THE DAY OF REDEMPTION
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The Lord Jesus advised us to look up during the time of worldwide turmoil because our redemption then will be near. Several verses of the New Testament speak of the coming salvation. The purpose of the present booklet is to increase our understanding of the nature of the day of redemption. A clear vision of the future salvation reflects back to the present hour and shows us the direction the Lord wants us to take in our time.
Table of Contents
The goal of redemptionThe Army of God
The Symbolism of the Journey of Israel From Egypt to Canaan
What the Passover symbolizesChanges That Are Occurring in the Church Services Because of the Nature and Closeness of the Divine Redemption
What the giving of the Law symbolizes
What the organizing of the tribes symbolizes
What the two spies symbolize
What the crossing of Jordan symbolizes
What the Canaanites symbolize
What the conquest of Canaan symbolizes
The change in worshipConclusion
The change in emphasis on discipline
The change in our perception of the need for deliverance from sin and for righteous behavior
The change in our perception of the resurrection from the dead and the kind of rewards that are desirable
The goal of redemption. The historical, venerable goal of the Divine redemption is to bring the believer to eternal residence in Paradise in the spirit realm, to Heaven. It is commonly believed that part of the future blessing will be a mansion, a beautiful house not made with human hands, perhaps surrounded by parks of unsurpassed beauty. We often view Heaven as the home we long for, where we will dwell for eternity in peace and joy among our loved ones.
It may be true that faithful believers will go to such a desirable place when they die and before the resurrection from the dead. Reputable visions of the saints suggest that this is the case.
However, we who revere the written Word of God must confess that there is no basis in the Scriptures for the belief that the goal of salvation is eternal residence in the spirit Paradise. The Greek term translated mansions, in John 14:2, means “dwelling place” and not a splendid house. In my Father’s house (which actually is not Heaven but the Lord Jesus Himself) there are many abiding places, not expensive houses. There are many living stones in the great Temple of God. Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament points toward eternal residence in Paradise as the goal of the Divine salvation.
The fact that eternal residence in the spirit Paradise is not the goal of the Christian salvation is central to the teaching of the current booklet and must be given considerable thought. One cannot change a basic belief of people without causing strong reactions. Nevertheless it is impossible to understand the Kingdom of God if one views eternal residence in the spirit realm as the goal of salvation.
Any endeavor, if it is to be successful, should have a clearly defined goal. If it does not, it is impossible to measure how well the program is working. There is no way of judging how effective a specific effort is. There is no way of measuring progress in achieving the objectives of the process. If you do not understand where you are going there is no way of knowing when you get there. Confusion reigns all along the line.
Perhaps we do not realize it, but when we attempt to describe Heaven what we actually are picturing is the restoration of the Garden of Eden on the earth—the redemption of mankind and the earth. Man was created on the earth and the earth is his eternal home.
Most of us probably are not overjoyed with the prospect of standing on a sea of glass and fellowshiping with creatures who are covered with eyes or have four faces. We are unable to picture Heaven apart from trees, lakes, grass, flowers, because the memory of Eden, of the earth as it was then, is in our personality. Our main hope (perhaps without realizing it) is that we will be with the Lord and our loved ones will be there with us.
The term redemption means to restore to the original or rightful owner that which was taken from him by trickery, forfeiture, or force. In the case of mankind, Adam and Eve were tricked by Satan and gave away their inheritance. The Lord Jesus came from Heaven and with His blood paid the price necessary to restore man’s inheritance.
The price of redemption has been fully paid for us. But Satan, not being an honorable person, refuses to surrender the lost property. Therefore Satan must be bound so that what he is holding illegally, the nations of the earth and the earth itself, may be returned to the original and rightful owners. Redemption from the hand of such an enemy can be accomplished only by force, by war.
Man was not created in Heaven but on the earth. To bring him to Heaven that he may make his eternal home there would not be to redeem that which he had lost but to change what man is, to alter the original great Divine declarations of the sixth day of creation.
Do the Scriptures actually teach that the day of redemption will find man on a restored earth rather than in Heaven? Indeed they do! Eternal residence in the spirit Paradise is not found.
So the heathen [nations] shall fear the name of the LORD, and all the kings of the earth thy glory. When the LORD shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:15,16)
The Lord will return to the earth to govern the nations.
For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the LORD behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD. (Psalms 102:19-22)
The kingdoms of the world will yet serve God. God’s will shall be done on the earth in the day of redemption.
God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah. That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah. Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him. (Psalms 67:1-7)
God left the earth because of the rebellion that took place in the Garden of Eden. It is God’s intention to return to the earth and to dwell here forever. The earth is the home of mankind, and mankind is composed of God’s children. God desires to be where His sons are.
… Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (Psalms 2:7,8)
The inheritance of the Lord Jesus is the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth. We are coheirs with Jesus, our elder Brother.
He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations. (Psalms 72:2-5)
Perhaps because of our desire to escape the pain of life on earth we have lost sight of the purpose of the coming of the Lord. The purpose of the Lord’s coming is not to carry the saints to Heaven. The purpose of the return of Christ is to bring righteousness, peace, and joy to the meek of the earth. No passage of Scripture teaches that the purpose of the Lord’s return is to bring His Church to Heaven.
And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen. (Psalms 72:19)
It is no mere happenstance that the prayers of King David end with David’s desire that the earth be filled with God’s glory.
Can you see that the hope of the Kingdom of God expressed in the preceding passages has to do with the Lord’s return to the earth, that is, with the redemption of the material creation?
The preaching of John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, and the Apostles of the Lamb concerned the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The Lord’s prayer speaks of the coming of God’s Kingdom to the earth. The parables of the Lord Jesus are directed toward the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth. No parable of the Lord has to do with eternal residence in Heaven.
We Christians know we shall be with the Lord forever.
The Lord will be on the earth throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Millennium) and so this is where we shall be. To be with the Lord is to be “home.”
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (II Corinthians 5:8)
The Lord Jesus will be on the new earth throughout eternity and so this is where we shall be. Our only stay in the spirit Paradise (made necessary by the loss of our physical body in death) will be the period prior to the resurrection of the dead. The purpose of the resurrection from the dead is that we may be able once again to live on the earth. As the Lord told Daniel, “you will rest until the end of the days.”
But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days. (Daniel 12:13)
Daniel’s stay in the spirit realm is here viewed as temporary, that is, until redemption comes. Heaven is just that—a place of rest for the righteous until the Lord returns to govern the world.
The kingdoms of this world are destined to become the Kingdom of God and His Christ.
If what we are suggesting is indeed true, if a redeemed body and a redeemed earth actually are our land of promise, our Canaan, then the manner in which we view and experience the Divine redemption is about to experience tremendous change. For if our hope is a resurrected body and our inheritance is the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth, then grace must include not only forgiveness but also moral transformation. Who would want to live on a redeemed earth with people who were forgiven but still worldly minded and self-seeking?—who never had truly received Jesus as their personal Lord?
The goal of the Christian salvation is not eternal residence in a mansion in the spirit Paradise. The goal is moral transformation into the image of the Lord Jesus and oneness with the Father through the Lord Jesus. These two aspects of the goal constitute what salvation is. The coming to maturity in our personality of the two aspects of the goal makes it possible for us to serve as the Bride of the Lamb, the brothers of the Lord, the royal priesthood, the Temple of God, and all the other roles and relationships that God had in mind when He created man.
If our land of promise is not Heaven then we indeed have arrived at a new day in our thinking. We have come to the most marvelous, wonderful opportunity to understand the Scriptures and to prepare ourselves for the redemption that is near to come with the return of the Lord Jesus with the saints and holy angels.
Redemption is past, present, and future. But do the Scriptures actually speak of a future redemption? Hasn’t redemption been fully accomplished when we receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior?
Notice in the following verse that our salvation has not been fully established until we finish our course.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)
We are destined to be part of Christ provided we finish our course, provided we endure to the end of the race. How could we derive any other meaning from Hebrews 3:14?
Redemption is past, present, and future. We are received by the Lord when we first put our trust in Jesus and are baptized in water according to His commandment. However, redemption is always a present battle in that the forces of life and death struggle continually to gain mastery over our personality. We are required to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, to lay hold on eternal life, to save ourselves and those who follow us.
Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (I Timothy 4:16)
Redemption also is future.
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Romans 13:11)
What we have now is an earnest, the guarantee of a redemption that will be ours provided we endure to the end of the race.
Which is the earnest of [deposit on] 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)
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)
When the Lord returns we shall be released from all that remains of our sinful personality and brought into the glorious freedom of the sons of God. This will take place provided we have faithfully followed the Lord in all He has shown us. It absolutely is not true that the final redemption from sin will be our inheritance even though we have not been faithful today. The current teaching that all believers will be set free in the Lord when He comes even though they have not followed the Lord is not at all true. The present teaching of unconditional grace is a grievous perversion of the doctrine of the Apostle Paul.
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)
The salvation that will come with the appearing of the Lord will be experienced only by those who continually are looking to Him in all areas of their personality and behavior. The redemption of the last days is not for the lukewarm.
Our redemption is drawing near. We are to look up for it is coming to us from Heaven. In that day we shall be completely free from sin in body, soul, and spirit. We shall be able to serve the Lord in the fullness of righteousness, peace, and joy. The glory of the Kingdom of God will be ours to enjoy for eternity.
The Army of God
If we would understand the day of redemption, the Day of the Lord, the installation of the Kingdom of God on the earth, we must learn about the army of God.
There are four stupendous signs that will announce the return of the Lord Jesus to the earth. They are His calling card:
- The sun shall be darkened.
- The moon shall not give off light.
- The stars shall fall from heaven.
- The powers of the heavens shall be shaken.
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (Matthew 24:29)
When we study the Old Testament to see what is said about these signs we sometimes find they are associated with a large, powerful army.
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: 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 2:10,11)
We are aware that this passage can be interpreted to mean a swarm of locusts or the invasion of the nation of Israel by one of its enemies. But the wording of the passage, as in the case of many other writings of the Hebrew Prophets, goes far, far beyond any immediate application. In this instance the text portrays the army that is associated with the four great signs in the heavens of which the Lord spoke in the twenty-fourth chapter of the Book of Matthew.
Referring to the second chapter of the Book of Joel:
“The day of the LORD cometh”—verse 1.
“A great people and a strong”—verse 2.
“A strong people set in battle array”—verse 5.
“They shall march every one on his ways”—verse 7.
“The earth shall quake before them”—verse 10.
“The heavens shall tremble”—verse 10.
“The sun and the moon shall be dark”—verse 10.
“The stars shall withdraw their shining”—verse 10.
“The LORD shall utter his voice before his army”—verse 11.
“The day of the LORD is great and very terrible”—verse 11.
Notice how the writing of Isaiah (that follows) parallels the second chapter of the Book of Joel, speaking of the heavenly signs that will accompany the return of the Lord Jesus to the earth and also of the army that will accompany the Lord.
I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness. The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. (Isaiah 13:3-10)
Again, in Habakkuk:
The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear. (Habakkuk 3:11)
These passages appear to go far beyond any natural event and speak of the time when the great calling card of the Lord Jesus is presented to the nations of the earth.
If we would appreciate the need for an army we first must understand that it is the Lord’s saints who have been given the commission to judge sin and drive it from the earth.
Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand; To execute vengeance upon the heathen [nations], and punishments upon the people; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalms 149:5-9)
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)
Do the New Testament writings also suggest that when the Lord returns there will be an army of saints who will return with Him and judge the world?
Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? (I Corinthians 6:2)
The material realm will be redeemed from the curse of sin at the hands of the sons of God. Sin can be removed only by the exercise of Divine judgment.
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)
Will the Lord appear by Himself or will the saints appear with Him?
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
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. (II Thessalonians 1:10)
Will the coming Redeemer ride into battle alone or will His saints ride with Him?
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 1:14,15)
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)
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)
The elect will be gathered together at the appearing of the Lord.
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31)
The elect will be gathered to the Commander in Chief in order that they may ride with Him into battle. The trumpet will sound and the saints in Heaven and the saints on the earth will be caught up to the Commander in Chief in the air. Then we shall return with Him and redeem the nations and the entire material creation from the curse of sin.
It is time now to begin to organize the Church of the Lord Jesus into an army. This may prove to be the greatest change in the Christian churches since the days of the Apostles.
The Symbolism of the Journey of Israel From Egypt to Canaan
There are four great types found in the Old Testament. These are:
- The seven feasts of the Lord.
- The Tabernacle of the Congregation.
- The days of creation.
- The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan.
Each of these four types may be divided into seven parts or stages, each stage typifying an aspect of redemption. Each of the four types has four applications:
- To the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- To the growth of the believer from a guilty, chaotic personality to the fullness of maturity as a living stone in the eternal Temple of God.
- To the growth of the Church from an assortment of competing social gatherings to the one unblemished Bride of the Lamb.
- To the program of installing the Kingdom of God on the earth.
We shall now apply the journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan to the growth of the Church from an assortment of competing social gatherings to the one unblemished Bride of the Lamb.
What the Passover symbolizes. The journey of the descendants of Jacob began with the sprinkling of the blood of the Lamb on the door posts of their houses. The purpose of the blood-shield was to protect the Israelite families from the judgment of God as God passed over the land of Egypt to slay each firstborn child and the firstborn of cattle.
Some are teaching today that it was not God but Satan that passed over Israel and killed the firstborn of Egypt. So great is the current ignorance of the Scriptures! So great is the influence of humanism on the Gospel of the Kingdom and the interpretation of the Scriptures!
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. (Exodus 12:12)
“I will pass through the land.” “I will smite.” “I will execute judgment.” “I am the Lord.” Is Satan speaking here?
One reason believers cannot accept the fact that the Christians will follow Christ into battle is that they cannot conceive of the saints of the Lord executing Divine judgment. Our difficulty is not with the statements of the Scriptures, for they are quite clear. Our difficulty is that we have been deceived by the philosophy of humanism, the idea that the rights and comforts of man must prevail in every circumstance, the same spirit that spoke through Peter in the attempt to persuade the Lord Jesus to not go up to Jerusalem and suffer there.
What spirit is it that overemphasizes the “love of God” in this mistaken manner?
From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matthew 16:21-23)
Christian thinking is filled with the things that are of men, not the things that are of God. Let us accept the fact that we are in deception concerning the true Nature of the Consuming Fire of Israel. God’s love is so great as to be beyond our comprehension. The same is equally true of God’s wrath!
If we are to understand both the protection and the destruction of Passover we must recognize that both come from the Lord, not from Satan. The authority to issue both the love and the judgment of God are being passed to the Church as the Church abides in Christ. The keys of the Kingdom of God are placed in the hands of the Church when the Church is filled with Christ and moving in the Spirit of God. When Christ is in us and breathes on us we have the authority to forgive sin and to retain sin. We have the authority to open and close the gates of the Kingdom to an individual. Such authority is not something to be desired but it has been assigned to the Church as the Church is ready to receive it. It is an awesome responsibility—terrible beyond all human comprehension.
Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. (John 20:23)
The keys of Hell and death are in the possession of the Lord Jesus. They are not in the hands of Satan.
Each member of the Church begins his or her pilgrimage by receiving by faith the sprinkling of the blood of God’s Lamb, Christ. The blood protects the individual and his family from the wrath of God when God brings judgment on the world.
In addition the family is to “eat the Lamb.” By eating the Lamb we mean that the believers are to receive the Lord Jesus into their personality and begin to look to the Lord in every aspect of personality and behavior so that He may be formed in them.
The central message of the Passover is not the exodus from slavery in Egypt because the Israelites quickly brought themselves into slavery to the demon-gods of Canaan. They went from one slavery to another that was worse. While they were in Egypt the Jews did not offer their children as burnt offerings to demon gods as they did when they were settled in Canaan.
Rather, the central message of the Passover is that God’s Lamb, Christ, releases us from slavery to sin.
Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant [slave] of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:34-36)
The Christian Church has come as far as the spiritual realities symbolized by the Passover. Salvation by faith in the blood of the cross has been firmly, eternally established among the Christian people. The Passover blood marks the beginning of our redemption.
What the giving of the Law symbolizes. The feast of Pentecost comes fifty days after the Passover.
Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the LORD. (Leviticus 23:16)
Fifty days after the first Passover the Jews came to Mount Sinai. Therefore the feast of Pentecost is associated in Jewish thinking with the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai.
Not only has God given us the Passover Lamb, He also has poured out on us His Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus no longer is on the earth and so He has given us “another Comforter.”
The purpose of the Law, the Torah, was to warn people of God’s judgment on specific behaviors. The Law was given to control sin until Christ came.
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. (Galatians 3:19)
The new covenant deals with sin in a manner different from the Law of Moses. First of all the new believer must obey the writings of the Apostles. The Apostles in their epistles issued many commandments that Christians are to obey, such as the commandment to present our body to God as a living sacrifice. We are to put away sin by the grace that God gives us.
The purest form of the law of the new covenant, however, is the Holy Spirit Himself. As we make the effort to obey the commandments given by the Apostles we find that the Holy Spirit is entering our life to an increasing extent. The Holy Spirit begins to guide and empower us so we are able to gain the upper hand over sin.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
The Holy Spirit is the Law of the new covenant and corresponds to Mount Sinai of the old covenant.
Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (II Corinthians 3:6)
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)
The spiritual reality foreshadowed by the Passover provides the saving blood of the Lamb, and the spiritual reality foreshadowed by the Law from Sinai provides the wisdom and power to escape the death of sin and to enter the eternal life of the Spirit of God.
What the construction of the Tabernacle symbolizes. After the Law was given on Sinai the Lord issued the commandment to build the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)
The Tabernacle of the Congregation symbolizes the Body of Christ, the Christian Church.
The Christian Church has put its faith in the blood of the Lamb throughout the Christian Era. Then toward the end of the last century and the beginning of the present century the Lord poured out His Spirit on His churches. The result was the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. The power of Pentecost has been restored to the Church in the twentieth century.
In the late 1940s or thereabouts there began to grow in the Christian consciousness the concept of the Body of Christ. An awareness of the importance of the Body, as distinguished from self-contained denominations or independent churches, keeps increasing. The understanding that the purpose of the various gifts and ministries given by the Holy Spirit is to bring the members of the one Body to the fullness of Christ has been enlarged, although not nearly enough in our opinion.
The emphasis on the Body of Christ, its importance in the plan of God, corresponds to the construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
Numerous aspects of the Kingdom of God are symbolized by the parts and construction of the Tabernacle. It was during the study of the Tabernacle given by Oliver Ellenwood over forty years ago that the present author first began to gain a vision of the plan of redemption.
What the organizing of the tribes symbolizes. Salvation by faith in the blood of the Lord Jesus, reliance on the Holy Spirit for the wisdom and power to witness and also to lead a holy life, and a recognition that the churches of Christ are part of one Body—the Body of Christ, are now in the possession of the Lord’s people, although varying in comprehensiveness from one Christian assembly to another.
After the construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation the Lord organized His people into an army in preparation for the invasion of Canaan. This is where we are today. It is time now to begin to develop the concept of the army of God. We can read about the organizing of the Israelites into an army in the early chapters of the Book of Numbers.
Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father’s house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch. (Numbers 2:2)
Do you see, from the above verse, that the army of the Lord could not be organized until first the Tabernacle was constructed?
First the construction of the Tabernacle (representing the building of the Body of Christ). Then the organization of the army.
But why an army? Do we need an army in order to enter Heaven?
The redemption of the Church and of the nations of the earth can take place only as the enemy, Satan, is driven out. Just as Canaan had to be invaded and conquered, so it is true that our land of promise, which includes the nations of the earth and the entire material creation, and also our own personality, must be invaded and conquered under the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
The day of redemption is a time of warfare!
The feasts of the Lord constitute one of the four great types we mentioned previously. The fourth feast is the feast of Pentecost typifying the work of the Holy Spirit. The fifth feast is the blowing of Trumpets, which typifies the coming of the Lord Jesus, the Commander in Chief, to declare war against His enemies and to organize His people into an army.
Part of the Christian Church is referred to as “Pentecostal,” deriving its name from the fourth feast of the Lord. We have been at Pentecost throughout the twentieth century. Now the cloud and the fire are moving forward. The vanguard of the Church no longer is camping at Pentecost. It is time to move forward into the fifth feast, the blowing of Trumpets. We now are at the dawning of the day of redemption. The cry of the spirit is “War! War! War!”
Listen carefully and you will hear the trumpet of the Lord of Armies, the drums of El Shaddai, the shouting of the captains, the voice of the archangel. The Day of the Lord, the day of redemption, is now upon us. It will grow in intensity until Satan and all his influence have been driven from the heavens and the earth.
The day of judgment, the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament Day of Atonement, the day of vengeance of our God, is on the horizon and shall continue from the present hour throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age until it is time for the earth and the heaven to flee from the face of Christ.
The Israelites marched out of Egypt by their ranks.
But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed [armed and prepared for battle] out of the land of Egypt. (Exodus 13:18)
However, we note that the moment Moses left them the descendants of Jacob degenerated quickly into an unruly mob.
And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. (Exodus 32:19)
So it is today. We Christians know a little about spiritual warfare. But our discipline dissolves quickly and we sit down to eat and drink and rise up to play; or else fight and quarrel among ourselves.
It appears that in our time most believers do that which is right in their own sight. That day is past for those who are following the Lord.
One of the distinguishing features of an army is discipline. It often is true that we believers are not accustomed to strict discipline as far as our church life is concerned. We go where we want to and do what we want to, and woe to the pastor who seeks to guide us into the Lord’s will if God’s will is contrary to our will! Now the Lord is coming to teach us discipline. Christ will use His own means, including fear of disobedience, to place and maintain His soldiers where he wants them.
No doubt some leaders will attempt to abuse the Divine authority given them and seek to coerce their followers to follow them as they, the leaders and elders, follow their own self-will and self-interests. The Lord’s sheep know His voice (the lambs are not always as experienced and wise) and they will not follow forever the “strangers” who try to lead them astray.
We are passing from the twenty-third Psalm to the twenty-fourth Psalm. We have known Christ as the good Shepherd. Now the trumpet of war is sounding and the Kingdom of God and His Christ are at hand. The good Shepherd is becoming the Lord, strong and mighty in battle. The earth is the Lord’s and He is ready to redeem it.
We are to lift up the “everlasting gates” of our heart and welcome the Lord of Armies. He is the King of Glory. All those who have clean hands and a pure heart will ride with Him in the day of vengeance of our God.
What the two spies symbolize. While Israel was camped in the plains of Moab, Joshua sent two spies across the Jordan to assess the strength of Jericho. The new covenant counterpart of the two spies of the Book of Joshua is the two witnesses of the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation.
The two witnesses and two olive trees of Revelation symbolize Christ, Head and Body, bearing witness under a double portion of the Holy Spirit of God. The two witnesses may bring healing and deliverance to multitudes of people. However, it is Divine judgment that is emphasized in the eleventh chapter of Revelation. The two witnesses will torment those on the earth who insist on living sinful lives—even church people!
And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. (Revelation 11:10)
The reason Divine judgment is emphasized in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation is that the witnesses will be accurately portraying the Day of Judgment that is at hand. God always sends two witnesses whenever there is to be a significant change in His working with mankind. The two witnesses portray in themselves the new day that is at hand and they themselves are the origin, the source of the new day.
Adam and Eve were the two witnesses that announced and were the source of the coming of mankind to the earth. Abraham and Sarah were the two witnesses that announced and were the source of God’s elect, of Israel, and finally of the coming of the new Jerusalem to the earth. Moses and Aaron were the two witnesses that announced and were the source of the coming of the eternal moral law of God to the earth.
So it is that Christ, Head and Body, will reveal in themselves the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth and will be the source of the Kingdom.
After the witness has been concluded the Lord will permit Antichrist to drive the Christian witness from the major cities of the earth and the saints will be forced to flee into the wilderness to await the return of the Lord in the clouds of glory. In that day it will not be possible to seek God or to experience the Holy Spirit in the cities. All deliverance and salvation will then be residing in the remnant of the elect, both Jewish and Gentile believers in Christ, who are waiting in the wilderness for the Lord’s return.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. (Joel 2:32)
It is our understanding that the Mount Zion and Jerusalem mentioned above are not the physical Zion and Jerusalem but are the true Zion and Jerusalem, that is, the Church of the Firstborn.
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:22,23)
The Lord Jesus told us that the Gospel of the Kingdom would be preached to all nations for a witness and then the end would come.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)
The two witnesses will bring the Gospel of the Kingdom to every nation for a witness and then the end of the Gospel witness will have come to the great cities of the earth. Salvation and the Spirit of God no longer will be available to the majority of earth’s population, including the “believers” who have allowed themselves to become part of the great “Babylon,” the huge religious institution which then will have its headquarters in the land of Shinar, the site of ancient Babylon. At that time the major cities will probably have become one economic entity through the use of computerized telecommunications.
The Lord is judging His witnesses today in preparation for their ministry to the nations. Are you experiencing this judgment, this “measuring”?
And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. (Revelation 11:1)
What the crossing of Jordan symbolizes. The Christian must participate in three deaths and three resurrections before he is eligible and competent to enter the land of promise.
The first death is death to the world. The first resurrection is entrance into the Kingdom of God. The first death and resurrection are typified by the crossing of the Red Sea.
The second death (not referring in this instance to the Lake of Fire) is death to sin. The second resurrection is entrance into the freedom of life lived in the Spirit of God. The second death and resurrection are typified by the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai.
The third death is death to self. The third resurrection is entrance into the fullness of God’s Person through Christ including the fullness of fruitfulness and dominion—that which was promised to man in the beginning. The third death and resurrection are typified by the crossing of the Jordan River.
- We must die to the spirit of the present world, coming out from it and living a holy life unto the Lord.
- We must die to sin, putting the deeds of our body to death as the Holy Spirit guides and empowers us.
- We must die to self. We die to self as we take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus. Our personal cross includes the deferring of our most intense desires and patient, uncomplaining continuance in the prison in which the Lord places us—even to the point of death.
The third death is by far the hardest to die. The third death can be accomplished only through the patient endurance of suffering, as the Lord leads. The third resurrection is by far the most glorious, bringing us into the fullness of our inheritance as a son of God.
The Lord is calling us today to the third death and resurrection. It is impossible to enter the land of promise until we give our entire personality and life to the Lord Jesus. Jesus must become our personal Lord!
What the Canaanites symbolize. The Canaanites symbolize Satan, the fallen angels, the demons, and all else associated with Satan and the works of darkness. They are the spirits and practices that the Lord hates. They currently live in the members of the churches, and in the nations as well, and must be driven from us before we will be able to appear with the Lord in the day of redemption.
Are you willing to have the Lord remove from your personality and behavior all worldliness, all lust and violence, and all self-seeking? Jesus is able to do this but you must ask for such total deliverance and be willing to follow the Lord as He brings you from conquest to conquest over the darkness that is in you.
What the conquest of Canaan symbolizes. The conquest of Canaan portrays the overcoming of Satan and the gaining of the fullness of eternal, incorruptible, indestructible eternal life—life lived in the fullness of the Spirit of God just as the Lord Jesus lives.
Our inheritance as sons of God includes, first of all, the full possession of God Himself—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
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)
Our inheritance includes dominion over all the works of God’s hands—angelic and human.
Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:8)
Our inheritance includes all that is associated with the new Jerusalem, the new earth, and the new heaven.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)
Before we are able to enter our inheritance we must, through Christ, dispossess Satan. We must conquer Satan. It is only then that we can enter the rest of fellowship with the Godhead and the holy angels. It is only then that we can inherit all the works of God’s hands. It is only then that we can inherit all that is included in the new Jerusalem, the new earth, and the new heaven.
All these are our rightful inheritance as sons of God. But we have lost them through the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Now our inheritance must be redeemed—even our own body.
And not only they, 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 redemption of our body marks our adoption as a son of God. Our new inner nature already has been born of God but our body must be adopted.
We are not able to redeem ourselves. Our Redeemer had to come from Heaven, suffer and then die on the cross, paying off the mortgage Satan held on us, and then rise again that He might bring us home to the Father.
Changes That Are Occurring in the Church Services Because of the Nature and Closeness of the Divine Redemption
If the Divine redemption consisted primarily of escape to the spirit Paradise where we would live in a beautiful mansion with our loved ones, doing nothing of significance for eternity, then the program of salvation might focus on the blood of the Lord Jesus as our ticket that we present to Saint Peter upon our physical death.
The Divine redemption in actuality has to do with the restoration by force of their inheritance to the sons of God, an inheritance presently in the hands of Satan, a rebellious cherub. The Lord Jesus is not going to accomplish the redemption by Himself but rather will make it possible for the sons of God to drive Satan from their inheritance.
Because the Divine redemption has as its purpose the full restoration of our inheritance, the program of salvation only begins with our forgiveness through the atoning blood. After we are forgiven there is a lifetime of lessons, deliverances, tests, sufferings, ministries, discipline, obedience, patience, sacrificial service, that must be endured.
He who endures to the end shall be saved.
The lukewarm believers, those who have neglected so great a salvation, will be vomited from the Lord’s mouth.
If we would understand the Kingdom of God we must define salvation as our transformation from the image of Satan into the image of Christ, and also our divorce from Satan and our self-will and our entrance into untroubled union with the Father through the Lord Jesus.
Our transformation from the image of Satan into the image of Christ.
Our divorce from Satan and our self-will and our entrance into untroubled union with the Father through the Lord Jesus.
Image and union are what salvation is. A transformed personality and restful union in the Lord do not bring us to salvation, they themselves are the Christian salvation.
Salvation makes it possible for us to participate in the several roles and responsibilities desired for His sons by the Father in Heaven. In addition to serving as a member of the Bride of the Lamb we are to become a living stone in the eternal Temple of God. God has been revealed to His creatures through the Lord Jesus. Now God wants to greatly enlarge the revelation of Himself by forming a body for the Lord Jesus.
We cannot serve as a member of the Bride of the Lamb, as a living stone in the eternal Temple of God, or in any of the other roles and responsibilities assigned to the sons of God until we first have been fully redeemed; that is, until we have been transformed in personality and behavior into the image of Christ and have been brought fully into untroubled rest in the Father.
We are neither eligible nor competent to serve in God’s Kingdom until we first have been saved according to the aforementioned standard.
This is not to say that people have to wait until they are perfect before they can serve God. It is our ministry of today that makes us and those who hear us perfect. The purpose of ministry is to bring us to the standard—the standard that is the fullness of Christ. Rather, when referring to eligibility and competence we are speaking of our eternal service to God in the Kingdom that is coming to the earth.
Let us think about some of the changes that are even now entering some of the forward-looking churches—changes that are required because of the nature and closeness of the Divine redemption.
The change in worship. Our music is changing. The worship leaders are beginning to prophesy through their music of the day of redemption, of the warfare we are facing.
It used to be “Sweet Hour of Prayer” and “When the Roll Is Called up Yonder.” Now it is “He Is the Living God Enduring Forever,” the chorus composed by King Darius when Daniel survived the night of the lions.
I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. (Daniel 6:26)
“He Is the Living God” is a stirring chorus and speaks of the Kingdom of God rather than how safe we are in the arms of Jesus or how we will meet each other on that beautiful shore. If you have not heard some of the songs of war as yet, get ready to be stirred to arm yourself for the battle. The conflict of the ages is upon us.
My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. (Jeremiah 4:19)
Tambourines are especially important today. Much effective worship can be accomplished with tambourines, especially when played in unison. Uniform movements with tambourines require an instructor, discipline, and practice.
While we do not as yet have people acting out prophecy, as we often read in the Old Testament, we do have mime. Mime, if is performed by consecrated Christians living in holiness and obedience to God, can be an effective portrayal of truth, including to those people who do not speak our language.
Sometimes people say they can’t find mime in the Bible. This is true. Neither will they find blackboards or overhead projectors. These are all tools to portray Gospel truth.
The acting out of prophecy would be a blessing to the assemblies and perhaps the Holy Spirit will graciously restore this manifestation to us.
Several forms of pageantry are springing up in the assemblies. These include the waving of banners and marching with flags. The banners and flags are announcing the coming of the King and are a part of spiritual war and worship.
Sometimes the joy of the Lord is expressed in dancing. How much dancing should be included, what forms it should take, must be under the discipline of the church elders. All art forms, including music, are of the soul of man. They lead to spiritual worship if conducted properly. They lead to adultery and fornication if they are not under the authority of godly elders.
Mime and other art forms, such as painting scenes given by the Spirit during the time of worship, can be a blessing if it is kept in mind that our purpose is to worship God. Mime, painting, and other artistic expressions can form a valuable part of the worship program.
Why is God introducing the music of war and colorful pageantry into the worship services? For at least two reasons. One reason is that it is appropriate to herald with pageantry the coming of the King. Are we to sit quietly and listen to a sermon with an introduction, three points, anecdotes, and a conclusion when the King of all kings is about to come through the gates?
The second reason is that whole personality involvement is required if we are to cope with the increasing pressure of sin. Some of the largest cities of America are in a state of anarchy. Citizens young and old kill each other with little provocation and less remorse. Children are offered in satanic rituals. Fetuses well on their way to becoming boys and girls are murdered as though they were so much garbage. Are we to sit quietly in our assemblies and hear sermons about how we ought to do good and then informed that whether or not we do good we are saved by grace?
We indeed should listen to sermons about how we ought to do good, but much, much more is required if we are to survive spiritually. We must become active with our whole personality in clapping, dancing, marching, waving banners, playing tambourines, holding up great flags announcing the Kingdom of God. The time of worship should be one of excitement and widespread participation. This is no time to act like the scornful Michal as David danced before the Ark. The end of scornfulness is barrenness.
Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child unto the day of her death. (II Samuel 6:23)
The thoughtful pastor will recognize that the young people and children of the assembly will enjoy and quickly become proficient in the use of tambourines, in mime and drama, in the use of banners and flags, in dance, and in marching. How much better to have the young people and children involved in significant activities in the assembly rather than made to sit quietly while they neither understand nor relate to what is taking place!
Worship programs are very attractive to people and will fill an assembly with people who enjoy the various forms of praise. Remember that the high praises of God must be accompanied by the two-edged sword of the Word of God. If fervent, colorful worship is not accompanied by a stern word of discipline, the main purpose of God, which is the redemption of mankind, cannot possibly be accomplished.
Both righteousness and praise must spring forth before the nations. Praise alone is not sufficient.
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)
The change in emphasis on discipline. As we mentioned previously, there is not a great deal of discipline in the average church assembly, at least in the Pentecostal-Charismatic variety of assemblies. The fear of God must be added to our churches. When Ananias and Sapphira were disciplined by the Lord “great fear came upon all the church.”
There is an element of fear in most discipline. Paul stated that many were sick and some had died because of participating in the Communion service in an improper manner.
The Lord Jesus is ready to place each soldier where He wants him or her. The soldier of the Lord must remain faithful in his or her appointed position until the Lord directs otherwise. Let each one of us seek the Lord that we may discover where we are to be and what we are to do. Then let us be faithful unto death.
We no longer are free to criticize the elders or one another, to run here and there as it pleases us, to usurp the place of another, to participate in special loyalties to individuals or groups. We are to look always to Jesus and do as He says. He is the Commander in Chief. We also are to obey the authority that the Lord places over us. If the authority behaves in an improper manner, then we are to pray and ask the Lord to make the necessary changes.
The Lord Jesus will stand behind those whom He has placed in authority. He will be an enemy to their enemies as long as they serve the Lord faithfully. The day is past when we carelessly and willfully can criticize, mock, contradict, scorn, rebel against, and tear down the officers whom Christ has chosen. The soldier in the army of the Lord who goes about gossiping and criticizing, who is as a loose cannon careening across the deck of the ship, injuring people and destroying the Lord’s work, will be punished severely by the Lord.
The imposition of stern discipline by the Spirit of God is as much as part of the Kingdom revival of today as tongues is a part of the Pentecostal revival.
The change in our perception of the need for deliverance from sin and for righteous behavior. The prevailing concept of salvation is that the blood of Jesus is a ticket to the spirit Paradise when we die. Every sincere believer understands that a Christian ought to please the Lord in motive, speech, and action. But the Christian concept is that in the final sense we go to the spirit Paradise by God’s grace and mercy independently of our behavior and obedience to God, and that this is the main difference between the Law of Moses and the grace of God in Christ.
The Christian concept is unscriptural and can be disproved easily from the New Testament Scripture by an intelligent high school student.
Because moral transformation and union with God through Christ, and not eternal residence in the spirit Paradise, are the main objectives of the goal of redemption, the doctrine concerning the entire Christian program of redemption is in need of change. Such change is upon us.
The blood of the Lord Jesus is not a ticket to Heaven. The blood of the Lord Jesus is the payment of the mortgage that Satan holds on mankind. Because the mortgage has been paid we are eligible to receive the grace of the new covenant. New covenant grace includes:
Access to the Holy of Holies in Heaven which we may enter in order to pray for the wisdom and strength to overcome the world, Satan, and our self-will.
The indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit of God who comforts us and gives us wisdom and strength.
The Seed of God, Christ, born in us.
The body and blood of Christ, which are our eternal life by which we live, which also are the resurrection by which we shall be raised at the appearing of the slain Lamb in the heavens. We are the eagles who live by the body and blood of the carcass of the slain Lamb.
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. (Matthew 24:28)
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)
The gifts and ministries given to the Body of Christ by the ascended Christ.
The writings of the Apostles of the Lamb.
All of the above are part of the grace of God under the new covenant. The purpose of the grace of God is to save us, that is, to transform us into the moral image of Christ so we may have fellowship with God and so we may find perfect rest in the Bosom of God along with Christ.
When we view the blood of Christ as an alternative to righteous behavior, as a ticket to the spirit Paradise, then deliverance from sin and righteous behavior are always desirable but assuredly not essential to our salvation, which is thought to be eternal residence in a beautiful mansion.
When we view the blood of Christ as the payment of the mortgage that Satan holds on us so we may enter the fullness of the grace of God, the grace that leads us to moral transformation and untroubled union with God, then deliverance from sin and righteous behavior are seen to be the end result of Divine grace and the only sure evidence of salvation. Apart from deliverance from sin and the practice of righteous behavior we are neither eligible nor competent to receive the rewards of the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation, the various opportunities, responsibilities, and relationships available in the coming Kingdom of God.
The term salvation is sometimes used in the New Testament to indicate the forgiving of our sin and our initial entrance into the Kingdom of God, while the term grace is employed by Paul to explain why we no longer can please God by adherence to the Law of Moses but must accept that which God has provided freely through Christ.
But when the entire New Testament is taken into account, particularly the writings of the Apostle Paul, it is clear that the Divine salvation in its fullest sense is as we have outlined above.
There is no sin in the Kingdom of God and, as Paul states, we believers cannot inherit the Kingdom as long as we continue in the passions of the flesh.
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)
The change in our perception of the resurrection from the dead and the kind of rewards that are desirable. It appears that Satan has labored diligently to obscure the principal hope of the Divine redemption—the bodily resurrection from the dead. The Apostle Paul viewed our resurrection from the dead as the primary aspect of salvation.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (I Corinthians 15:19,20)
Apparently there was disagreement concerning the resurrection in Paul’s own day.
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? (I Corinthians 15:12)
In our own time an unscriptural doctrine, introduced in the last century, has placed such an emphasis on the catching up of the saints to the Commander in Chief in the air that the resurrection of the body, which assuredly must precede any flight into the air, is virtually ignored. Yet, it is the bodily resurrection of the saint that signals the destruction of the last enemy. The bodily resurrection is the goal of redemption. The catching up of the believers is not a part of our redemption, merely an act of Kingdom power to gather together the army of the Lord for the Battle of Armageddon.
If we view our destiny as eternal residence in the spirit Paradise the resurrection of our body will not seem so important to us. In fact, numerous Christians believe that we will have a new body from Heaven and that our present body will not be raised. There is great confusion concerning this in our day.
If, however, we understand the goal of redemption to be our transformation into the moral image of Christ and union with God through Christ in preparation for the roles, responsibilities, and relationships that are part of the Kingdom of God, and that the Kingdom of God is to be established on the earth, and that we cannot return to earth until we have been raised from the dead, then we see our resurrection in its true light—the result of our struggle to overcome Satan.
If we live in the appetites of the flesh we will slay our own resurrection.
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)
Paul’s goal was to attain to the out-resurrection (Greek noun), the first resurrection—the resurrection that will take place when the Lord Jesus appears from Heaven.
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
There is a resurrection to eternal life and there is a resurrection to judgment, to disgrace and contempt.
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Daniel 12:2)
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. (John 5:28,29)
Our perception of the resurrection and the kind of rewards that are desirable change considerably when we understand the nature of the day of redemption. We begin to grasp the fact that the purpose of our being raised is that we may return to earth. Our reward is the same as that of the Lord Jesus—to inherit the saved nations of the earth and the farthest reaches of our planet.
Whoever dreams of a gorgeous mansion and acres of diamonds as his reward does not understand his own heart. We humans, although we may not realize it, care very little for splendid homes or diamonds. What interests us is people—especially our loved ones.
To inherit one person is better than ten thousand spirit paradises. Think about it. What good is a great house and a drawer full of diamonds if there is no one to love? How much would we enjoy an entire planet of our own if there were no one with whom to share it?
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned [scorned]. (Song of Solomon 8:7)
To inherit nations of people so we may love them and bring the Glory of Christ to them is worth more than many mansions and tons of gold and precious stones.
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 change in the need for consecration—for separation from the world.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. (II Timothy 2:4)
As long as our goal is to live in Heaven forever, and the way we are to get there (we think) is through God’s forgiveness apart from any change of our personality or behavior, then there is not a pressing need for diligent, stern, total separation to God for His purposes.
But if it indeed is true that Christ has chosen us to be a soldier, and that this is not a mere figure of speech, a Sunday school sort of metaphor, if we really are a soldier in a genuine army and our task will be to redeem the world through judgment and force, then separation from the world is seen to be very necessary.
We cannot judge something we are part of. Satan cannot cast out Satan.
The Word of God is a two-edged sword. When we attempt to use it we ourselves will be slain if there is worldliness, sin, and self-will in us.
Whoever loves and is part of the spirit of the present world does not have the love of the Father in him.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (I John 2:15)
The present world will be overthrown by the saints when the Lord appears. The works of mankind in that day will seem as Eden, so much will civilization have advanced. But the sons of God will tear down the works of those whose God is themselves and then rebuild the world in righteousness according to the will of God.
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)
And they 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)
As we have said, the works of mankind in that day will seem as Eden but in actuality they will truly be desolate. Whenever man seeks to be his own God he ruins every aspect of the arts and sciences—every dimension of civilization is corrupted although it may not be evident at first.
We see this today in America. Because our nation has forsaken the true God we are seeing moral, educational, artistic, financial, military, intellectual, philosophical, legal desolation. While all that has been built in America by God-fearing people is crumbling, the blind leaders are attempting to force our “superior” way of life on other nations as though we were enjoying a paradise on earth. Is there a more violent, crime-ridden culture than that of America?
The United States of America, unlike all other nations, is a conglomerate of races. The nation of Iceland, for example, is one race. Regardless of immediate strife, every Icelander at heart is a brother or sister of every other Icelander.
The original purpose of coming to America was, and to a certain extent still is, to escape tyranny. But there is “death in the melting pot.” Our country is dedicated to the pursuit of happiness rather than the pursuit of righteousness, which is the goal God has set before us.
America is experiencing civil strife as the various races and interests seek to force their own happiness regardless of what happens to the other races and interests. The struggle in America is not a struggle for righteousness but for power to bring happiness to the group of one’s choice. The struggle is masked by hypocritical remarks about the “rights” of this group or that. The truth is, the civil unrest is no more nor less than an effort to gain power.
Unless the Lord specifically directs an individual otherwise, Christian people are to get out of this carnal confusion and keep out of it if they are to please God. The most valuable contribution a Christian can make to the betterment of society is to come out of the world and cleave to the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus did not labor over the politics of Rome. He spent His time on the mountain with God and did more good for the world than any other person who has ever lived. Let us follow the example of Jesus.
We who are Christians in America, and in other nations as well, are to prepare ourselves to serve Christ in the army of the Lord, the army that soon will descend from Heaven and bring a true and lasting peace to the meek of mankind.
Those whose God is themselves have created “the desolation of many generations.” Yet they will cry “Peace and safety” even when every area of human endeavor has been hopelessly corrupted and people are wallowing in their lusts, as is happening today in America. Every form of worldliness, lust, and self-seeking will increase until the Lord Jesus comes with His saints.
The Lord alone shall be exalted in the day of redemption.
We are drawing near to the coming of the Lord. The coming of the Lord will usher in the day of redemption. The day of redemption will be characterized by the fierce onslaught of Christ and His saints. The earth will be invaded. Every government shall bow before the Son of God or be crushed with the rod of iron. The kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of our God and His anointed.
The hymns of today are hymns of war. The tambourines are playing in unison. The banners are raised upward in the worship of the King and then hurled downward to portray the utter destruction of the enemy. The parade of flags around the assembly is welcoming the King of all kings. Every meeting is Palm Sunday, as it were.
One may wonder, if a needy world awaits the righteousness, peace, and joy, that can come only from the Lord Jesus Christ through His saints, why are we spending valuable time playing tambourines, waving banners, carrying flags, and dancing before the Lord? It is because this is the way God works. Righteousness and praise must go before the army of the Lord or God’s people will be defeated. God must be pleased before any victory can be won, and there must be holiness in the camp as we know from the incident concerning Achan.
Notice carefully the following verse:
And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it: (Numbers 4:5)
The children of Israel, with Judah (meaning praise) leading the way, marched forward against the enemy. Real men fought with sharp swords and much blood was shed. But in the meantime certain procedures concerning the holy things of the Tabernacle had to be followed with exceedingly great care, such as covering the Ark of the Covenant with the Veil that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.
We may think we are ready to march against the enemy that holds mankind in chains. But God requires actions on the part of the “priesthood,” the “Levites,” the singers and so forth. At this time we cannot understand the reason for the specific services that were performed in association with the Tabernacle of the Congregation, even in the day of war. But we must realize that the battle was then and is now the Lord’s. If we are to be successful we must look up to Jesus and follow His directions carefully.
A row of people waving banners and hurling them downward in unison of praise and spiritual battle may seem foolish when the outside community is laboring in spiritual darkness. But this is the way God operates. Let us work with God and not attempt to save the world with our own wisdom, strength, and talents. Nothing of eternal worth is going to be accomplished in the Kingdom except as God binds the strong man, and God will not bind the strong man until we follow God’s procedures.
Divine authority is being given to the elders so there may be discipline among the troops. The soldiers are dead-living people. They have been crucified with Christ and now Christ is living in them. They are learning to march every one in his rank without turning to the left or right. One does not thrust the other. All eyes are on the Commander in Chief, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The saints of all ages are cheering us onward while they themselves are being prepared in the heavenlies. No doubt the white war stallions are being trained to fight along with their riders.
It is the day of vengeance of our God. The time of Satan and his forces is short and they are filled with wrath. It is Christ against Anti-Christ, God against Satan, the Holy Spirit against the False Prophet.
The Lord Jesus is looking for faithful officers in our day. The one trumpet is sounding that summons the leaders.
And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee. (Numbers 10:4)
When the second trumpet sounds it will be time for all Israel to gather together and march forward into the land of promise.
As much as possible, make certain that you and your loved ones are prepared for the time of judgment that even now is appearing on the horizon. The day of redemption will be glorious beyond belief for God’s faithful soldiers. The day of redemption will be terrifying beyond belief for those who have rebelled against God, particularly the sinners in the churches.
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? (Isaiah 33:14)
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (Joel 2:1)
(“The Day of Redemption”, 3581-1)