GOD IS MY SALVATION (EXCERPT OF THE THEOLOGY OF ROBERT B. THOMPSON)
Copyright © 2013 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
(“God Is My Salvation” is taken from The Theology of Robert B. Thompson, copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson)
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Some passages of Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Table of Contents
Trees of Life
God Is My Salvation
The Father’s House
The Fullness of God
There are at least three major platforms in the work of redemption. There is the basic platform of forgiveness through the blood atonement. There is the development of the Life of the Spirit in us. Finally there is what the Apostle Paul sets forth as the “fullness of God.” These three platforms are pictured by the three levels of water, in Ezekiel, Chapter 47.
The fourth level, of Ezekiel, is that of service as a tree of life growing on the bank of the River of Life. Isaiah, Twelve, that describes the personal testimony of those who are filled with the Fullness of God, speaks of how they with joy bring forth the water of Life to the dead people of mankind. The Lord Jesus also, during the feast of Tabernacles, spoke of the living water coming from those who believe in Him.
And to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19—NIV)
Paul’s prayer for the saved, Spirit-filled saints in Ephesus was that they might be strengthened in their inner nature until they were filled with all the fullness of God.
As we press forward in the operation of redemption we experience three deaths and three resurrections before we can bring forth eternal life to others to the extent God desires.
The first death is our death to the world. We die this death when we are baptized in water, signifying that we have died to the world and have risen to live with the Lord Jesus in newness of life.
We experience the second death (not the second death of the Lake of Fire) and resurrection as we resolutely put to death through the Spirit the evil deeds of our old personality and come to life in the Spirit of God.
We enter the third death and resurrection as we keep saying, “Not my will, but yours be done.” We maintain this attitude while we patiently are enduring the prisons we are placed in. Our motivations must be given over to the will of God so that his will is done in the earth. This is the Kingdom of God, the rule of God over our personality.
Then, as we continue in the three resurrections we enter the “waters to swim in,” and our life from then on is found in God and in those persons whom we inherit.
Throughout our lifetime on earth (and perhaps for eternity, I do not know) we are to keep on knowing more of Christ, experiencing more of Christ.
Have you noticed in the Scriptures some of the startling passages concerning our life in Christ? The following is one of my favorites.
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57—NIV)
I can’t speak for you, but it is the desire of my heart to feed on Jesus until his Life is my life. This promise is in the Scriptures, so it is available to whoever will claim it and act on it.
Another passage that has been very meaningful to me is as follows:
That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:21-23—NIV)
Now take a deep breath and notice carefully what is being said here. This is one of the most remarkable prayers in the Bible.
“That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.”
The Father and the Son are totally One, because the Father is in the Son in his Fullness and the Son is in the Father in his Fullness. The members of the Wife of the Lamb are to be fully one in the Oneness that is God.
“May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
The purpose of our being created one in God is that the world may believe that the Father is the One who has sent the Son. This is the true goal of our election. It is not that we might spend eternity in Heaven. It is that the people of the nations may come to realize that Jesus Christ is from the Father. God wants the world to hear his beloved Son and obey him.
“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.”
The Lord Jesus has received the fullness of the Glory of God because He is an inseparable part of God. We cannot receive from Christ the Divine Glory until we are an inseparable part of Christ. God will never give his Glory to another!
“May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Here is an extremely interesting statement. God’s purpose is to bring the members of his Church into the oneness with Him that is true of Jesus Christ, so that the world will understand that God loves his elect just as He loves his only begotten Son.
It is time for us Christians to grow up into the fullness of Christ. We have been redeemed through the blood atonement, it is true. But the world does not see God in us.
We have been baptized with the Spirit of God, it is true. But the world does not as yet see Christ in us. In fact, in many instances the people of the world are disgusted with the antics of the church people.
But God gave his Son so that the spiritually dead of mankind might not perish in their corruption but come to Divine Life. This resurrection cannot take place until the elect are willing to do God’s will rather than their own, are filled with the Fullness of God, and are in their places as trees of life growing on the banks of the River of Life.
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. (Ezekiel 47:6,7—NIV)
If you wish to be a tree of life bringing eternal life to the dead sea of mankind, then tell God about it and press forward in Christ. If you do, Isaiah, Chapter Twelve will become your personal testimony:
These promises are for you and me; but we are going to have to pursue Jesus with total diligence if we are to attain to all the fullness of God!
“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” (Isaiah 12:2,3—NIV)
Trees of Life
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Tree of Life who always is in the Paradise of God. His body and blood are our resurrection life. If we would eat and drink of Him we must overcome our sins and self-will. As we partake of Him we grow in inward resurrection life, which is the necessary requirement if we are to receive outward resurrection life in the Day of Resurrection.
I believe the following passage speaks of the purpose for our transformation into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (I Corinthians 15:45—NASB)
Man is body, soul, and spirit. God’s Spirit is a projection of his Soul. Our spirit is a projection of our soul. If we are to be a life-giving spirit, and our spirit is the projection of our soul, then it seems that our soul must become a source of God’s Life.
If our soul is dead in sin and self-will, then it is obvious what we will project is spiritual death, no matter how theologically correct we may be. In order for us to be a life-giving spirit, our soul must be made alive in the Lord Jesus.
For our soul to be alive in Jesus, we must be more than a casual church member who professes belief in Jesus Christ. Many, perhaps the majority of those who attend Christian churches in the United States, are spiritually dead even though they have “accepted Christ.” How do we know this? By their behavior.
You can recognize a tree by its fruit. If its fruit tastes good and is nutritious, then it is a good tree and the fruit is good to eat. If its fruit tastes bitter and is not nutritious, then we know that the fruit of that tree is not good to eat.
So it is with those who attend Christian churches. If a member projects love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control, then we know that the soul of that individual is filled with the Life of God.
If, however, a member projects hatred, bitterness, misery, unrest, impatience, harshness, wickedness, treachery, boastfulness, lack of self-control, as is true of multitudes of those who profess belief in Christ, then we know that the soul of that person is not filled with the Life of God.
We know them by their fruit, as the Scripture states. This is true whether or not the individual professes Christ and is engaged busily in some sort of Christian work.
A true Christian is known by his or her behavior, not by any declaration of belief in Christ. If this is true, and the Bible appears to support this idea, there are not as many Christians in the United States as we might wish.
How is a person to become a life-giving spirit, planted along the River of Life? He or she becomes a life-giving spirit by possessing a soul that has been transformed by being filled with Christ.
How then does an individual become transformed by being filled with Christ? He or she must live each moment of each day by the Life of Jesus.
Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. (John 6:57)
There you have it. We must live at all times by the Life of Jesus. We must feed on Christ continually.
How do we feed on Christ continually? By submitting all of our thinking, speaking, and acting to Him for his approval.
If we have not been accustomed to abiding in Christ in this manner, we might think such a life is difficult or impossible to attain to. Actually it is not, but one must practice it and grow strong and proficient in it.
The first thing when we wake up, while our mind is on many different problems and concerns, we say, “Good morning, Jesus, I love you.” Then we think of some things to thank Him for. Perhaps we don’t feel like it this morning. Jesus didn’t feel like going to the cross either. It is important to begin to pray the moment we wake up.
Then we pray: “Lord Jesus, fill my mind with Your Person and will. Cause me to do Your will today. Take charge of my thinking, my speaking, and all that I do.”
It is a good idea as we go to sleep to think of something to praise the Lord for.
Then, according to our circumstances and our culture, we begin the day. Immediately we are confronted with decisions to make, or with fears and dreads, or with occasions for thanksgiving, for example.
We bring each decision to Jesus. We bring each fear and dread to Jesus so He will remove them and give us his peace.
If there is an occasion for thanksgiving, an answer to prayer for example, we look up to the Lord and give Him thanks. Always remember to thank the Lord when a prayer is answered. Sometimes we feel that the problem just solved itself, and forget to thank the Lord. He likes to be thanked!
Being 85 years of age, my memory sometimes lets me down. So I make a practice of asking Jesus to remind me of things I must not forget. He always does remind me—without fail!
One of the concepts of computer technology is that of the “cloud.” The idea, as I understand it, is that data is saved in a cloud of memory on several servers, to which many clients have access, rather than on the hard disk of our own computer. That is the way in which I visualize my memory. The facts are not stored in my brain. God has all I ever will need to know in a cloud of memory. When I ask Him to remind me of something, He goes to the cloud and brings forth the desired information.
If you start to fall down or otherwise are in immediate danger, begin to pray instantly. Begin to pray before you hit the ground, so to speak.
Does such a plan seem difficult to follow? It is no more difficult than fretting and worrying about our decisions and actions. Practice makes perfect. As we keep on looking to Jesus like this, it becomes easier.
He always is standing at the door to our personality. He always wants to dine with us. Our part is to keep opening the door and inviting Him into all we are thinking, saying, and doing. There is no aspect of our life that Christ does not want to be involved in, I mean, absolutely no aspect!
It is not accepting Christ but abiding in Christ that saves us. He continually is knocking and we continually are to be opening to Him every day and every night.
The great error of religious thinking is that of accepting Christ as a ticket rather than as a way of life.
I am a pastor of a Christian church. It may happen on an occasion that someone wants to do something that involves the church. The person may say, “I don’t want to bother Pastor with this,” and then he goes ahead and do what is on his or her heart.
There may be circumstances the individual does not realize. The result is, Audrey and I may have to try to clean up the mess. It would be so much better all around if that person, no doubt having a good heart, would tell us about it beforehand.
It is like that with the Lord Jesus. There is no detail of our life that Christ is not interested in. One of the great mistakes we often make is to proceed on an assumption. In the demon-inspired culture in which we are attempting to serve the Lord, it is wise to assume nothing—no matter how familiar—and to pray about everything. Remember Joshua and the Gibeonites; and the defeat at Ai!
Sometimes we have a passionate desire to do something, but we have a feeling it may not be the Lord’s will. We may derive this sense from the written Word or from something Jesus has said to us.
If we will obey what we feel is Christ’s best for us, and not plunge ahead in our own lusts, Christ will feed us with the hidden manna; with his body and blood. In this manner He is increased in us. We then are living by his Life.
If the desired action is pleasing to the Lord, He will give us peace and wisdom and show us how to attain to our desires. There is no disappointment in Jesus. He always is leading us to righteousness, love, joy, and peace. We can depend on this utterly.
In Chapter 47 of the Book of Ezekiel we are told of three levels of water. These represent three deaths and resurrections our soul must endure if we are to be filled with all the fullness of God.
If we will be absolutely obedient to Christ, cooperating with the Spirit of God as He directs us, the time will come when there are “waters to swim in.” Then we are planted by the River of Life.
Now we are a source of eternal life to the people of the nations of the earth. We along with the Spirit of God invite all who will do so to come and partake of the Life of God without cost.
Now we have become a life-giving spirit. There is nothing more wonderful than this!
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17—NASB)
God Is My Salvation
In 1948, over sixty years ago, God opened my mind to the Scriptures. The statement in the Book of Revelation that the overcomer will be a pillar in the Temple of God impressed me so much that I wrote it in large letters inside the back cover of my Rotherham Bible and drew a picture of a pillar. I still have that Bible.
The most comprehensive illumination at that time, however, was the spiritual interpretation of the seventh feast of the Lord, the feast of Tabernacles. As a result, I wrote the first version of The Temple of God in a burst of enthusiasm, some twelve pages in length. As time has gone on The Temple of God has grown so large I divided it into two books: The Temple of God and Christ In You.
Those were glorious Bible-school days. Isaiah, Chapter Twelve, became my food and drink, and is to the present hour.
In that day you will say: “I will praise you, O LORD. Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.” With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say: “Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world. Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.” (Isaiah 12:1-6—NIV)
I was unaware in those days that this passage was sung during the Jewish celebration of Succot, the feast of Tabernacles. I just knew it was what I wanted.
I wanted God himself to be my Strength, my Song. I wanted God himself to be my Salvation, not just give me strength or give me a song, or give me salvation.
The Scripture states in another place that God himself desires to be our Righteousness. Have you ever pondered what this statement means?
What is righteousness? Righteousness is the absence of Divine condemnation and the presence of Divine approval, isn’t it?
To be righteous at any given moment is to be doing God’s will at that point. Would you agree with that statement?
On one occasion, God says, “Believe that Jesus died for your sins and you will be righteous.” On another occasion, God says, “Forgive your enemy and you will be righteous.”
Now, when God says forgive your enemy and you will be righteous, we cannot ignore this command and say “I believe Jesus Christ died to forgive my sins and therefore I am righteous.”
Righteousness in God’s sight always is obedience to God’s will at the moment. King Solomon at one time was blessed for his righteous attitude. Later in his life he no longer was righteous and God became angry with him. The consequence was the dividing of the nation of Israel. We see also that God reversed the promise He had made concerning Eli because of Eli’s lack of faithfulness.
But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die. (Ezekiel 18:24—NIV)
What does the statement mean, “God himself is my righteousness”?
This statement means we have not obtained Divine approval and removal of condemnation by performing good works, such as giving alms, or keeping the Law of Moses. Rather we have gained the Divine approval by obeying God at each particular moment.
God has become our righteousness, our salvation, in two ways. First, He has forgiven us through means of his own sacrifice. Second, He has filled is with his own Person so that at any given moment we know what his will is; we have a desire to do his will at that moment; and we have the power to do it.
In this manner, God himself becomes our righteousness, our salvation, that is, our freedom from condemnation. We are blessed with the presence of his approval. Corruption, pain, and death, are being removed from us, along with the bondages of sin and self-will, and we are entering eternal righteousness, love, joy, and peace, in his Presence.
Today’s interpretation of “God Is my righteousness” either is, “I am righteous because He is righteous and I partake of his righteousness by being identified with him”; or else it is, “he has assigned perpetual righteousness to me because of a correct religious profession or action on my part or because of my continual belief that I am righteous because He calls me righteous.”
“I am to keep believing I am righteous, although my behavior proceeds from my sinful nature and my desire to live my own life apart from God.”
I don’t know about you, but to me such a belief clearly is a delusion. This delusion has created believers who are not being made in the image of God; who are not witnesses of God’s Person, will, way, and eternal purpose in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The delusion of righteousness by Divine decree apart from continual obedience to Christ in every aspect of thinking, speaking, and doing is a satanic deception, a sophisticated form of rebellion against God. It is Satan’s attempt to destroy the righteous Kingdom that God has determined to create.
I am amazed by the fact that the spiritual interpretation of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was given to me as long ago as 1948, and today, in 2011, it holds as “an anchor within the Veil.”
God himself is my Joy, my Strength, my Peace, my Righteousness, my Song. The initial revelation has lasted more than 60 years, and is much more of a reality today than it was in the early days.
It has been purified in the fire!
In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness. (Jeremiah 23:6—NIV)
In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness. (Jeremiah 33:16—NIV)
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption (I Corinthians 1:30—NIV)
The Father’s House
In my Father’s house are many mansions. I suppose most Christian people believe that when they die they will go to a splendid mansion in Heaven, situated on a golden street. I think this hope would be more meaningful to poor people than to the wealthy, who already may be living in a splendid mansion. Perhaps we have not thought carefully about this. Our idea of Heaven may be nothing more than a vague hope that somehow the future will be better than what we are experiencing right now.
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2,3—NIV)
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2,3—KJV)
Notice that the NIV (above) uses the term “rooms,” while the King James says “mansions.” Notice also that the NIV inserts the word “there” (“I am going there”), while the King James says “I go.”
I believe both of these differences are significant. First, the Greek term translated “mansions,” in the King James Version, is best translated “abode,” or “home,” or “room.” “Mansions” may have served in A.D.1610, but today it is misleading. The Greek word means “a place where people live,” not an elaborate building.
Second, the insertion of “there” (I am going “there”), in the NIV. This implies that Jesus is going to a distant place, to a far-off Heaven. But the simple “I go to prepare a place for you,” of the King James, is to be preferred, I believe.
I think it is accepted generally that passages of the Scripture should be interpreted according to their immediate context, and according to the Scriptures as a whole.
Nowhere in the entire Bible can we find that mansions are being built for us in Heaven. The Bible does state that our conduct today is fashioning for us a house from Heaven. But this is referring to the spiritual body that will clothe our resurrected flesh and bones in the Day of Resurrection. Also, nowhere in the Bible is Heaven declared to be God’s House.
The context of John 14: 2 includes verse 14:23. There we find that the Greek term translated “mansions” in 14:2, is set forth as “home,” in 14:23—NASB.
John 14:2-23 shows us that the Father’s House is not Heaven but Christ Himself. Christ was not returning to Heaven, as to a place in the spirit world, but to the Father who is in Heaven. Christ is inviting us to be with himself in the Father, not just to a place in the spirit world. This distinction is of great importance.
In fact, Christ is not speaking of our going to Heaven to be with Him, He means for us to be with Him right now where we are, whether in Heaven or upon the earth.
The hope presented continually in the Christian churches is that when a Christian dies he will go to Heaven; that Christ, being a carpenter, has built mansions for us there. How glad we will be to leave this present valley of the shadow of death in which we are attempting to survive, and go to a beautiful dwelling in the world of peace.
Can you see what I am saying? We do not care about going to Christ to be with Him (“that you also may be with me where I am”). That relationship is of supreme importance to Christ, who loves us dearly. No—what we want is a lovely home that we can show off to the neighbors, and not have any more worries about money or anything else. Tell me I am wrong.
Now let’s think about what John 14:2-23 is declaring to us.
The Father’s House is the Lord Jesus Christ. But He is not to be the only room in the Father’s House. There are to be many rooms, many places in which the Father can dwell and find rest. Christ Himself is the Chief Cornerstone and the Capstone, the Alpha and Omega, of God’s House. The individual believers are the rooms in the eternal House of God. The eternal House of God is Christ—Head and Body.
If my understanding is correct, the individual rooms, which are the personalities, including their bodies, of the believers, God’s holy ones, will vary greatly according to the inheritance of the individual. Some of the rooms will be relatively small, containing the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the believer himself, and a few people.
There will be larger rooms. Finally there will be great palaces also filled with God, the believer, and then millions of people. These believers will be the patriarchs of the future. As eternity unfolds, they will grow increasingly large until they are huge shining pillars from which the light of righteousness and holiness shine. As Daniel says, they will be as stars that shine forever and ever.
Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:3—NASB)
If I am not mistaken, the Lord Jesus Christ, who Himself is the greatest of all rooms in the Father’s House, incorporates within Himself all the people and works of God’s hands.
Christ went to prepare a place for us so we may be rooms in the Father’s House. Where did Christ go? First, He went to the cross on our behalf. Then He went to the right hand of God in order to purify the “heavenly things.”
Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being. (Hebrews 8:1,2—NIV)
Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (Hebrews 9:23—NASB)
Finally, He comes to us as individuals so we may be qualified and competent to receive, in the Day of Resurrection, a body like his so we may be in his likeness. Then we are a living stone in God’s House.
Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. (II Corinthians 5:5—NASB)
Can you see now how the insertion of the word “there” in the NIV is so misleading? It reinforces the traditional understanding that the Father’s house is Heaven, and Christ is going up there somewhere to prepare mansions for us to live in. By and large the NIV is a good translation; but you have to watch out for these additions as the translators try to help us out and do our thinking for us.
The Lord Jesus Christ is not the Way to Heaven, as such; He is the Way to the Father, exactly as He stated. John, Chapters 13-16, the immediate context of John 14:2, do not mention the word “Heaven.”
The balance of Chapter Fourteen tells how the Father lives in Christ and did the works and spoke the Words that have changed the world over the last two thousand years.
Then Christ tells us He is giving to us the same Holy Spirit that is in Him to be with us forever. Christ is the Way to the Father, and his Spirit helps us on our journey along the way to the Father. The Father was with us in the Garden of Eden. Now we, through Christ, are to make our way back to our Father.
We can’t go to Heaven until we die. We can go to the Father today.
As we take up our cross and patiently follow Christ each day of our discipleship, we gradually learn to live by the Life of Christ. Living by his Life causes us to realize that Christ is in his Father, we are in Christ, and Christ is in us. This is our true goal.
Our Canaan, our land of promise, is not Heaven. Sin came into the earth from Heaven, and our going to Heaven will solve none of our problems and none of God’s problems—the problems arising from man’s insistence on living his life apart from the Presence of Christ and God.
Only Christ knows the Father, and those to whom Christ reveals him. If we are to know the Father we must learn stern obedience to the Father. God will not have fellowship with people who do not obey Him totally and completely.
Christ, the obedient One, died on our behalf so He might be able to restore us to the Father; not to Heaven, but to the Father. Now it is time, in the twenty-first century, to come to know the Father and to obey Him utterly. It is to accomplish our being able to know the Father that Christ, in obedience to God, went to the cross.
In spite of the teaching about how Christ went to the cross because He loves us, the truth is He went to the cross in obedience to the Father! He would have thrown the cup away instead of drinking it, if it were not for his willingness to obey God.
John 14:23 tells us what all this means, where it is going.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.” (John 14:23—NASB)
The verse above is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles.
If we want to make our way to the Father, we have to obey the teaching of his Son. This is why the current definition of grace, that it is an alternative to obeying God, has caused such moral destruction. The problem with the creation is disobedience to the Father, and when we disobey Christ we are disobeying the Father. God did not issue grace under the new covenant that we might live as we choose.
We do not show our love for Christ by talking about it or by worshiping with upraised hands in the sanctuary. We show our love by obeying the teaching of Him and his Apostles.
When we obey Christ, the Father loves us. The modern teaching that Christ and the Father are two expressions of the same Person is in error. Christ is a Person and the Father is a person. Otherwise, much of the New Testament does not make sense.
The Father and Christ come to the obedient believer and make Their eternal home with him. Now three Persons are dwelling in us: the Spirit, the Father, and the Son. Now God has his eternal Throne, his eternal House, his eternal resting place. Only Christ is able to prepare us to be the eternal Tabernacle of God. And He will accomplish this preparation in us if we are willing and obedient.
Such is the mystery of the Gospel: Christ is in us, giving us the hope of being filled with all the Fullness of the Glory of God.
Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest?” (Isaiah 66:1—NASB)
We all know the passages in which the Lord Jesus spoke of his relationship to the Father, and our relationship to him. “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” “I am the Vine. You are the branches.”
Jesus is God’s Son and the eternal dwelling place of God. We are the Body of Christ, the Wife of the Lamb.
Perhaps we do not pay enough attention to such statements. Their implications are awesome and go far beyond the usual expectations of our religion, I believe.
Jesus is an eternal Part of the Father’s Being. We are an eternal part of Jesus’ Being. So we have God in Christ in us. This is the Kingdom of God, whether in Heaven, or on the earth, or wherever else.
When God is in Christ who is in us, along with the Holy Spirit, we have four persons who compose a Divine Personage. We do not like to think of ourselves as Divine. Our modesty at this point is understandable and commendable. But we must not let our feeling of modesty keep us from believing what Christ has said.
Through Christ we have the right to be a child of God. We have been begotten by the very Word of the Father, just as we were begotten by our mother and father. Thus, like our Lord Jesus, we are both son of man and son of God. If this were not the case we never could be a genuine brother of Jesus Christ.
I think the “religion” part of Christianity keeps dealing with us as though we are nothing more than a human being who believes in a religion; as though we never have partaken of the Divine Nature. Thus we do not understand the concept of being “not of the world”; of being born again; of being a new creation.
Now let us think carefully about the following passage:
That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (John 17:21-23—NASB)
“That they may all be one.”
“Even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You.”
“That they also may be in Us.”
“So that the world may believe that You sent Me.”
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them.”
“That they may be one, just as We are one.”
“I in them and You in Me.”
“That they may be perfected in unity.”
“So that the world may know that You sent Me.”
“And loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
“That they may all be one.” We know who “they” are, as we read the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John. “They” are the people whom God has called out of the world and given to Jesus Christ, that Christ may give them eternal life.
If we are to understand the concept of the Divine personages, we must accept the fact that each of such personages has been singled out that he or she may be a member of the elect, the Royal Priesthood that shall govern the new world of righteousness.
We Americans may find it difficult to believe that God chooses the members of the elect, the Church. We may be under the impression that true Christians are nothing more than honorable people who have chosen to join a Christian church. However, it is not so.
The elect are the elect—human beings called out from the ranks of mankind to be unusually holy; to be close to God; to be used of God in a special way.
There are people who are chosen to be close to God, as was true of Jacob’s children. This is the case with genuine Christians. Until we are at rest in our mind concerning the fact that God chooses whom He will, uses whom He will, exalts whom He will, and abases whom He will, we will not understand God’s workings. They are not democratic, and often not even understandable or defensible in our framework of understanding.
“Even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You.” This aspect of the Divine personages is not quite comprehensible to us. Think about the relationship of Christ to the Father. What kind of Oneness is that? It reminds us of the following passage:
As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. (John 6:57—NASB)
Is the above verse saying that we are in relationship to Christ as Christ is in relationship to the Father? Christ lives by the Father. Do we live by Christ in precisely the same manner?
I am at a loss to know why John 17:21-23 and John 6:57 are not preached more often, They show us something of extreme importance. The Divine redemption is not a religion. It is an intervention of God in mankind, selecting out for himself a holy priesthood who will govern the new world of righteousness that God is preparing.
As Jesus said, the elect are not of this world as He is not of this world. The members of the elect have been chosen to be an integral part of God. Thus God is making them into Divine personages. The process of creating the elect to be an eternal part of God is quite painful.
For those who feel called to participate in this program of re-creation, let me remind us that the key is our willingness to sacrifice our independence such that our life becomes one with the Life of God and Christ. We never lose our uniqueness as a person. But we no longer can be found separate from Christ. Where Christ and God are, we are. Where we are, Christ and God are.
Some may find it difficult to become part of Another, preferring instead to travel around the universe as an individual entity. Nonetheless, abandonment of our independence is absolutely necessary if we are to become part of Christ and of God.
“That they also may be in Us.” I cannot overemphasize the importance of our entering the rest of God, that is, the rest where we choose to look to the Lord Jesus for all we think, say, and do.
The Life of the Lord Jesus Christ consists of his will, his God-given mind, guidance, energy, understanding, and so forth. We do well to choose to live by his Life rather than our own.
It is fashionable today to urge Christians to take their gifts and go forth to “save a lost and dying world.” This is to create Babylon. Rather, after we know God’s will for our life, we are to look to God every moment that He may carry out his own will. “It is God who works in us both to will and to act according to his good pleasure.” God performs his own work, and uses us as He sees fit.
“So that the world may believe that You sent Me.” Traditional Christian thought is that whoever accepts Christ is saved and will live forever in a mansion in Heaven. What a false picture this is! It is true rather that God is preparing us so we can, for eternity, bring righteousness and praise, through the Lord Jesus Christ, to the nations of the earth.
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them.” Here is another incomprehensible statement. God has given all of his Glory to his Son, Jesus Christ. Christ will give us of that Glory as soon as we are willing to become an eternal part of him. God will never give his Glory to another person.
“That they may be one, just as We are one.” Just as We are one. Such oneness is infinitely more than a group of the children of Adam finally agreeing on doctrine. Rather it is the Oneness that is of the very Nature of God, now filling those whom God has called out of the world to be part of himself. Such are one by nature.
Each member of the elect has his or her own relationship with Jesus Christ, perfected during the years of his discipleship. When he is living by the Life of Christ he automatically is of one Nature and Substance with all who have been made a part of Christ.
“I in them and You in Me.” The individual is to be filled with Christ just as Christ is filled with God. Such a new creation is a Divine personage.
“That they may be perfected in unity.” Rather, may be perfected in the Oneness that is God. “Unity” can suggest some kind of human compromise, which in no manner is related to the Unity of nature and substance that God has in mind.
“So that the world may know that You sent Me.” The home of the Divine personages is not Heaven. The home of the Divine personages is the earth—that they may serve as the Light of God to the nations. We are being created part of God so we may bring the Presence and will of God wherever we may go.
“And loved them, even as You have loved Me.” Such statements! But we must accept exactly what the Scriptures proclaim. The Scriptures are the only truth in the universe. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Scriptures made flesh. We are the flesh being made the Scriptures. Thus Christ and we are the truth and the only truth. God loves us because we now have become part of Him whom God loves, even Jesus.
As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me. (John 6:57—NASB)
Even though it has been made clear to numerous Christians that John 14:2 is not speaking of fine houses in Heaven, this misinterpretation still is a strong, durable tradition in the churches of our day.
Let’s take a look at the verse that has inspired Christians for centuries.
In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. (John 14:2—NASB)
If I am not mistaken, there is no verse in the Bible that states Heaven is the house of the Father. Isaiah does say Heaven is God’s Throne, but never his house.
I would suggest, in terms of the following verses in the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of John, that the Father’s house set forth here is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. God dwells in Christ in God’s Fullness. Christ is the eternal abode of the Father.
Notice that the New American Standard Bible does not speak of a “mansion.” The Greek term monee or monai has nothing to do with a fancy house, a structure. The term “mansion” in the Authorized Version may have been employed as nothing more than a dwelling place, or abode, in 1611 AD, at the time of the translation of that edition.
Here is another fact. Nowhere in the Bible is it stated that to be saved means to go to a palatial house in the spirit world when one dies. In fact we, being in a spirit body, would probably not find a large manor a suitable place in which to reside.
Isn’t it interesting that in our generation, so many traditional beliefs are being examined to determine if they actually are supported by the Scriptures!
If there is no scriptural support whatever, either in the Bible or in the Greek language for our destiny being a mansion in Heaven, should we not stop talking and singing about going to our mansion in Heaven? It seems reasonable to me that we should cease doing this.
Several years ago I discovered that residence in the spirit world (Heaven) is not the goal of the Christian salvation. There is no basis in the Bible for this venerable tradition.
Is there actually a Heaven to which people go when they die? Yes, there is. It is divided into the Land of Light and the Land of Darkness, according to recent impressions I have had of the spirit world. The Land of Darkness is a place of punishment. The Land of Light is a much more matter-of-fact world than our mythologies have described. People go about their business. After all, our world was made from the invisible spirit world, so one would expect the two worlds to be similar.
My recent impressions of the spirit world are contained in a new book titled Godwill Castle. It may be several months before it is published.
Any believer who continues to view a mansion in Heaven as his eternal destiny, when there is no scriptural support for this, is not too interested in his or her, salvation, I guess.
What, then, is the goal, the objective of our redemption, our salvation?
There are two dimensions of our objective. First, to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, both internally and externally (image and likeness). The second dimension is to be in untroubled rest in the very Center of God’s Person and will.
Now stop and think. Can you see that our movement to a place and a mansion would not solve God’s problem? God’s problem is that his creation, both spirit and physical, is in rebellion against him. Some of the angels are in rebellion against God, not willing to serve Jesus Christ. Most of the world, including the majority of Christians, are in rebellion against God, not willing to invite Christ into all their decisions.
Let us say we die and enter the invisible spirit world. Has that caused us to want to serve Christ in all aspects of our life? No, it has not. Why would we change? What we are, we are. If we were going to change, we would have begun to obey Christ while living in this present world.
Sin began with one of the two cherubim that guarded the Throne of God in Heaven. So it is not likely that entering the spirit world would take the rebellion out of us.
What if we go to live in a mansion? Would that solve God’s problem of rebellion, or even our problem? Living in an ornate manor would not remove rebellion from us. And it would not bring us to righteousness, love, joy, and peace which are the hope of every sane person.
If living in a mansion would bring us to righteousness, love, joy, and peace, then we would expect wealthy people on the earth to be righteous, loving, joyful, and peaceful. Are they?
Perhaps I am mistaken, but I think we Christians have many traditions that we have not thought about carefully. Could this be true?
If such is the case, what then is John 14:2 referring to? It is referring to the fact that if we keep Christ’s commands, the Father and the Son will make us Their eternal dwelling place, Their tabernacle. God in his Fullness will live in us. Also, in addition there may be a multitude of people living in us as our inheritance. Oh yes. When we are made God’s dwelling place we may be a palace, or castle, or anything else that is needed so people will be able to live in the Presence of God.
Do you have people living under your “covering” today? Do you have room for them in your heart? I’m sure you do.
We will have room in our heart for God and others. How does that sound to you? Are you willing to die to your self-determination so you can live in “waters to swim in” and be a tree of life along the banks of the River of Life? God has given us this opportunity, but we must “sell all” to take advantage of it.
The Greek term for “abode” is found in John 14:2, and 23; also in the fifteenth chapter of John in its verbal form, and is translated correctly, “Abide in Me.”
It appears to me that in our day there will be a reformation of the Christian understanding of the Gospel of the Kingdom. It is interesting, isn’t it, that at a time when the American way of life is in danger of being changed radically, God is opening to us the Scriptures. What is being shown to us has always been there. But we were not able to perceive what was being said. We just did not have the apostolic viewpoint.
I have been prophesying for thirty years that there will be a mighty revival in America, but it will occur during a time of great trouble. I think the hour is here, or very close.
There are at least three aspects of any true revival: first, there is repentance; second, there is an enlarged understanding of the Scriptures; third, there is worldwide evangelism. These three aspects characterized the Pentecostal revival of the Twentieth Century.
There must be an enlarged understanding of the Scriptures if any revival is to bear permanent fruit.
Today, much error is being taught:
- There is to be momentarily a carrying up to Heaven of all professing Christians.
- God has given us grace as an alternative to living righteously.
- Our goal is to go to Heaven to live in a mansion.
- Christians must not suffer but should be wealthy and enjoy every material blessing, including perfect health.
- The size of a congregation in numbers is a measure of success or lack of it.
- We can move the physical world by metaphysical practices, such as “speaking the creative word.”
- We are to take our gifts and go forth to save a lost and dying world. There is no need to wait to see if this is what Christ expects of us.
- We can be a Christian without denying ourselves and carrying our personal cross behind the Lord Jesus.
- Jesus is our personal Savior but not our personal Lord. We are free moral agents.
- There are three Gods, all equal in authority and power. Therefore Christ would not have to obey the Father unless He chose to do so. Can you imagine that this actually is believed?
There probably are many more errors being taught, but I can’t think of them offhand, and you probably see my point by now.
It is time for a reformation of Christian thinking. Would you agree to this?
Please let me conclude by saying there are no “mansions” in Heaven except for the Lord Jesus Christ and the members of his Body. As soon as we cease thinking in this unscriptural manner we will be able to rightly perceive the true spirit world, which is remarkably like our present world in that our present world was made from the spirit world.
Yes, people go about their business in the spirit world without the pain and tiredness that we experience at the present time. In the spirit world, if we have been a decent person, there always is that “Christmas” feeling that we try to capture during the holiday season.
Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23—NIV)
(“God Is My Salvation”, 3662-1)