ISAIAH, CHAPTER SIXTY-ONE
Copyright ｩ 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright ｩ 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
God's intention is to make His people "oaks of righteousness." When this has been accomplished, His royal priesthood shall represent Him throughout the earth. Righteousness and praise yet shall spring up in the sight of all nations.
Table of Contents
ISAIAH, CHAPTER SIXTY-ONE
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (I Peter 2:9)
The chapter we are studying presents the fundamental design of the Kingdom of God. It is that God has called and is calling out from the world a people peculiarly His own. This calling began with physical Israel and is continuing through spiritual Israel, that is, Jews and Gentiles who are entering the Kingdom by being born again through the Divine Virtue that is in the Lord Jesus Christ.
You may notice that the design of the Kingdom of God has nothing to do with our going to Heaven to live forever, the traditional fable that endures to the present day, but tells about what will take place among the nations of the earth when the Lord Jesus returns with a prepared Church. When God prepares His royal priesthood for their foreordained role, they will restore the devastations of the earth that have been produced by the works of Satan and wicked people.
Everything depends on the Spirit of God. It is the Spirit who enables us to preach good news to the poor. It is the Spirit who directs us to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives.
It is the Spirit who empowers us to release the blind prisoners from the darkness.
We now are in a new day. For the first time, perhaps, we are beginning to understand that the Gospel is not that men receive Christ and then go to Heaven when they die. Rather, the Gospel is to prepare and enable God's elect until they are able to restore to the earth that which was lost when Adam and Eve rebelled against God.
Shall the Kingdom of God actually come to the earth? Shall God's will actually be done in the earth? Yes, it shall. This is the true Gospel. Paradise shall be restored to the earth. The little child will be able to play with all the animals without fear of injury. It is not Heaven where this shall take place, but the earth.
The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper痴 nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:8,9)
All these wonderful things shall take place through the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God.
There are only two ways in which a human being can live, move, and have his or her being. One is by flesh-and-blood life. The other is by the Spirit of God. It is God's will that all human beings, including His elect and the saved nations of the earth, live by the Spirit of God. The adamic race of flesh and blood ended when the Lord cried out: "It is finished!"
If we read and reread this chapter, thinking carefully about what it is saying, asking the Lord to remove from our mind what is false and to help us visualize what is being said here, we will have a true vision of the Kingdom of God that soon is to come from Heaven.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, (Isaiah 61:1)
We recognize the above verse as being the Scripture with which the Lord Jesus announced His ministry. The passage is of immense importance because it orients us correctly to God痴 plan of salvation in Christ.
God has anointed Jesus of Nazareth, formerly the Word who was with God from the beginning of the creation, and through whom God made all things, with His Spirit. It is this anointing from which we derive the term Jesus the Christ, or, Jesus the Anointed One.
The anointing provides the wisdom and power by which the Lord Jesus can accomplish certain goals.
He can bring good news to the poor of the earth. Whether they are poor or rich in material things, the poor of the earth are those who are lonely, weak, forsaken, without joy or confidence, or are downtrodden in some manner. They have been treated unjustly. They are not at peace in their present circumstances but are suffering and trying not to lose all hope.
Jesus comes and knocks on their door, so to speak. They open the door of their life. Jesus begins to remove their pain and give them hope for the future. The greatest hope of all, the Gospel, is that He is going to return and bring justice to the poor of the earth. The afflicted, the impoverished, can look forward to better things.
He can bind up the brokenhearted. There are people who have had their hopes dashed. That which they had envisioned with joy has been destroyed. Relationships that once had made life a pleasure have been ruined. Jesus can heal that deep, inner wound that no one else can minister to. He can bring peace and comfort that absolutely pass understanding. Jesus can do this because of the Divine Virtue contained in the anointing of the Spirit of God.
He can deliver the captives. So many today are bound with bitterness, depression, alcohol, drugs, and sexual lusts of various sorts. They are sick and afflicted, physically, emotionally, mentally. Jesus can break the chains of insanity. Sometimes He uses people to help us. But in the last analysis, only Jesus can bring lasting physical, emotional, and mental health.
He can bring sight to the physically and spiritually blind. God's people have been deceived. They are under the impression that Divine grace is an alternative to moral transformation. We ought to know better than this, but we don't. It is not because we are not intelligent or are unable to read the New Testament, but because the Bible is a spiritual book, and the Spirit of God has to give us understanding.
For example: the Apostle Paul told the Jews of his day that God is ready to release them from their obligations to the Law of Moses and impute righteousness to them if they are willing to look to Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. This is what Paul meant when he wrote that we are saved by faith and not by works, meaning the works of the Law of Moses. We Gentiles, in our spiritual blindness, are interpreting Paul to mean we are not obligated to live righteously because now we are under a covenant of "grace" that does not requires that we grow in righteous behavior.
In several passages of his writing Paul warned that if a believer lives according to the sinful desires of his flesh and spirit he will not inherit the Kingdom of God; he will reap corruption in the Day of Christ; he will slay his own resurrection.
Yet to the present hour, it appears the majority of God's Christian ministers are teaching that we go to Heaven by grace, meaning God saves us by a gift apart from our behavior. There is no need to live righteously because we are saved by grace. This is blindness.
Also, nowhere in the Old or New Testaments is it taught that Heaven (the spirit world) is the eternal home of the saint. Yet, we define "salvation" as a ticket to our eternal home in the spirit world. Not one passage of Scripture teaches this. The Bible speaks of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, and Jesus taught us to pray to this end. We simply are unable to perceive what the Scriptures teach us.
Of late (the last one hundred and fifty years, or so) the false hope has been proclaimed that at any moment all believers, regardless of whether or not they are living victoriously in Christ, will be caught up to Heaven to be Jesus in eternal bliss. The climactic act of redemption, the resurrection of the physical body, is largely ignored. The teaching of the "any-moment-pre-tribulation-rapture" is a total delusion. It is not a scriptural doctrine. Yet devout, intelligent ministers of the Gospel cannot perceive that this delusion is guaranteeing that the believers remain immature. Why should they grow in Christ? To what end? Why should they prepare themselves to stand in the evil day, as the Apostle exhorted, when there will be no evil day for them?
The Lord Jesus through the Spirit of God has the wisdom and power necessary for the release of His people from spiritual darkness. He will open our eyes if we will come out from the present doctrinal confusion and seek truth. God has sent a powerful delusion because we have not loved the truth but have heaped to ourselves teachers who comfort us by telling us there is nothing we are to do about our salvation. Jesus has done it all. The blind are leading the blind, not realizing that the gift of eternal life is the gift of an opportunity to attain to life by counting the things of the world as garbage that we may gain Christ.
We need to pray that God will anoint our eyes with the salve of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation; for we are staggering about in gross doctrinal and spiritual confusion.
To proclaim the year of the LORD痴 favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, (Isaiah 61:2)
It is interesting to note that when the Lord read from the scroll of Isaiah, He stopped at the phrase "the year of the LORD's favor." He did not read "and the day of vengeance of our God." This omission is of the greatest significance.
The following is what Christ read in the synagogue, at the beginning of His ministry:
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, To proclaim the year of the Lord痴 favor." (Luke 4:18,19)
Why did the Lord not continue with, "and the day of vengeance of our God," as we read in the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah. It is obvious that He stopped in the middle of the thought.
It is because the "day of vengeance of our God" had not come as yet.
For the two thousand years of the history of the Christian Church we have been in "the year of the LORD's favor. It is only now that the "day of vengeance of our God" is at hand. This marks an enormous move forward in the Divine plan of redemption.
If we consider the seven observances of Israel to be valid types of our salvation, we notice that the final three, the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles, are grouped together in the first month of the civil year, the year of kings and contracts as it sometimes is expressed.
This tells us that after the observance of Pentecost, marked by the giving of the Law of the Spirit and the emphasis upon the building up of the Body of Christ, we come to a new year. The Jews observe Rosh Hashanah, the Blowing of Trumpets, as New Year's Day.
I cannot stress too strongly the importance of the aspect of redemption taking place at the present time.
The Day of Vengeance of our God has begun. The scroll is being opened that we may continue with Isaiah, Chapter Sixty-one.
God's elect have experienced forgiveness through the blood of the cross. We also have partaken of the Holy Spirit. But we may notice that to a great extent the history of the Christian Church has been one of strife and turmoil. This strife and turmoil did not exist because of the Spirit of God but because the spiritual enemies of God have been and yet are active in the personalities of those who have been forgiven.
The observance of the Blowing of Trumpets portrays the coming of Christ in the Spirit to attack His spiritual enemies, beginning with the personalities of His priesthood.
The observance of the Day of Atonement signifies the reconciling of our personality to God, as those aspects of our personality which are not in God's image are driven from us by the Spirit of God. We have been righteous by the legal act of imputation. But the Kingdom of God is found in actual righteous behavior, not in legal imputation.
The last of the seven observances is the feast of Tabernacles. This festival portrays the entering of God and Christ into the cleansed personality of the saint, thus constituting another room in the great House of God. The House of God is the Lord Jesus Christ.
You may find in the present hour that you are being reminded of motives and actions that are not found in God, such as gossiping, or pride, or lust. Bring these before the Lord in prayer and ask Him to remove them from you. Then you will experience the reality of the Day of Atonement, the Day of Vengeance of our God.
The year of the Lord's favor, the day of vengeance of our God, and comforting all who mourn, are listed together because they go together.
It is God's favor (grace) that delivers us from all spiritual darkness.
It is the Day of Vengeance of our God against the enemies of our God; not against people unless they refuse to be released from the person and behavior of Satan.
It is a period of comfort for those who, like the Apostle Paul, groaned to be delivered from the bondages of sin.
And provide for those who grieve in Zion葉o bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)
Right here, I believe, is exposed the error of evangelical thinking and efforts. We have the cart before the horse. We are working on the "fish gate" when we should be working on the "sheep gate" (Nehemiah, Chapter Three).
The purpose of the gifts and ministries given to the saints by the Holy Spirit is for the purpose of building each believer to the stature of the fullness of Christ. But we are endeavoring to make every believer an evangelist and are emphasizing "saving souls" nearly to the exclusion of building up the believers to maturity.
The world simply will not believe that God has sent Jesus Christ until the saints are one in Christ in God and one with one another.
We have churches filled with immature Christians who are being exhorted to go forth and bring forth more babies. However, Jesus taught us that if we would behave righteously, people would see our good works and glorify God. But we are insisting that righteous behavior is not an essential aspect of our salvation. Thus the righteous are without fruit, consequently souls are not being won.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30)
Notice the purpose of the anointing of the Holy Spirit (which agrees with the fourth chapter of the Book of Ephesians):
"And provide for those who grieve in Zion."
"To bestow on those who grieve in Zion a crown of beauty instead of ashes."
"To bestow on those who grieve in Zion a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair."
It so often is true that God's people are grieving, experiencing ashes and a spirit of despair. The Lord Jesus has been anointed with the Holy Spirit in order to remedy this spiritual darkness. Christ is ready and willing to accomplish such deliverance today when we become ready and willing for Him to do so.
The ministry of the Spirit causes the "bruised reeds" among the elect to become "oaks of righteousness." Oaks of righteousness! The purpose of the anointed ministry is to cause God's saints to become oaks of righteousness!
It may be true that the most destructive error in Christian thinking is that Christ is making oaks of imputed righteousness. An oak of imputed righteousness is actually a bruised reed to whom "oakness" has been assigned apart from any actual change of character; any new creation of righteous behavior.
Can there be a greater error in Christian thinking than this? Instead of obeying the Great Commission and calling out disciples, exhorting them to keep Christ's commands, we go forth and make church members, informing them that they do not have to keep Christ's commands because they are "saved by grace."
Oaks of righteousness. What does this mean? An oak sapling can be bent and twisted by a child. A mature oak would stand firm if a car crashed into it. An oak of righteousness is a believer who practices iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father. He or she cannot be moved away from this kind of behavior. He is founded upon that greatest of all oaks of righteousness, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Have we not been terribly deceived? The result of the overemphasis upon evangelism to the neglect of the building up of the saints has been the destruction of the Christian witness. The witness does not consist primarily of the preaching of the Gospel but of the people who have, as a result of the Gospel, been conformed to Christ's image and brought into untroubled rest in God's Person and will.
When we grow into maturity in righteous behavior, having become a new creation, we then are viewed as "the planting of the Lord." The people around us will see God's splendor in us and glorify God. People cannot see God's splendor in believers who are righteous only by imputation.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. (Isaiah 61:4)
When Christ returns in the clouds, those believers who have been formed into oaks of righteousness will be raised from the dead and then caught up to meet Him in the air. Then they will return with Him and work with Him in the program of installing the Kingdom of God, the doing of God's will, upon the earth.
When Isaiah speaks of "places long devastated," ruined cities that have been devastated for generations," he seems to be contradicting the words of Joel, who also was speaking of the Day of the Lord.
Before them fire devours, behind them a flame blazes. Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste溶othing escapes them. (Joel 2:3)
Joel seems to be prophesying that when Christ comes with His army of saints, the land is not devastated but fruitful and pleasing in appearance.
My thought on this seeming contradiction is that the world, having been under the domination of Antichrist for a season, will appear to be "like the garden of Eden." But for one who can see as God sees, the actual state will be one of total moral devastation.
When one comes into Las Vegas, Nevada, at night, the multiplicity of fluorescent lighting makes the city appear as a wonderland. But the truth is, it is filled with every sort of corruption and spiritual death. The appearance is as Eden; the reality is a charnel house.
The sons of God will go through the earth as a flame of Divine judgment. They will tear down all the structures of wickedness before they rebuild.
We see this operating in the world of today. For example, someone may be fairly accomplished on the piano. Then he will be placed under the oversight of a master teacher. The teacher then may undo many habits that the student thought were a sign of proficiency. The master does this before he attempts to rebuild a correct technique. It is like the pruning of many branches from a tree before the time comes for new life.
So the saints will restore the world. I do not believe this will take place instantly but over a period of time, as the Lord's warriors and judges go forth from His Presence in Jerusalem and administer justice, righteousness, and peace to all the nations of the earth.
Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. (Isaiah 61:5)
The idea of nations of people who are not of God's elect serving the saints appears in other passages in Isaiah. For example:
For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. (Isaiah 60:12)
From the standpoint of today's incomplete preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, the two verses above are not readily comprehensible.
Here we have two sets of saved people葉he aliens, and Israel.
Today we preach that we must "accept Christ" or go to Hell. How about these "aliens"? They obviously are not part of Israel, of God's elect. Neither are they in Hell.
The truth is, the purpose of the two thousand years of the Church Age has been for the purpose of calling out from the world an elect who are to compose a royal priesthood. The ministries and gifts of the Spirit have been given by the ascended Christ so the elect can grow to maturity in Christ. When they grow to maturity in Christ, their role will be to serve the nations of the earth as a governing priesthood. This is the simple clarity of the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.
It appears that the Christian leaders of our day do not regard God's plan in this manner. Rather, the idea is that all the people of the world are sliding down into Hell. Our task is to tell as many people as we can that if they will make a profession of faith in Christ they will not slide down into Hell but will go to Heaven when they die and live there for eternity. By accepting Christ they become part of God's elect. Thus the scriptural concept of aliens who serve God's elect is ignored completely.
So the mad rush to save people from Hell proceeds as usual. Meanwhile, the actual members of God's elect, who I suppose are found in most Christian churches, are not built to maturity but are exhorted to go forth to save a "lost and dying world." This is babylon幼onfusion!
The sheep nations are the "aliens" who are brought into the new world of righteousness because they have assisted the Lord's elect when these brothers of the Lord needed help. Those who refuse to assist the saints are thrown into the fire. This reminds us of a verse we noticed previously.
For the nation or kingdom that will not serve you will perish; it will be utterly ruined. (Isaiah 60:12)
So it is clear there are two classes of people who will be saved from destruction. One class consists of God's Israel, whether Jewish of Gentile by physical birth. The other class consists of those people who have assisted God's elect in their hour of need. If there were no class of people who are saved but not of Israel, there would be no one whom God's saints could serve as governing priests.
And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. (Isaiah 61:6)
The new Jerusalem is the glorified Christian Church. It is Israel brought to full maturity.
The new Jerusalem is the eternal Tabernacle of God. It will emerge from the spirit Heaven and be placed upon the new earth. Because God and the Lamb are resident therein, the new Jerusalem has become the Throne of God; it has become the new Heaven.
How wonderful for the nations of the earth, the "aliens." They now can serve a visible God. God has been made visible in Christ. Christ has been made visible in His elect.
Just as we find God through the Lord Jesus Christ, so the nations will find Christ through us. The nations of the earth will be able to find Christ through us because we have been crucified with Christ and now Christ is living in us. We will have become the many rooms in the Father's House, which is the Lord Jesus Christ. We will have become the Tabernacle of God, the new Jerusalem.
Of the many scriptural truths that need to be brought to the attention of God's people today, perhaps the concept of the saved nations of people who are not part of God's elect, who are not members of the governing priesthood, is one of the more important.
The peoples of the nations of the earth will realize we are the ministers of God because they will see God's name and the name of the new Jerusalem engraved upon us. Therefore they will bring their riches up to Jerusalem to show their love and reverence for God.
Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain. (Zechariah 14:16,17)
The nations will celebrate the feast of Tabernacles by coming up to the new Jerusalem to partake of the Glory and Law of God that now is available through the members of the royal priesthood.
It is true even today. Whoever does not help God's anointed servants in their hour of need will themselves not be helped in their hour of need. Whoever helps God's anointed servants in their hour of need will themselves be helped in their hour of need.
We are not to speculate as to who among us are not true members of the Lord's elect. All we have to do is cease preaching the traditional grace-rapture-heaven-prosperity message and insist that the believers deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Christ. The mixed multitude that is among us today will leave quickly, complaining that the church is "not meeting their needs."
Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. (Isaiah 61:7)
There always is a reproach where Christ is. Have you noticed that?
Whether we are speaking of water baptism by immersion, or holiness, or being born again, or speaking in tongues, wherever Christ is moving there is a reproach. Once the particular area of redemption has been established, the reproach lifts.
There used to be a strong reproach on speaking in tongues; but now the Pentecostal churches in many instances seem to be proceeding under their own momentum rather than under the direct impetus of Christ. The reproach is lifted. The Pentecostals are honored members of the community.
The cross is the greatest reproach of all, and so we see litigation in America to prevent the public display of the cross. Personally, I would like to see a rose-covered cross each year in the annual Rose Bowl parade. I don't expect to see this, because of the reproach.
When Christ returns with His saints and holy angels, the reproach will be gone. Instead of being covered with shame, God's elect will be established in glorious circumstances. They will be given a double portion of every good thing found on the earth. They no longer will be persecuted. It will be the wicked who are ashamed in that day and deprived of the good things of life on earth.
"For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them. (Isaiah 61:8)
God is faithful. Of all the wonderful attributes of God, such as boundless love, compassion, and mercy, the most important is faithfulness. The term is written on Christ. Without faithfulness, if God could not be trusted, all of His other attributes would be worthless. God wants each one of His elect to bear the fruit of faithfulness.
God loves justice. As we think about the world today we see that there is very little justice. Christ is coming to install justice on the earth. Because of His power and authority, no person will be able to resist Him.
Many Christian people have been treated unjustly. Just be patient. Christ knows, and you shall be rewarded for you continuing faith in Him.
We can witness the perversity of world thinking in the present conflict in the Middle East. A terrorist group is raining rockets on Israel. The Israeli army is responding. Many people are blaming the Jews for responding "disproportionately" while their cities are being bombed. This is perversity. This is injustice.
Everywhere we look, whether it is at the abject poverty in which so many individuals live while others have more money than they can spend in their lifetime, or the subjugation of people by tyrants, or the little personal dramas that occur when lawyers collect millions of dollars in fees in class-action lawsuits while the victims are given token amounts, or the graft and corruption in the governments of the various nations, or the firing of long-term employees just before they are due to retire so the company will not have to pay the retirement salary that was promised, we see injustice. The purpose of the return of Jesus Christ to the world is not to bring His Church to Heaven, as is commonly taught, but to establish justice on the earth.
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations. (Isaiah 42:1)
God loves justice and righteousness. He hates robbery and iniquity. Some translations suggest this means God hates a sacrifice offered to Himself that robs someone, such as in the case of the preacher who pleads for money when his listeners do not have enough money for their daily needs; or the man who forsakes the needs of his family that he may "serve the Lord."
God tells us that in His faithfulness He will reward those who have patiently borne injustice, and will make an everlasting covenant with them. This verse has much the same flavor as the Sermon on the Mount. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
"Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed." (Isaiah 61:9)
The Jews and the Christians, God's chosen people, have often been despised. It is true to the present hour. The nations are quick to take the side of the Muslims, even though the Jews have behaved honorably while the Muslim terrorists make it a point to kill women and children. In spite of this wickedness, the leader of the United Nations continually takes the side of the Muslims against the Jews.
This will not be the case when Christ returns. God's blessing will be so pronounced on His saints that the nations of the earth will acknowledge that God is favoring them.
We are not to fight back or fret ourselves concerning wickedness. Wickedness shall increase greatly in the days to come. An age of moral and physical horrors is on the horizon. We will survive and help others to survive if we will look constantly to Jesus and do exactly what He commands. We are not to fret about the spiritual darkness but to do whatever good God directs and enables us to do.
I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)
The verse above is speaking of our response in the Day when Christ returns and raises us from the dead.
We need to understand today that not everyone who names the name of Christ is eligible to participate in the resurrection that will occur when Jesus returns.
Today there is a church within the churches. It appears that in every Christian church there are a few genuine disciples. By genuine disciples I mean believers who actually are denying themselves, taking up their cross, and following the Lord. These are the victorious saints, spoken of in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation.
We must come to understand that these, and only these, are scripturally eligible to receive back their body in the Day of Christ. The remainder of the Church, and of saved people everywhere, will receive back their bodies at a later time.
All people who have ever lived on the earth will be raised from the dead. There is a first resurrection out from the dead that the Apostle Paul was striving to attain to. This first resurrection will take place when Christ returns with His saints and holy angels.
The important aspect of the resurrection is what happens to us at that time. If we have counted ourselves as dead with Christ and have sought each day to live as having been raised with Him, a body of life and glory has been prepared for us in the spirit world. When Christ returns, He will clothe our resurrected body with this body of life and glory.
The body that clothes our resurrected mortal body will be a robe of righteousness. There will be no sinful desires in it. This is the redemption of the body, for which Paul groaned.
Think of it! After our weary pilgrimage in the earth, we now will be standing on the earth in a state of Divine Glory that can be seen by the amazed peoples of the nations. Christ will be adorned with us and we will be adorned with Him.
Let me emphasize that all people who have lived on the earth will be awakened from the dead at one time or another. However, the saints who have overcome every hindrance will be rewarded by being raised and glorified in the first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when Christ next appears. These believers have suffered with Him, and now their reward is to be with Christ as part of Himself for eternity.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. (Isaiah 61:
God's purpose in calling out an elect, a Church, is that He might prepare them to be a witness, a revelation, of Himself. Because this is God's intention, we have to interact with the Lord Jesus every day of our life so He can prepare us for the great day of revelation葉he time of the revealing, the manifesting, of the sons of God.
We must be filled with righteousness and praise today if we hope to serve as God's witness to the nations in the great Day of the Lord. We must not think that we can live unrighteously and have a bad attitude toward God today, and suddenly be transformed into a blazing testimony when the Lord comes. Death will not transform us. Neither will the coming of the Lord. Rather, our physical death as well as the coming of the Lord will reveal what we have become, rather than change us into the image of Christ.
The Lord Jesus told us that when we have become one in Him and the Father, and one with each other, it is then the world will believe that God has sent Christ.
There is a great deal of Christian teaching in America. However, the light of the witness of Christ is quite dim. The American people are disillusioned with the Gospel because of the behavior of the Christians and their leaders. The church that is not a light of righteous works today will not be a testimony of righteousness and praise when Jesus comes.
The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb痴 book of life. (Revelation 21:24-27)
The verse above is a portrayal of the end result of God's work with man. God will create a new firmament and a new earth. On the earth will be the glorified Christian Church, having been made without spot or wrinkle of any sort.
Also on the new earth will be multitudes of saved people whom the saints of the new Jerusalem will serve as priests of God. The saints will govern the works of God's hands forever. They shall be sources of living water, because the Throne of God will have been established in them. Like the Lord Jesus, they shall be trees of life so that the peoples of the earth can come and be refreshed and healed.
Although this booklet is titled "Isaiah, Chapter Sixty-one, I have appended the first two verses of the following chapter, Chapter Sixty-two, as they appear in The Amplified Bible. In these two verses we can see the dreadful, morally destructive bias that pervades evangelical thinking.
For Zion's sake will I [Isaiah] not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest until her imputed righteousness and vindication go forth as brightness, and her salvation radiates as does a burning torch. And the nations shall see your righteousness and vindication [your rightness and justice--not your own, but His ascribed to you], and all kings shall behold your salvation and glory; and you shall be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord shall name. (Isaiah 62:1,2)
"Imputed righteousness and vindication."
"Your rightness and justice--not your own, but His ascribed to you."
But the result of the anointing, as set forth in Chapter Sixty-one, is that "the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations."!
Today we have multitudes of Christian believers throughout the world who claim they have experienced "imputed righteousness and vindication"; that rightness and justice have been ascribed to them.
But what does the world see? The world sees bitterness, arrogance, dishonesty, sexual lust, lying, sectarian strife, and every other work of the sinful nature.
Perhaps the translator(s) of The Amplified Bible intended to stress that from our old adamic nature we cannot bring forth the righteousness of Christ. This absolutely is true.
But when the believers read the first two verses they conclude God has said that the righteousness imputed to them on the basis of their profession of belief in Christ will "radiate as a burning torch." This is foolishness, to say the least.
The Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints governing the world. Before the saints can govern the world they must be changed into the image of Christ and brought into untroubled rest in God's Person and will. When this is true, they are in the image of God. Their behavior is righteous with God's righteousness. This is the true Kingdom of God and eternal life, and it is brought about by the anointing of the Holy Spirit that rests upon the Servant of the Lord.