A MISSING ELEMENT

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

A MISSING ELEMENT Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

A key ingredient is absent from the preaching and teaching of numerous Christian churches. The missing factor is an understanding of the role of tribulation, of chastisement, of Divine judgment, of suffering in the Divine plan of salvation.

The source of the error probably is the humanistic, man-centered, anti-Christian philosophies that dominate Western thinking.

Overemphasis on the place of forgiveness in Christian theology has left the Church without the means to grow to maturity. The missing element is the understanding that after God forgives us He judges our personality. Allowing cross-carrying obedience to complement our complete forgiveness in Christ brings forth the righteous rulership God will utilize in His Kingdom.

A MISSING ELEMENT

A key ingredient is absent from the preaching and teaching of numerous Christian churches. The missing factor is the understanding of the role of tribulation, of chastisement, of Divine judgment, of suffering in the Divine plan of salvation.

The source of the error probably is the humanistic, man-centered, anti-Christian philosophies that dominate Western thinking. Democratic government is one manifestation of these philosophies. Another is the understanding of Divine grace to be an unconditional forgiveness of sins such that the believer is established in God’s favor regardless of his conduct.

A third symptom of humanistic thinking is the recent doctrine of the pre-tribulation "rapture." The problem with the rapture error is not that of a misunderstanding of the time of Christ’s appearing. A correct knowledge of the details of the future is not as important in the Kingdom as we may think. The problem is, rather, that the believers are not aware of the role Divine judgment plays in their salvation. They are seeking to be removed from suffering and so God has sent delusion upon them. 

And for this cause [receiving not the love of the truth] God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: (II Thessalonians 2:1)

We have noted that in the churches in America the leadership often is terribly afraid of any preaching that does not flatter the congregation. This accent on "positive" thinking is widely accepted in the secular realm but it should never have entered the Body of Christ. The inroads positive thinking and preaching have made in the churches of America reveals an ignorance of God and His ways with men.

We are aware that as the demonic pressure increases on us we must, in order to survive, think about what is lovely and pure. If we do not, if we focus on the evil in our environment, we surely will go down in spiritual defeat. We must learn to sing and dance in the heights of Zion no matter how the forces of evil clamor for attention.

The "positive preaching" that is destroying the character of the believers is not an attempt to enable us to focus on the beauty and wonder of the Kingdom. Rather, it is a refusal to accept chastisement at the hand of the Lord. In many instances the ministry is seeking its own glory and is misleading the flock of God.

The Christian Church has suffered in the fire for two thousand years. The current teaching that God does not wish His beloved to suffer is understandable only in the wealthy democracies. The Christians in the rest of the world are suffering, as they always have. The twentieth century has been distinguished by persecution and martyrdom. To say God will not allow His saints to suffer is unscriptural and also unrealistic in terms of what has happened throughout history and is taking place today

If we will examine the Scriptures we will discover that suffering is an important aspect of the Divine redemption.

As we enter our brief study of suffering, its role in the Christian redemption, we must think again about the goal of salvation.

The Hebrew Prophets spoke of the coming of the rule of God, the Kingdom of God, to the earth. 

For he hath looked down from the height of his sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; To hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; To declare the name of the Lord in Zion, and his praise in Jerusalem; When the people are gathered together, and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord. (Psalms 102:19-22)

John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus spoke of the coming government, declaring that the Kingdom of God, the doing of God’s will in the earth, is at hand.

Somehow the Gospel of the Kingdom was changed to the going of believers to Paradise in Heaven. But now that the coming of the Lord is close at hand, the original Gospel of the Kingdom is being restored.

The prevailing belief has been, if we "accept Jesus," God forgives our sins completely. We will never be touched by Divine judgment. When we die we will go to Heaven to live in a mansion. To this has been added the unscriptural doctrine that before the Lord returns there will be a secret "rapture" of the believers to Heaven to avoid the great tribulation.

If we truly receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord, repenting of our sins, being baptized in water as a sign we have been crucified to the world so we may share in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, God forgives our sins completely.

After that the Lord brings judgment on us. God chastens us severely so we may be holy as He is holy. The great tribulation is one such judgment and its purpose is to refine the Bride of the Lamb, preparing her for the Bridegroom. 

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Hebrews 12:6)

We must undergo character transformation if we would rule in the Kingdom of God.

The purpose of our redemption is not that we may go to Heaven to live in a mansion. The purpose of our redemption is that we may receive eternal life and attain a place in the Kingdom, the government of God on the earth.

If our objective were to go to Paradise to live in a mansion in a sin-free, temptation-free environment, character transformation would not be required. Because our objective is to attain a place in God’s Kingdom, character transformation is of supreme importance.

In the Kingdom of God, "water seeks its level." By this we mean that in the Kingdom what an individual is, is revealed, and he operates in the Kingdom according to the degree that Christ has been formed in him. There are greatest and least in the Kingdom. There are thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and one hundredfold.

In this present world, individuals often attain positions of status and responsibility by manipulating people and circumstances. It is not so in the Kingdom of God. What one is in personality, he or she is. Everyone is manifest as to what he is. Those who govern are filled with the Presence of Christ, and God in Him.

This is why the Scripture teaches that if we suffer we will reign. Only suffering, the judgment of God on our wicked personality, produces the character transformation required for rulership.

It can be seen from this that the current emphasis on joy and happiness to the point of the removal of all suffering and Divine judgment is destroying what we most desire.

If one is dwelling in Paradise, in complete bliss, the concept of greatest and least is not too significant. However, if we are speaking of a government on the earth, and it is true that to the "greatest" have been given all authority and power over the creation, and the least are individuals of low estate being ruled by the greater, then the concept of greatest and least becomes quite important.

In the darkness, before the beginning of time, God conceived in His mind of mankind, of sons in His image. God’s sons would become an eternal temple for Himself, a Bride and brothers for His Son, a means of bringing Satan’s rebellion to an end, and a kingdom that would governs all other kingdoms on the earth.

The Kingdom of God will be a reign of such righteousness, peace, and joy it scarcely can be imagined. All we have loved, all that is worthy, all that is pure, all that is accepted of God will be part of the Kingdom. Nothing of worth will be lost.

God is not making all new things but all things new. This means that everything of the world that is of worth will die and be reborn in Christ, and be eternal—ours to enjoy for eternity. This is true of our physical body, which will be raised from the dead and glorified if we follow Christ to the fullness of victory.

More than this, God has decided to entrust the creation to Christ and the other sons. They will inherit all the works of God’s hands. The saints will "take" the Kingdom.

He who overcomes will inherit all things, and God will be his God and he will be God’s son.

The remainder of saved mankind will live under the jurisdiction of those who have, through Christ, overcome all that has come against them from the world, from Satan, and from their own lusts and self-will. Saved mankind will not have the liberty to go to God, or even to Jesus, except through the saints, just as today the saints cannot go to God except through the Lord Jesus. All authority, the keys of the Kingdom, the authority to permit or refuse entrance to the Kingdom, will be given to the saints.

This is why suffering is necessary. Only those who suffer, whose characters are transformed by the Divine redemption, will inherit the Kingdom of God. They will inherit everything. All joy, love, peace, authority, power, wealth, will be theirs. They will shine as the stars to the ages of ages. They are God’s sons and the heirs of the Kingdom.

The Holy Spirit seems to be saying that our generation has a unique opportunity to possess the Kingdom. Many who are last in time will be first in the Kingdom.

Perhaps the clock has commenced ticking in our day. Daniel speaks of the sixty-nine weeks of years that ended with the crucifixion of Jesus (Daniel 9:24,25). Some scholars believe the Kingdom clock stopped ticking at that time and that the following centuries have been occupied with the building of the Body of Christ.

However, the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation may be portraying the events of the seventieth week.

If this is so, the first half of the seventieth week is the period of the unprecedented latter-rain revival in which the saints will be filled with the double portion of the Holy Spirit of God. They will perform works of power such as the world has never seen as they proclaim the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days [three and one-half years], clothed in sackcloth. (Revelation 11:3)

The second half of Daniel’s seventieth week is the time of the government of Antichrist, and as a result, the great tribulation.

If we are correct, we now are in a time of preparation for the latter-rain revival. After the witness has been given to God’s satisfaction, God will withdraw the special dispensation of power and permit Antichrist to wage war against the saints and overcome them. The restraining power will be removed from the ambitions of Antichrist and he will rule the nations for a brief period.

It is difficult for us to realize God ever would permit His saints to be overcome for a season. However, this temporary oppression is taught in the Scriptures. If we would participate successfully in the latter-rain witness, and then escape being destroyed spiritually by tribulation, we must put on the whole armor of God and prepare ourselves to stand in the evil day.

Let us turn back to the Book of Daniel. There are several passages that mention the war between Antichrist and the saints. 

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; (Daniel 7:21)

The "horn" is Antichrist. The saints are God’s holy people. The holy people of the days of Antichrist are those who are in Christ whether they are Jews or Gentiles by physical birth. Paul refers to the believers in Jesus as saints, never as Christians.

Antichrist will make war with the saints and prevail against them. 

And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)

It is our understanding that the "time, times, and an half" of the above is referring to the three and one-half years of the last half of the seventieth week. The power of the saints will be scattered during this period, the time of the great tribulation.

We find the same concept in the New Testament: 

And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)

Again: 

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelation 13:7)

God will accomplish many things by permitting Antichrist, the "horn," to wage war against the saints and overcome them.

The latter rain that falls in Israel during the spring causes the wheat to come to maturity. After the rain will come the hot sun so the heads of wheat will be firm. Rain during the time of harvest is injurious to the crop.

The same is true of the Church, the Bride of the Lamb. The latter rain of the Spirit of God will cause much growth to take place in the Church. But it will be the hot sun of persecution and tribulation that brings the Bride to perfection.

Multitudes of saints will wash their robes and make them white during the tribulation. 

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of [the] great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14)

Character transformation takes place when we suffer. 

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (James 1:3)

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (Romans 5:3)

We enter the Kingdom of God (not Heaven!) through much tribulation. 

Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)

Tribulation makes us obedient to God. 

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; (Hebrews 5:8)

Suffering makes us worthy of the Kingdom of God. 

. . . that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (II Thessalonians 1:5)

Tribulation enables us to see our weaknesses, humbles us, and teaches us to lean on Jesus for everything. 

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (II Corinthians 12:9)

Only those who suffer in Christ will be coheirs of the Kingdom with the Lord Jesus. 

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:17)

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)

The following verses add another dimension to our understanding of the Job-like afflictions, trials, persecutions the saint endures. 

I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Daniel 7:21,22)

The idea is that Antichrist retains the authority to harass the saints and to prevail against them until God decides it is time for the saints to be seated on the thrones of power and glory. 

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. (Daniel 7:25,26)

The concept of the saints being given into the hand of Antichrist until God decides in their favor is of the greatest importance if the believer is to be oriented properly to the Divine redemption.

The concept is stated in the New Testament: 

And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. (II Corinthians 10:6)

Before God will bring judgment on Satan the obedience of the Church first must be fulfilled.

Notice carefully the following: 

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (II Thessalonians 1:4,5)

The persecutions and tribulation endured by the saints in Thessalonica were a "manifest token of the righteous judgment of God." The suffering of the saints was caused by the Lord’s judgment on them. God will not bring judgment on Satan until first the saints have been judged.

We do not have much information concerning what happened in the darkness before God created light. Our impression is there was a rebellion in Heaven against the Father’s will. Satan encouraged a number of high-ranking angels to question God’s righteousness and wisdom.

Apparently the challenge to God’s righteousness still is taking place.

We notice the satanic challenge and accusation in the case of Job. Satan desired to tempt Job, to test Job. God permitted Satan to harass Job, to try his soul.

What actually is taking place in this instance? God has condemned Satan and his angels to the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. Satan and his followers feel this is unjust, just as the wicked of today believe they should not be punished. After the wicked have corrupted and destroyed their environment they cry, "Amnesty! We demand a full pardon. There must be no punishment for what we have done." In this they are expressing Satan himself.

Job was a righteous man. God has appointed him to glory. Therefore Satan was endeavoring to justify himself and his followers by showing God that Job would rebel if he were placed in painful circumstances.

Satan was more successful with David. David’s sin gave Satan and his angels an opportunity to revile God, claiming David was as wicked as they and therefore God was unjust in blessing David and cursing Satan. 

And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. (II Samuel 12:13,14)

Jesus loved Peter, and so Satan sought to prove that Peter was filled with lawlessness. Satan hoped to justify himself by demonstrating that Peter also was rebellious. 

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: (Luke 22:31)

God does not prevent Satan from sifting us just as God did not prevent Satan from testing Job. Jesus prays for us that our faith will remain strong. 

But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22:32)

Peter and the others had been arguing about who should be greatest in the Kingdom. Peter needed to be converted from his self-seeking so he would love and serve God. Then Peter would be able to strengthen his brothers. We cannot strengthen our brothers while we are seeking to lord it over them.

God has pronounced severe judgment on Satan and the angels that followed Satan. As we have stated, they are consigned forever to the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.

But the saints have been appointed to everlasting glory.

Satan and his angels continually are pointing out to God that God is unfair. They attempt ceaselessly to deceive the saints so the saints will disobey God. When the wicked are successful, as was true in the instance of David and Bathsheba, the wicked blaspheme God, accusing Him of unrighteousness.

While we are in the world we are harassed and tossed about by Satan and other fallen lords. They push and pull us in every direction, hoping we will rebel against God, will become angry with God, will curse God. They strive to wear down our faith and resistance. 

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, . . . . (Daniel 7:25)

The Lord does not prevent this examination of our character. He controls carefully what Satan does, as in the case of Job. The saints, particularly those who are called to high places of government in the Kingdom, are sifted by the heavenly rebels. They are far more cunning than man, having held positions of authority in the heavens from ancient times.

Satan and his followers constantly accuse each saint before the throne of the Father.

These accusations will come to an end. It is written that the saints finally will overcome the one accusing them before the Father. 

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:11)

Notice that Jesus does not do all the overcoming, as is taught commonly today. It is the saints who overcome the accuser, but only as the Lord Jesus Christ works in them and with them.

The battle between the saints and Satan is not one of power. At any moment the Father can give Michael and his angels the authority to cast down Satan from the heavens.

The battle is one of Divine judgment and of truth. The Father will not give the Divine commission to Michael until the saints overcome the accuser by testifying to the truth of God’s Word.

God has given us the blood of the Lamb so we may have access to the Most Holy Place in Heaven, before His throne, and there obtain grace to help us in our hour of need. The need for help arises because we are learning to overcome sin and there remains much darkness in us. The blood of Jesus covers our evil nature while we are putting to death, through the Spirit of God, the deeds of our body.

The saints could never overcome Satan if it were not for the forgiving, cleansing power of the blood of the Lord Jesus. Without the blood, Satan would accuse us and we would be guilty in the eyes of God and also in our own eyes.

Now, through the blood of the Lamb, we have confidence before God as we continue to press forward in His will.

We overcome the accuser by the word of our testimony. As we walk in the Holy Spirit of God, He conforms our thoughts, our words, and our actions to the Word of God. We learn to practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk in humility before God. Such behavior is the fruit that comes from the Holy Spirit who is in us and helping us, and the fruit is the Divine testimony to angels and men.

Also, the Holy Spirit performs through us the words and works of the Lord Jesus. We see the Divine testimony of the Spirit given through the anointed saints, in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation. We receive power after the Spirit comes upon us—power to overcome Satan with the testimony of Christ.

The testimony of God in the Church is revealed in the godliness of the saints and also in the miraculous works they perform. The godliness and the miracles, which can come only from the Holy Spirit, overcome the accuser.

The saints overcome the accuser by loving not their lives to the point of death. As long as there is a speck of rebellion in us we cannot overcome the accuser. As Samson, we slay the Philistines, not by our life but by our death.

The saints who overcome the accuser are a firstfruits to God and the Lamb. Satan and his angels harass them and test them in every conceivable manner. They share the suffering of Christ. They cry out, "I thirst! I thirst!" They call to God from where they are being gored on the horns of wild oxen, so to speak. They are brought down to the dust, their hopes crushed.

"How long, how long," they moan. Yet, they get up on their feet and press on, keeping faithfully to their covenant with God. They stumble and fall. They cannot understand why God does not prevent their confusion. They hope in the promises of the Scriptures. No explanation is given. They live in trust that God does not change—not ever!

Finally, God asks Satan, "What else would you like to do to them?"

Satan is silent. He has no answer. The saints have overcome him through Christ.

Satan and his angels rebelled while in the midst of Paradise. But the saints, like Abraham, obey God when their heart is torn out of them; when they cannot understand the mysterious, painful circumstances they have to endure.

Now the Father is satisfied.

The Divine Word is issued to Michael. From the Throne of God thunders the armed legions—wave after wave of giant warriors, the Divine righteousness in them blazing with the radiance of a thousand suns.

Satan and his angels face the inferno of wrath roaring at them. Some of these evil angels once occupied the high thrones governing the earth—fearful lords of darkness whom to see would be a torment no human could endure.

The authority and power issuing from the highest throne so fills the holy avengers that the dragon and his angels are unable to cling to the places they have occupied for eons. 

And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. (Isaiah 34:4)

Every wicked lord is dispossessed. Every throne is emptied. The prince of the power of the air is forced down, down, until he and his followers are on the earth—brought down to the level of human beings.

They have overcome him. Through the grace of God given to them, the saints have overcome the accuser. The Divine judgment has been passed in their favor and it is time for them to receive the Kingdom.

The saints always are tried in the furnace of judgment before they are authorized to be judges. We always are judged with the same judgment we ourselves exercise. 

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: (I Peter 4:12)

The context of the above verse is that of judgment. 

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? (I Peter 4:17)

The fiery trial through which each true saint passes is not a strange thing. It is the expected judgment on his personality in order that he may be worthy of the Kingdom of God.

Every son of God is scourged by the Father so he may be part of God’s Holy Nature. 

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Hebrews 12:6)

Why does God bring such suffering upon us? It is not because He does not love us. It is because He does indeed love us and is saving us from the wrath that is to fall on the world. 

But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. (I Corinthians 11:32)

God has a controversy with each of us. When we come to Him He completely forgives our sins. Then there is the problem of our wicked, lawless personality. God goes to war against us (as symbolized by the Levitical Blowing of Trumpets). This warfare continues until there is nothing in us that is not found in God.

God is angry with us and wars against us until we are acceptable to Him. As He did Moses, the Lord seeks to slay us after He commissions us to bring His people out of bondage. 

And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the Lord met him, and sought to kill him. (Exodus 4:24)

Notice in the following passages that God is angry with us, and reconciles us to Himself with judgment and warfare.

In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:8)

And in that day thou shalt say, O Lord, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. (Isaiah 12:1)

Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:2)

Before God will pour out His full Divine fury on the world He first will bring His saints through exacting trials.

This is a truth God’s people of today do not seem to understand. When we come to the Lord our sins are forgiven. It is true also that we reap what we sow.

God forgave David’s sin immediately. But the first child born to Bathsheba died. At a later time Absalom rebelled against David just as David had rebelled against God. God forgave David but David still had to suffer the consequences of his actions. 

Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. (II Samuel 12:10-12)

It seems at first glance that if God forgives our sins we will not reap what we sow. However, we always reap what we sow! The missing element in today’s Christian theology is the understanding that God judges and chastens our personality, not because He hasn’t forgiven us but because He indeed has forgiven us. If we love our child we will chasten him. Sometimes our children make us angry but this does not mean we do not love them.

If our goal were to go to Heaven to live forever there would be no need for God to punish and correct us after forgiving us. But because our goal is to participate in the Kingdom of God on earth, in a social environment not too different from that with which we are familiar, it is necessary we be changed into the moral image of Christ.

The most important aspect of the Kingdom of God is relationships. It is in the realm of relationships that the world is corrupt and destructive. It is in relationships that man experiences his greatest joys and his greatest sorrows.

The Kingdom of God is in relationships, in our oneness with God and our oneness with each other. The Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Righteousness, peace, and joy are impossible until our relationships are godly. In order for our relationships to be perfectly godly there must be nothing in our personality not found in God.

Certainly God forgives us through Christ, but this does not change us. Until we are transformed into Christ’s moral image we are not fit for the Kingdom of God.

Unless our adamic soul has enough integrity to faithfully undergo the painful processes of moral transformation we are not worthy of the Lord Jesus or of the Kingdom of God. 

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:38)

The period of the great tribulation, the rule of Antichrist, will bring an apparent "peace and safety" to the world, but it will be a difficult time for the saints. 

And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be holpen with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed. (Daniel 11:32-35)

The Gospel witness will be driven from the cities of the earth (the cities having become one great city because of computerized communication systems). The saints will be forced into hiding. Some of the victorious saints will be strong in the Lord and perform wonders of faith.

Many people will be taught by the godly remnant of saints. Multitudes of believers will die by the sword and by fire. Some will perish in prison; others at the hand of robbers seeking plunder. 

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of [the] great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14)

We notice also in Daniel (above) that some of those who know the Lord will fall, the purpose being to cause them to wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.

There are some problems in our personality that are deeply entrenched, that are so much a part of what we are that God permits them to express themselves so they can be dealt with.

It is helpful when we confess our sins and resist them. It strengthens us when we tell the Lord we want to do His will and ask that He lead us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Even with a continued plea for righteousness it sometimes is necessary that God permit us to act out parts of our personality that are not found in Him. If we continue in prayer, not accepting defeat, not becoming discouraged, God will cause our stumbling, our fall, to work for our good. We become insightful, wise in battle, more humble as we realize that except for the keeping hand of the Lord we would be lost in sin.

King David is an example to us of what to do when we fall. David prayed. David repented thoroughly. God forgave David. The first child died. The second child was Solomon, whom the Lord loved.

David had much trouble after his sin but he died in glory. His Psalms have brought forth incalculable fruit among the righteous.

The main thing is that we do not quit. No matter what happens we are not to quit. We must continue pressing forward in the Lord. If we stumble we must repent, turn from our wicked ways, get up again and continue pressing forward. We must accept our chastisement, making restitution if necessary, and not question the Lord’s love or His wisdom.

We are speaking here of the believer who falls into sin or error while seeking God with all his heart. We are not referring to willful sin, to the individual who deliberately sins with the idea in mind that he afterward he will return to the Lord and receive forgiveness. There is no provision in the old covenant or the new for deliberate, willful sin. 

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (Hebrews 10:26)

The victorious saints, the ones who finally will inherit all things, are not those who never have made a mistake. They are those who have profited from their mistakes and have gone on to greater heights in the Lord.

Hopefully, in this short article we have exposed some of God’s people to an element sometimes missing in today’s preaching. The missing element is the understanding that after God forgives us He judges our personality. The main part of the Christian discipleship is the working out of the lawlessness that dwells in us.

The battle rages as Satan accuses us, and we struggle to stand in Jesus during the time that God moves against the evil in our personality.

Satan has his way for awhile. God uses Satan to buffet the elect.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (II Corinthians 12:7)

Satan sifts us, tempts us, accuses us, afflicts us, harasses us in every manner that God permits. Our Christian life, which commenced in a joyous exodus from the bondages of the world, settles into a prolonged hunger and thirst in a wilderness of chastisement. Our hunger and pain is to teach us to obey God and to live by the Word that continually comes from the mouth of the Lord. 

And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:2,3)

God gives authority to Satan, to Antichrist. 

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. (Revelation 13:7)

It is useless for the believer to rage at the sin in the world or the hindrances in his own life. God is in control of all matters. God never causes anyone to sin. It is the lawlessness that is born in us that is the occasion for our troubles.

It encourages us to know that the wrestling match will have a conclusion. God through Christ shall crush Satan under the feet of the saints as soon as their obedience has been fulfilled. Then the saints will possess the Kingdom of God. It is not that the saints merely will enter the Kingdom, it is that they will possess it, inherit it, own it.

It pleases God to do all things through Christ. It pleases the Lamb to do all things through His saints, His Bride. All authority in Heaven and on the earth is to be given to the saints as soon as their judgment has been completed.

The saints will judge the world. The saints will judge angels. The saints will sit on the highest throne with the Lord Jesus. The saints will be given the keys of the Kingdom, the authority to permit people to enter the Kingdom of God, and also to withhold the Kingdom and eternal life from people—a dreadful authority indeed!

Before such terrible authority and power are given to the saints they first must be tested in every conceivable manner. This is why the Lord’s saints have suffered through the centuries.

Satan’s days are numbered. The Lord’s conquerors will take the Kingdom and rule to the ages of ages. 

But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. (Daniel 7:26,27)