THE JUDAIC-CHRISTIAN SALVATION
THE JUDAIC-CHRISTIAN SALVATION Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Judaism and Christianity, at least from the Lord’s standpoint, are not two different religions. It is true that men have made a religion of Judaism and other men have made a religion of Christianity. But neither Judaism nor Christianity are religions. Both of them constitute one progressive revelation of the Lord to mankind. Neither one came about as man sought God. Both of them originated as aspects of one Divine revelation.
The unfortunate cleavage between Judaism and Christianity has occurred because of human frailty. Christianity actually is nothing more nor less than the unfolding of true Judaism, that is, of the revelation given to Moses and the Prophets.
The purpose of the Judaic-Christian salvation is to solve the original problem of disobedience to God.
Table of Contents
THE JUDAIC-CHRISTIAN SALVATION
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:0)
Although many topics will be touched on in this article, the emphasis can be summed up briefly: God created man in Paradise on the earth. God withdrew Paradise from the earth because of man’s disobedience. God has a plan whereby Paradise will be restored to the earth, but first man must learn obedience. The plan includes the forming of a Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, that will install obedience to God on the earth and maintain obedience on the earth for eternity. This is the Judaic-Christian salvation.
God’s Kingdom shall come. God’s will shall be done on the earth as it is in Heaven.
Eternal residence in Heaven is not the goal of salvation. Somehow the myth got started that the purpose of salvation is to enable us to make our eternal residence in Heaven. This concept is part of Christian thinking, as we know. The Old Testament makes no mention of the spirit Paradise as being the eternal home of man. Yet one hears Jewish people as well as Gentiles speak of Heaven as the place where the righteous go to live forever when they die.
It is not too surprising that Christians should believe that a mansion in Heaven is our goal in that the Lord Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of Heaven. But there is no basis in the Old Testament for such a concept. The Old Testament has to do with the earth and there is little indication in the Old Testament that it is desirable to die or that the saints go to Heaven to live forever when they die.
Perhaps the Talmud teaches that eternal residence in Heaven is the goal of the righteous. Not being a Talmudic scholar we cannot say.
But one fact is clear: neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament speaks of eternal residence in Heaven as the goal of the saints, although Matthew often refers to the Kingdom of God as the Kingdom of Heaven.
Some candidate for a degree in Church history ought to investigate the origin of the concept that going to Heaven to live forever is the goal of righteous behavior or of the Christian redemption. The concept has filtered into Judaic-Christian thinking from one of the world’s religions, or from Gnosticism, or perhaps from early Roman Catholic doctrine.
The relationship of Christianity to Judaism. Let us mention one other aspect of our subject. Judaism and Christianity, at least from the Lord’s standpoint, are not two different religions. Men have made a religion of Judaism and other men have made a religion of Christianity. But neither Judaism nor Christianity are religions. Taken together they constitute one progressive revelation of the Lord to mankind. Neither one came about as man sought God. Both of them originated as Divine revelations.
The unfortunate cleavage between Judaism and Christianity has occurred because of human frailty. The truth is, Christianity is nothing more nor less than the unfolding of true Judaism, of the revelation given to Moses and the Prophets.
We are using the term religion to indicate a set of beliefs and practices that people have developed and in which they engage, often with the goal of obtaining bliss in the next world.
How can we refer to the majestic acts of Israel’s Lord as a religion? Were the plagues on Egypt a religion? Was the parting of the Red Sea a religion? Did Sinai quake as men practiced a religion? Indeed not! These were revelations of the Almighty God to all mankind, given to and through the Israelites as God’s chosen saints (holy ones).
The same is true of Christianity. Was the Lord Jesus the founder of a religion or is He the God of Sinai? Is Jesus the Creator of Heaven and earth who lives today and walks and talks with His elect? Or was he the founder of a religion who was crucified because people could not understand him?
Is the risen Christ coming again in bone and flesh in His Kingdom? Or is He a symbol that dedicated people employ to support their religious values?
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament speak of one Lord dealing with one olive tree, one elect, to bring about one end—the rule of God in the earth. There only is one Israel, one elect of God. The old covenant was made with Israel and the new covenant is made with Israel.
Any doctrine that points toward a kingdom and a goal of redemption under the new covenant that is different from the Kingdom and goal of the old covenant is not of the God of Heaven. It is of man. Neither is there any such entity as a Gentile Church destined to live forever in Heaven. There only is the one Church, one Kingdom of God, one Body of Christ, one new Jerusalem.
The new covenant. The new covenant, the Christian covenant, can be made only with God’s Israel.
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:9,10)
The only manner in which a Gentile can attain membership in God’s elect, can participate in the new covenant, is by being grafted on Israel, on the one true olive tree. This so clearly is scriptural that we will not keep stressing the point.
Notice that the new covenant is the writing of the Torah of God in the minds and hearts of God’s elect (compare Jeremiah 31:33).
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law [Torah ] in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33)
. . . I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: (Hebrews 8:10)
The new covenant is not the abolishing of the law of God. It is the writing of the Torah in the minds and hearts of the chosen. It is not the removing of the Law, it is the establishing of the Law; however, not the letter of the Law of Moses but the Spirit of the eternal moral law of God of which the Law of Moses is a shadow. Grace is the power to keep the moral law of God, not a waiving of the law. The current interpretation of Paul’s teaching of grace has destroyed the Church of the Lord Jesus.
In place of righteous, godly, obedient people we have sinners who are "saved by grace," meaning they are not saved from sin but saved from Hell so they can continue in sin and go to Paradise when they die. They are not saved from their behavior but from the consequences of their behavior.
God has decided (it is implied) that since man will not change, God will change. He will accept people as they are. God is not interested in new creations but in saving Adam in his sins and self-will.
Such is the current doctrine, but this is not what the Scriptures teach.
Notice, in Hebrews 8:8, that the Lord found fault with the Israelites. He found fault with them because they did not walk in righteousness.
Because the people were unholy, unrighteous, and disobedient to God, God made a new covenant. Why did God make a new covenant? So that people would be holy, righteous, and obedient to God.
But the new covenant has been interpreted to mean it is not necessary that we walk in holiness, righteousness, and obedience to God. We are saved by "grace," meaning that because Jesus is holy, righteous, and obedient to God, we, by faith in Him, by identification with Him, are holy, righteous, and obedient. This suggests that while we may be neither holy nor righteous nor obedient we are regarded as being holy, righteous, and obedient because of our relationship to the Lord Jesus.
Can the world see the light of God in Christians who are unholy, unrighteous, and disobedient to God? Can the world behold imputed (ascribed) righteousness? Or is it true that the Lord will pour out His Glory on us and the world will see that Glory, although we ourselves continue to be lustful, self-centered, self-willed, disobedient people? Is this scriptural? Does it make any sense?
According to modern Christian tradition the new covenant is no better than the old in that neither can produce the behavior the Lord is seeking. God has given up on mankind and has developed a covenant that accepts the sinner as he is, that brings him to Paradise as he is, that showers blessings on him in order to demonstrate God’s "unconditional" love.
It is a come-as-you-are party. But notice:
And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 22:12,13)
The old covenant is better, in God’s sight, than the modern interpretation of the new covenant. For there are many Jews who walk in righteousness by striving to obey the Law. Numerous Jews really are righteous. Many Christians also walk in righteousness because they fear God. But they practice righteousness in spite of Christian theology, not because of it.
The true nature of salvation. The topic of this booklet is the true nature of the Judaic-Christian salvation. The current definition of salvation presented by Christian preachers and teachers is escape from Hell and eternal residence in Paradise. We escape Hell when we die and go to Heaven and make our eternal home there by confessing Christ as Savior. When we confess Christ as Savior our sins are forgiven so God will bring us to Heaven and not cast us into Hell when we die.
This is not what is taught in the Scriptures, Old Testament or New Testament.
It is true that the Divine salvation can be found only in the Lord Jesus Christ.
What, then, is wrong with the current definition?
The Scriptures do not teach that Heaven is man’s eternal home. Nowhere in the Scriptures is Heaven presented as man’s eternal home. Man is on earth in the first chapter of the Scriptures and man is on the new earth in the last chapter of the Scriptures.
Nowhere in the Scriptures, New Testament or Old Testament, is it stated that our reason for accepting Jesus is to escape Hell, or that if a person does not accept Jesus he is cast into Hell. Whenever the Scriptures speak of Hell, or of the Lake of Fire, the cause is unrighteous, unholy conduct.
The rich man was cast into Hell because he was selfish. The goat nations will be led away into Gehenna because they would not nourish the Lord’s brothers. The wicked will be cast into the Lake of Fire because of their conduct. This is the clear teaching of both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Nowhere in the Scriptures is it taught that if we believe in Jesus we will go to Heaven when we die. What is stressed in numerous instances is that we receive eternal life through Jesus. It is not that eternal life is given to us as a reward for believing in Jesus but that receiving the Lord Jesus is equivalent to receiving eternal Divine Life—Life that always manifests itself in righteous conduct. To receive the Lord Jesus is to receive Eternal Life and Righteousness Himself.
Righteous, holy, obedient conduct flows from eternal life and leads to eternal life. Belief is not salvation but leads to salvation. When we receive Jesus we receive Life because He is Life. Receiving Jesus means receiving the Person of the living Jesus so we are enabled to turn away from the behaviors that produce death.
The end of the true Divine salvation always is righteous behavior and the worship of God. Residence in Paradise is the natural result of behavior acceptable to the Lord God. To have sinners in Paradise would be to change Paradise into Hell, because our Lord always will send tormenting fire on sinful behavior whether on the earth or in the spirit realm. The purpose of the Divine grace is not to provide a legal foundation whereby a holy God can dwell in peace with unholy people.
You can tell whether or not a person possesses eternal life by his deeds and words.
The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to earth primarily to forgive the sins of men. The Lord Jesus came to earth in order to destroy the works of Satan. The forgiveness of men is for the purpose of giving them the legal right to embark on the program of redemption.
The program of redemption is a process of salvation, of deliverance from sin and death. The Divine redemption is not salvation from Hell, it is salvation from what we are. It is salvation from our union with Satan and the bringing of us into union with God through Christ.
The new covenant includes the creating of a new kind of people, a new heaven, and a new earth. It is not the saving of the race of Adam, or the present universe, or the present earth. All these will be abolished. God is making all things new.
God is not saving Adam. God is slaying Adam and bringing forth a new race fashioned from the body and blood of Christ.
The elect who are called out from the world, first the Israelites, then the elect Gentiles, and finally the Jews in the last days, are not called out to be saved in the sense of escaping Hell and going to Heaven when they die. Rather, the elect are called out from the world in order that they may be fashioned into a firstfruits of God’s creatures. Through them the rule and Virtue of God through Christ will be brought to the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
This has been God’s plan from the beginning. It has not been changed. It has unfolded progressively in its several stages. It is nearing the point of the revealing of God’s King, Christ and those saints who have overcome sin by the eternal Life that is in Jesus.
It is not true, as we understand the Scriptures, that every believer will be raised when the Lord comes. Only the royal priesthood, only those who have attained victory over Satan, will be given back their bodies when the Lord appears. The remainder will be required to stay in the spirit realm until they are prepared to resume life on the earth (compare Revelation 20:4-6).
No person is ready to serve God as an eternal priest and king until he has been delivered from sin and self-will. The members of the elect must be delivered from the kind of behavior that brought the curse of corruption and death on the earth in the first place. After they have been delivered they shall rule and teach the nations of the saved. The Kingdom of God does not permit sin on the earth.
If we are to gain a true understanding of the nature and significance of the Judaic-Christian we must go back to the Book of Genesis.
Adam and Eve were not in Heaven in the beginning. This is very important for us to understand, because salvation is redemption. Redemption is the restoring to a person what has been taken from him by some means. To redeem a person or thing is to pay the price of redemption and then to return the person or thing to his or its original condition.
Since Adam and Eve did not fall from Heaven, redemption does not return them to Heaven. Adam and Eve were driven from Paradise on the earth. The Divine redemption will restore mankind to Paradise on the earth.
The Scriptures have to do with the redemption of mankind. The Lord Jesus is the Redeemer of mankind.
What caused mankind to be driven from Paradise on the earth? Disobedience to God.
Therefore the Scriptures deal with two issues: (1) the payment of the price of redemption; and (2) the correcting of the problem that caused Adam and Eve to be driven from the garden, the problem of disobedience to God.
Christian scholars and preachers have done an excellent job of presenting the manner in which God Himself has paid the price of our redemption.
But there has not been the same clarity, in our opinion, in the presenting of the means God has provided for correcting the problem. The Divine means for correcting the problem of man’s disobedience is the subject of the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament.
Before we go further, let us set forth some concepts of the Kingdom of God, of the rule of God, of the means God has provided for the correcting of the problem of disobedience.
In the beginning, Heaven was on the earth—this present earth. All we associate with Heaven was located on the earth. There was a beautiful garden, a Paradise. The need for wearying labor was not present. The ground was productive and there were no weeds or destructive diseases or insects. Sickness and death were unknown. Best of all, God Himself was present.
Through disobedience all of this was lost to man.
But the Scriptures, particularly the Old Testament, promise that God will restore to man on the earth what was lost by his disobedience.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)
The restoration of Paradise on earth was made possible by the obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. (Romans 5:19)
Righteousness and Paradise shall be restored.
In order for there to be restoration the price of redemption must be paid. Then the problem that brought about the loss must be corrected. After that, the blessings that were lost will be restored.
Man possessed Paradise. Man lost Paradise. God has promised to restore Paradise and to add much more Divine Glory. The price of redemption must be paid. The problem must be corrected. The promised restoration must take place. This is the nature and significance of the Judaic-Christian salvation.
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution [restoration] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:21)
"The times of restoration of all things . . . spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets."
The above phrase does not indicate that Satan will be saved, or that all men eventually will be saved, as some have suggested. Rather, it is informing us that all that was lost to man, that of which the Prophets spoke, will be restored to him through the Lord Jesus.
The Kingdom of God shall enforce obedience to God. What is the subject of the Scriptures? The subject of the Scriptures is the Kingdom of God. What is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is the rule of God. Where will the Kingdom of God be located? The Kingdom of God is destined to be established in the earth. The Throne of God is being created in the new Jerusalem, in the Wife of the Lamb. The new Jerusalem is destined to be located on the new earth.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. 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 22:3-5)
The preceding passage presents the goal, the end toward which God is working. From Genesis forward, all of the labors of God are to bring into existence a government that will enforce obedience. The original problem was disobedience. God is creating a Kingdom to insure that His will is performed in the earth just as it is in Heaven.
Misunderstanding the purpose of Divine grace. This is why the current teaching of grace is so destructive. It glosses over the problem of disobedience. It is implying that God no longer requires stern obedience. It is stating, rather, that God has paid the price of redemption and now is ignoring the original problem. He has decided to overlook man’s disobedience and to bless him in his sin and self-will. Can you see what a fundamental misconception of the Judaic-Christian redemption the current Christian teaching is?
Before restoration can take place there must be obedience. Today’s Christianity presents a restoration apart from a correcting of the problem of disobedience. It brings people to Paradise without changing the people. It does away with the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping.
Current theology claims we can sow death, and then reap life by the grace and mercy of God. It sends an unchanged Adam and Eve back to the garden and gives them access to the tree of life. What, then, will prevent a reoccurrence of the original rebellion?
Will Christ continue giving "grace" to Adam and Eve so they can continue disobeying God and yet enjoy eternal life in Paradise? Or is it true that physical death removes sin and rebellion from us? Or is it impossible for the believers in Heaven to sin (a surprising notion given that sin began among the angels around the Throne of God)?
Obviously the present understanding is faulty. It neither is scriptural nor logical. The fact is, nothing can be restored to us until our behavior meets God’s standard.
It absolutely is true that the vilest of sinners can come to Jesus and be accepted of God immediately, if he repents and asks God to cover him with the righteousness of Christ. It also is true that no individual who practices the laws of righteousness apart from Christ can attain the righteousness of those who believe in Jesus. Eventually every person who has been born on the face of the earth will be brought face to face with Christ, with his Creator. In that day he cannot rely on his own righteousness. He must receive the righteousness of God through Christ.
The above statement does not mean, as is taught commonly, that God despises the efforts of people—Christian or not—to live in righteousness. The teaching that God despises and ignores all attempts of human beings to follow their conscience or their moral code is one of the incomplete concepts of the simplistic "four steps of salvation."
God most certainly does honor the integrity and righteous behavior of all honorable people and is quick to punish the unrighteous, whether they are Jews, or Christians, or natives living in the bush.
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)
Imputed righteousness is a temporary device. It also is a fact that the imputed (ascribed) righteousness given to the sinner is not intended to be a perpetual covering. Rather, ascribed righteousness is a device used to enable the disobedient to start on the path of obedience to God. God forgives us through Christ so that by the grace of Christ we can pursue the task of being changed into Christ’s moral image.
The Lord Jesus did not come to do away with the Kingdom law of sowing and reaping but to turn people to the Lord. The same was true of John the Baptist.
And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:16,17)
Imputation (assigned righteousness) is not intended to be the means by which God will relate to man for eternity. The idea that the only righteousness the saint ever will possess is that which is ascribed to him or her on the basis of Christ’s own righteousness is unscriptural and misleading and weakens the determination of the believer to overcome sin and self-will.
Can you imagine a new Jerusalem, a holy city, in which people still are self-centered and rebellious but whom God sees only as the righteousness of His Son? Even if God were pleased, such an unholy city still would be Hell for those who had to endure the evil character of their neighbors.
The holy city and the new earth would be no different from what we are experiencing today. In this instance, the only difference between the inhabitants of the new Jerusalem and the inhabitants of the Lake of Fire would be that the one group was "saved by grace" and the other was not. Would not the spirits in torment cry out at the injustice of this? How could God tolerate such an obviously unjust situation and still declare that He is righteous?
The two concepts we have just mentioned, the idea that God despises the righteous behavior of honorable people, and making the legal device of imputation a permanent covenant in which our holy God has fellowship with unholy people, appear to be fundamental principles of modern Christian theology. They are unscriptural, illogical (in terms of all that God has done previously), and destructive of the Kingdom of God. They are an affront to God’s character, to His sense of justice and righteousness, to His very wisdom. He forever would be enduring rebellion.
Two kinds of obedience. The goal is obedience. It must be recognized, if we would understand the Kingdom of God, that there are two kinds of obedience. There is an obedience that is forced on us from the outside, a rod of iron, and then there is an obedience that comes as Christ is formed in us. Although both external obedience and internal obedience play a role in the plan of God, it is the internal obedience that is the final goal.
All of us have had to endure external constraints on our character. These constraints are of God. They are good and necessary. But the ultimate government of the Kingdom of God is an inner government.
The inner Divine government comes about as our adamic nature is destroyed and the new nature of Christ is born in us. It is the new nature which, by causing us to rejoice in God’s Person and ways, by conforming our will to His will, by making His will the chief delight of our heart, brings into existence the loving obedience that God is seeking on the part of all of mankind.
This is true not only of the royal priesthood, of God’s elect but also of every member of the nations of the saved. The Kingdom of God in its final and ideal stage is an inner rule, and it requires a long period of time to bring the inner rule of the Kingdom into existence in a human being.
I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [Torah ] is within my heart. (Psalms 40:8)
When Psalms 40:8 (above) is true of us we are saved. This is what it means to be fully redeemed. Then we are in Paradise whether we are on the earth or in the spirit realm. But as long as Psalms 40:8 is not true of us, our environment will be somewhat influenced by Hell whether we are on the earth or in the spirit realm. The eternal moral law, including stern obedience to the Father, is the foundation of eternal life, and Christ did not come to change the foundation of eternal life by grace or by any other means.
Notice the effect of being born again.
Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (I John 3:9)
This is how we know that many Christian believers, in spite of their assertion to the contrary, never have been born again. Their behavior, what they are in personality, reveals they never have been born again.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (I John 3:7,8)
No one who practices sin has any place in the Kingdom of God.
. . . I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)
Please note we are not claiming that until we are perfect we are not saved, not in the Kingdom of God. All of us are on a continuum from the bondage of Satan to untroubled rest in the Father’s will. As long as we walk in the light of God’s will, confessing our sins as we are made aware of them, we are without condemnation. The blood of the Lord Jesus is making an atonement for us.
We are referring rather to the popular concept that it does not matter how we behave because we are saved by faith apart from works of righteousness. A faith that does not produce works of righteousness is a dead faith. There is no salvation in it whatever. Today’s churches often are deceived concerning the relationship of faith to godly behavior.
The believer who does not keep on washing his robe in the blood of the Lamb, purifying himself by the provisions the Lord has made under the new covenant, will not inherit the promises of life and glory promised to the overcomer.
What must the believer do if he would enter the Kingdom of God?
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections [passions] and lusts. (Galatians 5:24)
God is concerned with righteous behavior, not so much with our doctrinal positions. It is easy to be confused and mistaken in doctrine but righteous behavior anyone can understand.
The Kingdom of God is God, in Christ, through and with the saints, governing the nations of saved peoples of the earth. The Kingdom of God is the end result of the Judaic-Christian salvation. The Kingdom of God is the subject of the Scriptures. The members of the royal priesthood must be perfected in obedience before they will be placed on the thrones that govern the universe; before they are installed as the judges of people and angels.
The problem began with the disobedience in the garden.
After a long period of time had elapsed, God called a man, Abraham, to walk before Him and be perfect. Then God tested Abraham as to his obedience. Because Abraham demonstrated his absolute obedience to God (to an extent few of us would be able to equal), God promised him that his seed would overcome the enemy and that in his seed all the nations of the earth would be blessed.
After another period of time, God revealed His plan further in the calling out of one nation, Israel, to represent Himself among the remaining nations of the earth. The calling out of Israel, as is true also of the calling out of the members of the Body of Christ, does not signify the elect are saved while the rest of the world is lost. Rather, the elect, God’s Israel, are called out of the world in order to govern and intercede for the remainder of mankind.
The only people who will be lost to the purposes of God, who will be refused entrance to the process of transforming us from disobedience into obedience, are those who refuse to participate in God’s program of redemption.
God does not call out the elect only to save them from wrath but also to make them the means of guiding other people into the all-important obedience to God.
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 19:5,6)
Exodus 19:5,6 (above) is addressed to every member of the Church of Christ as well as to the sons of Jacob. We are to obey God’s voice, becoming a treasure to God above all other people. We are a kingdom of priests, being prepared by the Lord to govern and intercede for the nations of the earth. This is the purpose of the Judaic-Christian salvation.
Salvation comes to the Jew. God gave a law and ordinances to the Israelites that governed their behavior. Obedience to the law and ordinances brought peace with God (Isaiah 26:3). There were then, as there are today, numerous God-fearing Jews living under the blessing of God because of the integrity of their lives and their diligence in following the Law and ordinances of Moses.
We are not teaching that a Jew can ignore the claims of Jesus Christ and please God by following the Torah and the Talmud. Jesus is the Divine sin-offering, and our Lord and it is only by being born again of Him that we can enter the Kingdom of God. If the Jew is faced with Jesus and rejects Jesus he brings himself under condemnation.
We say, "is faced with Jesus." We Christians make an assumption that is not true. We teach that any man at any time can receive Jesus. This is not correct. No man can come to Jesus until the Spirit of God draws him (even when Jesus is being preached on every street corner). We do not choose Jesus, Jesus chooses us. Our task is to preach the Gospel to every creature. God’s task is to bring to the Lord Jesus those whom God has chosen.
The Jew can walk in righteousness by diligently following the Torah (although he has no blood-offering and cannot obey literally the opening chapters of Leviticus). God always will bless the individual who seeks after righteousness whether he or she is a Jew or Gentile.
When God speaks to the Jew, convicting him of the truth of Jesus, the Jew is obligated to respond. If he does not respond to God he is not obeying the Torah, for the Torah commands us to obey the voice of God.
In this instance, all of his adherence to the Law and ordinances does not profit him. He is in disobedience to God. We cannot turn our face from God, from Him to whom the Torah brings us, and claim we are walking in righteousness because we are worshiping the letter of the Torah, carrying the scroll on our shoulder. This is idolatry—the worship of the Scriptures rather than the God who gave the Scriptures.
Christ was sent from the God of Heaven. We must accept Jesus when He is presented to us, otherwise we bring ourselves under condemnation no matter how godly a person we may be.
We Christians are largely to blame for the reluctance of the Jews to receive their own Christ. It is because of our ignorant and haughty attitude toward the original chosen people that the Jews reject Christ.
The Lord Jesus redeems us through His blood. The next step (after giving the Law and the ordinances to Israel) in solving the problem of disobedience was the coming of Him who, with His own blood, paid the price of our redemption. The blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God, has paid the price for the sins of the whole world. There is no more sacrifice for sins: Jesus made the perfect atonement.
After the price of redemption is paid there must be a solving of the problem that caused the loss in the first place, and then a restoring of what was lost. After we receive the forgiveness of the blood there still remains the problem of the disobedient attitude of God’s elect. Also, the nations of the earth continue in their moral filth, their drunken vomit.
The earth is a playground for demons and it is getting worse every day. The price of redemption has been paid, but man still is in rebellion and the earth remains the great suburb of Hell.
The army of the Lord. The next Divine move will be the return of the Lord Jesus with His army, with those members of His Body who, through His Virtue, have overcome the enemy. They have worked patiently with the Lord while he has destroyed out of them all disobedience.
The army of the Lord is described in the second chapter of the Book of Joel, the third chapter of the book of Habakkuk, the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, and in several other passages of the Scriptures, both Old Testament and New Testament.
The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle. (Isaiah 13:4)
The Christian Church realizes that the Lord Jesus is coming again. But the believers do not understand the purpose of His coming. They think the Lord Jesus is coming to take the believers to Heaven. This is not the purpose of the coming of Christ.
The principal reason for the Lord’s appearing is to separate the godly from the ungodly, the righteous from the wicked, the obedient from the disobedient, the holy from the unclean. The Lord Jesus will return to earth so He may commence the task of bringing the will of God to pass among the members of the nations of saved peoples of the earth. It will be a bloody assignment. The nations immediately will gather together to resist His return.
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. (Revelation 19:19)
The Lord is coming to compel obedience. Today the Lord Jesus invites us to do His will. Tomorrow He will command His will and those who rebel will be destroyed out of the earth.
What of those who return with Him? They will not be the lukewarm believers. Rather, they will be the overcomers. Only the conquerors will be raised in the first resurrection and given back their bodies. They will be given back their bodies so that they can work with the Lord in compelling obedience in the earth. Obedience has been perfected in them and now their responsibility is to compel obedience in the earth.
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. (II Corinthians 10:6)
The remainder of the elect, and the nations of the earth, will not be raised from the dead when the Lord returns, according to our understanding. Only those who are qualified will be raised to meet the Lord, the purpose being that they may work with Him in the development of obedience in the earth.
If it is true that the nonovercoming members of the churches are to be raised at the coming of the Lord it will not be to the same state of glory experienced by the victorious saints. Otherwise the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation would have little significance.
It is our opinion that if all the Jews and Christians were raised at the coming of the Lord and given back their bodies so that they could live once more on the earth, there would be enormous confusion just as there is now. Many believers are walking in spiritual confusion and disobedience today, and to give them eternal bodies would magnify throughout the creation the problem of rebellion.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
We believe that only those in whom obedience to God has been perfected will be raised when the Lord returns. They will rule the nations with a rod of iron. No person is qualified to govern the nations of the saved with a rod of iron until he himself is governed by the iron of the discipline of the Spirit of God.
. . . To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, . . . . (Revelation 2:7)
To eat of the tree of life is to gain immortality in the body. To those who have striven to overcome sin while in their present sinful body will be given a body that loves righteousness. A body that loves righteousness is one of the greatest rewards of all. Herein is the saying fulfilled, he who is faithful in the lesser will be entrusted with the greater.
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: (Revelation 2:26)
It is folly to speak of the lukewarm believers of today returning with the Lord to rule the nations of the earth. Such a hope is neither scriptural nor logical. If they cannot overcome the small problems of today, what would they do in the face of Antichrist and the armies of the earth?
But, the believer may protest, we shall be heroes of faith and totally sanctified the moment the Lord returns.
It is this unscriptural, vain hope of instantaneous sanctification and glory through physical death that keeps the believers in a state of eternal babyhood. Their hope is that the image of the Lord will be given to them without any effort on their part. There is no scriptural basis for such an idea. It is not the manner in which the Lord works. Every experienced saint understands this.
It is the overcomers, and only the overcomers, who will receive the rewards held out in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation. Otherwise the written Word of God is not true.
When we refer to the coming of the Lord and the raising of His warriors in preparation for the Lord’s invasion of the earth, we are speaking of the first resurrection from among the dead. Remember, the purpose of the first resurrection is to take a further step in bringing obedience to the inhabitants of the earth so God may restore what was lost in the beginning through disobedience.
Let us look carefully at a passage of Scripture that describes the first resurrection.
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)
The above passage describes the nature of the first resurrection, the resurrection that will take place when the Lord Jesus appears in the clouds of the heaven with the elect angels. Current Christian teaching does not give nearly enough attention to the resurrection from the dead, regarding it as a somewhat inevitable event. The truth is, the eternal body we are given in the resurrection will reflect the way in which we have served God on earth. What we have done in the body will be given to us in the body.
The aged Paul was seeking to attain the out-resurrection from the dead. He knew that the first resurrection, the resurrection to life, must be grasped now. We now are creating the kind of resurrection we shall have. We are going to reap what we sow, and there is no way to change this immutable principle of the Kingdom of God.
As one star differs from another star in glory, so also will the resurrection bodies of the saints differ from one another. Direct your attention toward the coming resurrection. What you receive in that day will determine your eternal status in the Kingdom of God. The Lord is coming shortly and will give to every person precisely in terms of his or her behavior on the earth.
"And I saw thrones."
Because the Judaic-Christian salvation is directed toward solving the problem of disobedience, the first resurrection has to do with "thrones," with government. It is the thrones of the universe that are at issue. Satan and his angels have been occupying the spiritual thrones that govern the earth. Therefore the spirit of disobedience has prevailed among men. Until those thrones are occupied by obedient spirits, disobedience and the resulting corruption and death will prevail on the earth.
The conventional teaching is that the purpose of the Lord’s coming is to carry off the believers to Heaven. How would this solve the problem of disobedience on the earth? The Scriptures, Old and New Testament, do not teach us that the purpose of Christ’s coming is to carry the saints of the Lord to Heaven. Rather, the purpose of the coming of Christ is to bring justice to the nations.
The purpose of the Lord’s return. The purpose of the Lord’s coming is to compel obedience on the earth; to establish on the thrones of the universe those saints in whom the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, has been created. To be "born again" means that Christ has been formed in us. The forming of Christ in us creates in us a love for the will of God. We know we have been born again when our chief delight is to do God’s will.
The same vision of the saints governing the world is presented in the Old Testament.
Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. (Daniel 7:22)
This is why we state that the Judaic-Christian salvation is one Divine revelation.
The true saints are returning to the original concept of Israel, in these days, and sometimes to the very land and people of Israel. The love of God is compelling them to do this. Christ is preparing to reveal Himself to His own people. The elect among the Jews will respond. The elect among the Christian Gentiles will become one with the elect of the Jews. Then God will destroy what is not of Himself.
God will bless the land of Israel and the people of Israel for they are the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the called of the Lord. But the Gentiles, including those who claim to be Christians but are unrighteous, will experience the coming Gentile holocaust.
"And they sat upon them."
"They" are the overcomers, for only God’s conquerors will be seated on the thrones of glory. These are the spiritual thrones, and those who are destined to occupy them are the Lord’s firstfruits, the royal priesthood.
"And judgment was given unto them."
It has pleased God to give the authority of judgment to those in whom obedience has been perfected. The saints to whom the authority of judgment is entrusted will open the door of the Kingdom of God to many people and close the door of the Kingdom to many people. They will decide who goes to destruction and who is permitted to eat of the tree of life.
The Apostles of the Lamb will sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28).
All men, whether of the elect or of the nations, must be judged as to their obedience to God and then rewarded accordingly.
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. (Revelation 22:12)
In the Day of the Lord the saints will be busily engaged in the work of judgment, either administering it or else experiencing it.
Because the Judaic-Christian salvation is concerned with solving the problem of disobedience, the concept of judgment is of extreme importance. Every act of disobedience will be punished (unless forgiven—and it is the business of the judges to determine whose sins will be retained and whose will be forgiven); and every act of obedience will be rewarded, unless the judges determine that the overall behavior of the individual is worthy of lashes or banishment.
The reward of the righteous, of the obedient, is to partake of the Lord Jesus, of eternal life. The reward of the wicked, of the disobedient, is eternal death: existence apart from the Presence of God.
Either we shall rule or we shall be ruled. The Kingdom of God is a government, a hierarchy of rulers. God is supreme. Under God is the Lord Jesus. Under Jesus there will be a hierarchy of rulers, their rank in the hierarchy depending on two factors: (1) their calling, which is by predestination; and (2) their diligence in laying hold on their calling.
We can think of the rule of the Kingdom of God as extending outward in concentric circles, with God in Christ at the center. Each saint is in the circle that represents his closeness to the Lord. There are ranks in the Kingdom. There are those who are great in the Kingdom. There are those who are least in the Kingdom. But all are loved of God.
Each of us, regardless of his predestined rank, will be ruled by external forces until the Kingdom, the rule of God, has been created in him.
Can you see how the Kingdom of God is a solution to the original problem of disobedience, the disobedience of people, and the disobedience of the angels as well? For the saints will judge even the angels.
Know ye not that we shall judge angels? . . . . (I Corinthians 6:3).
What role does our Lord Jesus play in the overcoming of disobedience?
The Lord Jesus obeyed God through trials so difficult that no other person could have endured them. Being made perfect in obedience, Jesus of Nazareth was able to pay the price of redemption for those who have disobeyed God.
Then the perfect One, the obedient Son, was raised from the dead. Now the Virtue in Him, that He is, is being conceived and formed in disobedient human beings. The Divine Virtue from the obedient One, Christ, is converting the personalities of those who have received Him until they show forth in their behavior His obedience. This is the Kingdom of God. This is the rule of God. This is an inner rule, an inner kingdom, as revealed in Christ’s parables. The Kingdom of God will overcome every other Kingdom and will endure forever, ages without end.
What is man that God is mindful of him and visits him continually?
Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. (Hebrews 2:8)
This is what man is. Man is the creature that God has created to govern all of the works of God’s hands, including all other kinds of creatures. Man is the ruler. Man is created to be the throne of God Almighty.
The Lord Jesus, although very God of very God, governs the creation because He is the Son of Man. The Scriptures have assigned the rulership of all things to man.
Danger concerning the throne. Here is a great danger. Because man has been destined to sit on the highest throne he also is in danger of grasping to himself his God-given powers in an attempt to make himself a little god.
This precisely is what is taking place in our own day. Christian teachers have discovered the verses that reveal God’s plan to give great glory and authority to His sons. These teachers and preachers are attempting to grasp the promises for their own use, demanding that God honor His Word now. It reminds one of the prodigal son. They are attempting to gain material wealth by the use of the Scriptures that point out the authority and power to be given to man.
Such teachers and preachers are in danger of becoming the False Prophet. The False Prophet is man seeking the power of Christ apart from union with Christ, apart from bearing his cross behind Christ, apart from stern obedience to the Father. Antichrist is man striving to make himself God. The False Prophet arises from the soul of man. Antichrist arises from the sea of mankind as it attempts to remove the restrictions and curse imposed on sinful man by the Lord. In the last days the False Prophet will support Antichrist—the world leader who will personify the desire of man to be his own god.
In order for man to govern the creation properly, to fulfill his place in God’s plan, he must be sternly obedient to God. Also, he must come into union, into perfect oneness with Christ in God.
We have discussed the importance of obedience. Until we have been made obedient to God, totally obedient to God, being willing to abide in God’s prisons, being willing to endure for many years the crucifying works of the Holy Spirit, we never will be given authority and power by the Lord. It is only those who have learned obedience through suffering who will rule.
Rigorous obedience to God must be completely developed in each saint.
In addition to obeying God, man must come into union with God. The importance of man’s union with God through Christ cannot be overemphasized. Our union with God is the most holy area of our personality and life. Divine love is the motivation for union, for the marriage of the Lamb and His bride.
God is love, and for no other reason is bringing us into union with Himself. As we become one with God through Christ, all that God is, does, and possesses becomes ours. All we are belongs to God and all
God Is belongs to us. This is not a formula for getting power from God, it is a genuine marriage.
Woe! woe! woe to those who attempt to bring wealth and honor to themselves by the promises that God has given to Christ and His Body! Woe! woe! woe to those who grasp the glory and blessings of God so that they may make prostitutes of themselves in order to get what they want in the world! They say they are "Jews," that they are God’s anointed, but they are not. They are deceived and are deceiving others.
Woe! woe! woe to those who are seeking the things of Christ rather than Christ! They may receive the things they desire but God will send leanness into their souls. The wise believer will flee from those who are peddling the holy things of God. In the last days, Christ will separate from His holy Bride those who are attempting to use Him to glorify themselves.
Christ is the supreme Vine. He is the Incarnation of the God of Heaven.
We are branches growing out from that one true Vine. What we are and what we will become depend entirely on the Vine. We are absolutely nothing apart from the Vine. We are being made one with the Vine as He is One with the Father.
Unless we keep fixed in our mind that the Kingdom of God is God in Christ in the saints, that God is All in all, that Christ only and always is to be revealed and exalted, we fall into the trap of seeking power for ourselves.
If each saint would regard himself as the donkey that Christ rode into Jerusalem, clearly realizing that the adoration of the multitudes is directed toward the One who is riding on his back so to speak, he would have a clearer grasp of truth.
The key concept of the Kingdom of God is union. The Kingdom is a love affair. When we stress the giving of power to people, when we emphasize the authority of the saints, we enter a dangerous area—the area of Antichrist and the False Prophet.
The issue is whether we are seeking to be like Christ or whether we are seeking to be part of Christ. Eve was seduced away from God by the temptation to be like God. Satan tempts us to seek to be like God, to exercise our God-given powers, to "leap from the pinnacle."
Meanwhile the Holy Spirit is whispering to the elect to forget the strife and clamor of personal ambition and to "come away" with Jesus to the mountains of spices, to the lions’ dens, to the mountains of the leopards. It is in the personal knowledge of God, in the heavenly romance, that God’s will is found; not in the arena of self-exalting power.
The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of love. Christ is bound to God by love and we are bound to Christ by love. Whoever would attempt to use such love to gain power, or authority, or an answer to prayer, or for self-exaltation, or to acquire material wealth, is not of Christ but of the False Prophet. The False Prophet is the individual who desires the power of Christ apart from union with Christ. The wise believer will flee from all attempts to use Christ for one’s own purposes. When we strive to do the works of Christ but are not willing to carry our personal cross, then we are of the False Prophet.
The Kingdom of God is a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who truly are called to be part of that Kingdom do not desire to be seen, or to have power, or to acquire wealth, or to be successful in the present world. The true saints have but one supreme desire and that is to be part of the expression of the almighty God through Christ.
The elect always seek oneness with God through Jesus. They are an integral, eternally inseparable part of the one true God through Christ. Because of love and union there is nothing in them that is not of God. God is their All in all, but not so they can obtain wealth or achieve their own goal. That would be to peddle the Person of God. That is what Babylon, the great whore, organized religion seeks to do. Babylon attempts to use the blessings of God to accomplish its own goals in the world.
The true saint seeks God because the saint’s goal is to be part of God, to be at rest in God, to be the expression of God. He finds rest in God and God finds rest in him.
The saints will find their way home to God’s bosom. But the "tares," those whom Babylon has brought into the ranks of the "believers," never will understand this. They will be tossed about by the doctrines of preachers whose god is their belly until finally they are revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ for the corruption they truly are.
The Kingdom of God is not composed of many extraordinary saints but of one God, one Christ, and those who are part of Christ. It is the oneness of the Kingdom that is so utterly important. It is the oneness of the Kingdom that the world must see. In view of the oneness of the Kingdom we can understand that disobedience to God in any form cannot be tolerated.
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 17:23)
Because of her oneness with the Lamb the holy city is termed "the bride, the Lamb’s wife." It is the oneness, the marriage, that is emphasized. The Church never is referred to as the queen. It is Babylon who is the queen, the one who regards herself as the equal of the Lord. But the Bride is the body of the Lord, not His equal. She is not His partner, she is Him!
The danger today is that the believers are being taught to seize the promises of God and attempt to make them work for their own good. This is the False Prophet, as we have said. The true Bride rejects this false worship immediately. She knows that the Lord has not called her to be someone who uses Him for her own purposes, not even if those purposes have to do with "Gospel work," but a helper suited to Him. She is to become an integral part of Himself.
Those who are not called of the Lord never will understand this distinction. But the elect understand it immediately and flee from those who are attempting to use Christ’s love for their own purposes.
When one beholds the holy city, the new Jerusalem, he beholds God, just as when one beholds Christ he beholds God. This is not because God and Christ are the same person but because They are One and the holy city is one in Them. We are being brought into this perfect Unity. The process of being brought into the Divine Oneness is very painful because our self-centeredness is destroyed; not our identity or uniqueness but our ability to act as an independent will. Adam dies and in his place there arises a new person—a life-giving spirit (I Corinthians 15:45) who is an eternal, incorruptible part of Christ.
The life-giving spirit is the Lord from Heaven (I Corinthians 15:47). We are nothing apart from Jesus. We are being created of Him and in Him. This is the true Kingdom of God, the Servant of the Lord, the Israel of God, the new Jerusalem. It is the Light that will govern the nations of saved peoples of the earth. It is the Throne of God and of the Lamb. It is the Branch. It is the eternal Temple, the Tabernacle of God.
It is this eternal Tabernacle of God that will at first enforce obedience on the nations of the saved, and after that will create inner obedience in people until everyone dwelling on the new earth has a portion of Christ in himself and will obey God from an obedient heart. The Kingdom of God is as a tiny seed that grows until it is the greatest of the trees. It will be as an immense mountain, a government that will fill the whole earth. This is the nature and significance of the Judaic-Christian salvation.
. . . and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; . . . (Revelation 20:4)
The believers who attain the first resurrection will have been "beheaded." This may be referring just to those who were decapitated for their testimony, or to all the Christian martyrs. Another interpretation, which is figurative, is that they permitted the Spirit to do away with their fleshly minds so they could follow the Lord by faith and trust.
To do the will of God we must experience a transformation of the mind. The religionist uses his mind in order to practice his religion. The saint is led by the Spirit of God, his mind serving to insure that he is being directed according to the righteousness commanded by the Scriptures.
To be a member of the Body of Christ, part of the Servant of the Lord, we must be "blind" and "deaf" in the world so we may be able to see the Lord and hear His voice. It is impossible to serve the Lord properly, obeying Him faithfully in every detail, until our human mind has been replaced by the mind of the Spirit of God.
The sons of God are led by the Spirit, not by human reasoning. If we would bear a true witness of the Lord Jesus and be an expression of the Word of God we must be "beheaded."
Those who are of the world walk by the light of the world. But those who are of the Lord walk by His light. The saints who rule with God will have no need of the light of the sun for God will illumine them.
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)
The worship of the Beast. The worship of the Beast (Antichrist) and the image of the Beast are the great issues of the last days. According to the Book of Revelation, one of the primary tasks of the saints of the end-time is to overcome the Beast and his image.
As we have stated previously, the Beast is Antichrist, that is, the desire of man to be his own god. The False Prophet is the attempt of people to gain the power of Christ apart from union with Christ. There is no doubt that these abominations will be a mixture of the world and Christianity. They will represent the maturing of what already is prevalent in the wealthy nations of the earth, the attempt to set up a system that speaks the words of morality, of faith, of hope, of love (even in the name of Jesus) but which is motivated by human reasoning and objectives.
It is our point of view that the "faith" and "prosperity" movements are of the False Prophet. The "Reconstruction" movement appears to be an attempt of Christian people to use the power of Jesus to gain control of civil government. Then too we see Christian leaders attempt to persuade the world leaders to "accept Christ" according to the "four steps of salvation." They do not seek to convince the politicians to walk in obedience before God, to take up their cross and follow the Lord, but to be "born again" in the sense of a shallow mental and verbal acknowledgment of the Christian redemption. Such teaching will not cause the political leaders to tremble, as did Felix. Paul did not talk to Felix about grace or being born again but concerning righteousness, self-control, and judgment to come.
In addition the Christian leaders stress the value of a democratic form of government (which does not of itself result in godly behavior, as evidenced in the United States, France, England, and West Germany) and free-enterprise capitalism as an economic system. We are not certain that it is the Holy Spirit who is sponsoring these attempts to bring the Divine salvation into the political arena.
Antichrist and the False Prophet will attempt to use the things of Christ to solve the problems of the world. It seems these two members of the satanic trinity are with us already.
There may be a day when people are forced to have some sort of mark in their hand or on their forehead in order to participate in the world economic system. Our concern is that today the actions of the believers and their thinking reveal they already are part of the world system. With their hands they serve the God of the world and their minds think like the world.
The believers are worshiping the demons of covetousness, lust, violence, drunkenness, and occult practices as they watch their televisions. They are seeing on the television what Antichrist desires they see. The believers sit in a mental torpor, allowing Satan to stamp their minds with covetousness, lust, murder, reveling, and sorcery. The Christians do not have the strength to resist the entrance of Satan into their homes. This is because they have been taught that Christ desires to forgive them, rather than the truth of the Gospel which is that Christ wants to change them. Salvation is moral transformation. Apart from moral transformation there is no salvation.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
"They shall be priests of God and of Christ." Here is a very powerful concept, one that sometimes is lacking in Christian thinking. We are referring to the role of the elect as priests.
We have a general idea of what a priest is from our knowledge of the Aaronic priesthood, and also from the appearing of Melchizedek to Abraham. A priest is someone who represents God, who stands in the place of God and requires obedience to God on the part of men.
This is the role of the elect of God. The elect, the members of the Church, the Wife of the Lamb, compose a royal priesthood. Every member of the elect is part of the royal priesthood, having been called to this exceedingly high office from the creation of the world.
The Jews, for the most part, have never accepted their role as the priests of God. The same is true of the Christian people. The idea that God has called them out from the world to represent Himself is not agreeable to them. They would rather be part of the world. They want to be acceptable to people.
But God’s priests are His inheritance. They are not to be primarily concerned with their acceptability to people but with their acceptability to God. The apostles, prophets, evangelists, and other ministries are to labor until every member of the royal priesthood has come to the knowledge of the Son of God, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Every Israelite is to be a priest of God, a member of His holy nation, His treasure from among the nations of the earth. The tribe of Levi was chosen to be the priests of the priests. From the tribe of Levi, Aaron and his descendants were chosen to be set apart as priests to the rest of Levi and to all Israel. There were priests over the priests who were over the priests who were over the nations.
This is the pattern—concentric circles of holiness radiating outward from the most Holy, from the God of Israel.
From the Church of Christ is being drawn a firstfruits, a holy priesthood, who will rule with the Lord Jesus during the Kingdom Age. The name of God is engraved on them. The name of the new Jerusalem is engraved on them. The new name of Christ is engraved on them.
They will be known by the inhabitants of the earth as God’s priests.
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 [nations], and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. (Isaiah 61:6)
To be a priest of God and of Christ is a very high honor.
The purpose of the royal priesthood is to teach and compel obedience on the part of the nations of saved peoples of the earth. No disobedient believer in Jesus is qualified to be a priest, to represent God in the earth, to compel obedience or teach obedience to others. For a disobedient believer to be a priest is for the blind to lead the blind, for the captive to be a deliverer of captives, for the dead to bring life to dead people.
Disobedience in a priest of God is an abomination. Men will burn with fire the members of the elect who have been disobedient to God.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. (John 15:6)
Men will gather them. Men will cast them into the fires of torment. In the last days the ten kings who give their power and strength to the Antichrist will burn the whore, the great worldwide religious organization, with fire (Revelation 17:16).
"And shall reign with him a thousand years." The Lord Jesus and His firstfruits will govern the works of God’s hands in accordance with the original Divine edict concerning the role of man in the universe (Psalms 8:6).
Let us think now about the thousand-year Kingdom Age. What is its significance? What part does it play in solving the problem of disobedience? Why is it necessary to insert this period of time before we can enter the glory of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ?
The term Millennium may be employed to denote the Kingdom Age mentioned in Revelation 20:6. However, this writer tends to avoid the word Millennium because it has come to signify a time of great happiness and prosperity for people. During the Kingdom Age there indeed shall be peace and glory such as the world never has seen. But the peace and glory will come about only as the nations are taught obedience; and the nations of the saved will be taught obedience by force, by the smashing of their will to resist Christ, and then by their being instructed in the laws of God. They will be required to strictly obey God’s King, Christ in all matters, and Christ will govern them through His saints.
As we understand it, the Kingdom Age is to be considered as one "day." It is the spiritual fulfillment of the Levitical Day of Atonement. It is the "third day," during which the Body of Christ will be brought to perfection.
Reconciliation to God. The word atonement means reconciliation. The Day of Atonement is the Day of Reconciliation to God. In order to be reconciled to God we must learn obedience at the deepest level of our personality. The Judaic-Christian salvation includes the reconciliation to God of His disobedient children.
We think that the Kingdom Age is the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27), while the new heaven and earth reign of Christ is the spiritual fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus, Chapter 23:34).
The Kingdom Age will be a "Davidic" reign, including much warfare, bloodshed, and conquest—especially at the beginning. The Kingdom Age will terminate in a world-wide rebellion against the saints. The new heaven and earth reign of Christ will be a "Solomonic" reign of peace and glory—a peace and glory made possible by the wars and conquests of the preceding "Davidic" rule of Christ.
We believe further that the firstfruits of the Church, the overcomers of the present day, will experience the spiritual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement and of the feast of Tabernacles before the Lord returns. The remainder of the Church will experience the spiritual fulfillment of these two feasts in part now and to an increased extent during the Kingdom Age. The nations of the saved will come into the spiritual fulfillment of the two feasts during the Kingdom Age, but to an increased extent during the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.
It is our opinion that the purpose of the Kingdom Age is to perfect the Body of Christ and to make some headway with the bringing of the nations of saved peoples of the earth into obedience to the will of God.
At the end of the Kingdom Age the physical universe will be dissolved and all persons (with the exception of the firstfruits, who already have been judged and who possess their bodies) will be brought from their places in the spirit realm and clothed in their flesh and bone bodies. How this can happen after the physical universe has been dissolved we do not know; but the Scriptures are clear enough that this is what will take place. The converging of the physical and spirit realms at the coming of Christ will make many things possible that cannot be done in the present hour.
Each individual will be judged according to his works. Those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be brought forward to the new earth and will be given the opportunity to eat of the tree of life. Those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will be thrown into the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.
God would have every human being reconciled to Himself. But there is one thing God will not do: He will not work against man’s will. The persons who find themselves in the Lake of Fire will be there because they have rejected God in their heart. They chose to be the master of their own fate.
God will not have two wills in the universe. Those who insist on maintaining their own will, their individuality apart from God, their own way, even if it is a righteous way by our moral standard, will be removed from the Presence of God. They have chosen to exist apart from God and their desire will be granted them.
The truly dreadful aspect of the Lake of Fire is the separation from one’s Creator. Think of never being able to have the touch of mercy and blessing on one’s life! It is a fate too horrible to contemplate. But some people will choose to live with Satan instead of with God, and their choice will be honored. They will spend eternity with Satan.
Remember, Satan desires to be like God in every way, but he wants to reserve the right to be himself apart from God. The desire to preserve one’s right to make decisions apart from God was enough to turn the most beautiful of the cherubim into a monster so hideous that to see him would be the worst of all possible calamities.
We just begin to know the Lord in the present world. If we have diligently followed the Lord during our lifetime on the earth we will be brought into perfect reconciliation to God and into the fullness of knowledge, union, growth, and service in the ages to come.
God is seeking to reconcile us to Himself, to teach us obedience. Until we learn obedience we will not be readmitted to Paradise. To be saved is to be delivered from what causes us to be disobedient. Entrance into Paradise is automatic as soon as we learn to obey God faithfully but never can take place while we are disobedient.
As soon as we learn obedience to God we become candidates for eternal life in the Paradise of God.
There comes a time in the life of a person when he is faced with Christ. We should say, there come times ; for the Lord does not appear to us just once but on many occasions and on many levels of challenge to obedience. There are not just the "four steps of salvation," as in the current formula, there are at least four million steps of salvation. Each experienced saint understand this very well as he seeks to abide in Jesus during his present instruction.
The important aspect of the Divine salvation is how we respond to the will of the Lord Jesus—now and always. Either we are obeying His voice or else we will suffer the consequences.
Although it is extremely important that there be a definite point in our life when we receive Jesus, believing in Him and His work of salvation (we do not just slide into salvation), it is true nevertheless that one cannot regard this point as the time when he was "saved" and now is waiting to "go to Heaven."
According to the Scriptures we are saved when we endure to the end, when we hold fast our confidence in Christ steadfastly to the end of our pilgrimage.
We are being saved every day: saved from the world; saved from Satan; saved from our lusts; saved from our self-will. If we are not being saved every day we are not abiding in the Vine. If we are not abiding in the Vine we are in danger of being cut out of the Vine, of losing our place in Christ. Any teaching contrary to this is not of God and leads God’s people to destruction.
After a person dies physically he is judged. He is judged according to his works, and his works always are evaluated in terms of his knowledge of God’s will for his life. Receiving the Lord Jesus when He comes to us is one such righteous work. But after we receive the Lord Jesus we are not to cease living a godly life. Rather, the receiving of the Lord makes possible a godliness of heart and behavior that no individual can achieve until he is born again in Christ.
To receive Jesus and then to not follow Him is to abort the birth of the Kingdom of God in one’s self. Grace never is to be used as an excuse for sinful behavior. God intends that grace be the means of attaining truly righteous, holy, and obedient behavior.
Our adamic personality, by the enabling power and wisdom that God gives through His Spirit, must obey the words of the Scriptures as far as possible, exerting an external control over our behavior until the Life of Jesus grows in us to the point that we do the will of God by nature. This is why the Apostle Paul kept his body under stern discipline. Such external control is necessary until the desired inner conversion, the formation of the Kingdom in us, comes to maturity.
But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (I Corinthians 9:27)
The blessings of Paradise are restored to us when we begin to obey God. Eternal life is the result of "patient continuance in well doing."
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 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 2:7-10)
We can see from the above that the judgment of the individual always is in terms of his works. The purpose of the grace in Christ is not to do away with the judgment of our behavior but to change our behavior. This simple understanding very well may be at the center of the current theological misunderstanding; for to view Divine grace as a permanent waiving of the judgment of the Christian’s behavior is to miss the whole point of the Judaic-Christian redemption.
If the person has been given much knowledge of the Lord’s will for him, he is held accountable for the abundance he has been given. If he has been obedient in terms of the knowledge he has received there will be a reward. If he has not been obedient there will be severe chastening.
It is not only the unsaved, ignorant heathen who are in danger of Divine punishment, it is the Christian people who have neglected their salvation who have reason to be terrified at the thought of falling into the hands of Christ.
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)
If the individual facing judgment knows very little or nothing of God’s will but has striven to be righteous according to his conscience, then it appears he will be given an opportunity to know more of the Lord. We see this in the case of Cornelius the centurion. His giving of alms prompted the Lord to bring the Gospel to him.
Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? (Romans 2:26)
But if the person has been wicked, having seared his conscience, he will be assigned to the area of torment appropriate to his behavior.
The careless, negligent Christian, who has been given the knowledge of the Gospel (that which multitudes never have been given) but has ignored the task of abiding diligently in the Lord, will face torment when he dies. He is a lazy slave. Outer darkness is the proper place for him and there shall be no mercy. Rather, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
God’s dealings are eternal. Whether we are in the physical realm or in the spirit realm we must obey the Lord. If we do not, punishment shall follow.
We hope we have presented this warning clearly; for those who count on receiving a crown in the spirit realm even though they have been lazy and foolish in the present world, or who are under the impression that even though they have not pursued the life of victory in Jesus they will be received warmly by the Lord, will be tormented with remorse and terror when they die physically and come to awareness in the spirit realm. They will discover that their laziness, foolishness, lusts, and self-centeredness have earned for them shame and contempt in the presence of the angels of God.
We have referred to the thousand-year Kingdom Age as the Day of Atonement, the Day of Reconciliation. During the Kingdom Age the nations of saved peoples of the earth will learn obedience to God. They will be reconciled to God. What was lost by the disobedience of Adam and Eve will be restored to mankind on the earth.
Three great platforms of salvation. The number three is prominent in the Scriptures with respect to the Divine redemption. There are three great platforms that we are to experience personally:
Death to the world and the resulting resurrection in the Kingdom of God.
Death to sin and the resulting resurrection in the Holy Spirit of God.
Death to self and the resulting resurrection in the Presence and power of the Father in Heaven.
There also are three "days" that have been appointed for the bringing of the Wife of the Lamb to unblemished perfection. These three days are the three thousand years that will occur between the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the coming into being of the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.
The three days are portrayed in the dimensions of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The volume of the Holy Place was two thousand cubic cubits (the two thousand years of the Church Age). The volume of the Most Holy Place, which represents the thousand-year Kingdom Age, was one thousand cubic cubits.
It may be noted from the design of the Tabernacle that after we traverse the two thousand cubic cubits of the Holy Place we arrive at the veil. The veil separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. So it is that when the two thousand years of the Church Age have been concluded, the veil will be removed. The Lord Jesus will appear. Then we will know as we are known, the protecting veil having been removed. We almost are at that point and so the events of the next few years will be tumultuous and climactic indeed!
The expression "the third day" appears throughout the Scriptures. The third day, the Day of Atonement, the Day of Reconciliation, the thousand-year rule of Christ and His firstfruits over the nations of the earth, will be devoted to the perfecting of the Wife of the Lamb as well as to the bringing of the nations of the saved into obedience to the Lord.
Notice the following passages:
After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. (Hosea 6:2,3)
"In the third day he will raise us up."
And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. (Luke 13:32)
"The third day I shall be perfected."
Whatever application this verse has to Jesus’ circumstances at that time, it is likely that the meaning is the same as that of Hosea 6:2,3. King Herod, "that fox," represents Satan. Jesus is announcing to the forces of darkness that He will work miracles through His Church for two thousand years and then, during the third thousand-year Kingdom Age, the Day of Reconciliation, He (His Wife, His Body) will be brought to unblemished perfection.
"And the third day there was a marriage . . . ." (John 2:1)
The third day, the Kingdom Age, the Day of Reconciliation, is the time of the marriage of the Lamb. Marriage means the creating of one individual from two individuals. The eternal union with God through Christ to which the Wife of the Lamb has been called is the true marriage of which all other marriages, particularly the marriage of Adam and Eve, are a symbol.
It may be observed that the Wife of the Lamb at the beginning of the Kingdom Age is dressed in the white robes of righteous conduct (Revelation 19:8). But after the work of the thousand-year Kingdom Age has been performed, the Wife of the Lamb will descend from Heaven as the glorious holy city, the new Jerusalem.
The fact that the new Jerusalem descends from Heaven suggests that the work of purifying the Bride takes place in the spirit realm.
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, (Hebrews 12:23)
The purifying of Queen Esther consisted of six months of the bitter oil of myrrh and then six months of spices and cosmetics (Esther 2:12). The six months of bitter myrrh speaks of the purification of the Bride on earth by suffering while the six months of perfumes suggests the refining of beauty that can take place only in the holy realm of God and the angels.
Bringing the Wife of the Lamb to perfection. During the Kingdom Age, while the Wife of the Lamb is being brought to spiritual perfection, as we understand the Scriptures, the overcomers, the "mighty men of valor," will serve as kings and priests over the nations of the earth, crushing all resistance to Christ and also teaching the nations the righteous laws of the Kingdom of God. It may be true also that the firstfruits of the Bride, the overcomers, will play a role in helping other members of God’s Israel grow into the perfection of the new Jerusalem.
This may be the meaning of the following passage:
We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar. (Song of Solomon 8:8,9)
One may ask, who will build and strengthen the little sister and when will this take place?
Since another person who is spiritually mature speaks in the next verse (Song of Solomon 8:10), it is not a straining of the symbolism to consider that the mature one who has found favor with the Lord is the firstfruits of the Church, and that the "little sister" typifies weaker members of the Bride who will be ministered to by the stronger. It always is proper and godly for the stronger believers to encourage and assist the weaker toward an ever closer relationship with Jesus.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11-13)
The gifts and ministries of the Holy Spirit will operate, according to the Word of God, until we all come to a perfect man, to the fullness of that one Man of God who is Christ. The Body of Christ can only be as perfect as the least perfect member, just as the physical body is only as healthy, as strong, as the weakest part of it. The perfect Head, Christ, must have a perfect body.
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:40)
But what of the nations of the earth? What will be taking place in their midst during the thousand-year reign of Christ and the royal priesthood?
The nations during the Kingdom Age. The writings of the Prophets often refer to that which will be true of the nations during the Kingdom Age.
We know, first of all, that at the onset of the thousand years the will of the nations to resist will be smashed.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [nations] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. (Psalms 2:8,9)
After that, the nations will be taught by the Lord working with and through His princes.
Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment. (Isaiah 32:1)
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)
The nations that do not participate in the reign of Jesus and His saints will be punished.
And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain. (Zechariah 14:17)
The relationship of behavior to salvation. The peace and glory that will be on the earth during the Kingdom Age will be the result of righteousness, of obedience to God.
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. (Isaiah 32:17)
"The effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever."
The Lord’s objective is to install righteousness and obedience to God on the earth. The reason we desire to go to Heaven to live forever is we hope to find peace, quietness, and assurance. But peace, quietness, and assurance do not come from living in Heaven but from "the work of righteousness."
It is true that Paradise is in Heaven now and we hope to go there when we die. But our stay in Heaven will be temporary. In the Day of the Lord we shall return to the earth, gain back our body from the grave, and receive whatever reward we have earned by our conduct.
Our goal is righteousness, righteous, obedient behavior. When we are righteous Paradise comes to us as a consequence. When we are unrighteous, death and torment come to us as a consequence. There is no violating, no waiving of this principle. What we sow we will reap.
The Apostle Paul pointed out clearly that eternal life is the result of godliness of behavior.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. (Romans 6:22)
It is by gaining victory over sin, by becoming a servant of God, that we bear the fruit of holiness. The result of holiness of behavior is everlasting life. Eternal life is a gift to us, but only as we participate in the freedom from sin and rebellion made possible through the grace and power of the new covenant.
It never can be true that we sow sin and reap life. Until we realize this clearly and absolutely we will not be able to enter the Kingdom of God. We are in deception and can expect lashes, whether or not we name the name of Jesus. The Lord Jesus always says, "Depart from me you who are lawless. Go into outer darkness, for you have no place in a kingdom of righteous, obedient people."
After the work of reconciliation during the Kingdom Age, the physical universe to which we are accustomed will pass away with a great noise. The dead, small and great, will stand before God. Those who have learned obedience, whose names are in the Book of Life, will be permitted to enter life on the new earth. They will be given access to the tree of life in the midst of the Paradise of God.
The individuals who still maintain their own way before God, even after He has worked so patiently and lovingly with them, will be cast into the Lake of Fire with their fellow rebels.
When the problem of disobedience has been dealt with it will be time for Paradise to be restored to the earth.
Down from the new heaven will come the new Jerusalem. The new Jerusalem is the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ, the glorified Christian Church. The Throne of God and of the Lamb has come to the earth.
All of the effects of the curse: the tears, the death, the sorrow, the crying, the pain—the suffering that always result from disobedience to God, have been removed. The holy city is filled with righteous servants of the Lord who will rule the works of God’s hands forever. The nations of saved peoples of the earth will walk in the light of God’s royal priesthood.
The wicked do not disappear. Rather, they are kept in prison so that people and angels may see them from time to time and ponder the consequences of rebellion against God.
And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. (Isaiah 66:24)
There is a massive wall that surrounds the new Jerusalem. The purpose of a wall around a city is to keep out the enemy. The tree of life is inside the wall (Revelation 22:2,14). The wall is founded on the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. The ornamented foundations of the wall, and the wall itself, represent that perfect obedience to God and resistance to sin that have been formed in the overcomers by the heat and pressure of life on the earth.
Since the disobedient are in the Lake of Fire, what is the purpose of the wall of the new Jerusalem? Either it is symbolic, revealing that a wall against sin has been developed in the personalities of the royal priesthood, especially the personalities of the firstfruits; or else the wall signifies that any individual of the nations of the saved who lapses into sin will not be permitted to approach God until he turns from his wickedness and practices righteousness.
The traditional Christian assumption that it is impossible to sin after we die and are in the spirit world is without basis in the Scriptures. Sin commenced in the world of spirits and is spiritual in nature. We do not struggle against flesh and blood but against wicked spirits.
There will be no more unwalled Edens. The guarantee that another rebellion never will take place is not that people no longer are able to disobey God. Throughout eternity people will have the capability of disobeying God or else they would not be people as we know them.
The guarantee against another rebellion is the formation of Christ in the saved people of the new world. It is the inner, Divine transformation that walls off rebellion, not a circumstance of the environment or a change of what we are so we are capable only of certain actions.
The wall against disobedience is being created now in the firstfruits of the Church. After the firstfruits will come the remainder of the Church. Finally, every member of the nations of the saved will have a portion of Christ created in him. There are the hundredfold, the sixtyfold, and then the thirtyfold.
Obedience initially will be established with force. Everyone who is saved will be compelled to obey God. The Lord Jesus teaches His firstfruits strict obedience to Himself. When Christ’s saints have learned obedience they then will govern the peoples of the nations of the saved with diligence and vigor. The saints will "take the Kingdom."
The ultimate goal is the transformation of personality that results when Christ is formed in us. Then we delight to do God’s will. This is God’s desire for every individual on the new earth, and it is the role of the royal priesthood to guide each person to the place where he delights to do God’s will.
We must adhere to the Scriptures until the Day Star, Christ, arises in our heart. When the Day Star has been formed in us, we being now an eternal part of Christ, God can find rest in us and we in God. We, having been transformed through Christ, having learned perfect obedience to God, will then be able to bring and maintain Paradise on the earth so the members of the nations of the saved may experience love, joy, and peace for eternity.
And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:18)
This is the Kingdom of God. This is eternal life. This is the nature and significance of the Judaic-Christian salvation.
"Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven."