THOSE WHOM YOU HAVE GIVE ME
THOSE WHOM YOU HAVE GIVEN MECopyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSIONŽ, NIVŽ Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
If you should choose to read further in this essay you may discover that ideas most of us Christians accept as scriptural are not scriptural at all. I admit, I am somewhat of a nuisance in this regard; so it might be best if you do not continue reading.
I was thinking as I awakened this morning of a statement Jesus made. He said, referring to the religious leaders of the Jews, that if the blind lead the blind they both will fall into a pit. I wonder if this is true today.
I have no doubt the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees, and other important leaders, were sincere, dedicated men. How could they be so blind as to cause their Messiah to be crucified? No doubt because the spirit of religion had prevented them from behaving as decent human beings.
Is it true today? Is the spirit of religion blinding the eyes of today's religious scholars, principled men and women laboring with the best of intentions, seeking to promote the cause of Christ? I guess so, because it appears the Christian preaching in America has departed from the New Testament writings.
As I said, please do not read further, unless when you hear grace-rapture-heaven preached Sunday after Sunday you wonder if this really is what the Christian salvation all about.
So I will dedicate the remainder of what I have to say to those who are not quite content with the current preaching of grace-rapture-heaven. Fasten your seatbelt. You are in for a wild ride!
A I see it, one of the profound misunderstandings of Christian thinking is the idea that Christ's purpose for us is to "go out and save souls." What "saving souls" means varies, I believe, from one Christian organization to another.
Where is this emphasis in the New Testament?
It may be true that the common denominator of various concepts of "saving souls" is that the individual will not go to Hell when he or she dies but will go to Heaven to live forever with God and the angels.
I very well could be mistaken, but I think the notion that the objective of being saved is to go to Heaven when we die was adopted in the early years of the Christian Era, as an imitation of the other religions of the world. It may be noticed that several religions present the idea that if we are faithful to the teachings of our religion we will go to some kind of paradise when we die.
Any person who wishes to can search the Scriptures and look for an emphasis on going to Heaven to live there permanently after he or she dies. It soon will be evident there is no such emphasis in the Bible.
Also, one can search the Gospels and the Epistles and count the verses that imply the goal of our salvation is to escape Hell and go to Heaven.
Well, then, what is the Bible about? It is focused on the Kingdom of God. The Book of Daniel speaks about the Kingdom that is to come:
In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (Daniel 2:44)
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7)
Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. (Daniel 7:27)
When you have a moment, search the Old Testament and see if there are passages that speak of our future life in Heaven.
When we come to the New Testament, there is a great deal of emphasis on the Kingdom of God. Both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. Neither man spoke of our going to Heaven.
The Lord Jesus spoke many parables about the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven. These are the same kingdom, by the way, although some mistakenly have believed that Matthew was speaking of one kingdom and the other three Gospel accounts were speaking of a different kingdom.
The slightest analysis of the subject will reveal that all four Gospels are speaking of the same kingdom, the Kingdom of God which comes to us from Heaven.
The Lord Jesus taught us to pray that God's Kingdom would come and His will would be done in the earth. The Lord Jesus never once pointed us toward eternal residence in the spirit Paradise, according to the best of my knowledge.
It is worthy of note that the Jews were looking for the Kingdom that is to come to the earth in answer to the Lord's prayer:
So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6)
Heaven is a place. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God from within the believer. It operates on the earth as well as in Heaven.
There is nothing in the writings of the Apostles that indicates the goal of salvation is that we might go to Heaven, and not Hell, when we die. The writings of the Apostles emphasize the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and especially righteous behavior, saying that if we do not live righteously we will not inherit the Kingdom of God; not that we will not go to Heaven when we die.
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
Why didn't the Apostle say that if we lived according to our sinful nature we would go to Hell and not to Heaven when we die?
The following passage is one of the climactic verses in the entire Bible:
The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." (Revelation 11:15)
Christ and His saints are going to govern the nations on the earth.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)
Now, with the above verses in mind, go through the Bible and find passages that point toward our eternal residence in Heaven.
You will not find any. The emphasis of the teaching of Jesus and His Apostles is the acquiring of eternal life, and the resurrection from the dead. If our destiny were Heaven, there would be no need for a resurrection. The purpose of the resurrection is that we can live once again upon the earth.
I am not unaware of the fact that I am saying the fundamental Christian viewpoint is unscriptural. But I cannot see how anyone studying the Scriptures with an unbiased mind could maintain that the Bible is about leaving the earth and going to Heaven to live forever.
Is there a Heaven? Of course there is. The reason we go to Heaven when we die is that death, the last enemy, drives us from our home, which is the earth.
But, as we read in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation, when God has put all of Christ's enemies under Christ's feet, then the Tabernacle of God, which is the Christian Church, the Wife of the Lamb, will descend from Heaven and be established forever upon the new earth.
How could it be otherwise? God created us on the earth, and this is our home. If God wanted us to live forever in Heaven He would have created us there.
Inasmuch as it is clear that the Bible is about a Kingdom that is coming to the earth. and the plan of redemption brings us into the Kingdom of God (we are born again so we can see and enter the Kingdom, not Heaven!), it is unconscionable for us to continue to preach and teach that our goal is to die and go to Heaven.
But "everyone" thinks otherwise, it might be maintained. How often has it been true that "everyone" has been wrong? "Everyone" used to believe the earth was flat, and if we sailed long enough we would fall off the end.
So in the present case, "everyone" is in error. The only Word we can count on is the Bible. The Bible tells us that God, in response to the rebellion of the angels, is creating a Kingdom, of which the Lord Jesus Christ is the King.
That Kingdom is coming to the earth. Then God's will shall be done in the earth as it is today in Heaven. When it does, you and I do not want to be forced to remain in Heaven among the angels.
If what I have maintained thus far is biblical, then precisely what is the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom from Heaven?
The Kingdom of God is, first of all, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the King of the Kingdom and is Himself the Kingdom.
When Christ is formed in us, then we are of the Kingdom.
The saints are the Kingdom proper. They are destined to govern those of the nations of the earth whom God chooses to save to citizenship on the new earth.
Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. (Daniel 7:27)
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
The people of the nations whom God saves to citizenship on the new earth will live under the rulership of the saints. Thus the citizens of the new earth are in the Kingdom of God in that they are being governed by the Kingdom of God.
The first part of this essay is about the Kingdom of God. The New Testament in particular tells us about the Kingdom that is coming to the earth. Very little in the New Testament has to do with our going to Heaven. The emphasis is on the Kingdom; and for this reason, we should be pointing toward entering the Kingdom today instead of waiting to die and go to Heaven.
We really do not know what it would be like to die and go to Heaven, in that the New Testament does not tell us or point to our going to Heaven as the objective of our salvation. Thus the first part of the essay is a background for the main topic.
The title of the present essay is, "Those whom You have given me." The second part of this essay is about the division between God's chosen people and the remainder of mankind. It is not that God's chosen people go to Heaven, and the rest of mankind go to Hell. Yet I believe this is the prevailing viewpoint. We send out missionaries to save mankind from Hell.
It is the wicked who go to Hell, not the people who never have heard the Gospel, unless they are wicked. Even those who profess Christ go to Hell if they are wicked. Christ did not come to give the wicked a ticket to Heaven. He came to bring eternal life to those whom God has given Him.
For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. (John 17:2)
I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. (John 17:9)
I wonder how many Christian organizations believe that Jesus said the above two verses.
I believe we have written our own bible. It has statements like: "go forth and save a lost and dying world"; "put legs on your prayers"; "whosoever believes in Him shall not go to Hell but to Heaven"; "a passion for souls"; "God sees us through Christ"; "people who never have heard the Gospel are going to Hell because they never have accepted Christ'; "since God has not appointed us to wrath He must be going to catch us up to Heaven before the Great Tribulation"; "when we get to Heaven we will do nothing but recline in our mansion, praising God for eternity because He continues to cover us with grace even though we still will sin when we get a chance"; "after God raptures us to Heaven, the Antichrist will appear and the Jews will preach the Gospel of the Kingdom without the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit has been raptured to Heaven with the believers"; "there will be a Gentile church in Heaven and a Jewish Kingdom on the earth"; "don't read the Book of Revelation because it will confuse you"; "the Book of Hebrews was written to the Jews and does not apply to Christians"; "you can keep on sinning because you have been saved by grace."
Even though none of the above can be found in the Bible, many preachers enthusiastically continue with these fantasies while claiming that they subscribe to the plenary verbal inspiration of the Received Text.
The problem here is, while the world is lost and dying, so are the Christian believers. They are not being fed the Word of God. Jesus told us that if we loved Him we would feed His sheep; at least He said that to Peter. But we are not feeding the sheep. We are rehearsing errors that have been accumulating for the last several hundred years, particularly the error of Dispensationalism.
When announcing the work of Christ, in the sixty-first chapter of the Book of Isaiah, the first three verses have to do with building up the members of the Body of Christ until they become oaks of righteous behavior. I add the word "behavior." Otherwise today's teachers will claim they are built up in imputed righteousness, an assigned righteousness which exists only in God's mind, rather than in visible truthfulness, honesty, and kindness.
And provide for those who grieve in Zionto bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)
Can you imagine an oak of "imputed righteousness"? Yet that is the conclusion of today's scholars. Since these scholars unquestionably are honorable and sincere, we must conclude that the meaning of the Scriptures has been hidden until we are close to the coming of Christ and His saints to set up the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Let us consider that the Bible is not written to people who are not of God's elect, His Israel, His Royal Priesthood. The members of the Royal Priesthood have the Spirit of God and can understand the Scriptures. The remainder of the people of the world do not have the Holy Spirit. However, they can gain some insight into righteous behavior from what has been written, such as the Book of Proverbs.
But they certainly cannot understand, or would not accept if they could understand, that God deals with a special group of people, chosen from the beginning of time to be the brothers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:28,29)
Have you ever heard the above two verses preached? Maybe verse 28, but not verse 29. Why haven't you heard verse 29 preached? After all, it is just as much of the Scriptures as John 3:16 (which is preached incorrectly in that we have Jesus saving us from Hell rather than giving us eternal life).
The reason you probably have not heard Romans 8:29 is that the philosophy of Humanism has infiltrated Christian preaching and teaching. As long as the preaching emphasizes how wonderful people are, and how God loves us so much He wants to bless us all whether or not we keep the commandments of Christ, you will have an audience of Americans who want their ears tickled.
Are we going to give some thought to this, or not? Do we care that so many of today's preachers are not hearing from Jesus but only are repeating the myths that "everyone" is preaching? Are the blind leading the blind?
It is no wonder that the fear of God is leaving America. It is no wonder that we are having the financial and political problems that are occurring. The fear of God is leaving, and we are preaching a humanistic gospel.
It indeed it a fearful thing, or ought to be a fearful thing, to be a false prophet, like the palace prophets during the days of the kings of Israel. There were hundreds of palace prophets, but very few who were hearing from God.
Is there such a thing as a Royal Priesthood?
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)
Are there actually people who belong to God in a special way, and have been called out of the world that they might be prepared to serve as a Royal Priesthood? This, of course, has nothing to do with Catholic priests but to the Christian saints.
Are God's people ever told that they are a chosen people, a Royal Priesthood? Why not? What would be the advantage of telling the Christian believers they have been selected to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God?
If the saints were taught that they are supposed to be saints (holy ones), that they have been chosen from the beginning of time to belong to God in a special way, to be a holy nation, maybe some of them would act like it.
The sheep are not being fed the rich food of God's Word. They are being fed the wood, hay, and stubble of today's traditions, the worst of which is that Christians need not behave in a godly manner because they are "saved" by a schizophrenic "grace."
What a mess!
I think the believers are being flattered. Right now, as I am typing (November 24, 2011), the American people who have any money are rushing about frantically preparing for "Black Friday." "Black Friday" is the day after Thanksgiving when people crowd the stores, causing traffic jams and making it difficult for the police. The sales are made in celebration of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, if you can imagine.
Christian people are caught up in this chaos. Their minds are on the various presents they feel are due their relatives and friends. Today is Thanksgiving, and so our minds are on stuffing ourselves with food. How marvelous. But we do not seem to understand that many of us are being forced out of our homes and do not have jobs. But that is the way we Americans are: "Eat, drink, and be merry."
This is because we are not being taught that we are holy ones of God, chosen to be members of the Body of Christ. We just are ordinary Americans, waiting to die and go to Heaven.
Meanwhile, the Lord Jesus is speaking to us that He is ready for us to enter the spiritual fulfillments of the final three Levitical observances: the Blowing of Trumpets; the Day of Atonement; and the feast of Tabernacles.
But many of us do not have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying. Perhaps there are people in the smaller countries who are hearing from the Lord. If they are, they need to send missionaries to America.
We members of God's elect are told in the New Testament that we are members of the Body of Christ; that each one of us has been given gifts whereby we can build up our fellow members of the Body until they are oaks of righteousness.
Now you tell me. Why is it that apparently most of the Christian believers in America do not understand they have been given gifts of the Spirit that they are supposed to be exercising so their brothers and sisters will attain to the full measure of the stature of Christ?
I will answer my own question. They are being taught grace-rapture-heaven-grace-rapture-heaven-grace-rapture-heaven. This is not called "feeding the sheep." This is why the Christian people are unaware the Spirit has given to every one of us a gift whereby we can build up our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
As a result, our brothers and sisters are not being built up. They are not being prepared to be resurrected and to ascend with Christ when He appears. They are in no condition to mount the white war stallions and descend with Christ as He brings justice to the nations.
Therefore America is being chastened, and shall be chastened much more severely in the days to come. The people of the world do not understand they are being chastened because of the lukewarmness of the chosen people. Perhaps one of these days the sailors will throw Jonah out of the boat and the tumult will cease.
When the Christian people suffer much persecution I think they still will be taught grace-heaven-rapture. It is reported that after the great earthquake in San Francisco several years ago, some of the ministers hastened to assure their congregations that God was not involved in the earthquake. This in spite of Jonah's declaration that such events come from God.
I do not believe most of the Christian ministers of today are self-serving liars. I think many of them have given up successful careers that they might obey the call of the Lord. But after setting forth in obedience to their call, they are not listening to Jesus as to what they should be doing at each moment. They are listening to each other. They have forgotten that God works in us not only to will but also to do His good pleasure.
The members of the Royal Priesthood are referred to in the Scripture as saints, as the elect, as the Wife of the Lamb, as the brothers of Christ, as the sons of God, as Israel, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth, as the Body of Christ, as the Church"; "as the family of God." They are not of the world. God has called them out of the world that they might bear witness of God's Person, His will, His ways, and His eternal purpose in Christ.
Will we ever understand that mankind is divided into God's elect, and then the remainder of the people? The Bible is written to the elect. The evangelist, although preaching the Gospel to every creature, will serve to bring forth from every group those whom God has chosen. No person can come to Christ unless the Father draws him or her.
But such a separation is not democratic. It is not humanistic. It sounds as though God is playing favorites. It is not fair. It creates an elite whom God treats in a special way. Even in the Kingdom there are some thirtyfold, some sixtyfold, and some a hundredfold. All this is true.
When Christ was manifest on the Mount of Transfiguration, only three of the disciples were permitted to witness His Glory. Among the tribes of Israel there were the descendants of Aaron, and the Levites, who were more holy, closer to God, than the rest of Israel. This is true, and from our standpoint it is not fair.
Let me tell you something. God is not "fair" in our humanistic use of the term, but He is just. When Jesus spoke as He did to the Syrophoenicianwoman, telling her that healing was reserved for God's elect, He was not being "fair," by our standards.
Get used to it! God is the Potter, and whatever He wants to do with His creation is His own business. He appoints people at various levels in His Kingdom. Our role is to find out what He wants of us and to do it cheerfully, whether it is to ride in the front chariot, or to sweep up behind the horses in the royal parade.
If I am not mistaken, the one who calls into question God's fairness is Satan, who is positive it is not fair for God to throw him into the Lake of Fire when so many individuals among God's elect lie, steal, and gossip. I think Satan's accusation will gain ground among the peoples of the earth until they are shaking their fist at God and cursing Him.
If you hope to find justice in this world you are going to be disappointed. You are not going to be treated fairly. Jesus Christ was not treated fairly, was He? We Christians are to count ourselves as deserving nothing. We are to make ourselves nothing. Paul said the Apostles were the filth of the world.
If, as Christ did, we make ourselves nothing, taking on ourselves the nature of a servant, we will be exalted in due time. Adopting such an attitude of humility does not come easily to us American Christians. We tend to be arrogant, certain that God views us a special people whom He favors. Maybe we are going to find out in the future that such is not the case.
Yes, we Christians have been chosen of God. But we are not to grasp this privilege as though we are God's favorites. It becomes us Christians to be humble, and to do what good we can while we are living on the earth, even if, as was the case with Jesus Christ, we are despised for doing so.
We of God's elect are being created the Tabernacle of God, that appears in the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation. The Lord Jesus Christ is the chief Cornerstone. We are the rooms in the Father's House (which is Jesus). He went to the cross, and then to Heaven, to prepare a place for us in God, and for God in us.
Our being prepared a room in Christ requires many instances in which we are required to deny ourselves what we want, if we are to do the will of God. We are to take up our cross and follow Jesus at all times. We are placed in various imprisoning circumstances for many years at a time.
The way to eternal life has a small gate and the road is difficult.
So when we say we have been chosen from among mankind to serve God as a governing priest, we do not mean that our way will be easier than that of the people of the world. Actually, we must through much tribulation enter the Kingdom of God.
But this wilderness experience is necessary if we are to serve God as a royal priest. Our task is to reconcile people to God and God to people. A rod of iron must be created in us if we are to govern with Christ.
The thousand-year Kingdom Age, which will commence when Jesus and His saints appear and terminate at the time of the final resurrection, is one in which the nations will be broken to pieces as they seek to live in their self-will instead of obeying Christ and His chosen kings.
If we have an ear to hear the Spirit of God we know that the Day of Atonement has begun, a period that will last from the present hour until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. During this period all mankind will be dealt with in the effort to make people eligible to be saved during the final resurrection.
Unfortunately, some will not agree to the rule of Jesus Christ and His saints and will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to be with Satan and eventually to become part of Satan.
The judgment of which I speak begins with those closest to God; who are serving Him fervently; who always are crying out, "Not my will but Yours be done." If such disciples will continue to press forward in Christ, as did the Apostle Paul, they will attain to the first resurrection. This means they are part of the Firstfruits, of the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation.
If you will study the fourteenth chapter you will notice that there is no lie in their mouth. It takes a lot of God's consuming Fire before the lie of the human nature is burned out of us.
Also, they did not defile themselves with women. This does not mean they do not marry. Marriage does not defile us. It means there is no relationship, circumstance, or thing in their life that comes between them and the Lord Jesus. They stand with Him on Mount Zion and have His name and His Father's name written on their foreheads.
Those who do attain to the early resurrection will be raised from the dead when Christ appears and work with Him in the task of installing the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The great wall between God's elect and the remainder of mankind is set forth clearly in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John.
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. (John 17:14)
The above is quite a statement, isn't it? It is clear that those who have been chosen from the beginning of the world to represent God have really been separated from the rest of the world. We are not of the world any more than the Lord Jesus Christ is of the world.
In the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Revelation we find the wall that stands between the Tabernacle of God, which is the Christian Church, the Wife of the Lamb, and the nations of people whom God has saved.
It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Revelation 21:12)
When Christians seek to tell what Heaven is like, they use a passage that actually is not speaking of the Christians but of the saved people from the nations of the earth.
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 verses above are not describing our life in Heaven. Rather they are telling about the condition of the people of the nations whom God has saved to citizenship on the new earth. The reason these saved people are so blessed is that the saints are bringing the Presence of God to them.
The people of the nations have access to the trees of life that grow on each side of the river of the Spirit of God. They can eat from the trees and gain eternal life. The leaves of the tree will bring healing to them.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:1,2)
The trees of life are part of The Tree of Life, the Lord Jesus. They are saints who have passed through the four levels of the water of life and now are planted by the river of the Spirit of God.
He asked me, "Son of man, do you see this?" Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. (Ezekiel 47:6,7)
The river of the Spirit of God flows from the saints.
"Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (John 7:38)
The people of the nations who will not obey the rule of the saints will not be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and partake of the refreshing that comes from God through the saints.
Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:15)
We are being told, in the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation, that after the end of the Kingdom Age, and the final resurrection and judgment have taken place, God will create a new sky and a new earth.
The eternal house of God, the Tabernacle of God, will come down through the new sky and be located forever upon the gigantic new earth.
There will be no temple as such in the new Jerusalem. God Himself and the Lamb will be the Temple of it. The Throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the Christian Church, the holy city, the new Jerusalem.
Living on the earth will be people from the beginning of the world whose names have been found in the Book of Life. They will be governed and blessed by the members of the Royal Priesthood, who will bring the Presence of God to them.
Now we can make sense of the verses in Isaiah that describe the people of the earth, and then Israel. When the Prophets are describing the Messianic Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, "Israel" means all who have become part of Jesus Christ, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth.
Notice how the following verses parallel what we just noticed in the Book of Revelation:
Your gates will always stand open, they will never be shut, day or night, so that men may bring you the wealth of the nationstheir kings led in triumphal procession. For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. (Isaiah 60:11,12)
"Your" and "you" in the verse above is speaking of God's Israel, that is, all those who have become part of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the light of all we have stated in this essay, it is clear that the current emphasis in Christian teaching and preaching is misdirected. Energy, time, and money are being expended in the attempt to persuade the people of the world to "accept Christ." The idea is that once they "accept Christ" they will not go to Hell but to Heaven.
That is not what the Great Commission exhorts us to do. Rather, we are to go into all the world and make disciples. The result is we have multitudes of people who have "accepted Christ" and attend our services. But they have not been taught to keep the commandments of Christ. In fact, they often are taught that they do not have to keep Christ's commandments because they now have been saved from Hell by "grace."
How can we expect God's blessing on what we are doing when we are not following the Scripture?
Is there a difference between the church-attenders who have "accepted Christ," and a disciple? A disciple is a person who denies himself, takes up his or her cross of imprisonment, and follows the Master at all times. What percent of the church-attenders of the world have been told they are not Christians unless they deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Christ?
Still we go on trying to get the world "saved from Hell." But that is not the purpose of the gifts and ministries that have been issued to each member of the Body of Christ by the Spirit of God. The gifts have been given to us so we can minister to one another, building us up to the fullness of the stature of Christ.
Why are be to be built to the fullness of the measure of Christ? It is so we can work with Christ as He establishes the will of God on the earth. This is what we pray for in the Lord's prayer.
The church-attenders who have done nothing more than "accept Christ" are not in any condition to work with Christ in installing the Kingdom of God on the earth. Rather, their objective is to go to Heaven and praise God forever. This is a joke, in that the average church-attender would have difficulty praising God for five minutes.
In short, we do not know what we are doing. Why do we not know what we are doing? Because we are not listening to Jesus. We are trying to build the Kingdom of God by means of our own wisdom and strength. Meanwhile God's elect remain spiritual babies, being ignorant of their own gifts and ministries, for the most part.
Isaiah 60 tells us clearly that when God's time comes, the nations of the earth will come to the Divine Glory that will be resting on God's elect. As the Lord Jesus informed us, when we are one with each other in Him in the Father, the world will believe.
We of today are attempting to get the world to believe when we ought to be helping the believers to become one with each other in Christ in the Father. We are ignorant of God's plan because we do not have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
What is it going to take to persuade the Christian leaders to stop and listen to the Spirit of God?
If the Lord Jesus Christ came and stood among us, would He tell us to go out and try to save the lost and dying of the world; or would He exhort us to build up the members of the elect to the fullness of the stature of Christ?
What do the Scriptures say?
What is your opinion?