COMING TO THE DISCIPLE AND COMING TO THE WORLD

COMING TO THE DISCIPLE AND COMING TO THE WORLD Copyright Š 2006 2rumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

There is a coming of the Lord to the disciple and then there is a coming of the Lord to the world. Most of us are aware of the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of glory. However, His coming to the disciple may not be as well known. Yet it is the coming of the Lord to the disciple that appears to be the burden of our day—perhaps more so than in the past!

Table of Contents

Introduction The Coming to the World The Coming to the Disciple Conclusion

COMING TO THE DISCIPLE AND COMING TO THE WORLD

Introduction

Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. (Revelation 1:7—NIV)

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:1-23—NIV)

If you will think about the above two passages you will see that there are to be two distinctly separate comings of the Lord Jesus Christ. The first coming is His historic coming in the clouds of glory. Every eye shall see Him at that time.

The second coming is to the disciple, not to the world, as Judas remarked.

There are three things we need to understand about the personal coming of the Lord to His disciples.

First, His coming to us is based on our keeping His commandments. The Lord’s historic coming to the world is not based on anyone keeping His commandments.

The coming of the Lord to us is not based on our believing in Him except as our belief leads us to keep His commandments.

He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. (John 14:24—NIV)

It seems every organized effort to respond to the Divine salvation, whether Judaism or the Catholic Church or the Protestant churches, manages to find a way to avoid keeping God’s commandments. One thing or another is substituted for simply obeying God.

In our day it is the teaching of lawless grace. Just believe in Jesus and you do not have to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.

I think the inability of organized religion to keep the commandments of God comes from Satan, who understands very well that God will not work where His commandments are not being kept.

The spiritual condition of the American churches, for the most part, is abysmal. While there are refreshings scattered here and there the believers, in many instances, are still not being exhorted to obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles.

Grace, the "rapture," and Heaven are preached constantly, but not the need to keep the commandments found in the New Testament. Consequently there is a lack of the Divine Presence. Because of the lack of the Divine Presence the lamp of the testimony is growing dim. This disastrous condition is resulting from the preaching of lawless grace.

We absolutely must keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles if we expect to have the Presence of God.

Second, His personal coming to us is an absolutely necessary prerequisite for our appearing with Him at His historic second coming. Basic salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit are not sufficient to prepare us for the awesome role of riding behind Christ as He descends to deliver Jerusalem from Antichrist and to establish His Kingdom on the earth. We not only must have been saved and filled with God’s Spirit, we also must have opened the door of our heart and received Him in such a manner that the Father and He are now enthroned in our personality.

Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. (Psalms 24:7—NIV)

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. (Revelation 3:20,21—NIV)

The Throne of Christ is our heart when we open the door to the Lord.

The Words of Christ concerning opening the door of our personality are addressed to the church in Laodicea, that is, to the church era we are approaching in which great emphasis is place on human rights, on the welfare of people—not their spiritual welfare in Christ but their physical welfare.

The stress on the physical welfare of people instead of their spiritual welfare in Christ will bring about an age of unprecedented wickedness because of the open door it will give to Satan. (When we do not open the door of our heart to Christ we automatically open it to Satan!) Therefore Christ has prepared the great third work of grace, the eternal residence of the Father and the Son in those who obey God, so every one who receives may be more than a conqueror throughout the coming age of moral horrors.

Third, the personal coming may have begun today, for the personal coming of the Lord is typified by the last three feasts of the Lord, and these come after Pentecost—that is, after we have been baptized with the Holy Spirit.

We are speaking now of a third work of grace, a Divine aspect of salvation that comes after we have been saved and filled with the Spirit. Being saved through the blood atonement gives us the authority to enter the third work.

Being filled with the Spirit gives us the wisdom and power to enter the third work.

It is the third work, the dwelling of the Father and the Son in us through the Holy Spirit, that is the Kingdom of God and the climax of redemption.

It is quite clear in the New Testament, as we shall see in the following pages, that there are two separate comings of the Lord. One is His historic coming to the world. The second is a personal coming to the disciple who is obeying His commandments.

I think the erroneous teaching of the "pre-tribulation rapture" has proceeded from a misinterpretation of those passages, such as the following, that are speaking of the Lord’s coming to His disciples so they may be with Him where He is.

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27,28—NIV)

The unscriptural teaching of the "rapture" is the response of the adamic man to passages that are announcing a personal coming to the disciples, a coming not designed to lift their personality into Heaven (which accomplishes nothing whatever in the Kingdom) but to fill them with the fullness of God so they may be able to bear witness in the coming days of distress, and then to appear with Jesus Christ at His historic second coming.

The natural man desires to flee from trouble, danger, and pain. The spiritual man is occupied more with receiving the fullness of God.

May have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, And to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:18,19—NIV)

"Filled to the measure of all the fullness of God"!

If I am correct, the Spirit of God is urging us forward. We have left Egypt (salvation through the blood). We have been to Mount Sinai (the baptism with the Holy Spirit). Now it is time to march forward toward our land of promise. Our land of promise is, first of all, the fullness of God; the fullness of resurrection life. After that our inheritance is the possession of all the works of God’s hands, especially the earth and its peoples.

We are not there yet. Many wonders lie before us. We have gone around our present experience long enough. It is time to get moving. Do you have a heart to march forward with God?

The Coming to the World

Before we discuss the personal coming to the disciple, let us establish firmly the truth concerning the historic coming of Jesus Christ from Heaven to the earth.

The following verse is the cornerstone of the Book of Revelation and it is not to be tampered with in any manner.

Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. (Revelation 1:7—NIV)

The above is the historic coming of the Lord. There shall be no coming in the clouds to receive His elect prior to this one. The doctrine of the pre-advent coming of the Lord (rapture), a coming in glory to receive His people prior to His historic second coming to the earth to establish His Kingdom, is in error. Its effect on the Evangelical churches has not been good. It has left the believers with the notion that at any moment they will be whisked away to Heaven before they can be harmed by the trouble that obviously is at hand.

This is not a true, scriptural hope and a multitude of God’s people will be horrified and totally unprepared to stand in Christ when they enter the moral horrors that are on the horizon. They will not be able to bear a bright witness of Christ because they are not prepared to stand in the evil day. This precisely is what Satan is counting on.

Let me now present several more passages that have to do with the great historic coming of Jesus Christ in the clouds of glory. As I understand the following verses they all apply to the same event, although each may have a different emphasis.

"Immediately after the distress of those days ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." (Matthew 24:29-31—NIV)

The passage above may be the strongest in the Bible concerning the historic second coming of the Lord. There are the great signs in the heavens as well as the trumpet call gathering together God’s elect. The emphasis is on the majesty and grandeur of the appearing of Christ to establish His Kingdom on the earth.

Another is as follows:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:16,17—NIV)

The above is sometimes viewed as a special coming that will precede the great historic coming. It is not, as I understand it. We notice the trumpet call of God, the resurrection of the dead, and the gathering together of God’s elect.

This passage is tied to Matthew 24 by the common employment of the Greek term parousia for "coming."

The emphasis here is on the fact that the living and the dead saints will enter the Kingdom at the same time. It was written by the Apostle Paul to comfort the believers whose relatives and friends had died. It has nothing to do with our escaping Antichrist or the great tribulation by leaving the earth and going to Heaven. There is no basis in the above text to suggest such an interpretation. For this reason it should not continue to be preached. It is giving God’s people a misleading vision of the future.

Here is a third passage concerning the great historic coming of the Lord to establish His Kingdom on the earth.

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. (I Corinthians 15:50-53—NIV)

The emphasis here is on the resurrection and the change in the body. The catching up of the resurrected and living elect is not mentioned. However, Paul is saying here that before we are caught up we will be changed into immortality.

A fourth passage:

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you And give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. (II Thessalonians 1:6-8—NIV)

This is the same historic coming. The emphasis is the deliverance of the saints from persecution. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Those who have harmed the saints will themselves be harmed, at the coming of the Lord.

A fifth passage:

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. (II Thessalonians 2:8—NIV)

The Lord Jesus Christ will overthrow Antichrist at his appearing. His saints, those who have experienced the personal coming to the disciple, will be with Him and assist with this total victory.

They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power On the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (II Thessalonians 1:9,10—NIV)

We see this victorious attack on Antichrist, in the Old Testament.

You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. (Zechariah 14:5—NIV)

When the Lord Jesus appears we shall appear with Him, riding on the white stallions of war. We shall descend with Him to the Mount of Olives and go to the rescue of the nation of Israel. We shall be with Him when He is crowned on the Temple Mount. From there we shall go to our assigned places of rulership over the saved nations of the earth.

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. (Revelation 19:19—NIV)

I believe I have given you a true, scriptural portrayal of the historic second coming of Christ. His second coming in the clouds of glory will be followed by the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

There will be no secret coming prior to this great second coming, a pre-advent coming to carry off the Lord’s people before the second coming. If there were to be such a special, secret coming, it would have occurred in the first century. Christians have suffered terribly during the two thousand years of the Church Era. There is no scriptural or logical reason why our generation of believers should be especially favored of God and caught away to Heaven so we do not suffer.

There has been much persecution of believers, and many have been martyred, to this point in the twentieth century. The vicious torture and murder of Christians is continuing as I am writing today. What scriptural, logical reason can be advanced to prove that for some unknown reason the American Christians of our time, many of whom are a disgrace to the Gospel of Christ, will be caught up so they may avoid suffering, while the godly have suffered through the centuries?

The changing of our blessed hope from the coming of the Lord to the going of carnal believers to Heaven is one of the symptoms of the philosophy of Humanism that has so poisoned Western thinking.

I believe the passages above are all referring to the same event—the historic return of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of glory.

Having established this biblical truth, let us turn our attention to a coming of the Lord that is not nearly as well understood.

The Coming to the Disciple

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:3—NIV)

Because of the wording of the New International Version (above) the impression is left that Jesus is going to Heaven to prepare a place for us in Heaven. Then He is going to return and bring us to Heaven so we can be with Him where He is in Heaven.

This is not what Jesus meant at all. The King James Version is closer to the truth.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3—KJV)

If the student will search the fourteenth through the seventeenth chapters of the Gospel of John he will discover the Lord never spoke of going to Heaven, only to the Father. This is not the same thing.

The Lord had said, "In my Father’s house there are many rooms. I go to prepare a place for you."

The Father’s house, the eternal Temple of God, is not Heaven. This is not scriptural. The Father’s house is a central concept of the Scriptures, Old Testament and New.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the chief Cornerstone of the eternal House of God. Jesus went to the cross to prepare a place for us as living stones in the Temple of God, the Tabernacle of God that one day will descend through the new sky and be located for eternity on the new earth.

Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22—NIV)

Each one of us is to be a room in the Father’s House, the Church, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus Christ went to the cross, and then to the Presence of the Father in Heaven, sprinkling His blood in the Most Holy Place in Heaven. By this atonement He prepared a place for us in Himself and in the Father. This is the meaning of John 14:3.

The Greek term translated "mansions," in John 14:2 of the King James Version, is translated "abode," in John 14:23, revealing that the Lord is not speaking of going to Heaven to build houses there but of preparing a place for us in Himself that the Father and He might find their rest in us. This is the meaning of John 14:2 through 14:23. Now we are speaking of the personal coming of Jesus to His disciples prior to His historic coming to the earth in the clouds of glory. The personal coming is a genuine coming, just as much a coming as the historic coming, only a coming in the Spirit to His disciples and not to the world. I think the personal coming is beginning now and we need to look to the Lord for this experience, just as we did salvation and the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6—NIV)

Can you see in the above verse that the Lord is not speaking of going to Heaven as a place but to the Father as to a Person? Our goal is not to go to another place, it is to enter the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. This takes place today, not after we die.

To be with Christ where He is, is to be in the center of God’s Person, as well as at His right hand with Christ. It is the entrance into God that is all important—that God in Christ may be dwelling in us in His Fullness and we in Christ in God in untroubled rest.

Going to Heaven is not our goal, it is God who is our Goal! After all, sin began in Heaven around the Throne of God, so going to Heaven solves nothing for us. It is God in Christ who solves everything for us.

Don’t you believe I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. (John 14:10—NIV)

Can you see in the above that Christ is the eternal House of God? While Christ was on earth He was the only living Stone in the Father’s House. Now Christ is the chief Cornerstone of the eternal temple of which we are being made living stones.

Notice carefully:

"If you love me, you will obey what I command." (John 14:15—NIV)

The importance of keeping the commandments of Christ and His Apostles cannot possibly be overemphasized. When we insist that all we have to do is believe in Jesus we are not being scriptural. It is true we have to believe the promises of God, just as did Abraham. But we also have to obey the commandments of God, just as did Abraham.

Abraham was blessed, received fruitfulness and dominion, and became the source of eternal life to the nations, all because He obeyed God—not because he believed the promise but because he obeyed the command to offer Isaac as a living sacrifice.

Our threadbare teaching of today that advises us to believe in Jesus apart from obeying the commandments of Christ and His Apostles is destroying the strength of the Church. It is not scriptural, as the hastiest review of the New Testament will reveal.

We of America must begin to keep the commandments given in the New Testament or our nation is doomed.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— The Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16,17—NIV)

If we keep the commandments of Christ He will give us the Holy Spirit to dwell in us forever. We already have the Holy Spirit and through Him we put to death the sinful deeds of our body; through Him we minister to our fellow members of the Body of Christ; and through Him we bear witness to the ends of the earth of the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of the Lord.

Now we are saved and filled with the Spirit. But there is a further work—a work that will prepare us to return with the Lord and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:18—NIV)

"I will come to you." Jesus is not referring to the Holy Spirit, the Counselor, the Spirit of truth. He is referring to Himself. The Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus are not the same Person. The Holy Spirit brings us to Jesus. It is Jesus who is the Bridegroom.

This is the same coming we noticed in verse three: "And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and receive you to myself that where I am, there you may be also."

There is a definite coming of Christ to His disciples, a coming that will occur before His historic coming in the clouds. It is not a "rapture" of the believers to remove them from trouble. It is an inner work that will enable the believer not only to stand triumphantly in Christ throughout the dark days that are ahead, but also to be a source of deliverance when Antichrist has driven the true Christians into the wilderness areas of the earth.

It is deliverance by the Presence of Christ rather than deliverance by escape. A much better deliverance, don’t you agree?

Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. (John 14:19—NIV)

I think the Lord is drawing close to us these days. I know Jesus is more real to me than He ever has been. I do not claim to be able to "see" the Lord as well as I would like. But I am looking each day for an increase in His Presence in my life until my thoughts, words, and actions are proceeding according to His felt will and Presence. I want to be able to know what He is doing so I can do the same. How about you? This is the eternal Sabbath rest of God—to cease from our own works and faithfully and diligently do what He is impressing us to do.

On that day you will realize I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:20—NIV)

"On that day." "That day" is our personal day of the Lord, not the Kingdom-wide Day of the Lord but our personal day, when the Day Star, Christ, rises in our heart to herald the dawn of the Kingdom-wide Day.

When all of our idols have been thrown down we will know that Christ is in His Father, and we are in Christ, and Christ is in us.

Salvation introduces us to Christ.

The baptism with the Holy Spirit introduces us to the Spirit.

Now we are moving forward to the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles. We are being introduced to the Father.

Of course, the Father, Son, and Spirit are the Divine Godhead. Yet, as we press forward in God, we begin to realize there are three distinct Persons. How wonderful to know the Father! He is the Father of Jesus Christ! He also is our Father! There is nothing more wonderful than this!

"Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." (John 14:21—NIV)

Again, we absolutely must keep Christ’s commandments, we must obey them, if we claim to love Him. When we love Christ the Father loves us. Also, Christ will love us and reveal Himself to us. All depends on our obeying His commands. It is not enough to believe the promises. We must also obey the commands. If we do not obey the commands we are part of the great rebellion of the last days, the rebellion that will open the way for Antichrist to be revealed.

The Father loves us. Christ loves us. Do you see that two different Persons are being spoken of here?

Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" (John 14:22—NIV)

Can you see in the above that the Lord Jesus will reveal Himself to His disciples before He reveals Himself to the world? This is a definite coming of the Lord to His disciples in advance of His coming in glory to the world.

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14:1- 23—NIV)

As I stated previously, the word "home" in the above verse is the same Greek term as the word "rooms" in John 14:2 of the New International Version. This is the only time in the New Testament this noun is used, although the same word appears as a verb in John 15, where it is translated "abide" or "remain."

If we love Jesus we will obey His teaching. If we obey His teaching His Father will love us. Then the Father and Christ will come to us and make Their home in us.

This verse may be the clearest expression in the New Testament of the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles.

There were three major feasts in the Jewish calendar.

Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed: (Deuteronomy 16:16—NIV)

The feast of Unleavened Bread symbolizes the salvation experience.

The feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, symbolizes the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

The feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in us, to tabernacle in us.

Those of us who are saved and have been baptized with the Holy Spirit are to press forward in the Lord. Christ wants to come to us in a greater way than ever before.

As we keep Christ’s commandments He is formed in us. As Christ grows to maturity in us the Father and the Son come through the Holy Spirit and make Their dwelling in that which has been formed in us. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles and the climax of the Divine redemption. All that remains is the raising of our flesh and bone body from its place of interment and the clothing of our resurrected body with its house from Heaven. The house from Heaven is fashioned from our actions on the earth. Thus we shall be clothed, in the day of resurrection, with our own behavior.

Conclusion

The Apostle Paul uses himself as an illustration of a believer who has been saved, filled with the Spirit, and then has pressed forward to life lived in the Fullness of God. This is perfection. This is attainment to the first resurrection from among the dead: by this I mean the necessary preparation of the inward nature for the putting on of immortality at the coming of the Lord from Heaven.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20—NIV)

All of us Christians know this verse. How many of us are having this experience?

We in America, and perhaps in the whole world, are facing ominous times. The drums of Hell are beating to the attack. This is not a reason for the cross-carrying disciple to fear but it certainly is cause for the average, lukewarm church attender in America to be terrified!

Perhaps you are hearing of dreadful things taking place in your community, even in Christian families. What are we to do?

We do not want to spend our days in terror and dread. We are to learn to "fly by instrument." We are to learn how to look to the Lord instead of to our outward circumstances for direction and confidence.

Flying by instrument requires experience and constant prayer if we are not to crash.

The Lord Jesus is drawing near to us. As we open the door of our personality to Him we become much more aware of His Presence and will than ever before. As we cease our own frantic life and listen for the still small voice we are surprised to find out He is instantly present and willing to guide us. This is what I mean by flying by instrument.

Our natural understanding as we examine our circumstances is telling us we should be terribly worried. But we have prayed through to victory and the Lord is telling us all is well. We have to do this many times before we really know the Lord is speaking and can rejoice—especially when the outward circumstances tell us we are heading toward disaster.

As I am writing these words (February 25, 1999), the citizens of the United States are fearful concerning the breakdown of computers when the year 2000 rolls around. The Christians, instead of bearing a testimony of confident faith in God, are leading the panic parade. Instead of going to Jesus to find out what to do they are feverishly hoarding food and money so they will survive when the midnight hour comes. They do not care about other people, only about themselves and their own family.

I have been to the Lord several times about this. I refuse to dwell on "what might happen." I am flying by instrument. So far I have received assurance that all will be well with my family and myself. We shall see if I am hearing correctly from the Lord.

In any case, I would not go hide in the woods and leave the poorer church people here. What kind of a pastor would that be? As long as I have food and shelter, no one in this congregation is going to go hungry or cold. God help us!

Jesus said if we seek to save our life we will lose it. I believe this.

But we American Christians are soft. We are not ready at this time for severe suffering.

Trouble is coming. The provision God has made for us is that He will draw nearer to us than ever before—so near we will know what to do in every circumstance.

I keep telling the members of the congregation to look to the Lord for the tiniest detail of life. Every morning I ask the Lord how big a handful of raisins I should put on my oatmeal. You might think this is foolish. Well, you go ahead and ignore the Lord if you want to. But as for me, I intend to ask God about everything I do. If I learn to do this now, then, when the trouble comes, I will know what to do no matter how dark the spiritual atmosphere becomes.

The American Christians have been told there is no need to prepare themselves because they are going to be caught up to Heaven before they can be harmed. The purpose of this lie, from Satan’s viewpoint, is to prevent their participation in this next move of God that would bring Jesus into their life to a much greater extent. Satan prefers to keep them alive in their adamic nature, hoping to go to Heaven at any moment.

By looking toward a flight to Heaven for deliverance, instead of to inward victory, the believers in America are missing the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is beginning now in our inward nature to prepare us for the manifestation of the outward kingdom. If we do not receive the inward kingdom now we will not rule in the outward kingdom when it arrives. If we do not enter the inward day of the Lord now we will not be ready for the worldwide Day of the Lord when it comes.

This is Satan’s purpose in keeping the carnal Christians occupied with the thought of flying up to Paradise in their untransformed carnal nature. Can you see how wise Satan is to do this? A carnal Christian looking to be caught up to Heaven poses no threat to Satan’s control of the earth. A cross-carrying Christian learning to live by the Life of Jesus now, is a forerunner of that which one day will tear down and remove from the earth every vestige of Satan’s kingdom.

Notice how the Lord Jesus always lives. This is the eternal Sabbath, the rest of God.

Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.". (John 5:19,20—NIV)

We are to live in precisely the same manner.

Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. (John 14:19—NIV)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20—NIV)

Do you want to learn to fly by instrument, to live by the Life of Jesus in you rather than by your mental appraisal of the outward world? Then tell Him about it right now. He is closer to you than you realize, just waiting for you to turn away from your trust in the world and to look to Him for every detail of your thinking, speaking, and acting.

The hour described in the following passage is near to come.

The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. Then you will know I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her. (Joel 3:15-17—NIV)

In the verses above we see the convergence of the two comings. The darkening of the sun and moon points toward the historic second coming of the Lord. The Lord roaring from Zion speaks of the power of Christ issuing from within His Body, His saints, who will appear with Him when He appears. Then Jerusalem will be delivered and never again will foreigners invade her.

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:4—NIV)

They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power On the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. (II Thessalonians 1:9,10—NIV)

"To be glorified in his holy people."

It is clear that when Christ appears He will be accompanied by saints in whom He is dwelling. Thus the historic second coming of the Lord will include not only the Lord but those also whom He has made His dwelling place, His chariot.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20—NIV)

This is the Word of Christ to us today. He is standing at the door of the Christian heart. Remember, in this verse He is speaking to the church in Laodicea, the last and least praiseworthy of the churches. He is standing before us today.

Who is standing before us and asking for entrance? It is the Lord of Hosts, the Lord strong and mighty in battle.

Why the emphasis on warfare?

Warfare and battle are emphasized because we are at the beginning of the entrance of the Kingdom of God into the earth. The Kingdom of God comes with judgment, and judgment begins with the household of God.

Our goal is the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, that is, the dwelling in us of the fullness of God. But before we can receive the fullness of God, the Lord must wage war against the enemy in our life.

The actual warfare is symbolized by the Old Testament Day of Atonement. During the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement the Spirit of God deals with our love for and trust in the spirit of the present world, which is Antichrist. He deals with the lusts of our flesh, requiring that we put them to death by His power. The Spirit of God deals with our self-will, the poison that has been injected into our human will. Our self-will is the biggest enemy of all. We must suffer numerous imprisonments, numerous fires, before the Spirit begins to make headway against our self-will.

In order for God and Christ to settle down to rest in our personality we must be cleansed from the love of the world, from the appetites and passions of the flesh, and from self-will and self-seeking. This period of reconciliation to God is the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement and has begun, I believe. It shall extend throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age until God has finished reconciling to Himself every person that He plans to bring into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

In the present hour God is working with the royal priesthood, with those who will appear with Him and install the Kingdom of God on the earth. After they have been reconciled to God and filled with His Presence, the work will continue with those who have not been called to such a high rank in the Kingdom. I believe some of the work of reconciliation will be administered at the hands of those who already have passed through the program of reconciliation.

The end will be that all creatures in Heaven and upon the earth have been brought under subjection to Jesus Christ. Once this has been accomplished, Christ will turn over the Kingdom to the Father and the Father will fill all of His creation.

Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. (I Corinthians 15:24,25—NIV)

We understand, then, that the Divine work has been proceeding toward the goal of bringing the entire creation under subjection to Jesus Christ, and thus under subjection to God in Him. Christ died on the cross as an atonement for the sins of the world. Now He has come to us in the Spirit in order to receive us to Himself that we might dwell with Him where He dwells, that is, in the Fullness of God.

All of our Christian experiences have been bringing us to readiness for this third great work of redemption. Are we willing to move past Pentecost and enter the feast of Tabernacles? Basic salvation and the baptism with the Spirit are not sufficient to enable us to stand in complete victory during the dark hours that lie before us.

But the Fullness of God, which has been prepared for this very period of history, is more than able to present us faultless before His throne with exceedingly great joy. Let us not permit anything to swerve us from our response to this new and total involvement of our personality with God.

Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty—he is the King of glory. Selah (Psalms 24:8-10—NIV)