A CATALOG OF BOOKS
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.
It is our prayer and hope that our writings will awaken God’s people to the fact that while being saved from wrath is of great importance, it is of even greater importance for us to recognize and submit to the fact that God has more in mind than merely saving us from destruction. It is His goal to fulfill His original four proclamations concerning man so that through man God can accomplish His entire plan for establishing on the earth, and for eternity, righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
It is our obligation to permit Christ thus to redeem us from all the power of the enemy, and then to follow His directions as He moves us from the person and ways of Satan to the Person and will of God.
A CATALOG OF BOOKS
ABIDING IN CHRIST
God the Father has planted a Vine and He is watching over it and taking care of it. The Vine is spiritual but its fruit is visible in the earth. The fruit of the Vine is righteousness and praise, and the fruit will appear in the sight of the nations of the earth. The fruit is the moral light of the world. When the nations witness the righteous behavior of the saints they will glorify God.
Christ is the Vine. We Christians are the branches. God is looking for fruit in our lives, the fruit which is the image of His Son, the fruit of righteous behavior. If we do not exhibit righteousness and praise in our personality God will remove us from Christ. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.”
ACCESS TO THE TREE OF LIFE
The Tree of Life is still in the middle of Paradise. The Bible says it is the person who overcomes who is given the right to eat from this Tree. That is because there still are cherubim and a flaming sword guarding the way to the Tree of Life. We have the right to eat from Eternal Life only as long as we overcome the forces that would keep us from God.
Accountability is one of the principal ideas of the Bible. We are going to be held accountable for our behavior, at one time or another. We are going to answer to God for the things we have said and done.
One of the truly destructive results of the unscriptural “state of grace” concept is that once we make a profession of faith in Christ we no longer are responsible or answerable for our behavior.
ACTUAL SONS, ACTUAL BROTHERS
Perhaps we have divided God into three parts—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Given the extent to which God has exalted the Lord Jesus Christ, plus our natural shying away from any attempt to cross the bridge from humanity to Divinity, our willingness to think of the Father and the Son as coequal, coexistent, and coeternal is understandable.
However, no matter how well-meaning our present understanding of God and His Christ may be, we have gone outside of the Scriptures. As a result, now that God is ready to bring us past the rudiments of the plan of salvation, we are unable to perceive the Scripture presents the Lord Jesus Christ as the Firstborn of additional sons, who are to be brought to glory.
THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
It is possible that the central issue in Christianity in our day is the administration of the Kingdom of God.
Never before have the gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit been so widespread among the believers. But this familiarity with the power and ability of the Spirit is creating a problem. Christian leaders, perhaps with the best of intentions, are seeking to use the Holy Spirit according to their own notions of what should be done in the Kingdom, how the resources of the Kingdom should be administrated. The issue is that of the mind and desires of man versus the mind and desires of Christ as the origin of direction and practice.
Am I or is Jesus to be in control of the things of the Kingdom? This is the great question confronting each of us.
AFTER THE TRIBULATION OF THOSE DAYS
We know we have a great work to do when we appear with the Lord Jesus. We understand also that during the time from now until Jesus returns the Christian churches must prepare the believers for the tasks associated with the installing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
How long do we have to prepare ourselves for the resurrection from the dead, the ascension to meet the Commander-in-Chief in the air, and the return to earth on the white war stallions to destroy the armies of Antichrist? We do not know for certain, but probably more time than is commonly believed among Christians.
When we think of Heaven we picture a glorified earth—mansions, parks, children playing, flowers, birds flying overhead. We desire to be with our friends and family in a place of no fear or dread. How much of our hope is biblical?
THE AGE OF RECONCILIATION
Satan, who apparently was one of the most exalted of the heavenly rulers, decided to lift himself above the other stars of God, above the Father’s will for him. The poison of discontent and rebellion against the Father began at the highest level of the heavens and spread throughout the universe, entering man the moment he was created. We now are approaching the age of reconciliation, the era when God will enable His creatures to be reconciled to Himself.
The events of the future will involve personages in the heavens and on the earth. We will not understand the events of the future on the earth nor the plan of redemption until we are able to view all that is occurring in the heavens and on the earth as one arena of judgment, warfare, reconciliation, and eternal punishment.
THE ANOINTED DELIVERER
(from Behold My Servant!) (Study Guide available)
The Servant of the Lord is anointed in order that He may build up the members of true Israel into oaks of righteousness. When Christ is dwelling in a righteous and holy Church the nations of the earth will experience the Presence, Word, will, and eternal purpose of God.
We are in a midcourse correction in Christian theology. The foundation of the blood atonement, the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ and His saints, the reality of the born-again experience and of life lived in the Spirit of God are scriptural and to be relied on. Upon this sure foundation several traditions have accumulated that are not scriptural, traditions concerning a state of grace, mansions in Heaven, and a pre-tribulation “rapture” of the believers. Even the venerable “four steps of salvation,” although they may be theologically accurate, are employed in a manner that leads away from God’s purposes concerning man. Because of the confrontation between God and Satan that is on the horizon we must return to the Scriptures, asking God for understanding.
Today’s Christian theology is “another gospel.”
THE ANTICHRIST, THE FALSE PROPHET, AND THE IMAGE
The Book of Revelation stresses the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and the Image of Antichrist as major concerns of the last days. Just what are these people or forces? Without pretending to be the last word on the subject I would like to offer an opinion for the reader’s consideration.
THE ANTICHRIST SPIRIT
The spirit of Antichrist is that of man making himself his own god, that is, man following his own will. Satan’s original sin was disobedience. The sin of Adam and Eve was disobedience.
In the day in which we are living the Holy Spirit is emphasizing stern obedience to the Father. As long as we are following our own will instead of the will of God, there is a door in our personality through which Satan can enter.
ANTICHRIST—THE WORSHIP OF SELF
Antichrist is the worship of self. We think there will appear in the last days an individual who fully expresses the self-centeredness of Satan. However, the spirit of Antichrist is in every one of us until God and Jesus are firmly seated on the throne of our personality.
Sin is a bondage, a symptom of the worship of self.
The democratic stress on the rights and freedom of the individual, while it appears at first as an expression of Christianity, or at least a friend of Christianity, is by far the deadliest enemy of God and man. This is because it nourishes the worship of self.
THE APPEARING OF CHRIST
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
A prior judgment and transformation of our spiritual nature are necessary if we are to participate in the first resurrection—the resurrection from among the dead that will occur when the Lord Jesus appears. The Bride must prepare herself to meet her Lord. Let us make certain we attain to the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6), becoming part of the appearing of the Lord Jesus.
The saints who will be glorified in the resurrection that occurs when Jesus is revealed, who will be like Him and who will see Him as He is, will not be judged after their glorification. They already have been judged and sentenced to everlasting life, to the resurrection from among the dead (Philippians 3:11). They are alive forever with the Lord, being an integral part of Christ’s appearing. The second death no longer possesses any authority over them.
THE ARK OF HIS COVENANT
The Ark of the Covenant was lost when the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem. The Ark will not be seen again until the Lord Jesus returns. The appearing of the Ark at the coming of Christ tells us it will be the warlike remnant, the holy priesthood, who will rise to meet the Lord in the air. The Ark portrays also the mature character of those who are eligible to participate in the return of Christ.
AN ARMY OF JUDGES
Before the earth was created, apparently, many of God’s angels—some of high rank in Heaven—rebelled against the Father. God at that time did not execute the final judgment against the rebels but instead created a new race of creatures—man. The new race is to govern all the works of God’s hands, acting as judges of the creation, and the angels are to minister to them
When the Lord Jesus returns, the army of angels and the army of judges will return with Him. We are approaching the closing days of the Church Age and the installation of the Day of the Lord. This means we of the Christian churches will undergo the severe training required of all who would judge God’s creatures.
THE ARMY OF THE LORD
The Day of the Lord is at hand. Christ is coming. Jews and Christians understand this. But what will be the nature of Christ’s coming? The Lord is coming with His army to destroy sin and establish righteousness on the earth. The appearing of the Lord and His army is good news for the meek of the earth, but a fearful prospect indeed for the wicked.
ASPECTS OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE SAINTS
Although we are heirs and rulers of all things we have been given a temporary, imprisoning body through means of which we are being taught the righteous ways of the Lord. It is a body of humbling (Deuteronomy 8:3). If we are successful in this instruction, if we overcome the obstacles placed before us, we will be given an eternal body at the return of Jesus. This is the first resurrection from the dead—the giving of eternal, ruling bodies to those who have been found worthy. It is the “crown of life,” the authority of eternal life in an incorruptible body.
Participation in the first resurrection from the dead is not imputed to us by the Lord nor is it given to us on the basis of mercy. The first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of God’s kings and priests, must be attained to. It is the consequence of permitting the Lord to crucify our adamic nature and form His own Substance and image in us.
ATTAINING TO THE FIRST RESURRECTION
(from Kingdom Concepts)
The first resurrection from the dead is Christ. He is being formed in us now. If He is not, then we are not attaining to the first resurrection. Either we are gaining the first resurrection today or else we are losing the first resurrection today. The Day of the Lord will not cause a change in our personality; rather, it will be an unveiling of that which has been wrought patiently throughout our pilgrimage on the earth.
If we are seeking the things that are above, if our attention, our love, our interests, our hopes, continually are focused on the Throne of God, on Christ who is at the right hand of God, then we are attaining to the spiritual dimension of the first resurrection from the dead.
ATTAINING TO THE FULLNESS
There is salvation through the blood atonement. Then there is the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Finally there is the fullness, the rest of God. Now it is God’s time for whoever will choose to do so to enter the fullness. Those who do not press into the rest of God may not be able to survive the days of moral horror that are coming upon us, and they will not be effective witnesses of God to the nations of the earth.
ATTAINING TO THE INHERITANCE
The Father offered a marvelous inheritance to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus then had to overcome all enemies in order to gain His inheritance. He had a work to do and He finished it.
To each one of us the Father is offering a marvelous inheritance—that of being a son and heir of God. To no angel has such an inheritance ever been offered. But it is being offered to us.
We are required to overcome, through Christ, all the enemies that would seek to prevent our attaining our great inheritance. We have our own work to do and it is our responsibility, with the Lord’s help, to finish it in the same spirit of faithfulness the Lord Himself manifested.
The forgiveness of sins is the beginning aspect of the Christian salvation. God forgives our sins through Christ so He can proceed with the main task of changing us into the image of Jesus and bringing us into union with Himself. It is the transformation and relationship with God that are the primary emphases of the new covenant.
ATTAINING TO THE OUT-RESURRECTION
(from A Study Guide for the Book of Philippians)
The traditional understanding is that every person who makes a profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and is baptized in water will participate in the first resurrection from the dead. The traditional understanding does not agree with the third chapter of the Book of Philippians nor does it agree with the parables of the Kingdom of God that Jesus taught us.
Given current Christian thinking and preaching, it is astonishing to discover Paul admonished us to press forward into the life and death of Christ in order to attain the resurrection that will take place when the Lord Jesus appears.
The Kingdom of God, the resurrection, is a living Seed that enters us causing us to be born again. If we would attain the out-resurrection we must conscientiously nourish the living Seed. Otherwise the Seed, the resurrection life, will wither away or be choked out before it can bring any fruit to perfection (Luke 8:5-16).
THE AUTHORITY AND THE MORNING STAR
Two of the rewards promised to the overcomer are authority over the nations of the earth, and the gift of the Morning Star. We must have both. Authority over the nations is an awesome responsibility. Such authority must be controlled by the Morning Star.
AWAKE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS, BOOK ONE
Compiled and Edited by Edward J. Reiter
A six month devotional taken from the daily essays sent by email.
AWAKE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS, BOOK TWO
Compiled and Edited by Edward J. Reiter
A six month devotional taken from the daily essays sent by email.
The ambition to build a city with a tower that reaches to the heavens reveals the desire in the adamic personality to join with others in order to accomplish something of significance, the idea being that we can gain a name for ourselves. Also, we can achieve power that we would not have were we to be a single individual or a small group of people. By combining our efforts, our wisdom, and our talents we can establish a monument on the earth to our own glory.
However, God often works through intense interaction with one person, such as Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, or the Apostle Paul.
A BASIC CONCEPT
The purpose of this booklet is to explain the Divine purposes in redemption and to describe the Kingdom of God. We are stating there are two classes of saved people, the Church and the nations of the saved, and that God has a specific plan for each group.
We are defining the elect, including Jews and Gentiles, as those who have received Christ and have been born again of the Spirit of God.
The nations of the saved are not part of the Church, the elect of God, but people whom Christ has chosen to be ruled by His Kingdom and who will receive eternal life at the hands of the saints.
THE BATTLE FOR THE BODY
It may be true that the process of the Christian redemption can be summed up as a battle for the body. God has placed our spirit and soul in an animal body, or a “body of sin and death,” as Paul terms it. Our objective is to attain to the resurrection from the dead, that is, to the redeeming of our body until it is filled with eternal, incorruptible Divine Life.
BE CAREFUL HOW YOU DRINK THE WATER!
There is a smell of rain in the air. Many saints are testifying of a powerful revival to come. We have been commanded to pray for rain in the time of the spring rain, the rain that will bring both the wheat and the tares to maturity.
If often is true that before a real move of God takes place there are counterfeits. Some scholars have stated that prior to the appearing of the Lord Jesus a number of false Christs vaunted themselves.
The purpose of this article is to set forth some guidelines we think can be employed to test the validity of any spiritual movement claiming to come from Christ. If we wish to be in the Lord’s army we must be careful how we drink the water of the Spirit. If we stick our head in the water, so to speak, abandoning all caution, we likely will be left out of the glorious things that are ahead.
BECOMING A SON OF GOD
To be given the name “son” is an inheritance far greater than that possessed by any angel. To become a son of God is the highest aspiration of all. To each one of us has been given the opportunity to become a son of God. But, as in the case of the Jewish believers to whom the Book of Hebrews was written, we are tempted, after we have been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, to turn our attention to lesser objectives.
THE BEEMA OF CHRIST
Beema is the Greek term used in the New Testament for “Judgment Seat.” It is being taught today that the beema of Christ is a kind of awards banquet in which every person who has taken the four steps of salvation will receive a prize of some sort. Assuredly, no believer will hear anything negative at the beema.
However, according to the New Testament usage of the term, a beema is a court where an accused criminal is tried.
BEHOLD THE LAMB!
The Passover commemorates the release of the Jews from bondage in the land of Egypt. In spiritual terms, Egypt represents the world spirit. The actual Passover celebrated in Egypt over 3,000 years ago was an expression, a foreshadowing of God’s ultimate sacrifice.
The Passover lamb portrays Christ who is to come and deliver God’s people, not from Egypt but from the wicked world spirit. In Passover, God is telling us that release from slavery to the wickedness of the world can come only through the blood of the atonement made by Christ and through eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ.
BEHOLD MY SERVANT!
(Study Guide available)
The Servant of the Lord is Christ, the Anointed Deliverer. He is the One sent from God to bring deliverance to God’s elect. At the next appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ His saints will be revealed together with Him. The saints constitute the Body of Christ, the Body of the Anointed Deliverer, the Church, the Wife of the Lamb. The Church will have become eternally one with Christ by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. God will establish His Kingdom and bring justice to the nations through Christ—Head and Body.
BEING WITH CHRIST WHERE HE IS
We humans tend to worry constantly about the future. If we would grow in Christ we must learn about Jesus as the “I Am,” the God of the eternal present. Christ always Is what God Is. God and Christ are what They Are right now.
The Lord wants us to enter this timeless relationship. He wants each of us to be an indivisible part of Himself, of what He always Is. He desires that we grow in Him until it can be said of us we are fully with Him where He Is. Then the future will take care of itself.
The things of the world clamor for our attention. Meanwhile the Lord Jesus is knocking at the door of our heart. If we are to keep from devoting our days on earth to that which is temporary and insignificant we must listen carefully each moment to what the Lord is saying, presenting each decision to Him for His will and blessing. We must strive to always be with Him where He is and a part of what He Is.
BEING WITH THE LORD
Paul tells us that “God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.” This statement is from the famous “rapture” passage in the Book of First Thessalonians. We have taken Paul’s words and turned them into a flight of the believers to Heaven. Paul is not emphasizing that the believers are going to fly to Heaven but that the great army of saints, from the time of the righteous Abel, will return with the Lord Jesus to destroy the wicked and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth.
Paul said this so the living believers would be comforted by the fact that they soon would see their departed loved ones and enter the Kingdom of God together with them.
BELIEF IS NOT SALVATION
(from The Present Truth)
There are several areas of knowledge associated with God, His salvation and His Kingdom. Throughout the history of the Christian Church great emphasis has been placed on the individual’s agreement with and profession of the accepted positions and beliefs, the positions and beliefs concerning what is viewed as the correct understanding of the areas of knowledge. However, a correct belief and profession of the facts of the Kingdom of God is not salvation.
BELIEF AND RIGHTEOUSNESS
God spoke to Abraham concerning the miracle God was to do concerning Abraham’s seed. Abraham, who had no children at the time, believed God. God counted Abraham’s belief as righteousness.
Paul used this incident to prove God may choose to declare a person righteous solely on the basis of belief, there being no accompanying works of righteousness. Righteousness through belief in God’s Word is the foundation of Christian theology. But have we understood what Paul meant?
BELIEVING ABOUT JESUS OR BELIEVING IN JESUS?
Christian preachers and teachers maintain that Christians do not have to worry about righteous behavior as long as they believe in Jesus. In this essay we will attempt to show that even though numerous Christians do believe such error, the New Testament does not agree with them. They are blindly following their traditions, not perceiving what the Bible teaches.
The problem is, they are not making a clear distinction between believing about Jesus and believing in Jesus.
THE BIG PICTURE
The purpose of this essay is to briefly set forth the big picture of what God has done, is doing, and yet will do with His creatures. A glimpse of the overall plan may help us avoid side trips into doctrines and practices that are not central to the Divine purpose. Although God’s scheme is infinitely complex in its carrying out, it actually consists of a few simple ideas.
BLINDNESS AND DEAFNESS
Today God is building the Body of Christ. The Head and Body of Christ compose the “Servant of the Lord.” Each member of the Servant of the Lord must be “blind” and “deaf.” This means the Head must receive information primarily from the Father, and the members of the Body must receive information primarily from the Head, the Lord Jesus.
THE BLOOD—FORGIVES AND CLEANSES
The atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross of Calvary is the centerpiece of the Christian salvation. All forgiveness and all deliverance derive their authority from the canceling, appeasing, purifying, reconciling authority of the blood.
It appears in some instances we are employing the blood in a manner not intended by the Lord God of Heaven. We are attempting to use the blood as a covering of our sin such that God cannot see our behavior. The blood then becomes an alternative to righteous behavior rather than the means of attaining righteous behavior. The goal of the new covenant is to produce righteous people.
The purpose of the blood is to forgive sin and then cleanse our behavior, not to hide from God what we are doing.
BLOWING THE TRUMPET
God knows all about us. God cares about us. God desires to bring us to total joy and has the power to do so. But He insists we ask, and keep on asking, for what it is we need and want.
THE BLOWING OF TRUMPETS
The memorial of blowing of Trumpets is the feast that follows Pentecost. The blowing of Trumpets announces the coming of King Jesus to make war against His enemies. The spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Trumpets is the alerting of God’s Zion to the coming of the Lord to remove from the holy remnant, then from all Israel, and finally from the saved nations of the earth, all that is not acceptable to God. The era of the coming Jubilee already is casting its shadow upon us.
THE BOOK OF COLOSSIANS
The text of Colossians portrays genuine Christians, genuine disciples of the Lord. Paul addressed the. “holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse.” Perhaps we should use the term “saint,” or “disciple,” more than we do. What we mean by a “Christian” today comes short of the biblical standard, as may be seen by a study of the Book of Colossians.
THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS
Several important areas of study are included in the Book of Ephesians. One emphasis is that on building up the members of the one new Man to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Paul’s customary exhortations to a holy, blameless life are included, with the remark that it is to this transformation of personality we have been chosen in Christ before the creation of the world.
THE BOOK OF FIRST JOHN
There are several emphases in the Book of First John. One of the primary emphases is the exhortation to Christian people to cease sinning, to keep the commandments of Christ. When we walk in the light of God’s will we have fellowship with God and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, purifies us from all sin.
THE BOOK OF FIRST PETER
The Book of First Peter is a general exhortation to righteous, holy behavior. He reminds these Gentiles that they are members of the royal priesthood.
Peter has some things to say about the Divine judgment of the members of the family of God. Peter is preparing us for the fiery trials that God sends to save us from our sinful nature.
THE BOOK OF FIRST THESSALONIANS
The Books of First and Second Thessalonians cover several areas. One topic included in both books is that of the coming of the Lord. The consistent use of the same Greek term (parousia) for “coming,” in both First and Second Thessalonians, indicates that Paul is referring to the same event in both books.
“What will be the sign of your parousia?” the disciples asked in Matthew, showing that the famous “rapture” passage in the fourth chapter of First Thessalonians is not a special “secret coming” but the historical return of Christ to the earth.
THE BOOK OF GALATIANS
One of the main emphases of the Book of Galatians is that of the transition from the Law of Moses to the new covenant. Apparently there was pressure on Paul from his fellow apostles and others who would profess faith in Christ and yet return to part or all of the Law. This problem has not been fully resolved to the present day.
THE BOOK OF HEBREWS
The Book of Hebrews is one long exhortation to experienced Christians to press forward in the Lord until they attain to the rest of God. The rest of God is that place where we have ceased our striving and are content to do God’s will in every aspect of our life.
THE BOOK OF JAMES
The Book of James contains several practical admonitions. I gain the impression from reading it that there were believers who were being influenced by Gnosticism. They had interpreted the Apostle Paul to mean how we behave is not an integral aspect of redemption, the only important issue being that we “believe in Jesus Christ.” Since the error of “faith alone” is prevalent in our day, we need to hear what Pastor James, the brother of Jesus Christ, has to say.
THE BOOK OF JUDE
The Book of Jude is directed toward the sins in the Christian churches. The comments it makes about some of the people in the churches are harsh. Yet the Holy Spirit found it necessary to employ such strong language.
Although Jude was written two thousand years ago, its message is very much needed in our day.
THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS
Paul covers several topics in his letter to the believers in Philippi. One of the most striking is his declaration that he counted everything as garbage that he might win Christ. He set attaining to the resurrection from the dead as the mark toward which he was pressing continually.
The Book of Revelation is the only book of prophecy of the New Testament. It is not to be taken literally, in many instances, as though it were a letter from one of the Apostles. Much of it is symbolic.
If my understanding is correct, the events portrayed are not in chronological order. Revelation is best understood, I believe, if we think of the various scenes as being many faces of one diamond that keeps revolving.
THE BOOK OF SECOND PETER
The Book of Second Peter is a strong exhortation to godly behavior. The apostle harshly condemns people who assemble with the believers but whose behavior is wicked.
Second Peter is a good antidote for the overemphasis on the grace of forgiveness so common in today’s preaching and teaching.
THE BOOK OF SECOND THESSALONIANS
Paul continues, from First Thessalonians, his discussion of the parousia, the coming of the Lord. He tells us that the Day of the Lord will not come until certain events have transpired. He exhorts us to work hard and not be moved by anyone claiming that the Day of Christ has already come.
BRINGING THE THRONE INTO THE LAND OF PROMISE
When the tribes of Israel invaded Canaan they brought the Ark of the Covenant with them into the land of promise. The Ark of the Covenant was so named because inside the Ark was the Covenant, the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments are the Divine judgment on Satan. The nations that inhabited the land of Canaan were worshipers of demons. Their sin had reached its full measure. The invading army of Israel was the coming of the Throne of God, the judgment of God, to drive from the land and destroy utterly every remnant of the demons.
This is precisely what will take place when the Lord Jesus appears with His saints.
THE BROTHERS OF CHRIST
The physical universe, including man, was created to bring joy to God. Man is of special interest to God. God accomplished several purposes by creating man. One of these purposes is to bring forth brothers of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Having done so, God now has a large family of sons, of whom the Lord Jesus is the Elder and Ruler of all the works of God’s hands.
BUILDING THE HOUSE OF GOD
The purpose of gifts and ministries is to bring each believer to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ. The purpose of bringing each believer to maturity is to provide a house for the Father and Christ. The purpose of providing a house for the Father and Christ is that They might dwell among the people whom They have created and whom They love.
BUSINESS AS USUAL
Eating, sleeping, working, playing, and reproducing—these are five normal human occupations. God has made them so. But when God is moving forward toward the coming of His Kingdom, our normal occupations can hinder us from hearing what the Spirit is saying. This danger is unusually pronounced because of the spiritual importance of the present hour, and because of the emphasis in our culture on material things.
BUT WHAT IF WE—DON’T?
Our traditional Christian thinking is that the New Testament teaches a state of grace; that we stand in grace; that we are saved by the merits of Jesus Christ and our behavior is of little consequence. Perhaps we better do some hard thinking, find out what the goal of salvation actually is, and then look again at our traditions.
BUYING THE TRUTH
The Lord Jesus warned us there would be much deception in the last days. His prophecy has come to pass. Deception is arising on every hand, even among Christians. The elect are being deceived!
CALLED TO BE SAINTS
(from John, Chapter Seventeen)
Each of God’s elect, His saints, has been sent into the world by the Lord Jesus just as the Father sent the Lord Jesus into the world. The Father sent Jesus into the world to bear a true witness of the Father. The Lord Jesus has sent each of His chosen into the world so he or she may bear a true witness of the Lord Jesus.
The calling of each saint is to reveal the Glory of God in Christ. This does not mean every saint is a preacher or teacher or is called to leave his job and trust in Christ for his wages. It does mean the foremost responsibility of every member of God’s elect, his purpose for being on the earth, is to reveal Christ in his words and deeds. Every other employment is for temporary, practical purposes.
The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan is a representation of the Christian redemption. We understand deliverance from Egypt symbolizes our salvation from the world and sin. But exactly what does Canaan, our land of promise, typify?
Canaan cannot represent Heaven. The Christian Church is not moving toward an armed invasion of Heaven! What is our land of promise if it is not Heaven?
We usually don’t think of carelessness as being a major sin. But it is. According to the New Testament, carelessness is sufficient to prevent us from going with the Lord when He appears. Carelessness is enough to cause us to have our Kingdom gifts taken from us and given to another, and to have us thrown into the outer darkness.
CARRYING OUR CROSS
The Lord Jesus told us if we would be His disciple we must deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him. There are some understandings, actions and attitudes we can adopt that will help us as we patiently follow the Lord, carrying our cross of imprisonment and denial.
CAUSE AND EFFECT
There are two sets of outcomes of the manner in which we live the Christian life. One set of outcomes consists of rewards and punishments. The other set of outcomes has more to do with cause and effect. The two sets of outcomes are related but they are significantly different.
The cause-and-effect outcomes are hardly preached today but they are emphasized in the writings of Paul.
The Christian salvation is not a preserving of what we are but a changing of what we are. We are to be transformed, and the process of change often is painful. God has a purpose in our pain. If we are not transformed we cannot possibly enter the Kingdom of God, for there is neither sin nor self-seeking in the Kingdom. Following and obeying the Holy Spirit as He leads us through hardship and tribulation brings down our old nature and raises up a new creation. A transformation takes place and we are changed into the image of the Son of God.
A CHANGE OF EMPHASIS
All we associate with Heaven, the blessing, the peace, the joy, the wonder, the beauty, the holiness, the music of the angels, and—best of all—the Presence of the Father and the Lord Jesus, are coming to the earth.
Men will speak of the Ark of the Covenant no longer or of any other sacred object. Now we shall have the Person of God among us to love. All we have hoped for in Heaven will have come to the earth. We shall have the best of both worlds for an eternity in which each moment will be more glorious than the preceding.
CHANGING OUR STRENGTH
The greatest need of the hour is for God’s people to abandon their own abilities, even spiritual abilities, and to depend on Christ in all matters great and small. Many of us have been as far as Pentecost, in God’s dealings. Now the issue is raised: do we go forth to save the world or do we come before God with no ability whatever to do or think anything and look to the Lord Jesus Christ for every thought we think, every word we speak, and every step we take?
THE CHARIOTS OF GOD
What is man? What purpose does God have in mind that He would create man and then command him to crucify his flesh with its desires and passions? Why did God make adamic man in the first place when God knew an animal creation could never fulfill the roles and responsibilities God has in mind for this new member of the universe? Why require man to experience the agony of passing from a living soul to a life-giving spirit?
Out from man’s heart come his desires. Out from his desires come man’s choices. Out from man’s choices comes man’s destiny. Our will stands apart from this cycle and determines its direction.
Each day we are choosing life or death. Each day we should ask God to guide our choices.
CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY!
(from A Study Guide for the Book of Romans)
An understanding of the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans makes clear the role of righteousness and holiness in the Christian salvation. The consequences for the believer of continuing in sinful conduct is spiritual death while the result of cooperating with the Holy Spirit in putting to death the deeds of the flesh is eternal life. Through Christ the Christian has the power to choose to obey sin unto spiritual death or righteousness unto eternal life.
To understand the sixth chapter of Romans is to understand God’s program of salvation from sin.
CHOSEN TO RULE
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
God’s rulers were (are) all known to Him from the beginning of the world. Each comes into the world at a specific point in time and through the circumstances of his life is molded into the chosen vessel of service. Some people are born into the world for the purpose of being made rulers in the Kingdom of God. They were chosen to be of first rank in the plan of God before God framed the world.
If God has chosen us from the foundation of the world to walk in good works and authority in the Kingdom, He will carefully oversee our deeds, words, and motives. No area of our personality or behavior will be left untouched by His Virtue and will. The rulers of the Kingdom must be perfected in the earth. It is here we learn patience. It is in the earth that the pearl in us is formed by the continual irritations of life. The pearl in us is a gate of the new Jerusalem, a gate through which people may enter and find God.
(Foreword in Behold My Servant!) (Study Guide available)
God the Father has given three commissions to Christ (Isaiah 51:16):
To plant the heavens.
To lay the foundations of the earth.
To say to Zion, “You are my people.”
These are the three issues with which all of God’s people are to be concerned: the condition of the heavens, the condition of the earth, and the condition of God’s Israel, His Zion.
CHRIST AND HIS SAINTS GO TO WORK
The world is heading toward chaos in every area of human life: morals, education, medicine, economics, the military, the arts and sciences, the vocations. While there are advances in knowledge, justice and wisdom in the use of the knowledge is not always present. For example, the Internet, a significant leap forward in communication techniques, is sometimes used to defraud the unwary, to purvey pornography, to instruct young people in the construction of explosives. With all the progress in science and technology, a small percentage of the earth’s population is overweight while multitudes are starving.
The more that human beings attempt to straighten matters out the more corrupt the situations become. This is because the heart of man is corrupt. We are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
The solution to the chaos is the return of Jesus Christ to govern the nations. This is the blessed hope of the Christian Church, although our hope has become confused because of the unscriptural emphasis on a “rapture” of the believers to Heaven in order to escape Antichrist and the great tribulation.
It is time now to refresh the original blessed hope of the Church, because the way we view the purpose of the return of the Lord, and our role in His return, directly affects the diligence we apply to our discipleship today.
CHRIST IN YOU
(Study Guide available)
Christ in us is the hope of glory. The Kingdom of God is Christ in us. All of God’s purposes are fulfilled as Christ is formed in us. Christ In You sets forth the biblical experience in nine steps, beginning with the work of the blood of the cross and ending with the resurrection from the dead. When Christ is formed in us, Christ Himself will come with the Father and They will make our personality Their abode for eternity.
For the reader who desires to understand our point of view, Christ In You may be the best text with which to begin his study. All of God’s purposes are fulfilled as God is in Christ in us.
CHRIST IS EVERYTHING
After we have served the Lord for a season, Christ should begin to fill our vision. He should keep enlarging until He is present in all of our thoughts, words, and actions. There should be no aspect of our living, moving, and being that is not in Christ and of Christ.
Christ Will Come to the Believer
After we have been saved and filled with the Spirit of God the Lord Jesus comes to us in the Spirit. The world cannot see this revelation. Christ wages war against the sin that is in us, helping us identify the compulsions to sin that reside in our flesh and spirit. When we allow Him to enter our personality He dines with us, we on His body and blood; He on our obedience and worship.
I believe the Spirit is saying now is the time for us to receive Christ and enter the marriage of the Lamb. We need to prepare our hearts for His coming to us in this manner.
THE CHRISTIAN AND THE DAY OF
The Day of Atonement comes after the feast of Pentecost. This signifies after we have received the Holy Spirit, God is going to purge our personality of worldliness, lust, and self-will until we have been reconciled to Him fully. Through the blood of the cross we have been reconciled to God legally. Now it is time to be reconciled to God in our personality and behavior.
THE CHRISTIAN AND JUDGMENT
The Scriptures teach plainly and in several places that every person who has ever lived will be judged, including the believers in Christ. Each individual will be rewarded according to his deeds, according to what he has done during his lifetime on the earth. The Scriptures teach also that judgment begins with the saints; and in some instances the afflictions and tribulations that come upon them are Divine judgment.
THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD
There is the Christian religion with its many activities, and then there is the Kingdom of God. What is the difference? The difference is, the Christian religion is a means to an end. The Kingdom of God is the end product.
Let us put the same thing in another manner. The purpose of all the activities of the Christian religion is to form Christ in the believers. God’s eternal purpose is to fill all of the creation with Christ. This is the Kingdom of God.
THE CHRISTIAN AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
It has been difficult for Christian people to understand the relationship between the Law of Moses, particularly the Ten Commandments, and salvation through the grace of Christ. The typical Christian reaction to this question is, “I am not under the Law but under grace” (Romans 6:14).
What is the scriptural relationship of the Ten Commandments to the Christian redemption? Perhaps the truth can be arrived at more readily when we change the traditional goal and means of the Christian salvation to the scriptural goal and means.
THE CHRISTIAN’S RESPONSE TO EVIL
We are entering a time of trouble, moral horrors, and perversity. The tares are coming to maturity. Satan’s personality increasingly will be revealed. The evil will be so virulent, so unjust, so filled with the poison of Hell, that the adamic nature of the Christian will be outraged and seek for vengeance.
CHRISTIANS SHALL BE REWARDED ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS
There is a widespread belief among Christians that they will not be rewarded according to their works. The Scriptures do not support this confidence. The Apostle Paul never taught that Christians are not judged and rewarded according to their works, nor did Jesus, John, Peter, James, Jude, or the writer of the Book of Hebrews. This teaching is a Christian tradition. It is not found in the Scriptures. It is not of the Holy Spirit of God.
If the Christians of today had any idea of the terror of the Judgment Seat of Christ, if they had any concept of the humiliation, pain, and loss of reward facing them in the near future, the churches would be on their face in an agony of repentance and confession of sin.
(from A Study Guide for the Book of Ephesians)
One of the great purposes of the past two thousand years of the Christian era has been the creating of the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the very representation of Christ and God in Him to the world. It is our point of view that as yet we possess but a faint notion of what God means by the Church. The seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John may be the best description in the Scriptures of the Church of Christ.
Christ has sent the Church, His Body, into the world as the living revelation of the Person, the Word, the way, the Nature, the Substance, the eternal purpose of God in Christ. All that the Lord Jesus is He has placed forever in the Church so the Church may be the perfect and complete manifestation of all that Christ is and does.
THE CHURCH; THE KINGDOM; RELIGION
Christianity is composed of three main segments: the Church, the Kingdom of God, and the Christian religion. Most of us are acquainted with the Christian religion. We may not be as clear concerning the one true Church or the nature of the Kingdom of God.
CHURCH MEMBERS OR CHRIST’S MEMBERS?
To the Apostle Paul was given the remarkable revelation that Christ, the Anointed One, is destined to have a body. God’s elect are members of the Body of Christ. Because we have inherited a clergy-laity form of church government it is difficult for us to appreciate that all Christians are members of the one Body of Christ and there are none of us who are superior to our fellow members. There does not exist, except in our traditions, such divisive roles as “clergy and laity.”
It is true also that all denominational structures, while they may have no intention of doing so, tend to work against the concept of the one Body of Christ.
THE CHURCH WITHIN THE CHURCHES
The Christian churches of today consist of those whom God has called out of the world plus a multitude of people who have been brought into the assemblies by means other than the drawing of the Holy Spirit of God. Within the churches there is a firstfruits, a warlike remnant who are faithful workers in the organization but whose hearts are married to the Lord. In the days to come the holy remnant will be called out of the babylonish confusion of man-centered Christianity. They will be purified by the fires of tribulation and will be prepared to meet the Lord when He appears.
THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD
Today’s understanding of the Kingdom of God is that there will be two groups of people in the ages to come: the saved, and the lost. This is not the case. There will be three groups of people in the ages to come: the Church, the nations of the saved, and the lost. The Tabernacle of the Congregation is a model of the Kingdom of God portraying the saved who rule (Israel, the elect of God), and the saved who are ruled (the saved nations of the earth—Revelation 21:24). In addition there will be those (hopefully few in number) who are lost forever to God and His saints.
CLEARING THE CONSCIENCE OF THE WORSHIPER
The Book of Hebrews states that the new covenant is superior to the old covenant, to the Law of Moses. It often is expressed that the new covenant is superior because it includes a better forgiveness. Although under the Law of Moses the worshiper supposedly was forgiven through the shedding of the blood of bulls and goats, in actuality the forgiveness of the old covenant merely looked forward to Calvary. Now, however, under the new covenant, we really are forgiven, it is claimed.
Thus the Christian salvation often is perceived as a perfect, eternal forgiveness unrelated to the behavior of the believer. We believe this viewpoint proceeds from an incorrect interpretation of the Book of Hebrews.
THE CLOCK STARTS TICKING AGAIN
The ninth chapter of the Book of Daniel informs us that seventy prophetic weeks must elapse before sin is brought to an end and everlasting righteousness enters the creation of God. The crucifixion of Christ marked the completion of the sixty-ninth week. Then the clock stopped ticking while the Body of Christ is being formed.
It is our opinion that the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation describes the seventieth week, the time when the clock resumes ticking. The first half of the week will consist of the latter-rain, double-portion revival prophesied in the Old Testament. The latter-rain revival will result in the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to all nations for a witness. The last half of the week will include the reign of Antichrist and the great tribulation. Then the end of the age will be here and the Kingdom of Christ will come to the earth.
COMING TO THE DISCIPLE AND COMING TO THE WORLD
There is a coming of the Lord to the disciple and then there is a coming of the Lord to the world. Most of us are aware of the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of glory. However, His coming to the disciple may not be as well known. Yet it is the coming of the Lord to the disciple that appears to be the burden of our day—perhaps more so than in the past!
THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM
Christ did not set up His Kingdom on the earth at His first coming because mature warrior-saints were not available at that time. One of the main purposes of the two thousand years of the Christian Era has been the development of a mature army, an army that has been brought to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. There must be a company of strong people in whom and with whom God in Christ can drive all sin and lawlessness from the face of the earth.
THE COMING OF THE LORD
(Study Guide available)
Our vision of the return of Christ to the earth affects the sincerity with which we prepare ourselves to do our Lord’s will. The present Christian expectation is confusing, focusing on meeting the desires of people rather than being a true witness of the Person and will of almighty God.
Our current understanding is in error. It is leaving the believers unprepared for the spiritual desolation on the horizon. The great and terrible Day of the Lord is at hand. Let us without delay cast aside our myths and traditions and search the Scriptures. Let us pray we may be accounted worthy to escape spiritual destruction and to stand before Christ in victory.
THE COMING OF THE THRONE
(from A Study Guide for the Book of First Corinthians)
What is man? Man is destined to be the throne of God. In the present hour the preparations for the moving of the throne of God from the heavens into the hearts of the victorious saints have begun. No more awesome occurrence than the moving of God’s throne, no event of more significance for the spirit and material realms, could be imagined.
An age of horrors is upon us. The provision God has made to save the righteous during the age of horrors is to place His throne in a holy remnant so they can serve as a hiding place for all who call upon the Lord in the dark hour.
A CONDUIT VERSUS A TREE OF LIFE
There is a big difference between a conduit and a tree of life. A conduit is a pipe through which something is conveyed. A tree of life is a continuing source of nourishment and healing for all who partake. The Kingdom of God consists of trees of life.
THE CONQUERING PERSONALITY
The reason the earth remains in darkness is that the members of the Body of Christ are immature in the things of God. They have not had created in them the conquering personality. They speak of going to their eternal home in Heaven, not realizing that God has given the world to them. They are not soldiers, they are sheep. We are living in an hour when Christ is ready to convert his sheep into soldiers. The “new creation” of the Kingdom of God is a conquering personality.
The purpose of ministry is to create the conquering personality. Ministry is temporary—a means to an end. The conquering personality is eternal.
(Study Guide Available)
The rewards assigned to the overcomer described in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation are aspects of the first resurrection from the dead. They are the life, authority, power, and union with God through Christ that God’s kings and priests must possess if they are to perform their predestined roles in the Kingdom of God.
What does it mean to overcome, to conquer? Is it necessary for the Christian believer to be a conqueror in order for him to attain to the first resurrection, to rule with Christ at His appearing? If so, how does the believer become a conqueror? How can the disciple be certain he is living as one of Christ’s conquerors?
To be a conqueror does not mean we imitate Jesus successfully. Rather it requires that we begin to recognize there is only one Conqueror and His name is the Lord Jesus Christ. As He, God’s Conqueror, is formed in us by the power of God, we through Him are enabled to conquer Satan.
A CONTEMPORARY ERROR
How are Christians to regard the admonitions and warnings of Christ and His Apostles? Are we to consider them important moral guidelines we ought to heed whenever convenient, knowing we are not saved by doing these but by our profession of faith in Christ?
Or are we to view the commandments and warnings given by Christ and His Apostles as the Word of God we must keep, as He gives us the wisdom and power, with the understanding it is only as we obey them that we enter the Kingdom of God?—that we show our love for Christ and become candidates for the fullness of God? (John 14:23).
It appears today there is almost total ignorance of the new covenant. What is being preached in most Christian churches is not scriptural, it is not the new covenant. There is widespread blindness but God is ready to remove the veil. There are at least two incorrect ways and one correct way to regard the commandments of Christ and His Apostles, to conceive of the new covenant.
THE CONTINUITY OF THE COVENANTS
There has entered Christian thinking the belief that the New Testament describes a “dispensation of grace” different from (almost unrelated to) the previous working of God with men, particularly with Israel—God’s elect. The interpretation of the Apostle Paul’s doctrine to mean God has introduced to mankind a new plan of salvation by “grace” that excuses people from the penalties of sin and rebellion, with the intention of bringing them into Paradise in their untransformed state, is unscriptural. Such is not the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
There appears to be great misunderstanding today, not only of the relationship of the new covenant to the old covenant but also of the relationship of the events and doctrines described in the New Testament writings to the events and doctrines set forth in the Old Testament.
The promises of God concerning the Kingdom always are to Jerusalem. Those who would press forward in God today must become rightly related to Israel, for the promises of the Scriptures are to Israel. Spiritual Israel and natural Israel will come into glory at the same time, and the light of the knowledge of the Glory of the Lord will issue from the saints and cover the whole earth.
CORRUPTING THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION
“The just shall live by faith.” What does this mean? Has this expression caused us to totally misunderstand the salvation that is in Jesus Christ? Has our emphasis on “faith alone” produced the moral desolation that is destroying America?
Is it actually true that Christians can keep on sinning and never lose their salvation? We do not think so. We believe the just shall live by faith means precisely this, that righteous people live each day in humble dependence on the Lord Jesus, not in the sins of the flesh.
CREATED TO PLAY
The sons of God, the angels, children, and animals were created to play. The wicked, the self-centered, cannot play. They can be uninhibited, immoral, drunken, destructive, grasping, vile in imagination, sordid, faithless, and cruel. But they cannot play.
Until we overcome evil through Christ we cannot play. We can practice unrestrained behavior but we cannot truly play. When play isn’t holy it is not true play, just self-indulgent activity.
CREATING THE IMAGE
God has determined to create His elect in the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. This He shall do, thoroughly, perfectly. We have arrived at the point of the process of salvation at which the sinful nature in us is to be destroyed. As in all areas of the program of redemption, our faith, courage, and strict obedience are required if the work is to be accomplished.
THE CREATION OF THE ETERNAL PERSONALITY
By forgiving all the sins of the new believer the atonement made by the Lord Jesus gives him a fresh start in the Presence of God. In addition the Word of God, Christ, is born in him. He now is without condemnation and will remain without condemnation as long as he abides in Christ. God’s plan for him after his fresh start is that he be made a new creation in Christ.
THE CROSS AND THE NEW CREATION
(from A Study Guide for the Book of Galatians)
The cross is the center, the core of the Kingdom of God. Every member of the Kingdom of God is to view the creation from the cross. The saint does not seek his own will but the will of God. The cross ensures that the will of God is done in the Kingdom of God. Being crucified with Christ purifies the believer of self-will. The cross of the saint destroys self-will, personal ambition, fleshly enthusiasm, self-centeredness, self-love from his or her personality.
Living a crucified life means there always is a point of pain in our consciousness. We never can completely relax, settle back and be at ease in Zion.
THE CROSS IS THE ONLY ENTRANCE
Christianity has become a religion whose purpose is to bring Adam to Heaven. But it never was designed to be this. True Christianity is our identification with the Lord Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection. Adam died on the cross. The new creation is at the right hand of Power in Heaven.
For two thousand years organized Christianity has plowed ahead, attempting to build the Kingdom of God by means of its own wisdom and strength. In the meanwhile, as is true today, only a handful of people have actually been brought to Jesus by the Father and are living in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The remainder of the believers are proselytes of the religion and will always slander and fight against Christ and His true people.
THE DAY OF ATONEMENT
The redemption of a human being must include the pardoning of the guilt of his sin and also the removal of the presence of sin from him. Before a person can be healed morally, obtain full fellowship with God, and enter his Divinely appointed inheritance in the Lord, he must be forgiven, and then delivered from the bondages of sin. This is the twofold nature of the Day of Atonement in the life of the believer.
THE DAY OF CHRIST
The Day of Christ, the Day of the Lord, the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth, is the blessed hope of the Christian Church. It is the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth—that which was preached by John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazareth, and the Apostles of the Lamb.
In this booklet we are speaking of Christ’s return in glory, the Day of Redemption, the promised worldwide revelation of Christ to set up His Kingdom on the earth. We are stating there will be no secret coming of the Lord for His Church before His worldwide appearing and that the current teaching of a pre-tribulation “rapture” is a destructive error.
THE DAY OF FELLOWSHIP
In between the resurrection of Christ and His ascension to Heaven there was a period of forty days. Christ had fellowship with His disciples during those days. I believe there will be a period of time between our resurrection and our being caught up to meet the Lord in the air. I am referring to this interval as the “Day of Fellowship.”
THE DAY OF THE LORD
(Contains portion of The Coming of the Lord)
(Study Guide available)
Our vision of the return of Christ to the earth affects the sincerity with which we prepare ourselves to do our Lord’s will. It is necessary Christian people study the Scriptures concerning this supremely important event and not just accept the traditions that have been handed to us. There is reason to believe there are widely held doctrines concerning the coming of the Lord that are contrary to the words of the Lord Jesus and of the Apostles of the Lamb.
THE DAY OF REDEMPTION
The Lord Jesus advised us to look up during the time of worldwide turmoil because our redemption then will be near. Several verses of the New Testament speak of the coming salvation. The purpose of the present booklet is to increase our understanding of the nature of the day of redemption. A clear vision of the future salvation reflects back to the present hour and shows us the direction the Lord wants us to take in our time.
THE DAY OF YOUR POWER
There are indications in both the Old and New Testaments that during the closing days of the Church Age, God will issue power never before witnessed on the earth. However, there are conditions we must meet if we are to be recipients of such power.
THE DAYS OF CREATION
The first chapter of the Book of Genesis describes the six days of creation and the seventh day of God’s rest. These events happened as set forth. However, they also are symbolic of the true six days of creation and the true seventh day of God’s rest.
DEALING WITH SIN UNDER THE NEW COVENANT
Perhaps many Christians in America agree that God is dealing with the sin in our lives. We need to repent and begin to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. There are several outstanding moves of the Holy Spirit throughout the country and through them God is warning us to repent before our nation is destroyed.
We understand how God dealt with sin under the Law of Moses. But how God deals with sin under the new covenant is not always made clear, some supposing it doesn’t matter if we sin and others maintaining that there is not power in the new covenant to deliver us from sin. This lack of clarity detracts from the effectiveness of the present call to repentance.
DEATH, OR LIFE?
Every Christian every day chooses death or life. The result of his or her choice will appear in the day of resurrection. The goal of the Christian warfare is to attain to the resurrection to eternal life, particularly eternal life in the body. It is time today for God’s ministers and people to place the kind of experience they will have in the day of resurrection at the forefront of their thinking.
The “rapture” is being preached in our time as though it were a central topic of the New Testament. The truth is, there can be no catching up of the saints until they first have been resurrected, until mortality has been swallowed up by incorruptible resurrection life. It is attaining to the resurrection unto life, not the catching up, that is the central message of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
DEATH AND RESURRECTION—THE HEART OF THE NEW COVENANT
(from The Mainspring)
The sixth chapter of the Book of Romans well may be the clearest exposition of the new covenant to be found in the Scriptures. The most important aspect of new-covenant grace is our union with Christ in His crucifixion and our union with Him in His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of God. Our union with Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection distinguishes the Divine redemption from all other religions and philosophies.
The New Testament speaks of the prevalence of deception at the end of the Church Age. Satan is a deceiver. His power was destroyed on the cross of Calvary so he cannot force us to do his will. In order for Satan to persuade a Christian to do Satan’s will, Satan must deceive that person. Satan is a master at deceiving believers until they fall into error and sin.
THE DEEDS AND DOCTRINE OF THE NICOLAITANS
The Lord Jesus hates the practices and teaching of the Nicolaitans. Who the Nicolaitans were remains a subject of scholarly inquiry. But there is evidence linking them to early Gnosticism.
Since the term Nicolaitan may be linked linguistically to the Hebrew word for Balaam, it is likely that the reference is to eating food sacrificed to idols, and to immorality: in other words, to the works of the flesh.
The current practices and teaching of the Nicolaitans are found in the Christian doctrine of salvation by a perpetual forgiveness that is independent of a change in our behavior.
DE JURE AND DE FACTO SALVATION
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
He who believes in the justifying blood of Christ has been forgiven his past sin and disobedience to God’s will. This is de jure salvation—salvation by the Lord’s legal provision for us. Through it we receive the authority to be children of God. But eternal life is maintained by actual (de facto) righteousness. There can be no Divine, eternal Life where sin and self-will are active except as God is leading the believer toward deliverance from such behaviors. Imputed (ascribed) righteousness is a temporary provision.
Imputed, de jure righteousness is not the Kingdom of God but a provision God has made so people may be able to press forward to the righteousness of behavior that is the Kingdom of God. Ignorance of the proper roles of de jure and de facto righteousness lies at the root of the current error.
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament make a distinction between the chains of sin that dwell in our flesh, the lusts and passions that so easily overtake and deceive us, and deliberate, premeditated, willful sin. God is ready and able through the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive us and deliver us completely from every uncleanness that dwells in our flesh. But deliberate disobedience to God’s commands and will for us is another matter. Deliberate sin can bring us down to severe punishment or even loss of our salvation.
DELIVERANCE FROM SIN
There are two kinds of righteousness that come to us as part of the new covenant. The first is imputed (ascribed) righteousness. The second kind of righteousness is actual deliverance from the nature and the effects of sin. Today there is little understanding of the second kind of righteousness.
Yet it is the second kind of righteousness that characterizes the new covenant. There are relatively few verses in the New Testament that speak of imputed righteousness. However there are numerous passages in the New Testament that proclaim the necessity for the practice of righteous behavior on the part of the believer.
Have you ever thought much about desire—how it operates; what it is; what significance it has in your life? Actually, what we desire, what we want, plays a large role in our discipleship and destiny.
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE LAST ENEMY
The Lord Jesus has made one sacrifice for sins for all time. Now He is sitting at the right hand of the Father. He is waiting for the Father to bring down His enemies and make them a footstool for His feet.
The Father has been working for two thousand years to put all enemies under the rule of Christ. The last enemy to be subdued is physical death. When a warlike remnant of the believers have entered the rest of God, having attained the early resurrection from the dead by putting down all of Christ’s enemies that are in their personality, the Lord Jesus will return from Heaven and redeem the bodies of His victorious saints.
THE DESTRUCTION OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
True faith in the Lord Jesus Christ produces honor and integrity in the human personality. The maturing saint learns to act righteously, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with God.
The deceptions prevalent in current Christian thinking work against the producing of actual righteousness, of righteous works, of honor and integrity in the believer in Christ. These teachings are not pardonable misunderstandings of theological details, they are of the spirit of deception. They come from the enemy. They are destroying the work of God.
A DESTRUCTIVE CONCEPT OF DIVINE GRACE
A massive misunderstanding pervades Christian thinking. We have a destructive concept of Divine grace. The purpose of Divine grace is to bring people to the moral image of Jesus Christ. Instead we are viewing Divine grace as an alternative to moral transformation.
As a corollary our vision of the future has been corrupted.
There could be no more destructive error in thinking, no more effective means of diverting God’s intention, than today’s presentation of the plan of salvation. It is the Lord’s will that we now abandon this error, this perversion of truth, and ask God for the Spirit of wisdom that we may understand the new covenant.
A DESTRUCTIVE DOCTRINE
Three of the current Christian doctrines are unscriptural and destructive. One is that there are two separate churches, two kingdoms—one Gentile and another Jewish. Another unscriptural, destructive doctrine is that the purpose of the ascension (catching-up; “rapture”) of the believers after their resurrection is for the purpose of escaping suffering. A third unscriptural, destructive doctrine is that once we take the “four steps of salvation” we enter a “dispensation of grace” in which God does not see our actual behavior as a Christian.
If Satan and his angels were to scheme for a thousand years they could not produce doctrines more destructive of God’s purposes in Jesus Christ. In this present essay we will focus on the first of the unscriptural doctrines, the concept of two separate churches, one Gentile and one Jewish.
The gathering of the Hebrew males in observance of God’s command in Deuteronomy 16:16 typifies the three platforms of the Christian salvation:
- The feast of Unleavened Bread portrays the blood atonement, repentance, water baptism, and the born-again experience.
- The feast of Weeks (Pentecost) speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit—He who in faithfulness prepares the Bride for the Bridegroom.
- The feast of Tabernacles represents the coming of the Father and the Son to take up their eternal abode in the saint.
(from The Work of Restoration)
There are two kinds of “Christian” believers in the world—the church-attender and the disciple. Only the disciple is a true Christian.
DIVERSITY OF DESTINIES
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
Christians do not pay enough attention to the different destinies available to those whom God saves from destruction. For each person who escapes the Lake of Fire there exists a wide array of roles and opportunities for service. These range in authority and glory from being seated in the throne of Christ to being “saved; yet so as by fire.”
Christian teaching and preaching leave people with the impression only two choices of destiny, to be saved or lost, are available to mankind, and that all the saved are given much the same reward. However, it is not true that the destinies of all the saved are so similar there is not much point in examining the issue. The differences in destiny among the saved are indeed important. The rewards the Scriptures hold out to us are desirable. They will be our possessions for eternity. The fear of punishment and the hope of glory provide us with the strongest of motivations to serve the Lord with all our mind and strength.
THE DIVINE CONCEPT
Sometimes it helps to look at the larger picture. God has a concept. From God’s concept has proceeded a plan He is implementing. I believe the plan was formed in God’s mind before He spoke through the Word and created the angels. The physical creation, as I see it, is a continuation of the Divine plan.
The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ marked the closing of the old and the beginning of a new creation; but the new creation is a continuation of the original plan.
THE DIVINE FIRE
Our God is a consuming fire. This means whatever is not of His Divine Nature cannot exist in His Presence. All that is not of God’s Nature is not holy, for the very meaning of holiness is that which can withstand the Divine burning.
When the Lord Jesus Christ has wrought His perfect work in us we can dwell in the Consuming Fire who is God.
DIVINE INTERVENTION AND HUMAN ACTIVATION
The Scripture clearly states that the members of the Church, the royal priesthood, are elected according to the sovereign choices of God. The Scripture clearly states also that in order for the sovereign choices and decisions to operate they must be activated by the choices of the individual. Both of these conditions must be accepted in full force if we are to be wholly scriptural.
DO WE HAVE TO SIN?
It appears the Christian churches generally agree that as long as we are in the world we have to sin. This conclusion may be based on some of the Apostle Paul’s comments in the seventh chapter of the Book of Romans. Let’s take another look at the passage in question and determine if it really does prove Christians have to sin as long as they are alive in the world.
THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY
The following brief discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity is a response to a man who wrote to me, asking why I gave the impression in one of my texts that the Father existed prior to Christ, and brought forth the Word, the Expression of Himself, according to His own will. Tim was asking about the doctrine of the Trinity, about the relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Father. I may have mentioned in that booklet that when John says Christ was in the beginning, it does not signify that God has a beginning. It means, rather, that in the beginning of the creation—the same expression found at the beginning of the Book of Genesis.
DOING AWAY WITH SIN
We know from the Old and New Testaments that God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ includes not only the forgiveness of our sins but also the removal of our sins. We know the Bride of the Lamb will be without blemish, not by imputation but by actual deliverance from sin as well as by the formation and dwelling of Christ within her.
But how and when will such deliverance and transformation be accomplished?
DOING GOOD, AND THE RESURRECTION
I suppose it is not uncommon for people to believe if they do good now they will be rewarded in the next life, and if they are wicked they will be punished. This seems to be the general feeling on the part of ordinary folk. They are correct. They have Bible to support their view.
Since Christian teaching leaves the impression that there is little or no relationship between how we live now and our situation in the next world, one group or the other is in error in their thinking. Maybe we better look at what the Bible says about how our behavior today affects what we will face in the future.
In the timeless vision of God, man has been crowned with glory and honor. Man is destined to be above the angels in authority. Today man is proud, spiritually weak, self-centered, rebellious, hard of heart. He is under various teachers and rulers. He has been placed below the angels temporarily in order that he may experience suffering, humiliation, and the denial of his desires. To the man who is faithful to carry his cross and endure hardness as a good soldier will come the dominion promised him from the beginning.
DYING IN THE LORD
Divine judgment in the house of God, and the shaking of all that is not found in the Lord, are the burden of the hour. Those who are willing to follow the Lord into judgment, death, and resurrection will stand in the darkness and save many. Those who choose some other way, evading the personal cross of death to the adamic personality, will continue to deceive themselves and their followers.
We are brought out of Egypt on eagles’ wings but we enter our inheritance, our land of promise, on our feet.
God has given us everything in Christ. All that people could desire, and eternity in which to enjoy it, are ours the moment we receive the Lord Jesus as our Savior and Lord. But we must lay hold of our inheritance, maintaining it, developing it, perfecting it. The Scriptures are clear that to neglect our great salvation is to risk disaster.
EATING THE SCROLL
The Lord moves in seasons of emphasis. All that God will do in the plan of salvation is in the Bible. There is no new revelation today. But passages not emphasized during one season are stressed during another. There do come times of refreshing from the Presence of the Lord.
In the previous century, the Pentecostal outpouring of the Spirit was emphasized. Now we are entering a new season. Moral judgment and deliverance are being brought to our attention.
EIGHT APPEARANCES OF THE VICTORIOUS SAINTS
It is clear in the Second and Third chapters of the Book of Revelation that the Christian Church is divided into two major groups, the larger group being the believers with their many problems and the smaller group being the victorious saints. We can see this same division in most Christian assemblies of our day. It is our opinion that this division will prevail until the coming down to earth of the new Jerusalem, at which time the two groups will form one whole.
THE END OF THE AGE
We are approaching the end of an age, an age that might be termed The Adamic Age. We are approaching a new age, an age we have named The Kingdom Age. Mankind has set up its own kings during the Adamic Age. Soon the Lord Jesus will return and establish His saints on the thrones that govern the earth.
THE ELECT, THE SHEEP, AND THE GOATS
So many Christians in America of our day are content to join a church, make a minimal commitment to Christ (enough to keep them out of Hell they trust), and proceed to partake of the American culture.
There are other believers who struggle upward in the night, as it were. There are tremendous advantages in striving to live the victorious life in Christ. Because of the current teaching of grace, the assumption is that all will receive the same reward. Nothing could be further from the truth!
THE END-TIME JUDGMENTS
The closing days of the Church Age will be characterized by Divine judgment. The seven trumpets will announce the coming of King Jesus to destroy His enemies, beginning with the forces of darkness that bind His own people. The blowing of the seven trumpets will result in much tribulation. The purpose of tribulation is to separate the true people of the Lord from Satan, from Antichrist, from the False Prophet, and from Babylon (man-directed Christianity). The blowing of the seven trumpets represents those interventions in human history designed to humble and purify the Bride of the Lamb and to prepare mankind for the coming of the Lord.
ENDURING TO THE END
Wars and rumors of wars are not the sign of the end of the age but of the beginning of persecution and moral horrors. Now is the time to gather together in the Lord our family members as closely as possible. He who endures to the end shall be saved from spiritual destruction when the deceptions and tribulations come upon the earth. The Gentile holocaust is at the door!
ENFORCING THE WILL OF GOD
There are passages in both the Old and New Testaments that tell about the elect whom God has called out from the nations of the earth. Perhaps the reason these passages are not emphasized today is that predestination and election were somewhat overemphasized a while back. However, if we are to understand God’s work in the earth, and the Kingdom of God, we have to think clearly about the role of God’s elect, the members of the Body of Christ, the royal priesthood, among the peoples of the earth.
ENTERING THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
We Christians speak of “going to Heaven” as though the goal of the Divine redemption were to bring man to the spirit world to make his eternal residence there. We sing of going to a place, to a paradise that will put an end to all our pains and dreads. But the Scriptures speak of entering or inheriting the kingdom of Heaven. This is a different concept from that of merely going to a delightful place.
Because the Kingdom of Heaven is God in Christ in the saints performing God’s will, the “heaven” we desire is not, first of all, a place but a state of being—a state of being based on a set of relationships with God and people.
The condition of each individual depends on where he is with respect with God. If he is far from God he soon will be living in Hell. If he is dwelling in the bosom of the Father with the Lord Jesus he soon will find himself in the Paradise of God.
ENTERING THE LAND OF PROMISE
The Book of Joshua is an illustration of what will occur at the end of the Church Age. The death of Moses and the installation of Joshua as leader illustrate the change of the Lord Jesus from Shepherd to Commander in Chief of the army of God. The two spies portray the dedicated disciples in the present hour who are pressing into the promises of God and returning to describe them to the remainder of the Church.
The Israelites crossing Jordan and attacking Jericho represent the saints of Christ entering their land of promise. The people of Jericho typify Satan and his demons who at this time are inhabiting the inheritance promised to the Lord’s elect. Rahab signifies the people of the world who will assist the saints of the last days, thus saving themselves and their loved ones.
How do we apply this great type? Precisely what do we mean when we say it is time for the Lord’s people to enter the land of milk and honey, the promised “rest of God”? How will this take place?
ENTERING THROUGH THE GATES
The Glory of the Lord will fill the earth in the ages to come. What we think of as Heaven will be found in Zion, in Jerusalem, in the holy mountain of the Lord. It is not enough to die and pass into the spirit realm. Our objective is to enter through the gates into the holy city of Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem will be all we mean by the term “Heaven.”
EPHESIANS TWO, VERSES EIGHT AND NINE
Ephesians 2:8,9 is a favorite passage of Christians. It often is presented as meaning that by making a statement of belief in Jesus Christ we have a ticket to Heaven, and how we behave can have no critical effect on our eternal destiny. While this interpretation may not always be stated as succinctly as we have presented it, in many instances it is the impression that is left.
We would like to examine the context of this “key” passage and see if there may be a more defensible interpretation.
ESCAPING THROUGH THE FLAMES
What does it mean to be saved yet so as by fire, to “escape through the flames”? Does this indicate we can lead a careless Christian life and go to Heaven anyway—perhaps with not as great an inheritance as that of a more diligent disciple? Or is there a different, more scriptural interpretation?
THE ETERNAL DIALOGUE
The Lord Jesus is ready today to enter a dialogue with every person who desires to be in such a close relationship with Him. This means Christ will be in all their thoughts. They will learn to abandon their impulsive ways and listen to what He is saying. We are in a new day!
God has determined to make an end of sin in His creation. Three aspects of sin must be considered: the guilt of sin, the power of sin, and the presence of sin. The guilt of sin was forgiven on the cross of Calvary for all who will receive. The power of sin is dealt with as the disciple cooperates with the Holy Spirit.
In the last days the Lord will appear without sin unto salvation, meaning He will remove the presence of sin from those who are looking for Him. But we must be sowing to the Spirit now if we are to be eligible and competent for the removal of the presence of sin when the Lord appears.
THE ETERNAL LAW OF GOD
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
Perhaps the greatest error in Christian thinking is that Christ’s grace brings us eternal life and fellowship with God apart from our obedience to the eternal moral law. It is a misunderstanding of the Apostle Paul of enormous significance. This error has wrecked the work of the Kingdom of God in the earth. Eternal life can exist only where there is obedience to the eternal law of God.
The eternal law of the Lord God of Heaven never changes. It has existed from eons past. It abides today and will endure throughout the eons yet to come. It never will change or pass away. An abridged, negative, covenantal form of the eternal law was given to Moses to pass on to Israel, and through Israel to all mankind. At that time its expression was hindered because of the limitations of our flesh. Now that we have been born again of Christ, and the Spirit of God is dwelling in us, we can begin to respond to the fullest implications of this holy law.
We understand to have eternal life is to live, move, and have our being in the Presence of God in spirit, in soul, and in body. We understand also that Christ Himself is eternal life.
The message of Easter is not that Christ’s Spirit was raised from the dead. The physical body of Jesus—His flesh and bones—walked out of the cave of Joseph of Arimathea. Christ arose physically. Christ came in the flesh and was raised from the dead in the flesh. This is the marvelous, incomparable hope of the Christian faith.
THE ETERNAL PURPOSE OF GOD
Before the heavens and the earth were created God saw in His mind the new heaven and earth, and the new Jerusalem. When God created the first heavens and earth and all of earth’s inhabitants, including man, God knew every event that must transpire before it would be possible for Him to bring forth the actual heaven and earth He had in mind, and a government that would bring righteousness, peace, and joy to the peoples He had created.
After all had been finished in timeless vision, God rested. Our sole business in life is to enter that rest, that finished work of the Lord God and His Christ.
Each human being is occupied with creating heaven and earth according to his own desires, fashioning himself and his destiny as he sees fit. But God invites us to enter His rest, that is, into the heaven and earth God has chosen. Also, God knows what our destinies to be. All God asks is that we cease from our own works and receive the heaven and earth, and the personality and role, He has chosen for us.
THE ETERNAL REMOVAL OF SIN
There are three aspects of the sin that distresses the human personality. The first aspect is guilt. The second aspect is inclination. The third aspect is the cause or actual residence or presence of sin that gives rise to the guilt and the inclination. The Divine plan of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ removes the guilt, the inclination, and the cause.
EVANGELIZING AND WITNESSING
The evangelist is a gift to the Body of Christ, but God makes witnesses over a period of time. Perhaps it will help us to consider the difference between being an evangelist and being a witness.
AN EXAMINATION OF CURRENT TEACHING
The foundational doctrines of the atoning blood and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, that were laid by the Apostles of the Lamb, have been established in the Christian churches. However, on this sure foundation a number of unscriptural beliefs have been added. The following brief essay sets forth several of these current beliefs and challenges them with the Word of God.
EXCEPT YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL EXCEED…
The purpose of the old covenant was that human beings live uprightly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. In many cases the Israelites did not mix faith with the Law of Moses. They strained over the letter of the Law and “swallowed camels” of unrighteousness by ignoring justice, mercy, and faith.
The purpose of the new covenant is that human beings live uprightly, love mercy, and walk humbly. In many cases Christians do not mix faith with the grace of God. They present the “four steps of salvation” as an escape from Hell and a ticket to Heaven and ignore the importance that God always places on justice, mercy, and faith, viewing righteous behavior as “works” that must not be added to God’s “grace.”
Divine grace is being presented as an alternative to righteous behavior instead of what it is in actuality—an alternative to the Law of Moses.
We are in a time of tremendous moral confusion because we Christians do not understand the new covenant.
THE EXERCISE OF FAITH
No term is more familiar to Christians than faith. Faith is discussed in association with Divine healing, financial need, and success in living the Christian life. It is important we understand the difference between mental faith and scriptural faith, and how to apply scriptural faith in our hour of need.
FACING THE CONSEQUENCES
There are two consequences of our behavior: our state of being and our environment. Christians are familiar with the consequences of our behavior in terms of environment—Paradise, Hell, the Lake of Fire, the outer darkness. Perhaps we are not as familiar with the consequences of our behavior in terms of a state of being, such as love, peace, respect, remorse, a disgusting appearance; and yet the consequences of our behavior as related to our state of being may prove to be more important than that of environment.
(from The Book of Hebrews)
Hebrews, Chapter Eleven, is a protracted definition of “the just shall live by faith.” When we read the chapter we see that the faith by which the righteous live is revealed in obedient behavior to God. It is not steadfast adherence to a belief in theological facts, as we of today define the watchword of the Protestant Reformation.
There are Bible teachers who claim we are saved by “faith alone.” This doctrine is neither scriptural nor constructive. Numerous Christian people have the impression that their behavior is not a critical part of their salvation. They have been deceived.
FAITH AND FRUIT
(from Kingdom Concepts)
The Scripture presents two separate viewpoints of righteousness. Paul stresses we are justified by our faith in Christ. James emphasizes we attain salvation and justification by means of righteous works. The believer who embraces the Lord, sharing each day in the death and triumphant resurrection of Christ, reveals in himself or herself both the faith and the righteous works that go together to form the true salvation God has given us in Christ our Lord.
Faith and godly behavior operate together in the new covenant concept of fruit—the fruit of the new creation. The God of Heaven requires the fruit of godly behavior as part of salvation by faith. The healthy, growing Christian will bear the fruit of Christ-likeness in his personality. If over a period of time there is no change in the personality, then something has gone wrong. Spiritual sickness is present. Spiritual death will occur unless steps are taken to correct the deficiencies.
FAITH AND WORKS
Christians often proclaim we are saved by faith and not by works. The doctrine of salvation by faith and not by works is largely taken from Paul’s exhortation to the Jews found in Chapters Three through Five of the Book of Romans. Paul uses Abraham and David to prove his point. It is possible that we do not understand what the Apostle Paul was teaching
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
The Lord’s debtors, His followers, are holding us responsible (as indeed we should be held) to say to them precisely what God is saying to them. Yet they will pressure us to relax the demands of God.
The minister of God who yields to this pressure, who attempts to gain security by seeking favor with the people, who misrepresents their debt to God, is worthless in the Kingdom of God.
FALLING BACK INTO SIN
The Book of Hebrews is a stern warning to experienced Christians against
the danger of falling back into sin. The goal of our salvation is that we may be changed into the moral image of Jesus Christ and arrive at untroubled rest in the Father through Christ. We are never to cease pressing forward in
Christ until we attain the goal, the rest of God.
THE FALSE AND THE TRUE
It appears we Christians in some instances are presenting a false program of salvation. We have borrowed verses here and there, taking them out of their context, and have concocted a “ticket to Heaven” that is valid even when there is no change in our behavior. Since change in our behavior is God’s purpose under all covenants, we are missing the mark.
A FATAL INTERPRETATION
The Apostle Paul endeavored to make clear to the Jews that they cannot be saved by obeying the Law of Moses but by putting their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul’s words have been corrupted to mean we are saved by our belief system apart from any effort to live righteously or serve the Lord. It is a spiritually fatal interpretation.
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
There were seven feasts of the Lord. Each of the seven feasts has a kingdom-wide fulfillment and each has a personal fulfillment in the life of the individual believer in Christ. The kingdom-wide fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles is the eternal reign of Christ. The personal fulfillment of Tabernacles is the coming of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit to make Their eternal home in the personality of the saint.
THE FEASTS OF THE LORD
(Study Guide available)
The Levitical feasts are one of the four major types of the Christian salvation. The Feasts of the Lord explains the plan of redemption, how we move with the Holy Spirit to the rest of God, to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, to the fullness of the salvation that is in Christ.
A FEW NAMES
When one considers some of the statements of the New Testament the conclusion can be drawn that there are only a few members of the royal priesthood—few compared with the number of people who regard themselves as Christians. It seems impossible that such should be the case; but if the New Testament is the inspired Word of God, and if every passage is backed up by the full weight of the Godhead, then today’s American Christianity is not what is meant by Christian discipleship.
FIFTY-TWO KINGDOM TOPICS
Here are fifty-two topics for Christian believers to consider. Most of the topics either enlarge on or disagree with traditional Christian teaching. We would suggest the reader go to the Bible to see if what we have presented is scriptural. Then check the traditional beliefs to see if they can be supported by whole passages of the New Testament kept in context.
FILLED WITH THE FULLNESS
Paul prayed for the saints in Ephesus that they might be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” The believers in Ephesus were saved, as we use the term, and had received God’s Spirit, as we use the expression.
There are multitudes of believers today who have been saved and have received God’s Spirit. Would we pray the same prayer for them that Paul prayed for the saints in Ephesus? Do we believe there is a fullness of God beyond that which we already have received?
Sometimes we hear that all our efforts to be righteous are as filthy rags in God’s sight. The result of this emphasis is that Christians often make little or no effort to live righteously, believing God is concerned only with their belief in Christ, not with their behavior. This misunderstanding of Isaiah, and of the Gospel of the Kingdom, has produced moral chaos in the churches.
THE FINAL JUDGMENTS
It seems, as we approach the return of Christ to the earth, passages of the Scriptures are being emphasized that we may not have noticed previously. Of all the wealth of understanding that is coming forth, there is one simple, practical idea to be gained. It is this: if we hope to be raised from the dead, ascend to meet Christ in the air, and then return with Him to participate in the work of installing the Kingdom of God on the earth, we must press into Christ with all our might during each day of the remainder of our life.
In fact, if we are to be able to stand in victory and assist other people when Divine judgment sweeps across America, we will have to be living in the Presence of Christ and interacting with Him at all times. No casual, lukewarm professor of Christ will be able serve God when the full darkness of the age of moral and physical horrors covers the United States.
THE FIRE OF GOD
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
It is apparent there is more involved in the second death than merely the wicked being cast into the Lake of Fire at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The wording of the Book of Revelation suggests the second death has authority over the believer until he or she, through Christ, gains victory over the works that God condemns. The second death has authority over all sinful behavior!
Our God is a consuming Fire. His fire comes upon us now and separates us from our sins. If we are not willing to be separated from our sins, we run the risk of having the Lake of Fire claim us for its own. The second death, the Lake of Fire, has Divine authority over fearfulness, unbelief, abominations, murder, fornication, sorcery, idolatry, and lying. Until we are free from these the second death has authority over us.
FIRST CORINTHIANS, FIFTEEN
The main vision of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is that of the resurrection to eternal life. Every person who has lived on the earth will be raised from the dead, some to eternal life and some to judgment and possibly shame and everlasting contempt—if not worse! It appears the hope of the bodily resurrection to eternal life, and the fear of meeting the consequences of ungodly behavior, have all but disappeared from Christian preaching and teaching.
THE FIRST AND SECOND RESURRECTIONS
The first resurrection is not the general resurrection of salvation. It is a special advance resurrection for the purpose of changing the occupants of the spiritual thrones that govern the earth from fallen angels to the Lord’s victorious saints. The first resurrection will take place when the Lord Jesus returns, at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Its mission is to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. The judgment of most people and their entrance into eternal life or eternal death will take place at the second resurrection.
FIRST THESSALONIANS 4:13-18
(from Kingdom Concepts)
There will take place a glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus from Heaven, a shout of battle from the armies of Heaven, the powerful cry of the chief angel, the trumpet of God, and the resurrection of the dead and living saints. This greatest of all events will take place immediately after the Great Tribulation.
Christ is coming from Heaven and we shall be caught up together with all the saints from all time to meet Him in the air. But we must prepare ourselves today because the Day of Christ will not come until there has been a worldwide revolt against all lawful authority and the Satan-filled man of sin is revealed.
THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THE BRIDE
The Christian Church is the Bride of the Lamb. The Bride of the Lamb is the Body of Christ, the Israel of God. Before the entire Bride has been made ready for her descent to the new earth as the new Jerusalem, a firstfruits of the Bride will make herself ready. It is the firstfruits of the Bride who will rise to meet the Lord in the air at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, often referred to as the Millennium.
FIVE KINDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
There are five kinds of righteousness. There are our own attempts to do religious works, our self-righteousness. There is the righteousness that ordinary people possess to a greater or lesser extent. There is the righteousness of Christ that is ascribed to the person who puts his faith in Jesus and lives according to the Spirit of God. Then there is the beginning Christian righteousness which is a joint venture of the adamic nature and the Spirit of God.
Finally there is the fifth form of righteousness. It is the righteous personality and behavior that are created in the Christian as he follows the Lord, counting his personality crucified with Christ and risen with Christ. Christ is formed in him and God and Christ make the new creation their eternal dwelling place. The fifth kind of righteousness is the Kingdom of God.
THE FLESH BECOMES THE LAW
The Jews center their worship around the Law, mainly around the Ten Commandments. We Christians center our worship around being forgiven and going to Heaven. This is because we do not understand the proper role of the law of God in the new covenant. It is time now for us to place the eternal law of God in the center of our service to God, just as the Jewish people do.
FOOD SACRIFICED TO IDOLS
The Lord Jesus rebuked the church in Pergamos because there were members of the assembly who held the teaching of Balaam, including eating food sacrificed to idols. Many people of today partake of “food sacrificed to idols.” Not all of these idols are commonly referred to as sin, but each of them often is a source of gratification for demons.
FOR YOU DIED!The Apostle Paul stated that once we accept Christ we are dead. He exhorted us to count ourselves as dead. He declared our body to be dead because of sin. Exactly what did Paul mean by saying these things? Why is it essential to our salvation that we regard ourselves as dead?
FOR WHAT ARE YOU PREPARING YOURSELF?
Two different lands of promise are being presented today. The first is Heaven. The second is the earth. One is not the scriptural land of promise, the other is. We must prepare ourselves to enter and possess the scriptural land of promise.
FOR ZION’S SAKE
Edited by Edward J. Reiter
A reflective study of concepts related to the Christian redemption.
FOUR ASPECTS OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Four aspects of the Kingdom of God need to be considered: the Feast of Tabernacles and its relationship to the Kingdom of God; the oneness of the Scriptures, of the Israel of God, and of the Kingdom of God; the nature of the new covenant; and the role of Israel among the nations of the saved. It is difficult to comprehend the Kingdom of God until these four areas are understood.
The booths of the Feast of Tabernacles speak of the dwelling of God in Christ in us and therefore of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the Presence and rule of God in us.
The Old and New Testaments constitute one Word of God to mankind, particularly to the Israel of God. The entire Scriptures speak of one God, one Spirit, one Christ; of loving mercy, of practicing righteousness, of walking humbly with God.
The new covenant includes the grace of forgiveness but has much more to do with righteous and holy conduct. The grace of God in Christ is not a ticket to Paradise. It is the power to change our deeds as our mind and heart are changed.
God’s Israel, the Olive Tree, the Seed of Abraham, is to serve as a royal priesthood over the nations of the saved peoples of the earth. The nations of the saved will walk forever in the light of the new Jerusalem.
FOUR ASPECTS OF OUR INHERITANCE
There are at least four aspects of our inheritance, of the Divine rest to which we have been called. The Book of Hebrews is one long warning to Christians to not come short of God’s rest, to not cease pressing forward toward the mark that has been set before us. If, after having received Jesus Christ as our Savior, we do not then continue joyfully in His Presence, living diligently as a disciple, we shall be judged as having neglected our great salvation.
FOUR ASPECTS OF THE REST OF GOD
There are four aspects of the rest of God, that is, of our land of promise. The first is untroubled rest in the center of God’s Person and will. The second is a character like the Character of the Lord Jesus Christ. The third is an immortal, sin-free body like that of the Lord Jesus. The fourth is the inheritance of all God has made new in Christ.
FOUR ASPECTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
(from The Stature of the Fullness of Christ)
Ours is a new day, a step forward in the Kingdom of God. A nation, the Body of Christ, is being born at once. Because the Body of Christ must be righteous as the Head is righteous, the Spirit of God is making clear to us why and how we must move from imputed righteousness to actual righteousness of behavior.
FOUR TYPES OF THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION
(from The Tabernacle of the Congregation)
There are four great types of the Divine plan of redemption. These four types are found in the Old Testament. They are the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the seven days of creation, the wilderness wandering of Israel, and the feasts of the Lord. Each of these four is divided into seven principal parts, and each part gives us insight into the program of salvation.
FOUR WARNINGS FROM THE JOSHUA ERA
We are passing from a Moses era to a Joshua era. Because the spiritual warfare will grow more intense we will be encountering severe challenges, testings, forms of deception. There are lessons we can learn from the Joshua Era, the time when God leads His people into their inheritance.
FROM ADAM TO CHRIST
The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan is a type of the Christian salvation and is treated as such by Paul, Jude, and the writer of the Book of Hebrews. The wilderness wandering was a curriculum designed to teach God’s people the ways of the Lord. The destination, the goal of the Israelites, was the land of milk and honey.
Just what is the destination, the goal of the Christian discipleship? The goal of the Christian discipleship is twofold, consisting of two aspects that work together to bring us fully into the rest of God. One aspect is the change of our personality from Adam to Christ. The second aspect is our complete, untroubled abiding in Christ in the Father.
To have the Character of Christ and to be always abiding in Christ are our destination, our goal.
There are three major influences that seek to prevent our attaining the goal, that strive to persuade us to not look stedfastly toward Jesus in every thing, every relationship, and every circumstance. The destructive influences are the spirit of the world, the lusts of our flesh and soul, and our ambition to seek our own glory.
FROM BETHEL TO EL-BETHEL
Bethel is the house of God. El-bethel is the God of the house of God. When we begin as a Christian we proceed to learn about Bethel, about the house of God. We learn the vocabulary, the values, the practices of the believers. Soon we become familiar and at home with our church and its family.
Then, according to our calling, I suppose, God decides we are to have a greater knowledge of Himself. We are to know the God of the house of God. This experience can be somewhat unsettling because much of what we had experienced previously may suffer change. It is a very personal intervention in our life. The result is a humbling of our personality and a greater knowledge of God.
FROM EGYPT TO CANAAN
The exodus of Israel from Egypt, the wandering in the wilderness of Sinai, and the entrance into Canaan constitute one of the greatest of the Old Testament types of the Christian salvation. Traditionally, Egypt is regarded as a type of the world, the wilderness wandering is viewed as a type of our life upon the earth, and Canaan is considered to be a type of Heaven. We believe these views to be incomplete and misleading.
FROM FORGIVENESS TO THE KINGDOM
We are turning a corner in Christian thinking. For two thousand years the Gospel has been presented as the means of gaining forgiveness of our sins, with a view to going to Heaven when we die. Now our eyes are being opened to what the Gospel really is about.
FROM IMPUTED TO ACTUAL RIGHTEOUSNESS
Christians are accustomed to viewing their salvation as somewhat of a legal state, in that while they do not always behave righteously, God ascribes righteousness to them on the basis of the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Yet we know at some point the imputed righteousness must turn into actual righteousness, or else the holy city will be holy in name only. It will not be an unblemished bride.
FROM JUSTIFICATION TO GLORIFICATION
(from The Mainspring)
The principal goal of the Christian redemption is to change into the image of the Lord Jesus those whom God has predestined and to glorify them together with Christ. Christ then will be the Firstborn of many brothers.
FROM LIFE TO DEATH TO LIFE
No one can receive anything of eternal Kingdom worth until he receives it twice. All we are and possess must die in Christ. All that dies in Christ that will bring us fullness of joy and is of Kingdom worth will be raised in Christ and restored to us. Then it is our possession forever.
FROM MOSES TO CHRIST
Precisely what is the relationship between the Law and statutes of Moses and the grace of God in Christ? Some of the Messianic (Christian) Jews are returning to parts or all of the Law of Moses. Are they correct in doing this?
We Gentiles maintain we are not under the Law but under grace. Do we understand what we mean by this? Has the Law truly been abolished?
FROM SURVIVAL TO ATTACKING THE ENEMY
The death of Moses marked a tremendous change in the lives of the Israelites. It signified the change from the struggle for survival to the struggle involved in driving the enemy from their land of promise.
So it is true today. For two thousand years the Christian Church has been struggling to survive spiritually. In our day a massive change is taking place. From this time forth our struggle will be that of driving the enemy from our land of promise.
FRUIT IS CHANGE
There can be and often is a great difference between membership in the Christian religion and personal salvation. The fundamental nature of salvation, of the Kingdom of God, of eternal life, is change in the human personality. The Bible refers to this personality change as “fruit.” Apart from the bearing of “fruit” there is no salvation, no Kingdom of God, regardless of membership in one of the forms of the Christian religion.
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
Perhaps the main thing to understand about the fruit of the Spirit is that it is the fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of the Christian. The nine aspects of the fruit of the Spirit are the very nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. They reflect the goodness of Divinity. They cannot be produced by our fallen nature.
However, we are exhorted by the Apostles to adopt this sort of personality and behavior as well as we can but in the meanwhile engage in the program of redemption until the bad is removed from us and the good is created. To the extent we think, speak, and act in the Spirit of God, to that extent we shall bear the fruit of the Spirit.
FULFILLING THE VISION
In the beginning God endowed man with the fullness of blessing—an inheritance truly worthy of the sons of the Mightiest of all kings and lords:
To be in the image of God.
To be male and female, that is, capable of entering union with God and with one another.
To be able to reproduce his own image.
To govern all the works of God’s hands.
God has given us a vision. He has shown us what He had completed in vision before the foundation of the world. The total restoration has been completed in God’s mind all the way to the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now God is resting. Our task is to follow the Lord Jesus into that rest, into that finished work.
FULL OF HIS GLORY
The Bible states that the whole earth is full of the Glory of the Lord. As the spiritual environment of the earth becomes increasingly dark it will be very difficult to believe the whole earth is full of God’s Glory. It will seem as though the whole earth is full of Satan’s foulness and death.
The Christian who perseveres in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will finally arrive at the place where his eyes are fixed on the Lord at all times. Then he will see and understand Christ always has been in control and the whole earth has been and will continue to be full of His Glory.
THE FULLNESS OF GOD
Seven feasts of the Lord are set forth in the Book of Leviticus. Each of these seven feasts has a kingdom-wide fulfillment and each has a personal fulfillment in the life of the believer. The personal, spiritual fulfillment of the first four feasts are preparatory works. The last three feasts must be fulfilled in us before we are prepared to meet the Lord when He appears and to rule with Him over the nations of the earth. The spiritual fulfillment of the last three feasts is the coming of the Kingdom of God to us.
THE FULLNESS OF SALVATION
Christ is entering the members of His Body in the present hour, preparing each of us for the fullness of God. He is casting out what does not belong in the eternal Temple of God, in the Wife of the Lamb. The entering of God into us will continue to increase until the fullness is revealed at the time of the appearing of Christ in the clouds of glory. We are growing together until the fullness has been attained to and received.
There are at least seven aspects of the Christian salvation:
- Salvation from guilt to forgiveness.
- Salvatiomn from spiritual death to spiritual life.
- Salvation from spiritual bondage to spiritual freedom.
- Salvation from disobedience to obedience.
- Salvation from Satan’s image to Christ’s image.
- Salvation from emptiness to fullness.
- Salvation from bodily corruption to bodily incorruption.
THE FUTURE SALVATION
We know there is no sin in Heaven or in the new world of righteousness that is to come. But at what point is sin removed? Does God have a specific plan for removing sin or does it just “happen”? If He does have a specific plan, when, where, and how will sin be removed from the Kingdom of God?
THE GAP OF LAWLESSNESS
Many—perhaps most—of the believers in Christ are living in the gap of lawlessness. They have been taught that the Law of Moses does not apply to them but they do not understand how to enter the law of the Spirit of life. They do not realize we have become dead to the Law of Moses in order that we may be married to Christ, not so we can live as we please. They are waiting to die and go to Heaven so they may be happy. The Kingdom principles of righteousness, peace, and joy are not known to them.
GET PEOPLE SAVED OR MAKE DISCIPLES?
There are millions of people in America who have believed in Jesus Christ and have been baptized in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus they may have been saved from destruction in the Day of Wrath. But they may not be disciples of the Lord Jesus.
GETTING “THERE” NOW!
The hope of many religions, including Christianity, is that some day we will get “there,” meaning Heaven. By the same token we hope not to go to the other place, Hell. But Christianity is totally different from other religions. We get “there” now, in the spiritual sense, and our final destination is a tangible, probably physical in a transcendent sense, city that will be located on a new earth.
THE GIANT AWAKENS
Today the Body of Christ is as a sleeping giant. According to the Scriptures, the giant will awaken in the last days. When the Lord Jesus returns He will be both in and with the giant, which is His Body, His Church. If we plan on appearing with Christ when He appears, our task now is to find and develop our place in the Body of Christ.
A GIANT STEP FORWARD
The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ has come to a new season. We, through faith, have been “shielded by God’s power” until the promised salvation should arrive. The promised salvation, the coming redemption, is deliverance from sin and reconciliation to God in our personality.
On the basis of the atonement made on the cross of Calvary we have been reconciled to God legally, as it were. Now it is time for the actual reconciliation of our spirit, soul, and body to the Lord in all that we think, say, and do.
Many passages of Scripture in the Old Testament and the New point toward the day when God will make an end of sin. The dawning of that day of redemption from the hand of the enemy is here now.
THE GIFT OF AN OPPORTUNITY
The Christian salvation is the gift of an opportunity. Eternal life is the gift of an opportunity. There are gifts that require no action on our part. Then there are gifts such as a piano that, if we are to obtain the value inherent in them, require a great deal of effort on our part. The salvation, the eternal life, the glory, the joy, the peace, the redemption in Christ are always an opportunity. It is what we do with this opportunity that determines whether or not we actually gain glory, joy, and eternal life.
God has given us the opportunity to attain to resurrection life, to gain a change of character, power, glory, eternal residence in the new Jerusalem, and an eternity of service and rulership in a new world of righteousness. Best of all we have the opportunity to become God’s son. How we respond to this opportunity, this “piano,” will determine our role in the Kingdom of God—the eternal Divine rule soon to come to the earth.
GIFTS AND MINISTRIES
It is time now to build up the members of the Body of Christ to maturity, as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ. According to the Scripture, the Body is built up by that which every part supplies. This being the case, we who are leaders must do all in our power to assist each believer in learning what his gifts and ministries are and how and when to use them.
GLORIFIED IN HIS SAINTS
The Christian churches of today are a mixture of righteousness and sin. They are not ready for the Lord Jesus to be glorified in them. Great persecution and tribulation are about to come upon the churches. The purpose of the suffering is to purify and unify the one Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem.
One of the principal goals of the Christian redemption is the raising of our body into eternal life. John 3:16 is referring to the restoration of that which was lost in the Garden of Eden, that is, eternal life in the body:… that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The Apostle Paul had set everything to one side in order to attain to the resurrection to eternal life.
THE GOAL OF THE CHURCH
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
The traditional understanding of the goal of the Church, of the Christian discipleship, is eternal residence in Paradise. But our goal is not to go to Heaven to live forever. Our goal is to learn to live in the Spirit that is from Heaven, from God, so when the Lord Jesus returns to earth we may return with Him in the fullness of the glory and power of Heaven. The goal of the Christian salvation is not a place. Our goal is the eternal Life that Christ Is. Our goal is to dwell in God, in the glory and joy of His Presence. Our final destination is the earth, for the Kingdom of God will be established on the earth.
GOD OR CATTLE?
(from Kingdom Instruction From the Book of Joshua)
Multitudes of the Lord’s people are satisfied with their spiritual development. They are ready to settle down and make a little nest in the world, enjoying what they think they have attained in Christ to this point. They do not seem to have in them the fierce gladness of the victorious saint, the joy of seeking the Lord and of pressing on to the fullness of the possession of God in Christ.
GOD HAS NEEDS AND DESIRES
God has needs. We are not thinking enough about this in America. Our sermons and books always seem to focus on what we are going to get from God or how we can use God in some manner. We are far too self-centered. We are seeking power or wisdom or money or healing. It is time we began to think about seeking God and finding out what it is that will please Him.
GOD IS BUILDING CHARACTER
Before He created the heavens and the earth, God established roles and tasks that are to be performed, places that are to be occupied, by the members of His Kingdom. As each of these members is born into the world, God sets about to create in him or her the traits of character necessary for the successful performance of his or her appointed role in the Kingdom.
The history of the world is composed largely of a struggle for power. Wars are fought because people desire to govern other people. Sometimes in a democracy the struggle is not as obvious, but it assuredly is present.
Only God, our Creator, is our rightful Sovereign. God has given to the Lord Jesus Christ all authority in Heaven and on earth. All resistance to the rule of Christ is vain and foolish. In due time God will put all of Christ’s enemies under His feet. Every knee, angelic and human, will bow and confess that Jesus is Lord.
GOD’S UNFOLDING PLAN
God never changes. The Scriptures teach and we Christians acknowledge that God never changes. But there is pressure on us to accept that the “God of the Old Testament” was different somehow from the “God of today.” The truth is, He was not different. The living God does not change. It is true also that God’s plan for man, including man’s obedience to the eternal moral law, his acquiring righteousness by faith, the Divine insistence on purity of heart, meekness, and a number of other conditions and relationships, has not changed from the time of Adam and Eve and never shall change.
GOD’S VENGEANCE ON EVIL SPIRITS
Now is the day when the last three feasts of the Lord, the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles, shall be fulfilled spiritually. The three observances speak of the coming of the King, Jesus, to declare war against His enemies; removal of all of His enemies from His people; and the coming of the Father and the Son to make their home in our personality. These are the three great works of redemption that follow the Pentecostal experience, to which we have become accustomed.
GOING TO THE FATHER
(from John, Chapter Seventeen)
There is an important difference between the goal of going to Heaven to live in a mansion, and working with the Holy Spirit as He prepares a place in Jesus for us and a place in us for Jesus and the Father. Our growth to spiritual maturity may be affected by which of the two goals we choose. The wrong goal and the wrong way will cause practical mistakes in the Christian life. A multitude of believers are holding their “ticket to heaven” while they continue to live in the flesh, instead of pressing forward each day to union with the Father through Christ, which is eternal life.
GOING TO HEAVEN
Heaven is not spoken of as the goal of salvation or the reward for righteous living in either the Old Testament or the New Testament. The concept of going to Heaven when we die is one of the most deeply ingrained of the traditions of Christianity. As far as we know, the phrase “going to Heaven” does not appear even one time in the New Testament. The Apostles of Christ preached the return of Christ in His Kingdom, not our going to Heaven.
We may have assumed that the early Apostles preached or implied the righteous are going to make Heaven their eternal home, but they did not do so. Such is our tradition and it needs to be examined, because the wrong goal leads to the wrong approach to the process of redemption.
GOLD TRIED IN THE FIRE: BOOKS ONE AND TWO
Here are a few reflections after a long pilgrimage as a Christian. Hopefully they will help the young reader grow in wisdom and discernment. It is good to seek the wisdom and understanding that come from the Holy Spirit. God always is glad to reward us with wisdom and provides us generously with that which we ask for.
GOOD, BUT NOT THE BEST
We Christians in America have a problem. Our culture offers so many opportunities that we are tempted to spend our time and strength on things that are good, but not the best.
The Scripture admonishes us to redeem the time because the days are evil. We are in the world but not of the world. From this point forward we are going to have to put seeking Christ as our first priority, even though this does not leave much time for our hobbies or entertainment.
THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
John the Baptist preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Lord Jesus Christ preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. The Apostles of the Lamb preached the Gospel of the Kingdom. What are we preaching today?
Today we are preaching the gospel of going to Heaven when we die. This is “another gospel.” We need to return to the biblical Gospel of the Kingdom.
We are defining “grace” incorrectly today. The result has been morally catastrophic. Hopefully the next few years will see a return to what the Apostles meant by “grace.”
GRACE; HEAVEN; CHANGE; THE KINGDOM
There is no doubt we Christians are entering a new era. We are not entering a new Bible or a new revelation. What the Spirit of God is revealing now has always been in the Book. We just could not perceive it—most of us.
To the present hour God has assigned righteousness to us when we put our faith in the Lord Jesus. Minimal emphasis may have been put on any actual change in our behavior. This no longer is the case.
THE “GRACE” MYSTIQUE
At some point during the Church Era, perhaps during the Protestant Reformation, the conclusion was reached that Divine “grace” is a sovereign action of God in which human beings upon making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ become acceptable to God regardless of any change in their personality or behavior. Sometimes the concept of predestination and foreknowledge was added until salvation was understood to be a Divine intervention that set apart the individual as one whom God unilaterally has made a part of His Kingdom. When the person dies he or she is assured of eternal residence in Heaven.
This definition, which appears to be the foundation of modern Christian teaching, is almost totally incorrect. It is unscriptural and destructive. There is no growth in the image of Christ, in the Kingdom of God, when all we have is a sovereign grace that operates independently of our behavior, independently of the transformation of our personality, independently of the fruit of the Spirit.
GRACE, AND THE NEW COVENANT
Christianity is founded on a Rock. The Rock is Christ, slain to make an atonement for our sins, risen to guarantee salvation for all who place their trust in Him. On this sure foundation has been built an assortment of errors and myths that have made Christianity a religion that bears little resemblance to the new covenant.
An age of moral horrors soon is to engulf the world. The assortment of myths and errors we term the Christian religion will be weighed in the balances and found wanting.
God is calling out of the churches (not out of the buildings but out of the errors) a holy, warlike remnant of saints. They will proceed to establish their lives according to the Scriptures. They will be more than conquerors throughout the age of moral horrors and will encourage and assist many who otherwise would be swept away into the darkness.
GRACE—REPLACES THE LAW OR REPLACES RIGHTEOUS BEHAVIOR?
Christian theology is built on a false premise. The false premise is that Divine grace replaces the need for righteous behavior. This is not what Paul taught. Paul taught that Divine grace replaces the Law of Moses. The misunderstanding of what grace is intended to replace has produced multitudes of believers who are babies in the ability to distinguish between good and evil, and in the willingness and strength to choose the good and reject the evil.
GRACE—WHAT IS IT?
Grace may be the most commonly employed term in Christian preaching and teaching, perhaps the word used most often by all Christian persuasions when describing the new covenant. It is our point of view that we are not defining the term correctly. We have, as Jude warned, turned the grace of God into a license for immorality. Our incorrect understanding of Divine grace has created moral chaos in the churches, and consequently in the secular society that, consciously or not, looks to the Christian churches for moral guidelines.
THE GREAT COMMISSION
The Great Commission instructs the Lord’s apostles to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to keep the Lord’s commandments. We have changed the commission to mean every believer is to go into all the world and tell people they do not have to keep the Lord’s commandments, just believe and they will go to Heaven when they die. This change in the meaning of the Great Commission is not insignificant. It has had a harmful effect on the Lord’s intention.
THE GREAT DESIGN
In the beginning God spoke four things concerning man:
- He is to be in the image of God.
- He is to be male and female.
- He is to be fruitful, filling the earth with the image of God.
- He is to govern all the works of God’s hands.
This is the great design. All the workings of God are moving toward these goals. The four aspects of man are in a primitive form as yet. They are to be greatly expanded and glorified.
THE GREATEST LIE EVER TOLD
The numerous passages of the Epistles that warn us concerning the consequences of sin are often preached to the unsaved, but none of them was written to unsaved people. Unsaved persons are already dead in their sins. It is the Christians who will lose their eternal life, who will slay their own resurrection, if they continue to live according to the lusts of their flesh.
But what do we hear from pulpit and pew? You shall not surely die!
GREATER THAN JOHN
The Lord Jesus declared that John the Baptist was the equal of any human being. This would include Moses and the Prophets. Yet, Jesus maintained, the least member of the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than John. What an extraordinary statement! Is the least Christian greater than Moses and the Prophets, or is there a deeper meaning here?
GROANING FOR THE ADOPTION
The Apostle Paul groaned inwardly, waiting for his adoption as a son of God. He was waiting and hoping for the redemption of his body. Why is such groaning and hoping not true of us today? What has gone astray in Christian teaching and preaching?
GUILT, AND THE SINFUL NATURE
It seems to me that we do not understand the new covenant. The main area of confusion appears to involve the difference between the removal of guilt and the overcoming of the sinful nature.
I have been a Christian for a number of years. Yet I cannot remember one sermon on salvation that did not stress forgiveness as the primary work of the new covenant. The truth is, the primary work of the new covenant is not that of forgiveness but the bringing forth of a new creation of righteous behavior. The new covenant is superior to the old because it includes the authority and power to accomplish moral transformation.
HAM AND EGGS
When a chicken gives an egg it is an act of dedication. When a hog gives ham it is an act of consecration. The Lord demands both consecration and dedication. The Lord wants both ham and eggs.
HE WILL NEVER DIE
The Lord Jesus told us whoever lives and believes in Him will never die. We understand He is not referring to physical death (which the New Testament often refers to as “sleep”). Somehow, it appears, the concept that the true saint will never die has been buried under the tradition of “going to Heaven.”
Perhaps there is more to the idea of continuing to live than that of going to Heaven to reside forever. Perhaps the emphasis is on continuing to live on the earth. Maybe this is the meaning of John 3:16!
THE HEAD AND BODY OF CHRIST
Christ, the Anointed Deliverer, consists of a Head and a Body. This does not mean the Lord Jesus Christ is merely one part of a many-membered deliverer. Jesus Christ remains Lord and Head of all that is included in the universe of God.
We capitalize “Body,” not to assign an exalted place to the members of the Body, but because the Body, although composed of human beings (having been made new creations through Christ), is to become an integral part of the Head and completely identified with Him throughout all eternity.
HEARING FROM GOD
It seems to me that the Lord is very close to us today. The Judge is standing at the door of our heart. How many believers are aware of His nearness? How many are checking in constantly, asking for assistance and His advice in every detail of life?
THE HEART OF THE CHRISTIAN ERROR
The heart of the Christian error is that we have developed a religious formula for salvation. We term the formula “accepting Christ,” or “making a decision for Christ.” The expressions “accept Christ” and “accepting Christ” and “make a decision for Christ” do not appear anywhere in the Scriptures. They should not be used because they convey an unscriptural idea.
We have made a religion out of what God intends to be a relationship with Himself and with other people. Several times in the New Testament we are exhorted to show ourselves worthy of Christ or of the Kingdom of God. We have substituted a religious formula in place of worthy behavior as the means whereby we please God and are saved into His Kingdom.
HEAVEN, OR THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
There is considerable confusion today concerning the difference between Heaven and the Kingdom of God. Also, some are maintaining that the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God are two different kingdoms.
It appears the idea of the place called “Heaven” as being the goal of salvation is not only unscriptural but has a negative influence on the growth of the Christian.
HELPING GOD OUT
When I went to Bible school I got the idea that God does not know what He is doing and we need to help Him out. The impression I gained was that God was waiting for us to go out and save the world. Every moment souls were sliding into Hell; and if we did not go forth and tell them about Christ they would be tormented forever. I was not comfortable with this concept and decided to do something about it.
THE HISTORICAL DISASTER
(from The Mainspring)
It appears the Catholic Church emphasizes its rites and the Protestant churches stress the grace of forgiveness. In neither case is a transformed moral personality shown to be the purpose of the Divine redemption. In many instances righteous behavior is held to be desirable but not the necessary outcome of the Christian salvation. We Christians have suffered and the world has suffered because of our lack of righteous, godly behavior.
HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD
(from The Tabernacle of the Congregation)
Every member of God’s elect is to be a saint, a holy one. What does it mean to be holy unto the Lord? It means to be separated to God for His special purposes. It means to be free from all unclean spirits and filled with the Presence of the Lord.
THE HOUSE FROM HEAVEN
We Christians are going to be clothed with our own works. We are going to reap what we sow. We are going to receive what we have done in the body. There may be no other Divine truth more needful of being proclaimed clearly in our day.
HOW THE NEW COVENANT OPERATES
Every Divine covenant from the time of Adam has had precisely the same goal—that people be in the image of God, that is, that they act justly and love mercy. Also, that they walk humbly with God.
The new covenant is no exception. However, the new covenant has been grievously misunderstood.
HOW ROMANS 8:2 WORKS
We love the righteousness expressed in the Law of Moses. But when the Law points out to us that we are sinning we try to do good, and then fail because of our sinful nature. Then we are filled with condemnation and cut off from fellowship with God. This is spiritual death.
The Law of Moses is well able to show us our sin but it is not accompanied by the power to deliver us from sin. This is how the Law of Moses differs from the new covenant.
HOW TO REACT TO SUFFERING
The Lord Jesus rebukes and disciplines every person He loves. The rebukes and the disciplines often cause us considerable suffering. How we react to this suffering determines whether we become bitter and vengeful or whether we take our place with Christ on the throne that governs all the works of God’s hands.
HOW WE ARE SET FREE
The law of sin and death is the interaction between the Law of Moses and the law of sin that operates in our sinful nature. The law of the Spirit of Life sets us free from the law of sin and death, the Apostle Paul informs us. But just how does it do this?
I CAN DO NOTHING OF MYSELF
The Book of Hebrews issues several warnings to the “holy brothers” to whom it is addressed. The believers being written to were Jewish Christians who had received Christ, been baptized in water, been filled with the Holy Spirit, and had been persecuted. You would think they had their ticket to Heaven. But the writer of Hebrew warns them sternly that they are neglecting to press into the rest of God.
I NEVER KNEW YOU
The church world that we know, particularly the Charismatic world, is going to be divided, I believe. There will be a despised remnant whom the majority of the churchgoers, as well as the secular population, will not understand. The majority will become the False Prophet mentioned in the Book of Revelation, the beast coming out of the earth. One of the characteristics of the despised remnant will be that they are seeking to meet the needs of God rather than the needs of man.
I WILL COME TO YOU
The purpose of the Christian Era is to construct the Body of Christ, to bring it to the standard of unity and maturity required for the indwelling of God and Christ.
God the Father dwells eternally in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is the “Zion” in which God finds perfect rest. Christ is the House of God. There is no other house of God.
In the House of God there are many places of abode, many rooms. The saints are being built into an eternal dwelling place for God. It is the Holy Spirit who is accomplishing this. The construction of the eternal dwelling place of God is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles.
The power of the Lord’s coming will be revealed in the heavens and also in the saints on the earth. The peoples of the earth will be able to behold not only the Glory of Christ in the heavens but also the transfiguration of the elect who are on the earth. As the nations witness this transfiguring glory they will believe God indeed has sent Christ, and loves the saints as He loves Christ (John 17:23).
IF YOU LOVE ME…
The only persons who will survive the dark days that are ahead are those who are abiding in Christ. In order to abide in Christ and Christ in us we have to keep His commandments.
Perhaps many Christians would agree with the fact that we must abide in Christ and we must keep His commandments. However, the spirit of Antichrist, the spirit of the Lawless One, has perverted Christian doctrine until numerous Christians no longer believe it is necessary to keep Christ’s commandments. “We are saved by grace,” we proclaim, and while we ought to try to keep Christ’s commandments we are saved by grace operating through our faith. We are fundamentally inconsistent.
Either we have to keep Christ’s commandments in order to abide in Him or else we do not have to keep Christ’s commandments in order to abide in Him. One position is correct and the other is incorrect.
The Christians are expecting to be “raptured” before Antichrist appears. The truth is, Antichrist, the Lawless One, has been with us from the first century. He already has brought his lawlessness into the Christian churches. We have become lawless because of false doctrine.
THE IMAGE OF CHRIST
Each member of the elect has been predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, who is the image of God. It is difficult to grasp how marvelous such a calling is.
The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is so exalted as to be incomprehensible to us. Although He always will be our Lord, we have been selected to be made in His inward and outward image to a greater extent than we may have realized.
THE IMPORTANCE OF FRUIT
Bearing fruit is so important in the Kingdom of God that the believer who does not bear fruit is cut from the Vine, removed from Christ. The reason bearing fruit is so critical has to do with God’s purpose in calling out the members of the Church from the ranks of mankind.
The purpose in calling the Israelites of the old covenant from among the other nations of the earth was that they might be the guardians of the moral law, the Ten Commandments. The purpose in calling Israel (the members of the Church) under the new covenant from among the ranks of mankind is that they may portray in themselves the eternal moral law of God. The fruit God is looking for is Christ in the saints. Christ is the eternal moral law of God made flesh.
IMPUTATION AND TRANSFORMATION
Jesus Christ kept the Law of Moses perfectly and then died to pay the penalty for our transgressions of the Law. Because of His atoning death God is willing to forgive the sins of any individual who asks for forgiveness in Jesus’ name.
Once our sins have been forgiven God is able to impute (ascribe; assign) righteousness to us even though our behavior has been and yet is abominable in God’s sight. Righteousness is behavior that is acceptable to God.
Imputed righteousness has been preached and taught throughout the world. Now it is time to emphasize transformation, the second great dimension of the Christian salvation. Transformation includes redemption from the hand of the enemy and also the growth of Christ in us until we are in His image and abiding in untroubled rest in the Father through Christ.
The Bible tells us that when the Lord returns, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. Perhaps our assumption is that everyone who terms himself or herself a Christian shall return with Him and be raised. I would like to question this assumption.
IN THE FIRE WITH THE LORD
All of life on earth is a prison. Often the Lord permits Satan to put us into an even more confining prison. If we do not learn to behave, men may put us in a literal prison.
When it is God who is directing that we be put in prison, and we are not suffering because of our own wickedness, it is that we may be delivered from those behaviors that bring Divine judgment and torment on us. If we remain faithful during our imprisonment we will be issued the crown of life.
INITIATIVE—GOD’S OR OURS?
In terms of the Kingdom of God, there are two “cities” that are of significance. The first city is Jerusalem. Jerusalem represents that which is brought about by God’s initiative. The second city is Babylon. Babylon represents that which is brought about by our initiative.
If I am not mistaken, most religious activity, including Christian religious activity, is brought about by our initiative, although we may apply the name of Jesus Christ to our efforts. This is Babylon, and it always will murder God’s saints, apostles, and prophets.
IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE
When Jesus spoke of the Father’s house He was referring to Himself. God the Father dwells in His fullness in Christ. Christ is the only true and eternal House of God. Christ is not bringing us to beautiful homes in Heaven, He is bringing us to rest in the Father. It is the same rest Jesus enjoys—God resting in Him and He in God.
IN THE YEAR THAT KING UZZIAH DIED
(from Kingdom Concepts)
King Uzziah went into the Temple of the Lord to burn incense to the Lord. Burning incense by someone—even a king—who was not of the descendants of Aaron was a grievous breach of Levitical law punishable by death. King Uzziah represents self-exaltation and self-will in the Christian.
It is impossible to behold the Lord’s glory when we are filled with self-love and are pursuing our own will and way. When self-exaltation and self-will die, then we shall see the Lord sitting on His throne—high and lifted up.
AN INEVITABLE ELECTION?
There are verses in the Bible that seem to say once we accept Christ we can never be lost. There are other verses in the same Bible that seem to say we can start off with Christ and then fall away to destruction. It is not uncommon for Christian people to select verses of which they approve and ignore verses of which they do not approve. Truth is not to be pursued in this manner.
(from Kingdom Concepts)
The inheritance of the people of Israel was Canaan, the land of promise. The Christian tradition is that Heaven is the land of promise of those who believe in Christ.
It is true there is a place in the spirit realm called Heaven. But the destiny, the goal of the Christian saint is God Himself. God is our inheritance, our home. The cry of our heart is to be at rest in the Father through Christ and then to be in a position to express Christ’s love to other people. This is the land of promise toward which we are struggling while we are in the wilderness of the world. This is home. This is the inheritance.
A second aspect of the inheritance, the land of promise, “Canaan,” the goal of Christ and His coheirs, consists of the nations of the earth and the earth itself. What is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is Christ doing God’s will in the earth. The Kingdom of God is the rule of Christ with and through the saints over all persons and things in the heavens and on the earth.
THE INNER AND OUTER KINGDOM OF GOD
The Kingdom of God always is an inner kingdom. The outer form of the Kingdom is a manifestation and effect of the Person and rule of God in Christ, established in the personalities of the individuals making up the Kingdom.
The coming of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of glory will be a revelation, a manifestation of a marvelous creation that already is in the earth but not visible as yet.
THE INNER RESURRECTION
(from Kingdom Concepts)
God already has raised Christ from the dead. That resurrection is the foundation of the Christian redemption. But it is the resurrection of Christ in our heart that is to be the focus of our attention. Our resurrection is Christ. We are part of His resurrection. He is alive in us. His resurrection from the dead is magnified in us. This is the aspect of His resurrection that Christ desires. He is seeking to reveal His life in us. The world will behold the risen Christ in us.
IRON, FIRE, AND STERN OBEDIENCE
Iron righteousness, fiery holiness, stern obedience to the Father—these are the three aspects of character required of all who would be part of the royal priesthood. As we long for these attributes of character they become a passion in us. We seek a strong, iron righteousness of behavior. We embrace ever more intense fires of holiness. We delight to do God’s will, His law having been engraved in our heart.
IS THE CHRISTIAN SALVATION CONDITIONAL?
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
How many Christian believers are living careless lives, are not forsaking the world, not laying down their life, not taking up their cross, not following Jesus with their whole heart and mind, because there has been implanted in them the idea that no matter what they do they will go to Paradise when they die? There is a multitude of such misinformed believers. Through their sin and disobedience the Christians are destroying their own resurrection.
The blame lies at the door of those who, in spite of the many statements of the New Testament to the contrary, teach that salvation is unconditional with respect to the behavior of the individual.
The truth is, each Christian is permitted to remain in Christ on the condition he bear the fruit of righteous conduct. If he does not bear the fruit of Christ-likeness, God will remove him from the Vine, from Christ. Our salvation indeed is conditional. Each of us will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ so his behavior in the world may be revealed and evaluated. We will be saved if we put our trust in the Lord Jesus, looking continually to Him, enduring faithfully throughout the many tribulations and testings that come upon us during our pilgrimage.
ISAIAH, CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR
God works in special ways with people who have a special destiny. Their times are in God’s hands. The higher the calling in the Kingdom, the more severe are the Divine dealings.
ISAIAH, CHAPTER SIXTY
In many passages of the Old Testament, and some of the New, we can observe the two great populations of the coming new world of righteousness. One of the two populations is Israel, the Divine elect, the Church. The other population comprises the nations of saved people.
ISAIAH, CHAPTER SIXTY-ONE
God’s intention is to make His people “oaks of righteousness.” When this has been accomplished, His royal priesthood shall represent Him throughout the earth. Righteousness and praise yet shall spring up in the sight of all nations.
In the last days the saints, because of the working of Christ in and with them, will overcome Satan. Satan then will be cast down from the heavens to the earth. Finally, Satan will be bound by one angel and hurled into the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:2).
We are to be God’s conquerors, His Israel, His sons.
God will not give His glory to another. We who carry the Glory of the Lord must die and be raised again in Christ. It must be Christ who is living and not us. If we are not willing to die, Christ cannot live. Only Christ is the Conqueror. If we would conquer with God we must die so the only true Conqueror can overthrow the adversary.
ISRAEL—SPIRIT AND FLESH
There are three misconceptions and one true Scriptural concept of the relationship between the Christian Church and the “Israel” spoken of by the Hebrew Prophets. Let us stand fast in the true Scriptural concept.
The coming of the Kingdom of God is hindered when we accept any division between the Christian Church and the people and land of Israel. Let us destroy the middle wall of partition that Satan and human self-seeking have established. Let us recognize the unity of Jerusalem, of the Church of the Firstborn, of Zion.
When the full number of Gentiles have been grafted into Christ, into the one Olive Tree of God, God will turn once more to physical Israel, pouring out His Spirit on the Jews and bringing them into the one Body of Christ, the one Olive Tree. All Israel, all those who are of Christ by promise, will come to perfection together in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
ISRAEL IS THE CHURCH
Israel is the Christian Church. The Christian Church is Israel. The Christian Church does not replace Israel, it is Israel and always has been Israel. The New Testament writings reveal clearly that there is only one Israel, only one Church, only one elect whether Jew or Gentile by birth. It is impossible to cut a straight course in the Word of truth until we grasp the concept that there is only one Israel of God.
IT’S IN THE PAST
The highest place in God is that in which, through Christ, God’s thinking, speaking, and acting are our thinking, speaking, and acting. This is the oneness with the Father that Jesus eternally enjoys and that can pass through Him to us. But what does it cost to enter such rest in God and God in us?
IT IS TIME FOR A REFORMATION OF CHRISTIAN THINKING
We are in an hour of spiritual lukewarmness. It is time for a reformation of Christian thinking and behavior. The bulk of today’s Christian teaching and preaching is taken from our traditions, not from the Word of God.
Such doctrines as salvation by belief alone, the pre-tribulation “rapture,” the existence of a “Gentile Church,” the continual emphasis on the goodness of God to the exclusion of the severity of God, the various “positive-thinking” positions, cannot be found in the Scriptures.
There are a number of major misunderstandings in Christian thinking. For example, we have been taught that righteousness and eternal life are perpetually assigned to us solely upon our acknowledgment of theological facts concerning Christ, that our behavior in the appetites of the flesh is unrelated to eternal life. Christian preachers and teachers because of their overemphasis on grace are destroying man’s normal association of righteous behavior with God’s favor. Can we be surprised, therefore, when there is little strength of righteousness in the Christian churches?
Practice follows doctrine. The people are being destroyed because a wrong vision is being presented. The Christian redemption does not consist principally of the forgiveness of men but of their transformation into new creatures in Christ. The role of forgiveness is to authorize us to commence the program of redemption, and then to keep our conscience clear before God while the Holy Spirit is purifying and changing us.
IT IS TIME TO MOVE FORWARD
We have known Christ as the Good Shepherd. Now we are to become acquainted with Christ as the Lord, strong and mighty in battle. The Good Shepherd will always be with us as will the blessings of the Twenty-third Psalm. But the Spirit of God is pointing us toward the Warrior-King of the Twenty-fourth Psalm. Let us without delay open the everlasting doors of our heart to the Lord.
There is both a spiritual and a physical aspect of Jerusalem. Each aspect is being brought to a place of readiness for rulership in the future. The establishing and perfecting of the spiritual aspect is being conducted in the personalities of God’s elect—Jews and Gentiles made one in Christ. The gathering of Jews from many nations to Israel is the beginning of the physical restoration of Jerusalem. In the days ahead the two aspects, the spiritual and the physical, will converge and the result will be the true Church on earth without spot or wrinkle, a holy Jerusalem that will govern the nations of the earth in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
JESUS—THE TICKET OR THE WAY?
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
Is the Lord Jesus a ticket to Heaven or the Way to the Father? We would suggest in our day salvation is being regarded as an experience that an individual has at some point in time, a ticket he can get so he will be admitted to Heaven when he dies. But salvation ought to be regarded rather as a way of life—the way of faith by which the righteous live.
There are several verses found in the New Testament that are employed as major premises. From these premises the conclusion is drawn that the Christian salvation is a ticket to Heaven. This article takes a look at two of these verses.
Several passages of the Scriptures speak of the coming of the army of the Lord, an invincible army with the Lord Jesus Christ at the head. The army of the Lord will occupy the thrones in the air that govern the spiritual environment of the world. The army will be filled with the Holy Spirit and by the power of Christ will drive Satan and all his works from the face of the earth. Then nature will break forth into singing and the trees of the field will clap their hands with joy.
The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John explains the root of the Gospel; about being born again; about the resurrection to eternal life. To eat the flesh of Christ and drink the blood of Christ is to become one with Him who is the Resurrection and the Life. These are real food and real drink.
JOHN, CHAPTER SEVENTEEN
The more Christ grows in us the more we become aware the goal of our Christian discipleship is to become one in Christ in the Father. The true goal makes clear to us that godly behavior is a necessary part of salvation. The goal of salvation is not as much to get people into Heaven as it is to get the Life and ways of God into people.
JOHN, CHAPTER SEVENTEEN, DEVOTIONAL
This booklet has much the same content as John, Chapter Seventeen but abbreviated and arranged as a set of thirty daily readings.
In God’s Presence is fullness of joy. Joy is the eternal goal. All of God’s working in us and through us is to bring us to joy. The joy of the Lord is our strength and our destiny.
God has made the Lord Jesus the Center of joy. Those who choose to receive and obey Him will dwell for eternity in the fullness of joy. Those who will not receive and obey Him will never experience joy.
THE JUDAIC-CHRISTIAN SALVATION
Judaism and Christianity, at least from the Lord’s standpoint, are not two different religions. It is true that men have made a religion of Judaism and other men have made a religion of Christianity. But neither Judaism nor Christianity are religions. Both of them constitute one progressive revelation of the Lord to mankind. Neither one came about as man sought God. Both of them originated as aspects of one Divine revelation.
The unfortunate cleavage between Judaism and Christianity has occurred because of human frailty. Christianity actually is nothing more nor less than the unfolding of true Judaism, that is, of the revelation given to Moses and the Prophets.
The purpose of the Judaic-Christian salvation is to solve the original problem of disobedience to God.
JUDGING THE LIVING AND THE DEAD
To a certain extent, at least, the family of God in Heaven and on the earth is one. What is happening to us on earth appears to be happening to the elect in the spirit realm. We all are growing together. We of today are learning and growing from what we read in the Bible of God’s dealings with the saints of former times. It appears likely that they, surrounding us as a great cloud of witnesses, are learning and growing from what they are seeing of God’s dealings with us.
JUDGMENT BEGINS WITH THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD
There is a difference between Divine judgment and Divine wrath. Divine wrath destroys. Divine judgment brings us to repentance. God leads every saint through much tribulation and suffering. Such suffering is a judgment on the works of Satan in us, a separating of the good from the evil in our
personality. Judgment begins with the household of God. It begins with the saints. It begins with those who are closest to the Lord. The Divine judgment is not a bad thing. It is a good thing, a blessing, a working of the grace of God in our life.
JUDGMENT, REDEMPTION, AND THE FIRST RESURRECTION
There will be two principal resurrections from the dead. The first resurrection will take place at the beginning of the thousand-year period commonly known as the Millennium. It is a resurrection out from among the dead, a resurrection of a firstfruits to the Lord. It is the resurrection of the royal priesthood. The members of the royal priesthood will be given back their bodies when Jesus appears so they may rule on the earth with Him throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
The second resurrection will take place at the end of the thousand-year period. The second resurrection is the resurrection in which people either are saved or lost. It is at the second resurrection, the general resurrection of the dead, that the dead are brought from many areas of waiting in order that they may appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ and be judged according to their works.
JUDGMENT AND REWARDS
The resurrection, the awakening of the physical body, is not eternal life. All persons will be resurrected. It is the recompense, the experience that follows the resurrection, that may prove to be eternal life. The awakening itself is neither eternal life nor condemnation. The issue is what we have done, what we have practiced. If we, having received the Lord Jesus, live a godly life, we will be raised to eternal life. If we practice evil we will be raised to wrath and punishment. In the Kingdom of God, judgment and rewards are directly related to what we have done in the body.
THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
Of the many errors in current Christian theology, one of the gravest, the most displeasing to the Lord, may be the doctrine that no Christian will be punished at the Judgment Seat of Christ. How upsetting and frustrating it must be to God to see His Word being mutilated in this manner! How grievous an error it is that leaves multitudes of believers unprepared for what they will be facing in the Day of the Lord!
Because of this error concerning the Judgment Seat, the fear of the Lord has been removed from the believers. The truth is, appearing before the Judgment Seat of Christ will prove to be a terrifying experience for all except those believers who are totally consecrated and obedient to God (and a sobering experience even for them, although they have gained some degree of boldness).
The Spirit of God intends that the terror of the Judgment Seat be one of the motivations that cause the believers to serve Christ with diligence.
THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST IS IN SESSION
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
The sufferings of the Christian, if he is following the Lord as he should, are God’s judgments on his life: not a judgment of condemnation and wrath but a judgment of discipline to salvation. We are saved by the judgment of discipline. Apart from Divine judgment we remain sinful, self-centered, and otherwise spiritually immature and subject to the authority of the Lake of Fire.
The Judgment Seat of Christ has begun with the judgment of the house of God. The nearer we are to God the stricter and more immediate is our judgment. Jerusalem always receives double for her sins (Isaiah 40:2). After the accounts of the righteous have been settled, Christ will turn His attention to the disobedient.
The Judgment Seat of Christ is in session. The first to be tried are God’s saints. Therefore when we suffer, let us hold steady in the Lord. When we are tested we, through Christ’s own Presence and Virtue, will come forth as refined gold. Then we shall have no fear. Then we shall have perfect love. Then we shall have boldness in the Day of Judgment.
THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH
The meaning of “the just shall live by faith” has been misunderstood since the time of the Protestant Reformers. As a result, the testimony of the Church has been weakened. Agreement with doctrinal statements has been emphasized at the expense of righteous behavior. True faith is an active relationship with God that governs at all times what we are and what we do. Faith is not merely a belief in theological facts. The grace of God that brings salvation always produces righteous behavior.
JUSTICE FOR THE NATIONS
The nations of the earth have suffered from injustice throughout the history of the world. Numerous people of today own millions of dollars. Other multitudes, including children, are starving to death. Whatever excuses we may wish to offer, the real reason for the disparity is sin.
If the Father in Heaven knows of the sparrow that falls to the ground, how must He feel about the child starving to death from protein deficiency or living in a rat-infested slum? Educated Christian people know of the existing horrors of injustice. Now it is time for us to awaken to the plan of God that will bring justice to the nations, and also to the role we are to play.
KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS!
Satan has managed to stop Christians from keeping the commandments of Jesus Christ. When Christians do not keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles the new covenant ceases to operate.
How has Satan managed to accomplish such wickedness in the churches? By planting a false concept of salvation in the minds of the pastors and teachers.
The erroneous idea that Christians are not obligated to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles may date from first-century Gnosticism and account for the exhortations found in the Book of First John.
KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD
(from Kingdom Concepts)
There is coming upon all the world an hour of testing. The hour of testing will examine those who dwell on the earth. If we would be kept from the destructive elements that accompany the hour of testing we must patiently guard Christ’s Word, being diligent to observe, through His Presence and power, that which His Word commands. We must keep the Word of Christ with the same diligence with which we trust Christ will keep us. Through Christ’s unceasing watchfulness we shall be enabled to escape being harmed spiritually by all of the things that are coming to pass on the earth. We shall not lose our soul but shall believe to the saving of our soul.
The “hour of temptation” of Revelation 3:10 is not referring to the wrath of God that is to be poured on the earth, the judgment and vengeance on sin and rebellion. Rather, it is speaking of a severe and prolonged testing of the condition of the hearts of people as they are exposed to an exceedingly seductive, enticing environment, perhaps accompanied by a vicious persecution of Christians.
KEPT FROM TEMPTATION
There is coming to the earth an “hour of temptation.” I often refer to this period as “the age of moral horrors.”
There is much talk today in Christian circles about the “great tribulation.” This is because God’s people do not want to suffer, of course. But the danger to the Christian is not that of suffering. We are made perfect through suffering. The danger is temptation.
Satan does not have enough power to separate a saint from God. Christ retains all power. Satan works through temptation, through deception. He brings about our downfall by seducing us away from God.
An abundance of temptation is the danger of the age we are entering.
KILLING THE WITNESS
We find in the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation that the Christian witness is attacked, overcome, and killed. While the saints will be driven from the cities of the earth by force, the actual overcoming of the witness will be by enticement to sin. The world will become so filled with wickedness that many of those who had borne the remarkable anointing of the last days will be tempted and fall. The love of the majority will grow cold.
The problem of the last days will not be tribulation and persecution, although these will abound. The deadly danger will be the prevalence of sin.
KINDS OF LOVE
I suppose love is one of the most common words in the English language, and it certainly is employed on several occasions in the New Testament. When one begins to analyze what the term means, as well as how the word is used today, it soon becomes clear that there are many kinds of love, ranging from God’s love for us and our love for God all the way down to the lowest forms of lust and perversion.
The end of our striving to serve Christ is the formation of Christ in us. Christ in us is the mystery of the Gospel. The result of bringing forth Christ within the human being is a new personality, a unique expression of God. This new creation is the Kingdom of God.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing the creation of God. The Kingdom of God is the eternal union of the Life of God with all that is found worthy in the material realm. The Person and Life of God provide the government, the life, the righteousness, the holiness, the love, the joy, the peace, the significance, the wonder, the glory of the Kingdom. The people, creatures, and things of earth provide the substance and visible form of the Kingdom.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
We have come to the point in the work of restoration where the Spirit is ready to give us the understanding of the difference between the place called “Heaven,” and the Kingdom of God. It makes a difference in the manner in which we live as a Christian whether we view salvation as a plan to admit us to eternal residence in Heaven when we die, or whether we view salvation as a program of daily entrance into the Kingdom of God.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND
The Lord Jesus is coming soon. We know. The thousand-year Kingdom Age, the Millennium, will be a reality on the earth in the near future.
Most believers in the Lord Jesus Christ may understand this is true. What we may not understand is the kind of events that take place when God moves from one creative day to the next; what we can expect to happen during the period in which we are living.
Whenever we pass from one “day” of God’s working to the next there is a season of preparation. The Spirit of God broods on circumstances that are chaotic in terms of what God envisions as being His eternal purpose in Christ. There is a period of unsettledness and sometimes tribulation and persecution.
There also is the appearance of two witnesses. The witnesses proclaim the new day at hand.
It is the purpose of Christ in the Church to bring the rule of God into the personality of every saved person on the earth. This is the work of the Kingdom—the bringing about of the doing of God’s will in the earth as it now is performed in Heaven.
THE KINGDOM FROM HEAVEN
The Kingdom that is at hand, the Kingdom we await with such great joy, is the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom from Heaven. It is the Kingdom of God because God is the supreme Ruler of it. It is the Kingdom of Heaven because Heaven is the throne of God, although one day the throne of God will come to rest on the new earth in the new Jerusalem.
KINGDOM INSTRUCTION FROM THE BOOK OF JOSHUA
God has a plan for today. He is preparing an army that will invade and conquer the earth. Moses (many traditional aspects of Christianity) is dead. Now God will speak to Joshua. God performed one aspect of Kingdom work through Moses and a different aspect of Kingdom work through Joshua. The Lord Jesus has been as Moses and now is coming to His Church as Joshua.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE LORD
(from The Feasts of the Lord)
When we are considering reconciliation to God there are three issues that must be dealt with thoroughly: our choice of environment, our personality, and our knowledge of the Lord. Of these three aspects it is the gaining of the knowledge of the Lord that is the unique purpose of life on the earth.
THE KINGDOM IS WITHIN US
The Lord Jesus informed us that the Kingdom of God is within us. Several of the parables, such as the parable of the sower, tell us the Kingdom grows within us. Jesus taught that we are to abide in Him and He in us, speaking of the inner realm of the Kingdom of God.
We know from the Scriptures that Christ is an Individual who will return and install with violence His rule in the earth. Yet His relationship to His Church, which is the kingdom destined to govern God’s creation, appears from the New Testament, to be much more of an inner experience than is commonly understood.
KNOWING THE FATHER
The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth that He might reconcile us to God. Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No person can come to the Father except through Him. No one knows the Father except the Lord Jesus, and that person to whom Jesus will reveal Him.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL
The knowledge of good and evil is an indication of our growth in Christ, or should we say the growth of Christ in us. Satan offered such wisdom to Adam and Eve before they were prepared to deal with it. The result was spiritual and eventually physical death—separation from God.
God certainly intends for us to learn the difference between good and evil, for apart from such knowledge we cannot fulfill our destiny as God’s judges, rulers and priests. It is time now for the members of the Body of Christ to follow the Holy Spirit as He enables us to distinguish between good and evil, and to embrace the good and renounce the evil.
THE LAND OF PROMISE
Exactly what is the Christian land of promise? What is the ultimate victory of the Christian battle? Toward what are we moving? Is the Christian promised land Heaven? Paradise? The new Jerusalem? The resurrection from the dead? Christ Himself? The land of promise of the Hebrews was described specifically in several passages of the Old Testament writings. The land of promise of the Christians also has been set forth in the Scriptures, but it is far more comprehensive and marvelous than was true of the Old Testament land of promise.
The redemption that is in Christ has a specific beginning, a specific working out in our life, and a specific conclusion—a goal, a “mark” toward which we are to press. All of the goal is summed up in Christ.
We now are approaching the age of Laodicea. We are in the closing days of the rule of man. People have become lovers of themselves and are increasingly concerned with their “rights.” Humanism is the religion of the hour. Laodicea speaks of the Lampstand of God, the Christian Church, corrupted by man-centeredness. The Laodicean “gospel” does not look to the coming world of righteousness but concentrates on making the present world safe and comfortable for Christians.
THE LAST THREE WORKS OF REDEMPTION
The sixth chapter of the Book of Hebrews lists some basic steps of redemption, and then exhorts us to press on to perfection. Although these are presented as basic steps, it appears the Christian churches have not as yet advanced to the last two, nor to the culminating act of redemption. The culminating work of redemption, which is termed perfection, or the rest of God, is the thesis of the Book of Hebrews.
THE LAW OF MOSES
I am not certain we Christians understand clearly what the Law of Moses has to do with our salvation. In one sense the Law has no authority over us. In another sense, the Law hovers in the background of our behavior. It may be true that we are not aware of our relationship to the Law.
THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE
The law of sin and death consists of our sinful nature interacting with the Law of Moses such that we live in condemnation continually. There is another law, as Paul told the Jewish believers, that sets us free from the law of sin and death. Paul terms that law the law of the Spirit of life.
Precisely what is the law of the Spirit of life, and how does it set us free from the law of sin and death?
LAYING DOWN OUR CROWN
Surrounding the Throne of God in Heaven there are twenty-four thrones. On them are seated God’s elders. Who they are we do not know. Whether or not the number twenty-four is symbolic or literal we do not know. But we do know the elders portray by their actions that which should be true of every Christian.
LAYING HOLD ON ETERNAL LIFE
In the beginning man because of his sin lost access to the tree of life. God warned Adam he would die if he disobeyed God. Adam disobeyed and Adam died. His descendants have been dead ever since. Into this graveyard has stepped Christ. Christ has brought life to whoever will receive it. In Him is life and the life is the light of men.
What is the nature of the life Jesus brings to us? How does Divine Life affect us now? How will Divine Life affect us in the future? Is eternal life an experience we have when we receive the Lord Jesus, and our ticket to Heaven, or is it a daily transformation of our personality? In this booklet we will attempt to give some answers to these questions.
LEAH AND RACHEL
Leah and Rachel, the wives of Jacob, symbolize two aspects of redemption that are necessary if we would inherit the Kingdom of God. Leah, the lesser beauty, represents the rigors of discipleship, the part of salvation that is painful to us. Rachel portrays what we desire of God and of life—the part of our Divine calling and inheritance that brings joy to us.
We endure Leah, the cross, because of the joy of Rachel set before us. Leah gives us the spiritual strength necessary for rulership in the Kingdom while Rachel brings the compassion of heart that reveals the Presence of God to the nations. Together the two bear much fruit.
LEARNING OBEDIENCE THROUGH SUFFERING
Life on earth is a time of testing. It is a probationary period. What is the purpose of the troubles we experience continuously in the world? These pains and dreads discipline us; they teach us obedience to the Father; they drive out of us the love of the world. Obedience! We learn obedience to God through the things we suffer. As was true of the Apostle Paul, when we are faithful in our prisons and sufferings other people are blessed.
We Christians suffer many tribulations and pains throughout our discipleship. It is a comfort to know when we are serving the Lord diligently our troubles are not chance occurrences or pointless harassments but the disciplining hand of the Lord.
LEAVING SIN BEHIND
A Study Guide Series: Book One
Five essays on the victorious Christian life by Robert B. Thompson, Compiled and Edited by Edward J. Reiter.
LED BY THE SPIRIT
At one time Jesus Christ lived on the earth as a Man. He taught us concerning the Kingdom of God. Now He has returned to the Father. The Lord Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to enable us to become His Body, His Bride, and to enter the Kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit is with us and in us and performs all the will of God in the Church.
LESSONS ON THE ROAD TO TRUE DISCIPLESHIP
A Study Guide Series: Book Two
Five essays on the victorious Christian life by Robert B. Thompson, Compiled and Edited by Edward J. Reiter.
LIFE AND IMMORTALITY
There is a difference between eternal life and immortality. Immortality refers to endless life in the body. Eternal life speaks of a quality of life lived in the Presence of God. Life lived in the Presence of God always results in noticeable changes in the kind of person we are, in the manner in which we live.
The Lord Jesus is the Light of the world. We also are to be the light of the world. What does this mean? It means we are to be righteous in character and action. In order to be the light of the world we must understand the difference between right and wrong, embrace the right, and renounce the wrong.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
The Apostle Paul says each believer will be ministered to until he or she attains to the unity of the faith, to the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ. Thus the perfect Head will receive a perfected Body.
There is a picture in the New Testament of the perfect Head and Body. It is the holy city, the new Jerusalem.
LISTENING TO JESUS
The pressures of our environment are increasing today. At the same time the Lord is close to us. The Judge is standing at the door. The Lord Jesus is waiting for each of us to look to Him for wisdom and strength to successfully cope with each aspect of our daily life.
Are you listening to Jesus?
LIVING AND BELIEVING IN CHRIST
One of the great misunderstandings in Christian thinking is that of viewing belief in Christ as a one-time event, a sort of ticket that ensures our entrance into Heaven when we die. The New Testament does not show this to be the case. Believing in Christ is a way of life—a way that leads to the fullness of resurrection.
LIVING BY HIS BODY AND BLOOD
The new covenant is the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We gain the first resurrection, the resurrection from the dead, as we learn to live by the body and blood of Christ. Living by the body and blood of Christ means we bring every decision, great and small, to Christ. When His will conflicts with our desires we deny ourselves and choose to do His will as He gives us wisdom and strength. We take up our cross and follow Him each day.
Perfect obedience to Christ in all things is the only path to eternal life and immortality in the body. When we are totally obedient to Him He nourishes us with His body and blood. In doing so we prepare ourselves for the resurrection that will take place at His appearing.
LIVING IN THE FULLNESS OF THE SPIRIT
There are only two ways a person can live. One is in the adamic nature. The other is in the Holy Spirit. Each thought we think, each word we speak, each deed we perform, is from either the adamic nature or the Spirit of God.
It is God’s will that every saved person think, speak, and act in the Holy Spirit. We of the Church are a firstfruits of what one day will be true of every person on earth—on the present earth and also on the new earth.
We Christians find that each day we are challenged to turn away from our fallen nature and choose to behave in the Spirit of God.
LIVING IN THE GLORY
God has called us to be part of Himself through the Lord Jesus Christ. I wonder if we understand the scope of this calling. It seems to me the Divine calling goes far beyond our customary concept of salvation. God has said it; so let us reach up past our level of what we believe is possible and lay hold on the fullness of God.
LIVING BY THE LIFE OF CHRIST
The ultimate goal of the believer is to live by the life of Christ. We are to look to Jesus for every decision we make throughout the day and night. Then we are to be perfectly obedient in all He shows us to do. Our unrelenting obedience finally expands into a complete blending of His Life and our Life. This is the rest of God.
THE LIVING WORD
There is the written Word of God, and then there is the living Word of God. Each has a role to play in our salvation.
THE LORD IS THERE
At some point in the early history of the Christian Church the Gospel of the Kingdom was changed to the Gospel of going to Heaven. The original proclamation of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth was altered to the going of the Church to Heaven.
There is no passage of the Scriptures in support of the idea that God intends to bring His Church to Heaven to dwell there for eternity. The final resting place of the Christian Church is the new earth.
There is a reason for this!
THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS
When the meaning of the expression “the Lord our righteousness” becomes clear to us, then we understand the Divine salvation. Until we grasp this concept, Judaism and Christianity are religions consisting of various doctrines. The true salvation of the Lord is marriage, a union of God and the saint. The believer dies to the Law of Moses in order that he may be married to Christ. Marriage to Christ is the strictest bondage and the most glorious freedom available to mankind.
LOVE, FAITH, AND OBEDIENCE
I am afraid the way love is preached in Christian circles is working against our willingness to keep God’s commandments. In addition, there may be some confusion concerning faith. True love and true faith come from God alone. Our part is to be obedient—and we need help with that also.
THE LOVE OF MONEY
(from John, Chapter Seventeen)
There is no way to escape crucifixion in this world. Those who enter willingly into the cross of Christ are lifted up in His omnipotent resurrection. Those who choose the way of the riches of the world, trusting that their money will give them the power to escape the tribulations of life, destroy their relationship with their Creator. Christ has warned us plainly: no man can serve both God and money.
It is our point of view that fundamental Christian theology is in need of a reformation. While there are several errors being preached today, the common denominator appears to be the concept that the Christian redemption consists primarily of forgiveness, with the objective being eternal residence in the spirit Paradise (Heaven). As venerable as the grace-Heaven teaching may be it simply cannot be supported by the Hebrew-Christian Scriptures. Furthermore, the doctrine of “justification by faith alone” has destroyed the moral strength of the Christian churches.
The Great Commission exhorts the Lord’s apostles to make disciples of all nations, to teach them to keep the commandments of the Lord Jesus. Are we doing this?
Are we making disciples today or have we created a religion and are making proselytes to our theology? There is a world of difference between the average member of the Christian religion and a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The disciple learns the teachings of Christ and His Apostles from his instructor in the Lord. As he does so he puts them into practice. One day he or she too will be able to disciple other new believers.
There is a great deal to be learned today as God is opening the seals of His holy Word. Who among us is willing to learn from Jesus Christ, putting into practice His righteous ways, that he in turn may then disciple others?
MAKING THE GLORY OUR OWN
The basic story of life is that of the prodigal son. It is the story of mankind, of Samson, of Israel, of the Christian Church, of each one of us.
We are given something wonderful, but because of the ease with which it was received we can’t appreciate it. In one way or another we have to make it our own if we are to keep it.
To have and to hold something, especially for eternity, we have to receive it twice.
MAKING TREES OF LIFE
The Christian fight is against spiritual death. We are in a never-ending (in this world) struggle against the spiritual death that is in our personality and our environment. The overcomer is given the right to eat of the Tree of Life, of Jesus Christ.
It is God’s will that we attain to the first resurrection from the dead, that is, to the fullness of eternal life in our inward nature and—at the coming of the Lord—in our body as well.
But there is a destiny beyond this. It is that we dwell for eternity in the midst of the Holy Fire and thus serve as a tree of life for God’s children.
THE MANIFESTATION OF CHRIST
The Lord Jesus will come both in and with His saints. In the spiritual sense, Jesus is here now. He is building His Church. His second coming will be as that of a person returning from afar, but also will be a bodily manifestation of what already is here.
MANSIONS IN HEAVEN?
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
The original “blessed hope” of the Christian Church was the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth to set up His Kingdom. This is the teaching of the Hebrew Prophets and also of the writers of the New Testament. But today we are looking for the Lord Jesus to come and carry His Church up to Heaven so the believers can live forever in mansions in the spirit realm.
The hope of going to an eternal mansion in Heaven is not based on the Scriptures. In fact, this belief actually leads away from the redemptive purposes of God. It contributes to the spiritual babyhood we see all about us. It is true rather that God is building an eternal dwelling place for Himself, of which Christ is the chief Cornerstone and we are living stones. The concept of the eternal House of God has support in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
It is we who are the places in which God in Christ may find His eternal rest. It is we who are the mansions. God in Christ in the saints compose the Kingdom that will be established for eternity upon the earth.
THE MANUAL AND THE GARDEN
There are two distinct realms of the Gospel. One is of far greater importance than the other. For two thousand years the Christian churches have been occupied primarily with the realm of lesser importance.
The first, and less important realm, concerns doctrine and statements of faith.
The second realm involves the formation and dwelling of Christ in us.
It appears from the Prophets that there is to come a period when Christ suddenly will be brought to maturity in the Church. We may be entering this period now.
The Book of Revelation has much to say about Antichrist, and mentions a mark that the False Prophet will force everyone to receive. The mark is on the individual’s right hand or on his forehead. The mark is “the name of the Beast or the number of his name.”
THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB
There are four stages of the marriage of the Lamb: the formation stage, the reconciliation stage, the union stage, and the manifestation stage. The marriage supper of the Lamb, which will take place at the return of Christ to the earth, will be the manifestation of the marriage of the Lamb, a marriage that was accomplished previously. It is the previous operations that are essential.
MATTHEW, CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR
The Lord Jesus said deception would abound in the last days. Our opinion is that the current vision of the coming of the Lord is not scriptural. Perhaps we should take another look at one of the important discussions of our blessed hope.
THE MESSAGE OF THE TWO WITNESSES
The eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation does not present the message preached by the two witnesses. Rather, works of judgment are emphasized in the eleventh chapter because the witness is preparing the way for the soon coming of the resurrection of the dead and the Day of Judgment.
Divine works of judgment are a necessary aspect of the last-day testimony because of the resistance of the nations to the Gospel of the Kingdom, and also because works of judgment portray accurately the attitude of God toward the earth and are a forerunner of what is to be expected when the Day of the Lord arrives.
We believe the actual message the two witnesses will proclaim is announced in Isaiah, Chapter 40.
In addition to their warning to the nations the two witnesses will speak comfortably to a wounded, distraught “Jerusalem.” Complete spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical healing is the “children’s bread.”
THE GIFTS AND MINISTRIES OF THE BODY OF CHRIST
(from Christ In You)
Since it is time for the Body of Christ to come to maturity, and since the Body of Christ can come to maturity only by that which every member contributes, it is apparent that the various leaders and believers of the local churches must begin to assist the members of the assembly in finding and operating their various gifts and callings.
MINISTRY BY THE SPIRIT RATHER THAN BY ORGANIZATIONAL ASSIGNMENT
There are organizational problems in the Body of Christ, the Christian Church. The crux of the problem is the issue of the man versus Christ as the head of the Body of Christ. This has been a weakness throughout Church history. We have inherited two thousand years of human-directed church government.
A weight of tradition perpetuates the present system. We must in our generation make the transition from ministry by organizational assignment to ministry by the Spirit of God. We must make it possible for the Spirit to direct the churches.
A MISSING ELEMENT
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 impetus 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 MODEL OF SALVATION
The negative dimension of salvation—to be rescued from wrath (mark 16:16)
(I Thessalonians 1:10). The positive dimension of salvation—the positive dimension for the church (revelation 21:2)
MORE THAN CONQUERORS
(from Kingdom Concepts)
We know from the Scriptures that it is impossible for Satan to harm the saint who keeps his eyes fastened on Christ. In order to overcome us, Satan must deceive us and gain our cooperation in our own destruction. This is precisely what the Scriptures warn us he will do.
There are at least four great contemporary lies that have overcome multitudes of the saints. These four errors have nearly destroyed the power of the saints in our own day.
Not only shall we be preserved throughout the days to come, if we follow the Lord carefully, but we also shall serve, as did Joseph, as deliverers and protectors of God’s elect, of all who seek the Lord, and perhaps of some of the nations of the earth as well. It is our belief that the lives and ministries of Elijah and Elisha typify the power of deliverance that will be given to the elect in the last days.
The remnant of the churches, the people who do know their God, will not be removed from the earth. Through Christ they will overcome and will emerge more than conquerors.
THE MORTAL BODY
The redemption of the mortal body, which is equivalent to being clothed with eternal life when we are raised from the dead, should be the focus of Christian preaching. “Should not perish but have everlasting life,” is the promise of John 3:16. This promise refers to bodily immortality. It is the restoration of that which was lost in the garden of Eden.
Probably due to the philosophy of Gnosticism, the hope of the redemption of the body has been replaced by the concept of passing into the spirit Paradise to live forever in a mansion. It is time now for a reformation of Christian thinking in this area of salvation.
THE MOUNTAINS OF BASHAN
Bashan symbolizes that which is exalted in the flesh, that which God’s people will conquer as they make their way toward the rest of God. The elect have labored for many centuries in the bondage of spiritual ambition. God will bring His chosen people from the bondage of sin and self-will and establish them on Mount Zion, the place of their true inheritance.
Salvation and eternal life are found only on Mount Zion. The mountains of Bashan, of human endeavor, strive in vain to give life. Eternal life comes only from the Father through the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Receiving Christ does not solve the problem of self-will. We are not converted from self-will until we have allowed the Lord to remove self from the throne and assume His rightful place as King of our personality.
MOVING TOWARD THE GOAL OF SALVATION
A Study Guide Series: Book Three
Five essays on the victorious Christian life by Robert B. Thompson, Compiled and Edited by Edward J. Reiter.
MUSINGS, BOOKS ONE THROUGH FIVE
These short articles are thoughts that have occurred to me through the years. Perhaps they will be of help to younger Christians who are making their way through the wilderness of the present world.
MY REWARD IS WITH ME
When the Lord returns He will bring our rewards with Him. He will give to every person according to what he or she has done. What a time of rejoicing this will be for those who have placed all of their treasures in Heaven! But what a time of anguish and despair for those who have disobeyed Christ by clutching to themselves the things of the present world!
THE MYSTERY OF THE GOSPEL
We Christians celebrate the idea that Christ is with us. Christmas and Easter are observances having to do with the greatest of all moments of world history. Emmanuel! God with us! The restoring of Eden’s loss has commenced.
But the fact that God is with us, unbelievably glorious as it is, pales beside the greater glory. The mystery of the Gospel is not Christ with us but Christ in us.
God has given to Jesus God’s own Name, the Name in which all of God’s purposes are fulfilled. When we pray in Jesus’ name it is more than a case of our expressing our identification with Him or of validating our right to pray. There is all authority and power in the Name itself. When the Name is pronounced the entire spirit realm comes to attention.
Be careful when you use the name of Jesus and be sure you are not employing it in vain. It is heavenly dynamite!
THE NATURE OF ETERNAL LIFE
What is eternal life? How is it different from physical life? We know the Holy Spirit is eternal Life; so is the Lord Jesus Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is the Nature of Jesus Christ. Living in the Spirit produces the characteristics of Jesus Christ in our personality.
THE NATURE OF SIN
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
The new covenant is not primarily a waiving of the consequences of sin. It is, rather, the God-given opportunity to climb out of the pit, to release ourselves, through God’s grace, from the chains of darkness.
God has commanded us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Putting our material needs first, and the Kingdom of God second, is sin. Through the Lord Jesus Christ we can make the seeking of the Kingdom of God and His righteousness the highest priority of our life. We can resist the lusts of our flesh. We can be delivered from self-centeredness and enter untroubled union with God.
There are three principles that govern eternal life: living by faith in God rather than by faith in what we can see and do; behaving according to the laws of righteousness and holiness; and abiding in oneness with Christ, not as a separate individual. To violate these principles is to sin.
THE NECESSARY ORIENTATION
God has stated that the Christian has died on the cross with Christ, has risen from the dead with Christ, and has ascended to the right hand of God with Christ. It is absolutely necessary the believer grasp and maintain this orientation to his own personality and to the life he is living if he would gain deliverance from sin, and if he would inherit the Kingdom of God.
THE NECESSITY FOR OVERCOMING
The discrepancy between the Lord’s vision of a perfect Church, and the actual condition of the seven churches of Asia, is astonishing. How shall we move from Laodicea to her who is without spot or wrinkle? How do we get from here to there? Or perhaps the true Church is found within the churches of today?
Do the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation infer that if we do not “overcome” we will not receive the rewards to the overcomer, the rewards we ordinarily associate with being a Christian? If such is the case, what does it mean to overcome? And what if we do not overcome? Shall we be given to eat of the tree of life in any case?
THE NEGATIVE AND THE POSITIVE
There are two major parts of our redemption. The first is the forgiveness of sin and removal of the sinful nature. The second is the forming of Christ in us. Both of these parts are essential if a repeat of the original catastrophe is to be avoided.
A NEGLECTED CLAUSE
The so-called “rapture” of the believers is preached regularly in numerous Christian churches. One would think the catching up of the Christians was a major topic of the New Testament. It assuredly is not.
The teaching of the “rapture” is drawn from a passage in First Thessalonians that was written by the Apostle Paul to comfort saints whose fellow believers had died. However, there is a clause in this passage that often is neglected.
THE NEW COVENANT
The Law of Moses is the old covenant. The salvation that is in Christ is the new covenant. It appears what we are calling salvation today is different in some respects from what the Bible terms the “new covenant.”
THE NEW CREATION
What matters in the Christian salvation is the new creation. The new creation is Christ formed in us. This is the Kingdom of God. This is the end product of all of God’s working. All of the gifts and ministries given by the Holy Spirit are to travail until Christ comes forth in our personality.
THE NEW CREATION AND THE RESURRECTION
The Kingdom of God is an inner rule of God. God dwells only in Christ. Christ dwells only in the new creation that has come into being from His body and blood. Christ abides in the new man of the heart, not in the adamic nature. The new creation is the Kingdom of God, the Temple of God. The new creation is the resurrection from the dead The person in whom the new creation has been established will worship and serve God to the ages of ages, a world without end.
THE NEW JERUSALEM
The new Jerusalem is the center of government of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Kingdom of God. There is an “old Jerusalem” on earth today symbolized by Hagar, the slave of Abraham and Sarah. But the new Jerusalem is above us in the spirit realm.
The new Jerusalem will not appear for mankind to behold until the end of the thousand-year period, at which time there will be a new sky and a new earth. Then the holy city, the Wife of the Lamb, the Kingdom of Heaven, will descend from God out of Heaven and be established forever on the new earth.
When we Christians speak of going to Heaven we mean going to the new Jerusalem. Paradise, the tree of life, the River of Life, the Throne of God and of the Lamb—all are within the gates of the holy city. The new Jerusalem is the mother of every true saint of God.
THE NEW WORLD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
A new sky and a new earth are on the way. No doubt the new sky and the new earth will be much more beautiful than we possibly could imagine. But the beauty of the environment is not the best part of the new world to come; the most desirable feature, the essential aspect, is that all the people will be righteous.
NINE OPERATIONS OF REDEMPTION
To be totally redeemed is to be totally reclaimed from the power of Satan. There are at least nine operations included in the Divine program of total redemption.
THE NINETY-FIRST PSALM
I believe difficult times are coming to the United States of America. Because of this we need to know what the Bible promises concerning protection from trouble.
Some Christians are looking to faith to head off disaster. Others are trusting in an imminent rapture. There also are other traditions, such as God loves American Christians too much to let them suffer.
None of these traditions is founded in the Scripture but in deception or human reasoning. There are, however, Bible promises we can look to to keep us from panicking in the hour of disaster.
NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, BUT NO WEST
When discussing the Temple of God, the Prophet Ezekiel mentions the north, the south, the east, but not the west. Why is this?
NOT RETREAT BUT RESTORATION!
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
The belief that eternal residence in Heaven is the goal of salvation is widely held in Christianity. However, such is not the emphasis of the Scriptures. It is our tradition and it has had an unfavorable influence on the spiritual maturity of the believers.
The entire Scriptures, Old Testament and New Testament, are one revelation of Christ and His Kingdom. They are one whole. They speak of restoration. They proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. They tell of the restoring to mankind of the Presence of God and the beauty of Paradise—of all that was lost in the beginning. This is the meaning of the term redemption.
NOT UNDER THE LAW BUT UNDER GRACE
The idea we are not under law but under grace is being interpreted to mean righteous behavior, while it is desirable or shows we love Jesus, is not an essential aspect of our salvation. We are saved by grace (forgiveness and mercy) alone, it is maintained, and not by righteous behavior.
What is the relationship of the Law of Moses to the redemption that is in Christ? The answer to this question is important to the dedicated Christian. Whenever a question arises concerning a commandment of the Old Testament, our standard response as believers often is, we are not under the Law of Moses but under grace. One wonders if we understand what we are saying.
We cannot mean the Torah, the Law, has been abolished, for the new covenant is the writing of the spiritual intent of the Torah on our mind and heart. This hardly is an abolishing of the Torah in the sense of doing away with the moral laws of God!
Paul’s argument against the Law of Moses has been understood by Gentiles to be an argument against righteous and holy behavior. It is as though we are saved apart from righteous and holy behavior when in fact righteous and holy behavior are salvation and proof of the Kingdom of God in our life. It is an enormous and deadly misunderstanding!
Of the gallery of virtues which are to characterize the sons of God, obedience to God may be the most important. Love, faith, courage, patience, compassion, hope, are all necessary if we are to grow into the kind of man that God desires. But it may be true that obedience to God is the foundation on which all else is constructed.
OBEDIENCE TO GOD
There are faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love. But greater than love is obedience, if the love does not include obedience.
The greatest commandment is to love God with all our heart and strength. But implicit in that love is obedience. Genuine love for God works out in strict obedience to God. Apart from obedience to the Father there is no love for God and there is no Kingdom of God.
THE OLD PATHS
When one reads the Bible, particularly the New Testament, he gains the feeling what we call the Christian life or the Christian salvation is different from what the Scriptures describe. After thinking about this difference for some years I have come to the conclusion that we have created a plan of salvation that is not scriptural. I think the root of the problem is a misunderstanding of what the Apostle Paul meant by “grace.” I think also that the philosophy of Dispensationalism, with its emphasis on a special “dispensation of grace” uniquely different from what is found in the Old Testament, has made a major contribution to the unscriptural beliefs and practices we see today.
OLD THOUGHTS FOR THE NEW DAY
Many of the church routines we have known are now vestigial. From the present hour forward fundamental changes will occur—sometimes being forced on us by circumstances. However, no fundamental Christian doctrine will be altered in any manner. The foundation of the blood, the Spirit, and the resurrection has been permanently established.
The painful travail of our forefathers has brought us to the present momentous hour. Many traditions have accumulated that are unscriptural and will vanish from the thinking of succeeding generations. The base camps were constructed by the faithful efforts of those who have gone before. Now the summit is in sight.
We have the authority through the blood of the cross. We have the wisdom and power through the Holy Spirit. Now the task has been set before us. It is time to take the Kingdom.
THE OLIVE TREE
If we would understand the one Israel of God, the one Kingdom of God, the one Christ, the one hope of redemption, we must have a clear understanding of the one Olive Tree. The Olive Tree is neither of the Jews by race nor of the Gentiles by race even though it is in a Jewish context. The Olive Tree is the Spirit of Christ.
ONCE TO DIE
The Apostle Paul was pressing toward the resurrection from the dead. We think this is the “first resurrection” set forth in the twentieth chapter of the Book of Revelation. We believe also that the first resurrection is very much to be preferred over the general resurrection of the dead and that there is a key to its attainment.
ONE NEW MAN
The Christian Church and the people and the land of Israel are on a converging course. They will become one when Christ is crowned King on the throne of David in Jerusalem. The people of Israel are not to become Gentiles; rather, the Christians are to become members of Israel, not by naturalization procedures but in the Spirit of God.
Christianity is not a religion separate from Judaism. In the Lord Jesus Christ, eternal life and substance are given to the forms and hopes of Israel.
There is one salvation, not two. There is not a Jewish salvation and a Gentile salvation, a Jewish kingdom and a Gentile kingdom, a Jewish bride and a Gentile bride, a Jewish church and a Gentile church. The Divine salvation is in the Lord Jesus Christ and in those who have been made an eternal part of Him.
The true salvation is one progressive revelation of God. There indeed has been a change of covenant. However, both the old covenant and the new covenant were made with the one elect—God’s Israel, whether Jewish or Gentile by physical birth. The old covenant was written on stone and the new covenant is written on the heart. The two covenants require righteousness, holiness, and obedience on the part of Israel and on the part of all who would partake of the salvation of the Lord.
ONE WITH GOD
The supreme end of God’s working is a company of people who are one with Himself through Jesus Christ. There is nothing higher than this vision, no greater goal. God’s motive is love, just pure, Divine love. God is enlarging Himself.
The Lord Jesus Christ is one with God to such an extent it has confused theologians. We are to become part of this perfect Oneness, perhaps confusing theologians still further.
THE ORCHESTRA AND THE AUDIENCE
The Body of Christ is the orchestra. The world is the audience. Today we speak of a pastor and congregation. A congregation is an audience. This concept defeats the Lord’s intention concerning His Body. The Lord wants every member of His Body to be active, as the Holy Spirit leads, not just part of an audience.
The Body of Christ is as an orchestra. If we expect to remain in the Body of Christ we must learn to “play” the instrument the Holy Spirit gives us.
ORIENTATION TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD
(from Kingdom Concepts)
The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, of the Kingdom of God, is the coming of the rule of Heaven into the earth. The Kingdom of God is Christ: Christ with us, Christ being formed in us, Christ dwelling in us, Christ central in all things in the heavens and on the earth (Ephesians 1:10).
Wherever Christ is, or any saint in whom Christ is Lord, there is the Kingdom of God. There is the rule of God. There is the power and wisdom of God to release the world into righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
THE ORIGINAL SIN
(from The Mainspring)
We may be trusting in the blood of the Lamb. We may be cooperating with the Holy Spirit as He creates the Divine testimony in us. But the most important and the most difficult aspect of the salvation of the sons of God is the losing of our independence of thought and action in order that we may become one with God and His will.
The original sin always is disobedience, not murder, adultery, or covetousness, but disobedience. This is why both Christ and Abraham, and then every member of the governing priesthood, must be tested rigorously in the area of stern obedience to the Father.
Only the Divinely appointed suffering can burn out of us our instinctive rebellion and self-love. Only the flames of tribulation, the suffering found not in Paradise but in this present world, can destroy self-centeredness from us.
God wants us to realize insisting upon our own will, our own
independence of thought and action, is sufficient to change us from a child of God filled with Divine Light and Life into a horrible monster of darkness and depravity.
OUR ETERNAL HOME
I suppose the idea that the spirit Heaven is our eternal home, and the object of our salvation, is one of the most deeply rooted of all Christian beliefs. Yet there is no Bible passage that supports this view. Until we return to the Scriptures and find out what our goal actually is, we will understand neither the plan of salvation nor the Kingdom of God.
OUR GOAL IS TO BE SAVED
We are in the midst of a reformation of Christian thinking, a reformation as needed, as sweeping, as unsettling as the change from the Law of Moses to faith in Jesus Christ; as the change from penance and indulgences to the abolition of these in favor of the concept that we cannot earn God’s favor by abusing our flesh.
In Paul’s day the problem was an emphasis on obedience to the statutes of Moses instead of obedience to the new covenant. In the days of the Protestant Reformers the problem was the payment of indulgences and the performance of penance instead of a full acceptance of the atonement. Today the problem is that of viewing salvation as a ticket to Heaven instead of a lifelong struggle to pass from the chains of sin to untroubled rest in the Father through Jesus Christ.
OUR INHERITANCE IS CONDITIONAL
Christians have an inheritance. Their inheritance is the new Jerusalem and all else of the new creation of God. However, inheriting the “all things” of God depends on our overcoming the evil that comes against us.
OUR RESPONSE TO GOD’S GIFT
There are verses in the New Testament that inform us salvation is a gift, there is nothing whatever we can do to earn it. There are other verses that tell us if we do not behave in a certain manner we will be cast into the outer darkness, or we will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
How do we reconcile this seeming contradiction?
It is a fact that God’s salvation always has been a gift which the recipients did not earn by their efforts. This was true of God’s dealings with Abraham. This was true of God’s election of the nation of Israel and of the giving of the Law to Moses. It is true of grace under the new covenant.
But in every case those who received or who now are receiving the gifts of God must respond in the manner God prescribes, whether in the written Word or in a personal word to them. Although the gift is unearned, if the prescribed response is not made accurately and diligently, the Divine gift does not profit the person or persons to whom it is presented.
OUT OF THE WORLD OR OUT OF THE EVIL?
(from John, Chapter Seventeen)
The common understanding of the work of salvation is that we shall be removed from this world of pain and fear and brought to a different world (Heaven) where there is no pain or fear. The scriptural description of the work of salvation is that we are being removed from the person and power of Satan and brought into the Person and power of God in Christ.
There is an important difference between these two concepts. Our understanding of what we are being saved from as well as the destination we are moving toward directly affects the manner in which we apply ourselves to our discipleship.
THE OVERALL CONCEPT
We of Mount Zion no longer are a congregation. We are members of the great Body of Christ, with members in Heaven and on the earth. As such we are the faculties of Christ.
THE OVERCOMER IS THE TRUE CHRISTIAN
God is calling out from the churches a holy nation, a royal priesthood. Those who respond are the true Christians. Those who do not pursue the Christian discipleship with enough vigor to gain victory over the world, Satan, the lusts of the flesh, and self-love will not receive many of the blessings we associate with being part of the Church. The victorious saints, those being transformed into the image of God in relationships, in service, and in holiness, are the true Christians, the true royal priesthood.
OVERCOMING THE SAINTS
It requires both joy and suffering to make a Christian disciple in God’s image and perfectly obedient to Him. The fiery trials that come upon the saints result in their perfection as the firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb.
The Scriptures teach that many of God’s people will be overcome in the last days. They will fall by deception—the result of maintaining their sin and self-will.
PARADISE OR ETERNAL LIFE?
Who wouldn’t want to go to Paradise? The memory of the Garden of Eden is still in the human consciousness and we long to return to the wonderful environment where all is love, joy, peace, and beauty.
However, the emphasis of the New Testament is not on the return of man to Paradise (which we call Heaven) but on the gaining of eternal life. Our goal is not a change of location but a transformation of personality. There may be no greater need in Christian thinking than for clarification concerning the goal of salvation.
PARADISE AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD
A dramatic change has occurred in the preaching of the Gospel. What began in the first century as a call to repentance in light of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth has been altered to a flight of the believers to Heaven.
This alteration has serious consequences. The most serious consequence is that most of what Paul commanded has become irrelevant. Paul taught that we had to be changed so we could be part of the Kingdom of God, that those who sin cannot inherit the Kingdom.
The Christians of today do not understand the difference between Paradise (Heaven) and the Kingdom of God. They view salvation as a movement from earth to Paradise rather than what it is, the forming of Christ (who is the Kingdom) in the believer.
Satan would love it if all the believers would go to Heaven and stay there in mansions doing nothing of significance. But the thought of Christ being formed in a believer sends the demons scurrying for cover.
PARTICIPATION IN THE PAROUSIA
The Greek term parousia appears twenty-four times in the New Testament, most often concerning the coming of the Lord. While parousia may be translated “coming” there also is the concept of “presence.” The emphasis appears to be not as much on the return of the Lord from a far distant place as on the manifestation of what always has been near at hand and already is true to a great extent in the saints. The Mount of Transfiguration witnessed a parousia of the Lord in that what already was present was revealed more clearly.
The parousia is Christ’s bodily appearing, His presence, the manifestation of what is not far from us but concealed in the present hour.
THE PATH TO GLORY
This essay deals with the path we must follow if we hope to attain attain to the glory of the royal priesthood. Before the general resurrection of those who have died takes place, God first will bring back to life the members of the royal priesthood. They will work with Jesus Christ in establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth.
To attain to the resurrection of the priesthood requires a lifelong quest. We will attempt to describe some of the experiences involved as we make our way to the crown of life, to the fullness of Divine glory that God has prepared for His elect.
THE PATH TO RIGHTEOUSNESS
(from Perfecting Holiness)
Let me say at the outset that the following path to righteousness will not operate if the believer has not counted himself or herself dead with Christ; has not denied himself and turned away from the world; is not patiently carrying his cross behind the Lord; and is not living as a fervent Christian: reading his Bible and praying each day; gathering on a regular basis with other fervent disciples (if possible); and seeking to serve Christ at all times and in every manner.
THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE
Thirty-one Devotions from Fifty-two Kingdom Concepts by Robert B. Thompson. Compiled and Edited by Edward J. Reiter.
PERFECTING THE CHURCH
The term church means “called out from.” Each true saint has been called out from among the peoples of the earth in order that he or she may become, through the Lord Jesus Christ, a priest of God, representing God to the nations of saved people.
The Christian Church is destined to become perfect and perfectly united in Christ in God. It is possible that Christ will employ a “firstfruits” of the Church to bring about the completeness and perfection He requires of His whole Body.
Holiness is a calling. God has called us to be saints, that is, to be holy ones. To be holy is to be separated to God for His special purposes.
God calls us to be holy in His sight. Then we have to respond by seeking each day to draw closer to God. Each day we are to be more separate from the world; more separate from the filth of the flesh and spirit; more separate from our self-will.
THE PERSON AND WORK OF CHRIST
There is only one Christ, one Body of Christ, one goal, one destiny of all true saints. The Head of Christ is Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord of Heaven and earth. Christ includes the Lord Jesus, who is the exalted Head, and also the saints who form the Body of the Head. To plant the heavens, to lay the foundations of the earth, and to say to Zion, “You are My people”—this is the work of Christ.
THE PERVERSION OF GRACE
The current fundamental misunderstanding of the Kingdom of God, the poison that weakens the will of the Christian to resist sin, to overcome the devil, and that has led to so many other destructive teachings and practices, is the perversion of the Apostle Paul’s doctrine of grace.
The Divine grace in Christ has been grievously distorted and misapplied among us Gentiles. We do not understand Paul was contrasting the works of the statutes and ordinances of Moses, such as circumcision, with the grace of God in Christ. Instead we are assuming Paul was contrasting godly behavior with the grace of God in Christ.
Philippians 3:11 is one of the most significant of all the verses of Scripture because it identifies the goal, the “mark” toward which the program of salvation leads. The Christian salvation is not a plan whereby the untransformed person can escape Hell and go to Heaven when he dies. Rather, the Christian redemption is a change in the individual so he can have fellowship with God. Fellowship with God brings immortality to man and eventually leads him into Paradise.
(from Three Deaths and Three Resurrections)
Before we can move ahead to God’s fullness we must have our pinnacle experience. We must be brought to the place of helplessness.
We may be placed in God’s prison of weakness and futility after we have had the vision of the needs of the world and God’s plan to meet those needs, and after we possess an understanding of what the Lord will accomplish in the Church. For many saints, the prison of seeming uselessness may be the most difficult test of their faithfulness to God.
THE POWER OF THE POTTER
The more one reads the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, the more evident it becomes that God is controlling the history of mankind. We understand our destiny is in our own hands; that we will receive in the Day of Resurrection that which we have practiced during our lifetime on the earth. Nevertheless it is clear it actually is God who is working all things according to His will. We have to keep these two apparently opposing thoughts in balance if we are to cut a straight course in the Word of truth.
THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION
We have been saved through the blood atonement. We have received the Holy Spirit. What is next in the program of salvation?
After salvation and receiving the Holy Spirit we are to enter the process of the crucifixion of the first, adamic personality, and the forming of Christ in us. Christ Himself is the Resurrection and eternal Life, and so the forming of Christ in us is equivalent to the forming of the resurrection and eternal life in us. This is the rest of God, the objective spoken of in the Book of Hebrews.
PRELUDE TO REVIVAL
It seems to me that the Spirit is speaking to us about revival. It appears also there are some measures we as church people can take in order to bring the Presence of God into our midst in an outstanding way.
PREPARE THE WAY OF THE LORD!
We have been saved by the blood of the Lamb. We have received the Holy Spirit. Now the Holy Spirit is preparing the way for the Father and the Son to settle down to rest in us.
PREPARING FOR THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON
Have you ever thought much about the Battle of Armageddon, the conflict that will take place when the Lord Jesus appears from Heaven to set up His Kingdom? His saints, those who are called, chosen, and faithful, will ride behind Him on the white war stallions.
That Christ will come with an army of saints is probably pretty well known by Christians. What has not been discussed to any great extent, as far as I know, is the preparation that will be required for being a soldier in the army of the Lord.
PREPARING FOR THE LAST DAYS
A Study Guide Series: Book Three
PREPARING FOR THE RESURRECTION
Somehow we are going to have to switch our thinking from dying and going to Heaven, to the Day of Resurrection. The New Testament consistently points to judgment and rewards in the Day of Resurrection, not at the hour when we die physically.
We must turn our attention to preparing for the resurrection of our body.
PREPARING TO APPEAR WITH CHRIST
The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again. His purpose in coming is to bring justice to the nations. We shall appear with Him as His Body. We also shall bring justice to the nations, the nations who are His inheritance and our inheritance.
It is obvious if we are to appear with Jesus Christ and bring justice to the nations, we must be prepared in personality so we are helping with the task and not being a hindrance. The Holy Spirit is working the necessary changes in us today if we are following the Lord closely.
PREPARING FOR WAR
It is time now for the Lord to present us with a true vision of His return. The purpose of Christ’s return to earth is to bring justice to the nations. In order to bring justice to the nations, Christ must destroy wicked spirits and people from the earth.
The Lord Jesus could have done this at His first coming. Instead He desires to have an army of saints with Him so He and they can divide the nations and the earth as their inheritance.
THE PRESENT TRUTH
While in Bible school many years ago the author felt impressed that God was ready to take His people past Pentecost. The Present Truth includes the various concepts that have surfaced as the author has sought to explain the burden given to him in those early years. Included is a list of books and booklets with a brief summary under each title.
There are seven feasts of the Lord. The Church has been as far as the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost, the fourth feast. Now it is time for the Church to press forward to the fullness of God, to the spiritual experiences portrayed by the feast of Tabernacles—the last great convocation of Israel. This is the present truth.
PRESENTING OUR BODY A LIVING SACRIFICE
As we have watched Christian people over a number of years we have come to the conclusion that the key to the victorious life lies in presenting our body a living sacrifice each day, patiently living for the Lord in the manner spoken of by the Apostles.
There are those who are waiting for the golden moment, the time when the Lord appears to them and commissions them for work in His vineyard, when every hindrance has been removed. But the golden moment seldom arrives.
There are others who follow the Christian “liturgical year.” They do not bring forth much fruit.
The winner in the Christian race is the believer who each day seeks God’s will in every decision great and small, reading his Bible, gathering together with fervent believers on a regular basis, giving, serving, pressing closer to Jesus at every opportunity.
PRESSING FORWARD INTO ETERNAL LIFE
When we read the third chapter of the Book of Philippians we realize what is being preached today as the Christian Gospel is not the same message presented by the Apostle Paul. We of today treat belief in Christ as a ticket that ensures our entrance into Heaven when we die. Paul treated belief in Christ as a lifelong struggle to attain the resurrection from the dead. Obviously, there is a critical difference between the two plans of salvation.
PRESSING INTO GOD’S REST
God made all things, from light all the way through to the new heaven and earth reign of Jesus Christ, in six days. Then He rested. Your life and mine were completed from the beginning of the world. God is resting and observing while His Word is bringing His vision to pass. All we are required to do is cease from our own works and enter God’s rest.
But we are being resisted by many forces that are attempting to lead us away from God’s perfect will for our life.
PRESSING TOWARD THE MARK
(from The Land of Promise) (Study Guide Available)
The rest of God is not Heaven. The land of promise is not Heaven. The land of promise is the earth and the nations of the earth. The rest of God is the place of abiding in the bosom of the Father until all our enemies have been made our footstool by means of the sovereign working of Christ in us.
The land of promise of the Hebrews was described specifically in several passages of the Old Testament writings. The land of promise of the Christians also has been set forth specifically in the Scriptures. In many instances we Christians have little or no idea what our promised land is. Therefore we cannot address ourselves to the struggle as we should.
We must look to the Holy Spirit to interpret the Old Testament type of the land of promise for us so we can set ourselves toward the true goal of the Christian life and not become weighed down with the aimlessness, carelessness, and indifference to spiritual growth that so readily can overtake the person who has no clear mark toward which he or she is pressing.
We who minister the things of God have two choices. We can plan out in our mind what we should do, or we can seek the mind of the Lord concerning what we should do. It appears throughout Church history that the ministers of God have attempted to perform the work of the Kingdom according to their own knowledge, wisdom, strength, and talents.
What does it mean to be called as a saint? From the beginning of the Church Age, it appears, the main purpose and activity of the denominations and churches has been to get people saved and on their way to Heaven. However, this is not a complete understanding of the Kingdom of God. The truth is, as soon as the Church has been brought to perfection, the Lord Jesus will appear with His Church and install His Kingdom on the earth.
PROBLEMS AND PAIN
All Christians experience problems and pain. If we are serving the Lord to the best of our knowledge, problems and pain are sent to us to save us from worldliness, the lusts of the flesh, and self-will. Whether we profit from our many tribulations depends on how we respond to them.
PROCLAIMED FROM THE HOUSETOPS
I read a lot. Do you? Recently I read a version of The Song of Roland, telling how the legendary Roland finally was betrayed by Ganelon. This started me thinking about how often it is true that self-seeking people wickedly betray and seek to supplant people more honorable than themselves, behaving falsely, lying to achieve their own purposes. Absalom is a biblical example of this.
Suddenly my understanding was opened and I seemed to see how all such schemers will be dealt with after death. It was a great relief to me to realize perfect justice finally will be served in each individual case.
A PROPHET TO THE NATIONS
A prophet is a person who stands in the Presence of God and announces the will of the Father. The distinguishing characteristic of the prophet is not that he reveals the future or that he speaks by the Spirit, it is that he stands in the holy place and proclaims the Person and Mind of God.
PURIFYING THE CHURCH FROM SIN
We know there will be no sin in Heaven, in Paradise, in the Kingdom of God, in the new world of righteousness. Various explanations have been offered as to how the Lord will deliver His Church and the saved nations from sin. But what do the Scriptures teach about the purifying of the Church from sin?
THE PROPHETIC SENSE
Every true saint has the prophetic sense. The difference between the members of the Christian religion and the true saints is that the members of the Christian religion often do not have the prophetic sense, the continual awareness of the Spirit of Christ in them. Of the many believers I have met during over fifty years as a Christian, it seems to me that most experience little if any of the moment by moment interaction with Jesus that characterizes the disciple.
THE PURPOSE OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION
God does nothing without a purpose. If He has determined His elect will be on the earth throughout the great tribulation, then He has a glorious result in mind. The Church will be purged of its spots and blemishes and brought to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
There indeed shall be great tribulation—fiery trials in the last days that will bring forth a glorious church on the earth. The branch of the Lord will be beautiful and glorious for those of Israel who have escaped the seductions, lies, and terrors of Antichrist. The perfect Head will be placed on a perfect body.
THE PURPOSE OF GROWTH IN CHRIST
The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a royal priesthood that will return with the Lord and govern the nations of the earth. It is for this reason that each member of the Body of Christ must cooperate with the Spirit of God until he or she comes to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
The four levels of Ezekiel’s river must be pursued until the believer can serve God and mankind as a royal priesthood, a tree of life which can stand with the Holy Spirit and invite the saved peoples of the earth to come and partake of eternal Divine Life.
THE PURPOSE OF THE RESURRECTION OF THE PRIESTHOOD
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
The resurrection of the royal priesthood is the final victory. It is the overcoming of the last enemy—physical death. When the members of the royal priesthood have been raised from the dead they will be able to stand once more, now in Spirit-filled glory, on the earth. They will possess the power, the rod of iron of the Spirit, to enforce God’s will on the nations. They will teach the saved people of God’s ways and bring His Presence to them.
PURSUING THE HEAVENLY
We are entering the conflict of the ages. The next few years may see substantial change in the way we understand Christianity. Spiritual warfare will accelerate rapidly. The new generation of believers will have an opportunity to occupy the thrones of the Kingdom of God.
All that has gone before has brought us to the brink of Jordan, as it were. The young people and children of the present hour will be enabled to press into a position in Christ occupied by only a handful of the saints of history.
PURSUING THE RESURRECTION UNTO LIFE
A Study Guide Series: Book Three
THE PURSUIT OF LIFE
Mankind lost eternal life in the Garden of Eden. The Lord Jesus Christ came in order to help us regain eternal life. Eternal life is not the same as eternal existence, rather it is a kind of life. Eternal life is the incorruptible Life of God. How much of it we attain depends on how we follow Christ in the present world.
PUTTING OFF SIN; PUTTING ON CHRIST
Two current approaches to the problem of sin in the Christian life are as follows: the Christian is in a state of grace in which God does not see his sin; or, Christ in the Christian will overcome sin, the Christian need not exert effort to accomplish victory over sin. From our point of view, both of these approaches are unscriptural and destructive of the moral character of the believer.
The righteous live by faith. One important aspect of living by faith is that of the quest. The righteous individual is he whose entire life on the earth is a quest, a quest for something not yet a reality on the earth. The righteous person always is a stranger and an exile in the present world.
Pierre and Marie Curie succeeded in isolating polonium and radium from uranium. In order to do so they had to work with a considerable amount of pitchblende, an ore from which uranium can be extracted.
So it is today. There exists a great amount of “pitchblende,” referring to all of those who profess belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. God loves His believers, and if they persist in their hope they will be saved in the Day of the Lord.
While being saved in the Day of the Lord is of the greatest benefit to any person, it does not solve God’s problem—the problem of rebellious angels and people. In order for the problem of rebellion to be solved there must be found in the mass of believers a quantity of “radium”—people who will give their all that God’s will might be performed throughout His creation.
“RAPTURE” OR RESURRECTION?
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
The return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth and the raising of the bodies of the saints have been the hope of the godly from the days of the Apostles of the Lamb and ought to be the hope of the believers of our time. Instead an unscriptural emphasis on the catching up (“rapture”) of the saints has been inserted in place of the historic hope. The emphasis on the catching up of the saints rather than their resurrection has destroyed the spiritual vitality of the Christian churches. The resurrection to eternal life is one of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian Gospel—the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. We attain the resurrection unto life by overcoming the world, the satanic lusts that dwell in our flesh, and our self-will. If we live in the lusts of the flesh and soul we will die spiritually. If we, through the Holy Spirit of God, achieve victory over the world, sin, and self-will we will attain the resurrection to eternal life.
READY TO MARCH
The return of Jesus Christ to the earth will mark the beginning of the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord will last for one thousand years, whether literally or figuratively. The Day of the Lord will commence with a tremendous battle. Christ and His resurrected saints will descend and drive all sin from the earth.
Before Christ can return, however, the saints, who compose the army of judges, must be prepared to serve in their appointed roles.
THE REAL WORLD
There are two worlds. There is the physical world with which we are familiar. Then there is the spirit world. We haven’t lived in the spirit world as yet so we do not know much about it. One thing is certain: each one of us will die some day and pass from the physical world into the spirit world. Therefore we are not unwise or impractical when we give some thought to the spirit world; for this is where we all are heading.
THE REAL YOU
The Bible says if you have joined yourself to Christ you are dead. You have been crucified with Christ. You have a new life and it is Christ. Your new life is hidden with Christ in God. Your new life will not appear until it appears together with Him at His coming.
So you exist in two forms of life. Your first life still breathes on the earth. It is a corrupt, rebellious nature. Your new nature has been raised with Christ far above all other authority, far above every other title that can be given.
Each day you decide by your thinking, speaking, and actions which life is the real you.
The believer who sows to his or her sinful nature will reap destruction, according to the Apostle Paul. Now, precisely what does it mean to reap destruction? The destruction of what?—and when will the destruction be reaped?
One of the biggest problems we humans have, with respect to doing the will of God, is that of reasoning. We reason, reason, reason. The demons also reason, reason, reason. God and truth are not found by reasoning but by prayer and obedience.
There is a rebellion among God’s creatures. It appears many spiritual personages of high rank have rebelled against God, against His rulership, His will. That the rebellion never has been put down is evidenced by the conditions that exist on the earth in the days in which we are living. God’s solution to the continuing rebellion is not to transfer mankind from the earth to Heaven but to create in people the Person and Life of the obedient Christ.
REBUILDING THE WALL
The last two chapters of the Book of Revelation speak of a holy city, a city surrounded by a wall that separates the Wife of the Lamb from the nations of the saved. In most of modern Christianity this wall has fallen down, its gates “burned with fire.” Today, through the Holy Spirit, God is rebuilding this wall in the heart and mind of those whose whole life is given over to Christ. As soon as it has been completed the wall will allow the members of the New Jerusalem to serve as guardians of the holiness of the city and as gates of access to the Throne of God.
RECONCILIATION BY FIRE
(from Kingdom Concepts)
There is a baptism with the Holy Spirit. There also is a baptism with fire. The saint is to be baptized both with the Holy Spirit and with fire. The baptism with fire is, as the context suggests, the cutting down of every tree that does not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness and the casting of the barren tree into the fires of Divine judgment. It is the fanning of God’s threshing floor in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, and the burning of the chaff with fire that cannot be extinguished. It is the purifying fire of judgment that reconciles the saint to God.
THE REDEMPTION OF THE CREATION
Because of the sin of Adam and Eve the material creation was placed by the Lord under the bondage of corruption. But the Lord has bound the creation in corruption and futility in the hope one day He may find the physical creation worthy to be released into the glorious liberty of eternal life. The Scripture teaches that all of the material realm, including its inhabitants that God deems worthy of salvation, together with the elect of the spirit realm, will be made one Kingdom in the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE REDEMPTION TRAIN
Redemption is as a train that began moving when Adam and Eve sinned. Redemption is the program and process of restoring to man his five Divine endowments: to be a son of God; to be in the image of God; to be capable of union with God and with other people; to be fruitful; and to govern the works of God’s hands. Redemption begins when the individual is formless and empty and concludes when the five Divine endowments have been developed in him.
There are some aspects of redemption that are common to all humans and some that are unique to the individual.
Our entrance into the rest of God, into the land of promise, depends on our successful transition from a self-centered soul in an animal body into a spirit in untroubled union with God in a spiritual body. Love, joy, and peace are possible only when our relationships with God and people have been touched by the Lord. Relationships are made right as through Christ we are changed from a living soul into a life-giving spirit. The relationships that are not filled with Christ are temporary. The relationships that will survive for eternity are those established by and in Christ as we are fitted into our place in the Body of Christ.
THE RELEASE OF THE MATERIAL CREATION
The Lord God of Heaven created the material realm, including the bodies of human beings. The material creation was “very good” when it was made (Genesis 1:31) and it still is very good. The weakness of Eden did not come from the material creation itself. The problem had to do with the fact there was not found in man a spirit capable of governing the paradise which the Lord God had placed upon the earth.
One of the main purposes of God in Christ is to develop ruling spirits who will be able to bring order and eternal life into the material creation. The Kingdom of God is the governing of the material creation by righteous and holy spirits who are perfectly obedient to the Father in Heaven.
(from The Conqueror) (Study Guide Available)
When God performs a deep work in His people He often does it through a remnant, such as the three hundred of Gideon’s army. The Scriptures reveal many instances in which God used just one or two people to advance His cause.
In the last days another remnant, a group of warriors representing the heart of the Bride, will be used mightily by the Lord in the work of judgment. These will walk in white with Jesus, being worthy of union with Him.
REMOVING THE PRESENCE OF SIN
Sin is a law or a spirit that can exist at a place. Paul spoke of a law of sin at work in the members of his body. Paul exclaimed that in his mind he was in slavery to God but in his flesh he was in slavery to the law of sin. Since the chemical constituents of the physical body are morally neutral, sin must be regarded as something foreign that can be removed.
The Lamb of God has come in order to take away the sin of the world. He does this by forgiving the guilt, then giving the believer the ability to subdue it, and finally by removing its very presence.
REMOVING THE TARES FROM THE WHEAT
God does not divide the world into Christians and non-Christians but into the wheat and the tares, the righteous and the wicked. There are wheat and tares within the churches as well as in the world. In the day in which we are living the Lord Jesus has begun the work of removing from His Church, His Kingdom, that which is not of His righteous Nature.
REMOVING THE THINGS THAT OFFEND
The Church is to be without spot, wrinkle, blemish of any kind. When, where, and how will such cleansing take place? Are we entering now into the removing from the Kingdom of God of those things that offend, and then of those who practice lawlessness?
THE REQUIREMENTS AND PURPOSES OF THE TWO RESURRECTIONS
There are two principal resurrections of the dead. The first resurrection will take place at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, at the time when Christ returns to earth with His saints and holy angels. The second resurrection will occur at the end of the Kingdom Age, after the earth and sky to which we are accustomed have passed away. The purposes and requirements of the two resurrections are an important aspect of the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The first resurrection has to do only with the royal priesthood of God. No judgment will take place at the first resurrection. The first resurrection itself is the sentence handed down from a prior judgment. However, the second resurrection will be followed by judgment at the hands of Christ.
RESCUED FROM THE BODY OF DEATH
Paul was approaching the Gospel from a point of view somewhat different from our own. We accepted Christ so we would be forgiven and go to Heaven when we die. Paul was looking for an actual righteousness of behavior he was unable to obtain under the Law of Moses. Until we realize this thoroughly we will keep on with our destructive interpretation of Paul’s doctrine that we are saved by faith and not by works.
Perhaps because of the widespread practice of deductive reasoning in the interpretation of the New Testament we tend to select one aspect of Divine truth and reject the other. One glaring example of this slicing up of truth is today’s stress on grace and faith to the virtual exclusion of the vital role in the Christian redemption played by righteous, holy, obedient behavior.
As we are willing to approach the New Testament without wearing the glasses of preconceived axioms we notice from the Gospels to Revelation that righteous, holy, obedient behavior is emphasized to a far greater extent than is true of grace and faith.
God is calling in our day for a return to righteous, holy, obedient living, but many believers are not going to repent until they understand the necessity for righteous behavior. The Apostle Paul, in the second chapter of the Book of Galatians, presents the scriptural resolution to the seeming contradiction of the conflict, in the Divine program of redemption, between the roles of faith and godly behavior.
THE REST OF GOD
God always is pressing forward with His people. The Ark of the Covenant represents the Glory and Presence of God. The Ark was unique among the furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation in that the staves (carrying poles) were not removed from the Ark when Israel made camp in the wilderness. The “Ark” always is forgetting what is behind and is moving toward the fullness of God’s eternal purposes in Christ.
It is time for the saints to die to self. It is time for the saints to cease from their dead works and to rest their hope in Christ. God knows exactly what He is doing, what He will accomplish. Our task is to be diligent to enter God’s rest, not our own rest. The purpose of our redemption is not that we may be victorious and at peace, it is that God and Christ may be victorious and at peace. Let us abandon at once our self-seeking and seek rather the pleasure of God. Then God will find rest in us and we shall find rest in God.
Since the time of the Protestant Reformers the original apostolic doctrines have been in the process of being restored to the Body of Christ. We now have arrived at the concepts of the resurrection of the dead and of eternal judgment. Eternal judgment follows the resurrection in that we must die and then be raised before we are judged.
The resurrection to eternal life is the central hope of the Christian Church. Perhaps the most notable of the truths being restored to us is that the resurrection to the fullness of Christ’s Glory, the resurrection in which Christian believers expect to participate, must be attained.
THE RESURRECTION AND ETERNAL JUDGMENT
The goal of the Judaic-Christian redemption is eternal life. Eternal life has two aspects: eternal life in our inward man (spirit and soul) and immortality in our outward man (body). There are at least three concepts associated with the resurrection from the dead: the elements of the redeemed personality; the role of the conversion of the inward man in attaining to the resurrection to life; and receiving the results of our choices.
The bodily resurrection to eternal life, which is the Christian hope, can take place only if the inward man has been transformed previously. Only those believers who have pressed forward to the mark, the mark being the transition from the adamic nature to the new nature of the Substance of Christ, are eligible for resurrection to eternal life and glory when Christ appears in the clouds of the heaven. The resurrection of I Thessalonians 4:14-17 must be attained.
THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Resurrection and the Life. What does this mean? Are resurrection and life the same thing? When we are resurrected, does this mean we as a Christian will automatically enter eternal life? Perhaps it is time to clarify what the believer can expect to face when he or she stands before God in the Day of Resurrection.
THE REVEALING OF THE SONS OF GOD
The creation is waiting eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. This one verse (Romans 8:19) changes our entire thinking concerning the Christian salvation. We understand now that God has saved us, not that we may go to Heaven and live in a mansion forever but so we can return with the Lord Jesus, lift the curse from the earth, and fill all saved people and all of nature with the eternal life of God.
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament Scriptures teach us by statement and example that God will allow us to be exposed to trials, and also, if we meet His conditions, that He will protect us so we are not harmed spiritually, so we are never separated from His love. Our responsibility is to carefully guard and obey the word of Christ’s patience.
The idea of patience is that of steadfast endurance while we are under pressure, continuing to abide in Christ and to do His will until release and joy are brought to us. The Kingdom of God and patience go together.
We Christians are to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit with patience. We possess our souls as we wait patiently for the Lord. Christ carefully watches over each person who carefully watches over the word of His patience and promises to guard him during the hour of temptation.
REVELATION: CHAPTERS TWENTY-ONE AND TWENTY-TWO
The heavens and the earth with which we are familiar will endure until the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age known commonly as the Millennium. Then the Lord Jesus Christ will recall from existence the physical universe and bring into view a new sky and a new earth.
It is likely that the garden of Eden enjoyed a oneness, a union of the spiritual and physical domains that was dissolved when Adam and Eve rebelled against God. God then put a wall of separation, a “heaven” between the physical and spiritual realms. The new heaven and earth reign of Christ will enjoy a complete restoration of the union of the two worlds. The Kingdom of God is the eternal union of the spiritual and material realms. Paradise once more will be clothed with that which is material.
THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD
God created man to rule. The Scripture defines man as a son of God whose destiny it is to govern the works of God’s hands. This destiny has not been assigned to the angels. Rather they are helpers sent by God to assist the rulers of the world to come. But each one whom God has chosen to rule in Christ must lay hold upon his calling, for there are those who would steal his crown.
(from Kingdom Concepts)
Next to the Lord Jesus Christ and our relationship to Him, righteousness may be the most important topic of the Scriptures. Without righteousness there is no Kingdom of God. The Lord will not work apart from upright, godly behavior. He has called His elect in righteousness and to righteousness. He has assigned righteousness to His elect with the intention of making them actually righteous in personality and behavior.
Righteousness dwells in decision-making. The righteous person is the one who makes decisions that are according to God’s will. The unrighteous person is the one who makes decisions that are not according to God’s will. God requires that each person in the Kingdom of God behave righteously. This means he acts justly, he loves mercy, and he walks humbly with God. Here is the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets.
THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD
We have been commanded to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. The righteousness of God is what He is in Character. The righteousness of God includes all of His commandments and goes even beyond these. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the Righteousness of God and the Covenant of God with people.
RIGHTEOUSNESS AND WICKEDNESS
The Book of Psalms is a manual for war, for the conflict between righteousness and wickedness. As we are heading into the closing of the Church Age and the opening of the Kingdom Age, we will find our battle instructions in the Book of Psalms.
From this point forward the saints will be in a period of preparation for their task of invading their land of promise.
RIGHTLY DIVIDING THE WORD OF TRUTH
The Bible contains many seeming contradictions. One of the major seeming contradictions involves the emphasis on the gift of grace, which seems to conflict with the numerous New Testament passages that warn us concerning our behavior.
Whenever we adopt only one side of the argument, or try to bring together the two sides in a compromise, we produce error. Truth is arrived at when we hold both positions as valid, both equally necessary to the plan of redemption.
In today’s preaching and teaching we hold rigorously to the gift of grace position. We have discarded as unscriptural the concept that there is no salvation apart from a change into godly behavior. We clearly are in error and the error is preventing the one thing God insists on—the keeping of His commandments by His people.
Much is being said in America today about the need for godly government and pushing back the tide of immorality. The problem is not with the government or with the American public at large. The problem is the churches do not perceive correctly the role of Divine grace and are not keeping God’s commandments.
If we of the churches will turn back to the Lord and begin to keep His righteous commandments God will heal our nation. Otherwise we of America are facing an age of horrors in the not too distant future.
RIVERS OF LIFE
The river of eternal life always flows from the Throne of God, from nowhere else. The Throne of God is being created in our heart in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. As soon as the Throne has been established in us the living water will issue from our personality. Then we shall give eternal life to those whom God sends to us.
THE ROAD THAT LEADS TO LIFE
There is a gate that opens to the road that leads to eternal life.
The gate is small. The road is narrow. Only a few people find that gate and walk on that road.
THE ROLE OF THE BODY OF CHRIST
We understand from the New Testament that there is Jesus Christ, and then there is the Body of Christ. We read also that all of the gifts and ministries given by the ascended Christ are for the purpose of building the members of the Body to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.
The question is, how important is it that a Christian be brought to the stature of the fullness of Christ? What is the purpose of this?
Romans 10:9,10 is used commonly to prove if we once confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead, we will go to Heaven. This is the point at which we are given our ticket to Heaven. How we behave after that is important but not critical.
ROMANS, CHAPTER SIX
It seems to me that the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans is not being understood as Paul meant it to be. I think a correct understanding of these twenty-three verses will go a long way toward increasing the moral strength of the Christian churches.
ROMANS, CHAPTER SEVEN
The seventh and eighth chapters of the Book of Romans explain the transition from the Law of Moses to the Law of the Spirit of Life. Numerous Christians are uncertain whether or not we are still living under the Ten Commandments. Yet, two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul gave us a clear explanation of the difference between the two laws.
ROMANS, CHAPTER EIGHT
Perhaps the Book of Romans has proven to be the most influential of the Epistles of the New Testament. Two primary themes of Romans are the transition from the Law of Moses to the new covenant; and the corollary, the nature of new-covenant grace. It may be true that the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans is worth studying again, for we may not have understood correctly what Paul is saying concerning the change from covenant to covenant and the nature of grace.
THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
There is a concept that often has been rejected by both Jews and Christians. The concept is that of the royal priesthood. The Lord informed the Israelites in the wilderness that they were a special called-out nation, a people belonging to God in a manner not true of the remainder of mankind.
In many instances the Jews and Christians have virtually ignored the fact of their calling, preferring to be regarded as no different than other people. Their unwillingness to accept their election is rebellion against the Lord.
Until the separation of the royal priesthood is understood and accepted it is impossible for a member of God’s Israel, whether Jewish or Gentile, to gain a clear picture of the program of God in the earth and thus to grow spiritually and minister effectively.
Chapter Twelve of the Book of Revelation describes the birth of the Ruler, the forming of Christ in the members of the Body of Christ. This is the ruling Son, God’s Conqueror, who is being formed and brought to birth in order to crush Satan and his works with the Divine rod of iron. The birth of the Ruler in the members of the Body of Christ is for the purpose of governing and blessing the creation of God.
THE RULERS OF THE KINGDOM
The entire Bible appears to be directed toward the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth, with the Lord Jesus Christ as the King of all the lesser kings and Lord of all the lesser lords of the Kingdom. In any kingdom there is a king, and lords and nobles of all sorts. So it is in the Kingdom of God. This is why so much is said in the New Testament about our ruling with Christ.
SAFETY DURING CALAMITY
I am writing this on May 2nd, 2002. You can be the judge whether I am hearing from the Lord. For the last two months (at least), every time I engage in my morning prayer I hear “War! War! War! Famine! Drought! Earthquakes! This has never been true before of my prayers—anywhere near this extent.
SALVATION IS DELIVERANCE FROM SIN
The Scriptures speak clearly that salvation will come in the last days. Salvation is deliverance from sin. The kind of resurrection from the dead we will experience depends on the extent to which we have been delivered from sin and also on the degree to which Christ has been formed in us.
We are being judged now. Our response to the judgment directly affects the rewards we will receive when we are resurrected, in particular the character of the robe that will clothe our resurrected body.
SALVATION THROUGH JUDGMENT AND SUFFERING
The Christian salvation includes forgiveness and the moral transformation of our personality. Suffering is one of the means God uses to save us, to transform us. The suffering is a judgment on the three great idols that bind humanity: looking to the world instead of to the Lord for a satisfactory life; the lusts and passions of our flesh; and self-will, personal ambition, and stubbornness. As we cooperate with the Holy Spirit He employs suffering, along with all other forms of the grace of God, to deliver us from our idols.
SAVED BY FAITH ALONE?
(from The Mainspring)
The Apostle Paul taught we are saved by faith, not by works of righteousness we have practiced. The Protestant Reformation stresses justification by faith alone. Yet something is missing. Many Christian churchgoers of today are morally bankrupt. They are not performing the good works that are the only light of the world.
SAVED—FROM HELL TO HEAVEN OR FROM DEATH TO LIFE?
One of the most frequently used expressions in Christianity is “saving souls from Hell.” One would look in vain for such terminology in the New Testament. While there assuredly is a literal Hell and there are wicked people abiding there, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is not addressed primarily to saving souls from Hell. There is a reason why this is the case.
SAVED BY JUDGMENT
One of the most frequently used expressions in Christianity is “saving souls from Hell.” One would look in vain for such terminology in the New Testament. While there assuredly is a literal Hell and there are wicked people abiding there, the Gospel of the Kingdom of God is not addressed primarily to saving souls from Hell. There is a reason why this is the case.
When we first receive Christ we have worldliness, various lusts and passions, and self-will in our personality. God’s judgment rests on these compulsions because no behavior of this kind is permitted in the Kingdom of God.
After we are saved and filled with the Spirit, God begins to judge the spiritual evil that is in us. Oftentimes the judgment involves a stern chastening of us.
The fiery trials we endure are judgment on the sin in our personality. The purpose of the judgment is to drive the sin from us. It is a baptism of fire that saves us from sin, although with difficulty.
SAVED THROUGH OBEDIENCE
When we maintain we are saved by faith apart from works we often mean we are saved apart from obedience to the commandments of Jesus Christ and His Apostles. Such is the deadly error that has entered Christian thinking and preaching. God is ready now to lay the axe to the root of unrighteousness that has destroyed the moral character of the Christian churches and consequently the moral character of the people of the world; for the Church is the only light of the world.
SCATTERING THE POWER OF THE SAINTS
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
The rule of Antichrist will produce tremendous desolation and destruction in the earth, as the rule of man apart from God always does. The true saints will be required, through Christ, to gain personal victory over the abundance of sensuous pleasure available in the closing days of the present age. Then they will be hounded from the centers of civilization, being forced to live with their children in wilderness areas of the earth. There the disciples will dwell, with the elect Jews, under the Lord’s protection until He appears in the clouds of the heaven and calls them up to their reward.
The “power of the holy people” is the Holy Spirit. This is the Power who restrains the revealing of the man of sin. In order for Satan to elevate Antichrist in the earth he first must scatter the power of the saints. He must dissipate their ability to pray and act in the power of the Spirit of God.
It is written that the power of the holy people will be broken in the last days. Let us watch and pray that we may survive all that comes to pass until we stand in triumph before the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE SCEPTER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
The scepter of the Lord Jesus Christ is the scepter of righteousness. This means the Lord Jesus will govern righteously and enforce righteous behavior. Righteous conduct is not emphasized nearly enough in Christian preaching and teaching. In its place we have a legally ascribed righteousness that cannot possibly serve the purposes of God.
A SCRIBE FOR THE LORD
I have decided to give an account of my Christian walk in the hope it will be a help to others. Truly, from the time I put my faith in Jesus Christ more than fifty years ago the Lord has proved His faithfulness again and again. Perhaps by writing down some of the insights and experiences the Lord has sent my way, younger believers, who will be required to face the challenges of the years to come, may be inspired and encouraged.
SCRIPTURE OR MYTH?
There are many myths being taught today in Christian churches. When we turn to the Scriptures the myths disappear like dew when the sun rises. For example:
- God sees Christ and not us.
- The commandments of the Lord Jesus in the Gospels do not apply to Christians.
- The warnings of the Apostle Paul do not apply to Christians
- The believer at the Judgment Seat of Christ will not receive the evil he has done.
THE SECOND GOAT
God has promised to make an end of sin and to bring in everlasting righteousness. How He will accomplish this is portrayed in the activities of the Jewish Day of Atonement. Two goats were employed in this observance. First, an atonement was made for sin, using the blood of the first goat. Then there was a ceremony that portrayed the removal of the presence of sin from the camp. The ceremony of removal involved the second goat.
The perfect atonement for sin was made on the cross of Calvary. Any human being can have his or her sins forgiven by receiving the atonement made through the blood of Christ on the cross. Thus the guilt of sin has been taken care of completely.
However, the presence of sin itself has not as yet been removed from the creation. God has a plan whereby the ceremony involving the second goat, the scapegoat, will attain spiritual fulfillment. The purpose of this booklet is to describe the program God will follow as He removes all rebellion and sin from His creation.
THE SECOND RESURRECTION
(from The First and Second Resurrections)
There are two resurrections from the dead. The first will take place at the beginning of the thousand-year period. The second will occur at the end of the thousand-year period.
It is taught commonly that every person who is saved will participate in the first resurrection, and all other people—those who are reunited with their bodies at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age—will be assigned to eternal torment in the Lake of Fire. It is our opinion that this doctrine is in error.
SECURITY; PLEASURE; ACHIEVEMENT
(from Kingdom Concepts)
Each of God’s creatures on the earth, especially the saints, must come to accept the supremacy of Christ in all matters. It is not enough just to be saved from God’s wrath. That is important indeed. But the plan of God is that Christ become the center and circumference of the universe.
The issue of the centrality of Christ, which in reality is the question of what god we are worshiping, is divided into the three major aspects of living. The Spirit of God deals continually with each of us concerning these three major aspects. They are survival and security, pleasure, and achievement. Every son of God is tested along each of these three lines. These were the three tests of the Lord Jesus in the wilderness. These are the three areas in which Christ overcame the world.
THE SEED AND THE NATIONS OF THE SAVED
In order for us to grasp the Divine plan of redemption we must understand the design. God is creating a Kingdom that consists of His Seed, who are His elect, and then nations of saved people who are to be governed by the Lord’s elect. All the desires and purposes of the Lord God, including bringing the nations to Himself that they may be blessed, will be fulfilled through the holy Seed.
The Seed of Abraham is Christ and those who are in union with Him. Each member of the Seed is predestined to be conformed to the image of Jesus and then to deliver, rule, and bless the nations of the earth. The Seed is God’s eternal Servant. The Seed is called out from among the peoples of the earth in order to reveal the Glory of God to the nations. If the nations obey the Divine Glory they behold, repenting and being baptized, they shall be saved. Those who are disobedient will be judged by the Lord.
SEEK YE FIRST
Compiled and edited by Edward J. Reiter
A year-long devotional study of the Kingdom of God, from the writings of Robert B. Thompson.
It seems the understanding of God’s Kingdom, and also of the manner in which we are being fashioned by the Lord, is becoming increasingly clear. Perhaps these brief thoughts drawn from my sermons will be of help to the saints of the future.
SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Righteousness of personality and behavior on the part of people is the goal of God’s working. Righteousness has to do with the way we relate to God and to people. The rebellion of Satan, who set his will against God, resulted in the issuing of the Ten Commandments, which define righteous relationships. Then God gave us the righteous Jesus so through Him we might become righteous in personality and behavior.
SET FREE FROM SLAVERY TO SIN
(from A Study Guide for the Book of Romans)
Each one of us was born with two problems as far as God is concerned. The first problem is that we were born spiritually dead, cut off from God because of the guilt of Adam’s sin. The second problem is that we have inherited in our flesh a disposition toward sin and rebellion against God.
It appears most Christians understand quite well the extraordinary lengths to which God went on Calvary in order to remove the guilt we have inherited (as well as the guilt we have acquired because of our own sinning). What has not been as clearly understood perhaps is the provision God has made for the second problem, that is, the bondage of slavery to sin—the compelling power in our flesh that urges us to keep on repeating the disobedience of Adam and Eve.
If a human being is to be restored to favor with God, two aspects of sin must be dealt with: (1) the guilt must be removed; and (2) the bondage of slavery must be removed.
SEVEN AREAS OF RECONCILIATION
Before we can attain rest in Christ in God our whole personality must be reconciled completely and perfectly to God. The seven churches of Asia described in Revelation, Chapters Two and Three represent seven areas of personality and behavior. These seven areas must be brought into conformity with God’s Personality and behavior before the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles can take place in us in its entirety.
THE SEVEN FEASTS OF ISRAEL
(from The Feasts of the Lord) (Study Guide Available)
Under Moses the Jews were given seven holy convocations to observe annually. Pentecost was the fourth observance. There were three feasts after Pentecost, showing us that there will be a further work of redemption after the Pentecostal experience and before the Lord returns in the clouds of glory. Christ does not want us to stop at Pentecost. The Seven Feasts of Israel explains the plan of redemption so we can move forward with the Holy Spirit to the rest of God, to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, to the fullness of the salvation that is in Christ.
The marriage to Christ, the possession of God Himself, is the greatest attainment of the Christian discipleship. All the other aspects of salvation are means to this supreme end. He who is married to the Lord Jesus Christ has inherited all things. He who has rejected Christ has lost all things. The seven feasts of Israel symbolize the progress of the believer from chaos of personality all the way to the full possession of Christ.
THE SEVEN FURNISHINGS OF THE TABERNACLE
(from The Tabernacle of the Congregation) (Study Guide Available)
The Tabernacle of the Congregation may be the greatest of the biblical types of God’s plan of redemption in Christ. The last half of the Book of Exodus describes the construction of the Tabernacle, and references to the Tabernacle and its furnishings are found at various places in the Scriptures. The seven main furnishings portray the development of the Christian from the time he approaches Christ initially until he arrives at the full salvation of God.
SEVEN STEPS TO THE REST OF GOD
The Christian salvation is a process, a definite program. The program of salvation begins when we receive by faith the atonement made on Calvary by the Lord Jesus Christ. The program of salvation is brought to a conclusion when we enter the promised land of the rest of God. The seven feasts of the Lord are one of the major scriptural types of the process of salvation. The seven feasts typify the steps we are to take as we enter the rest of God.
THE SEVEN TRUMPETS
The Divine judgment of the seven trumpets will perform three works in the Christian Church: it will purify the saints, making them ready for the Presence of Christ; it will separate the true saints from the lukewarm believers; and it will prepare the saints to participate in the kingdom-wide witness that will be given to the peoples of the earth.
SHAKING THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH
When self-will entered the heart of Satan the troubles of the universe began. God then prepared the Lake of Fire for Satan and the angels who would follow him. However, instead of immediately casting Satan and his angels into the Lake of Fire, God conceived a plan to ensure there never again would be a rebellion against Himself. The plan included the creation of a new race of creatures, mankind, whose destiny would be to govern the works of God’s hands.
But before the fullness of authority and power can be entrusted to the future rulers, the King of the kings had to be tested as to total obedience to God. After Christ the King passed the test, all of the future rulers must also be tested as to total obedience to God.
Now we have come to the point in history when God is ready to shake the heavens and the earth so disobedience is removed from all positions of power, and those who have been proven as to their obedience to God are installed on the thrones formerly occupied by Satan and his angels.
SHARING IN HIS SUFFERINGS
The New Testament is clear that if we hope to share the inheritance with the Lord Jesus Christ we must share in His sufferings. What were the sufferings of Jesus Christ? Why are we called to share in them? Why do we have to be made like Christ in His death? What does such suffering and death accomplish in our personality?
SHRINKING BACK TO DESTRUCTION
The Bible speaks about the destruction of those who choose to live according to their sinful nature. Is this the same as being thrown into the Lake of Fire? Exactly what does it mean to draw back to destruction?
God has said in His Word that He is going to put an end to sin, not to the guilt of sin but to the sin itself. Sin is a spirit, or thing, or urge, or force that dwells in our flesh—call it what you will. It has made its home with us in our body. It is time to get rid of it, to kick it out.
THE SINFUL NATURE
The Apostle Paul refers to the “sinful nature,” warning us that if we follow its impulses we will die spiritually, we will reap destruction. How did Paul arrive at the concept of the sinful nature? What are we to do about it?
THE “SINGLES” GROUP
Paul’s gospel of grace is summed up in Romans 7:4: we are dead to the works of the Law of Moses so we may be married to Christ, with the end in view of bringing forth the fruit of righteous behavior to God. We are dead so we may be married, not so God may hold us guiltless no matter what we do.
The spiritual “singles” are living in a state of lawlessness. They are not under the Law of Moses, neither are they living according to the will of the living Christ. They are not married to Him. They are Christians in name only, supposing their acknowledgment of correct doctrine ensures their righteousness in God’s sight. They believe in a grace that saves apart from works. This is a misunderstanding of the Christian salvation.
SIX UNSCRIPTURAL TRADITIONS
There are at least six unscriptural traditions that influence the thinking of Christian people. If they weren’t causing problems we would not examine them for it is written we should not remove the old landmarks. But these landmarks were not established by the Lord and their effect is not edifying.
- The first unscriptural tradition is that the Lord is coming to take His Church to Heaven.
- The second unscriptural tradition is that Heaven is the eternal home of the saint.
- The third unscriptural tradition is that every believer when he or she dies will live in a mansion and walk on a street of gold.
- The fourth unscriptural tradition is that we shall receive our reward when we go to Heaven.
- The fifth unscriptural tradition is that our physical body will not be raised from the dead.
- The sixth unscriptural tradition is that we can never be lost once we have been saved
SO GREAT SALVATION
God spoke into being our salvation, our marvelous inheritance, from the foundation of the world. God has already perfected our inheritance and now is resting. We must work out what God has declared concerning us. We must “labor” to enter that rest, that finished work.
We labor to enter our foreordained inheritance by seeking the Lord, by studying the Scriptures, by fellowshiping with the saints, by obeying God, by giving, by serving, and by doing all the other good works of the Christian life. When we do not do our part the Divine program is delayed or destroyed.
SO NEAR AND YET SO FAR!
There are people set forth in the Bible who were so close to God, to Divine Glory, and yet so infinitely far from His Kingdom. There are people today who are so close to Christ, and yet so infinitely far from His Kingdom. It is a sobering thought!
SODOM; EGYPT; JERUSALEM
As soon as God is satisfied that the Gospel of the Kingdom has been preached for a witness to all nations He will permit Antichrist to make war against the saints. Some Christians will be defeated morally and their witness ruined. The godly remnant will be driven from the centers of civilization.
Although such a plan is difficult for us to understand, God will allow Antichrist to overcome the worldwide witness as part of the Divine wisdom in bringing forth a Church without spot or wrinkle. Deception rather than power will be the tool used to seek to lure the saints from the path of eternal life. Only the strongest will be able to overcome the deceiver, and they themselves will be purified by the battle.
The greatest danger for the saints in the last days is the hour of temptation, not the great tribulation. Sodom, Egypt, and Jerusalem portray the three temptations with which the sons of God are faced: Sodom speaks of the lust of the flesh. Egypt represents the lust of the eyes. Jerusalem symbolizes the pride of life. Jesus met and overcame each of the three temptations while He was being tested in the wilderness.
The spirit of Antichrist, of lawlessness, always is engaged in tempting each of the saints in these three manners. Many have been defeated in our day.
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
(from The First and Second Resurrections)
To employ believing in Jesus as the only aspect of the victorious Christian life, not following the Spirit’s guidance in using the additional means God has provided for overcoming the world, our fleshly lusts, and our self-centeredness, will lead to confusion, passivity, despair, and finally, spiritual destruction—a complete loss of inheritance.
Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament Scriptures advocates a belief in God apart from the daily, active, diligent, intense, single-minded seeking of God’s will in every area of personality and behavior.
THE SONS OF THE KINGDOM
When we think of the parable of the wheat and the tares, righteous and wicked people come to mind. When we picture wicked people it often is the murderers, the thieves, the drunkards, the rapists who come into view. When we consider righteous people we envision those who do not practice such things.
The record of the Scriptures suggests another kind of righteousness and another kind of wickedness. There is a righteousness of loving and seeking God and walking in His will. There is a wickedness of loving and seeking our own gain and walking according to our own desires.
It was not the murderers, the thieves, the drunkards, the rapists who crucified the Lord. It was esteemed religious people who loved and sought their own gain and walked according to their own desires. The original sinners, Adam and Eve, were not murderers, thieves, drunkards, or rapists. But they loved and sought their own gain and they walked according to their own desires.
SOUND THE ALARM IN THE CHURCHES
We Christians of America are not at all prepared for the return of Jesus Christ to the earth. There are several false doctrines prevalent in Christian teaching and preaching. Many if not all of these false doctrines have one goal: to lead us away from the New Testament exhortations and warnings concerning the need for righteous behavior. Unless there is an exposure of the unscripturalness of today’s Christian teaching we shall have a generation of believers in America who are unprepared to meet Jesus Christ.
THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN THE PLAN OF SALVATION
(from John, Chapter Seventeen)
A clear understanding of the sovereignty of God in all of the affairs of His creation, particularly in His plan of redemption, is a rock on which the Spirit-anointed remnant will stand during the dark hours of Antichrist. It may be true that the era of Antichrist, the dreadful hour of temptation, is already upon us.
The reason Christian believers have, in some instances, discarded the major Bible doctrine of Divine election, is that the spirit of Antichrist, of Laodicea, of the “rights of people,” is abiding in us. When the spirit of Laodicea has been removed from us we will be able to see clearly what the Scripture reveals concerning predestination and election.
In the present hour the Kingdom of God contains both wheat and tares. The wheat are people who have been added to the Church by the Lord. The tares are children of Satan. We know this by their works.
At the time of the Lord’s return to earth His messengers will very carefully remove the devil’s children from among the saints. Then the righteous character and deeds of the saints will be witnessed by Heaven and earth.
SOWING THE BODY
There is a relationship between our daily behavior and what will happen to us in the Day of Resurrection. Paul speaks of our sowing our body. Into what do we sow our body? Into the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. If we are faithful in the process of becoming like Him in His death, then we shall be raised in the likeness of His resurrection.
SOWING AND REAPING
When the writer in his preaching and writing emphasizes godly behavior, people sometimes respond by stating a more balanced presentation of the Good News should be given. This is to say, it is necessary to stress that we are to live righteously but we must balance this stress by pointing out the grace and mercy of God.
While Gospel preaching and teaching must be balanced if it is to produce good fruit, a problem arises when we attempt to “balance” our emphasis on righteous behavior with the reminder that God’s love, mercy, and “grace” are part of the Gospel message.
SOWING WHAT YOU WANT TO REAP
Life on earth is mostly a time of sowing. Make sure you are sowing what you want to reap in the ages to come. They make a great mistake who force their way, running over other people in order to seize what they desire. They may gain their ends now, but God remembers their works and they will reap untold sorrow in the future.
Those who sow love and peace now will reap love and peace now and in the new world of righteousness. Those who sow hatred and discord will reap hatred and discord. And who knows if there will ever be an end to it?
(from Perfecting Holiness)
Many aspects of our adamic personality are disfigured. Some of the disfigurements are sin and belong in the Lake of Fire. Others are not candidates for the Lake of Fire but neither are they part of the image of God. They must be removed from the Kingdom of God because they cause us to behave in ways that are not pleasing to God and are destructive of loving, joyous, peaceful relationships.
SPIRITUAL FORCES OF THE LAST DAYS
Several spiritual forces are operating in the world and will continue to be significant until the Lord returns. There are at least three major forces of the last days that are of God: the return of the Jews to the land of Israel, the latter-rain revival, and the perfecting of the godly remnant. Some of the other forces are sophisticated expressions of Satan. They are so subtle, so satanic, that only the most dedicated Christians will be able to perceive them as wicked. There will be much deception in the last days and it already is present.
SPIRITUAL SURVIVAL IN THE COMING DAYS
The Bible, the prophets, and the various forces in the world are warning us that great catastrophes may soon come upon the United States of America. If this is true, we Christians need to prepare ourselves to survive spiritually. We must be living so close to the Lord that we will be a lighthouse of peace and assurance when the American people are terrified. If we will obey the commandments of Christ and His Apostles found in the New Testament, we and our loved ones will be kept by the power of God during the darkest of hours.
But if we are a casual Christian, not praying, not reading the Bible, not looking to Jesus and carrying our cross, we have no scriptural assurance that we or our loved ones will be spared during the coming days of judgment.
Because we Christians are not defining “saved” according to the biblical definition, our theological positions are illogical. Salvation is not assignment to a place, it is a relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE STATURE OF THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST
The Servant of the Lord foretold by Isaiah is Christ—Head and Body. Isaiah describes what is true concerning the Servant of the Lord. Only those who have matured in this manner are qualified to work with Jesus Christ in establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The main purpose of the two thousand years of the Church Age has been to build up the members of Christ’s Body so they can perform the work of the Servant of the Lord—now, and especially during future ages. All the ministries and gifts of the Body of Christ serve to bring each member of the Body to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.
The Servant of the Lord will bring justice to the earth.
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF ROMANS
In the Book of Romans are found definitive statements concerning the transition from the Law of Moses to the grace of God in Christ. Complete trust in the atonement made by the Lord Jesus is emphasized, and also the righteous personality and behavior that genuine trust and faith always produce.
Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Romans 6:13)
By entering the crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus we are removed from the legal authority of the Law of Moses and given access to the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit so we may be set free from the guilt and compulsion of sin.
Paul’s teaching concerning the transition from Moses to Christ is not understood by numerous believers. The present distortion of Paul’s teaching has destroyed the testimony and moral strength of the churches of our day.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (Romans 6:16)
The believer who continues to sin will die spiritually. The wages earned by the sinning Christian is spiritual death!
The Book of Romans contains what probably are the strongest statements to be made by Paul—perhaps the strongest statements in all Scripture—concerning Divine foreknowledge, predestination, and calling. A firm grasp on the concept of Divine calling is necessary if the saint is to understand the majesty of God, and to cease from his own works and enter the rest of God.
Divine foreknowledge and election do not, if understood properly, cause passivity or a deadening sense of inevitability in the saint. However, the calling of Abraham and the nation of Israel cannot be grasped apart from the concept of Divine election, nor can the creation of the Body of Christ.
The olive tree, once the possession of the physical people and land of Israel, passed to a remnant of Jews and Gentiles. In the last days the olive tree (Christ) will return to the physical land and people of Israel and they will be born again of the Spirit of God.
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF FIRST CORINTHIANS
If salvation were a ticket to Heaven, being saved as by fire would not be so bad after all. It would mean merely that, while we did not receive the crown of royal authority, we still would go to Paradise.
In actuality, to be saved as by fire is to have most of our personality, as well as our inheritance, burned away so we enter the Kingdom of God as a naked spirit. It is an awesome loss, an incredible disaster—perhaps an eternal shame.
If the present doctrine of lawless grace were a true representation of the new covenant there would be no need to deliver an incestuous believer to Satan so his spirit would be saved in the Day of the Lord. Why be concerned about incest? Doesn’t God see the immoral believer as holy because of his identification with Christ?
As in all his other writings, the Apostle Paul stresses the need for righteous, holy behavior if the believer is to possess the Kingdom of God.
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10)
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF SECOND CORINTHIANS
In the sixth chapter of the Book of Romans we are commanded to count ourselves as crucified with the Lord Jesus and risen with Him. Here, in the Book of Second Corinthians, we see the crucifixion and resurrection worked out in daily life.
Each believer who suffers with Christ reigns with Christ. The power by which Christ rules is that of eternal, indestructible, resurrection life, the life that proceeds only from our crucifixion with Him.
The power of resurrection life ensured that Paul was not bound, was not crushed, was not in despair, was not at a loss, was not forsaken, was not destroyed.
Paul was carrying around in his mortal body the death of the Lord Jesus. The eternal life by which Paul lived brought eternal life to those to whom he ministered.
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: (II Corinthians 1:9)
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF GALATIANS
The new covenant is not the addition of faith in Christ to the Law of Moses. The new covenant is Christ formed in us. Religious observances cannot add to the effectiveness of the cross. Works of the Law of Moses, such as circumcision, can only detract from the wisdom and power of the cross of Christ. God is God.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS
The concept that the elect Jews and Gentiles compose the one family of God, the one holy nation, is a central theme of the Book of Ephesians. The traditional idea, that God deals in one manner with the Gentile Christians and in another with the Jewish Christians, and that the races are identifiable in Christ, has created havoc in the interpretation of the Scriptures—particularly the writings of the Hebrew Prophets.
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (Ephesians 2:15)
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF PHILIPPIANS
The fruit of righteousness is produced in every true Christian. The new, born-again inner man, being filled with the Virtue of Christ, loves God and loves his fellow creatures. He behaves righteously because he is of Christ and dwells in Christ.
We Christians are to reveal in our conduct the new nature that has been born in us. This is the burden of Paul’s prayer for the saints and elders in Philippi.
After we have been a Christian for a period of time the new creation that is being formed in us begins to govern the way we act, speak, and think. People notice the change in us. When men see our good works they will glorify the Father who is in Heaven.
Christians are to have one supreme goal—the full knowledge of Christ. We are to live by His Life and share His sufferings. In so doing we attain the first resurrection from the dead.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)
A STUDY GUIDE FOR THE BOOK OF HEBREWS
The expression “the righteous shall live by faith” is defined by the entire text of the Book of Hebrews. The righteous shall live by faith means the righteous shall live by diligently seeking the Lord in every area of thinking, speaking, and doing, throughout their lifetime on the earth—and forever after.
The new covenant is shown to be superior to the old covenant in that it removes the source of sin from the worshiper, meanwhile forgiving him and bringing him to the knowledge of the Lord.
The Book of Hebrews is an exhortation to experienced Christians to not ignore the program of redemption but to press forward into the rest of God, into the fullness of the Divine salvation and inheritance. The rest of God is the state of abiding in the center of God’s will, in Christ, as one by one the several aspects of the believer’s inheritance are acquired by him.
When they come to maturity the sons of God will be placed in charge of all the works of God’s hands.
Heaven itself is not a city. However, in Heaven there is an unshakable city named the new Jerusalem. The goal of the Christian redemption is not eternal residence in Heaven, it is our transformation into new creations in Christ so we may be part of the city that has foundations.
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:3)
SUFFERING AND RULERSHIP
The demands Christ is making on His victorious saints are greater than we have known previously. When the demands are presented to the Christians, other teachers rise up and speak of how we are qualified for Heaven by the grace of God and we are to rest in His mercy and redemption. It certainly is understandable that this objection should be voiced.
The problem is, the teachers and believers who are holding out for the “go to Heaven by grace” position do not understand God is preparing rulers and priests who will govern His creation with a rod of iron.
A SUMMARY OF KINGDOM CONCEPTS
I believe God has given some insight into His Word. This booklet sets forth many of those understandings with the hope they will provide wisdom and strength for those who will fight the coming battles for the possession of the earth and the nations thereof.
A SUITABLE HELPER
According to the Book of Isaiah, the Lord God will put His Spirit on His Servant and the Servant will bring justice to the nations. The Servant of the Lord is Christ—Head and Body. The purpose of the two thousand years of the Church Age has been to make of the Body a helper suitable for the Head.
For several reasons the Christian Church to the present date has not been brought to the level of maturity required for her role as the Body of the Servant of the Lord. Now the Spirit of God is emphasizing that it is time for the Body to be brought to maturity as measured by the stature of the fullness of Christ.
SURVIVAL AND FRUITFULNESS IN THE LAST DAYS
A study of the Book of Revelation will reveal that overcoming Antichrist will be a major concern of Christians in the last days. While it is our opinion that there will be an actual person who will sit between the wings of the Cherubim of Glory in a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, it is true also that the spirit of Antichrist has been with us from the first century.
Precisely what is the Antichrist spirit? Why did the Apostle John state “they went out from us”? How are the believers of today to know if the Antichrist spirit is in us, and if so, how are we to overcome it? For there is a terrifying penalty associated with worshiping the Beast (Antichrist) and his image and receiving the mark of his name.
SURVIVING SPIRITUALLY—A DEVOTIONAL
In a day when self-help books overflow from our bookshelves, perhaps there is room for one more written for the purpose of enabling us to stand strong in the troublesome days before the Lord Jesus returns. This thirty-one day devotional developed from the book Spiritual Survival in the Coming Days is centered around ten critical actions that can enable us to prepare for the coming storm:
THE SYMBOLISM OF THE TWO WITNESSES
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
It is believed commonly that the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11 are two men from ancient times who will descend from Heaven, or who will be raised from the dead, in order to bear witness of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. We find it more reasonable to believe the anointed ones are a symbolic way of representing the power of the Holy Spirit to bear witness.
If we are correct in our interpretation, the eleventh chapter of the Book of Revelation is describing a double portion of God’s witnessing power that will enable the saints of the last days to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom for a testimony to every nation on the earth.
We saints are one witness, and the Lord Jesus who works with us and confirms the Word with signs following is the second Witness.
SYMPTOMS OF “TABERNACLES”
The Pentecostal people are being called forward. A time of spiritual growth is at hand. The next great plateau of redemption is typified by the Old Testament Feast of Tabernacles. If we are experiencing justification through the blood of the cross and the life lived in the Holy Spirit of God, how can we tell when God is urging us forward into the spiritual fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles? What are the symptoms we should be looking for?
THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION
The Tabernacle of the Congregation is one of the major (if not the major) types of God’s dealings with us in His plan of redemption.
In this book several areas of study are presented: the general plan of the Tabernacle, including the materials used; the seven pieces of furniture; the boards, sockets and bars; the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies; the Veil; the linen curtain; the tent; the coverings; the door; the gate; the linen fence; the work of the priests and Levites; the order of Israel on the march; the history of the Tabernacle of the Congregation; and the history of the Ark of the Covenant.
Six areas of interest are examined:
- The physical description of the parts, furnishings and details of the Tabernacle.
- The Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- The history of the Christian Church.
- The redemption of the believer.
- The Body of Christ.
- The Kingdom of God.
THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID
In the time of King David, God’s house was divided into two parts. The Tabernacle of the Congregation was located at the high place in the city of Gibeon while the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the city of Zion, a suburb of Jerusalem. The division of the house of God is a prophetic portrayal of what is taking place in our time as God draws out from the Christian churches a warlike remnant—people who will bring deliverance to the remainder of Israel and to the nations of the earth.
TABERNACLES, AND THE COMING OF THE LORD
In the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles the Father and the Son come to us and make Their abode with us. Then the Holy Spirit, who always proceeds from the Throne of God, flows out from us as rivers of living water. The coming of the Lord to us in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles gives us a personal knowledge of the Father and of the Son we have not possessed previously, and is associated with the historical coming of the Lord.
TABERNACLES AND THE TESTIMONY
God has a long-range program. Part of the program includes the perfecting of a testimony to the nations of the earth.
God has created millions of people and He loves them all. But He has no way of communicating to them His love, His Person, His way, and His will. God’s answer to His problem is His eternal witness, the Church without spot or wrinkle, the Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord.
THE TAIL OF THE DRAGON
It is written that some of the saints of God will be overcome in the last days. The overthrowing of the Christian witness, which may be the casting to earth of the stars of God mentioned in the Scriptures, will make possible the maturing of evil in the earth. The Day of Judgment will not come until both good and evil, righteousness and unrighteousness, the wheat and the tares, have been defined clearly. Only the most diligent in keeping the Words of Christ, the most vigilant in prayer, the most faithful to the Lord Jesus, will be able to stand in spiritual victory in the end-time.
THE TEMPLE OF GOD
God’s dealings with Christian believers always are based on a specific purpose. God has a definite plan in Christ that He is carrying out. If we are to enter the life of victory in Christ it is important that we recognize we are part of God’s plan that is moving toward fulfillment according to His wisdom and unlimited power.
Central to God’s plan is His desire to dwell in a living temple. The living temple of God is Christ—Head and Body. Christ is the House of God. The members of the Body of Christ are many rooms in the one House of God.
The construction of an eternal dwelling place for Himself is one of the principal purposes of God in the Christian Church. It is difficult for the Lord to come into a satisfying relationship with His creatures. The Body of Christ, which is the Temple of God, removes that difficulty by becoming the hand and heart of God extended to people everywhere.
It is God’s will for us that we, by diligent and consistent faith in Christ, enter our individual role in the Divine plan and then rest with Christ as the Father brings all the enemies of Christ under His feet.
THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Perhaps because of the influence of the philosophy of Gnosticism, the religion of Christianity minimizes the significance of the human body. The truth is, the human body is of utmost importance in the Divine plan of salvation.
The reason the human body is of such importance is that it is the eternal temple of God, a part of the great incarnation of God through the Lord Jesus Christ. The goal of our salvation is to have our body resurrected into eternal life and filled with the Presence of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit.
THE TENDER AGONY
The love of God drew Christ into total union with Himself. As soon as the obedience of Christ had been perfected by suffering the union was complete. The same compelling love that perfected the union of Christ and God is now in Christ and extended toward those whom God has called to Himself. The love of the Father for His elect is in Christ, and in those who are living in union with Christ, as a tender agony.
THE TERROR OF THE LORD
(from The Mainspring)
A foolish, silly attitude is often found among Christian believers. There is much jesting and lightness. This blithe attitude, this false sense of security, which is not characteristic of true Christianity, has arisen because there is little terror of the Lord in the churches. There is little terror of the Lord in the churches because of a misunderstanding of the nature of the Christian redemption. It is time for Christian people to repent of their carelessness, sin, and self-seeking and awaken to the righteous behavior required by the Lord.
THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL
The goal of the struggle against worldliness, against lust, and against self-will—particularly against self-will—is that God may be All in all. Think of it! That God may be Everything and in everything. The Lord Jesus Christ will administer the Divine resources until God the Father is Everything and in everything. After the Father’s authority, power, and wisdom have brought the universe under subjection to Christ, then Christ Himself will be subject to the Father—that God may be All in all.
THAT WHERE I AM…
The Lord Jesus invited us to be with Him where He is. Traditionally we have supposed this meant we would go to Heaven to be with Jesus when we die. I don’t think this is what the Lord was saying. I think He was declaring we would be with Him where He is in the Father and at the right hand of the Father, not in Heaven as of a place.
THAT WHICH IS PERFECT
Salvation comes to us in three great platforms. The third platform of salvation is the possession of the fullness of God. It is the Kingdom of God—that for which the entire creation is groaning.
God’s desire is to build for Himself a Temple, a royal city in which He can find rest and through which He can govern His universe. That Temple, that Kingdom, is God in Christ in the saints. It is the city that has foundations for which Abraham looked.
It is God’s intention to give His royal glory, authority, and power to Christ and through Christ to the brothers of Christ. The Divine intention to give the Divine Presence and prerogatives through Christ to the saints is in the process of being fulfilled. This is “that which is perfect.”
THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE
(from Kingdom Concepts)
The Church, the Body of Christ, is the instrument through which God will bring salvation to the nations of the earth. When Christ returns to the earth and receives the Church into complete, perfect union with Himself:
The world will believe God has sent Christ.
The saints will receive the glory that God the Father has given to Christ.
The world will know God loves the saints as He loves His firstborn Son, Jesus Christ.
The saints will be with Jesus forever and will behold His glory.
Where will this Divine union and glory be brought into being? It will be brought into being in the sight of the nations of the world so they may believe in Christ and be saved.
THERE’S MORE THAN JUST BEING “SAVED”
Speaking as an Christian, I wonder sometimes if we understand all that is included in the Divine salvation. We have set as our primary goal preaching the Gospel to every person. We have set as our secondary goal doing what good we can in the world to relieve human suffering.
As scriptural and commendable as these goals certainly are and shall continue to be, they are not the first priority of the Divine salvation. The first goal of the Divine salvation (a goal scarcely mentioned nowadays) is to draw from mankind a firstfruits to God, a royal priesthood who walk in iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to God. These are God’s possession in the earth; and some are called to be even closer to God. The destiny of the firstfruits of the firstfruits is be especially close to God. The existence of such makes everything else possible.
THERE IS ONE GOD
Who is God? What is God like? Is He concerned about us? What is He going to do about the wickedness of mankind? Will there actually be a Day of Judgment? These are the most important questions of all. The human being who goes through life without seeking to find the answers is foolish.
THE THING SATAN FEARS MOST
The thing Satan fears most is the testimony of two witnesses—the elephant and the mouse. For the most part, the two thousand years of the Church Age have experienced the testimony of one witness—the mouse. During the closing days of the Age the testimony will be borne by two witnesses—the elephant and the mouse.
THINGS TO COME
The struggle to bring peace and justice to the earth will not attain victory by the brain of man seeking to overcome sociological problems. The tragedies of mankind will not yield to human effort no matter how selfless, how benevolent. Rather, a battle is being fought between two powers, between titans of the spirit realm.
The gentle scholar dabbling in theories of libertarianism is a pawn of Satan. The innocent student hoping to find success by inviting a spirit guide into his consciousness has been duped. The immature Christian seeking to become wealthy by using faith and imaging has been deceived by the enemies of his soul.
The humanists, the libertarians, the theorists of democracy, are often vicious proponents of anti-God dogma. They do not seek truth; rather, they strive to remove all restraints on human conduct so they can indulge themselves in the lusts of their flesh. Their hostility toward the Gospel is no more idealistic, no more virtuous than this.
There are two kinds of Christians in our day. There are those who have been brought into the churches by the devices of the ministry, and then there are those who keep God’s commandments and have the testimony of Jesus. The first are being taught to use God’s blessings to save their lives, while the second die to their adamic nature by taking up their cross. Only those who are truly identified with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection will survive the dangerous and subtle deceptions in the days ahead, including the emphasis on the rights of people and personal freedom.
THE THIRD KIND OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
There are three kinds of righteousness. There are our own attempts to do religious works, our self-righteousness. Then there is the righteousness of Christ that is ascribed to the person who puts his faith in Jesus and lives according to the Spirit of God.
There is a third kind of righteousness. It is the righteous personality and behavior that are created in the Christian as he follows the Lord, counting his personality crucified with Christ and risen with Christ. It is the third kind that is the Kingdom of God.
THREE ASPECTS OF GOD’S ETERNAL PLAN
There are three dimensions of God’s redemptive work among mankind. The first dimension of redemption is salvation—preservation to eternal life in the world of righteousness that is coming. The second is the creating and perfecting of the Church. The third is the bringing of the nations of the earth under Kingdom law.
THREE ASPECTS OF THE REST OF GOD
The rest of God is the goal, the mark, the land of promise toward which every Christian is to press. There are three basic aspects that must be considered if one would understand and be able to press into God’s rest. The first aspect concerns God’s finished work. The second aspect has to do with the eternal Sabbath. The third aspect emphasizes the conquest of the enemies in the land.
THREE DEATHS AND THREE RESURRECTIONS
There are three major phases of the Divinely provided redemption that is in Christ. The three phases are not like three rungs on a ladder we are to climb or three grades in school we are to attain. Rather, the three phases are as three facets of one diamond. They are three dimensions of the one redemption we possess, entire and whole, when we receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.
The redemption that is in Christ is a powerful work, a broad work, a perfect work. It includes the growth of the believer to spiritual maturity, which is the image of Christ; the growth of the Church, the Body of Christ, to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”; and the setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The believer is “born again” into the Kingdom of God and baptized by the Holy Spirit into the Church, the Body of Christ. The saint then fights his way, by the wisdom and power that the Holy Spirit gives, into the “throne” phase of redemption. He must “overcome” if he is to rule with Christ and be God’s son.
In order to enter each of the three areas of redemption we must die the specific death God has ordained. If we are willing to go through the “deaths” God has decreed we will receive the accompanying resurrections.
Christ asks you: “Will you be saved?”
If your answer is yes, He will bring down your old nature into crucifixion with Him and will raise you in the likeness of His resurrection. You will be protected from wrath by His blood, received of the Father, made alive by the Spirit of God, and born again by His Divine Substance placed in you.
Christ ask you: “Will you follow the Holy Spirit in sanctification?”
If your answer is yes, the Holy Spirit will furnish you each day with the wisdom and power to put to death the deeds of your body. Your fleshly lusts will be brought into subjection to the will of the Spirit. In their place will flow deeds, words, and thoughts that glorify God and testify of the redeeming authority and power that are in Christ. You will be holy and behave in a holy manner.
Christ asks you: “Will you lose your life for My sake and the Gospel’s?”
If your answer is yes, He will teach you obedience in the school of suffering. He may demand every one of your rights and privileges as a person and as a Christian. Will you allow Him to treat you in this way without grumbling and complaining? Is there any point at which you will refuse Christ?
If you will obey the Lord through every testing He will raise you to His throne. The fullness of fruitfulness and dominion will be yours.
THE THREE DOMAINS OF DIVINE JUDGMENT
There appears to be confusion over what the New Testament is speaking of when it mentions the removal of sin. The general understanding seems to be that the removal of sin under the new covenant means the removal of the guilt of sin. While the new covenant includes the removal of the guilt of our sin its main purpose is to remove the compulsion and the presence of the sin itself.
THREE KINDS OF DIVINELY APPOINTED SUFFERING
There are at least three kinds of Divinely-appointed suffering. The first kind is the punishment that comes from the exercise of God’s wrath. The second kind is the chastening of the believer. The third kind consists of the various weaknesses that keep our personality pruned back so we may bear fruit.
It may prove helpful to some of the believers to understand what is happening to them so they may be able to cooperate with the Holy Spirit more willingly.
THE THREE NATURES OF THE CHRISTIAN
The Christian has three natures. He has a sinful nature. He has a “noble and good heart,” and now Christ is being formed in him. The sinful nature is to be done away with. The noble and good heart is to be sown to the death of the cross. The third nature, Christ, is to develop and grow until it can be stated “the old has gone, the new has come.”
THE THREE SEPARATIONS OF THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
There are two issues presented in the New Testament writings. One issue is that of being saved, of not being cast away from the Presence of God. The other issue is that of attaining membership in the royal priesthood, of participating in the first resurrection from the dead.
There are three separations that must be experienced by every member of the royal priesthood: separation from the world, separation from sin, and separation from self-rule.
THREE STEPS TOWARD RIGHTEOUSNESS
There are three forms of Divinely produced righteousness. The first is the familiar imputed righteousness. The second is the not so familiar joint venture of the adamic nature and the Spirit of God. The third is hardly known. It is the righteous nature of the Lord Jesus Christ formed in every part of our personality, plus the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in us forever, plus the making alive of our physical body and the clothing of it with the robe from Heaven. This third form is the fullness of God and of righteousness.
The third form of righteousness is the purpose for the first two and is the mark toward which we are to be pressing.
THE THREE TEMPTATIONS OF CHRIST
(from Three Deaths and Three Resurrections) (Study Guide Available)
Christ was led by the Holy Spirit into a desolate area, there to be tested by the devil. Three temptations were set before Him. Christ overcame the adversary in each of the three areas of temptation. Now it is our turn. Every believer is tested in each of the three areas of temptation. Through the Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, and the help of the Holy Spirit, each of us can obtain victory in the wilderness of this life.
THREE UNScriptural INTERPRETATIONS
Three passages of the Bible have been misinterpreted. Each of the three misinterpretations serves as a basis for the unscriptural “pre-tribulation rapture” of those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. If we look closely at each of the three passages, examining their immediate contexts and also thinking about related statements in the New Testament, we can see that the prevailing interpretations are without scriptural support.
THE THREE WORKS OF GRACE
Multitudes of Christians are acquainted with the first work of grace, that is, basic salvation through the blood of the cross. A smaller number have received basic salvation and also a second work of grace, the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Now God is ready to bring us through the third work of grace. The third work of grace may be referred to as the rest of God.
The blood of the cross gives us the authority to enter the purpose of God. The Holy Spirit gives us the power and wisdom to accomplish the purpose of God. The authority, the power, and the wisdom of God enable us to enter the purpose of God, which is the third work or area of grace. The third work of grace is the creation, through Christ, of a living house for God in which He can rest for eternity.
One of the primary issues of the Kingdom of God is that of the throne. Whose will is going to be done in the earth—God’s or Satan’s? The struggle is between spiritual titans. Our personal will is of little significance except as we choose to serve either God or Satan.
We are required to settle this issue in our own personality.
A TIME FOR REPENTANCE
The Day of Atonement comes after the feast of Pentecost, in the series of seven feasts of the Lord. This tells us symbolically that after the Holy Spirit is given to us we can expect God to remove from us all that is displeasing to Himself.
Today the Holy Spirit is calling for repentance, in the churches in the United States—and perhaps elsewhere. But our doctrine maintains that God sees us only through Christ. This unscriptural understanding prevents the thorough, lasting repentance that must take place prior to the return of the Lord.
THE TIME IS AT HAND
The Christian Church has been in existence for two thousand years. Much good has been accomplished during this period. Some outstanding saints have been produced. Overall, however, the testimony has been weak. The believers by and large do not reveal Christ in their personalities.
As we approach a new millennium we see many people accepting Christ as their Savior, but the moral testimony, at least in America, is not clear and strong. Oftentimes there is a cynical attitude toward the Christian ministry. The churches sometimes are viewed as consisting of hypocrites or else irrelevant as far as the needs of contemporary society are concerned.
An age of moral horrors is upon us. The Christian people are not ready for such spiritual darkness and are seeking escape in a flight to Heaven. But God has a better idea.
THE TIME IS NOW
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.
A TIME TO BE BORN AND A TIME TO DIE
(from John, Chapter Seventeen)
Every saint without exception has been assigned a specific task to accomplish during his or her pilgrimage on the earth. It is possible to complete this task and to pass on to the next life with the glorious satisfaction we have accomplished our appointed work.
Let us think for a moment about the attitude with which every man and woman who is serving Christ should face physical death. It is unscriptural and unreasonable for someone who belongs to Christ to cringe in fear of physical death or to be unwilling to let go of a saved relative or friend when the Lord is making it clear it is time for that person to come home.
A different viewpoint of life and death is that each of us has a specific work to accomplish. When our work has been accomplished to the Lord’s satisfaction we are permitted—not forced—to walk hand in hand with Jesus out of the prison of the flesh. We have finished the work Christ has given us to perform in the valley of sin and death, the battlefield of demonic opposition, perversity, and wicked people. Our probationary period is over. It is time for our release from the prison of the flesh. Now we are ready to come home.
The death of a saint is precious in the sight of Christ. He makes no mistakes concerning the time ordained for each of His holy one to lay down his cross and go to be with Him in Glory.
A TIME OF TRAVAIL
The mystery of the Gospel is “Christ in us.” Christ first must be formed in us as a transformation of our personality. Then the Father and Christ will come from Heaven and enter that which has been formed in us. The hour in which we live is one of travail, as the Holy Spirit forms Christ in us in preparation for the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in us.
TO EAT FROM THE TREE OF LIFE
Most Christians take it for granted that when Jesus returns they will be raised from the dead, enter bodily immortality, and rise to meet Him in the air. However, the Scripture teaches that we cannot enter immortality in the body until we overcome the deeds of our sinful nature.
TO EVANGELIZE OR TO MAKE PROSELYTES?
In the Christian churches of our day there is an emphasis on “getting souls saved.” It is taught that every Christian is a “soul-winner.” This is not a biblical statement or emphasis. To make matter worse, the true biblical emphasis, which is that God’s people be righteous, holy, and obedient to God, is relegated to an imaginary “state of grace” which is supposed to take care of the sinful nature of the believers. The resulting moral chaos in the churches is the natural result of such unscriptural concepts.
Ours is a day of togetherness. Whether of nations, denominations, age groups, genders, families, the desirability of unity, mutual respect, love, peace, can be seen. The destruction and pain caused by the eras of war are spurring us on to try to find ways of promoting harmony and cooperation.
The need for unity and the potential good are obvious. But how do the Scriptures view the move toward the global village?
Sometimes people say to us, “Your message is too hard.” Or they may say, “You are bringing me under condemnation.” With your permission I would like to discuss this “too hard,” “condemnation” business for a moment.
TO PERISH OR TO LIVE
What does the Bible means when it states God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life? What does it mean to perish? What does it mean to have eternal life?
We think the Lord may be referring to the physical body.
The Lord God commanded the Israelites to totally destroy the enemy in their land. This they were not courageous or determined enough to accomplish. God would have enabled them to do what He commanded had they been willing and obedient.
God has commanded us Christians to overcome, through Christ, all the works of Satan. To this point the Christian churches have not been courageous or determined enough to do what God has commanded. Yet God has made provision under the new covenant to make an end of sin in our life. We can learn from the history of the Israelites, a history of endless conflict and suffering, the results of not obeying God strictly.
TO WILL AND TO DO
There is no saving feature in our finding survival and security in the wicked world system. Trust in the world must be removed from our personality. There is no saving feature in the sinful nature that dwells in us. The lusts and passions of the flesh must be removed from us.
Our will is another matter. Our will is to be preserved and strengthened in God. But it must be dealt with until it is in total harmony with God’s will.
THE TRAGIC RESULT OF MISINTERPRETING TWO VERSES
Because of a misinterpretation of the Apostle Paul’s doctrine of grace, the Christians in America, for the most part, have no moral laws to which they subscribe. They have been taught that salvation under the new covenant is a covering of our behavior in God’s eyes so when we commit sin, God see the righteousness of Christ in us. When we lie, God sees the truthfulness of Christ in us. We should know there is something wrong with this doctrine, but we don’t. The result has been the destruction of the Christian testimony in America.
TRANSPORTATION OR TRANSFORMATION?
It assuredly is time for a reformation of Christian thinking. Historically the concept of salvation has been that we are saved to make our eternal home in Heaven. While this concept is embraced by other religions, it is not a true concept of the Christian salvation. The Christian salvation is a program that changes man from the image of Satan to the image of God. When brought to maturity it results in a total transformation of the individual believer. The person then can have fellowship with God wherever he is located.
It assuredly is time for a reformation of Christian thinking. Historically the concept of salvation has been that we are saved to make our eternal home in Heaven. While this concept is embraced by other religions, it is not a true concept of the Christian salvation. The Christian salvation is a program that changes man from the image of Satan to the image of God. When brought to maturity it results in a total transformation of the individual believer. The person then can have fellowship with God wherever he is located.
TREASURES IN HEAVEN
(from Revelation: Chapters Twenty-one and Twenty-two)
There are at least nine treasures we can lay up in Heaven. Each of these nine treasures has a counterpart on the earth. It is impossible to pursue both the heavenly treasure and its earthly counterpart. We must choose whether to lay up our treasures in Heaven or whether to lay up their counterparts on earth.
THE TREMENDOUS “IF”
One of the current glaring departures from the Scripture is the doctrine that the Christian salvation is unconditional. The teaching is that salvation is an act of God unrelated to our behavior. No longer do we have to endure to the end. Grace is a Divine gift, unknown under previous covenants, and our only obligation is to accept it.
This position directly contradicts clear statements of the New Testament.
THE TRUE GOSPEL
The current teaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom emphasizes justification by faith. “Grace” is defined as “forgiveness.” The goal of being forgiven and justified by faith is eternal residence in Heaven. Justification by faith and the grace of forgiveness, leading to eternal residence in Heaven, is not the emphasis of the New Testament.
THE TRUE HOPE: “RAPTURE” OR RESURRECTION?
The Apostle Paul states that we are saved by hope. If we are saved by hope, then it is important we have the true hope. It is the author’s opinion that the Christians of today have an unscriptural hope, a misguided hope, and that this false hope is preventing the spiritual growth necessary for survival in the coming age of moral horrors. The false hope includes an incorrect vision of the events and purpose of the Day of the Lord.
THE TRUE ISRAEL
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
True Israel is the Kingdom of God, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem. Israel has been chosen by God from the foundation of the world to be His royal priesthood. By “true Israel” we mean every member of the Body of Christ.
The Body of Christ began as a purely Jewish institution. It will be concluded as a Jewish institution. Although in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, it remains true that the Kingdom of God is of the physical land and people of Israel.
We Gentiles who have been grafted on the root of Abraham through the Lord Jesus Christ are an integral part of the kingdom of priests, the holy nation of Israel. We have become part of the Seed of Abraham. We shall be an inseparable part of Christ when He is crowned King on the Throne of David in Jerusalem.
THE TRUE NATURE OF THE NEW COVENANT
If we would understand the true nature of the new covenant, the scriptural definition of what it means to be “saved” must be made clear. A salvation based solely on forgiveness and transfer to the spirit Paradise falls far short of the greater purpose of redemption provided by Christ’s atoning death and resurrection. Man in the complete image of God and in untroubled union with God, brought into this state by daily transformation, is the true goal of salvation—the goal that accomplishes Kingdom purposes.
The true unity in Christ of the members of His Body is brought about in the Spirit of God. When two people attain the same level of union in Christ in God, each being with Jesus where the Lord is, then they also are one with each other. When we are dwelling in Jesus with Him in the Father, then we are one with each other. This is the true unity, the true marriage of the Lamb, the true rest of God.
Any human attempt to produce oneness among people will create Babylon (man-centered, religion). God deliberately prevented the original race from being in one accord by introducing a variety of languages.
Oneness among people is not a goal, it is the natural result of our abiding in Christ. Our true goal is to be one in Christ in God. As we press toward this goal we become one with every other person who is abiding in Christ in God.
TRULY MAN AND TRULY GOD
The Lord Jesus Christ is truly Man and truly God. His Bride, His Body, His brothers, must be truly man and born from the same Father. Thus we genuinely are like Him. In addition, by virtue of marriage to Him, we receive the same inheritance.
TWELVE RESULTS OF CROSS-CARRYING OBEDIENCE
The fallen, adamic nature is so deceitful as to be beyond cure. God is not saving our adamic nature. He is crucifying it. God has given us our personal cross as the means of destroying our adamic nature. Christ is to be formed in its place. This is salvation and the Kingdom of God.
TWO APPEARANCES OF THE BRIDE
There are two appearances of the Bride of the Lamb. This fact has great significance, practical consequences that all Christians should consider. It is our firm conviction that not all believers will be raised from the dead and appear with Jesus Christ at His return from Heaven
The Lord Jesus Christ on two occasions has been the beginning of the creation of God. The first beginning brought into existence the initial spiritual and physical creations. The second beginning brought into existence the eternal spiritual and physical creations.
TWO CURRENT ISSUES
Two main events transpired after the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai. The two events were the construction of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the organizing of Israel into an army. These milestones portray today’s burden of the Spirit.
In Bible symbolism, the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai is equivalent to the giving of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. We have been at Pentecost, so to speak, throughout the present century. The next century will witness the construction of the Body of Christ and the organizing of the members of the Body into an army.
TWO DIFFERENT RESPONSES TO GOD’S LIGHT
God gives light to each of His creatures as He chooses. The light God gives is the revelation of His will for that individual. When we walk in that light (which always is Christ) we have fellowship with God, and the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, purifies us from all sin.
THE TWO DIMENSIONS OF THE ATONEMENT
There are two dimensions of the atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ. The first dimension is that of the forgiveness of sin. The second dimension is that of deliverance from sin. To the present hour the emphasis has been on the first dimension, the second dimension not being understood. From this point forward the emphasis of the Christian salvation will be on deliverance from the sinful nature.
TWO FINAL LEVELS
We have been saved. We have been filled with the Holy Spirit. There are two final levels of the Spirit of God to attain to.
TWO HOPES; TWO ARMIES; TWO RESURRECTIONS
We are in a critical period in world history. We need something to look forward to, something to hope for, something joyful and wonderful so we are not filled with fear. The hope of being “raptured” out of trouble is held by numerous Christians but it has no scriptural basis.
There is a better hope, and it is scriptural.
There is confusion today over the latter rain, the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter Eleven, Joel’s army of Joel, Chapter Two, and the manifestation of the sons of God of the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans. Perhaps we can say a few words that will help the disciple understand the present-day burden of the Holy Spirit.
There are two resurrections and two appearances of the Bride of the Lamb. The first resurrection and appearance is that of the firstfruits. The second resurrection and appearance is that of the entire Bride.
The first resurrection and appearance are greatly to be desired but must be attained.
TWO ISRAELS? TWO KINGDOMS? TWO SECOND COMINGS?
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
The teaching that there are two different called-out peoples, one spiritual and one earthly, is not found in the writings of the Apostle Paul. Paul taught clearly that there is only one holy olive tree, Israel, and we Gentiles have been grafted on it. In the last days the Jews by race will be joined once again to the Olive Tree, the true Vine, the one true stock of Abraham, which is Christ. There will be one Body, one fold, one Shepherd, one Israel, one holy nation of kings and priests. There are not two kingdoms, a spiritual Gentile kingdom and a natural Jewish kingdom. There is only one Kingdom of God, of Heaven. It is the Kingdom announced by the Hebrew Prophets. Of all the errors of current Christian theology, one of the most weakening and misleading, in terms of the spiritual strength and diligence of the believers, is the teaching that there will be a special, secret coming of Christ prior to His actual, prophesied coming to establish His Kingdom on the earth, a secret coming whose purpose is to carry the Gentile elect to Heaven while the Jewish elect are left on the earth.
TWO KINDS OF FAITH
One of the modern deceptions is the emphasis on soulish faith. Soulish faith can lead to demonic assistance and to the pride of Satan. True faith comes from God into the spirit of the believer. Soulish faith proceeds from the soul of the believer. Those who practice true Bible faith are led by the Spirit of God. Those who practice soulish faith are led by their mental knowledge of the Scriptures.
TWO KINDS OF WORKS
I am at it again! Someone dared criticize my daily essays on the Internet, claiming I am denigrating the significance of Christ’s righteousness imputed to believers, stressing the believer’s own works of righteousness, “bifurcating between” (sic) believers who rule and those who are ruled, sneaking human merit into the “salvation formula,” insisting that full redemption depends on the sinner’s own righteousness, and seeking to remedy imbalance while giving “lip-service” (sic) to justification by faith.
So I have decided to once again explain the role of righteous behavior in the Christian salvation, although I have explained, explained, explained until the country is in danger of running out of paper.
THE TWO LAMPSTANDS
Jesus said the Gospel of the Kingdom would be preached to all nations as a witness and then the end would come. This tells us that just before the close of the Church Age there will be a tremendous empowering of the witness of the Kingdom.
We find in the tenth and eleventh chapters of the Book of Revelation just such a scenario. There is an empowering of the Kingdom witness. As soon as the Divine testimony has been given to God’s satisfaction the Christian witness is destroyed from the cities of the earth. Finally the end of the age arrives.
With few exceptions, when the Lord spoke of people being punished at His appearing He was referring to His servants, the Christians. Two warnings helpful for us to consider are the parable of the ten virgins and the parable of the talents. They exhort us concerning the need for diligence during our discipleship.
TWO PURPOSES OF THE LATTER-RAIN OUTPOURING
The Scriptures point toward a latter-rain outpouring of God’s Spirit in the last days. This unprecedented revelation of Divine glory and power is symbolized by the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter Eleven. The end-time revival has two purposes: to bear witness to every nation of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God, and to bring Christ to maturity in the saints.
THE TWO SHALL BE ONE
After creating Paradise the Lord God said, concerning Adam, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”
When the Lord God brought forth the Word, at some point in timeless infinity, God envisioned a helper suitable for Him, a counterpart with whom the Word can enjoy the new heaven and earth that are the actual world God has had in mind from the beginning. The helper is the Christian Church.
All that has transpired since the eternal vision entered God’s mind, from the creation of the spirit realm with its creatures to the present hour, has had as its focus and highest purpose the forming from the living Word of a counterpart fashioned from His body and blood.
In an imaginary discussion before God during the day of judgment, two men give an account of their lives. One man attempts to justify himself by strict reliance on God’s grace in the absence of righteous behavior. The other individual presents a life full of faith balanced with good works. The reward God gives to each man underscores the misunderstanding many Christians have today concerning our scriptural accountability before God.
TYPES AND SHADOWS
It is a miracle that God could sponsor activities over a period of 4,000 years that form an audio-visual, although symbolic, portrayal of our spiritual salvation. Just think of the wisdom and foreknowledge required to perform such a feat, while at the same time permitting people to make their own decisions. In the Bible we have future history written through to the last chapter of the Book of Revelation. How can this be?
THE TWO WITNESSES
With the single exception of the witness borne by the Lord Jesus while on earth, the most powerful, most authoritative testimony of God ever to be given to mankind will come in the days just before the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth. This latter-rain witness will not be given by an energetic, enthusiastic, talented, wealthy church but by the Holy Spirit.
The Body of Christ is being prepared for the end-time testimony, the testimony of the two witnesses. The Divine testimony of the two witnesses will announce to the world that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming from Heaven, not only to rule the nation of Israel but also to govern every nation and village on the earth.
UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF GOD OR SATAN
I wrote the following response to a brother who was questioning whether God holds the mortgage on us or Satan holds the mortgage on us. Does the blood of the cross free us from the authority of Satan or does it propitiate God’s wrath concerning our sin?
THE UNITY OF THE FAITH
According to Ephesians the ministries and gifts of the Spirit are to labor until we all come to the unity of the faith. Does this mean we all will believe the same doctrine? Probably not. There is another unity of the faith that is not based in the human brain.
USEFUL TO THE MASTER
Some believers are useful to the Master, to Christ. Others are not as useful. Why is this? It is because they have not cleansed themselves from the seductions of the world, from the moral filthiness of the flesh, or from their personal ambitions. They are not in the moral image of Christ; neither are they at rest in God’s Person and will; neither have they coveted the ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit that they might build the Body of Christ. They have wasted what has been given to them, and their end shall be the outer darkness.
USING YOUR IMAGINATION THE RIGHT WAY
God has given us the ability to choose what we wish to think about, to imagine, to hope, to determine in our mind. We can picture defeat or we can hope for victory. The choices we make in our mind have a great deal to do with our success in living the victorious Christian life.
A VERY GREAT MISUNDERSTANDING
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking) (from Fulfilling the Vision)
There is a misunderstanding in current Christian theology that is widely accepted by the believers. The misunderstanding is that people can walk in sin and self-will, not seeking to abide in the Person and way of Christ, and still remain under the pardon of Calvary by virtue of their acknowledgment of theological facts concerning Christ: “we believe Jesus was born of a virgin; we believe He made an atonement for the sins of the world; we believe He rose from the dead on the third day.”
No doubt the demons are well aware of these facts; yet, the demons do not have God’s forgiveness or one particle of eternal life. The fallen lords of the heavens shall one day bow the knee to the Lord Jesus but this will not save them in their wickedness.
The Scriptures are eternal: if we live according to the lusts of our flesh, and according to the dictates of our self-love, self-will, and self-centeredness, not forsaking our life and following the Lord Jesus, we will die spiritually. We will slay our resurrection to eternal life.
If any man, Christian or not, practices sin and rebellion against God’s will, he shall come under the judgment of God. If any believer in Christ puts to death, through the Holy Spirit, the lusts of his flesh, he shall enter eternal life.
VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE
Our physical body gives us visibility and function in the material world. When we die physically, we become invisible and we cannot pursue our ordinary activities in the material world. But this is all that changes!
THE VISION OF THE DAY OF THE LORD
There exists a false, dangerous vision of the Day of the Lord. This vision proceeds from doctrines that overemphasize grace and minimize God’s call to righteousness. The believers have been lulled into a spiritually lazy, ignorant state in which Satan easily can achieve victory. The Day of the Lord will be characterized by the sudden appearing of a strong, righteous people clothed in immortal bodies who will go through the earth, burning up the works of the flesh with eternal fire.
WAITING FOR MATURITY
God always has been able to command Michael and his angels to drive Satan from the heavens. But God has chosen to wait until His saints arrive at the maturity required for the removing of evil from the creation.
A WAKE-UP CALL TO THE CHURCH,
The following is a series of visions seen by a friend after two experiences of clinical death. They are a challenge to the Body of Christ to wake up and move forward in the Lord.
THE WALL AGAINST SIN
The concept of the wall is prominent in the Scriptures. The Book of Nehemiah tells of the rebuilding of the wall that surrounds the city of Jerusalem. The Book of Revelation, when describing the new Jerusalem, places great emphasis on the wall that surrounds the holy city and on the twelve foundations of the wall.
While there very well may be an actual jasper wall surrounding the new Jerusalem, it is true nevertheless that the real wall God is concerned about is the will of the saints to choose not to sin, the will to choose to do God’s will in the earth as it is performed in Heaven.
THE WAR HAS BEGUN
It appears the war in Heaven, described in the twelfth chapter of the Book of Revelation, may have commenced already. It is possible that the present war in the Middle East is a reflection of what is taking place in the heavens.
A WARNING TO THE BACKSLIDER
There are verses in the Bible that bring comfort to the person who wants to believe and serve God—assurances that what Christ has begun in our life Christ will finish. There are other verses in the Bible that should terrify the individual who is neglecting his or her salvation, who is yielding to the pressure of the world spirit, the seductions of the flesh, or the imaginations and drives of personal ambition.
In our day in America the numerous assurances are presented again and again but one does not often hear the terrifying warnings. All of the tribes are on Mount Gerizim proclaiming the blessings. Mount Ebal is silent.
THE WARRIOR’S PRAYER
This booklet includes thirty-one daily devotional readings from Psalms 18. Christ’s warrior’s love Him with their whole heart. Christ proves their love for Him by many strong testings until there is no doubt concerning their love. Then He is willing to divide the spoil with them.
God is our Rock, our personal Rock. The world is characterized by constant change and commotion. People run to and fro. The wicked are as the troubled sea, being continually in motion, in a state of change. One moment they appear to be quiet and at peace. The next moment they are in a state of uproar, angry, tumultuous, threatening. There is no true and lasting peace for the wicked or for those who are in contact with the wicked.
God’s warriors are not men and women of constant change. Like their Father and Lord they do not change. The impregnable Lord is their Rock. They are bold in the hour of danger. They do not hold up the Rock, the Rock holds them up. They are as Mount Zion: they cannot be removed. They do the will of God. They abide forever.
WATCHMAN, WHAT OF THE NIGHT?
(from Kingdom Concepts)
A morning is coming and also a night. God is creating deliverers (Nehemiah 9:27; Obadiah 21)—strong saints who will be able to stand and assist many throughout the night that is coming, a night during which we shall not be able to go forth into the Gospel work as we do now.
Do you want to be one of the Lord’s deliverers during the great hour of opportunity, the hour of spiritual famine? Then store up the corn of the Word of God now.
We are to take full advantage of the blessings from Heaven that are falling today so we shall be able to stand in perfect victory as Christian people until the morning of the Lord’s return. Also, we are to rejoice because the coming spiritual and material pressures will provide many opportunities for service (as was true of Joseph) for those who have allowed God to prepare them to stand in the evil day (Ephesians 6:13).
There is a morning coming and there is a night coming. If we have a heart to seek the Lord, to find what His attitude is, what He intends to do, what shortly will come to pass in the earth, then the Lord invites us to return to Him.
WATERS TO SWIM IN
There are four platforms of salvation each member of the royal priesthood must experience. Ezekiel, Chapter 47 portrays these platforms as increasing levels of water. Each time we are judged by the Lord we increase in eternal life, in the state of oneness with Jesus in God. Every time we reach a new level in God we are returned to a place of service. The more we are conformed to the image of Jesus and brought into union with Him, the greater blessing we become to mankind.
WE CHRISTIANS DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL!
The Christian Gospel has been preached for two thousand years. Inconceivably great good has resulted. One wonders, however, if most of the believers most of the time have understood what the Gospel is.
The Gospel is viewed as a proclamation stating whoever will believe in the Lord Jesus and be baptized in water will go to Heaven when he or she dies and live there forever in a luxurious house. The truth is, the Gospel (Good News) is a proclamation stating justice will come to the nations of the earth when the Kingdom of God has come down from Heaven. Whoever believes in the Lord Jesus and is baptized will be saved from destruction at that time.
WE SHALL BE CHANGED!
(from Kingdom Concepts)
The resurrection from the dead is one of the great pillars of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from the resurrection of the dead our preaching is in vain and our faith unfounded.
The resurrection from the dead of which the Scripture speaks, the act of redemption that will take place at the return from Heaven of our Lord Jesus Christ, is not of the spirit or soul of the saint. The spirit and soul have been redeemed previously. The resurrection from the dead, the raising from the grave at the sounding of the trumpet of the Lord, has to do with the body of the saint.
The Divine redemption includes our spirit, our soul, and our body. Our spirit is redeemed by Christ. Our soul is redeemed by Christ. Our body will be redeemed by Christ at His coming provided we have sown to the Spirit of God, putting to death through the Spirit the deeds of our body (Romans 8:13). The Divine salvation extends to the body as well as to the spirit and soul.
WE SHALL NOT PRECEDE…
When we read the famous “rapture” passage in the fourth chapter of First Thessalonians we are struck by the fact that these verses do not resemble the manner in which they currently are interpreted. The “rapture” passage says nothing about the Church going to Heaven. It has nothing to do with our escaping Antichrist or the great tribulation. It does stress that Christ is returning with millions of His saints so they may reclaim their bodies from the grave.
Actually, the emphasis of the verses is on the fact that those of us who are alive at the coming of the Lord shall not enter the Kingdom of God before the deceased saints do. This is what Paul is talking about.
WHAT COMES AFTER PENTECOST?
Pentecost is not the last gift of God before Jesus returns. There is a definite “more” of Jesus. There are not only two major works of Divine grace. The principal types of Scripture do not portray two stages of redemption but three. The three major aspects of the Christian redemption are as follows: Passover (salvation through the blood of Jesus); Pentecost (the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church); Tabernacles (the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell forever in Their eternal temple).
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “ACCEPT CHRIST”?
We Christians often use the expression “accept Christ.” The phrase is not found in any Bible I have. This is remarkable, given the frequency with which the term is used by us. I wonder if this expression is conveying a concept that is not altogether scriptural.
WHAT IS FAITH?
The Scriptures reveal the true faith, and the understanding of the statement, “the just shall live by faith.” True scriptural faith always comes from God into the spirit of the believer, not from the mental and soulish efforts of the individual. True faith always is employed to find the will of God and to do it, not to direct God to do whatever the Christian desires.
True faith always lives in works. There is no such thing as an abstract faith, a faith not expressed in some kind of works. To live by faith is not to adopt a doctrinal position but to live in a close relationship with God, always depending on Him for all our needs.
WHAT IS SALVATION?
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking) (from Rebuilding the Wall)
The program of redemption begins when we are in union with Satan and reveal Satan’s image in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. The program of redemption has been completed when we are in restful union with the Father through Christ and are revealing in our thoughts, words, and actions the image of Christ.
One important goal of salvation is the attainment to the resurrection to eternal life (Philippians 3:11). Attaining to the resurrection of the saints, which Paul held out as our goal, includes death to the world, to the lusts of our flesh—to our entire old nature; and coming to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings. We are seeking total union with God through Christ.
Our salvation has to do with our relationship with Christ. We hope for the resurrection unto life so we can resume our activities on the earth in the Presence of the Lord.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE TEACHING OF THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE
In numerous Christian churches the main preaching is unconditional grace and the pre-tribulation rapture. In our point of view these two doctrine are major heresies and have produced morally weak, silly believers who are in no manner prepared to return with Christ and govern the saved nations of the earth.
We must return to the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. We must begin to make disciples of all nations by teaching them to keep the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. This is the Great Commission.
WHAT SALVATION IS ALL ABOUT
Now is the day when the last three feasts of the Lord, the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles, shall be fulfilled spiritually. The three speak of the coming of the King, Jesus, to declare war against His enemies; removal of all of His enemies from His people; and the coming of the Father and the Son to make their home in our personality. These are the three great works of redemption that follow the Pentecostal experience, to which we have become accustomed.
WHAT SIN IS
It appears numerous Christians do not know what sin is, under the new covenant. If you ask them what sin is they will say, “The only commandment is that we love one another.” Or, “We are not under the law but under grace.” It seems everyone in the world knows what sin is except Christians.
According to the New Testament, sin is the breaking of the moral law as expressed in the Ten Commandments. Yet it is clear from the Scripture that when we take our place with Christ on the cross the Law of Moses has no jurisdiction over us.
What is the answer to this seeming contradiction?
WHEN A CHRISTIAN DIES
There are two aspects to be considered when thinking about the destiny of the Christian after his death: what he will experience when he dies, and what he will experience in the Day of Christ. What happens to us when we die is important to us, but little is stated in the Scriptures about this aspect of our future life. The Scriptures emphasize what will take place when Christ returns.
WHERE ARE WE?
Where are we in God’s eternal plan and purpose? We have been saved. We have been filled with God’s Spirit. What is next? Do the types of the Bible indicate what the Holy Spirit is doing in the present hour?
We think the major allegories and symbols of the Bible portray to us the work of the Holy Spirit as we enter the twenty-first century.
WHERE WE HAVE BEEN, WHERE WE ARE, WHERE WE ARE GOING
There are three basic symbols of Judaism: the Altar, the Lampstand, and the Booth. The Altar speaks of salvation through the blood of the cross. The Lampstand portrays the Holy Spirit by which all men are to live. The Booth represents the eternal plan of God—that all saved people be part of the great dwelling place of God.
Some of us have been saved through the blood of the cross of Christ and are learning to live by the Spirit of God. Now we are to press into the rest of God, into the fullness of God’s Presence.
WHERE? WHEN? HOW?
We know at some point in time, somewhere, and by some method, the Lord is going to remove sin from His Kingdom. It often is taught that when the Lord returns He will instantly remove sin from us without any effort on our part. Another point of view is that the bondages of sin will all be removed when we die.
Neither of these ideas seems to be entirely scriptural. The true answer is given in the New Testament.
The Bible speaks of two kingdoms that will come to the earth, one governed by Antichrist and the False Prophet and the other governed by the Lord Jesus Christ. Both kingdoms are being advocated in our day. Christian people think they always will be able to detect the false and embrace that which is of God. This is not true. The deception of the last days is able to delude and entice far beyond the ability of the average Christian to detect or resist.
The false day star, Satan, is already rising in the hearts of those who would imitate the Lord Jesus, who would seek His power and attempt to imitate His love, joy, and peace, but who are not willing to die to their self-love so they may come into complete union with Him.
WHITE CLOTHES TO WEAR
From the time of the Garden of Eden the Bible has much to say about nakedness and being clothed. God had placed the first two people in the Garden in a shameful condition. They did not realize they were living in a shameful condition, but God understood their state and intended to do something about it.
By disobeying God the first man and his counterpart found out, before God was ready to clothe them, that nakedness is shameful. The knowledge of good and evil, necessary for a son of God, became death to them.
The blood of the Lamb is not our robe of righteousness. Our personality is cleansed by the blood, just as clothes are cleansed by soap, but the soap is not our clothing. It is the righteous nature of Jesus Christ expressed in our person and behavior that produces our white robe.
THE “WHITE THRONE” JUDGMENT
(from Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking
We Christians have termed the judgment that takes place after the thousand-year Kingdom Age the “white-throne” judgment. However, the white-throne judgment is but one aspect of the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is not a judgment separate from the Judgment Seat of Christ of II Corinthians 5:10. The Judgment Seat of Christ is a white throne. The Father judges no man. All judgment has been committed to the Son.
The common teaching that the Judgment Seat of Christ is for the saved and the “white-throne judgment” is for the lost is false. At the Judgment Seat of Christ, all people—Christians and non-Christians alike—will be judged and rewarded on the basis of their works. Mercy may be shown to some; but grace, in the sense of imputed righteousness, will not enter at this point.
The purpose of the grace of God is to create good works in our personality so we can be rewarded for these good works in the Day of Christ. The grace produces good works. The good works result in God’s blessing and eternal life. If we receive Christ but continue to sin we will reap death and not life—now, and also in the Day of Christ.
WHO ARE THE TWO WITNESSES?
As we understand the Scriptures, the two witnesses represent the saints who, in the last days, will bear testimony concerning the soon coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. These saints are an army of witnesses who will testify in the fullness of the power of the “latter rain.” Their testimony will include many works of destruction of catastrophic proportions.
The evil of the end-time will be so great that God will issue a stern warning to all nations so they may prepare themselves for His coming.
The two witnesses will testify of the coming Kingdom and will illustrate the nature of the Kingdom by insisting on righteous behavior.
WHO IS “HE WHO NOW RESTRAINS”?
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking
Many of the Christian churches, in accordance with the doctrine of the “pre-tribulation rapture” of the believers, understand “he who now restrains” (II Thessalonians 2:7) to be the Holy Spirit. The “Gentile Bride” is to be lifted up to Heaven, accompanied by the Holy Spirit. The removal of the Holy Spirit from the earth will permit the full revelation of the “man of sin.” This is what is taught currently.
While we agree that the Holy Spirit in the saints is the Power who is restraining the open revelation of the man of sin, we do not believe the Holy Spirit Himself will be removed from the earth during the great apostasy. We believe rather that it is the witnessing power of the saints that will be overcome, thus paving the way for the full expression of Satan in the earth.
We have at least six reasons for not accepting the current position that II Thessalonians 2:7 means the Holy Spirit of God will be withdrawn into Heaven with the believers before the days of trouble come.
WHO IS JESUS CHRIST
One would think after 2,000 years of church history there would be no question about who Jesus Christ is. Yet even today there are arguments about Christ—whether or not He is the Father in another form; or whether there are three coequal Gods, as in the doctrine of the Trinity.
I am not writing as a theologian but as a disciple who has pursued the Lord for more than fifty years. Some aspects of this problem, at least, seem to be clear in my mind.
THE WHOLE HOUSE OF ISRAEL
The relationship between physical Israel and spiritual Israel has been a subject of much debate. Perhaps we can say some things in this present essay that will be of help. Paul told us “all Israel will be saved.” What did Paul mean by this? And where do the olive tree and the one seed of Abraham fit in?
Let’s take a look at this problem.
THE WHOLESOME PERSONALITY
Those who overcome sin will be counted as God’s sons. Because they are sons they will inherit all that God has made new in Christ. But first they must be set free from the eight behaviors over which the second death has authority.
WHY ANOTHER WORLD?
Why is God developing another world? Christians who have had near-death experiences, and have returned to tell us about what they experienced, leave little doubt that the spirit realm where the righteous dead abide is truly the most wonderful fairyland imaginable. On some occasions these saints have been reluctant to return to life on earth.
If the spirit world, Heaven, is so marvelous, and no doubt it is, what need is there for the restoration of the material world; for the Scriptures teach clearly that the Lord Jesus will return and establish righteousness on the present earth.
WHY HAS GOD JUSTIFIED US?
We have been justified by faith. But for what purpose? Today we would say we are justified for the purpose of going to Heaven when we die. Where in the New Testament is residence in Heaven presented as our goal? It is possible we do not understand the purpose for our being justified by faith.
WHY HAVE WE CHANGED THE NEW COVENANT?
The New Testament mentions two covenants. There is the old covenant of Moses, and then the new covenant of Jesus Christ. The reason God gave us a new covenant is that the behavior of many people under the old covenant was not in keeping with God’s standards of righteousness, holiness, and obedience.
We have so changed the new covenant that it does not accomplish God’s purpose.
WHY IT IS HARD TO BE SAVED
The Apostle Peter tells us “it is hard for the righteous to be saved.” Since this statement is contrary to most Christian preaching, perhaps we need to examine the context to see if we can discover what Peter means by this unusual warning.
A WIFE BUT NOT A QUEEN
(from Revelation: Chapters Twenty-one and Twenty-two)
The Lamb of God seeks a wife to rule with Him in the Kingdom of God, but not as a queen. The spirit of a queen seeks to gain an advantage, through her association with Christ, to act independently of reliance on Christ. The true Wife of the Lamb, however, will rule from a humble and submissive union with Jesus, a union that will provide life and light for the saved nations.
THE WILL OF GOD
There are three forces that motivate man: his need to survive and be secure; the appetites and lusts of his body and soul; and his desire to achieve something of significance. Sitting on top of these three forces is his will. Until his will becomes one with the will of God, man is a potential destroyer of God’s universe.
WITHOUT SIN UNTO SALVATION
(from It Is Time for a Reformation of Christian Thinking)
The Christian redemption does not consist principally of the forgiveness of men but rather of their transformation into new creatures in Christ. Salvation is not directed toward forgiveness alone but toward forgiveness as part of our change into righteous behavior.
Forgiveness is a major aspect of salvation. Forgiveness authorizes us to enter the procedures of salvation. Salvation includes our deliverance from the person, works, and effects of Satan and brings us all the way to the fullness of the image of Christ and total union with God through Christ.
To forgive us is not to save us. To forgive, deliver, and transform us is to save us, in the scriptural sense. The Christian salvation is not the changing of God so He is willing to accept us as we are.
The Christian salvation transforms us from chariots of Satan into chariots of Christ.
God is invisible. He hides Himself and we are commanded to seek Him. Although He remains mysterious and inaccessible, God has issued a testimony of who He is, what He is, what His will is, what His ways are, what His purpose is, what pleases Him, and what displeases Him. We can see that this testimony, the Divine witness of God, is all-important. Apart from it mankind is ignorant and stands in peril of being destroyed by Divine judgment and wrath.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the only true Witness of God. We can behold the invisible God in the Person of Christ. We can learn about God from who and what Christ is. We can learn about God from what Christ says. We can learn about God from what Christ does. What Christ is, says, and does constitutes the witness, the testimony, the expression, the Word of God.
He who does the will of God abides forever. He is a faithful and true witness because God in Christ has entered him and the true Light now shines from him. The hidden, invisible God has found another witness of Himself. Another place of abode in the Father’s House (which is Christ) has become occupied for eternity.
WITNESSES; KINGS; DELIVERERS; SERVANTS
Our God is a God of preparation. God uses three devices in order to prepare deliverers (and sons): rejection, temptation, and imprisonment. Every true saint (and we emphasize true because of the immorality and self-seeking prevalent in contemporary Christianity) will be tested with rejection, with enticement to sin, and with imprisonment.
If the disciple passes the three tests he will move forward to become a witness, a king, a deliverer, and an eternal servant of God. He who overcomes in each of these three areas will inherit all things, and God will be his God, and he will be God’s son.
THE WORD OF THEIR TESTIMONY
There are three ways by which we overcome the accuser of the brothers: by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of our testimony, and by loving not our life to the death. The second of the three ways, the word of our testimony, always proceeds from the Holy Spirit. There is nothing human in the testimony that overcomes the accuser.
THE WORD TO THE ELECT
(from John, Chapter Seventeen)
There is a Divinely constructed wall that stands between the elect and the world. Christ is giving His Word to the elect of today. Each individual who is hearing and receiving the Word of God will discover the Word that has come to him is separating him from the world and, in some instances, from people whom he always had considered to be his brothers and sisters in the Lord.
THE WORK OF RESTORATION
To have, to lose, and to regain is the fundamental design of life. It is the basic story of human beings on the earth. It is the story of redemption.
The Books of Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi have to do with the work of the restoration of Jerusalem after the years of captivity in Babylon. As we meditate on this central topic of the Scriptures we begin to realize the pattern of restoration is the pattern of the history of the world and of every person of the world. It is the story of the prodigal son.
The concept of restoration is one of the most important ideas of the Scriptures. The restoration of the Temple of Solomon and the rebuilding of the wall of the city of Jerusalem are illustrations of what is to take place in the Body of Christ, which is the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb.
The Book of Ezra portrays the restoration of the Temple of God. The Book of Nehemiah describes the rebuilding of the wall of defense of the city of Jerusalem.
The program of the restoration of the Glory of God in the earth has continued to this day. We are living in an hour when the spiritual pace is accelerating. No longer is there time for people to plan their own life in such a manner that some small portion of it is assigned to Christ. Such lukewarmness will be brought to judgment very soon. Christ will have our whole life or we will not be able to enter our inheritance in the Lord.
From now on it is necessary to move forward in faith one day at a time, and may God grant us the wisdom to redeem the fleeting hours. Great rewards are offered to those who will lay aside every other consideration and begin to seek Christ in earnest. God proposes to do a final work of righteousness that will result in everlasting righteousness. Let us rise to the occasion and make every day profitable for Christ.
THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT
The work of the Spirit can be divided into two main categories. The first category is that of the outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh. The purpose of this is to revive the purposes of God in the world and also in the churches. Signs and wonders, healings, miracles, the gifts and minstries of the Spirit, come under this category.
The second category is that of the moral transformation of individual believers. The first category is the means. The second category is the end product. The purpose of the outpouring of the Spirit is to produce moral transformation in the Christians.
WORKING OUT OUR SALVATION
Typical preaching in our day presents the Christian salvation as a ticket to Heaven. A few “key verses,” such as Romans 10:9,10, are lifted from their contexts and used to “get people saved.” Numerous people have “come to Christ” in just this manner, including the present author.
The “ticket to Heaven” approach to the Divine redemption has been of benefit until the present hour. However, the nearness of the Day of the Lord is bringing with it a renewed understanding of the salvation that is in Christ, a much broader perspective and one that embraces all that is presented in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
WORTHY OF THE KINGDOM
A concept is presented in the New Testament that often is overlooked in today’s Christian preaching and teaching. The concept is that of worthiness to be part of the Kingdom of God. The present teaching has God anxiously wringing His hands, hoping someone will accept His freely given pardon. But the Bible tells us in several passages that we must be proven worthy of the Kingdom of God.
YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER
The “former rain” of God’s Holy Spirit is described in the Book of Acts. In the days just prior to the return of Christ the “latter rain” of the Spirit of God will fall. The former rain empowered the spreading of the Gospel witness, the testimony concerning the soon coming of the Kingdom of God, to the ends of the earth. The latter rain also will result in the testimony of the Kingdom of God going forth to the ends of the earth.
It is our point of view that when the Spirit spoke to John “Thou must prophesy again” (Revelation 10:11), the Spirit was referring to the latter rain that was announced by the prophets of Israel. The latter rain is the “again” prophecy. The end-time, latter-rain witness of the Kingdom of God will be prophetic in nature. The members of God’s elect will become a part of the great Light of the world, the Body of Christ, the Lampstand of God.
After our resurrection we no longer will be subject to the attacks of wicked, Satan-filled people. There will be no need for us, after we have been raised from the dead, to be caught away to meet the Lord in the air in order to escape tribulation. We are not raised from the dead or transformed in order that we may escape tribulation. We are raised from the dead and transformed because we have attained the first resurrection and are ready to be revealed with Christ to the earth. Through Christ we have overcome the last enemy—physical death.
In that day it will not be the saints who are afraid of Antichrist, it will be Antichrist and the wicked of the earth who will tremble exceedingly at what they are witnessing.
YOU ARE MY PEOPLE
The Gospel of Christ belongs to the Jews. There is no such thing as a “Gentile Church.” Over the two thousand years of the Church Era the Divine salvation has been associated with non-Jews until the term Gentile has come to mean “a Christian as distinguished from a Jew.”
The Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven originated with Jews, will end with Jews, and is the possession of Jews. It is the “children’s bread.” Let every elect Gentile now recognize his debt to the Jewish Apostles and treat Jews according to the truth of God—as the race to whom the Gospel, by Divine right, is given first.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO SIN!
It usually is true that before we can receive a blessing from God we have to know the promise is in the Bible. This is true of being saved. It is true of the gifts of the Spirit, including speaking in tongues. It is true of Divine healing. Once we know God has given the promise we can choose to believe, and then pray until we receive.
The New Testament promises us victory over sin. Once we see such victory is scriptural we can choose to believe and then pray until we receive.
YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN!
The central issue of the Kingdom of God is that of being born again. Two separate races are involved in the Divine plan of redemption. Two kinds of creatures must be taken into account if we would understand what God is doing. The first race is from Adam. The second race is from Christ.
Christ is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead of a new race. The new race consists of life-giving spirits who have souls fashioned in the image of the Soul of God their Father. The first race is temporary and its environment is temporary. The second race is eternal and its environment is eternal.
YOU SHALL NOT SURELY DIE!
There are many voices in the land crying for repentance. Lethargy and sin in the churches are widespread. In some instances the Christian homes are not much different from those of the world. The parents spend their time with the television. The young people are out late at night without a chaperone.
We think the way grace is preached has a lot to do with this appalling condition. We are told we should do good and serve the Lord, but if we do not we will be ushered into Paradise by grace. Only a few of the most dedicated believers will be moved to repentance if it doesn’t make that much difference in our destiny.
The idea that the Christian salvation has as its primary purpose that we might escape Hell and live forever in Heaven probably has been borrowed from other religions. Escaping torment and entering Paradise, although these two states are mentioned in the Bible, is not the emphasis of the New Testament. The focus is on gaining the fullness of eternal life.
One concept that is stressed in the New Testament, however, is how we will appear in the Day of Resurrection. We need to think more about this.
YOUR REDEMPTION DRAWS NEAR
The advance guard of the Christian Church is moving past the Pentecostal experience. The next aspect of redemption to be brought to the attention of God’s people is the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. We are moving toward the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
Whenever Christ is near there always is an abundance of false christs. This is true today. Some are proclaiming the coming of the kingdom of God, but it is a man-directed kingdom. An effort is being made to place the head of man on the Body of Christ. The question is, will the redemption, the Kingdom all believers hope for, come into being through the efforts of the Christian people, or will the Kingdom of God come from Heaven with the appearing of the Lord?
Christian believers are at a crossroads. Should we attempt to employ our faith and God-given gifts to bring in the Kingdom before the Lord appears? Or should we take up our cross and meekly trust in the Lord Jesus until He shows us what to do? Here is the difference between the False Prophet and the true Day Star.
YOUR ROLE IN YOUR SALVATION
There are several Divine objectives of the plan of salvation. The New Testament tells us what we must do to attain each of the objectives. It may be noted that God is the one who has given the plan and the necessary virtue, wisdom and power. But in every case there is something we must do if we are to achieve the objectives God has set for us.
(“A Catalog of Books”, 3622-1)