ENTERING THROUGH THE GATES
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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.”
Table of Contents
Two meanings of “heaven”Entering Through the Gates
The Prophets describe Heaven
Jerusalem, our mother
The great deceptionThe Church Age
Washing our robes
Entering through the gates
The three purposes of the Church AgeThe Kingdom Age
The New Heaven and Earth
ENTERING THROUGH THE GATES
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:14)
The New Jerusalem Is “Heaven”
Two meanings of “Heaven.” When we think of Heaven, two thoughts come to mind. One is the place in the spirit realm we term “Heaven.” The other concept is that of the glory, love, joy, and peace in which God, Jesus, the angels, and the deceased saints dwell in the present hour.
The heavenly Jerusalem fulfills both of these ideas concerning Heaven. The heavenly Jerusalem is a place in the spirit realm in which we shall experience glory, love, joy, peace, God, Jesus, the holy angels, and the saints.
One could go to the spirit realm and not find glory, love, joy, God, Jesus, or anything or anyone else we associate with Heaven.
Satan and his angels are in the spirit realm. Sin came into being in the spirit realm.
It is not enough to die and pass into the spirit realm. Our objective is to enter through the gates into the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem in Heaven is all we mean by the word “Heaven.” There is no other paradise of God.
One day, Heaven, Jerusalem, is coming to the earth.
The Prophets describe Heaven. It is interesting that whenever the Prophets described the blessings that are to come with the new earth they limited themselves to Jerusalem.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 65:25)
“In all my holy mountain.”
The Glory of the Lord shall fill the earth in the ages to come. But what we think of as Heaven will be found in Zion, in Jerusalem, in the holy mountain of the Lord.
Jerusalem, our mother.
But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. (Galatians 4:26)
It is not just the spirit realm that is our mother, it is Jerusalem—the Jerusalem that today is in the spirit realm.
Whenever the Lord speaks of the glory to come He always speaks in terms of Jerusalem, of Zion; never of anything or anywhere else.
Every person who is abiding in Christ already has come to the Jerusalem that is in Heaven. Our physical body is dead because of the sin that dwells in it. But our born-again spiritual nature is drawing its life from the heavenly Jerusalem.
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrews 12:22)
We already have come to Zion, to God’s holy mountain, if we have become part of Christ. We have come to the city of God and to the numerous angels who perform God’s will.
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just [righteous] men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)
We now are part of the general assembly, of the whole family of God of all ages.
God judges all who come to Mount Zion. If we have been a believer for any period of time we are experiencing the Divine judgment as the sins of our personality are pointed out by the Holy Spirit.
The spirits of people who dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem are righteous. But it is not enough that they are righteous, they must be made perfect. God leaves the bodies of His saints dead in sin on the earth while He concentrates on the perfecting of their spiritual nature. The spiritual nature receives its Divine nourishment and guidance from its position in Christ at the right hand of the Father.
Entering Through the Gates
If we are to gain the authority to eat of the Tree of Life and to enter through the gates of the city we must keep God’s commandments.
We must not attempt to enter the Presence of God in any manner other than through the gates God has constructed.
Some translations state that we enter through the gates by keeping God’s commandments. Other translations stress we must wash our robes in order to gain the right to partake of the Tree of Life and enter through the gates to the city. To keep God’s commandments and to cleanse our garments are the same thing.
The great deception. The greatest mistake in Christian thinking today is that we can enter the holy city through forgiveness unaccompanied by a change in behavior. This is impossible. We cannot possibly enter the holy city or become part of it on the basis of forgiveness. We absolutely must keep God’s commandments as found in the New Testament. There is no salvation through Divine grace other than by keeping God’s commandments.
There is no uncleanness in the holy city. It is impossible to enter through the gates other than by keeping God’s commandments. From the first century there have been deceivers in the churches who have taught that when we receive Jesus as our Savior we are relieved of the responsibility of keeping God’s commandments. This is a deception of Satan. This is antinomianism.
He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (I John 2:4)
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (I John 3:6)
Washing our robes. How do we cleanse our garments? How do we keep God’s commandments?
The first work of Divine grace is the ascribing of righteousness to God’s elect. Divine grace also includes three enablements that assist us in keeping God’s commandments, the commandments given to the saints by the Lord Jesus and His apostles. The three enablements are:
- The blood of Christ.
- The Word of God.
- The Holy Spirit.
Every human being was born in lawlessness and sin. No human being other than Jesus of Nazareth is without sin.
God is not a human being, He is a Spirit. We see this fact demonstrated in the thousands of gallons of blood of bulls, goats, lambs, and birds offered as an atonement for the sins of Israel. We see it particularly in the blood offering made in the physical body of the Lord Jesus.
If God were a human being the shedding of blood would have little meaning to Him. A human cannot be appeased by the blood of a goat or by the blood of his son.
God has said, “The soul who sins shall die.” The Divine law is immutable. It never shall change. It is as true today as when first spoken.
When a person transgresses, and then repents, God is ready to forgive him or her. But the Divine justice must be satisfied in some manner. God’s Nature and justice is such that the scales of righteousness must be in perfect balance.
The agony of God in seeing His Son in the power of filthy spirits, the agony of Christ in receiving the burden of the sins of the world, can never be understood by us. But the sacrifice of the Lamb of God was of sufficient weight to restore the balance of the scales of righteousness.
Christ’s death satisfied God’s justice concerning our sins and also the sins of the whole world (I John 2:2).
Because we are sinners, and because the blood of Jesus is the only means of satisfying God’s justice concerning our sins and lawlessness, we must come to God in faith, receiving the forgiveness of our sins.
No individual ever at any time will be able to enter through the gates of the city in his own righteousness. The angel of the Lord must see the sprinkling of Jesus’ blood on the person seeking admittance or the gate will be closed to him. There is no exception to this.
The first basis for authority to eat of the Tree of Life (Christ), for the right to enter through the gates into the new Jerusalem, into Heaven, is faith in the blood of the Lord Jesus as the atonement for our sin and lawlessness.
The second basis for the right to eat of the Tree of Life is the cleansing of our personality by the washing of the Word of God.
There were numerous commandments given under the old covenant and God expected them to be kept. There are numerous commandments that have been given under the new covenant and God expects them to be kept.
A profound, very destructive error has entered Christian thinking. It is that the blood alone is sufficient to provide authority to eat of the Tree of Life and to enter through the gates into the city.
Christians have expanded justification until it has removed the need for sanctification. No greater theological error can be made. Justification has its unique place in redemption. Sanctification has its unique place in redemption. Justification must never encroach on the role of sanctification.
Glorification has its unique role in the plan of redemption. None of these three is sufficient without the remaining two. We are in dire need of a reformation of Christian thinking.
The written Word of God is a set of judgments. These judgments enable us to discern between good and evil. Every time we are convicted by the written Word we are to come to God, confess our sin, resolve never again to practice the sin, and then pray earnestly for the strength to set aside that unlawful behavior.
Oftentimes the prayers of the elders, or of other Christians, are necessary as we seek the wisdom to identify the root of our problem and the strength to turn away from our lusts and idolatry. We are to confess our sins one to another and pray one for another that we may be totally delivered—spirit, soul, and body.
One of the principal works of redemption is the continuing deliverance of the saint from the bondages of the spirit, soul, and body. The Holy Spirit assists us as the written Word of God teaches us the difference between good and evil.
The following passage is but a small sample of the numerous admonitions in the New Testament. They are to be observed strictly as being the Word of God. To ignore them is to forfeit our right to the Tree of Life, even though we have received by faith the blood of the Lord.
That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:22-27)
This passage continues into the next chapter. There are many similar verses throughout the New Testament.
To observe these exhortations is equally important with receiving the blood atonement. Paul, the principal teacher of the grace of God, has warned us clearly that believers who continue in sin will never inherit the Kingdom of God; they will never eat of the Tree of Life to the extent required to enter through the gates into the city, into Heaven.
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)
(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) (Philippians 3:18,19)
The above three passages are addressed to the believers, not to the heathen. The churches including Pentecostals, Charismatics, and most other Christian assemblies are in grievous deception concerning the role of God’s commandments under the new covenant. They are trusting in the blood for their redemption but they are not obeying Christ’s commandments. They have made the blood of Calvary an alternative to godly behavior.
The God of Heaven never intended that the blood of the cross be a substitute for godly behavior!
It is being taught that the only purpose of the commandments found in the Bible is to show us our need of a Savior. Since we cannot keep them, it is reasoned, we must be saved by Divine grace (forgiveness).
No greater lie has ever been taught!
The purpose of the commandments is to show us how to please God. The goal of the Great Commission is that people on earth will keep God’s commandments.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19,20)
Does this sound to you like we are not supposed to keep God’s commandments?
Of course we need a Savior to forgive our sins and to help us keep God’s commandments. The Lord Jesus is able and willing to do this. But to turn away from the written commandments and ask the Lord to forgive us while we sin is not acceptable. The Lord Jesus will not do this. For this reason the present generation of Christians is under condemnation and is soon to experience the fires of purification.
We are to meditate in the Word daily, praying that God will teach us His ways. As we do, the Holy Spirit will speak to us concerning sin and righteousness. As the Holy Spirit judges our conduct He also stands ready to deliver us and strengthen us so that evil is purged from our personality. This is an eternal judgment on sin, and together with the blood of the cross qualifies us to partake of the Tree of Life.
God’s grace includes the blood, the Word, and the Holy Spirit.
If it were not for the Holy Spirit, obedience to the written Word would be an exercise in self-control. We are commanded to lay aside our whole adamic nature with its lust, idolatry, malice, drunkenness, and occult practices, and to put on the new man of love, joy, and peace.
Without the Holy Spirit, such a crucifixion, accompanied by the effort to be perfectly virtuous, would require a self-control few human beings possess. It would be a nightmare of attempting to grind away every shred of fleshly desire and to think, speak, and act virtuously.
But God has given us His own Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom, power, love, joy, peace, understanding, and comfort. The Holy Spirit guides and strengthens us in every aspect of crucifixion and resurrection.
What would be an impossible effort in self-improvement becomes a romance, a joy, a song, a never-ending adventure leading to the city of glory. We dance and sing in the heights of Zion though the world is in flames around us.
There are indeed painful moments as the Spirit works to uncover the roots of our fallen nature. We are required to endure years of denial, frustration, perplexity, heartbreak. Let no one say the Christian pilgrimage is easy or painless. It is not. It is a grueling discipleship in which only those of an honest and good heart are willing to follow the Lord through the temptations and dreads of life. It is no place for casual believers who insist on loving themselves and their fleshly comforts.
But the Holy Spirit makes our discipleship possible and joyous. The Holy Spirit of God raises us from the deadness of adamic life and gives us a taste of Heaven, of the new Jerusalem. The Spirit guides and comforts us as we seek to conform our actions to the commandments of the Scripture.
The work of the Spirit in our life is based on the authority of the blood of the cross. Because the righteousness of the Law is given to us through the blood of the righteous Jesus, the Spirit can continue bringing us from death to life.
The blood, the Word, and the Spirit are the grace of God that enables us to partake of the Tree of Life and enter through the gates into the city.
To eat of the Tree of Life is to eat of Christ. Later on in our booklet we shall notice that those who have become an integral part of Christ, who are the branches growing from the Vine, will also serve the nations as trees of life.
To eat of Christ is to partake of Divinity, of the Divine Nature. The adamic race of flesh and blood was never meant to be eternal. It is a temporary provision that will come to a conclusion when the earth and the heaven pass away, as we understand the Scriptures (Revelation 20:11).
Until an individual is born again he cannot see or enter the Kingdom of God. Why is this? It is because the Kingdom of God is the Substance of Christ. Until the Substance of Christ is born in us the Kingdom of God is not in us. It is the Kingdom that is born in us when we are born again.
The Kingdom of God is primarily an inner kingdom. There will be an outer, physical manifestation of the Kingdom. But the outer manifestation will be just that—a manifestation. It will be the manifestation of an inner creation.
The flesh and blood creation cannot enter the Kingdom of God. It is only as we partake of Christ, receiving into ourselves the Substance of the Kingdom, that we see and enter the Kingdom.
When we first believe in Christ our sins are forgiven. The Holy Spirit plants the Divine Seed in us. The Holy Spirit Himself anoints us as a member of the royal priesthood, and enters us as a beginning of the redemption of our entire personality—spirit, soul, and body.
The Seed is the Kingdom. Our main task in life after we have been born again of the Word of God is to ensure that the Seed is nourished by prayer, by the Word of God, by fellowship with the saints, by obedience to God. We are to prevent the cares of the world from interfering with our devotion to the Divine Seed that has been planted in us.
We gain the right to partake daily of the Tree of Life, Christ, by washing our robes, by keeping the commandments of God. We wash our robes by the blood of the Lamb, by allowing the written Word to remove sin from our personality, and by following the Holy Spirit as He leads us in the program of redemption.
To wash our robes, to keep the commandments of God, is to overcome the devil, the world, and our own lusts and self-will. As we do this, and only as we do this, we are given to eat of the Tree of Life, to partake of the Divine Nature of God.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)
We have no right to the Tree of Life except as we overcome Satan through the Lord Jesus. Adam and Eve were driven from the garden because of disobedience. They never will gain access to the Tree of Life until the sin and lawlessness have been removed from their personalities.
Entering through the gates. What does eating of the Tree of Life have to do with entering through the gates into the city?
At first we are brought into the city spiritually. Later, as a new creation in Christ, we shall enter physically through the gates.
When we receive Jesus our new born-again nature is brought into the city of God and raised to the Throne of God. There we abide in the Lord Jesus at the right hand of the Father.
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 2:6)
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
We do not go through the gates at this time. Rather we ascend spiritually to the highest level of the new Jerusalem, to the right hand of the Father in Christ. It will be some time before we are ready to go through the gates in a restored body.
It is as a father who carries his little boy up the side of a mountain. The boy reaches the summit and yet it is not of his own doing. There will come a day when the boy is able to climb the mountain by himself.
There is a position in Christ that is given us according to the will of God apart from any work of redemption in our personality. The purpose of this position is to make possible an actual re-creation of our personality.
As we place our trust in the blood atonement, obey the written Word of God and the Word of God given to us personally, and cooperate with the Holy Spirit in the work of sanctification and re-creation, we are given to eat of the Tree of Life. Eating of the Tree of Life creates resurrection life in our personality.
It is extremely important the reader understand that in the Day of the Lord our resurrection will proceed on the basis of the resurrection life that has been formed in us as we have continued to feed on Christ and to live by His Life. No individual ever will receive the redemption of his physical body on the basis of forgiveness alone.
It is the eating of Christ that creates in us the resurrection to eternal life. The role of Divine forgiveness is to permit sin-filled creatures to begin to partake of the Tree of Life so they may be delivered from sin and lawlessness.
The reason five “virgins” are left is that belief in Christian doctrine (the lamp) does not qualify us for resurrection. Resurrection is eternal life (the oil) created in us as we eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ.
From our spiritual position in the heavenlies we gain access to the Tree of Life, which is inside the gates. We partake of resurrection life, of Divine Life. This is the life that will make alive our physical body.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)
As we gain resurrection life by partaking of the flesh and blood of Jesus, of the Tree of Life, we are being prepared for the day when we can go through the gates of the city in our body. The goal of redemption is to recover our body from the power of death. This is the destruction of the last enemy (I Corinthians 15:26). This is the goal of the Apostle Paul.
And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
Our body is dead in the present hour because of the sin dwelling in it. There is no redemption for the body in the realm of flesh and blood. Redemption for our body is accomplished only by eating of the Substance of God, for our body is only dust. Yet our body is an essential part of our personality as “man.” Man is spirit, soul, and body.
When we lose our body, we no longer are “man.” After we die we never again will be “man” until we regain our body. When we regain our body we can enter through the gates into the city that is coming down from God, into Heaven come to earth.
The reader may have noticed a double action of redemption. First, God carries us on eagles’ wings, as it were, so that spiritually we may partake of the perfections of the heavenly Zion. It is as though we fly from Egypt to the land of promise and are strengthened and perfected there while our body begins its arduous, dangerous journey through the wilderness.
Then, through the perfection our personality receives in the spiritual Zion, we are prepared for the day when our body will be filled with the same eternal life that already is permeating our new spiritual nature.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Romans 8:11)
The eternal life that is changing our spiritual nature is building for us a “house that is from heaven,” a body of eternal life which, in the Day of the Lord, will clothe our flesh and bones.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: (II Corinthians 5:2)
The resurrection to eternal life must be attained by coming to know the eternal life of Christ and by sharing His sufferings.
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 [Greek, out-resurrection] of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ. (Philippians 3:10-12)
If there is a double work, a time when we are in the city spiritually by the grace of God alone, and a later period when we lawfully enter through the gates in a redeemed body, then it must be true that God at first conceals our sinful nature from His sight. At a later time He uncovers and removes our sinful nature so we lawfully may dwell in His Presence.
The covering of sin, and then the uncovering and demolishing of sin, is precisely what we find in the Scriptures. One such episode concerns the Cave of Makkedah.
When Joshua was at war with the Amorites, the five kings of the Amorites hid themselves in a cave. When Joshua learned where they were hiding he commanded they should be kept in the cave until he was ready to deal with them.
And Joshua said, Roll great stones upon the mouth of the cave, and set men by it for to keep them: (Joshua 10:18)
Then the army of Israel pursued the Amorite warriors and slaughtered them.
Joshua returned to the problem of the kings. He brought them forth from the cave and put them to death.
Then said Joshua, Open the mouth of the cave, and bring out those five kings unto me out of the cave. (Joshua 10:22)
This is what happens in our own life. When we receive Jesus as our Savior He covers the sin in our personality. Then He goes forth to war against the aspects of our personality that are not holy, that are not found in the Father.
If we follow the Lord faithfully through the battles of sanctification there comes a time when the Lord addresses Himself to the wicked rulers in our personality who have been concealed during the season of sanctification.
When Jesus exposes the roots of our fleshly nature we may find ourselves in a personal crisis. We may have thought we were the pure wheat of the Lord. Now we discover that God has permitted the tares to come to maturity in us so that the tender wheat would not be harmed by premature removal of the tares.
The wheat is strong enough now for the tares to be torn out, gathered in bundles, and burned.
When the tares have been removed from us, when the five kings of the Amorites have been brought into the light and killed, we will be approaching the hour when we are prepared to be swallowed up by immortality and to gain entrance through the gates into the city.
The double work, forgiveness and removal of sin, is portrayed also by the two goats of the Day of Atonement.
One goat was slain and its blood sprinkled upon and before the Ark of the Covenant. The sins of Israel were forgiven by the blood of the slain goat.
The second goat was led away into the wilderness, bearing on itself the sins of Israel. The sins of Israel were removed with the removal of the living goat. The sins were not actually removed at that time, the ceremony being a portrayal of the redeeming work of Christ.
We see, therefore, that God has devised a plan of redemption that is effective in restoring to man the immortality lost in the garden of Eden.
God begins the work of redemption by sprinkling the blood of Jesus on us. Then God raises our spiritual nature to His very throne and, through the Virtue of Christ, feeds our new nature with eternal life.
It is not true that the blood of Christ covers us so God cannot see our sin. It is true, rather, that the blood of Christ serves as a compensating righteousness, making up the difference between what God expects of us and what now is true of us. Compensating righteousness is applied only to those who are following the Holy Spirit each day.
Meanwhile our body remains on earth—dead because of the sin dwelling in it.
The sources of sin in our body are in hiding at this time.
As our spiritual nature grows in life we keep the commandments of God. As we keep the commandments of God we are given to eat of the Tree of Life.
If we continue eating of the Tree of Life, an hour arrives when we are strong enough for God to bring out the kings and slay them.
The killing of the monsters of lawlessness that dwell in our personality may prove to be a crisis for us. It is then, as we wrestle with the angel so to speak, that we either pass from the ranks of the called to the ranks of the chosen, becoming a member of the Wife of the Lamb, or else turn back and wait until Christ decides what to do with us.
The rewards we normally associate with being a Christian are in fact the rewards given only to those who, when faced with the “kings” of their personality, permit the Spirit of God to put their very soul to death. It is not easy to say yes to God during our Gethsemanes, but it is absolutely necessary if we desire to be part of the Body of Christ. The Bride of the Lamb is called, chosen, and terribly faithful—unto death to all the adamic nature holds dear.
After following the Lord through the agony of death to the soul there is a quietness of spirit. The soul never again will go through such an agony, at least not concerning that particular issue, because the source of the pain has been removed. We die to the adamic nature and come alive as a life-giving spirit.
The Church Age
The past two thousand years constitute the Church Age.
The three purposes of the Church Age. The three tasks of the two thousand years from the resurrection of Christ are as follows:
- To bear witness to the nations of God and His salvation.
- To bring people into the Divine salvation.
- To create the Lamb’s Wife.
It is God’s will that every nation on earth hear the Word and see the power of the coming Kingdom of God.
And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14)
To bear witness to the nations is somewhat different from constructing churches. Perhaps the Christian churches in many instances have become so involved in constructing the churches of their denominations that they have not attended sufficiently to the work of witnessing.
Bearing witness is not the same as bringing people into salvation. The witness has been borne when God’s will has been made known, whether or not the people repent and accept the Lord. In the case of Nineveh, the witness was borne as Jonah obeyed the Lord. In Noah’s day the Ark was the witness even though the people did not repent.
Today there is much ministry but very little witness. In fact, the witness of the Kingdom of God has been destroyed because the churches have understood Divine grace to be an alternative to godly living. The nations, seeing the sin and self-serving of the Christians, do not have a clear picture of the coming of the righteous Kingdom of God to the earth.
The second purpose of the Church Age is to bring people into salvation. To bring people into salvation is to help them receive the blood atonement, including water baptism; to encourage them to obey the written Word of God; and to pray with them and teach them until they are filled with the Holy Spirit and walking in righteousness.
To bring people into salvation is to assist them as they wash their robes in preparation for entering through the gates into the city of God.
The third purpose of the Church Age, and the unique aspect of the Church Age, is to create the Lamb’s Wife. The Lamb’s Wife is the holy city, the new Jerusalem, the Throne of God. The Throne of God is Heaven. When the Throne of God comes to earth in the Lamb’s Wife, then Heaven has come to earth.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: (Revelation 22:3)
After we are brought into salvation the Lord deals with us concerning the rewards for overcoming. The rewards for overcoming do not stop with access to the Tree of Life. They increase until we are a pillar in the Temple of God, until we are seated on the highest throne with Christ, until we are the Lamb’s Wife.
When we become the Lamb’s Wife, an integral part of Him, which is the highest calling conceivable, we are able to enter through the gates into the city. In addition, we now are the city destined to govern mankind to the ages of ages.
The Kingdom Age
If we attain the first resurrection from the dead by partaking continually of the Tree of Life, which is the body and blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, we will be given back our bodies when the Lord appears. We then will be able to enter through the gates into the city and to become the city.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
Job looked forward to the Day of Christ. He knew that he, being a righteous man in God’s sight, would be given to eat of the body and blood of Christ and would be able to enter through the gates into the new Jerusalem.
And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (Job 19:26)
Daniel was promised he would be resurrected at the appearing of the Lord.
But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days. (Daniel 12:13)
When the Lord returns, the armies of the Antichrist nations will invade the land of Israel. Christ and His army then will descend from Heaven and those wicked nations shall be destroyed.
Many other nations will be left on the earth. The righteous nations remaining on the earth are the inheritance of Christ and His saints.
The saints, in glorified bodies at that time, will drive all sin from the earth. Then they will judge, deliver, teach, and bless the nations of the saved.
During the thousand-year Kingdom Age the new Jerusalem, the holy city, will remain in the spirit realm. God will pour out His Spirit on the earthly Jerusalem, and all the Jews who are in the land of Israel will be saved by a sovereign Divine act just as Saul of Tarsus was saved and commissioned by a sovereign act of God.
And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 59:20)
For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. (Romans 11:27)
The Lord Jesus will take His place on the Throne of David, located on what today is referred to as the Temple Mount. He and His saints will rule the nations of the saved from Jerusalem. The Apostles will judge the tribes of Israel, according to the promise of the Lord.
Human activities will continue on the earth. The citizens of the nations will be able to sin if they choose to do so. But it will be much easier to serve the Lord. Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit. The sons of God will go through the earth and restore what had been destroyed by the rule of godless men, by the great tribulation, and by the Battle of Armageddon. The knowledge of the Glory of the Lord will be in all the land.
The nations of the saved will serve the saints, the Seed of Abraham, with material blessings, and by bringing the greatest gift of all—their own personalities. The saints will serve them as rulers, priests, judges, and teachers.
And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. (Isaiah 61:5)
Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. (Isaiah 60:4)
Throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age God’s elect will remain in the heavenly Jerusalem in the spirit realm except for the warlike remnant who, through entering union with Christ in this present life, have attained the first resurrection from the dead.
During the thousand-year Kingdom Age a great multitude of people will be brought to the Lord.
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 shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)
And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)
During the thousand-year Kingdom Age the firstfruits of the Church, having received back their bodies from the grave, will be coming to know the Lord in a greater way as they represent Him throughout the earth. The least among them will be as David, in the Presence of the Lord.
In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. (Zechariah 12:8)
During the thousand-year Kingdom Age the remainder of the elect will be strengthened while yet in the spirit realm. It is not unlikely that the warlike remnant, in addition to ruling the nations with a rod of iron, will teach and help the weaker members of Christ’s Body until each is strong in the Lord.
Under the new covenant all shall come to know the Lord, from the least to the greatest.
And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. (Hebrews 8:11)
Till 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 fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)
By the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age the entire Wife of the Lamb will be prepared for the Lord, having made herself ready.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)
At the termination of the Kingdom Age the earth and the heaven will flee from the Face of God. It is possible that the adamic race as we know it will pass away with the earth and the heaven.
All of the dead, with the exception of the remnant who had attained the first resurrection, and the possible exception of the remainder of the Church who were made ready during the thousand-year Kingdom Age, will stand before God and be judged concerning their works. Those who are not found written in the Book of Life will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
Revelation does not say what will happen to those whose names are written in the Book of Life. The assumption is they are brought forward to eternal life in the new earth.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. (Matthew 25:46)
It is clear from the last two chapters of the Book of Revelation, and also passages in the Prophets, that there will be nations of people living on the new earth who are not members of the Wife of the Lamb.
Since the Wife of the Lamb will descend from the new sky, and since there will be nations of saved people on the new earth, and since these are saved nations and not a new creation of people, it seems probable that they are those whose works God has accepted before the White Throne—particularly if they have nourished and protected the Lord’s brothers (Matthew 25:34).
We simply cannot accept the formula that since we are not saved by our own works, and since the nations will be judged according to their works, they all, therefore, are doomed to the Lake of Fire. This is a narrow view indeed and does not nearly fit the general sense of the Scriptures.
No man can come to the Lord Jesus except God draw him, the Scripture declares. It is true also that most people born on the earth during its six-thousand year history never heard of Jesus during their lifetime.
If no person can escape the Lake of Fire if he has not, during his lifetime on earth, heard and received the Gospel of Jesus in the manner that we approve, then we are stating that God’s intention from the creation of the world has been to cast the great majority of people born on the earth into the Lake of Fire, there to be tormented along with Satan and his angels for the countless ages of eternity. This is the accepted viewpoint apparently, and we consider such a viewpoint to be an abomination.
The doctrine that all persons except those who have followed the narrow Christian formula for salvation (which is not agreed on in detail even by the Christians themselves) truly is an assault on God’s righteous Character. It is not the way of the Lord, neither is it Kingdom law, to punish someone according to law they never were given.
One fanatical “evangelist” was heard to say recently that aborted fetuses will be in the Lake of Fire because they never “accepted Christ.” This is the kind of twisted reasoning that comes from those who are attempting to build the Kingdom of God by their own wisdom and strength.
If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. (John 15:22)
“They had not had sin”!
Until light comes we are not guilty, as was true in the beginning concerning the nakedness of Adam and Eve. God winks at the period of ignorance.
For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed (ascribed) when there is no law. (Romans 5:13)
“Sin is not imputed.”
Unlike the “civilized” nations of our day, God does not hold an individual responsible for obeying law he has not been given. It may be true that he has sinned, and painful consequences may follow. But he is not under the condemnation of God until he realizes he has sinned and then refuses to repent.
The New Heaven and Earth
The new earth will be very great in diameter, perhaps a thousand times or more the diameter of the present earth. It will have to be very large because the nations of the saved will include people from the time of Adam—all of those who are saved but not necessarily part of the Wife of the Lamb.
Also, the new Jerusalem is a cube 1,400 miles on a side containing much gold. Such a mass would necessitate a very large planet on which to rest if the rotation of the planet on its axis is not to be thrown out of balance. Can you imagine a city that extends 1,400 miles into the sky?
The new Jerusalem will be on a high mountain of the new earth. The new Jerusalem will be glorious beyond our ability to imagine at this time.
It will be the Throne of God.
It will be the Wife of the Lamb. This means that God, Christ, and the members of the Bride will exist in the same unity that is true today of the Father and the Son. It will be a perfect unity in which individuality (not identity or uniqueness) has vanished forever.
It will be one revelation of the Glory of God Almighty.
It is wonderful beyond our understanding that Christ is desirous of bringing us into the same relationship with Himself that is true of His relationship to the Father.
As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:57)
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)
The Lord God is bringing the Church into total union with Himself so that the nations of the earth will believe that God is the One who has sent the Lord Jesus and that God loves the members of the Church as He loves the Lord Jesus. Our role throughout eternity will be to bring the Presence of God to His creatures.
God’s intends that the nations of the earth behold God’s righteousness and God’s praise. God has fashioned the Church from the Person of Christ so the nations of people may come to experience the Presence and blessing of God. It is for this reason that God has created the Church and is fashioning the Church in the image of Jesus, and is bringing the Church into untroubled union with Himself.
The Lord Jesus is bringing each member of the Bride into total union with His own Personality. This means that never again will Jesus be without our presence or we without His. It is marriage not approached in intensity or completeness by any human marriage.
We are being integrated into the Personality of the Lord and He into us. It is utterly inconceivable! All this is for the benefit of the Lord and the peoples whom He has created—so they may have access to the Lord. We are being made the hand of God extended to mankind, a living house from which God can guide and bless His creatures.
As we understand the Scriptures, being “saved” does not ensure our being a member of the Wife of the Lamb. The Lord Jesus is extremely careful whom He permits into such eternal intimacy with Himself.
We believe the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation are a love letter to the Bride. There are the churches on earth, and then there are the overcomers. The overcomers are at this time a firstfruits of the Bride, according to our viewpoint.
The members of the Bride, being branches growing from the Vine, are part of the Tree of Life. The nations of the saved are invited to come and drink freely from the eternal life flowing from the Bride of the Lamb.
The members of the Body of Christ will see the face of the Father. They will have His name, the name of His city, and the new name of Christ, inscribed on them. They are the Seed whom the Lord has blessed.
The entire city, consisting of the Father, the Son, and the Bride, will be one supreme revelation of God Almighty. It will be the Tabernacle of God. It will be Emmanuel—God with us. The Holy Spirit will be the common Spirit of the one revelation of God.
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. (I Corinthians 6:17)
The nations of saved people will be living on the new earth.
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)
They will serve God by bringing their material wealth to the new Jerusalem.
What will the saved people be like? They will be people, just as we understand the term. It is possible, however, that their life will not be in blood but in some form of spiritual life. This is why it will be necessary for them to come periodically to Jerusalem to renew their life, just as we renew our life in God each day.
There will be no more “sea” of people that can be blown here and there by spirits. Each individual will be precious and will have in himself a portion of Christ’s Life.
The Lake of Fire will remain on the earth as an eternal warning to the nations.
For I know their works and their thoughts: it shall come, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. And I will set a sign among them, and I will send those that escape of them unto the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, to Tubal, and Javan, to the isles afar off, that have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the Gentiles [nations]. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord. And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the Lord. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (Isaiah 66:18-24)
The nations of the saved, the people outside the wall surrounding the holy city, will understand that if they sin they cannot enter through the gates into the city and partake of the Life of God.
Also, there is the prospect that if they continue in their transgressions they may be cast into the Lake of Fire.
For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Revelation 22:15)
No individual who practices abominable behavior, who dabbles in occult practices, who is morally unclean, who is full of rage, who worships gods other than the Lord, or participates in any other form of the great lie that is Satan, will ever be allowed to enter the city of God and be renewed in eternal life.
The goal of the Lord is not to make all new things but to make all things new. All to which we are accustomed, all that is worthy, is not destined to be destroyed but to descend into death and then to be raised in Christ.
Humanity and its activities throughout the endless ages of eternity will have the same form as today. The difference is, the curse will be gone. God will be on the earth instead of being hidden in the spirit realm. The royal priesthood, the Israel of God, will have bodies like the body of Jesus. The nations will be compelled to live in righteousness.
Life will continue as today, but the dread, sadness, and pain will be gone forever.
The members of the royal priesthood have been selected from among mankind to be a firstfruits to the Lord, a special possession of God. We must exercise patience in the present hour because the bondage of Satan is being removed in us. As soon as wickedness has been destroyed from our personality, through the Lord Jesus, we then will be able to bring righteousness, peace, and joy into the whole earth.
A few more faithful steps, a few more days of living by faith, and then we shall be raised to meet Jesus and to return with Him.
After that, a thousand years of the marvelous glory of serving Jesus in a glorified body.
And after that! Glory after unbelievable, heavenly glory as we live as part of God, dwelling in the Divine Light, eternally full of love, joy, peace, faithfulness, patience, kindness, and every aspect of godliness in an eternal body that never can become weary, never can become ill.
Our task for eternity will be to serve God by representing Him throughout His universe, being channels of His judgment, wisdom, love, and blessing wherever His creatures are found.
The eternal source of all glory, love, joy, peace, and renewal will be located in the holy city. Every individual who practices righteousness will be able to enter through the gates of the city to drink of the River of Life and eat of the Tree of Life.
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 city of Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem will be all we mean by the term “heaven.”
(“Entering Through the Gates”, 3632-1)