Israel of God. 

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12)

One of the many harms caused by the Dispensational-rapture teaching is the concept that such passages apply to physical Israel, while a "Gentile church" is in the spirit realm living in mansions. According to this erroneous teaching, the destiny of the Jews is clear but the destiny of the converted Gentiles remains a mystery.

The truth is, the Dispensational-rapture teaching is false and destructive. There is no kingdom except the one Kingdom of God, of Heaven. The Kingdom is, as we have said, the rule of God in Christ in the saints over the nations of saved peoples of the earth. This is the true Israel spoken of by the Hebrew Prophets, the true heirs of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Kingdom always is to the physical Jew first, then to the Gentile. The Kingdom of God always is by promise and each person must be born again in order to be part of it.

Christ and the saints will rule with a rod of iron. 

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27)

The rule of a rod of iron will commence with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth. Can you imagine the force that will be required to compel obedience on the part of earth’s peoples to the Sermon on the Mount? Today not even the saints will obey the Sermon on the Mount, in many instances.

The nation that will not obey the laws coming from the new Jerusalem will be laid waste by a rod of iron (the authority and power of the Spirit of God residing in Christ in the saints).

The rule of Christ in the saints will be righteous and enforced.

Hopefully the need for punitive measures will begin to abate as the reign of Christ has its effect on people. However, at the conclusion of the Kingdom Age, Satan readily is able to deceive the nations, persuading them to attack the camp of the saints and the city of Jerusalem (Revelation 20:9).

Throughout the new heaven and earth reign of Christ a rod of iron will be residing in Christ and His "mighty men." The nations will learn to walk in the light of Jerusalem, not always having to be "broken to shivers."

There will be no sin permitted in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. It is not that people no longer are able to sin, it is that the wall of defense that has been created in the victorious saints during their pilgrimage on the earth will protect God’s creation from the reappearance of sin and rebellion against the laws of God.

At His coming, Christ will strip away all remaining bondages of sin from those who look for Him. During the thousand-year Kingdom Age, sin and rebellion will be prevented by the rule of a rod of iron. After that, further sin and rebellion will be resisted by the Spirit of Christ in the victorious saints, as portrayed by the massive wall surrounding the new Jerusalem.

It is likely that some aspects of the new heaven and earth reign will be inherited only by those who, during their lifetime on the earth, exercised diligence in seeking Christ to the point they were enabled to overcome the world, Satan, and their lusts and self-centeredness. They are God’s rulers forever, the pillars of His eternal Temple. 

The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. (Isaiah 60:13)

Heaven is God’s throne. The earth is God’s footstool, the place of His feet.

God has promised: "I will make the place of my feet glorious."

The vision of the Kingdom of God is the vision of the glorification of the earth. The Kingdom of God is coming to the earth. The will of God shall be done in the earth. The will of God shall be brought into the earth through the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem. Every member will be perfect. Every member of the Body will be filled with the Glory of God in Christ, and that glory will flow from the saints until it affects every creature on the earth. 

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of [maturity as measured by] the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)

As soon as the Church becomes one the world will believe that God indeed has sent Christ.

The Church is the only hope of the world. It is through the Church that the righteousness of God, the will of God, shall enter the earth. It is through the Church that the meek and the poor will be judged with equity until justice prevails. It is through the Church that the wolf will dwell peaceably with the lamb.

The present evacuation hypothesis, that God has planned a "Dunkirk" in which His forces flee from the battle because of the power of the enemy, is not supported by the Scriptures. God always is able to provide a "Goshen" in which His people can dwell in safety while the wrath of God is falling.

God has not created the Church, the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, in order to sit in Heaven with nothing to do, with no inheritance, with no glorious purpose. The Body of Christ, which is the Body of the Servant of the Lord, has been created for the purpose of making the place of God’s feet glorious. Apart from the Church, the world has no light. Apart from the Church, the world cannot know the Presence or blessing of God. Apart from the Church the world immediately would become a part of Hell.

Why would God bother to bring the saints to maturity in the one Body of Christ if our role is to be that of sitting in Heaven and looking at one another? It requires little maturity to play on a harp (many sinners do that), or sit in a luxurious home, or walk on a golden street. Why are we being trained so extensively if our training has no end in view? Therefore the idea that we shall be evacuated to Heaven at the hour of earth’s greatest need is in direct opposition to the eternal purpose of God in the Church.

We are here to stay. The earth belongs to us. The righteousness of God is coming from Heaven. Let us stand firm, holding the ground Christ has given us. Soon Jesus will come with reinforcements. Then we shall be enabled to greatly expand our influence and ministry among the nations of the earth.

As soon as the Church has attained the unity of the faith, the knowledge of the Son of God, and perfection as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ, the Church will be established on the earth as the Kingdom of God, the government over all the nations of the earth.

This is how God will make the place of His feet glorious. 

The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet; and they shall call thee; The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 60:14)

The Scripture reveals that those who have persecuted the saints will be required to confess their sins and to bow to the sovereignty of God in the Church. 

Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (Revelation 3:9)

The Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the eternal Temple of God, is "Zion." The glorious destiny of Zion is set forth in many passages of the Prophets, particularly the Psalms. 

When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:16)

The Lord Jesus will appear in the clouds of heaven as soon as He builds up Zion.

Where is Zion today?

"Ye (Christians) are come unto mount Sion," (this clause begins Hebrews 12:22-24).

By receiving Christ and being born again we have entered the Kingdom of God, we have "come to mount Sion."

"And unto the city of the living God,"

Mount Zion is the city described in Isaiah, Chapter 60.

"The heavenly Jerusalem,"

The new Jerusalem, which is in Heaven at this time, is the "mother" of all true Christian people whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth (Galatians 4:26).

"And to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly."

All of Heaven, including the elect angels, is being gathered together in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ Himself is Zion, the Israel of God, the one Seed of Abraham.

"And church of the firstborn,"

The Christian Church is Mount Zion of the Hebrew prophets because the Church is the Body of Christ who Himself is the only true Zion, the only eternal mountain of God, the Firstborn of the new creation.

"Which are written in heaven."

The names of the victorious Christian saints are established forever in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

"And to God the Judge of all,"

God our Father approves of and blesses every person who willingly receives and obeys His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The wrath of God abides on any soul, whether Jew or Gentile, who rejects and will not obey His only begotten Son. God the Father has committed all judgment to Christ. Christ makes all the decisions concerning human beings.

"And to the spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect,"

The Christian life commences with the righteousness of Christ that is extended to us freely on the basis of our repentance and confession of faith in Christ.

The Christian life progresses as our spirit is "made perfect." To enter the Zion of God we must participate both in the imputed, freely given righteousness, and also in the actual righteousness of behavior created in us while we are walking in the Spirit of God.

The true Zion that is in Heaven consists of persons who are righteous in God’s eyes and also in spirit. It is not enough to be declared righteous. We also must be made perfect in spirit, that is, in the manner in which we act, speak, and think.

"And to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant,"

What is the "new covenant"? It is the transformation of the human personality into the image of Christ, into the desire and ability to do the will of God, to keep the law of God. 

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)

Notice that the new covenant is made only with "the house of Israel." In order for a Gentile to participate in the new covenant, he or she must be grafted on the Israel of God.

"And to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."

The blood of Abel spoke to God from the ground, crying out that he had been murdered by an envious brother.

The blood of Jesus speaks to God that He also has been murdered by envious brothers. He Himself has been the blood offering, the Lamb selected from the flock. He has borne the sins of the world. Whoever will trust in Him will be saved. He sprinkles us with His blood.

We have stated that the Christian Church, the Body of Christ, is the Wife of the Lamb, the holy Jerusalem that will come down from the new heaven so that God may be able to dwell among the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

How will the peoples of the earth regard the "kingdom of priests" that has appeared in their midst? 

But ye [Christians, the Seed of Abraham] shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles [nations], and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. (Isaiah 61:6)

And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles [nations], and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. (Isaiah 61:9)

The peoples of the world suffer greatly today because they are governed unjustly. God’s Kingdom, His kings and priests in whom Christ is dwelling, will rule the world in righteousness peace, and joy, bringing justice and blessing to the meek of the earth. 

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment [justice] to the Gentiles [nations of the earth—all peoples who are not physical Israel]. (Isaiah 42:1)

The Servant of the lord is Christ, Head and Body. The Servant of the Lord is the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Israel of God. 

And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (Revelation 21:10)

Notice the similarity to Ezekiel’s vision: 

In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south. (Ezekiel 40:2)

And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory. (Ezekiel 43:2)

And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places. (Ezekiel 43:7)

"The place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet."

Heaven is God’s throne. The earth is God’s footstool, the place of God’s feet.

Therefore Ezekiel’s Temple is the place where Heaven and earth are joined. As we stated previously, Ezekiel’s Temple is a spiritualized description of the personality of each member of the Body of Christ and of the Body as a whole.

Christ is Jacob’s ladder—the joining of Heaven and earth.

The Kingdom of God is not Heaven. The Kingdom of God is not earth. The Kingdom of God is the new creation that is produced when Heaven and earth are made one. Heaven and earth always and only are made one when Christ enters the material creation.

The history of mankind on the earth is a record of utopian dreams and ceaseless frustration and tragedy. The problem is, the utopian dreams are established and pursued by sinful, self-seeking people.

The Kingdom of God also is a "utopian dream"—the most wondrous "fairy tale" ever to be presented. However, it is vastly, galactically more than that. It is flesh-and-bone reality, standing on the sands of the shore, eating the honeycomb.

Christ Himself is the Fullness of Paradise eternally embodied in the fullness of the earth. The earth is the LORD’S and the fullness thereof. All things are being gathered together and given significance in the Lord Jesus Christ. Outside of Christ all things and all creatures lose their lawful control, their peace, their love, their joy, their wonder, their significance, their value, their glory.

Ezekiel’s vision was given to the Jews of the captivity and therefore abounds in illustrations understandable and significant to them. But a careful reading of the description of the Temple will reveal there is far more included than would be true of any earthly temple.

For example, the water of life, the Spirit of God, is issuing from the throne of Almighty God: 

Afterward he brought me again unto the door [Christ] of the house [of God, the place of His throne and of the soles of His feet]; and, behold, waters [the Spirit of God] issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. (Ezekiel 47:1)

The verses that follow show that the waters that issue from under the threshold of the temple toward the east indeed are the fulfillment of the promise of Scripture that the Glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Ezekiel 47:2-12; Numbers 14:21; Habakkuk 2:14).

The term "east" signifies that the flowing of the Holy Spirit has to do with the dawning of the Day of the Lord, the return of the Lord Jesus to the earth. At His return there will be a Pentecost of Pentecosts, as typified by the double set of fifty (the number of Pentecost) rings that were located above the veil of the Tabernacle, linking the sections of the linen curtain and the goats’ hair curtain (Exodus 26:5,10).

The veil is the point at which one leaves the Church Age (typified by the Holy Place) and enters the Kingdom Age (the Most Holy Place).

There are parts of the description of Ezekiel’s Temple that have to do with animal sacrifice. It is certain there will be no animal sacrifices offered with God’s approval, now that the one eternal Sacrifice has been offered on Calvary.

The provision for animal sacrifice included in the description of Ezekiel’s Temple refers to the fact that the Bride of the Lamb becomes so by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The table on which the sacrifices were slain was of hewn stone. The Spirit of God, always with our cooperation, hews out a table of stone in each saint on which he always is ready to slay the offering of his personality in the service and worship of God.

God is not a philosopher. He is not impressed with our speech and reasoning. We relate to God by the fire of judgment, by the Word, the sword of the Spirit, and by offering our body a burnt offering to the Father in stern obedience, sacrifice, and worship.

The heart of the adamic man, is a slimy cesspool of deceit, rebellion, and cowardice. Until a table of stone is hewn in the center of our personality, always ready to slay a burnt offering in consecration to God, it is not possible for us to become glorified man, the ruler of all the works of God’s hands, the judge of men and angels, the holder of the keys of the Kingdom. 

And the four tables were of hewn stone for the burnt offering, of a cubit and an half long, and a cubit and an half broad, and one cubit high: whereupon also they laid the instruments wherewith they slew the burnt offering and the sacrifice. (Ezekiel 40:42)

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. (II Timothy 4:6)

The Bride is to wash the robes of her conduct in the blood of the Lamb. It is only as we present our sins and rebellions to the blood of the Lamb that we can be cleansed. Therefore any description of the Bride of the Lamb must included references to sacrificial offerings.

It appears to be true that the separation of mankind into God’s elect, the Church, on the one hand, and the nations of the earth, on the other hand, is a permanent arrangement. This is the pattern that will endure throughout eternity.

The role of the Lord’s people, the Israel of God, the members of Christ’s Body, is to bear witness on the earth of the Lord’s Person, will, and ways, and also to announce His return to earth to establish His Kingdom here.

After Christ returns, our role will be to continue to represent God throughout His creation, and also to rule and minister to the nations of the earth. God’s name will be written on us; the name of the new Jerusalem will be written on us; and Christ’s new name will be written on us. 

Having the Glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; (Revelation 21:11)

The Christian Church will be in perfect unity, completely mature, without blemish of any kind, one in the Son and the Father, and filled with the Glory of God. 

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: (John 17:22)

All of the houses of God, such as the Tabernacle of the Congregation, David’s Tabernacle, and the Temple of Solomon, have had their share of the manifest Glory of God.

God never again will dwell in a temple made with hands.

Christ, and Christ alone, is the eternal dwelling place of the Father. It is only as Christ is formed in us that we become the dwelling place of God, the place of His throne and His feet, the new Jerusalem.

The new Jerusalem is the fullness of Christ. The Throne of God and the Lamb will be in it forever. There will be no temple in the holy city, God will be Present in His unconcealed Person for His sons to behold and adore.

The "light" that emanates from the new Jerusalem is Christ. "The Lamb is the light thereof." The Christian saints are the light of the world today and will continue to be the light of the world forever—but only as Christ is formed in us and dwells in us.

How blessed it is to cease attempting to enlighten the world through means of our religious efforts and to allow the Lamb in us to be the Light!

The light from the city is "clear as crystal." The light from the churches of today is not clear. It is clouded by the sins and self-seeking of those who call themselves by the name of Christ.

In that Day there will be no more sin and self-seeking among the Christian people. All the members of the Body of Christ will have been made perfect by the Spirit of the Lord. The peoples of the earth will not be required to "swallow" our imperfections in order to eat of the tree of life or drink of the water of life. 

And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: (Revelation 21:12)

The "wall great and high" is the insurmountable barrier that exists between God and all that is sinful. It is the wall of separation between the perfected Church, the Wife of the Lamb, and the nations of saved peoples of the earth; between the elect, God’s royal priesthood, the Seed of Abraham, and the believing nations (John 17:21-23).

Paul instructed "the church of God that is at Corinth": 

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 6:17-7:1)

The Lord loves righteousness and holiness.

Today the wall that always must separate God’s holy city from the filthiness of the world lies in ruins. 

Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach. (Nehemiah 2:17)

It does no good to attempt to rebuild Jerusalem until first the wall has been restored.

Now is the time to rebuild the wall against sin. The wall is being created in the personalities of the conquering saints. It is an eternal wall. It is the wall of separation between God and all sin and rebellion against God.

Little by little, stone by stone, timber by timber, gate by gate, the wall of God is being constructed. "Upon all the glory shall be a defence" (Isaiah 4:5). God will have no more unwalled Edens.

The fire of God is burning in us, consuming all the dross. Christ Himself is the Wall—the only wall—against sin and rebellion.

As long as any creature of God is left with a will of its own there always will be the possibility of that creature rebelling against God’s will and laws. Throughout eternity it will remain possible for you and me to sin.

The guarantee we will not sin is not that we will be living to a greater extent in a spiritual atmosphere. Sin was conceived originally in a purely spiritual environment. Sin entered the material realm after it had been brought into being in the spirit realm.

Therefore, dying and passing into the spirit realm is no insurance against sin and rebellion against God. 

The only guarantee that any creature of God will not sin is the forming and dwelling of Christ in him.

Believers who are not cooperating with the Holy Spirit in the work of driving the sin and rebellion from their personality are placing their salvation in jeopardy.

Dying and going to Heaven does not insure we will not sin against God. Only the formation of Christ, the Wall, in our personality guarantees we never again will be guilty of sin and rebellion against the Father.

If God were to come to the Christian Church and remove all sin, healing every believer in spirit, in soul, and in body, it would do little good. God indeed is able to deliver after this fashion, restoring us to the innocence of Adam and Eve. But it would do no lasting good just as the sin-free innocence of Adam and Eve did not deliver them in the hour of temptation.

Of what use is it to rebuild Jerusalem when there is no wall? As soon as it has been rebuilt the enemy will return and destroy it. Eden was an unwalled Paradise. The enemy entered Eden immediately, as God knew he would, and destroyed what God had created.

Before Jerusalem is restored the wall must be built.

Christ Himself is the Wall, the Immunity to all sin and rebellion. When He has been formed in us we will not sin. That which is born of God shall never sin. When we are committing sin it is because we do not have enough eternal life, enough of the Kingdom of God in us. Christ has not been formed in us to any appreciable extent. 

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (I John 3:9)

If Adam and Eve had been filled with the Life of Christ it never would have been possible for Satan to tempt them successfully. The moment he counseled them to disobey God, the Spirit of God would have risen up in them. They would have cried, "Get away from here, Satan. We worship God and obey Him. We will not obey or worship you."

This is the "wall" that is being created today in the conquering saints.

When people sin they are obeying and worshiping Satan. "He that committeth sin is of the devil" (I John 3:8). The reason the Lord’s people are obeying and worshiping Satan is they are not filled with the eternal Life of God in Christ. They have "accepted" Christ. They may speak in tongues. But in many instances they are not filled with the Life of God in Christ.

In order to be a true Christian, a true saint, we must come out from among the people of the world and not touch the unclean practices of the flesh. We must learn to follow every guidance of the Holy Spirit of God so He may be able to form Christ in us.

We must gather often with fervent believers, filling our spirit continually with the Life of God that flows among those who assemble and worship God in Spirit and in truth.

When we do this, the wall of resistance against sin begins to be formed in us. We confess and forsake the wicked practices of our body. We put those behaviors to death through the Spirit of God.

The new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, is a "wall" against all sin and rebellion. 

I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour. (Song of Solomon 8:10)

"I am a wall," the Bride declares.

The Church stands between God and the sin that is in the world. The Church is able to do this because Christ has been formed in, and is dwelling in, the Church.

It is God’s will that the nations of the earth be allowed to approach His holy Presence. Therefore there must be "gates" in the wall.

"And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates."

Notice that the wall is "great and high." It is not merely an ornamental wall. It is an impregnable wall that has been designed to keep the enemy of God away from God’s Presence for eternity.

There are twelve gates, twelve entrances to the Presence of God.

The peoples of the new earth are divided into two groups. There are the nations of saved peoples of the earth, and then there are the elect, the Israel of God, the Church, the Body of Christ.

Being a saint, a member of the called and chosen of the Lord, is a full-time calling. If we are called to be a saint, a holy one of God, we have no other calling. All our earthly employment remains nothing more than the work necessary for existence on the earth. It no longer is our "calling." Our calling is to become the Lord’s witness, a "gate" in His wall.

The number twelve is symbolic of God’s elect, of Israel.

There were twelve tribes in Israel. Both Jacob and Moses prophesied over the twelve tribes. There is only one Israel of God, but the prophecy changes as we move from tribe to tribe (Genesis, Chapter 49; Deuteronomy, Chapter 33).

Why does the prophecy change when we move from tribe to tribe? It is because God’s Personality is diverse. It would not be possible for one tribe to reflect adequately the fullness of God’s Personality.

There are many different kinds of human personalities. People differ greatly in temperament, in the manner in which they think and behave.

God has created this diversity because it pleases Him. He has provided for the differences in people. He calls to Himself different kinds of people to be saints, to be witnesses, to be "gates" that lead to His Presence.

Everyone has someone who can serve him or her as a gate to God. For every human being on the earth there is a saint who will understand him and who will be to him a gate to God’s Presence. People whom you can reach will not be able to receive me as readily. Everyone has someone.

There is but one glorious highway to Zion, and yet that highway has twelve lanes. Sometimes in our zeal to convince people that all other religions are false (and they are), we begin to resist the parts of the Christian Church that are unfamiliar to us. Satan immediately takes advantage of the suspicion that is aroused in us.

It is helpful to remember there are twelve tribes in Israel, not just our tribe. When Israel crossed Jordan, God required that twelve stones be taken from Jordan and placed on the west bank of Jordan as a reminder that the tribes are twelve in number, including Reuben, Gad, and the half of Manasseh that claimed land east of Jordan.

Every one of God’s elect is being made a "gate" so other people can find God. Being made a gate is a painful process. We are shut up in the Lord’s prison. We must, like Joseph, be made bread for the nations. Therefore the Lord tears us, opening up a great, gaping wound in us—like the wound in Jesus’ side. The reason a wound was opened in Jesus’ side is that you and I may find our way inside.

God opens up a wound in me and in you so there may be a gate through which men and women, boys and girls, can come into the Presence of God.

When Nehemiah and his fellow Jews were rebuilding the wall and gates of Jerusalem (which appears to be the greatest scriptural type of the restoration of the Church), the walls and gates had names: the "sheep gate," the "fish gate," the "broad wall," and so forth (Nehemiah, Chapter Three). These names are prophetic symbols of the pattern of the restoration of the Church.

The gates of the new Jerusalem are inscribed with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The restoration then will have been completed. God is not interested primarily in sheep and fish. He is interested in His elect, the members of the Wife of the Lamb. Therefore the gates of the new Jerusalem are named for people, not for animals or things.

At each of the gates stands an angel. We do not know whether the angels posted at the gates are people-angels or spirit-angels. The term angel means messenger and can refer to a person or a spirit.

Since the new Jerusalem is the Wife of the Lamb it is possible that these angels are the Apostles of Christ. On the other hand, we know that the elect angels are associated closely with the elect people. These may be mighty spirit-sentinels who have assisted the development of the Church throughout its history.

The purpose of the wall that surrounds Jerusalem, whether the earthly Jerusalem or the heavenly Jerusalem, is to keep the enemy away from the Lord’s people so he cannot harm them.

You may ask, "Why must we have a wall around the new Jerusalem since the enemy has been overcome by that time?"

The answer is, the new Jerusalem is the Church of Christ, now established as the ruling city of the universe. The Church will govern human beings, angels, and all else that God has created (Hebrews 2:8).

As long as people and angels are able to act according to their thoughts and imaginations, sin and rebellion against God remain a possibility. If God were to remove from us the ability to act according to our thoughts and imaginations we then would not have unique personalities. The work of thousands of years would be viewed as foolishness and a waste of time.

The peoples of the earth and the angels always will be capable of sin and rebellion. They have been screened carefully by the events of history. Some angels did not fall, and some people have been saved. The remainder of angels and people have been assigned to the Lake of Fire.

Now a wall of defense is being created around the Glory of God. This wall, as we have stated, is Christ who has been formed in the victorious saints as the direct result of God injecting His Life into them under conditions of "heat and pressure."

The finest quality swords are made by experts through means of conditions of heat and cold. So it is that God’s finest quality "swords" are being forged with the greatest care. They are hammered, they are thrust into fire, they are plunged into water, they are hammered again. When they are finished they are honed to a fine edge—an edge that can slice a feather drifting in the wind or cut through granite and steel.

Christ’s conquering saints have had Divine Life forced into every pore of their personality by pressure expertly applied. It is they, as Christ dwells in them, who are the Divinely formed guarantee that sin and rebellion never again will bring discord into the harmony of Paradise.

The new Jerusalem is in Heaven now. It is "the mother of us all." The wall of the new Jerusalem is being formed on the earth during the darkest hours of earth’s history. Many saints who are being forged under the conditions of the last days are destined to be first in the Kingdom of God.

God is able to bring good from the evil of Antichrist’s reign. The redemption of the world came from the spiritual oppression of Gethsemane and Calvary. The darker the night the more brightly the stars shine.

The pressures of the closing days of this age will cause people to be either hot or cold; for Christ rejects lukewarmness. Many of the "mighty men" of the Kingdom will come forth during the evil days that even now are on us. Only the most determined believers can stand in the present hour, and to them is given the Kingdom.

Let us all stand in our place round about the camp. 

On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. (Revelation 21:13)

The number three symbolizes the Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The four points of the compass signify that all the ends of the earth will be able to come up to Zion and learn of the ways, the will, and the Persons of the Godhead.

Today there are certain doors that are closed against the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. When the new Jerusalem descends from God out of Heaven, every person on the earth will have the opportunity to come to God as often as he likes. No longer will there be wicked rulers who will not permit human beings to worship God, who require that people worship them and their establishments.

Can you imagine what this world will be like when Satan is gone? All the demons are gone? All sinful, self-seeking people are gone? Not only that, but the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are living among us? It sounds too good to be true. Yet the fact of its coming is more certain than the rising of the sun tomorrow morning. 

And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Revelation 21:14)

Isn’t it remarkable that such emphasis is placed on the wall?

We have two short chapters that describe our eternal destiny, and there are many aspects of the new Jerusalem in which we are vitally interested.

But God is interested in the wall and its foundations. There are to be no more unwalled Paradises. There is to be no more sin and rebellion in the creation. The Father has spoken.

The wall of defense against sin has twelve foundations. The foundations are named after the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. We believe Paul has taken the place of Judas.

There have been apostles throughout church history. The original twelve, counting Paul, we believe, have been given a unique position in eternity.

The willingness of the original Apostles to "spend and be spent" for the Kingdom of God’s sake has gained for them rewards past the ability of humans to comprehend.

It is difficult for us to grasp the finality of the workings of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is being entered today, not by the violent who are wrenching the things of God to their own advantage (just as evil men were doing in the days of Jesus) but by the meek of the earth who are allowing the Holy Spirit of God to form Christ in them.

Each believer is given the opportunity to spend his or her talents in the market place. Many are careless. They are wasting time and energy, not being able to make up their minds to serve Christ fully.

What an enormous loss they are incurring! Although they do not realize it, they are forming their eternal destiny today. Like Esau, they are selling the Glory of God for a bowl of soup—for the comforts of the world. How tragic!

Jesus watched those who were leaving Him because He had informed them that in order to gain eternal life they must eat His flesh and drink His blood.

Jesus inquired of His twelve followers, "Will you also go away?"

Peter responded, "Where will we go? You have the words of eternal life."

Those who left Jesus and returned to their houses and goats grew old and died, leaving a few possessions to their children and grandchildren.

The names of Peter and the others have been carved in the foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem, there to be viewed by countless billions upon billions of people forever.

Whoever receives Christ receives the Glory of God for eternity.

The wall of the new Jerusalem, the eternal defense against all sin and rebellion, is founded on those who were faithful to God throughout their brief life on earth. Today the earth has become the environs of Hell itself. It is no small challenge to remain true to Christ in the present hour. 

And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. (Revelation 21:15)

Measuring, as employed symbolically in the Scriptures, indicates judgment. It is the applying of a fixed standard against some thing, event, or person.

It is a golden reed, that is, it is the Divine standard. It is not just an ordinary reed that has grown from the earth Even though it is the Divine standard it yields measurements people can understand.

One of the greatest issues of our discipleship is that of the golden reed. Will we measure people and things against God’s standard? Or will we reject God’s evaluation of people and circumstances?

Our present generation has been ingrained deeply with the spirit of humanism. Humanism is satanically inspired rebellion against God. Would Satan seek to marshal the opinion of people against God? Would he seek to demonstrate to God that God’s judgments are not perfect; and that if God insists on His standards He will lose most of His support—not only from the angels of Heaven but also from the people whom God has created in His image?

Whose side are you on, God’s or Satan’s? We ourselves have chosen to be on the Lord’s side, against all angels, against the peoples of the world, against much of Christianity, and against any and all persons and spirits who would attempt to persuade God to change His righteous judgments in any manner whatever.

The record of the Scriptures in many places is that of a few individuals who sought the Lord with a pure heart. There were occasions when God could not find one person who would do His will, who was able to intercede for a sinning Israel.

Whenever God chooses someone, such as Jeremiah, to hear His voice and express His will to the nations, He then deals with the chosen vessel until the individual cries out in dismay: 

Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail? (Jeremiah 15:18)

God revealed to Jeremiah, as He does to all His true witnesses, that he must measure all things against God’s holy and righteous standard, and that he must never under any circumstances allow people to influence his judgment of right and wrong. 

Therefore thus saith the Lord, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them. (Jeremiah 15:19)

"Let them return unto thee."

The written Word of God is a golden reed. Not one particle of it ever will be changed. One day the heaven and earth to which we are accustomed will pass away with a loud noise and intense heat; but the written Word never will pass away.

The bronze Laver of the Tabernacle of the Congregation typifies the written Word as the water that washes away the filth of the priesthood. There was no wood, the symbol of humanity, in the Laver. It was solid bronze—solid Divine judgment.

The "city" is measured against God’s Word. The city is the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, the royal priesthood of God.

The "gates" are measured. The gates are the several entrances to the Presence of God that have been created in the personalities of human beings.

The "wall" is measured against God’s Word. The wall is the defense against sin and rebellion being created in the conquering saints as Christ is forced into every tiny area of their personality under conditions of "heat and pressure."

The city, the gates, the wall—all are measured against the Divine standard, that is, "the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." Every element must correspond perfectly to what God has determined in Christ.

As far as we know, the new Jerusalem is a real city, not just a symbolic representation of the virtues of the Bride of the Lamb.

Why, then, do we emphasize the symbolic aspect of the city? It is because people are willing and anxious to go to an external Heaven, but they often miss the most important part of redemption—their personal transformation into the moral image of Christ.

Like churches and schools, cities are people. Take away the worshipers and there is no church. Take away the pupils and teacher and there is no school. Take away the citizens and there is no city.

A city could include the seven wonders of the world. Every one of its buildings could be a universe of splendor and excitement. But if the inhabitants were devils the city would be Hell.

God spends his Virtue, wisdom, and power creating people. Men desire to create buildings. We are apt to worship buildings. We emphasize what is external and inanimate. God always emphasizes the people for they are His children and bear His image. God never loves buildings, God loves people.

It appears at times that the Christian believers are not overly concerned with the moral nature of the new Jerusalem. They are occupied with the beauty and wealth of the city, the items of value and interest they hope to find there.

If you listen to a hymn about the new Jerusalem you probably will hear about streets of gold and gates of pearl.

You may not hear that the people are loving, joyous, peaceful, righteous, and patient.

God could not care less about gold and jewels. God could not care more about people.

There are many large cities in the world today: New York, San Francisco, Paris, London, Rome, Moscow, Tokyo, Mexico City. Babylon was famous in its day.

Most people would be excited at the prospect of going to each of these cities and beholding the marvels that it contains, such as the Tower of London, or the Louvre, or the Vatican.

Suppose you approached a city that gleamed with the golden edifices it contained. Its walls were crystal and embedded with diamonds, emeralds, and rubies. On the outside were trees, rolling hills of the greenest grass, and ivory fountains pouring forth pure water.

A white-robed angel opened a gate in the wall and allowed you to enter. You stood just inside the wall—stunned by the light and glory of the most beautiful metropolis imaginable.

You were introduced to one of the citizens, a man radiant with life.

He introduced himself to you, and then he said, "Do not go over to the far end of the city because the people there are stupid. They are always unfriendly. Stay with us, this is the best part of Paradise."

What would be your impression of the city? What would the emeralds and rubies mean to you now?

He continued, "Do you see those people over there? They think they are righteous. They always are staying around the Lord. They are His pets. He plays favorites with them and treats them better than He does the rest of us. In fact, He cheats us and gives them things that belong to us."

What about the crystal walls? How do you feel about them now?

As for me, I would leave the city and find a shady spot somewhere and ask God to deliver me from the strife of tongues. I would rather live by myself somewhere, alone with Christ, than to have any part in such a city. They could keep their emeralds and rubies. What good are precious stones or gold if the people are critical, bitter, and self-seeking?

Suppose that God were to lift the church world from the earth and place the Christians in a new Jerusalem. There were Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Pentecostals, and other groups.

You know as well as I what would happen. Each group would begin to seek its advantage. The ministers would compete for power and prestige. The city would be filled with criticism, complaining, bitterness, suspicion, jealousy. If God and the Lamb were to descend into it, holy fire would issue from Them and slay most of the people. How many would be left? A million? A thousand? A hundred? Ten?

Ah, but we shall be changed when we go to Heaven!

Where does it state this in the Scriptures?

After all, jealousy and self-seeking began in Heaven.

Gold and precious stones do not make a city. It is the personalities of the people that are the most important feature of any city, not its skyscrapers, conservatories of music, cathedrals, art galleries, commercial institutions, laboratories, museums, or centers of entertainment. If the people are sinful and violent the city is not acceptable to those who love the Lord.

What makes a home? Is it the wood and glass of the house or is it the people who run to the door to welcome you?

What is a school? Is it ivy-covered brick walls, desks, and chalkboards? Or is it that gifted teacher who illumines the pupils with inspired portrayals and the eager minds that assimilate the knowledge?

It has been said that a school could consist of a log with a talented teacher on one end and someone seeking the truth seated on the other end.

What is a church? Is it the rug, the steeple, and the parking lot? Or is it an assembling of loving, joyous human beings among whom the Spirit of the Lord Jesus is dwelling as they obey and worship the Father?

What is your church?

What is the new Jerusalem? Is it a crystal wall and a golden street? Or is it the saints, the members of the Body of Christ, now in unity, in holiness, in knowledge, in love, in glory?

What does the new Jerusalem mean to you?

Is the new Jerusalem an actual city that one can see and enter? We believe it is.

Does someone live there that you hope to see again some day? If so, what is more important to you, the crystal wall or that person?

So it is with God. The reason He appears to emphasize the wall and the street of gold is that He is telling us something about the inhabitants.

Let us grow up in Christ.

The Lord and people are our inheritance. The remainder is relatively unimportant. 

And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. (Revelation 21:16)

The equal length, breadth, and height remind us of the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and also of the Oracle of Solomon’s Temple (I Kings 6:20).

It is evident that God desires we view the new Jerusalem as the Holy of Holies and also as the place of His Presence. Notice the concluding verse of the Book of Ezekiel: 

It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, the Lord is there. (Ezekiel 48:35)

Notice also the last two verses of the Book of Zechariah: 

In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness Unto The Lord; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 14:20,21)

"The Lord is there"! "Holiness Unto The Lord"!

Think of it! "There shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts." It will not be as it is today where "there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 1:4).

We know that we Christians are being made the habitation of God. We know also that the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us and that He is working to make us holy.

God’s intention is to dwell among the nations of the earth. The place where He abides must be holy. Therefore we must never grow weary of the workings of God in us as He creates holiness, righteousness, and obedience in our personality.

How many of those who are believers today finally will become an eternal part of the Most Holy Place, that is, of the new Jerusalem? We cannot say. All? Many? Few? God alone knows. He who overcomes, who conquers the spirit of the world through Christ, shall inherit all things.

There are some who have beheld visions of Heaven, and of the new Jerusalem. One perception is that Heaven is in three cities, one suspended above the other. The design of three areas, each holier than the other, is found in the Scriptures.

There seems to be no question that our conduct and development of personality in this life will assign us to an area suited to our spiritual condition. Visionaries have stated that angels and saints of higher orders can visit those of a lower degree but must diminish their glory so as not to destroy the weaker. We can observe differences of spiritual maturity among Christians now, and apparently our level of maturity is carried forward into the next life.

The spiritual calling of one believer is not the same as the calling of another. Each of us is to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling.

When the new Jerusalem has been completed it will be filled with love, peace, and joy. All will be harmonious. The inhabitants will be righteous, holy, and obedient to God. No person of the holy city will be spiritually lazy or indifferent and none will be spiritually ambitious.

It appears there will be varying degrees of authority, power, faith, ability, love, as well as other distinguishing features of personality.

Every human being is a potential son of the most high God, a capacity possessed by no angel, and has been given an infinitely detailed uniqueness. 

Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: I the Lord will hasten it in his time. (Isaiah 60:21,22)

The new Jerusalem is twelve thousand furlongs in length, breadth, and height. Twelve symbolizes the whole family of God, all Israel, the personality of God’s Church—a personality consisting of the assemblage of the unique personalities of the members of the Body of Christ.

A thousand speaks of an epoch of God’s working with man. The man with the line in his hand measured a thousand, a thousand, a thousand, and a fourth thousand (Ezekiel 47:3-5). A thousand years is as one day with the Lord.

In order to create the new Jerusalem the Lord will work until every member of the new covenant has been brought to God’s standard. All shall know the Lord, from the least to the greatest. A little one shall become a thousand. The feeble shall be as David. The least member of glorified Israel shall be greater than the greatest of the prophets of Israel. 

In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. (Zechariah 12:8)

There is a breadth, a length, a depth, and a height to the Lord’s working with us. Redemption is not a shallow glossing-over of the human personality. The Word of God works in us until the very joints and marrow of our frame have been penetrated (Ephesians 3:18; Hebrews 4:12).

Every human being was born with a depth in his or her personality. Each of us has a capacity for what is satanic, hellish, filthy, rebellious. Redemption deals with that depth until it has been washed in the blood of Christ and then filled with Christ, until there is a table of hewn stone where sacrifices can be made immediately as they are called for.

The city has length, breadth, and height. The depth of it is in the love of Christ that has been created in the personalities of the saints—a depth of compassion and understanding that enables the royal priesthood to work patiently with the members of the nations of the saved until each one is able to dwell in peace with God. 

And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel. (Revelation 21:17)

Here we see the blend of earth and Heaven. The wall is one hundred forty-four cubits as measured against God’s standard, the golden reed. But the results of the measurement are given in terms we can understand. So it is with the Christian life. We do not understand how God creates the miracle of the new creation in a human being, but the result can be witnessed by those around us.

The new heaven and earth reign of Christ will be an eternal blend of perfected humanity and Divinity. The humanity will be perfected by being crucified and then raised in Christ. Jesus said, those who attain the new age will be as the angels (Luke 20:35). When we are in Christ, what is found worthy of the earth is perfected in Christ and then joined eternally to what is of Heaven.

Worldly people have their own standard by which they measure. The saints who are filled with the Spirit of God measure according to the Lord’s standard. Holy people and holy angels measure by the same standard.

John would have worshiped the messenger (angel) whom Jesus had sent to show him these things, but the messenger protested that John must give his worship to God alone (Revelation 19:10; 22:8,9).

It seems scriptural and reasonable that this messenger at one time may have been a believer in Christ, a human being living on the earth. Now he is gloriously alive and is sent forth from the side of Christ to do the will of Christ in the earth. The Kingdom of God works this way.

The wall, as we have noted previously, is present to keep all sin and rebellion against God out of the holy city of the saints. The wall is being created in the conquering saints during our trials and tribulations in this evil world.

The number one hundred forty-four reminds us of "the firstfruits to God and to the Lamb" (Revelation 14:4). These are first among the Lord’s "mighty men."

The victorious saints of today (and throughout the ages) will stand guard forever over the holy city because the Nature of Christ has been created in them. They are without fault before the Throne of God. They love righteousness and hate iniquity. They have been crucified to this world and Christ is living in them (Galatians 2:20).

When the wall of the new Jerusalem is measured against the Divine standard it represents perfectly and for eternity the creation, through the Lord Jesus Christ, of God’s image and Glory in human beings.

In English measure, the new Jerusalem is a cube 1500 miles on a side, while the wall is 72 yards thick. A city laid out in a square 1500 miles on a side would be much larger than any city on earth today. When one considers that its height also is 1500 miles, we can see that God has made enough room for everyone. If we do not become part of the holy city it is by our own choice. Our lack of faith is responsible. The city is large enough to include you and me.

Our present earth could not sustain a city 1500 miles high. The new earth, on which the new Jerusalem will rest, will have to be of enormous size. 

And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. (Revelation 21:18)

Jasper may refer to green quartz. The Spirit of God is telling us that the wall that surrounds the new Jerusalem is as hard as quartz, gloriously beautiful, and of exceedingly great value. The wall is not of wood, stone, or iron. It is of a mineral so valuable we are accustomed to seeing it only in jewelry.

All concepts of wealth vanish when we consider the material elements of the new Jerusalem.

What would a thief do in a city of pure gold surrounded by a wall of sparkling jasper? Would he attempt to chip pieces from the wall and the street so he could hide them in his house?

How unsuited we humans are to dwell in the Presence of God! Only Christ can make us fit for the Presence of God.

If you, as you behave and think now, suddenly were placed in the midst of the new Jerusalem, would you have to adjust your ways of thinking and doing? Would you find Hell more of a natural environment? Would you be upset by the lack of opportunity to rage and destroy in the holy city? Would the love, joy, and peace of the inhabitants become boring after a while? Would you long for a little "excitement"?

The redemption that is in Christ drives from us the love of lust, lying, stealing, and rebellion against the Father’s will. It causes a renovation of what we are in essence.

All of God’s elect are "gold," but they are not all "pure gold, like unto clear glass." 

Gold typifies Divinity—that which is of God’s Substance. When we are born again of the Spirit of God, Divine gold is placed in us. It is Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Gold must be refined. Gold must be heated again and again until the dross has been removed.

The saint is gold but he must be refined again and again until he is pure gold, like clear glass. When we have been perfected in Christ we shall be totally transparent just as our Father in Heaven is transparent. The Truth in us, which is Christ, will be present for all to see.

The development of truth in a human being has little to do with theology or philosophy. Truth is a Person. Truth is a great Light that descends into our innermost parts and illuminates all that is therein. We can tell when Christ, the Light, is growing in us by our increasing awareness of the worldliness, lust, and self-will that are in us.

God does not listen to our reasonings, our justifying of our motives, words, and deeds. Such justifying leads only to deception. God looks at the stone table of sacrifice in us and "hears" when we make our offerings of consecration. Blood talks to God. The fire of Divine judgment talk to God. The Word, the sword of the Spirit, talks to God. But the babble of humans as they seek to deceive, hiding their true motives in a cloud of words, means little to the Lord. He is looking for Truth in the inward parts.

Wood cannot be refined and beaten into the image of God. Only what is of God himself can be refined in the fire and hammered into the image of God. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. Only what is born of God can inherit the Kingdom of God. 

And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst. (Revelation 21:19,20)

We cannot be certain what stone was meant by each name. We understand that the foundations of the wall of the holy city were adorned with a glory and beauty beyond our ability to imagine.

"The foundations of the wall of the city"!

It is difficult to grasp the significance of this. A wall created from precious stone is difficult enough to understand. But the foundation stones of the wall adorned with jewels?

We have stated that we believe there is an actual city called the new Jerusalem and that it is in Heaven at the present time.

When we contemplate a wall that is of such importance to God that He would call attention to the foundations of the wall in this manner, instead of describing the occupations of the saints in the city, we begin to grasp the fact that God is emphasizing a spiritual quality that is of the greatest importance to Himself.

The foundations of the wall come first; after that, the lives and occupations of the saints.

The names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb are in the twelve foundations of the wall.

The wall is constructed and based eternally on twelve foundations garnished with gems of incalculable worth, and in the twelve foundations are inscribed the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. 

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 3:10,11)

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; (Ephesians 2:20)

The Lord Jesus Christ himself is the only Foundation that any Christian minister can lay. The Church is being built on this Rock. 

Foundations are of the greatest importance in any structure. 

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalms 11:3)

God deliberately has founded the world on the seas and floods (Psalms 24) so no individual can obtain security and permanence of position apart from Christ. Therefore the righteous spend their days seeking what is unshakable. 

For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:10)

And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:27)

All that can be shaken, being of a temporary nature, will be shaken and removed. Only what has been wrought in Christ will stand the Divine shaking that is near to come.

The wall of the new Jerusalem is constructed on the Rock—Christ. When Christ is dwelling in people they do what He commands. They keep His Word diligently. It is the keeping of the Word of Christ, by the Life of Christ working in us, that creates the house founded on the rock (Matthew 7:24).

That which Christ creates in us and through us is eternal. It will stand throughout the Divine shaking. All else will totter and be removed.

Never again will sin and rebellion be able to enter the universe. Resistance to sin and rebellion is being established as Christ is created in human beings. This is the center of government of the Kingdom of God.

Perhaps the names of the Apostles in the twelve foundations of the wall represent not only the Apostles themselves but also the victorious saints who have gained victory over the world by means of the Divine testimony given through the Apostles.

The varied, sparkling colors radiating from the foundations of the wall indicate the virtues that have been wrought in the personalities of the saints as they have been subjected to the enormous pressures and heat of life on the earth.

The wall against sin being created in the saint is as hard as it is beautiful in God’s sight. Quartz is not a material that yields when pressured, as does rubber. Many believers in Christ are "made of rubber" when they are required to resist sin. 

Green suggests the environment of the planet Earth.

When one looked at the Tabernacle of the Congregation from the outside, the first impression was the whiteness of the linen fence that surrounded the Courtyard. White typifies righteousness.

When one views the holy city from the outside the prevailing impression is the green of the wall. Green reminds us of the life of nature—that to which we are accustomed. God is making all the old things new. It is His purpose to redeem His material creation by infusing it with eternal, incorruptible resurrection life.

What a world this will be when it is filled with eternal life! 

Sapphire, it is believed, refers to lapis lazuli. Lapis lazuli is an azure-blue stone. Blue symbolizes Heaven. Every true saint has the touch of Heaven on his or her life

The Jew was commanded to put a "ribband of blue" on the fringe of the border of his garments. When the woman touched the hem of Jesus’ garment she touched the ribband of blue. She touched the life of Heaven (Numbers 15:38).

Christians are not identified by doctrinal belief. Every true Christian knows another true Christian by the touch of Heaven on that one’s life. Divisions among the members of the Body of Christ over points of doctrine are caused by Satan playing on our fleshly nature, particularly our carnal mind.

If an individual has the Spirit of Christ he is a Christian regardless of his theological positions. If an individual does not have the Spirit of Christ, the life of Heaven, showing in his personality, he is not a Christian, although his theological positions may be accurate.

Doctrinal belief is one matter. The circumcision of the heart is a separate matter and is the important issue of the Kingdom of God.

We have many pains, problems, and woes in this world. Then we touch Heaven and are lifted above the shadows. We must be lifted up often or we begin to go down under the weight of darkness that always is pressing on us and is, it seems, increasing in intensity every day.

We are about dead. Then the Life of Heaven, of Christ, touches us and we are made new and gloriously alive. The sun rises on the horizon of a new day. Sin and sickness disappear and we know the Lord is in control of our concerns. We know also that Paradise is just over the next mountain and soon we shall be released from this frustration.

Truly we would have fainted. Then the goodness of the Lord is given us while we yet are in the land of the living.

Green and blue. Green is the color of the life of earth. We expect to find grass and trees in Paradise. Blue is the color of the life of Heaven. We expect to find the Life of God in Paradise—the Presence of what is spiritual and eternal.

The Kingdom of God is the eternal union of all that is worthy of earth, and the eternal, incorruptible resurrection Life that Christ is. Jesus is Man and God.

When people go astray from the Kingdom of God it is because they begin to overemphasize either earth or Heaven. They become too fleshly or too "spiritual." Satan pushes us into the lusts of the flesh. Failing in that, he works to guide us into excessive "spiritual" imaginations and activities.

Believers who become too "spiritual" lose their character and their common sense. They are unfruitful because their "spiritual" activities proceed from their zeal and ambitions, not from the Spirit of God.

Christ always makes us perfectly heavenly and perfectly earthly. Satan attempts to make us too "heavenly" or too earthly. Christ always remains in wholesome, fruitful balance.

One of the greatest errors in Christian thinking today (and it probably was derived from the religions of the East) is the idea that this world is inherently and irrecoverably evil and that redemption consists of our being evacuated to another world—Heaven. This concept is the opposite of the biblical concept of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

Wouldn’t Satan love to inherit the earth (in spite of what the Scriptures state about the righteous inheriting the earth) while the saints were forced to flee to the spirit realm for protection! The wicked angels left Heaven, their first estate, and invaded the earth. Evidently the spirit forces think more highly of the earth than they do of the heavens.

The Kingdom of God is not Heaven. The Kingdom of God is the eternal union of Heaven and earth. The Kingdom of God is coming to the earth to be married to the earth, so to speak. Then the earth will live, having been set free from the corruption of sin and death (Romans 8:21).

The Kingdom of God is coming. Christ is coming. Righteousness is on the way. Reinforcements are at hand. Our opportunities for glory and service will be expanded if we have been faithful in our small responsibilities.

The earth belongs to us. Satan and his forces will be compelled to leave. We shall go to meet Christ in the air, not to go back to Heaven (what sense does that make?) but in order to be set in our proper rank as a member of the Kingdom army of kings and priests.

Soon the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. The waters of incorruptible Divine Life will cover the earth in place of the poison of sin, so that the "sea" of mankind may be healed (Ezekiel 47:8,9).

In Christ, Heaven comes to earth. The green is in the hearts of people. We expect to see trees and grass in Paradise.

How would you like to dwell eternally in a Paradise in which there was gold dust in place of ground, rubies in place of grass, molten silver in place of water, statues of platinum in place of trees, large pearls in place of mountains?

We humans do not want another kind of environment. What we really desire is that God would give eternal life to that with which we are familiar.

Religion always is unnatural and distorted—alien to the true feelings of people. Divine redemption always is natural and harmonious, expressive and fulfilling of the true feelings and desires of human beings.

The goal of the Christian discipleship is not Heaven. The goal of the Christian life is the new Jerusalem, that is, the rule of Heaven over the earth. 

Chalcedony also is thought to refer to a green stone, and may be a translucent quartz. Green is a color we hope to see in Paradise because it reminds us of the life of earth.

The emerald is bright-green, transparent beryl. Beryl is hard. 

Sardonyx refers to a form of agate having layers of brown and white. The brown symbolizes the earth, and the white is the righteousness that comes to earth with the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven.

The sardis is a red form of quartz. Red, as used in the Old Testament, is linked to the name, Adam. The life of man is blood. It was the blood of Christ, His natural life, that was offered as the atonement for the sin of the world. This same blood has been glorified and now is the eternal life that the saint drinks and by which he lives.

Green, blue, brown, white, and red—all in the twelve foundations of the wall of the eternal Tabernacle of God. 

Chrysolite is yellow quartz. The yellow brings to mind the spiritual beauty of our holy Lord.

Gold, that which represents the Divine Nature of God, is a soft metal. Gold is not suitable for the foundation of a wall. Quartz is suitable for the embellishing of the foundation of a wall. The yellow quartz, yellow being the color of gold, reminds us that the new Jerusalem is the Presence of God and the Lamb in the earth.

Today Christianity has become man-centered. What will be required in order for us to return to the concept that God is the Center of the Kingdom of God?

Our generation is experiencing the restoration of the gifts of the Spirit to the churches, including wisdom and knowledge that have remained hidden throughout the Church Age. Now the Christians have lost sight of God and are attempting to utilize the gifts of the Spirit for the benefit of people, apart from Christ’s immediate supervision. This is the False Prophet who is to come.

Let us fear and tremble at the Presence of God Almighty. Let us bow down and worship as He draws near to the earth. Only then will we possess the wisdom to proceed with the work of building the Kingdom of Heaven.

In the first six colors the life of Heaven is brought into the earth to liberate the natural creation. The creation itself is released into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.

In the seventh color, yellow, Deity assumes His rightful place as the awesome Center of the creation. 

Beryl is a hard mineral, yellow-green in color. Yellow-green points toward the Divine influence on what is human and of the natural realm.

The Divine-human blend is typified also in the gold-covered wood of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Truly, Heaven meets earth in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is Jacob’s ladder on whom the angels of God ascend and descend. Christ’s Divinity is perfect and intact. Christ’s humanity is perfect and intact. Yet, Christ is one Person. 

Topaz refers to a hard crystalline mineral, probably yellow in color. 

Chrysoprasus may indicate a light-green variety of quartz, but the Greek term employed appears to be of uncertain definition. 

Jacinth, as used here, is associated with the color blue.

The amethyst is purple, transparent quartz. Purple is the blend of red and blue. Purple is the color of royalty. "Adam" means red. Christ is the "last Adam"; yet He is from Heaven (blue). He is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Nothing can be accomplished in the Kingdom of God when there is no foundation. A foundation must be exceedingly hard, exceedingly durable.

A foundation cannot be formed in a Paradise. It must be formed where there is heat and pressure.

The foundation that God desires begins when a human being is born into the world, and then develops as Christ is formed in him or her. It is impossible even to see the Kingdom of God until there have been two births.

The second birth is the beginning of Deity in us. Christ must be forced by circumstances into every pore of our personality. The process is not always a pleasant one. Adverse circumstances are required in order for Christ to be driven into the human personality. The foundation cannot be formed where there is no tribulation. It is necessary that offenses come.

The chief Cornerstone of the Temple of God suffered more than any man.

There was no foundation of righteousness in Adam or Eve. As long as we are living in a paradise no foundation will be formed in us.

God forms the light and blessing, and also darkness and trouble. 

I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)

Our present-day reluctance to accept the fact that it is God who is the Author of both the trouble and the blessings in the world, the pain and the comfort, the tearing and the binding up, is just one more symptom of the rebellious, Antichrist spirit that dwells in us.

God has commanded us not to fret against evil. When we fret against the evil in the world we are complaining against God.

Is God not able to change the world at His pleasure? Is God helpless in the face of the sin and rebellion of angels and men?

God has created the light, and also the darkness. The light serves a purpose; the darkness serves a purpose. It is necessary that offenses come, although woe is heaped on those through whom they come.

As long as we perceive the goal of redemption to be residence in Heaven where all is peaceful we cannot grasp what the Scriptures teach. We will view every tribulation as the work of the devil. When our goal becomes conformity to the image of Christ, the infusion of Christ into every pore of our personality, then we desire and accept the fellowship of His sufferings.

Foundations cannot be formed in Eden. Quartz cannot be formed in Paradise. God has created the world, with its light and its darkness, its pleasures and its pains, its sicknesses and its health. God permitted Satan, the destroyer, to enter Eden. God could have kept him out.

What kind of person would you be if you never had suffered any pain? How much would you understand about God or people if you never had been tempted to sin?

The individual who has been painfully sick deeply appreciates health—that which other people take for granted. The man dying of thirst in the desert views water differently from those who have abundance of water.

God does not form foundations in Eden, He forms them in the environs of Hell. This world is the valley of the shadow of death. All attempts to view the world as anything more than a cursed wilderness proceed from the spirit of Antichrist. God has given Satan the dust of this world to eat, but our citizenship is in Heaven. Our treasures are in Heaven, soon to come to us with the return of Christ from Heaven.

It is only as we pass through the fires and waters of judgment that Christ can be formed in the depths of our personality.

The Apostles of the Lamb experienced the sufferings of their Lord, Christ. Therefore their names are in the foundations of the wall that surrounds the holy city of God.

Christ, the Word of God, knows all things. Christ created Satan. He understood that Satan would sin. Christ did not cause Satan to sin but He probably understood that Satan would sin.

In the eons before the forming of the heavens and the earth, Christ covered Satan with the same precious stones that we find in the foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem. 

Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the Beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. (Ezekiel 28:13)

The material creation began in darkness, and then God separated the light from the darkness.

The Lake of Fire, the spiritual darkness, remains for eternity. The new Jerusalem, the spiritual light, remains for eternity.

The inner fires of the green, blue, brown, white, yellow, red, and purple gems flash in the foundations of the wall—the place where the names of the Apostles of the Lamb are inscribed for eternity.

Where and how are these precious gems formed? They are formed in human beings during their lifetime on the earth, as God permits the messengers of Satan to afflict them (II Corinthians 12:7).

In a great establishment there are furnishings of honor and furnishings not as highly regarded. So it is in the creation of God.

We understand that God is in control of His universe and that all things are working together for good for those who love God, for those who have been called according to His eternal purpose in Christ. One important part of God’s eternal purpose is to create an eternal resistance to sin and rebellion.

When we gain the concept that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ so we will practice good works to the Glory of God, we become willing to accept the world that God has created. We view each day as another lesson, another step in the creation of the foundation of the wall in us.

This is the only true vision of the conquering saint. All else is self-centered and warped. God forgives the numerous follies of the churches because He is intent on perfecting the handful of sons who are willing to suffer the demanding operations of God as He garnishes the twelve foundations of the wall of the new Jerusalem.

Why is God willing to spend so much time and effort on the perfecting of one individual? One reason is, God has forever in which to work. Also, one human being brought to perfection by having Christ driven into every atom of his personality becomes the source of unnumbered generations of human beings, all of whom are raised in the family of God through direct or indirect contact with the one saint whom Christ has perfected.

One man, such as Abraham, after he is tried, becomes the father of all who believe that which was preached to him. The same is true of the Apostle Paul and of other saints of history.

We are God’s workmanship and His work is perfect.

The new Jerusalem is the Kingdom of God, the point where Heaven enters the earth and gives it the eternal life that is its destiny in Christ. The coming of the Kingdom of God is good news for the meek of the earth but bad news for demons and rebellious people.

The wall and gates, particularly the foundations of the wall, are of the greatest importance to what God has planned. Apart from the foundations of the wall, all that God has wrought so patiently throughout thousands of years could be invaded and destroyed. 

And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. (Revelation 21:21)

A pearl is an oyster’s reaction to an irritation lodged in its shell. Carbonate of lime and layers of animal membrane are formed around a grain of sand or other foreign matter. It is a slow process.

A gate leading into the Presence of God and the Lamb is formed in us as with patience we seek the help of Christ in coping with the pains and problems of life on the earth.

The Kingdom of God and patience go together. 

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, . . . . (Revelation 1:9)

The various forms of quartz that embellish the twelve foundations of the wall are formed under heat and pressure. They are hard, beautiful minerals.

Pearls, the material of the twelve gates, are made in an animal as it seeks to cope with irritations in its environment. Pearls are closer to life than is quartz.

Tribulation works patience, and patience works the perfection of the Kingdom of God in us. God Himself is patient, and every person who is seeking the image of God is seeking a portion of the virtue of patience.

Those who are driven by Satan and their own lusts and self-will exhibit impatience. They cannot wait. They must satisfy their cravings now. The fruit of such impatience is murder, lying, stealing, rage, and every other manifestation of Satan’s nature. 

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4:1-3)

The above was written to Christians.

The way of the cross is the way of patient waiting on the Lord. The world despises the cross, insisting on having what it wants now—with or without Christ.

God puts His choicest saints in prison, causing them to do what is not always pleasing to them, denying them the most fervent longings of their soul. The years pass by and hope is deferred. A gate in the new Jerusalem is being formed.

Patience! Patience! Patience!

Have you ever known anyone who has suffered patiently over a long period of time? Have you noticed the type of personality that is produced? Children are self-seeking and impatient. Old saints who have patiently endured much tribulation in Christ are godly in character.

Little children enter the Kingdom easily and happily. The aged saint, now perfected by patient waiting on the Lord for deliverance, holds the keys of the Kingdom.

God is creating an impenetrable, crystalline exterior to keep sin away from Himself. In order to give His creatures access to His love and blessings He is creating "gates" formed from human beings who are willing to hang on the cross of weakness and futility while the Life of God sustains them.

There are twelve tribes and they represent every type of human personality. There are twelve gates, twelve pearls. For every individual there is a patient saint who can understand and appreciate his unique personality and open the way for him or her to enter the Presence of God and the Lamb.

Christ is formed in us like a pearl. When people are hungry and thirsty for the Life of God they do not want to eat and drink our pride, self-will, self-seeking. Therefore we bear in our mortal body the death of Jesus so the Life of Jesus may be revealed to the needy.

The victorious saints are hard and unyielding when it comes to sin. It is true also that in them has been developed the compassion of God, and their personalities lead into His presence.

The street of the new Jerusalem is gold refined until it is as clear as glass.

The way (street) of God is the way of refined faith. The righteous man walks in faith. 

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: (I Peter 1:7)

To some believers the expression "the just shall live by faith" means God is not concerned about the behavior of Christians. To other believers the expression "living by faith" means they are not to work but to trust God for their material needs (and the expression often is used as an excuse for begging).

However, living by faith actually has to do with humble dependence on God in all we do, with walking humbly with God. The person who is living by faith is the one who is not proud and self-reliant; rather, he trusts in the Lord with all his heart and leans not to his own understanding. This is what it means to "live by faith." 

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4)

Faith is our hold on the Word of the invisible God, our conclusion concerning God’s character—that seeking Him diligently will result in our receiving the desires of our heart. The Christian life consists of a prolonged testing and refining of our faith. It is the faith of Christ working in us that overcomes the world.

The cause of all the problems of the universe is lack of faith in God. The love of money, of that which will bring visible security and pleasure, is the archenemy of faith in God and therefore the root of all evil.

Satan and his angels fell because of lack of faith in God.

The righteous live, think, act, speak, by faith in God.

Every creature chooses whether or not to live by faith in God. When an individual chooses to place his faith in God, a pearl is begun in him. His faith is tested again, and again, and again—seemingly endlessly. The pearl that is being created will not be displayed until the appearing of Christ.

When the Lord comes, it is our faith that will be made manifest for all to see. In the patient saint there is a street of gold that has been refined until one can see through it. There is nothing left in it that cannot accept the light of God. There is no dross, no cloudiness that hinders the light. It is the creation of Christ, of the Kingdom of God, in us.

The street of gold is the way of holiness. We are gathering out the stones today. We are building up a highway on which even the simple and foolish can walk without stumbling. 

And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. (Isaiah 35:8)

Without faith it is impossible to please God. It is faith that enables us to overcome the world and to enter the fullness of our inheritance as sons of God.

The rewards to the overcomer are listed in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. The only street that leads to the rewards is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The only obstacle that can prevent us from attaining the rank of conqueror is the obstacle of our unbelief in God and in His Word. 

Faith is the supreme issue of the Christian life (although love is the supreme virtue of the Kingdom of God). Faith is our decision concerning God’s character. Either we trust God or we do not trust God. It is as simple and straightforward as that.

It was the issue of God’s trustworthiness that was raised in Eden. Satan always is whispering doubts concerning God’s trustworthiness.

The virtues of the Kingdom of God never are formed from human nature, they always are forged from the Divine Nature. Faith is no exception. We must have not only faith in Christ but also the faith of Christ.

Sooner or later our own faith will fail. Christ’s faith in God, which is the faith of God, will never fail. The faith that brings salvation, that delivers us from Satan, that conforms us to the image of Christ and brings us into union with Christ, is not our faith in God. It is Christ’s faith in God given us as a gift. 

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:3)

The faith of the Kingdom is given to us by the Lord.

The faith of Christ is gold, but it must be refined in the fires of tribulation. It must be purified in us. Patience and faith go together; so do the gates of pearl and the street of transparent gold.

There is no mineral gold in the universe that compares in value with the purified faith of a saint of God; for that gold leads directly into the presence of God and the Lamb. 

And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. (Revelation 21:22)

It appears from the Scripture that there is a glorious Temple of God in Heaven (Isaiah 6:1). Every temple serves to separate God from His creatures. God placed no temple in Eden; rather, He walked in the garden in the cool of the day (apparently He was in human form or the temperature would have had no bearing on when He walked in the garden).

Religion always places God in an ornate temple, but the hearts of men are in the garden in the cool of the day. God desires to walk in that garden, and this is the romance of the Divine redemption.

Religion often serves to maintain (and profit from) the chasm between God and his people. You do this and God will do that. You give money (to me!) and God will bless you. You fast and pray and God will give you power. So on and on. It is Antichrist.

Divine redemption always seeks to remove the chasm between God and His people until there is no temple in the city.

"Let us build three tabernacles," Peter cried. God desires only one tabernacle—the human heart. The other "high hills" leap in vain.

The new Jerusalem is the Person of Christ, and also the person who is created in Christ’s image and in whom Christ is dwelling in unconcealed splendor. In each victorious saint there is a wall against sin built on indestructible and beautiful foundations—the words of the Apostles of the Lamb, and a gate leading directly into the Presence of God and the Lamb. There is also a golden highway of faith.

But, best of all, there is no temple there. The saint has been purified until he can behold the face of God. 

And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:11)

God is becoming our salvation. He himself is our tabernacle, as we are His tabernacle. He himself is our strength, our song, our joy. God himself is All in all to us. There is no temple. God and the Lamb are the temple. Nothing remains to separate us from the love of God in Christ.

The problems and pains that beset the conquering saint are the price that must be paid, the process that must be endured, if the veil is to be removed that divides God from us. We must surrender all in order to cooperate with the transforming work of the Holy Spirit of God as He creates us the Temple of God.

Giving all we have and all we are buys for us what no angel can possess—the indwelling of Christ in God such that we become one in the Godhead.

God eternally is incarnate in Christ. Every conquering saint becomes an eternal part of the Divine Incarnation. He becomes part of the fullness of Christ, the extension of the Presence of God in the universe. He becomes the city of God, the Wife of the Lamb, the Kingdom of God, the Presence of God, Emmanuel—God with us.

This is why the name of God, the name of the city of God, and the new name of Christ are inscribed in his personality. He has become the manifestation of God. Christ has given His glory to the Church so the Church may become one in Christ in God.

When the nations of the earth behold the saints in whom Christ has been formed and is abiding, they then will believe it is God who has sent Christ. The world never will believe until the temple has been removed from the city and God and his people are one through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The feast of Unleavened Bread brings us into the Divine redemption, to speak figuratively. The feast of Weeks (Pentecost) brings us into the Spirit-filled life as members of the Body of Christ, of the Anointed Deliverer, of the Church. Finally, the feast of Tabernacles ushers us into oneness with God so our powers find their rest in God and we do not become the False Prophet (Deuteronomy 16:16; Revelation 13:11).

Never before in history has the Church of Christ possessed so much potential for glory, and so much potential for disaster. Never before in history have the gifts of the Spirit been so available and abundant.

If our gifts cause us to enter Christ, the new Jerusalem will appear (in embryonic form) so men may be saved.

If instead we seize our Divine prerogatives and attempt to "gain power with God" we will become the False Prophet—the chief supporter of Antichrist in the universe.

The factor that decides between the new Jerusalem and the False Prophet is the personal cross of the believer. If we are willing to be stripped of our Divine power and become the servant of the Lord, we will save many. If we become a super-powerful church we finally will be deceived into aligning ourselves with the world leaders, thinking in our delusion we are "winning them for Christ."

Our prophets of today do not preach repentance to the world leaders, they attempt to "win them for Christ." Can you understand the difference? Is not Antichrist at hand?

Are we to invite the world leaders to make a profession of Christianity? Or are we to warn them to flee from the wrath to come and to bring forth the fruits that accompany genuine repentance? What is your opinion? 

For ye see your calling, brothers, how that not many wise men in the appetites of the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: (I Corinthians 1:26)

The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of each member of the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the Divine Witness to the world of the Person and will of God. The False Prophet is the continually recurring effort to employ all the elements of Christianity apart from the Person of God and the Lamb, apart from the cross of self-denial.

In the last days, the False Prophet will support Antichrist. Antichrist is libertarian, democratic government—government designed to foster self-love and self-rule in people, as we understand it.

Antichrist is the master deceiver, and many who name the name of Christ are in deception today.

The goal of salvation is not to gain power with God, to be like God, to go to Heaven, or to win men for Christ.

The goal of salvation is to know Christ, to experience in our personality the power of His resurrection, to experience in our personality the fellowship of His sufferings, to be brought into the likeness of His death (Philippians 3:10).

The goal of our quest is not to know Christ’s ways, to receive His things, or to gain His glory and inheritance. All these treasures are given to the overcomer, but none of them is the mark toward which he is pressing.

We are not to be seeking our resurrection, our sufferings, our death, so we can get something from God. Self-love and self-centeredness are deceitful aspects of the human personality.

It is the False Prophet who seeks Christ’s ways and things, Christ’s Glory.

Rather, the issue is that of genuine, thorough conversion. It appears that numerous Christian believers have never been converted. Either they are living in the lusts of the world or else they are seeking to be the greatest among the disciples, as was Peter. Conversion occurs when the religious "temple" is removed and God and the Lamb become the Temple of our personality.

In our day of greatly increased revelation and power it will be a simple matter to fall into the trap of seeking the things of God apart from God. Christ is not striving to give us His things. He is seeking, rather, to turn our attention toward Himself so we begin to adore Him, losing our own life in the process. He Himself is the Divine Center. The center of the Kingdom is not empowered believers.

Do you want Christ to possess you for His own sake, or do you want the things of God so you can be happy and successful?

No human being finds rest until he dies to the ambition to be spiritually important and loses himself in the love of Christ. He does not lose himself in the love of Christ in order to gain spirituality. He loses himself in the love of Christ and becomes Christ’s servant because this is what Christ desires. It is best for Christ, as well as best for himself, that he do so.

His supreme objective is to please God. This is the highest motive and the only eternally enduring motive. All else is religious striving and is self-centered and self-motivated.

The highest form of righteousness is trust and faith in Christ Himself; and even that trust and faith must come down to us from God in Heaven. 

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the Glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Revelation 21:23)

In the beginning, darkness was on the face of the deep. Then God commanded the light to be.

God did not commence with the sun, moon, or stars. He commenced with the light. The Light was and is Christ. Christ was the Light of the world before the sun, moon, or stars existed.

When Adam and Eve sinned the Light left the world. Spiritual darkness came upon the earth. Then men began to call on the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26).

Christ is the true and only Light who must light all men who come into the world if they would be able to see.

Christ is Life, and that Life is the light of men. Men "see" by the Life of Christ. The life is the light.

We can understand God only as the Life of Christ is formed in us. Understanding and light are created in us as Christ, who is the Kingdom of God, the new Jerusalem, the Way, the Truth, and the Life is created in us and abides in us.

It is "doctrine" that crucifies the prophets, that divides the Body of Christ into warring factions. What is in our heads separates us one from another because of our self-will and self-seeking. What is being formed in us does not divide us. In the last days Christ will be formed in the Church (Revelation 12:5). When Christ comes to maturity in the members of the Body of Christ the Body will flow together in Divine unity (John 17:21).

The human mind is the enemy of God. The mind must be transformed, not by theological instruction but by beholding the Glory of God in the face of Christ.

In the Tabernacle of the Congregation the Courtyard was lighted by the sunlight. This suggests that Christ was crucified in the sight of the world so all men may believe.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle was lighted at night by the golden Lampstand, showing that it is the Holy Spirit who guides our way through the spiritual darkness.

The Most Holy Place was lighted by the Presence of God shining from between the wings of the Cherubim of Glory. Here is an Old Testament picture of the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles—the hour when the saints are one in Christ in God, and God Himself is their Light and their Salvation.

The holy city, which is the center of government of the Kingdom of God, is not lighted by the sun or moon; neither is it dependent on the sun for warmth or food. The new Jerusalem is lighted and nourished by God’s Glory. Christ Himself is the Light of it.

The world of nature is dependent on the sun for its existence. The saints of the holy city are not dependent on the sun. They no longer are bound by the world of nature. They are living in and by the resurrection Glory of God in Christ. They do not go through the cycles of nature, they are eternal. They live by God’s Life.

Perhaps there will be a sun, moon, and stars to give light on the new earth, on the nations of the saved. It seems to us, with our limited understanding, that the sky would lose its glory if there were no sun, moon, or stars for us to see. Or maybe there will be heavenly visions instead that will make the sky exceedingly interesting to observe.

The new Jerusalem is a city consisting of resurrected holy ones. They will not need the energy of the sun, just as Christ today does not need the energy of the sun to sustain His Life.

Even now the Holy Spirit is teaching us that our food, our clothing, our health, our wisdom, our energy, are not proceeding only from those circumstances in which the human being seeks security. The Spirit instructs us to trust in the supernatural wisdom and power of God, that He will provide every need we have, particularly when natural resources fail.

We are not to become presumptuous. We still are bound by the laws of nature. As we look to the Lord, gaining in experience and godliness, He assumes all responsibility for our existence. The Glory of God and of the Lamb are becoming the "light" of our "city."

The final result of the Divine redemption is complete, untroubled rest in God. 

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

Christ is the Light of the world, the anointed Lampstand of God. The members of Christ’s Body are the side-branches of the Lampstand. The light from the six side-branches shines on the taller central shaft of the Lampstand—Christ himself.

We Christians light the world by revealing Him who is the only true Light of the world.

The nations of today walk in darkness. They walk in darkness because the churches are opaque—the Lamb and the Glory of God cannot be seen through them. The Light of God’s Glory is not illuminating the world because the churches are shedding their own light, a light that is not a true light at all but the darkness of the flesh.

It is only as we remove the dead works of the flesh from our lives and allow Christ to live in us that the peoples of the earth can receive the Divine Light necessary to guide their lives. 

For God, who commanded the light to shine from darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (II Corinthians 4:6)

Then notice what Paul states:  

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (II Corinthians 4:7)

Paul proceeds to show it is only as we bear in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the Life (which is the Light) of Jesus brings the Glory of God to other people.

The earth is groping in darkness and death, waiting for the revealing of the sons of God. However, no light can come to the nations until the Church has become one in Christ in God.

The Church cannot become one in Christ in God until God works the circumstances and issues the glory that will bring the churches to the end of themselves. As long as the churches are attempting to do the work of God in their own wisdom and power the nations will continue in darkness and death.

In the last days, God once again will "separate the light from the darkness." He will work the circumstances and issue the Glory that will cause God’s true saints to become separate from the "Laodicean" churches.

The true separation will not take place as a spiritually ambitious minority decides that itself is the true church and counsels all believers to "flee from Babylon."

Rather, the Divine separation will take place as Christ comes to the individual believer and reveals Himself to him in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles (John 14:23). Christ will come to each believer who keeps His Word. Christ knows each individual who truly belongs to Him.

When the Lord gives the Word, the true remnant will be brought from the babylonish structures. Then the saints will be filled with the Glory of God Almighty and the Lamb. The true disciples of Jesus are the Mount Zion of the Scriptures. They will be the source of deliverance in the earth until the Lord appears from Heaven, destroying the man of sin by the power of His Presence.

Then the members of the one Body of Christ will be gathered to meet Christ, the Head of the Body, in the clouds. At that time the nations whom Christ has chosen will be allowed to behold the Glory of God in Christ in the Church and will believe that God has sent Christ to be Lord and Savior of all men. Those among the nations who believe will be saved at the coming of the Lord from Heaven. 

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles [nations] shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:1-3)

"The nations shall come to thy light."

This corresponds to:

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)

The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Light of each saint. When our light comes to us, as typified by the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles, the nations and kings of the earth will come to the Church for deliverance and blessing. This will take place at the time of the Lord’s return to earth, as we understand the Scriptures.

Today we are persecuted witnesses of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. When the Kingdom comes, the persecuted witnesses of all ages shall rule the nations with a rod of iron.

The nations that are obedient to the reign of the Kingdom of God will be saved. 

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)

The nations that are disobedient to the reign of the Kingdom of God will be destroyed. 

For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12)

Throughout church history, no nation that has persecuted the Christians (or the Jews) has continued to prosper. God has borne witness to the testimony of the saints in this manner.

When Jesus returns, the saints will be not only the witnesses of God’s Person and will but also the rulers of the earth. 

And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. (Revelation 21:25)

Notice also:

 Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles [nations], and that their kings may be brought. (Isaiah 60:11)

The preceding verse emphasizes one of the principal aspects of the redemption that is in Christ. It is that the elect are being formed in order to bridge the gap between God and the peoples of the earth.

We have for so long pictured our eternal destiny as being a place of rest in Heaven that it may be difficult for us to grasp the actual purpose for which we are being created.

God has no way of interacting satisfactorily with His creatures in the earth. Therefore the Lord is separating from the peoples of the earth an elect, a church. The purpose of the church, the called-out, the elect, is to be the Presence of God among the nations of the earth.

God is perfecting the members of the Body of Christ so each will be able to communicate with God, and also with people. Throughout our lifetime on the earth we are being made bread for God and bread for people. We are required to be perfectly holy and perfectly human. Then, and only then, can we serve as Jacob’s ladder—the bridge from earth to Heaven.

Men always seek to build the "Tower of Babel." God is building Jacob’s ladder.

There is no night in the holy city because there is no night in Christ. Christ is eternal light, eternal energy, eternal power, eternal God (Psalms 121:4).

Earth’s sun is wearing out, we are told. Christ’s Life always is renewed from the Life of the Father, who is the Creator of all.

We who are filled with the Presence of God and the Lamb will possess that same untiring life, that same inexhaustible energy. This is eternal life !

Our "gates" are never to be closed. The showbread must be on the table at all times. The fig tree must bear fruit in season and out of season.

The Christian believers often vacillate between Christ and the world. At one time they are bread for the nations, ready to reveal Christ to the ignorant. At other times they are too tired or too involved with the things of the world. When the needs are presented there is no help from them.

When Christ comes to the fig tree He expects to find fruit. If He does not, that tree is in trouble.

The gates of the holy city are open every day, and there is no night. As soon as the perfected Church descends to the earth there will be a stream of humanity coming to it at all times, from every city and village.

What would it be like today if God and Christ entered in Their Fullness into the members of the Body of Christ?

The leaders of the nations would attempt to destroy the Church because of envy. The administrators of the denominations would attempt to destroy the Church because of envy. Satan is the author of envy. Christ was delivered up to Pilate because of the envy of the priests of Israel.

If such took place, Divine fire would blaze from the mouths of the elect and destroy the rebels.

Then the meek of the earth would come from the four points of the compass. They would bring to the Church all the needs of mankind for body, soul, and spirit. The Church would give to each pilgrim the fruit of the tree of life and would heal each person by means of the leaves of the tree of life.

Thus it would be if God and Christ were to enter in Their Fullness into the Church today. The glorification of the Church shall take place in the near future when the Lord Jesus Christ descends from Heaven with the saints and holy angels, and all those who resist Christ the King shall be destroyed.

Are we ready to abandon our schemes for saving the world and allow God and the Lamb to be the Light of our life?

Are we ready for an eternity of communication and interaction with the nations of the earth?

When we are willing "to fall into the ground and die," Christ gives us of His love for people. Once this happens, "mansions" in Heaven receive only passing attention from us. We become immensely more interested in the persons who will be coming to us in order to receive the Presence and blessing of God.

When the needy come to us do they discover night in us? Do they discover the darkness of sin and death? They do, in many instances. How terrible to come to a representative of Christ, only to discover death, darkness, jealousy, self-seeking, covetousness, rage, lust.

If the light that is in the Christians is darkness, how great is that darkness! It is greater darkness than is in the world. The Church is the only light of the world. A sinning, self-seeking Christian is the greatest darkness in the universe. His reward in the Day of the Lord will be dismissal to outer darkness. 

And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. (Revelation 21:26)

It may be true that the nations will bring material wealth to the new Jerusalem in order to offer their treasures to God, but it is doubtful that a city such as is described here has much need of material wealth.

Paul exclaimed, "I do not covet your belongings, I covet you."

God asks people to give to Him their material wealth only that they may come to love and know Him. Does God need our money? Is He destitute?

So it is with the member of the Body of Christ. He does not seek to obtain material wealth from of people. He may invite them to give in order that they may develop a generous character and come to know Christ in a greater way. God often arranges situations in the Kingdom so His people can show their love for Him by giving of their means to the poor, or to the Gospel work.

The true shepherd cares for the sheep, not for what they can give him.

How many hirelings are there today, making merchandise of the believers? Such do not know God. They have little concept of the love of Christ for people. They are using the Gospel in order to gain material wealth. They are seeking their own glory. They will receive their due reward we can be sure.

The man of God is to flee from the temptation to use the death of God’s Son as a means of making money.

It is not that way with the true saints. They do not seek the material gold and silver that people bring to them. They seek the hearts of the people—that they may be brought to God in purity and receive God’s blessing.

The nations of the earth will bring what they are to the holy city. They will return home laden with the Life and Glory of God, healed in body, soul, and spirit.

God’s elect will know each person by name; for these nations are the precious inheritance of the elect, through Christ. 

Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. (Isaiah 60:4)

The nations of the earth are the inheritance of the Lord Jesus Christ and the farthest reaches of the earth are His possession. We of the Wife of the Lamb are coheirs with Him. Our inheritance is the nations of the earth and the farthest reaches of the earth.

From Jesus’ point of view it is more desirable to inherit one person than the material wealth of the universe. How do we feel about that? What good would it do us to inherit the earth and the starry heavens if no people were included in the inheritance?

Better to inherit a cottage with people in it than an empty mansion.

Christ created the nations. In order to inherit them He had to die for them. Christ possesses a tremendous love for those for whom He died. We never truly live until we participate in the Divine love that rushes as a torrent toward the human beings of the earth.

Indeed, the love of Christ passes understanding. This is the length, and breadth, and depth, and height. The fullness of God is in the love of Christ. Our numerous and varied Christian activities are all means to one end: making possible the expression of God’s love through Christ to the people whom God has created for His glory. 

And there shall in no wise enter it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27)

No sin ever will enter the new Jerusalem. The wall will make certain of that.

The statements in the above verse plus the presence of the wall suggest that it is possible for members of the nations of the saved to sin. Another fact that points toward this conclusion is the eternal presence of the Lake of Fire, serving as an example and warning to angels and men concerning the results of rebelling against the Father.

It appears from the two chapters we are studying that the holy city is the Wife of the Lamb and that God and the Lamb dwell there. The Glory is surrounded by an insurmountable, impenetrable wall. Outside the wall live the nations of saved peoples of the earth. The nations of the saved can bring of their wealth into the city but no sinner can enter the city.

If all the inhabitants of the earth were of the same spiritual development there would be no need of a wall.

Let us think about this for a moment.

Sin originated in the heart of Satan while he was in Heaven in the Presence of God. If this is true, neither going to Heaven nor living in the Presence of God is an insurance against sin and rebellion.

What is sin? Sin is the breaking of God’s law. What is rebellion? Rebellion is refusal to perform the Father’s will—the refusal practiced by countless people today who refer to themselves as "Christian."

They are willing to make a profession of Christ, but they are not willing to do everything that God tells them to do. What a horrible, dreadful situation this is!

Why are we able to sin? We are able to sin because we have, in fairly narrow limits, the power of choice. Angels and mules also have the power of choice. Man is the image of God and possesses a very great capacity for sin and rebellion as well as for obedience to and love for the Father.

Will a saved individual still be able to sin in the next age? We believe he will. We know from the Scriptures that after Christ and the saints have ruled the earth for one thousand years, mankind, being deceived by Satan, will rise in rebellion against the camp of the saints and the beloved city (Revelation 20:9). Yet, these people had been saved into the Kingdom Age and had been instructed for one thousand years by Christ and the saints.

Christ in and with His saints will rule in righteousness for a thousand years. At the end of that time, Satan still will be able to deceive the nations. Isn’t that astonishing? Evidently sin will still be possible after the return of the Lord to earth.

Is there any statement in Isaiah or Revelation that indicates the peoples of the earth no longer will be able to make moral choices? As far as we know, there is no such statement. Also, the fact that there is a wall surrounding the new Jerusalem implies strongly that it is possible for the nations to sin.

In order for the nations to be changed such that sin no longer is possible to them, their opportunities for choice and their ability to choose would have to be removed. It is difficult to conceive of people living on the earth, and yet having no opportunity for choice and no ability to choose.

If there is one opportunity for choice, and the ability to make that choice, sin and rebellion remain as possibilities. Hence the need for the rod of iron. Hence the quartz wall. Hence the angel-guards at the twelve gates.

Hence the twelve foundations of the wall and the extraordinary importance attached to them.

Does the Scripture contain an answer to the ever-present problem of sin and rebellion against God?

Yes, it does. The answer is not that of going to Heaven. The answer is not that of being permitted to live on the earth during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, or on the new earth when it appears. None of these is a guarantee against sin and rebellion.

The only way in which we can gain immunity to sin is to be born of God through Christ and to have Christ pounded into every fiber, every corpuscle, every atom of our personality. When Christ has been created in us under conditions of heat and pressure, so to speak, we will not sin whether we are in Heaven, or on the earth that now is, or on the earth to come.

Christ will not sin. When Christ has been born in us, pounded into us, and is abiding in us, we shall choose not to sin no matter where we are or what the conditions are.

The process of immunizing us against the disease of sin and rebellion is taking place in us now, if we are walking in the Spirit of God, if we are washing our robe and making it white in the blood of the Lamb.

There is no solution to sin other than the implantation and penetration of Christ into our character. Apart from such an infusion of Christ’s Life there is no wall that separates godliness from ungodliness.

If it were possible to control sin in any other manner, God would not have permitted the rebellion that took place in the garden of Eden—the rebellion that resulted in the plan of redemption that creates Christ in human beings.

The answer to the problem of sin is the creation of the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is a group of people who themselves will not sin because Christ is in them and they are in Christ, and who will not permit sin to be practiced anywhere in the creation of God.

From the viewpoint of Christ, the Bride is exceedingly beautiful with the beauty and grace of holiness.

From the viewpoint of Satan and all other sinners, the Bride of the Lamb is a terrible avenging army.

How is God creating immunity to sin and rebellion in the Wife of the Lamb? 

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (I John 3:9)

"He cannot sin, because he is born of God."

We know that Christian people can and do sin and rebel against God.

The Scriptures state that whoever is born of God does not commit sin and cannot sin. The same apostle who wrote this wrote also that whoever believes in Christ shall not perish but have everlasting life. Both statements are true and both are profound, not yielding to simplistic interpretations.

Anything that is born of God does not sin and cannot sin because it proceeds from the Substance and Nature of God who does not sin and cannot sin. Whatever is born of God always overcomes the world.

Christians are born of God supposedly, and they sin. What about this?

The answer is as follows: When we receive Christ, repenting of our sins, the Word of God is conceived in us. A lifetime of patient sowing to the Spirit is then required in order for the Word of God to make enough progress in us to transform our personality.

Every true believer has been touched by the Divine Life. If he or she walks patiently in the Spirit, a new creation will be brought forth. The new creation is Christ, the new Jerusalem, the holy city, the Kingdom of God. The new creature being formed in us is of God. It does not sin, and cannot sin. It is of God.

It is not often that we see a Christian in whom the Nature of Christ is exercising control. Most of us are quite young in the Lord. We are heading toward the fullness of Christ.

It seems to us, based on several passages of Scripture, that our growth in Christ will continue in the ages to come. It will continue until we do not sin, and cannot sin, just as the Apostle John stated.

It is the immunization against sin and rebellion that is the wall that surrounds the new Jerusalem. The foundations of that wall are being laid now in our personalities under conditions of duress and perplexities.

The wall, which is the character of the conquering saints, is of the greatest importance to the Lord God of Heaven. The wall is the magnification of the Personality of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The wall is the Character of Christ. It portrays the resistance against sin that is in Christ. This resistance has been crucified, resurrected, and now gloriously extended through the Church, which is His Body, His Wife, His Complement, His eternal joy—the new Jerusalem. 

Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21)

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

"Righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations."

The Christian Church is being made one in Christ in God so the world will believe God has sent Christ to be Savior and Lord of all men. It is the nations that are emphasized. They are the ones who will benefit from the righteousness and praise being created in us.

Nothing that detracts from the glory and holiness of Christ ever shall get past the wall of the new Jerusalem.

No person who practices what is abominable shall get past the wall.

No person who practices any type of falsehood shall enter through the gates.

How would you enjoy living in a city in which there is no corruption, no filthy or perverse behavior, no form of deceit, cheating, or lying?

It is not possible to enter the Kingdom of God while any particle of these elements remains in our personality. This does not mean we have to be perfect before we serve the Lord or know the Lord. What it does mean, and this is really what we desire if we think about it, is that there is no sin in the Kingdom of God.

For example, many Christians who know and serve the Lord are bound with a spirit of anger, or lying, or lust, or covetousness. They have not been delivered as yet, but they will be delivered if they continue to walk with the Lord. For it is certain there is no anger, lying, lust, or covetousness in the Kingdom of God. How do you feel about that?

Those who are part of the new Jerusalem are not sinners who are being forgiven through "grace." Rather, they are former sinners who have been re-created by grace such that there is nothing in them that is abominable or false.

The saints who form the new Jerusalem, the center of government of the Kingdom of God, have had Christ created in them until only His likeness and Life remain. Yet each unique human personality has not been impaired but has in fact been enhanced and glorified. This is the work of God Almighty.

Numerous believers have brought their abominations and falsehoods into the churches of today. They will not be able to bring them into the new Jerusalem.

Our personal transformation into righteous, holy, and obedient behavior is taking place as we walk in the Spirit of God. If we, having received Christ, merely are waiting to die so we can enjoy Paradise, we may be missing the Kingdom of God.

The ability to abide in Christ under all circumstances (the ability that is the foundation of the wall of the new Jerusalem) is being formed in us now. If we waste the present opportunity to become a conqueror, a pillar in the eternal Temple of God, such glory may be lost to us forever. Not only will the Lord Jesus chastise us for our laziness and indifference concerning Kingdom work and warfare, but in addition we will lose our crown of opportunity for service and glory throughout the ages to come.

It appears the entire life of some individuals is determined by the events of their childhood. So it may be true that one million years from now we shall look back to our brief sojourn on the earth as the most important determinant of our eternal destiny.

The Holy Spirit is training us now. There is no time to be lost. Let us not allow one grain of instruction to slip through our fingers. Let us redeem the time because the days are exceedingly evil. Let us press into our inheritance now.

If we do not give our complete attention to the Lord we will be swept up in the train of those who do conquer—that is, if we do not retreat from the Kingdom altogether. Either we will rule or we will be ruled.

We do not enter through the gates into the city on the basis of the atoning blood of Christ, at least not directly. We enter through the gates into the city only when the Divine Nature of Christ has purged from us that which defiles, that which works abomination, that which loves and makes a lie.

The members of the Wife of the Lamb are not fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderous, filthy, idolatrous, lying sorcerers whom God is forgiving because of their profession of faith in Christ. The members of the Wife of the Lamb are the image of Christ as the result of becoming a new creation through the working of God in them.

It is true even today in the heavenly Jerusalem. When we come to Mount Zion we come to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, not to "believers" who work abominations and love falsehood.

It appears from the Scriptures that there is a difference between being saved from wrath, and entering the company of the righteous. There is a difference between wood, hay, and stubble, and gold, silver, and precious stones.

No person who, after hearing the Word of God, keeps on defiling his soul, keeps on working abominations, keeps on practicing any form of falsehood, will remain written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

The names of the elect were "written in the book of life from the foundation of the world." If we do not press into victory over defilement, over abominations, and over falsehoods, our names will be blotted from the Lamb’s Book of Life. 

The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition [destruction]: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (Revelation 17:8)

Notice in the above verse that the names of many people have never been in the Book of Life.

But notice also the following:

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name from the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)

Since the above words were addressed to the angel of the church in Sardis, to one of the Divine lampstands, we conclude that the Christian who does not pursue the life of victory in Christ stands in danger of having his name blotted from the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Since the Apostle John wrote both Revelation 3:5 and 21:27, it is sound interpretation to assume the person who fails to pursue victory over defilement, abominations, and falsehood will not be able to enter the new Jerusalem.

If such is not the case, then the Book of Revelation is not a warning concerning our behavior in the world, a setting forth of the consequences of our behavior that will return to us in the Day of Christ. Rather, all these terrors and glories have to do only with those who have not received Christ, because those who have received Christ have been released from the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping. (We believe this concept to be a tragic, destructive error.)

If it is true that all believers have been released from the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping (and current Christian doctrine teaches that such is the case), if making a profession of Christ waives the stipulations of the Book of Revelation, or if the stipulations apply only to people who are Jews by race while the "Gentile Church" (an unscriptural concept) is hidden away in Heaven doing we know not what, then the Scriptures assuredly are not intelligible to this writer.

If the blood atonement is an alternative to the Sermon on the Mount, if grace is the Divine substitute for godly living, if Christianity is a substitute for righteous character, if all who make a pronouncement of faith in Christ are "going up in the rapture" even though their lives are not being changed into Christ’s death and resurrection, we hand over the torch of Gospel light to those who would fill the new Jerusalem with murderers, liars, adulterers, gossipers, the covetous, self-seeking teachers and prophets, and every other member of the family of Satan. Let no believer worry about his conduct because we are saved and rewarded "by grace."

If such is the case, the greater part of the New Testament writings are in error and grossly misleading.

Our understanding (and we think it is in line with the written Word of God) is that grace is infinitely more than the unmerited pardon of God. We believe grace to be the Virtue of God in Christ that forgives the sinner and then transforms him into a new creation.

Divine grace works in us. It creates Christ’s Personality in us. Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness and to live soberly and righteously in this world.

If actual righteousness and praise are not being created in us for the nations to behold, the work of God has been aborted. No fruit is growing on the branch. God’s efforts are being wasted. The Father will cut off that branch from the Vine (John 15:2—this also was written by the Apostle John).

The new Jerusalem is the holy city. Only those who are filled with the Spirit of Holiness will be allowed to enter the holy city. 

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)

We, according to God’s promise, expect "new heavens and a new earth, in which dwelleth righteousness" (II Peter 3:13). Righteous conduct will be practiced by all the nations of saved peoples of the earth. The Christian Church, the Body of Christ, will be filled to overflowing with Christ’s righteousness, holiness, and obedience to the Father demonstrated in the behavior of the saints.

REVELATION: CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO 

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Revelation 22:1)

The Water of Life, which is the Holy Spirit of God, always proceeds from the Throne of God and of the Lamb.

The Throne of God and of the Lamb is being created in the human heart. Heaven is God’s throne. The earth is God’s footstool. In order for God to be at rest, the footstool must be placed in front of the throne.

When the earthen, human heart becomes united eternally with Christ, who Himself is the eternal Throne of God, the throne and the footstool have been joined into one. God is at rest.

The new Jerusalem is the eternal union of the saints and Christ. Earth and Heaven have become one. The footstool has been brought before the throne. The green of earth and the blue of Heaven radiate the light in which the nations of the saved walk.

What did Jesus proclaim as the priest of Israel poured water from a golden vessel on the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering (during the feast of Tabernacles)? 

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)

It always has been God’s intention to fill the earth with His Spirit. 

But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord. (Numbers 14:21)

And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. (Psalms 72:19)

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)

The two sets of fifty rings positioned over the veil of the Tabernacle of the Congregation typify the double portion of the Spirit of God that will be poured out as we pass from the present age into the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The members of the Body of Christ already possess a "firstfruits" of that which one day will cover the whole earth. 

And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)

The promise of the Spirit of God was given as part of the blessing of Abraham (Galatians 3:14).

The Glory of God was revealed in the burning bush, and then on Sinai, followed by the anointing on the prophets of Israel.

Christ possesses the Spirit of God without measure. The Spirit came as a Dove and rested on Him.

After that, the Holy Spirit was given by Christ to the disciples assembled in the upper room. This took place in fulfillment of the promise made by Christ: 

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (John 14:16)

The Holy Spirit has been given at intervals throughout Church history. The revival in Wales, and also the Pentecostal revival of Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California, are notable examples of the giving of God’s Spirit.

Since the days of the Azusa Street outpouring the gifts of the Spirit have been appearing among the Lord’s people. The restoration of the gifts of the Spirit seems to be increasing to the present hour. The concept of the Body of Christ is beginning to be understood.

The next move of the Spirit of God will proceed along two planes: (1) a worldwide witness of mighty power that will alert both the churches and the nations of the earth to the soon coming of the Kingdom of God from Heaven; and (2) the bringing of the Body of Christ to the fullness of the stature of Christ. The Lord Jesus has come in fulfillment of the Blowing of Trumpets to declare war on His enemies and to prepare His army. The Church is being prepared for spiritual warfare.

As soon as the witness of the Kingdom has been given to every creature on the earth, and the Body of Christ has been brought to unity and maturity, the Lord Jesus will return to the earth and bring to a furious conclusion the war that has commenced already. 

When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:16)

In the days that are coming the Spirit of God will be poured out on many people in fulfillment of God’s declarations through His prophets. 

Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. (Isaiah 32:15)

The vision of Ezekiel shows us the gradual increase of the issuing of the Holy Spirit to the Church, the elect of God, and then the flowing of the Spirit from the Church until the peoples of the earth, and the earth itself, have been healed.

First our attention is directed toward the flowing of the Holy Spirit from Christ, who Himself is the eternal House of God. 

Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward [toward the coming of the Lord]: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar. (Ezekiel 47:1)

Next we see the evaluation of the progress that has been made in the building of the Kingdom of God in the earth, and the increase of Divine glory as satisfactory progress occurs. 

And when the man that had the line in his hand went forth eastward, he measured a thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the waters were to the ancles. (Ezekiel 47:3)

The man with the line in his hand represents God’s evaluation of our progress toward the Divine standard, which is the fullness of Christ.

Everything is moving toward the rising of the sun of the Day of the Lord, toward the coming of Christ in glory to the earth.

A day with the Lord is as a thousand years. The thousand cubits refer to a "day" of God’s working as He develops His eternal purpose among men. The "waters" indicate the Spirit of God, the Glory of God, as it is given to the earth through God’s elect.

Have you noticed that we Christians move from plateau to plateau? We proceed from glory to glory. We make spiritual progress. Then, God evaluates our progress, prunes back the accomplishment thus far, and gives an increased measure of His Spirit to us.

"Waters to the ancles" speaks of the salvation experience, that is, righteousness received through faith in the shed blood of Jesus; our declaration in water baptism that we are crucified with Christ and risen with Christ; and the birth of Divine Life in us. 

Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through the waters; the waters were to the knees. Again he measured a thousand, and brought me through; the waters were to the loins. (Ezekiel 47:4)

More spiritual progress, more evaluation, more pruning, more glory.

"Waters to the knees" indicates the walk in the Spirit of God, the Spirit-filled life. As we walk in the Spirit of God, the filthiness of the flesh and spirit is cleansed from us and the fruit of the Divine Nature is formed in us; also, we are empowered to bear witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

"Waters to the loins" speaks of the experience of the death of the cross where our strength is broken and we become the servant of the Lord. Self dies and King Jesus lives. Our self-life is brought down to death and God’s will is performed in earth as it is in Heaven. This is the realm of accomplishment and rulership. 

Afterward he measured a thousand; and it was a river that I could not pass over: for the waters were risen, waters to swim in, a river that could not be passed over. (Ezekiel 47:5)

It is possible to arrive at the place where we are immersed in the Life of God, if this is what we desire above all else. It is the fulfillment of the "Tabernacles" experience (Leviticus 23:33-43).

We are called to be one in Christ in God. This is a river of glory that cannot be passed over. It is "waters to swim in." In that Day we have salvation and salvation has us. We possess God and God possesses us. We are at rest in the Fullness of the Godhead and the Fullness of the Godhead is at rest in us. We have become the chariot of God. This is what it means to be "filled with all the fulness of God" (Ephesians 3:19).

It is the destiny of the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the new Jerusalem, to be filled with all the fullness of God.

But to what end? The end of the matter is that we may serve as "trees of life" for the nourishment of the nations of the earth. 

Now when I had returned, behold, at the bank of the river were very many trees on the one side and on the other. (Ezekiel 47:7)

As soon as we have pressed into the fullness of God we begin to see the "trees of righteousness" that the Lord has planted. The issuing of the Holy Spirit has brought forth sons of God in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are trees of life. They always stand on the bank of the River of Life, on each side of it. 

And he [whose delight is in the law of the Lord] shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalms 1:3)

The overcoming saints remain planted on the bank of the River of Life because their life comes from the Divine water.

Are you living on the bank of the River of Life? You can, if this is what you desire above all else.

We are being filled with the fullness of God so that through us the Holy Spirit may flow forth for the healing of the nations. This is one of the principal roles of the new Jerusalem in the Kingdom of God. 

Then said he unto me, These waters issue out toward the east country, and go down into the desert, and go into the sea: which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed. (Ezekiel 47:8)

First the waters of incorruptible, eternal resurrection life coming from the sons of God bring life to the desert places that are in the Lord’s people. Then the Spirit of God will "go into the sea." This means the nations Christ has left alive on the earth will be "delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Romans 8:21).

The Glory of God will fill the earth as the "waters cover the sea," that is, as the waters of life from the sons of God cover the nations of saved peoples of the earth (the "sea") (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14).

This stupendous Glory will be revealed "in us" (Romans 8:18; John 17:22).

The expression "toward the east country" indicates that the Glory will be given at the beginning of the Day of the Lord, when Christ returns to earth.

Each new day begins with the rising of the sun in the east. The "new day" of the giving of the Spirit of God will come to the earth when the Lord Jesus appears.

Preliminary, sporadic outpourings of the Holy Spirit have taken place at various points in church history, such as in the recent awakening in Indonesia. The "harvest rain" will increase in intensity until a climax is reached in the fullness of the latter-rain revival. The latter-rain (harvest-rain; spring-rain) revival is for the purpose of bearing witness to the earth of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God. It is described in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation and will take place just before the great tribulation.

The filling of the earth with the Glory of God also is a revival, but in this case the Spirit of God will come from the Throne of God in the sons of God instead of as rain from Heaven. The wells of living water will be filled at the coming of the Lord. The Glory of God issuing from the sons of God will break all the chains of evil, remove sin and persistent sinners from the earth, and lift the curse from the earth.

The rule of Satan and of the self-will and lusts of mankind rapidly is approaching its finish. The influence of wickedness will be supplanted by the Spirit of God.

Because of the Glory of God being developed in God’s conquering saints, the weaker members of the Church and the nations of saved peoples of the earth shall be healed. 

And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)

But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. (Malachi 4:2)

The peoples of the earth, and the earth itself, will be delivered from the futile corruption that has been placed on them because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve. The death and darkness that fill and control mankind will be replaced by eternal life. The sons of God will go to every part of the earth, bringing life to all who will receive.

This is taking place today as missionaries travel to the remote villages of the earth. The saints bring life today but under conditions of hardship and persecution. When the Lord returns we shall go to the nations as revealed sons of God, filled to overflowing with the Glory of God.

"And there shall be a very great multitude of fish."

Because of the River of Life flowing from the believers the nations of the earth will be converted. The "fish" will be healed—the Spirit of God in us will heal them. They are our inheritance.

The whole earth will awaken from its sleep of death as the sons of God go forth under the Headship of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the earthwide ministry of Christ, Head and Body, of which the Hebrew prophets spoke.

The earth died at the hands of Adam and Eve. The earth will return to life at the hands of Spirit-filled people as Christ lives in them and directs them.

The River of Life proceeds from the Throne of God and of the Lamb, this is to say, from the heart of the saint. The river is "clear as crystal."

Today the "water" from the saints often is muddy. People come to drink of the water of life but it is muddy with sin and self-seeking; and sometimes a charge is made for it as the self-seeking minister attempts to use the gifts of God in order to become wealthy. It is the Lord’s will that the water of life be given without cost. 

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)

It is amazing there is but one street in a city of such gigantic proportions. This leads us to believe the vision of the city is, in part at least, a symbolic picture of the perfections of the Church, the Wife of the Lamb rather than merely a description of a physical city.

The street of the holy city is "pure gold, as it were transparent glass" (Revelation 21:21). No doubt this refers to the faith of the saint that has been refined in the fires of tribulation until there is not a trace of impurity left in it.

The way of God always is the way of faith.

The tree of life grows in the middle of the golden street. Those who choose to overcome the world through the faith that God gives them become in time a tree of life.

The tree of life grew in the middle of the Garden of Eden. The tree of life now grows "in the midst of the Paradise of God" (Revelation 2:7). The Tree of Life is Christ. Whoever eats of Christ, of the Tree of Life, will receive eternal Life.

Christ—the eternal Life that is in Him and that He Himself is, always is "in the midst" of God’s Presence and Paradise: "the tree of life also in the midst of the garden" (Genesis 2:9); "in the midst of the Paradise of God" (Revelation 2:7); "in the midst of the street of it" (Revelation 22:2).

The Lord Jesus Christ is always in the midst of Paradise. It is His will that His Body be there with Him—that where He is, there we may be also.

When we become crucified with Christ, and Christ is our Life, we become the Tree of Life. We grow from the root of that greatest of trees. The conquering saint grows in the midst of the way of faith, on the bank of the River of Life. It will be so throughout eternity.

The tree of life yields twelve varieties of fruit. In Christ is found the answer to every human condition. Through His saints the Lord will be able to meet the need of every person on the earth.

Every month a new crop of fruit comes forth. There is no famine at any time, there always is an abundance of food.

Whosoever chooses to do God’s will is given access to the tree of life. He can eat of the fruit and live forever.

The leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations. The nations of the earth are sick today. They can be healed only by the Divine Life that is in the saints.

It appears, from Revelation 22:2, that the nations will need healing during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. They will be healed by the Life of God that abides in the members of the Wife of the Lamb. If the nations will not need healing, why would it be stated that the leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations?

(Yet 21:4 proclaims that tears, death, sorrow, crying, and pain will be no more! Perhaps 21:4 will become true after the nations have been healed or as they are being healed.) 

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (Revelation 22:3)

There is not a more significant verse in all of Scripture!

At one time Paradise was located on the earth. God himself walked in the garden in the cool of the day. Adam and Eve lived in the midst of abundance, having no needs. They had no conception of the value of their circumstances. People often do not realize the worth of what they possess until it is taken from them.

Adam and Eve rebelled due to the wicked counsel of Satan.

God returned to Heaven. Thorns and thistles sprang from the once-pure earth. Pain, anxiety, sin, rebellion, hatred, covetousness, unbelief, sickness, plagues of all kinds, famine, thirst, despair, futility, frustration, warfare, agony of mind and soul, came to dwell permanently among people. God cursed the earth because of man’s disobedience.

As Satan and his angels took possession of the home of mankind, darkness and death filled the world. Earth became the valley of the shadow of death, the environs of Hell, as men and women abused their bodies to fulfill the lusts of demons. Demoniacal laughter rose through the atmosphere in place of praises to the Lord.

The contrast is stark.

Adam and Eve were innocent lambs dwelling in a garden.

But the description of the last days of this age, as given in the Book of Revelation, reveals an inferno of cursing and rage as people, driven mad by the superheated atmosphere, no longer allowed to escape by dying, stagger about in torment, raving and raging, howling in pain, cursing the God who gave his only Son for their redemption.

God knew in advance what would happen if Satan’s counsel were followed. He allowed the history of the earth to become a terrible, eternal lesson to angels and men of the folly of disobedience to the Father.

Hopefully we have learned our lesson by now.

The Divine means for preventing a future rebellion consists of the twelve foundations of the wall, and the wall itself, of the new Jerusalem. This is why the twelve foundations are embellished with all manner of precious stones.

The creation of a company of sons will prevent any further disobedience to God. God’s sons are His answer to His enemies. 

Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psalms 127:5)

God’s sons will speak with God’s enemies as they seek to enter the city of God.

God will lift the curse and return in Person to the earth. He is so assured of the success of His plan to prevent the recurrence of rebellion that He will move His throne from Heaven to the earth.

The curse will be lifted from the peoples of the earth, and from the earth itself, under the direction of the sons of God. They are God’s judges, God’s kings, God’s witnesses, God’s priests. To them it is given to exercise both judgment and blessing. Because Christ dwells in them they hold the key of eternal life, the key of Paradise, the key of Hell, and the key of death. These compose the key of David, the keys of the Kingdom of God.

Whatever the Spirit-filled saints bind on earth is bound in Heaven. Whatever they loose is loosed in Heaven. Whoever’s sins they retain are retained before Almighty God. Whoever’s sins they forgive are forgiven in the sight of God.

Because of this awesome responsibility the sons of God are trained carefully during their period of probation on the earth. God never will trust any person with the authority and power of judgment until that individual has been tested in every necessary manner. The sons of God are obedient to the Father regardless of the pain, cost, or inconvenience to themselves.

Under the heaviest of burdens they cry out, "Not my will but Thine be done." Christ is pounded into them until there is not an atom of their personality left untouched. They live by the Life of Jesus.

They are a continuation, an expression, a multiplication of the Life of God that flows through the Lord Jesus Christ. They can be trusted to serve God under all conditions, in every situation. They never will take the Glory of God to themselves. They have been transformed eternally in the furnace of afflictions, in the prison of frustrations and deferred hopes.

Christ working in and with them will release the creation into the glorious liberty of the children of God. The Kingdom of God will fill the whole earth, under the loving direction of God the Father.

How wonderful it will be when, because of the revelation of the sons of God, "there will be no more curse" on the earth! 

Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)

The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ [viper’s] den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)

For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (Isaiah 55:12,13)

In the present hour the Throne of God and of the Lamb is in Heaven above.

The conquering saint is lifted to that throne. 

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)

The Throne of God is spiritual, not material. The Throne of God is the source of all the authority and power in the universe. Stars and ants move under the scrutiny and control of the Throne of God.

The earth today is governed by the Throne of God. Nothing occurs randomly or accidentally—all is reviewed and permitted by the Throne of God.

The events of earth’s history are reviewed and permitted by God, but they are the expression of another throne, the throne of Satan. 

I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat [throne] is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. (Revelation 2:13)

Dominion over the material realm always is exercised by the Father. But for His purposes He has allowed Satan to have a temporary, limited degree of dominion over the material realm.

When the Throne of God and the Lamb comes to the earth in the new Jerusalem, wicked spirits no longer will be permitted to exercise any dominion over the material realm. The material realm will be ruled in every detail by God in Christ in the saints. This is the Kingdom of God.

Because of the influence of wicked spirits, injustice and perversity abound on every hand today. We who love the Lord are in need of patience. One day soon the meek will inherit the earth. We yet will receive the fullness of the inheritance.

During the present era the Throne of God is invisible to mankind. In the Day of the Lord, the new Jerusalem will be visible to mankind. People will understand that in the new Jerusalem, in the Wife of the Lamb, will be residing the Throne of God Almighty. The meek will come and worship.

During the days when Israel wandered in the wilderness, the Glory of God could be seen abiding on the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The God of Heaven was dwelling in the Most Holy Place between the golden wings of the Cherubim of Glory. God could be seen, to a certain extent, by the people of Israel.

But now a greater Tabernacle has come.

The Lord Jesus Christ, together with His complement, the Body of Christ, is the new Jerusalem. Christ is the only true and eternal Tabernacle of God Almighty.

When the Lord Jesus walked on the streets of Jerusalem, the Throne of God was walking there. Some people saw the miracles and followed Jesus, the Rabbi from Nazareth. But not enough happened to stir the interest of the Roman historians.

The greatest fact of history, a fact of such surpassing importance that all of history is but a setting for it, is that the Throne of God walked among the peoples of the earth.

What truly is incredible is that He did not appear to be different from anyone else.

The Israelites swept their homes, watered their flocks, baked their bread.

And the Throne of God Almighty was walking in their streets!

Have you ever heard of anything as astonishing as this?

When a human being is "born again," the same thing is taking place, although it has not as yet been brought to maturity. Christ has been born in the person, and Christ always is the Throne of God.

We may not realize it, but the person in whom Christ is dwelling is the eternal Throne of God.

God is so wise we cannot always perceive what He is doing, or the staggering meaning of it. The true saint usually is a common person, sometimes being poor and despised. (The author has little confidence in the current doctrine that Christians should be wealthy and prominent in the world because they are the sons of God.)

We may be garbage now as far as the world is concerned but in spiritual reality we are the Throne of God.

Our spiritual life is in Heaven at the right hand of God. When the Lord Jesus appears we shall appear with Him. Then it will be manifest that we are the Throne, the Presence, the Glory of God. The world will understand that God loves us as he loves his only begotten Son and that he has given us the Glory of his Son.

God conceals his truths but men and women of understanding will spend their lives seeking them out.

"And his servants shall serve him."

How shall we serve God? The sons of God will strengthen the Lord’s people until they become "trees of righteousness," and also will administer justice and blessing to the nations of saved peoples of the earth. This double ministry is described in the Book of Isaiah.

Why does God anoint the Body of Christ with the Holy Spirit? For the same reason He anointed the glorious Head of the Body. 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (Isaiah 61:1)

The above verse describes the work of the Throne of God. This always is the work of the individual whom God anoints with His Spirit. Our task commences now and will continue until the work has been completed. This is how we shall serve the God of Heaven.

By His Spirit we preach good news to the humble and teachable among God’s elect.

We bind up the brokenhearted. We announce liberty to the Lord’s sheep who are in bondage. We inform them that Jesus has made an atonement for their sins, that Satan’s authority over them has been destroyed. We assist them as they throw off the chains of slavery to demons.

We can perform these works and bring this information only as we are anointed by the Holy Spirit. Therefore prayer and holiness are of supreme importance to the work of the Throne of God. God will anoint us to serve him if we will live a holy life in His sight, behave righteously among men, obey the Father in every detail, and pray without ceasing to receive the Spirit of God so we may be able to release God’s people.

The calling of the saint is to be filled with the Spirit of God in order that he may be able to minister to the Lord’s people and also to the nations of the earth.

The nations of the earth are our inheritance in the Lord. We can enter our inheritance now, as the Lord leads, and then continue when He returns. We are to be filled with the Life and business of the Lord at all times. This is our calling as saints. 

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; (Isaiah 61:2)

Now is the acceptable year. One of the greatest mistakes made by the members of the Body of Christ is to put into the future the work of the Kingdom, to wait for the "magical time" when the circumstances are different than they are now or when God speaks to them from Heaven.

But the magical moment never comes, and usually God does not speak unless we are seeking Him with our whole heart and performing faithfully the present tasks and responsibilities. One day we find ourselves old, tired, ill, bedridden. Now we are not able to begin to serve Christ because we are too tired. We slip away into eternity, having wasted our life on what is not eternal.

Things begin to move in the Kingdom of God when we seek the Lord with all our heart. If we do not seek the Lord with all our heart there is a question whether or not we possess saving faith.

Whenever we decide to seek the Lord, circumstances will conspire against us. Jordan will overflow its banks. Many obstacles will arise for the purpose of convincing us we should wait for a year, or a month, or at least for one more day.

But when we become determined to seek the Lord, little by little the obstacles are removed. Doors open we had not observed previously. Things happen. Truly, the Lord is a rewarder of those who seek him diligently.

Christ purchased the earth and its peoples on the cross of Calvary. All the creation belongs to Christ. He desires to share His inheritance with His saints, but we must be strong enough to press through the various pressures that will attempt to keep us unmoved in our apathy.

The harvest is ripe now. The laborers who are looking to the Lord for their portion of the harvest, their place of service, indeed are few in number. Soon the harvest will be over and many people still will not be saved. Why? Because the Christian people are occupied with their immediate interests. They are preserving their lives and therefore are losing them!

The only persons who will stand before the Throne and serve the Father are those who during their lifetime on the earth set aside all else and performed the work of God in the earth. They are faithful now over a few things. In the Day of the Lord they will be given a greater area of responsibility.

God knows that those who are faithful now will be faithful throughout the Kingdom Age and then throughout eternity. God knows also that those who are careless now will be careless throughout the Kingdom Age and throughout eternity. If we ever are going to change it will be now.

A faithful person is faithful now and will be faithful then. An unfaithful person is unfaithful now and will be unfaithful then. Passing into the spirit realm does not alter the personality of people. The spirit realm has not changed the personalities of the demons or the fallen angels.

"And the day of vengeance of our God."

Jesus read, "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord", and then He closed the scroll. He did not read, "and the day of vengeance of our God."

The two thousand years of church history have been the acceptable year of the Lord. Now we are approaching the day of vengeance of our God. When Jesus walked in Galilee it was not time to torment the demons. Now the time is at hand in which the demons will be tormented.

The judgment of demons begins in the Church of Christ with those who are walking in the Spirit of God.

The Christian churches are filled with the activities of demons: lying, self-seeking, fornication, stealing, haughtiness, strife, hatred, jealousy, stubbornness, pride, disobedience to parents, criticism, gossip, the love of pleasure, drunkenness, rebellion, foolishness, and every other evil work.

We who are members of the Body of Christ are to put these works to death as the Spirit of God reveals them in our personalities. Through the blood of Christ, the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, we are able to spear these through, to put them to death. We are to do it now as the Spirit directs and empowers us.

Every work of Satan is to be destroyed and cast from the earth. The work of judgment and destruction of evil begins with those who are closest to God—the Lord’s victorious saints.

As soon as the strong are loosed they are to assist the weaker members of the Body of Christ.

As soon as the weaker members of the Church have been loosed from the chains of sin they will continue the work of judgment and deliverance throughout the earth until all the saved have been delivered.

Satan will be ground to powder under the feet of the saints. He will have no more place or memory in the earth. Through the power of God he will be judged and cast from the earth.

This is the Day of Vengeance of our God. It is not vengeance against people, primarily, it is vengeance against Satan, the ancient adversary of God.

The Lake of Fire has been prepared for Satan and his angels. No human being will be cast into the Lake of Fire unless he refuses to allow the Lord Jesus to judge and cast from his personality the works of Satan that are in him.

God’s enemy is Satan, not people. People become God’s enemies only as they take Satan’s side against God—as is happening today.

"To comfort all that mourn."

"They who mourn shall be comforted," Jesus informed us.

Many believers in Christ are quite at home in this world. They manage to manipulate people and circumstances (sometimes cheating people) until they make a "success" of this life.

Other believers are not at home in the world. They fear God. They are not content with the world system. Things do not always appear to go well with them, although they love the Lord and are serving him; but they will not harm other people in order to place themselves in a better position.

The rich man and Lazarus illustrate these two types of individuals. The rich man was successful in this world. He lived a merry life, not denying himself any fleshly pleasure.

Lazarus was not at ease in this world. Matters went poorly for him. He lived in hunger, and in misery from his sores. For some reason the rich man would not help him. He did not consider it to be important or necessary that he assist Lazarus, even though he saw him every day and easily could have relieved his hunger and misery. The rich man was directly violating the Law of Moses by ignoring the poor. So it is in the richer nations of today that the Christians who live in plenty are not overly concerned with the poorer peoples of the earth.

Jesus did not state that Lazarus was righteous and holy and the rich man was unrighteous and unclean. The difference was between their circumstances in the world. One was wearing purple and fine linen and having a banquet every day. The other was clothed in rags and suffering from hunger and sores all over his body.

But when they died their situations were reversed. The rich man descended into the flame of Hades, there to be tormented. The beggar went to Father Abraham, there to rest in the wondrous, refreshing environment of Paradise.

One of the ministries of those who are anointed by God’s Holy Spirit is the comforting of people who are mourning. God always is considerate of individuals who are in misery and pain, even though the misery and pain are a judgment on them because of their continued sinning and rebelling against His will.

God hears the cry of the afflicted of the earth, especially the cry of His elect. He appoints one of His anointed servants to go to the aid of the person in pain. Jesus always is a comfort to those who are hurting; so are Jesus’ true servants. 

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)

Most of the peoples of the earth are in mourning today. The unsaved are in the bondage of sin and death. The devout Jews are wailing for the return of Christ and the restoration of Jerusalem.

Those who love the Lord, of the Christian people, are mourning "in Zion." They are grieved with the course of world history. They do not see God being obeyed and worshiped in the earth. In addition they are suffering various afflictions, partly because of their sins, ignorance, and other shortcomings.

God has called a remnant out from His Church. They are God’s victorious saints. Christ is instructing them and leading them to victory over Satan, over the world, over their fleshly lusts, over their self-will and self-seeking. The Lord deals with them every day and every night. They cannot rest until they are assured God’s will is being done in them.

The remainder of the Lord’s people are bowed in ignorance and bondage, waiting for the Lord to come from Heaven and deliver them.

As soon as the Lord has prepared his remnant He will anoint them with the Holy Spirit and fill them with His Presence and the Presence of the Father.

The Lord Jesus will use His victorious saints, His mighty men, to assist the weaker members of the Church, to release those who are Jewish by race, and finally to bring justice and blessing to the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

The Deliverer will come from Zion. The Deliverer always is Christ—no one else. But Christ will use people to assist Him, just as in the early Church He called out the Apostles to be with Him and to represent Him to Israel, and also to the called Gentiles.

In addition to strengthening Israel and the elect Gentiles, the words of the Apostles of the Lamb have been a guide to the secular nations throughout history. Their words have sustained kings and prime ministers in times of conflict and crisis.

The Lord’s victorious saints will bring God’s goodness to the Lord’s people and also to the nations of the earth. We see this double ministry working in Joseph (who fed the whole world), in Elijah, and in Elisha. Jeremiah prophesied to the nations as well as to Israel.

Notice what will take place as soon as the Body of Christ has been perfected: 

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)

Christ is multiplied through his Body. 

And saviours [deliverers] shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. (Obadiah 1:21)

The following verse sets forth the threefold ministry of Christ: 

And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people. (Isaiah 51:16)

Plant the heavens.

Lay the foundations of the earth.

Say unto Zion, Thou art my people.

The threefold ministry of Christ continues through the members of the Body.

The heavens, that is, the spirit realm, must yield to the domination of the spirits of righteous men made perfect in Christ. In our day the saints are being brought to the level of maturity that will make it possible for Michael and his angels to cast the dragon and his angels from the heavenlies (Revelation 12:9).

As of now the earth is founded on the "floods." God desires that the whole universe be founded on the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is to become the foundation as well as the center of every element of the creation. Everything will be shaken in the time to come. Only what is of Christ will be able to endure throughout the shaking.

"Zion" refers to the Lord’s people. The Deliverer, the Body of Christ, is formed "in Zion." As soon as the Lord’s "mighty men" have been brought forth by the Holy Spirit working through the ministries of the Body of Christ, the victorious saints will assist the Church itself, guarding it throughout the coming tribulations, and assuring each believer that he or she belongs to the Lord and that the Lord will remain faithful to his Word.

In the coming ages of glory it seems that the saints themselves will remain in Christ around the Throne of God while the people to whom they minister inherit the earth. Notice in the following passage that it is not the saints themselves but "the people of the saints" who receive the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole Heaven. 

And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. (Daniel 7:27)

When we are studying the manner in which God’s servants will serve him (Revelation 22:3), it is well to keep in mind that all this is accomplished as the result of the Spirit of the Lord being upon us. All is done by the anointing.

Throughout the history of the Christian Church, men and women have labored to build the Kingdom of God. No doubt many of these works have been beneficial. The sincere efforts of the believers have not gone unnoticed by the Lord.

But when we contemplate the whole story it appears that the spiritually enduring works have been performed when God has poured out his Spirit on praying believers. The work of the Kingdom of God, including the construction of the eternal Temple of God, is not accomplished by the sincere efforts of Christians, it is brought to pass by the anointing of the Spirit of the Lord God.

This understanding of the Kingdom of God has to be relearned by each new generation of Christian people. It is true of today. It is not our industry or spiritual abilities or talents that will bring the Kingdom of God into the earth. It is the sovereign working and anointing of the Spirit of God—not our well-intentioned efforts no matter how "scriptural" they may be.

Only the anointing, performs the glorious work of the sixty-first chapter of the Book of Isaiah. What we need today more than anything else is the anointing of the Spirit of God.

"To give to them beauty for ashes."

Many of the Lord’s flock are sitting today in the ashes of sin, unbelief, and rebellion against God. The ministry, in some instances, is seeking to become wealthy at the expense of the people. There is widespread ignorance of the Word of God, and also of the plan of God for the hour in which we are living.

The Lord’s "mighty men," his victorious saints, are not seeking money from the people. They are here to give to the Lord’s people, assisting them as they gain the beauty of a holiness that is developed in the inner man and reflected in the outer man. It is the forming of Christ in the believers.

One day the Christian Church will be the holy city, the most beautiful creation in the universe. But today it is soiled and ragged because of the self-seeking of its teachers.

"The oil of joy for mourning."

The Gospel is the Good News of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The Gospel of Christ is an occasion for celebration. As we seek the Lord, laying aside the weights of material cares and sin, the "oil of joy" fills us. Even the martyrs rejoice as they go forth to be tortured and killed. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy—all in the Holy Spirit.

The Gospel of the Kingdom is good news for the Lord’s true worshipers but bad news for the hypocrites in Zion.

Grief may endure for a season, but the patient saint can be assured that joy unspeakable and full of glory is coming soon. A few more weary steps of our pilgrimage, and then joy for the remainder of eternity.

"The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."

Some of the Christian assemblings of today are heavy in spirit. The people are expected to come, listen, and endure. But their hearts are elsewhere because human beings prefer to be merry as often as possible.

Can you imagine the Lord of Heaven, surrounded by joys beyond the minds of humans to conceive, looking down on an assembling of heavy-hearted "worshipers" who are doing their duty by attending church while their hearts are dwelling on the pleasure they intend to experience when the "service" is over?

The conquering saints bring with them the Spirit of praise. When the believers begin to enter the fellowship of praise the spirit of heaviness is lifted. The worshipers are drawn up to higher ground in the spirit realm. The burdens, problems, and duties of life fall away. They behold the land that is fairer than day.

They now are ready to worship the Lord with uplifted hands. No longer are they thinking about the pleasures they intend to enjoy when the service is over. Pleasure is here now. It is the holy worship of God in the heavenly places. There is no other joy in the universe that can compare with this.

It often is true that the reason a Christian is heavy in spirit is that he or she is involved too much in the world and not enough in the things of the Spirit of God. This is not always the case because there are seasons when the most dedicated saint is laboring under his cross. Nevertheless the cares of the world produce anxiety and grief.

Christ would not have his people bowed down with the worries and fretting of money, houses, lands, buying, selling, and the other activities of the flesh. Now is the time to praise God because of the soon coming of the Lord Jesus from Heaven.

"That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified."

Here is the end of the matter. God desires that each of his people become a "tree of righteousness," the fruit of which is eternal life.

Sometimes the Lord’s people are robbed and snared by their "shepherds," by those who are teaching and leading them. In addition, the people are given over to the lusts of the flesh. They largely are ignorant of the possibilities for righteous, holy, and obedient living that are present in the Kingdom of God.

Out from this number of believers there is a minority that is laying aside every other interest in order to seek more perfectly the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. These are the victorious saints of Revelation, Chapters Two and Three.

The victorious saints are being judged now. They are confessing their sins. They are walking in white with Christ. He is cleansing them and perfecting their behavior.

When they have been perfected, and as they are being perfected, they will help those about them, just as Paul informed Timothy that his diligence would save him and those who heard him. Each of us influences those about him either toward Christ’s will or away from Christ’s will. When we press forward we carry many with us. Our reward is greatly magnified because of our influence for righteousness.

First, Christ. Next, those who overcome through Him. After that, those who follow the victorious saints. This is the order for the development of God’s trees of righteousness. Finally the whole earth will be filled with the righteousness of God through Christ. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God into the earth.

The plan of God is to create obedience and worship in the earth. Any doctrine that does not lead toward the creation of obedience and worship in the earth is not central to God’s purpose.

God’s Kingdom is coming to the earth. God’s will shall be done in the earth: first in Christ; next in the victorious saints; then in all the Lord’s people; finally in the nations of saved peoples of the earth.

The Kingdom of God drives out evil spirits. Christ came to destroy the works of the devil. The devil will be cast from the victorious saints, from all the Lord’s people, finally from the nations of the earth. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom comes by judging and casting out what is evil. 

But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. (Luke 11:20)

When the Lord sets out to create a tree of righteousness He begins by removing the individual from the authority of Satan and placing him under His authority. 

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (Colossians 1:13)

The Lord washes the individual in His own blood. 

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (Revelation 1:5)

Next, God removes the future "tree" from the path of Satan. 

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (Ephesians 2:2)

And places God’s Spirit in him. 

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)

Ezekiel 36:26 (above) is what it means to be "born again."

After these operations have taken place in the individual, the Spirit of God begins to exercise judgment on the works of Satan that abide in the person who has been delivered from the authority of darkness and has been born again. 

For if ye live in the appetites of the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

The preceding passage is dealing with the sins that dwell in the flesh of the believer (Romans 7:20). These sins have proceeded from Satan from the beginning. Some we inherited and some we have acquired during our lifetime. They abide in our flesh. As we grow to maturity in the Lord we learn to confess them so God can forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:7-9).

The creating of a tree of righteousness includes the overcoming of all of our acts of disobedience to the will of God. These are not the sins we inherited in our death-doomed body but those that originate in us as we refuse to do what the Lord impresses us to do.

Some "Christians" will not obey what they understand to be the will of God for them. This sin of rebellion originates in them and is willful disobedience to the Father. They shall face an angry Christ if they do not repent. Such sins of disobedience and stubbornness can be overcome as we present our body a living sacrifice.

If the Lord directs you to do something and you do not do it, you are repeating the disobedience of the garden of Eden. You are making yourself an adversary of God and the blood of Calvary no longer is covering you. If you disobey the will of God that has been revealed for your life, you are sinning willfully. You are facing the eternal fire that will destroy all God’s adversaries, even though you are making a profession of Christ as Lord and Savior. 

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:26,27)

The teaching of "grace" has been so overemphasized and distorted that the Christians of today find it very difficult to believe that God’s fiery indignation will fall on the believer who sins deliberately.

If the rebellious believer will ask the Lord for help, God shall give him or her an obedient heart. It is very important that we ask. A willingness to let go of our desires and obey the Father under all conditions leads directly to the rewards of accomplishment and rulership that have been assigned to the Seed of Abraham.

One of the most critical features of our whole Christian walk is that of putting to death the deeds of our body (Romans 8:13).

Putting to death the deeds of our body is an important part of the Day of Vengeance of God. It is the overcoming of devils by the Spirit of God. It is the conquering of lying, lust, murder, hatred, envy, jealousy, covetousness, sorcery, strife, sectarianism, and all the other devilish behaviors that are manifest in the churches of Christ.

As we confess our sins, God is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, to purge us from the works of the flesh. This is a judgment on the part of our nature that is filled with the residue of satanic life.

Our body is "dead because of sin." When we put the sin to death, confessing it, repenting of it, and receiving forgiveness and cleansing, the vengeance of God falls on Satan and we are given access to the tree of life: that is to say, we attain the first resurrection from the dead—the resurrection of the blessed and holy kings and priests of God (Revelation 20:4-6).

No person ever is raised from the dead except by the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself is the resurrection and the Life.

But, as we see symbolized in the episode concerning Lazarus (John, Chapter 11), it is the people "standing by" who remove the graveclothes. After we have come into the experience of resurrection life we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the removing of the graveclothes of the works of the flesh. Then we "have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:14).

The order is as follows:

l. We receive the salvation of the blood atonement, we repent, as demonstrated in water baptism, and we are born again of the Spirit of God.

2. Resurrection life is strengthened in our new born-again inner man as we pray, read the Scriptures, fellowship with the saints, and present our body a living sacrifice to the Lord Jesus.

3. Through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit we put to death the sins of our flesh, and assist our fellow saints as they do the same. We teach and exhort them and pray with them.

The above three aspects of redemption take place in us as we obey God consistently and relentlessly.

God is creating trees of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3).

The first Tree of Righteousness is the Lord Jesus Christ.

After the Lord Jesus Christ march the conquerors—those who no longer love the person and works of Satan, who are filled with the Spirit of resurrection Life, who are victorious over the lusts of the flesh, and who are sternly obedient to the will of the Father.

The conquerors will assist the weaker members of the Church as they also are loosed from the graveclothes of the works of the flesh, from the residue of satanic life.

The new Jerusalem, the city of God, includes every member of the true Church, the one Body of Christ. As each member of the Body becomes a tree of righteousness, through the grace of the Lord Jesus, the nations of the earth gain a more complete view of the Person and ways of the Lord God of Heaven. The nations can be loosed from the bondages of futility and corruption and brought into the liberty of the glory of the children of God only as the members of the Body of Christ become trees of righteousness.

As we give ourselves to the Lord we save ourselves and those who hear us. 

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

"Before all the nations."

God has been sowing the Seed of righteousness for two thousand years. He has exercised patience, waiting for the various seasons of "rain" to bring His planting to maturity. The crop of God is righteousness. God will bring forth righteousness and praise, obedience and worship, in the sight of the nations of the earth.

The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the fullness of God’s intention.

When the saints, God’s holy ones, are seen to be "trees of righteousness," then God is glorified in them.

The "light" of the Church is not only the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. The light of the Church is also the good works that the Christian people perform because Christ is dwelling in them.

If a minister of the Gospel, or a church, is practicing wickedness, the light that is in him (or it) is darkness even though the Gospel is being preached. The testimony is destroyed by the sin that is seen in the "testifying" person or church. Apart from righteousness and holiness there is no Christian witness.

When the Christian believers perform good works of love, joy, peace, and benevolence toward all, men see these good works. It is Divine light to them. Then they glorify the Father who is in Heaven.

We are not referring to charitable works performed in Christ’s name but that are not proceeding from the Spirit of Christ. Such charitable works are of human origin and therefore unable to accomplish the purposes of God. It is well that people imitate the works of Christ, but such imitation may resist Christ when He appears. The pride and self-seeking that produce self-righteous behavior always is an enemy of the cross.

The churches can be theologically correct and yet not move men (except to gain proselytes to their theological systems). But when the people of the earth behold Christ-filled saints living in honesty, purity, and love, and praying for those who despitefully use and abuse them, they will give glory to God. Good works, the result of Christ working in and with us, are the true testimony of the God of Heaven. 

Having your conversation [behavior] honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (I Peter 2:12)

And they [the trees of righteousness—those who had been mourning and heavy in spirit] shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations. (Isaiah 61:4)

The history of the present age will include the worldwide reign of Antichrist. Although this reign will be brief, the resulting destruction of the planet will be very great in scope.

Antichrist is the personification of men seeking to rule themselves apart from God and his Anointed. Antichrist truly is an abomination. All attempts of men to improve their condition apart from calling on God and his Christ result in destruction. Such efforts result in abominations that bring about desolation—financial, academic, moral, philosophical, social, artistic, industrial, ecological desolation and destruction.

Those of us who have been in contact with well-intentioned humans who are attempting to change the world apart from God and his Christ know only too well the folly of such attempts and the blindness, perversity, and murderous hatred of such rebels.

When Christ returns from Heaven, Antichrist and the armies of the earth will attempt to drive him back into the spirit realm—away from human beings and the farthest reaches of the earth, which are His inheritance (Psalms 2:8).

Antichrist and his followers will be destroyed by the brightness of Christ’s appearing. The world, in chaos by that time because of the willful behavior of mankind, will be rebuilt by God’s trees of righteousness.

The sons of God will minister throughout the earth during the thousand-year reign of Christ. Through the knowledge and blessing of God they will rebuild what had been ruined during the chaotic conditions of the great tribulation period.

A further destruction of the earth will occur when Christ and His saints descend from Heaven and attack the wicked who resist their rulership. 

A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. (Joel 2:3)

After Armageddon, under the hand of the sons of God, the curse will be lifted from the earth. Peace will prevail. The villages and cities of the earth will be repaired—that which had been made a "desolate wilderness" as the sons of God destroyed all the works of sin.

God’s kings and priests, now in glorified bodies as the result of their participation in the first resurrection, having access to the Throne of God and of the Lamb, will work in and with Christ in the task of restoring all that had been lost to mankind because of its servitude to Satan.

The knowledge of the Glory of God will cover the earth. The Holy Spirit will flow from the personalities of the saints. The saints will possess the key of eternal life, the key of Paradise, the key of Hades, and the key of death. They will bind and loose with authority and power. No nation will be able to resist their rule. They will exercise dominion over the earth with a rod of iron, with the irresistible power of the Holy Spirit of God.

The second chapter of the Book of Joel describes the army of saints. A further description is given in the third chapter of Habakkuk, the thirteenth chapter of Isaiah, and in the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation. The Lord’s army cannot be resisted. Divine judgment has been given into the hands of the saints because they have been proven to be submissive to the will of the Lord Jesus Christ.

All wisdom and power is theirs. Satan will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit. The spirit and works of Satan will be destroyed before the sons of God as they move throughout the whole earth announcing that Christ is Lord and that God has given the nations and the uttermost parts of the earth to Christ for his inheritance. 

And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. (Isaiah 61:5)

God’s elect, his Israel, including all who are in Christ and are part of Christ, part of the Anointed, are destined to be the head of the nations of the earth. This was God’s will for Israel of old, and it came to pass during the reigns of David and Solomon.

But, as the Lord warned would happen, Israel lost its leadership in the world. The Lord’s people chose to sin and rebel against God. They were taken captive by the Babylonians and to the present hour have not been able to recover their Divine inheritance. Israel today is struggling to keep possession of a fragment of their promised land.

However it certainly is not God’s will that the people whom He has chosen for His special treasure be a small, weak nation. God has permitted the rise of the Gentile nations during the period of time that He has been punishing Israel, and also preparing the Body of Christ. But the day will come when Jerusalem is restored to its position as the capital city of the world. No power can prevent it. Israel is destined to become the center of government of the Kingdom of God.

The elect, the remnant, the Body of Christ, will be used of God to restore all the Lord’s people to a position of righteousness and holiness in the sight of the Lord. Deliverance will come out of Zion and all Israel will be saved.

When that happens, Jerusalem once again will become the greatest city on the earth. The King over Israel will sit on the throne of His father, David. His name is Christ.

In that Day the Israel of God will stand out among all other peoples as the Lord’s chosen. The nations that God has saved from destruction (Matthew 25:34) will serve God’s people just as under Joshua the Canaanites cut wood and drew water for the congregation.

The nation that refuses to serve the Lord’s people will perish (Isaiah 60:12). 

But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. (Isaiah 61:6)

Every Christian is called to be a member of the royal priesthood. This is why our training period is so rigorous. If we were called merely to go to live in Paradise, in the spirit realm, it would be enough for us to receive the blood atonement and then ascend to our mansion in Heaven. There we would rest and talk and play forever.

But such is not our destiny. We have been called to be priests of God to the nations, ministers to the Gentiles. We have been called to represent God among His creation during our lives on the earth today, throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age, and forever in the new heaven and earth reign of Christ. 

But ye [Christian saints] are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people [people for God’s own possession]; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; (I Peter 2:9)

We, the Christian saints, whether Jewish or Gentile by natural birth, will be given the wealth of the nations of the earth. The possessions of the wicked will then belong to the elect.

God will give us of his love for the righteous nations and we shall rule them and guide them in both the goodness and the severity of God. We shall be responsible before God for their welfare. They in turn will share with us their material wealth and—best of all—the wealth of their personalities.

There is no other inheritance that can be compared with the inheritance that consists of people. People, not gold or silver or precious stones, are the most valuable, most to be desired inheritance one can receive. Christ understands that well.

The inhabitants of the earth will recognize and identify the saints as the Lord’s priests and ministers. At the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, Satan will deceive the nations into laying siege against Jerusalem with the intention of destroying the rule of the saints who so lovingly and justly had ruled them. So great is the wickedness of Satan! So great is the depth of lawlessness, perversity, and self-will that has been forged in the characters of the peoples of the earth whom God has created!

In that hour (the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age) the elect will not have to defend themselves. Fire will come down from God out of Heaven and destroy the people who have been taught so conscientiously by the saints, who then turned against the holy ones who delivered, taught, and blessed them for a thousand years.

After the second coming of Christ, God never again will allow his treasured elect to be hounded from city to city by the heathen while they are attempting to teach the inhabitants of the earth concerning the Person, will, and ways of the Father in Heaven. Once the present age has closed, the saints never again will be as sheep for the slaughter, the prey of every wicked spirit and person who desires to torment them.

We are journeying toward our eternal home in the new Jerusalem. Satan and his angels are journeying toward their eternal home in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. No power or authority can reverse this judgment such that the saints end up in torment and Satan and his followers end up in peace and glory.

No doubt Satan in the last days will contest this decision vigorously, but nothing shall be changed. The Word of judgment has proceeded from the Father and it cannot in any manner be revoked or changed. The eternal destinies are fixed. 

For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. (Isaiah 61:7)

We believe that the period of wrath against the Jews is nearly at an end and that God is sending his anointed messengers to them in our day.

Also, the hour is near for the Lord Jesus to return from Heaven and to rebuke with eternal fire all those persons who have persecuted his witnesses.

When the Lord comes we shall be rewarded gloriously for all the shame and loss we have suffered for the Kingdom of God’s sake. We shall rejoice in our portion. We shall be repaid doubly for all we have laid aside so that the will of God in Christ might be accomplished in the earth. Our pleasures and joy will endure throughout eternity.

If the people of the world, who are so ready to despise and harm the Lord’s saints, had any concept of the intense love and watchful care that God exercises toward His little ones; if they could understand how God feels when someone spurns the attempts of a Christian to bring righteousness, peace, and joy into an earthly circumstance; they would strive with all their might to assist the beleaguered saint—or they would flee for their lives! But the secular community is blind to spiritual realities.

Judas perceived to a small extent the error in judgment he had made in betraying the innocent Christ. Satan laughed at Judas through the mouths of the priests of Israel. Judas went out in unbearable agony and hanged himself.

We Christians are cheated and overrun by the worldly. We do not retaliate. We pray for those who despitefully use us.

When the Lord comes the roles will be reversed. We shall be in power. Our enemies will be at our mercy. We shall decide their destinies.

A fearful fate awaits the person who deliberately harms someone who is anointed by the Spirit of God and serving the Lord Jesus in humility and patient meekness.

We shall possess "everlasting joy." What particular kind of joys shall we experience? 

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalms 16:11)

We feel certain, although the Scriptures do not say, that for those who enjoy music there will be unlimited opportunities to listen, to perform, to compose, according to the gifts possessed. And so with all the other arts.

For those who enjoy science no doubt there will be unlimited opportunities to learn and to perform research. However, unlike today, the application of the knowledge will be governed by the saints in whom Christ is dwelling.

There probably will be unlimited opportunities to read and to write books.

There will be a whole world to rebuild!

There is a universe to explore, both in space and also in the microscopic and atomic worlds.

We are sure that for those who enjoy working with people there will be unlimited opportunities to teach, to release from bondage, to guide, to rule, and to have fellowship.

There will be unlimited opportunities to be alone and to reflect on God, on the creation, on life.

For those who primarily are occupied with the acquiring of perfect, complete union with the Persons of Christ and God there will be the opportunity for gaining such relationship. Closeness to God is a calling, and those who have this calling are governed by it—even in the present world.

All of the above will be present in various combinations depending on the calling and desires of the individual saint.

There will be "pleasures for evermore." 

For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. (Isaiah 61:8)

God loves justice and righteousness. He does not approve of those who attempt to take the Kingdom by violence, by robbery. This type of Christian life and service is not acceptable to Him.

Jesus informed us that the Kingdom of God is subjected to violence and the violent take it by force. We believed for many years that Christ was advocating that we must approach the Kingdom with diligence and energy, otherwise we will be unable to enter. This is true.

We must be diligent if we expect to attain the life of victory in Christ and we must be forceful in our determination. But it is the meek, not the violent, who will inherit the earth. The battle is not won by the strong. The race is not won by the swift.

When the Lord spoke of the violent taking the Kingdom by force, He was speaking of wicked men, such as the Pharisees, who were attempting to rule in the Kingdom of God by their violence and robbing of the poor. Also, Jesus spoke of violence in connection with the imprisoned John the Baptist (Matthew 11:12).

Today there are wicked, covetous men who are wrenching money from widows and other trusting souls. These violent, self-seeking, unscrupulous evangelists are robbing the needy in order to present an offering to Christ—so they think. Their works are powerful but they themselves are disqualified. Their destiny is outer darkness.

God hates robbery for burnt offering. Cathedrals stand in the middle of impoverished areas of the world. Far better to spend the money assisting the needy than to rob the poor so the "church" will not be wanting in luxury.

Many "Christian ministers" are willing to lie, cheat, steal, force their will and way, and do anything else that will accomplish their goals. They appear to have success in the building of the "Kingdom of God." In actuality, they are building monuments to their own glory.

God’s work and house is the human heart. There is no other structure to which the Lord gives more than passing attention.

God directs the work of the saints, His servants, and rewards them in truth. If we refuse to force people and circumstances in order to gain our way but rather take on the form of a servant, looking to God alone for our progress, God will direct and recompense us. Truly, the little that a righteous person possesses is better than the riches of many wicked.

Far better to walk with God and to make small gains, as measured by the opinions of people, than to rob, lie, and kill in order to "build the Kingdom of God."

Many saints have been crushed under the heel of the violent as the violent take what they want, claiming, meanwhile, to be serving the Lord.

Every detail of every such episode throughout history will be brought out into the light during the Day of Christ. God will enter an eternal covenant with the meek and they will inherit the earth. But those who forced their way into the "Kingdom," believing they had gotten away with their dishonorable tactics, will be led away to everlasting punishment.

God preserves the wicked to the day of judgment so they may be punished. 

And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles [nations], and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. (Isaiah 61:9)

The offspring and descendants of the saints will be distinguished among the peoples of the earth. We find this same concept in Daniel: 

And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, . . . . (Daniel 7:27)

"The people of the saints of the most High"!

The nations of the earth will acknowledge that the blessing of God rests on the saints and on the offspring of the saints. It will be obvious that the approval and Glory of God is abiding on them because they will prosper in the earth, just as is true of the righteous Jew to this day.

We are not sure whether this refers to the physical or the spiritual descendants of the saints, or both.

It can be witnessed today that the physical lineage of godly people is blessed in every way. Even though there may be short-term disappointments in children, one can see the light and the blessing that rests on the families of the saints and on those who are willing to associate with the truly godly.

The wicked may try as they will to develop strength in the earth. But history, ancient and modern, reveals conclusively that every type of prosperity accompanies the righteous and the seed of the righteous. The wicked, while they for a season appear to succeed, soon are cut off.

It appears that the leaders of governments seldom are able to perceive the relationship between prosperity and godliness. But there is an inviolable principle here as a careful study of history will reveal.

What is true today, and obvious to those who have eyes to see, will be magnified a thousandfold in the ages to come. The light and Glory of God will abide in visible splendor on the saints, and on those who belong to the saints and who are influenced by and associate closely with the saints. 

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)

Isaiah 61:10 expresses the joy of the saint, the member of the body of Christ, at the moment of the change in the body. This is what we shall sing when the Lord appears and our mortal body puts on immortality.

The Lord has brought us out from under the authority of Satan and has placed us under the authority of His dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord has caused Christ to be born in us. He has removed us from the ways of Satan and has given us a new spirit. He has replaced the heart of stone with a heart of flesh. He is inscribing His Word in our minds and hearts.

Today, by the power of His Spirit, He is enabling us to put to death the sinful tendencies of our fleshly body as we confess our sins and repent of them. Also He is bringing us into circumstances through which we are able to have self dethroned and the Lord Jesus established on the throne of our heart. He is creating obedience to the Father in us, making our will and His will to become one will.

If we continue in God’s will we shall come to the point where the Lord Jesus Christ will be able, at His glorious appearing, to clothe us with eternal life so we no longer are restrained by a mortal, frail, sin-directed fleshly body.

Instead of being imprisoned in a body of death we shall be given a robe of righteousness, a body created from eternal life that will assist us in righteous, holy, and obedient living. The body in which we currently are imprisoned is fighting us every step of the way.

The robe of righteousness. The ornaments of the bridegroom. The jewels of the bride. These refer to the glorified body of the saint—a body changed into the image of the glorified body of Christ himself, being made so by the working of His mighty power. 

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name from the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)

If through the grace of God in Christ we set ourselves to conquer the spirit of the world, sin, Satan, our lusts, and our self-seeking we will attain the first resurrection from the dead. We will be raised to authority and power when Jesus comes. We will be clothed in the white raiment of a body that has been fashioned from the substance of eternal life.

The white raiment, which is our garment of salvation, our robe of righteousness, our glorified body, our "house from heaven," is our "eternal weight of glory" that is formed as we sow our present physical body to death. As our physical body partakes of the sufferings of Christ an eternal counterpart of our body has its rise before the Throne of God in Heaven. We shall reap what we have sown (see II Corinthians, Chapters Four and Five; also I Corinthians, Chapter 15).

It is the overcomer, the victorious saint, who is clothed in white raiment, who attains the first resurrection, the resurrection of God’s judges, kings, and priests. There were a few victorious saints "even in Sardis."

The Christian church in Sardis was one of the seven golden lampstands, one of God’s witnesses in the earth. But it was dead. Its works were not perfect before God. Just a few of the Christians in Sardis will be raised in the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of the blessed and holy (Revelation 3:4; 20:6).

Those who are raised at the coming of the Lord are God’s warriors, the firstfruits of His Bride, a manifestation of righteousness, power, and glory as terrible as an army with banners. They have made themselves ready. They are clothed with the fine white linen of their righteous deeds—deeds proceeding from the new creation that has been wrought in them.

They shall rise to meet the Lord in the air and then shall descend with Him to crush the Antichrist and all his followers. 

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:11)

When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered my into bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)

And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, (Jude 14)

This is the first resurrection, the resurrection of I Thessalonians 4:16 and I Corinthians 15:54. The Lord’s victorious saints, His conquerors, are worthy to walk with him in white, because they have cooperated with the Holy Spirit in the developing of resurrection life in themselves (Revelation 3:4). They will be clothed with an increase of this same resurrection life when He appears and then will participate with Him in establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth. 

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (I Corinthians 15:54)

Do you see from the above that the coming of the Lord and the resurrection of the saints are an expression of victory in battle?

The Lord is coming from Heaven to destroy the Antichrist. His conquering saints will be raised from the dead and clothed with immortality. They then will descend with Him as He continues to approach the earth. This is the army of the Lord prophesied of so many times. These are the Lord’s "mighty men of valor."

Do you want to see a picture of the victorious Lord descending from Heaven and attacking the enemy? 

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:16,17)

The shout of battle.

The voice of Michael commanding the army of warrior angels.

The trumpet summoning the Lord’s army of saints and preparing them for the battle.

The uniting of the spirits of the conquerors with their bodies.

The catching up of the army in the clouds to meet the Commander in Chief in the air in the former domain of Satan and his lieutenants.

This is the beginning of the attack of Armageddon, and the glorification of Christ through the bodies of His saints, as He casts the death from their bodies and transforms them by His almighty power (Philippians 3:21).

Paul elaborates on I Thessalonians 4:16,17, in II Thessalonians 1:7-10. 

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

"Because our testimony among you was believed."

Paul’s prior testimony, to which he refers, is found in I Thessalonians, Chapters Four and Five. 

For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)

God carefully prepared the soil as portrayed in the events set forth in the Old Testament writings. Then he planted Christ, as described in the Book of Acts in the New Testament.

God’s crop is righteousness, the righteousness that results from the Substance and Virtue of his Son, Christ, dwelling in human beings.

God’s purpose is to create righteousness and worship in the earth with Christ being the Center of all creatures and all things.

God began with his Son, Christ.

Next in line march the victorious saints, the true saints of all ages. They will be raised from the dead and meet the Lord Jesus when he returns to set up his Kingdom on the earth. The true saints are the firstfruits "unto God and to the Lamb" (Revelation 14:4). They even now are on Mount Zion with the mighty Son of David. They are the spirits of righteous men made perfect (Hebrews 12:22,23).

After that, all Israel, all God’s chosen people, whether Jew or Gentile by race, will be built up and glorified in Christ in God.

God’s will shall be done in the earth. The peoples of the world will see that the Church is one in God, that the love and Glory of God are in the Church, and will believe that God has sent Christ to be the Lord and Savior of mankind. Both righteousness and praise will spring forth before all the nations.

Referring back to Revelation 22:3 we know that God’s servants will serve him by ministering the Presence and will of God to all the nations of the saved who live on the new earth. This service begins today, will continue throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age by the Christians who have been diligent in the present life, and will find complete, perfect fulfillment during the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (Revelation 22:4)

No man can see God and live. Even Moses was not allowed to behold the face of God. Proud, unclean flesh is not allowed to gaze curiously on its Creator.

No doubt there are but few saints who are ready to behold the Face of the Father. Therefore God has provided a thousand years during which we can come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. We shall talk with Christ, see him, and serve him as He teaches the nations of the earth.

After the thousand years we shall be greatly changed as a result of being in such close contact with the Lord Jesus. Then our hearts will be pure enough to behold the Face of God.

The angels of children can see the Face of God because of the innocence and artlessness of children. But adults are proud, sinful, self-seeking, full of guile, deceitful, presumptuous. God never shall permit any such person to see His Face—Christian or not. Fire would issue from the Throne and consume the curious, presumptuous, deceitful gaze.

The servants of God behold his Countenance because their hearts have been purified from all pride, presumption, and guile. They are pure and innocent. They love God with a pure heart; guile no longer remains in their personality.

The name of God is inscribed in the foreheads of the servants of God. This signifies that they are obedient to the will of the Father.

Satan originated rebellion against the will of the Father. He persuaded Adam and Eve to disobey the Father.

Today we hear Christian people stating that they know the Lord’s will but for one reason or another they are not doing it; neither are they seeking the Lord in desperation that they might be able to do His will. They are trusting in "grace" to bring them to Paradise.

They may expect us to be sympathetic with their plight but we are not sympathetic with them. Theirs is a statement of rebellion against God. The true saints are being prepared to put down all rebellion against the Father’s will no matter in whom it may be found.

Apparently Satan is not sure that God’s will is best for him. He would have done God’s will (it is too late now) had he understood it and decided it was in his best interests to perform it.

So it is with many "Christian" people. They are not persuaded that God’s will is the best plan for their life. They may do God’s will if they understand it and are certain it is in their best interests.

Thus many of the Lord’s people have the nature of Satan. Their hearts contain rebellion against the Father. They cannot decide whether to serve God or disobey God.

When Jesus returns, the sons of God will deal with all rebellion. They will crush it with a rod of iron. God’s will shall be done throughout his creation. There shall be no compromise whatever.

All of us must choose today whom we will serve—God, or our satanic self-will. The Day of the Lord approaches quickly. We have little time left in which to decide.

Every human being must choose whether to take Satan’s side or Christ’s side. There is no third alternative. 

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

The Outer Court of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was lighted by the sun, by natural light. During the day there was light and during the night there was darkness.

The Holy Place of the Tabernacle was lighted at night by the golden Lampstand. The oil of the Lampstand had to be replenished by the priest once during each twenty-four hour period.

Lamps flicker and cast shadows. The wicks must be kept trimmed and pulled out to the proper length.

The golden Lampstand of the Tabernacle typifies the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Anointed Deliverer. The Lampstand typifies also the manifestation, the gifts and ministries, of the Holy Spirit in the members of the Body of Christ, the Body of the Anointed Deliverer.

The gifts and ministries of the Spirit are temporary, partial lights that assist us as we attempt to see dim reflections in a mirror, as it were. We gain glimpses of Christ and of eternity as flashes of light proceed from the Spirit of God during the "evening" of the Day of the Lord.

The Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle was lighted by the Glory of God Himself, by the Shechinah. The Glory of God neither flickers nor casts shadows. It does not need to be replenished, trimmed, or adjusted.

No lamplight is needed, that which must be taken care of by human effort. No sunlight is needed, such that there must be periods of darkness. The light of the new Jerusalem is eternal.

We Christians seek for increased "light." In the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, the Father and the Son come to dwell in us forever. Little by little the lesser lights on which we have depended to guide us during our pilgrimage are replaced by the Light that is the Glory of God in the face of Christ.

As the Day Star, the Light that is the Lord God, arises in our heart, the light and dark periods of life, the ups and downs, are replaced by the ever-increasing consciousness of the Light of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ. God himself becomes our Light and our Salvation. Now we possess eternal light, eternal life, eternal authority, eternal power, eternal love, eternal joy, eternal peace.

Aaron and his sons were chosen to be the priests of the Lord. Their service was temporary because of the frailty of their flesh.

Christ, our High Priest, does not serve after the order of Aaron. Christ serves after the order of Melchizedek. Melchizedek is a priest forever by the power of an endless, incorruptible life. Christ, and we who live by him, are God’s kings and priests forever by the power of an endless, incorruptible life.

Every person’s attainments are rendered futile in that he must return to the dust from which he was created. Kings, scientists, artists, philosophers, craftsmen, teachers—all must perish, sometimes at the zenith of accomplishment. Death brings all achievement to nothing as far as the gifted individual is concerned.

Mankind may profit from the work of the genius after he is gone but he himself is rendered helpless. He is prevented from going on to ever greater performances and contributions.

What would Bach and Edison be accomplishing now if they still were alive?

But God’s sons possess eternal light and life. Their performances and contributions will increase in splendor forever. One billion years from now they will be increasing in godliness and competence. God and the Lamb still will be issuing wisdom, knowledge, and power to them. But that will be the merest beginning for them because they are the offspring of God Almighty.

Notice that God’s sons and servants reign "for ever and ever." Each is a king. The only king over them is Christ and God over him.

Our problem today is that we are ruled by governments and organizations, by people who seek to control others and who require that they themselves be acknowledged and worshiped in place of God, by our own self-seeking, by angels, by the passions of our flesh and soul, and by anything and everything else from animals to cherubim.

God’s eternal kings are in a rigorous training program today. Perhaps the most difficult lessons of all concern our coming rulership. We must experience prolonged pain before we are ready to turn from worshiping Satan, the world, things, people, and our pride and self-will, and render homage and obedience to Christ and God. It is only then that we truly are free. We will not be permitted to govern the creation until we ourselves are totally obedient to God through Christ.

But we resist our freedom. We are determined to bring ourselves under the power of someone or something other than God and his Christ. We disqualify ourselves as members of the royal priesthood.

"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." 

And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. (Revelation 22:6)

The Book of Revelation is a record, written in advance, of the events leading up to the Day of the Lord, the Day of the Lord itself, and the eternity that follows the Day of the Lord.

There will be many attempts on the part of Satan to deceive the Lord’s elect concerning the events of the Day of the Lord. The myth of the pre-tribulation rapture is an example of one such attempt, and this myth has proved to be spiritually weakening. Because of this, the Book of Revelation, unlike any of the other books of Scripture, is attended by a Divine curse (Revelation 22:18,19).

We can see today there is confusion among Christian people concerning the coming of Christ from Heaven. While all the Lord’s people agree on the blood atonement and the need for the born-again experience for entrance into the Kingdom of God, there is widespread disagreement concerning the events surrounding the second coming of Christ, and also concerning the cause-and-effect relationship between the conduct of Christian people after they "accept" Christ and their eternal destiny.

There is, first of all, a cleavage between the liberal and fundamental points of view, with the liberal placing a somewhat human construction on the Book of Revelation (as though it came from the mind of John). We will not discuss this stance.

Second, there is division among the fundamentalists. The "pre-tribulation rapture" doctrine is popular among Christians. Accompanying this concept is a heavy emphasis on grace, with minimum actual stress on godly living as a determinant of our eternal destiny; the view that all the "saved" receive basically the same reward; that eternal residence in a mansion in Heaven is the goal of redemption; the attitude that God is love and is to be reverenced but not feared; and a recent idea that God’s sons are not supposed to suffer but by virtue of their sonship should be influential and prosperous in the present world system.

It seems to us that several of the above beliefs have followed, and are related to, the acceptance of the "revelation" of the pre-tribulation rapture.

These beliefs are not at all in accordance with the Book of Revelation. They are not "faithful and true" sayings of God.

We are in agreement with those who view the resurrection and ascension of the saints as coming at the termination of the great tribulation period and prior to the outpouring of the wrath of God on the world. However, we do not agree that the purpose of the catching up of the saints is for the purpose of escaping the wrath of God (they will be administering the wrath of God) or that they are caught up to Heaven to remain there doing we know not what.

We view godly behavior as the one sure sign that Divine grace is present in the life. We maintain that if there is no godly behavior there is no saving grace present.

To our way of thinking, the doctrine that once an individual "accepts Christ" he can never be lost to God’s purposes is clearly contrary to both the Spirit and the letter of the New Testament. Hebrews 6:4-9 and II Peter 2:20-22 contradict this belief.

We believe Christ will reward the saints accordingly as they have behaved in the flesh. We acknowledge the eternal severity as well as the eternal goodness of God. We teach that the fear of God is as important as the love of God, and that the true saint works out his salvation with fear and trembling, not just with reverence such as one would display toward a national monument.

We consider suffering to be a necessary aspect of the plan of salvation, and it comes to us as no surprise when God’s witnesses become the trash of society.

We believe further that Antichrist already is active, that many of the Lord’s people already are in deception, that the saints are asleep in Zion believing they can seek first the acquiring of material wealth and still attain the first resurrection of the dead.

We believe that Revelation 20:4-6 describes the first resurrection from the dead. We do not believe in a secret coming of the Lord, except in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles just prior to the visible descent of Christ in His Glory (John 14:18-23). This is a spiritual coming to those who are looking intensely toward the Lord, not a bodily catching away to Heaven.

It is our conviction that Christ is preparing to enter His Church to a much greater degree than ever before in history so that the members of the Body of Christ will be able to be more than conquerors throughout all tribulations that will come on the earth because of the wickedness of mankind.

The entrance of Christ into His Church does not include the transformation of the physical body. The resurrection and transformation of the bodies of the saints are scheduled for the time of the coming of Christ to fight the Battle of Armageddon.

Two different "gospels" are presented above. One leans heavily on a statement of theological faith. The impression is gained that once this statement of "faith" has been made, the believer can go about his business until he dies, or until Jesus comes and lifts him up to Heaven. What he will do in Heaven for eternity is not clear.

The other "gospel" perceives the Christian life as a serious warfare that will culminate in the return of Christ. Tribulation is perceived, not as an evil from which God spares the Church but as a necessary part of the Divine grace that enables the saints to press into the Kingdom of God.

For example, tribulation develops patience; and patience is one of the most majestic of the pillars supporting the Kingdom of God. We enter the Kingdom of God through the doorway of tribulation. Tribulation is the Divine chastening, the fiery judgment that makes us worthy of the Kingdom (II Thessalonians 1:5).

The first resurrection and catching up of the saints is understood to be the time at which the victorious saints are clothed with resurrected and glorified bodies so they may descend with Christ as the army of the Lord.

The attack of Armageddon is the worldwide confrontation of Christ and Antichrist. It is the universal expression of the battle that takes place in each true saint as his inner reborn spiritual nature gains, through Christ, the victory over his sin and self-will.

The first of the two gospels conceives of the Christian salvation as a ticket to Heaven.

The second regards the Christian salvation as a warfare that begins at the moment of receiving Christ and continues until it climaxes in the return of Christ to the earth.

The first goes to Heaven and abides in bliss forever, leaving the earth and its peoples to an uncertain fate.

The second fights in the Spirit until the earth and its peoples have been subdued under Christ.

The first divides between the Jews and the Gentiles, with the Jews inheriting the earth and the "Gentile Christians" (an unscriptural concept) inheriting Heaven.

The second maintains that all Israel is one and consists of every individual who is "in Christ," whether Jewish or Gentile by natural birth.

The first is directed toward perpetual residence in Heaven. The second is directed toward establishing a light in the earth by which the nations will be able to walk in righteousness and peace and serve God.

The angel of the Lord said, "These sayings are faithful and true."

It is obvious that one of the two "gospels" is incorrect.

In your opinion, which of the two different concepts is supported by the faithful and true sayings of the Book of Revelation?

The following brief list supports the author’s point of understanding:

1. As to the resurrection and ascension of the saints coming at the termination of the great tribulation period: 

. . . This [living and reigning with Christ at the time of Armageddon; the coming to life of God’s kings, judges, and priests] is the first resurrection. (Revelation 20:5)

"This . . . is the first resurrection."

2. As to the removal of God’s people from Babylon (man-directed Christianity) so they will not be injured when the vials of wrath are poured out: 

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Revelation 18:4)

3. As to the critical importance of godly living: 

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

4. As to the view that once you are saved you can never be punished or lost: 

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)

How could anyone read the above verse and treat the necessity for godly living so lightly? Is it not obvious that Christ rewards each Christian according to his or her works?

5. As to the rewarding of the saints as they have behaved in the flesh: 

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)

6. As to the eternal goodness of God: 

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

7. As to the eternal severity of God: 

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15)

8. As to fearing God and working out our salvation with fear and trembling: 

And a voice came from the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. (Revelation 19:5)

9. As to the role of suffering in the plan of salvation: 

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

10. As to society’s treatment of God’s sons: 

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelation 13:7)

11. As to a secret coming of Christ: 

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

The Lord Jesus warned us against secret comings. The Lord Jesus will return exactly as He left this earth—in full view of people. In that Day every eye shall see Him.

The Book of Revelation is the only book of prophecy in the New Testament. It is the reliable vision of the Day of the Lord. The foundation of all doctrine concerning the coming of Christ is established immediately: "Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him." We must not add to or take away from this foundation.

12. As to the coming of Christ to the overcomer in fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles, prior to His return to earth: 

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)

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

13. As to the time when the body of the saint is transformed: 

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous deeds] of saints. (Revelation 19:8)

Armageddon commences three verses later.

14. As to the question whether the Christian salvation is a ticket to Heaven or a warfare that begins at the moment of receiving Christ, continuing until it climaxes in the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth: 

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:10,11)

Antichrist is the spirit of the world, the spirit of humanism. The Christian discipleship is, in part, one long battle against the Antichrist spirit. Those who have resisted Antichrist throughout their life will return with Christ and assist in Antichrist’s destruction. The believers who have succumbed to Antichrist’s inducements and threats are facing fiery torment. 

And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: (Revelation 14:9,10)

The spirit of Antichrist has been in the world since the days of the Apostle John. Countless numbers of Christian people over the years have succumbed to his lures, from Demas who forsook the endangered Paul, "having loved this present world," to the numerous Christians of today who are using their "faith" to become prosperous in the present world system. 

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (I John 2:18)

The above verse reveals that the Apostles of Christ did not believe the Christian Church would be removed from the earth prior to the coming of Antichrist.

The spirit of Antichrist is growing in the world of today. Many so-called Christians have surrendered without a fight. They are worshipers of the world’s economic system. They are not bearing their cross after Jesus and have no intention of doing so. They are serving Antichrist with all their strength, although they "worship" in church on Sundays. They have been deceived. They have been conquered. This is why they have no sense of spiritual conflict.

No book of the Scriptures recognizes a theological faith apart from godly behavior. The Book of Revelation is not an exception.

When we attempt to read into the Book of Revelation a group of Gentile Christians who are not participants in the rewards and punishments that are based on the presence or absence of godly behavior, on the conquering or lack of conquering of the Antichrist spirit, we invite a spirit of delusion into our personality. When the spirit of delusion enters us we perceive the Book of Revelation as having little or no bearing on the professing Christian, except for its blessings.

Can you find in the Book of Revelation any indication that a group of Gentile Christians has been exempted from the conditions set forth in this vision? Are the Gentiles favored over the Jews? Does not this idea contradict the spirit and letter of the Scriptures?

We can find no such indication. In fact, it seems clear to us that the Book of Revelation is a guide to God’s saints regardless of whether or not they are Jewish or Gentile by natural birth. This prophecy warns us of the evil of the world system and of babylonish Christendom that sells its favors to the world in return for security; and also of the tribulations that God’s people will suffer in the world until the saints return in glory with the Lord Jesus in the attack of Armageddon.

We think our viewpoint is apostolic even though it is different from the concept of a mysterious "Gentile Church" that is not mentioned by the Prophets of Israel (as one "rapture" teacher informs us).

According to our present information, the concept of the pre-tribulation rapture has not been in existence longer than one hundred seventy years. It is not found in the writings of the saints prior to the nineteenth century.

Many of the Lord’s Gentile believers are entangled in the affairs of the world, even though the Apostle Paul warned us not to do this. Will such be exempted from the conditions of the Book of Revelation on the basis of a statement of theological faith, while severe requirements for godly living are enforced on the Jews—God’s original chosen people?

Is this sensible or scriptural? Does it follow Paul’s statements about the Gentiles and the Jews, as recorded in the eleventh chapter of Romans and the second chapter of Ephesians, for example, or is it a delusion?

15. As to tribulation being a means of enabling the saint to press into the Kingdom of God: 

Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (Romans 5:3)

I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. (Revelation 3:18)

The temptations and pressures of the last days will cause some of the saints to stumble and fall. But look at the effect on the saint: 

And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. (Daniel 11:35)

"To try them, and to purge, and to make them white!"

Jesus informed us that we would be certain to have tribulation while living in this world, but to be of good cheer because He has conquered the world. The world (or Antichrist) cannot overcome us if Christ is living in us.

Paul advised the disciples that we must through much tribulation enter the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). There are several such exhortations in the New Testament writings.

Christians have not been appointed to wrath, but we certainly have been appointed to many tribulations and afflictions.

The Divine wrath is destructive and nonredemptive, as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah.

But tribulation produces patience. Patience is associated with perfection and with the Kingdom of God. 

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:4)

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:9)

Tribulation, therefore, is part of the Divine grace by which we are saved. It is not to be viewed by us as an evil from which we must escape, or from which God always will remove us so we do not suffer.

Tribulation purges us and makes us pure. 

Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; (I Peter 4:1)

If we are quick to grasp and put into practice what God is teaching us through tribulation, God is quick to enable us to profit from the suffering and to lift it from us just as soon as God’s purpose has been accomplished.

Benefit comes to us from all tribulation provided we receive it correctly. This is true even of the great tribulation. Ten thousand may fall at our right hand but we shall be delivered (in the sense of being preserved from spiritual harm) provided we continue to abide in the center of Christ’s will for our life.

God does not view our physical suffering and death as true and eternal harm. God’s promise during the Christian Era is directed primarily toward our spiritual well-being, although God does hear us and deliver us from material harm when we pray—just as soon as His will for us has been accomplished fully.

Divine wrath, on the other hand, never will touch the individual who is obeying Christ to the best of his knowledge and ability. God is careful to preserve those who fear Him and who are attempting to obey and praise Him. Sooner or later such shall eat the good of the land. Their desires shall be given to them. We have God’s Word on that.

Many of those who are professing Christ today are bound in the Antichrist spirit of delusion. They perceive God and His Word as the means of delivering them from all pain, and the assurance that all prosperity and joy will be theirs immediately. Unless God delivers them from this Antichrist, self-centered, pleasure-loving "gospel" they never will behold the Glory of God.

The spirit of such self-seeking is opposed to the Spirit of the Book of Revelation. Revelation lifts up God and His Christ to the pinnacle of glory, authority, and power. The saints are viewed as an elect who, amid much tribulation, finally are found worthy to participate in the blessing of God’s return to earth.

The Book of Revelation is not man-centered, it is God-and-Christ-centered. Sometimes the saints are joyous and sometimes they are in painful circumstances. The history of the Christian Church will bear this out. What is of the highest importance is that righteousness and worship spring up in the sight of the nations of the earth. God’s will shall be done in the earth, and that is the supreme objective.

16. As to the purpose of the first resurrection and ascension of the saints, it is to empower an army which, being clothed in bodies fashioned from incorruptible eternal life, will drive Antichrist and Satan from the earth: 

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)

The "fine linen, white and clean" is our "house from heaven" of which Paul speaks in II Corinthians 5:1. The heavenly body, which will "swallow up" our resurrected flesh and bones, is formed as the direct result of our obedience to the "light affliction" of the cross that Jesus gives us to carry (II Corinthians 4:17). The white linen is the robe of our righteous conduct—righteous conduct made possible by the dwelling of Christ in us (Revelation 19:8)

First, God will make alive our mortal body, raising it from the dead (Romans 8:11). Then we shall be caught up to meet our Commander in Chief in the clouds, in the part of Heaven that is just above the earth (Acts 1:11).

At that time the wrath of God will begin to be poured on the earth. But we shall be receiving our house from Heaven, the fruit of our righteous conduct, which will clothe our resurrected mortal body.

Now we are ready to descend with Christ and remove Satan from the earth. 

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army [this, in our view, is the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of the blessed and holy kings, judges, and priests]. (Ezekiel 37:10)

Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves, (Ezekiel 37:12,13)

Do we Gentiles, who formerly were "no people" but who now are the people of the Lord, enter the land of Israel at the time of the first resurrection from the dead—the resurrection that the Apostle Paul was striving to attain?

Are we the heirs of the Prophets? Are we eternally of the "commonwealth of Israel"? Is Jerusalem, both old and new, our city?

Yes, we are an eternal part of Israel. We are the Israel of God, the Seed of Abraham, if we are of Christ. Jerusalem is the place of the throne of our Lord and Savior, Christ. If He is there, we are there; for the purpose of the resurrection and ascension is that we may ever be with the Lord.

But how do we enter the land of Israel?

When the Lord Jesus descends from Heaven He will sound the trumpet. The true saints of both the old covenant and the new covenant (as illustrated on the Mount of Transfiguration) will be resurrected from the dead and then rise to meet the Lord in the air. We go to meet Him as He descends to set up His Kingdom on the earth.

Then, as we have stated, our house from Heaven, which is our reward for serving Christ in this world, will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones.

Now that our body has been changed into the image of His glorious body by the working of His supreme power, we are ready to descend with Him to Jerusalem, to the Mount of Olives.

Antichrist will employ every means to prevent the entrance of Christ and His glorified saints into the earth, as Christ moves toward the throne of David, His ancestor.

The King of kings is surrounded by His "mighty men" of both the old and new covenants. David himself is there, Moses, Elijah, Elisha, Paul, Peter, John, and you and I if we live as conquering saints. This is Christ’s personal bodyguard. It is a hand-picked elite corps of warriors. Each is trustworthy. Each has been called, chosen, and proven faithful and obedient under comprehensive testing.

Any one of these saints can stand alone in Christ defying the whole world. Organized as an army by the Commander in Chief, and then glorified by the Father until they shine more brightly than the sun at midday, the Lord’s army will crush Antichrist and Satan, driving them from the earth. 

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)

And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4:3)

The first resurrection and ascension of the saints, at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven, are for the purpose of bringing to battle-readiness the army of the Lord.

The Battle of Armageddon is not World War III. It is not a war among the nations of the earth. It is the war between Christ and the spirits of devils working in the kings of the earth. It is the universal, ultimate expression of the warfare that rages between the born-again inner nature of the saint, and his fleshly lusts and self-will. It is Christ against Antichrist, God against Satan. 

For they [the spirit of Satan, the spirit of the rule of man, and the spirit of religious delusion] are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Revelation 16:14)

Notice the relationship of Armageddon (the battle of the Day of God Almighty) to the saint’s wrestling against sin and self: 

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. (Revelation 16:15)

When the Lord comes, the believers who have not overcome Antichrist, who have not gained the upper hand over sin and self-will, will be found naked. The exposing of the nakedness of careless believers will be one of the results of the coming of the Lord. 

And he [perhaps Antichrist] gathered them [perhaps the kings of the earth and their armies] together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. (Revelation 16:16)

Ten kings will wage war against Christ and His army. 

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14)

The Bride of the Lamb is clothed in the fine linen of her righteous deeds. Then she is ready to descend with Him to the Mount of Olives, to the exact spot from which He ascended (Acts 1:11).

The Mount of Olives was the place of Christ’s agony in the garden and His ascension, and will be the location of His glorious return with His saints. It appears that from this point the Lord and His army will proceed to the area of Megiddo between Galilee and Samaria to destroy those who would attempt to prevent the Lord Jesus from taking His lawful place on the throne of David.

The ten nations already had surrounded Jerusalem, realizing that Christ is soon to come. They will invade Jerusalem. 

For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. (Zechariah 14:2)

Relief will come from Heaven. 

Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (Zechariah 14:3-5)

The same battle is described in the nineteenth chapter of Revelation: 

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with sulfur. (Revelation 19:19,20)

We see, therefore, that Armageddon is the battle described in the second chapter of Joel, the third chapter of Habakkuk, and the fourteenth chapter of Zechariah. It is the time when the saints possess the Kingdom of God, as set forth in the seventh chapter of the Book of Daniel.

17. As to the question whether God’s saints go to Heaven and live in bliss forever, leaving the earth and its peoples to an uncertain fate, or whether they fight in the Spirit until the earth and its peoples are subdued under Christ: 

And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27)

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)

"The kingdoms of this world"!

18. As to the question whether there is a division between a Gentile Kingdom of God and a Jewish Kingdom of God, or whether Israel consists of all who are in Christ, whether Jewish or Gentile by natural birth: 

And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (Revelation 21:10)

Are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel written on the gates of the new Jerusalem? Are the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb inscribed in the twelve foundations of the wall?

If it is true that the names of the twelve tribes (all Jewish) are written on the gates, and the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb (all Jewish) are inscribed in the twelve foundations of the wall, it is obvious that the Holy Spirit intends for us to consider the new Jerusalem to be made up of all the saints including those of the old covenant and those of the new covenant.

Any teaching that distinguishes between Christian saints and God’s witnesses of other covenants is against the whole concept of Paul and the whole concept of the Book of Revelation. There is one Kingdom of God, one Kingdom from Heaven, not two.

To perpetuate a division between Gentile saints and Jewish saints, now that the Word of God through the Apostle Paul has declared that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, is to create two Israels of God, two kingdoms of God, two brides of the Lamb.

One of the worst of the effects of "Dispensational" teaching is the separation of the Christian saints from the writings of the Hebrew prophets such that the so-called "Gentile Christians" (the "Gentile Church") are whisked away to Heaven while a Jewish elect (whether Christians or not, we cannot tell from this confusing doctrine) preaches (without the assistance of the Spirit of God who has fled with the Gentiles to Heaven) the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Can the Jewish saints without the Holy Spirit preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God during the reign of Antichrist—something a "Gentile Church" is unable to do with the Holy Spirit?

It is time for this unscriptural, illogical doctrine to be discarded by sincere Christians. It is false and spiritually destructive.

Dispensational teaching, with its division between a Gentile kingdom and a Jewish kingdom, has created confusion concerning the return of Christ to the earth.

19. And as to the question whether the Book of Revelation, which is the God-given vision of the destiny of the elect and the future history of the inhabitants of earth and Heaven, is looking toward eternal life in Heaven or looking toward the establishing in the earth of a light by which the nations will be able to walk in righteousness and peace, rendering their homage and thanksgiving to God: 

And I heard a great voice from heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)

We have just presented some of the aspects of two conflicting concepts of the "sayings" of the Book of Revelation. In your opinion, which of these two concepts appears to be supported by the "faithful and true" sayings of John’s vision?

The sayings of the Book of Revelation indeed are faithful and true and we are to adhere to them and not add to them or take away from them.

God has sent His angel to show His servants the things that must soon come to pass. If they were soon to come to pass at the time of John, what must be true today?

Apart from a true vision the Lord’s people perish. A false vision leads to defeat and confusion in one’s life. Therefore God has sealed the Book of Revelation with a curse on him who adds to or subtracts from its faithful and true sayings.

We think many of the Lord’s people of today have a false vision of God and of the events attending the return to earth of the Lord Jesus Christ. The saints, in some instances, have become silly and are deeply involved in the world’s business and pleasures, contrary to the express teaching of the Apostle Paul.

The concept of a first resurrection of God’s heroes and conquerors (Revelation 20:4-6) is not the same concept as that of a catching up to meet the Lord of every Gentile who professes with his lips an assent to theological correctness of the virgin birth, the blood atonement, and the bodily resurrection of Christ.

The concept of a first resurrection of conquerors, and of the effort required to gain such ground of victorious faith, produces people who cast aside the baubles of the world system as so much dung.

The concept of a general "rapture" of all who profess Christ produces people who are waiting for rather than preparing for this event and who, meanwhile, are hoping that the preachers will not insist they surrender the pleasures of the world.

The "rapture" stresses the catching up, which appeals to the fleshly nature. Who wouldn’t want to fly away from the troubles of the world? The Scriptures, on the other hand, stress the resurrection. The resurrection is gained by pressing forward to the fullness of Christ.

The resurrection does not have the same appeal to the fleshly nature as does the undemanding ascension, and therefore it is not stressed by the fleshly Christians. The resurrection is not the evacuation of frightened believers, it is the conquering of the last enemy.

Is a true Christian a person who always is pressing forward in faith that he may be counted worthy to appear with Christ and help in the establishing of the Kingdom of God on this earth, or a worldling who is waiting to be caught up to a mansion in Heaven?

What passage of the Book of Revelation speaks of the saints having mansions in Heaven?

Reread the Book of Revelation and decide for yourself. Your conclusion, and resulting behavior in this world, will not alter that which will take place for it has been established before the creation of the world.

But your conclusion and your resulting behavior definitely shall determine the role you will play in the Kingdom of God.

The time is short. Jesus is coming soon. We must turn from the wickedness of the present world system and begin to take up our cross and follow the Lamb wherever He chooses to go. 

Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. (Revelation 22:7)

The blessing is on him who "keepeth the sayings."

The concept of guarding carefully and observing to do what Christ has spoken appears in other places in John’s writings: 

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)

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)

Revelation is a book of doing, not just believing, the Word of Christ.

With all that is said in the New Testament about godly behavior and about pressing forward in Christ and seeking Him with total diligence, it is extraordinary that the doctrine of "Jesus has done it all, only believe" has gained the ground it has. The concept of a saving faith apart from works of righteousness proceeds from an incomplete understanding of what Paul meant by being saved by grace through faith.

A concept of the future that requires only that the believer be accurate in his doctrine and does not demand personal transformation is a philosophy, a theology. It is not a vision given by the Lord.

No matter what viewpoint we may hold concerning the Day of the Lord, what God has determined will come to pass. People who, through the Lord Jesus Christ, have overcome sin and the world will enter the joy of the Lord. They will abide in eternal life.

But people who do not put away sin and the world from their personality will suffer the plagues described in the Book of Revelation, even though they profess to believe that the Book of Revelation is the inspired Word of God.

If we truly believe that Revelation is the inspired Word of God we are moved to action immediately; for the second and third chapters tell us we must overcome the world, through God’s grace, if we would attain the rewards Christ offers.

Revelation is a book of doing, of conquering, of rejecting Antichrist, of not being part of the spiritual filthiness of Babylon (manmade Christianity), of keeping our robes clean, of turning away from involvement with the world, with the love of money, with adultery, of keeping our first love bright and shining, of loving not our life to the point of death.

It is not the hearers of the Word who are justified, it is the doers of the Word who will obtain blessing and glory. We are justified (declared to be righteous) not only by faith but also by the works that are an inseparable part of that professed faith (James 2:24).

Thus we guard carefully, observing to obey as the Lord guides and helps us, every word of the vision given to John by the angel of the Lord. 

And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. (Revelation 22:8)

John had eaten the little book (Revelation 10:10). Since that time he has prophesied, through the Book of Revelation, before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.

John is prophesying in our day. He is revealing the satanic nature working in the nations, leading them to worship "mammon" (money). He is warning the Lord’s elect to flee from the world and from the worldly churches. He is showing us the consequences of righteous behavior and the consequences of ungodly behavior.

John is a true witness. He speaks what he has heard and seen. John is with the Lord now but his prophecy resounds in our day. What John heard and saw two thousand years ago surely shall come to pass—every word of it.

John sought to worship the angel who brought the vision to him. In so doing, John was revealing human nature. We humans are given to worshiping the messenger who brings God’s Glory to us.

We have cathedrals honoring St. John, or St. Peter, or St. Paul.

But Christ does not desire that we adore His messengers. The glory is to be given to God alone. What Christ is seeking is our obedience to the Word of righteousness.

It is far easier to profess adoration of a gifted human, an angel, or even Christ Himself, than it is to live righteously.

It is less demanding on an individual to assist in the building of a cathedral or a fine church than it is to change personally, allowing Christ to become undisputed Lord of his or her life. But such personal change is true worship, true love of Christ. Those who truly love Christ keep His commandments. 

Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brothers the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. (Revelation 22:9)

One of the temptations of the man of God is to accept the worship of people. When Christ uses us it is difficult to remember that we are as the donkey on which Christ rode into Jerusalem.

We may claim we do not wish to be worshiped, but our actions may prove otherwise.

The concept of the undershepherd, the pastor, can present a problem. Sometimes we forget that Christ requested of Peter that he feed Christ’s sheep, not Peter’s sheep.

It has been helpful to us personally as a pastor to adhere to the concept that there is only one true Shepherd, Christ. Those of us who minister the Word of God are only fellow servants, helpers of the joy of the believers as they come to know and love the one true Shepherd.

We must keep in mind that it is God’s flock, not our flock.

One sure way to bring God’s people into bondage and depression is to stress that the pastor is the "shepherd" and those who attend "his church" are "his sheep." Such a minister of the Gospel may mean well but he is usurping the role of the Lord Jesus Christ. Bondage will result.

Once more we notice the concept: "Them that keep the sayings of this book." God intends for us to pay close attention to the Book of Revelation, carefully bringing our life into line with its admonitions, through the help of the Holy Spirit. 

And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. (Revelation 22:10)

It is interesting that the vision given to Daniel was to be "closed up and sealed till the time of the end" (Daniel 12:9).

But now we find that "the time is at hand."

It is apparent from their writings that the Apostles of Christ believed they were living in the last days of the Church Age and that Christ soon was to appear in His Kingdom.

Why would the Spirit of God foster such an attitude of imminence, and then delay the fulfillment of the vision for so many hundreds of years?

We humans are bound and troubled by time, but the spirit realm is neither bound nor troubled by the passage of time. A thousand years and a day are alike.

What is important in the spirit realm are God’s decisions and actions.

The first and second appearings of the Lord Jesus Christ are not sorted out in the writings of the Hebrew prophets. It is almost as though they are one appearing.

Perhaps in God’s view they are one appearing. Both John and we are in the last days, and the time of Christ’s appearing always is at hand.

We are not claiming that Christ has come already and that the resurrection is past. We are not saying that nor suggesting it. We believe the Lord Jesus Christ will appear in the clouds of glory as He promised. He rose from the Mount of Olives in the clear view of people and He will descend to the Mount of Olives in the clear view of people. We know this is true.

The vision of the Book of Revelation is binding on every person from the moment it was given to the Apostle John.

"The time is at hand"!

When Christ rose from the dead His glory was revealed to men and angels. Every time a human being receives Christ he enters the same resurrection. The result is that the Glory of Christ is enlarged. In this sense, the Christian Era is one ever-increasing revelation of the Glory of the resurrected Christ.

If such is the case, there is an absolute oneness of the Body of Christ, from the first individual of the first century who received Him to the last saint who receives Christ just prior to His appearing in the fullness of His Kingdom glory. The resurrection of Christ is amplified in the members of His Body.

This means there is a Divine unity existing among the members of the Body of Christ, and spiritual time has stood still, as it were, while the resurrection of Christ has been magnified, or "completed."

As soon as the last saint has received Christ, Christ’s resurrection will be "finished" in the sense in which we are speaking. Then He will descend from Heaven and every eye will see Him (and will see also the members of His Body, who will appear with Him in glory).

In terms of this concept, the past two thousand years have been the time of the resurrection of Christ—Head and Body. This is why we always are in the last days and why the time always is at hand. (We are not speaking of the bodily resurrection of the saints but of their spiritual resurrection with Christ— Colossians 2:12).

This means also that those who would claim that the gifts and ministries of the Body of Christ ceased after the first century are attempting to cut into two pieces a single, unified working of God in Christ. Whatever was true of the Body of Christ in the first century has been true in each succeeding century. It will continue to be true until the Lord Jesus returns and establishes the Kingdom of God on the earth.

We are to do the same works that the Lord did, as His Spirit enables, and also greater works.

The vision of the Book of Revelation binds human history in an iron fist, the fist of God. God will accept no changes in it. The vision is dependable, enduring, unchanging. This is that which will take place in the future.

There has been no change from the time the vision was given. There will be no change through to the descent of the new Jerusalem from the new sky. Whoever possesses the Spirit of truth will speak according to the Book of Revelation.

This prophecy indeed is the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 19:10). 

He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (Revelation 22:11)

Here are two issues of behavior: (1) righteousness, which is equitable, upright dealing in the sight of God and men; and (2) holiness, which is separation from spirits that are not of the Spirit of God, and union with the Spirit of God.

Without doubt there does not exist in the Scriptures a passage more remarkable than Revelation 22:11. The other passages of the Scriptures exhort men and women to behave righteously and to pursue purity of thought and deed.

But here we have a terrible word from the Throne: Remain as you are. If you are unrighteous and filthy, continue in that condition. If you are righteous and pure, continue in that condition.

The purpose of such extremes is that the way of the Lord may be made straight.

God loves purity. He abhors mixtures, murkiness, confusion, indecision, lukewarmness, the hidden things of darkness. 

Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee. (Leviticus 19:19)

Satan and all people whom he controls love evasion, murkiness, confusion, lukewarmness, darkness, deceit, mixture.

Much of the business and politics of our time employs deceit and confusion in order to attain the goals of the participants. The idea is to appear to be promoting one program while the operator is working in another direction. A desirable image is pursued regardless of the actual undertaking. It is in man’s nature to connive, to conceal, to confuse, to work in a mixture of light and darkness. This is Satan in man.

Christ dwells in the light. There is no mixture in Him, no murkiness, no confusion, no indecision, no lukewarmness, no darkness, no deceit, no conniving. There is no "Jacob" nature in Christ.

The true saint, like his Lord, is a straightforward, honest, sincere individual. He is wise in the ways of God and righteousness but a child in evil and malice.

The true saint runs to the light and desires light in all circumstances. The light reveals the truth and righteousness that are in the saint. The hypocrite avoids the light because it brings into the open the subterfuge and slippery ways by which he keeps his program going.

In our day in America the government has institutionalized insincerity and has assigned it the name "spin." "Spin" is an example of an "abomination" and has its eternal home in the Lake of Fire.

Paul advised us to refrain from judging God’s workers and not to worry about their deceits because the day of light is coming (I Corinthians 4:5).

Today the Kingdom of God is full of deceitful workers. Sin remains unjudged among God’s preachers and teachers. They lie, they dissemble, they steal, they malign, they are envious, they are covetous—all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan is found among the sons of God.

Obviously Christ cannot return and embrace any such mixture of light and darkness.

Days of judgment now are upon us. We are in the beginning of tribulation. The great tribulation and persecution that are near, plus the giving of unprecedented glory, will cause a chasm to appear, separating the true saints from manmade Christianity.

The Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. All kinds of people have been brought into the churches. We are close to the hour when the messengers of the Lord will separate out from the Kingdom all that defiles.

The coming persecution and glory will cause the true saints to be separated from the rest of "Christianity." Most of the Christian churches will proceed into complete servitude to Antichrist without realizing they are doing so. This process has begun already, while the Christians scan the horizon, looking for Antichrist. Antichrist has been working in the churches for two thousand years.

All that is hypocritical, false, conniving, deceitful, murky, covetous, self-seeking, dependent on the world, must be separated from the Body of Christ. Such separation will require the issuing of unprecedented glory from the Throne of God plus the rising of unprecedented persecution and tribulation on the face of the earth.

Each member of Laodicea, the church of the "rights of the people," is counseled to buy "gold tried in the fire." The faith of all the Lord’s people will be refined in the fires that even now are coming on the world. All that is deceitful, self-seeking, lukewarm in the churches will burst into flame as the fire becomes more intense.

The hypocrites will not last long. They will be more than ready to settle for Antichrist’s offer to subsidize the Gospel work. They will think the world finally has been saved and now is helping Christ.

The believers do not see anything wrong now as professional musicians usurp the role of the Holy Spirit in the local assemblies. They will see nothing wrong then as Antichrist invites them to receive his subsidies so the naked may be clothed and the hungry fed. Antichrist is an imitation of Christ, not an obvious opponent of Christ.

One day, in the not too distant future, you will be shamed, scorned, and group-pressured into joining Antichrist’s efforts to feed the hungry, clothe naked, and promote world peace. Your family and relatives will term you a "Jesus freak" and suggest you see a psychiatrist. Will you be able to keep on with your intense worshiping of God, your prophesying, your righteous, holy, and obedient behavior, your proclamation of the coming of the Kingdom of God from Heaven?

Will you be able to bear witness of the coming of a kingdom that is not yet even visible while all around you the "believers" are joining in a worldwide attempt to promote the rights and the welfare of human beings? Will you be able to maintain your relationship with the Holy Spirit when everyone you know thinks you are foolish? When public opinion, even "Christian opinion," is against you? When your government begins to place economic penalties on you?

You will have to know your God in the days to come.

Christ can do nothing with people who are part righteous and part unrighteous, part holy and part unholy.

We may have a good opinion of a person who is not totally unrighteous, totally filthy. At least we can find some righteousness and purity in him or her.

But Christ cannot accept a mixture. He demands that the individual become unrighteous and filthy, or righteous and holy. The way of the Lord must be made straight.

God’s standard is different from our standard. God does not judge as we do. We may be content with a kingdom that contains connivers, deceivers, people who lie occasionally, as long as they are decent some of the time.

But Christ is not content with a kingdom in which people are righteous and holy some of the time. Christ loves righteousness and hates iniquity. The little lie that is in us will burst into flame at His approach. If the lukewarm, double-minded individual is saved it will be as by fire. The corrupt part of his personality will be burned away so he loses elements of his personality and inheritance.

We see, therefore, that terrible, wonderful days are ahead of us. They will be days of a Divine testimony supported by power without precedent in the history of mankind, but also of a tribulation accompanied by desolation and human suffering without precedent in the history of mankind.

For six thousand years the Church of God has been a mixture of righteousness and unrighteousness, holiness and unholiness. But the days just before the return of Christ from Heaven will contain the ingredients necessary to produce an eternal separation between righteousness and unrighteousness, holiness and unholiness.

It will not be an easy era in which to live. The wicked will become grotesquely wicked. The godly will become wholly godly and will receive grace and glory that will cause them to sing and dance in the midnight hour.

The last days of this age will be horrible for the lukewarm and the undecided but glorious for the wicked and the godly. The wicked will revel in the emergence and general approval of the depths of depravity as the moral nature of fallen angels and demons is given unhindered expression. In fact, Satan and his angels will be living on the earth, having been cast down from the spiritual thrones in the heavenlies.

The godly will experience the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles, as described in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John. Christ is cleansing His Church now by the "spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning" (Isaiah 4:4) in preparation for the fullness of the indwelling of the Father and the Son in the saints.

As the members of the Body of Christ are purged by the baptism of fire, Christ will enter them in a greater way than ever before. This increased indwelling is in preparation for His visible return to earth from Heaven.

Christ will manifest Himself to us but not to the world before He returns to set up His Kingdom (John 14:21). This is not the first resurrection from the dead, mentioned in I Thessalonians, Chapter Four and I Corinthians, Chapter 15. Rather, it is the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. It is an inner, spiritual work in which the Father and the Son come to take up Their abode in the hearts of those who are keeping Christ’s Word (John 14:23).

The Divine indwelling is in preparation for the first resurrection. It is not possible to participate in the first resurrection unless the judgment and indwelling of which we are speaking takes place beforehand. How could we participate in the first resurrection and ascension, and then later be judged and receive the Father and the Son into our personality? It is not possible.

John 14:23 will come to pass before the Lord returns. The experience of "Tabernacles" will enable us to triumph throughout the tribulation, just as the experience of "Passover" has saved us from wrath and the experience of "Pentecost" has enabled us to bear witness of the triumphant resurrection from the dead of the Lord Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 16:16).

Thus both the wicked and the godly will rejoice in the days just prior to the Lord’s return to earth.

But intense, fiery suffering will come on the lukewarm, the partly righteous, the "average" Christian of today who will lie and connive on occasion, the preacher who will deceive in order to satisfy his covetous spirit.

The following passage will be fulfilled during the great tribulation period: 

The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him [even throughout the great tribulation period]; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off. (Isaiah 33:14-17)

The wicked will rejoice . . . temporarily (Psalms 73)!

The godly will triumph in Christ all through the great tribulation period. The Ninety-first Psalm will hold true in the darkest hour for every person who is abiding in the center of God’s Person and will.

But the lukewarm will be terrified. No longer will they be able to practice deceit. Their motives and imaginations will be brought into the light for the wicked and the righteous to behold clearly. Every word, every deed, every thought, will be illuminated so a true evaluation can be made.

Jesus stated that the love of the majority will grow cold because of the abundance of iniquity (Matthew 24:12). The love of the majority of believers will not change from hot to cold, it will change from lukewarm to cold. This is the making straight of the way of the Lord.

Therefore the dreadful (but blessed to the saints) Word is announced from the Throne of God Almighty: "Let the unrighteous remain unrighteous and the righteous remain righteous. It is time to make straight the way of the Lord."

We are so accustomed to God’s mercy, to His gentle, loving, pleading with us to live in righteousness and holiness as dear children, that it nearly is inconceivable to us He would command the unrighteous and unholy to remain in their wretched condition.

But such is the eternal Word of God.

There is a terrible finality that characterizes the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord will commence when Christ returns from Heaven and will terminate with the final judgment at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

During the Day of the Lord, every spirit, every personality, every deed, every motive, will be brought out into the light where it can be seen for what it is. The books will be opened. The personalities not named in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire. This is a fate so horrible the human mind cannot grasp it.

How will a human being feel when he sees the eternal doors of the Kingdom of God closing, realizing that the light and beauty of Paradise will never be his to experience? All that is pure and innocent is lost to him forever?

God’s people say they want to go to Heaven. Sometimes Christian teachers state that we can lie, steal, cheat, connive, lust, and then go to Paradise by believing in the "grace" of the Lord Jesus Christ, thus making Christ the author of sin.

But we cannot lie, steal, cheat, connive, lust, and then walk with God, or with His Son, whether or not we profess to be a Christian.

Speaking to Christians: 

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. (II Corinthians 6:17)

God does not receive those who walk in uncleanness.

When the Lord draws near to the earth in the last days the believers will begin to realize with dismay that they cannot remain in the Presence of Christ, because He is the everlasting burnings.

Christians may imagine they will gaze on Christ and find favor with Him while at the same time in their hearts they are seeking ways in which to outwit and gain advantage over their fellow servants and over God Himself. But the part of their personality that practices such wickedness will be in agony within them.

Who can abide in the Presence of the Consuming Fire, the Everlasting Burnings?

The person who walks righteously and speaks uprightly. Today society has become so evil that few people, it seems, speak sincerely and straightforwardly. Ministers and people alike practice deceit. Each is striving to gain an advantage over his neighbor.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Consuming Fire. Those who practice shrewdness and evasiveness will not stand before Him.

Much "Christian" work is promoted through fraud and oppression. The leaders lie and steal, driving fine automobiles, "fleecing " the sheep as often as they can. The elderly often are not safe when near the "Christian" ministry. Their money will be taken from them by promises that God will bless them for assisting the Gospel work. But the money is being placed in the bank account of the so-called "minister of the Gospel."

In certain instances the secular government is required to take measures to prevent evasion of legal responsibility on the part of the preachers of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. Sometimes the secular government is actively persecuting the Church of Christ. But in other cases the government is reacting to the shrewdness and evasiveness of the Christian ministry.

No doubt the history of the world from the time of Christ would have been quite different if the Christian leaders had been persons of integrity and dependability against whom no charges of avarice and wickedness could have been brought.

To the present hour the Christian ministry is characterized by its love of money.

The careless believers are under the impression that their lies and deceits will be tossed aside and buried in the midst of the joyful uproar that will accompany the return of the Lord Jesus from Heaven.

Not so. God will take the time to examine every thought, every word, and every deed of every person who has lived on the earth. This is true of the Christian and also of the non-Christian.

The man of God cannot be bribed. Money does not rule him. The rich and the poor are treated the same. As was true of Elijah and Elisha, money is not an issue. The abiding Presence of the fiery God of Israel sweeps away all considerations of who is rich and who is poor.

Sometimes ministers of the Gospel will not preach the Word that God has given them because of the fear that those who are supporting the ministry with money will be offended. Such preachers are being bribed. It would be better for them to leave the ministry and work with their hands. At least they then would have integrity in the sight of God.

The righteous stop their ears from hearing of strife. Wickedness is abhorred by them. Many of God’s people are bound by the evil spirit of gossip. They know that gossiping is evil but they do not seem to be able to help themselves.

Christ’s conquerors achieve victory over gossip and rumor. They will not listen to it. They treat gossip and rumor with the same intensity of rejection they apply to fornication and sorcery. They resist it whenever it lifts its ugly head.

The true Christian will not listen to gossip and will not repeat gossip. Do we not live in the Presence of Christ? Would we repeat half-truths about a fellow Christian in the Presence of Christ? Is there gossip around the Throne of God in Heaven? Is there gossip in the new Jerusalem? If not then there must not be gossip on the earth; for God’s will is to be done in earth as it is in Heaven.

The righteous do not gaze on wickedness. Many of the Lord’s people are enticed by Satan to spend their days fretting themselves because of Satan’s conduct in sinners. Satan demands attention. If he is not getting it he will incite some sinner to perform a work of filth and perversity. God’s people then will react predictably with astonishment and irritation because it gives them pleasure to do so.

Christ’s conquerors learn to ignore Satan’s actions and to occupy their minds and speech with the holy and lovely works of God. Truly the whole earth is full of His Glory. We can behold the Glory of God all the day long if we will choose to think about the things that are true and honest, righteous and pure.

The lukewarm have been able to survive throughout nearly two thousand years of church history. But in the days of the great tribulation of which Daniel, Jesus, and John spoke, the lukewarm will be gathered together into a false Christian church so the Lord Jesus may be able to purge them from Himself. They are spots on Christ’s garment. They are cancers in the Body of Christ.

In that Day those who walk and speak righteously, who despise the gain produced by fraud, who cannot be bribed, who refuse to hear or repeat gossip, and who will not focus on or participate in the wickedness that exists around them, will be lifted up in the midst of tribulation to sing and dance in the height of Zion. 

Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. (Jeremiah 31:12)

Notice that the above rejoicing will take place when the Lord "hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he" (Jeremiah 31:11).

Antichrist will be able to destroy most of the lukewarm Christians, but the true saints will walk in victory throughout the reign of Antichrist. 

And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. (Daniel 11:32)

The saints will live in triumph all through the darkest hours of the tribulation. Elijah and Elisha, who were more than conquerors in the midst of apostasy, are types of the power to witness given to the remnant throughout the days of Antichrist.

God maintains His children in righteousness, peace, and joy, in the high places of Zion. As for the saint, it does not matter whether he is in Heaven or on the earth. He keeps on singing in the height of Zion.

The Ninety-first Psalm describes people who are being kept by the power of God in the midst of destruction on every hand. 

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. (Psalms 91:14)

If we serve the Lord we will be kept in victory and joy throughout the darkest hours of the tribulation. But the wicked will perish.

The saint who is abiding in Christ is impregnable. The angel of the Lord is encamped around him. Satan cannot touch him. Antichrist cannot deceive him. The False Prophet, the spirit of religious delusion, cannot lure him into deception.

The believer may suffer persecution and may be killed physically. But not one hair of his or her head will perish. All that is of him that is worthy will be preserved, and then raised in glory in the Day of Christ.

God’s servants will eat in the coming days of famine, just as was true of Elijah. God’s servants will drink water during the coming seasons of drought, just as was true of Elijah.

Men’s hearts will fail them for fear because of what they will behold with their eyes in the days just ahead. The sinners in Zion will be terrified.

But Christ’s true servants will "see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off." Christ’s Presence will draw closer until the saints "see" Him (John 14:19). Because Christ lives in eternal, incorruptible resurrection life, we too shall live throughout every pressure that will be brought to bear in this world. We shall dwell in Heaven and on the earth at the same time, as was true of Elijah and Elisha.

The greater the tribulation the greater the glory given to the saints. As sin abounds, grace will abound much more. At the point of greatest darkness the greatest Light of God will arise on the Lord’s true saints.

When a saint is afflicted today, more of God is given to him so God’s will may be done in his life. Sometimes God sends to the believer a "thorn in the flesh" so that God’s power and Glory may be revealed more clearly.

So it will be throughout the tribulation. The tribulation period will reveal the power of God to a greater extent than has been true during any other period of history. The tribulation will provide the greatest opportunity for sin and destruction, and also the greatest opportunity to receive the authority, power, and Glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is to the victorious saints of Laodicea, to those who serve Christ during the time of the Antichrist-subsidized church, that the throne of Christ is offered.

God’s strength is perfected in our weakness. The days of turmoil that are ahead will be so spiritually oppressive that no man will be able to work. This unbearable pressure will force the Christian people either to become part of the remnant of saints who have chosen to live by the power of Christ, or to become part of the Laodicean church that consists of lukewarm Christians who are at home in the spirit of the present age.

Christ much prefers we be unrighteous and filthy, or righteous and holy. The majority of earth’s peoples will reject these two extremes (as they do today) until finally Antichrist, Satan, and the spirit of religious delusion will guide and drive them to outright rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is an inviolable principle of the Kingdom of God that those who refuse to wholly follow Christ will end up wholly following Satan. There cannot be a middle area. It is against Christ’s will. He will spit out the middle group, forcing them into the hands of Satan.

Mankind, including the Christian churches, bitterly and deeply resents being forced to serve either Christ or Satan. People would much prefer that God go His way and Satan go his way and that human beings be left alone to build the world and the churches the way they prefer them to be.

This spirit of independence is strong among Christian people today.

But independence is impossible. Human beings primarily are spirits, even though they are clothed in material frames, and every spirit will come into union with Christ or Satan.

It is time to separate the light from the darkness. Most of the believers in Christ are a mixture of light and darkness. They were darkness. Then the Light of Christ was born in them. Spiritual darkness and spiritual light are struggling for mastery in each Christian personality.

Satan is calling us to total, eternal darkness. Christ is calling us to total, eternal light. This is painful to our personality. But Christ will permit no darkness to enter His Kingdom. He will demand of each believer that he choose light in every area of his personality.

Christ will have no mixtures in His Kingdom. He will deal with us until all the light that is in us becomes separated from the darkness. If we cooperate with the Spirit of God in the process of separation we will enter the Kingdom of Christ and of God. But if we refuse, insisting on remaining a mixture of darkness and light, we will be cast into outer darkness. There will be no darkness in the new Jerusalem, the holy city, the Wife of the Lamb.

Unrighteousness and filthiness will be gathered together into one mass and hurled into the Lake of Fire. Righteousness and holiness will be gathered together into one mass and saved to rejoice on the new earth. No eternal home has been prepared for the mixture. 

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)

Every person who has ever lived will, sooner or later, be raised from the dead (with the possible exception of Enoch, Elijah, and others who may have experienced similar grace). The individual’s body will be animated by spiritual energy, not necessarily by the resurrection Life of Christ. He will stand—body, soul, and spirit—before God’s Judge, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then he will be evaluated. All the deeds of his life in the flesh will be revealed. He then will receive the things done in his body, whether they were good or whether they were evil.

It is certain that every person will be judged. It is certain that each individual, including the Jew by race and the Christian by faith, will be judged and rewarded in terms of his or her behavior in the flesh.

It is as though God has placed us in this house of flesh for the purpose of creating and evaluating our spiritual growth.

The acceptance of Christ as Savior and Lord does not constitute a waiver of Revelation 22:12. The term "every man" does not mean every man except a Christian. The Book of Revelation is addressed to the servants of Christ (1:1).

Rather, the acceptance of Christ as Savior and Lord provides us, first of all, with full pardon for the unrighteousness we committed before the light of the Gospel came to us, and then with the Divine grace necessary for conquering the world and for obeying God in every area of our life.

If we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the creating of righteous and holy behavior in us, and if we obey Christ as He sends us into the harvest field, Christ will give us our due wages when He comes.

But if we as a Christian do not cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the creating of righteous and holy behavior in our personality, and do not obey Christ in our part of the work of the Body of Christ, we will be given the wages of sin and disobedience.

We believe there is one aspect of Divine truth that is nearly totally lacking in the understanding of God’s people in the present hour. It is the relationship between such passages as Romans 10:9,10 and Revelation 22:12. The correct relationship is that receiving Christ enables us to behave in such a manner that we will receive the reward assigned to the righteous, the holy, and the obedient. Romans 10:9,10 is not a waiver such that upon receiving Christ we no longer will be rewarded according to our work.

What kind of rewards will the Lord bring with Him?

First, it is our understanding that our reward, to a great extent, will be reflected in our "house from heaven" (II Corinthians 5:1).

Our mortal body will come forth from the grave and then be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. The Lord Jesus will issue to us our new body, and that body will contain in itself the power and ability to perform the services and opportunities for which our dedication to the Lord has prepared us.

(It may be true that their new body will be given to the dead saints just before the Lord returns and that they will return with the Lord in their new body, descending to the earth to resurrect their flesh and bones. In that case, those who still are living on the earth at the Lord’s return would be clothed with their body from Heaven before they ascend to meet the Lord.)

In any case, both our flesh and bones and our body from Heaven, will be present in our glorified, eternal body.

Our new body, which is created as God brings us down to death and raises us each day, is fashioned from eternal life—from the power that spoke the universe into existence.

The most wonderful aspect of the body from Heaven, from the viewpoint of the disciple of Jesus, is that it will be free from all tendencies to sin. Our new body will contain in itself the resistance to sin that has been developed as, through Christ, we have struggled successfully against sin in the present world.

Those who do not overcome sin through Christ in this life will not have a resistance to sin in their heavenly garment; for the heavenly garment contains the characteristics we are placing there now. 

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (II Timothy 4:8)

"A crown of righteousness."

The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation appear to be the most complete list of the rewards that will be assigned to the individual who conquers each enemy that comes against him throughout his lifetime on the earth. He conquers in the realm of righteousness, in the realm of holiness, and in the realm of obedience to God.

Christ will give him to eat of the tree of life that is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

Christ will give him a crown of life.

He will not be hurt of [be harmed by] the second death.

Christ will give him to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows except he that receives it.

Christ will give him authority over the nations.

Christ will give him the morning star.

He will walk with Christ in white for he is worthy.

He will be clothed in white raiment; and Christ will not blot out his name from the Book of Life but will confess his name before the Father, and before His angels.

Christ will guard him during the hour of temptation that will come upon all the world to test them that dwell on the earth.

Christ will make him a pillar in the temple of God, and he will not go out again. Christ will write on him the name of God, and the name of the city of God, the new Jerusalem which comes down out of Heaven from God. Christ will write on him His new name.

Christ will enter his personality and dine with him and he with Christ.

Christ will grant to him to sit with Him in His throne, even as Christ also overcame and has sat down with His Father in the Father’s throne.

Finally:

He will inherit all things; and God will be his God, and he will be God’s son (Revelation 21:7).

Notice that the rewards given to the overcomer are not rewards for "doing a work for God"; for "getting souls saved"; for "building a church"; or for any of the other activities we suppose will result in a reward in the Day of Christ.

Rather, the rewards given to the overcomer are for conquering the sins and shortcomings that afflict the members of the churches. God primarily is interested in the manner in which we overcome the obstacles placed before us.

We may be interested in product, in creating a visible enterprise in the name of Christ, such as a church building.

But God is not interested primarily in any such product. God is interested in the manner in which we brought forth the product. God is viewing us as His eternal servant. Therefore our products in this transitory age are not nearly as important as is the manner in which we conduct ourselves under various conditions and pressures.

Achan’s theft was enough to defeat the entire Israelite army.

Many ministers of today are dodging around their God-given testings in order to "do God’s will." They build buildings and conduct crusades. But they are not careful to walk in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.

They have quite forgotten that obedience is better than sacrifice and to listen to God better than the fat of rams.

In a sporting event, an athletic effort is registered in the record book only if each rule has been observed. If there has been a single infraction, no credit is given even though the particular feat was far superior to every other effort in the field of competition.

The Apostle Paul was careful not to disqualify himself. All his accomplishments would have brought him no reward if he was unable to conquer the lusts of his body.

The transformation of our personality is more important than what we accomplish "for God" in this world.

Many believers of today are burying the rebuke of the Spirit of God, and of the Word of God, under a flurry of religious activity. Some men divorce their wives and then marry a young girl. From this point of sin they go forth to perform "Gospel work" and suppose that Christ will overlook their sin because of their efforts in what they imagine to be His Kingdom.

Others rob widows, lie, cheat, steal, employ violence. Their apparent success is their "proof" that God has accepted their transgression of His Word. They feel "peace" and suppose it is the peace of God.

But such sinners will give a precise account of their behavior to Christ in the Day of the Lord. They will discover to their horror that Christ will not recognize them or accept their sacrifice.

The rewards are not directed toward the worker but toward the overcomer.

If through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we overcome our trials in the area of righteousness, in the area of holiness, and in the area of obedience, we will receive the crown of life. If after having conquered in these three areas we have accomplished some aspect of service in the Lord’s vineyard we will receive a reward for that service.

We are not teaching that we should wait until we are perfect before we perform the work of the Body of Christ that has been placed before us and that is in our power to do. As we are performing our Christian work we will be tempted to solve problems by impure means. In our impatience we may rob or cheat people, or break the law of the land, or force circumstances so the results we are seeking will be obtained.

If we succumb to the temptation to avoid God’s way of the cross in order to "do God’s will," we shall be disqualified. We shall receive no reward although our efforts have produced Christian enterprises that are acclaimed by many. The Christian world may proclaim our glory but we will stand naked before a frowning Christ. Christ is interested in perfect obedience and in the transformation of our personality into His image.

Many scoff today at those who are occupied with righteousness and purity of motive, who mourn before God because of their sins. But such as these are heirs of the riches of the Kingdom, while the scornful of today, in spite of their smugness, will be paupers in the hour that is coming.

Christ will issue to the overcomer a body that will reflect the resurrection life, the authority, the strength, the righteousness, the union with God, the Divine protection and identity, the supreme power and glory that have been won by his patient continuance in well-doing.

But the lukewarm Christian and the sinner will awaken from the dead to discover that the consequences of their behavior in the world are now being given to them—detail by detail.

Some of the following verses pertain to the Lord’s people: 

Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. (Matthew 7:19)

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:23)

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36)

So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:49,50)

The division of mankind is not into the Christians and non-Christians, it is into the wicked and the righteous. If we practice wickedness after we become a "Christian" we will be treated as one of the wicked. Our punishment will be greater than that of someone who never heard the Gospel. 

And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (Luke 12:47)

Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 22:13)

The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:50,51)

Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. (Matthew 25:11,12)

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)

Paul sums it up as follows: 

Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, (Romans 2:6-8)

Does accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior waive the Kingdom principle of sowing and reaping? Never!

Receiving Christ enables us to obtain the Divine pardon for our previous conduct and then, by Christ’s help, to live so as to please God in the future.

Will our past unrighteousness be held against us if we repent and serve Christ? No, it will not. It has been cast behind God’s back.

But if we receive Christ and then turn again to the lusts of the world, we will be rewarded according to our behavior.

If through Christ we overcome the world we will receive eternal life, authority, strength, righteousness, union with God, supreme power and glory.

But if we neglect our Christian salvation we will receive lashes, a rebuke, a burning fire, separation from Christ, Christ’s denial of us before His Father, an accounting of every idle word we have spoken, a severance from the company of the righteous, unbearable remorse, grief, wailing, gnashing of teeth, eternal darkness, everlasting torment.

God is not a respecter of persons. The righteous will be rewarded for their righteousness. The wicked will be punished for their wickedness.

Receiving Christ does not change this most fundamental of Kingdom principles. In fact, the Christian is regarded by Heaven as possessing more knowledge and more opportunity to please God by his conduct than is true of the unbeliever. The Kingdom principle that applies is: To whom much is given, of him will much be required.

The concept that Christians are excused from the penalties of sin because they name the name of Christ is widely taught in the churches. But this concept is in error. It is the opposite of the truth and a misinterpretation of Paul’s doctrine of justification by grace through faith.

Paul held out to mankind, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile, the opportunity to be reconciled to God in spite of a past life of sinful behavior, apart from animal sacrifices and apart from the observance of the Levitical ordinances.

But we have interpreted Paul to mean that once we receive Christ it is not critically important how we behave. This is not what Paul meant by justification by grace through faith, nor is it the teaching of John, James, Peter, Jude, or the writer of the Book of Hebrews.

Let us read again the New Testament writings and determine what Christ and all His Apostles stated concerning sin in the life of the Christian. We shall discover quickly that the righteous will be rewarded for their righteousness and the wicked will be punished for their wickedness.

Truly the Lord Jesus Christ is coming quickly. Truly He will reward every individual according to what he has done. 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: (Matthew 6:19,20)

There are two commandments here: (1) do not lay up treasures on the earth; and (2) do lay up treasures in Heaven.

Matthew 6:21 gives the reason: "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Since the issues of our life and the words of our mouth come from our heart, we can understand that wherever our heart is, that is where we ourselves are. This verse points out to us the choice that every Christian must make.

There are at least nine treasures we can lay up in Heaven:

Eternal life.

Freedom from sin.

Authority.

Power.

Status.

Abilities.

Opportunities for service.

Relationships.

Rest in Christ in God.

Each of these nine treasures has a counterpart on the earth. It is impossible to pursue both the heavenly treasure and its earthly counterpart. We must choose whether to lay up the treasure in Heaven or to lay up its counterpart on the earth.

The treasures of Heaven will be given to each Christian according to his behavior in the body. They will be handed out when the Lord returns from Heaven, although it may happen that we receive them in a measure now. Here is the fulfillment of II Corinthians 5:10: 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Eternal life. Eternal life is not only perpetual existence. Satan has perpetual existence but he does not possess one particle of eternal life. Eternal life is a quality of life. It is the Life that Christ is. It is eternal, incorruptible, resurrection life. It is energy to overcome sin and self-seeking, to thrust aside the world, Satan, and our own lusts and rebellion. It is life lived in the fullness of the Spirit, Substance, Presence, and knowledge of God in Christ. It is Divine power !

When first we receive Christ we receive eternal life. Then we use the strength from that portion of life to pursue more life. We "lay hold" on eternal life. We seek more abundant eternal resurrection life. We sow to the Spirit of God so that we will reap life everlasting in the Day of the Lord (Galatians 6:8).

As through the Spirit of God we overcome the world, Satan, and our lusts and self-will we are given to eat of the tree of life that is in the midst of the Paradise of God. If we are faithful to Christ to the point of death we will receive a crown of eternal, incorruptible life—the authority and power to live and rule in eternal life.

Eternal life is the Shechinah, the Glory, the Presence, of God Almighty. Eternal life is the Consuming Fire of Israel.

The Glory on the Tabernacle and inside the Most Holy Place was eternal Life.

Eternal life is given to the conqueror, God’s warrior, in the form of "hidden manna" and he then is able to overcome every adversary, every obstacle, every sin, every aspect of his own rebellious, self-willed nature.

Eternal life created the earth, the other planets, the sun and moon, the stars.

Eternal life raised the Lord Jesus from the dead.

Eternal life is righteousness, joy, love, peace, the ability to perform one’s will.

Satan and the demons have energy but it is not the energy of God. It is a dark, proud, lustful violence, devoid of righteousness, without joy, love, or peace.

Human beings have physical energy proceeding from the burning of oxygen. But physical energy is negligible compared to the energies in the spirit realm. All that physical energy accomplishes is to hold us upright, as it were, while we choose between Divine life and satanic life. Physical life is inconsequential and soon leaves the body, with the result that the body returns to the dust from which it was formed.

All we truly desire is found in the eternal Life of God.

The energy of sin corrupts every human being. When we receive the Lord Jesus He gives us of the Holy Spirit, not in abundance but as a guarantee of the future filling of our body with Divine Life.

The goal of redemption is to be filled with eternal life in our spirit, soul, and body.

The earthly counterpart of incorruptible resurrection life is the life of flesh and blood. Flesh and blood are our treasure on the earth. Life in the flesh consists of eating, sleeping, working, playing, and reproducing. This is the existence of an animal, such as a horse. Because of the pressure from unclean spirits these five actions of the flesh often are carried to excess in human beings.

We have a choice to make. If we live in our fleshly desires we will not grow in resurrection life. If we choose to allow the Spirit of God to crucify our fleshly life, if we present our body a living sacrifice to the Lord, then, at the coming of Christ from Heaven, we will receive a glorious body fashioned from eternal resurrection life.

We will live forever in the immediate Presence of God and the Lamb. We will possess love, strength, righteousness, peace, and joy that never shall diminish—not throughout the ages of ages. We will be wonderfully, marvelously alive

Freedom from sin. The second of the nine heavenly treasures we shall mention is freedom from sin. 

. . . and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

We are commanded in this life to utilize every opportunity the Spirit gives us to put to death the deeds of our body. We are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for our flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

We are not debtors to our flesh that we are obligated to live according to the desires of the flesh. If we live in the desires of our flesh we will die spiritually. If we walk in the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Life, we will not spend our time and energy satisfying the lusts of our flesh.

Our physical body is dead to the Spirit of God because of the sin that dwells in it. Paul cried, "Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" referring to the bondages of sin in his flesh (Romans 7:24).

At the Lord’s coming He will deliver us from the curse of sin, from the morally impure compulsions dwelling in our flesh. He will set us free provided we are putting to death the deeds of our body today. 

And every man that hath this hope in him [the hope of being like the Lord at His appearing] purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:3)

If we are not putting to death the deeds of our body today we will not be set free from sin when the Lord comes. If we live according to the lusts of our flesh we will reap corruption, not life and righteousness, in the Day of the Lord. We indeed will receive the things done in our body.

If we have been faithful in the little we will be entrusted with the greater. To him who already has achieved substantial freedom from sin will be given complete freedom when the Lord appears. From him who has not been diligent will be removed even the small amount of freedom he has.

Deliverance from the chains of sin always is the gift of God’s grace. It is not something we can accomplish by our self-will, although we are commanded to exercise self-control in every situation to the extent we are able.

The counterpart of the heavenly gift of freedom from sin is bondage to our fleshly sins. Many who believe in Christ are unwilling to give up their fornication, smoking, drinking, profanity, filthiness, murderous rage, jealousy, envying, unforgiveness, bitterness, revelry, and sorcery. These are their treasured possessions on the earth.

If we would gain the marvelous treasure of complete freedom from sin then we must, in the present hour, faithfully put to death through the Spirit the deeds of our body. It is certain that each of us will receive the things he has practiced in his body, whether they have been good or evil. 

Authority. The third treasure is authority in the Kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus promises the overcomer authority of very great scope. The overcomer will govern the nations of the earth. The overcomer will be seated with Christ in His throne which, under God, is the supreme authority over the creation. The promises to the overcomer are staggering in their implications.

The counterpart of the heavenly treasure of Kingdom authority is the preservation of our "rights" on the earth and the seeking of authority to rule other people.

The individual who strives continually to control and manipulate other people is a spiritual infant. The highest level of maturity and spirituality is the place where we die to our own gain and prestige and find our life, our joy, our peace, our comfort, our reason for existence, our hope, our motivation, our fruitfulness, our dominion, in the Lord. Then we are able to assist the unfolding and maturing of other people.

But if we are bound with the need to control and manipulate the people near us we continually will be anxious and bitter, and unfruitful in our dealings with others.

We Christians have many rights on the earth, for Christ has given all things to His Church. Christ, instead of encouraging us to seek authority over our neighbors, asks us if we are willing to lay down our rights as He did His.

The Lord Jesus did not clutch to Himself His equality with God. Rather He took on Himself the form of a servant. No human being who has ever lived on the earth has been treated more unjustly than Christ—especially during His "trial" before Pontius Pilate.

In most instances, when two Christians are striving one against the other, the more spiritual must either give way or forfeit his testimony. The more fleshly person is allowed to enforce his will in the matter. The manner in which Isaac surrendered his two wells is the type of behavior that is approved of God (Genesis 26:19-22). However, each believer must apply this principle as the Spirit gives wisdom for the particular incident.

The path to authority in the Kingdom of God leads downward through the valley of injustice, of not receiving the recognition, or money, or opportunities, or other things or situations of value that may be ours by right. God is pleased with us when we are willing to take the lowest place.

The Lord Jesus has been given a name that is above every other name because He gave up His rights and humbled Himself, becoming obedient to death. We cannot preserve our rights on the earth in every instance, making sure that everyone does what we desire, and then receive authority in the Kingdom of God. 

Power. A fourth treasure offered in the Scriptures is that of power. Power is the ability to enforce one’s will. Christ exercised spiritual power while He was on the earth, healing the sick, casting out devils, raising the dead. Jesus has given us the power of the Holy Spirit so we can do the same works, and greater; but only as He directs us.

Our ability to behave righteously and to bring righteousness into our environment is an issue of power. We are wrestling, struggling against wicked spiritual princes who rule from the dark regions above the earth. The nations of the earth are destroying themselves in orgies of lust and violence, and we Christians do not at this time possess enough power to prevent the harm they are doing to themselves and others.

When Jesus returns He will exercise power that will crush the armies of the world and enforce God’s will in the earth. If we are victorious saints we too will rule the nations with an iron rod. The iron rod is the irresistible might of the Spirit of God who will be abiding in the saints in the Day of Christ.

The earthly counterpart of Divine power is, first of all, money; and then the other devices that represent or exert power in the physical realm. Power can be gained by invoking the demons and Satan, and by the attempt to manipulate the physical realm through what may be termed "supernatural faith," that is, "positive thinking" and mental "imaging."

Many Christians spend the major part of their imagination, time, and energy amassing money. They are seeking to build up power that will protect them and their loved ones during misfortune. Their money is their insurance that they will not suffer harm or change, and will be able to enjoy themselves, in the event that God proves to be unfaithful or nonexistent.

God and money represent two different gods, two different powers. This is why the love of money is the root of all evil: it is the worship of a god other than the Lord.

No person can serve both God and money.

The Kingdom of God does not (in spite of what is being taught today) conquer by money (Zechariah 4:6). None of the forms of human, demonic, or supernatural power will avail anything at all in bringing the Kingdom to the fullness of maturity and perfection.

Many Christian churches act as though money is the means of the redemption of the world. However, it never is by human might, wealth, wisdom, or talent (except as the Spirit of God specifically directs) that the work of God is accomplished. The Divine temple will be constructed only by the Spirit of God.

As far as the invoking of demons and Satan is concerned, whoever seeks power through the occult is selling his soul to Satan. He will be fortunate indeed if he escapes eternal torment in the Lake of Fire.

The current emphasis on "positive thinking" and mental "imaging" can be observed in modern secular administrative techniques, and also in the efforts of many of today’s preachers of the Gospel as they seek to gain money and popularity. It is the beginning of the False Prophet—the spirit destined in the last days to give religious respectability to the government of Antichrist (Revelation 13:11-15).

The spirit of religious delusion seeks the power (two horns) of the Lamb but it speaks with the voice of the dragon.

The way of the Kingdom is the way of weakness, of patience, of the cross. If we are willing to give up human, satanic, and supernatural forms of power we will gain the power of the Spirit of God. If we lean on some form of earthly power, such as money, we never will gain the heavenly treasure of Divine power. 

Status. Status in the Kingdom of God is the fifth treasure we shall describe. Jesus spoke of those who are greatest in the Kingdom and those who are least. Paul preached and lived as one who placed supreme importance on God’s opinion of him and lesser importance on the way in which people regarded him. Paul sought the praise of God alone.

Those who turn many to righteousness will shine as the stars forever. They will sit at Jesus’ table in the Kingdom of God. They are known to the elect angels. In the resurrection they will receive the "Well done!" of Christ, obtaining honor in the eyes of those present. As in any other kingdom, the Kingdom of God is made up of persons of high status and persons of lesser status.

The earthly counterpart of this heavenly treasure is status and fame in the world. Jesus, the very Son of God Almighty, made Himself of no reputation. He hung naked on the cross. He was beaten and spit upon. He was abused and tormented until He lay in the dust, unable to carry His cross any farther.

If we would gain the treasure of status in the Kingdom we must go outside the camp with Christ. We must accept the reproach that always falls on Him. We must stand for Jesus wherever we are, bearing cheerfully the shame and contempt that come upon the true saint.

Are we ashamed of Jesus while we are in this world? Are we ashamed of living the life of consecration when we are among the worldly Christians who fill our land? Or are we going forth with Jesus, willing to lose all status in the eyes of people? We are to beware when all men speak well of us. We cannot seek status in the world and status in the Kingdom of God at the same time.

He who is greatest in the Kingdom of God is the servant of all. The highest good, the highest form of spiritual development and achievement, has come to us when we are ready to lose our life and find our righteousness, peace, and joy in being close to the Lord. 

Abilities. Another heavenly treasure is that of abilities. We understand from Romans, Chapter 12, I Corinthians, Chapter 12, and Ephesians, Chapter Four that the Holy Spirit gives one or more abilities to each member of the Body of Christ. The abilities, such as wisdom, knowledge, discernment, the working of miracles, teaching, giving, helping, and so forth are the tools we are to use to complete and perfect the Body of Christ and the Kingdom of God. All of these talents are found in Christ and He shares them with us and directs us in the use of them.

The conquering saints have been given the nations as their inheritance. The saints will rule, bless, judge, and teach the nations of the earth, as Christ guides and enables them. Think of the various abilities that will be needed as the whole earth is brought into subjection to Christ!

The Lord has given to each of us one or more talents. These talents are the "money" of the Kingdom of God. If we are faithful in what has been assigned to us we will receive more talents, more abilities, when the Lord returns from Heaven.

The earthly counterpart of spiritual abilities is human abilities. We have been born with various artistic, intellectual, mechanical, physical, and social skills. They are the abilities that are natural to us, that we learn to practice relatively easily and joyously.

We call such fleshly and soulish abilities talents after the "talents" of Matthew, Chapter 25. However there is no direct relationship between our earthly abilities and those given us by the Holy Spirit at the time of our baptism by the Spirit into the Body of Christ.

The Holy Spirit can anoint our natural abilities if He chooses to do so. Yet the fact remains that our natural abilities are of our adamic nature.

For example, the ability to perform music is of our adamic nature. The Holy Spirit may or may not anoint the music we perform. Music is not one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in the New Testament.

Perhaps the majority of Christian churches lean heavily on music as part of the Divine service. While music has a valuable role to play both in and out of the assembling of the saints, it must be kept in mind that music is a human ability and operates in the soul.

The workings of the Holy Spirit are found only among the holy servants of the Lord; but "Christian" music can be performed by any sinner. Music often is employed in the churches as a substitute for the Presence of the Holy Spirit.

We can choose to nurture our natural abilities, using them to provide security, pleasure, and achievement in this world. Meanwhile the Kingdom abilities that were given us by the Holy Spirit may lie dormant. We may not even know what our Kingdom abilities are, in numerous instances, if we are not presenting our body a living sacrifice to the Lord.

If we use our Kingdom talents faithfully the Lord will add to them and we will have more ability with which to serve the Lord. Outer darkness is the destination of the Christian who does not put his Kingdom talents to use.

God may call any of us, as He did Moses, into a line of work unfamiliar to us, that is not natural to us, in which we are insecure. We now are in a position in which we no longer can rely on our proven abilities.

Moses felt he could not speak well enough to be God’s spokesman, so God gave Aaron to Moses to bolster his confidence. In the end it was Moses who became the lawgiver of Israel, the spokesman of the Lord. Aaron, the eloquent, the fashioner of the golden calf, became the first high priest. God knows what He is doing.

We can choose to spend our life using the earthly treasure of our own abilities to obtain security and pleasure, or we can present our body a living sacrifice and prove God’s will for our life, learning to use the abilities given us by the Holy Spirit. The latter are the "talents" for which we shall be held accountable by the Lord. 

Opportunities for service. Here is a seventh heavenly treasure. God has given to Christ the nations of the earth for His inheritance. The nations consist of people of every imaginable temperament, in every conceivable condition and situation.

When the Lord comes He will use us to restore what has been destroyed by the rule of self-seeking man, and what will be destroyed further during the days of tribulation and wrath. The sons of God will be faced with the task of rebuilding the "desolations of many generations" (Isaiah 61:4).

The members of Christ’s Body will be the Presence of God in Christ, the hands of the Lord extended to the meek of the earth. There will be work for us to do from the moment the Lord returns, extending into a future that has no end.

In addition there will be the task of perfecting the Bride. The ministers whom Christ has given will serve "till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of [maturity as measured by] the stature of the fulness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13).

Since the perfecting of the Wife of the Lamb has not been completed on the earth, it is possible that the ministries will continue during the thousand-year period until the new Jerusalem has become "a bride adorned for her husband" (Revelation 21:2).

The earthly counterpart of opportunities for service is the using of our days to serve ourselves, doing our own will instead of God’s will. We can choose to allow the Lord to make us "bread" for other people, dying to our own life and abilities so others may live; or we can keep ourselves closed up in our own little world.

Each member of the Body of Christ has an area of Kingdom service in which he or she is to be faithful today, even if it is, in the present hour, limited to household tasks or secular employment.

If the Christian is faithful in his present tasks God will entrust greater responsibility to him. In the Day of the Lord he will be given a position of service in the Kingdom of God. Opportunities for service is a treasure the Lord Jesus will bring from Heaven with Him.

Throughout eternity the servants of God will stand before Him. They will see the Face of the Father, which is the greatest privilege of all. They will govern the creation forever. 

Relationships. This treasure and the one that follows are the two greatest treasures of Heaven. There is nothing in the universe, barring our untroubled rest in the Father’s will, that comes close to relationships in importance. The Ten Commandments have to do with relationships; and the two laws of Jesus, to love God and one’s neighbor, reveal to us the importance that God places on relationships.

The environment and things of the ages to come no doubt will be very desirable. Towering over them in importance and desirability are relationships that are immersed in the Divine love.

The Kingdom of God is very carefully designed according to relationships.

God is a Matrix, a Mold. The Lord Jesus Christ has come forth from the Matrix that God Is. God has placed His Life and Glory in the Lord Jesus. Everything that exists has been created by the Life and Glory in the Lord Jesus.

The Lord Jesus also is a Matrix, a Mold. The Church, the Bride of the Lamb, is being brought forth from the Matrix that Christ Is. The Lord Jesus desires to place His Life and Glory in the members of His Bride, and that she govern all things in the future (I Corinthians 3:22,23).

When the new Jerusalem descends it is referred to as "the bride, the Lamb’s wife." The Lord Jesus is not immediately seen. 

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. (John 15:9)

A river of Life and Glory is flowing from God in Heaven through Christ. It will flow through the firstfruits of His Body and then through the rest of the Church. It will continue to flow until every saved person enters the process of being changed into the image of God.

Every day we are influencing people either toward Christ or away from Christ. This fact is inescapable. Whoever is not gathering with the Lord is scattering from the Lord.

If we remain shut up in ourselves, not gathering people to the Lord, not giving ourselves to others as we should, not using our Kingdom talents, we will have a minimal (if any!) entrance into the Kingdom of God.

If we have assisted many in their struggle to enter Christ we will be welcomed by happy friends who will greet us with love when we pass into the spirit realm. We will have an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God, being greeted joyfully by Christ and by those whom we have strengthened.

Great multitudes of people will be converted when the Light of God arises on the Body of Christ (Isaiah, Chapters 60 and 61). All these men, women, boys, and girls will come to us. Look at the family we shall have then! This is why the "barren" are to rejoice, "for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife" (Isaiah 54:1).

We will inherit people if we allow the Lord to make us "barren" in terms of our own rights, possessions, and opportunities in the present life.

If we walk carefully with the Lord Jesus we soon will find He puts us through a program that strips us of all we depend on. Every relationship we have with people, with circumstances, with things, must be brought down to death and then raised again in the newness of resurrection life. The adamic race, and all that is of the adamic race, is corruptible and temporary.

Nothing is eternally alive in the Presence of God, nothing can survive in the Kingdom of God, until it has died and been raised in Christ into eternal life.

Eternal fruit can come only from what has died in Christ and been raised again in Christ. Until a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains by itself. Becoming willing to die to all that is treasured may prove to be the most difficult of the decisions the believer in Jesus is invited to make. But there is no other route to eternal life and eternal relationships.

Next to the Lord Himself, people are by far the greatest inheritance of all.

The earthly counterpart of this heavenly treasure is fleshly relationships—marriage to people, circumstances, and things.

Jesus informed us that those who do the will of God are His brothers and sisters. Our first loyalty is to God.

Again He exhorted, "Let the dead bury their dead."

We know it is God’s will for us to be faithful in all our family relationships. We never will be able to enter the Kingdom of God if we are not a person of integrity and faithfulness to those who are dependent on us. However, it is true that unless we hate father and mother (in comparison with our love for Christ), and our own life as well, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

We can choose to spend our life engrossed in fleshly relationships, or we can set our heart on the Kingdom relationships that we have now and will have in abundance in the future, while at the same time fulfilling our role well in our present earthly relationships.

We can clutch to ourselves the people and things that please us, or we can submit to the death of the cross, allowing the Lord to remove from us what we have set our heart on and to give us the true, eternal relationships. Where our treasure is, there will our heart be also. 

Rest in Christ in God. Truly, the rest of God is one of the greatest of all treasures. The degree of rest in Christ we possess varies from believer to believer.

Some Christians have made a profession of faith in Christ but as yet are not aware of the wonderful entrance into Christ that is available even in the present life. Other Christians have been taught concerning the life of abiding in Christ and have exercised the faith, courage, trust, and diligence required for full entrance into the Father and the Son (Ephesians 3:19).

O to live as Jesus lived, as Paul lived, in the full flowing of the Life of God! What a battle, what a labor is necessary if we are to press past all fear and unbelief and enter the rest of God! What a state of glory we live in as God becomes our Salvation and we begin to draw water with joy from the wells of salvation!

When we die physically we cannot bring our material possessions or accomplishments with us into the spirit realm. However, we will bring the kind of personality we have become in this world, and we will bring the degree of rest in Christ in God we have obtained.

It appears likely the victorious saints will see the Lord Jesus face to face when they die. Some of these believers will have the Father and the Son living in them to a much greater extent than is true of the others.

Christ will meet all believers, when they die, as an external Person. In certain instances, however, the Life of Jesus that has been formed in the believer will answer to the external Jesus. No doubt such saints will be hurried to Christ’s throne for they have become an eternally inseparable part of His very Life.

The earthly counterpart of God’s rest is a life lived in our soulish self-centeredness and self-love. We believe in Christ but we must have Him on our own terms. In the deceit of our soul we (perhaps without realizing it) are attempting to manipulate Christ, as we do all other persons, to our advantage.

If we would escape the horrible dungeon of self-centeredness we must take up our cross. It is only as we are crucified with Christ that Christ can live in us.

If at any point in these nine areas we choose to cling to the earthly counterpart, our Christian personality will be influenced adversely. We will miss the fullness of the rewards promised to the overcomer and the full glory of rest in Christ in God.

Christ has commanded us, realizing what is at stake for us: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on the earth but do lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." 

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Revelation 22:13)

A similar statement is made at the beginning of the vision: 

Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: . . . . (Revelation 1:11)

And to the angel of the church in Smyrna: 

. . . These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; (Revelation 2:8)

The concept that Jesus is the Finisher, as well as the Author, of our salvation is an idea that needs to be emphasized today with authority and power. This concept will be challenged vigorously in the closing days of the present age.

Many people who will not serve Christ will concede He was a good man with admirable principles and desires concerning the betterment of mankind. But they never would admit He is able to finish what He began.

Christ came from God out of Heaven. He announced the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. He laid down the laws of the Kingdom of God, the laws that will govern mankind forever. Then He returned to Heaven.

After returning to Heaven, the Lord Jesus poured out the Spirit of God on chosen individuals. He gave them gifts of grace so they may be able to build up His Body, and also announce to every creature the coming of the Kingdom and the means by which a person can acquire salvation in preparation for the Day when the Kingdom appears.

But in a few years the powerful drive of men to seek their own advantage reduced the Church to rubble. Christian believers were attempting to complete and perfect what the Lord had begun.

For two thousand years self-willed people have been endeavoring to finish what Christ commenced. It appears that only a remnant of saints have understood that Christ not only is the Alpha but also the Omega.

The Christian redemption was originated by God the Father working through His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Christ was born by a miracle, ministered in an atmosphere of miracles, and then died as a blood atonement for the sins of the world. No human being had anything to do with the origin of our redemption, or with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God on the Day of Pentecost. All has proceeded from the sovereign intervention of the Lord God in the lives of human beings.

These facts are granted by many. But what is not granted commonly is the next move. Because of the principle of self-seeking that rules mankind, most believers, it seems, have been unable to conceive of the fact that Christ governs not only the origin but also every intervening step, including the sublime perfecting and concluding of the work.

Christ has begun a work in the world, and in you and me as individuals. He has set a goal: it is that we may come to unity and maturity in the Body of Christ; it is that we may be changed into His image.

The Lord Jesus Christ has established a goal for His Church. Before Christ has finished working, the Church will be unified and mature. Because of the perfection of the Church in Christ the peoples of the earth will believe God has sent Christ. This worldwide salvation will take place in the future, at the return of Jesus from Heaven.

Whether you as an individual have your part in the glorious climax of redemption depends on your willingness to cooperate in faith with the Spirit of God as He leads you through the obstacles necessary for your perfecting.

If you keep exercising faith, hope, and patience you will attain that for which you have been grasped by the Lord. But if you are careless and spiritually lazy concerning the Kingdom of God, as so many are today, your crown will be taken by another who is more diligent and faithful.

Christ is the Alpha and Omega. Christ is the First and the Last. Christ is the Beginning and the End. Christ is the Author and the Finisher of our faith.

Christ is all-powerful. All authority and power in Heaven, on the earth, and in all the realms under the earth, belong to Him. He commenced the construction of the Kingdom of God. He is supervising closely every detail of the building of the Kingdom. He will bring the work of the Kingdom to a conclusion so glorious that angels and men will be stunned by its perfection and beauty.

There is no authority or power that can overcome the will of Christ because the will of Christ is the will of God Almighty.

You and I can reject the plan of Christ if we wish. Or we can assume Christ has begun the work of the Kingdom and now it is up to us to finish it by means of our ingenuity and effort. In either case, the Divinely ordered building of the Kingdom will roll over us as the words of the holy prophets of God are fulfilled in their entirety by the power of the Spirit of God.

It is best we give ourselves to the wisdom and power of Christ, recognizing He alone has seen the blueprint and He alone possesses the wisdom, authority, and power necessary for the fulfillment of God’s plan for our lives, for the perfecting of the Church, for the salvation of the world, and for the supervision of the universe.

We have accepted Christ as the Alpha. Now let us accept Him as the Omega. 

Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)

"Blessed are they that do His commandments."

"Right to the tree of life."

"Enter in through the gates into the city."

John spoke elsewhere of the necessity for keeping God’s commandments: 

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:3,4)

There are many commandments contained in the writings of the New Testament, beginning with Matthew and ending with Revelation. They range from the all-inclusive commandment to love God with all our strength and our neighbor as ourselves to the admonition to refrain from coarse jesting. Every aspect of human conduct is covered and we are instructed what to do and what not to do. We are to forgive those who harm us. We are not to practice fornication or sorcery.

The Holy Spirit working in us teaches us and empowers us concerning godly conduct. As we overcome the world, Satan, and our fleshly lusts and self-seeking we gain the authority to eat of the tree of eternal life and to enter through the gates into the new Jerusalem.

No person who does not love God with all his heart, and his neighbor as himself, can enter the new Jerusalem. No person who practices coarse jesting can enter the new Jerusalem. No person who harbors unforgiveness in his heart can enter the new Jerusalem. The fornicator and the witch cannot enter the holy city. Such cannot eat of the tree of eternal life. Such cannot enter through the gates into the holy city.

There is enough power in the Gospel of Christ to enable us to conquer every such sinful behavior and thus gain the authority to eat of the tree of life and to enter through the gates into the new Jerusalem.

It is not true that the professing Christian suddenly will be made righteous in behavior at the coming of Christ, receiving the authority to eat of the tree of life and to enter through the gates into the holy city.

It is not true that accepting the atonement made by Christ waives the need for godly behavior as the basis for receiving the authority to eat of the tree of life and to enter through the gates into the new Jerusalem.

The Divine pardon granted on the cross of Calvary does not give us the right to eat of the tree of life or to enter in through the gates into the city. It is the keeping of Christ’s commandments that gives us the right to eat of the tree of life and to enter through the gates into the city.

Many call Jesus, Lord but then do not keep His commandments. They cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

We can call Jesus, Lord! Lord! all day long for the remainder of our life. But if we do not do what He says we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. It is in the doing of what He says that we enter the Kingdom.

If it were not for the Divine pardon granted on the cross of Calvary, no human being ever would be able to eat of the tree of life or to enter through the gates into the city. In fact, there would be no city. God and Christ would remain as Father and Son—alone in Their righteousness and holiness.

But because of the Divine pardon granted on the cross we have been forgiven so we can approach God for the grace, wisdom, and strength to repent and to conquer the sin that is in the world.

Some people will enter through the gates, passing into the unparalleled splendor of life in the Presence of God and His Lamb. They will be the human beings who have received the Divine pardon of the cross and then have walked in the Spirit of God throughout their pilgrimage on the earth.

Peter, Paul, John, Thomas, Bartholomew, were not fornicators. They were not self-willed liars, cheats, covetous men who claimed exemption from the rules of godly conduct on the basis of "grace." The Scriptures came to us as holy men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit to record the testimony of Christ.

Only holy people can understand the holy Scriptures. The remainder of the so-called Christians are facing the fire of God because they are willing to believe that God is accepting, in the name of the Lord Jesus, their lying, their love of money, their self-seeking, their fornicating.

Because of such conduct the wrath of God falls on the nations of the earth. Because of such conduct the wrath of God falls on the professing Christians except as they turn quickly from their lustful, drunken, covetous, self-willed behavior. 

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (I Corinthians 6:9-11)

Modern teaching says, "And such are some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus." Not such were, but such are.

You still behave this way, but there is no problem because you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Paul and John insist that such shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. What do you say? 

For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Revelation 22:15)

There is a wall surrounding the city of God—that wonderful city in which there is no temple and God and the Lamb are accessible in open revelation to every citizen.

Today there are dogs, sorcerers, adulterers, murderers, idolaters, and people who love and deal in falsehood, in the churches, "worshiping" with the holy brothers and sisters.

But it will not always be so. Divine judgment is coming. The filthy, the murderous, the self-seeking deceivers, either will repent of their ungodliness or else will be barred from the Presence of God, His Christ, and the saints.

The Kingdom of God soon is to come to the earth. It is God’s will that all men repent and come to the truth of righteousness and holiness. Those who do will be saved from wrath, will be given to eat of the tree of eternal life, and will be allowed through the gates into the eternal city of holiness and love.

But those who continue in their moral filthiness, who seek to manipulate the spirit realm by their "faith" and "imaging," who persist in their adulteries, in their murders, in their covetousness and other forms of idolatry, who keep on cheating and deceiving, loving and practicing lies, will be judged by the Lord.

Whether such profess the name of Christ or not, they are in danger of having their names blotted from the Book of Life. They are in danger of being cast into the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

We Christians are to cleanse ourselves in the present hour so we may gain the right to partake of the tree of life and to enter through the gates into the new Jerusalem. All unclean persons will be denied access to eternal life and to the society of the redeemed who are dwelling in the city of light.

God never again will permit a situation to exist in which His holy children are required to dwell among those who practice filthiness and lies. Satan never again will be permitted to appear among the sons of God. The day of eternal judgment, of eternal separation between Christ and Satan, light and darkness, righteousness and unrighteousness, purity and filth, obedience and rebellion, is upon us even now.

The Christians who are wise will wash their garments of behavior carefully in the blood of the Lamb. The Christians who are foolish will put such cleansing into the future while they practice their filth and their idolatry and lies in the present world.

The wall of the new Jerusalem is being created today, in the hearts of the saints. On which side of the wall are you

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (Revelation 22:16)

The angel of the Lord speaks to the angels of the churches, testifying of the true Person and will of God.

We are prone to place the churches on a human level, as social institutions. We are men speaking to men.

But the Lord Jesus Christ maintains the churches on a spiritual level; not as social institutions but as the prophets of God among mankind. His Spirit speaks directly to the spirits of the churches. 

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; (Revelation 2:1)

Christ goes straight to the spirit and addresses the spirit because that is where true motivation lies.

Most speaking that is done in the world is for the purpose of concealing the true, spiritually based motives of human beings. Christ understands this well. He does not waste time playing word games with Christians.

Christ goes to the spirits that are operating and addresses them. The angel of the Lord speaks directly to the angels of the churches. The flesh will follow as soon as the battle has been won in the invisible, spirit realm.

Christ is both the "root" and the "offspring" of King David. Christ is the "Source" of David and also the "Son" of King David. 

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:7)

He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:32,33)

It is helpful for us to remember that David was a real person, a mighty king who subdued the nations of people adjacent to Israel. The Throne of David was an earthly throne governing a Divinely selected race living in what now is termed the Middle East.

Christ is of the lineage of this powerful king. Jesus will descend to the Mount of Olives, destroy the armies of the nations of the earth in a battle waged on the Plain of Megiddo, and then take His place on the Throne of David in Jerusalem.

Why would the Lord Jesus remind us at the end of the Scriptures that He is the Root and the Offspring, the ancestor and descendant, of King David?

It is because Christ knew that Antichrist would do everything in His power to destroy the concept that Christ has come in the flesh and will return in the flesh to this earth as King.

The current teaching among Scripture-believing people is that the Christian Church primarily is a spiritual creation, the destiny of which is to "go home" to the spirit realm while the physical Jews are left to struggle against Satan.

The Christian ministry is stressing our being caught up to Heaven, and then is speculating concerning the possibility that not only will we possess Heaven but in addition some of the planets in other star systems.

A vital part of this "heavenly" concept is that it is not of particular importance how we behave on the earth, just as long as we have our ticket of admission to the space trip to the galaxies. This is the modern-day concept of the Christian redemption.

God’s concern is not with other star systems or with our space trip to the galaxies. The Word of God does not emphasize our residence in Heaven.

God’s concern is with the planet Earth. Christ has come in the flesh. He is of the house and lineage of King David, an earthly king. Christ will sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem. He will rule the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end—upon this earth.

Satan desires to possess the earth. The wicked strive to possess the earth. The rebellious angels have left Heaven and are concentrating their energies on the peoples of the earth. The demons are envious of every work of God in the earth. Christ died on a cross on a hill of the earth. He ascended from the earth and will descend to the earth. Satan walks to and fro in the earth.

We may be looking toward victory in Heaven but Christ is looking toward victory in the earth. We may be looking forward to doing God’s will in Heaven but Jesus is looking forward to our doing God’s will in the earth. We may be looking forward to entering Paradise in Heaven but Paradise is coming to the earth.

Christ has come in the flesh. It was not Christ’s Spirit that rose from the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, it was Christ’s flesh and bone that rose.

The meek will inherit the earth. The saints will rule the nations of the earth. Christ will return to sit on the Throne of David in the earth. The sinners will be destroyed from the earth.

Christ is "the bright and morning star," heralding the day of liberty and glory that is coming to the earth.

The victorious saint presses forward to complete union with the Lord Jesus. 

And I will give him [the conqueror] the morning star. (Revelation 2:28)

The Kingdom of God is the performing of God’s will in the earth as it is practiced in Heaven. No human being can perform God’s will in the earth under the present terribly adverse circumstances unless Christ enters him and overcomes the world and the adversary. Christ shall enter us, placing His Virtue and power in our personality, provided we guard His Word carefully, observing to do it.

When Christ enters the saint and performs the will of God in the earth, that is the day of the Lord; not the Day of the Lord that will come to all men on the earth but a personal day of the Lord in the heart of the victorious saint. It is the personal coming of the Kingdom of God.

When God’s predetermined number of saints enter their personal day of the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ will return with His heroes of faith and establish His throne in Jerusalem. From Jerusalem will go forth the law of God in the form of the conquering saints. It is Christ in them.

This is the true Kingdom of God and the manner in which the Kingdom will go into every area of the earth. The true Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the victorious saints performing God’s will in the earth as it is done in Heaven.

The Day Star, Christ, will arise in His conquerors before He returns from Heaven in the Glory of His Father. The rising of the Day Star in the faithful saints is as a trumpet that heralds the Day of the Lord, the thousand-year reign of Christ. It is the fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:39-43). 

We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the Scriptures]; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)

"Until the day star arise in your hearts."

We keep the Word of Christ. As we do, Christ Himself, the Living Word, comes to us and takes up His abode in us. Now the Word is keeping us from the hour of testing that will test all who dwell on the earth. 

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:10)

We are commanded to guard patiently the Word of Christ, even during the most trying periods of life. This world is a difficult place in which to serve God. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

As we patiently guard the Word of Christ, performing His will with all the ability and strength we have been given and can exert, Christ Himself enters us. He is the Power in us who overcomes the world and Satan.

The pressures on people will mount in the last days until spiritual darkness prevents all human effort in the things of God.

Today the unsaved people resist the works of Christ, claiming there is no God, there is no Christ. But in the hour that is coming, men will understand there is a God. They deliberately shall withstand the will of God. When they behold Christ returning to the earth, the armies of the nations will fight against Him, understanding and knowing they are fighting God.

But at the same time Christ will enter those who stedfastly are looking to Him for the grace to lead a godly life in the satanic darkness.

Christ becomes our Life. He becomes our Strength. He becomes our Light in the spiritual darkness. He becomes our Wisdom and Power to serve God. He becomes our Health. He becomes our Redemption. He Himself is our Resurrection from the dead. He—the Lord Jesus Christ—is our Victory over sin, over sickness, over weakness, over want, over pressure, over death, over Satan, over the grave.

Satan also is a day star. 

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer [day star], son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (Isaiah 14:12)

Both Christ and Satan are day stars. They both are "lights" bearing witness to "truth," to a coming kingdom. They both possess great wisdom and authority.

Every person must decide which is the true light, which is the true Kingdom of God, which is the true Day Star.

Mankind today has been deceived by the false day star. We are not able to overcome Satan, the wise one, the day star, in our own wisdom and strength. It is only as the true Day Star, Christ, enters us that we can perceive the true Kingdom of God.

The day in which man can make righteous efforts in his own strength is quickly coming to a close. During the period just ahead the only persons who will be able to stand in any kind of godliness will be the saints who are living in the Life of Christ, in whom Christ is living and thinking and walking.

The feast of Tabernacles, the last of the seven Levitical convocations, will be fulfilled spiritually as Christ and the Father enter the faithful saints, making of them a fortress of deliverance that will stand throughout the evil day. The greater Day Star who is in them will overcome the lesser day star. 

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (I John 4:4)

There will be abundant glory in the earth in the last days, and on all the glory there will be a covering of the strength of God.

 And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. (Isaiah 4:5,6)

The power of God to save us is emphasized in the Eighteenth, the Thirty-fourth, the Thirty-seventh, and the Ninety-first Psalms. They are excellent passages to study as preparation for the fires of judgment that soon are to come upon all who dwell on the earth.

God will enable each saint not only to survive but also to triumph in the hour of darkness. We shall continue to be more than conquerors through him who loved us and now is living in us in majesty and glory.

Darkness will cover the earth, in the last days, and thick darkness the peoples of the world. But the Light of God will arise in and upon the saints. Christ, the "bright and morning star," will come to His chosen.

The coming of Christ as the Morning Star, heralding the Day of the Lord, will not be a faint, fading flicker of light that finally will be extinguished as a triumphant Satan destroys all righteousness on the earth.

The coming of Christ as the bright and Morning Star will be a brilliant, glorious Light that will signal the end of spiritual darkness on the planet Earth.

When the Light shines in the darkness the darkness will not be able to conquer it. The Light shall conquer the darkness. It shall expel it from the face of the earth, driving it down into the abyss to which it has been assigned by the Lord God of Heaven.

The Church will arise and shine and the kings of the earth will come to be instructed by the Lord’s saints, just as all the ends of the earth came to be fed by Joseph, the Lord’s chosen vessel (Genesis 41:57).

Christ will enter the Church in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. Woe to the nation of people that does not come to the Church in its glory and receive the Divine blessing! 

And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. (Zechariah 14:16,17)

Christ will become one with His people, and the nations of the earth will realize that Christ has come from God and is the Judge of all mankind. If any nation on earth chooses not to acknowledge the Presence of God in Christ in the saints, that nation will be punished by the Lord.

The peoples of the earth must come to the waters of Life flowing freely from the Throne of God through Christ through the members of the Body of Christ. 

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)

The Spirit of God and the Bride of the Lamb invite all the peoples of the earth to come and drink of the living waters flowing from the saints.

The authority and power of judgment will release earth’s peoples so they will be able to choose to serve God and to enter His Presence.

Notice how the victory at Armageddon results in the conversion of the will of people, a will that today is bound tightly and controlled by Satan and his demons: 

And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for from Zion [the Body of Christ] shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem [the place of the throne of the all-powerful Son of David]. (Isaiah 2:3)

Giving without price the waters, the wine, the milk, and the bread, is associated with the Son of David: 

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. (Isaiah 55:1-3)

When the Ark of the Covenant had been brought successfully to Zion and placed in the Tabernacle of David (a type of the Glory of Christ entering the members of the Body of Christ), King David gave a blessing to all the people. 

And he dealt among all the people, even among the whole multitude of Israel, as well to the women as men, to every one a cake of bread, and a good piece of flesh, and a flagon of wine. So all the people departed every one to his house. (II Samuel 6:19)

The Son of David gave to the multitude, without cost, all the barley bread and fish they could eat. Then He began to speak to them of the true Bread from Heaven—also without price. 

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

But the Jews, while they were glad for the barley bread and fish, rejected the offer of the freely given Bread from Heaven.

They received the barley loaves and fishes because they were physically hungry. But they believed that a person can live by food alone and has no need of union with God. They professed to desire the Presence of God but in truth they did not desire the true Presence of God.

So it is today. People will receive the blessings of God—that which will satisfy their natural needs and desires.

But people, even Christian people, often believe that man can live by bread alone. They profess to want Christ, to want to go to Heaven, to Paradise in the spirit realm. But they desire to go to Paradise in order to escape trouble, in order to get away from the training and dealings of the Holy Spirit of God.

Every individual who is thirsty for the Presence of God, for the Spirit of God, for the Water and the Bread that relieve all thirst and all hunger, are welcome to come to the Presence of God in Christ in the saints and drink and eat until he or she is satisfied.

There is no charge for the living Water or for the Bread from Heaven. The Presence and Life of God Almighty are free to all who will receive; and the Water and Bread will be given to mankind by the Bride of the Lamb.

Why, then, will people—even church people—not come to God and be filled with His Presence and Life? The reason is that people are fearful, and unwilling to let go of their bondages—the bondages of sin and self-will. They fear that God will require they give up something that provides security or pleasure. They do not trust God’s Word or God’s Character. They are not certain of His intentions toward them. They do not have faith in God.

People are afraid of what will happen to them if they serve Christ, if they do God’s will (how we cling desperately to our rags and our hovels!). But the actual truth is that the Bread and Waters of God are without cost. There is no charge for them. They are given freely to all who ask. When God takes something from us it is because the person, or situation, or thing He has removed is harmful to us.

But sin and rebellion against God are very costly. When we buy sin and self-will we sell peace, joy, love, health, fellowship with God, eternal life, and a glorious future with the Lord. In order to pass this present life in sin and in following our own pursuits we are required to forfeit our inheritance as a child of God.

The Water and Bread from Heaven are free. But in order to buy the opportunity to sin and to follow our will we have to sell everything of value.

In order to live with an adulteress a man has to sell God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, his wife, his children, his inheritance in the Kingdom of God, and everything else of value. Is any prostitute worth this much? He wakes up in the slops among the pigs without his God or his self-respect. What did he buy at such a staggering cost?

There is only gain in receiving Christ and believing in Him. There is only loss in receiving Satan and believing in him. 

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: (Revelation 22:18)

No other Book of the Scripture is guarded by such a dreadful curse. The Book of Revelation is our protection against Antichrist, against Satan, against the False Prophet, who is the spirit of religious delusion.

We believe the entire Scriptures are the inspired Word of God. But "the words of the prophecy" of the Book of Revelation are guarded in an extraordinary manner. Revelation is the only book of the New Testament that is a vision given by the Father to Christ.

The "secret rapture of the Church" is an addition to the Book of Revelation. The opening statement of the Book of Revelation, after the greeting, is: "Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, . . . ." (Revelation 1:7).

"Every eye shall see him"!

This is the first declaration of the book to which no addition is to be made.

But what doctrine is current among God’s people?

One prevalent doctrine, that of the so-called "rapture," is that Christ will come with clouds but only a special group will see Him.

The Book of Revelation states: "every eye will see him."

The teaching of the "rapture" states: "every eye will not see him."

We believe that the special, secret coming known as the rapture is an addition to the Book of Revelation.

One group holds that the coming of the Lord takes place in Revelation 1:10. But this verse does not correspond to the description of the Lord’s coming found in Matthew, Chapter 24; I Thessalonians, Chapter Four; I Corinthians, Chapter 15; or Revelation 1:7. A much larger group teaches that the coming of the Lord takes place in Revelation 4:1. But this verse does not correspond to Matthew, Chapter 24; I Thessalonians Chapter Four; or I Corinthians, Chapter 15; and it does not fit Revelation 1:7—the prime announcement of the Book of Revelation concerning the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth.

Both of the above errors are secret comings made known only to a basically Gentile church that supposedly will be "raptured" into Heaven, while the Jewish saints without the Holy Spirit proceed with the work of the Kingdom of God.

The coming of the Lord, announced in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, is described in the nineteenth and twentieth chapters of the Book of Revelation.

The return of Christ to the earth is the Day of the Lord, the Day of Christ, the coming of the Kingdom of God preached by John the Baptist, Christ Himself, and the Apostles of the Lamb.

The addition of a secret coming at which time every eye will not see Christ has been added as a post-biblical revelation.

We believe that the doctrine of the secret "rapture" of a predominantly Gentile church has thrown the whole Gospel message off course. It has thrown it off course by leaving people with the impression that godly living is not necessary because on the basis of a profession of belief in Christ we will be removed from the final travail of the Kingdom.

To then place the burden of the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom on the Jews by race (without the Holy Spirit) is in fundamental conflict with the teachings of the Apostle Paul concerning the oneness of Jew and Gentile in Christ.

The extent of damage caused by the acceptance of the unscriptural "secret coming" is known only to God. It seems to us it has changed the concept of Christianity as a cross-carrying pilgrimage each believer is to pursue patiently until the Lord comes and saves us by destroying Antichrist.

The Book of Revelation, being guarded by a terrible curse, states "he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him."

We believe and teach this.

We do not believe that an advance secret coming is expressed or implied in Revelation 1:10.

We do not believe that an advance secret coming is expressed or implied in Revelation 4:1. We are not interested in men’s theories when discussing the foremost hope of the Church of Christ. We are looking for "this same Jesus" to come as He left. We are expecting a bold, clear entering of Christ into the earth, at which time every eye will behold Him.

According to the Scriptures, the Lord Jesus will not return to the earth to catch away His Bride to Heaven but to bring justice to the nations of the earth. First of all, most of the Bride is in Heaven already. Second, we go to Heaven not by the Lord’s coming but by dying. God could bring us all to Heaven by having Antichrist shoot us.

All such emphasis on removing the Church to Heaven is coming from Satan who desires that the light of the world be removed so he can have complete control of earth’s peoples, who actually are the inheritance of Christ and His saints.

The Lord Jesus is not coming so He then can turn around and go back into the spirit realm. He is coming to be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords on the throne of David in Jerusalem. His victorious saints will be caught up to meet Him so they may return with Him as part of His coming. This is the true Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

Because of the wretched condition of the peoples of the earth let us emphasize the coming of the Lord to establish justice, peace, and joy, not the removal of God’s witnesses to Heaven to sit in mansions wearing their golden slippers.

Let us beware of adding to the Book of Revelation. There is a specific reason for the inclusion of each word. The vision is not to be taken lightly. It is to stand as written—precisely as written.

When Christ returns to earth, every eye shall see Him. This is the main supporting pillar of the Book of Revelation. The resurrection and ascension of the saints will not be a secret; for "when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Colossians 3:4).

The Lord will come as a thief to the wicked but as a rewarder to every one who is waiting hopefully for His appearing to save us from the present evil age.

Christ’s appearing will be as visible as lightning. 

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the book of life, and from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:19)

In our time, the fear of God is being removed from the hearts of the saints. We are being taught we should reverence God but not fear Him. There is, however, a profound difference between fear and reverence.

What does the Book of Revelation teach? 

And a voice came from the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. (Revelation 19:5)

We are being taught we can enter the Presence of the Almighty God on the basis of professing belief in Christ as Lord and Savior and that godly conduct is not necessary for God’s acceptance.

What does the Book of Revelation teach? 

And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:23)

"I will give unto every one of you according to your works."

The above warning was directed toward the members of the Christian church in Thyatira.

We are being taught Christians are to be prosperous in this world and that they are not to suffer.

What does the Book of Revelation teach? 

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

And in the preceding verse: 

I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. (Revelation 2:9)

The members of the Christian church in Smyrna experienced poverty and prolonged tribulation to the point of death. Christ was interested in their "works."

Truly, the "Christian" doctrines of today are not in accordance with the Book of Revelation.

The Book of Revelation is to be neither subtracted from nor added to. But we have subtracted the wholesome fear of God, godly living, and the cheerful willingness of the saint of God to suffer tribulation and poverty in this present wicked age.

The Divine vision has been subtracted from and added to. Those who persist in teaching concepts contrary to the Book of Revelation are in danger of having their names blotted from the Lamb’s Book of Life and of losing their part in the new Jerusalem and in the other aspects of the inheritance of the victorious saints.

If we continue to add events to the Day of the Lord, will not the Lord add to us the frightful plagues described in the Book of Revelation? Or are we willing even to remove the curse that governs the prophecy so God is seen as a benevolent spirit who will perform neither good nor evil? 

He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)

God gave this prophecy to Christ. He gave it to Him so He—Christ—may show to His servants the soon-coming events of world history.

Christ sent the prophecy by the hand of His angel to the Apostle John, an angel who professed to be John’s "fellowservant."

John bore record of God’s Word, of the testimony of Christ, and of everything he saw.

Christ testified He would come quickly. Nearly two thousand years have transpired. From the point of view of human beings, two thousand years is a long period of time.

But from the eternal point of view two thousand years is as two days. It has taken this long for the members of the Body of Christ to be born into the Kingdom of God.

According to Paul, the ascension-gifts given by Christ are to labor until every saint comes to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of Christ, to a perfect man, to the measure of [maturity as measured by] the stature of the fullness of Christ.

This standard has not been attained as yet by the majority of the members of the Body of Christ. It is not even close to attainment.

But the Spirit is proclaiming that Christ is at the door.

No doubt we are entering the most important era of the history of the world. It is certain that all the seed that has been sown in the earth will spring forth quickly to maturity. Both righteousness and wickedness will ripen so angels and men may behold the results of serving God, and also of serving Satan.

Mankind as yet has not seen on the earth the degree of authority and power that will be exercised by the two witnesses of the eleventh chapter of Revelation. Mankind as yet has not seen on the earth the degree of tribulation and wrath described in the Book of Revelation.

The Lord God of Heaven has not forgotten one word that has been given by any of His holy prophets, including His servant, John. But God is patient, not willing that any soul should perish but that all should come to repentance.

However the Book of Revelation reveals that many will not repent, even when smitten with painful plagues.

The Words of the Lord Jesus Christ, proclaimed in the four Gospels and also in the Book of Revelation, have proven to be an accurate account of the history of the world. In spite of the vigorous efforts of philosophers and statesmen, dictators and generals, scientists and scholars, the world has been and continues to be plagued by wars, famines, pestilences, and the other troubles predicted by Christ.

The chronicle is not finished as yet. An appraisal of the development of the churches, and of secular government and society, indicates the end result will be what Christ has testified.

We know that the Kingdom of God will come to the earth soon. Christ will rule the nations as King of kings and Lord of lords.

The Body of Christ shall be brought to maturity and unity. The nation of kings and priests shall be born "at once."

The members of the Body of Christ say, "Amen." We cry, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus. We love Your appearing. We are waiting expectantly for You. It will be our greatest joy to be caught up to meet You in the air and to return with You in the fullness of glory and power.

"We are looking forward to standing with You on the Mount of Olives. We are anticipating the shout of Your conquering army as You direct us against Antichrist and his army. We shall rejoice as Your angels grasp Antichrist and the False Prophet and hurl them into the Lake of Fire.

"We will join the earth-shaking praise as You ascend the steps to take Your lawful place on the Throne of David. You are our King already. But in that Day Your majesty will be visible to all Your people, and to the nations of the earth as well.

"Come quickly, Lord Jesus." 

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Revelation 22:21)

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is the Virtue of God in Christ given to each believer under the new covenant.

The new covenant between God and man is established when we receive of the blood of God’s Passover Lamb. By faith we enter God’s plan of redemption.

Under the new covenant, every need of the saint is met. We are given of the Divine Virtue, of the Divine Grace, including wisdom, strength, and all other resources necessary to overcome each enemy, until we are able to fulfill every obligation, to be more than a conqueror throughout every trial.

The world, Satan, the sins of our flesh, and our self-love and self-will cannot conquer us if we allow the Divine grace that is in Christ to abide in our thinking, our motives, our speech, and our deeds.

The Book of Revelation is a description of the increase of sin and rebellion in the earth and of God’s response to that wickedness. It is a description also of the final triumph of Christ over Antichrist, of the saint over the sinner, of good over evil.

No darker night is described in the Scriptures than the horrors portrayed in the Book of Revelation. No brighter glory can be found in the Scriptures than that revealed in the last two chapters of Revelation.

Every human being desires to be on the winning team. Every person desires to obtain a joyful future.

Every individual can set his or her course toward the glories of the holy city. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is abundant in love and goodness. The waters of eternal life are free to whoever will receive.

The only person who can prevent us from being on the winning team, from obtaining a joyful future, is we ourselves.

The issue is faith in God. If we have faith in God, calling on His name through Christ, we will conquer. We will obtain eternal joy.

But if we do not have faith in God we will not call on Him. We will trust the people and things we can see with our physical eyes. We will lose everything of true value because the true, eternal riches originate in the spirit realm and are invisible in the present hour. In that case our future will be bleak indeed.

No longer is it possible to remain in indecision. The climax of the ages is upon us. The wicked and filthy will take their stand. The righteous and holy will take their stand.

Where will you stand?