THE DRUMS OF EL SHADDAI
The Drums of El ShaddaiCopyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSIONŽ, NIVŽ Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen. (Matthew 20:16)
Today I feel like kicking back and reviewing thoughts that have gone through my mind over the last forty years. Did you ever feel like that? When I was recuperating from a broken femur, the Lord said to me, "rest, listen, reflect." I have been doing that ever sinceresting, listening, and reflecting.
Having been a Christian for over 65 years, I seem to sense a difference in the nearness of the Lord. Maybe it is just the way I feel personally. But the Lord did say the last shall be first. So it may be a true that some of the great truths of the Kingdom are available to us today, along with the nearness of the Lord Jesus.
As I have been following the Lord, I have noticed so many doctrines and assumptions that simply are not scriptural. Heading up these unscriptural teachings may be the concepts of Dispensationalism. While I have neither the inclination nor the energy to waste time attacking fellow Christians, nor to calling into question their sincerity, the truth is the truth. The notion that the Christian salvation is some sort of parenthesis, different from God's past dealings with His elect, makes futile any attempt to understand the Bible.
Israel is not separate from the Church but is the Church. There is one new Man, consisting of Jews by race and Gentiles by race. All are one olive tree in Christ. What a horrid error it is to separate the Christian Church from Israel!
No doubt the greatest evil of Dispensationalism is that of placing in the hearts and minds of Christian believers that the abundant teaching of righteous behavior in the Old Testament, especially in the Book of Psalms, no longer applies to us. We are righteous by "grace," meaning that God is blind to our conduct.
I will say one thing: God is not blind to our conduct; neither does He overlook it. Dispensationalism does not produce saints (holy ones) except in a schizophrenic sense. We imagine we are righteous because God says we are righteous, not because we actually are righteous. What a horrid, destructive lie this is!
New-covenant grace means we can follow the Holy Spirit into righteous behavior rather than by obeying the Law of Moses. This is so obvious, when one considers the number of New Testament passages which tell us Christians that if we obey our sinful nature we will die spiritually, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
The above is clear, and yet intelligent, devout Bible teachers cannot perceive what is so apparent in the New Testament. One must conclude that the Spirit of God is giving us understanding that has not been true heretofore.
It is easy to understand Satan's purpose is deceiving us concerning the role of righteous behavior in the Christian redemption.
No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work. (I John 3:6-8). Not to forgive the devil's work, I might add.
It is impossible for those believers who are continuing in known sin to have fellowship with God. I was taught when I was in Bible school that it is impossible to do God's will, and that we cannot overcome sin while living in the world. However, that idea is not found in the New Testament.
As far as creating a division between Israel and the Church, Satan understands very well that God's elect are one whole in Heaven and upon the earth, and they are going to remove His Kingdom from the earth when the Lord Jesus appears from Heaven. Abraham, Moses, Paul, and Peter will be in that one army. It is the song of Moses and the Lamb.
I could go on and on pointing out the unscriptural traditions that are presented today as being the Christian Gospel. I have just cited two of the main errors. I suppose I have covered most of these other errors n my books, booklets, and single-concept essays. Most of these are presented free of charge in the WOR Book Library on the Internet. All of them are in the Kindle Library and are available to those who have compatible electronic readers.
Another currently preached error is that concerning eternal mansions in the spirit world as our goal. It may be true that the error of "making Heaven our home" has come into Christian thinking as the Catholic Church, in the early centuries, reached out to embrace other religions. I am not at all certain of this, but it is true that other religions present the spirit Paradise as our eternal goal.
In the nineteenth century another error appeared. It is that of the "rapture" of the believers to Heaven. The reason the rapture error is so destructive is that it leaves the believers unprepared for the evil days that are approaching the earth, especially America.
I have pointed out in previous essays, including the essay placed on the Pastor's Page of the WOR site of Sunday, October 30th, 2011, the explanation why I Thessalonians 4:13-18 absolutely has nothing whatever to do with a rapture, as the rapture currently is preached. This latest essay is on the Library Page of our Internet site, and also in the Kindle library. In addition, on the Audio Page of the site, one can hear me yelling at the congregation. I used to yell a lot, not so much any more.
This essay I named, "Til I See You Again."
To apply the passage in First Thessalonians, which was written to comfort grieving saints concerning their deceased loved ones, to a rapture into Heaven of casual Gentile church-attenders, is just too frustrating to me, if you know what I mean. It is like everyone teaching that the earth is flat. It is small wonder this elderly preacher yells!
Not only is the rapture teaching a fantasy concocted by the adamic nature that loves to avoid pain as much as possible, the entire concept of mansions in Heavena fantasy embraced by people who are finding life on the earth unpleasant. You will look in vain in the Bible for any description of mansions in Heaven.
But people say, "There will be no more pain, or death, or crying." That passage is in the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation and is speaking of the saved people from the nations, not of the new Jerusalem, the glorified Church, the royal priesthood.
There is so much understanding being given in our day it is more than a person can do to embrace it all!
Now, in this essay, we are going to discuss Heaven, and the coming to earth of the Kingdom of God. The coming of the Kingdom and the appearing of the Lord Jesus is so close at hand that some of God's preachers are beginning to mention the Kingdom rather than how happy we will be Heaven doing nothing of interest to a vital person.
Let us first of all dispense with the notion of "mansions" in Heaven. The concept of mansions comes from a misunderstanding of the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, particularly of the Greek term monai in the second verse.
No current translation with which I am familiar translates monai as "mansions." It is the same Greek noun used in John 14:23 as "abode"; and in the next chapter, in verbal form, as "abide."
So even if people with near-death or after-death experiences talk about seeing beautiful houses in Heaven, they have no basis for their vision in the New Testament. I am not saying they did not actually have such a vision. God usually speaks to us according to our experience and understanding.
Speaking of near-death experiences, my favorite is the Visions of Heaven, by Daisy Dryden. Daisy, the daughter of a Methodist minister, lay dying at the age of ten. She is buried in Stockton, California.
You can get the book at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Visions-Heaven-Seen-Daisy-Dryden/dp/B001Z38Y72
Maybe Osterhus Publishing Company in Minneapolis still carries it.
When asked about "mansions," this is what Daisy said: "Mansions; that means houses. I don't see real houses there, but there is what would be places to meet each other in. Allie (her deceased brother with whom she communicated while she was dying) speaks of going to such and such a place, but he says nothing of houses." (page 11).
I do not recommend deriving truth from the testimonies of dying children, but I have great faith in Daisy's vision, after reading the background
I myself, after all these years, am gaining some insight into the spirit world. The angels I "see" do not have wings. I seem to perceive houses in communities in which people live, but they are not mansions.
God's elect live in the new Jerusalem; and while I think there are some kind of apartments there in which people may have a chance to be alone, by far the central aspect of the city is the Throne of God and of the Lamb, and all the elders worshiping round about.
As far as I can tell, the holy city is very large (the Bible says it is a cube 14,000 miles on a side) and there are spacious areas of paradisiacal surroundings in which people walk about in love, joy, and peace. (I have attempted to describe what I think I see, in my book, Godwill Castle.) But I perceive no evidence of the mansions sometimes described by people who have had near-death or after-death experiences.
In a previous essay, "Til I See You Again," I have set forth the idea that when the resurrected and also transformed (if they were alive at that time on the earth) believers are caught up to meet the Lord in the air, they immediately take their place on the white war stallions.
Then the two armies, the saints and the angels, led by the Lord Jesus Christ on His giant war stallion, come thundering down through the clouds to their staging area on the dried-up bed of the Euphrates River. These are the "kings from the east," mentioned in the Book of Revelation. They come from the rising of the sun to install the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Hallelujah! Spears glittering in the sun! Swords flashing! The war stallions snorting for the battle, swallowing up the ground in their rage! The shields with the ramping lion! Crush the enemy! Oh, glory!
But what is this about a slain Lamb and about little children overcoming the enemy?
Four nights ago I was reclining comfortably in bed, reading Intra Muros, by Rebecca Ruter Springer, in which Rebecca recounts a protracted visit to Heaven after she died. It is a great testimony, and you would enjoy it. I had just finished Scenes Beyond the Grave, the visions of Marietta Davis; and Visions of Sadhu Sundar Singh of India.
My next book will be Return From Tomorrow, by George G. Ritchie, M.D.I believe all the texts I have mentioned are generally supported by Christian people. You can find them all by searching Google.
If you gathered from what I have just written that I am a devotee of near-death and after-death testimonies, you would be correct.
As I mentioned, four nights ago I was reclining comfortably in bed, prior to a season of resting, listening, and reflecting, reading Intra Muros. This book is fascinating, to say the least. But you know what? It dawned on me that this is quite unlike anything I am perceiving in my very limited awareness of the spirit world.
There is nothing in the testimony of Rebecca Springer about the army of the Lord; the Kingdom of God; the forming of Christ in us; the fire of judgment; overcoming sin; the conflict of the ages; or any of the other topics so dear to me. We all are good happy people rejoicing in our rarely beautiful mansions.
You can tell I love the "drums of El Shaddai."
So I put Intra Muros down and looked up to the Lord. I said, "Okay, what's going on? Am I incorrect in what I perceive? Is my new awareness of the spirit world a delusion?"
If Rebecca's experience actually is what Heaven is like, then most of the Christians in the world are viewing death and Heaven correctly. But if I am correct, with the conflict of the ages and the drums of El Shaddai, then Rebecca was deluded. But I don't believe that. I think the Dispensationlists are deluded, but not Rebecca Ruter Springer.
In my book Godwill Castle I describe the preparation for the invasion of the earth. We had a parade. (All of this in the spirit world.) Christ, with a huge angel on each side, is on His giant war stallion (whom I named "Conqueror").
"I looked to the Lord immediately. Jesus said, 'I want you to help organize the parade. I will ride in front. After me will be my chief nobles and counselors. Then will march the victorious saints, those who overcame Satan during their lifetime on the earth. There will be a brigade added when the Day of the Lord comes. I will tell you about that later. It will march behind the victorious saints.
"Next will come the child drummers, and then all the children on their white stallions, beginning with the smallest boys and girls. Behind them are to ride the officers on their white stallions.
"The six captains will ride behind the officers. These will be followed by trumpeters, then the angel drum corps, and then Michael, then Akim, Michael's marshal and the marshal's angels.'"
I took the above from Godwill Castle. The angels all have swords, including the two giant angels riding next to Jesus at the head of the parade. Jesus is riding His huge white war stallion, Conqueror.
The children and the victorious saints are carrying a Bible. Many banners are on display in the parade glorifying the Lamb and announcing the coming of His Kingdom. You will have to read Godwill Castle to get more details, and also to find out why small children are in this parade.
Well, the trumpet blasts started and the drum rolls began, all perfectly synchronized from the beginning of the parade to the end. And here's the thing that started the wheels rolling in my head, as I reclined with Intra Muros in my lap. With Christ leading the parade, we traveled through all the parts of the spirit world.
The spirit world is far, far larger than we have any idea. All the dead from the beginning of time are there. Almost all of them are living in the Land of Light. We did not go into the Land of Darkness, where Hell, people chained to stakes, people sporting about in the Devil's Playground, and so forth are located. I am glad for that, because I "saw" these areas in my new awareness of the spirit realm and I would just as soon never visit them again.
While our parade was continuing we saw neighborhoods of every different culture and every historical era. There were people living in grass-covered shacks, modern African cities, Scandinavia, South America, every possible culture and period of history. They all are there in their native dress. As far as I can tell, the white robes are only for the members of the royal priesthood in the new Jerusalem.
It is my point of view that when the saved people from the nations begin to populate the new earth they will be dressed pretty much alike, racial distinctions by this time having disappeared. In Daisy Dryden's vision the people were dressed in a shining white garment. Maybe they were of God's elect. I kind of like ordinary clothing myself. Perhaps when we minister we are dressed in white, do you think?
As I just said, something started to click in my mind. Remember, I was puzzled why Intra Muros, without doubt a valid experience, was so different from what I am envisioning or what I even want! Perhaps you would enjoy an old folks home in the sky, but I like the drums of El Shaddai. The conflict of the ages.
This is what came to me, and I think it is the answer to the puzzle why Rebecca Springer and I are so far apart. It is this: most of the people in the spirit world were not in the parade. Only a small minority were being prepared to invade the earth and set up the Kingdom of God.
I had never thought of that. I pictured in Revelation, Chapter Nineteen, where Christ is shown descending to earth at the head of His two armies, the angels who do the fighting and the saints who do the judging, that all the saved people in Heaven will be descending with Christ.
I really know better than that. I have preached for years that the Christian Church will be divided for a period, with a small part being a firstfruits of the earth, as Revelation states, and the great majority having to be prepared during the thousand-year Kingdom Agethis being the purpose for the thousand years.
There are several types and incidents in the Bible reflecting the temporary division of the Church. For example, the partial rule of David over Judah, and finally over all Jerusalem. Notice that Christ took only Peter, James, and John with Him to the Mount of Transfiguration. This is the way the Kingdom is.
In fact, within Israel there were the people, the Levites, and then the descendants of Aaron. Some were closer to God than others, if that is the distinction. In any case, some were more holy than others according to God's determination.
So we have Israel, God's elect, divided into a firstfruits and then the remainder of Israel. Then there are the saved people from the nations of the earth who are the inheritance of the Body of Christ, of the royal priesthood. It sound like thirty, sixty, and a hundred, doesn't it?
Voila! I have my answer. Not everyone wants to hear the drums of El Shaddai. Some want to go to the old folks home in the sky. (I am being sarcastic now.) Actually, Rebecca's Heaven is a marvelous place, at least for a while; and probably is where most people go when they die.
But why don't I care for it? Why am I so gripped with iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father? Rebecca, bless her heart, never mentioned these.
And then a Scripture came to me: "The last shall be first." What do you mean, "first"? Knowing myself I do not believe it means better than everyone else. I think it means first to enter the Kingdom.
I have been preaching the Kingdom since I don't know when, while most others appear to be preaching grace-rapture-Heaven. What ails me that I am not interested in grace-rapture-Heaven? Why can't I join the group and be popular, can you answer me that? How come I can't be "nice"? Why am I yelling at the people all the time about preparing themselves to enter the Kingdom of God?
It wasn't my idea that the last should be first, which has resulted in me being a nuisance rather than an apostle!
Oh well, this is where we are. So what are we picturing now? Only the victorious saints are going to return with Jesus, be resurrected, and rise to meet Him in the air. Only those who through Christ have overcome the pressures that came against them throughout their lifetime are going to mount the white war stallions. Only those who lived in victory, singing, "Though none go with me, yet I will follow," will work alongside Jesus Christ in installing the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Only those who have a passion to do God's will; who are exceedingly troubled when the slightest cloud seems to come between them and the Lord; who have set aside their own thoughts, words, and actions that they might live by His thoughts, words, and actions; will be resurrected and rise to meet the Lord when He appears. Is this the truth? Is this how Rebecca and I are reconciled in our vision of the spirit world, of Heaven?
The saints who descend with Christ are kings, judges, and priests. Kings, judges, and priests. Now picture the typical casual American Christians. Kings, judges, and priests? These who see themselves as the future kings, judges, and priests, are jumping up and down next to their pews, preparing for the rapture. A better preparation would be to cease gossiping, turn away from their bitterness, and forgive those who have offended them.
Now we have opened up a can of peas, so to speak. Brother Thompson, you mean we are not going to be able to escape the Divine judgment on the horizon for America and the rest of the world, and elude Antichrist by flying up to the great Sunday-school picnic in Heaven?
You said it yourself better than I could. Thou sayest it.
Let's think for just a moment about the Church in Sardisprobably pretty large, since it had a reputation of being alive. Jesus said only a few were worthy to walk with Him in white. By being worthy Jesus meant living the victorious Christian life.
Now I ask you: How about the majority of the believers of the Church in Sardis? They will not descend with Christ in the Battle of Har Megedon,because those who appear with Christ will be robed in white. Even the angels will be robed in fine white linen. White means righteous behavior and a holy personality, not imputed righteousness and imputed holiness.
The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)
But most of the members of the great Church in Sardis will not be in that army. Why not? They have not purchased white linen by pressing through to victory in Christ.
How about you and me? Are we dressed in white? Are the members of our church dressed in white? Are we eligible to be raised from the dead and glorified when our Lord appears from Heaven? Are we keeping our robe clean in the blood of the Lamb?
So we see that many who are last in time will be the first to enter the Kingdom of God. How do we know that? Because the message of the Kingdom has been lost since the first century, apparently. Christ did not come primarily to forgive our sins but to destroy the works of the devil, first in us, eventually throughout the world. The message of the Kingdom is being restored.
I may be mistaken, but I think forgiveness apart from deliverance has been the emphasis throughout the Christian Era. I hope I am mistaken in this.
Now, suddenly, we are not looking forward to making our eternal home in a mansion in Heaven; although we may be there temporarily while the Body of Christ, or at least a militant fraction of it, like David's mighty men, are being prepared to descend to the earth with Christ and establish the Kingdom of God, the doing of God's will, in the earth.
I believe I am not mistaken when saying we have been praying for this very thing in the Lord's prayer!
Now we are beginning to have faith for the answer to the prayer the Lord Jesus gave us. Yes, God's will shall be done on the earth as it is in Heaven. But not at the hand of the casual church-attenders who are far more excited about the allurements of the world than they are about entering the Kingdom of God.
I am interested in, and put to use in the Kingdom as well as I can, the developing electronic communication devices. I do not believe I could have written half as much as I have without a computer and a word processor. You may be reading these very words on an e-reader (electronic reader).
But I see what Satan is doing, at least with the young people in America. I think Satan is rejoicing in the proliferating of electronic devices. Their rate of improvement is phenomenal. Many, perhaps most young people, are heavily involved in the social programs, such as Myspace, as well as the use of cell phones, computer games, tablets, the Internet, and so forth. These all are widespread.
They are communication devices without precedent in history. But do you know what? While in some instances they may be profitably utilized in spreading God's Word, for the most part they are conveying worldly values. And worldly values in our day often are centered on sexual lust, although sometimes on money and violence as well.
But the biggest problem may be time and attention. The Bible commands us to buy the truth; to redeem the time; to meditate day and night in God's Word; to keep the Presence of Christ with us at all times, day and night.
Many if not most young people in the sophisticated nations are giving their valuable time and attention to the electronic devices. I have read in the newspaper of young people violently attacking their parents if some kind of controls on the social networking and electronic games and devices were attempted.
The rapid improvement of electronic devices may be the main problem in America concerning the entering of people, particularly young people, into the aspects of the Kingdom of God that are present in our day. Sin is increasing while grace is increasing.
Then there is the television. It probably is true that there are television antennas over the tents of the Bedouin in the Negev. We can't get along without the television, it appears. But I grew up before there was such an apparatus, and the boys and girls played outside.
The moral filth purveyed by television programming is beyond the scope of our comprehension. I remember when Pastor Einar Gislason of Iceland picked up the family television, took it back to the store, and roared, "There'll be no Gunsmoke in this house." Pastor Gislason was referring to an American program that actually was morally pure compared with today's moral garbage.
Einar told me that the Icelandic people used to read their Bibles during the long nights. Now they sit around and watch television.
What is pouring forth now is far, far worse than Gunsmoke. And this garbage is flowing from America out to the developing nations like a vast sewer trunk line polluting and filthifying (there is no such word, I made it up) the minds of children and young people everywhere in the worldthe area where we want God's will to be done.
America may believe it is going to escape God's judgment, but our nation does not know the Lordlargely because the Christian people are not militantly righteous.
People, especially young people, who want to serve the Lord Jesus Christ will be well advised to put away their electronic games (and maybe social networking unless it is presenting Christian values) and begin to seek Christ with a fervent heart. There indeed are, sprinkled throughout the world, Christian young people who are valiant for Christ. Compared with them, many other young Christians have not even started on the road to discipleship.
We have to keep in mind, however, that the David Brainerd type of consecration is a calling from the Lord and we cannot force it on people.
To this point I have written more than I usually do in my essays. What do you think of all this? Can you see that so many church-attenders of our day cannot possibly lead the way into the Kingdom of God? They have not been taught to deny themselves, when Christ is asking them to; to take up their personal cross of deferred gratification; and to follow the Master in every thought, every word, and every deed. In scriptural terms, they are not genuine Christians.
I can hear the war drums of El Shaddai! Can you? The Kingdom of God is at hand. We are to repent and believe the Good News. The First Century Gospel is being repeated. The difference is, now the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth is much closer.
Our war cry is iron righteousness of behavior; fiery holiness of personality; and stern obedience to the Father. The cry of our heart is, "Your will be done in the earth as it today is done in Heaven."
What we are seeing on the earth is a rapid descent into Sodom and Gomorrah. Why is it we cannot learn from the fire on Sodom and Gomorrah God's attitude toward homosexual behavior? What has blinded us Christians that we cannot perceive that the grace-rapture-Heaven message will never build mature Christians? It may fill the church building, but it will not build holy warriors.
One mature saint who is living by the Life of Jesus, having set aside his or her own life, is a terror to Hell. Ten thousand casual pleasure-loving, rapture-believing, church-attenders are mildly amusing to Hell and to Satan. Will we ever wake up that we have been deceived with the modern unscriptural traditions?
Our goal is not to live forever in a nice mansion in Heaven, doing nothing of significance, chatting with the neighbors, complaining because there is no weather, wearing golden slippers so the golden street and our backyard full of diamonds do not hurt our feet. Our neighbor is a gossip, being righteous only by imputation. If the truth be told, he is self-seeking and lustful. You cannot trust him around your children.
But I am not supposed to say this because God sees him through Christhe supposes.
Our true goal is twofold. It is to be in the moral image of Christ, that we may be His brothers; and to dwell in the very Center of God's holy Person and will at all times and in every circumstance. Then we are worthy to be clothed in the white robe of the royal priesthood and to work alongside our Lord in the establishing of God's Kingdom, God's will, on the earth.
Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them. Deuteronomy (7:21-24)
Oh, that is music to my earsthe drums of El Shaddai.