WHEN? WHERE? HOW?
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
We know at some point in time, somewhere, and by some method, the Lord is going to remove sin from His Kingdom. It often is taught that when the Lord returns He will instantly remove sin from us without any effort on our part. Another point of view is that the bondages of sin will all be removed when we die.
Neither of these ideas seems to be entirely scriptural. The true answer is given in the New Testament.
Table of Contents
WHEN? WHERE? HOW?
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.
We know at some point in time, somewhere, and by some method, the Lord is going to remove sin from His Kingdom. It often is taught that when the Lord returns He will instantly remove sin from us without any effort on our part. Another point of view is that the bondages of sin will all be removed when we die.
Neither of these ideas seems to be entirely scriptural. The true answer is given in the above verse.
When will sin be removed from the Kingdom of God? The answer is given: “at the end of the age.”
Probably most Christians believe we are pretty near the end of the age. So it is entirely possible, and scriptural, that we are drawing close to the time when sin will be removed from the Kingdom of God.
Where will we be when sin is removed from the Kingdom of God? My thought is that when the time comes to remove sin from His Kingdom it does not matter where the believer is.
Is this what the following passage is stating?
But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit. (I Peter 4:5,6)
First of all, it is clear from the above that God will judge those who are alive on the earth and those who are dead and in the spirit realm.
Second, the Gospel of the Kingdom is preached to those who have died and are living before God in the spirit realm. These people are judged as though they were still living on the earth in a physical body, although they no longer are alive on the earth.
If my understanding is accurate, then we can say that when the Lord gets ready to remove sin from His Kingdom it does not matter whether we are dead, or alive in the physical world.
When is the end of the age. Where is wherever we are when the Lord is ready to remove sin from us.
The one remaining question is, how will the Lord remove sin from us?
As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (Matthew 13:40,41)
The Son of Man will send out His angels and they will weed out of His Kingdom everything that causes sin.
The Son of Man will send out His angels and they will weed out of His Kingdom all who do evil.
Everything that causes sin. All who do evil. These are two different issues.
The term “angels” can refer to spirit-angels or human-angels. “Angel” in the Greek language means messenger. So the above passage may mean simply that the Lord will send forth ministers who will proclaim the Jubilee of release from sin.
The idea is, the Lake of Fire has jurisdiction over eight specific behaviors, whether or not these behaviors are found in a believer or an unbeliever.
None of these eight behaviors will be permitted to exist in the Kingdom of God.
Ephesians tells us we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit for the Day of Redemption.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
It is our point of view that the Day of Redemption, the time of the removal of sin, has begun. The Day of Redemption is portrayed by the Old Testament Day of Atonement. The Day of Atonement follows the feast of Pentecost. We have been celebrating the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Pentecost for a century or so. Now it is time to observe the solemn Day of Atonement as the Judge, who is standing at the door, begins to baptize us with the fire of Divine judgment.
The issue is simple: either we work with the Lord in getting rid of the sins that are in us, or else our destiny will be residence in the Lake of Fire.
First the sins are removed from the Kingdom. Then the sinners are removed from the Kingdom.
No sin of any kind is permitted in the Kingdom of God.
Now, how does this work out in practice?
The Holy Spirit convicts us of a sin.
There are several lists of sins found in various books of the New Testament. Almost all of them are included in the following description:
The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; Idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
If a Christian continues in these behaviors he or she will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
As soon as one of these behaviors is pointed out to us we are to confess it as sin, denounce it as sin, renounce it such that we want nothing to do with it ever again, and then in the future resist it with the strength God gives.
We will find that if we confess the behavior clearly, vigorously denounce it as sin, fiercely renounce it, we will have the ability to resist it in the future.
Try this procedure out and see if it works. You may be surprised. We are in a new day.
One venerable concept that clouds our thinking is the traditional teaching that our goal is eternal residence in the spirit Paradise, in Heaven. This is what we mean by “being saved.”
This concept is not scriptural. The issue is not residence in the spirit Paradise, the issue is that of inheriting the Kingdom of God.
The Kingdom of God is not a place, such as Heaven. The Kingdom of God is Christ in us.
The more of Christ we have the more of the Kingdom we have.
The more of Christ we have the more eternal life we have.
The more of Christ we have the more we are able to behave righteously.
The more of Christ we have the more resurrection we have.
The more of Christ we have the more truth we have.
The more of Christ we have the more of God we have.
Do you get the impression the important thing is Christ: to gain Christ; to win Christ; to know Christ; to have Christ formed in us? If you do, you are on the scriptural track.
Paul was not trying to gain Heaven, He was trying to gain Christ.
We have made a place our goal. Our goal is not a place, it is a Person. It is Christ.
The Kingdom of God is within us. We will not find it in Heaven. It is Christ we desire—more of Christ every day. He Himself is the Kingdom!
When we speak of sin being removed from the Kingdom of God we mean sin is removed from the personalities of those in whom the Kingdom is being formed.
The reason we have to be born again to enter the Kingdom is that it is the Kingdom, Christ, that is born in us.
We say people have to be born again to enter Heaven. This is not scriptural. People have to be born once of woman, then of God, in order to see and enter the Kingdom of God.
The parables of Christ concern the Kingdom of God. There cannot be sin in the Kingdom of God because the Kingdom is the doing of God’s will in the earth as it is in Heaven.
Perhaps you may have become discouraged at this point because you are considering your own body now dead in sin.
Well, are you going to consider your sin or are you going to consider Christ?
When you read in the Bible that God is going to have a Church without blemish of any kind, then you have a choice. You can believe God and present yourself as a candidate for cleansing, or you can continue in the traditional unbelief that as long as we are in this world we have to sin.
Do we think God cannot remove sin from us while we are in the world? Where did we get this idea? On what passage of Scripture are we basing our belief?
Have you ever been delivered from a sinful practice? Probably so. Then this is all we are speaking of. We are not referring to some magical event in which we suddenly are without sin. We are pointing out that the Holy Spirit wants us to be sensitive to Him so when He is ready to deal with a specific sin in our personality we are ready to confess it, denounce it, renounce it, and resist it.
This is how sin is removed from the Kingdom of God.
I suppose, from the words of Peter, that this program is taking place in the spirit realm as well as on the earth.
Sometimes believers are under the impression once we die and enter the spirit realm, things will be different. This impression is neither scriptural nor logical.
Sin began around the Throne of God when Satan decided to rebel against the Father. It is true also that we wrestle against fallen spiritual lords presently located in the spirit realm, in the heavens.
Why, then, do we imagine when we die and enter the spirit realm it will be easier for God to deal with our sinful, self-willed behavior? This is not a sensible or scriptural position.
Our sinful nature is only a collection of nasty bondages. Our physical body is morally neutral, being nothing more than an organism made up of water, carbon, and other compounds and elements. It is the sin that dwells in us that causes us to violate the moral laws of God.
This sin can be removed by the power of Christ. It is our job to confess our sins as they are pointed out to us. It is the task of the Spirit of God to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The only wall that stands between us and deliverance from sin is our own unbelief and disobedience.
We need not despair. As someone said, “we cannot gaze at our problem and at Christ at the same time.” Either we are looking to Christ or else we are despairing because of our bondages.
Once we find an aspect of redemption in the Bible we are to look to God to fulfill it in our life.
But what about Heaven? Can we go to Heaven in our sin?
The issue is not Heaven, it is the Kingdom of God. You can pass into the spirit realm believing in Christ and yet be bound with sin. But then you will be judged. If you have had an opportunity to be delivered from sin, and have not taken advantage of it, you will be judged as a lazy, disobedient servant. You can call on Christ all you wish, but you will be judged as a lazy, disobedient servant.
If you have never known the Lord’s will but have sinned, you will be beaten with few lashes. If you have known the Lord’s will, but have continued to sin, you will be beaten with many lashes.
“But will I be saved?” What do you mean by “saved”?
If you mean will you be cast into Hell, this depends on the judgment of Christ. If you have been selfish, as was the rich man, you will be cast into Hell. Divine grace is not a means by which the selfish are permitted to enter Paradise.
If you have not been diligent with the Kingdom opportunities God has given you, you will be cast into the outer darkness—whether or not you “believe in Christ.”
What about the individual who never heard the Gospel until it was time for him to die?
He will be judged accordingly. We are not condemned on the basis of light we do not have.
But at some point, whether now or then, we must respond when the messenger comes to us and we are convicted of sin. If we do not we will be judged as an unbeliever. If we do not repent, our destiny well may be the Lake of Fire.
Somehow we have gained the idea that Christ came to save us from Hell. Find this in the New Testament, if you can.
The Lord Jesus told us how to avoid Hell. He told us if our eye offended us to cut it out of our head and hurl it away from us. Then we will enter life.
No, Jesus did not come so sinners can enter Heaven. He came so sinners can enter the Kingdom of God. But sinners enter the Kingdom of God only as they turn away from their sins, not because they received a ticket to Heaven by “accepting Christ.”
If there were one sinner in the Kingdom of God, I mean, someone who continued in sin after having been reproved by the Lord, then the entire Kingdom would be unacceptable. God simply will not dwell with sin.
But, we claim, “He sees us through Christ”. This is not a scriptural concept.
“But we are covered with the blood!”
Let me explain. The concept of being “covered with the blood” comes from the Old Testament celebration of the Passover. “When I see the blood I will pass over you.”
The Passover blood was not for the purpose of forgiving sin. It was protection when God came forth to judge the gods of this world.
When we receive Christ as our Savior, God protects us from judgment when God comes to judge our nation. But this protection lasts only as long as we are obeying God.
When Israel disobeyed God, then the protection was lifted and they were destroyed by every kind of calamity one could imagine. Witness the curses pronounced from Mount Ebal.
It is precisely so with us Christians. When we place our faith in Christ we are protected by the blood of the Passover Lamb. But the idea is that then we will commence our life as a disciple, denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Jesus.
If we do not do this but continue to live according to our sinful nature, we will come under Divine judgment. If we persist in our sinful behavior, not repenting, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
This so clearly is scriptural that when someone protests that we still will be “saved by grace,” then it is true that either he does not know the Scriptures or else he is willfully ignorant and disobedient. Such are not bearing the fruit the heavenly Farmer is expecting, and consequently are not far from the fire that will burn up the branches that have been cut from the Vine, from Christ.
We have many false doctrines among our Christian traditions. They have succeeded in keeping numerous believers in a state of eternal babyhood.
What is God doing about this moral catastrophe?
First, He is sending the most wonderful praise and pageantry! This is such a blessing. Some are saying the coming revival is one of worship. This is only partly true.
Judah (praise) always goes out in front of the army of God.
The divisions of the camp of Judah went first, under their standard. Nahshon son of Amminadab was in command. (Numbers 10:14)
But God was not bringing only worship into the land of Canaan. The army was bringing the Ark of the Covenant containing the two tables of the Law. The Ten Commandments are a judgment against Satan and his demons.
Praise and pageantry must come first. Exuberant praise and worship must mount in intensity until the congregation is on its feet, abandoned to the Presence of God.
But then will come the twoedged sword. When Solomon’s Temple was completed, all that was found in the Ark were the two tables of the Covenant. Aaron’s rod that budded, and the memorial jar of manna, had disappeared.
When the tabernacle of God, the new Jerusalem, has been made ready, the eternal moral law of God, of which the Ten Commandments are an abridged, covenantal version, will shine forever as the light of the holy city.
There was nothing in the ark save the two tables of stone, which Moses put there at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt. (I Kings 8:9)
When God is finished perfecting His saints the scaffolding that has been employed, all of our religious activities, will be seen no more. Instead we will discover the moral law will have been inscribed on our mind and heart for eternity.
This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous And throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The above passage must be regarded as definitive, in that the Lord Jesus said it. It must control our thinking concerning the end of the age.
The Kingdom of God is like a net let down into the lake that brings up all kinds of fish. The “Kingdom of God” is like this! So we are speaking only of those who have responded to the Gospel call, those who have “accepted Christ.”
It is hard to picture this event, for when we think of the end of the age we visualize all of the Christians going to be with Jesus and all the sinners being cast into Hell.
But such is not to be. The true vision is that of all who have received Christ being divided into the wicked and the righteous.
Let us think for a moment about this.
We know from the New Testament that the Lord will suddenly appear in the sky and gather His elect to Himself.
At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:30,31)
We have the same prophetic vision in First Thessalonians.
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (I Thessalonians 4:16,17)
Now, think hard about this.
We know at the end of the age, all who have professed faith in Christ will be examined. The wicked will be thrown into the fire. The righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
We know also that Christ’s elect will be gathered to Himself.
This leaves us with three alternatives:
- The removal of the wicked from the righteous (of the Kingdom) will take place before the sounding of the last trumpet.
- The removal of the wicked from the righteous will take place at the same time as the sounding of the last trumpet.
- The removal of the wicked from the righteous will take place after the sounding of the last trumpet.
Remember, before the wicked people are separated from the righteous people there will be a period during which the things that cause sin are removed from the Kingdom.
The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. (Matthew 13:41)
Our thought is that the removal of the sinful things from the elect must take place before the Lord comes for His elect.
The removal of sinful things from us is too complex an operation to take place at the time of the Lord’s appearing. Also, there is no evidence in Matthew, Chapter 24 or First Thessalonians, Chapter 4 that when the trumpet of God sounds, such a removal of sin from us is to take place.
Also, it is not possible that the trumpet sounds, the elect are raised from the dead, glorified, and caught up to the Lord, and after this everything that causes sin is removed from the elect.
How could we all be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and after this experience such a work of judgment?
It appears much more likely that the removal of sin from the elect, from the members of the royal priesthood, will take place prior to the Lord’s return
We believe the separation will take place prior to the Lord’s return because of four passages of the Scriptures. In fact, it is our considered and prayerful opinion that the removal of sin from the elect has begun in the present hour.
The four passages have to do with:
- Preparing the way of the Lord
- The cleansing of the royal priesthood
- The baptism with fire
- The participants in the first resurrection
Preparing the way of the Lord
A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 40:3-5)
As I stated previously, I believe the program of preparing the way for the Lord has begun today. The Lord Jesus will not return until His way has been prepared.
The concept that the Lord will return today or tomorrow is totally unrealistic. The members of the Christian churches, for the most part, are filled with the love of the world, with the lusts and passions of the flesh, and with self-will.
By no means has the way for Jesus Christ been prepared in His churches.
The valleys must be raised up. This means the believers who are too subdued, must be made bolder. They cannot be a witness of Christ if they are a shrinking, timid soul, too shy and fearful to express God’s will among people, so beat down by the problems of life they dare not lift their head.
It is God’s will that the humble, the poor in spirit, be exalted. It is the Lord’s way to exalt the lowly and to bring down the mighty.
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)
He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. (Luke 1:52)
The brother in humble circumstances ought to take pride in his high position. But the one who is rich should take pride in his low position, because he will pass away like a wild flower. (James 1:9,10)
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:10)
The mountains and hill must be made low. How many Christians are there who have a lust for preeminence?—w ho must always be prominent and first in every undertaking? There are such believers in most assemblings. They must be brought low if they hope to maintain their place in the Kingdom of God.
Why gaze in envy, O rugged mountains, at the mountain where God chooses to reign, where the LORD himself will dwell forever? (Psalms 68:16)
The “rugged mountains” are spiritually ambitious people who are filled with envy when God chooses someone other than themselves to work through. It is satanic envy.
The chief priests and elders murdered Christ because they were envious of God’s Presence in Him. They were “rugged mountains” who wished to be exalted.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10)
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (I Peter 5:6)
They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the road?” But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” (Mark 9:33-35)
The crooked and uneven places must become straight and level. Its seems there is as much crookedness, scheming, political maneuvering in the Christian churches as there is in the world.
Christ will accept nothing but perfect integrity in His saints. To have integrity is to describe relationships things and circumstances as God sees them; to faithfully do what one has promised to do; to be honest, upright, fair in dealing with other people.
How many Christians do you know that are truthful, faithful, and honest? These compose a straight and level path for the Lord Jesus. The rest must be delivered from their crookedness or they will be removed from the Kingdom and cast into the fire.
To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the crooked you show yourself shrewd. (Psalms 18:26)
In my integrity you uphold me and set me in your presence forever. (Psalms 41:12)
The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out. (Proverbs 10:9)
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:7,8)
The rough ground must become a plain. Many believers are filled with unbelief, unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred, lust, and covetousness. These are “rough ground” as far as the Lord is concerned. He cannot find rest in them because they are driven by various lusts and passions.
They are driven by the love of the world:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (I John 2:15)
They are driven by their sinful nature:
For I am afraid that when I come I may not find you as I want you to be, and you may not find me as you want me to be. I fear that there may be quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance and disorder. I am afraid that when I come again my God will humble me before you, and I will be grieved over many who have sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual sin and debauchery in which they have indulged. (II Corinthians 12:20,21)
They are driven by their desire to pursue their own way:
“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the LORD has spoken. (Isaiah 1:19,20)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2)
The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (I John 2:17)
If I am correct in maintaining that the removing of the wicked from the righteous has begun today, then you can expect to have many experiences which give you an opportunity to change from that which is not pleasing to God into that which is in the image of Christ.
When these irritating, painful circumstances arise, do not blame the tools that God uses. Go to the Lord instantly in prayer and ask Him if your peace has been disturbed because of a problem in yourself that He desires to solve. Whatever you do, do not blame the people that God uses to trouble you.
No one can take your crown or your peace from you unless you allow them to do so.
Get ready to be stretched and changed! Prepare the way for the Lord in your own personality. You must be made ready for the coming of the Lord if you hope to remain in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The cleansing of the royal priesthood
“See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. “But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness,” (Malachi 3:1-3)
There is a great deal of moral filthiness in the churches of our day. Such uncleanness will never, never, never be permitted to enter the Kingdom of God.
The Lord Jesus will come to His Church before He comes to the world. He will bring His people through fiery trials that they may be cleansed from all unrighteousness. His way must be prepared!
Do not be amazed at the fiery trial that is to test you. This is Divine judgment. This is your salvation. You are being saved by this fire. It is burning away your bondages, just as took place with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
No chastening is enjoyable, but it will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness in your personality if you will keep looking to Jesus and trusting in Him to bring you through.
You may know all about the house of God. Now God wants you to learn about the God of the house of God. In order for such knowledge to be your possession you must be willing to allow the Lord to purify your thoughts, words, and actions. He is ready to do this in order that you may be prepared for His coming to the world at the last trumpet.
First, Christ will come to His Church and baptize her with fire. Then He will appear to the world with His purified saints.
The baptism with fire
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:10-12)
Notice, as we found to be true of the parables, we are speaking about the Lord’s threshing floor, His wheat.
It is the trees of the Lord’s orchard who will be thrown into the fire if they do not bear the fruit of the moral image of Jesus Christ.
It is the Lord’s people who will be baptized with the Holy Spirit, and then with fire. First we experience the feast of Pentecost, the baptism with the Holy Spirit. After that we experience the Day of Atonement, the baptism with fire.
The Lord will gather His wheat to Himself once the chaff has been removed. Then the chaff will be burned up.
Several passages in the New Testament speak of the sinners being removed from the Lord’s people and burned in the fire. For example, if a branch growing from the Vine, from Christ, does not bear the fruit of His image, that branch will be removed from the Vine and cast into the fire.
I do not know precisely what it means to be removed from Christ and cast into the fire, and I hope to never find out by experience.
It does not appear to be reasonable that such purifying of the Kingdom will take place at the time of the Lord’s appearing, or after we have been caught up to meet Him in the air. It certainly must take place prior to His return in the clouds.
The participants in the first resurrection
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)
Those who are privileged to participate in the first resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood that will take place when the Lord returns, are blessed and holy. The second death, the Lake of Fire, has no power over them. This means there is no sin in them, nothing in them over which the Lake of Fire has authority.
It seems obvious these people have been made blessed and holy before the last trumpet sounds.
To maintain that the members of the royal priesthood are blessed and holy by “imputation” would render the parables of the wheat and the tares, and the removing of the bad fish from the net, incompetent, immaterial, and irrelevant. There would be no cleansing of the priesthood, no preparing the way for the Lord, no baptism with fire, if the way for the Lord is prepared by imputed (ascribed) righteousness.
Our preaching must become more scriptural if we hope to have lasting revival, if we desire to prepare God’s people for the great and terrible Day of the Lord.
Our is a new era. We are entering the Day of Redemption. We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit to this hour. We have been kept by faith to the salvation that now has come to us.
The reader may say to himself or herself, “I am not sure we really have come to such an increase in the program of redemption.”
Such doubt is wise.
First, study the New Testament, especially the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Matthew.
Second, look to the Lord Jesus. Ask Him to show you how your behavior appears to Him. Then you will discover whether or not what I am teaching is coming from the Lord.
I have written hundreds of books and booklets on this subject, and they can be read free of charge at www.wor.org/book or ordered from amazon.com for the Kindle reader.
It was fifty years ago in an Assembly of God Bible school in San Diego that the Lord spoke to me concerning what He was going to do after Pentecost. He informed me that the next move would be the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish Day of Atonement, and the final goal would be Christ in us, the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles.
I consulted with Oliver Ellenwood, a distinguished Bible teacher, who seemed to feel that it was the Lord who was speaking to me.
At the time I was preaching “reckon yourself dead” as God’s solution to sin in the Christian life. But when I heard Sister Thelma Dotta Chambers teach about the confessing of sin that was taking place in the “Armory” in Detroit, it began to dawn on me that the Apostle Paul did not present reckoning ourselves dead as a means of deliverance from sin.
To change was difficult and humbling. But I went to the Lord and asked Him if there was anything wrong with me. I have been confessing my sins for over fifty years.
I tell the people in the church that if they think I am not so wonderful now, they should have seen me fifty years ago.
I do not mean by this that every day I come up with a new sin (I think I did in the beginning). But I watch my spirit carefully, and when sin or deception tries to enter in I am quick to go to the Lord and ask for His help. This I have learned through experience.
Really, the Christian life should be one of continual repentance and looking to the Lord; for our heart truly is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:13,14)
What are the sons of God led by the Spirit of God to do? We are led to put to death the actions of our sinful nature.
We do not get full victory over sin in a moment. It is a lifelong battle, the good fight of faith. But success is assured because it is the Lord Jesus who is guiding us to certain victory.
Jesus came to destroy, not forgive, the works of the devil, and He wants to begin in you and me. The blanket of freedom from condemnation persists only as long as we are obeying the Lord, performing His will diligently at all times. If we allow ourselves to become negligent, not pressing into Christ each day, we come under Divine judgment and are chastened by the Lord. If we then do not repent but persist in our sinful behavior, we are in serious trouble with God.
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26,27)
To claim the above passage is not addressed to Christians who were neglecting their salvation is to depart from accepted principles of biblical interpretation. There are many similar warnings in the Book of Hebrews, all addressed to seasoned Christians.
If we are not mistaken, there remains much to be done before Jesus Christ returns—much in the way of preparing the way for Him in His people. If He were to return right now, the Christian churches as well as the world would be woefully unprepared.
I think we can look for circumstances to arise in the world that will tend to remove the sincere saints from the world spirit and also from the carnal religious systems.
You may find over the next few years that you repeatedly are being challenged. There are forces that will attempt to take your crown, to tear you down from your high place in Christ, to rob you of your peace and confidence in Christ.
Do not focus on the tools God uses to purify you, or seek to be treated fairly. You will not be treated fairly. You will not always be able to justify yourself in the sight of people. You will share in the sufferings of Christ.
You will be in the fire with the Lord Jesus. You will walk with Him there for a season. Then you will be brought forth, only your bondages having been burned.
You absolutely must possess iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to the Father if you are to inherit the Kingdom. It is the possession of these virtues that is salvation.
God is not looking for such virtue to proceed from your fallen nature. Iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience are found only in the Spirit of God.
God asks only that you be willing and obedient. He will provide the Divine Virtue you must have if you are to inherit His Kingdom.
Never, never, never give up. Never quit. Never cease looking to Jesus. He will never forsake you. You will come forth as pure gold. If you are to reign with Him you must suffer with Him, because it is suffering that removes sin and self-will from us.
Be utterly diligent in seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. The Christian churches of today are far, far below the standard of righteousness required if we are to have fellowship with God; if we are to be qualified and competent to fulfill the roles and tasks of the Kingdom.
Be of good cheer. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give the Kingdom to those who care enough to place above all else the seeking of it. Everyone who hungers and thirsts after righteousness shall be filled.
(“When? Where? How?”, 3762-1)