THE FATHER AND THE SON MAKE THEIR ABODE WITH THE BELIEVER
Copyright © 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
(“The Father and the Son Make Their Abode With the Believer” is taken from Christ In You, copyright © 2011 Trumpet Ministries)
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)
I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:18)
Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. (John 14:23)
“I will come again.” “I will come to you.” “We will come unto him.”
Is this the coming of the Lord to the world?
The passages that declare the coming of the Lord from Heaven, such as Matthew, Chapter 24, I Corinthians, Chapter 15, and the books of I and II Thessalonians, reveal that the Lord Jesus will appear in worldwide glory and destroy Antichrist by the brightness of His glorious appearing.
The fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John speaks of another coming, the coming of the Lord to the individual believer who keeps the words of Christ. This personal appearing is taught in the Scriptures in addition to the worldwide coming in which every eye shall see Him.
We have not found in the Scriptures the disappearing of the saints in a so-called “rapture” of the Body of Christ prior to the revealing of the man of sin. Such a premature disappearing and ascension would prevent that which Christ is creating in His Church.
The coming of which John speaks is the coming of the Father and the Son to make Their abode with the believer in fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles (Deuteronomy 16:16).
Christ returned to Heaven in order to prepare a place for us in the Father’s house, that is, in Himself. The Church, the Body of Christ, is destined to be an eternally inseparable part of Him.
Now Christ has come again to us, through the Holy Spirit, in order to conduct personally our preparation as an eternal part of Himself.
Christ is here now in order to receive us to Himself. He stands at the door of our personality and knocks. If we hear His voice and open the door of our heart to Him, He comes into our personality and dines with us on the Life of God, and we dine with Him.
The Scriptures teach the personal coming of the Lord to each faithful disciple in a manner not observable by the world—or even by the lukewarm churches.
Preparation for the coming to us of the Father and the Son.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2)
There is an “inner man of the heart,” a “new creation,” in each true saint. The new creation indeed is a new person who has been born of God through Christ. The new man, the unique compound of the believer and the Lord, is the Kingdom of God. It is in the new man that the Father and Christ will abide eternally.
It is all-important to the Christian that proper attention be given to the development of the new creation. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, it is the new creation who has been born of God who inherits the Kingdom of God and is the Kingdom of God.
Christ had to go to the cross in order for us to become the abiding place of God. Christ opened His heart to us so that we may enter Himself and find green pastures and quiet waters.
Christ’s body was broken and His blood shed. He made an atonement for us by His death on the cross. Now He feeds the new man of our heart with His body and blood so that His Divine Substance and Nature, which form the dwelling place of the Lord God of Heaven, may be in us.
If we desire to be part of the Father’s house we must eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ. We must be living by Him as He lives by the Father. Our whole inner nature must be re-created as a suitable abode for God and Christ. The Ark of the Covenant always comes to rest in a prepared place.
Christ is making intercession for us as we experience daily the death of the old man and the strengthening of the new man of our heart. The cloud of witnesses surrounds us, the saints in light urging us forward to the perfection in which they will share.
Many obstacles appear before us as we seek the fullness of the inheritance. We overcome every one of them by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, and by loving not our life to the death.
Divine grace coming to us from Heaven is preparing us so that the Father and the Son may find rest in us. The Holy Spirit is strengthening our inner man.
Testings and afflictions are sent our way. We pray in our affliction. We put on the whole armor of God. We hold up the shield of faith. We learn to stand in the evil day.
We put on the mind of Christ. We meditate each day in the Scriptures, becoming wise therein. The Word of God renews our mind resulting in the transformation of our personality. We beat our body down, refusing to indulge its lusts and appetites. We present our body to God a living sacrifice.
The various ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit given to other members of the Body of Christ, and to us, play their role in shaping and forming the Temple of God in us. God helps with dreams, visions, and other kinds of special guidance that strengthen and direct us on certain occasions.
God freely has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness for our preparation, just as Esther was given “things for purification” so that she would be a fit wife for the King of Persia (Esther 2:9).
God has been prepared. Christ has been prepared. We are being prepared.
Christ was wounded. We are being wounded. Wound is pressed against wound and bound in place. Then the Life from the eternal Vine flows into the branches, and buds, blossoms, and fruit appear. This is the Kingdom of God—God in Christ in us in Christ in God. God is All in all in the Kingdom.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal dwelling place of the God of Heaven. In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form. Yet, Christ returned to the Father. Here is a mystery.
In the Kingdom of God, Christ is in us and the Father in Him. Yet, we will go to Christ and the Father one day. The mystery of the Gospel is Christ in us, the hope of glory to come.
We understand, then, that there is both an internal and also an external aspect of the Kingdom of God. It is essential to our spiritual maturing that we maintain both aspects in proper balance.
When the Word of God comes to maturity in our personality we will possess a transformed inner nature, and also strong bonds to the Father in Heaven through Christ. Both aspects are necessary.
Going to Heaven when we die produces neither maturity of character nor union with God through Christ. It is as Christ is formed in us, not as we go to Heaven, that internal and external relationships to the Godhead are established.
In Christ is eternal Life, and that Life is the Light of men. How often the Christian churches have misunderstood this most fundamental of Kingdom truths! The Light of God does not come to us through words addressed to our mind. Mental comprehension is not the source of the Light of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is not in word but in the Life of Christ.
It is Christ Himself who is our Light, and it is His Life that is our Light. It is the Life of Christ formed in us and dwelling in us that enables us to abide in God and God in us.
Christ does not show us the way, tell us the truth, and then breathe life into us. This is not how the Kingdom of God comes.
Rather, Christ Himself Is the Way. Christ Himself Is the Truth. Christ Himself Is the Life. Christ Himself Is Yahweh, the I Am. He Is, “I am whatever I choose to be—all you ever will need or desire.”
There is an eternal gulf between Christ speaking to us and showing us the way, and Christ Himself becoming all we need or desire.
“I am the Resurrection and the Life.” “Before Abraham was, I am.”
In the first concept, that of Christ showing us the way and telling us the truth concerning God, Christ remains external to our being. Man is an incredibly self-centered, self-willed creature. In his lust to exalt himself he will attempt to learn the way and the truth from Christ in order to use the Divine knowledge and skill to build monuments to his own glory. This is the motive behind the Tower of Babel, the “three tabernacles” of Peter, and church movements and denominations.
In the second concept, that of Christ becoming the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we come into union with Christ. We are not gaining anything from Christ or using Him to accomplish our own ends. Rather, He is the one who gains. He gains the unhindered use of our spirit, soul, and body in order to accomplish His own ends. Christ’s ends are the Father’s ends because the Father uses the Spirit, Soul, and body of Christ in order to accomplish God’s ends.
No one is to attempt to use God as a means to an end. God always is the End of every worthy quest. Self-seeking, self-motivated religious man would attempt to use God for his own ends. This religious spirit always has and always will murder the prophets of God. It is the False Prophet.
The False Prophet is the imitation of Christ. It is a religious spirit and proceeds from the soul of man. The “faith” and “prosperity” doctrines are modern expressions of the False Prophet.
The question of who is serving whom is an important one in the Kingdom of God. The true saint is a slave, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the Servant of God.
Today we are willing to be a friend of Christ but not a slave of Christ. We have Scripture to “prove” our position. Our hearts are dreadfully wrong.
It is impossible for any human being to become a living stone in the eternal Temple of God until he specifically and resolutely determines that he is seeking union with Christ, and not the power and things of Christ for his own purposes and advantage.
This is a difficult, a crucifying decision for an ambitious Christian to make. After the correct decision has been verbalized it requires Job-like tribulations before the truth of it has entered the inner parts of our personality.
This is what is so terribly dangerous about the current emphasis on “speaking the word of faith.” This teaching and practice tends to emphasize how man benefits rather than how Christ benefits. As a result it rejects all hindrances, tribulations, and afflictions as being “of the devil,” not realizing or accepting the fact that much or most of what the Christian suffers in this life is the necessary chastening of the Lord.
The suffering of the saint, by slaying his self-will, prepares him to rule with Christ. Apart from such suffering no human being ever will rule as a coheir with Christ.
As for speaking the word of faith, Christ could have commanded the stone to become bread. He refrained from doing so. Why? Because man cannot live by bread alone but must be hearing from God in every situation; and God was not leading Christ to create bread.
Tribulation works patience, and patience is one of the massive pillars of the Temple of God. Impatience is the image of Satan. Self-seeking religious man, being filled with the spirit of Satan, rejects all forms of self-denial, all that appears to be negative and injurious to his pursuit of liberty and happiness.
The “faith message,” as it often is preached, is of the False Prophet. It is presented today as the Gospel of Christ. Those who are destined for destruction will hear it, believe it, and never understand the error of it until the Day of the Lord.
The true saint rejects the idea of attempting to use faith for his own benefit and instead is seeking to become the eternal dwelling place of the Father and the Son through the Spirit.
We cannot be adequately prepared to dwell in God, and God in us, merely by being instructed with words. Rather, Christ Himself must be formed in our personality; and then He must come in Person through the Holy Spirit, bringing His Father with Him.
Christ in us is the Way. His body and blood in us are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It is His body and blood that will draw us to the “carcass” that will appear at the end of the age, distinguishing between us and the person who is working with us in the field or grinding with us at the mill.
Christ stands at the door of our heart, and knocks. Sometimes He knocks so powerfully that our environment rocks under the blows. When He gains our attention, He speaks. It is a quiet voice.
If we are too busy with our idols we cannot hear His voice. Blessed is the individual who has ears to hear what the Spirit is speaking to the churches.
As soon as we hear the voice of Christ we have a decision to make. For some believers it can be a very difficult decision.
The Day of the Lord is drawing near. As a result, multitudes of the Lord’s people are being forced into the valley of decision.
What is the decision we must make when we hear that Voice?
The decision is: Will I use Christ to show me the way and tell me the truth, and then maintain my own way before Him? Or will I give up my own life and enter the eternal flowing of His Life?
When we first hear of becoming one with Christ we are told that if we will abide in Him He will answer our prayers. Isn’t that immature and self-centered? Imagine. The Lord God of Heaven proposes marriage to us, and all we can think of is that I will get my prayers answered.
How childish and self-centered we are!
Later we begin to understand that God is asking us to surrender our idols to Him. It is at this point that we are brought to the core of the decision: Will I seek to save my life? Or will I agree to lose my life for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s?
The gifted minister is asked if he is willing to become a nobody. The strong in body is asked if he is willing to minister while he is afflicted. The beautiful woman is asked if she will serve God in disfigurement. The young man is asked if he will turn away from the desire of his heart.
Abraham is asked if he will offer his son as a burnt offering.
Peter is asked if he loves Jesus more than he does fish.
How much do we love Christ? Enough to give Him cheerfully and gladly all that He asks for? If not, we have an idol. We can bring no idol into the Temple of God.
No individual ever will be forced to become a part of the Temple of God, the Wife of the Lamb. Christ’s love toward us is intense, single-minded, self-sacrificing. We are invited to return that kind of love to Him. If we do not, He will not accept us in this supreme relationship. We will come short of His highest purpose concerning us.
Christ’s name is Jealous. He is asking for our love.
Christ never will open the door of our heart and enter us. We must open the door. We can open the door of our life and rejoice as He becomes our Salvation; or we can keep Him outside and attempt to learn from His words and to work for Him in our own way, hoping that we will be rewarded for what we accomplish in His name.
If we choose to open the door, Christ enters us. He dines with us, and we with Him, on His own body and blood—the blood of the new covenant. We partake with Him of the abundant Life of the Father. We take His yoke on us and learn of Him. He brings us into the knowledge of the Father; and the knowledge of the Father is eternal life.
Christ becomes the Way to the Father by transforming us from within, by giving us to eat of His body and to drink of His blood.
When first we become a Christian we strive to do what the Scriptures command. This we are required to do.
As we keep the Word, something begins to take place in us. Christ, the Day Star, begins to arise in us. The power to abide in God, the desire and ability to please God, increase in us.
We have also a more sure word of prophecy [the Scriptures]; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (II Peter 1:19)
The new covenant is not the writings of the Apostles, as inspired and supremely valuable as those writings are. The new covenant is the creation and dwelling of Christ in us. This is our hope of glory. But in order to enter the new covenant we must keep the commandments of the Apostles as the Holy Spirit enables us.
Christ Himself Is the Truth from God. Truth is not a statement of theology nor is it a collection of facts. The Truth is a Person. The Scriptures themselves point us to the Truth; they bear witness of the Truth.
The priests and Pharisees believed that they possessed truth in the Law and the Prophets. They trusted in them for eternal life.
Christ confronted them. “Search the Scriptures,” He said, “because you hope to obtain eternal life from them. But the Scriptures point to Me, they bear witness of Me. Why will you not come to Me and receive life?”
There is no eternal life in the Scriptures. The purpose of the Scriptures is to bring us to eternal Life, who is Christ.
How many today are confused on this point? They believe that Christ, because He is the Word of God, is synonymous with the Scriptures. Christ is not synonymous with the Scriptures. It is possible to know the Scriptures and yet be empty of eternal life; in fact, to murder eternal life everywhere He appears.
The Pharisees loved the Scriptures. They doted on the Scriptures. Not that they understood the Scriptures because no person can understand the Scriptures until Christ breaks the bread of life to him. If the Scriptures equaled Christ, the Pharisees would have loved and doted on Christ. They demonstrated that it is possible to love the Scriptures and at the same time to hate Christ, who is the Word of God.
The nations of the world are stumbling through the valley of the shadow of death. They are stumbling because there is no light in them. The only true light is the Life of Christ. He is the Truth from God. He alone lights every man who is born into the world.
In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. No system of education can be effective until it is based on the Lord Jesus Christ. Truth does not exist apart from Christ.
Christ Himself is the Way to the Father. Christ Himself is the Truth concerning the Father. Christ Himself is the Life from the Father. Christ is able to give life to us, but it is far better when He Himself becomes the Life in us. This is abundant life. This is the fountain of life that never runs dry. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles.
Sin always results in death. The individual who is committing sin is the servant of sin, the slave of sin, and is abiding in death. He is walking in darkness, blinded by the God of the world—the devil.
Righteousness and holiness result in eternal life.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)
The Truth that Is Christ sets us free from the devil and his works. The Truth sets us free in the inner man. Then Divine Life flows into us and the end is eternal life. Eternal life is the energy, the joy, the peace, the creative power that come from the only true God and Christ whom He has sent.
He who is sinning is abiding in death. Christ is the Gift of God to us, the Gift of eternal life.
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. (John 14:10)
Christ is Zion—the “hill” in which the God of Heaven abides forever. Christ is not the Father, He is the Temple of the Father. The holy words that Christ spoke, which are recorded in the four Gospel accounts, came from the mouth of the Father, the God of Heaven.
God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.
The mighty works that Christ did were not performed by Him, according to His statements. They were performed by God who dwells in Christ in His Divine Fullness.
Christ, the living Word of the Father, was broken on the cross. Since then He has been sown in the hearts of those who have received Him and who have desired fervently to live by His Life.
Christ is the House of the Father and we are the many rooms of that House.
The Body of Christ.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)
Two Divinely-appointed tasks are to be carried out throughout the Church age:
The testimony is to be born to every human being concerning the atoning death and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Body of Christ is to be brought to unity and maturity.
The purpose of the first task is to inform the peoples of the earth concerning the coming of the Kingdom of God and the Day of Wrath so they can repent, receive Christ the Lord, and be saved to life in the Kingdom.
The purpose of the second task is to create the Temple of God in order that the God of Heaven may dwell in a satisfactory manner among His creatures.
In the fourth chapter of the Book of Ephesians Paul teaches that the Holy Spirit has given various gifts and ministries to the members of the Body of Christ so the Body may be brought to the unity of the faith, to the knowledge of the Son of God, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. This is the Divine standard. Nothing less will suffice.
What will take place when the Body of Christ has attained this perfection of unity and maturity?
When the Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory. (Psalms 102:16)
The Lord Jesus promised us He would come “quickly.” Why, then, has He delayed His coming for such a long period of time (as we measure time)?
The Lord Jesus will not return until His Body has been prepared. He will not appear until His Body has been brought to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
The purpose of the Lord’s coming is that the fullness of His Glory may be revealed with the end in view of removing sin and rebellion from the earth. The saints who have died will return with the Lord. Then we who are physically alive at the coming of the Lord will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. From that point onward we will be with Him and will be revealed together with Him as sons of God.
This is the Presence, the coming of Christ of which the Scriptures speak. The Lord’s Presence will be as lightning shining from horizon to horizon because the Glory of the Presence of the Lord will be in each saint.
To our knowledge, the Scriptures never once—not once—mention a disappearing of the Christians (taught in the pre-tribulation rapture error). Do you know of a single verse that speaks of a disappearing of the saints? We do not know of any.
In several passages we are taught that we will return with Him and be glorified together with Him. This is the true scriptural hope. All else is false, not being based on the Scriptures.
When the Lord prepares His Body, His Church, His Temple, He will appear in His Glory. When the nations of the earth behold the glorified Body of Christ, now in perfect union in Christ in the Father, filled with the glory that God has given His only-begotten Son, they will realize that God loves His elect as He loves Christ. Seeing this unprecedented glory the nations will believe that God has sent Christ to be the Savior of the world.
All of us desire that the nations of the earth accept Christ and be saved from the wrath of God. They indeed shall be saved, just as soon as the Church becomes one in Christ in God.
The Christians are not waiting for the heathen to do God’s will, the heathen are waiting for the Christians to do God’s will.
Revival, spiritual warfare, and the feast of Tabernacles.
There are at least five comings of the Lord taught in the Scriptures:
- The life and ministry of Jesus of Nazareth.
- The coming of Christ in the revival power of the former and latter rain (Hosea 6:3).
- His coming to purify His Church, the royal priesthood (Malachi 3:1-3).
- The coming of the Lord to the obedient saint in fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles (John 14:23).
- The worldwide revelation of Christ, His coming, His Presence, as presented in Matthew, Chapter 24; I Corinthians, Chapter 15; First and Second Thessalonians; Revelation 1:7; and similar passages.
The Old Testament speaks several times of the Lord coming with His army to destroy sin from the earth (Joel 2:11; Habakkuk, Chapter Three; and so forth). According to our understanding, the coming of the Lord with His army will take place at the worldwide revelation of Christ and His saints.
To our knowledge, no other coming or Presence of Christ is presented in the Old Testament Scriptures. There is no prophecy, type, or express statement that clearly supports a “rapture” of believers prior to the coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven.
Perhaps the two most important comings are the coming of the Lord to the obedient saint in fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles, and the worldwide revelation of Christ. If it is true that these two major comings of Christ will take place in the last days, the first to establish the inner kingdom and the second to establish the outer kingdom (the Lord Himself being revealed to the world at the second coming), what is the relationship between these two comings? When will they take place with respect to each other?
According to our understanding, the spiritual fulfillment of Tabernacles, which is celebrated after Pentecost (Deuteronomy 16:16), has commenced already.
First must come salvation, then the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and after that the “blowing of the trumpet” of spiritual warfare. The trumpet of God is sounding in the spirit realm today warning us not to camp at Pentecost but to resume our march toward the land of promise.
There is a deep stirring of the Spirit today. Are you hearing what the Spirit is saying to the churches? Are you hungry for more of God?
After Trumpets comes the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. This also is upon us in the present hour.
The Day of Atonement is the period when we Christians are reconciled to God, when we are married to the Lamb. This is why there now is such a emphasis on union with God through Christ, as distinguished from the customary attempt to “get things from God,” to persuade God to do what we desire.
During the Day of Atonement, the Day of Reconciliation, the Day of union, God deals with us concerning the sin in our life and our self-seeking.
We overcome sinful practices when we confess our sins and repent of them, allowing the Holy Spirit to put to death the deeds of our body.
It is God Himself who enables us to conquer our self-seeking and self-love by requiring of us that we abide patiently throughout numerous testings and frustrations. We are required to do what is disagreeable to us. We are denied what we fervently desire.
Some Christians quit at this point and will not walk any further with God.
Every member of Christ’s army, His “mighty men,” must be called, chosen, and then proven to be faithful beyond question.
If we would become a part of the eternal Temple of God, a room in God’s house, we must respond to the trumpet that is summoning us to spiritual battle. Also, we must cooperate with the Holy Spirit in putting to death the lusts of our flesh.
After that, we are to take up our cross and follow Christ wherever He leads us.
If we will obey Christ patiently in the path of discipleship in which he leads us, there is glory beyond measure awaiting us.
The Prophets of the Old Testament appear to indicate that just before Christ appears in the Day of the Lord, and building up to and climaxing in that day, the Lord God will enter His Temple.
In the days of Noah, the fountains of the deep were broken up before the windows of the heavens were opened. The water came from beneath before it came from above.
The Old Testament Prophets speak of a great light coming upon the Church, upon the Israel of God, at the time that the greatest darkness of all has covered the earth (Isaiah 60:1,2).
It is our understanding that this light will come upon the Church just before Christ appears in the heavens and that the Antichrist will be helpless before it. The nations of the earth will come streaming to God’s light in the saints, and then Christ will descend from above, destroying Antichrist and his armies.
The Day of the Lord will result in salvation and blessing for the obedient of the earth, and destruction for the sinful and rebellious. The Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in His wings for those who fear the Lord, but the wicked will be crushed under foot. Glory for the upright, but fearfulness will surprise the hypocrites.
Then will God’s creation break forth into singing and the righteous nations will enter the Kingdom prepared for them from the creation of the world. Antichrist and the spirit of religious delusion will be hurled alive into the Lake of Fire, while Satan is chained by a single angel and dropped into the bottomless pit.
Joel, the Prophet of Pentecost, depicted the circumstances attending the return of Christ to the earth.
The Lord also shall roar out of Zion [the Body of Christ; the Temple of God], and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3:16)
Notice the statement of the Lord Jesus concerning “that day.” When the prophets spoke of “that day,” “in that day,” they meant the Day of the Lord.
At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. (John 14:20)
The greatest revival set forth in the Scriptures, the revival that we believe will result from God and Christ entering the unified and mature Body of Christ in fulfillment of the Levitical feast of Tabernacles, is described in the sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah:
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:1)
Notice how Isaiah, Chapter 60 corresponds to John 17:22:
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
“The glory of the Lord is risen on thee.” “The glory that Thou gavest Me I have given them.” Without doubt, Isaiah 60:1 and John 17:22 are referring to the same event. When will this marvelous outpouring of the Spirit of God take place?
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:2)
At the time of worldwide darkness, the period when the man of sin rules the world and all hope seems gone, Christ suddenly will enter His Temple, His Body, His Church.
The same period of time is described in Joel. We mentioned (above) the passage that declares the Lord will “roar out of Zion, and his voice from Jerusalem.” Notice when this roaring will take place:
The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. (Joel 3:15)
At what point in history will the sun and the moon be darkened?
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven [the heaven], and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (Matthew 24:29)
We see, therefore, that at the close of the great tribulation and just before the sign of the Son of man appears in the heaven, the Lord will roar out of Zion and His voice from Jerusalem.
This is why we believe that the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, which is an end-time coming of the Lord (John 14:23), will take place as a herald announcing the Presence and power of Jesus who shortly will descend from Heaven and destroy the man of sin and the world system the man of sin has developed.
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; (II Thessalonians 1:7-9)
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (II Thessalonians 2:8)
In that hour the Glory of the Lord will be visible on His people. His Glory will be as lightning coming “out of the east” and shining “even unto the west.”
All the ends of the earth will behold the Glory of the Lord before Jesus descends from Heaven, as we understand the sequence of events.
And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 40:5)
The preceding verse is in the context of the voice crying in the wilderness, preparing the way of the Lord.
Who will behold the Glory of the Lord? “All flesh shall see it together.”
What will be the result of the nations beholding God’s Glory? The nations will believe in Christ and be saved.
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23)
“That the world may know.” The fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles, which is the entrance of God and Christ into the Body of Christ, has as its purpose that the world may know that God has sent Christ.
This will be the greatest revival of all history. The knowledge of the Glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.
When God celebrates the feast of Tabernacles in His Church, all the nations of the earth are obligated to come and profit from the Presence of God in Christ in His elect.
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)
The nations of saved peoples of the earth have no choice. They must appear before God who will be dwelling in Christ in the saints, so that God may receive their worship and instruct them concerning His holy and righteous Person and ways.
Zechariah 14:16-19 reveals to us God’s purpose in calling His elect out from the remainder of the peoples of the earth: it is that the saints, God’s holy ones, may reveal in themselves the holy and righteous Nature of God. This is the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, and the nations of saved peoples of the earth are commanded to come and partake of the Glory of God now being revealed in the saints.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; (I Peter 2:9)
When the Lord perfects His Church, the nations will behold the Glory of the Lord.
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)
Notice in Isaiah, Chapter 60 that the attention of the peoples of the earth is not focused on the Lord Jesus. Their attention is directed toward the Glory of the Lord abiding on the saints.
“His glory shall be seen upon thee.” “The Gentiles [nations] shall come to thy light.” “The forces of the Gentiles shall come to thee.”
This reminds us of a New Testament passage:
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)
When the Lord Jesus descends from the heavens and stands on the Mount of Olives, in the same manner in which He departed, every eye will be fastened on Him.
And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, … (Acts 1:10)
Here the attention of people is not on Christ in the saints but on the Lord Jesus Himself.
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)
However, in Isaiah, Chapter 60 and in John 17:21-23 the emphasis is on the fact that God is in Christ who is in the saints, They all will be one manifestation of Divine Glory.
In Acts 1:10 and Revelation 1:7 the attention of people is toward Christ Himself.
The above facts are the basis for our belief that there are two aspects of the end-time coming of Christ:
- The coming of the Father and the Son to dwell eternally in the faithful saints.
- The descent of the Lord Jesus Himself with His saints and holy angels, coming down from Heaven to the earth in order to sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem and from there rule the nations of the earth.
We can find passages in both the Old Testament and the New Testament to support each of these two aspects of the coming of the Lord.
The events of the sixtieth chapter of Isaiah will transpire during the season of gross darkness, the “midnight” that will blanket the earth at the time of the Lord’s return. This is the hour of which Jesus spoke when no man can work. Then the “light” mentioned in the Book of Isaiah will serve as a herald of Christ’s Presence, terrorizing the hypocrites of the churches and panicking the peoples of the nations.
The “shout” of Christ, that Paul mentions in the fourth chapter of I Thessalonians, well may be the “roar” of which Joel prophesied (Joel 3:16).
The peoples of the earth will respond joyfully to the rising of the Glory of God on His people:
And the Gentiles [nations] shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:3)
Antichrist and his armies will attempt to overcome the Glory of Christ in the saints. Then will Christ “roar out of Zion.” Also, He will appear in the heavens, calling forth the bodies of His saints, His soldiers, from their graves and clothing them with eternal, incorruptible resurrection life. Christ’s army will be caught up in the clouds to meet Him in the air.
… Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together. (Luke 17:37)
Christ and His saints will attack the wicked of the earth, destroying them totally. Now the revival glory can continue to flow to every nation without hindrance until the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
The preceding verse stresses the love of God for the peoples of the world in giving His only begotten Son for their redemption. Another fact is emphasized, and it is this that we wish to consider for a bit: “should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
First of all, let us point out that John 3:16 has nothing to do with going to Heaven. It is directed toward the restoration of that which was lost in Eden—especially access to the tree of life.
The hope of the Gospel of Christ is that we shall live and not die. Not just our spirit, not just our spirit and soul, but our whole personality—spirit, soul, and body—is destined to receive eternal life.
Any person who has lost a loved one by physical death knows that the greatest hope in all life, with the single exception of the hope of being one with Christ in God, is that cherished relationships will be restored. The incomparable hope presented in the Gospel of Christ is that we will be reunited some day with the persons who have become an important part of our existence.
Spiritual and physical death are the dreadful consequences of rebellion against God Almighty. The restoration to spiritual life that we have in Christ is the beginning of an eternity of “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (I Peter 1:8). In addition, there is restoration to bodily life included in the Good News of Christ.
Making alive the mortal body. If it is true of us that we are stepping along in His light, continually yielding our course to the will of Christ expressed in us through the Holy Spirit, then we rapidly are approaching the place where the resurrection life of the Holy Spirit, which currently is at work in our spirit and soul, will fill our mortal body with eternal life. We will be alive—spirit, soul, and body.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)
Our salvation will not be complete until our body has been redeemed (Romans 8:23). The resurrection life of Christ will fill our mortal body until it has been brought out of the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
The redemption (adoption) of the body of the Christian saint will occur at the next coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It will include the making alive of our mortal body and also the clothing of our resurrected body with our new spiritual body from Heaven (II Corinthians 5:2).
Little by little the Spirit of God brings us into the heavenly assault on our soulish nature. “City after city” fall as we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in conquering the wickedness and corruption residing in our natural life.
Down, down, down goes the Holy Spirit into the hidden caverns of our nature. The blood of Jesus works throughout our personality canceling the debt and purging the sin from us. Will we ever be rid of this sinful nature?
God is powerful enough to set us completely free, not just partially free. We must cooperate with God in the daily work of sanctification. We cannot purify ourselves apart from the Lord, and God will not purify us without our cooperation. We work together with God to accomplish the task of cleansing ourselves from “all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Corinthians 7:1).
Only the physical body will need changing when Jesus comes, if we have been successful in the program of sanctification. The resurrection of the dead will occur when the seventh trumpet peals the fanfare announcing the King, and the kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. Then the bodies of all who are in Christ will be changed from mortality into immortality.
The resurrection from the dead is the climax of the life of victorious living in Christ. The saints will be revealed together with Christ at His appearing and will administer the judgment of God on the world (Daniel 7:26,27; Colossians 3:4).
Victorious Christian living is related to the resurrection. Our spirit and soul will not be changed by the coming of the Lord at the end of the age. Our body will be transformed into the image of Christ’s body, if we have lived in spiritual victory, but our spirit and our soul will be revealed as to what they have become during our pilgrimage in the world.
Our spirit and soul are being changed now, at this time, as we are beholding as in a glass the Glory of the Lord (II Corinthians 3:18). Gradually we are becoming better able to “see him as he is.” We are moving from one stage of glory to the next, in terms of being able to “live with the devouring fire” (Isaiah 33:14).
The resurrection of our body will take place when Jesus returns to earth and is the destruction of the last enemy—physical death.
Notice how the Apostle Paul toward the end of his life was looking forward to attaining the fullness of the first resurrection:
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek “out-resurrection”] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
Nowhere in the Scriptures is the pursuit of the life of the Holy Spirit more powerfully set forth than in the letter of Paul to the saints at Philippi, Chapter Three, verses ten and eleven. These two verses reveal that the resurrection from the dead is not an event for which the Christians are to wait in a state of passivity but rather is a goal, a mark, a prize that inspires the disciple of the Lord Jesus to keep on pressing day by day from the state of imputed (ascribed) righteousness into complete sanctification and consecration of life.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)
The study of the context of Paul’s statement of purpose makes it obvious that Paul was reaching with all the concentration of his mind and heart in order to grasp the fullness of resurrection life.
Even toward the end of his pilgrimage, after the churches had been established and the miracles had been performed, Paul still was seeking to leave all behind and was pressing forward in order to acquire resurrection life in every aspect of his personality.
Paul was exerting every effort in the race toward readiness for the coming of Christ. Paul was reaching out with all his determination so that he might seize the prize of the heavenly calling of God in Christ—especially the fullness of life that is available now and is the necessary preparation for the bodily glorification of the royal priesthood.
For our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body [body of our humbling], that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Philippians 3:20,21)
Paul was devoting his attention to partaking of Christ’s resurrection and sharing Christ’s sufferings with the goal of attaining resurrection life in his spirit, his soul, and—as a consequence—his body when the Lord comes. He was anticipating the fashioning of his corruptible body into the image of the glorified Body of Christ, this being accomplished by the energy with which Christ is able to subdue all things to His own will.
The spiritual and bodily dimensions of the first resurrection from the dead are a goal worth pursuing with all single-mindedness of purpose.
Second Corinthians 4:7-5:5 is another passage that describes the relationship between our current experiencing of the death and resurrection of Christ and the future filling of our physical body with eternal life.
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (II Corinthians 4:10)
The preceding verse sets forth the same thought as Philippians 3:10-11. The concept is that of laying hold during our present life on the power of Christ’s resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings.
A few verses later we can observe the connection between our current faithfulness in serving Christ and the coming redemption of our mortal body:
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (II Corinthians 4:17)
It is our “light affliction” that is working out for us such an exceedingly great “weight of glory.” Afflictions alone will not bring us the weight of resurrection life we are seeking. These pressures will prepare us for the resurrection provided they are our participation in the sufferings of Christ and are bringing forth the conquering power of the resurrection Life of Jesus in us.
People of the world and church members who are not living the life of strict obedience to the Holy Spirit of God experience sufferings and tragedies that bring grief to their heart.
There may be no profit in their pain as far as the resurrection from the dead is concerned. They may be reaping the evil they have sown and not sharing in the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.
God’s hand of judgment falls on those who sin, whether or not they attend church or name the name of Christ. Terrible consequences follow sinful behavior, and “the sorrow of the world worketh death” (II Corinthians 7:10).
All people, Christians and non-Christians alike, suffer afflictions in this life. However, if the Christian allows the death and resurrection of Christ to work in him according to the will of God, his afflictions will achieve for him a treasure that will be given to Him by the Lord Jesus when He appears.
In the sixth chapter of Romans, Paul expresses the idea that we through water baptism have become united with the death and united with the resurrection of Christ.
In Philippians, Chapter Three and II Corinthians, Chapters Four and Five, Paul tells us that patient, cross-carrying obedience to the Lord Jesus is required if we are to be able to translate the Divine vision of union with Christ’s death and resurrection into a real sharing in His death and resurrection in our daily life on the earth.
Paul offered up his whole life so he would come to know in actual experience the power of Christ’s resurrection and the sharing in His sufferings. We can think of Philippians, Chapter Three and II Corinthians, Chapters Four and Five as pointing the way toward our full participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. The coming redemption of our mortal body is viewed as a continuation of the resurrection life that already is lifting us into victory in our daily combat.
Our “light affliction” that is but for a moment soon will be a thing of the past. Resurrection glory will be the fountain of our life to the ages of ages. At Christ’s Presence our mortal body will be redeemed, thereby making our body part of the “team” along with our spirit and soul.
The former enemy (our body) will be brought over to the side of righteousness through being transformed by Christ’s almighty power into incorruptible eternal life.
If Paul, at the end of an exemplary Christian discipleship of holiness and service, still was pressing toward the mark of complete resurrection in Christ, we should follow his example (Philippians 3:13-15).
If the Apostle to the Gentiles was working diligently toward a full grasp on the coming resurrection from the dead, we need to make certain that we really are giving our best to the Lord Jesus in the grasping of His resurrection power.
Hebrews 3:14 claims there is a relationship between living the victorious life now and the redemption of the mortal body when Jesus appears:
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)
The letter to the Hebrew Christians is an exhortation to the saints to press forward to the “rest” of God—to resting in the resurrection life that flows from God through Christ. The contrast is made that we either “draw back unto perdition” or else “believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39).
We must grow in Christ until we are capable of the redemption of our physical body. All the processes of redemption we have described in our book play a part in making us capable of the redemption of our body. To neglect any aspect of redemption is to run the risk of seriously jeopardizing the quality of our resurrection.
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;… (Hebrews 2:3)
The above verse is addressed to Christians.
Escape from what? Escape from being destroyed in the “wilderness” as were the Jews. Escape from not being allowed to partake of the Glory of Christ at His appearing.
Our capability of being resurrected to eternal life depends on our experiencing daily the liberating force of resurrection power that raises us from His suffering and death into which we are being pressed.
Our readiness for release into life increases with our freedom from committing sins and with our conformity to His death and resurrection.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:2)
The “law of the Spirit of life” is the power that God has given us to enable us to overcome the compulsions of sin. If after having been made righteous by receiving God’s gift of righteousness to us we then choose to walk after the desires of our flesh and fleshly mind, we will die spiritually. We will defeat our own resurrection.
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ enables us to walk in daily fellowship with and obedience to the Spirit of God, and to present our body a living sacrifice to God so we may be able to prove God’s will for our life.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (Romans 8:3)
The Law of Moses is righteous, holy, and good in every respect. However, the Law depends on our human ability to fulfill its requirements. This our flesh is unable to do. However, Christ indeed did conquer sin while living in a fleshly body. Therefore His righteousness is ascribed to those who, by the ability given through the Holy Spirit, are gaining victory over sin each day.
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)
It is not easy to follow the Spirit because our flesh, the adversary, and the spirit of the world push us off course. If we yield to the lusts of our flesh and the desires of our mind the Life of Christ is choked out of us. If we walk in the power and wisdom of the Spirit we will not fulfill the lusts of our flesh. We will begin to practice the behavior that the Law of Moses commands. The righteousness of God is both ascribed to us and created in us under the new covenant.
For to be fleshly minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
It is impossible to retain the new life we were given on our conversion to Christ if we continue to live in the appetites of the flesh and fleshly mind. Either we walk forward in the Spirit of God or we do not attain eternal life.
When we receive Christ and are born again our new life ascends to the right hand of the Father. We do not lose that position easily. We have security in Christ as long as we keep our hope and trust in Him. He is able to save us to the uttermost.
It also is a fact that we must be pressed anew each day into the death and resurrection of Christ. The flame of love for Christ must be kept blazing on the altar of our heart, and the holiness of our life must be that of the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
The gate to eternal life is narrow and it demands our total concentration and diligence in seeking the Lord in order to get through that gate and to enter life. In addition, the way itself is confined and restricted and brings pressure on the pilgrim who is making his way toward the Life of Christ (Matthew 7:14).
Our achievement of the resurrection Life of Christ, both in our daily battles and also in the clothing of our mortal body with a “mansion” of life at His coming, depends directly on our perseverance in cleaving to the Holy Spirit as He is leading us into eternal life now.
Eternal life begins when we are born again and must be pursued vigorously every day of our discipleship on earth. The fullness of the goal of eternal life is attained at the point in which our physical body is redeemed and we become clothed with our body from Heaven—a body fashioned from the substance of eternal life (II Corinthians 5:4; I Corinthians 15:54).
The role of the physical body in the resurrection from the dead. The physical body has an important role to play in God’s plan of redemption in Christ.
The relationship of the Son of God to the Father is described in the Book of Hebrews:
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? (Hebrews 1:5)
“This day have I begotten thee.” On what day was the eternal One begotten?
The “day” on which Christ was “begotten” included three phases, as is true of the rest of the sons of God (although there were unique features included in the begetting of the Lord Jesus Christ).
The three phases were as follows:
- His birth in a manger (Luke 2:7).
- The descent of the Holy Spirit upon Him (Luke 3:22).
- His resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4).
These three episodes in the life of Christ taken together constitute the “day” on which He was begotten by the Father.
Each member of the Body of Christ must be born of a woman (and also born again of God, which was not necessary in the case of Christ), baptized with the Holy Spirit, and resurrected from the dead, before it can be said of him in the fullest sense that he is a son of God.
Notice the importance of the role played by the physical body of Jesus in the three phases of being begotten by the Father as a Son. His body was born from Mary. The Holy Spirit descended in visible form on Him, that is, on His body. His body was resurrected. Truly, the physical body has more importance in God’s plan of redemption than we may have realized.
The first chapter of the Book of Hebrews emphasizes the fact that Christ in several ways has been made “so much better than the angels.” One particular way in which Christ is different from all other heavenly beings is that He possesses a physical body.
Christ was born of a woman. No angel ever was born of a woman. The Holy Spirit descended on the human form of Christ. The Holy Spirit never has descended on an angel after this fashion.
The Body of Christ was raised from the earth and now is seated on the highest throne of the universe—far above every other dominion and title; for so it has pleased the Father. No other inhabitant of Heaven has been raised bodily from the dead and placed on the highest of all thrones.
The destiny of every member of the Body of Christ is to be born of a woman and of God, anointed with the Spirit of God, and then raised bodily from the dead to occupy a position of honor in the Kingdom of God.
There is a Man, not a cherub, on the highest throne of Heaven. God Almighty placed Him there. He is in the form of a man. He still lives in the same body that trudged along the hilly paths of the land of Israel; for the cave of Joseph of Arimathea is empty.
No matter how glorified that body may be by now, it still is the same body. Those who have seen Him say that the nail prints are yet in His hands.
Only that special creation known as man possesses a physical body, having been born of a woman. The physical body is a staggering miracle, the creation of incredible Genius. The physical body is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14).
It is the body that has become the slave of sin (Romans 7:18). It is the body that is the temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19). It is the body that composes “the members of Christ” (I Corinthians 6:15).
The battle in which the Christian is engaged is often fought over the lusts of the body. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17). The “works of the flesh” are listed in Galatians 5:19-21. The “earthen vessel” (II Corinthians 4:7) in which we carry the Glory of God so limits us and keeps us in such a wilderness of weakness, doubt, confusion, fear, lust, that we can proceed along the Christian way only by the wisdom and strength given us in Christ. The flesh is a terrible taskmaster—a tyrant continually crying more! more! more!
The flesh is a bottomless pit that would eat, drink, and lust itself to death if we would follow its appetites. It is a sin-ridden carcass that we drag around. Its tendencies lead to death. Attempts to reform the flesh or to make it pleasing to God always end in failure. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can solve the problem of the sin and death that bind the physical body.
It is the Christian’s task to cooperate with the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit and, by the grace that God gives, to bring the rebellious flesh into submission to God and to keep it there.
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Corinthians 9:27)
The physical body is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God and it is to be kept holy—reserved for the Master’s use. God will make alive the mortal bodies of the saints at the next coming of Christ. We must walk in holiness so we will be prepared for the translation of our body into glory.
The Holy Spirit whom we now have is working with us to help us overcome the lusts of our flesh. The same Holy Spirit will, in the days to come, make alive our body so that the power of sin and death can be broken completely.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)
Our bodies will be changed and fashioned like His glorious body (Philippians 3:21). First Corinthians 15:37 informs us that a farmer does not sow the mature stalk but only the seed from which the stalk will grow at a later date. The mature stalk grows out from the seed that is sown. Our redeemed body will grow out from our present body, which is being sown into the death of the cross.
God is not going to discard the body we have now. He intends to redeem and transform it so that our body can join along with our spirit and soul in worshiping God and serving Christ.
In the Day of the Lord we no longer will need to buffet our body and bring it into subjection to our will. Our body, once it has been transformed by the life-giving Nature of the Holy Spirit, will be desirous of pleasing the Lord God, just as is true now of our new born-again spiritual nature. Then it will be easy to serve God. It will be our whole nature to do so.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (I Corinthians 15:54)
At the sounding of the last trumpet the power of Christ will touch the bodies of the saints, whether dead or alive, and those vessels will be filled with the Holy Spirit to such an extent that the Substance of eternal resurrection life will replace the death-filled bodily processes.
Just as preservative is forced into timbers to make them resistant to decay, so the Holy Spirit will penetrate each atom of our physical body, driving out every particle of sin and death and filling our body with the Life of Christ.
Christ is waiting patiently until every one of His enemies has been made His footstool through the wisdom and power of God, His Father. The last enemy that will be destroyed is physical death. Those who march in the army of the Lord will be eternally alive in their bodies (Joel 2:2-11; Habakkuk 3:7-16; Revelation 19:14).
It is God’s will that we should not perish but have eternal life. Christ Is eternal Life. It is impossible for anyone to kill Christ. He had the power to lay down His life for our sins and He had the power to take His life back up again. No man took His Life from Him.
Christ possesses all power over death. He has the keys of death. It is He who will, in the appointed hour, make alive our mortal bodies by His glorious authority and power.
The message of Easter morning is that the tomb is empty. Christ took up His body again and came forth into the daylight. After a period of forty days, during which time He engaged in activities not described in full in the Gospel accounts, He ascended to the Father. He ascended while still in His body. He possesses all authority in Heaven and on the earth.
There is no other hope equal to that of the Christian Good News. The Good News is that the believers in Christ will not perish in the grave but will come back to life in their bodies.
It does not matter if they have been blown into bits by a bomb, they will come forth in their bodies. They may have been drowned at sea but they will come forth in their bodies. They may have been burned at the stake, yet they will come forth in their bodies.
What a hope! We will see our loved ones again and we all shall be alive forever.
The effects of the disobedience of Adam and Eve have been reversed in Christ. All the authority and power of death has been delivered into the hands of Jesus, as represented by the “keys” (Revelation 1:18).
Christ can do as He will with all the creation of God, and it is His will that the saints, His brothers, reign with Him over the creation. Therefore death holds no terrors for us.
It is important for the Church of Christ to understand that redemption is yet ahead of us. Redemption, in scriptural terms, is the destroying of the power of sin and death over the physical body.
In the present hour we possess the pledge of the Holy Spirit—a pledge on the redemption that is to come. The full benefits of the death of Christ on the cross are yet ahead of us. He has “kept the good wine until now” (John 2:10).
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28)
And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest [pledge] of the Spirit in our heart. (II Corinthians 1:22)
Which is the earnest [pledge] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:14)
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)
We have seen that what we have now is a pledge, a deposit on the fullness of redemption. We have been “sealed unto the day of redemption.” The fullness of redemption includes the restoration of life to the mortal body.
Christ never will be content with the redemption only of the spirit and soul of the member of His Body. He is waiting patiently until the Glory of God the Father is directed toward the breaking of the power of sin and death over the mortal body. The making alive of the bodies of the saved is the final act in the restoration of what was lost in Eden.
The release of the created universe, including the making alive of the bodies of the saved people, is the fullest expression of Calvary. The Gospel of Christ is the promise that we shall not perish but have everlasting life—in the body.
Christ is the enemy of death. Every particle of death must flee at the Presence of Christ—Head and Body. Death will be cast into the Lake of Fire, which is the second death. There is no place for death among the saints of God.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. (I Corinthians 15:54-56)
The saints are moving, under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, toward the abolishing of death in the body. The abolishing of death in the body, which is the “resurrection” of I Corinthians, Chapter 15, will occur at the coming of Christ. The fullness of the reward will be given at that time to those who have been diligent in the processes of redemption described in the preceding pages of our book.
The overcoming of death in our body is the mature expression of the “rest” of God, of Hebrews, Chapter Four. It is the land of promise; the “mark,” of Philippians, Chapter Three; the “perfection,” of Hebrews, Chapter Six; the “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time,” of I Peter, Chapter One; the “redemption,” of Luke 21:28 and Ephesians 4:30.
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? (Romans 8:24)
The hope that saves us and that spurs us on to put to death the deeds of our flesh is the vision that one day the sin and death in our body will be removed and we, as a result, will enter the rest of righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.
Experiencing His death and His resurrection. Our flesh is being brought low continually so we may experience the power of Christ’s resurrection. The “excellency of the power” of God keeps us from being distressed, from being in despair, from being destroyed. The Life of Jesus is being made manifest in our body provided we are walking in the Holy Spirit.
The Life of Jesus is being made manifest in our mortal flesh, and the resurrection Life that is in Him takes control of our personality, as our body experiences the death of the cross. The resurrection life that comes out of our “death” brings eternal life to other people. The overflow of the resurrection Life of Christ is brought to others now, during our pilgrimage and ministry on the earth.
Look at the extent to which the blessings of Christ have come to the world through the writings of the imprisoned Paul. To an even greater degree, the whole earth will be touched with the Life of God when the sons of God are raised up from their graves by His almighty power.
So then death worketh in us, but life in you. (II Corinthians 4:12)
Our hope is that we shall, at the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, be clothed with a body fashioned from resurrection life. We are pressing forward toward receiving our “house which is from heaven” (II Corinthians 5:2).
We must be made ready in our spiritual nature for such a gift. We are being prepared and strengthened for putting on the body of resurrection life by first learning, during our experiences now, how to live and act in the Spirit of God.
The relationship between our Christian discipleship now, and the receiving of the body of life when Jesus comes, is described in the last few verses of II Corinthians, Chapter Four, and the first ten verses of II Corinthians, Chapter Five.
Notice, first of all, the relationship between our outward troubles and the growth of the “inner man”:
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inner man is renewed day by day. (II Corinthians 4:16)
The outward man is perishing and the inner man is being renewed day by day. Death, and life. Death, and life. Death, and life. It is impossible to have the development of the inner man apart from the death of the outward man.
The outward man, our first personality, does not desire death. He fights against his demise. The outward man always is an enemy of the Spirit of God.
The new born-again personality rejoices in the will of God and is glad for the righteousness, peace, and joy that follow the chastening of the flesh.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. (Hebrews 12:11)
If we give ourselves over to the will of God, not in passivity but in fervent seeking of God, resting in Him in the meantime, He will raise us up and deliver us from all our afflictions. Our attitude must hold steady on this one point: “We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead” (II Corinthians 1:9).
We do not trust in ourselves that we can do anything at all, particularly in the area of Christian service. We do know that God keeps on bringing us into weakness and that we must trust ourselves in increasing measure to His resurrection power and wisdom.
The more affliction God sends our way the greater the opportunity we have for experiencing His Glory and for the strengthening of the inner man, provided we respond to our affliction by allowing God to provide the solution to each problem.
There is a direct relationship between the problems and troubles we suffer in Christ and our inner preparation for receiving our “house that is from heaven.” We can observe this relationship in the following verse:
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (II Corinthians 4:17)
Affliction is much easier to bear when we learn to appreciate the fact that it is our trouble, perplexity, persecution, and being cast down that are working for us the “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” By comparison our tribulations are momentary and light.
If we wish to be a “heavyweight” when Jesus appears we must continue to gaze at “the things which are not seen” so we can endure the afflictions into which the Holy Spirit leads us. The weight of the glory we will receive is related to the manner in which we respond to the afflictions.
The “house which is from heaven.” What is this “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”? It is the eternal “house” with which our mortal body will be clothed at the Presence of Christ, who will bring our rewards with Him at His coming.
Let us go on to Chapter Five of II Corinthians:
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (II Corinthians 5:1)
The concept of the “house from heaven” is an important idea for us to consider. It is clear from the above passage that we do not have to be overly concerned about our physical body because if our flesh is destroyed we still have a spiritual body in Heaven with God.
However, let us call to mind what we have stated previously concerning the role of the physical body in the resurrection from the dead. The Scriptures state that our mortal body will be made alive, that it will be raised from the dead.
According to II Corinthians 5:1, our spiritual body is in Heaven with God. It is being formed as we partake of the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. Our body in Heaven grows in “weight” as our body on earth is sown into Christ’s death.
Our physical body “sleeps” in the ground, awaiting the Presence of the Lord. When the Lord comes, our physical body of flesh and bone will be raised just as Jesus’ body was raised. Then the Lord Jesus will clothe our resurrected body with the body of incorruptible life from Heaven that He will bring with Him as part of our reward.
There is the making alive of our mortal body, and then there is the clothing of the resurrected mortal body with the house from Heaven.
It is not our house from Heaven that will be raised from the dead and made alive, it is our mortal body.
If God were not going to raise our mortal body from the grave, but merely were to clothe our soul and spirit with the house from Heaven, there would be no resurrection from the dead.
As soon as we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, and are born again, our spirit becomes one with the Holy Spirit. Our new born-again nature takes its place in Christ at the right hand of God in Heaven.
If we die in the Lord, our soul goes to be with the Lord. Our spirit and soul are with the Lord in Heaven. We understand from this that the purpose of the resurrection from the dead is not that we may go to Heaven, for we already are in Heaven in our spiritual nature.
Our body, the third part of our personality, is “asleep” in the dust of the ground.
In the Day of Christ our spiritual personality will return from Heaven with Him. The Lord will bring with Him our house from Heaven as part of our reward.
Christ will take His stand in the air. Then His victorious saints will come down to the earth in the power of the Spirit of God and take back their bodies from the ground. After that, the resurrected saints will return to the Lord in the air so that they may descend with Him in the cavalry charge of the Battle of Armageddon.
As we understand it, it is at this point, just prior to the onslaught of Armageddon, that the Lord will clothe bodies of His resurrected saints with their houses from Heaven—the weight of glory that has been created as they have participated in the power of Christ’s resurrection and have shared His sufferings.
Christ Himself possesses a glorified house from Heaven. It also is true that He returned from the spirit realm in the power of the Holy Spirit and claimed His flesh and bone that were “asleep” in the cave of Joseph of Arimathea.
Our mortal body will be clothed with our house from Heaven. We can notice this in the fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians:
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (I Corinthians 15:53,54)
The context of the above two verses suggests that Paul is not referring to the soul and spirit of the believer, to his new born-again inner man, and his spirit that now is one with the Holy Spirit; for they are not corruptible.
What is it, then, that puts on the incorruptible house from Heaven? It is the resurrected body that puts on the immortal house.
The incorruptible body from Heaven swallowing up the corruptible mortal body is typified by the refined gold that “swallowed up” various parts of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about. (Exodus 25:10,11)
The wood, the redeemed mortal body to speak in a figure, still is present. It is invisible to the eye for it has been covered within and without with refined gold.
Our “house from heaven” is the “gold” that has been “refined” by our momentary and light afflictions on the earth.
It is peculiarly the body, not the soul or spirit, which is the Temple of God.
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (I Corinthians 3:16)
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (I Corinthians 6:19)
We are the Temple of God. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. God will raise our body from the grave and then clothe it with the body from Heaven.
It is the Body of Christ that is the Incarnation of God. The Word became flesh. We gain eternal resurrection life by eating the Body of Christ and drinking His blood.
The Body of Christ was raised from among the dead and then glorified with the house from Heaven. Our body, which is one-third of our personality so to speak, will be raised from the dead and then glorified by being clothed with the house from Heaven.
Since it is our body that is the Temple of God, and since the holy city is the “tabernacle” of God, it is possible that the holy city, to a certain extent, actually is an expression of the Church, the Body of Christ, now dwelling in bodies that have been glorified by being clothed with supremely magnificent bodies formed from the substance of eternal life.
Not nearly enough attention has been paid to the redemption of the body of the saint. In fact, Christian theology tends to reflect the Eastern religions, which stress that spirit is good and matter is evil.
It is the contrary that is true. Sin originated in the spiritual realm. The material realm was “very good” when it was created.
Nevertheless, the flesh profits nothing. The flesh and blood realm cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Flesh and blood are nothing more than a primitive setting, a form and vehicle for the true riches of the Kingdom. Until the Spirit of God makes the flesh alive we labor in the bondage of decay and futility.
Our house from Heaven is the robe of salvation of which the Scriptures speak, the white garment of the royal priesthood. We are weaving that robe now as we permit the Holy Spirit to sow our flesh to the death of the cross. Our behavior in the world is very important; for we shall be clothed with our own deeds in the Day of Christ. Here is the righteousness of God.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)
Did you ever hear a Christian groan that he might be clothed with his house from Heaven? Probably not. Why is it that we do not groan according to the Scriptures?
The reason is, we do not understand the goal of the Christian redemption. We are under the impression that eternal residence in a golden mansion in Heaven is the goal of the Divine work of redemption.
Whenever the members of an organization lose sight of the goals of the organization or misunderstand the goals of the organization, there is confusion and ineffectiveness in all the operations of the enterprise.
The briefest reflection on the Scriptures and on the dealings of God with the saints will reveal quickly that rest in Heaven is by no means the goal of the Divine redemption.
If it were God’s intention that man spend eternity resting in the spirit Paradise He would have created him in the spirit Paradise. God created man on the earth and permitted him to be tempted, knowing he would fall.
Let us say that God did not realize Adam and Eve would be tempted successfully, and now the Lord wants to make up for His blunder by forgiving our sins through Christ and allowing us to go to rest forever in the domain of spirits.
In this case, most of the statements and operations of the new covenant are misdirected and superfluous. It is necessary only that we profess Christ so when we die physically we can attain the goal, which is Heaven. Actually, the resurrection of our body is unnecessary. We do not need to be resurrected because we have attained our goal by dying and going to Heaven.
Why should we groan, earnestly hoping to be clothed with a house from Heaven? It makes no sense.
A study of the Scriptures will reveal quickly that God knows what He is doing, that He has specific plans for the saints whom He is preparing with such meticulous care, and that the Kingdom of God is destined to be located on the earth.
When we die physically we shall enter the spirit Paradise. To those of us who are older and worn in body, accustomed to pain, frayed in nerves (although Christ provides us with all the strength and joy we need to accomplish His will), entrance into Paradise is a wonderful prospect. We shall see God, Christ, our loved ones, and the saints of the Scripture. We shall have the opportunity to pursue our interests without the dread and confusion that result from sin and rebellion. We shall understand that which in the present hour is so confusing.
Such relief is not the end, however. A vacation is not our eternal destiny—that for which we have been trained so carefully in faith and good works.
At the sounding of the seventh trumpet we shall be summoned from where we are employed so happily in Heaven; for we have been commanded to return with Jesus to this arena of unrighteousness, filth, and rebellion, to this valley of the shadow of death, to these suburbs of Hell, so that once again we may fight against man making himself God, against Satan, and against the spirit of religious delusion.
We shall return with our Lord Jesus, the Commander in Chief, to the air above the surface of the earth. On the earth the embattled remnant will be being filled with the Presence of the Father and the Son. Christ in them will be shouting for the battle. The nations of the earth will be streaming toward the light that now is radiating from the saints.
At the Word of Christ, we who are accustomed to obeying Christ without question shall descend to the graves in order to take up our bodies that have been confined there while our spirits and souls have been enjoying Paradise.
Our personalities will enter our bodies and the angels of God will open our places of confinement, just as the angel rolled back the stone blocking the entrance to the cave of Joseph of Arimathea.
After a period of reunion with others who have been newly raised, and with the suddenly immortalized living saints who are joining our ranks, we shall be caught up in the clouds to meet Christ in the air.
Now we are the army of the Lord. Now our resurrected mortal body has been clothed with a body of eternal life that is of the Substance and likeness of the eternal body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the army of Joel, Chapter Two; Habakkuk, Chapter Three; Ezekiel, Chapter 37; Revelation, Chapter 19.
We have been ordered to leave the peaceful joys of Paradise and once again struggle with Antichrist, Satan, and the spirit of religious delusion. Not a pleasant prospect after having spent such joyous hours in Paradise!
There is a difference, however. The difference is that our body has now been clothed with our house from Heaven. If we have performed faithfully the tasks on earth that Christ required of us, then our house from Heaven will be glorious beyond our imagination.
But if we have been faithless in serving Christ, our robe will be skimpy and threadbare. We will be found naked in the Day of the Lord.
We shall not be allowed to conceal our nakedness with the house belonging to another person. No matter how we cry, wheedle, moan, gnash our teeth, we shall be clothed with our own deeds.
Do you remember the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, and of the servants and the use of their talents? In the Day when Christ hands out our rewards, the righteous will remain righteous and the filthy will remain filthy.
Many of the believers are accustomed to shirking the work they ought to be doing in the Kingdom of God. They are not being punished now, apparently, and suppose they will be able to evade the reaping of what they have sown.
The Scriptures do not have pleasant things to say concerning the lukewarm, the lazy, the disobedient.
The conquerors will be rejoicing with superabundant joy as they gather together with the Lord, now clothed with indestructible bodies.
Down from the clouds will thunder the mightiest of all cavalry charges, the soldiers of Christ’s army—indestructible, impervious to pain and death, able to perform that which the Holy Spirit guides them to do.
Antichrist and his armies are doomed before the Battle of Armageddon commences no matter what supernatural assistance they receive. Soldiers of the earth cannot overcome saints who are led by the Lord Jesus, who are clothed with incorruptible, indestructible bodies fashioned from the Substance of eternal life, who through the Spirit are wielding the Word of God in Divine judgment. The Commander in Chief of the heavenly army will be clothed with a robe dipped in the blood of atonement. His name is called the Word of God.
How would you like to face that army?
Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. (Joel 2:6-8)
When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)
In that day, Antichrist and the armies of the earth will have the supernatural assistance of Satan, fallen angels, and demons. But because of the righteousness of the blood of the cross, the power of the Father will be with the saints and that supreme Power will overcome and destroy all the power of Satan.
It will be a joy to go to Paradise, there to enjoy the peace and Glory of God, Christ, the saints, and the holy angels.
It will be an even greater joy to return to earth with the Lord Jesus Christ, clothed with a body like His, having the opportunity to subdue all sin, all rebellion—all that exalts itself against the Lord Jesus Christ.
The saints will be issued the power to destroy those who destroy the earth. What glory and joy will be ours as we release the creation from the chains of futility! As we lift the curse from the earth!
Therefore the Apostle Paul did not groan that he would die and go to Heaven. He groaned that he would be clothed with his house from Heaven.
When we have been clothed with our body of life we still shall have access to the spirit Paradise, but in addition we shall be able to rule the earth according to the will of Christ. This is to be preferred over sitting idly in Heaven while Satan exercises dominion over the inheritance of Christ.
We Christians are coheirs with Christ over the nations of the earth. We will never give our inheritance to Satan!
As we stated previously, our momentary light affliction is bringing into existence the massive “weight” of surpassing glory, the body of incorruptible life, the “mansion” that is having its rise before the Throne of God as our physical body is sown to the death of the cross. We shall receive that living, heavenly body as a reward in the Day of Christ.
If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. (II Corinthians 5:3)
There will be a wide variety of rewards issued to “saved” individuals. The reward given to each person will depend on his or her response to the Gospel of the Kingdom.
Lot was saved in the Day of the Lord, but he was saved “as by fire.” He lost his wife—his source of fruitfulness and dominion, and all his possessions.
Noah and Abraham, on the other hand, were saved to marvelous fruitfulness.
Lot was found “naked” in that day. Noah and Abraham were clothed with the glory and blessing of God.
For we that are in this tabernacle [our physical body] do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. (II Corinthians 5:4)
Paul’s life as a Christian apostle placed him in many difficult, painful, wearying situations. At times he had a desire to depart and be with Christ. All true saints share this anticipation of going home to be with the Lord.
When we think about it, we are not anxious to lose our flesh, for our spirit and soul to be unclothed. Actually we would prefer that our present body be clothed with the power and glory of eternal life. Isn’t that true? Which would you prefer: to die and go to Heaven or to be clothed with a glorious body of the nature and substance of incorruptible resurrection life?
Think of the good we could do in the world if we possessed a body like that of the Lord Jesus Christ! Think of the blessings and release that we could bring to our family, our neighbors, the starving of this planet!
Could we be trusted with such awesome majesty and power?
We are not hoping to be naked, to be unclothed. We are hoping for and pressing toward that Day when we have the authority and the power to bring the Person, the will, the ways of God in Christ to the nations of the earth. This we can do as soon as we are clothed with our house from Heaven.
Now he that hath wrought [fashioned] us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [pledge; guarantee] of the Spirit. (II Corinthians 5:5)
Christ has gone to prepare a place for us in the house of God. Our house that is from Heaven is the outward form of the eternal Temple of God. We as a personality must be “wrought.” We must be prepared and strengthened in order to receive properly the “mansion” of glory being created before the eternal throne (Ephesians 3:16).
One day the Holy Spirit of God will make alive our mortal body. In fact, the resurrection life that soon will be made manifest in the redeeming of our body is already dwelling in us. We shall be made alive by the Spirit who even now is dwelling in us.
The making alive of our mortal body is the Day of Redemption. It is the adoption of our body as a son of God. It is the conquering of the last enemy—physical death. We shall be declared to be a son of God by the redemption of our body from the hand of the enemy.
We already possess the guarantee, the pledge of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit who dwells in us now is the Divine guarantee that one day God will complete the work of redeeming us by clothing us with our “mansion” from Heaven.
We must be “wrought” for this glory. Christians who are living in the appetites of the flesh are slaying their own resurrection. They are selling their birthright as a son of God for the glass, tin, and plastic of the present world system. One day they, like Esau, will weep exceedingly bitter tears of remorse because they have sold their crown of life for the perishing elements of the world.
To sell their birthright was their own choice, and they will live in the consequences of their choice forever (Revelation 22:11).
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (II Corinthians 5:6)
Paul understood and accepted the tribulations and limitations of this life. His knowledge that one day he will be clothed with authority and power gave him confidence and peace.
Paul recognized that while we are in servitude in our mortal body we cannot see the Lord and have the close fellowship with Him that we desire. As long as we are alive in our body of flesh and blood we are absent from the fullness of the relationship that one day will be ours.
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) (II Corinthians 5:7)
When we leave our present body we will be able to see the Lord. We cannot see Him now, so we must continue our pilgrimage, by faith enduring the testings and perplexities that are part of our preparation for being clothed with the body of immortal life—that which was denied Adam and Eve.
Paul, as well as the other heroes of faith of the Scriptures, lived and performed the works of God with no more “sight” than we have. They had to keep on trusting God and His Word just as we do.
One day this prolonged testing of our trust and faith will be concluded.
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)
Every true saint sooner or later begins to look longingly toward release from the flesh. The lukewarm believers, who know no existence other than the indulging of their appetites, live in fear of physical death. Physical death is the end of all that is desirable to them, even though they may have a head-knowledge of the Gospel of the Kingdom.
The victorious saints, the conquerors, have been pruned by the Spirit of the Lord until the appetites of the body are under strict discipline. In addition they have tasted the powers of the age to come.
As they near the striking of their earthly tent they begin to long for release from the prison of the flesh (Philippians 1:23). They understand they can be of service to others while they remain, and so they are willing to keep on serving, bearing their cross cheerfully and patiently. But their heart already is “on the other side of the river.”
For the overcomer, “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Who wouldn’t want to be “present with the Lord”?
Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. (II Corinthians 5:9)
The faithful saint understands that each new day is a gift from the hand of Christ. It is the day the Lord has made. It is one more opportunity for us to reveal to the Lord that we love Him and desire to serve Him.
Christ is not a hard taskmaster, He is a good Master. However, He requires faithfulness and diligence on the part of His servants.
So we work each day as though it were our last day on earth, conscientiously performing the tasks at hand but always looking forward with the greatest joy and expectation to the hour when we are released from the flesh and go home to be with the Lord.
Our home is not Heaven. Our home is the Lord. We want to go home to be with the Lord.
In the meantime we strive to be perfectly pleasing to Him while we are in the body of our humbling.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)
The reason this famous passage concerning the Judgment Seat of Christ is found in context with the house from Heaven is that the body of resurrection life is the consequence of the way we behave in the physical body we have now. The sentence passed on us at the judgment seat is that we are to be clothed with a body of incorruptible life.
The fact that the body of incorruptible eternal life, the attainment to the first resurrection from among the dead, is a direct result of the manner in which we live the Christian discipleship, may well be the most misunderstood aspect of all Christian doctrine.
Many Christians are proceeding blindly on their way, believing they will receive the rewards of the conqueror “by faith,” meaning on the basis of their mental and vocal assent to a system of theology.
When the Scriptures speak of faith they are referring to our trust in God, our grip on God and faith in His Character, not belief in the virgin birth of Christ or even that Christ shed His blood for our sins, except as such belief in doctrine directly affects how we behave.
Faith has to do with the way we act, speak, and think, not our understanding of the facts of redemption.
The demons understand well that there is one God and that Jesus of Nazareth is the Holy One sent from God. They know that the Apostles of the Lamb were sent from God to show us the way of salvation. But this knowledge does not provide them with one drop of eternal life.
The term appear, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” does not mean we merely are brought there. It means we are revealed there.
The Day of Christ will not change what we are or even be restricted to evaluating what we have done. Its primary function is to reveal what we have become as we have followed Christ with more or less diligence.
The Day will declare what we have become, and we shall be rewarded accordingly. We shall receive a “robe” from Heaven that corresponds to what we have practiced, and what we have practiced is the true indicator of what we have become. We are known by our fruit.
Whatever we sow, that is what we shall reap. If we sow to the Holy Spirit we will reap a glorious body of life. If we sow to the appetites of our flesh our harvest will be corruption. We will be presented with corruption in the Day of the Lord.
“That every one may receive the things done in his body.” Here is the righteousness of God.
What have we practiced in our body? Has it been faithfulness, diligence, love, unbelief, laziness, bitterness? This is what we will receive in the Day of Christ.
Have we practiced faith? God will give us the reward of faith. Have we suffered for the Gospel’s sake? God will give us the crown of life. Have we borne the reproach of the cross? God will lift us to the ranks of those who are highly esteemed in Heaven.
Have we wasted our time and the gifts of God? God will reward us with the wages of laziness and unfaithfulness. Have we beaten our fellow-servants and eaten and drunk with the riotous? We shall be rewarded accordingly.
Have we neglected our salvation and denied Christ before men? Christ will neglect us and, in the Presence of the Father and His holy angels, will deny any knowledge of us.
The Judgment Seat of Christ has been set forth by Christian teachers as though some believers receive prizes, others, somewhat lesser prizes, and the wicked, lazy Christians, of whom there are many, receive even lesser prizes. Is this what the Scriptures teach?
In recent times, two “angels” have appeared to the pastor of a Christian church and have informed him, according to the account he wrote, that no Christian will hear anything negative at the Judgment Seat of Christ and that there is nothing to fear. Is this what the Scriptures teach? Were these indeed angels of God?
The pastor now is dead. He may know now whether these angels, who spoke “another gospel,” indeed were Gabriel and Michael.
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)
“According as his work shall be.”
Some who profess the name of Christ have practiced covetousness and have held back the wages of those who have worked for them.
Some believers in Christ have cheated and robbed other Christians in the hope of gaining an advantage in the world system.
Multitudes of church attenders have wasted their lives accumulating material wealth, paying little attention to prayer, to obedience to the Scriptures, or to what assistance they might have given to the poor and needy.
There have been Christians who have lived as disciples of Jesus. They have forsaken their own life, have taken up their cross, and have followed the Master wherever He has led them.
Christ will reward every person just as his work has been.
Each individual who stands before the Judgment Seat of Christ will be examined closely concerning the things he has done in the world. Every word, deed, and thought will be evaluated in terms of love for God and love for one’s neighbor.
The deeds of sin and self-seeking he has confessed and turned away from with sincere repentance will not be mentioned to him. They have been forgiven and cleansed from his personality.
All of the rest will be revealed and he will receive the consequences.
Some teach that no Christian need be concerned about the Judgment Seat of Christ. If they are correct, why did Paul state that he persuaded people because of the terror of the Lord’s Judgment Seat?
We have been deceived by those who are willing to distort the Scriptures so they may please their listeners and get more money from them. The land is filled with Christian teachers for hire.
“That every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
Will the believer receive the good things he has practiced in his body?
He will receive those good works back in the form of a body of life from Heaven. Also, he will be surrounded by grateful souls who have gained Paradise because of his faithfulness in serving God. He has an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God, being accompanied on every side by love and gratitude from the Lord and from people.
Will the believer receive the bad things he has practiced in his body?
If he has not confessed and forsaken his wicked deeds he will receive lashes (if not worse) in the Day of Christ. He will enter eternity without reward. There will be no cry of gladness from Christ or from people upon seeing him because he has lived in sin and self-love. He will enter the Kingdom of God naked—saved as by fire. Or, he may never be permitted entrance to the holy city.
Knowing the terror of the Lord we persuade all believers to live no longer to themselves but to Him who died for them and rose again. He is returning soon to raise us from the dead and to clothe us with a body like His glorious body.
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)
“That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
All of redemption is founded on the blood of the cross. God will meet man only at the “door” of the Tabernacle, that is, only at the Altar where the blood of sacrifice is shed.
The Passover blood of God’s Lamb, Christ, protects us and our household. The shed blood of Christ satisfies God’s justice concerning our sins. The authority of the blood working with the power of the Spirit of God purges from our personality the works of Satan.
Also, we drink the blood of the covenant. The blood of Christ is eternal life in us.
The eternal Temple of God is being constructed from the broken body and shed blood of the Lord Jesus.
The Word of God is living Seed. It is sown in our heart. If it germinates, and we carefully watch over it, it will bring forth the Substance, the Nature, the likeness of the Parent from whom it came.
To be born again is to have the Seed of God germinate and grow to maturity in us. We can neither see nor enter the Kingdom of God until we have been born again because the germination and growth of the Divine Seed is the germination and growth of the Kingdom of God. It is Christ, the Word of God, growing in us. It is the incorruptible Seed that comes from God.
Our task as believers is to allow the Seed to take deep root in us so we will not die spiritually in the time of temptation and tribulation. Also, we must be careful that the cares of life do not choke out the Divine Life that has been planted in us.
Some saints bring forth fruit a hundredfold; some, sixtyfold; and some, thirtyfold. How much fruit we finally bear depends on our willingness to allow the Lord to prune us.
In the Seed of God is the potential to bring forth a new creature in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. God desires to bring many sons into the fullness of His Glory.
The sixth chapter of the Book of Romans describes the attitude of faith we must adopt toward our baptism in water. We have entered the death of Christ on the cross, having died to the world. We have entered the resurrection of Christ and now our life is hidden with Him in the Father.
We are to resolve firmly that we have died to the world, to sin, to our whole first life and personality. Our death in Christ frees us legally so that the Holy Spirit can begin the work of removing the sin and rebellion from us.
After we have believed in Christ and been baptized in water, and have been born again of the Spirit of God, we now are free to choose to serve either righteousness or sin. We make the choice.
If we choose to serve sin we will die spiritually. If we choose to obey righteousness, we will receive eternal life.
There can be no sin or self-seeking in any living stone that is part of the eternal Temple of God.
Those who are sons of God learn to follow the Spirit and live in the Spirit. The law of the Spirit, the indwelling Divine wisdom and power, gives us the ability to overcome the law of sin and death that strives continually to keep our flesh a prisoner of Satan’s will.
No human being possesses enough virtue and strength to overcome the lusts and self-will that reside in the appetites of the flesh. When we walk in the Spirit we are able to keep from fulfilling the lusts of our flesh.
God has not called us to struggle helplessly against the sinful appetites of our spiritually dead body. He teaches us to put to death the deeds of our body by the wisdom and power of His Spirit.
Our body is dead because of the sin that abides in it. The Spirit who has been given to us is righteousness and resurrection Life in us.
Being spiritually minded brings life and peace to us.
It is our responsibility to keep ourselves in the position in which the Lord Jesus can come to us in the Spirit and nourish our new inner man with His own body and blood. Christ has been born in us. Now He must continue to be formed in us.
The gifts and ministries given to us through Christ by the Holy Spirit keep on adding glory to our born-again nature. Prayer, meditation in the Scriptures, and fellowship with the saints lend strength to the new inner man.
The Divine Life is in us. It is our responsibility to make sure it is not choked out by the enemy of our souls.
The new Jerusalem is the holy city. The Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God is first, righteousness. Wherever Jesus is there is righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God. The greatest error in Christian thinking is that an unrighteous, unholy, disobedient person can have continued fellowship with God on the basis of grace and mercy.
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (I John 3:7,7)
If we choose to walk in the Spirit of God, the Spirit will lead us in putting to death the practices of our flesh. Lust, wrath, occult practices of all kinds, covetousness, riotous living, stealing—all must be driven from our personality by the Holy Spirit.
The Temple of God is holy. We are that temple.
There is an omega. There is a place of maturity where we have been formed in the image of Christ in spirit, in soul, and, finally, in body.
There shall come a moment when the almighty God declares: “It is done.” Can you imagine that, after all these years of faith and hope?
The eternal Tabernacle of God will come down from the new heaven to reside forever on the new earth. It will be perfect. It will be filled with all the fullness of the Glory of God. It will be the dwelling place of God and the Lamb. It will be an unblemished bride.
The nations of saved peoples of the earth will walk in the light of it.
It will not be an incomplete, imperfect, compromised creation. It will be the workmanship of the God. What God commences God completes—to perfection.
We have spoken of the two end-time comings of Christ:
- To the individual believer in fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
- In the clouds of heaven with the saints and holy angels.
The first coming has begun now. It will increase in revelation until it climaxes in the worldwide coming, the Presence of Christ—the appearing of Christ in the air for all mankind to behold.
The perfecting of our redemption will continue until the last enemy has been destroyed and our mortal body has been released from its place of sleep in the dust of the earth.
The Lord’s conquerors will descend from Heaven with Him, coming down in the Spirit to the earth to take up their bodies. When they have been made complete again in their personalities they will be clothed with their glorious reward—the incorruptible house from Heaven.
God has planned His Temple from the beginning.
God has a plan, a blueprint. He knows what He is doing.
You and I have been invited to be living stones in the eternal Temple of God. There are many rooms, many places of abode in that house.
Whether we are saved as by fire without reward, whether we have an abundant entrance of staggering proportions into the Kingdom of God, or whether we are lost forever to the purposes of God, depends upon the faith and diligence we apply to our calling.
By our behavior in the present life we are forming that which will be given to us when we are raised from the dead. That which we are sowing we will surely reap in the Day of the Lord.
God has completed His work and is resting. Let us make every effort to enter His rest, to become an integral part of that majestic wisdom and power that are forever flowing in order to bring to pass all that was spoken during the six days of creation.
(“The Father and the Son Make Their Abode with the Believer”, 3603-1)