DYING IN THE LORD
Copyright © 1996 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Divine judgment in the house of God, and the shaking of all that is not found in the Lord, are the burden of the hour. Those who are willing to follow the Lord into judgment, death, and resurrection will stand in the darkness and save many. Those who choose some other way, evading the personal cross of death to the adamic personality, will continue to deceive themselves and their followers.
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)
The fourteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation portrays the firstfruits of the Lord, the holy remnant who, through Christ, have overcome sin and now stand before the Throne of God. The lie with which human nature is filled has been driven from them.
Then the Spirit speaks of the end-time Gospel witness to the peoples of the earth—the good news to Heaven and the earth that the hour of God’s judgment has come. The meek will inherit the earth. The wicked will be removed from the heavens and the earth.
Next, the fall of Babylon is noted. Babylon is a symbolic name for man-directed Christianity. Man-directed Christianity will be supported by the Antichrist government, and most Christian believers will be part of the great Christian organization—probably located at the site of ancient Babylon near the Euphrates River.
Babylon, the whore, will attempt to give the gifts of God to the Antichrist government in exchange for its support of the Christian ministry. But in the end the ten nations will destroy her.
“And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. (Revelation 17:16)
Now the warning comes concerning the danger of yielding to the Antichrist spirit. It is one of the most terrifying warnings in all Scripture.
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand,
“he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone [burning sulfur] in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (Revelation 14:9,10)
The Antichrist spirit is man making himself God. It is humanism. It is libertarianism. It is freedom of expression—man doing whatever he feels is proper. In the last days the Antichrist spirit will be summed up in one man (or woman), but the spirit of Antichrist has been with us from the first century.
Mankind is born in lawlessness. We humans drink sin like water. God knows our frame, that we are dust. He has given Jesus as a sacrifice for our sins and is ready to receive all who repent and turn to him.
Man attempting to make himself God, seeking the liberty to do whatever he feels is correct, rejecting the eternal moral law of God, will be visited with awful punishment. Such will drink an undiluted wine of Divine wrath. The wrath will not be mixed with mercy. The smoke of their torment will ascend forever.
The stamp of Antichrist will be put on the forehead or on the hand. Perhaps the mark will be an actual inscription or the implanting of a computer chip of some kind, but the symbolism is clear: the marked individual belongs to the world spirit and thinks and acts accordingly.
This is in contrast to the perfected remnant who have Christ’s name and the Father’s name inscribed on their forehead.
There is coming a split in the ranks of Christians. The majority of believers will become part of the world organization of Christians. A remnant will discern the presence of Satan in Antichrist and in the spirit of religious seduction and refuse to cooperate with the world secular-religious leadership.
The holy remnant will be forced to flee from civilization. They will experience many hardships and then emerge from the wilderness a perfected Bride, leaning completely on the Lord Jesus Christ.
The process of separating the remnant from the remainder of the believers has begun. It is more than the customary breaking off from the established churches of fervent believers whom the Spirit is using to bring forth fresh doctrine and experience, a pattern that has been repeated throughout Church history. Rather it is the separating of the firstfruits of the Bride from Babylon.
We in America do not understand how much a part of the Antichrist spirit we are. For several hundred years Western philosophy has been spreading the concept that man is God. The American Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights reflect the idea that man must not be hindered in his pursuit of personal happiness.
This is Antichrist—man making himself God.
The spirit of religious seduction has made rapid progress since the middle of the nineteenth century with the pre-tribulation “rapture” doctrine; Dispensationalism; God is love and not wrath; grace is unconditional—it will bring us to Paradise whether or not we live righteously; Christians ought to be wealthy; by faith we can have whatever we desire; Christians will rule the earth before Jesus returns; the converted Gentiles are the true Israel and have replaced physical Israel in the Divine plan.
If we will look closely we will discover that the above doctrines, all of which proceed from the spirit of religious seduction, are man-centered not God-centered. They are in keeping with the secular philosophy of man being God: man is central; God will not allow man to suffer; God has given gifts to man so that he by faith can do as he will on the earth; and related errors.
The delusions have this in common—God will give the Gentiles every blessing on earth and take them to Paradise before any evil can harm them, if they will acknowledge the fact that Jesus died for our sins and rose again as Lord. Current Christian doctrine sounds correct to the believer walking in the flesh and is accompanied by a strong sense of assurance; but it is so terribly incorrect!
Why have fundamental Christian believers been deceived so easily? For three reasons. First, we do not deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow the Lord Jesus. Second, we do not pray carefully enough. Third, we are living in a world culture that is being influenced heavily by the spirit of Antichrist.
We have been deceived.
God has commanded us to lay down our own life, to deny ourselves, to take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus. Because we have rejected the personal cross of humiliation, denial, patience, God has sent delusion upon us.
and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, (II Thessalonians 2:10,11)
We know from the Scriptures that the closing days of the age will be filled with evil and religious deception. The tares will come to maturity.
“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24)
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:
For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,
traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (II Timothy 3:1-5)
The Lord Jesus warned us that there was coming an hour so dark that man could not work.
“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. (John 9:4)
The hour of darkness is here—now!
Antichrist and his chief supporter, the spirit of religious delusion (the False Prophet), have already destroyed the Christian witness in America.
What can we look for in the future?
The philosophy and spirit of freedom of expression, of man making himself God, will spread until it holds civilized man in its chains. The spirit of religious seduction will give supernatural power to the Antichrist government. It will be “Christian” miracle-workers who validate the efforts of Antichrist as he fills the earth with the doctrine that man can attain peace and prosperity by his own efforts.
The philosophy of libertarian democracy does not have enough power to hold the allegiance of people. It must be supplemented with supernatural power.
Antichrist, we believe, will begin his (or her) career as a Christian disciple (just as Judas did). He will arise at the time that most of the earth has been converted in the latter-rain revival—that unprecedented manifestation of the Glory of God portrayed in the Book of Revelation by the two witnesses.
Antichrist will perceive the possibility of uniting all the religious people of the earth in a miracle-working Christianity, and of the suitability of libertarian democracy, and perhaps capitalism, as a form of one-world government and economics seemingly compatible with Christianity.
The truth is, there are elements in libertarian democracy and capitalism that could not be more violently opposed to the Kingdom of God.
Antichrist will involve the churches in the government and the government in the churches.
He may present “Christian” supernatural power as a means of relieving the problems of the world: hunger, disease, crime, poverty, violence, addiction. He may support the notion that all of mankind’s ills can be healed by a positive-thinking, miracle-working Christianity.”
Antichrist will not fight the churches, he will support them.
Antichrist will not seek to change fundamental doctrines or the traditional hymns. He will impress on the Christians those parts of the Scriptures that emphasize doing good to the peoples of the earth.
His message will be one of hope, of compassion, of attempting to bring the blessing of God on mankind.
He will invite prominent “Christian” ministers to fill posts of importance in his government.
The fundamental Christians will do just as they have done with the pre-tribulation rapture, with Dispensationalism, with the faith-without-works gospel. They will embrace Antichrist because they have neglected prayer; because they have not guarded the word of Christ’s patience; because they have not taken up the cross of death to self and followed the Master into crucifixion.
They have found a better way—the way of positive thinking, of using self-centered faith to better their condition on earth, of getting what they want now.
But there will be a few, a handful of saints whom God will warn. God will come to them in judgment, testing every aspect of their personality. They will become accustomed to the suffering and patience of the Kingdom of God.
They will seek to warn the remainder of the believers that God is not accepting the marriage of the church to the world.
Antichrist and the leaders of the church will scorn the saints as being gloomy heralds of doom and gloom—a deviation from what is normal, wholesome, healthy.
At first, the saints merely will be snubbed by the government and the main body of believers. As Antichrist gains power he will bring economic pressure, and physical terror in some instances, on the Lord’s little flock. The babylonish church at first may object to the persecution of the fervent believers; but the government soon will give the religious leaders to understand that the remnant of saints are a threat and are not to be tolerated.
The organized Christians will not have the moral strength to stand in the way of the government as it attempts to destroy the remnant. Some of the members of Babylon will repent and run to the true saints for spiritual deliverance. Others will join themselves to the remnant, but with flattery, having hypocrisy in their hearts.
The love of the majority will grow cold as every form of sin becomes commonplace and readily available.
“Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.
“And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.
“Now when they fall, they shall be aided with a little help; but many shall join with them by intrigue.
“And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time. (Daniel 11:32-35)
We are not speaking of a period of time a hundred years from now. Those who are alert in the Christian community can see the rapid rise of Satanism in the Western nations. Satanism, the New Age, imaging, positive thinking, prosperity by faith, libertarian democracy, humanism, sorcery, feminism—all are related. They are man making himself God. They are Antichrist!
What is God’s answer to the presence on the earth of Satan and the fallen angels?
The cross. The cross of the Lord Jesus and the personal cross of the believer.
God will not save what man is. God will not save the race of Adam.
The race of Adam died in Christ on the cross of Calvary.
The members of the Kingdom of God are a new race. They are humans, but humans in whom every element of personality has become part of Christ.
They have died; but behold—they live!
They are crucified with Christ, yet they live. But it no longer is they who are living, it is Christ.
God has provided the answer to every terror of the last days. The answer is our death and resurrection in Christ.
We must reckon ourselves dead, experience the judgment of God in every aspect of our personality (which includes much suffering and the denial of our fondest hopes), and then receive the Presence of the Father and the Son. This is the spiritual fulfillment of the Jewish feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34). It is the provision God has made for the spiritual oppression of the closing days of this age.
In the day when so many are falling into the trap of viewing themselves as God, the Spirit says:
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation 14:12)
We must bow the knee to God, turning away from our pride, our arrogance, our haughtiness. We must keep God’s righteous commandments. The Epistles of the New Testament are filled with guides to righteous behavior. We must keep faith in Jesus, guarding the word of His patience.
To follow the Lord in cross-carrying obedience, turning away from the “Christian” people who tell us we can have everything we want in the world, requires patience.
Ours is a period of judgment. Every time we make a judgment it will come back upon us, for good or for evil.
He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Revelation 13:10)
God is raising up a powerful army in our day. Each soldier has been judged thoroughly by the Word of God. In the moment of judgment the Lord’s soldier will stand because he cannot be harmed by Divine judgment. He can “fall on the sword” and yet not be wounded.
They do not push one another; every one marches in his own column. Though they lunge between the weapons, they are not cut down. (Joel 2:8)
Patience! Patience! Patience and the Kingdom of God!
If we are to possess our soul we must exercise patience in the prison in which the Lord places us.
Then, in the darkest of the night, the Lord gives us the solution:
Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” (Revelation 14:13)
“Die in the Lord from now on.”
From now on. From this time forth. From the time that man begins to make himself God. From this moment those who die in the Lord are blessed. In the midst of the fire of judgment they will sing and dance in the height of Zion. They will enter rest. Their works of righteousness and holiness will accompany them wherever they go.
Nothing can hurt them. Antichrist cannot touch them. The False Prophet cannot deceive them. Satan himself cannot overthrow them.
Why not? Because it is not they who are living but Christ who is living in them. In order to conquer them, Satan would have to be able to suppress the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
Let us ask a question.
Why would God create man on the earth, give him access to many kinds of things, relationships, experiences, and then command him to deny himself?
This sounds like poor planning on God’s part.
Why create little gods from the dust of the ground and then say to them, “Take up your cross and follow me”? “Present your body a living sacrifice to Me”?
The answer is, men are just that—little gods.
There are heavenly beings who are so tremendously large and intelligent, so filled with glory that we would be unable to stand in their presence. Some of these do God’s will. Others joined with Satan in the rebellion against the Father.
God, in His unfathomable wisdom, reached down to the dust of the earth and from it created little gods—creatures who one day will judge the angels, who one day will be served by the most exalted of God’s creatures.
The predictable—the first little God born on the earth murdered the second because of envy.
The little gods had to be given the chance to do whatever they wanted, although the Lord realized that the result would be six thousand years of agony as the dust-gods strove to glorify themselves.
Then God presented to these inexperienced divinities the only possible solution to their madness: “Take up your cross of self-denial so that I may become one with you. Let Me bring forth My life in you. You can realize your foreordained destiny only by entering My death and My life.”
knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 6:6)
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:24)
It is the story of the prodigal son, the story of man. The Father gives us our inheritance. We end up with the pigs, having lost our inheritance in riotous living. We come to ourselves and return home—to the Father. We have learned that we do not have the wisdom to use properly what has been given us.
For two thousand years the Christian churches have attempted to serve God by using His grace and gifts to build a tower that reaches to Heaven. The same attempt is being made today and soon will be supported with signs and wonders.
The “Christian” leaders are busily engaged in teaching Christians how to live, how to profit by the grace and gifts of God, how to find victory and success in the present world.
They should be teaching the believers how to die in the Lord!
What God said to the Apostles of the Lamb He still is saying to His Church: “It is only by your death that you can live in My Presence. Enter My death and resurrection. Death is the only path to the Throne of God.”
By death we mean the surrender of our personality to God, allowing Him to fill us with His Life. We tell the Lord we are His bondslave forever. Our delight is to do the will of God only. We have learned that to follow the desires of our own life brings frustration and pain.
What is accomplished by our death?
God is able to destroy the body of sin.
knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 6:6)
In our adamic personality there is a “body of sin,” a set of lusts and attractions that influence our behavior. Because the body of sin is so intertwined with our personality it is impossible for our adamic personality to be reformed, to be saved. The only solution is to slay it completely. Then the Divine judgment can call forth the body of sin and kill it.
For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)
When we die in the Lord, our life becomes the Life of the risen Christ.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, (Romans 6:8)
We learn obedience to the Father.
though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8)
The most important discipline any individual ever learns is stern obedience to the Father. But such rigorous obedience can be learned only through the suffering and death of the cross. Even the Lord Jesus, our Master in every area, had to learn obedience. He learned it as every son of God learns it—through things He suffered during His pilgrimage on the earth.
We are enabled to perform the work of the Kingdom.
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s,
“who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. (Mark 10:29,30)
There is work to be done if the Kingdom of God is to come into our own life and from there into the earth.
If we are to be able to do the work of the Kingdom we must be willing, if Jesus should require it, to leave much that is dear to us. If we make such a sacrifice, and it truly is for Jesus’ sake and the Gospel’s and not because of a false motive on our part, we will be rewarded richly now and will receive eternal life in the ages to come.
Only those who have placed all their relationships on the altar of God are able to leave all when the Lord calls.
For if I do this willingly, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship. (I Corinthians 9:17)
If the Lord has commissioned us to accomplish a portion of Gospel work we are to set out and do it as He leads and enables. If we do not do what God has requested we will be punished severely. God does not judge all believers alike. He judges according to what has been committed to us. Performing Gospel work may bring us to death to self but we must persist in doing the Lord’s will.
I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, (Colossians 1:24)
To some of us it is given to suffer on behalf of the Church, the Body of Christ. There are tribulations, pains, travails that must be experienced if the Bride of the Lamb is to come to perfection. We must be willing to bear these if the Lord is to receive the desire of His heart.
We enter union with God so that all He has is ours and all we have is His.
“And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. (John 17:10)
The little gods of the dust spend much of their time clutching to themselves things, relationships, and circumstances. All of these become gods that rule the little gods and we do not desire to cease worshiping them. It is death to us as we let go of our “treasures.”
It is only as we are willing to give Christ everything, every thing, every relationship, every circumstance, that we are able to escape the corruption that is in the world.
Every aspect of our personality must be placed on the altar of God. All must be relinquished. All must be committed.
Anything we hold back is loss for Christ and for us and will result in our being unable to stand the pressures that are rapidly coming upon us.
We must learn to commit everything to the Lord for His safekeeping.
Whatever we need at any given moment will be given to us if everything is committed to the Lord. We gain all the riches of God when we give everything to Him.
There must be nothing in us that is not found in God. Whatever is not found in God is unholy.
We must give everything to God. When we do that we can say, All that I have belongs to God and all that God has belongs to me.
When we commit all to God, then we receive all; but only as we need it.
Money cannot save us in the day that is coming. To make one’s life a quest for money in an effort to build a hedge against danger is a foolish enterprise. The only safe individual is the one who has given all to God.
When God gives back to us what we desire or hold dear it is ours for eternity. It has ceased to be a God to us. It is filled with the Presence and Life of Christ. It is treasure from Heaven.
For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (II Timothy 1:12)
The Lord is faithful to watch over all that has been committed to Him.
who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; (I Peter 2:23)
If we are willing to commit ourselves to God, no person or spirit can possibly harm us no matter how dark the spiritual environment becomes. God, the righteous Judge, will plead our case.
We are made perfect.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. (Hebrews 2:10)
The suffering and death of the cross remove the “spots and wrinkles” from our wedding garment. When we suffer in our flesh we stop sinning, if our heart is right toward God.
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, (I Peter 4:1)
Much suffering and the exercise of patience sanctify our spirit. There is no other way to gain the maturity we desire.
We bear the fruit of the image of Christ in ourselves and in others.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. (John 12:24)
The fruit of the Kingdom cannot come from our adamic nature. It is only as we die and Christ lives that the Holy Spirit can take the life-giving Seed and from it bring forth the image of the Lord.
We experience God’s desires in us.
for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
How we long for the Lord’s will to be done! Yet we are filled to such an extent with our own lusts and deception that we cannot tell what is of God and what is of our own flesh and soul.
It is not the Lord’s will that the saint go about seeking to persuade God to perform the saint’s will. This is why the current “faith message” is so ungodly. It is not our task to persuade God to do anything whether by faith or by any other means. Rather, we are to seek the Lord alone. God works in us, giving us a desire for His will, and then brings to pass His own will. This is the rest of God. Blessed indeed is the person who is content with God and His will.
How much time and strength we waste until we are willing to enter God’s rest, allowing Him to create in us His own will and the accomplishing of His own will!
We find rest in the Lord.
For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. (Hebrews 4:10)
As we are willing to die in the Lord, to cease from our own works and striving, we enter the rest of God.
In six days God finished all His works through to the coming down to earth of the new Jerusalem. Every detail was finished in the mind of God from the beginning. The sons of God were predestined, called, glorified, in the darkness before time began. Then God rested.
Every person born into the world strives to create his own heaven and earth. Those who are able to hear the Lord, cease from their own works. They give their hope and dreams to God. They allow Him to bring them to the perfect place planned for them from the creation of the world.
The excellency of the power is seen to be of God and not of us.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. (II Corinthians 4:7)
We who live are always brought down to death in order that the Life of Christ may be available to other people. No matter how educated, talented, or well-intentioned we may be, we have nothing to give that is of eternal worth. It is only as we die that the Virtue of Christ is presented to the needy.
How the world longs to see Jesus! But Jesus is not available in a church that is living in its well-intentioned, religious adamic nature, only in one that has been crucified and raised again in Christ.
God’s strength does the work.
Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, (II Corinthians 1:9)
We do not enjoy the process of being brought down to death. We keep attempting to save some part of our doing or thinking. But whatever is gain to us is loss for Christ. God interferes with our life until we are close to despair. We count ourselves as dead.
Then the Lord’s power and wisdom are revealed. We are lifted up and brought into a whole new realm of hope and glory.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (II Corinthians 12:9)
When we are weak, then we are strong. We are strong because God’s strength begins to work as we are unable in ourselves to accomplish the tasks set before us. Paul gloried in his distress because the Presence and power of Christ were working in him.
We are able to experience the power of Christ’s resurrection.
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, (Philippians 3:10)
When we have been redeemed completely, spirit, soul, and body, we will be living in the fullness of the power of Christ’s resurrection life. Today we are bound by the limitations of flesh and blood. When we attain to the resurrection we shall be eternally alive in Christ.
Paul was seeking to know the fullness of the power of Christ’s resurrection. Paul understood, however, that the power of the resurrection comes to us only to the degree we enter into the sufferings of Christ, into the death of the cross. The cross is the ultimate weakness, for there we lose everything we have desired—and gain everything that is of true worth.
We are filled with eternal life.
“He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39)
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. (Matthew 19:29)
It is in the surrender, the relinquishing, the committing that we gain the desires of our heart.
We do not know what we truly desire. We do not know our own destiny. We do not know even our true name. But God knows all these things very well. We must consider the goodness and power of the Lord, realizing He is bringing us to all we desire.
If we struggle to maintain our own way before the Lord, insisting on saving our own life, our own desires, we will lose everything. It is only as we let go and trust God that God is able to bring us to perfect love, perfect joy, perfect peace.
We are not teaching passivity—that the believer is to abandon his desires pretending he doesn’t care what he receives or what happens to him. The individual who is bound by passivity is double-minded and will receive nothing from the Lord.
God commanded us to ask that we may receive. We are to give thanks to God continually, letting our requests be made known to him.
The reader may find it difficult to reconcile our teaching of committal with a clear, decisive approach to letting God know what our desires are.
It is in the battling onward in prayer, continually informing God of our desires, that our character is formed, that our desires are refined until we are moving toward the love, joy, and peace we truly desire. Many of our early desires are not what we truly want. God knows this and steers us away from what is hurtful and unfruitful. How our adamic nature howls in unbelief!
It is the person who seeks God continually that attains the desire of his heart. Yet he learns that in his seeking he continually must surrender his burden to the Lord. Otherwise he finds himself grasping, straining, cutting himself off from the flowing of God’s Spirit, from resurrection life.
We are not to demand by “faith” what we want from God.
We are not to forget our desires, accepting whatever comes, throwing away our hope and dreams, drifting along in a state of spiritual passivity and the feeling the inevitable will take place no matter what we do.
Rather we are to tell God what our hope and dreams are. We ask in Jesus’ name for our desires. Then, we press forward in the Lord, patiently enduring our cross, until we attain our land of promise.
The Lord will withhold no good thing from the person who walks blamelessly before Him.
For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly. (Psalms 84:11)
We learn to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. We have given our all to Him and so all He is and possesses belong to us. We trust Him to give us what we need, in every area of life, when we need it. Then we are abiding in perfect love, joy, and peace. Then we are dwelling in the secret place of the Most High. Then we are living in the rest of God.
We avoid being deceived by Satan.
“Because you have kept [guarded] My command to persevere, I also will keep [guard] you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. (Revelation 3:10)
The Christian people are at a crossroads. God has given many gifts and graces to His people in our day. Now, what are we to do with them?
The needs of humanity are great. Millions are being born but so few, it appears, are accepting Christ as their personal Savior. God has given us many gifts. Should we not go forth in His name to save the world? Haven’t we already been given our marching orders in the Scriptures?
Haven’t we already been charged to go into all the world and save souls? Aren’t we to go into every road, every pathway in the jungle, and compel them to come in?
Two paths lie before us, two choices concerning how we are to live and minister. Missionary statistics are telling us where the greatest needs for the Gospel are located. Church-growth experts are teaching us techniques for filling our church buildings. Shouldn’t we get busy and do great things for God?
One choice is to pray, ask God to bless us, and then go to work for Christ. The other choice is to seek the Lord intensely each day, telling Him of our desire for service, doing the practical things set before us, not being afraid, after careful prayer, to take a small step in the direction we think He is leading us but avoiding making major plans until we are certain God has spoken. Those who make the second choice learn to take nothing for granted. They remember the mistake Joshua made with the Gibeonites. They bring every detail of their life and ministry to the Lord.
At first glance these two approaches may seem to be nearly the same. But in practical living they are worlds apart. The first is to work for God. The second is to work with God. The first leans heavily on the human mind to direct the program. The second waits continually on the Lord, being supremely alert to His every desire.
The first scorns inactivity, having little patience for delay of any kind. Hagar always mocks Sarah. The second may experience many years of barrenness before anything of significance seems to take place.
It appears that much if not most Christian activity for the past two thousand years has been of the first kind. The great organizations have made their plans to conquer the world for Christ. But throughout the Bible we find the Sarahs, the Hannahs, the Josephs, the Elizabeths, who had to wait on the Lord for many years before the promise was fulfilled.
When God brings a Christian believer to the place of decision, “Should I go out and work for Christ or should I wait on the Lord until I am certain of His will, no matter how long I have to wait,” it is of extreme importance that he or she choose the latter. To decide to go ahead “by faith” and seek to do God’s work may keep the individual filled with his own self-life. Instead of coming to know the power of Christ’s resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings he becomes no more than a zealous religious worker attempting to make as many proselytes as possible, converts to his way of thinking.
There is a tremendous difference between living in the soul and living in the Spirit of God. Sometimes it seems most Christians are living and working in the soul rather than in the Spirit. How can we tell whether an individual is living and working in the soul rather than in the Spirit of God? It is not difficult to discern the difference.
The believer who is living and laboring in the soul is self-righteous, self-centered, impatient of delay, quick to blame anyone who he thinks is hindering him. Believers who live in the soul are often bitter. They are quick to take offense. They scheme and plot, manipulating people and circumstances in their endeavor to “serve God.” They must have their own way in every matter. They are easily discouraged because they are trying to do God’s work apart from God’s will, supervision, and assistance. They are as responsive to the Spirit’s will and leading as an untrained horse. They kick and prance about supposing they are fulfilling the Great Commission.
Christians who live and work in the soul are envious of those whom God is using. The Pharisees murdered their own Christ because they were serving God in their soul, in their personal ambition. They were not like Samuel or David who were directed by the Lord continually. Had the Pharisees been hearing from God they would not have murdered Christ.
Perhaps we do not realize how interested Satan is in the Christian churches. We think of Satan being in the houses of prostitution or with the drunken man vomiting in the gutter. Do we suppose that the most highly placed of the cherubim spends his time in such filth and despair? He leaves that to minor demons.
Satan is interested in the inheritance of the Lord Jesus. He will be found among the twelve disciples. He will attend the most fervent assembly he can find. He wants to talk of love. Satan in his “love” sought to keep the Lord from going to Jerusalem to be crucified.
But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23)
Satan desires to have great gifts of healing and miracles so he can be the center of attention and glory. Satan looks for the zealous believer who also desires religious glory but who is saving his life rather than losing it in the Lord. Satan enters that individual and attempts to steer the assembly away from patient waiting on the Lord. Satan does not fear any amount of religious activity no matter how “Christ-centered.” Satan trembles in terror at the thought of the believers waiting on God until the Lord Jesus appears.
How many Christian assemblies of our day are being divided by self-willed believers who conceive of some plan of action and then use every form of persuasion to turn the leaders of the church away from the patient waiting on Christ. “Get busy and save souls,” they cry. “Fast and pray until God does what we desire.” “Establish apostles and prophets in the congregation.”
The things they suggest may have merit and may be the Lord’s desire for the assembly at some point. But the spirit of “selling” and pushing is not of God. It is the self-will and self-aggrandizement of the soulish person that is at work. Such succeed only in dividing the assembly into warring factions. They are immature. If they do not outgrow their gossiping, slandering, factionalism, attempting to divide the Christians into special loyalties, they will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
The issue is whether we are willing to lose our life for Christ or whether we are going to attempt to save it in religious work. If we choose to save our life, Satan has an open door. He is willing to participate in Christian work if by doing so he can turn aside the believers from waiting on the Lord for His will. Here is Babylon. Here is the False Prophet.
We now are entering the darkest hour known to mankind. Satan and his legions will be forced from the heavens and will fill the earth with wickedness, with moral horrors. The tares will come to maturity.
God’s answer to wickedness is the cross. As we enter the death of the cross, the power of Christ’s resurrection enters us. Then we are stronger and wiser than the most powerful of the angels.
We must become dead-living people: dead with Christ on the cross; alive with Christ at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. Then we are invincible.
Dagon always will fall before the Ark of the Lord.
Those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High will trample under foot all the authority and power of the enemy.
The cloud of deception currently hovering over us is beyond our ability to overcome. The power of Antichrist will reach into the heavens, interfering with our prayers (Daniel 8:10) The most dedicated Bible student may fall into deception. We are no match for the former rulers of the heavens. Soon it will be impossible to resist sin. Soon the demons and fallen angels will be confronting us visibly, openly challenging us.
But the true saints have hope. The hope is that greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world (I John 4:4). No matter how cunning the enemy is, the wisdom of God is greater. If God’s wisdom is dwelling in us we will be able to discern the traps laid by the wicked one.
There are three great feasts of the Lord (Deuteronomy 16:16).
The first, Passover, typifies the salvation that comes from the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus.
The second, the feast of Weeks (Pentecost), speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church.
In the present hour we are coming to the spiritual fulfillment of the third feast, the feast of Tabernacles. Tabernacles represents the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in the believer.
The convocation of Tabernacles consists of the Blowing of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and then the feast of Tabernacles itself.
The Blowing of Trumpets emphasizes the coming of Christ in the Spirit to make war against the enemy in His Church.
Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. (Psalms 24:7,8)
The Blowing of Trumpets signifies also the forming of God’s saints into the army of the Lord.
The Day of Atonement (Day of Reconciliation) portrays the baptism of fire that the Church must experience in order to become the purified Bride of the Lamb.
“Behold, I send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts. (Malachi 3:1)
“His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12)
The feast of Tabernacles signifies the perfect and complete union of the Church with the Son and the Father.
“I in them, and you in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as you have loved Me. (John 17:23)
The Father’s provision for the Church of the last days is the coming of God to dwell in His people, and His people in Him. He Himself will be a Sanctuary in which the weary can find rest.
He is the secret Place—the Rock that no enemy can in any manner overcome.
In order to enter the “Tabernacles experience” we first must go through the Day of Atonement (Day of Reconciliation).
The Lord Jesus comes to us as the Lord of Armies. “Open the everlasting doors of your soul,” He commands. “I will enter you and we will dine together on My body and blood.”
He enters the temple of God in us and casts out the moneychangers.
- The love of the world is destroyed from us as God’s hand falls on us.
- The love of the sins of the flesh is destroyed from us as God’s Spirit leads us through sanctification.
- Our self-love and self-will are crucified as we follow the Master into the death of the cross.
When we have been cleansed of the world, lust, and self-will, the Father and the Son are ready to make Their eternal abode in us.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him. (John 14:23)
It is useless to talk about experiencing the fullness of God until we are willing to die to the world, to sin, and to self-will.
Divine judgment in the house of God, and death to all that is not found in the Lord, are the burden of the hour. All the religious ideas, plans, worthy concepts, and efforts cannot take the place of the coming of the Lord to judge His Church.
Those who are willing to follow the Lord into judgment, death, and resurrection will stand in the darkness and save many. They finally will be raised to meet the Lord in the fullness of glory.
Those who choose some other way, evading the personal cross of death to the adamic personality, will proceed to deceive themselves and their followers. Their end will be membership in the world church and final destruction. Those who accept the Antichrist doctrine that man is the only God will be tormented forever.
Let us buy the Divine truth at the cost of our first personality. Only then will we come to the love, joy, and peace we desire so fervently.
(“Dying in the Lord”, 3800-1)