OLD THOUGHTS FOR THE NEW DAY
OLD THOUGHTS FOR THE NEW DAY Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Many of the church routines we have known are now vestigial. From the present hour forward fundamental changes will occur—sometimes being forced on us by circumstances. However, no fundamental Christian doctrine will be altered in any manner. The foundation of the blood, the Spirit, and the resurrection has been permanently established.
The painful travail of our forefathers has brought us to the present momentous hour. Many traditions have accumulated that are unscriptural and will vanish from the thinking of succeeding generations. The base camps were constructed by the faithful efforts of those who have gone before. Now the summit is in sight.
We have the authority through the blood of the cross. We have the wisdom and power through the Holy Spirit. Now the task has been set before us. It is time to take the Kingdom.
Table of Contents
Introduction Change Pulpiteering Returning to the Scriptures What It Means To Be Saved When are we saved? What salvation is What Canaan Represents Where We Are Going A Time of Preparation Settling for the Things of God Two Spies Rahab Following the Ark Two Pillars of Stone Circumcision of the Heart The Lamb Two Armies The Assault Upon Jericho Sin in the Camp Carelessness The Lord Worked With Them Greater Works Than These Bind Them and Then Kill Them Leave No Survivors
OLD THOUGHTS FOR THE NEW DAY
Many of the church routines we have known are now vestigial. From the present hour forward fundamental changes will occur—sometimes being forced on us by circumstances.
However, no fundamental Christian doctrine will be altered in any manner. The foundation of the blood, the Spirit, and the resurrection has been permanently established.
The painful travail of our forefathers has brought us to the present momentous hour. Many traditions have accumulated that are unscriptural and will vanish from the thinking of succeeding generations. The base camps were constructed by the faithful efforts of those who have gone before. Now the summit is in sight.
We have the authority through the blood of the cross. We have the wisdom and power through the Holy Spirit. Now the task has been set before us. It is time to take the Kingdom.
There do come momentous changes in the Kingdom of God, such as the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai and the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
We are in one such period of change right now.
"Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites." (Joshua 1:2—NIV)
The change signified by the death of Moses and the installation of Joshua as the leader of Israel was very great. One aspect of the change was the transition from personal survival to the invasion and occupation of the rest, the land of promise. The enemy no longer was Moses, Aaron, and the irritations of the Israelites because of life in the wilderness. The enemy was external: the warlike tribes of Canaan, people determined to protect their ancient homelands.
Today the Lord Jesus is taking off His Moses hat and putting on His Joshua helmet. We are not accustomed to the idea of war against an external enemy. In fact, our major effort today in some instances is that of resolving problems in our own families, turning the hearts of the parents to one another and to their children and the hearts of the children and young people to their parents.
It is difficult and sometimes impossible for believers of today to take up their cross and follow Jesus. Until their own personalities and relationships are healed they may have a problem bearing witness to the world of the soon coming of the Kingdom of God. They may not be ready to ride with Jesus in the attack of Armageddon.
The Lord Jesus will help with the healing as we turn to Him. We already have seen people helped who have had marital difficulties, women who were molested as children, conflicts with young people and children, and so forth. Such healing is necessary if we are to submit to the rigors of discipleship.
Perhaps the next generation or the generation after that will be healthy enough emotionally and spiritually to move forward in God to the extent God desires.
I wonder if the American people can see what is taking place before their eyes. In this morning's newspaper there is an account of children in school strafing their classmates resulting in the death of four children and a teacher who attempted to shield a child.
I wonder why the whole nation doesn't stop and have one massive town meeting on interactive television and make realistic plans to change some of the influential and formative messages that proceed from the entertainment industry, the media, and other sources of persuasion, even if it means doing away with some of our "rights." A society that clings to its rights at the expense of the safety of its children is not wise.
It isn't going to happen. Next week there will be something more heinous while the nation is involved in professional athletics. The parents of the four little girls who were shot will continue to stare in unbelief at the empty bedrooms and try to continue to exist. It's a great country until your child is murdered!
We are not repenting, so God is going to bring America to her knees in the near future.
The concept of an introduction, three points, a few well chosen anecdotes, and a brilliant conclusion coming from the pulpit must be looked at again. It is not doing the job. The minister must stir himself to seek God until the congregation is actually praying and seeking God with fiery intensity. The "service" as usually perceived may not be strong and demanding enough spiritually to enable the believers to cope with the spiritual darkness invading our nation.
The worship must be extraordinary, perhaps including pageantry, until the people are moved and involved. A few hymns, a choir number, a musical special, served "Moses." But this pattern does not meet the needs of "Joshua." It is vestigial.
How about next Sunday morning having the congregation march around the pews, led by young people with banners portraying the ramping Lion or the Rider on the white war stallion, accompanied only by a drumbeat. Keep marching until the people get the idea they are being prepared for war. Such behavior in church is much more effective and realistic in terms of the needs of society when children in school are shooting other children with high powered rifles.
If we are to be successful in moving forward with God there are some principles we must observe. Foremost among the guiding principles is that of very careful adherence to the written Word of God, the New Testament especially, and also the Old Testament as applicable.
We of the Pentecostal-Charismatic camp do not have an enviable record when it comes to adhering to the written Word of God. We are emotionally oriented to the Gospel. We are in clear danger of becoming the False Prophet, that is, believers who attempt to maintain their own soulish life and at the same time employ the gifts and powers of the Spirit of God.
We are not checking with the Scriptures as carefully as we should. We are not testing the spirits. We are not trying the apostles. If we are to survive and stand before Christ at His appearing we must return to the Scriptures and meditate on them day and night, not being so ready to follow the crowd in seeking spiritual thrills.
Let us now present a thought that will require a careful study of the Scriptures on the part of the devout believer. It is this: salvation is not what takes place when we die but when the Lord returns.
It will require another generation or two before God's people understand salvation is not something that takes place when we die.
Today when we speak of being "saved" we mean only one thing: we will go to Heaven when we die.
This is not scriptural. Search the Scriptures for yourself. You will discover very little is said concerning what happens to us when we die. Salvation has to do with what happens to us when the Lord returns.
Are you willing to make such a conceptual leap? You might as well because it is the truth of Scripture.
When Jesus returns you may or may not be raised from the dead and ascend to meet Him in the air. This is the first resurrection and it is for the victorious saints—those who were living in Christ when they died. I do not know what will happen to you when you die. Where you will be before you return with the Lord to take up your body I am not prepared to say.
Paul said for him to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. But I seriously doubt this is true for every believer, especially for the multitude of churchgoers who have served Christ halfheartedly. Maybe it is but I doubt it.
We know about the foolish virgins, about the person who wasted his talent. We understand from Galatians that if we who are believers live in the flesh we will reap corruption. But all of this takes place when the Lord returns, not when we die.
At the Judgment Seat of Christ we will receive the good we have done and the bad we have done. Not when we die but when the Lord returns.
When the Lord appears He will summon the dead from their graves. Those who have done good will be raised to life and those who have practiced evil to the resurrection of judgment. But where were they in the meantime?
When the Lord returns He will give rewards to every one of us or punish us, according to what we have done. But where are we before He returns? Concerning this our traditions have a great deal to say but the Scriptures very little.
Paul delivered the Corinthian believer to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so his spirit might be saved in the Day of the Lord. But where would he be in the meantime? His spirit was not saved when he died but in the Day of the Lord.
If we believe and are baptized we will be spared destruction when the Day of Wrath commences. This is the most elementary meaning of being saved. But where will we be after we die and before the Day of Wrath?
Paul said he would receive a crown of righteousness in the Day of the Lord, not when he died. We think Paul is with Moses, Elijah, and others who are serving the Lord in the spirit realm. But can we have confidence that this is true of all who have made a profession of faith in Christ?
So we see our terminology is quite misleading. We should be saying if we do thus and so we will be saved when the Lord appears.
Let us discuss for a minute what salvation actually is.
Our idea of what salvation is, is in great need of an overhaul. We are not scriptural in our understanding.
Salvation is transformation. In many instances, where the term salvation is employed in the scriptures we can substitute the word transformation. This will give us a much clearer picture of what salvation actually is and will put an end to vain arguments about whether we can be "lost" once we are "saved."
There are a few instances in the New Testament where the term "saved" means primarily preservation in the Day of Wrath: that is, our spirit, soul, and body are not cast away from the Presence of God in the Day of the Lord. We are permitted to enter the new heaven and earth reign of Jesus Christ.
But mere preservation, as desirable as this is, is a "Rahab" type salvation. That is to say it is not the salvation of the royal priesthood, of those who are being trained by the Lord to invade and occupy the land of promise.
The full salvation of the royal priesthood is indicated by the Apostle Paul who, toward the end of his life, was pressing forward toward the resurrection out from among the dead. Paul was not seeking to escape wrath at this point but to be prepared to return with Christ in the fullness of resurrection glory when it is time for the establishing of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The full salvation of the royal priesthood is emphasized by the writer of the Book of Hebrews, who exhorted the Christian Jews to press into the rest of God. The writer was not speaking here of basic salvation from wrath.
By full salvation we mean change into the moral image of Jesus Christ and entrance into untroubled union with the Father through Christ.
Such change and such union are not frills we add to basic salvation. They are what salvation is for those who are called to be the brothers of Christ.
Salvation is our change and our union with God. The change and the union are not so we can go to Heaven but so we can abide in the bosom of the Father where Christ dwells.
In order to dwell in God we must be transformed in personality. Rahab and her family were covered by the blood, so to speak, as portrayed by the scarlet cord used to identify her house. But Rahab was not a member of the royal priesthood of God until she married Salmon. She was not a partaker of the Law, of the Tabernacle, of the sacrifices.
Rahab is a type of those who are saved as they respond to the testimony of God's witnesses, His priesthood.
The new covenant, which is made with the Israel of God, the royal priesthood, is one of change, of transformation from the adamic nature to the new life-giving Nature of Jesus Christ. Salvation is the new creation.
Because of our past concept of salvation we may think our transformation is for the purpose of going to Heaven. It is not. We are not changed so we can go to Heaven. We are changed so we can be with Jesus Christ in God for eternity; so we can fulfill the many roles and tasks of the Kingdom.
We may ask, "If I am not changed am I still saved?" If we were to ask such a question it would reveal we still do not understand what salvation is.
It is the transformation itself that is salvation. Being saved does not mean we will be admitted to Heaven when we die. Being saved is a process that removes us from the person and ways of Satan and brings us into the Person and ways of God. We are saved from the lost condition into which Adam and Eve brought their descendants.
We are being saved each day if we are consenting to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. If we are not consenting to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit we are not being saved. If salvation is moral transformation, how can we be being saved if we are not being transformed?
Even the righteous are saved with difficulty. This is because it is hard for us to let go of our worldliness, our lusts, and our self-will. But if we do not let go of the sin that is in us we are not permitting Christ to save us.
We have to work out our salvation each day, with fear and trembling. We need to get serious with the Lord because we are entering an age of moral horrors.
Our traditions concerning mansions in Heaven and walking around forever in our golden slippers, carrying our harps, possessing backyards full of diamonds, may have sufficed for the Moses era. But since such ideas are not scriptural they will not stand under the pressures that even now are beginning to be brought upon the Church.
Probably the major shift in our thinking has to do with what Canaan represents.
The idea that Canaan is a type of Heaven, the spirit Paradise, has a long, venerable history. But if you think about it, Canaan as a type of Heaven, of the land of promise, does not make sense.
Is Heaven occupied by the enemy? Will we enter Heaven by a long, drawn-out war, entering city by city as we drive out the inhabitants?
Does the Scripture in any passage point to Heaven as our inheritance, our rest, our land of promise?
If it does not, then our fundamental understanding of the Christian salvation is incomplete and misleading.
If Heaven is not our land of promise, our inheritance, what is?
Our land of promise is the earth and its inhabitants. This is why salvation for the royal priesthood is moral change and union with God through Christ. Apart from such transformation and union we are neither competent nor eligible to serve as a ruling priest over the saved nations of the earth.
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son, today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession." (Psalms 2:7,8—NIV)
The inheritance of Jesus Christ is the nations and the ends of the earth.
We are coheirs with Christ. Therefore our inheritance includes the nations and the ends of the earth.
The entrance of Israel into the land of promise is a picture of Jesus Christ and His coheirs invading and occupying the earth in a long, drawn-out battle.
Until we understand clearly what Canaan represents we have a false vision of the future and of our destiny. Also we do not understand what it means to be saved because we picture being saved as being admitted to Heaven to live forever.
Since this thought may be new to you I suggest you now turn to the Scriptures and read every relevant passage. I think you will come to the same conclusion that I have. Heaven is a holding area while the army of the Lord is preparing to invade the earth. We will be raised from the dead in order that we may live once again on the earth. The earth is a large part of our land of promise.
Viewing the earth as our final destination represents a considerable change in our thinking, in the way we envision our salvation. Since we are drawing near to the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth, it probably is well that we begin to gain a true understanding of what is taking place. Otherwise we will be living in a fantasy, and the result will be spiritual weakness instead of the conquering strength we will need in order to participate with Jesus Christ in establishing the Kingdom of God on the earth.
"Your Kingdom come. Your will be done in the earth as it is in Heaven." Let this be our continuing prayer.
In terms of the journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan, leaving Egypt and the celebration of Passover are symbolic of our basic salvation in Christ.
Mount Sinai is symbolic of the Pentecostal experience. This is where we have been until recently.
Three events took place at Sinai or thereafter:
The Israelites received the Law.
The Tabernacle of the Congregation was constructed.
The congregation was organized into an army.
These three aspects of the Kingdom are being emphasized today.
The Spirit of God is stressing iron righteousness of behavior, fiery holiness of personality and behavior, and stern obedience to the Father (the giving of the Law).
The Spirit of God is encouraging us to covet earnestly the gifts and ministries of the Spirit so Christ may be formed in His Body. The day of the one-man ministry is passing away (the Tabernacle of the Congregation).
The Spirit of God is proclaiming war. It is time for the saints to be organized into the army of the Lord (the congregation of Israelites was organized into an army).
What will take place after this?
The Church will be brought to the Jordan, so to speak. Crossing the River Jordan signifies death to our self-will. Also the next generation must be circumcised, meaning we must be much more deeply consecrated.. The manna will cease because we must eat food grown in the land of promise if we are to have the strength to fight. The Word we are receiving must contain more Kingdom strength than has been true in the past. We must begin to comprehend God's plan to rid the material realm of Satan so we are not occupied entirely with our daily hopes and fears.
The general picture is this: The Church will be brought to the place of preparation for the invasion of the earth, which is our land of promise. When the Lord Jesus Christ appears we shall appear with Him. The purpose of the return of the Lord is to bring justice to the nations, to punish the wicked, to drive all sin from the earth. This Christ and His Body will do.
The return of the Lord will mark the beginning of a long drawn-out conflict. First will be the Battle of Armageddon and the destruction of the forces of Antichrist. After this the saints will go throughout the earth, crushing all resistance to the rule of Christ. The people that resist will be destroyed. The people that accept the government of Christ will be taught the righteous ways of the Lord.
The invasion of the earth by the army of the Lord is described several times in the Old Testament.
May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, To inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Praise the LORD. (Psalms 149:6-9—NIV)
They rush upon the city; they run along the wall. They climb into the houses; like thieves they enter through the windows. Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine. (Joel 2:9,10—NIV)
"Then you will trample down the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I do these things," says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 4:3—NIV)
And in the New Testament.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. (Romans 16:20—NIV)
Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: "See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him." (Jude 1:14,15—NIV)
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:11-14—NIV)
With the thought in mind of our return with Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of God on the earth, it is easy to see why our present "Moses" ministry, with its accent on the pulpit ministry of teaching and exhortation, as valuable as it has been, will suffice no longer. In our day both the tares and the wheat are coming suddenly to maturity. This means wickedness will descend to depths of moral horror scarcely imaginable in the present hour. It signifies also that God and Christ will enter the Church to a degree of Divine Glory never before known on the earth.
Ours is a new day with new challenges. God is ready to equip us with spiritual wisdom and power that will enable us to be more than conquerors through the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Israelites were to get their supplies ready.
"Go through the camp and tell the people, ‘Get your supplies ready. Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own.’" (Joshua 1:11—NIV)
We of today are in a period of preparation. The Lord's officers are beginning to instruct us concerning what is ahead. It is not a time for carelessness.
The events of the future may move very rapidly. The Christian who wastes his time and strength on perfecting his position in the world will be caught off guard and very well may be deceived and fall away from the Lord.
All kinds of moral evil are rapidly increasing in our country. Our traditional church games no longer will be able to help us through the horrors. The church leaders and people must turn to the Lord and listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.
Many voices are speaking in the land. Numerous programs for "reaching the world for Christ" are being advanced. Whatever has not been planted by the Lord Jesus will be uprooted and burned in the fire.
We have to set aside time for seeking the Lord, listening carefully for our instructions. If we continue to perform our own works when God is ready to move His people forward toward their possession we will not be blessed. If God's hand is on us we may be shaken until we stop what we are doing and pay attention to the change that has come upon us.
We are not suggesting that the believers abandon any good work they may be doing. We are stating however that things are afoot in the spirit realm, and if we do not want to miss God we need to stop long enough to be certain we really are doing what God wants.
We must prepare ourselves and our households spiritually for the climactic events that will take place in our day.
Reuben, Gad, and half of the tribe of Manasseh asked Moses if they could remain on the plains of Moab on the east side of the Jordan River. They wanted to settle there with their families and livestock.
The land they desired falls within the limits of the land of promise. But their readiness to remain while the Ark and the priesthood went forward reveals that their heart was not with God. They were ready to settle down and enjoy what had been gained. The Ark, the Tabernacle, the Glory of the Shechinah was not that important in their thinking.
So it is today. There are numerous Christians who desire the things of God. However there is not within them the holy fire that craves to dwell in the heart of God where the Lord Jesus abides. They have little passion for holiness, for the Consuming Fire of Israel.
After seeing all of the marvels of God's Presence in the wilderness, Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh still esteemed their cows more important than the Divine Glory!
Can you imagine? Yet we see this today where people are taken up with their hope of an ornate mansion in Paradise. To reside with Jesus where He is in the center of the Fire of God's holy Presence is quite secondary in their vision of the future.
There are supernatural manifestations today in some churches. We trust they are of the Holy Spirit. The question is, are people desiring delicious emotional and spiritual experiences or are they seeking the Lord Jesus Christ because they love Him? Are they looking for excitement or looking for the Lord?
We are not permitted to settle down and live with the memory of our religious experiences. We are required to march with the Body of Christ until all the members of the royal priesthood have gained their inheritance.
How do you feel about this?
Joshua wisely sent two spies into Jericho to test the strength and defenses of the enemy. The two spies returned with valuable military information.
The following is what Rahab told them:
And said to them, "I know the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so all who live in this country are melting in fear because of you." (Joshua 2:9—NIV)
The spies passed this information on to Joshua, which no doubt was a great encouragement.
Many of God's people are fearful. They become frightened at the thought of moving forward in God against the enemy. Those whom God sends over in advance will discover there is no basis for such fear because Hell is terrified at what God intends to do.
Satan and his forces have little fear of church people and their programs. The wicked spirits fear only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. When a saint chooses to lay down his own life and allow the Lord Jesus to live in him, it is then Hell trembles.
Those who will ride behind Jesus in the invasion of the earth will be, like the Apostle Paul, dead-living people. They can fall on the sword, the Word of God, and not be wounded. They already have been judged by the Word. They can sing and dance in the fire of God because they are fireproof. They are fireproof because the worldliness, lust, and self-seeking of their personalities have previously been burned out of them.
The "spies" who enter enemy territory ahead of the main body of believers will be dead-living people. Perhaps God is calling you to enter His Presence to such an extent you can serve as someone who will be able to encourage the saints to follow the Lord Jesus into total conquest of the enemy.
If we are to move forward into the new day that is dawning we must come to understand there will two classes of saved people in the future ages. The one class is the royal priesthood. The other saved class consists of those who are brought over into the new heaven and earth reign of Christ but who are not members of the elect, of Israel, of the priesthood.
I find this to be a difficult concept for people to grasp, but until we understand the Seed of Abraham has been called out from mankind to bring the Presence of God to the nations we cannot understand the Kingdom of God that shall be established on the earth.
There are numerous examples of this. One very clear episode has to do with the sheep and goat nations. Christ is seated on His throne surrounded by His brothers, the Israel of God. The nations are brought before Him. Those who assisted Christ's brothers while the brothers bore witness on the earth are permitted to enter the Kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world.
It is not said of the sheep nations that they ever took "the four steps of salvation." Rather their salvation will be based on how they treated the Lord's brothers.
These are saved people but they are not members of Christ's Body, the Church. They are not part of the Olive Tree. They are not of Israel, of the elect, of the royal priesthood. Rather they are the inheritance of Christ and His saints.
In the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah we notice that the saved peoples of the earth refer to the saints as "the ministers of our God."
Rahab (before she married into Israel) is a type of the saved nations. She was not of Israel, knowing nothing of the Law of Moses. She was not following Joshua into the invasion of Canaan, into the rest of God.
But Rahab tied a scarlet cord in the window of her home. The scarlet cord represents the covering of the blood of Jesus Christ. She and her household were saved because they were under the blood, so to speak.
It is not true that the royal priesthood of God are the only people who will escape Hell and the Lake of Fire! This would be ridiculous. Over whom then would we serve as kings and priests of God? Over each other?
There is a Kingdom principle that states: whoever assists God's witnesses will be rewarded by the Lord. God's witnesses, His Church, His prophets, His elect, are Israel, from the time of the called-out Abraham. They often are scorned and persecuted. But whoever receives them and blesses them will be wonderfully blessed by the Lord.
If we would understand the Kingdom of God we must realize the Church comprises a governing priesthood that will serve God for eternity. Taken together the members of the priesthood form the new Jerusalem, the holy city.
The saved nations of the earth will be governed by the holy city and will walk in the light of it. The nations will bring their wealth to it. This is taught in both the Old Testament and the New.
Rahab was saved from destruction because of the scarlet cord hanging from the window of her house. She believed in the God of Israel and she was saved because of it. If she was the same Rahab who married Salmon and became the mother of Boaz, and conservative scholarship maintains she probably was, then Rahab became part of Israel by marriage. But this is another matter. The family of Rahab was saved under the blood (the scarlet cord), so to speak, but never became part of Israel.
After three days the officers went throughout the camp, giving orders to the people: "When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it." (Joshua 3:2,3—NIV)
In the first chapter God had spoken of the land He was giving to the Israelites. God told them that He would give them every place they set their foot.
But now the Israelites were being told they must follow the Ark of the Covenant in order to gain their inheritance.
There is a tremendous lesson in this for us. For two thousand years the Christian churches have attempted to gain what they think God has promised them (often being incorrect even in this!). But they have not followed the Ark. They have not waited on the Lord for His specific leading.
"God has given us a blank check," they cry, "just fill it in and you can have all you want by faith." Or, "God helps those who help themselves." Or, "If you will send me all your money I will save the world." Or, "Let us go forward as an army and crush everyone who gets in the way."
Even in the most devout assemblies we often see human plans, ambitions, talents, wisdom, and energy in the forefront of many endeavors.
Will we ever learn? Will we ever be willing to wait on the Lord until we know what He wants us to do? And this moment by moment?
No doubt many of the warriors of Israel had ideas of their own how Jericho should be conquered, when they should cross Jordan, whether they should attack by day or night, whether they should set an ambush and then draw out the warriors of Jericho, and so forth.
God did not leave it to them to figure out how to invade and conquer the territory He had given them. He led them by His Presence, by the Ark of the Covenant.
Jesus Christ said He would build His Church on the revelation that He is the Anointed One, the Christ of God. He did not say we would build His Church on this revelation, He said He would build His Church.
He did not invite Peter to feed Peter's sheep but the Lord's sheep.
For two thousand years much if not most Christian effort has been directed by the mind of man, and the same situation exists today.
It is a temptation, once we think we know what God has in mind for us, to forge ahead in our own strength. How easy this is to do! But we succeed only in bringing forth an Ishmael, a wild man.
Will God ever have people who will wait on Him without going to sleep?—who will follow the Lord patiently, not going ahead of Him or lagging behind?
The hour is close at hand when no man can work. Christian enterprises shall fall by the wayside or become part of Babylon the Great. Only those who have died in the Lord and have become part of the Presence of God through Christ will be able to stand and help others.
God has made a provision for us that will enable us to be more than conquerors through the darkest of the hours we are entering: it is to be filled with His Person to a greater degree than we have known so we are living and moving only in and with Him.
In the day to come we will live by Jesus Christ as He lives by the Father. If this is what you desire, then let the Lord know about it.
When the Israelites came to the Jordan River it was at flood stage, overflowing its banks. When the feet of the priests who were carrying the ark touched the water's edge the water from upstream stopped flowing. The water flowing downstream soon vanished and the riverbed appeared.
The priests with the ark took their stand on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan.
All the Israelites, with the exception of the families of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh, who remained in the plains of Moab, marched across the riverbed.
Then the Lord directed that one man from each of the twelve tribes take a stone from the middle of the riverbed and set up a memorial pillar where Israel camped for the night, on the west side of the Jordan.
In addition, a pillar of twelve stones was set up in the middle of the Jordan where the priests had stood.
The two pillars, one set up on the west bank and one in the middle of the Jordan, are symbolic of our death and resurrection in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our adamic nature is represented by the pillar left on the riverbed of the Jordan, to be covered over once the water began flowing again.
Our new resurrection life with the Lord Jesus Christ is portrayed by the pillar of twelve stones erected on the west bank where the army camped for the night.
Canaan represents our inheritance. Our inheritance consists of God and Christ Themselves, eternal life in Their Presence, the new Jerusalem, the nations and farthest reaches of the earth, exceedingly great fruitfulness, and exceedingly great dominion. All these are ours through our Lord Jesus Christ.
In order to fully enter our inheritance we have to go through three deaths and three resurrections.
The first death is death to the world. We must leave the world to follow the Lord Jesus. The first resurrection is our membership in the family of God—all those who are called by the name of the Father. This is the Red Sea.
The second death is death to sin. Through the Holy Spirit we are to put to death the passions and appetites of our body. The second resurrection is spiritual freedom and eternal life. This is Mount Sinai.
The third death is death to self. We remain faithfully in the prison in which we are placed, even to the point of death. The third resurrection is the possession of fruitfulness and dominion. This is the River Jordan.
To be fully dead to Adam and alive unto Jesus Christ we must experience all three deaths and resurrections.
Canaan is resurrection ground. It is eternal life in the Presence of God. The gaining of eternal life is the main theme of the New Testament, for it is eternal life that was lost in the beginning.
The churches of Christ understand quite well the first death and resurrection. They understand we must repent and be baptized in water if we are to be accepted of Christ.
To a lesser extent the churches understand whoever commits sin is the slave of sin. God wants a holy people who through Christ are gaining the victory over the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life. The overemphasis on grace, as it is preached today, has done much to undermine serious attempts on the part of the believers to gain victory over sin.
The last death and resurrection, death to self and resurrection to fruitfulness and dominion, is hardly known to the Christian churches. Yet the remnant who are being called out today must submit to this operation.
The first sin was self-will, beginning with the rebellion of Satan and continuing in Adam and Eve. All other sin proceeds from self-will. The New Agers and similar groups emphasize that man must govern himself. This is pure Satanism.
We cannot cross over Jordan until we are willing to surrender our right to be ourselves and yield the throne of our personality to the Lord Jesus Christ. Until we do this we cannot possess the Kingdom of God to any significant extent.
Basic salvation and Pentecost have sufficed in time past. Today the drums of Hell are beating to the attack. All that is not proceeding from the Lord Jesus Christ will be shaken and collapse.
We simply must turn over our life to Jesus. It is not enough to be born again and speak in tongues. God is requiring infinitely more than this. He demands our entire personality with no reservations.
What did Paul say? "I am crucified with Christ. I am not living any longer. Christ is living in me." Paul stands in relation to Christ as Christ stands in relation to the Father.
Every individual who follows the Lord Jesus Christ in the attack of Armageddon is a dead-living person.
Your Adam and my Adam must be left in the middle of Jordan. Otherwise we cannot cross over to the land of promise. The pillar of twelve stones erected at Gilgal, on the west side of the Jordan, represent our new resurrection life in Jesus Christ. It is this new life that is the Kingdom of God. It is the new life that inherits all the promises of God.
Until you leave Adam in the Jordan you cannot move past Pentecost in your spiritual experience.
At that time the LORD said to Joshua, "Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again." (Joshua 5:2—NIV)
A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God. (Romans 2:28,29—NIV)
It is time for the new generation to be circumcised in heart.
I have been pastoring the same church for more than a quarter of a century. During that time I have not talked much about holiness—a great deal about righteousness but not much about holiness.
Righteousness is our behavior toward people. Holiness is our behavior toward God.
Having come from a Pentecostal background we have seen the swing from "don't go to the movies; don't wear cosmetics; don't go to the beach"; and so forth to "anything goes because God looks on the heart and not on the outside."
It is time to bring the situation back into balance. God indeed does care whether we sit and watch movies in which there is profanity and references to sexual activity; whether we lie on the beach while all around us are exhibitions of near-nudity.
The catalyst in my thinking was the motion picture "The Titanic." It was pointed out to me that several of our young people had gone to watch this performance.
When I heard this I was upset. I went to the Lord. I said, "Is this an Ezra thing?"
The Lord answered, "Yes, it is an Ezra thing."
I asked, "How do you feel about this?"
The Lord responded, "If you are outraged, what do you think I am?"
Then the Lord added, "Tell the people that they can come and be cleansed, washing the dirt from their robes. If they do not repent, there is a price to pay."
Which I did, the following Sunday. You can get the tape (March 29, AM, 1998) by writing or calling our church office.
The response was excellent. The people came to the altar and we prayed a prayer of confession, asking for forgiveness and renouncing profanity and the rest of the activity that fills the movies and the television.
Before the morning service I asked one of our older young people if there really were profanity, nudity, and allusions to sexual activity in the picture.
She said, "Yes."
I asked, "How did you feel about this?
She responded, "It wasn't necessary. It didn't add anything to the picture."
I felt this was an excellent, intelligent response.
As I thought about it later I realized that Satan had employed an interesting subject to draw in Christian people so he could imprint their personalities with the profanity and other moral filth that are the delight of the demons. Whether we know it or not, the personalities of the children are being imprinted by what they see and hear by audio-visual techniques. The images may not persist in the mind but they are present in the subconscious. They will show themselves at some point.
The same Sunday evening the young people presented a film about the conversion of a tribe in Papua, New Guinea, made by the New Tribes Missions. As I watched this film I realized that the children and young people were being imprinted with pictures and sounds that would make the Lord Jesus rejoice. How different from "The Titanic"!
The enemy got past us on this one.
From what I hear the prophetic ministries from various places saying, I believe we are entering an era of intense spiritual conflict. In time past God may have winked at Christian people going to such entertainment. There is a price to pay for partaking of the moral filth of the American culture.
"The Titanic," although milder indeed than some of the depravity being shown today in America, is definitely what John meant when he spoke of the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eyes, and the pride of life. When we are comfortable with entertainment of this kind, the love of the Father is not in us. At least this is what the Scripture states.
I understand thoroughly that we cannot force such abstinence on young people. They have to make their own decisions. But we who are watching on the wall must sound the alarm when we see the enemy. And we can explain to our young people the holy requirements of the Lord. We owe them that.
Does such entertainment redeem the time by bringing us closer to God? While watching are we setting our affections on things above? Is our participation in such exhibitions of the flesh and soul compatible with the Christians in the arenas of Rome or living in the catacombs with their children? What about the Christians being tortured in China while we are watching worldly films? Is such behavior on our part godly and right or not?
While watching the moral filth that proceeds from Hollywood, California are we preparing ourselves to return with Jesus Christ and drive sin from the world?
Can you picture the Lord Jesus enjoying "The Titanic" while the cries of the Christians being crucified in Sudan are ringing in His ears?
If you can, you and I are not serving the same Lord Jesus Christ.
All the moral filth you have seen and heard, and have permitted your children to see and hear while you had control over them, you are going to meet in the Day of Resurrection. Please don't wait to find out if I am correct. You can wash your robes today in the blood of the Lamb, and then you are clean and will not have to answer for your behavior. Sin must be confessed, renounced, turned away from.
The old-time holiness preachers would not permit attendance at the movies even though the stars were Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers. They said we were to come out of the world. What would they say about today where Charismatic people go to X-rated movies, bleating about how to the pure all things are pure.
We have gotten away from the standards of holiness. We must return today. If we do not, "there is a price to pay"!
When you die you will be gathered to your people. Do you want to be with those who love the Lord's holiness or with the X-rated movies crowd? You are making your decision as you read these words.
There are no mixtures in the world where you are going. The holy will remain holy and the filthy will remain filthy.
I realize that while we are attempting to maintain wholesome family life there may be children or a spouse whose calling in God is different from ours, whose election may not be of the same rank in the Kingdom. In such instances we have to weigh each decision we make, not being arbitrary, not attempting to force everyone, called of God or not, to live at the same level of holiness. We will alienate them if we do.
God gives us wisdom, not to compromise but to draw the line only at behaviors that absolutely are not to be condoned. The wife can attend "The Titanic" with her husband if it makes for love and peace in the home. The older young people may desire to do things that displease their parents but are not of the same level of moral destruction as drugs or fornication. The adult (or child) called of God to holiness will easily be taught to shun the filthiness of the flesh.
The Christian must draw the line, but not so tightly that the unsaved or the less consecrated, who are partaking of the world but not destroying themselves with moral filth, are driven from the church or the home.
These can be very difficult decisions in the present hour but there is no way of avoiding them without harming people unnecessarily. God will help if we pray and do not become angry or unreasonable.
The generation that had left Egypt had been circumcised. The new generation ready to attack Jericho had not been circumcised.
We have found that many of the newer generation of today are fairly well learned in the revelations of the end time. But they may not have been circumcised in heart as yet. God will not work with those who have not been circumcised in heart.
Circumcision has to do with holiness. The term "saint" means holy one.
Holiness is not the same as righteousness, although the two interact. Righteousness is revealed in uprightness, honesty, integrity, truthfulness—with the way we deal with other people.
Holiness has to do with our nearness to God, with our covenant with God.
The Lord Jesus is both holy and righteous.
Our nation may look kindly on a righteous person but it understands nothing of holiness. This is because the secular population is not of the royal priesthood. When we criticize such a film as "The Titanic" the man on the street will have no idea what we are speaking of. Neither will many Christian churches because they no longer are separate from the world.
The Nazarenes, the Methodists, the Baptists of past generations understood holiness and preached holiness. Old-time Pentecost was a holiness movement. From our point of view the Charismatic movement, with all its knowledge of spiritual gifts, is lacking in holiness. In fact, holiness sometimes is scorned as being "legalism."
Divine grace, however, does not make up for our lack of holiness. We have to be holy if we are to see the Lord. God is a holy God and we have to be holy as He is holy.
The observance of the Sabbath and of circumcision were not matters of righteousness but of holiness. They were not directed toward our dealing with people but with God. They were the property of Israel, the royal priesthood.
The priests of God must be more holy than other people because they stand in the Presence of the Fire of Israel. All the works of the flesh and soul must be burned out of them. Unclean spirits cannot abide in the Presence of the Lord!
Behavior that God may overlook in the people of the world will never be overlooked in His priesthood.
When Christian people refuse to smoke, drink, watch and listen to moral filth at the theater or on television, it is because they are members of Jesus Christ and He does not do these things because He is holy. Neither do those who are seeking to live with Him in God's Presence.
I know modern Charismatic preachers say the Lord doesn't care if we do these things but He does. I know they say all things are clean to us and we can take part in any kind of worldliness but they are wrong.
I know today's preachers say we can swear and use four-letter words if we want to but we cannot and keep the Presence of Christ. When we use gutter language it is because there are demons in our mouth and we need to be delivered from them. I know the teachers of our time say we can watch anything we want to, listen to anything we want to, but we cannot and remain holy.
All that we see, all that we hear, all that we touch becomes a permanent part of our personality whether we like it or not. Until we get down before God and confess our sins and turn away from them they remain in us. They become a permanent part of us and our children. We will receive them in the Day of Resurrection.
If you are called to be a member of the royal priesthood, and you are partaking of today's American culture, you will be chastened until you are free from such spiritual uncleanness and bondage. O God send the fire! Send the fire! Send the fire!
May God develop in each of us such a hunger and thirst for holiness that we are consumed with the thought of dwelling in the everlasting Fire.
To be circumcised in heart is to have the world, sin, and self-will cut away. These three areas of our personality should be renounced at the time we receive Christ so the remainder of our discipleship is a working out of that which we acknowledged from the first.
When we come to Christ we should be taught first of all that we are received of God because the blood of Jesus Christ has made an atonement for our sins. We cannot save ourselves, we must come to God for the protection and forgiveness of the blood.
Next, we are to repent. This is to say, we are to turn away in our heart from the world, from sin, and from our personal ambition.
God has given us water baptism as a sign, a drama by which we can demonstrate that we have been circumcised in heart. In water baptism we by faith take our place with Christ on the cross, counting that our first personality indeed has died. Now we are free from the Law of Moses so we may walk in newness of life with the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have turned away in our heart from the ways of the world, from sin, and from our own personal ambition and self-centeredness.
Until we take this step of renunciation of the world, sin, and disobedience, we are not circumcised in heart. We can talk about Joel's army, the latter rain, and the Kingdom of God all we want to. But we will never bear witness as we should or rule with Jesus Christ until we have been circumcised.
As for cutting away the world:
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. (I John 2:15,16—NIV)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1,2—NIV)
As for cutting away the lusts of the flesh:
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (II Corinthians 7:1—NIV)
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24—NIV)
And as for cutting away our own will and way:
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it." (Mark 8:34,35—NIV)
The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (I John 2:17—NIV)
Whenever the Lord gets ready to use someone in a major change in His Kingdom He first checks to see if the individual has been circumcised.
After Moses had seen the burning bush the Lord directed him to go to Egypt. On his way with his wife and son he stopped for a night's lodging.
Then God tried to kill him. Why? Because his son had not been circumcised.
This gives you some idea of how seriously the Lord views holiness.
It was not possible for the army of the Lord to invade Canaan until every soldier without exception had been circumcised. It is not possible for the army of witnesses of today to go throughout the earth bearing witness of the Kingdom except as the witnesses are circumcised.
It will not be possible for any uncircumcised believer to follow Jesus Christ in the attack of Armageddon.
The saints who went before us knew of the need to have a circumcised heart. It is time now for the present generation to return to the Lord and get right with Him, for there will be no protection during the age of moral horrors that is upon us if we have not been circumcised in heart. (Exodus 4:24,25)
The reproach of Egypt, the world, remains on us until we are circumcised in heart. The reproach is rolled away at Gilgal (rolling).
While they remained at Gilgal, on the plains of Jericho, before they attacked the city, the Israelites celebrated the Passover. The day after they observed the Passover they ate unleavened bread and roasted grain that came from the land of Canaan.
At this point the manna ceased.
The celebration of the Passover on the eve of the invasion reminds us how God works. We do not leave salvation and move to Pentecost, and then proceed to the fullness of God, as typified by the feast of Tabernacles.
Rather we are ascending a spiral staircase. As we ascend we keep coming back to the same point, only this time at a higher level.
When we began as a Christian we observed the Communion in obedience to the Scriptures. Now we are beginning to understand that the body and blood of Christ are His Life in us, the very Life that will raise us in the resurrection.
The Wife of the Lamb is married to the Lamb by eating the Lamb.
The principal message of the Passover is not that of the Jews leaving the bondage of Egypt, for they soon were in a worse spiritual slavery after being in Canaan for a while. The main message of Passover is the Christ, the Lamb. "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
If we would live in resurrection life we must eat the flesh of the Lamb of God and drink His blood. We must live by eating and drinking Him as He lives by the Father.
Every time we move forward in God we must reaffirm our life, our position in Christ, the Lamb of God. All progress proceeds from our oneness with Him. When we first receive Christ we have all there is of God. But if we are to gain our inheritance, then that which was given us in the beginning must be developed. It must be worked out. Otherwise it remains stunted or is finally aborted.
It is possible to begin in Christ and then to be cut from the Vine.
It is possible to begin in Christ and finally ascend the throne of the creation.
The Israelites were facing Jericho and the first major battle of the invasion of their land of promise. Therefore the original convocation, the Passover, had to be observed.
The ceasing of the manna is of great significance. The Lord used the daily manna to teach the Israelites humility, continual dependence on God for their survival. The daily manna illustrated that man does not live by natural bread alone but by the Word that keeps proceeding from the mouth of God.
But now the soldiers began to eat the produce of the land of promise.
The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain. The manna stopped the day after they ate this food from the land; there was no longer any manna for the Israelites, but that year they ate of the produce of Canaan. (Joshua 5:11,12—NIV)
We are close to the brink of Jordan today. The two thousand years of Church history have brought us to this place. We are to move forward, as God directs, to the total destruction of the enemy. Perhaps we are going to need a change of diet, food stronger than that to which we have been accustomed, in order to stand in the cataclysmic confrontations with evil that are facing us.
Our spiritual food has been as manna to this point, but now we are to eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood. The body and blood of Christ are the Kingdom of God, the resurrection and the life, our salvation, the spiritual strength by which we will stand during the age of moral horrors we are entering.
If one would comprehend the plan of redemption he must understand that God's intention, from the time the covering cherub said "I will," is to rid His creation of all rebellion and sin.
"Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy." (Daniel 9:24—NIV)
To finish transgression.
To put an end to sin.
To atone for wickedness.
To bring in everlasting righteousness.
To seal up vision and prophecy.
To anoint the most holy.
After having made an atonement for wickedness God is going to put an end to sin.
Think of this and hold firmly to it: God is going to put an end to sin!
The history of the world from its creation is one long plan and device to put an end to sin. If you keep that in mind everything else in the Bible will fall into place. The present concept of Divine grace as a state in which the believer lives that is independent of his behavior is not known to the Scriptures; it is in opposition to the plan to rid the creation of sin.
In the last days, the period we are approaching, God will permit Antichrist to reach into the heavens and challenge the forces there. At that time the only safety will be in the Lord Jesus Christ, in His body and blood. That which hinders Antichrist in the present hour will be removed. Sin will attain maturity before it is harvested and cast into the winepress of God's wrath.
The hour is coming in which no man can work. Only those who are filled with the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit will be able to stand in victory and help those in need.
God is ready to put an end to sin.
When Satan, who was covering the Father with his wings, chose to follow his own will rather than the will of the Father, the holiest sanctuary of all was polluted. The obedient Christ ascended to the Father and sprinkled His blood to make an atonement for the sanctuary in Heaven.
It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. (Hebrews 9:23,24—NIV)
Remember, if there is any rebellion in us it will not leave by virtue of our dying. At some point it must be challenged. God will have no rebellious spirit in His creation. He is going to put an end to sin.
God began the work of cleansing His creation by the atonement made on the cross of Calvary. Then He offered perfect forgiveness to man, to whoever will receive it by faith.
After this God gave us His Holy Spirit so we would be able to bear witness of Jesus Christ and also have the wisdom and strength to enter the Kingdom of God.
Now it is time to take the Kingdom. Taking the Kingdom means we enter our inheritance. Our inheritance consists of God and Christ, of a redeemed body, of eternal life in God's Presence, of the fullness of fruitfulness and dominion, of the nations and farthest reaches of the earth, and of everything else of the creation of God. The sons of God, the victorious saints, inherit everything of worth.
All of this depends on our receiving into ourselves the body and blood of Christ. It is on this body and blood that the Bride of the Lamb is formed. It is through the body and blood that God will put an end to sin and bring in everlasting righteousness. The adamic nature, the life of the flesh, is of no profit and cannot possibly enter the Kingdom of God.
First we must leave the world and become part of the family of God by receiving the blood atonement.
Second we must, through the Spirit, put to death the sins of our flesh and spirit that we may be free spiritually and live in eternal life. Whoever commits sin is the slave of sin, and slavery to sin is spiritual death.
Third we must follow the Spirit of God as He puts our self-will to death. This is where we Pentecostal people are now. To my knowledge the Christian churches have never had a distinct doctrine concerning death to self-will, a doctrine based on the Scriptures. We have distinct doctrines concerning the blood atonement and the baptism with the Holy Spirit, that are based on the Scriptures. But clear, specific doctrine concerning the third and greatest of the works of redemption, death to self-will and the total, utter embracing of the will of God through Jesus Christ, has not been developed to the extent one could wish.
We must not seek to use our ministries and gifts according to our own will, as so many are today. Rather, we must die to our personal ambitions, even our ministerial ambitions. We must now return to God, laying down our life that the will of Christ may be performed in us.
All sin began with the self-will of Satan. Then, at Satan's suggestion self-will entered the Garden of Eden and gave rise to the sins we see today. Until the self-willed adamic nature in us is slain we cannot put an end to the sin in us or in our surroundings. Until the old man is crucified with Jesus Christ the body of sin cannot be destroyed.
The humanistic teaching of today emphasizes the desirability of being our own god, accomplishing our own will. This is the depth of all wickedness.
We cannot live by the body and blood of Jesus Christ and by our own will at the same time. Either we eat and drink of Him and live by Him or we live in our adamic nature. There is no middle ground. If we save our life we will lose it. If we lose our life we will save it in Jesus Christ. This is how we enter the Kingdom of God and the resurrection from the dead.
We come out of the world. We put sin to death through the Holy Spirit. Then we learn to wait patiently in God's prison, the cross, until our self-will is slain. All rebellion against God's will that resides in us must be absolutely, totally, utterly put to death.
Every decision we make during the day, from the time we get up in the morning, is to be held before the Lord. Bringing every decision to the Lord is an art in which we grow as time goes by. Our thoughts, our words, our deeds are to be brought before the Lord continually.
Each day the rebellion in us is challenged. At each point of challenge we either yield to our adamic nature, striving, forcing, manipulating, conniving, clutching, forcing, saving our life, getting our own way at whatever cost, or else we allow the Holy Spirit to help us choose God's will even through our adamic nature is howling for vindication.
When we put to death our self-will, choosing God's way, we are given to eat of the body of Christ and to drink of His blood. This happens every time we turn away from Adam and choose Christ.
The overcomers eat each day from the Tree of Life. They are given the manna that is hidden from all except the conquerors, the true Bread that is from Heaven.
It is through the body and blood of Jesus Christ that we can put an end to sin and bring in everlasting righteousness.
We keep the Passover, and then we come to Pentecost.
After Pentecost the trumpet of war was blown—war against the rebellion and sin that reside in us. The period of atonement, of reconciliation follows. We are saved and reconciled to God by judgment and war against the evil in our personality. All that is in us, especially our self-will and self-love, is brought under subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ. Point by point we are reconciled to God.
When the house has been prepared, the Father and the Son move in and take up Their eternal abode in us. Now we are the throne of God for eternity. Thus has God fully delivered Himself from the highly placed angels that have rebelled against Him. God has left the defiled throne in Heaven and has taken up His eternal residence in the dust of the ground—dust now transfigured through the body and blood of the Obedient One.
The original sin was rebellion against the will of God.
Abraham became the father of all who believe by being willing to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham demonstrated total obedience to God.
Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane became the Savior of the world by being willing to obey God to the point of spiritual death.
Such terrific obedience was required of Abraham and Christ in order to destroy the defilement caused by the rebellion of the angels.
Now God is requiring that the holy remnant of His people become part of the Body of Christ by obeying God in whatever death the Spirit of God leads them into. As the saints sternly obey the Father they are given the body and blood of the Righteous One. God's will, His Kingdom, is now being created in them. God's will shall be done in Heaven and in earth. This is made possible by the body and blood of Christ.
The hour is coming in which no man can work. The powers of wickedness will expand beyond all coping. Only those who have become the throne of God will be able to stand and extend salvation to all who call on the Lord. For in Mount Zion shall be deliverance and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call.
In that day God shall roar out of Zion. Like a woman in travail He shall gasp and pant and bring forth eternal righteousness.
The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies. "For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant." (Isaiah 42:13,14—NIV)
Only dead-living people can march in Joel's army. Only dead-living people can conquer the land of promise. Satan does not fear the churches or any of their activities. He is far too powerful for that. He knows the sin and rebellion remaining in the believers and he confronts the Father with their sin and disobedience all the day long. Thus we remain largely ineffectual. We may have spectacular programs but the thorough, lasting conversion of people does not always result.
Satan is terrified of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Whenever a believer chooses to set aside his own life, his own will, and permit Jesus Christ to live in him, then Hell trembles.
Samson brings down the temple of the demons by his death, not by his strength during his life.
The body and blood of Jesus Christ are what the new covenant is. They themselves are the new covenant!
When Joshua was near Jericho he saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword.
Joshua approached this warrior and asked him whose side he was on.
The warrior responded that he was not on the side of the Canaanites or the Israelites but was the commander of the army of the Lord.
It is good for us to remember when we go forth to conquer the world for Christ that God is not necessarily fighting for us. God helps only when we are following Him, because the battle is not our but the Lord's.
Joshua asked the commander if he had a message for him.
The commander replied that Joshua was standing on holy ground. This was the message—holiness unto the Lord.
When we are following the Ark of the Covenant, when we are doing the Lord's will, when we leave our adamic nature in the Jordan, become circumcised, and eat and drink of the Lamb of God, we are on holy ground. We will never be successful in spiritual battle and overcome the Lord's enemies until we are standing on holy ground.
God will not work where there is unrighteousness or spiritual uncleanness.
Victory in the Kingdom requires that two armies engage in the warfare. The army of saints are God's judges. They listen to the Lord Jesus so their judgment is righteous and according to the Lord's will. The army of angels does the actual fighting.
How often Christian people in their zeal are drawn into fighting against social immorality and injustice. Although God may use some believers in politics or some other effort of the flesh, our enemy is in the spirit realm and must be fought with iron righteousness, fiery holiness, and stern obedience to God. We must pray, and that prayer must come from a personality acceptable to God. Otherwise the army of angels will not assist us.
The army of angels does not fight for us or for our enemies. They do the will of God. It is only as we are moving in the will of God that both armies are involved.
I think God is waiting today to see how many will cease from their own religious works and wait until they hear His voice, even though the waiting extends over a number of years.
The Christian churches have accomplished many worthy works throughout the centuries. Now we are approaching the climax, the total destruction of rebellion and sin. This war cannot be won other than by the army of holy angels working alongside the army of holy Christians.
The assault upon Jericho was unique. Every military principle was abandoned.
What good is accomplished by marching around a city and blowing trumpets? How useless! How ridiculous!
How useless and ridiculous Jesus appeared when sitting on the gable of the Temple in Jerusalem! Sometimes God's ways are not our ways.
After God had been obeyed the army of angels was prepared to push the walls over, or push them down into the ground, or disintegrate them (which may have been what happened so every Israelite soldier could go straight in). Remember, these wall were thick enough that houses were built on them. If they fell outward or inward they would have presented an obstacle, being as thick as they were.
"When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have all the people give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the people will go up, every man straight in." (Joshua 6:5—NIV)
Perhaps there was concern on the part of the Israelite officers over this peculiar plan of attack.
In our assembly we spend time with banners, hurling them downward and shouting for the battle, as the Lord seems to direct us. No doubt there are some who feel we are wasting time and should be "out there doing something for the Lord" instead of marching around inside the church. Well, they can believe what they want to. We have noticed increased involvement of our young people in the worship program and we think we sense the approval of the Lord. Sometimes the things God does are eminently practical, and on other occasions not as understandable—like spitting on people to heal them!
Moses is dead. Joshua has been anointed. Some of the ways of the churches we have been accustomed to are not anointed. We have noticed that when the sanctuary choirs sing in large churches (and I love music!) there is something lacking. It seems vestigial. More active worship is the order of the day. You can feel the anointing of the Lord when the banners and tambourines are active. Perhaps we are welcoming the coming of King Jesus!
Have you seen young people marching, carrying the great banners depicting the conquering Christ? It really gets to you in a way not true of choir anthems no matter how skillfully performed!
I imagine after the sixth time around the city the natives of Jericho were about ready to have nervous breakdowns. Rahab had told the spies the people were already frightened because stories of how God was helping Israel had been told by the caravans as they passed through. The citizens of Jericho knew about the Red Sea, and the destruction of Sihon and Og east of the Jordan. I don't think the sight of the hundreds of thousands of warriors, with the seven priests in the middle of the line of march blowing trumpets of rams' horns in front of the ark, did much to relieve their fears.
The Ten Commandments were in the Ark. The Law of God was entering a land filled with demons. A picture of the future was being drawn. God knows exactly what He is doing even though we may not understand everything at the time!
All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron to be found in Jericho were devoted to the Lord and were to be placed in His treasury. Joshua warned the soldiers carefully to keep away from these items, that to touch them would bring destruction on the individual and on the rest of the camp as well.
Achan disobeyed the clear injunction. He and his family were buried under a pile of stones as a result. Also, as Joshua had predicted, Israel lost the next battle.
For two thousand years the Christian churches have tried to fight the battles of the Lord. Their successes have been limited because there has been sin in the camp.
We can talk all we want to about grace, imputed righteousness, and the rest of the excuses for ungodly, self-centered behavior. But when there is sin in the camp our hands are weakened. If even one person in the assembly is disobeying the Lord the ability of the entire assembly to wage spiritual warfare is affected.
The Lord simply will not help us when we are unrighteous, unclean, or disobedient. We are entering a new era in the history of the Christian Church. Programs that may have worked in time past are no longer adequate. The spiritual darkness is increasing daily.
There is a new challenge to righteousness, to holiness, to obedience to God. Those who would march with Jesus today must put away all sin and disobedience and seek the Lord with a perfect heart. Nothing less is acceptable.
The opportunities for entering the Kingdom of God are greater than ever. So are the dangers. Many will be deceived and fall away from the faith in the days to come. Those who truly know their God will increase in strength and perform exploits.
The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein. The Lord of Hosts is ready to enter the everlasting doors of the hearts of His elect. He is the Lord, strong and mighty in battle.
But to ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in his holy place requires clean hands and a pure heart. It is absolutely necessary the believer not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false (Psalms 24).
The great delusion of our day is that God accepts our works because we are "saved by grace." This is a wrenching of Paul's doctrine to our destruction. The grace of God is never an excuse for our sin. Divine grace is what we call today a jump-start. We are forgiven our past sins so we may make a fresh start with the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit has been given to us so we may be able to keep the commandments of Jesus Christ and His Apostles.
When we regard our forgiveness as a permanent amnesty such that our behavior does not affect our standing with God we have departed from the New Testament. We are following the traditions of man, particularly those found in the destructive model of biblical interpretation termed "Dispensationalism."
It is time for us now to abandon these traditions, realizing that God is looking for those who will read the New Testament and do what it says.
Christians who persist in the delusion that Divine grace is excusing them from keeping the commandments of God will perish in the darkness that is coming upon us just as Achan and his family perished under the heap of stones. No believer who refuses to obey the numerous commandments found in the New Testament is a genuine disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has been deceived, not having loved the truth.
After the sin of Achan had been dealt with severely the Lord blessed Joshua and the Israelites with great victory. When we put the sin out of our life God will bless us with more victory than we have ever known.
Renewing the Covenant
After the great victory at Ai Joshua renewed the covenant with the people. The blessings were read from Mount Gerizim and the curses from Mount Ebal, as the Lord commanded Moses.
There was not a word of the Law of Moses that Joshua did not read.
Would today that God's ministers would teach the entire New Testament and not just a few "key verses." We need to avoid supporting our topical preaching with a few favorite passages. We must take a passage and expound on it, avoiding our traditions, making sure we keep our interpretations in line with the context. The believers of our time are getting only half a loaf, and the half they do get is so colored by faulty Dispensational thinking that the people cannot get the sense of the passage.
A startling example of this has to do with the last few verses of the fourth chapter of First Thessalonians. A passage having to do with comforting the living saints concerning their dead relatives and friends is employed as the basis for the doctrine of the carrying away to Heaven of the believers so they won't be harmed by Antichrist or the great tribulation. Such an unconscionable approach to the Word of God may sound unbelievable but it actually is taking place.
It is time to renew the covenant. The people need to hear clearly about the blessings of the Lord and they need to hear clearly about the curses of the Lord.
In our day the love of God is overemphasized and the sternness of God is hardly mentioned. The American people are misinformed about the manner in which God's goodness operates and possess very little understanding of the severity of God.
There are many instances in history when people have been burned at the stake or hung. Sometimes torture has been added. We think (and rightly so) "how horrible!"
But no man-made device for punishment approaches the severity of eternal incarceration in a lake that burns with fire and sulfur. Torture ends sooner or later. Being hung or burned at the stake is ordinarily concluded in a matter of minutes.
But what about eternity in a lake of burning sulfur? Have you ever thought of that?
God's punishments are infinitely more horrible than any punishment conceived by man or possible to administer by man.
The blessings from Gerizim are wonderful. The curses from Ebal are terrifying!
The Christians of today usually hear only of how much God loves them and are hoping against hope they will permit Him to bring them to Paradise in their moral filth and rebellion.
We need to hear how God is willing to forgive us and help us on our way. We need also to hear of the penalties awaiting those who are careless with the gift of salvation. We need to think more about the outer darkness, the area reserved for the disobedient servants of the Lord.
Joshua reminded the people of the blessings and curses. We of today who pastor or teach need to remind the people of the blessings and the curses. One is as certain as the other!
The devil is saying today, in the ears of God's people, "You shall not surely die." He still is lying and Christians still are believing him.
"If you, as a Christian, live in the lusts and passions of your body, you will die," Paul said. We say Amen! What do you say?
Moses' one mistake was presumption. Joshua's one mistake was carelessness. He forgot to pray.
The Gibeonites were able to trick Joshua because Joshua and the people did not go to the Lord. Joshua assumed from what he was seeing and hearing that the Gibeonites indeed had come from a far country and therefore could remain alive.
If we would march in God's army we must learn to not make assumptions, to take nothing for granted. Satan is always alert, always looking for a single careless act on our part so he can defeat us.
If we would survive spiritually during the age of moral horrors we must learn to pray without ceasing. There can never be one single moment when we let our guard down, not at a party, a vacation, at home in bed, or anywhere else. We must post a guard at all times.
We are in a war! How many battles of history were lost because of carelessness, because of taking something for granted, because of assumptions that proved to be terribly incorrect!
The Lord Jesus is at hand. He always is ready to hear and answer our prayer from the smallest detail to the greatest crisis. The believer who takes the smallest matters to the Lord in prayer will probably do the same with the great crises.
When someone asks you to do something, pray about it. When a "great opportunity" comes your way, pray about it. When you get an idea, before you act, pray about it.
Pray about what you eat, what you wear, everything you do during the day. Keep looking to the Lord. This may seem impossible but it is not. It rapidly becomes a way of life if we make an effort to do it.
If you do not have enough time to pray during the day, ask the Lord for time to pray.
Pray about your classes in school. Pray on the way to the hospital, to the dentist. Pray about your income. Pray about the church you go to. Take nothing for granted. Pray! Pray! Pray!
Joshua had just had a smashing victory at Ai. Then he renewed the Divine covenant with the people.
Then the Gibeonites tricked him.
You can have a glorious time in church. Then something happens on the way home and before you know what has happened you are in defeat. Why? Because you relaxed and forgot to pray about what you were doing on the way home, what you were saying to your family, what you were thinking.
When at a future time we are at rest in Paradise such watchfulness in prayer may not be as important as it is now. But please understand that the drums of Hell are beating to the attack in our day, as I stated previously. The level of Christian dedication that was acceptable a few years ago is dangerously inadequate in our time.
The day of hypocrisy is over. You and I must be utterly sincere in all we are doing. The hypocrites in the churches will be terrified at what will take place in the future. The lies and games no longer will accomplish their desires. Their hypocrisy will be revealed for all to see.
Many carnal believers will come and attempt to join themselves to the warlike remnant. But they will be employing their customary artful flatteries. If you and I do not keep continually in prayer we will be deceived, just as the Gibeonites deceived Joshua.
It is a blessing to have a church full of people, but only if those people have been sent by the Lord Jesus. The "Gibeonites" cause nothing but trouble as long as they are with you.
Do not believe what people tell you or be taken in by their actions. Go to the Lord Jesus and He will show you who is of Him, and who is not of Him but is joining himself to you from personal motives.
We notice in Joshua that the Lord won more victories than did the Israelites.
As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the LORD hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites. (Joshua 10:11—NIV)
More Amorites died from the hailstones than were killed by the Israelites warriors.
"The Lord worked with them, confirming the word with signs following," the Bible states concerning the early apostles.
It used to be that when sheet metal was being riveted there was someone on the other side "bucking the rivets," making sure the bond was secure. Perhaps this still is true where sheet metal is employed.
When you are doing what the Lord commands the Holy Spirit will "buck the rivets."
When you are working with the Lord in the tasks of the Kingdom of God you do not have to carry the load by yourself. There are some things the Lord will do by Himself, as in the case of the large hailstones coming down on the Amorites.
Every pastor learns that there are some problems you can handle and others too sensitive to touch. This is the time to take your hands off, sometimes completely, and let the Lord take care of matters.
If we will be diligent in all the things we can do we can rest with confidence that God will "buck the rivets." He will arrange circumstances and motivate people in such a manner that the problem is solved.
The spiritual pressure of the future will be so enormous there will be much we cannot do to rectify the injustices. It is the Lord's Church, His Temple, His Bride, His Kingdom. He asks us only to do what we can as He leads us. Then He will do the rest.
The Elephant and the mouse work together to move the logs. But when you think about it, it is the Elephant who does the work. The mouse comes along to keep the Elephant company.
We have to do our very best, and all laziness and lack of diligence receives its due reward. But when we have prayed and obeyed, being very careful to watch for the Lord's will and to perform it, we can rest assured that God will do His part. God is never late. He always can be counted on to do what is necessary.
On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: "O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon." So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. (Joshua 10:12,13—NIV)
The Lord Jesus promised us that those who believe in Him would do the same works as He, and greater than these because He was going to the Father.
Jesus said whatever we asked in His name He would do in order that He may bring glory to the Father.
There is a great deal of talk in Charismatic circles about power. "We ought to pray for power, believe for power, demonstrate power. If Joshua commanded the sun, so should we."
It is our personal point of view that the desire for power, to speak the creative word, to command the Holy Spirit and the angels, is leading to the False Prophet. I think the Charismatic move has the potential to become the False Prophet.
The False Prophet is the spirit of religious delusion. It is man-centeredness in the realm of spirits just as Antichrist is man-centeredness in the political realm.
The False Prophet has the two horns like a lamb. This means, it uses the name of the Lamb of God to demonstrate a double portion of power. But it speaks like a dragon, that is, it reveals that the adamic man is in control.
The heart of the New Age teaching is that man is his own god. We see in the Charismatic move (of which the author is a part) a desire to have great power. But we do not hear "Take up your cross and follow me." Man is definitely in control. When man is in control of the gifts and ministries of the Spirit, then this is the False Prophet who is to come and who will support the Antichrist philosophy and political systems.
Pentecost is at the crossroads. Either we will go forth to use the power of the name of Jesus or we will return to Christ and submit ourselves to Him. We make that choice.
It may be true that fantastic works of power will be seen in the near future—all performed in Jesus' name. God will make sure His will is done in the midst of this, but many people, including the leaders, will be in deception. The Lord does not know them.
I am saying that much of what we are teaching today may be a delusion even though it is using the name of Jesus.
Antichrist comes out of the sea, out of the multitudes of mankind.
The False Prophet arises from the earth, from the soul of man. When signs and wonders in the name of Jesus are being guided and driven by the soul of man, then we have the False Prophet.
God is not directing us to speak creative words, to use imaging to accomplish our will, to have faith in faith, to use formulas for spiritual success. God is directing us to turn back to Him until we know what He is doing.
Can you see the difference? Or is momentum carrying you forward with the popular crowd?
Maybe, like the prodigal son, you are tired of trying to "do great things for God." If this is the case, why don't you return to Father's house? Why don't you sit down for a while in the green pastures and wait until you know what God would have you do? Maybe you are wearing yourself out for nothing. Perhaps God wants to just love you for awhile.
He gives His beloved sleep.
Joshua was not trying to do great things for God. Joshua was doing exactly what God told him to do, nothing more and nothing less.
It was on the day that the Lord gave the Amorites into the hand of Israel that Joshua said to the Lord, not to the sun or moon, but to the Lord! Joshua was not trying to exercise faith, he was praying to the Lord.
On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel: "O sun, stand still over Gibeon, O moon, over the Valley of Aijalon." (Joshua 10:12—NIV)
Today the believers are trying to exercise their metaphysical power over the sun. But Joshua spoke to the Lord. There is a vast difference between speaking to the Lord and speaking to the sun—the difference between the true prophet and the false prophet.
It is only as Christ directs us to do so that we are to command the creation to do our bidding.
We are not to be seeking power but Christ! This is all-important to remember in the present hour.
Greater works than these shall you do because I go to the Father. We are to tell the Lord what we desire. He will do whatever we ask in His name that He may bring glory to the Father.
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so the Son may bring glory to the Father. (John 14:13—NIV)
The Lord Jesus always brings glory to the Father. We are not always that careful.
We are to have faith in the Lord and be obedient to Him. We are not to try to have faith in the faith we are attempting to bring up from our soul!
The Lord God is vastly more concerned over our relationship to Him than he is over any works, great or small, that we may do.
Does the Lord know you?
There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a man. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel! (Joshua 10:14—NIV)
When Joshua was told that the five kings had been found hiding in the cave at Makkedah, He said, "Roll large rocks up to the mouth of the cave, and post some men there to guard it." (Joshua 10:17,18—NIV)
The five kings of the Amorites were found hiding in the cave at Makkedah. Joshua did not kill them at that time but imprisoned them by closing off the mouth of the cave with large rocks and posting a guard.
Then the Israelite army pursued the Amorites killing almost every one. A few saved their lives by reaching the protection of their cities.
Now Joshua brought out the five kings from the cave at Makkedah and put them to death.
This is how the Holy Spirit leads us in sanctification. He confines the "kings of wickedness" of our personality while we, through the power of the Spirit, put the more obvious sins to death.
Then there comes a time when we are mature enough to deal with the kings. How those kings of romantic lust, pride, the love of money, self-importance, witchcraft, plead for their lives, reasoning with us as to why we should not put them to death!
These are the great leviathans that live in our personality, the kings of self. The lesser enemies are to be put to death at once through the Spirit. The kings are dealt with as God brings us through imprisonment and suffering until the self-love, self-seeking, self-will are revealed. Then they are to be put to death without mercy.
Do not spare your own personality! When God shows you the problem, address it with vigor. Kill it! Put an end to it! If you do not you will never gain the fruitfulness and dominion you desire. God will not share the throne of your life with any aspect of Adam.
Hang them on the cross! Put an end to them once and for all! They will spoil the freedom and power of your new life with Christ. Totally destroy the self-life. Leave no survivors. Follow the Lord Jesus Christ to complete victory.
The LORD also gave that city and its king into Israel’s hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there. And he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho. (Joshua 10:30—NIV)
Moreover, the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished. Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them. (Deuteronomy 7:20-24—NIV)
These words were not written only for the sake of Israel of that day. They are addressed to us upon whom the end of the age has come.
God wants no compromise with the enemy. The nation of Israel is a pathetic example of the unwillingness to follow God in the complete destruction of the enemy. They allowed people to remain in Canaan whom the Lord had appointed to destruction.
What God said would happen did in fact take place. It was not long before the Israelites were worshiping the filthy gods of Canaan, to their own destruction.
So it is today. The Christian churches either through ignorance or disobedience have not pursued the total destruction of the enemy. The churches have elected to escape to Heaven rather than to destroy sin.
The Son of God was revealed for the purpose of destroying the devil. This He is ready to do whenever we decide to obey God.
We cannot eliminate the sins of our personality in one blow. We are to drive them out little by little. The point is, we do not cease warring through the Spirit until we gain complete victory.
Be ruthless as Christ drives the enemy from you. Take His part, not your own part. Christ is not indifferent toward wickedness. He loves righteousness and hates iniquity. This is why God has anointed Him with the oil of gladness.
Learn to love righteousness and hate wickedness. Then God will anoint you with the oil of gladness.
Leave no survivors!
So Joshua subdued the whole region, including the hill country, the Negev, the western foothills and the mountain slopes, together with all their kings. He left no survivors. He totally destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded. (Joshua 10:40—NIV)
God will help us no matter how strong the enemy is.
Moreover, the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished. (Deuteronomy 7:20—NIV)
If you really desire total deliverance from the world, the lusts of the flesh, and self-will, tell the Lord about it. He will "send the hornet" after you and cause the enemy to be revealed. Then through the Spirit of God you can put it to death.
Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God. (Deuteronomy 7:21—NIV)
Do not be afraid. Satan and his demons cannot possible harm you when you are walking in the Spirit. Christ has given you all authority over the enemy. The angel of the Lord is encamped around you to deliver and protect you.
The LORD your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you. (Deuteronomy 7:22—NIV)
Do not expect instant deliverance from all the sin that is troubling you. If God should remove all the darkness from you at once you would collapse. The house of your personality would be cleaned out and decorated but there would be nobody home. The demons would reenter you.
We have found that God's people get delivered but sometimes are not able to hold their deliverance. This is because they are not taking up their cross and following Jesus. They are not doing what Christ has commanded. They are not living a solid, wholesome Christian life. This is why their release is not permanent.
The proper route to deliverance is to obtain one small release and then follow Christ until He fills the area that has been conquered. Then on to another release and another growth in Christ. And so on and on until all the enemy has been put to death and Christ has filled your personality.
Of course, you cannot conduct this process. It is the task of the Holy Spirit to lead you from grace to grace, from faith to faith, from victory to victory, from glory to glory.
The point is, you are never to settle for partial victory. You are to keep on with the battle until there is total release.
Pay no attention to those around you who would tell you total victory is not possible, that no one is perfect, that while we are in the world we have to sin. It was this attitude that prevented Israel from the total victory that could have been theirs had they trusted God instead of their own fears and opinions of what God could or could not do.
God said to put them all to death. Do it and God will be with you.
But the LORD your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed. (Deuteronomy 7:23—NIV)
Will you believe God and obey Him or will you be like faithless Israel?
Maybe the next generation, maybe the one after that. But some day God will have people who believe Him totally. They will return with the Lord Jesus Christ and drive sin from the creation.
He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them. (Deuteronomy 7:24—NIV)
The sons of God will march, with Christ at the head, until sin is driven from the creation. There will be no rebellious angel remaining in the heavens or on the earth. There will be no demons left on the earth. There will be no human being who is permitted to manifest worldliness, lust, or self-will.
All sin will be driven from the habitable creation. All sin!
God will make an end of sin. God will bring in everlasting righteousness.
There is to be no compromise. None whatever! No mercy will be shown the enemy. None whatever!
All sin will be confined with Satan, his angels, his demons, and people who refuse to permit Jesus Christ to deliver them. All shall be imprisoned in the Lake of Fire. No sin will be allowed to pollute the new Jerusalem. No sin will be permitted to continue on the earth. God's kings and priests will make sure of that.
Because there will be no sin there will be no death, no pain, no sickness, no sorrow, no dread, no fear, no terror in the night, no wars, no tears. Nothing that defiles will enter the Kingdom. The Holy Spirit will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. Nothing but love, joy, and peace for the eternity of eternities.
The sons of God will inherit everything of worth and will stand guard over their possession forever. There never again will be an unwalled paradise.
God will dwell with His sons. They will see His Face. All will be holy.
This is a true picture of the future. Remember, all depends on our willingness to deal ruthlessly with the sin in our own personality. Everyone who will do this contributes to the purifying of the creation and the return of Paradise to the earth. Everyone who refuses to deal ruthlessly with the sin in his personality, preferring to compromise and live in a gray area, remains part of the problem and will be dealt with in time.
Where are you on this tapestry?