WHAT HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD ME?: FIVE
WHAT HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD ME?: FIVECopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
("What House Will You Build Me?: Five" is taken from The Temple of God, copyright Š 2011 by Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
We are surrounded by miracles. The angel of the Lord bears us up in his hands all the day. Any person who believes that the creation moves solely by the power and guidance of physical principles is as blind as Elisha's servant (II Kings 6:17).
Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus, Peter, James, and John on the Mount of Transfiguration. Here is a picture of what it is like in the Kingdom of God; not of what it will be like but what it is like in the Kingdom, as far as Christ, Moses, Elijah, Peter, James, and John are concerned.
The transfiguration took place many hundreds of years ago. How much more are Christ and these five men interested in the development of the Body of Christ in the earth today, as we approach the overthrow of the forces of darkness (Hebrews 12:1)?
We already have come to the gathering of multitudes of angels and to the spirits of righteous men made perfect (Hebrews 12:22,23). The saints of God are all alive and much interested in what the Spirit of God currently is accomplishing in the earth.
As the power of the Kingdom Age increases in our midst we will come to a greater awareness of Mount Zion and its inhabitants. Remember, the saints in glory will go before us in the resurrection (I Thessalonians 4:15; Hebrews 12:1).
We all are one army (Ezekiel 37:10). Perhaps Christ's soldiers now in Heaven are as interested in the Kingdom as we. Jesus always lives in awareness of both the spiritual and the physical domains of His Kingdom, and so shall we as we press into Him.
Notice how Paul charged Timothy before Christ and the elect angels, although neither Christ nor the angels were visible at the time. However, Christ and the angels were present in Paul's consciousness.
I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. (I Timothy 5:21)
What profit is it to consider the elect angels, the spiritual domain of the Kingdom of God? Much. The touch of Heaven on our consciousness lifts us above the world now and will help us to stand as we enter the days of trouble that are just ahead.
The vision of Heaven continues to broaden our spirit, relieving us of the grubbing competition that causes us to forget that the values in life are not material possessions but our relationship with God and with our fellow pilgrims.
Our one regret as we pass from the bondage of our flesh, after we have made our peace with God, will be that we were not kinder, gentler, more patient with other peopleespecially with those close to us.
The touch of Heaven on our consciousness while we still are at home in the appetites of the flesh permits us to maintain a better perspective concerning our relationships with people, as we become aware of the gentle good will and kindliness that permeate the social atmosphere of Heaven.
Speaking of the deeds of Jesus that He accomplished while He was here on earth, John wrote: "There are also many other things that Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen" (John 21:25). The Kingdom-Age glory was in Christ while He was on earth.
He was with the wild animals in the desert without harm to himself (Mark 1:13). He passed through the midst of people, and through doors with the same ease (Luke 4:30; John 20:26). He was ministered to by angels (Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:43). No man took the Life of Christ from Him. He laid His body down and then took it up again (John 10:18). He ascended into the clouds in full view of His followers (Acts 1:9).
He cannot be contained by the barriers to which people ordinarily are subject. He is Christ, the Redeemer, the Son of God, the Son of Man, Jacob's Ladder reaching from earth to Heaven (Genesis 28:12).
He is the Resurrection. He is the Life. He is the Jubilee. In Him and through Him all the creation will obtain release into the glorious liberty of the children of God. The only creatures who will not be brought into liberty are those who resist the will of Christ.
There were many examples in the early Church of the exercise of Kingdom authority and power. One example, comparable to Jesus walking on the water, was that of Philip traveling in the Spirit to Azotus (Acts 8:39,40). Philip was used as an angel (messenger) of the Lord in this instance.
Ananias and Sapphira were pierced through by the Sword (Word) of the Lord (Acts 5:1-10) exactly as evildoers will be slain during the period in which Christ and His army impose the Kingdom Age on the earth.
Another demonstration of Kingdom power occurred when Paul shook off the beast (viper) into the fire and felt no harm (Acts 28:3-6). This incident not only is a foreshadowing of the Day when the deadliest and most vicious of the animals become playmates for toddlers, but also is symbolic of the coming of the Day of the Lord.
The Church, through the authority and power of Christ, will "shake off" the power of sin and death into the fire of God's wrath. When the people of the world see this happen they will change their mind about Christ and say He is God (Acts 28:6).
The full authority and power of the thousand-year Kingdom Age awaits the maturing of the Body of Christ. However, many works of power of that age are available to each Christian today. What an hour in which to be living! Like Paul, we must lay aside every distraction and press on toward the fullness of resurrection life, not worrying too much about a little suffering along the way.
During the thousand-year Kingdom Age the tame and wild beasts will be reconciled and the destructive nature will be removed from ferocious animals.
And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' [viper's] den. (Isaiah 11:7,8)
There will be marvelous rejoicing when sin has been removed from the earth and the Spirit of God is able to have free course among the nations!
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)
The peoples of the earth no longer will work from dark to dark seven days a week because of fear of not obtaining the necessities of life. They will recognize that the world-spirit (Satan) by deception and for his own interests kept them grinding away in slavery to the acquiring of material goods or for fame, power, or some other elusive, joyless goal.
God will feed us and clothe us as Jesus promised. The rest is vanity. How easily we are deceived into turning away from God! We spend our life in the dark, pursuing temporal goals that never can satisfy us. Jesus brings light, blessing, an easy yoke, a light burden. Why shouldn't we love and serve Him.
And it shall come to pass in the day that the Lord shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve, That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon (Satan operating through man-directed, institutional Christianity), and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! (Isaiah 14:3,4)
With all evildoers gone, the earth will be a glorious place in which to live.
The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. (Isaiah 14:7)
Because of sin, God withdrew from the company of those whom He had created. God never will abide where there is sin and rebellion. The only reason God can walk in fellowship with us today is that the blood of Christ covers our unrighteousness, our uncleanness, and our disobedience.
God separated Himself from mankind. People soon recognized that we humans cannot live without the Life and help of God. Men began to "call upon the name of the Lord" in prayer, just as we do today (Genesis 4:26).
Mankind discovered that it is not difficult to lose God's Presence but it can be extremely difficult to receive Him back again.
In the Day of the Lord, however, God will be able to draw near to the earth through His Church, His living Temple. Mankind will walk under an open Heaven. People will be able through the Church to see God and hear His voice. Death will be driven from the earth along with sin. Those who accept the rule of Christ over them will eventually have access to the Tree of Life.
We can observe the Kingdom Age operating in the Life of Christ on the earth. In Christ, all people could see and hear God. Jesus cast death out of several people while He was here. Men, women, boys, and girls had access to God through Him. Each person who received Him as Lord and Savior received eternal life.
It always is God's will that we receive more of the Presence of the Father and the Son in ourselves. As we do we are able to bring, to each person who chooses to receive it, the Divine Life that is in Christ.
We must seek the Lord so He will command us to bring His Presence into the world today.
And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. (Isaiah 25:7,8)
The Church will bring forth the fruit of Christ now and throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. (Isaiah 27:6)
The authority and power of Christ in His saints will enable them to purge the earth of all unrighteousness.
And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate. (Isaiah 28:6)
The Millennial Jubilee will be a Pentecost of Pentecosts.
Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. (Isaiah 32:15)
The preceding verse means the Presence of the Holy Spirit will be so abundant and widespread that those who are weak spiritually will grow and flourish and those who are strong spiritually will become towers of glory and strength in the Lord.
Sickness and sin will be driven from the earth during the Jubilee.
And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity. (Isaiah 33:24)
Nature will be touched with Divine Glory.
The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. (Isaiah 35:1)
Holy conduct will be established in the earth.
And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. (Isaiah 35:8)
The above aspects of the Kingdom of God become increasingly true concerning us as we press into Christ. The Kingdom is at hand and the diligent and courageous are laying hold on it. You can too.
The Lord Jesus Christ does not change. His Presence is the Day of the Lord. Christ Himself is the Divine Standard, the Plumb Line, the Divine Pattern. All mankind must be brought into conformity with His desires and He must become central in all creatures, things, and activities. His laws, ways of doing, likes, and dislikes are to be taught throughout the earth. Rebellion against Him ultimately shall be crushed.
There will be no hesitation during the Kingdom Age when it comes to bringing to pass the will of the Almighty Christ. He comes to us now in gentleness, wooing us, inviting us to go His way. In many instances His representatives suffer at the hands of those who desire to force their own will and way on people.
At the onset of the Kingdom Age Christ will spring on the leaders and the rich of the world, striking terror into their hearts.
Even those closest to Him will stand back in astonishment. When the Apostle John, who was as close to the Lord Jesus as most men, and who wrote, "perfect love casts out fear," saw Christ in His Glory, he promptly "fell at his feet as dead" (Revelation 1:17).
One does not come flippantly into the Presence of the most dreadful Power in the universe, assuming that He is pleased with all that we are doing, saying, and thinking. It is best that we work out our own salvation "with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).
There is a spirit of lightness and of overfamiliarity with Christ among the Christian people of our time. This attitude is not seemly, it is not realistic, it is spiritually dangerous.
Christ is not some acquaintance to whom we say, Hey, Jesus when we want His attention.
The Lord Jesus is loving and does not turn away the presumptuous new convert, just as a ruler of today does not drive a baby from his presence because the baby does not show proper respect and subservience. Nevertheless it is not a good idea to come before the supremely powerful Emperor of the universe without showing due respect.
The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.
It is encouraging to know that Christ will not become discouraged, He shall prevail ultimately.
He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law. (Isaiah 42:4)
At the last trumpet the victorious saints will be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air in preparation for His entry into the earth in avenging fire. We shall return with Him and the nations of the saved will come to us to be judged, delivered, and taught.
Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, give up; and to the south, keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. (Isaiah 43:5-7)
Speaking of the time when God will bring His whole Church into unity and maturity (and each believing saint into victory now), Isaiah proclaims:
Sing, O ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel. (Isaiah 44:23)
The preceding verse is referring to the release of the creation at the manifestation of the sons of God. Yet, these promises are true for us today as we press into Christ, into the Kingdom of God.
Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, shew yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim. Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. (Isaiah 49:8-13)
The governments of the earth are to be brought into submission to Christ in His Church.
And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me. (Isaiah 49:23)
Nature rejoices when the Lord God returns to the earth.
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isaiah 55:12)
When Jesus comes, the curse of thorns and thistles (the things that plague the inhabitants of the earth) will be lifted and the earth will become the paradise that God intends it should be. We may suffer for a season as God is perfecting us. Eventually, however, righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit will prevail in our life. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (Isaiah 55:13)
Isaiah, Chapters 60-62 portrays the coming and characteristics of the Kingdom of God. The darker our environment becomes the greater is the opportunity for the light of God's Glory to arise on us.
For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:2)
Christ will come "suddenly from heaven." The rule of peace will descend with Christ and His army. The righteousness of God bringing redemption with it will be brought down from above and imposed on the earth.
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:1)
The Light of Christ coming on a church or an individual results in an ingathering of souls into the Kingdom:
Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles [nations] shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)
It is God's will that every member of His household conduct himself in a righteous and holy manner; that there be no more sin and disobedience in His Church.
Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21)
The anointing of the Holy Spirit on Christ and on the members of His Body brings about the redemption of the peoples of the earth, and the deliverance of the earth itself. The release always is accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit and will commence with the members of His Body. Jesus announced this fact two thousand years ago:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,... (Isaiah 61:1,2)
At this point Jesus stopped because now He must wait "until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth" (Micah 5:3). The Body of the Deliverer must be created before the Day of Vengeance of our God can be brought to pass in the earth.
As soon as "we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Ephesians 4:13), the remainder of Isaiah, Chapter 61 can be announced:
. . . and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:2,3)
Chapter 61 proceeds to describe the work of restoring the "former desolations" and the "waste cities." God's elect, the living stones of His Temple, have become "trees [oaks] of righteousness." The peoples of the earth will refer to the Christians as "the Priests of the Lord," "the Ministers of our God."
And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles [nations], and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. (Isaiah 61:9)
The following verse is the response of the Christian to his being clothed with his "house from heaven,"
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
The Seed of Christ is being sown now throughout the earth. In every corner of the world, missionaries have brought and yet are bringing the Life of Christ to all who will receive.
The past two thousand years have been a period of sowing. However, there will come a day when the Seed of Christ comes to harvest. As harvest time arrives, all evildoers and every vestige of their person and ways will be driven from the Kingdom of God.
As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. (Matthew 13:40)
For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)
Our response as Christians to the vision of the coming Jubilee should be a giving of ourselves wholly to the King who rules the Kingdom, to do His will at every moment, day and night.
For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. (Isaiah 62:1)
And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem [the Israel of God, the Christian Church] a praise in the earth. (Isaiah 62:7)
The proclamation has come from Christ:
Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. (Isaiah 62:11)
The Kingdom Age will be a thousand years of the righteous rule of God in Christ in and with the saints over the nations of saved peoples of the earth. As we understand it, the nation of Israel especially will be blessed.
During the Day of the Lord the meek will receive back their inheritance in the earth. The receiving of their inheritance will be possible because the RedeemerChrist, Head and Bodywill plead their cause.
The Word of God will issue from the mouth of Christ and His Body under such an anointing of the Spirit of God that it will carry unlimited authority and power.
The Word of Christ contains in it the force that created the galaxies of stars in their positions in outer space. When the Day of God arrives, the Word of God coming from the mouth of Christ and His brothers, the conquering saints, will impose control over the activities of the peoples of the nations. Any individual who resists the Word of Christ in that day will be overcome, just as Ananias and Sapphira fell dead before the servants of Christ.
The Word of God when uttered in the Spirit of God has the force to move everybody and everything in front of it. Who on the earth will be able to resist the word of command that roars from Christ in His Church?
The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3:16)
The judgment of God against wicked spirits, and against people who yield to the unclean spirits, proceeds from Christ and His Bride. This has been true throughout Church history, is increasing in power today, and will increase in scope in the future until the full expression of the authority and power of judgment is exhibited at the installation of the Jubilee.
In the above verse the "city" is Jerusalem, the Church of Christ, the Zion that is in Heaven at this time and from which every Christian is born (Galatians 4:26). It is the "Lamb's wife" (Revelation 21:9).
The "temple" is the Temple of God, again, the Church of Christ (I Corinthians 6:19). The work of the Church is to destroy the enemies of the Lord. The intention of God is that the Church tread on all the power of the evil one and finally crush his head.
Tearing down and removing the power of evil is the role, the service, of the Church of Christ. It is the wisdom of God that the Church first suffer every pain and humiliation at the hands of the lords of darkness. Then, when the obedience of the Church has been fulfilled, the Church will be the instrument of vengeance in the hands of the Lord God (Isaiah 41:15; II Corinthians 10:6).
The Church of Christ will be the judge of men and of angels (I Corinthians 6:2,3).
John the Baptist cried, "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2).
Two thousand years ago the Kingdom Age, in the Person of Christ, was about to appear. Christ is the King of the Kingdom of God.
Today we are at the very gates of the Day of the King. The Scriptures teach us that when the moment of judgment arrives the Church suddenly will bring forth an army of saints who will go through the earth and tread down all the works of darkness.
Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. (Isaiah 66:7)
Christ was born of Mary before the Church travailed.
Now the Church is travailing and Christ is being born in the saints.
Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. (Isaiah 66:8)
The above passage emphasizes the suddenness with which the army of the Lord will be raised at the coming of Christ. It will be as in the case of Gideon's three hundred men who were stationed, each in his place, "round about the camp" (Judges 7:21). After they had been equipped and arranged so the enemy was surrounded, they were revealed suddenly.
Isaiah inquires: "Will the earth be made to bring forth in one day?"
Paul responds: "He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make on the earth" (Romans 9:28).
In our day the Church may seem to be dry and hopeless: "Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts" (Ezekiel 37:11).
In a moment the Spirit of God will "breathe on these slain" and create an invincible army (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel. (Micah 5:3)
It is the Deliverer, Christ, the Servant of the Lord, who is being created by the travail of the ministries of the Church. The "man child" born of the Church is Christ in His Church, which is "the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:23).
The saints in that day will be as David's mighty men, going forth to war with Christ at their head, treading down lawlessness, tearing down evildoers and their works, and "none can deliver" out of their hands (Micah 5:8).
Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the Lord: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God. (Isaiah 66:9)
The Kingdom of Christ is associated with tribulation and patience (Revelation 1:9). We of the Church of Christ are required to learn the patience of Christ and to wait with Him until His enemies have been made His footstool (Psalms 110:1).
The hope that keeps us from becoming discouraged is that God will not bring us to the point of birth into His glorious power and liberty, and then fail to "open the womb" so we never can experience that for which we have been waiting with such joyful expectancy.
We must wait patiently for God. Our vindication will come in God's time and by His power. The Church will have the "last laugh," the ultimate victory (Isaiah 37:22). God Himself laughs in derision at those who would resist His Anointed One. Let us learn to laugh with God at the enemies of Christ. (Psalms 2:4).
What a Day! What a Day is coming, and even now is upon us! The Kingdom of God is coming into the earth. All the glorious blessings seen by the prophets of Israel are available to whoever will reach out and grasp the fullness of Christ.
The authority and power to deliver from spiritual oppression is found only in the Christian Church because it is in the Church that Christ is dwelling, and God in Christ.
Let us of the Church look to Christ in faith that we may go forward, walking every one "in his path" (Joel 2:8). Let us request of the Lord, as Peter did, to command us to walk on the waters of perplexity and distress and to bring the blessings of the Kingdom of God to every one to whom the Spirit of God sends us.
Jesus stated that the authority and power of judgment resides in the Church. When He was discussing a dissension between two people He taught that reconciliation should be attempted. In the event that the offender would not yield, the injured party should seek judgment from the elders of the Church.
And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Matthew 18:17)
Jesus indicated also the Church will be the instrument of war in the hand of God:
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)
The Church is the vehicle through which God will lay waste the "gates of hell" and bring judgment into the earth. The above two verses are the only instances of Jesus' use of the word church, as recorded in the King James translation of the four Gospel accounts.
The fact that the term was used by the Lord Jesus in the context of judgment and of resistance to the forces of Hell indicates that these are important purposes of the Church in the work of the Kingdom of God.
Peter, along with the other apostles and prophets of the Church, was used by Christ to lay the foundation of the Temple of God, the Church of Christ, Christ Himself being the chief Cornerstone. The Church is founded on the Rock, Christ (I Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20).
Notice Jesus' words to Peter:
And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19)
The above verse points toward the relationship of the Christian Church to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Church holds the keys of the Kingdom. The Church, when walking in the Spirit of God, possesses, through Christ, the authority and power to install the Kingdom of God on the earth, to allow people into the Kingdom or to keep them out.
Christ in the Church is the Judge who has been invested with the fullness of authority by God Almighty. The power of judgment resides in the Church when the Church is abiding in Christ and is acting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The Apostles of Christ were interested in the restoration of the power of the Kingdom of Israel, as had been true under David and Solomon:
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? (Acts 1:6)
The question raised by the Apostles had to do with the coming of the kingdom of the Jews. Jesus set aside their question. He gave them the only answer they were capable of receiving at that time:
And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:7,8)
When will the kingdom be restored to Israel? Jesus did not come to restore the Davidic or Solomonic thrones as they existed under the old covenant. Jesus came to set up a kingdom in the hearts of the saints that has the spiritual authority and power to overcome the real enemies of Godthe lords of darkness. The disciples did not understand this because they had not as yet received the Spirit of truth.
So Jesus answered their question by saying in effect, you will receive the power of the Spirit of God so you can go out to all the world and bear witness of methe King of the Kingdom. All who will believe and be baptized will be saved and live forever in my Kingdom. Meanwhile, I am going to build a Church, a holy Temple, that will become my means of ruling over the earth.
Jesus understands that the earth and everyone and everything in the earth will belong to Him as an everlasting possession. He realizes also He is required to wait patiently for God Almighty to bring all in subjection under Him.
The Apostles knew little about the scope or the spiritual nature of the Kingdom of Heaven. They were expecting Jesus to return in their lifetime.
Jesus answered their question concerning the Kingdom to the extent possible at that point. He gave them the next step in the plan for building the Kingdom. This step still is being taken today. We are to receive the power of the Holy Spirit and bear witness of the King, Christ, so people all over the earth will be prepared for His return from Heaven.
The Day of the Lord, the period of the setting up of the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth, is the time of redemption, of the full maturing of the fruit of Christ's work of atonement, of the beautifying and adorning of the Wife of the Lamb, and of the restoration to the earth of all that was lost in the Garden of Eden.
The whole earth will be full of the knowledge of the Glory of God as the waters cover the sea. The wild animals will dwell in peace with the tame animals and a "little child shall lead them."
As most of us may realize, people are occupied too much with the pursuit of money. But "In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth." (Isaiah 2:20,21)
God in Christ in the Church will settle all disputes and will sit in judgment, just as He did for Israel under the old covenant (Numbers 15:35; 27:6,7). God will rule through His Temple, which is ChristHead and Body.
The nations of saved peoples of the earth will be able to pursue their vocations without the constant pressure from demons who are attempting to push them into rebellion against God. This is the Kingdom of God that Isaiah described and that John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed.
The Kingdom of God is close to the earth now and we should be lifting up our heads in hope, in joy, in expectation, in faith, because our redemption is drawing near. The King is coming.
After Christ is revealed in and with His saints, "in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (II Thessalonians 1:8), there will be a thousand years of righteous government on the earth. This era of release, joy, and prosperity is the Jubilee, the Day of the Lord, the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.
The coming of Christ into His Kingdom is portrayed in the Old Testament by the ascension of David to the throne of Israel. It may be recalled that David had been anointed king by the Prophet Samuel long before Saul was killed in battle (I Samuel 16:13). David, though anointed king, had to keep away from his kingdom while Saul, the "flesh," had his day.
During the past two thousand years Christ has been anointed as the lawful King over the whole earth but has had to keep away from His Kingdom until the "flesh" has been "killed" by the Lord God.
It is true even of the disciples of the Lord that Christ is not able to rule us as individuals until our "flesh" has been "killed" by the Spirit of God.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. (Revelation 19:6)
During the Kingdom Age, Satan and all the power of sin will be imprisoned in the bottomless pit. The saints will take their places as the lawful rulers of the authority of the air (Ephesians 2:2; Daniel 7:27). The atmosphere throughout the earth will be the same as it is in Heaven nowjoyous, peaceful behavior in accordance with the Spirit of God.
The Kingdom of Heaven shall be ruling in the earth. God's will shall be being done in earth as it is in Heaven.
The "beloved city," Jerusalem, the Body of Christ, will be on the earth at the site of the physical Jerusalem, giving forth the Word of the Lord and serving as the "light of the world" and the Throne of God. The Glory of God will be abiding on the Church. Every member of the Body of Christ will know the Lord, "from the least to the greatest."
And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles [nations], and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. (Isaiah 61:9)
The Glory of God in the saints will be protected throughout the thousand-year Jubilee, as it is written:
And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. (Isaiah 4:5)
We are of the opinion that this protection already is being established for the warlike remnant that is being drawn from the churches, because of the rise of evil in the world.
As soon as the years of the Jubilee have been fulfilled, Satan will be released from the bottomless pit. He then will resume his work of seducing the nations and leading them astray.
Permitting Satan to go forth in this manner, after the peoples of the earth have enjoyed a thousand years of the rule of the Kingdom of God, is an example of the wisdom of Goda demonstration of the sovereignty of the manner in which God works according to His power and foreknowledge.
And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. (Revelation 20:7,8)
Prior to the releasing of Satan from the pit, the nations of the earth had sought God's will and delighted in it.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)
Now, deliberately, at the end of the thousand years, the Lord God will allow to pass among all the nations in the "four quarters of the earth" the deceiver who will successfully seduce them to turn against the saints.
God never causes anyone to sin. People sin because they are led astray by their own lusts. God does allow circumstances to arise so the seeds buried in the human heart will germinate and spring into definition that they may be judged.
During the process of salvation certain types of pressure are required, designed specifically for each individual, to bring out the depths of deceit in the heart. First, God forgives and "covers" our sins. After that, He defines and removes them. The covering, and then the uncovering, defining, and removing must be accomplished in God's time. If the processes are not performed in God's wisdom and timing, disaster results concerning those whom God is saving.
The history of Adam and Eve demonstrates the tragedy of sin uncovered before its time.
In the present hour the Holy Spirit is beginning to uncover the sins of Christians, in the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament Day of Atonement. It is time now to confess our sins so God may forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
After the thousand years of the Kingdom Age mankind still will be vulnerable to temptation. Can you imagine that! It is no surprise that Adam and Eve were led astray so quickly and easily. They did not have teachers or the history of the world to instruct them concerning the folly of breaking God's laws.
It is God's intention that there will be no person in the new earth who can be led away from Him that easily. There will be no more "sea" of people who are driven and tossed by the "wind" of spirits. Therefore, there will be one last earth-wide screening of the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
At the time of the fiery destruction of Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:9) there will be a multitude of people on the earth, "the number of whom is as the sand of the sea" (Revelation 20:8).
There also will be the "camp of the saints," and the "beloved city" (Revelation 20:9). The expression "camp [fortress] of the saints" signifies, as we understand it, that the Presence of the Lord of Armies, the God of battles, will be with the saints for the purpose of establishing and maintaining the rule of Christ on the earth.
The adversary, having brought up his ancient accusations against God and against the people of God, will deceive and seduce the nations into making war against the saints. The nations of the earth will have in their memory the knowledge of the destruction that Christ and His army brought on earth's armies at Armageddon (Revelation 19:19-21). But these deceived people will suppose on this new occasion evil will triumph over God.
Isn't their blindness and hardness of heart amazing? Isn't it true also we obtain a victory from the Lord and then wring our hands in despair and unbelief at the next battle, supposing this time Christ will be overcome or will forsake us?
And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp [fortress] of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. (Revelation 20:9)
God doesn't even bother to have a battle at this point. His tests have now been concluded. All His creatures have been assigned to their appointed places. The Book of Life is finished.
God's judgment, covering the period from the occasion of the first sign of rebellion in Heaven to the moment when the last person chooses to march against the saints in the armies of Gog and Magog, has been concluded. Now God Almighty receives back into Himself the energy and mass that brought into being His physical universe.
Fire comes down from God out of Heaven and devours Gog and Magog. The universe passes away with the cataclysmic roar of galaxies disintegrating.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation [conduct] and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto [hastening] the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (II Peter 3:10-13)
God takes His eraser and wipes the slate clean. God wants all remembrance of former things to pass from the minds of His people; for now He will begin again with the new creation that He has envisioned and constructed in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The process of forgetting the past and bringing forth the new creation in Christ begins in us today, if we allow the Spirit of God to press us into Christ.
The devil is cast into the Lake of Fire, which already contains the Beast and the False Prophet, and will be tormented day and night forever. The great white Throne of God Almighty is revealed for all to behold. At the appearing of the Face of Him who sits thereon the earth and the heavens will vanish into nothingness. No place will be found for them.
Every support on which God's creatures have depended (except His Word) has disappeared. God alone is exalted for all to behold.
Before Him will stand all the dead of the earth, from the days of Adam and Eve to the last soldier of God and Magog consumed by Divine fire.
The dead will come forth from the sea, from death, and from Hell.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Revelation 20:13)
There is a deeper meaning to the above verse than what appears at first glance. How could the sea give up its dead when the earth and the heaven already have fled (Revelation 20:11)?
How can it be that some of the dead are in the sea, some are in death, and some are in Hell? Are the bodies of some in the sea, others in death, and yet others in Hell? Or are the spirits and souls of some in the sea, some in death, and others in Hell?
Do the dead stand before the throne in their bodies? If so, why is it that their bodies were not destroyed along with the earth and the heaven?
This particular passage of the Scriptures has been oversimplified and its meaning distorted. The emphasis of verse fifteen has been changed to fit Christian theology.
The writer's understanding is that only Christ's victorious saints are raised physically prior to the thousand-year Kingdom Age. Their judgment is accomplished before they die and pass into the spirit realm. Their sentence in the Day of the Lord is to be with Christ and to reign with Him over the nations of the earth.
The remaining dead are raised at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. We believe Revelation 20:13 is referring in symbolic terms to the various conditions of people.
Each individual is judged carefully and precisely. Each of his or her deeds is weighed justly and compassionately.
If the person has heard the Gospel of Christ, then that is taken into account. No individual can refuse the salvation of God and still be saved.
If the person has never heard the Gospel, he or she will not be judged by the Gospel. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" is a human maxim. In the Kingdom, people are judged according to the light given to them.
Notice in the following passages how people are judged according to their knowledge of God's will.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:18,19)
When the light came into the world some people rejected the light and chose the darkness. Before an individual can choose darkness he must be presented with the light.
If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. (John 15:22-24)
And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:47-48)
For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Romans 2:12-16)
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed [ascribed] when there is no law.) (Romans 5:13)
For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (Romans 7:9)
The Judge of the bench of Heaven considers the individual case. Each person is judged according to the light and the talents that were issued to him. Much is required of those to whom much has been given. Little is required of those to whom little has been entrusted.
Each soul will be judged fairly and mercifully. The Book of Life will be consulted. The dead will be judged according to what is written. Every deed, word, and thought of the lifetime of every human being has been written in a ledger, apparently.
Death and Hell will be cast into the Lake of Fire. If any person's name is not found written in the Book of Life, that individual shall be thrown into the Lake of Fire. He or she has not been found worthy to continue in the ranks of mankind. He or she shall not be brought into the new heaven and earth reign of the Lord Jesus. God has driven that individual from His Presence forever.
The Lake of Fire is a fate so frightful that the human mind cannot grasp it. It is reserved for the servants of Satan.
The rest of the dead now are ready to take their place as members of the nations of saved peoples of the earththose who walk in the light of the new Jerusalem, which is the Lamb's Wife, the Body of Christ, the eternal Temple of God (Revelation 21:24).
The judgment of the white Throne of God does not include those who have part in the first resurrection because the second death, which is the Lake of Fire, no longer has any authority over them. The Lake of Fire has authority over us until every aspect of our personality has been made new in Christ (Revelation 20:6).
The decision of the white throne, based on "the things that were written in the books, according to their works," is whether a creature is thrown into the Lake of Fire (which is the second death) or whether he or she is saved from eternal torment.
This is the climax and conclusion of the Day of Judgment, the period which began with the appearing of Christ on the earth at His first coming. It is at this point that a person either is saved for eternity or lost for eternity.
Let us repeat the concept that any individual who spurns the offer of God's salvation in Christ is condemned already. The wrath of God abides on Him from that moment forward. He has turned aside from God's love and salvation.