THE TIME IS NOW
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The danger today is not being close enough to know what Christ is doing. So many of God’s people in America are too involved with our culture and asleep spiritually! Yet it appears the coming of Christ in His Kingdom is close at hand and many promised opportunities and hazards are pressing upon us.
THE TIME IS NOW
Son of man, the house of Israel is saying, “The vision he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies about the distant future” Therefore say to them, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: ‘None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign LORD.’” (Ezekiel 12:27,28)
Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before the LORD empty-handed: (Deuteronomy 16:16)
Last night I was speaking once again on the three great platforms of redemption:
- The Passover (Unleavened Bread).
- Pentecost (the feast of Weeks).
- Tabernacles (Booths).
I emphasized that we have been through Passover week. The spiritual fulfillment of Passover week, or the Week of Unleavened Bread, includes the blood atonement, repentance, water baptism, and the born-again experience.
The twentieth century was characterized by the spiritual fulfillment of Pentecost, the Presence of the Holy Spirit in the Christian churches.
Today God is ready for the work for which Passover and Pentecost are prerequisite. The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is available now. However, the Christian churches by and large are not familiar with the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Booths, or Tabernacles.
I have written so much on the feasts of the Lord that I intend in this brief essay merely to highlight a few features of the present opportunities and hazards.
First of all, what is the relationship between the Kingdom of God and the feast of Tabernacles? The doctrinal distinctive of our message is that of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, rather than salvation as a ticket to eternal residence in Heaven.
We know from experience that the churches are not familiar with the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, nor the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, nor the relationship between them. I think the Lord Jesus is pressing us that now is the time for His churches to learn these things and to press into them. The hazard is we are so asleep spiritually that what Christ is doing now will pass us Americans by and be fully developed in some of the smaller nations and ethnic groups.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is the good news that the Lord Jesus shall return from Heaven with His saints and holy angels and establish the Kingdom of God, the doing of God’s will, on the earth. This is the original Gospel preached by John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus, and the Apostles of the Lamb.
At some point in early church history the original Gospel was changed into forgiveness as the basis for our eternal residence in the spirit Paradise (Heaven). Although there is no scriptural basis whatever for the grace-Heaven emphasis, it has prevailed through the centuries. But it is a myth.
Included in the doctrine of the Kingdom of God is the concept of the Christian Church, the royal priesthood, governing the Lord’s sheep, the people of the nations of the earth who are not part of God’s elect but whom God will save from destruction because of their righteous works.
The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing the saved peoples of the earth. This is taught clearly in both the Old and New Testaments, whereas the idea that the Church consists of the saved who will be brought to Heaven to live forever cannot be found anywhere in the Scriptures. It is a figment of the mind of religious man.
When you think of it, it is not good news that most people born on the earth are to spend eternity in torment in the Lake of Fire while the members of the Christian churches are lounging on their couches in Paradise doing nothing of significance!
Let us now consider for a moment the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish convocation of Tabernacles, and then examine the relationship of Tabernacles to the Kingdom of God.
I have been teaching and writing about the feast of Tabernacles since 1948. At that time the Lord spoke to me about Christ in you, and about the Day of Atonement, the observance that precedes the feast of Tabernacles. God emphasized to me that the next move of God would have to do with Christ in us, and also with judgment. The Day of Atonement speaks of God judging the works of Satan that are in us. All that is in us that is not fully reconciled to God must be removed, in preparation for our experiencing the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
The fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles takes place in two phases. The first phase is the forming of Christ in us. This is accomplished as each day a part of our adamic personality dies and the Virtue of Christ takes its place. Our adamic personality dies each time we choose to not obey the instincts of our sinful nature, deciding instead to pray and receive the Virtue of Christ (which actually enters us as His body and blood). This is the marriage of the Lamb.
When Christ has been formed in us, then the Father and the Son will come and dwell in that which has been formed in us. God and Christ will not dwell in the adamic personality, only in that which has been formed from the body and blood of Christ.
The feast of Tabernacles is fulfilled in us when we have been crucified; Christ has been formed in us; and the Father and the Son are dwelling in perfect rest in us. This is the rest of God, mentioned in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews.
It is easy to see the relationship between the Kingdom of God and the Jewish feast of Tabernacles. The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing the saved peoples of the nations of the earth. God in Christ in the saints is the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
The Kingdom of God enforces the doing of God’s will in the earth. The Church is the Kingdom of God. We cannot be part of the Kingdom of God until the Throne of God and of the Lamb has been formed in us such that our will is totally the same as the will of God who is dwelling in us.
Pentecost is the rain of God’s Spirit poured out by Christ upon our flesh. Tabernacles is the issuing of God’s Spirit from the Throne of God and of the Lamb that has been created in us. For this reason, passing from Pentecost to Tabernacles is extremely demanding on us. Inch by inch our ego must yield to the Ego of God until we can say with Paul it no longer is I who am living but Christ who is living in me.
This is the practical issue facing us Christians today. Are we willing to cease from our religious striving and permit God and Christ to enter us and make us Their resting place?
At one point in eons past there was a rebellion in Heaven. The sanctuary in Heaven was defiled. The defilement passed into the Garden of Eden. God no longer has a house, a place of rest.
It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. (Hebrews 9:23,24)
During the ceremony of the Day of Atonement, atonement had to be made for the sanctuary before atonement and deliverance were provided for the people.
When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. (Leviticus 16:20)
Remember that sin began when Satan, a cherub who guarded the Throne of God in Heaven, set His will against the will of God.
Because of the defilement of Heaven and the earth. God chose to create for Himself a house, a resting place. Man, created from the dust of the earth, is that house, that resting place. This is the mystery of the Gospel of the Kingdom—Christ in you, the hope of glory.
When God created us from the dust of the ground He created His house, His resting place. In this sense, our body does not belong primarily to us. It was created for God’s purposes. We are custodians of our body, of the house of God. If we take good care of it, God will clothe our present body with a vastly superior body, and then permit us to live in our glorified body with Him as He goes about His business in the universe He has created through Jesus Christ.
If we do not take good care of our body, we will not receive a glorified covering of our flesh and bones, in the Day of Resurrection, and we will be put in a place of torment.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7,8)
And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind. (Isaiah 66:24)
Let us think for a moment about the concept that our body belongs to God and is to be used for His purposes. We are but a custodian of our body.
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (I Corinthians 3:16,17)
Our body is the temple of God, and He is going to raise it from the dead. If we practice behaviors that harm our body, God will destroy us. This means in the Day of Resurrection we will not be glorified with eternal life but will be assigned to darkness and torment.
Food for the stomach and the stomach for food—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (I Corinthians 6:13)
One could gain the impression, in America of today, that our body was created so we could practice sexual immorality. But such is not the case. Our body was created for the Lord’s use, and if we are willing to cooperate with the Holy Spirit the Lord will help us overcome the sinful passions in our body, will raise our body when He returns, and will clothe our flesh and bones with a body of eternal life. He will do this by means of His irresistible power.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (Philippians 3:20,21)
Notice, in the sixth chapter of the Book of First Corinthians, the stress on the physical body.
By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. (I Corinthians 6:14)
The Christian churches are not paying nearly enough attention to the resurrection of the mortal body. The doctrine of the resurrection, the central doctrine of redemption, has been rendered irrelevant by the incessant stress on the catching up (“rapture”) of the believers. The unscriptural doctrine of the pre-tribulation “rapture” of the believers in Christ is one of the major errors of our time and is destructive of God’s intention. It is destructive because it focuses on an external event over which we have no control, and invites us to neglect the cultivation of resurrection life in our inward nature, which is the current emphasis of the Spirit of God.
The doctrine of the “rapture” turns our attention away from the necessary preparation for the resurrection of the body, in that (in the “rapture” teaching) no emphasis is placed on the destiny of the body but on the catching up of our spiritual personality to be with the Lord in Heaven (not in the air, as the Scripture states). This is totally unscriptural!
Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! (I Corinthians 6:15)
Our bodies are members of Christ. Think of it. For two thousand years the Christian churches have emphasized a spiritual salvation rather than a bodily salvation. This incorrect emphasis has come, I believe, from Eastern philosophies, notably Gnosticism which emphasizes that spirit is good and matter is evil.
The members of our body are members of Christ. Our body was created to be the dwelling place of Christ, so that Christ would have a home, a resting place. How unseemly, then, would it be for us to unite the members of Christ with an unclean person!
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (I Corinthians 6:19,20)
“You are not your own.” Whose then are we? We belong to Jesus Christ, since He bought us with His blood. Our body is not our own. It belongs to Jesus Christ and God in Him. This is the Kingdom of God.
When God created Adam He did not reveal His purpose in forming the dust of the ground into a body. But later He did reveal His purpose.
You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance—the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established. The LORD will reign for ever and ever. (Genesis 15:17,18)
Isn’t this sneaky? Can you see how God, at the time of the exodus, spoke of His eternal Kingdom, His dwelling place on the earth, in such an offhand manner that most of us would not notice it?
And again in Exodus:
Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)
We call this “sanctuary” the Tabernacle of the Congregation. Actually it was constructed to be the dwelling place of God, just as the Christian Church is being constructed today. It should be referred to as the Tabernacle of God.
And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)
All of the gifts and ministries of the Spirit were given by the ascended Christ to the members of His Body. They all are for the purpose of bringing each member to the stature of the fullness of Christ. Why? So God and Christ would have a home, a resting place. We exist for God’s purposes, not He for ours. We need to call this to mind because it appears the Christians of today are seeking ways to cause God to serve their needs. The idea that we exist for God’s purposes and please may not be familiar to numerous American Christians.
Sometimes Christians cannot understand why a good God would permit them to suffer so intensely. They need to realize that God is preparing them to be His eternal dwelling place, and for that reason much suffering is required.
Suffering burns worldliness, lust, and personal ambition out of our personality, if we accept our suffering as from God and do not run about trying to force our way out of the prison in which we are confined.
However, we always ought to pray that God will deliver us and bring us into a larger place in Christ.
As I see it, the new Jerusalem, in one way of looking at it, is the assemblage of the glorified bodies of the saints. It is the glorified Christian Church, the Bride of the Lamb, the eternal Tabernacle of God.
The Tabernacle of God will come down through the new sky and be established forever on the new earth. This is the Throne of God and the Lamb. This is a living temple through which God will govern and bless the saved people of the nations, the “sheep” of the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Matthew.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:3,4)
The “dwelling of God” is the Church. The “men” with whom it is located are the saved peoples of the nations.
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. (Revelation 21:24-26)
Last night someone raised the question: Since Calvary was the historical fulfillment of the feast of Passover; and the second chapter of the Book of Acts describes the historical fulfillment of Pentecost; when will the historical fulfillment of Tabernacles occur?
The answer is: It is occurring now—today.
If this is true, why isn’t the great body of Christian people aware of it?
The answer is, those who are walking close to the Lord are aware that God is moving us past the Pentecostal experience.
Do you remember Simeon and Anna? How was it that the Temple could be filled with devout Jews; yet, when Joseph and Mary entered with Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, the Jews had no idea that such an event was taking place? However, Simeon and Anna realized this Jewish Baby is Messiah, the Anointed Deliverer, the Head of the Servant of the Lord.
Also, after Christ’s resurrection, 5,000 Jews recognized their Messiah but the majority became hostile and unbelieving.
So it is today. The climax of redemption, the very meaning of everything, the purpose for the creation of the world, is unfolding today in our midst. But how many realize this? How many Christians in America at this time (July 22, 2002) are much more concerned with the stock market than they are with what Christ is doing—the opportunities and hazards that presently are before us?
Actually, a great sleep is upon us.
Some of us have been considering the parables of the wise and foolish virgins and of the talents. We think these may be taking place today.
In the case of the virgins, we speculate that the call is going out now. We are to go in to the wedding. We are to learn to live by the body and blood of the Lamb. This is how we are married to the Lamb, and the marriage is taking place now.
The Lord Jesus Christ is calling for constant interaction with Himself. He wants to be allowed to enter our life, into everything we say and do, until every decision, every choice, is brought to Him continually. Such interaction is not difficult to engage in once we make up our mind that it is the right thing to do. When we have a decision to make, it is just as easy to look to the Lord for the wise response as it is to draw on our own experience or understanding. It is a matter of becoming accustomed to looking to the Lord continually.
The believers who already have run out of oil are not able to enter such interaction with the Lord. By the time they obtain enough of the Spirit of God to make interaction possible, the door will be closed.
You know, most of us believe that we can repent any time we choose to do so. We can come to the Lord now or later, as it pleases us. This is a misunderstanding. We do not comprehend the terrible finality of Kingdom decisions. There will come a day when the Spirit of God directs that the filthy shall remain filthy; that the lukewarm, careless believers shall be vomited from Christ’s mouth. The minute we read these warnings in the New Testament the enemy whispers: “You shall not surely die.” In too many instances the Christian pulpits are whispering the same assurance to the worldly believers.
But all the lies will not make a particle of difference. Once the door is shut we will knock on it in vain.
There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth!
You can see the parable of the talents operating today. When a believer does not use his or her talents for building the Kingdom of God, the hour arrives when their talents, all that God has given them, are removed from them and given to another. Then they themselves enter spiritual darkness.
We have seen this happen!
Another parable whose fulfillment very well may be occurring in the present hour is that of the end-time removal of sin from the Kingdom of God.
The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:41-43)
First, the angels will weed out of the Kingdom everything that causes sin. I believe this is taking place today. The Lord’s messengers are telling God’s people they must cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He leads them to confess, denounce, and renounce their sins.
Later, the angels will remove all who do evil, that is, believers who refuse to part with their sins.
It is easy to see how a believer could go about his or her daily business, never realizing that such opportunities and hazards are present at this time.
The wise believers of today will turn to the Lord and open the door of their heart that Christ might enter and dine with them: He dining on their worship and obedience; they on His body and blood.
They will not run out of the oil of the Holy Spirit. They will not permit the American culture to so rob them of time and strength until they no longer can seek the Lord diligently.
They will put all the resources God has given them, their spiritual gifts and ministries, their strength, their education, their energy, their family as possible, into the service of Christ. This does not mean they quit their secular employment, necessarily, only that they make the first priority of their life that of doing the Lord’s will.
They will cooperate with the Holy Spirit as He seeks to remove worldliness, lust, and personal ambition from their personality. They will confess their sins, utterly denouncing and renouncing them.
They will deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Christ wherever He leads. He will make them fishers of men.
For them to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Little by little, inch by inch, they will turn aside from their own way, as the Lord leads, and receive the Virtue of Christ until they are living by His body and blood. They understand that Christ is being formed in them in order that God might have an eternal home, a place of rest.
This is the way it is with the wise believers. The others will be tossed about by the Antichrist world spirit until the present opportunities are no longer available; the door has been closed.
Suddenly the Lord will come, but they will not be prepared. Those who have been more diligent will be raised from the dead, their bodies glorified, and will rise in one vast light-filled Temple to meet the Lord in the air. There they will mount the white war stallions and descend with Christ and the holy angels to drive all sin from the earth.
The first to be judged will be those believers who have neglected their salvation, who have not sought Christ with a perfect heart.
All sin, physical and spiritual, will be driven from the face of the earth.
Then the nations of people who were not destroyed in the great conflict will come to the light of Christ abiding on His saints. Their joy will be unimaginable as the love of God through Christ reaches out through them to touch the peoples whom God has counted worthy of salvation.
The present opportunities are so unimaginably great; the present hazards are so unimaginably terrible, that the wise American believer will turn from the world and enter the secret place of the Most High.
But the foolish believer will see all this glory, the Lamb and His Bride, and yet be denied entrance. Then shall occur the wailing and gnashing of teeth as he sees the victorious saints living in the fullness of the Divine Presence.
The time is now. There is not a moment to waste. Soon your chance will be over. You will have only yourself to blame if you do not take advantage of what is being offered to our generation.
(“The Time Is Now”, 3609-1)