THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD
THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Today's understanding of the Kingdom of God is that there will be two groups of people in the age to come: the saved, and the lost. This is not the case. There will be three groups of people in the age to come: the Church, the nations of the saved, and the lost. The Tabernacle of the Congregation is a model of the Kingdom of God portraying the saved who rule (Israel, the elect of God), and the saved who are ruled (the saved nations of the earth--Revelation 2:24). In addition there will be those (hopefully few in number) who are lost forever to God and His saints.
THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD
The prevailing understanding of the Kingdom of God is that there will be two groups of people in the age to come: the saved, and the lost. This is not the case. There will be three groups of people in the age to come: the Church, the nations of the saved, and the lost.
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)
"Shall walk in the light of it."
"The nations of them which are saved."
"It" is the Tabernacle of God, the new Jerusalem, the Church of Christ.
"The nations of them which are saved" are the inheritance of Christ and His saints—the people of the world who are not part of the elect but whom God has found worthy of eternal life.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: (Matthew 25:34)
Until this design is grasped the Hebrew Prophets are not readily understandable. The current perception of the Kingdom of God is that it consists of a happy group of Gentiles living in mansions in Paradise and having nothing significant to do.
The truth is, the members of the Church will be serving God as His representatives throughout the saved creation—especially in the earth. The Church is the Body of Christ, the Body of the Servant of the Lord. As such it will be performing the work of the Servant described in Isaiah, Chapter 42 and in similar passages.
The victorious saints will govern the saved nations of the earth with a rod of iron—a stern rule that shall crush all resistance.
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27)
At the conclusion of the thousand-year Kingdom Age the saints will face an angry populace but God will intervene.
And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. (Revelation 20:9)
During the past two thousand years, being saved and being part of the Church have meant much the same thing. This is because the purpose of the Christian Era has been the calling out and perfecting of the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ.
. . . And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:47)
When the Church, the Israel of God, has been perfected, God will use the Church as His instrument for judging, delivering, blessing, teaching, and ruling the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
The design of the Tabernacle of the Congregation reveals the relationship of the Church to the saved peoples of the earth. The Most Holy Place typifies the firstfruits of the Church, the holy, warlike remnant. The Holy Place portrays the Church. The Most Holy Place and Holy Place taken together represent God’s elect, Israel, the Temple of God, the eternal center of government of the Kingdom of God.
The Courtyard speaks of the nations of the saved. All are within the linen fence of righteousness. All are saved. All are part of the eternal Kingdom of God.
Some other names for the Church are as follows: the elect, the saints, Israel, the sons of God, the victorious saints, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem, the holy city, the brothers of Christ, the royal priesthood, the Church of the Firstborn.
The design of the Tabernacle of the Congregation is the design of the Kingdom of God. The Church has been called out from the nations of the earth that it may become, through Christ, the Presence of God among people.
We will not discuss at this time the godly remnant, the firstfruits, the strongest among the members of the Church. The firstfruits of the Church will, as Christ enables and directs, assist the weaker members of Israel as they come into the fullness of the new covenant.
These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. (Revelation 14:4)
We think the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle speaks of a firstfruits to God and the Lamb who will be raised in the first resurrection. The balance of Israel is portrayed by the Holy Place, and they will receive back their bodies at a later time, according to our understanding.
By the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age the Tabernacle will be one whole. All of God’s elect, all Israel, will have become the perfected Wife of the Lamb.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)
Our emphasis in the present article is on the Church, the Tabernacle building, including the Most Holy and Holy places as one whole. The Kingdom of God includes the saved who rule (Israel, the elect of God) and the saved who are ruled (the nations of saved peoples of the earth).
In addition there will be those (hopefully few in number) who are lost forever to God and His saints.
The Prophets of Israel declare plainly that the Israel of God will govern the nations of saved peoples of the earth. In fact, apart from the doctrine of Israel governing the nations of saved peoples of the earth the Prophets are not understandable.
For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12)
It is obvious from the above that there will be nations and kingdoms that serve God’s Israel, and that those nations and kingdoms are not lost but saved. However, they are not Israel, not the Church.
Let us think for a moment about the current Christian teaching that the Church is a spiritual kingdom destined to abide in Heaven while the writings of the Hebrew Prophets have to do with an earthly Israel. If this doctrine is true our model is incomplete.
If the current teaching is true, the government of the Kingdom of God will be divided into two parts: (1) a heavenly government made up of the members of the Church, the Body of Christ; and (2) an earthly government consisting of the nation of Israel—the Jews by race.
It is our point of view that the doctrine of the Church being a heavenly government while the Jews by race constitute an earthly government is incorrect and introduces chaos into one’s thinking concerning the Kingdom of God.
It seems to us that there hardly could be a doctrine more confusing, more destructive of sound biblical interpretation, than the concept that the Lord Jesus Christ has two brides, two bodies, two kingdoms; and that there will be two comings of the Lord, one for His heavenly bride and one to His earthly bride.
The Apostles Paul and Peter were Jews by race and yet members of the Church. Are Paul and Peter part of a spiritual government in Heaven or are Paul and Peter part of the future government of Israel on the earth?
Think about the following passage:
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)
It does not seem reasonable that the Apostles of the Lamb would be ruling over Jews on the earth while the "Gentile Church," which is the fruit of their teaching, would be living in bliss in the spirit Paradise. Do you agree?
According to the Lord Jesus, one cannot see or enter the Kingdom of God until he has been born again (John 3:3,5). Being born again makes one a member of the Church, the Body of Christ; for it is Christ who is born in us.
How can any teacher of the Scriptures seriously hold the concept that there will be a nation of Jews on the earth who never have been born again and yet who are in the Kingdom of God?
Or are there two kingdoms?
To our knowledge, the Scriptures never, in any instance, speak of two kingdoms. There is one King, one Lord, one Kingdom, one Israel of God, one Wife of the Lamb, one holy city, one fold, one Shepherd.
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain [Jews and Gentiles] one new man, so making peace; (Ephesians 2:15)
"One new man."
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
"One body and one Spirit."
And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. (John 10:16)
"One fold and one shepherd."
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. (Ezekiel 37:24)
The Lord Jesus Christ will sit on the Throne of David in Jerusalem. He is the King over all nations, particularly over His own elect.
The members of His Body will govern the nations with Him.
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. (Isaiah 32:1)
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:17)
"So shall we ever be with the Lord."
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:21)
The Scriptures teach that there is one Kingdom of God, the kingdom that is coming to the earth. The Kingdom of God consists of those persons in whom Jesus is dwelling and ruling. There is no distinction between Jew and Gentile in the Kingdom of God.
The Hebrew Prophets when proclaiming the truths of Christ were not addressing physical Israel.
Unto whom [the Hebrew Prophets] it was revealed, that not unto themselves [the physical land and people of Israel of the days of the Prophets] but unto us [Christians—Jewish and Gentile by race] they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, which things the angels desire to look into. (I Peter 1:12)
The new covenant, the Christian covenant, can be made only with God’s Israel, the elect of God. Notice carefully the following:
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel . . . . (Hebrews 8:10)
The new covenant is made only with Israel. In order to enter the new covenant we must become part of Israel. When we enter the Lord Jesus we become part of true Israel, the Israel that is by promise (Romans 9:6-8).
The New Testament does not speak of any covenant made with Gentiles, only with Israel.
There only is the one good olive tree—the Seed of Abraham by promise.
The teaching that a Gentile Church will rule in Heaven while those of Jewish lineage will rule on the earth is incorrect. Only the victorious saints will rule the nations of the earth, and they will rule on the earth (although they will have complete access to the spiritual heavens).
The victorious saints are the firstfruits of Christ’s Body. The victorious saints are drawn first from the Jews and after that from the Gentiles. Those who are part of Christ, of the Kingdom of God, are no longer identified as Jews or Gentiles.
The oneness of Jews and Gentiles in the Church of Christ is taught clearly in the Scriptures.
The new covenant is made with the house of Israel and only with the house of Israel. We Gentiles must become, through Christ, part of the one Seed of Abraham or we cannot inherit the promises of God.
Nothing we teach is meant to imply that the physical land and people of Israel have not had, and do not continue to have, a special place in the purposes of God. The Jews by race assuredly do continue to have a special place in the purposes of God, and this will become increasingly clear as time goes on. The Kingdom of God is always to the Jew first.
The Kingdom of God consists, first of all, of the Church, which is the royal priesthood; then of those saved peoples whom the Church will govern and whom it will serve in a priestly function, bringing the knowledge, blessing, and Presence of the Lord to them.
Several passages of the Book of Isaiah have to do with the Servant of the Lord, Christ—Head and Body. During the coming age the Lord’s royal priesthood, Christ and His Body, will deliver, rule, teach, and bless the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. (Isaiah 2:3)
Isaiah 2:3 is not a picture of the Body of Christ making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to seek the Lord. In that day the Lord’s elect already will "ever be with the Lord." Neither is it a prophecy of the nations of the earth coming to the physical Jews to learn the Torah.
Isaiah 2:3 portrays the coming of the nations of saved peoples of the earth to Jerusalem, to the center of government of the whole earth. There Christ and His Body will be ruling, and there the nations will find God.
We who believe in Christ already have come to Mount Zion and are Mount Zion. We stand with Christ on Mount Zion.
But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, (Hebrews 12:22)
The pilgrimage of the nations of the saved to "the house of the God of Jacob" will take place on this earth. The casting of Satan and his angels out of the heavenlies, and the ascension of the saints to the spiritual thrones that govern the earth, will create a peaceful, godly atmosphere on the earth. The nations then will desire to "beat their swords into plowshares."
The nations of the saved of their own choice will decide to "go up to the mountain of the Lord."
We are coheirs with Christ of the nations of the earth. This is why we are being trained so rigorously, not that we may dwell in Heaven above but that we may bring the Presence of God to the nations of the earth.
The nations that choose to go up to Jerusalem and be taught of the Lord are not lost. They are not in Hell. They are not in the Lake of Fire. They are saved people living in peace on the earth and they are being governed by the Israel of God, which consists of all who are in Christ (Galatians 3:29; 6:16).
The sixtieth chapter of the Book of Isaiah reveals that at the time of the world’s greatest darkness the Glory of the Lord will arise on the saints. This passage refers to the same event for which Jesus prayed, as set forth in John 17:21-23. The Lord prayed that His Glory would be given to the elect and that the nations of the earth would see the unified Church and realize it is God who has sent Christ, and that God is in the Church and loves the Church as He loves Christ Himself.
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:21-23)
"That the world may know."
Isaiah, Chapter 60 portrays the answer to the prayer of the Lord Jesus:
Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. (Isaiah 60:1)
The Church is the light of the world but it is not stated that the Church is the light of Heaven.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:14)
Whenever the Glory of God is given to the Church the nations of the earth will come to the light; for the Church is the only Divine Light in the world. When the Church is filled with Divine Glory and in union with Christ, the world will believe in the Divine Redeemer.
This is what is being portrayed here:
Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. (Isaiah 60:4)
The sons and daughters who come to the glory that has risen on the Lord’s people are not part of the Church, the Wife of the Lamb. They are of the nations of saved peoples of the earth. They are the inheritance of Christ and His coheirs.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (Psalms 2:8)
Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring unto thee the forces of the Gentiles [nations], and that their kings may be brought. (Isaiah 60:11)
It is abundantly clear, in the above verse, that "thy gates" refers to the Lord’s elect, and the "men" who come to the gates of the Church are saved. Certainly they are not coming from the Lake of Fire. Yet they are not part of the Church.
The Church and the nations of the saved can be observed also in the sixty-first chapter of the Book of Isaiah—the passage of Scripture the Lord Jesus read at the beginning of His ministry.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)
"That they [the members of God’s elect] might be called trees of righteousness."
First the members of Zion are built into "trees of righteousness." Then the trees of righteousness, who are the Israel of God, the Lord’s elect, serve as a royal priesthood to the nations of saved peoples of the earth. Notice the following:
And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. (Isaiah 61:5,6)
Here we have portrayed the Lord’s "priests," and also the nations of saved peoples of the earth (the "strangers") who recognize that the saints are representing the Lord God. Since the elect at that time already will have been raised from the dead, and this will not be true of the nations of the saved whom they will be serving, it appears that the saints will be ministering to the nations while clothed in their glorified bodies. The nations of the saved will still be flesh-and-blood people. During the Kingdom Age the members of the royal priesthood will be filled with eternal resurrection life in spirit, in soul, and in body.
The saved peoples of the earth will recognize that God is tabernacling in us because they will see engraved on us the name of God, the name of the new Jerusalem, and the new name of Christ (Revelation 3:12).
The nations of the saved will not be permitted to choose whether they wish to come to experience the Glory of Christ in the saints, they will be required to do so.
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zechariah 14:16)
The nations of the saved will "keep the feast of tabernacles" by coming to the Wife of the Lamb and receiving the blessing of the Presence of God, who will have established His throne, and the throne of the Lamb, in the Church, the Body of Christ, the new Jerusalem. The Church will have become the eternal Temple of God.
Out from the saints will flow the rivers of living water, as Jesus prayed during the observance of the feast of Tabernacles.
He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)
And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. (Zechariah 14:8)
Since Jerusalem is between the eastern nations and the western nations, the water of God’s Holy Spirit will flow from Jerusalem to the farthest corners of the earth. The living water always comes from the Throne of God. It will flow from the personalities of the members of the Body of Christ, from those who have entered the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, becoming the Throne of God and of the Lamb.
The living Water will bring spiritual life to the "dead sea" of mankind.
And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh. (Ezekiel 47:9)
The Lord Jesus will perfect His Body, His Church, in order that the world may believe and be saved.
Having your conversation [behavior] honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. (I Peter 2:12)
The nations will "glorify God in the day of visitation" if the saints practice the righteous deeds of the Kingdom of God.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
The light of the Church is the good works of the Church, the good works that the Church practices because Christ has been formed and is dwelling in the Church.
Christ’s purpose in perfecting the Church in Himself is that the entire earth may be filled with the Glory of God. "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
Before Christ is finished He will have accomplished His goal of revealing the Glory of God through His saints in the sight of the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:11)
When the Lord God builds up His Church the nations of the earth will behold the righteousness and Glory of the Lord.
For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles [nations] shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name. (Isaiah 62:1,2)
The twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew portrays Christ the King assigning some nations to everlasting fire and other nations to eternal life.
And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: (Matthew 25:32)
Notice that the basis of separation in this instance is not their receiving Christ as Lord and Savior or their repenting or their being baptized in water or their being born again. The judgment of the nations is based on how they treated the Lord’s brothers, His elect, His witnesses, His saints.
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: (Matthew 25:35)
It is our understanding that the "sheep" and "goat" nations represent all the nations of history, including the people who are alive on the earth when the Lord returns. The principle of assisting or rejecting God’s witnesses, whether Jewish or Gentile, with the resulting rewards or punishments, holds true for all of human history. If we are correct, then the judgment of the sheep and goat nations will take place at the end of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, the time when the dead are raised.
The following is an example of someone assisting the Lord’s witnesses:
And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us. (Acts 16:15)
And then an example of rejecting the Lord’s witness:
And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. (Acts 16:22)
Matthew 25:31-46 may be speaking especially of how the nations of the earth treated the Lord’s witnesses during the period just prior to His return from Heaven, during the great tribulation. Perhaps this is the meaning of "the earth helped the woman" (Revelation 12:16).
It is the writer’s point of view that the Spirit-anointed elect will be forced to flee from the face of Antichrist after the latter-rain testimony (the testimony symbolized by the "two witnesses" of Revelation, Chapter 11) has been concluded. The true Israel of God, the elect Jews and Gentiles, will, we believe, be protected and nourished in the wilderness areas of the earth throughout the great tribulation.
At that time the nations of the earth will choose whether to assist the saints or whether to join with Antichrist in persecuting them. The people that assist the saints will be brought into the Kingdom of God. The people that ignore the plight of the saints (the saints being the "brothers" of Christ) will be thrown into everlasting fire.
Notice again that the nations are not saved by receiving the doctrine of the atonement and resurrection but on the basis of how they received Christ in the saints.
The three groups of mankind, the Church, the nations of the saved, and the lost, are portrayed in the Book of Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22. First, the Church.
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)
What is the new Jerusalem? The new Jerusalem is the Wife of the Lamb, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is what the Scripture states:
. . . Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife, . . . and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (Revelation 21:9,10)
The new Jerusalem is a real city, we believe, but it is also a portrayal of the virtues of the Church. It is the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife. According to Ephesians 5:31,32 it is the Church that is the Wife of the Lamb.
What significance does the Spirit attach to the descent of the new Jerusalem from the new heaven to rest on a "great and high mountain" of the new earth?
. . . Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)
The Church, the Wife of the Lamb, is "the tabernacle of God." There is no other tabernacle of God.
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22)
Where will the tabernacle of God be placed? The Church, the tabernacle of God, will be placed on the earth. It is the light of the world.
The Church will be placed on the earth so that the Presence of God in Christ will be available to the members of the nations of saved people.
. . . Behold, the tabernacle of God [the Church] is with men, . . . (Revelation 21:3)
With what men?
With the saved peoples of the earth.
What will the Lord do for the nations of saved peoples of the earth when He has come down from Heaven to live among people in Christ—Head and Body?
. . . and he will dwell with them, and they [the nations of the saved] shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)
Did the Hebrew Prophets proclaim that the God of Heaven would come to earth through His people, and rule and bless the nations?
They did, in many instances. One of the principal themes of the Old Testament Prophets is the return of Christ to bring justice to the nations God has chosen.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment [justice] to the Gentiles [nations]. (Isaiah 42:1)
In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they [those people typified by the Tabernacle of David] may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen [nations], which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this. (Amos 9:11,12)
"All the heathen [nations], which are called by my name."
The Tabernacle of David, which was the Ark of the Covenant separated from the Tabernacle of the Congregation and kept in a tent near Jerusalem, symbolizes the Presence and Glory of God that will be with the firstfruits of saints, with those who are pressing on to complete victory in the days in which we are living (Philippians 3:14).
The coheirs with Christ, those who suffer with Him, will receive the nations for their inheritance (Isaiah 53:12; Romans 8:17; Revelation 2:26).
One of the fundamental prophecies that governs the Church can be found in Genesis 22:15-18. Notice the relationship of Christ (and all who are part of Him) to the nations of the earth.
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:18)
"Shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."
The Divine Seed to whom all the promises have been made is the Lord Jesus Christ and those who are an integral, eternal part of Him.
And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)
Heirs of what? Heirs of the nations and of the farthest reaches of the earth.
For how long a time will the Church, the Seed of Abraham, govern and bless the nations of the saved?
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:7)
And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
How will the Lord God, who at that time will be dwelling in His Fullness in His holy ones in the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, behave toward the nations of saved peoples of the earth?
And God shall wipe away all tears from their [the nations’] eyes; and there shall be no more death [among the nations of the saved], neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)
What will be given to the believers who, through the grace of Christ, overcome the sins and pressures that afflict the members of the churches?
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. (Revelation 21:7)
By far the most important aspect of the inheritance of the overcomer is union with God through Christ. The possession next in importance is the nations of saved peoples of the earth. The nations of peoples are our inheritance in the Lord.
Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles [nations] shall come unto thee. (Isaiah 60:5)
What will be true of the individuals who refuse to be made new by the Glory of God in Christ in the saints?
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and sulfur: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
There will be three groups of people throughout the ages to come: The Church, the nations of the saved, and the lost. We have spoken of the Church and the nations of the saved.
Finally, the lost.
The common Christian teaching of our day is that all who stand before the great white throne in the Day of Judgment will be lost, will be thrown into the Lake of Fire, there to be tormented for eternity. This group, according to the current belief, includes those who never have heard the Gospel. Some people stress that babies also will be thrown into the Lake of Fire because they have not "received Christ." So great is the blindness and hardness of heart!
Such is not our point of view.
God judges people only by the light they have received, not by light they have not received.
If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. (John 15:22-24)
"They had not had sin."
(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed (ascribed) when there is no law. (Romans 5:13)
For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. (Romans 7:9)
Where there is no law there is no accountability for sin. Adam and Eve were without guilt and "alive" in the sight of God until they received the knowledge of good and evil.
There will be a wide variety of rewards and punishments given to the first group, the members of the Church, the Body of Christ.
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)
It may be true also that a wide variety of positions and punishments will be given to the second group, the nations of the saved. Every individual, whether of God’s elect or of the nations of the saved, will receive the evil he has done and the good he has done.
Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: (Romans 2:9,10)
God is not mocked. His Word shall stand. He does not respect the person of any individual that He would overlook the sins of some and severely punish others who do the same things but who are not of God’s elect.
For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; (Romans 2:12)
The nations will be judged largely on how they treat the Lord’s brothers, His witnesses.
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40)
The nations that bless and comfort the Lord’s saints will inherit the Kingdom of God, entering eternal life.
The nations that do not assist the Lord’s saints will be led away into the fire.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (Matthew 25:41)
It does not appear that there are divisions among the lost in the Lake of Fire. The individual who is thrown into that most terrifying of prisons is lost forever to God and His purposes. It is a fate beyond all other fates in its dreadfulness. Hopefully there will be few people who are assigned to the eternal flames prepared for the devil and his angels.
The marriage of the Lamb will be the greatest event of all history. It is the uniting of Christ, the Lamb of God, with a company of people who forever will be part of Himself. It is the fullness of the incarnation of the God of Heaven.
The Divine Glory being issued in order that the marriage may be perfected is so abundant that all the persons of the earth may attend and be blessed.
The nations are invited to partake freely of the "good wine" that has been kept until now.
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:6,7)