THE DESTRUCTION OF THE LAST ENEMY

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Words of Righteousness)

THE DESTRUCTION OF THE LAST ENEMY Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Lord Jesus has made one sacrifice for sins for all time. Now He is sitting at the right hand of the Father. He is waiting for the Father to bring down His enemies and make them a footstool for His feet.

The Father has been working for two thousand years to put all enemies under the rule of Christ. The last enemy to be destroyed is physical death. When a warlike remnant of the believers have entered the rest of God, having attained to the early resurrection from the dead by putting down all of Christ’s enemies that are in their personality, the Lord Jesus will return from Heaven and redeem the bodies of His victorious saints.

Table of Contents

Introduction The Struggle To Attain to Eternal Life The Last Enemy They Without Us Cannot Be Made Perfect The Salvation Ready To Be Revealed in the Last Time

THE DESTRUCTION OF THE LAST ENEMY

Introduction

If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [out-resurrection] of [from] the dead. (Philippians 3:1)

The purpose of this booklet is to explain why the expression "attain unto the resurrection" appears in Philippians 3:11. The return of the Lord and the accompanying resurrection of the saints are ordinarily viewed as a calendar event—something that will take place at a specific date independently of the actions of Christians, not an experience that must be attained. We would like to advance the thought that, while the Father already knows the date and time of the Lord’s return (since He knows all things in advance), the date and time will depend on the willingness of the victorious saints (always a remnant!) to follow the Lord Jesus to the fullness of salvation.

The land of Canaan, the land of milk and honey, symbolizes our change into the moral image of the Lord Jesus, perfect rest in Christ in the Father, the attainment to eternal life in our body, and the possession of the nations and the farthest reaches of the earth as well as all other things. No aspect of this inheritance can be ours until we, through the Spirit of God, have driven out the enemy. 

Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. (I Corinthians 3:21-23)

Eternal life in the body is one of our goals. Since the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the Resurrection and the Life, attaining to the resurrection is the same as gaining Christ.

Notice how the Scripture presents gaining Christ (attaining to the resurrection) as being the end product of the program of redemption. 

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win [gain] Christ, (Philippians 3:8)

"That I may gain Christ"! 

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)

"Partakers of Christ." Share in Christ!

In a very scriptural sense we cannot count ourselves as being eligible to partake of Christ until we endure to the end of our trials. We are protected from the wrath of God the moment we place our trust in the blood of the Lord Jesus. But we have not attained to the goal of salvation until we receive the redemption of our mortal body. 

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)

We have not gained Christ until we have pursued Christ to the point of perfect, full possession of Him. In order to gain Christ, gain the resurrection, we must, through Christ, overcome every enemy that comes against us. When we have attained to rest from our enemies we then have gained Christ, we have attained to the redemption of our body from the hand of the enemy. This is why the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews speaks of the "rest" of God. The rest of God is rest from God’s enemies and our enemies.

The out-resurrection from the dead is the first resurrection. It will take place at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, at the time when the Lord Jesus returns from Heaven. According to our understanding, the out-resurrection will include the victorious saints of every era of God’s working with mankind. The remainder of God’s family, as well as the nations, will be raised and judged at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The participants in the first resurrection will be a firstfruits of mankind to receive the redemption of the physical body. 

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. (Revelation 20:4,5)

"And they lived." This expression means they regained their physical body. The remainder of the dead people did not regain their body until the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

The physical body died because of the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Our body is dead because of Adam’s sin and because of its own sin. 

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

The restoration of life to the physical body is a primary goal of the Christian salvation. The redemption of the body by adoption was the goal of the Apostle Paul. 

And not only they, 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 new inner nature is born of God. Our body will be adopted when the Lord returns provided we have attained to the resurrection in our inner nature by bringing down, through the Virtue of Christ, every power in us that opposes God.

We might think of the victorious saints as being one hand of the Body of Christ, a remnant of Israel, a Gideon’s army. The one hand is struggling to get loose from the grip of Satan. As soon as the hand gets loose it will set about to release the remainder of the Body, and then the nations of the earth that are willing to receive God’s salvation through Christ.

As soon as the victory began to be won by Gideon’s three hundred the remainder of Israel was able to join in the victory. So it will be that all of God’s Church will be able to gain the redemption of the physical body as soon as the warlike remnant presses through to the full attainment of Christ.

All mankind died physically, being denied access to the Tree of Life (Christ) when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. 

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (I Corinthians 15:22)

The Struggle To Attain to Eternal Life

The six thousand years of human history are a record of mankind waiting for redemption, that is, the restoring of eternal life to the children of Adam.

Before resurrection was possible an atonement had to be made for the sins of the world. The atonement was made by the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary. 

And he is the propitiation [appeasement] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2)

Then the long struggle began, the struggle to attain to eternal life.

One may ask, Why was a long struggle necessary? The revelation of eternal life and of the Kingdom of God was given by the Apostles in the first century. Why did God withdraw the apostolic anointing when the eleven died, making it possible for spiritually inclined men to attempt to explain the Kingdom by human reasoning, and also to organize the great Catholic denomination?

Why the hundreds of years of darkness in which so much of the apostolic understanding was lost? Why the torturous route since the Protestant Reformation as the several denominations and movements gained some of the original truth and also added various errors and traditions?

Even today we have the overemphasis on God’s love, the "salvation by faith alone" excess, the pre-tribulation "rapture" doctrine, the "faith" and "prosperity" errors. Why does God not speak clearly so all believers can press into the resurrection?

The reason for God’s willingness to allow the teachers and leaders to go back and forth and sideways has to do with the concept of being convinced.

Perhaps you may have noticed in your own life how God waits until you are convinced of righteousness. The writer, having been a Christian for fifty years, has often pleaded with God to remove all sin from him and to make him perfect. Yet the hoped-for deliverance does not take place immediately. Rather there is a very slow process of dealing with each area of personality one inch at a time. The written Word of God invites correction and change. The correction of one small part of his personality occurs when the believer becomes convinced of God’s way.

The convincing is more than a mental convincing or a verbal statement of the decision to go God’s way. The mental convincing and the verbal statement are of great importance. But the actual redemption of the personality, the convincing of the necessity for choosing God’s path, must occur in every area of the personality at a level so deep it can be said truly that old things have passed away, all things have become new, and all things are of God.

The experienced believer will recognize instantly the operation we have just described.

This is the manner in which God has worked with the Christian churches throughout history. God has permitted every conceivable deviation, distortion, adventure, idea, program—every effort that the inventive mind of ambitious spiritual man can devise. The angels are closely examining all that is taking place. 

To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by [through] the church the manifold wisdom of God, (Ephesians 3:10)

Slowly, always considering what has taken place in the past, the victorious saints are becoming convinced of the necessity for following the Spirit of God as He unfolds the Scriptures. They no longer are willing to listen to some new plan for saving the world. They now are convinced they must wait until they hear from the Lord concerning every step they take. The need to follow the Lord closely has been in the Scriptures all along, but religious leaders may not have been convinced they could do nothing of themselves. Thus the overcoming of Christ’s enemies has been delayed. 

The Last Enemy

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (I Corinthians 15:25,26)

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (Hebrews 10:12,13)

Satan is the enemy of Christ and the enemy of everyone who loves and follows Christ. Christ is the resurrection and the life. Satan and his devices and followers are the corruption and the death.

There are three enemies that must be overcome in whoever would press through to the conquering of the last enemy and thus attain to the first resurrection from the dead. The three enemies are as follows:

The willingness to continue in natural physical life instead of seeking to live by the body and blood of the Lord Jesus.

The willingness to yield to sin in order to obtain pleasure.

The willingness to pursue one’s own will and ambition in order to accomplish one’s goals.

As long as one of these three enemies is active in the believer’s personality he or she cannot attain to the resurrection to eternal life in the Presence of Christ.

We find the same idea in the following passage: 

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. (Revelation 12:10,11)

The author of death cannot be cast down from his place in the heaven until there are Christians who overcome him. Satan will finally be crushed under the feet of the saints. 

And the God of peace shall bruise [crush] Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Romans 16:20)

Satan can be overcome only as there are people who are seeking to live by the Life of Christ instead of natural physical life, who refuse to yield to sin in order to find their own pleasure, and who reject their own will and ambitions and love not their own life to the point of death.

Throughout the Christian churches of today there are believers who are engaged in this final wrestling match—the match that will conclude with the conquering of Satan. They have turned aside from the flesh and blood adamic life and are seeking to live by the Life of Christ as He lives by the Life of God. 

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)

How do we eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ? How do we live by His Life?

Every time we refuse to yield to our adamic appetites, desires, and lusts, the Lord Jesus feeds us with the "hidden manna, that is, with His own body and blood. Little by little we change from life lived in the natural physical realm to life lived in the Spirit of God. We learn to live by eternal, incorruptible resurrection life. 

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:54)

The victorious saints have refused all joy except the joy that comes as they do the will of God. They refuse to find their pleasure in lust and revelry, in drunkenness, sorcery, and violence. They are keeping true to the commandments of the written Word of God. Their testimony is that God is true, faithful, and holy. The Holy Spirit can use such saints to overcome the accuser of the brothers.

The victorious saints now are turning aside from all of their own interests, even their interests in the ministry of the Gospel, in order that they may think God’s thoughts, speak God’s words, and do what God is commanding.

They are seeking the rest of God—the rest in which the Lord Jesus is their Life. They are submitting to crucifixion with their Lord. They now are living by His Life, His thoughts, His words, His actions.

They are learning to live by the power of Christ’s resurrection. They are willing to share His sufferings. They count all of their personal accomplishments as so much rubbish in order that they may gain Christ.

They are in the anguish of travail that Christ may be formed in them. They are bringing forth the Son, the Ruler of the ages to come. They are passing from the spiritual fulfillment of Pentecost (the rain from Heaven) to the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles (the creating of the Throne of God in them so that out from them may flow the waters of eternal life).

They are living by Christ’s Person and Presence just as Christ lives by God’s Person and Presence. They are eating Him and drinking Him at all times. 

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

They are attaining to the first resurrection from the dead.

The resurrection to eternal life in the body is being developed in us.

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)

"By his Spirit that dwelleth in you." The Spirit who is dwelling in us now will raise us when the Lord appears.

Now we are in a travail to overcome the world, sin, and our self-love, the corruption and death that are in us, so that when the Lord comes the resurrection life that already is dwelling in us may expand to include our body. This is the redemption promised for the last days.

Seeing that our body is dead because of sin, and that the Lord intends to make it eternally alive, we are not obligated to live in the natural appetites, desires, and lusts of the body. 

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. (Romans 8:12)

If we continue to live in the life of the soul and physical body instead of seeking eternal life each day we will slay our own resurrection unto life. 

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

They Without Us Cannot Be Made Perfect

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39,40)

There is a sense in which we are saved the moment we receive Christ. 

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. (John 5:24)

There is another sense in which salvation is in the future, and there are several verses that speak of this fact. The salvation, the redemption that is reserved for the end of the Church Age, is the making alive of the mortal body. Let us look at some of these passages and comment on them. 

And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 10:22)

The same thought of gaining Christ by enduring to the end is found in the third chapter of the Book of Hebrews. 

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Hebrews 3:6)

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews 3:14)

It is clear from the above that there is a sense in which our gaining of Christ is possible only as we steadfastly continue in joyous confidence until we have attained to the rest of God. The concept of enduring to the end needs to be stressed in our day. This stress is needed in order to balance the current emphasis on "accept Christ now and you can never be in danger of losing your salvation."

It is true that the Lord Jesus is able and willing to lead us to total victory of spirit, soul, and body. But it is true also that several passages of the New Testament inform us that the Christian salvation will come in its fullness in the last days and that if we would partake of it we must continue faithfully throughout our pilgrimage on the earth.

There is altogether too much lightness in the Christian churches of our day. There is a false assurance. The doctrines of the "rapture," of "Jesus did it all," of "God loves you so much you will never suffer," are not coming from the Lord but are "another gospel." Let us flee from the false assurance, the froth, the entertainment that are filling our churches and begin to earnestly seek the Holy One of Israel.

The Lord Jesus is calling the Christians in America to repentance. If we do not repent we can look for fierce wrath, persecution, violent upheavals of nature, and other calamities to fall upon us in the near future. It is not a day for lightness but for the most serious heart-searching and repentance.

But let us continue with our examination of the passages that point to the salvation that is coming in the future. 

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Romans 13:11)

By the term "salvation" Paul is referring to the making alive of the mortal body. This was Paul’s hope—that he might be released from the corruptible body of sin and death. 

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (I Corinthians 15:52)

The Book of Ephesians speaks of the day of redemption, that is, the redemption of the body that is coming in the future. 

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest [guarantee] of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13,14)

The sealing of the Holy Spirit is God’s pledge to us that He will redeem our body in the last days.

And again: 

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

We are to live a holy life in view of the promised redemption of our body. The resurrection to eternal life must be attained by following the Lord as God brings all the enemies of Christ that are in our personality under subjection to Christ. 

But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (Hebrews 10:11,13)

Again: 

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

The salvation we are to receive at the coming of the Lord is the redemption of our body, the resurrection to eternal life in the Presence of the Lord.

If we would attain to the promised salvation we must continue steadfastly in faith and assurance, conquering, through Christ, our attempt to live by material bread alone, our love of sinful pleasure, and our willingness to walk in our own way instead of continually seeking the will of God in every detail of life. 

Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)

The Divine salvation, the attaining to immortal life, will be revealed in the "last time." 

The Salvation Ready To Be Revealed in the Last Time

God’s victorious saints of every age are witnessing the travail that is beginning in the remnant of believers who are hearing and obeying the voice of the Lord in our day. The saints of old time have served God according to the revelation of His will that they possessed at that time. Now we are close to the promised salvation—the salvation that will bring perfection to them and to us.

As we stated previously, it was necessary that God bring mankind through the long, tortuous travail that would make it possible for people to eat of the Tree of Life (to eat of Christ). 

This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (John 6:50)

We of today must examine the record of the Scriptures in order to learn from all that has transpired in time past. We must profit from the lives of God’s saints of the past.

We must recognize that the Church, or at least a remnant of the Church, stands at the Jordan. We are being prepared to cross over into resurrection life in the flesh.

There is being prepared among the Lord’s people a spearhead, a Gideon’s army that is willing to pay the price necessary for attaining to the first resurrection to eternal life. The return of the Lord depends on there being a group of people who will say the final yes to the Lord, who will turn away from the things of the flesh, from sin, and from self-rule, and serve God with a perfect heart.

The Spirit of God is ready to help us in every battle. Judgment is coming upon those who are closest to the Lord and with the Spirit’s guidance and assistance they are confessing their sins and turning away from them. Christ, the Ruler of the worlds to come, is being formed in them.

The perils and sufferings of the great tribulation will be necessary in order to separate the Lord’s firstfruits from the man-centered Christian organizations, to purify their moral nature, and to teach them to lean wholly on the Lord.

If this sounds like something you desire, then go to the Lord and grasp His will for yourself. Claim your mountain!

When the holy remnant of believers have allowed the Holy Spirit to put down every rule, every power in them, until only the Lord is exalted, then the Father will breathe power into Michael and his angels and they will drive Satan and his angels from the heavens.

After some additional events the Lord will appear and call to Himself, from one end of the heaven to the other, those who are living by His body and blood. Believers who are alive on the earth at that time will feel their flesh and blood life leaving their body. They will die on their feet so they may be made eternally alive by the Life of the Spirit of God.

It will require great faith and experience in the Lord in order to not look back once the change begins to take place. Remember Lot’s wife! The change into eternal life will take place in a moment. There will be no time to consider whether we are willing to enter death to the body. In that moment we shall have to press forward into the Lord, just as we do when being saved, healed, or receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit.

When we are ready to enter the resurrection the Lord will return. Let us hasten His coming by living a godly life. 

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto [hastening] the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (II Peter 3:11,12)